Archive for the ‘Deranged Leftists’ Category

“You Changed Clothes!”

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

You heard about this by now, right? Busted.

At the last of four events on Rep. Paul Ryan’s “listening tour” of his district Thursday, he called on a man in the front row of a high school auditorium, then instantly recognized him.

“You changed clothes!” Ryan told Steve Jozefczyk. The 54-year old salesman from Franklin, Wis., had asked Ryan several critical questions from the front row of an event six hours earlier in Waterford, when he wore a shirt and tie. In Greenfield, it was a black “Faux News” parody T-shirt.

Josefczyk admitted trying to trick Ryan into calling on him again.

So as near as I can figure it, this inexplicably-impassioned movement for higher taxes — high taxes are awesome, don’t you know that? — is a pie with three slices.

– People who are actually paid to drive the agenda, usually by George Soros
– People who Want To Be A Part Of This Thing…and are not paid…
– People who stand to benefit in some other way.

The ones who are part of the first slice have nothing to say that is worth saying, of course, since they’re paid to say it. The ones who are part of the second slice are not in any position to lecture me or anybody else about what makes financial sense, since they’re doing for free what others are being paid good money to do.

That third slice of people would be people who work in the public sector and are just worried silly about layoffs. They, too, are not in a position to educate or condescend to others about things money-related, since their logic is too simple to be sound: Raise taxes, bring in more money, layoffs avoided.

When a host is only so big, the parasite can be only so big. At some point, the parasitic growth must be limited in one way or another. This is a universal truth. I can understand how it might be a little difficult to see when you’re worried about your alms, or your pottage, or your non-producer’s paycheck or whatever. But it remains a universal truth: All parasites can feed on their respective hosts only so much, only to so great an extent relative to the host’s mass.

The parasite is at the point of desperation, that it must put in plants like Steve Jozefczyk — it has probably been at this point for a long time. I’m not sure what slice he’s in. I don’t suppose it very much matters. The parasite is desperate, that’s the point. More desperate than Congressman Paul Ryan.

Not desperate to survive, it must be noted; desperate to grow.

Update: There is a fourth slice completely unrelated to the person’s system of financial dependence or interdependence: Just plain ol’ tall poppy. The jealousy that somehow escapes ever being called jealousy, the emotional bilge. Those who believe “greed” is a word that describes wanting to hang on to what’s yours, but somehow does not describe lusting after what’s not.

It works like this: Do a good deed for a stranger, there is a social expectation that the stranger express gratitude. This expectation depends, in large part, on whether you were required to do it. Admittedly, that’s not a conclusively determining factor. It’s a free country, the stranger can thank you or not thank you in any case.

But ya know, if it’s plain to see you didn’t have to do it, it takes a real dick to just go barreling along without stopping to give some kind of acknowledgement. And so, you know, as we are allowed by our fellow motorists to merge in ahead of them, we wave. From one car to another car — not the most likely forum for etiquette and niceties. We still do it because people are helping where they are not required to.

But if someone is only meeting an obligation of theirs by helping you, acknowledgement is not quite so expected. You’ll still do it if your Momma raised you right. But if not…well, that’s okay. The first one is like littering. This one is kind of like leaving the litter where it is after someone else dropped it there.

So I think these fourth-slice people want to feel good about themselves, by making it much less likely anybody will ever do anything else better. If we’re all required to help each other by means of taxes…we become a society where nobody, or hardly anybody, goes out of their way willingly to help each other. Nobody owes anybody any acknowledgement or debt of gratitude for anything. We all just owe our taxes and that’s it.

“Lacking in Humor, Decency, or Even a Coherent Satirical Premise”

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

So a big ol’ back-n-forth has ensued regarding Wonkette’s tasteless Trig Palin post.

Readers of the Blog That Nobody Reads who possess a decent, functional, working long-term memory will immediately recognize we’re unapologetic, out-and-proud Palin fans. Readers who are new arrivals, or who possess no functional long-term memory at all, will still recognize this because of our sidebar pin-up artwork. Well, our finding that the Wonkette article in question was unfunny, has nothing to do with our fondness of the Barracuda. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the mocking of an innocent child, either. Or that the child is disabled. Actually, we live in a decidedly libertarian universe. We figure funny’s funny, unfunny’s unfunny, and nobody’s “rights” are gong to change one to the other or vice-versa.

Nope, we’re simple creatures here. We found the Wonkette column to be unfunny because…brace yourself for this…it simply isn’t funny.

Readers of the Blog That Nobody Reads who possess a decent functional long-term memory will recall something else, too. We don’t have a lot of regard for what has & has not been declared by the officials to be a real word…or…a real mental illness. We ignore the official registries of words and mental frailties, and make up our own entries in same, pretty much all the time. Well — this is a mental frailty, widespread of late, especially on the left-wing side. Humor. “I can see Russia from my house!” yuk yuk yuk. Our liberals very often find things to be humorous that simply aren’t humorous.

We think that’s a mental shortcoming. We think it’s an illness that ought to carry a genuine diagnosis. Jocularity…in response to…you said something nasty about this person I happen to dislike politically. That is a mental illness, we think.

We appreciate genuine humor as much as anybody else — even if it is made at the expense of kids. What’s pink and red and goes round and round at sixty miles an hour? Baby in a blender. We don’t laugh at that now because we heard it before. But the first time, back in Boy Scout camp, it caused quite the giggle-fit.

And we disagree with President Obama politically. But we’re not likely to laugh at jokes about Sasha and Malia. Unless said jokes are funny, is that too much to ask? But whatever the joke is, it probably isn’t going to be as funny as the baby in the blender.

I say, mental illness, because — well, there were a couple of James Bond movie villains in recent years who had their nerves crossed, such that instead of bodily pain and agony they felt sexual pleasure. It’s just like that. Liberals hear a fantasy about a political opponent, which as unlikely as it may be, would make them feel good about it if it were true. And somewhere in what passes for a brain, the signals get all crossed and this reaches the pleasure centers of the brain as a genuine guffaw! Like Todd Palin knocking up his own daughter. That isn’t funny, but some of these people figure since they hate anything Palin, this should cause peals of uncontrollable laughter. Somehow.

I just think it’s high time this was called out as the mental illness it really is. Little kids have a tough time reading and we lose no time proclaiming “The Brain Is Wired Wrong!!! Poor Bubbins Is Picking Up the Letters All Backwards!!!” Very little by way of real evidence needed to support this; it’s just a done deal. So it’s time we did the same for our liberals. Too many among them assume anything insulting, directed at the proper targets, must be hysterically funny. They seem to have concluded it’s impossible for any statement to be one without the other.

Oh yeah, it could be a simple ideological bias gone all wonky. But remember, this isn’t just a matter of concluding something might be funny. This is a matter of actually laughing at it. That’s a more primitive brain process. I mean, if I poked you right in the eye and you popped a boner because of it, that would be a low-level nervous system problem wouldn’t it? Well, this is gutteral laughter in response to banal insults tossed out at a mentally challenged child.

Time to get these people the mental health assistance they so desperately need. Make it so they can’t endanger themselves or others.

Update: I see how it is that quiet reader James C. Ritchie takes such great pictures. Got an eagle-eye. Very tactful and polite about it, too, when he sends off-line e-mails to to the smug bloggers who occasionally misspell obvious, fourth-grade words, like us. Oh well…nobody’s perfick. Thanks for keeping us sharp Mr. Ritchie.

One Side in a Conflict Has Been Chosen…

Friday, April 8th, 2011

…by Michael Moore. The evidence and facts that come pouring in at a late hour, contrary to the evidence and facts that arrived beforehand, are injurious to the side he has chosen. So his answer is to attack the character of the people on the other side.

It is the sign of an unhealthy mind, of a weak, childish intellect. Very common problem nowadays. Something about the positions taken by the left, incline them toward this. It’s like, they just can’t handle a defeat, honest or otherwise — just can’t happen. Don’t have what it takes to work through a temporary setback, and hope for the best…”lost the inning, maybe we’ll win the game anyway.” No way, no how.

What’s with these guys, didn’t they ever play sports when they were kids?

Aw…I was going to avoid making a comment about his physical appearance. Just sort of fell into that one. Nope. No, of course he didn’t.

Hat tip to Allahpundit, who links to The Greatest Press Conference of All Time.

Now, I wasn’t aware elections were tabulated this way. The Excel spreadsheet, which is new, is imported into an Access database and the lady giving the press conference forgot to save the Access database? I thought this would be like some custom-built accounting software, with all kinds of anti-fraud features and gimmicks, digital signatures taken from files as they are imported, bells going off if you try to make multiple copies of the same thing, and all that. Like accessing my bank account over the Internet or something. It’s just office workers tossing around spreadsheets and Access databases? Really?

Okay, I can see how that would give us a false start now and then.

But someone needs to come up with a name for this mental illness Michael Moore has. Good news…Yay! Our side is so awesome! Bad news…no, can’t deal with it. Have to engage in this litany about how much the other side sucks, all their character defects, call them “hypocrites.” A defense mechanism, of sorts.

I’m sure there are other mental frailties far less worthy of carrying an ICD-9 number, that actually do have one. This needs one. It’s become a widespread and growing problem in recent years. And I do believe it is going to require some sort of treatment, before we as a society can ever maintain any kind of hope for President Obama’s “new tone.” You can’t have that, as long as one side suffers from a mental illness that forces them to insult the other side, on a personal level, knee-jerk style, every single time they see something that disappoints them.

Maybe, nowadays, that’s what being a modern-day liberal is. “I have never had to deal with disappointment or rejection before; why should I start now? And who the hell do you think you are, giving me this so-called ‘news’ that makes it necessary for me to do so?”

Death Panels Revisited: The Left Won’t Admit Palin Had a Point

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Wall Street Journal, Review & Outlook:

At a stroke, Medicare chief Donald Berwick has revived the “death panel” debate from two summers ago. Allow us to referee, because this topic has been badly distorted by the political process—and in a rational world, it wouldn’t be a political question at all.

On Sunday, Robert Pear reported in the New York Times that Medicare will now pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling as part of seniors’ annual physicals. A similar provision was originally included in ObamaCare, but Democrats stripped it out amid the death panel furor. Now Medicare will enact the same policy through regulation.

We hadn’t heard about this development until Mr. Pear’s story, but evidently Medicare tried to prevent the change from becoming public knowledge. The provision is buried in thousands of Federal Register pages setting Medicare’s hospital and physician price controls for 2011 and concludes that such consultations count as a form of preventative care.

The office of Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, the author of the original rider who then lobbied Medicare to cover the service, sent an email to supporters cheering this “victory” but asked that they not tell anyone for fear of perpetuating “the ‘death panel’ myth.” The email added that “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch.”

So, it’s good for us, and it’s so good for us that it’s important we never find out about it. Keep calling that Palin chick an ignorant Eskimo snowbilly and hope she doesn’t say anything.

YogiKnow what this reminds me of? Al Gore invented the Internet. Or, every politician screws around on his wife just like Bill Clinton. Palin said she can see Russia from her house. In all these cases, once you found out all of what was going on, the leftist, statist position ended up looking not so well off, not the way to go. But if you learned just enough to be dangerous they looked golden — so The Left, ever accustomed to dictating to people what they should learn and what they should not learn, encouraged its followers to form a picture of what’s going on about as brilliant and vibrant and detailed as a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. It has become such a carefully nurtured predilection now, that the loyal leftist fully expects to walk past the same clump of trees over and over again every three seconds.

The “truth,” to leftists, ends up being contradictory in all cases: Every single politician messes around on his wife! And Bill Clinton didn’t!

Palin said she can see Russia! I heard her myself! With Hillary standing next to her looking disgusted!

No, Al Gore never said he invented the Internet! And he should have!

We should have death panels! And we’re not getting them!

We get overloaded with all these “lint trap” talking points that are cherry-picked according to whether they make the left-idea look like a good-idea…they aren’t even consistent with each other. They only work on the people who have invested their ego in whatever leftist idea came before, and among them, only one the ones who are passionately dis-interested in what is really happening. At some point, they collide with each other and they don’t work. And so we start hearing a bunch of “jokes” that aren’t really funny.

Meanwhile, back to hi-res, 24-bit TrueColor land where we care about learning what’s really happening: We see now that “left wing” has as much to do with how legislation is planned, as with what the legislation is. Maybe more. Make sure it impacts everybody, and we can’t get away from it no matter who we are or where we are, even in its experimental phase; especially in its experimental phase! Unless we have the right friends, or we got a “waiver.” DON’T tell us what’s going on. If we find out what’s going on, distract us with something else. If we cannot be distracted, make a punchline out of the truth so that whoever has learned it, will be reluctant to share it.

Have I distorted this? Exaggerated some of it unfairly? If so, how?

If not, then who, of sound mind, really thinks we need this?

“Why Are YOU Conservative/Libertarian?”

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, Refounders is asking the question.

My response:

It’s just common sense. Someone’s trying to build something, you help them or get out of the way. Someone’s trying to destroy something, you move to stop them. If something works well, you keep on doing it, and if it’s been given a few shots and has never panned out then you shelve it.

The reason this looks so much more complicated than it really is, is that it’s hard to demonstrate the true nature of something without contrasting it with something else. And when you place conservatism alongside liberalism, liberalism tends to want to talk about some things and not other things. There are many examples of what I’m talking about but I’ll just stick with “working families” as the best one. When liberals use this term, they don’t want you to take it literally, like “working families should keep more of their money” — you’re supposed to implicitly understand it means “people who make less than some amount, whether they work or not.” So you translate “working families keep more of their money” to mean “working families who make more than half a million a year, getting a tax cut” and of course while this logically qualifies, it is no longer within the class that the liberal is really trying to describe.

None of which comes as a shock to anybody. The problem is, though, that the liberal doesn’t clarify this point by using a more appropriate and accurate terminology — he clarifies it by steering the conversation, laying down rules that this thing over here can be discussed, and that thing over there cannot be. As this is accommodated, we all start using phrases and words to describe concepts quite different from what they are supposed to mean. Another of my favorites is “build a society that functions in the best interests of everyone” or “that works for everyone.” Again, the liberal will demand that some things be discussed, and other things will not be — so we end up using the word “everyone” to describe a concept that has very little to do with the real meaning of “everyone.”

Wonder WomanI do not mean to blame the liberal for this. Quite the opposite. We have been like warm putty in the liberals’ hands, and as a direct result of this they have become…ah, what’s the word. Audacious. And so we all end up using lots of words apart from their intended purposes. Skeptic, diversity, egalitarian, science…

This makes it tough to define liberalism, which poses some challenges in defining conservatism. The biggest obstacle to this is encountered when the liberal is actually engaged; they think their cause is noble, and so if honesty would reverse course on their progress even a little tiny bit, I’ve found a lot of them will stoop to deception without a moment’s conscious thought. At the very least, they’ll change the subject, on a macro- or a micro-level.

That’s not to impugn their character by the way. It’s a human thing they’re doing. I think these are mostly decent people who have moved past that zone where you’re willing to entertain a discussion about what to do, and want to see the chosen strategy implemented. They’ve lost their curiosity and can’t get it back again.

Which, by itself, doesn’t bring them into conflict with conservatives. They enter into conflict with conservatives when their chosen approach is offensive to a) a reasoned analysis of the problem, and its true nature; and/or b) history.

Therefore, I submit all significant conservative/liberal dust-ups fall into this pattern: The liberal wants a certain thing done, because there is a “good” class of people and a “bad” class of people, and the solution should work for the good people and against the bad people. The conservative is left stammering something equivalent to “What in…how in blazes is that supposed to solve the prob-a-luhm???” For daring to utter so much as a peep of protest against the solution the liberal has figured out is obviously the right way to go, the liberal calls the conservative stupid.

Of course, often the conservative retaliates in kind, which is the wrong way to go. If that happens, then you just have two people who disagree with each other calling each other stupid. This is where the true distinction becomes not only lost, but buried deep down.

One way this happens most reliably by means of the switcheroo. This is where the conservative and liberal start out with a productive exchange of ideas, reaching the point where they successfully figure out their difference of opinion comes from a difference of understanding of the basic facts. And so they examine the facts — the liberal discovers his facts are in error, and the conservative’s facts seem to be in order. And so the liberal “switcheroos” the conversation to a pissing contest, of sorts, about which person is more decent. It’s a subconscious, face-saving sort of thing. As if to say “okay, you caught me being mistaken, but it doesn’t matter because I’m a better person than you are.” Again, this is human. It is hard-wired into us from centuries of agrarian living.

It would be nice if the liberal could be somehow persuaded to stay on topic, stay away from ad hominem, to use words for their intended meaning and for none other…unless properly qualifying them. To say, instead of “working families,” something more honest like “people who have a lifestyle like mine, and don’t make any more money than I do or have anything I don’t have…plus all the lazy people who think work is for suckers.”

Maybe if their drink was spiked with some kind of drug. A truth serum of sorts.

I think, then, such a discussion would not bring the two sides together. But it would prove my point. The liberal would say “I want taxes to go up on everyone who makes more money than I do and that will fix everything.” The conservative would then say “Who is going to start a business that might hire people, if there’s no profit involved in it?” And the liberal, rather than calling the conservative a dupe and a shill for “big business” and “evil corporations,” would instead do the sensible and honest thing and fess up: “Yeah, but it makes me feel good. I like the idea of people being taxed more when they aren’t exactly like me. Makes me happy.”

And the conservative would rightfully point out “but logic and history both affirm that you’d be wrecking the economy.” And rather than chasing off down some bunny trail that has to do with brandishing some “ism” as a cudgel, the liberal would simply say something like “I know, but it’s worth it to me. And I can’t handle being told no.”

American SpiritAnyway, that’s what conservatism is; you can’t define it without defining liberalism, since conservatism is opposition to something. It opposes destruction and narcissism. It’s not about making liberals feel bad; it opposes finding solutions that are counterproductive, just because they happen to make liberals feel good.

Conservatism, contrary to popular belief, is about progress. It is about linear development. It does not advance wholesale abandonment of ideas that have failed. Instead, it proposes isolation of those ideas. They can be retired from production, while their most zealous and resourceful advocates tinker with them and find out what it takes to make them work.

Liberalism, on the other hand, advocates circular development. When an idea is found not to work, it is to be tried again, often without any significant change whatsoever from what was found to have failed.

Also, liberalism is about putting the new or unverified or previously-failed idea out on the production floor. Liberalism always insists that there be no way possible for anyone to get away from it.

This last one, I haven’t figured out. Do they consciously understand that, if the conservative idea were to be deployed into test sandbox A and the liberal idea were to be deployed into sandbox B, sandbox A would yield the more beneficial results and it would be embarrassing? Or is it just the political leaders who understand this, with the “man in the street” liberals just slavishly following along? I don’t know. But I do know this point of universal enactment, with complete eradication of any possible opt-out, is critically important to them. It is very often, across an abundance of unrelated issues, a non-negotiable item. And it is very rare that they are called upon to explain why this is.

Anyway, in the final analysis, conservatism is something adults do — something they must do, if they are to survive in any setting in which people take responsibility for the effects of what they do. It accepts ideas that work, rejects ideas that do not work, and among the ideas it rejects most quickly and forcefully is the idea that people need to be knocked down a few pegs when they happen to have achieved success.

Cross-posted at Washington Rebel.

“How Liberals Argue”

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Hat tip to Kate at Small Dead Animals.

What did I tell you about this?

Liberalism, in this day and age, seems to always have two goals with regard to everything it ever tries to do. The first is to establish rules and precedent such that vast numbers of people are forced to do things a certain way, as a consequence of judgment calls made in very few offices. The second is to staff these offices with people who represent the least mature among us. Those who have the least of what real people call “character.”

“Where Did Shakespeare Take His Courses in Creative Writing?”

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Jacob Weisberg, Slate columnist and compiler of the Bushisms, is having what they commonly refer to as a royal conniption fit.

If you’ve seen The Social Network, you may have caught a passing glimpse of Peter Thiel. Thiel was the first outside investor in Facebook, putting up $500,000 to finance the site’s original expansion in 2004. In the film’s version of events, he connives with Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, to deprive Mark Zuckerberg’s friend Eduardo Saverin of his 30 percent stake in the company. Though the character based on Thiel appears on-screen only briefly, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay demolishes the German-born venture-capitalist in a single line: “We’re in the offices of a guy whose hero is Gordon Gekko.”
…Thiel’s latest crusade is his worst yet, and more troubling than the possibility of an unfrozen caveman venture capitalist awaking in the 22nd century and demanding his space capsule. The Thiel Fellowship will pay would-be entrepreneurs under 20 $100,000 in cash to drop out of school. In announcing the program, Thiel made clear his contempt for American universities which, like governments, he believes, cost more than they’re worth and hinder what really matters in life, namely starting tech companies. His scholarships are meant as an escape hatch from these insufficiently capitalist institutions of higher learning.

Where to start with this nasty idea? A basic feature of the venture capitalist’s worldview is its narcissism, and with that comes the desire to clone oneself—perhaps literally in Thiel’s case. Thus Thiel fellows will have the opportunity to emulate their sponsor by halting their intellectual development around the onset of adulthood, maintaining a narrow-minded focus on getting rich as young as possible, and thereby avoid the siren lure of helping others or contributing to the advances in basic science that have made the great tech fortunes possible. Thiel’s program is premised on the idea that America suffers from a deficiency of entrepreneurship. In fact, we may be on the verge of the opposite, a world in which too many weak ideas find funding and every kid dreams of being the next Mark Zuckerberg. This threatens to turn the risk-taking startup model into a white boy’s version of the NBA, diverting a generation of young people from the love of knowledge for its own sake and respect for middle-class values.

Well, where to start with Weisberg’s “where-to-start”? I’m somewhat personally offended by the insinuation that a desire to clone oneself is, by its own qualities and due to absolutely nothing else, some kind of evil thing. We should, as people, like ourselves should we not? You should expect that if a person is mentally and emotionally healthy, and somehow “cloned” as it were, he should be able to get along with himself right?

Maybe this is what we’re all arguing about. Maybe this is our “Whoah, the Emperor is buck-ass naked!” moment right here. Maybe liberals like Weisberg are people who wouldn’t and couldn’t be their own best friends — and they know it.

I’m also put off by the idea that offering an alternate educational path is something that can be fairly compared to…how does Weisberg say it? “Halting their intellectual development around the onset of adulthood, maintaining a narrow-minded focus on getting rich as young as possible, and thereby avoid the siren lure of helping others or contributing to the advances in basic science that have made the great tech fortunes possible.” What is it that gets under my skin about this? Ah…I know what it is. The pure, brazen, proud-to-be-there ignorance. Weisberg, your first semester lesson is that the “advances in basic science that have made great tech fortunes possible” were, for the most part, made by those who maintained “a narrow-minded focus on getting rich.” You may not like it, but it’s true. I’ll not bother with putting anything else in this semester’s lesson plan, I’m sure it’ll take you quite a while to wrap your mind around this one.

We owe a hat tip to our blogger friend Professor Mondo for this one, who has a salient way of making up the point. Uh, and that’s from inside the ivy-covered walls, for what it’s worth…

Oddly enough for someone in my line of work, I try not to overestimate the value of higher education. Don’t get me wrong — I think higher ed is a wonderful thing, and I’d like to think that what I do makes people’s lives better. But at the same time, I’m not crazy enough to think that college is the only route to a happy, productive life, and in fact, I’ve met my share of students who would be much happier pursuing their dreams in some other setting. As I tell my creative writing students:

Quick! Where did Shakespeare take his courses in Creative Writing? OK, how about Charles Dickens? Mark Twain? Mickey Spillane?

In many ways, a college degree serves as a sort of measure of ethos, an indicator that someone can follow directions and overcome certain obstacles. But the idea of college-as-credentialing-device is nothing new, and in fact it’s one of the assumptions underlying what many folks are calling the higher education bubble. Lots of people find themselves in college not because they particularly care about what they can learn there, but because it’s a hoop through which they’re expected to jump.

Bingo. This is the problem. And when you work in a high tech field, and the task falls on you to hire your replacement, it rises up and stares you right in the face. It isn’t pretty.

Here is an illustration of what I’m talking about; a crude, high-level illustration. To provide this illustration, I’ll go over some problems that really come up when you’re building something.

One. Everyone is unhappy with this software application. It only barely meets the requirements as envisioned by our customers, and is extremely hard to use. Our developers can’t maintain it effectively. Very simple enhancements require more clock time to implement than it seems they should…and they often have to be re-done. How would you re-factor this? How would you define the scope of such a project? How would you prioritize it?

Two. Your system is undergoing an audit of its security features. You look over the requirements and find some of them are extremely well thought-out, and others don’t seem to make any sense at all. It occurs to you that your system should have an audit process of its own, which should borrow the good ideas from this one, and fill in the gaps where it sucks. Since senior management isn’t expecting such a move, what would you do to lower the cost of implementing such a hairbrained idea?

Three. You are the manager of a bunch of highly creative, talented, resourceful software engineers. Trouble is, they tend to “work in silos” a lot. How do you approach this situation without sucking the fun out of these people’s jobs and giving them a powerful incentive to move on? Maybe you should just leave well enough alone and let the team as a whole work inconsistently and inefficiently? What process would you use here to make these decisions?

I’m citing these examples because they actually come up in an environment where people come together and earn money by building something. I’m also citing these examples because, when they or something like them pop up — and they do — whatever you learned in your college class or your cert program isn’t going to help you a whole lot. They call for what I call “thinking on your feet”; inventing a brand-new process, as opposed to following one.

The biggest difference between inventing a new process versus following an established one, is the criticism. You have to be ready to take it, because you’re coming up with Version 1.00 of something. There are going to be flaws. There will be problems. You need to expect this.

Our over-educated set has this bad reputation of not being able to handle criticism. There’s a reason this bad rep is there. It has been earned. Let’s face it: A lot of the appeal of following an established process, is that if it earns criticism the criticism has to be routed to someone else. It’s easy to get hooked on this. And a lot of people are graduating from higher ed curricula with massive, incurable, lifetime addictions.

As I explained at Bastidge’s place last month,

This starts to become a harmful arrangement when you acknowledge something a lot of engineers don’t want to acknowledge: antithetical skills. Imagine that the job to be done is Sumo wrestling…and the certification process is concerned with a quarter-mile sprint. If you look long enough, you’ll eventually find an awesome wrestler who can also run fast. But you certainly won’t see that often…and at the end of the day, when your team is assembled, you won’t have the best wrestlers you could have.

In fact, what you would expect to see is exactly what we are seeing in the high tech fields and have been seeing for awhile: Talented candidates frustrated they aren’t getting hired; massive expense, lag time and inefficiency in the hiring process; CIOs upset that it has become such a cumbersome process to try to fill these positions.

By “antithetical skills” what I’m referring to is that generally, the folks who are best at passing tests and following written procedures, aren’t good at thinking on their feet. This is a significant problem. The issue that tends to come up in a technical field is something like: Our system was working with component X, now it works with component Y. Create a test Z, with as few moving parts as possible, that you know will pass if Y does X and you also know will fail if Y isn’t working.

It’s kind of heart-breaking watching a bright engineer, just hired on, 100% on all his tests, look up from the task at hand with that blank expression on his face. Doesn’t make him a bad person — in his own way, he’s pretty smart. But when people don’t know how to do something, the most common response is to try to cut corners and avoid doing it. So the new configuration goes untested…which creates a needlessly large expense in terms of $$$ and time.

Now, I don’t know this Thiel character from Adam; I’ve not seen Social Network. Not sure if I will. From what I hear, it’s entertaining, well-done and somewhat informative but may not fully adhere to the truth as we’d know it if we’d personally lived through the relevant events. But as one who’s done okay with a high school diploma and nothing else, I can’t fully support this idea of paying twenty-somethings to skip college. Not unless something is being done to make sure they know what they’re doing. More than I knew about what I was doing when I was that age.

Nevertheless…there absolutely is a higher education bubble. Kids who skipped school can see it’s there, the kids going to school can see it, and they see it all the more clearly after they graduate and start looking for work. The employers trying to figure out who, if anybody, to hire…they can really feel it.

The higher education has been monopolized. Now, I don’t know if Jacob Weisberg is part of that monopoly, or if he only has friends in there. But I know this much: It is sophistry to try to claim the well-blazed trail of Mom-and-Dad’s tuition money being thrown into the black hole of university ed is synonymous with — what does he call it? “Intellectual development.” That is obviously Weisberg’s intent. Obviously, he feels anything outside of that will fail to inspire this intellectual development…and probably isn’t intended to inspire such a thing.

I question whether I’m reading too much between the lines, putting words in his mouth he didn’t intend. Well, guess what: His argument says nothing, if you don’t presume something along the lines of what I just paraphrased as you digest what he’s tried to say. His argument completely depends on the view I just expressed. You have to see a formal college class as the only way to enlightenment, in order to sympathize with what Weisberg is saying, and you have to deny that there is any other alternative.

I’m sure that makes a lot of sense if you have a worldview of “Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Life I Learned In College.” And some people do, I know. But here’s the shocker: That does not make you an educated person. It actually makes you pretty shallow, because real life has a lot to teach us before we reach college, and even more to teach us after we graduate.

And I cannot deny Thiel’s definition of the problem he is trying to solve. Weisberg may want to deny it, but all that tells me is that Weisberg does not represent the people who will make the situation any better. You have to acknowledge a fire exists before you can assemble an effort to put it out.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Blaming the Voters

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook:

Democrats seeking to boost voter turnout this fall are beginning to sound like the late comedian Chris Farley’s portrayal of a “motivational speaker” on Saturday Night Live. Farley’s character sought to inspire young people by announcing that they wouldn’t amount to “jack squat” and would someday be “living in a van down by the river.”

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who prefers sailing vessels to vans by the river, recently tried out the Farley method. Said Mr. Kerry, “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.” Bay State voters are surely thrilled to be represented by a man so respectful of their concerns.

This week President Obama chimed in with another uplifting message about the American electorate. Mr. Obama told Rolling Stone that the tea party movement is financed and directed by “powerful, special-interest lobbies.” But this doesn’t mean that tea party groups are composed entirely of corporate puppets. Mr. Obama graciously implied that a small subset of the movement is simply motivated by bigotry.
Making the case for left-wing voters to show up in November, Mr. Obama told Rolling Stone that he is presiding over “the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.”

We’d agree, but his problem is that most Americans don’t like that agenda and millions of voters in both parties wanted him to oversee an economic expansion instead. Blaming the voters is not unheard of among politicians, but usually they wait until after an election.

Yeah. Well, usually we don’t have such a palpable feeling in the air that the time for socially experimenting with their policies must be at an end, because usually there’s some doubt left as to whether we can afford more. So before the election, they get to brag about how they’re going to cream the other guy if their approval is anywhere north of fifty percent…or for that matter forty. If any one poll comes out saying they’ll net less than that, the left-wing politicians can just smear that one poll as an outlier.

This year, voters are directly confronting three things: The cost involved in said social experimentation; the consistent track record of complete failure with the history of such experimentation; and this nervous-tic “accuse the accuser” habit pervasive among anyone on the left, aroused any time they’re cornered.

If you have an academic idea that has never been tested in reality before — or, even worse: If it’s been tested over and over again, and failed each time — you should be the first one to want to gather data. You should be the first to want to do some “tweaking,” to put some quality thought into cause-and-effect situations.

To do your detective-work and figure out what it takes to fix the idea.

That would be rational. But liberal politicians are being prerational; the balance of the “thinking” they’re doing about their ideas, amounts to denigrating the character of anyone who isn’t putridly biased in favor of them. They continue to steer the discussion away from the ideas they want to implement, and toward that comfortable security-blanket bulls-eye of discourse, comparing the relative merits of individuals & figuring out who’s wonderful, and who should be sent down to the river to live in a van.

They keep going right back to that. Every time.

That’s a good way of telling whose idea sucks.

Best Sentence XCVII

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Ann Coulter snags the 97th award for BSIHORL (Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately).

Short but sweet:

In the druidical religion of liberalism, not separating your recyclables is a sin, but abortion is just a medical procedure.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and at Washington Rebel.

Romer’s Keynesian Economic Stimulus Plan Failed

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

…so she says. The solution she proposes on her way out: Try it again.

Dr. Christina Romer’s economic speech today, marking her last speech as an administration official, is an admission that the fiscal stimulus package that she helped craft has failed.

Calling the economic recovery “insufficient”, she noted that a 0.6% drop in the unemployment rate still leaves unemployment unbearably high. “Real GDP is growing, but not fast enough to create the hundreds of thousands of jobs each month that we need to return employment to its pre-crisis levels,” she said.

The Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus was meant to boost aggregate demand and get the economy going again. Estimates of GDP show that the United States is still 6% under its pre-crash trend, and that her plan hasn’t worked as expected.

“The United States still faces a substantial shortfall in aggregate demand… this shortfall in demand, rather than structural changes in the composition of our output… is the fundamental cause of our continued high unemployment,” Romer told the crowd at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Keynesian economics have been tried often and succeeded seldom-to-never. There is no logical underpinning by which they can work — think back to Winston Churchill’s quote about the man sitting in the bucket and lifting himself by the handle.

The merit to the theory is purely psychological. As Romer herself says,

While we’d all like to find the inexpensive, magic bullet to our economic troubles, the truth is, it almost surely doesn’t exist. The only surefire way for policy makers to increase aggregate demand in the short-run is for the government to spend more and tax less.

She got it half right.

We keep falling for this because we have a psychological need for some, as Romer said, “magic bullet.” We want to push one button, pull a sword from a stone, crush the witch under a house, and have everything be all better.

That, and we really aren’t in agreement about what needs to be done to save the economy because we aren’t in agreement about what an “economy” is. If you produce a good or service for your daily bread, you figure it’s your job to create wealth that did not exist before and the “economy” is the sum total of lots of people engaged in that effort. “Economy,” therefore, is an attempt. It is production throughput, hour by hour and day by day.

Other people see it a different way. If you’re someone who works but doesn’t produce anything through that work that didn’t exist before, you’re a non-producer and you’re going to be motivated to see that word differently. You make your living moving cash around, and you’re going to see the word as describing a state of liquidity. Maneuverability.

So if the problem is described thusly: Businesses have capital, businesses want to produce more, but they aren’t hiring because they’d rather figure out how to enhance the output without hiring anybody. Then — to a non-producer, the problem has everything to do with business’ reluctance to hire people, and nothing to do with the output. Get the people hired and the economy is “fixed.”

To a producer, especially one looking for a job, the question is going to be “once I/we/they manage to snag a job, how long is that job gonna last?” We live in a world in which a job isn’t a job if it’s just a temporary allowance to “free” money that’s going to trickle out in a few months when some program comes to an end.

Conclusion — and it is inescapable: The wrong people are in charge. They will not see this as a problem involving producers being obstructed, who require the obstructions to be moved. They earn a sort of “livelihood” that makes it tough for them to catch on to this. When they identify the problem of healing the economy, they think their job becomes one of increasing mobility of the cash, making it more easily moved from one entity to the next. They think that’s the mission.

And when it’s pointed out to them that this hasn’t worked — like, ever — their diagnosis of what was wrong, is that the wrong people were doing it. Now that we have new people who are wonderful, it’ll work and all we have to do is give it another go.

They will not change their minds about this. Ever. They are invulnerable to new evidence.

The Knicker Implosion

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

It is atomic. In my never-to-be-humble opinion…

None of this is anything like what it sounds like. “Atomic” sounds like “Thermonuclear,” and the mind leaps to conclusions. No, I mean it in a literal sense. Our blogger friend in New Mexico, Buck, has chosen to excerpt from the tract. That’s quite alright, but I have opted for a different approach because I consider it to be something of a fool’s errand trying to find the right place to start the carving.

Atomic things, in the blogger universe, are a reality. They are things that cannot be divided. I concede this is an arguable point, since if the excerpt did not work, I would not have clicked over to Alison’s piece, would not have found out about it, and it would not be here now. It did work.

But I maintain my opinion that this wonderful piece of hers is indivisible. The only way to present it is in its entirety. Read that as an excuse if you want — you’re probably right — but that’s how I’m putting it up now. Stem to stern. Here we go!

Today’s lunch break was, unusually, an enormous irritation.

I made my way to a small boutique style café in Soho which serves particularly interesting vegetarian food – yet another diet direction of late. I looked forward to sitting in this pretty, peaceful little establishment, minding my own business. I arrived early to secure a spot and sat at one of only two high empty tables in the place (it’s that cute) and ordered my lovely salad. I watched various people come in and out of the café and order take-away or gaze lovingly at the beautiful arrangement of home-made cakes in the little window. Outside in the background people darted in and out of doors for cover from the ceaseless rain which seems to always decide to wait til lunchtime or home time to put in an appearance. Our Summery weather of late has crashed and died in a spectacularly grim fashion.

Eventually a group of extremely well spoken young women came in. Polished looking. Chatting away. They rather apologetically asked me if I would mind if they shared my table. The seating means you all become best buddies in a heart beat whether you want to or not. Of course I didn’t mind since that was the nature of this little place and assumed the chatter would be low key and banal given our collective circumstances. I hadn’t bargained at all on them discussing in suddenly super obnoxious tones who they had voted for in the ongoing Labour leader elections. As Party members. And why. One of them was American. She listened and questioned her friends about the leadership contest. This went on for some time and for most of it I managed to escape into my food or click on my iphone and text or email friends. Anything to avoid being by default pulled right into the heart of their politics with no way of escape. Eventually however the conversation turned into one where Boris our mayor was a posh cretin and Conservatives are all “disconnected Etonites”. Then to top it all off the American girl chimed in to open up a conversation about how racist Republicans connived to make a big deal of that bloody mosque. For no other reason than they were racist.

You have to appreciate that this was not a conversation at the next table or behind me. This was a conversation into which I was plunged whether I wanted to be or not as though I were one of their group.

I’m sick to death of the assumption in political conversation that everyone these days is a leftist and that right of centre must simply shut up and speak in hushed embarrassed tones or accept Left is the only polite political conversation to be had out loud these days. So that was my opening shot. “Ok I’ve had enough” I addressed them quietly, smiling.

“Just how unfeeling and immature is it to decide for some of the tragic families and co workers of 9/11 victims or anyone else opposed to this mosque’s location what they think? Or how stupid is it to assume that great swathes of people in America, some 60% who are opposed to the location of this mosque are irrelevant racists? Or that their feelings should be automatically chalked up as racist because you say so? What gives you the right to decide that the argument is about banning Islam in NYC? It’s not – even if your dimwitted President decided it should be. It’s quite possibly about tolerance of other people’s feelings outside of your selective leftist groups”. Stumbling over her words to find a retort I decided not to give her the chance and addressed her friends. “Unrelatably Eton eh? I’ve never heard anything quite so moronic as a bunch of upper class newbie graduates from the Home Counties who were undoubtedly funded all the way through University by mummy and daddy indulging the tired old class debate wherein you, ladies, you in particular sporting that whopping great Tiffany’s engagement ring and the Manolos, feel you can better relate to an out of work manual labourer up in Newcastle. Tyne and Wear ladies. That would be the area the Labour Party ruthlessly shafted, whilst pretending to be for the working classes. Before they were outright dumped out of government having left the country up to it’s eyeballs in debt. Noone gives a crap who Labour elects as it’s leader. Least of all me”. “Next time you decide to sit this close to someone who can’t leave because she just ordered her lunch and is now wedged in with you lot don’t assume being in Soho means everyone shares the same dim witted liberal point of view. Speak in the hushed embarrassed tones you ought to given the mess your Party made”.

Absolute silence descended on a table full of flushed red faces which I decided not to up and leave as I’d just ordered a cup of tea. After a minutes silence and some mortified looks the conversation moved on to knickers. Thankfully.

Hear hear!

Lemme just get this out, because I don’t think I’m alone: I can abide opinions different from my own, all day long. I’d have to be driven to chewing on kitchen sponges, bath towels, and my own straightjacket all day if I couldn’t do that, right? Swing a dead cat around your head five times, and you’ll probably hit an opinion that I find disagreeable. Gay couples are all “loving,” our strength lies in our diversity, together we can fight the oncoming disaster of global climate change, praying in school is a violation of the First Amendment, we need to put more money into our educational system, we have to keep intelligent design out of our classrooms, Saddam Hussein was completely harmless and we should’ve left him alone, we need another stimulus — the list just goes on, and on, and on. Dumbass stupid bullshit opinions — most of them writhing around in perpetual agony from contradictions internal to themselves — that everyone & his little yippy purse-dog seems to love.

No, opinions that are different from mine, do nothing to aggravate me in & of themselves. I handle them the way all thinking people do: Is there something in there I’ve not yet considered, if so then let’s see if there’s an opportunity to learn. If not, move on.

It is this snotty attitude that drives me up a tree. “Since everyone at this table is carbon-based, has red blood and breathes oxygen, we all agree on this stuff…right?”

Debate me. Debate me all day & night long, if your little heart desires. Quit marginalizing me. Stop it with the “all real people think this, anyone who thinks that other thing is a phony person…” Just stop it. Stop it with Alinsky’s twelfth already.

If you can prove your point, you shouldn’t have to resort to it.

And three cheers for Alison.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

“The March Was All About Inclusion…”

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Bob Herbert of the New York Times seems to have had this column in transit somewhere, in the moment in which I hit Publish on my own murmurings. You’ll have to take my word for it that I had no idea what he was doing.

What an amazing job of proving my point. I almost feel like I should send him a check. Summarizing: Freedom of speech is a credit to society, but only when it is bestowed upon the cool people. It isn’t for everyone. Whoever Bob Herbert doesn’t like, needs to sit down and shut up.

And he starts out heading in the opposite direction, recalling wistfully the events of the “I Have A Dream” speech:

The sale of liquor was banned. Troops stood by to restore order if matters got out of control. President John F. Kennedy waited anxiously in the White House to see how the day would unfold.

It unfolded splendidly. The crowd for the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” grew to some 250,000. Nearly a quarter of the marchers were white. They gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, where they were enthralled by the singing of Mahalia Jackson and Joan Baez. The march was all about inclusion and the day seemed to swell with an extraordinary sense of camaraderie and good feeling.

I wonder if he’s capable of seeing the dichotomy. Let’s just take what follows this and discard a few paragraphs…and fast forward to the end. Let’s just say Mr. Herbert has a fair-weather friendship with the concept of inclusion:

Facts and reality mean nothing to [Glenn] Beck. And there is no road too low for him to slither upon. The Southern Poverty Law Center tells us that in a twist on the civil rights movement, Beck said on the air that he “wouldn’t be surprised if in our lifetime dogs and fire hoses are released or opened on us. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of us get a billy club to the head. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us go to jail — just like Martin Luther King did — on trumped-up charges. Tough times are coming.”

He makes you want to take a shower.
Beck has been advertising his rally as nonpolitical, but its main speaker is Sarah Palin. She had her own low moment recently as a racial provocateur, publicly voicing her support for Laura Schlessinger, radio’s “Dr. Laura,” who went out of her way to humiliate a black caller by continuously using the n-word to make a point, even after the caller had made it clear that she was offended.

Palin’s advice to Schlessinger: “Don’t retreat — reload.”

There is a great deal of hatred and bigotry in this country, but it does not define the country. The daily experience of most Americans is not a bitter experience and for all of our problems we are in a much better place on these matters than we were a half century ago.

But I worry about the potential for violence that grows out of unrestrained, hostile bombast. We’ve seen it so often. A little more than two weeks after the 1963 March on Washington, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan and four young black girls were killed. And three months after the march, Jack Kennedy was assassinated.

My sincere advice to Beck, Palin and their followers is chill, baby, chill.

Cognitive dissonance, thy name is Bob Herbert.

You know, I could get behind this if what Herbert was trying to say was something like “there was camaraderie and good feeling in 1963, and yet a little while after that a church got bombed and JFK got assassinated so I’m worried about what will happen in the wake of Glenn Beck’s rally because this time, there isn’t even a feeling of camaraderie.”

Camaraderie and Good FeelingBut that isn’t what he is saying. If he was saying such a thing, he would collide head-on with the facts…or they would collide with him. Blogger friend Gerard has a post up, nothing big mind you, but the photos and stats make it look as full of camaraderie as anything else, to me.

But no, that’s a bunny trail because Bob Herbert didn’t say any such thing. He lost track of his own point, which was supposed to be: MLK, JFK and Lincoln were giants, Glenn Beck is some kind of slimy viper guy or whatever…and the slithering reptile guy has to be shut down or else we’ll have violence. Like, uh, what we had right after this other thing I was talking about, that deal from 47 years ago with all the “camaraderie and good feeling.”

Well, he hasn’t offered much evidence to prove his own point but he’s certainly proved mine. When liberals start going on about what a wonderful country this is and how glorious all our freedoms are, you better watch it because you’re hearing from a hyperliberal. Bob Herbert is a hyperliberal, and hyperliberals very often say the exact opposite of what they mean. Inclusion? That means — as Herbert has manifestly demonstrated — that someone is about to be excluded, or should be.

This is a good occasion, I think, for me pull up what’s been brewing in my smartphone: How to figure out what a hyperliberal (like Bob Herbert) is trying to tell you. Just like “It’s not me, it’s you,” the true meaning behind every statement is pretty much precisely backwards from the way it’s presented.

1. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about a rational and friendly exchange of ideas, it means he’s going to start a screed that uses the word “stupid” a lot.
2. When a hyperliberal starts to wonder why we all can’t just get along, he’s about to start attacking somebody.
3. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about the wisdom of treating all races equally it means he’s about to discriminate.
4. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about the virtues of tolerating dissent, it means he’s about to smear anybody who disagrees with him.
5. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about the ominous consequences of our ballooning deficit, he’s going to want to spend a lot of money on something.
6. When a hyperliberal insists that women should be treated exactly the same as men, it means he’s going to want women to be protected from the consequences of bad decision-making, and men to be punished just for being men.
7. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about a woman’s choice, he’s going to say flattering things about women who make a choice the way he wants them to make the choice and he’ll say nasty things about women who make a different choice.
8. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about what makes the country great, he’s talking about things that allow you, or encourage you, along with everyone you know, to behave like a complete asshole.
9. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about the freedoms we take for granted you’d better be careful, because he’s about to start pushing a bunch of laws that will deprive you of freedom.
10. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about putting together a society “that works for the benefit of everybody,” the society he starts describing always has rules that are designed to bring harm to certain groups of people.
11. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about social justice, he wants everyone to enjoy exactly the same standard of living except himself and his friends who are supposed to get whatever it takes to make them happy.
12. When a hyperliberal starts to talk about fairness, what he’s really talking about is adjudicating every dispute that comes along in favor of the person who is more female, more gay, less Christian, or whoever’s skin is darker.

Bob Herbert, thank you for proving in such gaudy detail so much of what I’ve been saying about people like you. You want a society that is constantly improving, albeit already perfect, and works for everyone. But you don’t want everyone in it. And you don’t want freedom of speech, or any other freedom for that matter, for everyone.

It really makes me wonder what you guys are planning to do with the rest of us.

Update: From Freedom’s Lighthouse, by way of Gateway Pundit, some words from the woman Bob Herbert would like, in all his frenzied spirit of inclusiveness, to exclude and silence.

Because of his feelings of proxy embarrassment for her? Out of a desire to avoid unnecessary bloodshed her irresponsible words might unleash? Or out of a shaking, quaking, palpitating fear of new ideas?

Form your own opinion. I’ve formed mine.

Update: Lisa Fritsch, writing in American Thinker, addresses more of Beck’s critics whose words are of much the same kind as the distinguished columnist Herbert:

The Reverend Al Sharpton, the Reverend Walter Fauntroy, and the Reverend Timothy McDonald have been recently quoted in an uproar over Beck’s 828 rally this weekend. They are suggesting that Beck is “hijacking” Dr. King’s dream. Says Reverend McDonald, “To use this weekend when we remember that great march on Washington in 1963 as a pretense to give credence to their cause and their agenda is insulting. We were there.”
If we want to skip the nonsense and cut to the chase, it all boils down to this. The reverends had no plans on 828 of 2010 to honor the legacy of the “I Have a Dream” speech with a rally, a parade, or any such celebration of the sort, and now a white man is showing them up with a non-political rally honoring servicemen and paying tribute to Dr. King by talking of peace, love of country, and honor. Glenn Beck is doing what they did not have the foresight, the will, or the heart to do. They have not lived up to the dream, and these reverends have not forged ahead in victory and giving justice to the 828 date.

The reverends, having been there, should be standing with Glenn Beck, but they don’t, and here is why: Their dreams differ greatly from those of Dr. Martin Luther King. They don’t share his vision of peaceful solidarity, equality, and standing hand in hand in unity and love with brothers and sisters of every race. If the reverends shared those dreams, ironically, they would be overjoyed that Beck — who is white — is holding a non-political rally of honor on this date.

I’m sorry to say it, but our honor is blemished. We have all these organizations and individuals who pretend to be laboring toward our unity and instead thrive on our division, discontent and strife. Anyone with more than half a working brain knows it.

And we have to do all this waiting for them to be exposed. They’re provoked just right, they open their big stupid mouths and reveal themselves to be what they are…I suppose they have no choice, really. But here we are. It’s August 28. Everyone understands Sharpton and McDonald have created for themselves a livelihood that would come to an end if we were ever to achieve true racial unity, and they know it, and conduct themselves accordingly. It is impossible to deny, even for a fraction of a second.

But next week, it will all be forgotten. As recently as this month, Sharpton was the go-to-guy for Dr. Schlessinger’s public relations problems. His opinion, inexplicably, was somehow worth something.

We’ll be right back to that again. I think. And if we go right back to that again, it is, pardon the expression, a huge black eye on all of us. As long as people like him continue to enjoy stature we will not have racial unity, because we’ll be demonstrating there are some within our society who continue to have an effect on what we are shown, and they don’t really want it or deserve to see it. We will be, for all practical purposes, proving that racial animosity continues to rake in the bucks. Yeah, I went there.

Hey, we’ve been sold C.A.L.W.W.N.T.Y. on this thing for a very long time. And for every single day of it, the race warlords yell “jump” and the cable teevee networks say “how high?” So I’m hoping Beck’s rally promotes some real change. I’m hoping the fears some people have that careers will be hastened toward the inglorious ends they deserve, because of this thing, are realized.

You may say I’m a dreamer…but I’m not the only one…

Truth is a Casualty

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

I propose an update to Hiram Johnson‘s famous line, “the first casualty when war comes, is truth.” The alteration I propose — the time is right for it — is: “The first casualty, when left-wing ideas are made to look good, is truth.” It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but has war ever had such a deleterious effect on truth as the slow news days of August, 2010?

Oopsie after oopsie. Taxicab stabbing was stirred up by anti-mosque fervor…bzzzt. Wrong. Tea party people must have firebombed Carnahan’s office — wrong again. Joe Miller is dead meat, and Sarah Palin along with him: Double-wrong.

Stimulus plan worked…summer of recovery…cash for clunkers saved us…you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan….your taxes aren’t going to go up by one dime. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong — my oopsie-buzzer is wearing out.

It might be profitable, before Labor Day comes and goes and our “real” lives begin again, to inspect how & why it is that truth is a casualty when one pursues ideological positions on the left wing.

But before we do that, we should define what “left-wing” is, since the term has been around for a long time and in just the last ten years or so, has metastasized into some kind of organism with a life and personality all its own. I submit that any definition we pull out of a book, is bound to be badly in need of updating in America, so we may as well start from scratch. Very well, here is my definition. The term describes not so much a catalogue of positions on issues, but a way of looking at the universe and the objects within it. It is a world-view that is dependent on a social structure. This last is easily demonstrated, since when an individual toils over a project in isolation and discovers some things about it, or thinks of some things, there is a trend involving lefties regarding this as a waste of time. It might as well not have happened. This trend is more durable than most other trends in human affairs.

By “durable” I do not mean to say long-lived. Once an individual creates a thing that produces taxable wealth, leftist antipathy is permanently cured: It happened, alright! But in terms of perceiving the world around us and figuring out what it all means, it seems nobody can impress liberals with what they’ve figured out, unless they were in some kind of conference, committee or village when the figuring was done.

But this is a symptom and not a cause. The left-wing, I have come to learn gradually, views such a gathering of multitudes as a stateful thing, possessing a health of blessing that can rise or fall, much the way religious right-wingers view the human soul. Maybe my perception is skewed in identifying this as the catalyst, since this is the point where they really lose me: The state of grace of our collective mind — our poitical party, our television network, our state or nation. The best example to offer of this, is the familiar “killing is wrong, killing to show killing is wrong, is wrong”; message here, being, that if we ban capital punishment it makes us a better people.

This is where the trolley leaves the tracks, and this is why when you try to make it all look sensible you start getting hoodwinked on a regular basis. This notion that the laws that bind a state, make the people who reside therein somehow more worthy of salvation. Leftists are so confused, that their two most important words — “right” and “wrong” — have lost all meaning. Do these terms refer to moral agreement & disagreement with regard to a choice someone has made? Or do they have something to do with accuracy, as in, it’s right to say two and two make four? Such an either-or inquiry is lost on the loyal leftist and so he can’t even see the conundrum. But if you’re anywhere outside their letist thought bubble, you can detect that a gear has been stripped. The accuracy of an answer dealing with “hard mathematics” shares such a great area of overlap with the agreement involved in an ethical decision, that the process of conflation is nearly complete. And with that, a critical distinction has been lost.

Right? Wrong? These are conditions to be reached by the moral loftiness of the things the community chooses to do. That there could be another layer to words like these, a “correctness” layer, in which such choices are validated by subsequent events, is eventually lost on the loyal lefty. It becomes, to use Sen. Johnson’s word, a casualty.

The idea that a gathering of minds produces a state of spiritual health that is bigger than the sum of the individuals in that gathering, unavoidably results in a hissing hostility toward, even a resentment against, the concept of the individual. This is inevitable. In a gathering of five, or fifty, or five hundred million, every minority voice carries a possibility of becoming a new majority. Such an event would involve a revolution of some kind, and revolutions are uncomfortable. Such a thing would have to diminish the state of spiritual health of the collective, and must be avoided. The paradox here, though, is that this “soul of the collective” becomes supercharged when it is in possession of some kind of purpose — everybody likes to have a purpose! — and so a curious thing starts to happen. This gathering of the minds, which will tolerate no dissent in its ranks at all, since it might lead to a revolution that would diminish the collective spiritual health…begins to dedicate itself to engineering a revolution within a larger collective, or gathering of minds. Each enthused lefty, neglecting any serious thought about his individual position, starts to jealously work toward a common, convoluted locus: I happen to be a member of the majority, inside this collective, which is “right” to do the things it does because the majority agrees with me, and in turn exists in a larger collective, which is “wrong” because my smaller collective is in a minority within that larger one. But there’s going to be a revolution and we will win.

One Revolution AwayQuite a mouthful, eh? But all leftist thought seems to lead right to that situation. Me and my friends are right, we know this because we all agree with each other; we’re in the minority in that larger thing, but we shall prevail.

Right about now, you’re thinking one of two things: That Freeberg guy is full of baloney. Or, if you see so much as a grain of truth in the foregoing, you might be thinking: What a morass of contradictions, no wonder they get embarrassed so often. If you’re in that last group, and this is new to you, then you’ve figured out something big.

You cannot be a loyal leftist without learning to be an agile fair-weather friend to things. The notion that a collection of people can be a stateful, moral being, bigger than the sum of its parts. Here and there I’ve met some pious, church-going leftists, and they are relatively at peace because they labor under no contradiction here. But that is the exception that proves the rule, because a lot of leftists are secularists. Nobody put us where we are, we evolved to be what we have become, and now we’re going to build our groups and achieve our spiritual grace therein. It’s hard to avoid questioning this arrangement, but for the sake of civil companionship, we must avoid it. They don’t tolerate well any discussion of it.

Majority-viewpoint is another big problem. The leftist envisions himself as a member of a community, which agrees with him (since he agrees with it), is for all practical purposes unified, and right; it exists within another community that is even larger, dis-unified, disagreeing with the smaller community, and wrong. A revolution is coming. This twisty, pretzeled thinking will not permit logical consistency, so the lefty has to have an on-again off-again love affair with populism, the notion that when six in ten people think a certain thing it might as well be, and should rightfully become, ten in ten. Now, if that is to be an absolute truth then chaos will certainly ensue — the leftist, along with his unified, right-thinking smaller community, would be burdened with an obligation to assimilate properly, put off the revolution indefinitely, and swallow their pride where they have been out-voted. This would be intolerable.

It really comes down to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Practice that, and it is quite unavoidable you will become a right-winger. Oh yes, much is said to the contrary, but think on it for a few minutes. Go down the list of issues. Abortion — I don’t even need to go into details there, it should be self-evident. Progressive tax policies: It just amazes me how much money a liberal can make, while still claiming the rich, which means someone else, should be paying for everything. On this issue, it is the conservative who is capable of “nuanced” thought. He can pull in twenty thousand a year, or less, and still naturally say “If that guy’s going to start a business and hire me, then lose it all to the tax man in the end, why would he even bother?”

Building the Victory Mosque? Liberals, suddenly, have discovered a sacred right to exercise “religion” publicly. How adorable! All you clergy who are worried about being sued someday when you refuse to conduct a gay wedding ceremony, don’t count on them being around to help you out when the time comes.

Foreign policy, defense, detente, peace-through-strength, sitting-down-to-talk-to-our-enemies, all that jazz: Again, it’s about the Golden Rule. Right winger says, “If I’m that nutjob and I tell the United States I’m building nuclear reactors for power and not for weapons…and I see them go ‘oh, okay, alright’ and head home…it really wouldn’t matter if what I said was true or not, I’d take that as a green light.” See, the Golden Rule isn’t always friendly. Sometimes it’s about just putting yourself in the other guy’s shoes. What does the left winger say about it? It’s Underpants Gnome time: “Step 1, sit down and talk to our enemies…Step 2, ???…Step 3, Profit!” That hackeneyed phrase about sitting down and talking — it never changes. But the lefty never seems to go into details about what’s going to get said.

Minimum wage: Conservative says, if I’m going to hire so-many-people and I’m required to pay each a certain amount, I’ll probably hire fewer people. Like, DUH. What’s the liberal say? He goes into some emotional diatribe about “rights.”

And on that one, I might as well stop listing examples because we’ve identified the mindset that produces these examples, one after another. Rights. Conservatives and liberals both believe in them and cherish them. But when a conservative talks about “rights” and a liberal talks about “rights,” they are not talking about the same things.

The conservative believes the collective itself is inherently soul-less; in fact, its very existence is an inconvenient necessity, and not an altogether unavoidable one. The urban guy who is born into a collective, lives his entire life there, dies there, is just as glorious being as the guy who is abducted by wolves or apes or bears when he is a baby and lives out his life in the wilderness. They’re both Children of God. Getting into a collective doesn’t change your state of being, any more than getting into a crowded streetcar. All this does is make that Golden Rule a little bit more confining, due to the realities of the situation: The right to swing your arms ends wherever your neighbor’s nose is, and sometimes noses get a little bit closer together. “Rights,” therefore, begin to diminish, but somewhere there is a more concrete right with a tighter radius. Squeeze the man down to this size, and no further. Think of him as a raquetball who is compressed down to the size of a marble, and in those dimensions suddenly takes on the tactile feel of a marble.

Continuing that analogy, the liberal’s viewpoint of “rights” is one of incremental steps in making the raquetball bigger. And, as an added bonus, it always possesses the tactile feel of that marble. We form our collective, we look after the spiritual health it has which is bigger than the sum of us, we assimilate ourselves properly into it, we invent new rights…and then we look toward the parent collective and explore ways to conquer it. Good citizenship in the smaller, local collective, and a fomenting of revolution against the larger one. And a new right invented every single week. Every day, if you can manage it.

Again, you’re thinking: “Freeberg, you’re full of it.” Or…maybe you see there’s something to this. Again, if this is new to you, and you do see something to it, you have hit on something big here. This explains why conservatives talk about rights, liberals talk about rights, but they do not see things the same way. They aren’t talking about the same things. Left-wingers start talking about how important it is that we have a “freedoms,” and what they really mean is they’re about to take some of those away. How did Hillary put it? “We’re going to take things from you for the common good” or some such. That’s the enduring theme. Every single monologue they deliver on this — someone is always going to be stopped from doing something, or forced to tolerate something they’d rather not tolerate left to their own devices. An option, currently available, is to be ejected. That’s the bearing, that’s Polaris — the singularity that remains stationary.

And to be fair about it, right wingers have this in common with them: A right isn’t really a measurable right, if everyone feels good about it — we only need these things to be enforced as “hard” rights on those occasions when they make someone else unhappy. But the conservative mind sees this as a situation of last-resort, a regrettable necessity involved in observing the protocols that make it possible for us to live in proximity with each other.

With liberals, it is an objective in & of itself, this coercion against the face that occupies an inferior position on this Sympathy Totem Pole. You should have to pay this much. You should be forced to do this, you should be stopped from doing that.

The left-winger starts talking about Person A possessing a “right,” and because of this, Person B should lose choices. When they speak this way, the thoughts expressed do not cause me much concern or dismay. What I find to be really disturbing, is the tone of the voice as the speech unwinds. There’s not much excitement over the state of capability, or bliss, offered or restored to Person A. Not much enthusiasm for making people whole. No, the verbal pitch starts going all lilty when the subject turns to Person B, all the things he will not be able to do that he would want to do. Make. Force. Pay. Disallowed, prohibited, stopped. That is where the speaker’s eye starts twinkling happily. This where the giddy excitement starts to kick in the afterburners and hits a sonic boom. For people who are supposedly enamored of the concept of human “rights,” they share in common a curious primal urge to stop complete strangers from doing things those strangers would like to do.

I’ve had some girlfriends who loved me the same way liberals love “rights.” I wish I’d ended those relationships sooner than I did.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

Last Refuge of a Liberal

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Krauthammer scratches the itch that the coathanger under the cast couldn’t quite reach up ’til now.

Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the “bitter” people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging “to guns or religion or” — this part is less remembered — “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

Reception ProblemsThat’s a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

— Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

— Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

— Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

— Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.

Now we know why the country has become “ungovernable,” last year’s excuse for the Democrats’ failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities — often lopsided majorities — oppose President Obama’s social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a mosque near Ground Zero.

What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.
The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama over-read his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.

I’ve been thinking this for awhile. It is the tactics by which their ideas are being sold, not necessarily the ideas themselves, that are particularly due for a beatdown and are perhaps achieving the lion’s share of the work in bringing it on.

Well alright, the ideas suck too.

But did you notice the other thing all these issues in Krauthammer’s list have in common? Someone needs to be told to go stick it where the sun don’t shine. Someone’s just-plain-bad. The Islamophobes need to learn to live with the Victory Mosque, which they really hate, but that’s a good thing because once it’s there they won’t be able to do anything about it, and they deserve it. They need to suffer because they’re bad people. Ditto for those xenophobes in Arizona, dang it, they deserve to have all those brown people who “aren’t like them” streaming through their fences. I hope they choke on their chewing tobacco over it!

This is an important point. What’s being opposed? All those things liberals say they support: Making a world in which everyone can achieve happiness and prosperity, or at the very least some measure of comfort. Seeing the good in everybody. Dealing with life’s various issues and challenges with an open mind. Finding solutions. Avoiding the blame game.

Liberals are often heard to theorize that conservatives are repressed homosexuals. I’ve had a theory for awhile that is somewhat the mirror flip-side of this: Today’s liberalism is retrograde but natural machismo, repressed through artificial disciplinary techniques and then exploding elsewhere in an uncontrolled and unhealthy way. Go through the list of things liberals do that embarrass them once the wrong people find out about them, but that they can be counted on to do once they’re among friends in a “JournoList” type of setting. It is the same list of things boys do when their hormonal rushes are driving them into that Venturi manifold toward manhood — and when they’re under-supervised.

Lots of pontificating about what should happen, without so much as a courtesy nod to reality. Coarse language for its own sake, without regard to whether it adds any effect in the context, as if someone’s keeping count and the effort is to drive up some kind of score. Lots of verbal bullying directed toward third parties who aren’t there to defend themselves. A group-feeling of natural competition sets in, which is never directly acknowledged, but the most vocal of the participants are clearly engaged in one, clearly measuring some “performance” in relative terms against each other, trying to out-do each other.

It’s as if they missed out on the coming-of-age when they were thirteen or so, and are trying to make up for it.

It’s not really a set of ideas. After all, if you can find me twenty liberals who think the Victory Mosque needs to be built, I’ll show you nineteen or more who are convinced the planet is in trouble if we don’t get a carbon cap scheme working right-now-no-maybe-yesterday — and the global warming scam has very little to do with the Victory Mosque. It’s a way of looking at the world.

It is hostility toward the choices made by others, once those others have been identified and selected as targets. It is engaging in groupthink to figure out who those targets are going to be, and then engaging individuality to compete with each other, see who does the best job of deriding the targets, humiliating them, isolating them from sympathy. Who can come up with the best insults.

It is bullying.

I don’t pretend to know how they got that way. Maybe they became bullies back in the day, and have never learned how to interact with the world in any other way. Maybe were bullied, and see it as only fair that they should pay it forward now that they can.

Maybe their ranks are made up of both of these characterizations, and maybe there are more that I don’t understand.

But their ambition is not to bring us together, or usher in some new age of harmony and mutual understanding. If that was what they were about, they’d be doing more things to make this happen, and we would have seen some agreeable results by now.

Over and over and over again, we see that when they are put in charge of things, strife and factional infighting ensue. That’s because their goals have to do with awarding every benefit possible to one class, and directing every burden conceivable onto another class. These roles will never be rotated in any way, because they’re trying to impress each other and won’t ever allow such a rotation to be considered. The groupthink would have to bless it first, and aircraft carriers can change direction much more nimbly than groupthink can.

Thanks to Melissa for her entry at the Hello Kitty of Blogging.

Carve it Up and Call it a Day?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Patterico wants to discuss the separation that some say is inevitable:

They will never convince us to allow abortion on demand. We will never convince them that spending taxpayers’ money like it’s going out of style is a bad thing.

Kind of a rehash of the divorce agreement.

The strongest argument against such a thing, IMO, is that it would take the revolution of 1776 and turn everything that took place between that moment and this one and turn it into one spin on a silly-go-round. “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth…” and all that.

We tell the liberals, like it says in the divorce agreement, “You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies, and illegal aliens. We’ll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO’s, and rednecks. We’ll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.” Since this is essentially the same thing the Founding Fathers told the British after Yorktown, it would effectively impose on freedom itself something of a half-life. How many generations pass in the half that is Hot Hockey Mom America, before some pipsqueak says “Hey, I just think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody!” And his fellow Hot-Hockey-Mom-Americans fail to banish him to what FrankJ calls “Sissy America”? And then there would have to be another divorce, and another, and another. In about a thousand years, the Hot Hockey Mom, Hot Meat and Cold Beer America would be carved down to a patch of earth the size of Rhode Island.

Strongest argument in favor? Our liberals. They’re feeling angry all of the time, and what angers them is anybody who doesn’t agree with them about everything. They’re feeling ripped off. Liberals are like that; they get a study in hand that tells them what they want to hear, and they never look at it in terms of doing any sort of sanity check. In this case, one of the “blue states” subsidizing all the rest, is mine, California…heh heh heh. Anyway, Patterico’s separation would draw a boundary around the various social experiments of liberals, that liberals cannot draw themselves. Each sane experiment requires a perimeter, and it’s just plain hard to live around today’s liberals because they don’t want to fix things within such a perimeter. They find out someone started a business and is making a profit…or, just enjoying a plate of hot wings and beer brought to him by a cute young lady in short-shorts…and it doesn’t matter where the poor sonofabitch is, they have to go fix it. A wall, say, twenty feet high, would be most helpful.


The Hollywood people would all be on the sissy, weepy-apologia side. Wait, that’s not fair; maybe eight in ten of them would be on that side. Alright, so they’d have a tax base, at least to start with. They could make lots of movies about how awful things are going on the Strong Side. And any time their own government runs out of money, they could raise taxes on the same Hollywood people over and over again, and they could enforce their strong union rules on the Hollywood people, then the Hollywood people would raise movie ticket prices on the proles, who wouldn’t have anything else to do with their time other than listen to the same cuts of music on their iPods. I figure Steve Jobs would be on that side, and every couple years he’d release something and everyone on that side of the wall would have to buy it to find out what it does. Then he’d be about the richest guy there, and they’d tax the shit out of him.

All the pretty girls would be on my side. Because let’s face it, even if the pretty girls wanted to go to the other side, they wouldn’t be allowed in. Look how the liberals have been treating Sarah Palin for the last two years. I rest my case.

You start a business over here, you can keep your money. And drill-baby-drill. If we’re going to talk about having an economic recovery, and bringing down the price of oil & gas, then stop-talkin’-start-doin’.

Which half would have the doctors? Hmmm…

Which half would have most of the food?

And what of Patterico’s questions? What would the crime statistics look like in each half? In which half would kids be abusing drugs? Knocking each other up? Catching STDs? Breaking into houses? Robbing liquor stores?

The death tax would highlight the philosophical difference better than anything, I think. You die in the weak side, your money goes to the government there; the thinking would be, it always belonged to the government, they were just graciously allowing you to use it. You die on the strong side, and your money is your property, you already paid taxes on it, you can divide it up among your heirs.

Chicks With GunsWould it be fair to presume the unemployment rate in “left” America would be very close to where it is now, since once Obama became our President it zipped on up to 9.5 to 10 and just stayed there…or maybe something much higher, since their message to businesses would be one of “What the hell are you gonna give us today?” And in “right” America it would be down somewhere around five and a half, since throughout much of the Bush Presidency that’s where it stayed.

Regardless of whether the plan is ultimately executed, it’s an interesting thought experiment. Maybe a good compromise would be to establish a national “Wall Day” where we can think hard about it. Ezra Klein can trot out the latest study that says blue-staters are supporting the red-staters, and people of all ideological stripes can read his latest write-up and think “Yeah, I believe that! Er…yeah…sure I do. Yeah.” Then we’d flip to the rest of the newspaper, covered with stories about budget deficits, and oh dear our local pension system is out of control, so is our state pension system, and Social Security, and we need more programs, and more taxes, ad infinitum. National Wall Day. What-Would-Happen-Day. Somewhere before Election Day, late September sometime, before everyone starts thinking about candy, costumes and family holiday schedules.

A national day of giving it some real thought.

The blue staters want this? They don’t need us as much as we need them? Yes, let us give that some real quality thought. Not Ezra Klein thought…but the kind of thought you give things when you want to get real work done, and want things to work.

Green Light People

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Clifford D. May has been noticing what I’ve been noticing:

The controversy over plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan has taken an odd twist. On one side are those making arguments in opposition to the project, along with those who merely have questions they would like answered so they can decide for themselves whether this project will honor the victims of 9/11, or mock them. On the other side are those who support the project wholeheartedly and who respond to both arguments and questions by saying: Shut up.

Most prominent among the second group is New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. It would be one thing if Hizzoner were saying: “I hear your concerns and I have questions, too, but municipal laws and the First Amendment permit this project to go forward.” But he is not saying that. He is saying instead that those with misgivings about the 13-story Islamic center that is to rise near where the Twin Towers collapsed “ought to be ashamed of themselves…It is a shame that we even have to talk about this.”

All together now, one, two, three: “‘Shut Up,’ He Explained.” Yeah, that’s the ticket.

A perfect example of this exists at Ed Darrell’s place. I took great exception to the statement so breezily included in a piece he embedded…

No one knows how many Muslims died on 9/11, but they number in the hundreds.

How in the world could that be true, I wondered? We know, down to a nose, how many people perished in total; we have their names; but we cannot even ball-park the number of Muslims? Suffice it to say, after much discussion that has ensued, I do not have an answer to my question but I have lots of evaluations about my personal character, or lack thereof, from people who do not know me.

Cordoba Center should be given the green light, and anyone who says otherwise is a terrible person.

Well, that dog just won’t hunt this time around. If Cordoba Center is intended as a soothing balm for the relations between the Islamic world and the Western world, nobody connected with Islamic terrorism has anything to do with supporting it or funding it; if that negative can be somehow proven; then still, there are some vestigial reasons for opposing the issuance of a permit. I cannot think ill of someone who would so oppose. It’s pretty hard for me to think well of someone, who would counsel me to think ill of that other someone.

Does all this really even need to be said?

Apparently, not only does it have to be said, we’ve got quite a few people who will never catch on. Truth and decency are casually conflated into one thing, the “red light” and “yellow light” people are fused together in one big group of “you people.” And “you people” are all bad, of course.

The problem with that is, that if these people were as good at logical thought as they claimed to be, they’d not only recognize this as ad hominem but they’d recognize the reason honest people frown on ad hom: It’s all bullshit because it’s all irrelevant. If you’re caught being wrong about something, it means — nothing. Intelligent people are wrong. Decent people are wrong. Honest people are wrong. You don’t have to wait long to see it happen.

Stupid people often turn out to be right. Let’s pause here and carefully define exactly what I’m saying: Glittering personal attributes are not reverse-barometers of good ideas. That would be a silly thing to say. They are irrelevant, or mostly irrelevant.

And so a sound debate will revolve around the ideas. Not the character of the people who are debating them.

The “green light people” who think the Cordoba Center should be given the go, offer us a picture of why the national discourse has deteriorated in recent years. How could it not? They have settled upon an idea that they think insulates them from any lasting accusations that might concern their moral deterioration; this is demonstrated because they leap so quickly to condemnation of anyone with a different idea, as morally deteriorated. They don’t agree with my observation, up above, that good people can have bad ideas & vice versa. They think an idea is both a litmus test and a lodestar.

This mindset does two things. They’re both bad.

One. Since your beliefs shape your personal character, and your personal character shapes your beliefs, and both character & beliefs are on one side or the other of a line separating goodness and badness — beliefs cannot change over time. It is quite out of the question, since the object of the exercise is to manifest personal wonderfulness, and all that progress is going to be set back if the slightest bit of personal ugliness (or questionableness) is tossed in the mix. The idea, therefore, must be unrelentingly consistent. This is a mindset that is anti-learning. It will not permit the evolution of a thought; it will not permit change.

Two. It creates rancor where there’s no reason for it to exist. That thread over at Ed Darrell’s place is a perfect example of what I am talking about. You have the right idea and so you are wonderful. What, then, do you think about someone who does not have the same idea? There is only one answer: You conclude, with no uncertainty whatsoever, that this must be a moral reprobate. Bigoted. Ignorant. Xenophobic. And you get to list, endlessly, all the groups of people who are hated — by this person you do not know and are never going to meet. Anybody else who takes the same point of view must be equally loathed, equally damned. And what do you do with them? You cannot leave them alone. It becomes a glorious crusade to make sure they cannot have any influence upon anything. Oh, and it goes without saying that if this is a person ensconced in a position of power and authority, that person should be driven from it.

So this mindset held by the green light people, promotes both ignorance and hate. These are the two things they are supposed to be opposing.

Nowhere does this become more evident than with their dealings with the “yellow light” people. And I guess that’s me. I do not live anywhere near Lower Manhattan, I don’t know anyone who’s lost a relative in the attacks. And I must admit, I find the singling-out of one religion to be extirpated from free expression within the vicinity, for whatever justifiable reasons, to be disquieting.

But I do find terms applied to the red-light people, like “prejudice and ignorance” and “narrow-minded intolerance,” to be unfair. For daring to raise my voice about it, I am to be subjected to the same criticism they are.

Intelligent, honest people do not argue a point by shunning, and that is a primary characteristic of shunning — that it is contagious, that it cascades. This is how you know you are in the presence of an intellectual lightweight. You are to be shunned, whoever does not shun you shall be shunned, whoever does not shun he who failed to shun you, shall likewise be shunned. These are signs of a big mouth coupled up with a weak mind.

Politics have become contentious, because this has become our chosen technique for discussing them: ostracism, alienation, excoriation, derision, all of it spread by contact. And I blame our most strident liberals. I think that’s fair. And the “green light people” at the center of this particular issue, represent the most brilliant example of why I think this way. They have created the situation in which the rest of us are living, and we have been allowing them to create it.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

I Made a New Word XL

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Frum • i • fes • to (n.)

A Frumifesto is a manifesto written down by a liberal jackass pretending to be a conservative, crying into his beer grape juice that “today’s” conservatives aren’t acting like “real” conservatives, which means like liberals.

Like this guy over here.

Some ingredients in the mix are regular fixtures.

1. She’s in there. Oh yes. Bank on it. The Wonder of Wasilla.
2. The drive against intellectualism. That’s right, these slope-head conservatives of today use their bare feet to propel their little Flintstone’s cars, and they want you to do the same.
3. Putting the hate on the O-man because of His Holy Pigment. That’s right…if only there was a white guy turning America into a socialist paradise, these neanderthal conservatives would be as pleased as punch. They’re upset because He’s too dark.
4. Buckley will get a mention. George F. Will’s name will probably be used too, even though he isn’t dead.
5. Maybe some made-up stories about racist signs seen at tea parties. Or some real stories about real signs carried by infiltrators, which are made-up tea-party people. Also, the “one percent” canard, supposedly the black tea party people are below 1% and this means there’s something wrong with the movement. Xenophobia, nationalism, et al.
6. Global warming. Why won’t these modern conservatives just accept it.

Outside of those staples, on a case-by-case basis the Frumifesto takes off in all sorts of exotic, imaginative, spontaneous directions. Like, for example…

…no, check that. They’re all pretty much identical. I don’t know why anybody bothers to write new ones, I really don’t. Because other people fall for them, I guess.

Well Jonah Goldberg wrote up a good column about how it’s all a crock. Then FrankJ noticed Goldberg’s column and wrapped it.

Me, I’m lamenting the demise of yesterday’s liberals.

I had not yet left my hometown, which was a college community and still is. Liberals back then didn’t seem like anything I’d one day miss. They hated Reagan and they said a lot of stupid shit about it. Like for example…”we” already had the power to blow up the world seven thousand times and here we were building even more nuclear missiles. They wore socks under their Birkenstocks. They were mostly male, old, white, fat, and smelled funny. Their eyebrows stuck out and curled around. You wondered how long the eyebrow hairs were if they were stretched out. Like the Ayatollah Khomenei. They could hide sandwiches in those things. Every one of ’em looked like an evil fucking Santa Claus.

But if you disagreed with them, they just grunted at you. Gugh. Grrr. You wouldn’t get some theory pulled out of thin air about your latent racism or homosexuality. Not that they weren’t a bunch of pretentious intellectual wanna-be types. They were semi-retired professors after all. Like me, they found it difficult to have a thought without jotting down a few pages…except they were much more enthused about making up stories. It would have been a natural fit. Maybe they just didn’t think of it.

Maybe they went on to write a bunch of Frumifestos.

The point is, every single person on the earth who disagreed with them, was not automatically a racist. I miss that. Like today’s liberals, they still pretended to possess a monopoly on “reasoned discourse”…and like today’s liberals, they didn’t come even close to delivering on it. They wanted diversity only with regard to religion and skin color, not about political opinions. Just like today’s liberals.

But they didn’t commit slander quite so often. Back then, it would have taken some work. It wasn’t like today when it seems to come automatically, even to the brainless.

Why Are Liberals So Miserable?

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Melissa Clouthier put this up at Liberty Pundits blog. Miss this one, you miss a lot…even if you’re a lefty. This should be required reading if you’re a lefty. Might save your sanity.

A leftist has all the panicked mission of a person struggling to Change The World Or Else. So, every generation has had a pseudo-religious substitute whether it be the next Ice Age, Ebola, HIV, or now, Global Warming aka Climate Change aka Gaia be pissed.

When it all depends on you, the anxiety must be nearly impossible to bear. And then, when the leftist has it all–all branches of government–in their very grasp; and for the elected officials to fail at stopping war and famine and general unfairness and badness, it’s so defeating and misery-inducing.

One Revolution AwayThe biggest hippie dream came to fruition with Barack Obama and guess what? He’s in bed with corporations. He acts like a war-monger. He refused to ensure the public option, aka socialized medicine.

Sad part is, for them at least, right now, this moment, is the pinnacle for like forever. They worked for a generation to achieve this win. They have the most liberal president in ages, who has set America on the road to the kind of socialism most only dreamed of, and it’s not enough.

So yeah, miserable.

Just from sharing the experience of being human with liberals and conservatives, it seems to me if there’s one thing everybody has in common it is this: The impulse to come up with a fix when you see something is busted. I think we all have this. Even the lazy people who never do anything; I believe they’ve got the glimmering of an idea of what needs to be done, they’re just waiting for someone to come along and do it for them.

What makes the conservative mind a more practical fit for an increasingly complicated world, is that after this plan has germinated and is in a state of growth, it is kept pliable. The conservative’s query is one of “Wouldn’t something like this do the trick? What am I missing here?” Reality, invited, comes swaggering into the conservative’s idea just like a bull in a china shop. And the conservative learns. This is all expected.

The liberal plan, on the other hand, crystallizes before implementation. What’s that?? No!! You shouldn’t have to do that!! Because what?? What?? No!! Why are you doing that?? Well, that shouldn’t happen!! They shouldn’t want it!! What?? Why do they think they want that?? No!!

It gets back to a quote from one of their own economic heroes, John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Is there anyone, anywhere, of any ideological stripe at all, who can forcefully argue the Obama administration has been a decent example of this way of thinking? Is there a great abundance of examples of the administration changing its mind when the facts changed?

Before Melissa got to her point, though, she quoted from a lefty friend of hers. In my opinion she would have done well to grant this a bit more weight. Perhaps she is right that there is more to add at the end of this, but that’s always going to be the case. To me, an explanation that stopped at the end of what follows would have been, if not complete, adequate for the moment and thought-provoking too.

…because conservatives cast a more skeptical eye toward human nature, they are much more willing to simply say, “Life isn’t fair – deal with it.” Conservatives get frustrated just like anyone else, but it’s been my experience that they are, on balance, better able to vent their anger, let it go, and move forward. Their skepticism of human nature allows them to possess and sustain a cultivated awareness of life’s difficulties, which then enables them to develop a tougher and more resilient attitude to life. It’s not cold – surely not to conservatives themselves – but merely a steely defense mechanism, a necessary survival tool that liberals would do well to cultivate on a more consistent basis. Lefties aren’t as ready to admit that life isn’t fair; we want to make life fairer! [emphasis in original]

This is an Architect/Medicator split. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: These people I call “Architects,” by which I mean the people who think like Architects, have it in common that when they’re working on something there is some kind of a line drawn around whatever it is. The work exists within a perimeter. The train model sits on a tabletop. The engineering drawing is taped to a drafting table. The software solution is “checked in” to a repository that sits on the network and there is a group with privileges to check it out. This is a forever-thing; it is a situation that exists outside of the subject matter, it is timeless. It is a prerequisite for the control they have over the work they do.

They are doing work with some delicacy to it, that relies on an environment. And to control an environment, you first have to establish its scope.

Liberals run into the same frustration I see visited upon the heads of Medicators, because at heart that is what liberals are. And the Medicator’s cross to bear is that, without a perimeter, they have to become vexed and piqued the instant they learn about something that should not be happening.

This observation of mine has a lot of overlap with the observation of Melissa’s, her “everything depends on you” insight. But this global-scope I’m calling out, is subtly different. Imagine a worldview that makes frustration possible, or likely, every single time your feet carry you out of one valley and into another. Further angst becomes a real likelihood every single time a hilltop summit is crossed.

What one mindset seeks to do with an acre, is precisely what the other mindset seeks to do with the universe. Dissatisfaction becomes a constant companion, until such time as ignorance and immobility displace it as the new constant companions. Only then is everlasting bliss possible, when the protagonist is reduced to a stationary, fetal posture.

Shrewd readers will notice this is the polar opposite of the condition liberals started out wishing to embrace. They must unavoidably become the antithesis of what they wanted to be. They are learning people, finding out the hard way the virtue of the project-scope; they are liberals because they haven’t had their flash of insight about this just yet.

Update: One of them came along, yesterday morning, and apparently bumped into the cross-posting of the Racism Test over at Cassy Fiano’s place. This person didn’t particularly cotton to negative sentiments expressed against His Holiness, and felt entitled to presume all kinds of things about anyone who would deign to such an utterance…so s/he let me have it with both barrels.

globalpeace Says:

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when.. when… wait for it… when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans… well f*ck that. That about right? You know it is.

What makes this germane to the subject at hand, is my response.

…[I]t’s clear you have a class of people in mind whose priorities/value systems leave you less than thrilled. Now, with a name like globalpeace it seems likely…perhaps undeniable…you have some plan in mind, or know someone who has a plan in mind, that is to be implemented with influence upon everybody. All of us, all over the globe. The globe which is home to those of us who are obviously ticking you off.

What exactly is it that you plan to do with us?

This is a train of thought that leads to dark and ominous places.

I think we should leave that for later, and wish Cassy a joyous 26th birthday.

“All Belief is a Cover-Up for Insecurity”

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Hat tip to Rick again.

The Tempest in a Teapot About Obama’s Cabinet

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Something pretty interesting happened Friday when Neal Boortz made a reference to the November, 2009 “study by J.P. Morgan” that found only seven percent of President Barack Obama’s cabinet has experience in the private sector. You may recall this thing went viral. And, as is usually the case when things go viral, there is much misinformation making its way in, from both the right and the left.

Well, the study itself doesn’t interest me too much. Obama’s cabinet doesn’t know what it’s doing; you don’t need a study telling you that. The evidence is all around us. And common sense should tell you that if there are some smarts in that cabinet, they aren’t going to be of very much use are they? How on earth could they be? Imagine yourself as a high ranking official in the Obama administration. A decision comes along, and what do you do? Answer: You don’t. If you say “peanut butter and jelly” and the Little Emperor says “roast beef on rye” you look like a complete dork. You’ll be backpedaling like crazy, claiming that your remarks were taken out of context — and that’s among your friends, before word even gets out. So no, this isn’t a relevant statistic. For all practical purposes, the experience of this cabinet must be zero percent.

Their Special Guy at the top is just too big and important. With or without Secretary Chu’s coveted Nobel prize, the “Me Too” people don’t count. They are indicators of Chairman Zero’s priorities, nothing more than that.

But I do wish to inspect the debunking. Oh goodness gracious, do read that from top to bottom. It is a fascinating portal into how dedicated liberals “debunk” things.

First of all: The study is bogus, and if you weren’t a simpering moron you’d immediately see the study is bogus, because the math doesn’t work.

Vice President, plus 15 executive department heads, plus six others: 22 people.

If only 10% had private sector experience, that would be 2.2 of them. Each of the 22 people comprises about 4.5% of the cabinet. Two of them with private experience would be 9% of the cabinet. Three with private experience would reveal the chart to be in error. Would it be possible to create a cabinet of 22 people and have only two of them with private experience?

The bullshit detectors in the bloggers’ minds should have been clanging like crazy when they saw that chart. [emphasis in original]

Secondly: J.P. Morgan is a bank. What is a bank doing conducting a study into the resumes of cabinet members?

Well, the article about the study is here.

Michael Cembalest is chief investment officer for JPMorgan Private Bank. The views expressed herein are Cembalest’s and may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of JPMorgan Private Bank or any of its affiliates.

There is a serious effort here to gather data according to a consistent methodology, and extrapolate meaningful statistics from them. Careless, casual statements like “the chart is a hoax” are, quite plain and simply, wrong.

A hoax is a deliberate attempt to deceive or trick people into believing or accepting something which the hoaxer (the person or group creating the hoax) knows is false.

It is true that the study has been recalled by those who linked it in haste, with perhaps the most representative and thoughtful example provided by Eugene Volokh. The chart could be regarded as misleading, not so much because of bad data or malicious intentions behind it, but because of a strong potential among the readers to misinterpret it.

The rules applied are consistent, but subjective. The headline chosen for Cembalest’s column is “Obama’s Business Blind Spot” and the data support the point Cembalest set out to make: Here we have these real-world problems with our nation’s unemployment situation, and Obama’s tackling them with a bunch of damn professors, P.R. people and lawyers. Their hands are soft. And it is a superlative situation. Cembalest chose a methodology by which each administration could be measured, and was able to produce a data series showing something remarkable about this current one, and indicative of how the administration would view the problem. Therefore, indicative of how it would choose to solve it.

How a bank might be interested in such a thing, should be obvious.

But let’s go on to the debunking blogger’s most pivotal and often-mentioned point, for this is my favorite, and it is probably the most important one in “debunking” the study:

I figure, Rahm Emanuel was a spectacular success at investing. He made roughly $4 million a year, his clients presumably much more. Most people work a lifetime for less than $2 million — so can we credit Emanuel with 8 lifetimes of experience? Why not?

If these bozos don’t want to deal with the facts, they can offer their methodologies, I figure. And if they don’t, it’s probably because their methodologies are unfair and indefensible, so must be hidden.

In any case, a rational person looking for “private sector experience” wouldn’t discount a lawyer’s representation of an historically on-the-border of corrupt company like Chiquita Brands.
Geithner was president of one of the largest and most important branches of the Federal Reserve Banking System, in New York. Working with the highest ranking and best recognized foreign economic consulting firm isn’t toothpaste. His time with Kissinger and Associates was golden, not deserving in any way of the denigration you lend to it. It’s like going from college to a team that includes at their peak, Michael Jordon, LeBron James, and Bill Russell — and getting at least significant playing time.

I didn’t redefine anything I had. I merely looked at the bios of the people Cembalest claimed didn’t have private sector experience.
Chu, who…won a Nobel for his private sector experience, is acknowledged as a genius in the field his department covers, and has more than a decade managing some of the most demanding groups imaginable, including the physics department at Stanford and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, one of the best-respected masses of 4,000 bright people ever created.
Attempts to denigrate the experience of this, one of the best qualified cabinets, tell us more about the size of the critics, than about the qualifications of people like Steven Chu or Hilda Solis. Or, maybe I should say more accurately, the lack of size of the critics.

His argument mostly hinges on this: Lawyers are hard workers because practicing law is really, really tough. And don’t dare contradict him or else he’ll demand your experience practicing law, and discount whatever that experience is rest assured, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. In the comments section you see him coming back to this point again and again and again. Lawyers are golden. Every lawyer in Obama’s cabinet represents lots and lots of “private sector” experience, even if he didn’t work in the private sector. Maybe we should count that guy multiple times. I see it this way, therefore it is Truth.

Well, my own experience practicing law is as short as it can get. But as a voting citizen, when I go through his painstaking summaries of the experience of each cabinet member, nose-by-nose, my confidence in the Obama administration is not bolstered or even recovered. It is diminished. This idea that practicing law should count as private experience — maybe it should count even more than the other stuff! — think of it what you will, but the “debunking” relies almost completely on this.

And that’s the observation I’d like to make here about liberals “debunking” things. Based on the meandering of the presented argument, and their analysis of it, they see things a certain way. And that way of seeing things is local, not global. There is no guarantee of consistency across time with it. For example, if the Republicans put up a couple of experienced lawyers against Obama in 2012, I don’t know that this liberal blogger will go on thinking law experience is all-that-and-a-bag-o-chips. I expect he’d do a hairpin turn, something to the effect of “Yeah, but Obama has grown into the job of President! President beats Lawyer any day!” Or something to that effect.

But even if that doesn’t come to pass, here the weakness in the debunker’s argument becomes a philosophical one. You m-u-s-t see things the debunker’s way. You m-u-s-t agree that practicing law counts as private sector experience…and it must count exactly the way the debunker says it counts. Agree to that, or else you’re just a big ol’ dummy.

That they think this is a solid argument, let alone a debunking, exposes the fact that they really don’t know truth or falsehood when they see it. And it worries me mightily when these are the people who say we need to “sit down with our enemies and talk out our differences with them.” Look how they do the talking. It’s all point…counterpoint…value system…value system…THE VALUE SYSTEMS FACE OFF AND ONE DEVOURS THE OTHER NOW WE MUST MARCH IN COMPLETE LOCKSTEP ON THE VALUE SYSTEM. And then when we get past that, it’s on to the next point. As opposed to point…counterpoint…value system…value system…now since those value systems are not going to change, let’s try to find some real common ground. The latter is the thinking method of reasonable, rational people. The former is the thinking method of tyrants. And small children.

I recognize that when we’re trying to figure out how lawyering counts as private business experience, some number has to be produced and that number has to win, so that it can be applied consistently across the administrations across the generations. But a rational person would have pointed this out and exposed the real weakness with this study — that it is inherently subjective, although it might be reasonably viewed by a casual observer as something different.

Liberals never seem to want to service the casual observer, to give him the benefit of the wisdom he would pick up himself if he were not a casual observer. They always seem to want to write a headline that offers a different twist to the casual observer, and keep him casual. And so they end up writing garbage. The study is a “hoax”…which the casual observer would infer to mean, it didn’t happen, or there’s nuthin’-to-it. That is not the case.

Their world is one in which everyone must value everything and see everything in a uniform way, and those who value things or see things any differently have to be somehow neutralized. I do not want people who think this way, to represent me as they “sit down and talk with” that I’m-A-Dinner-Jacket guy in Iran, or the Gargoyle in North Korea. Because let’s face it, when the “discussion” gets to that one-value-system-gobbles-up-the-other thumb-wrestling contest — I don’t know they’re gonna win.

This makes them the vastly inferior choice for managing both foreign policy and domestic issues. It is their way of seeing the world and all the things within it. It is immature. Nobel prize or not, it is a worldview inadequate for making real decisions.

Thing I Know #330. A man who doesn’t know the difference between a fact and an opinion, is not to be trusted in delivering either one of those.

Adam Serwer Says Move Along There’s Nothing to See Here

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Here’s a fascinating paradox of liberalism, one that affects not only them but anybody who lives where they have influence. Who you are determines truth. Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd drop dead, and if Fox News says that’s what happened then it hasn’t really happened yet. Vice President Joe Biden says the Recovery & Reinvestment Act has saved-or-created a bunch of jobs, and it must be so because Joe Biden has done something to advance the progressive agenda. Thurgood Marshall was a deity, don’t say a word against his judicial philosophy or you’ll be the opposite. Identity determines everything.

And yet, as Adam Serwer apparently understands, if all the opportunities line up just so and you say just the right thing, there’s no ladder of promotion to be ascended. You can leap up near the top in one fell swoop. Jot down a sentence at just the perfect moment that inflicts sufficient damage on conservatism, or offers a sufficient boost to liberalism, and you can join Mount Olympus and anything that comes out of your pie-hole from then on also becomes true.

So Serwer declares the Black Panther scandal to be unofficially over. Maybe it’ll work. All for the team, eh Adam?

So, a number of things have happened in the past few hours that should really discredit the entire conservative conspiracy theory behind the New Black Panther Party case.

Earlier today, I reported that J. Christian Adams, in his testimony to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, said that there was no indication of pressure from outside the Civil Rights Division to dismiss the civil complaint against the other two plaintiffs named in the original complaint–meaning that even Adams admits there’s no evidence Barack Obama or Eric Holder had anything to do with deciding to narrow the case.

Ben Smith reported this evening that Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative voting rights expert and one of George W. Bush’s appointees to the commission, says that the conservative bloc explicitly discussed a “wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president.” This was clear from the beginning, but it’s the first time anyone on the commission has said with first hand knowledge that the conservatives on the commission had deliberately decided to do this to damage the administration.

Finally, Adams has been claiming that the Justice Department, by refusing to reject a Section 5 preclearance request from Ike Brown, the defendant in the last Section 11(b) case filed by the Voting Section, was proving his claim that the Voting Section has no interest in protecting white voters. Brown filed a submission to the Justice Department seeking to create a closed Democratic primary in Noxbuee County, Mississippi. In fact, as Jeremy Holden reports, the Justice Department didn’t reject Brown’s request because he is not the “proper submitting official under Section 5” and he is still prohibited under the terms of a 2007 injunction from making any changes to the election rules that make them not “equally open to participation by members of a class of citizens.” The DoJ then filed a motion requesting that the court move to “prohibit Brown from moving forward with plans to create a closed primary, to prohibit Brown from making any future official filings seeking to change the electoral process, and to extend the 2007 order an additional 2 years,” in part because of his prior efforts to “reduce white voter participation.”
This story should now be over. It won’t be, but it should.

Okay, so let’s review this thing from the opposite logical direction. In order for a scandal to develop and endure, which will bring harm to the progressive cause, we know from Mr. Serwer’s comments that a whole bunch of conditions must exist for if they do not exist, Serwer will come along and declare the scandal dead.

It’s gotta go all the way to the top or it doesn’t count. The buck doesn’t really stop there and maybe it doesn’t make it that far in the first place.

Nobody can be politically motivated against enemies, anywhere. If anybody’s out to get anybody, then nothing happened. (Such behavior is not to be encouraged, this is Washington DC after all.)

All claims of wrongdoing, even legitimate ones, must be filed according to proper protocol. If they aren’t filed by the “proper submitting official under Section 5” then they didn’t happen.

I find these “Serwer Rules” to be, to say the very least, convenient and I’m choosing the most charitable adjective there I can.

I cannot help but wonder how many conservatives, or for that matter non-conservative people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time in conservative administrations, would be interested in knowing about these rules. Maybe someone who was distantly connected to the Abu Ghraib scandal a few years back? Wonder what they’d think of all this.

I like your rules Mr. Serwer. Can you imagine what would happen if all liberals who were hyper-agendized against conservatives, were suddenly deprived of a voice? Michael Moore would be in the poorhouse, and the civility of our nation’s discourse — a constant subject of complaint among any, for a solid decade or more by now — would improve mightily. Your rules should apply equally in both directions. They won’t, but they should.

Cross-posted at Cassy’s place and at Right Wing News.

Uh Oh, Another Lefty Caught Saying Bigoted Things, Time for Another National Dialogue on Race

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Old Iron at Naked Writing is awesome. Look what he found, and over at Time Magazine yet. Remember Joel “I Don’t Support the Troops” Stein, the American Castrati?

Our favorite little progressive punkweasel went back home and found out Tom Wolfe was right. Where, oh where, did all the white faces go??

Yep. Right. But it doesn’t get really outrageous until he puts together his obligatory hasty half-assed apology for it.

Eventually, there were enough Indians in Edison to change the culture. At which point my townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians “dot heads.” One kid I knew in high school drove down an Indian-dense street yelling for its residents to “go home to India.” In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if “dot heads” was the best racist insult we could come up with for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose.

Now, how many times have we had this feeling about our left-wing friends — they aren’t as offended as they pretend when they hear racist comments, their objections are rather rote & ritual & devoid of real passion…but they get extremely upset at you if you show your lack of schooling or sophistication. Learn some decent racial epithets you neanderthal you. Until then, you just don’t belong!

Onward to what I promised, the dessert course. The afterthought that was supposed to repair the damage of what came before.

Hold on to your hat, here we go.

I was trying to explain how, as someone who believes that immigration has enriched American life and my hometown in particular, I was shocked that I could feel a tiny bit uncomfortable with my changing town when I went to visit it. If we could understand that reaction, we’d be better equipped to debate people on the other side of the immigration issue. [emphasis mine]

Get that?

If we could form a better understanding of Joel Stein’s resentment against people with dark skin in his back yard, we will be better equipped to debate the other people who do not agree with Joel Stein. That would be those of us who think on the issue with sufficient clarity to distinguish between legal & illegal immigration. Now that open-borders-dude Stein has been caught red handed showing as risible a streak of genuine xenophobia as anybody, this tragic incident will help everyone to understand the others.

Where to begin.

Edward Carnarvon was a very decent white guy, Mr. Stein. In fact, since he was royalty, someone bothered to write down the date of his demise, 1327, and some conjecture about how it occurred. Legends have since sprung up around it, which are probably not true…but it occurs to me that this would be a very decent treatment for the likes of you, just to let you know how much we on “the other side” appreciate you passing your bigotry off on us. The more I think on it, the more I realize the sentiment cannot be expressed effectively by any other means.

I’m sure if someone did indeed shove a red hot piece of iron up his butthole, that guy was probably decently white too. So you wouldn’t have to worry about a demise at the hands of four-armed Ganesh.

Like I said at Old Iron’s place: ”Speak for yourself fuckwad” doesn’t even begin to cover it all.

Cross-posted at Cassy’s place.

“Patriotism is Highly Toxic”

Monday, July 5th, 2010

The Editor of The Progressive explains why he doesn’t celebrate July 4th:

It’s July 4th, my least favorite holiday.

And I’m not referring to the bugs, or the crowds, or the traffic on the highways.

I’m talking about the mindless patriotic bubble bath we’re all supposed to soak in all weekend long.

Well, not me.

My heart does not beat faster at the strains of the Star Spangled Banner, much less at the sight of F-16s flying overhead to kick off the show.

You see, I don’t believe in patriotism.

You can call me unpatriotic if you’d like, but really I’m anti-patriotic.

I’ve been studying fascism lately, and there is one inescapable fact about it:

Nationalism is the egg that hatches fascism.

And patriotism is but the father of nationalism.

Patriotism is not something to play with. It’s highly toxic. When ingested, it corrodes the rational faculties.

It gulls people into believing their leaders.

It masks those who benefit most from state policy.

And it destroys the ability of people to get together, within the United States and across boundaries, to take on those with the most power: the multinational corporation.

Plus, it’s a war toy, wheeled out whenever a leader needs to improve his ratings by attacking some other country—often after invoking God’s name, too.

It’s been so since the Spanish-American War and World War I and right up through the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War.

American patriotism has also gotten in the way of solving global warming. Many in the United States, which consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources but has just 4 percent of the world’s population, believe we have the God-given right to use up all the resources we can. And there is an all-too-common attitude that we don’t need to listen to any other countries, or the U.N., or obey any international agreements because we’re Americans, and we’re better than everybody else.

We’ve got to get over patriotism, and we’ve got to cure the American superiority complex.

So celebrate the 4th if you like.

But as for me, between God, country, and apple pie, I’ll take the apple pie.

Oh, where to begin. What a party animal huh? Wouldn’t you just love to invite this character over for Thanksgiving? Or anything.

So he’s been reading about Fascism. I don’t know this individual personally, but I just get the feeling that if I did, I’d want to stick some kind of a big sign on his head that says “please do not allow this person to go anywhere near a book.” Bad things ensue, and nothing good ever comes from it. It’s just the vibe I’m picking up.

Your Wikipedia talk page on Fascism has, as of this writing, 35 pages of archive. Hmmm, that’s a big problem. Another problem: The main article is decidedly confused about the answer to its own question, which is: Is it fair to characterize Fascism as “right wing”? Nobody else was wondering. And yet the article offers this, and then is forced to question it.

The Merriam-Webster definition creates many more problems for this supposition:

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

I would bring two things to Rothschild’s attention here, with regard to this definition.

One, it seems to be a perfect description of England under King George III.

Two, it also seems to be a nearly-perfect description of the United States under Barack Obama.

But let us stick to the first of those two things for the time being. The title of Rothschild’s piece is “Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4th,” and I’m afraid after I read all of it, I still don’t understand why this hater of Fascism doesn’t celebrate. Not when I keep in mind what July 4th represents…which, frankly, I don’t think Rothschild himself has managed to do this. He’s lost track of the vision here. It seems all that retains meaning to him is this: He’s a progressive and progressives hate the United States (although they’ll move to stigmatize, every single time, anybody who notices this including Yours Truly).

But if you hate Fascism it’s just stupid and nonsensical to protest, oppose or countermand Independence Day. That really is the whole point of the exercise: That we have natural rights, and if anybody interferes with them we’re not going to tolerate it.

It is the ultimate anti-Fascism commemoration.

So let’s see if there’s anything else in Rotschild’s rant that might make some sense:

Many in the United States…believe we have the God-given right to use up all the resources we can.

Who are these people? Please list them.

Personally, I think when my survival and standard of living depend on the consumption of renewable resources, and the people who represent me or have some power over me are being swindled and hoodwinked by charlatans who insist these resources are non-renewable, I do have some God-given rights that are being infringed upon. So that’s the issue as far as I’m concerned: Renewability versus non-renewability. But — I have a God-given right to consume as many resources as I possibly can? Eh, not so much. Maybe as long as they’re renewable, then yes. I think I have a right to do whatever I want so long as it doesn’t interfere with the rights of others.

In this sense, I have a difference of opinion with people like Rothschild. He’s mis-stating what this issue is because, I believe, he feels that if he states it honestly there will be too many people seeing the wisdom and logic of my side. And so he has to lie.

And there is an all-too-common attitude that we don’t need to listen to any other countries, or the U.N., or obey any international agreements because we’re Americans, and we’re better than everybody else.

Yeah right. Again, point ’em out. Who thinks America can ratify treaties and then ignore them? As far as the “international agreements” we have not yet made…well, yeah. America doesn’t have to listen to other countries — if we don’t want to. And the U.N. has no power over us, just like they have no power over other countries unless those other countries expressly give that power away.

See, Rothschild’s argument is phony from top to bottom. He’s presenting it as some kind of a Good Fight against American exceptionalism, the notion that “we’re better than everybody else.” There really is no reason for him to present his argument this way, other than a calculation that this will arouse greater sympathy. A calculation with which I happen to agree.

But what he’s really saying is that he doesn’t like the idea that America is as good as anybody else. And that, whether Rothschild thinks it important or not, is quite a different thing. People like him want America to come last, to be inferior. He isn’t being honest about his motives.

We’ve got to get over patriotism, and we’ve got to cure the American superiority complex.

So we can substitute it with what? Probably with the pride and superiority complex of…something else. Am I right or am I right?

Cross-posted at Cassy’s place.

Memo For File CXIX

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

This comes to you without so much as a trace of novelty, if you’ve been living anywhere apart from another planet, or at the bottom of the Gulf, for the last ten years. But the people in the United States — indeed, all of the civilized countries across the globe — have been bitterly fractured among three broad groups. They are right-wingers, left-wingers and the folks who don’t care.

Some will protest, with legitimacy, that this fails to capture their outlook. For sake of figuring out what’s going on around us, let us throw an ornamental nod their way, since they do possess some significance, but then cast them aside so that we may more closely inspect the Big Three.

The situation has remained trapped in stasis for a full decade or more. The reason this is so, is that the moderates have the final vote. Their fatigue with the conflict arouses the greatest symapthy, they feel it most keenly, and they announce it most bumptiously. A myth has arisen that the other two entities see nothing wrong with the inflammation, in fact that the closer one migrates to the two extreme end-points, the more he comes to thrive on it.

In spite of a popular acquiescence to this bit of mythos, there is little evidence to sustain it and an abundance of evidence available to refute it. Generally speaking, as an individual intensifies his or her beliefs, in the cases where the beliefs become ideologically crystalized there is some reason for this to take place. When you “know” you’re right about something you don’t want other people you know to be wrong; and so there emerges a natural human instinct to want to proselytize. The heat and the noise interfere with the proselytizing. And so the extremists don’t really cotton to it. They don’t like it. They generally would like a more orderly environment in which they could get their word out.

I would argue that, if anything, it’s the moderates who enjoy the dissention. It helps to display their indecision in a light of false maturity. It makes the political environment look like a child’s playground, and lends credibility to the idea that only a mental juvenile could make up his mind about anything in such a hotbed of chaos.

Besides, this instinct of promulgating one’s own beliefs among others — it extends to the moderates as well. Most people don’t realize this, but it’s true. When you can’t make up your mind about something you tend to recoil at the idea of anyone else coming out of the woodwork and making that decision. Can’t look cool with that going on.

Another falsehood has bubbled up from this swamp of confusion and despair: The myth of symmetry. When a democrat is caught lying, somewhere a Republican is doing the same thing. When a democrat politician sleeps around on his wife, somewhere there has to be a Republican doing the same thing. Republicans and democrats are equally “closed-minded” about the issues…

This one, I believe, is being kept alive by the left wing. It always seems to be helping them. Notice up above I said “When a democrat [does X]…a Republican does the same thing.” It always seems to drift in that direction; it rarely to never comes back the other way. I have yet to read any chronicling of the Watergate scandal that signed off with an undertone of “and somewhere a democrat did exactly the same thing.”

But if it were bi-directional, it would remain untrue. Larry Elder once said “Conservatives consider liberals well-intentioned, but misguided. Liberals consider conservatives not only wrong, but really, really bad people..” That is an accurate summation of the situation in which we find ourselves. Yes, conservatives think liberals are wrong and liberals think conservatives are wrong — but not in the same way. Not by a damn sight.

And so in this society in which it is thought unkind, slanderous and inaccurate to contradict the supposed wisdom and maturity of the moderates, it is unthinkable to articulate the following in any public venue, anywhere louder than a whisper:

People who do the best job of defeating the raw hatred, generally, are conservatives.

We have a lot of moderates who say otherwise. I’m expected to place great trust in them, and there is a lot of protest waiting for me if I so much as hesitate. But such moderates rarely turn out to be real moderates. Over the last ten years we’ve seen an unnamed, and uncomfortable, genre emerge on television and in the movies. “Desperate Housewives” on the small screen, “American Beauty” on the big one. There are others. The message in this genre is that people who live in nice houses are monsters, living corrupted lives filled with deception and betrayal.

These are liberals pretending to be moderates, who make shows like this. Supposedly it’s just Hollywood chasing the next buck. But the message is one of disbelief in humanity. Man is not redeemable; he is flawed, but not as a result of any great fall; he was created as you see him today, writhing around in the muck, stabbing his friends in the back.

This is where the hatred comes from. It’s a perverted worldview, one that is built to provide a friendly environment for the next new dictator. It says none of us may trust anyone else. We are worthless. We are as civilized now as we ever have been, since we’re in a state of upward evolution — but we cannot ascend to the next level until someone wonderful, some super-mortal, comes along and carries us there.

And there is no symmetry here. Once again, we see conservatives are not different from liberals quite the same way that liberals are different from conservatives. Think back, long and hard: Who are the liberal superstars, going back to the Clinton era? Sure they draw much adulation. I’m thinking of Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, Al Gore, et al. Lots of cheering wherever they go. But is there any genuine trust? Would the liberals who cheer these demigods, rate them highly on a list that includes their own personal acquaintances as trustworthy people?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Given a choice of having Sarah Palin or Ted Kennedy watch his own kids for a whole week, a conservative would pick Palin — and a liberal would place his kids in her care as well. Oh, yes. Yes he would. As long as they were his kids. Being a liberal is all about demanding others place trust in someone whom you, yourself, don’t find to be all that wholesome or trustworthy.

It’s about hate, too. How many conservatives do you know who would like to put Barack Obama and Joe Biden in a big iron pot, fill it with oil, light a fire under it and watch ’em cook? Heard a lot of that kind of hate lately? Me neither.

But walk into a room filled with liberals and drop the name “Dick Cheney.” Then get out. Fast.

Liberal comedians generally aren’t that funny; not unless you’re a committed liberal. Jon Stewart is an exception to this. He’ll stay liberal as long as it is comfortable and easy to get suckered into being one. Once the situation gets silly, he has the proper tough questions ready and give the man credit, he has drawn the boos and jeers over it. But when David Letterman cracks a joke about Sarah Palin’s daughter being molested by a baseball player, it just isn’t that funny. There is a palpable veneer of anger underneath. Such jokes are based on a wish that it’ll really happen. And don’t even get me started on that walking seething bubbling cauldron that goes by the name of Bill Maher.

When a liberal policy presents itself as being good for “us,” it’s good for “all of us.” We have to keep the earth livable, plug the damn hole…all of that. But what about policies that are good for some of us, and bad for others of us? What about policies that end the existence of some among us? Liberals love those policies just as much, provided it’s the right people being sent to oblivion. When a mother decides to slaughter her unborn baby, they don’t care. They define the baby out of existence so they can give her that right.

It has to do with that vision I described up above. As individuals, we don’t really have any rights, and nothing about our continuing survival is sacred except for the continuation of the species. We’ve always been as deplorable as we are now, but we’re as glorious now as we ever have been. It’s all about evolution; we’re waiting in limbo for the next remarkable demigod superhuman to carry us to the next step. And so if a few of the less desirable are whittled off, that’s just a pruning. Survival of the fittest. You have to break few eggs to make an omelette. That’s the liberal view.

You doubt me?

Think back on the last two, or four, or more arguments you’ve had with liberals. These need not be confrontational and they need not even be unfriendly. Perhaps you had a “meeting of the minds” during a holiday meal. Just think of the exchanges you have had that fit what I have in mind. Which means something like this:

LIBERAL: This is your final warning. Forsake that which is sensible and swear fidelity to my nonsense, or I shall denounce you as an uncool person and make sure you cannot ever be part of my little club.

YOU: Yeah, okay. But anyhow… (fact) (fact) (fact)

LIBERAL: Ah yes, but there is more to it than that. Too bad you’re such a simpleton you cannot see the nuance. Everybody else can. (SMUG SMIRK).

I’m talking about the confrontations with liberals that degenerate into that layer, the layer that fits that mini-dialogue. You really shouldn’t have to do too much recollecting. Nearly all of them dovetail into this. The last example I saw was over here, just the other night:

I’m probably giving both you and Cassy a much more thoughtful answer than you deserve or could value, but hey that’s me.

Follow the link if you want context. But it is the outcome I wish to inspect, for the pattern is a constant. Smug liberal is in the circle. Cassy and I are outside of it. She counts. We don’t.

Now, you remember that instinct to which I alluded above? To proselytize. If you really do see things a certain way, whatever way that might be, it is human nature to want to correct the flaws of others and to motivate them to see things your way. Here, there is a curious drop-off in that instinct. You are wrong, as wrong as wrong can possibly be. But that’s quite alright because you are stupid and expected to be wrong. You are detritus. There is no further satisfaction to be realized through some vision of teaching you the error of your ways. We’re already at Nirvana, because the Man-God-King is in the White House, everybody who counts can see what is good and decent and true — you just don’t count. It doesn’t matter if you’re married to the liberal’s favorite daughter. There is an impenetrable crystaline bubble, from the inside of which the liberal gazes down upon you with the smug smirk. In Xanadu did Kublai Kahn in his stately pleasure dome decree…

This is chilling, when you start to comprehend what is really happening here.

Liberals are religious. They have a concept of a heavenly kingdom — and dissenters are not to be part of it. They believe in that next wave of evolution. Darwin’s pencil is going to be everlastingly sharpened, and once you’re drummed out of the cool-club, you’re nothing more than a shaving. Oh, they prattle on about I.Q., and big brains and little brains and xenophobia and clinging to God and guns. But they aren’t really talking about any of that, they’re talking about Elect and Damned, just like a seventeenth-century religious order that preaches predestination. It is not the brain matter inside your head, it is the sign that has been engraved upon the crown of that head.

This is a constant. There are people who belong, and there are people who do not. All liberal arguments boil down to this. Actually, the only difference I see between liberalism and Calvinism is that Calvinists have balls. They’re willing to say a Supreme Being and His Divine Will handed out this status to as-yet-unborn souls…you’re going to heaven, you’re going to hell. Liberalism won’t tolerate any belief in a Higher Power, so in their view we’re all separated in exactly the same way but nobody’s responsible for it. It just happened.

In this way, we see liberalism and conservatism have actually exchanged places. It’s been a very slow process, unfolding across a couple hundred years or more. But there is no symmetry here. When a liberal says we “all” have a right to a livelihood and a comfortable standard of living, they don’t really mean “all.” Go on, ask a left-winger if Karl Rove has a right to these things. Ask him if Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin can have these things. That’s a negatori…

When conservatives say hey — even if BP has messed it up with that oil spill something fierce, there’s still something wrong with a sitting President giving them instructions about how much money they should put in escrow to be managed by a bunch of lawyers — they do not say this because they think BP is wonderful, soft cute & cuddly and they just want to take it home and feed it a bowl of milk. The conservatives I know who agree with this, agree with only this. They mean what they say: It’s just wrong. It doesn’t matter if it’s BP or the guy who cut you off on the freeway this morning and flipped you the bird. It doesn’t matter who. This is a concept that has escaped liberals. In their world, there really is no such thing as a universal human right. They aren’t quite sure what kind of rights you have, until they can first figure out your level of wonderfulness. Then they’ll let you know what your rights are.

I said before that the moderates decide elections. This has been proven over and over again, so the name of the game becomes one of liberals trying to get moderates to vote liberal, and conservatives trying to get them to vote conservative. But the moderates have no passion; they just want the fighting to end. As long as the liberals can portray themselves as leading the way toward harmony, moderates will vote liberal and liberals will win elections. Even in years like 2010 conservatives have to keep this in mind, and be wary of it. Disappointment is not part of the equation, because moderates demonstrate precious little capacity for long-term memory, or interest in developing it. So liberals can start as many fights as they want to, and over the long term they’ll still look like Mahatma Ghandi himself if they mouth the right buzz words. At least, they’ll look that way to the moderates, which is what counts.

But the funny thing is, in the things that really matter in life, moderates stand with conservatives.

When two boys get in a fight on the playground, moderates are united with conservatives in their desire to take a chunk out of the hide of whichever boy threw the first punch. Liberals stand alone in demanding a pound of flesh from whoever threw the last one. Moderates want to avoid making enemies, save for the enemies that are powerless and costless as enemies. They want to have the right friends, to enjoy the defense of whoever is strong. Liberals want to abolish strength. You see, that is a different goal. And it is not a mainstream desire. Most people understand we cannot have a world without strength, and if we try to build one, strength will be monopolized by whoever is energetic and unscrupulous. Even moderates can see that.

So for the liberals to win the moderates over, they have to dissuade people from thinking about such things. Rich get richer and poor get poorer. Global warming. Arugula.

Never let a crisis go to waste.

You see, it isn’t that conservatives abjure hate from their systems because they’re wonderful people or something. Some conservatives are stinkers. The asymmetry is that the conservatives simply don’t care that much. They are evaluators of ideas. The first time you see a rotten guy coming up with a good idea, and a decent wonderful person coming up with a stupid idea, the lesson is crystal-clear: Arguing about who’s a super-genius and who’s leaving the “g” sound off the end of her words, is an abject stupid waste of time.

When you get overly hung up on personal attributes and start looking for that next wonderful mortal demigod to haul all of humanity to the next level of evolution, you start getting hoodwinked into stupid ideas. Like for example…when we have this oil leak in the Gulf, what we need to do is passively stand by and allow the oil company that caused the spill to clean it up, and while they’re cleaning it up, extort billions of dollars out of them. And pass cap-and-trade.

Moderates, when they manage their own affairs, are conservatives. So are some liberals. They wouldn’t make decisions this way about their own personal issues. And they’d rather have Sarah Palin watch their kids than the average liberal politician. See, different rules.

Also, in their world, there’s never any such thing as reaching “a certain point” where “you’ve made enough money.” That’s just another rule for you and me, but not for them.

Cross-posted at Cassy’s place.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

“Nothing, Just Lower Our Taxes”

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Hat tip to Gateway Pundit.

That’s the trouble with being a liberal democrat. You have to have two definitions of “everyone,” so any expression from someone who’s part of the larger “everyone” but not the smaller “everyone,” is going to be just as embarrassing. You don’t even have a public image worth salvaging if you don’t have complete control over the definition of who counts & who doesn’t.

I Want a democrat To Rule Over Me

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

This November I’ll have to figure out whether or not I want to support a democrat. I predict the outcome of that decision will be the same as all the others, but just in case I decide to throw a vote to the donkey party and that guy happens to win, I’d like something to be understood:

If the democrats end up ruling over me, I want them to govern me exactly the way they govern their own party. This, I think, is exactly what America is missing.

Look how democrats run their own party. When there’s a position available, and there’s a person available to be appointed to it, all they seem to care about is whether he’ll be effective in that position. Nothing else matters. They want to win. If you’re available, and your skin color would inject some much-desired “diversity” into the ranks that’s missing now but you’re likely to fuck it up, then out you go. White, black, red, yellow, green, purple, gay, straight, male, female — if he can do the job, then what the hell, hire him.

If the law could be interpreted to interfere with victory, that’s not good enough for a defeat; that’s when the tweaking and massaging begins. The democrat party never embraces defeat to prove how wonderful and decent they are. They take a very George S. Patton attitude toward that stuff: “Let the hun do that.”

After the victory, when it’s time to party, nobody gives a flying crap about a carbon footprint.

It is quite alright, when a democrat runs up against some enemy of the democrats, to allow his passions to run unchecked and wild. They feel no shame about the fantasies they have about making that enemy sorry his parents ever met. It is commonplace that a democrat waxes lyrically about the day he’ll be able to waterboard Sean Hannity, and all of a sudden waterboarding isn’t quite so bad. I’d like to see my country defended with that kind of passion.

Nobody ever, ever, ever, ever, ever gets to “a point where you’ve made enough money.”

More Insight on the Helen Thomas Thing

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

The Rabbi who brought an end to the nonsense after it had dragged on for half a century, describes his experience.

We were on the White House front lawn when I told the teenagers that approaching us was the most famous reporter in the world — Helen Thomas, a veteran who had covered presidents from Kennedy to Obama. We stopped her. I told Thomas that the young men were starting out in the press corps and hoped to be reporters. She kindly shared notes about journalism with us. “You’ll always keep learning,” she said. It was an honor.

Then I asked: “Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everybody today.” Like saying a password to enter a new, secret place. “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she replied, and “go home” to Poland and Germany.
I merely asked a question with a video camera to a columnist. She answered me with an opinion that was unacceptable not just to me but to former and current press secretaries, politicians, the president, her agent and a great many other people. Her freedom of speech was not stifled; on the contrary, it was respected.

She didn’t say that the blockade was unjust, or that aid was not getting to Gaza, or that there was a massacre on the high seas, or that East Jerusalem is occupied, or that the settlements are immoral…and get out and go back to West Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat. No. This was not the two-state solution. This was get the hell out and go back to the places of the final solution, Poland and Germany. The Jew has no connection with the land of Israel.

And why? Because, as Thomas went on to explain to me, “I’m from Arab descent.” That’s it? That’s all you got? Do we all travel with only our parents’ stereotypes to guide us, never going beyond them to get to a peaceful destination?

I hope this is just the beginning. Helen Thomas’ continued association with that coveted “front row seat” was preserved purely out of name recognition. It had no basis in anything except those parts of aristocratic England that were never supposed to have a place in the New World, the country “of laws, not of men.” I continue to see it as a jutting appendage of the whole union mentality that sees a person’s job not as an association with an employer who needs work done, not as a contract, or an obligation, but as property. As a feudal title.

Anyone who promoted that or accepted that, I hope this manure just rolls straight uphill and their asses get fired. We’re supposed to despise “old boys’ clubs” in our modern enlightened society. Why should they get a pass just because they promoted an old girl? These jackasses went through the motions of pretending to bring us news, and instead just preserved a stale, do-nothing organizational hierarchy that gave a modern Hitler a soapbox. And then they kept right on doing it for as long as they could get away with it.

Oh and one other little thing. From all the years that I have listened to Helen Thomas’ “questions”…the idea of her telling young aspirant reporters “you’ll always keep learning” is something I find to be rich, risible and snort-worthy. The woman is the living pinnacle of intellectual stasis. Seriously — seriously — what does she think about things now, that she didn’t think at the very beginning?

The answer to that one would be a worthy addition to my collection of thin books, I think.

“Leadership, Gotta Love It”

Monday, June 14th, 2010

I come back from vacation to see Cassy’s spot is the one to watch if you really want to find out what’s going on. OBambi compared the oil spill to 9/11 then disappeared into a golf course. For several hours.

Barack Obama told Politico yesterday that this oil spill in the Gulf… why, it’s like the next 9/11 or something! Because, you know, an oil spill is just like the murders of 3,000 innocent Americans by bloodthirsty terrorists.

Obama — facing mounting criticism of his handling of the BP gusher, even from longtime allies — vowed to make a “bold” push for a new energy law even as the calamity continues to unfold. And he said he will use the rest of his presidency to try to put the United States on a course toward a “new way of doing business when it comes to energy.”

“In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11,” the president said in an Oval Office interview on Friday, “I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.”

This, of course, was followed by some more finger-pointing (we didn’t start this mess!). Obama’s leadership style stays constant as always: refusal to take any responsibility for his own actions, and using inflammatory rhetoric without actually taking any action to back it up.
And if this is just as bad as 9/11, then why is it that Obama has been spending more time on the golf course than he has in the Gulf? After his Politico interview Sunday, exactly what did Obama do? He played golf. Again. For four hours.

Ah, our brave leader. He’s never afraid to kick some ass on the golf course, to fearlessly conquer all 18 holes, all while ignoring his actual job responsibilities. Leadership, guys. Real leadership. Gotta love it.

Here’s what drives me crazy about these democrats: If you watch the way they run their party, their campaigns, you’ll see them behave exactly the way we want the leaders of our nation to behave.

If the fulfillment of a goal requires the consumption of a resource, it’s gone.

If the only way out is through, they go through and don’t apologize.

If they have to use disproportionate force or none at all, they will deploy disproportionate force.

The positions they occupy are positions of service — not personal titles, like out of the English aristocracy, or assets. They know there are responsibilities attached to these roles, and for the good of the party, they dispatch them.

They worry about being respected for their loyalty. If they figure out someone is being disloyal, they drum him out toot-sweet.

They can’t wait to waterboard a Republican.

By their actions and by their statements, it is abundantly clear they fully understand the simple concept of destroying one thing to preserve another. But only for the good of the party. Not for the nation.

Worst crisis since 9/11, so hey let’s play some golf. Yeah, we’re in some good hands.

Cash, Clunkers, Clunker

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Cash for ClunkersCoyote Blog (hat tip to Gerard once again):

…I have found a reason to love the Cash for Clunkers program: it is a fabulous demonstration project for just how utterly pointless government stimulus programs can be. Stimulus programs tend to be hard to evaluate in our complex economy — sort of like trying to calculate the effect of a butterfly flapping its wings on world climate. But since cash for clunkers only lasted a few weeks and hit only one industry, we can learn a lot about the effectiveness of government stimulus.
The dotted line simply averages the sales for the month of the clunkers program and the month after. I think it is pretty clear that we spent a few billion dollars making some used car owners happy (by overpaying for their vehicles) but did absolutely nothing to move the trend line in auto sales, as the program appears to have just pulled forward purchases rather than stimulated new ones.

Update: I took the liberty of zooming in and accentuating the visual, to really help get the point across.

Now then. Can we please stop arguing about this stuff that doesn’t work. It’s been given a more-than-fair shot, again and again and again and again and again and again. How many more times do we have to keep doing this; at some point you have to wake up and smell the coffee.

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

Winston Churchill

“Leaving Islam?”

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Fox News:

The questions on the ads aren’t subtle: Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you?

A conservative activist and the organizations she leads have paid several thousand dollars for the ads to run on at least 30 city buses for a month. The ads point to a website called, which offers information to those wishing to leave Islam, but some Muslims are calling the ads a smoke screen for an anti-Muslim agenda.

Pamela Geller, who leads an organization called Stop Islamization of America, said the ads were meant to help provide resources for Muslims who are fearful of leaving the faith.

“It’s not offensive to Muslims, it’s religious freedom,” she said. “It’s not targeted at practicing Muslims. It doesn’t say ‘leave,’ it says ‘leaving’ with a question mark.”

Geller said the ad buy cost about $8,000, contributed by the readers of her blog, Atlas Shrugs, and other websites. Similar ads have run on buses in Miami, and she said ad buys were planned for other cities.

Atlas Shrugs is here.

I hope it doesn’t cause too much of a fuss. After all, I recall barely a ripple of discontent a couple years ago when Richard Dawkins launched his “There Is Probably No God” campaign.

Sauce? Goose? Gander?