Archive for the ‘His Blank Slate’ Category

Obamateurism of the Year Award

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

HotAir holds a vote, and the outcome is not even close. Scolding the Supreme Court during a State of the Union (and getting the details wrong) made the final round, as did “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

But in the end, it was the beginning of Bill Clinton’s third term that was the clear winner.

Good job Barry Soetoro. Made three people look extremely foolish in one shot: Yourself, Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama. All three of you look like what you really are. And you look like cynical manipulators with glaring and glowing, almost debilitating, narcissistic streaks, who don’t give a rip about what policies are being enacted or what their ultimate effect might be. We’re “in good hands”? Don’t think so. But I’m glad the OOTY vote came out the way it did.

I’m also pleased that a can of whoopass was finally opened on the whole Dagwood/Blondie klutzy-husband thing. It’s long overdue. It was cute, once, this thing about “at the end of the day my sweetie tells me to jump and I say ‘how high?’.” But if you have so much as a speck of sanity left to you, it isn’t going to make sense to envision the First Lady ripping the current President a new asshole because she was kept waiting while a press conference was going on. That’s taking it way too far. She’d really do that? If that’s the case, we need to find a way to impeach the First Lady.

I think. Sane people think.

But of course…there are people out there who disagree. They say “As long as she’s henpecking him or humiliating him, the very thought of it makes my nipples stick out like pencil erasers, I’ll drink poison if you want me to, and buy tons and tons of whatever shit you’re selling.” Or, at least, there is market research saying they exist, and spend money, and their numbers are important.

I just think, at a certain point, it’s time you/we all grow up. Let the First Lady wait.

One of many reasons why, if I were voting in this, I would’ve sided with the majority here. They made the right choice. There are other reasons too…

Quit Whining and Buck Up

Friday, October 1st, 2010

I’m glad this is stirring the pot so much lately, and in a bad way. Couldn’t happen to a nicer fella. Holy Man has ventured off-court, again, and it falls to not-quite-a-racist-fear-mongering-young-earth-creationist-conservative John Stewart to blow the whistle.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2010 – Democratic Campaign Woes
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

So Obama is way too smart to listen to people like me, who think controversial things like…businesses hire more people when it’s less expensive for them to do business. And He’s way too smart to listen to His “base,” which thinks all kinds of moderate, straightforward, common-sense things like…we need to confirm our nominees for the Supreme Court based on how funny they are, and Bush caused 9-11 to happen because fire doesn’t melt steel.

If I wrote a character into a fictional novel and the character was based on Barack Obama, I’d have a scene just for that one character. He’d be talking in a back room somewhere with one of his trusted advisers, and he’d deliver a line. Some glorious, defining, “offer he can’t refuse” kind of line. Something like:

“Stop it with the if-this-then-that, what’ll happen if this, what’ll happen if that. And stop it with the what-do-you-stand-for. You still don’t get it, do you? I just want to do what I want to do.

Something shorter than that, something that comes out with a rhythm to it. But says exactly that. That defines the character. That defines the personality.

A normal person says…I want to do this, but the consequences are not acceptable. Or it’ll piss somebody off. Usually, when I say that, it has something to do with throwing a heavy object at my teevee. You probably have your own examples to offer.

I think Barack Obama has that same pecking-order going on in His head with pros and cons of doing things. Except in His Holy Dome, “what I want to do” is the eight hundred pound gorilla. Nothing…nothing…emerges victorious after going up against it. It trumps all. Barack wants to do it.

He’s given so many speeches over the last two years, and not a single syllable He’s had to offer has ever directly contradicted what I just wrote about Him. It seems to fit the Barack we all know, and explain Him perfectly well.

Hat tip to Ace.

What We’re Not Gonna Do

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Add instilling a spirit of unity to the long and growing list of successful achievements by Barack Obama’s predecessor, that Mister Wonderful Himself is now going to merely attempt to do.

I was skimming through the speech and I sat up and took notice when I saw these words:

Against that backdrop Obama spoke forcefully.

“The highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most,” the president said.

Aha!, I thought. We got a long list of things we are not going to do…now we’re going to get a statement from our leader about what it is we will do. What’s going to make us great, here. Even better, how we’re going to pay honor to the deceased. So what’s this wonderful thing we’re going to do, Mister President?

Empty Suit
Image credit: Rodger the Real King of France

“To stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are.”


Did I get that right? Yet another thing-we-are-NOT-going-to-do?

The more months I spend trapped with my fellow countrymen in this — hey, let’s call it what it is — malaise, the more I think this has very little to do with conservatism versus liberalism. The more I start to think this all concerns something much more fundamental to human existence.

It is a widespread and deliberate delusion. It is a mixing-up of doing great and glorious things, with the not-doing of anything.

This is an easy thing to do in the wake of heinous crimes. Killing killers never brings murder victims back from the dead, as we’re frequently reminded. But there is something particularly unappealing about the victims of such crimes, and their relatives, just leaving things be & moving on.

Part of the rhetorical flourish that swept Obama into office, had to do with Osama bin Laden & pals running around wild and free. Now, is something going to be done about that? Or was that all a fake-out, to help buttress the campaign of a candidate running on pure narcissism?

Are Americans really that worthless? The most glorious things we can do, in the wake of such a tragedy, amount to a whole lot of nothing? What are we, human beings living out glorious, dignified lives full of potential, or cattle milling about in a big barnyard just waiting for a trip to the slaughterhouse?

The question is so seldom asked. But, like I said…the more I’m privileged to watch such speeches and events, the more it seems to get back to that. We’re just not good enough. Not good enough to hang on to our guns, not good enough to emit carbon, not good enough to be hired by anyone outside of our government, and not good enough to be avenged if we happen to be in the wrong building at the wrong time.

We’re only kept around for our tax “contributions” and for our opinions, but not any old opinion. We have to like the people in charge or else we’re racists.

Not feeling terribly unified at the moment. A few more statements about what Americans can & will do, that only Americans can & will do, would have gone a long way. It’s tough to find a speech by Obama’s predecessor, that fails to mention such things. His Holy Eminence, once again, doesn’t have too much to say about us that is nice, other than His vision for what we’re going to be transformed into.

Update: In the “great minds thinking alike” department, I see blogger friend Gerard has had a similar thought. Something Wonderful: When Our President Was a Man.

At this point, I’d say it’s worthy of an actual question to be put to the President at a press conference — assuming we ever see one of those again. “President Obama: What, if anything, is great and wonderful and beneficial about the United States of America? Specifics, please, and kindly skip over any empty bromides about things we’re not supposed to think or do, or awful things we ‘tolerate,’ or where we’re going to go from here. How, as intelligent, historied and stateful beings, are Americans good?”

It’s a worthy question to ask because some people are still in the process of deciding whether they made a mistake in November of 2008. They need to be given the information necessary to make this decision.

On Palin, Obama, and Leadership

Monday, September 6th, 2010

“This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word ‘victory,’ except when he’s talking about his own campaign…[W]hat exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer…is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights. Government is too big; he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much money; he promises more. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them.”

— Sarah Palin, accepting the nomination as John McCain’s running mate at the convention

“Chicks can say stuff.”

— Me, exploring all the reasons Why They Hate Sarah Palin So Much (#11)

“Seventy-one percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning believe the former Alaska governor [Sarah Palin] and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee is not qualified to be president…”

CNN political ticker story from October 2009

“Fifty-nine percent of U.S. adults said they don’t think Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and potential 2012 candidate, would be an effective president of the United States.”

60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll

That’s twelve points in ten months. If you’re not favorably impressed by that, you’re not paying attention. Oh yes, I’m serious. Consider what a manifestly more hostile question it is to say “not qualified to serve,” when the qualifications are clearly laid out and Palin demonstrably possesses them. She is, as a matter of personal opinion, properly excluded from further consideration nevertheless? Too many teevee interviews botched? Too many made-up quotes about being able to see Russia from her house — and that’s it? Move along? Stick a fork in her she’s done?

That’s a much stronger statement than “I don’t think she’d be effective once elected.” Now, the much milder statement nets a bare majority, and that’s among Vanity-Fair-reading airheads.

There is a phenomenon taking place here; Palin isn’t going away, to anywhere, anytime soon. She isn’t even heading in that direction. She’s moving toward the limelight.

But Palin is not all of it. The event we see unfolding is a deep and troubling crisis, a disease consuming the republic. She is the medicine.

Dissent is born from the simple reality that government must prove its case to us, NOT vice-versa.

Dolly’s current fave aphorism, stolen from Dante

And that’s your definition of the crisis, right there. Are We, The People to sit in judgment of our elected government, to ponder the question of whether it is worthy of our continued support — or is it the other way around?

The White House’s current occupant was elected because He happens to have black skin. Oh yeah, I went there; I said it. He was nominated as the champion of His political party over that very aspect.

And as long as we’re getting down to brass tacks over things, let’s take a look at why this mattered. It wasn’t because our nation wanted to heal its racial divisions. No, Barack Obama’s skin color is not a medicinal balm to be applied, it is a cudgel to be wielded. That is, now, all too clear. It is a weapon, a means of shutting down the opposition. His party has long been shopping for just such a weapon, arousing nary a care as to the weapon’s nature, size or shape; they’ve cared only that the damn thing works. Remember, from 2004, Sen. John Kerry’s “moral authority”? Al Gore’s preening faux-intellectualism? Bill Clinton’s sloppy sex appeal to faithless, bored housewives and silly, stupid, college-age girls? This is not a political party that is in search of bold, new, effective, helpful ideas. Far from it.

They have been wanting, and want now, to win. That’s all.

For the last twenty years or more, they have been searching for the perfect salesman to pitch bad ideas. They’ve been looking for a guy with a gimmick. A good, powerful gimmick suitable for selling ice cubes to polar bears — something that will cut the whole debate short. Something that will conquer ideas instead of simply examine them. Something that dismisses. The magic elixir of thoughtlessness and undeserved rhetorical victory. Obama’s skin color happens to be the munition that finally netted the desired results and prevailed in an election.

We're Just Wrong About EverythingBut it only works with getting those bad ideas sold. It isn’t healing the racial divide, not by a damn sight. To the contrary, we have the privilege of watching the situation unfold every day: Our Government wants to do something, here come some concerned citizens advancing perfectly rational arguments as to why it should not be done. And our government’s executive branch, predictable as gravity, comes back with the smackdown.

You must be a racist.

You must be angry.

You’re a xenophobe.

You’re clinging bitterly to your guns and your Bibles.

You have a problem with a black man as president.

You’re one of the Wall Street fat cats that got us into this mess in the first place.

My goodness, you certainly do seem to have a lot of white people in your crowd, don’t you?

This is not uniting us and it has become an exercise in abject absurdity to suppose it is intended to. You…You…You…You You You You You You You. Our so-called “leaders” seem to have absolutely nothing else to say to us, other than — thanks for your support, or else, here’s a bunch of snotty, snooty, snobbish, pretentious, and frankly downright juvenile reasons why their desires should rule the day, and nobody else should have anything to say about any of it.

They seem to be absolutely lacking in any ability to listen. The tragedy is that their inability to listen, is costing everybody else mightily in their ability to get along with each other. More name-calling means more ugliness, less debate, more fighting, less edification, more heat, less light.

So back to the Palin situation. I’m given to understand there’s still a split as to whether Palin would be an effective President? That’s the question, is it?

The relevant inquiry to which this leads, is: How does Palin leadership handle the situation in which it has made a decision, and a vocal critic emerges from the fog of anonymity, critical of it. We already know how the current leaership handles that, and count me among the ones doubtful that our nation can survive much more of it without great injury.

Oh, we don’t need to wonder too much about how a Palin administration would work this. We have it on tape:

Much has been written about her service as Alaska’s twelfth Governor and Wasilla’s Mayor. From all that has managed to find its way to me, it seems it all falls into the theme of the video above. Oh, you’re a hockey mom too. Oh, you’re a teacher. Let’s find something upon which we agree. No, my mind is made up over there, sorry that ship has sailed…but maybe, further on down the line, we’ll work together on something.

That’s what healing looks like, folks.

In a free society, that is a vital ingredient to leadership. In government and outside of it. Our right to petition our Government for redress of grievances, has been officially recognized since the very beginning. You know what that means? That means we should be getting something we’re not getting. “Mister Mayor, Governor, President, I’ve got a beef with you” means — or should mean: Here’s what you did and here’s what I don’t like about it. Please reconsider, or give me your reasons why not…and kindly refrain from all this talk of what I am, how I am, what’s wrong with me, how I need to be picked up and moved someplace else by my betters. With all due respect: Take that part of it, and stick it where the sun don’t shine. I’m sitting in judgment of you, not the other way around.

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

Thomas Jefferson

See, there is the problem, right there. It is much, much bigger than Barack Obama; He is just a small fish in this pond. The disease which currently consumes our republic, like a hungry fungus between your toes, is a breakdown in this “other wall of separation,” if you will. Jefferson’s principles. Jefferson’s styles. The people in charge right now would like to invest all of the enforcement authority with regard to our immigration laws in the Federal government. And then, for the government to simply walk away from the obligation to enforce. Now, what is that; a principle, or a style? That is one example but there are many more. The economy needs to be stimulated through government programs which provide lucre to people who can’t generate it on their own, as opposed to tax cuts which would lower the risk involved in creating wealth that would benefit the rest of us. We need a nationalized health care plan, doesn’t matter what kind, as long as it’s nationalized. It’s time to turn the page on Iraq. I just think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody. The people building that Victory Mosque have a right to build it, and they should, or maybe they shouldn’t, you know what I’m going to keep mum on that.

What are these, exactly? Principles? Or are they styles? Perhaps a little of both?

I don’t know, and you can’t tell me because you don’t either. Nobody knows. There is the problem. Obama’s generation, just a handful of years ahead of my own, has been indulged throughout the decades. The baby boomers have been told that because there are so many of them, they must be right. About everything. Their styles are principles. Stand like a rock, baby boomers!

And so our current leaders do; they stand like a rock, on the principle of…not standing for much of anything. If indeed there is one “principle” at work that remains consistent across all the disparate issues, it seems to be this:

The Change SucksIn any conflict, the side that prevails must be the more metrosexual one. The less male, the more effeminate, the less hetero, the more gay, the less white, the more ethnically mixed, the less English, less nationalist. Christians should lose all the time, they have it coming. These guys over here should win all the time, those guys over there should lose so they can find out what it’s like.

Blacks are better than whites, gays beat women, blacks beat gays, or is it the other way around? One atheist is worth three Christians but a Muslim is worth two atheists. Pray in school and go directly to jail, do not pass Go do not collect two hundred dollars.

But really, the rules are just kinda made up as we go along. The effort is distilled down into a comical attempt, which only looks sensible when viewed from within, to stand like a rock on everything and then fail at doing it.

That is our current leadership. And Palin is somehow less than qualified to be a successor to it?

Well, I suppose I have to agree.

Sarah Palin, who disagrees with me on as many issues as anybody else, comes from a bizarre corner of the universe in which disagreements are engaged forcefully but minimally. Hers is a sword that slices through, not because of the vigor with which it is thrust, but because of the fine point to which it has been sharpened. She seeks to win after she has properly defined what exactly the disagreement is. And she doesn’t engage in culture wars until such time as it becomes necessary.

This is not to say she is not a culture warrior. She is that, and a fine one. Many victories lie in her wake. And the culture she represents is mighty and proud, much stronger than President Obama’s because her culture is not afraid to represent itself as what it really is. She’s a hockey mom but she doesn’t nurture some personal agenda to transform the nation into a nation of hockey moms. She runs, but she isn’t going to tirelessly work to bludgeon or coerce us all into a running craze. If you disagree with Palin on Issue A, and on Sunday mornings she likes to go jogging and then attend church while you sit around in your underwear gnawing on butter sticks watching the game — she’ll debate you on Issue A and leave the rest of it alone. It’s called being a grown-up.

And this is what America is all about. You do your thing and I do mine, then we come together to find some agreement on what to do when it is unavoidable. The rest of the time, we have our different tastes and that is quite alright.

Obama was about that too, once. Remember? Learning to live together? Aw yeah, I guess we’re all supposed to “change” before that can happen. It’s made us happy and fulfilled, hasn’t it? Being called a jerk and a bigot every week and every month if we don’t march in lock-step, yeah that’s worked great.

We need a real leader. We need a leader who unifies. We need a leader who says: If we must agree on what to do, and our opinions are irreconcilable, and I’m in charge, then, well, sorry. Later on hopefully we’ll see eye-to-eye on something else.

Obama doesn’t have the maturity to govern this way because He is the champion of an entire movement that lacks this maturity. “Us Good, You Bad” is their constant refrain, unavoidable, every time they run into opposition. Any opposition. About anything. It was a mistake to elect them into any level of power or authority, no matter how modest; their proper place is in a portrait, a display, preserved for the benefit of future generations who can then fully understand what leadership is NOT.

Cross-posted at Washington Rebel and Right Wing News.

Cartoon credit: Theo Spark.

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.

“Magnificently Awful”

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

George Will:

Our Demosthenes seems to regard the rule of strategic reticence as irrelevant to him. The rule: Do not speak unless you can improve the silence. He did not do that with his Oval Office speech. In it, to the surprise of no one who has been paying attention the last 17 months, he discerned in the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico a reason for a large and permanent increase in government taxation and supervision of American life on shore. The oil spill validates his passion for energy—or is it climate change?—legislation.

The news about his speech is that it is no longer news that he often gives bad speeches. This one, however, was almost magnificently awful.

The idea of grandstanding on this disaster to push climate change legislation, or cap-n-trade or whatever, is perhaps the capstone of silliness in this latest installment. It pleases me mightily to see the occasional encouraging sign that His Holiness may, maybe, perhaps, just possibly, not be getting away with it so easily. Or if He does, it will cost Him gawdawfully much.

Jay Leno, of all people, probably said it the best:

President Obama said today he is going to use the gulf disaster to immediately push a new energy bill through Congress. I got an idea: How about first using the Gulf disaster to fix the Gulf disaster.

Yet Another Obama Critic Apologizes

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010


The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan is being called to the White House for a face-to-face meeting with President Obama after issuing an apology Tuesday for an interview in which he described the president as unprepared for their first meeting.

In the article in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also said he felt betrayed and blind-sided by his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.

McChrystal’s comments are reverberating through Washington and the Pentagon after the magazine depicted him as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration.

It characterized him as unable to convince some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the nation’s longest-running war and dejected that the president didn’t know about his commendable military record.

In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”

Oh goody. An apology. Now Mister Wonderful can go back to being super-duper-awesome.

The air is getting rather thick with this isn’t it? Congressman Barton…before him, you had the “You Lie!” guy Joe Wilson…now Gen. McChrystal. All of them said something less than flattering about He Who Argues With The Dictionaries, and after some backdoor meeting they apologized and we were commanded to recall that it never happened — except perhaps to think & intone that whoever was the latest jerk to open his mouth, was a great big bozo. Nothing wrong with Obama, nosiree!

Have you ever had a boss, or a Mayor or a Governor, or anyone with any kind of authority over you, who was widely respected just because this was the level of esteem he naturally inspired in people? As opposed to, any & all other variants of thought & speech are ritually called out, pressured, disgraced, forced to recant. Good feeling to have, isn’t it.

With regard to our White House, it would be nice to have that again.

Either that, or…when someone has something negative to say and there has to be a PR strategy to counteract the effect…the PR strategy is a passive one. “Ignore it, and if there’s nothing to it, it’ll naturally fall away.”

Someone in Obama’s White House has calculated that this is not a viable plan for them. The criticism will not go away if it’s simply ignored. It will fester and get worse, so if they’re going to survive they need to exert more control over the dialogue. To such an extent that nobody is allowed to say anything unless it’s positive. They won’t win this thing unless they get the last word, all of the time. As the final page is being written, people will not think Obama is all that & a bag o’ chips, unless they are proscribed from thinking anything else. Just like a dictator in some banana republic.

I agree with whoever the person is who made this calculation. I think he or she is absolutely right.

Obama Blames Unemployment on Republicans

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

President Barack Obama on Saturday pinned blame on Republicans for making life harder for the unemployed and for those who could lose their jobs without new federal intervention. He did so even as he sought to distance himself from the “dreary and familiar politics” of Washington.

Capping a week in which the administration scored a victory _ a $20 billion fund to be paid by BP for the victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill _ Obama reserved his radio and Internet address to focus on the work that didn’t get done.

His main concern was the rejection of a bill in the Senate that would have provided more money for the long-term unemployed, aid for strapped state governments and the renewal of popular tax breaks for businesses and individuals.

The story goes on to mention that the Republican position is not altogether opposed to everything in the bill, but they are “demanding changes to shrink its toll on the deficit.”

Oh yeah, that. We are all so concerned about the solvency of the Republic. Why I just heard PrezBO deliver another one of His wonderful speeches in which He expressed His concern…when was that? Oh, woops. Been quite awhile since I’ve heard anything like that out of Him.

Okay Carrie Fisher, it’s settled. Someone needs to remind Obama of things like budget deficits, He’s clearly not going to take on the issue on His own. So that doesn’t make you a racist. We’ll be awaiting your apology with eager anticipation — if, by “eager anticipation,” you understand what I really mean is disgust and eyeball-rolling.

This thing about “Republican policies are the reason for all your suffering” mystifies me. I suppose it’s to be expected; there are 41 Republicans in the Senate, and they’re using the filibuster to hold up this bill. If the President belongs to the majority party, it’s only natural to see him on the stump delivering speeches about why we should rally the troops in November to whittle the 41 down to something lower. What’s mystifying is the “Republicans cause suffering” meme; obviously, we’re supposed to interpret that as “democrat policies are the only ones that really work.”

And what are these “democrat policies”? They are taking money away from the producers, and giving it to the non-producers. And a new spending program that is, gosh darn it, so important that this time we simply cannot afford to think about whether we cannot afford it. This time, we can’t afford not to spend the money!

VuvuzelaExcept every single lap around the track is like that. You cannot listen to these, if you possess any working long-term memory at all, without feeling like your intelligence is being insulted. Because it is. Today we have to spend the money on this. Yesterday it was that other thing, completely unrelated to this thing…and yesterday, not a single soul mentioned today’s thing, they just tried to sell you yesterday’s thing. Tomorrow — take it to the bank — it will be some other damn silly thing. And the day after, and the day after that. Nevermind the fiscal impact, we can’t afford NOT to do it!

Why do these tidbits take hold so well, when it’s impossible to listen to them without feeling like your intellect is being insulted? Because nowadays, the plain truth of it is a lot of voters don’t have an intellect to insult. Blame the parents and the educational system. They haven’t been taught to evaluate a decision from two sides. They haven’t learned to walk any kind of tightrope. They cannot navigate between a Scylla and a Charybdis. There is only “should do” and “should not do.” Up-with-this and down-with-that.

Timing and prioritization are rather elementary talents in the animal kingdom. A mongoose trying to figure out the right instant to lash at a cobra, can do this. But humans enjoy a lot of creature comforts a wild mongoose does not, and these have had a stultifying effect on some of us. And so Obama can say this stuff. We have to spend money on My gimmick today and just worry about consequences later, and don’t worry your pretty li’l head about why I didn’t mention My gimmick today back when I was trying to sell you on the stimulus plan — why I couldn’t lop off a few billion over there, to spend here, if today’s thing is so all-fired important. Don’t worry about that. Just say yes.

And of course when we find out it didn’t work, and now there are consequences to be endured, it’s always, always, always someone else’s fault. It must be true. He’s such a great speaker.

It reflects poorly on Him to be selling this stuff. But the fact that people are buying it, is most certainly not His fault. It’s theirs. They own that mistake.

Grateful hat tip to KC for leading us to the graphic. We’ve been looking for an excuse to use it and we’re glad, albeit unsurprised, it didn’t take long.

This Is Good LXXIV

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Hat tip to No Sheeples Here, by way of Gerard.

On Obama Getting Angry

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

My girlfriend has a habit of turning on the teevee the instant she wakes up, and leaving it on until she goes off to work. A lot of women do this for the sake of having the background noise. In my case, this means I receive a daily education about Idjit-News, that stuff which purports to be “news” that throws itself at us across the room from the Idjit-Box.

I don’t think of it as news, because it isn’t stuff I need or want to know. It’s stuff someone else needs or wants me to know. It’s as if someone called up the teevee station and said “we need to have the dumb masses told about this” and the teevee station said “okay, alright.”

A great example of what I’m talking about is holiday speed traps. We have one coming up don’t we? Leading up to the three-day weekend, the Idjit-News will tell you “law enforcement will be out” and I had better be on my best behavior. So we all start behaving out there. Laudable goal. But this isn’t news I can use. News I could use, would be “they will be out, with a motorcycle cop on Highway 50 about halfway between Prairie City and Bidwell Road exits heading westbound.” A deliberately-vague “they’ll be out there” is a bit of communication for someone else’s benefit, and just because I’m on the receving end does not mean I’m that someone. See, I don’t mind that they’re working for someone else. Just say so fer cryin’ out loud.

For the past several weeks now I have been hearing something else that is to someone else’s benefit and not mine.

I’ve been hearing a whole lot of it.

The President is angry at BP.

Isn’t it funny how the emotion of anger is used to send messages in politics? We want to discredit the Tea Party movement, we just call them “angry.” But President Obama uses anger as a soothing balm, to take the pressure off Himself. There is a pattern to this, it seems: I hear of some hardcore lefties who are Obama’s “base,” becoming restless with Him because it seems He is not doing enough about the oil spill and it’s starting to turn into His Katrina, the next week I can count on the prediction that He is going to become blisteringly angry. And His “base” will be palliated.

It’s just like the three-day-weekend traffic stops. Someone called up the teevee network and said “get the word out, He is pissed.” I saw this before. When He was first anointed as Our Savior and began to “rule” over us, I was told He just found out about the “Wall Street bonuses” and got unbelievably angry about them. This drama, now, seems to be a reprise of that.

I never did hear much about George W. Bush getting angry. When I did, it wasn’t because President Bush was ducking responsibility for something. It was more like he was taking it on; I’m thinking specifically of taking the fight to the Taliban after 9/11. Can’t think of too many other examples than that.

And it isn’t that I think there’s too much difference in the frequencies by which President Bush got, and President Obama gets, genuinely angry about things. If I had to guess, I’d say behind closed doors if you had a way of measuring it they’d be about the same. But only one is using anger as a political tool. As if to say “Look, I’m still relevant! Grrrr!”

I shouldn’t be finding this too discouraging, although I do.

It isn’t telling me anything about what’s going on, that I didn’t already know: That as of this moment, our nation is being governed by children. Immature little whelps who think, when you have a job to do, the outcome is somehow affected for better or for worse by how angry you get. In the case of the Tea Party movement, anger says something derogatory about your worthiness as a human being. In the case of His Eminence, that anger is some harbinger of wonderful glowing achievement to take place in the near future.

Remember that Saturday Night Live skit with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? “The Rock” Obama? It seems to be a common Manhattan-moonbat Daily-show narrow-purple-necktie fantasy: Oh, if only Obama would get more angry!

I just see these people as people who go through the motions of doing some kind of “work,” and have no idea what it really is. I’ve spent my working life, for the last quarter of a century now, on computer networks…or on things that could have passed for being computer networks at the time, and maybe wouldn’t nowadays. Computer networks are all about having your work connected to the work someone else is doing. People are not as good at communicating as they think they are, and believe you me, I have seen some things over the last twenty-five years that have really cheesed me off.

Does it affect my output? For good or for ill? Nope. The only effect is that whatever pissed me off in the first place, delayed my delivery by a few hours. Does it mean I’ll deliver something I otherwise would not have? No. I just mutter something about “you fucking douchenozzles” and grind onward, as adults do.

What if I was waiting on someone to deliver something to me, and they got angry about something that was supposed to be delivered to them, and it became very important to them that I knew how angry they were? It didn’t take me long to figure out what that meant. It meant they weren’t planning to deliver their stuff to me. They didn’t have the creativity to explore alternatives, were not interested in developing it, and if I was going to deliver my stuff I would have to show the resourcefulness they didn’t have. Also, they were not too terribly concerned about coming off being incredibly, unbelievably lame. Their anger could be distilled down into two words: “Got nuthin’.”

That’s how grown-ups look at it. Because grown-ups divide their work from the emotions that rise up around it from time to time. I’m sure the emotions that rise up when you find out someone is getting angry, are powerful emotions. How do you make a movie-bad-guy really scary? You have him kill off another movie-bad-guy. But when it comes to getting real work done, these emotions are quite useless.

Obama seems to know who His supporters are, and He doesn’t seem to think they’re in the “working” camp. The camp of grown-ups who get work done. He must think this, because obviously He thinks His anger is going to get Him somewhere.

I think overall He’s probably right about that.

Update: Oops, they’re starting to catch on it looks like.

President Soetoro, You’d better get angry about something right quick.

Memo For File CXIII

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Enough about Holy Teleprompter Man. Let’s take a look at the people who work for Him. This is important. He sets the agenda, but these people carry it out.

Item: So much depends on their elitism, we may as well begin with that. Shortly after the electoral victory of He Who Argues With The Dictionaries, I had noticed the contradiction within modern liberalism that becomes irreconcilable and ultimately self-destructive when the liberalism wins elections. It wins these elections in service of a goal of “re-educating” us, by which I mean everyone…but I don’t really mean the classic definition of “everyone” because that isn’t what they mean. They want to take all of these ideas that don’t fit in with their own, and render them ineffectual. They want everybody who fails to believe, to either convert or die. But not all of us are to convert, and maybe all of us are not to die either. A complete victory here would ruin them, I said, because if everybody everywhere is in complete agreement that the liberal ideas are the right ones, then how do you prove yourself to be special by believing in those ideas? You can’t; therefore, this isn’t what they want. You can’t be in the elite club if someone isn’t being left out of it. So to be victorious, the liberal must prevail, and yet to achieve mere significance, the liberal must see to it that the conflict continues after he has prevailed.

Item: Last month, during a “discussion” with liberals about their most powerful females being consistently ugly, I noted on blogger friend Mark’s blog that Supreme Court nominee short-lister Elena Kagan was a dog. (She was, as we all know now, subsequently nominated.) If I were pointing out an isolated incident, that would of course be a cheap shot…and maybe it still is, but the fact remains this is part of an enduring trend. Our progressive “friends” remain ignorant, or put on a good show of remaining ignorant, of the plain, simple and undeniable fact: After the trend has played out for so many decades, whatever vestigial belief remains that these females are being picked for their qualifications, has to dissipate. It is the same situation that would exist if the same forty years ticked on by, with each female nominee to a position of power looking like a Playboy centerfold. Some competent women are homely; some are gorgeous. To so consistently avoid either extreme in service of some goal involving packaging, is detrimental to whatever cause depends on competence. Doesn’t our strength, our progress, depend on diversity? Where’d the diversity go? How come every left-wing power-chick looks like Shrek, except with the massive head slightly melted? Life-long bachelorette, white, nose the size of a large doorknob, hair looks like she’s made-up to play the wicked witch in a Hansel and Gretel school play. You halfway expect to see spiders or cockroaches crawling out of it.

Item: Arthurstone, trying to slam me (the slamming is obligatory when someone says something un-politically-correct, because silence equals consent don’cha know), in his exuberance and incompetence revealed a little bit too much about the plan:

Let’s call that the Arthurstone-discipline-of-liberalism: Manifesting some inner personal decency you may or may not really have, by showcasing your inattention to obvious fact. Kind of a modern, sickly variation of the parable about The Emperor’s Clothes…in reverse.

Rat PhotoItem: In the wake of the whole “rat photo” thing, blogger pal Gerard made the comment about the scene-stealing rodent,

The Rat’s either deserting the ship or applying for a job.

Item: The highly opinionated U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was caught not knowing a goddamn thing about the subject of his uninformed blatherings.

Item: Blogsister Daphne said Holder, who is black, is

…an affirmative action baby, and we all know it. Obama’s whole house is full colorful incompetence, that’s the way the liberals play. Shade over matter.

And then followed it up (knowing full well what was coming) with “Yes, I am a racist. Deal with it.” But this has nothing to do with race…as was aptly demonstrated when…

Item: Our ugly white Homeland Security Secretary was caught in the same way demonstrating the same abysmal ignorance.

Item: Blogger friend Rick brings us the story of a respected scientist who was brought into President Obama’s brain trust to figure out ways to clean up the oil spill, and then summarily dismissed from it when someone figured out his ideas weren’t quite right:

A St. Louis scientist who was among a select group picked by the Obama administration to pursue a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been removed from the group because of writings on his website, the U.S. Energy Department confirmed Wednesday.

Washington University physics professor Jonathan Katz was one of five top scientists chosen by the Department of Energy and attended meetings in Houston last week.

Though considered a leading scientist, Katz’s website postings often touch on social issues. Some of those writings have stirred anger in the past and include postings defending homophobia and questioning the value of racial diversity efforts.

The question that arises is: What exactly does it take to successfully serve in President Obama’s cabinet…His innermost circle…or anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania…or His kinda-sorta inner circle? Who are these people who wield all this power, these people who we are constantly told are oh-so-smart and will bring us all these wonderful results, just as soon as they stop talking about how wonderful they are and how wonderful their boss is, and start working on something? What makes them what they are, and what are they?

And the answer is starting to emerge.

We can tell by looking at them that they are pretty men and ugly women. That has been such a constant for so long that it seems discourteous not to take the time to notice it, after they’ve taken such trouble to persevere in the pattern. Nobody anywhere is asking the question, but it’s certainly a good guess that the clothes worn by pretty-men and ugly-women alike, cost more than anything ever worn by any Republican Vice Presidential candidate since, well, ever. They are book-smart, mostly from their college experiences many years ago when they were forced to read a bunch of garbage; lately, most of them don’t read very much, which stands to reason because they are not held to a standard that involves the production of good results. If that were the case they wouldn’t be liberals, of course.

They are not valued because they have noticed things. If anything, they are valued for not-noticing things. Which fills them with an adrenaline, a drive, to not-notice even more things. Arthurstone proved that much. As far as I know, he doesn’t serve on any special board fulfilling some Obama agenda, other than to log on to blogs that disagree with his ideas and enter silly nonsensical comments there. But hey, he’s got enough of the technique down that he’s worth watching; he is a dim, shadowy reflection of the folks in charge. They are pretty excited about not-noticing things, too.

But the most important thing worth observing about them is this: They do not really have ideas. Not novel ones, anyway; the ideas they do have are merely echoes of ideas someone else has had, which is to say they may as well not have any. I said something about producing good results — that, clearly, is not on the table. Had Professor Katz demonstrated only negligible promise of solving the oil spill crisis, but kept his ideas in line with what was expected of him…which means, kept them progressive and unremarkable…he’d still be in the brain trust. But his written ideas about entirely unrelated subjects are not to be tolerated. Don’t let the doorknob hitcha where the Good Lord splitcha, Prof. Katz, and that would remain the outcome even if you were an oil cleanup superhero.

The criteria is ideas, not results. But not ideas, either. Non-idea ideas. Provide the proper echoing resonance for ideas that have already been created by someone else. Reflect the ideas properly. Give them the right packaging. Be pretty if you’re a man and ugly if you’re a woman.

Are you ready for something really scary?

The Katz story is how these people respond to a real crisis. And we are stuck with their “leadership,” if you want to call it that, for at least thirty-two more months. Milquetoast ideas, no positive results, no priority given to the results, lots of pretty men and ugly women.

This is supposed to be all about “change,” remember that? You never seriously believed that did you? Keep your expectations low, you’ll never be disappointed.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Memo For File CVII

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I’ve decided the time has come to honor the advice of The Bastidge, and follow it. There is certainly a valid point to be made that the world, and therefore the populace that inhabits it, straddles a chasmatic divide separating two unacknowledged communities, and that each of these communities in perfect isolation would enjoy a harmony that must elude us as we co-exist with each other as a monolith. The divide has something to do with order versus chaos, clarity versus obfuscation, substance versus packaging, individual rights versus community obligations, opportunity versus security, pulling your weight versus fitting-in, logic versus emotion.

We’re seeing it right now with the health care debate. And it substantiates the point all the more when we observe that much of the controversy and dissention swirls around this ramshackle, oxymoronic thing called a “public option.”

I called this “Yin and Yang” out of a desire to get to the bottom of what causes people to pursue, throughout their entire lives, one way of thinking over another. The Yin work within boundaries; the Yang do not. The concept is centuries old, and dates back to periods in different world cultures in which femininity itself was a concept synonymous with the stewardship of quiet, contemplative female chores. In societies like this, it naturally follows that men think of things the way women do in ours, and women must think of things the way men do in ours. Here’s a litmus test: Friend of a friend buys a new car. Or, gets carjacked. It’s a great story to tell for sure, but who is to spend time talking about it?

In an agricultural setting, what happens to one has at least the likelihood of impacting everybody else. And so it makes good sense for people to get together somewhere and swap stories. But these are “Shut Your Girl Mouth Men Are Talking” societies. To whatever extent checking-this-out evolves to become a necessary household chore, it is a manly chore. A railroad’s coming to town, maybe (how does this change things?). Farmer Brown’s crops got wiped out by the cold weather (are ours next?). Who goes down to the saloon to find out about this stuff. It’s not the Mama; there are meals to be cooked, a floor to be swept.

Now, we have the automobile. The printing press. The Internet. Womens’ Lib. And when the time comes to swap tidbits of useful news, who does that? Here is what a lot of people are missing: This is a perfect reversal. We do not have mead halls where the men go to drink beer out of steins and compare prices of bushels of corn. It would be awesome if we did, for sure. But it’s not happening, because the gender roles in our society have flipped around in a perfect one-eighty. Men retreat into their own little worlds, not unlike the kitchens that enveloped their great-grandmothers. Their “kitchens” may be just about anything: A computer with a stubborn virus on it; a classic car that’s being rebuilt; a ham radio or a model train set down in the basement; but there is always a project, it always has a border around it, and that’s what men do.

This awesome Art of Manliness article offers a chronicling of what happened to our mead halls. It began, irony of ironies, with us guys being decent and kind enough to give the ladies the right to vote. Prohibition followed that, and…

For centuries, a man could visit a bar and be in the exclusive presence of other men. Because drinking was seen as a corrupting influence on the “purity and innocence” of women, bars were completely off limits to ladies (exceptions were made for prostitutes, of course). Out of the presence of women and children, men could open up more and revel in their masculinity over a mug of cold ale. However, the bar as a men’s only hangout would quickly see its demise during the dry years of Prohibition.

By banning alcohol, Prohibition forced drinking underground. Speakeasy owners, desperate to make a buck, accepted all drinkers into their establishments, regardless of gender. Moreover, the economic and political empowerment women experienced during the 1920s and 30s made drinking by women more acceptable. By the time Prohibition was repealed, the female presence at the local watering hole had become a common appearance.

World War II only further eroded the male exclusivity of bars and pubs. As more women entered the workforce, it became acceptable to socialize with their male co-workers in taverns and lounges after work.

Today, there aren’t many bars around that cater only to men (gay bars being an obvious exception). Instead, bars have become a place where the sexes come together to mingle and look for a special someone.

Note the article’s title: “The Decline of Male Space.” Men used to own the world. Now, we don’t. We have relinquished the privilege and obligation of socializing, turned it over to the gals, and toddled off to the basement to go play with our train sets. The women do what we used to do — they hold court and they compare their notes with each other, try to see if there’s some hidden meaning of everyday events that might affect the family.

This is precisely what their great-great-grandfathers did. The very same thing.

And so I grow weary of having to explain this. Yes, “Yin” is traditionally female, although I use it to describe a personality attribute that predominantly is to be found in our males. Yang, likewise, is traditionally male, although it describes things our women usually do and that our men, typically, don’t. The concept didn’t flip around, the gender roles did. And so, I have to concede that The Bastidge is accurate in his critique:

Your theory’s alright, if a bit vague and rambling. But Yin and Yang have a specific meaning, and you’re using them more or less backwards.

Yin is a concept roughly aligned with the female, but the concepts covered in your theory- group consciousness, socializing, consensus, softness, weakness, emotion, passivity, are all associated with it.

Yang is roughly male, but also strong, factual, direct, resolute, hard, aggresiive, etc.

In their crudest, most basic form, yin and yang refer to the female and male sexual organs.

My use of these names was arbitrary anyway, and that was on purpose. For the last five years I have seen these as placeholders for something more descriptive that would, and should, come later. After I’d given it another think. Well, with this morass of a health care “debate” that has been taking place, and will surely flare up again later this year, I’ve been forced to give it another think. Besides of which, I’ve met lots and lots of manly-male guys who do their thinking in a much “Yangy-er” way than a lot of the females…so the genders don’t fit well in any case.

And I think the terms are these:

Architects and Medicators.

The word “Architect” is chosen with care. Way back in our history, when written language was a novel idea, architects were “master builders” (which is the etymology of the term). These things they labored to construct, with every little piece of it not put in place properly, could very likely collapse and wipe out an entire family in a heartbeat. And so laws were passed condemning failed architects to a death by stoning (Code of Hammurabi, Law 229). That’s a little gruesome, but it had the effect of galvanizing their chosen profession into a noble discipline.

In their own little community, a “Climategate” e-mail scandal would not, could not, have been tolerated even for an instant. Things were the way they were — period. An angle was ninety degrees, or it wasn’t — period. Up was up and down was down — period. There was no room for bastardizing the peer review process into some mutation of what it was intended to be, to ostracize and excoriate colleagues who spoke measurable truth. The architect, hundreds of years before Christ, lived in an object-oriented world and thought about that world in an object-oriented way.

Okay, now let’s look at what I’ve set up as the polar opposite.

“Medicator,” similarly, is chosen with deliberate thought and intent. “Physician” doesn’t work because physicians are supposed to adhere to the Hypocratic Oath and First Do No Harm. The verb “medicate” is applied to addictions, primary among those being mind-altering substances. It speaks to a process of adjusting one’s emotional response to reality as a first priority, with recognizing that reality as a distinctly second-place priority. Medicators do not heal. Nor do they seek to do harm. The long-term welfare of the body is simply outside of their concern. It isn’t that they don’t care, it’s that there is an emotional well-being that they prize more highly.

To recognize reality as it really is, and to adjust one’s emotional profile in response to the reality so that it is unconditionally cheery, are two mutually-exclusive goals. It may not seem to be the case when reality happens to be pleasant. But when reality is unpleasant you can choose to wrestle with it to whatever extent is required to fix a problem, or you can choose to ignore it in order to keep your emotions on a high and even keel. The sacrifice of long-term satisfaction in order to achieve a short-term high is, of course, a defining hallmark of medicating.

One Revolution AwayNow, these people trying to shove this fustercluck of a health care bill down our throats: It’s no mystery at all where they come down. They are medicators. It is not a primary goal of theirs to actually treat illnesses, heal the sick, bring “healthcare” or “access to healthcare” to “the uninsured.” Nor are they trying — architect-style — to solve any kind of a problem, President Obama’s unceasing speechifying notwithstanding. Think on it: When is the last time you heard anyone in Washington use those phrases above? Been awhile, hasn’t it? No, lately it’s about “getting this done.” Beating the opposition. Winning. Make things the way they/we want them to be. But wait just a second…we’re half way through an election cycle, one that began with their decisive victory. They already beat the opposition. Their victory is forgotten, however, just like a druggie’s high, and they find themselves incomplete, hungry, after-buzzed, struck with a raging case of Delerium Tremens if they don’t score another victory. And after they get that done, of course, they’ll need another and another and another. They live out their lives on a hairpin turn, just like a druggie. Time loses all meaning for them. Bliss is constantly one hit away.

It’s not about health care, of course. It’s about how we think about the world around us. The medicator lives in a gilded cage, waiting passively for someone to come along and fix the latest problem. He does not solve real problems, he does not support anyone who would solve real problems, he does not live in reality. He considers reality itself to be an inimical force. This, ironically, provides a liberating effect. Of course it’s all about the way one does one’s thinking to perceive the world around him, and with someone else assuming the burden of actually fixing the problem, the thinker enjoys the luxury of thinking about things as a non-architect. In a non-object-oriented way. With every little thing on God’s creation, melted together into a sloppy mess. And this overly-medicated “thinker” does not think, in turn, about the resulting mess; instead, he picks up an emotional vibe from it, and shares it with other self-medicated thinkers. That’s the model of reality as perceived by the medicator: A great big ball of warm, gooey wax that’s all melted together, and is now giving off vibes. Hopefully good ones, but if they’re bad ones then someone else needs to fix something — or it’s time for another “hit” of something via one-more-revolution.

Disciplining a child provides a similar contrast. To the architect, everything is cause and effect: The child engaged in undesirable behavior, therefore something needs to be modified about what the child perceives as proper or improper. The solution is to teach the child a new taboo. This can be done through direct communication if the child shares the desire that his behavior should be proper, or through punishment if he does not. First of all the transgression has to be properly categorized — bad attitude, or simple misunderstanding? Then we assess what the child understands about etiquette and go from there. In the Architect’s world, that’s what we do.

In the Medicator’s world, the exercise really is one of medication! Concentrating on something is not a task that was, for one reason or another, failed in this case; it is an ability that has gone missing because the child’s “brain isn’t wired quite right.” Of course the solution is to put the child on a prescription for some goop that will alter his emotional state, and make the process “easier for him.” (It’s nearly always a him.)

Another acid test is when a complex system of any kind starts producing the wrong output, because some unit within it starts to go all wonky — with all the other units in good order. To the Architect and Medicator alike, this is a no-brainer, but they come up with polar-opposite solutions. The Medicator wants to chuck the whole thing and start from scratch, whereas the Architect sees a puzzle to be solved in separating what’s good from what’s busted. Think of Blondie and Dagwood getting in one of their matrimonial melees about whether to call the plumber.

I commented last month that I had finally expunged the malware from my HP Mini notebook. My victory announcement was premature, it turned out. The beastie lived on, downloading other crap onto my platform. It shames me to say it, but if I were to act purely on logic and reasonable cost-benefit analyses, I would have taken the “scorched earth” approach much, much earlier than I did, and lost a lot less time. It became an Ahab/whale thing; I lost sight of fixing the problem, and concentrated instead on figuring out entirely useless trivia about it. Where’d I pick up this thing? What exactly does it contaminate? How come these packages over here can detect it and fool themselves into thinking they’re cleaning it, when they’re not? How come that package over there seems to have “wounded” it (toward the end, it locked up the netbook instead of popping up an ad, which is what it was clearly trying to do)…but can’t quite get all of it?

See, neither Architects or Medicators enjoy a monopoly on always having the right idea. Medicators throw things away in bulk — they are much more inclined to announce “this entire thing is bolluxed!” That is often the right approach, and I have to make a confession…my second one, now…that I’ve often missed out on this advantage when it comes up. Medicators seem to think life has no puzzles in it, none whatsoever. And they probably think this because, in the world they construct around themselves by accepting some responsibilities and simply walking away from some other ones, they’re absolutely right. Choices confront them — choices in which the wrong answer results in some kind of personal suffering — and they become petulant, unpleasant, and then someone else swoops in and solves it for them.

In their world, the question of who gets the “rep” as a problem solver, is completely isolated from the record of who did or didn’t actually solve problems. At no time has this been more evident, than this first year of watching our new President struggle with the demands of His new job. He is a dedicated Medicator. He fixes nothing. The only responsibility He takes is to refine the emotional buzz that comes from this thing or that one…and having failed even at that, He has a ready finger-of-blame to point somewhere else so He can give Himself a good report card. Which He did, actually. That one single act speaks volumes not only to how He thinks about the world and the challenges within it; it is a tip-off to how medicators think as well. You’ll notice this about them if you know some really dedicated ones personally. They enter into conflict with others, because they tend to demand the final word about their own work. It was up to par, the other guy just has a mistaken interpretation of “par.” They followed the instructions they were given, it’s the other guy’s fault for not giving them the right ones.

Running a meeting is yet another good litmus test. Some meeting chairs do it right: Agenda item, question, answer, does anyone have any objections, next agenda item — boom, boom, boom. Others engage in this ludicrous and time-consuming practice of using the forum to adjust the emotional tenor of the participants, as if it’s a high school pep rally. Buying a car: Any salesman will tell you, some people turn their thoughts to the TCO with considerations such as gas mileage, service records, availability of parts. Others worry overly much about how they look when they’re tooling around in the car, what strangers will think of them.

Homeowners’ Association bylaws can be written to accommodate one of these halves of humanity, or the other, or both. This is a rather interesting situation, because the bylaws represent an attempt to “architect” a successful neighborhood, through the “medication” of the emotions of the people who observe it. Here and there, though, we see stories in the news surrounding HOA bylaws that are, to turn a rustic phrase, just plain stupid. They don’t do anything to make people feel good and it seems extravagant and far-fetched to suppose they could have anything to do with preserving the value of the property. Banning the American flag is the one example that springs immediately to mind, since those stories have a way of jumping onto the front page.

The last time we linked one of these, the story in question showcased a persistent trait among the Medicators: proxy offense.

[M]anagement told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.

The controlling curmudgeon lays down the curmudgeonly rule, and the curmudgeon is silent on whether he or she personally finds the emblem, the e-mail, the cologne, the pin-up calendar, et al, offensive. It’s much more often proxy: Some third party is offended. Or some third party could be offended. The impossible-to-meet “Could Be Interpreted As” standard of cleanliness. It is conceivably possible, therefore the contraband has to go. The curmudgeon will oversee the removal. But it’s business and not personal, see? Just like something out of The Godfather: “Tell Michael I always liked him, it was business, not personal.” Some nameless faceless anonymous person complained, or could complain.

This dedicated Architect says — Medicators really shouldn’t be running anything. They don’t want to. They don’t want the responsibility. This is why these columns are now coming out, some serious and some satirical, that speculate openly that President Obama is perhaps bored and disenchanted with His own job. I no longer consider it to be commentary outside my sphere of knowledge, to proffer that President Obama had some serious misgivings the first time He made a decision about something that had little-or-nothing to do with winning an election, saw that His decision had a direct bearing upon the outcome, and emotionally recoiled. I have seen this happen too many times, up close. In the months since then, the country has been buried in this “awkward stage” in which He tries to confront each and every single challenge with a vision that, as this-or-that chapter reaches the final page, the emotional buzz of those watching has been fine-tuned and frothed up into a desirable state of bliss. This is, I’m sure, why we’ve seen so many speeches out of Him during His first year, and will doubtless see about that many out of Him during His second.

We live in a society in which our every want and need is met, with resistance or inconvenience that is at best negligible. It may not seem like that to us at the time because we’re spoiled; we tend to mistake a temporary slow-down, or wrong turn, or setback, for a real possibility of failure in acquiring what we’re trying to acquire. Deep down, we all know we’re not really being challenged by much of anything; we will get what we are trying to get, one way or the other, so long as some minimal quantity of our peers are also trying to get the same thing. If all else fails we’ll band together and our populist rage will force someone to give it to us. We’re supposed to be so worried about “the economy” but we have our beer, our coffee, our big teevee screens. The only things that are really in jeopardy are the self-respect and dignity that come from having a job, and the same for our children. All other things are guaranteed, in one way or another. They don’t face any real jeopardy.

This state of hyper-safe hyper-civilization has aggravated the divide between — whate’er you wanna callzem, Yin and Yang, or Architects and Medicators — as I’ve pointed out before. It creates a bigger divide on such fundamental questions as: What is a good speech, anyway? What is a convincing argument? Is it thinky-thinky or feelie-feelie? In other words, do you progress systematically among the first three pillars, basing your opinions/inferences upon available fact and things-to-do upong the opinions/inferences. Or, do you just stir up a whole lot of motivating emotions in your audience, get them all outraged against some straw-man Snidely Whiplash, anti-logical exuberance for your “ideas,” Obama-style?

And the fact is, Architects have a definite idea in mind about the answer to such rudimentary questions.

Another fact is, Medicators have a definite idea about the answer as well. These ideas are not the same. They are opposites.

Another fact is, neither side is willing to budge on such issues. If you have a pulse, and a brain, and you’ve been using your brain to solve problems that confront you here and there…each day you stay alive further enmeshes you in the answer you chose, way back, before you were five years old.

And the least inconvenient fact of all is that if we cannot agree on questions like those, we aren’t going to agree on anything else.

We are engaged in a discourse between people who understand how to make real decisions, and those who do not understand this and do not seek to understand this. They don’t see the need. But since they’ve “won,” for the time being it is their job…even if they continue to find ways to weasel out of it, and blame others when the job goes undone.

Poll: Republicans Gaining Ground on Obama

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Washington Post.

The survey paints a portrait of a restless and dissatisfied electorate at the beginning of a critical election year. More than seven in 10 Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and as many say they’re inclined to look for new congressional representation as said so in 1994 and 2006, the last times that control of Congress shifted.

Somewhere in very-very-young-adulthood, like going back into the upperclassman-high school years, people start to become enamored of the idea of building things. You go back any further than that, and it’s not that way quite yet. If you’re in shop class or computer class you’re a “dweeb.”

The liberalism we have today is just an easy, cosmetic way for grown-ups to go through the motions of doing this building — even though, on the inside, they’re thinking about their minute-to-minute challenges in a purely middle-school way. And you know what I mean by that: What’s the cool thing to wear, where’s the cool place to go, what’s the newest cool dance move, which rock band am I supposed to be listening to.

I’m not talking about the hardcore “Bush planned 9/11” types. I’m talking about those who are simply inclined toward a leftist leaning. They just don’t want to be left out (heh!) of anything. They learned how to wear AC/DC tee shirts to middle school so they could be cool, they learned how to date/be the football jock/cheerleader. And then between 17 and 26 they figured out it was cool to have an actual impact on things, to just sample what becomes an obsession to many of us in old age: Leave something behind that wasn’t here when you arrived.

The current administration typifies this — this mistaken thinking that there is no contradiction here. Well, there is a contradiction. People who think this way, are drinking cups that seek to be more inviting on the outside than they are within. It ultimately doesn’t work. Building things is not for the timid; it means you have to absorb some slings and arrows, because it means for a few minutes…hours…months…you’re not going to be any fun to watch. If you’re fun to watch, every single minute, you can’t get anything done. It’s a trade-off. You get to pick one of the two, but you have to pick because you can’t have both.

It’s a pretty heavy thought. But in the decades ahead, it will be possible to express it all, and expect large numbers of people to immediately comprehend every nuance of it, correctly, in just three syllables: Obama. You know, that failed experiment from oh-eight. Check your bearings because I think you’re getting ready to make an Obama decision here, sport.

His Blank Slate XI

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Karl Rove has a few constructive pieces of criticism…constructive, in that in order to figure out if they’re useful or not, one needn’t bother with the question of whether or not they’re kind.

Because of Washington’s hyperpartisan atmosphere, President George W. Bush drew heated criticism from Democrats for his signing statements. Among his toughest critics was Barack Obama, who in a questionnaire for the Boston Globe in 2007 accused Mr. Bush of “clear abuse” in using signing statements “to avoid enforcing certain provisions…the President does not like.” He promised not to use signing statements to “nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law.”

Yet Mr. Obama started issuing signing statements shortly after taking office. Democratic Reps. Barney Frank and David Obey called him out on it in a letter to the White House complaining that they were “chagrined” that Mr. Obama was issuing signing statements.

Recently, the Obama administration admitted that after receiving the letter from Messrs. Frank and Obey, it stopped the practice. But the president still has aides examine each bill to identify provisions the administration will disregard. It’s just that Team Obama isn’t telling Congress which provisions it is ignoring.
During his campaign, Mr. Obama pledged that any negotiations on health-care legislation would be broadcast on C-SPAN, “so the American people can see what the choices are,” and not conducted behind closed doors. “Such public negotiations,” he said, were “the antidote” to “overcoming the special interests and the lobbyists who…will resist anything that we try to do.”

Internet publisher Andrew Breitbart collected videotape of Mr. Obama making the same promise eight different times in 2007 and 2008—evidence that this was not a hasty or ill-considered pledge. It was supposed to epitomize the “change” that was at the core of the Obama campaign.

Now, however, the final negotiations on health-care reform are being conducted behind closed doors and there’s no formal legislative conference between the House and Senate, which would guarantee Republicans at least a few seats at the table. This bill is not only being written in secrecy, it is being written by an anonymous group of Democrats.
Mr. Obama is not the centrist or new-style bipartisan leader he presented himself to be. On many of the most basic issues raised in the campaign, and in describing the kind of leadership he would practice, Mr. Obama misled voters.

Is Rove on target with his closing uppercut?

Americans will overlook a lot of things when it comes to politicians — but being on the receiving end of a giant bait-and-switch game isn’t one of them.

Between President Obama’s final victory over Hillary Clinton, and His election triumph, the folks who are like me worried vocally about His lack of stated position on real issues. We said He was about to govern on a blank slate. Even when He did promise to do something, so many among the folks who voted for Him were voting for Him for entirely different reasons. These were the perils of personality politics at work. If He ever did anything unexpected, we said, it would be rather difficult to call Him out and say He even broke a campaign promise, since He really hasn’t had to make any.

And if ever He was criticized, we said, He and His loyalists would be able to just use His race to make it all go away.

Obama did make some promises…mostly about the way He’d be doing things, not so much about what exactly He’d do. You see from the above recap how much that means.

So you’ll notice none of us are recanting anything about what we said. Things are not better than we thought they would be. They’re much, much worse.

His Blank Slate X

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a rather vicious swipe at President Obama — or — belittled, perhaps rightfully, the practice of anyone taking what democrat candidates have to say on the campaign trail seriously. One or the other.

Pelosi emerged from a meeting with her leadership team and committee chairs in the Capitol to face an aggressive throng of reporters who immediately hit her with C-SPAN’s request that she permit closed-door final talks on the bill to be televised.

A reporter reminded the San Francisco Democrat that in 2008, then-candidate Obama opined that all such negotiations be open to C-SPAN cameras.

“There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail,” quipped Pelosi, who has no intention of making the deliberations public.

That day, Bagdad Bob Gibbs, the President’s Press Secretary, sidestepped the issue entirely:

QUESTION: C-Span television is requesting leaders in Congress to open up the debate to their cameras, and I know this is something that the President talked about on the campaign trail. Is this something that he supports, will be pushing for?

GIBBS: I have not seen that letter. I know the President is going to begin some discussions later today on health care in order to try to iron out the differences that remain between the House and the Senate bill and try to get something hopefully to his desk quite quickly…

The following day, when Gibbs would presumably have had time to see all the letters he wants to see, he discovered the issue wasn’t going away. And he dealt with it in a way that is rapidly becoming the hallmark of his adminstration:

QUESTION: During the campaign the President on numerous occasions said words to the effect of — quoting one — “all of this will be done on C-SPAN in front of the public.” Do you agree that the President is breaking an explicit campaign promise?

GIBBS: Chip, we covered this yesterday and I would refer you to yesterday’s transcript.

QUESTION: But today is today and —

GIBBS: And the answer that I would give today is similar to the one —

QUESTION: But there was an intervening meeting in which it’s been reported that the President pressed the leaders in Congress to take the fast-track approach, to skip the conference committee. Did he do that?

GIBBS: The President wants to get a bill to his desk as quickly as possible.

QUESTION: In spite of the fact that he promised to do this on C-Span?

GIBBS: I would refer you to what we talked about in this room yesterday.

“LOOP, ENDLESS: See ‘Endless Loop.’ ENDLESS LOOP: See ‘Loop, Endless.'”

Things got even sillier after that…

QUESTION: Well, does the President think it would be more helpful if this process were more transparent, that the American people could see —

GIBBS: Mike, how many stories do you think NBC has done on this?

QUESTION: Speaking for myself —

GIBBS: Just a guess.

QUESTION: That’s not the issue. The issue is whether he broke an explicit campaign promise.

GIBBS: So the answer is —

QUESTION: I deal with the information that —

GIBBS: So the answer is hundreds, is that correct?

QUESTION: Right, but that’s got nothing to do with it. I deal with the information, however much or little of it, there is. I’m saying would people benefit by having more information?

GIBBS: Have you lacked information in those hundred stories? Do you think you’ve reported stuff that was inaccurate based on the lack of information?

QUESTION: Democrats ran against the very sort of process that is being employed in this health care —

GIBBS: We had this discussion yesterday. I answered this yesterday. Is there anything —

QUESTION: But the President met with members of Congress in the meantime —

GIBBS: And he’ll do so today.

QUESTION: — and pressed them to —

GIBBS: Do you have another question?

Perhaps, now, those that need to figure it out can now do so. These people think they’re popular and always will be…or dang it, that’s the way things should work, anyway. They think they’re wonderful public speakers and that’s all that should matter. So they can say the most absurd things, like for example “the system worked perfectly.” We’ll just gulp it all down and beg for more. All of us.

I suppose it makes some kind of sense if you think back to the campaign of ’08. Hope! Change! Greek columns! Planted sluts, pretending to faint!

Hate to say it, but a genuine revolution would look so good right now. Not a pressuring of the President to resign at noon tomorrow, but a complete dismantling of the Government. New Constitution. A “reboot.” One in which (somehow) nobody gets hurt.

Imagine the message that would send to the world. They’d say “Holy CRAP!, the Americans just took down Obama! He failed some of His campaign promises, so they took Him out! Marched Him out at midnight, in His underwear. Those Americans…you tell them something, you’d better live up to it.”

And then, in my fantasy, all those other countries say “Hey — come to think of it, our own leaders lie to us pretty regularly, hmmm.”

And that is change I can believe in. The entire world facing down gasbag politicians — the world! — and telling them “We don’t give two shits how wonderful of a public speaker you think you are.” The human race acting…well…intelligently. Treating the garrulous lectern people, with all their perfect lilts and cadences, their expensive suits and their perfect hair, exactly the same way we treat car salesmen. Or anybody else. Keep your promises and maybe you can have our trust. For a while. Break them, and all bets are off.

Instead, we drift from one year to the next, humming Fleetwood Mac lyrics…

Speeches Fix Everything

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The guys on the radio are criticizing Glorious Leader for his speeches. Specifically, that his Monday speech about the Christmas bombing sets up an unmistakable aura of “investigation is ongoing, nobody rush to a judgment about anything” and the Tuesday speech contradicts that directly with the “systemic failure” theme. (Hat tip to Rick for the link to the Tuesday speech and to Another Black Conservative for the Monday speech.)

I’m currently missing links to the slobbering pundits commanding us all to believe the Tuesday speech was the BEST OBAMA SPEECH EVAR!! Also, to the same regarding the Monday speech. I’m sure both are out there. Oceana is at war with EurAsia, Oceana has always been at war with EurAsia.

Perhaps the time has come to just face up to it: A speech is the answer to everything. Has life really been that simple, all this time?

Or is Obama an even bigger of an empty-suit failure than He has been made out to be?

Tyranny of the Minority

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Fred Barnes starts out with a dreadful headline that states the obvious. Then he works his way through current events, and leaves you with a Thing That Makes You Go Hmmmm…

The Tyranny of the Majority Party
If Democrats insist on passing unpopular laws, they won’t control Congress for long.

[Alexis de Tocqueville] toured America in the 1830s and published his conclusions in the classic “Democracy in America.” He noted the powerful impact of public opinion. “That is what forms the majority,” he wrote. Congress merely “represents the majority and obeys it blindly” and so does the president. They are free to brush aside minority opinion, creating a threat de Tocqueville described as the “tyranny of the majority.”
Doing a reverse de Tocqueville, willingly endangering one’s political career by voting for ObamaCare, hasn’t fazed Democrat Michael Bennet, the appointed senator from Colorado. He was asked by CNN’s John King whether he’d vote for ObamaCare “if every piece of evidence tells you, if you support that bill, you’ll lose your job.” Mr. Bennet said “yes.”

Mr. Bennet isn’t the only potential martyr. A Democratic strategist told Byron York of the Washington Examiner that Mrs. Pelosi “believes losing 20 or even 40 Democratic seats in the House would be an acceptable price for achieving a goal the party has pursued since Franklin Roosevelt.” Now that Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith has bolted the Democratic Party, Republicans need 40 seats to capture control of the House.
That arrogance shaped the economic stimulus passed in February. Republicans wanted tax cuts to spur investment and create jobs. Democrats rejected that idea and enacted a huge increase in spending. As unemployment continued to rise, public opinion turned against the stimulus. Nonetheless, House Democrats passed a new, smaller stimulus bill last week with the same emphasis on spending.
“I regard as impious and detestable the maxim that in matters of government the majority of a people has the right to do everything,” de Tocqueville wrote roughly 175 years ago. But what about a congressional majority—which lacks a mandate from a majority of Americans—seeking to do everything? The Frenchman might have dubbed that the “tyranny of the minority.”

I’ve pointed this out before, what these people are all about. They seek to eliminate the opposition…which is fine, this is what partisan politics is all about, and our system is a partisan system.

But they go through a rather casual expurgation of reality as they achieve and then seek to make the most of their triumphs, and they drag the rest of us with them. Which is not fine. We were hearing a lot of this as President Obama was being sworn into office, how “Hope Won, Fear Lost.” Thus it was settled, everyone was on board with the democrat vision as they began to rule over us. But then again — not everyone. Stimulus I, Al Franken taking his seat in the Senate, Healthcare, Cap ‘n Trade, Cambridge cops acting stupidly. Every single week, all year long, there’s always a “them.” And then it was the “teabaggers.” Someone was always outside of this prevailing understanding of “everyone.” One end of the year to the other, the task ahead was always to vanquish them into oblivion — some more.

I pointed this out last year, after the elections were over. Their platform suffers from devastating and irreconcilable internal contradictions, before it is even brought into contact with the platforms of their enemies. They are there to represent “us”; which means “all of” us, supposedly, but on a little bit closer inspection you see it’s more like “the rest of” us after the more aristocratic classes have already been overly-represented. So yes there’s someone outside of the “all of us” but that someone isn’t supposed to count for anything. A little bit of tit-for-tat, some justified payback Tyranny-of-Majority. The hitch in the giddy-up arrives after the conquest, when the conquering army insists on fighting the battle all over again. Rather like a dog playing fetch. Exactly like that, in fact. Their brains go on this circuitous loop — we’re “everyone”; no we’re not; yes we are; no we’re not.

That’s the troubling dichotomy. You can’t have an exclusive club, if you don’t exclude. If nobody’s left out, nobody can stay in.

And so the King never quite takes the throne — first order of business after that, would have something to do with a bunch of boring old make-a-new-government type stuff. We saw as Obama built his circle full of cronies, czars and tax cheats that this isn’t really His forte. Instead, the King takes the crown off His head, throws it back in the bushes where He found it, mounts His steed and insists on fighting the battle all over again. Makes Him feel more Kingly. He’s supposed to be representing a return to democracy, representing “all of us,” and yet there’s always conflict and He doesn’t seem to know how to present Himself without the conflict. The legislation that works for “all of us” is dismally unpopular, and has to be passed not with a great flourish and fanfare, but instead with a whole bunch of bribery, kickbacks, threats, and sneaking-around.

That’s because, as Barnes points out, it’s really Tyranny-of-Minority. More people have been left out of the exclusive club, than in; it really is exclusive. More people are to be hurt by this new legislation, by design, than helped by it. That is what is supposed to happen.

In the final analysis, there really isn’t anyone in this exclusive club at all. Not out here in the real world. It’s strictly a beltway crowd. They’ve declared war on all economic classes within the country they are supposed to represent, save for the most dependent classes. They aren’t friendly with the dependent classes either, they’re simply taking a pass on trying to destroy them. And the reason they aren’t trying to destroy the dependent classes, is because they are dependent. There are other ways to control them.

“Cheapened the Presidency with Needless Attacks on His Predecessor”

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Rove takes ’em off and goes in bare-knuckled.

Barack Obama has won a place in history with the worst ratings of any president at the end of his first year: 49% approve and 46% disapprove of his job performance in the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll.
Mr. Obama has not governed as the centrist, deficit-fighting, bipartisan consensus builder he promised to be. And his promise to embody a new kind of politics—free of finger-pointing, pettiness and spin—was a mirage. He has cheapened his office with needless attacks on his predecessor.

George Will expounds.

Consider his busy December — so far.

His Dec. 1 Afghanistan speech to the nation was followed on Dec. 3 by his televised “jobs summit.” His Dec. 8 televised economics speech at the Brookings Institution was followed on Dec. 10 by his televised Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, which was remarkable for 38 uses of the pronoun “I.”

And for disavowing a competence no one suspected him of. (“I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war.” Note the superfluous adjective.) And for an unnecessary notification. (“Evil does exist in the world.”) And for delayed utopianism. (“We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.” But in someone’s.) And for solemnly announcing something undisputed. (There can be a just war.) And for intellectual applesauce that should get speechwriters fired and editors hired. (“We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected.” If the human “condition” can attain perfection anyway, human nature cannot be significantly imperfect.)

Then on Dec. 13, he was on “60 Minutes” praising himself with another denigration of his predecessor, aka “the last eight years.” (Blighted by “a triumphant sense about war.”) When Attorney General Eric Holder announced that five accused terrorists would be tried in federal courts, he said: “After eight years of delay. …” When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made the controversial recommendation that women should get fewer mammograms, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said: “This panel was appointed by the prior administration, by former President George Bush.” In congressional testimony, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner almost deviated from the script. He said the Obama administration began after “almost a decade” — slight pause — “certainly eight years of basic neglect.”

Will finishes strong…

A CNN poll shows 36 percent of the public in favor of what the Democratic Senate is trying to do to health care, 61 percent opposed. It is clear what the public wants Congress to do: Take a mulligan and start over.

So Republicans can win in 2009 by stopping the bill, or in 2010 by saying: Unpopular health legislation passed because of a 60-40 party-line decision to bring it to a Senate vote. Therefore each incumbent Democrat is responsible for everything in the law.

The folks from whom I’d really like to hear, are the ones who one year ago were looking forward to the inauguration ceremonies and a new era of (heh) unity, an end (snicker) to partisan bickering, and a (guffaw) new age of mutual cooperation in Washington so things could (groan) finally get done!

They’re probably skipping the expected apology because they figure nobody’s really waiting to hear it.

Well, I’d certainly like to hear it. I think they owe it to the rest of us.

“The Last Guys on the Planet in Love With the Sound of His Voice”

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

More awesomeness linked by Gerard at American Digest.

The squealing Obammyboppers of the media seem to have gotten more muted since those inaugural specials hit the newsstands back in late January. His numbers have fallen further faster than those of any other president — because of where he fell from: As Evan Thomas of Newsweek drooled a mere six months ago, Obama was “standing above the country . . . above the world. He’s sort of God.” That’s a long drop.

The Obama speechwriting team don’t seem to realize that. They seem to be the last guys on the planet in love with the sound of his voice and their one interminable tinny tune with its catchpenny hooks. The usual trick is to position their man as the uniquely insightful leader pitching his tent between two extremes no sane person has ever believed: “There are those who say there is no evil in the world. There are others who argue that pink fluffy bunnies are the spawn of Satan and conspiring to overthrow civilization. Let me be clear: I believe people of goodwill on all sides can find common ground between the absurdly implausible caricatures I attribute to them on a daily basis. We must begin by finding the courage to acknowledge the hard truth that I am living testimony to the power of nuance to triumph over hard truth and come to the end of the sentence on a note of sonorous, polysyllabic, if somewhat hollow, uplift. Pause for applause.”

It didn’t come but once at Oslo last week, where Obama got a bad press for blowing off the King of Norway’s luncheon. In Obama’s honor. Can you believe this line made it into the speech?

The Great Barack Obama…our last, best hope for redemption in the eyes of the international community, and in the eyes of Gaea…or at least, His speechwriters. Tin-eared and tone-deaf.

Kinda like Letterman not being funny anymore. Only one thing was being brought to the party in the first place, and now they’re fresh out of it.

There’s more. At the close, Steyn makes some brilliant points that handily demonstrate this stuttering, teleprompter-driven shimmering narcissism has real consequences for us…that is, for those to whom it is still somehow news:

The news this week that the well-connected Democrat pollster, Mark Penn, received $6 million of “stimulus” money to “preserve” three jobs in his public-relations firm to work on a promotional campaign for the switch from analog to digital TV is a perfect snapshot of Big Government. In the great sucking maw of the federal treasury, $6 million isn’t even a rounding error. But it comes from real people — from you and anybody you know who still makes the mistake of working for a living; and, if it had been left in your pockets, you’d have spent it in the real world, at a local business or in expanding your own, and maybe some way down the road it would have created some genuine jobs. Instead, it got funneled to a Democrat pitchman to preserve three non-jobs on a phony quasi-governmental PR campaign. Big Government does that every minute of the day. When Mom’n’Pop Cola of Dead Skunk Junction gets gobbled up by Coke, there are economies of scale. When real economic activity gets annexed by state and then federal government, there are no economies of scale. In fact, the very concept of “scale” disappears, so that tossing 6 million bucks away to “preserve” three already-existing positions isn’t even worth complaining about.

At his jobs summit, Obama seemed, rhetorically, to show some understanding of this. But that’s where his speechifying has outlived its welcome. When it’s tough and realistic (we need to be fiscally responsible; there are times when you have to go to war in your national interest; etc.), it bears no relation to any of the legislation. And, when it’s vapid and utopian, it looks absurd next to Harry Reid, Barney Frank & Co’s sleazy opportunism. For those of us who oppose the shriveling of liberty in both Washington and Copenhagen, a windy drone who won’t sit down keeps the spotlight on the racket. Once more from the top, Barack!

His Blank Slate VIII

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Actions, consequences. Cause, effect. Charisma gets you only so far in life.

Some caught on by Memorial Day. A few more figured it out by Labor Day. And now it’s up to a majority. Note that the link follows through to a CNN poll…that’s a little like you losing popularity points with your own mother. A majority has figured out that whether we live in an Obama world or not, it is not an Obama universe — no, it is a grown-up universe. Debt has to be paid back, every action brings and equal and opposite reaction, terrorists and foreign heads-of-state don’t care too much about your being magnanimous, and you cannot eat hopenchange for dinner or put it in your gas tank.

The result: Look at those oh-so-important poll numbers. They’re slip slidin’ away…

With a grateful hat tip to American Digest.

The Dithering is Over?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Thirty-four thousand. Okay, now maybe we have a President, Mr.Sullivan.

President Barack Obama met Monday evening with his national security team to finalize a plan to dispatch some 34,000 additional U.S. troops over the next year to what he’s called “a war of necessity” in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told McClatchy.

Obama is expected to announce his long-awaited decision on Dec. 1, followed by meetings on Capitol Hill aimed at winning congressional support amid opposition by some Democrats who are worried about the strain on the U.S. Treasury and whether Afghanistan has become a quagmire, the officials said.

Pffft…democrats worried about the strain on the Treasury. They. Really. Do. Think. We. Are. That. Stupid. Tell me another one, guys.

Anyway, nice job Mr. President. Now why in the world did that take so long? Are you any more certain this is the right move now, than you would’ve been several weeks months ago? What’s that? You are? Really? That’s good enough for that “Really?” segment on Saturday Night Live…not that I’ll be holding my breath for it.

Maybe now you can start growing into the job. Make some decisions. Vote on things in some other way besides “present.” Believe it or not, millions of the people over whom you “rule” have to do that kind of thing every damn day. Some of them even might have voted for you…although most did not and will not. They just live in that kind of world. No “good” choices available, and yet a decision has to be made anyhow.

That’s life, Mr. President.

Anyway — let’s stop picking on Mister Wonderful for a minute or two. This is my biggest concern about people in general, walking around, calling themselves grown-ups, when they have yet to grow up. Some decision comes up and they are OH! SO! DECISIVE! about it…because there’s some option available that makes them look like good people if they happen to choose it.

And then a real carbuncle of a leadership decision comes along. A classic adulthood-test decision. All options available, suck big green eggs. Any decision you make will make you look like a creep. Do we buy a new engine for the family car, or junk it and buy another? Do we spend more money at the vet, or do we put the dog down? More tough choices come from the movies. Do you throw your little brother in the blast furnace now that aliens have taken over his body? Do you unlock the door and let the guy in when zombies are chasing him?

And faced with classic avoidance-avoidance conflict, these grown-up children do what President Obama did. LOOK FOR A CHOICE THAT MAKES YOU LOOK GOOD. IF THERE IS ONE, MAKE THAT. IF NOT, STALL FOR TIME AND GO BACK TO STEP ONE. That is not leadership. And if that is not the situation — you know what? Your “leadership,” however you define it, hasn’t really been tested. Leadership is only tested when the leader faces a plurality of options, and each one sucks.

Obama has faced His first real test of leadership as President.

Hopefully, He’ll do better next time.

Popular Support of Obama’s Narcissism

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I’m slightly reworking the title Dr. Melissa Clouthier gave this one because I’d like to explore some things she just touched, kind of pick it up where she left it.

Michael Gerson Sums Up Obama’s Narcissism


On several occasions, Obama attacked American conduct in simplistic caricatures a European diplomat might employ or applaud. He accused America of acing “unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others” — a slander against every American ally who has made sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan. He argued that, “America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy” — which is hardly a challenge for the Obama administration, which has yet to make a priority of promoting democracy or human rights anywhere in the world.

The world, of course, has its problems, too. It has accepted “misperceptions and misinformation.” It can be guilty of a “reflexive anti-Americanism.” “Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone.” Translation: I know you adore me because I am better than America’s flawed past. But don’t just stand there loving me, do something.

And, wow again:

Twice in his United Nations speech, Obama dares to quote Franklin Roosevelt. I have read quite a bit of Roosevelt’s rhetoric. It is impossible to imagine him, under any circumstances, unfairly criticizing his own country in an international forum in order to make himself look better in comparison. He would have considered such a rhetorical strategy shameful — as indeed it is.

At the United Nations, Obama set out to denigrate American goodness so he can become our rescuer. The speech had nothing to do with the confident style of Democratic rhetoric found in Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy. It insulted that tradition. And no one is likely ever to quote the speech — except to deride it.

Here’s my take, though. President Obama is no different from candidate Obama. What did you moderates out there think he meant when he said that he would rise the tides and save the planet and BE the change you can believe in? Why do you think President Obama wanted to “remake America”?

I’ll answer it for you: Because he felt that America is fundamentally flawed. Because he believes HE is the fix. Pretty simple. And he’s no different today than he was a year ago. it’s just rather startling to hear the President of the United States apologize for his own country inherent badness and say that his inherent goodness is the cure.

Arrogant and narcissistic? Yep. But he had a lot of useful idiots help him get elected. His America-hating speechifying is nothing new. Some people are just hearing for the first time.

I’m not looking forward to a whole bunch of forehead-smacking as untold millions of American voters realize the mistake they’ve made and resolve to do better. Maybe the folks who voted for Obama in order to protest the Bush deficits — wow, that seems like so long ago, doesn’t it? — will do some of that. But even they won’t be stooping so low as to admit to an error. They’ll simply take the position that there was no better alternative, that McCain was “McSame”…it must be true, all those Saturday Night Live skits said so.

Nor do I think there is any grand prevailing viewpoint behind the idea that Obama is the fix. Modern Americans live far too comfortably to be overly concerned about “fixes”; our enthusiasm tends to be riveted on identifying the problem, and forcing an artificial patina of unanimity in acknowledging the problem is there. Quick, pop-quiz, someone tell me what our “fix” is for global warming. What’s the “fix” for a child with learning disabilities. Details, I want details! But I will not be getting details. No plan, no work-breakdown-structure, no steps, no methods of validation that any plan is working. Just a bunch of bullying rhetoric that such-and-such a child definitely has Aspergers and the planet is definitely heating up.

Obama is in a precarious situation here, and although many among his supporters fail to realize it, I’m pretty sure He Himself gets it. If the election were to be held today, He just might win…better-than-even-odds He would…He is awfully “cool,” and although it’s become embarrassing that His solution to every problem is yet another “wonderful” speech, He is certainly good at giving those. But if the election were to be held today, the vote upon which He would depend — utterly and completely — is the “ego” vote. The “It must be the right thing to do now, because it sure as hell was the right thing to do in ’08” vote. The not-ready-to-admit-a-mistake vote.

Which means the “This-Year’s-Hot-New-Trend” vote is deader than Charlemagne. Nothing remains of it, no headstone, no carcass to be exhumed because its grave is unmarked.

But this “Ego” vote is strong. People don’t like to admit their mistakes; and they can go a very long time displaying their interest in undeniable-truths…which, it is worth noting, would fail to capture such exuberant support of the truths really were undeniable. They can go a long ways without expressing any interest whatsoever in fleshing out any step-by-step plans for fixing the problems they say they want fixed so badly. And so, take it to the bank, come 2012 we will be hearing from all over the place that “This-or-that was so much worse when Bush left office, than it is now” and “It will be taking Him a long time to clean up that mess Bush made” and “Bush screwed the pooch so Obama needs eight years to take care of it properly.”

Support will be falling off. But very quietly. The next contest, and the next one after that, will be decided by turnout. Very few people will be admitting outright that they supported His Holiness last year, and have decided to stop supporting Him.

Best-case scenario is that Obama comes to be like the trashy tabloid you see in the supermarket: Nobody will admit to buying it, and yet, millions of people somewhere must be doing exactly that. Next-best-case scenario? That the defectors from the Obama camp fit into the tabloid metaphor that way. Nobody will admit to leaving the Church of Holy Barack; but we’ll have some elections proving millions of people must’ve done that very thing.

But I completely agree with Melissa about Obama’s campaigning. If anyone does want to express some discomfort over our President’s amazing narcissism, and they’re so lacking in self-restraint they are actually heard to mutter some words to that effect — they can bite it. It simply isn’t reasonable to show surprise here. Obama is governing, more or less, the way He campaigned. At least to such a minimal extent that He fleshed out what His plans were, while He was campaigning…which wasn’t much. You certainly would have a hard time making the case that He broke too many campaign promises.

Particularly in matters dealing with support or lack thereof, for the country He was campaigning to govern…or rule over…whatever. You thought Obama would give patriotic speeches on the world stage about America’s wonderful contributions to civilization and world peace? You thought He’d say something so that people in Switzerland and Sweden and Nigeria and Afghanistan and Russia and Indonesia would say to themselves “Wow, America is really great”? Really? You expected that? Based on what?

Who Exactly Is This Guy, Anyway?

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Neo-Neocon notices some things unflattering to our current President…and yet, of interest to all sorts of ordinary citizens, at all kinds of points across the political spectrum:

Left and Right alike, people are busy asking the question “Who is Obama, what is he?”

I cannot recall another president about whom this question could be asked so often and with such great urgency. To be sure, some of them gave us unpredictable moments, or favored policies that surprised us (think Nixon and China). Some of them changed while in office, such as the pre-9/11 vs. the post-9/11 George Bush.

But in some essential way, we knew who each president was and what he stood for, even if we might heartily disagree with every bit of his agenda or even dislike him personally. Obama is the first president we’ve ever had about whom many of us are beginning to suspect he has been lying not just about this or that topic, but about his very essence: who he is and what he wants for America.
Richard Fernandez notes the Obama pattern that is emerging:

[A] President can’t be like an onion without creating problems. He sends a variety of signals to his supporters, to his enemies, to the ordinary citizens of the country. And every leader — even Stalin and Hitler to use extreme examples — had an implicit duty to be consistent. Consistently bad, maybe, but consistent. So supporters and enemies could know which end was up.
Maybe I’m making too much of it, and it is just my personal opinion, but I’ve always felt there was something that I wasn’t quite getting about the President. It’s there, just on the edge of vision. And then it’s gone. One day I’ll see it clearly, but it’s an elusive thing.

I don’t see any note of this made in NN’s writings, or in her excerpts, or in her links…from what I’ve sampled…maybe it’s there and I missed it.

But what scares the piss out of me is this: President “Barry Sottero” is, within the pool of knowledge that is at my command, the very first President of the United States — ever — to have gone under a plurality of names. A generation ago, this would have been unthinkable…for a POTUS, anyway. And a century ago it would have been a disgrace. Public-service-honor and personal-honor were inseparable; and ambiguity, of any kind, lacked compatibility with either one.

So even if you’re in love with the hardcore-lefty politics. The question stands: What in the hell are we doin’?

Biggest Bunch of Crybabies I Have Ever Seen

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Hat tip to Rick.

I’ve been noticing this, the way you notice an itch that you might be able to scratch if you could only find it, but you can’t quite find it. This meticulous attention to public image. The mindset of the current leadership seems to be one of unrelenting determination to provide stewardship to the packaging, without regard to the contents.

Perhaps it would not seem so odious if now and then I heard an explanation of how a plan is supposed to work. The steps involved in the plan working. But I very seldom hear anything about steps; it wouldn’t service the interest of providing stewardship to the packaging. The fear must be one of: This step worked out the way you said, that step worked out the way you said, and then oopsie this third step went off in some different direction from the way you said it would and now we are being criticized. Who cares if ultimately the plan is successful, now you’ve exposed our precious administration to criticism.

So everything is Barack Obama giving a wonderful speech about “I just think…” We live in their universe in which there is no cause and no effect — things do not happen because of other things. There is just Barack and all the things He has figured out. Every argument is concluded not, in spite of appearances, because of a brilliant point that was made; but because someone managed to get the last word in.

Over on Gerard’s page, our First Lady is acting like quite the Marie Antoinette in maintaining — and showing off, of course — her much-discussed vegetable garden. I think this is an apt metaphor for the 44th presidency. Not that I mean to insult vegetable gardeners, but it seems to me an imbalanced lifestyle has been embraced, one devoted to the lifestyle of a vegetable gardener who possesses vast holdings of land, but is obsessed only with that one damn garden. Pull the weeds, spray the weeds, fertilize the vegetables, plant the vegetables, harvest the vegetables…from the moment the gardener rises in the morning, until he puts his weary head down for the night. Just stay fixated on image, image, image the way the gardener remains fixated on the garden.

Elsewhere, there are bridges that need mending…and fences too. There are taxes to be paid on owning the land. There is a house to be painted with a roof that needs patching. Babies with dirty wet butts that need changing. Meals to be cooked, and after that’s done, dishes to be washed and ovens to be cleaned. And on the far corner of the property a pack of wild coyotes is making inroads, doing their scavenging and fornicating and pooping and yelling. As they get bolder, they’re going to start carrying off things like kittens and puppies, then work their way up the babies.

There’s shit to be taken care off. All over that spread.

But no. Nothing matters except the vegetable garden of public image. So get someone on the phone with Chris Wallace to do some whining.

The President’s Plan Codifies Too-Big-To-Fail Policy…

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Anthony Randazzo, writing in Big Government:

The White House plan, as proposed, would not create an even playing field for competition, but would give big firms a competitive advantage by labeling them too big to fail. Ultimately, the regulation reform proposals represent a massive power grab from Washington.

The president criticized the doctrine of too big to fail (TBTF) yesterday, but his plan will create a tiered structure naming the biggest firms systemic risks to the system because of their size and interconnectedness. The proposed resolution authority would essentially act as a built-in bailout mechanism for those firms. So instead of ending TBTF, the president’s plan actually codifies the policy, essentially turning Wall Street’s biggest institutions into government-sponsored entities in the mold of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the crisis.

I’ve got some money riding on the prospect that 1) Obama is a one-termer, and 2) He’s going to get His ass handed to him next year in the midterms, just like Clinton in ’94.

I think Obama’s betting the same way I am. He isn’t governing like a President with a hefty, solid mandate; and He isn’t governing like a post-partisan anxious to heal a divide. Nor is this avalanche of ambition, with so little finalized substance to back it up, indicative of any kind of special energy or drive.

He is governing as if He is acutely aware of a terminal illness. “Now or never” seems to be the bumper-sticker slogan attached to each effort. He moves with all the haste of a man charging across a bridge made of solid ice, during an early spring thaw. Or slithering through a window that is about to slam shut, never to be opened again.

“The Soup is Terrible and the Portions Are Too Small”

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Much of the “governing” that took place in our country throughout the twentieth century, has consisted of a) identifying a problematic social program that had been put in place in some past generation to redistribute money — what in God’s name were we thinking when we put that turkey in?? — and b) putting together yet another one to give our children the same nightmares our parents gave us. We seem to possess a regrettable ability to fail to recognize a Faustian arrangement, right up to the last phases of it, the moment our nose-hairs are tickled by the sulfuric fumes.

Regarding the President’s speech Wednesday evening, I got five things out of them:

No one single plan is finalized yet, so nobody else can criticize it but I can “dispel rumors” by fantasizing about what I’d like to see in the final draft;

I get to call my opponents liars, but when they say I’m a liar it’s a breach of some kind of sacred code of civility;

If my opponents point out something won’t work, you should pretend nothing of value has been said at all, until such time as they can come up with a solution to it — but when I say something that makes no sense whatsoever but sounds good, go ahead and get as excited as you want;

Medicare is broke because it promises things we cannot afford to pay, so the solution is to promise more;

My plans all make it harder for any person or company to make a profit providing the services we say we want & need, thereby making it much less likely that it will happen — but don’t call it that, call it “holding them accountable.”

All in all, a fine and stylish re-hash of all twentieth-century left-wing proposals to “fix” our social-engineering and gimme-gimme programs handed down to us by our parents and grandparents. There’s nothing new added, but all the old stuff has been meticulously covered.

The editors of Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook have gone over the President’s remarks to see what else they can get out of it:

Mr. Obama began by depicting a crisis in the entitlement state, noting that “our health-care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers,” especially Medicare. Unless we find a way to cauterize this fiscal hemorrhage, “we will eventually be spending more on Medicare than every other government program combined. Put simply, our health-care program is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close.”

On this score he’s right. Medicare’s unfunded liability—the gap between revenues and promised benefits—is currently some $37 trillion over the next 75 years. Yet the President uses this insolvency as an argument to justify the creation of another health-care entitlement, this time for most everyone under age 65. It’s like a variation on the old Marx Brothers routine: “The soup is terrible and the portions are too small.”

As astonishing, Mr. Obama claimed he can finance universal health care without adding “one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period,” in large part by pumping money out of Medicare. The $880 billion Senate plan he all but blessed this week would cut Medicare by as much as $500 billion, mainly by cutting what Mr. Obama called “waste and abuse.” Perhaps this is related to the “waste and abuse” that Congresses of both parties have targeted dozens of times without ever cutting it.

Apparently this time Mr. Obama means it, though he said this doesn’t mean seniors should listen to “demagoguery and distortion” about Medicare cuts. That’s because Medicare is a “sacred trust,” and the President swore to “ensure that you—America’s seniors—get the benefits you’ve been promised.”
Mr. Obama also called for “civility” in debate even as he calls the arguments of his critics “lies.” So in the spirit of civility, we won’t accuse the President of lying about Medicare. We’ll just say his claims bear little relation to anything true.

We’re gerbils on a treadmill, the way we hear these promises about how budgets will be met without cuts being made anywhere. We act like we can look back on some track record that promises accuracy in these rosy prophecies — or at least provides some way to determine accuracy, accurately.

That’s probably the biggest lie that’s been told or implied in this whole issue. These programs don’t cost what we’ve been told they’ll cost; they cost orders of magnitude more. There isn’t even a mathematical formula available to predict how much exploding they’ll do. The only one that’s worked out over the generations has been “>1”. Beyond that — the programs cost every single bit as much money as they want to cost, and when it happens, we’re powerless to stop it. There’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Except of course for one thing: Make more programs, provided the guy trying to get us to make them, is a really good speech-maker.

Update: John Hawkins interviews Congressman Joe “You Lie!” Wilson. You shouldn’t miss it. You know, that whole thing we talk about from time to time…hearing the other guy’s side of the story. Turns out there is one.

I was looking at all of the amendments and I knew that the Democrats had defeated the enforcement amendments about illegal aliens and these would be the amendments that would provide for verification of citizenship. That’s the wording and I’ve actually read the 1,000 page bill. The references to the illegal aliens in the bill didn’t have any enforcement. It was simply fluff.

So in other words, they say illegal aliens aren’t covered at all in the bill all they want, but if they deliberately leave out any enforcement provisions, it doesn’t mean anything because they can still…

It doesn’t mean anything. The verification, as proposed by the Republican amendments, was defeated in committee. I knew that and so I just felt like what I was hearing was not accurate. …So I was just really appalled at this.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Van Jones’ CD Highlights

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

I’m going through Malkin’s new book and one thought keeps reverberating off the walls of the sound chamber that exists between my ears rather than within them. And that one thought is this: It is getting really, really hard to dredge up nasty feelings about Sarah Palin’s clothes.

Meanwhile, Gateway Pundit found, via Verum Serum, a piece of fascinating insight into Van Jones, who is the very latest czar to be “nominated” to an Obama Administration post.

When one listens critically to propaganda, it is a simple matter to tell if it has been paid-fer. Some of the outrage against the War on Terror is genuine, true enough; but most of it is not. Most of it is phony, most of it is funded.

And the people who fund anti-War-on-Terror propaganda, are the same ones who fund the “Oh no, we can’t drill here, why that’ll mess things up for the Caribou and the adorable penguins.” Meanwhile there’s an ugly anti-semitic undertone permeating throughout all of it.

We really don’t have any direct way of stopping a czar’s “appointment.” For all this lofty rhetoric so regularly dispensed by our leftist politicians about representing “The People,” about all The People can do to block such obviously mistaken (or wicked) maneuvers such as this, is with an outpouring of rage. That’s the only recourse available to Them.

Hope it works this time…

How Can You Help Barack Obama?

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

His Blank Slate VI

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

What went wrong, according to Victor Davis Hanson:

We are witnessing one of the more rapid turnabouts in recent American political history. President Obama’s popularity has plummeted to 50 percent and lower in some polls, while the public expresses even less confidence in the Democratic-led Congress and the direction of the country at large. Yet, just eight months ago, liberals were talking in Rovian style about a new generation to come of progressive politics — and the end of both the Republican party and the legacy of Reaganism itself. Barack Obama was to be the new FDR and his radical agenda an even better New Deal.

What happened, other than the usual hubris of the party in power?

First, voters had legitimate worries about health care, global warming, immigration, energy, and inefficient government. But it turns out that they are more anxious about the new radical remedies than the old nagging problems. They wanted federal support for wind and solar, but not at the expense of neglecting new sources of gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power. They were worried about high-cost health care, the uninsured, redundant procedures, and tort reform, but not ready for socialized medicine. They wanted better government, not bigger, DMV-style government. There is a growing realization that Obama enticed voters last summer with the flashy lure of discontent. But now that they are hooked, he is reeling them in to an entirely different — and, for many a frightening — agenda. Nothing is worse for a president than a growing belief among the public that it has been had.

Second, Americans were at first merely scared about the growing collective debt. But by June they became outraged that Obama has quadrupled the annual deficit in proposing all sorts of new federal programs at a time when most finally had acknowledged that the U.S. has lived beyond its means for years. They elected Obama, in part, out of anger at George W. Bush for multi-billion dollar shortfalls — and yet as a remedy for that red ink got Obama’s novel multi-trillion-dollar deficits.

Third, many voters really believed in the “no more red/blue state America” healing rhetoric. Instead, polls show they got the most polarizing president in recent history — both in his radical programs and in the manner in which he has demonized the opposition to ram them through without bipartisan support. “Punch back harder” has replaced “Yes, we can.”

I’m guessing maybe three quarters out of all the electorate has little-to-no understanding about the civil war raging between conservative and liberal…or does understand it, and doesn’t care for it. Wants to wish it away. If they could ask one single question each election cycle that defines their concerns, the question would be Rodney King’s “Can’t we all just get along?”

The answer is no.

From global warming to drilling in ANWR to abortion to home-schooling to minimum wage to single-payer healthcare to the death tax to the card check bill to the death panels to “negotiating” with terrorists to the airborne laser to the right to keep and bear arms. The issues are all the same. They all boil down to one thing: Are people glorious. Do they have potential. Can they have ideas…as individuals. Are they worthy of a vigorous, terrible and lethal defense.

Is it a more noble exercise of the human creativity to create things — or to destroy things. It all comes down to that.

And last fall we didn’t vote for a creator. Well…some of us did. But most of us didn’t.

Obama’s Birthplace

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Via Buck, who produces two possible reasons why The Holy One has not yet produced the long form…

(a) Suppose Mr. Obama is a legal bastard? Which is to say his mother and father weren’t married when he was born… wouldn’t YOU want to preserve your dead mother’s dignity? Especially in America, where one can easily imagine the hue and cry about a “love child” occupying the White House. This is NOT beyond the pale.

(b) To continue to give the Lunatic Fringe enough rope to hang themselves, as if they haven’t done so already. But this approach, if it is indeed the case, is simply clever politics. And it seems to be working.

I think (b) is far more likely than (a), myself. But I can also produce a (c): When you’ve got a brand new pretty shiny 24k gold hammer, everything you see looks like a nail. Barack Obama’s hammer is that He can convince people something is true by making them feel awkward and teetering on the brink of ostracism if they dare to believe the opposite, or simply harbor doubts. It is His chosen method for selling things, and He is exceptionally good at it.

I believe what we’re seeing with regard to the long form birth certificate, is His oh-so-tried-n-true brandishing of the big 24k gold hammer, as a means of proving something that’s really true. This illustrates the depths to which He has sunk in becoming a master of bullshit-sales; He just can’t help Himself. It’s a lot like the Clintons lying about things in such a way that they’re bound to get caught, and in the meantime provide no discernible benefit to them or to any of their friends even if someone should be deceived by the lie — “I was named after Edmund Hillary,” as just one example.

I don’t think Obama is capable of using what the rest of us understand to be inferential logic. He’d have done it by now. I mean, by that, “I’m thinking of a prime number between 270 and 280 that does not end in 7; what is it?” Process of elimination, if-this-then-that. It isn’t that it’s beyond His intellectual capacity; He seems like a bright enough guy. The issue is that it is not part of the world in which He lives. He’s a socialist. All thinking, in that universe, is social. It’s all “I have to show my faith in X because I will be shunned if people think my faith is in not-X.”

The political benefit from the teapot-tempest that ensues from His keeping the long form under lock and key, is just an afterthought. His primary motive is that on His home turf, this is how you “prove” things and there is no other way to do it: By stigmatizing the opposite. We are discussing an individual possessing a dizzying and breathtaking lack of understanding or concern about what is & is not true. And not only is He our President, but He is also in great company. Quite a few of our countrymen are sufficiently divorced from reality that, if they were struggling with the everyday tasks and exigencies that were a natural part of life a century and a half ago, they wouldn’t make it.