Archive for the ‘Poisoning Western Civilization’ Category

Who Killed Christmas?

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Crowder and Zo make fun of CSI. It’s a little bit dragged out, but I am so glad someone is finally making fun of that horse’s ass David Caruso.

I seriously cannot watch this show. It’s like my intellect is being insulted every five to ten seconds, throughout the entire hour.

Know what I’m talking about, right? I expect to see that kid from Fright Night come running out shouting “Oh my God, you’re so cool David Caruso!” What, they’re trying to get idiot schoolgirls to tear down their Leonardo DiCaprio Titanic posters, and put up one of Caruso in their place?

Blegh. Enough with the super-duper-hottie male-n-female forensics investigators. It’s stupid. The super-hottie lady investigators, with their oh-so-slow hot showers, look sufficiently stupid to me…and I happen to like hottie ladies…gravel-voice is a few notches further stupid than that. Yeah, I hear you shouting “so don’t watch it!” Precisely. You got it.

Back to the subject at hand, people who find “Christmas” offensive. Yes. They suck too. And with very few exceptions, they all seem to be “proxies” — you know? Concerned that someone else might get offended, who may or may not exist?

Why Are They So Doggone Stupid???

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Yes, it is nice to see some real straight talk once in awhile.

The answer to the question, I think, is that they aren’t really that stupid. The problem isn’t in their heads, it’s in their hearts. They’re full of hate.

Hat tip to Don Surber, by way of Let’s Think About That.

Memo For File CV

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

One of the very first things covered by President Obama during His inaugural speech was the “fact,” if you call it that, that forty-four Americans have now taken the Presidential oath of office. He got that one wrong, but the fact-checkers didn’t catch it because they were too busy screening Saturday Night Live skits. But His observation does raise an interesting point: We’ve had quite a few Presidents. Some have been good, some have been bad, and with a whole lot of them it depends on who you ask.

When we argue about the people who may or may not become President in the near future, that’s when we really go at it, and this makes sense too. One arrives rather quickly at the realization that we don’t seem to disagree too much about what qualities the candidates do & do not have; our disagreement seems to be about what is important to the office. This part, it seems to me, doesn’t make that much sense. We haven’t had forty-four men take the oath of office quite yet, but we have had something very close to that. Wouldn’t it be wise to look back and see what history has taught us?

When I look back on what history has taught us, I see — once again — the prevailing sentiment has things about 180 degrees off course, more-or-less.

The prevailing sentiment smiles, first and foremost, on boldness, daring, “trying something new.” Creativity, vision, hope, change…perhaps Robert Kennedy, not one of the 44 guys, said it best. “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why; I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Inspiration. New ideas. Thinking outside of that ol’ box!

History is pretty clear about this. It’s led to multi-generational new social entitlement program bullshit, and the feeling of dependency and crushing debt that go along with those. Not much else.

Next up is jut-jawed determination, grit, resolve, integrity. This is not an ability or willingness to make good decisions; this is the quality of sticking to them once they are made. We have good reason to insist on this. If you’re President, and you make a decision I kinda don’t like but it doesn’t completely offend the hell out of me…let’s say there are other options I would have preferred, but there are others I detest much more, so I could learn to live with it. It’s important that as you meet all these other power-players that a President meets, I know you’re going to stick to your guns.

I would have to say in my lifetime, the one President who had more of this than any other was our 43rd, George W. Bush. Well, frankly that didn’t work out too well for him. He left office on a steep downslide in his approval ratings…but with no one willing to step forward and say he was missing even so much of a smidgen of this quality. And I would infer it was this quality that was instrumental in bringing those approval ratings down. His predecessor was much more popular, and I would say that predecessor had less of this than any other President in our lifetime. Bill Clinton would say something on Monday, and by Tuesday…who knows what would happen. So this is something we say we like. But I think it’s a fair assessment to comment the public is demanding this quality in its Presidents, but it isn’t willing to show much of it itself. It sees an annoyingly broad latitude in changing its mind about it.

The next quality is unnamed. Barack Obama has oodles and oodles of this, but nobody is quite sure what it is. You heard this much discussed throughout the 2008 campaign, especially when He was locked in a fierce battle with Hillary Clinton for the nomination. “There’s just something about Him!” Some people call it leadership because when He says something, like “grab a mop” for example, there arises within you this primal instinct to get it done. The marrow of your bones seem to just want to start mopping. Authority, confidence, blah blah blah. He never stutters or stammers…says “uh” quite a lot, but always with dignity and flair.

What’s this done for us over the course of the previous 43 administrations?

Well, it’s helped to sell us a lot of crap. Salesmen learn how to do this; if it is their trade to deal with bad product. Hey let’s face it, if your product is compatible with the interests of the buyer, your “charisma” isn’t going to help the sale a whole lot. An average-Joe can get just as much sold. You need excellent salesmen if you’re trying to move a shitty product. So this “I don’t know why I want to do what he says, it’s just the way I feel!” thing is a distinguishing characteristic of flim-flam men and liars. And indeed, our history is seasoned with quite a few Presidents who were superior in all kinds of ways, whose voices were awkward, squeaky, meandering…interestingly, most of them existed in the days before it was possible to make any kind of audible document. We have to read the written word of their contemporaries, to get a feel for what their voices sounded like. But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hopey-changey charisma-or-whatever back there.

Believing in peace? That’s been an enormous bust, probably the biggest one. If I have to come up with a list to illustrate the point, you’re never going to get the point. The Presidents who believed in war have done a lot more good for our nation. Note that I didn’t say “who loved war”; I said believe in war. I can think, right off the top of my head, of four Presidents who believed in war but properly despised it as any decent human being must. Perhaps the quote attributed to Reagan, supposedly uttered during the PATCO strike, sums up the vision and the sentiment of an effective U.S. President: “If there’s going to be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.” I know of no phrase in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers or any correspondence among they who founded the nation, that contradicts this. Our nation’s Chief Executive is a ripper-offer of band-aids. Get it over with.

Honesty? That goes without saying.

Loyalty? That goes without saying as well. But of course loyalty is a tricky thing. You have to prioritize it. If it was possible to be loyal to everyone all the time, it would be an easy, simple job to be President. And of course it isn’t.

Does wisdom play a role? That, too, goes without saying. The President must be able to look down the road, consider the effects of his decisions over the short term as well as the longer one. How good of a job do we do on insisting on this? The argument that George W. Bush failed to consider the more distant implications of his decisions, seems to hold water at first. But when one thinks back to the events of early 2003 and recalls them with honesty, one sees this is a crock. The matter was deliberated over and over and over again; the pro-peace people were granted one fair hearing after another, after another, and then they took to the streets all over the world to riot just to make sure the point got across. It got across. But the problem was, we were dealing with an asshole who needed to be taken down. France, later revealed to be on-the-take via the Oil For Food program, used their veto power on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and that’s when George Bush went around the process. The debacles that came afterward made this seem unwise. But real wisdom is recognizing all the available options, and when each and every single one of those options suck, maintaining an ability to select the least-sucky out of all of them.

So I would say our prevailing viewpoint is that wisdom is important, and the prevailing viewpoint is correct about this.

Reviewing the events of the past decade, I would further observe the prevailing viewpoint measures wisdom as the ability to “conjure up” a non-sucky option that does not necessarily exist. And I would comment that the prevailing viewpoing is wrong about that.

Once an option is chosen, wisdom stands behind the notion that it was the best one. It does not stand behind the notion that it was a good option. You have to play the cards you’re dealt.

How about a willingness to go out and seek the wisdom? Does a good President have the patience and courage to listen to the wisdom of our children?

Nope. Children don’t have wisdom. They’re too young. Next question.

How about knowing where the bodies are buried, like Lyndon Baines Johnson did? Does that make for an effective President? What does history say about that?

History says this is a useful thing for getting things passed the President wants passed; especially when the President is trying to overcome stiff opposition to get it passed. And can improve his odds in this effort, by sidestepping logical, rational debate. And legitimate criticism. So if the President is trying to sell a crock of bullshit, knowing where the bodies are buried can be very helpful…to him. It tends to be injurious to everybody else. You can’t depend on such men to have a decent internal working understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong. Probably won’t happen. After all, this guy knows where bodies are buried! How does he know?

President Johnson’s legacy is about as tattered as anybody else’s, Nixon included. Johnson was an asshole, perhaps a sociopath, and may not even have been sane. He conducted conferences in the shitter, while he was defecating. All in all, I’m gonna have to go with no. Were it possible to have some kind of Constitutional amendment that says “No citizen shall serve as President if he knows where the bodies are buried,” I’d favor passage of that. History, it seems, would favor passage of this as well. This hasn’t helped our country one bit.

Belief in freedom? That goes on the “Yes” side. Actually, that’s the first thing we’re supposed to be trying to find. Our Presidents haven’t failed us here. We have been failing our country, by failing to support this and vote for it.

Telling us what you’re going to do, before you’re elected to get it done? Again — huge “yes.” It’s the Presidents who keep this a closely-guarded secret who have been the big fails. That includes our current one. He’s making history with the speed of erosion of His approval ratings, and there’s a reason for it: His election was less concerned with policy decisions, compared to any other Presidential election in my lifetime, easily. We didn’t talk about what He’d do, we just talked about how wonderful He is. That’s our fault. But then He saw that as an easy road to victory, and He made the most of it. That’s His fault. Now He’s reaping the whirlwind. Mega-fail.

Looking like you have it all together when you get interviewed? I hope that’s not very important. If it is, that means our teevee reporters are kingmakers, and frankly I don’t trust them. As for how big of a factor it is, it’s up to Sarah Palin to decide if we’re going to conduct an experiment on that…since I don’t think anyone’s flubbed it worse than she has. But on the other hand: The second-place prize goes to President Obama, for his “President Gigglepuss” interview in which Steve Kroft had to ask Him if He was “punch drunk.” That was an enormous bomb, but it didn’t hurt the President’s ability to preside, not in the least. So those who say this hurt Palin, need to find a way to explain why it’s damaging to her and not to Him. Perhaps they’re still correct…public reaction can be a fickle, nonsensical thing. But overall, does it have much to do with presidential qualifications, after I chew on it for awhile I don’t think so.

Knowing who the Minister of (fill in the blank) is for the country of (fill in the blank), and knowing how to pronounce the name. We place a lot of importance on this, and this is an awful mistake. It means debate moderators and interviewers — who I don’t trust — can all-but-eject promising candidates from the running, simply by coming up with challenging questions. And you’ll notice they never ask the same question of all the candidates, or even many of the candidates. It’s targeted. They don’t deserve to wield this kind of power, nor are they worthy of wielding it. And being the President of the United States is not the same thing as playing a game of Trivial Pursuit. This is bone-headed stupid and we have to stop it.

Knowing how to field dress a moose. No.

Knowing how to use a Blackberry. No.

Knowing how to type. No.

Knowing some dance moves. No.

Looking good shirtless. No.

Looking good on the cover of Runner’s World in short shorts. No.

Being a beltway insider. No.

Being a newcomer to the beltway. No.

Having five kids. No.

Planting a vegetable garden. No.

Knowing how to fire a gun. No.

Believing in the right to have a gun: HELL yes!

Having a law degree. I wonder how the country would look after fifty years of Presidents who do NOT have law degrees. A whole lot better, I’ll bet. Inch by inch, as lawyers get more things they want, our nation has become the poorer for it. So no.

Being sensitive, contemplative, mulling over a decision, changing it thoughtfully with the arrival of new evidence: Absolutely not. Overall, people make much better decisions when they say to themselves “In thirty seconds, or ten, or five, I’m going to have this thing decided and there’ll be no looking back.” When they use the latitude to mull it over endlessly, their sense of judgment gets shot to hell, and as a consequence of this, their ultimate decision ends up being not that good. We just saw it with Obama’s decision on Afghanistan; is there anyone, anywhere, who says this was a good show of decision-making? Even among those who somehow agree with it? No, and there’s a lesson there. Besides, when you’re negotiating with an antagonistic force, and you take the Jean-Luc Picard approach of “I’m open to anything and my decision-making process is an endless and timeless Hoover-vac type of activity that sucks in and makes use of all kinds of of information” — this makes new strategies available to your enemy. The other extreme at the opposite end of the spectrum, would be a tornado. Nobody tries to win concessions out of a tornado. You either get the hell out of the way or you’re dead. We don’t elect our President to be a Captain Picard. We elect our President to be a tornado. At least, we should.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Violence Actually Solves a Lot

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

That last scene seems to have been lifted straight out of my living room. Wonder if Crowder’s been spying on me.

Memo For File CIV

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Me, in the previous post:

The fundamental problem with what we are doing right now is an enduring and often unstated belief that expurgation is the key to our success…our society is suffering because it isn’t yet pure enough. People in charge right now are giving lots and lots of speeches about things…I don’t hear very much about people-making-money-helping-other-people in those speeches. I don’t hear much about liberty or freedom.

What I do hear about is other people being the cause of all our problems. Certain types of people. “Wall Street bankers who caused this mess in the first place” is a more familiar phrase than one would expect any intact phrase to be, in a healthy, thinking environment. People clinging bitterly to their guns and their bibles.

Expurgation. Our economy is not to be made more robust or more vibrant, but more pure. We are to define certain segments of our society, certain groups of people — isolate them, blame the problems on them, and somehow marginalize them. Make them less influential, or get rid of them altogether.

Blogger friend Rick points to an example that’ll curl your hair.

Did Christianity Cause the Crash?

Like the ambitions of many immigrants who attend services there, Casa del Padre’s success can be measured by upgrades in real estate. The mostly Latino church, in Charlottesville, Virginia, has moved from the pastor’s basement, where it was founded in 2001, to a rented warehouse across the street from a small mercado five years later, to a middle-class suburban street last year, where the pastor now rents space from a lovely old Baptist church that can’t otherwise fill its pews. Every Sunday, the parishioners drive slowly into the parking lot, never parking on the sidewalk or grass—“because Americanos don’t do that,” one told me—and file quietly into church. Some drive newly leased SUVs, others old work trucks with paint buckets still in the bed. The pastor, Fernando Garay, arrives last and parks in front, his dark-blue Mercedes Benz always freshly washed, the hubcaps polished enough to reflect his wingtips.

It can be hard to get used to how much Garay talks about money in church, one loyal parishioner, Billy Gonzales, told me one recent Sunday on the steps out front. Back in Mexico, Gonzales’s pastor talked only about “Jesus and heaven and being good.” But Garay talks about jobs and houses and making good money, which eventually came to make sense to Gonzales: money is “really important,” and besides, “we love the money in Jesus Christ’s name! Jesus loved money too!” That Sunday, Garay was preaching a variation on his usual theme, about how prosperity and abundance unerringly find true believers. “It doesn’t matter what country you’re from, what degree you have, or what money you have in the bank,” Garay said. “You don’t have to say, ‘God, bless my business. Bless my bank account.’ The blessings will come! The blessings are looking for you! God will take care of you. God will not let you be without a house!”

The piece is infested with faulty logic, what we here call “dolphin logic.” You know…fish live in the sea, dolphins live in the sea therefore dolphins are fish. This is applied to the “sun belt.” There are lots of houses of worship in the sun belt, the sun belt was hardest hit with the housing/foreclosure crisis, therefore God must have caused it. All those God-people with their crappy $20k-a-year jobs having kids and using their “cheap credit” to move into houses they couldn’t afford.

In 2008, in the online magazine Religion Dispatches, Jonathan Walton, a professor of religious studies at the University of California at Riverside, warned:

Narratives of how “God blessed me with my first house despite my credit” were common … Sermons declaring “It’s your season of overflow” supplanted messages of economic sobriety and disinterested sacrifice. Yet as folks were testifying about “what God can do,” little attention was paid to a predatory subprime-mortgage industry, relaxed credit standards, or the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM.

In 2004, Walton was researching a book about black televangelists. “I would hear consistent testimonies about how ‘once I was renting and now God let me own my own home,’ or ‘I was afraid of the loan officer, but God directed him to ignore my bad credit and blessed me with my first home,’” he says. “This trope was so common in these churches that I just became immune to it. Only later did I connect it to this disaster.”

Rick also pointed to Doctor Bob, who thoroughly eviscerated it by pointing out the top-heavy rhetoric-to-fact ratio…

So, a lot of foreclosures occurred in the Hispanic and black communities — and the prosperity gospel was increasingly popular among these groups as well. Pretty damning, I’d have to say. Pretty much nails it down, don’t ya think?

Or not.

Seriously, there’s really not much more to the “evidence” in this article than that. Sure, they mention that some of the banks were marketing to prosperity Gospel churches, and some pastors were a bit cozy with the banks as well, and seemed to be encouraging debt. But really, that’s about it. Perhaps some numbers would be nice: how many of these churches’ members actually ended up foreclosed or financially destitute? What percentage of foreclosed homes were purchased by these church members? If you’re going to make the claim that the prosperity churches are a major factor in the housing meltdown, wouldn’t some hard facts and numbers be, you know, reasonable to provide?

Oh, and here’s a little mental exercise for you: imagine their cover blaring forth: “Did African-Americans and Hispanics Cause the Crisis?”

Yes, that is the smaller of the offenses: The lack of balance. This idea has to be evaluated on its intellectual merit, an there can be no intellectual merit if there is no intellectual honesty. In order for there to be any intellectual honesty there has to be balance. “No, I have these rules that say it’s okay to blame Christians for things, but not people with darker skin for anything” is not balanced and it cannot be intellectually honest. “Women good, men bad,” similarly, is inherently imbalanced and therefore cannot be intellectally honest. In fact, the Atlantic piece, quite surprisingly, begins with a confession of sorts…

I had come to Charlottesville to learn more about this second strain of the American dream — one that’s been ascendant for a generation or more. I wanted to try to piece together the connection between the gospel and today’s economic reality, and to see whether “prosperity” could possibly still seem enticing, or even plausible, in this distinctly unprosperous moment.

Hanna Rosin wanted to connect the gospel to today’s economic hardship, and she managed to get ‘er done. That, too, is intellectally insincere. You aren’t “learning” much of anything, if you’re just filling in holes in an idea you already had in the first place.

The larger of the offenses is the one I spelled out up above at the beginning. The desire for purification. The desire to destroy. Raw, naked bigotry, wearing a thin mask of a desire to make the economy better.

As I was reading the Atlantic piece, an image formed in my mind morphing together the cover image with the infamous Newsweek visage…what if the two hit-pieces got together and had a love child? I let my imagination flow in the comments under Rick’s follow-up:

I began to have this vision of Sarah Palin, in her office, in teeny tiny black running shorts, holding an enormous cross, with a caption like “Did cross-waving simpletons in slutty waitress glasses cause the crisis?” and/or “How do you solve a problem like them?” You know. REALLY let the hatred drip out.

I still think our society is too civilized, too noble, for this dreck to have the kind of appeal we are to believe that it has. It all looks so phony to me. We respect each other across boundaries of creed, geography, class and sex. I think we hold this respect for each other deep down. Perhaps we are losing it in incremental stages, but the foundation of it is still there. At the very least — most of us don’t want the responsibility that would go with the act of destroying others who are not like us. Whether some of us have the stomach to entertain such lascivious thoughts, is another question.

But I think deep down people understand: Regardless of whether this group over here, is a more suitable target than that group over there, for the isolate/blame/marginalize strategy…this is not the avenue to our ultimate economic salvation. We are not going to fix things by blaming Christians. Or, as seems to be Ms. Rosin’s intent, Latinos. Or sun-belt people, or red-state people, or gun-n-bible people. Or Sarah Palin.

We can’t make things better by blaming. I think Rosin does have a point about people just believing God will make things better, no hard work required. Yes, I’ve met people like this. And they do cause problems. But that, to me, is not “Christianity.” I call that L-A-Z-Y. The Christianity is just used as a symbol of it…as a caption…as an excuse. And it’s used by Rosin as a way of targeting a group that happens to be convenient.

Perhaps someone needs to get the word out to the guy Rick pointed to next…Mike at Waving or Drowning. And his readers, who are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

We need to start systematically rejecting this. We have some people wandering around with some terribly bad ideas, and some of these ideas might have caused the crisis. Chief among these ideas would be: People have a “right” to own a house. Next up: That when someone is refused a loan to buy a house, maybe a “civil right” just got trod-upon. And the next one: That it’s more important to twist a bank’s arm with some new legislation than expect people to live within their means.

But that means we need to start marginalizing and shedding the ideas, not the people. If it’s your primary focus that some targeted group of people should experience some kind of smackdown for which they are overdue, then you’re probably not among the people who are ultimately going to find an answer to this problem.

It’s a Christmas Tree: 2009

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

The battle starts this year in Kentucky:

A spokeswoman for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says he’s calling the tree on the Capitol’s front lawn a “Christmas” tree this holiday season.

A statement from the administration last week sparked Christmas consternation by referring to the yet-to-be-chosen evergreen as a “holiday” tree. Some Christians were perturbed by the terminology.

Spokeswoman Kerri Richardson says the administration received a steady stream of e-mails and phone calls about the “holiday” tree. She says it’s always been a Christmas tree to the governor, and it will be this year, too.

The governor is inviting critics of the “Christmas” tree to a lighting ceremony Nov. 30.

Many comments underneath, both pro- and anti-calling it a “Christmas Tree.” With very few exceptions, everyone on one side of the divide believes everyone on the other side of the divide to be a complete drooling idiot who knows nothing about anything, including the history behind the First Amendment and the history behind Christmas trees.

And the ACLU. That noble organization of dedicated lawyers fighting for Christians.

Yeah, suck one. The First Amendment, if you take the time to actually read it, prohibits in the very same breath 1) establishment of a state religion and 2) free exercise thereof. That means if you single out a single creed to be particularly deplored beneath all others, you run into precisely the same problems you run into if you single out a particular creed to become the official state religion. And this is precisely what’s happened.

We’re bickering, back and forth, endlessly. In a sane world what would we be doing? “Governor put up a Christmas tree. Whatever.” And we’d go on about our business. Separation of church-and-state issues? Nope. It’s a Christmas tree. You don’t like it, don’t look at it.

Why is it the other way? Because of organizations like the ACLU, and these phantom-pretend people who are oh-so-shocked to scan the horizon with their oh-so-sensitive eyes and suffer the offense of seeing a state-funded Christian sapling.

It’s got to do with the U.S. Code, Title 42, Sec. 1988. You’ve heard the ACLU is supported “entirely with private funds.” That needs a re-think. The ACLU has been motivating us — motivating us — to get all vexed about state-sponsored religious symbols every twelve months, so they can suckle at the teat of the treasury:

(b) Attorney’s fees: In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of sections 1981, 1981a, 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1986 of this title…the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity such officer shall not be held liable for any costs, including attorney’s fees, unless such action was clearly in excess of such officer’s jurisdiction.

(c) Expert fees: In awarding an attorney’s fee under subsection (b) of this section in any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of section 1981 or 1981a of this title, the court, in its discretion, may include expert fees as part of the attorney’s fee.

Much more info about the ACLU at the “Top Ten Myths” page at Stop The ACLU.

So litigious groups like this, with more manpower than work to do, get to go fishing this time every year. To them, it’s just seasonal revenue. Just like hopping on a trawler. The rest of us pitch out the rotting pumpkins and throw the costumes in the back of the closet, the ACLU starts looking at state capitals and courthouses, and writing its letters.

Well — regardless of what the court decisions may say, you don’t have a right not to be offended. Especially if simply being reminded of other religions is all it takes to offend you.

Oh and before anybody asks: Yes, if there are lots of Jews or Muslims or Hindus in a certain county, and the elders put up festive symbols of those religions at certain times of the year — hey, I’m good. I’m certainly not in any hurry to get anyone sued. So don’t go there.

Pretending that someone’s religion is a dirty thing, that we need to enjoy some “right” not to see any evidence of it, is a great way to get the fighting started. So knock it off already. It’s a Christmas tree, and that’s just fine.

Best Sentence LXXII

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The seventy-second Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award goes to an unnamed (or I didn’t catch the name…will update if I can ever find it out) listener to the Armstrong and Getty radio show. S/He writes in with this item that makes you go “ooooh”…or “ewww”:

Is it now fair to say the Obama health care bill should be renamed the “Declaration of Dependence”?

Yup, that 1776 deal was a fun thing to try out while it lasted. Ya don’t know whether to laugh or cry.


“We Can’t Make That Up; It’s Right There in the Bill”

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Hat tip to Boortz, who elaborates on the theme of “this bill is more dangerous than any terrorist” which some may find questionable at first:

A government takeover of our health care system will do more than the Islamic terrorists to cause permanent damage to our Republic. The amounts of money we will have to borrow from China and Europe to fund this takeover will be a burden on generations of Americans to come. You can’t say that about the Islamic terrorist attacks. The terrorists didn’t rob tens of millions of Americans of their sense of independence. ObamaCare will. The Islamic terrorist attacks did not permanently reduce the quality of health care in the United States. ObamaCare will. The Islamic terrorist attacks did not destroy health care innovation in the United States. ObamaCare will.

Me, I’m just sick of the blatant lying. Lying about just basic concepts…like…when you’re out of money and neck-deep in debt, what you need to do is spend some money. If you’re worried about not being able to make informed choices about your healthcare, what you need is some laws that say you’re not allowed to make any choices and that’ll fix everything.

There are forty million uninsured. No wait, 35. No wait…43. No wait…30. No wait…50. Look if you’re so worried about it, make a new program that will cover them and leave the rest of us alone. Or how’s this. A lot of them are illegal aliens who broke into our country, right? Make a deal with some other countries to have some form of socialized medicine, so that the illegal aliens who are really worried about gaining full access to health care, can go break into those countries instead.

Oh — wait — what am I talking about. We’re supposed to be living under this big disgrace because we’re the only “civilized” country that doesn’t have socialized medicine. So it already works that way! It’s just like the “recovery” we got from last year’s “stimulus” plan, bound to end with the same lament: “Gee, we coulda got nuthin’ for a whole lot cheaper than that.”

Except this is not “nuthin.” It is a fundamental transformation of the relationship between the governors and the governed. Pass this turkey, and your lives are in the hands of government bureaucrats. You are worthy — maybe — of a new liver, even if you’ve been drinking more than the bureaucrat thinks you should have been. Or maybe not. Maybe you can get the surgery to have a cancerous lung removed, even though way back in your twenties you had a smoking habit. Maybe not. Maybe your daughter can get the chemotherapy she needs…if you’ve been doing your part to support a controversial abortion-rights bill. If you didn’t vote like you were supposed to, when you were supposed to, then who knows maybe some paperwork will get lost.

It's About PowerSeem far fetched? Well look at it this way — why sweat the particulars of how far this control will or might extend into our lives. Isn’t that all just an academic exercise? It is known…provable…that the whole point to the process is to extend the control wielded by those who work in government, into the lives of those who do not. Past the magnitude to which that power extends today. We know this. Beyond any doubt.

So when we discuss how far the power is to extend, we are really discussing the willingness with which government might voluntarily restrain itself. Not today, but in generations to come.

Well, governments don’t restrain themselves. They are like a George Patton Army. They are always advancing, never retreating, never holding ground, always looking for a weak spot in the defense of the “enemy” — that’s you and me, if we believe in limited government — and if they don’t find a weak spot, they’ll attack a strong spot. Scratch the analogy about Patton. They’re like sharks. It’s contrary to their mode of existence to remain static. That line that separates what they can do from what they cannot do, has to be in motion all the time…and generation to generation, it always has to move in the same direction. Our government, that other country’s government…government in general. It’s how they roll.

It’s not their job to restrain themselves. Sure you can say it’s in their job description — the United States Constitution. But does the U.S. Constitution work on the honor-system? No…it does not. That’s why the Second Amendment is in there. It’s there to put the people in charge, so our government doesn’t see the kind of opportunity in this creeping fascism that our government so obviously does see.

The Second Amendment really has nothing to do with guns. It has to do with duty…duty of the people to hold our government in check. And we’re failing that duty big-time right now.

“This is America; We Do Whatever the F*** We Want”

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Bar owner laughs off threat from the mosque across the street:

Earlier this month the mosque’s leaders called a meeting with [owner Ken] Friedman at The Ace Hotel, where The Breslin is located, and asked, “Can you move the bar?” Friedman’s response makes us want to hurry over to The Breslin right now for a dram of Laphroaig to show our support (and drown out the voices):

I laughed. And the guy said, “Oh, you think that’s funny?” And I said, “Yeah, that is funny, that is really funny, because we’re not going to move the bar just because you discovered we’re serving booze.” Can you name one restaurant in New York that doesn’t serve booze? I said, “This is the United States of America and we’ll do whatever the fuck we want.” He said the mosque had suggested it couldn’t control the behavior of “a few bad eggs”; i.e., we could get a brick through our window.

It is, of course, a virtue to show sensitivity to the religious doctrines and taboos of others. But not to the point that such sensitivity erodes the structural integrity of your own culture, on the soil of your own nation. That’s a crime against your countrymen.

Got an e-mail from one of my older acquaintances. It shows signs of being a quote from something else…perhaps here

Why is it that if you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get thrown into prison and get 12 years of hard labor.

If you cross the Iranian border while out supposedly leisurely hiking in the hills you get arrested and imprisoned.

But if you cross the U.S. border illegally you get a drivers license, Social Security card and free health care?

You’ll see lots of answers under that, but I like mine the best:

Simple prejudice. The crudest kind. Judgments are made about individuals…what kind of story is behind each individual…based on what dirt is under that individual’s feet, and which direction he’s heading.

The guy going into North Korea is thought to be a spy.

The guy going into Iran is thought to be a spy.

The guy heading here from down south is thought to be a hard-working, law-abiding (in the very moment in which he is not doing it), oppressed manual laborer with a hungry family and he’d do just about anything to support them.

All of these things are true in some cases, not true in others. But it takes a whole lot less effort to judge thousands and thousands of people, into the millions, as if they’re part of a single organism with a single story.

“This is the United States of America, we do whatever the fuck we want” is not a diplomatic statement to make, of course. It is lacking in humility. It is cocky and vulgar, bordering on rude.

All of those are better qualities to have, though, than to be so acquiescent toward foreign sensibilities as to participate in one’s own cultural destruction. And singling out a single nation to be held up to some phony standard of civilization-by-self-destruction, is the most deplorable behavior of them all.

The Breslin could use some support. Something to keep in mind if you should happen to live nearby.

Hat tip to The Jawa Report.

Anthony’s Snow

Friday, October 30th, 2009

For reasons I’d rather not list, I’ve been forced to think lately about this messy thing that invades our lives whether we invite it or not, called “other people”…where people go wrong, and why. How they make it tough to get along with ’em. The deleterious effects they have on one another. The mistakes they seem to make, apparently with innocence, but then the mistakes have been made so many times before. I’ve thought about this before, and I’ve written about it a few times.

The taxonomy known as Ten Terraces of Liberalism shies away from the specifics of cause, opting instead to focus its inspecting lens upon levels of severity. It leaves much ground uncovered, for this reason. The ground it does cover has to do with specific methods of initial recruitment. And the Seven Steps to Insanity is another taxonomy of levels, more vertical than horizontal; the former traces how people become more and more liberal, the latter traces how they become just-plain-nuts.

So let’s look into what’s been left flapping in the wind, untied, so we can get it tied down.

First, there are Pie People. Pie People are easy to define. Their area of special interest is economics, and their fundamental error is an unsubstantiated belief in wealth’s fungible nature. A dollar in my pocket is proof-positive you can’t ever have it in yours for however long it remains in mine. Any billionaire you see, therefore, is ipso facto evidence of deprivation, and perhaps extortion, of hundreds of thousands of innocents who should be wealthier than they really are.

The Pie People believe in an economic “pie” that is of a fixed diameter and mass, although the size of the slices out of that pie may vary by size. That’s why when my slice is bigger, the net of all the other slices must be diminished — including yours. Naturally, the only fair thing to do is to make all the slices equal.

Elimination-of-Risk people are closely related to this. Both of these types of people, are associated with obsessive-compulsive behavior. The more they get of something they wanted, the more they want — again. It never stops. Pie People want everyone to have the same amount of stuff, and elimination-of-risk people want life to be safer and safer until there is no risk at all. They have it in common that they fail to see that they just got everything they wanted. They constantly feel like they’re being had. And so when they get what they want, and as a direct result everything turns to crap, they naturally fail to see that too. They want more more more. And they get it.

This weekend I scrambled under a deadline to put together a document that is of a private nature, and I’ll not elaborate too much on what is in there…but there is one section that is worthy of reproducing here.

This is a schism that has been opened wide under the foundation of every single culture, I suspect, that has achieved any semblance of “civilization” since the beginning of history. …Humanity has been struggling, since its inception, to figure out if it’s worth the hassle of trying to drive any & all risk of failure out of the day-to-day challenge of living life.

Behind that question, a second question emerges: Could there be danger involved in trying to eradicate any and all risk? To those who assert that it’s worthwhile to drive risk of failure from our existence, or at the very least that getting rid of all risk is relatively harmless, the recent history that is the bailout boondoggle intrudes as an inconvenient lesson. It has been ill-advised, reckless, certainly very expensive, and toxic. Even people who don’t typically believe in the free market, are now perhaps more worried than they’re willing to admit about the loose soil under our economy that is the ongoing survival of firms that — according to conventional market signals, that were overruled in an exceptional case — shouldn’t continue to exist. Such a situation is, indeed, the primary cause of the bursting of the housing bubble that took place a year ago.
Lots of good, sound, logical points are made why we shouldn’t do it. We do it anyway. It turns out to be a huge mistake. Entities that should be successful, fail; entities that should fail, because of artificial “bowling bumpers” put in place, succeed.

When it’s over, anybody who honestly inspects the situation and puts some quality thought into thinking about what it is they’ve seen, has to admit this was a huge mistake and we shouldn’t have done it. And yet — the next time the same situation comes up, we look seriously at doing it yet again, and more often than not we do try to eliminate risk all over again.
I should add that, as I write this, there are murmurs from Washington that since the “Stimulus Plan” didn’t lower the unemployment rate and might have even raised it, what we need is a “Stimulus II” or “Son of Stimulus.” I rest my case. We think we are evaluating the results of the things we are doing, with some honesty. We’re wrong.

Now, here’s a heady question: Do the Pie People morph over time into the Elimination-of-Risk people? Or is it the other way around?

So far, it seems to me the faction most opposed to common sense and rational thinking is the E.O.R. people. They have shown themselves capable, as I pointed out above, of looking upon the wreckage of their flawed ideas and in that very moment solemnly pledging to do it all over again…to fix the wreckage. If sanity is something that can be casually expunged, so it can never ever be retrieved again — they are very close.

But in this same document, I continued to describe another modern people-problem…one that might be even worse still. The “parade people”:

I’m writing here about those poor wretched souls who seem to go through life disbelieving in, or doubting, or failing to observe, any connection that might possibly exist between the things they do and the positive or negative consequences that are visited upon them. These people seem to see life as some sort of parade, an endless and meanering tapestry of surprises, hopefully pleasant ones but at other times unpleasant ones; these things just seem to “happen.”

Passive voice is the rule. I didn’t fuck up at my job; I got fired. Mean ol’ boss came in one day and laid the smack down. Poor me. Got my car taken away by that man who works for the cruel, heartless bank. Don’t talk to me about failing to make the payments. What good does that do? What happened was that I got my car taken away. I lost it. Poor me.

It’s often done by proxy, which is to say by one person on behalf of another; this is classic enabling. He has a learning disability. Her weight problem is genetic. His private life is separate from his performance in public office. They’re sending their children into Israel with dynamite belts because they have no other way of defending themselves. There wouldn’t be any crime if the economy was just a little bit better. They didn’t get divorced because they got married too young and grew apart; HE changed, and in so doing drove her into another man’s arms. He made her do it.

These people aren’t known for taking extra steps to stop bad things from happening, in fact they are known for reacting with acrimony and resentment if it’s ever pointed out something could be done to stop bad things from happening. Their view of life becomes limited, and necessarily their view of their own role in life also must become limited. They extend this limited view to others they know, after awhile. If you know them, you feel the weight bearing down on you that you shouldn’t be working too hard. Why do you have to go to work today? Why don’t you call in sick? How come you never call in sick, unless you’re really sick?

That’s why I call them “Parade People”; the assignment seems to be to sit or stand…and watch. That is all that is expected from any of us. Except, that is, for the people who make it happen. These people are elitists, embracing the social contract that we should get along with each other and recognize each other as human beings — but they only feel the obligation of honoring that among their own kind. Should you ever go out to lunch with them, you’ll find they don’t treat the “help” the same way they treat their friends, who are “real people,” who in turn are cooler because they have fewer things to do. Together, they’re all supposed to wait for the next surprise to come along, and display the appropriate and expected emotional reaction to it. That’s it. Then wait for the next surprise. Apart from that, it seems nobody is really supposed to be doing anything. Except for those stupid grunts who somehow have the “job” of putting the parade together.

The slightest suggestion that someone, somewhere…anyone…has what it takes to perhaps impose an effect on what the next thing is that comes down the road…gets these people angry. Think about this for a minute or two. Recall your own experiences with people like this. They don’t mildly, simply, coolly, dispassionately disagree. They get mad. Like they’re involved in some kind of a civil war.

That’s because they are.

And so perhaps they have a tendency to evolve into the cornfield people.

Earlier this week, blogger friend Rick chose to challenge a left-wing Christian blogger who said she was “sick of war.” I joined in, and together we courteously made the point that war does have its purposes. Trouble is, you can’t be courteous to the cornfield people. After she declared she “had enough” I decided to test the boundaries here and try to figure out just how hypersensitive the cornfield people are. Answer: Very…although I was left with the distinct impression that if my opinions on the issues were more to her liking, the eggshells upon which I was walking would suddenly be made of cast iron, and I’d have much greater latitude.

All of the points she had to make — each and every single one — had to do with some wish that she had, that someone or something would cease to exist. Not much thought about what was to become of the wretched things. They should just stop…being. That’s why I call people like her “cornfield people.” The reference is to the six-year-old boy in the Twilight Zone episode who wishes people out to the cornfield. It’s an ingenious little tale (Physics Geek was kind enough to write in and provide a link to the story from which the TZ episode was made).

This behavior remained consistent, and continued until the very end when she announced that she had to unexpectedly put down her dog of eight years, and really, really couldn’t stand this anymore. Comments closed.

Back at Rick’s place, I noted that not only could her entire argument be distilled down to a singular wish that this-thing or that-thing be made to disappear…and she never once had anything else of substance to say…but she maintained through it all a narcissistic “It’s All About Me Me Me” unidirectional sensitivity about what she found offensive. In whatever. Had she put a moment’s thought into the idea that perhaps she can say things that sound offensive to others, she’d have her own answer about why she was being oh so picked on in this rough-and-tumble world we call the blogosphere…in which, for reasons unknown, she thought her hypersensitive ego could be safely ensconced. But she couldn’t even read accurately. She hallucinated some kind of awful things I said about her family that I never once said. This is a good lesson for us all, I think. These people are out there. Some of them are capable of getting jobs. If they disagree with you it’s all your fault. They’re walking claymore mines.

If their thirst for drama ends up doing you harm, they’ll not be sorry. They’re elitists, and they’re cornfield people.

They go around finding things offensive. It’s not a two-way street with these folks, just like Anthony’s reading minds in “It’s A Good Life” was not a two-way street.

I love that story because although it’s primarily concerned with the life the grown-ups are forced to live, “if Anthony would let them,” a subtle side-plot is Anthony’s gradual development of a strange, dysfunctional personality — a personality that isn’t good for anything. He’s building it every day he lives (presumably, in both the book and the TV episode, everyone starves to death)…because he coasts on through his childhood never being told no.

You can tell, as I draw my little arrows in oh-so-light-pencil from one type to the next type, that I think there’s a connection amongst all these, a connection of cause and effect. But I’m really not terribly sure what it is; what pupates into what. I do know, be that as it may, what it is they all have in common. All these folk, for whatever reason, are living out only a piece of the gift we call “life.” Perhaps they’re simply afraid to embrace all of it. They cannot compromise on too many things. They want everything done their way. But if everything really is done their way, the rest of us only live out a piece of life as well. We end up watching snow fall on our crops in midsummer, just like the grown-ups at the end of the TZ episode. In fact, you could make a perfectly acceptable argument that Atlas Shrugged is the same story, with a few more pages and a more meandering plot. The primary sequence of events, and the characters & motivation, are all the same.

All of this may be taken as a lead-up to a wonderful essay Neo-Neocon has put together called “My Friends The Liberals.” You’ve made it this far through my own scribblings; in for a penny, in for a pound. You should stop whatever it is you’ve been waiting to get to, click open her post and read every single word, including the comments. Highlights:

I mentioned that my liberal friends often diss America. This happens so often that it is almost a verbal tic. Often, their fellow countrymen/women are contrasted to those wonderful Europeans, who are (take your pick): cultured, sophisticated, linguistically diverse, international, pacifist, non-imperialist (now, anyway—since history began post-WWII). Americans? The opposite.
If someone tries to point out certain things that are unequivocally and more conventionally “good” about America, such as the fact that the US was in the forefront of international relief after the tsunami, it is brushed off as a very small and insignificant matter compared to the manifest wrongs we’ve committed. Their belief in the general evil perpetrated by the US around the world is not built on a single event, nor can it be eradicated by pointing out a single fact, or even a few. It is a huge edifice built on thousands of smaller bits of supposed knowledge, and to mount an assault on it would take several courses and piles of reading matter, and might not be successful even then.

Are you beginning to see the depth of the tragedy here? All this effort is put into being positive. To think happy thoughts. To see the other side of those who might casually be categorized as the least worthy among us. To find reasons why such-and-such a guy is stealing liquor from a drugstore…maybe he’s trying to scrape together a few bucks to get his dying daughter the chemotherapy she needs, et cetera.

That’s supposed to be the redeeming quality. The ability to see the other side, to recognize beneficial attributes that would go otherwise unnoticed.

And yet I think all sane people, occupying any position along the ideological spectrum, would ‘fess up that “[M]y liberal friends often diss America…it is almost a verbal tic” has nothing positive going for it whatsoever. There is some dark alchemy at work that metastasizes this drive to do good, to think those happy thoughts, to “dream of things that never were, and ask ‘why not?'” — into something acrid, caustic, and trenchant.

No, worse than that.

Something that, by its very nature, is antithetical to the living of life. Something parasitic. Salt sown into the soil where our crops are supposed to grow. Something that stops us from living some of life today, and all of life tomorrow.

Anthony’s snow, perhaps.

Update: Seeing lots of parallels between this lamentation, and what Peggy Noonan is noticing. Perhaps we’re seeing exactly the same thing, and making our comments in different ways?

Dismantling America

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I’m getting this from so many different sources, that the effort to provide a proper hat-tip to the “original” referrer has turned into something like…like…uh…metaphor time huh?

Like balancing a warm seven-pound blob of snot on the tip of your finger. How’s that?

Anyway…sorry if you e-mailed this to me and you’re not getting proper credit here. I’ll make it up to you. Maybe.


Barack Obama has not only said that he is out to “change the United States of America,” the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles and the people of this country.

Jeremiah Wright said it with words: “God damn America!” Bill Ayers said it with bombs that he planted. Community activist goons have said it with their contempt for the rights of other people.

Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans, to a captive audience of children.

Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn’t know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?

And yet…to express even the slightest doubt that He Who Argues With Dictionaries is, indeed, out to do wonderful things for the country…is regarded as acridly partisan at best and racist at worst.

How many friends has He had who’ve had nice things to say about America?

Filthy Hippies Everywhere!

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

…in Berkeley.

Why Does Fatherhood Make Men More Conservative?

Monday, September 14th, 2009

If you’re like me, you hear that question and a whole bunch of ideas start bubbling up in your cranium and you’re all ready to volunteer them.

And then you see what the author has to say about it, the background to his question, what he thinks about it, what holes are left in the arrangement that he’d like someone to fill in…and then you decide, based on that, this is not productive. It’s just a whole lot of liberal bitching and belly-aching about the usual targeted and deplored demographics, the hated straight-white-men, I’m just going to watch until right before the part where I start vomiting, then go off to another part of the party and start participating in some other conversation. Hey! What do you call this wine? White Zinfandel? It is tasty, yessiree!

This guy would never, ever agree to my Ten Commandments For Liberals Who Want To Argue About Politics; he isn’t nearly as curious about things as he pretends to be. Just let him stew in his juices. It is what he wants to do.

…we learn that “Parenthood makes moms more liberal, dads more conservative.”
The mom part is obvious. Since even in these supposedly progressive times, moms end up doing m[o]st of the child-rearing, they have an instant, intuitive grasp of the necessity of a strong welfare state. They naturally appreciate the advantages provided by state-funded day care and education, because without government, they’d be doing all of it…They also know that leaving kids alone to organize their own anarcho-syndicalist communes where they can do whatever they want is a recipe for smashed crockery and peanut butter stains on the Persian carpets…

But dads? Why do dads get more conservative?

This is something of a puzzler. But I have a couple of theories.

* Parenthood forces men to stop being children. They resent this, and project their resentment onto anything or anyone that tells them what to do. Therefore, they resent activist government.
* Since, as noted earlier, moms still do most of the child-rearing, dads don’t understand why government needs to step in to help people who can’t take care of themselves. Don’t those people have their own moms?
* Dads learn pretty quickly that kids often don’t do what you tell them to. Therefore they feel justified in adopting that same attitude of truculence towards the overbearing state.

What else?

I think the most damning part of Andrew Leonard’s screed is that it typifies all the reasons why I cast a jaundiced eye toward Salon lately. It isn’t just the obnoxious pop-up ads, although yes they have a lot to do with it. It’s the New-York-Times-ish-ness of the whole thing. It’s as if nobody in the marketing arm of Salon has bothered to crack open a Salon article in a very long time. Time comes for Salon to say what Salon is all about, and you get all this fantasy stuff about educating yourself on what’s going on in the world, making yourself more well-rounded, appreciating things, and enjoying the benefits of an elucidated, richer life.

And then you actually read the contents and it’s all just a shitload of anger, resentment and bile, coated with a paper-thin veneer of pretending to be curious about something.

Kind of like a lot of colleges.

This is not to say I dislike Mr. Leonard’s candor, though. I appreciate it very, very much. I think it would be much healthier to run the next couple of elections on what he has to say, as opposed to a couple of buzzwords and “John McCain is uncool because he can’t type.”

So get the word out.

Liberals think people have absolutely no potential, and governing them is all about cleaning up after their messes and bringing them things. And if you happen to be a male, they have absolutely nothing whatsoever to say about you that’s good.

It’s the message Andrew Leonard, himself, wants to get out. Look at all the effort he’s putting in to pretending to be curious about something, just so he can talk about it.

Update: On the other hand, if Mr. Leonard really wants to know, he might want to take a glimmer at a post put up by The Western Chauvinist, about a week prior to his own. Strongly recommended to you, Mr. Leonard, if you plan to have sons later on but don’t have them yet.

If you do already have them though, boy do I ever feel sorry for them. I’m hoping you learn a whole lot, and learn it quick.

Nine/Twelve Mentality

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

We know precisely what a nine/ten mentality is. Precisely. Let anyone forget, Senator Kerry in the week just past was kind enough to remind us. As James Taranto observed in his Best of the Web online column, the headline said it all:

Kerry Marks Eve of 9/11 Anniversary With Push for Climate Legislation

The nine/eleven mentality would be one of the family-comedy cold-war-era movies; you know the type. Earth is threatened by an environmental catastrophe or by murderous little green men with laser cannons, and overnight the United States and the Soviet Union forget their differences. Republicans and democrats joining hands, singing “God Bless America” on the steps of the capitol building. Put aside our differences! Come together! Hope and change!

The nine/twelve mentality opposes both of those. It pays attention and a decent inimical respect to both the malevolent entity that labors to do us harm, and the lazy doves among us who wish to ignore the viper in hopes it’ll slither away. And it is named not for any date in 2001, but rather for President George W. Bush’s speech in front of the United Nations on September 12, 2002:

Events can turn in one of two ways.

If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully, dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future. The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time.

Neither of these outcomes is certain. Both have been set before us. We must choose between a world of fear and a world of progress. We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. Delegates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand as well. [emphasis mine]

Deep down, we’re really all nine/twelve people. The real difference is about political efforts: Is it permissible to acknowledge the simple reality that motivated enemies exist, only when one is running a campaign for a political office? Must one take the “ostrich approach” toward all who would do him harm, in all other walks of life? That’s the real divide.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

“No Enemies to the Left”

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Michael Barone, writing in the Washington Examiner about our President’s “convenient fantasies”:

Legislation to restrict carbon emissions that is supported by the administration would undoubtedly kill a large number of jobs by increasing the cost of energy, and so you can see why its advocates might want to argue that there will be a compensating number of “green jobs” created — at least if the government spends a lot of money on them.

But this sounds like fantasy. If there were money to be made in green jobs, private investors would be creating them already. In fact big corporations like General Electric are scrambling to position themselves as green companies, gaming legislation and regulations so they can make profits by doing so. Big business is ready to create green jobs — if government subsidizes them. But the idea that green jobs will replace all the lost carbon-emitting jobs is magical thinking.

Obama’s approach to health care legislation, unless he makes a major course correction in his speech to the joint session of Congress tonight, is of a piece with his hiring of Van Jones. By ceding the task of writing legislation to congressional Democratic leaders and committee chairmen, he has been following a “no enemies to the left” strategy.

One of the reasons The Left stays so strongly unified whereas The Right does not…bonded together and emulsified, almost in a surreal sort of way, like a demonic force is at work…is that The Right is motivated by a desire to avoid engaging in bad ideas, ideas that have been shown in the past to be wrong ideas, but that are nevertheless seductive. The Right therefore must be engaged in a schism regarding how forcefully to reject these wrong ideas, since we are all surrounded by well-intentioned but naive and inexperienced folks who want to go for the wrong ideas, and feel personally alienated when the wrong ideas are labeled as the wrong ideas they really are. And so any time it is necessary to drum up support that is represented through a count-of-noses, The Right becomes instantly fractured, if not vaporized.

The Left, on the other hand, is motivated by simple jealousy: If that guy over there has something I don’t have, something somewhere must have gone wrong, there’ve been some shenanigans going down, and I should get some of what he has. Obama says “no enemies to the left,” He is not the first leftist to work this way, because there’s no division in place until after the dog has caught the car, the spoils have been seized, and it’s time to divvy ’em up. Then leftists turn on other leftists. But during the paper-chase there is no primal force to divide them. They’re not trying to stop a bad idea from becoming the law of the land, they’re trying to make it happen.

It’s interesting that they’re running into problems now with staying together on this “public option” business. That’s because now is one of the rare times in which there is a price to be paid for reaching too far in implementing too much of the bad idea within too narrow of a timeframe; and, we’re starting to wake up to what they’re doing, so there is also an opposing danger to not implementing enough of it. A window of opportunity may be closing on them. Next year, our country just might be too wise and cynical to be slapped by this stupid-stick of wrong ideas — it may very well be now-or-never. So now, for once, it is The Left that is sailing between Scylla and Charybdis. That gets ’em fighting with each other.

How Many Jaydens

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I’m happy to see the “blogosphere burning up” with posts about Jayden Capewell. President Obama just got done taking His pot shots at Sarah Palin for her “death panels” comment, all-but-naming her in His address to Congress. Foon Rhee of the Boston Globe tried to peel back the armor in advance of the President’s salvo, asserting that Palin’s insinuation, now made twice, has been “rather thoroughly debunked.”

You’re a fool, Foon. Nothing’s been debunked, except with the (quite correct) idea that there’s no one single plan to argue about just yet. But nationalized health care leads to life-and-death decisions being made by bureaucrats who are worried first-and-foremost about their lunch breaks, and how many little stacks of Post-It notes are left in the supply cabinet. That’s just what happens. It’s like heat-plus-fuel-plus-oxygen-equals-fire.

Enter the Jayden situation (hat tip to Rick):

A young British mother has criticized medical guidelines that, she said, resulted in doctors refusing treatment and leaving her newborn premature son to die. 23 year-old Sarah Capewell told media that her son Jayden, born at 21 weeks and five days gestation, was refused intensive care because he was two days under the limit set by the British government’s National Health Service (NHS) rationing guidelines.

Capewell said that her son Jayden cried and lived for two hours before dying in her arms. During that time, his mother took photos of him and pleaded with doctors that he be admitted to the special baby unit at James Paget University Hospital (JPH). Staff at the hospital, in Gorleston, Norfolk, told her that had Jayden been born two days later they would have helped him.

Blogsister Cassy adds:

In Britain, where socialized health care is firmly in place, doing everything you can to save a life is not important. What is important is following regulations put in place to save the government time and money.
Now, many of you may wonder what this story has to do with us here in the United States. Well, thanks to Obama’s government run health care bill that Democrats are trying to force on us, it’s entirely possible that horror stories like this one could start occuring here. Consider the fact that Obama voted not once, not twice, but three times against a bill requiring doctors to provide treatment to babies who survive abortions. What kind of compassion do you honestly think he would have for babies like Jayden, especially if he’s successful in implementing his government run health care reform? Babies like Jayden would be just like the elderly to him — too expensive, a waste of time, and a drain on the system. It’s one more reason why we need to keep the pressure on lawmakers in Washington to, for once in their feeble, pathetic lives, actually grow a spine, listen to their constituents, and do the right thing.

Blogger brother Rick adds:

Bureaucrats enforcing cost saving measures as to who should be cared for… all in the name of nationalized health care.

Obama will make the upteenth attempt tonight to convince you that this is what America needs to embrace.


Bullshit indeed. All of His slobbering toadies are climbing all over themselves to color and characterize Palin’s now-notorious “death panels” comment as some kind of made-up fable, a fiction, a fantasy, a myth, an urban legend.

And every single time they do that — without exception! — they prove beyond the shadow of any doubt that they simply don’t know what they’re talking about. That, or they’re talking to other people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Update: Sarah Palin knows what she’s talking about, much as that may irk some folks. And of all the possible lead-ins to her op-ed piece, I think Dr. Melissa Clouthier has put together the very best one:

The press alternately calls Sarah Palin stupid or irrelevant. However, both in political instinct and policy substance, it’s clear that she is neither.

Today, her Op-Ed appears in the Wall Street Journal. It’s good. Cogent, clear, and well-written. She’s got a ghost-writer, say lib operatives. Let’s hope! Does Barack Obama write all his own stuff? Surely, libs jest. His college thesis can’t even be found. Why would anyone quibble that Sarah Palin would have a ghost writer? Probably because she makes sense:

Instead of poll-driven “solutions,” let’s talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven. As the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and others have argued, such policies include giving all individuals the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; providing Medicare recipients with vouchers that allow them to purchase their own coverage; reforming tort laws to potentially save billions each year in wasteful spending; and changing costly state regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top-down government plan, let’s give Americans control over their own health care.

Democrats have never seriously considered such ideas, instead rushing through their own controversial proposals. After all, they don’t need Republicans to sign on: Democrats control the House, the Senate and the presidency. But if passed, the Democrats’ proposals will significantly alter a large sector of our economy. They will not improve our health care. They will not save us money. And, despite what the president says, they will not “provide more stability and security to every American.”

Mister Wonderful Gets a Lecture from Jack Webb

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Hat tip: IMAO.

House for Purse Dogs

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

A purse-dog-house. A house-dog-purse. A purse-sized-dog-house. A dog-sized-purse-house.


Thousands of years from now, archeologists will come together and agree…that great country known as America, began her downfall with those damnable rodent-sized dogs and their damnable stupid accessories. Gladiator games for the Romans, softball-sized canines for us.

One other thing — the English language leaves me ill-equipped to express what a terrible photographer is you-know-who. Can’t she afford a better camera?

More here.

On an offline from loyal and frequent commenter Rob.

Phil’s Thing-I-Know #29

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Read and learn:

I much prefer people who have standards and sometimes fail to live up to them over people who never fail to because they have none.

I notice there are quite a few people walking around these days who think they have “standards” because they are in the advanced stages of Goodperson Fever. I lived up to a standard, because I’m drinking out of an eco-cup. I lived up to a standard, because I recycle. I lived up to a standard because I’m protesting the experimentation on animals.

These are not standards; they are events. As “standards” they fail the test, like the hash marks upon a yardstick made out of rubber. They don’t measure things absolutely, they measure them relatively. Relatively, as in “…and that guy, over there, didn’t do the same thing so that makes me better than him.” That’s the real purpose of doing all that stuff; for comparison purposes. In gauging the conduct of a person living in solitude, they gauge nothing.

Those aren’t actual standards.

Compassion Fatigue

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Gerard now has a hardcore case of it.

I’ve been told, so often and so stridently, to feel this and to feel that and to feel for the downtrodden of the world, that I find I no longer feel anything at all. I don’t think I’m alone in not caring. I think caring and compassion, now that it has been institutionalized enough to demand caring and compassion, has finally found its limit…Compassion can never be made compulsory and cash-flow positive at the same time. Whenever and wherever compassion has been made compulsory the people soon find they no longer have care or quartas to spare.

Perhaps what our friend in Seattle is feeling, is the onset of some deplorable disease.

Or perhaps it’s a recovery. A recovery from that wretched infestation known as…dramatic pause…drumroll, please…

Goodperson Fever.

It’s our modern plague. If you’ve ever done a good deed, and then just kinda hung around awhile to see if anyone noticed, and if so, how many, and what they thought about it all…you have been infected. And you probably still have it, unless you’ve since gotten in touch with your inner dark, uncaring, cynical bastard.

How to Destroy a Leader

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Guilty people always have an excuse ready; every minute of every day. It is what they do, they’re always getting ready. That’s part of being guilty.

Bill Whittle has those thoughts and more.

I recall something about this in Atlas Shrugged. Henry Rearden is blackmailed into signing over his rights to Rearden Metal, and he makes the point to the state thug doing the blackmailing — if we really were the type of people you were threatening to make us look like, your threat of blackmail would have no effect on us. And the state thug says, of course, yeah I know. Whatever. Ya gonna sign that thing or are ya gonna make me wait all day?

Rather shocking the amoral things that are done by a state, when it engages in the masquerade of supposedly trying to do super-moral things.

Hat tip: Hector Owen.

Moving to the Center

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

“In the presence of a man who insists humans breathe air, and another who says that humans breathe water, you do not stick your face in the toilet bowl fifty percent of the time.” — Morgan K. Freeberg

A powerful case is being made that President Obama needs to move toward the right in the months ahead; indeed, that His presidency may depend on this.

This is the failure of American politics. Moderation is very often a reinforcing agent and a nourishing agent. Observing this pattern, at times we are seduced into thinking moderation is emblematic of all that is good; we make the mistake of drawing on the metaphor from nature, thinking of the mighty oak that survives the storm not so much by being thick and strong, but rather by bending a little. There are many problems with this: Evil is constantly on the lookout for cheap and easy new ways to appear good, and this ends up being one of them. Also, the mindset tends to lead us toward the polar opposite of what we are seeking. After a time, as we desperately seek someone with something to say, the mindset directs us toward the vacillating leadership of those who have nothing to say.

It is particularly mismatched to situations in which the debate is about which of two cups has the poison. Which, I would argue, is a hypothetical that fits just about all the disagreements we confront today. When the answer that emerges is “drink from both but sip slowly,” the consequences are not helpful to what we’re trying to do.

But it’s refreshing seeing the give-some-of-it-up dictum stuck onto the democrats for once. In my memory, the only time I’ve ever seen them cautioned by their own or by outsiders to moderate the tone, the cautioning has more to do with this: Do every little thing you’ve always wanted to do, and do just as much of it, but proceed slowly so you can get the albatross sold. That’s not moderation, that’s shuffling us toward the brink of the cliff at a relaxed, leisurely pace.

I have a nice road/offroad hybrid bike, and I happen to live at the base of the tallest hill for miles and miles around. To me, slipping in to the granny-gear isn’t even a compromise, it’s simply a fact of life. It means reaching the top in fifteen minutes as opposed to…well…not reaching it at all. And it would be just plain stupid to say “Morgan had to give up some of what he was doing because he was forced to shift into first gear.” There’s a difference between speed and distance.

This article seems to suggest Obama needs to give up on some goals that involve distance.


Mr. Obama’s bet was that his personal popularity would be enough to push his agenda through. Perhaps that would have been possible before the $787 billion economic stimulus package, the $410 billion omnibus bill that funds the government, the House-approved cap-and-trade bill, and so forth. But these big-ticket spending bills have helped define what the president means by “hope” and “change,” and it is through this prism that the American public now views his health-care proposals.

Public skepticism increased when the Congressional Budget Office issued findings contradicting Mr. Obama’s claims that his health-care reform would lower costs. And the more Americans have learned about the specifics, the more they dislike the plans. The president understands that he loses when he talks about substantive issues, which is why he’s been fudging on the public option. He may not understand that he is closing the gap between his unpopular policies and his personal popularity in the worst way a president can: by reducing his own credibility.

Back in 1994, Mr. Clinton faced pretty much the same problem. Though he too had won the White House promising to be a new kind of Democrat, his first two years had a distinctly liberal tenor: battling over gays in the military, promoting a new energy tax, turning a promised middle-class tax cut into a huge tax hike, and trying to push through universal health care. Though he continues to deny GOP contributions to his success, after his 1994 health-care defeat, Mr. Clinton did what all smart pols do: He appropriated the most appealing parts of his opponents’ agenda.

The result was a new Bill Clinton, embracing everything from deregulation and welfare reform to the Defense of Marriage Act. In his 1996 State of the Union, he even struck a Reaganite chord by announcing that “the era of Big Government is over.” From this newly held center, Mr. Clinton advanced his presidency and pushed, both successfully and unfairly, to demonize Mr. Gingrich. Mostly he got away with it.

The cycle continues: America steps up to buy into more of this poison liberalism, when and only when 1) her head is filled with thoughts irrelevant to what it is she is buying, usually by means of some distracting debate about personalities; 2) when times are truly desperate and she sees absolutely no alternative to it, or 3) it is buried deep within an inseparable package that includes components, either in style or in substance, of liberalism’s opposite. If none of those three apply, in America it’s a no-go.

And yet, by leveraging those three, with a go-slow approach, liberalism’s salesmen just might get the job done. Simply by exchanging that least valuable of all commodities, speed. America herself may eventually be sold the pig-in-a-poke that is information-age socialism.

That’s the challenge. To send America down the sad trail of so many countries that came before her — starting with world superpower, and ending with becoming just another filthy little wealth-confiscating socialist mudpuddle.

The advice for President Obama is good…for Him. I hope He does not take it. It would be bad for the country. What’s good for the country is to recognize the debate for what it is: Should we drink the poison or should we not? Those who say we should not, have been pressured, constantly, for the last year or more, to moderate their tone. It is a prerequisite now, before one steps up to a debate to oppose carbon cap-and-trade bills, to offer the ritual disclaimer “I believe global warming is a serious problem and that it is caused by man.” The data no longer back this up, but the necessity of offering the disclaimer — somehow — remains.

When liberals step up to a debate to insist that taxes should stay high and be pushed higher…they do not labor under any social necessity to say “I believe the Laffer Curve is real,” the way their opponents have been similarly nagged to say “I believe global warming is real.” As we bully and bludgeon our politicians and other advocates to be more moderate, when it comes to recognizing what is & isn’t so, we have become very choosey in selecting which side is being nagged toward the “center” of sipping poison slowly. If this situation is changing now, that is what I call a welcome change. But I’m going to hold off on the celebrations until I see where the change is going.

Because the guy writing the article is a hundred percent right: Clinton was handed a heaping piled-high plate of defeat. Clinton managed to turn it all around, and pretty much get everything else done besides the health care, by selling the poison liberalism with the three distracting agents listed above combined with a go-slow approach. He shifted into granny gears and got the job done. He sold us his bag o’ crap, and in so doing defined a way for all his successors to accomplish more of the same thing.

How Expensive is Liberalism?

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Pete Du Pont explores, writing in WSJ Opinion:

One has already been signed into law by President Obama: an increase in the tax on tobacco, to $1.01 a pack of cigarettes from 39 cents, and to as much as 40 cents a cigar from a nickel–increases of 159% and 700%, respectively. This is expected to bring in $8 billion a year. Next up is a possible increase in alcohol, beer and wine taxes, raising about another $6 billion annually, and perhaps another $5 billion a year on sugary drinks will be enacted.

Then come a series of substantial tax increases that are on the Washington agenda that, if enacted, will create real problems for our country’s economy.

First, allowing the expiration of the previous Bush administration tax cuts at the end of 2010. These reductions increased government tax receipts by $785 billion (just as the Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts increased tax revenues) and gave us eight million new jobs over a 52-month period. The cuts go away if Congress does nothing, raising tax rates on the top earners will to 39.6% from 35%, and on the next-highest bracket to 36% from 33%. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that 55% of these tax increases will come from small-business income.

Next comes Rep. Charles Rangel’s additional tax increases, a part of the House health-care bill. The House Ways and Means chairman calls for a 1% surtax on couples with more than $350,000 in income, 1.5% on incomes more than $500,000, and 5.4% on incomes more than $1 million. The extra tax would kick in at lower levels for unmarried taxpayers. And if promised health-care cost savings don’t materialize, the surtaxes would automatically double.

Shame on Us All

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Gerard is taking stock of where the blame and shame should go, with regard to the release of Lockerbie bombing mastermind Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, whose eyes are downcast, hat pulled down over his face, nose tucked into jacket collar, as he boards the plane home — to a hero’s welcome.

Who else should be looking downward, wistfully, at a ground they wish would swallow them up on the spot? Who else toils under the heavy burden of a boulder of guilt and shame on their shoulders? Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill? The entire Scottish government? Scotland herself? Just the moral imbeciles and reprobates who write overly-obsequious columns defending the decision? Perhaps, as Gerard’s headline says, the entire civilized world?

I vote for the last one.

It’s a topsy-turvy world in which we live. You don’t see these “tributes to our decency” written up about decisions to do things that make it more likely innocent people will live to see another day. No, you don’t; the extension of the right to live, somehow being connected to the personal decency of the authority who decides to make that extension, always seems to be granted to people who would murder others, or who would preserve the lives of those who would murder others.

“Civilized” behavior has come to have something to do with preserving those who destroy, or destroying those who would create or preserve. If you preserve those who create or preserve, or destroy those who would destroy those who would create or preserve, it seems no one’s ready to call you civilized. Those who are ready to call you a barbarian, on the other hand, have to queue up in back of a very long line.

Time to dig out that Bible quote again, you know the one…the one we like…Isaiah 5:20. This time I’ll let you Google it.

“Death Panel” is as Good a Name as Any

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Charles Krauthammer exposes an ugly truth about these various efforts we’ve undertaken in the modern age to build our dream Utopian society that works “for the benefit of everyone”: A central pillar to the vision, is now and has always been, one of creating an exclusive club very much like the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Unfortunately, he exposes this ugly truth not by realizing it about others and responsibly pointing it out, but by being a part of it.

Let’s see if we can have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling.

We might start by asking Sarah Palin to leave the room. I’ve got nothing against her. She’s a remarkable political talent. But there are no “death panels” in the Democratic health-care bills, and to say that there are is to debase the debate.

Speaking of debasing the debate…if you pop that link open and read it, you’ll see the next several paragraphs after this snide little salvo, Krauthammer goes on to most articulately make Palin’s point.

The good Dr. Melissa goes after the good Dr. Charles with some points he should have been able to realize on his own. The truth is, even when Krauthammer makes Palin’s point apparently without consciously realizing he’s making Palin’s point while telling Palin to shut up, he fails to capture exactly how bad things might get. But the point isn’t lost on Melissa Clouthier any more than it’s lost on Sarah Palin.

Taken on its own, Section 1233 of H.R. 3200 is not a death panel. It’s more a death recommendation.

Dr. Krauthammer forgets though, that this isn’t the only death-related provision of the bill or of this health care legislation generally. The counseling is an indicator of intent. While a doctor is financially incentivized to have a death discussion, the government program will, by nature of sheer numbers, want people to choose, as President Obama says, a “pain pill over surgery.”

Further, the government, and a bureaucratic board of 27 appointees will be deciding care for people. That is, 27 people will be answering questions like: who receives care? Who qualifies? Who doesn’t? In what circumstances? It will be a bureaucratic answer and bureaucrats, who cannot be sued and have no incentive beyond cutting costs and appeasing political special interests. Individual needs will get lost in the collective good. Some people will die because of these choices.

This Utopian society we’ve been trying to build that nobody living or dead has actually seen…I’m just fascinated with it. During the planning and construction, someone is always being excluded from something. Old people should just die, former Governors of Alaska should just shut up, those people shouldn’t be in this town hall because they’re too well dressed.

We’re trying to find a way to get “everyone” covered, no matter what, so nobody’s excluded.

Before we talk about that, we should have Sarah leave the room.

She has the annoying habit of pointing out that this plan might give us an incentive to kill people.

Which, according to Krauthammer’s own words, is exactly right. She’s gotta go.

I would argue that the entire exercise of building this society is, from the foundation on up, riddled with contradictions. It has no clue as to whether it wants to honor the fundamental God-given right of humans to exist and to fight for that right to exist…it doesn’t know. Because its answer to that is both a yes and a no. Both of them rather emphatic. And so it labors under the heavy burden of an inherent contradiction. It ends up fighting itself. That’s why it’s failing.

When Dr. Clouthier cross-posted this at Right Wing News, Commenter CavalierX cut right to the heart of the matter in one deft motion, like a skilled surgeon wielding a sharp scalpel. Every single syllable of his is loaded with wisdom, you know this to be true because every single syllable of it could have been mine.

I generally like Krauthammer, but he’s an ass if he thinks there’s no such thing as a “death panel” just because the words “death panel” don’t appear in the bill that hasn’t been written yet. Someone’s going to have to make decisions on what qualifies people to recieve what treatments, and you can call it a commission, bureau, cabinet, task force or board — they will decide who lives and who dies. “Death panel” is as good a name as any.


Thursday, August 20th, 2009


First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.

The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one.
This was an example of what are commonly called Trojan Horse movements — mass movements whose outward purpose seems to be providing material help to the downtrodden, but whose real objective is to draft poor people into service as revolutionary foot soldiers; to mobilize poor people en masse to overwhelm government agencies with a flood of demands beyond the capacity of those agencies to meet. The flood of demands was calculated to break the budget, jam the bureaucratic gears into gridlock, and bring the system crashing down. Fear, turmoil, violence and economic collapse would accompany such a breakdown — providing perfect conditions for fostering radical change. That was the theory.
The Cloward-Piven strategy depended on surprise. Once society recovered from the initial shock, the backlash began. New York’s welfare crisis horrified America, giving rise to a reform movement which culminated in “the end of welfare as we know it” — the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which imposed time limits on federal welfare, along with strict eligibility and work requirements. Both Cloward and Piven attended the White House signing of the bill as guests of President Clinton.
Cloward and Piven never again revealed their intentions as candidly as they had in their 1966 article. Even so, their activism in subsequent years continued to rely on the tactic of overloading the system. When the public caught on to their welfare scheme, Cloward and Piven simply moved on, applying pressure to other sectors of the bureaucracy, wherever they detected weakness.

Let’s not negotiate with these people. No matter what. Let’s just renounce this supposedly-noble objective of trying to find a midpoint or “common ground.”

I’ve spent a lifetime having it beaten into my head that only crazy old men in plaid shirts crusted with their own drool babble on about anything that comes close to “communists trying to ruin our way of life and tear down our country.”

But as I learn more about the turmoil that was taking place around the time of my birth, I find the facts point more and more toward this as the proper way to look at things. You don’t need to drink vodka and wear a big fur hat with a red star on the front to be a commie.

And negotiating with one is like negotiating with a rattlesnake. It is the straddling of a divide that stretches from one universe to a wholly incompatible other universe. It is a compromise between order and anarchy, creation and destruction, good and evil. It doesn’t take much at all to deserve a spot at a conference table, but one unalterable standard must be that you have to want a spot at the conference table. And commies don’t want one. They just want to tear things down.

Hat tip to Boortz.

For Now, We Dance

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

And we didn’t get here by saying “Oh, we’re willing to compromise and be moderate…that proves we’re reasonable…” We got here by the opposition being unreasonable. And with everyone realizing that on their own.

A certain faithful reader needed to see that. Now then. On with the dancing.


Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Cassy blames the parents who do the purchasing rather than the designer who does the designing of clothes that make your toddler look sexy. Let me say that again: Toddler.

You have to think on it awhile to see her logic, but it’s there and I agree.

I’m of the mindset that when a minor, even someone who is barely a minor, leaves gum on the sidewalk and you step on it and end up sawing away at your sneaker over the kitchen sink with bleach and a toothbrush…that is a poor reflection on the parents. Most parents would say waitaminnit, he’s almost eighteen and I’m still responsible for where he leaves his gum? You’re loco, Freeberg.

Well, the idea is mine and I’m not going to say it’s anybody else’s. But I stand by it. How did s/he learn to discard gum? How did s/he learn to chew it? Where did this human get the idea that leaving it along a pedestrian thoroughfare is proper…and where were you?

Once you see my logic there, the reality becomes clear and it’s not a cheerful reality by any means. There is a whole range of behaviors, one that could be explored and listed into an exploding, encyclopedic tome, for which parents took responsibility in generations past…and no longer are. Kids are being left to define aspects to their own existence and the purpose of it, for themselves. This is not the makeup of independent thinking, but rather of a breakdown of social order. I would compare it to opening the dryer door after a cycle, throwing away all the clothes, and knitting yourself something to wear out of all the shit you find in the lint trap. That’s what we’re doing.

Where was I going with this?

Ah yes, the slut clothes for toddlers…

The designer makes this feeble defense, saying she’s doing it “in protest” of the slutty chic reigning in children’s fashions these days:

“The Nipple Tassel t-shirt was designed as a response to my own distaste at seeing mini versions of sexy clothes on young children,” she wrote. “Five-year-olds wearing slashed mini skirts and boob tubes, little thumb-sucking Britneys.

“There is nothing very sexy about a baggy, lap neck, long sleeved t- shirt for a 6-month-old. So by embellishing this style of garment with printed nipple tassels, the result is not that the baby becomes sexualized by the tassels, but that the tassels are made benign and silly by the baby. In fact the more inert, innocent and unaware the infant is, the more ludicrous the contrast becomes.”

… “I totally agree with critics who feel that young girls are put under enormous pressure by the media, the fashion industry and the content of many TV programs, to be aware of their appearance, and then dissatisfied with it,” she added. “The trap set to ensnare girls into a life-time of preoccupation with their looks is a subtle one.”

Ugh, she used that horrible word too. This designer lady is like a pinball that bumps into every single bumper in the machine that’s connected to my “Get Pissed Off” light.

But hard as it is to see at the moment, I’m sure the world will find a way to keep spinning.

Failure of Capitalism, Reform, and “Status Quo”

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

BroKen, who blogs at Rick’s place, has somehow made David Axelrod’s e-mail list. He didn’t intend to do that, he’s not sure how he did it, but now that he’s on it he’s damn sure not getting off of it. But that’s alright because he’s getting some great blogger material out of the situation…

The latest word from Mr. Axelrod concerned health care reform. He lists eight ways the reform gives stability and security, eight myths concerning the reform, and eight reasons reform is needed. I agree that reform is needed and he wants me to spread his information around, so here goes.
[E]very mandate either limits the insurance company’s income or increases their cost. A simpleton might think it’s great that the government will make those “evil” insurance companies get less and give more. But half a minute’s thought and you realize that the insurance companies will certainly find a way to pass increased costs on to their customers (you and me.) If they don’t, they will go bankrupt. Any reform that drives up insurance costs is really anti-reform!
Perhaps the government will not force you to drop your insurance. But if the government sets rules so that private insurance is more costly, most people (most employers) will seek a cheaper alternative. Therefore, the “public option” planned by the government will certainly drive out private insurance leaving only one source for insurance, the government. So, you won’t keep your insurance after all.

Once again, I graciously volunteered my wisdom, although BroKen already nailed down the highlights of what needed nailing down.

A simpleton might think it’s great that the government will make those “evil” insurance companies get less and give more. But half a minute’s thought and you realize that the insurance companies will certainly find a way to pass increased costs on to their customers (you and me.) If they don’t, they will go bankrupt.

Yup, you go to the head of the class.

But it isn’t the case just with the Obama healthcare plan. It’s true of every single piece of “reform” ever proposed by democrats, with regard to anything. And the rocket-fuel for the reform that is the public’s disaffection with the status quo, always seems to have been caused by the failure of “private industry” to provide a quality product for a reasonable price…for years and generations…which, in turn, was caused by…some other legislation that was proposed and negotiated and rammed through by democrats.

I’m speaking generally here. Health care, the tort system, education, auto manufacturing, steelworking, anything with a labor union. democrats throw around those two words “status quo” — and what they mean by that, is “the situation as I and my democrat buddies have made it.” They mean that, whether they realize it or not.

Every single failure of capitalism in this country that has necessitated reform, was caused by something that really wasn’t capitalism.

Now, this is not obscure stuff. As BroKen said, it requires “half a minute’s thought” and it may require even less than that.

One is not entirely sure exactly where to put one’s hopes: Do the democrats intend to wreck the free market one industry at a time, by creating these “failures of capitalism” through anti-capitalist legislation and then using the resulting failures as evidence that even more “reform” is needed? Or are they so stupid they can’t comprehend the history of what’s been going on, what they have been doing, what the eventual result has to be of their new rules that make relatively simple transactions artificially unworkable and expensive?

Do they just plain not give a damn? If not, what else is it they’re trying to get done, that always seems to provide “free” stuff for the desired constituents over the short term, but over the longer term is constantly pushing modest elements of The American Dream further and further out of reach for those who haven’t made up their minds to depend on government for everything?

Or are we dealing with some kind of “protection racket”? Is this just a way of sending a message to those of us who don’t want to be wards of the state? Kind of a “That’s a nice life ya got there, be a shame if something happened to it.”

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.