Date ►►► February 28, 2012
Yes, Act of Valor Is Propaganda - But What Glorious Propaganda!
Let's mull and contemplate a movie about a new kind of warfare, and the new, informal, ad-hoc, improvisational kind of men who fight that new kind of war.
Let's make a movie with no real plot in the classic sense, no growth in the characters, no mental or emotional breakdowns. A movie where nobody ever questions his own morality in defending his country. A movie where, when a compadre is killed in battle, the others just carry on the fight, instead of crouching over the body and erupting into hysterical melodrama.
One where, in a supreme coup of "patriotism," the director hires actors who are actually current or former military personnel, from the very same kind of unit portrayed in the film. How little, patriotic hearts must go pitter-pat at such indulgence!
By all means, let's show the unenlightened booboisie, the American people, a movie comprising one victorious battle after another, even though we all know the overarching campaign is a lost cause. Never mind the inarguable facts; show the popcorn munchers a movie where the men are always willing to make "sacrifices," and where the United States is always the good guy who will ultimately triumph, no matter how bad things may look.
Even when there's a setback, by all means, show us only soldiers who suck it up and do it better next time -- and without the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that constitutes drama in the minds of sophisticated New York film crickets. No doubts, no introspection, no existential angst; how is that realistic? How does that show the inevitable bestialization of the warmongers?
A movie with no "boy meets girl" or even "boy meets boy" love story, and where alternative lifestyles simply don't exist! A movie where men are men (as if gender can ever truly be deterministic), and men don't discover their feminine side or the inherent inequality of traditional marriage. Heck, a movie where wives refuse to cry until after their husbands or boyfriends have left, because they don't want to "burden their men" with worry when they're about to go on a deadly mission.
Yeah, a movie like that. How nice. Just lousy, damned propaganda; rah-rah, flag-waving Americanism. How disgusting. It's nothing but anti-art; what kind of a brainwashed, mind-melded moron would want to see that garbage? What's the real point... to bump up military-recruitment stats? Make it seem that war can ever be noble? To "lift morale," for cripes' sake? What a low and vulgar consciousness that bespeaks. Who could possibly imagine the brilliant lights of cinema paying even the slightest attention to such "all-American" bubblegum like that.
What film critic could possibly praise trash like -- trash like -- I forget, what's the name of that filthy piece of propaganda we're talking about?
Oh yeah: Films like They Were Expendable (1945), about those crazy, new, fast, maneuverable, and barely armored PT boats, which took on Japanese cruisers and destroyers in the Philippines during World War II. The movie starred, and was partially directed by, Lt. Commander Robert Montgomery (who actually commanded a PT boat during the war) and John Wayne -- two conservative Republicans -- along with liberal Democrat Donna Reed. It's considered a classic film today.
The war against radical Islamism has never been "Barack H. Obama's war," despite the fact that he is the current Commander in Chief -- and despite the fact that, as he brags at the drop of a hijab, he is the man who "got" Osama bin Laden. (Oh, sure, the CIA and the SEALs were the ones who actually tracked bin Laden for years, infiltrated into the wilds of Pakistan, hunted him down, entered his compound, took out his bodyguards, and pulled the trigger to send him to the boiling pitch of Jahannam... acting on orders under a program initiated by George W. Bush. But Obama signed the order! Clearly, he deserves the lion's share of the credit.) But that war was never Obama's war.
No, the war against radical Islamism has always been seen as Bush's war... hence good liberals see it as unalloyed evil, folly, and madness. Any movie extolling the virtues of its warriors is, by definition, propaganda.
Inexplicably, liberals have never affixed that libelous label to the heroes of Roosevelt's war. After all, that's totally different.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Date ►►► February 22, 2012
Obama's "Romney Playbook" Refutiated
Many election analysts have noted that President Barack H. Obama, who appears to want another term, has worked with his grand viziers, his mullahs, his Council of Experts, and assorted hatchet peeps to develop two distinct election playbooks, one for each of the two most likely nominees:
For Rick Santorum, the Obamunists plot to smear him as a religious fanatic who wants to erect a theocracy on American soil, and as an ultra-social-conservative lunatic who wants to disenfranchise the entire female sex, burn gays at the stake, and reinstate official government racism, if not the return of slavery itself.
Alas, Santorum plays right into this strategy by his increasingly hysterical denunciations of Obama as "not a Christian;" he may well not be a Christian -- I think his religion is Progressivism; but as electoral strategy, attacking your opponent as irreligious is not calculated to reassure the mushy middle that you're fit to serve as POTUS.
For Mitt Romney, their scheme is both simpler and more complex: The Kingpin of gangster government intends to "smear" Romney for being a wealthy man.
This is simpler, in that nobody can deny that Mitt Romney would be the richest GOP presidential nominee of all time (that is, since the Republican Party was founded in 1854); he's worth between $190 and $250 million. (JFK -- Kerry, not Kennedy -- is probably the richest nominee ever; but he doesn't count as a counterexample, since he's a Progressivist Democrat, hence by definition busy saving the world, man!)
But the strategy is also more complex, in that Obama must show not only that Romney is rich, but that there is something disreputable about this; and he must convince tens of millions of voters who are not already "Occupiers" and "99 percenters."
I don't really care about Santorum's response to the inevitable Obamic attacks; I doubt he'll be the nominee; and if he is, having seen him in action now, I believe he'll win only if the economic climate is such that any Republican would win... a pious hope, but unlikely.
Thus, Obama will be forced to pivot his slanderous traducements from "evil conservative!" to "one percenter!", and he's stuck with trying to explain to the American people why multi-millionaire Republicans like Romney are inherently unfit to command, while multi-millionaire Democrats like Al Gore and John Kerry (and Barack Obama) are inevitably great leaders.
And that last is the chink in Obama's playbook, meaning no disrespect to Jeremy Lin; it lies within Romney's power, if not within his will, to utterly destroy that meme of attack -- or better, to drive it right back into Obama's court with an overhead smash. He can! But will he?
Will a Capitalist nation (sort of) implicitly reject anybody who's rich? Egad, I hope not; I can only hope that America has not sunk so low that it treats wealth itself as suspect, and sees liberal Fascism as its cure. Rather, I believe Americans admire achievement; and I believe they understand that wealth "inequality" is precisely what drives the economy, while enforced income equality would kill it... just as water that is all at the same level can do no work: Hydraulics requires some of the water to be higher than the rest; that's what makes the waterwheel, or the turbine, go round and round.
Romney need never apologize for his wealth; instead, he needs to say something along these lines:
My opponent accuses me of being successful and wealthy -- "rich" is the term he uses, I believe. All right, I confess; I am wealthy; I am rich. And you now how I got to be that way? By following the American dream.
My friends, I inherited a lot of money from my dad, George Romney, who worked for decades in the automobile industry in Detroit, Michigan. I also inherited a first-rate education. I kept the education, but I gave my entire inheritance to my alma mater... not because there's anything wrong with money or with parents passing along the fruits of their labors to their kids, but because I wanted to be my own man, to see what I could accomplish on my own. So I can honestly say I've earned every dollar I have.
Unlike my opponent, nobody gave me a suspiciously huge book contract when I was an obscure law student at Harvard; when I was an obscure law student at Harvard, I was simultaneously an obscure business student at Harvard; and I didn't have time to write a dream book about my father, anyway... or put my name on some radical professor's book, as the case may be.
I also never got a sweetheard land deal from a lobbyist and campaign fundraiser who was later convicted of fraud, bribery, and money laundering. So you see, I didn't have the advantages growing up that my opponent did.
Instead, I worked hard, played by the rules, and kept faith with my family, my friends, my competitors, and my God. And I succeeded, as so many others have done before and after, some more, some less. I thank God everyday for the United States of America, for liberty, and for the Capitalism that allows not only the privileged but the downtrodden to rise to heights limited only by their own talent, drive, persistence, and their refusal to accept artificial limits on achievement. Just ask Justice Clarence Thomas.
My opponent is a great believer in limiting achievements. Four years ago, all he could talk about was vague "hope and change," and how his presidency would heal the Earth, calm the oceans, and how the lamb would lie down with the lion. A pocketful of stimuluses, ObamaCares, and trillions of wasted spending later, not too many folks think they're better off now than four years ago. Except the lion, who got a nice rack of lamb on the deal.
This time, all my opponent can talk about are the few minor things he did that more or less worked, tiny islands in a vast sea of failure, diminished expectations, and a long, steady collapse of the American dream and of America itself... if we let him.
Yeah, I'm rich. And I want all of you here, everyone hearing these words, to become rich too -- or to write the great American novel (without a ghostwriter), or invent a molecule-sized computer, or design the most beautiful shopping mall ever built, or become a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Whatever your dream happens to be, never be ashamed or apologetic about succeeding. Be joyous! Be proud! I'm proud of the companies I helped save when I worked at Bain Capital and made a pile of money; and I kick myself for the companies that we couldn't save.
But that's Capitalism: In order to earn the right to succeed, you must accept the right to fail. Failure can be painful, but it teaches us to do it better next time.
There have been times I've failed, and times I've succeeded. On the whole, I like winning better than losing, not just for me but for everybody.
I guess that makes me both a Republican and an American!
All right, all right, I got a little carried away; but I was having fun cheering and defending achievement, wealth, and Capitalism with joyous abandon; I never apologize for anything but not doing my best.
Barack Obama is my political antiparticle, forever begging forgiveness for the achievements of his betters.
I reckon that makes him a liberal.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Date ►►► February 20, 2012
I Scream Social
I sent this as an e-mail to my favorite blogger; but upon further reflection, I think there is something of more general interest here. Hence I turn it into a
cheap-jack freebie blogpost pithy observation of the unity of social and economic conservatism we need to oust the occupier from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
In John Hinderaker's Rick Santorum post "Are There Republicans Who Think This Is a Good Idea? Seriously?", he quotes Schieffer quoting Santorum:
RICK SANTORUM: But the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly, much less that the state government should be running schools is anachronistic. It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home school or have the little neighborhood school and into these big factories. So we built equal factories called public schools.
I agree that it's death for the GOP to run a campaign against Barack H. Obama mostly about social conservatism. But if you're interested, the bit from Santorum quoted above is straight out of Alvin Toffler's ten-years-later follow-up to his mondo best seller Future Shock, titled the Third Wave -- meaning the third wave of technology-induced cultural revolution: The first is the post-neolithic agricultural age; the second is the mechanical/industrial age; and the third is the post-industrial information age.
Toffler makes sense to me; it's clear that the modern (modernist) public-school system was indeed set up to mimic the factory setting -- a wonderful (at the time) great leap forward from the paltry and classist education available in the agrarian age. Toffler argues that "manufactory" schools have outlived their usefulness, however, and that we need the more individualized learning that computers now make available to every individual, or would if the teachers unions would get the heck out of the way.
But Hinderaker is quite right that a presidential campaign is not the proper venue for such Newt-like speculation on Santorum's part.
I perhaps part company from him -- or perhaps not, as his response indicated general agreement -- on one implication of the piece, perhaps a conclusion Hinderaker did not intend: That the campaign should be entirely about the economy and jobs, with no shred of social issues intruding. I think that is a great mistake; but it must be handled very carefully to avoid exactly what Hinderaker rails against in his post, that is, letting social conservatism drive the GOP, pushing economic conservatism to the back of the bus.
In particular, we must stay away from any social issue that is divisive -- theology, gynecology, school prayer, same-sex marriage, and suchlike. But we can make great inroads by spending about 15% of the campaign energy on issues that pit Obamunism against Americanism; e.g., arguing that Obama's policies, whether by design or incompetence, are anti-family and destructive of traditional American virtues, such as liberty (including religious liberty), individualism, and individualism's counterpart, civil society (churches, service organizations, and community activities, such as bowling leagues), and Capitalism, which has made us the most prosperous nation on earth -- even as Progressivist ideas have made us, at the very same time, the world's biggest bankrupt nation.
I believe a very effective pitch can be made to Hispanic voters, for example, by sending English and Spanish speaking Hispanics throughout Hispanic areas of the Southwest and Florida with the message that Obama is making war on Catholics and on the traditional family and on small businesses, in which Hispanics are very successful players... said message intended to counter the inevitable leftist attack on the GOP for being "nativist" and "racist" and wanting to deport all Hispanics (yes, I know that's a horrible distortion; but that exact distortion is guaranteed to be flung at us by Big Media).
And a pure pitch can be made for individual and family liberty by advocating, not the complete privatization of Social Security (despite my own preference for that very policy) and Medicare, but rather for collecting the payroll tax as usual... but keeping everybody's taxes in separate, family accounts -- under the citizens' own names -- so that the feds cannot raid the Social-Security funds to pay for more madcap spending; and doing the same with the portion of payroll taxes that currently go to Medicare, so that they may instead go towards paying for post-retirement insurance (like Medicare Advantage) instead of qualifying seniors for crappy medical care as second-class patients.
But unquestionably, 85% of the campaign should be about the collapsing economy, ballooning taxes, skyrocketing energy prices (due to crippling our domestic energy production) and other unconfessed inflation, unconscionable unemployment and underemployment, the cost of Obamacare, the Skimulus, and the arrogant, swaggering ignorance by Barack "Bubble Boy" Obama of the most basic and fundamental economic laws.
85% money stuff, 15% non-controversial social issues (liberty, family, community); that should be the big campaign picture. But not the specific stuff Rick Santorum is inexplicably yammering about.
Date ►►► February 14, 2012
Which Is What We Always Suspected Anyway II
In our previous post on this topic, we noted the liberal contempt for decisions made by ordinary voters at the ballot box:
Democratic leaders say they will not allow a vote, arguing that a majority of the people should not be entrusted with deciding whether to protect a minority.
No, of course not; we should trust only Progressivist elitists to tell the rest of us how to vote.
Today we look at an even darker side of liberalism, the condescending rejection of decisions made by ordinary peasants in their private lives... including how they choose to raise their own children:
A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School [in or near Raeford, North Carolina] ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.
Perhaps the real problem was the "NO-BAMA" lunchbox itself... [Just a joke; for all I know, the toddler packed a brown bag that read "Don't blame me, I voted for Newt!"]
This incident goes far to answer, in the affirmative, two questions I have been asking for years:
To liberals -- Do you honestly believe not that "it takes a village" to raise a child, but that it actually takes a village government? That is, do you, Mr. and Ms. Progressivist, believe that if the State and the parent conflict about child rearing, the State should take precedence?
Even for your own kids? If not, then what is the principled reason why for others -- but not for you and your'n?
To conservatives who are strict constructionists on the Constitution -- Would you actually argue that state, county, and local governments can enact literally any law they choose, so long as it does not conflict with the state or federal Constitution? For example, can a state government adopt mandatory nutritional requirements for adults as well as children?
Or to be perfectly blunt about it, can a state require all residents to become vegetarians? Can it ban the sale, possession, and consumption of all animal products? If not, then what is the principled reason why it can't?
Because I must admit both suggestions stink of tyranny verging on totalitarianism; both, from Left and Right, seem to me (and all right-thinking people) to violate our most fundamental liberty and -- yes, I'll say the P-word -- privacy, where privacy is understood to mean "freedom from governmental intruding into our most intimate moments and that which makes us who we are."
Leftists always seem very comfortable with the idea that only experts can properly raise children. Parents are simply the vessels through which national mandates are executed; public officials stand permanently in loco parentis (in place of the parent), even when the parent wills otherwise, and even when the parent is physically present and taking care of the kid him- or herself.
(Not the liberal's own children, you understand; for their own kids, liberals prefer they be raised by an authority figure considerably closer to home than the government: The nanny!)
The syllogism is simple: On any important issue, goverment professionals, experts, and learned scholars know so much better than the mass of people making their own decisions based upon their own enlightened self-interest. No wonder the Left finds liberty and especially the free market incomprehensible: Capitalism is out of control! (Well, out of their control, at least.)
But I have also heard quite a few strict constructionists argue that the only rights the federal government must respect are those explicitly enumerated in the Constitution... and that even most of those are always in season to be picked off at close range by state, county, and local governments. Strict constructionists, for example, typically hotly deny that there is any such thing as an inviolate zone of privacy surrounding individuals and families, inside of which government must not intrude. There's no slightest aspect of daily life that cannot be held, controlled, prescribed, proscribed, or abolished, so long as the local politicos jump through the proper hoops, cross all the eyes and dot all the tees. That there's that "due process" that makes everything hunky and/or dory.
Conservatives agree that governments cannot manufacture a state religion, nor can they proscribe (or prescribe!) books, speeches, or letters. But many draw the line at actual speech -- the strictly construed word used in the amendment -- and deny that non-verbal forms of communication are protected.
Ergo, they proudly believe that governments, from the lowliest ward to the upper echelons of the United States Congress, can ban certain forms of music, or all music altogether; they can prohibit "barbaric" dances, such as the Lambada, Freak Dancing, or the Bunny Hop. The Secretary of Aesthetics can restrict all artworks to those made in accordance with the diktats of the Proletarian Cultural and Enlightenment Council of Progressivist Realism, ordering the entire content of the Smithsonian American Art Museum thrown onto the bonfire (shades of Don Quixote). With just compensation, of course, to the artists; mustn't run afoul of the Fifth!
Recipes are unprotected, of course; and so would be sartorial communication, unless the t-shirt sports actual words; all citizens could be restricted to bow ties, pantaloons, and Mao jackets, for all the judicial conservatives care.
On a more likely scenario -- that is, it actually happened -- they howl with outrage at, e.g., Lawrence v. Texas, a Supreme Court case that struck down all anti-sodomy laws (however defined) across the land; judicial conservatives recoil from any putative "privacy right" that Court invoked; the Right calls any form of privacy beyond what was written down 200 years ago a "made-up right" that had never existed until 1965 (Griswold v. Connecticut).
But think what we're talking about, what the strict constructionists would trample underfoot, if they only could: Those laws prescribed exactly what sexual acts consenting adults could legally engage in behind closed doors; and they gave the police authority to investigate such possible crimes by peeking through windows and interviewing residents as to the sexual practices of their friends.
And lest you think anti-sodomy laws were all right because "homosexuality is an abomination," understand this: Those same "anti-sodomy laws" that banned gay sex also typically banned husband and wife from engaging in oral sex, or anything other than the strict missionary position. And the original Court decision that first enunciated a "right to privacy," Griswold, made illegal the purchase or use of contraceptives even by a husband and wife.
Those state and local sex police weren't just going after "weirdos;" they aimed to stop everything that ran afoul of the parochial tastes of a few relatively small sects of the hyper-religious.
Is oral sex or mutual masturbation also an abomination? How about sex with a condom -- straight to Hell? Perhaps someone could cite me the biblical chapter and verse; I don't recall seeing it. Good Lord, is there no zone of protection around even the most intimate acts of individuals and families? Do judicial conservatives truly believe that the police may pry everywhere and into everything, so long as the legislature properly passed a law?
[No, the saga of Onan the Barbarian had nothing to do with masturbation, mutual or otherwise; a law passed according to Genesis chapter 38 would have to make coitus interruptus illegal. Anybody eager to push for that?]
I argue rather that government itself has only limited powers, not because of what the Constitutional Convention of 1787 wrote, but because our right to liberty, freedom, and yes, privacy is fundamental, granted by God or by the innate sovereignty of Man, choose your poison. Any government that violates that right is illegitimate, ripe for us, in Jefferson's words, "to alter or to abolish it." Even if such a terrible, tyrannical law was passed using the proper forms and after a vote of 50% + 1.
All right, back to the lesser but more inexplicable point. What on earth is wrong with a turkwich, fruit, chips, and juice? And where did this school lunch inspector earn his MD?
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs -- including in-home day care centers -- to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
So this all comes from the feds! The Orwellian named Division of Child Development and Early Education at HHS -- Kathleen Sibelius again, she who promulgated the order requiring all employers, regardless of religious belief, to offer free contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to all employees -- has determined that, since all kids are identical -- cogs in a machine -- they all have identical nutritional needs. And los federales will jolly well ensure that children eat what Sibelius and Co-President Michelle "Evita" Obama tell them to eat, and without insolent suggestions from mere, untrained, inexpert parents.
But what if the child is like me, with a hyperefficient digestive system? Demanding she eat a full "serving," whatever that is, could be far too much food for her, leading to obesity. (If one branch of government ordered the kid to eat more than she needs, then surely the next branch of government would try to prosecute the parents for overfeeding their kids!)
Or what if she happened to be allergic to something served at the school cafeteria. Did the lunchbox inspector have the girl's medical records in hand when he issued his decree that she throw away her mother's carefully selected lunch and instead cast her prandial fate to the mighty wind of the school lunch "More at Four" program, under orders by the Department of Health and Human Services, by direction of the Marquis de Sibelius?
No, of course not. But why should he? He is an "expert," by virtue of being employed by the government (and paid by unwilling subjects).
For some unknown reason, every liberal is an expert; each seems to believe that he is the smartest guy in every room. I don't know how they stand each other.
(Do they have call and response sessions? Progressivist catechism class? Do they have regular head-cutting contests over who is the most divorced from reality? I can picture the ritual -- arrogant declamations at ten paces!)
...Which is what we always suspected anyway, right?
Just remember, as Brad Linaweaver, friend and worthy co-conspirator in Big Lizards, is wont to say, "It takes a village idiot." Alas, "village idiot" appears to be a popular stepping stone on the career path to true political power.
Date ►►► February 13, 2012
Which Is What We Always Suspected Anyway
Ahem. The New Jersey Senate just voted to approve same-sex marriage. If the General Assembly concurs, as expected, the bill will be sent to Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who will promptly veto it. (More than likely, the veto will be upheld; see below.)
But here's the fascinating -- and very revealing -- part of this Kabuki dance: Christie won't sign the bill because he believes that's a momentous enough change that the citizens of New Jersey themselves should be the ones to decide, not a partisan, Progressivist, Democrat-dominated legislature:
Christie last month said he'd veto the legislation if it passed. Christie said that such a fundamental change should be up to a vote of the people, and he has called for a referendum on the issue.
And the money quote:
Democratic leaders say they will not allow a vote, arguing that a majority of the people should not be entrusted with deciding whether to protect a minority.
Well heck, if the Garden
Variety State government disapproves of the people, why doesn't it just dissolve them and elect a new people?
The New Jersey Senate currently comprises 24 Democrats and 16 Republicans; a two-thirds vote is required to override the veto, which means they need 27 votes. The vote for same-sex marriage was 24 to 16, but two of those 16 nay votes were Democrats; thus, if the two strays are bullied into changing to yea, the anti-traditional-marriage mob would have 26 votes -- still one shy of the two-thirds requirement.
In the General Assembly, there are 47 Democrats and 31 Republicans, with two vacancies that will be filled either by special election or by the leaders of the party that controlled the seat before it became vacant. Thus, the magic number to override Christie's expected veto (assuming the assembly passes the bill) is 54. The assembly needs at least five Republicans to override the veto, assuming every Democrat votes yea and that the two vacancies are also filled by Democrats. (If the veto override occurs before the vacancies are filled, override would require 52 votes; so either way, the haters of traditional marriage need at least five Republicans.)
I don't believe it will happen this session, which ends in January 2014; the hard Left is short in both houses. Ergo, the veto override will fail, and the state and nation will have a reprieve -- followed by a new election in 2013 that might shake up the party division, one way or the other.
But what I most wanted to highlight was the cavalier, dismissive, even aggressively contemptuous rejection by the Democrats of any role whatsoever for the peons of New Jersey to decide the state's marriage laws for themselves. One could hardly ask for a more brazen assertion that the divine (or infernal) right of government of the leftist elite, by the leftist elite, and for the leftist elite, shall not perish from Jersey.
Date ►►► February 9, 2012
Let's Get One Thing Perfectly Clear...
The recent order by President Barack H. Obama (and Kathleen Sebelius at the Department of Health and Human Services) -- that every employer must offer health insurance that fully covers birth control, sterilizations, and morning-after abortion pills, regardless of any religious objection employers, including faith-based employers that are not actually churches, might harbor to those procedures -- is not an "unintended consequence" of ObamaCare. Its architects are not that stupid.
Rather, that was one of the very reasons for enacting ObamaCare in the first place.
As many of us said back in 2009, the purpose of ObamaCare was never to give health insurance to needy people who couldn't afford it. First, that category was nearly empty:
- The deserving poor were already covered by Medicaid; and if necessary, its qualification threshold could have been temporarily lowered to allow more people to benefit -- say, by expanding availability to those who had recently lost their jobs (hence health insurance) but were not yet living below the Medicaid poverty line.
- The biggest chunk of those who did not have health insurance comprised the rich (who prefer to pay for their health care as necessary, rather than buy insurance), and the young, healthy, and shortsighted, who can afford health care but choose instead to gamble that they won't get so sick or injured that they need expensive treatment. Making such a choice, even if it turns out to be a big mistake, is part of individual liberty. The proper "solution" is to allow us that liberty, then hold individuals accountable for their own decisions; actions have consequences. (Innocents swept up in those bad decisions, such as children, can be helped separately.)
Finally, a small percentage of the uninsured could have afforded a cheaper, stripped-down policy, but cannot afford the "Cadillac" health-care plans whose costs are driven up by government mandates and regulations.
For those unfortunates, the easiest fix -- which would have benefitted everyone else as well -- was to eliminate all the government meddling the caused the problem in the first place: Requiring health insurance by law to cover a littany of specialized services; policies that make it difficult for insurance companies to offer greater variety in policies, such as a medical savings account coupled with catastrophic care (which encourage more parsimony among patients, as they must pay to refill their MSA if depleted); regulations prohibiting insurance companies from offering policies cross-state and cross-border; overly plaintiff-friendly (and especially lawyer-friendly) medical malpractice laws; and so forth.
Real problems, such as people with pre-existing conditions (the faux "casus belli" for the war against private insurance), could have been handled the same way bad drivers are handled for automobile insurance: Create an "assigned risk" pool among health insurers to spread the cost; allow a reasonable increase in rates for those with such conditions, and have a reasonably short waiting period (e.g., six months) before full coverage occurs; and allow for temporary government assistance for those who truly cannot wait and incur unpayable costs. (This isn't laissez-faire Capitalism, of course; but it's a reasonable and inexpensive compromise between liberty and safety net.)
Such reforms would have cost a fraction of the trillion dollars that ObamaCare expropriated from the private sector. In fact, once the lifting of government mandates and the squelching of "jackpot justice" malpractice suits lowered actual health-care costs, insurance reform might have wound up cheaper than the original system it replaced. And in any event, it would have been a move towards greater freedom of choice for employers and individuals.
But the Obamunists had precisely the opposite purpose from the beginning; rather than freedom, their ultimate goal was to put more Americans than ever before under the iron boot-heel of the government. Never was it about health insurance for the poor and uninsured; it was always about the federal government seizing control not only of the health care of individuals but also nationalizing those state and local health programs already in place. ObamaCare was, first and last, a power grab by the federal government at the expense of states, local governments, and individual Americans.
So please, let's not imitate Captain Renault in Casablanca -- shocked, shocked to discover that Barack Obama has violated our First-Amendment right to freedom of religion! In fact, that specific mandate was at the heart of ObamaCare tyranny: a frontal assault on the Catholic church in particular, which is so virulently hated by the gay-activist and feminist wings of the Left.
The only element of this policy that should shock anyone is the unbelievably hamfisted way that Obama decreed it: A politically savvy politician would have patiently held off until after the election, giving himself two years to allow the furor to die down.
Instead, the president once again mistook unanimity among his left-liberal friends for a Progressivist "consensus" among the American people; he lives in a bubble of epistemic closure, talking only to true-blue believers on the left. I formerly gave him the nickname "Lucky Lefty," because (a) he is left handed, (b) he is left-leaning, and (c) he was extraordinarily lucky. Well he's still (a) and (b), but not so much (c) anymore, so I can no longer call him that.
Obama's new nickname is "Bubble Boy," honoring his world view.
But what's done is done and cannot be undone; Obama has ripped off the mask, and he can't put it back into the bottle. We now see ObamaCare in all its naked savagery and unAmericanism. Thank goodness for Obamunist "dumbth!"
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Date ►►► February 6, 2012
Extra, Extra - Crimebusting Lizards!
Today is my lucky day: I had the opportunity to put up or shut up about the civic responsibilities of a culture of liberty, and I passed the test. In the process, I broke up a domestic assault on the streets, stopping a young man from violently attacking a woman he claimed was his wife.
There's nothing wrong with crowing about doing something undeniably good, especially when there's a certain risk involved; but I'm not just tooting my own kazoo here. There are cosmic points that I'll get to after giving you the bare facts...
I was walking to the gym when I heard an ongoing altercation. Looking ahead, I saw a scrum of older men surrounding a very young man (late teens or very early twenties) who was screaming at a young woman (about the same age), who he later identified as his wife. He had her pressed against an SUV; he was enraged, she was terrified.
The skinny, young man (I'll say "suspect" from now on) got increasingly violent, and the older men, who had been telling him to let her go and don't hit her, backed away, apparently nervous.
The suspect reached around the girl and grabbed her by the back of her neck; he threw her down to the pavement, and she held her arms up to ward off a blow. I did not see him actually strike the woman at any time; the only violent contact I saw him make was throwing her to the sidewalk.
I ran up to them and also told him he should just back off and let her go. The suspect turned on me, screaming obscenities into my face from about two inches away. I stared him down (we were about the same height, but I was sure I had at least 40 pounds on him).
Then he walked away, and after a moment, the woman followed; but she was walking faster. She walked past him and continued walking down the street, putting distance between them; but then the suspect broke into a run after her.
I lost sight of them for a few seconds, then on second thought, I ran after. After turning a corner, I saw he had again cornered her, this time against a huge dumpster. He raised his fist, so I dropped my pack at the corner and ran up to them.
He spun around to face me. This time, he told me that if I didn't get the "F" away from them, he would kill me. But during this distraction, the girl had darted around the dumpster, turned another corner, and run off.
The suspect realized she was gone; he caught sight of the girl some distance away and ran after her.
I walked behind him, then I too saw the girl. The suspect ran up to her and again raised his fist as if to strike her. This time, she dropped to the ground of her own accord and for a third time put her arms across her face, as if to block a punch.
I scurried to the two of them again, and again the suspect confronted me. You get the strategy, right? I was distracting him and distracting him, again and again, so he constantly had to deal with me, not her; whenever he started in on the girl, there I was, getting in his space again. I didn't yell at him, insult him, or punch him out (though I wouldn't have minded, the dirty coward). I just stuck to him like a tar baby.
By that time, a number of other people had come out of their houses; and I knew that one of the original witnesses at the beginning, five or ten minutes earlier, had called the peelers. I could hear a siren, and I hoped it was they.
I remembered I'd dropped my backpack a few streets back, and it had my wallet and keys in it. Since a crowd had gathered, I ran back, got my pack, and returned. By that time, a cop on a motorcycle arrived, and then some others.
They ordered the suspect to the ground, but he refused to comply. Instead, he hurled defiance at them. So they drew their pistols and again ordered him to get on the ground. He looked for a moment like he was going to charge them (suicide by cop?); but in the end, he lay face down on the grass, and the police cuffed him.
I told one of the cops I was an eyewitness and recounted what I had seen and heard. They had me identify him, then interviewed me and took my contact information. My guess is that the suspect will probably plead out; but if there's a trial, I'm looking forward to testifying against him; I don't like men who act like beasts, especially towards women. (Call me old fashioned.)
Finally, the police finished with me; and I headed off... and continued on my way to the gym.
So what's the moral? There are several:
- First, in the Western culture, and especially in the United States (the best of the West), we instinctively come to the aid of the underdog against a tyrant.
This is not common in the rest of the world. Believe me. In most ports of call, if a stranger sees a man beating a woman, or a big guy (or multiple guys) assailing a smaller, lone victim, the stranger will fade away as quickly as possible. And in some parts of the world -- e.g. the Moslem ummah -- if Abdul sees a big guy assaulting a little guy or gal, or a mob assaulting a lone victim, Abdul will join the mob; after all, who's the obvious "strong horse?"
I'm neither anthropologist nor geneticist, but I suspect the "stick up for the underdog" impulse comes from a gene that evolved only among those early humans who migrated into what is now called Europe, tens of thousands of years ago. If such a gene evolved after the Europe-bound population split from the Arabia-bound and Asia-bound populations, then it wouldn't be surprising that ours is a culture that helps the little guy against the big guy, but theirs have very different, and probably much older cultural imperatives.
- Second, you've all heard the supposed quotation attributed to Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Alas, there is no evidence he ever said those exact words. But the sentiment is clear, as is its applicability to the United States in 2012. And the transitive corollary is likewise clear: All that is necessary for good to triumph is that good people get off their butts and confront evil wherever they run across it.
That too is very, very American. I wouldn't say it's unique to the U.S. or even to Western Civ; but coupled with the first point, intervention by ordinary blokes is the primary deterrent to crime. Yes, social conformity can be a very good thing indeed!
Intervention can take several forms: You can confront the evildoer directly, the direct approach. Or if the odds are too great against you, you can call the coppers -- bearing in mind another, fruitier maxim: "When seconds count, the police are just minutes away!" And if even the police are suspect (or outgunned by the "cowards, traitors, and empty words"), you can serve as a witness at trial -- or in extremis, as a witness to history, as with Émile Zola's J'accuse!, or the Diary of Anne Frank.
- Finally, you must be able to distinguish between those evildoers who are truly dangerous and those who are just going to "shout you to death"; and you must respond according to that distinction -- or you might find yourself inconveniently dead.
I could tell that this particular suspect was not going to physically attack me; he's only comfortable attacking people who can't -- or won't -- fight back. But under different circumstances, I would have used a very different strategy to accomplish much the same end. For example, if a woman was being assaulted by multiple men, I wouldn't just wade in like Conan the Contrarian; I would only get beaten to a pulp, and the vicitm would be no better off for my useless heroics and hysterics.
Rather, in that circumstance, I would probably get someone to call the cops -- and then I would tail the perps from a distance as well as I could, trying to glean any information that would lead to an arrest: A license plate, a good description, or a house they fled to.
There is always something you can do, and always something you should do. Even if it's only a little, a whole bunch of "littles" add up to a "big," possibly even to arrest and conviction. And if everyone does his "something," then the current culture of crime and corruption will wither away.
So as I oft like to conclude, it's time for us all to put on our manly gowns, gird our loins, and pull up our socks. And the next time you see "something big going down," as they used to say on Baretta, don't complain about it... get up on your hind legs and do something to stop it!
Date ►►► February 5, 2012
Progressivism on Parade
I love travelogues. I love cooking shows. I love anything to do with barbecue. Hence it was a no-brainer that I would record a show on BBC America about somebody named "Jamie" traveling through the United States and competing in Pigfest, a major barbecue cook-off.
It didn't hurt that I misunderstood and somehow got the impression that the host was James May from Top Gear (who has also done travelogues). Turns out it was one Jamie Oliver, but no matter; if he wasn't the ascerbic and witty May, at least he was an actual chef, who has a cooking show on BBC titled the Naked Chef, which I've never seen.
What I didn't realize was that Jamie Oliver is also a liberal, anti-white bigot -- and a bloody fool, even by liberal-Progressivist standards.
In this travelogue, Oliver drove a camper through Georgia and then down into Florida for the cook-off. In the Georgia section, he dropped in (with advance notice and permission, one assumes) on (i) a white family of hunters; (ii) a group of white, atavistic trolls huddled under a bridge awaiting a lonely wanderer to waylay; (iii) the black owner and black pit boss of a barbecue joint; (iv) a genteel ladies' cake society; and (v) the female owner of a soul-food restaurant. (I omit the races of the last two because they're obvious.)
His first stop with the hunters turned into a bizarre commercial for Britain's National Health Service. When the doyenne of the hunter-gatherer tribe complains that she has lost her health insurance due to the recession, Oliver leaps into the breach to note, smugly, that in England, "health care is totally free... you don't have to pay anything!"
Really! So the money for the NHS simply materializes from thin air? Nobody has to, for example, pay staggering and exhorbitant taxes? There are no problems with rationing health care, denying vital procedures for seniors because they won't live very much longer anyway, refusing to authorize painkillers because they're worried an 87 year old dying cancer patient may become "hooked," sheer incompetence, involuntary euthanasia, and good, old-fashioned death panels? Nothing of the sort -- it was all a dream...
Marveling to the camera some hours later, Jamie Oliver extolls the British system of "free" health care: "I never even thought about it," he muses, with a shake of his head and a tear in his eye. And yes, I do believe him: He never has.
Later, under a bridge and next to a burning 55-gallon drum, Oliver entraps one of the trolls into using That Word as part of a silly, unfunny joke; he clearly entices them.
But in a later segment with the soul-fooder, Oliver tremulously tattles what he heard (using the phrase "the N-word," of course), eliciting a sorrowful shake of her soulship's head. "It's still the South," she explains in that pained, world-weary way I have so often heard from black women who want us to believe that Jim Crow is alive and secretly plotting a return to slavery; "there's the hairy, hidden hand of the white man," as Louis Farrakhan once put it, "working the machinations behind the scenes." (Institutionalized racism! Exchanging white sheets for black robes! Code words!)
In response to Oliver's probing about personal experiences of racism, she describes an instance where she drove to some carpark, where she espied a truck festooned with a Confederate battle flag, a gun rack (no indication whether it was full or empty), and, she claimed, a bumper sticker that read, "Hey, [N-word], Lincoln lied: We don't owe you no forty acres and a mule!"
Mull that for a bit and keep it in mind.
Later, Oliver monologues to the camera yet again, back in the safety of his camper, singing the vile racism that lurks just beneath the epidermis of all American whites; he repeatedly references American chattel slavery, seemingly oblivious to the fact that black slavery was ubiquitous in the world until the nineteenth century -- yes, even in Great Britain.
Sternly looks he into the camera's eye and intones, in his best imitation of Richard Burton as the psychiatrist in Equus, that the Ku Klux Klan still exists in America; for the soul-fooder actually encountered one of them. (He was referring to M'Lady's truck with the Stars and Bars and the alleged offensive bumper sticker.)
So what do I now know about Jamie Oliver?
- He is an America basher, hunting for anything disreputable that he can use to bash the U.S.A.
- He utterly buys into the liberal myth that race is the most fundamental divide in America; that no race is superior or inferior to any other -- except that white southerners are louts and crackers and surely inferior to blacks, Hispanics, and other races.
- He buys into every liberal-Progressivist canard about such leftist policies as nationalized health care: It's wonderfully good medical care; it serves everybody; there's no penalty for pre-existing conditions; and it's all totally free. England, "this precious stone set in the silver sea," is surely the Philosophers' Stone, that turneth base metal into gold!
- Jamie Oliver thinks anyone flying the Stars and Bars -- in the South! -- and (allegedly) affixing rude stickers to his bumper is a dues-paying, whisky swilling, loyal member of the KKK.
- Ergo, Jamie Oliver is a blooming idiot.
But he's a very special type of idiot: He is yet another victim of liberal metaprogramming, a wildly successful propaganda play that strikes at the disabled -- the mentally disabled -- convincing them that anyone who disagrees with the (infinitely malleable) core axioms of liberalism or Progressivism is so ignorant, insane, or immoral that those "of the body" never need even to listen to their arguments. In fact, it's best not to listen, because antiliberalism is so spiritually toxic that merely hearing it is sufficient to putrify the liberal soul.
It's not a philosophy or even an ideology; it's a libertine lifestyle harnessed to a universal excuse machine, driven by a willful program to diminish the mental capacity of its victims, thus making them politically pliant and loyal to the point of mania to the Liberal in Chief, whoever he happens to be at a particular point of space-time. (Always a "he," feminism notwithstanding.)
Liberals need educating. Progressivists need reforming (and penance). But liberalism and Progressivism themselves, as strategies for world dominance, must be expunged.
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