Category ►►► Liberal Lunacy

September 25, 2013

The Secret Weapon of AntiProgressivists...

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

...Is of course risible, regressive "Progressivism" itself! Whenever, through false advertising or a memory lapse within the American electorate, these proglodytes seize control of a city, state, or the entire country, they can never restrain themselves from going whole-hog and trying to overturn everything that works and replace it with its perverse inversion.

As we see anent ObamaCare -- which is not the subject of this post.

Here are a few examples recently in the news:

(It's possible the bill restricts its effects to long guns, but that's not how it was presented.)

So what's the next step? All guns shall be single-shot, muzzle loading, un-rifled blunderbusses. Nobody needs more than that to kill a bunny rabbit!

The felony offense of self defense. 'Nuff said.

Allan Brauer, "Communications" chairman of the Sacramento Democratic Party, tweets to Amanda Carpenter -- an aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX, not yet rated) -- "May your children all die from debilitating, painful and incurable diseases." When the vasty fertilizer hits the propeller, Brauer offers the traditional, half-vast, liberal-Progressivist apology: "I am truly sorry for my tweet. I was very upset and lashed out. Your kids are not fair game either. My apologies."

Well, tra-la-la. Nothing to see here folks, just MoveOn. But where is the censure, the condemnation? Where is the condemn outrage? Has the Sacramento Democrat Party, Dem-central in California's capital, so much as wagged a finger at Brauer?

Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick...

And about time! This disruptive, free-thinking student failed to get permission from Modesto Junior College to give away free copies of the fundamental source of all our law. He fell afoul of the "hate speech" code. (Yes, this happened on a college campus. Future leaders of America.)

Under this bill, already signed into law (but subject to a potential citizens' initiative to kill it before it becomes effective), a fourteen year old, middle-school boy can announce on Tuesday that he is "really a girl," under his own conception of gender; he can push his way into the girls' locker room and shower with them, whether they like it or not. Then on Wednesday, he can suddenly revert back to being a boy again.

Take a picture; it lasts longer.

On a more serious note, he can also join the girls' soccer team -- and body slam his female opponents, breaking a pelvis (or spine), or perhaps just a rib or two. Pretty soon, smaller or unathletic boys will discover how fun it is to be able to win all the time!

(Psst... it's already happening on adult sports teams; even the International and U.S. Olympics now allow "transgender" male-to-(so-called)-female athletes.)

But the "Bathroom Bill," as many Californios have taken to calling it, goes much further: A student needn't have any hormone treatment or any parts of his body lopped off. All it takes is his (or her, but don't expect too many of those) subjective decision that "today I feel like a girl... a dirty, dirty girl who desperately needs to take a shower!"

So what are the Democrats telling us via these examples?

  1. Liberals/Progressivists/Democrats want to ban all guns, one bite at a time.
  2. They reject the very concept of self defense; if set upon, we have the duty to die (passively).
  3. Respect for freedom of speech and basic civility are vestiges of more primitive times... that is, when the speechifier target is "to the right."
  4. They see the U.S. Constitution as a subversive document that interferes with Progressivist mob-populism.
  5. And Progressivists believe in, or pretend to believe in, the "gender insanity" locker-room libel: that there literally is no male and no female, just "social constructs" of "gender." Who needs fathers? Who needs mothers? Let the children be raised by the State in our brave, new world!

I believe we approach a classic tipping point. When insanity piles atop insanity, when the center cannot hold, when the loony Left begins its program to "fundamentally alter" us all, man, woman, and child alike, into their nightmare conception of the Socialist Person, the citizenry will not acquiesce in the destruction of everything we have believed for centuries.

The Plantation Media kept the lid tight enough, prior to 2012, that the low-information voters never realized just how madly the Left had unmoored itself from reality. But like Jack Nicholson in the Shining, we have found the four-hundred page "book" consisting of nothing but "all work and no play makes jack a dull boy," repeated endlessly.

It's now dawning upon the lowest of the low informationers that the Progressivists didn't just go a little funny in the head; they've been whopping loonie-toons for decades! They just hid it well.

The Truth may be slow, but when it finally gets there, it blasts away all the ludicrous lies and fraudulent fabrications.

The secret weapon of the anti-Progressivists -- is Progressivism itself.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 25, 2013, at the time of 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

May 8, 2013

"What Difference Does It Make!" -- On 2016?

Election Derelictions , La Casa Blanca , Liberal Lunacy , Predictions , Preening Progressivists
Hatched by Dafydd

PolitiFact Wisconsin has done us a great service by resurrecting Hillary "Hell to Pay" Clinton's January cri de coeur (rather, hysterical, squeaky, falsetto, voice-cracking, calculated screech) anent the Benghazi terrorism:

Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

The attack (even the White House now admits it was an al-Qaeda terrorist assault) killed four Americans -- Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and two embassy security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Ten others were wounded in the attack. But a few days after, then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice rushed onto nearly a thousand Sunday talk shows to pitch the rewritten, reelection-friendly talking points of the Obamunists: That the attack was unplanned, not premeditated, and was in fact an out-of-control movie review.

The PolitiFact piece is part of an "occasional feature" called In Context, a.k.a. the lazy man's journalism; it consists of taking some controversial statement, quoting several of the paragraphs surrounding it, and calling it a news story. But it is useful, providing a longer length of rope by which those afflicted by foot in mouth disease, such as Madame Erstwhile Secretary, can hang themselves all the quicker.

In context, Clinton's "What difference at this point does it make!" ejaculation is even worse than what we thought from the video snippet in January. We thought she had simply lost her temper after being badgered, bear-baited, and hogtied by some sneery senator. But the In Context piece shows a very different story: The shriek heard round the world was a planned evasion of a simple but devastating question, one that Clinton would surely know was coming -- but for which she had no good answer.

The questioner who extracted the Scream was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI, 100%). And he really had only one simple, substantive question: Wouldn't a simple phone call to the survivors and evacuees, even a couple of days after the fact, have told us that there was no "demonstration" or "protest" prior to the assault? Therefore, that it was indeed a planned and executed terrorist attack.

Johnson asks his question several times:

Did anybody in the State Department talk to those folks very shortly afterwards?...

The point I’m making is, a very simple phone call to these individuals, I think, would’ve ascertained immediately that there was no protest prior to this.... Why wasn’t that known?...

But, Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest? That was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained?

But to each attempt to get Clinton to explain why she couldn't have found out almost immediately what really happened -- terrorism, not a spontaneous protest against a YouTube video -- Clinton evades, sidesteps, and tapdances... because she knows very well that, had she made that phone call, she would lose her plausible deniability; she would have owned the Big Lie of her subordinate, Susan Rice. Here are Clinton's "answers":

[O]nce the assault happened, and once we got our people rescued and out, our most immediate concern was, number one, taking care of their injuries.... We did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews. And we did not -- I think this is accurate, sir -- I certainly did not know of any reports that contradicted the [Intelligence Community] talking points at the time that Ambassador Rice went on the TV shows.... Was information developing? Was the situation fluid? Would we reach conclusions later that weren’t reached initially?... [W]hen you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one.... Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown --

Did I miss an actual answer in that pot of message? I mean, something like, "Yes, I could have called them and found out"... or even, "No, I couldn't call them, any of them, even days later, because my boss put the kibosh on any investigation until after he was safely reelected."

At the end, Johnson draws the only conclusion possible:

No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that -- an assault sprang out of that -- and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.

And that was when she unleashed her staged and rehearsed banshee wail, the silencing scream of the outraged woman under sexist assault by a Republican Fascist:

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

Of course she didn't dare answer! The simple and honest response to Johnson's question is, Yes, I could have found out immediately; but if I did, how could I safely send Siouxsie out to lie to the American voters just before President B.O.'s reelection?

Her hands were tied; rather, they were wired firmly over her ears. There are some things Man, or in this case a reasonable facsimile thereof, was not meant to know.

And don't think that Madame can just walk away from it. To paraphrase Josef Mengele in the Boys From Brazil: She betrayed her ambassador; she betrayed her oath of office; she betrayed her country!

If she chooses to run for president again in 2016, I expect her primary opponents won't forget to remember her lies, her multiple betrayals, her treasons, stratagems, and spoils. I stand by my prediction that Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham will never, ever be the Democrat nominee for president.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 8, 2013, at the time of 11:59 PM | Comments (3)

April 30, 2013

The "Gender" Agender

Democratic Culture of Corruption , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

If this here bill in the California state Assembly actually passes, California may swing sharply to the right -- and might even come into play again for presidential elections.

Well I can dream. But it's undeniable that the bill percolating through the Assembly is virtually an Onion-like parody of Progressivist gender madness... one that will strike deep and horribly into every family in California that has school-aged children.

AB 1266 would allow all students in elementary and secondary school to decide for themselves what "gender" they are today or tomorrow, and use whichever bathroom, locker room, or shower facility they think fits best. That is, a fourteen year old boy in middle school, even one never known for gay or transgendered tendencies, can simply walk into the girl's shower room, strip naked, and join them... and by state law, he cannot be stopped or disciplined for doing so, as long as he claims that today he feels more like a girl than a boy.

How many offensive ways of wrongness does this absurdist law embody?

  • The bill utterly demolishes any idea of privacy; schoolchildren at all levels have the right to expect, as part of respecting their personhood, that they will not suddenly find themselves forced to go to the bathroom and take showers with members of the opposite sex. Many kids, boys and girls, are already embarassed enough showering with members of the same sex; but forced nudity in mixed-company clearly pushes far beyond that boundary of privacy.
  • Anyone who thinks that teenaged boys will not take advantage of the new law, will not stroll into the girls' shower to just sexually intimidate the girls and arouse themselves -- and perhaps even sexually assault them, believing that's what the girls really want -- is naive to the point of retardation. Of course they will; teenaged boys are the epitome of irresponsible sexual acting out. (And the recent fad of "sexting" indicates that teenaged girls are not too far behind in the irresponsibility Olympics.) When "It seemed like a good idea at the time" morphs into "I felt like a girl at the time," school administrators will be helpless to do anything about it. Hey, they're just expressing their gender indecision!
  • While we're at it, let's admit that the bill will also completely obliterate girls' sports in school, since it also allows any male student to declare himself to be female (in his own mind, at least) and (again by law) play on the girls' team, instead of the boys'. Of course, since they're physically still boys, still bigger, stronger, faster, better at throwing baseballs or footballs, shooting basketballs, or kicking soccer balls, that means the girls will be more or less window dressing. And more or less targets for the meaner boys passing as girls.

    Net effect: Girls will simply drop out of sports, because they can't win against boys twice their size and obviously prone to bullying. (Why would a boy want to play on a girls' team unless he wanted to bully?)

Back in the 1970s and early 80s, when the Equal Rights Amendment was wending its tortuous and ultimately unsuccessful path through ratification, the sexist line on it was that it would force boys and girls to use the same bathrooms and showers, and force women to be drafted into the Army. As I recollect, the feminists were furious at the spurious claim; but they were mostly "equity feminists" back then, not "gender feminists," to use Christina Hoff Sommers' terminology. "That's utterly ridiculous!" they (rightly) argued; "nobody's trying to erase the line between boys and girls!"

But today, the gay Left openly tries to erase that line -- and the leftover gender feminists cheer and applaud.

Of course: Since we all know that boys and girls are exactly the same, why shouldn't they shower together, go the the bathroom together, and play on any sports team, male or female, at their own will? Equality of rights begets equality of outcomes begets complete interchangeability between male and female... first in child rearing, then marriage, and now the ultimate leveling, bathroom buddies. The Progressivist Left is never satisfied; anything worth doing must surely be worth double-plus ultra overdoing!

I'm trying to imagine how even normal, moderate-liberal parents will react when their young daughters come home in tears because naked boys came into the girls' shower, leering, panting, displaying, and maybe even grabbing the girls -- and the school says, "hey, the law says we have to let them!" Or the sexual-assault lawsuits that surely would follow, filed not only against the school district but the parents of the assaulters (who thought the law would protect them from any consequences).

Or for that matter, how will all taxpayers feel about the enormous class-action lawsuits filed against the state and local school districts under Title 9 of the Civil Rights Act, for the de-facto destruction of girls' sports in school through state-sanctioned intimidation and violent assault, when the state allows boys join the opposing girls' team.

Simply put, if this bill passes without a massive political backlash, then America is doomed.

The Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative-leaning, pro-religion law firm, is all over this; they have up a web site on this bill and one other (designed to destroy the Boy Scouts and other private civic and fraternal organizations) at GenderInsanity.com.

And if you still think I'm overreacting, just flying off the handle, here is the text of AB 1266 itself; relevant portion (paragraph f) at the end in vivid and appropriate blue:

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1.

Section 221.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

221.5.

(a) It is the policy of the state that elementary and secondary school classes and courses, including nonacademic and elective classes and courses, be conducted, without regard to the sex of the pupil enrolled in these classes and courses.

(b) A school district may not prohibit a pupil from enrolling in any class or course on the basis of the sex of the pupil, except a class subject to Chapter 5.6 (commencing with Section 51930) of Part 28 of Division 4 of Title 2.

(c) A school district may not require a pupil of one sex to enroll in a particular class or course, unless the same class or course is also required of a pupil of the opposite sex.

(d) A school counselor, teacher, instructor, administrator, or aide may not, on the basis of the sex of a pupil, offer vocational or school program guidance to a pupil of one sex that is different from that offered to a pupil of the opposite sex or, in counseling a pupil, differentiate career, vocational, or higher education opportunities on the basis of the sex of the pupil counseled. Any school personnel acting in a career counseling or course selection capacity to a pupil shall affirmatively explore with the pupil the possibility of careers, or courses leading to careers, that are nontraditional for that pupil’s sex. The parents or legal guardian of the pupil shall be notified in a general manner at least once in the manner prescribed by Section 48980, in advance of career counseling and course selection commencing with course selection for grade 7 so that they may participate in the counseling sessions and decisions.

(e) Participation in a particular physical education activity or sport, if required of pupils of one sex, shall be available to pupils of each sex.

(f) A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, and activities, and facilities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 30, 2013, at the time of 9:35 PM | Comments (2)

March 9, 2013

Early Warning Censor

Liberal Lunacy , Sex - the Good, the Bad, and the Really Bad , Speech, Speech!
Hatched by Dafydd

Scratch a leftist, find a bluenose censor.

Progressivists love to pose as avant-garde, post-partisan worshippers of free speech; but to the Left, that has always meant only one thing: That everybody has the freedom to espouse leftist positions.

The moment the sinistrosphere captures majority control of any institution, all speech that contradicts the current Party catechism is immediately suppressed, and the speakers assailed as violently as the Left can manage. The Weathermen, the Morituri, ELF, ALF, Greenpeace, Fink Progress, La Raza, the Rainbow Coalition, the CBC, and Eric Holder's Department of Injustice -- none of these is a fluke. To a Progressivist, throttling dissent is just one of those eggs that needs to be broken to make the liberal omlet.

This applies not only to overt speech (always suspect to lefties), but even in the realm of "non-speech" freedom of speech -- everything from dance as speech, to flag-burning, to occupiers, strippers, and every other mechanism of nonverbal communication that leftists normally exalt: The purpose is never to give people of opposing viewpoints any liberty or forum to express their cockamamie opinions; its use is restricted to furthering world socialism.

Nothing could make this clearer than the Left's war on pornography: When Progressivist protesters want to strip naked to demonstrate against fracking, against voter-ID laws, against school choice, and in favor of unfettered abortion right up until a year after the baby is born, that display of naked rage is a sacred right that shall not be infringed. But woe betide models or porn actors who voluntarily choose to display themselves for profit, in print, video, or online; for the Left will clamp down viciously on such unauthorized (and unenlightened) exposure of one's own body.

That is why the Demi Moore vehicle Striptease (1996) was lauded by Hollywood in an overflow of praise, while the superficially similar Showgirls was lambasted, and many associated with it blacklisted and later forced to recant and make public apologies (a favorite punishment imposed by Progressivists; cf. Josef Stalin). Here is the distinction that makes all the difference: Demi Moore's character has lost her daughter in a custody fight following a divorce from her crooked and abusive husband; she's a victim of patriarchy! All the nudity and erotic dance is in service to showing how women are exploited and held down by sexism, racism, and homophobia.

But Elizabeth Berkeley's character in Showgirls (1995) freely chose to be a stripper, then a Vegas showgirl; she is tough, determined, knows what she wants in life, and allows nobody to exploit her. She owns herself and calls all the shots. She is no victim; therefore, nudity and sexual content are anathema when the woman has exercised her freedom of choice voluntarily. She's wandered off the victimhood plantation!

Berkeley has barely worked since then. The writer, Joe Eszterhas, as more or less disappeared from the scene as well. The director of Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven, after being savaged in the industry press for his "sick" and "debasing" movie, eventually tried to expiate his sins by directing -- and deliberately trashing -- Starship Troopers (1997). He turned Robert A. Heinlein's tour de force paean to individual freedom into what the movie's own pitch package described as a "glorious celebration of fascism."

(Verhoeven famously bragged that he hated the Heinlein novel so much, he never got past the second chapter; n.b. fewer than thirty-five pages of the paperback. He inverted everything in the book to make it appear as though it advocaed xenophobic racism and a fascist state -- take that, Heinlein! The attacks on Verhoeven ceased, but his career still seems more or less over.)

Which brings us, by a commodious vicus of recirculation, back to the international Left and its peculiar love-hate relationship with pornography; for yesterday, we learnt that a strong majority of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) plan to vote to ban all forms of pornography in the European Union, whether print, video, film, or even internet sites.

This monumental act of censorship is being pushed because of what the EuroLeft calls "a bid to 'eliminate gender stereotypes' that demean women":

The proposal "calls on the EU and its member states to take concrete action on discrimination against women in advertising... [with] a ban on all forms of pornography in the media".

Kartika Liotard, a Dutch left-wing feminist MEP, is seeking "statutory measures to prevent any form of pornography in the media and in advertising and for a ban on advertising for pornographic products and sex tourism", including measures in the "digital field".

The MEPs are also demanding the establishment of state sex censors with "a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation of girls".

This particular vote is non-binding; but it's the first step along the road towards legislating an enforceable ban on anything the EuroLeft deems, in its unbiased and nonpartisan wisdom, to be "pornography," "discrimination against women," or "gender stereotypes."

While many conservatives might wish something could be done about pornography, their desire to censor is inhibited by a respect for freedom of speech, plus the understanding that once the State gains authority to define and ban "pornography," then anything the Left dislikes can be so labeled -- thus banned as well:

  • Al Gore might well believe that climate "denialism" is obscene and needs to be expunged from the world.
  • Michael Bloomberg would be overjoyed to censor all advertising for (or even mention of) products and services he personally disdains, such as sugary drinks, alcohol, or cigarettes.
  • And the scrawny, pasty, lumpy members of the Center for Science in the Public Interest are just itching to be able to ban all fatty cuisines -- Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Jewish, et al -- on the grounds that such foods "discriminate against women," because overweight women are "demeaned" and taunted by sexual predators -- i.e., men.

Once the State says, "Adult women are not mature enough to handle certain kinds of speech, visual depictions, or the very idea of sexual practices other than those authorized by law," it infantilizes the entire female population... which is far more demeaning and discriminatory than pornography itself. The Left may as well pat women on the head and say, "There, there, don't bother your pretty, little head about such awful things."

The mind boggles: I just saw a play titled the Deep Throat Sex Scandal in the dying heart of the crumbling city of lost angels; it humorously recounted the making of the most successful porn movie in history (worldwide take in the hundreds of millions of dollars) and the succession of criminal trials that followed in its wake.

A prosecutor in Memphis, Tennessee filed criminal indictments for obscenity and conspiracy against the producer, director, distributers, and even one of the actors (Harry Reems) in the movie -- which was made entirely in New York City; none of the actors had ever even set foot in Tennessee before being hauled in by indictment or subpoena. The case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, where the prosecutor argued that if you make a movie in New York, and later someone shows that movie in Tennessee, the New York actors can be prosecuted where they never were for something that is not illegal where they actually were.

The Court disagreed.

As I watched the play (it boasted a large amount of full-frontal nudity, which was of course the main reason I bought a ticket), I was thinking that they had it all turned roundabout: They blamed all the porn censorship on rock-ribbed, Bible-thumpin' Baptists and babbittry. But they're behind their times; the New Right supports freedom of speech as against suppression of pornography. It's the New Left that has taken up the silencing man's burden of telling the rest of us what we're allowed to say, allowed to hear, and allowed to think; and it has been the Left for decades.

The ban does not appear to have much to do with ending the demeaning of women; so far as I can tell from the article, the ban would apply equally to lesbian pornography, even that which is completely empowering to women. And it wouldn't apply to Bill Clinton.

But I'm quite certain exceptions would be made for works with "redeeming social purposes," which in practice would mean whenever sex is used to sell leftist propaganda, as in Striptease. Or for that matter, as in Starship Troopers, which includes full-frontal nudity in service of slandering one of America's best Capitalist writers and the most successful advocate of liberty and libertarianism in the holy realm of science fiction.

It's always tempting to censor, control, suppress, silence, and eliminate opposing viewpoints; in our meaner moments, duct-taping their mouths seems so much easier and more satisfying than merely arguing. But to reject the very foundation of Western liberal democracy -- free and open inquiry, freedom of speech, and even freedom to do things that we ourselves may find distasteful and even "demeaning" -- is to fling ourselves from the mild heat of injudicious use of liberty into the roaring hellflames of totalitarianism.

The Left finds that bargain acceptable. The Right demurs.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 9, 2013, at the time of 4:25 AM | Comments (4)

February 15, 2013

The Symbol Life

Liberal Lunacy , Presidential Peculiarities and Pomposities
Hatched by Dafydd

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!

This is too late for a current event; it's more of an haute courant event, or a living legend, like the unicorn. The date is unimportant, as this specific example repeats endlessly, world without end.

A couple of weeks ago, a high-school kid was suspended from school for possesing a picture of a gun:

A high school student in Florence said he has been suspended because of a picture of a gun.

Daniel McClaine Jr., a freshman at Poston Butte High School, said he saved the picture as his desktop background on his school-issued computer.

A teacher noticed it and turned him in.

The picture shows an AK-47 on top of a flag.

It appears that in today's PoMo/Progresso couture, a picture is exactly the same as the subject pictured, the signifier is the signified, and "Ceci est une pipe" après tout! Rene Magritte, please phone home.

I'm not surprised; I have expected exactly such confusions ever since we entered the era of the symbolic president -- inaugurated posing in front of faux Roman columns, smirking and winking to those "in the know" about his predilections and inclinations, laughing at having fooled enough of the people enough of the time.

But it's not just Barack H. "You didn't build that" Obama; the entire ironical, metrosexual, sensation-seeking, Progressivist world has devolved into a surreality of signifiers without signifieds, arrows pointing towards nothing; words without meaning, but treated as if the word was itself the meaning. An era where we're expected to sit down in a restaurant and eat the menu.

We have symbolic regulations, like Mayor Bloomberg's "ban" on 32 ounce sodas -- which doesn't apply to grocery stores or 7-11s, not to mention that there's no ban on buying two 16 ounce sodas; symbolic laws, like the "military-style" assault weapon ban, in which the distinction between banned and therefore dangerous guns and authorized and presumably harmless guns is whether it has a carrying handle, a pistol grip, or is painted in camouflage colors; and symbolic policy, where it matters not a whit whether the policy works or fails, only that it "sends the right message." The signpost for America's future perpetually points to "Reply hazy, try again."

The creepy Left demands a life not of the mind, nor of phenomena, nor even of reality, but a life of pure symbolism -- messaging, imagery, false front, bravado, bluster, and bluff. Image isn't just everything, it's the only thing.

Obama is the perfect pawn. He lives the symbol life, existing only for the princely pronouncement, the cadence of his own catechism. He speaks, and lo! it is done. Or at least he is done; implementation must fall to others, if at all.

Perfect example: Diplomacy used to mean a working amalgam of sound foreign policy, tough but honest negotiation, military might, allies, and nerve; think of Reagan, Churchill, Lincoln, Franklin, Cardinal Mazarin. This was the operating definition for both Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal; the differences were in the goals of our diplomacy, not an argument about what the word itself meant.

But in the Obamunist nightmare (will we ever awaken?), Diplomacy consists entirely of being photographed with the "right people." It doesn't matter whether it's conducted by Commissar Hillary or Jean le Kerry, le Marquis de Bostonia, because the driving definitional force is the symbolic president himself, "Skeets" Obama, and the powers and thrones that guide his every waking moment.

But why bother to travel, other than perfecting his backswing on every golf course in the eastern hemisphere? He could save time and trouble simply by hiring a central-casting "Indian" from Brooklyn and PhotoShopping a picture of him, Kim Jong-un, and President B.O. literally burying a hatchet. Word crisis solved; take that, Bibi Nut'n'Honey!

It's no less serious (or more hilarious) than Susan Rice announcing that "We'll do the usual drill" anent NoKo's most recent nuku blast. Why not Rice? She is the perfect symbolic spokeschick for the symbolic Sir Galahad, his counterfeit cabinet, and its Potemkin politics.

When all is merely sign and signifier, map and menu, indicator and imagery, then there is no difference between reality and wishful make-believe. Saying it is so is the same as actually making it so; apparently, Obama's words are self-actualizing:

  • "I'm a skeet shooter," quoth he just the other day; then he made it retroactively true by posing for a picture shooting a shotgun. (Straight forward, not skywards; who the heck is he shooting at, the poor slob trying to throw the clay pigeons while simultaneously ducking and covering?)
  • "Our businesses have gone back to basics and created over 4 million jobs in the last 27 months -- more private sector jobs than were created during the entire seven years before this crisis -- in a little over two years." This statement is completely true! And completely meaningless! Because, dig, he mounted the Petal Throne not twenty-seven but forty-nine months ago; and it's only fair to judge his job creation from the beginning of his reign, not from the nadir to the apex.

    Thus, we turn to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics tables (scroll down to the historical tables. There we discover (from the A tables, household survey) that when Obama was inaugurated for his first term, labor force participation was 65.7%; last month, at the beginning of his second term, it stood at 63.6%. Total employment is slightly up (142.2 million to 143.3 million); but the population grew in the meantime, so the employment-to-population ratio dropped from 60.6 to 58.6. Unemployment ended up just about where it was when Obama inherited a recession -- starting at 7.8% in January 2009 and ending last month at 7.9%. And those who don't have a job but want one rose from 5.7 million to 6.6 million.

    In theory, we're no longer in recession; but we've still got that four-year hangover.

    From the B tables (establishment survey) that total non-farm payroll rose from 133 million to 135 million; but the population rose nearly nine million during that same period. He's not even keeping up, let alone catching up.

    In short, there has been no net recovery whatsoever from the "horrible" economy that Obama inherited; after four years of Obamunism, we're no better off than we were in 2009; in fact, we're significantly worse off, though not as badly as we were two years into Obama's painful plan for promoting patriotic poverty.

  • On border security: "We can build on the progress my [Obama's] administration has already made -- putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years." But he must know that he only increased Border Patrol by about a thousand agents; by contrast, George W. Bush increased them by ten thousand, doubling the size he inherited from Bill Clinton. And Obama surely understands that the main reason border arrests are down is that border crossings are down, and every agency that has studied this agrees that crossings are down primarily because Obama's stagnation economy is not as attractive as Bush's robust growth economy was.

    But at least we can deduce this much: His claim that the borders are so much more secure now sends the signal that he has no intention of pushing (or signing) any further border-security laws, and likely won't faithfully to execute those border-security laws already in place. Also sprach Obamathustra.

  • "So if you have insurance you like, you’ll be able to keep that insurance. If you have a doctor you like, you can keep that doctor. You’ll just pay less for the care that you receive." Did he even know whether that was true? Did he care? He knew passage required such a soothing, reassuring, symbolical claim... so he made it. But he couldn't possibly have known what was in the bill, because Dame Nancy Pelosi hadn't yet passed it.
  • "We must ban military-style assault weapons," defined as guns that look really scary to hoplophobic Progressivists. Identical weapons without the cosmetic differences -- i.e., same car, different plastic -- are still allowed. For now. (Which should tell you something about Obama's belief, or lack of, in his own initiatives.
  • "I'm a uniter, not a divider!" (Commentary omitted; Big Lizards is a family-friendly blog!)

An admirable list of magic words, like "open sesame" (or more appropriately, "Avada Kedavra") that lefties use in place of actually, you know, doing anything. Fiat obscurum! Thus what we on the Right see as braggadocio (before the fact bragging and braying) or lying in one's teeth (after the fact pretense that all went well) is not so seen by Progressivists; for they have a different metric for truth and falsity, the neologistic oxymoron of "socialist truth."

Socialist truth can be defined operationally as "that which advances world socialism," while socialist falsity is that which retards it, prevents it, or ridicules it (like this post); the literal truth -- lefties would say infantile truth or unraised consciousness -- never enters into the equation.

Literal truth, which those on the Right demand, is probably a minor virtue to the Progressivist Left; all things being equal, most of them would rather not make up a new fib: It's tough to keep their stories straight, and it's a strain for a Progressivist to be creative anyway. But rarely are all things equal; and even the slightest chance of advancing world socialism is enough to tip the scales in favor of socialist truth.

But the Jedi masters of Progressivism, like our symbolic president, are in such a zen state that they no longer even care whether they keep straight their improvised fantasies; they have absorbed the teachings of the Sufis of Socialism that nobody keeps track of conflicting stories, so long as they comfort -- "foma," as Kurt Vonnegut dubbed such ostensibly harmless or useful lies.

But foma are not always harmless, useful though they may be. And a symbolic presidency can cause a brutal, blunt-force impact upon very real aspects of life, from jobs to wealth to health to safety. Kids sent into Obama's symbolic "universal pre-K" fabrication will gain no lasting improvement in learning and education. But the children will come away with the belief that they're better than everybody else... hence have little reason to learn or even tolerate opposing points of view. They will become little Obamlets. We shall have many more low-information voters than in the previous administration, because the current one incubates and encourages the citizen's complete disengagement from government and its policy. Party like it's 1999 -- again! But on the plus side, the Left will pick off a few more votes from the low-information voters who think, "Free universal kiddie care, yippee ki yay!"

And every act of gun control has the effect of removing the best means of self defense from those most likely to need it and least likely to be able to replace it. Career criminals prey upon the weak and defenseless; they're not interested in a shoot out, they just want to rob you. Gang bangers and serial assaulters also pick out the weak, because they enjoy inflicting pain, terror, and death; it makes them feel powerful.

Without ready access to guns, the weak become prey for the thuggish strong; but with firearms, even Granny can fight off an intruder, as proved virtually every issue of American Rifleman. There is good reason why the Colt .45 revolver was called the "great equalizer," as anyone will eventually discover who accepts Obama's symbolic message and turns in all his guns to the government. (Even quicker if he proudly displays a "Gun-free zone!" placard.)

Sidebar: What's the real reason the symbolic president wants a ban on "military-style" assault weapons du jour? Because they symbolize independence, liberty, and government of, by, and for the people. With a "military-style" weapon, you are daily reminded that the foremost reason for the Second Amendment was to have an unorganized but well-regulated (that is, trained) militia to keep the peace and restore order if necessary, suppress insurrection and insurgency, repel foreign invaders, and to keep our own federal and state governments in check.

But without regularly reminding Americans that they are all Minutemen (male or female), the sense of personal responsibility for defending the homeland dissipates and can evaporate entirely. Hunting, sport shooting, and even home defense, the "lesser included" rights, become the whole; and the primary right (and duty!) to defend liberty, both individual and societal is tossed into the dustbin of history. What a boon to any would-be tyrant!

Thus to a cunning gun-banner, the difference between ordinary guns and "military-style" is not "cosmetic," it is cosmic.

The world of symbol is simple, even simplistic: To say is to make true; so mote it be. It is magical thinking: Forget the hard work of actual governance, all that matters is sending the politically correct message. It reassures and confirms membership of the "ins" and frightens the "outs" into joining. It's impossible for things to go wrong, because error has been abolished by order of the Dear Leader.

Foma is soma, the mind-dulling narcotic of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World; the poisonous purpose of "harmless lies" is to suppress thought itself. The dictator always prefers docile sheep to wily foxes, because they are easier to control; pure selflessness of his loyal subjects is his great desire, for only the selfless will give themselves over, body and soul, to the One, the Lightbringer, the benevolent dictator.

Thus the real danger of a presidency of sentiment, statement, superficial scholarship, and substandard statesmanship: It establishes a symbolic citizenry to worship a symbolizing presidency.

Liberty can survive and surmount much but probably not that. Baa! Baa! Baa!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 15, 2013, at the time of 10:15 PM | Comments (2)

February 6, 2013

Miserables, Indeed

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Korso

Anybody remember ol' "Baghdad" Jim McDermott, the Democrat representative from Washington? Well, just in case you forgot about him, he recently dropped by C-SPAN and had this rather amusing exchange with a caller:

We’re in a very difficult period right now because we have a lot of people who suddenly think it’s all about "me." And it isn’t about "me." It’s about "we." If we don’t take care of one another and we say everybody’s on their own, then it will simply fall apart as a society, become a mob scene as it was in Paris. If you go see Les Misérables, you can see what the country can become if you don’t have equity in the society.

Now contrast that with another eyebrow raiser I came across whilst perusing Twitter, which perfectly encapsulates the modern leftist mindset:

My husband and I just ended our debate about having children. To breed or not to breed, this was the question — and it had been ticking like an egg timer in the back of my head for 15 years...

I wanted it to be a decision we made, not one made for us by chance or time. I turned to friends with kids for advice. “Feel free to convince me to your side,” I told them. Leaving a legacy and crazy joy, they said. I bow down to their personal sacrifice. It is an enormous gift for society to raise an educated, productive, ethical, moral child...

We have decided we have other things to give to the world. We won’t be having kids. We choose to be childless in Seattle.

Anybody else see the contradiction here?

I'm sure there will be any number of feminists and environmentalists lining up to praise Sharon Chan for not burdening herself and the world with a child, and Jim McDermott would probably be one of them. But how exactly does that attitude square with the collectivist notion of "taking care of one another," lest we all end up on the barricade singing a chorus of "Upon These Stones"?

Note how even Chan acknowledges that raising a child to be a productive citizen would be a huge gift to society -- and yet she refuses to do so. Seeing how it's awfully hard to produce a society of people who take care of each other without actual people around to do the work, isn't Chan -- an exemplar of liberalism -- shirking her duty to her fellow citizens by not pitching in?

And therein lies the problem: After years of cultivating a "me first" culture that elevates selfish needs and desires to a kind of virtue, now McDermott and his ilk turn around and expect a generation of perpetual adolescents that he has helped create to suddenly cowboy up and put their fellow man ahead of themselves. Sorry to tinkle in your Wheaties, Jim, but that just might be expecting too much of folks who can't even be bothered to go about the business of begettin'.

Welcome to the world of unintended consequences.

Hatched by Korso on this day, February 6, 2013, at the time of 6:20 AM | Comments (1)

January 8, 2013

And I'm Spent

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Korso

There's a terrific scene in Young Frankenstein when Gene Wilder says to Igor, the hunchback played by the late, great Marty Feldman, "You know, I'm a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump." To which Igor replies, quite deadpan, "What hump?"

It would seem that this is what House Republicans faced with the president, according to John Boehner's account of the fiscal cliff negotiations in the Wall Street Journal:

What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: "At one point several weeks ago," Mr. Boehner says, "the president said to me, 'We don't have a spending problem.' "

Wow. Just...wow.

You could say that this attitude defies comprehension -- after all, if digging yourself into a $16 trillion hole isn't enough to make Obama and the Democrats wake up to the perilous state of the nation's finances, nothing will -- but then that would be missing the entire point. See, for years now we right-wing crazies have been debating the Ultimate Question: Are Obama's economic policies the product of sheer incompetence, or is he doing it on purpose? His Excellency's attitude toward the debt pretty much clinches the latter.

Hatched by Korso on this day, January 8, 2013, at the time of 7:59 AM | Comments (2)

October 9, 2012

Reality Bites

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Korso

I'm not one to read Andrew Sullivan much. After all, he is Andrew Sullivan, the man for whom blogging isn't so much of a job as a way to self-medicate. Might I suggest he take a cue from the Ramones and try a sedative instead? Whatever he's been popping lately clearly doesn't agree with him:

I've never seen a candidate self-destruct for no external reason this late in a campaign before. Gore was better in his first debate -- and he threw a solid lead into the trash that night. Even Bush was better in 2004 than Obama last week. Even Reagan's meandering mess in 1984 was better - and he had approaching Alzheimer's to blame.

I'm trying to see a silver lining. But when a president self-immolates on live TV, and his opponent shines with lies and smiles, and a record number of people watch, it's hard to see how a president and his party recover. I'm not giving up. If the lies and propaganda of the last four years work even after Obama had managed to fight back solidly against them to get a clear and solid lead in critical states, then reality-based government is over in this country again. We're back to Bush-Cheney, but more extreme. We have to find a way to avoid that. Much, much more than Obama's vanity is at stake.

This is just the end of the article, but if it seems as if Sullivan is darting around like Remy trying to escape Chef Skinner's kitchen in Ratatouille, then you've got the right idea. What's funny about all of this is how predictable the outcome of the debate was for all of us who have been watching Obama for the last four years. We all knew that the guy was the proverbial empty suit, inflated by a bunch of mainstream media puffery. What was less obvious, however, was the extent to which the people who invented the Obama legend actually believed what they were peddling.

And boy, did they ever believe it. After shielding the president from any serious questioning, after covering his butt on everything from Fast and Furious to Libya, after making believe that anemic growth and chronic high unemployment were signs of an economic recovery, somewhere along the line the media lost more than their objective hold on Barack Obama -- they lost their objective sense of reality.

That's why the debate hit them the way it did. Like a junkie coming down off a four-year high, they crashed. And when they crashed, they crashed hard. Of course, that's the problem with worshipping a false god: sooner or later, he's got to perform a miracle, and when that doesn't happen there ain't much left but lamentations and the gnashing of teeth.

More problematic, however, is that Barack Obama also seems to have believed his own press. But, like the kid who thought he could gain the knowledge of the ages by sleeping with a history book underneath his pillow, he discovered too late that there really is no substitute for actual preparation. Again, for those of us who knew about the real man -- Obama the high-school stoner, Obama the mediocre college student, Obama the fabulist -- none of this came as any surprise. That it came as a shock to Obama the president...well, should scare the living bejeezus out of everyone.

Hatched by Korso on this day, October 9, 2012, at the time of 12:53 PM | Comments (2)

September 6, 2012

Conventional Warfare

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Korso

America can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that the Democratic National Convention is over. The speakers came (Sandra Fluke), they saw (Michelle Obama) and they conquered (Bill Clinton -- wait a second, is he running again?), but in the end not a heck of a lot was said that we hadn't heard before. To sum it up neatly: Obama 2012: Free Birth Control, Free Abortions, Free People -- well, that last part not so much. And all for the bargain price of $16 trillion and counting!

For what was supposed to be a big party for the Big Tent Party, though, the entire affair seemed a bit of a bummer. For one thing, Hillary got about as far away as possible short of a visit to McMurdo Station in Antarctica, depriving the assembled delegates of an encore performance of her "I don't feel no ways tired" shtick (which, for my money, was far more entertaining than anybody else's remarks). It also seemed as if everyone spent the whole time making excuses for why things haven't gotten any better over the last four years. Like throwing a graduation party for a kid whole flunked 12th grade for the second time, it all felt kind of depressing. Perhaps things might have livened up a bit had someone the good sense to spike the punch bowl.

But at least the Dems managed to coax a coherent theme out of the convention: Four More Years, Because The First Four Just Weren't Enough! Slick Willy made the point rather eloquently:

President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President -- not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it.

That last bit sounds like something Bill might have whispered to Monica in one of those moments when they were never alone together. Unfortunately, it also conflicts with what Barack Obama himself said back in 2009:

Look, I’m at the start of my administration. One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable. You know, I’ve got four years. And, you know, a year from now I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress. But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.

As Homer Simpson might say, "D'oh!"

Clinton also mentioned offhandedly how he had never hated Republicans the way that the "far right" hates Obama and the Democrats right now. Apparently at least one of the Democrat delegates didn't get the memo, and is now answering some friendly questions from the Secret Service as a result:

"He will destroy this country, completely. Romney will destroy this country," [delegate Julia Rodriguez] said. "If I see him, I would like to kill him."

Perhaps she meant "kill" in the ironic sense? Well, maybe -- but the love fest didn't stop there, as all the gratuitous Nazi references trotted out by the Dems so nicely illustrated. Guess all that hope and change from 2008 caught the last train for the coast the day the jobs all died. Sigh.

So what can we take away from all this? I think Marco Rubio said it perfectly at the Republican convention: "Our problem with President Obama isn't that he's a bad person... Our problem is he's a bad president." That's the message the GOP wants to convey to voters. The Dems, meanwhile, want you to think that Republicans are fascist pigs who want to take away your birth control and give your money to rich fat cats who light cigars with burning $100 bills. Well, it's their party and they'll cry if they want to. What else can you expect from a bunch of people who view American exceptionalism like it's some kind of sin? As for me, I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.

So is, as it turns out, the GOP. Cheers, everybody!

Hatched by Korso on this day, September 6, 2012, at the time of 5:43 PM | Comments (0)

September 3, 2012

Preserving Disorder

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

The Occupiers have thundered en masse into Charlotte to protest at the convention -- where "protest" has that peculiar meaning of mayhem, murder, rapine, looting, bomb-throwing, sexual assault, overdosing contests, and mopery with intent to gawk, that uniquely characterizes unwashed, doped-up, hippy "Progressivists," when they gather in dog-packs for a political wilding:

Protesters ["Occupy Charlotte"] numbering as many as 700 people have gathered in the business district of Charlotte, N.C. ahead of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The anti-war and anti-capitalism demonstrators huddled in Frazier Park on Sunday ahead of their planned march. The group picked Charlotte for publicity because it is the location of the 2012 Democratic National Convention which is scheduled to convene on Tuesday in Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena.

The protesters had signs suggesting that the group included union workers, anti-war veterans, and undocumented immigrants. [I.e., the usual gang of idiots. -- DaH]

"Capitalism is holding back the human race," one sign read. "Bail out people, not banks," another sign said.

At the same time, the Godfather, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago (and erstwhile chief of staff of Barack Obama's Casa Blanca), has sent fifty Chicago cops to the Democratic National Convention, notwithstanding the parlous state of affairs in the Windbag City:

On the heels of a weekend which ended with 2 more dead and 22 more injured from Chicago street's gunshots, persons attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina are shocked and confused to see about 50 Chicago police officers assisting with the Convention’s security.

Another surprising move regarding Chicago and the Convention this week is that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be present to give a speech on Tuesday when Chicago is allegedly near-collapse with a teachers’ strike likely to begin within a week as the city is crowned the murder capital of the country.

Does this mean that forty-four years after last time (1968), we'll once more enjoy the spectacle of Chicago thugs cracking the skulls of Lefties rioting at the Democratic National Convention? Hot rats! (Paging Messrs. Hoffman, Rubin, Hayden, "and the rest.")

Truly, the wheel has come full circle. As an earlier mayor, Richard J. Davis, put it back then, "The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder!"

One can't hardly contain oneself, can one?

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery. (Maybe. If we're lucky. The last post never did break out of the "pending" box)...

(Okay, I finally did... hoo- and -ray.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 3, 2012, at the time of 4:41 PM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2012

Bonjour les Enfants

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Is this to be the Trillion Dollar Taxman's new campaign theme? It's tres apropos, since Barack "Big Stick" Obama has always operated under a Hollywood haze of teen logic:

This summer's much-anticiapted Hollywood blockbuster, "The Dark Knight Rises," is getting an unusual boost from Democrats and other foes of Mitt Romney who are eager to tie the Gotham crushing villain to the GOP presidential candidate. Their angle: the mask-wearing, "Venom" gas breathing bad guy has a name that sounds just like Romney's former investment firm that President Obama has been blasting as a jobs killer.

"Bane" is the terrorist in the new movie who drives the caped crusader out of semi-retirement in the final Batman movie. Democrats, who believe they have Romney on the ropes over the president's assault on his leadership at Bain Capital, said the comparisons are too rich to ignore.

!

I say again,

!

I suppose this might be a very persuasive argument, if the voting population was entirely composed of adolescent boys and aging, spherical anime fans. Bonjour, les enfants!

The self-dubbed, self-deluded, most intelligent president of all time, the One, the lightbringer, whose advent will cause the Earth to cool and the oceans to subside (any minute now), appears to be pinning all his hopes upon a series of sound bites, one-liners, lies, and now -- on the freak similarity of names between a successful, job-boosting, private-equity firm and a comic-book villain from the DCverse.

Am I missing something here, or has the president gone bananas?

"It has been observed that movies can reflect the national mood," said Democratic advisor and former Clinton aide Christopher Lehane. "Whether it is spelled Bain and being put out by the Obama campaign or Bane and being out by Hollywood, the narratives are similar: a highly intelligent villain with offshore interests and a past both are seeking to cover up who had a powerful father and is set on pillaging society," he added.

It would be comical, if it wasn't so villainous. All one can do is look at the denizens of D.C. and marvel.

But thank goodness that some Democrats, here and there, have a little more bottom, gravitas, than to turn to a comic book (yes, yes, "graphic novel") and its attendant movie in a plaintive and desperate attempt to put Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the rear-view mirror... something the Obama campaign has utterly failed to do after years of campaigning and hundreds of millions of dollars pounded down the rathole. Still, some Democrats, at least, cling to the innate dignity of the office and democratic election and confine their campaign themes to serious, weighty issues:

Democratic strategist Karl Frisch suggests a Romney comparison instead to Mr. Burns, the devilish nuclear power plant owner on the Simpsons. "The similarities are endless."

All right, I know when I'm licked. I guess the Obama nation is like Solla Sollew, where we never have troubles -- at least very few. Since we have evidently solved the troubles from our sour economy, our mind-numbing deficit, our collapsing foreign policy, the looming government takeover of all medical care, crony Capitalism Fascism, our pending surrender withdrawal from two wars we had already won, Climategate, Solyndragate, Holdergate, Amnestygate, and our regulatory regurgitation, we might as well wallow in ComiCon-induced cognitive craziness on the campaign cul-de-sac.

But if we're leading with animated American icons, then I suggest a more apt comparison: Barack H. Obama as -- you're way ahead of me! -- Wile E. Coyote, the hapless half-smart slowfoot who is constantly losing the race to much smarter, speedier, and invariably more cheerful Roadrunner. (Whose first appearance was in a 1949 Warner Bros. cartoon titled "Fast and Furry-ous." You can't make this stuff up!)

Quick, somebody break open that box from Acme Mendacity and Demagoguery! Something in there is sure to turn the tide...

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 16, 2012, at the time of 8:19 PM | Comments (5)

May 29, 2012

Perversion of "Compassion": Brett Kimberlin -- Guilty as Sin, Free as a Bird

Crime and Punishment , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Last, some breaking news involving Aaron Walker, a.k.a. "Aaron Worthing." But I say "last" because I'm stubbornly putting it at the bottom of this post, rather than the top, because it wouldn't make sense else. So read on, and you'll see what I mean...

~

I did not participate in "Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day" (last Friday, May 25th) for two reasons:

  • Nobody told me it was Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day! Why am I always out of the loop?
  • I have no interest in simply parroting what other folks had already said so ably; this is not an "echo blog."

Others -- especially my erstwhile blogboss, Patterico (one of the Kimberlin Klan's not-so-cowed victims) -- have already thoroughly covered the journalistic beat of harassment, cyberstalking, physical stalking, "swatting," libeling and slandering, forging of documents, barratry, violent threats, and general intimidation carried out by convicted domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin; his toadies, Ron Brynaert and Neal Rauhauser; and the eternal apologists, cheerleaders for violence, groupies, hangers-on, and belligerent leftist thugs that enshroud the Kimberlins of the world like infection and miasma around rotting tissue. I had to wait until I had a completely different angle.

I'm not particularly interested in Kimberlin himself. Throughout the history of civilization, we have always had to deal with sociopaths whose psychology was still stuck at 50,000 years ago, at the dawn of modern Man, when members of one tribe thought nothing of ambushing and killing members of another tribe for no other reason than that. In fact, there are a number of countries today with that mentality built into their entire government and society (Afghanistan, Somalia, Rwanda-Burundi, and the like). If Kimberlin lived in one of those primitive, failed states, he wouldn't even stand out.

I am more interested in how the authorities dealt with him (or failed to deal), because it shines a spotlight on the collapse of the very concept of justice... and especially on the perversion of seeming "compassion," which we see time and again.

All of the following about the public figure Brett Kimberlin can be found in reasonably well-sourced Wikipedia entries (and their sources), including those for the Speedway bombings, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Dan Quayle, Nina Totenberg, and Brett Kimbinlin himself -- assuming that last hasn't been airbrushed from history by Wiki editor Richard Symonds again. It appears that "somebody down there likes" Kimberlin; and one of those "somebodies" is his Wiki pal Symonds. (The terrorist vanishes!)

Kimberlin is not a poor victim of right-wing prosecutors, though I'm sure that's what he and his crew imagine; I'm equally sure that Bill Ayres, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Charles Manson thought the same. Kimberlin was first convicted of felony perjury in 1973, when he was all of nineteen, for falsely testifying to a grand jury about selling LSD at his high school. He was convicted seven years later of the federal felony of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and given a four-year sentence.

But by then, he had already set off eight bombs in Speedway, Indiana:

  • The first three were practice bombs set in dumpsters.
  • The next four were intended to kill or maim ordinary citizens of the city, except for one intended to kill a Speedway police officer.
  • The final bombing was the only one that succeeded at its intended mayhem; it was planted in the parking lot of Speedway High School, presumably intending to kill some unsuspecting students. Instead, it blew off the right leg of Carl DeLong and wounded him in several other places, and also wounded his wife, Sandra. De Long later committed suicide due to his permanent pain and crippling.

In a series of trials, Kimberlin was convicted of illegal use of Department of Defense insignia, illegal use of the Seal of the President of the United States, impersonation of a federal officer, and of the terrorist bombings themselves. He was sentenced to 51 years, six months, and nineteen days.

While in prison, Kimberlin reinvented himself as a leftist activist, instantly drawing the sympathy and championship of liberals, Progressivists, and other socialists, just as Mumia Abu-Jamal -- another darling of the Left, born the same year as Kimberlin -- drew petitions for clemency, impassioned rhetoric for release, and candlelight vigils after murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

(The New Left's peculiar perversion, distinct from its Communist forebears, is to stridently insist that ambush murders, terrorist bombings, and "lawfare" directed at people too poor to defend themselve in court are actually acts of heroism -- a freakish belief shared with radical Islamists. One cannot help but wonder how close the New Left has moved towards stoning to death rape victims as "adulteresses.")

Kimberlin was especially lauded when he claimed, however improbably, that he had sold marijuana to Dan Quayle when the latter was in law school, sometime between 1971 and 1974, when Kimberlin was between 17 and 20 years old... and at a time when Quayle was serving as an investigator for the Indiana Attorney General, as assistant to Indiana Gov. Edgar Whitcomb, and finally Director of the Inheritance Tax Division of the Indiana Department of Revenue.

To the average person, the claim that some lowlife teenager would be Dan Quayle's "connection" beggars credulity. Fortunately, Kimberlin found an astonishingly credulous audience in Nina Totenberg of NPR -- right around the time she was receiving a major award (no, not a leg lamp) for having broken the story that Reagan Supreme-Court appointee Douglas Ginsburg had smoked dope in his past. But of course, that background had nothing to do with Kimberlin's claim, nor Totenberg's eagerness to promote it. Synchronicity!

(Totenberg would later achieve notoriety as traducer in chief in the Clarence Thomas hearings, where she orchestrated Anita Hill's testimony that the black Supreme Court nominee, later Justice, was sexually out of control. Wait, haven't we heard those sorts of accusations against black men before?)

Here is where the perversion of so-called compassion enters the story; for in 1994, Brett Kimberlin was released on parole after serving only thirteen years -- a scant 25% of his sentence.

Why?

Was his crime deemed less severe than those of other inmates? No; according to the decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Kimberlin's appeal from a federal Parole Commission decision, his crimes related to the Speedway bombings were originally classified as Offence Category 8, the highest (i.e., most severe) type of crimes.

But in a bizarre twist, Kimberlin was given a Salient Factors score of 7, which translated into a "good" probability that he would follow his parole terms if he was released early. Even more bizarre, a federal district court subsequently ordered the Parole Commission to lower the Offence Category to 7, after the commissioners began to waffle on whether Kimberlin was really responsible for Carl DeLong committing suicide due to his continuous severe pain caused by Kimberlin's bomb.

Compassion! How can you blame the poor felon for his victim's suicide, merely because it was due to the crippled, agony-ridden future DeLong had to look forward to for the rest of his life? We shall demonstrate that we are not heartless, unfeeling brutes by giving every benefit of the doubt to a chap convicted by a jury of his peers of planting murderous bombs in public places.

More compassion and crocodile tears: After Kimberlin's release in 1994, he instantly violated his parole, refusing to pay the civil damages levied against him in the DeLong wrongful-death lawsuit.

Parole was eventually revoked -- in 1997. Though the mills of the federal Parole Commission grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding compassionate. Evidently, empathy drove the commission to give him three years indulgence on paying his debt to Sandra DeLong. Then in another burst of compassion for the long-suffering Kimberlin, he was released yet again on parole in 2001. And again he refused to pay the judgment.

This time, however, the Parole Commission decided the poor fellow had suffered enough -- should there no forgiveness for a couple of youthful indiscretions? -- and they let him roam free ever since.

The Kimberlin saga is one of the vilest examples of misplaced compassion in the annals of liberal "justice." A man who should have been charged with murder when DeLong finally succumbed to the pain and took his own life -- a man who had actually been sentenced to more than half a century behind bars, a sentence finally affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court -- a man who set off a series of eight terrorist bombings in the heartland of America, one aimed at a policeman and another meant to murder high-school students -- morphed into the "victim" in this epic moral farce. He served only one fourth of his original sentence, then an additional four years after he violated parole... and that's it. As of today, he is, as Ayres smirked after his trial for his own series of bombings, "guilty as sin, free as a bird -- what a country, America!"

The last phrase of that quotation is quite misleading, however; sadly, there are many States in the western world where felons convicted of hideous, bloodthirsty, and senseless crimes are let loose for incomprehensible reasons, other than a generalized anti-punishment mentality. The killers and brutalizers are washed clean by a tidal wave of depraved moral inversion: Right is wrong, sin is sacrament, and the end -- full implementation of the Progressivist project -- justifies any means necessary, in particular, hero-worship of the vilest specimens of humanity. I believe the syllogism runs thus:

  1. The values of normative American society (liberty, Capitalism, justice, decency, and community) are so base and despicable that American culture must be utterly purged.
  2. Chaos is good, because people hurled into chaos will clutch at any new order that's offered; even if, in a functioning society, such totalitarian "order" would have been swiftly rejected by the people.
  3. Thus anything that shatters the structure of American culture and society, bringing on chaos, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and desperation, is in reality a moral victory.
  4. Therefore, leftists must approve, applaud, aid, and abet any act, no matter how violent or random, so long as it helps dismantle and disembowel the world we live in.

And that is what I call the perversion of "compassion," as illuminated by the sickening case of Brett Kimberlin and his band of merry lickspittles in the liberal movement, in the press, in the political core, and in Kimberlin's inner spiral.

~

Last, at long last, that breaking news I spoke of: According to Stacy McCain, a.k.a., "the Other McCain," Aaron Walker has been arrested -- for violating a "peace order" against Walker that Brett Kimberlin tricked a feeble-minded judge into issuing; the order essentially bars Walker from blogging or writing or speaking about convicted terrorist bomber and obviously public figure Brett Kimberlin.

Walker was released on his own recognizance, but he must presumably endure some sort of hearing... all for the crime of being harassed by the judge's favorite terrorist.

The judge who issued that order, C.J. Vaughey, is an imbecile who evidently has never even heard of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. I hold that judge in utter contempt, and he himself has cast the entire judicial system of Maryland into such contempt that the only remedy would be for Vaughey to be removed from the bench.

And if Kimberlin or one of his leering acolytes manages to get a "peace order" against me, banning me from writing about Kimberlin on this blog or any other venue, I give you my word that I will violate that order the first moment I can. I am perfectly willing to be a test case as to whether a local judge can, with a wave of his magisterial paw, wash away the Bill of Rights.

The stunning fact that a despicable terrorist, arguably a murderer, known liar, and habitual abuser of court proceedings can get a dull-witted judge to grant an order barring people from discussing Kimberlin's public-record criminality, in flat defiance of our freedom of speech, is the apex of the insanity I discuss above. Clearly, Judge Vaughey feels an overflow of compassion for the Speedway bomber... but exactly nought for his victims.

He is a disgrace to his robe; it's time for Judge Vaughey to seriously consider retirement. He is the poster judge for the perversion of "compassion."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 29, 2012, at the time of 7:00 PM | Comments (3)

February 5, 2012

Progressivism on Parade

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

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?

  1. He is an America basher, hunting for anything disreputable that he can use to bash the U.S.A.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 5, 2012, at the time of 1:14 AM | Comments (1)

December 15, 2011

Salt or Cyanide?

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Believe it or not, sodium chloride -- table salt -- is not a deadly poison. I have it on the highest authority. In fact, it's a vital substance for human existence.

But lately, America seems to believe the opposite: that sodium chloride is indistinguishable from sodium cyanide, and just a few grains of it will kill you. At least, so I infer from the fact that, in virtually every restaurant I frequent, I must salt (and pepper) my own food; evidently, seasoning has become a crime.

I suspect the syllogism goes something like this:

  1. There are some people who have high blood pressure or other medical conditions that make it dangerous for them to consume more than the bare minimum of salt required to live.
  2. Such people might, if they're not particularly bright, accidentally eat too much salt in restaurant food. They might be too dim to ask about salt content or ask if there are low-salt items on the menu; or they might deliberately ignore all the best advice of the best, bestest experts and maliciously consume salt anyway.
  3. If they did so, then their hypertension might get worse. They could even die! (Prematurely, I mean; most of us expect to die eventually.)
  4. If that happens, either the victim or his next of kin could sue the restaurant for not preventing him from eating too much salt. Even if there's no lawsuit, surely it must be the restaurant's moral fault for not saving him from his own folly.
  5. Ergo, government must (a) regulate the recipes of all restaurants, or (b) at the very least make it much easier to collect damages for their own bad decisions, thus putting more and more restaurants out of business for serving deadly sodium chloride to unsuspecting customer-victims... pour encourager les autres, don't'cha know.

This lemma flies in the face of traditional Americanism, of course. Under what used to be the shared ideology of the United States, and still is the dominant one, we must assume that most individuals know enough about their own needs and circumstances to weigh, intelligently, the risks they take against the gains they buy -- pleasure, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Much more intelligently than can any small (compared to overall population) panel of experts hundreds or thousands of miles distant... and lightyears apart in worldview.

We don't need to be regulated out of salt, or Happy Meals, or lightbulbs, or exhalation (deadly carbon dioxide!); we need to be protected from the corrupt middlemen, the bean-counting regulators themselves. Or as we might say, Who regulates the regulators?

Liberals (or Progressivists, choose your poison) are natural regulators; it's in the blood! They want to regulate everything and everybody because, at core, they believe everybody else is simply too stupid to live.

But why should they think they're so much brainer? I hypothesize that they're convinced of their own superiority because, within the bubble in which they live, it's literally true... because they only hang around with fellow liberals.

It seems that even the Left is appalled by the unintelligence, irresponsibility, and dishonesty of their useful idiots! This social disability applies to every Democratic leader and liberal opinionmonger in America, certainly including President Barack H. "Bubble Boy" Obama himself: The Left hangs only with other lefties, so they believe that humanity is dirt stupid.

This simple truth also explains the Left's obsession with the "cult of youth," I believe. The cult of youth comprises not just those who are literally young but also those Lost Boys (and Lost Girls) who never grew up, despite their years; and it is coterminous with the culture of liberalism and Progressivism: a passel of impulsive, defiant, unthinking, entitled, narcissistic, dependent, nitpicky, and conveniently amnesiac "Philadelphia lawyers," always seeking the magic words that will exempt them from having to follow the same rules as everyone else and from the natural consequences of their idiocy.

In simple terms, liberalism is "teen logic" metastasized into an ideology. And that ideology has seized control of one of the two major political parties and is currently laying siege to the other. We should learn next year whether we shall force the Lost Guys and Gals to grow up, or put the inmates in charge of the asylum.

Salt or cyanide, the decision is in our hands.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 15, 2011, at the time of 4:58 AM | Comments (4)

November 16, 2011

How the Gingrich Can Save Christmas

Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

Shockingly, the New York Times misunderstands conservative, tea-party, and Republican attitudes towards Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and those Republicans who have worked with them, including Newt Gingrich; the Times imagines that the Right comprises the same unsophisticated, unnuanced simpletons as compose the Left.

For instance, to the Left, the Koch brothers are "BadThing," cartoon villains with absolutely no redeeming qualities, like Monty Burns. Any connection to or interaction with BadThing, no matter how faint or remote, taints the interactor and turns him into BadThing as well. Thus, if a leftie discovers that, say, Democratic House candidate Bismuth "Snorky" Riceburner once worked for a company that sold ink and paper to the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research... then Snorky becomes BadThing and must be shunned, shouted down, and refudiated on Facebook.

In stark contradistinction, when folks the Right hear that Newt (rather, his advisory firm, the Gingrich Group) once worked with Freddie Mac, the first question they will ask is not, "Where can we get some tar and feathers," but rather, "What advice did he give them?"

The fact that Freddie paid the Gingrich Group in excess of $1.6 million for his advice won't send Republicans into a mindless, hyperventilating rage, because we don't hate people for being financially successful. As with all other issues, we have a more nuanced approach: Wealth is only bad when it comes from committing immoral acts, such as fraud, extortion, or buddying up with the feds to form a government-enforced monopoly.

(Sadly, however, Hugh Hewitt fell right into the Left's trap; he went to town today on his radio show, savaging Gingrich at a fatcat looter and trying to blur the distinction between advising a company and lobbying for that company -- something that a lawyer, of all people, should understand.

(Of course, one must remember that Hewitt is a Romney guy from way back. So it goes.)

Now that Gingrich appears to be on the rise, in some polls actually topping the leader board, Jeff Zeleny and Trip Gabriel, writing on the New York Times blog "the Caucus," dish out the print medium's "death of a thousand paper cuts" to the Newtster. They appear to be trying their darndest to queer the deal between Newt Gingrich and Republican voters, which I take as a sign that the Left is starting to worry that Gingrich might not only be nominatable but even electable.

In response to the supposed "bombshell" that the Gingrich Group advisory firm had Freddie Mac as a client for a while, Newt Gingrich clarified at least some of the "advice" he gave:

In last week’s debate, Mr. Gingrich sought to explain away his involvement, saying that he had done no lobbying and that he had warned the company that its practices were an “insane” part of a housing bubble.

“My advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, ‘We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do,’ as I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible,” Mr. Gingrich said during the CNBC debate.

Note the Times' caricature of Newt's point; they say he tried to "explain away" his paid advice, as if he's just mumbling some absurd justification or rationalization. Gingrich explained what he did, he didn't try to explain it away.

And he may very well be telling the truth; certainly the Times has dug up no evidence that he encouraged Freddie to continue its appalling lending practices.

Backgrounder: Freddie Mac (and its sister gorgon, Fannie Mae) guarantees to buy a huge percent of mortgages; this includes a whopping big pile of the bad mortgage debt that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA, 100%) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 85%) forced the banks and S&Ls to issue, by requiring them to lend money to people who couldn't possibly repay it. (And to give the devil his due, Jimmy Carter shares the blame, because his Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 paved the way for Frank and Dodd's similar antiCapitalist idiocy.)

The actions of these quasi-governmental entities, Fannie and Freddie -- technically, they're "Government Sponsored Enterprises," or GSEs -- in guaranteeing "insane" mortgages (to use Newt's word) wound up nationalizing hundreds of billions of dollars of bad debt; this in turn precipitated the mortgage crash of 2008.

Back to our story. If it turns out that Gingrich actually aided and abetted Freddie (or Fannie, or both) in this pyramid scheme, even to the point of lobbying for them (being paid to push the Freddie Mac line, then that would indeed severely damage and possibly torpedo his campaign.

But if Newt Gingrich is telling the truth about his involvement, if he warned Freddid that its policies were leading Freddie and the country to financial ruin, then I believe that conservatives, Republicans, and even tea partiers will applaud his efforts (though maybe not Hugh Hewitt)... even if Freddie's response to that advice was to storm off in a huff, mortally offended, and send Newt his fee all in pennies, submerged in a half-million jars of sour cream.

If Newt is honest (and I'm inclined to believe him at this point, considering who his accuser is), then he will easily bat aside the smarmy charges and roar into the Christmas holidays soaring in the polls, probably even taking the pole position. (I'm tempted to say "poll position," but that would be too stupid a joke even for me.) Gingrich himself puts the two possibilities about as cleverly and forthrightly as I've ever seen:

At an energy forum in Des Moines sponsored by Politico, Mr. Gingrich was asked whether he could reassure Republicans who were considering supporting him that he could withstand the scrutiny on his campaign.

“If three or four weeks from now, I have confronted the scrutiny, as you put it, in an even-keeled way, then they’ll be able to relax and go, ‘Oh, he was certainly even-keeled,’” Mr. Gingrich said. “If I blow up and do something utterly stupid, they’ll be able to say, ‘Gee, I wonder who the
next candidate is?’”

This is no mere fluke on the Times' part; here's an even more telling example of the superficial, almost childish take on conservatives found in the nation's "newspaper of record;" this graf is a drive-by whose only purpose is to bash Gingrich as a supposed hypocrite. In the littany of horribles it ascribes to the former Speaker, "the Caucus" includes the following:

Mr. Gingrich left Congress in 1998 after a revolt by some of his Republican members following the party’s losses in the midterm elections. He has been married three times, and has acknowledged having an affair during the time he criticized President Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Catch the naive misunderstanding of the real reason the Right despised Bill Clinton? They hated Clinton because he got a you-know-what in the Oral Office -- and everybody knows that conservatives hate and fear sex in general, and especially any sex outside of strict, rigid monogamy. In the missionary position. With the lights off. With nearly all your clothes on. Only for purposes of reproduction. And you'd better not enjoy it, you prevert!

But the reality is that the Right is far more sophisticated than the world-weary, decadent Left. Leaving aside the real reason most GOPers wanted Clinton impeached -- he sold the presidency to Red China for campaign cash -- just sticking to the sex-related scandals, what enraged most of us was not that Clinton got a lewinski, but that he was credibly accused of using threats, intimidation, and brute force to sexually harass and assault women who didn't want such contact. Clinton paid an $850,000 settlement to Paula Jones for her claim that he exposed himself to her and forced her to fondle him when he was governor of Arkansas; Kathleen Willey claimed that Clinton had committed sexual battery on her; and Juanita Broaddrick accused Clinton of forcibly raping her.

In addition to the charges of sexual assault, conservatives were outraged by Clinton's oft-repeated lies about the incidents -- many of those lies under oath, in an attempt to obstruct justice. (But at least Clinton didn't bow deeply at the waist to the Chinese dictator.)

Nothing of the sort has ever been creditably alleged against Newt Gingrich.

True, he did have an affair with a member of his staff, Callista Bisek, while the House of Representatives investigated Clinton's crimes. But the charges they were delving into were perjury, obstruction of justice, and corrupt fundraising; and as part of impeachment, the House investigated cash funneled into his reelection coffers by the People's Liberation Army of Communist China -- after which he altered several aspects of American national-security policy in ways that China requested. It's impossible for any honest observer to equate those serious crimes against individual women and the nation itself with "having an affair."

Newt Gingrich never swore under oath that he did not have sex with that woman, Miss Bisek. He never obstructed justice. He was never accused of sexually assaulting anyone. And in all he reelection efforts, not once was he ever accused of accepting bribes from America's most dangerous foreign enemy.

Evidently, Zeleny and Gabriel can't quite parse the distinction.

So when next you're tempted to think of the east-coast elites (or west-coast decadents) as arbiters of sophistication and a nuanced, layered understanding of reality, give yourself a hard slap in the kisser. They love to gloat about their lofty, refined, complex Weltanschauung; but in reality, they're a bunch of hick rubes who cannot compare or contrast but only equate: Either A equals B, or else A is totally different from B; on the left, there is no middle ground between hard Left and hard Right.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 16, 2011, at the time of 6:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2011

"Occupy White House" and the Election Riots of 2012

Crime and Punishment , Election Derelictions , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I hope I'm just thinking strategically, but I'm starting to worry about the Left's response to the 2012 general election.

We can expect massive vote fraud of course, but we're used to that; it's endemic and inevitable. Any district where the vote is close, expect the physical and electronic versions of ballot stuffing, ballot destroying, deliberate confusion, and repeated acts of "lawfare," as Democrats try to sue their way into office.

But this year, we might actually see widespread voting violence, which has long been virtually institutionalized in many European and Asian countries. We had a recent inkling of how the Left thinks during the 2008 election in Philadelphia, where members of the New Black Panther Parth intimidated both voters and Republican poll watchers; but next year's violence might involve thousands of radical leftists across the entire country. I have a hard time believing that participants in and supporters of the "Occupy" criminal gangs would get a sudden attack of conscience and reject "Occupying" the polling places.

Thus I anticipate the serious possibility of actual violent assaults at, and attempts to seize control of, hundreds of polling places in swing states, with the deadly serious attempt to allow voting only by Progressivists... and with the Occupiers actually standing in the voting booth with the voter to ensure there's no weaseling or backsliding.

I expect that in many normally Democratic districts that seem to be drifting rightwards, if there is vote-violence, the police will be directed by civilian authorities not to intervene or protect Republican voters. Attorney General Eric Holder has already signalled -- heck, has blatantly told us -- that the DoJ will not prosecute any "hate crime" committed by federally protected minorities against anybody who is not in that favored category; the Occupier goons will naturally assume (and not without good cause) that the DoJ will turn an equally glassy eye on any voter intimidation or outright violent assault that furthers the reelection of Barack H. Obama.

And they'll expect to catch the Right slow-witted, late to realize the danger, and flat-footed, as they did in the 2000 election.

We really, really need some young tea partiers and other conservatives to "hippie up" and infiltrate the Occupiers and related organizations, from radical political groups to violent labor unions; our spies must gather intel about what the Left intends to do, how far they're willing to go, to retain the presidency and the Senate. Will this election fall into the late-60s, early 70s category of "by any means necessary?"

If so, and if the police refuse to protect our sacred franchise, are we prepared to defend it ourselves? I don't know; I sure hope it doesn't come to that.

But if it does, one thing is certain: We cannot allow the Left to chavez the 2012 elections. Defending America means not only defending our physical territory but also our God-given rights -- and the integrity of the institutions that protect and preserve them, including the vote, the secret ballot, and a true and proper enumeration of those ballots.

We cannot afford to cede the vote to thuggery, intimidation, and an army of socialist sabateurs, in the craven hope that maybe we can reverse it in court months later. 2000 was a shot across our bow; next November, a dozen years later, the antiAmerican Left will be more determined than ever to hold their ideological territory... and to hell with what the actual electorate wants.

And a postscript. A number of conservative gatherings have recently been inundated by Occupiers who scream, chant, and play out creepy "call and response" catechisms in an effort to drown out the speech of their political rivals (that is, ordinary American citizens). We have yet to formulate a coherent and winnable response.

I have a suggestion: In all future political events staged by the limited-government Right that are disrupted by the Left, when the latter begin chanting their "99%" and "mike check" mantras, the Right should immediately begin loudly chanting "Four legs good, two legs bad! Four legs good, two legs bad!"

A few on the left might pick up the reference to Animal Farm and be annoyed and offended; but the vast majority will simply be befuddled; and like all lower life forms, when befuddled, they will fall into confusion, disunity, anxiety, and useless floccillation. Some really dumb Occupiers might even pick up the chant themselves, not realizing it didn't come from their own playbook. Either way, it's a win for the forces of liberty and the rule of law.

So please remember and tell your friends: When the Left starts to chant, counterchant the iconic cry of unreconstructed sheep: Four legs good, two legs bad! It'll drive them nuts trying to decode its deeper meaning, and trying to work out whether it's a compliment or an insult.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 15, 2011, at the time of 2:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 8, 2011

Occupiers: Befouling the Hand That Feeds Them

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

This is juicy:

Coffee cart owner Linda Jenson and hot dog cart operators Letty and Pete Soto said they initially provided free food and drink to [Occupy San Diego] demonstrators, but when they stopped, the protesters became violent....

“Both carts have had items stolen, have had their covers vandalized with markings and graffiti, as well as one of the carts had urine and blood splattered on it,” said Councilman Carl DeMaio.

Gives a new edge to the phrase "smelly hippies." And of course, the inevitable Progressivist extortion racket:

In addition to the attacks, the vendors also said they recently received death threats....

After a relatively peaceful start, the “Occupy” movement has sparked violent clashes with police in Oakland and recently saw protesters push an elderly woman down a flight of stairs in D.C.

Does Ex-Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury) still stand shoulder to shoulder with the Marxian mobsters? How about President Barack H. Obama? One would think that the very name the goons have chosen for themselves -- "Occupiers" -- would have been a big enough clue for the most brilliant mind ever to "Occupy" La Casa Blanca. (Wile E. Obama... supergenius!)

Perhaps not, when a president is every bit as besotted with fame, glory, power, and the sonorous, soporific sounds of his own silver tongue -- as the Occupiers are bewitched by getting free stuff. Are these the kids that Napster wrought?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 8, 2011, at the time of 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

November 5, 2011

Absolute Freedom of Speech - Progressivist Style

Liberal Lunacy , Speech, Speech!
Hatched by Dafydd

This blogpost isn't about the low-hanging fruit; these fruits have already dropped into the mud and are starting to rot.

ACORN -- remember them? -- have evidently been embarassed by yet another scandal: They were caught red-handed (such a glorious phrase!) funneling money to fuel the Occupiers, on Wall Street and Elsewhere, and even paying their own members to make signs and join the protests. Fox News reports and you decide:

The former New York office for ACORN, the disbanded community activist group, is playing a key role in the self-proclaimed "leaderless" Occupy Wall Street movement, organizing "guerrilla" protest events and hiring door-to-door canvassers to collect money under the banner of various causes while spending it on protest-related activities, sources tell FoxNews.com.

The former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC). That organization was created in late 2009 when some ACORN offices disbanded and reorganized under new names after undercover video exposes prompted Congress to cut off federal funds.

So now, ACORN -- sorry, I meant NYCC -- has formulated its official response to disclosure of its covert ops... and it's a doozie:

Officials with the revamped ACORN office in New York -- operating as New York Communities for Change -- have fired staff, shredded reams of documents and told workers to blame disgruntled ex-employees for leaking information in an effort to explain away a FoxNews.com report last week on the group’s involvement in Occupy Wall Street protests, according to sources.

NYCC also is installing surveillance cameras and recording devices at its Brooklyn offices, removing or packing away supplies bearing the name ACORN and handing out photos of Fox News staff with a stern warning not to talk to the media, the sources said.

The depths of censorship, thought suppression, and manufactured unanimity to which NYCC is willing to stoop is positively Stalinist; only the hapless futility and hair-on-fire panic among the tree-nuts transmute base tyranny into lowbrow comedy. These are not your grandfather's totalitarians!

NYCC is also monitoring its staff’s behavior, cracking down on phone use and socialization. Officials have ordered all papers -- even scraps -- to be shredded every night, the source said.

"And all the supplies -- everything around the office that said 'ACORN' -- is now all in storage until this blows over," the source said. "People literally have to cover up the cameras on the back of their cellphones in the office."

"Now there’s no texting in the office, no phone calls in the office. They tell us to take our phone calls out into the waiting room where there’s an intercom, and then they turn on the intercom to hear our conversations. They’re installing new cameras and speakers around the building so they can hear everything.

"It’s almost like working at Fort Knox." [Emphasis added -- DaH]

No, Ace; it's like working in the Kremlin.

The level of censorship, driven by sheer paranoia, that permeates the Left may be comical; but such fear of exposure is also immanent (or inherent) in the ideology of socialism, in all its forms. Perhaps David Bohm would say it was part of the implicate or enfolded order that overlies all specific characteristics of the ideology; real-world details -- such as the crushing of of freedom, including freedom of speech -- unfold in all their inglory whenever socialist dogma meets reality.

Censorship and gag-orders are unfolded by application of the the Fundamental Syllogism of Socialism:

  • Socialism is, at its core, rule by "expert" administrators; cf. Otto von Bismark's administrative state.
  • Its model is that a handful of experts, freed from the interruptions of competition between factions (and of course the competition inherent in capitalism), can sort through all the data, separate fact from fallacy, and chart the course that serves the greater good.
  • But the illogical, uninformed yammering of ordinary people, non-experts, wastes time and distracts the experts from their vital, urgent work. Normally the latter can just ignore the former; but when the situation is tense, they haven't that luxury.
  • Thus, during a crisis, everyone but the experts must shut the heck up.
  • Alas, as things fall apart (since socialism doesn't work in real life), we always seem to be in a crisis.
  • Ergo, the peons should just shut up, keep shut, and shut up shuttin' up!

 

 

 

 

And there you have it: "Progresso" brand freedom of speech -- now with extra nuttiness! Maybe we need to Occupy ACORN.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 5, 2011, at the time of 8:23 PM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2011

Discriminating Discrimination

Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

Shocking everyone, Democrats in the Senate have launched a campaign to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA; this is the federal law that (section 3) defines marriage for federal purposes as only being between one man and one woman, and (section 2) -- most important -- allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage (SSM), even when the couple is legally married in some other state.

Without section 2, the distinction between states that do and do not recognize SSM would be utterly lost, as any two persons of the same sex could marry in an SSM state, then demand that every other state in the United States recognize the union as the same as traditional marriage. We would lose a huge chunk of Federalism, as states could no longer define marriage as the citizens of that state decide; it would all be decided by Washington D.C.

So you can follow along on your scorecard, here is the complete law; well, the definitional part, that is:

Section 2. Powers reserved to the states

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

Section 3. Definition of marriage

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

By seeking to repeal DOMA, Senate Democrats signal the full and complete capitulation to the most radical of gay-"rights" leaders: They would rather destroy legal marriage itself, the very fabric of Western culture, than tolerate traditional marriage in any of the 57 50 states.

But that's not what I want to talk about. Yes, you read right; the entire post to this point has been nothing but preamble. Here is the part to which I intend to draw your intention... this quotation from the Washington Times story on the hoped-for death of DOMA:

The issue is bound to face strong opposition from Republicans, who would likely have the votes to filibuster the legislation should it reach the Senate floor. And it’s unlikely to make it to the GOP-controlled House at all.

But the measure comes at a time when gay and lesbian advocates are on a roll, having won repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in Congress late last year.

I am appalled that even a somewhat more conservative newspaper has been sucked into the fantasy of a "gay movement," as if sexual orientation is a supercategory the gulps up everything even superficially related to homosexuality. But more properly, a veritable Valles Marineris gapes between, on the one hand, the demand for the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) and the overturning (by the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas) of laws against "sodomy," however defined; and on the other hand, the shrill insistance upon federal legislation accepting and promoting SSM.

It's vital that America discriminate between the two species of demand:

  1. Whether you agree or disagree with Lawrence -- which held that anti-sodomy laws violated "privacy rights" -- or with allowing gays to serve openly in the military, these claims are based upon the liberty argument: that people have a fundamental core of individual integrity, which cannot be subdivided, and inside of which governments cannot legislate.
  2. Similarly, a law (federal or state) mandating vegetarianism would be an egregious violation of fundamental individual liberty, as would a law forbidding self defense or defense of one's family (or of any innocent person, for that matter).

Lawrence should have been based upon the First Amendment's freedom of assembly, rather than the amorphous and ill-defined (but trendy!) "right of privacy"; and the repeal of DADT should have been based upon the unenumerated but self-evident right of every citizen and legal resident to defend his country, society, and culture; it's a simple extension of the fundamental right of self defense.

  1. Contrariwise, a demand for legal recognition of SSM (same-sex marriage) cannot be based upon simple liberty; for it entails not simply the right to be let alone, to be allowed to be oneself, but the demand that the rest of society embrace one's actions and declarations.

It's not that gays want the right to live together, to consider themselves married, or even to be declared married in the eyes of God, according to a particular church; for they already have those rights (and I completely support them). Rather, they demand not merely that you allow them to pursue their own happiness, but that you agree with and support their lifestyle... and that you consent to equate an outré sexual relationship with the traditional Western and American relationship called marriage.

(Not merely outré but antithetical to what I consider the main point of traditional, even more axiomatic than the raising of children: the union of the female and male elements of humanity, the yin and yang. Opposite-sex marriage serves to moderate the extremes of both sexes, producing a stable and fruitful (in several senses) society. By contrast, SSM tends to exaggerate the bad tendencies of both sexes, leading to extremism and even fanaticism.)

Enforced SSM sails directly athwart the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion, speech, and association: If we're forced to equate same-sex couples with opposite-sex couples for purposes of marriage -- speaking of them as married, suppressing any religious-based criticism, and compelled to let them live together as if married, even in a room I might rent out within my own house -- then dissent from liberal orthodoxy is criminal, upon penalty of prosecution or administrative punishment.

Thus conservatives (I am not one) fall into grave error when they accept the idea that there is a "gay agenda," defined as the collection of all laws or policies that most homosexuals and many libertine liberals want to enact. Discrimination in this case is vital, and the real divide is between liberty interests (allowing the individual to live his life as he sees fit) and social reprogramming -- forcing society to transmogrify from the traditional American Borg culture into a limp, squishy, bowl of moral pablum, where all that matters is feeding the maw of every special-interest group temporarily important to the ruling class.

It's easy to draw the line between freedom of association and the right to defend oneself, one's loved ones, and one's society on the one hand, and the peremptory demand that all of us espouse the absurdity that same-sex relationships are identical to opposite-sex relationships.

It's like legally declaring cows to be vegetables, just so that everyone can be called a vegetarian.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 27, 2011, at the time of 4:19 AM | Comments (2)

September 15, 2011

The Story of "O" in the French-Fry Spring

Future of Food , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Thirst Lady Michelle Obama has a wonderful announcement to make:

Darden Restaurants Inc. is pledging to cut calories and sodium in its meals by 20 percent over a decade. Among promised changes for children, a fruit or vegetable side and low-fat milk will become standard with kids' meals unless a substitution is requested.

No more French fries for the little ones unless an adult asks for them.

So the Thirst Lady has but to demand, and a monster restaurant chain -- 1,800 restaurants across the United States, including Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Red Lobster -- cannot wait to begin bullying its customers.

Now let's see how this works: The government gives the orders through a back channel (in this case, the president's wife), but doesn't actually seize the corporation itself; the central authority makes all decisions, but Darden's owners are free to continue accepting the profits.

A public-private partnership; what will they think of next? Though it seems to me there's already a fancy Italian word for that sort of arrangement...

"With this new commitment, Darden is doing what no restaurant company has done before," said the first lady, who joined executives of Orlando, Fla.-based Darden for the announcement at an Olive Garden restaurant in Maryland, just outside Washington.

Yep, Evita Obama has that right: No restaurant company in the United States has ever before bowed down to literal food fascism to this extent, not even McDonalds with their Unhappy Meals. Even the food rationing regime during the Great Patriotic War World War II didn't actually tell ordinary people what they could and could not eat for lunch. It's a first!

Old records keep falling like dropped french fries in the age of Obamunism.

Meanwhile, will Mrs. O. begin to taper off those 1,200-calorie cheeseburgers, those chocolate shakes, and yes, her own double orders of french fries? (It's all right; she chugged it all down with a large Diet Coke.)

This hagiographic AP story enthuses that "the industry" is "working behind the scenes" with Congress to enact food directives into law. It's not surprising; Big Food supports anything that makes food production more expensive, so long as it applies to all restaurants: The big chains can afford to spend the money to buy pricey ingredients, label everything, and keep copious records to prove they're following orders and not allowing people under the age of eighteen to order their own meals.

It's only the small mom and pop restaurants that will go out of business. Applebee's, McDonalds, and Darden's will make out just fine.

 

P.S. Some clown with the initials "DaH" reported this post to Barack H. Obama's "AttackWatch" website. The nerve!

I sure hope none of you other readers report the post to AttackWatch by clicking on this link; think of the horrible publicity it could bring to Big Lizards!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 15, 2011, at the time of 3:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2011

I Can Hear the Cuckoo Singing in the Cuckooberry Tree...

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Two seemingly disconnected stories bound together by a theme: the complete nervous breakdown of the liberal massmind.

First, House Minority Leader and erstwhile Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury) is simply irate at the latest outrageous Republican attack on President Barack H. Obama. What did the GOP do this time? They cast a despicable slander against America's first black president, one so dastardly that Democrats couldn't even find a response:

Republicans have decided they're not going to give a rebuttal to President Obama's jobs speech later this week, a decision House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took as a high affront to the White House.

At least three GOP lawmakers also have announced they're not going to show up for the presidential address. House Speaker John Boehner's office then confirmed Tuesday evening that nobody from the party would deliver an official televised response.



Fool on the Hill

The fool on the Hill

Pelosi is hopping mad. She is beside herself with resentment at such shabby treatment:

Pelosi said the party's "silence" would "speak volumes about their lack of commitment to creating jobs."

"The Republicans' refusal to respond to the president's proposal on jobs is not only disrespectful to him, but to the American people," Pelosi said.

The GOP seems unmoved by Pelosi's high dudgeon:

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said there will be "plenty" of response to the president's speech on Friday, but told Fox News he suspects the reason there's no formal response is "the speaker doesn't expect to hear much to respond to."

Ow.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-, %) was blunter than Blunt:

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has said he doesn't think he'll attend -- he told Fox News he's "sick and tired of speeches."

Perhaps DeMint is still a bit disgusted by Obama, who claimed in his Labor-Day Speech to the United Auto Workers (UAW) in Detroit that he had passed "the biggest middle-class tax cut in history." No, really:

That’s the central challenge that we face in our country today. That’s at the core of why I ran for President. That’s what I’ve been fighting for since I’ve been President. (Applause.) Everything we’ve done, it’s been thinking about you. [Uh-oh! -- DaH] We said working folks deserved a break -- so within one month of me taking office, we signed into law the biggest middle-class tax cut in history, putting more money into your pockets. (Applause.)

This "whopper" was awarded the coveted and rarely granted rating of four "Pinnocchios," the highest possible, by the Washington Post. When you've lost -- but you know the rest.

Of course, as Friend Lee noted, suppose Republicans had given a response or rebuttal; then Minority Leader Pelosi (that Nancy-boy) would have been just as steamed at the GOP... this time for having the effrontery to brazenly reject the Obamamunist solution to the jobless non-recovery: higher corporate and personal taxes (because we just don't pay our fair share); more regulation of the economy (by those "experts" who gave us Obamacare and a backdoor "cap and tax"); and of course, yet another trillion-dollar stimulus package to boost the nation's economy (one Progressivist payoff at a time).

The incredible shrinking presidency has just about reached molecular size. By the time of the 2012 election, Obama's nickname will be "bottom quark". (Or maybe even "strange quark" -- caution, quantum-mechanics joke alert.)

In the meanwhile, even at the lower levels of the great heirarchy of Progressivism, the liberal brain is shrinking like Alzheimer's. Here is your future, if you happen to live in a liberal big city (and what percentage of big cities are not liberal?):

The measure introduced by [Los Angeles] City Councilman Paul Koretz would prohibit all single-use plastic and paper bags in L.A. supermarkets and would require stores to sell or provide complimentary reusable or fiber bags only or risk a fine.

Shoppers seem "less than enthused" about the bill, which some have labeled a "nightmare." But with an overwhelming liberal-Progressivist majority on the L.A. City Council, why should the voices of mere peons even be heard by their betters?

The measure still has to clear the Energy and Environment Committee, but proponents believe the waste reduction aspect of the bill will be a strong selling point that would leapfrog L.A. ahead of cities like San Francisco and Santa Monica in the battle against bag pollution.

Bag pollution? I reckon that goes along with secondhand smoke pollution, carbon dioxide pollution, and Happy Meal pollution. (While the invisible hand of the market guides buyers to sellers, the invisible foot of the nanny-state always finds a way to trip them up.)

At one time, liberals championed great causes: civil rights, voting rights, freedom of speech, workplace safety, the plight of the aged in penury, and a great, patriotic war against Fascism and Naziism. Today, peevish liberal scolds whine that they're not getting enough attention, then punish us by taking away anything that makes life convenient or pleasant. Quite obviously, President Obama is America's Nudzher-in-Chief.

Now I understand his plummeting poll numbers: Obama reminds every man of his overbearing mother-in-law and every woman of her husband's grasping, demanding "ex."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 7, 2011, at the time of 3:57 PM | Comments (1)

September 4, 2011

How to "Outargue" (Frustrate, Stifle, Drive Away) a Radical Right-Winger - the Good Liberal's Guide to Successful Debate Avoidance

Confusticated Conservatives , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Sachi

In 2005, I was a regular participant on a Yahoo Japan political topic bulletin board. After a couple years of debate (non debate) with internet liberals, I began to observe the debate-avoidance techniques of the liberal mind.

I learned a lot from those master non-debaters; the number of methods they had devised to avoid, sidestep, and duck the actual exchange of ideas is breathtaking and impossible to catalog. But I can demonstrate a few of the most used tactics.

So for the rest of this post, I must channel Farley Resistance Gompers -- former community organ-sizer and current head of the Union of Progressive Youth Opposing Unconstitutional Reactionary Speech, Neo-American Zionist Infiltration, and Capitalist Hogtying of Internationalist Monetary Policies. (One of our lesser-known liberal/Progressivist change agents, to be sure, but overrepresented in the only field that counts for the left side of the aisle: unparalled fundraising for Obama 2012's "Project Vote" campaign -- an eerie echo of the recent past.)

~

We understand that a number of you feel upset and nervous when confronted by racist, sexist, homophobic and transgendophobic, violence threatening, harassing, rampaging, extremist right-wingers (in urgent need of anger-management classes) in a so-called "debate." Not to worry; we at UPYOURSNAZICHIMP have refined a number of tried and feelgood techniques to avoid such unpleasantness, which can leave you with frustration and hurt feelings.

Please memorize these tactics and begin employing them immediately; you may not "win" these "debates," but at least every casual spectator or internet lurker will think you have -- which is the same thing, of course.

Phase One, red-state baiting for beginners: Never argue -- sloganeer

As an entry-level Progressivist, you cannot possible win an argument against those sneaky, lying liar, right-wing nutballs. It's like "arguing" with a talking dog. (They've never even heard of the Vision!)

So for the time being, the most effective way to stymie one of them and leave him/her/indeterminate grabbing for the supplementary oxygen is to memorize a few short, catchy slogans and phrases... then repeat them aggressively and relentlessly:

  • No blood for oil!
  • War is not the answer!
  • Give peace a chance!
  • The survivors will envy the dead!
  • Freeze now!
  • No peace without justice!
  • All you need is love!
  • A woman's right to choose!
  • End poverty now!
  • Health care is a civil right!
  • Food for all!
  • Land for use!
  • Heal the wounds of Gaea!
  • Hope and change!
  • Yes we can! (or Sí se puede!, depending)
  • Four legs good, two legs bad! (or two legs better!, depending)

Or if you're not sure what the secret Klansman is on about this time, try the universal vanilla comeback suppressor:

  • Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go!

At the same time, it is more effective if you pepper your jingoisms with a few complicated but meaningless statements that feign deepness, such as:

  • You can't hug your children with nuclear arms.
  • If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
  • The majority is the minority; black is the new white; women are the new men.
  • When Obama's polls are going down, that's the exact moment they're skyrocketing!

It doesn't matter if even you yourself don't understand what you are saying, so long as you confuse your opponent (since you're unable to convince the radical Right of the joys of liberalism, or indeed anyone of anything).

The important thing to remember is never argue. Don't answer any questions. A mere Progressivist acolyte like you cannot possibly explain the inner profundity of your shallow and contradictory slogan: unity is in the contradiction, the opposite of a great truth is equally true. If anyone asks, announce that it is self evident, and the fact that they even have to ask such a question proves they're too stupid to understand the answer.

"You don't even understand such a simple thing? It's sooooo obvious. You just don't get it!" Then MoveOn to your next demand.

If the opponent won't let you go, escalate to personal attack, such as "Why do you hate poor people? You just want to see children blown to pieces! You seem to have a real problem with people of color -- racist!" That will shut most opponents up. (Possibly because they simply find you intolerably offensive -- but WTF, a win is a win!)

Phase Two, journeyperson level: The Ten-Million-Questions intermediate technique

Once you have sloganeering down pat, try the next level. But before attempting this technique, pick your opponent very carefully: If the he/she/indeterminate is actually knowledgeable, this tactic can backfire on you.

Pick an easily riled or frustrated Fascist Republican who is not used to to liberal Progressivists, one who values so-called "objective truth" and thinks he/she/indeterminate is really good at research. The key is to use their willingness actually to look things up on the internet (at your demand) as the ultimate paralysis beam. Here's how:

  1. Whatever your opponent is actually saying, pretend you've never heard of such an outlandish idea. Goad him/her/indeterminate into actually pasting a link; when he/she says "here's the proof right here," you're halfway there.
  2. Do not make the rookie mistake of commenting on any "evidence" your opponent presents! Never argue the contents; ask another seemingly related question that is in fact a complete left turn.
  3. When he/she responds to question two, ask question three. And four, five, fifty. If you've done it right, he/she/indeterminate will be reduced to doing nothing but answering your insipid and meaningless questions.
  4. Wash, rinse, repeat until your opponent forgets what they were talking about. If both your opponent and the readers forget the original point of argument, you've won!

For example, if the extreme right-winger says, "The purpose of the Iraq War was to democratize Iraq from the very beginning," you say, "Then how come Bushitler never said any such thing?" After a day or two, he/she/indeterminate posts one of Bush's old speeches; you immediately demand, "What about all the missing WMD he talked about that never existed? What does that lie have to do with democracy in Iraq?"

As he/she/indeterminate posts some nonsense about WMD, you're ready with a few more Herculean research projects:

  • Why were we so upset about Saddam Hussein having WMD, when we were the ones who gave it to him in the first place?
  • Why did we attack Iraq, when they had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or 9/11?
  • Since we created and funded al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the first place, isn't 9/11 our own fault?
  • You claim we were attacked by Arabs, so why don't you demand we attack Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, and all those other Arab countries? You're a hypocrite!
  • If Iraq was a threat to the whole world, why didn't we organize a coalition, like Clinton did against Serbia?
  • If only three thousand Americans died in 9/11, why did we kill 600,000 innocent Iraqi children, women, and civilians? Doesn't that make us worse terrorists than al-Qaeda?
  • And the Israelis have killed a lot more than 3,000 citizens of Palestine; shouldn't we invade Israel?
  • Why did Bush include North Korea in his goofy 'axis of evil'? Just because they weren't white?
  • If Saddam Hussein was so evil, why didn't the first Bush overthrow him when he had the chance?
  • Who gave us the right to cram "democracy" down everyone else's throat? (The scare-quotes are a bonus, as the radical right-winger will probably spend an extra ten minutes orating (or three screens posting) his "explanation" of why scare quotes are unpatriotic.)
  • If you want democracy, why did you overthrow Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, who were both democratically elected?
  • Instead of spending trillions of dollars on wars all across the planet, why couldn't Bush use that money to end all poverty on Earth?

When your opponent finally grows weary of wasting his time and energy "researching" his right-wing trash-mags to prove his point and stomps off in a huff instead... you win!

Phase Three trifecta, the expert at the internet: Selectable amnesia, paralogia, and creative paraphrasing

If you can master this technique, you're a full brown Progressivist activist; please apply to Ezra Klein for your membership card to postJournolist. (you will receive the real name after you send in your dues... your union dues; and yes, we really do know how much you still owe!)

The first tactic of Phase Three, selectable amnesia, seems as if it would be easy; but you might be surprised how hard it is to remember to forget:

  • Before the Iraq war, nobody was talking about any connection between Sadam Hussein and Bin Laden. How convenient of you to suddenly discover it now!

Choose to forget the fact that media all over the world had been discussing those connections since 1998. Don't forget -- remember to fuhgeddaboudit!

Among these three tactical techniques of Phase Three, selectable amnesia will always be your workhorse: No matter how many times certain facts are proven, no matter how many times you're forced to back away from the ideologically pure position and admit the existence of a fixed "reality," tomorrow is always another day month year. "Yeah? I don't remember you ever posting that so-called evidence. You're making it up!")

Paralogia, the second tactic of Phase Three, means responding to argument or interrogation with a complete, logical non-sequitur:

  • You claimed that Saddam Hussein attempted to buy yellowcake Uranium; but Ambassador Joe Wilson reported that he was completely unsuccessful in those efforts. That completely debunks your charge that he attempted to buy yellowcake!

Creative paraphrasing is the third tactic of Phase Three; if Mr./Ms./Indeterminate Hard Right Turn points out that Bush said, "We cannot afford to wait for Iraq to become an imminent danger;" you paraphrase thus:

  • When Bush claimed Iraq was an imminent danger to the United States, that was a flat-out lie, an impeachable offense! Why wasn't he prosecuted? Did Dick Cheney pull strings? Be honest, now!

When the enemy responds that Bush said we "cannot wait" until Iraq becomes an imminent danger, you paraphrase again:

  • Darn right he couldn't wait -- he was just salivating to invade Iraq and steal their oil!

"No, no, no! I mean with all the murderous attacks, terrorist connections, and history of WMD, we knew Hussein would never stop voluntarily; it was better to attack sooner, before he had nukes or biological weapons, than to attack later and lose more American soldiers to a stronger Saddam Hussein!"

  • You said it yourself: Bush was determined to conauer Iraq "sooner or later;" so he seized upon 9/11, politicized it, and launched a unilateral, pre-emptive strike on the pretext of a handful of lies!

By this point, the hypocritical reactionary will be gibbering and foaming at the mouth with frustration. So long as you cleverly mischaracterize everything he/she/indeterminate says, not only will none of the spectators have any clue what he/she/indeterminate is really trying to say, but you will also likely drive him/her/indeterminate away into the night/day/twilight... and the side of truth, justice, and the Progressivist way will rule.

Final feelings

Your Fascist, racist, sexist, genderophobic, running-dog, imperialist opponents will doubtless try to discriminate against and harass you by claiming you are avoiding debate because you have no arguments -- no evidence, no principles, no point. Do not allow yourself to feel hurt or inadequate.

The Progressivist purpose behind debate-avoidance techniques is not to make up for any supposed "deficiency" on our part; as keepers of the Vision, we have absolute moral authority and a collective intelligence we can tap into; this collective intelligence gives every liberal the functional equivalent of an IQ of 732!

(This is not an estimate; it has been measured in a study by the independent, bipartisan Center for American Progress, funded by the highly respected Open Society Institute, which has never been accused of partisanship. You don't have to take our word; Google it.)

The reason we use these beginner, intermediate, and advanced techniques for dodging debate is that we're so intelligent, so scary-smart, that (a) we don't want to take unfair advantage of the animal-like "intelligences" on the other side, and (b) it would demean us, the anointed, to stoop and "debate" criminals, liars, and fools who reject the spiritual Vision. We would become attainted by treating the dhimmi on the Right as if they were our "equals."

So take heart, fellow Progressivists and liberals; our refusal ever to stand our ground in honest debate is a feature, not a bug; it demonstrates our superiority and actually proves that our side, as expected, was right all along.

To quote one of our greatest philosophers of Progressivism:

And so... these Learned Men, having Inquir'd into the Case for the Opposition, discover'd that the Opposition had no Case and were Devoid of Merit, which was what they Suspected all along, and they arriv'd at this Happy Conclusion by the most Economical and Nice of all Methods of Enquiry, which was that they did not Invite the Opposition to confuse Matters by Participating in the Discussion.

(From "The Persecution and Assassination of the Parapsychologists as Performed by the Inmates of the American Association for the Advancement of Science under the Direction of the Amazing Randi;" p. 85, Right Where You Are Sitting Now, ©1982, And/Or Press, Inc. -- first printing.)

So there.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, September 4, 2011, at the time of 10:25 AM | Comments (2)

August 30, 2011

The New York Times Defines "Fiscal Conservative"

Econ. 101 , Fed Spending: to Infinity and Beyond! , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness , Tax Attax
Hatched by Dafydd

Just in case you weren't sure of the definition, the New York Times shows us the perfect "fiscal conservative" in Yoshihiko Noda, incoming Prime Minister of Japan:

Yoshihiko Noda, a down-to-earth fiscal conservative, was elected prime minister by the Japanese Parliament on Tuesday in the sixth change of leaders in five years, a period of mounting economic and social challenges to the world’s third-largest economy. [Emphasis added - DaH]

And what fiscal policies does this plucky, self-deprecating, "down-to-earth fiscal conservative" intend to enact to earn that title? The Times clarifies:

In his previous role [as finance minister], he orchestrated multiple interventions in currency markets to weaken a strong yen that has battered Japanese exporters....

As a fiscal conservative, he is one of few within his party to suggest that raising taxes might be necessary to rein in Japan’s deficit....

Mr. Noda “will most likely temper his fiscally hawkish stance, which other candidates were loath to espouse, even as he champions an eventual return to fiscal responsibility,” Naomi Fink, a Tokyo-based strategist at the investment house Jefferies, said in a note....

Mr. Noda has said that he will stick to [outgoing Prime Minister Naoto] Kan’s promise to gradually phase out nuclear power, but that it remains necessary in the short term to prevent electricity shortages that could further cripple the economy. [Emphasis added - DaH]

All right, I think I've got it. A fiscal conservative is a government official who:

  • Manipulates currency markets for corporatist political purposes...
  • Raises taxes on a shattered citizenry during a terrible recession and ongoing disaster recovery...
  • Offers, as the cornerstone of his energy policy, to eliminate (on grounds of eco-hysteria and radical enviromentalism) efficient, highly productive, and clean nuclear power, which is already up and operating, to be replaced (when?) by what, oil and coal, which must be imported at enormous cost, and the infrastructure for which Japan does not even possess? More likely by "green energy": windmills, solar cells, or perhaps banks of perpetual-motion machines to power the island nation...
  • And who sees "fiscal responsibility" as a vague and distant goal he might embrace... "eventually."

Yessiree, that's the kind of steely-eyed fiscal conservative the Little Old Grey Lady pines for, in America as well as abroad.

And let's add one more qualification: Japan's Yoshihiko Noda is definitely not one of those slope-browed, slack-jawed, snake-handling, tongues-speaking, science-rejecting, theocratic "Christianists" who lurk in the United States; I'm certain he rejects "either-or" dichotomies: Right and Left, right and wrong, economic and uneconomic, true and false.

If Noda is like his brethren in the Diet, he sees the world in shades of grey, a twilight zone where the wild things are never quite asleep but never fully awake. Noda is certainly from one of the good religions that reject harsh, Judeo-Christian values -- Buddhism, Shinto, Atheism, Communism... something into which a man like Bill Keller can sink his teeth!

Perhaps now we understand Keller's urgency in getting to the bottom of all this "Christianity" stuff rampant among Republican candidates for President: Keller is still searching for those elusive, Times-approved "fiscal conservatives" in the GOP.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 30, 2011, at the time of 2:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2011

They Call the Wind "Sharia"

Constitutional Maunderings , Liberal Lunacy , Sharia Shenanigans , War Against Radical Islamism
Hatched by Dafydd

Let's start with a simple call and response.

Mr. Bones:

A national drive against citing “foreign” laws in U.S. courts -- one that critics say is a veiled attack on Islamic Shariah law -- has reached the state with the nation’s largest concentration of Muslims.

The Michigan bill, which mirrors "American Laws for American Courts" legislation introduced in more than 20 other states, was introduced in June by state Rep. Dave Agema, Grandville Republican. He has argued that it has nothing to do with Islam or the faith’s Koran-based Shariah law, but is designed to stop anyone who seeks to invoke a foreign law in state courts.

Mr. Tambo:

Victor Begg, a Republican and senior adviser to the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, calls the legislation "hogwash" and said it is clear there is an underlying agenda. He suggested that such measures moving through more than 20 states are part of an organized and well-funded "witch hunt" and that Islam and Muslim-Americans are the real targets.

"We are appalled that our elected officials would waste their time on something that is unnecessary," Mr. Begg said, noting Michigan’s economic woes, including one of the nation’s highest jobless rates.

"We are very unhappy that in these days and times that a large number of legislators would target a minority faith like ours. This is reminiscent of what happened to Catholics a century ago. We don’t need to go back to the Dark Ages here. We have built relationships and we do a lot of interfaith work, and we are not into civil rights, filing lawsuits and such."

Catholics? Were Catholics in the United States trying to introduce Catholic ecclesiastical law into civil and criminal courts? Were they prevented from doing so by brand new legislation forbidding the vicars of Christ from exercising temporal authority over citizens? In my readings of history, I seem to have overlooked that chapter.

In fact, the "Catholic" accusation is a complete non-sequitur, a red herring; but it's also a preemptive strike of "dawa," the promulgation and propagation of jihad by means other than actual warfare.

The American Laws for American Courts legislation can be argued either way, pro or con (though I think on the whole it's a very good idea, and I would vote for it if it was a citizens constitutional amendment).

It's certainly true that American law comes from British law, to a large extent, so we've already let the cat out of the bottle. And what about situations where a court is stuck deciding a case with virtually no American caselaw; shouldn't the court at least look at how other nations have dealt with the situation, for good or ill?

But on the other hand (how Kerryesque!), other countries almost certainly have very different ideas of due process, evidence, and the rights enjoyed by the people. Areas of conflict between foreign courts and the demands of American jurisprudence include:

  • The citizen's interaction with the government, including the right to keep and bear arms, religious freedom, freedom of speech and assembly, and due process rights, all of which many countries curtail in ways that would be unconstitutional in the United States;
  • The proper interaction between men and women, often abused via the acceptance of so-called "honor" killings and curtailing of women's property rights, voting rights, employment rights, and women's right to choose their own relationships (forced marriages);
  • The tension between the individual and his or her community; many countries enforce a national culture by law, for example by prescribing or prohibiting unconventional clothing or hairstyle, banning certain kinds of music, literature, art, and even advertising, or confining immigrants to special zones to avoid "corrupting" the native-born;
  • And the proper role of Capitalism; many foreign countries greatly mistrust private capital altogether and have criminalize "excess profit," or allow the State to sue individuals to relieve them of the fruits of their labors; others set up so many rules, regulations, and required licenses that only the well-connected can run the gauntlet to start a new business. (Alas, the United States itself is starting to heed the call of that siren temptation.)

To hijack foreign laws in order to force the United States to become one with the rest of the world would be an irrecoverable enormity that would either spell the end of American exceptionalism -- which many opponents of American Laws for American Courts would likewise denounce -- or spark another bloody American revolution to restore liberty and freedom.

But whichever side you take on the underlying sins and virtues of the legislation, one fact is demonstrably clear: The American Laws for American Courts legislation itself is facially and de facto non-sectarian. Unlike some recent state actions, it does not single out sharia law or any other specific foreign law (which would allow-by-omission the admissibility of all the rest).

I have added the model legislation for American Laws for American Courts in the "Slither on" section of this post (click to read); you can read it for yourself and judge whether it specifically and particularly attacks sharia law while allowing American courts to base decisions on other foreign courts, or whether it is even-handed and applies equally to all.

I take this version of the model legislation from the American Public Policy Alliance. On their website, they do cite sharia law as the most dangerous current incursion of foreign concepts of jurisprudence into American law; but the legislation itself singles out no particular foreign court whatsoever, not sharia, nor Communist, nor tribal principles of criminal compensation, nor the Napoleonic Code of France.

Yet despite that fact, all of the mass protest against this law -- both by sectarian groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR, essentially a front group for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood) and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, and by atheist and non-sectarian activist groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU, essentially a front group for the most liberal of the Democratic National Committee) -- all the mass protest has focused exclusively on Moslems and the introduction of sharia law into many, many states of the United States.

Which, in a completely unrelated coincidence, has been accelerating of late:

A study by the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., looked at 50 appellate cases from 23 states and found that Shariah law had been applied or formally recognized in court decisions.

Those cases, said Christopher Holton, a vice president at the center, represent the tip of the iceberg in what he describes as a growing conflict in state courts, where many decisions are never publicized.

"There is no question -- Shariah principles are finding their way into our courts for years now. It’s inherently discriminatory for women -- most of these involved family law. When you get a ruling in a child custody case from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan or Egypt and it’s family law, it’s all Shariah," he said.

So how should we understand this phenomenon? I have a simple principle: When a law banning X is proposed, and a person or group vigorously opposes that law, there are only two plausible motivations:

  1. The opposition has no personal interest in X but is simply high-minded and believes in the liberty of others, enough so to put themselves at risk for pure principle.
  2. The opposition actually wants to engage in X and is angry at being thwarted; it has a deep and direct personal interest in stopping the legislation.

Consider Motivation 1: If the opponents of American Laws for American Courts are simply high-minded, then they must believe that courts should generally be allowed to cite not only sharia law but also rulings from Catholic countries like France and Italy; Protestant countries like Great Britain and Germany; the lone Jewish state of Israel; countries whose governments are very socialist and anti-religion in general, like the Netherlands, the Scandanavian countries, and Red China; and of course "international courts," such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court (both at the Hague), the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and indeed all other courts in France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, the U.K., Australia, and Canada that claim "universal jurisdiction" when prosecuting "crimes against humanity."

Such noble dissenters would never single out one kind of court and one alone, because that would fly in the face of the exact principle they defend... just as a true supporter of the principle of freedom of religion cannot say, "oh, but of course I don't mean religious freedom for Mormons; that's totally different!"

But of course, that is precisely how a person or group would act if he opposed the legislation for Motivation 2 -- because he or they actually want to engage in X themselves and are fighting back when told they cannot. There is nothing inherently wrong with Motivation 2; it generally supplies far more energy to a movement than the detatched and lofty dissent emanating from Motivation 1. I would say much of the mounting opposition to Obamunism comes from people suddenly being directly hurt by that avatar of "Progressivism."

But by the same token, opponents driven by Motivation 2 are often few but fanatical, and frequently act contrary to the rights, privileges, and welfare of the many.

I think it obvious which motivation, 1 or 2, best categorizes CAIR and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan; they rail against the legislation as "an organized and well-funded 'witch hunt'" whose "real targets" are "Islam and Muslim-Americans." You certainly don't hear CAIR sticking up for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. (For that matter, you also don't hear CAIR supporting the authority of American courts to try American-killing jihadis in American courts, even when the murders are committed in some Moslem dictatorship. It only applauds international precedents when they favor Islamism, sharia, and jihad, not when they attempt to hold radical Islamists accountable for their despicable deeds.)

No doubt whatsoever; the vast majority of those opposing the American Laws for American Courts legislation are doing so from an entirely self-serving motive: They have a long-term plan to fully embed sharia law into U.S. courts.

But why? Consider this: If jurisdictions within the United States codify sharia law into their public legislation, that would allow radical imams to declare the United States to be part of the ummah, the Moslem world; then, under sharia, such a declaration would make it perfectly legitimate to call for full-scale jihad against America -- bombings, assassinations, and the use of weapons of mass destruction -- to "reclaim" that "Moslem" country that is currently "occupied" by infidels.

Laws such as American Laws for American Courts are vital in order to maintain, not some racial or religious "purity of essence," but the seminal, organic principles upon which this country was founded: individual liberty, limited government, and Capitalism.

As Sam Gamgee says, there are good things in this world, and they're worth fighting for. I believe one whopping good thing worth fighting for is the American system of justice: When not being abused by traitors, seducers, and corrupters, it is still the ninth wonder of the world.

This is the model legislation suggested by the American Public Policy Alliance:

~

MODEL LEGISLATION

AN ACT to protect rights and privileges granted under the United States or [State] Constitution.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE [GENERAL ASSEMBLY/LEGISLATURE] OF THE STATE OF [_____]:

The [general assembly/legislature] finds that it shall be the public policy of this state to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

The [general assembly/state legislature] fully recognizes the right to contract freely under the laws of this state, and also recognizes that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed pursuant to the state’s interest to protect and promote rights and privileges granted under the United States or [State] Constitution, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

[1] As used in this act, “foreign law, legal code, or system” means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals For the purposes of this act, foreign law shall not mean, nor shall it include, any laws of the Native American tribes in this state.

[2] Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

[3] A contract or contractual provision (if capable of segregation) which provides for the choice of a law, legal code or system to govern some or all of the disputes between the parties adjudicated by a court of law or by an arbitration panel arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the law, legal code or system chosen includes or incorporates any substantive or procedural law, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

[4]

A. A contract or contractual provision (if capable of segregation) which provides for a jurisdiction for purposes of granting the courts or arbitration panels in personam jurisdiction over the parties to adjudicate any disputes between parties arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the jurisdiction chosen includes any law, legal code or system, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.
B. If a resident of this state, subject to personal jurisdiction in this state, seeks to maintain litigation, arbitration, agency or similarly binding proceedings in this state and if the courts of this state find that granting a claim of forum non conveniens or a related claim violates or would likely violate the fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions of the non-claimant in the foreign forum with respect to the matter in dispute, then it is the public policy of this state that the claim shall be denied.

[5] Without prejudice to any legal right, this act shall not apply to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, business association, or other legal entity that contracts to subject itself to foreign law in a jurisdiction other than this state or the United States.

[6] This subsection shall not apply to a church, religious corporation, association, or society, with respect to the individuals of a particular religion regarding matters that are purely ecclesiastical, to include, but not be limited to, matters of calling a pastor, excluding members from a church, electing church officers, matters concerning church bylaws, constitution, and doctrinal regulations and the conduct of other routine church business, where 1) the jurisdiction of the church would be final; and 2) the jurisdiction of the courts of this State would be contrary to the First Amendment of the United States and the Constitution of this State. This exemption in no way grants permission for any otherwise unlawful act under the guise of First Amendment protection.

[7] This statute shall not be interpreted by any court to conflict with any federal treaty or other international agreement to which the United States is a party to the extent that such treaty or international agreement preempts or is superior to state law on the matter at issue.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 23, 2011, at the time of 6:49 PM | Comments (9)

December 21, 2010

Rite of Rerun

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I see that Barack H. Obama has finally dared to speak truth to power: He has "accepted" the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. What a stunner!

So what does this mean for the hundreds of millions of Indignant Indigenous Peoples around the globe? Well obviously we're not going to "return" the entire territory of the United States to Native Americans Indians; and Russia isn't going to return all of Eastern Russia to the Tartars, Japan isn't handing their islands over to the Ainu, and France doesn't revert to the Languedoc.

But I fear every "native" group in the world will now have a U.N.-sanctioned claim on the industrialized nations for -- wait for it -- reparations:

[Kenneth Deer, secretary of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawke in Canada] dismissed the warnings of critics who say the document could be used to argue for massive land transfers back to North America's Indian tribes, but agreed that the declaration offers support for reparations.

Article 28 states that indigenous peoples "have the right to redress," which can include "restitution" or "just, fair and equitable compensation" for lands and resources they have traditionally owned or occupied, but which have been "confiscated, taken, occupied" without their consent.

And here is a clear and concise analysis of what this declaration entails:

"It's not that all indigenous lands have to be returned to indigenous peoples. We have to respect the rights of people who are on the land now," Mr. Deer said. "What the states have been saying is, 'This is not your land anymore,' but the declaration is saying, 'Yes, this is their land, and you have to deal with it.' "

As I understand Mr. Deer's position, it's not that all these "confiscated" lands must be returned to the natives; it's just that the natives still own it (if they're "they"), or that the current occupiers own it and the natives have to deal with it (if they're "you," rather than "they"). Well, that clears things up!

Add the new displacement reparations for all indigenous personnel to slavery reparations for everyone who can claim a drop of black blood, and multiply by the Globaloney transfer tax, and it looks like it will be a rum go for anybody who happens not to haply have some remote ancestor who can be claimed as anything other than a white conservative Christian.

But more urgent, how long before Palestinians hijack this universal declaration to demand the "right of return" to their homeland of "Palestine" -- whose borders, by a funny coincidence, coincide with the borders of the Zionist Entity?

It is of course impossible to state with authority that such and such a tribe comprised the first inhabitants of any particular geographical area; every spot on Earth has been fought over, bled over, and conquered, typically hundreds of times. Which one of that long parade of ancestral peoples is the real owner?

We'd better come up with a heuristic pretty darned quickly, because the man who speaks for America is furiously committing us to such U.N. transfer schemes as fast as the human mind can fathom.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 21, 2010, at the time of 6:11 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 14, 2010

Food for Abuse

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Aaron Worthing over at Patterico's has already written about this story, but I have more to say on it. This is Aaron's take-away and my jumping-off point:

Speaking at Monday's signing ceremony for the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act”-- a law that will subsidize and regulate what children eat before school, at lunch, after school, and during summer vacations in federally funded school-based feeding programs -- First Lady Michelle Obama said of deciding what American children should eat: “We can’t just leave it up to the parents."

The law for the first time gives the federal government the authority to regulate the food sold at local schools, including in vending machines.

Aaron rightly focuses on the eye-popping bit of nanny-statism in Mrs. Obama's statement, "We can't just leave it up to the parents." He also quotes the more complete version of her casual tyranny in context:

“But when our kids spend so much of their time each day in school, and when many children get up to half their daily calories from school meals, it’s clear that we as a nation have a responsibility to meet as well,” Mrs. Obama said. “We can’t just leave it up to the parents. I think that parents have a right to expect that their efforts at home won’t be undone each day in the school cafeteria or in the vending machine in the hallway. I think that our parents have a right to expect that their kids will be served fresh, healthy food that meets high nutritional standards.”

But I believe this school food-sales bill is much more insidious than it seems at first glance; in fact, I believe it's only the first salvo in a war on parental food choices at school.

The purpose of the bill is not just to fund school lunches and other meals for those children whose parents are too poor to give them lunch. (And are there really that many parents who are so staggingly poor, they can't even pack their kids a baloney sandwich?) In reality, right now, the National School Lunch Program alone serves free or subsidized meals to over 26 million schoolkids every day, according to the USDA. 64 million kids are enrolled in primary and secondary schools in the United States (according to the U.S. Department of Education); thus, fully 40% of all school children receive at least one federally subsidized meal every day in school under this one program alone; and there are many other such programs at all levels of government.

Are 40% of school pupils living in poverty? No, of course not: The NSLP is available for schoolkids from families earning up to 185% of the poverty level, or about $31,000 for a family of four. Is $31,000 really insufficient to afford lunchmeat, a loaf of bread, dinner leftovers, or even a jar of peanut butter?

Whoops, I forgot: Many schools now ban peanut butter on the curious claim that if child-A is allergic to peanuts, and if child-B has a PB&J, then somehow A will inevitably wind up ingesting B's lunch and dying. (Or perhaps A will ingest B in toto, thus inadvertently ingesting B's stomach contents as well).

This argument numbfounds me. I have been allergic to egg white all my life; yet never in all my school days did I ever feel the slightest compulsion to eat someone else's egg-salad sandwich, or hard-boiled egg, or even a turkey club with commercial mayonnaise (which contains egg white, though it shouldn't). I stuck to my own lunch -- generally leftovers, which I liked better than a lousy sandwich anyway.

But that brings us to the real danger of the federalization of nutrition in school: If la Casa Blanca has the authority, in the name of "children's health," to regulate what lunches can be sold at a local school, in a local school district, in a local county, in an individual state -- if nationalization has so shredded the very concept of federalism -- then surely the same folks who advocate increased federal subsidization and regulation of school lunches would also argue that the feds assume, at the very least, all powers currently held by those local schools, districts, and states.

Thus, the federales would assume the power to ban certain foods at school, even when brought to school by a student, prepared by that student's mother or father. That, I believe, is the real goal behind Michelle Obama's new school lunch program: The power to regulate, not merely everything students can buy at school, but everything they can eat at school, no matter where it came from; the federal power to overrule parents' dietary decisions, all in the name of protecting innocent children from their own parents' bad choices.

Shouldn't parents have the "right," the Left demands, to a benevolent government nanny who prevents Mom from mistakenly packing the wrong kind of lunch for her kids? The great unwashed conservatives in flyover country, who cling to their guns and their religion, might send their kids to school with food and drink that is too fat, too sweet, too carbonated, or Obamacle forbid, contains a toy!

Kids eat too much meat; we should require three vegetarian days per week. They eat too much cooked vegetables; all greenery should be raw. And everything must be certified organic, produced without the use of chemicals or at facilities that use energy sources that contribute to Anthropogenic Global Climate Change™. The Center for Science in the Public Interest -- the chaps who breathlessly inform us at regular intervals that Mexican food, Chinese food, German food, American food, fast food, and pizza can be fattening if eaten to excess -- should be given quasi-governmental status as the Committee of Nutritional Hectoring and Hand-Slapping.

After all, “we can’t just leave it up to the parents." Michelle knows best!

I would worry that I was just being paranoid; but the more I read about the "crisis" of child obesity, the more I wonder who is positioning himself not to let it go to waste. And the phrase, "Oh, they would never go that far!" has long since found its permanent home in the dustbin: Not only can the Obamunists go "that far," they routinely push the limits of "too far" to the boundaries of the universe... whence they expand indefinitely at the speed of light in all directions.

I really want to see all our roundheeled Republicans, confusticated conservatives, nattering neocons, talky Tea Partiers, insecure Independents, were-liberal libertarians, and all other angst-addled anti-liberals grow a spine, for heaven's sake, and stop rolling onto their backs for every leftist gigolo who promises that the Earth will begin to cool, the oceans to subside, and their kids won't be pumpkin-shaped couch potatoes, if only we'll acquiesce to the Obamic "five-year plan" for child nutrition.

It's time, folks, to stand up and just say no to our federally funded feeding frenzy.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 14, 2010, at the time of 9:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 18, 2010

TSA Exceptionalism

Laughable Lawyers , Liberal Lunacy , War Against Radical Islamism
Hatched by Dafydd

Although there is no hard evidence as yet, it's becoming increasingly plausible that Janet Napolitano, Capa di Tutti Capi of the Department of Homeland Security, has been giving -- or at least considering giving -- special exemptions from the highly invasive airport porno-scan and the even more highly invasive "custody search" of all passengers; these possible exemptions would only be extended to (drum roll) Moslem women in full burkas... and perhaps inadvertently to Moslem men in full burkas.

Or perhaps even women (or men who can "pass") just wearing the head covering, the hijab, plus the veil. Anything, that is, that so completely obscures the head, face, and/or body that identification is impossible; those passengers will (perhaps!) receive a "get out of humiliation free" card, a fact which Napolitano cannot seem to deny:

When asked today if she will insist that Muslim women wearing hijabs must go through full body pat downs before boarding planes, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano did not say yes or no, but told CNSNews.com there will be “adjustments” and “more to come” on the issue.

“On the pat downs, CAIR [the Council on American-Islamic Relations] has recommended that Muslim women wearing hijabs refuse to go through the full body pat downs before boarding planes,” CNSNews.com asked Napolitano at a Monday press conference. “Will you insist that they do go through full body pat downs before boarding planes?”

(CAIR also helpfully suggested that Moslem women could "pat down [their] own scarf, including head and neck area, and have the officers perform a chemical swipe of [their] hands.”)

Napolitano "responded" to Cybercast News Service's question thus:

“Look, we have, like I said before, we are doing what we need to do to protect the traveling public and adjustments will be made where they need to be made,” Napolitano responded. “With respect to that particular issue, I think there will be more to come. But, again, the goal here, you know, we’re not doing this just to do it. We’re doing it because we need to keep powders and gels and liquids off of planes that are unauthorized just as we need to keep metals off of planes.

Unless those powders, gels, and liquids are carried by Moslem women. Or Moslem girly-men.

Dear Secretary Napolitano;

How about instead trying to keep terrorists off of planes?

This freakish policy must be the synthesis of (1) confusing the actor with the inanimate object he uses in the action, colliding with (2) the overriding imperative to play the dhimmi to every nutty fatwa issued by CAIR, the Muslim American Society, Iran, Hamas, or any other radical Islamist group that practices either full-blown jihad or at least dawa, the use of preaching, threats, extortion, "lawfare," protests, organized whining and complaining, or any other means (short of actual slaughter) to push for world Islamic domination.

Rational people already know what to do: The most effective and least invasive security protocol would be to a system of behavioral profiling, accompanied by facial and body recognition of suspected terrorists by electronic scaning and by human "spotters" who roam the airport concourse, men and women exceptionally good at recognizing people from a photograph.

But liberals like Napolitano (and her own boss, Barack H. Obama) utterly refuse to consider these methods, probably because they treat passengers as individuals responsible for their own behavior, rather than representatives of groups with varying degrees of aggrievedness... and also because it smells a bit too much like Israel, which the Obama administration considers a pariah state, and every Israeli policy thus tainted and unusable.

At the very least, to speed up the process and minimize the angst, we should implement an "opt-in" system, where frequent fliers can submit to a fairly deep background check, pay a modest fee, and be issued a picture I.D. with biometric information on it, such as a thumbprint. At the airport, they would show their cards, submit to a quick facial-recognition scan and electronic thumbprint, and bypass the security line altogether. But that, of course, is pure elitism; and the top-level Obamunists cannot tolerate any such elite group... except for themselves, of course; you'll never catch Janet Napolitano having to go through the porno-scanner! (Except perhaps as a one-time publicity stunt, though so far, she has refused even that.)

With the obvious security measures swiftly and soundly rejected, Secretary Napolitano instead concocts an astonishing invasion of privacy for all airline travelers, without regard to their likelihood of posing a threat -- and then considers exempting the very people most likely to pose just such a threat: Moslems, whether male or female, who are so intensely religious (or so intensely comitted to jihad) that they must conceal their features and form from all security officers and scanners.

We apply the most intrusive, offensive, humiliating, and degrading imaginable security scrutiny to those least likely to commit terrorism, and then apply virtually no scrutiny at all to those most likely to want to blow up an airliner or fly it into a building. What could possibly go wrong?

Dennis Prager is fond of saying that the difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives think liberals are wrong and need to be convinced, but liberals think conservatives are either evil or insane (or both) and need to be put away. But as we are subjected more and more to liberal-progressives in full cry, and we see the natural end-result of the cult of liberalism (see When Prophecy Fails), it becomes impossible not to see the death-spiral of sanity inherent in leftism. When an ideology starts from a fundamental disconnect from reality, it eventually must either collapse upon itself -- or else deny and reject that reality in increasingly strident and ultimately hysterical pronunciamentos and surreal policies.

At that point, conservatives and other anti-liberals face their own dilemma: How do we inform the electorate of the sheer madness into which the Left has fallen without sounding delusional ourselves?

Of course, maybe that's the progressive plan of Barack Obama. If this month's elections are any guide, it ain't working.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 18, 2010, at the time of 12:44 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 4, 2010

They Left Their Heads in San Francisco...

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Here is a disturbing point about the California elections that nobody has yet mentioned. California has ten high-ranking elected officials, counting the current Squeaker of the House, soon-to-be Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives (though she may retire from Congress rather than accept the demotion and the possible loss even of the Minority Leadership).

When those elected on Tuesday take office, seven of those ten will hail from the San Francisco Bay Area:

  1. Senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein -- Born, raised, and served in San Francisco.
  2. Junior Sen. Barbara Boxer -- Served for forty years in Marin County, North San Francisco Bay Area.
  3. Minority-Leader Elect Nancy Pelosi -- Represents San Francisco.
  4. Gov. Jerry Brown -- Born in San Francisco, currently Mayor of Oakland.
  5. Lt.Gov. Gavin Newsom -- Born in and currently Mayor of San Francisco.
  6. Secretary of State Debra Bowen -- Los Angeles.
  7. (Likely) Attorney General Kamala Harris -- Born in Oakland, serves as D.A. in San Francisco.
  8. Treasurer Bill Lockyer -- Born in Oakland, served in Alameda County, East San Francisco Bay Area.
  9. Controller John Chiang -- Los Angeles.
  10. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones -- Sacramento.

The total population of the Bay Area is about 5.5 million (I don't count San Jose as Bay Area; it's in the Santa Clara Valley, a.k.a. "Silicon Valley," not SF). That's just about 15% of the total population of California (about 37 million)... but its representatives control 70% of the top constitutional offices (federal and state) in the state.

In fact, exactly half of them are based in the City of San Francisco itself, which has a population of 815,000 -- a scant 2.2% of the state's population, but fully 50% of the top officers of the state are San Francisco based.

As I'm sure everyone here knows, the S.F. Bay Area is also the most radical, leftist, progressive, liberal-fascist segment of California.

For those of us who are not from San Francisco and have never subscribed to the San Franciscan ethos, creed, and way of thinking, this stanglehold by a tiny faction over America's largest state is both inexplicable and nerve-wracking. My only explanation is that the most radical politicians have the most insatiable hunger for power; so they climb the ladder hardest and fastest, even if they must climb over the dead bodies of their predecessors to do it. (A very apt analogy in Feinstein's case; she was elected Mayor of San Francisco by heavily exploiting the assassination of the previous mayor, George Moscone.)

Weirdos.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 4, 2010, at the time of 5:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 31, 2010

It’s Clobberin’ Time!

Elections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dave Ross

Two years ago my liberal friends, and to a degree my conservative ones, sniggered when I said I would trade four years of Obama for 12 or 16 years of Republicans. I said I was sure that the Democrats would overreach themselves and that we would probably see another 1994 election. Now they aren’t laughing so hard.

I was wrong about one thing, though. This isn’t 1994. This year is to ‘94 as Mount St. Helens is to a popping champagne bottle.

It is, as the Thing, Ben Grimm, says, clobberin’ time. Liberals: we know where you live and you won’t be living there much longer! It’s about now that I’ll start to needle my Democrat friends into making improvident wagers about the election. And they’ll take me up on the ridiculous odds that I’m offering. Democrats aren’t good gamblers -- except when it comes to their children and grandchildren’s money.

Why is this going to happen? Because Barack Obama engaged in the most blatant bait and switch of any politician in living memory -- at least my living memory, and my memory is augmented by reading many books on politics. The country voted for one thing and was stunned to find that what they elected was very different from what they thought they were voting for. Certainly they knew that they weren’t going to get a right wing agenda, but they certainly weren’t expecting to get the most blatantly liberal agenda since 1964.

Both parties, when they win large majorities, assume that the populace loves them. They overreach. Republicans assume that when they win an election that this gives them license to prepare a Christmas gift for the fundamentalists. They are able to get away with that more than the Democrats because there are now more than twice as many conservatives in America as there are liberals. But there are also LOTS of libertarian leaning voters, whose interests don’t include many of the goals of the religious right.

But when the Democrats overreach, oh brother!

As Patrick Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen pointed out in a Washington Post column on Saturday, the same candidate who pledged that the end had come to the divide between Red and Blue America was the same president who urged Hispanics to “punish” their “enemies” on Tuesday. Hardly the words of a post-partisan messiah! He is, in fact, the most divisive, partisan president of our time. Beware candidates who, like Richard Nixon in 1968, pledge to “bring us together.”

But we never should have expected anything like that anyway. Politics is not about bringing people together, it is about winning enough votes to push your programs through. But it is also about having the wisdom not to push through programs that are wildly unpopular with the majority of voters. Given that the Obama and his lieutenants, Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%) and Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%), still maintain that their policies are not unpopular, merely not communicated well, it may well be that the Democrats won’t learn the lessons of this election in time to apply them to the next.

At least I hope so!

Hatched by Dave Ross on this day, October 31, 2010, at the time of 3:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 26, 2010

Brownrise

Election Derelictions , Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness , Polling Keeps a-Rolling , Predictions , Tax Attax
Hatched by Dafydd

This is just heartbreaking. The entire rest of the country is swinging to the right; the U.S. Senate race in California is swinging to the right. But in the midst of such positive news, GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman's campaign is collapsing... and it looks pretty clear that California voters are poised to elect Jerry Brown governor -- again.

Dubbed "Governor Moonbeam," Brown is widely derided as the worst governor of California in modern times. He is a radical leftist who, along with the solidly Democratic-Progressive state legislature, has virtually pledged to do to Californios exactly what Barack H. Obama and the solidly Democratic-Progressive Congress did to America... and Californians are on track to hand him a historic victory to speed him along!

Why? I'm completely at a loss to explain why Carly Fiorina, the Republican Senate candidate, is doing so well, but Whitman so badly: The latest Rasmussen poll (just out today) has Brown 9 points up, an increase of 4 points from the corresponding poll ten days ago. The RCP average now has Whitman losing by 7.4%, and that includes a Republican outlier poll that had Whitman up 1 point in mid-month... exactly one week before the election, with momentum moving against her and towards Jerry Brown.

I hate to sound like Sen. Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%), but at this point, I have to say this race is all but lost. Jerry Brown will once again be our governor -- at a time when the state is more than $20 billion in the red.

Another point: Brown, as the current state Attorney General, is one of the two officials who refused to defend Proposition 8 in court. Prop 8 is the voter-passed citizens'-initiative constitutional amendment that re-established the definition of marriage to one man plus one woman... overturning a decision of the California Supreme Court, which -- by the slim and unconvincing margin of 4 to 3 -- redefined marriage to include same-sex marriage. (The other official to refuse to defend Proposition 8 in court was... current RINO Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Brown was also the official (by himself, this time) who reluctantly accepted the initiative, titled "Limits on Marriage" -- and retitled it to be more neutral, unbiased, and non-argumentative.

He made it "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry," and that's how it appeared on the November 2008 ballot. Amazingly, it passed anyway.

So what can we expect with Gov. Brown and the hyper-liberal legislature? A number of lovely prospects present themselves:

  • The California state income tax rate, already the second highest in the nation (after Hawaii), will surely leapfrog into the winner's circle. Most of us pay 8% to 9.3% with the break point about $47,000/year; I suspect over the next two years, this will skyrocket to 10% to 12%.
  • Currently, we have a de facto mortgate interest deduction, because the California tax basis starts from the federal tax basis. But there are several other instances where a federal deduction is added back in for purposes of state tax... and I gloomily predict that the new government will add mortgage interest to that disreputable list. That will push the effective tax rate much higher.
  • Too, Democrats in this state have been desperate for years to overturn the 1978 Proposition 13, the "People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation." Prop 13 did the following:

    • Rolled property assessments back to 1975 values
    • Set the property tax rate at 1% of the assessed value
    • Limited property-tax increases for continuing ownership to 2% per year
    • Required a 2/3rds vote in each legislative house to raise taxes
    • Required a 2/3rds vote for local governments to create or raise special taxes

    It was enacted, over the vigorous opposition by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, by an overwhelming margin of 64.8% to 35.2%... because the California state and local governments had begun a wild series of property-tax increases that were literally forcing people (mostly retirees) out of the homes they had lived in for decades; and local districts were assessing special tax after special tax to pay for every liberal wish-list item that some lobbyist demanded. This immensely popular California initiative constitutional amendment sparked a tax revolt all across the United States.

    That was then; this is now. In the last debate between Brown and Whitman, moderator Tom Brokaw asked both disputants about Prop 13; Whitman said she would defend it to the hilt, but Brown waffled, saying everything, including Proposition 13, was "on the table." I take that to mean that his intense opposition to protecting homeowners from the rapacious maw of the government has neither wavered nor waned.

    And now that Jerry Brown has learnt that such initiatives can be overturned without a vote by a cunning trick -- get an ally to challenge it in court, then refuse, as governor, to defend it -- I suspect Prop 13 is going to be shredded... and the record number of foreclosures we have already seen in this state will go through the roof.

  • Brown is a skinflint in his personal finances, but a typical left-liberal spendthrift when he's handling other people's money. During that debate, he passionately defended Obamacare, both stimuli, and the government takeovers of the automotive and banking industries. He added that Obama had done a "great job" in his first two years. I strongly suspect that Brown intends to saddle California with state socialism that mirrors the federal version... and will endure even when the Republican Congress and White House wipe it away in D.C.
  • Worse, Proposition 25, on the ballot this election, will give Jerry Brown the whip-hand on spending. Currently, legislators in Sacramento need a 2/3rds vote to pass the annual budget. The Democrat/Republican mix in the state Senate is 24 Democrats and 14 Republicans (plus two vacancies), or 63% to 37%; in the Assembly, it's 50 Democrats, 27 Republicans, and 1 "Independent" who caucuses with the Democrats (again plus two vacancies), or 65% to 35%.

    In other words, under the current constitutional rules, Democrats do not have sufficient votes to pass a budget on their own in either chamber; they need at least two Republican votes in the Senate and one in the Assembly. And so far, the CA-GOP, against all expectation, has held firm, forcing concessions from the Left and preventing the progressive rampage we have seen in Washington D.C.

    So what does Prop 25 do? It lowers the budget-vote requirement down to a simple majority. If it had been in place all this time, we would probably already have government-run health care, cap and trade, a massive increase in welfare and MediCal, public-employee union pensions that are even higher than the already stratospheric pensions we have now, and three or four times the current amount of make-work spending in the state. Instead of being $20 billion in debt, we would have $50-$60 billion in red ink.

    As insane and left-partisan as this initiative is, it will probably pass... because its authors found another cunning trick: Included in the measure is a "punishment" for legislators who don't pass a budget on time... they lose their salary for every day the budget is overdue. "Yeah, let's punish those foot-draggers!" is the battle cry.

    But of course, what's causing the impasse is that the two parties are lightyears apart on how to save the state's economy: Republicans want to restore fiscal sanity; Democrats want to redouble their Keynesian stimulus schemes. But if Prop 25 passes, I guarantee the budget will be on-time... because the majority Democrats won't even bother consulting with the Republican minority. They'll just enact any stupid, self-immolating, progressive idiocy that passes through their pinheads. Great solution, voters! You sure showed those profligate Democrats!

  • The traditional definition of marriage will almost certainly be changed to include same-sex marriage, despite two separate majority votes of the citizenry to keep it as it has always been. Jerry and his pet legislators desperately want it, to pay off their gay-activist lobbyists.

Thank you, thank you, California voters. I've always wanted to live in a Zimbabwean failed state. Think of the wonderful experience I'll get, assuming I want someday to write a post-apocalyptic novel about the catastrophic collapse of a once-great civilization.

There are only three slim hopes for Ms. Whitman:

  1. The polling could be wildly off, if (for example) all the polls are using the same wrongheaded turnout model. If, for instance, fewer women than expected vote while more men do, that would make the actual vote much closer than the polling... possibly even put Whitman on top.
  2. The Republican "wave" effect could raise all boats, including the waterlogged and listing tugboat at the top of the ticket.
  3. If Whitman's ground game is ever so much better than Brown's, she could make up a lot of the deficit right there.

But let's not kid ourselves; none of those is all that likely... unlike in Carly Fiornia's case, where she can easily overcome her 3.7% deficit (not counting the Democratic PPP poll). Thus I must make the sad prediction that on Wednesday, November 3rd, we in the Golden State will most likely wake up to find it has become, overnight, the State of Brown.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 26, 2010, at the time of 6:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 21, 2010

Everything Inside the Party; Nothing Outside the Party; Nothing Against the Party

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I have but one comment on NPR -- National Public Radio, a federal funding recipient -- firing Juan Williams; the regular aspects of the shameful episode have been well covered by both media and the blogosphere.

I do not believe Williams was fired for saying anything politically incorrect, because he did not say anything politically incorrect: There's nothing anti-PC about saying that when he sees Moslems board an airplane in full Moslem regalia, he feels nervous... not if he subsequently says (or even implies) that he feels bad that he feels that way, and he doesn't believe all Moslems, the entire class of followers of Islam, are to blame for the actions of radical Islamists.

So why was he fired? It wasn't what he said on Fox News Channel (FNC), it was the fact that he persisted in appearing on Fox News at all, and especially on Bill O'Reilly's show. Williams' appearances put the lie to the idea that FNC is exclusively "right wing," refute the idea that conservatives (or socially conservative economic populists, in O'Reilly's case) reject freedom of speech, and debunk the idea that Fox News is racist. Williams' frequent inclusions on panels, guesting, and even guest hosting on FNC humanize that cable channel and cause the liberal faithful to think more highly of it -- and conversely, to think the less of President Barack H. Obama for so viciously and remorselessly attacking it.

In other words, Juan Williams was fired for giving aid and comfort to "the enemy"... because NPR and other liberal bastions have always considered themselves at war with the Right. He violated the cardinal epistemic closure demanded by the Left: Williams treated the Right as human beings, and worse, as people.

The Right wants to argue the Left into agreement; the Left wants to bury the Right, by any means necessary. Thus became it necessary to throw Juan Williams under the bus: He had strayed off the reservation; and it fell to the Overseer, Vivian Schiller, the CEO of NPR, to teach the runaway a lesson. A good, hard lesson, pour le découragement des autres.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 21, 2010, at the time of 4:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 4, 2010

What Next in California's "FireGate?"

Elections , Immigration Immolations , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Jerry Brown's catspaw, Gloria Allred, still refuses to say in what legal action she "represents" Nicandra "Nicky" Diaz Santillan, erstwhile housekeeper for Brown's opponent in the California gubernatorial race, Meg Whitman. One can only assume Allred intends to file a lawsuit against Whitman for -- what, rightful termination?

Allred (and Santillan) appear to be charging our next governor with waiting until good evidence of Santillan's illegality appeared before Whitman fired her, rather than seizing the opportunity to fire her years earlier on the basis of flimsy inuendo.

Then in the English-language debate held between Brown and Whitman, Jerry Brown -- the state Attorney General -- accused her of violating federal immigration and Social-Security laws, state disclosure law, and perjuring herself.

Once the absurdity of the charge is manifest, any slight advantage it affords candidate Brown dissipates. Then what to do, what to do?

There is only one course open, when the present alarums and excursions go pfft, like a snuffed candle: Jerry Brown, acting in his capacity as the chief law-enforcement official of the Sovereign State of California, will have to indict his electoral opponent for not having fired Santillan in 2003:

  • Brown can argue that any reasonable person would have inferred from the letter sent by the Social Security Agency -- the letter which included the admonition, "Moreover, this letter makes no statement about your employee's immigration status" -- that Santillan was an illegal alien.
  • Brown can cite legal cases, "points and authorities," to the effect that the phrase "Any employer that uses the information in this letter to justify taking adverse action against an employee may violate state or federal law and be subject to legal consequences" requires the employer to take adverse action against an employee using the information in that letter.
  • And he can conclude that by obeying the law, Whitman has proven herself a menace to society who should be locked up.

Besides, think how much an October-surprise indictment will damage Meg Whitman's campaign -- and by an amazing coincidence, propel AG Brown into the governor's mansion!

Snidery and sarcasm aside, in reality, I believe indicting Whitman would be the most politically foolhardy move of all of 2010... and that's saying quite a lot, since it competes with Rep. Loretta Sanchez's (D-CA, 90%) heartfelt cri de coeur:

The Vietnamese and the Republicans are, with an intensity, trying to take this seat from which we have done so much for our community -- to take this seat and give it to this Van Tran, who is very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic.

...As well as Rep. Alan Grayson's (D-FL, 100%) attack on his Republican opponent, Daniel Webster, as a draft dodger, as blatantly unpatriotic, as a man who does not love America, and as "Taliban Dan Webster."

...And who can forget the third nominee in the category of self-immolating campaign buffoonery below and beneath the call of duty: Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC, 95%), in a drunken stupor, physically assaulting a student journalist for daring to ask Etheridge, "do you fully support the Obama agenda?"

...Heck, it would even beat out every exaggeration, every puffery, every weirdity, and each and every nuttery utterance of Republican congressional nominee Christine O'Donnell!

It's hard to think of anything that would backfire quicker than Jerry Brown indicting his own Republican opponent for governor. And the truly creepy element is that we're seriously discussing such a banana-republic gambit... from a former two-term governor of California.

I am unalterably convinced that if Brown were to push for an indictment or arrest of Whitman on this bogus charge, Meg Whitman would win the race in a landslide -- even from a jail cell. But even if Brown can control himself for the next four weeks, the fact that he appears to have focused his entire final push on snapping Ms. Whitman with a wet towel named Nicky Santillan tells me that he is utterly desperate.

My guess is that Brown's campaign mangler showed him the campaign's own internal polling... and ordered Brown to pull a rabbit from his hat immediately. Alas for the Democrats, the only rodent that Brown could find in his Sordid Hat was a gerbil.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 4, 2010, at the time of 2:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 1, 2010

Migra, Migra!

Elections , Immigration Immolations , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Anent the story which the California (and national!) media have siezed upon to try to derail Meg Whitman's campaign for governor in California...

Four facts appear undisputed:

  1. In 2000, Whitman used an employment agency to hire a housekeeper, Nicandra "Nicky" Diaz Santillan, at $23 per hour.
  2. Santillan had earlier presented the agency with a California driver's license and Social Security card, copies of which the agency provided Whitman.
  3. Those documents were in fact fraudulent -- they belonged to one of Santilan's sisters who lived in San Francisco.
  4. In 2009, Santillan disclosed to Whitman that she was an illegal immigrant and that the papers she had shown to Whitman were fraudulent; at that point, Whitman let her go, as the law requires.

A couple of days ago, grandstanding liberal activist attorney Gloria Allred -- who has donated money to Jerry Brown, Whitman's opponent in the gubernatorial race and an ancient relic of an earlier, loonier time in California history -- called a press conference to announce that she was representing Santillan (in what action?), whom she calls her "client." She triumphantly announced all of the above points, including that Santillan was in the country illegally and had used fraudulent documentation to get herself hired by Whitman. (I'm not sure how this helps her client, unless her real client is Jerry Brown.)

Allred also produced a 2003 letter to Whitman and her husband, Griffith Rutherford Harsh IV, from the Social Security Administration... not from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as it was called then. The letter "raised discrepancies" about Santillan's documents, which even AP says was only "a possible tip-off that she could be in the U.S. illegally."

In fact, as Whizbang reports, the Social Security letter was about retirement and disability insurance... and the only reference it made to immigration was to forcefully note that nothing in the letter should be used to infer Santillan's immigration status!

The letter is posted in its entirety at TZM Documents, and it includes this paragraph:

This letter does not imply that you or your employee intentionally provided incorrect information about the employee's name or SSN. It is not a basis, in and of itself, for you to take any adverse action against the employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the individual. Any employer that uses the information in this letter to justify taking adverse action against an employee may violate state or federal law and be subject to legal consequences. Moreover, this letter makes no statement about your employee's immigration status.

Hm.

Allred argues that the letter constituted absolute evidence that Santillan was in the country illegally... and that Whitman must somehow have known about it and realized she was employing an illegal all the way back in 2003.

My problem with this hit job is simple: Can somebody please tell me exactly what charge Gloria Allred is leveling at Whitman? I know this can't be right, but it seems for all the world as if Allred -- liberal activist, immigration activist, and feminist activist -- accuses Whitman of failing to harm Allred's client in a timely manner.

Whitman didn't fire Santillan in 2003 on the basis of a simple inquiry letter from the SSA -- a letter which threatens "legal consequences" against anyone using that letter as the basis of "laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the individual." Instead, she waited until Santillan actually informed her she was illegal. Only then did Whitman reluctantly fire her longtime friend and housekeeper, as the law requires.

Am I misunderstanding this? Is Allred's attack on Whitman really that the gubernatorial candidate failed to jump to conclusions, failed to violate state and federal law, and failed to fire the woman at the first conceivable opportunity, only doing so when she had actual proof that Nicky Diaz Santillan had defrauded her and was breaking the law?

(And suppose Whitman had fired Santillan back in 2003; would that, then, form the basis of Allred's attack... that Whitman broke the law by discriminating against her friend and employee without any solid evidence of illegality?)

More bizarreness:

One of the state's largest public employee unions immediately released a Spanish-language attack ad accusing Whitman of a double standard on illegal immigration.

You mean... one standard for businesses, which requires them actually to investigate the residency status of their employees -- and another standard for individuals, which requires only that they not knowingly hire illegals? That's the "double standard" that outrages the Hispanic community in California?

What would they prefer? A mandate that even private individuals hiring maids, nannies, and housekeepers launch full-scale investigations and background checks to determine who is here legally? I suspect the natural response to such a draconian requirement would be not to hire anyone at all, but simply to make do without.

Somehow I'm not getting the point of this entire hit piece. It appears that an ultra-liberal Jerry Brown surrogate, Gloria Allred, is charging Meg Whitman with failing to racially discriminate against Santillan.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 1, 2010, at the time of 12:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 21, 2010

Oh Don't Be Such a Baby

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo, son of famous and fatuous former governor Mario, is beside himself with inchoate, self-pitying outrage and indecisive dithering -- just the qualities New Yorkers are looking for in their next chief executive:

Stung by Carl Paladino's below-the-belt attacks, an angry Andrew Cuomo summoned his war council on Monday to figure out how to fight back against his slash-and-burn GOP rival....

The Democrat wields a 54%-to-38% lead in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll out Monday, making Team Cuomo reluctant to climb down into the mud and fight Paladino on what they say is his turf.

His staff stressed to Cuomo on Monday that they'd like to push the positive aspects of his agenda to the press, insiders revealed.

The brain trusters also mulled if they should start hitting back atPaladino, rather than leave it exclusively to campaign surrogates such as Democratic Party boss Jay Jacobs. They didn't reach a decision.

They also fretted about the pitfalls of repeatedly telling the press "no comment" to Paladino's broadsides -- fearing the practice could ultimately turn the media against them.

The poor, sensitive plant. So exactly what vile slander did Paladino hurl at Cuomo that up with which the pampered "scion" cannot put? I suspect no political candidate has ever been verbally wounded as badly as Andrew Cuomo. Just read:

"It's difficult to understand why you, a polished veteran campaigner, scion of a political dynasty and king-designate, would fear a simple businessman from Buffalo, who candidly has never been in a debate in his life -- except maybe in a bar," Paladino wrote.

"Frankly, I don't think you have the cojones to face me and the other candidates in an open debate...."

Several times in his letter, Paladino invoked Cuomo's father, former three-time Gov. Mario Cuomo, who he said "left our state economy in a wreck."

"So Andrew, for the first time in your life be a man," Paladino wrote. "Don't hide behind Daddy's coattails even though he pulled strings to advance your career every step of your way. Come out and debate like a man.

"Because no one inherits the New York governorship -- you have to earn it...."

"He has an arrogant, egotistical attitude about him that is wrong for the people," Paladino said.

"Shocking, simply shocking," to quote James Bond. Or turning to another master of literary astonishment:

Golly golly oh my gosh; golly golly my oh my; golly golly goodness sakes alive; can you beat that?

Did you ever hear of such a thing? Oh boy, that really takes the cake. Well I never ever saw the likes of that.

Holy cow. Jeeze Louise. Man alive. I declare. Now I've seen everything. Well I'll be. Will you look at that?

For Pete's sake (sorry); as Finley Peter Dunne wrote, "politics ain't beanbag." On the same day that Andrew Cuomo -- lawyer, son of the erstwhile governor of New York, former top aide in his pop's 1982 gubernatorial campaign, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (during which he was one of the architects of the collapse of the home-mortgage industry and a prime instigator of the Great Recession of 2008) -- whines about being called cowardly and arrogant, the GOP senatorial candidate in nearby Delaware is accused of embezzlement and income-tax evasion. Oh the humanity!

At least Carl Paladino didn't accuse Cuomo of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, being complicit in the 9/11 attacks, stealing from women, infants, and children living in poverty to enrich himself, and invading and colonizing countries to create an American "empire" singlemindedly devoted to stealing Middle Eastern oil... though I wouldn't be surprised if Cuomo himself eagerly participated in flinging such slanders at George W. Bush.

I have never been a fan of the Cuomo clan, so take this for what it is; but this sniveling just makes Cuomo-fils look smaller, weaker, and more limp-wristed than ever. The only thing that could possibly make things worse would be if Andrew inveigled his 78 year old papa into cutting a commercial, wagging his finger and telling Paladino to leave his boy alone!

(Memories of Republican Matt Fong in California: While running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Barbara Boxer in 1998, Fong came across as a mama's boy. In response, he put up an ad starring his Democratic mom, former state Secretary of State March Fong Eu -- who basically said that Fong was a good boy who loved his mother! The widely disliked Boxer nevertheless crushed Fong by 53%-43%.)

I'm sure that Cuomo would love to make a pact with Paladino that each would remain high-minded and collegial throughout the campaign; as the better-known candidate and odds-on favorite to win, the Democrat could only benefit by muzzling his opponent. Then, in the final week of the campaign, Cuomo would wave away the pact and unleash a barrage of vicious and probably mendacious attacks, leaving the hapless Republican insurgent stammering and blinking. That's fair play for Democrats.

Fortunately, Carl Paladino understands the suicidal nature of such a nicely-nicely agreement for peace in our time. I haven't been following this race, but I think I'll start. I like this Republican; he fights.

As the underdog, Paladino must attack, attack, attack, as anybody who has watched even a single political race understands. I would think that Cuomo was simply portraying the wounded innocent to voters, except that he said much the same to his own campaign "war council." I can only imagine the sinking feeling they must have felt when their principal displayed such stunning naivete. (Check back in two weeks and see whether Andrew Cuomo has dropped below 50% on Rasmussen; if he has, he's toast.)

Can't liberals ever just fight a normal, vigorous electoral campaign? If they're not savaging their opponents in both primary and general with smears and slanders that leave powder burns and a whiff of sulphur, they're whining for protection from all that free speech, filing complaints with the Federal Elections Commission, and engaging in six kinds of special pleading (think Harry "Pinky" Reid). Honestly, I have more respect for outright, forthright fascists and Communists than I have for unctuous, guilt-tripping liberals who use their own weakness as a weapon.

Blech.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 21, 2010, at the time of 2:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2010

Pyrrhic Evictory - the World Nods to the Lizards

Elections , Injudicious Judiciary , Kulturkampf , Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness , Predictions
Hatched by Dafydd

We published a post titled "Pyrrhic Evictory" a couple of weeks ago, just a week after Judge "Dredd" Walker issued his August 4th ruling -- a date which will live in infamy -- that the traditional definition of marriage is and always has been unconstitutional. Walker's ruling would have come as a great shock to the authors of the Constitution; if the original Federalists were alive today, they'd be spinning in their graves.

In that post, I suggested that one of the most immediate serendipitous fallouts of the ruling would be in the race for California's governor, between the former eBay CEO Meg Whitman in the Republican corner, and the former worst governor in California history, Democrat Jerry Brown. (Actually, I believe he still defends the title.) Why this race in particular? Because Jerry Brown, now the Attorney General of California, flatly refused to defend the voter-enacted, state constitutional amendment Proposition 8 in court. Working in concert with "Republican" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brown hoped that by the pair's refusal to defend the law, it would be swiftly overturned in federal district court by default judgment.

But Judge Dredd had other plans: He intended to hold a show trial to humiliate opponents of same-sex marriage (SSM), and no two elected pantywaists were going to thwart him! Accordingly, Walker allowed standing as defendants for a group called ProtectMarriage.com, the group that brought Proposition 8 to the ballot and got it enacted.

However, directly the show trial ended, Walker announced that in his august (and August) opinion, ProtectMarriage.com inexplicably lost the standing Walker himself had granted them, presumably on grounds that they're nothing but a bunch of bigots and homophobes... as proven by the fact that they dared defend Proposition 8. Consequently, Judge Walker has essentially ordered the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court not to accept any appeal of or writ of certiorari anent his Prop 8 decision... now that the urgent task of making a statement in favor of SSM is already accomplished.

This brings us, by a commodious vicus of recirculation, back to my prediction. In case you've forgotten in all the excitement, I predicted a fortnight ago that the ruling would terribly damage Jerry Brown's re-gubernatorial campaign, since he was one of those who said the people should not be represented in a case about -- the constitutionality of an amendment enacted by the people.

Today, the first post-Dreddnought Rasmussen poll was released... and Meg Whitman has leapt from -2 against Brown the day before the ruling -- to +8 today. That's a 10-point surge for the next governor of the Golden State.

Now some of that is simply that Brown's aggressively slanderous campaign against her had pretty much ended (except on Power Line <g>). The charges were not merely false but ludicrously so, and voters wised up fairly quickly. But since then, Whitman has come out foursquare in favor of Proposition 8, stating that when she is governor, she will defend it vigorously. I cannot but attribute at least some significant portion of her remarkable climb to the epic battle to defend Proposition 8 and traditional marriage.

Even many voters who opposed Prop 8 and support SSM are nevertheless beside themselves with outrage at the way the federal judiciary simply swatted aside a huge, statewide vote of 13.5 million citizens -- with the active connivance of our liberal Democratic state Attorney General and "Republican" governor. Patterico, of P's P, is one of them; he supports SSM and voted against Prop 8... but he accepts the finality of the vote, at least until a later vote might overturn it. (At which point, I would sadly accept the finality of that vote, and would fight to defend it against judicial tyranny.)

Patterico represents many tens of thousands of citizens, here and in every other state. Outraged Californios are already taking out their frustrations on Jerry Brown, and I predict a lot more will pile on by November 2nd. (Schwarzenegger is term-limited out, which is why Brown and Whitman are tussling over his soon to be former office.)

Even for supporters of SSM, the Prop 8 shenanigans perfectly mirror the genesis of what we have been calling the popular front for Capitalism and against government expansion: When the people vote, then berobed overlords unvote our vote with no better reason than their "superior, enlightened" vision -- then the proper response is first to chuck out all the bums who support those judges; and then, with a friendlier Congress, to impeach the kritarchs and kick out the JAMs. Via Rasmussen (and very soon other pollsters), the world is visibly catching up to our Big Lizards prediction. As Browning put it:

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn
;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven --
All's right with the world
!

No more playing defense with those who would sell out our liberty for their power. Starting today, let us prey.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 26, 2010, at the time of 4:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2010

The Distinction Goes Sub Silentio

Liberal Lunacy , Logical Lacunae , Matrimonial Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

Paul Mirengoff of my favorite blog (P - - - - L - - -) admirably faced what I've come to call the Question... a childish retort that inevitably bubbles up whenever one undertakes to defend the traditional definition of legal marriage against the tendentious redefinition that gives us the non-sequitur "same-sex marriage."

The Question is, of course, "If you applaud the courts overturning anti-miscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia, how can you decry the courts overturning anti-gay-marriage laws in Perry v. Schwarzenegger? Doesn't everyone has the right to marry the person he or she loves?"

(Answer: No, no more than everyone has the right to be the most popular person on campus.)

It's a smug and juvenile argument tarted up as a question; it's equivalent to a born-again atheist demanding to know whether God can make a rock so big He can't lift it, and doesn't that paradox prove an omnipotent deity cannot exist?

(Answer: No; it just means Mr. Atheist has too simplistic a notion of "omnipotent.")

Paul answers the question as would a lawyer, oddly enough:

Loving v. Virginia did not implicate the definition of marriage. The largely regional ban on inter-racial marriages was not founded on the belief that such unions cannot be marriages under the nearly universal understanding of what a marriage is (i.e., between a man and a woman). Rather, the ban was based on the notion that, although it is possible for blacks to be married to whites under that understanding -- just as it is possible for blacks to sit on the front of a bus -- such marriages represented an undesirable mixing of the races.

The decision in Loving no more changed the definition of marriage than allowing James Meredith (a black) to attend the University of Mississippi changed the definition of "student," or requiring the lunch counter at Woolworth's to serve blacks changed the definition of "customer." But recognizing a marriage between two men (say) changes the definition of "wife" (say). [And changing the definition changes the concept itself. --DaH]

To me, the notion that a constitutional amendment mandates, sub silentio and plainly without intent, such a monumental change in an institution as fundamental as marriage is, as I said, ludicrous.

Having been involved in the Marital Wars for years before even Proposition 22 trundled along in the year 2000, I have long since had to come to grips with the Question. But being a lifelong non-lawyer, I am quite certain I never essayed an answer that contained the phrase "sub silentio." (It's legalese for "without saying;" I looked it up.) I've had to answer the Question in mortal terms, but I think I've boiled it down pretty well:

We cheer Loving v. Virginia (1967) because it struck down legal antebellum relicts of irrational and despicable racism... the idea that we must stop the "mingling of the races" to avoid breeding "race mongrels." We have long since adopted the credo that there is no intrinsic or essential distinction between the races -- whatever those are.

But nobody in his right mind can argue that there is no intrinsic or essential distinction between men and women. Any parent knows that boys are worlds apart from girls; any human being knows (excepting only hermits who have never met anyone of the opposite sex) that women and men think differently, react differently, argue differently, take revenge in different ways, hate differently, and yes, love differently.

Marriage has always been, by definition, the union of opposites -- man plus woman (or some number of women); the synthesis is more than the sum of its parts. Thus, same-sex marriage is logically inconceivable... like a monochrome checkerboard, a coin with only one side, or a debate between proponent and proponent: By its very nature, marriage requires at least one member of each sex, or else it isn't a marriage... it's just a partnership or merger.

Get it?

I see nothing wrong with sexual, emotional, and financial partnerships of all sorts; enjoy! But such unions that involve only one sex are not marriages -- and redefining the word "marriage" won't change that fact.

If you call a cow's tail a leg, how many legs does she have? Four, of course, because calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.

Got it? Good.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 13, 2010, at the time of 11:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 11, 2010

Pyrrhic Evictory

Injudicious Judiciary , Kulturkampf , Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness , Predictions
Hatched by Dafydd

Still thinking -- fuming -- about Judge "Dredd" Walker's insipid decision, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, to render of no account the democratic vote of 13.5 million Californios, out of pique that we didn't vote as he wanted us to do. I have something somewhat profound to say (not very, just somewhat); but let's preface with a couple more predictions...

First, I suspect that Judge Walker, as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, assigned himself to hear the case against Proposition 8. According to numerous con-law professors, constitutional scholars, and working attorneys who have read Walker's opinion in that case, it's clear he was biased against the law (and its proponents) from the beginning and never took seriously any of defendants' arguments in support of it.

Who will be chosen for the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circus that will likely hear the appeal of Judge Walker's decision? The current Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit is Alex Kozinski, who was nominated by Ronald Reagan and appears (by his list of political contributions back in 1992) to be a Republican. But selection of the panel is random, I believe; and unlike the "random" selection of liberal judges, I suspect Kozinski will actually obey the rules.

Considering that the Ninth is notorious for being the most left-liberal circuit in the entire United States (also the most overruled by the Supreme Court, for what it's worth), it's likely that at least two of the three judges on the panel will be ultra-left judicial activists. Ergo, I predict that the three-judge panel will uphold Judge Walker's decision.

So the next question is, will the Supremes accept certiorari on this case? I predict Yes: The constitutional implications of throwing out a statewide vote supporting values that are literally millennia old, and substituting one judge's radical opinion which would fundamentally alter society, are so extreme that the final Court really must pass muster on such a momentous decision.

And the last prediction: Assuming the Court takes up Perry, how will it finally rule? As I think I mentioned, I expect the usual suspects to line up as, well, as usual: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito will vote to uphold Proposition 8; Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagen will vote to overturn it and declare same-sex marriage (SSM) a fundamental right; and the tie-breaking vote will once again fall to Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Swingin' justice -- who, I predict, will reluctantly vote, with much hemming and dithering, to uphold the vote of the people on Prop 8. Thus I predict that the Supreme Court will overturn the district and circuit courts and reinstate the state constitutional amendment.

Now, on to the semi-epiphanic predictive analysis of some degree of profundity...

Democrats and liberals seem never to have even heard the term "pyrrhic victory;" certainly they have no idea what it could mean. By its very nature, the liberal philosophy is superficial, immediate, with a studied refusal even to consider consequences -- not merely the unanticipated but even the obvious and inevitable.

Liberalism is the Scarlett O'Hara of political philosophies: "I won't think about that now, I'll think about that tomorrow." So the idea of a "victory" that comes at such a terrible cost that it's actually a defeat is utterly alien to liberals; even when it happens to them, they don't recognize the connection to their own scorched-earth policies. But they're about to get a crash education.

A bit of history. The first traditional-marriage citizen's initiative enacted in California was Proposition 22 ten years ago; it passed by 61% to 39%.

After it was struck down by the California Supreme Court, the replacement Proposition 8 -- the same wording, but this time a state constitutional amendment -- passed by a weaker margin of 52% to 48%; but that vote was held in November 2008, during the Democrats' Obama-driven landslide victory across the country.

And specifically in California, where Barack H. Obama won by 24 points, 61% to 37%. Despite a massive Democratic victory in California's presidential race, congressional races, and state legislative races, the anti-SSM amendment nevertheless won by a statistically significant margin. (Even though the final polls of all three major pollsters here -- SurveyUSA, Field, and the Public Policy Institute of California -- showed Prop 8 losing.)

In other words, regardless of what people tell pollsters, when it comes to an actual vote, Californians strongly support traditional marriage and oppose same-sex marriage.

But along comes the liberal Bigfoot, telling us that our votes are irrelevant; state citizens have no right to determine the definition of marriage in California; and we peons should simply roll over and play dead when our robed betters bark. Slice it however you like, this judicially activist decision is not going down well in the state; Californians are angry and getting angrier by the day, even those who voted against Prop 8.

It's one thing to lose an election; it's quite another and a bitter thing to have the electorate itself slapped down by a liberal schoolmarm, wagging his finger in our faces and telling us to sit quietly and wait for judicial command.

No question about it, this is going to damage the campaigns of Democrats across the state; but particularly in the governor's race... where Republican former eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman squares off against the Democrat, former California governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Why this particular race? Consider this: In his capacity as state AG, Brown is supposed to defend California laws against lawsuits; but because Brown is an ultra-liberal, and because he personally supports SSM, he declined to mount any defense of Prop 8. Had Brown had his way, plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger would have been unopposed. (Not that it would have made any difference, since Judge Walker never seriously considered the defense, spearheaded by the "official proponents of Proposition 8 led by Dennis Hollingsworth," as Wikipedia put it.)

Thus the Democratic candidate is the very man who violated his oath and betrayed his state, just in order to screw California voters! The judicial activism of Judge Walker cannot possibly be ought but a boot to Jerry Brown's head -- especially in a year when the entire country (including California) is already appalled by the expansion both of the government's size and cost and also its intrusiveness.

At the moment, in the most recent poll -- Rasmussen, taken before the ruling -- we see Jerry Brown 2% ahead of Meg Whitman. That's within the margin of error; Gen. Brown got that slight "lead" by a massive campaign of slimy attack ads against Whitman... running on TV, on radio, in the newspapers, and in a number of prominent political blogs (including, sad to say, Power Line). Tellingly, Brown himself is actually polling lower today in Rasmussen than at any time since March; he just managed to pull Whitman down six points, while he only pulled himself down three, turning a Whitman +1 into a Brown +2.

In the next poll (or perhaps the one after, when voters start to mull over the ruling and Brown's role in egging it on), I expect to see that at least reversed, and maybe an even stronger movement by Meg Whitman. I believe that she is going to start using Jerry Brown's duplicity, disloyalty, and scorn for his own potential voters against him in her own TV adverts. (And I sure hope she starts buying ads on Power Line!)

Worse, I expect to see many, many Republican challengers, from Carly Fiorina challenging Sen. Barbara "Call me senator!" Boxer on down the ballot, also using the Democrats' complicity in disenfranchising thirteen and a half million California voters as a bludgeon in the "massively multiplayer" version of Whack-a-Mole, where each and every Democratic talpid has his or her very own GOP mole-masher standing directly over the mole hole.

Thus -- pyrrhic victory: Liberals, Democrats, and the loony Left "win" the court case, at least at the lowest, district level; but in so doing, even more of them than expected will find themselves evicted from their cosy offices and cushy deals, at least in the state of California.

Judge Walker's manipulative meddling may end up forcing the exact opposite effect he intended: It may elect a governor and Attorney General who will actually fight for Prop 8 in the courts... unlike the "Saboteur" General and the "Bad Samaritan" governor we have right now.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 11, 2010, at the time of 11:58 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 9, 2010

The "Screw the Court" Constitutional Amendment

Congressional Calamities , Constitutional Maunderings , Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

I would love to see the following offered on January 3rd, 2011, in the 112th Congress of the United States, as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Section 1. State definition of 'marriage':

The power to declare the legal definition of marriage within any State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe is reserved to such State, territory, possession, or tribe.

Section 2. Federal definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse':

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

Section 3. Powers reserved to the states:

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex, or more than two persons, that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

I'm not a lawyer, though I sometimes play one in my bathroom; so I might not have all the legal higgledy-piggledy exactly correct. But the intent is this: To amend the U.S. Constitution to make it plain that:

  1. Each state will determine its own definition of marriage for state purposes... not the federal courts or the U.S. Congress.
  2. The federal government will stick with the traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman.
  3. No state will be required to recognize or respect a same-sex, polygamous, or polyandrous marriage, even if such are recognized in some other state.

As liberals, they can still argue that their own state should define marriage to include same-sex unions... define, that is, by citizens' initiatives, state legislatures, state courts interpreting the state constitution, or however that state accomplishes such determinations; and nothing in this amendment prevents them doing so.

The amendment doesn't compel any state to recognize same-sex marriage, but it allows each state to do so, on its own. It only stops the feds from bullying the states, and stops other states from bullying their neighbors.

To vote against this amendment -- is to vote in favor of one's own state being forced, willy-nilly, to dance to some other government's tune. I reason that after the shellacking the Democrats will take in the 2010 elections, they will be too gunshy to vote to allow the federal courts (or next-door states) to define marriage for their own state, against the wishes of their own constituents.

Astute readers will recognize sections 2 and 3 as the guts of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still currently federal law (1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C); though a number of federal lawsuits seek to overturn it. If this amendment passes, that will moot those cases, as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is constitutional by definition. (I reversed the order of the two provisions to put the state and federal definitions next to each other.)

So what do our lawyer readers think; would this fly? Would it have a chance to get 67 votes in the Senate, 290 votes in the House, and then be ratified by at least 38 states -- that is, in the world beyond the November elections and the seating of the new Congress and new state legislatures?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 9, 2010, at the time of 10:53 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 6, 2010

Should a Gay Judge Have Appointed Himself to Hear the Case Against Proposition 8?

Injudicious Judiciary , Kulturkampf , Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

Patterico asks a cogent question in a recent post: "Should the Prop. 8 Decision Have Been Made by a Gay Judge?" Or should Judge Vaughn Walker have recused himself from hearing Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the lawsuit filed to overturn California's Proposition 8, an initiative constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (SSM)?

Patterico concludes thus:

Still, if you see laws against gay marriage as discriminatory in the same sense that Jim Crow laws were, it’s tough to accept the premise that a gay judge could not ethically decide this case.... Would a black judge be required to recuse himself from hearing a challenge to Jim Crow laws? Somehow, the intuitive answer to that question is no, of course not. Why is this different?

This one is actually fairly easy to answer: By the time Jim Crow laws were being overturned in courts, America had already enacted numerous federal laws and constitutional amendments, an infrastructure of paradigmatic change, going all the way back to our Organic Documents, that collectively formed the basis for a national consensus that "all men are created equal."

Obviously not everybody agreed, or we wouldn't have needed to overturn such laws in court -- nor would we have needed to enact the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But a consensus does not require unanimity; and clearly, Americans were willing to accept in the abstract what they could not always practice in their own lives: That there is no significant difference in personhood between black and white.

Today, we absolutely accept the fact that gay men and lesbians are just as much "persons" as heterosexual men and women, and they have the same rights. Even those of us who oppose SSM accept that point without hesitation; you have to go to a repulsive, lunatic, little vants like the Irreverend Phred Phelps and his henchmen to find anyone disputing the basic humanity of gays.

But that's not the question, is it? We all agree that gays have the same rights as heterosexuals; the question is, what exactly are those rights anent marriage?

I believe that gays and straights both have the same marital rights -- to religiously marry anybody or any group of people they and their religion allow... but to legally marry only those people who meet certain qualifications, one of which is to be of the opposite gender. I have no objection to a gay man marrying a woman, gay or straight; just as I have no objection to a lesbian marrying a man, no matter his sexual preference.

It wouldn't even bother me if a gay man married a lesbian, then they had children... or even adopted. So long as the family has a male father and a female mother, I will grant it's as socially valid and as good for raising children as a marriage of two heterosexuals.

But I do not support a putative "right" to legally marry anybody one "loves", without exception or qualification. Marriage comes with a host of restrictions that bind everyone:

  • You cannot marry a person without his or her consent.
  • You cannot marry your sibling, your parent, or your close cousin.
  • You cannot marry a child.
  • You cannot marry multiple people at once (group marriage).
  • You cannot marry someone who currently is already married (bigamy).
  • And... you cannot marry a person of the same gender as you.

That last restriction applies equally to heterosexuals; consider two old biddies, best girlfriends, both widowed, and both completely straight, but who want to marry for the financial benefits. Sorry, ladies, you cannot. We forbid you to abuse the legal status of being married.

By contrast, I absolutely support the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, striking down laws against "sodomy," however defined. Why the difference? Because the right to associate (and yes, including sexually) is an issue of individual liberty. It also falls within the veil of privacy that, yes, I do believe restrains federal, state, and local government from intruding too deeply into the lives of free citizens. Simply put, a government that can control who you are allowed to sleep with or who you can live with is totalitarian.

But marriage is not a private affair; it's a public, communal celebration and societal endorsement of a relationship; it says, "This is a special relationship that we, in this state, believe is better than other types of relationships. Thus, to encourage this type of relationship, we will reward it above and beyond other relationships." Given that description, state citizens have the right to decide what particular types of relationships we will so celebrate and endorse.

We can decide how close a relationship must be in order to put that person off limits. We can decide how old a person must be to get married. If we so choose, we can decide to allow polyamorous marriage. And if we so choose, we can decide to allow SSM; but by the same token, if we choose -- which we have done -- we can likewise decide to disallow it. And until and unless we have the same legal infrastructure anent marital rights for gays as we had the 1940s-1960s anent civil rights for blacks, no damned court has the power to overturn the people's law and make its own law.

If it did have that power, then America would no longer be a constitutional republic... we would instead be a kritarchy, ruled by unelected, robèd lords with lifetime tenure.

So yes, it may well make a difference if the judge who decided the case is a gay activist. But that would be true whether or not he himself was homosexual; there are doubtless more heterosexual gay activists than homosexual gay activists. The only point in bringing up Judge Walker's sexual preference is that it's another brick in the wall, another piece of evidence that he might well be a gay activist... taken together with other pieces of evidence, including the thirty-eight years he has lived and practiced in ultra-liberal, ultra-gay-activist San Fransisco; his judicial record in toto (not just a couple of cherry-picked cases where he actually deigned to follow the law, instead of trying to rewrite it); and the fact that, as Chief Judge, he probably decided to appoint himself to hear this case.

And of course the vapid and tendentious opinion he wrote, which also smells strongly of judicial activism.

For that purpose, exploring whether Judge Walker is a gay activist, it's not unreasonable to bring up his own sexual preference; by itself, it's not dispositive -- but it's not irrelevant, either.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 6, 2010, at the time of 1:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 16, 2010

Senator on the Grassy Knoll

Liberal Lunacy , News of the Weird
Hatched by Dafydd

Jake Tapper of ABC published a bombshell column hinting that the change of heart of switch-hitting Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA, 75%) anent Elena Kagan, Barack H. Obama's embattled Supreme Court nominee -- Specter was against her before he was for her -- may have little to do with any new fact. Rather, it appears to have a great deal to do with Specter's terror of having to find honest work after an ignominious finish to his lusterless Senate career, hence a burning desire to "remain in public service after his Senate term ends at the end of this session."

Tapper reports that "White House officials are keeping an open mind about possible job openings for him;" one presumes that the more Arlen Specter switches votes to coincide with Obamic positions, the more of an open mind the administration will keep.

But today, Jake Tapper updated his column with speculation that the first administration job Specter seeks is to be named a Middle East czar, so to speak:

Would Specter be interested in being a special envoy to help negotiate peace between Israel and Syria?

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported this week that he has been exploring such a role with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Specter has long ties to both Syria and Israel.

All this is prelude, however, to my real point, which is altogether trivial compared to the giant ideological principles bashing about overhead, but much more to Lizardian tastes. I was mesmerized by the last paragraph of Tapper's update:

Some who know Specter say he's eager to go out with a bang -- to have a more majestic career-ender -- and not to be known in perpetuity as a party switcher, an inquisitor of Anita Hill, or as a leading advocate on the Warren Commission of the single-bullet theory.

Anybody notice how the saloon fell dead silent the moment Specter walked through that swinging door?

All right, I can see how a man wouldn't want Runagate-gate to tar him for the rest of his life. And having turned his coat to the Democrats, he certainly doesn't want anyone to remember his effective cross-examination of Anita Hill, at the highjacked hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. But -- when did advocacy of the "single-bullet theory" in the JFK assassination become a career killer in American politics... or even Democratic politics?

Does this mean Arlen Specter now supports the discredited conjecture of a second Kennedy assassin sitting on the gassy gnome, or in the Dal-Tex building across the street from Oswald's perch in the book suppository?

What other conspiracy theories must Specter now embrace in order to get that czarship... that we faked the Moon landing using a Revelle Lunar Module model? That 911 was an inside job by Rightwing moles, Israeli commandos, or Bureau 13 of the BSA? That both the Pentagon and TWA Flight 800 were hit by missiles, possibly fired from Hugo Drax's secret orbital space station? That the CIA deliberately started the AIDS epidemic in a bid to exterminate the race of senatorial party-switchers?

It appears that one requirement for membership in good standing in today's Democratic Party is ardent and visible lunacy: Arlen Specter may be trying to ingratiate himself with the likes of Valerie Jarrett, Van Jones, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX, 95%).

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 16, 2010, at the time of 1:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 20, 2010

The Most Loathsome Thing

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Even as a teenager, I spent too much of time trying to understand why I despise and hate liberals -- though I share some of their beliefs and reject some beliefs of conservatives (which is why I'm not a conservative). In recent years, I've been narrowing down why I instinctively recoil from liberals but not from conservatives, who I rather like. I think I can express my loathing in a single word, albeit with a little subsequent explanation: It's liberal smugness.

I don't mind arrogance per se. Arrogance can spur the arrogant into Herculean effort and Achillean boldness, as they struggle to prove they really are superior to others. The superiority becomes self-fulfilling; arrogance can lead to astonishing scientific breakthroughs, brilliant works of art, and stunning military victories.

Nor do I have a problem with a sincere search for profundity; I engage in that myself (along with arrogance!) virtually every day. But the key word is "sincere": One must be ruthless in rejecting the easy answer, the glib aphorism; the profound can only be uncovered by sweating out the real, no matter how difficult to understand. And one must accept that the final revelation is that there is no final revelation: There is no "theory of everything," there's always more to learn and a better understanding just around the next corner. No loitering!

But what grinds my teeth on edge is smugness -- here defined as "arrogance without effort." Smugness leads to pedestrian profundity, the quotidian "revelation" that is in fact utterly trite. Smugness leads to condescension towards anyone unevolved enough not to share the "vision" that Thomas Sowell discussed in (what else?) the Vision of the Anointed. (Think of Hillary Clinton, Anita Dunn, and Rahm Emanuel. Or the Obamacle Himself, for that matter.)

This is contemporary liberalism in a nuthouse: arrogant, intellectually lazy, gullible to every crackpot "revelation" that fits the Vision, condescending, appealing to self-authority, and smug, smug, smug. See, it's not the beliefs and tropes of liberalism that make my flesh crawl... it's the sense of entitlement, the assumption of received profundity without struggle. Liberals are philosophical coupon-clippers, sitting on their assets and making tedious, tendentious pronoucements.

(There are a few holdout paleo-liberals, defined simply by, e.g., Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey, and even Sen. Joe Lieberman. I do not abhor these "liberals;" I can get along with them very well. But they are dinosaurs, rapidly approaching utter extinction. They have been evolutionarily overwhelmed by the rise of Homo liberalis superioris.)

With all my years as a wordsmith, I cannot find the perfect phrase to express how I despise contemporary liberals: There is always yet one more lump of anti-liberal bile just around the next corner, too.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 20, 2010, at the time of 11:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 2, 2010

497 Days Into the Glorious Revolution...

Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

...Yet America is still held hostage by the wicked tyrant; the unreconstructed, right-wing oppressor; the election-stealing, egg-sucking, blood-for-oiler. All badness in the United States can still be laid at the feet of this evil-doer:

  • The failing economy
  • The flailing presidency
  • The ailing diplomacy
  • The bailing overseas contingency

And now -- even the fraying co-residency of two great icons, who between them have saved the world countless times while also creating the internet:

Family friend Sally Quinn told CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson that Gore winning the popular vote for president but losing the electoral vote may have done the marriage irreparable harm.

"He's obviously suffered a lot," Quinn said. "He'll never get over that and neither will she."

So as intelligent, decent folk suspected all along, the separation and upcoming divorce of "Dour" Al Gore and his rodentine wife "Chipper" Tipper is George W. Bush's fault. Finally, everything makes sense; it's pre-emptive payback for Gore's subsequent work circumnavigating the globe a dozen times preaching against wasteful energy use.

Gol-darn that Shrub. Just -- just darn him! Has he, at last, no decency? Oh, the humanity. Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, and watch your parking meters.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 2, 2010, at the time of 7:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2010

The Lizards Defend That Blooming Idiot, Rand Paul

Confusticated Conservatives , Liberal Lunacy , Logical Lacunae
Hatched by Dafydd

Before diving into the substance of Dr. Rand Paul's remarks on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, let's get one thing straight: Paul was a fool for blundering into that tar pit -- or allowing MSNBC's Rachel Maddow to lure him into it like a drunken farmer chasing a corpse candle into a bog. Worse, once hip deep in the big muddy, he contracted a bad case of hoof-in-mouth disease and couldn't defend his position.

But just because one shallow thinker of today was unable to defend the liberty position doesn't make indefensible a principle famously argued by Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election campaign... no matter what Hugh Hewitt says.

It's hard to nail down exactly what Paul's position actually is; I think it's the same as Goldwater's: Where state or federal policy either directly discriminates on the basis of race or else mandates private racial discrimination, it is absolutely appropriate to pass a federal law overturning such "institutional racialism;" however, such a law should not and constitutionally cannot reach beyond that point to purely private and voluntary racial discrimination, which (alas) the final version of the Act did.

That's why Goldwater voted against it after having supported earlier versions that did not outlaw private, volunatry discrimination; and fair warning, that is my objection to the Act, as well.

Here's my best collage of Paul's lengthy, meandering, and unfocused response to Maddow:

MADDOW: Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don't serve black people?

PAUL: Yes. I'm not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race.

But I think what's important about this debate is not written into any specific "gotcha" on this, but asking the question: what about freedom of speech? Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking?

I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that's one of the things freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn't mean we approve of it.....

MADDOW: I mean, the Civil Rights Act was the federal government stepping in to protect civil rights because they weren't otherwise being protected. It wasn't a hypothetical. There were businesses that were saying black people cannot be served here and the federal government stepped in and said, no, you actually don't have that choice to make. The federal government is coming in and saying you can't make that choice as a business owner.

Which side of that debate would you put yourself on?

PAUL: In the totality of it, I'm in favor of the federal government being involved in civil rights and that's, you know, mostly what the Civil Rights Act was about.... Most of the things [Martin Luther King, jr.] was fighting were laws. He was fighting Jim Crow laws. He was fighting legalized and institutional racism. And I'd be right there with him....

MADDOW: As I understand it, what you`re saying, [is that] the portion of the Civil Rights Act that said you can't actually have segregated lunch counters here at your private business [is the one title of the Civil Rights Act you reject].... Until the year 2000, Bob Jones University, a private institution, had a ban on interracial dating at their school, their private institution. If Bob Jones University wanted to bring that back now, would you support their right to do so?

PAUL: Well, I think it's interesting because the debate involves more than just that, because the debate also involves a lot of court cases with regard to the commerce clause. For example, right now, many states and many gun organizations are saying they have a right to carry a gun in a public restaurant because a public restaurant is not a private restaurant. Therefore, they have a right to carry their gun in there and that the restaurant has no right to have rules to their restaurant.

So, you see how this could be turned on many liberal observers who want to excoriate me on this. Then to be consistent, they'd have to say, oh, well, yes, absolutely, you've got your right to carry your gun anywhere because it's a public place.

So, you see, when you blur the distinction between public and private, there are problems. When you blur the distinction between public and private ownership, there really is a problem. A lot of this was settled a long time ago and isn't being debated anymore....

MADDOW: Let's say there's a town right now and the owner of the town's swimming club says we're not going to allow black kids at our pool, and the owner of the bowling alley in town says, we're not actually going to allow black patrons, and the owner of the skating rink in town says, we're not going to allow black people to skate here.

And you may think that's abhorrent and you may think that's bad business. But unless it's illegal, there's nothing to stop that -- there's nothing under your world view to stop the country from re-segregating like we were before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 --

PAUL: Right.

It goes on an on, but the basic points are all here. Note that Paul brings up a valid analogy -- should gun owners in a gun-friendly state be allowed to bring guns into a restaurant, even against the will of the restaurant's owner?

Paul says no. But if the owner is allowed the private-property liberty to control who brings a weapon into his facility, then under what principle can he not control who he allows in, period? The analogy was valid, but it was (again) foolishly chosen: No listener not already predisposed to the Goldwater, Paul, and Lizardian point of view will understand his point.

Allow me to help Dr. Paul out of the mire; again, bear in mind I'm defending his position, not the hamfisted way he expressed it.

Rachel Maddow's fundamental confusion is shared by all liberals and about 80% of conservatives (e.g., Hugh Hewitt): Under Jim Crow, the problem wasn't that individual owners "decided" to racially discriminate; state laws required them to discriminate.

In a free market, some-but-not-all restaurants will discriminate, while others won't. Those that do cut off much of their customer base -- not just the potential customers who are black but also those whites who vehemently oppose racial discrimination; their non-discriminating competitors get the extra business instead. Thus, a discriminatory stance creates an automatic "economic penalty": Racism becomes an expensive luxury that most business owners simply cannot afford.

(The same punishment operates whenever an owner makes an economic decision on a completely non-economic basis, such as not serving old people or divesting stock from companies that do business with Israel; that's one of the magical effects of a free market!)

After a while, many racists will decide they need the money more than they need to discriminate; they will take down the "whites only" sign, no matter how much it pains them, or risk going out of business. A few will maintain their discrimination until the bitter end; so it goes.

But wait, what about the other side of the coin? Some dyed in the wool racists would only frequent those establishments that discriminate. They will boycott the integrated businesses and patronize only the racists.

Frankly, I doubt that such persons would have been the majority in any state even back in the days of Jim Crow: If they had been the majority, there would have been no need for laws to force them to do what they wanted to do in the first place. The very fact that the state legislature had to enact Jim Crow laws testifies that residents weren't discriminating, they weren't keeping blacks "in their places."

Walter Williams writes about this in his wonderful book, South Africa's War Against Capitalism: The Afrikaaners enacted Apartheid laws precisely because at the turn of the twentieth century, businesses (from railroads to mines to hotels), left to their own free will, were rapidly integrating the races. Economic necessity was breaking down the barriers; blacks offered their services for lower wages than whites, and employers snapped them up to save labor costs. Soon the whites had to lower their own wages to compete; at the same time, as blacks gained more experience, they raised their demands... eventually, the two races met in the middle, more or less.

Funnily enough, one of the first bills the Kreugerites enacted forced businesses to pay blacks and whites exactly the same wages, "equal pay for equal work." Sound familiar? The effect was to remove the financial incentive to hire blacks, because their labor was no longer any bargain.

With the market mechanisms removed, it was easy to threaten or bully businesses into hiring and promoting only whites. (Most of the racist coercion was committed by the socialist labor unions, by the way... quelle surprise!) Thus, even in Apartheid South Africa, the free market acted to integrate and equalize the races, while the government -- "for their own good" -- acted to segregate and discriminate between them -- "Apartheid" literally means "apart-ness".

In any event, I steadfastly believe that even in the deep South in the 1950s, far more potential customers would choose to patronize a business on the basis of quality and price -- than on the basis of whether that business segregated black from white. Over the long run (which would likely be only a few years), that would drive out the adamant racists: Businesses operate on such a small margin that even a small economic advantage towards race neutrality would have an oversized effect on a business' viability.

Unless, that is, the state steps in and makes such racial discrimination mandatory; that is what we mean by "Jim Crow." If the state interferes with the market, forcing everyone to discriminate, it kills the market's ability to drive behavior away from irrelevant (and offensive) absurdities like racial discrimination: I can no longer compete with a "whites only" lunchcounter by advertising "we serve everybody!" I would be arrested and my business shut down if I tried.

That robs me of my liberty, my property rights; and that is the ground on which the Civil Rights Act should have been fought. Let freedom reign, and allow the market to do its holy job of driving the fools and haters out of business.

Of course, there will always be pockets where there really are more racists than sons and daughters of liberty; in those dark nooks, they will open their whites-only swimming pools and bowling alleys and ice-skating rinks. What do we do about that?

We let them. If they want to segregate themselves away from the rest of society, let them huddle together and fester. So long as we all have freedom of mobility and association, the 99% of the country that is decent will isolate the tiny fraction who are morally putrid; and the good citizens will open their own pools, alleys, and rinks open to everyone. After all, there's gold in them thar businesses.

The racist kooks will become curiosities, monkeys in a zoo: We'll point and laugh at the funny and now-powerless haters, just as we do whenever the Ku Klux Klan musters its eight or nine hoodwinkers to stand on the corner holding up racist, and typically illiterate signs.

That's the American way, the path of liberty. Just as we don't deny Klansmen, Black Panthers, or MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán) their freedom of speech, we should also not deny them their right to serve only "their own kind," if that's what they want.

Nor do we prevent the rest of us from expressing displeasure by patronizing their competitors instead.

Had Rand Paul really thought this all through aforehand, he could have answered Rachel Maddow much more powerfully and directly, like this:

MADDOW: Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don't serve black people?

LIZARDS: Sure -- if they want to cut their own economic throats.

MADDOW: What do you mean? The Civil Rights Act was the federal government stepping in to protect civil rights because they weren't otherwise being protected. It wasn't a hypothetical. There were businesses that were saying black people cannot be served here and the federal government stepped in and said, no, you actually don't have that choice to make. The federal government is coming in and saying you can't make that choice as a business owner.

How about desegregating lunch counters? Lunch counters. Walgreen's lunch counters, were you in favor of that? Possibly? Because the government got involved?

LIZARDS: The problem wasn't that Jim Crow wasn't protecting civil rights, Rachel. The great evil of Jim Crow laws was that they forced even non-racists to racially discriminate.

In a free market, I could open a lunchcounter right across the street from a "whites only" Walgreens; and in my front window, I could put a sign that says "we serve everybody!" I have faith in the American people, Southerners included. Let me compete with the racists without the state government or federal government stacking the deck, and I guarantee you I'll drive the racial haters out of business and out of town.

That way, we'll lose the racists -- good riddance -- but we'll keep liberty and the sanctity of private property, the cornerstone of America. That's the same sanctity of private property, by the way, that allows a homeowner to sell his house to a black family, no matter what the ancient, entrenched political class in the state capital demand.

MADDOW: Mr. Reptile, until the year 2000, Bob Jones University, a private institution, had a ban on interracial dating at their school, their private institution. If Bob Jones University wanted to bring that back now, would you support their right to do so?

LIZARDS: Bob Jones University didn't drop its policy as a result of the Civil Rights Act; President Bob Jones dropped the policy in the year 2000, because the adverse publicity of its racist stance was hurting the university. That's an important point, Rachel: The market was hurting Bob Jones badly enough that it forced them to change their stupid, evil policy.

The most the feds ever did to BJU was to take away its religious tax exemption. I've long argued that when an insitution requests special dispensation that amounts to an endorsement of that institution -- such as a religious tax exemption that secular private universities don't get -- the government has every right to make that privilege contingent upon meeting the base-level standards of decency that American society demands. I would just as vigorously oppose giving a tax exemption to Mohammed Atta Martyrdom University, no matter how sincerely held was its jihadist religous curriculum.

MADDOW: Let's say there's a town right now and the owner of the town's swimming club says we're not going to allow black kids at our pool, and the owner of the bowling alley in town says, we're not actually going to allow black patrons, and the owner of the skating rink in town says, we're not going to allow black people to skate here.

And you may think that's abhorrent and you may think that's bad business. But unless it's illegal, there's nothing to stop that -- there's nothing under your world view to stop the country from re-segregating like we were before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

LIZARDS: Nothing but the justice and common decency of the American people! In the first place, this isn't the 1950s. The whole world has come a long way in the last half century, wouldn't you say? And no country in the world is less racist than the United States: Not a single state in the Union has even one pair of racists in its legislature to conspire together to re-segregate the country.

But frankly, Rachel, I don't even believe any state in the deep South had a majority of racist citizens even in 1964. What they had was an oligarchy of bitter, hate-filled, septuagenarian racists who occupied state legislatures like the Nazis occupied the Reichstag. They were corrupt, elections were rigged, and they couldn't be ousted from their seats except perhaps by dynamite... or by joining Republican Party!

But that's no longer true, and it hasn't been since I was in grade school. Oh yes, there is still racial discrimination in the United States; but today, as in the 50s and 60s, it comes from the left side of the aisle, from race-obsessed Democrats and leftists allied with radical Islam. But so long as we can keep the Left away from the levers of power, I'm confident America will never re-segregate.

I am quite certain this would have been much, much harder to spin as racist, pro-segregation, and anti-civil rights. And in any event, it sure would have made more exciting political theater!

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 20, 2010, at the time of 10:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 6, 2010

The Soft Bigotry of Insulting Chicanos' Intelligence

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Yesterday was May 5th, which in Spanish is Cinco de Mayo... which Mexicans do not celebrate as their Independence Day (that would be September 16th, 1810), but which Mexican Americans (Chicanos) celebrate all across the American Southwest and probably elsewhere as well.

On May 5th, 1862, the nationalist militia of Mexico, under the command of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated the imperial French forces at the Battala de Puebla. While this didn't end the war with France -- the French fought on for another five years, abandoning their Mexican "colony" only after the United States joined the war on Mexico's side -- Cinco de Mayo is a major Chicano holiday, celebrated primarily by gorging on Mexican food, swigging tequilla, and shooting pistols into the air (kind of like an NBA Finals victory celebration). One hopes the rituals are different in high school.

Yesterday at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, in the Santa Clara Valley of California ("Silicon Valley"), school officials celebrated Cinco de Mayo by sending five students home... for wearing American-flag t-shirts.

Principal Nick Boden called the t-shirts "incendiary," according to one of the students. His rationale for threatening the flag-wearers with suspension and then sending them home was that wearing red, white, and blue on Cinco de Mayo was somehow insulting and disrespectful to Hispanic students, which constitute a very large portion of the school's population; however, the school district is unhappy with Boden's action:

Officials at the school chose not to comment on the situation Wednesday, but one student said an official called the T-shirts "incendiary."

"They said we were starting a fight, we were fuel to the fire," said sophomore Matt Dariano.

The Morgan Hill Unified School District issued this statement: "In an attempt to foster a spirit of cultural awareness and maintain a safe and supportive school environment, the Live Oak High School administration took certain actions earlier today.

"The district does not concur with the Live Oak High School administration's interpretation of either board or district policy related to these actions."

I get the sense that the problem has far more to do with the adults involved, from Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez (who first ordered the students to remove the flag t-shirts) to Principal Boden to some of the parents of the Chicano students:

A parent of two Live Oak students, Teresa Casillas, said the American-flag wearing students were yelling "We live in America!" at the brunch break. She said her children were upset by their behavior at school, calling it disrespectful.

"We're all offended by it," Casillas said. She said parents of all ethnicities she spoke with felt that way. "Morgan Hill is too small of a community to start any racial wars. This is just bringing it out a little bit more."

Does anybody really believe that "parents of all ethnicities" were offended by five students wearing red, white, and blue, rather than red, white, and green? And does anybody really think the students yelled "we live in America" out of the blue? I think it far more likely they yelled it (if at all) in response to anti-American verbal attacks on them by Hispanic students for daring to wear the colors of their own -- and the Hispanic students' own -- country.

The saddest part is that the vice principal and principal don't even realize how it was they, not the five flag-wearers, who insulted and degraded the Mexican-American students yesterday. What could have been a teaching moment was instead warped by rampant political correctness into an incitement to racism and bigotry... against white students.

Let's suppose some Chicano students complained that the five were wearing American flags on "the only day [Mexican Americans] celebrate their heritage."

  • Think what a revelation it would have been had Miguel Rodriguez explained to them that, while their heritage may be Mexican, they themselves are American citizens... so the American flag is not insulting or disrespectful to them. (I doubt a single one of the protesting students is actually a Mexican citizen.)
  • Imagine if Rodriguez had told them that celebrating a victory by Mexico over France does not require them to attack the United States... which allied with Mexico in that very war.
  • Imagine if he had lectured them about showing civility themselves: The five students didn't tell anyone else not to wear the colors of the Mexican flag; why should Hispanic students demand that their classmates not wear the colors of the American flag -- which is, of course, also the flag of the Hispanic students?

But he didn't.

Instead, the Hispanic assistant principal told all the Hispanic students at Live Oak High School that the American flag is insulting, offensive, and disrespectful... and that they have every right to demand it be excluded from an American school.

Good heavens, could a more bigotted, racist message have been sent if they had deliberately aimed for it? Ergo today, surprise, surprise, 200 Hispanic students marched through Morgan Hills chanting "We want respect!" and "Si se puede!" Oh yes, marching and chanting will get them loads of respect; how could we fail to respect children cutting class to demand we cater to their prejudices?

But it's the subtext that really damages the Hispanic students: Beneath the outspoken charge of "disrespect" is the whispered insinuation that Hispanics are too emotionally fragile to understand that ethnicity is not the same as nationality, and neither is equivalent to identity; the implication that they are Mexicans, not real Americans; and the disconcerting suggestion that other people don't enjoy the same First-Amendment right to freedom of speech as Hispanics themselves.

In other words, it's what George W. Bush called "the soft bigotry of low expectations" all over again. Telling Hispanics they can suppress contrary opinion because it hurts too much is just as bad as telling blacks they should get extra "Negro-points" on their university applications because they're not smart enough to compete fairly with whites, Orientals, and Jews. It's an insidious form of "affirmative action": Whites must tolerate contrary speech -- but not Hispanics, because they can't handle it. What a vile, oppressive, and lying meme to inject into the brain of an adolescent.

Hispanics do not need to be coccooned from the marketplace of ideas. They don't need to be coddled, cradled, sequestered, or sealed in an ideological bubble. There is no reason Americans of Mexican and Central or South American heritage should be less able to handle alternate "truths" than any other ethnic or racial group. If everyone is held to the same standards, kids will understand:

Over at Gilroy High School, Mexican and American patriotic colors commingled peacefully Wednesday, Principal Marco Sanchez said.

"Kids were in good spirits," he said. "I was out on campus most of the day and didn't see anything that was abnormal."

He reported no disciplinary issues as a result of Mexican or American patriotism. Plenty of students donned both both countries' national colors but none were [sic] sent home for wearing green, red, white, blue or any combination thereof, he said. Doing so would be "outrageous," he said.

"We're not going to be sending kids home for wearing American flags or wearing patriotic colors," Sanchez said. "That's discriminatory."

Muchas gracias, Principal Sanchez, for the breath of fresh sanity.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 6, 2010, at the time of 6:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 3, 2010

Great Britain Outlaws Christianity

God and Man In the Blogosphere , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Or so it appears, if this story from the Daily Telegraph is accurate. Ministers in Jolly Olde E. are being arrested under the Public Order Act of 1986 -- for saying out loud that Christianity dubs gay sex a sin:

Dale McAlpine was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” after a homosexual police community support officer (PCSO) overheard him reciting a number of “sins” referred to in the Bible, including blasphemy, drunkenness and same sex relationships....

Police officers are alleging that he made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others and have charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act.

Evidently, it's legal to preach the Christian faith (or the Jewish faith, for that matter)... so long as you whisper inaudibly.

Christian campaigners have expressed alarm that the Public Order Act, introduced in 1986 to tackle violent rioters and football hooligans, is being used to curb religious free speech.

Sam Webster, a solicitor-advocate for the Christian Institute, which is supporting Mr McAlpine, said it is not a crime to express the belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.

“The police have a duty to maintain public order but they also have a duty to defend the lawful free speech of citizens,” he said.

“Case law has ruled that the orthodox Christian belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society."

Unless you run into "the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer for Cumbria police;" in which case, thousands of years of religious teaching are swept into the dustbin of history, along with free speech, to make way for acceptable speech that doesn't offend anyone -- rather, anyone opposed to Western civilization. (You're allowed to offend Western civ. itself, of course; soon it may become mandatory.)

This is our future if we continue down the route of "hate-speech" laws and codes. The busts may start out restricted to clearly repugnant speech that is deliberate and intended to inflict emotional distress; but inevitably, their scope will expand to cut off controversial political opinions... where "controversial" is tendentiously redefined to mean "bucking the secular leftist trend in the European Union." Thus the anti-Judeo-Christian argument becomes a paradigm of "Shut up," he explained. Give 'em an itch, and they take a snarl.

Oh... did I forget to mention until now that I personally find nothing at all sinful or criminal about homosexual activity; and that I completely support Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court ruling that overturned all so-called anti-sodomy laws nationwide? It's irrelevant to my point; but I suspect that liberals who started this post already stopped reading long ago; and they're now busily telling their friends that I'm a right-wing, fascist, homophobic bigot who wants all gays arrested, branded, and send to concentration camps.

The point is that I have a number of crabbed and cranky opinions of my own that flout in the face of conventional wisdom, so I have a vested interest in seeing that everybody gets to exercise his freedom of speech. An almighty State big enough to take that fundamental liberty away from a Bible-thumping religious zealot like McAlpine -- is big enough to take away my fundamental right to say that Barack H. Obama is a national socialist.

So I make common cause with people who reject probably 75% of my core beliefs... because within the remaining 25% lurks the most sacred creed in my generally secular worldview, my own rewrite of the slogan of the French revolution: "Liberty, Accountability, Individualism!"

I reckon that's no longer fashionable in the United Kingdom -- and is rapidly becoming quaint and déclassé in my own land as well.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 3, 2010, at the time of 3:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 30, 2010

Building on the Feet of Ozymandias

Liberal Lunacy , Science Fiction
Hatched by Dafydd

In an earlier post -- The Religion of Fear Itself, or Why I Despise Modern Liberals (reason 334) -- I proposed that modern, "New Left" liberalism has become utterly dependent upon inducing terror of the future and the unknown in its adherents. Quoth I:

Why is Hawking so frightened? And why does he think should the rest of us be afraid? Because liberal ideology -- and in particular disgust with Western civilization and unthinking acceptance of all the environmenalist myth-making about the unnaturalness of humanity -- leads many liberals into despair and terror....

[L]iberalism has metastacized into the philosophy of catastrophe, where every way we live brings about our gruesome death: Eating, drinking, exercising, heating our homes, cooling our heels, and now even exhaling. From the Center for Science in the Public Interest to the IPCC to ELF and ALF, liberals warn that we must fear everything.

But there is yet another reason I despise modern liberalism -- or actually post-modern, or "pomo" liberalism; I despise it for what it has done to science fiction, the most quintessentially American literary form.

Science fiction, as a distinct literary genre set apart from fabulism and fantasy, began in France in the 1860s, as Jules Verne penned such masterpieces of science speculation unfolding within a narrative as Journey to the Centre of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. (The latter two have been "overtaken by events," but we have yet to send humans to the Earth's core.)

The field continued to develop in a continental way as the mantle passed to Herbert George Wells. H.G. Wells took on much more challenging and controversial themes in the Time Machine (time travel), the Island of Doctor Moreau (genetic engineering and creation of hybrid "manimals"), the Invisible Man (duh), the War of the Worlds (interplanetary warfare), and Men Like Gods (parallel universe), along with his movie, Things to Come, which depicted a radically changed future Earth -- itself quite shocking to movie-goers of the 1930s (admittedly Fritz Lang paved the way with movies like Metropolis; but that silent classic was more of a socialist parable than real science fiction).

But around this time, the power and impetus of "scientifiction" shifted to the New World, as publisher and rip-off artist Hugo Gernsback began pushing pulp science-fiction magazines to the masses. The first was Amazing Stories, which began publication in 1926; it was soon joined by numerous other competing science-fiction magazines, of which the most important for many decades was Astounding Stories (original title, that), which began publication in 1930.

American science fiction was distinguished from its European counterpart by:

  • The muscularity of plot and characters;
  • An optimistic, forward-looking perspective;
  • The "normality" with which the abnormal was handled -- people in the 22nd century don't wander about talking about the marvels of the 22nd century; it just seems normal and natural to them;
  • The celebration of science, technology, and change, rather than seeing it as a dire portent of terrible things to come;
  • And the elevation and promotion of the original science-fictional idea, which subsequently drives the rest of the story.

It's the latter I'm most concerned with in this post... for it is precisely that original SF idea that makes good science fiction a more useful, more optimistic, and yes, more American genre than any other literature.

And it is precisely that original SF idea that liberal publishers and editors have nearly succeeded in driving out of the genre, thus transforming the perfect American literature into an anemic parody of Euro-decadent "literature of the fantastic."

What's an original SF idea? I define the term to mean an original idea so interesting that we can discuss it for hours -- without even referencing the story whence it came. My favorite example comes from Poul Anderson's most important early work, Brain Wave (1953):

For (hand-waving) reasons, every form of life on Earth that has a central nervous system (CNS) becomes, over a several-month period, about five times as intelligent as it began; in particular, humans now have an IQ of roughly 500.

How would the sudden, radical increase in intelligence affect human civilization? How much of daily interaction between people, government, commerce, and even love depend upon each person having imperfect information about other people? Would that situation still obtain in a world of geniuses beyond what any of us could possibly imagine? (And on a more po-mo level, how does a writer with high-normal human intelligence write convincingly about people many times smarter than he?)

What of the relations between humans and dogs and horses, our closest symbiots with CNSes? (Our digestive bacteria are not affected by the change.) What about people who really just don't like thinking... wouldn't being so dreadfully intelligent and unable to turn it off be sheer torture?

The point is that we could sit in a room and discuss the ramifications of several billion people with IQs in the 500 range for hours, even days, without ever getting to the events that unfold in the novel.

Such original ideas used to be the core of the definition of science fiction.

They needn't be "hard science;" Ursula K. LeGuin's novel the Left Hand of Darkness (1969) posits a race that is neither male nor female but cycles to one or the other "gender" once a month or so. Yes, it's a liberal feminist book by a liberal feminist author; but her liberalism is older than the New Left... before the former lost its ability to think, to create, and to imagine radical change that wasn't necessarily towards either socialist utopia or capitalist dystopia. Clearly, if we did not have static, defined genders, our society would be profoundly different.

Original science-fictional ideas are often short-handed to "what-ifs": What if we could travel forward in time and bring back a report of what we saw? What if we could travel backward in time and alter the past?

A what-if can also be an original "riff" on a previous original idea: What if so many people were traveling backward and forward in time, changing events higgledy-piggledy in a never-ending "change war," that reality itself was crumbling around their ears? That last is the original SF idea Fritz Leiber used in his "change war" stories, including the novel the Big Time (1957) and several short stories.

Another non-hard-science, original SF idea forms the basis of Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy (1975): What if every imaginable conspiracy was literally true -- and all at the same time?

What-ifs train our minds to be more flexible and tolerant of differences, to look for solutions in unlikely places, to think "sideways," to accept the inevitability of change, and in general, to prepare us for the future -- which is always different from the past, but more recently has become more different at a faster rate (cf. Alvin Toffler's Future Shock series of nonfiction sociological speculations).

They also put severe constraints on the author, because he is forced by the game rules to make his speculation plausible within what is currently believed to be reality, whether science, sociology, politics, or any other venue for speculation. That is, even the most phantasmic what-if must be handled by the author in as realistic a way as possible... unlike magic in a work of fantasy, such as the Lord of the Rings (at the high literary end) or the Harry Potter stories (at the pedestrian and juvenile end).

While I have no objection to fantasy -- I have probably read thousands of fantasy stories and published two fantasy novels myself -- and while I wholeheartedly agree that Europeans (especially Brits) have contributed many original SF ideas to the field, spearheading the "New Wave" of science fiction in the late 50s and through the 60s... nevertheless, we have lost something terribly important and very American from the literature over the last few decades; and I want it back.

But how did liberals get such power to thoroughly remake science fiction?

The problem with traditional publishing is the huge up-front cost of typesetting, printing, binding, stocking, distributing, and promoting books. It literally takes tens of thousands of dollars to make copies of a single title available in a Borders or B&N bookstore; for a book expected to be a bestseller, that cost jumps to hundreds of thousands of dollars per title.

It takes a giant corporation willing to invest beaucoup bucks to bring a book to the normal market (as opposed to small presses, speciality presses, give-aways, and vanity presses); and whether corporation or government, control follows funding as corruption follows liberalism: The editors and publishers, who must part with the money, dictate to the authors what they may write, by the simple expedient of rejecting any manuscript that does violence to their liberal sensibilities.

Too, the larger the corporation, the more closely it acts like a government, and the more intimate and incestuous are its relations with the State. That is why CEOs and BoDs of big corporations are so often liberals and socialists: The last thing in the world they want is a free market where they must actually compete for market share. They would much rather belly-up to the pig trough of private-public "partnerships" -- that is, conspire against the general public. Simply put, huge corporations attract liberals because "rent-seeking" profits multinationals far more than Capitalism.

So liberals took over the publishing industry many decades ago; and when the New Left took over liberalism, they recreated science fiction in their own uncreative image. In the front door went political correctness and sucking up to post-modern trends like gender-feminism and conservative-bashing; out the back door went those pesky (and dangerous!) original ideas.

True, SF sales in the standard model of book production are drastically down; but it's easier for lefties to explain that away -- too much unrestricted competition from movies and TV, literacy is in decline, the economy is bad, it's all Bush's fault -- than actually to analyze the problem and solve it. SF books used to give readers something they couldn't get from sci-fi movies and spacy TV series: serious speculation about original science-fictional ideas, what-ifs. Absent that bonus, more former readers prefer the visual media to a denuded literature of absent ideas.

Not all publishing falls into the standard model; so-called "print on demand" books are cheaper, because you don't print the book until someone orders it, then you mail it to him. But that has never been a very large component of the total book-selling market. Most readers want to see the book and flip through it before deciding; then when they decide to buy it, they want to take it home on the spot.

So how to break the liberal stranglehold on the publication of putative "science fiction?" Alas, there are only two ways for the what-ifs to return:

  • The New York SF publishing Mafia loses control of the literary genre (and corresponding marketing category), allowing real capitalists to restore the original idea to its former centrality. (This should happen shortly after Hollywood turns Republican.)
  • Alternatively, some new means of publication allows authors to bypass the New York SF publishing Mafia entirely, making titles available to customers without first having to pass the liberal Cerberus at the gates. Thus could we build a new edifice upon the crumbled feet of Ozymandias.

Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelly
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

I don't see online reading as that "new means of publication"; too many people (such as myself) cannot find pleasure in reading fiction on a CRT, or even an LED or LCD screen. It makes my eyes ache. But I hold out great hope for "smart paper" or "electronic paper" devices, like the Amazon Kindle or the Sony Book Reader. These technologies more closely mimic the experience of reading words printed in ink on paper that has defined a "book" for millennia, long before Gutenberg hurriedly invented the printing press to pay off the loan sharks on his tail.

Of course, in order to be just as comfortable on the eye as high-quality printing, e-paper needs to get a much higher dot-density -- more in the 2500 pixels per inch (ppi) range, or at least 1250, than the pitiful and myopia-inducing 167 ppi of the Kindle 2 (150 ppi for the Kindle DX), or even the 200 ppi of the Sony Reader Pocket Edition. And it needs a lot more than sixteen shades of grey; better yet, the same spread of full color found in contemporary monitors. But these are just engineering details, easily worked out. The main point is that e-paper has all the advantages of online text (storage capacity, the ability to make notes, hold bookmarks, link to other passages in the same work or other works), plus the ability to read it in broad daylight at the beach without your eyeballs dropping out of their sockets.

Being well-trained in science-fiction reading protocols, I can easily envision a future in which such e-paper readers become the standard means of "publishing" (disseminating) books. In such a world, my task as an author would be...

  1. Write the novel
  2. Put it into the format necessary to display on the e-paper reader
  3. Make it available for downloading
  4. And last, the biggie: Find some way to publicize the book so potential readers know it's available.

Somewhere in that muddle I must find a business model that puts money in my pocket for writing the book in the first place. My best guess for step 4 is that well-known amateur book reviewers would receive a dozen books a month, each author hoping his book makes the cut and a prominent place in the next online review column.

Too, companies, organizations, or groups of respected individuals could form book clubs to filter books by quality and orientation. Thus if you went to the Conservative Book Club's website, you might see a list of fifty or so books published the last year that the club mavins think conservatives would particularly like. Each book listing would include a download link.

As for the author's money, either the download or decrypting the file beyond the first couple of chapters would require payment, or perhaps the download site would sell adverts and pay the authors directly based upon frequency of (free) download. But by some means, money must flow to authors, or authors will be forced to quit writing and find honest work.

Either way, liberals will have their own lists; but they won't get to control everybody else's list. The chokehold will be broken, and proper science fiction will flourish once more; a huge, untapped market for it still exists, and to quote a much misunderstood phrase, "information wants to be free" -- meaning not that information wants to stiff its writers, but that information cannot be shackled for long.

I hope to play a role in bringing about that Millennium, but I don't know exactly when it will commence; I don't have any secret deals I'm working on; I'm just waiting for the technology to catch up with the vision. Keep watching, as they say, the skies.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 30, 2010, at the time of 9:59 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 28, 2010

Irony of Ironies: Boy Sprouts May Be Sued to Death - for Homosexual Molestation!

Kulturkampf , Liberal Lunacy , Sex - the Good, the Bad, and the Really Bad
Hatched by Dafydd

First, the Left filed hundreds of lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America demanding that they be forced to allow gay scouts and gay scoutmasters into the organization. That tactic failed when the Supreme Court found that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was a private, religious organization, and that it had a First-Amendment, free-association right to set standards of morality for membership.

But now the BSA must defend many lawsuits filed by former scouts who allege they were molested by gay scoutmasters.

Yeesh.

At least now we know why the Boy Scouts have steadfastly refused to relax their standards. As I have argued before, sending a pack of barely pubescent boys into the woods, in charge of a man who finds young boys sexually attractive, is a prescription for disaster -- whether or not the scoutmaster does anything: All it would take to cost the Scouts millions in damages is for a troubled lad to falsely claim an openly gay scoutmaster molested him; most jurors would be far more inclined to believe that accusation than if all evidence showed that the scoutmaster was strictly heterosexual.

I certainly will not second-guess the facts of the present case, in which a jury has ordered the Scouts to pay $18.5 million; I have no reason not to believe the jury's decision that the victim was indeed molested, and that the Scouts knew that scoutmaster had a history of molesting boys. But doesn't this underscore the urgency of keeping openly gay boys and men out of the Boy Scouts in the first place?

  • Most worrisome is the destruction a real molester can inflict, both to the victim and to the BSA itself, its reputation and its finances.
  • But think of the harm a Boy Scout can cause via a false accusation against an openly gay scoutmaster.

    Whether due to emotional problems, revenge for some real or imagined insult, fear of exposure after he himself makes unwanted advances to the scoutmaster and is rejected, or if he makes the charge for purely mercenary reasons -- either the lure of "jackpot justice" or if he is bribed by those who hate the Boy Scouts -- such an accusation, false though it be, can devastate the organization. Enough of them can destroy the organization utterly, a potential with which a large number of utterly ruthless enemies of the Boy Scouts must be well aware.

  • Even without molestation, boys just going through puberty may have an exaggerated fear of molestation or ogling; what an adult should be able to handle might still traumatize a teen.

    An embarassed boy may be terrified that the scoutmaster might see him undressing or in the shower; he might be afraid to ask questions about his bodily changes; knowing that the scoutmaster in general finds boys or yound men physically attractive, the boy might well not want to be seen with the scoutmaster, worried that others will draw the wrong conclusion. As mentoring is a primary function of the Boy Scouts, an openly gay scoutmaster or an openly gay scout cannot help but cause problems.

    I had a friend in junior high (now called middle school, for those readers just recently graduated from junior high); call him M. M. was rather high strung as it was; then one day he found, stuffed in his school locker, several pages of gay porn pictures. I thought it was kind of funny (no, I didn't put it there); but M. actually broke down sobbing, right in front of other schoolboys. Imagine how that affected his subsequent career at that school...!

Simply put, it's not something that young boys should have to confront if they don't seek it out, and certainly not while bonding nonsexually with other boys on scouting trips.

I detour now to contrast openly gay scoutmasters or scouts in the Boy Scouts to openly gay soldiers in military service, thus responding before the point is even raised. The most important distinction is of course age: There's a vast difference between an eighteen year old military recruit and an eleven year old Boy Scout. The former is expected to be able to handle sexual subjects -- as well as, you know, killing people -- without hysteria; the latter may have no personal experience with sexuality whatsoever... and may be very, very vulnerable.

Also, by the time a person is old enough to be in the military, he almost always knows his sexual preference; he is much closer to being fully formed as a sexual being. But a pubescent or even pre-pubescent boy may still be confused or uncertain about his sexual identity and not prepared to confront the subject in such a visceral or tactile way. He just wants to hike and earn merit badges, not wonder whether he really has the hots for his scoutmaster or tentmate or just likes and admires him a lot.

Finally, I passionately believe that one of our fundamental rights is to defend the society in which we live; it's an extension of the fundamental and universal right of self-defense. Contrariwise, nobody has a constitutional "right" to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America; it's a private club, like a bowling league or a synagogue.

The BSA is among other things a religious organization; and as such, it promotes a moral code that is necessarily "divisive" and "exclusionary": It divides the population into those fit to join and those unfit to join, and excludes the latter. Among other things, you cannot profess disbelief in God and still join the Scouts; but of course, Wiccans, Druids, worshippers of Crom, and even atheist agitators are legally allowed to join the service. Recruiters are forbidden by law from discriminating on the basis of religion.

Thus I demonstrate no contradiction or hypocrisy in supporting the full integration of openly gay servicemen while simultaneously opposing the same integration among the Boy Scouts and similar youth organizations. In fact, I'm hopping mad that the Girl Scouts appear to have caved completely on this subject... though of course, it's nowhere near as bad for a lesbian scoutmaster (scoutmistress?) to lead girls into the woods than for a gay male scoutmaster to lead boys into the woods. (If you can't see why, ask in comments.)

Thus my defense of the policy; now my fear about the legal strategy itself. Anent the lawsuit in question and the $18 million verdict it spawned...

I have no information about the provenance of this suit, but here is my worry: The Left, having been thwarted by the federal courts (which finally held that the BSA is a private organization, so can exclude gays and atheists without violating anyone's civil liberties), might now take a different tack -- and use accusations of gay molestation to sue the Boy Scouts out of existence.

Of course, this would send a message precisely the opposite of what the Left's first line of lawsuits sent; but if our national socialist movement had the chance to destroy one of its most hated enemies, the Boy Sprouts, would the Left really care how it did so? It may already be sponsoring, or even inventing out of whole cloth, such lawsuits; just as I'm sure many of the similar molestation suits against the Catholic Church were discovered and promoted, if not actually fabricated, by leftists more interested in destroying the Church than obtaining "justice" for the (real or fake) molestation victims.

What a sick irony that would be. I certainly hope the Scouts can weather this storm; what a dreary world would be revealed by the BSA's obliteration.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 28, 2010, at the time of 7:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 21, 2010

The Democrats' New Motto

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Why don't they just pull off the mask and "out" themselves? I suggest a new official motto for the Party:

 

 

"We are all Alinskyites on this bus."

 

 

No matter what any Democrat says, it's always all about the power. Nothing more.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 21, 2010, at the time of 1:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 28, 2010

The Democrats' New Map

Elections , Health Insurance Insurrections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Or, why I am not convinced that either Pelosi or Reid has the votes

The New York Times, of all venues, sculpts the slope the Democrats must scale to summit Mount Reconciliation:

Of the 219 Democrats who initially voted in favor of the House measure, roughly 40 did so in part because it contained the so-called Stupak amendment, intended to discourage insurers from covering abortion....

An additional 39, like Mr. Kratovil, are fiscal conservatives who voted no the first time around. Ms. Pelosi is hoping that she can get some to switch those no votes to yes in favor of Mr. Obama’s less expensive measure.

Let's run some numbers, shall we?

The House version of ObamaCare -- the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) -- passed on November 7th last year in a vote of 220-215. Ordinarily, 218 Yeas are required to pass a bill in the House; but since that vote, three representatives have left Congress, one of them horizontally. With only 432 current members, the magic number for a majority is 217 (216 is only 50%, which is not a majority).

The three who left are all Democrats who voted for the House version of ObamaCare the first time around: retirees Robert Wexler (FL) and Neil Abercrombie (HI), and John Murtha (PA), who left feet first this month. In addition, Rep. Ahn "Joseph" Cao (R-LA, not yet rated), the only Republican to vote for the bill, has since repudiated that vote and says he will certainly vote against the Senate/reconciliation version of ObamaCare when that comes up for a vote. So Pelosi starts with only 216 of the necessary 217 votes.

We know for certain that unless the Senate agrees in advance to the Stupak Amendment, which bans any and all federal funding of abortion (and even funding of insurance carriers who pay for abortions), Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI, 90%) will also vote against it; he has too much "face" bound up in that prohibition to overlook it. I consider it virtually impossible that the Senate would agree to a Stupak Amendment, so that drops the number of Yeas to 215.

Thus the real question is this: Can Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%) bully enough Democratic former Nays to switch to Yeas so that the total will be two higher than the number of Yeas who switch to Nays? In other words, if 20 of the 40 Stupakers vote Nay on the Senate version, then Pelosi must scrounge up 22 representatives who voted Nay last time to vote Yea instead. Otherwise, she has less than the 217 needed.

Looking ahead, it's hard to see why any representative who voted against ObamaCare before will be persuaded to vote for it this time: The cost differential between the House and Senate plans is negligible; the Senate version doesn't include the "government option," which the House Democrats liked; and in the meantime, voters have made their disgust with the government takeover of health care clear and vivid.

Scott Brown's election to the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy scared the bejesus out of many representatives, especially those who represent districts that went to John McCain in the 2008 presidential election; many will try to innoculate themselves from the consequences of the last vote by turning thumbs down on ObamaCare this time.

The only real hope Pelosi has is with those Democrats who voted against the bill last year, but who have decided not to run for reelection this year. However, at the moment, there are only three: Reps. John Tanner (D-TN, 89%), Bart Gordon (D-TN, 89%), and Brian Baird (D-WA, 80%). Even if all of them switch, that brings the total only to 218; if two or more representatives flip the other way, from Yea to Nay -- two out of the 40 who only voted for the bill because of the Stupak amendment, for example -- then Pelosi falls short.

My back of the thumbnail estimate is that at least 20 of the 40 Stupakers vote Nay, while only two of the lame-duck Democrats go the other way (Tanner has already said he will not switch to Yea); that would land the Squeaker into a 200-232 deficit. An AP article confirms this:

In fact, Democrats following the legislation say House Democratic support for the legislation has sunk to 200 votes or less in recent weeks, following the stunning GOP victory in last month's special Massachusetts Senate election and the bill's modest showing in polls.

Where "modest showing" has the tendentious redefinition of "catastrophic collapse." I would guess another five Democratic Yeas vote Nay when it becomes clear the votes aren't there anyway; why go down with a sinking ship?

It's hardly any better on the Senate side, where they must pass the "reconciliation" changes to the Senate bill that (they hope!) will keep some Democratic House members from desperately dog-paddling towards the shore. Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 70%) is not doing very well, despite only needing a simple majority to pass the package:

Under the Democrats’ tentative plans, the House would pass the health care bill approved in December by the Senate, and both chambers would approve a separate package of changes using a parliamentary device known as budget reconciliation.

The tactic is intended to avoid a Republican filibuster, but in the Senate, the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, faces challenges if he tries to use it. He is having trouble persuading a majority of his caucus to go along.

Despite their gigantic majorities in both chambers, despite a still-personally popular Democratic president who has made this his make-or-break issue, Pelosi, Reid, and the Democratic leadership still can't seem to round up enough Yeas to spit in the voters' faces. Funny, isn't it?

The calculus is fairly simple; AP quotes a couple of members of the House Democratic caucus explaining the problem:

"People who voted 'yes' would love a second bite at the apple to vote 'no' this time, because they went home and got an unpleasant experience" because of their votes, said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from Pennsylvania. "On the other hand," he added, "I don't know anybody who voted 'no' who regrets it...."

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., said he chatted at the House gym Friday morning with fellow conservative Democrats and found that Obama's session had produced no new momentum.

"I don't think it made a nickel's worth of difference," he said, adding, "It's fair to say the trend is going against the bill."

I don't believe that Scott Brown's victory alone redrew the Democrats' electoral map; but it definitely shone a spotlight upon it... and any Democrat who plans to run for reelection ignores it at his political peril.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 28, 2010, at the time of 3:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 20, 2010

What Makes Lefty Run?

Commies , Liberal Lunacy , Tea Leaves
Hatched by Dafydd

Sachi and I got to talking about the Tea-Party movement, and she asked me why the Left hated the Tea Partiers so much. "They don't," I said; then groping for an explanation of what suddenly seemed so clear, I made a slight correction: "It's the liberals who hate and despise Tea Partiers, mocking them as "tea baggers" and such. The hard-core Left isn't full of hate... it's full of terror: I believe they are more terrified today than they have been since thirty years ago."

The rest of this post is my attempt to analyze my mini-revelation, explain it, and justify it.

The Left is terrified because, more than any other political group, they know a growing popular front when they see one; and they're seeing one now.

A popular front is an extremely broad-based coalition of political forces that normally oppose each other. In rare moments, the stars align, and so do the groups; what results is a mass movement that can wash away the status quo like a burst dam. The movement doesn't have to include all or even a majority of the citizenry; but it is large enough to push aside any countervailing coalition -- which means whatever the front wants, it gets.

Lefties understand the unstoppable raw power of a popular front; that's why their own strategy for seizing control of a country and "communizing" it invariably includes creating a popular front of dissent and protest against the established government, local or colonial. But a popular front needn't be based on leftist ideology; there are several examples in recent history:

  • The Khomeinist revolution in Iran depended upon a religious popular front that rose up against Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979.
  • The Communist revolution in post-WWII Vietnam was driven by a popular front against colonial France.
  • The Communist revolutions in WWI-era Czarist Russia and post-WWII Nationalist China both depended upon international socialist popular fronts that turned into a general uprising against the established State.
  • The National Socialist takeover in 1920s-1930s Germany included a popular front against Communism and for German monocultural nationalism and Fascism.
  • The French Revolution required a popular front that arose against the jaw-dropping financial and dictatorial excesses of the Bourbon kings.
  • And the American Revolution critically depended upon a popular front revolting against the loss of home rule and the attempted subjugation by Mother England, thousands of miles away.

In each case, political groups forged alliances with hereditary enemies that more often fought each other hammer and tooth -- for example, American aristocrats like Washington and Jefferson allying with lawyers and tradesmen (John Adams, Patrick Henry) against British rule. That kind of widespread movement is what defines a popular front.

The Tea Party front is the worst nightmare of the hard-core Left -- a patriotic, small-government, capitalist popular front. While Tea Partiers are not specifically Republican, leftists realize that GOP leaders (Sarah Palin) and candidates (Scott Brown) are far better positioned to appeal to Tea Partiers than are Democrats: All Republicans must do is match their words with deeds; but Democrats would have to (a) repudiate everything they have said and voted for in the past four decades, then (b) convince Tea Partiers that this time they're sincere!

The Scott Brown election is a perfect example of the relentless power of a popular front; I mean the timeline of the election itself, not its consequences. On November 4-8, a Suffolk University poll had Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat, ahead of state Sen. Scott Brown by 31% (58-27); in early January, the Boston Globe had her still ahead by 15% (50-35), while even Rasmussen had her 9% ahead (50-41).

Two weeks later, Brown beat Coakley by nearly 5%, 52-47. That represents a swing of 36% in just two months; and there is really nothing else to account for such movement other than a popular front. No terrible scandal engulfed Ms. Coakley, no state of emergency, no powerful or charismatic Republican leader turned the election into a referendum upon him- or herself; in fact, the closest analogy to that last is that Barack H. Obama personally went to Massachusetts two days before the election and campaigned with Coakley.

Tea Parties will likely have only a small (but significant) impact in 2010; what terrifies the prescient Left is the next election. Given another couple of years to build, and assuming nothing happens to destroy it, the popular front could produce a Noachian cataclysm on presidential and congressional elections then... as well as on state and local elections across America, which could lead to generational capitalist hegemony.

If the Tea Parties turn into a full-blown, patriotic-American popular front, which I think likely, Democrats, liberals, and lefties could go from winning it all in 2008 -- to being inundated and immolated by the tsunami of 2012.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 20, 2010, at the time of 6:44 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Mighty Big of Them!

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

So the mountain hath labored mightily and given birth to -- a mouse:

An initial review by the Justice Department's internal affairs unit found that former government lawyers Jay Bybee and John Yoo had committed professional misconduct, a conclusion that could have cost them their law licenses. But, underscoring just how controversial and legally thorny the memos have become, the Justice Department's top career lawyer reviewed the matter and disagreed....

[Assistant Deputy Attorney General David] Margolis, the top nonpolitical Justice Department lawyer and a veteran of several administrations, called the legal memos "flawed" and said that, at every opportunity, they gave interrogators as much leeway as possible under U.S. torture laws. But he said Yoo and Bybee were not reckless and did not knowingly give incorrect advice, the standard for misconduct.

The DoJ reluctantly admitted that Bybee and Yoo did not in fact commit any crime by giving their best advice to the Bush administration, even though liberals have the uneasy feeling that somebody got the better of them somehow. Accordingly, after years of "investigation," they've dismissed all charges.

The worst the Left could lay at the feet of Bybee and Yoo is that they "gave interrogators as much leeway as possible." One can only conclude that the Left believes the only fair and honorable course would be to give the terrorists as much leeway as possible. Heck, it's not their fault that they don't yet have a terrorist-sponsoring superpower to supply them with modern armies, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and an air force, hence must engage in "asymmetrical warfare" against us. Give them time!

But other members of the administration of Barack H. Obama just can't let go of that bone. They still want to push beyond the unsatisfying, symbolic, show-trial denunciation the president offered as his parting shot; these zealots still hope to drive all the way and jug nearly every official in the Bush administration who so much as considered the question of enhanced interrogation techniques. These latter Obamatons still fear that Bush-era Justice lawyers will escape their just punishment for the crime of coming to a different conclusion than liberals about the legality of treating the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda Axis as if it were a war against the Iran/al-Qaeda Axis:

The Office of Professional Responsibility, led by another veteran career prosecutor, Mary Patrice Brown, disagreed.

"Situations of great stress, danger and fear do not relieve department attorneys of their duty to provide thorough, objective and candid legal advice, even if that advice is not what the client wants to hear," her team wrote in a report that criticized the memos for a "lack of thoroughness, objectivity and candor."

But what if the legal advice is not what the liberal bloc wants to hear? Is that allowed?

Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Jay Bybee and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the OLC John Yoo gave actual legal and moral reasons why they believed that belly slaps and attention grabs, and even waterboarding, did not rise to the level of "torture." Does Ms. Brown give reasons why she thinks they do? More to the point, does she give such cogent and unanswerable reasons that no reasonable person could possibly dispute that making terrorist detainees stand at attention while being shouted at constitutes torture?

In a word, No; she gives not.

Lean close and press your ear to the monitor; that grinding noise you hear is the gnashing of liberal teeth. As Andy McCarthy asks at the National Review's group blog the Corner (hat tip to John Hinderaker at Power Line), "What exactly did the CIA do that [they] think was 'torture'?"

Earlier, he answers his own question:

Torture is the infliction of severe physical or mental pain or suffering. The physical kind must be excruciating and the mental kind must cause profound and lasting psychological harm. The law has always taken care to distinguish torture from lesser forms of abuse because it is the most heinous of acts. It is important not to trivialize it by applying the explosive label torture to acts that don't warrant it. Moreover, there has always been a demanding standard of criminal intent: the accused must specifically intend to torture his victim. The police officer who shoots a murder suspect in a gun fight may inflict severe pain, and know full well when he fires his weapon that severe pain is a certain result, but he doesn't commit torture -- indeed, he doesn't commit a crime of any kind.

And as too often happens in discussions of "torture," your concerns about morality are entirely one-sided. Officers of the executive branch have a solemn obligation to protect the American people. It is their highest responsibility. They are not good Samaritans. If there is a serious threat of a mass-murder attack, they are obligated to take all reasonable steps to stop it -- and what is reasonable depends on the circumstances and the exigency. It is immoral to assume that obligation and then fail to carry it out. Unlike your angry fellow parishioners, these officials don't get to be detached Monday morning quarterbacks. You condemn them for acting, but they will be just as vigorously condemned for failing to act if a preventable catastrophe happens.

In response to this, liberals, exemplified by the exemplary Mary Patrice Brown, construct an argument structurally identical to, "It must be torture, because it would be so convenient if it were torture!" Needless to say, this is about as convincing as "Shut up," she explained.

In short, we have an insoluble dilemma: On the one hand, liberals and the hard Left believe that Bybee and Yoo had a moral duty to "the Vision" to bend their hands backwards to find some reason to forbid every form of interrogation beyond politely asking for intelligence; on the other hand, Americans have the arrogant, ethnocentric notion that the first duty of the President of the United States was to protect... well, the United States and all it contains. Especially including its people. And to hell with the putative "constitutional rights" of unlawful enemy combatants who don't even obey the law of war, let alone the law of peace.

The Left vs. America -- what a shocker!

And now, having utterly lost the political and ideological argument -- for even the Obamacle Himself finds reason to create a "High Value Detainee Interrogation Group;" though as usual, he proudly pronounces the policy, then dawdles over the details -- the whiners think to win by criminalizing policy disagreement, stripping their ideological adversaries, whom they have never been able to outargue, of their livelihood and even imprisoning them.

Yet even this strategy will backfire, as Col. Oliver North demonstrated in July of 1987. I swear, enthused acolytes of the One would be out shooting conservatives in the streets, were it not for those pesky gun-control laws in our nation's capital.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 20, 2010, at the time of 1:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 22, 2010

California Democrats Ache for Canadian/UK Style Government Health Care

Health Insurance Insurrections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

A couple of days after Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts -- a campaign primarily fought against ObamaCare -- the California state senate will now consider imposing a single-payer, government-run, "universal" health-care scheme on the rest of us. Again.

I rib you not; state Sen. Mark Leno decided this was the perfect time to push a massive government takeover -- in a state on the brink of fiscal collapse, whose credit rating was just lowered again in June, and already had the lowest credit rating of any state before June:

While the move came as questions arose over the prospects of Congress adopting national health care legislation, the author of the California bill, State Senator Mark Leno, said that the timing was coincidental. Mr. Leno said it was basically a long-planned reintroduction of a 2009 proposal that was effectively tabled because of its potential cost. But he did concede that Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts, in which Democrats lost their filibuster-proof 60-vote majority, was not completely lost on him.

“Scott Brown did not push me to do this,” said Mr. Leno, referring to the newly elected Republican senator from Massachusetts. But, he said, “as a result of Tuesday’s election, there is ever greater need for leadership in state legislatures to reform health care.”

This is the third time in four years that liberal fascists with totalitarian impulses have tried to seize control of all medical care in America's biggest state. Yeah, that's the kind of "leadership" we need: A governmen-run health-care bill that costs $200 billion the first year -- twice this year's total state spending, which is between $82.9 billion and $102.6 billion, depending on whether the legislature accepts various spending cuts or raises new taxes. The state already runs a $20 billion budget deficit; but I'm sure that will vanish, with the vast cost savings that always result when the government takes over a sector of the economy.

In 2006 and 2008, the lege passed and repassed SB 840, the California Universal Healthcare Act, introduced by state Sen. Sheila James Kuehl -- perhaps better known as Sheila James, "Zelda Gilroy" of the Dobie Gillis TV show. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both bills (rather, the same bill twice); but even had one passed, California voters would have had to approve it in a statewide legislative initiative.

The new bill has been renumbered SB 810, this time introduced by Sen. Mark Leno (I don't think he is related to Jay, but he's just as much of a joke.) Schwarzenegger is still governor, but this is his final year; the gubernatorial election is this November, and Schwarzenegger is term-limited out. However, I have great hopes that Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay, will beat former governor, current attorney general, and professional moonbat Jerry Brown.

But even if Brown is elected (again) and signs the bill, I am utterly convinced that voters here are at least as smart as voters in Massachusetts: We shall reject this boondoggle resoundingly.

I do have a suggestion, however. The name of the "new" bill is still the California Universal Healthcare Act, CUHA; but this is dull and pedestrian. Rather, I suggest it be redubbed the Better-Off Health Insurance for California Act, or BOHICA... because that's what the legislature is once again demanding Californios do.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 22, 2010, at the time of 1:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2010

Disadvantaged

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

From the Politico:

Appearing at a rally at Northeastern University here, President Obama said out-of-power Republicans had taken advantage of the economic crisis to make Democrats the political fall guy during difficult times....

Obama offered his own analysis of the voters’ anger.

“There were going to be some who stood on the sidelines, who were protectors of the big banks, protectors of the big insurance companies, protectors of the big drug companies who were going to say, ‘You know what, we can take advantage of this crisis,’” he told the crowd.

Perhaps my memory fails me in my dotage, but I recall only one person saying his side should take advantage of the economic crisis. Rahm Someone, can't quite bring him to mind; he's been awfully quiet recently.

Wasn't it something about not allowing a good crisis to go to waste?

But I must be mistaken. Surely the President of the United States would never bear false witness against his political opponents!

Not even while staring straight in the face of electoral humiliation in "Massachusettes," America's fifty-seventh state.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 18, 2010, at the time of 7:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2010

Slicing the Globaloney: a Case Study!

Globaloney Sandwich , Liberal Lunacy , Science - Bogus
Hatched by Dafydd

It's always exhilarating, not to mention educational, to see how real science is made... especially when the conclusion just happens to fit the prevailing global-warming story-board so perfectly! Here's how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the main "scientific" body pushing anthropogenic global warming (AGW), developed one of their most politically influential, not to mention incendiary conclusions:

1999 -- Fred Pearce, writing for New Scientist, notices a comment by Syed Hasnain, "a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi." Hasnain warned that "climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035."

1999 -- Pearce interviews Hasnain by phone:

Pearce said: "Hasnain told me then that he was bringing a report containing those numbers to Britain. The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis."

2005 -- Six years after the little squib in New Scientist, the WWF (I think that would be the World Wildlife Fund, not the defunct World Wrestling Federation) picks it up and incorporates it into a political white paper, "an Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China." The purpose of this paper is to push AGW theory, and not incidentally, to advertise for contributions to and membership in the WWF:

The report credited Hasnain's 1999 interview with the New Scientist. But it was a campaigning report rather than an academic paper so it was not subjected to any formal scientific review.

2007 -- Another two years pass... and the IPCC finally stumbles across the WWF publication just as the U.N. body is preparing its "benchmark report" on global warming. Impressed by the rigorous science in the recruiting advert for the World Wildlife Fund, the IPCC incorporates the claim directly into the report without troubling to backtrack it or check its provenance.

However, the IPCC does realize that the mere handwaving in the WWF advert might not be quite strong enough as is; so the IPCC punches up the claim just a skosh, to make it sound more, you know, science-y:

When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was "very high". The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%.

The report read: "Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate."

Thus are great scientific discoveries discovered.

2007-2010 -- There is only one fly in the soup; glaciologists almost immediately note that such a rate of melting is impossible:

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, said: "Even a small glacier such as the Dokriani glacier is up to 120 metres [394ft] thick. A big one would be several hundred metres thick and tens of kilometres long. The average is 300 metres thick so to melt one even at 5 metres a year would take 60 years. That is a lot faster than anything we are seeing now so the idea of losing it all by 2035 is unrealistically high.”

The risible claim begins to unravel. Under withering criticism by glaciologists, some still proponents of AGCC, the main author of the "glaciers" section of the 2007 IPCC report, Professor Murari Lal, discourses on his qualifications for that critical task:

Lal himself admits he knows little about glaciers. "I am not an expert on glaciers, and I have not visited the region so I have to rely on credible published research. The comments in the WWF report were made by a respected Indian scientist and it was reasonable to assume he knew what he was talking about," he said.

Around this same time, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri heatedly denounces those scientists who dispute the evaporating-glacier claim as practicing "voodoo science."

But by then, Pearce of New Scientist has already looked into Hasnain's original claims:

"Since [1999] I have obtained a copy [of Hasnain's actual report] and it does not say what Hasnain said. In other words it does not mention 2035 as a date by which any Himalayan glaciers will melt. However, he did make clear that his comments related only to part of the Himalayan glaciers, not the whole massif."

Just a week ago, the IPCC was still refusing to comment on its "massif" blunder. However, Professor Lal says that if the original Indian scientist Hasnain says that he did not base his claim on actual peer-reviewed (or even published) research, Lal will recommend that the claim be "removed from future IPCC assessments."

And thus are great scientific non-discoveries un-discovered! Don't be surprised to see this one simply slip-slide down the memory-hole.

Alas, this scenario appears to be "the norm that proves the rule" at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And welcome to the monkey house.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 17, 2010, at the time of 12:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 13, 2010

"Stonewall" Holder and Barack Milhous Obama

Liberal Lunacy , Risible Racialism
Hatched by Dafydd

In our previous episode, top politicos in the Ministry of Truth -- I'm sorry, I meant the Department of Justice -- were stonewalling requests by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (CRC) for documents and testimony to determine why Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli ordered career attorneys Christopher Coates and Christian Adams to drop the voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party (NBPP)... even though the government had already won the case by default. The NBPP never responded to the lawsuit, but possibly it had already been assured that it had a guardian angel in the Bobby Kennedy Building.

The Commission finally got so frustrated by the complete lack of cooperation by the Civil Rights Division of the DoJ that it fired off subpoenas, demanding answers to four dozen questions and the documents to support those answers. But Justice continued to waffle, finding one excuse after another not to produce any paperwork or even respond directly. At the same time, in a burst of petulance, the nomenklatura at Justice banished Coates himself to the far-away country of North Carolina.

Thank goodness we now have an incorruptable president and attorney general who would never, ever politicize the Department of Justice.

But that was then; this is now, and at last, la Casa Blanca has formally responded: All the president's men categorically reject the insolent idea that the Executive has to answer to anyone at all... not even to the congressional commission charged under statute (the Civil Rights Act of 1957) with the mission "To investigate complaints alleging that citizens are being deprived of their right to vote by reason of their race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or by reason of fraudulent practices":

The Justice Department refused Tuesday to turn over most of the information and documents sought by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights explaining why a civil complaint was dismissed against members of the New Black Panther Party who disrupted a Philadelphia polling place in the November 2008 elections.

In a 38-page response, the department objected -- except for a few court records, letters and procedural documents -- to "each and every" question and document request submitted by the commission, saying the subpoenas violated existing executive orders, privacy and privilege concerns, and were burdensome, vague and ambiguous.

The lengthy response, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, also said the requested information and documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege or were not subject to disclosure because they included attorney or law enforcement work products.

The department also refused to release any information about an investigation of the New Black Panther Party case by its office of professional responsibility, saying the ongoing review was privileged information or was covered by the Privacy Act.

To slice it down to the bone, Attorney General Eric Holder is telling Congress to go flap somewhere else.

Now I would heartily agree with such a sentiment -- were we talking about senators and representatives horning in on foreign policy or the president's warfighting powers. The Constitution leaves those up to the Executive, by and large. But this isn't a case of national security: I scent the strong, smoky whiff of collusion and corruption in ObamaLand: The White House is covering up its own complicity; it should be declared an unindicted co-conspirator in voter intimidation alongside the NBPP.

My personal belief is that Holder (to a very large extent) and Barack H. Obama (to a somewhat lesser) actively support the Black Panthers' program of intimidating and frightening elderly white voters away from the polls. Why would Democrats in general support such a scheme? That's easy; they believe race-war is the health of the party.

They know that blacks will vote 95% for the Democrats, but they're pretty sure that white senior citizens, businessmen, and military veterans will vote strongly for the GOP. So the Democrats have decided it's in their interest to suppress the latter votes "by any means necessary," even buddying up with a racist organization such as the NBPP or ACORN -- or openly discarding military ballots during the election, as we saw in 2000.

Sidebar: One of the Democrats' most narcissistic crimes against America is the ruination of the word "racism" via tendentious redefinition; the term is now so tainted by false accusation and political manipulation that the word itself has lost all meaning. If George Orwell is right, when the word goes, the concept itself soon follows into oblivion. Now that "racism" means nothing, I wonder what word we can use tomorrow to describe the Klan, skinhead "Nazis," and what was done to James Byrd, jr.?

Some, like Michael Barone, argue that Republicans need a positive plan for action in 2010, not just their status as "not the Democrats." Others (e.g. Paul Mirengoff of Power Line) believe a "contract with America"-type agenda might just get in the way, turning off Independents and moderate Republicans who may disagree with conservatives about important elements.

But virtually everybody would agree that campaigning against corruption and thuggishness -- clearly defined, undeniable, inexcusable, and squalid -- has nothing but upside for the GOP. After all, liberal Democrats have already painted themselves into a hole; they have preened with unendurable pomposity and condescension, congratulating themselves on their own superior moral code, for three years now; and that's long enough to own their own policies.

Now hypocrisy -- that seemingly venial sin that Americans hate almost worse than murder, treachery, and treason -- looms over the incumbents' heads like the Sword of Damocles.

Let's find a pair of scissors sharp enough to slice a strand of horsehair. This particular sword is two-edged; but in this case, both edges cut against the supermajority.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 13, 2010, at the time of 2:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2009

Whitewashing the Panthers

Liberal Lunacy , Risible Racialism
Hatched by Dafydd

The attempt to stonewall investigation into the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party -- the case was dismissed by Attorney General Eric Holder (the first black attorney general!, a fact the NBPP seems to find of great significance) and Barack H. Obama (the first black President!, ditto) even after the Justice Department won it by default -- has just taken another stupifying turn: The administration booted Christopher Coates, the voting-rights section chief who signed off on the complaint against the Black Panthers, out of the prestigious D.C. office and down to South Carolina:

The veteran Justice Department voting rights section chief who recommended going forward on a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party after they disrupted a Pennsylvania polling place in last year's elections has been removed from his post and transferred to the U.S. attorney's office in South Carolina.

Justice Department officials confirmed Monday that Christopher Coates, who signed off on the complaint's filing in federal court in Philadelphia in January accusing the party and three of its members of civil rights violations, would begin his new assignment next month.

I suppose there could be an innocent explanation; I understand Coates graduated from the University of North Carolina... mayhap he was just pining for the Carolinas and reckoned either one of 'em would do. But coming at the end of such a timeline of scandal, it's a bit thick:

  • December 22nd, 2008: Career Justice Department officials decide to proceed against the Panthers for their intimidation of white voters and Republican poll watchers in Philadelphia during the November presidential election.
  • January 7th, 2009: Christopher Coates signs off on a civil complaint against the NBPP and three members alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

    The complaint, filed in the United States District Court in Philadelphia, alleges that, during the election, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were deployed at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and that Samir Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon.

    (The third member named was Malik Zulu Shabazz, Chairman of the NBPP.)

    Career prosecutors at Justice pursued the case vigorously, but the Panthers failed to participate, show up, or even respond; they simply ignored the proceedings against them.

  • April 7th, 2009: Prosecutors obtained an affidavit from Bartle Bull, "longtime civil rights activist and former aide to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign," who stated that he personally "saw the three uniformed Panthers confront and intimidate voters with a nightstick."

    Mr. Bull said the "clear purpose" of what the Panthers were doing was to "intimidate voters with whom they did not agree." He also said he overheard one of the men tell a white poll watcher: "You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

    But this affidavit was never filed with the court; no explanation why not has ever forthcome.

  • April 20th, 2009: The court issued a default judgment against the NBPP.
  • May 15th, 2009: The Department of Justice filed a "notice of voluntary dismissal," notwithstanding the default judgment against the Panthers:

    Court records reviewed by The Times show that career Justice lawyers were seeking a default judgment and penalties against the three men as recently as May 5, before abruptly ending their pursuit 10 days later.

    People directly familiar with the case, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of fear of retribution, said career lawyers in two separate Justice offices had recommended proceeding to default judgment before political superiors overruled them.

    The "political superiors" would presumably be Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli (a political appointee and big-time fundraiser for Obama during his campaign -- number three at Justice); acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Loretta King; and, one presumes, Attorney General Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. himself.

    New Black Panther Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were dismissed from the case altogether; while Justice sought an injunction against Samir Shabazz that he "not display a 'weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location on any election day in the city of Philadelphia' -- until November 15th, 2012, when the injunction expires. After that date, he is evidently free to resume his armed vigil outside Philly polling places... as he is free to do immediately anywhere outside the City of Brotherly Love.

  • June 16th, 2009: The United States Commission on Civil Rights sent a letter to the DoJ demanding to know why the case was dismissed after it had already been won:

    "Though it had basically won the case, the [Civil Rights Division] took the unusual move of voluntarily dismissing the charges , " the letter said. "The division's public rationale would send the wrong message entirely -- that attempts at voter suppression will be tolerated and will not be vigorously prosecuted so long as the groups or individuals who engage in them fail to respond to the charges leveled against them."

    The CCR began an investigation of the case and its voluntary dismissal by Perrelli and King, as well as others, such as the number two at Justice, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden. The Commission has the authority to issue subpoenas with which, by law, all federal agencies must comply:

    The commission, by law, has explicit power to issue subpoenas, and the law mandates that "all federal agencies shall cooperate fully with the commission."

    It eventually subpoenaed two career DoJ attorneys, Christopher Coates and J. Christian Adams, to come before the commission and testify about the NBPP case. There are some indications that Deputy Attorney General Ogden was also subpoenaed, but I cannot say for sure.

  • December 2nd, 2009: Notwithstanding the law, the Justice Department ordered Coates and Adams not to comply with their subpoenas, neither to testify nor appear before the Commission on Civil Rights. The Department of Justice insisted that their own "internal regulations" dating from 1951 trump the more recent federal law.

    On this same day, Ogden announced his resignation after less than a year on the job.

  • December 29th, 2009: And now today, the Washington Times -- which seems to be the go-to paper on this alleged violation of the rather important principle of the unbiased rule of law -- reports that Coates has just been ousted from the D.C. headquarters and reassigned to South Carolina.

    Sure is a nice career you got going, kid; sure would be a shame if anything was to happen to it...

Two conclusions spring to mind:

First, the administration of Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder seems single-mindedly obsessed with crushing the voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party, preventing any outside investigation into said crushing, and punishing those who participated (under the previous administration) in bringing the case in the first place... those who naively believed that the point of the Voting Rights Act was to protect the voting rights of all the people, not just black liberals.

And second, I would recommend to J. Christian Adams that he get his resume in order... just in case.

I think we can find the key to unlock this mystery in the accusation leveled by New Black Panther Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, from today's Washington Times story:

Party members have not returned numerous telephone messages and e-mails for comment, but told the Associated Press earlier this month in Dallas that the Justice Department was correct in dismissing the complaint. Malik Shabazz described the complaint as a "political witch hunt" aimed at discrediting Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. -- the first black man to be named to the post.

I believe the order to kill the case came directly from Holder, if not from Obama himself, for several reasons:

  • General sympathy with the leftist, blacktivist cause (perhaps absorbed by the president during his two decades in the pews of Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ);
  • Fear that Obama's victory (hence Holder's appointment) would be tainted by the whiff of scandal;
  • And bitter, relentless, reflexive hatred of George W. Bush from Texas and everyone associated with him, leading to the automatic imputation of vile motives for every policy he enacted... including even his support for the civil-rights acts of the 1960s. If Bush pushed the case, then it must be for some disreputable, white "cracker" racist reason.

Howbeit, since they quashed the case (it seemed like a good idea at the time), Obama and especially Holder are locked into a policy of stonewalling: They're increasingly worried about the unanticipated consequences of such a blatantly partisan action, particularly after the Left kicked up such a fuss about the putative "politicization" of the Justice Department under President Bush. Thus they have no choice but to implement ever more draconian actions to keep the lid on the mounting scandal.

But Panthergate has become an out of control boiler; as the heat rises, so does the pressure. Eventually it will blow skywards, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Perhaps Christopher Coates will come to feel grateful for his exile to South Carolina, where he is less likely to be scalded by the superheated steam.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 29, 2009, at the time of 3:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 21, 2009

Thou Shalt Not...

God and Man In the Blogosphere , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

This struck me -- an agnostic not-yet-believer -- as rather... odd:

A clergyman has been criticised as 'highly irresponsible' after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon.

Father Tim Jones, 41, broke off from his traditional annual sermon yesterday to tell his flock that stealing from large chains is sometimes the best option for vulnerable people.

It is far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than turn to 'prostitution, mugging or burglary', he said.

Evidently, he believes that poor people are criminal by their very natures. Well, in a sense I agree, though I think he has it backwards: Thieves are in general poor -- because of their very criminal natures.

As an irreligious person myself, it seems to me that a more effective sermon would be to instruct his congregation to develop the workplace and interpersonal skills necessary to hold down a job and earn a living. They're easily learnt, and we all had to do it; nobody is born knowing how to be a good employee, employer, or independent contractor. We all had to be taught how to act "appropriately" at work.

I refer to virtues such as:

  • Getting to work on time and staying until quitting time, if your job is time-based;
  • Finishing the projects you undertake;
  • Working diligently, rather than goofing off with your friends or sneaking off to the beach;
  • Attention to detail -- useful in virtually every endeavor including politics, where you really need the ability to keep track of which donors paid how much in bribes in exchange for what government goodies;
  • Understanding that other people exist; you are not the center of the universe;
  • Respect for other peoples opinions (and their space);
  • A sense of decorum;
  • Bottom;
  • Brevity (I need to work on this one myself);
  • Thrift (the last government needed remedial instruction in this virtue; the current one is irremedial and should be sacked).

Again, seems to me that if Daddy-Guy Jones were to help his flock attain more of these kinds of virtues, they wouldn't even need to shoplift, let alone mug. Too bad he's uninterested in teaching them. (Or perhaps he never learnt them himself.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 21, 2009, at the time of 11:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 19, 2009

"Not Getting It" as the New Democratic Religion

Democratic Culture of Corruption , Econ. 101 , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Many, many years ago -- around the time of the battle of Gettysburg, I think -- I heard a radio commercial for some MBA school. For some unknown reason, it was seared, seared in my mind.

The advert has a number of employees gathered around the water cooler (I suppose; it's radio, not TV). They're all stunned by the recent promotion of Fred, and each gives increasingly bizarre and utterly irrelevant premises why he (one she) should have been promoted instead:

"I keep my desk cleaner than anyone else in the department!"

"I wear a two thousand dollar suit!"

"I offered to paint the boss' house!"

"I'm the tallest guy here!"

Then the last fellow, voice practically breaking in anguish:

"Well for Pete's sake -- I have sideburns!"

Whenever I read stuff like this from the Democrats, that commercial always bubbles up in my memory...

Any tax imposed on financial transactions would have to take effect internationally to prevent Wall Street jobs and related business moving overseas, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday.

"It would have to be an international rule, not just a U.S. rule," Pelosi said at a news conference. "We couldn't do it alone, we'd have to do it as an international initiative."

The top Democrat's comments seemed to spell longer odds for the Wall Street tax, which some Democrats in the House of Representatives are proposing as a way to pay for job-creating legislation.

The "Wall Street tax?" Somehow I missed this one. By "financial transactions," they can only mean what the rest of us call Capitalism. I read further:

The tax, which could raise $150 billion per year, would tap into widespread public outrage at Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis, but support is lackluster among key legislators.

First, if there is "widespread public outrage at Wall Street," it was surely whipped up by Democrats themselves, especially during the 2008 presidential and congressional elections. But second -- a hundred and fifty billion a year? Over ten years, that works out to -- ah -- let me get my calculator... to $1.5 trillion dollars over ten years! A trillion and a half sucked out of the economy into the maw of federal government... so what is it supposed to buy us? Oh, here it is:

Democrats in the House aim to pass legislation designed to create more jobs before the end of the year to ease double-digit unemployment levels that threaten an economic recovery. The Senate is expected to act early next year.

The bill could include increased road construction, money to help states avoid layoffs of police and other public employees, and a further extension of unemployment benefits, Pelosi said.

Other options include extending health-insurance subsidies for the jobless, a tax credit for businesses that create jobs, more funding for energy-efficiency programs, and low-interest loans for small businesses.

Well for Pete's sake -- Nancy Pelosi has sideburns!

We're currently experiencing the worst unemployment rates federally and statewide in decades; businesses, especially small businesses, have been crippled by excessive regulation, soaring energy costs, skyrocketing health-care costs, and of course by draconian taxation levied by all levels of government.

So what is the Democrats' solution? It's as rational as pi: Pass another massive tax on "financial transactions" (wouldn't that hit everybody, not just Wall Street?) -- in order to "create more jobs." "Oh, of course we all support that Capitalism stuff, something about buyers and sellers... but surely you understand that companies can't create jobs; that requires federal legislation!"

And it sure worked out well the last time, didn't it? I mean way, way back in February, when the Democrats enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 -- the first "stimulus" bill, without which unemployment might have risen as high as 8.2%. It worked... it stimulated the economy so much that now they're talking about a massive new tax on Capitalism to pay for government-created jobs.

Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%) enthuses about the scheme:

"This is just something that is on the table, it hasn't been developed to a high priority, but it has substantial currency in our caucus," Pelosi said.

I find it increasingly hard to believe that liberals and Democrats are merely stupid, too dense to understand the fundamental premise of the market: That the "invisible hand" of the market allows buyers and sellers to find each other... so long as the "invisible foot" of government doesn't trip them up.

More and more, I am driven to the conclusion that the liberals in Congress and the White House reject the doctrine of Capitalism as heresy against their religion of government-enforced altruism... much the way many Fundamentalist Christians and Jews reject evolution in the (mistaken, I argue) belief that evolutionary biology denies God. Liberals appear to believe that altruism, complete selflessness, is the only moral way to resolve "crises" like hunger, health care, poverty, and security. Worse, they believe that altruism is even more effective when embraced at gunpoint.

A true altruist will take food from his own starving child to give to the starving child of a stranger; he is harsher on his friends than his enemies, because he must deny all forms of self interest, including sentiment.

But liberalism demands not only forced personal altruism but forced national altruism as well; so they cripple their own country to empower the worst and strangest countries in the world, just to prove how selfless America is (when driven by Democrats). Thus they make us bow before kings and fawn over tyrants, then kick our democratic allies in the shins and betray them to their enemies.

This cannot be sheer idiocy; never attribute to stupidity what can adequately be explained by malice: Leaders of mass movements usually know exactly what they're doing. Alas, in this era, the strongest mass religion is the First Church of Enforced Altruism... and it may require a religious civil war to take back our country.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 19, 2009, at the time of 2:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 8, 2009

A Tale of Two Mentalities

Dhimmi of the Month , Domestic Terrorism , Islamarama , Liberal Lunacy , Military Machinations , War Against Radical Islamism
Hatched by Dafydd

There are so many categories for this post because it touches on so many hot-button issues; but I picked "Dhimmi of the Month" as the primary category. We never did get the polling software off the ground, so you can't vote on it... but I'll still use the category when appropriate.

Sadly, today it's appropriate.

The Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Gen. George Casey, has just uncovered the greatest threat exposed by the Fort Hood massacre, presumably committed by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. Is it radical jihadism? A future Islamic terrorist attack in the United States? The use of political correctness as a human shield for potential murderers? The inability of the Army to notice that one of its members swam in currents of hate so strong, they seared his soul (as Winston Churchill put it)?

No. Gen. Casey has identified the real danger: a potential anti-Moslem backlash!

General George Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, said on Sunday that he was concerned that speculation about the religious beliefs of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, accused of killing 12 fellow soldiers and one civilian and wounding dozens of others in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, could “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.”

“I’ve asked our Army leaders to be on the lookout for that,” General Casey said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union. “It would be a shame -- as great a tragedy as this was -- it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.”

General Casey, who was appeared on three Sunday news programs, used almost the same language during an interview on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” an indication of the Army’s effort to ward off bias against the more than 3,000 Muslims in its ranks.

“A diverse Army gives us strength,” General Casey, who visited Fort Hood Friday, said on “This Week....”

“The speculation could heighten the backlash,” he said on “This Week.” “What happened at Fort Hood is a tragedy and I believe it would be a greater tragedy if diversity became a casualty here.”

Losing our "diversity" would be "a greater tragedy" than the Fort Hood massacre itself? Does any rational human being actually believe this? And does any military historian believe that "a [religiously] diverse Army gives us strength?" I think it clear from context that Casey is claiming that having a tiny handful of Moslem soldiers -- 3,000 out of nearly 1.1 million soldiers -- somehow makes the Army "stronger."

This is ludicrous. I'm positive having Moslems in our ranks doesn't make us any weaker, but neither does it make us stronger, except marginally: If we banned all Moslems from the ranks, we might have to accept a lesser qualified Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist soldier instead of a more qualified Moslem. But the diminishment would be slight at best.

What really makes us stronger is:

  • The independence and initiative of our soldiers, especially officers and non-coms;
  • Our rigorous and realistic training (with live ammunition);
  • Our general population's familiarity with firearms through civilian gun ownership;
  • Our technologically advanced weaponry and other warfighting systems;
  • And most of all, our ideology of liberty, which gives our servicemen reasons to fight more powerful than "because I told you to."

Casey's remark is yet another example of transforming the criminal into the victim; it's political correctness run wild. And if George Casey cannot understand why Hasan's religion -- which appears by all reports to be a violent, extremist, jihadist sect of Islam -- could be the primary motive behind the otherwise senseless spree killings, then Gen. Casey should be removed as Chief of Staff. Immediately.

It's as stunning as if Eisenhower had said in 1942 that we should not "speculate" on the possible role National Socialism might play in the military aggression of the Axis, lest we create a "backlash" against soldiers with names like, well, Eisenhower. For heaven's sake, the ideology of National Socialism was the primary cause of World War II... just as the ideology of violent Islamic jihadism is the primary cause of global Islamic terrorism.

Or doesn't George Casey believe that? Of course, Casey also didnt' believe in the "surge;" he thought it would inevitably fail, leading to American defeat in Iraq. Fortunately for us (and the Iraqis), he was kicked upstairs, and Gen. David Petraeus took his place as Commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq.

I find it curious that Gen. Casey is so worried about a potential "backlash" against other, non-radical Moslems -- when has this ever happened, by the way? -- but he seems utterly unconcerned about the possibility of another massacre at another military installation by another radical [REDACTED]. I guess each of us must prioritize his own concerns.

Does Casey's response make him a "dhimmi," by which we popularly mean a non-Moslem who bends over backwards to explain away or excuse the excesses of radical jihadism? Yes, I argue it does... because Casey tries to deflect blame from the horrific ideology of jihad: "Nothing to see here, folks; let's just MoveOn!" We know that the jihadist mindset directly causes Islamic terrorism; this appears to be terrorism, perpetrated by a Moslem who increasingly appears to have been radicalized. But we can't "speculate" on this seemingly urgent question for fear of that putative "backlash."

Casey's delusional political correctness was echoed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC, 82%), naturally enough:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina, and Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat of Rhode Island, took also pains on Sunday to say that Muslims have served honorably in the military and at risk to their lives.

“At the end of the day this is not about his religion -- the fact that this man was a Muslim,” Senator Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

I wonder if Graham thinks that Osama bin Laden's hatred of the West and of Jews has anything to do with his religion; I'm afraid to ask.

In order to conclude that Hasan's religion had nothing whatsoever to do with the attack, one really must ignore an awful lot of evidence. For example (of both the evidence and how it can be brushed aside):

The San Antonio Express-News has reported that classmates in a graduate military medical program heard Major Hasan justify suicide bombings and make radical and anti-American statements. But investigators have said that Major Hasan might have suffered from emotional problems that were aggravated by the strain of working with veterans of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and by the knowledge that he might soon be deployed to those theaters as well.

I think I would go along with the general premise that every radical Islamic jihadist "suffers from emotional problems;" but I understand the defense:

Only a lad
You really can't blame him
Only a lad
Society made him
Only a lad
He's our responsibility
Only a lad
He really couldn't help it
Only a lad
He didn't want to do it
Only a lad
He's underprivileged and abused
Perhaps a little bit confused

I note, however, that "understanding" is not the same as "exonerating."

Before we swing to the second "mentality," let's encapsulate the Casey mentality here:

On the base Sunday morning, mourners were asked [by the garrison chaplain] to pray for Major Hasan and his family, The Associated Press reported.

Yeah. That and not blaming the perpetrator are the most urgent tasks before us right now.

There is, however, another way to respond to the Fort Hood "tragedy" (man-caused disaster?); it was exemplified today by the man who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite senators:

A key U.S. senator called Sunday for an investigation into whether the Army missed signs that the man accused of opening fire at Fort Hood had embraced an increasingly extremist view of Islamic ideology.

Sen. Joe Lieberman's call came as word surfaced that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan apparently attended the same Virginia mosque as two Sept. 11 hijackers in 2001, at a time when a radical imam preached there.

God forbid we should "speculate" about how Hasam's religion might have slightly influenced his murderous actions. "This is not -- the radical imam -- I knew...!"

Classmates participating in a 2007-2008 master's program at a military college complained repeatedly to superiors about what they considered Hasan's anti-American views. Dr. Val Finnell said Hasan gave a presentation at the Uniformed Services University that justified suicide bombing and even told classmates that Islamic law trumped the U.S. Constitution.

Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wants Congress to determine whether the shootings constitute a terrorist attack.

"If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have zero tolerance," Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, said on "Fox News Sunday." "He should have been gone."

Couldn't we arrange for Gen. George Casey to be gone? He could be kicked upstairs again, this time to junior assistant deputy shavetail to the RINO Secretary of the Army, John McHugh. Then we could replace Casey with a new Chief of Staff, one with a mentality more like Joe Lieberman than George Casey.

Alas, that wouldn't work: The new Chief would have to be nominated by Barack H. Obama... and the One would probably name John Murtha!

Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 8, 2009, at the time of 6:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 2, 2009

The Scozzafava Scandals

Confusticated Conservatives , Elections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Ordinarily, I dote on every word writ by Rich Galen, cybercolumnist extraordinaire, proprietor of Mullings, my favorite non-blog blog (neg-blog?) Alas, I think he has really gone off the Newtonian end on the NY-23 race.

In today's Mullings, Rich writes the following:

The Conservatives nominated a guy named Doug Hoffman who does not live in the District, but is true to Conservative principals. [Er... sic, I think! Unless he means Ben Stein: "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?"]

Nevertheless, the National Republican Congressional Committee and other big-time Republicans supported her on the grounds that the locals know their District and having someone like Howard [sic] in the race splitting the GOP vote might well give the seat to the Democrat Owens.

I agreed. Someone e-mailed me the other day saying that people like me who live in Washington don't understand what is going on out in the "hustings." I responded that upstate New York is as "hustings" as it gets and they picked Scozzafava.

Well, no, Rich. "They" didn't pick Scozzafava. As I documented in a previous post here, she was selected in a back-room deal by eleven county GOP committee apparatchiks. The very fact that she recently plummeted in the polls, to the point where she fell off the radar in this race -- which is the only reason she dropped out, she was afraid of making an utter fool of herself if she stuck around -- proves that "they," the actual residents of that district, did not pick Scozzafava. Her support was probably below that of "don't know/no opinion" when she stalked off in a huff.

But here is the kicker to Galen's piece:

I have spent my adult life helping to elect Republicans all across the GOP spectrum. The only vote I care about is the first one: will it be for the Republican candidate for Speaker (in the House) or Majority Leader (in the Senate)? After that first vote they're someone else's problem.

If that's Galen's lone criterion, he made a very bad decision to endorse Scozzafava. Given her subsequent betrayal of the very GOP that "nominated" (selected) her, endorsing the Democrat in the race and urging all of her supporters (both of them) to vote for Democrat Bill Owens instead of Conservative Republican Doug Hoffman, what makes Galen so sure Scozzafava would have voted for John Boehner (R-OH, 92%) -- rather than Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%) -- in that all-important first vote?

I think it would have been a 50-50 bet at best. Clearly, Scozzafava's liberalism trumped her party affiliation by so much that she couldn't even stand neutral; she practically fell over her own feet rushing to endorse the liberal Democrat, Bill Owens.

Given that Hoffman is no more conservative than Boehner; given that Scozzafava's liberalism is as near as makes no difference to Pelosi's; and given the former's eagerness to stab her own party in the back -- I think Galen went all-in on a three-card inside straight when he endorsed Scozzafava.

Alas, he is so off on this call, I just can't keep my lip zipped: A political party must stand for something, or it's nothing but a Alinskyite power grab. What principle (or principal) of the Republican Party does Scozzafava embody?

She's a social liberal and a fiscal train wreck. She evidently hates conservatives, one of the core groups of the GOP, with such passion that she would rather see a liberal Democrat win than a Republican who calls himself conservative, no matter how reasonable. Either that, or she was so enraged at the very idea that some peon dared interfere with her free ride to the Capitol dome, that she decided if she couldn't win, she would make damn sure no Republican would win.

That's a pretty despicable instance of playing dog in the china shop.

I don't believe for one second Galen's claim that "the only vote [he] cares about is the first one," the organizing vote. When he wrote that, he included a huge bunch of implied but unstated caveats:

  • He certainly would not support a Republican who was also a Ku Klux Klansman, such as David Duke.
  • Nor would Galen support a corrupt politician just because he was the Republican.
  • And I suspect there are policy positions that are so outrageous, Galen would hold his nose and vote for the Democrat rather than a Republican who espoused them; for an obvious example, suppose a "Republican" ran on a platform of ObamaCare, the energy cripple and tax bill, declaring defeat and withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq, doubling all federal taxes, and enacting a federal law reimposing racial preferences on all those states that have repudiated them. I would be shocked if Galen could possibly imagine supporting such a nominee... even if he promised faithfully to vote for Boehner in the organizing bill. Oh, wait...

A political party must stand for something; and when the "nominee" (selectee) is as far outside the foundational principles of the Republican Party as Scozzafava appears to be, then even if it throws the election to the Democrat, one cannot in good conscience vote for her. Galen made the same sad error that Newt Gingrich made. Each fell into the sin of thinking of this election as nothing more than a political game and point tally, rather than what it is: a decision that could turn out to be life or death (for our military personnel, for example) and could turn out to be existential for the GOP.

There is a fine line here: We don't want to throw over reasonably good incumbents and establishment candidates running in purple districts; we don't want a policy of always supporting the hardest-right candidate in the GOP, because that could easily end up electing the Democrat, if the district as a whole is not as conservative as the candidate picked by the local GOP. More often than not in politics, the best is enemy of good enough.

But on the other hand, there are some principles that a candidate simply may not violate if he wants Republican support. While Dierdre Scozzafava is nowhere near the sludgey bottom of people who call themselves Republicans (David Duke springs to mind), she is certainly far enough down the pickle barrel -- and Hoffman is a good enough gamble -- that we should leave the DIABLO to ferment all on her own, rather than run the risk of letting her drag the party down to the depths along with her.

Galen and Gingrich should have thought a second time before leaping aboard the Establishment Express.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 2, 2009, at the time of 5:49 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 28, 2009

Barbara Boxer - Thank Goodness for National Poverty!

Energy Woes and Wows , Enviro-Mental Cases , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA, 100%) is of course shepherding the economy-killing energy bill, Cripple and Tax (sorry, I meant Cap and Trade) through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which she chairs. Her fellow committee member Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT, 80%) -- who just recently wrote his own Obamacare bill in the Senate Finance Committee, which he chairs -- has decided to write his own energy bill as well; he came out swinging against the Boxer bill... but his objections are all to the specifics; Baucus has no problem with the basic concept of the Obama-Boxer bill:

  1. Regulate carbon emissions as if they were pollutants (so stop exhaling, you climate traitor!)
  2. Force industries, farms, utilities, and other businesses to buy "carbon credits" that allow them to pollute the planet -- i.e., feed the plants.
  3. Set a national carbon reduction goal of about 80% by 2050 (!). This is so draconian, it can only be achieved one of two ways: By absolutely crippling American industry to the point where we'd have trouble competing with Albania; or by embarking upon a massive program to build a hundred or more nuclear power plants.

    The Democrats have no interest in building a hundred nuclear power plants. Or even one.

  4. "Fine" businesses and utilities increasingly staggering amounts of money when they're unable to meet that absurdist goal... thus creating the most massive tax the United States has ever levied -- on the evil, unAmerican sin of producing energy.

Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX, 76%) and Kit Bond (R-MO, 75%) conducted a study that found the gasoline tax increase alone would carry a price tag of $3.6 trillion, a cost that would be borne by "families, small businesses, farmers, truckers, & air travelers." I don't believe that even includes energy taxes on other forms of fossil fuel besides gasoline, deisel and jet fuel, such as natural gas, ordinary coal, or clean-coal technology.

But all this is prolog; what really caught my eye was this astonishing suggestion from Boxer:

Mrs. Boxer said that Mr. Baucus told her Friday that he could not back the bill in its current form. Still, she expressed hope that recent declines in U.S. emission levels caused by the economic recession of as much as 8 percent since 2005 would make the 2020 target more palatable for Mr. Baucus and other bill critics.

And there you have it, the essential absurdity of Cripple and Tax: A United States senator hopes that the current recession continues plaguing America, because that would reduce emissions (by reducing industrial production, jobs, and GDP) -- and "make the 2020 [emissions reduction] target more palatable!"

In other words, we'll already be so impoverished by the recession, which Barack H. Obama now "owns" via his counter-economic policies that perpetuate it, that we'll hardly even notice when we become even poorer due to his equally risible energy policy.

At last I understand: It's not true that the One's economic plan is failing; it's succeeding beyond his wildest dreams. We just misunderstand its real goal.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 28, 2009, at the time of 1:18 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 26, 2009

More On Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava

Election Derelictions , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

In the comments on a previous Big Lizards post, a commenter found my use of the term "GOP congressional establishment" puzzling; I noted that they were "the same folks who cynically picked (in a back-room deal) a out and out liberal, who agrees with Democrat Owens right down the ideological line, to replace the previous RINO [John] McHugh."

The commenter wrote:

I'm getting quite tired of conservative Republicans talking about the Party as if they were somebody from the sinister mother ship....

That said, I can't fault Newt for backing the Republican, apparently for good reason. It isn't enough to stand on principle and lose, nor to forsake principle and win. If Hoffman can stand on principle and win, he's pulled off the perfect storm. If he splits the conservative vote and the Democrat wins, he has harmed the cause, albeit temporarily.

Leave aside the confounding fact that I'm not a "conservative Republican;" I'm a free-market, pro-liberty Republican... but I hold many positions that run contrary to religious and social conservatism.

Let's stick to the matter at hand. If we were talking about a moderate Republican with some doctrinal differences, I might be inclined to agree that party support is more important than picking nits. If we were talking about a fiscal conservative who was squishy on same-sex marriage, I would grit my teeth but still probably vote for him; he would be on our side fighting nearly all the elements of Obamunism.

But the candidate picked by the GOP nomenklatura, Dede Scozzafava, is neither of the above: She is a brazen liberal, on a par with the Maine twins, Olympia Snowe (R, 12%) and Susan Collins (R, 20%). Scozzafava was not chosen by the rank and file; there was no primary, no election, not even a caucus. How did she get the ballot slot?

State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava beat out a field of eight other Republicans on Wednesday to pick up the GOP endorsement for the 23rd Congressional District seat.

Scozzafava, R-Gouverneur, a moderate Republican who supports a woman's right to choose and gay marriage, has been willing to openly split with her party in Albany.

The six-term Assembly member picked up the endorsement Wednesday after a meeting of the 11 Republican county committee chairs, who had interviewed the candidates at a series of regional meetings over the past month.

That, gentle readers, is the GOP congressional establishment, the Republican nomenklatura, in action: Who cares what Republican voters in the district want? I've got eleven party chairs in my pocket; and after interviewing the job applicants, they decided to hire Dede. And why Dede? Because, although she may be a social liberal, at least she's a fiscal liberal as well?

Now party luminaries like Newt Gingrich are miffed that Republican and Conservative voters in New York-23rd, and even the rest of us elsewhere, dare to question why the loony liberal should be the GOP nominee. The nomenklatura demand that Doug Hoffman withdraw so that Scozzafava can have a clean shot; she is the default candidate, after all.

But it's curious that the "default" is always to feverishly support anyone picked by the party establishment, even if the candidate is a flaming liberal; we joke that we're the "party of orderly succession," and that's how we got Gerald Ford in 1976 and Blob Dole twenty years after.

But it never seems the default position for the party establishment -- the party bosses who put Dede Scozzafava on the ballot on the basis of a job interview -- to nominate someone who actually has the support and approval of the rank and file party members. They only care that she will play ball with them, or perhaps take orders, and above all else won't rock the boat.

Doesn't that seem odd to you?

Why didn't they poll their party members? They had plenty of time: McHugh was tapped for Secretary of the Army on June 2nd -- five months before the November 3rd election. That's more than enough time to spend at least a couple of months finding out who the Republican (and Conservative) voters wanted as their candidate (under normal circumstances, the same person runs on both slates).

Instead, they just rushed to put a safely liberal DIABLO onto the ballot, pillow-talked Newt Gingrich into endorsing her; and now they expect the rest of us to cheer their quiet efficiency. We're to link arms and support the liberal against the other liberal, presumably while singing Solidarity Forever. ("The union makes us strong!")

I am really fuming about this: I am convinced that Dierdre Scozzafava is a vote for ObamaCare, a vote for Energy Cripple and Tax, a vote to pull all the troops out of Afghanistan... possibly even a vote for Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%) to return as Speaker of the House; look up Paul Horcher, Doris Allen, and Brian Setencich on Wikipedia.

It's entirely possible that if Scozzafava turns out to be too liberal for her party in a year, she may turn her coat and, like Arlen Specter, run as a Democrat in 2010.

Take a look at her website. You have to search high and low to find even a single position statement; a paltry handful may be found here, shuffled in among such "publications" (press releases) as "Scozzafava Offers Praise for Outgoing Fort Drum Commander" and "Legislation Mirroring Scozzafava Bill Passes Assembly; Residents to Be Notified Of Sex Offenders." But I can't find anything on the momentus decisions that face the United States Congress.

I have a hard time believing she has no opinion; the most charitable conclusion is that she does have positions, but she doesn't think revealing them would benefit her election chances.

Not only does Scozzafava seem indistinguishable from Bill Owens, the honest Democrat, she is an absolutely ghastly retail candidate: She's a terrible speaker; she hasn't reached out to hardly anyone in the district outside her liberal base; she seems to think that she has been anointed and will simply inherit the seat from the previous RINO, John McHugh (40% rating from the ACU -- probably more than Scozzafava would earn).

It almost looks to me as if the RINO GOP in that district would rather lose with Scozzafava than win with Hoffman. It's not that uncommon an attitude among an ensconced power elite; they're liberal, she's liberal, McHugh was liberal: If she wins, they're still sitting pretty.

Even if she runs and loses (narrowly) to Owens, they still keep their power; they can argue Scozzafava lost because she wasn't liberal enough!

But if, God forbid, Doug Hoffman wins... all the liberals in the permanent floating nominating and campaign committee in the 23rd District of New York could be ousted in favor of conservatives more to the new congressman's liking; it's not likely -- they probably have more power than a mere freshman congressman; but if he stays and is reelected a few times, he could completely change the character of the Republican Party in that district.

The same dynamic beset the Democratic Party in 1984, when Gary Hart came very close to beating Sir Walter Mondale for the nomination; the only reason Mondale won was the Carter-Mondale axis rigged the game by three power plays:

  • They forced a bunch of states to switch from primaries to caucuses, then the Mondale campaign took over the caucus structures... e.g., splitting the congressional and presidential nomination votes into two locations, then only telling Mondale supporters where the presidential one was to be held.
  • The Mondale camp controlled the party establishment in the various states; so that even when Hart won a primary, Mondale still received the majority of the delegates from that state!
  • And of course, through the very aggressive use of "superdelegates," which had pretty much been invented eight years earlier by Jimmy Carter to steal the 1976 nomination away from Jerry Brown and Scoop Jackson.

That is the power the party establishment can yield, particularly over the nomination process; it's made easier in the Scozzafava case by the circumstances: The nomenklatura simply met in a smoke-filled room and declared her the nominee.

Scozzafava is going to fade in the next week or so. The election will come down to Bill Owens versus Doug Hoffman, and Hoffman, I believe, will win. I wonder... when he does, will Republican leaders demand a recount?

Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 26, 2009, at the time of 9:33 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 23, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Sanity Clause

Elections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

From the Washington Post -- which seems to be edging ever so gingerly away from the One They Have Been Pining For:

Sensing that victory in the race for Virginia governor is slipping away, Democrats at the national level are laying the groundwork to blame a loss in a key swing state on a weak candidate who ran a poor campaign that failed to fully embrace President Obama until days before the election.

Wait, you sure it's not George Bush's fault?

Okay... so Virginia voters are upset that R. Creigh Deeds didn't climb into Barack H. Obama's lap and let him stick his hand up Deeds'... well, you get the sock-puppetry picture: Voters are angry at Deeds and less willing to support him because he's not singing the Obamalujah chorus.

So that's why they're voting for the Republican, Robert McDonnell. Hey, makes sense to me!

But why is it so important to blame everything on Mr. Deeds? That's easily explained:

A loss for Deeds in Virginia -- which for the first time in decades supported the Democratic presidential candidate in last year's race -- would likely be seen as a sign that Obama's popularity is weakening in critical areas of the country. But the unusual preelection criticism could be an attempt to shield Obama from that narrative by ensuring that Deeds is blamed personally for the loss, particularly given the state's three-decade pattern of backing candidates from the party out of power in the White House.

Whoosh! Mr. Deeds goes under the bus. "That's not the R. Creigh Deeds I knew."

But national Democrats are contrasting Deeds with New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine and New York congressional candidate Bill Owens, who they say have more actively sought the White House's help and more vigorously and publicly backed its agenda. Polls show Corzine in a competitive position in New Jersey and Owens ahead, while Deeds has turned aggressively to Obama voters in recent days in an effort to overcome a significant deficit in the polls.

Let's un-vague-ify those WaPo weasel words:

  • By "polls show Corzine in a competitive position," the Post means that John Corzine was being walloped by Chris Christie until mid-September, when "independent" Chris Daggett entered the race and began sucking votes away from Christie... in the polls, that is. Now Corzine and Christie are tied.
  • And by "[Bill] Owens ahead" in the special election for New York's 23rd congressional district, they actually mean that Democrat Owens has a slight plurality over his two opponents, liberal Republican Dierdre Scozzafava -- whom Charles Krauthammer says is not even a RINO; she's a DIABLO, a Democrat in all but label only -- and Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman; the two split the un-Democratic vote, allowing Owens to sneak ahead with 33%-35% support.

    But if the Republicans and Conservatives can coalesce on a single candidate, that candidate would crush Owens like a bongo drum, winning by eighteen or nineteen points... even on the Daily Kos poll!

In the real world of the voting booth, I believe all three of these races will go to the Republican -- or in New York, to the Conservative Party nominee, who will, I believe, suck a huge chunk of votes away from the soft-hearted, soft-headed Dierdre "Hillary" Scozzafava. (Since the GOP establishment backs Scozzafava, a lot of more conservative Republicans tell the pollsters that they're doing the same. But once they're in the privacy of the curtained room of democracy, it will be a different story.)

In any event, regarding the pathetic Mr. Deeds of Virginia... put a sock on him, he's done. As Queen might have sung, "another one bites the bus!"

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 23, 2009, at the time of 11:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 11, 2009

This Burns Me Up

Great White North Natterings , Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation
Hatched by Dafydd

According to Reuters, a truck driver was just fined about three hundred dollars for smoking in his "enclosed workplace"... which happened to be his own truck. There is no indication anyone was riding with him; he appears to have been alone in the cab.

This outrage occurred (of course!) in Canada, home of the knave and land of the "free" (health care, that is):

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, adopted in 2006, prohibits smoking in an enclosed workplace or enclosed public area, and that extends to work vehicles, said Constable Shawna Coulter of the Ontario Provincial Police in Essex County.

"We enforce the legislation and this truck driver was in violation of that," she said.

I don't know whether he owned the truck, but I don't think it would matter to enforcers of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act of 2006. What does matter, according to the (Toronto) Globe and Mail, is whether the company or person that owns the truck operates it entirely within Ontario, or whether it crosses the border into other provinces; if the latter, it's governed under federal (Canadian) law, and evidently can allow smoking in some trucks:

Companies doing cross-border business are federally regulated and can designate some trucks as smoke-friendly, leaving Ontario-only firms as the law's lone targets. And liability for a driver who owns the truck and is its sole operator is hazy.

The editor of the Globe and Mail has another pertinent question to ask:

What about those who work at home? If police find someone running a business from a sofa, enjoying a good puff, will they have the gall to write up a ticket?

I cannot vouch for the accuracy or even the veracity of Reuters-Canada... but I do know one thing: This is our future under ObamaCare. Once the government has a monetary interest in the health of each individual citizen, it develops an irresistable desire to control eveyr aspect of that person's life. After all, the government must protect its investment.

Think. Then vent. Then vote.

(Hat tip to Scott Gilbert, who uses the Big Lizards tip e-mail address to excellent effect.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 11, 2009, at the time of 11:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 8, 2009

Obamalemma

Afghan Astonishments , Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation , Opinions: Nasty, Brutish, and Shortsighted
Hatched by Dafydd

Why, oh why is President Barack H. Obama taking so blasted long deciding what to do about Gen. Stanley McChrystal's strategy and troop request in Afghanistan?

The Commander in Chief let it languish at the Pentagon for a month before even requesting it. Obviously, he already knew what was in it; the Pentagon leaked it, and its major components were widely reported: Switch to a counterinsurgency strategy and send more troops, structurally very like the strategy Gen. David Petraeus used so successfully in Iraq.

But the Obamacle sat and sat, squirmed and squirmed, unable to decide what to do about it (which is why he didn't request it be sent over to la Casa Blanca, because that formally "starts the clock"). Why? Why does he fiddle while Afghanistan burns? Our Marines and soldiers are dying.

The first is that Obama is congenitally incapable of making up his mind, of course. He has always been far more comfortable issuing lofty and vague encyclicals, then voting "present."

But he seems more torn that usual this time... and I believe there is a deeper reason why this particular decision is such an Obamic dilemma. This is the biggest, most consequential military decision he has ever had to make in his life... and it is the first entirely lose-lose choice of his immature administration.

Other crossroads have always offered Obama at least one option that was a win. What makes this one lose-lose?

The One likes to claim there is a "third way" between accepting the recommendation and rejecting it. He thinks he can get away with "counterinsurgency lite," which it pleases him to call a "counter-terrorist" strategy, whatever that means.

But in the end, no matter what alternative he picks, it will be seen by everyone as rejecting Stanley McChrystal's strategy... which is odd, because McChrystal is Obama's hand-picked choice to head up the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) commands -- after he fired the previous commander, Gen. David D. McKiernan. And McChrystal's report was the first and most urgent task Barack Obama was ordered to perform. Rejecting it would make Obama himself look weak... either he can't pick a good general, or else he's afraid of the course his general charted.

No matter, Obama has only two choices: accept McChrystal's request or reject it.

If he rejects the proposal, then Barack Obama owns Afghanistan: If it goes south on us -- which it likely will; it's hard to believe that even President B.O. thinks Joe Biden is a better military strategist than a four-star general who has actually fought -- if we end up retreating, if the Taliban makes great gains there and in Pakistan, if al-Qaeda returns to the Taliban-held territory... then everybody in the country blames Obama for losing the war.

We're not likely to reelect a president who inflicted another unnecessary defeat on us, especially in a war so closely tied to the 9/11 attacks -- "the war we should be fighting," as everyone on the left said, including Obama himself as recently as August. Americans have experienced insufficient pain to be eager to accept defeat as the only way out, as we became anent Vietnam.

He's already struggling because of his radical domestic agenda, which the American people have decisively rejected: government-controlled health care, massive bailouts, nationalizing banks and now even the automobile industry, and staggering tax increases coupled with an orgy of new spending. If we add "lost the war against al-Qaeda and screwed up the national security of the United States for decades to come" to the list of obstacles he must surmount to continue working at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., I think even the narcissism of the Obamas (B and M) would quail.

So the obvious choice is to accept McChrystal's recommendation. Ah, but this is the other horn of the dilemma... because he promised his radical-left base an American military defeat; and they may fully and finally reject his presidency (and himself) if he betrays that promise.

The defeat was supposed to be in Iraq, of course; that was the unpopular war in 2008, while Afghanistan was the forgotten war. There was enough pain associated with Iraq (our threshhold of pain has dropped markedly in recent decades) that inflicting a military defeat upon us in Iraq would probably have been acceptable to the American people, if --

  • If the war in Iraq were going as badly in 2009 as it was in 2006-7, when he made the promise...
  • If the economy had come roaring back shortly after Obama was elected, so he could claim credit (even if he had nothing to do with it)...
  • If his radical agenda had proved as popular as he convinced himself before the election that it would be.

But by the time Obama took command, the war had been won -- and won so obviously that to turn it around then would have been too, too obviously anti-American. It's not like in 1974; back then nearly everybody got his national news from one of three television networks or one of a small number of print sources, all linked together by a couple-three wire services. The political establishment could actually manage the news, feeding the American people what the powers that be thought they needed to know.

Too, the heavily Democratic Congress could blame the hated Republican president. Richard Nixon was already embattled, widely (and probably wrongfully) seen as corrupt, an easy target. His paranoia had all come true, and he barely even fought back. The 1972 reelection was his last hurrah; it was all downhill after that. With his resignation, to be replaced by his anti-war Vice President, Gerald Ford, there was nothing standing in the way of blaming Nixon for "losing the Vietnam war."

None of that obtains today. The news comes from too many sources now and cannot be managed by a small cabal of center-left establishment kingmakers. The turn-around in Iraq was too widely covered to be covered-up. Gen. Petraeus is far too articulate and beloved to be spat upon by snatching Obamic defeat from the jaws of Petraeus' victory.

Ergo, President Obama was forced to bless the Bush-Petraeus strategy; he was overtaken by events. But the Left exploded in rage anyway, unwilling to give him running slack; Cindy Sheehan is busily getting herself arrested outside the White House, a certain barometer of leftist Obamania dropping to a very stormy low.

Barack Obama promised the Left a defeat in Iraq if it supported him. When Obama defaulted, lefties came bawling at the White House gates, promissory notes in hand, demanding immediate payment.

The Left has always hated America more than any other country, for the obvious reason: We're the world's greatest bulwark of liberty, individualism, and Capitalism against international socialism. The revolution would eventually have to go through us before it could gain world domination; so leftists decided long ago that one of their strategies had to be to inflict military defeat on the United States whenever and wherever they could.

The Left needs us to be decisively and thoroughly bested by Jihadist terror organizations; it's desperate for America to be crushed under the sandals of al-Qaeda, Iran, or the Taliban; and it wants the whole world to see it!

Then the Left can crow that America's century has ended. It can encourage the spread of anti-Americanism, defeatism, despair, and fear -- especially fear, their favorite tool for mass manipulation. It can begin to advance a "national front," an alternative governing paradigm that can gain mass acceptance in this country, eventually allowing the Left to overthrow the American system and install internationalist socialism in its place. More than anyone else, the Left understands that to create a new governing paradigm, you first must utterly discredit the current one.

And historically, the best way to do that is to take advantage of a humiliating military defeat: in Vietnam/Indochina after the French occupation; in China right after World War II; in Germany after World War I; and of course in Russia itself during World War I.

Don't panic. I don't for one moment imagine it can actually pull off such an agenda. I argue only that it has exactly that agenda, and that it will pursue it with courage and vigor -- forever. We -- must -- lose one of our wars.

So what's left for us to lose? What other "funds of defeat" does Obama have to make good that promissory note to his natural base, the hard Left? He certainly can't start his own war for the sole purpose of losing it!

The only actual war left over from the "previous regime" is Afghanistan. If Obama accepts the recommendation of Gen. McChrystal, and if Afghanistan turns around as Iraq did, and we're seen to have won the war... then Obama may get a boost from the victory from real Americans; but that would probably come too late, after the 2010 congressional elections. It takes time to recreate a strategy: First one must design it, then select the leaders, transport the troops, order them, reorganize the supply lines, implement the new strategy -- and then you must execute it for many months before you see the fruits of your labor. I predict it would be eighteen months or more from making the decision to seeing undeniable signs of victory.

But the tangible hit from the Left would be immediate and catastrophic. When the mid-term elections roll around, the Left -- the most powerful engine of the Democratic Party -- will idle defiantly, driven by anger to punish the president who first trod upon one foot then stomped even harder on the other. 2010 will go from very bad for the Democrats to a tidal wave that could even wash them from power; it has happened before, and not just in 1994.

So the president is in a quandry, better yet, a quagmire of his own making. He himself created this Slough of Despond by agreeing to this deal with the Devil in the first place: Elect me and I promise you an American military defeat! Now he balances precariously on the bull's horns; and no matter which way Obama turns, he's likely to topple the moment the bull begins to run, and he may even be gored or trodden underhoof.

And that, I believe, is why the One We Have Been Waiting, Waiting, and Waiting For is in such a lather about what to do, and why he lashes out, furious but impotent, at his own general, who put him in such a pickle. My heart bleeds for Barack Obama, abandoned child of the Left.

The president must decide between betraying the American people but satisfying the Left, or the other way 'round. In the final cut, I cannot believe that he could ever cut loose from the ideology that has suckled and comforted him since childhood; I think he will land on the side of paying off that massive political debt: He will reject the recommendation and just hope to high heaven that Afghanistan just magically turns around on its own.

Or that unemployment miraculously drops to 4%, the economy roars back, and Obama gets to press the reset button on reaction to his entire domestic agenda. Then he can pray that the American voter has the memory of a mayfly, and the Democratic Party retains a strong majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate... because Barack Obama is incapable of doing what Bill Clinton did after 1994; it takes brains and courage to "triangulate," and I sincerely doubt the current fellow has either.

But such a fortuitous (to B.O.) sequence of events seems delusional to me.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 8, 2009, at the time of 4:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 7, 2009

ACORN: Not Quite Firemen, but Definitely Hosers

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I'm glad I'm not a professional satirist; I could never top the Democrats' self parody.

What do you think is the best use of a million-dollar grant from the Department of Homeland Security (specifically from FEMA) earmarked for firefighting?

Yep, that's the first organization that popped into my mind, too: ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now:

The Monroe Fire Department was the only squad in Louisiana to receive a grant and will be awarded $192,000. The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office will receive $62,000.

ACORN received $997,402, slightly less than the maximum allowable grant of $1 million. A total of $35 million was available for the grants project to fire districts across the country this year.

(Say, isn't that just about the same amount ACORN alleges was embezzled by its founder's brother, Dale Rathke, in 1999-2000? That amount was $948,507, according to ACORN; but prosecutors in Louisiana, ACORN's corporate headquarters, speculate it may have been as much as $5 million.)

Granted, ACORN received a similar grant last year, for half that amount; but we hadn't seen the full extent of ACORN's depravity then, had we?

Shockingly enough, this ain't sitting well with -- well, actual firefighting organizations in Louisiana. They seem to have this old-fashioned idea that money earmarked for firefighting shouldn't be sent to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and Firefighting Too, Sometimes, When We're Not Busy Rigging Elections:

"I have no problem with not getting a grant, I've lost grants before," said Chief [Charles] Flynn, one of the fire officials who complained to [Sen. David] Vitter in a letter.

"My issue is ACORN in New Orleans. Their mission statement says nothing about fire safety or fire prevention. It bothered me that ACORN got $1 million and there are so many smaller and bigger departments that have a need for that money."

For that matter, their mission statement also says nothing about voter fraud and financing whorehouses stocked with underaged girls from El Salvadore. What prudes, demanding that federal funding for a leftist organization be restricted to its published mission!

So... as the Democrat-dominated Congress and the Democrat-controlled IRS and Census Bureau defund ACORN left and right, the Department of Homeland Security -- headed up by well-known defense expert Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona (I think she said she can see Iran from her house) -- scurries to take up the slack and ensure that the nation's most powerful whoremonger don't have to close the doors of its string of brothels.

I declare, the blood of an Obamanista is icy enough to freeze the brass off a bald monkey.

When asked by Sen. Vitter (R-LA, %) to explain exactly how they planned to spend the money on firefighting, ACORN responded:

Senator Vitter knows a lot more about prostitution rings than anyone here does, so we'll defer to him on any matters pertaining to the videos attacking ACORN.

Thanks; good to know.

Janet Napolitano wants to put ACORN in charge of fighting fires in Louisiana. What could possibly go wrong?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 7, 2009, at the time of 6:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 2, 2009

Texas State Judge Overturns Texas State Constitution

Injudicious Judiciary , Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

Perhaps one of the legal beagles in the 'sphere can explain this to me, for I am only an egg in legal matters:

A Dallas judge ruled Thursday that Texas' ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional as she cleared the way for two gay men to divorce, the Dallas Morning News reported.

State District Judge Tena Callahan said the state’s bans on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional guarantee to equal protection under the law....

Attorney General Greg Abbott released a statement saying that he will appeal the ruling.

“The laws and constitution of the State of Texas define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman. Today's ruling purports to strike down that constitutional definition -- despite the fact that it was recently adopted by 75 percent of Texas voters,” he said.

Can Texas state judges strike down elements of the Texas state constitution on grounds that the constituiton is unconstitutional? I'm pretty sure that state judges in California cannot, but perhaps I'm mistaken even in that.

I was under the (perhaps naive) apprehension that state judges can strike down statutes for violating provisions of the state constitution; and of course a federal judge can strike down both a state statute and parts of a state constitution for violating the United States Constitution -- for example, a federal judge could strike down a clause of a state constitution, enacted by referendum (even by 75% of the voters), that restricted voting to whites.

But I didn't think state judges could strike down the state constitution, any more than a federal judge can simply rule a clause of the U.S. Constitution "unconstitutional." If a later clause contradicts an earlier one, then I have always assumed that the latter triumphs -- the most obvious case being the 12th Amendment in 1804, which directly contradicted parts of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, dealing with how we elect a president.

I have always been taught in school that the 12 Amendment changed the Constitution; but under the reasoning of State District Judge Tena Callahan, any federal judge could simply have ruled the 12th Amendment unconstitutional -- because it contradicted the section it was designed to alter! Similarly, any federal judge could have struck down the 13th Amendment (ending slavery), the 14th Amendment (due process and equal protection for all races), the 16th Amendment (income tax -- all right, maybe judges can kill off that one), or even the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th Amendment, thus reinstating alcohol prohibition across the land.

Clearly then, it seems to me, if federal judges cannot rule the U.S. Constitution unconstitutional, then state judges cannot rule the state constitution unconstitutional. Or am I simply ignorant of the niceties of law?

I suppose Callahan would argue that the state constitution violates the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment. But does a state judge have jurisdiction to consider that question? If so, then couldn't a state judge overrule a federal judge who may have already decided the opposite way? I thought the whole purpose of jurisdictional rules was to prevent such collisions in the first place.

And there is another point worth considering: The voters of Texas enacted a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage; but if a single liberal state judge can simply wave her hands and consign that vote to the dustbin of history, then Texas no longer as a "republican form of government"... which, by the way, appears -- at least to my non-law-schooled eyes -- to be guaranteed to each state by Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution.

At the very least, a "republican form of government" must ultimately be ordained and established by "we the people," not by judges; a judge should never be allowed to throw out pieces of her own constitution to suit her political ideology. That must be what is guaranteed by Article IV, section 4, for it to have any meaning or purpose whatsoever.

Unless some state judge somewhere has overturned it.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 2, 2009, at the time of 12:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 24, 2009

It's Official: Massachusetts Democrats Reject Rule of Law

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

The "fix" is now in the books: When a Democrat is governor of Massachusetts, he shall have the power to appoint interim senators or representatives to replace those who quit, are indicted, or die in office.

But when confused voters freak out and elect a Republican governor... why, that power shall quickly be rescinded. Can't have those unpatriotic, evil, racist, Nazi-like conservatives sending one of their own into the U.S. Senate and scuttling the Obamic takeover of health care! Far better to do without a senator for a few months.

Patrick has argued the state stood to suffer without full Senate representation before the special election campaign, but some fellow Democrats have joined Republicans in accusing him of a power grab. Patrick said he was untroubled by criticism from Republican lawmakers.

"I'm quite satisfied that I am both within the law and within tradition," Patrick said.

Absolutely... in the grand tradition of New Jersey, where the Democrats summarily dumped their 2002 senatorial nominee, incumbent Robert Torricelli, because he was losing to Republican Doug Forrester in the polling -- and because evidence of Torricelli's corruption was leaking out (the two reasons may have been related). The Democrats simply erased his name from the ballot and substituted the much more popular retired Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ, 100%)... and the New Jersey Supreme Court said sure, why not? It's Joisey rules!

All right, we always knew it: Boston, Trenton, it's all the same Democratic Party. But it is good that they've finally been forced to rip off the mask and confess who -- and what -- they really are.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 24, 2009, at the time of 5:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 7, 2009

Sure, Doc... If'n You Cancel Both Sides of It!

Health Insurance Insurrections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Another snide liberal who is too clever by half; this one is a doctor who argues that anyone who opposes ObamaCare should have to forgo Medicare -- hey, that's a government insurance "option," isn't it?

Oppose a government health care plan? A Jackson, Miss., doctor wants you to put your convictions on the line by burning your mother's Medicare card.

It's the reverse of the challenge many citizens have been issuing to their own members of Congress to forgo the health care plans they get by dint of working for the government and buy into the "public option" plan instead.

"I want to have a demonstration -- Boston Tea Party-like -- and burn those cards," said Dr. Aaron Shirley, who has done extensive work in trying to extend health care to the uninsured.

Shirley, you can't be serious, Doc... I would jump on that deal faster than you can cheer a tax increase -- provided, Doc, that in addition to rendering me ineligible for Medicare, you also return all the FICA money and SE tax I've paid into the system since my very first paycheck in 1976 (selling candy and popcorn in the Egyptian movie theater in Hollywood) -- returned with interest, naturally. (I'm willing to accept the normal interest that would have accrued had those dollars been shunted into United States Treasury Bonds all these decades.)

Should be easy to calculate.

In addition to Medicare, the deal would have to apply to all taxes taken from me to pay for Medicaid, SCHIP, and (the biggie) Social Security as well. Give it all back, Mr. Dr. Shirley, with the modest interest I demand above. Then you're welcome to wipe me from the rolls of future beneficiaries forever and a day.

And naturally, I would also be exempt from all future FICA taxation.

Say, Doc; what percentage of Americans do you think would take that same offer you make to me, to wipe them off the books -- and return all the money looted from them over the years, and never to take any more for any of those four programs? 25% perhaps? Maybe 50%? As much as 75%?

You might be shocked, Uncle Aaron; but I sure wouldn't be. Unlike you, I actually know just what a horrible "investment" all those programs have been.

Of course, you would never really make that offer, even if your pal Barack H. Obama appointed you Federal Tax Ponzi Scheme Refund Czar, because the entire country would be bankrupt... the federal treasury no longer has any of that money. It's all been spent, and what hasn't been spent has already been promised. Heck, even what has been spent has also been promised! There's no wherewithal there with all those IOUs.

Nope; all that you're really offering, Doc, is that those of us who are tired of being fleeced by those of you should abstain from all benefits, while still paying all the taxes -- and letting the government keep what it has already stolen. That's the usual liberal counteroffer, isn't it? If we don't like your product, we don't have to buy it... we just have to pay for it.

Shirley, you jest.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 7, 2009, at the time of 9:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 5, 2009

Raucous Baucus Caucus

Confusticated Conservatives , Congressional Calamities , Health Insurance Insurrections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

In a sure sign of a looming crackup in the health-care reform debacle, Sen Max Baucus (D-MT, 80%) says that he is sick of the deadlock among the putative "Bipartisan Six" senators, and that he is going to circulate a more or less final compromise position; if it fails to get four of the six votes -- as I suspect it will -- it will prove that "further bipartisan negotiations would be futile."

If that happens, I believe it will be the end of any significant health-insurance overhaul, as the Senate does not have sixty Democratic senators willing to vote for a Democrats-only ObamaCare bill; and all the Republicans will vote against cloture (including the Maine twins).

Finally, I do not believe, in the end, that the Democratic leadership will be able to pull off the "reconciliation" trick, where they enact a bill in the Senate that doesn't have, say, the government "option," but then add it in during reconciliation -- and claim that they only need 51 votes to pass the reconciled bill. The Byrd Rule would preclude that; and I believe Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV, 79%) himself would rail against it. A bunch of Blue Dogs would be outraged... particularly since they would be tarred by the bill even if they voted against it. The damage such a maneuver would do to the Democratic caucus itself would shred the party. Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 70%) won't fire that Rubicon.

I think that liberal Democrats and Baucus himself have concluded that there will be no bipartisan compromise: Republicans have no incentive to take the electoral heat off Democrats pushing a wildly unpopular bill that will bankrupt Medicare and put an onerous health-care mandate on all Americans without any significant reforms to lower the costs, such as tort reform, removing barriers on cross-state competition for insurance companies, expanded medical savings accounts (MSAs), health-insurance portability (attaching insurance to the person, not the job), and so forth.

On the other hand, liberal Democrats in safe seats have no incentive to take the heat off their more moderate colleagues to pass a radical government takeover of health care. Instead, both the GOP and the Progressive Caucus see more gain to themselves in blowing up the negotiations than finding a "compromise" that everybody hates: Republicans expect the collapse to hurt Democrats in 2010, while liberals believe that if they agree to a compromise, their radical constituents will abandon them in the election -- whereas their own personal reelection is guaranteed if they hold firm to "progressive" principles, even if that means ObamaCare dies an ugly death.

Baucus sounds desperate:

The chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, signaled his intentions in a telephone conference call with five other committee members who have been struggling for months to forge a bipartisan bill and break a partisan stalemate in Congress, an official familiar with the call said.

The official said Mr. Baucus had told the group that he would circulate a detailed proposal as early as Saturday. In doing so, he would be taking a big step toward forcing a final decision by the group as to whether it sees any realistic prospect of a deal.

Many of the ideas expected to be included in the Baucus plan have been aired for weeks among the negotiators and by other lawmakers. But if Mr. Baucus follows through, it would be the first time he had assembled a complete package, an indication of the pressure he is under to produce an agreement.

It was ever thus: Republicans see American health insurance as mostly in good shape with a few problems that can be handled with minor tweaks; liberal Democrats see a "crisis," whether real or fabricated, that can be whipped into an opportunity to do what they have dreamt of for decades: nationalize American health care, à la the British National Health Service... and they are pushing the Democratic moderates to hold firm, even if it costs them their jobs, to principles they don't even fully support. The negotiators are thus speaking at cross purposes; there is no "meeting of the minds," hence no "contract" is likely.

The Baucus compromise in the Senate Banking Committee gives neither side any of its bottom-line essentials:

  • There is nothing to strengthen or expand the invisible hand of the free market in health insurance, so Republicans will reject it;
  • There is nothing to stick the invisible foot of government into the Capitalist system, so the "progressives" have nothing to gain and everything to lose by supporting it.
  • Thus, only a small handful of actual moderates would support the bowdlerized "compromise."

As I wrote last Tuesday:

Compromise is a great strategy when negotiating the price of a new car, but it makes lousy politics; usually nobody likes the result, and all the collaborators end up running for cover. Far better to compete instead of collaborate... to put our own vision of health reform out there, then let the people decide.

Note that this syllogism applies equally well to the GOP and the Progressive Caucus: Each side is better off rejecting an unworkable sausage of a compromise and instead pushing its own alternative plan, heading into next year's campaign.

La Casa Blanca agrees with this assessment -- gloomy to them, bright and sunny to me and anyone else who supports liberty, Americanism, Capitalism, and the market:

For all the interest on all sides of the debate about what occurred in Friday’s conference call, the White House and Congressional Democrats have already concluded that a bipartisan alternative is probably doomed after recent public attacks from Mr. Grassley and Mr. Enzi.

That leaves the administration with a new and highly charged political dynamic -- balancing the conflicting desires of liberals and moderates in the president’s own party -- as he tries to pass a bill with Democrats’ votes alone, perhaps, and at best one Senate Republican, Ms. Snowe.

But Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME, 12%) supports only a potential government option that would be triggered by absolute private-insurance company intransigence, which is unlikely in the extreme; much more probable is that under such a plan, insurance companies would make some appearance of cooperation, thus avoiding triggering the entrance of government health insurance.

All sides understand that a government option hinging on a trigger is either (a) the same as no government option at all, or (b) equivalent to a full-time public option from Day-0. There will be no "in between" state in which we're already not certain whether the trigger will or will not be squeezed. But the lefties in the Democratic Party won't accept (a), while Snowe and the other moderate Republicans will not accept the latter.

Further, the progressives demand an actual government "option" for health insurance from the git-go; anything less will not allow the destruction of private insurance... thus allowing a good crisis to go to waste. The Left has too much power within the Democratic Party now to be rolled into a compromise that even Snowe could live with.

Similarly, moderate Democrats are balking at the Left's demands:

The president must reach out to moderate-to-conservative Democrats like Senators Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who will continue to push for a measure that spends less and does not include a public insurance option as liberal Democrats demand. The same is true for the Blue Dog Democrats in the House.

But liberal Democrats, who dominate in the House and include Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have become emboldened by the prospect of passing a bill solely with Democratic support.

Bottom line:

  • Moderates may want a compromise, but there aren't enough of them to pass it;
  • Conservatives and liberals alike would much rather have a head to head competition than "compromise" their principles by agreeing to a compromise;
  • Thus never the twain shall meet.

I predict there will be no compromise; rather, one side will win, and the other will lose. And given the mounting skepticism and even downright fear among the electorate about the specifics of radical health-care "reform," there's no doubt in my mind that the winner will be the GOP, the minor loser will be the Progressive Caucus -- and the big, fat, hairy loser will be Barack Obama himself, whose presidency will be gutted in his very first year in office.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 5, 2009, at the time of 9:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 1, 2009

And Besides, Obama Is Doing Much Better Than Bush Against Terrorists!

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Anybody remember that line I keep quoting from Man of La Mancha about hearing the cuckoo singing in the cuckooberry tree? Barack H. Obama's National Security Advisor explains (in the subtlely titled article "ABC News Exclusive: National Security Adviser Says President Obama Is Having Greater Success Taking Terrorists Out of Commission Than Bush Did") why Obama has actually been far more successful than Bush on all measures of counterterrorism... except for those measures we can actually produce in evidence:

Responding to criticism from former Vice President Cheney that President Obama is making the nation more vulnerable to terrorism, the president’s National Security Adviser, Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.), told ABC News in an exclusive interview that actually the reverse is true: President Obama’s greater success with international relations has meant more terrorists put out of commission.

“This type of radical fundamentalism or terrorism is a threat not only to the United States but to the global community,” Jones said. “The world is coming together on this matter now that President Obama has taken the leadership on it and is approaching it in a slightly different way -- actually a radically different way -- to discuss things with other rulers to enhance the working relationships with law enforcement agencies – both national and international."

Jones said that “we are seeing results that indicate more captures, more deaths of radical leaders and a kind of a global coming-together by the fact that this is a threat to not only the United States but to the world at-large and the world is moving toward doing something about it.”

Ah... I don't know how to measure a "global coming-together," but at least National Security Advisor and former Commandant of the Marine Corps Jim Jones surely can release statistics and evidence of the easily measured "more captures, more deaths" claim. Right?

The former Marine General didn't provide any specific numbers to back up his claim, but he said “there is an increasing trend and I think we seen that in different parts of the world over the last few months for sure.” He added that he was not “making a tally sheet saying we are killing more people, capturing more people than they did -- that is not the issue.”

It isn't? Then why bring it up?

I swear on a stack of Heinlein novels, this administration is the most self-absorbed, competitive (in a schoolyard sense), and envious presidential administration of my lifetime and likely even longer. It seems that President Obama is utterly obsessed with proving that he's much better than that awful Bush fellow.

By the way, if you're interested in specifics of the new political regime of the Obamacon, which has produced such tangible (if strangely invisible) improvements in our counterterrorism campaign, here is a tantalizing tip:

But the numbers are going up, he said. “The numbers of high value targets that we are successfully reaching out to or identifying through good intelligence” from both the CIA and intelligence agencies from US allies has made the difference, he said.

So we're "reaching out" to high-value targets. What could go wrong?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 1, 2009, at the time of 7:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 27, 2009

It's a Dead Man's Party

Follies and Foibles , Health Insurance Insurrections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Well that didn't take long.

All right, I made a crass prediction yesterday. I writ:

Please pardon my irreverance (blasphemy?), but I wonder how many days will pass before Chris Dodd says, "If the Republicans had allowed us to pass a public option in the Senate, Ted Kennedy would be alive today!"

Then a few moments ago, I looked on Drudge to see that the Democrats have decided to rebrand ObamaCare as -- KennedyCare!

To infuse Kennedy into the health-care debate, Democrats are planning to affix the former senator's name to the health-care legislation that emerges from Congress.

The idea of naming the legislation for Kennedy has been quietly circulating for months but was given a new push today by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the only person who served with Kennedy for all his 47 years in the Senate.

I say that's as near as makes no difference to my quasi-unofficial prediction: It took but a few hours for the Left to decide, almost unanimously, to work a grisly version of Weekend at Teddy's, dragging the old man's corpse to political rallies like Dracula in his coffin. (I could get truly Clive Barker-esque on you all by making sly references to Green Helmet Guy instead, but I have too much class.)

It is hard to avoid the eerie coincidence, however: Tedro's brother got elected president on dead men's votes in Texas and Illinois; and now the Democrats want to ride the coat-tails of Dead Ted into a government takeover of health care. "Complete the sequence, Mr. President!"

Do I seem boorishly insensitive, insufficiently respectful, a little too little de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est? No apologies; I think the Democrats are being a thousand times more disrespectful of the DKs by drafting Teddy into the cause posthumously... even though he himself would love it.

It's the most vile of emotional appeals; but worse than a crime against seemliness, it's a terrific blunder by liberals: They have, once again, mistaken their looking-glass fantasy for the real world, as they honestly believe that the rest of the country is heartbroken by the not exactly untimely death (he was a very old 77) of Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy.

They seem to think that the outpouring of grief and wailing noises will so overwhelm America, that the townhall shouters will fall to their knees, beg forgiveness of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 100%) and Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%), and go and sin no more against Obamunism.

It's a dead man's party
Who could ask for more
?
Everybody's coming
Leave your body at the door
Leave your body and soul at the door
!

I rather suspect that this will be seen instead as the most disgusting political hijacking since the "memorial" for Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, which was turned into a foam-at-the-mouth, three-ring political circus of anti-Republican hatemongering -- led by Wellstone's sons and by former Vice President Walter Mondale, as if the Republican candidate, Norm Coleman, had personally shot down Wellstone's plane with a Stinger.

And the voters indeed responded to that emotional emesis: They responded by shifting decisively in Coleman's favor... simultaneously electing Coleman to the U.S. Senate and also turning Mondale into the only man to have lost a national election in all fifty states.

(Alas, Coleman was on the chopping block himself in 2008, ultimately being replaced by -- Al "Big Boy" Franken.)

Democrats have two great mottos: Never let a good crisis go to waste, and never miss an opportunity to egregiously underestimate the intelligence of the American voter. Sometimes, as with the election of Barack H. Obama, the electorate lives down to expectations; but most of the time, they know all along what the Democrats really think of them, and they resent the hell out it.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 27, 2009, at the time of 12:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 24, 2009

The War Against the War Against Terrorism

CIA CYA , Liberal Lunacy , Terrorism Intelligence
Hatched by Dafydd

I stand (well, sit) in awe: I never believed that even this administration would have the huevos to immolate itself upon the altar of terrorists' rights. But it appears that the liberal imperative to damn America and support every anti-American movement in the world -- even al-Qaeda! -- is stronger than any sense of political or national survival, no matter how feeble:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move.

Holder is poised to name John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to lead the inquiry, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

I think they've stepped into it; Eric Holder is going to pull the trigger. He's actually going to -- let's be brutally frank here -- prosecute CIA agents for violating the rights of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaidah, and Abd Nashiri... presumably their right to keep silent about current pending terrorist attacks against the United States.

BREAKING UPDATE: ABC reports that current CIA Director (and former liberal California congressman) Leon Panetta was so enraged by the Holder decision that he threatened to resign; today, both the White House and Panetta's office deny the published reports.

There are only three possible outcomes to such an investigation:

  1. It might, like a previous investigation during the Bush administration, result in a finding that clears CIA agents and their civilian superiors of all charges.

The earlier team of prosecutors, including Robert Spencer, who had successfully prosecuted Zacharias Moussaoui, examined 20 cases of possible illegal interrogation; it found no evidence that could justify prosecution in 19 cases. Only one accusation led to a grand jury indictment -- of a CIA contractor; David A. Passaro was convicted of assault, but not murder, even though the suspect later died (the death could not positively be tied to the assault). Passaro was convicted of using a metal flashlight as a weapon against a detainee in Afghanistan.

Oddly enough, this would probably be the best outcome for Team Obamunism: Holder might have to fall on his sword, but he's only the attorney general... he's not critical to what Obama wants to do to the country. He could simply start appointing unconfirmed "Justice czars" to give him the legal rulings he demands, as he has already appointed numerous "foreign-policy czars" to debase and undercut Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

  1. Holder's investigation might find a number of minor incidents that are prosecutable but nothing major, allowing both sides to claim victory.

Note that such incidents must be so clearly wrong that a majority of American voters are disgusted by them; beating a suspect to death with a flashlight is a good example. Case-2 won't help the administration at all if, when voters hear the actual charges, they react by saying, "So what? Who the hell cares if the CIA frightened Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- a man who wanted to kill thousands of Americans?"

While such a string of legitimate but petty convictions may partially save Eric Holder's face, it's also likely to further damage the Obama administration's moral credibility -- and Democrats in general -- by feeding the mounting impression that Democrats quite simply oppose every program to defend the nation; that they're more concerned about our international "image" than protecting Americans from harm.

I believe folks still generally remember leftists complaining about lopsided battle victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, whining that it's just not fair for us to use overwhelming force against our military enemies. Groups such as International ANSWER, egged on by mainstream Democrats, argued that morally, American forces ought to suffer far more casualties, so we wouldn't look like bullies against al-Qaeda.

The spectacle of the Justice Department prosecuting interrogators for slapping, shaking, or threatening terrorists, in an effort to thwart plots of mass butchery, cannot help but fuel the belief that Democrats' concern for terrorists' rights is absurdly inflated, compared to the looming threat posed by militant Islamism.

  1. Or the investigation can turn into a Soviet-style show trial, where the threshold of "torture" drops lower and lower, to the point where CIA agents and contractors are being indicted and prosecuted for virtually every effective technique that has kept America safe from further terrorist attack since 2001; and the conflagration begins burning up the chain of command to drag in political appointees and even elected officials... criminalizing mere policy differences on the issue of national defense.

The third is the most likely outcome, in my opinion; when an administration appoints a special prosecutor to investigate some alleged crime, pressure becomes almost insurmountable on the appointee to find something "substantial" to justify the millions upon millions of dollars he is spending.

He tends to follow leads wherever they go, and especially when they lead up the chain, rather than down; the investigation ranges farther and farther afield, sometimes even spinning out of control into an overtly political attack -- as when the investigation of the Iran-Contra "scandal" by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh culminated in an "October surprise," when Walsh indicted former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger less than a week before the 1992 election... likely playing a large role in President George H.W. Bush's defeat by Bill Clinton.

In the present case, the dynamics of special prosecutors means that the investigation may begin with a "relatively narrow" mandate "to look at whether there is enough evidence to launch a full-scale criminal investigation of current and former CIA personnel who may have broken the law in their dealings with detainees." But it will quickly skitter off course into an attempt to indict, to "get," some really big fish -- enumerated here in decreasing probability but increasing desire on the part of the Left to "nail" and "frogmarch into jail":

  • The pair likeliest to be enmeshed in the spiderweb of political investigation would be former head of the Office of Legal Counsel (and now federal appellate-court judge) Jay Bybee and his top subordinate, John Yoo; they were largely responsible for producing, at White House request, a memo examining the legality of enhanced interrogation techniques; their conclusion that American law allowed many enhanced techniques is now decried by various professionally outraged left-liberal groups, and is now being investigated by Spain as a "crime against humanity."
  • Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who accepted some of the enhanced techniques discussed in the Bybee memo and rejected others; or his Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith (author of the seminal Bush-era memoir, War and Decision).
  • Former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, former Director of Central Intelligence (then Director of the CIA, as the title reverted to its original form) Porter Goss, and former Director of the CIA (and former Director of the NSA) Gen. Michael Hayden -- just because they headed up the CIA, and it's politically impossible to charge CIA interrogators following instructions with "war crimes" without likewise indicting the agency heads.
  • Former Directors of National Intelligence John Negroponte and Mike McConnell (the latter is also a former Director of the NSA). "Just because."
  • And of course, the big cheeses: former Vice President Dick Cheney, former President George W. Bush, and former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove -- just because "everybody knows" they routinely bombed orphanages and nunneries, engaged in cannibalism, and locked completely innocent terrorists in a room with a caterpillar.

Holder's decision to throw red meat into the maw of the special prosecutor exposes Obama and congressional Democrats to the threat of political catastrophe: If moderate American voters conclude that the investigation has turned into a "witch hunt," where good and decent men and women are put on trial for daring to aggressively defend the United States from terrorist attack (voters already have the latent belief that the Left wants to criminalize national defense) -- then the collapse of support for the administration and Democrats in Congress will be swift, thorough, and enduring.

Given the drawn-out nature of such investigations and prosecutions ("the law's delay"), they're likely to come to a head shortly before the 2010 elections; and a case-3 inquisition could well lead to a debacle greater than that of 1994, perhaps closer to the 1930 and 1932 elections, where Democrats gained a two-cycle total of 149 House seats and 20 Senate seats.

The current angst among voters -- which has led to a stunning drop in Barack Obama's job approval in every major poll conducted, from Gallup to Rasmussen -- has so far been driven almost entirely by domestic gaffes, miscalculations, and proposed policies that are antithetical to exceptional American virtues and threaten the lifestyles, perhaps even the lives, of the American people. National-security and foreign-policy idiocies have not even entered the equation yet.

If successful CIA terrorist interrogators are indicted and put on trial for keeping us safe (against all immediate post-9/11 predictions), and if these investigations morph into a series of show trials, then fear of economic collapse will be joined by fear of dreadful terrorist attack... all due to liberal anti-business, anti-defense ideology. With that "perfect wave" of Democratic delegitimazation, all normal limits on political upheavals, carefully written into our Constitution, would be suspended. Republicans would win races they have no business winning, and the gains would last longer than they have a right to last.

Democrats would find themselves back in the wilderness, as they were from the 54th through 60th Congresses; Republican domination lasted from the 1894 to the 1908 elections in the House, and to the 1912 election in the Senate. To climb back out again, Democrats would likely have to evolve into a much more mainstream party.

Thus Eric Holder's mad, political payback against America's first line of defense against attack could actually achieve what Republicans themselves could only dream of: finally make plain to voters just how radical and anti-American the Democratic Party has become.

I have never supported the scheme of anti-liberals voting for liberal, even radical Democrats like the Obamacle; the theory is that the Left will inevitably overreach, horrify the electorate, and precipitate a backlash that will sweep Republicans (some of whom are conservative) back into power. But my objection was never that there wouldn't be a backlash; it's that the damage caused in the interim, while liberals control all the levers of power, may well be irreversible. Even if the rosy scenario of movement conservatives comes true, the country may already be so ravaged by the insanity of the taxaholic, technophobic, and terrorist appeasing New Left that we can never recover even to the point we were before the debacles of 2006 and 2008.

That said, now that we're already in the terrible position we are, I would obviously rather see the reign of President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 70%), and Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%), quickly truncated than see them abide on and on. I also believe that no prosecutions will succeed, except perhaps for obvious cases of abuse by peripheral characters; the political show trials will serve only to damage the administration, not the freedom or reputation of CIA agents -- and certainly not of Bush-administration lawyers, cabinet members, or the president and vice president themselves, who demanded that the CIA protect the United States as aggressively as legally allowed.

The electoral damage is already done, and the best strategy going forward is to end the nightmare as quickly as possible.

Therefore, I rejoice that the attorney general has chosen to sacrifice the remaining shreds of the administration's credibility in a futile, thuggish attempt to punish its predecessor for successful national defense. Go ahead, try to pin that tar baby with a flying tackle; dig that political hole so deep, you'll see darkness at noon.

In other words, bring it on.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 24, 2009, at the time of 7:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How Dare You Violate My Privacy Right to Defame You Anonymously on My Public Blog!

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I don't know for sure that Rosemary Port, if that is her real name, is a liberal; but I figure, she's just got to be -- !

Sorry seems to be the hardest word for the blogger who anonymously scorned a model as a "ho" and a "skank," igniting a legal and media maelstrom.

Speaking out for the first time since a court order forced Google to reveal her identity, blogger Rosemary Port tells the Daily News that model Liskula Cohen should blame herself for the uproar.

"This has become a public spectacle and a circus that is not my doing," said Port, whose "Skanks in NYC" site branded the 37-year-old Cohen an "old hag."



Liskula Cohen    Rosemary Port

Old hag (l), Ho' monger (r)

But Rosemary Port isn't taking lying down the violation of her sacred right to defame and flame a model who is eight years older, yet nevertheless prettier than she; her crack legal team is on the move:

The pretty 29-year-old Fashion Institute of Technology student added that she's furious at Google for revealing her identity, so much so that she plans to file a $15 million federal lawsuit against the Web giant.

"When I was being defended by attorneys for Google, I thought my right to privacy was being protected," Port said....

In her suit, she'll charge Google "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity," said her high-powered attorney Salvatore Strazzullo.

How dare you embarass me by obeying that court order!

It's not that she wants the money; far from it. Rosemary Port is a pure altruist. She just wants Google to be severely punished, lest other companies follow that terrible example.

She compares her patriotic struggle to that of the authors of the Federalist Papers, and I think she gets the better of it. Certainly that was the very first analogy that popped into my mind, too. James Madison -- Alexander Hamilton -- Rosemary Port... separated at birth!

[Steven] Wagner [attorney for the Old Hag] also denied that Cohen posted suggestive pictures of herself -- and said Cohen proved as much in court. The raciest shots, taken at a private party, showed a fully clothed Cohen apparently simulating sex with a fully clothed man. (Cohen did post a slightly saucy shot of herself on all fours inside Cipriani's.)

"Does posting that give someone the right to call her 'a psychotic, lying whore'?" asked Wagner.

See? The skanky ho' brought it on her saucy self!

$50 says they're both liberals. Who else could display such compassion, such empathy, such a finely-tuned sense of priorities? Who but a liberal would have such a refined understanding of the simple fact that everything a liberal wants to do is a constitutional right, and everything she opposes is an unconstitutional violation of her sacred right to privacy?

When this all dies down, perhaps President Barack H. Obama will find the pair to be kindred spirits... he might tap them to fill some of the 285 "senior policymaking positions requiring Senate confirmation" that the president hasn't yet bothered to fill.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 24, 2009, at the time of 4:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 20, 2009

Lockerbie Bomber Released... Is It Just I?

Liberal Lunacy , Terrorist Attacks
Hatched by Dafydd

According to Scottish authorities, the poor chap has suffered enough:

Despite strenuous American opposition, the Scottish government on Thursday ordered the release on compassionate grounds [!] of the only person convicted in the Lockerbie bombing, permitting Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a 57-year-old former Libyan intelligence agent, to return home after serving 8 years of a 27-year minimum sentence on charges of murdering 270 people [!!] in Britain’s worst terrorist episode.

Still protesting his innocence, and offering “sincere sympathy” to the families of those who died in the bombing, Mr. Megrahi was granted his freedom under the terms of Scottish laws permitting the early release of prisoners with less than three months to live.

...Is it just I? Or does anyone else think that Abdel Basset Ali al-Merahi having only three months to live makes him more likely, not less, to commit a suicide bombing -- sorry, act of "martyrdom?"

But at least the amnesty side has a strong, perhaps unarguable counterargument in favor of release:

[Kenny MacAskill, Minister of Justice in Scotland] continued: “In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity. It is viewed as a defining characteristic of Scotland and the Scottish people. The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live.”

Mr. Megrahi “did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.”

“But, that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days,” the official said.

“Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available. [Actually, it appears to demand that "compassion" trump justice. -- the Mgt.] Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown. Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people - no matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated,” he said.

This is the evil wrought by a compassion-based "justice" system: At the end of the day, according to Minister MacAskill, the horrific and premeditated murders of the 270 victims of the bombing were worth 11.5 days incarceration each; after that, "compassion" lurches forward to assert that, being sick, the convicted mass-murderer should be allowed to go home and be surrounded by his loved ones and comforted as he dies -- exiting, perhaps, not with a whimper but with a bang.

"I can hear the cuckoo singing in the cuckooberry tree..."

The self-emasculation of Europe in the name of "compassion" is a disturbing yet fascinating case study demonstrating why Professor Charles R. Kesler is right that "compassion is not a virtue":

At bottom, the whole notion that compassion was the virtue conservatives lacked or needed to cultivate to be respectable was highly dubious. The best that could be said was that the slogan may have conferred some marginal electoral advantages in 2000. At a deeper level, however, the prominence of compassion was in tension with Bush's avowal of the responsibility era and his pledge to bring dignity back to the presidency. Compassion is not a virtue, after all. As the name suggests, it's a form of passion, of "feeling with" others -- feeling their pain, usually; a specialty of the previous administration. Like every passion, it is neither good nor bad in itself; everything depends on what its object is and its fitness to that object. In practice, our compassion often goes out to whoever is moaning the loudest. That's why the classical political virtue is justice, not compassion, for compassion is often indiscriminate and misdirected.

(Hat tip to Scott Johnson at Power Line.)

The Kesler essay is astonishing, and we urgently need every Republican at least to read it; and every conservative -- and even non-conservative anti-liberals (such as myself) who nevertheless want to see a conservative resurgence -- should read it closely and absorb Kesler's most important take-away: That what the American conservative movement has lacked since the days of Ronald Reagan is a coherent, consistent ideology of conservatism that drives their policy decisions... and which they are willing to defend, even when those policy decisions are unpopular with some segments of the American polity.

As GW at Wolf Howling likes to say, "read the whole thing." It's a bit long, but it's time well spent.

Any consistent ideology of conservatism must be based upon personal responsibilty; each individual must accept personal responsibility and accountability for his decisions in life -- and every legitimate government must allow such personal responsibility. Individual justice (the rule of law) is just as integral a part of conservatism and republicanism as is Capitalism, for each demands that individuals take personal charge of their own lives and be judged accordingly. Thus, while a totalitarian tyranny is clearly illegitimate, so too is a "nanny state" that outlaws the consequences of failure (and therefore the fruits of success as well). The difference in illegitimacy is merely a matter of degree; the principle is the same.

I may seem to be taking a left turn here, but just bear with me. Rule twelve of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals dictates the following tactic:

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy.

But the corollay of this rule -- for friendly forces -- is likewise true; here is my own formulation of the other side of the corrosive Alinsky coin:

Rule 12-prime: Pick the ally, ignore his flaws, personalize his suffering, and polarize it. Cut off the opposition network and insulate the ally from personal accountability.

And that is precisely what the New Left in Europe, America, and the rest of the West has done to Megrahi: They have insulated him from personal responsiblity for his horrific terrorist act because he is an ally, a fellow anti-American.

They do the same with Stalinist butcher Che Guevera, convicted cop-killer Mumia abu Jamal, and even with those "three members of the New Black Panther Party" who viciously intimidated voters trying to vote in Philadelphia in the 2008 election: Compassion trumps justice -- but ideology trumps compassion.

After all, the Obama administration showed no compassion for voters driven away from the polls by club-wielding "poll watchers," just as Justice [!] Minister MacAskill shows no compassion for the 270 victims of Megrahi's mass slaughter, or even their living families.

In that sense, Professor Kesler was slightly off target: Compassion, rather than being "indiscriminate," is often very discriminatory indeed, being offered only to members of one's own tribe (no matter how culpable) and denied every other victim, no matter how innocent and deserving. (He did write, "indiscriminate and misdirected;" but he could have been stronger and more explicit.)

Early releases of a vicious killer on grounds of "compassion" directly contradicts the principle of equal justice under law, a fundamental axiom of legitimate government; our protest to Scotland should begin and end with that point: Denying equal justice to a popular killer and to citizens of an unpopular country (the United States), Scotland, even the United Kingdom itself, are sinking to the same level as Libya, no morally better and no more legitimate; and the Scottish and British people should be deeply ashamed of their tainted government.

Some clearly are:

Conservative Party leader David Cameron said: "I think this is wrong and it's the product of some completely nonsensical thinking, in my view.

"This man was convicted of murdering 270 people, he showed no compassion to them, they weren't allowed to go home and die with their relatives in their own bed and I think this is a very bad decision."

...Even some left-liberals:

Scottish Labour criticised the decision to release Megrahi. Labour leader and MSP Iain Gray said: "If I was First Minister, Megrahi would not be going back to Libya. The decision to release him is wrong. He was convicted of the worst terrorist atrocity in our history, the mass murder of 270 people.

"While one can have sympathy for the family of a gravely ill prisoner, on balance our duty is to honour and respect the victims of Lockerbie and have compassion for them. The SNP's handling of this case has let down Scotland."

Let us hope that British subjects who care not only about their government's moral legitimacy but about the very survival of Western civilization exercise their personal responsibility to remove the current Labour government from power at the earliest opportunity and replace it with a strong Tory majority, as polls suggest will happen when Labour is finally forced to hold an election.

David Cameron has many faults -- he is certainly not what we in America would call "conservative" -- but at least he understands the fundamental distinction between of the virtue of justice and the chimera of compassion.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 20, 2009, at the time of 5:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 14, 2009

When the Joker Hits the Fan

From Bad to Verse , Health Insurance Insurrections , Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation
Hatched by Dafydd

Say, maybe this can be the marching song of the New Sons and Daughters of Health-Care Liberty...!

When the Joker Hits the Fan

by Dafydd ab Hugh

(Can be sung to the tune of "Bad Moon Rising")

I see Obama Jokers risin’
I see those posters all around
Sure seems politically surprisin’
Must mean approval’s hitting ground

Don’t think I’m the man
For your socialistic plan
When the Joker hits the fan

Health care is something quite important
Health care is something we all need
Town halls, if they’re a potent portent,
Folks hate ObamaCare indeed!

Don’t think I’m the man
For your socialistic plan
When the Joker hits the fan

Looks like quite a change in weather
Must be the winds of liberty
Liberals are blowin’ round like feathers
Town halls have speech that’s finally free

Don’t think I’m the man
For your socialistic plan
When the Joker hits the fan

Take back your governmental mandates
Taxes that sink us like a stone
Don’t think we’re all a bunch of ingrates
We just prefer to choose our own

Don’t think I’m the man
For your socialistic plan
When the Joker hits the fan

We don’t need government to guide us
We’re not just “public option” cogs
We don’t need senators to chide us
We won’t throw Granny to the dogs

Don’t think I’m the man
For your socialistic plan
When the Joker hits the fan...

When the Joker hits the fan

© 2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 14, 2009, at the time of 8:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2009

State Health Care Plan: Traveling Eternity Road - on a One-Way Ticket

Health Care Horrors , Health Insurance Insurrections , Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation
Hatched by Dafydd

This is so stunning, I'm still not sure what to make of it.

Several states already have the equivalent of ObamaCare's "government option;" one of those is Oregon.

Oregon is a blue state... in the last two decades, a very blue state:

  • The last time it went for the Republican in a presidential race was a quarter century ago, for Ronald Reagan in 1984; Oregon even voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988.
  • The last time it elected a Republican governor was even longer: 31 years ago (Victor G. Atiyeh). Every major elected official in the executive branch is currently a Democrat.
  • Oregon has two Democratic senators, Ron Wyden, 100%, and Jeff Merkley, not yet rated; Merkley replaced about the most liberal of all "Republican" senators, Gordon Smith, 33%. (Smith's last rating from the liberal ADA was 60%, nearly twice his rating from the American Conservative Union.) [This bullet point corrected; Smith was defeated for reelection in 2008. Hat tip to commenter Fritz.]
  • Oregon has five representatives in Congress; four of them (80%) are Democrats. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR, 75%) is the lone Republican, and he's hardly a conservative.
  • Democrats currently hold a 60% majority in both the Oregon State Senate and the Oregon House of Representatives.

So it's hardly surprising that Oregon enacted an assisted suicide law in 1994, and again in 1997, both times by a referendum of the citizens. And it's equally unsurprising -- but instructive -- that it also passed the Oregon Health Plan, created by doctor and Democratic state Sen. John Kitzhaber; it went into effect in 1994. Kitzhaber rode the health plan into the governor's officer, elected in 1994 and serving two terms.

The plan is called Oregon's Medicare/Medicaid program, but adults not qualified for either program can nevertheless be enrolled into OHP Standard.

The program has not exactly worked as intended; after costs nearly doubled in its first six years, new enrollments were frozen for four years, from 2004 through 2008; Oregon then held a lottery, in which tens of thousands of applicants applied -- for 3,000 slots.

The Oregon Health Plan, more or less a real-world model of ObamaCare, is under tremendous pressure to cut costs. They have found a unique way of doing so: They no longer pay for life-saving chemotherapy for cancer patients with less than a 5% chance of survival for five years... but they will pay to help kill them:

Barbara Wagner has one wish - for more time.

"I'm not ready, I'm not ready to die," the Springfield woman said. "I've got things I'd still like to do."

Her doctor offered hope in the new chemotherapy drug Tarceva, but the Oregon Health Plan sent her a letter telling her the cancer treatment was not approved.

Instead, the letter said, the plan would pay for comfort care, including "physician aid in dying," better known as assisted suicide.

"I told them, I said, 'Who do you guys think you are?' You know, to say that you'll pay for my dying, but you won't pay to help me possibly live longer?' " Wagner said. [Hat tip to Sachi]

Dear readers, this is your future under ObamaCare.

But why in the world would the Oregon Health Plan brazenly suggest that she kill herself? That's easily explained:

[Dr. William Toffler] said the state has a financial incentive to offer death instead of life: Chemotherapy drugs such as Tarceva cost $4,000 a month while drugs for assisted suicide cost less than $100.

[Dr. Som Saha, chairman of the commission that sets policy for the Oregon Health Plan] said state health officials do not consider whether it is cheaper for someone in the health plan to die than live. But he admitted they must consider the state's limited dollars when dealing with a case such as Wagner's.

"If we invest thousands and thousands of dollars in one person's days to weeks, we are taking away those dollars from someone," Saha said.

It's government medicine; poor Barbara Wagner has no place else to go.

Adding insult to accessory to manslaughter, it appears that the Oregon government health bureaucracy hasn't even kept up with the advance of modern medicine:

The Oregon Health Plan simply hasn't kept up with dramatic changes in chemotherapy, said Dr. David Fryefield of the Willamette Valley Cancer Center.

Even for those with advanced cancer, new chemotherapy drugs can extend life.

Yet the Oregon Health Plan only offers coverage for chemo that cures cancer -- not if it can prolong a patient's life.

"We are looking at today's ... 2008 treatment, but we're using 1993 standards," Fryefield said. "When the Oregon Health Plan was created, it was 15 years ago, and there were not all the chemotherapy drugs that there are today."

Surprise, surprise on the Jungle Cruise tonight. So... under government medicine, Barack H. Obama's grandmother shouldn't get a hip replacement, because she's going to die soon anyway; Sarah Palin's son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, wouldn't get long-term treatment because Down is incurable; and Barbara Wagner begs for cancer treatment -- and instead gets a not-so-subtle hint that she should contact a physician about how to "reduce the surplus population" by committing suicide.

There is really no nice way to spin this.

Fortunately, the company that manufactures Tarceva, Genentech, has decided to let Wagner have it for free... for now. But what about all the other Barbara Wagners in Oregon?

ObamaCare: Change you could die for.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 13, 2009, at the time of 2:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 6, 2009

Heath Ledger: America's First Black Joker

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

The Washington Post has published a column discussing the new (and still anonymous) poster of President Barack H. Obama:



Obama Joker -- small

I was going to fisk this fishy column by Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post; but I discovered that someone had already beaten me to it: a fellow named -- Philip Kennicott. The column is self-fisking; one need only quote a few brief passages. I shall toss in but a bon mot or deux -- less destructo-beam, more laser pointer. So without further vamping, allons!

Between Jack Nicholson's 1989 portrayal of the Joker in "Batman" and Heath Ledger's 2008 characterization in "The Dark Knight," something sinister happened to the villain's iconic makeup. What had been a mask, with the clearly delineated lines of a carnival character, became simply war paint, and not very well applied.

The visual change signaled a change in the Joker's inner mechanism. Nicholson's dandified virtuoso of violence was replaced by a darker, more unpredictable and psychotic figure. What had been a caricature became more real and threatening. An urbane mocker of civilized values became simply a deformed product of urban violence.

Er, this would be the same Joker who once, in the DC comic book, murdered members of a television audience using floating bombs -- in the shape of newborn babies... right? Isn't the Heath Ledger Joker from The Dark Knight in fact much closer to the original than the precious performance by Uncle Jack?

The new Obama poster has two basic thrusts. Obama is a socialist, or a crypto-socialist. And Obama is somehow like the Joker, unpredictable and dangerous. But joining these two messages together yields more questions and contradictions than good poster art can sustain. The Joker is violent and dangerous, but a socialist?

Violent and dangerous -- and yet a socialist. What oxymorons we must all be!

So why the anonymity? Perhaps because the poster is ultimately a racially charged image. By using the "urban" makeup of the Heath Ledger Joker, instead of the urbane makeup of the Jack Nicholson character, the poster connects Obama to something many of his detractors fear but can't openly discuss. He is black and he is identified with the inner city, a source of political instability in the 1960s and '70s, and a lingering bogeyman in political consciousness despite falling crime rates.

Help me to understand: The whiteface makeup worn by a white actor depicting a white psychopath is ultimately a racist, anti-black image? Why, because it's put on the face of the President of the United States -- who happens to be black?

Is Kennicott saying what I think he's saying -- that no one would be posting this poster on his blog -- in fact, the anonymous artist would never have created this image in the first place -- had Barack Obama been white?

Is Philip Kennicott related to Doctor Professor Henry Louis Gates, jr.?

The Joker's makeup in "Dark Knight" -- the latest film in a long franchise that dramatizes fear of the urban world -- emphasized the wounded nature of the villain, the sense that he was both a product and source of violence. Although Ledger was white, and the Joker is white, this equation of the wounded and the wounding mirrors basic racial typology in America.

Okay -- Ledger is white, but he's really black.

Urban blacks -- the thinking goes -- don't just live in dangerous neighborhoods, they carry that danger with them like a virus. Scientific studies, which demonstrate the social consequences of living in neighborhoods with high rates of crime, get processed and misinterpreted in the popular unconscious, underscoring the idea. Violence breeds violence.

Okay -- ethnic culture has no real relation to crime; it's pure coincidence based upon geography.

Obama, like the Joker and like the racial stereotype of the black man, carries within him an unknowable, volatile and dangerous marker of urban violence, which could erupt at any time. The charge of socialism is secondary to the basic message that Obama can't be trusted, not because he is a politician, but because he's black.

Okay -- "I can hear the cuckoo singing in the cuckooberry tree..."

So in addition to clinging to our guns and our religion and attending town-hall meetings while wearing Brooks Brothers suits with swastika accessories, we're also racists for equating socialism with urban violence. Ooh-la-la, quel dommage!

Any possibility that perhaps the Post was punked?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 6, 2009, at the time of 6:38 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 4, 2009

Stuporman vs. Mighty Mouth

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Just a head's up -- and this should be good:

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is demanding that the Justice Department explain why it recently dismissed a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party who disrupted a Philadelphia polling place during last year's election, saying the department has offered only "weak justifications...."

Mr. Reynolds also charged that other groups might not have been treated so leniently.

"If you swap out the New Black Panther Party in this case for neo-Nazi groups or the Ku Klux Klan, you likely would have had a different outcome," he told The Washington Times in a telephone interview Monday.

"A single law, a single rule should be applied across the board. We are communicating with the department in hopes of gaining a better understanding of just what happened."

Yes, this is just one of those "keep watching the skies" type posts... but oooh, what a light show!

The Justice Department was also in the final stages of seeking sanctions when a delay in the proceedings was ordered by Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general.

The ruling was issued after she met with Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the department's No. 3 political appointee, who approved the decision, according to interviews with department officials who sought anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

But of course, that meeting was entirely coincidental... as was President Barack H. Obama wading into the Crowleygates scandal on the side of the pompous university blacktivist; as was nominating a Supreme Court justice who decided at least one case on what appears to be a flagrantly racialist basis.

The HRC (Human Rights Commission -- not the Secretary of State) explained its position in an earlier letter:

In a June 16 letter, the commission told the Justice Department that its decision to drop the case had caused it "great confusion" since the New Black Panther Party's members were "caught on video blocking access to the polls, and physically threatening and verbally harassing voters."

The letter said that even after the case had been won, the department "took the unusual move of voluntarily dismissing the charges," which, it wrote, sent "the wrong message entirely -- that attempts at voter suppression will be tolerated and will not be vigorously prosecuted so long as the groups or individuals who engage in them fail to respond to the charges leveled against them."

Or unless the defendants have a last name like "Shabazz."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 4, 2009, at the time of 6:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2009

Unnatural Positions

Afghan Astonishments , Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation , Pakistan Perplexities
Hatched by Dafydd

I found this juxtaposition fascinating -- in a horrifying sort of way. First, we certainly can't talk to those scheming Honduran diplomats... they represent the coup leaders:

The U.S. government said Tuesday it has revoked the diplomatic visas of four Honduran officials, stepping up pressure on coup-installed leaders who insist they can resist international demands to restore the ousted president.

The U.S. State Department did not name the four, but a Honduran official said they included the Supreme Court magistrate who ordered the arrest of ousted President Manuel Zelda and the president of Honduras' Congress.

The State Department is also reviewing the visas of all officials serving under interim President Roberto Micheletti, department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

(How dare the Honduran Supreme Court rule according to the Honduran constitution, rather than sit quietly and wait for instructions from the One They Have Been Waiting For!)

But of course, we can't simply refuse to talk to people; that would be puerile and unproductive:

A concerted effort to start unprecedented talks between Taliban and British and American envoys was outlined yesterday in a significant change in tactics designed to bring about a breakthrough in the attritional, eight-year conflict in Afghanistan.

Senior ministers and commanders on the ground believe they have created the right conditions to open up a dialogue with "second-tier" local leaders now the Taliban have been forced back in a swath of Helmand province.

Oh, I know, I know; it seems just a tad inconsistent:

  • Refusing even to allow into the United States diplomats and officials from one of the most pro-American countries in Central America, because they refused to sit idly while a Cuba- and Venezuela-backed wannabe dictator unilaterally and illegally changed the constitution to allow him to become President for Life;
  • And then turning around and opening a diplomatic initiative with the terrorist group that (a) was fully complicit in the September 11th attacks, and that (b) we ousted in a -- well, not exactly a coup; in our case, we used a full military invasion to institute regime change. (See? Totally different.)

It may seem inconsistent, hypocritical, hysterical, adolescent, cement-headed, awkward, slovenly, ad-hominem, and amateurish... but appearances can be deceiving: Perhaps President Barack H. Obama is just living by the motto that defines his life: Keep your enemies close, and your mortal enemies actually in bed with you.

But then again, maybe the president is signalling that he now has second thoughts about the war of Christianist aggression in Afghanistan, started by a previous administration. Maybe this is the first step towards demanding that the current illegal "government" of that country disband, fly to the Hague, and surrender themselves... so that the legitimate government of 2001 and prior can retake its rightful place in Kabul.

I understand that later this year, the president plans to send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special-Olympics Spokesman Joe "Litella" Biden to South Korea to share a beer with President Lee Myung-bak and PM Han Seung-soo -- then deliver a long and serious lecture about dissolving the South Korean entity and making amends for their war of imperialist aggression against their northern brothers 59 years ago.

Cross-toasted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 28, 2009, at the time of 6:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 23, 2009

Oh Please Don't Throw Me into that Brady Patch, Ms. Pelosi!

Democratic Culture of Corruption , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I can understand corruption; simple venality is easily fathomed: A person with a broken moral compass (or none at all) sees ethical behavior as mere obstacle, so he finds a way to squirm around it to get what he wants anyway.

But what offends me most about nearly every act of political corruption is the sheer stupidity of it: Nine times out of ten, by acting unethically, the corrupt damage themselves far worse than if they'd simply done right. Call this "etholution in action," or perhaps the third law of ethical physics: For every unethical action, there is an opposite and equal (or greater) backlash.

Illustrative example forthcomes...

According to Roll Call (the magazine run by liberal Democrat Morton Kondracke, formerly of the Beltway Boys), Democrats are trying to suppress Republicans critical of ObamaCare by denying them franking privileges to communicate with their own constituents about the current ObamaCare legislation being written in Congress... unless they cease disagreeing about the plan's effect and adopt the Democrats' position instead:

House Republicans are crying foul and claiming that the Democrats are using their majority to prevent GOP Members from communicating with their constituents.

The dispute centers on a chart created by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee to illustrate the organization of the Democratic health care plan.

At first glance, Brady’s chart resembles a board game: a colorful collection of shapes and images with a web of lines connecting them.

But a closer look at the image reveals a complicated menagerie of government offices and programs that Republicans say will be created if the leading Democratic health care plan becomes law.

In a memo sent Monday to Republicans on the House franking commission, Democrats argue that sending the chart to constituents as official mail would violate House rules because the information is misleading.

(My apologies for the "printer friendly" version; but rather unaccountably, it's the only version that doesn't require a subscription to Roll Call.)

For those unfamiliar with the term, "franking privileges" means free postage for congressmen to mail their constitutents, so long as the communications are not out and out campaign mailers ("Vote for me!").

Whenever your representative or senator sends you a newsletter or vote alert, he doesn't have to pay postage. The privilege is important, because otherwise some congressmen with smaller budgets -- usually minority members, since the budgets are controlled by the majority -- might be unable to communicate with the people they represent in their own districts.

As you probably guess, this is a fearsome weapon in corrupt hands: If the majority selectively denies franking privileges for the minority, it can control the debate by silencing opposition. And that appears to be exactly what is happening in this case: Democrats are trying to silence Republicans, while allowing their own side to send as much free mail supporting ObamaCare as it wants, so long as it's careful to phrase the support as mere "explanation" or "description" -- exactly what they want to stop the GOP from doing.

The hook that Democrats hang their decision on is that they say Rep. Brady's flowchart is "false and misleading." Now those terms have regular definitions, but each also has a tendentious redefinition supplied by the Left: According to the leftist lexicon, what advances leftism is "true," and what retards leftism is, by definition, "false." But of course, they must make some nod, a fig leaf, towards a party-neutral reason; that's the least they can do.

Never let it be said that the Democrats fail to do the least they can do! I haven't read the entire memo -- I can't find a copy -- but here are the only specific examples of the Brady chart being either false or misleading that Roll Call mentions:

  • "The chart’s illustration of low-income subsidies is also 'misleading and false,' Democrats argue."
  • "Democrats argue that the chart depicts a 'Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund' that is 'simply a recipient of IRS funds, with no outflow. ... This is false.'"

The first accusation is nothing more than an assertion with no specifics. That particular box (red rectangle with sharp corners, west sou'west on the Brady flowchart) reads, "Low-Income Subsidy (families with 4x poverty level);" but the Democrats fail to tell us -- or Roll Call fails to quote them, which seems unlikely -- why this is "false" and what the actual elligibility test is.

Had Democrats given specifics, Republicans could respond by explaining why they believe the "four times" figure is more accurate than the Democrats' figure; since Democrats gave us nothing, we throw this one in the dustbin.

The second accusation at least has specificity... but it's arguably false, as a quick glance at the chart itself (linked above) demonstrates. The Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund (HIETF) is a red rectangle with rounded corners in the northwest corner of the flowchart. You will notice that is has an input from the yellow IRS diamond (as Democrats note).

But there is also a thin, red line connecting the HIETF with the Treasury Department -- a white elipse just northeast of the HIETF box. Alas, that line has no arrowhead, so we do not know if it is a one-way connection, and if so, which way it points.

The Democrats assume that means it's one-way... pointing from Treasury to the HIETF. But it could just as easily be a passthrough from HIETF, through Treasury (which must cut checks), to the Public Health Investment Fund, which is another red, round-cornered rectangle about midway between east and west on the north side (we're still following the thin, red line).

There are two ways to interpret that thin, red line connecting HIETF and Treasury:

  1. The line means two-way monetary traffic: HIETF receives money from the Treasury Department, and it also sends money through Treasury to other targets via the Public Health Investment Fund... funding favored Democratic constituents -- institutional, corporate, and private.
  2. Or, Republican ninnies think the trust fund only collects money and never dispurses any; it just accumulates billions upon billions of dollars for no apparent reason.

The Democratic memo wants you to believe the latter; but this doesn't even make sense from a Republican perspective; it's a serious breech of ethics, if not the law, if HIETF will funnel money through the Public Health Investment Fund to left-leaning entities; but a bloated reserve of gigadollars in a big tank somewhere not only wouldn't benefit Democrats, it wouldn't even fit the Republican narrative of profligate Democratic spending!

So we have two possible interpretations of a statement (or flowchart, in this case): One is rational and fits the narrative of the folks making the statement; the other does not fit that narrative, and is totally doltish to boot. The simple logic of Occam's Razor compels us to adopt the former interpretation -- not the ludicrous latter one.

But let's get to the real point at last. What has been the effect of the Democrats' corrupt stifling of Republican opposition to ObamaCare? Let's see:

Republicans quickly embraced Brady’s chart, and over the past week about 50 Members have posted it on their Congressional Web sites or used it in a floor speech. It has also been posted on the home page of the Republican National Committee.

Odd... the flowchart appears to be getting out anyway, despite the best efforts at Democratic corruption. But wait, let's take a step backwards... because in addition to appearing on Republican websites, it has also now been discussed in Roll Call -- and the chart is on that website, too.

But as they say with the Ginzu knives, that's not all! Roll Call is a very distinguished magazine -- and it's run by a liberal! So unlike stories in, e.g., the Washington Times or Weekly Standard, the controversy over mailing the flowchart will very likely leak out from Roll Call and into other magazines, newspapers, and elite media sources. In fact, the longer the fight rages, the greater the chance that the flowchart will get on television, and the attempted suppression discussed on radio, and both story and chart printed in major newspapers across the nation.

By contrast, had the Democrats simply allowed the Republicans to mail their blasted mailer, (a) it would only have gone to people in districts that are already Republican; and (b) it would probably be thrown into the trash unopened by the great majority of its recipients... as they routinely do with all mailings from their representatives and senators. To put it bluntly but honestly, the Democrats' own corruption now guarantees a hugely wider distribution of Rep. Brady's flowchart: Far more people will see it and read it than ever would have opened the original mailer.

The Democratic culture of corruption that led them to try to suppress the speech of their GOP opponents has already produced, and will continue to produce, a virulent backlash against the Democrats themselves, generating dramatically increased exposure of the exact damaging flowchart they tried to suppress.

Somehow, someway, Brer Republican managed to trick Brer Democrat into flinging the Brady flowchart into the briar patch. Once again, the Left has overreached and outsmarted itself. But I reckon Democrats just can't help it; as Uncle Remus said -- or at least as he's quoted at Disneyland's Splash Mountain ride -- "You can't run away from yourself -- there ain't no place that far!"

Cross-posted at Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 23, 2009, at the time of 6:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2009

Free Speech: Threat, or Menace?

Confusticated Conservatives , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

This is more or less an open thread. I solicit your opinions in the comments; don't disappoint me!

Resolved: There is no general "right" to nonverbal "speech," and indeed, some should be banned.

Pro

Freedom of speech has always historically meant the freedom to express ideas in words; the modern fancy that any action whatsoever can be considered "speech" if it conveys, however indirectly, a message is unsustainable in logical argument.

Mere outrage is not by itself a message; at best, it's a medium... and freedom of speech does not imply freedom of every medium of expression. For example, does freedom of speech include the "right" of two high-school students to strip naked in the classroom and have sex? But they may thus be expressing the "message" that they are in love. And does it include "selling" property that doesn't belong to you, without the real owner's permission? But that may express your belief that all property should be distributed equally among everyone.

Speech literally means speech -- talking, words, sentences -- not anything that moves anyone to do or think anything. Granted, some nonverbal communication might be accorded the brevet status of speech; "flipping the bird," for example, or maybe even something as rude as mooning a speaker you hate. But those are privileges, not rights, and they can be allowed or forbidden on the whim of the authorities... so long as those authorities are even-handed in their judgments and don't use their power to advance one cause while restricting or retarding another. (But that can be a separate cause of action -- you can go to court and argue that the government is abusing its power to suppress nonverbal speech.)

Finally, there are some images and other nonverbal communications that are so vile and degrading that they literally harm people -- permanently and irrevocably -- either through encouraging horrific and ghastly behavior, or simply via psychological scarring and moral numbing. The victims include children, of course, but often adults as well.

Consider snuff films, even those that do not actually kill or harm any of the actors (adult or child), but create an amazingly realistic depiction of such sexual violence and murder. If we cannot ban a film, for example, that graphically depicts the sodomistic rape of a child (even if faked) -- and revels in such behavior, depicting it as normal and pleasurable -- then we are no longer a civilization, just a gathering of atavistic voyeurs and beastial bipeds.

At least "mere words" haven't the power to move people towards the soulless night of absolute amorality, as graphic or other nonverbal communication can. Can we not at least restrict "freedom of speech" to actual speech, words, which can be countered... and allow communities to ban some types of nonverbal "speech" that simply cannot be counterprogrammed, no matter how many wholesome, family-value programs are made available in response?

Con

Sometimes, mere words are not sufficient to express a powerful, important idea in its fullness. For thousands of years, human beings have used nonverbal media -- everything from music to art to sculpture to dance to what today we would call protest and passive resistance -- to communicate and advance ideas that simply cannot be adequeately conveyed by words... either because the authorities won't allow the words to be spoken, or because the idea itself is ineffable.

For only one example, can religious experience be reduced to mere words? Suppose some government banned the Catholic mass -- but allowed a transcript to be printed and distributed. Freedom of religion aside, would that satisfy the intent of freedom of speech?

Great Britain at one time banned the singing of Irish revolutionary songs in the six counties (Ulster) in northern Ireland. Presumably, one could recite the words, but not sing them. Is that an acceptable limit on freedom of speech? Who, besides the government itself, benefits from such censorship of music?

If Iran bans the act of displaying an American flag on Iranian soil, doesn't that violate Iranians' freedom of speech? Could anything, words or actions, be more eloquent in expressing how a Persian might feel about what the mullahs have done to Iran, and the fights they have picked, than hoisting the flag of the freest country on Planet Earth, which is of course Iran's Great Satan?

Some ideas are ineffable: They cannot be fully described verbally, but only approximated; they cannot be properly argued or advanced with mere words. If we allow governments to ban nonverbal communication, they will inevitably use that authority to suppress those ineffable ideas that threaten their own hegemony or power (such as freedom, liberty, democracy, and disfavored religions), while blithely allowing nonverbal "speech" supporting those ineffable ideas that the government likes (like obedience to authority, or the singular divinity of Allah). That is certainly the pattern in every country that suppresses nonverbal "speech"... suppression is never "even-handed!"

Our only defense to vile and degrading nonverbal speech is to produce moral and uplifting speech (verbal and nonverbal) to combat the former. It can never be right for government to decide what types of speech, verbal or nonverbal, shall be allowed; suppressing the one is no different from suppressing the other: Both boil down to thought control, which is just another word for tyranny.

No matter how irredeemable some communication is, suppressing it comes at too high a moral cost.

Motivation

My thoughts on this topic are driven in part by this story, but also by some of the bizarre and nauseating "installations" and "performance art" that has littered the fine arts for some years now... works that serve as defining examples of charlatanism, such as segmented human corpses, sexual self-mutilation, and the antics of people like, e.g., Lisa Suckdog.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 20, 2009, at the time of 6:31 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

July 17, 2009

Ten Things He Hates About Us

Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation
Hatched by Dafydd

Here the Ten Uniquements [thirteen no, wait -- fourteen!] that Barack H. Obama hates about the America he inherited -- and how he plans to change all that. Obviously not every person in the United States will fit every instance of American exceptionalism on this list; in fact, some folks will see the entire list as alien and frightening. (We have a name for such people; we call them "liberals.")

But for the most part, this list defines the character of America. And even with the staggering pressure that modern life puts upon these eternal verities, America still exhibits these character traits more strongly than any other country on God's green earth. Collectively, they are what make us unique on the globe: uniquely moral, uniquely powerful, uniquely rich, and uniquely free.

So here they are, The Ten Uniquements:

  1. Americans are self-reliant: They want work, not welfare; their own insurance, not government-controlled health care; and an open choice where to send their kids for school (or to educate them at home).

    Obama wants to change America so that everybody must rely upon the government for every aspect of life, from womb to tomb.

  2. Americans are personally generous: We prefer our aid to be voluntary, not coerced, enforced, or expropriated by some government bureaucrat sitting in D.C. (or the Hague).

    Obama wants to institutionalize and nationalize all acts of emergency aid, foreign and domestic... and make them into entitlements.

  3. Americans are individually empowered: If attacked by criminals or terrorists, they would rather rely on their own weapons to defend themselves and theirs than comply with their attackers' demands and hope the police finally arrive. (Viz., from women shooting attempted rapists to what the passengers of Flight 93 did)

    The One We Have Been Waiting For With Bated Breath has made it plain that, were it up to him, Americans would be disarmed, forcing them to depend upon overwhelmed and underfunded police forces. Except for rich Hollywood liberals -- and of course politicians -- who would have heavily armed bodyguards at beck and call.

  4. Americans are antiracists, antisexists, and anticreedists: We really don't judge people by the color of their skins; worse, we actually do insist upon judging them by the content of their characters!

    "Justice" Sonia Sotomayor.

  5. For those tasks that require government, Americans prefer that government be as small and close to them as possible: city before county, county instead of state, state in preference to national; and for goodness' sake, national always ahead of international!

    No comment necessary.

  6. Americans would rather limp along under a government that is too weak than be crushed by a government that is too strong: They demand lower taxes, even if that means fewer programs.

    The Obamacle and his faction in Congress now openly talk about hiking taxes back up to where they were under Jimmy Carter. But realistically, that's nowhere near enough to pay for their rapacity; that would require an average of 60%-70% for everyone.

  7. Similarly, Americans prefer smaller companies: We encourage individuals to start up small businesses, rather than longing for the entire workforce to be tied to a handful of giant, multinational conglomerates.

    Taxing "the rich" inevitably means especially heavy taxes on small business; taxing medical-insurance payments kills small business; high interest rates -- guaranteed, once government runs the economy -- means the utter destruction of small business; and extending the power of unions into every company, no matter how small, will bring about the consolidation of all labor into one big glob of corporatism... which is, of course, the goal of the "liberal fascism" that Jonah Goldberg describes.

  8. Americans are not envious: Each of us sees himself (or his children) as perhaps being rich one day, so we don't punish success.

    The B.O. administration is brazen in its contempt for a flat or even semi-flat tax system; they want a sharply "progressive" tax rate, where "the rich" are socked with higher and higher surtaxes, windfall profit taxes, inheritance taxes, and a gargantuan capital-gains tax. (Of course, they also intend to define "rich" downward until it includes everybody who isn't on welfare... and they also favor a highly regressive national sales tax in addition to a progressive income tax. Perhaps they're just happy taxers and loopy looters.)

    But they also support regulations to enforce, not just equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome, no matter what life choices someone makes; they long for a Harrison Bergeron world, where everyone is truly equal -- even if that means a "Handicapper General" to ensure that all are equally poor and equally miserable.

  9. Americans are evangelists: We believe in spreading the faith of "ethical monotheism" everywhere, even to places that have never known anything but religious oppression and "holy" warfare. (Even many of us non-religious Americans support that goal!)

    Obama sees religion as the handmaiden of radical politics, as his twenty-year association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright demonstrates. His liberal goodfellas in Congress side with the ACLU on most of its attacks on public religious displays. (But on one occasion, Obama himself went against form, nominating the evangelical Christian Francis Collins to head up the NIH.)

  10. Americans are evangelists: We believe in spreading the government of individualism, Capitalism, and deregulated democratic republicanism everywhere, even to places that have never known anything but despotism and crony-cannibalism.

    Barack "Lucky Lefty" Obama prefers instead to import into America all the evils of foreign welfare states and tyrannies -- from the government health care of Britain, Canada, and Japan, to the corporate nationalizations of Oogo Chavez's Venezuela, to the rule-by-decree of banana republics from South America to the South Pacific, to the torpid fatalism and dhimmitude of much of the Middle East.

Oh, heck -- let's make it a baker's dozen:

  1. Americans are adamantly participatory: We cannot be silenced, disenfranchised, shut up, sent home, pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered... our lives (and thoughts and votes) are our own. We are cardinals, not ordinals.

    Obama prefers that Congress simply enact his proposals without regard for the people; if the people get unruly enough, he will dissolve them and appoint a new people (subject to Senate confirmation).

    Bills are shoved through committees on swift, party-line votes; and he instructs the full House and Senate have it on his desk in a couple of weeks... preferably without representatives and senators confusing matters by trying actually to read the bills before passing them.

    For the rest of us, we should stand quietly in line and wait for instructions.

  2. Americans are bold, brave, and grand: Our plans are expansive, not cramped; our crusades are universal, not limited; our expectations are sky-high; and our demands are impossible... yet we regularly meet them.

    The B.O. administration tells us we must slash our expectations of future medical cures, "spend money to keep from going bankrupt," bow to the wishes of Putin, Kim, and Ahmadinejad, close Guantanamo Bay, get out of the Middle East, stop making waves, don't expect prosperity anytime soon -- and stop using energy. Or else. I fear a terrible malaise is creeping out of la Casa Blanca.

  3. Americans are stubborn, obstinant, querulous, gritty, cantankerous, peevish, grudge-nursing, quick to anger, and often violently intemperate... and those are our best qualities! That's why we're still around, the oldest government in the world still functioning by and large according to its foundational documents, with no sign of dying -- or allowing Lucky Lefty from Chicago to turn America into New Amsterdam.

    Obama wants America to be liked. To be liked, we must be nice. To be nice is to be accomodating -- to everyone else. We've had our turn; in all fairness, it's now time to hand the reins to other countries -- say, Iran, North Korea, China, Venezuela, and Russia. Let them drive for a few decades.

Oh, all right... and "one to grow on":

  1. Americans are brutally honest: We despise corruption -- of the soul or of the public purse.

    Obama prefers Chicago Rules -- vote buying, suing his opponents off the ballot, suppressing his opponents' vote count, elections run by union thugs, back-room deals, White House threats against reluctant congressmen, and pals and gals making a killing off of sweetheart stimulous deals. It's no shock -- from little ACORNs, mighty orcs grow.

There you go -- some indeterminate number of things he hates about us, about America as it is -- and what he wants to overthrow and create in its place... America as he thinks it should be. Now, what are we going to do about it?

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 17, 2009, at the time of 7:17 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 15, 2009

"Hostage" Crisis

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

It's already a huge scandal that President Barack H. Obama just released Qods Force insurgents/terrorists in what appears to be, horribly enough, quid pro quo for Iran releasing a journalist it had seized (probably for just such an exchange).

But now the Washington Times reports that two anonymous "senior U.S. officials" -- one current and one former -- claim we captured those Qods Force officers as nothing more than innocent civilian "hostages," to force Iran to do our bidding:

Three members of Iran's elite Quds Force who were seized in Iraq by the United States were held for more than two years even though they had not been involved in anti-U.S. activities [!] and were functioning as diplomats at the time, a former and a currently serving senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

The former official, who served in Iraq and was in a position to know about the issue but asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that the three -- who were turned over to the Iraqis last week and then to Iran -- were in effect "hostages" taken to try to persuade Iran to reduce its support for anti-U.S. violence in Iraq.

Good grief.

Among all the slanders slung by the hard Left (inside and outside our government) at the Bush administration and at American soldiers and Marines, this has to be the vilest: Now a craven pair of "senior U.S. officials" brazenly equates the United States with Iran, the ultimate insult of moral equivalence.

How much would anyone care to bet that these "officials" are senior members of the permanent, floating bureaucracy? Top CIA analysts, for example, or perhaps senior State Department officers, something of that ilk.

And a side bet: They would proudly proclaim themselves political "Realists," hoping to force diplomatic talks between the U.S. and Iran by any means necessary, even if they have to cripple America's own bargaining position in the process.

Presidents may go and come; yet the American nomenklatura's war against American exceptionalism, American self-defense, even America itself abides... for all eternity.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 15, 2009, at the time of 7:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2009

No, America, There Ain't No Sanity Clause...

CIA CYA , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness , Terrorism Intelligence
Hatched by Dafydd

...His real name is Attorney General Eric Himpton Holder, Jr.:

"You have the responsibility of enforcing the nation's laws, and you have to be seen as neutral, detached, and nonpartisan in that effort," Holder says. "But the reality of being A.G. is that I'm also part of the president's team. I want the president to succeed; I campaigned for him. I share his world view and values."

These are not just the philosophical musings of a new attorney general. Holder, 58, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do.

O frabjous day. Callooh. Callay.

But "brutal interrogation practices?" Oh yes, we all know what that means: making terrorists stand while being questioned, the horrific "attention grab," even putting a detainee in a box with a -- caterpillar. Even so, we all know which particular "brutal" tactic Newsweek's Daniel Klaidman has in mind... the sadistic application of hydrogen hydroxide to the flesh of immobilized victims.

But won't this drag Barack H. Obama's administration into a confrontation it really doesn't want while it's trying to gain bipartisan approval of an ambitious domestic agenda? Perhaps so; but that's just the price Gen. Holder must pay for keeping our honor clean:

While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama's domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. "I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president's agenda," he says. "But that can't be a part of my decision."

Before we progress, I must hasten to reassure readers that there is no prejudice or partisanship about Mr. Klaidman or his employer; in fact, it would be hard to find a more objective, unbiased source than Newsweek... as can be seen here:

Alone among cabinet officers, attorneys general are partisan appointees expected to rise above partisanship. All struggle to find a happy medium between loyalty and independence. Few succeed. At one extreme looms Alberto Gonzales, who allowed the Justice Department to be run like Tammany Hall. At the other is Janet Reno, whose righteousness and folksy eccentricities marginalized her within the Clinton administration. Lean too far one way and you corrupt the office, too far the other way and you render yourself impotent.

See? The piece criticizes both Left and Right equally: Reno was simply too idealistic, honest, and decent for the job -- while Gonzales was a corrupt, murdering, torturing thug. Honestly, what could be fairer?

Perhaps only Holder himself. In the article, Klaidman gathers his courage together and dares to ask about Holder's role in pardoning fugitive financier Marc Rich -- after Rich's wife donated scads of money to the Clinton library and the Democratic Party... a fact which, we must admit, Klaidman fails to mention in the article. But surely this was only due to him being understandably reluctant to rake a dead horse over the coals.

He does, however, elicit the most important point: Despite approving the Marc Rich pardon (over the objection of just about every career prosecutor at the Justice Department) -- and despite Holder's previous position as Bill Clinton's and Rahm Emanuel's sock puppet in the DoJ -- Holder was completely innocent of any wrongdoing in that affair. He wasn't a crook, like his bosses; he was just a naïf, an inanimate object batted hither and yon by the machinations of others... a political shuttlecock, according to his wife, Sharon Malone:

When I ask Malone the inevitable questions about Rich, she looks pained. "It was awful; it was a terrible time," she says. But she also casts the episode as a lesson about character, arguing that her husband's trusting nature was exploited by Rich's conniving lawyers.

(Those cunning linguists who connived on behalf of Rich would of course include Irv Lewis "Scooter" Libby... and we all know how evil and corrupt he is. Clearly, that completely exonerates Holder of any responsibility or accountability.)

I think there really is a very good chance that Holder will finally pull the trigger, that he'll appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush's Brain Karl Rove, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, CIA Director George Tenet, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, DoD General Counsel William Haynes, Jay Bybee of the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel, John Yoo of the DoJ's OLC, and a cast of thousands -- of CIA interrogators and American military personnel.

Else, why employ Newsweek to resurrect an issue that had already died away? Why raise the Left's hopes into the stratosphere again, if you only plan to dash them in the end like Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football? Heck, doing that might decisively turn the Democratic base against the One, so they sit out next year's congressional elections. Surely Holder wouldn't want that!

But General Holder has faith in the fairness and forgiveness of the American people; he believes that when the public hears the full perfidy of the Bush torture regime -- trickling water on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's face, which even the anti-war Left has compared to the Chinese Water Torture... except that our worthy Chinese brothers could never have been as cruel and inhumane as the Bushies were; slapping the faces of top members of al-Qaeda; and... that caterpillar incident that still gives Gen. Holder and President B.O. the willies -- there will be a "a groundswell of support for an independent probe."

Oh, wait; my mistake. That's not what Holder thinks now... that's what he thought back in April, when he first strongly hinted that a criminal probe of the previous administration was in the offing. Didn't quite pan out back then: When the "torture memos" were released, the public reacted with emotions that ranged from a shrug from the huge bulk of the population -- to misplaced, admiring praise for interrogators' ingenuity in protecting America from a follow-on attack after September 11th, 2001.

Of course, that last ugly reaction was from charter members of the same vast, right-wing conspiracy that shot down Hillary Clinton's previous attempt at putting all medical care in America under strict government control; led the Swift Boat Vets' hideous slanders and libels against the greatest war hero of the Vietnam holocaust, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA, 95%) -- imagine, accusing Kerry of bearing false witness against his fellow Vietnam Veterans! -- and even the same VRWC that stole both the 2000 and 2004 elections.

But I digress. Let's just forget that such bloodthirsty ghouls even exist within America. Even so, the rest of the population signally failed to rise up as one with torches, forks, and knives when they learned about the atrocities the previous administration visited upon guests who had not even been convicted in a civilian criminal court. After the torture memos were released...

Holder and his team celebrated quietly, and waited for national outrage to build. But they'd miscalculated. The memos had already received such public notoriety that the new details in them did not shock many people. (Even the revelation, a few days later, that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and another detainee had been waterboarded hundreds of times did not drastically alter the contours of the story.)

But that was then, this is now. Perhaps nobody was particularly outraged by the fiendish devices we used upon those who (supposedly) carried out the 9/11 attacks; but that was back in April, when President Obama had sky-high approval ratings in every poll. (Well, almost every. At least several.) Perhaps people were just so happy that America had finally, finally elected an African American president, thus was no longer the most racist country on the face of the Earth, that they just couldn't muster a bad emotion or a discouraging word about anyone... not even against the Bushies.

Surely now that voters are losing confidence in Obama's economic plans, having grave doubts about his bipartisanship, starting to worry that he's dismantling the very intelligence policies that have kept us safe for the past eight years, getting nervous that Barack H. Obama may be out of his depth (or his mind), and increasingly convinced he's on a madcap quest to turn America into the Netherlands -- which may be on the verge of becoming a Moslem state in a generation -- surely with such terrifying and stomach lurching danger on all sides, voters will turn with a great sigh of relief to the much easier to understand and much more urgent task of putting all the top officials of the previous administration in prison, for the crime of going overboard in protecting American citizens (without the slightest regard for the rights of jihadis).

Yes, this time everything will be totally different. This time, the mass of men and women from sea to shining sea will be filled with revulsion at the suffering of the waterboarding victims -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and several thousand American military volunteers during SERE-school training. (The latter don't count, however, because they're cruder, less well educated, and were probably going to be stuk in irak anyway; the al-Qaeda detainees are sensitive plants, and must be treated more kindly than American grunts and SEALs.)

But politics will surely follow policy. Seeing the administration at last turn its sites on the real enemy we face in these parlous times -- George W. Bush and his rampaging Republicans -- ecstatic voters will rally behind the Obamacle, as he restores America's reputation, repairs relations with our traditional allies (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, the United Nations, China, North Korea), and makes Americans finally feel clean again. This will translate into a Democratic landslide in 2010, bringing FDR-like control of Congress, and the president's reelection two years later -- followed, the year after that, by the swift and emphatic repeal of that pesky 22nd Amendment.

See? In the end, surely Attorney General Eric Holder will discover that he can do the righteous thing, while at the very same time advancing the political fortunes of the One We Have Been Waiting For. (As in, "Just wait until your father gets home, you nation of cowards!")

Who says you can't eat your cake and have it, too?

Cross-posted in Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 12, 2009, at the time of 6:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 9, 2009

Finally, the Ultimate Word on the A.D.D.D.D.A. - Lizards' Prediction Pans Out!

Democratic Culture of Corruption , Election Derelictions , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness , Predictions
Hatched by Dafydd

This is the last (I think) post on this bizarre and surreal chapter of the New York state senate. Our previous posts on this tintinnabulant topic are:

Two A.D.D.D.D.A. posts ago, on June 16th, Big Lizards made the following prediction:

The majority leadership of Dean Skelos now hangs by a Gordian thread of Damocles: All the Democrats need do is offer both amnesty and a promotion to Espada (and possibly the squelching of the various ethics charges against him), and they can reel him back in. If Espada has a pact with Monserrate, the two can easily enforce the caucus's capitulation by threatening to re-bolt and start the nightmare all over again if the caucus doesn't deliver.

I suspect the Democratic caucus sees the "mene mene tekel upharsin" writ on the wall of the Senate's executive washroom, and they will do exactly this; Smith will be cast down, the terms agreed upon, and Espada will return to the fold, probably within a week from today.

We stand by our previous prediction:

  • Once Smith is gone, the Democrats will bite the bullet and cut a deal -- legitimate or corrupt -- with Espada and Monserrate, and they will rejoin the fold. The insurrection will fizzle, and Democrats will again be in charge.
  • And the New York State Senate will swiftly pass the same-sex marriage bill already approved by the State Assembly, becoming the fourth state (after Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire) to enact SSM without being extorted by the judicial branch.

Surprise! Today the state Democrats and Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. made good on our predictions:

  • Espada is returning to the the Democratic caucus.
  • Espada gets his promotion; he will now be majority leader of the state senate.
  • Sen. Malcolm Smith, erstwhile leader of the senate, is relegated to a largely ceremonial post during "a transition period of an undetermined length."
  • The Democrats will regain control of the state senate with a bare 32-30 majority.
  • The Republicans are betrayed by a Janus-faced Democratic ally. Again. ("I'll hold the football, Charlie Brown, and you come running and kick it.")
  • And while they haven't yet passed a same-sex marriage (SSM) bill, it's clearly in the offing, along with other Democratic dream bills.

Anent that last point, it's so late in the day that we might get a brief reprieve, at least until next session:

Senate leaders, sounding by turns apologetic, fatigued and self-congratulatory, vowed to quickly take up the scores of bills they had neglected during the leadership struggle....

Senators were uncertain Thursday when or whether several high-profile issues stalled by the leadership battle, including same-sex marriage and changes in rent control laws, would be taken up. The regular legislative session ended on June 22.

All this came a little later than we expected: They fumfahed around longer than I thought any sane group of people could tolerate; but of course, they're not only Democrats, they're New Yorkers. In the end, it was fear of dispossession that finally awakened them:

But it appears that Mr. Espada may have been driven to make a deal to return as majority leader out of fear of being marginalized, because a separate Democratic faction was moving to establish a power-sharing deal with the Republicans.

Indeed, the Democrats have become increasingly polarized, often along racial lines. Mr. Espada and other Hispanic senators have pushed for more influence from Mr. Smith and Mr. Sampson, who are black.

Separately, the faction of seven white Democrats, led by Senator Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx, that had sought the power-sharing deal with the Republicans is especially uneasy with Mr. Espada, who faces investigations related to nonprofit health clinics he runs, his campaign finance practices and whether his primary residence is in the Bronx. Any arrangement they reached with Republicans would probably have pushed Mr. Espada aside.

For an amusing coda, the Republicans are gleefully licking their dentures in pre-prandial, salivary anticipation; they don't expect the reconciliation to last much longer than a Hollywood marriage:

Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the Senate Republicans, speculated that the Democratic caucus would break apart again.

“This is my prediction,” Mr. Skelos said at his own news conference, his caucus surrounding him. “Within a few months, maybe six months, there is going to be so much discord within that conference that we’re going to be running the Senate, all right?”

He added: “There are so many factions there that would like to, quite honestly, slit the other factions’ throat. I think it’s going to be very, very difficult to lead and govern.”

Howbeit,

The year 's at the spring,
And day 's at the morn;
Morning 's at seven;
The hill-side 's dew-pearl'd;
The lark 's on the wing;
The snail 's on the thorn;
God 's in His heaven --
All 's right with the world!

In this case, Browning's got it a bit wrong: God's laughing in His heaven; and all's Left in the world again... especially its epicenter, the zero-point from which all other distances are measured: New York.

Case closed; a Mark VII production.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 9, 2009, at the time of 10:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 8, 2009

Professor Liberal's House of Waffles

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

The Dithercratic Party just can't make up its mind about the economy and the budget; but at least they've narrowed down the options:

  • The Obama stimulus package may have been too much...
  • ...Or too little...
  • ...Or possibly just right.

But that's as fine as they can shave it:

Democrats who control the levers of power in Washington are divided over whether to push for more deficit spending to end the recession and stem job losses, complicating the possibility of a second stimulus bill....

President Barack Obama underscored the dilemma by addressing both sides of the argument. In an interview with ABC News yesterday, he said unemployment approaching 10 percent is something “we wrestle with constantly.” He added that spending more borrowed money is “potentially counterproductive.”

(Off the record, Barack H. Obama told the ABC interviewer, longtime journalist Rahm Emanuel, that in the event such a bill landed on the Oval Office desk, the president was "almost certain, or at least somewhat likely," to vote "present.")

The hemming and hawing makes little difference, because it's unlikely that a second stimulus porkage can be passed anyway: Given the colossal failure of the first Obamic mitzvah on the economy, liberal Democrats who favor a second will have to resort that time-honored rhetorical tool: In for a Penny, In for a Metric Tonne. While this works with most Democrats, the "Blue Dogs" will be less than blown away:

With the White House and congressional Democrats focused on a major health-care overhaul and a climate bill, some lawmakers expressed pessimism about the likelihood of such legislation.

“I’m not sure how you would do it,” said the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois. He said he would leave any decision on the need for a fiscal stimulus to “the president’s evaluation.”

[And the Bellman cried “Silence! Not even a shriek!”
And excitedly tingled his bell
.]

Republicans seized on the unemployment rate and job losses of about 6.5 million since the recession began in December 2007 as validation of their vote against the measure in February.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a floor speech yesterday that Democratic proponents of the stimulus program “over-promised on results and now their predictions are coming back to them.”

[“Oh, skip your dear uncle!” the Bellman exclaimed,
As he angrily tingled his bell
.]

McConnell mocked the idea of another stimulus. He called it “mind-boggling” and a worse idea than the previous one, which he said “has been demonstrably proven to have failed.” He added, “There is no education in the second kick of a mule.” [George Allen lives! -- the Mgt.]

The Democrats made their beds, and now they've got a tiger by the tail. It's not likely to wriggle off the hook by Fall, when the liberal elite hoped to pass yet another unstimulating stimulus -- this time harder and louder.

Now if only I could feel more confident about the deposing of King Capintax and the midnight burial of ObamaCare... with a garlic steak through its heart.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 8, 2009, at the time of 7:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 5, 2009

Spreading the Holiday Smear

Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness , Presidential Peculiarities and Pomposities
Hatched by Dafydd

So you've been wondering how the administration of President Barack H. Obama (and Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., a.k.a. a guy named Joe) would spin the rather damning facts that:

  • Their economic policies are in ruins;
  • Their wildly expanded (far above what President George W. Bush pushed) "stimulus" package has failed to stimulate anything but more unemployment;
  • That said unemployment rate, in fact, is higher than at any time since the worst of the recession in 1986;
  • They themselves have predicted trillion-dollar deficits for the next ten plus years (numbers hard to wrap one's frontal lobes around), which nearly every economists admits will lead to massive inflation fairly soon (coupled with no growth -- Jimmy Carter style "stagflation");
  • They have nationalized two of the Big Three automobile giants, several banks, an insurance company, and they threaten to nationalize -- well, just about every other sector of the economy they can get their hands on, including health care and the weather -- all to no effect (no good effect, that is);
  • The American people appear to have lost all confidence in Obama's economic policies;
  • And that the only response of the Democratic Party -- is to suggest more (and more devious) taxes to levy against those disloyal people... including a "Fair Tax" proposal in addition to raising income taxes. (Hey, Medved was right!)

I know you've been dying to hear what they could possibly say to turn all that around to their benefit. Somehow.

Wonder no longer; Mr. Biden has the scoop:

"The truth is, there was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited," said Biden, who is leading the administration's effort to implement it's $787 billion economic stimulus plan.

And there you have the answer: More than six months into the new administration, with a complete radical rewrite of economic policy rammed through a supine Congress -- and it's still all George Bush's fault!

But fret not; Biden realizes that the administration he is rumored to be a member of cannot entirely escape scrutiny; he understands that they, too, must give an accounting. Consequently, he spreads the responsibilty around a bit:

"Now, that doesn't -- I'm not -- it's now our responsibility. So the second question becomes, did the economic package we put in place, including the Recovery Act, is it the right package given the circumstances we're in? And we believe it is the right package given the circumstances we're in," he told me.

So having carefully weighed all the pros and cons, the administration gives itself, oh, let's say a B—... and gives George W. Bush an F minus minus minus. But don't take it out on the current administration; it's not as if they just make these scores up, you know.

Oddly, the journalist who authored this ABC blog entry did not really press Biden on the manifest failures so far; nor on the fairly obvious fact that, having completely changed everything Bush had done, they have consequently assumed all responsibility and accountability for its failures... that Obama and Biden cannot blame the ill effects on the policies of the Bush administration when (a) they have put their own, utterly different policies in place -- and (b) it got much, much worse when they did.

It's doubly odd that a news organization so respected for its unbiased, adversarial relationship with the current president would so neglect its duty to question, probe, and confront to get to the real truth. And it's especially shocking that a such a beloved career journalist as George Snuffleupagus would fail to ask such obvious follow-up questions. I can only conclude that there simply wasn't any time to ask them.

I know he would've if he could've: After all, Snuffleupagus was a great enough newsman to seize control of This Week with David Brinkley from pikers like Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts after its intelligent designer and namesake retired; Snuffleupagus must be one of the pantheon of reporter demigods, right up there with Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, and Helen Thomas.

I'm sure he'll get around to holding Biden's nose to the fire as soon as humanly possible.

Sachi adds: What a real journalist would ask as a follow-up question is: "So you're saying you implemented a massive economic stimulus package before fully understanding the full scope of problem; isn't that more than a little irresponsible?"

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 5, 2009, at the time of 2:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 24, 2009

No Time for Sergeants - the First Post-Penultimate Word on the A.D.D.D.D.A.

Democratic Culture of Corruption , Election Derelictions , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

I know I said the last post was the penultimate one on the subject of the Anti-Democratic Democrats' Denial of Democracy in Albany; but something so Kafkaesque has just happened in the New York State Senate that I cannot silently wait for the ultimate post... which will be the one where everybody's hash is finally settled. I am optimistic about much mirth and hijinks to ensue; I'm calling this the first post-penultimate word.

Our previous posts on this titillating topic are:

The current hilarity writes itself:

In Albany, Separate Senate Sessions for Each Party

Republicans and Democrats attempted to hold separate Senate sessions at the same time on Tuesday, leaving the Capitol in confusion and bickering as members of both parties shouted over each other on the Senate floor, and each party claimed it was in control.

Though Democrats had entered the Senate chamber through a back hallway just before 12:30 p.m. and locked the doors -- much to the surprise of Republicans -- Republicans moved ahead with plans for their own session and began calling for votes on bills as Democrats sat silent in protest.

Exactly who was in control of the Senate -- or whether any of the procedural action the Republicans had taken was legally valid -- was unclear. Democrats were successful in blocking Republicans from taking control of the Senate gavel, which remained firmly in the hands of Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Westchester County, who was guarded by sergeants-at-arms on both sides.

The first point of puzzlement is why the sergeants-at-arms have sided with the Democrats... aren't they supposed to be neutral? How do they know which party legally controls the body? Are they lawyers? Have they even consulted with lawyers -- upon whose authority?

UPDATE, une 24th, 2000: Heh... that was how the story read yesterday; but today, the Times pulled another fast one: They jacked up the URL and ran a whole new story under it -- headline, body, page count, pocket change, blood chemicals, and all. Gone are the paragraphs quoted above, to be replaced by this:

Come to Order! Not a Chance, if It’s Albany

New York did not have one State Senate on Tuesday. It had two.

Democrats sneaked into the Senate chamber shortly after noon, seizing control of the rostrum and locking Republicans out of the room. Republicans were finally allowed to enter about 2:30 p.m., but when they tried to station one of their own members on the dais they were blocked by the sergeants-at-arms.

So then something extraordinary -- and rather embarrassing -- happened.

The two sides, like feuding junior high schoolers refusing to acknowledge each other, began holding separate legislative sessions at the same time. Side by side, the parties, each asserting that it rightfully controls the Senate, talked and sometimes shouted over one another, gaveling through votes that are certain to be disputed. There were two Senate presidents, two gavels, two sets of bills being voted on.

What is the point of such stealth-rewrites? They didn't make it any better for Democrats or harsher on Republicans... they just didn't like the first version (which can still be seen here), so they substituted a different one, with the same URL. Yeesh.

To serious-up for a moment, what I consider the most significant bill caught up in the maelstrom of madness -- a bill to legalize same-sex marriage throughout New York, the third-largest state in the United States -- might be doomed for this term. From a subsequent article in the Times:

Senators defied Gov. David A. Paterson on Wednesday and refused to take up any of the 10 issues he put on the schedule for a legislative session, indefinitely postponing votes on same-sex marriage and other signature items of the governor’s agenda....

Though gay rights supporters were initially pleased that the governor had placed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on the agenda, many gay rights advocates were saying on Wednesday morning that they did not believe a vote would accomplish anything. There are myriad legal questions clouding any piece of legislation that the Senate takes up, and supporters of same-sex marriage are wary of seeing their issue turned into a political football.

“Nobody wants it to pass under a cloud, so it will be immediately subject to legal challenge,” said Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell, a Democrat from the Upper West Side who sponsored the same-sex marriage bill that passed the Assembly last month. Even if the Senate did pass the bill the governor put on his agenda for Wednesday, and the legal issues were not so complicated, Mr. O’Donnell said same-sex marriage would still not be legal because the governor’s bill would have to be passed again by the Assembly.

The normal session expired in the middle of this month; depending on the outcome of the stalemate (I'm tempted to call it "Fool's Mate" instead), there may be insufficient time to bring up the same-sex marriage (SSM) bill before the expiration of the current "extraordinary session," called by N.Y. Gov. David Paterson. If it expires, and if Paterson does not call another, then I think the Senate is in recess until January... at least so the New York State Senate's own website seems to say.

Will there still be such impetus next year for jamming through such a fundamental change to a foundational insitution as marriage -- without any referendum of New Yorkers? I don't know; but at this point, those of us averse to monkeying with one of the foundations of Western civilization should be grateful for any delay we can get. Perhaps legislators will have an opportunity to think a second time, as Dennis Prager likes to say.

But back to whipping the cat in Albany! Let's run with both versions of the Times story; maybe by tomorrow, yesterday will have never happened at all.

We still have the same problem with the sergeants-at-arms siding with the Democrats -- the default-to-the-liberals favoritism found in Democratic states like New York. First the guards defended the "Democrats' gavel" against the rampaging Republicans, notwithstanding a 32 to 30 vote to oust former Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D). The same majority then elected Sen. Dean Skelos (R) majority leader and Sen. Pedro Espada (D) as president of the Senate; how can the sergeants unilaterally decide to abrogate that vote, "blocking Republicans from taking control of the Senate gavel?"

But then they did something even worse, discussed in detail in the first version of the story but only sketched in the second: When Majority Leader Skelos called Sen. George H. Winner, jr. to the podium... oh, but let the Times tell it in its original words, before editors decided to merely hint around the bush:

Shortly after Republicans walked onto the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, their leader, Dean G. Skelos, called the chamber to order and asked one of the Senate Republicans’ deputy leaders, George H. Winner Jr., to “take the podium.” Mr. Winner, who was standing at the front of the chamber, attempted to climb the stairs that lead to the podium where the presiding officer stands but was stopped by a Senate guard.

“Senator Skelos,” Mr. Winner responded, “I have been instructed by the sergeant-at-arms not to take the podium.” Mr. Winner then walked to a desk in front of the podium, called the Senate to order from there and began calling votes on a list of bills. Since Democrats sat silent and did not voice any objections, Mr. Winner claimed that each bill passed by a vote of 62 to 0.

So in addition to defending the Democrats' presumably inherent right to hold the gavel at all times, regardless of any organizing votes to the contrary, the sergeants also forcibly prevented a Republican senator from even approaching the podium -- because the Democrats didn't want him to be allowed to speak.

One final example deserves note of the sergeants abandoning their traditional role as neutral defenders of the peace -- in order to concentrate on their other traditional role as New York civil servants, that of being liberal Democratic partisans. In the original version:

Republicans seemed just as caught off guard as the rest of the Capitol when the Democrats came in at 12:30 p.m. As news of the Democrats’ move spread, some Republican staff members rushed to the Senate chamber and peered in through the windows to watch the Democrats congregating inside.

Senator Winner, a Republican from central New York, described the Democrats’ move as unnecessary and possibly against the law.

“It seems to me somewhat petulant and or illegal to lock the doors,” Mr. Winner said.

The outer doors to the chamber were kept locked by the sergeant-at-arms of the Senate, but some reporters were able to gain access through a back door.

The new version of the story makes clear that the Democrats snuck in alone -- and locked the doors against the Republicans. Thus, the sergeants-at-arms must have been holding the door against duly elected Republican state senators entering the state Senate chambers:

Democrats sneaked into the Senate chamber shortly after noon, seizing control of the rostrum and locking Republicans out of the room....

Early Tuesday, Republicans seemed as surprised as the rest of the Capitol when Democrats took over the chamber. Some Republican staff members rushed to the chamber to peek through small windows to watch the Democrats congregating. Some reporters were able to gain access to the locked chamber through the office of Mr. Espada, hurrying through a side room where Mr. Espada’s grandson was parked in front of a television, watching the Cartoon Network.

Note the curious omission of the fact that it was the sergeants who prevented Republican senators from entering the chamber (replaced by the reference to the Cartoon Network -- product placement, or do the Times editors simply have a "thing" for cartoons?) This fits in with the new version omitting the tidbit about sergeants jealously guarding the "Democrats'" gavel and brushing past the same sergeants preventing Sen. Winner from speaking from the podium. Could that be the reason for the rewrite -- to whitewash the complicity of the supposedly neutral guardians of the Senate in a partisan dispute against the GOP?

If so, what a sad and petty reason to engage in such an Orwellian rewrite of history. Times publisher "Pinch" Sulzberger should busy himself reading his Shelly; it may tell him some inconvenient truths about his own future and that of his family's media legacy:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert…. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 24, 2009, at the time of 5:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 23, 2009

New Addition to the Encyclopaedia of "Argumentum ad Defatigationem"

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I have a new one for you.

"Argumentum ad Defatigationem" is Latin for argument by exhaustion -- arguing in so fatiguing a manner that one's opponent just gives up and stomps off -- after which the arguer jumps up and down and shouts "I won!" It's a favorite trick of liberals (and too many libertarians); but liberals especially bring a tasty flavor to the proceedings with a number of rhetorical stunts that appear paralogical, but are actual diabolical.

The first one I identified, many years ago, was Argument by Tendentious Redefinition; this occurs when proponent secretly redefines a common and usually deplorable word -- but he relies upon listeners clinging to the original definition in order to tar his opponent with inuendo and subconscious slander. The classic example is a radical feminist who secretly redefines "rape" to include all heterosexual sex -- then repeatedly accuses ordinary heterosexual males of being "rapists."

Today's entry is a very different antic; I'm dubbing it Argument by Promiscuous Propinquity: One conducts it by taking two or more utterly disparate incidents and smooshing them together, one right after the other, to create the illusion that they are all the same incident.

If that seems a little vague, let me offer this clean example. Submitted for your approval, here are the first three grafs of the New York Times story linked above, titled "Tapes Reveal Nixon’s View of Abortion":

On Jan. 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down state criminal abortion laws in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence.

Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases, such as interracial pregnancies.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding: “Or a rape.”

And here are the fourth and fifth grafs -- the immediate successors to the above:

Nine months later, after Nixon precipitated the resignations of two top Justice Department officials and forced the firing of the special prosecutor looking into the Watergate affair, Ronald Reagan, who was then the governor of California and would later be president, told the White House that he heartily approved.

Reagan told the White House that the action -- which would become known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” -- was “probably the best thing that ever happened -- none of them belong where they were,” according to a Nixon aide’s notes of the private conversation.

What do those two statements have in common? Nothing at all... except that both were recorded by the same device in the White House.

But what are readers to infer they have in common, this vile expression of racism and eugenics attributed to Richard Nixon, followed by Reagan's hearty approval? Clearly, the intent is that inattentive readers (that would be most of them) should mistakenly believe that Ronald Reagan approved of aborting biracial babies.

There is no transitional language between the two excerpts to alert readers that the reporter, the aptly named Charlie Savage, is making an abrupt, right-angle turn to a completely different subject. And in particular, note the phrase "nine months later;" if you simply sidle up and whisper "nine months," the first thing most Americans would think of was pregnancy -- further fostering the illusion that Ronald Reagan "heartily approved" of racial eugenics.

(Ronald Reagan is only mentioned once more in the article, in an almost parenthetical aside.)

Now, I have no idea whether the Times correctly quotes Nixon in context; but that's not relevant to this point. And it's utterly unpersuasive to object that the story does not explicitly state that Reagan's hearty approval was for Nixon's alleged eugenicism (nor does it explicitly say that the approval was for the firings and forced resignations). This gives Mr. Savage "plausible deniability," speaking of Nixon.

But really, words are my business; in a court proceeding, I would be a qualified expert on the subject. I know when someone is using language not to edify or enlighten but to obscure and mislead.

This series of five paragraphs is no accident: In the realm of serious, written, edited, and published prose or journalism, the Lizardian Rule of Intent reads, Never attribute to mere stupidity what can adequately be explained by malice; particularly when the object of the malice is, in fact, viscerally hated by the maligner. (If the same sort of appalling elite-media juxtaposition had befallen Barack H. Obama, I would more readily extend the benefit of doubt. Also, a mistake like calling the 2008 Republican VP nominee "Sarah Pallin" cannot be explained by malice and is clearly just a tyop to be shrugged off.)

Anyway, that is the new entry. I've thought about it for a while; I was going to discuss it right after the One's Apologia to the Moslems, when Paul Mirengoff at Power Line was defending the president by noting, with courtroom precision that bespeaks well of his talent as an attorney but not so well of his appreciation of political voice and tone, that Obama had not explicitly equated Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to the Holocaust.

Understanding Argument by Promiscuous Propinquity allows us to note the strangely inappropriate closeness, within the speech -- adjacency, in fact -- of the two incidents: Jews under the Nazis and Palestinians under the Israelis... a propinquity that defies benign explanation. But in that case, the transitional rhetoric made it kristall clear that he was comparing them: After describing the Nazi extermination of Jews, and before introducing Israel's entirely reasonable responses to Palestinian terrorism, Obama connected them by saying "on the other hand." That makes clear he is comparing one to the other... and context made clear he was equating, not contrasting.

So I abjured, awaiting a cleaner example; and here I have found it!

Argument by Promiscuous Propinquity... keep an eye out for it in future.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 23, 2009, at the time of 5:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 10, 2009

"You Have the Right to Keep Your Terrorist Secrets Safe..."

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I don't know how much to believe this Weekly Standard story by Stephen F. Hayes -- I enjoyed his book the Connection, but I'm not sure how careful he is with the facts -- but he claims that the Barack H. Obama administration has actually begun instructing FBI agents that they must begin Mirandizing terrorists captured on the battlefield:

"I believe none of these [intelligence] successes would have happened if we had had to treat KSM like a white-collar criminal – read him his Miranda rights and get him a lawyer who surely would have insisted that his client simply shut up,” Tenet wrote in his memoirs.

If Tenet is right, it’s a good thing KSM was captured before Barack Obama became president. For, the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

If this is true -- and I'm not yet sure it is -- the consequences would be dire. I joked about this earlier, saying that if we were to accept that all terrorist detainees should be treated as civilian criminal defendants, then we would have to let them all go... as none was read his Miranda rights; none was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by an American court; none was allowed to have his "attorney" (or minder) present during his interrogation; and in fact, soldiers don't even have legal grounds to enter mosques or safehouses or caves in the first place, since no American judge issued them search warrants. Let freedom ring! Release all the terrorists immediately on grounds that their constitutional rights were violated!

And if, after releasing all terrorists captured on George W. Bush's watch -- see how incompetent and irresponsible Bush was? He didn't even properly arrest Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah -- we are to begin informing future captures that they have the right to remain silent and lawyer-up, does anybody believe we will ever again get any significant, valuable intel out of them?

As Tenet noted, would KSM have talked if we'd told him he didn't have to, that he could demand the interrogation cease any time he wanted, and that his terrorist attorney of choice had to be present during any interrogation that did continue? It's absolute madness... if true.

The tip comes from Rep. Mike J. Rogers (R-MI, 84%) -- and a perfect example of Hayes' sloppiness is that he doesn't identify whether he means that Mike Rogers (which he does) or Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-AL, 50%); I had to figure it out myself by Hayes' statement that the Mike Rogers he means is the one on the House Intelligence Committee.

I do believe Hayes is telling the truth that Rogers said what Hayes claims he said; but I'm not sure how thoroughly Hayes vetted Rogers' claim. I worry that since Rogers' accusation agrees so completely with Hayes' take on the administraiton, that the latter simply accepted it as "solid evidence," on the well-known logical principle that "It must be true, because it would be so wonderful for my argument if it were true."

That said, a claim of ideology-driven intelligence frivolity by this administration, made by a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence -- especially as Rogers is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism/HUMINT, Analysis and Counterintelligence and a former FBI Special Agent as well -- is serious enough to warrant investigation: Did President Obama actually order high-level detainees to be Mirandized on the battlefield (or elsewhere, but still before they can be interrogated)? Or is it possible that the Mirandizing only applies to lower-tier terrorists who are not thought to have significant intelligence, and who are intended all along simply to be prosecuted in civilian courts?

Before flying off all four handles, I want to see better verification of this story, along with more details about which and what kind of terrorist captures it applies to, and whether the president can override the policy in important cases.

But unless Rogers has simply fabricated this charge out of whole cloth (unlikely), even if we're now applying American constitutional rights only to low-tier, foreign national terrorists captured in a foreign country by our military, it would still severely undermine our legal position anent top-tier terrorists as well: A court could easily conclude that if the Executive agrees Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights and protections apply to Osama bin Laden's chauffeur, then what is the legal argument why they wouldn't apply equally to bin Laden himself?

It's time for someone with a bit more credibility than Stephen Hayes to seriously dig into the Rogers claim; if accurate, this is the most dire Obamic threat to intelligence gathering yet unveiled as part of the One's almost pathological need to throw a stumbling wrench into the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 10, 2009, at the time of 1:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 9, 2009

New York Democracy + Chicago Rules... Hijinks Ensue

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

The Democrats in Albany, New York, call it a "coup."

The rest of us call it an election. (Perhaps Democrats are simply unfamiliar with the concept.)

How I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the New York State Senate from yesterday at 3:00 pm through today. For months, Republicans and even some Democrats had grown increasingly frustrated under the leadership of the majority leader, Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith. But only two Democrats had any inkling what was about to happen.

In the midst of a boring, routine day of Senate debate, Republican Sen. Tom Libous from Binghamton rose to offer a resolution to "reorganize the Senate leadership." The Democrats were caught completely off their guard. Stunned, they watched as two of their number -- Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens -- defected to support the Republican majority leader, Dean Skelos, against the then-current majority leader, Democrat Malcolm Smith. (In fact, Espada and Monserrate had been coordinating this move with the Republican minority for several weeks.)

Democrats tried every trick in the book to prevent the leadership election from occurring: They fled the state Senate to try to prevent a quorum, cut off the lights and power to the Senate chambers, and sabotaged the internet connection. But the Republicans stuck to their attack; and before the Democrats could stop the proceedings, the GOP had won the vote. With dizzying speed, the minority plus the two defectors had mustered a bare majority of those voting to replace Smith with Skelos.

And now Smith is left wailing like a banshee that there has to be some "legal recourse" by which a judge (any judge, anywhere!) can reverse the election results:

Still reeling from a sudden revolt a day earlier that shifted control of the New York State Senate to Republicans, Democrats huddled behind closed doors in the Capitol on Tuesday morning, seeking a legal path to help them block the power grab.

But it was far from clear whether they would be able to keep Republicans from assuming control of the Senate, or even whether they would be able to keep more members from defecting and further cementing the new Republican majority.

The Democrats' whiny petulance and outraged feelings of entitlement practically stifle the atmosphere. In their latest anti-democratic lunge for lost leadership, they have locked the Senate doors and won't let the Republicans inside:

Throughout Tuesday morning, stunned Democrats continued to insist that they were still the party in control of the Senate, and that Malcolm A. Smith -- only five months into his role as head of the Senate majority -- was still their leader. The standoff had grown so tense that the secretary of the Senate -- a position appointed by the Democratic conference -- was refusing to hand over the keys to the Senate chamber to the Republicans. The Republican leadership called for the secretary’s resignation, and vowed to hold Wednesday’s session, whether in another room or in a park.

Democrats in New York more and more resemble prepubescent brats pitching a tantrum. Perhaps next, the Democrats will demand a new vote... and somehow strip Skelos from the ballot.

Here is a simple syllogism to bear in mind: Democrats have about as much respect for democracy and rule of law as do Kim Jong-Il of North Korea and Oogo Chavez of Venezuela... scratch a pack of liberal Democrats and you'll find the bestial mob of feral children in William Golding's Lord of the Flies, running naked through the underbrush screaming "Kill the pig, kill the pig!"

I'm starting to think it possible that enough of a backlash will build that angry New York voters will help return Republicans to power in the United States Congress. I even begin to ponder whether the Republican nominee in 2012 might stand a reasonable chance of beating Barack H. Obama in the Empire State, three years and some loose change hence.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 9, 2009, at the time of 10:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 1, 2009

Democrats to America: Roast or Freeze - We Don't Care!

Future of Energy Production , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Democrats are now moving swiftly and boldly to jack up the cost of heating oil, gasoline, and natural gas; the plan is to reduce carbon release by forcing low-income and middle-income Americans to live without fuel:

A powerful congressional chairman has joined a growing number of Democrats who want to sharply increase the cost of drilling leases that the government provides on federal lands, a move vigorously opposed by Big Oil and Republicans.

Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, West Virginia Democrat and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has proposed a plan to boost royalty rates by 50 percent and to cut the lease periods to five years from the current 10 years or more. His recommendation would be part of a sweeping overhaul of the $22 billion, scandal-tarred oil and gas drilling program that the Interior Department oversees.

The plan also appears in line with the broader energy goals of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who is conducting a review of the Interior Department's handling of oil and gas leases and royalties as the House prepares to push through a bill to address climate change and the Senate works on its own energy legislation.

However, think not that this is just random nastiness or bootless monkey-wrenching. The Left actually has a plan -- which strikingly resembles President Barack H. Obama's plan to make American cars "more competitive" against European and Asian imports by forcing GM, Ford, and Chrysler to raise prices while they produce less popular cars. That should do the trick!

In the present instance, Chairman Rahall (D-WV, 89%) and Secretary Salazar intend to make American-generated petroleum products "more competitive" on the world market by making companies pay a much larger bribe to the federal government for the privilege of spending their own money to extract oil and gas:

The bill "would reform the onshore oil and gas leasing program in order to provide a more coordinated, efficient and competitive use of oil and gas resources," according to an outline of the plan provided by the committee.

Mr. Rahall's plan fits neatly into the broader efforts of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats to make a "dramatic shift" in energy production toward green sources, said Sharon Buccino, director of land and wildlife programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

So heck, as soon as we can invent some "green sources" to replace the oil and gas-driven energy economy, we'll get this country going again like gangbangers!

The Rahall bill would also make a number of other changes that only seem petty, but are actually quite incoherent; the most intriguing is to require the (soon to be created) Office of Federal Energy and Mineral Leasing to create and live by "five year plans." Apart from the obvious hat tip to the former worker's paradise -- cruelly crushed by the thuggish President Ronald Reagan (did you know he was a neo-con?) -- this component of the bill raises an intriguing question: Do Democrats believe that the primary impediment to "a more coordinated, efficient and competitive use of oil and gas resources" is... flexibility and a capitalist free market?

Ordinarily, one expects that we need fewer rigid, long-term, smothering plans that react to changing stresses and circumstances with all the rapidity of the Blob spreading across that ice rink; typically, one would prefer instead to let the free market adjust prices to balance supply and demand. But the experts at the liberal table have a more intellectual approach. Their reasoning is very subtle. Resistance is futile.

Funnily enough, even Pravda has noticed (and viewed with alarm) what's happening here:

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people....

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack [Lucky Lefty] Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

I would object to being lectured and ridiculed by the very people that we helped liberate from the clutches of the original Marx buggers, but I'm too busy taking notes.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 1, 2009, at the time of 4:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 14, 2009

The Raucous Baucus Max-Tax Flim-Flam Plan

Congressional Calamities , Health Care Horrors , Liberal Lunacy , Tax Attax
Hatched by Dafydd

Always, those in the public sector have eyed the private sector as Martians observing the Earth: "vast and cool and unsympathetic." They envy the money; gross domesic product is many times larger than the measley $3 to $4 trillion available to the feds even in the age of Obama. They envy the productivity, which puts government programs and R&D to shame. They envy the freedom of CEOs simply to make decisions -- while government bureaucrats can only write memos of recommendation and shunt them one notch up the chain of infinite regress that is the government heirarchy.

They cannot duplicate the success of Capitalism and entrepeneurship, quite naturally; those qualities are characteristic of liberty, while government is its antithesis. So as with everyone consumed by envy -- even H.G. Wells' Martians -- what they cannot duplicate they can at least destroy.

Which brings us around, by a commodious vicus of recirculation, to the Democrats and their government takeover of health care:

Senators are considering limiting -- but not eliminating -- the tax-free status of employer-provided health benefits to help pay for President Barack Obama's plan to provide coverage to 50 million uninsured Americans.

Mighty considerate of them not to offhandly eliminate it; having us that momentus favor, surely we cannot carp about a little, itty-bitty tax, can we? By the way, anent those "50 million uninsured"... the only way to reach that number is to include the huge number of young, healthy, and well-paid young workers, who voluntarily choose not to carry insurance because they think themselves indestructable.

(Thank goodness I'm finally going to subsidize them! I couldn't stand the guilt, knowing I have condemned by inaction those young adults to having to pay for what they use, just as if they were ordinary people.)

On the controversial question of taxing health benefits, [Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max] Baucus is staking out a position that could put him at odds with Obama.

The president adamantly opposed such taxes during the campaign, arguing they would undermine job-based coverage. Obama's aides now say he's open to suggestions from Congress, even if he criticized Republican presidential rival John McCain for proposing a sweeping version of the same basic idea.

Baucus said he wants to modify the tax break, not abolish it.

"We are not going to repeal it," he said.

Baucus suggested that the benefit could be limited by taxing health insurance provided to high-income individuals, although he did not specify at what income levels. He also said that plans offering rich benefits -- for example, no co-payments or deductibles -- might be taxed once their value exceeded a yet-to-be-determined threshold....

In government jargon, the tax-free status of health insurance is called the "tax exclusion."

Let's set aside the weasle words for a moment and just look at the extreme case; we can reason backwards from there. Suppose that, contrary to Baucus' (D-MT, 80%) hand-on-heart claim, he really does intend to "repeal" the "tax exclusion"... what would that mean to taxpayers?

How does it work? Your employer pays you a salary (taxed), and he also pays for your medical insurance; yes, the latter is technically "income;" but it's not really, because you have no choice in how it's spent, other than small variations that the insurance plan my allow you -- picking an HMO or a Preferred Payer Plan, for example. (The purpose of the putative tax exclusion was, of course, to encourage employers to offer such plans -- which is why nearly everybody who wants medical insurance has it today.)

Employer-provided health insurance is considered part of workers' compensation, but unlike wages, it is not taxed. The forgone revenue to the federal government amounts to about $250 billion a year.

You rich villains are stealing the government's money!

In a typical case, your employer may pay you $50,000 salary and may pay about $450 per month in health-insurance premiums; you yourself may have to pick up a smaller portion of the premium, perhaps $150 per month. That means the total payment is, let us say, $600 per month or $7,200 per year.

The employer-paid part of that ($5,400 per annum) is not taxed: The employer deducts it as a business expense and the employee doesn't have to declare it as income. If the employee itemizes his income tax (for example, if he's buying a house and wants to deduct the mortgage interest), he may be able to deduct all or part of his own share of the premiums ($1,800 per year). Thus, he doesn't have to pay tax on anywhere from $5,400 of his "income" to $7,200, depending on how much of his own payments are deductable.

Splitting the difference, he gets to "deduct" (deduct or not have to report) $6,300 from his income. Since this will clearly be a marginal deduction, it all comes out of the highest income tax he's paying (unless that drops him below the level for that tax rate). This rate is currently 35%, I believe, but the specifics are less important than the principle.

So the final tally is: The taxpayer pays $2,205 less to the government than he would were the "tax exclusion" repealed; that of course means that if it were repealed, he would have to cough up an additional $2,205 to the feds -- so that other people would get to use government-controlled health insurance for free.

Sweet, isn't it? You pay a couple grand extra per year for the privilege of having private health insurance; but if you drop it and take the government-run health care instead, you pay no extra tax. As the Romans say, "Cui bono?" Who benefits? The public sector does... at the expense of the private sector, of course: This is yet another way that ObamaCare will drive people out of private health-insurance plans and into the loving arms of Uncle Sugar.

Of course, Baucus says (yesterday) that the Democrat-controlled Congress doesn't want to completely eliminate the "tax exclusion"; they just want to levy an extra tax on some of your health-insurance premium, not all of it. So they're not actually stealing the full $2,200... just a portion.

Of course, it still means that you must pay an extra penalty for using private health insurance but not for using ObamaCare. Thus the perverse incentive for everybody to dump private insurance in favor of government-run health care remains; it's just not quite as strong as if they went the full Monte. (And who knows what they will say tomorrow? Especially as the bill-writing continues, and it becomes obvious that the numbers just won't add up.)

Democrats are trying to sell the bill as purely utilitarian:

Many experts say that Congress won't be able to come up with the kind of money needed to provide coverage for all unless limitations on the health care tax break are part of the mix.

"I don't see how you're going to put a package together ... unless you touch the exclusion," said Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which advocates for low-income people [that is, welfare recipients].

(Note that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is heavily underwritten by the Democracy Alliance -- which itself is funded by George Soros and many other prominent radical lefties. Just thought you'd like to know.)

I am less and less willing to give any benefit of the doubt to this administration on any point touching politics, progressivism, liberal fascism, or attacks upon the "Right." If -- in addition to raising revenue -- a bill also tends to drive people away from a market-driven, capitalist solution and towards government nationalization of health care, I will naturally conclude that this, not revenue, is the real goal.

Some of the arguments by proponents of HillaryCare ObamaCare seem to be brazen attempts at misdirection:

Proponents of repealing the benefit say it encourages lavish health insurance plans that only add to waste in the health care system. And they argue that the benefit is unfair, since self-employed people don't get as big a tax break for health care.

First, who cares if some rich people are willing to pay through the nose for a plan that includes rhinoplasty? Evidently the Left does: They care so much, they want to repeal all differences in the level of medical care between rich and poor. Equality is so important to the bad stepchildren of George Soros that, instead of some having more than others, they would rather everybody be equally poor and equally miserable.

If carried to its logical conclusion, this "reasoning" leads to the destruction of all private property... the rich will have the money but be disallowed from spending any of it! The response by the rich would be to flee the country, quite obviously... taking all of their talent, drive, and money with them. This disincentivizes intelligence, courage, and entrepeneurship: Why bother starting up a company if you won't even be able to enjoy the increased money you might make?

And the second argument for government-controlled health care is even more specious: If it's true that "self-employed people don't get as big a tax break for health care," then for God's sake, give them a larger tax break! Don't take away the break enjoyed by ordinary, company-employed workers.

With every new day, everything about this administration and this Congress makes it more and more clear that they aim to fundamentally transform America away from what we have been for 220 years -- and turn us into something alien. This is not patriotic; this is unAmerican. This is French.

We must kill this bill before it kills us.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 14, 2009, at the time of 7:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 6, 2009

Obamic Apology Tour Crawls to Kabul

Afghan Astonishments , Hillary Hilarity , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

In a burst of enthusiastic self-abasement, the One the World Has Been Waiting For has dispatched his Clintonian emissary to (once again) apologize profusely -- "deeply, deeply" -- for American military actions... this time in Afghanistan; and this time knowingly without knowing what really happened (a "known unknown!"), whether anything happened, and if so, who was at fault:

Meeting with Afghanistan President Harmid Karzai and Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari in a prelude to their talks with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington "deeply, deeply" regrets the loss of life, apparently as a result of a bombing there on Monday.

"Any loss of innocent life is particularly painful," Clinton said. Karzai responded before the cameras that he appreciated Clinton "showing concern and regret." The visiting leader also said he hoped Washington and Kabul could "work together to completely reduce civilian casualties in the struggle against terrorism."

State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said later that Clinton's remarks were offered as a gesture, before all the facts of the incident are known, because "any time there is a loss of innocent life we are going to be concerned about it, and we wanted to make that very clear."

The Telegraph offers a more complete version of Secretary of State Clinton's apology:

"I wish to express my personal regret and certainly the sympathy of our administration on the loss of civilian life in Afghanistan," Mrs Clinton said at a joint meeting with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president.

"We deeply regret it. We don't know all of the circumstances or causes. And there will be a joint investigation by your government and ours," Mrs Clinton said.

"But any loss of life, any loss of innocent life, is particularly painful."

Of course, the Telegraph also accepts the word of "Afghan officials" from "a Taliban-controlled district," that our military is to blame -- in fact, the British newspaper claims a much higher toll of "innocent life":

Afghan officials said up to 120 non-combatants were killed when US warplanes dropped bombs on two villages in Bala Baluk, a Taliban-controlled district in the western province of Farah.

Is it just I? Doesn't the very fact that "all the facts of the incident" are not known mean that we have no idea whether the lives lost were, in fact, "innocent?" We are told that women and children were slaughtered; according to the AP article:

The bombing issue arose earlier Wednesday, when Karzai ordered a probe into allegations by local officials that more than 30 civilians were killed by U.S.-led troops battling militants in western Afghanistan. The International Committee of the Red Cross said a team it had sent to the area saw "dozens of bodies in each of the two locations," including women and children.

Karzai's office said he was going to raise the issue with Obama. And the U.S. has sent a brigadier general to investigate.

One presumes that most children would indeed be innocent; but does "children" include 15, 16, and 17 year olds? If so, they could very well be Taliban killers or al-Qaeda terrorists and every bit as guilty as their compadres a few years older.

But in any event, the mere existence of "dozens of bodies"... "including women and children" does not actually prove that they were killed by any action of the United States military forces -- or indeed by any direct action of anybody -- even if we were to accept the Red Cross' assertions at face value, which I'm not prepared to do. Nor does it prove that we were in any way culpable. Even the generally less forgiving Telegraph article admits the possibility that it is the Taliban, not NATO, that is directly responsible for the deaths:

Abdul Ghafar Watandar, the provincial police chief, said Taliban militants used villagers as human shields by herding them into houses during the US air attacks.

We cannot yet even say how many people, innocent or guilty, were killed. We know from the Pallywood revelations that anti-American, anti-West Moslem activists -- would the Taliban qualify? -- see nothing wrong in faking deaths (e.g., the Mohammed al-Dura case), raiding morgues for long-dead corpses, or even toting the bodies of dead children from site to site, in full view of the elite news media, yet passing them off as different victims each time (à la Green Helmet Guy).

The press is typically complicit in such lies, of course. Reporters often hire local "stringers" with suspect loyalties, if any; such stringers, familiar with the location and culture, cannot possibly fail to notice the fakery and stagecraft in these sick melodramas.

Nor can the Western and even American "journalistic" bosses fail to be aware of the opportunism and ideology-based deception their stringers routinely practice... any more than the top reporters and news readers could ever have been unaware that what Iraqis said in the Hussein era -- when accompanied by "minders" just outside camera range -- was worth less than zero.

Evidently, in both cases, many putative reporters considered the end (damaging America or the Bush administration) sufficiently vital to justify the means: degrading and slandering the United States and our military and jeopardizing American national security.

But let's suppose that many innocents really did die in Bala Baluk. The collapsing prosecutions of a number of Marine Corps officers and enlisted men for the supposed "Haditha massacre" demonstrate the terrible risk of humiliation and blowback run by those who go off half-cocked and conclude that if innocents are killed, Americans (or NATO) must be to blame. I refer here to accusers such as Rep. John Murtha (D-PA, 85%), to pick the most egregious example.

Murtha, congressman and poster-boy for the Democratic culture of corruption, so despised the American victories in Iraq and Afghanistan that he flatly announced that the Marines (his own branch of the service!) were guilty of wartime atrocities. (In this, he only mimicked Sen. John F. Kerry, D-MA, 100%, in a previous war.) On May 17th, 2006, speaking at a press conference, Murtha thus demonstrated his committment to a fair and impartial trial for the Marines accused in the Haditha case:

Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said at a news conference Wednesday that sources [secret sources!] within the military have told him that an internal investigation [hidden evidence!] will show [precognition!] that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood." [Marines are bloodthirsty monsters!]

On December 21 of that year, eight Marines were charged with murder, negligent homicide, conspiracy, filing false reports and failure to investigate, and other UCMJ crimes; in the last two plus years, however, charges against seven of them were dropped, leaving only SSGT Frank Wuterich's case (seven counts of negligent homicide) still pending. But even if he is convicted -- which seems increasingly unlikely, as more evidence exonerating the Marines surfaces -- there is no way in which negligent homicide can honestly be described as having "killed innocent civilians in cold blood"; that is practically the definition of premeditated murder.

This cautionary tale directly applies to Hillary Clinton's crawlfest in Afghanistan. Here is what we do not yet know about the supposed American massacre in western Afghanistan:

  • Whether the "local officials" were telling the truth or lying, accurate or mistaken about 30 to 120 civilians killed in a bombing; who are these officials anyway? What is their general attitude towards the American presence? That they are "officials" in "a Taliban-controlled district" immediately makes me skeptical of their claims.
  • What, exactly, did the International Committee of the Red Cross see? And who showed it to them? Did they actually examine the bodies to ensure (a) that they had wounds consistent with the airstrike claim (as opposed to having been shot in the head at close range, a favorite tactic of militant Islamists holding human shields); and (b) whether they were actually dead? Or was the Red Cross simply shown shrouded lumps and told that they were bodies? Or were they shown anything at all, as opposed to being told about it by local Red Crescent affilliates? I'm not necessarily inclined to give the Red Cross the benefit of the doubt here, as they have lied, for political reasons, about American "massacres" in the past. Show us the bodies!
  • Assuming those twin hurdles are overcome, how do we know it was American munitions that killed them? Perhaps the Taliban holding them in the buildings either decided to blow themselves up or else detonated their own explosives by accident.
  • How many of those "dozens" or 30 or 120 were actually "innocent?" It's hardly uncommon for "local [Taliban-supporting] officials" to claim that all persons killed by NATO forces in Afghanistan have been innocent -- even if they are later identified as al-Qaeda or Taliban members or leaders.
  • How do we know they were killed deliberately? They could have been caught in crossfire, they could have been "human shields," they could have died by a tragic accident (such as trying to salvage an unexploded bomb and accidentally triggering it).

If the answer to any of these questions falls out on the side of the American or NATO military, then Secretary Clinton's premature apology is a grotesque insult to our own armed forces: We should not apologize for fighting against the murderous evil of others, even if innocents die; those deaths are on the heads of the terrorists who precipitated the bloodshed -- in this case, by assassinating three government workers in Bala Baluk -- not on our heads for trying to stop them.

By "regretting," Clinton and Obama encourage the spread of the despicable meme that we are no better than the Taliban, that we massacre innocent people, that there is a moral equivalency between a mass murderer and the cops who try to stop him: Hey, they both have guns -- they both engage in violence -- they both kill... therefore, they're two sides of the very same coin, no?

A final point that I shouldn't even have to debunk: Some on the Left will surely point out -- rather gleefully, as if this is a rhetorical capper that completely clears the administration of any wrongdoing -- that Hillary Clinton did not actually say she "apologized" for the deaths, only that she "deeply, deeply regretted" them. But this is classic Clintonian deconstructionism, hair splitting, word parsing. Nobody in the Moslem world is going to care that she regretted rather than apologized; everyone will see it as an apology and an admission of guilt. Instead of regretting or apologizing, she should have said something along these lines:

It's tragic when innocent lives are lost; while we do not yet know all the facts, we must focus our anger and grief where it truly belongs: On the butchers who deliberately murder innocents by the thousands for political gain, and who deliberately put women and children into deadly peril as human shields: the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

That would have commemorated all deaths of innocents at the hands of terrorists without drawing moral equivalency between our military and our country, which has done more than any other nation in history to fight the horror of the Islamist holocaust, and refocused blame on those committing human sacrifice themselves. Evidently, that was too much to ask of Hillary Clinton and her Capo di Tutti Capi.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 6, 2009, at the time of 6:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 2, 2009

Weapon of Gas Discussion

Globaloney Sandwich , Liberal Lunacy , Wordwooze
Hatched by Dafydd

A left-wing enviro "think tank" -- well, I reckon that's a misnomer! -- has suddenly tigged to what's stopping the mass conversion to Globaloney that the econuts have predicted (demanded!) for decades: It's not the preposterous premise, the muddled modeling, the risible rejection of ratiocination, the brouhaha of bullying, the abhorrent adhering to ad-hominems, or even the inconvenient injection of raw reality... the misbehaving meteorological malaise that causes ice storms and blizzards to descend upon global-warming gabfests like starving seagulls upon a seaside soirée.

No, none of that is the problem. It's that damned phrase, "global warming." It just doesn't sing. Liberal lexicographers at ecoAmerica have fallen into a frenzy of phraseology, trying to find a New! Improved! dictionary of doom and disaster to awaken the weary bourgeoisie:

The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.”

The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.

They advocate globaloney proselytizers eschew "grim warnings" in favor of terms that sound vague but are in fact meaningless... but which poll well. Ecospeak dictionary in hand, they plan to send "TALKING POINTS" (caps are theirs) out to advocacy groups around the world, helping them gin up support by spinning up their speech.

How did we find out? Well, EcoAmerica e-mailed its secret report to a number of friendly (that is, liberal Democratic) lawmakers; it wanted to keep the results under wraps until they could find a way to frame it so that the entire project would not end up a laughingstock. Alas for them, some well-meaning cement-head on their website accidentally cc'ed a number of news organizations.

Heh.

Of course, they have every reason to worry about the report leaking prematurely:

Environmental issues consistently rate near the bottom of public worry, according to many public opinion polls. A Pew Research Center poll released in January found global warming last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists. “We know why it’s lowest,” said Mr. Perkowitz, a marketer of outdoor clothing and home furnishings before he started ecoAmerica, whose activities are financed by corporations, foundations and individuals. “When someone thinks of global warming, they think of a politicized, polarized argument. When you say ‘global warming,’ a certain group of Americans think that’s a code word for progressive liberals, gay marriage and other such issues.”

Well, yeah. We do. And so it is. As word trickles down to the masses about how their legislators are spending the staggering emergency deficits they have voted to snow voters with hot air on global warming, strong steps might be taken through the proper channels. 2010 approaches faster with every passing month.

Here are some of ecoAmerica's suggested circumlocutions. I wonder how much they got paid for this?

  • "Global warming"    "our deteriorating atmosphere;"
  • "Carbon dioxide"    "the dirty fuels of the past;"
  • "Cap and trade"    "pollution reduction fund;"
  • "Energy efficiency"    "saving money for a more prosperous future;"
  • "Environment"    "the air we breathe, the water our children drink." (That's still boring; now if they had it, "the water we breath, the children we dunk," they might have something.)

The movement should have come to me; I would have given them much more bewildering babble at a small fraction of the probable millions they forked over to ecoAmerica. Viz.:

  • "Banning all industrial operations" could be renamed "greenlining;"
  • "Carbon rationing" becomes "redistribution of illth;"
  • "The Kyoto Protocol" -- frightening, technical, foreign -- becomes "atmospheric contingency operation;"
  • "Tailpipe emissions of carbon and carbonoids" becomes "van-caused disasters;"
  • "Mandating use of hybrid cars for all non-governmental usage" becomes "the Prius is right;"
  • A "collapsed economy" is a "global financial resimplification;"
  • An "ice-age Earth" is defended as "it's cool to be blue;"
  • And complaints from globaloney deniers of "flawed general circulation models that cannot even accurately predict the past" shall henceforth be referred to as "exochronic evidentiary discrimination."

See? No need to modify hypotheses that are shot down and predictions which fall flat. All we need do is change the user interface, and presto! Hope meets anthropogenic global climate change.

Gore's in His heaven, all's right with the world.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 2, 2009, at the time of 11:52 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 30, 2009

Everybody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

Injudicious Judiciary , Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation , Politics - Internationalia , Presidential Peculiarities and Pomposities
Hatched by Dafydd

At the end of an AP story on the extraordinary lengths to which the administration of Barack H. Obama is going to urge, cajole, and even bribe our "allies" into accepting released detainees from the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility -- so that the president can shut it down and bask in the warm glow of being patted on the head by Europe -- I stumbled across this arresting exchange:

In speaking to reporters Wednesday, [Attorney General Eric] Holder also said it is possible the United States could cooperate with a foreign court's investigation of Bush administration officials.

Holder spoke before the announcement that a Spanish magistrate had opened an investigation of Bush officials on harsh interrogation methods. Holder didn't rule out cooperating in such a probe.

"Obviously, we would look at any request that would come from a court in any country and see how and whether we should comply with it," Holder said. [Any country? Any country at all can open a "probe" of American officials, and Holder will seriously consider cooperating with it?]

"This is an administration that is determined to conduct itself by the rule of law and to the extent that we receive lawful requests from an appropriately created court, we would obviously respond to it," he said.

Oh yes, the "rule of law." But whose law? The rule of law in Spain forbids any interrogation of captured unlawful combatants and terrorists without them having an attorney present to object and demand classified intelligence; is that our new policy too? For that matter, the rule of law in Saudi Arabia demands that rape victims be flogged or even stoned to death. Will we "cooperate" on Saudi probes of such promiscuous women here in the United States?

The juxtaposition of Holder's offer of "cooperation" (complicity) and the hoped-for acceptance of Gitmo detainees strongly suggests that a grand bargain may be in the works: European countries may accept releasees in exchange for American recognition of the "universal jurisdiction" of individual courts of "human rights."

Does our looming cooperation imply that we might even look favorably upon a demand that we arrest and extradite named defendants to stand in the dock of such courts? Perhaps suspecting that he had given a bit too obvious a "tell," Holder seemed to retreat slightly (but only slightly):

Pressed on whether that meant the United States would cooperate with a foreign court prosecuting Bush administration officials, Holder said he was talking about evidentiary requests and would review any such request to see if the U.S. would comply.

But this is manifestly absurd: If the Attorney General of the United States once accepts the absurdity that a Spanish court and Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón, sitting in Spain and operating under Spanish law, actually have jurisdiction over American officials making official policy decisions inside the United States about how American military and intelligence agents can interrogate detainees at an American Marine Corps base inside Cuba... then how can Holder later limit such jurisdiction to "evidentiary requests?"

If Garzón has legal authority to demand we hand over evidence, he also has legal authority to demand we hand over "war criminals," from American military personnel, to John Yoo, to Jay Bybee, to William Haynes, to Douglas Feith, to Alberto Gonzales, to Richard Myers, to Dick Cheney -- even to former President George W. Bush himself.

This is even more outrageous than the suggestion that we prosecute any of these individuals ourselves, or that we form a "truth commission" and haul them before it for public show trials. This is, in essence, outsourcing the prosecution of the previous administration to foreign courts. Call it "extraordinary judicion."

If we ever once accept that a European court -- and not even a recognized "international" one! -- has jurisdiction over actions committed by American officials here in the United States, and can prosecute them for "crimes" that are not even recognized here, then we have crossed a line from which we can never retreat: The United States will cease to be a sovereign power.

If Eric Holder and Barack Obama accept this idea, they will actually have brought about what used to be a paranoid fantasy among the John Birch Society and other lunatics -- "one-world government," run according to European, not American rules.

Even if we do not actually arrest and extradite suspects in a European crimes-against-humanity witch hunt, by acquiescing and even cooperating with such unconstitutional probes of American citizens, we could make it impossible for former Bush-administration officials ever to travel outside the United States: By accepting the jurisdiction of such "world courts" and blessing their proceedings, President Obama signals that he will stand by and do nothing if, say, Dick Cheney or George Bush is seized abroad and sent to some star-chamber tribunal for prosecution. (What would the former president's Secret Service contingent do -- shoot it out with Italian or German police?)

Note in this WaPo article that the administration has already cooperated with Garzón's kangaroo court, albeit with boatloads of plausible deniability:

In Madrid, a Spanish investigating magistrate announced Wednesday that he has opened a wide-ranging criminal investigation into what he called "a systemic plan of torture" at Guantanamo and other places where the U.S. government held terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Judge Baltasar Garzón said his probe was based largely on complaints filed by four former prisoners at Guantanamo who were transferred to Spain. But in court papers, he also said his investigation was prompted by the release of secret U.S. legal opinions authorizing the CIA to subject terrorism suspects to waterboarding and other tactics.

Spain and some other European countries have adopted laws giving themselves authority to investigate torture, genocide and other human rights crimes anywhere in the world. Although it is rare for prosecutors to win such cases, those targeted can face arrest if they travel abroad.

It's possible that Obama, Holder, and everyone else involved in the bizarre decision to release highly classified memos detailing our interrogation techniques into the wide world, were so naive and feckless that they literally had no idea that a Spanish court (and others) would rake over such a treasure-trove of intel for anything they could use against the United States. But it's equally plausible that the administration knew exactly what would eventuate from the release... and they did it anyway, consciously and deliberately. It is, after all, a wonderful way to push forward the criminal prosecution of the former administration without Obama himself, or his deputies, getting blood on their own hands: Garzón is willing (eager!) to do it for them.

But they cannot escape their own complicity so easily. I strongly believe that even most rank and file liberals will rise up in disgust at the idea that any cockamamie court anywhere in the world can announce that it has awarded itself "authority to investigate torture, genocide and other human rights crimes anywhere in the world" -- then demand the arrest and extradition of Americans for actions committed in some third-party country (or in America itself!) that are not crimes here... but are crimes in the country housing the court.

Should we hand over American government officials to sharia courts in Iran, to be prosecuted for the "crime" of insulting Islam? Well, don't we want to improve relations with that country, hoping they wil promise, crescent their hearts, to stop building nuclear bombs? Or should we extradite a president for refusing to join in some EU-enforced policy to cut carbon use by 80%?

Just how far is the Obama administration willing to go to impose "change we can believe in" upon the American people. More to the point, just how far are we willing to let them go?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 30, 2009, at the time of 2:00 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 24, 2009

U.N. Orders Obama to Prosecute Bush Officials for "Torture"

Liberal Lunacy , Untied Nations
Hatched by Dafydd

All right, not quite exactly the United Nations itself; but the U.N. special rapporteur on torture issues, Manfred Nowak, announced that the United Nations Convention against Torture obliges us to prosecute those attorneys who opined that the harsh interrogation techniques used against terrorist detainees at the Guanatanamo Bay Detention Facility -- making them stand up for a long time, shouting at them, occasionally slapping them, and in the case of three specific terrorists, waterboarding -- were legal under U.S. law, including all international law that we specifically incorporated by treaty or international agreement:

Manfred Nowak, who serves as a U.N. special rapporteur in Geneva, said Washington is obligated under the U.N. Convention against Torture to prosecute U.S. Justice Department officials who wrote memos that defined torture in the narrowest way in order to justify and legitimize it, and who assured CIA officials that their use of questionable tactics was legal.

"That's exactly what I call complicity or participation" to torture as defined by the convention, Nowak said at a news conference. "At that time, every reasonable person would know that waterboarding, for instance, is torture."

(Of course! Because anybody who didn't believe that pouring water in the face of a terrorist constituted "torture" was, by definition, unreasonable. No circular logic here...)

I expecially love the unbiased and non-argumentative adjectival phrase, "U.S. Justice Department officials who wrote memos that defined torture in the narrowest way in order to justify and legitimize it." Another way to put that is: U.S. Justice Department officials who wrote memos analyzing the specific interrogation techniques vis-a-vis the United States criminal code on torture -- 18 U.S.C. § § 2340-2340A -- and all common-law precedents came to the conclusion that the techniques did not meet the legal definition of "torture" -- which is now and has been for decades illegal in the United States, even for the CIA. (But of course, that phrase isn't quite as useful in damning George W. Bush as torturer in chief, is it?)

Even though this decision is not a legally binding U.N. resolution, the opinion by the relevant U.N. authority may well supply President Barack H. Obama -- who I believe is actively looking for an excuse to prosecute those Bush administration officials the Democrats hate most -- with the fig leaf he needs to cover his animus with a facade of international law. In fact, I'm not even sure he would veto such a resolution were the UN Security Council to enact it.

Besides waterboarding, what techniques is Nowak talking about? What "gruesome" tortures do we stand accused of perpetrating on innocent beheaders? Read the following, and see if a shiver of guilt-driven terror runs up and down your spine:

The memos authorized keeping detainees naked, in painful standing positions and in cold cells for long periods of time. Other techniques included depriving them of solid food and slapping them. Sleep deprivation, prolonged shackling and threats to a detainee's family also were used.

I wonder a bit about that last one; threats of what sort? Where does this charge come from? I don't recall any memo specifically authorizing, for example, the threat to kill a detainee's wife, mother, or children, or any such a thing. The closest I can find is a memo sent February 12th, 2002, by the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, responding to "a request by the Commander of Joint Task Force 170 (now JTF GTMO) for approval of counter-resistance techniques to aid in the interrogatin of detainees at Guantanamo Bay."

In the original request, JTF Guantanamo Bay requested permission to use various harsh interrogation techniques (none of which amount to being "gruesome," in my understanding of that word) divided into three categories of increasing severity. Category three included the following request:

(1) The use of scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and/or his family.

This would certainly qualify as the "threats to a detainee's family" mentioned above except that -- in response, the General Counsel approved everything in categories I and II but withheld blanket approval of techniques in category III:

While all Category III techniques may be legally available, we believe that, as a matter of policy, a blanket approval of Category III techniques is not warranted at this time. Our Armed Forces are trained to a standard of interrogation that reflects a tradition of restraint.

In other words, the Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Defense denied permission to Gitmo interrogators to threaten either the detainee or his family with "[imminent] death or severely painful consequences."

This conclusion was agreed to after consultation with General Counsel William J. Haynes II, Deputy Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers... the first two of whom would top the list of lawyers that Obama's friends want to see prosecuted (along with Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Jay Bybee and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the OLC John Yoo).

It's passing odd that these attorneys (and Gen. Myers) are now routinely accused of having authorized such threats to (presumably innocent) family members of detainees when in fact they denied the request; but of course, accusers needed some crime that sounds more "gruesome" than chest-poking, yelling, making detainees stand at attention, and pouring water in their faces. Or putting a detainee (Abu Zubaydah), believed to have entomophobia (fear of insects), into a box with a caterpillar. Accusing the U.S. of approving threats to kill, rape, or torture detainees wives, children, and mothers is conveniently horrific... even if it suffers from the minor drawback of being provably false.

I think I see where Nowak's problem emanates: In the United States, we have rule of law; that means that people can only be convicted of, hence prosecuted for, specific crimes; those crimes must meet the specific definitions enacted by legislation and fall under the interpretation of that legislation by courts in previous cases (case law or common law).

Unlike most countries in Europe and elsewhere, we do not allow defendants to be prosecuted under the catchall crime of "every reasonable person knows" that he's guilty... which appears to be the standard modus operandi of putative "international courts," such as the International Court of Justice at the Hague, the International Criminal Court (also at the Hague), and any of the various European countries that claim "universal jurisdiction" over any crime they decide has been committed anywhere, regardless of the alleged perpetrator, the alleged victim, and the alleged country in which the alleged crime allegedly occurred.

I believe that Special Rapporteur Nowak has simply confused the normal activity of lawyers in the United States -- parsing the actual meaning of the actual words of a criminal statute and the actual decisions handed down by courts -- with "defin[ing] torture in the narrowest way in order to justify and legitimize it;" or as the New York Times puts it, "devising arguments to avoid constraints against mistreatment and torture of detainees."

I imagine this private conversation Nowak is probably having with his little buddies:

Ach, zis is ridiculous! Everybody knows zat America tortures prisoners all ze time... any country zat vould execute people vould have no compunction at all about merely torturing zem. Of course ze lawyers are guilty -- can't zis Obama scheisskopf just throw zem in prison und be done mit it? Ve're only talking about a handful of people, und all from ze previous, defeated party! Gott im Himmel... if he vould yust show zat much spine, zen Europe could vunce again tink vell of ze United States, jah?

(At least until the next time we're hit, if we have the audacity to hit back again.)

I suspect that this attitude -- deriding the absurdity of actually analyzing the law before offering an opinion, rather than operating from pure politics -- is far more widespread than just a few officials at the U.N. and the elite media pundits here and abroad; sadly, I suspect that more than half of all Democrats would agree with Manny Nowak.

When exactly did "rule of law" become a suspect philosophy? It must have been sometime before George W. Bush came along -- but when?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 24, 2009, at the time of 3:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 16, 2009

Sarah Palin and Guilt by Disassociation

Confusticated Conservatives , Liberal Lunacy , Presidential Campaign Camp and Porkinstance
Hatched by Dafydd

Ah, the distinctly noisome bouquet tells me that the 2012 presidential campaign has been uncorked early this year...

The attacks on Sarah Palin have begun again; and as before, since none of Palin's enemies can find anything troubling or disturbing about the woman herself, they're targeting her family, especially her children, once more:

Teen pregnancy, drug charges, burglary arrests. Appearances on the "Tyra Banks Show" that resembled a Jerry Springer segment. Charges of being publicity hounds and not paying for the diapers.

The family foibles continue to play out in tabloid fashion for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, adding unwelcome public drama for the former vice-presidential nominee as she seeks to solidify her clout within a Republican Party that is smarting from the November election and sorely in need of a leader.

But wait... before proceeding further, let's get a little mroe specific on exactly what charges Palin's opponents within the GOP and her enemies among Democrats have leveled:

  • We all agree that Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol got knocked up; but that's last year's news, and it wouldn't cause a stir today, let alone in three more years.
  • What's this about drug charges? Oh yes, "somebody" in Bristol's former boyfriend's family -- not Palin's family -- was arrested for something involving drugs. That somebody was Levi Johnson's mother, Sherry Johnson.
  • "Appearances on the 'Tyra Banks Show',"charges of being publicity hounds and not paying for the diapers" all refer to the aforementioned Levi Johnson, Bristol's ex; he and his mother and sister decided -- without the blessing of Todd, Sarah, Bristol, or the infant Tripp Palin -- to appear on the tabloid show, goodness only knows why. (I have my suspicions, and they do, in fact, include the Johnson family being publicity hounds.)
  • After the appearance, during which Levi retailed lurid accounts of his sexual exploits that are hotly denied by his former girlfriend Bristol, Sarah Palin's father accused Johnson of not supporting Tripp Palin -- his legal obligation -- and suggested that he should take some of the money he's now making off of his former association with Alaska's first family and use it to "buy some diapers."
  • And burglary? That appears to be the half-sister of Sarah Palin's husband Todd. Diana Palin is married and has her own two children; she does not live with Todd and Sarah Palin.

So out of all the smoke of the allegations -- both the Democratic Party and Republican Party spokesmen puckishly decline to comment -- only one charge actually involves Sarah Palin's family. The rest involve Bristol's former boyfriend, his family, and Palin's husband's married sister.

Yes, I can see how the foibles of people distantly connected to Sarah Palin logically should damage her candidacy; after all, the bad behavior of her daughter's ex-boyfriend's mother certainly demonstrates that Sarah Palin is the hillbilly so many sources (on both sides the aisle) have insisted she is. And we certainly never see any relatives or family members of Democrats having problems... especially not the Democrat current occupying the White House; this situation is something utterly unique to Palin.

When Democrats (with GOP complicity) finish off Palin, they will surely start in on Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana. Did you know that he's a hillbubba? And he has a funny name... what's up with that?

I will certainly admit one solid slam against Palin: She clearly was not firm enough in teaching her daughter the sort of boys to avoid. If that's enough to turn you away from her future candidacy, so be it.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 16, 2009, at the time of 3:57 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 10, 2009

Obamunism II - the Infection Spreads

Iraq Matters , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness , Obama Nation
Hatched by Dafydd

On Monday, in Obamunism - Through the Eyes of a Child, we lit into President Barack H. Obama for enunciating a very juvenile and immature philosophy, one based upon four pillars:

  • Dividing world actors into either heroes or villains (based on whether they're considered generally Left or Right, respectively), as in the comic books of earlier generations (oddly, many comics have a more sophisticated worldview today than does the president);
  • Misapprehending current events in a very superficial, childish way;
  • Rewriting the chaos of history to make it a more exciting and melodramatic story -- complete with plot, conflict, climax, and dénouement (resolution of the climax)... they remember things not the way they happened but the way they should have happened;
  • And magical thinking, in which deep, non-logical or paralogical connections exist between seemingly disconnected events or people, such that doing some apparently irrelevent thing (throwing the ring of power into a volcano) results in some vital consequence (the evil Sauron is destroyed).

Today, Friday -- bookending the week -- I have a perfect example of such pre-pubescent behavior; but this time, it's not just on the part of the president... it has spread through Western civilization at least as far as Merrie Olde England, as the Times (of London) joins in the juvenalia. Thus Obama does not merely enunciate a philosophy of childishness, he exemplifies what is rapidly becoming a movement of childishness.

In a straight-reporting article on Gen. Ray Odierno's fight in Iraq, primarily in the cities of Mosul and Diyala, we read the following description of the so-called "surge," which I prefer to call the counterinsurgency:

Despite the rise in the number of attacks, overall violence is still far below levels of two years ago when the surge of an extra 30,000 US forces -- a strategy created and implemented by General Odierno and his boss, General Petraeus -- was just getting started. That risk paid off, subduing a civil war that was killing thousands of Iraqi civilians and scores of American soldiers every month.

Let's take a look at that one paragraph. First of all, the definition of civil war is not "kills thousands of civilians and scores of soldiers every month." A civil war requires opposing armies -- each drawn from and led by citizens or subjects of the same country -- engaging in actual combat operations.

Neither of these was true in Iraq. There were initially two armies, that of Saddam Hussein and the one fielded by the American-led coalition. After the former collapsed and up until today, there has been only one army: the latter. In addition, there have been various home-staffed but generally foreign-led terrorist groups... and there is even a small force of militants fielded by a foreign power, Iran. But there is not now, nor has there ever been (during the third millennium) a "civil war" in Iraq.

This is story-telling as described above. It's very dramatic to describe the violent conflict from 2004 through 2007 as a "civil war;" the term conjures up images (in America) of horrific battles like Antietam (Sharpsburg) and Gettysburg and hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers on both sides. In Great Britain, readers envision the English Civil War in the mid-seventeenth century, between "cavaliers" (royalists) and "roundheads" (parliamentarians), in which King Charles I was executed by Parliament, his son driven into exile, the monarchy temporarily abolished, and a new government "Protectorate" established under Oliver Cromwell. Man, that's exciting!

By contrast, the reality in Iraq was nothing like that. The government was never in danger of being overthrown by al-Qaeda, which fielded no real army; the terrorists never really governed territory, though they held sway in some areas (e.g., Anbar province); all they could ever do was kill people, more or less at random.

In addition to the storytelling, the paragraph quoted above demonstrates the oversimplification and superficiality of Obamunism, despite coming from across the Atlantic ocean. Note the claimed provenance of the counterinsurgency: "a strategy created and implemented by General Odierno and his boss, General Petraeus."

This puts all the praise squarely upon the military itself, a safe and politically neutral repository... and it denies credit to the civilians (some former military) who actually crafted the plan, particularly the authors of the American Enterprise Institute's report: Fred Kagen and retired Gen. John "Jack" Keane.

Why should the Times want to deny credit to the AEI? Because it is a preeminent politically conservative organization. To grant the AEI its due entails admitting that the conservative approach to the Iraq crisis was correct; while the liberal view of withdrawal from the cities, handing everything over to the Iraqis, and quickly withdrawing from Iraq altogether -- as enunciated by, e.g., Gen. William Casey and retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, along with nearly every liberal Democrat especially including then-Sen. Barack Obama -- was dead wrong, failed, and nearly cost us the war.

(Even worse would have been the madcap scheme pushed by then-Sen. Joe Biden, among many others, to "partition" Iraq into threes, Sunni, Shia, and Kurd. Within a few months, the Sunni regions would all be controlled by al-Qaeda with support from Pakistan; the Shiite regions would all be controlled by Muqtada Sadr and his puppetmasters in Teheran; and Kurdistan would have managed to provoke a war with Turkey.)

Thank goodness the AEI made such a good counter-case.

Finally, note the truly glaring omission among those who should receive credit for the counterinsurgency, which seized victory from a battlefield where the Left had already declared defeat. Who was the one person most responsible for what the press enjoys calling "the surge?" Who was the actual decider? Who took the political heat? Who was called everything from a moron to a Nazi for pushing it?

The Times has surgically removed President George W. Bush from the story; it's as if he wasn't even there. Evidently, these two generals, Petraeus and Odierno, just got it into their heads to totally change the war-fighting strategy in Iraq. They invented the counterinsurgency out of whole cloth and somehow found a way to increase the forces on the ground as well... and all without any input or decision-making by the Commander in Chief!

Imagine how terrible it would be to have to admit, in one of the most respected organs of the elite media, that George W. Bush was right, and Barack H. Obama was catastrophically wrong on the Iraq war... that if we had followed the Obama-Biden-Reid-Pelosi-Kerry recommendation to declare defeat and go home, we would have lost the war; but because Bush instead implemented a strategy of victory, we have won it. If the Left confessed that, how could it ever hold up its head again?

Far better to praise a couple of more or less apolitical generals, pat the troops on the head, and cut all the political actors out of the picture, like a deranged divorcée cutting her ex-husband's head out of all the wedding photos. Or perhaps more appropriately, the Soviet habit of making former heroes of the revolution "vanish" from official photographs when they fall from power.

But the Times only takes its cue from President Obama himself; during his surprise trip to Baghdad Wednesday, he lavished praise on the American military presence there, crediting them with the "surge of troops;" but he pointedly refrained from mentioning President Bush's courageous decision to implement the counterinsurgency strategy in the first place. This has been Obama's modus operandi from the days of the campaign (which still hasn't ended) through the first months of his presidency: Everything bad that happens in America he blames on Bush; but he shifts credit for all the successes of the Bush administration -- and there were many -- to other entities, either liberal (Congress) or neutral (the military).

This is typically juvenile behavior, now being copied by leftists across America and even in supposedly sophisticated Europe. The childishness of our Childe President is spreading like a virulent malaise through an unsanitary grade school. Heaven only knows how long the epidemic will rage.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 10, 2009, at the time of 2:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 7, 2009

The Party of Conditional Compassion

Liberal Lunacy , Matrimonial Madness , Military Machinations , Ubertweets
Hatched by Dafydd

Riddle me this...

Liberals have a mad desire to cram same-sex marriage -- let's just say gay marriage for the moment, since that's how they think of it -- down our throats. They demand it willy-nilly, generally by court order (Vermont notwithstanding) and regardless of the desires of the citizens of the state in question. They seem terribly urgent about it, as if it's the most important "civil rights" battle in America today (they mean civil liberties, not civil rights, but let that slide).

Yet very few gays would get married, were the option available, according to the polls I've seen -- and in the real-life states that have enacted it: Massachusetts, Connecticut, California briefly, and so forth.

But lo! There is a much more blatant and much less defensible example of anti-gay discrimination in American society: The federal policy barring openly gay men or women from serving in the United States military... at all, in any capacity.

It's virtually impossible to justify on grounds of military necessity, since it's been many decades since anyone seriously believed that homosexuals are weaker or less aggressive than heteros; and the claims that a policy of inclusion would damage morale are no more defensible than the same arguments made in the 40s against racially integrating the military (the argument is essentially that the morale of gay-haters would drop).

At a guess, I believe that at least a hundred times as many gays serve (more or less secretly) in the military as want to get married to members of the same gender, and an even larger number are veterans or would like to serve in the future. At a guess, if about five million legal American residents are homosexual (loosely defined -- say 2% of men and 1% of women), easily as many as a million could be directly adversely affected by the policy. (I cannot imagine that anywhere near ten thousand gays and lesbians seriously intend to get married.)

And Congress or the president could enact that change right this very minute; I don't think Republicans could possibly muster 41 votes to filibuster a bill to lift the restriction, even if they wanted to -- and assuming congressional action is even required; it's possible that all it would take is an Executive Order from the Commander in Chief.

The Left could do it in a snap, even against unified Republican opposition (which I doubt could be mustered anyway). So why don't they?

Well, I didn't plan to leave that hanging as a rhetorical question. As anybody who has read more of this blog than just the seven paragraphs above knows, I ask because I think I know the answer -- which is simply this...

Democrats and liberals couldn't care less about gays, lesbians, transsexuals, transvestites, or any other such subgroup. They only champion the gay (or blacktivist, or feminist) agenda when a particular policy serves the larger agenda of the hard Left: the destruction of traditional Western culture and its replacement by secular humanism.

Simply and brutally put, destroying traditional marriage advances that liberal agenda, so liberal Democrats pursue it with a passion; but allowing gays to serve openly in the military does not advance that vile agenda -- so liberal Democrats truly could not care less.

The only thing that might shake the Left from its apathy on gays in the military is if Democrats start to worry about the 2010 elections; they may decide that they can disguise their larger socialist agenda with the "beard" of civil liberties. They still don't care about gays -- they'll vote Democratic by 75% to 80% anyway; the campaign would be aimed at Independents, who may be won over by the question of fairness.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the GOP would not seriously resist lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military. In that case, pursuing the change wouldn't benefit the Left anyway; they couldn't point to Republicans and believably scream "homophobe!" So if the GOP is at least split on the issue, Democrats probably won't waste their time pursuing it, as there is no electoral payoff.

I realize I am sounding more and more cynical about the patriotism of the Left, but is it any wonder? All I read, day after day, tells me that they cannot stand America as we are; the only America they love is Sweden.

In any event, if you are gay, and if you're more interested in serving in the military than in marrying a person of your same gender, then please consider joining the GOP. At the least, you will find yourself among a group of people who honestly respect and applaud your service to the country, however much they may disagree with your positions on a few issues. I think a gay or lesbian soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine would have a much more pleasant time at a convention or fund-raiser headed by Romney or McCain or Palin than one headed by Reid, Pelosi, or Obama.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 7, 2009, at the time of 8:45 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 2, 2009

Triumph at the Summit of Mount Obamarama

Beggar's Banking Banquet , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness , Obama Nation
Hatched by Dafydd

A summit just concluded in London among the G-20, the group of 20 richest nations; the heads of state spoke to each other without visible brandishing of weaponry. This much we can all agree upon.

But that's about all we can agree upon. Here is AP's take on the outcome:

At his summit debut, President Barack Obama failed to persuade foreign counterparts to commit to fresh and lavish spending to boost economic revival. And the success he did achieve in finding common ground was as much the result of modified goals as swaying other countries to bend to U.S. priorities.

Still, he emerged with much of what he wanted from allies on the flailing global economy. And he helped thwart a French-backed attempt to set up an international financial regulator.

And here is the assessment by the New York Times:

After more than 11 hours of meetings, Mr. Obama emerged Thursday from his first summit meeting with a handful of modest concrete commitments. He did not get much of what American officials had been hoping for, notably failing to persuade other countries to commit to more fiscal stimulus spending.

Oh, yes; they're clearly singing from the same hymnal.

So what exactly does AP see as emerging with "much of what he wanted from allies on the flailing global economy?" Oh, that's as clear as crystal:

Thursday's daylong gathering of the G-20 nations pledged $1.1 trillion in loans and guarantees to struggling countries, agreed to crack down on tax havens, large hedge funds and other risky financial products, rejected protectionism that hampers foreign trade and committed to upgrading an existing financial forum to flag problems early in the global financial system. Those were all elements Obama was seeking.

And, as he hoped, the leaders also rejected a push by French and German politicians for a global financial super-regulator, a proposal that had been expected to go down in defeat. The emphasis, instead, was on cooperation among nations to each choose it own way to enact "a stronger, more globally consistent, supervisory and regulatory framework...."

Still, the leaders, many wary of piling up debt, did not sign off on large new stimulus packages for their own countries. Obama's administration had initially pushed for such a commitment, but backed off in recent days as European opposition solidified.

So Barack H. Obama elicited a few trivial, generalized noises from the other members about markets and trade; he managed to "thwart" a French demand for one-world government (at least on financial issues) that everybody knew going in was "expected to go down in defeat" anyway... and he bowed to the rest of the wealthy nations on a world-wide stimulus package, dropping it the moment it met the slightest resistance. Or skepticism.

Obama's "agreement" comprised caving to Europe; there will be no such global stimulus, as the One had long insisted was vital to preventing complete economic meltdown.

Mind, I'm very glad he caved; it's a craven admission by the president that his earlier sepulchral warnings and nigh-biblical denunciations were just so much hot air (no offence to Captain Ed, et al)... and the confession that, in the end, doing nothing is preferable to doing Obamunism -- even to the Euroleft! Still, it's always easy to come to agreement when One is willing to jettison all of One's demands; it rarely takes much diplomatic genius to persuade people to accept their own position instead of yours.

Oh, wait; there was one other signal triumph by the Childe President: According to AP, Obama somehow got the developed nations to "agree[] to crack down on tax havens."

Bully! So no longer will China allow companies to incorporate in Macao or Hong Kong and thereby skate on paying their "fair share" of taxes. But how did he do it?

Sayeth the Times, the big disagreement was between President Nicolas Sarkozy of France -- who wanted the nations to commit to a "name and shame" policy anent tax havens -- and President Hu Jintao of Red China, who did not want any such naming and/or shaming of the two biggest tax havens in Asia, to wit, those very same Chinese provinces of Macao and Hong Kong.

Here is how it all played out:

Mr. Sarkozy wanted the big communiqué produced by the Group of 20 to endorse naming and shaming global tax havens, maybe even including Hong Kong and Macao, which are under China’s sovereignty. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Hu was having none of it. He appeared angry that Mr. Sarkozy was effectively accusing China of lax regulation, and that the French leader was asking China to endorse sanctions issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of wealthy nations that Beijing has yet to join.

According to accounts provided by White House officials and corroborated by European and other officials also in the room, Mr. Obama escorted both men, one at a time, to a corner of the room, to judge the dispute. How about replacing the word “recognize,” Mr. Obama suggested, with the word “note?”

The result: “The era of banking secrecy is over,” the final communiqué said. “We note that the O.E.C.D. has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information.” Hong Kong and Macao did not appear on the list.

And there we have it. In a stunning tour de force, Barack Obama has achieved the trifecta:

  • He grabbed credit for "thwarting" a French plan that was already doomed before Obama set foot in Londontown;
  • He obtained a broad agreement with the other nations by taking the signal policy he has claimed for months was the only thing which could save the world economy -- and consigning to the dustbin of non-history;
  • And he resolved a conflict between Europe and China over the latter's tax dodgers by kow-towing to the Chinese, ensuring that Macao and Hong Kong can continue to operate without any fear of being outed, named, isolated, or shamed.

Well now! See how much can be accomplished if America really sets its mind on diplomacy, rather than the Cowboy-George, go-it-alone policy of dictating to the rest of the world? The Times sums up what our man in London has taught us about our proper place in the world:

Gone are the days, from Pax Britannica to Pax Americana, when Britain and the United States made the rules that others followed.

“If there’s just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy, that’s an easier negotiation,” Mr. Obama said during his hourlong meeting with the international news media, during which he called on reporters from India and China to ask him questions. “But that’s not the world we live in, and it shouldn’t be the world that we live in.”

Yes, he has certainly proved that those days (of two years ago) are gone. Forgive me if I don't caper and frolic in glee; I've been feeling a bit enervated for the last two-plus months.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 2, 2009, at the time of 11:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Great Dictator, part (C)

Beggar's Banking Banquet , Congressional Calamities , Democratic Culture of Corruption , Liberal Lunacy , Tax Attax
Hatched by Dafydd

If you want a picture of the future, imagine an iron fist clutching a smiley face -- forever.

The first two posts of this miniseries were:

We ended the last segment with a tease:

The final step of a liberal fascist takeover of the industry would be to control the wages of all employees, to be able to set them however they want.

So let's leap straight into the maw of that final eldritch horror of state capitalism, corporate socialism, or as I prefer, the Jonah Goldberg formulation: liberal fascism:

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the "Pay for Performance Act of 2009," would impose government controls on the pay of all employees -- not just top executives -- of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

The author of the article, Byron York, is the former White House correspondent for the National Review; he now writes for the Washington D.C. Examiner. York describes the legislation that Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA, 100%) has approved:

The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is "unreasonable" or "excessive." And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate "the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates."

There really is no other way to describe this than a fascistic economic policy, where by "fascistic" I mean corporate socialism, similar to that developed most extensively by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. (Adolf Hitler did not invent it; he admired the economics of "Il Duce" so much, he copied them in his "Third Reich".)

Before moving further, it's important to note that fascism, while it has the stench of racism, antisemitism, and warmongering for conquest, is not strictly defined that way. An administration can be fascistic even if it has not the slightest whiff of any of those qualities. That said, however, the current administration is an open and unapologetic fan of race-based preferences; is packed to the gills with ardent foes of Israel who too often slop over into naked Jew hatred (using the code phrase "the Israel lobby"); and fecklessly threatened to invade Pakistan even before Barack H. Obama was elected; it can hardly be said to be anti-racist, philosemitic, or pacific.

The bill was actually authored by freshman Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL, not yet rated), most famous until now for filing lawsuits against Halliburton; the fair-minded and non-prejudicial Grayson offered this unique reason for House members to vote for the bill:

"This bill will show which Republicans are so much on the take from the financial services industry that they're willing to actually bless compensation that has no bearing on performance and is excessive and unreasonable," Grayson said. "We'll find out who are the people who understand that the public's money needs to be protected, and who are the people who simply want to suck up to their patrons on Wall Street."

These are not the words of a man who has any love of the free market, individualism, limited government, or Capitalism whatsoever. I venture to say that Mr. Grayson veers perilously close to totalitarianism... and he might not even mind the label.

In a recent post, Patterico quoted Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics; Sowell hit it right on the money, as usual:

Too often a false contrast is made between the impersonal marketplace and the compassionate policies of various government programs. But both systems face the same scarcity of resources and both systems make choices within the constraints of that scarcity. The difference is that one system involves each individual making choices for himself or herself, while the other system involves a smaller number of people making choices for others.

It may be fashionable for journalists to refer to “the whim of the marketplace,” as if that were something different from the desires of people, just as it was once fashionable to refer to “production for use, rather than for profit” -- as if profits could be made by producing things that people cannot use or do not want to use. The real contrast is between choices made by individuals for themselves and choices made for them by others who presume to define what these individuals “really” need.

We must contrast the clarity, logical development, and true love of freedom found in Sowell's argument with the crabbed, self-serving, power-mad, authoritarian, arrogant, condescending, ill-informed, adolescent wish-fulfillment of Barack Obama, Timothy Geithner, Barney Frank, Alan Grayson, Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%), Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 70%), and every other member of the liberal cabal that wants to hijack our country and turn it into Sweden. Or into fascist Italy of the 1920s, 30s, and early 40s.

Thomas Sowell is above all an American man who loves the American experiment... while the Obamunists are from Venus, I think. Barack Obama despises everything that the United States is right now; he will only love his country when it's no longer our country, but just an extension of the EU and the UN.

But always with a smiley face. Never forget the smiley face... that's the distinction that makes one a compassionate liberal fascist, which makes all the difference.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 2, 2009, at the time of 5:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 31, 2009

The Great Dictator, part Deux

Beggar's Banking Banquet , Liberal Lunacy , Presidential Peculiarities and Pomposities , Tax Attax
Hatched by Dafydd

In the Great Dictator -- which won the Watcher's Council award for non-members, only the second time we've ever managed that! -- we wrote:

But the Great Dictator of 2009 may turn out to be glib huckster from Hawaii by way of Chicago named Barack H. Obama; for the administration appears poised to enact rules that could end up completely controlling all executive compensation for every major company that has anything to do with financial matters, or is publicly held, or has any sort of requirement to report anything at all to the SEC -- even including companies that never took a dime of TARP or stimulus money.

Today, we read the following chilling report of our Childe President finding he has some new powers, hitherto unknown to be in the Constitution:

President Barack Obama asserted unprecedented government control over the auto industry Monday, rejecting turnaround plans from General Motors and Chrysler and raising the prospect of controlled bankruptcy for either ailing auto giant. Eager to reassure consumers, Obama also announced the federal government would immediately begin backing the warranties that new car buyers receive -- a step designed to signal that it is safe to purchase U.S.-made autos and trucks despite the distress of the industry.

In a statement read at the White House, Obama said he was "absolutely committed" to the survival of a domestic auto industry that can compete internationally. And yet, "our auto industry is not moving in the right direction fast enough," he added.

With his words, Obama underscored the extent to which the government is now dictating terms to two of the country's iconic corporations, much as it has already taken an ownership stake in banks, the insurance giant AIG and housing titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In an extraordinary move, the administration forced the departure of Rick Wagoner as CEO of General Motors Corp. over the weekend, and implicit in Obama's remarks was that the government holds the ability to pull the plug on that company or Chrysler.

The New York Times gives a little more detail about the detailed level of the terms that Barack H. Obama is now "dictating" to a private company:

“And so today, I am announcing that my administration will offer G.M. and Chrysler a limited period of time to work with creditors, unions and other stakeholders to fundamentally restructure in a way that would justify an investment of additional tax dollars; a period during which they must produce plans that would give the American people confidence in their long-term prospects for success,” Mr. Obama said.

Speaking a day after the White House pushed out the chairman of G.M., Mr. Obama said Chrysler has been instructed to form a partnership with the Italian automaker Fiat within 30 days as conditions for receiving more government aid.

Now it's certainly true that GM did, in fact, suckle from the federal teat; and that of course lends at least a little legitimacy to the White House's demand for some oversight. We all know that above everything, Obama is concerned about keeping a gimlet eye on expenditures of public funds... hence his repeated tongue-lashings of George W. Bush during the 2008 campaign for having run up deficits of $100 billion, $200 billion -- once even $400 billion!

But the new Obama plan goes far beyond ensuring that GM is using its corporate welfare wisely; Barack Obama evidently believes he knows how to build and sell cars better than do GM executives. He dictates not only how much they can pay their top brass, he wants to control who that top brass will be. What's next -- will the president assert the authority to select the next CEO directly? Does the government post of GM CEO require Senate confirmation?

(Perhaps he'll pick Chas Freeman; I understand he's between jobs right now. And realistically, Freeman is no more an ignoramus about the automobile industry than he is about intelligence, his previous and now withdrawn appointment.)

Will the president begin setting prices for various models? Choosing what color options will be available? Taking over the service contract? Oh, wait, he already did that.

The final step of a liberal fascist takeover of the industry would be to control the wages of all employees, to be able to set them however they want... thus funneling workers into favored industries or even particular companies and away from others: Imagine an earmark, inserted in the dead of night during the reconciliation phase of legislation, raising auto-worker wages at plants in one state and lowered them in an adjoining state. What effect might that have on the labor market and government control of the economy? (And what a fearsome weapon to wield against Obama's political enemies! But I'm certain that aspect of wage controls has never occurred to the One.)

By a bizarre coincidence, that scheme is exactly the subject of the Great Dictator, part (C). Stay tuned...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 31, 2009, at the time of 5:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 29, 2009

The Fourth Mythical Monkey

Academic Asininities , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

I'm sure you're familiar with the three mythical monkeys: One has his hands over his eyes ("See no evil"), the next over his ears ("Hear no evil"), and the last covering his mouth ("Speak no evil"). But our government school model, coupled with an insane "zero tolerance" drug policy that only accepts perfection as success, have created a fourth mythical monkey: He has his arms wrapped tightly around his body as he hides in a corner, for this monkey represents "Touch no one. Ever!"

Submitted for your ridicule and pity:

Connecticut School Bans Physical Contact

A Connecticut middle school principal has laid down the law: You put your hands on someone -- anyone -- in any way, you're going to pay.

A violent incident [a student was kicked in the groin] that put one student in the hospital has officials at the Milford school implementing a "no touching" policy, according to a letter written by the school's principal.

What exactly does the principal mean by "no physical contact" and "no touching?"

"Observed behaviors of concern recently exhibited include kicking others in the groin area, grabbing and touching of others in personal areas, hugging and horseplay. Physical contact is prohibited to keep all students safe in the learning environment," [Principal Catherine] Williams wrote. [If it saves the testicles of just one child....]

"Potential consequences and disciplinary action may include parent conferences, detention, suspension and/or a request for expulsion from school," Williams wrote.

Let's, ah, put our heads together (banned!) on this. The following behaviors are now absolutely forbidden at East Shore Middle School:

  • Shaking hands;
  • Arm wrestling;
  • A pat on the back;
  • Any gym class other than Self-Pleasuring 101 (I presume that touching oneself is still permitted);
  • Two little girls walking along holding hands;
  • A kiss (a kiss may be just a kiss as time goes by; but at East Shore, it's a one-way ticket to the streets);
  • A hug;
  • Standing in line (contact is unavoidable);
  • Sitting too close to your friend, allowing your elbow to touch;
  • Stretching when tired (if you bump someone else, you could be expelled from school);
  • Trying to help another child who has gotten hurt.

    (I assume this means you can't use compression to stop bleeding, hold an injured student steady to prevent him from thrashing around and hurting himself further, using the Heimlich maneuver if your friend is choking to death, or God forbid, giving some kid CPR if he has a serious accident. Far better he die or be seriously injured than allow one person to touch another!)

  • Any "horseplay" -- by which I suppose Ms. Williams means to ban any behavior other than shuffling along slowly, eyes on the ground, wary of getting too close to another human being.

Great Scott. What a living hell Principal Catherine Williams must have grown up in, to promulgate such a rule for children as young as ten, as old as fourteen. But it does point up the sheer evil of liberal "lightswitch" reasoning: The light is either On or Off; either some broad category of behavior is 100% good... or else it must be 100% bad:

  • Some touching is inappropriate; therefore, nobody can touch anybody for any reason.
  • Some drugs are inappropriate to bring to school; therefore girls having severe menstrual cramps cannot take Mydol, not even with their doctor's permission.
  • It's bad for kids to take weapons to school; therefore, if an eight year old is caught at school with a bright green plastic squirt gun, he must be expelled and the police summoned.
  • Child pornography is a great evil; therefore, if an adolescent takes a naked cell-phone picture of herself and foolishly sends it to her friends, she must be arrested for distribution of child pornography -- and must register as a "sex offender" for the rest of her life (this is how we save her, you see).
  • Some kids are allergic to peanuts; therefore no child can eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Presumably, the allergic child is inherently mentally defective; he will be so overwhelmed with ungovernable desire for a PB&J that he will grab it away from his friend and shovel it into his mouth, even knowing it means possible death.)
  • Some kids cannot handle losing; therefore there will be no competition of any kind allowed at the school.
  • Some kids will score badly on tests and suffer diminshed self esteem; therefore all children will receive the same grade, regardless of the quality of their work.

I think I even know the underlying ideology that generates such utter madness: It's the core liberal doctrine that Equality of opportunity yields equality of results; therefore, if success is unequally distributed, the losers must necessarily have been denied their right to equality under the law. If one person succeeds more than the others, he must have cheated; there is no other explanation.

Liberals consider this a universal axiom; they apply it not just to schools but to job salaries, arrest rates, retirement savings, and even to entire cultures, where it becomes the Boasian ideal of cultural relativism. All cultures must only be judged by their own standards; thus every culture, from the Aztecs to the North Koreans to the Taliban to modern Americans, is equally as good as every other culture. We cannot discriminate, because everyone knows that discrimination is bad!

As the barber sings in Man of La Mancha, "I can hear the cuckoo singing in the cuckooberry tree..."

How does this work in the microcosm of the East Shore Middle School? Well, if it's wrong for a boy to kick another boy in the groin, then it must be equally wrong for two girls to hug each other: We cannot discriminate between A and B. Ever!

I read a wondeful book some years ago titled the Death of Common Sense. It was written by Philip K. Howard, a self-described liberal Democrat, and was first published fifteen years ago. Things have only deteriorated since 1994.

God, how I wish liberals were literate.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 29, 2009, at the time of 4:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 25, 2009

More Obamunism: Who Controls the Newspapers Controls the Present

Congressional Calamities , Democratic Culture of Corruption , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness
Hatched by Dafydd
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
-- "George Orwell" (Eric Blair), Nineteen Eighty-Four

Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD, 100%) has ridden in on his white horse with a wonderful suggestion for newspapers that are in financial trouble (which is pretty much all of them): Reincorporate as 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit educational institutions, which would exempt them from most income tax (except for "unrelated business income").

Of course, the move would also absolutely prohibit political advocacy, lobbying, or electioneering... which as I read it would even preclude publishing editorials critical of, e.g., the administration of Barack H. Obama. Or of individual Democratic senators, such as Benjamin Cardin. But that ought to be a good thing, no? Surely we all want newspapers to be politically neutral gatherers of fact and disseminators of the truth!

With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

"This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," said Senator Benjamin Cardin....

Cardin's Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.

The comparison to PBS is apt; as we have all seen, PBS is forbidden from any political editorializing, politicking, electioneering, or advocacy. But of course, if they're merely reporting on issues -- straight "reporting," such as:

  • That the Iraq war was a disastrous defeat for America;
  • That rampant, unregulated, laissez-faire Capitalism is what got us into the financial crisis;
  • That the only thing that will save us now is complete nationalization of the economy;
  • That Israel is the cause of all problems in the Middle East;
  • That without government-run health care, we'll all die of cancer by age 60;
  • That anthropogenic global climate change is universally accepted by "science;" thus the time for denial by denying deniers (i.e., "high crimes against humanity and nature" or "intergenerational crime in the face of all the knowledge and science from over 20 years") has ended once and for all;

...That sort of straight, unbiased, apolitical news reporting will naturally still be allowed. You can't prohibit educational institutions such as the New York Times and the Washington Post from educating, can you?

But biased, divisive, obstructionist, obsolete, disloyal, and partisan politicking will no longer be legally allowed in newspapers. After all, they have a duty (as tax-exempt organizations) to educate, which means to tell the truth... "the truth" to be determined by the unbiased, professional, expert auditors at the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Who else?

Ergo, newspapers would have to cease publishing any future columns or opinion pieces by such talking-point, robot-army soldiers as Douglas Feith, David Freddoso, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn, or John Hinderaker. But the papers wouldn't suffer from a lack of content, as they would be perfectly free to publish nonpartisan disseminators of pure truthful information, free from slant and politics, including Molly Ivins, Markos Moulitsas, Keith Olbermann, Jim Lehrer, and Bill Moyers.

What I cannot fathom, however, is why a Democrat, a member of the ADA's "100%-er" club, would push for the elite newspaper medium to switch from publishing such ardently tilted and mendacious flummery (such as opinion pieces by atmospheric physicists or meteorologists disputing Algore's 95 theses on globaloney) to the calm, measured, unemotional, multilateral, fact-based pronouncements of Nobel Prize winners such as, well, such as Algore. And Paul Krugman.

All this time, I've wrongly accused Democrats like Cardin of being mindless, vermin-infested, screeching blue monkeys, swooping overhead and hurling their feces down on the rest of us, then hauling us off to the Wicked Rodham of the West. And the little dog we rode in on, too.

I'm stunned that such a senator would abandon faction and ideology for the cold, unadorned, reality-based solution of turning profitless newspapers into non-profit ones, in effect, nationalizing the entire news-gathering industry. (To promote greater freedom of speech, of course.)

Go figure!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 25, 2009, at the time of 9:44 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 23, 2009

Déjà Vu About Vujà Dé

Beggar's Banking Banquet , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness , Obama Nation , Toxic Jackassets
Hatched by Dafydd

I once crafted a neologism, vujà dé, bouncing off of the psychological term déjà vu -- the false feeling that something you are now experiencing happened before. My new word vujà dé means -- the false feeling that something that actually happened before is really brand, spanking new!

I woke up this morning -- well, this afternoon -- and read the following new financial-rescue plan from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner:

The Obama administration formally presented the latest step in its financial rescue package on Monday, an attempt to draw private investors into partnership with a new federal entity that could eventually buy up to $1 trillion in troubled assets that are weighing down banks and clogging up the credit markets....

Initially, a new Public-Private Investment Program will provide financing for $500 billion in purchasing power to buy those troubled or toxic assets -- which the government refers to more diplomatically as legacy assets -- with the potential of expanding later to as much as $1 trillion, according to a fact sheet issued by the Treasury Department.

At the core of the financing package will be $75 billion to $100 billion in capital from the existing financial bailout known as TARP, the Troubled Assets Relief Program, along with the share provided by private investors, which the government hopes will come to 5 percent or more. By leveraging this program through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve, huge amounts of bad loans can be acquired.

The private investors would be subsidized but could stand to lose their investments, while the taxpayers could share in prospective profits as the assets are eventually sold, the Treasury said. The administration said that it expected participation from pension funds, insurance companies and other long-term investors.

This gave me an intense feeling of déjà vu (not vujà dé); didn't... we... see something like this sometime before? Not very long ago? Something... something... it's all coming back to me now....

Oh, wait. This may be it:

As proposed by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, the putative "$700 billion" "bailout" is actually neither: It will neither cost that much, nor will it bail out those financial institutions that wrote bad loans for people they knew were not likely to be able to pay them off.

As I understand it, here is the basic plan. Note that I'm drawing this from many sources, it's not yet written in stone -- or even in ink -- and I can't give you sources. If you want more information, you're on your own! But here is what I've been able to glean:

  1. The Treasury is given authority to spend up to $700 billion (outstanding at any particular moment) to buy MBSs, CDOs, and related instruments that have become "illiquid." These "toxic assets" will be purchased from their current owners at a huge discount... meaning the banks and other investors who purchased these pigs in pokes will, in fact, take a significant financial hit... they're not being "bailed out."

So the Treasury can buy up these toxic assets; what do they do with them?

  1. I believe the plan (which has not yet been formalized in legislation) is to create a Treasury owned and managed resolution corporation that will take ownership of these toxic assets. Analysts will then pore through each MBS, determining the status of all the underlying mortgages and making a report publicly available. This will make the opaque assets completely transparent. All the financial fundamentals will be visible, so analysts at private companies can examine all of the securities and decide how much they would pay for each.
  2. The resolution corporation will then auction off each of the the now-transparent MBSs, selling it to the highest bidder; that very action allows the market to reset the value of the security.

That is why I characterize this rescue operation as "pressing the reset button."

Once some corporation has examined the fundamentals of the security and offered the winning bid for it, the MBS becomes (by definition) liquid; it is no longer a toxic asset. Its value has been reset... and it can go up or down after that point based upon subsequent, well-understood events (defaults, repayments, prepayments) in the underlying mortgages and reevaluations based upon other, market-based criteria. In other words, it becomes just like a mutual fund.

The crisis was the inability to value MBSs; the solution is to reset their values. The beauty of the Paulson-Bernanke plan is that this resetting is done by the free market, not by government decree.

Finally, note this point:

  1. When the Treasury-owned resolution corporation auctions off the now-transparent MBSs, it can use that money as income. Since the asset is now much more valuable than before (having been scrubbed into transparency), if it becomes saleable, then it will certainly sell for more than the discounted rate at which the corporation bought it. In other words, the resolution corporation will make a profit on every security it resells -- so the program will not actually cost $700 billion... it may even end up completely in the black.

That's why the Paulson-Bernanke plan is neither a bailout -- the so-called beneficiaries in fact must pay dearly for their folly -- nor massively expensive, since it resells most of the securities it bought, and at a profit. It could still end up costing money, depending on how many of the MBSs end up still toxic even after the complete report (if too many of the underlying mortgages are in default, for example); but the losses won't be anywhere near $700 billion, and they may be less than the profits.

That was a Big Lizards post from September 22nd, 2008; the differences between the old plan, from almost exactly six months ago -- developed by George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke -- and the new plan just proposed today by Barack H. Obama's Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and current Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke are... well, subtle:

  • The Paulson-Bernanke plan wasn't quite as expensive as the Geither-Bernanke plan;
  • It didn't have the patina of private investors coming along for the ride (heavily subsidized by the federal government and leveraged by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC) that we see in today's version;
  • In the original version, the government would buy the toxic assets from their current owners at a discount; Treasury (or a Treasury-owned resolution corporation) would investigate and "valuate" them (determine the actual value of the underlying mortgages that make up each mortgage-backed security, MBS, and related debt instrument); and then private investors would buy the formerly toxic, now liquid assets from the government at an auction. In the new version, the government will partner with private and corporate investors, leveraged by the FDIC, to buy the assets; then they would be auctioned to other private and corporate investors.

I don't know about you all, but the distinction between the two plans doesn't leap off the screen for me. The Times doesn't report whether the feds will undertake the intermediate step of investigating and reporting the details of these toxic assets, but I think it must be so; I can't see how else could they be turned from illiquid to liquid, except by injection of what I called in a later post, "timely, honest, accurate, and believable information," or THABI.

It seems I wasn't suffering from déjà vu after all. As the great sage Bert the one-man band, sidewalk chalk artist, and chimney sweep said, "Can't put me finger on what lies in store, but I feel what's to happen all happened before."

The current plan even includes the reset-by-auction of toxic assets that I gleaned from the original plan; from the Times story above:

An attractive feature of the program is that it will allow the marketplace to establish values for the assets -- based, of course, on the auction mechanism that will signal what someone is willing to pay for them -- and thus might ease the virtual paralysis that has surrounded those assets up to now.

For a relatively small equity exposure, the private investor thus stands to make a considerable return if prices recover. The government will make a gain as well. In the worst case, the bulk of the risk would fall on the government. The presumption, of course, is that the auction will lead to realistic purchase prices.

So where does vujà dé (not déjà vu) enter into it? Simply this: I haven't seen a single elite-media commenter point out that this is the very same plan we started with... lo these many months ago; the same plan that was quickly derided by congressional Democrats, railed against by presidential-candidate Barack Obama, dismissed as nonsense by voters (and by Wall Street), and derailed in favor of direct investments in -- that is, nationalization of -- banks, savings and loans, insurance companies like AIG, and so forth.

Everyone writes and speaks as though this is a brilliant innovation -- imagine, buying up toxic assets and using public auctions to establish a "realistic purchase price" for them! Who but Geithner could possibly have thought of such a corker of a solution? He's finally demonstrated the mental superiority with which he was hailed when he was nominated (so brilliant, we simply had to overlook that little kerfuffle about evading income taxes when he worked at the International Monetary Fund).

I still have a few questions:

  • How long will the elite media continue to heap scorn upon that fool, Henry Paulson, and his ludicrous plan to buy up toxic assets -- while lavishing praise upon that genius, Tim Geithner, for his fantabulous plan to buy up toxic assets?
  • And what about the hundreds of billions (or is it over a trillion? I can't remember) already spent or pledged by the federal government to buy "equity interests" in hundreds of financial corporations? Do we perpetuate the mass nationalization program even as Treasury crows that the wonderful thing about the new rescue plan is that it privatizes the bailout?
  • Does the Obama White House suffer from Multiple Ideology Syndrome?

Everything old is new again, the wheel has come full circle, and what a long, strange trip it's been!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 23, 2009, at the time of 3:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 21, 2009

The Great Dictator

Beggar's Banking Banquet , Liberal Lunacy , Media Madness
Hatched by Dafydd

In 1940, socialist Charlie Chaplin -- acting as screenwriter, director, producer, and of course star -- released the Great Dictator, which parodied Adolf Hitler in particular and fascism in general. Chaplin played both Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomania, and also a Jewish barber who happens to look exactly like Hynkel.

But the Great Dictator of 2009 may turn out to be glib huckster from Hawaii by way of Chicago named Barack H. Obama; for the administration appears poised to enact rules that could end up completely controlling all executive compensation for every major company that has anything to do with financial matters, or is publicly held, or has any sort of requirement to report anything at all to the SEC -- even including companies that never took a dime of TARP or stimulus money:

One proposal could impose greater requirements on the boards of companies to tie executive compensation more closely to corporate performance and to take other steps to assure that outsize bonuses are not paid before meeting financial goals.

The new rules will cover all financial institutions, including those not now covered by any pay rules because they are not receiving federal bailout money. Officials say the rules could also be applied more broadly to publicly traded companies, which already report about some executive pay practices to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last month, as part of the stimulus package, Congress barred top executives at large banks getting rescue money from receiving bonuses exceeding one-third of their annual pay.

Beyond the pay rules, officials said the regulatory plan is expected to call for a broad new role for the Federal Reserve to oversee large companies, including major hedge funds, whose problems could pose risks to the entire financial system.

Of course, there is virtually no chance that any scheme this radical could get through Congress, where Republicans still have at least some say in enacting legislation -- if only to filibuster something this grandiose, anti-capitalist, and authoritarian. But Obama has an answer for that minor roadblock as well; if the Times is to be believed, he intends to impose wage controls by direct decree, bypassing Congress entirely:

The officials said that the administration was still debating the details of its plan, including how broadly it should be applied and how far it could range beyond simple reporting requirements. Depending on the outcome of the discussions, the administration could seek to put the changes into effect through regulations rather than through legislation.

The plan is certainly audacious. I would rather say breathtaking, stunning, shocking, jaw-dropping, mind-boggling -- and of course, quite mad. But when the president of the United States believes he can simply dictate (by executive order) how much everybody working in any publicly traded company is paid, I don't think it can be called anything less than a form of socialism.

But what kind? Certainly not Marxism, because he is not abolishing corporations or private capital. Rather, this sort of corporate socialism was invented in the 1920s by a fellow in Italy named Benito, who called it "fascism." Barack Obama evidently plans to go the "full Jonah," returning liberal fascism to America for the first time since Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society," and following in the footsteps of such liberal-fascist/populist luminaries as Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Theodore Roosevelt.

To the list of reactions above, let me also add -- ominous.

So how much executive power would Obama seize to himself? How about this:

A central aspect of the plan, which has already been announced by the administration, would give the government greater authority to take over and resolve problems at large, troubled companies that are not now regulated by Washington, like insurance companies and hedge funds.

That proposal would, for instance, make it easier for the government to cancel bonus contracts like those given to executives at the American International Group, which have stoked a political furor. Under the proposal, the Treasury secretary would have the authority to seize and wind down a struggling institution after consulting with the president and upon the recommendation of two-thirds of the Federal Reserve board.

So a contract is a contract -- unless the president doesn't like it, in which case he will be able to rewrite it (or void it) at will. When contracts between third parties stand only as long as the head of government allows them to stand, then there is no stability and no predictability: In short, there is no more rule of law, and capital pulls up stakes and moves to a sunnier clime. Then, of course, there will be a great many more "struggling institutions."

Who decides which institutions are struggling? Perhaps that too will be decided by the same deciders: the Secretary of the Treasury, the president, and five out of the seven members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. If so, then the president can point to any corporation, family business, or not-for-profit organization, declare it to be "struggling," and then take it over, rewriting contracts, compensation packages, benefit plans, retirement funds, and (one presumes) prices and wages.

At that point, there truly is no limit to the president's power to personally dictate and direct the nation's economy. We will no longer have a capitalist or even quasi-capitalist state but direct fascism, without even the liberal "smiley face" to adorn the invisible foot of government.

So what sort of dictator would Mr. Obama be?

In unveiling the regulatory plan this week, President Obama would signal to Europe that he intended to crack down on the risk-taking and other free-wheeling practices by the financial industry that resulted in the global economic meltdown.

...And that also resulted in the greatest creation of wealth in all of human history. We'll have none of that, buster!

And who is behind the move? It appears to be Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke more than Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner:

From the outset of the Obama administration, officials and European leaders have disagreed over how much to limit pay. And Mr. Geithner has discouraged the administration from imposing across-the-board limits on compensation of all employees at troubled companies receiving federal assistance and more burdensome pay restrictions at healthy institutions that the administration is trying to encourage to take government money so they can increase lending.

Last week, Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, also called on regulators to supervise executive pay at banks more closely to avoid “compensation practices that can create mismatches between the rewards and risks borne by institutions or their managers.”

Presented with a choice between two top advisors, one of whom cautions against a radical nationalization of the entire corporate world, the other of which urges just that approach -- Obama opts for the latter. Surprise, surprise, on the Jungle Boat ride tonight. So if the Times report is accurate, then the Executive branch will determine what risks are acceptable for businesses to take; what rewards they are allowed to bestow upon their employees; and presumably every phase of the transaction in between. Can wage and price controls be far behind?

So what do Republicans have to say about this plan? I don't know -- because the New York Times elects not to inform us. They neither quite nor even paraphrase any response by anybody other than members of the administration and Democratic leaders in Congress. Evidently, the rest of us have become invisible.

But I make no doubt that Arlen and the gals from Maine will, with "great reluctance," throw their weight behind the necessary step of putting capitalism under state control... "just for the duration," of course.

So how long, exactly, does the duration endure? Until we're as prosperous as we were during most of the Bush administration? I fear that with the advent of liberal fascism, and the resulting destruction of the economy that will provoke, that new golden age could be a lang, lang time a-growin'.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 21, 2009, at the time of 9:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 19, 2009

Obama's State-Ownership Society

Beggar's Banking Banquet , Confusticated Conservatives , Dancing Democrats , Democratic Culture of Corruption , Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation , Toxic Jackassets
Hatched by Dafydd

Back in the precambrian era -- in fall of 2008, I of course mean -- we warned in several posts that when the federal government takes an "equity interest" (ownership in whole or in significant part) in private companies, it creates a grave threat to the capitalist system:

When government buys a significant stake in private companies, it creates a terrible conflict of interest; decisions that should be made entirely on economic grounds -- attempting to maximize the long-term profit for the owners of the company, whether stockholders or private consortia -- are made instead by politicians pushing a particular political ideology, or else trying to benefit big campaign donors.

Corporate management is ultimately accountable to the owners (though owners can be derelict in their fiduciary duties), while politicians are accountable only to voters and donors, neither of which may have any particular concern about the financial viability of particular private companies in the government's stock portfolio.

This is how we explained it in the first post linked above:

The latter especially is a key element of Woodrow Wilson, Benito Mussolini style fascism; it invariably leads to the State, as the $700 billion gorilla on the board of directors, exerting overwhelming control over corporate decisions... which it will exercise on the basis of politics, not profits.

When people read "fascism," they immediately tend to envision concentration camps, jackboots, and Nazis goosestepping at mass rallies; but the real danger of fascism, especially liberal fascism (fascism with a smiley face, as depicted -- against author Jonah Goldberg's wishes -- on the cover of his book Liberal Fascism), is government control of corporations. The more control is handed over to politicians and bureaucrats who have no hand in actually producing the product (loans and securities, in this case), the more critical decisions will be made on irrelevant political considerations, often leading to financial disaster... and another bailout, leading to even more government control. Eventually, the State completely hijacks the corporation for political purposes... and we're well on our way to Hugo Chavez-land.

The threat posed by the government taking an equity interest in private companies can be minimized by making it a matter of law that the holdings are fully divested as soon as buyers can be found at market prices -- either the company buying back its own stock or private third parties taking it off government's hands; in the third Big Lizards post linked up top, "Is It Adios to Capitalism - or Only Au Revoir?", we discussed this possibility:

With the long-expected decision today by President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Fed Chief Ben Bernanke that Treasury will spend $250 billion of the $700 billion buying equity stakes in nine top banks, thus injecting "liquidity" directly into the industry, we stand at a crossroads. The question is whether this is "goodbye" to Capitalism or just "see you soon"... whether this is a permanent break from free markets or just a necessary but temporary bank holiday....

The direct injection of liquidity by Treasury buying equity is also outside the market, because that money is extracted from people by force, in the form of taxes. But at the core, even this direct investment is an attempt to buy time to complete the "transparentizing" (horrible neologism, I know) of the toxic assets -- the recreation of the information that was lost by multiple unregulated securitizations of massive collections of mortgages.

Once the [timely, honest, accurate, and believable information] has been restored to the mortgage-backed securities and other instruments, the market can reboot itself...

With the restoration of the missing THABI information, the market can reboot, and the catastrophe will be averted. So long as partial-nationalization of the banking industry lasts only long enough to retransparentize the toxic assets, thus allowing the market to begin functioning again, it will be an acceptable, even necessary intervention.

Alas, there is nothing in the Obama administration's bailout that implies they will, in fact, consider this a temporary expedient; from everything I've read, they see it as a permanent "reform."

There are two classic anti-capitalist examples of divesting funds for political reasons; together, they point out the very real danger when government becomes a part owner of the private sector through enforced or distressed nationalization (we have seen both in the present crisis):

  1. When universities, big corporations, and of course government programs in the 1970s dumped all their investments in companies based in South Africa or doing business in South Africa, even if they were based elsewhere, to protest Apartheid; this was in response to purely political pressure from black activist groups here in the United States.
  2. And when the usual suspects more recently dumped all investment in Israel, Israeli companies, or companies that did not ritually denounce Israel, in response to purely political pressure from antisemitic, anti-Israel, and generally pro-Palestinian and Islamist activist groups.

Both are examples of government trying to use equity ownership to bully the private sector into purely political actions that have nothing whatsoever to do with the companies in question.

When the government is a significant investor in a company, it cannot help running those companies; government funds never come "string free." Worse, the State runs those companies not to make profits, but to score political points.

In fact, that is exactly what is happening in the case of American International Group (AIG): We have such a huge investment in that company now, $80 billion, that how much they pay employees in retention "bonuses" (inducements to continue working for AIG, rather than jumping ship to some less shaky company) has become a political football.

In fact, the U.S. House of Representatives has just voted overwhelmingly, 328 to 93, to enact a confiscatory tax on AIG employees -- almost by name! -- if AIG fulfills its contractual obligations by paying the employees who stayed on for the work they did (reducing AIG's liability from $2.7 trillion to $1.6 trillion):

Spurred on by a tidal wave of public anger over bonuses paid to executives of the foundering American International Group, the House voted 328 to 93 on Thursday to get back most of the money by levying a 90 percent tax on it....

But there was no doubt after the House vote that the lawmakers were keenly aware of their constituents’ anger, which was focused on A.I.G., although the House measure would apply to executives of any company getting more than $5 billion in federal bailout money.

Hours after the vote, the office of Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York attorney general, said A.I.G. had turned over the names of employees who received bonuses, in response to a subpoena.

Before releasing the list, the attorney general’s office plans to review it and assess whether individuals on it might have reason to fear for their safety.

“We are aware of the security concerns of A.I.G. employees, and we will be sensitive to those issues by doing a risk assessment before releasing any individual’s name,” Mr. Cuomo’s office said in a statement.

Well that's mighty decent of them.

So the bill was openly and unabashedly driven by constituent anger -- anger that cannot possibly be based upon a sober and detailed consideration of whether those particular employees deserved those particular bonuses; in fact, the most likely culprit in ginning up such rage and fury is Congress itself, along with the president, who have been demonizing AIG and its employees for months now. It happened again in the debate on this very bill:

“The people have said ‘no,’ ” Representative Earl Pomeroy, Democrat of North Dakota, shouted on the House floor. “In fact, they said ‘hell no, and give us our money back.’ ”

“Have the recipients of these checks no shame at all?” Mr. Pomeroy continued. Summing up his personal view of the so-far anonymous A.I.G. executives, he said: “You are disgraced professional losers. And by the way, give us our money back.”

Great leaping horny toads. I had to wipe spittle-spray off my face after just reading it! "Disgraced professional losers?" Is Earl "Elmer Gantry" Pomeroy (D-ND, 85%) under the impression that these bonuses are going to the actual folks in the credit default swap area, who are the ones who brought AIG down? Or is Pomeroy just blindly striking out against anyone who makes more money than he?

And while we're on the subject, I think there is not a single Democrat in Congress to whom I could not say, “You are disgraced professional losers; and by the way, give us our money back.” And with a damn sight more justification, Earl.

Contrariwise, John Hinderaker -- my favorite blogger on my favorite blogsite, Power Line -- makes a compelling case that the bonuses were in fact perfectly proper:

  • They were retention bonuses, not performance bonuses.
  • They were paid, not to the employees responsible for the collapse, but to other employees who have worked hard for months after the collapse to rescue AIG... rather than jumping ship with their expert knowledge of AIG's exact portfolio problems, taking jobs with other companies that had better futures.
  • As John writes, "[the employees] satisfied the terms of the bonus by wrapping up a portfolio for which they were responsible and/or staying on the job until now. As a result of the efforts of this group, AIG's financial products exposure is down from $2.7 trillion to $1.6 trillion.
  • They stayed at AIG precisely because of those bonuses; but now the government, having eaten the fruit of that labor as an equity holder, wants those bonuses to go, not to the people who earned it, but to the government itself!

But note how carefully the Times dances around the question of who exactly is getting the bonuses, and what those people's roles were in the collapse:

The $165 million in bonuses has spawned rage in part because it was paid to executives in the very unit of A.I.G. that arguably turned a stable, prosperous insurance company into a dice-rolling financial firm in search of quick profits.

But there must have been hundreds of employees working in the financial products division! Does the Times think that every employee, from vice president down to secretary, was personally responsible for the foolish decisions that nearly killed AIG? Do liberals fantasize even that every executive in that division was responsible?

If new (post-collapse) AIG CEO Edward Liddy is telling the truth, and so far no current or former employee has come forth to contradict him, then the bonuses are going to people who were not responsible for the collapse, but are responsible for helping AIG deal with the collapse after the fact.

These are the people that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA, 100%) calls corrupt:

Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the House Financial Services Committee and has been among A.I.G.’s fiercest critics, spoke contemptuously of the bonus recipients as people “who had to be bribed not to abandon the company” they had nearly ruined.

Wouldn't that same language, "bribed not to abandon the company," apply to every employee who ever demanded a raise?

It's another example of liberals' inability to deal with complexity; for all their protestations of having more subtle minds, they are really quite simplistic: The poor (and the rich who "represent" them) are always good; the productive core are always bad; and every moral question is the same shade of neutral gray.

John makes the same point as we anent this ridiculous 90% "tax," which is actually a deliberate attempt at confiscation, as the president made clear yesterday in Orange County. John writes:

The legislation introduced by the Democrats today to tax these bonuses (and possibly a few others, although it isn't clear that any others have been or will be paid that are covered by the statute) at a 90 percent rate is an outrage. It is, in my legal opinion, obviously unconstitutional. It is evidently intended to calm the current political firestorm and not to achieve any real objective.

John refers to the legislation as "introduced by the Democrats;" while that's technically true, it's only a half-truth: Democrats may have proposed it, but the House GOP split almost 50-50 on what Hinderaker (a lawyer) and I (a "sea-lawyer") see as an obvious bill of attainder.

In fact, the AP version of the Times article demonstrates Republican cowardice in the House: 87 Republicans voted against the "tax"; but 85 Republicans voted with the Democrats, blaming those retained employees for all of our woes... most switching at the last minute:

Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the bill was "a political circus" diverting attention from why the administration hadn't done more to block the bonuses before they were paid.

However, although a number of Republicans cast "no" votes against the measure at first, there was a heavy GOP migration to the "yes" side in the closing moments.

This is out and out pandering by the GOP... and it's vile. If we cannot even count on the House Republicans to stand up to liberal demagoguery, to stand up for Capitalism, then what is the point?

It's time for Minority Leader Boehner (R-OH, 100%) to fish or get off the pot: Does he lead a party that is distinct from the liberal Democratic majority, that is center-right, and that still believes in Capitalism, the rule of law, and conservative principles of governance? Has he learned the lessons of 2006 and 2008? Or does Boehner believe that the GOP's best shot at returning to power is to morph into a quieter, gentler version of the Democratic Party, pushing a slightly more restrained version of Obamunism?

I'd really like to know the answer to that conundrum before the next election.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 19, 2009, at the time of 6:59 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 24, 2009

Michael Medved: Still Liberal After All These Years

Evolutionary Elucidations , Liberal Lunacy , Logical Lacunae
Hatched by Dafydd

(But of course, I think most of us already knew that.)

I was listening to Mr. M. today; in his first segment, he examined the phenomenon of blacks as monkeys... well, to be fair, the phenomenon of blacks claiming that any reference to monkeys or apes -- no matter how far removed from racial considerations -- is actually a racist reference to blacks as monkeys, and therefore requires an abject, belly-crawling apology, contrition, and a healthy financial donation to Al Sharpton.

All right; fair topic. But in the middle of his intro, he noted that Charles Darwin, "who we honored the same day as Lincoln's birthday" -- possibly because they were, in fact, born on exactly the same day: February 12th, 1809 -- was a racist who believed that blacks were closer to monkeys and apes than were whites.

Again, fair point: But the proper conclusion to draw is that, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many great men and women were flaming racists... not that Darwin in particular was a more egregious racist than his peers (he wasn't).

The second time Medved noted that point, I was a bit puzzled; why harp on poor Charles Darwin? Literature from this period is replete with such casually racist observations and portrayals, from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Rudyard Kipling to Booth Tarkington... and they're even found in such notably anti-racist works as Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn: The character of "Nigger Jim," while depicted as the most kind and decent person in the work, is nevertheless painted as a shuffling Stepin Fetchit, not a visionary like Frederick Douglass or Booker T. Washington (throughout the book, until the very end, Jim thoroughly accepts his inferiority compared to whites, for example).

So why Darwin specifically?

I didn't realize Medved's real purpose, however, until the third time in the same hour that Medved brought out that "startling" fact (in case anyone had missed all but he final ten minutes of the segment) -- this time in response to a black caller who said the New York Post cartoon of the bullet-riddled corpse of Travis the Chimp, with the caption "They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," clearly played to the latent racism of American society: Medved believes the nineteenth-century racism of Darwin completely discredits evolutionary theory.

How could he think that? What would Darwin's racism have to do with the validity of modern evolutionary theory? We all agree that William Shockley supported eugenics (he doesn't appear to have been a racist, but eugenics is bad enough); does that mean transistors don't really work?

I believe the problem is that Medved either doesn't understand the scientific method, or more dastardly, understands it but hopes to confuse his listeners for purely tendentious reasons. He never discusses "evolutionary theory," "biological evolution," or even just evolution; he invariably refers to that entire subject as "Darwinism," and he conflates biological evolution with "social Darwinism," generally, though somewhat inaccurately, identified with eugenics. Medved doesn't see "Darwinism" as a scientific theory but rather a cult of personality, like Scientology, the Branch Davidians, or Jim Jones' People's Temple in Guyana. Thus to Medved, the best way to "discredit" evolutionary theory is to smear Charles Darwin. There, that'll put paid to all this nonsense!

This tactic is a dangerous tendency alike of conservatives like Ben Stein and pseudoconservative former leftist radicals such as Michael Medved; we've discussed it a number of times before, going all the way back to the dim mists of antiquity (2005):

(The last is a rare post by Big Lizards co-founder Brad Linaweaver.)

This particular rhetorical trick is quintessentially liberal, though sadly, it's used by all sides: It's "Fruit of the Forbidden Tree" Reductionism (FFTR). The Left uses it almost to the exclusion of all other arguments. It consists in first reducing an entire argument, school of thought, philosophy, or movement to a single "founding" individual... then personally smearing that individual, thus "discrediting" the entire movement. Thus:

  • American Democracy was invented by Thomas Jefferson in his Declaration of Independence; but Jefferson the hypocrite clearly did not believe that "all men are created equal" or were "endowed" with "liberty," because he himself kept slaves; therefore, Jeffersonianism is irretrievably racist, regressive, and belongs in the dustbin of history.
  • Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who started the anti-Communist hysteria, was a bigot, a racist, and a drunkard; it's no wonder that many decades of McCarthyism have failed to uncover any Commies hiding under our beds.
  • Ronald Reagan was one of those rich and privileged Hollywood elites who betrayed their own fellow union members by denouncing them to McCarthyite witch-hunts; this explains Reaganism's later betrayal of the whole country by slashing taxes on the rich and crushing the poor.

And here's another one from the other side, besides "Darwinism":

  • In 1938, the cowardly, pacifist appeaser Neville Chamberlain gave Adolf Hitler everything he wanted as part of the European "peace process," imagining this would satisfy Hitler and prevent war; now, seventy years later, we're supposed to give Mahmoud Ahmadijejad everything he wants in the new Iranian "peace process"... which will have the same effect as last time.

Let's dissect that last. First, note that it's not necessary actually to use an eponym like "Chamberlainism;" the sin is in the identification itself, however expressed. Second, I agree with the underlying conclusion... but finally, FFTR is not about the conclusion, it's about the rhetorical road by which one arrives there. Its essence is:

  1. Identify the enemy philosophy with a single individual;
  2. Villify that individual, especially if one does so unfairly;
  3. Conclude, by the mother of all non-sequiturs, that the enemy philosophy is thereby refuted.

In the last example above, (a) the philosophy of appeasement is identified with Neville Chamberlain, as if he had invented it; (b) Chamberlain is ludicrously caricatured as a coward, a pacifist, and a blind fool who believed that the Munich Agreement would permanently prevent war with Nazi Germany, none of which is accurate; and (c) the arguer uses the identification and denunciation to shortcut the heavy lifting of really analyzing appeasement to see where it works and where it doesn't.

In fact, appeasement does sometimes work. For one example, in 1978, Israel returned the Sinai back to Egypt in exchange for the promise that Egypt -- which had taken the lead in all three previous major wars against Israel, in 1948, 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, just five years before the Accords -- would normalize relations with Israel. This is classic appeasement... land for the promise of peace. But in fact, it has worked. Since 1978, and the Egypt-Israel peace treaty of the next year, Egypt has kept the peace with Israel and even fought against Hamas in Gaza (to some extent). Hey, appeasement worked for more than half of Israel's existence; we can't deny that stubborn fact.

Thus, those of us who oppose appeasement anent Iran (which is a horse for another day) must analyze and explain why it wouldn't work and would be a catastrophe, despite the positive example of Egypt. That complicates the argument, though not unduly; it is, however, an argument of some subtlety and the polar opposite of FFTR.

FFTR flattens all distinction, subtlety, and nuance into one big smear of fire-engine red. A good analogy increases understanding of an issue by removing the structure of an argument from the emotion-laden specifics; but a rhetorical trick like FFTR reduces understanding of the issue by conflating unlike things as if they were one and the same.

And that surely is true with Medved's and Stein's full-throated employment of FFTR to "refute" modern evolutionary theory (ET): They flatten all distinctions between ET and religion, between ET and "social Darwinism," between logic and sincerity, and between legitimate and ideological personnel decisions; they leave behind only a raw, "four legs good, two legs bad" bleat designed to prevent rational discussion, trying to silence science.

And in yet another rhetorical trick filtched from liberals, Medved and Stein then project their own thuggishness onto their victims -- Expelled is the poster-child of such role reversal!

It's disgusting when a former left-liberal radical war protester, like Michael Medved or David Horowitz, reverts to form, seizing upon the rhetorical tricks familiar to his misspent youth; but it's utterly vile when a lifelong conservative like Ben Stein appropriates alien, leftist tactics to his own cause. Buckley never did this, nor did Goldwater; in fact, not even liberal-turned-conservative-icon Ronald Reagan did it.

When those identified as conservative use Carville-like tricks to bamboozle the audience, they discredit not only themselves but the rest of us as well, handing open leftists the perfect ammunition to use for their own adventures in "Fruit of the Forbidden Tree" Reductionism.

Thanks again, guys. I truly enjoy being forced to swim upstream through your rhetorical sewers, undoing the damage you cause, before I can even get to my actual point.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 24, 2009, at the time of 3:31 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

February 18, 2009

Eric Holder's "Race" to the Bottom

Liberal Lunacy , Risible Racialism
Hatched by Dafydd

According to the Black Attorney General -- I would have simply written Attorney General, but every story in the elite media makes a big point of his blackitude, so I presume we're under orders to take note -- the biggest problem facing America today is that we just don't talk enough about race.

Ergo, we're all cowards on this bus:

In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder said.

Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

I suppose Mr. Holder (did you know he is a black man?) hasn't considered the possibility that we average Americans don't talk much about race because we don't think about race... because we are not racists.

(Or even "racialists," which I'll temporarily define in this post as being obsessed with race to the point that virtually every issue, from the economy to globaloney to opposition to the "stimulus" porkapalooza, is fundamentally about race.)

Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

When President Barack H. Obama (the first African-American president) unveils his race initiative, I suppose it's inevitable that he will lean heavily on Gen. Holder... and that means we'll likely have a stunningly new and innovative project: a nation-wide conversation about race!

I know, I know; Bill Clinton (the first African-American president) already had a national conversation about race. But this one will be totally different, because this one will be conducted by an actual African-American black man, rather than a lilly-white "black" man who only got that appellation because he grew up in a broken home, his father deserted him, and he grew up poor and on welfare.

(Is it just me -- or does it seem a little, well, racist to imply that anyone from a socially deprived background is therefore an honorary African American?)

So we'll have yet another national conversation about race, this one focusing on affirmative action for weekends and personal friendships. If that doesn't work, Congress will just have to pass a law, a new "title" for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, that makes it an offense to socialize with overly homogenous groups that do not include the correct quota of blacks, Mexicans, Native Americans, Hmong, and other federally protected (that is, reliably Democratic) ethnic groups. (Japanese, overly religious South Americans, Poles, and especially those Cuban "hystericos" in Miami don't count as minorities.)

I've annotated this next bit from the black Mr. H.; one of those "what he said" vs. "what he's thinking" pieces that makes it easier to understand the new way and what's expected of us in future:

Race, Holder said, "is an issue we have never been at ease with [except, of course, in the South, where everyone has a much higher NTF than in Manhattan, New England, San Francisco, and Hollywood, none of which allow blacks to live there] and, given our nation's history [as the most viciously racist country on the planet], this is in some ways understandable... If we are to make progress [enact racial quotas that reach into every nook and cranny of human interaction, from friendship to dating to marriage to mindless one-night stands] in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other [except for conservatives, of course, and anybody else who insists who insists upon judging people by the content of their character, rather than by the color of their skin] to have frank conversations [finger-wagging lectures] about the racial matters that continue to divide us [Democrat from Republican]."

So all you white people (who aren't black), and all you black and Hispanic conservatives (who aren't authentic), should begin practicing your public self-criticism confessions; you're going to need them. Probably by law.

In a country founded by slave owners, race has bedeviled the nation throughout its history, with blacks denied the right to vote just a few decades ago. Obama's triumph last November as well as the nomination of Holder stand as historic achievements of two black Americans.

Did I neglect to mention that Obama and Holder are black? My bad.

Even when people mix at the workplace or afterwork social events, Holder argued, many Americans in their free time are still segregated inside what he called "race-protected cocoons."

Gen. Holder is bemoaning the lack of mixed-race marriages, I suppose. I'll have to ask Sachi about it.

"Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not in some ways differ significantly from the country that existed almost 50 years ago. This is truly sad," said Holder.

You know, I think Eric Holder (he's black, you know) has a point here: I've noticed that all the restaurants in my neighborhood segregate their bathrooms on the week-end; and on Saturday and Sunday, non-whites must sit at the back of the bus.

I suppose the new new national conversation about race is just the extension of Obamic diplomacy to the domestic sphere: All it takes is a nice talking out, and everything will be all right. And now, having resolved America's festering race problem -- on week-ends, we're just like the South under Jim Crow! -- he's off to Gitmo to resolve that dilemma will equal facility:

Holder is headed to Guantanamo Bay early next week to inspect the terrorist detention facility there. Obama has assigned Holder to lead a special task force aimed at closing the site within a year.

Holder's Justice Department will have to decide which suspects to bring to U.S. courts for trial, which to prosecute through the military justice system, and which to send back to their home countries.

See, there's this really simple solution that Republicans are just too blind to see; a few well-spoken words in the right ears will cause Egypt and Jordan and China and Saudi Arabia to take back their al-Qaeda prisoners, talk with them, sing and laugh, and persuade them that it's wrong to take out their understandable and righteous anger by beheading random Western men, women and children.

And Holder -- after holding a national conversation about classified intelligence information -- will then be able to proceed to trials of terrorist detainees in ordinary civilian courts, without fear of technical acquittals because the intelligence community refuses produce all its top-secret intel in court for the al-Qaeda lawyers to pore over. (Of course, CIA Director Leon Panetta -- he's not black, unless he has become black recently -- will probably just hand it all over anyway. Without preconditions.)

Golly, but I'm glad we elected a change-agent lightbringer who brings new hope for a world without conflict, war, or totalitarianism... or at least no totalitarianism of the Right.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 18, 2009, at the time of 11:31 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 11, 2009

Climate Change Derangement Syndrome

Globaloney Sandwich , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

A new malady has presented itself to the medical community. They haven't yet taken the obvious step of dubbing it "Climate Change Derangement Syndrome," but surely that's mere oversight.

By CCDS, I don't mean the increasing delusion that anthropogenic global climate change (AGCG) has been proven beyond all doubt and beyond all permitted debate, though that is an essential element of CCDS. Rather, I mean the increasing number of cases of anxiety, paranoia, and hysteria verging on psychosis in people who have become convinced that AGCC is going to destroy the world. Viz.:

Last year, an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. He was refusing to drink water. Worried about drought related to climate change, the young man was convinced that if he drank, millions of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote the case up as the first known instance of "climate change delusion."

Robert Salo, the psychiatrist who runs the inpatient unit where the boy was treated, has now seen several more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters.

This can be considered "collateral damage" in the war against science waged by the politicians -- both inside and outside the scientific community (I include NASA scientist James Hansen) -- pushing the leftist agenda implicit in the "consensus view" of AGCC. ("Can't make an omlet without breaking a few legs.") But the victims of such hypnotic hypochondria could also be considered "useful idiots" in the socialist march towards totalitarianism; in this view, AGCC is simply one more tool to dismantle the sovereignty of the United States and institute an international regime in its place.

Whatever their motivation, AGCC hoaxsters have busied themselves raising terror of global warming to a fever pitch:

  • By dismissing all questions about the validity of those predictions (based, as they are, entirely on general circulation climate models that do not, in fact, model anything in the real world);
  • By using political power within the government and the academy to squash any dissent and ruin the lives of dissenters;
  • By floating nightmare scenarios that even the hoaxters themselves know are cartoonish and overblown;
  • By mocking the very idea that increased CO2 in the atmosphere might have some positive effect on, e.g., plant growth and resistance to pests;

  • By attaching supposedly scientific conclusions to bills in parliaments, legislatures, and congresses, thus "legislating" science (as Adolf Hitler did by mandating so-called "race science," and as Josef Stalin did by mandating Lamarckian theories under Trofim Denisovich Lysenko);
  • And by signalling that governments will look very favorably on any evidence of AGCC -- even the "evidence" that the fear of AGCC is already wreaking havoc -- and will reward such "evidence" with money and prestige.

I call that last point the AIDS Inflation Theory: In Africa, if a person is diagnosed with cholera or syphilis or meningitis, he's more or less on his own; but if he is diagnosed with AIDS, a vast network of international aid pours resources onto the patient and into the village whence he came. Thus, compassionate doctors, seeing the unalleviated suffering throughout the "dark continent," tend to report any serious illness in Africa as AIDS: AIDS-related cholera, AIDS-related meningitis, AIDS-related machete wounds, and so forth. Thus the number of reported cases of AIDS in Africa is many, many times higher than the reality.

I believe the same thing happens with AGCC: Every unpleasant weather event, from hurricanes to monsoons to icy chills to hot weather in August, is declared to be due to global climate change. This causes the ponderous machinery of international aid to chug into motion; it causes papers to be accepted at prestigious scientific journals; it causes grant money to gush from the government teat.

Now that "climate change delusion" (or as I call it, Climate Change Derangement Syndrome) has been discovered (or fabricated), is there any doubt that millions of dollars will flood the grant empires of psychiatrists and scientists who study it?

Such anxiety over current events is not a new phenomenon. Worries about contemporary threats, such as nuclear war or AIDS, have historically been woven into the mental illnesses of each generation. But global warming could have a broader and deeper effect on mental health, even if indirectly.

"Climate change could have a real impact on our psyches," says Paul Epstein, the associate director for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

...As well as a real impact on the bottom line of the Center for Health and the Global Environment. The Center was created in 1996 -- eight years after the U.N. birthed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 and a scant four years after the infamous Rio conference, from which the Kyoto Accord or Protocol eventually flowed the year after the Harvard Center was established.

The Boston Globe includes the obligatory prognostications of what the climate future holds, offered by the anonymous experts who are the greatest prognosticators since Nostradamus:

Over this century, the average global temperature is expected to rise between 1 degrees [sic] and 6 degrees Celsius. Glaciers will melt, seas will rise, extremes in precipitation will occur, according to scientists' predictions....

Climate change is expected to create about 200 million environmental refugees [!] by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body established within the United Nations to evaluate causes and consequences of global warming.

They can't show any such correlation in the past; but as they say about the stock market, past performance does not predict future results. Clearly the lack of previous examples of an uncontrolled greenhouse effect on this plant is proof positive that just such a catastrophe looms, complete with an entire nation of "environmental refugees," who will, quite naturally, be the target population for a pandemic of Climate Change Derangement Syndrome.

Do something, quick! Perhaps Democrats in Congress can roll a few tens of billions of dollars for funding CCDS research into the "stimulus" bill.

The Globe admits that there really is no evidence for any part of this theory:

The links between mental illness and the weather can be tenuous or even downright contradictory. Depending on which studies you read, suicide is more common, less common, or equally common in hot weather. Ditto dry weather.

But it instantly follows with a tenuous, link-laden litany of woes that will sear our psyches:

Indeed, climate change may eventually deplete natural resources, make it more difficult for people to live off the land, and disrupt the global food supply.

"That will mean declining socioeconomic status and quality of life across the world," North said, and "depression, demoralization, disillusionment...."

On the other side of the globe, the changing Arctic climate is expected to make hunting and fishing far more difficult for the people who live there....

"Climate change is a massive driver of change in people's home environment," Albrecht said. "These changes become sources of chronic stress."

Fortunately, we needn't strain our brains trying to figure out what to do; the "anointed" will tell us:

In the long term, we may also derive some psychological benefit from banding together with other citizens to mitigate the effects of global warming. Taking action might not only give us back a sense of our own sense of efficacy [sic] against a powerful outside force, but also help us build community and social ties that offset stress, said Epstein and other specialists.

"Getting involved can be an antidote to the depression that can come from the overwhelming realizations that we have to face...," Epstein said. "It can be empowering to realize that what you do is effective."

Break out another package of community organizers! I suppose it's not very likely that Paul Epstein would accept "advocating free-market solutions to environmental problems" as an example of an "empowering" method of "getting involved." The position -- and I believe the underlying purpose -- of AGCC advocacy from the beginning has been creeping socialism and the destruction of Capitalism, the market, and national sovereignty, each of which would be swallowed up by the internationalist environmental treaty-archy (now there's a mouthful!)

Climate Change Derangement Syndrome is just the latest manifestation of the medicalization of public policy: People are going crazy from fear of global warming, so smash the looms! Other examples include:

  • Anti-smoking zealots abusing research on "second-hand smoke" to force a total ban on smoking;
  • Attempts by vegan activists to ban all trans fats, which turn polyunsaturated vegetable fats into the equivalent of saturated fats found in animal products like butter;
  • Leftist-feminists banning breast implants for ideological reasons by citing nonexistent illnesses (e.g. "silicone disease" or "connective tissue disorder") or real illnesses or conditions whose causes are unrelated to silicone breast implants (breast cancer, miscarriage, fibromyalgia);
  • Attempts to ban power lines (no offence, John, Paul, and Scott!) by claiming they cause cancer;
  • Anti-punishment hysterics trying to classify all crimes as "mental disorders" in order to shut down the prisons;
  • The use of bogus claims of toxic threats to prohibit military training, and so forth.

In short, AGCC in general, and Climate Change Derangement Syndrome in particular, is just another front in the global war against the individual, the family, and the nation-state. Couple that with the Democratic Congress' and the Obama administration's staggering economic assault on the market, and I believe our way of life and our freedom is under greater threat than anytime since the peak years of the Cold War.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 11, 2009, at the time of 4:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 9, 2009

Yet Another Obama "Sovereignty" Test

Immigration Immolations , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

A federal lawsuit filed by sixteen illegal immigrants, seeking damages from a rancher for the "tort" of keeping them off his land by making a citizen's arrest and handing them over to the Border Patrol, offers a determinative test for our new president: Will the Justice Department file a friend of the court brief? And if so, which side will President Barack H. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder support?

An Arizona man [rancher and former sheriff's deputy Roger Barnett] who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.

(Violating their civil rights? They must have meant violating their civil liberties. Either that, or sixteen illegal aliens are suing Barnett for preventing them from voting in the next Arizona election.)

His Cross Rail Ranch near Douglas, Ariz., is known by federal and county law enforcement authorities as "the avenue of choice" for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Trial continues Monday in the federal lawsuit, which seeks $32 million [!] in actual and punitive damages for civil rights violations, the infliction of emotional distress [oh please] and other crimes. Also named are Mr. Barnett's wife, Barbara, his brother, Donald, and Larry Dever, sheriff in Cochise County, Ariz., where the Barnetts live. The civil trial is expected to continue until Friday.

I don't know for sure whether Arizona has citizen's arrest, but I believe it does. If so, then what exactly is Barnett accused of doing? Does the act of citizen's arrest violate the "right" of foreign nationals to cross into the United States illegally? What other rights could they mean?

The lawsuit is based on a March 7, 2004, incident in a dry wash on the 22,000-acre ranch, when he approached a group of illegal immigrants while carrying a gun and accompanied by a large dog.

Attorneys for the immigrants - five women and 11 men who were trying to cross illegally into the United States - have accused Mr. Barnett of holding the group captive at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog loose on them and saying he would shoot anyone who tried to escape.

Well, yeah; that's why it's called a citizen's "arrest," not a citizen's polite request to stay and wait for the peelers. This sounds pretty normal to me; if the Border Patrol, rather than a private citizen, had done exactly this, would any federal judge allow such a lawsuit to go forward?

Plaintiffs do not accuse Barnett of shooting anyone or even firing a shot, of siccing his dog on anyone (though he warned them that the dog can bite). The illegals retained MALDEF to press their case -- or more likely, MALDEF recruited them to sue Barnett, hoping to get a federal court ruling that Mexican nationals have the "civil right" to:

  • Enter the United States without documentation;
  • Trespass on private property;
  • Rustle cattle;
  • Burglarize houses;
  • And threaten American citizens who resist any of the above.

MALDEF does claim that Barnett kicked one woman, but I suspect that's an embelishment. In any event, I find it passing strange that a group called the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund is now representing sixteen Mexican Mexicans suing an American American; but I suppose they know which side of the bed is buttered. Evidently, even MALDEF is really all about "la raza."

I have a big question in mind to ask; but before I get to that, I must answer the big question that I know is in the minds of many of you: Has the lizard flipped? Am I reversing myself and turning into a Tancredoite?

Not guilty on both charges. First, my position today is exactly the same as it was a year, even two years ago. I never argued that anyone has the "right" to trespass, commit crimes, or evade arrest, even arrest for illegal entry. What I did argue is twofold: First, that the crime of illegal entry, all by itself, is a minor offense; even buying fraudulent documentation is, in and of itself, a minor crime.

But there are other crimes often committed by illegals that are much more serious, and I have no quarrel with punishing those more severely. Such other crimes include identity theft of a living person (as opposed to getting a false birth certificate in the name of a person who died in infancy), burglary, car theft, and yes, trespassing. I have always agreed that illegals who are convicted of such crimes should be deported -- but only after serving their sentences.

Second, I argued that a fine and payment of back taxes (plus interest and penalties), plus having to start the residency paperwork all over from the beginning, is an acceptable plea bargain (not "amnesty") for illegals who turn themselves in; they shouldn't need to return to their former country. You may disagree; I'm not arguing the point. But it doesn't contradict anything I said above. (And of course I argue we need to fundamentally reform our legal immigration system to make it more rational, predictable, and just; but that's a different topic.)

So no, I haven't joined the ranks of those who savaged the comprehensive immigration bill; neither have I changed my position on what to do about immigration, "guest" workers, and those already here illegally.

Now to the question that interests me: Barack Obama did not campaign on a promise to throw open the borders, nor on the supposition that illegals have any "right" to enter or trespass. In fact, he reassured us that he opposed illegal immigration. And of course he never said he favored eliminating the right of citizens to arrest criminals apprehended in the act and hold them until the police arrive and take the prisoners into custody. So if Obama comes out now in favor of MALDEF and their patsies, it would be a stunning betrayal of the American people -- and catastrophic to his presidency.

But on the other hand, suppose the plaintiffs prevail at this stage on the theory enunciated by MALDEF; and supposed that, although Obama and Holder don't file an amicus curae brief supporting the MALDEF position, the administration also fails to file a brief in defense of an American citizen (and former cop) who has done nothing more than protect his own property and family by apprehending (so he claims) more than 12,000 (!!) illegal aliens and turning them over to the Border Patrol. Even if the administration doesn't throw in with the illegals, if Obama nevertheless abandons Barnett to his fate, I believe the president would have willfully failed to discharge his oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

If the trial results in a defense verdict and MALDEF does not appeal (unlikely), then Obama is off the hook. But if this ends up in federal circuit court -- as I'm certain it will, no matter what the verdict in district court -- and if Obama (a) ducks the issue or (b) backs MALDEF and the illegals, then the GOP should ride this issue into the 2010 election.

And I would then predict they would, in event (a) -- Obama administration ducks the issue -- recapture one or the other chamber of Congress. And in event (b) -- Obama administration sides with the illegal aliens against they American citizen they tried to victimize -- the GOP will win the whole ruddy thing.

Even if Obama arrives at the same calculation, I just don't know whether he has the cojones to buck the open-borders statelessness of the New Left.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 9, 2009, at the time of 6:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 2, 2009

Nanny's in Your Kitchen: the Spice Wars Begin

Beggar's Banking Banquet , Illiberal Liberalism , Liberal Lunacy , Obama Nation
Hatched by Dafydd

"Republican" Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City -- he was a Democrat until he decided the Democratic ticket was too crowded for his mayoral run, so he switched to have the nomination to himself -- now presides over a staggering budget deficit:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially announced Friday the city's $4 billion budget gap and unveiled a new budget filled with painful cutbacks that will impact every New Yorker.

Wall Street got sick and now New York City residents have to take their medicine, and Bloomberg's budget solution will probably be hard for most of us to swallow. New taxes, a smaller workforce, and reduced city services -- all the ingredients of Friday's "Doomsday" budget plan.

"This is a very tough time for our city and nation," Bloomberg said. "We have a $4 billion budget gap. It is serious, I think it is manageable."

Facing this Bloomsday budget plan, Mr. Mayor has thought and thought and thought and thought... and all that ratiocination has done to him what too much reading of chivalric fiction did to Alonso Quixano, about whom Cervantes wrote in the Quixote:

In short, he became so absorbed in his books that he spent his nights from sunset to sunrise, and his days from dawn to dark, poring over them; and what with little sleep and much reading his brains got so dry that he lost his wits. His fancy grew full of what he used to read about in his books, enchantments, quarrels, battles, challenges, wounds, wooings, loves, agonies, and all sorts of impossible nonsense; and it so possessed his mind that the whole fabric of invention and fancy he read of was true, that to him no history in the world had more reality in it.

And a few days ago, Michael, Princeps of Novus York, had a divine revelation: The specific enchantment that would serve to rescue his beloved principality from the economic fiery furnace is "sal salis deleda est!" Now we know how he'll "manage" the $4 billion deficit; sic semper tyrannis.

Clearly, the rabble are simply too ignorant to know how much salt they're eating. They cannot be trusted to make such urgent decisions, which affect the principality as a whole, all by themselves, the selfish villains.

So he has decided to do something about it: He is gearing up to order food manufacturers to "voluntarily" cut the amount of salt in the food they prepare by 50%; and if they don't voluntarily comply, the next step will be to ban any dissenters from selling their food products in New York City.

As New York is America's largest urban market, and it's too expensive to have two different versions of every product -- one for New York, the other for Everywhere Else -- the upshot will be that manufacturers will be forced to undersalt their food across the entire United States. Even the Pace Picante Sauce sold in Amarillo and Taos will have to conform to the tastes of "New York City!"

"Salt, when it's high in the diet, increases the blood pressure and high blood pressure is a major factor for heart disease and stroke," said Dr. Sonia Angell of NYC's Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program.

This is just Mayor Bloomberg's latest health initiative, following on the heels of a smoking ban, a ban on trans fats and forcing restaurants to post the calorie contents.

But many New Yorkers peppered the mayor with boos for his latest idea.

The inaptly named Dr. Sonia Angell might want to reinterview her cherubim sources; evidence that a high salt intake causes medical problems in otherwise healthy people is scant. Instead, most studies show only that people who already have problems -- cardio-vascular, exercise-induced asthma, stomach problems -- can significantly benefit from decreasing their salt intake. And in any event, do we really want a government that tells us what amount of an ordinary, even necessary mineral we are allowed to eat? "Deadly NaCl" has become the new millennium's "poisonous CO2".

Anyone who wants to reduce salt in his diet has a plethora of options available; there are health-food stores in nearly every reasonably large city, and probably hundreds in America's largest city. These stores carry many products that are low-sodium or even sodium-free. You can also simply make food from fresh, non-processed ingredients, thereby controlling how much salt your dishes contain.

With a city teetering on the edge of financial ruin, should Mr. Mayor be frittering away his energy and his budget forcing everyone to conform to an NYC "health Nazi" committee? (Adolf Hitler was a fanatic vegetarian and anti-smoking zealot, making Hitler the world's first "health Nazi.") It's hard not to suspect that Bloomberg's real objection to salt is not that it damages some people's health but that it makes food taste good, when we should be tightening our belts. (The mayor's political allies in the Center for Science in the Public Interest are even more overt, verging on brazen, in their war on flavor.)

This knee-jerk wildly inapropos response proves (if that were still needed) that Michael Bloomberg is still a liberal Democrat at core, no matter what letter he puts after his name now. A liberal is never more than two hysterias away from reverting to liberal fascism, in which every problem is a social problem -- and every social problem requires a collectivist, totalitarian solution. If some people's poor health is exacerbated by excess salt, then nobody should be allowed to eat too much salt... where "too much" is of course coterminous with "more than Mayor Bloomberg likes."

Liberals simply become impatient when one raises the liberty issue; in their hearts, no matter the rhetoric they espouse or claim to accept, right back to the days of the Progressive Party and the Fabian Society, they have always believed that liberty is overrated... that there are only two kinds of men: those who are meant to drive -- the "vanguard," or as Thomas Sowell dubbed them, the "Anointed" who have "the Vision" -- and those who are fit only to be driven (the lumpenproletariat).

The line of totalitarian succession stretches unbroken from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson to Jimmy "the Sweater" Carter -- to the Pelosi, Reid, Obama axis today, thence to all the little Obamoids orbiting the One like teeny, tiny moons. This includes Mr. Mayor of the cosmic center, New York City -- Bloomberg, rationer of prandial pleasure and arbiter of the new American asceticism... We the People sacrifice all so that They the Anointed may feast, swill, chain-smoke, and wallow in hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars (tax-free for cabinet appointees!) showered upon them because they are who they are.

Meet the new nanny; same as the old nanny. (Pass the salt, please.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 2, 2009, at the time of 6:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 27, 2009

Second Epistle of St. John the Empowered

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

John Hinderaker has (yet another) excellent piece up on Power Line; this one views more-in-sadness-than-in-anger the not so recent phenomenon of the wanton and tendentious politicization of ostensibly party-neutral cultural congregations, such as classical concerts and sporting events. He concludes the post thus:

My only contribution to the discussion is to note that this is nothing new. Years ago, I attended many more cultural events than I do now. During the 1980s, I was a season ticket holder at Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater. Over time, I became deeply offended by the fact that no matter what the play, whoever put the program together would find a way to work in an attack on the Reagan administration. The last straw was when I went to King Lear at the Guthrie. It was an excellent production, but my enjoyment of it was ruined by the fact that the program was turned into an anti-Reagan tirade. I wasn't even much of a conservative at the time, but the inappropriateness of the whole thing was too much for me.

I didn't "boo loudly," as Glenn [Reynolds] suggests; I just quit going. I wonder how many millions of conservative and mainstream Americans have stopped supporting cultural organizations because of this sort of wanton left-wing politicization.

I don't know whether John feigns naïveté here for dramatic purposes, but it's perfectly clear to me that driving conservatives and other antiliberals out of the arts and other cultural events is precisely the goal at which the Left aims with great deliberation.

The strategy is straight out of Uncle Joe's playbook, and they have done it for generations in other arenas -- such as the Civil Rights Congress, which began its life right after World War II as a perfectly legitimate, albeit labor-liberal, civil-rights organization. The Communists (e.g., Stalinists) infiltrated enough people into the group to get themselves elected to the important offices -- and turned it into a Soviet-Communist front group. One element of the strategy is to drive as many dissenting views out the door by aggressively boorish, even thuggish behavior.

How is what happened with King Lear, or what happened to Jay Nordlinger at a string-quartet performance upstairs of Carnegie Hall (see John's post), any different? It should be clear that when people with a history of thuggishly politicizing non-partisan political events or organizations are caught thuggishly politicizing non-political cultural events, we can safely conclude it's neither astonishing coincidence nor puzzling happenstance. It is, as Ian Fleming wrote, enemy action.

I have my own dreadful experience of just such a phenomenon, which I thought I had written about here at some length but can't seem to find. Some years ago, I attended the retirement party for my favorite teacher, whom I will simply call Fitz, at my old junior high school. Fitz was a math and science teacher, shaggy-haired and reliably absent-minded, and nearly everybody who had him as a teacher loved him.

His retirement party was held in a public park and attended by at least 1,500 people, including current and former students and their families. Lots of what is now called middle-school age children in attendance.

The other teachers in the special program in which Fitz taught got up to deliver encomiums, including one teacher from long after I matriculated on to high school and eventually university. This teacher -- I never met him and cannot now remember his name (nor would I want to do) -- allegly taught history and politics; but this was a simple retirement party for a math and science teacher. Nothing prepared me and a number of other attendees for what was to come.

Touching only momentarily on things related to Fitz, this other fellow chose not to linger. Instead, amidst what should have been a Fitz speech, he launched into, I rib you not, an obscenity-laced tirade against George W. Bush and his administration, the Iraq war, Republicans in general, conservatives in particular, and specifically, religious conservatives in a string of venomous personal attacks, using language more suited to a muleteer or a dockwalloper. It went on and on, occasionally punctuated by the lemming-like applause from similarly slope-browed products of consanguineous marriage who thought the venue perfectly appropriate for Democratic demagoguery of the brass-knuckle variety.

I rose from my front-row seat and strode angrily up the aisle and away, abandoning the field -- because the only alternative I could envision was to walk the other direction, up to the speaker's lectern, and see if I could refute him with a right cross... a course of action I was perilously close to undertaking.

I am still enraged at that fat, Franken-like buffoon for ruining a simple party in appreciation for a quarter-century of teaching high-level math and science to junior-high kids; at the liberals in the audience for not only tolerating but cheering on the hijacking; and at the LAUSD for hiring such a scumpuddle to berate and bitch-slap pre-pubescent 12 year olds into aping the Communist agitprop with which I'm certain he fills their "history" hours.

And don't think for two consecutive seconds that his rant was spontaneous; if you're anxious to give that bipedal toadie the benefit of the doubt, first buttonhole David Horowitz and ask him what he thinks (not Horowitz the consumer advocate but Horowitz the former editor of Ramparts and leftist agitator turned conservative agitator). This is deliberate. This is planned. This is the visible wake of a subaqueous leviathon conspiracy to drive antiliberals out of every sphere of public life, until we can speak our minds, or even exist, only in caverns and catacombs, like the Jews and early Christians in ancient Israel under the bootheel of the Roman Empire.

And a seredipitous advantage to the Left is that it sounds so fantastic that anybody stepping forward to tell you that lefties politicize the non-political precisely in order to drive out traditional Americans sounds like a raving madman with delusions of persecution and grandeur. (Believe me, I've seen the glances askance.)

I think the only viable solution is to continually and loudly call them on their impropriety, insensitivity, politicization, and tribal partisanship... but we should only do so in appropriate venues, or we risk falling into the very trap they set for us.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 27, 2009, at the time of 1:17 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 19, 2009

But in Theory... part Deux: the Virtue of Hypocrisy

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Thursday, we explored the psychotic nature of Argument of the Irresistable Theoretical Construct, wherein liberals reject all facts, observations, and measurements that conflict with the liberal "theory" about something. (Here "theory" is one component of what Saint Thomas Sowell refers to as "the vision of the anointed;" the latter is the collection of all the liberal theories, a liberal "Theory of Everything.")

Today we see a perfect example of how this theoretical construct turns into a policy prescription, to the catastrophic endangerment of our country.

Let's dress the stage: Just before his inauguration, President-elect Barack H. Obama announced that he was poised to ban all "harsh interrogation" of terrorist detainees, based upon the liberal theory that clever interrogation that stays within the bounds of ordinary criminal investigation will uncover all the same information as harsh interrogation -- and do so even quicker!

President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to prohibit the use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation techniques by ordering the CIA to follow military rules for questioning prisoners, according to two U.S. officials familiar with drafts of the plans.

The proposal Obama is considering would require all CIA interrogators to follow conduct outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual, the officials said. The plans would also have the effect of shutting down secret "black site" prisons around the world where the CIA has questioned terror suspects -- with all future interrogations taking place inside American military facilities.

This is utter madness; why would any terrorist detainee talk if he knew there was nothing the interrogator could do to him if he refused? How does a smart man like Obama justify grafting naive theoretical idiocy onto the necessary hard policy of defending the United States from terrorist attack?

Simple: He doesn't! Instead, in perhaps the most breathtakingly exercise of sanctimonious doubletalk of my lifetime, the incoming administration punctuates their absolute exclamation point with a question mark:

However, Obama's changes may not be absolute. His advisers are considering adding a classified loophole to the rules that could allow the CIA to use some interrogation methods not specifically authorized by the Pentagon, the officials said.

Obama vehemently rejects the "harsh" interrogations of the Bush regime; this gives the incoming administration the cheers and jubiliation from the international community to which the One believes himself to be entitled by birth. And then, on the other shoe, he lets his aides announce publicly that he will actually continue the exact, same techniques that he just condemned.

What an operator! If Niccolo Machiavelli (or P.T. Barnum) were alive today, he would be rolling in his grave.

I was partway through writing this post when I suddenly found myself in a quandry (or if you prefer, a quagmire): Paul of Tarsus Power Line put up his own post, saying more or less what I had been in the process of writing; later that same day (Saturday), John followed with another that enunciated the rest of what I'd been about to say. I was about to delete my post unpublished.

But something wasn't quite right about the two Power Line posts; something was missing.

It took me a couple of days, but I think I have it: John noted the "hypocrisy" of Barack Obama, making a cause celebre of saying that he will "end harsh interrogations," thus garnering a verbal jamboree and hootenanny from the internationalists in Europe and Asia... while at the same time hinting that of course he will be willing to use those techniques if ordinary interrogation doesn't work.

But I think John is wrong to call it hypocrisy: It's not even honest hypocrisy; it's something cruder and viler.

Honest hypocrisy ("the tribute vice pays to virtue") is itself a cultural virtue, in that it reinforces our cultural norms. Hypocrisy arises from a sense of one's own guilt; a senator knows he shouldn't, e.g., favor political donors with earmarks; so he goes to great lengths to conceal what he's done. It may not be illegal, but it looks bad; he feels that he has done something wrong (guilt), so he loudly protests his innocence -- and points a finger at some other senator.

But what has Barack Obama done here? He condemns George W. Bush, who always stated up front that he was willing to engage in "harsh interrogation techniques" if that's what it took to gain the intel that would keep the nation safe; Obama thus advertises himself as nobler and more moral than Bush, because Obama believes in international law and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

This is 99 44/100% pure sanctimony. But then Obama compounds the felony -- by allowing his advisors to openly state, in the name of the One We Have Been Waiting For, that he has every intention of violating his own prohibition whenever keeping it would inconvenience him.

He makes no attempt to conceal the dichotomy between what he says and what he does; hence Obama does not even have the consciousness of guilt: He sees nothing contradictory or wrong about attacking Bush's morals and character for doing something Obama calls a crime against humanity (torture), but then turning about and doing the exact same thing himself, and quite brazenly.

At least one of the following conclusions must be true; all may be true simultaneously:

  1. Barack Obama, and every liberal who fails to denounce him for it, is guilty of situational ethics, a game of moral "conjugation" -- "I am an ethical pragmatist; you cut ethical corners; he or she is a war criminal!"
  2. Obama understands that Bush only did what he had to do to protect the country; yet Obama sees nothing wrong with trashing his predecessor's character, reputation, and legacy for transient political advantage.
  3. Obama has utter contempt for the intelligence of the American people and thinks they'll never figure out his verbal judo move; in fact, he's laughing up his sleeve at his rhetorical end-run around the truth.

(3) is especially troubling, because if true, it would make Obama akin to the megalomaniacal supervillains of comic books, at least in the way he mocks the ability of the average Joe or Jane to understand the rare ratiocination of the Obamic oracle. Like the Riddler, Obama delights in dropping little clues to his own villainy that he believes will be utterly opaque to the American voter, giving him further proof (as if any were needed) of his own genius compared to everyone around him.

This is not a good quality to have in a President of the United States. But what do people expect when well over half the country voted for a man with no experience to prepare him for the presidency, no background in the great issues of the day, and who refused to enunciate a single principled policy, treating the election as a rolling coronation?

The danger to the country is very real. First, without clear guidance of when to use such harsh interrogation techniques, I doubt that military or CIA interrogators will be willing to bet their jobs and their freedom on the loyalty of a man with a needle-less moral compass.

Second, to the extent to which our captured militant-Islamist enemies believe Obama, they will be emboldened to laugh in the faces of their interrogators... and to the extent to which they disbelieve Obama, they will see him as weak and spineless, afraid to "own" the very methods that might actually work to gain the intelligence we need. Either way, they drink Obama's milkshake.

Finally, it will give our fainthearted "allies" ammunition to use against the Obama administration when (inevitably) they find themselves still less willing to fight and more willing to appease than even a Democratic America; and considering how devastating such a charge would be to a man who has already billed himself as holier than any number of thous, Obama would, I think, be more inclined than was President Bush to bow to the wishes of the defeatists and make his ersatz prohibition genuinely absolute. He will have painted himself into a hole for which he has no key.

Such is what we, the people, reap when Barack Obama sows mendacity and character assassination from the bully pulpit.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 19, 2009, at the time of 11:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 15, 2009

But in Theory...

Econ. 101 , Globaloney Sandwich , Gun Rights and Occasional Wrongs , Iraq Matters , Liberal Lunacy , Logical Lacunae , Terrorism Intelligence
Hatched by Dafydd

Of all the crazy memes flogged by Democrats and liberals, this one is, I believe, the most psychotic:

Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder forcefully broke from the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies Thursday, declaring that waterboarding is torture and pledging to prosecute some Guantanamo Bay detainees in U.S. courts.

It was the latest signal that President-elect Barack Obama will chart a new course in combatting terrorism. As recently as last week, Vice President Dick Cheney defended waterboarding, a harsh interrogation tactic that simulates drowning, saying it provided valuable intelligence.

The CIA has used the tactic on at least three terrorism suspects, included alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In past hearings, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, frustrated senators by repeatedly sidestepping questions about waterboarding.

It was the first topic discussed at Holder's confirmation hearing, and he made an unambiguous statement about its nature: "Waterboarding is torture."

As a practical matter, Holder said torture does not lead to reliable intelligence. And on principle, he said the United States needs to live up to its own high standards, even in the face of fear and terrorism.

Let's walk it through; what exactly is Holder saying? Many members of President George W. Bush's administration have testified -- from those interrogators who were directly involved in the interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, each in 2003 (the only time evidence indicates we ever used waterboarding), to experienced military and intelligence experts, to high officials (including, op.cit., Vice President Dick Cheney) -- that waterboarding those three top terrorists in fact yielded a wealth of intelligence; that intel directly led to hundreds of arrests and the disrupting and interdicting of scores of follow-on terrorist attacks against the United States, saving thousands upon thousands of American civilian lives.

Numerous people are in custody in Guantanamo Bay today because we caught them red-handed in the midst of plotting terrorist attacks -- with ample physical evidence to back up the charges -- on the basis of searches and investigations sparked by the intelligence gained from waterboarding Mohammed, Zubayday, and Nashiri.

But no... the Left considers waterboarding to be "torture," and the Left's theory about torture states unequivocally and without exception that "torture does not lead to reliable intelligence."

Ergo, none of the foregoing ever really happened: We didn't actually get intelligence from waterboarding the Three Amigos; we didn't really disrupt any terrorist plots; we didn't actually arrest anyone (or if we did, they were necessarily innocent bystanders); and in fact, we didn't stop further attacks on the country; thus, by a simple deduction, we actually were hit again and again by the terrorists -- and the Bush regime just covered it all up, yet another Bush war crime!

Sure, physical observation appears to indicate that waterboarding, the putative "torture," in fact yielded reliable and even vital intelligence; but appearances can be deceiving. Theory proves this cannot be, so logic dictates we must throw out the observations as obviously flawed.

Oddly, this is the same argumentative technique used in the globaloney debate; perhaps it needs its own name: How about Argument of the Irresistable Theoretical Construct?

  • Your so-called "measurements" claim that the Earth's temperature rise since 1900 correlates almost exactly with solar activity, and there has been no global temperature increase since 1998 (in fact, a decrease). But the theory of anthropogenic ("human created") global warming -- which every legitimate scientist accepts -- belies that claim. Therefore, your measurements must be in error... go and fix them, and don't come back for more funding until you do!
  • According to all supposed observers in Iraq, including those vehemently opposed to the war from the beginning, since the Bush regime implemented the surge, military and civilian deaths have plummeted to the normal base-level of violence found in Arab countries. But as we told you repeatedly, the "surge" could not possibly work, because there is no military solution to military defeat. So who are you going to believe -- the considered weight of expert opinion from nearly all foreign-policy professionals, including some who have won the Nobel Peace Prize... or your own lyin' eyes?
  • All those revisionist historians and economists have been busy tarnishing the reputation of the greatest president of the 20th century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, producing fact after evidence after measurement indicating that none of his New Deal programs did anything to end the Great Depression, that it continued unabated until the beginning of World War II; but it's utterly impossible in theory that programs with such good intentions -- implemented by a brilliant president who was not only the darling of liberal, compassionate professors and socialist progressives and reformers but even of the masses -- could possibly fail. Clearly then, FDR's NRA and other programs restored the American economy and ended the depression... and any claims to the contrary are just mean-spirited attacks by frustrated conservative Republican robber-barons.
  • John Lott and other eggheads have published numerous books purporting to show that increasing civilian ownership of guns decreases, not increases, the homicide and other violent crime rates; but this is absurd on its face: The only purpose of a gun is to kill; and everybody knows that guns are useless in self-defense because the criminal will simply take it away from the victim (and get very angry). So the only explanation for the spate of pro-gun books is... Lott, et al, are being paid off by the NRA! (The other NRA, the bad NRA -- not the good one of the previous example. Nitpicker.)

Argument of the Irresistable Theoretical Construct: Add that one to the list; it will crop up again and again.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 15, 2009, at the time of 3:01 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 15, 2008

Standing Tall Against Standards

Elections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

(I feel a bit like I'm poaching on the home turf of Power Line and Captain's Quarters Ed Morrissey's Hot Air posts; but it is a national story. Honest!)

In the drawn-out Senate race still crawling along in Minnesota, the battle lines have at last become clear: Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN, 64%) wants clear statewide standards before considering rejected absentee ballots -- while failed comedian Al Franken has gone to court to reject all standards and allow local Democrats to decide which absentee ballots to accept and which to reject.

From the first story:

Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R) campaign has asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to issue a stay in a decision Friday by the state’s Board of Canvassers that could significantly sway the razor-thin margin in Minnesota’s still-undecided Senate race.

The Board recommended that Minnesota’s 87 counties open and count absentee ballots that were disqualified for no stated, legal reason. The Coleman campaign said Monday it had asked the state’s highest court to put a halt to that count until it could determine uniform standards for counting the ballots, estimated to number more than 1,000.

"The Supreme Court ought to direct the local officials to step back, take a breath, and allow the Court to set a uniform standard," Coleman campaign attorney Fritz Knaak said Monday in a conference call.

And here is the response from the Franken campaign to Coleman's call for uniform standards, as reported in Politico's second article:

Democrat Al Franken’s campaign on Monday accused Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R) campaign of trying to halt the recount in the state's contested Senate race and disenfranchise Minnesota voters whose absentee ballots were improperly disqualified.

"The Coleman campaign went to the state’s highest court to stop the counting and overrule a unanimous decision by the canvassing board," Franken campaign attorney Marc Elias said in a conference call Monday.

The state's Board of Canvassers recommended on Friday that counties to open and count more than 1,000 absentee ballots they said were disqualified for no stated, legal reason. The Coleman campaign filed a suit with the Minnesota Supreme Court asking the court to stop counties from tallying the ballots until the Court can establish a uniform standard for reviewing the uncounted ballots....

Franken’s campaign accused Coleman’s suit of really trying to overturn the board’s decision last week, and prevent the votes from being counted. Elias said that a clear, uniform standard for counting the ballots already exists in the Minnesota election code.

"Norm Coleman didn't get his way on Friday, so he's suing to stop the counting of lawful ballots and disenfranchise voters who did nothing wrong," Franken spokesman Andy Barr said. "That may be characteristic of his approach to this entire process, but it's entirely un-Minnesotan."

(How long before Franken's charge that Sen. Coleman is "un-Minnesotan" metastisizes into accusing Coleman of being unAmerican?)

The contrast could not be clearer... and it exactly mirrors the central argument in Bush v. Gore, the 2000 Supreme Court case about counting, recounting, and revoting the votes in Florida: The very reason that seven out of the nine Justices voted to stop the chad-count was that there were no uniform statewide standards; the precincts simply made ad-hoc rulings higgledy-piggledy. (Which meant in practice that conservative precincts tried to be unbiased and neutral, counting every legitimate vote; while liberal precincts decided their mandate was to count every Al Gore vote, legitimate, illegitimate, or imaginary.)

As Dennis Prager frequently notes, clarity is often more important that agreement; now at least everyone in the country clearly knows where Franken and the Democrats stand!

I'm now in a position to predict that this race will not be settled by January 6th, when the Congress is seated, nor on January 20th, when we swear at the president-elect. I'm not even sure it will be settled by the 2010 election. Al Franken and the Democrats plan to drag this out "forever and a day," on the theory that a 58-41 majority is better than a 58-42 majority -- so they'd rather force the seat to remain open as long as possible.

Democrats: "Holding firm against the courage of any convictions whatsoever!"

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 15, 2008, at the time of 4:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

UnAmerican Inactivities

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

How long would any Republican governor (president, senator, representative, executive chef) have lasted -- after saying this?

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) said it was "un-American" for senators to have voted against approving a bailout of troubled automakers last night, saying their vote may cause a recession to become a depression.

"It is unacceptable for this un-American, frankly, behavior of these U.S. senators to cause this country to go from a recession into a depression," Granholm said during a radio interview Friday morning.

I have sat, sardonically amused, for several days now, listening for the fall of the hammer; it never fell, of course, for "no enemies to the left" is still the rule, not the exception. That which would have slain the career of anybody to the right of Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 85%), when sounded by Ms. Granholm, was not even worth a finger wag.

Here's some more deep analysis from the junior demagogue of Michigan:

“It is such an unbelievable stab at workers across the country,” Granholm added. “You give this big bailout to these financial institutions -- don’t ask a single question, they can do what they want -- and then you lay the blame for the auto industry, which is a victim of this financial meltdown, on the backs of the people who are working on the line.”

I apologize for my mirth, but I find this sort of over-the-top McCarthyism frankly hilarious. Evidently, it's a red herring of the most colossal measurement to suggest that the "auto industry" itself (by which she means GM and Chrysler, not Nissan, Honda, or BMW) -- by its feckless devil-bargaining with the United Auto Workers union, its out of control pension and benefits plan, and its paucity of imagination or creativity in designing cars -- shares any of the blame in its own economic woe. Worse than a false accusation, the argument is proof of unAmericanism!

But I seem to recall this is a common leitmotif among lefties; they sling about that "anti-Americanism" or "unAmerican" charge like casting pearls before journalists. I wonder whether the real beef Democrats had with the original Joseph McCarthy was not demagoguery.. but violation of the Democrats' intellectual property rights to that particular false accusation.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 15, 2008, at the time of 4:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 3, 2008

Has Al Franken Snapped?

Elections , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

The campaign of failed comedian Al Franken has just made an astonishing announcement: They now claim that Franken is ahead of Norm Coleman (R-MN, 64%) in the recount:

Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken’s campaign said Wednesday that the comedian has taken the lead in his race against Sen. Norm Coleman (R).

Franken’s lawyer, Marc Elias, has been pressing for the media to focus on the campaign’s internal vote totals of the recount, which as of Wednesday showed Franken opening a lead of 22 votes.

Of course, nobody else sees Al Franken with a lead; he would have to use a very special metric to arrive at that conclusion... and of course, he does. This is the key:

The media have reported that Franken trails in the recount by around 300 votes, but that includes challenged ballots. Coleman’s campaign has challenged several hundred more ballots than Franken’s, but the vast majority of challenges are generally rejected.

Elias argues that, since most challenges will be invalidated, a more accurate count would not include those challenged ballots.

In other words, Politico reports that the Franken team is subtracting from the count all ballots that have been challenged by either side. Politico reports that the Franken campaign claims that when they do so, Franken picks up a net 320+ votes, putting him into the lead.

But there is a problem with the statement, and I don't know whether the mistake was Marc Elias's or Politico's: If it's true that "the vast majority of challenges are generally rejected," then what the Franken campaign means is that they want to count all the ballots... including the ones that are challenged, on the theory that the "vast majority" of challenges (not ballots) will be rejected.

Since the Coleman campaign has challenged more ballots than the Franken campaign, then if all the challenged ballots are added back in, Franken would pick up more votes than Coleman. That is the only calculation that makes sense (from the Franken point of view), so that must be what Elias said (or at least what he meant to say). Either Elias misspoke, or more likely, Politico miswrote.

But this opens up another can of monkeys; by suggesting this metric for determining who is ahead at any moment, Elias makes the hidden assumption that all challenges are equally invalid -- that the challenges made by Coleman against Franken votes) are no more likely to be found valid than the challenges made by Franken against Coleman votes. You follow?

This is the classic "split the difference" fallacy: You have two kids, John and Mary, and one pie. John wants to divide the pie into two equal pieces... but Mary thinks she should get the whole pie to herself. Seeing the impasse, Mary suggests she and her brother "split the difference" -- and give Mary 3/4ths of the pie.

The fallacy is the assumption that all claims are equally valid. In fact, facially, John's claim seems much more reasonable, while Mary's appears more frivolous. Further information can change this presumption: Perhaps Mary won the pie in a contest against John. In that case, Mary's claim is valid, and John's is frivolous or even mendacious. But in neither case is the proper answer to "split the difference;" the individual claims must be adjudicated.

In the present context, Coleman wants each challenge to be evaluated; but Al Franken simply wants all of them summarily rejected, thus giving him a huge chunk of votes. But what if Coleman has more challenges that are likely to be ruled valid than Franken? In that case, fewer of Coleman's claims would be rejected, so he would actually pick up votes, not lose them. It's irrelevant which side has filed more challenges; it only matters how many challenges on each side will be accepted.

Even if Al Franken has lost his mind, his campaign mangler has not. If they are calling for all challenges to be dropped, then they must believe they've made far more frivolous claims than has Coleman. Thus they expect to lose even more votes once the challenges are adjudicated, and they would be overjoyed to see all challenges wiped away, putting them on top. Simply put, the Franken campaign is not going to call for a remedy that would leave Franken in a worse position than he would be under the default remedy of deciding each individual claim on its merits.

The only fact situation that fits Franken's new metric is that far more Coleman challenges are valid than Franken challenges... and Al Franken (and Marc Elias) are well aware of it.

But every challenge on either side occurred with poll watchers from both campaigns present; Coleman's campaign watchers must know the character of all of Franken's challenges compared to their own.

This, then, is a wild "hail Mary" play; Franken has the audacity to hope that the Coleman campaign is so incompetent or so lazy, it agrees simply to hand the election to Franken, rather than go through all the fuss and bother of actually evaluating each challenge, case by case.

I ask whether Al Franken's mind has snapped because no rational person would expect his opponent to concede a race that he believes he has won, and in which he is ahead in the count. It would be like Gore demanding Bush agree to divide Florida absentee ballots equally between them; only a madman would make such a bizarre (and DOA) proposal. A sane candidate would want to preserve at least a shred of dignity, if not decency, and retain his viability for future campaigns.

Nor will this influence Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 85%) to take up the progressive man's burden and try to put together a Senate majority to seat Franken, not Coleman, in January. Reid won't move on this plan; not unless he doesn't mind a seal-kill of Democrats in 2010. Nobody cares that much for Al Franken. Not even Harry Reid.

I believe the fat lady -- or in this case, the humor-impaired "comedian" -- is singing "uncle."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 3, 2008, at the time of 6:23 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

December 2, 2008

Lunatic "Indictments" of Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales Rejected by Judge

Injudicious Judiciary , Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

In an unsurprising but still satisfying development in the latest sad chapter of criminalizing political differences, the bizarre and unbalanced floccillations of defeated Texas DA Juan Guerra have been rebuked and nullified:

A judge dismissed indictments against Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday and told the southern Texas prosecutor who brought the case to exercise caution as his term in office ends.

Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra had accused Cheney and the other defendants of responsibility for prisoner abuse. The judge's order ended two weeks of sometimes-bizarre court proceedings.

Guerra is leaving office at the end of the month after soundly losing in his March primary election.

All of the indictments brought by Guerra's heavily manipulated grand jury were quashed; the reasons varied, but they all amounted to gross imbecility in pursuit of personal or partisan advantage.

Vice President Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, The GEO Group (which privately operates federal prisons in Texas under U.S. government contracts), and state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. had been indicted for abusing prisoners or allowing them to be abused. Gonzales was singled out because he halted a federal investigation that was going nowhere; Cheney was added ostensibly because he invested in the Vanguard Group, which in turn invested in GEO (I believe we all know why he was really indicted). These bills were all dismissed because Guerra was replacing grand jurors with alternates (possibly more pliant) without properly substituting them... I suppose he simply told the actual jurors to shut up and had the alternates vote in their place.

In addition, two state judges, a state prosecutor, and a district clerk were indicted for investigating Guerra's earlier antics; these indictments were dismissed because it turned out that in addition to being the prosecutor, Guerra was also the alleged victim and the lone witness. Evidently, this constitutes some slight conflict of interest under Texas law.

So one attempt to criminalize policy differences has collapsed utterly, while another -- the indictment of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for money laundering, of all things -- limps to its nigh inevitable conclusion, not with the bang of a gavel but the whimper of a charge simply allowed to lapse.

Has anyone else noticed how the DeLay case dropped off the elite-media radar the moment it served its purpose of forcing him out of Congress? It's almost as if that were all they ever intended.

I just did a Google News search on "Tom DeLay" + "Ronnie Earle". The latter, you will recall, is the thoroughly discredited Travis County District Attorney; his vendetta against DeLay stems ultimately from the latter's successful drive to break the Democratic gerrymander that had kept the congressional delegation of Texas strongly Democratic -- even as the state had become very reliably Republican. Earle, a Democrat, was evidently furious that his party lost its electoral advantage, allowing the citizens of Texas actually to vote for the delegation they wanted, rather than the delegation that the Democrats allowed them.

The Google search turned up one (1) hit: An article by someone writing for the Texas Observor, "a nonpartisan watchdog [organization] that has filed ethics complaints against TRMPAC, Justice Alan Waldrop, and Bill Ceverha"... in other words, by a leftist house organ for the Austin-based Democratic Party in Texas. And even this piece of, ah, journalism concludes that the only way DeLay could be convicted is if (they hope, they hope!) Jack Abramoff drops some hitherto unrevealed bombshell. This is the Hail Mary of all judicial Hail Marys: Maybe DeLay committed some other crime of which we were previously unaware -- and he gets nailed for that! Hey, it could happen.

Criminalizing normal political differences has been a specialty of the Left for better than three decades; during the campaign, the Obama mob drummed up votes by talking about "war-crimes trials" and impeachments for all of the top Bush-administration officials... though they appear to have backed away from these threats since he was elected. Just as they believe that "the personal is political," they likewise believe that "the political is judicial": They think nothing of either prosecuting someone for taking the wrong side of a political dispute or else shopping around for a leftist judge to force some "progressive" policy onto the masses (unrestricted abortion, same-sex marriage, property-tax hikes, gun control) that the democratic branches of government find themselves unable to enact legitimately.

Logically, one would guess that having now captured both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, the Democrats would be content to exert their power within the framework the Framers intended -- by voting for it. But I doubt it; I begin to believe the Left actually prefers enacting its agenda judicially (and punishing its political opponents with prison sentences): Judicial power is more easily controlled (it's not messy, like a vote), it has a longer reach, and best of all, it gives Progressives the joy of thwarting the will of the very polity they pretend to represent.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 2, 2008, at the time of 6:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 14, 2008

Is Obama Now Ready for "Preconditions" Before Summit Meeting?

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

Is President-in-Waiting Barack H. Obama finally agreeing to only hold a summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after serious and substantial preconditions are met? It would appear so from this story:

Medvedev said he had spoken with Obama by telephone and hoped to meet him in person soon.

"We hope to create frank and honest relations with the new administration and resolve problems that we were not able to resolve with the current administration," he said.

But what about that precondition? Oh yes, here it is:

In an interview with French daily newspaper Le Figaro published on Thursday, Medvedev said Moscow had no choice but to react to U.S. plans to set up a network of missiles and radar systems near its own frontiers.

"But we are ready to abandon this decision to deploy the missiles in Kaliningrad if the new American administration, after analyzing the real usefulness of a system to respond to 'rogue states', decides to abandon its anti-missile system," he said.

Thank goodness President-elect Obama finally realizes that we cannot have a summit between the President of the United States and the head of some hostile state without some major precondition... and it appears that Obama is now considering whether to agree to that concession.

I'm sure that once Obama meets Russia's pre-meeting demand, Medvedev will be more than happy to join him for some of that hopey-changey talk we can believe in.

Reliable sources who must remain anonymous (because they are making it up as they go) predict that next quarter, Obama will agree to reduce Israel to its 1948 borders and disarm the Jewish state, formally recognize Tibet, Nepal, and Japan as provinces of the People's Republic of China, install Iran as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and introduce sharia courts into Utah... following which, the Palestinians, Red Chinese, Hezbollah, and the Nation of Islam will each agree to bless Obama with a summit.

But at least no one can ever again accuse him of talking to other heads of state without preconditions!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 14, 2008, at the time of 5:51 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 13, 2008

The Democrats' First 1,461 Days: War Crimes, War Crimes, War Crimes!

Liberal Lunacy
Hatched by Dafydd

...And crimes against humanity, history, the environment, and "international law."

Well, it's official: The incoming Democratic majority of the 111th Congress has announced it intends to "investigate" the Bush administration... for the next four years straight:

“The Bush administration overstepped in its exertion of executive privilege, and may very well try to continue to shield information from the American people after it leaves office,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, who sits on two committees, Judiciary and Intelligence, that are examining aspects of Mr. Bush’s policies.

Topics of open investigations include the harsh interrogation of detainees, the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, secret legal memorandums from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and the role of the former White House aides Karl Rove and Harriet E. Miers in the firing of federal prosecutors....

“I intend to ensure that our outstanding subpoenas and document requests relating to the U.S. attorneys matter are enforced,” said Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “I am hopeful that progress can be made with the coming of the new administration.”

Actually, much of the article in the Times is devoted to examining the inconvenient truth that there is some precedent for President George W. Bush continuing to assert executive authority to withhold internal documents from Congress, and prevent former aides from testifying, even after he leaves office; the precedents flow from Harry Truman through Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan. But I find the comments from Democratic leaders like Rep. John Conyers (D-MI, 100%) more illuminating than the legal dithering.

This one, for example:

“If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Mr. Obama said, but added, “I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.”

But even if his administration rejects the calls for investigations, Mr. Obama cannot control what the courts or Congress do. Several lawsuits are seeking information about Bush policies, including an Islamic charity’s claim that it was illegally spied on by Mr. Bush’s program on wiretapping without warrants.

And Congressional Democrats say that they are determined to pursue their investigations -- and that they expect career officials to disclose other issues after the Bush administration leaves. “We could spend the entire next four years investigating the Bush years,” Mr. Whitehouse said.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI, 95%) is on both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, well situated to make good his promise.

Democrats are obsessed with investigating the Bush administration for two reasons:

  1. The Democratic rank and file -- and many (but not all) of the leaders themselves -- still suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome and will likely continue to show symptoms for as long as they suck air.

To many of them, especially unreconstructed Obamatons and Kossaks, "getting Bush" (and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove) is more important than America succeeding. In fact, some may be so overwhelmed by their psychosis that they actively want America to collapse, as punishment for having betrayed ourselves by allowing George W. Bush to "steal the election" -- twice!

  1. But even those who are more sober and responsible, such as Reps. Conyers and Barney Frank (D-MA, 95%) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 93%), will support such investigations... because they realize they have no workable ideas how to solve those "many problems" that President Barack H. Obama mentioned. They need "investigations" both to distract voter attention and scapegoat the previous administration, thus taking the heat off of the incoming Obama nation.

What do they have on tap that any rational human being imagines will resolve the staggering unfunded liability of "entitlement" programs? What wonderful plan have they developed to take care of the millions of people who voluntarily reject health-care insurance because they don't expect to get sick or injured? Iraq and Afghanistan will take care of themselves, if Obama just leaves those policies alone; but what have Democrats proposed that will actually keep Iran in check, deal with Red China and Russia, or find a good compromise between civilized Israel and the primitive but militant Islamists in Hamas, Hezbollah, PIJ, and other such so-called "jihadi" groups?

By definition, this second group comprises those Democrats not infected by BDS: They may be corrupt, they may be concerned only with power, they may even be "evil" by some definitions; but they are by definition rational -- and they realize that they have nothing in their pockets but a pair of hands with some fingers on them.

But the good news is that ordinary voters have a much lower tolerance for investigations than do members of Congress; this is probably the "policy" where Democrats are most likely to overreach -- and the one that is most likely to infuriate voters, as Republicans found out in 1998. In fact, by 2010, after two solid years of investigate, investigate, investigate!, the GOP can surely use that itself as a major campaign issue: "The majority Democrats are wasting time and taxpayer money trying to 'get' a guy who isn't even in public office anymore, to cover up the fact that none of their policies is working!"

The recession will have mostly receded by then, but the underlying problems that caused it in the first place won't have. And all that "change" that Obama promised will have failed to materialized: The first two years of the Obama administration will look remarkably like the last two years of the Bush administration -- except the partisan rancor will be even worse, incubated by the mean-spirited and precedent-setting investigations themselves. The Democrats' own obsession will undercut everything voters thought they were getting by voting for B.O.

And that's good news for us. The "headwind" against Republicans will be nowhere near as intense in 2010 as it was in 2006 and 2008; in fact, the windsock may have swung around entirely by then, giving us the first tailwind we've had since 1994.

Maybe. Everything depends upon whether the pared-down GOP can finally clarify what it stands for, and whether it can make the case clearly to the American people. We must once again become the party of "hard America," not "soft America," to use Michael Barone's dichotomy. We cannot win the battle of airy-fairy hopey-changitude, where Democrats, as the party of vagueness, will always have an edge.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 13, 2008, at the time of 4:28 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack