I looked through Jonah Goldberg’s latest, trying to find a single paragraph to quote here. The column is so perfect, though, it was likely ripping an arm off Michaelangelo’s David — it would just ruin the purity of the whole thing. So, instead, all I can urge you to do is go and read it.
James Lewis nails what’s driving the Birther issue, and gives a very good reason why we should abandon the birth certificate, but nevertheless focus on the other records:
The birth debate about Obama is real enough, but it is legally complicated, as analyzed by legal beagle Andrew McCarthy at National Review. No judge is going to question the Constitutional qualifications of an elected president. I’m sorry, but that’s the practical reality. The judge is going to follow stare decisis — the sheer weight of commitments that cannot be reversed without creating chaos. Once the political system of the United States, the voters, the media, and the politicians themselves are all committed to the proposition that Obama is president, trying to reverse it would mean riots in every city in the nation. At some point even debatable claims become irreversible. That is why Al Franken is now the US Senator from Minnesota, even if his election was corrupt and wrong. It’s water under the bridge. Leave it to history.
And yet the Obama “birther” debate is important. What’s important about it is the feeling a growing number of Americans have in their bones that Obama is foreign — to our traditions, loyalties and shared understandings about the nature of America. In a way the legal debate matters less than that bone-deep sense that Obama is fundamentally “Other than American.”
Obama’s in for the next four years, folks. His citizenship or lack thereof is a dead issue. It’s not coming back. But who he is still matters a great deal, both in terms of defining his agenda for the American people and in preventing him for a four year re-run in 2012. It’s all the other records — the school information, the work information, the travel to Pakistan in 1981, etc. — that still matters. These will tell us if his much-vaunted genius is one of the big lies and, even more importantly, who his friends and what his values really are.
I noted in my post yesterday that James Crowley has behaved impeccably from start to finish when it came to this whole sordid affair. Yes, he may have let an obstreperous Gates press his buttons on that night in Cambridge, but since then he has epitomized grace under fire. As if we need more evidence of that fact, here’s a picture that the White House released showing Crowley helping his foe down the stairs, while Obama strides on, utterly oblivious to his friend’s difficulties:
I acquit Obama of being intentionally insensitive — I think he’s just too self-involved to think of someone else’s infirmities — but I give highest marks to Crowley’s manifestly intentional kindness and thoughtfulness.
UPDATE: The Radio Patriot adds a few more pictures, giving a nice perspective.
For about ten minutes, there was a post here with a bullet point list of provisions from the health care bill. I just got an email, though, saying that the list may contain significant inaccuracies. I’ve therefore pulled that post pending further information. In the meantime, here’s a solid link to list of provisions in the bill that any American, not just any conservative American, should find disturbing.
What is it with these California political women? In the morning, Pelosi calls insurance companies villain’s as if she’s in some Victorian melodrama. And this afternoon, Dianne Feinstein arranges from the arrest of a bunch of senior citizens who were trying to speak with her.
It’s a little unclear just exactly what side of the political spectrum the senior citizens waiting in Dianne Feinstein’s office represented, but one thing is clear: they were not constituents she wanted to see as part of her prep work for Obama Care. Rather than meeting with them herself (or having a representative meet with them), she therefore had them arrested:
Los Angeles police Sergeant Rich Brunson said Thursday that at least eight people were being taken into custody and would likely be booked for trespassing and released.
Cate Engel, a spokeswoman for the group California Alliance for Retired Americans, says the activists — all between 55 and 87 years old — wanted to talk to Feinstein about strengthening Medicare and using the program as a model for health reform.
The group arrived at Feinstein’s office around noon and refused to leave her conference room until their arrest more than six hours later.
Even if the oldsters were the worst nut cases around, complete with tin foil head wrapping, it was insanely bad politics to have them hauled off by the police. Those who commented on the story at the SFGate website (whether coming from the statist or the individualist side of the political spectrum) agree with my take on the matter:
It amazes me that there are still people out there who think Feinstein gives a blessed frock about anyone except her own self-interest. If these folks really want DiFi’s undivided attention they should hire a lobbyist who can throw around a lot of cash.
So what were they arrested for anyway, not leaving her conference room? Shameless to arrest senior citizens wanting to speak to their Senator!
More power to them. I totally feel for these folks who are about to lose what they paid into.
Captain… I suspect they were Protesting the New Death Care Reform… Interesting…
These are also people who likely voted for her and she serves us, her constituents! How dare her office call the police to arrest constituents! What the hell is happening to this country? These f’ing politicians are paying lip service to us and doing the exact opposite by pandering to industry only!!! They already gave away our entire Treasury to these leeches and they won’t even talk to seniors who want an affordable healthcare policy that’s the same as they’re getting? DiFi is history in my book. She either comes back to her voting base or we’re voting her out in the next election (if there even is one). What a total farce. These pols are ripping us off. I’m sick of it and I’m sick of them. They can all go to hell.
Calm down! you should channel your intense anger against the Republicans, Karl Rove and the others who are telling outright LIES against President Obama and his idea of getting healthcare to us.
As to that last one, we were always assured that the anger that characterized the first 8 years of the 21st Century was just because of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Get the government out of the hands of the evil ChimpyBushHitler, the Machiavellian Dick Cheney and the grasping Halliburton, and it would be Utopia R Us, with liberals running through the streets, throwing flowers and singing sweet songs.
Apparently not enough of the BDS crowd got that particular memo. For them, anger is not so much a matter of principle, as it is a state of mind grounded in perpetual grievance.
UPDATE: My Mom knew DiFi back in the early 60s, because one of Di’s daughters was in the same preschool as my sister was. It was a cooperative preschool, with all parents expected to contribute time. My mom retails two memories of Di: she was unwilling to contribute time, and she wasn’t friendly. Sounds as if nothing’s changed.
Here’s a guy who was thrust, quite unexpectedly and in a very painful way, into the national limelight. Throughout, he’s comported himself with completely dignity, something that continues to be clear in this post-beer statement and Q&A session:
Crowley’s dignity and graciousness is especially appealing because, after the way the President of the United States insulted him before the world, he stated unequivocally that no one at the kegger apologized. Gates might be able to hold onto his high dudgeon because he was arrested, but Obama, who thrust himself into a matter as to which he admittedly knew nothing, has no excuse for failing to voice a simple apology. Just as Crowley comes across as a gentleman, Obama comes across as an arrogant boor — and that’s true no matter how charming a host he might have been.
Apologies are a big issue in my family. If you believe you’re in the right, you owe it to yourself to defend yourself. If you know you’re in the wrong, you owe it to the wronged party to deliver a heartfelt apology. By failing to apologize, Obama was either mentally clinging to his “stupid policeman” scenario, which is bad, or he was showing himself to be a selfish and unkind person, completely lacking in decency and empathy, which is equally bad. He also proved, as we know, that he is a very small man. Big men can apologize. The only teachable moment here is that Obama is not a nice human being.
UPDATE: Just for fun, contrast Crowley’s low key dignity with Gates’ pompous, professorial bombast. The latter isn’t mean, just stultifying and somewhat condescending — two traits encouraged in ivy-wrapped academia.
The U.S. Consulate is in “Jerusalem,” not “Israel,” the sovereign nation in which Jerusalem happens to be located. Nor is that a petty little detail. It’s pretty clear that the State Department, more in sync with Obama than anyone realized, doesn’t recognize Israel’s existence anyway. Every single item on its home page is about Palestinians. Jews and Israel are entirely absent.
Israel: I hope that you’re using this time to strengthen yourself so that you can stand on your own two feet, because you’re going to have to.
Hat tip: Power Line
UPDATE: My point exactly.
I was talking with Don Quixote about the AARP’s seemingly bizarre support for ObamaCare (“seemingly bizarre” only if you don’t know who is now behind the AARP), and I finally figured out what health care for the elderly will look like. If your statistical life expectancy is too low, bye-bye care.
UPDATE: My point exactly.
What he said. It’s not about the citizenship, it’s about the endless stream of lies emanating from the man:
If Obama wants to strike a connection with graduating students in Moscow, he makes up a story about meeting his “future wife . . . in class” (Barack and Michelle Obama met at work). If he wants to posture about his poverty and struggle in America, he waxes eloquent about his single mother’s surviving on “food stamps” so she could use every cent to send him “to the best schools in the country” (Obama was raised by his maternal grandparents, who had good jobs and were able to pull strings to get him into an elite Hawaiian prep school). If he wants to tie himself to the civil-rights struggle of African Americans, he tells an audience in Selma, “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma . . . so [my parents] got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born” (Obama was born in 1961, four years before the civil-rights march in Selma — by which time his parents had divorced and his mother was planning a move to Indonesia with the second of her two non-African-American husbands). If he wants to buy a home he can’t afford, he “unwittingly” collaborates with a key fundraiser (who had been publicly reported to be under federal investigation for fraud and political corruption). If he wants to sell a phony stimulus as a job-creator, he tells the country that Caterpillar has told him the stimulus will enable the company “to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off” (Caterpillar’s CEO actually said no, “we’re going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again”).
The documents — all of them, the ones from his birth and his education and his early career, etc. — matter because we know nothing about the man except for two things: (1) the stories that he chooses to tell us and (2) the fact that he’s a liar. Objective contemporaneous evidence would be useful in pinning down the man at the helm.
“It’s almost immoral what they are doing,” Pelosi said to reporters, referring to insurance companies. “Of course they’ve been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure,” she said, adding, “They are the villains. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening.”
And here’s the unfinished cartoon that sprang too mind, whether it’s Dudley Doo-Right trying to save the villain from himself, the crack about the media within the 1st ten seconds, or the scariness of the nanny state:
I want to recommend two interesting things to read as a prelude to my core post. The first read comes from a reliably good source: Rusty Shackleford. Over at The Jawa Report, he looks at the banality that exists side by side with the evil that is North Carolina’s recently arrested home grown jihadists. It makes for chilling read.
The second good read, again about Islam, comes, most surprisingly, from a normally terrible source on the subject: The New York Times. There, in today’s book review pages, you will find an honest and admiring review of Christopher Caldwell’s carefully researched Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West, about the Islamisization of Europe. I hope the paper’s editors read their own book reviews. They might learn something from this one, especially when it comes to the dangers of stifling discourse through a rancid combination of politically correct thought and fear of Muslims.
As to both of these, I’d like to make a larger point. During Passover, Jews ask the question “Why is this night different from all other nights?” At this juncture in history, it’s very important to ask a similar question: “Why is this religion different from all other religions?”
Why, when religious Jewish women cover their heads, do I shrug and say, “Well, that’s their religion,” while when more and more Muslim women show up with heads covered, I get a frisson of fear? The answer is not that I’m a philo-Semite or an Islamaphobe (although both statements are probably true). Instead, it lies in the fact that the Jews do not have as their goal a world in which all women are forced to wear head coverings. Even if Jews reached critical mass in America, they would not do what is done in countries in which Muslims have reached critical mass: throw acid in the faces of or rape or murder women who don’t conform to their religious dress codes.
Why, when Hispanics sneak into this country illegally am I merely upset about their breaking the law and sucking up resources, while even legal Muslim immigrants frighten me? The answer is not that I have an unreasoning fear of Muslims, while I’m willing to give Hispanics a pass. There’s nothing unreasoning in my fear of an immigrant group that does not desire to assimilate into American society but wants, instead, to destroy it. Nor is there anything unreasoning in my fear of an immigrant group that, when it achieves critical mass, engages in religiously driven violence against the others in the society. Nor are either of those fears fantasies. The point of my reference to the Caldwell books is that those fears, which are still abstract in America, are fact in Europe.
Why, when certain immigrants cling to their unique cultures, do I think it’s charming or irrelevant, but when Muslims cling to their unique cultures it frightens me? Could it be because Muslim doctors refuse to wash their hands, either because women aren’t supposed to show their arms or because none of them are supposed to touch (although I’m sure Mohammed meant “imbibe”) alcohol — a problem becoming increasingly chronic in the British health care system? Or could it be because Muslim grocery store clerks, rather than getting a more religiously appropriate job, sue that they won’t have to handle ham, which is an American cultural staple? Or could it be because Muslim culture is deeply misoygynistic, something that reveals itself in honor killings all over the globe — not to mention a desire to make women, all women, not just Muslim women, wear tents. I’m sure you have examples in stored in your own memory banks so I won’t go on. The point is that this is a religion that, once it enteres a country, wants things done it’s own way. Rather than seeking to benefit from the host country’s good qualities, it seeks to destroy those things and subordinate everything to Islam.
Thinking about it, to call Islam just a religion is almost a misnomer. Islam is a way of life and politics that transcends mere worship. When Islam takes over, every facet of life is subject to its dictates. One is either a slave to Allah, or a slave to Allah’s worshippers. Islam does not accept pluralism. Things that are quaint or bizarre in other religions are deeply threatening when the religion is Islam.
Keep yourself educated. Hate-filled rhetoric is counterproductive. But fact-filled rhetoric is something one hopes will help innoculate us against the deadly scourge of an Islamic takeover — because Islam is not a religion like any other.
Victor Davis Hanson, after describing the disconnect between America’s most heated critics and their own lifestyles, sums up the reason at least a few Americans are tuning out the grievance mongers:
In the old days, critics for the most part of what we called the “system” were at least blue-collar workers, underpaid teachers, or grassroots politicians whose rather modest lives matched their angry populist rhetoric. Now the most vehement critics of America’s purported sins are among the upper classes. And their parlor game has confused Americans about why they are being called polluters, racists, and exploiters by those who have fared the best in America.
Do the wealthy and the powerful lecture us about our wrongs because they know their own insider status ensures that they are exempt from the harsh medicine they advocate for others? Millionaire Gore is not much affected by higher taxes for his cap-and-trade crusade.
Or does the hypocrisy grow out of a sort of class snobbery? Do elites hector the crass middle class because it lacks their own taste, rare insight, and privileged style? Judging from the police report, Gates seemed flabbergasted that the white Cambridge cop did not know who he was “messing” with.
Or is the new hypocrisy an eerie sort of psychological compensation at work? Perhaps the more Al Gore rails about carbon emissions, the more he can without guilt enjoy what emits them. The more Professor Gates can cite racism, the more he himself is paid to spot it. And the more a Tom Daschle wants to tax and spend for health care, the less badly he feels about his own chauffer and tax avoidance?
Karl Rove nicely articulates the bottom line facts driving Obama’s fear-mongering game to force through immediate and irrevocable changes to America’s health care system:
Mr. Obama’s problem is that nine out of 10 Americans would likely get worse health care if ObamaCare goes through. Of those who do not have insurance—and who therefore might be better off—approximately one-fifth are illegal aliens, nearly three-fifths make $50,000 or more a year and can afford insurance, and just under a third are probably eligible for Medicaid or other government programs already.
For the slice of the uninsured that is left—perhaps about 2% of all American citizens—Team Obama would dismantle the world’s greatest health-care system. That’s a losing proposition, which is why Mr. Obama is increasingly resorting to fear and misleading claims. It’s all the candidate of hope has left.
Winning Council Submissions
- First place with 2 2/3 points! – The Provocateur - Note to the Conservative Media…Here’s How You Bring Down ACORN (and the President With Them)
- Second place with 1 1/3 points – (T*) – Joshuapundit - Netanyahu And Lieberman Tell Obama: ‘Jerusalem Is Not Negotiable’
- Second place with 1 1/3 points – (T*) – Soccer Dad - Childhood’s end
- Third place with 1 points – Rhymes With Right - My Final Reason For Opposing Sonia Sotomayor
- Fourth place with 2/3 points – (T*) – Right Truth - Thou Shall Not Lie
- Fourth place with 2/3 points – (T*) – Bookworm Room - The world gobbles up blood libels against Israel
- Fifth place with 1/3 points – The Glittering Eye - How Not to Argue
Winning Non-Council Submissions
- First place with 2 points! – Ted Nugent/Human Events - Obama, Churchill and Zelaya
- Second place with 1 1/3 points – (T*) – Keith Hennessey - 20 questions for the President’s press conference
- Second place with 1 1/3 points – (T*) – New Atlanticist - Will COIN Work in Afghanistan?
- Third place with 1 points – (T*) – Stumbling on Truth - Health Care Mythology
- Third place with 1 points – (T*) – Economist.com - What went wrong with economics
- Third place with 1 points – (T*) – Elder of Ziyon - Iranians rape virgin girls before executing them
- Fourth place with 2/3 points – Dr. Melissa Clouthier - Health Rationing & You!
- Fitfh place with 1/3 points – Real Clear Politics - The Three Big Lies of Obama Care
More than three years ago now (and where in Heaven does the time go?!), I wrote an article for the American Thinker regarding the essential moral conservatism in the Harry Potter books. I was (and am) inspired to believe that children raised on those books are better situated than they would be reading the normal PC pabulum that passes for age appropriate moral entertainment.
I was delighted to see, just today, that I’m not the only one who recognizes the conservative strand running through J.K. Rowling’s writings. My dear friend the Paragraph Farmer has written a perfectly elegant opinion article at the American Spectator developing just that theme. And in another lovely tie-in with my thinking on the subject, Patrick (or his editor) labeled Harry a “crypto-conservative,” a term I might have originated (and certainly relied on heavily, even if I wasn’t its creator) in another, even earlier American Thinker article.
I am always delighted when my mind functions in synch with those I respect and admire.
In the post-feudal era, England, at its height, was a nation build on property rights. Up into the 19th Century, theft was a capital crime. The 21st Century, however, is characterized by a more “collectivist” attitude that is peculiarly feudal in nature.
In the 14th Century, the King was the technical owner of all land. He granted land rights to the nobles, who granted land rights to the gentry, who granted land use to the serfs. The latter, of course, were essentially slaves.
Modern England provides an inverted mirror of this same pyramid of ownership rights, with the government holding the land and dictating its use in a way that does not benefit the ordinary citizen. What this means is that, in modern England, a man’s home is no longer his castle.
The government gives your average Englishman certain rights in his home, but he is no longer allowed to defend it by force and, if he leaves it for even a weekend’s vacation, he may come home to find it taken over by “travelers,” who can then claim rights in the property as well. Most of the “travelers” aren’t even from the ancient gypsy lineage, but are just lawless people who like to live free.
In one housing estate, however, perhaps inspired by the spirit of the RAF fighters who once lived on the land, the people have refused to take lying down the fact that the government gives them, at best, the most limited rights in the land they thought they owned. After suffering total (although polite) rebuffs from legally neutered police forces and council governments, the residents mounted a massive defense against encroaching travelers:
The old RAF camp had never seen an army like this, not in all its years of proud service.
There was a nurse, a lorry driver, a shopkeeper and ambulanceman, several young mothers with children at their side – and a Staffordshire bull terrier called Kandie.
They bought ten tons of rubble and hardcore to block emergency exits around the perimeter of the former camp, which closed in 1999 but still has walls and barbed wire fences. A rota was drawn up to ensure the main gate was guarded around the clock.
‘Traveller Watch’ volunteers were assigned to look out for suspicious vehicles and call for reinforcements if needed. A website and Facebook page were set up to co-ordinate resources – a facility never available to Locking during its service history, which included training aircrew and radio operators for the Second World War and the Falklands.
Properties on the estate are now worth between about £150,000 and £320,000. Many have been turned into suburban havens by proud owners, in tranquil roads where
hanging baskets and cherry trees abound.
Now some of those same people are doing guard duty for up to 20 hours at a stretch.
Louise Bailey, 31, a part-time supermarket worker and mother of two, told me: ‘We feel totally let down. There doesn’t seem to be any way of protecting our community apart from doing it ourselves.’
Two miles away, a vision of what they are fighting against was emerging in the morning mist. About a dozen caravans and vehicles set up camp on some grass verges beside the M5 motorway. Other trucks and caravans joined them later.
How long would they be there, I asked one of the men. ‘Not long,’ he said with a smile. ‘Not long.’
It seems as if we’re living in apocalyptic times. If you ever read Barbara Tuchman’s wonderful and monumental A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, you will get exactly the same sense of decay following on the heels of a broken feudal system.
I would have thought the earth would reverse its rotation before I’d find common ground with Andrew Sullivan. Apparently nothing so extreme had to happen. All Sullivan had to do was advocate precisely the same point I’ve been making forever which is that Obama needs to stop being so secretive. Here’s Sullivan:
So many readers are furious that I have dared to ask the president to show the original copy of his birth certificate. The reason for demanding it is the same reason for demanding basic medical records proving Sarah Palin is the biological mother of Trig.
Because it would make it go away and it’s easily done.
I’m tired of these public officials believing they have some right to privacy. They don’t. It’s the price of public office. If you don’t like it, don’t be president. And for goodness’ sake, don’t run for president on a platform of transparency.
And then once Obama’s cleared the air as to his birth, how about if he releases his Occidental College transcripts, his Columbia U. transcripts and his Harvard Law Transcripts? As Sullivan so pithily (and correctly) said, “I’m tired of these public officials believing they have some right to privacy. They don’t.”
Andrew, you are completely right. Obama could make all of this go away in a single second.
Of course, right now, Obama doesn’t want the birth certificate issue to go away. Because the press has figured out how to turn it against the conservatives who are troubled by Obama’s many secrets, it’s in Obama’s interest to keep waving the birth certificate red flag in front of charging Birthers for as long as possible.
I therefore humbly suggest that Birthers stop focusing on the birth certificate, which is a double edged and pointless sword, and instead begin demanding that Obama release all of his records so that the American people can to know more about this hyper-secretive man who is guiding our destinies. That’s a much better and more interesting sell to ordinary citizens, and it doesn’t expose conservatives to the risk of being characterized as wackos with tinfoil hats.
The new mantra: “Release your records, Mr. President. All of them!”
During the 1970s, there was a post-Yom Kippur War joke that was very popular in Jewish circles:
Arab soldiers realized that at least half the Israeli troops they were fighting were named David. They decided to use this information to deal with situations in whch they were facing Israeli fighters who were hidden from sight. The order came down from on high that Arabs were to holler out “Hey, David!” When the Israeli soldier stood up or waved in answer, he would get shot. Alas, the best laid plans….
When the Arab soldiers hollered out “Hey, David!”, the Israeli soldiers, instead of standing up or waving, would hell back, “Is that you, Mohammed?” The Arab fighters would instantly stand up and wave, at which point they’d get shot.
It’s a pretty awkward joke, but it came to mind almost irresistibly when I read this news story:
Taleban insurgents fighting German forces in northern Afghanistan have often lived to fight another day thanks to trilingual warnings that have to be shouted out before the men from the Bundeswehr can squeeze their triggers.
The seven-page pocket guide to combat tucked into the breast pocket of every German soldier offers such instructions as: “Before opening fire you are expected to declare loudly, in English, ‘United Nations — stop, or I will fire,’ followed by a version in Pashtu — Melgaero Mellatuna — Dreesch, ka ne se dasee kawum!”
The alert must also be issued in Dari, and the booklet, devised by a committee in some faraway ministerial office, adds: “If the situation allows, the warning should be repeated.” The joke going round NATO mess tents poses the question: “How can you identify a German soldier? He is the corpse clutching a pocket guide.”
Max Boot, who brought this story to my attention, thought that the story was a joke, but it’s not. The only good news is that Germans are relaxing the above requirements so that they can actually kill the bad guys, while preserving their own lives.
I cannot for the life of me figure out what it means to live in a world that sees yesterday’s jokes as today’s reality — with ourselves as the butt of every punch line. I’m pretty darn sure, though, that it’s not a good thing when it comes to long-term survival.
Funny how things work out. When health care was on the front burner, it was so manifestly awful, people were outraged and the Dems made noises about holding off. Once they made those noises, people (that means citizens — ordinary voters) took the pressure off. I just got word that the Dems are using this lull to sneak health care right back on the August agenda. They care nothing about the voters’ concerns. They care only that the voters keep off their backs, so that they, the Dems, can go ahead with their antidemocratic schemes.
Here’s what you need to do: Keep the pressure on. Contact your Representatives. Contact your newspapers. Write or just forward emails explaining to friends and families why you think it’s a really bad decision for Congress to enact a healthcare plan that is economically unsustainable but that will, during its short period of functionality, decrease the quality of care, encourage old people to kill themselves, put the government in charge of deciding who gets treatment and what treatment they get, destroy initiative and innovation, have America pay for all health care for illegal aliens so as to turn our border as the starting-line for people eager to take what’s left of our dying system, and destroy any semblance of personal privacy. (And how a government that supports Roe v. Wade, which is hinged on a magical Constitutional right to privacy can justify this kind of bold governmental action destroying the privacy of every individual in America beats me.)
Call. Write. Protest. Do. Something.
When I was in high school, we spent a great deal of time studying Tammany Hall, not just because the school wanted us to understand that government is inherently corrupt, but because of the charming George Washington Plunkitt and his wonderful autobiography, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall. In it, with almost child-like innocence, he freely confesses to the most heinous kind of political corruption, always assuring his emanuensis (a newspaper reporter who lucked out with the interview) that he wasn’t really corrupt at all — he was just serving the people or taking intelligent advantage of available opportunities.
ACORN lacks that charm, but is in every way Tammany Hall’s equal. Indeed, ACORN far surpasses Tammany Hall, in that it’s not just a single corrupt political entity, but is, instead, a far-reaching organization that touches every aspect of American political life, and always in the most criminal and corrupt ways. If it were just a money skimming organization, this corruption might be disgusting, but tolerable. What makes it so appalling, and so anti-Democratic, though, is that it’s fashioned itself into an arm of the Democratic party, and has used its illegal practices to affect the outcome of elections. (I count myself amongst those who believe that Al Franken’s presence in the Senate comes about, not because he was elected by a majority of voters, but because ACORN controlled voting, and a partisan Democratic controlled the Secretary of State’s office.)
My screed here about ACORN doesn’t arise in a vacuum. As Earl Aagaard reminded me, just last week, IBD wrote an editorial about the results of a congressional investigation into ACORN’s doings, and the facts are not pretty:
[The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's] more-than-80-page report charges that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn) uses “a complex structure designed to conceal illegal activities” — 361 different entities in 120 cities, 43 states and the District of Columbia, amounting to a “shell game” that “diverts taxpayer and tax-exempt monies into partisan political activities.”
The group has over the last 15 years received in excess of $53 million in federal funds. Moreover, as the report warns, “under the Obama administration, Acorn stands to receive a whopping $8.5 billion in available stimulus funds.”
Acorn’s improprieties, of course, are not news. As Issa’s report notes, a third of the 1.3 million voter registration cards the organization solicited and presented in 2008 ended up being null and void; the group has been investigated for voter registration fraud in places such as Connecticut, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.
You’d think that, with this level of corruption, someone — the media, politicians, etc., would be up in arms, but you’d be wrong. They’d be up in arms if this was a money or sex corruption issue. However, since it’s a corruption issue that strongly favors one political party over the other, and that party just happens to control the House, the Senate and the White House, the response is different: as you see, Obama is funneling almost $9 billion dollars to his friends.
In addition, as you’ve read before, ACORN is going to control the upcoming census:
Yet this corrupt outfit has actually been signed up as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to help recruit the nearly 1.5 million workers who will count and classify our 306 million population for 2010. It’s like getting a car thief to manage a parking garage.
You can imagine that the census numbers will permanently create vast Democratic voting districts, and identify funding needs that serve only Democratic products. If this keeps going, by 2011, we’ll have lapsed permanently into a Banana Republic, headed by the chief banana himself, Barack Obama.
If you’re not worried, you should be.
A consensus seems to be growing that the ObamaCare bill does not bode well for seniors. Aside from the mandatory “counseling” for all seniors, counseling that’s only worth doing if it’s meant to steer seniors away from obtaining treatment, simple common sense dictates that the health care cannot work without rationing — and rationing will always affect first those who use the product most. In this case, seniors are not merely the health care system’s biggest users, they’re also the ones the government sees as most expendable.
This being the case, why then is the AARP, which ostensibly exists to advance the interests of seniors all over America, enthusiastically supporting ObamaCare? The answer might lie in AARP’s management.
The AARP is an interesting organization, because membership is automatic, provided that you pay your dues. This means that most of its constituents pay no attention to what it’s doing (they just like the benefits). Few of them, I’m sure, realize that AARP’s management is extremely far Left.
How do I know this about the management? Well, aside from the AARP’s bizarrely enthusiastic embrace of a legislative policy that will radically decrease its membership by depriving large segments of decent medical care, one of the AARP’s major players is John Stoltenberg. It is Stoltenberg who manages the magazine that’s sent to every senior in America.
Stoltenberg’s name probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but his deceased wife’s name is one you might recognize: Andrea Dworkin, radical man-hating Leftist feminist. (And it must have been an interesting marriage, because Stoltenberg is openly gay.) Here’s Wikipedia’s bio on Stoltenberg (links omitted):
John Stoltenberg (1945-) is an American radical feminist activist, scholar, author, and magazine editor. He is the managing editor of AARP the Magazine, a bimonthly publication of the United States-based interest group AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons), a position he has held since 2004. Although he formed a relationship with and eventually married Andrea Dworkin, he considers himself gay.
He holds degrees in divinity and fine arts. He is well known as a feminist activist and author. He has written a series of books and articles criticizing traditional concepts of manhood or maleness, such as “Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice” (Meridian, 1990), “Why I Stopped Trying to be a Real Man,”  and “The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience” (Penguin USA/Plume, 1994).
He created “the Pose Workshop,” which entailed men adopting the poses that women strike in pornographic shots (intended partly for men attending Christian retreats), a version of which was broadcast on BBC television. He was Andrea Dworkin’s life partner for thirty-one years. They began living together in 1974; in 1998 they married. He was a founder of the group ‘Men Can Stop Rape’  and conceived and creative directs the group’s ‘My Strength’  campaign which aims to educate young men on sexual relationships, consent and rape.
Stoltenberg is credited with the quote “Pornography tells lies about women. But pornography tells the truth about men.” The quote is from the essay The Forbidden Language of Sex in his book “Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice” (Meridian, 1990).
It’s possible, of course, that just as the Dworkin and Stoltenberg had competing sexualities they also had competing political outlooks, but I somehow doubt that. It’s infinitely more likely that the man charged with pouring policy data and opinion into the home of each senior in America is every bit as Leftist in his outlook as his wife was.
Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?