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.
Archives for July 2009
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.
You may feel that the White House is fairly hostile to your interests as an American, but there’s no doubt but that select groups of people are feeling pretty darn good about what Obama has to offer. Here’s a case in point.
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.
I have no doubt that when all of this Obama madness has run its course, that finding someone who will admit to voting for Obama in 2008 will be as difficult as finding a German who will admit to voting Nazi in 1933.
“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.