Obama’s refusal to go to Berlin defines his world view

Reality is intruding on my yen to blog.  I will necessarily be incommunicado for a while when it comes to writing here.  However, I leave you urging that you read Rich Lowry’s downright impressive article explaining just how much Obama’s refusal to go to Berlin symbolizes about the man and his presidency.

Also, please consider this an open thread.

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  1. Charles Martel says

    Our last hope is that there are enough adults left in this country to pull us out of the fire in 2010.

    I have very little hope for people under 35. They have been so duncified by the public school system that they simply would not see Lowry’s point. First of all, the Cold War happened before they were born, which means it really never happened. Secondly, just how bad was communism? Didn’t people living under it have free education and healthcare? Isn’t that what any government should do for its subjects?
    I found a book in my son’s backpack a couple of days ago. He’s 24 and on his own, but comes by for dinner once a week and always manages to leave something behind. The book belongs to his girlfriend, a vivacious and intelligent young woman who is studying for a career in international law. Unfortunately, she has never been taught how to think and is a very politically correct person. (One of her professors was Angela Davis at UC Santa Cruz).

    The book is a turgid little tome on how global capitalism in Silicon Valley began outsourcing janitorial jobs in the 1990s, thus creating two situations repugnant to Marxists everywhere: 1.) The outsourcing destroyed the strong janitorial unions that had existed for years. [No doubt, as all unions do, they produced timely, motivated, top-flight work for their employers.] 2.) By pulling in “undocumented workers” from Mexico and Central America, who could not organize into unions lest they be deported, the Silicon Valley capitalists created a “lumpenproletariat.” (Later, though, the author celebrates the fact that in California’s non-law-abiding climate illegals are brazenly organizing unions even though many of the organizers are lawbreakers.)

    [Lumpenproletariat??? Does anybody seriously use such a silly, debunked vocabulary these days? Those who can't..........teach.]

    My son’s girlfriend has been exposed to years of this neo-Marxist crap and has no way of seeing the irony that the false consciousness Marxists are always inveighing against in the bourgeoisie is exactly what has been created in her by years of indoctrination.

    I’m not sure that a young woman who is heading toward a good job among the chattering classes (she’s smart, beautiful and speaks flawless Spanish) is ever going to wake up. My son is smitten with her, and has been so for five years, so I know she has an influence on his thinking. Like most people his age, being a bien-pensant outranks being a critical thinker by a huge margin.

    I’m convinced, and have been so since 9/11, that it will take a catastrophe for my son’s generation to wake up.

  2. expat says

    Charles,
    Get your son a DVD of The Lives of Others, which has the blessing of a 2006 Oscar. And the you might want to check out any book by Herta Mueller, who writes about life in Romania under communism. The Nobel Prize committee liked her.

  3. SADIE says

    Charles Martel
    After reading you post (lament) and who wouldn’t,  my brain raced to remember a few lines from a Gibran poem (it was the hip thing to read when I was in high school) and made perfect sense when I had little of [it].
    You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
    All these years later (lots of them) those arrows have turned out to be boomerangs, when my younger son voted for Hopey Dopey and although well read and educated had the chutpzh to suggest that there was nothing wrong with socialized democracy and insisted that some folks make too much money. You could have parked a tank in my mouth, my jaw dropped that far down. I am the right-wing nut, you know. Taking a cue from Mr. Book, I put any further discussion to rest. Mind you, he just left one job for another because it pays more and has benefits.  I did the mental math – he’s full of  sh#t.
    I want my money back from tuition and I don’t care how many years it has been – I want it back with interest : )
    I thought that September 11th was the wake up call for one and all. I was wrong. I think there is a generation that are just tone deaf.  They can sleep through the alarms.

  4. Charles Martel says

    Sadie:

    One thing I always ask my liberal friends whenever they bring up the idea that some people make too much money is, “How do you know that? How do you define ‘too much’ based on what moral or philosophical basis?”

    The deer-in-the-headlights look is precious. The ones who are smart change the subject. The ones who think they can think step right into the tar baby and expose their economic ignorance, as well as their moral and philosophical incoherence. Even worse, they expose their envy, which is at the heart of all leftist politics.  

  5. SADIE says

    Since this is an open thread…I have an open question.
    Warren Buffet went shopping today and spent $34 Billion on the railroad (stock and cash transaction) no small sum by any standard.
    suek has posted in another thread (which I cannot find nor remember) a graph indicating severe negative dip in transporting goods by rail.
    Q. What does  he see, that I am economically blinded to at the moment.

  6. suek says

    Charles…
     
    First thing I’d do is agree with your son – some people are too rich.  Then I’d tell him that in light of that,  you intend to leave have made a will, leaving all your earthly goods to …. (some really obscure charity).  Let him choke on _that_!
     
    Sadie…
    Well…Buffett is reaching the age where he doesn’t have a lot to lose – or gain, for that matter.  The article I read said something about really loving the railroads…maybe this is his own personal stimulus package?  Or maybe he _does_ know something we don’t know.  I know that I’ve read that railroad transport requires  significantly less energy to carry the same material than trucks do…maybe he’s anticipating a huge increase in costs??   and an increase in rail transport?
    I know that the guy that unloads my hay tells me that his machine (a version of a semi truck) will be illegal due to inability to pass the Ca. exhaust standards by 2012.  A new vehicle would cost $80-100,000.  He expects to be out of business.  So my problem will be  – who will I get to replace him?  I’d hate to see a requirement to go back to unloading by hand… it’s the difference between unloading in about .5 hours, and 4 hours.
     

  7. SADIE says

    suek, to piggyback on your comment about rail being significantly less to transport goods, there has been  steady advertising on TV – stating just that ‘less fuel’ less $’. I really didn’t pay much attention, but coupled w/Buffet’s purchase, it made more sense.
    With the example above and the current Crap & Trade policy still on the agenda, things just fell into place.

  8. suek says

    Oh heck.  I just realize that the strike through didn’t work – though it appeared to do so on my original….
     
    Charles…mentally add a strike through on the words  ”  intend to leave”…
    Strike throughs are cool…can really add a touch of humor…  Oh well.
     
    Book…there are some problems with the new program…!

  9. rockdalian says

    About the claim that the rails move freight using less fuel per mile per tonnage, I would first say that I have no information concerning what figures and formulas were used in their determinations.
    That being said, the rails move freight mostly by container, the steel boxes you see stacked on rail cars. The container, first, must be loaded, though it is common for the rails to move empty containers to areas of higher demand.
    A truck must pick up an empty container at a railyard and haul it to the shipper. It is then loaded and returned to the railyard. The container is left at a drop point in the railyard to wait for the train to be assembled. The container is taken to the proper rail car for loading by a spotter, a truck that runs within the railyard. A huge hoist is then used to pick up the container and set it on the rail car.
    After the container reaches the destination point the process is basically reversed.
    My point being, with no way to prove it, I bet the fuel used in the process is not calculated into the final mpg figures used in the commercials.
    The rails basically haul freight that is not time sensitive.
    My guess about Buffett  is that he is betting on a type of cap and trade legislation passing.  No doubt the rails will be in a position to profit greatly.

  10. BrianE says

    “Freight rail moves 436 tons of freight one mile using a gallon of diesel fuel, according to the Association of American Railroads.”

    I would say Buffet is betting that a. oil prices are going up significantly; b. the federal government is going to subsidize the conversion of rail from diesel powered to electric; c. imports will continue to rise, which benefits rail. http://www.todaysengineer.org/2009/Oct/railroad.asp

  11. SADIE says

    rockdalian and BrianE
    I think we’re all on the same ‘track’.
    Buffet is a very hands on manager and no one is parting with eye popping amounts of moolah on a hunch.

  12. SADIE says

    GOP sweep: Big governorship wins in Virginia, NJ
    The sun sets in the west, but on the east coast there is something else rising.
    Time stamp on this banner: 10:20 p.m.

  13. SADIE says

    It’s worth watching cable (MSNBC) just to hear the gasps.
    Howard Fineman is already wondering how was it that just last year O was coronated (his words, certainly not mine). They can spin this any way they want, it will still sound like a broken record.
     
    Oh…to be a fly on the wall in the WH tonight.

  14. Mike Devx says

    The Rich Lowry article was simply excellent.  And we get Charles Martel at the top of his game too!
    And thank you, Sadie, for the news on the governorship wins!  It’s a good night.
    Obama… Pelosi… Reid… The Triumvirate of Overreach!  Or should I say Incompetence, Out Of Their Depth.  Back to the shallow side of the pool, loser lightweights.
    Now, if only our Republicans started to show some backbone, some caring about anything other than their next cozy, safe reelection.
     

  15. BrianE says

    In Washington state, a referendum on the ballot sought to undo a law passed by the legislature expanding rights for same-sex couples to equal married couples.Several years ago, we passed a marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
    What added complexity to this, is the legislature added seniors who wanted to live together without getting married as a new class of persons who will receive legal protections.
    This is about as convoluted as you can get. Persons of opposite sex and receive all the benefits of marriage without getting married because they are old.
    I suspect this addition may have made the difference between this passing and not passing. My wife was confused about this, since her Dad didn’t remarry after her mother’s death, but lived with a woman since getting married would have reduced the woman’s pension.
    Since young people are living together, maybe they’ll be the next group to expand these rights to.

    “R-71
    Social conservatives sought to block expanded legal protections for domestic partnerships that the Legislature approved last spring for same-sex couples and seniors who want to live together without getting married. Those rights were labeled “everything but marriage” in the legislation, but opponents said it essentially allows marriage for same-sex couples.
    Approving the referendum means allowing the law to go into effect, while rejecting it blocks the changes.
    The measure was narrowly passing at press time but sharply dividing the state. Most counties around the Puget Sound were approving R-71, but the rest of the state’s counties, including Spokane, were strongly rejecting it.”

    (I can’t undo the boldface. Even the remove coding button wouldn’t remove it. Also, the HTML coding doesn’t work anymore).

  16. says

    Rail is between 3:1 and 4:1 more fuel-efficient than trucking. This is for the line-haul portion of the move and doesn’t include local pickup/delivery for intermodal containers. Generally, rail is very competitive with trucking for distances of 1000 miles or more; some RRs are now pursuing shorter-haul intermodal business (500 miles or so) by building out more terminal facilities. Also, there is lots of rail traffic other than intermodal…coal, other minerals, fertilizer, automobiles, paper products, etc. And here’s a relatively new venture focused on recapturing RR market share in the movement of fruits/vegetables/wine from the west coast:

    http://photoncourier.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_photoncourier_archive.html#4245723095855388435

  17. Charles Martel says

    “Back to the shallow side of the pool, loser lightweights!”

    When are we going to start collecting some of the wonderful jabs that get printed here and issue “The Turn (and Skewers) of the Worm” to an eagerly awaiting, soon to be laughing, conservative world?

  18. SADIE says

    Sterling idea, Charles Martel
    I think we are ready for an on-going  suggestion box. I cut and pasted and saved all the lovely bumper sticker quips from our last go-round. I even tweaked and saved the one below from a comment section from another site, it so delighted me.
    We need John Wayne and the Democrats have given us Richard Simmons.
    I listened to kvetch central today (NPR). In their infinite wisdom and ability to survey the winds of change(strike) no change – they have concluded that the success of the NJ and VA governor’s race had nothing to do with Obama.
    I think they are suffering from PTLS  ‘phantom tingling leg syndrome’.
     

  19. SADIE says

    lapsus calumni
    Damn, Charles, I really had to go on a search mission for a Latin response.
    You are correct, that tingling is probably due to the fact that they just ‘wet’ themselves : )

  20. Charles Martel says

    Actually, SADIE, I meant that your well-turned phrase is an example of what I was talking about: Folks at this site are always writing great lines. The Enlightened Ones at Kos and HuffPo could never match wits with the people here. 

    Speaking of wits, where has Helen been lately? 

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