An online magazine you should check out

Okay, folks, I’m going to admit to racism here, by which I mean that I’m advancing a position based on racial considerations.  I just learned through The Corner that there is an online conservative journal on the scene called Freedom’s Journal Magazine.

Aside from the fact that it has one of the coolest online interfaces I’ve seen (a cross between Adobe and a high end web page), it also has the distinction of being a voice for black conservatives.  And yes, I think it’s really cool that black conservatives have a voice, because my impression is that they get shouted down a whole lot by both blacks and whites on the other side of the aisle.  Not only do their ideas get shut down, something all conservatives experience, but they are also subjected to particularly demeaning insults as a way of ensuring that other blacks with inquiring minds are scared even to touch upon the notions of free markets, individualism, personal responsibility, etc.  (Here’s a perfect example of the unusual opprobrium and violence directed at conservative blacks.)

Because I think the black community is profoundly damaged by a liberal mindset that perpetually infantilizes American blacks by convincing them that they cannot function without government aid and oversight, I want a magazine like this to do very well.  I want American blacks to find their strength in family, faith, hard work and personal responsibility because I think they deserve the dignity of those freedoms.  So, check the magazine out and, if you feel up to it and interested, subscribe.

They’ve got to be pretending, because even reporters can’t be this stupid

Howard Fineman was going along all right in a column admitting that the health care bill was politically dangerous for the Democrats and that Americans really don’t like it.  Then he got stupid — and it’s the kind of stupid that either proves he has minimal gray matter in his cranial cage, or that he’s deliberately obfuscating (emphasis mine):

In Gallup’s new poll, Americans by narrow margins agree that the new health-care law will improve coverage (44–40 percent) and the “overall health of Americans” (40–35 percent).  In a way, it’s astonishing that sizable minorities could disagree with those two statements, since everyone agrees the law will provide medical coverage to 32 million more Americans.

Uh, Mr. Fineman, is it just conceivably possible that Americans understand that everyone getting medical coverage is not the same as everyone getting good medical coverage?  Perhaps Americans have figured out that a government will inevitably ration, and that it will ration on the basis of who contributes to the government.  Young person with treatable cancer?  Yes, you get treatment because you’ll probably recover to become a tax payer.  Old person with treatable cancer?  Nah.  Even if you recover, you’re a parasite.  Young or old person with untreatable cancer?  Very, very out of luck.  No government benefit in saving your lives.

Old people with Alzheimers who happen to get sick?  Definitely jettison them.  They won’t be putting any benefits back in the system.  In fact, the best and highest thing those Alzheimer sufferers can do is to sacrifice themselves to the God of government.  In the world of government care, the only good Alzheimer suffer is a dead one.

Americans intuitively understand that a $2 (plus) trillion dollar bill is a ridiculously huge price to pay to cover 32 million more people, especially since many of those 32 million snuck into this country illegally, or could have, but chose not to, buy insurance.  They also understand intuitively — and by peeking at other countries’ government-run health care — that the government is a lousy manager.  Compare standing in line at Nordstrom to standing in line at the DMV.  Compare a system that sucks up taxes no matter how lousy a job it does to one that rises or falls based on consumer satisfaction.

Mr. Fineman is either incredibly dumb or duplicitous when he implies that American medical care will remain precisely the same under the new regime, only with more people benefiting from its glories.  This is the MSM at its poisonous worst — when it presents as fact ludicrous, ill-thought out opinions that are often entirely unrelated to reality.

The Malaise of 2010

I had lunch today with Don Quixote and his wife.  We were talking about the fact that we all feel a little down, a combination of work pressures, the economy, political news, etc.  Looking at all these factors, I said I was suffering from the “Malaise of 2010.”  DQ and his wife laughed, and I do like to make people laugh, and I had meant to be funny, but I was also telling the truth.  My psyche feels as if it is under assault from so many different directions that I simply can’t process things.  If the assault was a happy one (wonderful job, friendships, adventures), etc., I might be giddy.  As it is, though, I feel like a slowly deflating balloon.

The volume and variety of negative pressures also leaves me feeling helpless.  I’m trying to hit back, but it’s like punching jello or molasses.  I’m expending a lot of energy, but with little result.

And, of course, there’s the feeling of an endless time loop, a la a Star Trek episode.  It’s one thing, though, to sit on the couch, moving forward through time, as you watch fictional characters deal with a temporal closed circuit.  It’s another thing entirely to experience it yourself — and that’s definitely affected my blogging.  I feel stale.  The Left keeps throwing the same things at the American public, and all one can do is wait patiently to see if those throws make contact.  I can’t think of anything new to say about the Obami and Israel; the Obama and the economy; the Obami and Muslims; the Obami and health care; the Obami and national security; or the Obami and immigration.  I’ve already been saying all of these things since about halfway through 2007 (and it’s cold comfort that many of my predictions are proving to be true.).

It’s also cold comfort that I’m not the only one.  Robin of Berkeley is struggling through the same thing, which she characterizes as shell shock (h/t:  Sadie):

I’ve been feeling funky since Black Sunday, the day of the health care debacle. As a therapist, I’m usually able to identity my feelings. But this one had left me stumped.

I went through the usual laundry list of emotions: Am I depressed? (A little, but that’s not it.) Worried, scared? (Yes, but who isn’t?) Angry? (Very, but that’s still not what’s bugging me.)

It took a conversation with a conservative friend, Nancy, for me to pinpoint the feeling. Nancy told me that a Jewish co-worker, a staunch Obama supporter, was feeling “shell-shocked” by Obama’s vilifying Israel.

Bingo. That’s what it is: stunned, shell-shocked, traumatized.

But it’s not PTSD — post-traumatic stress disorder — because then Obama would be ancient history. It’s trauma happening right here, right now, at lightning speed.

Read the rest here.

Of course, trauma doesn’t mean we shut down.  Indeed, I remember once writing a post about a bombing in Iraq and the way in which the military carried on, which impressed me.  Phibian, who blogs at CDR Salamander, wrote a comment to the effect that training is a very useful way of filling in for conscious thought.  He’s right, too — and we have all been training ourselves for a couple of years to deal with the assaults on our senses that are playing out now.  We can go on and we will go on, but it doesn’t mean we have to like it!

An interesting silence

Many of my facebook friends have been posting stories (from the NYT, the WaPo, NPR, etc.), about the incredibly violent, dangerous, racist, and homophobic tea partiers.  I countered this morning with a very neutral post to the effect that, in a two party system, citizens will always challenge the president, and that there will always be those amongst the challengers who take things too far.  I then included this video, from Evan Coyne Maloney:

The silence has been deafening.  I suspect two things:  One, my liberal friends are refusing to watch the video, and, two, if they’ve watched it, they’re struggling to defend what is, for them, an indefensible position.

As to the refusal to watch, I continue to find it fascinating that people who boast about listening only to NPR and reading only the NYT and the New Yorker as their information sources, routinely castigate me for being ill-informed, despite the fact that, in addition to those sources, I get my news from dozens of other outlets, including a lot of original source material.  As to the latter, that’s an especially interesting one, because NPR, the NYT, the New Yorker, etc., always carefully intersplice their own editorial bias into the source material.  Unlike Rush or Sean Hannity, where you may get to listen to the entire ten minute or forty minute speech or interview, the MSM, especially the “intellectual” branch of it, only presents soundbytes, all of which the “reporter” carefully explains.

To a true liberal elite, once who has attended Ivy League schools and works in one of the traditional professions, the more you know, the less you count as informed.  Strange world.

A tale of two presidents with American troops *UPDATED*

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.  And when you have two pictures you can compare, the meaning multiples exponentially.  First, from the White House’s own Flickr site, here’s Obama greeting the troops:


Let me reiterate that this is the image the White House itself chose to represent the relationship between the Commander in Chief and his military.  He looks like he’s carefully approaching animals at the petting zoo.  While they probably won’t bite him, they might spit.  The “animals” look simply bored.  They’re not even going to bother to spit.

Contrast that with the way President Bush happily dove into the crowds of troops, and they enthusiastically reached out to greet him:


Photos, of course, capture exquisitely small moments in time.  These pictures, however, jive perfectly with the video that made the rounds last year of Marines greeting both presidents:

I wonder if the difference in approach has something to do with the fact that our current president castigated these troops as stone cold killers:

It’s entirely possible that the troops resented that characterization.

Hat tip:  Lorie Byrd, Blackfive, and Top of the Ticket

UPDATE:  Steve Schippert caught the big lie in Obama’s speech to the troops (hint:  it has to do with chronology).

Remember to stand up and be counted

Conservatives are rightly irked by the fact that the short form for the census seeks to divide people into racial classifications, a la apartheid South Africa.  I don’t even know what the long form seeks, but I’m sure it’s intrusive.

Nevertheless, please don’t lose sight of the fact that the counting is a Constitutional thing and it affects the number of representatives each state sends to the House.  If heavily Republican districts shirk filling out the form, they won’t be counted for purposes of representation in Washington, D.C.  That would be a bad thing.  We want solid conservative states such as Texas to have a say in federal government proportionate to their numbers.

Helping those who help us

Wouldn’t it be delightful if the authors of disaster were also the only ones who suffered from their creation?  Sadly, that’s seldom how it works.  The power players get roll their balls, and the ordinary people suddenly find themselves as the innocent nine pins, hoping that the ball hits the gutter or, at the very least, doesn’t hit them.

Blogger Caleb Howe is one of the ones who managed to get stuck in the fallout from the economic disaster that is Democratic governance (helped by years of Republicans who had forgotten first principles).  His friends at RedState, where he regularly blogs, have put out an SOS, asking conservatives in the blogosphere to help Howe get a leg up.

We all know that we cannot help all people, especially all deserving people, at all times, much as we’d like too.  Sometimes, though, a request for help comes on a day when we’re feeling particularly flush with cash and personally blessed with an absence of badness, and with that wind at our back, we feel that it would be good to spread those blessings around.  If you’re having one of those days, please keep in mind too that help can come in the form of small change and small bills.  For someone struggling against an oppressive economic situation, just knowing that people care can make all the difference.

Crazy people

I’ve been thinking a lot about crazy people, which is an interesting thing to do because it’s very hard to get a handle on what constitutes a crazy person.  I know for pretty darn certain that the guy who used to stand on a corner in downtown San Francisco all day longer talking gibberish to the invisible guy next to him was crazy.  Indeed, he made a really nice, bright line example of what’s crazy:  a complete disconnect from reality.  He was functioning entirely in an alternate universe.

Yesterday, while I was sitting around in court learning whether or not I’d be a juror (not), one of the members of the jury pool earned the appellation “crazy” from everyone in the jury room.  But she wasn’t really.  She knew what reality was, but she lacked ordinary controls.  She talked out of turn, was incapable of separating her personal needs from the proceeding before her, and was swiftly dismissed, to a collective sigh of relief from the entire room.  None of us liked sharing space with a “crazy lady” whose acting out made all of us feel uncomfortable.  Still, she spoke English, was connected to what was going (although she put her own spin on it), and seemed to lead a functional life, at least outside the courtroom.

Crazy people come up a lot in criminal law, because of the insanity defense.  If you can prove you were insane at the time you committed a crime, the law will not convict you.  The legal standard of crazy is yet another way of looking at profound imperfections in the human mind, because it tries to ferret out an individual’s capacity to distinguish between right and wrong.  If you think your mother-in-law is the devil incarnate, but you nevertheless know murder is wrong and that it is wrong to kill as a matter of law, you’re not legally insane.  However, if you’re convinced that the object in front of you is a tree, and that you need to cut it down with your chainsaw, only to discover later that you murdered your mother-in-law, you’re legally insane.  Your reality is so profoundly altered, and your intentions so separate from the deliberate of murder, you are absolved from responsibility.

Ever since the 60s, liberals have been trying to expand the definition of crazy to include people who are driven by compulsions (such as the prospective juror) but are still completely able to distinguish right from wrong.  They content that, in true freudian style, we’re all insane, with some of us handling it better than others.  Given that we’re all a writhing mass of actual or potential dysfunctions, we should go easy on the formerly abused child who just blew up and killed someone.  Sure, he knew it’s wrong to kill, and he knew at the time that he was engaging in this wrongful act, but he should nevertheless be forgiven, since had a damaged, if not crazy, mind.

Ordinary people are loath to go down that liberal freudian path.  They know a slippery slope when they see one.  Those of us who fall into this ordinary category like to think that we are independent individuals who have some mental brakes.  An unhappy childhood might justify an excess of ice cream (or cigarettes or sex, or whatever) in our lives, but we still see ourselves as sufficient sentient that we won’t cross the big lines, no matter our childhood trauma.  Just because we eschew self-control for the small or medium things, justifying our past hurts for our indulgence, doesn’t mean that we, as self-aware, intelligent, moral beings, get to sever all semblance of control over ourselves.  Once we, as human beings, start giving ourselves permission to do that, it’s all over, not just for each individual, but for society as a whole.  Anything goes.  Each psychic hurt in our own lives justifies a free pass to unending violence or immorality.  That way lies true madness.

And then, of course, there are the stories we read about daily:  the guy who is obsessed with an evil government who flies his plane into an IRS office, the man who enters a Jewish agency and starts shooting, the student who runs amok on a campus killing as he goes, the two women who strap on explosive vests and try to kill scores on a Moscow subway.  Are they all crazy?  Are none of them crazy?

Well, one of the problems is the way in which the media instantly assigns or hides labels, in order to confuse us as to the killers’ motives and ideology.  With regard to the Russian story, the headlines tell us that “two women” are accused of setting off the explosives.  You have to read deep to learn they were Muslim.  In America, every newspaper trumpets that “Christian” militia men were arrested for plotting deaths.  In America, no mention is made in the headlines of the fact that the guy arrested for threatening (Jewish) Rep. Eric Cantor is an Obama follower and possible Muslim convert.  Also in America, the headlines withhold any information about the guy who attacked the IRS in Austin, although it’s suggested that he’s an anti-government nut.  Well, yes, he is, but his anti-government hatred bloomed as much in the Democratic, Obama-rich world of his imagination as it did anywhere else.

In all the cases I mentioned above, the people were monomaniacal (Islam, Christianity, antisemitism, antigovernment), so I guess they were all crazy.  Except that you and I, as ordinary people, know that its one thing to hold beliefs, and another thing to do acts that are immoral and illegal.  You can hate the government, but you don’t kill innocent people in the IRS office.  You can love Islam, but you don’t try to murder as many people in the push of a button as possible.  Unlike the guy on the San Francisco street corner, you know that what you’re doing is killing people against the law.  These are not soldiers on the battlefield you’re killing, but ordinary civilians, living ordinary lives.

So, no, I’m not sure any of them get the crazy pass.  Sure, their ideas are crazy, but even having crazy ideas doesn’t justify immoral or illegal acts.  Each of these people knew that he or she wasn’t just mowing down trees but was, instead, actually killing (or planning) to kill real people in violation of real laws and rules of civilized conduct.

What should frighten people isn’t the crazy person here or there, who latches onto the tropes of modern society to justify an already existing blood lust.  What should worry us is an organized effort to brainwash ordinary people into becoming Angel’s of Death despite each individual’s knowledge that what he is doing is wrong.  In this regard, think long and hard about the difference between these two documents.

First, the Mt. Vernon Statement, from the Tea Party:

We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.

These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people. They are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other in the world. They are our highest achievements, serving not only as powerful beacons to all who strive for freedom and seek self-government, but as warnings to tyrants and despots everywhere.


The conservatism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths based on the laws of nature and nature’s God. It defends life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It traces authority to the consent of the governed. It recognizes man’s self-interest but also his capacity for virtue.The conservatism of the Constitution limits government’s powers but ensures that government performs its proper job effectively. It refines popular will through the filter of representation. It provides checks and balances through the several branches of government and a federal republic.


A Constitutional conservatism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda.* It applies the principle of limited government based on the rule of law to every proposal.
* It honors the central place of individual liberty in American politics and life.
* It encourages free enterprise, the individual entrepreneur, and economic reforms grounded in market solutions.
* It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that end.
* It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith.

Read the rest here.

Second, think about what is taught to the average Palestinian child, a message that is similar in content to what is taught around the world to all Muslims:

‘Alloush: “Uncle Hassan! Uncle Hassan!”

Uncle Hassan: “My God, why are you so happy, ‘Alloush?”

‘Alloush: “I am like the grown-ups, watching the news.”

Uncle Hassan: “Good, I hope it will be a good day to watch the news.”

‘Alloush: “I’ve heard a very good report. Very good.”

Uncle Hassan: “That good?! This report will make us happy?”

‘Alloush: “Yes! Do you know the Ibrahimi Mosque [in Hebron]?”

Uncle Hassan: “Who doesn’t know it? We all do.”

‘Alloush: “Well, they have turned it into a museum.”

Uncle Hassan: “What?!”

‘Alloush: “So the people – all the Jews and the Christians – can visit it.”

Uncle Hassan: “Are you sure that’s what you heard? Are you sure?”

‘Alloush: “Yes.”

Uncle Hassan: “And you are still happy?!”

‘Alloush: “Yes, this way they will protect it and stop destroying it. People will be able to see it, but not to touch it.”

Uncle Hassan: “Are you out of your mind, ‘Alloush?”


Uncle Hassan: “No, they are telling the truth in the news, but as you can see, the whole world is in turmoil over this. This is sad news, a real catastrophe for the Arab and Islamic world, ‘Alloush.”

‘Alloush: “Those Jews want to steal the Ibrahimi Mosque?”

Uncle Hassan: “Yes, they want to steal it, and then make it like their false temple. They want to add it to their legacy for their future generations, ‘Alloush.”


Uncle Hassan: “Unfortunately, ‘Alloush and dear children, the Arab and Islamic nation is in a slumber. A deep slumber. We must stand up. We must awaken. ‘Alloush and dear children – each one of you must tell his father, his grandfather, and the rest of his family that they should all arise as one. They must rise up against the criminal Zionists, who are planning to destroy Jerusalem, and to turn the Islamic waqf into something bad. We must rise against the Zionist criminals, the enemies of Allah, and liberate Jerusalem and all the holy places. We should liberate them. Do you hear, ‘Alloush?”

‘Alloush: “Ah, now I get it. I thought the Jews wanted to enable people to visit the Ibrahimi Mosque, but it turns out that they want to steal it.”

You can say that the religion is crazy, and that the people who follow it are not delusion, they are misled.  Even if this is true, eventually, for our own self-preservation, we must accept that their mass delusions are unsustainable and unforgivable.  After all, they’re not crazy.

Best ever reason for not blogging — showing up for jury duty

I did my duty as a citizen today, when I left bright and early and headed up to the local courthouse.  Although it was a profoundly boring day, it was also an interesting experience.  You see, despite many years of lawyering, I’ve never sat on a jury, nor have I ever been part of selecting a jury.  (I’ve done a lot of behind the scenes work for jury selection, but I’ve never actually been in court for the process.)  What fascinated me was the way in which people’s attitudes changed during the day.

The system is set up so that about 50 people file into the courtroom.  Eighteen of them are seated in the jury box, with the hope that this group can be winnowed down to 12 jurors and 2 alternates.  The people in the box answer general information questions about themselves, and then provide more specific information related to the case.  First thing in the morning, anybody who could get out, tried to do so.  Once “cause” vanished (obvious conflicts such as knowing one of the lawyers or one of the defendants), the next most popular excuse was bias.  Basically, this boiled down to “Yes, I’ve had a similar experience/known someone similarly situated to the defendant/known someone similarly situated to the prosecution’s witnesses and, under those circumstances, it would be very hard for me to be unbiased in my approach to the evidence.”  As these people were excused, more people would be called to take their places.

What was so interesting was that, as the day progressed, fewer and fewer people tried to use bias as an excuse.  You’d hear the same factual offerings (similar experience or personal knowledge of people similarly situated to those in the case), but people asserted firmly that they would not be biased.  I understood why they did that.

In the morning, I’d invested minimal time in the process and just wanted out.  By the time I left 5 hours later (without ever having gotten within speaking distance of the jury box), I’d invested a lot of time in the matter and wanted to see how it ended.  It was supposed to be a short case and, thanks to the voir dire questions, I’d figured out the defense strategy.  I therefore wanted to see what the arresting officers would say, and how the lawyers for both the State and the defendant would handle the evidence.  Had I been asked about my biases, I would have stated the facts and disavowed the biases, just as everyone else did.

As it is, when I walked away, I left the story in the middle of the beginning.  Even though it had the potential to be interesting, I was denied the opportunity to find out how it would progress and then, finally, end.  So, for the first time in my life, I’m kind of looking forward to my next jury summons!

Pharaoh, the Ten Plagues, and Iran

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as the celebration of freedom (the world’s first and for a long time only successful slave revolt), and of justice and morality (the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people.  What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.

I know that some people have tried to explain away this part of the story by saying that it is simply dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger of the Jew’s escape from Egypt.  After all, if it had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story.  You know, Moses asks, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh answers “Sure.”  That’s not a narrative with much punch or heroism, and God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting.  It’s much more exciting to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.

This reasoning is silly.  There’s a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, despite an increase in the burdens placed upon his people.  A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on.  Pharaoh still held together his government.  The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever:  As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he was okay with the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might worry about a populace starving and frightened, but that was irrelevant as long as that same populace continued to fear and worship him.  The people’s suffering, ultimately, was irrelevant to his goals.  It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years.  Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII.  For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over.  Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him.  Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed.  Only when the death toll became too high, and it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, did the war on the continent finally end.

The same held true for the Japanese.  Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it.  Even the fact that it would impress the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so.  What swayed Truman was the fact that his advisers told him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender even when surrender had become the only reasonable option.  Instead, the military warned Truman that, although the Americans would inevitably win the war, if Truman didn’t take drastic action, victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and at least that many Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).

Truman therefore had two choices:  another year of war, with the lost of 100,000 Americans and many more than 100,000 Japanese; or an immediate stop to the war, with no more American casualties and at least 100,000 Japanese casualties.  Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer.  The outcome would be the same for the Japanese, but Truman would save the lives of more than 100,000 Americans, British, Australians and Dutch.  (One of those Dutch, incidentally, was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.)  The Japanese high command was Pharaoh.  No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path.  Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.

But what about the innocent lives lost as a result of Pharaoh’s, the Nazi’s, and the Japanese high command’s intransigence?  As the Japanese tale shows only too well, the innocents were always going to die, with the only question being whether they would die quickly or slowly.  The same holds true for the Germans, whom the Nazis had long ago designated as cannon fodder to support their intensely evil regime.  That’s the problem with an evil regime.  If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, whether or not you support it, you’re going to be cannon fodder.  Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned — as long as they can retain their power.

Iran is no different.  Although the people bleed and cry under the brutish regime, no plague, including rioting in the streets, has come along that is bad enough to break the back of that tyranny.  The people continue to die by inches, and the regime threatens everyone within bombing distance.

Liberals believe that it is immoral to impose serious consequences against the Iranian regime because there are innocents who will suffer from those consequences.  What these liberals fail to understand is that, when power doesn’t reside in the people, but resides, instead, in a single group that is insulated from all but the most terrible strikes, imposing small plagues against the country (freezing a few bank accounts, public reprimands, vague threats) is utterly useless.  These small plagues, no matter how much they affect the ordinary citizen, do not affect the decision-making process in which a tyrant engages.  The only thing that will move the tyrant is to destroy his power base.  Everything else is theater.

With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Happy Passover.  Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be high, both for slave and master, our ultimate goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Andrew Klavan reports on the reporters

Andrew Klavan goes back and forth between being quite brilliant and being very brilliant.  I’ll let you decide where this one falls.

I will add only that my mother, who voted for Obama, told me that she’s very resentful of the way she was duped.  I wanted to tell her that she didn’t have to be duped, because I was there telling her the truth.  She ignored me, however, on the basis that I couldn’t know what I was talking about, because what I said ran counter to the truths emanating from ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.  Recriminations being pointless, I told her (truthfully) that I admired her for being willing to admit that she had been misled and for her willingness to start off on a new path freed from the chains the MSM had bound about her.

The Welfare state, the American Revolution, and the end of the Ancien Regime

A few days ago, Danny Lemieux, in a comment to this blog, asked a very important question:

If more than 50% of wage earners pay no income tax and can vote themselves (i.e. parasitize) the labor and assets of the 20% of the population that pays the large majority of income tax, are we still a democracy?

A Progressive Democrat would say, “Of course we’re still a democracy because everyone gets to vote.”  (And, after Obama’s immigration “reform,” you can be assured that everyone, including illegal immigrants and people convicted of felonies, will indeed get to vote.)

But what I say, and would you know (and what Danny’s question implies) is that if you cast a vote that is invariably meaningless, then you aren’t actually voting.  You’re simply engaging in a pointless exercise that has no effect.

Americans, incidentally, fully understood this at the height of the Cold War when the Soviet Union regularly boasted that it had a turnout of upwards of 90% whenever its elections rolled around.  “We, the Soviets, are a true Democracy,” the apparatchiks would exclaim, “unlike you Americans where, sometimes, only 50% of eligible voters turn up at the polls.”

Ordinary Americans, however, living in a society that hadn’t yet been brainwashed by 40 years of Progressive education, knew that those 50% who went to the polls in the U.S. were making a real, uncoerced choice, with their vote being counted.  That freedom distinguished them from the 90% in the Soviet Union who appeared at the polls under pain of imprisonment or worse, and who had no choice whatsoever when it came to either candidates or policies.  The fact that people can cast ballots has absolutely nothing to do with the substantive reality of whether they are making their voices heard in a representative democracy.

If we conclude, as I think we must, that earners and taxpayers in the United States will not longer have a voice in government when the numbers shift so that the parasites can invariably outvote them, what happens next?  I can think of two examples of what happens next:

1.  We become a totalitarian society, a la the Soviets or the Nazis or any other totalitarian society you can name.  Under these systems, voting is political theater that doesn’t affect the actual power structure — and this structure, in turn, is an armed police state.  People are given their designated rolls — service- or product-generator, consumer, etc. — but all understand that they dance to the government tune.  End of story.

2.  We have a Revolution, and I mean by that a true revolution.  As my post title indicates, I think both the American Revolution and the French Revolution stand as stark examples of what happens when the wealth creators lose their voice.  As you may recall, the clarion cry of the American Revolution was “No taxation without representation.”  Or, in colloquial terms, “If you’re going to grab the wealth I create, I get a say in how it’s spent.”  The American Revolution was essentially a middle class tax revolt.  The French Revolution, which was much longer in brewing, and represented the true end of the feudal era, was bloodier, and cruder, but was actually precisely the same:  the groaning middle and lower classes, which for centuries had funded the aristocracy, all the while never having had a true voice in government, got fed up, stormed the Bastille and dragged out the guillotines.

I suspect that Obama and his true believers crave the first outcome.  Ordinary Americans, however, will be driven to the second one.  And what may end up is some loathsome amalgam of both — the modern Nanny State, or totalitarianism in white gloves, which is what emanates from Brussels and lives in England.  That’s just an intermediate stage, though, with a few inevitable outcomes there too:  revolution, pure totalitarianism or, if the Muslim Brotherhood has its way (and its women their babies) an Islamic takeover.  End of story.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Palm Sunday

I’m not quite sure of the language one uses for Palm Sunday:  “I wish you a happy Palm Sunday?”   “I wish you a peaceful Palm Sunday?”  “I wish you a joyous Palm Sunday?”  “I wish you a meaningful Palm Sunday?”

Whatever the correct wish is, for those of my friends who observe this day, that is the wish I send to you.

Israel and the liberal noise machine *UPDATED*

I had another fascinating conversation with a liberal who offered this take on the situation with Israel:

Because everyone hates Israel, it’s a brilliant strategy for Obama to attack it to raise his standing in the world.  Israel wants this too.  I bet you $100 that we’ll learn that this whole ‘fight” was carefully scripted to improve Obama’s and Israel’s standing.

And no, I’m not exaggerating.  It’s not quite verbatim, because I didn’t take notes during the conversation, but it’s close.

I think Barry Rubin and Bruce Kesler offer slightly more sophisticated analyses of what’s going on.  First, with regard to my liberal friend’s world view, here’s Barry Rubin analyzing the New York Times’ approach to Israel and the Middle East.

And now to what the U.S. is doing.  Barry Rubin suggests that the U.S. has declared diplomatic war against Israel.  So no, this isn’t some diplomatic theater in which Israel allows herself to be beaten black and blue in order to placate her and America’s common enemy.  Instead, America, through the Obama administration, is becoming one of Israel’s enemies.  And Bruce Kesler suggests a “secret plan” (not so secret, as more and more people are thinking it), that sees America forcing Israel to bomb Iran — at which point you can be sure that B. Hussein O. will abandon Israel to the world’s wolves, thereby, in one fell swoop, having rid himself of two problems.  Nobody ever said Machiavelli was principled.

UPDATE:  Jennifer Rubin, with some help from William Kristol, has the perfect response to the fatuity emanating from the liberal (and often Jewish) Left:

As Bill Kristol explains, the Obami’s anti-Israel bent is no accident but part of his larger approach, which seeks realignment in Middle East policy as Obama becomes not the leader of a single nation or even of the alliance of democracies but the wise mediator for all humanity:

And there’s no better way to be a leader of humanity than to show disapproval of the Jewish state. Sure, Obama’s turn against Israel will make it less likely that Palestinians will negotiate seriously with her. Sure, it will embolden radical Arabs and Muslims against those who would like their nations to take a different, more responsible, course. Sure, it’s a distraction from the real challenge of Iran. But the turn against Israel is ultimately a key part of what Obamaism is all about. That’s why there’s been so little attempt by the administration to reassure friends of Israel that Obama has been acting more in sorrow than in anger. Obama’s proud of his anger at the stiff-necked Jewish state. It puts him in sync with the rest of the world.

In this, we see the intersection of Obama’s multilateralism, his aversion to American exceptionalism, his fetish with his own international popularity, his obsession with engaging despots, his disinterest in promoting human rights, and his hostility toward the Jewish state. They are interlocking pieces in the greater Obama vision — each reenforces the other and makes more precarious the security of not only Israel but also the United States. Obama may suppose he is making America more popular or reducing conflict with rogue states, but instead, he is fueling the ambitions of aggressive despots and frittering away America’s moral standing. We are abetting an international free-for-all as the world’s bullies look for openings to assert themselves and to show just how dangerous it is to be a small democratic ally of the U.S.

An easy way to let local newspapers know how you feel about what Congress is doing

Organizing For America (the Obamabot organization) has set up a handy-dandy web page so that the Obamatrons can easily write to local newspapers to crow about the wonders of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obama Care. The goal, of course, is to get published, and make people feel as if they’re in a community that overwhelmingly supports Obama Care.

The great thing, though, is that the website isn’t a form letter site.  It’s just an easy contact site.  So why not use that same handy-dandy web page as a way to connect easily with your local paper to applaud GOP courage (and GOP members were courageous here), and to opine, with facts, of course, about the problems Obama Care will cause our nation?  That way, your community can see that there people who are not marching off the cliff in lockstep.

(BTW, this idea didn’t originate with me, but I’m happy to be one of the conduits passing it along.)

Yet another reason to like Andrew Breitbart

I think Andrew Brietbart is an incredibly important figure in today’s conservative movement.  More than anyone else, he’s shown that he understands how to take conservative ideas and hurl them over the fence that the MSM keeps trying to throw up to insulate regular people from those views.  I’ve now discovered, however, that there is one more reason to like the man:  He’s a think and read in the bath kind of guy.  While I wouldn’t go so far as to have myself photographed there, it’s a mindset I appreciate.

Once again, PC ideology tries to drive history

History is written by the victors.  We know that.  But I’m apparently not the only one who considers it unconscionable to make up history out of whole cloth.

You see, Germany has a Holocaust memorial commemorating the thousands of homosexuals who suffered terrible persecution (imprisonment, torture and death) at Nazi hands.  The memorial was supposed to show an endless loop film of men kissing.  But lesbians protested their exclusion form the memorial , so the powers that be decided to change the film to an endless loop of women kissing — a film that is due to run for two years.  (A move that also satisfies the Homer Simpson crowd.)

Only one problem with this little bit of revisionism:  the Nazis didn’t go after lesbians.  They reserved their viciousness for men only.  Gay men in Germany, as well as people who like to keep their history accurate, are understandably upset by this plan to ignore the real victims in order to ensure that a group that apparently feels left out that it avoided Nazi persecution can rewrite history to suit present emotional needs.

Peter Wehner gets to the core of Obama’s Israel fight

So many brilliant people have written about Obama’s full frontal attack on Israel.  Each has said something important, and all are very worrisome.  Peter Wehner, however, has most neatly nailed the moral component, the personality issue, behind Obama’s disgraceful behavior (behavior so disgraceful even the London Times caught on).  Here’s Wehner:

The entire theory on which the Obama administration is operating is false. The problem isn’t with Israel’s unwillingness to negotiate or even any dispute over territory; it is with the Palestinians’ unwillingness to make their own inner peace with the existence of a Jewish state.

Yet in thinking through all this, what is most striking to me is the disfiguring of moral considerations. Barack Obama is treating one of our best allies, and one of the most admirable and impressive nations in the world, worse than he treats the theocratic dictatorship in Iran or the anti-American dictator Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Obama bows before autocrats and shakes the hands of tyrants and speaks with solicitude and undeserved respect to malevolent leaders. Yet with Israel he is petulant and angry, unable to detach himself from a weeks-long tantrum. Or, perhaps, unwilling to detach himself.

There is in the Obama administration an animus toward Israel that is troubling and may be unmatched in modern times (though Jimmy Carter, as ex-president, probably rivals it). Because of what is unfolding, there will be significant injury to our relationship with Israel. But it is also doing considerable damage to America’s moral standing. At its best, America stands for the right things and stands beside the right friends. In distancing us from Israel, Obama is distancing America from a nation that has sacrificed more for peace, and suffered more for their sacrifices, than any other. It is a deeply discouraging thing to see. And it is dangerous, too. Hatred for Israel is a deep and burning fire throughout the world. We should not be adding kindling wood to that fire.

Read the rest here.

This is not about Jews and non-Jews.  This should align, on the one side, decent people who believe in freedom, democracy and justice and, on the other side, indecent people who support totalitarianism, brutality and genocide.

Noah Pollak also explains just how heinous is the Hobson’s Choice Obama is forcing on Netanyahu.  Of Obama, I can only say, with heartfelt sincerity, that he is a vile, antisemitic, feral, immoral, indecent excuse for a human being.  And that’s on a good day.

A few more picks for your Friday enjoyment

The previous post was a collection of links organized around a single topic — sudden Liberal claims of conservative violence.  This post is more loosely organized, since it simply has links of things I found interesting.  Here goes:

National Review/Michael Fumento:  The People Speak, which holds up the truth to Obama’s lie that Obama Care is a bill of the people, by the people and for the people.

The Rubin Report:  Obama Foreign Policy: One-Third of Its Term Done; Not a Hundredth of its Lesson Learned (I think that post title is pretty self-explanatory).

The New Editor has a cartoon that will make you laugh, even though it tells a pointed political truth.

The Anchoress has a post that is nicely in keeping with my post, yesterday, about Obama’s singular lack of graciousness.  In other words, she’s noticed it too.

And on the subject of Obama’s ungraciousness, here’s a blog from Britain’s Telegraph stating just how unutterably heinous and contemptuous Obama’s treatment of Netanyahu actually was.  This man is despicable, truly despicable.

The quivering, whining cowards on the Left *UPDATED*

Okay, I’m not really saying that those on the Left are quivering, whining cowards.  They are, however, working hard to present themselves in that light — or, rather, in the light of helpless victims — in the hope that they can convince ordinary Americans that conservatives, libertarians, Tea Partiers, etc., are unhinged neo-nazis who are filled with an insatiable blood lust.

To that end, starting on Saturday, they’ve been accusing people opposed to Obama Care of racism, spitting, violence, powder threats, etc.  My suspicion is that (a) many of these alleged threats are imaginary, for propaganda purposes; (b) that those making the threats are often Leftists who are faking the attacks as part of the Alinsky tactic of making conservatives look evil; and (c) a few fringe people who should be ignored, rather than spread out over the front pages.

I’m assembling here a collection of solid posts that expand upon my own suspicions about the Left’s propaganda technique here and that remind us that, even in their wildest imaginings about conservatives, Leftists haven’t managed to come close to what Bush and other conservative politicians suffered through for 8 years.  Without further ado:

Brutally Honest:  The incredible hypocrisy of the “inciting violence” crowd

Patterico’s Pontifications: Leftist Issues Death Threats to Palin and Family on Twitter

Wizbang/Lorie Byrd:  Josh Marshall — Beyond Absurd

Mudville Gazette/Greyhawk:  Rabble rousing, Part I and Part II

Michelle Malkin:  Unhinged:  the mugshot collection

UPDATE:  James Taranto opens his Best of the Web Today with a nice collection of provably false (or, at least, grossly exaggerated) accusations health care supporters have made against the bill’s opponents.

The Council has spoken — March 26 edition

I meant to post yesterday the Watcher’s Council submissions, so that you could see what we were voting on last night, but the day just slipped away from me.  I can, however, let you know today how the vote turned out.  I’m quite flattered that my fellow Council members thought that my post about Tom Hanks’ historical ignorance was good enough to take first place.  As you can see from the other winners, placers and show-ers, I was running against very, very high quality material:

Winning Council Submissions

Winning Non-Council Submissions

Has there ever been a more ungracious man in the White House?

I have to admit that my political memory isn’t that long.  The first president I remember is Johnson, and I have only the vaguest recollection of him.  I know now that he was a sharp political operator, a vicious enemy and a complete fruit loop in his day to day conduct.  I start having more vivid memories when it comes to Nixon, who was a crook, as well as being, in many ways, a highly effective (in a good way) president.  The media presented Ford as a bumbler, and he impinged only minimally on my youthful consciousness.  Then there was Carter — ineffectual, dour and, as it turns out, incredibly antisemitic and self-involved.  Reagan — well, the media loathed him, but I never saw him behave awkwardly in public.  I’ve since learned to appreciate his vision, his good will to all men, and his capacious intelligence.  And so it goes.  From Reagan to the inarticulate Bush; to the charming, narcissistic, sexually obsessed, crooked Clinton; to the bonhominous, principled, vaguely inarticulate, viciously attacked Bush Jr., and now to Barack Obama.

Barack Obama was sold to us as “no drama Obama;” as the ultimate post-partisan President who would heal all wounds and fissures in the American body politic.  The last year has shown how great those lies were, with his hostility towards Israel and his Chicago-style politics re health care putting the last nails in those coffins full of lies. The man’s substance is crude, bullying and mean spirited.

But I want to pause here to address, not his substance, but his style.  Look back on that long list of Presidents from the 1960s onward.  All were flawed, many seriously, but each understood that, as President, he had a certain persona that he had to maintain.  No matter how dour, insane, vicious, hard-charging or inarticulate he was, each man understood that he had to act with dignity when he carried out the functions of his office.  Power politics were fine behind the scenes, but not one of these past presidents, when before the camera, ripped off his shirt and rolled in the mud.  That is, until Obama came along.

One of the things that always strikes me forcibly about Obama, and this is true despite his privileged education in Hawaii, in New York, and in Massachusetts, is how crude he is in his day to day communications.  Apparently you can raise someone in the Ivy League, but if he’s an unprincipled brawler and a bully, that crude-ness is always going to leak out.  And when you have someone like that in a power position, he is often even less gracious in victory than he is in defeat.

This is why, in the days following an amazing political victory (despite the fact that he didn’t sell the nation on his plan and had to bully his own party), the president, rather than extending olive branches, is engaging in the same taunts a back ally thug would use right before he kicks a downed opponent in the head (after having already shot that same opponent in the back).

When Republicans, who overwhelmingly represent the will of the people on health care, indicated that they will work to carry out the people’s goals regarding this monstrosity, Obama did not utter words that would calm the troubled waters in America’s political scene and bring disaffected people back into the fold.  Instead, our own Chicago thug in the White House uttered this taunt:

“My attitude is: Go for it,” Obama said. “If these congressmen in Washington want to come here in Iowa and tell small-business owners that they plan to take away their tax credits and essentially raise their taxes, be my guest.”

That’s not presidential.  That’s not no-drama.  That’s not post-partisan.  That’s ghetto thug.

And, just to keep his street creds intact, Obama again engaged in ungracious bating, this time at a book store:

After his speech in Iowa City today, President Obama made a short visit to Prairie Lights bookstore — a small local business in the community.

While perusing the bookshelves Mr. Obama had a little fun with the books of two Republican foes, both whose faces graced the covers.

Laughing, the president held up “No Apology,” by Mitt Romney, and “Courage and Consequence,” by Karl Rove,” in each hand.

“What do you think guys?” he asked the group of reporters with him of the hardback copies in each hand.

Ultimately the president did not purchase either book, choosing instead to buy a book for each of his daughters: “Journey to the River Sea,” by Eva Ibbotson, and “The Secret of Zoom,” by Lynne Jonell.

What a petty little man.  How ungracious.  Even the frequently over-the-top Johnson; the crooked Nixon; the dour Carter; the inarticulate Bush, Sr.; the sex mad, narcissistic Clinton; and the much ridiculed and attacked Bush Jr. would never have forgotten their role and sunk so low.  Apparently you can take the man out of the angry and ugly socialist streets, but you can take the angry and ugly socialist out of the man.

With a friend in the White House, the anti-war movement takes off the mask

There was another anti-war rally in San Francisco, but the gloss of all Americanism with which the movement covered itself during the early years of the Iraq War is gone.  With that gloss ripped away, the truth comes out:

The glory days of the 21st-century anti-war movement were in 2003 and 2004, when tens of thousands of naive “average Americans” would show up at each anti-war event. Then, as I documented extensively over the years at zombietime, far-left and extremist groups quickly seized control of the movement and tried to lead the middle-of-the-road protesters leftward politically. But as the radicalism escalated with each successive protest, the sane people all stopped coming, the rallies started getting smaller and smaller, and from 2004 onward it’s been a continuous downward slide.

The bottom line is revealed:  these protesters, the ones who are Obama’s base, even as they are dismayed by his pragmatic decision to stick it out a little longer in Iraq and Afghanistan, hate America.

Please visit Zombie’s photo essay.  It will give you a good chance to see the ugliness that was always festering underneath the more middle class anti-war movement.