President Obama’s church is the Chapel of (Progressive) Democracy

Best of the Web posts a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times in which Obama defines sin, not along traditional Christian or Muslim lines, but along self-referential lines:

Falsani: Do you believe in sin?

Obama: Yes.

Falsani: What is sin?

Obama: Being out of alignment with my values.

The President, when he made that statement about the measure of sin being his own values, might have had in the back of his head the unspoken qualifier that his values are “Christian.” I doubt it, though, because I have found the definitive doctrine of Obama’s faith. Joan Allen, in the 2000 movie The Contender, recites the doctrinal beliefs of what she calls a church based in “this very chapel of democracy.”  I think her church could be more accurately described as The Church of Progressive Political Belief, and it’s clear that President Obama is a devout member.

Here’s the video, followed by a transcript with my interlineations:

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman of the Committee.  Remarkably enough, it seems that I have some explaining to do.  So, let me be absolutely clear.

I stand for a woman’s right to choose.

[So does the President, and he stands for making everyone in America, including religious institutions and religious worshippers that are doctrinally opposed to that "right," pay for women's choices.]

I stand for the elimination of the death penalty.

[This has not been an issue for our president, although he does seem uncommonly fond of drones.]

I stand for a strong and growing armed forces because we must stamp out genocide on this planet, and I believe that that is a cause worth dying for.

[Here we have an early articulation of R2P -- responsibility to protect.  In the Progressive canon, our country is not worth fighting for and dying for.  Genocide -- provided that those on the receiving end of genocide are neither Christians nor Jews -- is the real reason a Progressive United States should have a military.  In this regard, it's ironic that president Obama not only presided over two wars, but started a third.]

I stand for seeing every gun taken out of every home.  Period.

[Three words:  Fast and Furious.]

I stand for making the selling cigarettes to our youth a federal offense.

[Because, really, who needs education, the marketplace of ideas, and free will?]

I stand for term limits and campaign reform.

[Obama hasn't said much about term limits, but he's made it clear that his idea of campaign reform is to stifle corporate speech, despite the fact that corporations are aggregations of citizens and pay taxes; and that his personal contribution to campaign reform is to campaign more than all the other presidents since Nixon put together.]

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of Church and State, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism.

[The Founders could not have made it more clear that Freedom of Religion, which is contained in the First Amendment, protects religion from government, not vice versa.  The Amendment's language is unequivocal:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." There's nothing in there mandating that no religious person can serve in Congress or have a say in America's government.]

Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves [that would be the Republican sect of the church], that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.  [And there you have it -- President Obama's creed writ large:  "I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes.  I need my heart, my brain, and this (Progressive) church.]

Obama is a theoretical leader; Romney a practical one

One of the most startling features of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, a book that examines the killing fields that Stalin and Hitler created in the lands between Germany and Russia proper, is the way in which these socialist leaders were so willing to kill people in the millions to make reality accord with their theories.  This chasm between ideas and reality was most obvious in the Soviet Union.

Soviet leaders could not account for the fact that, contrary to Marx’s predictions, the first socialist revolution occurred in an agrarian, almost feudal economy, rather than in a totally industrialized economy.  Obviously, reasoned the Soviet theorists, theirs was an incomplete revolution.  To be complete, the Soviet Union would have to be industrialized, and then the Soviet workers would cheerfully unite behind a socialist government, rather than hoarding food and trying to live out their lives as individuals.

Stalin, imbued by faith in his theory, and with no regard whatsoever for the sanctity of human life, decided to “industrialize” the Ukraine by getting rid of the small farms that dotted that verdant breadbasket.  He would create vast, government-controlled collectives, complete with Soviet-made tractors, that would stun the Western world.

Indeed, if Walter Duranty hadn’t been a profoundly evil man who shilled for a murderous regime, the world would have been stunned.  It would have been stunned because it would have seen kulaks (small landowners) and peasants relocated, shot, and starved in the millions over about five or seven years.  In this way, Stalin advanced socialist theory over the factually dead bodies of his own people.  At the end of it all, of course, the collectives were much less effective than a market economy would have been.

I see theory over fact regularly in the liberal world I inhabit.  One of my favorites is the liberal who refused to believe that a drop of sugared tea can create a sticky spot on the floor or counter.  “There’s too little sugar,” she said, “for any stickiness to result from a single drop.”  The fact that I could show her sticky spots was irrelevant.  Her theory said there couldn’t be spots, and therefore there weren’t — actual sticky spots notwithstanding.

Likewise, when I was packing some boxes alongside a liberal, I asked for directions about what should be put in one of the boxes.

“Put these six items in the box,” the liberal told me.

I did.  The box was very, very heavy.

“What did you put in there?” asked the liberal.  “It’s way too heavy.”

“The six things you told me to put in there,” I replied.

“No,” said the liberal, “you couldn’t have.  Those six things are not that heavy.”

“But they are,” said I, “pointing to the box.”

“No, they’re not,” said the liberal, completely ignoring the reality in the box at his feet.

Obama, of course, is a purely theoretical leader.  Barring a short stint in private practice when, as a junior associate, he would have had minimal responsibilities, Obama has always worked in the worlds of academia and community organizing.  In the latter role, every one of his initiatives failed.  In the former role, of course, he had no initiatives.  He could immerse himself in theory without ever cross-checking those theories against the real world.

Now that Obama has taken on the hard task of governing, it’s really no surprise that he clings to his theories.  They’re so much nicer than dirty, messy facts, governed by real world principles such as supply and demand, good guys and bad guys, weather, etc.  How much nicer to simply announce that what is is, because the theorist says that it is.

Romney, by contrast, has worked and governed.  He may be a little too inclined to abandon conservative principles for political advantage, but that may be due to his essential pragmatism.  He will do what works.  He’s had to.  That’s how he made his fortune.

I’d like to think that Romney’s pragmatism involves understanding that the private sector is always more efficient than the government (“Your government — applying yesterday’s solutions today”).  Even if he does deviate from a principled understanding, though, I know Romney will never get caught up in what should be, rather than what is.

And now that I’ve opined about the dangers of theory, let me hand the microphone over to Bill Whittle, who says everything I was thinking, only he does it better:

 

I’d laugh at the self-parodying OWSers, but I do think they’re dangerous

Zombie has a new post about Occupy’s latest stunt:  The movement’s geniuses, inspired by Earth Day,

[I]llegally took over an entire farm and transformed it into…a farm!

So proud are they of this revolutionary act that they showed off the farm to the media yesterday, so naturally I had to check it out.

Go here to enjoy Zombie’s photo essay.  Before you laugh too hard at these silly people, though, remember that they have the power to destabilize things.  The fact that they’re stupid, ill-informed, and venal is infinitely less important than whether they are successful at manipulating an alternately compliant and credulous media into making them seem like the cool, hip thing to do.

Busy Sunday Open Thread

My Saturday was busy.  My Sunday will be even busier.  I can’t wait until Monday.  Tuesday — and I’m boasting here — I meet MacG for lunch.

I was talking to my kids about market forces and came up with this one:  “The market is busy grappling with today’s problems, while the government is imposing yesterday’s solutions.”

Conversations with the kids, this time about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, also provided a good opening for explaining that the Founders, who were engaged in a revolution against their own government, which had become tyrannical, drafted the Second Amendment to ensure that Americans would have the same protections should their own government become tyrannical (as happened in Germany) or is unable to protect them against foreign invaders (as happened in Poland).

Here is, for me, an important question:  How do you teach your kids to appreciate fundamental Constitutional principles?  Simply reciting them doesn’t resonate with children, especially with children raised in Leftist public schools. At least, that’s the case with my children.  I need to anchor the principles to some grand historical narrative or to something that touches very closely on their lives today.  Then they both appreciate and remember the rare freedoms we have in America.

If I like your ideas, may I steal them for a work in progress?

Help wanted regarding RSS feed problems

I’m very glad I posted my little whine about the drop in readership, because I heard from a number of you about the RSS feed not working.  (Some of you had even told me before that post, but I needed a critical mass before I could start putting two and two together.)

My readership could be dropping because I’m boring, repetitive, and stale.  On the other hand, my webmaster suggests that, before I go off the deep end and hide, he should investigate whether I need a new feed.  You all can help.  He says:

I’d like to know what feed URL the people with problems are using and what RSS reader they are using.  If I can find some commonalities between the people having problems then I can probably figure this out.

Sounds good to me.  If it’s not too inconvenient, could you pass on to me your feed URL and RSS reader info?

Thank you!

Lynch mobs and hit lists

You already know how I feel about the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin affair and the Obama Administration and its lap dog-media sycophants ginning up a lynching party to “get” Zimmerman and a few random white people to fill the role pending trial. Zimmerman’s guilt has already been decided in the media’s public square.

Now, via the Wall Street Journal‘s inestimable Kimberly Strassel, comes news that Administration is, in the words of Washington beltway attorney Ted Olson, putting up the names of major Romney donors on “wanted posters” in government offices, releasing their names to the public, and libeling their reputations.

“The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money”, writes Strassel.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304723304577368280604524916.html?mod=WSJ_article_comments#articleTabs%3Darticle

I don’t know if you can access this article without a subscription, but Strassel’s “The President Has a List: Barack Obama attempts to intimidate contributors to Mitt Romney’s campaign” article in today’s WSJ points out a litany of presidential abuses of power by the Obama regime, including:

  • Making individual citizens the object of his vitriol.
  • Personal attacks on corporations and industry segments.
  • Legal assaults on constitutional rights of free speech by corporations.
Add to that list the looting of American taxpayers through government policy-driven largesse to Democrat crony capitalists and political insiders. For an excellent review on one way how this is done, I highly recommend reading entrepreneur Jerome J. Schmitt’s excellent insights in today’s American Thinker:

We continue our slouch into the serfdom of Liberal Fascism. Sad to say, I suspect that the large segments of the population that are not cheering these developments are either yawning in general ennui or too glued to the mindless drivel of videoworld to realize how our /their wealth and freedoms are irrevocably slip, slip, slipping away.

Obama, the welfare president

Newt Gingrich was pilloried for calling Obama the Food Stamp president.  “Racist!” cried the usual suspects.  Huh?  Yes, racist, because food stamps are a form of welfare, welfare is traditionally associated with blacks, so Newt was reminding people that Obama is white-black  (as if the MSM ever allows us to forget that), and that he’s pandering to other blacks, white-blacks, brown-blacks, yellow-blacks, pink-blacks, blue-blacks, etc.

Just the other day, however, another politician went on record calling Obama a Food Stamp president, and his pronouncement was met with stunning MSM indifference.  You see, the man making this statement was black (or maybe, looking at the image, a kind of golden-brown-black) and the statement, rather than being derogatory (“Look what he’s reduced Americans to”) was laudatory:

Here’s the key language:

“We’re headed in the right direction. Unemployment continues to drop and those people who are unemployed, they’re not going to be voting for the party who wants to cut their benefits, cut access to food stamps, cut job training,” Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) said on MSNBC’s Al Sharpton program.

“The idea that Republicans are trying to help those who are unemployed is nonsense and I think that on this election day, those who have a job can credit the administration for stabilizing our economy and those who don’t know that this administration is trying to put them to work,” he said.

Yay, Obama!  He’s the welfare president!  Four more years!  Four more years!  The dream has almost been realized:

It was the most memorable time of my life. It was a touching moment because I never thought this day would ever happen. I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he’s gonna help me.

Another hour of agonizing decisions as I try to select my favorite Watcher’s Counsel submissions

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Is the New York Times trying to start a race war?

For the MSM, the George Zimmerman thing has turned out to be a bust.  With the exception of the fact that Trayvon Martin is still dead, everything the MSM first reported about the case has proven to be untrue.  Right about now, you’d think that the media would be engaged in some soul-searching and apologizing, but that assumes that MSM members have souls and consciences.  If you’ve made that assumption, you’ve proved, once again, that when you assume, you make an “ass” of “u” and “me.”

Because the media’s first effort at fomenting a race war seems to have failed, with only a few hapless white people suffering mob beat-downs, the MSM has gone back to the drawing board.  The first effort in the “if at first you don’t succeed” strategy is a New York Times article about a killing in Georgia.  Again, a white man shot a young black man.  I hope you appreciate how beautifully the Times uses passive voice in the first paragraph (emphasis mine):

LYONS, Ga. — Norman Neesmith was sleeping in his home on a rural farm road here in onion country when a noise woke him up.

He grabbed the .22-caliber pistol he kept next to his bed and went to investigate. He found two young brothers who had been secretly invited to party with an 18-year-old relative he had raised like a daughter and her younger friend. The young people were paired up in separate bedrooms. There was marijuana and sex.

Over the course of the next confusing minutes on a January morning in 2011, there would be a struggle. The young men would make a terrified run for the door. Mr. Neesmith, who is 62 and white, fired four shots. One of them hit Justin Patterson, who was 22 and black.

The bullet pierced his side, and he died in Mr. Neesmith’s yard. His younger brother, Sha’von, then 18, ran through the onion fields in the dark, frantically trying to call his mother.

The dead boy’s parents are wondering why they didn’t get the full Al Sharpton treatment. Reading through the article, you discover that there are two reasons.  First, a year ago, when this tragedy unfolded, Al Sharpton and his cadre hadn’t yet figured out that they could get substantial mileage out of a white on black killing.  Second, it’s too late now, because the actual facts are out there, and they don’t leave either the race hustlers or the MSM much with which to work.  Even the Times acknowledges that the known facts run counter to the “white people are murderous KKK/Nazi killers” meme:

Still, like so many other crimes where race might be a factor, this one is not so clear-cut. Mr. Neesmith says he felt threatened. He says he aches for the parents but believes none of this would have happened if the young men had not been in his house when they should not have been.

“I think about it every day. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” Mr. Neesmith said as he stood in the doorway of his home. “In two minutes it just went bad. If you ain’t never shot nobody, you don’t want to do it, I’m telling you.”

In the backyard, a pool was ready for neighborhood kids — both black and white — who he said loved to come over after school for a swim. Mr. Neesmith, a former school bus driver, and his late wife had been foster parents to dozens of children.

They took in a great-niece, who has a black parent, when she was a baby. She is now 19 and admitted to investigators that she invited Justin Patterson to their trailer home that night, timing it so Mr. Neesmith would be asleep. The two had been flirting on Facebook and in texts.

When Mr. Neesmith pulled the young men out of the bedrooms, he threatened to call the younger girl’s grandfather, according to court documents and interviews. He asked the two, who both have young daughters, why they were not home with their children. He ranted and waved the gun around.

So the brothers made a run for it. By all accounts, while the younger one struggled to unlock a side door, the older one shoved Mr. Neesmith.

Let me summarize those unclear facts:  Neesmith has raised a half-black child (or would she be white/black?) and his home was a meeting spot for both black and white youngsters.  He thought he had a break-in (explaining the gun), then he noticed that the child he was raising was doing sex and illegal drugs in his home (explaining the anger), and then one of the two young men (i.e., not one weeny little guy, but two young men) in his home started pushing him around.  Further investigation showed that the other girl was 14, adding statutory rape to the illegal conduct within his house.

Given these facts, why in the world does the Times say, “like so many other crimes where race might be a factor”?  (And equally importantly, why doesn’t the Times say, more correctly, “As with some many other crimes in which race might be a factor”?)  It turns out that the Times had to do some reaching:

That race played a significant part is not hard to imagine here in a county that was named after Robert Toombs, a general and one of the organizers of the Confederate government. A black woman has never been named Miss Vidalia Onion in the annual festival that begins Thursday. And until last year in neighboring Montgomery County, there were two proms — one for whites and one for blacks.

What!?  No black Miss Vidalia Onion?  My God!  The whole county should be sent to jail.  And separate proms?  Well, clearly a white person is going to kill a black person.  Especially a white person who is raising a black-white person.

With too much time having passed by, and too many facts instantly available in a small Georgia community, Al Sharpton and the MSM race hustlers never had a chance.  The bereaved parents will have to mourn their child’s passing without benefit of race riots on his behalf.

Incidentally, I’ve been paying attention over the past couple of weeks to the crime stories in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Sadly, they have included several reports tell about people of color who were shot,* one while he was pushing his child’s stroller.  Strangely, none of these stories have excited comment in the larger, national media, nor has Al Sharpton dropped by to offer his condolences.  I leave you to figure out why the telling silence.

___________________________

*Oceanview is a primarily minority neighborhood, so I’m making an educated guess that the man who was shot was a minority.

The Administration’s focus on farmers: The bloodless version of the Soviet Ukrainian experiment? *UPDATED*

To date, I haven’t been paying that much attention to the Obama administration’s Big Government effort to keep America’s young down on the farms, now that they’ve seen TV.  Or can see TV . . . or should see TV, since the Obama administration is barring farm kids from actually working on the farm:

Last year, DOL Secretary Hilda Solis proposed rules that would restrict family farm operations by prohibiting youth under the age of 18 from being near certain age animals without adult supervision, participating in common livestock practices such as vaccinating and hoof trimming, and handling most animals more than six months old, which would severely limit participation in 4-H and FFA activities and restrict their youth farm safety classes; operating farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower; completing tasks at elevations over six feet high; and working at stockyards and grain and feed facilities. The language of the proposed rule is so specific it would even ban youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose.

The internet has lit up with stories of young people who learned about responsibility on farms, who had happy hours and years working on 4H projects, and who were trained to take over the family farm.  It’s that last type of story that got my attention.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m reading (or, more specifically, listening to) Timothy Snyder’s excellent, and deeply depressing, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.  Snyder makes clear from the beginning that one cannot understand the killing fields of central Europe (the lands between Germany and Soviet Russia) without understanding Russian Communism.  The original Bolshevik’s were fundamentalist Marxists.  Lenin and his crew believed in the truth of every word that Marx and Engel put down on paper.

These words, of course, included the theory that Marxism was the inevitable byproduct of industrialization.  For Marxism to reach its apogee, the workers of the world needed to unite — with the understanding that workers were those who worked in the factories, not those who worked on the land.  Peasants might labor, but they didn’t work.  For that reason, Marx and Engels pretty much ignored the peasants in their writings.  Who needed ‘em?

What Lenin and his crew couldn’t understand was why the first successful Marxist revolution happened, not in industrialized Germany, where they expected it to happen, but in primarily rural Russia.  The whole notion that, after the first labor pains of industrialization ended, industrialization would improve life, lessening the worker’s desire for socialism, eluded these true believers.  Instead, they concluded that theirs was an incomplete revolution, one that could reach fruition only if Russia was de-ruralized and properly industrialized. And so the Russians went after those pesky peasants.  (And do I remember Pol Pot’s minions and Mao’s crew doing precisely the same?)

Starved Ukrainian peasants 1933

In China, Cambodia, and the Soviet Union, the socialist purge of pesky peasants cost millions of lives.  People were shot, imprisoned and, in China and the Soviet Union, starved to death in the millions.  The politburos considered the cost in human lives to be a mere nothing compared to the glories of an inevitable socialist paradise on earth.  Moreover, in Mother Russia, those pathetic peasants still clung to an outdated religion that posited a paradise in the hereafter, so the politburo was just helping them towards their ultimate goal, in order to pave the way for the Soviet’s ultimate goal.

As for the fact that these irritating small farmers produced the food that fed the workers, the Soviets had the answer:  they would industrialize farming, making it just another cog in the socialist machinery.  The fact that the dead peasants took their hard-earned farming wisdom with them was irrelevant.  The collective brilliance of the state would have the answer.  Starvation was the inevitable result.  (And for a more recent example of this same thinking, take a peek into Zimbabwe, which went from lush bounty to starvation within less than a decade after Mugabe took the land from the farmers and gave it to the state’s friends, all of whom know nothing about farming.)

Remnants of Pol Pot's Killing Fields

Consistent with the Obama’s soft, loving view of socialism, it isn’t using round-ups or mandatory collectivism.  Instead, it’s simply ensuring taking steps to ensure that the current generation of small farmer is the last generation of small farmer.

Need I add that it’s time for voters to throw the bums out before the damage they inflict on this nation is irremediable?

UPDATE:  The Obama administration has dropped this proposed regulation — for now.  As reading Bloodlands reminds me, Leftists never abandon an initiative; they just retrench.  This one will return if Obama is reelected, albeit in somewhat different form.

 

Recent poll numbers show that Obama will be hard to beat

A couple of days ago, I asked if the polls show a Bradley effect, with people deploring Obama’s performance, but still being too embarrassed to admit to pollsters that they don’t like America’s first white-black president.  Most of you disagreed with me, saying (as DQ did) that Leftists will support Obama no matter what, while other people are just unwilling to dislike the president.  That is, they’re not lying to pollsters when they profess a fondness for this failure.  They mean it.  Keith Koffler certainly thinks they mean it, and that this is going to be a problem for Romney:

President Obama has been at 50 percent approval in the Gallup daily tracking poll for the past two days, a sign that his popularity has genuinely increased since its lows last summer when he had creeped down to 38 percent.

In addition, Gallup finds that Obama leads Romney by seven points, 49-42 percent, with the president’s position improving lately among independents.

That half the country approves of the job Obama suggests not only that he will be tough to beat. It indicates many people are willing to support Obama no matter what the economic conditions, and that some strategist within the West Wing knows what they’re doing.

Think about this. Unemployment is above 8 percent. The economy is sluggish. Iran is on the verge of a nuclear capability. Gas prices are a $4 per gallon. The president has no plan to fix anything. And yet one out of two people think he’s doing a good job.

Read the rest here.