Friday this and that, with a little what-not thrown in

I could have done this as myriad small posts, but I was in the mood for something big.  I’ll separate the different ideas and issues with asterisks (after all, Obama’s promise with his unspoken asterisk has made asterisks the hot new thing in writing).

My friend (I like say that — my friend) Sally Zelikovsky has written rules for Republicans who want to win elections.  They are very pragmatic rules which state that the time for internecine cherry-picking, purging, and warfare should wait until after the Democrats no longer control Washington.  I’m just giving the rules.  Please go to her post to see her intelligent support for many of the less obvious or more challenging rules:

(1) Duke it out in the primaries and whole-heartedly support your candidate of choice.

(2) Do not support your preferred candidate by stooping to Democrat levels.

[snip]

(3) Never forfeit a “sure thing” candidate for a high risk one.

[snip]

(4) Unless an incontrovertible liability, never abandon a viable candidate especially in an important race.

[snip]

(5) In extreme cases, when a candidate is hurting other races, it’s okay to withdraw support.

[snip]

(6) Do not use outliers to formulate strategies for the entire country.

[snip]

(7) Make protest votes a thing of the past [snip]

(8) Think of the end game.

[snip]

(9) Social conservatives and tea partiers should hold any elected Republican’s feet to the fire.

(10) Moderates should expect social conservatives and tea partiers to hold their feet to the fire.

(11) Do not air our collective dirty laundry.

[snip]

(12) Always anticipate the leftwing response, think through your story, then stick to it.

[snip]

(13) In politics, as in life, there are people in any group or organization who have varying degrees of commitment. [snip]

(14) Use the media to communicate with the PEOPLE. This is your chance to be a PR person for conservatism, even though the press is never on your side.

[snip]

(15) Always promote the improved quality of life in Republican-run states andcontrast this with the diminished quality of life in true blue states.

(16) Speak with one voice on the issues where there is consensus.

(17) Where there is no consensus, speak to the fact that we are a diverse party that welcomes debate but, in the end, we are all guided by time-tested conservative principles that promote freedom.

Some of the suggestions are hard to swallow, because they continue to provide political cover for checkbook Republicans, meaning those who support a Democrat agenda, but who make loud noises about “we have to be able to pay for it.”  Read Sally’s whole article and, if you feel like it, please get back to me.

***

Lee Smith has a brilliant analysis of what John Kerry and Barack Obama are doing in the Middle East:

So how did we reach a point where the United States is working with the Islamic Republic of Iran, while longtime U.S. allies are not only outside the circle but trying to block an American-Iranian condominium over the Middle East? A pretty good idea can be gleaned by taking the advice given by Politico in an article detailing Obama’s habit of meeting with prestigious reporters and columnists to test-drive his ideas: “If you want to know where the president stands on a foreign policy issue .  .  . read the latest column by David Ignatius” or Thomas Friedman, another frequent sounding-board for the president.

Read the whole thing and weep.  What they’re doing is every bit as bad as it sounds, and there will be terrible repercussions.

***

Fouad Ajami says that Obama’s magic is gone.  I like his article but I have to disagree with the core premise.  Obama never had magic.  What he had was a complicit media.  It’s easy to win the game when the referees have determined in advance that you’ll win.  At a certain point, though, the spectators begin to think that the fix is in.

***

Up until this past Wednesday, I tended to side slightly with the government regarding Edward Snowden — namely, that he was a traitor who stole America’s secrets.  And indeed, he seems to have stolen lots and lots of secrets.  What I learned on Wednesday, though, when I heard Mary Theroux, of the Independent Institute, speak, is that the government’s spying on American citizens is so enormous we literally cannot comprehend its scope.  The data collection (which is in the multiple zetabytes) grossly violates our inherent Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.  NSA employees before Snowden tried to blow the whistle on this beginning around the year 2000, and got ferociously persecuted by the government because of their efforts.  Snowden’s spectacular leak broke that log jam.

But here’s the really important thing that Theroux said:  The government gets so much data, it’s useless for the stated purpose of crime and terrorism prevention.  As it comes in, it’s simply so much white noise.  It certainly didn’t stop 9/11 or the Boston bombing.  In this regard, think of England, which has more CCTVs per capita than any other country in the 1st world, and maybe in any world.  Nevertheless, these cameras do nothing to prevent crime.  As the number of cameras has increased, so has the crime rate.  The data is useful only after the fact, to help (sometimes) apprehend the criminal.

Well, one can argue that ex post facto apprehension is a good thing — but it’s a good thing only if there’s been a clear violation of a pretty well known law (e.g., don’t beat people to death or don’t rob a jewelry store).  We’re looking at something much more sinister here.  Think of the volume of law in America and, worse, think of the staggering volumes of rules interpreting those laws.

As Theroux noted, Stalin’s chief of police famously said (and I’m paraphrasing) give me the man and I can find the crime.  We Americans have a government that’s sitting on data that can be used to criminalize us after the fact the current government (Republican or Democrat or Third Party) doesn’t like us.  It’s like a landmine under every American.

Since Obama is quite possibly the most inept national security president in the world, it’s arguable that Snowden’s revealing secrets along those lines (e.g., that we’ve been eavesdropping on allies) leaves us in no worse shape than we were before.  After all, as Lee Smith notes above, Obama has already turned our allies into enemies.  What Snowden did do with his escapade was to remind us that, when government begins collecting every bit of information simply because it can, every citizen becomes a potential criminal.  We’re not at the Stasi stage yet, but our government is laying the groundwork for a Stasi society.  That’s an utterly terrifying thought.  We still can stop it now.  Once it’s in play, stopping it gets much, much harder to stop that fascist juggernaut.

***

Given the debacle that Obamacare is proving to be for Obama, the Democrats, and Progressivism generally, a reader sent me an email saying that we should be grateful for Chief Justice Roberts for allowing this disaster to unfold.  That email reminded me that, back in June 2012, when Chief Justice Roberts managed to salvage Obamacare, I wrote a post looking for lemonade in Roberts’ opinion and, once again, I was a bit prescient.  (And yes, I am mining many of my old posts as real-time events are showing that I predicted with a fair degree of accuracy everything from Obamacare, to the shifting alliances in the Middle East, to Obama’s meltdown when the real world intruded on his little narcissistic dream.)  It’s a long, wandering (and, of course, fascinating and insightful) post, but here’s the Chief Justice nub of it:

Roberts wrote the decision at the end of a 90 year continuum holding that Government fixes problems and the Supreme Court fixes Government.  This approach makes “We, the people” unnecessary.  Rather than elections being the corrective, the Court is the corrective — except that the Court’s make-up is controlled by the Government.  (Remember the Bork debacle?)

Roberts refused to play this game.  He slapped back the Democrats’ hands when it came to the Commerce Clause, telling them that the federal government cannot legislate inactivity.  And he held — quite correctly — that if there’s any possible way for the Court to salvage a law, it must do so.  His salvaging was to say that, this particular law, written in this particular way, with these particular controls over the people, can be salvaged by calling it a tax.  It’s an ugly decision, but probably a correct one.  And then he tossed the whole thing back to the American people.

I can just see Roberts’ thought-process (although he might have thought in more polite terms):  You idiots elected a Congress and president that used every kind of political chicanery known to man in order to pass the biggest tax in American history and one that, moreover, completely corrupts the free market system.  It’s not the Supreme Court’s responsibility to correct that kind of thing, provided that the judges can, as I did, find a smidgen of constitutionality in it.  There’s an election coming up in November.  Let’s hope you’ve wised up enough to figure out that my Supreme Court is returning power to “We, the people.”  We will not pull your chestnuts out of the fire.  We will not legislate from the bench.  We will construe things as narrowly as possible.  If you, the people, don’t like it, you, the people, elect different representatives.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, Ace wonders if Obama just gave the Supreme Court another bite at this rotten apple.

***

Power Line brought this AP headline to my attention:  “In Reversal, Obama to Allow Canceled Health Plans.” Who knew that a constitutionally appointed executive had the power to “allow” canceled health plans?

It was an especially interesting headline to read because, last night, I attended a panel discussion with AP reporters, photographers, and the editor in chief of the AP photograph department.  The purpose was to promote a new book of photographs that AP employees and stringers took during the Vietnam War:  Vietnam: The Real War: A Photographic History by the Associated Press.  It was an interesting event, although I’m sorry to say that they were boring speakers.  (It seems like an oxymoron, but they were boring speakers who offered some interesting content.)

One of the things the panelists kept saying is that they have so much integrity and are devoted to even-handedness in their subject matter and presentation.  We know that’s a joke when it comes to written coverage about domestic politics.  AP has been a Democrat shill since at least George W.’s administration.  But it’s also been a shill when it comes to photographs. Given their record, I have to admit that it was a bit difficult to listen to the panelists’ smug satisfaction about their higher calling, integrity, and even-handedness.

***

I like Deroy Murdock’s writing, so I liked his analysis of the Obamacare debacle.  It’s fun to read.  It doesn’t have the soaring schadenfreude of Jonah Goldberg’s instant classic, but it’s still darn good.

***

Speaking of good writing, Megan McArdle is at it again, this time pointing out in very polite, analytical language that Obama has taken on the behavior of a tyrant (not a word she uses, but it’s the gist):  The law is what Obama says the law is.  It’s probably worth thinking about the Snowden revelations as you read McArdle describe the way in which Obama usurps power.  The media is clucking, but not with any force; the Democrats are running or enabling; and the Republicans are in-fighting.  We’re seeing a weird, passive (even Weimar-ian) anarchy that creates room for a tyrant to breathe and grow.

***

I’m pleased to say that I never liked Oprah, so I’m not surprised to learn that she’s a race-baiting phony. Incidentally, to those who have mentioned in the comments that liberals are like beaten wives who keep coming back for more, Oprah is Exhibit A.  She destroyed her TV show by endorsing Obama, and he rewarded her by freezing her out of the White House.  So what does Oprah do?  She keeps crawling back, defending the man who used her and abused her.  I’m not sorry for her though.  Her racist venom makes pity impossible.

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Comments

  1. Charles Martel says

    I was reading some comments about Oprah on another blog and was happy to see that most commenters think the race card has pretty much been played out. It’s very much like the boy who cried wolf. When you get a pompous, privileged narcissist like Oprah braying about racism, it’s pretty easy now for even low-info people to sneer.

  2. Danny Lemieux says

    Book says, “What Snowden did do with his escapade was to remind us that, when government begins collecting every bit of information simply because it can, every citizen becomes a potential criminal.  We’re not at the Stasi stage yet, but our government is laying the groundwork for a Stasi society.  That’s an utterly terrifying thought.  We still can stop it now.  Once it’s in play, stopping it gets much, much harder to stop that fascist juggernaut.”
    “When Fascism comes to America, it will be called anti-Fascism!” – Huey Long
     

  3. Matt_SE says

    Your friend Sally Zelikovsky is a bit naive. (don’t get mad…that’s the generous interpretation)
    The establishment is happy to lose races if it means defeating Tea Party candidates. I haven’t read one, NOT ONE, admission from the establishment that they should’ve supported Cuccinelli. They aren’t sorry he lost for one second. And they’re perfectly happy with scorched-earth tactics: think Richard Lugar.
    Then you have the underhanded tactics of McConnell. The way he’s blacklisting anyone who works with TP, thereby cutting off funding. Reminds me of Obama and the IRS!
     
    Meanwhile, I have to listen to “moderates” like Krauthammer (who I generally like) tell me that “we all want the same things, we just have different tactics.” No…no, we don’t. The entrenched establishment types want lifelong tenure, and if they can’t have it then they’ll burn the house down. How many points on Sally’s list have they violated? I’ve lost count. But somehow, WE are the ones who need to capitulate.
    Screw that.
    So here’s the REALLY long-term game: primary the RINOs. If we lose the primary against someone particularly odious like McConnell, Graham or (eventually) McCain, then we vote for their Democrat opponent. At least when we’re stabbed, it’ll be in the front. Then, the cycle after that, get rid of the new Democrat.
     
    Continuing to run with a stable of entrenched fossils is just hoping for the best. Hope is not a plan. Hope is a sucker’s game.

  4. says

    (Intro Ymar: Those in America that have been fighting the Left since the 60s, it has been a long and weary battle. It seems no matter who you vote in, nothing ever changes except for the worse.
     Do you know why? Because you haven’t struck the Death Blow against the Left.)
     
    Sadie: Let’s add if he/she has unresolved childhood/personal issues that cloud judgment and he/she transfers the pathology of  rejection, anger and abandonment to politics. What if, there’s a body of dysfunctional politicians who seek power and position to feel adored and admired.
     What if … they are the embodiment of who runs for office?
    Ymar: Then you get rid of em.
    Sadie: Thought we had, more than once.  I’ve been voting since the 60′s. They’re like the evening tide…constant and at times threaten the shoreline.
    Ymar: You’re not getting rid of them. You’re getting rid of their lackeys. A difference.
     Ted Kennedy and Byrd has been in power for how long again? Union bosses, George Soros, and Code Pink, how long do you think they have been in power?
     
    Most of the Left’s power base doesn’t rest in their politicians. I would dare say that 50% of the Left’s power base rests within their urban fiefdoms, Chicago and elsewhere. Numerous organizations are not limited to urban cities, but their operations and resources come from there. Those like Soros isn’t based in the cities and thus they and the DC Democrat politicians constitute the other 50% of the power equation. Simply booting off politicians is the 3 monty game the Left conned the Republicans with. It isn’t even nearly half the pie here.
     
    Danny: George Soros…now there is a man who truly gives me an icy chill up and down my spine. That he has become the Godfather of the American Liberal/Left is all that one needs to know about them. He would make a good candidate for the anti-Christ.
     
    Mike Devx: Has there ever been one single Death Blow, in American politics, Ymar? (In reply to my intro comments)
    Ymar: The Declaration of Independence and the following US Constitution was indeed a deathblow against British tyranny. The reformation of the Constitution after the US Civil War was indeed a deathblow against slavery. Not against serfdom or racism, because the Democrat party wasn’t wiped out, but definitely a deathblow against slavery of blacks.
     Slavery has taken a new form now because people have allowed new laws and situations to develop. It is another kind of slavery, but not the kind seen in the past. That one got killed. Where there is life there is hope. The corollary also is, where evil lives, you got to keep on killing it cause so long as there is life, there will be evil.
    (Mike Devx then asked some questions and clarification results on my proposal.)
     
    Ymar: Class warfare is already here, whether we like it or not. Our choices are limited on this venue. If the welfare and political classes don’t surrender their power over the law and the bank accounts of other people, people will keep fighting.
     This is not a situation where everybody is going to benefit. Justice is not about giving people luxuries that they don’t deserve or have not earned. My plan will allow people to survive based upon what they need. For those that paid into the system, they will be paid back. As much as victims of ponzi schemes can be “paid back”. They can’t ask for money and a basic living stipend, while also demanding that I give them ever increasing political powers. Not going to happen if I’m at the table.
    (If I recall correctly, this was something I took a few days thinking about, since others at Bookworm Room were talking about how to constructively fix America, via Constitutional Amendments or what not. At the time, I had already concluded that civil war would be inevitable in the US in 20 years if Obama is elected in 2012, in 50 years if he is not re elected. The time stamp is 2010, May bookwormroom.com/2010/05/21/a-question-to-chew-on/)
    P.S. Right now, it should be easy to guess what I really meant by “getting rid of” them.
     
     

  5. Danny Lemieux says

    Ymar, I agree with you regarding Soros. This man’s soul was forged in the horror of WWII. Why can’t people see that?
     
    Matt_SE – I agree with you regarding the fecklessness and self-dealing of the Republican establishment, but the flaw in your thinking is that by allowing Democrats to be elected, you can simply vote them out of office the next time.
     
    I believe that the Democrats are dangerously close to forging a one-party oligarchical state enforced by State bureaucratic institutions (IRS, EPA, DHS, etc.) the way they did in Chicago and as the Peronistas did in Argentina. Believe me, there is no way to oppose the Democrats in Chicago (soon to be known as “Detroit West”): this is where Obama learned his game. Hopefully, Obamacare is derailing their plans.
     
    I will oppose the RINOs in the primaries but not the general elections: half a loaf is better than no loaf. I consider every non-vote for a Republican in the general elections as a vote for a fascist utopian society.

  6. Mike Devx says

    Danny, you say in #6:
    I will oppose the RINOs in the primaries but not the general elections: half a loaf is better than no loaf. I consider every non-vote for a Republican in the general elections as a vote for a fascist utopian society.
     
    I understand your points, really I do, and I was with you for years.  But I just cannot do it anymore.  I can’t support the half-a-loaf GOP.
     
    The problem for me is that they don’t make anything better.  All they do is make things worse, but a slower pace than the Democrats.  They never speak passionately about any core conservative principles.  That is because they do not really believe in any of those core conservative principles.  We should be seeing real passion against ObamaCare right now.  Thundering Oratory!  ”This does not work!  It cannot work!  We have told you this and we will continue telling you this!  The disasters are only beginning!”  
     
    Does this represent anything that is deserving of actual support with your vote?  Or is it a false choice?
     
    Republican behavior:   The house is on fire.  The Democrat response is to hurl gasoline everywhere.  The Republican response is to open the windows.  Either way, they don’t fight the fire; they increase it.  Both leave your house in cinders.  The Democrats in half an hour, the Republicans in two.  Is that the choice?  I’m going to vote for the GOP, because then my house gets destroyed more slowly.
     
    My choice as a voter:  As a woman, which boyfriend would you keep?  The one who abuses you nightly with his fists, or the one who sexually abuses your ten year old daughter every night?  I’d humbly suggest that the answer should be, neither.
     
    I just can’t do it anymore.  I can’t vote for people just because they will do harm, but more slowly.  If it is half a loaf, well, it’s half a loaf that’s been sitting out on the counter for months, is rock hard and stale and bursting with all kinds of interesting multi-colored bacterial growths that will sicken you if you eat it.
     

  7. Matt_SE says

    Danny Lemiuex — “I agree with you regarding the fecklessness and self-dealing of the Republican establishment, but the flaw in your thinking is that by allowing Democrats to be elected, you can simply vote them out of office the next time.”
     
    1) The problem with RINOs goes way beyond their fecklessness.
    A) By suggesting statist-light policies (Bush 43, Romney) they implicate the rest of the party. How many times have Medicare part D and Romneycare been thrown in our faces? Conservatives supported neither of these positions, but were hamstrung because they were the legacy of RINOs.
    B) RINOs are worse than feckless; they are actively attacking conservatives and conservatism. Why they are doing this is immaterial (fools, or knaves?). McConnell is blacklisting any group that works with conservatives in an attempt to dry up their pools of money and talent. This is insidious. The Chamber of Commerce (a big-government crony group) is pushing hard for immigration reform when the voter base has clearly said they don’t want it. This, at a time when Democrats are self-destructing. Oh, they’ve also declared that they will oppose Tea Party candidates.
    Before the 2012 elections, I was all “kumbaya”…let’s all pull together and reverse the socialist takeover. After the elections, I decided that the goals of conservatism couldn’t be advanced while RINOs were stabbing us in the back. As stated above, the Democrats are imploding… the very idea of “big government” is imploding. The only thing that can rescue them is if the RINOs PISS OFF the base so much that we can’t vote for a Republican. And they’re certainly trying…
     
    2) “…you can['t] simply vote them out of office the next time.” The Democrats were always a symptom, the effect of a deluded body politic that thought it could vote itself money without cost. Every other scandal in this horrific administration hasn’t affected the individual voter; Obamacare is different. Voters are now getting an education. Any elected Dems from now on will have to move to the right, making them indistinguishable from RINOs. If they don’t they will be replaced. The difference is that we can point out the Dems, we have a harder time nailing down the RINOs. I’d rather face an invading army than a 5th column.
    Also, I’m only advocating this tactic for the worst RINOs. People like Chris Christie are as conservative as we’ll ever get in NJ, so he can stay. McConnell from Kentucky? Not so much.
    At any rate, once an example is made of McConnell the rest of the cowards should fall into line. If we can defeat the minority leader, what hope do any of the rest of them stand?

  8. says

    When a system becomes a false choice between two things, you need to break up the monopoly of power, take back the throne, and get rid of the evil.
     
    If early Americans could get rid of slavery and the British, when later Americans are satisfied with the choice between slavery and serfdom, then this means the system of liberty no longer deserves to exist. Because it’s not free any more. Nobody is willing to fight for it, so it doesn’t exist.
     
    The monopoly of power that exists at the top, forcing people to Obey, and providing no real solution in the short or long term, is an unsustainable situation. Civil war is inevitable given these environmental settings. Coincidentally, to get rid of the power monopoly, also requires a civil war. Isn’t that nice.
     
    While many people shun and are afraid of war, thinking it would be bad. The worst case scenario isn’t actually war, but totalitarian peace. Like North Korea. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it.
     
     

  9. says

    “The Democrats were always a symptom, the effect of a deluded body politic that thought it could vote itself money without cost.”
     
    They aren’t symptoms. They are the disease. Or rather they are AIDS and all the voters voting themselves money is the common cold that ends up killing the host.
     
    If you don’t recognize the existence of the Left’s power infrastructure… you’re not going to do anything against them. Which means the voters will never do what you think they will, because they are merely Leftist tools, zombies, and weapons. They don’t think for themselves, so you poking them with a stick doesn’t engender the expected reaction.

  10. Matt_SE says

    Ymarsakar: ”They don’t think for themselves, so you poking them with a stick doesn’t engender the expected reaction.”
     
    What I expect voters to do is act like the selfish bastards they are. When hit in their own wallets, I expect them to squeal. As I said over at Neo-Neocon, “even a flatworm knows to turn away from pain.”
    If voters don’t react negatively to Obamacare’s assault on their own personal space, then the country is over. We only have to wait one year to find out.

  11. Danny Lemieux says

    I agree with Ymarsaker. It is one thing to feel pain, it is another to identify the source of that pain. Too many people will let the Democrat Media do it for them.

  12. Danny Lemieux says

    Matt_SE and MikeD…again, I agree with you in regard to what I want from my body politic. I am on the Tea Party side of the libertarian-conservative spectrum. However, I also live in Chicago which is a one-party state and will remain so, as the political machinery is fully entrenched in a manner that crushes opposition. Consider what is happening in Wisconsin: 
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304799404579155953286552832?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop
    The Democrat party has become a fascist party…they will do to the country what they have done to Chicago. You appear to believe that by holding out for a more perfect Republican opposition, you can patiently force the Republican party to change its ways. I do believe that we can make a better Republican party. But what we don’t have is time. We are on the brink of losing our ability to change our country via the ballot box altogether.  Six more years of Democrat rule and it won’t matter what you believe anymore. Their political machinery will be in place. YOU (and I) won’t matter anymore.

  13. says

    Republican politicians can no more be expected to hate their Democrat peers in DC than we can expect Book to hate her husband because of his politics. What about you in the audience over there, are you going to hate and try to wage war on your Democrat friends, family, and relatives? If not, who is anyone to tell the Republicans to do it to their peers?
     
    It’s not sustainable. People need to get a grip on reality, for as little a good as it will do.

  14. says

    “If voters don’t react negatively to Obamacare’s assault on their own personal space, then the country is over. We only have to wait one year to find out.”
     
    Voters in Reconstruction South did react negatively. By blaming the war on Lincoln, blacks, federal power, and so forth. Why don’t you look up how solid the “South” was during and after Reconstruction and for how long. Did the “negatives” back then cause the Democrats to lose power?
     
    What about for the black middle class, did getting broken by Democrats and their welfare make them vote Republican or make them hate Democrats? As we can see, the opposite happened.
     
    Pain is not something that automatically turns people to wisdom. If anything, it is used more often by evil to program more zombies and destroy individual free will via torture. Those that cannot imagine its uses… have no idea what they are facing here.

  15. Matt_SE says

    “Why don’t you look up how solid the “South” was during and after Reconstruction and for how long. Did the “negatives” back then cause the Democrats to lose power?”
     
    These were the “bitter clingers” of their day. The south was defeated; they didn’t matter. You never completely defeat the other side. The only thing that matters is which way the country is trending.
    After all, we once had a progressive president elected to four terms…Republicans were in the wilderness for decades, but eventually made a comeback when people got tired of the other side. Big Government is not sustainable (just ask Venezuelans!), so it won’t be sustained.
     
    To borrow a phrase from our leftist “friends”: history is on our side.

  16. Matt_SE says

    Many moved to the north, and for the rest Jim Crow was whittled down over time. Had it been up to the south, literal slavery would have persisted.
    As I said, what the south wanted didn’t matter.

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