When it comes to selling Obamacare, Democrats are certain that it’s not the steak, it’s the sizzle

juicy-steakThe old advertising adage holds that “It’s not the sizzle, it’s the steak.”  Rightly or wrongly, I’ve understood this to mean that, even if a brilliant advertising campaign gets a product into consumer’s homes, if the first purchasers end up not liking the product, you’re not going to get a second wave of purchasers.  Instead, you’ll get a second little swell, followed by a trickle, followed by nothing but a dead-in-the-water product.

Eugene Robinson, however, who has been one of Obamacare’s most stalwart cheerleaders, thinks sizzle is all one needs when it comes to evaluating Obamacare’s merits and popularity.  In a rah-rah column celebrating Obamacare’s triumph, Robinson boasts about how the numbers of uninsured have decreased by millions.  (For purposes of this post, we’ll ignore that when it comes to Obamacare most of the millions who bought Obamacare on the exchanges were the previously insured who were kicked off their beloved policies by . . . Obamacare.  We’ll also ignore the fact that people didn’t voluntarily step up to buy this sizzling new government product; they were forced to do so.  And lastly, we’ll also ignore that the largest number of new insureds are now covered under Medicaid, which isn’t real insurance.  Picayune details, right?):

new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that, despite all the problems with the HealthCare.gov Web site launch, 12 million people who previously lacked insurance will obtain coverage this year. By 2017, the year Obama leaves office, the CBO predicts that an additional 14 million uninsured will have managed to get coverage .

And so it goes for another 14 boastful paragraphs:  The numbers don’t lie!  More people have insurance!  Republicans are mean-spirited idiots!  (Robinson is writing for the WaPo, so his language is more refined than that, but the point is the same.)  What I didn’t see anywhere in Robinson’s victory dance was a discussion about the steak behind the sizzle.

Yes, people have dug deep into their pockets to buy mandatory sizzle.  But by pretty significant numbers, these purchasers don’t seem thrilled with the product.  The previously insured, having been forced into the system as official subsidizers, have come face-to-face with the Obamacare steak behind the sizzle and learned that Obamacare is a maggot-ridden, rotten piece of gristly meat.  Their insurance premiums and deductibles have sky-rocketed and their doctors have waved them goodbye.  The really sick ones, the ones who used to survive thanks to a carefully-built, delicate infrastructure of special doctors and hospitals, have found themselves flung, communist-style, back into the general ward.

Nor is there any indication that America’s poverty-stricken sick people are benefitting from the middle-class subsidizers’ downgrade to Castro-style medical care.  I pointed out a few weeks ago that the word from the trenches is that the really poor have no intention of changing their ways.  They like that they pay nothing per month (as opposed to a low, subsidized fee), and they’d rather get the best doc at the ER instead of the worst doc at the regular clinic.  In other words, nobody wins, but the middle class loses.

Robinson seems quite convinced that the American people will be so happy that they have insurance that they won’t care that they don’t have the health insurance to go with it.  The Obama administration, having forced upon them the sizzle, can go home happy without providing the steak.

Is Robinson right?  Have our American expectations become so low that we’re happy merely to own a product, never mind that it doesn’t work as promised?  Are we so desperately afraid of being castigated as some sort of “ist” or “phobic” (racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic) that we will no longer protest when our representatives provide us with fraud and bad service?

Currently, the greatest threat to small government is the rising numbers of illegal immigrants who Democrats hope will create a permanent lock in the Democrat vote.  (And the RINOs go along because the Chamber of Commerce wants cheap labor.)  The current guesstimate seems to be that, if amnesty passes, Democrats will get about 8 million newly-minted, locked-in-Democrat formerly illegal alien voters.  This 8 million number works, though, only if other Americans continue to stay home.

Think about it:  As of 2012, America had around 313 million people, of whom about 126.5 million turned out in 2012, a presidential election year.  In 2008, best estimates were that there were about 227 million Americans who could have voted.  (I couldn’t find 2012 numbers on potential voters, but I assume they’re similar.)  In other words, around 100 million people stayed home in 2012.

Are all of these “stay at homes” Democrat voters?  Or are there tens of millions of latent Republican voters staying home?  (We know Evangelicals retreated to their homes on election days after the 80s ended.)

If the majority of non-voters like our country as it was (individual freedom, not government servitude), and wish that it could be that way again, are the events we’re facing sufficient to rouse them?  If that giant can be awakened, the 8 million “bought and paid for” illegal immigrant votes will be as nothing.

Or more cruelly, are the 100 million silent Americans silent because they truly don’t care?  Are they are so sedated with their  continuous pop culture diet (a la the proles in 1984), that nothing can rouse them.

When I heard Trevor Loudon speak, he correctly said that Republicans don’t win votes by trying to convince Independents to side with them.  Instead, they win votes by exciting their base, because an excited base becomes a parade, and others want to join in.  That’s why he suggested that whoever wins the Republican primaries, or — even better — whoever’s even thinking of entering the primaries, boast a full ticket, from president down to the last cabinet member, that offers something to everyone in the base.

I continue to think that’s a brilliant idea, although I’m not invested in the ticket he proposes.  It’s enough that we offer a package, not a lone man whom the drive-by media will savage.  I do wonder, though, whether an exciting package, coupled with a hunk of fetid, rotten, maggoty Obamasteak, will rouse the sleeping 100 million Americans who can’t usually be bothered to get to the polling booth.  And if those two things — a dynamic ticket and a horrifying “fundamental change to America” — are enough only to sway the malleable independents, rather than to reach the stay-at-homes, will the independents’ numbers be sufficient to beat back, not just the 8 million illegals, but the predictable votes from dead people and those with multiple personalities.

All of which gets me back to Robinson’s article:  Is his confidence that sizzle is enough to declare Obamacare a success the result of cognitive dissonance and denial, or does Robinson have a much more accurate reading of the American people than conservatives do?

 

These feet were made for dancing: Charlie and Jackie, still doing the “Shag” after 30 years

Clearly, I’m in a video mood today, as well as a dance mood.  It therefore seemed entirely appropriate when this video appeared on my Facebook feed.  Before you watch, you might want to know what you’re seeing:

The type of dance they are performing is called Shag. This phenomenon was found in the 1950s by Billy Jeffers and “Chicken” Hicks in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Shag clubs have sprung up from Baltimore to Miami totaling in over 100 clubs. ShagAtlanta, the club Charlie and Jackie belong to, was established in 1989 with the merger of two metropolitan Atlanta shag clubs, the North Atlanta Beach Club and the Atlanta Beach Club. Each year thousands of shaggers get together for the Shag Festival to celebrate Shag.

Monday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWe always hear about countries or communities that are suffering from brain drain.  I’m not sure if brain drain can ever be defined down to an individual level but, if it can, I’ve got it.  Insomnia always leaves me with fewer brain cells the next day.  Still, there’s interesting stuff out there, and here I am to share it with you.

I’ve never been a fan of ostentatious wealth.  I’m happy shopping at Target and Costco, and I find embarrassing the lavish annual vacations we take.  Having said that, I find even more embarrassing this San Francisco-based guy who apologized for his ostentatious display of Google glasses, which was, he believes, the root cause for his being mugged and the glasses being destroyed before his eyes.

Thomas Lifson says it will be interesting to see this Progressive civil war play out, and posits that conservatives might be able to take advantage of it.  Certainly, it will be good if they neutralize each other.  My only comment is to ask why, in Progressive-land, it’s okay for a mugging victim to say that it was his fault — he was asking for it — by wearing ostentatious technology, but it’s not okay tell young women that it’s stupid to get sh*t-faced on alcohol, which is often a predicate to morning-after regrets that are then reclassified as rape?  

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Ron Christie points out that crying “race” is the last refuge of a failed Democrat party.  Failed, yes, but still mighty powerful, especially when its opposition is strong on ideas, but weak on organization.

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Yes, the economic sky is falling.  We’ll all be speaking Greek soon.

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More to follow so check back in a while….

The way “Saving Mr. Banks” ought to have gone

I didn’t like Saving Mr. Banks, which I thought could more accurately have been called “Walt Disney’s Revenge.”  It’s obvious that, by the early 1960s, P.L. Travers was a deeply disturbed woman.  Contemporaneous records (including the tapes that Travers insisted be made of her talks with the Disney people) reveal that Walt Disney showed great charm and kindness in dealing with her, so that reflects well on Walt.  However, a movie that has Emma Thompson, a talented mimic, portraying the damaged Travers wasn’t my cup of tea.  I think I would have liked this version better:

My annual Passover post, updated for 2014

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.  God, he says, is a serial killer, because he unilaterally escalated a situation to the point where thousands had to die.

Some people have tried to explain away this part of the Passover narrative 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. No one will get spiritually or intellectually excited if Moses asks, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh answers “Sure.” That’s a narrative without much punch or heroism, and God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting. Narrative tension, according to this explanation, demands 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 God’s approach to 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: there was surely consternation at Pharaoh’s court, which led Pharaoh to think about freeing the pesky Jewish slaves, but once life returned to normal, Pharaoh’s tyrannical instincts again kicked in.  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 the risk to him from a populace starving and frightened, but that possible risk was immediately irrelevant as long as that same populace still proved willing to fear and worship him. The people’s suffering, ultimately, was irrelevant to his power over the land and his ability to maintain that power. It was only when the price became too high to Pharaoh personally — when Pharaoh’s laborers, and money men, and soldiers, and slaves, and courtiers, and perhaps even his own family members died — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, that his own survival required that he 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 of Hitler’s reprisal or because its members were caught in the grip of their own insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see Germany country overrun and her Aryan citizens killed. Only when the death toll became too high, when  it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, and when the guns were aimed directly at their own heads, did the German high command surrender.

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 loss of 100,000 Americans and many more than 100,000 Japanese; or an immediate end 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 ordinary Germans (among whom was my dear cousin from the goyishe side of my family), whom the Nazis had long ago designated as cannon fodder to support their intensely evil regime.

The German and Japanese examples make manifest 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.

I wrote the above words several years ago during Iran’s green revolution, when Iranian citizens took to the streets to rebel against their brutish, oppressive regime.  Aided in part by our own President Obama’s tight-lipped silence, the mullahs were unmoved by their own people’s suffering.  As long as the mullahs could retain power, their people’s suffering was irrelevant and, indeed, had to increased to reinforce the idea that the only return on rebellion is pain, not freedom.

Iran may be quiet now (although people are pushing at the regime more and more, not by suffering, but through joy, which is anathema to sharia’s overwrought puritanism), but we have so many other examples of tyrannical leaders who are willing to preside over a growing mountain of bodies as long as the leadership remains isolated from the physical and emotional consequences of its action.  Syria’s Assad doesn’t care that more than 100,000 of his people have died or that polio is killing a generation.  He still lives in his palace.  North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un will commit any atrocities against his own people provided that he can retain his power.  They are the modern-day Pharaohs.

Even here at home, one can argue in less apocalyptic tones that our president, who is one of the wealthiest men in America, doesn’t care that his actions have ensured the longest recession since the Carter years, the highest unemployment since the Carter years, the most unstable world in terms of national security since the Carter years or even the 1930s, the most serious divisiveness amongst the American people since the Civil War, etc.   Sheltered in the White House, listening to the adulation of the glitterati in Hollywood and the New York/D.C. media, he is unaffected by the plagues affecting ordinary Americans.  And as long as he is unaffected, he will harden his heart to the cries of his people begging for relief from perpetually failed economic policies, weak national leadership, porous borders, socialized medicine, militarized government agencies, etc.  If Obama seems as if he doesn’t care about the people’s suffering . . . it’s because he doesn’t.

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, small plagues are 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 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.”

Hashem yinkom damo/Hashem yinkom dama (May Hashem avenge the blood of the three killed in Kansas City today) *UPDATED*

We’re fortunate in America that anti-Semitic violence is not the norm (although it is the most common anti-religious violence in America), but it still happens.  Evil doesn’t need a reason, but so often evil finds its justification in antisemitism.  Today, an elderly man, his 14-year-old grandson, and an unrelated woman died violently solely because they were Jewish.

I hope that they rest in peace, and I very much hope that there is some divine retribution, not just for the man who carried out those acts, but for all the people around the world who remain wedded to violent antisemitism.  You don’t have to like the Jews — just as I don’t have to like you — but you don’t get to kill the Jews just because you don’t like them, just as I do not get to kill you, whoever or whatever you are, just because I don’t like you.  In a righteous world, we’re allowed bad feelings, but not  bad acts.

UPDATE:  Irony seems like the wrong word for the fact that neither William Lewis Corporon, nor his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, was Jewish. The style of their deaths still makes them martyrs to antisemitism and the fact of their deaths still makes for a painful, incomprehensible tragedy for their family and friends.

The Leftist obsession with gender roles extends even to stain removal

Dirty laundryI know you’re desperately curious to get to the stain removal part of this post, but you’ll have to bear with me as I first work my way through the Leftist obsession with gender roles and the Leftist denial about biologically programmed gender roles before I finally get to the dirty laundry.

Although I’m trained as a lawyer, for the last few years, I’ve mostly been a stay-at-home Mom.  I worked part-time as a lawyer through 2008, but the recession caused my clients to go away and they haven’t come back.  Last year, I spent a few months blogging full-time, but that was very difficult because I’m married to a man, who regardless of whether I earn money, wants me to be entirely responsible for the traditional feminine role in the house.  In other words, he wants a June Cleaver.  That’s not quite accurate. What he really wants is a life partner who is both a Ward and a June. I tried to do that for several years (and again last year), I decided I didn’t want an early grave that badly. Fortunately, my husband is a very hard worker (which is why I don’t mind being June to his Ward), and we are able to live on his salary.

My husband is rather extreme in his sexual role stratification, insofar as he won’t do any work related to the house.  Throughout our neighborhood, though, even amongst the working families, it’s the women who do the laundry.  They’re also the ones who cook on a regular basis, although the man may cook periodically, cook for special occasions, or help clean up.  The neighborhood women also do the bulk of housecleaning, although the men are more likely to take out the garbage and take care of the garden and garage. Those women who can stop working and focus solely on home and children have done so (as I have).

Part of the reason for the men’s lesser contribution to the house in my neighborhood is that they tend to work longer hours.  Yes, ours is the classic neighborhood in which working women earn less per hour than the men, because they’ve made the conscious decision — invariably because of children — to work part-time, flex-time, or “merely” full-time (40 hours, compared to the men’s 60, 70, or 80 hour work weeks).

I’ve heard grumbling from both men and women in the neighborhood, all of whom occasionally feel as if they’ve gotten the short end of the deal. On the whole, though, everyone recognizes that their various accommodations, although they may not be personally satisfying, work best for the family unit.  More specifically, they work best for the children.  I do know of two house husband situations that have been extremely successful, but they’re the exception, not the rule. From what I see, the average family falls in the traditional roles if at all possible:  mom at home, dad at the office.  That’s just the way it is.

The reason for this long rumination is twofold.  First, I’m thinking about these things because of the ridiculous Claire Shipman-Jay Carney puff piece in Washingtonian magazine, which has been roundly, soundly, and appropriately targeted because of the Soviet propaganda wall art; the ludicrously Photoshopped books, clearly intended to make the Shipman-Carneys look intellectual; and a carb-loaded diet that would have heads exploding among Michelle Obama’s food police.

At Power Line, John Hinderaker points out one other thing that lies in the text, not the images:  the article’s main point is that Shipman and Carney have such a wonderful partnership because she made the decision to put her career on the slow burner, so that he could work 12 hour days.  Of course, the way this is written, it’s not about a beleaguered little lady staying home, barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, because of male chauvinism.  The focus, instead, is on Shipman’s empowerment:

“Balancing Act” is written with the usual cloying feminist slant. The news hook, to the extent there is one, is a book that Claire Shipman has co-authored called The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know:

Their book posits that while confidence—rather than competence—plays a key role in female success, particularly in the workplace, many women lack this critical ingredient. …

Many women possess a deep-seated fear of being wrong or embarrassed, which prevents them from taking risks. Risk-taking is important, in part because it can lead to failure—and surviving failure, they say, is essential to building resilience and confidence.

“How often in life do we avoid doing something because we think we’ll fail?” the pair ask. “And how often might we actually have triumphed if we had just decided to give it a try?” They advocate “failing fast,” a tech buzzword that is the ideal paradigm for building female confidence. Take a small risk, fail, learn from it, and move on. Men are more comfortable taking risks, and tend to more easily shrug off failure. Women, on the other hand, stew, worry, ruminate, and second-guess themselves.

Men, of course, don’t mind being embarrassed at all. They don’t worry, they just plunge ahead, full of self-confidence. And failure? It doesn’t bother us a bit! We shrug it off! As a man, you don’t know how easy you have it until you read feminist tracts.

[snip]

And yet Carney’s own experience illustrates how silly the Democrats’ claims are. Shipman has worked part-time for the last five years to spend more time with her young children. Carney, meanwhile, leaves for the White House at 7:25 a.m. and tries to get home by 8:00 in the evening. As in most families, it is his wife who takes time out from her career to focus on children, and who devotes more time to her family: “Flexibility, she says, is what most working mothers really want.”

Even Obama’s closet associates put the lie to his blatant, hackneyed canard about women earning 77 cents on the dollar, as well as explaining the reasoning behind women’s slightly lower earning power:  given the choice, women want to be home caring for the children and men want that too.  It’s the triumph of biology over experience.

So that’s one article that got me thinking about gender roles in my home and my computer.  The other one was an NPR Fresh Air interview with a gal who has advice for getting stains out of things.  Her advice is very good.  If you’re in charge of keeping things clean in your house, I highly recommend it — but do be prepared to laugh as guest Jolie Kerr and host Terry Gross try desperately to assure any men listening that they’re not going to lose their man-card if they don’t immediately turn off the interview.

Before I get to their rhetorical contortions, let me assure you that Kerr isn’t writing like some coy 1920s “advice for the housewife” columnist.  That is, she’s not saying, “When you clean your husband’s clothes, you’re telling the world you love him.  You don’t want him to head off for work with ring around the collar and sweat stains under the arms.  Every woman needs to know these laundry tricks to take care of her man.”  Instead, Kerr just says “for X stain, do Y treatment.”  Gender-neutral, stain-killing advice.  Apparently, though, both Kerr and Gross were pretty damn sure they needed to reassure the male listeners in their audience — college educated Democrats who must have a sneaking suspicion that, notwithstanding the amount of sex the hook-up culture has given them, they’ve somehow sacrificed their core masculinity at the feminist altar:

GROSS: And I should say you address the column to men and women. You are not making the assumption that it is women who do the cleaning.

KERR: Absolutely I am not, no, no, no. I write for both men and women. It’s very important for me to that. It was actually one of the reasons that I moved my column away from its original home into a place where I could be writing for both a male and a female audience. I personally view cleaning as a human problem, not a gendered problem. I would not be interested in only writing for a female audience and to continue to reinforce the notion that cleaning is women’s work. I just don’t see it that way at all.

[snip]

GROSS: OK. Now in talking about these stains you mentioned underarm stains from sweat and deodorant, and we have two people on our show who wanted to know about that. One is a woman, Heidi Saman, and the other is a man, John Myers, and they’re especially interested in white T-shirts and white shirts. So what advice do you have for getting out sweat and deodorant underarm stains?

KERR: Sure thing. Well, the first thing I want to say is that I love that both a man and a woman asked that. It’s actually probably my number one question, both from men and women, total equality when it comes to pit stains.

(LAUGHTER)

KERR: Which is great. I think that that is a wonderful, wonderful thing when we can start showing that…

GROSS: Equality at last.

Yes!  ”Equality at last.”  Exactly what I was thinking . . . NOT.

Jonah Goldberg offers an interesting take on the Left’s escalating hunt for heretics

People_burned_as_hereticsPart of the Left’s ongoing hunt for heretics arises for a simple, pragmatic reason: it ensures that people with opposing views keep their mouths shut. That pragmatic fact, though, doesn’t mean that there isn’t an additional emotional layer giving real satisfaction to the troops who carry out the elite’s marching orders. Jonah Goldberg, who has spent a lot of time thinking about liberal pieties, offers this interesting take on the Left’s recent escalation of its witchhunts:

But while I was prepping for the speech, I read some reviews of Jody [Joseph] Bottum’s new book (which I’ve now ordered). In, An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, Bottum argues that today’s liberal elites are the same liberal elites that we’ve always had. They come from the ranks of mainline Protestants that have run this country for generations (with some fellow-travelling Jews and Catholics, to be sure). But there’s a hitch. They champion a

social gospel, without the gospel. For all of them, the sole proof of redemption is the holding of a proper sense of social ills. The only available confidence about their salvation, as something superadded to experience, is the self-esteem that comes with feeling they oppose the social evils of bigotry and power and the groupthink of the mob.

This strikes me as pretty close to exactly right. They’re still elitist moralizers but without the religious doctrine. In place of religious experience, they take their spiritual sustenance from self-satisfaction, often smug self-satisfaction.

One problem with most (but not all) political religions is that they tend to convince themselves that their one true faith is simply the Truth. Marxists believed in “scientific socialism” and all that jazz. Liberalism is still convinced that it is the sole legitimate worldview of the “reality-based community.”

There’s a second problem with political religions, though. When reality stops cooperating with the faith, someone must get the blame, and it can never be the faith itself. And this is where the hunt for heretics within and without begins.

Think about what connects so many of the controversies today: Mozilla’s defenestration of Brendan Eich, Brandeis’ disinviting of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the IRS scandal, Hobby Lobby, Sisters of Mercy, the notion climate skeptics should be put in cages, the obsession with the Koch brothers, not to mention the metronomic succession of assclownery on college campuses. They’re all about either the hunting of heretics and dissidents or the desire to force adherence to the One True Faith.

It’s worth noting that the increase in these sorts of incidents is not necessarily a sign of liberalism’s strength. They’re arguably the result of a crisis of confidence.

To use a household analogy, I point out to my children that those of their peers who are happy and self-confident never bully people. Instead, they bring people in. Indeed, oone of my daughter’s friends is the perfect example of this, a sunny soul whose very real popularity rests on the fact that it’s a pleasure to be in his company. It’s only unhappy, self-doubting people who take it upon themselves to make other people’s lives miserable.

In the world of school, I tell my children (a) these kids are more to be pity than censured; but (b) to stay away from them. In the real world, I hope I’m still big enough to pity the anger, fear, and self-loathing that drives the Left but, to the extent they make it impossible to stay away from their reach, they need to be confronted and their policies destroyed.

The other offensive thing about that Shipman-Carney photo

I have mentioned before that I have the smartest readers.  I got more proof of that today:

Recently Drudge and American Thinker had articles on the Jay Carney and Claire Shipman household having old Soviet propaganda posters displayed in their kitchen/great room.

That’s not what stunned me. What caught my eye was the amount of food displayed on the counter for breakfast for a family of four. Good Grief!! What a carb overload! and the amount of butter! I realized that this was a staged photo but still…….

According to the administration 1 in 6 are hungry, 50 million or so are on food stamps, etc,, etc, etc. Aren’t we told about starving Americans every day and how we must sacrifice to help them? Isn’t this picture insensitive to those who don’t have enough to eat? Or eat that well?

Not to mention Michelle O’s campaign to “persuade” Americans to eat natural and healthy. The only healthy things I see are the strawberries (pricey), the orange juice (pricey), and the egg (notice that it’s brown, ergo probably free range or otherwise organic, and pricey.)

If this picture featured a conservative couple instead of a liberal power couple, can you imagine the outrage that would ensue?

Well, now that you mention it….

Shipman and Carney

Howard Stern doesn’t like communists either

My earlier post about Trevor Loudon’s talk pivoted on the fact that communists are bad and that Democrats are communists.  What I didn’t know is that maverick talk show host Howard Stern said much the same recently.  This poster is a slightly abbreviated version of what he said, but it’s 100% accurate in all important respects:

Howard Stern Democrats are Communists

Here’s Stern’s whole statement, which he made at the end of February 2014.

(Hat tip:  Caped Crusader)

A revolutionary idea to win the White House and save the world

Trevor_Loudon_2_small[UPDATE:  Because I have some of the smartest readers in the world (and yes, maybe I'm a little biased), may I strongly recommend that you read not just my post, but their comments, which raise objections and suggestions.]

Last night, I got to hear Trevor Loudon, the New Zealander who believes, as Ronald Reagan did, that America is truly a shining city on a Hill and the world’s last, best hope against global totalitarian rule.  It is this belief that has taken Trevor from his once quiet life in New Zealand to America, on an endless round of research and talks, all aimed at convincing ordinary Americans that their country is at risk (as is the world’s security), but that Americans can turn it around and revitalize a constitutional America.

Trevor’s talk was eye-opening and exciting.  He devoted the first quarter of his talk to detailing how significant numbers of Congress people are currently members of communist organizations or were once open communists (who, significantly, have never repented and reformed).  In the second quarter of his talk, Trevor explained the communist long game, one that started in the 1960s or before, which enabled communists to infiltrate and co-opt American institutions. In the third quarter, Trevor got started on amnesty, which is the Left’s single most important initiative. Finally, when we were all completely depressed, Trevor offered the most revolutionary idea I’ve ever heard for winning the White House in 2016 (but we have to start working on it now, or maybe yesterday.)

I’ll never be able to replicate Trevor’s passion, knowledge, or oratorical brilliance, but I can offer you a short summary of each part of his talk. I urge you to read this entire post, because it will inform you and inspire you in ways you may not have previously imagined.  If you can’t wait to see what the idea is, just scroll down, because I’ve marked clearly where I’ve spelled out Trevor’s revolutionary idea for re-taking the White House.

The communists in Congress: It’s become fashionable of late to deny that communism still exists (“Communists? Hah! It’s just a handful of Russian KGB agents and a few old hippies in San Francisco. Even China isn’t communist any more.”)

Alternatively, scoffers will acknowledge that communism is still around, but assure people (especially ignorant, vulnerable young people) that it’s essentially harmless. This latter argument effectively erases the 20th century, along with the murder and enslavement of tens of millions of people behind the Iron Curtain, in China, in Vietnam, in Cambodia, and in Cuba, not to mention large swathes of Latin America and Africa. Modern communists, we’re told, are just nice people who want to save us from the economic depredations of capitalists as well as the moral and social slavery of traditionalists, especially religious traditionalists.

Because we’ve been told for the past four decades that American communism is a harmless chimera, we currently have 51 House members and 14 Senators all with strong, documented Communist ties. As Trevor said, while these people couldn’t pass the FBI investigation necessary to become a janitor at Fort Hood, the fact that they won an election (often through fraud and voter manipulation), means that they were able to walk right through the front door of our government. They now hold the levers of power controlling taxes, the military, national security, the border, education, etc. They dictate government policy and their goal is antithetical to the America created under the Constitution. Rather than being a government of limited powers, they are working to create a government of absolute powers.

Many of the names Trevor recited will be familiar to you because the media routinely gives them a lot of airtime to explain why Progressive plans (which are just re-labeled communist ideas) are good for America: Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Charles Rangel, Sheila Jackson Lee, etc. — they’re all on the list. You can read about these people in Trevor’s newest book, THE ENEMIES WITHIN: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress. There, Trevor provides detailed evidence documenting Congress peoples’ ties to communist groups, communist front groups, communist individuals, and communist liaisons.

Even Trevor acknowledges that it makes one sound like a conspiracy theorist to call all these serving members of Congress communists or fellow travelers, but the documentation is there. This isn’t a case in which Trevor is trying to convince a room of people wearing tinfoil hats that “Nancy Pelosi was in San Francisco on July 7, 1967, a mere four days after Mr. Communist Bigshot gave a speech in Minneapolis in which he said, ‘July is a great month in San Francisco, because it’s not so hot,’ which was clearly a coded reference telling her to subvert more of America’s youth by selling acid in Haight Ashbury.” That kind of imaginary dots connecting invisible lines is true conspiracy stuff and Trevor doesn’t traffic in that garbage.

Instead, what Trevor offers are verifiable facts:  Membership records and newsletters from openly communist organizations or communist-front groups, decades-long close associations between Congress people and open members of the Communist Party, etc. No imaginary dots or invisible lines here. These are cold, hard, very unpleasant facts. So yes, more than a quarter of the American Senate has strong and documented communist ties, and these Senators, because the Democrats control the Senate, hold powerful positions in our country.

The communist long game: None of what’s happened since 2008, says Trevor, is a coincidence. Every single part of the current Democrat agenda originated, not in small town, old-fashioned American Democrat Party outposts, but, instead, in hardcore communist circles. For example, Quentin Young, who died recently at around age 90, was a physician and an open communist. Indeed, he was so open that, during the Vietnam War, he traveled to North Vietnam and offered his medical services to the Vietcong (those would be the same Vietcong who were killing American soldiers and torturing American POWs).  Young was also Obama’s next door neighbor and his personal physician. Young was also Obama’s adviser on Obamacare. Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

The most significant example of the communist long game is America’s unions. Up until the 1990s, the AFL-CIO, America’s most powerful private sector union, was headed by rabidly staunch anti-communists. The AFL-CIO’s platform specifically stated its opposition to communism. That all changed in 1995 when Thomas Donohue took over the AFL-CIO’s presidency from Lane Kirkland. The anti-communist platform went out the window, and the AFL-CIO was suddenly inundated by openly communist members. With that membership change came a push to get communist or communist-friendly people into government.

With the AFL-CIO’s reversal on communism, and its open-door policy for communists, something happened that we oldsters never saw before the mid-1990s: Unions became integral parts of the Democrat election process. More money than ever before went from unions to politicians. Union works devoted themselves to “get out the vote” efforts, handling everything from registering voters (living or dead), to canvasing, to getting people to polls (legal or illegal), and to staffing polls. What this meant was that every Democrat elected due to union efforts owed the unions big time — and what the union leaders demanded were political acts entirely consistent with demands that communist had been making for decades: socialized medicine, socialized student loans, socialized banking, etc.

Amnesty: Today’s communists are interested in socializing this and that, but they actually have one absolutely overriding goal: amnesty. It’s not because communists (aka Progressives aka socialists aka leftists) love Latin Americans more than the rest of us do. Heck, it’s not about love at all. It’s about creating a permanent Democrat majority. Texas is the pivot point: If Democrats can turn Texas blue (which also means that Arizona and New Mexico and other still-reddish Southwestern states will turn solid blue), it will become numerically impossible for Republicans to take the White House, not just in the short term, but in the long, long term . . . maybe forever, because a solid Democrat majority will change the rules to preclude anything but a one-party White House and, if possible, Congress.

Again, this is not a conspiracy theory. Trevor detailed speeches and writings from people involved in the amnesty movement (including Antonio Villaraigosa, the L.A. mayor who turned LA into an illegal refuge), boasting about the 8 million new voters they are planning on having in order to change forever America’s political identity.

When conservatives oppose amnesty, it’s not because they hate Latinos, anymore than the Democrats love them. It’s because conservatives understand that the point behind amnesty isn’t to reward “acts of love” or to be charitable or to preserve human rights or to prove we’re not racists. Instead, its our recognition (based on Democrat admissions) that amnesty is dedicated to a single goal: destroying America’s two-party system through a tidal wave of newly legal, permanently-Democrat-Party voters. Opposing amnesty is about preserving constitutional government, not about discriminating against the illegal aliens that the Democrats (with the president’s cheerful collusion) are inviting into America and into the voting booth.

But . . . but . . . what about the Republicans who are supporting amnesty (a group that includes most of the Republican leadership)? Surely amnesty can’t be so bad, given that it’s not reasonable for these people to commit political suicide, right? Wrong.  The Republican leadership owes as much to the American Chamber of Commerce as the Democrat Party owes to the unions. The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t care about Left or Right, constitution or totalitarianism. It cares about the bottom line, and the bottom line is always better if labor is cheap.

I am absolutely not calling Chamber of Commerce members Nazis, but it’s worth remember from a political,  not genocidal, perspective, that one of the reasons German industrialists supported the Nazis was that they got free slave labor and they got to keep their profits.  The cheapest labor in America is the illegal alien or newly legalized citizen with no English and no skills. Trevor says that it’s no coincidence that the most pro-amnesty Republicans are the ones who receive the most money from the Chamber of Commerce.

That explains the RINOs and GOP’s support for amnesty?  But what about the fanatical, hysterical union support for amnesty? Doesn’t illegal immigration and amnesty hurt union members for the same reason that the Chamber of Commerce likes it, by lowering wages? Yes. And the unions, both leadership and members, understood that right up until 1995. The old leadership’s opposition to communism wasn’t just ideological, it was pragmatic. Open borders lowered wages and otherwise depressed working conditions for ordinary Americans.

The new union leadership, though, doesn’t care about its members’ well-being. Members are merely cash cows subject to mandatory dues that ultimately pay for the union members’ own slaughter.

There is hope for the future: By the time Trevor finished the first 3/4 of his talk, all of us listening were depressed. I looked around and saw slumped bodies and sad faces. Not to despair, though, since Trevor held out hope and, as I said, offered a revolutionary idea for a Republican comeback. He broke this last part of his talk into three segments: the Tea Party, Reagan’s victory, and what we can do.

The Tea Party: In 2008, all the ducks were in a row for a complete, irreversible Leftist takeover of America’s political system. What stopped it, Trevor said, was something unforeseeable, and that black swan was the Tea Party’s organic and meteoric rise.

Thanks to the Tea Party, the Democrats only got 2 years of legislative victories and, since then, they’ve been on the defensive. At every level — local, state, and national — Tea Partiers roared out their disapproval at this, the greatest flowering of the American communist party.

No wonder that the backlash was so immediate and so vicious (racist, racist, war on women, Islamophobic, homophobic, racist, racist). The Tea Party had to be destroyed and quickly too. Trevor attended a major socialist/communist party event and said it was dead boring. All they did was talk about how terrible the Tea Party is and how it could be destroyed.

Trevor said that we in the Tea Party are feeling demoralized now, since Obama took back the White House in 2012. What he says we’re missing, perhaps because we’re too close to things (unlike a New Zealander, who gets a long view), is how big our victory was. We’re like “Baby Supermen,” he said, because we don’t realize the type of power we have. Instead, we focus on our losses and then retreat to lick our wounds, yielding the floor once again to the indefatigable left.

Tea Partiers also have a problem with the GOP itself, which bitterly resents the upstarts who disagree with the GOP’s “go along to get along” policies and, most especially, with its Chamber of Commerce-funded press for amnesty, cheap labor, and a permanent Democrat majority. There is hope, though.

Reagan: Trevor reminded us that, when Reagan emerged from California in 1976 and strode onto the national scene, the GOP hated him. The Ohio GOP refused to let him speak there. Essentially, the Grand Old Party, which Reagan later owned, blackballed him, denying him the 1976 primary, which went to Gerald Ford. Reagan, however, spent the next four years coalition building like mad. With his sunny personality; his gift for taking complex subjects and presenting them in simple, but not simplistic, terms; and his unabashed love for America, he brought everyone under his umbrella. He won by a landslide that originated with his newly cohesive base, revitalizing America.

Trevor acknowledged that things are different now. Obama and his team will have had eight, not just four, years to pursue their agenda (even with the Tea Party operating as a counterweight and drag). The news and entertainment media are intractably in the bag for the Left and will throw themselves into the breach in 2016, especially for a Hillary/Michelle ticket. And we’re having conservative civil war headed by the GOP’s desire to destroy the Tea Party.

Ah, that GOP.  That nasty, weak, corrupt, amnesty-loving GOP.  We Tea Partiers would like to see it gone, just as the GOP would like the Tea Party to vanish.  There’s an unpleasant reality, though, that Trevor says the Tea Party must acknowledge:  We don’t have the time — just 2.5 years until 2016 — to put together the election infrastructure that the GOP already has. Moribund and corrupt though it may be, the GOP is the only game in town for winning elections. The task, then, is to preempt and co-opt the GOP, just as Reagan did.

The Tea Party also needs to stop trying to convince independents to get on board.  Trevor pointed out what we all know:  You don’t win elections by getting lukewarm support from fundamentally disinterested people. You win elections when your base is incredibly excited and the lukewarm people want to join in the fun (as happened for Obama in 2008).  The GOP, Trevor added, will also want to join the fun, primarily because the institution cannot afford to walk away from the seat of power.  It happened in 1980 with Reagan and it can happen again.

The main problem the conservative base has is this fragmentation and internal hostility, which extends beyond the GOP versus Tea Party fight.  Libertarians, social conservatives, and Evangelicals are also part of this cranky, disparate mix of people who are definitely not statists, but still can’t hang together enough to create a political wave advancing constitutional freedoms.  The big question, then, is How can we bring these disparate groups together, enthusiastically, to win in 2016, which will be our last chance at wresting the country from the communist-backed Democrats?

Here’s Trevor’s revolutionary idea

Trevor has what I think of as a brilliant, inspired, out of the box, crazy, entirely possible idea. To build a coalition, you need to promise something to everyone. That seems impossible when you consider how the various conservative groups have such vastly different issues. One person cannot possible be all things to all conservative voters. TREVOR SAYS THAT ONE PERSON DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ALL THINGS. The next Republican candidate should identify his running mate and cabinet now, to make sure that the GOP doesn’t suck all the money out of the system by 2015 and then funnel it to Romney (part II) or Christie, neither of whom can excite the base and, therefore, neither of whom can win.

Here’s as much of Trevor’s dream ticket as I can remember. It should be promoted, in its entirety, from the get-go (say, starting next month, or maybe yesterday):

President: Ted Cruz, a committed conservative who can talk brilliantly (and a man who happens to be Hispanic).
Vice President: Allen West, a committed conservative, a military commander (and a man who happens to be black and I adore him).
Treasury Secretary: Rand Paul (Tea Partiers and libertarians get their fiscal conservatism)
Secretary of State: John Bolton (the neocons get their national security)
Energy Secretary: Sarah Palin (Tea Partiers — and most Americans — get their cheap energy)
Labor Secretary: Scott Walker (Right to Work across America)
Attorney General: Mark Levin or Trey Gowdy, deeply committed constitutional conservatives
Education Secretary: A strong supporter of homeschooling

And so on, down the line, with the Republican ticket being fully formed from top to bottom.  Every conservative will know heading to the voting booth that the Republican ticket offers something to him or her personally.  That gets out votes.

Someone pointed out that the obvious problem with this list, which is the fact that all of these people want to be president themselves, and will not want to be subordinated to Cruz or West. Instead of joining forces, they’ll simply form the same circular firing squad that they formed in 2008 and 2012, and mow each other down again, with the Democrats cheering them on from the sidelines.

Yes, Trevor, acknowledged, some people are going to have to sacrifice their immediate presidential dreams in favor of presenting a strong united front. While the notion of self-sacrifice isn’t usually high on a politician’s list, perhaps they can be brought to see that a little self-sacrifice now provides long-term selfish benefits in the future.  By following his radical campaign plan, all these talents and egos can win in some way in 2016, setting the template for each of them to strike out on his or her own in 2024.  Alternatively, they can selfishly commit political and party murder-suicide in 2016, forever ending any possibility that a Republican will take the White House.

Trevor emphasized repeatedly that this revolutionary idea — running a president, veep, and entire cabinet in one fell swoop — must be done now. Any delay means conservative money is gone, the circular firing squad forms, GOP money rescues Romney or Christie from the bloodbath, the base stays home, the independents stay home, the Democrats win again, and America becomes a permanent socialized state that has abandoned all of its allies around the world, and serves as a materiels-supplier to the world’s dictators.

If you think this is a good idea, act on it:  Share it with your local conservative groups, put it out on Facebook, make clever posters, contact conservative leadership.  Do whatever you can do.  We have a very small window of time, and very limited resources, to reverse a trajectory that, if not changed by 2016, will be fixed forever.

Alcohol, rape, and man-hating sharia on college campuses

Drunk woman in CardiffI thought it would be interesting to juxtapose two stories about drunkenness and rape.   The first is hearsay:  I heard it from a former judge’s clerk who was telling me about the funniest case she ever worked on, back in the 1980s.  I don’t have details, but I do remember the core facts she told me.  The second is ripped from today’s academic headlines.

The first case, which happened in the mid-1980s, was a rape trial.  The alleged rape took place at a beach party that involved lots and lots of booze.  The claim was that the victim was reclining in a beach chair when the defendant raped her.

The victim testified in sobbing detail about her terrible ordeal.  The judge passed a note to his clerk saying, “She’s dumb as a post.”  How right the judge was came out under cross-examination.  It quickly became apparently that the sex was entirely consensual because the “victim” had been so drunk she thought the defendant was her boyfriend — and she thought this even though her boyfriend was wearing a heavy cast on his leg that night, while the defendant was not.  The defendant was swiftly acquitted.

I guess it was that story, which I heard almost 30 years ago, that has made me leery to this day about accepting at face value rape claims from women who were admittedly drunk almost to the point of unconsciousness.

And now for the other rape story, this one coming from Dartmouth, an Ivy League institution that prides itself on — ahem — the quality education it gives its students.  There, a young man named Parker Gilbert was arrested and tried for rape.  He was fully acquitted because all of the available evidence indicated that both he and the young women were drunk as skunks and that the sex was consensual.  (The girl’s roommate said that the sounds of “consensual sex” were present, which makes it sound as if a Dartmouth dorm is pretty much the equivalent of a brothel, with sex taking place openly in semi-public rooms.  Everyone at college is apparently an exhibitionist or, whether unwittingly or unwillingly, a voyeur.)  I pass the narrative baton to Robert Stacy McCain:

The accuser was drunk, the accused was drunk, and the witnesses were drunk — evidently everybody on campus at Dartmouth was completely hammered that night, and the only thing anyone can remember for sure is that “vaginal penetration” occurred.

Permit me to digress: Can someone get a trial transcript and provide me with verbatim quotes of Nancy Wu’s testimony? Because I’m curious to know what she says she heard, which the newspaper euphemistically describes as “sounds consistent with consensual sex.” Was the alleged victim moaning passionately, as if in a state of orgasmic ecstasy? “Oh, Parker! You sexy beast! Do me, baby!” But I digress . . .

You can see why I was so strongly reminded of that long-ago reminiscence about crazy days in the District Court.  But here’s an add-on that would, I think, have still been unthinkable back in the halcyon days of the 1980s:  In modern-day Dartmouth, even though Gilbert was completely exonerated, Dartmouth still considered him guilty:

How did the activists at Dartmouth respond? With a lengthy statement (still labeling the accuser as a “victim”) denouncing the jury, demanding a “cultural shift” in what could be considered a crime. . . .

If Gilbert had been convicted, the message would have been a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth. With Gilbert acquitted, the message was a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth (and in New Hampshire!). Facts, it appears, don’t matter.

As McCain notes, it’s not a matter of ignoring facts, it’s a matter of not knowing facts — but in the absence of knowledge, the man is guilty.  In other words, America’s finest educational institutions have come up with a mirror image of the sharia standard:  when it comes to sex, it’s always the man’s fault.  While Islam holds that women always ask for it, meaning a man cannot be guilty of rape, America’s universities hold that men are always forcing it and must, even in the absence of knowledge or the presence of consent, be deemed guilty of rape.

Watcher’s Council nominations, April 10 edition

I could have sworn I already posted this week’s Watcher’s Council nominations but my memory is seriously at fault.  I didn’t.  Well, I’m doing it now, as I enjoying reading these stellar posts:

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Appointments Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556

So far this morning, I’ve been running around in the house.  Now, I have to leave to run around outside of the house.  I hope to blog at around mid-day, but until then, three articles to give you food for thought and then an invitation to use this Open Thread for whatever you find interesting.

On the subject of gay identity, a woman is listed as a “father” on a birth certificate, even though, in our Brave New World, that’s still biologically impossible, and a gay man exposes the scientific fraud behind “gay biology,” since the thinking is that straights can become gay, but gays cannot become straights.  I believe absolutely that there are people who are effeminate but straight, macho but gay, butch but straight, and feminine but lesbian.  Some people are more hard wired than others.  Many live in a fluid realm.  And some people elevate certain values above their sexual orientation and identity.  It’s therefore ridiculous — and wrong — to claim that the journey between gay and straight is a one way street, that only lands in gay territory.

Also, would it surprise you that John Kerry’s State Department and Obama’s White House engaged in a concerted, deliberate, long-term plan to scapegoat Israel for the failure of John Kerry’s peace talks?  Not surprised?  I wasn’t either.  A nice companion piece is Norman Podhoretz’s refusal to feel pity for the Palestinians, a wonderful essay that rips aside the “Emperor’s New Clothes” mentality that has everyone, Jews included, paying lip service to the Palestinians’ plight.

And now I must run.  (Apologies for typos.  I’m really rushed now, so no effort at proofreading.)

With friends like Obama, why would Israel need enemies?

I've always suspected that, in addition to the official message, Obama added his own little prayer about Israel's demise.

I’ve always suspected that, in addition to the official message, Obama added his own little prayer about Israel’s demise.

Harry Truman could have been called an anti-Semite based on some of the things he said about Jews, but it was he who voted “yes” at the UN, making possible Israel’s creation in 1948.  Nixon could have been called an anti-Semite based on some of the things he said about Jews, but it was he who saved Israel’s bacon (pardon the non-kosher word choice) in 1973.

Oh, and here’s the really funny part:  Barack Obama, who claims to be the greatest friend Israel has ever had in America, gives every indication of being the worst enemy Israel has ever had in the White House.  He speaks of love, but his actions can be measured just by looking at his appointments to State, Defense, and the UN.

And speaking of Obama’s appointment to head America’s State Department:

Yes, in what’s now being called his ‘poof’ speech, our secretary of state went out of his way not to blame Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO’s intransigence and refusal to negotiate anything for the failed talks. Of course, it’s all Israel’s fault!

“Israel didn’t release the Palestinian prisoners on the day they were supposed to be freed, and another day passed, and another day, and then another 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem, and ‘poof’…that was sort of the moment,” remarked Kerry before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Read the rest here.

I’m struggling to come up with some amusing animal kingdom analogy (“lions blame antelope for hastening their own deaths because they run away, enticing the lions”), but I can’t.  I’m too irritated, and there’s nothing amusing about this.  It’s just scary.

Leftist media (again) misrepresents PTSD in vets

Sad soldierThere are so many things about the drive-by mainstream media that irritate me that it’s sometimes hard to prioritize or quantify them.  I can, however, say with alacrity that one of the irritants at the top of my list is the media’s 40+ year-long effort to demonize America’s vets, whom they paint as ticking time-bombs in constant, imminent danger of exploding.

Entirely expectedly, then, that was how the media treated Specialist Ivan Lopez, the man who went on the latest shooting rampage on unarmed troops at Fort Hood (where they had to call 911 to rescue them).  ”PTSD!” the media shrilled.  It turned out, of course, that Lopez wasn’t a combat vet at all.  Still, as far as the media is concerned, just being in the military itself is a trauma so great that the media can reasonably claim that every active duty military member and every veteran in America is a potential PTSD explosion waiting to happen.

I’ve never bought that.  My parents and all their friends were survivors of at least one war and often two.  All experienced WWII (either as troops, refugees, or prisoners of war), and most of them experienced a second war as well:  the Israeli War of Independence, the Soviet takeover of Hungary, the Communist takeover in China, etc.  Peculiarly enough, all of them, without exception, went on to live productive, non-violent lives.

Were these members of the Greatest Generation always the happiest people in the world?  Well, yes, actually — mostly they were quite happy.  The only person I met who was a bundle of misery was a man who had escaped from Auschwitz (something extraordinary) by somehow hiding himself in a pile of corpses that, for reasons unclear to me (I was only 9 or 10 when I met him) were being shipped out of the camp.  Another Auschwitz survivor I knew, though, was one of the most vital, vibrant people I’ve every met.

All of the WWII survivors in whose shadow I was raised had dark memories and dark moments, but they all still lived with a certain triumphalism.  They had survived and were damned proud of that fact, even as many mourned their lost family and their lost friends, and all mourned the lost years of their youth.  The Jewish ones also thumbed their noses at Hitler with every child, grandchild, niece, and nephew that they had.  They understood that life was to be cherished, not wasted.

That’s why it never, ever, never, absolutely never ever, made sense to me that America’s Vietnam troops all came back as crazed, schizophrenic, psychopathic killers or dysfunctional bums.  Why were they so much more vulnerable to war’s horrors than their parents’ generation?  Even the excuses offered — lack of support at home or drug use in Vietnam — didn’t make much sense, especially the drug part.

If drugs were the problem, why didn’t every UC Berkeley graduate from 1964 to the present day turn into a crazed killer or drugged-out homeless person?  Indeed, I suspect that, if you did a study, you’d find more drugged-out homeless people in the Berkeley graduate cohort than in the American troops cohort.  As for rejection by the folks at home, sure that’s demoralizing, but is that really enough to turn you into a mass murderer or dysfunctional bum?

A few years ago, the media, which in the 21st century had opted for the “we love our troops” trope, rather than the dated “we hate our troops” trope, announced that George Bush’s military was driving America’s troops and veterans to mass suicide.  I addressed that canard in 2008 (the last year of the Bush presidency).  Gateway Pundit also pointed out that the military suicide rate was higher under Clinton’s stint as Command In Chief than it was under George Bush’s.

Just last year, HuffPo again said troops are killing themselves like suicidal flies and the New York Times assured its readers that the high rates weren’t just because the military is made up of young men who are the most likely segment in any population to commit suicide.  I’ll just note that, as before, even if one accepts solely for the sake of argument the claim that military suicides exceed those in the generally population, these increased suicide rates occurred under a Democrat Commander In Chief, not a Republican one….

Suicide is a difficult argument for the media to make for three reasons.  First, as many have argued and the Times has tried to refute, it’s a sad truth that suicides happen a lot in a population such as the military (lots of young men, especially young men far from home).  Second, it’s entirely possible to argue that the suicides aren’t the result of the horrors of combat, which humans are programmed to weather, but because the military is being downsized, troops are being made irrelevant, and the Obama economy means that they have no future in the civilian world.  The media doesn’t want to go there.  Third, while suicides are tragic, they’re not dramatic. Most are lonely affairs that affect only the actor’s immediate friends and family.

How much more exciting, then, to revive the moribund “crazed Vietnam vet” myth, this one with the neatly clinical label of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). We’re right back to the old ticking time bomb, with every vet a mass murderer in the making. Except, as with all of the media’s anti-military narratives, this one isn’t true either:

This generalization — that the millions of veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan are about to snap — plays to a stereotype of veterans being forever broken by war, when the truth is that the vast majority are not afflicted with PTSD.

But even more unfortunate is the perception that veterans are a group people should fear. Indeed, it has become common to mention military service or combat experience of a wrongdoer as if it’s some predictor of crime.

[Snip. Go to the article to see examples of the anti-military canards the media lobs at vets.]

This is a shameful misrepresentation, and it only serves as a stigma to prevent veterans with legitimate mental health issues from seeking the care they need.

“Post-traumatic stress is a manageable condition and a natural response to trauma,” writes Army veteran Alex Horton. “One that can affect a soldier in war as much as a grandmother in a car crash.”

Life is stressful.  Life has always been stressful.  It was stressful for our prehistoric ancestors duking it out with savage beasts and Neanderthal competitors.  It was stressful people in pre-modern eras when disease, famine, and war were ordinary, not exceptional.  It’s stressful for the lawyer who loses a case in court, the surgeon whose patient dies on the table, and the check-out clerk who has to play beat the clock every day or lose her job.

If humans couldn’t process stress, even extreme stress, they would have died out a long time ago.  Different individuals may suffer more from stress, or certain events may be extraordinarily stressful, but that doesn’t turn every traumatized person into an Al Qaeda bomber.  Indeed, the real mass murderers — the Al Qaeda members, the Al Shabaab people (in Kenya), the Nazis, the Soviets in the Ukraine — were and are as often as not products of ordinary lives, not traumatized lives.  They don’t have PTSD themselves; they create it in others.

 

CNN decides what’s important — a decision that tracks with keeping donkeys safe

New York Times mottoAs you may recall, CNN refused to cover State Sen. Leland Yee’s arrest in any detail because his was a local story, and that was beneath them.  This was true despite the fact that it was, by any standards, an exceptionally juicy narrative, complete with peculiarly named mobsters (“Shrimp Boy”), hypocritical politicians (gung-ho gun-control Yee selling black market weapons), and murderous Islamists (the recipients of those weapons).  ”Feh!” sneered CNN.  ”It’s in line with us covering state senators & state secretary of state races just about never. You see another conspiracy?”

In examining the veracity of that smear, let’s put aside CNN’s enthusiastic (although not as enthusiastic as MSNBC’s) Chris Christie coverage.  Arguably, Christie was cover-worthy because he had presidential aspirations, raising him above a mere “state senator.”

But what about U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister?  He’s the Louisiana congressman who was caught kissing a staffer.  Admittedly, he is a member of Congress, making him a nominally national figure, but honestly, it’s a generic story about a guy known only in his Louisiana parish:  politician runs on family values (and they all do) and then gets in trouble over a woman.  Except for the fact that there’s some implied sex, it’s not a sexy story, it’s not about a man who’s carved out a national reputation for himself, and it doesn’t implicate larger political concerns.  None of that has stopped CNN.

To date, and using CNN’s own search engine, I’ve found seven — count ‘em! seven! — CNN main stories and blog posts about McAllister:

CNN stories on McAllister

Over at NewsBusters, Brent Bozell and Tim Graham offer a primer on the decisions MSM outlets use when they determine what’s newsworthy. You won’t be surprised that the algorithm includes determining what’s good for Democrats and bad for Republicans. Nor will you be surprised to learn that Leland Yee isn’t the only utterly corrupt Democrat — and, moreover, one who is corrupt in interesting and creative ways — whose story the media has determined simply isn’t newsworthy.

Girls and STEM

bubblechamber2My daughter is taking high school physics.  This morning, she told me about the class results following the midterm.  ”Four people got A’s; four people got B’s; and six people got C’s.”  Then she giggled and added, “All the people who got C’s were girls!”

Deadpan, I said, “Your teacher must be a sexist.”  (I was thinking, of course, although she couldn’t know this, about the way the Ivy League feminists tried to destroy Larry Summer’s career for daring to suggest that there might be a connection between gender and women’s low representation in STEM degrees.)

“No, that’s not true” my daughter replied, quite shocked that I would suggest such a thing.  ”He teaches everyone the same way.”

“I was just joking,” I told her.

“Well,” she answered, “A lot of people aren’t joking when they say that.”

Leftism sucks both humor and reality out of just about everything.

Watcher’s Council results for April 4, 2014

The Council has spoken and it is good.  (So is the forum about whether council members have changed their views about same-sex marriage over the years.)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

When Facebook friends go too far: “Denouncing” the Koch brothers

Koch-brothersSome of my “real-me” Facebook friends aren’t really friends at all. They’re people who were friends at specific stages in my life, but I haven’t seen them in years and I stick with them on Facebook only out of curiosity. The curiosity factor arises because I view people’s lives like story books — if they were once important to me, I like to see how their personal narrative is progressing. I like to hear about their marriages, and their children, and their parents, etc.

Mostly, I vicariously celebrate their life milestones.  Sometimes, though, I learn things about them that dismay me. That was the case when a person who was a good friend of mine long ago, but whom I haven’t seen in almost twenty years, boasted on Facebook that he had signed a despicable Moveon.org petition “denouncing” the Koch brothers:

We, citizens of the United States, denounce you, Charles and David Koch, for using your vast wealth — more than the combined wealth of the bottom 40 percent of Americans — to corrupt our democracy. You are thereby undermining the most precious gift we possess, our democratic system of government. You deserve to be shamed and condemned by all Americans.

PETITION BACKGROUND We do not denounce the Koch brother’s because their wealth of more than $50 billion exceeds the combined wealth of the bottom 40 percent of all the citizens of the United States, or because they run and own one of the largest petrochemical businesses in the world, or because of their right-wing views. If Americans obey the law and play by the rules, they’re entitled to their wealth and to their opinions. But the Koch brothers are using their vast wealth to alter those laws and rules to their advantage. They’ve established a political front group, Americans for Prosperity, and are building their own permanent political machine, including hundreds of full-time staff in at least 32 states. They are pouring money into federal and state races. The Koch brothers are thereby using their vast wealth to undermine and corrupt our democracy — a shameful betrayal of our nation for which they deserve to be widely denounced.

So far, over 23,000 people have signed a document that could easily have come from the revolutionaries in China during Mao’s deadly Cultural Revolution (Nien Cheng’s Life and Death in Shanghai vividly illustrates that terrible time); or from the Kremlin during the height of Soviet Kangaroo trials; or from East Germany’s Stasi state (see, e.g, the harrowing film “The Lives of Others“); or from Cambodia when the killing fields ran red with blood; or from Maduro’s Venezuela; or from any other totalitarian political organization that maintains power by targeting and denouncing individual citizens so as to sow fear in and gain control over the general population.

Usually, I look at the idiocies emanating from Facebook friends and ignore the stuff.  After all, if you were born in, raised in, and currently live in America’s bluest regions, you can assume that most of the people you meet will parrot the Democrat party line.  For the reasons I stated above, however, the MoveOn petition transcends idiocy and heads straight for evil.  I therefore left a comment asking my friend a few questions:

Why isn’t MoveOn.org condemning the 58 people and organizations who are ahead of the Koch brothers when it comes to being political big spenders (the biggest of whom, I noted, donate to Democrat causes)?

How is this attack different from the Two-Minutes of Hate directed at Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s 1984?  

Does my friend think it’s okay for Sen. Harry Reid, one of the most powerful people in America to use his taxpayer-funded bully pulpit to launch daily attacks against private citizens?

What does my friend think distinguishes what he, Harry Reid, and MoveOn.org are doing from the tactics that the blacklisters used in the 1950s — a tactic that Democrats routinely describe as one of the greatest evils in American history, following closely behind slavery and the way we treated Native Americans?

I expected my friend and his friends to fire back immediately with defenses detailing how dreadful the Koch brothers are and how they deserve to be “denounced.”  Interestingly, so far the only sound I’ve heard is *crickets*.

Tuesday afternoon round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThis is one of those days where my day totally didn’t go as planned . . . but for good reasons.  How often can one say that?  Plans or no plans, though, the news marches on and there’s so much interesting stuff I want to share with you.

***

When Rep. Louis Gohmert (R.) pointed out to Eric Holder that Holder seemed remarkably unfazed by the fact that Congress had held him in contempt, Holder, showing remarkable contempt for Congress, snapped ““You don’t want to go there, buddy! You don’t want to go there, okay.”

If it were me, I’d hold Holder in contempt just for that — that is, for the gross disrespect with which he spoke to a Congressman while actually appearing before Congress.  Certainly, if this had been a courtroom and Holder had  spoken that way to a judge, Holder would instantly have been cooling his heels in a jail cell.  Holder also seems to have forgotten that Holder’s an appointee (a mere employee), while Gohmert is a representative of the people.

Aside from the obvious crude, vulgar conduct, what’s noteworthy is that Holder insists that, while he’s personally pained that he was held in contempt for refusing to turn over Fast and Furious documents, he still has no intention of turning over the documents.  Holder’s arrogance tells you a lot about the state of Washington, D.C. today.  Holder knows that, because he and his boss are black, Congress will do precisely nothing to force him to abide by Congress’s demands and his constitutional obligations.

***

May I speak frankly? John Kerry is a brainless, cowardly, dishonest, antisemitic cancer infecting the American body politic. To the extent he’s also Secretary of State, I’d say that his particular disease is widespread in American politics and comes from the top. Just sayin’.

***

I already heard from a reliably Leftist friend why we shouldn’t believe data showing that health insurance premiums have skyrocketed since Obamacare went into effect: Because insurance brokers are facing competition from Obamacare, the sampling of 148 insurance brokers must be discounted on the presumption that those queried were lying when they provided insurance pricing information. The friend implied that a larger sampling would have made a difference, but that’s a sop to the stupid.  If he thinks brokers are inherently dishonest because they don’t like Obamacare, then it’s irrelevant how many one surveys.

I see things a little differently. I’m pretty damn sure that, if you force everybody to buy over-the-top insurance that exceeds what most people want, and make half of the purchasers pay for the other half, premiums are going to go up quickly and frequently.

***

Still on the healthcare front, this is exciting news: four men with severely damaged spinal cords are able to move their legs again thanks to electrical stimulation that may be retraining both brain and spinal cord. That’s just totally freakin’ amazing and I hope it’s something real and not just anomalous.

***

I had a whole bunch of links and arguments lined up to discuss the ironic news that the CEO of OKCupid, the company that started the witch hunt against Brendan Eich, is on record as having donated to a pro-traditional marriage politician (more than one, in fact, if you count his 2008 donation to Barack Obama). Then I read Ace and realized I didn’t have anything to add to the subject.

***

Dennis Prager explains why the Mozilla boycott is important and, more than that, necessary to preserve American liberties (emphasis mine):

As Princeton professor Robert George warned on my radio show, today the Left fires employees for opposition to same-sex marriage. Tomorrow it will fire employees who are pro-life (“anti-woman”). Then it will be employees who support Israel (an “apartheid state”).

The reason to boycott Firefox is not that it is run by leftists. Nor is the reason to support the man-woman definition of marriage. It is solely in order to preserve liberty in the land of liberty.
If Mozilla doesn’t recant and rehire Eich as CEO, McCarthyism will have returned far more pervasively and perniciously than in its first incarnation. The message the gay Left (such as the Orwellian-named Human Rights Campaign) and the Left in general wish to send is that Americans who are in positions of power at any company should be forced to resign if they hold a position that the Left strongly opposes.

And right now that position is opposition to same-sex marriage.

Think about that. In the United States of America today, the belief that marriage should remain defined as the union of a man and woman is portrayed as so vile by the Left that anyone who holds it is unfit for employment.

[snip]

The battle over Firefox is the most important battle in America at this particular moment. If you use Firefox, uninstall it, and use Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, or Safari. For Windows, try Pale Moon, which is based on the Firefox engine and will import all of your bookmarks; for mobile devices, you can try Puffin.

America can have liberty or it can have Firefox. Right now, it cannot have both.

***

Victor Davis Hanson details how, in just five years, Obama has destroyed the world order as it existed since 1942, one that saw America use a variety of strategies to encourage countries that support individual freedom and to isolate, weaken, and perhaps destroy those that don’t. Obama has not retreated to the isolation America embraced after WWI, when it left the world alone and asked the world to leave it alone. Instead, Obama is very deliberately cultivating or encouraging freedom’s enemies, while manifestly abandoning freedom’s (and America’s) allies.

Funnily enough, Obama’s official foreign policy on behalf of the United States of America precisely tracks the legal definition of treason (18 U.S. Code § 2381):

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Allow me to channel Elmer Fudd: “Be afwaid. Be vewy, vewy afwaid.” And as Fudd wouldn’t have said, the Pax American is officially over; let Armageddon begin.

***

Obama and his minions are gloating about Obamacare’s 7.1 million enrollments. They seem to have lost sight of the fact that forcing people into a government program is entirely separate from the government program’s actually functioning. Michael Ramirez hasn’t forgotten that little detail.

***

Maybe none of this is surprising considering that the mayor’s name is “Outlaw”:

One-thousand “brothers in blue” came to pay their respects this afternoon to Officer Alexander Thalmann, 22, killed in the line of duty in New Bern, N.C., last week.

Thalmann’s partner, Officer Justin Wester, 23, is recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg from the shootout that left convicted felon, Bryan Stallings, 35, dead.

The incident happened March 28, in the housing projects known as Craven Terrace.

The town’s grief was made even more painful by the local administration’s handling of events following the young officer’s death.

For unknown reasons, newly elected, Mayor Dana Outlaw chose to attend Thursday’s funeral of the career criminal.

Adding insult to injury, last night’s planned memorial for local citizens to say “goodbye” to Alexander Thalmann was cancelled by the mayor’s office.

It was alleged that two of the city’s aldermen had invited relatives of the killer to attend the vigil. Rather than rescind the invitation, the city chose to cancel the event.

***

You actually don’t have to go any further than the title to Daniel Greenfield’s post to know that he’s written something good and important: Islam Is What Happens When Civilization Loses.

***

I’ve mentioned before the main reason an Ivy League liberal I know refused even to consider Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate, despite reluctantly conceding that (a) she had more governing experience than Barack Obama in 2008 and (b) she would have been an apprentice, if she won, not the main player. That was all irrelevant. What matter was that Palin, unlike prep school, Ivy League communist Obama, “is not one of us.” I thought of that liberal when I read about Kathleen Parker’s unconscionable snobbery.

***

Have you registered yet for American CurrentSee, a free online magazine that seeks to give a voice to conservative American blacks? I hasten to add here that the magazine is not limited to black writers or black issues. In other words, it’s a magazine that’s truly diverse, rather than a monolithic magazine that simply pays lip-service to some abstract “diversity.” The magazine examines politics and social issues that affect blacks, but that also affect all of us who want a strong, unified, freedom-loving country. So far, I’m pleased that I signed up.

***

And finally, I continue to be completely impressed by Amy Purdy’s turn on Dancing With The Stars (this time with a new partner for the week):