[VIDEO] Leftists with conservative values, and the virtues of Dancing With The Stars

bindi-irwin-02-800I’ve mentioned before my fondness for Dancing With The Stars, which I see as a weekly morality tale for conservative values. Sure, I like watching beautiful people dance beautifully, but the show’s real attraction is how gosh-darned hard the winners — and most of the losers — work.

The most recent example of the work ethic that creates winners is 17-year-old Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin:

Bindi Irwin delivered another sparkling performance on Monday night’s “Dancing with the Stars” as she earned 28 out of 30 points by channeling Grace Kelly in her foxtrot with partner Derek Hough.

But rehearsal footage aired revealed something less glamorous: Bindi’s feet are a mess!

Irwin, 17, showed the cameras that her toenails are falling off and she has to use Super Glue to put them back on.


Like she did on her show package, however, Irwin bravely downplayed the situation.

“It’s fine. You can keep going,” she declared.

When asked if it was painful, she admitted, “Yeah!” with a laugh, but quickly added, “It’s all right. Everyone gets like this. I just have to Super Glue them, and tape them up. It’s all good.”

Irwin then told FOX411 that her toenails aren’t all she has to deal with – there are also a lot of unsightly calluses: “There’s like holes—the skin rubs out so there’s actual craters in my feet. Every night I’m kind of like cutting all the skin off ’cause it catches. You know when you get a hangnail? Think about tearing a hangnail but dancing on top of it.”

That’s a pretty darn serious work ethic right there. Nor is Bindi the only star to perform despite physical injuries, illness, and exhaustion. It turns out that dancing all day is grueling work, and it takes a toll on a body unused to that exertion. In addition, many of the stars still have active performance schedules that require them to fly back and forth across the country, all the while trying to learn a brand new, challenging skill that takes the form of four or five hours of hard physical exercise a day.

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The Bookworm Beat 10-14-15 — the hot quick links edition, and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265So much to share with you, and so many demands on my time. I’ll make it quick, tantalizing you with short links to wonderful things:

We know the other media outlets are hostile to Israel, but is it possible that Fox News is also turning on Israel? CAMERA has caught it doing exactly the same thing as CNN or the BBC — blaming Israel, the only pluralist, democratic, modern, humanitarian country in the region for the ferocious, malignant, blindly hate-filled upsurge in terrorism unleashed against ordinary Israelis. (As you know, a Saudi owns a significant share in Fox TV. Israel’s friends have long been concerned that this might affect Fox’s objectivity with regard to Israel. I’m not saying that this ownership explains Fox’s slip-ups, though. I just note the ownership in passing.)

Here’s the deal:  When Fox News and John Kerry are agreed about something, you know that (a) Fox is in error and (b) there’s the possibility that something is very, very, very wrong over at Fox.

For those who like stories about dystopian futures, Richard Fernandez has a humdinger, imagining the year 2030 in a world lost to Obama’s foreign policies.

Just this past weekend, a national conference for teachers and administrators convened in Baltimore to discuss what’s really wrong with America’s education system. If you thought they were focusing on fatherless families, union depredations on school districts and students, and meaningless, politically correct education, you thought wrong. It’s you — you, the white person over there, hiding in the corner — who is what’s wrong with education. Zombie explains what’s going on, but you’d have to be crazy or a Leftist really to understand the dynamic.

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The Bookworm Beat 9-27-2015 — the “things that make you think” edition and open thread


Boehner was merely an effective manager, rather than an effective conservative

Andrew Klavan is kind enough to point out that Boehner was in some measure a very effective House Majority Leader:

I can’t help but notice that under Boehner — and largely because of Boehner, because Boehner outsmarted President Obama in the 2013 budget negotiations — federal spending has declined over a five year period for the first time since the post World War II cutbacks. And because of this, as the economy has struggled to a sputtering recovery despite Democrat mismanagement, the deficit has been sharply reduced…

Also under Boehner — and also largely because of then-minority leader Boehner (and the likewise much-maligned-by-conservatives Mitch McConnell in the Senate) — the disaster of Obamacare is 100% attributable to the Democrats. It hasn’t got a single Republican fingerprint on it.

As Klavan sees it, Boehner’s fall came about solely because he wouldn’t engage in a head-to-head fight with Obama over Planned Parenthood.  Boehner believed (and still believes) that fight will destroy chances for a Republican victory in 2016.  I have two points to make.

First, if Boehner’s right that the fight will fail it’s in part because he refuses to engage in the fight at the intellectual level.  Carly Fiorina is the first prominent Republican to frame the fight in non-religious terms, and boy did she make the Left squirm when she did so.  In other words, part of why Boehner can’t win the fight is because, even though he’s pro-Life, he has absolutely no idea how to fight against abortion at anything other than a monetary level.

Second, speaking of that monetary level, the fight really boils down to something James Taranto said three years ago, and it’s about the difference between checkbook Republicans and ideologically-driven conservatives.  The context was the fact that Paul Ryan seemed to understand a conservative vision of small, not big, government:
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Bookworm Beat 8-11-15 — the illustrated edition, devoted to excavating the Leftist mind through Facebook posters

Woman-writing-300x265One of my Facebook friends is an uber-Leftist, although he does staunchly support Israel.  He never puts up personal posts.  Instead, his Facebook feed is filled with posters, some inspirational, some funny, some pro-Israel, and most pro-Left and anti-Republican.

I thought that for this illustrated edition, instead of the usual conservative-oriented posters, I’d take a peak at, and run some comments by, the stuff coming from the Left.  In each case, my commentary about a poster will be below the poster.

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The Bookworm Beat 5-4-15 — the “technology hates me” edition and open thread

Woman writingMy post caption to the contrary, this post has nothing to do with technology — except that technology explains why I started writing at 10:30, not 8:30. My computer apparently had a sudden yen to pretend that I had a dial-up modem and to start downloading information at speeds that would already have been slow in 1995. I think I’ve finally got my electronic ducks in a row, though, so let the blogging begin.

A jihad in Texas and a cheerleading media

In the wake of the attack against the Texas American Freedom Defense Initiative’s Draw Muhammed contest, Ace, Noah Rothman and I noticed the same thing: The media immediately went into “they had it coming” mode. Geller and Co., the “pun-deads” implied, should have known better than to offend Muslim’s delicate sensibilities.

The reality is that Geller’s free speech celebration is not the same as telling young women that it’s stupid to walk naked into a biker bar at 3 in the morning. (Although do note that the same pundits who castigate Geller for offending Muslims would never dream of daring to tell a young woman it’s dangerous to parade drunk (or sober) in Malmo, Sweden, a ferocious Muslim enclave.)

Two different things are at stake: When it comes to the dumb bunnies and their cheerleaders who are all for nubile women taking to the streets in underwear, we’re talking about the opposite of ordinary common sense, given that some men, despite being taught not to rape, still rape. When it comes to Geller’s initiative, however, we are talking about a religion that has announced that, if we exercise our Constitutional right to free speech, it will kill us — and the Dhimmis have all said, “Great, let’s abandon free speech.”

I routinely tell my children to choose their battles. Don’t end up in a fight to the death over a parking space. However, I’ve said, if it’s a matter of an important principle, you cannot back down. Geller has chosen the right battle, which is to stand up against the murderer’s veto, especially when that veto is directed at America’s core freedoms. Hurrah for her, and hurrah for former-Muslim Bosch Fawstin, whose artistically beautifully and intellectually powerful image won first prize:

Bosch Fawstin's winning picture of Mohamed

Carly Fiorina on crony capitalism

Elizabeth Warren (ick), Carly Fiorina, Wolf Howling, and I all agree on one thing: crony capitalism is a terrible thing for America. (And, incidentally, it’s why the stock market is soaring under Obama, even as actual wealth and real jobs vanish on his watch.) Where Carly, Wolf, and I part ways with Warren is that, unlike her, we don’t believe that even more government is the answer. Instead, as Carly says:

“The dirty little secret of that regulation, which is the same dirty little secret of Obamacare or Dodd-Frank or all of these other huge complicated pieces of regulation or legislation, is that they don’t get written on their own,” she said. “They get written in part by lobbyists for big companies who want to understand that the rules are going to work for them. . . . Who was in the middle of arguing for net neutrality? Verizon, Comcast, Google, I mean, all these companies were playing. They weren’t saying ‘we don’t need this;’ they were saying ‘we need it.’”

Fiorina suggested that large companies, by backing such regulations, have emerged as an enemy of the small businesses run out of people’s houses and garages. “Google started out that way too, in a dorm room, but they seem to have forgotten that,” she said. They also comprise part of a “political class” that is “disconnected” from most Americans.

“The vast majority of people . . . believe there is a political class that is totally disconnected from their lives and that’s stacking the deck against them,” Fiorina said. It’s a diagnosis of American politics that is appropriate to her biography. “It’s interesting, people out there are not at all troubled that I haven’t held elected office; in fact, the people I run into consider it a great asset,” Fiorina said.

It’s a myth that illegal aliens would vote Republican on social issues

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that Republican “thinkers” are lying to themselves when they say that amnesty is good because immigrants are actually conservatives at heart. They’re not. They want government hand-outs and, if you watch their children at action in the schools, whatever’s being taught at homes has less to do with family, faith, and hard work, and a great deal more to do with sex and greed.

The demeaning vagina voter

I’m not much given to crudity, but I’ve made the point at this blog that those who vote for Hillary on account of her putative sex (remember, we live in a world of fluid sexual identity) are “vagina voters” and that their attitude is demeaning and disgusting. Brendan O’Neill, bless his heart, agrees with me (slight, but appropriate, language and content vulgarity):

The bigger problem with such unabashed declarations of “vagina voting” is that they confirm the descent of feminism into the cesspool of identity politics, even biologism, and its abandonment of the idea that women should be valued more for their minds than their anatomy.

Kate Harding, the vagina voter in question, isn’t only going to vote with her vag—she’s also going to tell everyone about it. “I intend to vote with my vagina. Unapologetically. Enthusiastically… And I intend to talk about it,” she wrote in Dame.

She thinks Hillary would be a great president because she “knows what it’s like to menstruate, be pregnant, [and] give birth.”

So you’re going to pick your leader on the basis of her biological functions, the fact she’s experienced the same bodily stuff as you? Imagine if a man did that. “I’m voting for Ted Cruz because he knows what it’s like to spunk off. And he knows the pain of being kicked in the balls.” We’d think that was a very sad dude indeed. Why is it any better for a female commentator to wax lyrical about voting on the basis of her biological similarity to a candidate rather than any shared political outlook?

We clearly have become a nation stupid enough to sink first to Obama’s level because we judged someone by the color of their skin, not the content of their character, and now it appears that we Americans — especially the women — are going to debase ourselves further by voting for someone based upon the contents of her underpants. (I gagged writing that.)

Conservative thinker Guy Benson gets it

I’ve read Guy Benson’s writing for years, and always enjoyed it. He’s a witty, committed conservative. It’s therefore exciting that he and Mary Katharine Ham have a new book coming out that attacks the crude, brutal censorship inherent in Progressivism: End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun). I plan to read it, and I hope a lot of people do, both because I want Benson and Ham to make money, and because it’s a message that voters need to learn.

Oh, and Benson is gay — like I care. Fortunately, Benson understands that I don’t need to care about his sexuality. Buzzfeed cares, though, so instead of focusing on important issues, such as free speech, free markets, national security, media monopolies, etc., it focuses on “he’s gay and a Republican,” and then works hard to imply that Benson must be [insert something negative, along the lines of “race traitor”].

To the people at Buzzfeed, I have only one thing to say: Get a life, you sleazy little voyeurs!

More failed climate change predictions

In my world, everyone is still deeply, deeply committed to the idea that humans are responsible for turning the earth into a fiery ball composed solely of swamps and deserts. I could tape their eyeballs open and force them to read Elizabeth Price Foley’s pithy piece on the myriad ways they’re wrong — not just a little wrong, but fantastically, incredibly wrong — and they still wouldn’t change the minds. “They have eyes but cannot see.”

You all, though, have eyes and brains and reason and intelligence, and you will appreciate what Foley has to say, so go forth and read — and then decide whether it’s worth doing battle with the blind or, as Weird Dave (writing at Ace of Spades) says, whether we should just tell them to “Eff off” and get out of our way.

As for me, I agree with Weird Dave, but only up to a point. I’d like Congressional Republicans to say “eff off,” while the rest of us act “eff off,” while still making sure we have intellectual principles to justify our positions and that we politely keep our friends and families apprised of those principles.

Unfortunately, the only phrase Congressional Republicans seem to have mastered is “May I lick your boots, please, before you kick me?”

Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.

The above caption comes from the lyrics to the theme song to the old All In The Family show. As with so many other things, Norman Lear was wrong about that too. In fact, we should have been singing and dreaming about “a man like Calvin Coolidge again.”

I first learned something about Calvin Coolidge when I read David Pietrusza’s enthralling 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents. Before reading that book, everything I knew about Calvin Coolidge came from the Progressives who hated him and wrote subsequent history books. He was the silent moron who slept a lot, wore an Indian headdress, and did nothing.

And it is true, as the video below shows, that Coolidge did nothing. But it wasn’t the “nothing” of a moron. It was, instead, the nothing of a highly principled man who understood completely that government’s job is to create a stable environment in which people can be free.

Unlike our current president, who bemoans how unfairly the Constitution limits him, Coolidge said “To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” Coolidge also fully understood that it was his inactivity that allowed the Twenties to roar: “Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.”

Amity Shlaes expands on Coolidge’s own intuitive understanding of relationship between true freedom from government control and prosperity:

Conservatives! You can overcome that malaise (guest post by Lulu)

Not a vortex of insanityThe other day, I wrote about the malaise that plagued a group of conservative women with whom I had a meeting (or, as I said, the horror of staring into the vortex of insanity that is today’s political scene). Lulu shared a very helpful, practical response with me.

Getting Over Conservative Malaise
by Lulu

The malaise your Conservatibe women’s group felt is understandable given the daily confrontation with dreadful world news and the worry about how much worse it will get with our dreadful president. We see uninformed sheeple following and not questioning and schools, the universities, and the media are propaganda instruments, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

So what to do? As someone who has helped my child battle an overwhelmingly challenging condition, I have learned that being defeated by what seems overwhelming is disastrous. Have big goals, but they must be started and carried out in thousands of small, steady and strategic steps.

First assess your talent pool. Who is there? Any people with connections? Anyone know anyone who knows anyone who knows the Koch brothers or Adelson or any other wealthy worried conservatives? Anyone have experience at proposal writing or laying out a convincing case in a meeting or lecture? Anyone have connections at a local TV station or a national station? Anyone have connections with black churches, the Spanish speaking community, the Asian American community, or the Jewish community? In that case, plan on how to reach out to these communities in small, strategic steps.

Step 1-

Get the conservative voice out there, but don’t announce it is conservative. Do the entertainment magazines announce that they promote a liberal agenda? No, they don’t. But over a decade ago People magazine began referring to gay partners as husbands and wives, changing perceptions. Women’s magazines have promoted the war on women theme.

Newsweek sold for $1. Why couldn’t a conservative have purchased it?

Why not a conservative “People” with a conservative, but not overtly so, POV. Imagine a magazine that tells the Star Parker story, the son of Hamas story, the Ben Carson story, the story of a southwestern rancher on the border, of Israeli families in the kibbutzim next to Gaza, of Kermit Gosnell, and on and on, all woven subtly in between glossies, fashion spreads, and other fluff. Glenn Reynolds always writes that conservatives need to buy women’s magazines, and in my opinion, that includes gossip magazines. Pitch this to the money men. If you don’t have a connection now, find it. Carly Fiorina might know a few people.

Step 2-

Come up with small plans to fight the school trends. Teachers are mostly liberal, as are their unions, so recommending books and volunteering speakers who subtly promote conservative ideas is again a start. Speaking to an administrator as one parent is tough but going in a group is powerful — but be sure to sneak it in, as they do, without the word “conservative.”

Gather a large committee of immigrant conservatives, especially those from totalitarian countries, including gays and ethnic minorities, who can be trained to do outreach in their own communities. There are existing groups like these. Affiliate and brainstorm with them.

I believe the rot is very deep in college, but that is because it has become a totalitarian state. I think, based on my experience with my interns last year, that at least some students, including ethnic students, are fed up with their “education” and the indoctrinating. Alternative voices in conventional media, if they don’t blast the word conservative, give them a safe place to start learning new ideas that it is clear to me they find attractive.

Step 3-

I mentioned in the past that TV needs to be infiltrated. Show TV that there is a money demand for a daytime show with Star Parker, etc., a comedy show with Andrew Klavan and Stephen Crowder, etc. Campaign to get these guys a gig on Fox or a “debate” on Colbert. Most voters are unformed, so we need to reach out to them on the entertainment level. Once they start hearing competing ideas, seeds get planted, they showed grow into a healthy conservative movement.

The world is going to get a lot worse over the next two years with a lot of unforeseen consequences. Let’s get busy promoting our message of traditional American beliefs. Our ideas are better. Let me know and I will help.

Staring into the vortex of insanity (and Open Thread)

Crazy person in vortexPardon the delay in posting today, but I spent a significant portion of the day meeting with a committee of Republican women. To a woman, they were wonderful: intelligent, mentally well-organized, reliable, committed to Israel, and committed to the intelligent advancement of the conservative cause in America. And to a woman, they were disheartened.

What had them so disheartened wasn’t the state of the nation (although they weren’t thrilled about that either). No, what really made them sad was the state of Republicans. They noted that Republicans like to get together in kaffeeklatches.  Once gathered, they’re always happy complain about the status quo, but they won’t do anything. They pay lip service to conservative causes and candidates, but will not donate money, give of their time, proselytize to others, or even bother to vote. The adjectives about Republicans flew: sluggish, lethargic, disheartened and, the best I thought, shell-shocked.

My contribution was that it’s no surprise. What we see is a nation going to hell in a hand basket, but one in which partisan politics are so insane that the road America travels doesn’t seem to matter anymore. John Hinderaker, I think, is on to something with a post he calls “Barack Obama, The Teflon President.” The original “Teflon President,” of course, was Ronald Reagan. The Left liked to say that he was Teflon because nothing stuck, ignoring the fact that nothing stuck because they were slinging charges as weightless and ephemeral as soap bubbles at a president who presided over a thriving economy, raised America’s status around the world, and restored American pride at home.

Barack Obama, however, is a different matter. He too is a Teflon President, since he routinely garners a 40%-45% approval rating, despite presiding (1) over the longest recession since the Great Depression (barring those rich folks getting richer, thanks to quantitative easy and crony capitalism, especially “green” crony capitalism); (2) a perpetually demoralized labor market; (3) the breakdown of America’s southern border; (4) the loss of all of America’s gains in the Middle East; (5) the rise of ISIS; (6) the abandon of America’s allies (from Poland to Israel); (7) the regression of race relations in America; (8) America’s retreat from the world stage; and (9) a general, demoralizing malaise, greater even than Jimmy Carter envisioned.

Given all the awfulness that is the Obama presidency, how did he get reelected (discounting fraud for the moment) and why is he still able to keep his approval rating above 40%? Well, that’s were Hinderaker’s Teflon theory comes in:

I think what is happening is that America’s politics have become so tribal that large numbers of people lie to pollsters. We have seen this throughout the Obama administration, when African-Americans have told pollsters the economy is doing well, more than any other demographic group, even as they have been hammered disproportionately by unemployment and wage cuts. American politics have become so polarized, and the Democratic Party has whipped its followers into such a frenzy, that 40% of us would purport to approve of a Democratic president if he burned down the White House, disbanded the Navy, and spent his evenings howling at the moon.

Barack Obama really is a Teflon president: for close to half of Americans, the facts bounce off him. Because they really don’t care about the facts; either that or they are cashing government checks and are indifferent to anything else. This does not bode well for our democracy.

There’s another possible theory, of course, one that occurred in England back in 1990s: “The Shy Tory Factor“:

Shy Tory Factor is a name given by British opinion polling companies to a phenomenon observed by psephologists in the 1990s, where the share of the vote won by the Conservative Party (known as the ‘Tories’) in elections was substantially higher than the proportion of people in opinion polls who said they would vote for the party.

In the 1992 general election, the final opinion polls gave the Conservatives between 38% and 39% of the vote, about 1% behind the Labour Party – suggesting that the election would produce a hung parliament or a narrow Labour majority and end 13 years of Tory rule. In the final results, the Conservatives had a lead of 7.6% over Labour and won their fourth successive general election, though they now had a 21-seat majority compared to the 102-seat majority they had gained in the election five years previously. As a result of this failure to ‘predict’ the result, the Market Research Society held an inquiry into the reasons why the polls had been so much at variance with actual public opinion. The report found that 2% of the 8.5% error could be explained by Conservative supporters refusing to disclose their voting intentions; it cited as evidence the fact that exit polls on election day also underestimated the Conservative lead.

In other words, Americans could be lying to pollsters.  After six years of hearing the word “racist” in response to every criticism of the Obama presidency, people may have been conditioned to keep their opinions to themselves.  When a pollster calls, they’re not going to tell even that bored, anonymous voice (or robo-pollster) that they disapprove of America’s first black president.

Frankly, though, I don’t think we’re dealing with a “Shy Conservative Factor” here.  If this was the case, we would already have seen it play out in 2012, and Romney would have been president.  Instead, we really are looking at a president who could get half the country’s votes even if he stood in the White House rose garden foaming at the mouth and barking like a dog.

While Hinderake’s Teflon theory explains the president’s continued — and, to conservatives, bizarre — popularity, it still doesn’t touch upon the malaise that’s characterizing conservative voters.  Isn’t this the time when we should be revisiting the Tea Party fervor we showed in 2010?

This is where my “staring into the vortex of insanity” theory kicks in.  My contribution to the discussion is that conservatives look around them and see insanity.  Insane politics are different from politics with which we disagree.  We may disagree with socializing industry, but that’s because we fundamentally disagree with the political theory behind that move.  Likewise, we may disagree with a city’s decision to make its main street a pedestrian mall because we value the ease of vehicles over the charm of walking past shops.

What I’m talking about is what really seems to be insanity.  Take my home state of California, for example.  California is broke, but we’re still paying for a high speed rail that links two towns in the middle of nowhere, and that has already far exceeded the price promised to voters.

That’s insane.  But how about this one:  Remember all those illegal aliens we were worried about just a few weeks ago?  The tens of thousand of them, a mix of unattended children, adults, gangbangers, people with debilitating and contagious diseases last seen in America decades ago, and possible terrorists and pedophiles?  And remember how Obama, rather than sending these tens of thousands of people back to their home countries opened our borders to them, and promised to grant them amnesty, along with another five or six million illegals?  If you remember all that, you can certainly argue that doing this is crazy, but it’s equally possible to argue that it’s a calculated move to shift the United States to a permanent Democrat majority.

If you want real crazy, though, look at California.  Remember how I said California is broke.  Despite that reality, Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown has smilingly announced that illegal aliens are welcome here.  That’s pretty crazy.  But not crazy enough.  To get the real feel for a country that’s run off the rails, check out what’s also going on in Sacramento regarding those recently arrived illegals:

Young immigrants poised to flood California’s courts could get extra legal help under a bill offering $3 million to bolster legal services.


The newly announced bill would set aside $3 million that would be distributed to nonprofit organizations that offer legal services. Many of the immigrants pressing their cases could be seeking refugee status.


“Helping these young people navigate our legal system is the decent thing to do and it’s consistent with the progressive spirit of California,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.

As an urgency measure included in a budget cleanup bill, the legislation would take effect immediately and could make money available within a few weeks, according to Atkins’ office.

It would not require Republican votes to pass.

Meanwhile, also in Sacramento, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto arrived to a loving greeting from Jerry Brown and fellow California Democrats. One of the things that Nieto couldn’t praise highly enough is the way in which California treats the citizens who find life in Mexico so awful all that they can do is run away:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto lauded California on Tuesday for its relatively favorable treatment of undocumented immigrants, telling a joint session of the Legislature that the state has taken the “ethically correct” position in a national debate over immigration.

Meanwhile, neither Jerry Brown nor Barack Obama can bestir himself to plead the case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been languishing in a Mexican jail for months after he got lost, ended up on a no-exit, one-way road to the Mexican border, and told the Mexican border guards that (a) he was not trying to enter the country and (b) he had legal American weapons in his car.

The above narrative is insanity writ large. My motto in life has always been “never argue with the crazy person.” It’s a good life motto when some crazed mother erupts at a PTA meeting or when someone with a screw loose challenges you over a parking place or something equally negligible. Crazy people do crazy things. You think you’re talking about bake sales, and they think you’re trying to kill them, so they’ll beat you to a pulp first. There’s no mileage to be had in arguing with a crazy person.

But what do you do if your country has gone crazy? What if it’s abandoned self-interest, embraced self-loathing, thrown itself into the arms of the world’s dictators, turned its back on its own citizens, and is throwing money out the window as it drives a fast car to local and national bankruptcy? How do you argue then? With whom do you argue? And moreover, what do you do if you know that almost half of your fellow citizens couldn’t care less about the craziness, even when they’re its victims. What do you do if they’d rather stand alongside the drooling, screaming, ill-kempt crazy man beating the living daylights out of you, then step forward and help you put a stop to insanity run amok?

There’s your despair, malaise, shell-shock, and torpor. It’s not just that things are bad. It’s that we look at our fellow citizens and realize that they too have gone around the bend.

Caution: Exposing children to the conservative world view can be dangerous

They're so happy.  They must be conservative.

They’re so happy. They must be conservative.

My daughter let loose this morning with a rant about the way in which political correctness stifles humor and free speech. She’s right, of course.  No wonder Progressives want to silence conservatives.  If conservatives are allowed talk, people — especially young people — will discover that they’re much more fun.  Young people like fun, which is why Leftists keep telling them “sex, sex, sex.”  Dig just a little past all that sex talk, though, and you realize that conservatives are actually having fun, while Progressives offer nothing more than a grim, puritanical slog through a Hobbesian life:

Progressives perpetually police their own and everyone else’s speech.  Conservatives, outside of the boundaries of ordinary decency and manners, do not.

Progressive humor is predicated on demeaning and deceiving people (I’m talking to you Jon Stewart).  Conservatives can laugh about most things.

Progressives live in perpetual fear that their world is in imminent danger of bursting into flames.  Conservatives do not view the earth in darkly apocalyptic terms.

Progressives worry that every interaction with nature is an evil act destroying Gaia; Conservatives respect nature, but allow themselves both to enjoy it and benefit from it.

Progressives fear guns.  Conservatives get to go out shooting for fun (although they do it safely).

Progressives hate the military.  Conservatives get to enjoy all sorts of cool military stuff even if they’re not actually in the military (e.g., Fleet Week and Navy League events).

Progressives think pregnancy is a “punishment” and babies are Gaia-destroyers.  Conservatives see babies as the promise of the future. And while we’re on the subject of babies, Leftists, with their abortion and euthanasia obsessions (not to mention medical “death panels,” are a death cult.  Conservatives, by contrast, celebrate new life.

Progressives often don’t believe in either a God or an afterlife. Life on earth has no purpose (except to suck Gaia dry) and death means a rotting corpse (that pollutes Gaia). Conservatives often believe in both God and an afterlife, giving every day meaning and purpose.

Progressives, despite their endless obsession with sex, kill the pleasure. Girls who have sex too young (as Leftists encourage them to do), tend to have unhappy sex lives. Girls who hook up have unhappy sex lives. Boys who hook up aren’t that thrilled with meaningless sex either.  People who dive into meaningless sex with strangers are more likely to have STDs.  And once you get to university, oy! The boys are all rapists and the girls are all victims, and everyone is dead drunk because it’s the only way they can get past the fear and revulsion in order to reach out to each other. Conservatives, on the other hand, have respect, romance, love and commitment.

I can see the ad campaign now: Enjoy Life: Become a Conservative!

Any computer game designers out there? We’ve got some core values to sell

do-smartphones-smart-kidsI had the pleasure today of having lunch with Dennis Koller and his quite lovely wife. (And since she’s not a published author, I’ll keep her name out of here to preserve her privacy.) You may recognize Dennis’s name, since he wrote The Oath, a book I enjoyed a great deal and reviewed here. It didn’t come as any surprise to me that I liked Dennis. He was as I expected him to be: the best kind of native San Francisco Catholic. What that means is that he is extremely well-educated (parochial schools all the way, when that still meant something), has classical liberal values (raised in a family that fought for real civil rights, when that still meant something), and is a delightful conversationalist (I think it’s the nun thing again).

One of the things we spent a lot of time talking about was messaging. How, we asked each other, can conservatives sell themselves in the next 2.5 years? We concluded that today’s generation lacks intellectual curiosity and any analytic skills. For the past 40 years, they’ve been taught to think by using their navel as a guide. Small wonder, then, that the avatar of their generation announces that his definition of sin is “Being out of alignment with my values.” Despite knowing this, we conservatives keep thinking that we can convince people through evidence — including the evidence of their own eyes — and analysis that conservativism works in the real world.

Looking at the teenagers in my world, they get most of the data that they value through their smart phones. Unlike adults who use Facebook to share ideas (shallow, but still ideas), the kids use Facebook for gossip about each other. They also like to visit sites such as Buzzfeed and Gizmodo. But most of all, they like to play what I call “thumb games,” in which they zip objects around in a frantic effort to best other players out in cyberspace.

If I had any imagination at all, and even the slightest inkling about how to design a game app, I would design games that look like ordinary games, but that sell ideas such as free market competition. Here’s what I mean:  Years ago, I was able to turn my daughter against Obamacare when I asked her to imagine a world with only one clothing store. What would happen, I asked her, if it didn’t have her size or her style or if it had really horrible sales staff? She shuddered in revulsion. Remember, I said, it’s the only store there is. What’s your recourse? When she realized she was trapped in a fashion shopping nightmare, it clicked. She recognized then and, seemingly, forever, the value of a free marketplace.

Wouldn’t it be great to create a game app that starts with the player (presumably a girl) in a place with there’s only one lousy store selling gross clothes, and then makes them figure out ways to increase their shopping options? It wouldn’t be a game called “Socialism versus Capitalism,” or “Communist Fashion Nightmare,” or anything else so obvious. Instead, it would be an innocuous-sounding game (“Fashion Race” or something like that) and it would be presented entirely as a fun competitive game. However, while the girl is thinking she’s competing against other girls in cyberspace, what she’s really doing is learning about the value of real competition.  One could do exactly the same for boys, with the open market competition element in the game having to do with cool weapons or sports activities or anything else where the point of the game is for the kid to engage in market-based competition — offering more of a better product — in order to win the game.

Games such as that are going to resonate with kids a lot more than some documentary about what shopping used to be like in the Soviet Union.  Kids simply aren’t interested in some abstruse discussion about the sort of free medical insurance market we once had (ignoring all the government interference that already existed) versus the whacked out world of Obamacare, which is being sold as something good, but actually functions badly.

If conservatives really want to know what we should do, we should all go re-read Ben Shapiro’s Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV. There, Shapiro relays in their own words the techniques used by Hollywood’s movers and shakers in the 1960s through 1980s to turn our popular culture sharply left. It’s like a primer for taking over the unthinking mind.

Also — and this is totally unrelated to the above post — did you take a minute to read and listen to Canardvark’s Reagan 180 : Peace Through Strength? Not only is it really good, but I’m just thrilled that my site now offers original multimedia content. And Reagan’s words truly are as appropriate now as they were then. Facts may change, but values remain the same.

And thinking about those last words, I realize that the Canardvark’s post is in fact entirely related to what I’ve written here: It’s not the facts that matter; it’s our ability to sell the up and coming generation on core values and eternal truths. We need to use facts that resonate with them to make this sale, and we need sell these facts through their favorite media.

My own personal Cloward-Piven breakdown — and request for your ideas about uniting the base

System overloadI haven’t written much in the last two days.  It’s certainly not because there’s been an absence of material, both serious (just about everything) and ridiculous (“Oh, my gawd!  Hillary’s going to be a grandmother!”).  Instead, my problem is that there’s too much to write about.  I’m overwhelmed, and all I can think of is the Cloward-Piven strategy.

I know that you all know what I’m talking about but, to keep the record clean, here’s the Wikipedia summary:

The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”.

While those delightful Leftists were focused solely on destroying the American economy, I’ve always seen the strategy as one that has much larger implications:  if you overload the circuits of anything, the system will blow.

Five years into the Obama administration, the headlines indicate that all the chickens are suddenly coming home to roost.  America and the world are balancing on the knife’s edge.  The checks and balances have broken, the very same checks and balances that kept stability both at home and abroad.

We’re looking into the abyss and I have no idea what to say.

More than that, when I look at what conservatives have to offer, I’m not sanguine about our ability to walk America delicately back from the edge on which it’s poised and bring it to firm ground.  For decades, conservatives have been keeping their heads down and doing the economic work that’s been channeled into filling Leftist coffers and funding Leftist policies.  Now that we’re finally raising our heads from our desks, we’re shattered by the damage strewn about, but don’t have the faintest idea how to regroup . . . no, not regroup, but group in the first place.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Trevor Loudon’s proposal to have conservatives come together immediately to present a united front to appeal to all conservative bases.  As you know, it appealed to me strongly.  But a lot of people whom I respect (yourselves included), immediately pointed out profound flaws with the idea.  Right off the bat, there were profound flaws with each of the people named (Ted Cruz’s Canadian birthplace; Rand Paul’s peculiar ideas about money and Iran, not to mention his father’s icky affiliations; Allen West’s problems while in the military, and so on).  People also disliked the un-democratic smell behind preparing an entire slate without the necessity of primaries, although primaries in California and in other “open primary” blue states are officially a joke.  Some people were worried that naming a full slate early would give the MSM a head-start on digging up dirt, destroying lives, and preparing campaigns.  And those are just some of the problems people had with Trevor’s out-of-the-box idea for getting the base excited before the GOP vacuums up the big money to promote another almost-certain-to-lose RINO.

The one thing that everyone agreed on, though, was that there needs to be some grand strategy to unite the conservative base in 2016, or else we may as well go home now, stock up on our survivalist supplies, and wait for Armageddon.

So here’s a challenge for you, given that my circuits are fried:  What grand strategy will unite the base?

Andrew Breitbart, Theodor Herzl, and the dream that will not die

(Originally published on March 1, 2012. Today is the second anniversary of Andrew’s death. I still haven’t made myself delete his cell number from iPhone.)

I’d like to tell you the story of a great man.  In his youth, he was something of a dilettante.  He attended the right schools, enjoyed life, and didn’t think much beyond the pleasures it could offer him.  And then he found a cause.  A glorious and important cause that would deliver people from being enslaved to hostile societies and big governments.  Once he found his calling, he pursued it with passion.  He wrote prolifically, traveled widely and, most importantly, he thought outside of the box.  He took the vague, inchoate dreams that other men had and, because of his drive and vision, made those dreams a reality.

Living life so hard and fast took its toll, though.  If, as the Bible says, God allots a specific span of years to a man, it’s entirely possible that a unique man can compress those years into a much shorter period of time, in order that he can do what he needs to do, when he needs to do it.  And then this man, having opened wide the door for others dies, at 44 or maybe at 43.

I am, of course, talking about two men, one of whom died in 1904, two months after having turned 44, and one of whom died a little after midnight today, having just turned 43 just a month ago.  The arc of their life stories, however, has a remarkable similarity, and we would do well to heed and honor that similarity.

The man who died on July 3, 1904, was Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism and, therefore, the rightful father of the State of Israel.  Herzl was born in 1860 into a wealthy, assimilated Jewish family living in Hungary.  He was fairly uninterested in his Jewish heritage.  He didn’t disavow it; he just didn’t care.  He was a man of letters, earning a law degree, but working as a journalist.  Life was good, and really that was all.

And then the Dreyfus Affair exploded in France in the early 1890s.  Captain Alfred Dreyfus was an innocuous member of the French military who was framed for treason.  Most everyone knew that he was not the culprit but that, instead, the real malfeasor was another officer.  Following an orgy of antisemitic invective, Dreyfus was convicted on no evidence whatsoever, and send to Devil’s Island where he suffered five years of inhumane conditions.  Moral people in France were outraged at this travesty, and Emile Zola shook the world with his famous “J’accuse” letter published in a Parisian paper.

For Herzl, the Dreyfus Affair was an epiphany.  Antisemitism, he realized, was not a fossilized relic of the Middle Ages.  It was an infection festering under modern civilization, and could break out at any time.  Jews would never be safe in Europe.  They needed a place to call their own.  Herzl’s genius was that he took the European Jews’ abstract longing for a “next year in Jerusalem,” and turned it into a concrete, do-able idea.  Everyone knew that the Biblical Jewish nation had spanned hundreds of years in the Holy Land, and that Jews also had an unbreakable living presence in the Holy Land for thousands of years, from Biblical times to Herzl’s own times.  Herzl took this to the next level:  Why shouldn’t present-day Jews have their own land, a place where they were free from control and harassment at the hands of powerful, antisemitic governments?

Herzl was transformed.  His life had meaning and purpose and he lived every remaining moment with passion and energy.  He wrote, he traveled, he lectured.  He was a happy warrior.  He’d broken free of the thousand-year paradigm that had trapped Jews in Europe, and created a new paradigm, one that saw the Jews as a free people in their own land.  But that kind of passion and fury takes its toll.  Herzl was a blazing comet, but comets, for all that they burn brightly, vanish too quickly.  In 1904, Herzl’s great heart gave out.  He died 44 years before his dream was realized.  But here’s the important thing:  His dream was realized.  Herzl’s life mattered.  His vision burned itself into the hearts of millions of others and resulted in the creation of one of the most dynamic — and free — states in the world.

One doesn’t have to work very hard to see the parallels between Herzl’s life and Andrew Breitbart’s.  As Breitbart freely admits in his delightful Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, his early life was completely ordinary.  He was a knee-jerk Jewish liberal who grew up in Los Angeles without thinking much about politics beyond parroting the views that surrounded him in his liberal social and educational enclaves.

For Herzl, the Dreyfus Affair was the epiphany that exploded his world assumptions and forced him to look a grave problem in the world and device a solution.  For Andrew Breitbart, his Rubicon was the Clarence Thomas hearings.  As did Herzl, he realized that his society had a big problem — this time with the core problem being the Democrat party that had long been his ideological home — and he started thinking about solutions to this problem.

In the last few years, Andrew’s years of cogitation, combined with his happy warrior personality, resulted in a completely new paradigm.  Rather than adopting the defensive stance that is the norm for the Republican party when dealing with attacks from the Left, Andrew took the war onto the Left’s own soil.

Working with the equally innovative James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, Breitbart pretty much destroyed ACORN, a hard-Left, well-funded group that masqueraded as a meek and mild social welfare concern.  He took the war to the Left’s own turf when Leftists contended that protesters at a Tea Party hurled racist epithets at Black politicians and activists.  Andrew offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide proof that such conduct took place.  Despite the plethora of recording devices at the scene, no Leftist ever stepped forward to claim the money.  And of course, Breitbart brought down Anthony Weiner, giving notice to Democrats everywhere that the “gentleman’s agreement” that the media had with Democrats, an agreement that had successfully protected Kennedy and that tried so hard to protect Bill Clinton, no longer existed.

Andrew changed the paradigm.  He showed that, for conservatives, the fight doesn’t begin and end with stating ideas and hoping that the public figures out that conservative ideas are better.  That might have worked in a pre-MTV world, but in a world with a short attention span, and a Leftist lock on media and education, it’s just not enough to say that one has a better idea.  To give ideas traction today, we need to work actively to show that the opposing party has a much worse idea — and that it’s worse, not only at a purely ideological level, but at a functional level.  On the ground, Leftist ideas are a breeding ground for poverty, racism, corruption, and immorality.  It’s out there. Andrew knew it, and Andrew showed it.

Andrew also believed in redemption.  After all, like so many of us on the Right, Andrew started out as a liberal.  He loved fighting the hard-core Leftists, but he firmly believed that, by fighting them, he could bring them into the light.  And more than that, he believed that he could rouse the sheeples out there, the ones who are as we once were — Leftists by default rather than by conviction — and turn them into true Patriots who love and support the American dream, beginning with the Constitution.

RIP, Andrew Breitbart.  Your short time here was not wasted.  Just as with Theodor Herzl, your dream, your vision, and your drive will live on.