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.

Same old, same old, which I enliven with predictions for the next twelve months *UPDATED*

bored-baby

Here’s an old joke:

An established comedian invited a friend to join him at a very exclusive “comedian’s club.”  The guest instantly noticed something peculiar.  In the main room, a person would periodically stand up and shout out a number.  “57,” one would say, and a few people in the room would chuckle.  After a moment’s silence, someone would holler, “18,” and be rewarded with a chorus of good-natured “boos.”

This pattern continued for a while, until someone shouted out “77.”  While a few people let out a short bark of laughter, one guy in the corner was utterly beside himself.  He roared with laughter, until tears were rolling down his face.

The guest turned to his host and asked, “What gives?  What is it with these numbers?”

“Well,” the host explained, “it’s like this.  We’re all professional comedians here and, to be honest, there are only so many jokes around.  It got tiring and boring for someone to tell a joke that everyone already knew, so we started assigning them numbers.  It’s kind of like a joke short-hand.  People still laugh — if they want — but it definitely saves time.”

“Okay,” said the guest.  “I get that.  But what about that guy in the corner who collapsed with laughter when someone shouted out ’77′.”

Oh, him,” answered the host.  “I guess he hadn’t heard that joke before.”

Yes, it’s a surreal joke, but it also explains why I’m having problems blogging lately.  When I read a story about Obamacare, I can’t add much to posts I’ve written going all the way back to 2009.  I predicted then what would happen now.  “You’ll find that in posts 384, 943, 6749, and 34052.”  Events in the Middle East?  I foresaw those too, including Obama’s love affair with Iran, and Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s entirely predictable coming together against that common enemy.  “See posts 3489 and 9492.”  Government data manipulation?  We covered that too, as we did with gun control, amnesty, foreign policy, etc.

I’ve moved out of fresh and into “I told you so.”  As a writer, “I told you so” is boring.  It’s also especially boring for all of you, because you were right there with me, making the same predictions.  We all saw all of this coming.

The only thing that’s kind of newsy now is watching the oh-so-smart Leftists figure out that they’ve been had.  It’s not actually real news, of course, because we all saw this coming too, but it’s still fun to watch.  As to these Obamabots, it’s not just that a specific politician has “had” them.  Their entire ideology is disintegrating in front of their eyes.  Most, of course, will plunge into frenetic denial.  That’s old stuff too.  For 100 years, communists have been saying that communism is perfect; it’s the implementation that’s flawed.  When today’s Leftist’s rant against the president, the party, and the people, they’re foll0wing an old script.

A few Leftists, however, will draw back and say, “We were wrong.  We were wrong about everything.”  That’s been done too.  They’ll be joining David Horowitz, Michael Medved, Thomas Lifson, David Mamet, Sally Zelikovsky, the Power Line guys, and scores of other people who already had their Road to Damascus moment when they realized that Leftism isn’t poorly implemented; it is, instead, fundamentally flawed.  I certainly won’t think as highly of these new converts as I do of the older generation.  The older generation didn’t need to see America’s economic collapse and her fade into international irrelevance to see which way the wind was blowing.

Since everything seems to be “same old, same old,” except even more so, what would be new and exciting news for a blase blogger in the next twelve months?

1.  Obamacare’s repeal, although unscrambling that egg will be virtually impossible.  Even if they wanted to, huge institutions such as heavily-regulated insurance companies and hospitals cannot turn on a dime.  The somewhat functioning market will have been destroyed, which nothing lined up to take its place.  Worse, we know that Republicans politicians are incapable of using the headwinds of repeal to revitalize the free market.  (Remember:  Democrats have bad ideas and effective politicians; and Republicans have good ideas and brain-dead cretins in office.)

2.  A groundswell of popular support for Obama’s impeachment.  Of course, that would leave Biden in charge, which is not a pretty thought.  The likelihood is that, if he could, he’d move Elizabeth Warren into the Veep seat to stymie Hillary.  It would be amusing, but just as bad for America as Obama himself.

3.  Israel’s alliance with the Gulf States to launch a devastating attack against Iran’s missile systems and nuclear centers.  With strong American leadership, this could actually have a good outcome, freeing Iranians from decades of appalling Islamist repression and destabilizing tyrannies in a way that leads to genuine freedom throughout the Middle East.  With our current leadership, a leadership that will have made such an attack necessary in the first place, one can only imagine that the Middle East, the entire Middle East, will manage simultaneously to implode and explode.  The human costs will exceed imagination and, because of oil, those costs will encompass the entire planet.  Canada, Brazil, the US, and other places may be coming up as major oil producers, but losing Middle Eastern oil in a single day would have incalculable consequences on modern life.

4.  The 2014 elections resulting in a Republican sweep the likes of which has never been seen in America.  In a way, though, coming as it would midway through Obama’s so-far disastrous second term, this would also be ho-hum news, even if both House and Senate changed hands.  What would be more interesting would be to see places such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco jettison their Democrat ruling class.  I’m not holding my breath on that one.  The residents in those cities routinely use elections to double down on failure.

5.  Obama comes out of the closet.  (And, come on, you know he’s in there.)  That wouldn’t affect anything politically, but it would make for great headlines, especially if Hillary refuses to be one-upped and comes out too.

6.  Schadenfreude here, but I will enjoy watching New York in the first year of the de Blasio administration.  I should start running a pool taking bets as to how long it will take de Blasio to reduce New York to its 1970s status.  We all know that it’s easier and faster to tear down and destroy something than it is to renew and revitalize.

7.  The New York Times will declare bankruptcy.  I see that as inevitable, although would actually be surprised if it happened in the next twelve months.

8.  People definitively reject anthropogenic global warming.  As with the New York Times’ bankruptcy, this is inevitable.  I just don’t see it happening in only 12 months.

9.  Oprah recants and announces that she’s no longer calling for the genocide of “racist” people who don’t support Obama.

10.  Palestinians lay down their arms.  The previous nine hoped-for headlines all have a possibility, even a small one, of coming true.  This one does not, but it sure would be great news, and it would snap me completely out of my writer’s doldrums.

And, for those joining me in ennui, some music:

UPDATE: Hmmm. A James O’Keefe tweet suggests that tomorrow may bring some news we haven’t already heard before.

As Obamacare defines America’s economic landscape, are we going to see a new trend of Soviet-era jokes?

Soviet-Bread-Line

Shopping Soviet style — the bread line

Those of us who remember the Cold War also remember the Cold War joke.  Many of these were jokes that had actually originated within the Soviet Union itself, as Russian citizens used mordant humor to deal with communist life.  When I was growing up, those jokes had a great deal to do with my understanding of the day-to-day realities of life in a Communist state, both in terms of the oppression and the deprivation.  Here’s a joke that illustrates both:

A man was somehow able to finagle visas to get his family out of the Soviet Union, but he was forced to remain behind.  He promised to write his family regularly to let them know how he was doing.  Because the family knew that the KGB would be monitoring everything the man wrote, they agreed upon a code:  If the man wrote  his letter in black ink, he was telling the truth; if he wrote his letter in red ink, he was telling a lie.  Not long after the family settled in their new home, they received a letter from the man written entirely in black ink:

My dearest family,

How foolish you were to leave our beloved Soviet Union.  Although you may remember a brief period of shortages, I can tell you that life now has gotten better in every way.  The stores are overflowing with food and merchandise.  At the green grocer, there are fruits and vegetables from all corners of our glorious Soviet Union.  In the clothing stores, the clothes available for purchase are packed so tightly on the rack that one needs to use excessive strength to pull out a shirt just to try it on.  Even though it is January, our dear little apartment is oppressively hot.  I must repeatedly tell the manager to turn the heat down.  Indeed, peculiarly enough, in the midst of all the plenty flowing from Stalin’s great Five Year Plan, the stores are short only one item:  red ink.

With love,

Papa

Other jokes spoke about deprivation and the pervasive, state-sponsored antisemitism:

On a bitterly cold day in Moscow, word has gone out that a store has received a shipment of food supplies.  People start lining up early.  Soon, the line doubles around the block.  After a couple of hours, an official emerges from the store.

“Owing to the Zionist-dominated American interference with Soviet concerns, supplies are slightly more limited than we had originally anticipated.  All Jews must therefore leave this line.”

Grumbling, but unsurprised, the Jews head home empty-handed.

The sun rises in the sky, but gives no warmth.  Another couple of hours go by, and the same official comes out.

“The Americans were worse than we thought, and our supplies are more diminished than we realized.  All of those who do not belong to the Communist Party must leave this line.”

Disgruntled non-Party members head home, leaving only the hard-core Soviets waiting for food.

The sun begins to set.  The cold becomes worse.  The Party members huddle together, trying to get warm.  At long last, after they’ve spent eight or ten hours waiting, the official emerges from the store one last time.

“We regret to announce that American depredations were so great that we have no food supplies available today.  You must all go home.”

As the Party members shuffle away into the cold night, one loudly says to the other, “Those damn Jews!  They get all the luck.”

(Incidentally, I published this joke in connection with a Maxine Waters comment, which reminds us that antisemitism is becoming pretty pervasive in today’s Democrat Party.)

For me, Obamacare is a rich area for Soviet jokes.  We’re being ordered to buy a product that we don’t want; that is described as being overwhelmingly full of delights, even though we don’t care about those delights; and that is, in any event, unavailable.  It’s a Soviet-style economic policy that is fully deserving of Soviet-style jokes.  To date, I’ve fallen back on one of my old favorites:

First Communist:  Come the revolution, we’ll all be driving Rolls Royces.

Second Communist:  But I don’t want to drive a Rolls Royce.

First Communist:  Come the revolution, you’ll have to.

What fascinated me was discovering that I’m not the only one dredging up the Cold War past in connection with Obamacare. Megan McArdle, an admirably level-headed, honest writer whose background as a programmer has given her solid insights into the Obamacare debacle, has felt the same impulse:

Left-leaning columnists and policy wonks have been suggesting that the cancellation letters were part of an insurance company scam to enroll their customers in expensive policies, but the administration itself has been remarkably oblique. It needs the insurers, especially with the exchanges in so much trouble. Their cooperation is essential to avoiding another round of nasty premium shocks next year.

It reminds me of a late-Soviet joke: A man stands in line all day for bread, only to have the baker come out and say there is none. He loses it, and begins ranting about the government. Eventually, a man in a trench coat puts a hand on his shoulder.

“Be careful, comrade. You know, in the old days, it would have been …” and he mimes a gun pointed at the head.

The man walks home, dejected. When he walks in the door, his wife takes one look at his face and drops the plate she is holding.

“What’s wrong, Ivan? Were they out of bread?”

“It’s worse than that. They’re out of bullets.”

The administration has run out of political bullets. Unless the Affordable Care Act starts working, and delivering big benefits to more people than are losing their insurance, it can’t do much to improve those sagging poll numbers.

I’m wondering now if we’re going to see a general resurgence of Soviet jokes.  They’re pretty much pre-made for the communist style economy Obama has thrust upon us.  So I have a twofold request for you:  First, do you remember any old Soviet-era jokes (and they have to be the genuine article) that work just as well now, in America, as they did during the Cold War in the Soviet Union?  Second, if you find other writers falling back on old Communist jokes in connection with Obamacare specifically or the Obama economy generally, could you let me know?

 

Ah, the irony! Woody Guthrie’s classic song gets a much-needed makeover

AJ Strata looked at Obama’s approach to American land — i.e., “This land belongs to me, not you” — and decided to revamp Woody Guthrie’s famous “This land is your land” a bit.  I think he did a great job. More than that, though, he exposed a beautiful irony.

Woodie Guthrie was openly communist, although never officially a member of the Communist party.  Today, he is best remembered for “This land is your land.”  For decades, people have happily caroled the first two to four verses, which joyfully celebrate America’s great natural beauty.  Few know that the last three verses are a direct attack on private property.  Guthrie believed that the land should belong to the people:

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Here’s the irony:  Thanks to a federal land-buying binge, vast tracks of America do belong to the people, just as Guthrie once hoped would open.  There’s even a President who is as close to being a communist as any American has ever been — and it’s that same president who is making it very clear that the people have no rights in or to the beautiful lands bought and maintained with their money.

Game of Thrones and how the things that we watch reveal something about who we are and what we’ve become

Yesterday, my substantive Bookworm Room work was limited to a single post in which I linked to David Swindle’s article about Game of Thrones.  Having read David’s writing, one of my friends sent me his take on Game of Thrones.  I’d like to share parts of it with you, as well as my response.

My friend watched the first two seasons because there was a story there about good versus evil.  I agree.  That I didn’t like the ugly violence of the show (and I found the underlying books dull) doesn’t change the fact that it was simply an R-rated version of an age-old fable of good versus evil.  It was in the third season that the show changed and that my friend, whose life is built around a solid core of Jude0-Christian morality, had enough:

What concerns me is the way the show is written the scum bags are more intriguing characters than the honorable ones. Even scarier is seeing comments of fans on line who brush off the “good guys” in the show as naive idiots (mostly because they get killed off) and the slime balls as compelling heroes of the show. What? Recently there was someone on FB who after one episode wrote: “Jamie Lannister is a class act.” Jaime leaped into a pit with a bear to save another character and now all the fans love him. I reminded my FB friend Jamie was a class act except for the fact he pushed a kid out of a window to kill him, commits incest with his sister, rapes women, murders innocents, and is generally a selfish dirt bag. How everyone sees this one act as some kind of redemption is beyond me. The characters who do the right thing, keep their word, etc, are all murdered and betrayed by the “smarter” cool characters.

I’ve enjoyed GoT for 2 seasons but this season seemed to drag. Then the Stark family (honorable, noble, keep their word types) were betrayed and nearly assassinated to a man. At this point I can count the characters with any nobility left to them on one hand. Plus I’ve always hated shows portraying where the noble characters are somehow the most flawed and the slime balls are the ones we are to sympathize with. GoT does this very well.

I couldn’t agree more. What I wrote back to my friend is that I’ve always felt that, if I’m going to give time in my life to a show, I want to spend it with people with whom I’d want to spend time in real life. I don’t like spending time with sociopaths or psychopaths, so why would I want to spend umpteen hours getting close to Jamie Lannister or Tony Soprano?

I understand the need for dramatic tension. A show that’s just about good guys being good tends to lack plot movement. For centuries, we resolved this by having good guys defeat bad guys — and we identified with the good guys. Kids were Superman, Batman, Dick Tracy, etc. Somewhere along the line, that changed, and we started being expected to identify with the bad guys. (Was it The Godfather that did this or the 1950s James Dean antiheroes?)

We’ve now moved beyond having sympathetic bad guys face off against one-dimensional good guys, and, for the most part, done away with good guys altogether. They’re just so dull. But keep in mind that their dullness is not their fault:  The good guys in modern drama became dull because no one knows how to write interesting or charming characters anymore.  A witty, brilliant Lord Peter Wimsey, or a sparkling Elizabeth Bennett, or a bewildered, striving Pip, or whatever other good character you admire, both because the character is good and because the character is interesting — those people (and they are real to me) seem to be impossible for modern writers to create.

I was actually thinking this same thought last night when I finally got around to watching Skyfall this weekend. I was bored out of my mind, and for a very specific reason. James Bond used to be charming. Now he’s thuggish. That’s actually a bit truer to the books, which were noir-style, but it’s not true to the spirit that’s animated the Bond movies since 1963. In the old days, women wanted to meet the raffish Bond and men wanted to be him. Nowadays, with the psychopathic, possibly bisexual Bond, you want to run screaming from the room. So again, why would I want to spend two hours of my life sitting in the dark watching this so-called “hero”?

Some people I know raved about Big Bang Theory, shown on FX.  It was about a school teacher turned insane drug dealer. They marveled that I didn’t want to watch it. And I couldn’t understand why they wanted me to abandon Pride & Prejudice (always an uplifting, amusing book about charming, personable characters learning how to behave correctly, not badly) to spend hours and hours watching this guy sink constantly lower.

If you want an insight into our lost culture, just watch what serves for comedy, drama, or documentary on HBO or FX or any of the other cable challenges that stream into our homes and our children’s brains.  Seeing these shows is like an intellectual gathering place for all that’s bad about Leftist thought.

And here’s another thought while I’m (finally) on a roll.  Last night, our TiVo captured a dreary (but award-winning) Spanish-language movie called Pan’s Labyrinth.  It’s about an imaginative little girl in Spain in 1944, whose widowed mother has married a psychopathic fascist captain during the Spanish Civil War.  Naturally, the Communists are portrayed sympathetically.

In fact, if one reads about the Spanish Civil War, it was a war much like that taking place in Syria:  moral, decent people would want both sides to lose.  If I remember correctly, it emerged in the 1990s or so that the Communist leaders systematically slaughtered those starry-eyed idealists who had come from America and England to help the Communists fight the Fascists.  The fundamental truth was that both sides were socialist totalitarian bodies that simply wanted dibs on creating dictatorships in Spain.

What I thought as I watched the movie is that, even though the Fascists won, the Communists wrote the history.  And indeed, the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century is characterized by that phenomenon:  no matter who wins or loses on the ground, the Communists write the history.  It used to be that the victor got to own the past, which enabled the victor to keep a tight grip on the present.  Can you think of another place or time in which one side to the ideological battle, whether it wins or loses, always retains control over the narrative?

Here at home, we fought a fifty-year Cold War and, technically, we won.  Except our students all read Howard Zinn’s ultra Leftist People’s History of the United States.  Which means we lost, because even though the Soviet Union is gone, its ideology lives on in the hearts and minds of our children, as well as in the halls of our White House.

I’ve been depressed for the last few days, making it hard to write.  Having read what I’ve just written, I’m still depressed.

Trevor Loudon’s new book on Communists in American politics

Fellow Watcher’s Council member Trevor Loudon is a New Zealand-based conservative who cares deeply about, and worries ceaselessly about, the fact that communists and socialists are in America’s Congress.  If Americans elected communists and socialists, that would be one thing, because a republican democracy is allowed to commit suicide if it wants.  But these people go into the political arena identifying themselves as “Democrats,” which assures them the knee-jerk vote from those who vote Democrat because they always have, as did their father, and his father before that.

Trevor has a new book coming out in August, one that brings current his previous book on the same subject, and you can pre-order your copy now.  Teressa, another Watcher’s Council buddy, has this to say:

Trevor Loudon’s new book “The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress,” clarified for me just how much trouble we are in as a nation and how completely infiltrated our halls of power have become. The book gave me an in-depth look into the subversive nature of progressive politics in this country and changed forever how I view the political spectrum. If this book does not wake America up to the enemies within, I do not know what will. It should be on every household and educational shelf in the country and it should be the go-to source for the true backgrounds on those who seek (and broker) power and influence in America. This book is the deciding factor on who goes and who stays, using facts and research to tell the real stories of actions rather than opinion and propaganda.

Not only does the book look intently at the records of over 60 of America’s politicians, it defines and explains numerous progressive groups in layman terms. Each section is incredibly detailed with photos and a multitude of references, coming from hundreds of sources. The research and documentation put into this book are way beyond the expected, and incontrovertible in their historical analysis. If you want to know who many of your politicians truly are, this is THE source for finding that out. A silent coup has been going on in our government and this book lays bare the records of those we have entrusted with the reins of government.

“The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S.  Congress” is Trevor Loudon’s second book, following the highly acclaimed “Barack Obama and the Enemies Within.” It is a masterpiece of research and tells a life and death story for America. The communist and socialist influences in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are finally brought to light, just in time to pull America back from the edge of the Marxist cliff we are heading for. Our current state of demise has been well planned and plotted. It is not incompetence or accidental… It is the purposeful subversion of the greatest nation on earth. This book is in a class by itself and I strongly recommend it to every American who longs to regain the America they once knew and loved. It is one of our most powerful weapons to defeat The Enemies Within.

Young adult writers, dystopian fiction, and communism

Thanks to the success of The Hunger Games (which I’ve neither read nor watched), novels about dystopian futures are the “in” thing for young adult readers.  My daughter enjoys these books a great deal.  Yesterday, having read one, she said to me, “You know, Mommy, all of these dystopian books that take place in the future, are always communist.”  Further questioning revealed that none of these books involve futuristic scenarios in which people scrabble alone in the wild or are under the thumb of aliens.

Two comments:

Wow.  First, yes, she did use the word dystopian.  And second, she’s absolutely right.  The only way authors are able to imagine a future world that’s sufficiently bad to qualify for a Hunger Games style revolution is to posit a world of scarce resources, with a tyrannical government controlling the population by meting out small portions of remaining resources to the masses, while preserving most of the resources for the apparatchiks — in other words, communism.  Communism is the very worst form of government that literary minds an create.

Labels are often used to obscure meanings.  Sometimes, though, they can be remarkably clarifying.  This one, straight out of the mouth of a teen (dystopian future = communist world) falls into the latter category.

Incidentally, I’m willing to bet that large numbers of these writers are liberals who know little about the reality of communism.  They probably think they’re imagining a never-before-seen world, rather than one we’ve seen all too often in the 20th and 21st centuries.

It’s the culture

Nobody seems to want to admit it, but it’s our culture!

School shootings aren’t new. But, Americans have owned guns aplenty for more-than 200 years of nationhood and it seems that we’ve never had school shootings as we have experienced in the past few years. Neither has the rest of the modern world, but school, church and shopping mall attacks have been occurring even in countries with the strictest gun controls (e.g., Scotland, Germany, Norway, Japan). What has changed?

How about “that which must not be named”?

The old-guard leftists of the Frankfurter and Antonio Gramsci (you can “wiki” those names) school knew that to fundamentally remake society, you first had to destroy the church, society and the family. I would say Gramsci and Frankfurter school alumnae have had a pretty good success record.

Ever since LBJ’s 1960s “War on Poverty”, families have been disintegrating. It started with the most vulnerable (inner city blacks, where now 70% of children have no fathers) and has now spread to white, non-Hispanic families (close-to 30% of children born out of wedlock). Often, children in such families are left largely unsupervised, grow up without good male role models and enjoy ready access to the most depraved pornography, graphic violence, weapons, drugs and other vices through the internet and their peers, starting at a very young and formative age. One can try to prevent their kids’ access to this at home, but how does one prevent them from going down the street to a friends’ house?

I couldn’t help but notice that the first media reports of the shooter (whom I refuse to name and help make more famous) mentioned a mother but didn’t mention a father. Sure enough, the latest reports by a British news outlet, The Daily Mail, are of a boy traumatized by a three-year old divorce. Why did he single out his mother as the first victim? We may never know, but I suspect that the divorce may have had something to do with it. We are also learning that (surprise!) the shooter was a compulsive violent-video gamer.

Youth and adolescence are a time when kids should be learning communication skills and how to interact with adults and peers. Instead, too many kids appear to be devolving into lonely social outcasts and losers (a non-PC term I use for emphasis only). Throw in mental illness, they can become dangerous (the source of much of this mental illness is a worthy topic in and of itself…but think about what hours and hours of sitting in front of a screen does to the developing brain of a young child?). These are the years when their neuro linkages are being formed.

The mass media and punditry immediately started talking about this shooter’s “obvious” mental problems, thereby anointing him a member of “victim” class and providing absolution for his sins. I don’t buy any of it. I can understand someone crazed with rage shooting their mother in the heat of the moment, but the premeditation and time the shooter needed took to travel to a school after killing his own mother and destroying young kids’ lives in psychopathic cold blood point not mental illness but a willing pact made with evil. It is evil, pure and simple, nothing less. At one point, this shooter was confronted with a choice and he chose evil. Why did he make that choice? Here’s a thought:

What are the cultural messages that get hammered into young kids’ brains today? There is no reward in elevation, but there is reward in depravity. Our mass media hammers into their developing brains, over and over again, that to be depraved is to be “famous”, a powerful siren’s song for lonely outcast kids. These kids know that the quickest way to fame and even fortune is to act depraved and to be guaranteed that their depravity will be broadcast widely over the internet and throughout the global media. Some of them grow into mega stars (I’m thinking of Rapper culture, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Jerry Springers as just a few examples), further amplifying the siren’s song. The mass media, vigilantly on the lookout for breaking news 24/7, is complicit in this, for it is the internet and mass media that provide monsters their 15 minutes of fame. Remember that the next time you look at how our TV screens extol depravity. Btw, if you doubt me about just how depraved our culture has become, then Google [game kindergarten killer].

Sorry to have to use the word “depraved” of course. In our Gramsci-Frankfurter culture, such terms are soooooo judgmental and we don’t dare to be judgmental, do we? Why, other people might not like us, a sentence worse than death for too many adults that never outgrew their adolescence.

So what do we do about it? We can start by focusing on our own kids, knowing that our obligation as parents is not just to love them but to build them spiritually into good citizens and to armor them against the bad influences in our imperfect world. We can extend support to single parents, especially those trying to work jobs simply to survive, and we help provide guidance to their kids. These are the days when wolves stalk a land in which too many people have forgotten how to recognize wolves for what they are. And, if you decide to have children, get married and stay married, so that you can nurture, protect and educate your children into solid citizens together. My very brilliant spouse, a middle-school teacher, tells me that she can tell right away when her students’ families are trouble by the way that the kids lash-out in school. She has already lost too many of her former students to drugs and suicide.

Rely on our churches? Maybe, but so many have become such weak tea. My own Episcopal church…part of the Anglican Communion that produced such great theological thinkers and moral stalwarts as C.S. Lewis (our patron saint, in my view)…has been complicit in this. It is so terrified of being perceived as “uncool” that it doesn’t dare attack popular culture or elevate its members above the culture…unless, of course, it is a soft target, such as those really uncool, nagging, square conservatives (a minority group of which I count myself a proud member). The sad fact is that my church, sadly dominated at the top by Frankfurter-Gramsci disciples, spends far too much of its time and effort huffing and puffing to keep up with the latest social trends in its frantic effort to appear cool and contemporary while pushing its “social justice” agenda. I don’t recall my church’s leadership ever raising a peep of protest against the depravity of contemporary culture. Excuses, yes. Protests, no. Quite the opposite.

One of my FB friends just shared an electronic ad from our church’s head bishop that includes scatological epiphets to get the message across. Soooo, soooo cool! So with it! Some churches are great builders of spiritual armor. Not this one. It prefers to be complicit with a depraved culture. It follows, it does not have the courage to lead. You may ask, of course, why I don’t leave this church, so I will answer that: because it is precisely there that I am needed. There are many good people there. I and others do speak out and try to nurture and strengthen our children with spiritual armor.

Is the solution to force honest citizens to surrender their weapons? That is thinking with the heart rather than the head. I am so, so totally against this. The solution to an outbreak of wolves is not to defang the guard dogs. In this age of the wolf, we need more guard dogs, not less.

The Connecticut school shooting could have been stopped right away had there been one or more people on premise with guns, a circumstance that today would land any would-be guard dog in jail without passing “go”. Chances are that, had the shooter known that the school was protected, he would never have dared go there. The only real defense against a gun…is a gun. Mass murderers tend to be cowards that seek out soft, undefended targets like schools and churches. Guns, like drugs, will always be available to psychopaths, criminals and terrorists. If not guns, there are always knives, automobiles, poison gas, molotov cocktails or fertilizer bombs. Taking guns away from civilians only creates a larger pool of defenseless sheep available for slaughter. One of my FB friends also suggested that only government and police should have weapons. Scary thought. Look around the world today: now, that is one very scary thought. Government and law enforcement magnets for wolves. But, then, this is how people who have never had to confront wolves perceive the world. Like the Hobbits of the Shire, content to eat, drink and be merry, free of cares. But, reality eventually intrudes and we cannot magically “wish” wolves away into oblivion.

Finally, there is one particular aspect of this that really, really bothers me: young kids for decades have been getting gunned down, knifed, beaten to death, suffocated and raped in our inner cities. But, other than perfunctory hand-wringing, we never saw an outcry against this compared to what occurred after this most recent shooting in a well-to-do middle class community. Gee, what could the reason for this be? Yup, you’re right.

We won’t change what appears to be happening with increasing frequency to our society until we decide that we will stand up and dare to speak out against the increased depravity of our culture. Definitely “uncool”, but we must do it…for all families, for the kids and for our future. Otherwise, it can only continue to get much, much worse. It is the age of the wolf.

An American high school band celebrates the Russian Revolution, complete with hammer and sickle

So now we know what historical ignorance looks like:

A Pennsylvania high school marching band is raising eyebrows with a halftime performance that commemorates the Russian revolution, complete with red flags, olive military-style uniforms, and giant hammers and sickles.

“St. Petersburg: 1917” is the theme for the New Oxford High School Marching Band. Ironically, the school’s athletic teams are called the Colonials and their colors are red, white and blue. The band’s website features a picture of the group with students holding a hammer and sickle.

[snip]

Rebecca Harbaugh, the superintendent for the Conewago Valley School District, told Fox News that the band’s performance was “not an endorsement of communism at all.”

“It’s a representation of the time period in history called St. Petersburg 1917,” she said. “I am truly sorry that somebody took the performance in that manner. I am.”

“If anything is being celebrated it’s the music,” she said. “It is what it is. I understand people look at something and choose how to interpret that and I’m just very sorry that it wasn’t looked at as just a history lesson.”

Besides, she explained, “in 2008 we did an entire show on freedom.”

But some critics said it’s outrageous for any American school to be celebrating such a violent era.

“It would be tantamount to celebrating the music of 1935 Berlin,” the parent said. “If I was Lithuanian, Estonian, or Ukrainian, I’d be a little hot. I’d be really hot. It’s insulting to glorify something that doesn’t need to be glorified in America.”

(Read the rest of the story here.)

Maybe next year they can celebrate the famine Stalin created in the Ukraine, killing something in the neighborhood of 20 million of his own citizens. And the year after that, perhaps a “Party in the Gulag” theme.

Actually, I believe that these kids weren’t endorsing Communism.  What they were endorsing was something different:  the forty year march of  a values-free approach to education, one that manages to leave both students and their teachers incapable of understanding what they teach or learn.  To them, what happened is an “event,” without meaning or consequence.  This goes beyond moral relativism into absolute meaninglessness — and if that isn’t sad, I don’t know what is.

A bowdlerization of Chesterton has him saying:  “When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.”  That saying isn’t quite on point, but it somehow seems appropriate here, when we have a group of well-intentioned young people incapable of understanding the meaning of what they study.  They know nothing, and misunderstand everything.

Obama is a theoretical leader; Romney a practical one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did.  The box was very, very heavy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starved Ukrainian peasants 1933

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

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

Remnants of Pol Pot's Killing Fields

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

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

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

 

Managing businesses (badly): This is precisely what government — Big Government — does

My mother, who gets a lot of her news from the MSM, is nevertheless slowly becoming aware of the Solyndra scandal — not just the fact that a big solar panel company went bankrupt, but that it went bankrupt at great cost to her, because the Obama administration had bet the farm (or should I say, the taxpayer’s farm) on Solyndra.  “That’s not what government is supposed to do,” she said.

Au contraire, Mama,” I replied.  “This is precisely what Obama-style Leftist government is supposed to do.”

I went further than that.  The Obama approach to business is precisely like the Nazi approach to business.  And before anyone gets all hot and sweaty here, and despite Obama’s disgraceful attitude to Israel, I am not likening Obama to Hitler or trying to say that the Progressives are Nazis.  I am making, instead, a very specific point about American-style socialism, which is very different from Soviet, or North Korean, or Cuban style socialism.

When people think of socialism, they think in terms of government doing away with private industry entirely in favor of total nationalization.  That’s why, when you remind people that the fascists were socialists (i.e., Leftists), they’ll always deny it.  “That can’t be true.  Hitler didn’t take over private business.”

While it’s true that Hitler left ostensible corporate ownership in private hands, the practical reality was that the Nazis made the big decisions.  Baron von This and That and Herr So and So got to call the corporation their own, and got all the glamor that went with being rich industrialists, but the practical reality was that they looked to the Reichstag for direction and, because the Nazi Party conferred significant economic benefits on them, they supported it in word and deed.  One could say that German businesses, although nominally private, were in fact subsidiaries of the Nazi government.

That fascist approach, which sees businesses retain their status as “private,” even while being completely answerable to the government, is the Obama model.  He doesn’t want to nationalize companies, he just wants to direct them.  American businesses, in his mind, should be subsidiaries of the Obama White House.  That’s why Obama happily took over GM, and that’s why he and his Chicago cronies saw no problem with using taxpayer money to prop up an already failing solar company.

This same attitude permeates ObamaCare.  We conservatives sometimes forget that the hardcore Left hates the individual mandate as much as we on the conservative side do.  We hate it because it decreases individual freedom.  The Left hates it because the insurance companies will continue to thrive and, indeed, can profit mightily.  The Left cannot understand how their man in the White House could betray them that way.  They forget that Obama, although a socialist, is not a Communist.  He is an economic fascist, and merely wants to manage American business, which will keep a steady stream of money flowing from those same businesses right back to him.

In theory, it’s a lovely solution for both the government and the businesses.  In practice, as Solyndra shows, Obama is a disastrously bad business manager.  It’s also worth remembering, as the Germans learned to their great cost, that while power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.  It’s one thing for business to have a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” relationship with government.  That’s the nature of power.  It’s another thing entirely when a government simply co-opts a nation’s business.

Political violence: from whence does it emanate

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” – President Barack Hussein Obama

I posted this as a comment to Book’s previous post, but have now posted it independently as a challenge to all of us Bookworm salon aficionados.

Here’s the premise: virtually all the political violence that has happened in America as come from people associated with the Democrat and/or the Left.

Here’s my list thus far (continuous updating):

DEMOCRAT /LEFT – LINKED VIOLENCE

  1. Mass. Sen. Charles Sumner beaten by S. Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks over perceived insults made in speech by Brooks (1856).
  2. John Wilkes Booth (anti-Republican Democrat) assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  3. Southern night riders and the KKK during Reconstruction and into the mid-1900s. (Democrats) – question: do we count each of the lynchings as separate acts of violence?
  4. Chicago Haymarket riot (1886)
  5. Pres. McKinley’s 1901 assassination by Leon Frank Czolgosz (Leftwing anarchist)
  6. Sedition Act of 1918 by Woodrow Wilson (Progressive Democrat)
  7. Assassination attempt on FDR, killing Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, by Guiseppe Zangara in 1933 (left-wing anarchist)
  8. FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII (Democrat progressive)
  9. FALN attack against Pres. Harry Truman (communist)
  10. Sheriff Bull Connors, Gov. George Wallace (Democrats)
  11. John Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (communist)
  12. Pres. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”
  13. 1968 Democrat Convention
  14. Robert Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan (leftwing Palestinian supporter)
  15. Sarah Jane Moore’s attempted assassination of Pres. Gerald Ford
  16. Berkeley People’s Park riot in 1969 (campus socialists, communists and anarchists)
  17. Students for a Democratic Society aka SDS (communist)
  18. Bombing (1970) of Math Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison (anti-war communists)
  19. Symbionese Liberation Army (communists)
  20. American Indian Movement (AIM) killing of FBI agents at Wounded Knee (socialist American Indian activists)
  21. The Weathermen, incl. Dohrn and Ayers (communist)
  22. Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN bombings (communist)
  23. Black Panthers (Left-wing socialist/communist)
  24. James Jones of Jonestown fame (apostolic socialism)
  25. Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
  26. Attack on Branch Davidians (Janet Reno, Clinton Administration)
  27. Ted Kaczynski – Unabomber (leftwing anarchist and environmental fanatic, Gore acolyte)
  28. Left-wing violence, destruction and physical assaults at 1999 G-20 meeting in Seattle.
  29. Attack on Washington, D.C. Holocaust Memorial by James Wenneker von Brunn (anti-U.S. socialist sympathizer)
  30. Left-wing violence, destruction, physical assaults and weapons convictions at 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis.
  31. Joe Stack, Austin IRS bomber (anti-Republican, anti-capitalist, anti-wealthy people)
  32. Physical attacks on conservative speakers at university campuses
  33. Multiple physical attacks against Tea Party rallies by SEIU and others (2009).
  34. Shooting of pro-life demonstrator James Pouillon in Owosso, MI (2009)
  35. Physical assault by S. Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge against student, caught on video.
  36. Discovery Center attack and hostage-taking by James Lee in Sept. 2010 (leftwing environmentalist)

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE – LINKED VIOLENCE

  1. John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry (?)
  2. Attacks on abortion clinics and murders and attempted murders of abortion providers (conservative Christian group-affiliated (?) individuals)
  3. Firearm attack by Jim D. Adkisson against Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, claiming opposition to its policies (2008)
  4. 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph (see “attacks on abortion clinics” above).

xxxxxxxxxxx

Please delete, amend or add-to the list as you see fit.

Or, let’s have even more fun: how about a comparable list of CONSERVATIVE acts of political violence?

We shall then be able to offer two lists for posterity.

Comments and contributions? Please make them as specific as possible.

UPDATE***

I have broken these out into two lists and will make additions as they come in.

UPDATE***

OK…I’m convinced. I’ve taken the Tuscon, Ariz. shooting off of the “Left” column.

Another conversation with a liberal: “You won’t like it, because I say no one else does” *UPDATED*

My liberal friend and I were talking about having pizza for dinner.  I suggested Round Table.  My friend was appalled.

Liberal Friend:  “Round Table is awful.”

Me:  “I like it.”

Liberal Friend:  “It’s awful.  Just go on Yelp.”

Me:  “Why should I go on Yelp?  That’s helpful if I haven’t been some place and am trying to get I feel for it.  I’ve already been to Round Table, and I know that I like it.”

Liberal Friend:  “It gets terrible reviews on Yelp.”  (This is untrue, by the way.  The service gets mixed reviews but, by and large, our local Round Table ranks pretty darn well in Marin, ahead even of some of the fancy “artisan” pizza places.)

Me: “But I like it.  The fact that others don’t is irrelevant to me.”

Liberal Friend:  “Nobody likes it.  I’m not going to let you eat pizza that nobody likes.”

Yes, it was an insane little conversation.  It was also, in its own peculiar way, an instructive one, because it shows the statist mind at work.  An individual’s opinion is irrelevant.  What matters is the way the collective thinks — or, more accurately, the way the liberal thinks the collective ought to think.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  We ended up having Dominos.  The service was excellent.  The pizza wasn’t to my taste.  I like Round Table pizza, no matter what anyone tells me to like.

Individualism as a psychiatric illness — what the NPR kerfuffle reveals *UPDATED*

Juan Williams breached PC, group-think protocol by giving voice to a personal feeling, which is the fear of Muslims on airplanes.  This is not an irrational fear.  While the percentage of Muslims who will be threats on airplanes is small, the percentage of mass murderers who board airplanes and happen to be Muslims is large.

Normal people understood what Williams said.  Leftists intentionally misconstrued him — and then one of them said something more, and it’s a something that, to me, reveals a lot about the true nature of statism.

The “something more” that emanated from the Left after Williams violated the PC shibboleth was this statement from Vivian Schiller, the CEO at NPR:

After the firing, Schiller said publicly that whatever feelings Williams had about Muslims should be between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist — take your pick.”

It took me a while to figure out why that remark was so awful, and the “so awful” part doesn’t have to do with the fact that it’s demeaning or unprofessional.  It was a little trip down memory lane that made me realize what was so terrible about it.

Walk back with me in time.  It’s sometime in 1970.  The Soviet Union is still a completely committed Communist nation.  As a completely committed Communist nation, it is also a complete totalitarian nation, which means that it must exert total control over any citizens who dare to challenge its hegemony.  (I bet some of you have figured out where I’m going with this one.)  One of the ways the Soviet Union controlled dissidents, whether they dissented because of religion, political beliefs, homosexuality, or whatever else made them challenge the statist monolith, was to send them to psychiatrists for “reeducation“.

For those too young to remember those times, you have to appreciate that psychiatry in America and psychiatry in the Soviet Union were two vastly different things.  In the Soviet Union, psychiatry wasn’t about voluntary commercial relationships between an individual and a doctor, with the latter helping a person break a bad habit, find greater happiness, control anxiety, make personal relationships richer, or whatever else got a person thinking a psychiatrist might be a good thing.

In the Soviet Union, psychiatry existed to support the state.  Psychiatrists used the new science of the mind, not to educate people, but to mentally coerce them into singing the state tune, so that they would abandon their dissenting ways forever.  Or, sometimes, they just tortured them with mind games:

In the Soviet Union, psychiatry was used for punitive purposes. Psychiatric hospitals were used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate hundreds or thousands of political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally; as such they are considered a form of torture.[1] This method was also employed against religious prisoners, including especially well-educated atheists who converted to a religion; in such cases their religious faith was determined to be a form of mental illness that needed to be cured.

So, when the head of NPR lashes out at someone for deviating from Leftist orthodoxy by suggesting psychiatry, that’s a significantly more creepy and unguarded response than its superficial snark and immaturity would seem to imply.

UPDATE:  Turns out I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.

UPDATE II:  Garry Hamilton reminds me that psychiatry in America hasn’t been that innocuous either.

Winston Churchill — freedom fighter *UPDATED*

Yesterday I staged an imaginary Obama/Churchill match-up.  Today I want to add a little commentary.

As you had probably already figured out, I greatly admire Churchill.  I understand that he was a difficult person (often); that he could be nasty; that he was more willing to let his own people die in the fight than we would now consider acceptable; and that he made some bad decisions over his long career.  Offsetting all that, though, was that he was a LEADER.  He loved his country unabashedly, and had a deep and clear-cut commitment to its ultimate victory over Nazi totalitarianism.

Today, we see as inevitable, not only the Allied victory in WWII, but the fact that there would be free countries that would stand against the Nazis to begin with.  Back in the 1930s, though, there were many, especially in Churchill’s England, who wanted to make common cause with the Nazis.  This was an easy idea to hold.  From the middle and upper class viewpoint, Germany was not just another Western culture, but was actually the ne plus ultra of western civilization.

Germany was lovely to look at (those Rhine castles and medieval towns), was an academic leader (producing some of the greatest scientists in the world), and was a cultural leader (Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Goethe, Schiller).  On top of that, it had such well-managed people, who kept their streets clean and their trains running on time.  The Germans and the Brits even shared the same antisemitism, although it took the latter another 70 years to reach Nazi levels of virulence.

Sure, there had been that hiccup in civility from 1914-1918, but that was the belligerent Kaiser’s fault.  From a cultural point of view, many people in England, especially at the level of the ruling class, considered Germany “one of us.”

It was Churchill who understood that there was one insurmountable difference between the two countries, one that could not be glossed over by superficial similarities or by worship for Germany’s architectural, academic or cultural  beauties:  Freedom.  Churchill understood freedom, and he was able to articulate that understanding in a way few men at any time ever could.

At this point in my writing, I was also about to add that Churchill was able to articulate the idea of freedom in a way that even our current president can’t, despite his being sold to us as America’s greatest orator evah, but I stopped myself.  That merely compares their oratorical skills, while assuming that they share the same values.

The real difference between Churchill and Obama is that the latter does not understand freedom in the same way that Americans do — or at least the way that those Americans raised to revere the Constitution do.  Obama, like any other socialist leader, whether in the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany, or or modern Europe, or UC Berkeley, or even Orwell’s fictional England, believes that true freedom lies only in total subordination to the state.  That of course explains why he is comfortable with Islam, despite the fact that, unlike the Germans and the England in the 1930s, there are few comforting similarities between the Islamic culture and ours:  as does Obama, Islam also believe in complete subordination to the state.]

UPDATEAndrew Klavan’s short post seems like an appropriate coda to any ruminations about liberty.

Backdoor Communism

The British government has proposed stealth communism:  all paychecks go to the government first, which then doles out to the wage earner whatever amount the government feels is the wage earner’s due.  Think about it.  As Pat Sajak wrote yesterday, withholding is bad enough, because it deprives the worker of a sense of ownership over that portion of the money he never sees.  Nevertheless, under the withholding system, the employee at least gets some money which he owns.  The British government, however, is proposing a system by which ownership of all wages lies with the government.  You can dress that up as efficiency, as the Brits are trying to do, but it sure looks like communism to me.

Being forgiven for our past sins — or, maybe, O’Donnell has grown up *UPDATED*

I know this will come as a surprise to all of you, but I was not born wise or well informed.  I blush to think of some of the behaviors in which I indulged, and the ideas that I held, when I was younger.

When I was a very little girl, I picked up from the secular people surrounding me the idea that there is no God.  Not only did I refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, although I was scared enough of the teacher that I still moved my lips, I also thought all believers were fools.  I held to this belief for many, many years.

After reading Gone With The Wind for the first time, when I was 11, I came away with the impression that slavery wasn’t really such a bad thing, as long as you treated your slaves nicely. It took me a while to shake this belief too, especially because it seemed to me that the way many American blacks lived, whether in San Francisco’s Bayview/Hunters’ Point, LA’s Watts and South Central, or Michigan’s Detroit, wasn’t a great improvement over the life of a slave.  The concept of freedom, versus mere material welfare, eluded me.

At around the same time, as a child who grew up watching the Vietnam War on the news, as well as all the antiwar protests, I thought the American military was evil, and that Communists weren’t so bad.

When I was 17, and California voters pass Prop. 13, I thought it was outrageous that people should want to keep their own money when it could go to the government, which would spend it for the people’s own good, only it would do it better.

When I was 18, I voted for Jimmy Carter and was deeply saddened when he lost.

When I was a 20-year old student attending Berkeley, and I heard that Ronald Reagan had been shot, I agreed with my fellow students that he deserved it, a sentiment that earned me a harsh and well-deserved scolding from my parents.

When I was 21 and living in England, I wore a keffiyeh, because it was a cool fashion statement.  That same year, I listened in silence as a British Arab man told a terrible and cruel holocaust joke, because I was too socially intimidated to speak up.

When I returned to America in the early 1980s, I was fascinated by MTV, and watched it obsessively, believing that somehow those videos, with their rocking beats and alternatively meaningless or crude images, could enrich my life.

Throughout my teens and 20s, I hated Christian proselytizers, because I thought they wanted to hurt me, a Jew.  It took me decades to understand that they were acting out of great spiritual generosity, and that they would respond immediately and respectfully to a politely given “no.”

Also throughout my teens and twenties, I was mean.  I was an awkward, geeky bookworm, with a quick wit that I used to great effect to hurt people before they could hurt me.  I always had friends, but woe betide anyone who fell on the cutting side of my tongue.  A physical and moral coward, I nevertheless believed that, when it came to insults, the best defense was a good offense.

I was young and I was stupid, stupid, stupid.  I cringe when I look back at the things I did and thought.  What’s really sad is that the only thing that stopped me from making even worse mistakes was my cowardice.  I didn’t really live life.  I observed it from the sidelines, and simply managed to collect a whole bunch of bad ideas as I went along.

The good news is that I grew up.  During those same years, I managed to learn a lot.  At Berkeley, because I couldn’t understand the Marxist cant that permeated every non-science class, and therefore ignored it, I managed to learn about history and art and literature.  At law school (despite a miserable semester with Elizabeth Warren), I learned how to revere the constitution, respect the law and, significantly, analyze data.

Being a lawyer was also a great gift.  It exposed me to activist judges, something that taught me that, without a rule of law, businesses crumble and anarchy arises.  It was frustrating to know that, if I was representing a bank or business in a San Francisco court against an individual, the bank or business would always lose, no matter how rigorously it followed the law, while the individual would always win, no matter how sleazy or careless.  The same held true in employer/employee cases.  I understood that judicial activism increased the cost of doing business, drove businesses out of the Bay Area (and California), and made it virtually impossible for business people to have reliable predictors to control their conduct.

Earning and spending money taught me that capitalism, if properly policed (not controlled, just policed) enriches people, rather than impoverishes or enslaves them.  Living as a responsible adult (rather than a child at home or a cocooned student) taught me that government, even with the best will in the world, is an inefficient engine that moves slowly and that inevitably crushes individuality.  I realized that I prefer to keep power diffuse, amongst myriad people with different ideas about the world, rather than aggregated in one, all-powerful being, whether that being is a person or an ostensibly republican government.  This made me a strong anti-Communist and, indeed, an anti anything totalitarian.

I learned that the old saying was right, and that I could truly catch more flies with honey (especially true honey, not false words of flattery), than I could with vinegar.  I came to regret very deeply the verbal hurts I had inflicted on people.  You will seldom catch me being mean, in act or word.  (Although I admit to slipping when the migraines hit or the kids fight.)

I found it impossible to cling to my prejudices about God and religious people.  The more I learned about science, the more I asked myself, “How did it begin?”  I accept the scientific record and scientific conclusions all the way back to the Big Bang — but what came before?  Could all this something truly have come from nothing?  I don’t know that there is a God, but I’d be an arrogant fool, faced with those questions, to deny a God.  I’m not a believer, but I try to live a moral life as an open-minded non-believer.  I respect believers.

As for Christianity, I learned that people can hold beliefs different from mine, and still be truly, deeply good people, whom it is often an honor to know.  My history studies helped me to understand that the Inquisition is over and that, for the past two hundred years, Christianity has been a uniform force for good in the world.  There are, of course, bad people who profess to be Christians, but Christianity as a belief system is a good thing and we should be grateful for it.  (I also learned, which few Jews accept, that the Nazis were not a Christian movement, but were a violently anti-Christian movement, something that helped me open my heart and mind to Christianity.)

Watching our military during the First Gulf war, and meeting military people as I got older, I began to understand that ours is an exceptional military:  a volunteer organization, controlled by the Constitution, and peopled by ordinary Americans.  Well, “ordinary” in that they’re neither the dregs, nor the aristocrats, as is the case in other, class-based societies.  Instead, they’re people like you and me.  Except, unlike me, they’re brave, even the ones who just joined to pay off their student loans.  Oh, and they’re patriots, which isn’t that common.  And of course, they’re awfully polite and frequently so kind.  But other than that….

So here I am:  someone who was profoundly stupid as a child and young person, but who had the capacity to learn and who did, in fact, learn and grow.

You know where this is going, don’t you?  Christine O’Donnell, of course.

I get the feeling that Christine O’Donnell was a very lost soul when she was young.  The latest evidence of this fact is that Bill Maher is boasting that he has tapes of her admitting to practicing witchcraft (although, frankly, this should endear her to the Left, which loves its Gaia-worshipping Wiccans).

When O’Donnell hit Christianity, she hit it hard, taking a lot of extreme positions (masturbation being the one that has the Left most atwitter) — which is normal for a convert.  The zealots usually come from the recently converted, the ones who still have enthusiasm and who also feel that extremism is an act of repentance.  She’s had financial problems, too, although that leaves her in good company, since it seems that this is a common trait in federal employees.

But O’Donnell has grown up.  Or at least she says she has and, for now, I choose to believe her — because I grew up too.  I wasn’t as silly a youngster as O’Donnell, but I grew up in the 70s and early 80s, which gave me a couple of advantages:  I had a slightly more friendly pop culture (TV still hewed to traditional values) and my youthful idiocies didn’t get captured forever on video tape.

Here’s the difference as I see it between O’Donnell and Obama:  Both of them had idiotic belief systems when they were young, because that’s what a lot of young people do.  But Obama’s belief systems hardened into true-blue (or do I mean true-red?) Marxism, whereas O’Donnell grew up.  She held to her core conservative values (no abortion, small government, etc.), but seems to have abandoned the worst excesses of her youth.

More than that, her conversion to maturity seems sincere.  She has indeed walked away from her immaturity. Yes, O’Donnell is still a pugnacious, somewhat volatile young woman, but she’s not a Wiccan now, she’s not going to set the masturbation police on you, and she’s not going to force all Americans to worship in her church.

If we take her at her word, the O’Donnell of today will go to Washington, D.C. to cut government spending, shrink government’s size, and push for a more Constitutionally run government than we currently have. And there’s nothing crazy or immature about that.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  I seem to be in good (and forgiving) company, as this related post shows.

UPDATE II:  David Swindle has taken my post and run with it.  He makes the point that O’Donnell’s positions on lust, porn and masturbation are “serious” not “extreme” if you have truly embraced Christianity.  I think he’s absolutely right.

The fact is, though, that the media is selling O’Donnell as “extreme” to Americans who aren’t always that serious about Christianity or who are, like me, fairly conservative, but haven’t fully shaken off a lifetime of urban liberal thinking.  I therefore used the word “extreme” in this post in relation to point of view of people who could be swayed by the media’s attack.  In fact, I agree with David’s take about the smooth and reasonable integration of O’Donnell’s faith and her morality.

The one other thing that informs my use of the word “extreme” is the fact that, as someone older than both David and O’Donnell, the whole “spilling your guts on video about your sexual (or wiccan) beliefs” is just a little freaky to me — and that’s a generational thing.  We didn’t do that when I was growing up probably because, in that pre-video, pre-MTV era, we couldn’t do it.

UPDATE III:  If you’ve read UPDATE II, above, you must read Zombie’s wonderful post mixing up quotations from O’Donnell and Carter.  Both are Christians, but you can tell the O’Donnell posts, because she sounds smarter and less narcissistic.  Oh, and the Left loves Jimmah.

UPDATE IV:  Please visit the Anchoress on this too.

Preparing for mob rule in Oakland *UPDATED*

Last year, an Oakland transit police officer, Johannes Mehserle, killed Oscar Grant, in a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station.  Grant was being, to put it mildly, obstreperous.  Mehserle’s defense is that he meant to taser Grant but, instead, shot him.  Video footage made at the time indicates that Mehserle did indeed make a terrible mistake, and never intended to shoot Grant.  For that reason, trial watchers assume that the jury, if honest, will acquit Mehserle.

Oakland’s Communists and, therefore, Oakland’s merchants are making the same supposition.  To that end, the Communists are working hard to foment riots and the merchants, aware of that fact, are working hard to protect themselves in advance.

Zombie has a photo-rich post documenting precisely what is going on in Oakland:  both the Communist efforts to ensure a riot, and the merchants’ hard work, both physical and psychological, to protect their property and their employees.

I have to admit to being a bit nervous about the whole thing.  I’m fairly far away from Oakland, but quite near Richmond, which nestles immediately on the east side of the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge.  Marin, of course, is on the west side of that same span.  Richmond is a pure Democratic city, with a desperately high crime rate.  A significant part of Marin’s crime, especially shop lifting and car theft, originates in Richmond.

If Richmond explodes along with Oakland, who knows what will travel across the bridge?  I’m hoping that our Marin police are paying attention and not just assuming “it can’t happen here.”

And a little bleg:


UPDATE: Mehserle convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

A Marxist indictment of capitalism — and why the indictment must be wrong

The Anchoress posted at her blog a semi-animated video by a self-avowed Marxist explaining why Marxism, not capitalism, will save the world.  I have to admit that I didn’t watch it.  It wasn’t the content that drove me away, it was the choppy visuals, which trigger migraines.  Having just beaten back a migraine, I wasn’t willing to go for round two.  If you want to watch it, though, please do so, here.

Without having seen the video, though, I can still tell you that anything it says is fallacious, to the extent that it tries to argue that Marxism is a better system than Capitalism.  I know this because I’ve had a lifetime to consider that argument.

My father, who was raised a Communist before dying a Reagan Democrat, kept believing to the day he died that Communism could somehow work, if it was just done right.  The problem, in his Communism steeped brain, was that the Russians, and the Chinese, and the Cubans, and the North Koreans just weren’t doing it right.   Back in those days, since I was young, and hadn’t refined my thoughts, I argued with him simply by reiterating that because Communism hadn’t yet been done right, no matter the time or place tried, that alone was a pretty good indication that it couldn’t be done right.

Those arguments are long gone, but I have finally distilled the principles that, in my mind at least, establish conclusively that Marxism, which draws all power away from the individual and vests that power in the State, can never be done right.  A few epigrammatic statements about the State are all I need:

  • The State has no conscience.
  • The State will always put its collective survival ahead of the living, breathing “cogs” that animate it (and it will dehumanize those cogs to the status of disposable cockroaches if need be to maintain its survival).
  • The State is incapable of rapid response to changing situations (with the federal response to the Gulf Spill being the ultimate example of the rigidity that renders it incapable of abandoning its perfect standards in the face of an overwhelming amount of spilled oil).
  • An all-powerful State, without any competition, has no incentive to provide good service, whatever that service may be (health care, housing, etc.).  Competition is the spur to quality.
  • Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  This was true before Lord Acton said it, and it will be true in perpetuity.  If you vest all power in the State, you inevitably have, not only absolute corruption, but you have absolute corruption with unfettered life-and-death power over every living and breathing “cog” under its control.

Your comments about either the Anchoress’ video or my conclusions?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Israel hasn’t changed; the world has *UPDATED*

[Prepare yourself; this is a long one.  Long-time readers may also recognize that I've cannibalized old posts in the service of a new point.]

A friend sent me a link to a 1951 video, showing a popular American singing group celebrating the creation of the State of Israel, something that had happened only three years before:

The affection a mainstream entertainment group felt for Israel was not anomalous back in 1951.  In the eyes of the American public, Israel — and the Jews — were starting what was to be a pretty good run for a number of decades.  This was not a historical accident but was, rather, the confluence of myriad social and geopolitical events.

On the home front, Jews had gone from being alien immigrants clogging New York’s Lower East Side, to becoming middle-class citizens who fully embraced every aspect of American life.  Sure, they might do their worshiping on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, and sure the men wore those funny little skull caps, and absolutely you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry one, but they were still — and quite obviously — solid Americans who embraced the same values as their goyish next-door neighbors.  In other words, for those who liked to justify the irrational, American Jews in the post-war era were not “deserving” of active antisemitism.

It helped that the post-WWII generation had seen exactly what active antisemitism looked like.  Active antisemitism wasn’t the American habit of barring Jews from neighborhoods, banks and law firms.  Nope.  Active antisemitism was serious stuff:

Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo run concentration camp

Child dying on streets of Warsaw Ghetto

Mass grave at Bergen-Belsen

For the first time ever, Americans understood precisely how far insane, irrational race hated — and, especially, antisemitism — could lead.  The notion of Jews having their own country, a place from which they could defend themselves, made perfect sense to Americans who, less than 200 years before, had also created their own country.

When the nations of the world, in the form of a vaguely philo-semitic and pretty damn guilty UN, voted the State of Israel into existence, Americans cheered.  And when the surrounding Arab nations immediately declared war, intent upon creating a second Holocaust, public sympathy lay with the State of Israel.

This public sympathy was not just a post-War flash in the pan.  Twenty years later, when the Arab nations manifestly intended a second Holocaust, American sympathy again lay with Israel.

A perfect example of the American affinity for Israel is a 100-page 1967 commemorative issue of Life magazine entitled “Israel’s Swift Victory” — referring to the Six Day War in 1967.  What makes the magazine so distinct from today’s media  coverage of Israel is the tone. The Life editors admired Israel tremendously for standing up to the overwhelming odds the Arab nations presented, and for triumphing against those odds. The very first page identifies Israel as a minute, beleaguered haven for Jewish refugees, surrounded by an ocean of hostile Arab nations:

The state of Israel, no bigger than Massachusetts, was established in 1948 in Palestine as a haven for the war-ravaged Jewish communities of Europe. Bitter fighting attended her birth and fixed her boundaries against the surrounding phalanx of hostile Arab states: Jordan cut into her narrow wasp waist and through the holy city of Jerusalem; Egypt along her western desert flank was entrenched in the coastal strip of Gaza. At Israel’s southern tip is the strategic port of Elath, against which Egypt made the play that brought on the war and unhinged the entire Middle East.

Life‘s editors were unsympathetic to Egyptian President Abdel Gamel Nasser’s conduct, which the editors understood presented an existential threat that left Israel with no option but to react. After describing how Nasser, speaking from Cairo, demanded Israel’s extermination, Life editorializes thusly:

The world had grown accustomed to such shows [of destructive hatred towards Israel] through a decade of Arab-Israeli face-offs that seasonally blew as hot as a desert sirocco. Since 1948, when Israel defeated the Arabs and won the right to exist as a nation, anti-Zionist diatribes had been the Arab world’s only official recognition of Israel. Indeed, in the 19 years since the state was founded, the surrounding Arab states have never wavered from their claim that they were in a state of war with Israel.

But now there was an alarming difference in Nasser’s buildup. He demanded that the U.N. withdraw the 3,400-man truce-keeping force that had camped in Egypt’s Sinai desert and in the Gaza Strip ever since Egypt’s defeat in the Suez campaign of 1956 as a buffer between Egyptians and Israelis. A worried United Nations Secretary-General U Thant agreed to the withdrawal, then winged to Cairo to caution Nasser.

He found him adamant. Plagued by economic difficulties at home and bogged down in the war in Yemen, Nasser had lately been criticized by Syrians for hiding behind the U.N. truce-keeping force. With brinksmanship as his weapon, Nasser had moved to bolster his shaky claim to leadership of the divided Arab world.

As a caveat to my post caption (“Israel hasn’t changed; the world has”), I’ll note here that a few things in the world actually haven’t changed:  First, aside from its brief flirtation with decency in 1948, the UN has always been craven. Egypt demands that it withdraws and, voila, it withdraws. The other thing that hasn’t changed, although it’s no longer spoken of in polite MSM company, is the fact that the Arab nations have always used anti-Israeli rhetoric and conduct to deflect attention from their failures and as a vehicle to establish dominance over other Arab nations in the region. In other words, if there weren’t an Israel, the Arab nations would have had to invent one.

In contrast to the fevered, irrational hatred Life describes on the Arab side of the battle line, the Life editors are impressed by the Israelis. Under the bold heading “Israel’s cool readiness,” and accompanied by photographs of smiling Israeli soldiers taking a cooling shower in the desert, listening to their commander, and attending to their tanks, Life has this to say:

With the elan and precision of a practiced drill team, Israel’s largely civilian army — 71,000 regulars and 205,000 reservists — began its swift mobilization to face, if necessary, 14 Arab nations and their 110 million people. As Premier Levi Eshkol was to put it, “The Jewish people has had to fight unceasingly to keep itself alive…. We acted from an instinct to save the soul of a people.

Again, can you imagine a modern publication pointing out the vast disparity in landmass and population between Israel and the Arabs, or even acknowledging in the opening paragraph of any article that Israel has a right to exist? The text about Israel’s readiness is followed by more photographs of reservists preparing their weapons and of a casually seated Moshe Dayan, drinking a soda, and conferring with his men. Under the last photograph, you get to read this:

The Israelis, Dayan said, threw themselves into their hard tasks with “something that is a combination of love, belief and country.”

After using almost reverent tones to describe the Israelis’ offensive strike against the Arab air-forces, which gave Israel the decisive advantage in the War, Life addresses Israel’s first incursion into Gaza. I’m sure you’ll appreciate how the Gaza area is depicted:

Minutes after the first air strike, a full division of Israeli armor and mechanized infantry . . . was slashing into the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip. A tiny wasteland, the strip had been given up by Israel in the 1956 settlement and was now a festering splinter — the barren harbor for 315,000 refugees bent on returning to their Palestinian homes and the base for Arab saboteurs.

Wow! Those clueless (by today’s standards) Life writers actually seem to imply that Egypt, which controlled Gaza for eleven years, had some responsibility for this “festering,” dangerous area.

The Life editors are agog about Israeli military tactics:

The Israeli plan was so flexible that its architects at the last minute switched strategy to avoid a new deployment of enemy forces in southern Sinai. After the air strikes that wiped out the Arab air forces, Israeli armor and infantry swept westward across the waist of Sinai, parallel to the path of the Gaza breakthrough. A smaller column cut south from El Kuntilla, then raced toward Suez. Patrol boats and paratroops were sent to Sharm el Sheikh to break the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, but the airborne troops were able to land at the abandoned airfield because the Egyptians had fled. Meanwhile, fighting erupted on another front — the divided city of Jerusalem, where an Israeli pincer column encircled the old, Jordanian section. Yet another Israeli force moved against Jenin, north of Jerusalem. The final Israeli attacked, at the end of the week, was mounted against Syria, which had been shelling border settlements.

The Life editor’s tactical admiration emerges again when speaking about Israel’s successful taking of the Sinai Peninsula:

Stabbing into the Sinai desert, the Israelis stuck to the same strategy that in 1956 had carried them to the Suez Canal in 100 hours: never stop. Although outnumbered more than two to one — by an Egyptian force of almost 100,000 men grouped in seven divisions and supported by 900 tanks — they smashed ahead day and night, outracing the foe, encircling him time and again and trapping thousands of prisoners as Egyptian discipline collapsed. *** The battle — one of the epic armored engagements in history — lasted 24 hours and involved some 1,000 tanks.

Two things occur to me as I read the above descriptions of Israeli strategy in 1967: First, during the 2006 Israeli/Hezbollah war, if press reports are to be believed (and that’s always a leap of faith) Israel did not demonstrate either flexibility or speed. She remained rigidly fixated on using air power, despite the fact that (a) this hadn’t served the Americans that well in Iraq and (b) it didn’t appear to be achieving her objectives.

Indeed, it’s gotten to the point where it’s difficult to imagine the modern Israeli military ever acting with the type of decisiveness and flexibility it showed during the 1967 War.  In the 40+ years since the Six Day War, Israel’s military, like an old man, has become calcified and risk-averse.

The dynamism that characterized its strategy in 1967 was nowhere to be found in 2006, during the Hezbollah War, and its 100% commitment to the worthiness of its own cause seems to have collapsed completely now that Turkey and Iran — two sovereign nations that sit with Israel in the UN — are actively colluding with terrorists to bring weapons into a small neighboring nation-state (that would be Gaza), in order to pave the way for Israel’s destruction.  Only a nation that cares more about world opinion than its own existence would board a terrorist ship armed with paint balls.  Israel’s caving on the blockade is also symptomatic of a loss of faith in itself.

The second thing that occurred to me reading the above was the fact that the Life writers are describing a traditional war: army versus army. Under those circumstances, there’s a tremendous virtue in cheering for the underdog who routs the larger force.

Nowadays, where asymmetrical warfare means that there’s a traditional army on one side and terrorists hiding amongst and targeting civilians on the other side, the battle lines, the tactical lines, and the victory lines can easily be confusing.  This is especially true when you have those, like members of MSM, who don’t understand the nature of the war (one side wants peaceful coexistence; one side wants genocide); who don’t understand that the terrorists are, in fact, well-funded soldiers of Islamic nations, such as Iran and Syria; and who focus on the minutiae of the daily casualty reports without any understanding of the larger dynamics involved (hint:  Iran, Syria and, now, Turkey).

When confronted with the traditional army versus army conflict, as opposed to the illusory “army versus little guy” conflict, the 1967 press could easily distinguish the forest from the trees, as demonstrated in this paragraph:

The Sinai victory had cost the Israelis heavier casualties than the 1956 Suez campaign, 275 dead and 800 wounded. . . . The Egyptian losses were staggering — 20,000 dead by Israeli estimates and perhaps a billion-dollar lost in war materiel. But the objective was gained. Israeli troops took up positions on the east bank of the Suez Canal — and trained their guns on Egypt’s homeland. [Emphasis mine.]

The Life editors also take on what they perceive as the canard that the U.S. blindly allies itself with Israel — a canard that persists to this day, and one that Barack Obama has taken wholly to heart.  Indeed, I have no doubt but that Obama is seriously considering as solid strategic advice the message he received today from Al Qaeda:

Al Qaeda’s American-born spokesman has repeated the terror group’s conditions for peace with America in a video released Sunday.

Adam Gadahn called on President Barack Obama to withdraw his troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, end support for Israel, stop intervening in the affairs of Muslims, and free Muslim prisoners.

If I remember correctly, that was pretty much the same deal (albeit with different nations and another kind of totalitarianism involved) that Hitler offered Chamberlain back in 1938.  And we know how well that turned out.

Back in 1967, the intelligentsia that controlled the MSM wasn’t as easily deceived as the Ivory Tower crowd and media heads are now.  In discussing UN proceedings and, specifically Soviet behavior, the magazine’s editors demonstrated that they understood that Israel was then, as it is now, a pawn in a larger game.  Because this is an extraordinarily important point, and one manifestly ignored on the Left (and often misunderstood in the non-ideological middle), I’m reprinting in its entirety the magazine section focusing on the Cold War aspect of Israel’s travails:

As the Arab soldiers and refugees made their sad and painful way from the scenes of their defeat, the Soviet Union threw its heaviest oratorical gun into the United Nations in an effort to salvage some of what it had lost in the Mideast. Premier Aleksei Kosygin arrived at the General Assembly with an arsenal of invective.

Kosygin put all the blame on Israel and its “imperialist” backers (i.e., the U.S. and Britain). As he saw it, Israel’s “atrocities and violence” brought to mind “the heinous crimes perpetrated by the fascists during World War II.” He demanded the Assembly’s approval for a resolution — rejected earlier by the Security Council — that would condemn Israel as sole aggressor in the conflict, and he proposed that Israel not only be made to pull back to her prewar borders but also to pay reparations to the Arabs for their losses.

He was answered by the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban [his speech is here], whose detailed documentation and eloquence told how the Arabs had given his country the choice of defending its national existence or forfeiting it for all time. Then he put Kosygin himself in the defendant’s dock. Russia, he charged, was guilty of inflaming passions in a region “already too hot with tension” by feeding the arms race and spreading false propaganda. He called Kosygin’s reference to the Nazis “an obscene comparison . . . a flagrant breach of international morality and human decency.” As for the Russian demand that Israel pull back to her prewar lines, that, he said, was totally unacceptable until durable and just solutions are reached “in free negotiations with each of our neighbors.” The Arab states “have come face to face with us in conflict; let them now come face to face with us in peace.” Israel was determined not be deprived of her victory.

I assume you caught that the Soviet speaker used precisely the same rhetoric about Israel that has become normative throughout Europe and in most Leftist publications.  He castigated Israel as an imperialist entity and claimed that her tactics were “atrocities” that were identical to those the Nazis used. Unlike today’s MSM, Life‘s 1967 editorial team appears appalled by the tenor and falsity of those accusations.

Back in 1967, the American media was apparently also better able to deal with the fallacious argument stating that Israel is an anchor around America’s neck, dragging her down in her dealings with whomever she happens to be dealing with (whether the Soviet bloc or the Islamists).  The Life editors, some of whom probably were alive, and perhaps fighting, during WWII, understood that an ally’s moral stance is a significant factor in choosing that ally, and that an enemy’s moral deficits are equally important:

The error [the belief that the U.S. unthinkingly supports Israel] arises out of the fact that in most disputes the U.S. has been found on Israel’s side.  That’s because it is the Arabs who challenge the existence of Israel, and not vice versa.

There you have it, in a 1967 nutshell.  The U.S. sides with Israel not because of any hostility to Arabs, but because it recognizes the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself against annihilation — a principle that should be as operative today as it was 40+ years ago.  To the extent that Israel is a mere pawn in larger wars, if America abandons Israel, she is playing right into the hands, not just of Israel’s enemies, but of America’s own.

Because the editors understood the Cold War dynamics at work in the Middle East, they were also clear-headed about the implications of the refugee problem that was arising from the war, a problem that dwarfed the first round of refugees that the Muslim world had begun to use as propaganda tools after the 1948 war, and that the world’s useful idiots funded.  Keep in mind that, in no other place, at no other time, have refugees been kept in stasis in perpetuity.  They have always been resettled, and gone on either to create new communities or to be assimilated within the larger community to which they have relocated.  This would have made especially good sense with the Gaza refugees, who had been simply Ottomans, Jordanians, or Egyptians, depending on the century at issue, the Muslim nation that had regional dominance at the time, and the fellahin‘s geographic proximity to a given Muslim overlord.

Again, because the Life editorial is both clear-headed and prescient, I’m reprinting it here in its entirety (emphasis mine):

The 20th Century’s excellence — and its horrid defects — find some of their most vivid monuments in the hate-filled camps of Arab refugees. The refugees have been supported by the voluntary U.N. contributions of some 75 governments, not to mention the Inner Wheel Club of Hobart, Australia, the Boy Scout Union of Finland, the Women’s Club of Nes, Iceland, the Girls High School of Burton-on-Trend, England, and (for some reason) a number of automobile companies including Chrysler, Ford, G.M. and Volkswagen.

The philanthropy, governmental and private, that has aided these displaced Arabs is genuine — and admirable. The stupidity and political selfishness that have perpetuated the problem are appalling.

Down the ages, there have been thousands of episodes in which whole peoples fled their homes. Most were assimilated in the lands to which they fled. Brutally or beneficently, previous refugee groups were liquidated. Not until our time have there been the money, the philanthropy, the administrative skill, the hygienic know-how and the peculiar kind of nationalism which, in combination, could take a wave of refugees and freeze it into a permanent and festering institution.

In the wake of Israeli victories, the refugee camps received thousands of new recruits, and there may be more if, as seems likely, Israel successfully insists on some enlargement of its boundaries. Thus the refugee problem, one of the main causes of Middle East instability, is about to be magnified.

The early Zionists, looking toward a binational state, never thought they would, could or should replace the Arabs in Palestine.  When terrorism and fighting mounted in 1947-48, Arab leaders urged Palestinian Arabs to flee, promising that the country would soon be liberated.  Israelis tried to induce the Arabs to stay.  For this reason, the Israelis do not now accept responsibility for the Arab exodus.  Often quoted is the statement of a Palestinian Arab writer that the Arab leaders “told us:  ‘Get out so that we can get in.’  We got out but they did not get in.”

After the Israeli victory, Arab leaders outside of Palestine reversed their policy and demanded that all the refugees be readmitted to Israel. Israel reversed its policy, [and] refused to repatriate large numbers of Arabs on the ground that they would endanger the state. Nasser, for instance, has said, “If Arabs return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.”

Now 1.3 million Arabs, not counting the recent influx, are listed as refugees. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has an international staff of about a hundred and spends nearly $40 million a year, 60% of it from the U.S. government. UNRWA services are performed by 11,500 Arab employees, most them refugees. Obviously, this group has an interest in not solving the refugee problem.

So have the host governments. Consistently they have refused to go along with any plan or policy for the resettlement or assimilation of the refugees, preferring to use them politically. In 1955 the Arab League scuttled a Jordan Valley development project precisely because it would have reduced, perhaps by 250,000, the number of Arab refugees.

It’s about time this dangerous deadlock ended. The inevitable reshuffle of the Middle East ought to include a plan to phase out the refugee problem in five or 10 years. Israel, to show goodwill, should repatriate a few thousand refugees per year. All of the 1.3 million could be absorbed in underpopulated Iran and Syria, provided their governments would cooperate in internationally supported developments projects. Persuading Arab governments to adopt a policy of resettlement should be central to U.S. policy, and it would be worth putting up quite a lot of A.I.D. money to get the job done. [Bolded emphasis mine.]

History has shown the Life editors to be correct when they believed that UN economic interests and Arab political interests would leave the refugee camps as a permanent blight on the Middle Eastern landscape. They were naive only in believing that anyone had the political will to solve the problem. They also could not have anticipated that, in a very short time, the same situation, with its same causes, would be plunged into a looking-glass world, where the Arab governments and the UN were absolved of their sins, and the blame was placed on Israel for not having engaged in an act of self-immolation by taking in these 1.3 million (and counting, and counting, and counting) hate-filled refugees.

America’s fondness and admiration for Israel extended to a cultural appreciation for the Jews as well.  I came of age during the 1960s and 1970s (and 1973, of course, saw the Yom Kippur War, another triumph of Israel’s dynamism that Americans generally applauded).  These were the high water years of America’s pop culture appreciation for her Jews.

If you were around in those decades, you’ll remember a time when popular culture was awash in successful books, songs, and shows that reflected favorably on American Jewish life and culture. For example, when I was a kid, everyone read and quoted from Dan Greenberg’s incredibly funny book, How to be a Jewish Mother. I had a friend who would just double over with laughter every time she thought of the appropriate Jewish mother response if she comes into the living room and finds her daughter necking on the couch with a boy: “Leave this house and don’t come back until you’re a virgin again.”  Another hugely popular Jewish book of the 1960s was Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish, a book that is a dictionary, a joke book, a cultural history, and a religious history book all rolled into one. (If you haven’t read it yet, you should.)

Anyone over forty also remembers Allan Sherman, the guy who became famous singing “Hello, Muddah; Hello, Faddah” and other ridiculous lyrics to familiar music? His records are still available, but in the 1960s they were a cultural phenomenom.  Sherman’s Ne York Jewishness was an integral part of his humor.  And certainly, no one needs to be reminded of what an enormous hit Fiddler on the Roof was: smash Broadway show, hit movie, and revival after revival. It still does get revived periodically (as was the case in 2004 in New York), but can you imagine it opening as a first run show now, in the same world that lauds a show about about the deranged and pathetic Rachel Corrie?  I certainly can’t.

So much of the entertainment world generally had a Jewish gloss.  Even in the 1960s and 1970s, the Jewish entertainers who hit the big time in Tin Pan Alley, Big Bands, and Broadway from the 1920s through 1940s hadn’t yet been pushed aside.  The American public still recognized and appreciated works from Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rogers, the Gershwin brothers, Moss Hart, George Kaufman, Lerner and Loewe, Dorothy Field, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, etc.  Milton Berle, George Burns, and Jack Benny lived in American’s living rooms during the 1950s, courtesy of their eponymous TV shows.  While none of these entertainers inserted any Jewish doctrine or explicit Jewish references into their work, their Jewishness permeated who they were and what they did — and Americans still loved them.

Pop culture comes and goes, and I certainly don’t mind — indeed, I think it’s a good thing — that other cultures are getting their moment in the pop culture sun. What I do mind, dreadfully, is how hostile so much of the world is now to things Jewish. Rachel Corrie is a martyr, anti-Semitism is popping up all over, churches boycott Israel, and the New York Times pretends that it was mere coincidence that, back in 2008, the lone Jewish enclave in Mumbai was singled out for an attack that surpassed all the others in sheer brutality.  I miss the time when the Jews were a beloved people, and their culture a thing to be enjoyed and admired.

I’ve now dragged you, higgledy-piggledy, through sixty years of Jewish and Israeli history, as it intersected with American history.  I’ve shown that, pockets of American antisemitism notwithstanding, for most of those sixty years Americans appreciated their Jews, and admired the State of Israel.  More than that, they understood Israel’s role in world geopolitics, seeing it as a proxy for the ugly war the Soviet Bloc was waging against America itself.

Things are completely different now.  Around the world, antisemitism is becoming more blatant and more violent.  Anti-Israel sentiment, which I believe to be an extension of antisemitism, has become de riguer, both abroad and, sadly, somewhat at home.  Our President, whether he is a Muslim or just a sociopath who sympathizes with Islamic goals, has given Israel the cold shoulder and slobbered his way to the feet of every totalitarian Muslim dictator he can find.  Israel has become a pariah nation.

What I find so interesting is that Israel has not changed in the last 60 years.  She is still a small, representative democracy surrounded by dozens of nations that are highly repressive theocratic dictatorships.  Unlike the surrounding nations, she gives equal rights to people of different faiths, colors, creeds, and sexual orientation. (The surrounding nations, in stark contrast, kill and expel people of different faiths, colors, creeds, and sexual orientation, all the while maintaining a brutal war for dominance against the women in the midst.) Israel’s values, in other words, are completely synchronous with those ostensibly espoused by the Western nations that now,  not only despise Israel, but that ally themselves with Islamic dictatorships that practice values completely antithetical to what were, until a few years ago, normative in the West.

Israel also still lives poised on the thin edge of destruction at the hands of those hundreds of millions of citizens who reside in those totalitarian Muslim nations.  She is still the vanguard in a war that both she and the West fight.  Where the enemy was once “Godless Communism,” it’s now Islamic Jihadism, but both enemies have the same goal:  the total destruction of the West and of countries with Western values, and the absorption of those Western nations into political systems that deny individual freedom and that relentlessly destroy their own citizens (in vast numbers) in order to achieve state dominance.

What’s changed, obviously, is the West.  Even though we ostensibly won the Cold War, insofar as we witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, it’s manifest that we also lost the Cold War, in that we lost our self-identity and internalized the values of the Soviet Bloc itself.  As I pointed out above, there is absolutely nothing to distinguish the speech made by the Soviet’s UN ambassador in 1967 from the standard political talk against Israel that routinely emanates today in Europe and (sadly) in America’s Democratic party.

The Left’s war on the West continues unabated and, as it did in 1967, the Left has allied itself with the Islamic jihadists.  What’s different now, is that there are no longer geographic lines, with a nice Iron Curtain neatly delineating the descendants of the Judeo-Christian enlightenment from Marx’s heirs.  Like a fungus, the latter have disseminated themselves through all western societies and are working vigorously on bringing them down.  As was the case in the 1930s, in 1948, in 1956, in 1967, and in 1973, Israel and the Jews are the front line in the battle, only now they fight alone.

Given that our President has clearly put himself on the wrong side of this war, it is imperative that “We, the people” take up moral arms on Israel’s behalf.  We don’t have to board the next plane and enlist in the IDF (although I know many who did in 1973), but we must put political pressure on everyone we know to force America back into the Israeli camp.  Doing so is not some sentimental act on behalf of a nation America once liked and admired.  As the Life editors recognized back in 1967, it is an absolutely necessary step if America wishes to defend herself against statist and theocratic forces that have allied with an eye to America’s ultimate destruction.

UPDATE:  Proving that I am not writing in a vacuum, two things came to my attention just today that emphasize the unholy linkage between the Left and Islam, on the one hand, and Israel and America, on the other hand.  That linkage has always been there, but now it’s not a fringe; it’s part of the dominant culture.  Very scary.  Anyway, the first is a Zombie article about a strike at the Oakland docks that sees Longshoremen, Communists and Islamists joining hands to protest a perfectly innocuous Israeli ship.  The second is Andy McCarthy’s short post commenting on the collusion between the Left and Islam, a running theme in his new book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

Obama and socialism

I warned people close to me (mother, sister, etc.) that Obama was a socialist and they laughed at me and (quite lovingly, because they’re my mom and my sister) called me “extreme.”  I wonder if they would have laughed at Al Sharpton too, now that he’s finally let the cat out of the bag:

Al Sharpton isn’t the only one coming out of the woodwork.  David Leonhardt, writing with the New York Times’ approving imprimatur, spells out precisely what’s going on:

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

Read the rest of Leonhardt’s euphoric socialist economic polemic here.

Stop me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the liberal media and the pundits go ballistic when all of us said that Obama’s statement to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth” was a purely socialist notion?  They just think it’s a good thing that it should be the government’s responsibility to, hmm, let me see if I’ve got this right: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”  Quiz those pundits and media-crities and they might suggest some authors for that famous expression.  Was that Adam Smith who said that?  No.  Reagan?  No.  Jefferson?  No.  Tell me that it was Karl Marx, the founder of modern socialism, and I bet they’d be surprised.

Finally, all the pieces have come together, and the MSM is still urging us to avert our heads and not to listen.

I’m sorry this post is incoherent, but I’m irritated, and still trying to get my thoughts organized right now.

Steve Schippert unloads on the “Slaughter Option” & Jamie Glazov speaks of courage under tyranny

As everyone should know by now, House Democrats are contemplating doing away entirely with a vote on the Senate bill, and simply announcing that they’ve passed it.  After all, why shouldn’t the Constitution bow down before their overweening statism?  Steve Schippert, a veteran, has unloaded both cannons against this attack on core American values and governance:

Lose sight of what you are defending and defense isn’t all that important, is it?

This simple reminder compels us to shift focus for the moment from our combative enemies and onto that which we defend. We do not engage in such rigorous defense – in its many forms – simply to preserve soil or borders or lives. We engage in rigorous defense of ideas. Ideas embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. We do not defend simply the shores and borders and people of America. We defend – rigorously – so much more than that. We defend what it means to be American. We defend what it is that inspires so many countless others to risk life, limb and treasure to get to America even still.

And, to put it plainly, there is tyranny afoot and it must be confronted and defeated with confidence, determination and passion. The confrontation is not about health care or any other piece of legislation. It is not about politicians, politics or parties.

The confrontation is about process. The confrontation is about fidelity to the Constitution.

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter says she is “prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill.” She continued, explaining how House passage of a separate bill containing “changes” to the Senate version would lead House leadership to “deem” the actual Senate HealthCare Bill passed – without a direct vote.

This is not simply tyrannical in nature, it is absolute political cowardice.

Read the rest here.

Also, I suggest that, after reading Steve’s impassioned defense of Constitutional liberty against tyrannical demagoguery, you read Jamie Glazov’s remembrance of his parents, both of whom stood up bravely against the horrors of the Soviet Union.  Being Jewish, I’ve had the pleasure over many years to know so many refusniks and dissidents who stood up to the Soviet Union and made their way to freedom.  I always admired these men and women.  Now, however, I am reminded that their courage must be universal, or we may find ourselves living through the end of the noble American experiment.

Communism is not cute, it’s evil, and Glazov and Beck are helping to educate Americans

The American intelligentsia has a love affair with Communism that will not die.  The dead Soviets, the dead Hungarians, Czechs, Albanians, Poles, Bulgarians, etc., the dead Chinese, the dead Koreans, the dead Africans, the dead Cambodians, the dead Vietnamese, the dead Cubans, and the dead Latin Americans are all irrelevant.  Those are just mistakes from Communism done the “wrong” way.  The Left has absolute faith that, done the right way — the “American way” — Communism will bring about a paradise of plenty and perpetual peace.  All of which shows, as I’ve learned rather painfully over me life, that brains and sense are not the same thing.

One of the worst things that has happened since 1989 is that a new generation is growing up educated by the Left about the joys of Marxism in the abstract, but without any offsetting evidence of the horrors of Marxism in practice.  Yes, China and Cuba are still out there, but China has become such an important trading partner, and Cuba is so whitewashed by Hollywood, the average kid doesn’t see either as an example of Communism.  Those of us who grew up during the Cold War could hear people at Berkeley or Columbia waffle on about the glories of the Soviet (and the evil that was Reagan), but the evidence of our own eyes was pretty compelling.  When people keep trying to escape their own country, you suspect that more is going on than meets the ideologically blinded academic eye.

Glenn Beck is trying to meet and challenge this scary cultural ignorance.  Although I don’t watch his show, I’ve heard from many that he’s been on an educational crusade, trying to make his viewers appreciate just how disastrous Communism in action is.  (Actually, I would broaden this to say “socialism.”  Communism was just one variation of this political plague.  The word “socialism” better encompasses alternative forms of this type of government, including the Nazis.)  Jamie Glazov is especially appreciative what Beck is doing, because his family suffered so terribly under the Soviets:

The tortures included laying a man naked on a freezing cement floor, forcing his legs apart, and then an interrogator stepping on his testicles, applying increasing pressure until the confession surfaced. Imagine the consequences of no surfacing confession. Indeed, many people refused to confess to a crime they did not commit.

Daughters and sons were raped in front of their fathers and mothers — for the sake of extracting “confessions.”

***

Both of my grandfathers were exterminated by Stalinist terror. Both of my parents, Yuri and Marina Glazov, were dissidents in the former Soviet Union. They risked their lives for freedom; they stood up against Soviet totalitarianism. They barely escaped the gulag, a fortune many of our friends and relatives did not share. I come from a system where a myriad of the closest people to my family simply disappeared, where relatives and family friends died under interrogation and torture for their beliefs — or for simply nothing at all.

Please read the whole thing.  It’s not just an indictment of socialism, it’s also an attack against the “intellectuals” who shunned dissidents who actually experienced the evils of Communism.  How much better to live in a world of intellectual theory, with PepsiCo as the big enemy, than acknowledge the fact that the ideology you so cheerfully embrace is responsible for more than 100 million deaths, and uncountable incidences of torture and suffering.