The Bookworm Beat — 9/11/14’s “ISIS and other stuff” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingLet the information download begin:

Alleged New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief lambastes Obama administration

If a Reddit user really is Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief for The New York Times, it’s very impressive to read his scathing indictment of the administration’s Iraq policy and conduct:

it’s not my job to rate the obama administrations actions in iraq. but i will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of mosul — that iraq was collapsing.

Given the poor grammar, though . . . well, I don’t know. You decide. Maybe he was typing away on a small android keyboard. Or maybe that’s how Times’ writers really write before the editor gets hold of their stuff.

9/11 from outer space

Learn a little more about 9/11’s first hero and first fatality

Danny Lewin, an American-born Israeli, was a tech giant in Israel — and 9/11’s first hero and first fatality.

Why do Muslims rape women?

Short answer: Because Mohamed. The Prophet practiced what he preached, and his followers have done so too since Islam’s inception.

The War Against Women

The pressing issues at NOW (the National Organization for Women):

  • Having other people subsidize your sex life and abortions
  • Getting paid the same money as men, no matter that you’re not doing the same type of work
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Believe it or not, the Equal Rights Amendment lives as “constitutional equality.”
  • Protecting women of color who have even fewer rights than women without color
  • And violence against women, which includes a campaign to fire George Will

An issue that is not discussed at NOW:

Thousands of Iraqi women are being forced into sex slavery in brothels run by a ‘police force’ of British women jihadis, it has been reported.

As many as 3,000 women and girls have been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq as Isis militants continue their reign of terror across the region.

Sources now say that British female jihadis operating a religious police force called the al-Khanssaa brigade, that punishes women for ‘un-Islamic’ behaviour, have set up brothels to for the use of Isis fighters.

ISIS goes full socialist

An ISIS supporter put up a Facebook post lauding ISIS’s incredible largess once it’s in power:

Ten Facts from the ‪#‎Islamic_State‬ that everyone should know.

1. We don’t pay rent here. Houses are given for free.
2. We pay neither electric nor water bills.
3. We are given monthly grocery supplies. Spagetti, pasta, can foods, rice, eggs and etc.
4. Monthly allowance are given not only to husband and wife (wives) but also for each child.
5. Medical check up and medication are free – The Islamic State pays on behalf of you.
6. You can still survive even if you don’t speak Arabic. You can find almost every race and nationality here.
7. For every newly married couples are given 700usd as a gift. (Only for Mujahid and I’m not sure if it’s still available now).
***
9. No one is conducting business during prayer time. You can see people left their shops opened and pray either in the masjid or near by their shops.
10. The number of mix-marriages and mixed-race children are so high. It’s beautiful to witness brotherhood with no racism.

From a muhajir sister,also spouse of a Mujahid brother at #Islamic_State
Diary Of A Muhajirah

People have noticed that these promises are pretty much in line with what every socialist state promises. Nevertheless, there’s one profound difference:  Socialist states are predicated on the notion that everyone works cheerily together for the public good, while in a caliphate, the producers and the consumers are two different groups.

In socialist nations, the difference between reality and rhetoric has within it the seeds of socialism’s downfall.  Despite the rhetoric, the reality is that people will only work for the public good, as opposed to their own good, at the point of a gun. Moreover, even with that gun pointing at them, the socialist workers inevitably produce less well as time goes by.  The result is that the free houses are poorly-built, overly-populated apartment blocks; the water and electric bills don’t exist because people have no running water or electricity; the food is poor quality and limited in quantity, and the medicine is primitive.  These realities inevitably kill the enthusiasm for socialism amongst everyone but the very small inner circle.

In the caliphate, as I said, things are different, very, very different. The consumers are one perpetual class, always enjoying luxury, while the producers are another perpetual class, always suffering servitude.  A case in point is the fact that, as you probably noticed, I left out Item No. 8 in the above list. That’s the one that talked about paying for this socialist Islamic paradise:

8. You don’t have to pay tax (If you’re a Muslim).

Coerced payment from the non-Muslims is always at the point of a gun or the tip of a sword.  And when one batch of non-Muslims, because they’re dead or worn out (think:  Qatar),  stops producing, the answer isn’t to convert your economy to a more capitalist one. After all, large segments of the population (the armed ones) are doing just fine with this Islamic socialist system.  Rather than changing the system, they just go out and conquer another nation.  A vigorous, blood-thirsty, rape-rich attack (think:  ISIS) usually brings into the caliphate’s fold a fresh batch of cowed producers to support the takers. As Islam’s rise showed, this system can work effectively for centuries before it finally hits a wall.

Is the media preparing to turn on Obama?

It’s becoming impossible for the base to ignore that Obama has failed to fulfill his promises. Obamacare didn’t socialize medicine; it propped up insurance companies. The economy has been a boon for cronies and no one else. And around the world, countries hate America, even as the anti-war president is poised to launch yet another war. What to do, what to do? It appears that one of the things the media’s doing, before it even gets around to explicit attacks, is some subliminal undermining — how else to explain Thomas Lifson’s discovery about the media’s changing visuals for Obama.  Remember, those whom the media Gods would destroy, they first dehumanize.

Will Obama learn his lessons?

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama has repeatedly been proven to be decisively wrong in both his reading and his handling of situations around the world. Daniel Henninger asks the right question: Will Obama realized that he’s been humbled?

My answer: No. His Leftist, insular, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing world-view leaves no room for humility, regret, or repentance.

Democrats may be getting snitty about Obama’s constitutional overrides

The Democrats were fine when Obama ignored the Constitution to re-write Obamacare so as to help them out in elections and spare cronies from its worst effects. They’re encouraging Obama to override the Constitution when it comes to immigration. But when it comes to starting yet another war, the same Democrats who were supine when he bombed Libya now complain that Obama needs to get Congressional permission this time around. Amazingly enough, the Republicans who were cowed, rather than supine, about Libya are also making noise about limitations on Obama’s war-time powers.

Turkey’s flying the coop (along with everyone else)

It doesn’t help Obama’s war presidency that the coalition of the willing in the fight against ISIS won’t include Turkey. That’s gotta hurt.

Turkey is not the only nation that casts a wary eye on Obama’s call-out to the world to help fight ISIS. A lot of non-Muslim (or, more accurately, not-yet-Muslim) nations have already announced that they’re going to be part of the coalition of the un-willing.

When it comes to Obama’s insistence that America won’t have to fight this war alone, Michael Ramirez hones in perfectly on the flaws in his argument.

Why should anyone pay attention to Barack Obama on ISIS?

Obama’s speech yesterday (which I hope to discuss more in a later post) is getting booed from all quarters. The peaceniks don’t like the war cries, and anybody of any intelligence doesn’t like the apologetics for Islam, the lunatic strategy of promising no boots on the ground (and we know how much Obama’s promises are worth), and the assurance that Middle Eastern and Muslim countries will rush to America’s aid, providing their troops to face down ISIS’s rampage.

Most importantly, there’s no reason to believe either Obama’s diagnosis or prescription regarding ISIS. As the Washington Free Beacon shows, when it comes to radical Islam, Obama has been wrong every time:

There are a few possible causes for a 100% failure rate when it comes to analyzing a political situation:  incredible stupidity, incredible denial, or incredible evil. Take your pick. It really doesn’t matter which reason you choose, because the results are the same regardless, and we’re still stuck with him for another 2.5 years.

DOJ covertly attempts to influence House IRS hearing

You’ve probably already heard about assistant to Eric Holder who dialed a wrong number and revealed to Rep. Darryl Issa’s office that the DOJ intended to use covert methods to come to the IRS’s aid in hearings before the House. If you haven’t heard, though, or if you want more details, the good news is that the story has broken out of conservative circles and hit the big time at The Hill, where you can read more about it.

For Ted Cruz, getting booed is a good thing

Ted Cruz continues to prove that he’s the smartest man in the room. When he went to a gathering of Middle Eastern Christians and was booed off the stage for defending America and Israel, the guys and gals exercising the thug veto probably thought that Cruz had lost that round. They would have done better to remember that as America finds itself staring down ISIS, many Americans aren’t feeling the love for the usual Middle Eastern rabble-rousers, whether Muslim or Christian. Moreover, many of them may be getting the sinking feeling that Israel is the canary in the coal mine and that America is next in line to be wrapped in Islam’s suffocating embrace.

Smart Ted, however, knew exactly how that booing would play, and he’s publishing his speech and the room’s response far and wide:

“Tonight, in Washington, should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself ‘In Defense of Christians.’ Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred,” Cruz said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel.”

As America gears up for yet another war against radical Islamists, it’s useful to know who our real friends are. Score one for Ted!

Jeff Dunetz continues his efforts to call out anti-American, antisemitic radio hosts in New York

Jeff Dunetz (Yid With Lid), continues his annual effort to call out and get an apology from Mike Francesa and Chris Mad Dog Russo, the popular hosts of a New York sports radio show. Dunetz notes that the show was enjoyable in part because the two men disagreed with each other all the time, making for some interesting fire works. On September 12, 2001, though, the two were unanimous in blaming . . . Jews and America for the attack that killed almost 3,000 people, and demanding that American Jews be forced to take an oath of loyalty.

The Scientific method, as explained by Richard Feynman

One of the more delightful books I’ve read in the past many decades is Richard Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). Feynman may have been one of the smartest guys on the planet, but he somehow managed to avoid becoming one of those geniuses so lost in his head that he was unintelligible. It’s a funny, fascinating, informative, very human book, and I recommend it highly.

I also recommend Feynman’s explanation about the scientific method. I especially recommend it to the climate “scientists” whose theories have been proven wrong at every turn. In real science, failure vitiates the theory. In climate “science,” failure reinforces the theory.

Pictures

Reversing terrorists' cost-benefit calculus

Jews survive and thrive

I’m not the only one noticing the Emanuel Goldsteining of Ted Cruz

The other day, I wrote that David Denby, a soggy leftist film reviewer at The New Yorker was trying his hands at political commentary with a hate piece against Ted Cruz — one based entirely on the fact that Denby, no beauty himself, finds Cruz physically unattractive.

I’m not the only one noticing the hate raining down on Cruz, a hatred unanchored to what he actually is, does or says.  Bryan Preston calls it “The Emanuel Goldstein-ing of Ted Cruz.”  Because you’re all ridiculously erudite (much more so than I am), you remember Emanuel Goldstein as the object of the daily “two minutes of hatred” in 1984.  It was a useful way to keep both party members and proles from turning their hatred and discontent onto Big Brother.

David Denby, a movie reviewer, argues that Ted Cruz is a villain right out of old-time Hollywood central casting

David Denby is a New Yorker movie critic.  He also fancies himself as a political commentator.  To him, Hollywood is the real world, the template against which everything else is compared.  Reading his reviews, it’s obvious that, like the yearning kid watching Fred & Ginger trip lightly across in the screen during the Depression-era 1930s, he wishes life could be like the movies.  His dream movies are the ones where Republicans and corporations are vanquished, and people live in harmony in the loving arms of a properly Progressive big government.

I stopped reading Denby aeons ago, because he is neither fish nor fowl — neither a good movie reviewer nor an intelligent political commentator.  I’ve always assumed that his sinecure at The New Yorker came about because he doesn’t show up Anthony Lane, who is a superb movie reviewer, and he makes the right political noises in his reviews.

So that you know I’m playing fair and not simply maligning Denby on principle, both because I dislike The New Yorker and because I dislike what he now has to say about Ted Cruz (more on that in a moment), here are excerpts from posts I wrote several years ago regarding Denby’s malicious politicism, which he worked into way too many movie reviews.  The first excerpt is from a post I wrote in 2006, when I was still agnostic about global warming, but I could tell even then that Denby wasn’t a movie reviewer but was, instead, a propagandist.  I’m quoting from the first post at length, both because it so perfectly exemplifies Denby’s world view and because, that, seven years after Al Gore’s movie thrilled the true believers, the facts on the ground (and in the ocean and in space and on the sun) prove how completely wrong he and the sycophantic Denby were:

Denby’s review of An Inconvenient Truth is even more political. Look at the very first paragraph:

Anyone in possession of a major truth that he can’t get others to accept begins to feel that he’s losing his mind. [That may explain so much about Al Gore's recent behavior. --ed.] The skepticism he meets turns him into a soreheaded obsessive. After a while, he becomes “pedantic,” and then, inevitably, “condescending” and “humorless.” [Thus, it's not that Gore is, in fact, pedantic, condescending and humorless. We, the skeptical public created this Frankenstein's monster. In the words of the old song, he's more to be pitied than censured." -- ed.] Al Gore has been in possession of a major truth about global warming for than than thirty years [Gore's prescience was impressive because the era more than 30 years ago was the global cooling fear phase, a phase that occurred when we didn't have the current measurements we do regarding global warming. -ed], and he has suffered the insults of political opponents, the boredom of ironists, and, perhaps, most grievously, the routine taunts of a media society which dictates that if you believe in anything too passionately there must be something wrong with you [The point being that there's obviously nothing wrong with Gore, it's just that the media doesn't understand him -- which really is strange, because I live with the idea that this same media has accepted entirely his view of global warming. --ed.]

Denby then goes on to describe a movie that, if it were about anything other than global warming, would get laughed off the screen. Even Denby acknowledges its faults:

[Gore] appears as the noble-browed warrior of englightenment, brooding over the ravaged earth and the weakness of man, once or twice too often. He mentions family tragedies, which were moving to me, but which strike some viewers as maudlin notes from a campaign biography.

Fear not, though, since “the faults of the movie, semi-excusable as self-vindicating ploys, are nothing compared with its strengths.” The strengths, though, make it sound like one of those appalling 8 mm films we slept through in high school in the 1970s:

For long stretches, Gore is photographed talking before an audience with the aid of slides and charts. There are side trips to fissured ice caps, disappearing glaciers — the snows of yesteryear — and expanses of newly parched and broken terrain. The science is detailed, deep-layered, vivid and terrifying. Every school, college, and church group, and everyone else beyond the sway of General Motors, ExxonMobil, and the White House should see this movie. [Get it? Evil corporations, evil oil, and the foul Texas Christian in the White House are incapable of understanding Gore's greatness or simple science. --ed.] [Bolded emphasis mine.]

Denby isn’t shy about calling the movie what it is: “It’s great propaganda.”

But in Denby’s mind, what’s really great about the movie is how it shows the human side of Al Gore (and you thought he didn’t have one). Thus, Gore “speaks in an intimate voice that we’ve never heard before.” When Gore talks about lying by a river, and keeps coming back to that image after global warming holocaust pictures, “it has a greater resonance.” Denby claims that Gore has learned to speak in a less annoying way. Listen to this and tell me whether you believe that. The rhythmic up and down of Gore’s speech — a rhythm that has nothing to do with emphasizing or deemphasizing actual content — is both soporific and bizarre.

But here’s the real kicker. Denby assures us that the movie demonstrates that Gore has been purified in the crucible of past experiences:

[O]ne has the impression of a complex personality that has gone through loss, humiliation, a cruel breaking down of the ego, and then has reintegrated itself at a higher level. In the movie he is merely excellent. But in person . . . he presents a combination of intellectual force, emotional vibrance, and moral urgency that has hardly been seen in American public life in recent years.

Watch out, Hillary. It’s Saint Al for President.

Every dog’s allowed one bite, and perhaps every movie critic should be allowed one polemic.  But Denby isn’t just any movie critic.  He’s a Progressive shill making sure that his movie reviews advance his political agenda.  Also in 2006, he open-mindedly praised Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, despite the fact that conservatives liked it.  Honest.  Here’s what he wrote:

“World Trade Center” is about courage and endurance as a function of family strength; it’s about suburban and small-town America trying to save the big city. Those are conservative themes, much praised for their appearance in this movie by the kind of right-wingers who have long hated Oliver Stone. Some of the euphoria—Cal Thomas, a columnist and a commentator at Fox News, calls the movie “one of the greatest pro-American, pro-family, pro-faith, pro-male, flag-waving God Bless America films you will ever see”—is not only inane, it’s enough to turn you off moviegoing [sic] altogether. Can “World Trade Center” really be that bad? No, the ideologues laying hands on the movie won’t sink it.

The last David Denby movie review I read was his slobbering, wide-eyed take on Spike Lee’s When The Levee Broke, about Hurricane Katrina.  The view was less interesting for his boringly predictable Bush/conservative bashing, than it was for his starry-eyed fan-girl love for all of the most despicable characters on the Left.  In my post on the subject, I quoted Denby directly, but added in hyperlinks giving actual facts about the Leftist “luminaries” that left him quivering with excitement:

Keeping his own voice largely absent and his presence invisible, he [Lee] finds the city’s tattered survivors. He also consults a variety of lawyers and local politicians, and such luminaries as Harry Belafonte and Al Sharpton; the musicians and New Orleans natives Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard (the latter wrote much of the beautiful music for the film); the historian Douglas Brinkley, who makes impassioned critiques of Bush Administration officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and the Mississippi man (a doctor) who publicly advised the Vice-President, when he visited the area long after the storm, to go fuck himself.

My take on that review was that Denby has set a goal for himself:  He wanted to be the next Frank Rich.  Rich, as you may recall, was the theater critic for the New York Times who proved to be so adept at anti-conservative rhetoric that he was given a permanent gig as a political opinion writer.  His opinions were reliably fact-free, but Rich made up for that deficit with his splendid grasp of florid invective, all of it aimed at George Bush.

In his continued journey towards Frank Rich-ness, Denby has now penned an opinion piece that aims to be a dagger to Ted Cruz’s heart.  Because no one in his right mind could call Cruz stupid, Denby has opted for describing him as the ugliest person since the elephant man.  Moreover — and this is the important part — Cruz’s outer ugliness is the physical manifestation of his inner dishonesty.  In this bootstrap argument, Denby doesn’t bother to give actual examples of Cruz’s dishonesty (because he can’t).  For him, Cruz’s looks are proof enough:

When Ted Cruz lies, he appears to be praying. His lips narrow, almost disappearing into his face, and his eyebrows shift abruptly, rising like a drawbridge on his forehead into matching acute angles. He attains an appearance of supplication, an earnest desire that men and women need to listen, as God surely listens. Cruz has large ears; a straight nose with a fleshy tip, which shines in camera lights when he talks to reporters; straight black hair slicked back from his forehead like flattened licorice; thin lips; a long jaw with another knob of flesh at the base, also shiny in the lights. If, as Orwell said, everyone has the face he deserves at fifty, Cruz, who is only forty-two, has got a serious head start. For months, I sensed vaguely that he reminded me of someone but I couldn’t place who it was. Revelation has arrived: Ted Cruz resembles the Bill Murray of a quarter-century ago, when he played fishy, mock-sincere fakers. No one looked more untrustworthy than Bill Murray. The difference between the two men is that the actor was a satirist.

Not only is Cruz a liar, he’s also a demagogue, says Denby.  You have to be Denby-clever, though, to figure this one out, because Cruz is too ugly to be your traditional demagogue:

Cruz is not as iconographically satisfying as other American demagogues—Oliver North, say, whose square-jawed, unblinking evocation of James Stewart, John Wayne, and other Hollywood actors conveyed resolution. Or Ronald Reagan—Cruz’s reedy, unresonant voice lacks the husky timbre of Reagan’s emotion-clouded instrument, with its mixture of truculence and maudlin appeal.

Not convinced yet that Cruz, despite his evil looks is a lying demogogue?  Well, Denby has other arrows in his quiver.  Cruz is also smart.  He always has an answer.  That proves what a lying liar he is:

Yet Cruz is amazingly sure-footed verbally. When confronted with a hostile question, he has his answer prepared well before the questioner stops talking. There are no unguarded moments, no slips or inadvertent admissions. He speaks swiftly, in the tones of sweet, sincere reason. How could anyone possibly disagree with him? His father is a Baptist, and Cruz himself has an evangelical cast to his language, but he’s an evangelical without consciousness of his own sins or vulnerability. He is conscious only of other people’s sins, which are boundless, and a threat to the republic; and of other people’s vulnerabilities and wounds, which he salts. If they have a shortage of vulnerabilities, he might make some up.

I won’t quote any more, both because of Fair Use principles and because I feel as if I’m sullying my site by doing so.  (I’m sure it won’t surprise you that Denby drifts into comparing Cruz to Joe McCarthy.)  Moreover, I think I’ve made the point, which is that Denby is a political opinionator who runs everything through old-time Hollywood central casting.

In the old movies, especially the silent movies, Hollywood had to rely on visual cliches as a shorthand to character development.  The hero was square-jawed and often, in the Gary Cooper mode, silent (hence the “strong silent type” trope).  Meanwhile, the villain was greasy-haired, shifting eyed, and quick-witted in an evil way.  As The Incredibles proved to such wonderful comedic effect, villains “monologued.”

In Denby’s narrow, Progressive, Hollywood constrained world, Cruz is Snidely Whiplash brought to life, not because of anything specific that he says or does, but simply because, in Denby’s telling, Cruz fits the visual requirements for a stock Hollywood bad guy:

Cruz and Whiplash

To the Left, Obama’s political purity is made manifest because of his brown skin and white smile. It should therefore come as no surprise that, to the looks-obsessed Leftists, Cruz, who cannot be denigrated as a mental lightweight, must be painted in the most brutal physical terms. I expect that the Left’s next step will be some 21st-century version of phrenology, with Progressive hacks sagely opining that the shape of Cruz’s head, or the bumps upon it (especially the ones that the Left assumes are there, hidden under his hair), prove his mental deviancy and unfitness for office.

Well, two can play at the looks game, so I’ve got a little rogue’s gallery of Progressives.  While they’re not the stuff of nightmares, each could easily play a villain in old Hollywood’s central casting system.  (I don’t know why my Picasa chose to include Clinton twice in this collage.  I just rolled with it.):

Progressive rogues gallery

One last thing. If physical beauty is Denby’s standard for ideological purity, let’s just say that Denby falls quite short of his own standards. However, if you called Central Casting and asked them to send over a bombastic, narrow-minded, supercilious, faux-academic, you might just see David Denby show up on your movie set:

David Denby

Michael Walsh predicts a “Republican Spring”

In 2011, we had the Arab Spring.  Michael Walsh is now predicting a “Republican Spring” which we all hope will end more successfully than the unfolding disaster in the Middle East:

In the aftermath of Senator Ted Cruz’s epic performance on the Senate floor, a few observations:

After his disgraceful attacks on Cruz, including his reach-across-the-aisle, dog-in-the-manger response today, this should be the end of Senator John McCain as a voice of influence in the Republican party. Ditto his mini-me, Senator Lindsey Graham. Indeed, the entire Old Guard of business-as-usual “comity” fans passeth. When you care more about what the other side thinks, it’s probably time either to switch teams or step down.

There is new leadership in the GOP, whether the party wants to admit it or not: Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, and the others who stepped into the breach to spell the senator from Texas.

The popular reaction to Cruz will be immediate and noticeable; the more the old bulls carp, the more the public will rally to Cruz’s side. The country has been spoiling for a real fight since the election of 2008, and now it has one.

Conservatives have finally realized that, as it’s currently constituted, they have no home in the Republican party, which is the Washington Generals to the Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters, the designated losers who nevertheless are rewarded handsomely for their sham opposition.

To that end, conservatives understand that rather than form a third party, their only hope is to seize control of the corrupt, rotting hulk of the GOP, which they now can do with the help of a reinvigorated Tea Party — especially with Lois Lerner’s IRS off its back.

The Cruz faction in the Senate, and its allies in the House (whose leadership is now up for grabs) must now press their advantage. The louder the Democrats squawk, the more they are wounded; the one thing they’ve long feared is a direct assault on their core beliefs as translated into actions, and the deleterious effects of Obamacare, just now being felt by the population, are the most vivid proof of the failure of Progressivism that conservatives could wish for.

Please the rest here.  Every word is interesting.

I’m actually quite optimistic because a Republican Spring will be predicted on individual freedom, unlike the Arab Spring, which was predicated on subordination to a tyrannical theocracy.  The only risk is that a party predicated on freedom tends to organize badly and have all the coherence and stability of a room full of soap bubbles.

ADDENDUM:  Things are happening quickly and in unpredictable ways.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that since our trip to St. Petersburg this summer.  As you know, Obama and the rest of the progressives keep talking about being on the “right side of history.”  This isn’tt history that’s happened yet, of course.  It’s what they assume historians in the future will say as they look back upon our present.  In other words, progressives think that they can see the future.

When I was growing up, though, no one saw the Soviet Union’s future, something made staggeringly clear to me when we spent two days in St. Petersburg this summer.  The kids, who were born long after the wall fell, could not comprehend the fact that my husband and I were still stunned by the rampant capitalism there.  Right up until the wall fell, no one could have predicted that the heart and soul of communism would have streets lined with advertisements for Prada.  Perhaps it was more predictable that it would become corrupt but, throughout the 1990s, I didn’t see that coming either.  Now, though, everyone to whom we spoke told us that life in Putin’s Russia is hopelessly corrupt, and that they’re enjoying their window of freedom while they can, since they fear it will end soon.

And on that subject, Clifford D. May looks at a possible Third Act to follow upon Russia’s twisty-turny recent past and tumultuous present.

Noemie Emery absolutely savages Ted Cruz

Please read this and, if you feel like it, get back to me and let me know if you agree or disagree?  Here’s a taste to whet your appetite:

President Obama and Sen. Ted Cruz have some things in common, including stunning ascents to political stardom, exotic and mixed ethnic backgrounds that give additional resonance, complex starts in life that give rise to birther/conspiracy theories, and reputations for brilliance that do not seem to translate well into dealing with political everyday life.

Their judgment is bad, their experience slight, and their egos enormous. They are cult figures with frenzied admirers, which compounds the problem. They are full of themselves and firmly believe they can do the impossible.

They are obsessed with ideology and see little beyond it. They are fixated on health care — to destroy or enshrine it — and will sacrifice anything to do so. And they are running headlong into optional coming implosions they created all by themselves.

I agree that they’re both Harvard lawyers and that neither entered politics with any executive experience. Other than that, though, whether I ultimately conclude that Cruz is presidential material, I think he’s what Obama wants to be: brilliant, articulate, successful, with a reputation consistent with his resume (as opposed to Obama who has a resume that seems unrelated to the man’s knowledge and skills).

Even when it comes to the filibuster, Ted Cruz is present, very present, while Obama, more often than not, merely made himself “present” for purposes of the record.

Incidentally, I like and respect Emery.  I’m just don’t agree with her regarding this one.  You all are free to change my ever malleable mind.

Ted Cruz filibuster Open Thread

"I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare."

“I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare.”

Ted Cruz has started his filibuster.  With perfect (ahem) timing, I have to leave now to take care of some things for my mother.  I will be out of touch with the news.  You all already know my thinking about this apparently quixotic effort.  Since I’ll miss at least the beginning, please feel free to put your comments, concerns, analysis, etc. here, at this Open Thread.

Is Ted Cruz’s promised Obamacare filibuster the equivalent of King Leonidas’s stand at Thermopylae?

"I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare."

“I will do everything necessary and anything possible to de-fund Obamacare.”

Most people, whether Democrat or Republican, agree that Ted Cruz’s planned filibuster in the Senate is doomed. It will do nothing to stop Obamacare’s inexorable path towards implementation. (To understand precisely what the filibuster is about, Ace has a good, short explanation.)

Because Ted Cruz is nobody’s fool, I’m guessing that he too knows that it won’t stop Obamacare from getting fully implemented within the next few months. Why, then, is Cruz engaged in this quixotic effort? I think I have the answer, but you’ll have to bear with me, because it involves taking a little trip back, back in time . . . to the Battle of Thermopylae.

At the beginning of the 5th Century B.C., the Persian Empire was the largest nation in the ancient world. When Athens and Sparta refused to yield to its demand that the entire Ionian peninsula submit to Persian rule, its emperor, Xerxes, decided on a full-scale attack to bring these arrogant Greeks to heel.

The Persian forces, having bridge the Hellespont, were advancing overland to the pass at Thermopylae. The Spartans, by inclination, temperament, and default, were quite obviously going to be the military leaders in any engagement with Persia. Thermopylae was therefore where the Spartans intended to take a stand.

Although history remembers “the 300” Spartans who stood at the front of the line, the various Greek city-states managed to contribute another 7,000 or so troops to stand against the Persians at this hot, narrow pass. Even 7,000 troops, though, was a frighteningly small showing against the tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) that Xerxes commanded.

King Leonidas of Sparta had a simple battle plan. He placed his 300 warriors at the entrance to the pass, and stationed another 1,000 Phocians on the heights to prevent the Persians from outflanking the waiting Spartan force. The remaining Greek troops were massed behind the Spartans.

When the Persian army finally appeared, Xerxes first send an emissary to negotiate with Leonidas. The Greeks were told that, if they subordinated themselves to Persia, they would be moved to better land than their own Greece. Leonidas refused, understanding that, when you’re a slave, there is no such thing as “better land.”

“Come and take them.”

“Come and take them.”

The ambassador insisted more forcefully that the Spartans and their allies lay down their arms. Leonidas’ response has echoed through the ages: “Come and take them.” (Μολὼν λαβέ or “Molan Labe”.) The Persian ambassador then threatened that “Our arrows will block out the sun,” to which Leonidas’s general replied “Then we shall have our battle in the shade.” Battle was inevitable.

I won’t humiliate myself or bore you by describing those three long days at Thermopylae. Suffice to say that it was brutal and bloody, and that every single one of Sparta’s 300 died that day. Another 2,000 Greeks died along with the Spartans. Importantly for history’s sake, though, is the fact 20,000 Persians died that day as well. Persia was not defeated but, as reports of the battle filtered out, every single Greek city-state learned that the Persians could be defeated.

Even though the Persians continued their triumphant march forward, the Greek’s were roused by the heroism and sacrifice of the Spartans and their allies. Although the Persians moved forward, conquering Greek lands as they went, the Greeks abandoned submission and fatalism. Instead, looking to Thermopylae for inspiration, they fought back. They viewed themselves, not as future Persian slaves, but as free men fighting for their country. Eventually, the Greeks did defeat the Persian Empire, and went on to become a great empire themselves, laying the foundation for much of our western culture.

Even now, 2,500 years later, the Spartans’ brave stand at Thermopylae still has the power to inspire us. Victory wasn’t the point. The point was to fight and to educate Greeks about their merciless enemy and its overwhelming drive for power. Leonidas and his men may have died there, but their ghosts led the Greeks to eventual victory.

Which gets me back to Ted Cruz and his buddies in the Senate. They’re not stupid. They know that this filibuster will be futile. But they know two other things as well: Filibusters grab headlines, which gives them a golden opportunity to lift the cone of silence that the mainstream media places between Republicans and voters.

Under the current media regime, Republican arguments and statements get to the voters only if small fry Republicans get arrested, or say something “provocative” about gay marriage or abortion. Other than that, most voters would be hard pressed to know what conservatives politicians and thinkers are saying.

Imagine someone as intelligent and articulate as Ted Cruz – a man who has a knack for clearly stating complex principles – speaking directly to the voters about Obamacare, without the media acting as his “interpretor.” And remember, if he does filibuster, he’ll be speaking to voters who, for the most part, are already beginning to realize that, with Obamacare, they’ve been sold a bill of goods.

Absent a miracle, Cruz will lose on the filibuster. The Republican establishment will start bleating out “I told you so” on every “news” show they can find. And Obamacare will go forward.

But here’s what Cruz also knows: Obamacare will be a disaster. We know that for certain. Indeed, the best evidence you need is Congress’s frantic effort to ward off Obamacare in its own marbled halls. If that’s not enough, look at the diminution in choice, the price increases for the middle class, the lost jobs, the lost insurance coverage, and the downward adjustments in working hours.  We, the people, are going to be badly hurt by Obamacare.

Americans aren’t going to learn about the nasty stuff hiding in Obamacare until they experience it first hand.  What was an abstract political fight in Washington, D.C. will become a genuine problem in their day-to-day lives.  And that’s when Ted Cruz will pop back up again and say (nicely, of course), “Remember me? I tried to warn you and I tried to help. Trust me to have the courage and the wisdom to fix this. But this time, you have to stand with me to win the battle.”

The filibuster is Cruz’s Thermopylae. He knows that, whether he wins or loses, in the long term he will be the victor.  When it all falls apart, Ted Cruz will be seen and remembered for coming down on the side of sanity and freedom.

Interested in your opinions about the House vote defunding Obamacare

Whew!  I’ve been going straight through since 5:30 this morning, and this is my first chance to sit down and talk politics.

The big deal today as far as I can tell is that the House voted to pass a budget that funds everything but Obamacare.  I’ve already discussed the fact that I like the muscularity of this move, if only the Republicans can keep hold of the narrative.

Cowboy-Chased-By-Bull-Funny-Picture
Here’s what’s going to be interesting:  Once the bill hits the Senate, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are going to lead the charge against it.  Their problem is that they can’t let it pass cloture.  If it does, Harry Reid can strip out the defunding Obamacare bit, and sent a “clean” budget to the Senate for a vote.

Of course, even if Harry Reid does get a “clean” budget, because it’s not harmonized with the House bill, I believe that it heads right back to the House.  Then, we begin the whole thing again.  The longer this little Congressional dance lasts, the more opportunity the media has to paint Republicans as evil obstructionists.

I was thinking about that, though.  Republicans didn’t just mysteriously appear in the House.  The People elected them.  They elected them to the House in 2010, when they clearly meant them as a brake on Obamacare, and against in 2012, when they presumably meant House Republicans to be a brake on Obama generally.

In other words, Obama is being as dishonest as always when he claims that the Republicans are being obstructionist with regard to a presidential agenda that the people want to see put into effect.  In fact, the House’s make-up, which is the clearest evidence of the people’s will in federal government, establishes conclusively that the American people were looking for obstructionism.  Some of them may like Obama as a person (although I suspect that number is dropping), but the House making is the clearest evidence possible that they disagree with his agenda.

If anyone can talk his way around the mud and other stuff the Democrats and media (but I repeat myself) are slinging, it’s Ted Cruz.  I wish him the best of luck and an extraordinary degree of verbal clarity with this one.

I know a budget isn’t a bill, but I still thought this was an enjoyable ending for this post:

Some articles about Ted Cruz that speak to what I like about him and what I worry about him

Rich Lowry wrote a great article today about the Democrats’ enormous frustration with Ted Cruz:  Cruz ought to be one of them, since he’s manifestly brilliant and hyper-educated . . . except that he refuses to be one of them.  I especially liked this bit:

Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an extra element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.

It almost is. Princeton and Harvard aren’t quite the École Nationale d’Administration, the French school that trains that country’s political class, but they are close.

Andrew Stiles assembled a list of quotations from Democrats anxious to destroy Cruz before he gets a solid footing as a national candidate.  They realize that he’s Obama’s mirror image — Ivy League-educated, intelligent, a minority, and appealing to the masses — except that in Cruz’s case, he actually is intelligent and has the Ivy League grades and the work resume to prove it.  More than that, Cruz has a great deal of experience with the federal government, something Obama lacked.

Cruz is, in other words, the un-Sarah Palin.  He cannot be demeaned in order to be destroyed.  Because Cruz’s credentials hold up to scrutiny, and because he’s been very careful about making his life an open book, unlike the secretive Obama, Democrats are left with two lines of attack:  Cruz isn’t really a minority (because he doesn’t support Democrat policies, which is the litmus test for all minorities) and he must be insane or evil:

The liberal media are obsessed with Texas’s freshman senator Ted Cruz. The most recent outbreak includes a Daily Beast hit piece about his “creepy” college years at Princeton, as well as a flurry of articles about whether his Canadian-American dual citizenship could complicate a potential run for the White House in 2016.

[snip]

“I don’t think he should be defined as a Hispanic,” former governor Bill Richardson (D., N.M.) said in response to a question about Cruz’s view on immigration. Richardson later said his remarks were “misinterpreted.”

I’m not just relying on pundits, of course.  From everything I’ve seen of Cruz, he is admirable:  He’s personable; able to articulate conservative principles in clear, accessible language; consistent; funny; and just all around an appealing candidate, at least for true-believers.

Having said all that, here’s the one thing that worries me about Cruz — he seems to be a bit of a hot-head, who likes to make waves but doesn’t always think through those wave’s consequences.  Here’s Lowry again:

None of this is to endorse all of Cruz’s tactical judgments or to deny he can irk his own side of the aisle at times.

His push to defund Obamacare this fall is a grass roots-pleasing slogan in search of a realistic path to legislative fruition. Cruz never explains how a government shutdown fight would bring about the desired end. The strategy seems tantamount to believing that if Republican politicians clicked their wing tips together and wished it so, President Barack Obama would collapse in a heap and surrender on his party’s most cherished accomplishment.

In a field dominated with exciting, fairly young conservatives — Cruz, Mike Lee, Allen West (and even Rand Paul) — I think Cruz is someone to watch, admire, and appreciate.  Can’t you just imagine heads exploding all over if there were a Cruz/West ticket?  Having said that, though, I’m not inclined to manufacture a ticket this early in the game, nor do I like the idea of putting a ticket together just to watch Progressive heads explode.  I want to wait a year or two, and then hope (devoutly) that the media hasn’t destroyed every viable conservative candidate by nitpicking over bullying incidents in pre-school or silly spoonerisms on the campaign trail.  And then, since I’m assuming a Biden versus Hillary fight on the Left, I want to throw my wholehearted support behind any candidate who can defeat either of those two.

The despicable attacks on Ted Cruz begin

Conservatives attack a Democrat’s political ideas.  Democrats, and their media lap-dogs, attack Conservatives.  The attacks on Ted Cruz are, as could be anticipated, despicable.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

It’s entirely possible that Ted Cruz might not be presidential material.  That rests on whether people like what he stands for and whether they’re willing to give another neophyte a try.  (Clearly, they weren’t sufficiently burned by Obama’s amateur first term because, assuming solely for the sake of argument that the IRS-capades and the other scandals didn’t throw the election, they elected him for a second.)  For the Democrats and their media shills to destroy him based on a paisley bathrobe is the outside of enough.