Idiot leaves Ron Paul coalition; finds natural home in Democrat Party

Ron Paul yard signA liberal friend who despairs of my decision to turn my back on the Democrat Party and declare myself a conservative, sent me an article from Salon.  In it, the author smugly explains that he was a life-long libertarian, went to a Ron Paul convention, saw that a lot of the people there were conspiracy theorists, and then joined the Democrat Party.

Here’s the gist of it:  the guy grew up in Nevada, in a town that valued guns.  He was told that he was a libertarian, so he was.  Without showing any actual understanding of the principle’s behind small government and individual freedom, he liked that Ron Paul libertarians want to make pot legal and hate Wars for Oil.  In 2008, he went to a Ron Paul convention and was shocked that people there espoused conspiracy views (which Ron Paul followers are famous for doing) and believed that welfare is a bad thing.  Then, when the financial meltdown happened in 2008, he opposed the bank bailout (which libertarians opposed), but approved of greatly increasing the welfare state (something libertarians also opposed).  Oh, and he “wept with joy” when Obama was inaugurated.  As for the Tea Partiers, they were “monsters” who made him want to “puke.”  You see, there are “racists” amongst the Tea Partiers, as well as 9/11 conspiracy theorists and Birthers.  He then went to a Progressive college to get a degree in creative writing and married a liberal Canadian.  And then, pretty much badda-boom, badda-bing, there he was, a happy Democrat.

What this guy utterly fails to see is that he started out with hard-core Leftist ideology — free pot, no War for Oil, don’t give money to evil bankers, government is the solution, Tea Partiers are racist, Obama is a God who causes tears of joy — but by an accident of birth, ended up thinking he was a libertarian.  Then, when he figured out that he was a moonbat, he headed for his real political party.  It’s not so much a case of conversion as of mistaken identity.  “You mean I’m not really Lord Ambrose Wafflepoof-Chilteningham?  I am, instead, plain old Comrade John Brown?  At last, the world makes sense!”

As for his attacks against the Ron Paul group, I have to agree that I don’t like Ron Paul or his followers either.  Their isolationism (which the proto-Democrat convert loved) is dangerous, and their affinity for neo-Nazis and other immoral, bad actors is awful.  Paul is too dumb to realize that the neo-Nazis are statists who hide in his Libertarian enclave because they believe it’s the best incubator for people too dumb to realize that the libertarian’s totally laissez faire attitude to everything allows evil to grow as well as good.

The two main problems with the guy’s post are that he (a) never understood true conservativism and (b) conflates Ron Paul libertarians with conservatives.  Conservatives embrace constitutional government, not no government.  Most conservatives are not conspiracy theorists, although the Birther meme is out there — in part because Obama has withheld evidence (birth certificates and transcripts), either to stir up conspiracy controversy (“Hey, look!  I can make my dog crazy by hiding his bone”) or because there really is something to hide (I believe he might be hiding a pretense that he was a foreign national to help him get college admission/aid).

If you want serious conspiracy mavens, look Left.  That’s where the Truthers live, that’s were the antisemites who subscribe to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion live, and that’s where the people who focus obsessively on the Koch brothers live.  The fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that the Koch brothers did anything more than fund the Heartland Institute is irrelevant:

"The Nation" uses its Koch brother paranoia to fuel a fundraising drive

“The Nation” uses its Koch brother paranoia to fuel a fundraising drive

Funnily enough, all these Lefties never seem that exercised about George Soros’ funding of just about everything to the Left, which is as much an exercise of free speech as is the Koch’s funding of the Heartland Institute.

Another conspiracy meme on the Left, one that helped propel Obama back into the White House in 2012 was the spurious war on women. The Left convinced credulous women and metrosexuals that a vote for Romney was a vote to put women barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, as forced sex-slaves to slobbering, fat, white Bible-toting Christian males. (In other words, The Handmaid’s Tale.)  That this dark vision had no reality outside the pages of a bad 1980s feminist novel is irrelevant.

And of course, there’s the “Tea Party is racist” meme that the guy, studying at his Progressive university, totally accepted.  He seems unaware that Andrew Breitbart’s $100,000 reward for anyone spotting racism at an Obamacare protest is still out there, unclaimed.  If you want racism, look Left.

The guy who wrote the Salon article was never a conservative.  He was always a hardcore, big state Leftist who had accidentally wandered into the wrong party.  His little post isn’t an indictment of conservativism.  It is, instead, a confession of his own lack of self-awareness and facile embrace of the party of the moment.

On the Left, do they even listen to themselves anymore?

Since all of you are political junkies, as I am, you’ve already read about Glenn Thrush’s e-book, which shows tremendous disarray in the Obama campaign, not to mention highlighting the fact that Obama hates Romney and is in this to win, never mind that he has nothing to offer the American people. I won’t rehash that. I’d just like to link together two paragraphs that come from separate points in Glenn Thrush’s article shilling his upcoming book:

Obama still believes Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that unleashed the super PACs, poses a huge threat to representative democracy by equating the largesse of self-serving billionaires with free speech.

[snip]

To give Obama a break from the relentless negativity of the campaign, friend and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett quietly set up a salon/dinner for Obama over the summer — which lasted more than two hours, a huge block of presidential time.

On hand were Jarrett’s friend and Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, Facebook billionaire and new New Republic Publisher Chris Hughes, and Apple executive Scott Forstall, who led the team that developed the iPhone.

Apparently you’re not a self-serving billionaire if you serve Barack Obama.  (I assume that George Soros falls into that same “altruistic” category.)

More thoughts about “Act of Valor” and antisemitism. *UPDATED*

[UPDATE:  I received an email from someone who I have reason to believe is indeed close to the story, rebutting my charges.  I still think the film slipped up, but I am certain that the SEALS are not antisemites.  Read more here.]

In my earlier post, I accused Act of Valor of including crude antisemitism.  You can read my accusation here.  I have a few more thoughts that I want to put out here.

Readers of my blog know that I’m not someone who sees antisemitism under every rock.  Certainly, I do discuss antisemitism at the Bookworm Room, as you’ll see if you follow the category link.  I happen to believe that our President is not a friend of Israel, and I suspect that he doesn’t like religious Jews.  I also write a fair number of posts about modern Leftism’s hostility to Israel, a hostility that is hard to explain without looking to good old-fashioned Jew hatred.  If you want to see more of my thoughts on the subject, check the link.

Having said that, I don’t constantly watch movies and TV shows, or view news reports, or read books with a constant eye out for antisemitism.  People sometimes say or do things that can be perceived as offensive, but if their motives are clearly from innocence or ignorance, I just don’t care.  You’ve probably heard the expression that, to a hammer, everything is a nail.  That is not my approach to antisemitism.

One of my friends whom I greatly respect suggested that maybe I read something in the movie that isn’t there.  He pointed out that both Roger Simon and Phyllis Chesler, two other people I highly respect, gave the movie glowing reviews without any mention of that “Jewish” bit.  Taking his question seriously, I asked myself “Did I fall asleep?” or “Did I have a hammer/nail moment where I imagined that scene?”

I therefore did a reality check, asking each of my children if, in the interrogation scene, the Navy SEAL had said to the bad guy something along the lines of “You’re a Jew.”  The children (a tween and a teen) corroborated that this dialogue took place.  The older one said “It made me uncomfortable.”  The younger one said, “They had a good reason for doing it.  They wanted to show that Jews can be bad guys and work with Muslims too.”

My younger child may be right about the point the movie wanted to make, but he’s still fundamentally wrong about the point being made (as are the filmmakers, if this was their goal).  Yes, some of the worst antisemites in the world are Jews.  Yousef Al-Khattab is a Jew turned Jihadi and George Soros is, of course, Jewish. Puree these two nasty men into one individual, and you could come up with a billionaire Jewish jihadist.  But how likely is that?  Both Soros and Al-Khattab are pretty rare animals — sui generis, one might say.  There’s only one Soros, and he’s inspired by Leftism, not by jihadism, and there’s only one Yousef Al-Khattab, and he’s inspired by Islam, not by a Jewish desire to destroy capital.

The reality in this world is that the vast (and by vast I mean in excess of 99%) majority of Jews aren’t jihadists.  In the real world, Jews are Israelis who are front-line warriors in the battle against radical Islam; beleaguered European Jews who are realizing that the Europeans don’t like them any more than they did in 1939 and side more with the Islamists in the midst; and ostrich-like American Jews whose loosey-goosey Leftism blinds them to the fact that the Left’s movers and shakers are not friends to either Israel or the Jews.

The percentage of Jihadists who are Jews is incalculably small, and the percentage of billionaire, greasy-haired, hooked-nosed Jewish Jihadists is smaller still — to the point of zero.  Even Soros, bad person though he is, does not look like a Jewish caricature, nor is he a Jihadist.  He is a Leftist, which is a different beast — and Act of Valor makes no effort to put the character of Christo into that Leftist slot.

And that’s really the point:  the movie makes no effort to try to put Christo into any recognizable slot other than that of traditional antisemitic imagery.  Christo is not a Leftist who allies himself with Islamists because they share a common goal of destroying the West.  Christo is not a convert who has abandoned his Jewishness and immersed himself in the antisemitic fanaticism of the Islamists.  Christo is also not a tortured, self-loathing Jew who is at least psychologically interesting.  He’s just an ugly, greasy, sadistic billionaire, whose goal is mass murder in America and the destruction of the American economy.

Christo’s Jewishness — which is a one-liner that ruined an entire movie for me — is thrown out there for no discernible reason.  It doesn’t explain the story that preceded his being identified as a Jew, and it doesn’t affect the plot that follows that revelation.  It’s just out there.  To me, that’s antisemitism, pure and simple.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that a show that’s billed as ordinary entertainment digs deep into traditional antisemitic tropes.  Just last month, an NBC TV show called Grimm apparently did precisely the same thing.  That two 2012 productions should delve into the world’s antisemitic psyche to create their bad guys is more than disturbing.  It’s frightening.

One last thing:  I got mad at the Navy SEALS (and said so), because they star in Act of Valor and it’s billed as a Navy SEAL movie.  I understand that there are many more layers to a movie:  the creative side, the production side, the financing and, with this particular movie, presumably the Pentagon and State Department side.  I’d be deeply sorry to believe that this swipe at Jews originated with the SEALS themselves, although you can’t escape the fact that they participated in the movie.  Because of that participation, I don’t fully apologize to them for lashing out in my last post, but I somewhat apologize to them, and expand my anger to the other culprits behind this base act.

UPDATE:  Sadie has suggested that the Pentagon, fearful of angering Muslims, throw in a bad Jew as a sop to their delicate sensibilities.  Does that make it any better?

Tom Grace’s “The Liberty Intrigue”

One of the nicest perks about having a slightly well-known blog is the fact that authors and publishers occasionally ask me to review a book.  In this way, I get the opportunity to read books that I otherwise wouldn’t even know exist.  My approach to book reviews is simple:  If I enjoy the book, I’m happy to review it, because I want to share my good fortune with my friends.  If I don’t enjoy a book, however, I don’t give it a bad review.  Instead, I don’t review the book at all.  I find it impossible to write about a book that bores or disappoints me.  This is why, at my blog, you’ll only read positive reviews.

As you’ve guessed by now, I’m very happy to give a positive review to Tom Grace’s newest book, The Liberty Intrigue. Let me start with the publisher’s own description of the book, before I get to why I liked it:

Ross Egan has quietly labored for years in the West African nation of Dutannuru—a tiny republican democracy that emerged from the wreckage of the brutal civil war that claimed the brilliant engineer’s wife and child. When a neighboring despot threatens Dutannuru with renewed violence, Egan is abruptly thrust onto the world stage at the center of the deadly international crisis. Egan’s actions and resulting notoriety land him on the short list of individuals capable of challenging the progressive incumbent for the presidency of the United States—if only he can be convinced to run. A political neophyte, Egan is intrigued by the challenge of unseating a ruthless political operator seen by some as the most dangerously leftist president in the nation’s history. To win the White House, Egan must mount the most unorthodox presidential campaign ever attempted — and navigate through a daunting new world marked by character assassination, high-level corruption, armed raids, and political murder.

I have to admit that, for the first two chapters, the book didn’t engage me because I didn’t “get” it.  The Liberty Intrigue begins in the fictional African nation of Dutannuru.  Reading those chapters, I thought that, despite the run for the White House that figures in the book, most of the action would take place in Africa.  I had visions of a bloody thriller with hero Ross Egan on the run from machete-wielding African militias.  I like thrillers, even bloody thrillers, but Africa isn’t one of my favorite venues for these books.  There’s a reason for this:  Africa depresses me.  It’s a country continent [with a face palm for my silly error] that is rich in natural resources (human, mineral, environmental, etc.), and yet it is a perpetual basket-case.  (Incidentally, one of the best books on this subject — a book that, sadly, is not outdated despite being almost 20 years old — is Keith Richburg’s Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa.) The sad fact is that a thriller set in Africa is never going to have a happy, or even a satisfying, ending.

Fortunately for my reading pleasure, I stuck with the book, which didn’t stay in Dutannuru for long.  The Dutannuru beginning was not wasted time, though.  It establishes Egan as a man who combines idealism with pragmatism, both of which are rooted in his faith in the American Constitution as a template for a successful society, one in which citizens can both work and dream.  The America to which Egan returns from his Africa sojourn, however, is not a Constitutional America.  Instead, it’s an America that has been under tight Progressive control for three years.

It isn’t a coincidence that the fictional America has the same political posture as the real America.  From the moment Egan returns to the states from Africa, he is confronted with an America that looks precisely like America in 2012 — only the names are changed.  The president is a hard core Leftist who wants to substitute social justice for Constitutional principles, all while enriching himself and his friends; the Vice President is a buffoon, who exudes a certain shadiness, and who has a knack for saying the wrong thing; the president’s campaign manager mirrors David Axelrod insofar as he lives to dig for opposition dirt and disrupt democrat processes; and the President’s closest friend and most powerful backer is a Soros-like multi-billionaire who manipulates world markets and funds various hard-core Progressive organizations.  Those are the novel’s statists.

The individualist side of the book has several important characters who move the plot forward, but only two are carefully delineated spokespeople for conservativism.  First, we have Egan, who powerfully articulates core constitutional arguments and positions.  Of course, I’m sorry to say that this means he is not analogous to any modern conservative politician.  The other dynamically drawn conservative character is a talk radio host, Garr Denby, who sounds uncannily like Rush Limbaugh.  (It really is uncanny.  Grace has a perfect ear for both Limbaugh’s style and substance.)  The book details the way in which Egan’s friends, who believe he is the only one who can save the nation, work with him to create an unconventional campaign that keeps the Progressive president perpetually off balance.

Large parts of the book are straightforward polemics.  Grace has the president make speeches and conversational asides that support Progressive political principles, while Egan and Denby counter with speeches explaining why America’s constitutional freedoms provide the best solutions to economic problems and illegal immigration.  (For the most part, Grace shies away from discussing foreign policy issues.)

Normally, I find polemical novels boring, since they’re wooden and artificial.  By using a presidential election as a format for his novel, however, Grace overcomes the artificiality problem because he’s able to have the characters state their positions in the natural context of political speeches, debates, strategy conferences, or talk radio shows.  Grace deals with the wooden speech problem simply by having a good ear.  As I noted above, Grace’s take on Rush is perfect.  It’s almost possible to believe that Rush himself helped Grace write Denby’s lines.  When the Progressives speak, it sounds as if Grace copied their familiar tropes and talking points, so they’re scarily realistic.  And when Ross Egan speaks, Grace has him say what we all wish our inarticulate Republican candidates (e.g., McCain or Mitt) or our slightly loopy Republican candidates (e.g., Newt or Ron Paul) would say.  It’s something of a relief to see any candidate saying these things, even if he’s only a fictional character in a novel.

In some ways, as you’ve probably gathered from this review, I found the plot almost a secondary feature in the book.  (Which is unusual for me, as I like my books plot driven.)  The Liberty Intrigue has clever and often exciting twists and turns, but the book’s real value lies in Grace’s ability to articulate clearly and elegantly core conservative principles, and to stress how these principles stand in direct opposition to the damaging governance the Progressives are visiting on the United States today, not in a novel, but in real life and in real time.

I enjoyed The Liberty Intrigue very much.  I was fortunate enough to get a courtesy review copy, but I can confidently say that this is a book I would happily buy right before a vacation, which is the one time of the year I always dig deep and buy actual books for flights, train rides, at-sea days on cruises, etc.  More than that, I would buy The Liberty Intrigue, not as an e-book, but as an actual paper book.  That way, I could leave the book behind in the hope that some other vacationer would pick it up and learn something.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

George Soros: A missing moral compass

In my “real” facebook world, there’s been a lot of outrage over Glenn Beck’s excavation of George Soros’ adolescent work for the Nazis, work Soros (a Jew) engaged in to stay alive while passing as a Christian in Nazi occupied territory.  Liberals howl “How dare Beck judge Soros? ” But is that what Beck is doing or is Beck judging the person that helpless boy grew up to become?  I don’t know, because I don’t watch Beck, but here is the argument I would make if I had Beck’s forum.

A lot of people have, through circumstances, been forced to do heinous things to survive.  As a child, I certainly met my fair share, since I grew up in a world of Holocaust and Killing Field survivors.  I knew people who worked dragging bodies out of the ovens; I knew people who sorted the teeth and hair removed from the dead bodies; I knew people who worked as slave labor in the factories, making weapons the Nazis used against the Allies; I knew Germans who survived Soviet concentration camps; and I knew people who survived the Killing Fields in ways that too terrible for them to describe.  I wouldn’t dream of judging them.  I have no right to judge, and I have no will to judge them.  When one is completely brutalized and intentionally de-humanized, one does things that would be unthinkable in ordinary circumstances.

What distinguishes all the people I knew, though, when compared to George Soros is the fact that they judged themselves.  Without exception, each knew that, even though unwillingly, he or she had been complicit in deeply immoral acts, and each spent a lifetime seeking redemption.  All of them worked hard and were exemplary citizens, whether that simply meant avoiding doing harm or whether it involved more active engagement in altruistic acts.  Neither the absence of external judgment nor their own knowledge that they were responding to overwhelming external forces took that edge off.  They suffered twice, first in the doing and then in the ever-lasting guilt.  But it was the guilt that made them people of exceptional decency and humanity.

Just yesterday, I read a book describing another such soul.  The book is Anthony Flacco’s The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders. For those unfamiliar with the story, as I was when I picked up the book, Sanford Clark was a 13 year old boy who, in 1928, ended up living on an isolated chicken farm with his uncle.  Unfortunately for Sanford, his uncle was a psychopathic serial killer who abducted young boys, brutally raped and generally tortured them, and then murdered them. Sanford differed from those boys only in that his uncle needed his labor, so stopped short of murdering him. Sometimes the “labor” his uncle demanded consisted of feeding the imprisoned boys, digging their graves or even participating in their murders.

When the uncle was finally arrested, Sanford was the chief witness against him.  (By the way, I’m not telling you anything that’s not on the book jacket.  This is not a suspense story; it’s the day-to-day details that make it riveting.)  Where things get really interesting is the life Sanford led after he was finally rescued from this hell hole.  He was consumed by guilt, but his moral compass demanded that his act of contrition consisted of leading a good life.  He worked hard, married, fought in WWII, and raised children.  He was well-liked in his community.  He could never forget what he had seen and done, nor could he forgive himself, but his moral compass demanded that he contribute to the world as best he could.

All of these stories, the ones I heard growing up, or the ones we read about in books such as The Road Out of Hell, have a clear message:  even the most horrific youthful experiences need not destroy a conscience.  Soros, however, seems to have no conscience whatsoever about his complicity with the Nazis.  Unlike the people I knew growing up, who lived with and worked daily to expiate their guilt, when he looks back, he’s good with it all.  When Soros was interviewed about his wartime experiences on 60 Minutes, he expressed no regret whatsoever (emphasis added):

KROFT: (Voiceover) And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.

Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that’s when my character was made.

KROFT: In what way?

Mr. SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and–and anticipate events and when–when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a–a very personal experience of evil.

KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.

KROFT: I mean, that’s–that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

Mr. SOROS: Not–not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t–you don’t see the connection. But it was–it created no–no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

Mr. SOROS: No.

KROFT: For example that, ‘I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.’ None of that?

Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c–I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets–that if I weren’t there–of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would–would–would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the–whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the–I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.

The only real question one is left with after reading the above is whether Soros was always a sociopath, or whether the war made him one.  As I said, I know people who went through worse than he did, and came out human.  He didn’t.  He came out a very intelligent animal, by which I mean that he lacks the moral compass that, to me, is the single most important distinction between humans and animals.

So, whatever Glenn Beck said, he’s right that there’s a problem with Soros’ engagement with the Nazis during the War:  The problem with Soros isn’t what he did to survive; it’s that he doesn’t care what he did to survive.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News