It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it — the video

I wrote a post about the fact that, when it comes to delivering a message, style is as important as content.  I got a lovely email in return from Greg Joyce, at Willoughby Films:

I couldn’t agree more with your point, that conservatives need to make an emotional (maybe “entertaining” would be a better word) argument rather than the intellectual case that hasn’t been serving so well lately.

So here’s “Family Meeting.”  Only three minutes long — I hope you enjoy it.

I didn’t just enjoy it — I loved it. The video works at two levels. First, the family meeting sees a family struggle to frame a tough message about health care and insurance issues. And then there’s the end. . . . Uh, I’ll stop here. I don’t want to give it away.

Getting outside of the bubble: taking liberal arguments seriously

Paul Scott challenged us to look at what Eric Garland, a Progressive blogger, has to say and to take it seriously as a way to win the White House.  Paul is right — we cannot make a convincing argument unless we know what our opponent in the argument believes.  Insulting Paul doesn’t make us stronger.  Rather than spin around in our own fish bowl, we have to look at what others are saying, correct their misconceptions, and either challenge or concede to their arguments head-on.

In that spirit, I’m taking a serious look at Eric Garland’s post.  I’m not giving anything away here when I say that, having weighed it carefully, I’ve found it wanting.

Eric might also want to look seriously at conservatives, since he seems to be have accepted several canards propounded by the media and other liberal sources.  In that regard, I would remind him that the Wheel of Political Fortune has tended to rotate in roughly eight year cycles:  Reagan’s conservativism got 12 years (counting Bush); Clinton’s Progressivism got 8 years; Bush’s compassionate conservativism got 8 years; and Obama is now getting his 8 years.

Whether Obama will also get his own addendum years, as Reagan did with Bush Sr., remains open to question.  Americans are a generous and forbearing people, but unless Obama significantly improves the economy, or significantly re-educates Americans so that they lower their economic and employment expectations, Obama’s next four years may be the Democrats’ last four for a while.

Let’s start with Eric’s contention that he is the kind of voter that Republicans seek:

  • My family lineage goes back to the MAYFLOWER, BOAT ONE!!! (Garland family of New England-> John Adams -> Howard Alden -> Plymouth colony ->KINGS OF MUTHAF***IN’ ENGLAND)
  • I am a heterosexual, married to the super Caucasian mother of my two beautiful children who are, inexplicably, EVEN WHITER THAN I AM.
  • I am college educated (Master’s degree!) and affluent.
  • I am a job creator and small businessman.
  • We pay a lot of taxes! Every year!
  • I grew up in a rural area and despise laziness!
  • Having started my own business, I have complained at length about the insanity of federal, state and local bureaucracy – and its deleterious impact on the innovative small businessman.
  • I currently live in the suburbs in a historically Red state.

I’m not sure Eric is the perfect specimen he thinks he is.  Or rather, he’s the perfect specimen only if you accept his rather ugly view of conservatives.

Family lineage:  As a first generation Jewish American conservative, I was unaware that the Republican party had admissions criteria based upon 1950s WASP country club rules.  To the contrary, the Republican party, unlike the Democratic party, does not classify people by race, religion, or country of national origin.  Instead, it seeks values voters.  As I use it, and as the the conservatives I know use it, the term “values voters” should be understood to encompass constitutional values such as individual liberty; market-based capitalism; small, affordable government; freedom of speech; freedom of worship; etc.  In other words, the oldies, but goodies.  These are values intrinsic too all Americans regardless of the divisive victim identities that the Democrats and Progressives have sought to impose on the American body politic since the 1960s.  We understand that people like Eric can’t help their boring lineage.  They are still welcome amongst conservatives.

Sexual orientation and race:  By boasting repeatedly about his, and his family’s, whiteness and heterosexuality, Eric sounds a little too much like a candidate for the KKK (which was, as his high education level surely informs him, a Democrat connected party).  Eric’s obsession with his race and sexuality highlights the Democrat/Progressive habit of parsing Americans into sexual and racial boxes.  Honestly, we conservatives really don’t care about those archaic, eugenicist classifications.  What we do care about are shared values, tied to the Constitution.  I know bunches of gays, whites, Jews, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics (and whatever other little boxes Progressives like to check) who believe in limited government.

What all conservatives have figured out is that, once government gets big enough (and ours certainly has gotten that big), it can start picking winners and losers.  That’s good for the winners.  Unfortunately, as Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Communists, and the mentally disabled discovered in Nazi Germany; as Kulaks discovered in Soviet Russia; and intellectuals and glasses-wearers discovered in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, if a Big Government identifies you as a loser, you’re pretty much dead.  The smaller the government, the less risk for minority groups.  Ideally, as the Founders perfectly understood, one wants a government that’s big enough to protect all of its citizens, but not one so big that it does what Eric does:  parses them into “in” groups and “out” groups, and then punish the “out” groups.

College educated and affluent:  It’s great that Eric and his family are college educated and affluent.  I’m sure his mother is very proud.  It may come as a surprise to Eric that many conservatives are educated too. And almost as many conservatives have spent many years trying to unlearn the Left wing pap that made up that education.

The real world doesn’t put the same premium on the Ivory Tower that the Ivory Tower puts upon itself.  Womyn’s Studies contribute little to intellectual attainment or economic betterment.  And if you’ve got an MBA predicated on Keynesian economics — well, you’re about to see that economic view take a hit in the real world, just as it did when Roosevelt put it into effect (with the Depression massively worsened under his aegis), or when Europe put it into effect with its now-collapsing soft-socialism, and as America will see play out as the Harvard-educated Obama continues to pick winners and losers in today’s economy.

The secret that hasn’t yet infiltrated the Ivory Tower is that governments are slow, inefficient, and corrupt.  They analyze data inefficiently, apply their analyses unfairly, and then pervert the market (using taxpayer money) to prop up their so-called “winner’s” failures.  Today’s education, which is directed at creating a Leftist man, rather than a broadly educated man, is nothing to boast about.

A job creator and small businessman.  Again, that’s great.  Conservatives believe that job creators and small business people should support conservative values, because lower taxes, fewer regulations, and less government control (not no government control, but less) enhance small businesses and create more jobs.  We find bewildering the number of small business owners who willingly vote for politicians who impose ever greater burdens upon them, stifling their building to thrive and grow.

Pays lots of taxes:  Eric sounds almost enthusiastic about those taxes.  One wonders if he’s ever asked himself if the government makes better decisions about spending that money than he does?  I’m sure Eric doesn’t quarrel — and neither do I — with government spending it on core government functions that all civilized nations support, such as national security, roads, public health, etc.  I wonder, though, if he’s thought seriously about the economics and morals of taking stimulus dollars and deciding which businesses, interests, and individuals should get special treatment using American tax dollars.  Likewise, I wonder if he’s ever considered the wisdom of tethering people more and more tightly to welfare by taking dollars out of the market and then having the government channel those same dollars to people rendered unemployed by the deleterious effect high taxes have on jobs.

Rural and not-lazy.  Again, good for Eric.  Republicans like rural, not-lazy people.  Republicans also like suburban or urban not-lazy people.  Basically, Republicans like people who are willing to put some energy into living their own lives, rather than sitting back complacently, waiting for a hand-out.

Complained about bureaucracy:  It’s rather peculiar that Eric hates bureaucracy, but still supports Obama and his Democrats.  This headline explains my bewilderment:  “Obama Administration Proposes 6,125 Regulations And Notifications In Last 90 Days.”  Why would someone who dislikes the burdens of a large bureaucracy vote for the candidate whose promise is to increase government interference in and control of every aspect of our lives?

Red Stater:  I bet Eric likes living in a Red State.  His taxes aren’t as high as they could be (try living in Blue California), and he’s not dealing with the failed economies that plague the Blue States (have I mentioned California?).  In other words, Eric is living well thanks to Red State, conservative values voters, who have supported lower taxes and more individual freedom.  It’s ironic and sad that his current goal is to reduce the entire United States to a wacky economic combination of Detroit (bankrupt), California (bankrupt), Illinois (bankrupt and corrupt), and other blue stated wonders, filled with “smart” people and big debt.  It’s not just the states that are bankrupt.  Bankrupt states produce bankrupt individuals.

(Thinking about this makes me kind of sad that I didn’t pursue my original law school goal of becoming a bankruptcy attorney.  It seemed like such a great idea during the recession that existed when I was started law school.  As the Reagan economy improved, through, I rethought things, and went for general business litigation.  Now would be a good time to be a bankruptcy attorney.  Take a firm like Wadhwani & Shanfeld, for example, which clearly started as a two attorney enterprise, and now has five offices scattered throughout meatless-Monday Southern California.  That’s the great thing about America — there’s always a silver lining for someone.  Also, I like that firm because it’s quite clear that the founders are from different cultural/racial backgrounds, but they came together to create a successful all-American enterprise.  Woo-hoo!)

But back to my main point….

Per Eric’s definition, the modern Republican party would desperately like to look like the old Democrat KKK, which utterly fails to explain why it celebrates extraordinary people and politicians such as Mia Love, Marco Rubio, Allen West, Herman Cain, Bobby Jindal, and other Americans who are concerned more with values than with little boxes on government survey forms.

Eric reveals his blinkered view of conservativism when he claims he is a prize of the type conservatives seek.  It’s nice that he pays taxes, creates jobs, is educated, works hard, and lives in a Red State, but he’s flattering himself a little too much.  It isn’t what he is taxes and education that matter, when it comes to elections, it’s what he believes — and honestly, his beliefs aren’t so hot.  What Eric believes leads down a single road:  higher taxes; fewer jobs; continued Leftist educational indoctrination; higher welfare and food stamp rolls; a population made up of disparate groups all vying to be crowned “biggest victim”; and Red States joining their Blue compatriots in bankruptcy and corruption.

Perhaps if Eric could see beyond his Jon Stewart, New York Times, MSNBC definition of conservatives, he might realize that the conservative ideology offers him and others a great deal more than he ever imagined, without interfering too greatly with what I assume are his core values.  Let’s take his critiques of conservatives one at a time:

Science - One of the reasons my family is affluent is that my wife and I have a collective fifteen years of university education between us. I have a Masters degree in Science and Technology Policy, and my wife is a physician who holds degrees in medicine as well as cell and molecular biology. We are really quite unimpressed with Congressional representatives such as Todd Akin and Paul Broun who actually serve on the House science committee and who believe, respectively, that rape does not cause pregnancy and that evolution and astrophysics are lies straight from Satan’s butt cheeks. These are, sadly, only two of innumerable assaults that the Republican Party has made against hard science – with nothing to say of logic in general. Please understand the unbearable tension this might create between us and your candidates.

As far as I can tell, in the last election, it is a sad truth that the Republican party managed to field a few idiots, such as Todd Akin, Tom Smith, and Roger Rivard, who are genuinely ignorant, in a very mean-spirited way, about rape.  Otherwise, though, Republicans are like other Americans, in that they understand that horrors of rape and the morally difficult consequences that result from rape.

Thus, conservatives recognize that rape is a terrible thing, one that becomes a permanent, damaging part of a woman’s psyche.  What some pro-Life conservatives say, though, is that this purely an evil act may nevertheless have resulted in something good:  an innocent life.  To them, it would compound the evil of rape if it was followed by the murder of an innocent.  They are not unsympathetic to the rape victim, they just believe that, in the balance, two wrongs don’t make a right.

I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with them, because the topic deserves a post on its own.  I’m simply saying that candidates such as Paul Ryan, Richard Mourdock, Joe Walsh, and John Koster have set out a moral position that has nothing to do with science.  In the same way, there’s nothing science-related about Barack Obama’s repeated willingness to oppose a bill that would have required physicians to care for late-term babies that, rather than being aborted as planned, end up living.

The question of an innocent life within a full-realizedwomen is one of morals, not science, and it’s a profound cognitive error to conflate the two.   Also, I can’t resist adding that, when it comes to idiots, the Democrats have managed to field quite a few of their own cranks, crackpots, gaffe-meisters, and other mean-spirited, ignorant people.  The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that, while the Republican idiots didn’t get elected to office, the Democrat idiots did.

Climate - Within just the past 18 months the following events have come to our attention: a record-breaking drought that sent temperatures over 100 degrees for weeks, killing half the corn in the Midwest and half the TREES on our suburban property – AND – a hurricane that drowned not New Orleans or Tampa or North Carolina but my native state of VERMONT. As an encore, a second hurricane drowned lower Manhattan, New Jersey and Long Island. The shouted views of decrepit mental fossil Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma that this is a fraud perpetrated on the American people by evil, conspiring climate scientists is belied by such events and is looking irresponsible to even the most skeptical.

I’m always amazed at the way supposedly educated people confuse correlation and causation.  The one does not imply the other.  That is, just because we’re seeing impressive climate events at the same time that most Americans drive cars doesn’t mean the two are related.

Most conservatives willingly acknowledge climate change.  Indeed, they’ll go further than just focusing on the changes that took place since Al Gore, in the early 1970s, was convinced that the earth would soon freeze over.  They’ll concede that the earth’s climate has been changing non-step since the earth first came into being.

Where conservatives differ with the self-identified scientifically brilliant climate change crowd is in believing (a) that human activity can change climate and (b) that warming is a bad thing.  (The picture below is of Greenland, which was once Green and sustained significant Viking colonies.)

With regard to human activity, conservatives admit that humans can affect the environment, most notably with pollution.  Most conservatives believe that they are the earth’s stewards and that this stewardship requires acting responsibly so that we do not make filthy the world around us, or carelessly destroy nature’s bounty.  We do not believe, though, that the climate change crowd has adduced sufficient evidence to show that today’s bad weather is human-kind’s fault.  News about Climategate, or the profound errors regarding Himalayan glaciers, indicates that we are right to be suspicious.  (Regarding glaciers, for example, we know that they’ve advanced and retreated relentlessly for most of the earth’s lifespan.)

And with regard to the apocalyptic view of warming, those of us reasonably conversant with history know that a global warming trend is good for humans.  It increases the growing season, releases more water (which is essential to all human existence), and makes available more land on which to grow food.  For example, the periods both before and after the mini-Ice Age were good ones for human development.

A few more things to throw into the mix:  We know that it’s only since Victorian times that people have been keeping accurate weather records, which means that we’re basing a lot of conclusions on only 150 years of data.  We know that the computer models on which much climate hysteria is based have frequently proven wrong.  And we know that many of the problems we’ve seen from hurricanes have happened, not because hurricane are worse (and after all, our records are only 150-200 years old), but because we have very dense coastal populations.  It’s like the difference between a fatal car crash involving one passenger and a crash involving seven:  it’s the same crash, but the mortality rate in the second instance is seven times greater.

Healthcare - My wife and I are quite familiar with America’s healthcare system due to our professions, and having lived abroad extensively, also very aware of comparable systems. Your party’s insistence on declaring the private U.S. healthcare system “the best in the world” fails nearly every factual measure available to any curious mind. We watch our country piss away 60% more expenditures than the next most expensive system (Switzerland) for health outcomes that rival former Soviet bloc nations. On a personal scale, my wife watches poor WORKING people show up in emergency rooms with fourth-stage cancer because they were unable to afford primary care visits. I have watched countless small businesses unable to attract talented workers because of the outrageous and climbing cost of private insurance. And I watch European and Asian businesses outpace American companies because they can attract that talent without asking people to risk bankruptcy and death. That you think this state of affairs is somehow preferable to “Obamacare,” which you compared ludicrously to Trotskyite Russian communism, is a sign of deficient minds unfit to guide health policy in America.

Eric’s analysis about the US healthcare system works only because he is relying on the WHO metric –that is, he’s looking at access, not quality.  I’m not going to beat this horse here, because I don’t have to.  Scott Atlas’ masterful The Worst Study Ever explains the difference between socialized and American medicine, as well as the flaws in the WHO study.  More than that, he does so concisely and in terms even the well-educated can understand.

There’s no doubt that the pre-ObamaCare American system was inefficient and needed improvement.  Turning it into England’s National Health Service, however, which serves the young and healthy sort of well, but is bad news for others, is not the way to reform American medical care.

War - Nations do have to go to war sometimes, but that Iraq thing was pretty bad, to put it mildly. Somebody should have been, I dunno – FIRED for bad performance. Aren’t you the party of good corporate managers or something? This topic could get 10,000 words on its own. Let’s just leave it at: You guys suck at running wars.

Eric might want to explain what happened in Libya, which was Obama’s war:  Why did we go in, how much did we spend, and what did we get for the money, aside from some murdered Americans, including the first U.S. Ambassador killed since 1979?  Eric might also want to look into the skyrocketing deaths on Obama’s watch in Afghanistan — deaths that are wasted, because we already know that they will be followed, not by victory, but by retreat.  Lastly, Eric might want to contemplate that, since 1900, most of the wars in which America got involved started on a Democrat’s watch:  WWI (Wilson), WWII (Roosevelt), the Korean War (Truman), the Vietnam War (Kennedy and Johnson), and the war in Libya (Obama).  Perhaps having a stronger hand at the helm might have avoided those wars in the first place.

Deficits and debt - Whenever the GOP is out of power, it immediately appeals to the imagination of voters who remember the Lyndon Baines Johnson (!) administration and claim that the Republican alternative is the party of “cutting spending” and “reducing the deficit.” The only problem with your claim is that Republican governments throughout my entire 38 year life (Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43) have failed to cut spending and deficit and debt EVEN ONCE. I hope you understand that your credibility suffers every time you promise one thing for three decades and do the EXACT OPPOSITE. Egads – if you actually were the party of fiscal responsibility – you might win our votes despite your 13th century view of science!

I’ve got to agree with Eric — the Republicans have been stinky at fiscal responsibility.  Really stinky.  The only ones who have been worse are the Democrats.  James Taranto nailed it in his column explaining that, right up until the Tea Party got serious about the deficit, the only thing that the Republicans did was to temper Democrat spending:

Deficit hawkishness was the main strain of postwar Republican conservatism until the Goldwater movement of 1964. When lefties long for the “mainstream” Republicans of yore, this is a large part of what they have in mind. A conservatism that cares only about balancing the books not only fails to challenge the encroachment of the welfare state but actively aids it by taking political pressure off the left.

Here’s how politics would work in a world in which deficit hawks dominated the Republican Party: The Democrats would propose a new entitlement. Some Republicans would oppose it, but once it was clear it was going to pass, they would drop their opposition and push for tax increases instead.

It’s a win-win for the Democratic left. They not only fulfill their ideological goal of ever-expanding government, but they get the political credit for doling out benefits and they shift the blame to Republicans (or at least share it with them) for the concomitant tax increases. Conservatives are reduced, to paraphrase Newt Gingrich, to acting as tax collectors for the welfare state. With Republican cooperation, Democrats can be the party of generous benefits and low taxes. Lyndon B. Johnson dramatically expanded the former while reducing the latter.

The current strain of conservativism, birthed by the Tea Party, is small government conservativism.  The Big Tent has room for social conservatives, but the real press here is what got Reagan into office on his second run for the presidency:  shrinking the federal government.  As Taranto explains in the article quoted above, talking about shrinking government is easier than actually shrinking government, but the focus is still on restraining growth, not just on figuring out a way to pay for it.

Eric’s attitude — which is that Republicans are wastrels, so I’ll vote for the party that’s even more irresponsible with taxpayer money — is a classic example of cutting of ones nose to spite ones face.  Eric should be demanding more small government conservativism, not retaliating against Republican profligacy by opening his checkbook even wider for infinitely worse Democrat profligacy.

The bottom line in the rational world, and one that Eric, as an educated man and businessman, should know well is simple:  over the long term, you cannot spend what you don’t have.  When your spending outruns your earning by too great an amount, you have very limited choices:  continue to spend yourself into bankruptcy, which is the Obama choice; cut your spending, which is the Tea Party choice; and earn more money, which is what Obama contends is his choice, one made by using the government’s taxation powers.  Where Obama errs is that it is impossible to close the gap by taxing the rich.  Instead, by killing the goose that lays the golden egg, Obama’s approach will merely accelerate the bankruptcy.

Gay marriage - As the child of Baby Boomers who got divorced (as was the fashion!) in the 80s and 90s, and for whom 50% of my friends had their homes broken by divorce in the critical years before age 18, I sure am unsympathetic to your caterwauling bullshit that “gays will destroy the sanctity of marriage.” Perhaps if everyone in your generation didn’t take the period of 1978 – 1995 to start surreptitiously banging their neighbors and coworkers, only to abandon their kids because “they just weren’t happy,” I would take your defense of marriage more seriously. The institution of Middle Class suburban marriage was broken by the generation of aging white Baby Boomers who populate what is left of the Republican Party, so your defense is wrongheaded and disingenuous. And moreover, as someone who got called “faggot” about 127 times a day from the years 1985 through 1991 – guess what – I grew up to be pretty good friends with actual homosexuals, whose sexual orientation is usually the least significant thing about them. The Republican perseveration on homosexuals as any sort of threat consigns them to history’s trough of intellectual pig dung.

Eric errs (again!) in assuming that, because conservatives haven’t embraced gay marriage, they hate gays.  Not so.  As with abortion, this is a complicated issue that sees a clash of differing liberties.  As I’ve written often, “marriage” has two distinct components:  religious and civil.  When church and state were one, that wasn’t a problem; when they parted ways, with the Constitution guaranteeing that the government would stay out of the religion business, the potential for conflicts arose.  As we’ve seen with the ObamaCare contraception/insurance mandate, when the government issue edicts that conflict with doctrine, the Constitution is directly implicated.  So too with “gay marriage.”  It’s extremely easy to posit a situation in which a church refuses to marry a gay couple, which then sues the church, claiming that it violated their civil rights.

My suggestion, and I think it’s a good one, is for the government to get out of the marriage business and into the civil union business.  It is then free to define civil unions however it wishes:  male/female, female/female, male/male, goat/cow, etc.  The state’s concern would be “What’s good for the state?”  Considerations would be population replacement or control, economics, stability, etc.  This would leave marriage as a purely religious union.

Frankly, if there wasn’t such a mad rush towards gay marriage, people would be able to step back for a moment and contemplate what their goals are and what the potential pitfalls are.  I don’t have a problem with ensuring that committed gay couples obtain the same civil benefits (and burdens) as other committed couples.  I do have a problem with a pell-mell rush into changing an ancient institution in such a way that it creates a certain clash with faiths, in such as way as to lead to a serious Constitutional crisis.  Am I anti-gay?  No.  I am pro-civil rights, pro-religion, and pro-Constitution.  But in all the rush, nobody is listening to people like me.

Meanness- Your party is really mean, mocking and demonizing everyone who does not follow you into the pits of hell. You constantly imply – as Mitt Romney did in his “47% speech” – that anybody who disagrees with you does so not by logic or moral conviction, but because they are shiftless, lazy parasites who want “free stuff” from “traditional Americans.” Wow, you guys managed to follow up a stunning electoral defeat with insulting the very people you wish to attract for a majority in the political system! Brilliant! You are losing elections because being angry and defensive and just-plain-mean is more important than being smart and winning elections – and thus you deserve everything happening to you.

First all all, mean is not an argument; it’s simply an ad hominem insult, and deserves little consideration.  In the spirit of finger pointing, here are few examples of mean from the other side of the aisle.  I’m too lazy to find links, but anyone wishing to do so can easily find examples:  Conservatives are lambasted as Nazis, racists, homophobes and misogynists.  It’s mean to call them those names.  Israel, the only true liberal democracy in the autocratic, totalitarian, antisemitic, anti-Christian, homophobic Middle East, is routinely castigated as a Nazi, apartheid state that deserves to be destroyed.  That’s mean too.  During the Bush presidency, Democrats characterized Bush as a Nazi, as Hitler, as a chimpanzee, as a murder, and as an idiot.  That’s not very nice.  Barack Obama spent his entire 2012 political campaign ginning up class resentment against rich people or, as I like to call them, employers.  That’s not nice.  Obama’s Occupy movement raped women, attacked people, defecated all over the place, brought barrels of human waste into buildings, rioted, destroyed public property, and harassed people in their own homes.  That’s mean too.

I hope that I have established to Eric’s, and everyone else’s, satisfaction, that calling people names is (a) a game that both sides can play and (b) completely pointless in terms of moving the ball from one side of the debate to the other.

Oh, and by the way, it’s really nasty to call your opponents in the argument “A-holes.”

If you want to know exactly where you failed in 2012, and will continue to fail, here it is. Look you assholes, I’m as traditional an American as it gets, and I do not “want free stuff.”  I am a taxpayer, and ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. I got my first job – dragging bags of cow manure, horse feed and fertilizer around a farm store – when I was 12. I started my first company when I was 28. I have followed the vast majority of the rules set out for middle class white males (for good and for ill.) And if it weren’t bad enough that your policy positions are a complete clusterfuck for the reasons I lay out in great detail, you manage to follow up the whole exercise with insulting me, my wife, and my friends of every stripe who didn’t vote for your political party – all of whom are hard-working, taxpaying, job creating, law abiding, great AMERICANS of EVERY COLOR AND CREED.

In my experience, people revert to obscenities and crude insults only when they’re boors or when they have no ideas — or both.  Eric has a few good points (Republicans need to spend less), but mostly, he wallows in myths, canards, and insults.  In that last paragraph quoted, when he drops the pretense of facts and objectivity (all of which are easy to counter), he reveals his true self:  he is not a serious or a decent person.  He is, instead, a bully.

Having escaped my bubble and carefully examined Eric’s arguments, I understand both where he’s coming from and where he is going — and I can’t say I like either his point of origin (an ideological location I once shared) or his ultimate destination.  Eric argues from ignorance and heads to obsolescence.  Let us hope that, in the coming years, his world view does not prevail.

Are you as disappointed in Obama as I am?

(The title is supposed to be sarcastic. I’m not sure that’s coming through.)

Gosh, the administration started with such high hopes.  Elect him, Obama promised, and we would get the following:

I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

That’s pretty basic. Let’s see how the promises stack up.

“We began to provide care for the sick.”  Obama did push his health care reform through Congress.  The results to date?  This year, we finally got to see a decrease in the number of uninsured.  Before you start celebrating, though, a majority of those were unemployed young people who got to hang onto their parents’ coverage.  The rest — they got more government coverage:

But for most other age groups, the numbers largely reflected the continuation of a long-running shift away from private insurance toward government coverage — with Medicare and Medicaid picking up much of the slack left by the steady erosion of employment-based insurance.

Socialized medicine here we come.  Is this a good thing?  I don’t know.  I do know that, in my family, when my parents and my sister started being blinded by cataracts, they were immediately lined up for outpatient surgery, almost all of which their insurance covered.  In England, under government medicine, those blinded by cataracts aren’t so lucky:

Thousands of elderly people are having to put up with deteriorating sight because they are denied cataract surgery on the NHS by ‘cruel and random’ rationing, campaigners warn.

Some health trusts offer the procedure only to patients whose sight is so poor it has led to them having a fall, research has found.

Nearly half of health trusts ration operations, with many turning patients away unless they can no longer drive, read or recognise their friends.

Doesn’t sound good to me and, if it’s our future, it’s a broken promise.

Obama can also boast that insurance premiums increased by only 4% this year, a historically low number.  The problem, though, is that most peoples’ wages increased by, at best, only 2%.  In other words, under ObamaCare, the rise in insurance costs vastly outpaces the rise in people’s income.  So, if my math is correct, if one considers the ratio of insurance payments to actual wealth, people paid significantly more under ObamaCare.

I’d therefore characterize caring for the sick as a broken promise because, barring those young ‘uns sponging off their parents’ insurers, everyone else is getting less or paying more — or both.

Oh, and about those unemployed young people and underpaid American workers….  Obama definitely promised that his presidency would mean that the government would provide “good jobs to the jobless.”  Hmm. Let’s see how that worked out.

Real unemployment (i.e., counting those who have given up looking) is close to 18%, and has been for months, or even years.  Those Americans who are working are underemployed — working at jobs below their capacity or getting paid less than before (count me in both of those last categories).  Let’s not even talk about the record number of Americans on food stamps (’cause apparently that’s racist).  Only government workers have thrived, but even the massive growth in their employment rolls cannot offset those jobless numbers.  I guess that’s another promise broken.

Obama made an even grander promise than employment.  He guaranteed that his presidency would mark the moment when “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”  Okay, I don’t know how the fugue to measure this promise.  I do know that Mother Nature has been doing her usual spectacular show of earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts, floods, etc.  I’m pretty sure the oceans have been holding steady.  This is an impossible promise to quantify but, given the droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc., I’d say that, for Obama, this was a massive fail.

The last of Obama’s promises had to do with national security.  His presidency, said, would mark the moment “we ended a war and secured our nation.”  Yeah.  We did pull out of Iraq, but that was on the timetable Bush started.  Take away Iraq (which is blowing up) and things don’t look so good.

We’re still in Afghanistan, and we’re losing more young Americans than ever to a war the president is prosecuting in a half-assed manner.  By the way, the link I just gave opens with a lede sentence that is a perfect example of the liberal inability to match cause and effect:  “The number of American casualties in war-torn Afghanistan continues to rise despite plans of the withdrawal of US troops, Press TV reports.” I dunno. Could it be that the number of casualties is rising, not despite plans to withdraw, but because of those plans? Just asking, you know….

Obama also added more wars to the plate, sending drones into Pakistan and sucking us into supporting Libyan rebels for reasons Obama was never able to enunciate.  Regarding Libya, let’s ask Ambassador Chris Stevens how that worked out.  Oh, I’m sorry, my bad.  I had an Obama moment and saw dead people.  Poor Chris Stevens was horribly murdered by those same Libyan rebels, may his soul rest in peace.

And about that “secure nation” stuff that wrapped up the Obama promise series.  Keeping in mind that an American embassy, no matter where it is in the world, is American soil, I don’t think we’re very secure at the moment.   This Daily Mail article has a staggering photographic run down of American soil under aggressive attack all over the Middle East (except Israel, of course). We are in a crisis posture.  God Bless our Marines, because they’re being sent in to sort out this crisis, and they really need our prayers.

Meanwhile Jay “Baghdad Bob” Carney assures the world that the carnage has nothing to do with America, and everything to do with one stupid video that nobody would have seen if the Islamists hadn’t publicized it (and, possibly, created it).  More than that, Baghdad Bob Carney cannot say enthusiastically enough that Obama is doing a great job.  That may be, but one has to ask whether his “great job” is for the benefit of the Americans who elected him or the Islamists who are trying to destroy America.  Meanwhile, the White House has acted decisively to berate Romney and check out things with YouTube.  It seems possible that the administration is getting its First Amendment tutorial from the Libyan Ambassador.

Yup — that’s another promise broken.

The media is working overtime to shill for Obama and hide his record, but my Facebook account says that even the most stalwart liberals (which is how I would identify almost all the people who live in my corporeal, as opposed to cyber, world), while unable emotionally to blame Obama directly, aren’t buying the gauzy Potemkin Village the media is trying to create.

I have to go back to my low-paying underemployment now, but I’ll leave you with a heart-warming video:

Experts push for Orwellian maintenance over Americans’ health

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of the best and most important books ever written. This is not hyperbole. It’s as close as one can ever get to an objective statement about a novel.  In addition to Orwell’s lean, elegant prose, it is impossible to imagine a more insightful or prescient book about the nature of a truly socialist government.  Except for failing to include mass starvation, Orwell accurately predicated just about every aspect of North Korea.

One of the powerful imagines George Orwell created was a sense of being under constant scrutiny and control.  Poor Winston Smith, doing his government-mandated physical exercises in front of his government-mandated two-way television, was stridently scolded for failing to implement properly his government-mandated “jerks.”  (I’ve never quite known what those “jerks” were, but I assume that they were push-ups or jumping jacks.)

Two-way television, of course, was an unheard of idea in 1948.  Now every iPhone has it, and every computer can have it.  The future is the present.  Oh, and the bit about having the government modern every individual’s lifestyle and health choices?  We knew that was coming down the pike when the government passed ObamaCare.  The government that controls your health care controls you.

One aspect of health care, of course, is weight.  Despite the fact that studies show that “obese” people can be perfectly healthy, our betters and wisers in the worlds of academia and politics want to slim the government health care budget by slimming you — and they think that coercive government force is a good way to achieve this goal:

Federal agencies should step in if industries that promote high-calorie foods to children do not implement common nutrition standards within two years, the influential Institute of Medicine (IOM) said Tuesday.

The recommendation came as part of a 478-page IOM report on the U.S. obesity epidemic that outlined broad policy changes the panel says are necessary to stave off a healthcare crisis.

The changes are aimed at a complete overhaul of the United States’s “obesogenic” environment, the panel wrote.

“People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese,” panelist Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania said.

[snip]

“The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment,” she said.

Strategies like a possible soda tax and new zoning laws to encourage walking and biking are designed to “reinforce one another’s impact to speed our progress,” said panel Chairman Dan Glickman, a former secretary of Agriculture.

The food and beverage industry, as well as its marketers, must cooperate or face possible federal intervention on issues like childhood nutrition standards, the panel warned.

Ace treats this idea with the disdain it deserves, but I’m not sure his voice of reason is being heard outside the Church of Conservative Ideology.

I do wonder, though, if there isn’t a good political campaign to be made of reminding people that Obama’s going to take away their ice cream cones, sodas, hot dogs, and hamburgers.

 

Newt and Obama Care (and one other Newt thing)

Newt made a very good point about his earlier support for an individual mandate when it came to health care:  The Heritage Foundation, as reputable a conservative think tank as one can find, actually thought the idea was a good one.  Then, as Newt did, it backed off when it realized the ramifications:

Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma: “Mr. Speaker, you speak passionately about first principles and small government — smaller government, yet you supported individual mandates for health insurance….Why should limited government conservatives like me trust that a President Gingrich will not advance these sorts of big government approaches when you are president?”

Newt Gingrich: “Well…the original individual mandate originally was developed by [the] Heritage Foundation and others as a method to block Hillarycare in 1993, and virtually all of us who were conservatives came to the conclusion that, in fact, it was more dangerous and more difficult to implement, and guaranteed that politics and politicians would define health care. And that’s why virtually every conservative has, in fact, left that kind of a model.”

Speaking of Newt, was I the only one who was delighted with his response when Nancy Pelosi threatened to reveal secrets?  Rather than cowering, he said (a) bring it on and (b) I’m going to ream you for violating ethics rules.  And then she backed down.  This is why conservatives like Newt.  He’s not afraid of the establishment.  He may be a fruitcake, but he’s our warrior fruitcake!

What do Barry Bonds and Medicare have in common?

I like to consider myself a true and patriotic American, but I have a confession to make:  I hate baseball.  Yes, I know it’s the quintessential American sport, right up there in Americana with Mom and apple pie.  But I still hate it.  I find it boring and surprisingly non-athletic.  It’s such a static game.  The guys run bases periodically, but mostly they just stand around.  Oh, and they hit balls.  And of course, they spit.

I’ll concede that the ball hitting part is a real skill.  With a surprisingly small stick, baseball players manage to whack away with great precision at a small, incredibly fast moving ball.  That’s impressive . . . but still boring.  Kind of like darts, which is fun to play (especially if you’re a little beer lubricated, but really not that exciting to watch).

Here’s something I learned from Barry Bonds, though:  the bigger your muscles, the harder you can hit that little ball, and the further and faster that ball then travels.  That fast and far travel means either that (a) the ball goes right out of the park or (b) nobody can catch it within the park.

Bonds’ problem when he began his baseball career was that he wasn’t born with those muscles.  He had to create them artificially.  Enter steroids.  With steroids on his side, and a strong natural and honed talent for hitting balls with frequency and precision, Bonds became a bulging behemoth who could effortlessly hit balls further and faster than anyone else.

Forget about all the icky little side effects that come with steroids, such as shrunken testicles, damaged joints, pustule covered skin, and surging anger, not to mention the whole law-breaking thing.  Bonds was hitting the big time, becoming a baseball hero and one of the most famous men in the world.

When the Bonds story first broke, I asked myself one question:  Why shouldn’t players in a commercial enterprise be allowed to do anything they want to become the best?  After all, the downsides of steroids are centered on the individual himself.  The individual is the one who makes the Faustian bargain:  In exchange for destroying his health, he has a brief moment as a superb baseball player.  Isn’t that a private bargain, that isn’t anyone else’s business?

In fact, though, it is also other people’s business, since it affects the other baseball players.  Those players who take steroids distort the market.  The up and coming player no longer needs to have only innate talent and an enormous work ethic.  Instead, to compete in this distorted market, he too needs to be willing to destroy himself.

One could argue that the market place will adjust:  ultimately, America would end up with two leagues, one filled with weird, steroid bulging, slow-moving hard hitters, and one filled with “all natural” players, lithe and quick.  Those who wish to poison themselves can, those who don’t want to won’t.

The specter of grotesqueries, however, not to mention the fear of legions of young men hitting the steroids to going into the steroid league (and that’s just what we need — teenagers on steroids), meant that we, as a society, decided that we didn’t want to go down that road.  Instead, the Major League Baseball machine, law enforcement, and public opinion all agitated against the distortion of the current baseball market that Bonds and his ilk represented.

Right now, I imagine many of you saying, “Fine, you’ve insulted baseball left, right and center.  You also maundered on about steroids and the free market.  But what does this have to do with health care?”  My answer:  “This whole baseball riff is a perfect illustration of the problem with government interference in the health care market.”

In the context of health care, government money is the functional equivalent of steroids.  The huge, bumbling, slow moving, inefficient, corruption-prone government behemoth places huge chunks of money into the market and, just as Barry Bonds’ distorted normal baseball, so too does Medicare (and Medicaid and ObamaCare) distort the normal market.  I’ll let the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation explain:

I think the video is remarkably clear but, if it’s not, just think of the way in which Barry Bonds, by tossing steroids into the baseball mix, perverted and potentially destroyed baseball.  The same holds true for a system that has clunky government rules, combined with third party money that diminishes anyone’s interest in honesty and efficiency.

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

Tony Blankley tells Republicans in the Senate that it’s time to stop playing by the old rules

Gentleman of the old school might confirm Kagan.  Americans who believe in the Constitution and its freedoms must not:

Those [traditional Senate] rules [for confirming Supreme Court Justices] might be summarized as follows: (1) The president is entitled to an appointee who generally shares his views (i.e., a liberal president is entitled to a liberal justice; a conservative president is entitled to a conservative justice). (2) A nominee should be confirmed if he or she is professionally qualified and of generally good character. (3) The only exception to Rule Two is if the nominee’s views are provably and dangerously outside the mainstream of respectable thought.

By those rules, most people would probably conclude that Ms. Kagan is entitled to confirmation — although I and others would argue that her restricted views on freedom of speech would disqualify her under Rule Three above.

But I want to make a different argument in this column: The current rules are obsolete, having come into being at a time when the federal courts had not yet been consciously politicized. Today, liberal presidents attempt to use their appointments with the intent to systematically undermine — not uphold — the Constitution. And they do so because their vision of an ever-more-statist America is inconsistent with the Constitution’s fundamental purpose: to limit the size and scope of government.

And note, this is not a case of “both sides do it,” although it is true that conservative presidents look for nominees who will support original intent, strict construction or other methods of trying to adhere to the Constitution.

But — and this is paramount — because liberal justices tend to seek to undermine the clear intent of the Constitution while conservative justices try to hold the line: The result is an inexorable march toward undermining the Constitution, with conservative appointments functioning as mere temporary holding actions.

As a conservative, I respect Republican senators who wish to venerate well-established traditions. But now, in the fateful spring of 2010, those senators need to consider which of conflicting traditions they intend to venerate. They can either venerate the traditional rules of confirmation or they can venerate the United States Constitution — but not both.

I introduce, as Exhibit A on behalf of this choice, the provision in Obamacare that requires every American citizen to buy a health insurance policy. When the case challenging the constitutionality of that provision reaches the Supreme Court (as about 20 state attorneys general are currently attempting to accomplish by litigation), the government will argue that it is permitted under the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce.

They will be forced to argue that the mere inaction of an individual American citizen is an act of interstate commerce worthy of regulation. If that proposition is upheld by the Supreme Court — then we no longer have a limited government. The government would then have the power to outlaw and punish (by fine or prison term) any American’s decision not to exercise, not to vote, not to eat four servings of vegetables a day — any human inaction would be sanctionable under the Interstate Commerce Clause — and then adios liberty.

The illogical behavior and beliefs of the American Statist

“Logic! Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?” — C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Neither Data nor Mr. Spock, two relentlessly logical creations, could ever be liberals or Democrats or Progressives, or whatever the Hell else they’re calling themselves nowadays.  (For convenience, I’ll just lump them all together under the “Statist” title).  As I realized over the 20 plus years of my political journey from knee-jerk Statist to thinking Individualist, the single greatest difference between the two ideologies is that the former lives in a logic-free world.

Sure, as Statists will always shrilly point out, more Individualists than Statists subscribe to traditional religion — and the belief in God definitely requires a leap of faith — but that’s just about the only leap of faith in their lives.  Their political positions are almost always driven by a solid understanding, not only of human nature, but also of the realities of cause and effect.  Liberals, on the other hand, even as they pride themselves on the logic of their abandoning God (never mind that they cannot satisfactorily prove God’s nonexistence), apply magical thinking to just about everything else.

Here, in no particular order, is a laundry list of illogical policies espoused by Statists (with the understanding that modern statism is driven by identity politics and self-loathing):

Statists believe that America’s out-of-control illegal immigration has nothing to do with the fact that, when illegal immigrants sneak across the border, we provide them with education, health care, welfare, food stamps, and the promise that they will be allowed to remain in the country regardless of their unlawful status.  These same Statists, blind to the laws of cause and effect, are always shocked when temporary crackdowns result in a corollary (and, equally temporary) diminution in the number of illegal aliens.

Statists are wedded to the idea that government creates wealth.  To this end, they are bound and determined to use taxes to consolidate as much money as possible in government hands so that the government can go about its magical wealth creation business.  The fact that those countries that have all or most of their wealth concentrated in government hands have collapsed economically (Eastern Europe, Cuba) or are in the process of collapsing (Western Europe) doesn’t impinge on this belief.  As even my 10 year old and 12 year old understand, the government’s ability to print money is not the same as an ability to create wealth.  The best way for a government to create wealth is to ensure a level playing field with honestly enforced rules — and then to get out of the way.

Statists believe that no-strings-attached welfare has nothing to do with the creation of a welfare culture.  My father, the ex-Communist, figured this one out:  “If you’re going to pay women to have babies (meaning constantly increasing welfare benefits), they’re going to have babies.”  In 1994, a Republican Congress forced Clinton to change “welfare as we know it.”  To the Statists’ chagrin, all their dire predictions about weening Americans off the government teat proved false.  Poor people are not stupid people.  If they’re getting paid to do nothing, they’ll do nothing.  If that money vanishes, they’ll work.  By the way, I’m not arguing here against charity for those who cannot care for themselves.  I’m only railing against a political system that encourages whole classes of people to abandon employment.  This subject is relevant now, in 2010, because there is no doubt but that, Rahm-like, Democrats are using the current economic situation as a backdoor to increase welfare benefits to pre-1994 standards.

During the run-up to the ObamaCare vote, Statists adamantly contended that, even if employers would find it far cheaper to pay fines than to provide insurance coverage for their employees, they would still provide coverage.  Likewise, they refused to acknowledge that, if insurers could no longer refuse coverage for preexisting conditions, and if individual fines were cheaper than insurance, savvy consumers would jettison insurance and wait until they were actively ill before knocking on the insurer’s door.  In both cases, the Statists’ illogical beliefs about human nature and economics were proven absolutely and conclusively wrong.  (Info and examples are here, here and here.)

For decades, Statists have contended that if we can just get guns out of citizens’ hands crime will go away.  To the Statists, the problem isn’t one of culture and policing, it’s that the guns themselves cause crime.  What’s fascinating is that they continue in this belief despite manifest evidence that it is untrue.  The NRA was right all along:  If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Statists firmly believe that Individualists (a group that includes Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and other “bitter” Americans), are an angry mob, primed and ready to explode against all non-white, non-straight, non-Christians.  They do so despite hard evidence that angry mobs, as opposed to scattered angry individuals, reside solely on the Left, anti-American side of the political spectrum.

Statist gays, who feel obligated to be Leftists because of identity politics, throw their wholehearted support behind Palestinians, whom they see as the beleaguered victims of evil Israeli imperialism.  They hold to this view despite the fact that Palestinians kills gays, and Palestinian gays regularly try to immigrate to the safe haven of Israel.  In the same way, Statist gays, hewing to their solid Leftist credentials, side with Iran against America, despite the fact that Iran is able to boast about the absence of homosexuals only because it routinely kills them.

Statist blacks, who feel obligated to be Leftists  because of identity politics, are deeply hostile to the police.  While there is absolutely no doubt that, in the past, police routinely harassed, arrested, and killed black people just for being black, we’re not living in the past anymore.  In modern America, the person most likely to kill a black person is another black person.  Blacks need police more than I do, sitting in my comfortable safe, suburbia — yet it’s here, in white suburbia, that our police force, which is largely decorative, is appreciated and admired.

American Statists believe that, if you placate a bully, he will see the error of his ways and become nice.  It didn’t work for Chamberlain in 1938, and I’m pretty damned sure it won’t work for us, whether the bully is Iran, Venezuela, China, Russia or any other totalitarian government intent upon expanding its power beyond its own borders.  I’m not advocating unbridled aggression our part.  That would mean we’re no better than the bullies arrayed against us.  I’m more of a Teddy Roosevelt, in that I’ll allow us to speak softly, as long as we carry a big stick.  Self-defense is not aggression — and sometimes you have to fight to defend a principle, a person, or a nation.

Statist women are silent, absolutely silent, about the condition of women across most of the Muslim world.  I think I’ll rename them “sadist” women, not “statist” women.

Statists tout as a quality Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, who violated American law to bar the military from her campus because of Clinton’s don’t ask/don’t tell policy, but who cheerfully accepted millions of dollars and a chair from the same Saudis who murder homosexuals and treat women like 32nd class citizens.  There’s logic for you.

I opened this post with a quotation from C.S. Lewis regarding the absence of logic in education.  We can see the profoundly dangerous effect that lack of logic has on real world policies.  I’ll end with Tweedledee and Tweedledum opining on logic in a way that only a Statist could appreciate and understand:

“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum: “but it isn’t so, nohow.”

“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Does Obama even bother to listen to himself?

A brief history:  Obama promised that the health care debate was so important, it would be carried on C-SPAN.  That did not happen.  Obama promised that any proposed bill on health care would be placed on a website for public comment far in advance of the vote.  That did not happen.  Obama promised that he would wait at least 72 hours (is that right?) before signing any health care bill into law.  That did not happen.

What did happen was that Nancy Pelosi promised that the only way to learn about what was in the bill was to pass it, a reasonable promise given the number of congressmen who conceded that they personally had no idea what was in the 2000+ page monstrosity for which they voted.  In sum, our Democratic government took over 1/6 of the American economy without public input, without debate, and without even any idea of what it was doing.

Congress is now trying to take over Wall Street.  If Congress was merely trying to impose a “few rules but unbreakable” (a quote from one of my favorite books) in order to keep Wall Street honest, I’d be there.  But this is a Democratic initiative, so that’s not what’s going on.

What’s going on, instead, is political grandstanding along with some power grabs and market control.  You and I won’t be benefiting any time soon, but it could prove very costly and damaging to the vitality of the American marketplace.

The Republicans, having figured out that Obama legislation invariably means wasted money and increased government control (i.e. less individual freedom), is refusing to be pushed into a rushed decision on something so important.  Obama is irate.  And this is what an irate Obama says:

“The American people deserve an honest debate on this bill,” Obama told the crowd. “You should not have to have to wait one more day.”

Obama said Senate Republicans “unanimously blocked efforts to even being debating reform.”

“They won’t let it [the bill] get on the floor to be debated,” Obama said. “It’s one thing to oppose reform, but to oppose just even talking about reform in front of the American people and having a legitimate debate? That’s not right.”

From someone else, this might have been a reasonable question.  Coming from Obama, however, it amounts to an insulting slap in the face of the American people.  He has no interest in an open politic process.  This is just more of Obama’s governance by insult.  Really, what a dreadful little man he is.

Another example of how liberals teach our children — even when they’re unclear on the concepts themselves

Readers of my blog know that one of my personal bête noires is liberal indoctrination in public schools.  I blog about it frequently.  My last outing on that subject was here, and I’ll get back to that in a little bit.  First, though, I’d like you to see how one public school teacher saw fit to educate American children about America’s involvement in WWII, as well as the response of one politely appalled man who was actually involved in the historic moment at issue.

Not only is this kind of indoctrination par for the course, it’s produced at least one generation of people who can throw out conclusions to their heart’s content, but are incapable of backing them up with common sense or actual knowledge.  And that’s how we wrap around to that post of mine that I mentioned earlier.  If you link over to it, you’ll see that I spoke with my daughter about a teacher’s facile and ill-educated assertion that “all civilized countries” have socialized medicine.

I carefully led my daughter through a few fairly uncomplicated facts.  A lot of uncivilized countries (North Korea, Cuba, the former Soviet Union) have socialized medicine.  I also pointed out what is undoubtedly true, which is that those countries with socialized medicine cannot maintain them.  They work well initially when a big chunk of taxpayer money is poured into them, but that they then go downhill:  they don’t generate revenue themselves and, since they suck up wealth, they leave the taxpayer pool less wealthy and therefore less able to pay for them.  This isn’t rocket science and, more importantly, it’s not ivory tower theory — it’s actual real world fact, as proven by real world, actual events.

What’s interesting is what happened with my post when it got picked up on a liberal thread at reddit.com (the thread is entitled “libertarian” but it’s clearly not, as the tenor of the comments indicates).  The liberals are very angry at what I wrote, but they don’t have substance to back up their anger.  Lots of insults, lots of conclusions, but no facts and no coherent, sustained argument.  Here are a few comments, plus my replies:

Wow, there is actually book that describes why the mother is an idiot, it is called Economics 101 – look in to it.  [Insult, conclusion; no argument.]

Also, dear mother: You do realize you already pay for the uninsured, right? You just pay 20 times as much as you should. Why is this not considered a tax?  [Boy is s/he unclear on free market concepts.  If the market wasn't stultified by thousands of government regulations, not to mention the perverse incentives of mass buying by employers, there shouldn't be uninsured.  Also, I don't think I should be for the 30% of uninsured who are illegal aliens under any circumstances.]

***

Unfortunately, this kind of overly simplistic thinking is exactly why the tea party has no credibility. As cutesy as the exchange is, “Momma” didn’t address the fact that universal health care is working in many countries in Europe (not that it’s sustainable, but that’s not that point).  [I'm delighted this person thinks I'm cute, but the fact is that if universal health care is unsustainable, it's not working in Europe, no matter how much you wish it was.  As it sucks money out of the economy, the initial benefit vanishes, with the health care system in Britain the perfect example.   You don't need a Harvard PhD to figure that one out.]

Not only that, but the link that was posted at the end about the girl getting the abortion:

a) has absolutely nothing to do with the exchange about health care. b) I don’t see why the girl should be forced to tell her parents…we should be expanding the rights of the youth, not restricting them.  [Had the person read my post, s/he would have realized that it was relevant, as I explained, because it goes to the way in which public high schools indoctrinate students, right to the point where they bypass parents entirely when it comes to political hot topics such as abortion.]

tl;dr? As a hardcore libertarian, I think this article reeks of sensationalist neocon.  [Uh, I don't read hardcore libertarian here.  I read Progressive troll.]

***

That was a lot of stupid in one place. Too bad the teacher did not point out that the CBO said that the bill saves money, not costs money. [Where to begin.  Here, perhaps.  The person also doesn't understand that the CBO was forced to work with the numbers that Congress used as predicates for the bill, rather than actual real world costs.  Even with that, as Paul Ryan carefully explained, the bill is affordable only because of accounting jiggery-pokery and because of deferred costs.] Perhaps they are wrong, but that mom had better go over the figures and say where they are wrong. Then the teacher could point out how the bill helps small businesses get health care for employees. Then there was that deep dishonesty that North Korea having universal health care, both false and distracting from Europe and Canada and all that.  [All communist countries have universal health care because they have no private enterprise.  To the extent there is any health care, it comes from the government.  Of course, perhaps what this person meant is that North Korea has no health care at all, because the government has run out of money and the people are eating dirt.]

Insults, conclusions, false facts, ignorance — what are they teaching young people nowadays?

UPDATE:  If you’ve come this far in the post, you’ll know that the history teacher who put a unique spin on WWII history had edited the iconic Iwo Jima photograph to turn the flag into a McDonald’s arch with Arabic writing.  Perhaps that teacher was educated at the same schools as our president who managed, in his Easter message, to edit Jesus Christ out entirely, including the part in which he quoted from a WWII pastor.  (See also Flopping Aces, which tipped me off to this one, and which adds some more information.)

I understand that the president of a multicultural United States must be careful not to speak in such overtly religious terms that he sounds more as if he’s giving a sermon, than a speech.  One cannot avoid, however, the fact that Easter is a Christ centered religion.  (Unless, of course, Obama is actually celebrating the Pagan rite of spring which involved fertility goddesses and suchlike.)  For Obama, who professes to be a Christian to edit Christ out entirely from a message that should, in theory, resonate personally with Obama, is somewhat surprising.

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.

About the Democrats and “History”

As I’ve already noted in this blog, the Left’s obsession with history doesn’t go as far as considering whether it’s good history or bad history.  In a superb article, Abe Greenwald makes precisely the same point:

For amid the symbolic fanfare of giant gavels and the tactical gravitas of deployed Lincoln quotes, one important fact is being swept aside: the state’s co-opting of the private sector never ends well. Every learned lesson about free markets and central planning, incentives, the allocation of scarce resources under competing systems, government incompetence, overall quality of life and freedom in socialist vs. capitalist states — in short, the reality of the Cold War — has been unlearned. Sunday night brought us the most ahistoric bit of history-making we’re likely to see in our lifetimes.

Middle East history has also gone out the window. Whenever Israel has acceded to Palestinian demands, the result has been increased Arab violence. The Palestinians, for their part, have yet to do what Israel and America ask: crack down on terrorism and recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist.

But Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi can outsmart history. They also know best what’s good for the public, which is opposed to their campus-hatched schemes. Never mind what the people themselves want. The Democrats dismiss, along with history and majority opinion, the very system used to enact policy. The president told Bret Baier, “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate.” Of course not, too much history to make.

Read the rest here.

Okay, we’ve dusted ourselves off; let’s start over

[Updated at 12:03 p.m., P.S.T. daylight savings version]

The wailing and gnashing of teeth must now end.  It’s time to move forward.  In my previous post, I gave San Francisco Bay Area residents information about the upcoming April 15 Tea Party.  I’m also collecting posts from far and wide telling us that, contrary to the Democrats’ deep desires, this egg can be unscrambled.  We don’t have to collapse fainting on the couch as if it is all over, forever.  America’s commitment to freedom and individualism allowed her to recover from a the Civil War, Wilson’s Progressive policies, the Great Depression, and Carter.  We did it before and we can do it again.  With that in mind, and if you’re looking for inspiration and practical advice, read (and listen to) the following:

Kim Priestap, the Up North Mommy:  Today we fight.

John Hawkins, at Right Wing News:  The Hawkins Strategy: Repealing Obamacare By Cutting Off The Funds

William Jacobson, at Legal Insurrection:  Pep Talk (h/t Lulu)

William Kristol, at the Weekly Standard:  Special Editorial — Repeal

Bill Whittle, at Pajamas Media:  Health Care — The sleeper has awakened

Bill Bennett, at the Corner:  We will show them in November what liberty means

Paul Ryan:

Send your links of inspiring words and practical suggestions, and I’ll update this during the day.

Melissa Clouthier on the fact that concerned citizens are speaking with their checkbooks (which, for better or worse, is one of the best ways to make ones voice heard)

And the Anchoress reminds us that anger is just fuel; it doesn’t actually do anything.  We need to be greater than just demonstrating the type of wild derangement that the Bush haters manufactured for so many years.

Doug Ross found someone who has seen it all before and warned against it a long time ago.  (H/t Sadie)

Not everyone is trying to find a silver lining.  Thomas Sowell and Mark Steyn both see Sunday’s vote as the beginning of the inevitable end.

Here’s a second helping from Kim Priestap, who’s appropriately ticked off by the fact that the party apparatchiks exempted themselves from this health care farce.

The topsy-turvey world of modern politics

As part of a longer rumination about the stability that the Cold War provided for our political system, James Taranto makes the following observations about yesterday’s House vote:

Why did it happen? Last November voters sent what seemed to us a pretty clear message by rejecting Democratic candidates for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, both states Obama carried a year earlier. It didn’t seem so clear to the Democrats in Washington, who were able to argue that in the one contested race for Congress, in upstate New York, a Democrat (assisted by a GOP circular firing squad) picked up a previously Republican seat. The House’s initial ObamaCare vote took place the following weekend.

But if November’s results left room for ambiguity, January’s did not. Scott Brown campaigned for a Senate seat in Massachusetts–Massachusetts!–by promising to be the 41st vote against ObamaCare. He won in a state that had not elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972. The voters sent a clear message: that the Democrats were going too far, jeopardizing their power.

Obama and Pelsoi, it now seems clear, took the opposite message: Our power is in jeopardy, so we’d better use it before it’s too late. A dispatch from the Associated Press’s Liz Sidoti illustrates the topsy-turvy results:

The initial blush of President Barack Obama’s health care triumph immediately gives way to a sober political reality–he must sell the landmark legislation to an angry and unpredictable electorate, still reeling from the recession.

Voters may not buy it.

Gee, ya think, Liz? Normally, politicians sell their programs to the public before enacting them into law. Representative democracy is premised on the consent of the governed, not the idea that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

The die is cast Open Thread

It’s a done deal, awaiting Obama’s signature.   I am truly too disheartened to write anything tonight.

Please use this open thread to share your thoughts, provide insight and inspiration, give practical advice, etc. I’ve already received several emails from conservative groups (the GOP, Republican politicians, etc.) urging fund raising.  (Just FYI, in less than 1 hour, the GOP has already raised more than $86,000 in its 40 hour fund-raising drive towards a $402,010 goal.)

In the fall, we were disgusted with Republicans, and some of us, after the election said that they didn’t deserve money.  I think that they’ve gone a long way to redeeming themselves with this fight.  They showed remarkable cohesion, intelligence, and savvy.  With a single issue burning before them, the Republicans proved that they could fight the good fight, even if they lost the first big battle. 

Since this same single issue will be what unites Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and independents into the November election cycle, it is time for us to dig into our pockets and help out.  I know that I will.  Remember, the momentum is now, before we get resigned to a dismal, socialist status quo.

I’ll be back blogging sometime tomorrow, but for tonight I’m going to creep off and quietly mourn the end of the world as we know it.  In a day or two, I’ll be ready to come out swinging.

End of the world as we know it Open Thread

I indulged myself today by staying assiduously away from the computer.  If there was going to be a train crash, I didn’t want to see it happen.  What’s really irksome isn’t that Stupak is the usual Demo ho (pardon my language), but that he was willing to sell his soul for the political equivalent of Monopoly money.  Here’s Andrew MacCarthy on just how bad Stupak’s deal is:

But now Democrats are going to abide not a mere signing statement but an executive order that purports to have the effect of legislation — in fact, has the effect of nullifying legislation that Congress is simultaneously enacting?

The Susan B. Anthony List observation that EOs can be rescinded at the president’s whim is of course true. This particuar EO is also a nullity — presidents cannot enact laws, the Supreme Court has said they cannot impound funds that Congress allocates, and (as a friend points out) the line-item veto has been held unconstitutional, so they can’t use executive orders to strike provisions in a bill. So this anti-abortion EO is blatant chicanery: if the pro-lifers purport to be satisfied by it, they are participating in a transparent fraud and selling out the pro-life cause.

But even if all that weren’t true, how do we go from congressional Democrats claiming that signing statements were a shredding of the Constitution to congressional Democrats acquiescing in a claim that the president can enact or cancel out statutory law by diktat?

One begins to suspect that there’s little difference between this Bart and this Bart when it comes to either intelligence or decency.

Wondering whether Stupak will be a vertebrate or an invertebrate — and Open Thread

Stupak’s going to make his much awaited statement while I’m off working out.  So far, he’s had a spine and has distinguished himself from other Democrats by actually letting a principle guide him.  I suspect, though, that his 11:00 press conference will be a weasely explanation of why he’s caved completely on his pro-Life stance.  I hope time proves me wrong.

Victor Davis Hanson on the President’s and the Dem’s conduct with regard to the health care vote

Victor Davis Hanson sums everything up in one paragraph:

The president is pushing legislation that a clear majority of the people dislike, and whose details neither he nor his supporters can explain in simple language. Its ends-justify-the-means passage will require legislative gymnastics that border on the unconstitutional, and in Orwellian fashion are designed to reassure its sheepish supporters that they can appear not to be voting for the bill they vote for. And to achieve a House majority, Obama must offer an array of personal favors, political payoffs, federal stipends, and open threats, which, if done in the private sector, would be actionable acts of felonious bribery or racketeering.

Well, yes, there is all that….

UPDATE:  And a truly powerful Wall Street Journal editorial on the tremendous threat to American liberty if health care gets passed this Sunday.

Building government on the bodies of American workers

You’ve all heard by now about the 2300 “reconciliation” bill that the House won’t vote on but will simply deem passed, thereby, in a completely unconstitutional way, making the bill a law.  (Ahem.)

But did you know that Pelosi has been busy sticking in more than just student loan relief so that we can have fully government funded education?  The bill also adds in something called the PUBLIC HEALTH WORKFORCE CORPS.”

All I could think of after reading that announcement, given the talk of Death Panels and Obama’s known problems with the English language was :  “New Public Health Workforce Corpse.

I suspect that, if this non-bill becomes law, my interpretation will prove to be strikingly apt.

(Hat tip:  The Anchoress)

Beware the Ides of March– at least under a Democratic administration

Family commitments meant that I spent, perhaps, 5 minutes at my computer this weekend.  That wasn’t what I’d planned, but that was what I ended up with.  In today’s news cycle, of course, two days can be the equivalent of two decades.  Certainly, when I turned the computer on this morning and checked out the news, the headlines were grim:

The U.S. and England (the only two Western nations that significantly increased, rather than decreased, government spending during the recession) are failing.

Our great Leader, the one who was supp0sed to ingratiate us with the Muslim world, is the subject of protests . . . in the Muslim world.

The Obama administration is putting crude, thuggish pressure on Israel, America’s only true friend in the Middle East.  And I am very, very sad to report that this nastiness may be because the U.S. Military, acting through CENTCOM, which is linked to this blog, said that the Obama administration’s inability to control Israel is hurting America’s interests with Arab nations.  Invective, of course, is not the same as control or a game plan.  It’s tragic, though, that the weakest administration ever (and I do think Obama has easily overtaken Carter in that department) decides that, in lieu of getting responsible, it’s going to get vicious and fundamentally immoral.  Of course, that’s entirely consistent with Leftist “pragmatism,” which is always drawn to the bully coalition and which, historically, is antisemitic, to boot.

Pelosi pushes forward with a shell game aimed at putting 1/6 of the economy under government control and pretty much destroying medicine as we know it.  Although the Daily Caller writes that it’s possible that it won’t happen, I’m not optimistic because we’ve seen before that, once Pelosi goes into bribery/threat mode, Democrats fall like ninepins.  This is where you come in.  If you live in a district with a wavering Democrat, you must contact your representative.  People like me are useless.  Rep. Lynn Woolsey, my representative, has been a “head of the line” yes vote since day one.  People like me — a very unhappy Independent — are completely irrelevant to her.  You, however, may live in a district where your opinions actually counts.  If that’s the case DO SOMETHING! Call, and then call again, and call again.  And then, once you’ve had a nice hot cup of tea and rested a little, call again.

I think I need some chocolate.  Lots of chocolate.

In fact, though, after I finish with some actual work, I’ve had two posts which I’ve been trying to get finished for days now.  I’ve got them all lined up, but I haven’t had a serious minute within which to do something about them.

Wondering about the Blue Dogs’ pride *UPDATED*

Pride can make us do very stupid things.  Once we’ve committed to something (a job, a marriage, a principle, whatever), and once we’ve touted that commitment to the world as the most wonderful thing evah, it is extremely difficult to stand up to that same world and admit “I made a mistake.”

I’ve been thinking about this very human aversion to admitting major errors in judgment whenever I think of the Blue Dog Democrats.  I find it almost impossible to believe that the Blue Dog Dems aren’t perturbed by Obama’s radicalism and Pelosi’s insanity.  I believe that these men and women understand that the Obama/Reid/Pelosi triumvirate is advancing a political agenda that, while it may play beautifully on liberal White Papers, will destroy America’s economy.  While these Blue Dogs like liberalism, I don’t believe any really want to see America simultaneously remade and destroyed.

The question, then, is whether any of the Blue Dogs will have the courage to stand up and say “This isn’t right.  Back in November 2008, I thought it was, but the reality is playing out differently from what I imagined.  I’m going to accept that I erred, and place love of country ahead of ego-driven party loyalty.”  The alternative is to do what they’re doing now, which is to cower behind Democratic party loyalty, as if that’s some sort of moral pass for helping to be an engineer of America’s destruction.

Of course, if these people lack the courage to stand up and admit that things are not going as planned, but they still don’t want to buy into the insanity, they can always take Carol Perrachio’s advice (advice I also give my own children) and use the Senate Republicans as their shield:

When my daughter was a teenager, her friends would occasionally phone with an invitation  to a party or outing which she was reluctant to attend. I’d hear her say, “Let me ask my mom.” She’d cover the phone receiver and tell me about the invitation. I’d take one look at her face and ask, “Do you want to go?” She’d shake her head no. So I would give her some mom-cover. “Tell them I said no.”

My daughter would then tell her friend, “Sorry, my mom says I can’t go…yeah, you know how parents are.”

By the way, I don’t think Peracchio knew when she wrote the above that the Senate Republicans, all 41 of them (thank you Scott Brown and Massachusetts voters), had signed a letter assuring the House that Republicans will prevent the Senate from using Reconciliation to “fix” those clauses in the Senate bill that the House finds problematic.  The Blue Dogs can, with absolute certainty, state that they cannot vote for the Senate’s Obama Care Blue because the mean Republicans won’t let them fix it.  It’s not a noble way out, but it’s a way out.

UPDATE: Even as I was writing the above post, jj was writing an answer as a comment to another post, with both of us unloading our opinions simultaneously. Here’s jj weighing in on my post about things we can do to stop Obama Care:

You can’t do anything about Obamacrae, because they aren’t going to actually vote on it at all. The charming Louise Slaughter has come up with a way (it’s solid BS, of course, but there you go: democrats) “deeming” it passed, so there it’ll be – and no one will have to be held to account for a vote because there won’t be one.

But here’s an opportunity for everybody else to wake up. What would be called a “teachable moment.” The lesson to be learned is: There is no such thing as a “blue dog” democrat. There are no “sleeping dog” democrats, no “hound dog” democrats, “no “lap dog” democrats, and no “Siberian Malemute” democrats: there are only democrats. Under any (every) and all circumstances, they are democrats first, and they will vote democrat every single time, despite whatever line of crap they put out. When it comes down to it, they will fall into lockstep and vote democrat. Period!

It would be very nice if the republicans would learn that, and stop thinking they can work with these people, and stop allowing so much as a second’s complacency to creep in when dealing with these alleged people. Get over it: when democrats are in the room there are no rules (as this Slaughter deal ought to amply demonstrate); and they are democrats first, last, and always.

Dems may not have votes, but they’ve got constitutional disregard down to an art

Perhaps it really is true that Pelosi doesn’t have the votes for Obama Care.  After all, if she did, why would the Democrats be considering the “Slaughter Option” something that involves bypassing votes altogether:

The Slaughter Solution is a plan by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Democratic chair of the powerful House Rules Committee and a key ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), to get the health care legislation through the House without an actual vote on the Senate-passed health care bill.  You see, Democratic leaders currently lack the votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill through the House.  Under Slaughter’s scheme, Democratic leaders will overcome this problem by simply “deeming” the Senate bill passed in the House – without an actual vote by members of the House.

An article in this morning’s edition of National Journal’s CongressDaily breaks the story, starting with the headline: “SLAUGHTER PREPS RULE TO AVOID DIRECT VOTE ON SENATE BILL.”  Excerpts:

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

I mean, really, the whole concept of democracy is so out-dated. Tyranny is faster, easier and so much more efficient.

Friends, I feel tired.  Really.  Fatigue is my dominant emotion at this moment.

In the face of this overwhelming barrage of lies, doublespeak (“A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes”), inanities (““But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it….”), and corruption (think Cornhusker kickbacks, union deals, etc.), it’s hard to keep ones energy burning bright.  This whole thing has felt like death by a thousand, not cuts, ’cause this is bigger than cuts, but death by a thousands assaults each of which, alone, isn’t quite fatal.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up.  I’m just whining a bit.  Pardon me — or feel free to chime in.

Hat tip: Kim Priestap

Health care may well pass, and what will happen if it does

The American Thinker spells it out:

Richard Baehr, ace political watcher, thinks the odds are that Nancy Pelosi, through brute force, will get Obama Care through.  Once that happens, of course, it’s the law, and “reconciliation,” which is ostensibly meant to smooth away any lingering roughness, will die a’bornin’

Christopher Chantrill explains what government will look like once it passes — and that’s regardless of any efforts, successful or not, not repeal it:

There are a number of reasons why the outcome of Obamacare would be a lot less enjoyable than this rosy scenario.

First of all, in the period between passage and repeal, many damaging events will have taken place. Taxes will have gone up. Many employers will have terminated their health plans and accepted a tax that costs them less than their employee health plan. Seniors will have lost their Medicare Advantage. Doctors will have retired rather than deal with the hassle of Obamacare. Already the curtain will have rung up on a meaner, nastier America.

And we know today what that looks like. It looks like Greece, where the government is teetering on the edge of default and workers from a bloated public sector are rioting in the streets over the possibility of any reduction in their pay and benefits. It looks like Iceland, where the voters just voted by 93 percent to 1.5 percent against the government’s proposal to pay back losses suffered by British and Dutch depositors after its bank meltdown in 2008. And let’s not forget Argentina, which has lumbered from inflation to default and back again numerous times since it opted for the empty promises of Juan Perón and the lovely Evita back in 1946.

The squalor of this kind of government is dreadful. It is government that lurches from crisis to crisis, resorting to loans, IMF bailouts, and defaults on debt, followed by “restructurings” that deliver a 60- to 70-percent loss to bondholders. In the Argentine crisis of 1999-2002, the government blithely seized dollar deposits in personal checking accounts and replaced them with pesos worth about 25 percent as much.

Under government like that, you can’t be an independent soul. You have to work for the government, join a union, pay your dues to the local party boss. Otherwise, you will get run over. The glory of America is that most of the time, it has avoided this misery.

This is one of those cases where Obama and the Democrats break it, but we, the citizens, end up owning it.

My prediction, if the House Democrats swallow the reconciliation bait

I believe more and more strongly that reconciliation is a red herring, meant to induce the House to pass the Senate bill.  Once that’s done, this so called “reconciliation,” an alleged second bill that will smooth away the differences between the two chambers (especially the House’s demand that abortion, which is part of the Senate bill, be excluded from taxpayer funding), will vanish.  Instead, Obama will proclaim that Obama care is a done deal, with the outrageous, huge, convoluted, corruption-riddled Senate bill as the law, and let his Democratic House die in November.  End of story.

The common bonds between Iraniah Mullahs and the Democrats *UPDATED*

Several years ago, when Bush Derangement Syndrome was at its peak, I tackled the “he’s got his finger on the button and he’s going to blow up the world” meme that anti-war activists were so shrilly screaming.  I pointed out that there was no evidence whatsoever to indicate that George Bush was an apocalyptic person.  Indeed, every indication was that he was someone who fought reluctantly and defensively only — that is, he wanted to protect America from destruction at the hands of another.  That his information was wrong, that the threat from Iraq was something of a Potemkin threat, with Hussein blustering about his capabilities to elevate his profile, doesn’t take away from the fact that Bush engaged with Iraq, not to destroy Iraq, but because he believed America was at imminent risk from Iraq’s destructive capabilities.  (Incidentally, I believe that much of Iraq’s arsenal, whether it rose to the level of WMDs or not, is currently sitting comfortably in Syria, except for the bit that Israel destroyed in 2007.)

How different are the Mullahs.  Western pragmatists (including Leftists in deep denial about the nature of Apocalyptic Shia Islam) believe that Iran is merely bloviating for effect when it constantly insists that Israel will be reduced to ashes.  They believe that Iran is merely trying to gain regional stature by creating functional nuclear weapons.  After all, they say, Iran knows that, if it launches a nuclear bomb at Israel, two things will happen:  First, Israel’s last act before its own destruction will be to destroy Iran (assuming Israel has that long-range nuclear capability itself).  Second, Iran will become a pariah among nations for committing this genocidal act, which will lead to the downfall of the Mullahs and the end of their dreams.  As for this last, considering the rampant antisemitism on the rise around the world, considering the region in which Iran is located, and, right now, considering the man in the White House, I don’t believe that for a minute.  Iran will get her hand politely slapped at the UN, and the world will continue as usual, minus a few million Jews.

The last argument in the pragmatists’ quiver is that, even if Israel can’t destroy Iran, and even if Iran doesn’t become a pariah nation, Iran will not drop the bomb because, if she does, as many Muslims will die as will Jews.  After all, not only does Israel have a huge Arab population, it is surrounded by Muslims — in the West Bank, in Gaza, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Lebanon.  Nuclear bombs have fallout, and many millions of Muslims will die along with the hated Jews.

And that’s where the pragmatists show themselves to be ignoramuses.  They actually believe that the Mullahs care whether Muslims, Iranian or otherwise, die.  The Mullahs don’t.  Their Shia religion is an apocalyptic one, and one that doesn’t care whether man or God ignites the maelstrom that brings about the returning of the missing imam and the end of days.  In that, their apocalyptic fervor is quite different from the Christian belief in an apocalypse.  As I understand it, the latter predicts the Apocalypse’s ultimate arrival, but does not believe that man is the instrument that will bring it about.  God will, when he wills.

For the Mullahs, then, there’s a distinct virtue in simultaneously wiping God’s enemies (Jews and the hated State of Israel) off the earth and in simultaneously bringing about the end of days.  That the latter might involve the deaths of millions, including Iran’s own citizens, is completely irrelevant.  The goal matters, and the collateral damage just has to be accepted as part of that greater good.

I promised in the title of this post that I would compare Mullahs and Democrats.  I will or, rather, Andy McCarthy will explain that the Democrats, too, do not care about self-immolation if it will lead to their own apocalyptic vision, which is the destruction of America’s evil capitalist, individualist system, and the emergence, like a phoenix from the ashes, of a socialist promised land.  Any pragmatist Republican fantasies that Democrats will retreat in the face of failing poll numbers are just that — fantasies:

I think our side is analyzing this all wrong: Today’s Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they’re right.

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that “reconciliation,” if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That’s the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership’s statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Nor is there any consolation to be had in a Republican sweep in November.  Even if the Republicans grab the majority in both houses, they will not be able to pass veto-proof bills undoing the reconciliation damage heading down the political path.  Obama, after all, is every bit as interested in transformation as the rest of the current crop of Democrats and will willingly sacrifice himself by vetoing bills aimed at undoing a government takeover of 1/6 of the American economy.

Democrats are political martyrs, willing to die for the cause.  This willingness explains Obama’s silly double-talk, where he urges compromise on the one hand and, on the other hand, says his way or the reconciliation highway.

And really, when you think about it, the martyrdom here is minimal.  No actual crucifixion, no arrows, no flayings, no nuclear annihilation.  Instead, you pack your bags, board a plane, and head off into the sunset of six figure speaking gigs, corporate jobs, and endless media adulation.  That is, until the whole system implodes and the true anarchy begins.

Cross-p0sted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  From Andy McCarthy’s savvy predictions to Nancy Pelosi’s small brain and loud mouth:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue’s massive role in this election year.

Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program “This Week.”
“We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress,” she said. “We’re here to do the job for the American people.”

[snip]

Her comments to ABC, in the interview released Sunday, seemed to acknowledge the widely held view that Democrats will lose House seats this fall — maybe a lot. They now control the chamber 255 to 178, with two vacancies. Pelosi stopped well short of suggesting Democrats could lose their majority, but she called on members of her party to make a bold move on health care with no prospects of GOP help.

“Time is up,” she said. “We really have to go forth.”

Her comments somewhat echoed those of President Obama, who said at the end of last week’s bipartisan health care summit that Congress should act on the issue and let voters render their verdicts. “That’s what elections are for,” he said.