A little flotsam, a little jetsam, and a sprinkling of malice

First, I’m gonna hit you with the visuals.  Isn’t this a great Halloween poster, courtesy of Chris Muir?

On Track Black & White

Rep. Renee Ellmers put Sebelius on the hot seat. Watch Sebelius twist and squirm like a worm on a hook as she avoids saying that people who don’t buy health insurance are violating the law and as she is forced to admit that men must buy maternity care, whether they need it or not:

Dennis Prager, one of whose many virtues is the fact that he is a temperate man who relies on logic rather than emotion to guide him, assembles a compelling body of facts to support his conclusion that, despite having disagreements with past presidents, “I have never written or broadcast that our country was being seriously damaged by a president. So it is with great sadness that I write that President Barack Obama has done and continues to do major damage to America.”

Charlie Martin does a fabulous (no exaggeration) job explaining how real insurance works and how Obamacare perverts and ultimately destroys real insurance.  I don’t think he says anything that you and I don’t already know and that we didn’t predict years ago, but I’m greatly impressed by how accessible he makes complex ideas.  If you have a tween or teen, or a liberal relative or friend who has never actually contemplated how the real world works, you could do a lot worse than forwarding Martin’s post to them.

One of the things that distinguishes the PBS crowd (both creators and audience) from other Americans is their smugness.  They are the self-styled intelligentsia.  Their neatly packaged two-to-fifteen minute segments tell you everything you need to know.  Unspoken in that last sentence is this part:  “everything you need to know in order to maintain your smug disdain for Americans who live in flyover country, or didn’t attend Ivy League colleges, or believe in God, the flag, and America, etc.”  Sometimes, to preserve this wonderful feeling of superiority, of course, you have to lie . . . just a little bit . . . or maybe a lot . . . but it’s a “truthy” lie because, even if the facts are kind of not really correct, you’re right about the overarching idea or theory.  This attitude probably explains why PBS did a report on Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast and repeated as truth the claim that ordinary Americans were so stupid that they succumbed to mass panic.  The so-called panic, in fact, was puffery from a media anxious to trumpet its importance.  I’m thinking that maybe PBS stands for “Pure Bulls**t.”

Sebelius has taken full responsibility for the Obamacare rollout debacle.  In a normal world, she’d be standing on a street corner now with a sign saying “Will work for food.”  In Obama-world, she will keep her job until she decides to leave.  When she does leave, she’ll get on the speaking circuit and make $30,000-$50,000 for a 45 minute speech touting what a wonderful job she did.  After all, it’s worked for Hillary and Holder, so why shouldn’t it work for Sebelius?  As she’s already made clear, she doesn’t work for the people who actually pay her salary (that would be you and me) but, instead, works for much more important people who also get their salary from us.  It’s easy to confess a sin when you know that you need not fear either punishment or repentance.

All the liberals are piling on Obama now.  The most recent is the WaPo’s Dana Milbank.  I’m unimpressed.  All of these things about Obama were obvious in 2007 and in every year thereafter.  Before about two minutes ago, the same people now criticizing him were either lying through their teeth when they praised him and his plans, or they were pathologically dumb to the point of complete mental retardation.  So now, when the damage is done, suddenly they’ve discovered that Obama has managed to be simultaneously corrupt and ineffectual.  Who cares.  What I want, and what none will do, is to see these people issue the groveling apologies that the American people deserve, and to promise to bring a swift, impeachment-style conclusion to the most corrupt presidency ever.

The people behind a show on NPR

It wasn’t until I crossed the political Rubicon that I started appreciating the irony of the intro to so many PBS and NPR shows.  Turn on Masterpiece Theater and a measured male voice announces, “This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.”

CPB -- funded by Americans

In the normal world, a private corporation means that individuals voluntarily buy into it, and that the corporation is then responsive to these shareholders. In the loopy world of “public broadcasting,” however, the reality is that the government uses its coercive powers to force taxpayers to hand over money for speech (not for roads or weapons, but for speech, which ought to be free).  Many of these coerced taxpayers have no interest in the corporate product, and even more of them find it reprehensible.

We who oppose the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are right to do so.  For most of my life, PBS and NPR were the main news sources for me and my family.  That’s why I can say with certainty that these publicly funded entities inculcated in us a world view that was anti-American, anti-military, anti-Republican, anti-Reagan, anti-Bush, and anti-Israel.

As I’ve told you before, I swallowed everything . . . except for the Israel part.  Unlike all the other stuff, I actually had first hand knowledge about Israel, since my parents were part of its creation, our friends and family lived (and still live) there, and I’d traveled there for extended periods of time.  Once I realized that public broadcasting was out-and-out lying about Israel, or taking a view so slanted that it was tantamount to a lie, I began to question everything that public broadcasting broadcast.

Logo for PBS

As far as I’m concerned, public broadcasting’s only virtue now is . . . .  Oh, never mind.  I can’t think of a single news, entertainment, or educational product it sells that isn’t overt or covert propaganda for a hard-Leftist world view. The exception might be Masterpiece Theater, but that exception only works for some productions and, in any event, I’d be just as happy to watch them on A&E.

If the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was a true private corporation, I wouldn’t have a problem with its world view, although I still wouldn’t like it.  What’s reprehensible is that I’m forced to pay for this ostensibly private institution that produces a product with which I strongly disagree.

I may be forced to pay for public broadcasting, but I don’t have to watch it or listen to it. Part of me knows I should, because it’s very useful to know how and what the opposition is thinking.  The problem, though, is my blood pressure goes shooting through the roof when I hear its little packages of information, all of which have a Leftist beginning, middle, and end, with no room for argument and dissenting opinions.

Logo for NPR

This rant is for a reason.  On Facebook, many of my liberal friends swoon about a new-ish show on NPR called Snap Judgment.  As best as I can tell, this oh-so-hip show consists of short “true tales,” told with jazz and hip-hop music threading through the stories.  The stories run the gamut from silly to serious.  I’m sure there is much there that is interesting or informative.

I find the show off-putting for two reasons, though.  First, having listened to a bit of it, I find the choppy mix of music and narrative, which is modeled on “slam readings,” irritating rather than attractive.  I also don’t like the fact that the show’s sensibility is Left.  This slant really isn’t a surprise.  Take a look at the bios for two of the show’s four producers (bolded emphasis mine):

Glynn Washington – Host & Executive Producer

Before creating the Snap Judgment radio show, Glynn worked as an educator, diplomat, community activist, actor, political strategist, fist-shaker, mountain-hollerer, and foot stomper.

Glynn composed music for the Kunst Stoff dance performances in San Francisco, rocked live spoken word poetry in Detroit, joined a band in Indonesia, wrote several screenplays, painted a daring series of self portraits, released a blues album, and thinks his stories are best served with cocktails.

Anna Sussman – Producer

Anna Sussman has been trying to report serious stories but really reporting on frivolity for the past nine years. She earned two masters degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, in Journalism and Human Rights, and founded Backpackjournalist.org with her husband, reporting stories on U.S military debacles, international war tribunals and man-eating crocodiles from 21 countries.

Anna comes to Snap Judgment from the wilds of the freelance jungle where she reported for CNN, Current TV, PRI and the San Francisco Chronicle. She also plays the banjo and can be spotted in a Thai sports drink commercial.

Both Washington and Sussman are probably very nice people, the kind who would,  with their many and varied life experiences, be enjoyable conversationalists at a dinner party.  Glynn Washington, especially, has an interesting bio, one that actually ought to have him questioning the merits of Leftist politics rather than, if his wife’s politics are anything to go by, embracing them:

Washington thinks about those things [life-altering decisions] because of the radical turns his life took when he was young. His family left the urban grit of Detroit in the early 1970s for life on a farm in rural Michigan. “We were organic before organic was cool,” Washington said. He was often the only African American kid in his classes. It meant he got beaten up a lot, but the move might have saved his life, because a lot of the kids he grew up with in Detroit, he said, are dead or locked up.

A few years after moving to the country, radio transformed his family. His mother fell under the spell of an on-air evangelist, and she dragged the entire household into a group he described as an apocalyptic cult.

Washington went his own way in his late teens. He studied in Japan, got a law degree at the University of Michigan and worked as a junior diplomat in Malaysia. Lately, he’s made his living by running a series of Bay Area nonprofits; he currently directs the Young Entrepreneurs program at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Despite Washington’s and Sussman’s probable niceness, their bios (especially Sussman’s) give the game away about the show’s sensibility:  These are Leftists who dislike the military, blame poverty on capitalism, and generally don’t think much of the American way of doing things.

Washington and Sussman, and all their cohorts, are more than entitled to their views.  Indeed, I love living in a free marketplace of ideas.  What I hate is being forced to pay for someone else’s ideas.

And yes, I know that public broadcasting is a miniscule part of the federal budget.  That’s irrelevant.  First, it’s still money and, in a broke economy, every penny counts.  We should be sequester public broadcasting in its entirely, rather than imposing cuts on our military.

Second (and this is the really important one), it’s my money that’s funding these shows.  I didn’t voluntarily hand my money to NPR.  NPR took it from me, using the federal government as its weapon.  If you’ve been mugged, you don’t care whether the thief took $10 or $100.  What you care about is the fact that you’ve been robbed at gunpoint.

Three worthy entries in the post-debate analysis

Three of my favorite writers had a few last words on the debate.

To begin with, Ace looks at the desperate and foolish excuses Obama’s fans are offering to explain his performance.  (Just as an FYI, I heard two from people I actually know.  The first assured me that it was the altitude that got to Obama; and the second said it was clear that there was some secret governing crisis that weighed heavily upon him.)

Here are the Top Ten reasons Obama lost the debate, per Obama’s friends, as sympathetically reported by The New Yorker:

1. He’s Just Too Interested In Finding Common Ground and Rising Above Petty Disputes To Lower Himself To Being An Effective Debater.

He did not go out of his way to defeat someone in argument; instead he tried, always with a certain decorous courtesy, to try to persuade, to reframe his interlocutor’s view, to signal his understanding while disagreeing. Obama became president of the law review—the first African-American to do so—but he won as a voice of conciliation. He avoided the Ames Moot Court Competition, where near contemporaries like Cass Sunstein, Deval Patrick, and Kathleen Sullivan made their names.

When Obama avoids competition, it’s always because he could win — if he wanted to. But he’s too good for that.

It’s never because he’s just not good at it.

Jonah Goldberg puts his finger on why I didn’t think Obama’s performance was shockingly bad — I just thought it was Obama-as-usual, since I never drank the Kool-Aid:

The media’s infatuation with Obama and/or their contempt for his critics only served to reinforce his delusions. When the press laughs at all of your jokes and takes your glib excuses as profound insights, the inevitable result is a kind of flabby narcissism. Kings can be forgiven for thinking they are the greatest poets when the court weeps at their clunky limericks.

The Obama who delivered a shockingly lackluster convention speech last month is the same man who walked into that Denver stadium in 2008 to rapturous approval. The man who lost the debate Wednesday night is the same man who never managed to make Obamacare popular after more than 50 speeches and pronouncements on it in his first year.

And Mark Steyn?  Well, Steyn just explains everything, as usual:

Unlike Mitt, I loathe Sesame Street. It bears primary responsibility for what the Canadian blogger Binky calls the de-monsterization of childhood — the idea that there are no evil monsters out there at the edges of the map, just shaggy creatures who look a little funny and can sometimes be a bit grouchy about it because people prejudge them until they learn to celebrate diversity and help Cranky the Friendly Monster go recycling. That is not unrelated to the infantilization of our society. Marinate three generations of Americans in that pabulum and it’s no surprise you wind up with unprotected diplomats dragged to their deaths from their “safe house” in Benghazi. Or as J. Scott Gration, the president’s special envoy to Sudan, said in 2009, in the most explicit Sesamization of American foreign policy: “We’ve got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes . . . ” The butchers of Darfur aren’t blood-drenched machete-wielding genocidal killers but just Cookie Monsters whom we haven’t given enough cookies. I’m not saying there’s a direct line between Bert & Ernie and Barack & Hillary . . . well, actually I am.

You go, Mark!  I never could stand Big Bird myself, being more of a Cookie Monster fan.

Stuff, all of which is depressing, about Democrat government and Democrat party-line media

In no particular order:

Listen to Richard Epstein and John Yoo explain why ObamaCare is a more heinous government policy than any ever before imposed on the American people.  Pay special attention to Richard Epstein’s point about the dangers lurking in rule by waiver, which is antithetical to rule by law.  (This is in the last video.)  (Hat tip:  JKB)

Don’t let the cheerful numbers about GDP, etc., mislead you.  Everything that’s improving in the economy (and things are improving) is being sucked up by government spending and debt.  Oh, joy!

Tom Elia caught the PBS Newshour in something that can politely be called deceit by omission.

I think I need to have some quiet time with my dog.  This all depresses me.

Remember thatr PBS poll I told you about?

The other day, I asked you to respond to the poll because we individualists (my new, Century-appropriate name for conservatives) didn’t want it to be one-sided (as in limited only to liberal, or statist, PBS viewers).  It turns out that the PBS viewers are also worried about the outcome.  That’s why I got this in an email (emphasis mine):

This seems to be important, it only takes about 5 seconds.  Thought you’d want to know.

PBS has an online poll posted asking if Sarah Palin is qualified.  Apparently the right wing knew about this in advance and are flooding the voting with YES votes.  The poll will be reported on PBS and picked up by mainstream media.  It can influence undecided voters in swing states.

Please do two things — takes 20 seconds.

1) Click on link and vote yourself.

Here’s the link:

2) Then send this to every single Obama-Biden voter you know, and urge them to vote and pass it on.

The last thing we need is PBS saying their viewers think Sarah Palin is qualified.

God forbid that a taxpayer funded media organization should represent alternative political views, right?

(BTW, don’t bother to go to the poll.  As we already discovered, it’s old and dysfunctional.)