Wonderful things hiding in my inbox

Victorian posy of pansiesMy email inbox produces such wonderful things.  I hope  you enjoy these as much as I did:

I received two articles that are mirror images of each other.  The first is an article by Daniel Greenfield, which contains a very good insight about Obama’s magical attraction for the Ivy League (and Ivy League wannabes) who constitute his core non-black demographic.  The premise of the following paragraphs is the way in which the media repeatedly assured Americans that George Bush (Yale and Harvard) was an idiot, while Barack Obama (Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard) is the smartest man ever to occupy the White House:

But what is “smart” anyway? What makes Obama a genius? It’s not his IQ. It’s probably not his grades or we would have seen them already. It’s that he makes his supporters feel smart. The perception of intelligence is really a reflection.

[snip]

Intelligence has since been democratized. Smart has been redistributed. Anyone can get an A for effort. And the impulse of manufactured intelligence is not smart people, but people who make us feel smart. That is why Neil deGrasse Tyson, another obsessively self-promoting mediocrity like Carl Sagan, is now the new face of science. Sagan made science-illiterate liberals feel smart while pandering to their biases. Tyson does the same thing for the Twitter generation.

Self-esteem is the new intelligence. Obama’s intelligence was manufactured by pandering to the biases and tastes of his supporters. The more he shared their biases and tastes, the smarter he seemed to be and the smarter they felt by having so much in common with such a smart man.

Everyone who encountered him thought that he was smart because he made them feel smart. And that is the supreme duty of the modern liberal intellectual, not to be smart, but to make others feel smart. Genuine intelligence is threatening. Manufactured intelligence is soothing. And those intellectually superior progressives who need to believe that Obama is smart in order to believe that they are smart cannot stop believing in his brains without confronting the illusion of their own intelligence.

Please read the whole thing.  I do believe that Greenfield’s insight about Obama’s “Chance the Gardener” quality (which I touched upon in 2007 before much was known about him) is a very important one.

The mirror image of thinking you’re the genius in the room, of course, is proving to yourself, and to others, that people who aren’t just like you are idiots.  (This is a typical narcissistic behavior, by the way.)  Adrienne Royer hones in on the Left’s recent attacks against Duck Dynasty.  The elites were fine with the show when they glanced over and saw yokels (i.e., Republicans) laughing at other yokels (i.e., the Robertsons).  The show became threatening when the Left realized that the Robertsons, despite their foibles, weren’t idiots, and that too many people from all political classes (Obamas included) were looking at the clan as avatars of common sense, faith, and patriotism in a crazy world.  At that point, it had to go.

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That the attack on the Robertsons has nothing to do with gay issues and everything to do with their overall politics is nicely illustrated in this poster:

Comparing Robertson and Ahmadinejad

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One of the things I write about quite a lot is the gender madness that the Left foists on America.  In that vein, a friend sent me a link to an Onion-esque military blog and a video.  Apropos the video, my son’s comment after watching it was “That’s really creepy.”

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The old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be . . . and neither is America.  A friend sent me a link to an article about the U.S. trying to evacuate a few stragglers from the Sudan.  He included this comment in his email:

“Pentagon officials were trying to determine how to mount another effort to evacuate the roughly three dozen Americans in South Sudan…”

We have become such a nation of hand wringing milquetoasts it makes me sick. There was a time when we would respond with overwhelming force, like say an entire Marine Expeditionary Force, taken over the airfield in Bor, land as may aircraft as we pleased, rescued our citizens, then leave a giant crater behind us as we took off again.

Instead, we’ve allowed a handful of illiterate bushmen with AKs to stymie the worlds most powerful nation.

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I don’t think Bill Whittle likes that Obama chap very much, nor does he like Obama’s friends, nor does he respect or like the media, nor does he think much of those Americans who willingly let themselves be led down the primrose path, both because they liked the lies and because they were intimidated by the cry of “racist.”

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And to end on a lighthearted (and slightly NSFW) note, here’s Sunny Lohmann on the week’s news:

People are starting to figure out that Obamacare isn’t free health care; it’s wealth transfer health care *UPDATED*

The San Jose Mercury News did an article about the sticker shock many Obamacare supporters are experiencing.  What was great about this article was this quotation, from an ardent supporter:

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

[snip]

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

[snip]

But people with no pre-existing conditions like Vinson, a 60-year-old retired teacher, and Waschura, a 52-year-old self-employed engineer, are making up the difference.

“I was laughing at Boehner — until the mail came today,”
Brochures and handouts on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are shown at the education outreach booth sponsor by Daughters of Charity O’Connor Hospital at Santa Clara County Library Alum Rock branch in San Jose on Oct. 1, 2013. (Josie Lepe/Staff)
Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

“I really don’t like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

It’s always great to see a few liberals mugged by reality. May there be many more in the coming days and years. Frankly, these people deserve to suffer. I’m sorry to say that, but it’s true. They worked hard to get this monstrosity passed into law, and I hope they suffer horribly because of it.  I’m sorry that you, my dear friends, will also have to suffer, because you tried to stop this train wreck.  But to the extent we knew it was a train wreck, let me reiterate my fondest desire that every elite liberal I knew is royally screwed.  And perhaps because you’re smarter about economic cause and effect, you will come out of this disaster stronger and better than they will.

Okay, I’m done being vindictive.  The same article also struck me because I suspect it contains a certain amount of dishonesty and misdirection.  I don’t have proof for my theory, just a strong suspicion.

First, read this:

Even those who don’t qualify for the tax subsidies could see their rates drop because Obamacare doesn’t allow insurers to charge people more if they have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and cancer, he said.

People like Marilynn Gray-Raine.

The 64-year-old Danville artist, who survived breast cancer, has purchased health insurance for herself for decades. She watched her Anthem Blue Cross monthly premiums rise from $317 in 2005 to $1,298 in 2013. But she found out last week from the Covered California site that her payments will drop to about $795 a month.

Can you spot the problem? Before Obamacare passed, Gray-Raine was paying $317. Incidentally, I know that the article is careful to say that her premiums were $317 in 2005, but I’m willing to bet that the dramatic rate hikes started in 2009 when Obamacare passed. As the article concedes, without Obamacare’s market manipulation, rates tended to go up by about 4% annually.  I’m lousy at math, but it seems to me that a 4% annual increase on a $317 monthly premium would see her paying $434 per month by 2013.

Something happened in 2009, of course, to change that typical trajectory.  2009 is when insurance companies responded to the fact that Obamacare, instead of allowing them to sell true insurance based upon risk analysis, forced them to prepare for cost-shifting mode.  They knew that, come 2013, insurers will have to pay for everybody’s care (including maternity care for old men), regardless of risk factors. The moment the law was passed, and with increasing aggression as the law’s implementation loomed, insurers responded in the only logical way — by raising premiums. That’s almost certainly the explanation for Gray-Raine’s huge premium increase, one that saw her paying $981 more in 2013 than before Obamacare. Gray-Raine professes herself thankful that she’s going to be paying $795 less than she was paying last month, but she seems to have lost sight of the fact that she’s still paying almost $200 more per month than before the government meddled with the marketplace.

An ignorant populace is a dangerous populace.  That’s all I can say.

UPDATE:  Ace spotted an out and out lie in the article from an Obama shill:

A shill from Covered California pops in to claim that it’s always been said that there would be both winners and losers under ObamaCare.

Um, no. Nancy Pelosi guaranteed that everyone’s rate would go down. Obama promised a $2500 per year reduction in premiums. He campaigned on it.

Three degrees of separation

I enjoy reading my Liberal-Lefty friends’ Facebook posts because they are so insightful into the mindsets of the Left.

One insight that I have gained over time is that the differences between us conservatives and the Progressive/Left are so profound that they are unlikely to ever be bridged, barring some cataclysmic, life-changing events. What I have tried to do is understand why this is so. I share this with you because I greatly appreciate the insights that Bookworm group has to offer on such issues – be it “yay” or “nay”.

Our disagreements appear to come down to three levels of separation.

1) First, there are objective facts (OK, I am being deliberately redundant here). These are easy enough to resolve. Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock world has arrived: everybody is so overwhelmed with information that we can’t absorb and process all there is to know and we therefore choose our facts selectively.

As Ronald Reagan said, ““It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

In discussions, factual disputes are easy enough to resolve: my typical response to Liberal /Lefties is simply tell them to “Google it”. Amazingly, many apparently don’t know that you can Google entire texts or sentences. A good example was the recent George Zimmerman trial…many people with whom I disagreed told me outright they were too busy to bother looking up facts. The Left operates on so many facts that just aren’t so.

2) The second level of separation involves our assumptions or premises. These are tougher to resolve, because we assume and presume events based on our past experiences. I suspect that we humans are hard-wired to build assumptions (true or false) as a defense mechanism: for example, my cave ancestors probably assumed that to allow a saber-tooth tiger to stand in their path was not a good thing and that such assumption is one reason why I stand here today.

We go through life building mental templates on how the world works in order to short-circuit decision making and evaluation. Otherwise, we would soon be overwhelmed with indecision. As long as our world templates work for us, we continue to hold onto them. Many formerly Liberals (e.g., David Horowitz, Bookworm) only became conservative when one or more events (e.g., 9/11) rendered their previously comfortable world views untenable. For me it was Reagan’s second term, when his policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and an economic resurgence. I, young man at the time, knew then that my Democrat world template had been very, very wrong.

I use the word “comfortable” deliberately, because our templates represent our comfort zones. Losing that comfort zone is terrifying. Imagine if all of a sudden nothing in the world made any sense to you; you would feel totally deracinated and quite possibly insane. You would also feel a deep sense of personal failure, as in “how in the world could I have been so deluded?”

And, the older you get, the more frightening that sense of loss, confusion and failure would be. So, the older we get, the more desperately we defend our mental templates, selecting and force-fitting “facts” to fit our own perceptions of reality. I believe this is where modern Liberalism and Progressivism are today (Google “Paul Krugman”). As Thomas Sowell put it, people of the Left expect the world to conform to their misperceptions. Eventually, however, reality hits like a 2 x 4 between the brow…as in “Detroit”.

I believe that this dynamic also explains the sheer viciousness expressed by many on the Left when the presumptions of their world templates are threatened (as by Sarah Palin or by black conservatives, for example). This is also the reason why I believe that world Islam will fail, because it doesn’t work and eventually people in Muslim worlds, aided by the internet, will eventually realize this (some of my Middle Eastern friends assure me that many already do). Reality is a harsh mistress.

This level of separation helps to explain why Liberals and Conservatives usually talk past each other. We try to rationalize our positions to each other, but our rationalizations only make sense if the other party shares the same assumptions and understandings of how the world works. We operate from completely different templates.

3) Faith. This the most difficult and potentially dangerous degree of separation, because it addresses fundamental values that are non-negotiable. Our “faith” defines how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world, irrespective of facts, logic and reason. I cannot, for example, “prove” the veracity of my Christian faith. Environmental extremists and atheists cannot “prove” the righteousness of their positions. We just “know” that what we believe to be true is true. There is no logical argument that I know of that can challenge faith-based values. Our values define who we are and how we perceive the world to be. Utopian fascist ideals (Progressivism, Nazism, communism, Islamism, etc.), for example, are defined by a faith in a future to come – they require no proof. Abortion is a similar issue of faith and values – there is no middle-of-the-road compromise if you believe abortion to be murder and that murder is wrong (a value proposition). Psychologists have claimed that only very powerful shocks to the system can challenge faith.

I have no dealing with the first degree of separation. I admit, however, that I am totally stumped on how to address (2) and (3). Any ideas?

Zombie has come up with a great neologism: “progracist”

You don’t really have to work hard to know what a “Progracist” is.  Indeed, it’s surprising, once you think about it, that nobody invented this neologism before.  I mean, it would have applied as perfectly to Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger as it does to today’s Progressives.  Please check out Zombie’s post and add the word to your vocabulary.

Over the next four years, will Obama be the only one celebrating?

In my latest newsletter (which you can view here and subscribe to here) I asked whether Republicans will be the only unhappy people over the next four years.  My starting point is that Republicans are deeply depressed right now, while Progressives are gloatingly triumphant.  Their man won.  Their agenda is the one he’ll enact.

The problem as I see it is that almost nobody — Republican or Progressive — is going to be happy with the outcome.  Unlike the Reagan years, which saw the economy soar, so much so that even the most embittered Democrats couldn’t complain directly about the economy (so they had to focus on inequities instead), Obama’s first four years have seen everything going negative:  the economy is perpetually saggy at home and disastrously bad abroad; the nation is more divided than ever before at this precise point in a President’s second term; nations that the U.S. had previously stabilized are collapsing; and there is, to borrow Carter’s term, a terrible malaise throughout the land.  More than that, it my money is on the fact that all of these trends will worsen with Obama’s policies.

Given that things are going to go from bad to worse, will any but the most die-hard Progressives be happy?  Right now, my Progressive friends (and I have many) are convinced that just a little bit more of the Obama magic will turn everything around — and then they’ll be happy.  But what if it doesn’t turn around?  Will they rationalize downwards what constitutes happiness?  That is, will we hear that it’s wonderful to be unemployed for so long, because you can do some serious navel gazing; and hey, isn’t it great that all those European and Middle Eastern nations are at war or heading to it?  I don’t think so, and here’s why.

I can say with a fair amount of certainty, because I’ve been on both sides of the political divide, that most Democrats and Progressives want wealth, security, and stability.  They’re just sufficiently foolish to believe that these things are best attained with an all-powerful state, rather than through maximum individual freedom within a legal framework that applies a few, clear laws equally to all citizens.  They might learn something when they realize that their ideology doesn’t achieve their ends.

But Obama….  His ends are very different.  I don’t think anything makes this more clear than what Jonathan Tobin noticed when he watched Steve Croft’s sycophantic 60 Minutes interview with Barry and Hillary.  Buried amidst the snowstorm of fecal matter, and the steady browning of Steve Croft’s nose, Barack Obama made one startling admission.  In defending his “lead from behind” approach to the Middle East, Obama had this to say:

President Obama: Well, Muammar Qaddafi probably does not agree with that assessment, or at least if he was around, he wouldn’t agree with that assessment. Obviously, you know, we helped to put together and lay the groundwork for liberating Libya. You know, when it comes to Egypt, I think, had it not been for the leadership we showed, you might have seen a different outcome there.

Tobin immediately honed in upon what’s so dreadfully wrong in that statement: Barack Obama is actually boasting about Libya, where al Qaeda has taken over and Obama’s own ambassador was brutally murdered, and about Egypt, which is in the increasingly vice-like control of a radical Islamist wannabe dictator who calls Israel (America’s ally) a nation of apes and pigs that should be wiped from the face of the earth.  As Tobin says:

Let me get this straight. President Obama is not merely bragging about a conflict in Libya that led to chaos not only in that country that produced the murders of four Americans including our ambassador. He is also saying that he thinks he positively impacted the outcome of the power struggle in Egypt over the last two years and actually thinks his “leadership” helped create a situation about which we are happy. So what he’s telling us is that he’s not merely pleased with what he did or didn’t do, but that he thinks the current situation in Cairo in which the most populous Arab country is now run by a Muslim Brotherhood government led by a raving anti-Semite is a good thing about which he can brag on national TV.

(You can read the rest of Tobin’s analysis here.)

Most Americans, including the millions of misguided Democrats, won’t celebrate the potential detritus of eight Obama years:  America’s economic collapse, Israel’s destruction, the Islamic takeover of the Middle East, and Europe’ ugly retreat to the 1930s.  Obama, however, has clearly signaled that he’s going to pat himself on the back for a job well done.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that the future is not written in stone.  Things can change in an instant.  The winner can go down and the loser can suddenly take the lead.  Ever since the 2006 Winter Olympics, and Lindsey Jacobellis’ fatal hubris in snowboarding, I’ve always told my kids “winners never quit and quitters never win.”

The only thing that will absolutely and certainly defeat America’s future resurgence as a bastion of individual freedom and success is if we quit. No quitting, guys. Grieve, but come back fighting. (And to cheer you up further, I’m betting that Progressive/Obama overreach and hubris will work in our favor on the road back.)

Progressive myopia: Their theories discount what they cannot see

Blurred eye chart

The following is the entire text of Frédéric Bastiat’s magnificent Parable of the Broken Window, which is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it in 1850. As you read it, please note carefully the highlighted language:

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation—”It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade—that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs—I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

On December 26, I wrote a post entitled “Gun control supporters count those who have died; Second Amendment supporters count those who will live.“  Or, as Bastiat says, gun control advocates’ “theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”  Gun control supporters are able to count those who have died, but they cannot even begin to imagine those whose lives were saved or never threatened.  Point them to a story about an off-duty deputy who was able to stop a mall shooter, and they’ll simply say “the shooter’s aim was bad, so he wasn’t going to kill anyone anyway.”  To them, a story without dead bodies is no story at all.  You and I, however, count the dozens who survived.

Likewise, when I look at crime statistics showing that legally-armed communities have a lower murder rate than gun-controlled communities, I think of all those law-abiding citizens in the first community who sleep safely in their beds at night.  Those “not-dead” people are real numbers to me.

The gun control advocates cannot see these non-victims.  They have no ability to acknowledge their numbers, let alone tabulate them.  For that reason, they are unable to compare “Second Amendment Community A” against “Gun Control Community B.”  Since they cannot comprehend that which they cannot see they deny that the first community has an absence of dead that puts the second community to shame.  All that Progressives see are the bodies stacked in Community B.  They then draw their myopic conclusion:  a little gun control didn’t work, so more will be better.

This inability to see beyond their noses doesn’t stop with the Progressive approach to economics or gun control.  The same ideological myopia, or failure of imagination, powers abortion.  Progressives see the young woman whose education ends abruptly with a pregnancy; the downtrodden wife who doesn’t want a seventh child with her abusive husband; or the high-powered executive who just can’t be bothered to slow down to have a baby.  What they refuse to see is the baby (a position that at least had some validity in a pre-modern era when we couldn’t peek into the womb, but that is inexcusable now).  Seeing the baby doesn’t automatically mean we should ban all abortions, but it does mean acknowledging that there is another life involved — that even as one life is “saved,” another life is lost.

Illegal immigration?  The Progressive’s mental and ideological imagination begins and ends with the pathetic illegal alien, cowering as the cops drag him/her away from weeping children.  Perhaps they see as far as the brave dash across the border.  What they don’t see are the people who have been patiently waiting in line to come to America, but whose chances diminish as others skip the line entirely.  (Me?  I love immigrants, being the child of two.  But I like ‘em legal, as mine were.)

Progressives also cannot see that governments such as Mexico’s depend upon illegal immigrants to (a) send dollars back to Mexico, although Obamanomics make those dollars worth less (or worthless, depending); and (b) provide a safety valve so that Mexico doesn’t have to deal with its oppressive, corrupt government and the deleterious effect that government has on its people’s inability to raise themselves into wealth.

You can play the same myopia game with all the other Progressive positions too, whether welfare or national security.  Invariably, if you drill down into the Progressive world view, and you put aside the usual paranoid delusions that thrive in the absence of clear-eyed evidence, you will see that each Progressive political “theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.

Progressivism is like mental and moral myopia.  It’s acolytes can see only the most simple images, provided they are pushed right under their noses.  They lack the imagination, curiosity and, yes, the intelligence to look for or even envision a world beyond the crude, stereotypical cartoons that inhabit their immediate line of sight.

Found it on Facebook: a story about a mass murder that didn’t happen

One of my high school friends is black, pro-union, devoutly Christian and (to my surprise, given her San Francisco upbringing) apparently pro-Second Amendment.  She passed this along from one of her Facebook friends (who is a big numbers conservative Christian Facebooker):

San Antonio police crime scene

San Antonio Theater Shooting

On Sunday December 17, 2012, 2 days after the CT shooting, a man went to a restaurant in San Antonio to kill his X-girlfriend. After he shot her, most of the people in the restaurant fled next door to a theater. The gunman followed them and entered the theater so he could shoot more people. He started shooting and people in the theater started running and screaming. It’s like the Aurora, CO theater story plus a restaurant!

Now aren’t you wondering why this isn’t a lead story in the national media along with the school shooting?

There was an off duty county deputy at the theater. SHE pulled out her gun and shot the man 4 times before he had a chance to kill anyone. So since this story makes the point that the best thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, the media is treating it like it never happened.

Only the local media covered it. The city is giving her a medal next week.

Just thought you’d like to know.

I remain disgusted with the media’s deliberate attempt to whitewash news while at the same time creating their own narrative for whatever sinister reasons.

As far as I can tell, the only thing inaccurate about the story above is the date — the shooting that was stopped by an off-duty deputy took place on December 30, not December 17.  Everything else is accurate — guy goes into theater, starts shooting like crazy, people panic, and then this happens (emphasis mine):

The gunman entered the theater, Antu says, where he fired a shot but did not hit anyone. An off-duty sheriff’s deputy working security then shot the gunman.

The best defense against a crazed, armed bad guy, is a heroic armed good guy.  End of story.

One more point:  the Facebook post says “I remain disgusted with the media’s deliberate attempt to whitewash news while at the same time creating their own narrative for whatever sinister reasons.”  Apropos the media narrative, it’s worth noting a point that Dan Baum, a pro-Second Amendment Progressive, makes in a Harper’s Magazine article he wrote after the shooting in Aurora:

Among the many ways America differs from other countries when it comes to guns is that when a mass shooting happens in the United States, it’s a gun story. How an obviously sick man could buy a gun; how terrible it is that guns are abundant; how we must ban particular types of guns that are especially dangerous. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence responded to the news with a gun-control petition. Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times has weighed in with an online column saying that “Politicians are far too cowardly to address gun violence . . . which keeps us from taking practical measures to avoid senseless shootings.”

Compare that to the coverage and conversation after Anders Behring Breivik murdered sixty-nine people on the island of Utøya in Norway, a year ago next Sunday. Nobody focused on the gun. I had a hard time learning from the news reports what type of gun he used. Nobody asked, “How did he get a gun?” That seemed strange, because it’s much harder to get a gun in Europe than it is here. But everybody, even the American media, seemed to understand that the heart of the Utøya massacre story was a tragically deranged man, not the rifle he fired. Instead of wringing their hands over the gun Breivik used, Norwegians saw the tragedy as the opening to a conversation about the rise of right-wing extremism in their country.

The problem in America isn’t the Second Amendment.  Instead, the problem comes about because the Progressive media creates a warped narrative that takes guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.  The result is that guns exist, but law-abiding people (a disproportionate number of whom are black) die from killers who know that there is no one and nothing that can stop them:

It is true that all countries in Southern and Western Europe had lower murder rates than the U.S. But it might be worthwhile to parse the U.S. number if we continue to make such comparisons.

In over 52% of the murders in the US in 2011 in which the race of the murderer was known, the murderer was black. Over half of the victims of murder were also black. But blacks are only 13.6% of the population. Put all that together, and the murder rate in the US for non-blacks was more like 2.6 per 100,000 in 2011.

As Peter Baldwin put it in his book, The Narcissism of Minor Differences, “Take out the black underclass from the statistics, and even American murder rates fall to European levels.”

It’s timely, as always, to remember that gun control in America began as a way to keep blacks defenseless and disenfranchised.  Progressives dress the whole thing up in prettier language, but their eugenic roots are starting to show.

 

Know your political opponent

I am really becoming a fan of Kevin Williamson, over at National Review.  Today, he goes beyond Progressives’ superficial characteristics (wealth reallocation, gun fear, etc.), and digs deep into their values and their psyches.  It’s fascinating reading on its own terms.  It’s also extremely useful because, as Williamson himself says, you have to understand your enemy to defeat him.  Knowledge, of course, is power.

Conservatives are not positioned to engage in a full frontal attack against Progressive politics.  The two avenues open are stealth attacks, where we sneak up when they’re not looking (ideologically speaking) and judo-style attacks, where we use their own momentum to take them down.

The one thing we can’t allow ourselves to be is demoralized.  Dr. Helen notes that conservatives in 2012 are infinitely more depressed than liberals were in 2004.  My thinking has been that, while liberals didn’t like the Bush policies as they were playing out, conservatives are deeply worried about Obama’s “fundamental transformation” plans.  Once you start treating the Constitution like toilet paper, it’s hard to resurrect it as a binding agreement between government and people.  In other words, we have more to worry about than the liberals did.

Dr. Helen, though, has a simpler explanation, which is that the liberals are creating the Zeitgeist, and the Zeitgeist is that conservatives are deeply flawed, evil, and murderous:

The media and Obama blare the non-stop message that Republicans are no good, racist dogs and support fat cats. None of this is true, of course, but the media and Obama spin the message and Republicans get the blame for the majority of all that is wrong with America.

Oh, by the way, speaking of murderous, here is a great, gory mash-up (definite violence alert) showing Hollywood liberals in all their hypocritical glory:

Is it the end of the world as we know it, or just a new phase in the battle for America’s soul?

I’ve had the same ten tabs open in Firefox this entire day.  I feel like a madman, trying to create order out of the chaos in my mind.  I’m convinced that there’s a thread tying together these articles, but I can’t figure out precisely what that thread is.  Maybe it’s just that each is another indicator that we’re starting to slide very quickly down some slippery slope, and I don’t think that we’re in for a soft landing.

Here are the articles, which I present in the order the presented themselves to me as I read through my normal websites and my email today.  If you can catch the elusive thread tying them together, please let me know.

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I admire Jack Cashill greatly.  He’s a smart man and a superb investigator.  Nevertheless, I’ve long thought he had something of a bee in his bonnet with his insistence that TWA Flight 800 was anything more than a tragic disaster.  Now that I’ve had the dubious pleasure of watching the Obama administration work with the media to cover up events in Benghazi in order to salvage his reelection, however, I’m much more inclined to believe Cashill’s theory about the 1996 plane explosion — namely, that it was a terrorist attack, possibly of Iranian origination, and that Clinton and the media covered it up in order to secure his reelection.

***

I know this sounds callous, but I think that the only way to save America is to let Obama take it off the cliff.  Here’s my thinking regarding the “fiscal cliff” talks:  The Republicans have three choices:  (1) compromise; (2) stonewall; and (3) walk away.  If they compromise, they’ve lost, as a smugly victorious Obama clearly is not in a compromising mood.  He knows that, once the Republicans are a party to any economic plans, no matter how minimal or reluctant their participation, they will get the blame when things inevitably go wrong (or, in the unlikely event things go right, Obama will get all the credit). The Republicans will be irreparably smeared and become irrelevant.

If Republicans stonewall, the exact same thing will happen:  the media will blame them for anything that goes wrong, and give Obama credit for anything that might stay right.  And as this election showed, Americans listen to the media, despite knowing that it lies and conceals.

The only thing left for Republicans is to tell both Obama and the American voters, “The voters wanted Obama and his economic plans, so they shall get them.  We wash our hands of this.”  If things go well, then Republicans will have to accept that their policies are wrong.  If things go badly — and I suspect that they will, and quickly too — Republicans will finally have a convincing platform from which to sell true fiscal conservativism, rather than once again being enablers for Progressive profligacy. That platform, I believe, is the only thing that can return America to her status as a light of freedom and constitutional prosperity.

***

California health insurance rates are skyrocketing.  The usual suspects are blaming the insurance companies for having the temerity to want to earn enough money to pay their employees, pay-out to their insureds, and have money for stockholders (who are, after all, the ultimate owners of these companies).  You and I knew that this was inevitable under ObamaCare, since people no longer need to buy insurance when they’re healthy, but can wait until they’re sick.  And we knew that the media would blame the insurance companies — just as we know that, if there’s a single Republican fingerprint on any budget plan, the Republicans will get the entire blame for any failures.  Being a Progressive means never having to acknowledge that you’re culpable.

***

Speaking of the appalling, biased media, the IDF provides a detailed glimpse into the way the media and the Palestinians work hand-in-hand to destroy Israel, both in the battlefield and in the war for hearts and minds around the world.

***

It’s official:  Harvard will have a student society dedicated to S & M (that’s “sadism and masochism” for the innocents among you). Please remind me why Harvard is still considered a respectable educational institution, worth the millions of dollars taxpayers that send to it, both by funding direct federal grants and by picking up the costs of all the taxpayer-guaranteed loans its students conveniently forget to pay upon graduation.

***

Yes, Susan Rice is every bit as bad as you think she is — and it has nothing to do with her skin color and everything to do with her personality, political ideology, and ugly track record.

***

One of my high school friends calls himself a life-long conservative, something I did not know about him back in high school.  I think, though, that he could more accurately be summed up as a libertarian, since he is not at all a social conservative.  To that end, he’s expressed dismay with the increasingly high profile of fervently religious candidates in the Republican party.  He’s wondering if he can twist himself around to believe in the Democrat party, which he sees as non-religious.  I countered his concerns by sending him Dennis Prager’s article explaining that socialism is not just a religion, it’s currently the world’s most dynamic religion.  I recognize that the Republican party can be weak and pathetic, and that it is too often made up of RINOs or true ignoramuses who hide behind religion to excuse that ignorance.  Nevertheless, my friend needs to understand that the alternative is worse.

***

One of my long-time peeves (and one of the things that turned me to conservativism) is the way that Progressives mangled Title IX, which was, in relevant part, supposed to remove hurdles to women’s participation in college sports.  Equality of access?  It’s a good thing.  What Progressives have done, though, is to demand perfect equality of numbers.  Because college women have stubbornly refused to participate in college athletics at the same rate as college men, the only way to achieve this artificial parity is to slash men’s athletic programs.  James Taranto explains here, and makes us fully aware of yet another travesty inflicted on America thanks to Progressive politics.

***

And finally, it wasn’t your imagination that, for the first time in America, the 2012 election was openly predicated upon socialist class warfare. Just to make it official, a top Democrat political action group (conveniently working with George Soros funds) has started a website explicitly dedicated to class warfare.

***

So, was I right?  Is the common thread to these links the dissolution of America at every level?

I’m sorry if I sound bipolar.  Yesterday I was enthusing about the possibility of an American Margaret Thatcher and today I’m talking about imminent Armageddon.  The latter is how I feel; the former is how I want to feel.

In any event, I’m not sure one can ever fight a battle unless one simultaneously fears the opponent and feels optimistic about ones own abilities. In other words, success requires an honest assessment of the forces arrayed against you, as well as the belief that it is possible to prevail.  Without that belief, why bother to fight?

Random thoughts of an idle mind — and an Open Thread

Progressives and narcissists share an unpleasant trait:  If you make a mistake, it proves that you and your ideas are inferior; if they make a mistake, it’s just a mistake.  Your mistake is irremediable, because it’s intrinsic to who you are; their mistake is just one of those things, and can be either forcibly forgotten or lied about.

***

I seem to be aging backwards.  I was an extremely self-disciplined young person.  If a task needed doing, I buckled down and did it.  Now, I feel like a teenager.  I’m in perpetual, albeit silent, rebellion against the responsibilities in my life.  Because I’m an adult, I don’t openly rebel, but I do take the route of procrastination and passive-aggressive behavior.

***

When a teenage girl says “I’ll be done in a sec,” resign yourself to a very long wait.

***

My liberal Facebook friends are not just less informed about current events than my conservative Facebook friends, they’re less interested.  All year long, my conservative friends post “content rich” material — newspaper articles, magazine articles, long blog posts — that provide facts and opinion about events in the political and economic scene.  And all year long, my liberal friends put up posts about and pictures of themselves.  Then, when an election rolls around, the liberals suddenly become very active, putting up clever, albeit vapid and still content-free, political posters lauding Democrats and maligning Republicans.  The liberals, however, do not link to longer articles, which indicates either that they don’t read anything beyond posters or bumper stickers, or that they assume that no one else is capable of reading anything longer than a poster or bumper sticker.

***

My mild dyslexia pops up whenever I type the word “bumper.”  I always want to type it “pumber,” because the word “bumper,” more than any other, messes with my ability to distinguish “p” from “b”.  If you ever see me write about a “pumber” sticker, you now know why.

***

Thankfully, here in Marin, we don’t get hurricanes.  Sometimes, though, we get some nice winter storms, complete with wind, torrential rain, and thunder & lightning.  We’re having one now.  I always feel a bit guilty that I enjoy this weather so much.  I’m only able to enjoy it because (a) I have a sturdy home that shelters me from the storm and (b) I don’t have to drive long distances through the rain.  Those facts give me the luxury to enjoy wild winter weather in Marin.

***

The most torrential rains I ever experienced were in Texas and England.  In both cases, the rain fell so hard that drivers had to pull off the road, because their windshields had become impenetrable.  There were no individual drops of rain, just walls of water.

***

Any idle thoughts you would like to add to this list?

 

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.

Found it on Facebook: The only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner

My Facebook friends are besides themselves with delight about Obama’s victory.  I get that.  What I don’t appreciate is the “kick ‘em while they’re down” attitude that these enlightened people show.  Herewith, the latest offerings from the sore winners on Facebook.

Progressives conflate truly stupid statements about human biology (that would be Todd Akin) and rape (Roger Rivard), with defensible, humane positions about the sanctity of life.  That is, you don’t have to agree with Mourdock, Walsh, or Ryan, but you should recognize that they’ve taken a morally defensible position.  I look forward to the day when reporters ask Progressive political candidates “Do you believe in third trimester abortion?” or “What would you do with an aborted baby that is born alive?”


The thinking person might look at this chart and, instead of boasting about about college degrees, think about budget deficits, urban ghettos, and bankrupt cities.  Just sayin’:

And this one? Well, it’s just vulgar and offensive — a classic example of an ungracious winner:

Conservatives need a new ground game

Maybe I’m in denial, but I’m feeling less depressed than I felt last night and this morning.  Part of my more sanguine attitude is based upon a Taranto principle, which is that Obama now owns the events of the next four years:

Obama has spent the past four years explaining away his failings by essentially arguing he is the best of all possible presidents–that he has done as well as any man could given the “mess” he “inherited” from his predecessor. It is certainly true that he took office under adverse circumstances. But so will whoever takes office Jan. 20. In fact, things are about to get a lot worse because of decisions taken but deferred during the Obama years.

The mess today’s winner will inherit includes not only high unemployment and slow growth but impending policy changes that threaten to make those problems worse. On Jan. 1, unless Congress acts, the Bush tax cuts expire–or, to put it another way, “massive, job-killing tax increases” are about to take effect (that quote is from President Obama). If Obama gets his way–which he likely would if re-elected–Congress will forestall the hike only for taxpayers making under $200,000 or $250,000 a year. That would be good for those fortunate enough to have jobs, but it would not change the tax increase’s job-killing nature, as it would hit investors and small businesses hard.

Then there’s ObamaCare. Although enacted nearly three years ago, it was written so that most of its provisions would not take effect until the next presidential term. “The bottled-up rules to set up President Barack Obama’s health care reform law are going to start flowing quickly right after Election Day,” Politico reports. “As soon as Wednesday, the gears and levers of government bureaucracy are likely to start moving at full speed again.”

The scale of the messes Taranto describes makes it unlikely that Romney could have been a successful president.  At best, he might have stemmed an economic or national security collapse, but I doubt he could actually have improved things.  The systems for self-destruction — massive debt, vast entitlement expectations, ObamaCare beginning to weave into the warp and woof of our social and economic fabric, a dangerous world outside of America’s borders — are already deeply entrenched.  Four years won’t fix them.  (Which may be why voters ignored Obama’s empty 2008 promises and decided that he really need 8 years to fulfill the hope and change manifesto.)

But, but . . . what about Reagan?  He also inherited a dangerous world and an unhealthy economy.  That’s true — but he inherited a different ground game.  Political correctness didn’t exist then.  Skin color diversity (offset by ideological homogeneity) was at the beginning of its trajectory, not the peak.  People still viewed government aid as something one first earned or, if one didn’t earn it, as something one accepted with some degree of embarrassment.  Now, even with no pay-in, they view it as a right, with no shame attached.  In Reagan’s day, our troops hadn’t been fighting a blood-and-guts war for eight years (as opposed to a massive Cold War chess game) against an enemy that neither the Republican nor the Democrat President willingly named.  In Reagan’s day, the intelligentsia may have tried to downplay the Soviet Union, but ordinary people still knew that it was indeed the Evil Empire.  Israel was still loved, not hated, so Americans supported a president who supported Israel.

The ground game has changed.  As Roger Simon says,

So we have a problem with democracy. It’s not working or, more specifically, has been turned on its end, with the masses manipulated against their own self-interest, creating power elites similar to those described in Milovan Djilas’ The New Class.

How did that happen? I think many of us know there are three pillars of our own destruction: the educational system, the media and entertainment (the popular arts).

Those three areas are so corrupted those who legitimately are on the center-right (or anywhere close to it) will increasingly find themselves swimming upstream against a current so great who knows where it will take them. (Think Hayek, Orwell, etc.) We must address ourselves to these three immediately before it is too late. In many ways, it already is. Culture is the mother of politics and mother is turning into Medea.

Okay, fine.  We fight the wars we’re given, not the wars we want.  So here’s my thinking.

As I said, I’m less depressed than I was because I think our culture is such that, no matter who occupies the White House, bad things are going to happen.  Really bad things, both with our economy and our national security.  Seeing as I think the coming hurt is inevitable, I’d rather it happens on a Democrat’s than on a Republican’s watch.  If I’m wrong, I’ll eat crow and begin to consider whether my political leanings of the past eight years have been a temporary aberration, and I’ll even contemplate returning to my liberal roots.  (Unlikely, but if the next four years are an American boom time, we’ll all need to rethink our belief systems.)

Accepting the inevitable, how do we fight back?  As polite conservatives, we’ve always tried to work through the ballot box.  We’ve decried the bias in media (including PBS, which we pay for), academia, and education, but we really haven’t done anything about it.  We tried to vote for people who would stop funding PBS and we whined on websites about the indoctrination at our children’s schools.  We’ve still paid to watch movies and we tune in to TV.

We resent the system, but we work within in.  For all that we talk about the ageless wonders of our Constitution and free-market principles generally, we are short-term thinkers, who keep believing (all evidence to the contrary) that we can kill the Progressive tree, not by attacking the roots, but by taking an axe to the tip-top of the tree through honestly brokered elections.  The fact is that the cultural battle is so one-sided (against our side) that we’d probably lose even honestly brokered elections, ones that did not involve massive fraud and media malfeasance.

We keep doing trying the same failed tactic, even though we recognize that the strong Democrat victories resulted, not because the Left voted, but because they spent 60 years going after America’s social and intellectual infrastructure.  The numbers of actual Lefties are probably pretty small; the number of people who have been taught to vote Democrat without thinking what it really means, is huge.

William F. Buckley figured out the problem in the 1950s and started a cultural counter attack, which ended with the Reagan ascendency.  Whew!  That was it.  We won.  Yay.  We won forever.  NOT.  The Left never stopped its ground game.  Indeed, during and after the Reagan years (including during the Clinton years), the hard Left consolidated its hold over cultural institutions.  We just watched and whined.

We cannot do that anymore.  For the next four years, conservatives need to stop worrying about this candidate or that candidate (which is all we ever do) and we need to start wooing the masses.

My friend Lulu, who comments here and who has been an occasional guest poster, called me today with a wonderful idea:  Star Parker.  Okay, you’re right.  Star Parker is a wonderful person, not a wonderful idea, but she’s the symbol for my friend’s idea.  We don’t need to run Star Parker for office, we need to run her for talk show host, a la Oprah.  She’s engaging, approachable, intelligent, conservative and black.  I hate to add the last, because I don’t like to judge people by the color of their skin, but I’m in minority.  I live in my head, so I relate to people intellectually.  Most don’t.  They need other people to look like them in order to start feeling comfortable with their ideas.

The talk show idea, though is the right one.  We know that most people aren’t high-level thinkers when it comes to politics but are, instead, low-level, emotional reactors.  I do not mean that they are stupid.  I just mean that, when it comes to politics, they engage in a non-abstract, non-theoretical, non-intellectual level.  The old saying is that, if the mountain won’t come to Mohamed, than Mohamed must go to the mountain.  We need to reach out to non-engaged voters by meeting them at their level, rather than insisting that they meet us at ours.

Admittedly, our conservative social infrastructure is limited.  Liberals own the media and the entertainment world.  But how did they get there?  They pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed.  We need to start pushing too.  We need talk shows, even if they start on cable or internet.  We also need to take a page out of the Leftist handbook and start using the courts.  For example, Lulu suggested that, as taxpayers, we have standing to sue PBS to demand that, as long as public broadcasting gets public monies, it must devote 50% of its programming time to conservative programs.  After all, for decades, simply because they rented public airwaves, TV and radio were required to be  neutral.  Why isn’t PBS?

When it comes to Hollywood, we need to come together an create alternatives.  Stop spending your money on movies by people who hate us.  Why are we doing that?  And we should take the money we didn’t spend on the haters and invest it in movie makers (such as Declaration Entertainment) that will make entertaining movies that don’t hit us over the head with their message, but that feed it to us subliminally.  (When we do make movies we always go for the iron hand, rather than the velvet glove).  The Left figured this one out, as Ben Shapiro explains in Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.  We too can change the paradigm without being obvious.

And why are we, who pay most of the taxes, allowing publicly funded schools to discriminate against conservative teachers? We sit back and cheer when an individual conservative teacher sues after being denied tenure, but we’ve never had a taxpayer suit saying that, just as student body’s have to be diverse, so should faculty — and that this diversity includes not discriminating against belief systems.  In other words, we have to redefine diversity so that it encompasses ideology as well as (or instead of) skin color.

We also have to advertise ourselves better.  As Romney’s campaign (and McCain’s and Bush’s too) showed, Republican political “leaders” find our ideology embarrassing and seek to wrap it up in gauzy, often impenetrable, platitudes.  One of my readers, Fern, suggests that our campaigns have a musty, fuzzy look.  The Left identifies us as backwards, reactionary, etc., and we yield.  We’ve certainly given the Left linguistic control.  They’re “Progressive” and “Forward.”  We’re fuddy-duddy “conservatives.”

Obama, a child of the Left, understands that words matter, more than the fact that these so-called Progressives keep trying to recycle ideas that failed in all nations that have tried them.  They’ve got the glamor and the gloss, and those gimmicks sell in a superficial world.

One of the first and easiest things we can do is to start with re-branding.  Keep in mind that calling conservatives “right wing” harks back to the 18th century French parliament, when the non-revolutionaries sat on the right side of the hall.  Is that how we want to identify ourselves — as relics of the ancien regime?  “Conservative” too makes us sound like a bunch of reactionary codgers who can be painted as desirous of slavery (never mind that the Republicans freed the slaves), Jim Crow-lovers (never mind that Republicans opposed Jim Crow), and misogynists (never mind that Republicans are in the vanguard of fighting Muslims and Chinese Communists who treat women and girl babies like disposable property).

It turns out that, in a media rich world, Shakespeare was wrong.  That which we call rose, by any other name does not smell as sweet.  With that in mind, how about starting to call ourselves “Individualists” or “the Freedom Party” or something like that?  Liberals successfully (and mostly under the radar) rebranded themselves as Progressives, leaving behind the musty Victorian taint of “liberalism.”  If they can do it, why can’t we?

Truly, the wake-up call we received yesterday is not about 2012 or even about 2016.  It is about our finally understanding that the opposition has long had a better strategy and endless institutional patience.  We won only when there were still enough voters who hadn’t been indoctrinated.  In 2008, there weren’t enough of us remaining to tilt the scales.  The Left attacked America at the root, and we need to take it back at precisely the same level.

The battle is over.  The war has begun.  Consider this post Ground Zero.  If you have ideas — practical, non-whining ideas that ordinary people can put into effect — post them in the comments section, and we’ll see how far we can disseminate them.  For starters, I am no longer a conservative.  I am an “individualist” who supports a “Freedom Party,” as opposed to a “statist” who supports “Big Government.”

UPDATE:  Others thinking about a new ground game too –

The Colossus of Rhodey

Don Quixote (at our own Bookworm Room)

Ron Radosh

Michelle Horstman

Found it on Facebook — Progressives unable to understand a figure of speech

The other day, Joe Biden used a figure of speech:

Ryan has written a book called The Young Guns with two other fellows, members of the house . . . no, these are the Republican leaders in the house. You had . . . . You had . . . Unfortunately, these bullets are aimed at you.

The audience, rather than running for shelter, laughed at Joe’s witticism.  They fully understood that Ryan wasn’t outside the door gunning for them.

Apparently Progressives’ ability to understand figures of speech vanishes if a conservative if speaking.  As you may recall, after Obama repeatedly impugned Romney’s integrity during the second debate, Tagg Romney spoke up.  In doing so, he used a variation on a figure of speech familiar to many of us when someone near and dear to our hearts has been insulted:  “I’d like to punch that guy.”  Not only did he use a figure of speech, he then explained that he was using a figure of speech, and didn’t really mean what he said (emphasis mine):

Tagg Romney, the eldest son of the GOP presidential nominee, joked on a North Carolina radio station that he wanted to jump out of his seat at Tuesday’s debate and “take a swing” at Obama as the president repeatedly called out Mitt Romney.

“But you know you can’t do that because … there’s a lot of Secret Service between you and him, but also because this is the nature of the process,” Romney told Bill LuMaye of WPTF-AM. “They’re going to do everything they can do to try to make my dad into someone he’s not. We signed up for it. We’ve gotta kinda sit there and take our punches and then send them right back the other way.”

Note, too, that Tagg was generally using fight metaphors in his speech, since he finished by saying the Romneys have to “take our punches and then send them right back the other way.”

As I said, though, Progressives don’t get metaphors unless they’re the ones using them.  That’s why I found this image from a reliable Progressive on my Facebook page today:

If one wants to say anything about Mitt, it’s that he successfully taught his son that violence is not the answer : using a non-violent process is.  As many have understood, politics is war by other means.  Tagg explicitly stated that he’s more than willing to abide by non-violent means to achieve a power shift in the body politic.

Found it on Facebook — crude anti-Mormon sentiment

I continue to be fascinated with the things that my Progressive friends post on Facebook.  I feel like a cultural archaeologist.  Here’s today’s offering:

For once, my commentary can be summed up in a single sentence:

We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. — Barack Obama, September 12, 2012

 

Found it on Facebook: Romney is evil? Really?

One of my old high school classmates, who is gay and Progressive, posted a heartfelt plea today that all of his Facebook friends do whatever is necessary to keep the “evil” Romney out of office.  Evil?  That’s an awfully strong word.  Hitler was evil.  Mao was evil.  Stalin was evil.  Pol Pot was evil.  Saddam Hussein was evil.

But what the heck has Romney ever said or done to earn the appellation evil?  I meant to ask my friend, but my computer is dying and for reasons entirely unclear to me, it will no longer let me post any comments to Facebook.  I’ll have a new computer by next week and, if I remember, I’ll politely ask this guy why Romney is “evil” as opposed to merely being a mainstream politician and member of Lincoln’s party, whose mainstream politics somehow offend this guy.

I’m actually being a bit disingenuous here.  I’ve known for decades that Conservatives think Progressives are misguided; while Progressives think Conservatives are evil.  It’s just that I don’t remember this level of hysteria from before.  People disagreed, but the passion that characterizes the “Leave Britney alone!” video wasn’t as obvious, and the insults weren’t so blatant.


An insight into Progressive beliefs about how voters’ minds work

John Hinderaker caught a very funny statement from Jen Psaki, who is one of the president’s official spokesmen. She was responding to a reporter’s question regarding the fact that PBS asked the Democrats to take down an add using Big Bird (emphasis mine):

We have received that request [from PBS]. We’re reviewing it. I will say it doesn’t change the fact that there’s only one candidate in this race who is going to continue to fight for Big Bird and Elmo, and he is riding on this plane.

You can just see the great minds of the Democrat party meeting to put together a checklist of ordinary voter concerns that they should be addressing.

Meeting Chairman:  Okay, folks.  It’s time to get to work.  With the president having tanked in his first debate, and the very real risk that Joe will implode in his only debate, we’ve got to get the president ready to talk about things that really matter to the American people.  I’m going to open the floor to suggestions:

Twenty-something young man:  Uh, what about young people’s concern about the deficit that they’ll have to pay for?

Chairman:  Not going to happen, We know they’re not thinking about that.  They just want sex, booze, and subsidies.  We’ve already tapped Hollywood to remind the demographic that the President is cool, and that he’s got their backs.

Thirty-something young woman:  The President needs to tell womyn that he’ll make sure that they get free birth control and abortions, as well as unrestricted access to tampons (which should be free too).

Chairman:  Again, not going to happen, Sandra.  Our internal polling shows that the Independents aren’t buying that argument.  Anyway, women know that Obama has got their back, and we’ve had Hollywood double down on its “Republicans will legalize rape” claims.

Black woman:  Should we talk about the fact that blacks are disproportionately affected by unemployment?

Chairman:  Our campaign funds and air time are too limited to do messaging on the way the President’s policies are good for African Americans.  American blacks know that Obama’s got their backs,  He’ll make sure that the government always supports them.

Jewish Guy:  Isn’t it time that the President made a strong statement about Israel?

Chairman:  We’ve polled that one, Shlmo, and it’s going nowhere in this election.  Let’s let sleeping dogs lie.

Palestinian Guy:  The president must talk about the continued slaughter and rape of the Palestinian people.

Chairman:  Calm down, Achmed.  We don’t need to do a strong message on this, because our base knows that the President has the Palestinian people’s backs.

Sex-changed gay transvestite:  I have two words:  Gay Marriage.

Chairman:  The president’s still evolving on that one until after the election, Pat.  Don’t worry.  You guys, gals and indeterminates know that the president has your backs.

Lone WASP guy:  What about the murdered ambassador in Libya, the head of security killed in Yemen yesterday, and all the other signs that al Qaeda is coming back?

Chairman:  Come on, Charlie.  The president has already explained that these are just highly critical movie reviews that got out of hand.  The public doesn’t need to hear more.  Al Qaeda knows that the President’s got its back.  Uh, misspoke there, Dude.  I meant that the American people and the American military know that the President’s got their backs.

Five year old attending meeting because she’s got a cold and her mom is still breast-feeding her:  Mommy, Mommy! I want my Tickle Me Elmo doll!!!

Chairman:  That’s it. Elmo!  Big Bird!  Protecting those icons from Republican attacks is the one thing we need to do in order galvanize those Independent voters.  It’s Mom, Apple Pie, Elmo and Big Bird.  Okay, folks!  Here’s the official line:  President Obama, Defender of Sesame Street!

 

Progressives rewrite history to suit their needs

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the fact that “the most brilliant president ever” doesn’t know the difference between an endorser and an endorsee.  As you may recall, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator showed up at Obama’s campaign event, leading Obama to say “‘My homeboy from Illinois,’ Obama said, ‘and an outstanding Republican endorsee.’”

I had a good laugh at the genius’s expense, but there was something else in the underlying news story that’s been niggling at me about that news story.  What bugged me finally popped into focus this morning, when I made my daily visit to Ace of Spades and saw the cartoon I reprint below.

It all starts with that original news story.  We learned there that the impersonator, Lance Mack, has been making a fine living attending Republican events.  Apparently, though, he doesn’t pay much attention at those events, because he’s a staunch Democrat.  Mack has no problem pretending to be Lincoln, though:

“Today’s Republicans either don’t know or won’t acknowledge if they do that the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln of 1860 was the progressive party and the Democratic Party was the conservative party,” Mack says. “Mr. Obama, of course, greatly admires President Lincoln. He’s quoted him in many speeches. He also used Lincoln’s Bible upon which to place his hand for his inaugural oath.”

Wow!  This is 1984-style revisionism with a vengeance.  As best as I can tell, Mack’s theory is that anything good that happened historically was “progressive,” and anything bad was “conservative,” so today’s Progressives ( who were, as little as ten years ago, still called Democrats) can claim the mantle of any political outcome that the approved history books like.

You can play this game forever, you know:  During the Revolutionary War, the Americans were the progressive party and the British were the conservative party, so today’s Progressives, everyone ranging from Obama to Pelosi to Axelrod, wears that revolutionary mantle.  And during the Jim Crow era, the anti-Jim Crow Republicans were the progressives and the pro-Jim Crow Democrats were the conservatives, which means that all of today’s Progressives and Democrats can wear the Civil Rights mantle.

I won’t belabor this point because, at Ace, I found the perfect cartoon from The People’s Cube.  I do believe that this cartoon proves, once again, that one good picture is worth a thousand (or maybe ten thousand) of my words:


I’d give a People’s Cube link for the above cartoon, but I can’t find one, and that’s despite scrolling through the archives with some vigor.  What I can tell you though, after having scrolled through those archives, is that you should visit the People’s Cube.  I’ve been aware of the site for a long time, but had never actually checked it out.  It’s really phenomenal.

I’m actually not surprised by the satiric brilliance on display there. The proprietor and creative genius is Oleg Atbashian, who grew up in the Soviet Union. The one thing that the Soviet overlords couldn’t take away from the people was satire. Those who refused to bow down to the cognitive dissonance created by a totalitarian state understood that, sometimes, their only refuge — and weapon — was humor.

The excremental Left — an amateur Freudian analysis

The SF Chron had an article about the mountains of rubbish that revelers left in San Francisco’s Dolores Park on July 4.  I can tell you with absolute certain that the Dolores Park partiers were liberals or, as they would call themselves, Progressives.  That City and, more specifically, that neighborhood, tell you everything you need to know.

The story made me realize how strongly I associate the Left with dirt.  When they party, they leave behind mountains of dirt.  When they Occupy, they leave behind mountains of dirt.  When they have street protests, they leave behind mountains of dirt.  More than that, the Left is obsessed with excrement.  They poop and pee in parks, on flags, and in buildings.  They collect poop and deliver it to their “enemies.”  Even their writing is littered with excrement, insofar as they are addicted to using scatological phrases to insult anything (or anybody) that doesn’t meet with their approval.

Part of the filth is the Progressive mentality that says an individual is never responsible for things.  Responsibility lies with the community or the government.  That’s how things roll in the socialist world.

Looking at the writing, though, you realize that something deeper is going on.  After all, even wackiest Progressive doesn’t expect some government organization to come along and purge the expletives from his paragraphs.  In other words, at least mentally, a lot of Leftists live in the gutter by choice.

If I was taking a stab at psychiatric analysis — and I am gleefully unqualified to do so — I would say that Progressives are stuck in the anal stage of development:

The anal stage, in Freudian psychology, is the period of human development occurring at about one to three years of age. Around this age, the child begins to toilet train, which brings about the child’s fascination in the erogenous zone of the anus. The erogenous zone is focused on the bowel and bladder control. Therefore, Freud believed that the libido was mainly focused on controlling the bladder and bowel movements. The anal stage coincides with the start of the child’s ability to control their anal sphincter, and therefore their ability to give or withhold gifts at will. If the children during this stage can overcome the conflict it will result in a sense of accomplishment and independence.

Here’s the key:  according to Freud, the adult charged with potty training a child has to strike the right tone.  Too strict, and you get one of those compulsive, rule-following people we all casually refer to as “anal retentive.”  Anal retentive people can be irritating (or, colloquially, a pain in the ass), but theirs is an ordered world.  Too lenient an approach — and you can bet that the young Lefties out there were all raised by “rules be damned” old Lefties, and you’ve got today’s Progressives:

If parents take an approach that is too lenient, Freud suggested that an anal-expulsive personality could develop in which the individual has a messy, wasteful or destructive personality.

In other words, the problem with today’s politics is clearly a result of bad parenting a few decades ago, especially when it came to potty training.

It’s all so simple when you have a degree in armchair psychology.

Thoughts about Progressives, inspired by Jonah Goldberg’s new book

I haven’t yet finished Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, which is unusual for me, given that I’ve had it since Friday. It’s the kind of book one gobbles up — but that assumes time to gobble. Since I bought the book and Jonah signed it (more on that later), I’ve been in perpetual motion. You’ve seen that reflected in my blogging silence, and I’ve seen it reflected, as well, in my inability to find time to sit and read.

Having found time to read half the book, though, I can tell you a few things about it.  While Jonah’s last book was about history — namely, the way in which liberalism and fascism have marched hand in hand through the 20th century, albeit sometimes with a smiling face — his current book is, as the title says, about ideas.  Ideas are much harder to marshal into a book.  They’re slippery and abstract and, if I can add yet another adjective, abstruse too.  Jonah does a great job getting a handle on ideological constructs and anchoring them to a more solid world.

The premise of Jonah’s book is an interesting one:  he contends that liberals constantly deny that they are anything but pragmatists, which is a good thing and, say liberals, the complete opposite of an ideologue, which they say is a bad thing.  Conservatives, of course, are ideologues.

Liberals refuse to acknowledge that the pragmatism they describe is simply their willingness to use all possible coercive approaches to achieve their end, with the end invariably being something that falls under the socialist rubric.  By denying that they have an ideology, they are therefore able to castigate conservatives for being blinkered by an ugly conservative ideology that advocates dying sick people, homeless old people, starving children, etc.

Jonah’s absolutely right.  I had my epiphany when I finally sat down and looked at the way in which, during the 1980s and 1990s, Christian conservatives referred to Democrats/Liberals as “secularists.”  This made no sense to me.  As far as I was concerned, the Christian conservatives were the ideologues, with their talk of God and the Bible, and their wacky habit of letting their moral beliefs inform their political stances.  We, the high-minded, enlightened, pragmatic liberals had no ideology at all.  Ideology was solely the Christian preserve and we were simply un-Christians, shedding political enlightenment wherever we went.

It wasn’t until I read Stephen Carter’s The Culture of Disbelief that I finally figured out that imposing disbelief on politics is just as ideological as imposing belief on politics. Those darn Christian conservatives were right. Once I had that epiphany, I could never again pretend that my political beliefs were purely the absence of bias and primitivism. (Carter’s book was, obviously, another stepping stone in my slow journey across the ideological Rubicon, from unthinking liberal to thoughtful conservative.)

I still have a lot to learn about abstract political ideas, though, since I tend to be a remarkably concrete thinker. This can be a good thing when I finally understand an abstraction, because it means I’m adept at explaining the abstract idea to others in fairly concrete terms. Not all of us, after all, are philosophers. Jonah’s book is excellent because he too is good at explaining abstract political thought — and, in the case of Progressives, the false denial of abstract political thought — in easy to understand terms.  More than that, and unlike me, he’s extremely knowledgeable, which makes his book both witty (which we expect from Jonah) and informed (which, I have to say, we also expect from Jonah).  As I said to Jonah when we met, I feel as if he’s got the smarter version of my brain.

Here’s what I took away from the book after reading about the development of Progressive ideology:  Progressives have as their touchstone “pragmatism.” This was new to me.  I knew that in the 21st Century, Progressives like to call themselves the “reality-based community,” something that I’ve always seen as a wonderfully ironic joke. Their reality is always bounded by what suits their political ends.

Pure Progressive pragmatism goes behind this unreal commitment to reality.  It turns out that it also means denying the collective wisdom of the ages. Progressives put all their faith in modern science, economics, social science, etc., believing that anything that came before lacked this scientific gloss, making it ineffectual and inefficient.

This refusal to draw from the past’s wisdom means that, for all their constant reminiscences about the Roosevelt and the New Deal, and Johnson and the Great Society, Progressives see these historical events only at the most superficial level.  They stand for the principle that government can do big things. That’s it.  Progressives have no interest in what actually happened. That is, they don’t seek to replicate the precise procedures that FDR or Johnson used — something that is scarcely surprising given the uniformly dismal results. The takeaway for Progressives when they look back in time is simply “Government.” The rest of history is useless to them, because it’s old and wrong, and their experts are very busy reinventing everything in the here and now.

Which leads me to my pithy epigram: Progressives deny that known history has any value, yet they insist that their predictions about the unknown future are entirely accurate.

Pretty good, huh?  And it is, I think, a nice companion piece to my blog slogan:  “Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts.”

Oh, and about that book signing? Two things. One, Jonah wrote a nice inscription in my book: “To Bookworm! Hail, Bookworm” Hail! All my best, from one happy warrior to another.” I liked that.

The other nice thing is that, when I identified myself to Jonah as Bookworm, a gentleman standing in line behind me exclaimed “You’re Bookworm? I love your blog.” To that gentleman: Thank you. You made my day!

Two Hollywood movies, made a decade apart, revel in the Church of Progressive Government

My husband and I are current watching The Ides of MarchThat I am staying awake during a movie that stars the bovine George Clooney, the insipid Ryan Gosling, the obscenity-spouting Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and the “I don’t get why he’s famous” Paul Giamatti and that, forty minutes into the movie, still has no discernible plot, testifies to my ovarian fortitude in the face of great mental suffering.  (I toyed with the idea of saying “testicular fortitude,” but decided it just didn’t work.)

Actually, there is a reason I’m struggling through this so-far pointless, plotless movie about a Democratic primary in Ohio.  I’m quote-gathering.  The very first lines in the movie piqued my interest.  Ryan Gosling speaks them, presumably while standing in for his employer and candidate, George Clooney, who later repeats those same words during a debate in which the opposing primary candidate challenges his religious beliefs:

I’m not a Christian. I’m not an Atheist. I’m not Jewish. I’m not Muslim. My religion, what I believe in is called the Constitution of United States of America.

If the above quotation sounds familiar to you, it should.  Although it’s not identical to a speech in the movie The Contender, it’s certainly similar in content.  In that movie, a Democrat Vice Presidential candidate who has been grossly slimed and maligned by evil Republicans, defends herself thusly:

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of Church and State, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism. Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves, that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.

It sounds as if both those movies are saying “My religion is a Constitutional democracy,” but that’s not true.  If that were true, the Progressives writing, producing, and acting in these movies would be strict constructionists and, quite possibly, libertarians.

Instead, those quotations boil down to “My religion is government.”  Progressives’ faith in this religion is unswerving, and their doctrinal attitude as rigid as any that Torquemada supported.  The Church of Progressive Government requires unswerving fealty to abortion, welfare, open borders, redistribution of wealth (except for that wealth held by those Progressives who have already obtained great wealth and power), racial categorizations every bit as rigid as those practiced in the Old South, and continuous American obeisance to the other nations of the world.  Deviate from this doctrine and, even if you’re not stretched on a rack a la the Spanish Inquisition, as Corey Booker just learned, you are dead.

Religion is a harsh taskmaster, especially for those foolish enough to cross the true believers.

 

President Obama’s church is the Chapel of (Progressive) Democracy

Best of the Web posts a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times in which Obama defines sin, not along traditional Christian or Muslim lines, but along self-referential lines:

Falsani: Do you believe in sin?

Obama: Yes.

Falsani: What is sin?

Obama: Being out of alignment with my values.

The President, when he made that statement about the measure of sin being his own values, might have had in the back of his head the unspoken qualifier that his values are “Christian.” I doubt it, though, because I have found the definitive doctrine of Obama’s faith. Joan Allen, in the 2000 movie The Contender, recites the doctrinal beliefs of what she calls a church based in “this very chapel of democracy.”  I think her church could be more accurately described as The Church of Progressive Political Belief, and it’s clear that President Obama is a devout member.

Here’s the video, followed by a transcript with my interlineations:

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman of the Committee.  Remarkably enough, it seems that I have some explaining to do.  So, let me be absolutely clear.

I stand for a woman’s right to choose.

[So does the President, and he stands for making everyone in America, including religious institutions and religious worshippers that are doctrinally opposed to that "right," pay for women's choices.]

I stand for the elimination of the death penalty.

[This has not been an issue for our president, although he does seem uncommonly fond of drones.]

I stand for a strong and growing armed forces because we must stamp out genocide on this planet, and I believe that that is a cause worth dying for.

[Here we have an early articulation of R2P -- responsibility to protect.  In the Progressive canon, our country is not worth fighting for and dying for.  Genocide -- provided that those on the receiving end of genocide are neither Christians nor Jews -- is the real reason a Progressive United States should have a military.  In this regard, it's ironic that president Obama not only presided over two wars, but started a third.]

I stand for seeing every gun taken out of every home.  Period.

[Three words:  Fast and Furious.]

I stand for making the selling cigarettes to our youth a federal offense.

[Because, really, who needs education, the marketplace of ideas, and free will?]

I stand for term limits and campaign reform.

[Obama hasn't said much about term limits, but he's made it clear that his idea of campaign reform is to stifle corporate speech, despite the fact that corporations are aggregations of citizens and pay taxes; and that his personal contribution to campaign reform is to campaign more than all the other presidents since Nixon put together.]

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of Church and State, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism.

[The Founders could not have made it more clear that Freedom of Religion, which is contained in the First Amendment, protects religion from government, not vice versa.  The Amendment's language is unequivocal:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." There's nothing in there mandating that no religious person can serve in Congress or have a say in America's government.]

Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves [that would be the Republican sect of the church], that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.  [And there you have it -- President Obama's creed writ large:  "I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes.  I need my heart, my brain, and this (Progressive) church.]

What happens when Progressives are too dumb to understand how phones operate

The Kochs received an interesting phone call from Jesse Lava, someone who affiliated with Brave New Foundation, a Progressive organization that is peculiarly obsessed with the Koch brothers.  Jesse ostensibly called to ask for some information from the Kochs to include in a “documentary” that Brave New Foundation is putting together.  After having made his guileless, sweet, emotional request, Jesse forgot to hang up the phone.  Hilarity — the peculiar hilarity unique to Progressives — ensues:

Hat tip: Red State

Anatomy of a smear; or, no, conservatives are not trying to ban contraception in America

In 1965, the United States Supreme Court decided Griswold v. Connecticut, the first case to enunciate a “right to privacy” under the U.S.  Constitution.  Before Griswold, notion of a right to privacy had only existed as a common law doctrine, applicable to ones fellow citizens.  This was the first time, however, that the United States Supreme Court anchored this common law privacy right to the Constitution — despite the justices’ acknowledgment that the Constitution makes no mention of privacy as one of the inalienable citizen rights upon which a government cannot impinge.  Instead, the justices used strained and imaginary “penumbras” and “emanations” of existing rights (the Fourth Amendment, for example, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures) to justify their decision.  So, a lousy law (and banning contraception was an exceptionally lousy law) led to something even worse:  a fake constitutional right.

In any event, since 1965, contraceptives have been legal all over America.  You can get them with a prescription if they’re hormonally based, and you can pick them up at any pharmacy, grocery store, vending machine, high school, middle school, etc., if they’re barrier-style contraceptives.  United States taxpayers already subsidize those that get to people through Planned Parenthood and through our schools.

Such was the status quo until ObamaCare.  Now, though, the Progressives have added a hitherto unknown imaginary constitutional right:  women have the absolute right to free contraceptives.  Of course, since nothing is free, what this really means is that women have the absolute right to contraceptives paid for by others.  Regardless of how one feels about either privacy or contraception, anyone with even a smidgen of intellectual honesty has to concede that forcing third parties to pay for women’s access to a readily available, perfectly legal product is not something one can find in the Constitution itself, or even in the Constitution’s recently discovered penumbras and emanations.

Some Republicans in Congress, appalled by this government overreach, have proposed a bill that bars the government from using ObamaCare to justify forcing third parties to pay for women’s contraceptives.  It’s important to note here that they are not banning contraceptives.  Nor are they even reversing the current status quo (because the ObamaCare ukase has not yet gone into effect).  Rather, the Republicans are maintaining the status quo that has existed in the United States since 1965:  contraceptives are legal and women (and men) are free to buy them any time, any where.  Some are more expensive than others, but none are very expensive.  The alleged annual $600 cost for the average women wouldn’t be a big deal now if it wasn’t for the rising price of fuel, something that makes everything expensive.

The above are the facts.  Here’s the spin the Progressives are using to keep the White House in 2012 and to regain the House:  “GOP officials fight to restrict women’s access to contraceptives.”  (That verbatim quotation is taken from a longer post saying that the current GOP fight regarding contraception is akin to their failed fight to keep the state of Florida from forcing Terri Schiavo to starve to death.)

Let me repeat:  The Progressives are explicitly stating that the GOP is “fight[ing] to restrict women’s access to contraceptives.”

This is a bald-faced lie.  The GOP isn’t touching the status quo on abortion, a status quo that has been in place for almost 50 years.  Instead, the GOP is fighting to restrict the federal government from creating a non-existent “right” to birth control, a right that allows the federal government to force third parties, including religious organizations, to subsidize birth control, abortifacients, and sterilization.

Facts are stubborn things, and the facts favor conservatives.  Unfortunately, as Churchill knew, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”  We’ve got the facts on our side, but this is one lie that the Progressives are making sure has legs.

Whenever my “real me” Facebook friends put up a post about the GOP attack on contraception, I politely point out that, as I understand things, the GOP isn’t challenging women’s right to contraception.  It’s just challenging a federal mandate forcing religious institutions to subsidize a doctrinally offensive product.  Interestingly, whenever I drop that indisputable fact into one of hate-filled rants regarding the GOP and women’s rights, I stop the Facebook conversation dead.  There are no arguments and no ripostes.  Facts are stubborn things.