Jaundiced Skepticism And Unapologetic Cynicism For September, 2010
Domestic USA Politics
The White House is casting about for a strategy to defend its majorities in Congress. That policy would, ideally, de-fang and de-claw the Tea Party Movement and make Sarah Palin look ridiculous. The former may be possible, but the latter is almost certainly beyond reach. If Sandra Bernhardt, Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, David Letterman and other assorted cultural icons can’t manage to humiliate Palin and put her back in her place (Kinder, Kueche, Kirche), the White House would be wise to accept reality and ignore her as unworthy of comment.
The Tea Partiers may be vulnerable, however: if they can be portrayed as “the right” that was always there, lurking but fearful, they may lose some of their punch. What has made the Tea Party Movement remarkable — and attractive — is that it seems to have been born out of a class of voters who seldom said anything much, and did not always vote. If that is what actually happened, then the TPM is a fearsome power indeed. If, on the other hand, this is just tired old “wingnuts” getting together for yet another stab at power, then it can be dismissed as part of a predictable cycle.
Smearing the TPM as racist has not worked; in fact it has backfired. Claiming that it’s Nazi is even more absurd, but that did not stop Pelosi when she whined that “they have swastikas.” Those Nazi symbols on TPM signs were clearly denunciations of the Tea Partiers’ enemies. Pelosi…!
Charges of astroturf and the attempts to put agents provocateurs into the demonstrations have failed. Mocking Beck and Limbaugh is nothing new — it does not address the notion that voters in the USA are increasingly anti-Obama, anti-“liberal,” anti-Democrat. What might work, however, is stressing the idea that the TPM is just a temporary resurgence of conservative sentiments that have been provoked by economic factors. That will mesh nicely with Marxist ideology, which is essentially economic determinism. And it may make sense to people who are tired of the TPM, worried about it, and would like to prevent it from lowering taxes and reducing the size of government.
If the “explanation” of the TPM as a transitory phenomenon caused by economic unease is to succeed, the mass media must buy the idea. They will. Expect, therefore, to see the press produce and promote variations on a theme of “they cling to religion and guns because they are poor.” You remember that slogan: it’s the silly Marxist mantra uttered by Obama when he smugly dismissed the hicks, yokels and hayseeds of Flyover Country. His elite San Francisco backers were delighted, because it was the shibboleth that identified the candidate as one of them.
The only other anti-TPM strategies that come to mind are attempts to portray the interloper as a creature of the Republican Party, or as a group that is hijacking the GOP. Both are weak and lack credibility; there are simply too many facts that counter both concepts.
So…now you know what to expect, eh? You are welcome.
Then what about the next Congress? Well, the real question is not whether the GOP will smash the Democrats’ hold, but what the GOP will do if it can gain control of both the House and Senate.
If it is possible to repeal Obamacare, will Congress do it? Will some measures be introduced to make banks and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae behave rationally?
This newsletter expects the next Congress, however made up, will lack the courage to deal with basic problems. The Department of Education will not be abolished, for example, though it certainly should be. Taxes will be tinkered with, not reformed. Obamacare will remain, and it will face challenges not in the legislative branch, but in the judicial branch. Fannie and Freddy will not be given prudent, ethical masters and watchdogs. And so on. Pfft.
The GOP is a major party, whether it’s the majority party or the minority party. It is schooled in politics, and, as Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh said, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” The GOP gave the nation John McCain and G. W. Bush, and the GOP never got behind Reagan’s oft-repeated demand that the non-constitutional Department of Education must go. The GOP backs big government, lots of perks for everybody, and no fundamental reform. True, its distinctions from the Democrats are significant, even impressive; that does not mean it will have the courage and the strength and the will to impose fundamental reforms. It stands foursquare behind the insane “war on drugs,” for example. It’s simply not up to the job that needs to be done.
The GOP is politics as usual. Reform is called for, not moving from Tweedledum to Tweedledee.
Does the nation need a new party? Absolutely not, and the TPM knows that. The Tea Partiers’ goal is not to sew silly labels on old rags and sell them as designer clothes, but to change forever the way US citizens view their government. That’s exactly what is needed.
Until the heavy hand of government is removed from the US economy, the ability of the free market to increase prosperity and reduce poverty will be crippled (California is a perfect example of the damage a government can do). No government as a government can do what the marketplace can: produce.
The seeming evasion of this fact is a road map to poverty. When the government assumes the role of provider of goods and services, the result is abominations like the late, unlamented German Democratic Republic and the USSR. The private sector alone has the incentive and adaptability to be the nation’s best producer. Central planning inevitably decreases prosperity.
As a politician who is more a Marxist ideologue than a realist, Obama does not subscribe to any of these truths.
That explains why the current policy has been put in place. Borrowing from future generations is a delusion that can only exacerbate distress. As long as the prevailing ideology grips the political leadership of the USA, the economic outlook will remain dismal. Expect, therefore, continued high unemployment, slow recovery, and the further loss of markets and manufacturing capability to China.
There is no reason to change this newsletter’s simple statement that Israel can not live with a nuclear Iran. One way or another, Iran will be de-fanged. The consequences will doubtless be very serious.
Prepare, Citizens, not for war but for disaster. Be able to keep your family fed and healthy for several days at least. Plan for life without electricity, piped water, and police services. Equip yourself to handle looters and armed robbers.
For now and the foreseeable future, travel on airlines, trains and ships only if you must. Be aware that there may be attempts to poison the food and water supply, so purchase and stockpile carefully. Jewish schools and hospitals should plan for the worst.
There is reason to expect that Muslim bombings, assassinations and other outrages will escalate, whether Israel bombs Iran or not. These acts will be carried out by US citizens.
Fundamentalist Islam knows that it must have Afghanistan back, and it will go to extremes to secure it, even as it tries to establish similar bases in other failed states such as Yemen. Islam will be increasingly active in South America, setting up enclaves and Muslim-controlled regions, but news of those developments will be scanty.
Will it never end? Oliver Kamm was quoted in this newsletter (Nr. 124) as saying, “They won’t leave us alone, whatever we do.” He was right. There is no placating them; they require submission because their god mandates the holy quest. Can’t this madness, this hell on earth, be stopped somehow?
The Islamic challenge to the West has waxed and waned repeatedly for a millennium and a half. War and local hostilities did not characterize every decade of that history. In every instance, Islam expanded when it could, withdrew when forced to or unable to sustain its far-flung empires, and altered its policies to adapt to its enemies’ responses.
Not all Islamic expansion was fueled by religious fervor — when Charles Martel turned the invaders back, the Muslim retreat to the Iberian peninsula was prompted by the loss of plunder and slaves. The Islamic threat was mainly piratical, not exclusively religious. Today things are very different: religion is the core of the modern dispute, and there is no Charles The Hammer.
To return to a view of the future: there will eventually come a period of peace, though no one knows when that will arrive. To bring it about, the West must repeatedly demonstrate its absolute refusal to submit.
So far, thanks to failures of resolve in Vietnam, Spain, Turkey, Lebanon, throughout Europe and within the USA, the West’s determination is known by everyone to be weak. The USA, the prime Western nation, fights and bleeds — and then, having bled “enough,” shrugs off its moral responsibilities and walks away.
See the item “The Soviet Shock” below.
Since 1945, victory has never been the goal. Thus did the national mindset reinvent itself after World War II.
The enemies of Liberty know that to defeat an enemy like that, one must simply endure and persist. The time to attack is, therefore, determined not by the attacker, but by the defender, for Islam attacks when the hated, damned enemy is perceived as weak.
The West has only two options: submit or drive the lunatics back. At present, it has not decided between them.
Some in the West believe that Islam can be reasoned with, negotiated with, bargained with. Obama seems to belong to this group, as he has expressed a willingness to “reach out” to Islam, to go anywhere and talk with anyone in order to improve understanding and amity. “We are not at war with Islam.” Would that the obverse were not so.
No one knows how long it will take for Western politicians to grasp the nature of Islamic scripture. They will have to do that if they are to become genuine leaders.
Your children will almost certainly not know peace. Your grandchildren might, and that peace need not be the peace that Islam offers to all who submit.
The Soviet Shock
As the anti-communist effort of the USA in Indochina expanded, the Soviet Union watched — and was astounded. The Kremlin saw Vietnam as a backwater in the middle of nowhere, a region of virtually no strategic national interest to the USA, and a matter for the locals to fuss over. That the USA would commit so heavily to the war in that pestiferous slough stunned the Soviet military and political establishment.
When the US dead surged past twenty thousand and then more than doubled, the amazement turned to fear. “What will this fanatical capitalist nation do if we miscalculate and step on its toe in some relatively unimportant area? How rational are these people? They have nuclear weapons!”
That progression of interpretations — the instilling of first amazement and puzzlement, then a sense of alarm at having to deal with a rabid animal — has been overlooked as a cause for the prolonged peace between the USSR and the USA. Its role in the collapse of the USSR has been ignored.
The foreign policy of each nation is based on how it perceives other nations. The Soviet perception of the USA was monumentally important.
Now consider the implications of the US victory in the Tet Offensive, the destruction of the Viet Cong, and the immediate admission of failure by the USA. The abandonment of the people of Vietnam to the tender mercies of the communist brutes followed at once. Meditate on how that was perceived by the freakish Saudi millionaire who plunged the world into its current crisis. You may conclude that, though he puts his faith in an evil theology, his reasoning is anything but insane.
They Have Been At It Forever
Remember this? It already seems like ancient history…but the nation had been putting up with propaganda passing itself off as journalism for many decades when this travesty occurred. If you go here and scroll way, way down, looking for “The Impact of Media Bias,” you will come to this:
Evan Thomas (grandson of Norman Thomas) is Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek. He was quoted as saying before the election,
There’s one other base here, the media. Let’s talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win and I think they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards I’m talking about the establishment media, not Fox. They’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and there’s going to be this glow about them, collective glow, the two of them, that’s going to be worth maybe 15 points.
As TLB has pointed out repeatedly, many journalists do not believe in the freedom of the press.
Thinking about whether there will be an “October surprise” and if so, what it might be, almost qualifies as speculating about what people will be speculating about. Don’t expect any surprises. October will be depressing.
Ah, it’s idyllic China, the nation that brought you Fido’s last meal and toys to damage the brains of babies.
The recent discussion of epigenetics and occasional references in this newsletter to Neanderthaler prompt this link to a brief report on the cultural status of a Neanderthal community. Yes, they were human, though very different from modern humans in many obvious respects. Their artifacts suggest they may have had little or even no aesthetic sense, for example.
Repeal it! It’s far worse than those liars were willing to admit!
How to abort the Iranian nuclear bomb? Maybe some nasty software could do the job. And nobody will ever know where it came from.
Eco-freaks are some of the looniest people on earth (not on “the planet,” as those morons are wont to say). The obsession with “green” has been a boon for the tax-and-spend autocrats, of course, but like all lousy ideas, it also lends itself to corruption and crime. Read this.
During the “holy” holidays just past (roughly mid-August to mid-September), Muslims were subjected to demands that they intensify violence against the West. Who would have thought The Religion of Peace would mandate that?
The audacity: “The idea that changes in the sun’s activity can influence the (Earth’s) climate is making a comeback, after years of scientific vilification, thanks to major advances in our understanding of the atmosphere.” Well, now. If that does not qualify as one of the most damning statements ever to be made about modern science, then what are the contenders? Read it all here.
Here’s a thirty-three minute video (excellent video quality) of an interview of a Harvard prof who explains grade inflation, the left today, why conservatives are more tolerant than liberals, and other stuff. If you are interested in higher education, this is a must. Highly recommended for everyone, though.
Compulsion: the Obama message is, “Obey!” The response will probably be an arrest and a trial. The verdict may be appealed to the federal supreme court before the relevant legislation is declared null and void. Unfortunately one can predict with almost total accuracy how the current nine justices on the high court would vote. Isn’t there something wrong when laws like Obamacare exist, and citizens can be punished for spurning them? Isn’t it a sign of bad governance when knowing the politics of justices allows observers to know verdicts before they are handed down?
For his contributions to the financial collapse, Barney Frank deserves to be retired from public service. Not as a punishment, but simply because he accepted responsibility far beyond his competence. (He may be replaced by this guy.) Members of Congress are not automatically qualified to be financial experts, nor does a law degree convey the ability to perform the functions of a bank examiner. Forgetting those truths got the nation into a terrible financial mess, because it allowed ideological zealots to loan money to people who could never pay it back; that done, a number of unprincipled opportunists took over, making millions for themselves while hammering the nation’s financial structure. Lesson learned? There will be no evidence of that until a lot of current members of Congress are looking for jobs as lobbyists.
Were these very public people ever really this silly? “…even economic failures and political tyranny have been not enough to deprive Castro of Western admirers. On a 2000 visit to Havana, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asserted, “Castro’s regime has set an example we can all learn from.” His lieutenant Che Guevara has been endlessly romanticized. Movie director Oliver Stone once marveled of Fidel, ‘I’m totally awed by his ability to survive and maintain a strong moral presence.'” Yes, they were that silly. More here.
A LA Times writer tries to cope with “…the puzzling and polarizing political package that is Palin. Even her ardent detractors can’t silently dismiss her as a nobody might merit. They must vociferously denounce her, which in politics is actually a sign of respect, the louder the better.” That’s right: hidden in that terrible writing is the admission that the big media are still trying to understand what makes people so crazy. They will never figure it out.
You might wonder how, exactly, people use political positions to get money. Sure, you know that there are many theoretical ways to do it, but what are some examples of how it’s managed by real politicians? You know people like Maxine Waters and Barbara Boxer; how dothey do it? Here’s just one example: Boxer gives money from her campaign funds to Waters’s daughter. Legal? Well, er, ah, that is to say….
If memory serves, the Clintons used tax information to which they did not have legal access against their political opponents. Who knows how many other presidents did it? The temptation must be just about as intoxicating and seductive as any abuse of power can be. And Obama is not above it, or at least that’s what the evidence indicates so far. What a shock….
From an essay on Democrat plans to sink Sarah Palin: “The President’s plan to overcome the Tea Party is to make voters afraid of them. Incubating fear and hatred of those who want to disassemble this dysfunctional State requires us to doubt ourselves, and our ability to survive without the protection and nourishment we are given in exchange for our freedom.”
No doubt about it, this man is scum. Scum, do you hear? Yes, scum! That’s right, and he’s this newsletter’s favorite scum, because he’s refreshing, tough, determined, and smart.
It’s hard to remember how many times this newsletter retold the story of Nobel laureates Marshall and Warren as an example of how the consensus of scientists could be wrong, and a tiny minority could be correct. The point was that AGW was groupthink, not good science. Now a weblogger links to a recent article…which somehow seems very, very late in coming, and misses the point wildly. (Heavy sigh….)
Holder. This lying bigot has to go. Which this newsletter has been saying for some time. That Obama keeps him around is a disgrace and an insult to the citizenry. It’s cronyism as rotten as any practiced in “developing” nations. — The case heats up.
“I’m exhausted of defending you” may be the new mantra for the Obama-loving middle class…. Wow.