Archive for January 2010

The Council Has Spoken: January 29, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Mere RhetoricWonderful: Iraqis Permanently Scratch Out Ancient Hebrew Inscription Biblical Prophet’s Tomb

Noncouncil: ZenpunditThe Post-COIN Era is Here

Full voting here.

This Doesn’t Surprise Me in the Least

Link:

The U.S. army medic also told members of the research unit that she and her colleagues had to explain to a local man how to get his wife pregnant.

The report said: “When it was explained to him what was necessary, he reacted with disgust and asked, ‘How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean, when one could be with a man, who is clean? Surely this must be wrong.’”

It also explains this:

And makes me wonder how far from the truth the following is:

Jihadi Today magazine

The President’s SOTU Speech

The AP fact checks and finds errors.

Obama Vs. The People

Since I was exposed to them in high school, I have been fascinated by the Beat poets and writers. The Beats came from working-class backgrounds for the most part, but they were intellectuals too. Some had served in World War 2 – Kerouac in the Merchant Marine which during the War wasn’t exactly the safest job – and others, like Allen Ginsberg, came from academia. Neal Cassady, Kerouac’s and Ginsberg’s muse for their early works, even came from a hard-scrabble background of a drunk and abusive father.

They were not elitist – or at least they didn’t start out to be. The Beats celebrated the Common Man. They appreciated the artistry and skill shown by workers doing their jobs, a concept which connected them spiritually to Zen Buddhism as exemplified by the poetry of Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Photographer Robert Frank’s landmark work, The Americans, shows slices of everyday American life and manages to convey the beauty and perpetual motion of its land and people in a way missed by the Look and Life photographers of the era.

In the 1960s the Beat Generation gave way to the Hippies.  The inward focus of the Buddhist-influenced Beatniks was replaced by the Marxist-influenced hippie movement. Kerouac hated the hippie movement, blaming it for destroying the American culture which he celebrated in his writing. Other Beats became more politically active and leftist. Kerouac supported the Vietnam War; Ginsburg protested against it, and by the end of the 1960s the leftist activism of the likes of Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin had replaced the more apolitical Beat culture in American society.

The political dichotomy between the two cultures, Beat and Hippie, really is the differences between Libertarianism and Marxism. Both ideologies claim to celebrate the innate power and freedom of the average person, but Marxism struggled with a problem that lay at its core: the conservatism of the proletariat.

Throughout his writings, Karl Marx predicted that Communism would come about by the working class realizing its own power and overthrowing the bourgeoisie. Because countries such as Great Britain and Prussia were the most technologically advanced and were the most mature capitalist societies at the time, he expected the working classes of these nations to be the future of Communism. But attempts at organizing the working classes in these countries failed miserably because the working classes wanted to keep what they earned; they didn’t want to share it with others. In addition they were especially distrustful of outsiders, especially Communist organizers who came from privileged backgrounds and classes different from their own.  Instead of being the engine of communism, the proletariat in these countries put the brakes on the movement, and by the turn of the 20th century, Communism was  going nowhere.

To get around this innate conservatism, Vladimir Lenin proposed that the working class needed intellectuals to guide it and spark the proletariat into action, developing the idea of the Communist Party as  “Vanguard of the Proletariat.” The Party, composed of enlightened, educated, and motivated individuals, would lead the proletariat to a better future – one which the proletariat didn’t understand initially but would come to appreciate under the watchful leadership of the Communist Party.

We all know how wonderfully that worked out.

A true populist listens to the people, follows their instincts and leads them forward by turning the people’s diffuse desires into concrete goals. Marx believed Communism would be a populist movement, but even in his own time he saw that either he was wrong or capitalism had some life left in it and communism would eventually evolve out of it in the distant future. Lenin was impatient, as were many of Marx’s followers – hence the myth that Marx himself was not a Marxist (a myth because Marx himself did come to believe that the natural evolution of capitalism towards communism could be artificially pushed through actions by members of an “enlightened proletariat.” )

The 1960’s activists were not populists. The Silent Majority enjoyed seeing their heads cracked by police batons in Chicago, confirming their belief in the conservatism of the proletariat. The only way forward in the minds of the activists was to take power themselves and force their will on the people. It’s not very democratic, but Marxists realize that the people don’t know what’s best for them: only the Marxist elite does.

The situation President Obama faces today is similar to what the Russian Communists faced a century ago. Having been educated in an academic system at best sympathetic to Marxism, and at worst outright Marxist, Obama confronts the innate conservatism 0f an electorate that in his view doesn’t know what glorious future awaits it. How will he react? Will he listen to the electorate, or will he do everything necessary to drag it kicking and screaming into the future that they are simply too stupid to see themselves?

Given his upbringing, the elitist circles he has traveled in since his youth, how well will the populist mantle that he is attempting to don this week fit? Has he really heard the people’s voices in the elections in Virginia, New Jersey, the NY 23rd district (where a 3rd party candidate lost by a handful of votes), and Scott Brown’s meteoric rise to the Senate? Or will he tighten his grip on the reigns of power to bend the people to his will?

Regardless whether he realizes it or not, the man is a Marxist. He cannot help but do the latter in which case in less than three years the people will sweep him aside.  Expect him to replace Jimmy Carter as a terrorist apologist ex-president beloved by many in the world for his anti-American stances while despised by the people in his own country.

What Coexist Really Means

Inspired by Wisertime, although the graphic takes it easier on the LGBT agenda than the original post.

You’ve GOT to be Kidding Me…

Obama Speaks At Elementary School

Yes he was giving a speech on education.

Yes it was a serious and lengthy speech.

But come on…
UPDATE:

Yeah, I’m late to the party. But give me a break. Two football championships followed by my reenactment of the final scenes of Das Boot in my basement during a heavy rain have me playing catch up today.

The Council Has Spoken: January 22, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Joshuapundit - Pat Robertson, The Devil And Me

Noncouncil: American Spectator - The Scott Heard Round the World

Full voting here.

Haiti: Obama’s Katrina

It’s been a week after a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti and within minutes of the disaster the world was presented with televised images of the event. Over the past several days we have watched Haiti descend into savagery as people go without food and water, law and order break down, and the injured join the ranks of the dead who go unburied in the streets. We have also seen a massive relief effort mobilize, but witness relief supplies and rescue efforts become snarled in red tape.

Complaints about American actions are pouring in. France blames the USA for the congestion at the Port au Prince airport. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is also claiming that the US is occupying Haiti, a claim that is backed by the French. What started out as a natural disaster is quickly becoming a man-made one as looters and gangs take to the streets in the absence law. Aid is pouring into the country but cannot get through critical chokepoints to those in need.

Although Obama’s lapdogs in the mainstream news media have yet to prick up their ears regarding the similarities between Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, Howard Fineman writing for MSNBC notes the irony of the situation: “Elected in part out of revulsion at the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Obama now finds himself confronting an even more devastating and complex humanitarian crisis.” Dan Kennedy writing for the Guardian takes issue with Fineman’s characterization as well as those of others seeing similarities between the two disasters. Kennedy writes, “In fact, though we would all (OK, not Limbaugh) like to see the US alongside other countries and relief agencies doing everything they can in Haiti, the disaster is so large, the people are so poor and the social structure is so dysfunctional that it is bound to end in something that looks like failure.”

Evidently Kennedy isn’t familiar with Louisiana and Mississippi – two of America’s poorest states with state and local governments that are dysfunctional at best, corrupt at worst. While the divisions between local, state and federal government snarled the Katrina relief effort in 2005, the divisions between the UN authority, the US military, US Department of State, French and other governments pouring men and material into the devastated nation are just as bedeviling today. Kennedy argues that it takes time to work through these divisions, but President Bush was not afforded the luxury of that excuse 4 years ago. Why should Obama be exempt today?

It is true that a disaster of this scale cannot be practiced and prepared for beforehand. Nations cannot meet and design a coordinated plan for every possible disaster scenario that may or may not happen. But as President Bush was judged by the actions of the federal government in the Hurricane Katrina disaster, so too should President Obama be held responsible for the failures in Haiti. The precedent has been set Obama himself.

The Council Has Spoken: January 15, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Bookworm Room - The need for an honest, 21st century debate about abortion

Noncouncil: American Thinker/Rabbi Aryeh Spero - President Obama must choose sides

Full voting here.

Republicans Aren’t Ready

Having grown up on Warner Brothers cartoons, it’s easy to see the predicament the Democrats are in as being akin to Wiley E. Coyote when he’s just run off a cliff and hangs in the air a second before plummeting to the ground. All the Democrats need is to flash a little “Help!” sign before falling out of power in at least one of the branches of government they hold today. The problem? The Republicans aren’t the Roadrunner, sticking out his tongue and chirping “Meep! Meep!” before the Coyote plummets. No, the Republicans are much more like the Coyote himself after a fall, at the bottom of a body-shaped hole – so the analogy must end there.

What concerns me less than ten months out from the midterm election is that the Republicans are not ready for power of any sort, let alone as a credible opposition party that can block legislation and offer alternatives. The Republicans still haven’t figured out what they did wrong. Like the Democrats they’ve taken to blaming George Bush for their ills without realizing that they fully supported his policies that the rank and file had trouble swallowing during his tenure.

Take Compassionate Conservatism for example. Old fashioned conservatism is by its very nature compassionate; it teaches people to be responsible for themselves. If they screw up, they pay the consequences – but if they succeed, that success and the rewards that follows are theirs to keep. There is nothing compassionate about a government that keeps a man in poverty by giving him handouts; and where is the compassion shown to those who work hard only to have the government take an increasingly larger share of the fruit of their labor?

Here in rural North Carolina many are on disability. These people hire expensive lawyers like Binder & Binder who advertise during the work day on Fox News to convince the government to pay them pittances – $500 a month or so – so that they don’t have to work. The problem? Very few of these people are so sick that they can’t hold a job, and receiving a disability check dooms them to poverty for the rest of their lives.

How is that compassionate?

The problem for the Republicans is that they’ve strayed so far away from their conservative ideals that they’ve accepted the beliefs of the liberal Democrats. The Bush Administration and the Republican majority in Congress both increased the size of government and government spending while they were in power. This infuriated their conservative base to the point that it split from the party beginning in 2006 and continuing through the 2008 election. Today much of that base sympathizes with the Tea Party movement more than the Republican party. The Tea Partiers have the ideals of small government, a strong military and decreased spending.

Of those three ideals, the Republicans have only supported a strong military; otherwise they have acted like Democrats. They have spent like Democrats. They have expanded government like Democrats. So how are they not Democrats again?

While much has been made by both Left and Right over the November 2009 off-year election, the Republican Party should take notice of New York’s Congressional election in the 23rd District. In this election, the Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, was a polarizing figure between the Party leadership and the party electorate. Scozzafava held many liberal positions that weren’t held by the conservatives in her district, but she was a Republican, and therefore received the backing of the RNC and other notables with “R”’s after their names including Newt Gingrich. As much as she was supported by these party insider, she was avoided by the voters who backed Doug Hoffman, a former Republican who ran as a 3rd Party candidate. Scozzafava eventually threw a snit, and her votes, to the Democrats, who won the seat in a squeaker.

What lessons did the Republican Party leadership take from this election? That they needed to keep liberals like Scozzafava from bolting. What lesson should they have taken? They should have jettisoned Scozzafava early and brought Hoffman in to run as a Republican because from the conservative voter’s perspective, the choice between Scozzafava and the Democrat was really a choice between two Democrats, neither of whom represented them.

And that’s the way many conservatives feel today about the Republican Party. We have a choice between the Liberal Democrats – who want to “Mirandize” our enemies and turn America into a Swedish-style nanny state, and Moderate Democrats – who want to kill our enemies and turn America into a British-style nanny state. There are no Reagan Republicans, no small government-strong military politicians left in the party. The Republican Party has been co-opted and neutered by the Washington elite – the same elite that runs the Democrat party – and doesn’t deserve the support of the electorate outside of the Beltway.

So while the Democrats are looking up at the camera with big sad eyes as they fall to their doom off the cliff, the Republicans are not ready to benefit from their demise.

Addendum:
Even Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments about Obama show the divide between the Republican Party leadership and the rank and file. The Republicans inside the Beltway are using Reid’s comments to attack the Democratic Party. By doing so they are sounding just like the Democrats who attacked Trent Lott for his comments at Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party eight years ago and Rush Limbaugh for his comments about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

The problem is that Lott and Limbaugh’s comments didn’t deserve the attacks they sparked and neither do Harry Reid’s. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) said “Democrats were really wrong in what they did to Trent Lott, and we shouldn’t do the same thing to Senator Reid.” Republicans should be fighting against political correctness and encourage freedom of speech – unlike the Left which has implemented speech codes. They should not be encouraging self-styled “African-American leaders” like Al Sharpton to get his boxers in a twist over Reid’s poor word choice. That’s what Democrats do.

The Council Has Spoken: January 8, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: American Digest - Lowballing Death: Keeping the Northwest 253 Numbers Down

Noncouncil: Michael Yon - Into Thine Hand I Commit My Spirit

Full voting here.

Press Ignoring Climategate Because Press Itself Implicated

Climategate: a conspiracy worth believing in. Here’s how the press has been slanting coverage in favor of AGW alarmists, and how reporters themselves have been actively supporting them.

Firing Napolitano Not Enough to Make America Safer

A rich foreign kid who couldn’t get laid has knocked the administration of the most powerful nation on earth off message. For the past three years Obama and his supporters have led themselves to believe that the Global War on Terror was a myth propagated by the Bush administration to further its own agenda. “The politics of fear” they called it. With the removal of the Bushies the myth could be forgotten, replaced with Obama’s agenda to turn the United States into a multiethnic and politically correct version of Sweden. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian who claims ties to Al Qaeda, may have failed to blow up an airliner over Detroit, but he succeeded in bringing the Obama administration’s willful ignorance of the terror threat down in flames.

With fingerpointing in place of a coherent anti-terror strategy the administration has yet to regroup. The administration wants to throw somebody in front of the bus to protect Obama, but so far hasn’t found a willing patsy. The intelligence agencies are angry with the administration and won’t take the fall, even though the CIA leaked information that undermined the Bush administration and thereby supported Obama’s senatorial assertions. Worst of all a 2007 intelligence assessment played down the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, an assessment that foreign intelligence services including the British, French and German disagreed with and that was later undermined by the existence of a secret Iranian nuclear facility missed in the assessment.

Foreign intelligence services are also publicizing the administration’s failures instead of keeping quiet. British intelligence admitted that it sent files alerting US authorities that Abdulmutallab met with radical preachers in 2008. The Obama administration has seemingly gone out of its way to disrespect the UK for that nation’s active participation in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, a war that catapulted Obama to power. Now the British are returning the favor. Calls for foreign nations to save the administration from having to reform by using full body scanners and improving security are being ignored. Europeans view the incident as a failure of the American administration to connect the dots, so why should they be the ones forced to change?

The obvious fall-guy would be Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano whose inept handling of the Christmas day attack brought memories of FEMA’s failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina to the fore. I fully expect her resignation to be accepted within the next two months after the initial furor has died down to avoid the appearance of appeasing the Republicans – one of the few groups left in the world that the Obama Administration has not gone out of its way to mollify.

The failure to detect Abdulmutallab would not be as bad for the administration if it was perceived by the American people as taking the threat jihadis pose to America seriously. Instead the failure becomes symptomatic of a bigger problem: the Obama administration’s failure to recognize the threat and act accordingly. Napolitano’s asinine “man caused disasters” and “the system worked” comments are indicative of a mindset that indicate the administration doesn’t take terrorism seriously. Obama’s comments that the shooters in Little Rock and at Fort Hood acted alone, when all three can be traced to known al-Qaeda figures in Yemen, only support that conclusion. Obama may not be able to connect the dots, but the average American can.

Firing Napolitano will not save this administration. Worse, firing Napolitano will not protect this country from attack. The only thing that will protect it is a change of heart at the top. Obama has to believe that the threat posed by jihadis is real, and act accordingly. But if 9/11 itself wasn’t enough to convince him of the threat al-Qaeda poses to our nation, I’m not sure what will.

At this point I believe the president is beyond redemption. I hope that he proves me wrong, but I do not see him ever taking terrorism seriously. I imagine him serving one failed term in the Oval Office, then spending the rest of his long life trying to convince the world of his brilliance. If that sounds a lot like Jimmy Carter, then it should. He’s doing an excellent job walking in his mentors footsteps.

The Council Has Spoken: January 1, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Wolf Howling - Ashura – A New Phase To The Revolution

Noncouncil: Seraphic Secret - Suicide in Slow Motion

Full voting here.