Archive for September 2012

The Council Has Spoken: Sept 28, 2012

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Joshuapundit – Shoot The Messenger – US State Dept Blasts CNN For Revealing Its Misrepresentations On Libya Attack

Noncouncil: Mark Steyn-  Bowing To The Mob submitted by Joshuapundit

Full voting here.

The Council Has Spoken: Sept 21, 2012

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Joshuapundit –Islam and Not Islam: Fantasy Vs. Reality In The West

Noncouncil:  The Diplomad 2.0-We Are Not at War…Just Under Attack

Full voting here.

Piss Off a Muslim For Peace!

Daniel Pipes has a great idea: Teach Muslims the ideal of freedom of expression by publishing a cartoon of Mohammed everyday until their rage subsides and they understand that cartoons don’t offend God as much as killing non-believers does. After all, aren’t non-believers potential members of the umma in Allah’s eyes? It’s a lesson the French have taken the lead on, and one proving their mettle. Yes, I just said a nice thing about the French.

The Obama You Don’t Know

As a small government libertarian I want to see an antagonistic press regardless of the party in power. I’m a believer in Lord Acton’s power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. An antagonistic press is one of the best guarantors of freedom in a country, and its loss should be mourned. In what amounts to one of the worst journalistic malpractices since William Randolph Hearst breathed his last, the great newspapers stopped the pretense of objectivity and neutrality in American politics and became the de facto Ministry of Propaganda for the Democratic Party.

This special report should have been written four years ago by the New York Times, Washington Post or other newspapers of record. It wasn’t, and our nation has suffered. At least it appears now.

The Clash of Civilizations Continues

The New York Times provides an interesting perspective on Muslim Rage that’s worth noting (h/t Walter Russell Mead):

(Protesting the film) was also a demand that many of them described with the word “freedom,” although in a context very different from the term’s use in the individualistic West: the right of a community, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish, to be free from grave insult to its identity and values.

Mead places this in the context of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis, noting:

In the world of Islam, the film is often seen as a direct and intentional act of blasphemy and evil, part of a larger, concerted effort to humiliate, weaken and destroy Islam. The defense of the ‘right to free expression’ comes across as hypocritical and self serving. The wave of revulsion in the west against what are seen as crazed violent bigots is neither fully understood nor respected.

I’m not sure how much I agree with Mead’s assertion that the protests are about a “freedom from blasphemy,” coming from a region that has shown little respect or tolerance for other religions or even other Islamic sects. While the NYT quotes protests in Egypt against the DaVinci code in 2006, they were nowhere near as organized or widespread as those we are seeing in Egypt today. If Muslims have become the protectors of faiths everywhere, why are they destroying the graves of Sufi saints in Mali and shrines in Libya (note that Sufism is itself a sect of Islam)? Why are Coptic Christian girls being raped and forced to convert to Islam? Why are Copts being driven out of their ancestral homes in Egypt where they have lived since the time of Christ? IF you believe that Muslims have become the guarantors of freedom of religion I have some lovely intact Buddhist statues in Afghanistan I’d like to sell you.

But Mead and to a lesser degree the NYT are correct: this is fundamental difference between Islamic and Western civilization as exemplified by the United States. Either religious laws trump freedom of expression or they don’t. Either the laws of God or the laws of Man are supreme. While there are many grey areas in the world, this particular issue is binary – at least to secularist westerners. Under Islam there is no such thing as the laws of Man only the rule of God so the issue is condensed even further.

Mead believes that the apparent consideration by the PC newspaper of record of such a thing as a Clash of Civilizations is a good thing, and I tend to agree. We need to stop deluding ourselves by accepting canards such as “Islam is a religion of peace” that are based more on our own ignorance of the faith and faulty assumptions than facts. We need to see Islam for what it is, a political force that shares some religious characteristics familiar to us yet is a unique among religions and political movements in the world today. Only then can we begin to craft policies that work to minimize conflict with the religion while at the same time protecting our own God-given freedoms.

The Council Has Spoken: Sept 14, 2012

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: The Noisy Room –The Mosaic Of War

Noncouncil: Michelle Malkin-Chicago thuggery personified: Meet Chicago Teachers’ Union president Karen Lewis

Full voting here.

Misplaced Priorities

US Identifies Anti-Muslim Filmmaker

not

US Identifies Murderers of Diplomats and Instigators of Embassy Attacks.

1979 Revisited

Islamic radicals storming an American embassy. A feckless, out-of-touch liberal in the White House. A crumbling economy.

At least in 1979 the music was better. Oh, if you live in a country bordering on Russia you might want to pack your bags.

Religion of Peace Kills Again

The savages are at it again.

To my friends overseas…

Stay frosty.

September 11, 2012

Copyright 2012 Dwelling in the World

Courtesy of Dwelling in the World.

Chicago Teachers #1 in Nation, Want Tip

I am not against teachers per se. My favorite sibling is one, a public teacher no less. She’s also a raging Democrat but still is my favorite sibling no matter who she votes no matter how misguided she may be. At least she voted for Reagan in the 1980s unlike yours truly.

Still, as the parent of a kid in public schools teachers are more often than not a stumbling block to the Kid’s education. I have had several run-ins with teachers, not because I’m an asshole (I’ll admit that I often come across as one) but because I’m seeking answers to basic questions like, “What are you teaching my son?” “Why are you teaching him using a particular method?” “Why are you punishing him for using a different process than the one you teach that arrives at the same answer?” After a decade of this I’m coming to believe that I made a terrible error trusting public schools with the education of my child. Maybe I am against teachers after all.

So I guess it’s no surprise that I think the demands of Chicago teachers currently on strike are outrageous. They are either the number 1 or number 2 highest paid in the nation (extra credit: are they the number 1 or number 2 most effective when it comes to SAT scores, graduation rates or student-teacher ratios? Answer: Not even close.) depending on whether you believe the Mayor’s office or the Union. Either way $70k for 3 seasons worth of work plus benefits seems like a racket to me, especially when there is no shortage of teachers around.

The teachers are demanding 16% more. 16% is a shade above a decent tip one leaves at a sit-down restaurant. But have the teachers earned their tip? Have they provided good service? Mayor Rahm doesn’t think so. Of course, since Mayor Rahm doesn’t send his kids to public school, he may not know for sure. But he is the one picking up the check.

I guess I’d care less if my children attended an expensive and elite private school in Chicago like Mayor Rahm’s do, or one in Washington DC like President Obama’s children do. I’ll admit I’m jealous: I wanted to send my kid to a school like University of Chicago Lab Schools or Sidwell Friends but couldn’t afford to. One of the reasons I couldn’t afford to was the fact that my tax burden is running at 27%. In fact I would have had no problem paying $26.5k tuition at University of Chicago Lab Schools had my taxes been lowered. With serious reform I might even be able to buy my own Chicago public school teacher, at least until their next contract negotiation.

My feeling is that if Chicago teachers want a tip they should get a job waiting tables. Otherwise they should be happy with guaranteed jobs that pay them the equivalent of $100k year plus benefits, a salary that few make in the private sector.

The GOP: The Short Bus Party

Being a registered Republican is a constant reminder that I’m a member of the party that evidently took the “short bus” to school. For all the accusations by the Democrats about how the GOP left a mess for the Democrats to clean up, the GOP simply doesn’t have the smarts to point out that the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for much of that period, had the entire federal government and the majority of state houses the first half of the Obama administration, and that the CEO of Countrywide Angelo Mozilo, the leading subprime lender, ran a “Friends of Angelo” program that gave sweetheart deals to Democrats. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee received a deal estimated to be worth $1 million by Michael Moore – no friend of the GOP. Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND), Fannie Mae CEO and Democratic Party kingmaker Jim Johnson also received special deals from Mozillo. Countrywide also financed deals for other Democrats including Nancy Pelosi’s son, Senator Barbara Boxer and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton Donna Shalala and Congressman and current Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC). While Republican Alphonso Jackson made Angelo’s list, the rest of the list is skewed towards the Democratic Party not necessarily because Mozilo is a Democrat, which he may be, but that’s where the power was at the time.

Has the GOP run ads about this, carpet bombing the media to fight back against the meme that it is to blame for the financial crisis in 2008? It’s very simple. I’ve seen Barney Frank and Chris Dodd on CSPAN clips from the era protecting the subprime mortgage industry, resisting tighter regulation and denying that anything was wrong. The RNC can’t figure out how to edit the video and put these clips together? For every punch in the face by the Democrats I see the party and its leaders step back and raise their hands shouting, “See, this guy doesn’t fight fair,” and refusing to punch back. Meanwhile the Democrats mug their Republican enemies, brutalizing them with below the belt tactics like a robber kicking the crap out of an old lady on the sidewalk all the while yelling, “See? Self-defense! She started it! Ouch! She hit me! She’s just as bad and morally culpable as I am,” in the hope that the media and independent voters will buy their narrative, believing that either they are the morally superior party or at least, that the GOP is just as bad as they are. If people become jaded and don’t vote they win because Democrats will rely on union thugs to canvas cemeteries for votes on Election Day. Wait, that’s an exaggeration. They won’t use union activists to canvas cemeteries; that’s the local Democratic party’s job.

The stupidity of the GOP is endless to the point on verging on the pathological. One would think that of all industries the entertainment industry would be one of the least popular among conservatives and their libertarian allies. The former are constantly offended by negative stereotypes of white men and the military as well as the undermining of cultural values, while the latter bristles at the entertainment industry’s war against their own consumers through the DMCA and anti-piracy crusades. The DMCA was sponsored by a Republican congressman and has received strong backing by the GOP on the principal that’s what’s good for business is good for America. This thinking goes back two generations to the repeal under President Eisenhower of the 20% excise taxes on movie theater gross revenue put in place by liberal icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Professor Glenn Reynolds argues that the GOP should stop carrying water for their political enemies and call the Democrats’ bluff on higher taxes by re-instituting FDR’s movie tax. The entertainment industry does not back the GOP and Democrat parties evenly; support is skewed heavily towards the latter. By agreeing to the tax the GOP would show the industry that actions have consequences, something that Hollywood and the music industry have forgotten. It’s easy to support calls for higher taxes when you enjoy low ones; it’s easy to call for fair trade when you already enjoy the benefits of free trade.

The GOP must begin to fight back. It must realize that it will not win by holding back attacks or taking the moral high road while the electorate believes that it is just as vicious and amoral as the Democrats. A good start would be to conduct a seance and channel Lee Atwater’s ghost. Atwater was the brains behind the GOP wins of the last half of the Reagan era and is arguably responsible for getting Bush I elected in 1988. He was the brains behind the Willie Horton adds that painted Dukakis as an enabler of Massachusetts rapist/murderers, and makes the liberal archnemesis Karl Rove look as politically powerful as Mr. Rodgers. As long as people believe the GOP is fighting dirty and is ethically challenged, there is nothing to be gained by acting nobly. It won’t be reported by an antagonistic press, and it won’t be believed by a jaded electorate.

The GOP should call for the repeal of the DMCA on the grounds that it protects monopolies and discourages innovation. It should call for the 20% excise tax on Hollywood as well as an end to tax deductions on union dues as part of a general agreement with Democrats on a budget deal. It should also oppose offshoring subsidies and tax breaks that are enjoyed by high-tech firms such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, companies whose employees and CEOs favor Democrats. Finally, it should encourage educational innovations that weaken the stranglehold the teacher’s unions have on public education including the usage of vouchers, charter school, home-schooling support and long-distance learning initiatives. College professors are 90%+ Democrat, and colleges and universities have become more expensive and less relevant in the 21st Century. People need to be taught how to think, not indoctrinated, shown how to adapt and survive economic change instead of protesting against it. Such knowledge doesn’t require $50k in debt or institutions where administrators outnumber teachers.

It is time the GOP brought a gun to a knife fight. The Democrats claim they have, the media broadcasts the lie and people believe it. It must embrace the spirit of Lee Atwater It has nothing to lose by doing so except the election.

The Council Has Spoken: Sept 7, 2012

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Joshuapundit –The Dilemma Of Jewish Democrats And This Year’s Anti-Israel Party Platform

Noncouncil: Victor Davis Hanson-The Terrifying New Normal

Full voting here.

What The Hell Is Wrong With The British?

UPDATE: What the hell is wrong with me? Jack Snyder in the comments section points out that I leapt to conclusions without learning the facts behind the Munir Hussain case. As is often the case he’s right. Hussain crossed the line by attacking his attacker outside of his house after he and his family were safe. Had I done this first I would probably not have written the piece below, or at least, without as much piss and vinegar. I’m sorry for this mistake. SK———-
The Brits don’t seem to think self defense is a human right.

In 2009, the millionaire businessman Munir Hussain fought back with a metal pole and a cricket bat against a knife-wielding burglar who tied up his family at their home in Buckinghamshire. Hussain was jailed for two and a half years, despite his attacker being spared prison.

Appeal judges reduced the sentence to a year’s jail, suspended.

How very sporting of them. A knife wielding burglar ties up a man’s family and he gets prison for fighting the guy off with a cricket bat and metal pole while the assailant walks free? Are you serious? No wonder the Brits don’t understand Americans. I would have shot dead a knife-wielding burglar who tied up my family, not just battered them about the head with cricket bats and metal poles and slept well at night thanks to the Castle laws on the books here in North Carolina, which ironically enough derive from English common law that states “an Englishman’s home is his castle.”

Honestly, I love the UK and the British people, but I’m sometimes simply stunned by how… wussified the English have become. What the hell happened to fighting on the beaches, fields and streets and never surrendering? The Nazis would have conquered this lot in a fortnight.