Enter your keyword

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sympathy for America's Devils

By On July 29, 2009
For the past decade, the sight of Western liberals gathering in defense of terrorists seeking to impose a medieval patriarchal cult on the rest of the world by force seems incongruously odd. What is there about Islam that is so appealing to the erstwhile defenders of minorities, women and gays-- all of whom have next to no rights under Islam?

Looking over tomes by liberal authors that argue that Islam is truly feminist, progressive and shares all their basic values, the rational observer is forced to wonder, "Who exactly are they kidding?" The answer is a complicated one, but the problem is not as new as it seems.

The far left and the far left have a longstanding affinity for playing, "The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend", with America designated as the primary enemy, and everyone from the headmasters of the guillotine to Al Queda has emerged as their friends.

Before 9/11, the Taliban had a spokesman named Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, today studying in Yale on a student visa, making the rounds of Berkeley to explain that the detonation of the Buddhist statues, then the worst thing that the jolly gang of headchopping boys in black were known for at the time, was actually a protest against the world ignoring Afghanistan's poverty. His audience cheered and laughed along with him, able now to relate to the Taliban, not as murderous butchers who throw acid in the faces of little girls-- but as activists against Third World poverty.

But long before Sayed slimed his way across California, a Japanese consulate employee named Hikida Yasuichi would strike up close ties with Black Harlem intellectuals in the 1930's, in pursuit of General Sato Kojiro's then bizarre fantasy of destroying America's Pacific Fleet, occupying Hawaii and then invading the mainland with an African-American army. While no such army ever materialized, Hikida Yasuichi succeeded in stirring up sympathy for Imperial Japan among black writers like W.E. Du Bois, who were otherwise fervent Communists, by convincing them that Japan was fighting for all the non-white races.

Du Bois would go on to spew back Japanese propaganda claiming that Japan was fighting for the liberation of Asia from European colonialism. He blamed China for provoking the Japanese invasion, denounced any efforts opposing the Japanese invasion and urged the Chinese people to welcome their liberation at the hands of the Japanese Army. He then did what most Americans who find common cause with an enemy whose real views would be utterly unacceptable to them, by projecting his own agenda and worldview on the Japanese, classing China as the Uncle Toms who insisted on being subservient to Europe, while the Japanese, "classed themselves with the Chinese, Indians and Negroes as standing against the white world."

It was an absurd piece of propaganda, particularly W.E Du Bois' repeated insistence that the Japanese were "free from all race prejudice" and saw themselves as brothers with all non-white races. But as would happen so many times in history, it was a case of the enemy cultivating a fifth column, while the Americans being cultivated insisted on projecting their own worldview on an enemy who in reality had nothing but contempt for them.

Nor would W.E. Du Bois limit his propaganda reach to Imperial Japan alone. He would actually travel as an honored guest to Nazi Germany, where he would insist that he been treated with the greatest courtesy and pen an article titled, "The German Case Against the Jews" arguing that Jews in Germany were better treated, than Blacks in the American South. Meanwhile as a dedicated Communist, Du Bois would at the same time praise Stalin, as a "great and courageous man", and provide support for his brutal purges.

This kind of across the broad support for Nazi and Communist regimes would seem to be intellectually incompatible, much as being a liberal who supports Islam. Yet Du Bois, as many others, would find the point of compatibility through solidarity with anyone opposed to America. And any real world obstacles to that solidarity could be easily fogged over by projecting their own motives for hostility toward the United States onto their newfound friends.

This sort of motivated blindness would enable Black Communist writers to make common cause with Imperial Japan on race, and with Nazi Germany on socialism. It in turn enables Paleocons such as Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul to make common cause with Putin and Ahmadinejad, arguing that all Russia and Iran really want is to be left alone. Much as their political forebears argued that all Germany wanted was to take back the Rhineland, and maybe liberate the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia-- to undo its victimization by America, England and France in WW1.

It is why modern day liberals insist on treating Islamic terrorist groups as social service organizations and political activists, who happen to have an armed wing to further their struggle for social justice. It is why the media repeatedly plays up Hamas' clinics or Hezbollah's so-called rebuilding effort in Lebanon. It is why  Senator Patty Murray in 2002 described Al Queda as mirroring the social service agenda of the Democratic party, saying, "He’s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. He’s made their lives better."

It is of course easier to find common ground with the enemy of your enemy by assuming that your values mirror theirs. And America's enemies have always understood the value of cultivating a fifth column, whether it was the cheering sons and daughters of bank Presidents wearing flowers in their hair and chanting, "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, NLF is going to win,"; W.E. Du Bois being led around Tokyo and Berlin by his Axis handlers while claiming to see no racial prejudice ever; Lenin assuring Western thinkers that his politics were just like theirs, only more action oriented; Osama bin Laden citing Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 movie and  Michael Scheuer's book to better relate to the Anti-War movement, or Lindbergh doing a grand tour of Nazi Germany to return assuring his countrymen that the danger to them came not from Hitler, but the British and the Jews.

Lord Haw Haw, Tokyo Rose, Ezra Pound, Robert Jordan (the Black Fuhrer), W.E. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Bertrand Russell, Charles Lindbergh, Carl Sagan, Michael Moore, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Michael Scheuer, George Galloway and Ken Loach all represent microscopic snapshots of how radical politics drives Westerners to ally themselves with their worst enemies, while deluding themselves as to their intentions.

To the far right and far left, by defining American capitalism or American imperialism as the chief enemy, it becomes possible to treat any enemy of America as the victim, by sufficiently demonizing America. This kind of irrationality led British workers unions in wartime England to claim that American troops were not coming to England to fight the Nazis, but to oppress British workers. It led the modern left to accuse George W. Bush of seeking to become a dictator, rather than fight Al Queda.

Nor is this a unique element in the 20th century. The Jeffersonians found more common cause with the worst butchers of the French Revolution than with the Federalists across the aisle. The resulting feud would lead to a vicious smear campaign against George Washington and the Alien and Sedition Acts. Extremists on the Federalist side in turn put Anglophilia above all else in the War of 1812, giving them the name "Blue-Light Federalists", which long before the days of K-Mart was a suggestion that they were functioning as enemy spies. While the accusation was not technically true, it did help destroy the Federalist party. Much as the willingness of the Democratic party to let itself be co-opted by the Copperheads during the Civil War would help keep Democratic Presidents out of the White House, barring Johnson, for nearly a generation.

It is no surprise then that in the 20th century, American leftists proved willing to side with Nazi Germany, the USSR and Imperial Japan-- all because they were convinced that America was a stewing cauldron of the worst sins of humanity. And by comparison to America, Hitler, Tojo and Stalin suddenly looked very good indeed.

If you presume that America, England, Canada and Australia represent the absolute nadir of racism, colonialism and the military-industrial complex, anyone who opposes them must have some virtues. And if his opposition takes the form of mass butchery, the fault will nevertheless be placed at the doors of the colonial powers. Which is how the far left and far right justified the worst atrocities of the 1930's, and how they continue to justify modern tyrants and butchers, such as Saddam, Bin Laden, Ahmadinejad and Putin.

Thus instead of seeing the piles of dead Chinese corpses, W.E. Du Bois saw "colored" Japanese radicals casting off the rule of Europe, and Europe's Chinese accomplices. This same absurdity is repeated today by liberals who class Arab Muslims together with African-Americans and Asians as "Brown People" (which is the new colored) when Dubai alone racks up thousands of African, Indian and Asian guest workers dead in a single year. Muslims do not see themselves as "Brown People", no more than Imperial Japan saw itself as "colored". For Imperial Japan which saw the Chinese as subhuman, W.E. Du Bois would not have even shown up on the relationship chart. To Arab Muslims, African-Americans are Abd, nothing more than slaves.

The American radical projects his revolutionary agenda and the American isolationist projects his isolationism onto the enemy. Their hatred for America leads to sympathy for America's devils which leads them lightly down the road to hell.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Israel's Obama Problem

By On July 28, 2009
Hints have begun trickling out of Washington D.C. that the Obama administration has realized that it went too far in attacking Israel, and may now be looking to take a step back. With general opposition from Israelis, street protests, and a forceful rejection from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the failure of Obama's approach is fairly obvious. But that doesn't mean that Israel's Obama problem is over. Not by a long shot.

The Obama administration's hard line on Israel was a show of arrogance by people who assumed that they owned the American Jewish community and that Netanyahu would quickly knuckle under. They proved to be wrong on both counts. But that initial setback only means that a new administration plan will rely less on an overt frontal attack.

In their first engagement, Netanyahu succeeded in tangling Obama in ambiguities, while letting the administration's own aggressiveness blunder into making Jerusalem an issue up front. That disastrous approach helped unify Israelis and even the American Jewish leadership into taking a stand against Obama. Obama's own overt thuggishness hurt him badly, with all but the Israeli far left backing away from him.

Obama hoped to leverage Israel's political rivalries to undermine Netanyahu. Instead Netanyahu leveraged Obama's thuggishness to overturn Livni who had become Obama's main Two State Solution proponent in Israel. Now with her Kadima party headed for a split, Obama's pressure on Netanyahu will have actually helped to strengthen the ruling Likud-Labor coalition.

Obama had brought a club, while Netanyahu had brought Judo lessons. And the outcome left Obama shaking his head and wondering what happened.

Meanwhile the American Jewish leadership has not proven nearly as tractable as expected. Obama's attempt to include the Soros funded Anti-Israel group, J-Street, on a par with real Jewish American organization was a bust, because all the weight Obama throws behind J Street cannot transform it into a valid representative of the Jewish community. Meanwhile his marginalization of non-left wing groups in his Roosevelt room meeting only fed the backlash against him within the American Jewish leadership, leading to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issuing a strong statement in support of Israel's right to Jerusalem.

Obama's promoters had worked very hard to create the illusory consensus of mass Jewish support for Obama, particularly by bandying about the phony 78 percent figure. In the real world though Obama's "base" within the Jewish community skews young, unaffiliated and unconcerned with Israel. Meanwhile the actual American Jewish communal and organizational leadership tends to skew older, more affiliated and very concerned about Israel.

The liberal Jewish media has tried to highlight that split to argue that the traditional American Jewish leadership is out of touch, but in fact they are in touch with the future of the Jewish community in America. By contrast Obama's base represents a demographic that is exiting from the Jewish community, and that prioritizes liberalism over Judaism. With Israel, Obama encountered the Jewish version of "folks clinging to their bibles and their guns". By creating a liberal echo chamber in the Roosevelt Room of J Street, with the likes of the Israel Policy Form, Peace Now and the National Jewish Democratic Council pretending to represent a Jewish consensus, he instead wound up out of touch with the real feelings in the American Jewish community.

But while Obama may have lost the opening round at home and in Israel, that only sets the stage for the next phase of the engagement. Obama is almost certain to lead with another high profile speech, this time perhaps in Israel. While Hillary Clinton and Gates build up some credibility on Iran, a subject that last time around Obama and his minions bluntly ignored, Obama will have a carrot to offer along with the stick, the promise that Israeli concessions will lead to American action on Iran. While Netanyahu is smart enough to know that Obama will do nothing about Iran, it's a lifeline that may prove too big to ignore.

A big part of the Jewish and Israeli backlash to Obama originated from the administration blatantly ignoring Israeli concerns about Iran's nuclear program and Hamas terrorism, as well as the refusal to hold Fatah to any actual terms. This time around it's fairly certain that the Obama administration will pay some lip service on at least 2 out of 3 of these, with Fatah likeliest to get a pass. Backed by a high profile speech to the Knesset that will be big on moving rhetoric of the "Some of my best friends are Jews" and "A good life for all the children of Abraham" variety, and short on substance, the next Two State Solution bid will pay more attention to PR and be less blatantly hostile than Obama's first shot across Israel's bow.

But essentially Israel's Obama problem comes down to this. While Israel has strong support in Congress because of the Jewish vote and general American sentiments in favor of Israel, Saudi Arabia has far more support among the foreign policy and defense establishment that actually make policy. It is why Congress passes pro-Israel resolutions, while the administration and the state department tends to ignore them. The Obama Administration is the most strongly Saudi influenced administration in American history, and considering that the other contenders are FDR, Carter and Bush Sr, that is saying a great deal indeed.

While the much ballyhooed AIPAC spent time meeting and greeting congressmen, the Saudis much more profitably spent that time working with diplomats and policy wonks where the real power in foreign policy lies. The likes of Chas Freeman, who but for an ugly statement in Tienanmen Square missed playing a key role in the Obama Administration, are their creatures. So is James L Jones, who unofficially is the second most powerful man in the Obama Administration, cracking the whip in all directions. As in part is Obama himself.

Obama's key foreign policy agenda is to win the love of the Muslim world. He has few counters left, having already sacrificed his own dignity and America's self-respect. Trying to pay off the Muslim world using Israeli territory is hardly a new idea in American or Israeli politics, but it's one that Obama intends to push to the limit. And backed by a Saudi allied foreign policy establishment that has no moral commitment to democracy or human rights, and sees Israeli as the primary destabilizing obstacle in the region-- there is no limit to how far Obama will push Israel, if Israel allows itself to be pushed.

The initial ruthless push was a manifestation of contempt by the Obama Administration for both Israel and American Jews. That contempt has not gone away, it has only been leavened by caution. The Obama official who stated bluntly that the administration had plenty of its own Jews working for them and did not need to liason with any representatives of the Jewish community, was giving voice to the administration view of where Jews belonged.

And the conflict is far from over. The Obama Administration has yet to really go after Netanyahu and American Jewish leaders, particularly through the media. That is likely being reserved for phase three. It has casually undermined Israel's defense contracts, but so far has not brought out the open economic blackmail. It has struck out at AIPAC only by way of going after conservative Democrats. It has not made a serious push to force a no confidence vote on Netanyahu and then rig a new election, the way Clinton did to get rid of Netanyahu the first time around. Netanyahu knows all this, which is why he's playing for time.

The Obama Administration would prefer to use those as the clinchers, not as their opening cards. But they already overplayed their hand by targeting Jerusalem. Obama could bring out his inner Chavez, deliver a speech lambasting Jews and AIPAC. He is however more likely to leave clownish theatrics like that to Biden, who along with Hillary Clinton has been the administration's fall guy for communicating the hard line on Israel.

The Obama Administration will have to choose between open antagonism or a soft shoe approach, and for now the next phase is likely to be led off by a soft shoe opening, with a dagger safely tucked away where it can be quickly put to use.

Monday, July 27, 2009

ObamaCare's Prescription for Death

By On July 27, 2009
The big lie of those advocating socialized medicine in America is that government mandate can give everyone the health care they need. The truth is that every system of medicine shortchanges some to the benefit of others. The only difference lies in how many options those who are shortchanged have to get access to health care anyway.

The more a health care system is centralized, the less options there are for those who are shortchanged by it. It is why Americans who can't afford to pay for surgery can look to charities, surgeons willing to do procedures pro-bono, and various fundraising mechanisms. By contrast Canadians have to travel to the United States or look into one of a number of illegal clinics. In a free market health care system, the main barrier is financial, and that can be overcome far more easily than in the socialized system where lack of resources and centralized planning combines to close off all legal options.

That is why ObamaCare would not serve to expand American's access to health care, but rather close it down. The big lie of socialism is freedom from scarcity, but there is no escape from resource shortages. Instead socialism insures greater resource shortages than a free market economy, because it is woefully inefficient, inflexible and unrewarding. And those resource shortages are then passed on to the average citizen in ways far more unjust and restrictive than in any free market system.

While socialism insists on promising an infinite amount of pies in the sky, in the real world there is still only one pie. Where the free market uses trading strategies between consumers and businesses to maximize access to the pie, socialism locks the pie up in Al Gore's strongbox and creates a bureaucracy to parcel out access to it. By the time the pie has gone stale and everyone has figured out there's no more pie left, the system either breaks down or becomes nakedly totalitarian.

The question therefore is who will lose out under socialized medicine. Since socialized medicine is premised not on profitability, resource shortages become a much more pressing problem. That means that a socialized system must either limit access to everyone, or selectively limit access to certain groups of people. Or both.

The downside of limiting access to everyone across the board is that it insures that everyone will be unhappy. And it also cheats out government bureaucrats of the one thing they love most, playing god, and deciding who lives and who dies. Unlike private health care systems, socialized medicine exists for the society as a whole. As a socialized tool, it is subject to the mandate of social improvement. This opens the door to letting ethicists, read eugenicists, recommend how to best utilize existing health care resources. Which is a fancy way of saying, deciding who lives and who dies.

The elderly and the disabled who benefit most from a private health care system because it allows them to use their resources to obtain medical care, are the first on the butcher's block under socialized medicine. So are children with Down's Syndrome whose parents in a free market system can obtain health care for them, and all the other sort of people who don't pass muster as having a bright future of productive citizenship ahead of them. Or in the Third Reich's distinctive phrasing, "Life Unworthy of Life."

And that is at the heart of the difference between socialized medicine and free market health care. In the free market no one gets to class an entire category of people as "Life Unworthy of Life". Under socialized medicine, the actual classifications may be disguised in more politically correct labels and categories, such as Quality of Life, but they all mean the same thing in the end. Some people must die, so that others may live.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of Rahm Emanuel and Health Policy Adviser at the Office of Management, provides a preview of how such a system will get started...

Such an approach accepts a two-tiered health system-some citizens will receive only basic services while others will receive both basic and some discretionary health services... Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity-those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations-are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.

Obviously. How could anyone disagree with rationing health care by allocating it based on creating people with reasoning skills who can fully and actively participate in the future of the Reich? Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel probably didn't even have to work too hard to translate his reasoning from the original German.

Or as Dr. Hermann Pfannmüller, who would later stand trial at Nuremberg for his Starvation Hospitals for those he deemed unfit, put it,

"The idea is unbearable to me that the best, the flower of our youth must lose its life at the front in order that feebleminded and irresponsible asocial elements can have a secure existence in the asylum."

The idea is essentially the same. Why should the weak, the sick and the degenerates receive treatment at the expense of the healthy?

Here's a quick pop quiz. See if you can guess whether the next paragraph comes from Dr. Pfannmüller or Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel?

The complete lives system also considers prognosis, since its aim is to achieve complete lives. A young person with a poor prognosis has had few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern that disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel writing in the Lancet this time. It could just as easily have been Dr. Pfannmüller of the Starvation Hospitals who put it much more colorfully;

These creatures (the children) naturally represent for me as a National Socialist only a burden for the healthy body of our Volk. We do not kill with poison, injections, etc.; then the foreign press and certain gentlemen in Switzerland would only have new inflammatory material.. No, our method is much simpler and more natural, as you see. With these words, he pulled, with the help of a … nurse, a child from its little bed. While he then exhibited the child like a dead rabbit, he asserted with a knowing expression and a cynical grin: For this one it will take two to three more days. The picture of this fat, grinning man, in his fleshy hand the whimpering skeleton, surrounded by other starving children, is still vivid in my mind.

But here's another resource allocation quote to try your wits on. Is it Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel or Dr. Pfannmüller?

social value allocation prioritises specific individuals to enable them to promote other important values, or rewards them for having promoted these values. In view of the multiplicity of reasonable values in society and in view of what is at stake, social value allocation must not legislate socially conventional, mainstream values.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel naturally. The tipoff is his concern that a system of socialized health care eugenics not unduly favor people who represent mainstream values. Else where will the Obamas of tomorrow come from?

But here's another little preview of the moral calculus behind ObamaCare

Allocators must also avoid directing interventions earmarked for health needs to those not relevant to the health problem at hand, which covertly exacerbates
scarcity. 8,49 For instance, funeral directors might be essential to preserving health in an influenza pandemic, but not during a shortage of intensive-care beds.

For instance, former organ donors seem to deserve reciprocity since they make a
serious sacrifice and since there is no surplus of organ donors. By contrast, laboratory staff who serve as vaccine production workers do not incur serious risk
nor are they irreplaceable, so reciprocity seems less appropriate for them.

Ah, but somehow I suspect funeral directors will actually be quite vital under ObamaCare. Or perhaps they'll simply dispense with the carbon footprint of energy inefficient funerals and just shove them into the ovens. If they can find any ovens that are "green" enough.

It is of course safe to say that Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel will be considered most "essential" to preserving health under this system.

But here's another quote for the pop quiz.

Making a well-off person slightly better off rather than slightly improving a worse-off person’s life would be unjust; likewise, why give an extra year to a person who has lived for many when it could be given to someone who would otherwise die having had few?

Another deep thought from Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel at the Lancet on who should live and who should die. The Lancet you will remember served as a source for the vastly inflated Iraq civilian deaths that proved to be blatantly false. But that was okay since the Lancet only lied because they cared so much about human life. It is really wonderful how much liberals care about human life. And about apportioning that life to those humans they feel are worthy of life.

But here's one last quote challenge;

The complete lives system assumes that, although life-years are equally valuable to all, justice requires the fair distribution of them... Finally, the complete lives system is least vulnerable to corruption. Age can be established quickly and accurately from identity documents. Prognosis allocation encourages physicians to improve patients’ health, unlike the perverse incentives to sicken patients or misrepresent health that the sickest-first allocation creates.

And if the doctors can't... well it's no great loss anyway. And the good people like Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel who will be pulling down six figure salaries to provide "ethical guidance" will be doing gangbusters business ethically guiding the new ObamaCare Eugenics (TM).

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel's own article admits, socialized medicine will not usher in health care for everyone. It will simply centralize resource allocation in the hands of people like Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel who will decide who gets or doesn't get treatment from a shrinking pool of available health care coverage... based on their own social values.

The premise that health care should be doled out to those capable of developing reasoning skills and active participation in the political system, can be easily used to allocate medical treatment based on progressive political views... which in the liberal lexicon is identical with "reasoning skills" and "active political participation".

Furthermore if health care is allocated based on the overall social goal of political participation by the next generation, affirmative action and diversity will inevitably factor into the decision. By linking civic participation with health care allocation, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has made an argument for rationing health care in order to promote progressive politics and racial diversity. This of course would bring ObamaCare full circle to merge with Nazi eugenics in a horrid prescription of death.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obama's Six Month Policy Implosion

By On July 26, 2009
Six months in and the Obama Administration looks a lot like the Bush Administration did after 8 years, with policy messes on every side, growing public discomfort with the direction the country is taking, and no clue what to do next.

In both domestic and foreign policy, the Obama Administration is flailing badly. At home its big accomplishments have been the generally unpopular bailouts and stimulus package which failed to accomplish anything, except preserve the jobs of some of his supporters, while vastly inflating the deficit. Had they been followed by an actual recovery, Obama might have something to hang his hat on. Instead he's had to begin soft pedaling the economy in favor of vague speeches and reassurances that do nothing to reassure the 1 in 10 Americans who are out of work.

Obamacare, which was supposed to succeed where the Clintons had failed, ran into skepticism from the same conservative Democrats that the Democratic congress had relied on to create a congressional majority. While the AARP was a cakewalk, having wedged the heavily pro Obama Avis executive Barry Rand who had contributed nearly 10 grand to Obama, as the AARP's new CEO. The AMA and the many HMO's were a far trickier beast.

Obama was essentially proposing to destroy one of America's healthiest and most profitable industries, and not even his relentless media attack dogs could make much headway. Particularly when Obama's public speeches went light on the details and high on empty feel good rhetoric. With ObamaCare postponed for the fall, Obama will have another shot at destroying independent health care in America, but as he has already learned, it won't be an easy ride.

Having failed on both health care and the economy, Obama's defenders would have to point overseas to find any accomplishments to pad out the Beloved Leader's portfolio. Unfortunately for them, Obama has failed just as badly abroad. The diplomacy express that was supposed to make the world like us again has boiled down to nothing more than a series of high profile speeches that have yielded no tangible results. Meanwhile Obama's actual attempts at international intervention have failed on every front.

The North Korean track has bogged down into an embarrassing exchange of juvenile namecalling between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the North Koreans. Meanwhile two US journalists remain as hostages in North Korea, casualties of a hopelessly weak administration that is seen as nothing more than a paper tiger, without even the tiger part.

The high profile side of Obama's international agenda was Israel. Obama and his Saudi appointees at the NSC chose to pursue a bluntly anti-Israel pro-Saudi track meant to create a Palestinian Arab state as soon as possible, regardless of the realities on the ground. But the hard push backfired as Obama underestimated his appeal among both Israelis and American Jews. With both Netanyahu and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations that represents the American Jewish organizations in America, rejecting his hard line positions on Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria-- the Israel track ranks as another failure for Obama.

Iran was meant to be easy enough, with Obama's people running out the clock to let Iran get nuclear weapons, while using the timetable to pressure Israel into making concessions, in exchange for protection that would never actually materialize.

Inconveniently enough the Iranian people chose to respond to a blatantly rigged elections with massive protests and street riots, combined with the cutting edge use of Facebook and Twitter, that caught the imagination of Obama's own base. The Beloved Leader's fumbling response to the protests, refusing to initially condemn the Iranian government, only demonstrated how little influence Obama had, and his inability to use it for good.

Mainstreaming Iran now has to go on hold, itself a disaster for many of Obama's appointees who were hoping to demonstrate the uses of soft power, who now have to wince and answer questions about whether Ahmadinejad is the legitimate leader of Iran, and the US position on human rights violations-- topics that were supposed to be off the table.

To even it all out, the Obama Administration leaped forward in defense of Honduras' left wing mini-Chavez leader, Zelaya, after his own Supreme Court and Congress removed him from power. This give rise to Obama displaying exactly the kind of overbearing bullying that he had promised an end to during his campaign. All without actually demonstrating any real understanding of the situation on the ground.

This of course does not complete the list of failures abroad, from being openly mocked on his Russian visit, snubbed by the Saudis, and dismissed by Sarkozy and Merkel; it is widely clear that Obama has impressed no one on his endless world tour. Like a visiting rock star, Obama has dragged his entourage from one high profile performance to another-- without being able to a point to a single thing that his music-free concerts have actually accomplished.

Meanwhile on defense the surge in Afghanistan has failed to deliver the kind of dramatic results that the Iraq surge did. Obama's attempt to co-opt a successful Bush Administration policy has yielded no results, and clashes between Obama's real number 2, NSC head James L. Jones, and Secretary of Defense Gates and CIA Chief Leon Panetta, have demonstrated that the non-traditional power structure of the Obama administration which shifts power away from cabinet appointees, in favor of non-cabinet members is not working.

Trying to govern from the NSC and an endless list of Czars, rather than the Senate ratified Cabinet members, has given the Obama administration a blatantly undemocratic and illegal policymaking structure that seeks to subvert the checks and balances of congressional authority. This has only fed tension with congress and the perception that Obama does not like to play by the rules, and that his administration rejects accountability and transparency.

And once again, Obama is unable to point to any achievements or triumphs gained by using non-traditional governmental structures. Nor has he achieved any goals by working outside of congressional authority, and sidelining his own Cabinet members, in favor of Saudi stooges like James L. Jones.

Obama has certainly brought the change and the hope, but the change has not benefited the general public that had placed high hopes in him. Abroad and at home, Obama is a failure after only six months. He has succeeded at doing only thing, spending more money in less time than any US government official since World War II. This is of course a rather dubious accomplishment as well.

Now the six month implosion is here, and Obama looks worse than ever.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

How Celebrity Trumped American Politics

By On July 25, 2009
Are we a nation of individuals or a great collective worshiping our leaders. That is one of the fundamental questions behind the present day cultural malaise. The America that French General Lafayette fell in love with on his visits here during the 17th and 18th centuries was markedly different from Europe because it was a nation of individuals, a place where the humblest farmer did not defer to the wealthiest man, where class was an economic fact that could and was transcended by hard work.

The 20th century however saw a radical transformation in American culture as media technologies including radio, film, rapid nationwide magazine and book deliveries and eventually television and the internet, reshaped American culture from a local culture to a national one, defined by the subjects of those media titles themselves. In the process Americans went from being individualists to being collectivists.

The media technologies that enabled a single radio talk show to speak to a national audience, a single movie to play in theaters to 50 million Americans, or a magazine to instantly determine what is on the mind of most Americans, created an unprecedented ability from a single point to influence an entire nation. And those who held the microphone, the printing press and the camera, were the ones in the best position to issue their message.

American's individualism was largely due to its localization. The majority of Americans lived in rural areas. Identity was a matter of local communities. People did not for the most part think globally, they thought locally. Their sense of self was rooted in real everyday things. Their dreams were focused on personal accomplishment, rather than intangibles.

As the influence of a collective media voice could sound with the same identical tone from town to town, generations would grow up being shaped in identical ways from town to town. And the shaping would be done by the human gods who would serve as the unifying force of the various mediums, talk show hosts, broadcasters, gossip columnists, movie stars-- in other words, celebrities.

The rise of the cult of celebrity was also the rise of collectivization, a nation in which people increasingly dreamed the same empty dreams, projected their fantasies on unreal images and longed above everything else for fame. The celebrities became the avatars, the personification of impossible longings and dreams of a nation, manipulated, drugged and replaced regularly. Their stories became the leading form of drama of the 20th century, outshining any individual movie. The story of a once proud and free culture destroying itself.

The theater, artists, actors and musicians, had always tended to the bohemian, experimenting and testing cultural limits. But not since the French Revolution had they ever been given the leeway to define a culture, and in the process destroy it. As America turned yearningly to the entertainment industry to be entertained, morals plummeted, radical politics reigned, and the product was continually refined to be ever more centrally controlled and ever more addictive.

Today America's movie, music and publishing industries are in the hands of a small number of very powerful corporations that maintain very tight control over their products, limit competition and put across the same message over and over again. For anyone who laughed at the idea that the entertainment industry could take over America, is probably not laughing after the 2008 election, when politics crossed the fatal line into being entertainment.

But America had been sliding toward that abyss for a long time now, as each Presidential candidate had rock and roll theme songs, campaigned by visiting national talk show hosts, and tried to recruit celebrities to campaign for him. In the 19th century politics had been a compelling national spectacle. Crowds gathered to listen to the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Spirited national conventions were real battlefields. People understood and debated the ideas that would define their lives. Even the tragedy of the Civil War was the product of a nation that was highly interested in politics.

In the 20th century however entertainment trumped politics as the national obsession. People stopped caring about politics. National conventions stopped being battlefields and became carefully scripted pieces of entertainment, no different from Oscar night. Presidents were more likely to be elected based on some form of celebrity name recognition. Image trumped substance and mastery of the media mattered much more than the campaign trail itself. Nixon lost to Kennedy because JFK looked better on television. Observers wondered whether the American public was electing candidates anymore, or television was. The answer by now should be obvious.

Image had trumped substance. Politics became entertainment to compete for the attention of a public that only wanted to be entertained. Serious debates gave way to buzzwords in order to score points with a public that had too short an attention span to follow a serious discussion. It became easy to predict a national election by betting that the more boring candidate would lose.

What the political establishment failed to understand is that the more politics became dumbed down, the less democratic it would be. And the more it became about entertainment than serious issues, the less it would be in the hands of politicians, as opposed to celebrities. When charisma is your only real political requirement, any con man or scoundrel can play. And in such a system, the democracy of a republic, gives way to the lowest common denominator of the mob.

Today America has come full circle, ruled over by a man with no actual qualifications but charisma, completely unfit for the job, and incapable of doing more than giving an endless parade of hollow speeches, full of plagiarized words. Driven by a media frenzy, Americans go mad over the love affairs, weddings, divorces, adulteries and funerals of celebrities-- the way commoners once went mad over the lives and deaths of kings. The way people in third world dictatorships go mad over the deaths of their rulers.

That latter fact alone, especially when combined with the Camelot cult of personality, should have revealed that sooner or later a celebrity would rule over America. The culture of celebrity is a culture of ignorance, a slave culture in which millions long to be famous, ready to humiliate themselves, lie, steal, betray and even kill in order to be famous. The eye of the camera is the gateway to immortality, to joining the pantheon of undead gods, Elvis Presley, Marylin Monroe, John F. Kennedy, James Dean, Charles Manson, John Lennon, Walter Cronkite, Abbie Hoffman... right down to Barack Obama and the latest winner of American Idol.

Names have become totems, and celebrity has become the national currency worth having. The only meaningful experience occurs within the media. And that collective vision has bred the intellectual and moral decline of America into a nation incapable of paying attention to what really matters, to being happy through meaningful self-achievement and functioning as individuals, rather than drones in the great hive of the media experience.

The media experience has spent over a century devouring America's soul, consuming it, digesting it and spitting out a distorted image for everyone to worship and adore. Saving America means reviving individualism and rejecting the collective media culture, because to anyone fed into the media's collective experience, collective solutions will always appeal more than individual responsibility, charisma will always trump decency, and reasoned argument will never be able to compete with buzzwords and catchy slogans.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Afternoon Roundup - The Media Barks, but the Caravan Moves On

By On July 24, 2009

The media celebrated Obama's sudden fiscal minded reforms in cutting money for the F-22's, using that defense cut to pretend Obama wasn't wasting money like a drunken sailor on the fourth of July, and pluging America deep into trillion dollar deficit territory.

But luckily we won't be wasting money on any F-22's to defend America. We will however be sending 200 million dollars to the terrorist leaders of Fatah.

As it turns out, and wouldn't you know it, the good folks at Fatah are having a budget crisis. Just like us! Except we actually fund Fatah and have been for some time. Since Fatah, better known as the Palestinian Authority led by "President Abbas" has a budget which consists of

Intake: Money from Western governments

Output: Payments to terrorist militias and Fatah leaders, a workforce that totals over 200,000 people. Or 1 in 4 Palestinian men is on the Palestinian Authority payroll. A payroll for which we pay for.

Lest you think that 200 million is the whole shebang. That's a down payment on a promised 900 million. That's about the cost of four F-22's. But who needs a top next generation fighter jet for the Air Force, except you know Russia or China, who are busy working on their own.

Instead we get to spend 900 million dollars to keep one of the world's foremost terrorist groups in business. Isn't that special?

Meanwhile over at the dentist's office, I couldn't help but overhead a conversation between a patient and the longtime officer manager. Quoting her loosely, "Socialized medicine is coming down the pike now, and people have to call their governors now and speak out, because this looks good but it isn't going to work. Doctors can't work this fast, and when it's all free, the only thing they'll really offer you for free is to pull the teeth out."

Which would still put America ahead of the UK where a British patient had to pull his own teeth.

Debbie Schlussel meanwhile has a sad preview of ObamaCare

Back to "Religion of Pissed Off Madmen" news, the Times has a great article on the Ugly side of Dubai.

To understand what the lives of your children and grandchildren would be like under the Ummah, take a look at Dubai, where Islam rules.

Mohammed is an Emirati who owns a big dive shop a hundred miles across the burning sand to the east of Dubai, at Khawr Fakkan, in the slightly more conservative province of Sharjah. Khawr Fakkan, circled by stark and beautiful mountains, is on the Gulf of Oman and there is good diving to be had, plenty of tourists. Mohammed is a divorcee and he employed young western babes and chicks to run his business, because working in a dive centre is a sort of halfway house between backpacking and the real world for a certain sort of young postgrad western chick. Roxanne Hillier worked for him: young, blonde, pretty and half South African, with an English dad called Freddie. Roxanne’s in the rather bleak Khawr Fakkan prison right now, and will be for the next few months, following an unsuccessful appeal against her sentence in late June. Would you like to hear what she did to get herself there?

It was about 2am when the old bill arrived. Mohammed had been filling up the 80 or so oxygen tanks he needed for the next morning’s dive; Roxanne had returned from the last dive of the day, helped out for a bit, then, exhausted, took a nap in an anteroom. Outside, Mohammed heard a disturbance, so he went down to check it out.

“It was local people, gathered around the door to the dive centre,” he told me. “They were angry, saying, ‘Who have you got in there? You’ve got a woman in there, haven’t you?’ I told them, ‘No, no, the dive centre is closed.’ They said to me, ‘Where is the key?’ Later the police arrived. I told them there was nobody there, but they took my key and opened the door and searched the place and that’s when they found Roxanne.” The two of them were carted off to Khawr Fakkan prison (separate cells, natch) and held on remand for a week until the case came to court. Did you have sex with Roxanne, I ask Mohammed. “No, no, no, never!” Did you kiss her? “No, of course not. It is not true. It is all a misunderstanding.”

Well, as regards the first denial, we don’t have to take Mohammed’s word for it, because the Sharjah judicial authorities were kind enough to check the whole business out for themselves. They stripped Roxanne Hillier bare and invaded her with swabs and scrapes; a little bit of Mohammed’s DNA found inside her would have hugely increased the eventual sentence. As it was, she received a sentence of three months for the crime of being alone in the same building as a man who was not her husband. She didn’t know this was the sentence, because the court proceedings were conducted in Arabic and therefore she could not put her case across, either. It was later they told her what had been decided.

This is what justice looks like under Islam. This is what the Sharia law that its proponents are so keen on bringing to Europe, America and Canada looks like.

This is what life for Dhimmis looks like under Islam. No rights. No justice. Just chains and bars.

But good news, the UK may be getting its own Muslim police force. (Via Jihad Watch)

MUSLIM crime victims could gain the right to have their cases overseen by police from their own religion, it emerged last night.

Police in London already give victims the right to ask for a Sikh officer to be involved in an investigation but the scheme could be introduced for other religions elsewhere.

Chief Supt Joanna Young, from the Met’s Criminal Justice Policy Unit, said: “If it’s a success, I would encourage the other (police) associations to do likewise.”

The project is intended to help investigate “honour” killings and forced marriages but Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Peter Smyth said: “We’re stretched thin enough already. Are Sikh officers going to have their rotas changed so there’s always one on duty?

“It’s political correctness gone mad. We talking about the creation of a separate force within a force.”...

And the force within a force would actually cover up honor killings, and the like.

The New Centrist takes on J Street . Quoting James Kirchik

Who keeps preventing the full flowering of the necessary American leadership? In the J Street narrative, it’s establishment Jewish organizations, which distort American foreign policy by shielding Israel from pressure that would otherwise lead to peace. And who better to counter the influence of the so-called “Israel Lobby” than other Jews? J Street and the constellation of far-left “pro-Israel” organizations put a kosher stamp of approval on Obama’s bizarre hectoring and moral equivalence.

To this end, J Street seems to spend almost all of its resources bashing supporters of Israel. Those who disagree with the organization’s positions are routinely denounced as “right-wing” or “extremist.” Rather than draw attention to the murderous antisemitism, terrorism and impending nuclear-armed theocracy that Israel must confront, J Street prefers to churn out countless blog posts, press releases and op-eds denouncing the people who it believes are the real impediments to peace: stalwart defenders of Israel

Of course J Street doesn't really stop there. Like many on the left it believes Israel's existence itself is the impediment to peace. Rather than seeing a two sided conflict, J Street is a proponent of a one sided Israel bashing narrative in which the problem is ever and always Israel.

Which is why calling J Street Pro-Israel is like calling the Reverend Jeremiah Wright Pro-American.

Yoram Ettinger meanwhile has what would have been Prime Minister Begin's response to Obama's demand for Yerushalayim.

"At the very end of Prime Minister Begin's successful Camp David talks with Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat in 1978, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with "Just one final formal item." Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord.

"I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it," rumbled Begin. "'If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,' said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America , 'and may my tongue cleave to my mouth.'"

"Admonishment of the British foreign secretary, [Lord Carrington], telling him in almost so many words to mind his own business, and… saying [Carrington] should open his Bible 'and read the First Book of Kings, chapter two, verse eleven, where you will find that King David moved his capital from Hebron, where he had reigned for seven years, to Jerusalem where he ruled for another thirty-three years, and this at a time [3,000 years ago] when the civilized world had never heard of London.'”

' Jerusalem is an epic. It is the wellspring of a civilization. Without Jerusalem 's civilization the spiritual history of the world would be stagnant. To us Jerusalem is family. Has anyone ever heard of a daughter or a son of a Saladin ever fasting each year in memory of ancient Jerusalem 's anguish? Not a one! Has anybody ever heard of a son of a Crusader who breaks a glass at his wedding ceremony in memory of ancient Jerusalem 's torment? Not a one! How could you have heard, when throughout its three thousand year-long history Jerusalem has been capital to no one but to the Jews. So it was. So it is. And so it shall ever be.'"

The Conference of Major Jewish Organizations meanwhile has taken a stand backing Israel against Obama, on Jerusalem. (Via Israel Matzav)

We find disturbing the objections raised to the proposed construction of residential units on property that was legally purchased and approved by the appropriate authorities. The area in question houses major Israeli governmental agencies, including the national police headquarters. The United States has in the past and recently raised objections to the removal of illegal structures built by Arabs in eastern Jerusalem even though they were built in violation of zoning and other requirements often on usurped land. In addition to the Jewish housing, the project called for apartment units for Arabs as well

It is particularly significant that the structure in question formerly was the house of the infamous Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseni who spent the war years in Berlin as a close ally of Hitler, aiding and abetting the Nazi extermination of Jews. He was also linked to the 1929 massacre in Hebron and other acts of incitement that resulted in deaths and destruction in what was then Palestine. There has been an expressed desire by some Palestinians to preserve the building as a tribute to Husseini.

It hasn't been a great week for Obama. With setbacks on health care at the congressional level, forcing him and Pelosi and Reid to postpone the big push until fall. This not only serves as a weakness for Obama, and opens up a hole in his accomplishments schedule that will have to be filled by more dates or pointless speeches.

Nevertheless it is a demonstration that Obama can falter when he runs into opposition. Naturally the rat's nest of Soros funded 501's will be scrambling like mad to blackmail, threaten and destroy any and all Dem congressmen who have been holding out. So a battle has been won, but the war is only beginning.

The cops want an apology from Obama. And the doctors too.

At a Young Israel synagogue, Rabbi Yeshaya Siff's message has an interesting take on modern morality

Today's society is overwhelmingly defined as a modern progressive society, one in which progress in lifestyle changes has far surpassed that of earlier generations. In technical and political terms the above may be accurate, but morally and spiritually a more definitive expression than "progressive" would be "permissive". The offshoot of "relative" morality is usually "no" morality, or what was once termed "immorality".

Lemon Lime Moon has a post on Rebels Without a Cause, The Left as Adults

Barack Obama is busy showing a whole host of bitter feelings on many subjects and there is an angry, bitter teen aspect of his personality that is coming out. Raised in a fatherless home, with too much feminine influence, he was raised ideologically by Frank Marshall Davis, a dyed in the wool Marxist. Marxism at it's very core is a childish and bitter ideology well suited to the immature. For a young teen or preteen to have this as their rallying point it can embed feelings of bitterness that can be hard to root out. Marxism is founded on fostering racial hatreds and class envy.

Jew with a View writes, "Obama: Can we Fund Hamas. Yes we can.

A question for Americans: would you want a single dollar to get into the hands of Hamas? No?

Then brace yourselves.

Because if changes in American law are pushed through, financial aid will be sent to a unified Palestinian government – even if Hamas officials are part of that government.

Let’s recap. Despite attempts by the liberal media to rebrand Hamas as doe-eyed ‘resistance fighters’, Hamas is a terrorist organisation. Here’s a whopping big clue to the truth of that statement: Hamas was spawned by the radical Muslim Brotherhood. And so was Al Queda.

Bush would never have entertained it. But apparently Obama’s response to the question of whether America can, ethically, give funds to Hamas is ‘Yes We Can!’.

“The administration’s proposal is akin to agreeing to support a government that “only has a few Nazis in it,” Rep. Mark Steven Kirk told Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a House hearing last week.

The Democrats have discussed the changes to the law governing funding to Gaza this month, as part of an $83.4-billion emergency spending bill that also contains funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also would provide $840 million for the Palestinian Authority and for rebuilding in Gaza, following Israel’s Operation Cast Lead earlier this year.

Obama had better hurry that dough to his Hamas buddies, while he still has the time. Because his popularity is sinking fast, as Exposing Liberal Lies writes, citing the Telegraph.

“Are the people rejecting their saviour? Barack Obama’s approval rating has slipped to below that of George ‘Dubya’ Bush at the same stage in his presidency and this is causing some concern among right-thinking (by which, of course, I mean left-thinking) people. This is by no means the death of the dream that began in January – approval ratings slide up and down erratically – but it is at least an early intimation of mortality.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If You Would Have War, Prepare for Peace

By On July 22, 2009
A Roman tactician once coined the maxim, "If you would have peace, prepare for war." Hence the motto of the Strategic Air Command, which was ready at a moment's notice to rain nuclear fire across the world, was "Peace is our Profession", displayed beneath a mailed fist holding both the olive branch and the thunderbolt. The message to potential enemies was painfully clear. Choose.

The latter century's military history can be read to coin an equally blunt maxim. "If you would have war, prepare for peace." In the wake of WWI's horrors, America and much of Western Europe decided that nothing could be worse than a war. The remainder of that first half century would be dedicated to teaching them the lesson that there was indeed something worse than a war, and that was losing or nearly losing a war.

The nations who desperately prepared for peace all through the 20's and 30's, confronted enemies willing to mime peace negotiations only long enough for the tanks to cross the border. Pacifism had ushered in Nazism. Some of the best soldiers in the Wermacht did not wear uniforms or even were aware of their affiliation. They were the idiots cheering on Aldous Huxley's anti-war speeches in a city that would not long after trade in anti-war slogans for the cries of air raid wardens. Yet enough of them, like Bertrand Russell, survived, having learned nothing from the experience and were all too eager to repeat the same thing all over again, giving up their unofficial work for the Wermacht, for their unofficial work for the Soviet Army.

There is no better strategic boost to the aggression of an enemy power than an assertion that you would rather not fight. And over and over again when that assertion is made, war follows. No sane homeowner would hang up a sign in a troubled neighborhood reading, "Reluctant Guard Dog Would Rather Not Bite" or "Before You Break Into My House, Give Me a Call To See If We Can Work This Out Some Other Way." And yet First World nations keep hanging up such signs over and over again.

The European nations as well as Israel are object lessons in how even the world's strongest militaries can turn into pudding in the hands of socialists who exchange the sword for the open hand. 50 years ago the sun never set on the British Empire. Today there are parts of England itself where the sun will not set on an Englishman because there are none living there anymore. 50 years ago France was debating whether to fight on in Algeria or pull out. Today the same war is no longer being fought in Algeria, but in France.

At the end of the last century a Swede named Alfred Nobel felt guilty enough for inventing dynamite that he left his money to be used to distribute prizes for human achievement, including the Nobel Peace Prize by a committee of elderly Swedes operating out of Stockholm. Yet the name Stockholm is more commonly associated with the Stockholm Syndrome, a state of affairs in which captives experience greater identification with their captors, than with their rescuers. This seems appropriate enough as Stockholm today is rife with Muslim violence, rapes, murders and violent assaults are off the charts. Their justification from one survey, "The immigrant youth regard the Swedes as stupid and cowardly: “The Swedes don’t do anything, they just give us the stuff. They’re so wimpy."

It makes one wonder if Alfred Nobel were alive today, whether he wouldn't find something bigger than dynamite to feel guilty over. Such as creating an entire prize to celebrate stupid cowardly wimpiness as a trait worth emulating.

On June 9th 2005, Israel's then Prime Minister Olmert announced to the audience at the far left wing Israel Policy Forum, "We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies." Almost a year to the date, on June 12th, 2006, Hezbollah attacked Israel, kidnapping and murdering Israeli soldiers, and touching off what would be called the Second Lebanon War. A conflict that Olmert miserably bungled because he had been too tired of fighting, too busy planning for peace by retraining IDF soldiers to forcibly evict Jewish residents of disputed territories, rather than training them to fight the enemy.

If you would have peace, prepare for war. If you would have war, announce to your enemies that you are tired of fighting. Teach your people that their true enemies are not without, but within in the form of nationalists, patriots, "right wing extremists" and anyone else who doesn't think peace through appeasement is feasible. Redeploy your security forces to fight the phantom threats of right wing extremism, rather than the terrorists creeping up in the night to cut your throats. War will surely follow.

Israel is a case study in how a society and military capable of handling multiple enemy armies superior in size could implode within a single generation, once its government and cultural elites decided to reprogram everyone to prepare for peace. Military efficiency sharply dropped, draft dodging sharply increased, the people lost faith in a military solution, the military lost faith in a military solution, and millions waited and watched while the diplomatic representatives of a country that in its infancy had held back seven enemy armies, wrangle with the grotesque terrorist leader over the terms of their surrender, not his. A farce in the name of peace that was honored with a Nobel Prize.

And now the United States is next. Say goodbye to the F-22's. We won't need them where we're going. Which is on a trip to Moscow, Istanbul, Paris, London, Cairo, Berlin and any other world capitol for heavy doses of speechmaking. Preparing for peace requires talking a lot and making grand statements backed by nothing except the puffs of hot air drifting around the hall and the obligatory round of applause afterward. There was speechmaking like that with even grander statements followed by applause all throughout the 20th century, but it was not speeches about peace that kept anyone safe, but the sacrifices of the soldiers in the field, condemned as the pawns of warmongers before they were needed, dismissed as dangerous thugs after they were done. Unregarded in life, showered with sentimental honors long after the death, by the same governments busy mistreating their own contemporaries in the field.

Now as America has an administration desperately prepared for peace, the war has gotten harder than ever. The only difference is that an adoring press no longer recites the total casualty counts in an accusatory tone. The dead soldiers only mattered when their names were bullets to be shot at a conservative administration. Their usefulness have passed. Their deaths are now only an embarrassment, a testament to the fact that preparing for peace cannot hold back the tide of war.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We're From the Government, and We're Here to Help

By On July 21, 2009
The best argument against any new government program, is government itself. Were the United States government a corporation, its business model would make Enron, Countrywide and Bernard Madoff look like models of rock solid corporate responsibility. The kind of corporation that goes trillions of dollars into debt, buys wrenches at a thousand dollars a pop and spends much of its budget on kickbacks for the friends of its boards members.

If at the height of the New Deal, liberals were full of optimism about what the powers of an expanded Federal government could accomplish, few liberals today can argue with a straight face that the Federal government is either competent, efficient or even any better at managing money than your average unemployed drunken brother in law. The old rhetoric of the New Deal is there, its proponents have simply learned to completely detach it from the reality that government is doomed to be incompetent and ineffective, compared to private citizens.

The current push for nationalized health care or ObamaCare, ignores the fact that the government has badly mismanaged much smaller health care systems, including the VA system and the Indian Health Service, both of which liberals had been busy denouncing until not too long ago. Meanwhile Medicaid costs have already been rising out of control with states and the Federal government trying to pass the bill back and forth to each other. A problem that is already popping up with ObamaCare as Governors from both parties condemn any attempt by Congress to create unfunded mandates for the states to fill.

The conflict between the states and the Federal government reached a new ugly low, when the Justice Department charged New York State with "knowingly submitting false claims for reimbursement" forcing a half a billion dollar payout by the state to the Feds. It's not quite up there with the shot fired at Fort Sumter, but with some states like California already on the verge of bankruptcy, ObamaCare may well be the final flood that sinks it all, overburdening already tightly stretched state budgets and dumping an impossible system on state governments no longer able to cope with it.

After Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac helped bring down the housing market, instead of making it more affordable; Welfare created dependency and despondency; and even something as relatively simple as the digital transition that had been preplanned for over a decade, resulted in a snafu and a six month extension-- why would anyone assume that the government is our best choice for handling anything?

The grand socialist experiments elsewhere have not brought utopia, instead in poor countries they have brought warlordism, misery and corruption, and among the rich nations, decline, indolence, shortages, industrial collapse and the erosion of freedom. We have already been on the latter path for some time now. The more government has grown in size, the more American industry has withered, manufacturing has dissipated, small farms have collapsed and small businesses have struggled, unable to simply leave the country, the way their larger competitors have done.

Wal-Mart is not America's largest employer, that would be the Federal government, which has nearly twice as many employees as Wal-Mart does. The difference of course is that you aren't forced to pay the salaries of Wal-Mart employees, because Wal-Mart turns a profit. The Federal government turns a deficit, and does so with glorious abandon. That is because the Federal government can't go bankrupt so long as it can continue borrowing money from China against its key collateral, that being the United States, namely you.

When was the last time a corporation borrowed against its employees as collateral? That sort of thing was illegal in America since the end of slavery. But every American citizen is a de facto investor in the United States and responsible for its debts. While Obama can count on a golden parachute ride of speaking commitments and jeans commercials, the average American citizen will be left holding the bag for debts totaling in the trillions. Debts that would require drastic cuts in programs that the public has become dependent on.

Imagine a gambler in a casino who has racked up a fortune in debt he can never possibly repay. So he borrows some more. What difference does it make when you can't possibly pay back what you've already taken? Except the gambler still has a shot at winning something with another roll of the dice. But when the Federal government spends money, every throw comes up snake eyes.

The big draw of the expanding Federal government is more and more services, but how can the government help anyone, when it can't even help itself?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Through the Media's Eye

By On July 20, 2009
The death of Walter Cronkite has occasioned an outpouring of grief for the media personality dubbed "The Most Trusted Man in America", by the media's own polls. Cronkite, like Woodward and Bernstein, or Neil Sheehan, served as a turning point as the media's love affair with itself went from creating its own icons, to treating those icons as a vital part of the national culture.

Cronkite's genial fatherly manner and non-threatening good nature, made him appear trustworthy; which made him a vital asset for the media's new role, that of "explaining America to itself". That was the phrase that Newsweek editor Ellis Cose used when accepting the Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism, an award that would normally make one think of charging into minefields or rescuing the wounded from a battlefield, not writing articles for Newsweek. It is a phrase that communicates the media's new role, to "explain" their image of America to the average American who is not nearly as in touch with his own country, as a Yale educated reporter living on the coast and working for a major media syndicate is.

News reporting began with one medium, the printed press. As technology improved, the transmission of news became more instantaneous and one medium became many, the media. Radio, television and the internet have each added a quantum increase in speed, so that reporting that once took hours or days, can take minutes. This acceleration in speed has made the media more omnipresent than ever. Across multiple media formats, the same message goes through over and over again with terribly trustworthy men and women hard at work explaining America to itself.

The convenience of the media remains its great asset. Advertising allows the media to sell access to its readers, but it is the unofficial product being sold that is the real problem. Across all the mediums, the message is not simple news, but advocacy. Media bias did not begin yesterday. When Jefferson wanted to take a poke at Washington, Hamilton and Adams, he used independent newspapers as a front for a propaganda war that threw around charges of treason, adultery and worse. Adams responded with the "Alien and Sedition Acts", which liberal historians selectively condemn without taking note of what inspired them.

But as the media has become more omnipresent, its bias has also become more standardized and absolute. Wire services, network newscasts, cable news networks, nationwide radio chains that rely on recorded newsreaders, and finally the internet itself, has eroded community news. Once upon a time the editor of a regional paper printed what he thought of a matter first, and then would have to wait a week or so to find out if the New York Times agreed with him, assuming he cared about that sort of thing. Today a consensus on a news story emerges within a very short time, a consensus forged by the biggest media groups with the most bandwidth. Defying that consensus is risky and demands an effort of will. A story can no longer be run that defies the consensus without accounting for it in some way. And that consensus has meant the death of the free press.

That consensus represents the media's perspective, better known as "explaining America to itself." Are Americans really such hopeless dullards that they need their own country explained to them? That is certainly how the media sees them. Their contempt for the average American leaks through as pandering and the shameless rise of infotainment. It comes through in the iconization of newsreaders and increasingly dumbing down their reporting, while amping up their agenda. Like a propagandist screaming through a bullhorn, the media doesn't care if you understand what happened, they want you to take away a simple message from what happened, their message.

Through the media's eye, what matters about a shooting is that it could have been prevented with tighter gun control laws. What matters about a patient's death is that it could have been prevented with government run health care. What matters about a suicide bombing is that it perpetuates the cycle of violence. What matters about a homeless man's death is that we need more government public housing. What matters ultimately is the media's perspective, and that perspective is ruthlessly agenda driven. Sometimes it is camouflaged with selective storytelling and between the lines bias, but lately it is hardly being camouflaged at all. And that too is the ugliest sign of contempt from the media to date.

The rise of the internet has threatened the media's monopolization of the public debate, which is one reason why it has become so tempting to look at Cronkite as representing a golden age, a mythical period when all Americans listened to and believed one man. Mostly though the internet has threatened the profitability of the media, more than it has threatened it as a monopoly.

The mainstream media's offerings are still where people go for news, and while more hardy souls are going off the reservation to blogs, the space off the reservation is often defined by the media as well. The big media monopolies still have massive power and brand name recognition on their side, and while newspapers may be closing, and radio stations may be getting a bit shaky, it will take more than that to make the media go away.

Yet the internet has attacked the media's Achilles heel, convenience. Americans did not buy newspapers, listen to the radio or watch network newscasts because of trust, so much as because of convenience. And the internet has made convenience accessible to everyone. No broadcaster could compete with Cronkite, no one man handbill operation could compete with the New York Times. On the internet though it's all just content, and while the media still has the power, that power comes at a high dollar and cents price, and without the monopoly, its profitability is eroding its ability to maintain that power. Paying a large staff costs money. So does advertising. And internet advertising isn't profitable enough to cover that bet.

The New York Times as we know it will perish. So will most of the major papers. The monthly news magazines who have banked big on infotainment and lifestyle features, Newsweek and Time Magazine, don't have a bright future ahead of them either. Not when their only real use is as something to read while waiting for the doctor to see you now. The network newscasts will follow. Cronkite was forced out by CBS and Dan Rather due to his age. His old seat was turned over to Rather, who was forced out by CBS due to his own age, and a breaking scandal. His ridiculously overpaid replacement is Katie Couric who doesn't so much read the news, as sneeze it. She in turn will be forced out when CBS gives up hope that she can bring in a younger audience. The CBS newscast today is the lowest rated of the big three networks. Had Cronkite stuck around for a few years, he would have likely seen it die as well.

But that does not mean the media is over and done with. The New York Times may be dead, but Politico is the new New York Times. Just as the Drudge Report is the new New York Post. The old media will die, but a new media is being born. And the essential problem of the media will remain. That problem is the presumption of explaining America to itself through the media's eye. It is the presumption that just as doctors treat physical problems and lawyers treat legal problems, that the job of the media is to treat what they see as America's social problems.

By reporting not the news, but what it sees as the news, the media has repeatedly hijacked America's political discourse to put across their agenda. When the media mournfully looks back at the golden age of Cronkite, Woodward and Bernstein; they are remembering the golden period when despite the will of the voters and the values of most Americans; their agenda became the national agenda. And a nation of the people, by the people and for the people; became a nation of the politicians, by the media and for those watching the media.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stopping the Cycle of Violence

By On July 19, 2009
The "Cycle of Violence" is a phrase that has become a fundamental part of the liberal lexicon. Its key point is to imply that violence is itself a useless tool for stopping violence, in the process it morally equates all forms of violence, whether it is the police officer returning fire at an armed robber, a soldier firing on a terrorist, or a homeowner firing in defense of his family. The phrase "Cycle of Violence" renders them all equally wrong and equally hopeless.

That is where "Breaking the Cycle of Violence" comes in. Since the phrase itself presumes that violence cannot stop other forms of violence, only keep the violence going, the cycle can only to be broken by agreeing to an end to the fighting... on any terms. The more popular word for this is known as appeasement.

The two obvious flaws in the premise of a "Cycle of Violence", is that first it presumes that violence cannot be used to stop other forms of violence. This is blatantly false as anyone with even an elementary knowledge of history would understand, after all much of human history was built on the successful use of violence. Secondly it treats violence itself as the key characteristic, while sidelining the political and moral identities of the participants themselves.

By treating all forms of violence as equally wrong, the moral equivalence behind the idea of a "Cycle of Violence" does not distinguish between the relative validity of one side's position, or the relative evil of another's. In the liberal lexicon all sides are presumed to be equally bad for resorting to violence, with the only moral parameter allowed is the relative strength of both sides. The stronger side is presumed to have more alternative options for settling the conflict rather than violence, while the weaker side is presumed to have less.

This premise has run through centuries of revolutionary thinking, justifying the worst atrocities by the "oppressed" on the grounds that they had no choice. From the French Revolution to Native Son, from Hitler and Che to the Palestinian Arab suicide bomber, this element within the cycle of violence demands concessions from the stronger party and none from the weaker party. Accepting the demands of the weaker party then become the means of resolving the conflict and breaking the cycle of violence. Once again, appeasement.

Stripped of all the high minded rhetoric of social and global justice, talk of breaking the cycle of violence, most often serves to reward the aggressor, the terrorist, the warlord, the guerrilla and the thug. It plays perfectly into their essential strategy of bleeding a larger more organized force and waiting for negotiations to begin. The negotiations themselves of course only prolong the cycle of violence, because it is a one sided desire to end the violence that has brought about the negotiations in the first place. Violence then becomes a negotiating tactic, "Give me what I want or the killing will resume." Naturally blame for the violence falls on the stronger party that rejects the offer.

The truth of the matter though is that violence is only a cycle until one side gains a decisive victory. That is why the liberal agenda is to prevent such a victory by restricting the tactics available to the stronger side, through lawfare, boycotts and political pressure; handicapping its offensive capabilities to break the faith of the public and the nation's leaders in its own military, thus leaving them no option but to begin the appeasement negotiations.

Violence is not a hopeless cycle. It is a matter of strategy and tactics. In some situations it is better to make peace, when it is with an enemy who in turn wants peace, rather than concessions, and who does represent an ongoing threat. In other situations it is vital to act decisively and end the violence by waging a comprehensive assault against the attackers.

Violence only becomes a cycle when liberals successfully handicap the military to insure that they cannot win, while leaving the enemy an open field and easy forgiveness for any tactics they might choose.

Yet the most potent weapon on and off the battlefield is morale. The perception of a war as going uphill or downhill is key to the morale of both the public and the troops. It is a tactic that Cronkite and the Viet Cong understood quite well during the Vietnam War. It is a tactic that the Israeli and American left, and Islamic terrorists understand quite well too. Their victory cannot come on the battlefield, only as blows struck against the morale of their First World opponents.

The Cycle of Violence theory is key to creating the perception of an unnwinnable and futile conflict that can only be resolved when we sit down at the table with the barbarians and butchers, and discuss what we can give them to make them stop killing us. And there is no idea that serves the enemies of civilization better, than that war against terrorists is futile, and that it is better to be a live dog cringing at the totalitarian boot, than a dead lion. Better Red than Dead, or better Dead than Red? Better Green than Dead, or better Dead than Green. A civilization that can no longer answer that question properly has already bowed its knees to the enemy, and is only waiting to discuss the price of its own slavery. All to end "The Cycle of Violence."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We Must Destroy the Economy to Save the Economy

By On July 18, 2009
Paul Krugman is to the Obama administration's economic policy, what Lysenko was to Stalinist agriculture.  Reading Krugman is an education in how socialist regimes rely on a court jester to give their unworkable and destructive policies the veneer of legitimacy.

In a recent New York Times post, Krugman proclaims that "Deficits saved the world." The unspoken logic is pretty clear, and inside Krugman states, "government deficits... are the only thing that has saved us from a second Great Depression."

The unspoken logic is pretty clear. Since Obama must be given credit for saving the world, and saving America from a second depression... and the only thing Obama has done is run up a huge deficit... the new line of argument has to be that "Deficits saved America and the World from a second Great Depression."

This has two advantages.

One it allows liberals to re-characterize Obama's spending spree as preventing a depression. The old tagline was, "You have to spend money to make money." Then when no money was made and jobs kept on being lost, the new tagline becomes, "If the government doesn't stop spending money, there'll be no more money."

Count on Joe Biden to put it simply and best,

“We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation,” Biden said. “Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt? The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you."

If the GOP has any sense, they'll be running that clip of Biden in commercials non-stop in 2010 and 2012 to highlight the sheer insanity of the Obama administration's policy of amassing impossible amounts of debt to avoid bankruptcy, incidentally exactly the same sort of economics that helped created the crisis in the first place.

But this brings us to the second advantage of the Krugman\Biden approach, which is that in 2012, barring an actual Great Depression, the Obama campaign and its media lickspittles, will claim that Obama's 10 trillion dollar projected deficit actually saved America from a Great Depression.

At this point even if 50 percent of the country is unemployed and every major corporation in America has moved overseas, and the American taxpayer has signed up a debt even his great-great-great-grandchildren won't be able to repay, so long as the government and the media insist there is no Great Depression, Obama will be able to proclaim victory over the economy.

And of course it will be a victory over the economy indeed. But the Krugmanites will point to economic indicators, and claim that recovery is just around the corner thanks to Obama and Geithner's wise policy of wasting huge amounts of money, and raising taxes to pay for it.

Naturally like Lysneko, Krugman's "Imaginary Economics" doesn't work in real life, and is reshaped to the occasion. Under Bush, Krugman was not a fan of deficits. Instead he penned multiple columns blaming Bush's tax cuts for driving up the deficit. Of course now deficits that are many times the size of Bush's deficits will be the savior of us all. And we have always been at war with Oceania.

The message was Deficit + Bush Tax Cuts = Will Doom Us All. But now, Deficit + Irresponsible Government Spending = Will Save Us All. That is the kind of math you get a Nobel prize for, that is if you're lucky enough to be dealing with a Lysenkoist Nobel Prize Committee that was willing to reward anyone opposed to Bush with a Nobel Prize, (see Carter, Jimmy and Gore, Al).

Tax cuts of course are bad, because how can you pay for your deficit spending without them. Deficit spending itself however is now good, because it will help force new taxes, which has been Krugman's crusade for a while now, labeling anyone opposed to government taxation as irrational fanatics, an assertion in which he presumably includes America's Founding Fathers.

Of course if anything the Obama Administration has demonstrated just the opposite, showing that government can spend money more foolishly and destructively, than even the most imprudent taxpayer, and can do so on a far larger scale. Liberals who embrace Krugman, the way that Communists embraced Lysenko, do so because he tells them what he wants to hear, that Congress robbing the public to pay for its own pork is the best possible economic behavior.

The Soviet Union's leaders believed that they could prove themselves superior to nature. They claimed that they had scientists on their side, when in reality they had politically connected frauds who served as their echo chamber. The result was famine, constant shortages, misery and failure on every front. Under the watch of the Lysenkoists and on the orders of the Bolsheviks, Ukraine, once the region's breadbasket went from productive to dead. The Soviet Union's own humiliating collapse began as from on Khrushchev onward, the USSR became dependent on grain imports from the US, allowing America to influence Soviet policy.

Obama's economics of centralized government, of wealth redistribution and endless cycles of spending backed by taxation leads to the same place, as the Collective Farms, the central economic planning and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat did. The Soviet Union believed that it would control everything, but the more they attempted to control, the less they had to control.

The utopian ideals of collective farming gave way to the harsh reality of a new serfdom. Centralized planning made sure that corruption and inefficiency were distributed from the top down through a long bureaucratic chain in which everyone took their cut, and no one was responsible, except for the scapegoats.

The logic of centralization and serfdom was wrong then, and it is wrong now. Individual economic activity is more profitable and efficient, than centralized activity. People work better for themselves, than they do for governments and unions. Free power beats Slave power every time, a fundamental value that the Republican party has embraced from Lincoln to Reagan, and one that the Democratic party threw overboard when they exchanged Jefferson for FDR.

Krugman's agenda, Obama's agenda, is nothing more than a slow path to socialism, implemented by implementing the socialist system on top of the existing economic system. It is the same old disaster of feeding everything and everyone into the great big machine of government, and expecting it to somehow spit out Utopia. A plan that fails every time.

An Army officer in Vietnam said, "In order to save the village, we had to destroy the village." The new Obama economic agenda is, "We must destroy the economy in order to save the economy." The truth is that what the economy needs to be saved most of all... is from them.


Blog Archive