Monday, October 31, 2011

Conveniently Anonymous

Whether or not POLTICO's report of old accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain are true or not, not to mention substantial or not, remains to be seen.  But one thing about this latest episode of the elite media's timeless quest to destroy public figures who happen to be conservative is all too familiar.  That is, it springs from what are ultimately, and very conveniently, anonymous sources.

Of course, as the reporters who authored the story are quick to explain:
POLITICO has confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.
What is it they say?  "How convenient."

For once, I wish a conservative thus confronted by some representative of the elite media with just such an embarrassing story, the source of which is unknown, unnameable, or ambiguous, would respond with something like this: "How much did you pay these women to say these things?  Look, I have a source, an anonymous source, who insists that you paid big money to these women to make these accusations.  Is it true?  Did you?  Well, did you?  When you reveal your sources, I'll reveal mine."

'Cause He's Got--Personality!

Terry Teachout pans a new biography of William F. Buckley, a biography that happens also to be a history of the modern conservative movement in America, by charging its author Carl T. Bogus with failing to notice, or at least notice enough, the most important thing about Buckley, that is, his singular charm.

Haven't read the book, so I can't say if Teachout's on the mark or overly harsh with his criticism.  But he does make a very important larger point nevertheless with the opening two sentences of his review:  "Historians rarely have much to say about the role of charm in public affairs. But it matters, and sometimes it matters a lot."


In fact, I would say that the greatest part of the explanation for Herman Cain's growing appeal as a candidate and subsequent rise in the polls is his charming personality.

Of course, we'll have to wait and see if his charm's enough to weather the storm now breaking, not to mention the many more that will come up if he survives this one.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Girl Talk

This Atlantic piece by Kate Bolick is currently much talked about.  I'll just link to it without comment.  Male chauvinist pig I'm sometimes accused of being, I'd only get myself into further trouble.

Was that a comment?

Infantilism, cont.

In the way that only he can, Mark Steyn reports on the state of Connecticut's "Diaper Need Awareness Day".

Only just the other day I mentioned that "infantilism" is fast supplanting "liberalism", "socialism", and even "communism" as the organizing principle of the Democrat Party.

Don't misunderstand, infantili-zation is always a direct consequence, even if it's not intended, of any and all collectivist ideologies.  What's new for the Democrats is that instead of hiding or trying to explain away the consequences of their principles in action, they're now embracing them openly, accepting them as a key part of a new ideology, infantil-ism.

They've decided, it would appear, that we Americans are at long last mature enough to handle it.  

"It" was in the Cards

Congratulations to the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals!

While it lacked the high drama of Thursday's game six, last night's final game victory sealed for them the championship nevertheless, ending a very unlikely run that began in earnest in what now seems like long ago late August.

Whatever "it" is, this year's Cardinals were the clear holders.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fingers Crossed

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged almost 340 points today on the news that European leaders brokered a deal that may avert, or at least forestall their own debt crisis.  Is the market's reaction to the news justified?

I have a theory about what the Dow, as well as all the other market indices, actually measure anymore.

In the long run, they always have been and still are fairly reliable measures of underlying economic reality.

But in the short run, it depends.  It depends on whether or not the economy is sound, fundamentally sound.  If it is, then the day-to-day swings in the market will remain relatively small.  But, if the economy is not sound, then the market will reflect that with wide and wild gyrations.  One day up 300 points, like today's Dow, tomorrow down a similar number, the next day steady as she goes.

There's really nothing new about this observation as market indicators have always been measures mostly of expectations, expectations about what actually is the state of the underlying economy.

What is new, and this is my theory, is that now market indicators include along with expectations an incalculable admixture of hope.  It's incalculable because hope is less rational than expectations.  It's possible to either per-suade or dis-suade someone about the reasonableness of their expectations with an appeal to a spreadsheet full of facts and figures.  Hope is different.

Hope has crept in alongside expectations over the last couple of generations as more and more common people have bought into the market through the advent of mutual funds and individual retirement plans of one sort or another.  For my father's generation, the stock market was something only rich or professional people had an interest in.  Today, by contrast, virtually everyone owns stock to one degree or another.

But while we own stock, we don't manage that interest in the same way rich or professional people of a generation and more ago did.  Instead, we just watch the market and, well, we hope.

Why has the market remained by any historical standard relatively high during these past few years of genuine economic turmoil?  Why does it leap at the chance to rebound on the slightest piece of good news, in this case, even news from across the Atlantic?

I think it is bouyed in large part by the presence of hope over expectations in a large number of investors.  No one wants to contemplate their future without a full and fat retirement account.  We've staked far too much on it and don't want to think too hard about what we will do if it comes up empty.  Unlike our forebears who quickly fled the banks when they got wind of bad economic news, we stay in the market come hell or high water and hope.

What else can we do?


But seriously... long, that is, as we're talking about "infantilism".

James Taranto, in a Wall Street Journal column takes up the same theme, this time advanced by the President himself, introducing it in part with this report from ABC News:
"At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser today, President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America." (my emphasis)
Did I read that right?  Please, please, tell me I didn't.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Check out this headline and story that follows:  "How Psychiatry and the Government Turned a Man Into a Permanent Baby"

This is a scandal?  I thought it was the governing philosophy of the Democrat Party.

Was It Worth It?

This kind of retrospective, in this case from the pages (is that what you call'em on a website?) of the conservative American Spectator, has me concerned.  Aaron Goldstein asks, and I suspect he's not alone in asking: "Should Saddam have stayed in Power?"

This is what I worried about when I posted "Whatever..." the other day.

First, when you walk away from any task unfinished, as it looks like we are in the case of Iraq, and perhaps will as well in the case of Afghanistan, it almost by definition becomes not worth it.  Vietnam was not worth it after 1975 when we gave it up for good.

But stop for a moment and compare Vietnam to Germany, Japan, and Korea.  Would any serious person be tempted to ask whether they were worth it, where we remained, and still remain, far longer than in Vietnam, expending far more blood and treasure?

Second, while our invasion of Iraq may have wrested ruling power from a tyrannical Sunni minority and, by establishing at least the semblance of a democracy, succeeded mostly only in transferring that power to a potentially tyrannical Shiite majority, a majority, significantly, with ties to Iran, our departure almost ensures those ties will become closer still, and dangerously so.

Third, even if Saddam had remained in power and served our interests by acting as a balance against an increasingly aggressive Iran, who's to say he would have remained otherwise safely within the confines of Iraq?

He had already invaded Kuwait over a decade before, placing the "free flow of oil at market prices" (remember when that phrase would almost roll off your tongue?) to us and our allies, a vital national interest, at serious risk.  That invasion required us to assemble an always reluctant coalition and send a very large army to force him back into Iraq.  That invasion and the threat of another required as well a 12-year policy of containing him within by posting large numbers of troops throughout the region.  Troops the posting of which was never free of charge and troops the posting of which complicated our relations with other countries.

Moreover, we knew, as everyone knew, that he not only possessed, but actively sought to possess even more, weapons of mass destruction, weapons he had already demonstrated his willingness to use by using them against his own people.  So why not against Kuwait as well?  Why not against us while we were "over there" to contain him?

We also knew, as everyone knew, that he was increasingly involved in sponsoring terrorism.  After 9/11 especially, how long could we tolerate this behavior?  Tolerate it even if he did act as an effective balance vis a vis Iran?

No, Saddam had to go and, on balance, it's good that he's gone.  Good for Iraq, good for the region, and most especially, good for us.

Now we have to confront Iran, such are the duties of a responsible Great Power, and doing so effectively has just become much more difficult with our retreat from Iraq.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A "Catholic" Bank?, cont.

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

George Weigel clarifies.

A "Catholic" Bank?

This report disappoints, but does not surprise me. 

It seems the Vatican is calling for the institution of a "central world bank" or "global pubic authority" in order to help avoid "the idolatry of the market" and ensure an "ethic of solidarity" among all nations, rich and poor.

If you know anything of the intellectual history of the West, this impulse is a logical, and enduring, product of both the idea of "empire", following the Roman experience, as well as the "catholic", or universal nature of the Roman Catholic Church.  The "idea" of "Europe", and later "Christendom" or the "West", as well the old "Holy Roman Empire" itself, all find their roots in it.  For that matter, so also does the current idea of a "European Union" (how's that working out?), not to mention the "League of Nations" and the "United Nations".

That's a lot of quotes, I know, but they all from the same idea, an idea we, most of us anyway, share. That is, that we're all children of the same God; we're all, essentially, the same.  Therefore, a single political union of some kind ought ideally to govern us all.  A universal, a catholic bank of some kind is a very practical first step toward the establishment of a catholic or universal political union, a  union that cements the ties that bind us in our common humanity under the same law, under the same God.

The problems here are at least least twofold.

First, we're still sinners and it's the abiding sin nature that divides us.  As long as sin is given a fighting chance, preliminary measures may be the best, the most prudent we can take in this fallen world.  To this point anyway, it would seem that the modern nation-state, formally conceived with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, is the best we can do.  History has demonstrated that serious attempts to extend political union beyond the nation-state is almost always replete with sinful hubris and leads to more violence, more injustice, not less.

Second, and related, free-market capitalism, while admittedly not free from sinful motivations, appears to be the very best system for the creation of wealth.  Wealth that the church, the very presence of the body of Christ on earth, can then admonish us to understand as a good which should always be shared and never idolized.       

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oh What a Night!

My fear is that the magnitude of Albert Pujols' performance last night (three homers, five hits, six RBIs) in game three of the World Series will be somewhat diminished in the midst of all the other hits made and runs scored in the Cardinals 16-7 rout of the Rangers.

We cannot let that happen.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in case you didn't already know it,  Albert Pujols truly is one of the greatest hitters ever.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


The President's announcement on Friday that all US troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the close of the year will not be accompanied with celebrations of victory, nor with recriminations that almost invariably follow defeat, nor even with the enduring frustrations that typically attend similar standoffs.  Instead, both the announcement yesterday and, I suspect, the departure of the last soldier at year's end will be marked only with the equivalent of a collective, national shrug of the shoulders. 

And after 4,400 killed, thousands more wounded, nearly $2 billion spent.

For God's sake, what has happened to us?

Anyway, as for the country, without a president to lead it, to make the case for continued sacrifice and to do so with conviction, it is frankly unreasonable to expect anything but an understandable war-weariness to overwhelm all other considerations.
As they saw no meaningful purpose for our initial invasion of Iraq over eight years ago, neither the President, nor most of the congressional Democrats can discern any serious reason to remain, so why not withdraw now?

The Republicans, as things stand, are powerless to do much of anything save make the reasonable case for perseverance, but make it in just that way, steadfastly and patiently.  A shrill tone will not be heard.  A steady voice, however, will not only be heard, it will be remembered, and rewarded.

Which begs the question: Will our withdrawal cost us?  I suspect that it will, but just how soon is any one's guess.

As they say, "We'll see."

Until then, as they also say, dispiritedly, disgustingly, "Whatever..."

Friday, October 21, 2011

"When you get caught between the moon and New York City", cont.

Now that the broader public is losing interest, along with the elite media (because of the elite media?), New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to enforce the law after all.

Are you surprised?

I Left My Mind in San Francisco

Gerald Nachman sings the praises, sort of, of the "City by the Bay", and rightly so.

My wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in San Francisco a few years back and it is testimony to the power of its undeniably stunning beauty that it alone could overcome the city's otherwise certifiable nuttiness, enchanting nevertheless this conservative American.

Still, as they say, "I wouldn't want to live there."

Bronx Cheer

Seen today's New York Post headline about who, actually, finished off the Libyan strongman:  "Khadafy Killed by Yankee Fan"?

If true, then at least the season wasn't a complete loss.

The Trotsky Dodge

Richard Pipes writes a critical review of a new biography of Leon Trotsky by Joshua Rubenstein.  According to Pipes, the book inaccurately emphasizes Trotsky's Jewishness, a heritage Trotsky himself explosively eschewed, and thereby his relative humanity versus that of the monstrous Stalin.  Pipes:
In view of the murderous paranoia of Stalin, it is tempting to gloss over Trotsky’s own ruthlessness and to depict him as a humane counterpart to his rival. This is quite unwarranted. Without a question, Trotsky was better-educated than Stalin and was altogether a more cultivated human being. But his radicalism was not much different than Stalin’s. Rubenstein cites a statement by Trotsky as the motto of his book: “Nothing great has been accomplished in history without fanaticism.” Really? In art, in science, in economics? In fact, fanaticism, which is uncritical belief in something, has always obstructed true accomplishment.
Pipes then cites Trotsky himself to demonstrate his point:
There is nothing immoral in the proletariat finishing off the dying class. This is its right. You are indignant … at the petty terror which we direct at our class opponents. But be put on notice that in one month at most this terror will assume more frightful forms, on the model of the great revolutionaries of France. Our enemies will face not prison but the guillotine.
These are not the words of man fundamentally troubled with the barbarity of either Lenin or Stalin. 

This, I think, is an extremely important point to make.  As we know, many on the Left, seeking a way to avoid responsibility for their support for, apology for, or even mere association with the Soviet Union of the 1920s and 30s, latched onto the feeble, and ultimately false distinction between the "good" Trotsky and the "bad" Stalin as a way to save their reputations, if not their souls. Unfortunately, many of their seemingly uncountable acolytes through the years have availed themselves of the same distinction without a difference. 

They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.  As history clearly demonstrates, if one wishes to hitch one's wagon to the albeit fading socialist star, one will at least dirty one's hands, and likely bloody them as well.    

Memory Serves

Brian Bolduc reminds us that it's been twenty years since Clarence Thomas became an associate justice on the US Supreme Court. 

Twenty years!  Yikes!

More to the point, Bolduc reminds us also that it's been twenty years since Thomas's Senate confirmations hearings.  Hearings that, in addition to the garden-variety calumny hurled by liberal Democrats at conservative Republican nominees, included as well a "high-tech lynching", involving ridiculous charges of vulgar sexual harassment, charges aided, abetted, encouraged, orchestrated, and financed by nearly the entire American Left.

It became riveting TV and I remember thinking at the time that it was for our generation the equivalent of the Alger Hiss trials of the late-1940s.  Everyone had an opinion about the veracity of the accused and his accusers and the debate revealed the fault lines of the American political divide like nothing else could.

Blessedly, the case made by the Left and Anita Hill, the woman who, at least initially, was a very reluctant witness, slowly fell apart.  Americans either lost interest altogether or concluded that Hill was indeed lying.  Polls at the time showed that a clear two-thirds of the American people believed Thomas over Hill.

Interestingly, a year or so after the hearings I remember another poll which showed exactly the opposite results, that is, two-thirds believed Hill over Thomas.  What had happened?  During the course of that year absolutely no new facts had been uncovered.  What had happened was that Left's campaign against Thomas continued through the elite media and it slowly had the intended effect.

Now, few seem to care.  It was not the Hiss moment I thought it might be.  Perhaps because for anyone interested to look, the facts were overwhelmingly on Thomas's side, and obviously so.  In the Hiss case, at the time, things were less clear (although they were pretty clear) and where one stood about Hiss's innocence became a very reliable litmus tests as to one's ideological orthodoxy.  (There was also a class element to the Hiss case that was not part of the Thomas hearings.)

Anyway, for twenty years now, in spite of what transpired, we've had a good man and a great justice sitting on the Supreme Court.

And twenty years later, remembering those hearings can make me hate the Left all over again.

As if I needed any prompting.

Sick'em Joe!

Tired of excusing or hearing excuses for Joe Biden's incontinent mouth?  So is Jonah Goldberg who makes a strong case that the VP is always and only doing his master's bidding.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And Still at It

Among the official reactions to the welcome news of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's death was this one from Vice President Joe Biden:
"In this case, America spent $2 billion total and didn't lose a single life. This is more of the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has been in the past,"
Gee Joe, if it was so cheap and easy to remove a brutal Mideast dictator, why didn't you call the White House with your suggestions ten years ago?

Meanwhile, as Gaddafi's death was apparently even more brutal than Saddam Hussein's, lacking even the pretense of a fair trial with due process, I'm waiting for all the hand-wringers to voice loudly, as they did then, their complaints and concerns.

Still waitng...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The 48%

According to a poll of the Wall Street Occupiers, only 48% would vote for President Obama's re-election.

But Democrats can relax.  The other 52% were stoned at the time of the polling and will, if sober, also vote for the President in 2012

Yassuh Massuh

The NBA season is currently on hold due to stalled player-owner contract negotiations.  HBO's "Real Sports" host, Bryant Gumbel, is extremely upset about the impasse and blames it on NBA Commissioner David Stern:
"But his efforts were typical of a commissioner, who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys...It’s part of Stern’s M.O. Like his past self-serving edicts on dress code or the questioning of officials, his moves are intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place."
But from this it's not clear who Gumbel is insulting more, the white commissioner who plays in his allegory the plantation owner, or the mostly black players who play the slaves.

Chew on This

In case you haven't already heard, four US Senators, all meddling liberal Democrats, of course, on the eve of this year's Fall Classic have very publicly issued a request that Major League Baseball ban, during games, the use of all tobacco products.

You simply must read Jeffrey Lord's report and response to the Senators.

But I think there's an easier solution.

All smokeless tobacco producers should move quickly to rename their product "Free Speech".

He's Still at It

Vice President Joe Biden, that is.

If this disgusting appeal for passage of the President's "Jobs" bill were not so vulgar, it would be funny.

First, Biden lobs in this grenade: "I wish my opponents knew what it was like to be robbed or raped."

Uh, seriously Joe, you want me, an American taxpayer, to answer that particular question from you, a liberal Democrat?

Then he offers up this gem:
"The other thing I’ve hear from my friends who oppose this – this whole jobs bill – [is] that this is just temporary,” Biden said. “Well let me tell you, it’s not temporary when that 911 call comes in and a woman’s being raped, if a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape. It’s not temporary to that woman,” said Biden. 
“It’s not temporary to the guy whose store is being held up and there’s a gun pointed at his head, if a cop shows up and he’s not killed. That’s not temporary to that store owner. Give me a break! Temporary."
This coming from a guy who comes from a party replete with members whose governing philosophy routinely leads them, almost as soon as any cop, jobs bill-funded or not, arrives and arrests either of the thugs, to petition for their immediate release or acquittal because, oh, I don't know, because they weren't read their Miranda rights, or they came from broken homes, or they weren't afforded food stamps, or you fill in the blank with whatever other "root cause" excuse they might manufacture.

And if they fail in this effort, they would champion still the restoration of voting rights for both the convicted felons.

Throw these bums out!

"Have you made any mistakes?"

When I read the transcript of ABC News' Jake Tapper's interview with President Obama, I couldn't help but think of the question the elite media incessantly asked of President George Bush when the war in Iraq wasn't going as smoothly as anticipated.

After more than two and one-half years in office, the first two of which his party controlled both houses of Congress as well, with the economy still flat, unemployment hovering at 9% and worse, and "another day older and deeper in debt", you would think that just maybe some enterprising reporter, if given the chance, might ask the same question of this president.

You would think, wouldn't you?

Rant On!

As I share this pet peeve with respect to left-lane cruising dimwits, I'll simply pass it in on without comment.

Or should I say, further comment?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Rise to the Level of Politics"?

Whoa!  The American Spectator's Jeffrey Lord has written an article that will doubtless earn him more than a few enemies within the GOP Establishment.  But I suspect he knows this.

"Clark Clifford Republicans" is both the title and the target, as in fixed within the cross hairs, of his piece.  Just in case you didn't already know, the late Clark Clifford was a once very influential DC insider and "fixer", mostly from behind the scenes.  He was also the fellow who famously called Ronald Reagan an "amiable dunce".

For Lord, Clifford is the very symbol of the "I Really Believe in Big Government" Democrat who sets up shop in Washington as a consequence and makes a fortune trading influence with anyone who wants a piece of the "action", monetary or otherwise.  While a "I Really Believe in Big Government" Democrat makes a certain kind of sense, for a Republican who professes to believe just the opposite, but acts like Clark Clifford nevertheless, it's a problem, a big problem.

Although Lord is careful to say that these Clark Clifford Republicans are to a person, solid, hard-working people who almost always act in good faith, they are nevertheless, largely because their reputations and livelihoods have come to depend upon it, active participants in perpetuating the system of Big and Ever Growing Government.  Moreover, they are also very active in being more than a bit condescending (I'm being charitable) towards the Tea Party types who, naively and foolishly, they insist, seriously mean to reign in this Leviathan.

Lord names a few names and despite what appears to be an honest effort on his part to focus on the problem and not the people, I'm guessing he will pay for it somehow.

At any rate, one of the names he mentions is Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and a once rising star within the GOP.  Some of you may remember him.  Anyway, now he's a, well, he's a Clark Clifford Republican. 

To make his point, Lord reports what Weber was quoted as saying about the Tea Party from a New York Times story:
"I think I know what they want to accomplish, and I agree with most of it," he said. "But if they want to accomplish it, they need to 'rise to the level of politics.' I mean, you can't just stand there and take a stand and say, 'I'm not going to compromise on my position.' Because you won't achieve anything."
"Rise to the level of politics"?  Hmm? 

I'll grant that there is a time for "politics" as Weber and many other Establishment Republicans envision them.  You know, the "make a deal", "split the difference", "half a loaf" kind of politics that are practised as a matter of course during normal times.

But what Weber and fellow members of his GOP fraternity either cannot or will not see is that these are decidedly not normal times.  The stakes are far too high, and obviously so.  The consequences of our side losing disastrous, and not just for us, but for the country as a whole.  The Great Reckoning as some wit has called them.

If you're willing too quickly to compromise under such circumstances, you're not "rising" to anything, not politics, not even the challenge.  Instead what you're doing is groveling.  It's unattractive and it's guaranteed to lose. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys...Not So Fast!

Without comment: "Controversial Therapy for Pre-Teen Transgender Patient Raises Questions"

May God have mercy on us.

Don't Know Much About Anarchy

Dan Berrett of The Chronicle of Higher Education traces in large part the intellectual roots of and justification for the "Occupy" movement to one David Graeber, a scholar who studied the community of Betafo in central Madagascar from 1989 to 1991.
Betafo was "a place where the state picked up stakes and left," says Mr. Graeber, an ethnographer, anarchist, and reader in anthropology at the University of London's Goldsmiths campus.

In Betafo he observed what he called "consensus decision-making," where residents made choices in a direct, decentralized way, not through the apparatus of the state. "Basically, people were managing their own affairs autonomously," he says.

The process is what scholars of anarchism call "direct action." For example, instead of petitioning the government to build a well, members of a community might simply build it themselves. It is an example f anarchism's philosophy, or what Mr. Graeber describes as "democracy without a government."

He transplanted the lessons he learned in Madagascar to the globalism protests in the late 1990s in which he participated, and which some scholars say are the clearest antecedent, in spirit, to Occupy Wall Street.
I don't know about you, but "direct action" sounds a lot like "self-reliance" to me, but without the adorning "PhD" attached.   Thus far, I haven't seen much of it in the "Occupy" movement. 

Just the opposite, I'd say.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Song for Those "Who Built Ruins for Themselves"*

Did you hear that Rolling Stone readers have voted Jefferson Starship's 1985 hit, "We Built This City" the worst song of the 1980s...again?

Yea, maybe, so what?

Well, why this particular song?  What about it makes it keep appearing at the top of the list?

Daniel Flynn, for one, thinks it says something larger about the Woodstock Generation and, I am eager to add, their many acolytes both in and out of government who call the Democrat Party home.
"We Built This City" is a painful mirror into the baby boomer soul. It is a sonic reminder of how much a generation of self-professed idealists had sold out. Here is Grace Slick, once the drugged-out darling of Haight-Ashbury, belting out a pop-pandering song (probably written in a boardroom) set to soulless artificial instruments.
 But it's more, as Flynn goes on to say:
If "We Built This City" had merely reminded aging hippies that yet another hippie icon had sold out, it would not explain the enduring visceral response. It is not so much a betrayal as a reflection. The song is a sonic evocation of a whole generation's phony idealism. (my emphasis)
Did you catch that?  It's not just that they sold out.  It's not even that they simply grew up, a youthful naiveté giving way to a more mature realism, or cynicism perhaps.  Rather, it's that it was a "phony idealism" all along.  And, to anyone with eyes to see, its fraudulent nature was obvious all along as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, if that does not describe the ideological disposition of today's Democrat Party leadership, I don't know what does.

How does that tune go again?

*My title comes from a lament of Job's in the Bible (Job 3:14, New King James Version)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

But what about Jimmy Carter?

Jay D. Homnick offers an interesting counterintuitive musing about how an increasingly clueless President Obama might be reelected after all:
The paradox is that this cluelessness makes President Obama more likely to be reelected. The perception that he no longer makes much of a real difference other than as a symbol could work in his favor. Since the Republicans do not have a dynamo to field against him, their main chance to win comes when people are very scared of the mischief Obama can do when manning the helm. 
It is a fact of national politics, no less than school politics, that one cannot demonize a dolt. If a politician is a bomb, he can be defused; if he is a dud he just might be ignored. Allowing him to flounder around in palpable irrelevancy, speaking in forked tongues at revival meetings of the faithful, could produce the perverse effect of his flying back into the Oval Office below the radar. 
As long as the electorate fears new Obamacare monsters lumbering through downtown, and new Cairo Speeches boosting Iran and sinking Israel, it will bequeath his job to whoever the GOP offers in his place. Once he seems to be a declawed tabby, and they begin to chortle at his latest monkeyshine, the urge to replace him will not be strong enough to carry the day.

Leave it to Ann

Ann Coulter, that is, to come up with the most apt moniker for the pointless mob that is currently occupying Wall Street and very soon a street near you as well.  Call it, she says, the "Flea Party" because it is "wingless, bloodsucking and parasitic." 

Suffering from an extreme case of Tea Party envy, liberals everywhere are rejoicing as they think they've finally grown one of their own.  Not so, says Ms. Coulter:
Now liberals compare their every riot, every traffic blockage, every Starbucks-window-smashing street protest to the civil rights movement –- which was only necessary because of them. These "Occupy Wall Street" ignoramuses seem to imagine they are blacks living in 1963 Alabama under Democratic governor George Wallace.

To the contrary, the Wall Street protesters have no specific objections and no serious policy proposals in a country that is governed, as Abraham Lincoln put it, "by the people." They protest because they enjoy creating mayhem, not because the law is being ignored or their rights violated without penalty by government officials.

They are not in the tradition of the tea partiers, much less our founding fathers. They are not in the tradition of the civil rights movement or Operation Rescue. They are in the tradition of Shays' Rebellion, the Weathermen and Charles Manson.
Meanwhile, George Soros, the Left's grandest sugar daddy of them all, worth a reported $22 billion, commented without so much as a trace of ironic self-awareness:  "I can understand their sentiment."

And meanwhile again, Al Gore added his support for the flea baggers' cause:
“With democracy in crisis, a true grassroots movement pointing out the flaws in our system is the first step in the right direction. Count me among those supporting and cheering on the Occupy Wall Street movement.”
Ever the trailblazer, it apparently dawned on the former Vice President why, exactly, he grew that ridiculous beard a few years ago.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

High Crimes and...High Taxes!

When Joe Biden is not bumbling and mumbling, his foot planted firmly in his mouth, he can almost always be counted on to say as well disgusting things like this non sequitur connecting the president's "Jobs" bill with the murder rate:
"In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city...In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes--just to pick two categories--climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don't rectify it."
If higher taxes, more spending, and government controlled by the party that champions both, the Democrats, were the sure way to reduce crime, then Flint and nearby Detroit would be as safe and hospitable as Amish villages.

Sadly, Just Joe Bein' Joe is not alone in thinking this way

Throw these bums out!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Post Lux Tenebras

Unable to pay its multimillion-dollar utility bill, cash-strapped Highland Park, a suburb of Detroit, has decided not only to turn off the street lights, but to remove even the poles upon which they were mounted.  A DTE Energy spokesman explained:
"Mostly, it was a liability issue; we didn't want to have poles there that were de-energized, and likely won't ever be energized again,...Also, we wanted to avoid the confusion of having lights up that don't work. In the end, we figured it was better to just take them out."
And to think that if only they had installed those cute curly-cue fluorescent bulbs years ago when the bills started to pile up, all of this could have been avoided.

"When you get caught between the moon and New York City", cont.

On second thought...

It seems New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, steadfast moderate that he is, has decided to back away  from his earlier statements critical of the Wall Street Occupiers.  For now, at least, he's on the side of the "moon", not to say dark side, not to say lunatics.

When asked just how long he'll allow them to stay, he replied with an unmistakable, "We'll see."

We'll see indeed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Are the Elite Media a Cult?

Well, they're starting to sound like one as more and more of their foot soldiers are asking exactly the same questions of the GOP presidential candidates, i.e., "Is Mormonism a cult?" and "Is Mitt Romney a Christian?"

They are, of course, not interested at all in a theological discussion with each of the Republican candidates.  They are, however, very much interested in seeing those same candidates squirm before their cameras, and even more so in sowing discord within the GOP ranks.

In case you didn't know, they're using as pretense comments made by a Dallas mega-church pastor who introduced Texas Governor Rick Perry at the Values Voters Summit this past weekend.

My first thought is that when asked this question, the candidates ought immediately to ask in return whether the questioner was similarly interested in the comments of President Obama's pastor of 20 years during the last election cycle.

But that might seem a bit snippy for a candidate for the presidency.

So, might I recommend the following response instead:
"Cult" is a loaded word that carries with it all kinds of negative connotations that cannot and should not be associated with Mormonism.  I'm not a theologian, but as I understand it Mormonism is not consistent with orthodox Christianity.  But then neither is Judaism, Islam, or Hinduism, for example, and I would not call any of those faiths a cult.  But then I would not call any of them Christian either and, significantly, I would not imply any disrespect at all by saying as much.  But even more important is the fact that despite the differences, Mormon Americans share a common Judeo-Christian heritage with the overwhelming majority of their fellow citizens, a large and growing portion of whom are very disturbed by the secular drift and moral decay of our country.  With good people like that, with good people like Mitt Romney, I'm eager to make common cause.

Until the Sun Goes Down Over Santa Monica Boulevard, cont.

Remaining undistracted by the state's looming bankruptcy, the Democrat Party-controlled California legislature and Democrat Governor Jerry Brown displayed a remarkable measure of collective self-discipline as they boldly passed and signed into law a new measure that prohibits tanning bed use by anyone under the age of 18.

State Senator Ted Lieu, the bill's sponsor, remarked:  "If everyone knew the true dangers of tanning beds, they'd be shocked. Skin cancer is a rising epidemic and the leading cause of cancer death for women between 25 and 29."

Of course, that terrible contingency was already foreseen, at least in part, by the state government when it legalized the use of medical marijuana some years ago. 

However, as some observers have noted, the prospect of minors, young women mostly, smoking pot in order to control the pain of cancer caused by the tanning beds might make paying strict attention in class to the state-mandated teaching of homosexual history all the more difficult.  Hence, immediate passage of the new law became compelling.

When asked about the state's dire fiscal condition, one unnamed legislator reportedly said, "One crisis at a time, one crisis at a time."

Friday, October 7, 2011

"When you get caught between the moon and New York City"

Apparently, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has finally had enough of the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd:
"If the jobs they are trying to get rid of in this city -- the people that work in finance, which is a big part of our economy -- we're not going to have any money to pay our municipal employees or clean the blocks or anything else."
Sorry Mayor, but the ideological makeup of this menagerie constitutes a goodly portion of your base. You know, your anti-salt, anti-transfats, anti-liberty, howl-at-the-moon, base.  Instead of criticizing them, you need to pick up a sign and join in, or at least pass out ponchos like your Left Coast counterpart.

What the heck is the "Nuclear Option"?

Last night Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid exercised the "nuclear option" in order to forestall GOP efforts to use existing Senate rules to force the Democrat majority to make, for them, embarrassing votes against President Obama's latest "Jobs" bill.

The particulars of any exercise of a "nuclear option" are typically arcane and can get both confusing and boring fairly quickly.  As a result, I find that most news outlets don't take the time to explain it adequately.

"Nuclear option" is just shorthand for a change, any change, in the Senate rules by the majority of the Senate to make it easier for that majority to have its way.  There's nothing illegal or unconstitutional about it.  But it is a serious break with long-standing tradition and for that reason has come to be labeled "nuclear" in nature.

That long-standing tradition is based on our founders' theory of government and their logic went something like this:   

1.  The form of government best suited to secure individual and minority rights is government by consent of the governed, i.e., democracy.
2.  The problem with democracy, where by definition the majority rules, is that the majority can and sometimes does become tyrannical, using its power to rule to trample minority rights.
3.  In order to prevent or at least hamstring a tyrannical majority, constraining constitutional measures are necessary.
4.  The first measure is simply the formation of a representative versus a direct democracy.  The people only rule through their elected representatives.  If some issue excites a majority of the people into potential tyranny, they can only exercise their power through their representatives, men and women, hopefully, wiser than themselves, better able to withstand the pressure to act tyrannically, or do so at least until the next scheduled election by which time, again hopefully, intemperate passions will have cooled.
5.  Notice that I used the word "hopefully" twice.  Our framers did not assume that "enlightened statesmen" would always govern and therefore believed further constitutional protections of minority rights were necessary.
6.  Their strategy was to divide the power of government and make the divided powers jealous of each other prerogatives, instituting a system of checks and balances.  The first division of power is between the national and the individual state governments, or the principle of federalism.  The second is to divide the national government itself by splitting its powers between legislative, executive, and judicial branches, or the principle of separation of powers.
7.  But even that, they reasoned, was not security enough for individual or minority rights.  Hence, they provided for the further division of the legislative branch into two houses, each with different electoral schemes and modes of representation. 
8.  Representation in the House is proportional to population.  Populous states have many representatives and smaller states fewer.  Within the House the governing rules reflect precisely the straightforward principle of majority rule.  However, as a result of this, the possibility at least of the formation of a tyrannical majority within it exists.
9.  This is not, or at least less possible in the Senate.   First, because in the Senate each state, big or small, has exactly two representatives.
10.  Consistent with that mode of representation and with the framers' desire to be especially protective of individual and minority rights, the rules of the Senate, established within that body by simple majority vote, have always over-empowered the minority or, if you prefer, frustrated the majority.  Those rules, traditionally, have always required super- and not just simple-majorities for the passage of  legislation, especially controversial legislation like the President's latest "Jobs" bill.

So, when Senate Majority Leader Reid changes the rules of the Senate in order to facilitate his party's agenda at the expense of the minority party's, it's a very big deal.

One could even say it's "nuclear" big.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"For What It's Worth"

Cue that old Buffalo Springfield tune.

Trust me, it's worth a lot.

Despite the elite media's best attempts to sanitize, and that is the correct word, the Left's current determination to "Occupy Wall Street", a movement apparently outgrowing its name, this latest spasm of unruly, unseemly, untidy, and unsightly nostalgia for the 60s can only help the GOP recapture the White House and the US Congress in 2012.  Remember, it helped even Richard Milhous Nixon win a 49-state landslide in 1972

So sing along if you know the words:

"There's something happenin' here..."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Second City Double Standard

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is playing hardball with ne'er-do-well city employees.  Those with outstanding parking tickets and the like must pay them or risk losing their jobs.

How come when a liberal Democrat gets tough it's evidence of good government, but when a conservative Republican like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani takes similar action he's heartless, cruel, racist, well, you know the litany?

Just wondering.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This is Embarrassing

I should probably wait until New Jersey Governor Chris Christie makes it official, but it appears that he'll eschew--once again--the many pleas of desperation coming from professional Republicans for him to run for the presidency in 2012.

Thank God!...and thank you too Governor Christie.

Don't misunderstand, he'd make, I'm confident, a very fine candidate.  But then I think our current slate of candidates, with all their annoying quirks, foibles, and obvious shortcomings, do so as well.  And even if they don't, they are still each in their own way an enormous improvement over the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

One of the BIG differences between us and them is that we don't pine for messiahs and aside from his name, Chris Christie is no messiah.  We, unlike them, believe the average man and woman can manage their own lives quite well, thank you very much.  And even if they can't, they ought to be forced to do so.  In the long run, it'll be better for them and for the republic. It'll serve to help restore their self-respect (I hate the phrase "self-esteem") and also give them a taste for genuine liberty after which they'll never again be satisfied with the government-issue swill they currently have to purchase with unearned food stamps.

The most important thing is to get behind whoever emerges as the GOP alternative to Barack Obama.