Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guns and Poses

As we await today's vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, are you feeling the need for a fast and furious briefing in order to understand more clearly just how and why it's come to this?  Well, you need look no further for relief than today's column by the Skinny Blond Bomber Ann Coulter.

God bless her.

Our Real Problem

Reading the Constitution like Talmudic scholars read the Scriptures has always plagued conservatives much more than it has liberals.  After all conservatives take the words seriously, either to empower or to constrain, while for liberals, understanding the Consitution as a  "living, breathing document", its words mean everything or nothing as they prefer personally.  Nevertheless, both parties are too often guilty thereby (liberals always so) of missing or ignoring its plain sense and meaning.

In the wake of today's ruling, Andrew McCarthy reminds of this:
But, at the risk of being a broken record, we remain focused on the wrong issue because conservatives and Republicans do not want any part of the right issue. Congress would not be able to tax anyone a penny if the subject matter on which lawmakers sought to spend the money raised was not within Congress’s constitutional authority to address. Health care and health insurance are precisely such issues. So why does Congress get to raise taxes for and spend money on them? Because the country — very much including Republican leaders and many conservatives — has bought on to the wayward progressive premise that the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution empowers Congress to spend on anything it wants to spend on as long as their is some fig-leaf that ties the spending to the betterment of society. That, and not an inflated understanding of the Commerce Clause, has always been the problem. Republicans are afraid to touch this because, if you follow the logic, you’d have to conclude that Congress has no constitutional authority to set up a Social Security system, a Medicare or Medicaid program, or most of the innumerable Big Government enterprises that Republicans support while, of course, decrying Big Government. Republicans occasionally want to limit what government spends, but they don’t want to acknowledge any constitutional limits on what government could spend — that’s what has gotten us to this point. (my italics)

Dawn or Dusk?

While the details of the ruling are still more than a bit murky, it would appear that the Supreme Court, by a one-vote margin surprisingly delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, has at the very least validated the aggressively statist vision of the Obama Administration, the Democrat Party, and the American Left.

While overturning the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would have been helpful and heartening to friends of liberty, actually this ruling changes very little.  In fact, and as will soon become clear, a ruling by five of nine people in a nation of 300 million can never decide anything of such broad and lasting consequence.  For that, the people through their representatives must be heard and must be satisfied.  To this point, far too large a portion of those people, a majority we pray, remain unsatisfied.

We are engaged still in a great civil war, testing whether this nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, can long endure.  A 236-year run is a prety good run, but we are still left to consider whether this unsettled and unsettling period of our history will mark the sunrise of a new birth of freedom or the moonrise of a looming demise and the darkness that follows.

Dawn or dusk?  It's ours to choose.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora Ephron, RIP

Novelist, screenwriter, and film director Nora Ephron has died of leukemia at 71.  Her politics, and life frankly, were almost stereotypically Hollywood liberal (check out her "list"), but I loved her movies nonetheless. If Sleepless in Seattle or You've Got Mail, for example, are on the TV, and they very often are, I'll always freeze the remote at that channel for at least a spell, if not for the entire film.

I'm a sucker for romantic comedies generally, but especially so if the dialogue is witty.  With Ephron it almost invariably was.  What made her films so enjoyable to a conservative like me was that inspite of, or maybe because of her otherwise left-wing pieties, no liberal neurosis or hypocrisy was above ridicule.  In this respect, she was like the old Woody Allen.  Ironically, and perhaps unwittingly, she  ended up affirming the old ways, especially the old ways that once held in relationships between the sexes.

We'll miss her.  RIP.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Thomas Sowell offers a few months' (I guess) "Random Thoughts" and I really liked this one:
Wishful thinking is not idealism. It is self-indulgence at best and self-exaltation at worst. In either case, it is usually at the expense of others. In other words, it is the opposite of idealism.

This is a Test, cont.

As I said, this is a test and after seven days it would appear that we're failing.

A week ago with nothing more than a pronouncement, President Obama single-handedly changed the nation's immigration law and to this point it seems very few besides me and Charles Krauthammer even care.  If, that is, they've bothered to notice at all.

Oh well, for what it's worth, Krauthammer calls the president's action "naked lawlessness".  Maybe the use of the word naked will attract at least a little attention to the issue?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fathers and Sons (and Daughters too)

Do enjoy a belated Father's Day blessing from Taylor Plimpton as he remembers his famous father George (if you don't know who he was, no matter) with a touching post in The New Yorker.  I found this last paragraph just beautiful:
The last time I heard my father’s voice, it was over the telephone. We were both excited...and for a moment we were no longer father and son, but just two big excited boys, each comparing adventures, and I could hear the pride in his voice, the happiness. And I felt such love for my sweet old excited dad at that moment that I thought I would do him the favor of not telling him so, of leaving it unsaid. And so when it was time to say goodbye, we did so simply—no awkwardness, no strangled expressions of affection—and this is why, even though it was the last time we ever spoke, and I would never get the chance again, I do not regret not telling him that I loved him. I only wish I could not tell him again, just one more time. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Elections Bring High Turnover"

That was the USA Today headline this morning.  Front page.  Above the fold.  I didn't even have to read the story.

It seems that "[r]oughly half of the nation's 7,383 state legislators could have two years or less of experience after the 2012 elections, potentially making the next crop of lawmakers the greenest in a half-century..."

Well, at least we know what the editors at the nation's daily are thinking about the likely outcome of this fall's elections:  As in 2010, even more liberal Democrats will be replaced by conservative Republicans.

For them, however, this represents a problem and a dilemma as it "reflects the divide between two political forces: 'throw the bums out' vs. the public's demand to fix problems, from escalating health care costs to education funding."  You see, you need experienced legislators to do the latter and most of them are liberal Democrats.  So, can't we all just get along?

Good grief, what dilemma?  The desire to "throw the bums out" and the demand to "fix the problems" is both logical and consistent.  What, we would rather keep in office the people who created the problems in the first place?   

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This is a Test

Even if President Obama's new policy of granting immunity to young illegal aliens is the wisest since Solon, that fact by itself misses the point...and by a wide margin.

We are a nation of laws.  While invariably cumbersome and inefficient, we abide nevertheless under a clear and well-established constitutional process for the enactment, enforcement, and adjudication of those laws.  Yesterday, President Obama brazenly circumvented that process.  Whether that circumvention will stand is an open question.

If we are also a nation still of honorable and courageous men and women, regardless of ideology or party affiliation, then this will not stand.

This is a test.

A "Fourth" Revolution, cont.

I've been thinking a bit more about James Piereson's thesis and argument  and increasingly feel the need to quibble.

I'm inclined to agree with Piereson about the consequences of Jefferson's "revolution of 1800" as well as the Civil War, but less so about the New Deal.

While the "era of good feelings" is typically associated more closely with James Monroe's presidency (1817-1825) than Jefferon's, it does seem to be the case nevertheless that after 1800 a period of relative political stability followed for some time.  Similarly, after the Civil War, while sectional tensions were never erased altogether, those who wanted to make a serious case for chattel slavery were never heard from again.

But the New Deal is different.  While many, if not all of the premises of the New Deal became broadly accepted, it is also the case that the New Deal instituted a conflict as much as it solved one.  A festering cyst of a conflict that is with us still and is about to come to a head whether we like it or not.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Socialism by Any Other Name, cont.

Still feeling a little ashamed for having taken on one of my betters, Thomas Sowell in this case.  But it had to be done.  It's kind of like coming to a point where you have to remind your father, "Hey Dad, I love you, but I'm a grown man now."

Anyway, there was one point Sowell made, a very important point, that I failed to highlight, but that is undeniable:   For socialists of whatever name, there is tremendous political utility in keeping alive the illusion of private property.  Why?
What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

A "Fourth" Revolution?

Writing for The New Criterion, James Piereson identifies three political revolutions that have occurred since America's founding, Jefferson's revolution in the early 1800s, the Civil War, and the New Deal, and then wonders whether we are currently witnessing yet another.  (Some might call this fourth revolution The Great Reckoning.)

He finishes with this:
Many analysts expect President Obama to be reelected this November. Perhaps the odds favor him. After all, it is difficult to unseat an incumbent. Yet, the economy is still weak, his policies have not succeeded in turning it around, and he is not widely popular. No matter how it turns out, this year’s presidential election is likely to sharpen, rather than to resolve, political divisions in the United States. Despite all this, President Obama is unshaken in his presumption that he is a herald of a new era, a revolutionary on the models of Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR. But is it possible that he will instead turn out to be something much different, a modern day Adams, Buchanan, or Hoover—that is, the last representative of a disintegrating order? Such a denouement is not only possible but, in view of our situation, more and more likely. (my italics)

It's a bit long, but worth the effort

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Socialism by Any Other Name

I hate to disagree with Thomas Sowell--I mean I really hate to disagree with Thomas Sowell--but he's just wrong about this:
It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a "socialist." He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.
As much as I love Dr. Sowell, I'm afraid that to want "politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy" is the same thing as wanting "government ownership of the means of production."  If I own something but cannot decide how to use it, or not use it, without government approval, then, as far as I'm concerned, I never owned it in the first place.  Owning and not owning becomes a distinction without a difference.

Another distinction without a difference (perhaps save one*) is between a socialist, a communist, a fascist, and a Nazi (a national socialist).  What they share, and the thing about them that makes all the difference in the world, is a firm commitment to radical equality.  They share this commitment because they confuse radical equality with justice.  That is, they think they're pursuing justice by pursuing radical equality.  Aristotle wrote about this confusion long ago in his Politics, but they never read that book or don't care even if they did.  Radical equality is both their premise and their goal.  But, as anyone who gives it more than a moment's thought knows, radical equality is not now the case, never has been, and never can be.  Therefore, to pretend that it just might nevertheless someday be the case requires an elite, a vanguard if you will, to compel it, and to do so ruthlessly, murderously even, if need be.

The other day I blogged that President Obama, contemporary liberals, and the modern Democrat Party were all socialists.  I stand by that even though I will concede that they themselves may not know what their positions and policies portend.  I do, however, and you should.

*The one difference is between a Nazi and the rest.  While both share a commitment to radical equality, a Nazi's egalitarian sympathies remain confined to his race, his ethnicity, or his culture.  For the rest, their commitment is international in scope whatever their private bigotries or chauvinisms.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


While it's hard to take seriously a 50-something year old man who wears horn-rimmed glasses and a too-large baseball cap cocked to the side, I appreciate nevertheless film director Spike Lee's frank comments about President Obama's chances in the upcoming election and even more his absolution for my scepticism about those chances:
“I can't say to all the people that are unhappy with him that they're racist people,” Lee said of Obama’s critics. “People ain't got jobs, people are hurting. So I don't care what color you are, if people are out of work, it's tough. And then when you're the first African American president, that's not helping either.”

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Why don't Democrats just say it?"

So begins liberal columnist E.J. Dionne in his most recent piece, "Government is the Solution."  He continues:
They really believe in active government and think it does good and valuable things. One of those valuable things is that government creates jobs -- yes, really -- and also the conditions under which more jobs can be created. 
You probably read that and thought: But don't Democrats and liberals say this all the time? Actually, the answer is no. It’s Republicans and conservatives who usually say that Democrats and liberals believe in government. Progressive politicians often respond by apologizing for their view of government, or qualifying it, or shifting as fast as the speed of light from mumbled support for government to robust affirmations of their faith in the private sector. 
This is beginning to change, but not fast enough.
Dionne demonstrates here, almost perfectly, the difference between a pundit and a pol, or at least the difference between a liberal pundit and a liberal pol.

I'm guessing he doesn't recall that during the 1984 campaign, proud liberal Walter Mondale, the Democrat Party's nominee for the presidency, stated clearly and unapologetically that, if elected, he would raise taxes, the mother's milk of the Big Government he, Dionne, thinks is the solution.  Mondale lost 49 of 50 states.

Among the most refreshingly liberating things about being a conservative is that you don't have to hedge, much less lie about anything you hold dear.  Liberals by contrast, liberal pols anyway, know that in order to succeed they must, if not lie, at least learn to be very, um, nuanced about almost everything they believe.

"Journalistic Realism"

Ben Stein, much to his dismay, woke up yesterday morning being forced to remember Watergate as well.  Apparently, he's friends, or at least friendly, with Carl Bernstein, but nevertheless is wary of what he and Bob Woodward themselves have to remember about Watergate now forty years alter.

Anyway, along the way he coins an interesting term, "journalistic realism":
Poaching on the genius idea of "legal realism" -- created at my alma mater, Yale Law School --journalistic realism says that journalists will write, report, analyze in whatever way suits their political tastes and likes and dislikes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I Think I'm Turning Japanese

Now here's some illegal aliens the Left, the Green Left anyway, doesn't want ever to cross our borders.

Whatever happened to tolerant multiculturalism?

Just Wondering

Have you noticed that while the Left waxes ever enthusiastic and increasingly insistent about the right to homosexual marriage, they at the same time eschew other terms once associated with the institution, for example, husband and wife?

And it's not simply because a joining in matrimony of "husband and husband" or "wife and wife" sounds awkward.  Even within heterosexual unions they studiously avoid the traditional labels, preferring instead to use the more ambiguous "partner."

Might it be because what they're really after is not the extension of the institution of marriage to  everyone, but instead the extinction of the institution for everyone?

Just wondering.

What IS Watergate?

Our intrepid reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are back together again, and on the pages of the Washington Post no less, for the first time since they mined the Watergate scandal for all it was worth almost forty years ago.

Their subject?  Why, Watergate, of course, and they've organize their piece around answering the question posed in 1974 by Senator Sam Ervin, the Chairman of the Special Committee formed to investigate the scandal:  "What was Watergate?"

The answer, according to W & B, is that it was no less than five wars waged by then President Richard Nixon against America itself.

My question for them is why now?

It's true, in a week it'll be the 40th anniversary of the "third-rate burglary", but it has to be more than just that.  Surely they can't see a similar threat to liberty coming from the current White House occupant?  And why didn't they produce the piece on the 30th anniversary of the break-in when George Bush, a la Nixon, set about destroying the Republic?

They didn't trust Nixon.  I don't trust them.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Water Fight at the OK Corral

I'm not kidding.  In Tombstone, Arizona, yep, that Tombstone, the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, the Clantons, only this time they're fighting over a water line.  The "they" is the city of Tombstone and the Feds.

It seems the 26-mile pipeline that has brought mountain spring water to the city since 1881 was damaged in last years fires and the heavy rains that followed.  The city, unsurprisingly, set out to repair the line, but were stopped by the Ferds when they came across, are you ready?, the rare Mexican spotted owl.

For crazy libs this is a glorious twofer.  Not only is the bird on the endangered species list and, therefore, all progress must be halted.  But it's also an illegal alien bird, so all laws are suspended as well.

Continuing Education

The Board of Trustees of Metro Sate College of Denver has agreed by a vote of 7-1 to cut tuition rates for illegal immigrants. That's right, illegal immigrants.

With absolutely no sense of irony, the Denver Post reports and the principals in the story comment:
"We all deserve the chance at a higher education and to become productive members and give back to our community," she said. ("She"is an illegal immigrant. Which community?)
Three criteria must be met to qualify for the new category of tuition. A student must:
• Have attended a Colorado high school for the past three years. (What about the newly arriving illegal immigrant? Is that fair to them?)
• Have graduated from a Colorado high school or gotten a general equivalency diploma in the state. (What about the illegal immigrant who illegally immigrated not just, say, from Mexico, but from another state?)
• Provide proof they are in good legal standing, other than their undocumented status, and that they plan to seek lawful status when eligible. ("Good legal standing"? If the immigration laws are not applicable, why would any others be? How does the Board distinguish?)
Trustee Jack Pogge, the only member of the board to vote against the plan, wondered whether the benefit derived by Metro State from implementing the new rate was great enough, particularly in light of the failure of the state legislature to pass the ASSET bill. ("Great enough"? Surely the Trustees will offer grants for those illegal immigrants unable to pay the lower rates?)
ALL the italicized snarky questions are mine. Imagine me shaking my head as I typed.

BTW, I can't for the life of me figure out why this section is highlighed in white.  A little help maybe?

Friday, June 8, 2012

This is Huge, cont.

The consequences of Wisconsin's recall election last Tuesday multiply.  Maybe I should say blossom?  Charles Krauthammer highlights yet another.  If the payment of union dues is not automatic, which it no longer is, then neither is union membership.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Are you now or have you ever been...?"

Stanley Kurtz proves again that Barack Obama was once a member of the socialist New Party, a membership that during the 2008 campaign he denied and the liberal press stubbornly, but predictably refused to investigate.  I suspect that no matter how incontrovertible Krurtz's evidence is this time, it will once again elicit little more than a national yawn.

Look, Obama and the Democrat Party of which he's now a member, despite their uncountable and shameless hypocrisies, are socialists.  By any other name, they're still socialists.  You need look no further than the policies they champion for all the evidence you'll ever need, if, that is, you have eyes and ears to see and hear

Our problem is that a substantial plurality of the country either doesn't understand what that fact portends, doesn't care, or, worse, shares the same goal.

This is Huge, cont.

The Skinny Blond Bomber Ann Coulter thinks the results of Wisconsin's recall election a very big deal as well, contrasting them favorably with then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's foolish decision in 2005 to call for a special off-year election in order to enact reductions in perks to public sector employees.  He lost, big time, and that decision alone, she argues, ruined forever the Terminators chances for a successful term of office.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In to Win

I think National Review's Victor Davis Hanson has put his finger, precisely, on Romney's growing appeal among conservatives who were once wary of him (still are actually):  He will fight back, and hard.
But the real significance of firing back is not just to balance impressions with the general public or to warn Team Obama of the boomerang effect each time they offer up a new diversion. Instead, it is to remind the Republican base that Romney intends to go all out, and would rather win a bloody fight than lose in noble aloofness.

This is Huge, cont.

The fact that Wisconsin's Scott Walker now enters the record books as--you've heard this line, I'm sure-- "the first governor in US history to survive a recall election" got me to thinking.

Just so you know, I'm no fan of recall elections.  We elect people to serve a constitutionally prescribed term of office and absent impeachable offenses, i.e., high crimes and misdemeanors, they ought to be allowed to serve out that full term...even if and when I disagree with them passionately.  Happily, most of us feel the same as recall elections are pretty rare in our history. 

However, so rare are they that when they do occur, it's telling.  Something must be very wrong indeed.  As a result, and as the record shows, they always end with the replacement of the incumbent. 

Until now...and this is telling too.

Walker not only won yesterday, he won by a larger margin than he did in 2010.  Given the historical record, this just doesn't make sense.  In Wisconsin, what exactly was the "something" that was very wrong?

It's this:  The Left is maniacal.  It will stop at nothing, and I do mean nothing, to achieve its ends.  Had it been victorious in Wisconsin, you can be sure that in short order similar recall election movements would have sprung up all around the country.

Perhaps, we must hope and pray, this is the beginning of a momentous backlash.  I'm telling you, this is huge.  

This is Huge

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker not only survives his recall election, but actually expands upon his 2010 margin of victory.

So why was he facing recall if he's even more popular now than then?  The Great Reckoning may  finally be upon us and the forces of not only liberty, but sanity may be winning. 

Be encouraged fellow Americans, be encouraged.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Death of a Salesman

Erstwhile presidential candidate and all-around sleaze John Edwards was acquitted last week of the only charge that survived an otherwise hung jury.  Unfortunately, his remarks on the courthouse steps after the verdict was announced left open the possibility of a comeback.  Of what kind was left unstated, but we can be sure it won't be in politics.  Edwards may not go to prison for his serial sins, but he has been sentenced to political death nevertheless.

Anyway, I found that these comments about the political life and death of John Edwards written by one "Thirsty McWormwood" for The American Spectator summed it all up quite nicely:
Working class people took one look at this ambulance-chasing pretty-boy, saw him for the shallow hack he was and paid him no mind. Edwards's real constituency was his fellow wealthy upper-class whites, the types who populate the New York Times editorial pages and opinion journals like and the New Republic. His "Two Americas" line appealed to their liberal guilt and sense of noblesse oblige. There just aren't nearly enough of them to win an election. 
Thank God.