Free Markets, Free People


Westboro protesters get an Oklahoma welcome

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know, what they did was destructive to personal property and isn’t right.  But I’m having a hell of a time working up any real anger over that:

Shortly after finishing their protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey of McAlester, a half-dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to their minivan, only to discover that its front and rear passenger-side tires had been slashed.

To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police.

The minivan finally pulled over several blocks away in a shopping center parking lot, where AAA was called. A flatbed service truck arrived and loaded up the minivan. Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller said the minivan was taken to Walmart for repairs.

I’ve defended the rights of these cretins to do what they do as an act of free speech, a right that only has power if those we disagree with are able to exercise it as well. But I think these scumbuckets are the dregs. And while I don’t condone what was done to their tires, I can understand the anger that might drive some to do it.

What I found most enjoyable, however, was the fact that the repair shops refused them service. We call that the "consequence" of exercising your right of free speech.

Oh, and this:

Even before the protesters discovered their damaged tires, they faced off with a massive crowd of jeering and taunting counterprotesters at Third Street and Washington Avenue, two blocks from the First Baptist Church, where the soldier’s funeral was held.

Miller estimated that crowd to number nearly 1,000 people, and they not only drowned out the Westboro protesters with jeers, but with raucous chants of "USA, USA."

You don’t pull that sort of stunt in Oklahoma. My wife’s an Okie. I know  of what stuff they’re made . And its pretty stern.

Rest in peace, Sgt. McCluskey.

I love you, McAlester.


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SF’s attack on Happy Meal’s is an attack on freedom

It is nanny-staters like Joe Ozersky who drive me up a wall.  They represent that group of people with mindset that common Americans simply don’t have the ability and wherewithal to run their own lives or those of their families.  And, as expected, they applaud government’s unrequested and unwanted intrusion in their lives to control aspects (or modify behavior) that they simply cannot fathom real Americans doing.  Or at least not doing to their satisfaction.

Ozersky has decided obesity is a problem (he apparently was a fat kid who ate lots of hamburgers).  Ozersky has decided that one of the main reasons for the problems is fast (processed) food and in particular McDonald’s Happy Meals.  So Ozersky is just tickled to death that the intrusive board of supervisors in San Francisco has chosen to ban Happy Meals.  He correctly identifies the source of such intrusion:

Last week’s elections may have seemed like a repudiation of liberalism, but the San Francisco board of supervisors appeared unfazed. The city’s governing body went ahead and fired a bunker buster into the Happy Meal, decreeing that restaurants cannot put free toys in meals that exceed set thresholds for calories, sugar or fat.

One of the reasons liberalism, or in its new incarnation, "progressivism" is in such disrepute is because of foolishness like this. Ozersky’s next line claims "libertarians are livid".

Everyone should be "livid". Since when is it up to a city board of supervisors – elected to keep the peace and make sure the garbage is picked up on time – to decide what is or isn’t appropriate to feed one’s child?

Ozersky, however, applauds the effort but believes it is just a beginning and, in fact, needs to go further:

No, the problem with the ban is that it doesn’t go far enough. America’s tots aren’t getting supersized simply by eating Happy Meals. In a recent nutrition commentary that is making waves in food-politics circles, in part because NYU’s Marion Nestle posted excerpts of it on her blog, University of São Paulo professor Carlos Monteiro makes the case that "the rapid rise in consumption of ultra-processed food and drink products, especially since the 1980s, is the main dietary cause of the concurrent rapid rise in obesity and related diseases throughout the world." And reversing that trend will be a lot harder than making Happy Meals a little less happy.

But still, you have to start somewhere, and I understand why the San Francisco supervisors picked Happy Meals as their beachhead.

So the war, apparently is on "processed food", all of which Ozersky would prefer to see eliminated. But is processed food really the culprit behind the obesity "epidemic". Ozersky cites Nestle’s work as a definitive yes. However, a nutrition professor recently shot the claim in the head with an experiment he ran on himself:

Mark Haub, who teaches at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., told he has lost 27 pounds in two months eating approximately 1,800 calories a day – and those calories came from foods like snack cakes, candy bars and even potato chips – basically anything he could get from a vending machine.

Haub said before the diet, he was eating up to 3,000 calories a day and weighed 201 pounds.

Key take away – it isn’t necessarily the type of food that makes you obese – it is the amount of that food, in calories, that does so. Always has been.

The point, of course, is obesity is caused by eating too many calories and not exercising sufficiently to burn off the excess.  Banning Happy Meals won’t change that at all.  As Tanya Zuckerbrot, a NY dietician noted, “it doesn’t matter if you’re eating Twinkies or Brussels sprouts – it’s all about your caloric intake.”

And unless the state plans on issuing meals and monitoring your every bite, banning a specific meal isn’t going to  change the habits that have caused someone to become obese.  Nor will bans on salt, sugary drinks or any other choice the nanny-staters think they can take from the public.  It is a fairly simple concept to understand – “The laws of thermodynamics dictate that if you consume fewer calories than your body burns, you will create a caloric deficit resulting in weight loss.”

Yet those like Ozersky choose to ignore it in favor of government action to take choices and freedoms away from people.  McDonalds is obviously – at least in progressive circles – an evil purveyor of bad “processed” food.  And progressives believe it is their sworn duty to protect you from yourself and those corporations which prey on you.

Why?  Because you’re brainwashed:

Again and again, efforts to promote fresh fruit and produce in low-income urban areas have failed for the simple reason that Americans have been brainwashed. We have been conditioned, starting in utero, to prefer high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar concoctions rather than their less exciting, more natural culinary cousins.

Really?  I simply don’t recall that as being conditioned preference of mine.  Instead, visits to places such as McDonalds were irregular and not particularly common.  They were “treats” on occasion.  But they were hardly conditioning me for such a diet.

Where such conditioning takes place, if anywhere, is in the home.   It is there the bulk of all food is consumed and, pretty much, in the quantities desired.  It is there where children (and adults) are either encouraged to be active or left to decide for themselves (play outside or do XBox) their activity level. 

Banning toys in Happy Meals is simply an intrusion with no effect.  It’s an exercise in power, nothing more.  It has no beneficial effect and it is another in a long line of government imposed restrictions on freedom. 

In his conclusion, Ozersky asks, “And why are eight people in San Francisco the only ones who seem willing to step up and do something unpopular to address such a serious issue?”

Because they’re as enamored with the power they wield as Ozersky seems to be and just as clueless. This isn’t about doing anything to address a "serious issue". This is an exercise in power cloaked in some feel good nonsense.  It is about a group of people who feel they are entitled by their position to decide what is or isn’t acceptable for others and how those others should live their lives. This isn’t about doing something good, this is about stretching the envelope and seeing if they can get away with it.

If in fact they are allowed too, you can spend hours imagining what they’ll next decide you’re too stupid to realize or control and need their enlightened and progressive hand to stay you from your self-destructive ways.

Freedom is choice – and this bunch of progressives are all about limiting choice.

ASIDE: check out the comments to the Ozersky article.  Heartening.


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So much for frank discussions (update)

While it is certainly not a First Amendment violation (as it is being alleged by some), the firing of NPR contributor Juan Williams by the tax supported radio network is disturbing. It puts in focus how horribly served we are by political correctness.

I’ve always said that PC was a way for the left to stifle debate. Try to criticize anything about a minority community and you’re a "racist". That label used to have some sting to it but it has become so over used it no longer does. But what it would do in its day is pretty much stop the conversation as the accused tried to deal with the distraction of being labeled wrongly.

Juan Williams runs into exactly the same type of thing with his firing from NPR for supposedly making remarks that “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”

What did he say that was so awful on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox show?

On the show, the host, Bill O’Reilly, asked him to respond to the notion that the United States was facing a “Muslim dilemma.” Mr. O’Reilly said, “The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.”

Mr. Williams said he concurred with Mr. O’Reilly.

He continued: “I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

I’ve got to tell you, that’s not an argument that causes me to jump out of my chair and yell, "fire the bigot!" It’s an intelligent guy expressing his honest opinion which may or may not please me. But I respect it. And it in no way undermines his credibility as an analyst to say something like that.

Unless that "credibility" is predicated on no real analysis but instead regurgitating the approved editorial perspective of NPR.

Apparently honestly expressing your thoughts and feelings are not condoned if they conflict with the “editorial standards and practices” of NPR.  Frank discussions have no place in their world.

Tow the line, or get fired.  And that’s fine – it’s their network (although I think we shouldn’t be paying for it).  But hopefully they’ll never again attempt to convince us they’re interested in all sides and perspectives of a story.  Obviously they’re not.

UPDATE: Watch this entire video clip and see if perhaps NPR didn’t bother to do its due diligence and pulled a “Shirley Sherrod” on Juan Williams.


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It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool …

Here is an amazing letter to the editor at a college newspaper from a person who gives himself the title of "academic professional". I’ve looked at it off and on for a couple of days trying to figure out how to excerpt it and talk about this, well, fool. As it turns out, the best way to present it is to present it whole since excerpting it only takes away from the totality of the nonsense this "academic professional" is spouting.

In fact, as I read it, I have to tell you that it immediately reminded me of another “academic professional” that visits the comment section of our blog fairly regularly.  The only difference I can see is the “academic professional” I quote below actually is a part of a major university instead of some backwoods school.  Other than that, either could have written this:

The vast majority of 9/11 observances in this country cannot be seen as politically neutral events. Implicit in their nature are the notions that lives lost at the World Trade Center are more valuable than lives lost in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere; that the motives of the 9/11 attackers had nothing to do with genuine grievances in the Islamic world regarding American imperialism; and that the U.S. has been justified in the subsequent killing of hundreds of thousands in so-called retaliation.

The observance at Saturday’s football game was no different. A moment of silence was followed by a military airplane flyover; in between, Block-I students chanted “USA, USA.” This was neither patriotism nor remembrance in any justifiable sense, but politicization, militarism, propaganda and bellicosity. The University is a public institution that encompasses the political views of all, not just the most (falsely) “patriotic.” Athletic planners should cease such exploitation for political purposes. They might at least consider how most Muslim students, American or otherwise, would respond to this nativist display; or better, Muslims and others that live their lives under the threat of our planes, drones and soldiers.

The overwhelmingly white, privileged, Block-I students should be ashamed of their obnoxious, fake-macho, chicken-hawk chant, while poverty-drafted members of their cohort fight and die in illegal and immoral wars for the control of oil. University administrators need to eliminate from all events such “patriotic” observances, which in this country cannot be separated from implicit justifications for state-sponsored killing.

David Green,

University Academic Professional

You can dissect that to your heart’s content, and it is still, on whole, some of the most misguided stupidity you’re likely to see this side of Maine. 

Of course 9.11 observances aren’t politically neutral.  That neutrality died the day we lost 3,000 people to Islamic jihadist extremists who had been at war with us for years.  How did this yahoo get stuck in time on September 10th, 2001 for heaven sake? 

That sort of absurdly out-of-touch idiocy permeates the entire little screed.  And if you want to see the definition of “non neutrality” at work, read this “academic professional’s” denigration of his student’s nationalism, patriotism and – yes, wait for it – color.

And then there’s the “stereotypes-r-us” portion.  “Overwhelmingly white, privileged … students”.  Wars fought by “poverty-drafted members of their cohort”.  “Illegal” (authorized by Congress per the Constitution) and “immoral” (yeah, can’t hit back when smacked in the face with a sledge hammer – that’s immoral) and all for oil.

All the leftist canards rolled into one can be found in it – yeah, be ashamed of your country, your military, your patriotism and yourselves you bastards because it makes “David Green, academic professional” uneasy.

How freakin’ ‘60s of the dope.

Tell you what, David Green, academic professional – instead of you telling everyone what they’ve done to offend you, why don’t I tell you what about you offends me.

Your very existence offends me. Your smug but ignorant arrogance offends me.   The fact that you don’t know the difference between grassroots patriotism and “nativism” offends me.  The fact that you have no idea of who makes up our military (although it comes as no surprise, really) offends me.  The fact that you clearly don’t know what the words “illegal” or “immoral” mean, but have no problem throwing them around like you do offends me.

But what offends me most is what you must be doing to the young minds which come under your power while attending your university.  If what you’ve written is any indication of how you teach, then your students or their parents ought to demand an immediate refund.  Because it is not only fact free, but shows absolutely no evidence of critical thinking.

One of the great things about America is everyone is free to express their opinion.  However, doing so is not without consequence, because then those who don’t agree get to express theirs.  My opinion of you, David Green, academic professional, is below that of the Congressional Democratic leadership.  And I provide the bottom side of their 8% popularity rating.

The good news for you is you are precisely where you belong.  Outside the academic ivory tower, facing the reality anyone else does, it’s my guess surviving for 15 minutes would be the high side of an estimate of how long you’d last.

Now, crawl back under your academic rock, where you belong, and hush.


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At least one person seems to "get" the Tea Party movement (update)

Jonathan Rauch, writing in National Journal, seems to have done what no one else in the media has yet done – get a fairly decent handle on the phenomenon known as the Tea Party movement.

"From Washington’s who’s-in-charge-here perspective, the tea party model seems, to use Wildman’s word, bizarre. Perplexed journalists keep looking for the movement’s leaders, which is like asking to meet the boss of the Internet. Baffled politicians and lobbyists can’t find anyone to negotiate with.

The "boss of the internet" makes a great point. This is an unknown beast in politicoworld. And since the politicians can’t find the leaders (and there by attempt to "negotiate" or buy-off that leadership) and it is something journalists don’t understand, they’re afraid of it. And they keep trying to pigeon hole it, but the movement doesn’t really allow that. It is what it is for a reason:

"[R]adical decentralization embodies and expresses tea partiers’ mistrust of overcentralized authority, which is the very problem they set out to solve. They worry that external co-option, internal corruption, and gradual calcification — the viruses they believe ruined Washington — might in time infect them. Decentralization, they say, is inherently resistant to all three diseases.

And that’s a another great point. But keep in mind, that wasn’t a design feature, that’s a feature of the spontaneous coming together of those who’ve signed on with the movement.

Sell-outs occur when leaders are co-opted by enticements and promises. No leaders, no co-option. If you want examples of the other two – corruption and gradual calcification – look no further than your Democratic and Republican parties, or the governments they run. There is no TP "president", no "treasurer", no "communications director". In fact, the movement is a collection of hundreds, if not thousands of local TPs which identify with the movement as a whole. Negotiate with that.

"’The reason the tea party isn’t yet there is they don’t yet make a distinction between friends and foes and persuadables,’ says [Ralph Benko, a Washington-based public affair consultant]. ‘They don’t yet make a distinction on who they can focus on to change a vote, or how they can change the fortunes of their preferred candidates. As long as they’re in ‘We hate you all’ mode, I don’t know if they’ll manifest as a powerful national force.’

They’re clear in what they’re interested in – fiscal sanity on the whole meaning smaller, less intrusive government, less spending, less taxation. That the type candidate they’ve been backing in the various primaries. And, at least in the primaries, they’ve had some success.

But those in the movement are at once national and local. They’re a spontaneous reaction to the frustration the general population has felt by being ignored completely between election cycles while the politicians proceed to break every promise they made, spend us into oblivion and generally treat us like chattel.

The "We hate you all" mode that is referred too isn’t quite as global as Benko would like you to believe. Obviously some politicians haven’t had to face TP backed candidates or have been backed by the TP as incumbents. That’s because they reflect the general political goals of the TP – both the local one in their area and the national movement.

As for becoming a “powerful national force”, if Benko doesn’t consider knocking off establishment party candidates in a number of Senate primaries the makings of a powerful national force, I’m not sure what would impress him.  He seems to be looking for that traditional political model with which to bestow that power.  What the TP movement is doing is finding its legs. 

It’s power is in its decentralization as Rauch points out above.  How to wield that power effectively is what the movement is just now exploring.  If it uses its template of governing principles and applies them consistently and persistently it will indeed be a ”powerful national force.”  But I think it is a mistake to claim the TP is in a “we hate you all” mode.  In fact, it’s just a target rich environment right now.  In a few years with a few successes and other politicians figuring out which way the wind blows politically, the TP may be much more selective in its application of that power.

Which brings us to this:

"But, tea partiers say, if you think moving votes and passing bills are what they are really all about, you have not taken the full measure of their ambition. No, the real point is to change the country’s political culture, bending it back toward the self-reliant, liberty-guarding instincts of the Founders’ era."

Why do you suppose the TP is such a incredible mix of types of people?  Because the dissatisfaction with the country’s political culture is an across the board phenomenon.  It is this the two parties just seem not to be able to grasp.  It isn’t about a preference for one or the other, it’s about not liking either of them or the culture they’ve spawned.  The TP’s main message is “change that culture or we’ll find and back someone who will, and if they fail, we’ll kick them out and find others”.  The fact is that in principle, it is the Republican party which should be the greatest beneficiary of this sort of a movement.  But over the years, speaking of co-option, corruption and calcification, the GOP has lost its way.  Dumping the Murkowskis and Bennett’s and rejecting the Crists and Castles of the party is the movement’s way of pointing out what the Republicans have to do to win their support.  Naturally the establishment party is resisting the guidance.

Democrats, of course, are scared witless of the movement because they – on the whole – represent everything the TP isn’t for.  Consequently that party has spent all its time denigrating, demonizing and falsely accusing the movement of being everything from a reincarnation of the KKK to the Nazi brownshirts.  But they’ve been unsuccessful in pinning any of those tags on the movement.  Time and again, TP rallies have formed in large numbers and done so peacefully and without incident.  And, the one time there were supposed “incidents” it ended up blowing back on the Democrats when not one shred of proof of their charges could be found.

Obviously, it is still too early to say if the TP will actually have any staying power or whether or not if it does it will become a “potent national force”.  However, it is clear that the media and politicians don’t know what to do with it, what it really is or means or how to take it down.  And that’s the core of its power right now.  Its spontaneity and decentralized “structure” enabled by today’s technology have them running scared.  And personally, I’d like to see politicians kept in a perpetual state of fright – it seems to me that’s when they’re most responsive to the will of the people.

UPDATE: Ralph Benko responds.


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Book Review – Poorer Richard’s America

Have you ever wished it was possible to spend some time with any of those we call our Founding Fathers and ask them about the country they founded and the country it has become?

Would they be astounded?  Shocked?  Disappointed?  Of course, no one knows because such a wish can never come true … until now.

I just finished a very good book entitled “Poorer Richard’s America”, subtitled “What would Ben say”.  The “Ben” in question is Benjamin Franklin and the author, Tom Blair, perfectly – at least in my opinion – captures Franklin’s voice.  He also captures the common sense and logic which made Poor Richard’s Almanac such a hit during Franklin’s time.

So, given the intriguing premise that Ben Franklin was going to discuss our America, the book was irresistible.  From culture to politics to philosophy, this series of short essays captured in 39 chapters discusses most of the burning political issues of today with brilliant discussion of both the past and the present.  In fact, it is the use of the past while pointing out the present problems that makes the book so compelling. 

For instance, a simple example grounded in our US history helps explain our problems in seeding democracy in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.  And why was Iraq actually easier than Afghanistan.  Blair’s Franklin harkens us back to the founding of the country and Jamestown as well.  Jamestown, some 150 years before our Constitution was ratified, was our first settlement in the “New World”.  They almost starved to death and died out.   Franklin wonders where on the priority list of Jamestown the establishment of democracy would have ranked.  He supposes not very high.  In fact, until the priorities of food, shelter and security were satisfied,  and a modicum of prosperity established, “democracy as a form of self-governance” probably wouldn’t even gain a passing thought.

In Iraq it was much easier, in relative terms, to satisfy those basic priorities than it is in Afghanistan, where they still haven’t been satisfied.  Of course there are other cultural problems as well, but I think the basic point makes sense.  And it is that sort of easily understood “sense” that makes the book so compelling.

One other observation I’ll pass you way that resonated with me had to do, of all things, with reality TV.  I find it to be a horrific form of entertainment.  Blair’s Franklin agrees:

“Since I opened this diminutive essay by referencing television, let me return to the great giver of light and noise.  For many Americans, television has become both a pacifier and a false voice of self-worth. I came, after much hesitancy, to this conclusion while considering the great Colosseum in Rome.  A Colosseum where, for the morbid enjoyment of the masses, humanity was discarded and humans were first degraded, then slain.  Many reality TV programs shown today on America’s networks likewise degrade humans for the enjoyment of the masses; but, unlike Rome, the Colosseum is brought to each American’s house – no need to exercise by walking to a great amphitheater.”

A perfect capture of that bit of culture in my estimation.  Grab the book folks – you’ll be glad you did.

“Poorer Richard’s America: What would Ben say?” – by Tom Blair.  Skyhorse Publishing (, 2010  [Amazon link]


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Why aren’t Democrats running on their record?

Seriously? If, as the President touted in LA the other day, they’ve passed the most progressive agenda in decades, why in the world aren’t they trumpeting it to the hills?

Instead, as a headline notes in the POLITICO, “White House searches for villain”.  Apparently they’ve finally figured out that they’ve worn the “blame Bush” card out. However, instead of a strategy to remind the public what Congressional Democrats have done in this session of Congress, they’re looking for a bad guy on the other side to vilify instead.

You could write it off to their usual penchant for the politics of personal destruction and blame-shifting.  But it’s hard to blame Republicans for “obstruction” when you had majorities in both houses of Congress that nullified the GOP’s ability to do that.

So what’s up with them ignoring their own record?

Perhaps, as Thomas Sowell points out, it is how they accomplished that record and what that means that they’d rather play down instead of play up:

‘We the people" are the central concern of the Constitution, as well as its opening words, since it is a Constitution for a self-governing nation. But "we the people" are treated as an obstacle to circumvent by the current administration.

One way of circumventing the people is to rush legislation through Congress so fast that no one knows what is buried in it. Did you know that the so-called health care reform bill contained a provision creating a tax on people who buy and sell gold coins?

You might debate whether that tax is a good or a bad idea. But the whole point of burying it in legislation about medical insurance is to make sure "we the people" don’t even know about it, much less have a chance to debate it, before it becomes law.

The health care bill is the most prevalent example of what Sowell is talking about.  So intent were they on passing what liberal Democrats considered one of their most cherished ideological dreams they pulled out all the stops, invented procedures on the fly and essentially rammed this legislation through without even them knowing what all was in it. 

Debate?  There was none.  None. They wouldn’t allow it. And certainly none about what was in the bill and would become law of the land.  So we continue to find little nuggets of crap in the law as we wade through it.  Gold taxes for instance.

But his larger point is the important one here.  It is  what has spawned the Tea Parties and the anger throughout the nation that is now boiling over.  “We the People” – that would be anyone outside of DC – are simply tired of being ignored and having things imposed upon us by out of touch politicians.  And we’re certainly tired of seeing legislation passed as this Congress has done.

Another way we have our freedoms and liberties imposed upon is also been used by this and other Congresses:

Yet another ploy is to pass laws worded in vague generalities, leaving it up to the federal bureaucracies to issue specific regulations based on those laws. "We the people" can’t vote on bureaucrats. And, since it takes time for all the bureaucratic rules to be formulated and then put into practice, we won’t know what either the rules or their effects are prior to this fall’s elections when we vote for (or against) those who passed these clever laws.

Consider the EPA’s attempt to regulate greenhouse gasses by fiat.  If Congress can’t pass a law to regulate them because of popular opposition, well they’ll just reinterpret existing law to their benefit and try to do it anyway.

If you wonder why people think government is out of control, those are two good examples. 

Is it any wonder people see politics today as agenda driven for the benefit of the parties instead of the people?  Is it any wonder that people are feeling more and more like serfs and less like equal citizens?

Not since the Norman conquerors of England published their laws in French, for an English-speaking nation, centuries ago, has there been such contempt for the people’s right to know what laws were being imposed on them.

Until this government is drastically pared back to some basic functions, this is going to continue and get worse.  It is in many areas in which it has no business and it is consuming more and more of our GDP doing things it has no business doing.  If we’re not already bankrupt, runaway government is doing its level best to do so.

There’s a reason the Democrats are searching for a bad guy instead of running on their record.  They can sense something’s wrong, but they really can’t – for whatever reason – put their finger on it. Well, my guess is they can cloak the next villain in Nazi SS regalia and call him the worst thing since Adolph Hitler and it won’t matter a whit in November.

This has got to stop and “the people” have figured it out.  In November, methinks, they’re going to help the politicians figure it out as well.


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Obama doesn’t "get" America, but neither does the media

Peter Kirsanow thinks that Barack Obama somehow doesn’t "get" America and that his flip-flopping on the mosque at Ground Zero is emblematic of that.

He launches into a litany of examples of things and situations which support this claim.  Notice who he holds complicit in all of this.

As Dorothy Rabinowitz has noted, Obama’s alienation from the citizenry is just beginning to be more broadly revealed, but has been on display since the 2008 campaign. The media either failed to report it or chastised anyone who dared notice. When some remarked about Obama’s refusal to do something as simple as wear a flag lapel pin, they were pronounced unsophisticated and jingoistic. Obama’s casual stance during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” was declared a triviality. When Reverend Wright was caught shouting ” G–damn America!” those who wondered whether Obama’s 20 years in Wright’s pews might suggest ideological concurrence were dismissed as alarmist. When some expressed concern that Obama might agree with his wife that America is a “downright mean country” and that perhaps he, too,  for the first time in his adult life, was proud of his country, they were told to grow up.

Then Obama’s association with Bill Ayers emerged and the mainstream media closed ranks and refused, as long as they could, to even report it. And when Obama expressed unalloyed contempt for Midwesterners who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment,” a phalanx formed to assure the public of his pure intentions.

There were other instances throughout the campaign and first months in office suggesting that for Obama, multiculturalism trumps national unity and moral relativism supersedes cultural confidence. His serial apologies for America, embrace of  America-hating Hugo Chávez, and supplication to foreign thugs are consistent with a “blame America first” mentality that may be unremarkable for a political science professor but is toxic for the leader of the greatest nation in history.

By the way, you have to love the last line – proof of which we here at QandO are treated too almost daily in the comment section.

But to the point – the media was absolutely complicit in hiding, not covering or spinning the stories noted.  If Obama had an agenda – and he did – so did the media. Totally unqualified for the job, Obama still got their support because he looked good, he sounded great, he was the dream “diversity” pick and wasn’t a Republican.  And sticking with what they believed to be their arrogant right as journalists to decide what was or wasn’t news, they refused to do what was necessary to qualify the candidate.

In fact, they did nothing, really, to vet the man.  As Kirsanow notes, they actually did all they could to hide these facts and their implications and to chastise those who thought they were important (and they were important).

Someone once said that in a political campaign having the media on your side is worth 5 to 10 points on election day.  Never before, in my lifetime, have I seen that more true than in 2008.  Hopefully, that day is coming to an end with this past election used as an example of what you are likely to get when the media doesn’t do their job.  And for the media, this is a perfect example of why your profession now ranks down there with used car salesmen and Congressmen – and frankly, I’d trust a used car salesman well before I’d trust most in the journalism profession.

That said, I agree with Kirsanow’s thesis.  I don’t think Barack Obama gets America, understands its exceptionalism or is particularly proud of his country.  In fact, Obama, as indicated in his Berlin speech, claims he’s a “citizen of the world”.  While that’s fine, again, in the faculty lounge at any cow college in the land, it’s not exactly something that indicates an understanding of one’s country’s place or role in the world or the job of president.

We elect a president to represent us, not the world.  We want someone who understands the country, it’s founding principles and its exceptional role.  We want someone who is proud to be an American, because that means they have an appreciation and a love of country that should guide them in their governance.  Obama displays none of these traits.  In fact, as noted, he seems almost apologetic about the country and his job when on the world stage.

When 2013 rolls around, it will be time to unload this “mistake” elected through media hype and false promises.  And I only hope that America will have learned a valuable but incredibly expensive lesson in the time being.  Politics isn’t theater and treating it like a beauty contest gets you presidents like this one.  And – believe only half of what you see from journalists and none of what you read.  They pitched any shred of credibility they had in the dust bin in 2008, and there’s no reason to believe they’ve taken it out, dusted it off and are now wearing it again – if ever they were before.



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Quote of the day – Prince of fools edition

It’s actually from a commenter at Free Republic, found in an on-line article I was reading. It is interesting for a number of reasons, but I think it distills very well the real problem we face here in this country – and it isn’t politicians:

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. … The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. … The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. … It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president." – Prager Zeitung

We talk about "due dilligence" a lot when it comes to journalists doing their job or politicians doing theirs. What about the electorate? Doesn’t it too have a duty in that regard?

An educated, informed and engaged electorate is vital to any democratic form of government – at any level. Without it you get – well, what we’ve gotten and have gotten for quite a few years.

How do you reverse that? How do you engage people who show no real interest in the effects of politics – something that increasingly touches every aspect of their everyday life? How do you educate and inform a public that seems less inclined to involving themselves in the substance of debate about the importance of issues and more inclined toward the theater that is modern political campaigns?

Barack Obama won on the Unicorn and Moon Pony ticket. His promises were whatever you wanted them to be. You want change? You define it then. Hope? Same process – take the blank slate and write what you want. Whatever you want it to be is what it will be. Count on it.

And amazingly a majority of Americans bought into it – hook, line and sinker.

So I find the quote to be on the mark.  Unfortunately, the solution to the problem remains a mystery.


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Stupidest Thing I Heard Today

Henceforth to be titled “STIHT”.

Almost every day I’m confronted with beyond-ridiculous statements that turn me sideways. I literally cringe when I hear/read them. A little monologue automatically goes off in my head (OK, and out loud once in awhile as well) that serves — for my purposes — to make the bad thing stop. Because the stupidity has become relentless, I feel the need to rant publicly. Hence STIHT.

So, as I’m finishing my day, leisurely pondering the conclusion of the TV show I was watching, that nasally, self-indulgent voice of Sex In The City’s primary protagonist wistfully bleats “Someone once said that two halves make a whole.” Let me tell you: the sinews, tendons and synapses controlling my fingers’ hasty dispatch of power to the source of such inanity were so swift as to make Mercury look like Kurt Rambis. My sanity was saved with a flick of the wrist.

Why? Well, allow me to rant.

No one, in the history of all intellectual life, has ever said “two halves make a whole”. Sure, someone has actually said those words. But I can assure you that, apart from the confines of the writer’s room for Sex In The City, no one who said them was met with anything less than a Potsie-perfect “Duh.”

Because the profound thing about the statement, to the extent there is anything, is not that two halves make a whole, but instead that a “whole” can be split into two halves. That wisdom has been known since at least the time of Ur, and probably for quite a bit before that.

Put simply, there is nothing remotely profound in the statement that “two halves make a whole” since the only revelatory thing of the entire statement is the complete converse — i.e. that a whole can be split into two equal parts called “halves.” That “someone once said” such an unenlightening statement may in fact be true, but it doesn’t prove anything apart from the utter vacuity of the person proposing such statement to have meaning at all.

Now for the anticipated FAQ’s:

“So what’s the point of your rant?”

Stupid things piss me off. Writing about their stupidity seems better than punching holes in walls (yeah, you’ve been there).

“But why do I care?”

Why would I know? Or care?

“I mean, why should I bother reading your rants?”

Don’t bother. I write them to keep down on my drywall and putty expenses (OK, and for entertainment purposes). Consider it like a reality show — public therapy.

“But would Snooki approve?”

No. Punching walls is mandatory in her world.

“Are there midgets involved?”

Oh, just wait until my next rant. I mean, they’re not even real people.

“Is Daniel Tosh funnier than you?” (See last link)

Who are you! Tell me your name! Who sent you! I have RIGHT to know who you are!

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