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Much has been written, including in this blog, of the threat to America posed by radical Islamic terrorism. Not so much has been written abo...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat: Invented by Democrats?

Halloween.

I am back in California.

I am sitting in the dark. Blanket over the screen. Don't want any light to leak out and reveal that I am at home. I have forgotten to buy candy for the Democrats children who come begging to my door for me to give them stuff or they will do my family, property, and me harm. "Trick or Treat," the motto of Colombian cartels, the DNC, and the IRS.

Don't they know there is no free lunch, or Mars bar, or whatever it is the little Democrats kids want? Maybe the government will develop a website where the little beggars can go and register for candy from the government--it will be free . . . well, except for the $6500 deductible and the covering of only 70% of subsequent costs, and the $650 monthly premium to be subsidized by the government . . . other than that, it's free! Oh, and the website will crash, but what else have these Democrats kids to do?

Shhh! I hear footsteps. Must put Apple to sleep.

Obama and The Hate That Dares Not Speak Its Name

Well, folks, we paid for it for so we might as well enjoy the show, The Greatest Show on Earth, that is.

I write, of course, about the great gnashing of teeth, the rending of garments, the bleat of shorn sheep fearing a visit to the slaughter house comes next; yes, I refer to the outcry of well-paid media liberals progressives--cash for clunkers--from whose eyes the scales apparently have fallen to reveal that the Great One, The Healer of the Earth, has feet of clay.

Ah, where is today's Goya to depict the gory glory of the Progressive Saturn eating his own children?




Or is it, in this case, the children eating Saturn? One or the other, still a great show.

First in the buffet line we see progressive commentator extraordinaire Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. He writes that in the case of Obama we have a "Question of Competence." He praises candidate Obama but then notes that (emphasis added),
this same man has lately so mishandled both domestic and foreign policy that he is in mortal peril of altering his image. This unsettling and uncharacteristic incompetence became shockingly clear when Obama failed to come to grips with the Syrian civil war. I did not agree with the president's do-nothing policy, but at least it was both a policy and intellectually coherent. What followed, though, was both intellectually incoherent and pathetically inconsistent -- a "red line" that came out of nowhere and then mysteriously evaporated, and a missile strike that was threatened and then abandoned. It was a policy so wavering that if Obama were driving, he would be forced to take a breathalyzer. 
The debacle of the Affordable Care Act's website raised similar questions about confidence. This was supposed to be Obama's Big Deal. The president has other accomplishments -- navigating out of the Great Recession was no minor feat -- but restoring the status quo does not get your face on Mount Rushmore. It takes achievement, a program -- something new and wonderful. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to be it. 
Something went wrong. People could not sign up. Why? Not sure. Who's at fault? Apparently no one. <...>
History will someday provide perspective and say, possibly, that Syria and Obamacare did not matter. I doubt it. At the least, they help validate the once-frivolous Republican charges of incompetence. A competent president would beware. As Casey Stengel might note, strike three is coming up.
Here, my friends, we see Poor Richard as the effects of the gallons of tainted Kool-Aid he has ingested begin to wear off. Note, however, that the toxins have not completely left his system, to wit, his silly comment about "once frivolous Republican charges of incompetence," but gradually the hypnotic drugs wear off. Reality is such a downer.

Next, over at the vegan station, we see CNN's Anderson Cooper, the oh-so-precious progressive darling, berating the administration for dishonesty on Obamacare (here, here, and here.) So now, now, we are getting some "investigative" reporting from CNN? Really? Now AC is letting the American people in on the great "secret" he has uncovered, i.e., Obamacare is built on lies. Maybe, just maybe, this would have been a good thing to have "discovered" about a year ago? Wasn't hard, but, anyhow, welcome to the club, better late than never.

At the salad bar, we find FOX News' favorite liberal commentator, Kirsten Powers, who spent a couple of years promoting the glories of Obamacare, but now reaches the reluctant conclusion that,
“The problem is, that the promises, that the basic fundamental promise that the president made has not been borne out for people,” Powers said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.” 
“It’s true there are a lot of people who won’t see insurance change, I guess if you work for a corporation or something, but for people, if you’re in the individual market, I don’t know a single person who hasn’t seen their insurance go up by double,” she added.
A bit later, Powers shows that she has begun to understand some economic numbers, unlike the typical progressive (my bolding),
“If the president had said, ‘If you like your plan can keep it for double the price,’ I don’t think that people probably would have been as supportive. So I think that his primary problem is that he made a promise that he is not following through on.”
Ya think? Really? Hey, Ms. Powers, congrats on acquiring such deep wisdom. "People probably" would not have supported a doubling of their insurance premiums . . . thank goodness for a university education.

Then, ripping into the prime rib, we have everybody's favorite deranged commentator, Chris "Obama sends a tingle up my leg" Matthews of MSNBC. Mr. Mathews, the most fanatical of fanatical Obamistas, shone with eagerness to tear apart anybody who expressed even a mild doubt about the Obama misadministration's ludicrous story on the Benghazi disaster. He helped that misadministration put out the absurd "It's YouTube's fault" line, and blasted Republicans who dared question it. That was then, this is now. It seems that now, well, he has "questions,"
Where was the U.S. Cavalry, to use an American image. Where were the people that could’ve come or tried to get there within how many hours it took to save the lives of the people still living? Where were they and why weren’t they called to do it? I’m going to ask that question until I get an answer.” <...>
"[T]he questions I have about this are what was the State Department’s role in real-time, not beforehand, but at the time of the attack in defending the lives of their people, especially the U.S. ambassador, who was a friend, a friend of the Secretary of State’s, Hillary Clinton? What was their actions, what was the tick-tock? What did they do when they got the warning of the attack?”
As a former FSO it is just too difficult for me even to extend a very belated welcome to Mathews as he ostensibly tries to clamber aboard the USS Full-of-Doubts. He was so repellent, so disgusting, such an enabler of the Obama/Clinton/Rice mendacity on the Benghazi murders that I can't even write about it.

So what's happening? Is there some genuine "getting of wisdom" among the Obamabots in the media? Are they the proverbial liberal progressives who have been mugged by reality? Maybe.

They might also just be snake oil salesmen who want to make sure they get no blame for the horrendous side-effects of the magical potions they sold to the low-info Boobi who comprise the mainstay of Obama's support: instant rewrite of history. Maybe, maybe, maybe, but I don't think so. They, after all, know that they can't be thrown under the Obama bus because the wheels already have come off it: not enough ground clearance under there for all of them.

I think the real explanation for their turning on Obama is that they want him to fail because they're racists.

That's it.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dedicated to President Obama

This little children's poem was written in 1899, by American educator William Hughes Mearns (1875 - 1965).

When I was a kid, it creeped me out, but I couldn't help thinking about it now after hearing President Obama say, once again, that he didn't know anything about the scandal of the day until he read about it in the papers. 

"Antigonish" (AKA "The Man Who Wasn't There ")

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today 
Oh, how I wish he’d go away.

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door.

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spies Spy? Oh, the Horror!

I dedicate this little essay to the countries at the UN, including Germany, France, Mexico, and Brazil, drafting a resolution to "stop NSA surveillance." Please gentle readers, forgive this rare PG-13 undiplomatic outburst aimed at these countries by the usually genteel Diplomad: Hey, guys, STFU! Hypocrisy does not even begin to describe what these yahoos are up to.

I have written before (here and here) about the ludicrousness of France, Brazil, and Mexico complaining about supposed US intel collection against their politicians and citizens. Grow up, dudes. All three of those countries have intel organizations which collect against foreign and domestic targets. Having worked in all three, I know that for a fact. The French, in particular, have highly developed intel organizations that operate inside and outside of France and collect all sorts of political, economic, and, above all, industrial and commercial data, including from the United States and Germany. I find surprising that the Germans, who normally act quite sensibly about these matters, have, in Moynihan's immortal phrase, "joined the jackals" at the UN. Among those jackals we find well-known big-time spy countries such as Cuba and Venezuela.

A little bit on the French and Germans. Since World War II, both have resented the "special relationship" that exists among the UK, Australia, Canada and the US on intel matters. They particularly resent the US-UK intel relationship. If you recall, Charles de Gaulle wanted to keep the British out of the Common Market precisely because of the US-UK relationship on national security issues. That resentment continues to this day because the relationship continues to this day. Our bottom line has been and is that the Brits are our allies and very, very good at intel work; they, in essence, are the founding fathers of modern intelligence work. Then we have the Germans. The Germans were disastrously bad at intel during World War II. The British ran circles around them for the whole war; the Abwehr and its successor, the RHSA, created after Hitler dissolved the Abwehr in 1944, were completely outclassed by the British both on Sygint and Humint and in the conduct of disinformation operations. That tradition of incompetence in the intel arena was carried on by the West German BND, which was riddled with Soviet and East German agents. So, it seems, the Germans, who build some great cars, are a bit touchy when the subject of intel comes up. During my career in the Foreign Service, more than once I had German diplomats complain about the relationship we had with the British. As noted above, however, the Germans were discreet about this, and certainly did not vent their frustration in "jackal" behavior at the UN.

My position is that spy organizations spy. The NSA has a mandate to collect intelligence. The problem we now face has come about because the NSA, particularly under this misadministration, is not only out of control on the domestic scene, but so sloppy, so poorly run that a weasel junior contractor such as the traitor Snowden can carry out a massive operation against them in cooperation with the world's stupidest newspaper, The Guardian, and, despite his disclaimers, probably with the Russians and the Chinese. One has to wonder if the NSA is employing ex-Abwehr or BND agents.

In addition, and perhaps more serious, as I have written at length, we have a misadministration so incompetent in the area of foreign affairs, so determined to make America weak and irrelevant, that nobody takes us seriously. Even allies such as Germany and France have no problem circling in to take a bite out of us while we are drowning and bleeding. They see no cost to venting their long-standing frustration. Believe me, this would not have happened were Bush president.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Sunday Morning Rerun: Hitting the Disgust Quota

Wrote this back on October 3, 2012. Holds up well, even if I say so myself.

The Media and Obama: Hitting The Disgust Quota

I never before have thought this way about an American president, not even the reprehensible Jimmy Carter.

I am disgusted with Obama. I can't think of another word that better captures how I think about this disaster of a president. I am, however, even more disgusted--if that's possible--with how an overwhelming percentage of the media cover for him. It is not just the overt editorial comments, or the spinning of the news, it is the outright lying on his behalf, such as the promoting false narratives and phony polling, and the stunning refusal to cover important stories that reflect negatively on his stewardship.

For any moderately informed person, the case against Obama is overwhelming. Any Republican president with a track record such as his would have been forced to decline a second term or faced impeachment.

The completely irresponsible nature of the media re Obama begins with his personal story. At a time when we know everything about Britney Spears, and, by the way, Mitt Romney, Obama's life remains off limits. Last August, I wrote that we are not allowed to ask how this self-admittedly mediocre, drug-using student from a highly dysfunctional family, raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, managed to attend exclusive and expensive schools. In addition, I noted,
His political rise is shrouded in mystery. After Harvard, he suddenly moves to Chicago. Why? He becomes a "community organizer" there, and rapidly rises in the corrupt and crony-filled Democratic machine. He becomes the darling of gangsters such as Rezko, close friends with known terrorists and hate-mongers, and presto he is taking down opponents right and left and soon is in the White House. We can't ask anything about it all. To do so risks charges of racism. His ascendency is a liberal Hollywood fable and it must remain unquestioned and unexamined. He is our anointed leader. He is our Athena.The drive to cover for Obama continues. Not only does he escape blame for the disastrous and deteriorating state of government finances and of the economy after nearly four years of his prescriptions, but his administration has blood on its hands and the mainstream media refuses to call him out on it.
Operation "Fast and Furious" is simply outrageous. As I wrote before, his Department of Justice engaged in an undeclared war on the people of Mexico which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans and at least two US federal agents. This operation was not botched or flawed. It had one very clear purpose and one alone: enable the Obama administration to make a case for tightening US gun laws, for cracking down on lawful gun ownership in the United States. There was no other purpose for this operation. None. As part of this effort, the US State Department was instructed to push the line about "drugs flow north, guns flow south" and to support UN efforts to make legal trade in small arms virtually impossible. As I wrote some 15 months ago,
Never mind Teapot Dome, Checkers, Chappaquiddick, Watergate, or Iran-Contra: "Fast and Furious" is arguably the greatest scandal in American political history. It most certainly is the greatest scandal never reported by the main media outlets. Obama's misadministration sought to launch an attack on the second amendment by "proving" that lax US gun laws led to Mexico's drug-fueled violence. It decided to "prove" that by providing the guns. It was the ultimate in cop weapon throw-down or evidence planting.
Imagine if the situation were the reverse. Imagine that the Attorney General of Mexico, in order to argue for stronger anti-drug laws in Mexico, decided as a matter of policy to provide drugs to the most powerful US criminal gangs. How would we react? Drone strikes on Chapultepec Castle, anybody? I must say that the Mexican reaction has been surprisingly muted to Obama's declaration of war against Mexico.The media, with the notable and worthy exceptions of FOX and now UNIVISION, ignored the story as much as possible, concentrating instead on how Republicans wanted to embarrass Attorney General Holder, and forgetting about the bodies piling up on and near the border. The media has allowed Obama to continue to portray himself as the great friend of the Mexican people when he is the president responsible for more Mexican deaths since Woodrow Wilson, another Democrat boob-hero.
As I have written extensively before (here and many previous) Obama pursued a deeply flawed and unnecessary policy in Libya--and throughout the Muslim world. Giving in to EU pressure to act against largely defanged queen of the desert Qaddafi, Obama/Clinton got us into an absurd war in Libya. As I wrote eighteen months ago on Obama's Libyan adventure,
For reasons known only to him and a handful of dopey advisors, he has blithely sent off America's superb military into an idiotic adventure on the shores of Tripoli with no thought given to what the purpose is, or how it will end. He does this without even the pretense of consulting Congress or bothering to make a case to the American people for sending their children and treasure into war in Libya. He could at least let us in on the secret: what is this war about? The two wars in Iraq, I understood; the one in Afghanistan, likewise, but this? What is it? We fight because, supposedly, the UN, the EU, and the Arab League say we can? Does that make sense? Is that worth killing and dying for? All this to create a No-Fly Zone so that a bunch of jihadist enemies of America can take out a cranky old gangster, who for the last couple of years has been our snitch inside the terror mafia? The removal of Qaddafi, who was cooperating with us against Al Qaeda, with no real thought to what would replace him created a chaotic situation in Libya that has greatly benefitted AQ's rebuilding efforts, and, by the way, resulted in the murder of the US Ambassador and three other diplomatic staff. 
I have written a great deal about the Obama misadministration's outright lies and incompetence when it comes to the attack on Benghazi and will not go over it all again. Suffice it to say, that this is a scandal of major proportions. Despite the media's best efforts to minimize the scandal, information continues to pour forth showing a president totally unconcerned with the murder of Americans on American soil by terrorists. He is informed of the attack at about 11 pm Washington time, and goes to bed--would George Bush have gone to bed? Doubt it. Next day he heads off to Las Vegas on a fund-raiser. Then his misadministration engages in a non-stop blitz of lies and evasions about what happened. The media is trying its best to ignore it all.
Everywhere else one looks abroad one sees the consequences of this misadministration's incompetence, delusions, and anti-Americanism. They turned victory in Iraq into defeat: Iran is now the predominant player in Iraq. They have done the same in Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban and AQ to reappear after the decisive defeat administered them. In Egypt, they sold out Mubarak, and got in exchange the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim world openly ridicules and attacks us. Israel increasingly fears for its survival as Obama refuses to stand up to Iran's mad pretensions. Obama has betrayed Poland and actively sought to undermine the UK in its confrontation with the Argentines over the Falklands. In Asia, the misadministration's fecklessness re Russia and China is having serious consequences for the global economy and for key US interests and allies in the region. The insane Communist monarchy in North Korea grows evermore aggressive and dismissive of the United States. In this hemisphere, we see a deliberate stiffing of our Canadian friends, and a policy of drift and disengagement that alienates allies such as Chile and Colombia, allows autocrats such as Chavez, Ortega, Correa, Morales, and Castro a free hand, encourages clowns such as Argentina's Cristina Fernandez to drive her economy into the ground, and has turned the OAS into an anti-American sounding board. The one effective policy the misadministration had in Latin America was the selling of guns to drug cartels.

At home, the story is the same. We have had years of deficit stimulus spending that was supposed to generate jobs and "jump start" the economy. It has done nothing even close to that, and, in fact, has put us on the path that leads to Greece. Unemployment remains at record levels, despite statistical legerdemain by the government; the national debt is exploding; we can expect a new wave of home foreclosures right after the elections; food stamp rolls have increased nearly 70% since Obama took office; we have yet to see the full financial and social consequences of the horrendous Obamacare law; via decree the misadministration circumvents Congressional authority over immigration; our military is scheduled for a wholesale gutting in January; and taxes will explode next year.

There is no energy policy: simple things that would have had immediate and positive effect have not been done for ideological reasons, to wit, approve the Keystone pipeline, lift the absurd restrictions on drilling, including "fracking" on federal lands, and end policies that put our coal miners out of work. As a consequence, gasoline prices have doubled; winter fuel prices will be through the roof; we continue to ship billions upon billions of dollars to hostile regimes; and our industry, commerce, middle class, and workers suffer. The media is silent on this scandal, preferring to blather on about gay marriage, contraception, global warming, and the horror of insulting Islam.

For this misadministration and its supporters everything is the fault of somebody else. Bush is to blame. Republicans in Congress are to blame. Insurance companies and evil white rich people are to blame. Some obscure Egyptian Christian in California is to blame. Blame it on the tsunami. Blame it on Europe. Blame it on the invention of the ATM. Blame it on the Tea Party.

The media ignores or sees as cute, Biden's "gaffes," utterances that would have terminated the career of any Republican politician. Now we see a video emerge in which Obama, in 2007, engages in his classic Chicago-style race baiting and lying--he outright lies about the assistance to New Orleans post Katrina. The media tries to ignore it. On CNN's website today, tucked in a corner we saw briefly--it's now gone--a link labelled "curious conservative video." The story goes on to claim that the video is an old story--tsk, tsk--and was heavily covered at the time Obama gave his speech. A complete lie--and, by the way, CNN has turned off the comments section on that story. It was not covered, and will not be covered. It doesn't fit the narrative.

So what can we say FOR Obama? Let me see. Well, he smokes, so that shows he doesn't buy his silly wife's health spiel. He, uh, has a couple of nice daughters, so that shows he doesn't favor abortion all the time. And, uh, well, he likes basketball which shows he's not completely against good relations with Canada, since the game was invented by a Canadian living in the US.

Now we head into the debates. I can't wait to hear the media spin tomorrow. It, however, won't affect me since my "disgust quota" has been fully met.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Obama Foreign Policy Death Spiral

As the current Obamacare roll-out debacle shows, yet again, in Obama we have a president with the sneering arrogance found in Shelley's Ozymandias; the aloof cluelessness of Marie Antoinette; and the interpersonal skills, leadership abilities, managerial talents, and willingness to accept responsibility of Moe Howard.



For these and many more reasons, President Obama, America's first "mixed race" president (yawn), should have passed into history as a curiosity, a footnote alongside President Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms, Taft's huge custom-built bathtub, Harding's love child, and Carter's battle to the death with a drowning rabbit. Instead, however, this junior senator from Illinois, the man with no discernible background of achievement, has become the most destructive president in American history. The amount of damage, much of it perhaps permanent, he and "his" team have done to the economy, to individual liberty, to people's trust in government, and to our nation's international standing is incalculable. Disaster, fiasco, catastrophe, debacle, I give up, no thesaurus contains enough synonyms to capture the all-around horridness of this anti-American, anti-West presidential misadministration.

He and "his team," along with the low information non-thinking Menckenite Boobus who support them, bring to mind the words of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats,
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
 Today's topic for depression is foreign policy and the Middle East. I have written a great deal about this misadministration's foreign policy, and am too down to repeat it all. A few highlights will suffice. Here, here, and here, for example, you can find general looks at our foreign policy under Obama, and, see my argument that no real leadership on foreign policy exists at either State--be it Clinton or Kerry--or, of course, at the White House. This misadministration simply does not care about America's core overseas interests. It quite happily threw away our hard-fought victory in Iraq, and is doing the same in Afghanistan. 

The Obamistas care about foreign policy only when the consequences of their foreign policy ineptitude threaten to become domestic issues. Then, for example, we see them groveling to the Saudis, begging them not to reduce their oil production. The President, a sad little man, throws out careless words about "red lines" in Syria and then spends months and months trying to back away from those words, hoping against hope that somebody somewhere will either save him or take the blame. As Shakespeare notes in Hamlet, "For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar." Along comes Russia's Putin, a bright, tough, KGB veteran who can smell weakness and lack of conviction miles away. Putin cooks up a peace in our time scheme that will defuse the petard built by and now threatening the hapless American president, and, at the same time, purely coincidentally, save a major Russian ally, Syria's Assad, and, oh yes, this too, restore Russia as a major player in the region. Putin's goal to have Russia back in the game is made all the easier by Obama's grotesque mishandling of Egypt, as I wrote in "Pyramid Scheme," where the US president made it clear that he will not stand by allies and, in fact, supports their mortal foes--in Egypt's case the Muslim Brotherhood, who also happen to hate us beyond all words.

 As I stated last August,
We are firmly in the grip of an appeaser, perhaps even worse. Other countries have begun to see that quite clearly.

In the Middle East, we have shown great weakness in the face of an Islamist totalitarian onslaught, and, in fact, many of our statements on Egypt appear to favor the murdering totalitarians of the Muslim Brotherhood. Thanks to Obama, regardless of what happens in Egypt--and I suspect the Egyptian military will hang on--the US will lose. Egypt's leaders, not wishing to repeat the Daladier experience, will drift away from us. Already we see the Saudis and others in the Gulf stepping in; don't rule out a move by Russia, as well, as our ineptness in Egypt and Syria provides Moscow wonderful opportunities to reestablish its influence in the region.
We begin to see press reports of how miffed, puzzled, and angry the Saudis have become with this feckless man in the White House (here and here, for example). Before going on, let me state that I hold no brief for the Saudis. They have a despicable regime that engages in the export of terrorists and terrorist ideology. Saudi oil money has fueled the emergence of radical Islam as a major player on the world stage. They are our allies only to the extent that they will not allow terrorists to operate inside the Kingdom; have a deep and abiding fear of the Iranians for religious, economic, and geopolitical reasons; and buy a lot of US military gear.

I have long favored declaring our energy independence from the Saudis and the rest of the Middle East and support fracking (here and here, for example). The problem with what is happening now, however, is that the "break-up" should be on our terms, not those of the Saudi Royals. We have a president who makes an enormous to-do about the Sunni anti-Assad resistance in Syria, promises the Saudis help in supporting that resistance, and then blithely walks away. He ostensibly draws a bright "red line" when it comes to Iranian nukes, and then can't wait to talk to the new Iranian ruler on the phone and later announce, in essence, that sanctions will end and nothing will be done about Iranian nukes. He offends the Saudis, in fact, to their way of thinking, he presents them an existential threat to their survival. At the same time he fights to prevent fracking in the US, to hamper energy trade with our friends in Canada, and in many other ways--e.g., coal policy--seeks to sabotage our achieving energy independence, thereby giving the Saudis, whom he has spurned, a weapon to use against us. The irony is that the Saudis will find that their best "friend" in the region is none other than--surprise!--Israel, another US ally feeling very alone and vulnerable now thanks to the madness in the White House. Don't be shocked to hear of an increasing rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, with the US left on the sidelines prattling on about the Palestinians (Note to Obama and other fretting liberals: The Saudis don't give a camel's behind about the Palestinians; they know it's all for show and all a fraud).

The Obama misadministration is leaving us an exceedingly bitter legacy of mediocrity, despair, and weakness both at home and abroad.

WLA

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Some Gloomy Thoughts About Our Current Fix

I have been doing a lot of reading about Obamacare. It's a hopeless mess but one that can be kept alive, of course, by constant, nay, endless infusions of cash and hokum. I have been impressed by the DNC/Obama effort--including a well-cooridnated one on comment boards throughout the blogosphere--being made to defend this disaster and to spin it and spin it and keep on spinning it until it becomes a blur, something like a propeller wherein one can no longer discern the individual blades. The hope, clearly, is that the American public, especially the low information base, the Boobus Americanus, on which the Obama misadministration relies, will not see the huge premiums, the enormous deductibles, the death panels--yes, my friends, death panels you can employ any euphemism you want but the fact is there are death panels--the inability of the government to set up a functioning website despite the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars over three years, and on and on.

It is also striking, a bit of a tangent, how the same administration that claims huge numbers of Americans are too stupid and just too, too poor to collect free voter id cards, is the one that has set up a hugely complicated heath care exchange system that requires those same people to have phones, computers, internet, and technical skills to sign on for health care. But, I digress . . .

As I wrote yesterday, we now have the President giving another of his patented performances--and that's the word, "performance"--of mock outrage, of how angry, "mad," he is over the "glitches" in the website. He of course demands that this be fixed, and is bringing in the "best and the brightest" to do it. Where those "best and brightest" were during the design of this execrable mess, is, of course, a question no journalist dares ask. Where Obama was is yet another of those questions. Once again we have this pathetic simulacrum of a president acting as though somebody else was in charge; we saw this same act during Benghazi, the Egypt disaster, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandals, etc. He, of course, is only now aware of the disaster and demands that it be fixed! No plan. No recognition of his own responsibility as head of the executive branch. Nobody held accountable. Just empty words at a hastily put together press conference, and off to the next event. Jimmy Carter was a miserable failure, but he at least tried. Obama barely votes "present."

Unless the Republicans can undo this disaster of Obamacare, and I despair of that, it is clear what will happen next. The government will spend millions more to "fix" it, and will fail. The Democrat Mau-Mau machine will go into high gear and blame the Republican Congress, the "Republican shut down" of the government, and, of course, the private sector. Schumer, Wasserman-Shultz, Rangel, Pelosi, Sharpton, Krugman, etc, will allege that Obamacare is being sabotaged by the insurance companies, and the problem is that it did not go far enough: time for the pretend to end, and the government to take over health care outright.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Setting a Low Bar, "Nobody is Madder than Me . . . "

Well, it seems that "our" President has done it, again.

The man who has an academic career of being the "man who wasn't there"; a writing career of fake autobiography written by ghosts; a legislative career of voting "present"; who won the presidency for being a cool guy who can read his teleprompter; and got a Nobel Prize for just showing up, has made it clear that He is displeased with the way others conducted the roll-out of His "signature" achievement, the horrendously misnamed Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

It seems that nearly a decade and a half into the 21st century, after spending three years and over $634 million, the government of the United States of America, the country more than any other that invented the modern digital age, the country that can listen to every phone call in Azerbaijan, and read every email in France, cannot set up a functioning website. EBay can do it; Amazon can do it; millions of banks, car rental offices, hotels, motels, restaurants, pet stores, charities, and a zillion other retailers can do it; hell, a one-man florist shop almost anywhere in the world can do it, but the richest and most powerful government of the richest and most powerful country in all of human history cannot do it despite having essentially unlimited funding and three years to do so.

Yes, my friends, creating a website is beyond the technical, leadership, and managerial skills of the Obama misadminsitration. This corrupt, inept bunch of loons who run our government gave the contract for this website, on a sole-source bidding basis, to the American subsidiary of a Canadian company (Blame it on Canada! Yah!) that was fired by Canadian officials for having messed up work on Canada's health care system. It seems no adult supervised the creation of the website, not to mention no teenaged computer nerd who would know what he is doing.

Do not, however, fret my friends for The One, The Name (יהוה), The Healer of the Earth is on the case. As I mentioned at the outset, He is unhappy, in fact, He let it be known that "Nobody's madder than Me about the website not working as well as it should . . ." Wow! "Nobody is madder" than He about this issue.

We have two possibilities here.

The first is that the government grammarian who supervises teleprompters had not returned to work because of the "GOP shutdown" leading the President to be, well, inarticulate--imagine if Bush spoke that way!

The second possibility is that He uttered a great revelatory truth, to wit, that He is the maddest man in the world. Could be. He said it; I didn't, so it must be thus.

I can see the biopic, The Madness of King O.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lost in Translation, Right Might Not Mean Right

I have written before about how the left sees words as important and tries to redefine them in ways that benefit the left,
Words evolve. They take on new meaning over the years. Social and political movements appropriate certain words, redefine them, and then use them to shape the ideological battlefield. The classic example of that, of course, is "bolshevik" and "menshevik." The Bolsheviks were, in fact, the Mensheviks and vice-versa. The word bolshevik, derived from the word meaning "majority," was appropriated by the radicals who were in reality the minority of the old Social Democratic party. The minority labeled the majority the minority and got away with it. Clever. There are many other examples of this in history such as the insistence on calling nazis and fascists right-wing when they are clearly left-wing products.
The left is very good at this since, in most if not all of the West, the left controls not only academia, but the legal, press, entertainment and arts industries as well as governmental institutions where the words are crafted, recrafted, defined, redefined, and ruled in or out of fashion.

I thought of this, again, while reading an interesting post on Europe by Walter R. Mead at The American Interest. Worth the read. In it he describes many of the phenomena I have discussed several times before (here, here, and here, for example--there are many more) re the unfortunate effects of the Euro and the EU on European politics and standards of living. I am not going to go over all that again, and Mead does a good job of covering it.

I am more interested in what he reports about the European "right." He informs us that,
In France, the people I spoke with worried about the rise of the National Front. According to some polls the ultra-right could emerge as the biggest party in France in the next round of regional and European elections. The French Socialists under the increasingly unpopular President Hollande don’t seem to have much idea about how to move forward; their most popular politician at the moment is a Minister of the Interior who is trying to compete with the National Front for the anti-immigrant vote by breaking up encampments of Roma and denouncing them as immigrants who don’t want to assimilate.
And,
One of the reasons Europeans are so fearful of the Tea Party is that they assume that because it is right wing and populist it is like the National Front in France or Golden Dawn in Greece. Today’s small government American Tea Partiers are much farther from Huey Long and Father Coughlin in their political views than some European right wingers are from the darker demagogues of Europe’s bloody past, and until the European establishments understand this, they will likely continue to misjudge the state of American politics.
This is very similar to what I have found in my own trips to Europe, reading the European press, and just talking with my European relatives and friends. The standard accepted notion of the political "right" in Europe is nazism, fascism, and anything else that the ruling elite does not like.  In France, as I wrote before, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front (FN) mentioned above by Mead, is facing legal charges for having dared compare hordes of Muslims in the streets of France to hordes of Nazi occupiers. Here you have a political leader, who might be heading the biggest party in France, being labelled a far-right extremist because she makes disparaging comments about nazis and the flood of aliens swamping France's cities and society. The comfortable elites don't like Le Pen, so she gets labelled a far-right nut. If one bothers to read the platform of the FN, one won't find much there that meets the definition of "right." I have said the same, and repeat it now, about the EDL (English Defence League) in the UK, there, likewise, is not much about the EDL's platform that would qualify it as "right,"
Having read much of what the EDL has written and gone to its website, I am not clear what it is about their positions, remarkably well-written and thoughtful for a bunch of "football hooligans," that makes them far-right. I do not know what their economic policies are and what they think about socialized medicine and welfare payments or the size of government. The positions they take on defending England from Islamic extremism, however, seem very reasonable and something most Americans could support. I don't find them racist, at all. Again, I don't know them well, and might be embarrassed by some smoking gun firing "racist bullets," but I get suspicious when the media and the political establishment dismiss a grassroots movement as "far right extremists" and provide no evidence.
In Greece, we see the government elites trying to ban the Golden Dawn for being far-right fascist extremist--forgetting, of course, that fascism is a left wing pathology. Some of their positions are certainly not ones I agree with, and they fall outside of the mainstream of European elite political thought, but I get suspicious of efforts to ban "far right" groups and wonder what might really be behind it--probably not hard to guess.

The European press, when writing about American politics, routinely labels the Tea Party or even many GOP politicians as "extreme right" knowing that in their readers' minds that will conjure images of nazis and fascists. Both the European and the American elite media and politicos agree on depicting any organization that opposes rampant immigration as "far right." As with the label nazi or fascist, this is curious litmus test considering how it was, in the US anyhow, for years that the labor unions, including the one once run by the now sainted and late-Cesar Chavez, were rabidly anti-immigration. In addition, of course, Democratic-run labor unions in the USA were virulently anti-black.

The American right, especially as represented by the Tea Party/movement is, in fact, one that favors smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, and more individual freedom, responsibility, and accountability. It favors liberty, and is the antithesis of communism, fascism, nazism, and socialism, all left wing phenomena which minimize the individual and elevate the state. The Tea Party/movement is a classic liberal one from when liberal meant liberal--as it still does in Australia--not what it means in today's American politics, to wit, believer in more and more government. It is tough to find a similar pro-liberty movement in Europe, perhaps the UKIP, as Europe is a place where the political battle is conducted overwhelmingly on the left side of the field.

Be very leery of the label "far right" and reject the notion that "right" and fascism lie on the same side of the political spectrum.  Jim Crow, the KKK, segregation, and slavery are fruits of the Democrat loom, just as nazism and fascism spring from the same cesspool as communism and socialism.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Is it 1854, yet?

It's hard to get optimistic about the future given what we have seen the last five years, and, in particular what we have seen the last few months, week, and days. On the international scene, the USA has become an irksome joke. The Nobel Prize committee, for example, has once again awarded its prize to an institution, the UN's OPCW, that has yet to do what it has been awarded the prize for doing--sound familiar? The prize, of course, is a rebuke to the US and our vague threats to bomb Syria for having CW. The Iranians laugh at us; Moscow sees an opportunity created by Obama's ineptness in the Mideast that the Russians could never have dreamed of having; the Chinese, covering up their own impending economic crisis, are busily advocating an "American-free" world; the jihadis are gaining ground throughout the world; and Latin America drifts away. Allies such as Israel, Canada, and Australia must shake their heads, and wonder what has happened to America.

At home, we have an executive branch run by people who comprise a lethal mix of incompetent; untruthful; disloyal to or ignorant of our culture, history, and political traditions; and followers of a progressive creed that sees only more government as the solution to the problems created by past expansions of government. More government: That's all that's on offer from the progressivism that has taken over our political institutions, media, and schools.

Opposition to this progressivism, so far, has proven largely confused, or better said, inchoate and unable to push to the fore leaders who can galvanize the great numbers appalled by the destruction forced upon us by progressivism. Opponents simply have been overwhelmed by the brazenness of the power grab, including the "banana republic" use of federal agencies to crush dissent and frighten potential opposition, all abetted by the complicity of the powerful academic and media industries and the bloated public sector unions. I note, for example, the ongoing veterans' march on DC. The national media almost completely have ignored it. We see thousands of persons, many wounded veterans from our wars, peacefully protesting in the capital and insisting on keeping public parks and monuments open during Obama's fake government shutdown, and getting little to no coverage--unlike, as you remember, the cartoonish antics of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. As I write this, for example, the CNN website does not even mention the event, except in a dismissive yawn of just "another Tea Party" event. We can assume that if an act of violence occurs, or, worse, somebody unfurls a rebel battle flag or a "racist" banner, then the media coverage will prove massive. Imagine a demonstration in DC by veterans during a Republican administration; we would have endless stories comparing it to the 1932 Bonus March.

The GOP establishment has proven clueless and largely out of touch with the great anger in the country over what Obama and his Chicago gang are doing. I communicate with friends in DC, good, smart, semi-conservative (by DC standards) people, and find them merely bemused by the scattered reports they read of citizens opening national parks in defiance of the Feds, and of the fury I find among people stunned by what Obamacare means for their families' financial outlook and quality of medical care. Even politicians in whom I once had some faith, such as Paul Ryan, appear distant from the rising populist anger, and seem eager only to get things back to "normal" in DC, i.e, end the "shutdown." I have written before about this manifest cluelessness and won't repeat that now.

We need change to get back the hope that has been the trademark of American life for over two centuries.

The standard meme in a typical American history class or book, and in the media, holds that so-called third parties have no realistic prospect for success in the USA. The leadership of both major parties, naturally, agree with this interpretation and are eager to stifle any moves to create a party outside of the long established two party system--the Democratic party, by the way, has a legitimate claim to be the world's oldest political party. A quick glance through American political history would seem to support the conventional wisdom's argument against a "third" party. We have several examples typically served up to us as part of the cautionary tale.  One of the most famous efforts was Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party, aka Bull Moose Party, which he launched in 1912, after becoming upset with Republican President Taft's failure to pursue TR's "progressive" agenda. TR's party succeeded in knocking the Republicans out of the White House for one of the few times since 1861, and putting in place the calamitous Woodrow Wilson. While the Bull Moose Party crumbled away within a few years, many of its platform planks eventually became accepted, e.g., women's suffrage, eight hour day, a form of social security.

Another notable "third" party effort came in 1948, with the States's Rights Democratic Party, better known as the "Dixiecrats." Headed by Senator Strom Thurmond, this party argued, inter alia, for the right of Southern states to maintain racial segregation. Former two-time FDR Vice President Henry Wallace's hard left, pro-USSR Progressive Party--another "third" party effort in that same election-- also syphoned off Democratic votes in some key constituencies. Between these two "third" parties eating away at Democratic votes, Truman almost lost the 1948 election to Dewey, but managed to eke out a win. Both of the 1948 "third" parties quickly disappeared. There are other examples such as George Wallace's American Independent Party, John Anderson's Independents, Patrick Buchanan's Reform Party, and H. Ross Perot's Independent Party which also failed to win the White House but, nevertheless, had considerable impact on their respective elections and on post-election political developments.

Oops! Missing from this list of "third" parties is none other than the Republican Party, itself. Without going into a detailed history, widely available (see for example, Eric Foner's, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men), the Republican Party began in 1854 with a mix of anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats appalled by the perceived collusion of the Whigs and the Democrats in allowing slavery not only to remain but to expand westward. The Republicans, in 1856, ran their own candidate, explorer and hero of the Mexican war John Fremont--the man who freed California from Mexican rule. Although the campaign lost to Democrat Buchanan, it succeeded in destroying the ossified Whig party and lining up the Republicans for victory in 1860 with Lincoln.

I am not saying--necessarily--that we are at the point of seeking the destruction of the GOP a la the Whigs. I think, however, that the GOP establishment needs reminding of their own party's origins. My gut feeling is that the Tea "Party" cum movement has been growing, despite the media's repeated announcement of its death and attempts to throw it in a grave. This movement still, as noted, is somewhat inchoate; that some might argue is a source of strength in that there is no single Tea leader who can be disgraced by the media, and, hence, bring down the movement. At various times the media seek to name a politician or another as leader of the Tea party, and go gunning for him or her. They fail to understand that unlike the Bull Moose, the Dixiecrat, or most other "third" parties, this is a movement driven not by a dominant personality but by everyday working and tax-paying Americans fed up with the state of the country and the quality of leadership and thought dominating our political discourse. I would like to see the Tea movement take over the GOP and turn it into a genuinely conservative alternative to the progressive Democratic party, rather than have to go through setting itself up as a "third" party. That option, nevertheless, should not be discarded all too quickly.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sorry for the Delay

Been wrapped up in all sorts of boring personal stuff and haven't been feeding the blogbeast. Will have something out in the next day or so.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ozymandias Returns: The Arrogance of Obama

In the 11th grade, I had an impossibly old fashioned English teacher, Miss Petersen. The strongest word she ever used was "Gosh!" This elderly lady loved literature, and most of all poetry. She lived for books, and desperately wanted all of us pampered Baby Boomers to love and appreciate Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, James, Eliot, and on and on as much as she did. Most of us were too stupid to appreciate the gem we had in Miss Petersen: a high school teacher who today easily could have been a professor of English literature at any university in the world--except, of course, for the political correctness angle, she, after all, was religious and conservative.

Miss Petersen told us that the greatest poem ever written was Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias,"
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
She challenged us to memorize it: not an easy task, even though it is not long--I, for example, kept substituting "ancient" for "antique." She had the poem posted in large letters on the wall in front of where I sat. I spent nearly a year staring at Shelley's words, and eventually managed to memorize "Ozymandias," filing it away in the back of my brain somewhere from whence, to the chagrin of colleagues years later, on occasion snippets of Shelley would erupt such as, "Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair."

Only long after high school did I come to understand Miss Petersen's point. Shelley's little poem is an extraordinary and powerful indictment of arrogance. In about one hundred words, Shelley punctures the hubris of rulers and empire builders. It heartened me, as it would have the late-Miss Petersen, to see the poem have a bit of a "comeback" thanks to the TV show "Breaking Bad," which titled one of its best episodes "Ozymandias." The show's star, Bryan Cranston, by the way, does a terrific reading of the poem--well worth spending the minute or so listening to it.

It is tough to read or hear the poem without thinking about what has been happening in our country the last few days. I watched just a bit of His Mightiness's press conference yesterday. Sickening is the kindest word I can use to label it. He had the Ozymandias "wrinkled lip and sneer." It was all about him. Everything is about him and how he stands up to the "radicals" in the GOP. He derides them for "wanting it all" but gives every indication that he himself also wants it all. (He sounds like Stalin deriding Hitler for wanting Poland.) This is not a man who knows how to lead, or engage in rough-and-tumble but yet restrained "non-nuke" democratic political negotiation. Reagan and O'Neil knew how to do it; Clinton and Gingrich did, too. This man is just a practitioner of community organizer thuggery. As I have written before and others, too, the most blatant example of this thuggery, one not even the MSM can ignore, has been the use and abuse of the National Park police to terrorize and threaten Americans to stay away from the parks and monuments which the American people have paid to maintain. There are, of course, many other examples: his use of the ATF to arm Mexican gangs to give law abiding American gun owners a bad rap; the use of the IRS to crush political dissent; the use of the NSA to eavesdrop on American citizens; and now the Obamacare fiasco to grab control of health care and the infinite amount of sensitive data associated with it. The Park police abuse, however, remains the one that will be the iconic feature of Obama's absurd government "shutdown."

I served presidents from Carter to Obama loyally while in the Foreign Service. Yes, I was a conservative, but when dealing with foreigners I defended the policies of Clinton as much as I did those of Reagan. I, however, cannot stand this presidency and what it is doing to our country. I just hope that one day Obama and his cohorts will come to appreciate that they, too, will suffer the fate of Ozymandias, "Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away." Assuming, of course, that it is not our country that is covered by those "lone and level sands."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Progressivism, Chaos, Tyranny, and the Community Organizer's Blackmail and Extortion

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called opponents "modern day anarchists,'' all because we do not swoon at the prospect of a phony government "shutdown" such as the one we now see. As long as the Senator from Nevada is going to go all early 20th century on us, we should return the favor and call him a modern day Bolshevik. There, I think that makes for perfectly civil discussion, and serves as lead in to today's topic: the chaos of progressivism.

One more thing before we get going. In the process of following Aussie politics, I have noted that one of the very many admirable things about that great nation is that,
conservatives in Australia have preserved the word 'Liberal' for themselves and not allowed it to be stolen and warped by the left. 
It is time we did likewise in our own beleaguered and increasingly less great nation. American "liberals" are just old fashioned "progressives," AKA socialists, who seek an ever growing state with more and more control over every aspect of our lives. There is nothing "liberal" in American "liberalism."

Everywhere we look in America we see the chaos and tyranny generated by progressive thought and policies. Without repeating all I already have written about the results of progressivism in our country, I note one item I wrote six months ago (substitute "progressive" for everywhere you see the now banned "liberal"),
Liberal welfare policies create havoc throughout our society. What slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK, and racial discrimination could not do, liberal polices have done, to wit, destroy the black family and turn millions of blacks into permanent wards of the state and of the liberal political machines that control most of our cities. Liberal immigration policies, beginning with the disastrous 1965 Kennedy-Johnson immigration law, insure a constant stream of poor third world immigrants, altering irrevocably the nature of our society and ensuring that the struggling black (and white) American poor cannot compete with the ultra-poor pouring in from Mexico, El Salvador, Bangladesh, and so on. Liberal minimum wage laws ensure the disappearance of the starter jobs, once a platform for the poor to spring out of poverty. All of these people, the old poor and the newly arriving poor, need, of course, social programs and more and more government help. The liberal political machine dispenses jobs and money, and the productive sectors face rising taxes, a labyrinth of regulations, and the constant presence of "helpful" government regulators and enforcers. Let the poverty and misery spread!

Liberal gun control policies also target the poor. The poor in our cities must live with the drug dealers, gang bangers, and the other hoods in the hood. The comfortable liberals live in secure high-rises, and tony suburbs well protected by overpaid and over equipped police and fire departments and expensive security firms. The poor must put up with the inability to defend themselves; they must allow themselves to be murdered in the name of ridding America of gun violence.
In the last few days, we see even more examples of the chaos brought to our shores by progressivism, all highlighted by the phony government shutdown and the despicable boot-licking mainstream media--one knows, for example, that the government is shutdown is phony because the government's mouthpiece MSNBC is still on the air. The government "shutdown" has targeted much-frequented national parks and monuments not because it costs much if anything to keep them open--in fact, it costs more to close them--but to inflict discomfort, generate confusion, and, yes, chaos. As I wrote before,
a conservative's default position must be to oppose all new government programs, regardless of how high-sounding they are, and constantly seek to eliminate or reduce existing programs. Any government program in the "socio-economic-humanitarian" realm will get taken over by liberals [substitute progressives].
We see our National Parks, a Republican idea, used to further the progressive's notions of expanding government. The US Park Service, once a model of what a government agency could be, has become just another tool used by progressives to create chaos in furtherance of progressive goals. Park Rangers, once admired for their knowledge of American history, geography, flora, and fauna are now just tools of petty repression. They are used to roust elderly veterans out of the monuments built to honor those elderly veterans, and to prevent taxpayers from viewing the great parks and historical locations in our country, many of them partially, mostly, or even entirely built with private funds.

In sum, what do we see? We see the community organizer tactic of using lies, chaos, and the uncertainty that flows as tools of blackmail and extortion. The progressives have moved into almost every aspect of our lives, and when they encounter resistance to further encroachment, they threaten us by shutting down the other services on which they have made us dependent. It's blackmail, pure and simple. We have the extraordinary spectacle of an American President predicting economic disaster and warning Wall Street of tough times to come if he does not get his way. We have a President pushing the stock market to crash, and dissuading businesses from investing and creating jobs, all over a dispute about his seriously flawed health care policy. He, again, is the Chicago community organizer threatening the local landlord or McDonald's franchise with instability, violence, and disruption if he does not get what he wants. Imagine what he can do to you, if he controls your health care.

Chaos in the service of tyranny. The only way to defeat this is to stop the encroachment of government on our lives and begin a serious campaign of rollback.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Few Friday Thoughts: Cops Gone Wild

It's been an eventful week for the media: A government shutdown; a glitch-infested roll out of the disastrous Obamacare; and, of course, a deranged white male Tea Party member, with a Ted Cruz pin, carrying an AR-15 attacked the White House while screaming racial and Islamophobic epithets.

Well, sort of.

That last one, not so much, and much to the chagrin of the liberal media and politicians. It turns out, of course, that all the shooting was by the Keystone Capitol Hill cops. Those Guardians of the Peace, members of that Thin Blue Line standing between order and chaos, after terrorizing downtown DC, shutting Congress with a fusillade of rounds, engaging in a wild twenty-vehicle chase, crashing a couple of cars, injuring one of their own, managed to shoot and kill a disturbed unarmed African-American single mother apparently AFTER her car had come to a halt and presented no danger. One wonders where the Trayvon Martin supporters are on this.

This blue mayhem also conjures up memories of last year's NYPD shooting orgy near the Empire State Building. In that one, the cops pumped out 16 rounds to kill a suspect, who never fired a round, and wounded several innocent bystanders.

The police are out of control. This cop craziness has to stop, if for no other reason than to allow the media to focus on the real danger, you know, white male Tea Party members with AR-15s.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Big "Shutdown": So Much About So Little; So Little About So Much

Well, it happened. No surprise. The federal government has "shut down."

It has done this seventeen times since 1977, and--Surprise!--despite dire predictions, the Republic has survived. The media commentary on the shutdown is generally absurd, predicting a "cataclysmic" result which will cost the economy billions of dollars. Many of the press reports, and the commentary on Tweeter by the low-info crowd which makes up the base of the Democratic party, seem to equate government shutdown with country shutdown. There is a concerted effort to let Obama evade any responsibility for the shutdown, and to promote a mind-set that argues that Republicans in Congress have to go along with anything Obama and Reid want. Much of the commentators need to read the Constitution and understand that the basis of our Republic is "checks-and-balances." No branch of the government has all the powers, and for every power a branch has, it is counterbalanced by a power residing in another branch. It is an intricate and extremely clever document that seeks to avoid government overreach. And that is the subject of tonight's rant.

A seemingly infinite number of stories (I won't link to them, you can find them easily enough) are discussing the "shutdown" in breathless terms. It's a phony "shutdown." The government, read the politically motivated masters of our executive branch, are closing down activities which make no sense to close but which draw lots of public notice. They, for example, shut down the World War II Monument in DC, putting up barricades and Park Police to keep tourists out, when the Monument, essentially an outdoor plaza, easily could have been left open at much less cost than closing it: it takes more police to prevent an activity than to allow it.

The Pentagon has announced plans to cancel the already sold-out Army-Navy football game, which, of course, makes no sense. On a more bright note, however, the White House has suspended Michelle Obama's Tweeter account, stating that, "Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited." An impertinent question: Why does the FLOTUS have a government supported and staffed Tweeter account? Can't she tweet herself? The account is free, after all, and FLOTUS is not a federal employee. Go on the FLOTUS account, and catch up on the absurdity of it, and see some very funny tweets left by people  reveling in the account being down. Congress, of course, will continue to get paid, and unlike shutdowns in the private sector the relatively small number of Federal employees furloughed will get all their pay retroactively without getting docked for annual leave. I wonder, can we 40% who actually pay Federal income tax, prorate our 2013 tax bill to deduct for the days the government was "shutdown"? Let's all "tweet" the IRS and find out.

I see little commentary, however, on something much more important. In 1962, for example, total employment by the federal government (military included) was 5.35 million persons. In 2011, that employment number was 4.4 million, about one million fewer. Sounds impressive except the decline has come from the military which went from 2.8 million uniformed personnel in 1962 to 1.58 million in 2011. The legislative branch employment went from 30,000 persons to 64,000--more than doubling in fifty years. Executive branch civilians went from 2.48 million to just under 2.76 million. (NOTE: It is not clear from the OPM data how the US Postal Service is handled. The 1962 numbers might well include USPS workers, while the 2011 numbers do not.) More important than those raw numbers, however, the role of the federal government in all of our lives has grown exponentially in those fifty years. We have allowed the federal government to become much too important and much too much of a factor in our lives. As I have written before,
The liberals insist that the country is the government and vice-versa, at least when they run it, and when they don't, well then, they have folks such as Bill Ayers. The liberals have gone from bombing the government to running it; from desecrating the flag to now wrapping themselves in it and insisting that it stands for the government; from resisting the government to using it to transform permanently our country.
and also wrote earlier that ,
The GOP goal should be a government in which 95%-98% of the time it makes no difference to the average American citizen who is president. The US President should matter more to foreigners than to Americans. Except for foreign policy, national defense, times of national crisis, and providing a very broad economic vision, it should not matter who controls the White House. That means keep the government out of as many areas as possible, and where it has been involved deeply and for a long time, try to push the responsibility and resources out to the states, counties, cities, and people.
That is the real tragedy of what we are seeing played out on TV sets and on the other media outlets: the obsession with government. The government, simply, should not matter to our lives the vast majority of the time.