One generation never knows exactly what world it will pass to the next. But there is an alarming term making the rounds these days that seems a likely adjective for the era we are being guided toward:More at the link.
This is to be distinguished, I suppose, from "un-American," indicative of actual loathing of the substance and behaviors of our nation. "Post-American" is pitched as the attitude that accepts and may even embrace the passing of America's era of global leadership.
I would hope it is impossible to be ambivalent about such a monumental global moment. Surely there are only those people who cheer this development as refreshing and timely and those who dread it for the certain dangers it poses.
Count me among the second group, and I would like a word with the first.
I have always believed that there are many ways to love America. Sharing my politics is not a precondition. But I have watched elected officials denigrate a war in progress (that we are now winning), soften borders that once protected us, erode cultural standards that once united us, and now attack an economic crisis not with an energizing call to boldness and courage but with astonishing spending designed to spawn dependency and thus political obedience.
Is it any wonder that the America my father handed to me seems nearly extinct?
President Barack Obama is not the cause of this disease, but he is a carrier. His words and actions reveal that he considers the United States to be an important nation but not the singular land every generation since America's birth has been taught about. That teaching, of course, changed a long time ago. For almost a half-century, schoolchildren have digested thick units that make sure to scold us for slavery, Jim Crow laws, Japanese internment camps and other sins.
Where is the curriculum that teaches that beyond our flaws, we have been the greatest society the world has known? We have built that legacy with a devotion to liberty and leadership unmatched in modern times. Yet we are led today by people who see the United States as merely the name between Ukraine and Uruguay on the United Nations lobby directory.
What we used to widely feel has been given a fitting name: American exceptionalism. It does not teach that we are without sin or that we cannot learn. It teaches that against the backdrop of history, no country has freed, fed or inspired more people than the United States. No nation has contributed more to science, culture or enlightened thought.
Today, that magnificent view is dismissed as tired jingoism.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Following their highly successful April 11 Anti-Tax Tea Party protest, The Pasadena Patriots is organizing an exciting and unique May Day-themed rally to protest against increased government socialism and higher taxes at the state and national level. The event will kick off with a rally at Pasadena City Hall at 4pm on May 1 with VIP guest speakers including political pundit Andrew Breitbart, SNL's Victoria Jackson, comedian Evan Sayet as well suprise guests and actual survivors of the socialist nightmare abroad ....I'll be there.
Why are we doing this? Big government politicians in Washington are threatening the American way of life with increased nationalization of private business, an unprecedented expansion of the federal government, higher taxes, as well as alarming talk of regulating free speech and targeting specificindustries and individuals with “windfall taxes” to “spread the wealth.”
In the state of California, powerful unions and freespending politicians have driven our state to the brink of bankruptcy and excessive taxes including the draconian Proposition 1-A continue to drive businesses away from the state. Americans must recognize the real cost of this path to socialism, both in dollars and in our liberty. The Pasadena Patriots encourages citizens to join the Pasadena May Day rally and fight for capitalism, low-taxes, and the freedom of the individual before it is too late.
The Pasadena Tea Party’s May Day rally and parade will take place at 4pm on Friday, May 1, 2009 on the steps of the Pasadena City Hall located at 100 N. Garfield Ave., Pasadena, CA 91109.
I should have a Pasadena May Day! May Day! photo-essay available Saturday!
Related: Mark Mecker, "President Obama Mocks the Tea Party Patriots Across the Nation."
Because it features Obama meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the ad's been attacked as "racist": “It is not only inflammatory to the Latino community but the singling out of a groups for that categorization is racist.”
Right on cue ...
Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw - a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians, subjecting them to the slow death of malnutrition, disease and despair, nearly two years before their subjection to the quick death of Israeli bombs. We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide (Websters: “the systematic killing of, or a program of action intended to destroy, a whole national or ethnic group”), a process whose objective is not so much to physically eliminate each and every Palestinian than to eliminate the Palestinians as a people in any meaningful sense of the notion of people-hood.Check the comments from my post from this morning - and the links therein, if you've got the stomach - for some sample pushback from the anti-Israel forces arrayed against those speaking truth to moral clarity.
Ken Davenport's responded to my earlier essay, "Your Tax Dollars at Work."
See also, David Horowitz, "Finally a University Takes Action Against a Faculty Agitator in the Classroom." And, Inside Higher Ed has a report, "Crossing a Line."
At UCSB, see the campus mobilization efforts to defend Robinson, "Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UCSB." It turns out that Noam Chomsky's coming to Robinson's defense, "Scholars Condemn Attack on Academic Freedom at UC-Santa Barbara."
Between August and late October 2008, the proportion supporting legal abortion ranged from 57% (in mid-October) to 53% (in late October), before declining to 46% currently. Though opinion among some subgroups varied significantly across those surveys, some trends are apparent, aside from the falloff in support among men.I have a feeling that the decline in support for abortions has a more than a little to do with the "galling ghoulishness" of our new president. With Obama setting out to make abortions more available - and life less precious - it's no wonder that Americans are becoming more pro-life.
There has been notable decline in the proportion of independents saying abortion should be legal in most or all cases; majorities of independents favored legal abortion in August and the two October surveys, but just 44% do so today. In addition, the proportion of moderate and liberal Republicans saying abortion should be legal declined between August and late October (from 67% to 57%). In the current survey, just 43% of moderate and liberal Republicans say abortion should legal in most or all cases.
Among religious groups, support for abortion has steadily declined since August among white mainline Protestants (from 69% then to 54% currently). And just 23% of white evangelical Protestants now favor legal abortion, down from 33% in August and mid-October and 28% in late October.
The change has been less pronounced among white non-Hispanic Catholics: In August, 51% said that abortion should be legal in most or all cases; in both October surveys, 55% favored legal abortion. In the current survey, 49% of white non-Hispanic Catholics say that abortion should be legal while 42% believe it should be illegal.
There's more public opinion from Pew at Memeorandum, and the racial breakdown of the electorate in 2008.
Let me play devil's advocate right off the bat here. What would you say to someone who said George Bush campaigned twice as a conservative, won both times and yet he did curtail our freedoms. He did increase the power of the state. He also opposed gay marriage, which means he wanted to limit freedom. So given that, isn't conservatism statist as well?Read the whole thing at the link. I really love Levin's response to the question of what to do about the left's dominance of America's cultural institutions, in the schools, the media, and in cinema:
Well, I think somebody who says that is conflating Republican Party labels with conservative philosophy. There is no perfection in any politician and just because they become President doesn't change that -- and that's certainly the case with George Bush, who on the way out, declared free markets basically dead. There is a lot about Bush I admire and there is a lot about him that I regret -- and I would say that about his father. I'd say it about Richard Nixon. I'd say it about Gerald Ford.
This has been a struggle within the Republican Party, frankly, since the New Deal and I think it's time for conservatives to rally. We are not responsible for the baggage of non-conservatives. We're more than happy to explain it but it doesn't get us too far.
As for the issue of gay marriage, the American people speak to this time and time again when they're permitted to -- and they're opposed to it. So who favors it? The elite, the courts, maybe the Vermont Assembly?
But for the most part, the overwhelming majority of Americans and their representatives oppose it. So, it's not a matter of statism when the people oppose something that they believe is inappropriate -- and we're speaking to the proper role of the state not to the gay lifestyle, per se -- at least I'm not.
So, the question is who decides and how is it decided? For the most part it appears that the courts decided that they're going to decide. Well, why should they? Just because you declare something a civil rights issue doesn't mean that you get to destroy the nature in which our government was established. Same sex marriage, which is what it is, is not a civil right. It is a political issue and it should be decided in that context, not by the courts who are trying to constitutionalize their viewpoints.
The way we do that is to start becoming part of those institutions. You know, the statist doesn't have a birthright ownership to Hollywood or the media, generally speaking, or the school system and, you know, we conservatives for a very long time believed in "live and let live" and that's completely understandable.And check Memeorandum as well.
We believed in doing the best you can for yourself and your family and going to church and synagogue and being a good citizen and that's very, very important. But now, I think we have to extend that being a good citizen means being open to being a professor or schoolteacher or an editor or reporter or a director or assistant producer in Hollywood -- and there is no reason why we need to feed forever these very crucial institutions to the statists.
We need to fight back on all levels. We need to become smarter and more numerous. We need to explain to our children and our grandchildren, regardless of what they learned from television and their schools, that America is a magnificent place -- that when we wake up every morning, we should thank God that we're here and that unlike the statists, we are here to preserve and better our society -- not to destroy it and then transform it. These are the over-arching principles that we need to spread. We need to spread the word about the greatness of America. We need to start in our homes and in our own communities.
Controversy has erupted at UC Santa Barbara over a professor's decision to send his students an e-mail in which he compared graphic images of Jews in the Holocaust to pictures of Palestinians caught up in Israel's recent Gaza offensive.Read the whole thing. Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, called out Robinson for his "anti-Semitism," and the local ADL branch in Santa Barbara also repudiated Robinson, sending a letter to Robinson at UCSB requesting that he renounce his statements on Israel.
The e-mail by tenured sociology professor William I. Robinson has triggered a campus investigation and drawn accusations of anti-Semitism from two national Jewish groups, even as many students and faculty members have voiced support for him.
The uproar began in January when Robinson sent his message -- titled "parallel images of Nazis and Israelis" -- to the 80 students in his sociology of globalization class.
The e-mail contained more than two dozen photographs of Jewish victims of the Nazis, including those of dead children, juxtaposed with nearly identical images from the Gaza Strip. It also included an article critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and a note from Robinson.
"Gaza is Israel's Warsaw -- a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians," the professor wrote. "We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide."
Two Jewish students dropped the class, saying they felt intimidated by the professor's message. They contacted the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which advised them to file formal complaints with the university.
In their letters, senior Rebecca Joseph and junior Tova Hausman accused Robinson of violating the campus' faculty code of conduct by disseminating personal, political material unrelated to his course.
"I was shocked," said Joseph, 22. "He overstepped his boundaries as a professor. He has his own freedom of speech, but he doesn't have the freedom to send his students his own opinion that is so strong."
Professor Robinson defends himself by saying he's Jewish and by suggesting that the controversy is "like saying if I condemn the U.S. government for the invasion of Iraq, I'm anti-American ... It's the most absurd, baseless argument."
Well, actually, speaking of anti-Americanism. Folks should check Robinson's homepage, where he announces his Marxist praxis right there in the introduction:
As a scholar-activist I attempt to link my academic work to struggles in the United States, in the Americas, and around the world for social justice, popular empowerment, participatory democracy, and people-centered development.Hmm, that's enough to run a few tingles down the legs of William Ayers and Ward Churchill.
But check Robinsons' Flickr account, which features photos from the professor's travels, including a visit to the FMLN in El Salvador, with the poster above captioned as, "'Towards Socialism through the Democratic Revolution.' In the Escuela de Cuadros, San Salvador, 27 September 2008."
Robinson's also seen here directing FMLN militants seeking to topple the "US-backed governing party, ARENA."
But remember, there's no left-wing indoctrination at America's colleges and universities.
CNN has a piece up entitled, "GOP set to launch rebranding effort," and the New York Times features a piece entitled, "G.O.P. Debate: A Broader Party or a Purer One?" Also, check the Washington Post's, "Will GOP Sleep Through Wake-Up Call?" (all via Memeorandum).
But the best story this morning is former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman's essay at the New York Times, "It’s Still My Party," and this quote in particular is gold:
Arlen Specter made his decision to leave the party after years of being attacked by fellow Republicans. I can understand how he felt, but I believe that now, more than ever, it is important for us moderates to stay and work from within. One thing we can be sure of is that we will have no impact on the party’s direction if we leave.Okay. Right.
And what impact would that be? How about forming an alliance with radical left-wing gay marriage activists? Yeah, that's a sure magnet for retaining the GOP base!
And don't even get me going on Whitman's global warming hysteria. Check out what the former EPA Director had to say about the policies of her former boss, President George W. Bush:
When I was administrator of the EPA, and we were putting together the report card on the environment, and it came to the issue of climate change, the Council on Environmental Quality was very willing to listen to scientists both within and outside the White House who had doubts [about human-induced climate change] and could not reach compromise. As a result, I refused to put compromised language in the report, and just described climate change as an important issue and referred people to the most recent studies on it at the time. Clearly, there was an economic concern that drove the administration’s focus. But that happens with every administration. You have a bias and you’re going to try to promote it—that doesn’t mean you’re trying to mislead the public.And who was that misleading the public?
But check the homepage for Whitman's political action committee, "Republican Leadership Council," which includes this:
*Protection of the environment; and"Less governmentt interference in lives"? Sure, but only in the social realm: Whitman wants government adjusting your thermostat, but the radical "gay" agenda is hands off!
* Less government interference in individual lives.
Bah! Progressive Republicans!
I'm not going to be surprised when Charles Johnson and Andrew Sullivan endorse Whitman's program. That's "working from within," alright! To blow the place up!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
This passage from the Sacramento Bee report summarizes things perfectly:
If there is a message in the latest poll on May 19 special election measures 1A through 1F, it may be that voters want their political leaders to solve California's fiscal crisis and stop passing the buck through ballot measures.
My impression is that this slate of initiatives is both cowardly and confusing.
The second measure, Proposition 1B, can't pass unless Proposition 1A is approved. Prop 1A raises taxes but claims to mandate a cap on future spending. Prop 1B will increase spending to California's schools. This situation has the teachers' unions working at cross-purposes, and some are literally tied in knots. The California Teachers Association (my union) supports the entire slate of initiatives. The California Federation of Teachers opposes Prop 1A but supports 1B, which makes no logical sense.
And if you check the "Vote No on 1A" website you'll find the strangest of strange-bedfellows coalition opposing 1A:
ACORN CaliforniaAs is often the case in California politics, what happens here has national ramifications. For more on that, see Hugh Hewitt, "Very Good News For the GOP, and Why President Obama Had Better Worry About Not Becoming Another Arnold."
The Arc of California
California Alliance of Retired Americans
California Church Impact
California Faculty Association
California Federation of Teachers
California Immigrant Policy Center
California Nurses Association
California Pan Ethnic Health Center
California Primary Care Association
California School Boards Association
California Women’s Agenda
Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County
Congress of California Seniors
Consumer Federation of California
Having Our Say Coalition
Health Access California
League of Women Voters of California
League of Young Voters
Older Women’s League
Progressive Democratic Club of Los Angeles
SEIU CA State Council
Senior Action Network
Union of Health Care Professionals/United Nurses Associations of California
So, let me take this opportunity to get a good laugh out of Dr. Hussein "There's No Class Warfare" Biobrain and his post on Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, "Arlon the Democrat."
Yes, that's right: "Arlon" Specter. I thought Dr. Biobrain was laying down the snark, since that's pretty much all the guy does (being unable to provide actual critical commentary and analysis on the issues). But no, this post is genuine, "Arlon the Democrat":
One of the big things I don't understand about the debate on Senator Specter's switch to the Democratic Party is how his detractors imagine they're making any sense ....Okay, I admit it: I typed in Arlen "Spector" when I first wrote about the defection yesterday, but caught it before hitting "publish." Maybe Phil Spector's murder conviction had something to do with it, being recent news and all.
I think we're going to see a different Arlon Specter. I think Arlon is looking out for Arlon and that means he's going to be siding with us. Not that he'll take the lead on much or give as much support as we'd like, but I predict that he'll be a much better Democrat now that he's a Democrat.
Where in the world did that come from? Klingon? A Biobrain turn-on? Beats me?
Maybe Dr. BioDenialistBarebackerNihilist needs to take a break from Reppy's place so he can catch up on some actual news and information!
This graph showing the Obama administration's projected deficits is not new, but a couple of my fellow bloggers are posting it with reference to Obama's townahll meeting today as a comparison to Bush-era budget deficits:
Nice Deb's got the quote:
“Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I’m not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, Obama said, “let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.”Moe Lane's got both the graph and the video from the townhall event, and he adds:
“But,” Obama continued, “let’s not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act.”
He’s not really all that gracious when it comes to dealing with people that don’t already love him, is he? Kind of smirky, with a faint flavor of exasperation. But perhaps I’m just being mean and cynical: if you really want to have a conversation on our financial situation, Mr. President, that’d be great. Can we start with this?"This" would be the graph.
More at Memeorandum.
The "I can't believe you're a professor" attack is not really a repudiation of ideas (the slur almost never comes with an actually rebuttal of the issues at hand), but is meant ultimately to excoriate, to harm, to indict, and to inflict pain against those who refuse the progressive party line. And Lenin forbid (not God, for they are atheist) a professor of political science deviate from the left's ongoing campaign to dominate all the institutions of cultural values and learning.
Note here that I am just reporting this, not complaining. Leftists have no power over me as an activist and thinker, since I don't let them.
Still, it's just extraordinary how the "I can't believe you're a professor" attack reveals how entrenched is the totalitarian mindset among secular progressives. The thought that someone who holds traditional views would actually be standing in front of a classroom filled with young people, debating issues with facts and reason, is simply horrifying to those marinated in an ideology of hated and intolerance. Leftists mean to intimidate. Their goal is to shout down, to repudiate, to scourge, and to demonize those who find reason in faith and values, and especially those who are best able to cut through the postmodernist clutter to reveal the left's project of nihilistic relativism and destruction of culture.
The left wants to obliterate right and wrong. What happens on my blog - the attacks and the endless trolling by the nihilist extremists - is a miniature version of the media establishment's campaign against Carrie Prejean. Just the thought that someone like Prejean could hold traditional values, and especially that she'd stand up for them in public, brings out the cultural barbarians of the left. They constantly attempt to beat down people like Carrie Prejean, and in so doing they only reveal the depths of their own depravity.
I wrote the other day on Tristero at Hullabaloo, and his embarrassingly lame defense of atheistic culture (in his ignorance, Tristero attacked Sam Harris as an "asshole," although Harris' books are at the top of the pantheon of popular atheist radicalism).
In response, I get this in the comments from "Anonymous":
It boggles the mind to think that you are employed at an institution of higher learning. The intelligence one finds in your writing is typical of a junior-high school student. A very sheltered and rather unimaginative one."Anonymous" makes absolutely no effort to defend Tristero's stupidity, nor does he make any argument of his own. "Anonyomous" just attacks. He rejects my intelligence and my standing as a professor. How dare you deviate of the prevailing ideological program!
As noted, these attacks are common. I saved a classic example of the "I can't believe you're a professor" slur from a post last year, "Matt Yglesias, Jennifer Palmieri, and the Third Way." As some readers know, Matthew Yglesias is an American communist. There is no position that's too far to the left for that man. Thus my takedown of Yglesias at the post above brought out this attack from "chrsux," who took saw my "pro-victory" profile at the sidebar, and bared his fangs:
Note something about this one: It's not just the "I can't believe you're a professor" attack, but it's also the "you're not really a professor" variant, since I teach at a two-year college. The attack on my status as professor at community college is particularly informative. By attacking community colleges as "not real colleges," leftists provide the perfect signal of their alliance with nation's cultural elite (especially the tenured radicals who long ago infiltrated the universities, turning them into training grounds for the shock troops of the revolution). Leftists thus demonstrate the total hypocrisy of their ideology. Radicals care nothing about the lives and hardships of many in the classic community college demographic: the minorities, the poor, and those without even the basic reading skills to comprehend a Marxist tract.
Re: "pro-victory Associate Professor of Political Science" ...
So, is this a tenure track position?
Perhaps if you taught at some place other than long beach community college, your vocation might carry some weight. As it stands, your position affords you the same amount of respect as someone whose profile reads: "pro-victory guy standing on a random street corner"
It's not just in the comments either.
The appropriately-named Deranged Left-Wing Baker wrote an entire post chronicling his disbelief and frustration at my rationalism: "A Professor, Really?":
The more I read American Power, the harder it is for me to believe that Donald Douglas is actually a professor. He has to be either intellectually dishonest or have severe comprehension problems. Either way, I pity the student who has to suffer under his tutelage.The last sentence is especially key, the "pitying the student" who's not under the allegedly superior tutelage of some far left-wing professor ramming doctrines of anti-capitalist hatred and postmodern anti-rationalist epistemology down the throats of his students.
Deranged Left-Wing Baker links to one of the prominent antagonists of this blog, TBogg at Firedoglake.
TBogg's cultivated the "I can't believe you're a professor" slur to high art: I'm smeared as the "JuCo Toynbee," which includes the snarky reference to "junior college," itself a term that's out of fashion in the community college academy as derograting the crucial role in education that two-year colleges serve.
But the resistance to me is clear from all of this: I stand up for moral clarity, reason, and truth. But we can't have that in the 21st century. Pretty soon, if leftists had their way, I'd be down on my knees apologizing to the commissars at the gates of the gulag, repudiating my offenses to the high collectivist state as a capitalist roader and a traitor to his eminence, "The One."
As was true of Carrie Prejean, leftists won't stop their campaign of villification until they control all of the institutions of the cultural superstructure.
This is why I fight. It's a battle for the soul of the nation, and every minute I'm engaged is worth the effort to preserve, what little I can, the exceptionalism that's made this country great, not to mention the liberty that allows the secular collectivists to mount their program of cultural extermination in the first place.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
My one rule of politics is that the future is never a straight line projection of the present. Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's unexpected decision to switch parties and run for re-election in 2010 as a Democrat proves the rule. Mr. Specter often votes for liberal Democratic initiatives and infuriates conservative Republicans. Still, his surprise defection was a crushing setback for the GOP, instantly reducing what limited power Republicans have in the Senate. The GOP's ability to stop liberal legislation is now weakened if not eliminated in some instances.Read the whole thing at the link.
Mr. Specter's jump across the aisle significantly adds to the heavy Republican burden in Senate races next year. True, the political climate then may be more favorable for Republican gains; the economy probably won't be booming and the president's popularity won't be sky-high. But there's a problem: the map.
The states with Senate races in 2010 do not favor Republicans. They must defend 19 seats, six in states won handily by Barack Obama. In three -- New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio -- Democrats also have a built-in, blue-state edge. Indeed it was the strong Democratic advantage in Pennsylvania that prompted Mr. Specter's switch. In two other states -- Florida and North Carolina -- Republican chances are no better than fair. Only in Iowa, with incumbent Chuck Grassley a shoo-in for re-election, are Republicans assured of holding on in Obamaland.
Losing one or two or three Senate seats on the heels of Mr. Specter's departure would be devastating for Republicans. Already his defection has robbed them of their most reliable weapon in blocking President Obama's liberal proposals. If the 60 Democrats (counting Mr. Specter and Al Franken) stick together, they can keep Republicans from getting the 41 votes for a successful filibuster.
Entitled, "Necessity, Choice, and Common Sense: A Policy for a Bewildering World," Gelb pretty much rejects every major assertion of U.S. power in the last 50 years as driven by "the demons of ideology, politics, and arrogance." Even G.H.W. Bush's State Department is taken down as giving Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait in 1990 (Amabassodor April Glaspie's remark that "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts"). It's hard to take his attacks seriously from a credibility standpoint. Just three years ago Gelb - along with then Senator Joseph Biden - was calling for the dismemberment of Iraq, during the high point of American difficulties there, which most likely would have exacerbated the alreading deadly violence, turning the country into the Middle East's version of the Yugoslavian slaughterhouse of the 1990s.
At the Foreign Affairs piece, Gelb also harsly criticizes each of the major foreign policy orientations on the scene today: realism, neoliberal institutionalism, and neoconservatism (and a couple of others). The repudiation of realism is particulary strange coming from Gelb, who himself is generally a "realist insider" and his policy proposals here and elsewhere represent classical realist foreign policy thinking (with a narrow material focus on what's in the national interest).
Here's the passage:
The core problem is not American democracy or American ideals or American power. It is Americans themselves. In part, leading Democrats and Republicans mishandle the politics of U.S. foreign policy. Most Democrats adhere to fundamental liberal beliefs about the value of negotiations and cooperation with other states. At the same time, however, they calculate that this will sound too soft to mainstream Americans. As a result, they seem to be torn between their beliefs and their politics, and they create the impression that they were for something before they were against it and against it before they were for it. Democrats convey uncertainty about what they will do; the public senses this and then loses confidence in how they will manage national security.As you can see, Gelb's got most everyone in the crosshairs of his analysis.
By contrast, the Republicans exude nothing but conviction about the virtues of being aggressive, standing up to any possible adversary, and painting the world in simple black and white. They are forever proclaiming that they will never allow the United States to be pushed around in the world. And although Republicans have little regard for careful formulations of problems and difficulties, and the public senses this as well, mainstream Americans appear to like the Republicans' conviction. Thus, the American public has more confidence in the GOP than in the Democratic Party when it comes to international affairs.
In part, the moderates are reluctant to fight for the reasonable portrayal of problems and what can be done about them. The moderates know that good policy requires an open and honest review of the facts. They know that the effective use of power requires being able to push a range of buttons until some are found to work. Yet they do not fight for choice.
Most foreign policy experts are pushing for a new grand strategy to replace the old strategy of containment. They are disposed toward big ideas and toward wedging all the pieces of a problem snugly together into one big, neat theory. They are not enamored of loose ends or unintended consequences, which call their expertise into question. To their credit, most contribute valuable perspective and insights, although not without drawbacks.
The neoconservatives rightly remind Americans that irredeemable and irreconcilable evil is out there. But then they paint almost all foreign opponents (and some domestic ones as well) with a similar brush. They see past enemies, such as China and Russia, as future enemies as well. And they portray the United States' allies, particularly the European ones, as mostly worthless: lacking any military power and averse to the use of force.
The reality is that the neoconservatives will never be happy unless they are promoting some form of ideological warfare. Some of them argue that instead of the old ideological clash between democracy and communism, there is a new one: between democracy and autocracy - the United States versus China and Russia. But the leaders of China and Russia are not going around the world proselytizing for their forms of government today the way their communist predecessors did. Rather, Moscow is playing its old power games by trying to muscle its neighbors, but this time mostly with economic rather than military power. At this point, China's leaders are interested almost solely in protecting themselves from domestic threats. The only preaching being done by these two autocracies is against the United States' "unilateralism," and they do this to give themselves some elbowroom for pursuing their own limited global concerns. If there is anything approaching an ideological battle in the world today, it is between what other states perceive as U.S. unilateralism and their own new sense of entitlement.
The realists, comfortable with power, rightly remind Washington to focus on the United States' vital interests rather than take on all the world's problems. But they are often too impressed by power per se. Many of them were too eager to embrace Saddam, for all his sins and unpredictability, as a counterweight to Iran. Many now are eager to excuse the rough behavior of China and Russia as merely what big dictatorial nations do. And they have not paid much attention to how to use U.S. power with failed or failing states or to address new transnational issues, such as the environment. The realists continue to chafe at the value of values and the U.S. president's need to espouse them to sustain his foreign policy at home. Their realism is sometimes actually not realistic enough, and when it is not, the realists overlook both policy choices and policy areas that call for the application of power.
The liberal internationalists still exist today as an important element within the Democratic Party. Their most impressive contribution has been to keep reminding Washington of the need to cooperate with allies and negotiate with adversaries in almost all instances. But since the Vietnam War, they have been calling for new international institutions without being specific or practical about them, and they have been drifting toward softer and more unrealistic definitions of power. Formulating a strategy is difficult for them because it is mainly a call for more negotiations and more multilateral diplomacy and less reliance on military power and force. To complicate matters further, when they come under great political pressure, many of them appear to abandon these principles and become war hawks themselves, as happened when the decision to invade Iraq was being debated.
Interestingly, some of the liberal Democrats have joined with the neoconservatives to form a new group that advocates a concert of democracies, or some kind of institutional alliance to consolidate like-minded democracies. That sounds like a helpful project, and it might even be one, if its advocates would demonstrate how they propose to corral the world's hundred or more democracies. Besides, they make little room in their concert for China and Russia, which are not democracies but matter more than, say, Botswana, Costa Rica, Peru, or Mauritius when it comes to diplomatic coalitions and power.
Then, of course, there are the globalizers, who, to their credit, bear witness to the new centrality of economics, which the national-security-oriented foreign policy clan traditionally ignores - out of ignorance. But the globalizers still tend to overplay their hand by suggesting that economics will bring peace and democracy. Notoriously, they scant diplomatic and military choices.
Gelb's final recommendation is for partisans to simply abandon their ideologies and to come together: "that pragmatists, realists, and moderates unite and fight for their country."
Reading this piece you'd think partisanship was not only something new, but it was taken to extraordinary lengths during the G.W. Bush years. This then caused a near-inevitable decline in American preponderance, which only "common sense" will cure.
The truth is that politics and ideology are twins, and that current trends toward hyperpartisanship will continue indefinitely. Rather than reach for a new paradigm eschewing ideology, the current administration should continue to stabilize Iraq and to further prioritize America's mission in Afghanistan. In the background is the economy. As the market continues to shake out toxic assets, and as businesses begin to invest in infrastructure, inventories, and human capital, the U.S. will come roaring back once again to lead another cycle of international prosperity. Talk of U.S. decline - already foolish - will look simply ignorant at that time.
Perhaps Gelb will be retired by then, no longer calling for the partition of countries where the U.S. has committed itself to security and democratization.
Well Spector's in the news today with his announcement that he'll cross the aisle to run as a Democrat in 2010 (via Memeorandum). Check this out from his statement:
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.Ah, the "stimulus" package, a.k.a, "porkulus maximus."
When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.
Also, perhaps this had something to do with it: "Specter Faces Conservative Challenge From Familiar Foe."
More later ...
12:42 am April 28, 2009This administration gives new meaning to the notion of "Air FORCE One."
All you banksters are hilarious.
Here’s what actually happened.
Some of your bosses have been trying to play hardball with Obama.
They — and you — just got a wakeup call: a friendly reminder who wears the pants around here, and who HOPES they can find a CHANGE of pants right about now.
And you know what the best part is? No one will ever believe that’s all this was — a friendly reminder that all you guys have is money (if that — these days it’s all just 1s and 0s)…but power? Power’s being able to fly 2 fighter jets and air force one right past the executive offices of some of the most “powerful” offices in the land just to take some awesome photos of the masters of the universe gripped with mortal terror.
And even if someone did believe this is what happened — the O man showing you who’s who and what’s what — you think anyone other than you cares? Can you think of any group of people more reviled and less sympathetic than the last banksters still standing?
Monday, April 27, 2009
I think every American should put themselves in the shoes of the New Yorkers who today relived the horrors of September 11, 2001, when the low-flying Air Force One photo-op buzzed the Manhattan skyline (see Memeorandum). The first video shows the tremendously horrifying immediacy of the flyover :
For a news report, check the Wall Street Journal's coverage, with the apt title, "A 'Classified' Photo Op Turns Into a Soaring Blunder for the White House: Mission to Get Beauty Shots of Presidential Jet at Statue of Liberty Panics 9/11-Wary New York."
As the story indicates, "the photo shoot looked like a terrorist attack."
I have to say: This is one hundred times worse than "Mission Accomplished."
Indeed, Barack Obama is the Worst. President. Ever.
The whole nightmare never should have happened, but the administration has apologized, so credit where it's due: "White House Apologizes for Air Force Flyover."
Lots of commentary at Memeorandum. See, especially, JammieWearingFool, "The 100 Daze Celebration: Bumbling Submorons Apologize for NYC Flyover."
It’s time to take the tea party movement directly to Washington, D.C. Please join thousands of local organizers and grassroots Americans from across the country as we gather in our nation’s capital to deliver a message to the politicians: Enough!Organize. Plan. Be there on September 11, 2009, for a National Tea Party March on Washington!
We’ve had enough of the out of control spending, the bailouts, the growth of big government and the soaring deficits. And we reject the future tax increases to pay for all of this spending and debt down the road. We are gathering on 9-12-2009 to deliver our message in person that we’ve had enough!
Hat Tip: Megan Barth.
Readers should read the whole interview. Other than manners, I make no distinction between Rex Wockner and Perez Hilton. Wockner's questions are just as much "set-ups" as were Hilton's at the Miss USA pageant. For example, Wockner's very first query attempts to establish Ms. Prejean as an anti-gay bigot:
Clearly, nobody would ever get up there (at the Miss USA pageant) and say, "I don't think black people should be able to marry white people" or something like that. Or nobody would get up there and say something sexist. And people are wondering if maybe we've gotten to a moment in American culture where you can't really say something that's interpreted as anti-gay anymore, like you might have been able to five years ago ...
Ms. Prejean responded well, but without seeing her response in person or by video it's difficult to assess her comfort level. She was right to suggest the discussion should be about tolerance, but let's add to that: Whose tolerance is at issue here? Tolerance for a traditional Christian woman to have her own opinions about the proper relationship between men, women and matrimony? Actually, no: Leftists reject Prejean's traditional views. As Ed Morrissey notes this afternoon, Miss USA officials have stated that Ms. Prejean needed to "apologize to the gay community." But for what? Having an opinion, and for responding honestly to Perez Hilton's homesexual views and agenda?
Note too that Wockner's question - "black people should be able to marry white people" - is bogus. The comparison of gay activists today to the same-sex interracial couples prior to Loving v. Virginia has long been discredited, but radical leftists continue to deploy it as a battering ram designed to make traditionals feel guilty, and thus force them to capitulate to the extremist gay marriage program. Have people forgetten Marjorie Christoffersen already?
Ms. Prejean turned the tables on Wockner, in any case. He asked her "what would be so wrong" with two women getting married, and she turned it around and asked to him, "What don't you see wrong with that?" and "'Why"? In response, Wockner repeats the left's redefinition of the marriage institution:
Uh, why don't - oh, this is fun - why don't I see anything wrong with it? Uh, because they're in love with each other, and they want to spend their lives together, and marriage is kind of the way that our society recognizes that two people love each other and want to spend their lives together and make commitment and be financially intertwined and be faithful and, you know, permanent. So, why should that be something that gay people can't do? There's gay people all around us all the time.
Well, there's nothing now in the laws of California that prohibits two people who love each other from spending "their lives together." Further, what's key here is that marriage is much more than recognizing love and making things, you know, "permanent." Love is wonderful, but gays can have a "permanent" relationship without being married. No, the key is that marriage "historically is recognized as a practice that his essentially procreative and regenerative." Same-sex couples cannot claim to be biologically equal to heterosexual couples. What they seek is to change society's discourse and overturn the historical and regenerative conception of marriage as between one man and one woman.
An interesting footnote here is Pam Spaulding's response to the interview. Spaulding attacks Ms. Prejean for her alleged ignorance:
I don't think Carrie Prejean is a spiteful and hateful person - clearly she hasn't given this issue much thought outside her social circle, and quite frankly, doesn't have to. She could have remained in her bubble of ill-informed views, but now, due to her high-profile, she is no doubt going to engage with many who have a different worldview, and hopefully people who can explore this in civil conversation. Perez Hilton's hostility after the interview has given license to the Right to hide behind the rancor as a defense. More encounters like the one with Rex Wockner will challenge Miss California in a positive manner to think more deeply about what discrimination really means.Actually, it's clear the Ms. Prejean has given a great deal of thought to the gay marriage question. Would that so many more people had done so as much. This point about the correct "social circle" is more leftist authoritarianism. Just because traditionals choose not to hang out with gay libertines and barebackers doesn't mean they can't form an honest (and morally superior) opinion.
And Pam Spaulding's cant about "Perez Hilton's hostility" is pure smokescreen. Why treat Carrie Prejean in such a civil manner when you're not willing to treat other opponents of same-sex marriage with the same respect? Just a few weeks ago Spaulding was attacking traditional marriage advocates as "fundies," and she excoriated the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins in a post entitled, "Fundies gone wild: reaction to Vermont, Iowa, DC."
But recall that Mr. Perkins issued a press statement on Carrie Prejean last week, "Miss USA Pageant Guilty Of Cheap Ratings Stunt At Expense Of Miss California's Reputation." So, it's just kind of strange that the young Ms. Prejean is treated with such thoughtful concern trollery, when she's hardly different in views and opinion from the D.C. "fundies gone wild."
Leftists are the true bigots here. Perez Hilton is representive not anomalous, and Pam Spaulding's hollow efforts to separate herself from gay activist "bitch" hatred should be seen for exactly what it is: reverse discrimation and a hypocritcal scam.
They are connecting on the Internet, holding meet-ups in bars, advertising on billboards and buses, volunteering at food pantries and picking up roadside trash, earning atheist groups recognition on adopt-a-highway signs.Notice that?
They liken their strategy to that of the gay-rights movement, which lifted off when closeted members of a scorned minority decided to go public.
Atheists are hitching their wagon to the radical gay rights agenda, which is seen by many as achieving greater respectability, although that's mostly in the courts and in the far-left media and netroots fever swamps.
What's interesting is the explicit victimology in play here. Forty-five years after the passage of the most sweeping civil rights legislation in American history - and the subsequent expansion of rights and opportunities to millions of Americans previously subjugated by genuinely archaic hierarchies of race, class, and gender - there remains a few groups who will continue to mine the emotions of guilt-ridden citizens who cling to a "reparations mindset" on civil rights.
Atheists are not an oppressed class, but you wouldn't know it from the Times' piece. But observe how Tristero takes up the "prejudice" banner to hammer even more aggressively the bogus discrimination line:
Despite their numbers - or perhaps because of them - atheists today are often the victims of genuine discrimination. It is impossible for an avowed atheist to hold high national office and, despite Obama's oft-noted shout out to non-believers at his Inaugural, the entire ceremony was a religious love-fest. True, I wouldn't have missed Rev. Joseph Lowery's address for anything, but seeing the vile, lying Rick Warren up there was mega-creepy.Note something strange here: Tristero's calling Sam Harris, the author of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, an asshole. But why? Harris' work is right up there with Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) in the popular pantheon of secularism and anti-religion. Shouldn't Tristero be recommending Harris rather than scourging him as an "asshole."
So it is good, extremely good, that atheists and atheism have gained so much national status. And hopefully, atheism as an ethics and a belief system will evolve to the point where no one feels they need to go out their way to make excuses for assholes like this simply because they affirm the non-existence of God.
Well, no, actually. Tristero's either totally ignorant of Harris' writings - see, for example, "There is No God (And You Know It) - or he's blogging too fast to take a moment to check the guy's biography. Most likely, he's just totally intolerant of anyone making the case for torture, since Tristero's link for Harris goes to his piece, "In Defense of Torture."
I just take all of this as exemplary of the program of intolerance and rigid ideologism on the left (and Tristero's blogging at Digby's Hullabloo, a bastion of far left-wing radicalism).
This is what these people are about. Atheism is good, if it gets you closer to your goal of completely eliminating faith in the public square. That eventuality, of course, bolsters the gay radical agenda, so it's all of a piece when you think about it.
Are we really still at war? That's the question William Kristol throws out in his piece, " 'On a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009': Are we still at war?"
Speaking of Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, who sought to put the administration's release of the "torture" memos in the "perspective" of new bright, sunny and safe day, Kristol notes:
We were once in danger. Now we live in "a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009." Now, in April 2009, Obama's Director of National Intelligence seems to be saying, we're safe.
Good news, if true. And it would be an amazing tribute to the preceding administration's efforts in the war on terror--efforts that Democrats have been saying for years were making us less safe. Apparently, the old policies worked. The threat from al Qaeda has gone. We now have the luxury of "reflection," as President Obama put it in his statement, the luxury of debating and deploring what we did back in the bad old days when there was a war on. After all, "we have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history."
Leave aside how dark and painful the chapter really was. The question is, Is it over? Is the chapter in which we had to focus on preventing further attacks really through? Isn't there still a war against the jihadists on?
Actually, for most of those on the left, and certainly those who visit my blog, it's the U.S. that should be the focus of international attention, not the terrorists. Former Bush administration officials should be in the dock at the Hague, or at least in some courtroom of the U.S. Star Chamber.
But check out as well Mark Theissen's, "The West Coast Plot: An 'Inconvenient Truth'."
I'll have more later ...
Sunday, April 26, 2009
A hundred or so people gathered around the Arch in Valley Forge to continue the newly minted tradition of a "Tea Party". One participant spoke on the difference between astroturfing, a technique perfected by dem activists and true grassroot activities, like the nationwide Tea Party ...You'll have to check the link for Skye's videos!
See also, Right Minded Online, "Highlights from the Tea Party in Mt. Juliet."
A quick tour through the week’s headlines suggests the Republican Party is beginning to come to terms with the last election and that consensus is emerging among GOP elites that the party needs to move away from discordant social issues.There's more at the link.
There was Sen. John McCain's daughter and his campaign manager who last week demanded that their fellow Republicans embrace same-sex marriage. Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman – the most devoted modernizer among the party's 2012 hopefuls – won approving words from New York Times columnist Frank Rich for his call to downplay divisive values issues. The party’s top elected leaders in Congress, meanwhile, spooked by being attacked as the “party of no,” were recasting themselves as a constructive, respectful opposition to a popular president.
But outside Washington, the reality is very different. Rank-and-file Republicans remain, by all indications, staunchly conservative, and they appear to have no desire to moderate their views. GOP activists and operatives say they hear intense anger at the White House and at the party’s own leaders on familiar issues – taxes, homosexuality, and immigration. Within the party, conservative groups have grown stronger absent the emergence of any organized moderate faction.
There is little appetite for compromise on what many see as core issues, and the road to the presidential nomination lies – as always – through a series of states where the conservative base holds sway, and where the anger appears to be, if anything, particularly intense.
"There is a sense of rebellion brewing," said Katon Dawson, the outgoing South Carolina Republican Party chairman, who cited unexpectedly high attendance at anti-tax “tea parties” last week.
That same sense is detectable in New Hampshire, where Union Leader publisher Joseph McQuaid – a stalwart of the base – warned in a column last weekend that the push for same-sex marriage in the state legislature was really about “forcing society to embrace and give positive reinforcement to their lifestyle and agenda in our schools and in every other area of public life imaginable.”
And it is perhaps most tangible in Iowa, where same-sex marriage will become the law this month in response to a state Supreme Court ruling. There, Republican activists and officials say the party is as resolute as ever, if not more so, on cultural issues – regardless of the soundings of some party elites.
Rep. Steve King, an outspoken conservative who represents all of rock-ribbed western Iowa and may run for governor next year, said he had held 11 town hall meetings across the state since the early April state Supreme Court decision.
"Of those 11 meetings, 10 of them were full. Most of them were standing room. The marriage issue was the No. 1 issue on their minds. No. 2 was the massive federal spending taking place. In every discussion, immigration came up."
And these Iowans, King noted, "stand in the same square they always have: They believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and they're opposed to amnesty."
"My e-mail overfloweth," said David Overholtzer, a longtime GOP activist in western Iowa's Pottawattamie County. "Amnesty is still very much a hot-button and gay marriage especially is here in Iowa. The view is that we've got to hold our legislators' and governors' feet to the fire."
"I’ve never seen the grass-roots quite as motivated, concerned and angry," said Steve Scheffler, the head of the Iowa Christian Alliance and the state's RNC committeeman.
The marriage issue and other traditional conservative litmus tests aren't likely to fade before the state's next presidential caucuses, either.
Asked about how a presidential candidate urging the party toward the middle on cultural issues would fare, Scheffler said flatly: “They’re not gonna go anywhere.”
In one sense, Republican leaders face the same challenge their Democratic counterparts did during the Bush years: how to effectively channel the deep emotion of the base while tamping down its excesses.
Photo Credit: Obi's Sister, "Atlanta Tea Party Pictures."
Related: Snooper's Report, "Obama: The Incessant Whiner."
The politicization of policy differences has been a fact of life in Washington since the Watergate era, but in the past one could reasonably expect that such political warfare would end when a new administration commenced. Investigatory panels, such as the "Commission of Inquiry" called for by Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, would represent an unprecedented escalation of political warfare in the American system. Proponents of such tribunals exhibit a spirit of political retribution not seen since the end of the Civil War.
There is little doubt that the ultimate target of such investigations would be former President Bush, who some in the far left of the Democratic Party consider to be a war criminal deserving prosecution. Those who had previously advocated that Mr. Bush be impeached for his alleged crimes may consider this as a way to pursue their version of justice after the fact. But it would inject poison into the body politic that would take a generation to fade ....
There is no value in pursuing any of these tribunals, which would quickly take on the theatrical attributes of show trials. They would be a gift to America's enemies who have fought for years to delegitimize our conduct of the war on terrorism, and they represent a distinct danger to a polity already riven by deep distrust. Any "truth and reconciliation" commission would produce neither truth nor reconciliation. The desire to punish political leaders retroactively for policies that have already been reversed marks a new level of meanness in America's political journey.
I wrote about Will Wilkinson's pot smoking a few weeks back. I don't write on this topic often, but I've learned that drug decriminalization is not only backed by (putative) libertarians, but is a top issue favored by secular progressives and hardline big-government collectivists.
A woman in East Liverpool, Ohio, smokes crystal methamphetamine in her dealer's kitchen.
In the comments to my post, where I mentioned my concerns over how factors outside the home may well adversely affect the health and safety of my boys, Tao from "A Radical Perspective" attacked me thus:
If you worry about your kids hanging out with the wrong people, or the drug culture, then quit blogging so much and spend sometime [sic] raising them.
I don't put much credibility in whatever merit folks can raise in favor of drug decriminalization, but when folks attack me on the assumption that I'm not raising my kids well, it just shows how personal it is for the nihilists.
Well it turns out there's more on the decriminalization debate online today. Time's got a piece, for example, "The Portuguese Experiment: Did Drug Decriminalization Work?" (via Memeorandum), and the Wall Street Journal covers the Portuguese case as well, in "Drugs: To Legalize or Not."
For conservative bloggers, there's a particular interest in Portugal's decriminalization program in that Glenn Greenwald (the same Glenn Greenwald of Rick Ellensburg fame) is the author of study that's cited by Time and has been touted by the Cato Institution. The Master Sock Puppet himelf is blogging about it, naturally.
I'm not going to convince the left-libertarians that decriminalization is a bad idea. These people claim, from the evidence in Portugal, that "decriminalization does not result in increased drug use."
The huge methodological problem here is that Greenwald and the others are generalizing from a single case, but that's not really my beef. From personal experience, and from what knowledgeable friends in academe and law enforcement tell me, drug decriminalization - always expected to start with marijuan, the "non-dangerous" drug) - would be a disaster for both personal lives, families, and society.
That said, let me direct readers to John Walters' piece, also at the Journal. Walters is executive vice president of Hudson Institute and was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the G.W. Bush administration. Please read the entire essay, but this part relates to Master Tao's attack:
When I became the drug policy director in 2001, we faced an inherent weakness in prevention programs for youth. Teens told us they had been taught the dangers of drugs, but if their boyfriend or girlfriend used they did not want to be judgmental or estranged, so they were likely to join in.
Walters stresses the dangers of addiction, and the responsiblity of society to protect the vulnerable. But the conclusion responds directly and powerfully to the Greenwalds and Wilkinsons of the world, and their left-libertarian allies:
We can make progress faster when more of us learn that drug use and addiction can not be an expression of individual liberty in a free society. Drug abuse is, by nature and the laws of organic chemistry that govern this disease, incompatible with freedom and civil society. Drug abuse makes human life solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short (a special version of Hobbes's hell in our own families). In the deepest sense, this is why failure is not an option.Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal.