Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When Does a Wookie-Suit Become Evening Wear

I'm beginning to understand the fascination that sociology holds for some people. I came across an AP piece today that was originally published on Sunday, Prosecutor: Agent infiltrated Christian militia. Since it's an AP piece, I won't tempt their wrath by actually quoting from it, I'll instead quote one of the commenters (at the time of this writing there are 12,443 comments):
the comments are a @#$%load more interesting than that waste of time "story/non-story"
three unspecified arrests of unspecified persons for unspecified crime/s in unspecified places, insinuating that unspecified persons may belong to an unspecified militia.(a 2nd amendment right) oh my! - Pooh, 967+/194-
The last number, 967+/194- is the "approve/disapprove" rating given by the readers of the comment. I'm in agreement with "Pooh." Others were as well:
Could this article be any more vague? Jeesh. Not news worthy without information. John B. 3/28 1:04pm 2036+/419-

what did they do,couldn"t make much sense from the article - Richard 1:10 pm 1733+/324-
That was apparently OK though, because it didn't prevent many from commenting on what they thought it was about.

The truly fascinating thing about the comments, though, was not so much what was said, but the tone and to some extent the approval/disapproval ratings.

From a quick sampling, I call the ratio about four parts anti-government/pro-liberty, two parts pro-government anti-right, and about one part each of neutral and "WTF, over?" (those being comments that leave you scratching your head wondering WTF the commenter intended to say).

Here are a few representative samples from immediately after the story posted:
Tea party terroists strike again. - Paul 3/28/10 1:29pm PDT 364+/724-

--

It aint over until they bust and waterboard Glen Beck - Knight 3/28/10 1:34pm PDT 514+/708-

--

You can stop all this nonsense by shutting down RUSH LIMB, glen Beck, Hannity, you know what just shut dow FOX NEWS...Radio and TV people are useless. Bunch of people sitting on their arses expressing their oppinion that I don't give darn about.. - David 3/28/10 1:47pm 363+/648-

--

just another tea bagger republican who dosen't want to pay his taxes like the rest of us. he wants to operate his illegal meth labs and illegal distilleries to making his moonshine and raping his nine year old cousin doing the lords work by being fruitful and multiplying and claims the government is infringing on his freedoms and rights and stocks his pantry with guns and bullets and bibles instead of food. he buys them with his welfare check.hallelujah praise god bubba now past me that bottle of moonshine and that mexican ak-47 . i think i see them damn government revenuers coming i can't tell though i can't see to good shouldn't have taken that last hit of meth. - Daffy22 3/28 2:02pm 148+/329-

--

They are nuts, the REPUBLICANS, are promoting rage, Palin say the REPUBLICANS are tie to the TEA PARTY, and the TEA PARTY is evil and to me they are dangerous, every time they start up, there is more more killing, more harsh words, they are lack of moral value, just because some did not want HEALTH PLAN, doesn't mean the rest of AMERICANS did not want it, just cannot satisfied very one.

THE AMERICA WAY IS DEMOCRATIC WAY, just be glad, happy and enjoy it
THE JUG HEAD PROMOTING SUES
AGAIN WASTING OUR TAX PAYERS MONEY, IS THAT WHAT THE AMERICAN WANT? BECAUSE THAT IS AGAIN OUR MONEY IS BEING SPEND FOR SOMETHING GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE - Wanda G 2:12pm 89+/229-
I didn't format any of these. They're taken verbatim from the comments. Note their scores.

From the other side:
Why do you, whichever of you, say derogatory things about Tea Party people? I have not gone to a Tea Party meeting, but the last time I looked, this still was The United States of America, operating under the Constitution. These people have every right to rally and say basically whatever. That's America. I will say this, the history of America has always been one set of ideas competing against another. Another side of America is that sometimes it has come to a face to face confrontation. I hope it doesn't, but I would expect many of the Tea Party types to be there if it comes to it. The idea of America is a free flow of political ideas. Try and stop that, and something else may flow. That's our history. - William 3/28/10 1:49pm 657+/125-

--

Oh (expletive deleted) wonderful. The last thing we needed right now was for the Obama administration to turn the paranoid delusions of the extreme right-wing crazies into reality. One would sincerely hope the FBI had actual evidence of actual crimes committed or planned. If not, this is just pouring gasoline on a fire.
I hear the government sent troops to confiscate an illegal arsenal in Concord, Mass., and they ended up in a running firefight with the local militia. Oh, wait- that was April 18th 1775- the "shot heard 'round the world" that began the American Revolution. - Ostlandr 3/28/10 2:05pm 334+/92-

-

Let me get this straight. Muslim terrorists threaten and kill thousands of Americans and Homeland Security tells us not to call them terrorists. A Christian militia group THREATENS muslim groups and the FBI and Homeland Security perform raids around the country rounding up these "terrorists" to protect who? Whose side are they on? - Scorchin_blues 2:08pm 322+/102-

--

When arrests are made, indictments, especially federal, should NEVER be sealed. Our government is totally out of control. But then, Waco proved that. - WillamK 2:10pm 255+/58-

--

Meanwhile, radical Muslims are living in Virginia right in the shadow of our Nation's Capitol. And Barack Hussein 'I'm not really a Muslim, I'm just named after one of the most revered Muslims, and both my father and step-father were both Muslims and I spent my developmental years living in Muslim countries' Obama turns a blind eye. - M 2:11pm 266+/118-

--

The mighty Homeland Security Forces, under the auspices of our Beloved Leader Barak Hussein Obama, have swooped down on the evil heartland of America and apprehended 3 very suspicious Bible readers who also owned guns and were concerned about so many Jihadists allowed to festoon the urban areas of our nation. Wow.....I wish I could have seen them slide down from the ropes of their black helicopters and bust through the windows of those bungalows with their automatic weapons. I makes me proud of this what this country has become. Janet Napolitano warned us about these evil doers...now I feel so safe. - Shannon - 2:13pm 232+/97-

--

Everyone in the USA should own a gun to protect themselves from the power hungry - Opps did I say that 1:20pm 1356+/393-
Personally, I have to say I share Daphne's position on this story:
My level of trust in the government has reached such a low point that I am seriously doubtful that the militia people recently arrested actually did anything criminal. I’m inclined to believe that they’re nothing but political scapegoats to further the White House meme that white, Christian, right-wing protesters are dangerous extremists.

I know, that sounds nutty, but I still remember the murders committed by our government at Waco and Ruby Ridge the last time a Democrat administration went on this sort of witch hunt.
Could be wrong, but I remember (I think) John Ross in Unintended Consequences saying something on the order of "You can always tell which militia member is an undercover Fed. He's the one agitating for violent action," or words to that effect.

Anyway, I don't think that the comment thread to that article is representative of the general public, but I do think it may be representative of the politically active subset of that group.

Which means that the "Tough History Coming," as Peggy Noonan put it so long ago, appears to be coming closer.

Read that piece, and think on Billy Wilder's words.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Interesting Coincidence

On Saturday I posted Now We Find Out What's IN It, linking to a piece entitled Obama Just Got his Private Army over at NoisyRoom.net. That piece pointed to a section of the "health care" bill that establishes a "ready reserve corps." Wookie-suits were donned, bowcasters were charged, until the more level-headed noted in the comments that this wasn't anything new:
Perhaps we should sit on this one a little longer. I hold a naval commission and was also "personally appointed by [GWB] without the advice and consent of the Senate." That's how the uniformed services work. (Promotions are approved, typically en masses, by Congress.) Without looking deeper into it, it seems like this is just a tweak of the statute that deals with the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service (who for some reason wear naval-looking uniforms and use naval ranks).

You can say what you want about the existence of the service or this apparent expansion of it, but I simply don't see the reason to go nuts over this part of the law. We're talking about more doctors, nurses, and civil engineers on the federal payroll here, not the creation of an SA/SS. - Xenocles

--

See Hot Air, this is apparently a 60-year-old program.

Guys, let's try not to become the mirror-image of the unhinged BDS sufferers. -- Mastiff
Ok, ok, I retracted. After I retracted, RobertaX had a comment though:
...So, the program is 60 years old, that makes it okay-fine? More badged bastards from the Feds is a good thing?

Nobody remembers that once upon a time, when the Constitution was still read and even, somewhat. observed, the Feds had to go roust _the_County_Sheriff_ if they wanted to arrest somebody.

It's been grab, grab, grab ever since and as long as it was that way when _you_ popped onto the planet, why, that's How It Should Be.

Except it ain't. And it's never gonna stop until we stand up and say, STOP. Liable to get squished like a bug but the way I see it, better a grease spot than another cog in the Federal nightmare.
Valid point.

Now to the coincidence.

I have a stack of books on the headboard of my bed that I'm slowly (too slowly) working my way through. I've had some of these books for a while now, some loaners, most I've purchased, a couple sent to me by authors or publishers (yes, Professor Patrick, I WILL get to yours!) One of those books is Tom Kratman's A State of Disobedience. Now Mr. Kratman is a very interesting person. From his personal web page:
Kratman is a political refugee and defector from the People's Republic of Massachusetts. The mechanism of his defection was enlisting into the Army in 1974 at age 17, which deeply distressed his high school (Boston Latin, founded 1635) as they thought he had "higher and better things" ahead of him. He served two years as an enlisted grunt with the 101st Airborne and one and a half with the 193rd Infantry Brigade in Panama, getting 2 years of collegedone in the process (when he wasn't in the field he was taking courses). At that point the Army gave Kratman a scholarship and sent him off to Boston College to finish his degree and obtain a commission. Tom graduated, cum laude, in 1980 and returned to the Army as an infantry officer. Tom served another three year tour in Panama, then more schooling at Benning, then 4+ years with the 24th Infantry Division near Savannah, Georgia. Fun times then ceased for a while while he did two years in Recruiting Command.

Saddam Hussein (PBUH) saved Tom from this by invading Kuwait. He has been told that he was the only captain to actually escape from USAREC for the war. Tom arranged a transfer to Special Operations Command and went through the active part of the campaign attached to 5th Special Forces. He continued slurping at the Army trough until it became painfully clear that the bottom had dropped out of the militantly and violently aggressive anti-communism market and that he was not going to like the rather PC direction the Army (which was, arguably, the only thing he ever selflessly loved) was heading in.

Among other things, Tom earned a Combat Infantry Badge and the Ranger Tab.

Tom got out in 92 and went to law school. He hated it but was far too pig headed to quit. He became a lawyer in 95 and quickly realized that what he had felt about law school was but a pale shadow of true hate. Stayed in the Reserves and took every tour he could to avoid practicing law. And when the reserves had nothing interesting there was MPRI ("white collar mercenaries R us").

Saddam Hussein (PBUH) once again stepped to the fore and saved Tom from the continued practice of law. In February of 2003 the Army called him up to participate in the invasion of Iraq. Still, God has a sense of humor. While awaiting a flight over Tom was informed he had a 100% blockage in his right coronary artery (imagine his chagrin) and wasn't going anywhere fun anytime soon. Instead, he spent eight months stuck at Fort Bragg, then a few in the DC area, before finally being sent on to be on the faculty of the Army War College as Director, Rule of Law, for the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. Keep in mind that divine sense of humor previously mentioned.

Tom retired in 2006, bored out of his gourd and finally ready to admit his love affair with the Army was over. He's returned to Virginia and, instead of practicing law, writes full time for Baen.
Now that you have some feel for the author, let me excerpt just a bit from A State of Disobedience - a book, I'll remind you, that was first published in 2003. The setting: 2009. America's first female president has just been elected. She's a Democrat, über-liberal, and committed to power at any cost (the Department of Redundancy Department, I know). Not only that, but the majorities of both houses of Congress are also Democrat, and the Supreme Court is, for the moment, perfectly split. The President, Wilhelmina Rottemeyer (no, Kratman is not subtle) addresses a joint session of Congress - excerpts:
"We stand poised on the brink," she began. "We can either go forward, to a new era of peace, progress, and prosperity, or backwards to the dark age of old, to the days when women were kept barefoot and pregnant, when blacks were lynched in the streets of the south, backwards to ignorance, want and filth.

"My administration is pledged to work with Congress to go forward, into the future, rather than backwards to the Republican age of deficits, doubt, debt and decline; recession, repossession and retrenchment.

"We must go forward into the future . . . and we cannot afford to leave anybody behind in the past.

"We are going to invest in America. We are going to invest in a very large way. No more tax cuts for the rich. No more crimping away social security. Instead we are going to make the rich -- and the corporations they control -- pay their fair share for the first time. We are going to expand social security to ensure that every American can enjoy a comfortable and secure retirement."

Rottemeyer paused, thinking, It still amazes me that anyone falls for that "soak the rich" crap.

--

"The people have spoken clearly of the kind of investment in the future they demand. We are going to a national health care system and we are going to do so very quickly indeed. The people demand and deserve nothing less.

"The people demand and deserve a national public education system that is second to none. They will have it. Among the other measures that will be sent to Congress for legislative action is a plan for rigorous testing of schools for quality of education, and national assumption of authority over any schools that fail that test. In short, we will shut down those schools and reopen them under our guidance, funding them directly through bypassing the state bureaucracies."

--

"We are also going to put one million new teachers in our classrooms, many of them to go to staff 'Opportunity Academies' to help prepare disadvantaged youths for college. In those academies and in nationally funded and run charter schools.

"We are going to ensure that college education becomes as universal as high school education is today."

--

"Moreover, along with one million new teachers, I intend to see one million new law enforcement officers, Federal law enforcement officers, to clean up he streets and make our communities livable again."
I've edited out a lot of stuff, but that's the gist of what I wanted to hit from that speech.

After the speech, the President meets with members of her Cabinet in the Oval Office:
"It's the expansion of the federal law enforcement capability I have problems with," said her new attorney general Jesse Vega. "There's a limit on how fast any organization can expand. It's not just a question of funding the money and recruiting the bodies. We've limited training facilities, limited numbers of people trained for upper management, limited number of administrative people to take care of everything from pay to promotions. The U.S. Marshal Service, DEA, FBI and Treasury can only . . ."

"Who said anything about limiting the expansion to only the existing agencies?" demanded Rottemeyer

"What?" asked Vega, incredulously. "You want to create . . . oh . . . the Surgeon General's Riot Control Police?"

"Tell me why not, Jesse? Does the Surgeon General's office not have an interest in controlling demonstrations that get out of hand at, say, abortion clinics? Do they have a bureaucracy capable of administering an additional force of several hundred men, or even a thousand? Can they hire people to train the new officers? Yes to all. So why not?

"Well," she continued contemplatively, "there has been a certain amount of expansion of federal law enforcement in places you would not expect. Maybe that's the way I intend to go. I mean, we already do have armed turkey inspectors with the Food and Drug Administration, armed agents of the Environmental Protection Agency."
Shotgun-toting members of the Department of Education . . .

I read that on Sunday.

Interesting coincidence, no?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Primum, Non Nocere

The t-shirt is available. As with Kalashnikitty, I have no fiduciary involvement, I just like the idea and am providing advertising gratis:


(Click for shirt link)

"First, do no harm."

They seem to have forgotten that one.

I hope you make a mint on the shirts, Gregory.

UPDATE: Generally the quote is "Primum Non Nocere," but Gregory replies in an email:
Although “non” is considered proper, both are actually acceptable. My use of the “nil” variant was due to the essay linked below by Dr. Milton R Wolf, a cousin of Barack Obama, who utilized the “nil” variant while addressing the health care reform bill.

http://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/dr-milton-r-wolf-obama-cousin-obama-health-care-bill-primum-nil-nocere-first-do-no-harm-fixing-price-at-any-cost-wolf-blasts-obamacare-america-has-the-finest-health-care-delivery-system-in-the/

There is madness to my method :)
And he adds a new version of the Caduceus as requested by my readers:

Batwings and fangs, oh my!

Now We Find Out What's In It

Sweet bleeding jeebus.

Go. Read.

My only question, do they get the same short-barreled shotguns as the Dept. of Education?

No, wait - I have another question: What other surprises are in this bill apparently no one bothered to read?

(h/t: Reader Daniel)

UPDATE: OK, OK. It's a little too paranoid. As one commenter said, I'll put away my bowcaster now.

Symbology

Our President has used a lot of symbology both in the run-up to the election, and after. There's his well-known "O" -

There was, of course, the iconic "Ché" poster:

Then there was the "Office of the President-Elect" symbol:

And more recently the "Obama Health-Care" symbol:

Now there's a new symbol out there that, at least as far as the "Health-care bill" is concerned, says it all:

All it needs is that Obama "" on top instead of the ball.

(h/t to Alan)

UPDATE2 - Here we go:

Reader Gregory generated that image. I think he's going to offer it on a t-shirt.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I've Never Heard of This Guy

But I LIKE HIM. Reader DJ DC pointed to this YouTube clip in comments:
Here's the text of the speech:
So this is what change looks like. If he were here, Mr. Speaker, in this time of momentous national distress, I would remind the President of the United States that he is not the leader of a party or an ideology; he is the leader of our country—one founded, not to emulate others, but to inspire the world.

As families lose their jobs, their homes, and their dreams for their children; as our troops fight and sacrifice in foreign fields for our liberty and security, President Obama’s obsessive-compulsive pursuit of an abominable government takeover of health care has defied the public’s objections, despoiled this, “The People’s House,” and further alienated Americans from their representative government.

As President Obama’s campaign mantra of “hope and change” has degenerated into “tax and hate,” reputable surveys prior to this vote report: the public overwhelmingly thinks that the U.S. Government is broken. Only 21 percent of the public thinks it is being governed with its consent. Only 26 percent of the public trusts the Federal Government most of the time or always; 56 percent of Americans think the Federal Government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedom of ordinary citizens; 70 percent believe the government and big business typically work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors; and 71 percent of Americans think the Federal Government is a special interest.

In the wake of this health care debate’s despicable, dysfunctional process and product, it is clear: The most dangerous special interest is Big Government and President Obama is its lobbyist.

In contrast to Americans’ faith in themselves, every major piece of legislation proffered by the President and his Democratic Congress expands and empowers Big Government at the expense of the people. Possessed of a smug, cynical, patronizing view of Americans as dependents desiring State benefits, this arrogant administration and its enablers have defied the American people and bi-partisan opposition in Congress to unilaterally jam through a trillion-dollar government takeover of health care.

Why? For so many Americans, the answer is that this President and his Democratic Congress think they are smarter than you; want to run your life; and want to make government your ruler, not your servant.

Such hubris threatens not only our health care system but it tears the social fabric and political contract of our Nation. Instead of working for a more perfect Union, the President’s ideological obstinacy exacerbated the disorder and divisions within our Nation, and wrought a crisis of consent—one that puts America’s exceptional experiment in human freedom and self-government on the precipice of implosion.

To do so the President has the power, but not the right. Thus he has merely scored a Pyrrhic victory over the American people. Ultimately, his government-run medicine scheme will be repealed and replaced with free- market, patient-centered wellness, because America’s strength and salvation remains her free people, not a person.

And this November, America’s sovereign citizens will remind the President and his Democratic Congress that We the People do not work for government; the government works for us.

No, the President and his Democratic Congress will not break us beneath Big Government. Devoted to our freedom and a more perfect Union, we will keep the faith, trust the public, calm the times, and heal our country.
Edited to add:

Here is Rep. McCotter's one-minute on the floor of the House during discussion of the bill - another winner:
The Democratic Party believes that you can take an imperfect health-care system and fix it by putting it under the most dysfunctional and broken entity in the United States today: It's called the Federal Government.

That proposition is insane.

QotD - And They'll Be Running Our HEALTH CARE Edition


You know you have crossed the regulatory event horizon and are heading for the bureaucratic singularity, from which not even the most energetic particle of common sense can escape, when there are specific federal government guidelines for conducting security inspections of service monkey's diapers at airports. -- Tam, Down the Black Hole
The snark is unusually strong there, today.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Because it's Time, and I Need One

Your Moment of Zen:

Another one from Digital Blasphemy. As always when available, click the image for the full size version.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

None of This Should Be a Surprise

Well, OK, maybe Stupidak, but not Obama and his part in this. Even Al Sharpton knows socialism when he sees it. (The surprising part is that he's willing to say it:)

But long before that, the evidence was out there. Before the election, Bill Whittle tried to call attention to it, using evidence dredged up by the New Media:

I doubt many heard it, though.

Now, given Obama's understanding of the Constitution as expressed in that last clip, and the fact that his oath of office requires him to swear to uphold and defend that document, can it not be argued that his advocacy through legislation for "redistribution of wealth" violates that oath?

If it doesn't, what would?

He understands what the Constitution means. It doesn't matter to him. In fact, it's an obstacle to be overcome. He has stated so in plain language, and now we have incontrovertible evidence that he has acted on his beliefs. He is in violation of his oath of office, and, I'd argue, so are the majority of the members of Congress who voted for this abortion bill.

Actually, I pulled this post so I could edit it and add to it. As usual, I have more to say. Back before the election even, it was pretty obvious what was coming:

But really that's not the case. This is true, though:

And it began before Obama was elected. In October of 2008 Syd at Front Sight, Press wrote The Suicide of Capitalism, which began:
A coup d'état took place in this country during the past two weeks. If you didn’t notice, perhaps you were distracted by the Dolphins whipping the Chargers, or Tina Fey’s grotesque parodies of Sarah Palin, or perhaps you were immersed in blogs trying to prove that Barak Obama is a domestic terrorist. Regardless of the distraction, while our attention was diverted, a revolution took place. No shots were fired, but plenty of blood was shed. The United States ceased to be a capitalist economy and became a managed socialist state. The nation’s financial system has been nationalized. The government now calls the shots on who sinks or swims, who will have credit, where money is to go, and how much the robber barons of Wall Street will be compensated for their tender ministrations. The odds are good that the government owns the mortgage to your house. If you receive a paycheck a month from now, it will likely be possible only because the government insured the business loan that allowed your employer to cut your check.

The coup d'état began with the Fed-managed fire sale of Bear Stearns. Then came the collapse of Lehman Bros., and the liquidation of Merrill Lynch. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government. AIG was bailed out with a massive guarantee program. Washington Mutual fell to another Fed-orchestrated fire sale. Wachovia went down in flames, and Citigroup and Wells Fargo are fighting over the corpse. Then came “The Bailout” — $800 BILLION worth of government purchases and guarantees of “illiquid” loan baskets, with boatloads of pork to buy the votes of recalcitrant legislators. Today, the Federal Reserve began buying commercial paper, again to pump “liquidity” into the system. This amounts to a nationalization of the American financial system. There is no significant area of the financial markets that is not currently under the management of the federal government.

The supreme irony here is that capitalism has committed suicide.
When that Newsweek issue came out, though, Michael Ledeen of Faster, Please! wasn't afraid to, well, call a spade a spade. In his essay We Are All Fascists Now, he hit the nail on the head (and affirmed what Jonah Goldberg had been saying since January of '08 in Liberal Fascism) when he wrote:
There's a element of truth to the basic theme (although not to the headline): the state is getting more and more deeply involved in business, even taking controlling interests in some private companies. And the state is even trying to "make policy" for private companies they do not control, but merely "help" with "infusions of capital," as in the recent call for salary caps for certain CEOs. So state power is growing at the expense of corporations.

But that's not socialism. Socialism rests on a firm theoretical bedrock: the abolition of private property. I haven't heard anyone this side of Barney Frank calling for any such thing. What is happening now – and Newsweek is honest enough to say so down in the body of the article – is an expansion of the state's role, an increase in public/private joint ventures and partnerships, and much more state regulation of business. Yes, it's very "European," and some of the Europeans even call it "social democracy," but it isn't.

It's fascism. Nobody calls it by its proper name, for two basic reasons: first, because "fascism" has long since lost its actual, historical, content; it's been a pure epithet for many decades. Lots of the people writing about current events like what Obama et. al. are doing, and wouldn't want to stigmatize it with that "f" epithet.

Second, not one person in a thousand knows what fascist political economy was. Yet during the great economic crisis of the 1930s, fascism was widely regarded as a possible solution, indeed as the only acceptable solution to a spasm that had shaken the entire First World, and beyond. It was hailed as a "third way" between two failed systems (communism and capitalism), retaining the best of each. Private property was preserved, as the role of the state was expanded.
But Jonah had already identified the problem with Fascism:
Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore is defined as the enemy.

--

This has been the liberal enterprise ever since: to transform a democratic republic into an enormous tribal community, to give every member of society from Key West, Florida, to Fairbanks, Alaska, that same sense of belonging - "we're all in it together!" - that we allegedly feel in a close-knit community. The yearning for community is deep and human and decent. But these yearnings are often misplaced when channeled through the federal government and imposed across a diverse nation with a republican constitution. This was the debate at the heart of the Constitutional Convention and one that the progressives sought to settle permanently in their favor. The government cannot love you, and any politics that works on a different assumption is destined for no good. And yet ever since the New Deal, liberals have been unable to shake this fundamental dogma that the state can be the instrument for a politics of meaning that transforms the entire nation into a village.
That work now proceeds apace. As evidence, read this piece at Moneynews.com:
One of the nation's largest labor unions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is promoting a plan that will centralize all retirement plans for American workers, including private 401(k) plans, under one new "retirement system" for the United States.

In effect, government pensions for everyone, not unlike the European system and regardless of personal choice.

The SEIU, which was integral to the election of Barack Obama as president, is working with the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, on SEIU's plan, called "the Retirement USA Initiative."

--

The proposed retirement system would be operated under the following parameters:

• Benefits that move with you, even if you change jobs

• Payouts only at retirement

• Shared responsibility among employers, the government and employees

• Pooled assets, controlled by professional investment managers

"The financial crisis and the economic recession have shone a spotlight on the inadequacies of today's system," said Stephen Albrecht, director of benefits for SEIU.
And we all know that you should never let a crisis go to waste, right? The head of SEIU is Andy Stern, one of the most frequent guests of the White House since the election. I seriously doubt they spend their time together playing Parcheesi. And we've already heard rumblings of the .gov wanting our 401(k) money.

I am more and more convinced that Rev. Donald Sensing was prophetic when he said back in 2003:
I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
When I asked him if his outlook had changed in October of 2008, he responded:
Yes, most definitely it has. The demise of freedom in this country has accelerated even faster than I imagined back in 2003.
And on Sunday it accelerated faster still.

Socialism, fascism, either way we no longer have anything even resembling capitalism in this country. The Constitution is toilet paper for our elected officials, their oaths mean nothing. Both parties have been active participants in this, and now we have proof that at least the Democrats aren't adverse to defying their constituents now that they think they can get away with it.

Where is my country, and what have they done to it?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For Breda

I buy a lot of books. I far prefer to own them, rather than borrow them. But books tend to be expensive, so I buy used a lot. Plus, some of the stuff I buy is out of print, so I have no other option. Because of this, I use ABEBooks.com, an online resource to used book stores all over the world. They, of course, send me emails from time to time. Today's was quite interesting, or would be if I were a librarian:
Librarian Literature: Top 10 Books Written by Librarians

AbeBooks loves librarians. Librarians love AbeBooks. (And we think everyone else loves librarians too aside from the bean-counters who keep cutting their budgets.) This email salutes those great lovers of books, literacy and reading - the world’s librarian community - and we’re highlighting some wonderful books written by librarians themselves.

Who but a person surrounded by books could be better qualified to write? Many an author has been born and developed in the stacks. The list does not feature the following librarian/writers - John Braine, Lewis Carroll, Archibald MacLeish, Nancy Pearl, Kit Pearson, Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Okigbo, Marcel Proust, and Ina Coolbrith - but we could easily have included their books.

The Less DeceivedThe Less Deceived

Philip Larkin
The 1955 poetry collection that made his name - Larkin was a librarian at the University of Hull.






A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L’Engle

Her 1962 sci-fi/fantasy classic (rejected by many publishers) - L’Engle worked as a librarian in New York.
The Aleph and Other StoriesThe Aleph and Other Stories
Jorge Luis Borges

The Nobel Prize winner was a municipal librarian in Argentina - this 1949 collection is one of his best.


Little Big Man
Little Big Man
Thomas Berger

This 1964 novel became a movie in 1970. Berger worked as a librarian and journalist.
Star Man’s SonStar Man’s Son
Alice Mary Norton

A post-apocalyptic tale from 1952 - Norton was a librarian in Cleveland and the Library of Congress.


Out Stealing Horses
Out Stealing Horses

Per Petterson

An ex-librarian AND bookseller, Petterson’s novel was one of the NY Times’ books of the year in 2007.





The Accidental Tourist
The Accidental Tourist

Anne Tyler

This former librarian won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1985 with this novel.






The Middle Age of Mrs EliotThe Middle Age of Mrs Eliot
Angus Wilson

A librarian in the British Museum, Wilson’s 1958 novel won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
At Mrs Lippincote’sAt Mrs Lippincote’s
Elizabeth Taylor

Taylor was a governess, teacher and librarian - At Mrs Lippincotes was her debut novel in 1945.


Eagle in the Snow
Eagle in the Snow
Wallace Breem

Breem was a legal manuscripts librarian in London - a Roman General is the hero of this historical novel.

(PS - if you work as a librarian, please email your recommendation for the best book written by a fellow librarian to media@abebooks.com)
This one's for you, Breda.

Phil B. Finds Another Gem

Reader and UK expat Phil B. (now living in Middle Earth - aka: New Zealand) sent me a link to an interesting piece in the Daily Mail's online edition, from one Mary Ellen Synon, an Irish-American living in Brussels. Ms. Synon's Mail-sponsored blog Euroseptic (catchy name, that) apparently serves the same function over there as Ann Coulter's writings do here (there was a bit of a flap over Ms. Synon's take on the Paralympics a while back, for example.)

Yesterday's piece, Barack Hussein Obama and Indonesia: there's no place like home, will, I'm assured, have certain parties over here coming unglued. A taste:
One of the reasons a lot of Americans find Obama oddly foreign is that he had an oddly foreign childhood: his formative years were spent in Indonesia. His half-sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, was born there. The rest of Obama's childhood was spent in Honolulu, a Pacific Ocean capital soaked in East Asian culture.

What's this got to do with Britain, or indeed with Europe? Plenty. Obama is the first US president who was raised without cultural or emotional or intellectual ties to either Britain or Europe. The British and the Europeans have been so enchanted with 'America's first black president' that they haven't been able to see what he really is: America's first Third World president.

If you doubt it, remember the kick in the teeth he gave Britain over the Falklands just a few weeks ago. Obama had his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, fly to Buenos Aires to give American support to President Kirchner's call for international negotiations over the Falklands. Amazing. What was more amazing is that all we've heard out of Number 10 and the Foreign Office since then is that it doesn't mean anything.

Oh, yes it does, and Washington insiders know it does.
Like that? Here's a little more:
What we have shaping up, but what the British Government doesn't yet grasp, is that Obama has a conscious policy of down-grading America's relationship with, first, Britain and then with the rest of Europe.

He believes that the US -- yes, his own country -- and Britain, and the leading European countries, too, for that matter, are imperial powers who ruthlessly exploited the Third World for their own profit.

And Obama is America's first Third World president.

Forget Obama's Chicago black cadence. It is a fake. He copied from the kind of black preachers that were unknown to him until he was a grown man and inventing his political image.

What the Obama administration has near-wiped from the president's personal history is that his only childhood links with America were as a schoolboy in a fashionable private school in Asia-dominated Hawaii, where he was raised by his white, bank executive grandmother.

Chicago is not Obama's homeland. It never was his formative influence. The president's world view is more aligned with that of Indonesia.

You can be sure the gift Obama gives the President of Indonesia will be something more than the dvd box-set of old Hollywood movies he gave to Gordon Brown. The US president's manner on the trip to Indonesia will be more the manner he showed to the King of Saudi Arabia last year. The king received a deep bow, something never done by any US president before. Obama also kow-towed to the Emperor of Japan and to the Chinese premier.
Give it a read.

And then reflect on the fact that no American flags fly over the American disaster-relief facilities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Why?
The Obama administration says flying the flag could give Haiti the wrong idea.

"We are not here as an occupation force, but as an international partner committed to supporting the government of Haiti on the road to recovery," the U.S. government's Haiti Joint Information Center said in response to a query about the flag.
Hey, that's change you can BELIEVE IN!

UPDATE:
Gerard finds further evidence that Obama's audacityofhopenchange is wearing thin with our allies.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Where Can I Get 535 Copies of the Constitution

Cheap? I want to mail a copy to each member of Congress with a note:

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please find attached a copy of the U.S. Constitution and its 27 Amendments.

READ IT.

MEMORIZE IT.

DISCUSS IT WITH CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSORS. (Obama doesn't count.)

THERE WILL BE A TEST COME NOVEMBER.

Thank you for your attention.


UPDATE: On second thought, perhaps I should send them each a roll of this.

They'd be more likely to actually open it.

So the Evil Party Has a Near-Pyrrhic Victory

And the Stupid Party is gleefully rubbing their hands together, expecting to benefit from it.

Nazzofast, Guido.

As Randy Barnett noted,
If John McCain had been elected, we would have had something like this bill enacted last year in a bipartisan fashion - as was Social Security and Medicare. Such a bill would have been irreversible.
I'm not sure this one isn't. Not by a long shot.

On the news all evening (as my wife kept flipping channels) there was story after story of how people had been denied care by insurance companies, or had lost their insurance and then come down with cancer or other disease, and this law was going to end all that! It's a full-court press - the Media is selling this as the greatest thing since, well, MEDICARE! (Never mind that Medicare is insolvent.)

So, what happens if the Stupid Party wins a solid majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate?

I'm betting on "not much." Because if the last twenty years has taught us anything, it's that the Republicans' only response to the Progressive Left is to offer half of whatever it is they want. In this, the Republicans seem much like they did in the fight against gun control - half again, half again, half again onward!

Eric Scheie of Classical Values said today:
I was born in 1954, and ever since my brain began laying down memories of what was going on, I have watched the relentless, steady, constant growth of Big Government -- regardless of which party was in power.

Yet in all that time, this country has never had an honest debate over socialism. The word has been avoided for decades, but now that it is upon us, there is no avoiding it.

We need to have this debate. Badly. It's so long overdue that I could scream.
With gun control we've stopped that, and rolled it back, and we've done it by taking the initiative rather than rolling with the punches. We had the debate, and we educated people. Now when an anti-gun editorial hits the web, the comments are overwhelmed by people countering with facts - at least until "Reasoned Discourse™" prevails.

Bill Whittle today made the point we all need to keep in mind - in real estate it's location, location, location. In politics it's the message, the message, the message. The Left dominates the legacy media, but they hold no such stranglehold over the New media, and the message must be something other than "half again, onward!" Bill said this:
What’s in a Big Mac? Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun! That's what's in a Big Mac. We have got to understand that saying NO! to this socialism is admirable and essential, but that from now on there has to be a counter-narrative to what these Marxists are selling, because like it or not the human brain is wired for stories — that’s how we learn (and why the real fight is not for Washington but rather Hollywood — but that's a story for another time.)

If we want to win on health care, or any other issue, we need to have an answer to what they are selling and that answer needs to be as simple and comprehensive as the Big Mac slogan.

Our position on health care? Two tax incentives, health accounts, crossing state lines, tort reform, competition on an auto insurance bun. And if we don't learn how to do this we will lose.
I think he's right. And it will be our job to ensure that whoever gets elected does so either on this message, or they pick it up and run with it once in office.

No compromises, no half-measures. Repeal the damned thing, deal with the damage it caused, and pass something useful.

But with the Stupid Party?

I'm not holding my breath. I'm not being cynical, I'm being a realist.

Fvckin'-A

What he said.

Thank you, Breda.

Quote of the Day - Leviathan Edition

On Tytler's Timeline, Sunday was the step from apathy to dependency. Bondage will be along shortly. - Me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And So it Begins


Congress clears historic health care bill


I hope they choke on it.

A Republic, If We Can Keep It

I saw something at a discussion board the other day that literally terrified me. I should have saved a link, but I didn't and can't find it now, but the gist of it was this: In 2009, 35 state legislatures passed "nullification" resolutions, referencing the powers of the States over that of the Federal government as enumerated in the 10th Amendment, which states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The author of the thread pointed out that Article V of the Constitution provides for two ways to alter or amend the founding legal document of our nation:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Thirty-five states exceeds the two-thirds requirement.

So, hey! Let's call a Constitutional Convention! Then we can fix what's wrong!

Ah, no.

Here's where my pragmatic side conflicts with my idealistic side.

Now, if you've read this blog for very long, you know that I deeply admire Bill Whittle for his ability to express things so simply, vividly and eloquently when it comes to this nation, its people and our political system. Just recently (elsewhere) I was given cause to cite from his essay Freedom:
This, to my mind, is the fundamental difference between the Europeans and the U.S.: We trust the people. We fought wars and lost untold husbands and brothers and sons because of this single most basic belief: Trust the people. Trust them with freedom. Trust them to spend their own money. Trust them to do the right thing. Trust them to defend themselves. To the degree that government can help, great – but TRUST THE PEOPLE.
Stirring words.

But trust them with what? Trust them to run their own lives. Trust them to take care of themselves.

Trust them to not muck up their own system of government? Not so much.

The original form of our tripartite government is a paean to humanity's lack of trustworthiness when it comes to wielding power over others. Our Founders recognized this characteristic of humankind and made provisions against abuse that worked pretty well for about a hundred years, give or take. But just as you can't make anything idiot-proof because they keep making better idiots, the safeguards in our Constitution eventually failed because the power-hungry just can't stop tinkering. If there's a barrier, they will find a way over, under, around, or if need be through - and if they are not slapped down, hard, every time they get caught, they will keep trying until they eventually succeed. We know this.
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. - Justice Louis Brandeis, dissenting, Olmsted v U.S.

Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before. - Rahm Emanuel

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt the younger.
This is, after all, why human beings - small, weak, with no sharp teeth or claws to depend on, no natural venom or other physiological advantage - have become the dominant predator on the planet. We're clever (though generally shortsighted) little apes, and we don't give up.

This works both for and against us. Currently, "against" is winning.

At this point I urge you to read (or hopefully re-read) my essay The United Federation of Planets. Its topic is, essentially, philosophy as applied to American Politics. Then (re)read Restoring the Lost Constitution. (Those two ought to tie up the remainder of your weekend.)

There is nothing wrong with our current Constitution. Sure, I could see a couple of changes that would help with the "slapping down - hard" bit, but the problem isn't with the document - it's with US, the populace. Maybe it's the side-effect of affluence, maybe it's the clever plan of Rousseau's followers, but this nation is no longer populated with a culture "born to freedom." We're now born to a cult of material well-being. Freedom is dangerous. Freedom is scary. Freedom is hard. We're too comfortable to want that anymore, so we're giving it up. Our culture has become the equivalent of the 35 year-old still living in his parent's basement - we're getting a Nanny State because that's what too many of us want for the rest of us to be able to stop them.

It isn't the Constitution that needs to be restored, it's our desire to be free that we've lost.

And those of us who still have part, most, or all of that desire are only Albert Jay Nock's "Remnant." We can't stop what's happening. We are too few and too unpopular.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quote of the Weekend

From Dr. Sanity:
This weekend is clearly going to be make or break for those of us who value freedom and don't want to see America take a giant leap forward toward socialism and Big Government.

Like Charles Krauthammer, I believe that--by hook or crook(and undoubtedly it will be mostly crook), this terrible thing is going to be foisted on the American public, who clearly do not want it. But we will get it nonetheless, because we were so careless about who we elected; so mesmerized by empty rhetoric and so zombified by the promises of hopenchange.

I am pessimistic, but willing to be pleasantly surprised that there are still people of conscience and integrity who will stand against this health care tyranny.

If there aren't, then this will truly be the beginning of a pathetic end for the American values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I've seen this sentiment echoed all over the web the last couple of days. For the previous couple of weeks, there have been numerous references to the Declaration of Independence, specifically this passage:
. . . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
But I am reminded again of the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn:
In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.
and of the timeline apocryphally attributed to Alexander Tytler:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

And, of course, de Tocqueville's warning:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Finally Heinlein's observation:
The worst thing about living in the declining era of a great civilization . . . is knowing that you are.

Is Chronic Victimitis

. . . covered under Obamacare?

(Seen at AR15.com.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

It Happens Every Friday

This was first published in 2007, according to KnoxNews, and Michael Yon published it last November, but it's the first I've seen it, and copyright be damned, I'm going to archive it here, too:
Fridays at the Pentagon

By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
McClatchy Newspapers


Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force
personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands
more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or
years in military hospitals.

This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate,
Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a year long tour of
duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills
the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and
many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog
of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the "Media Matters for America"
website.

"It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This
section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is
broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the
corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all
crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands
here.

"This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway. The G3 offices
line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate
conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other
for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

"Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air
conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.

"The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. 10:36 hours: The
clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of
the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This
clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion
behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier
in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the
first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are
still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a
private first class.

"Captains, Majors, Lieutenant Colonels and full Colonels meet his gaze and
nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described
one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The
applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in
the burden ... yet.

"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the
wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think
deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is
pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his
peers: each private, corporal, or sergeant is assisted as need be, by a
field-grade officer.

"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I
laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head: my hands
hurt...Please ! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after
soldier has come down this hallway- 20, 25, 30... Fifty-three legs come with
them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid
hearts.

"They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a
private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the
generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their
chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this
hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and
smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of
them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing
her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her
husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had
never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have,
perhaps more than their wounded mid-20's daughter, an appreciation for the
emotion given on their child's behalf. No man or woman in that hallway,
walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few
cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of
the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the
past.

"These are our men & women, broken in body they may be, but they are our
brothers & sisters, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every
single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

"Did you know that?

"The media haven't yet told the story."
Just . . . damn.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quote of the Day - Whodathunkit Edition

This one comes from David Hardy:
I do know Jerry Brown. We went to law school together though we were not big buddies. And when I contacted him about supporting the pro-Second Amendment position in the McDonald case, he filed an influential pro-Second Amendment brief with the US Supreme Court. I know that he personally made the decision to do this, overruling his staff; and he wrote the brief himself. (He is an able lawyer.) When he was assailed by anti-gun forces, his response was that the 2d Amendment is a "civil rights issue." - Don Kates on the California gubernatorial race
Color me shocked.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quote of the Day - Victor Davis Hanson Edition

(T)he present attempt to remake America is the effort of the liberal well-to-do — highly educated at mostly private universities, nursed on three decades of postmodern education, either with inherited wealth or earning top salaries, lifestyles of privilege indistinguishable from those they decry as selfish, and immune from the dictates they impose on others. Works and Days, Reflections on the Revolution in America

Other People's Words

It is true that recent immigrants seem to "get it" better than Xth generation "natives." At a forum I'm a (recent) member of, this was a topic put up by one member:
Are you patriotic? If so why? To me,it makes little sense in feeling pride in something that was due to fortune and involves no personal achievement.
The very first reply says it all, and better than I could:
My grandparents and great-grandparents left a dangerous place to start a new life here.

I am fully aware of how lucky I am to live here rather than in Russia or the other locations.

I can say whatever I want, no matter how stupid or political.

I can drive anywhere I want with out clearance or papers.

I can earn any job I want, it does not depend on who I know or how much I pay in bribes.

I am proud and grateful that the US is able to help Haiti and other folks. I am proud that we in the US do this without a referendum and without moving speeches by our politicians.

I am proud and grateful that we change political control of this country every 4 years without fighting or protesting or bringing in the military to maintain the peace.

I am proud and grateful that the US has fought in many wars to help others when we could have sat it out.

I am proud and grateful that I have several family members currently serving overseas, not just blowing things up, but fixing things, helping the small farmer, helping to bring water and electricity to the poor, helping maintain peace. All can and have risen in the ranks by effort, not connections, not bribes.

I am grateful and proud that when my sister-in-law was part of the effort to put Iraqis to work, she was asked by the Iraqis how much they needed to pay her for giving them the contracts and my sister-in-law, along with everyone in her unit, was stunned that someone expected to bribe them for work. They did not take bribes, it had not even occurred to them that such a question would be asked.

I am grateful and proud that our soldiers are willing to die, willing to die to prevent the collateral damage, shooting deaths of the innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our war dead would be less than 1/2 of what it is if we were not so careful to fight only the bad guys.
Damned straight. And I'm proud to live in the same country as the man who wrote that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quote of the Day - Brady Campaign Edition

This one's from Uncle:
Paul Helmke says gun owners are forcing guns into every nook and cranny of society, which is false. He also goes on to illustrate the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Ownership’s real concern (and one that they lose ground on every day) that guns are being normalized. Well, they are normal, sparky.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I DARE You Not to Laugh



Full disclosure: I OWN a Toyota. Not on the recall list, though.

Secondary disclosure: I'm not (yet) at the average age of the drivers who have experienced "sudden unintended acceleration" either.

Click on the link for the T-shirt. And don't forget the discount code! (I am not in any way affiliated with Despair.com, though I like the hell out of their products!)

I Always Suspected Charlie Watts was a Woman


From today's email.

Well, the New HVAC Unit is In

And I'm out the price of a decent used car (a bit more than double what I paid for my current Mustang). Hopefully this one will last longer than nine years and a couple of months. Its warranty is a lot better, anyway.

But, OUCH.

I need to work some serious overtime.

Your Moment of Zen


Damn, that's pretty.

Quote of the Day - Politics Edition

This one's from Alger:
The Slaughter Rule...

AND THE DISCUSSION of it at the Volokh Conspiracy persuade me ever more thoroughly of my hypothesis that the Dems do not intend to pass "Health Care," but that they are convinced they must be seen to have tried. As the solutions to the deadlock and the statements made about it become ever more risible, one is forced to conclude that they don't really want this one. They're just faking it.
One more thing they can blame on the Republicans for not being "bipartisan" about come election time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This is Not Science . . .

. . . this is the modern equivalent of divination by entrail-reading. Mark Alger links to a piece at American Thinker on just how "Global Temperature" records are made: The Granularity of Climate Models.

READ IT. And by all means, read the comments. Then consider that these "scientists" are insisting that their data is good enough to predict temperatures to the tenth of a degree into the future.

No wonder none of their models work. AGW is a religion, and their high priests are being defrocked in front of us.

Human Redemption Through Government

During the election campaign Michelle Obama said of her husband,
Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that. That before we can work on the problems we have, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.

I am here right now because I am married to the only person in this race who has a chance of healing this nation.
Just recently, as I noted, Al Gore said of the opponents of his AGW campaign that "From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption."

It would appear that the New York Times is still enraptured by the idea of human redemption through government Obama:


This particular photo-chop was pointed out by Van Der Leun.

Remember how Jonah Goldberg defined the word "fascism"?
Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore is defined as the enemy.
Well?

UPDATE: THIS image, via Jeff at Alphecca is a fitting addition:


He may not be painting himself that way, but the media still is.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

On a Lighter Note

From this AR15.com thread, "What your Darth Vader action figure does when you aren't home:"


There are some seriously warped people with assault rifles patrol rifles over there . . .

Got Dust in My Eyes . . .

Via Daphne, please go read Honor Restored at The Warrior Class.

I love my people.

Government by Sedimentation

Like you need me telling you to go read Tam, but she's outdone herself in the short-form category today. And this wins "best sentence I've read this month:"
This isn't a pendulum, it's a ratchet, and it's going to continue getting tighter 'til something gives.

Quote of the Day - Déjà vu Edition

When I was young I was taught through soft, humorous suggestions — nobody really stating it word-for-word — that blathering away about the communists taking over, was a sign of dementia.

It must be true. The older I get, the more signs I see that they are, and have been for awhile.

-- mkfreeberg, House of Eratosthenes, U.S. Mulls "Black Box"
I said pretty much exactly this on the latest edition of Vicious Circle.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Al Gore, Pied Piper of the Unconstrained Vision

I know I'm slow and behind on this, but - from Gore's Feb. 27 New York Times op-ed We Can't Wish Away Climate Change (h/t Borepatch):
From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.
Human redemption. Through the instrument of rule of law.

Human redemption.
re·demp·tion - [ri-demp-shuhn] – noun

1. an act of redeeming or the state of being redeemed.
2. deliverance; rescue.
3. Theology. deliverance from sin; salvation.
4. atonement for guilt.
From Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions:
It is hardly surprising that the reasons why government exercises power in the economy also differ between the two visions. In the unconstrained vision, it is a matter of intentions while in the constrained vision it is a matter of incentives. The government's intention to protect the public interest forces it to intervene in the economy to undo the harm done by private economic power, according to the unconstrained vision.
You will never see a clearer example of what Thomas Sowell was talking about in 1987 that Al Gore's statement above. Al Gore sees the job of government - through the rule of law - to redeem humanity. His is the "unconstrained vision" at its purest.

And he is the kind of person that James Lileks is talking about when he said:
Personally, I’m interested in keeping other people from building Utopia, because the more you believe you can create heaven on earth the more likely you are to set up guillotines in the public square to hasten the process.
Al Gore would be today's Robespierre.

I am also reminded of something Jonah Goldberg said in Liberal Fascism:
Progressivism, liberalism, or whatever you want to call it has become an ideology of power. So long as liberals hold it, principles don't matter. It also highlights the real fascist legacy of World War I and the New Deal: the notion that government action in the name of "good things" under the direction of "our people" is always and everywhere justified. Dissent by the right people is the highest form of patriotism. Dissent by the wrong people is troubling evidence of incipient fascism. The anti-dogmatism that progressives and fascists alike inherited from Pragmatism made the motives of the activist the only criteria for judging the legitimacy of action.
He also said this:
All public policy issues ultimately boil down to one thing: Locke versus Rousseau. The individual comes first, the government is merely an association protecting your interests, and it's transactional, versus the general will, the collective, the group is more important than the individual. Everything boils down to that eventually. And the problem with "compassionate conservatism" is the same problem with social gospelism, with Progressivism and all the rest: it works on the assumption that the government can love you. The government can't love you. The government is not your mommy and it's not your daddy, and any system that is based on those assumptions will eventually lead to folly.
And government is most certainly not our savior.