Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 23, 2014, 02:57:23 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
83383 Posts in 2260 Topics by 1067 Members
Latest Member: Shinobi Dog
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 9 10 [11] 12 13 ... 28 Print
Author Topic: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces  (Read 293560 times)
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #500 on: February 13, 2009, 08:33:25 AM »

BBG,

IF you saw BOs speech yesterday it was exceptionally presented.  His use of Abe Lincoln to try to justify big government was interesting for its paradox, contradictions and outright deception.  Like Alinskly said, convince your adversaries you are one of them and you will be able to change them (more or less).
The speech included tons of rhetoric that any conservative would have loved to hear regarding personal responsibility, "bootstraps", the American spirit and yet in the same speech he claims we need big government to "save the Union".  I don't recall hearing one iota of the class warfare his policies engender.
When Abe Lincoln was President there were no such things as entitlements.  I know of zero evidence Lincoln would have ever thought that was necessary.  It was also extrememly galling to here him use Lincoln's temporary suspension of habeus corpus during wartime as justification for going outside the bounds of the Constitution during his administration push for policies that are top heavy with a political agendas.
Yet this same stunt man will gladly and quickly admonish W for using boderline legal tactics against those who threaten and plan to kill Americans and our allies as a stain on our reputation.
Yet it is no problem when it is him using it for political gain.

This guy is worse than Clinton to me.  Not only is he vastly narcissistic but he is supremely arrogant.  I can't see Clinton seemed arrogant.  FWIW I didn't Reagan as either.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #501 on: February 13, 2009, 02:30:56 PM »


Often I find Thomas (not George!) Friedman to have a rather exagerated sense of himself and possessed of an instinct for the specious, but this piece makes some very pertient points:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/opinion/11friedman.html?_r=1

The Open-Door Bailout
THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: February 10, 2009
Bangalore, India

Leave it to a brainy Indian to come up with the cheapest and surest way to stimulate our economy: immigration.

“All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans,” said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper. “We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”

While his tongue was slightly in cheek, Gupta and many other Indian business people I spoke to this week were trying to make a point that sometimes non-Americans can make best: “Dear America, please remember how you got to be the wealthiest country in history. It wasn’t through protectionism, or state-owned banks or fearing free trade. No, the formula was very simple: build this really flexible, really open economy, tolerate creative destruction so dead capital is quickly redeployed to better ideas and companies, pour into it the most diverse, smart and energetic immigrants from every corner of the world and then stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat.”

While I think President Obama has been doing his best to keep the worst protectionist impulses in Congress out of his stimulus plan, the U.S. Senate unfortunately voted on Feb. 6 to restrict banks and other financial institutions that receive taxpayer bailout money from hiring high-skilled immigrants on temporary work permits known as H-1B visas.

Bad signal. In an age when attracting the first-round intellectual draft choices from around the world is the most important competitive advantage a knowledge economy can have, why would we add barriers against such brainpower — anywhere? That’s called “Old Europe.” That’s spelled: S-T-U-P-I-D.

“If you do this, it will be one of the best things for India and one of the worst for Americans, [because] Indians will be forced to innovate at home,” said Subhash B. Dhar, a member of the executive council that runs Infosys, the well-known Indian technology company that sends Indian workers to the U.S. to support a wide range of firms. “We protected our jobs for many years and look where it got us. Do you know that for an Indian company, it is still easier to do business with a company in the U.S. than it is to do business today with another Indian state?”

Each Indian state tries to protect its little economy with its own rules. America should not be trying to copy that. “Your attitude,” said Dhar, should be “ ‘whoever can make us competitive and dominant, let’s bring them in.’ ”

If there is one thing we know for absolute certain, it’s this: Protectionism did not cause the Great Depression, but it sure helped to make it “Great.” From 1929 to 1934, world trade plunged by more than 60 percent — and we were all worse off.

We live in a technological age where every study shows that the more knowledge you have as a worker and the more knowledge workers you have as an economy, the faster your incomes will rise. Therefore, the centerpiece of our stimulus, the core driving principle, should be to stimulate everything that makes us smarter and attracts more smart people to our shores. That is the best way to create good jobs.

According to research by Vivek Wadhwa, a senior research associate at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, more than half of Silicon Valley start-ups were founded by immigrants over the last decade. These immigrant-founded tech companies employed 450,000 workers and had sales of $52 billion in 2005, said Wadhwa in an essay published this week on BusinessWeek.com.

He also cited a recent study by William R. Kerr of Harvard Business School and William F. Lincoln of the University of Michigan that “found that in periods when H-1B visa numbers went down, so did patent applications filed by immigrants [in the U.S.]. And when H-1B visa numbers went up, patent applications followed suit.”

We don’t want to come out of this crisis with just inflation, a mountain of debt and more shovel-ready jobs. We want to — we have to — come out of it with a new Intel, Google, Microsoft and Apple. I would have loved to have seen the stimulus package include a government-funded venture capital bank to help finance all the start-ups that are clearly not starting up today — in the clean-energy space they’re dying like flies — because of a lack of liquidity from traditional lending sources.

Newsweek had an essay this week that began: “Could Silicon Valley become another Detroit?” Well, yes, it could. When the best brains in the world are on sale, you don’t shut them out. You open your doors wider. We need to attack this financial crisis with green cards not just greenbacks, and with start-ups not just bailouts. One Detroit is enough.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #502 on: February 16, 2009, 11:12:43 AM »

http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson021609.html
 
 
February 16, 2009
Hardly the Best and Brightest
by Victor Davis Hanson
Tribune Media Services

Most historians agree that earthquakes, droughts or barbarians did not unravel classical Athens or imperial Rome.

More likely the social contract between the elite and the more ordinary citizens finally began breaking apart — and with it the trust necessary for a society's collective investment and the payment of taxes. Then civilization itself begins to unwind.

Something like that has been occurring lately because of the actions on Wall Street and in Washington, D.C. The former "masters of the universe" who ran Wall Street took enormous risks to get multimillion-dollar bonuses, even as they piled up billions in debt for their soon-to-be-bankrupt companies.

Financial wizards like Robert Rubin at Citicorp, Richard Fuld at Lehman Brothers and Franklin Raines at Fannie Mae — all of whom made millions as they left behind imploding corporations — had degrees from America's top universities. They had sophisticated understanding of hedge funds, derivatives and sub-prime mortgages — everything, it seems, but moral responsibility for the investments of millions of their ordinary clients.

The result of such speculation by thousands of Wall Street gamblers was that millions of Americans who played by the rules, and put money each month away in their 401(k) plans and elsewhere, lost much of their retirement savings. Many likely will have to keep working well into their 60s or 70s, and delay passing on their jobs to a new generation awaiting employment.

Yet most disgraced Wall Street elites will retain their mega-bonuses and will not go to jail. Their legacy is having destroyed the financial confidence of a society that depends on putting capital safely away to be directed for investment by responsible overseers.

A sort of unraveling of the entire system of credit and debt may follow from the loss of confidence in Wall Street. Ads on radio now blare out to the rest of us how to renegotiate our mortgages, how to avoid paying the IRS and how to walk away from freely incurred credit-card debt. We hear not to trust in mutual funds or even banks — but instead, like medieval hoarders, to revert to the age-old safety of gold.

Apparently, the institutions run by our elites aren't trustworthy, so why should we put any faith in them?

Meanwhile, we are learning that the brightest and best-educated Americans at the highest levels of government simply refuse to pay their required taxes. Yet because the IRS audits a tiny percentage of taxpayers, voluntarily compliance with our tax code is the glue that holds together a sophisticated society and separates it from a failed state.

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee that oversees our tax laws. But his lawyer recently admitted that Rangel didn't report some $75,000 in income.

Timothy Geithner is the new Treasury secretary and oversees the IRS. Yet Geithner improperly wrote off his son's summer camp fees as a dependent-care expense, and failed to pay thousands of dollars in Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Then there is former Sen. Tom Daschle, who was nominated to be secretary of Health and Human Services. It was revealed that he owed the IRS over $140,000 in taxes on unreported free limo services; as a result, he had to ask President Obama to withdraw his nomination.

Nancy Killefer, who just withdrew her name from consideration as "performance czar," did not pay required taxes for domestic help.

The husband of Labor secretary nominee, Hilda Solis, had over a dozen liens for back taxes on his property and just now paid up amid public outcry. (The issue is relevant, since the couple filed a joint income tax return.)

Daschle, Geithner, Killefer and Solis did not disclose their tax liabilities until they were nominated to high office and scrutinized by the press.

And they apparently did not pay their back taxes until their appointments were in jeopardy from public disclosures. That raises disturbing questions: Would we have known about such tax dodging had our best and brightest not wished career advancement in government? And would they have ever paid up if they had not been caught?

Take your pick — on the one side, we have free-market capitalists who took huge amounts of money as their companies eroded the savings of tens of millions; on the other, we have supposedly egalitarian liberals who skipped paying taxes.

The result is the same. Our best educated, wealthiest and most connected in matters of finance proved our dumbest — and our political leaders were less than ethical in meeting their moral responsibilities as citizens.

If ordinary Americans were to follow the examples of Wall Street and Washington elites, the nation would neither collect needed revenue nor invest its capital. All that is a recipe for national decline and fall.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #503 on: February 16, 2009, 12:00:27 PM »

You know Crafty,
I think the Republicans could get popular again if they get new blood and if they get take "Reaganism" to the next level.

We need a national effort for the party to get new people who are committed not just in talk but in deed to stop the corruption in Washington.  Unfortunately we hear this every cycle - yet we need to find a way to break this.   

We need to get rid of the the financial interest in lobbyists  - they can be heard but not able to buy representatives.  One way this would work is to legislate that bills only tackle one issue at a time.  We can't pass bills that have hundreds of pages with benefits to local districts of the influenced.

We need to legislate the Federal dollars only really gets spent on Federal issues.  Why and where did become the norm for Federal government to be spending Federal tax dollars that goes out to state or local programs.  That is the root of the corrupt process in my opinion.  This is a real opportunity for Republicans to clean house.  Yet to do so they need to clean there own house.

Limbaugh IS wrong.  Reaganism is NOT enough.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #504 on: February 16, 2009, 12:20:55 PM »

May I ask you to take this to

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1748.0
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2792


« Reply #505 on: February 20, 2009, 02:44:46 PM »

HEATHER MAC DONALD
Nation of Cowards?
So says Eric Holder, but what’s really cowardly is racial dishonesty.
19 February 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder, a Clinton administration retread, wants to revive Bill Clinton’s National Conversation on Race. (What’s next? Hillarycare?) Holder recently told his Justice Department employees that the United States was a “nation of cowards” for not talking more about race. “It is an issue we have never been at ease with and, given our nation’s history, this is in some ways understandable,” Holder said. “If we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.”

Is he nuts? Leave aside for a moment Holder’s purely decorative call for a “frank” conversation about race. The Clinton-era Conversation also purported to be frank, and we know what that meant: a one-sided litany of white injustices. Please raise your hand if you haven’t heard the following bromides about “the racial matters that continue to divide us” more times than you can count: Police stop and arrest blacks at disproportionate rates because of racism; blacks are disproportionately in prison because of racism; blacks are failing in school because of racist inequities in school funding; the black poverty rate is the highest in the country because of racism; blacks were given mortgages that they couldn’t afford because of racism. I will stop there.

Not only do colleges, law schools, almost all of the nation’s elite public and private high schools, and the mainstream media, among others, have “conversations about . . . racial matters”; they never stop talking about them. Any student who graduates from a moderately selective college without hearing that its black students are victims of institutional racism—notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of black students there will have been deliberately admitted with radically lower SAT scores than their white and Asian comrades—has been in a coma throughout his time there.

Education bureaucrats maintain an incessant harangue on white racism because they see the writing on the wall: most students are indifferent to race and just want to get along. If left to themselves, they would go about their business perfectly happily and color-blindly, and the race industry would wither on the vine. Thus the institutional imperative to remind black students constantly about their victimization and the white students about their guilt. Last month, the elite Phillips Academy at Andover proudly announced a student presentation on White Privilege: A History and Its Role in Education. Would the student have come up with such a topic on her own without the school’s educators deliberately immersing her in such trivial matters? Of course not.

But if Attorney General Holder is really sincere about wanting a “frank” conversation about race, he should put the following items on the agenda:

The American electorate. The country just elected its first black president. And it actually didn’t talk a lot about Barack Obama’s race during the election, thank heavens, because most Americans were more interested in the candidate’s ideas than in his skin color. There were undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of people who wouldn’t vote for Obama because of his race. I would guess that their average age was 75. There is no question that a great many geriatric Americans continue to harbor the rankest racism for blacks, but guess what? They’re not going to be around for much longer. Young people growing up in the last 30 years live on a different planet when it comes to racial attitudes—until the educrats start playing with their minds.

We might also talk about those legions of older, black Americans who have held on to their love of country and belief in its ideals, despite having been subjected to America at its worst. I have had the privilege to speak to many such individuals for my work, and they have broken my heart with their dignity and nobility. Rather than reflexively consulting professional race activists for insights into race in America, the media and politicians might for once seek some voices that contradict the mandatory “angry black male” trope.

Crime. Holder told his Justice Department employees that they had a special responsibility to advance racial understanding, according to the Associated Press. Uh-oh. Before and during Holder’s first stint at Justice, when he served as Clinton’s deputy attorney general, the department’s civil rights division specialized in slapping onerous federal consent decrees on police departments. Its assumption was that racial disparities in cops’ stop-and-arrest rates reflected police racism, not racial disparities in crime rates.

Before Holder and his attorneys revive that practice, they should study certain facts that remain taboo in the mainstream media. For instance, the homicide rate for black men between the ages of 18 and 24 is well over ten times that of whites. And disparities in other violent-crime rates are just as startling. In New York City, one of the nation’s safest large cities, 83 percent of all gun assailants were black during the first six months of 2008, according to victims and witnesses, though blacks make up only 24 percent of the city’s population. Add Hispanic perps, and you account for 98 percent of all shootings in New York City. The face of violent crime in cities is almost exclusively black or brown. That explains why someone might feel a sense of trepidation when approached by a group of black youths. That’s not racism; it’s the reality of crime. And it’s that reality that determines whom the police stop, frisk, and arrest.

Education. Commentators on NPR’s “black” show, News and Notes, recently groused about the lack of black policy experts on the Sunday talk shows but ignored the possibility that the education gap might have something to do with it. Blacks, they said, need to be twice as qualified as whites to get a job. Let’s look at the evidence. The black high school drop-out rate approaches 50 percent. On the 2006 SAT, the average score in the critical-reading section was 434 for blacks, 527 for whites, and 510 for Asians; in the math section, 429 for blacks, 536 for whites, and 587 for Asians; and in the writing section, 428 for blacks, 519 for whites, and 512 for Asians. America’s lousy showing in international math, science, and reading tests compared with Japan and Western Europe is influenced in large part by the low scores of blacks and Hispanics. If blacks and Hispanics performed at the level that whites do, the U.S. would lead all industrialized nations in reading and would lead Europe in math and science, according to a study published in the Phi Delta Kappan in 2005.

Likewise, after their first year of legal education, 51 percent of blacks labor in the bottom tenth of their class; two-thirds reside in the bottom fifth. Blacks are four times as likely as whites to fail the bar exam on the first try. Until such achievement disparities are eliminated, any allegations of racial discrimination in the absence of proportional numbers of black policy wonks—or law partners, chemists, engineers, or investment bankers—is absurd, especially when the nation’s elite institutions are doing everything they can to recruit black students, professors, and employees. Perhaps Holder could confront the stigma against academic achievement among many black youth, who deride studying and staying out of trouble as “acting white.”

The family. Closing the educational achievement gap will be difficult as long as the black illegitimacy rate is nearly 71 percent, compared with a white rate of 26 percent. Taxpayers foot the bill for this family breakdown—when fatherless children who never learned self-control and self-discipline disrupt classrooms and prevent other children from learning, and when the same fatherless children get sucked up into gang life and fail to connect with the world of work and responsibility. Many poor single mothers work heroically to raise law-abiding sons, but the odds are against them.

When communities resist an influx of Section 8 housing-voucher holders from the inner city, say, they are reacting overwhelmingly to behavior. Skin color is a proxy for that behavior. If inner-city blacks behaved like Asians—cramming as much knowledge into their kids as they can possibly fit into their skulls—the lingering wariness towards lower-income blacks that many Americans unquestionably harbor would disappear. Are there irredeemable racists among Americans? To be sure. They come in all colors, and we should deplore all of them. But the issue of race in the United States is more complex than polite company is usually allowed to express. If Eric Holder wants to crank up our racial preoccupations even further, let him at least do so with a full airing of the facts.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of City Journal and the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

http://www.city-journal.org/2009/eon0219hm.html?PHPSESSID=e20e3211f8c3ff75616537d0159ea8a3
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6085


« Reply #506 on: February 20, 2009, 03:13:58 PM »

What is the 'right' price level for housing?

It was propped up artificially by government policies.  The unrealistically high prices were unsustainable and led to the eventual and unavoidable collapse in home prices along with the end of residential construction, the layoffs of the workers, the rise of unemployment, the collapse of the securities markets, the fall of the banks and the economic depression world-wide - to put it lightly.

The Obama-Pelosi response:  We need to artificially re-prop up home prices.

Median price home in America is/was around 200k.  Should it be higher?  Should it be lower?  Which branch and departments of government should set housing price levels?  Maybe we could call Nixon's Price-Wage board back in...

Speaking of generational theft, who does this help?  I own homes but it doesn't help me either way.  My primary residence isn't for sale, so the eight-fold increase I've earned on paper just leads to eight-plus-fold increases in property taxes.  My rental properties can't be cashed out because of impending capital gains increases at the federal level and confiscatory taxes on the inflationary gains at the state level as well.  I can't even move out of state to avoid capturing that income in this state.

Do artificially high home prices help the young people who hope to branch off on their own and buy and live in at least as nice a place as they grew up in?  - NO!

Sorry I'm having so much trouble adapting to our new fascist-socialist system and they haven't even finished working on healthcare.  Soon you will have your heart stints specified by the people who picked our bridge gusset plates.  Good luck.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #507 on: February 20, 2009, 04:23:59 PM »

"It was propped up artificially by government policies"

good point


"Sorry I'm having so much trouble adapting to our new fascist-socialist system"

So am I.  Every day I keep hearing about one new goernment take over program after another.  Today was the one about they are going to monitor every mile to tax us.  I suppose the GPS systems will be tied directly into our credit cards so they can bill us that way like an EZPass card.

We will not be able to do anything without consent, without taxation, without political correctness.

Yet the disgusting hypocrisy of it all is the Left's criticism of the Bush administration for monitoring of people while looking for terrorists.  Yet they are happy to monitor us and control what they do as so long as it is within their view of correct behavior and "social justice".


Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #508 on: February 22, 2009, 11:10:51 AM »

Ike’s Not So Famous Second Warning
by Dwight Schultz

On Saturday January 17, 2009, during the Fox 4 0′clock news hour, Shepard Smith recalled the anniversary of President Eisenhower’s famous 1961 farewell address to the nation, but he only mentioned one of  Ike’s threat warnings, the one that reminded us to beware of the “Military Industrial Complex.” This warning came from a military man, so it’s been a turn of phrase that slobbers off the lips of suspicious lefty infants shortly after they’re forced to abandon the nipple and accept Marx.



So I shouted at Shepard, “What’s wrong with threat number two, you big beautiful blue eyed capitalist! What’s wrong with Fox News and your staff? There are only two warnings in that speech for God’s sake, if you’re going to honor a historical document maybe somebody could at least read it, and maybe for once in almost fifty years remind us of Ike’s second warning: “…that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” Does anything come immediately to mind when you read that?  Ike goes on, “…Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.” And, “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present - and is gravely to be regarded.”

Do you think Ike was warning us that politicians like Al Gore and Barack Obama could cuddle with the scientific technological elite alike and, oh, I don’t know, maybe get behind Obama’s plan to tax your breath?  Do you think that perhaps some time in the near future you might not be considered a person but a carbon footprint … does something like that sound  ridiculous?

Have you seen how fast Obama has placed environmental academic hysterics and socialists in positions of real power? Steven Chu, John Holdren, Carol Browner and others are there to see to it that every exhaust in your life is a financial event favorable to the government.  So how is it that one of Ike’s warnings became famous and the other a historical ghost note?

It’s really not hard to grasp.  Our educational institutions monitor and control historical information and also educate and train the future guardians of public discourse — the indispensable journalists we read, see, and hear every day. By definition both the media and our nation’s scholars digest information and parcel it out in what should be an honest and thoughtful way. They digested Ike’s warning about the military and saw fit to warn us 10 billion times that the military is bad and needs to be feared and pushed off campus. They digested Ike’s warning about universities, scholars, federal money, science and policy, then gave it to Helen Thomas to scatter on some hot house tomatoes in the Nevada desert. It doesn’t get any simpler.

Think about this: How many times have you heard that the debate over anthropogenic global warming has ended?  When and where was this debate? The mere recitation of the words, “the debate has ended” closed the discussion without you having ever heard it because, get it! It’s ended! Get It! Neat trick! Gore says the debate has ended….McCain says the debate has ended…Obama says the debate has ended …Hanson says the debate has ended, and no one in the media wants to ask, “What debate?” When? Where?  Was there a scientific or political debate… or, God forbid, both, and who was for and who was against?

Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth,” has by now been proven to be almost a 100% big fat lie, and yet there is no media outcry against it or price for Gore to pay because he is supporting the scientific technological elite who want to hold public policy captive to the carbon tax that Socialists and Democrats have wanted since the 1992 Rio summit.

This is a clear example of years of liberal bias in protective favor of the university media structure. It just takes a lot of repetition and a strong ideological preference for saying: American military bad! American university good! CO2 bad! Tax our breath! Raise the tuition! Kick the Marines off campus! Long live man made global warming and the tax dollars we shall inherit from it. STING shall be our band and “Every Breath You Take” shall be our song … revenue streams for eternity.

Repeat after me this slogan … or, if you would rather stick this on the backside of your transportation vehicle , please do and remember, paying higher taxes is patriotic, so breathe baby, breathe for your country, just don’t breathe behind our back and not let us see you, ‘cause we’re talk’n money now, baby! The debate has ended!

…Hmmm?

Warning number two? What warning? Oh, you mean the military thing? We’ve taken care of that. Here’s Matt Damon’s number, he’ll tell you all about it. He went to Harvard you know. Remember, be upscale, don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh, breathe! And did I tell you to pay your taxes and act patriotic, especially when they’re going up?

Gotta run, I’m meeting Tom Daschle, Laurie David, Tyrano-Soros and secretary Geithner for lunch.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #509 on: February 25, 2009, 10:24:48 AM »

Lincolnesque he certainly is not.  Clintonesque he certaily is.  No wonder when he has an army of the Clinton gang advising him.

When I heard this statement I had to turn him off last night:

"Not because I believe in bigger government - I don't."

What a bold faced lie.

Clinton tried to con us with the same story.  Most of any of his government cuts were military related.

Now BO, the most liberal guy out there with a history drenched in support of goernment programs, who recently signed on to the largest government spending bill in history, with loads of support for big government political programs has the nerve to stand up there and state this.

I know of no evidence wherein Abe ever made this kind of phoney statement to Americans.

And as predictable the Dem talking heads are and will continue to be out in droves,
"oh he said everything he had to"
"he was marvelous at going out of his way to alleviate our fears"
" he laid out his agenda parcel and post"
"he was reassuring to all Americans"

Despite a record of trashing American values and for the last month doing the opposite.

Do others see this is just me?

 
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #510 on: February 25, 2009, 12:41:52 PM »

Everyone but the kool-aid drinkers see it. This is why the market continues to spiral downward.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #511 on: February 25, 2009, 01:02:48 PM »

If America and the American Creed are to survive, those of us who still "get it" must stand strong and make the case.  When others lose their heads, we must keep ours and make the case.    The gathering clusterfcuk will cure a lot of people of believing in the liberal fascist tooth fairy-- we must be able to show that we saw what was happening, called it, and stood by our principles-- and show them the way to apply them to our situations.

I hope this forum contributes to our cause.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #512 on: February 25, 2009, 01:15:11 PM »

"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."
  --  Winston Churchill
Logged
Chad
Power User
***
Posts: 103


« Reply #513 on: February 25, 2009, 06:38:55 PM »

Awesome reply to the BHO speech by a supporter: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-219930

Worth watching in it's entirety, pretty good rant- I could go with about 75% of it. esp. nuclear power.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6085


« Reply #514 on: March 05, 2009, 12:57:12 PM »

I posted recently in "Islam in Europe" that Sweden will host the Davis Cup tennis this weekend versus Israel in Sweden's third largest city Malmo and allow no spectators due to Sweden's inability to provide security.  Imagine if you will the Super Bowl, World Series or the Masters golf at Augusta played without spectators.  What a sad state of affairs that would be.

Curious, I looked a bit into the history and demographics of Malmo which is on the southern tip of Sweden, just a bridge away from Copenhagen, Denmark - home of the Islamic prophet cartoon controversy.  From Wikipedia:

-
"By 1985, Malmö had lost 35,000 inhabitants and was down to 229,000. However, the toughest difficulties were yet to emerge. Between 1990-95, Malmö lost about 27,000 jobs, and its economy was seriously strained.

However, thanks to several government-funded projects, Malmö started to emerge as its current modern incarnation by 1995. Malmö has the highest proportion of individuals of non-Scandinavian extraction of any Swedish city. It remains a city of sharp social divide and high unemployment."
-

Reviewing this Swedish 'border' experience, they built an economy on government funded projects (stimulus bill), they offer free health care to anyone, whether you work or not, whether you paid in or not, whether you are a citizen or not, and now they have a massive population of non-Swedish speaking, non-Scandinavian people with high unemployment, high crime and total lack of security - so bad that they are unable to host a tennis match.

And we want to copy them.

As we Americans head full-force toward becoming a United socialist State in the western European tradition of powerful central government with free-everything guaranteed it is interesting to note that Sweden, Canada and France have since elected right-leaning governments that are unable to put the socialist-welfare toothpaste back in the tube.   - Doug

« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 01:01:08 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #515 on: March 05, 2009, 03:48:08 PM »

http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson030409.html
 
 
March 4, 2009
The Triumph of Banality
Obama didn't invent dishonesty in political discourse — but he has a talent for it.
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

One of the most tired rhetorical tropes in Washington starts with, “We must . . . ” In the age of Obama, this is now usually followed by “Get the cost of our health care under control,” or “Invest in the education of our youth,” or “Spend wisely.” Such promises usually devolve into pleas for more money. They rarely explore how we ended up in the first place with such severe crises in health care and education — and with trillions in borrowing to spend trillions more that we do not have.

The cost of health care is spiraling out of control, and not just because the proverbial evil “they” (fill in the blank: pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, medical corporations, trial lawyers, etc.) charge too much. Such profit-mongering entities may well gouge us, owing to a lack of competition, fear of lawsuits, or government mandates and interference. Yet the larger culprit is, of course, we the people. The cost of our health care is soaring because, to be frank, that health care is usually very good, and it does things routinely that almost no one else in the world contemplates — such as providing 83-year-olds with heart-valve replacements, 78-year-olds with hip and knee replacements, and those who drink, smoke, and are chronically obese with drugs and weekly doctor visits.

When I grew up in rural California in the 1960s, an obese uncle in his early 70s had “heart trouble.” That translated into some nitroglycerin tablets, and otherwise about the same regimen offered President Eisenhower after his in-office heart attack: Try to quit smoking, eat less, more bed rest — and good luck!

Forty years later, that same patient would have a bypass, and an expensive battery of medications and weekly follow-up doctor visits — and would make it not to 73 years old (as my uncle was when he died), but to 78 or 80, or even 90.

If we wish to get health-care costs under control, then we should at least be honest with the American people and admit that we are all paying a collective fortune largely for three reasons: (1) to keep functioning into their 60s those who drank, smoked, and ate too much and in a past era would have passed on at 60; (2) to give us all an extra three to five years of mobility and functionality after we reach 75; (3) to fit us up with IVs, feeding tubes, and respirators so that in our last six months of life we can die in a rest home or among machines and specialists in a hospital rather than in our own home with a few morphine tablets for pain and a bowl of soup with a straw on the nightstand.

My dentist warned me in 1962 to brush three times a day, since he could predict a depressing train of events to come for most of the more fortunate rural patients who could pay for his care: surely fillings in your 20s and 30s, hopefully caps in your 40s, maybe root canals and crowns in your 50s, and, unfortunately, false teeth after that. And now? We confidently expect all sorts of restorative dentistry and tooth implants to such a degree that the old common sight of a normal American middle-class fellow with a couple of missing teeth or even a shiny, crass glistening gold incisor is now the exception.

Again, health care is expensive because Americans, with some good reason, have decided that the ancient tragic view — we all age and break down, and pay for the sins of our 20s and 30s in our 50s and 60s — can at last be replaced by the therapeutic promise of vigor and health into our 80s.

What could be done? President Obama could try some honesty. Thus he might say, “We are spending hundreds of billions to keep us healthy, vital, and alive in ways unimaginable a few years ago. To keep our part of the bargain, we must then encourage the aging to remain active and working — and delay retirement. If we are living to 80 rather than 65, then surely we can start receiving Social Security benefits at 67 rather than at 62. What we save in postponed payouts can go to the greater cost of keeping us alive to 80.”

President Obama also promises historic new rates of high-school and college graduation. Again, he seems to think the present problem is the absence of money — as if brilliant, gifted, and motivated young people are ending up at McDonald’s rather than doing quantum physics because the bogeymen “they” raised the bar and didn’t give them enough college scholarship support.

More banality. The truth is quite different. First, too many of contemporary minority youth — the growing Hispanic and African-American underclass that may well soon make up 40 percent of our nation’s student body — for a variety of reasons beyond the government’s control (e.g., from inordinate patterns of illegitimacy; greater absence of two-parent families; above-average parental drug use, incarceration rates, and felony convictions; and a pervasive ethic of machismo that disdains “acting white” with your nose in a book), simply are not as competitive as other students in grade and high schools. In reaction, the good-hearted state, at the 11th hour of college entry, seeks to ensure an equality of result through affirmative action, set-asides, de facto quotas, and government subsidies. When poorly prepped minority students subsequently do not graduate from college at rates commensurate with other groups, the Left cries “racism” — and we are again back to asking for more money rather than a radical change of heart.

President Obama apparently cannot say, “Americans — each time you have a child out of wedlock, each time you take an illicit drug, each time you break the law or go to jail, each time you romanticize brutality rather than honor scholarship, each time you allege the racism of the others rather than look into your own soul, you do your own small part in ensuring that we might not educate your child as we should — no matter how many thousands of dollars we lavish upon him.”

Second, for all American youth, too much government money, not too little, is pouring into education. From some 20 years’ experience in higher public education in California, I have come to know a familiar student profile:

Age: 18–30
Units enrolled: 6–9
Residence: Still at home
Job: 20 hours a week at minimum wage to pay for car, insurance, video games, entertainment incidentals (but not rent, food, laundry, etc.)
Major: Either undeclared or changing
Goal: Return to school every other semester, work part-time, party, and put off becoming autonomous

Such students, in today’s grade-inflated university, are able to get Cs and Bs for F and D work, to cobble together state and federal loans, student work assistance, and grants — and to delay growing up while they sleepwalk through a largely therapeutic curriculum. Eric Holder may call us cowards for not discussing race more openly, but if he were to examine the current class offerings at a California public university, or read the syllabi of the courses, he would quickly discover that race, class, and gender are the common themes — an approach designed to encourage grievance and separatism, which consumes precious student hours at the expense of real learning in the liberal arts and hard sciences.

If President Obama is serious about education, then he might also remonstrate with universities to bare their books, keep their costs below the rate of inflation, mandate a cutoff of student support after four years, insist that the BA or BS degree be contingent on some sort of final exit examination, re-examine tenure — and invest in vocational and trade schools rather than continue subsidizing community-studies, sociology, education, and physical-education degrees. One brilliant plumber, gifted carpenter, or adept auto mechanic does more for the American economy (and our collective values) than a dozen 20-something sociology majors in progress.

All government officials talk of spending wisely, but they never tell us the true extent of their financial malfeasance. Imagine if last week, in his address to Congress, President Obama had said something like the following: “We must cut spending, since the borrowed money must come from somewhere. Either we print more paper dollars, and eventually ruin the value of our currency in the manner now common in Zimbabwe or Argentina; or we continue to borrow from the Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans, and therefore mortgage both our honor and our autonomy; or, in the manner of War Bonds during the Second World War, we will have to ask you all to forgo stocks, 401(k)s, and real-estate investments, and instead each month, as part of your patriotic duty, buy U.S. government savings bonds that garner almost no interest, to subsidize our nation’s lavish borrowing and spending.”

Only that way could we have an honest national debate on whether the proposed high-speed rail between Vegas and LA is worth making Americans soon pay $10 for a Big Mac; or whether federally subsidized community organizing justifies more begging for help from the Communist government in Beijing; or whether we would all like to accept 0.05 interest on our government bonds to finance the mortgage bailout of those in arrears on their home debt.

In short, for each word devoted to spending, we need one word of honest exegesis about “paying for it.”

For the last 20 years, all our presidents have talked much about health care, education, and spending, while saying little. Either they were not honest enough to tell us the truth — or they were convinced that, like children, we simply couldn’t handle it if they did.

©2009 Victor Davis Hanson
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #516 on: March 05, 2009, 04:40:31 PM »

Second post of the afternoon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIHz5tevLAw&eurl=http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1718.200

 http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2007/09/20070903-1.html
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6085


« Reply #517 on: March 07, 2009, 09:53:30 PM »

This belongs in music but it is political so I will enter it as a rant - a beautiful, beautiful rant.  The Obama-resistance movement now has a tune...

Hey Washington, It Ain't Your Money to Spend

http://www.4shared.com/get/90054955/bfbba3c/It_Aint_Your_Money_to_Spend.html

If the link doesn't work try the artist's website: http://kathleensings.com/

  Hey Washington ...

   IT AIN'T YOUR MONEY TO SPEND! ©

2009, Words by Steve Jones, Music by Kathleen Stewart

Don't spend my grandson's paycheck.
He's only two years old.
With Obama in the White House,
His future's bought and sold.
Stop this immoral spending spree.
Stop assaulting our liberty.
Let me help you comprehend:
It ain't your money to spend.

Born and bred for freedom.
Got me a lot of rights.
They're all but disappearing
Before your fiscal appetites.
You're taking the fruit of my labor
To give your next-door neighbor.
I'll say it from beginning to end:
It ain't your money to spend.

It ain't your money to spend.
You're acting like a bunch of jerks.
I'm the one who earned it.
I'm the one who works.
Your income redistribution
Doesn't jibe with the Constitution.
So I got a little message to send:
It ain't your money to spend.

You started a spending orgy and then,
You made me long for Georgie again.

You gave some cash to ACORN.
Those folks are so corrupt.
All the pork and all payoffs,
It makes me want to erupt.
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi,
The scariest folks since Bela Lugosi.
Let me help you comprehend.
It ain't your money to spend.

It ain't your money to spend.
You're acting like a bunch of jerks.
I'm the one who earned it.
I'm the one who works.
Your income redistribution
Doesn't jibe with the Constitution.
So I got a little message to send:
It ain't your money to spend.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #518 on: March 09, 2009, 12:14:15 AM »

By JAMES TARANTO
We never thought we'd say this, but former Enron adviser Paul Krugman has a pretty good column in today's New York Times. It's a tough criticism of the Obama administration but, unlike Krugman's hundreds of anti-Bush columns, it is not a rant. Krugman is concerned that President Obama is not treating the crisis in America's financial institutions with sufficient urgency:

Among people I talk to there's a growing sense of frustration, even panic, over Mr. Obama's failure to match his words with deeds. The reality is that when it comes to dealing with the banks, the Obama administration is dithering. Policy is stuck in a holding pattern. . . .
Why do officials keep offering plans that nobody else finds credible? Because somehow, top officials in the Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve have convinced themselves that troubled assets, often referred to these days as "toxic waste," are really worth much more than anyone is actually willing to pay for them--and that if these assets were properly priced, all our troubles would go away.
Krugman argues, somewhat counterintuitively, that the administration is inhibited by free-market ideology:

Officials still aren't willing to face the facts. They don't want to face up to the dire state of major financial institutions because it's very hard to rescue an essentially insolvent bank without, at least temporarily, taking it over. And temporary nationalization is still, apparently, considered unthinkable.
Krugman has a Nobel Prize in Economics, so we will leave it to others of comparable expertise to evaluate his diagnosis of and prescription for the problem. Politically, however, it strikes us that he is missing the bigger picture.

Podcast
James Taranto discusses Obama's skewed priorities.
Obama is a popular new president with a mandate for "change" and big partisan majorities in both houses of Congress. The public, quite understandably, is terribly nervous about the economy. If Obama had a clear plan for dealing with the current crisis--whether Krugman's or something along different lines--surely he would have little problem generating political support for it.

The problem is that the president's priorities lie elsewhere. Charles Krauthammer makes the point in his column today:

With our financial house on fire, Obama makes clear both in his speech and his budget that the essence of his presidency will be the transformation of health care, education and energy. Four months after winning the election, six weeks after his swearing-in, Obama has yet to unveil a plan to deal with the banking crisis.
What's going on? "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," said chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. "This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."
And as Reuters reports from Brussels, Emanuel isn't the only one saying it:

[Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton told young Europeans at the European Parliament that global economic turmoil provided a fresh opening. "Never waste a good crisis . . . Don't waste it when it can have a very positive impact on climate change and energy security," she said.
Blogress Ann Althouse, an Obama supporter, remarks: "What if George Bush or Dick Cheney had said something like that openly? It's the kind of line that people used to imagine Bush people saying in secret."

Obama is brazenly doing what the left accused Bush of: cynically using the first major crisis of his presidency as an excuse to pursue his own ideological agenda. But as evidenced by the lack of major terror attacks on U.S. territory since 2001, Bush at least did what was necessary to answer the immediate crisis. Even Paul Krugman acknowledges Obama has fallen short on that score.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #519 on: March 09, 2009, 10:45:23 AM »

second post of the day

"That [tyrannical government] power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?" --French historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

 
Are we the lobsters?
LIBERTY
"Most of us imagine the transformation of a free society to a tyrannical state in Hollywood terms, as a melodramatic act of violence like a military coup or an armed insurrection. [Alexis de] Tocqueville knows better. He foresees a slow death of freedom. The power of the centralized government will gradually expand, meddling in every area of our lives until, like a lobster in a slowly heated pot, we are cooked without ever realizing what has happened. The ultimate horror of Tocqueville's vision is that we will welcome it, and even convince ourselves that we control it. There is no single dramatic event in Tocqueville's scenario, no storming of the Bastille, no assault on the Winter Palace, no March on Rome, no Kristallnacht. We are to be immobilized, Gulliver-like, by myriad rules and regulations, annoying little restrictions that become more and more binding until they eventually paralyze us. ... Permitting the central government to assume our proper responsibilities is not merely a transfer of power from us to them; it does grave damage to our spirit. It subverts our national character. In Tocqueville's elegant construction, it 'renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself.' Once we go over the edge toward the pursuit of material wealth, our energies uncoil, and we become meek, quiescent and flaccid in the defense of freedom." --author Michael Ledeen
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #520 on: March 19, 2009, 02:01:23 AM »

The few times I've caught Glenn Beck he has seemed to me a mental mediocrity, but this is one great rant.  Maybe I need to give him another look:

http://www.youdecidepolitics.com/2009/03/17/video-glenn-beck-breaks-down-aig-bonus-scandal/
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #521 on: March 20, 2009, 09:21:58 AM »

American culture or whatever you want to call it is not something to be proud of anymore IMHO.
When the mainstream media is constantly calling BOs showing up on Jany Leno as a "historical event"  rolleyes all I can think is we have sunk to ever new lows:

"Obama tells Leno he was stunned by AIG bonuses"  rolleyes
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #522 on: March 22, 2009, 07:59:25 PM »

- Works and Days - http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson -

Thoughts About Depressed Americans
Posted By Victor Davis Hanson On March 20, 2009 @ 11:43 pm In Uncategorized | 156 Comments

 Why are so many Americans so depressed about things these days? It is perhaps not just the economy.

 I think the answer is clear: all the accustomed referents, the sources of security, of knowledge and reassurance appear to be vanishing. Materially, we still enjoy a sumptuous lifestyle in comparison with past generations—and the world outside our borders. America remains the most sane and successful society on the planet.

But there is a strange foreboding, a deer-in-the-headlights look to us that we may be clueless Greeks in the age of Demosthenes, played-out Romans around AD 450, or give-up French in late 1939—with a sense it cannot go on. Why? Let us count the ways.

1)   About Broke. The collective debt is simply staggering, $1.7 trillion in borrowing this year alone. $3.5 trillion is our annual budget, and by 2012 what we all owe will be well over $15-17 trillion. (No fears: the President promises to triple the Bush deficit, but by the end of his “first” term “halve” the deficit, as if tripling and then halving it is not increasing it.)

Today while President Obama railed against AIG bonuses (imagine damning the bonuses you signed into law to the execs from whom you took over $100,000 in campaign donations!)—the congressional budget office “found” another trillion or so dollars in anticipated deficits that Team Obama lost.

So after Obama, the next President will campaign on “I promise a $1 trillion annual surplus for eight years to pay off the last eight, so we can then start over paying off the old $11 trillion shortfall.”

The rub is not just that we are inflating—no, ruining—our currency. And the problem is still more than the fact that we are destroying the lives of the next generation, whose collective budgets will be consumed largely with health care for us baby-boomers, and interest payments on our debts. (If I get to be 87, can we keep asking 500 or so Chinese to put off false teeth to lend me their money for a hip replacement?)

I think instead the worst element is a sort of ill-feeling about ourselves, an unhappiness as we look in the mirror and see what we are doing to our dignity in this, the hour of our crisis.

We are starting to fathom that when times got iffy, we lacked the resilience of the proverbial Joads and the grit of that tough Depression-era generation, and certainly we seem different sorts from those who built and flew B-17s amid the Luftwaffe.

Instead, this generation has gone quite stark raving mad the last seven months, hysterical, and decided we would simply borrow, charge it, print money, blame, accuse—almost anything other than roll up our sleeves, take a cut in our standard of living, pay off what we owe, admit  that we lived too high on the hog, and find a certain nobility in shared sacrifice.

So again, here we are reduced to begging the Chinese to subsidize our life-styles, while 500 million of their own poor make their American counterparts of the lower classes here seem like well-heeled grandees.

2) Fides? We have almost destroyed the concept of trust: we don’t think there is any accuracy in AIG statements; don’t really believe GM will make it on its own,  or that Goldman-Sachs is honestly run.

All our icons—Ford, General Electric, Citibank, Bank of America—in a mere generation imploded by their own hands, and now we don’t have any real idea of what went wrong, and believe their captains don’t either.

When Barack Obama says the economy will soon grow at a 4.6 annual rate, I simply don’t believe him. I don’t believe Sec. Geithner’s reconstruction of when he knew about the AIG bonuses, or that he simply forgot to pay his payroll taxes.

If  Chris Dodd were to say that gravity exists, I could be sure we would float into the stratosphere. If Barack Obama said he was against renditions, I’d assume he had merely renamed them “transfers.” I do know that as we run up more trillions in debt the next four years, Obama will be in perpetual campaign mode with the same tired mantra “The Bush deficit mess I inherited” to screaming and adoring crowds.

3.) A Certain Coarseness. We also are wearied by a certain crassness in American society in ways we have not seen before—or at least since the mid-19th century. Sorry, I don’t want my President joshing about the Special Olympics on Leno. I don’t want him on Leno at all in his perpetual PR mode. I don’t want him drawing  out his picks for the final four on TV. I don’t want him paid for rewriting/revising/ condensing/whatever his earlier book while he’s supposed to be President, or ribbing Gordon Brown about his tennis game in patronizing fashion, or giving the British a pack of un-viewable DVDs after they, in exchange, offered a tasteful gift of historic importance.

I was always an advocate of informality, of casualness, but now when on a plane, in a restaurant, at Starbucks, I am struck by the rare well-dressed person who does not crowd. How odd the extra-polite woman, who conducts herself with charm and grace at the counter, or the gentleman who opens doors, says excuse me, and whose intelligent conversation I enjoy listening in on—like a dew drop to someone thirsting in the desert. In contrast, when the punk walks by, with radio blaring, mumbling obscenities, flashing the ‘I’ll kill you’ stare,” it all leaves me in depression.

Worse still, on the opposite end of the scale, is the master of the universe who elbows his way onto a plane while he blares on the telephone and blocks the aisle. I feel creepy after walking through an electronics store and seeing some of the video game titles and covers.

 In short, I don’t want to hear any more Viagra or Cialis ads, no more douche commercials—please no more talking heads about penises that are enlarging, hardening, stimulated on the public air waves.

The sum of these foul parts is smothering us. I don’t want to know that there is a new sex clinic opening in Fresno, or hear another ad about how I can skip out on my credit card debt, or that some sort of food is stuck to my intestinal walls like spackle and paste unless I buy some gut cleansing product.

At some point, we need to say enough is enough, and try to find some sense of honor and decorum in these times of crisis. My god, the entire country has become some sort of Rousseauian nightmare, as if the Berkeley Free Speech Area circa 1970 is now the public domain, as if the culture of the Folsom cell block is now the national ethos.

4) What is good/bad? We are depressed and listless and angry also because I think that we fear we have lost all sense of calibration. We can’t tell what is good and what is god-awful. Where does a Paris Hilton or Britney Spears come from? What can they do? What determines a modern poem’s line break?

Is there any transcendence in the rap album of the month? A Marxist folk singer like old Peter Seeger always had more talent in his little finger than the sum total of Madonna. How did a modern-day Cleon like Barney Frank become the national spokesman of populist outrage against Wall Street.

One, just one, novel of a Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe even, is worth more than what has been written collectively in the last ten years. T. S. Eliot in a day could write better poetry than what has been composed in all the creative writing departments in the United States over the last twenty years—and we are going to give more billions under Obama to “education.”

At some point, again, we need to establish criteria of excellence, regardless of ideology, politics, or of fashion. We honor actors like De Niro and Pacino because we instinctively feel they are talented and are at least shadows of the old breed; a David Petraeus seems like a Matthew Ridgway come to save us in Korea.

We yearn for an ex-President Truman or Eisenhower—and instead get Jimmy Carter. David McCullough sells books because he is talented, can tell a story, is reliable, has a sense of what is the essence of history—and won’t lecture us about his own agenda at a conference on transvestites in the Union Army. I allow that a perpetual adolescent Sean Penn can act (sort of), but a Jack Palance or Richard Boone of the second-tier could exhibit more stage presence, more auctoritas in a split second of exposure than Penn could achieve in a month at the dais.

(5) Yes/No/Sorta/Maybe We sense we are trimmers and redistributors, and wouldn’t dare build a new dam a transcontinental railroad, a new 8 -lane freeway.

Instead we would sue, file reports, argue, quit, delay—anything other than conceive a majestic idea and finish it, sighing, “It is not perfect, but damn good enough and will do.” Instead, here in California we are simply destroying agriculture by drying up its sources of water-giving life—a once brilliant farming that was the sum total of millions of brave lives from 1880 to 2000 who took a desert and fed the world.

Instead, ensconced in the Berkeley Hills or Woodside, our elites demand of better others to save for them not people, but a smelt, a minnow, or a newt-like creature that must have the  entire Kings or San Joaquin River as it dumps its precious cargo out to sea.

So as scare snow melts, it goes out to the ocean, gratifying a lawyer or professor in Palo Alto that rivers flow as they did in the 19th-century, as millions of acres go fallow, hundreds of thousands lose jobs, and we feel so morally superior to those of the past who really were our moral superiors.

It is easy to dismiss our ancestors as illiberal, or with the caveat “Oh, but if we were as poor as they were, we’d have to prove just as tough”, but we still sense they were different in the sense of far better. When I drive up to see those Sierra dams poured in the 1920s, one wonders how they made such things with only primitive machines, and in contrast, are amazed with our sophisticated tools, we do so much less.

This self-congratulatory generation can hardly, as we are learning, build a Bay Bridge again. Yet when we see on the Internet pictures of a new aircraft carrier we are stunned in amazement—we did that? We built such a powerful, sophisticated ship? We—at least someone— can actually still do things on rare occasion like that?

The American people are, to be frank, nauseated by the archetype of a John Edwards, who never created anything other than a legacy of bankrupting doctors in order to enrich himself.  I’d prefer one gall bladder surgeon to fifty Botox experts, a good Perkins engine mechanic to 1,000 deconstructionists at the MLA, one competent chemist to fifty government attorneys.

For the present I think that we have enough social service bureaucrats, enough consultants, enough PhDs that will lecture  how race/class/gender has made us, our air, our dogs even, so unfair. We simply are thirsty for the unapologetic doer, who never says he’s sorry for himself or his country or his ancestors, but instead thinks and plans how he can build something better and leave it for others–the age old agrarian commandment “make sure you leave a better farm than you inherit.” Where are they all, in the grave?

We all seem to stare at the rare genius under a semi, working on the transmission, or someone on a catwalk riveting a girder, or a teacher who can wade into an unruly class and say “damn it, we are going to learn calculus one way or another”.

My complaint against Hollywood actors is not that they are talentless, though many are; or that they talk in the same tones as women did sixty years ago, but that they have no imprint, no trademark of individuality. In short, to paraphrase Orwell, “If it paid better, they’d be fascists.”

I think we responded to Mickey Rourke’s brief renaissance, not because he survived while being drug-addled, or was punched out, or reckless, but because he showed, as a torn-cat, a certain dignity, a certain courage of being so very different from the norm. Yes, at this point we are so desperate for talent and singularity we will take eccentricity bordering on nihilism. 

So there you have this rant.

Why are Americans hesitant, bewildered after the arrival of the Messiah?

Not for the reason our President attests about high unemployment or shaky GDP or the lack of national health care.  We simply are ashamed of our profligacy; we don’t trust those who should be trusted; we put up with the crass and honor the mediocre and ugly; and we fight and bicker over the distribution, never over a share in the creation.

Hope and change, indeed.

Article printed from Works and Days: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/thoughts-about-depressed-americans/
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #523 on: March 22, 2009, 09:05:24 PM »

GM, that piece is very thought provoking to me.  After the worst ten years of my life watching everyone around us willing to take bribes to rob us of Katherine's music lyrics I no longer have much appreciation for humanity in general.  When it comes to money people are truly a disappointment to say the least.  The phrase, "everyone has a price" is if not completely true than nearly so from what I have seen.  Like one of the victims of the ponzi scheme of the guy who crashed his plane in Florida said, "I have never witnessed this level of dishonesty in my whole life, I at the age of 51 (now) can certainly relate.  Only my expereince was and still is 100 times worse.  Friends, family, neighbors, young, old white, black, Latino, mothers, fathers, it made no difference.  When it came to money, or getting back stage passes, or getting in on the easy action any concern for me or my wife with any common decency, respect, fairness, or the usual politeness went right out the window.

All I can say when one experiences such inhumanity one starts to ask questions that have probably been asked for thousands of years by millions throughout the history of mankind.

I have often been questioning myself and wondering if it is "this generation" or just that we know more about ouselves, and more about the human race than we ever did that seems so depressing?

I am not sure.  Surely there were terrible people before.  Just look at the slavery, the butchery, the inhumanity throughout history.
Did anyone else catch the show on Nat Geo - Washington unbuckled - George W. - no not this one - the original one - George Washington had a child from a slave.  As did (we all know now, Thomas Jefferson).  Woodrow Wilson's second wife fooled the entire country for months about the real condition of the Pres after he had a devastating stroke so that he and she would not have to relinquish power to the VP.  Calvin Coolidge was supposedly caught in the closet with a teenage girl.  Franklin Roosevelt we now know had his girlfriend(s), while so did Eleanor have hers and maybe a male military officer to boot ("bi" - i guess?).  John Kennedy not only had steady streams of hookers but one who was probably an East German spy.  Herbert Hoover who appeared to have a file on every politician in Washington got Kennedy off the hook in return for continuing on as FBI chief.  Similar extortion scams with dirt on every important person within the beltway kept him as the head of the FBI for 47 years.

So in context, what Clinton did was really not such a big deal.  Yet, it is a big deal. It is a big deal when our leaders and the system they work in are and is so corrupt.   Maybe it just isn't new.  It's just that it is in our faces all day long now.  Maybe it's not that *this* generation is any worse then those previous.  I don't know really.  I am just trying to figure it all out.  Like victoms of the Jewish, Turkish, Cambodian, Rwanda, Ukranian, holocausts, the 60 or 70 million that died in the two World Wars, the millions of Balcks who were slaves, for 300 years and second class citizens for another 100.  Of course I can go on but you see the point.

The greatest generation also was segregated.  The generation before them drove the Indians off the map.  The generation before them treated those of another race as animals

McCain was right about campaign finance reform.  Republicans ciritized him and mocked him.  Why because they had the edge in fundraising.  Not because of any idealistic beliefs.

The truth is all our leaders appear to be spending too much time fundraising.  And having to do so because campaigns are expensive.  Advertising rips them off.  And thus they almost have to accept money.  How could they not become corrupt.

Surely this is not new.  Surely those before us were not all saints (except my father).

That said - I just can't decide if it is this generation - or - humanity in general.

I guess I digress.

 

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #524 on: March 23, 2009, 08:05:46 AM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeYscnFpEyA&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fhotair%2Ecom%2Farchives%2F2009%2F03%2F18%2Fred%2Dmeat%2Dangry%2Dguy%2Ddressed%2Das%2Dfounding%2Dfather%2Dcalls%2Dfor%2Dmarch%2Don%2Ddc%2Dor%2Dsomething%2F&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKFKGrmsBDk&feature=related
« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 08:15:17 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #525 on: March 24, 2009, 10:11:23 AM »

Watching for a few minutes (all I can stand) BO on 60 minutes leaves me with the impression this is guy maked Clinton't narcissm look mild.  But Clinton didn't come off as pompous and arrogant as this guy.  Plus Clinton was more of a realist while this guy is a true idealogue.  One can see the more power this guy gets, seizes, the more euphoric he appears.  He is in my opinion far more dangerous to this country and the world than Jimmy Carter:

OPINION: DECLARATIONS MARCH 20, 2009 Neither a Hedgehog Nor a Fox The unbearable lightness of Obama's administration.By PEGGY NOONAN
He is willowy when people yearn for solid, reed-like where they hope for substantial, a bright older brother when they want Papa, cool where they probably prefer warmth. All of which may or may not hurt Barack Obama in time. Lincoln was rawboned, prone to the blues and freakishly tall, with a new-grown beard that refused to become an assertion and remained, for four years, a mere and constant follicular attempt. And he did OK.

Such impressions—coolness, slightness—can come to matter only if they capture or express some larger or more meaningful truth. At the moment they connect, for me, to something insubstantial and weightless in the administration's economic pronouncements and policies. The president seems everywhere and nowhere, not fully focused on the matters at hand. He's trying to keep up with the news cycle with less and less to say. "I am angry" about AIG's bonuses. The administration seems buffeted, ad hoc. Policy seems makeshift, provisional. James K. Galbraith captures some of this in The Washington Monthly: "The president has an economic program. But there is, so far, no clear statement of the thinking behind the program."

 
Associated PressThis in part is why the teleprompter trope is taking off. Mr. Obama uses it more than previous presidents. No one would care about this or much notice it as long as he showed competence, and the promise of success. Reagan, if memory serves, once took his cards out of his suit and began to read them at a welcoming ceremony, only to realize a minute or so in that they were last week's cards from last week's ceremony. He caught himself and made a joke of it. One was reminded of this the other day when Mr. Obama's speech got mixed up with the Irish prime minister's. Things happen. But the teleprompter trope has taken off: Why does he always have to depend on that thing?

There is a new Web site where the teleprompter shares its thoughts in a breathless White House diary. It's bummed that it has to work a news conference next week instead of watching "American Idol," it resents being dragged to L.A. in Air Force One's cargo hold "with the more common electronic equipment." It also Twitters: "We are in California! One of the interns gave my panels a quick scrub and I'm ready to prompt for the day." And: "Waiting for my boss's jokes to get loaded for Leno!"

More Peggy Noonan
Read Peggy Noonan's previous columns.

And click here to order her new book, Patriotic Grace.The fact is that Mr. Obama only has two jobs, but they're huge. The first is to pull us out of an economic death spiral—to save the banks, get them lending, fix the mortgage mess, address unemployment, forestall inflation. TARP, TALF, financial oversight and regulation of Wall Street—all of this is enormously complex, involving questions of scale, emphasis and direction. All else—windmills, green technology, remaking health care—is secondary. The economy is the domestic issue now, and for the next three years at least.

So one wonders why, say, the president does not step in and insist on staffing the top level of his Treasury Department, where besieged Secretary Tim Geithner struggles without deputies through his 15-hour days. Might AIG and the bonus scandals have been stopped or discovered sooner if Treasury had someone to answer the phones? Leadership is needed here. Not talkership, leadership.

Mr. Obama's second job is America's safety at home and in the world. Dick Cheney this week warned again of future terrorism and said Mr. Obama's actions have left us "less safe." White House press secretary Robert Gibbs reacted with disdain. Mr. Cheney is part of a "Republican cabal." "I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy." This was cheap.

A journalist, watching, said, "They are like two people fighting over a torn bag of flour." It may be hard cleaning it up.

Mr. Cheney's remarks, presented in a cable interview, looked political and were received as partisan. The fact is he was wrong and right, wrong in that a subject so grave demands a well documented and thoughtful address. It's hard to see how it helps to present crucial arguments in a cable interview and in a way that can be discounted as partisan. Nor does it help to appear to be laying the groundwork for a deadly argument: Bush kept us safe, Obama won't. It is fair— and necessary—to say what the new administration is doing wrong, and to attempt to correct it, through data and argument. The Bush administration made a great point of saying, when they were explaining what U.S. intelligence is up against, that the challenges are constant and we only have to be wrong once, fail once, for the consequences to be deeply painful. What the Bush administration was doing, in part, was admitting that they might be in charge when something happened. The key was to remain focused and vigilant. This is still true.

But Mr. Cheney was, is, right in the most important, and dreadful, way. We live in the age of weapons of mass destruction, and each day more people and groups come closer to getting and deploying them. "Man has never developed a weapon he didn't eventually use," said Reagan, without cards, worrying aloud in the Oval Office.

What can be used will be used. We are a target. Something bad is going to happen—don't we all know this? Are we having another failure of imagination?

A month ago FBI Director Robert Mueller, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, warned of Mumbai-type terrorist activity, saying a similar attack could happen in a U.S. city. He spoke of the threat of homegrown terrorists who are "radicalized," "indoctrinated" and recruited for jihad. Mumbai should "reinvigorate" U.S. intelligence efforts. The threat is not only from al Qaeda but "less well known groups." This had the hard sound of truth.

Contrast it with the new secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, who, in her first speech and testimony to Congress, the same week as Mr. Mueller's remarks, did not mention the word terrorism once. This week in an interview with Der Spiegel, she was pressed: "Does Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pose a threat to your country?" Her reply: "I presume there is always a threat from terrorism." It's true she didn't use the word terrorism in her speech, but she did refer to "man-caused" disasters. "This is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear."

Ah. Well this is only a nuance, but her use of language is a man-caused disaster.

Our enemies are criminals, and criminals calculate. It is possible they are calculating thusly: America is in deep economic crisis and has a new, untested president. Why not move now?

Mr. Obama likes to say presidents can do more than one thing at a time, but in fact modern presidents are lucky to do one thing at a time, never mind two. Great forces are arrayed against them.

These are the two great issues, the economic crisis and our safety. In the face of them, what strikes one is the weightlessness of the Obama administration, the jumping from issue to issue and venue to venue from day to day. Isaiah Berlin famously suggested a leader is a fox or a hedgehog. The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing. In political leadership the hedgehog has certain significant advantages, focus and clarity of vision among them. Most presidents are one or the other. So far Mr. Obama seems neither.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #526 on: March 25, 2009, 04:30:09 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94lW6Y4tBXs
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #527 on: March 26, 2009, 12:26:59 AM »

Obama to redistribute Super Bowl trophies

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Updated: March 32, 2009

Steelers to loose Super Bowl Trophies

The Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, the only team to win six titles, will soon be loosing half of those trophies. After a meeting between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and President Barack Hussain Obama, Obama decided to redistribute half of their Steeler Super Bowl victories and trophies to less fortunate teams in the league.

"We live everyday in the country that invented the Super Bowl." said Obama "We are not about to lose this Great American tradition in the wake of these difficult times." Obama’s plan calls for the Steelers, who are a successful NFL team, to give half of their Super Bowl trophies to teams that are not successful or have not been as successful as the Steelers. "The Detroit Loins are just as much a part of the same fiber of the NFL as the Steelers and they should, no rather will, be entitled to a Super Bowl Trophy as well." Obama explains in his plan that he has imposed on Goodell and the NFL.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who by virtue of hard work, excellent team play, stellar draft choices, responsible investing of free agents, careful hiring of coaches and excellent community service and commitment to their fans, has prospered greatly during the past 30 years and have won six Super Bowl Trophies. But President Barack Hussain Obama’s plan calls for the Pittsburgh Steelers to carry the larger burden of the NFL’s less successful teams. Obama went on to further proclaim, "In these difficult times we are all in this to work together. We must reclaim the NFL Championship Dream for every team, for every city and for every fan."

"My plan will not affect 31 of the 32 teams in the league." Obama assures. That’s over 95 percent of the teams in the NFL will not have to worry about loosing any Super Bowl Trophies. "The worst teams in the NFL and the teams that can’t seem to get a break and win a championship will no longer have to worry about going without a title." Obama promises. "We are a country and league of hope. We all need to make a change. It does not matter the color of the teams uniforms, the personal decisions that the teams make or their performance but rather if they are a member of this great American league."

The Super Bowl XLIII trophy will be redistributed to the 0-16 Detroit Lions. Through no fault of their own incompetence, the Lions could not manage a victory all season and this trophy will help ease the pain of their lack of performance and give them hope once again. The redistribution of Super Bowl XL trophy will go directly to the Steeler’s division rival the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals who also have fallen on hard times have never won a Super Bowl. This victory will bring a smile to hundreds of Bengal fans all over the world as they can now celebrate. Finally, one of the Steeler’s two Super Bowl victories over the Dallas Cowboys will go back to the Cowboys since the league needs to provide hope in the face of difficulty and provide hope in the face of uncertainty. This is a heavy burden for the Steelers but together we can all prosper.

All hope is not lost for Pittsburgh fans, Barack Hussain Obama has another plan in place. Obama has meet with MLB and commissioner Bud Selig on a similar plan. The New York Yankees will redistribute two of their world series trophies to the Pittsburgh Pirates as a supplement to their loosing 16 straight seasons and counting. This plan will help stimulate the Pirates and enable them to regain the American Dream. Barack Hussain Obama will be meeting with the NHL and Michael Phelps in the upcoming weeks as this issue is high on his agenda for "Hope and Change."
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #528 on: March 26, 2009, 05:45:29 PM »

Emanual made hundrds of thousands for sitting on a board and doing little.  It is amusing how we hear over and over again how board members are asleep at the wheel. Well what the heck does anyone expect.  Some of these boards pay their "members" ridiculous sums for almost no work.  What do they do go and sit at a meeting once a month for hundreds of thousands a year.  If these are not payoffs than what is?

Folks they are all stealing at the top.  Some of these board members are essentially stealing.  Because they can.  It is like asking the foxes to guard the hen house.

I am not going to lose sleep over these guys/gals who are getting scrutiny. 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/obama/chi-rahm-emanuel-profit-26-mar26,0,5682373.story
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


VDH
« Reply #529 on: March 29, 2009, 11:52:10 PM »

http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson032809.html
 
March 28, 2009
The Ugly — Part Two
by Victor Davis Hanson
Pajamas Media

After outlining some “bad” trends — the conservative abandonment of budgetary restraint, the new liberal-Wall-Street nexus, the rise of therapeutic excuse-making for substandard behavior — I now offer three “ugly” trends. These are not merely bad, but sort of creepy as well. Don’t despair — I’ll end with some good developments on the next posting.

I) The Corruption of the Press. We have no media — at least as we once knew it. Somewhere in late 2007, it disappeared entirely, and became something akin to the old Pravda, or the livelier Baghdad Bob’s broadcasts, or the rants of Lord Haw-Haw. (We got everything from Judith Warner about the dreams of women having sex with Obama to “I felt this thrill going up my leg” Chris Matthews).

For the short-term thrill of ensuring the coronation of Barack Obama, it gave up all hard-won standards of journalistic objectivity — so much so that it is hard to adjudicate whether the rise of the Internet alone, or the clear bias of the print media, has nearly destroyed the newspaper industry.

Few any longer connect with a Newsweek editorial, a Time essay, a riff from NPR, or commentary on PBS. The front pages of the New York Times or Washington Post are op-eds in thin disguise. The faculty of the Columbia School of Journalism is not objective. We live in an age of affluent, rather inbred ironists who punch in at the Ministry of Truth, and the result is that about half of the population still wakes up every morning and sighs when they turn on the television, listen to the radio news, or read the newspaper, “He’s lying” or “She’s biased”. The utopian ends of social egalitarianism for the new media lords justified the tawdry means of distorting reality.

Now we have those in Congress talking about saving the newspapers by making them “non-profit,” tax-free entities that will drop political endorsements! That rather insane notion would have three deleterious effects:

1) The papers would become even harder one-sided and Left, once market forces were eliminated and the now soon to be unemployed could find federal media tenure doing, at best, what NPR does, and, at worst, having a sinecure at something public, but analogous to Air America. Oh yes, crede mihi, tax-free newspapers will be very biased.

2) A quasi-public print media will become even more incompetent. Think a very big DMV newsletter. Or perhaps a sort of tax-free sinecure for high-paid federal employees who make more at less stress than their private counterparts. Imagine a tax-exempt, quasi-public New York Times, running telethons, praising their public service investigatory work, begging for donations as they sell cups, plates, hats, etc., with scads of G-15 employees manning the phone banks on money-raising day, a Bill Moyers or senior journalist like Marvin Kalb extolling the courage of the new Times.

3) More fossilization of the economy. Not all the harness-fabricators morphed into tractor producers, but in our new wisdom all newspapers will become — what? I simply don’t know. We are trying to ossify American society at about 1965 in the age of LBJ, as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid prove to be the most reactionary politicians in a half-century.

In the meantime, we are beginning to see that the media is about to add humiliation to its moral failure, as it grasps that once you worship a Messiah, you cannot leave the cult. Mr. Obama tolerates no dissent among the believers. The recent Obama press conference showed what happens to the shunned New York Times or Washington Post once you even consider climbing over the fence of the compound. What were these sycophants thinking as they watched Obama produce all sorts of bogus figures in assuring that tripling the deficit, then halving it will translate into lessening the present red-ink? Again, imagine a sequel to the Wizard of Oz, where everyone goes on thinking that the floating image on the screen with the smoke really is Oz, despite seeing the tiny man behind the curtain with his hands busy with the levers. The media knows what they’ve become, and already have seen the flip side of their one-eye Jack — and is now trapped in culthood.

II) Universities. Uglier still is what is going on in universities. Higher education in the humanities has devolved into a sort of indoctrination/reeducation camp, on the following apologia: the corporation, the family, the church, the military, the government are illiberal. So in our precious, rare chance to have the nation’s youth for a brief four years, we the professoriate have to offset, balance, offer an antithesis to these dominant conservative cultures. So, presto, we cannot be biased since we the anointed are the corrective to the bias.

Science and math hold out (it’s hard to suggest a postmodern Pythagorean theory would pass muster, or houses could rest on ideological constructs of phallocentric power machinations), and still ensure America’s universities are world-class as the partisan, ossified humanities departments piggy-bank on the reputation established by others.

We sadly assume that the higher one’s office in the university — full professor to dean to provost to president — the more likely one has mastered doublespeak. There are no longer real contentious issues, there is only one correct all-encompassing ideology — America’s history is largely race/class/gender exploitation; gay marriage and abortion on demand are civil rights issues of our times; diversity and affirmative action trump disinterested examination of merit; greedy capitalists have smoked the planet for their limos and private jets; improving student “profile,” not demonstration of character and competence, ensures promotion.

The odd thing is that those who excel at all this don’t even seem happy about it. They are empty suits, proverbial ‘hollow men’ without belief who have about as much self-respect for their habitual falsity as the Wall Street guy at AIG who assures his investors his company’s liability is manageable. After all, you cannot make $100,000 a year for 9 months work, with lifelong ensured employment, full benefits, and no daily audit — and seriously believe that you are perennially manning the barricades at the tip of the revolutionary spear.

What might yet restore the university? Transparency would be a small start. Release the test scores, grades, etc. of those who are admitted (we can do that without the individual names). Suggest, in this new age of AIG-accountability, that those institutions that take public funds release full budgetary figures, not percentages, but real detailed expenditures. Cut public funding off for students after four years. Replace tenure with five-year renewable contracts. Have exit exams for graduating seniors (half might well flunk basic benchmarks for math and fundamental English).

As it is now, most colleges expect alumni to give blindly — assuming that they are to remain unaware of the nature of the faculty profile, the content of the curriculum, or the activities of the universities — on the premise that any would-be donor, had he known what his alma mater was up to, would not like to subsidize classes like “The poetics of the low-rider,” or faculty like Ward Churchill (most colleges have a few), or $50,000 and up paid out for a 45-minute “I hate Bush” rant by Michael Moore at the student union, or 139-5 faculty senate votes (like Saddam’s plebiscites) on extraneous issues like gay marriage. Yes, there is humor in higher education. Nothing is weirder to see a provost head-nod among a wacked-out faculty meeting, then put on a suit and rush off to a five-star restaurant to reassure an aging capitalist that the university is a steward of American values. It reminds me of Petronius’s description of Croton.

III) Europeanization. I don’t know quite what the allure of Europe is for the American Left. But it seems to be that more of us will soon all be working for the government, habitually striking, hunting out that rare capitalist in hiding for a shake-down, and bitching over our weary 35 hr. work week.

Yet without hardship, challenge, and hope, the individual dies daily. Once the government ensures that all your needs will be taken care of, from your teeth and joints to job and retirement, ennui sets in, and with it the cargo we see in Europe — pacifism, cynicism, the loss of transcendence marked by atheism and childlessness, and worry about what others have rather than what you aspire to.

A Dutch friend once asked me why we Americans work 2-3 jobs. I replied to leave something better for our children than what we inherited. He answered, “But why? They will be taken care of by the state.” But if one does not have a vision of building something big, a thing that will last, endure, or at least appreciating such audacity in others, then we will be sentenced to live crummy, little lives of punching in at the government clock, perennially worried that someone else has something marginally better in our view than what we were allotted. It’s like running a race in which the goal is that all the runners cross the finish line at the same time, corner-eyes fixed on each other, scared to death that some trouble-maker might bolt out ahead.

So strange (or not so strange, after all?) that the liberal impulse in postwar Europe led to millions living in nearly identical houses and apartments, driving the same sort of cars, thinking about the same (their parties are like the feuds and squabbles among the Democratic Party here at home), and exuding the identical teen-age petulance when events belie the gospel.

We can see what Europeanization leads to: you worship at the altar of the goddess Pax, but hate the United States for still having a military that saves postmodern you from premodern others. You praise diversity, but are terrified of unassimilated Middle East Muslims thriving in your midst, who unlike you, really do believe in something and it’s not Western liberalism. You praise openness and tolerance, but demonize anyone who questions orthodoxy, whether it be global warming or the efficacy of state redistribution. You rant about class and privilege, but live private lives of secret values predicated on status, aristocratic pedigree, and rank.

Europeanization is so at odds with human nature that it bifurcates it — a false public face, a cynical private one. (I used to love living in Greece, going to the beach in the summer as a student and seeing all these socialist public power, phone, water, bank, etc., vans parked as their left-wing employees “got away” for some downtime around 2 PM — or being told I could hire a public worker after hours for cash for a phone installation rather than wait 9 months on “the list”.) Marxist at the day-job, conniving entrepreneur in the night hours.

It seems that in just 60 days we are heading that way — fast. These gargantuan deficits will require the most insidious taxes (on everything, as in the age of Augustus) we have yet witnessed, to make up the soon to be $20 trillion national debt. Universal health care, college for everyone, government jobs will mean a vast array of technocrati and less-skilled overseers and guardians. Less defense, higher taxes, more social spending, bigger government will expand the public sector to such a degree that to dismantle it will result in the sort of European mass protests and strikes we see daily in Greece or France when a poor fool like Sarkozy thinks it could be 1950 again, and wants to head-off pension insolvency, or bring back a 40 hour work week to the subway drivers.

The one positive? Have any of you met a disenchanted European who emigrated to the States, or lives a life of near isolation in Europe? They are almost hyper-American in their free market and democratic zeal. So full of anger at what their nation under the E.U. has become, they appear nearly fanatical in their allegiance to the free market, merit, free-thinking, liberty, and Western traditions. I have met dozens and they are the most remarkably competent individuals that I have come across in my lifetime — sort of the last few with unsnatched bodies dodging the zombies of Europe. I only wish we would offer instant citizenship status for these highly educated, highly trained, highly motivated but disconnected Europeans. We could lure 20 million in one fell swoop if we offered fast-track legal American citizenship — and reap the technological and entrepreneurial dividends for a half century to come.

Next posting. The good — and there are lots of good developments. So don’t despair.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2792


« Reply #530 on: March 30, 2009, 05:06:58 PM »

Oh, What a Lovely Recession

Russ Smith
Left-wing redistributionists seize the moment.



Photo by aturkus

There’s presently a school of thought, mostly among the liberal intelligentsia, that the devastating recession has morphed from sheer panic to sour resignation throughout the nation. As a result, we’re now seeing the first wave of magazine and newspaper articles that assess the wreckage and grandly speculate upon the future of American society. This “first draft of history” is premature—in fact, the Las Vegas-tinged economy, where the rules are constantly changing, remains enveloped in gut-wrenching uncertainty—but I’m not an armchair sociologist with a sinecure at a prestigious university or think tank, or insulated by the downturn from inherited wealth or celebrity.

These pundits, left-leaning economists, and other designated “experts,” differ on the precise ramifications of the vanished “American Dream,” but the crux is similar: we’re entering a long, long era of reduced expectations and simpler way of life. Considering the sources—and academia is the epicenter—it’s not surprising that “Reaganism” is now a filthy word, Wall Street money-grubbers are and will be considered pariahs on the order of pornographers and ambulance-chasing lawyers, and high taxes are both necessary and desirable. An element of this commentary is the lingering resentment of the Bush years—the “stolen” election of 2000, Kerry’s loss in ’04, and the supposed philistinism of the former president—but the larger theme is, hey, we’re now in charge! Most of the writing expresses hostility to entrepreneurship and the commercial world, the belief that business, large and small, is somehow dirty, anti-intellectual, and brings out the worst in people. The underclass must be protected because it’s too fragile to be trusted to the greedy, corrupt upper class; a huge, benign government needs to steer such unfortunates in their private and professional lives.   

Typical of this paternalistic mindset is the cover story of April’s American Prospect, “Less is the New More: Why post-consumer America could be a better place,” written by Cornell University economist Robert H. Frank, an out-and-out exercise in wishful thinking that’s not uncommon among self-styled “progressives,” who, between the lines, believe that the current financial collapse will ultimately be recorded as a positive paradigm shift. In other words, to use the catchphrase from Martha Stewart, one of the discredited icons of the “greedy” culture that purportedly began with Reagan, the continuing economic crisis can be turned into “a good thing.”

A central tenet of Frank’s essay is the advocacy for a “steeply progressive tax on each family’s total annual consumption,” one in which, for example, a wealthy person would pay a 100 percent surcharge to the government if he or she adds a “$2 million wing to [their] mansion.” Frank writes that taxes in general will have to rise more than what President Obama has outlined in his exorbitant budget, although aside from the standard cry for bilking the richest Americans (the amount of revenue generated by this alone won’t begin to cover the administration’s wish-list of spending programs), he skirts around the specifics of tax rates for the less affluent. He also, curiously, calls tax hikes “the third rail of American politics,” even though Obama wasn’t shy about this issue during his campaign and still won the election convincingly. Besides, I thought tampering with Social Security reform was the “third rail,” as well as immigration reform and legalization of gay marriage; that sure makes a lot “third rails” in politics. But I digress.

Frank also has, in my view, a warped and condescending (not uncommon in his circles) sense of how Americans relate to each other when consumerism is considered. While he claims it’s not a matter of “keeping up with the Jones’,” he writes: “[traditional economic models] assume, preposterously, that an investment banker remains just as satisfied with his twin-engine Cessna even after learning that his Nantucket summer neighbor commutes to the island in a Gulfstream G200.” Talk about stereotyping. Frank’s “eat the rich” trope continues: “Even more striking gains would result from the [consumption] tax’s indirect effect on the expenditure cascades that have made life more difficult for middle-income families. If the rich spent less on housing, gifts, and other things, the near rich would spend less as well, and so on, all the way down.”

Translation: The United States is populated by envious sheep.

Kurt Andersen’s cover story in the current Time, “The End of Excess: Is This Crisis Good for America?” explores some of the same themes as Frank, absent the Father Knows Best hectoring. Andersen romps through life in America since the early 80s, the good and bad, opening his long article with the sentence, “Don’t pretend we didn’t see this coming for a long, long time.” That’s easy to say in retrospect, even if “The popular culture tried to warn us,” yet if you had polled a group of diverse Americans just one year ago, as the recession was starting to be felt, it’s very hard to believe that aside from a few stray Cassandras that many people, whether involved in finance, government, medicine, entertainment, media, charity work or education, would’ve have predicted the magnitude of this rotten economy.

In part, Andersen—successful novelist, journalist and talk-show host—is addressing his own crowd, especially with a paragraph like this one: “We don’t need to turn ourselves into tedious, zero-body-fat, zero-carbon-footprint ascetics, but even after the economy recovers, deciding to forgo that third car or fifth TV or imperial master bedroom or marginally cooler laptop will come more naturally.” On the whole, Andersen’s laundry-list article is by turns entertaining, astute and revisionist—although his donning of a hairshirt seems a bit false—but unlike the angry liberals who are gleefully projecting their own utopia of a strictly regulated, protectionist, Big Government, European-like (as if the U.K., Germany, France et al aren’t having their own problems) United States, Andersen is more reasonable.

Aside from the obvious (to all but the most left-wing) point that while storied institutions have failed or gone belly up in the past year, new entrepreneurs will take their place, to me, the key snippet in this piece is the key role that immigrants will play in America’s recovery. That is, if politicians allow this to happen. Andersen says, “The sooner we can agree on a coherent national policy to encourage as many as possible of the world’s smartest and most ambitious people to become Americans, the better our chances of forestalling national decline.”

Paul Krugman, on the cover of Newsweek now (in another cliché of more prosperous times, the Princeton professor, Nobel Prize winner, and New York Times op-ed columnist, is considered a “rock star” economist), isn’t as optimistic as Anderson. Then again, optimism isn’t in the man’s vocabulary. (I did enjoy the anecdote in Evan Thomas’ mostly puffy profile of Krugman, in which the Great Man says that he’s never met Obama and besides, at a press conference the President pronounced his name wrong.) Writing on March 27, Krugman longed for the days—even in the “go-go years” of 1960s bull market—back before Reagan when finance wasn’t glamorous but boring and small and “primitive,” when banks “attracted depositors by providing convenient branch locations and maybe a free toaster or two.”

Neat. Let’s return to the pre-ATM era, and, while we’re at it, that marvelous economy of the 1970s. The left doesn’t want to hear it, but once the recession does end, the country will need a fully-engaged, humming economy, and for that to happen it’s imperative that talented, business-oriented individuals lead the way. Government’s role is to be the umpire, not the shortstop, pitcher, and clean-up hitter all in one. It’s too early to tell whether Obama, at least if he wants to be re-elected, understands that the United States is a centrist country, and once the furor over AIG and TARP companies dies down, if he tacks to the left and embarks on a program of income redistribution, a Howard Jarvis-like populism will take hold and his “transformative” plans will be scuttled.

http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/oh-what-a-lovely-recession
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2792


« Reply #531 on: March 31, 2009, 11:21:08 AM »

An obscenity laced rant about emerging political buffoonery as well as buffoonery past:

http://reason.com/news/show/130522.html
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #532 on: April 01, 2009, 06:01:59 AM »

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell,

 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'

The character Howard Beale in the movie "Network"
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2792


« Reply #533 on: April 01, 2009, 05:34:12 PM »

April 01, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

President Obama’s First 70 Days
It really does all make sense.

By Victor Davis Hanson

In just the first 70 days of the new administration, a number of Obama supporters have expressed some dismay at their new president. Some find his ethically challenged appointments at odds with his soaring moral rhetoric.

Others lament his apparent inability to stir up supporters in impromptu speeches, at least in the manner he did with set oratory on the campaign trail. And they worry about his occasionally insensitive remark.

Many cannot quite figure out why, after lambasting George W. Bush for running a $500-billion deficit, Obama has outlined eight years of budgetary red ink that would nearly match the debt run up by all previous U.S. presidents combined.

But such disappointments should be tempered. Not only is Obama simply drawing on his past 30 years of education, writing, work, and associations, but he is also properly reflecting the worldview of many of those working for him.

What, then, is the mindset behind America’s new approach to domestic policy and foreign affairs?

If you believed that average Americans are not well educated, do not think in sophisticated and rational ways, and cannot be trusted to make good decisions, whether for themselves or for their nation, then you would expand the power of better-educated and wiser government overseers. This would ensure that, instead of millions of private agendas that lead individuals improperly, and at times recklessly, to acquire and consume, we would have benevolent and far-sighted powers directing our lives in ways that benefit the environment, the economy — and themselves.

If you believed that highly educated and sometimes distracted liberals occasionally slip on rather mundane questions of taxes, lobbying, and conflict of interest — but not at all in the felonious, premeditated manner of the corporate hierarchy — then it would be necessary to overlook such minor lapses for the greater good of marshalling talented and well-disposed experts into progressive government.

If you believed that socially minded liberals are tolerant and extraordinarily empathetic, then their rather impolite speech is not at all offensive. Constant disparagement of the previous administration, and jokes about fellow Americans — ranging from the physically or mentally impaired, to Nancy Reagan and her séances, to the stereotyped religion and culture of a clinging middle America, to the purported prejudices of a “typical white person” — are not insensitive, let alone callous. No, the evocation of these occasional infelicities reflects the tally-sheet of nitpicking right-wing agitators, keen to bring down a hard-working progressive sacrificing for the people.

If you believed that compensation in this country was intrinsically unfair — that income is arbitrary and quite capriciously rewards some while unjustly shortchanging others — then you would wish to hike income and payroll taxes on high earners to reach confiscatory levels so that a fairer government could correct the errors of an unfair market for the benefit of the many. Higher taxes on some, then, are not just a means of raising revenue, but an important redistributive tool of government to spread the wealth around.

If you believed that government does too little for the average citizen — that at present, with its unnecessary wars and perks for the wealthy, it cannot ensure everyone lifelong entitlement — then you would wish to double, even triple present federal expenditures. The key would be to borrow enough now to provide relief to the people first, and only afterwards to worry how to pay off the resulting deficit of $1.7 trillion. Once people are accustomed to the services they deserve, they will ensure that their representatives find the right revenue mechanisms to guarantee that such necessary benefactions continue. If you build programs to help the people now, the necessary taxing and borrowing for a $3.6-trillion budget will come.

If you had little idea of how businesses are created, how they are run, and why they sometimes go broke, and if you thought that the truly talented and sophisticated never go into business but instead gravitate to the Ivy League to be trained as lawyers, professors, writers, and organizers, then you would assume that our present problems are largely the fault of the former, and can best be addressed by putting as many of the latter in your government as possible.

If you believed that Main Street and Wall Street have little, if anything, to do with why publishers can afford to extend million-dollar book advances, or why the Ivy League has millions in scholarships for students, or why foundations, universities, and governments can afford to hire so many advisors, consultants, administrators, lawyers, and professors, then you would never really connect the conditions that promote good business with those that allow intellectuals, technocrats, and bureaucrats to thrive.

If you believed that those with capital have had an unfortunate head start, or have done dubious things that others less fortunate would not, then you would seek ways to forgive loans, to allow the indebted to start over with a clean slate, to ensure new borrowing with record-low interest rates, to lower or eliminate taxes on most people, and to expand in turn the financial help from the government — and not worry that stocks are down, dividends are nearly nonexistent, interest on deposits is at a record low, equity in real property has often disappeared, and accumulated capital is itself often diminished or insecure.

If you believed that the story of the United States is more a narrative of gender, race, and class oppression than of brave souls promoting liberty and trying to reify the promise of the Constitution, then you would have empathy for fellow victims of such endemic Western oppression. The cries from the heart we are hearing from Bolivia and Cuba, from Iran, Syria, and the West Bank, are not anti-American, much less illiberal: they are efforts to articulate the oppression that the people in those places have suffered at the hands of others.

While in the short run the once-victimized may need to be deterred in their anger from harming the United States or themselves, in the long run their legitimate grievances must be addressed through a variety of concessions, apologies, or dialogues in order to promote the general peace. That a Hugo Chávez calls Americans “gringos,” or Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva blames “white, blue-eyed” bankers for the financial mess, or that state-run Palestinian papers refer to Jews as “pigs and apes,” or that the Iranian president serially claims the Holocaust is a concoction of Zionists, is all an unfortunate rhetoric of the oppressed (in the same way Reverend Wright once referred to Italians as “garlic noses”), brought on by colonization and exploitation, rather than proof that a large portion of the world beyond our shores is run by racist — and rather loony — people.

If you believed that the traditions and customs of the United States are largely a story of the oppressed overcoming the perniciousness of the privileged, rather than the collective efforts of the many to stop tyranny, then you would talk about past oppression, past victimization, and past unfairness far more than you would evoke Shiloh, the Meuse-Argonne, or Iwo Jima.

If you believed that the United States is hardly exceptional, but merely one nation not all that different from others, then you would have confidence in the aggregate wisdom of the United Nations, and the cultural and economic paradigms provided by the nations of the European Union. 

If you believed that wars, crises, and international tensions are brought about by miscommunications, misunderstandings, and Western insensitivity, rather than by despots trying to advance illiberal agendas whenever and wherever they sense an opening, then you would blame past administrations for our present ills, with all their bellicose and retrograde talk of preparedness, deterrence, and pre-emption. You would grandly proclaim a new age of harmonious relations, and count on your rhetorical abilities and charisma to persuade past rivals and mischaracterized enemies that, at this rare but opportune moment, there are no real differences between us — and thus no reasons for future disputes.

In other words, if you believed as President Obama and many of his advisors do, then you would do what Obama and his advisors are now doing.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.
 

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YWI4ZDcwMzNiZmQ5MmQ4MzkwNjEyOGEyMGU3N2JmMjY=
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #534 on: April 09, 2009, 09:40:02 AM »

America The Patsy?
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, April 08, 2009 4:20 PM PT

National Security: Russia tells the U.S. not to worry about a nuclear Iran and not to punish nuclear North Korea. Fidel Castro wants to help the president, Russia's "new comrade." Are we being set up?

Some of the most obvious threats to life and liberty in the historical record were, at the time they were happening, vehemently denied by those in positions of decision-making.

Isolationists and pacifists believed that Hitler's imperialism could be appeased by territorial gains. During the early Cold War, American Soviet spy Alger Hiss' integrity was vouched for by U.S. officials reaching a level as high as future Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson and Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.

Those, such as Sen. Joseph McCarthy, suggesting that Hiss was only one of a massive group of Communist spies within the U.S. government were targeted (in McCarthy's case literally targeted for elimination by the CIA, as noted in Pulitzer-winning journalist Tim Weiner's book "Legacy of Ashes"), marginalized, even ruined.

M. Stanton Evans' 2007 book "Blacklisted by History" convincingly and meticulously exonerated McCarthy on most counts, but in other such episodes scholarly review has been unnecessary. Three decades of the ugly reality of Islamist revolution in Iran, for instance, have indelibly discredited the belief in 1979 by Andrew Young, the Carter administration's United Nations ambassador, that the Ayatollah Khomeini was "some kind of a saint."

Today, it takes willful blindness not to recognize Iran as the greatest threat to life and freedom in the world. Tehran is apparently now on the verge of announcing that it has mastered the final, most technically challenging stage of nuclear fuel production: the industrial-scale enrichment of uranium, which allows nuclear fuel to be generated in large quantities.

The Islamofascist regime in Iran has denied inspectors from the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency access to its Arak heavy water reactor, which could be geared to produce plutonium from spent uranium fuel rods.

Yet we heard soothing words this week from Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak.

"I don't see any threat to the United States coming from Iran anytime soon," he told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace — ironically, the organization Hiss was president of when Whittaker Chambers testified in 1948 that he and Hiss committed espionage together.

In a similar vein, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that "any threat of sanction" against North Korea in response to its Sunday launch of a multistage rocket over Japan, a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution, "would be counterproductive."

More talk for a regime possessing as many as eight nuclear warheads after it sends up a missile reaching twice as far as anything it has launched previously?

Clearly, Russia wants to lull us into complacency regarding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction among hostile regimes. Do Moscow and other adversaries of the free world sense an uncommon opportunity in the year 2009?

With an unprecedented financial crisis battering the West's economic system, and a man of the left in the White House, is Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's description of Barack Obama as "my new comrade" more than a clever sound bite?

Ailing Cuban dictator Castro, having granted an audience to members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday, seemed to share Medvedev's sentiment, asking, "How can we help President Obama?"

When longtime foes of the world's lone superpower behave in such fashion, it isn't because they've been converted to the cause of world peace; it is because they see a chance to change the dangerous global power game in their favor — and at our expense.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, always unguarded in expressing himself, claimed this week on a visit to Beijing that "the power of the U.S. empire has collapsed."

"Every day, the new poles of world power are becoming stronger: Beijing, Tokyo, Tehran," he said. "It's moving toward the East and toward the South."

Toward danger and away from security would be a more accurate description.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


VDH
« Reply #535 on: April 27, 2009, 12:05:37 PM »

Obama’s Foreign Policy Disasters

By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | 4/27/2009

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.



FP: Victor Davis Hanson, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
What report card would you give the Obama administration in terms of foreign policy right now? Why?

Hanson: An Incomplete that at the present rate will turn into a D/F if he is not careful.

Obama has confused a number of issues: intractable problems like North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, Islamic terrorism, etc. both pre- and post-dated George Bush; they present only bad and worse choices, and are predicated on different agendas of authoritarians that hinge on whether the United States can or cannot deter their regional megalomaniac dreams.

In the long-term, Obama's nontraditional heritage and charisma make little difference; on the other hand, serial apologies, "Bush did it", the "reset button" ad nauseam, trumpeting the "I was only (fill in the blank) when that happened" etc. have a brief shelf life, and achieve only a transitory buzz, similar to a Bono-celebrity tour.


He needs to cut out the messianic style, and realize that millions of brave souls, who invest at great danger in democracy, freedom, open markets, etc. around the world, count on an American President for moral support and guidance against a bullying Russia, Iranian-backed Hezbollah, Chavez's thugs, Castro jailers, et al.


When they see Obama's moral equivalence, they realize they are on their own and must cut their own deals to survive--understanding that multicultural trendiness is now a cynical cover for moral laxity and 'can't we all get along?' appeasement. So by all means smile and shake hands, but don't confuse that for tough diplomacy or protecting American global interests. Increasing the Bush billion-dollar deficit to $1.7, with another $9 trillion in additional aggregate debt will very soon curtail American options abroad, and our enemies are now waiting for opportune moments for exploitation.


FP: What danger does Putin’s regime pose to the West? What is your recommendation in terms of U.S. policy toward Putin? What mistakes has the new administration made so far in that department? For instance, in terms of the reset button fiasco, it means that the Obama team doesn’t even have a sound translator on hand. This is real grounds for worry, yes?


Hanson: We have three or four broad aims at this juncture: one, to ensure that former Soviet republics, which on their free accord sought integration with the West -- the Baltic Republics, Ukraine, Georgia, etc. -- are not forced back into a Russian Empire against their will; that Eastern European states remain autonomous and free to protect themselves from Iranian nuclear blackmail should they wish anti-ballistic missile protection; that Russia understands that there will be consequences if its technology ensures an Iranian bomb; and that Europe has assurances of support should Russia engage in energy blackmail—or worse.


Putin et al. know that their brinksmanship agendas were not predicated on Bush's smoke 'em out lingo; so to suggest Bush's tough talk, even if gratuitous in the first team, created crises where they otherwise did not exist, is absurd. Ms. Clinton—completely marginalized so far by Obama's obsessive need to bask in the pop-star limelight abroad—should know that. She has competent advisors; I cannot believe they really fall for the campaign mode nonsense that their sensitivity and diplomatic adroitness ipsis factis will translate into either friendship or better Russian behavior.

FP: The Obama administration apparently is set to give 900 million to Hamas. In other words, they want to give money to the Palestinian Nazi Party. What do you make of this? What must Obama do toward Hamas, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, etc? Do you think he will do it and/or is he even capable or cognizant of what is actually going on and what is at stake?

Hanson: I am very worried. Israel I think is alone now. The failed Freeman appointment, the historically puerile al-Arabiya interview (cf. e.g., Obama's praise of the good ole days, some thirty years ago, when Sadat was murdered, Khomeini took over, Saddam was flexing his muscles, Americans were routinely murdered, etc.) the Samantha Power appointment, the 'outreach' to Syria, the video for Iran, the Gaza/Hamas rebuilding, the tough behind-the-scenes lectures to Israel—all this bodes ill.


Does Team Obama really believe that a murderous autocratic cabal like Hamas is merely different from a democratic constitutional republic like Israel? At best we have naiveté at the helm (Obama thinks he can mesmerize misunderstood killers), at worst, a genuine feeling that Israel is an aggressive, Western imperialist power exploiting indigenous people of color who simply wish to be free--in other words, the Rev. Wright-Bill Ayers-Rashid Khalidi view of the Middle East.


FP: What did you make of Obama’s Chavez meeting and his new disposition toward Latin America? Perhaps it is time to try something new?

Hanson: Not really. We stand for open markets, free trade, personal freedom, human rights, and consensual government. Others like Castro, Morales, Chavez, and Ortega simply don't. Why would anyone any more believe these thugs, who justify their lust for power by the age-old mantra of "we suffer for the people", as they try to engineer an equality of result--through any means necessary, with all power and prestige going to themselves?

They will say anything to blame a successful U.S., to rationalize the self-inflicted misery and failure of Latin America. Shaking Chavez's hand is a minor lapse if that; but in aggregate, the continuance of the glad-handing, trashing the US, showcasing his racial solidarity, listening to Ortega's rant, photo-oping with thugs--all that does two things abroad: first, it undercuts brave democrats in places like Columbia and elsewhere in Central America; two, it sends a message to fence-sitters in more important states like Peru, Brazil, Chile, etc. that authoritarian socialism, not free-market democracy, is now the wave of the future, and so they better get with the new neighborhood–or else!

FP: What do you think is the greatest threat right now facing the U.S. , Israel and the West?

Hanson: We have three: one, we have mortgaged our options to the Chinese and other debt holders. By going into $20 trillion in aggregate debt we will cut our military, pull back, dress it up with utopian rhetoric, and cede huge areas of the globe over to regional autocracies.


Second, some are already prepping for the Iranian catastrophe to come, by talking of "containing" Iran, as if we have given up on embargoing, blockading, and other more severe 11th hour measures to stop a Khomeinist nuke. Once that happens the Arab Sunni states will rush to get a bomb, Israel will be periodically blackmailed as Hamas, Hezbollah, etc will be given Iranian nuclear assurance (acting deranged with your finger on the trigger is smart in nuclear poker). Add in al Qaeda that thinks there are now new rules in Washington that can be tested--and you have a recipe for a dangerous world. We seem to think that not being attacked since 9/11 was some sort of natural occurrence, or perhaps yet another government ensured entitlement.

FP: Victor Hanson, thank you for joining us in these tough times.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #536 on: April 30, 2009, 11:17:38 AM »

By ARTHUR C. BROOKS
There is a major cultural schism developing in America. But it's not over abortion, same-sex marriage or home schooling, as important as these issues are. The new divide centers on free enterprise -- the principle at the core of American culture.

Despite President Barack Obama's early personal popularity, we can see the beginnings of this schism in the "tea parties" that have sprung up around the country. In these grass-roots protests, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans have joined together to make public their opposition to government deficits, unaccountable bureaucratic power, and a sense that the government is too willing to prop up those who engaged in corporate malfeasance and mortgage fraud.

The data support the protesters' concerns. In a publication with the ironic title, "A New Era of Responsibility," the president's budget office reveals average deficits of 4.7% in the five years after this recession is over. The Congressional Budget Office predicts $9.3 trillion in new debt over the coming decade.

And what investments justify our leaving this gargantuan bill for our children and grandchildren to pay? Absurdities, in the view of many -- from bailing out General Motors and the United Auto Workers to building an environmentally friendly Frisbee golf course in Austin, Texas. On behalf of corporate welfare, political largess and powerful special interests, government spending will grow continuously in the coming years as a percentage of the economy -- as will tax collections.

Still, the tea parties are not based on the cold wonkery of budget data. They are based on an "ethical populism." The protesters are homeowners who didn't walk away from their mortgages, small business owners who don't want corporate welfare and bankers who kept their heads during the frenzy and don't need bailouts. They were the people who were doing the important things right -- and who are now watching elected politicians reward those who did the important things wrong.

Voices in the media, academia, and the government will dismiss this ethical populism as a fringe movement -- maybe even dangerous extremism. In truth, free markets, limited government, and entrepreneurship are still a majoritarian taste. In March 2009, the Pew Research Center asked people if we are better off "in a free market economy even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time." Fully 70% agreed, versus 20% who disagreed.

Free enterprise is culturally mainstream, for the moment. Asked in a Rasmussen poll conducted this month to choose the better system between capitalism and socialism, 13% of respondents over 40 chose socialism. For those under 30, this percentage rose to 33%. (Republicans were 11 times more likely to prefer capitalism than socialism; Democrats were almost evenly split between the two systems.)

The government has been abetting this trend for years by exempting an increasing number of Americans from federal taxation. My colleague Adam Lerrick showed in these pages last year that the percentage of American adults who have no federal income-tax liability will rise to 49% from 40% under Mr. Obama's tax plan. Another 11% will pay less than 5% of their income in federal income taxes and less than $1,000 in total.

To put a modern twist on the old axiom, a man who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart; a man who is still a socialist at 40 either has no head, or pays no taxes. Social Democrats are working to create a society where the majority are net recipients of the "sharing economy." They are fighting a culture war of attrition with economic tools. Defenders of capitalism risk getting caught flat-footed with increasingly antiquated arguments that free enterprise is a Main Street pocketbook issue. Progressives are working relentlessly to see that it is not.

Advocates of free enterprise must learn from the growing grass-roots protests, and make the moral case for freedom and entrepreneurship. They have to declare that it is a moral issue to confiscate more income from the minority simply because the government can. It's also a moral issue to lower the rewards for entrepreneurial success, and to spend what we don't have without regard for our children's future.

Enterprise defenders also have to define "fairness" as protecting merit and freedom. This is more intuitively appealing to Americans than anything involving forced redistribution. Take public attitudes toward the estate tax, which only a few (who leave estates in the millions of dollars) will ever pay, but which two-thirds of Americans believe is "not fair at all," according to a 2009 Harris poll. Millions of ordinary citizens believe it is unfair for the government to be predatory -- even if the prey are wealthy.

Political strategy aside, intellectual organizations like my own have a constructive role in the coming cultural conflict. As policymakers offer a redistributionist future to a fearful nation and a new culture war simmers, we must respond with tangible, enterprise-oriented policy alternatives. For example, it is not enough to point out that nationalized health care will make going to the doctor about as much fun as a trip to the department of motor vehicles. We need to offer specific, market-based reform solutions.

This is an exhilarating time for proponents of freedom and individual opportunity. The last several years have brought malaise, in which the "conservative" politicians in power paid little more than lip service to free enterprise. Today, as in the late 1970s, we have an administration, Congress and media-academic complex openly working to change American culture in ways that most mainstream Americans will not like. Like the Carter era, this adversity offers the first opportunity in years for true cultural renewal.

Mr. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6085


« Reply #537 on: April 30, 2009, 12:13:26 PM »

Crafty, I strongly agree.  I like this quote of Brooks, that there is a moral case against the politics of class envy and confiscation from the rich:

"Advocates of free enterprise must learn from the growing grass-roots protests, and make the moral case for freedom and entrepreneurship. They have to declare that it is a moral issue to confiscate more income from the minority simply because the government can."

Brian Wesbury explained the economics of the so-called tea party movement recently:http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2009/4/20/tea_party_economics  Unfortunately I'm not able to cut and paste out of the pdf.  He makes an example of education, but it couold be a local stadium or light rail.  The special interest gets its billion and they all reward each other and make political contributions and succeed politically, but the taxpayer is only hit for a few cents on every small purchase forever etc. until finally all these special interests become trillions and the taxpayer hits the boiling point. 

In the current climate, I think it isn't even the taxpayer who hurts because we aren't paying for the excess spending.  It's just the spending itself that at some point is morally offensive.  Each great idea like health care or home ownership for everyone is wonderful as an idea to discuss in a college classroom, but we can't do them all without collapsing our economy, oops.  But as the piece suggests, there is a moral case against compelling someone else, whether it is 'the rich' or future generations, to pay for all of our wild ideas.

Stealing a quote from JDN yesterday about healthcare, but could be said about any public issue: "something needs to be done, that is a given..."

Yes, but it is not a given that it is the government that needs to do it and it is not a given that doing something should be measured in public dollars spent.

Instinctively people really do know that private sector solutions are better and that our freedoms including free enterprise are what made us great.

I think liberals have even more confidence in the private sector than conservatives.  They are willing to tie its arms and break its kneecaps and still expect that it will perform about the same as before.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 12:17:30 PM by DougMacG » Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6085


« Reply #538 on: May 14, 2009, 03:42:26 PM »

From Islam in Europe,  I agree with Huss exactly on choosing and encouraging positive immigration before the fact.  Mass deportations never seem to happen.

The JDN conversation with the Justice was interesting for him.  Bringing it here is what the Justice would call 'heresay' because the paraphrasing of cherrypicked answers to cherrypicked questions might not tell the whole story.

I suspect he wasn't asked the question about protesters rights in the checkout lane or dead-baby delivery room at an abortion clinic because they are banned to the sidewalk.  I doubt he was asked whether a gang with "straight power" signs could remove gay oriented products from stores shelves and I doubt he would say no problem on the record, or whether shingles protesters could disrupt a job site by moving the neatly stacked materials in carts and dropped in a pile at a different point on the property.  In that scenario, I think we would be discussing second amendment rights more than the first.

Even more ridiculous than saying the boycotted and removed goods might have been paid for by the hate-Israel people is to believe this justice would have allowed them a protest, with speeches and cameras, removing Israeli-made chairs from their arrangement in his courtroom, while in session, under his watch, without consequence, and even he did, that would be on public property, not in a privately owned store. 

But let's assume he does think I am obligated to host your free speech in my living room or business showroom and vice versa because it's 'free speech' and that you get Justices Breyer and Ginsburg along with Mother Theresa to agree with you, that does not change my view that their utter disrespect for the sanctity of private property is contemptible.
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #539 on: May 15, 2009, 09:11:30 AM »

Moderator: Perhaps Doug's post and this one belong in Islam in Europe?

Huss, I agree with your comments in theory, although they may not be practical and some would be difficult to implement.   

And Doug, no we didn't talk about abortion, or gays, or even roofing shingles for that matter; is that directly relevant to this particular video?
We did talk about the Dodgers, Manny, and my friend's new house.  But that's not relevant to this video either.

I did however show him and my friend the video; we were having drinks in the Club's library and there is a computer available there. 
No crime... 

And knowing the judge, I agree he would not have allowed them to protest, with speeches and cameras in his courtroom.
But then that is a crime...


Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #540 on: May 16, 2009, 12:16:31 AM »

Perhaps your retired judge exemplifies that we have a legal system and not a justice system  smiley

Neither of my French speaking sources have responded to my requests to summarize the contents.

BTW, I am reminded of the time some union goons took me to the top floor (12th floor) of a building under construction when I was in the carpenter's union in Philadelphia oh so many years ago.   Word was that they had held the son of the president of the general contractor out over the edge by his feet.   Word was that they had dropped a can of spackling (the stuff for sealing seams of drywall-- weight about 50 pounds?) onto the hood of the Cadillac of the president of the electrical contractor (from 12 floors, it made one helluva dent , , ,).  So by the time they chatted with me, there was nary a threat as they persuaded me of the merits of their position , , ,
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #541 on: May 16, 2009, 08:45:30 AM »

Perhaps your retired judge exemplifies that we have a legal system and not a justice system  smiley


Maybe that is why you quit practicing law?   smiley
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #542 on: May 16, 2009, 09:08:45 AM »

I simply went from one form of aggression to another. 
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6085


« Reply #543 on: May 16, 2009, 09:48:16 AM »

"I simply went from one form of aggression to another."

I try to only get bent out of shape in 3 situations:  attacks on life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #544 on: May 16, 2009, 09:55:01 AM »


http://www.policeone.com/writers/columnists/Charles-Remsberg/articles/1242034-Handling-Protesters-Part-2/

Handling Protesters, Part 2

From the Calibre Press Street Survival Newsline

Do you have to be spit on by protesters--& other key questions
Part 2

In Part 1, we posed a dozen questions related to Legal Considerations in Managing Protests and Civil Disorder, derived from a panel on that topic sponsored by the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

See how well you scored, according to information presented by the IACP's panelists, Mary Claire McNaught, public safety attorney for the Winston-Salem (NC) PD and Daniel Schofield, chief of the legal unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico (VA).

The questions one more time:

1. While recognizing that Americans have more protection for free expression than probably any other nationality, what 4 general limitations can government (police) still place on public demonstrations?

2. What 3 criteria must be met by any restrictions placed on demonstrating?

3. Give examples of specific restrictions that might legally be imposed under these criteria.

4. Can you deny a group the right to protest based on a threat of violence associated with their demonstration?

5. What legal tactic can be used in advance to impose control over groups with bad reputations for causing problems with their demonstrations?


6. What key player should be a part of the planning before a demonstration takes place?
7. As a line officer, do you have to endure insults and spitting from demonstrators?

8. Name at least 3 liability risks you may face in conjunction with public protests.

9. Name 2 ways you can legally use videotape to your advantage?

10. Are demonstrations inside shopping malls legal?

11. Does the media have special rights at demonstration sites?

12. Can you charge protesters for the cost of protecting them?

Bonus Question: An American police officer is driving down the road and sees a lawyer walking on 1 side and Saddam Hussein walking on the other. Who does the officer hit first?

The answers:

IMPORTANT NOTE: As with any legal advice, be sure to check with your local advisors to be certain that the principles and precedents explained here currently apply in your jurisdiction.

1. Authorities can limit public speech, and the correlative right to protest and demonstrate, to a reasonable time, a reasonable place and a reasonable manner. You'll often see this 3-part terminology in court decisions dealing with 1st Amendment freedoms. These restrictions apply to speech (and protests) in public areas like roads, sidewalks, parks or other sites that are traditionally open for citizens to gather, talk and demonstrate.

Protest can also always be restricted because of its relationship to illegal conduct. Demonstrators do not have the right to trespass onto somebody's private property to protest or to engage in assault or disorderly conduct or any other behavior that violates the law. When free expression becomes illegal conduct, it can always be restricted.

2. Any limitation has to meet these criteria:

a) It must be content neutral, meaning that you don't restrict only those groups whose message you disagree with. In enforcing a quiet zone around a hospital, for example, you are not trying to control the message put forth by demonstrators, you're trying to control the noise that interferes with people getting well. Content neutrality is THE most important factor in keeping restrictions legal.

b) Any limitation must be narrowly tailored to serve an important interest. To continue the quiet zone analogy, the zone must not extend out farther than it has to to accomplish its purpose. It can't be clear across town where it has no reasonable relation to the hospital it supposedly protects. In other words, imposition of a restriction has to closely match the reason for it.

c) Limitations must ALLOW FOR ALTERNATIVES. If a person or group is restricted from protesting 1 place, they should have ample opportunity to demonstrate some other place in town.

3. If some group wants to protest across an interstate highway because they think that will have the biggest impact, you can easily deny that. In a recent federal case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals supported a city in Alabama that completely banned tables set up on city sidewalks to distribute literature because they were considered too disruptive to pedestrians. You can deny the right to protest during RUSH HOUR. Many cities have statutes that prohibit demonstrations within a certain distance of a CHURCH during hours of service or shortly before or after because of anticipated traffic problems.

You can also sometimes limit the SIZE of a protest group. If a group of 500 wants to demonstrate in a park that can legitimately accommodate only 100 persons, you can stop that.

Court cases suggest that you CAN'T have a complete ban on protesting in a residential neighborhood. But you can prohibit a group from focusing on a particular resident (called "focused residential picketing"). And you can stop groups from marching through residential neighborhoods in the middle of the night when the noise would disrupt privacy.

In imposing restrictions, just remember the criteria itemized in #2. You must apply objective, content-neutral limitations based on some important consideration.

4. YES, but to do so you have to meet a VERY HIGH STANDARD.

Say you want to deny the Ku Klux Klan the right to march in your town because you're worried that you won't be able to protect against a real bloodbath. Courts have said that the police (or government in combination with the police) must prove that maintaining public safety and order is beyond the reasonable ability of your officers and administrators.

The courts will ask why you couldn't get help from neighboring jurisdictions or other sources. They will ask specific reasons why your doubt of maintaining public order is accurate. They will take a very close look because obviously a lot of jurisdictions would like to say, "Hey, we just can't be safe, so you can't come here."

It is very rare that a jurisdiction is able to place a complete ban on a group's ability to protest. You might be able to move the protest, or limit the size or delay it until you have time to recruit extra help, but a complete ban will very rarely be upheld.

5. If you are faced with a problem group, like the Ku Klux Klan or Operation Rescue, wanting to demonstrate in your community and you are concerned about your ability to maintain order because the group is known for not demonstrating peacefully and legally in other communities, you can probably obtain an INJUNCTION from a local judge that will allow you to impose specific, advance limitations on the group's right to protest/demonstrate. For example, an injunction might specify that protesters can't carry weapons, even if they have permits that ordinarily enable them to do so.

This legal tactic became a very useful arrow in law enforcement's quiver with the U.S. Supreme Court's sanction in the case of Madsen v. Women's Health Center [114 S.Ct. 2516 (1994).] In this important case, the Court upheld for the first time the use of injunctions in regards to demonstrations.

A local judge will likely be sympathetic with your position because he is not going to want his own community ripped apart by the group you're concerned about. Even if it turns out later that the judge shouldn't have issued the injunction, you and your department are fully protected from liability so long as you are acting pursuant to his order.

6. Your LOCAL PROSECUTOR. If the prosecutor doesn't agree with you on the arrests you make, he is going to abandon you when you get ready to go to trial. Be sure he participates in the planning and helps you evaluate the statutes that you may want to use as foundations for your arrests. Your department legal advisor or city attorney can guide you regarding civil liability issues, but a prosecutor's input is important where possible criminal charges against demonstrators or counter-demonstrators are concerned.

Particularly if you haven't had cause to use them for awhile, take a close and critical look at your statutes on disorderly conduct, public assembly and noise (noise can be an especially useful ground for arrest in protest situations, if the statute is specific enough). In some cases, these statutes are old, confusing and vague. The language would no longer pass court scrutiny. With sufficient notice, it may even be possible to get weak statutes updated before the protest goes down.

Once a prosecution strategy is agreed upon, officers must be informed as to what's permissible arrest-wise. When Winston-Salem PD anticipates an event with potentially troublesome protesters, officers are given a booklet clearly delineating elements of the non-routine offenses they might be called upon to arrest for. They are then trained on what they will need to show in order to get a conviction for each offense.

Take full advantage of what your laws will let you do. Your prosecutor should be oriented to telling you what you can do legally, not just hammering at what you can't do.

You also want to review physical control tactics that may be appropriate in handling demonstrators. In many departments, the command staff was trained in the '70s, while line officers were trained in the '90s. You don't want commanders encouraging an obsolete "stomp-and-drag" approach--and then later using inflammatory terminology like that in court--when more currently trained officers may know of more effective, lower profile options.

7. INSULTS, YES; SPITTING, NO.

Where exchanges between civilians are concerned, courts generally have ruled that when 1 person is right up in the face of another, close enough so that fighting could occur, and that person speaks directly to the other in an insulting, threatening, provoking manner, such speech can be considered "fighting words" and can be cause for arrest. [For an explanation of "fighting words", see Newsline No. 68.]

However, law enforcement officers, unlike ordinary citizens, are generally expected because of their professional training to restrain themselves in the face of insulting language. So if you're policing a demonstration and 1 of the protesters gives you obscene gestures and nasty talk, you're expected to have a thicker skin and not punch him in the mouth.

Spitting's a different matter. A protester even preparing to spit is committing assault and can be arrested. In 1 instance, a handcuffed subject was being walked to a police vehicle when he made a gurgling sound as if getting ready to spit. An officer immediately delivered when he later called "a straight-arm stun technique designed to redirect the head," injuring the subject but preventing officers from being spit on. A federal Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit against the officer, reasoning that no police officer should be left defenseless against someone preparing to spit on him and that objectively reasonable force to prevent the spitting does not violate any legal standard imposed by the constitution.

8. One of your highest liability risks--a very, very high risk--is FALSE IMPRISONMENT or FALSE ARREST, stemming from an arrest made without probable cause. This can happen easily in a confusing demonstration situation, where you have many people engaged in various types of behavior and quite likely struggling with you. Adequately documenting who in the crowd actually did what and that you had a specific reason for everyone you took in becomes difficult, especially in mass-arrest situations.

EXCESSIVE FORCE also remains a concern. While courts are becoming more and more cognizant of law enforcement realities, they still hold officers to a fairly high standard. If you're accused of excessive force, you will need to be able to articulate why you felt the level of force you used was required.

There may also be claims that you deprived would-be demonstrators of their CIVIL RIGHTS by imposing unreasonable limitations that made the protest ineffective. Your actions will then be tested against the criteria of objectivity itemized in #2. Courts will give great latitude for your regulation of free speech in public places but they do not look favorably on totally eliminating it just because it is inconvenient, unpopular or expensive, all of which it often is. If you effectively eliminate a person's chance for public expression, you need a very strong reason for doing so.

In some state courts, the accusation of FAILURE TO PROTECT is beginning to be raised. Here the court will look for evidence of a "special relationship" between you and the protesters that gives you an exceptional need to protect. Be careful not to make promises, such as: "Yes, you can demonstrate safely because we'll certainly have enough police officers there" or "We'll be fully equipped and fully prepared to protect you, you don't have to worry about a thing."

Another liability area for administrators that has started to emerge in some states is FAILURE TO PROTECT YOUR EMPLOYEE. An officer who gets injured wants to collect beyond workmen's compensation and argues, "You [the administrator] knew perfectly well you were expecting 2,000 Klansmen and you put me out there with 3 other officers and said, 'Here, guys, hold the line'--without adequate training, proper support, proper communications or proper equipment to handle the job, knowing full well that there was potential for harm to me."

9. Videotape can help you prepare tactically for managing a protest and help you defend yourself afterwards against charges of excessive force.

If you know a particular group is coming to town, contact other jurisdictions where these protesters have been previously and ask to borrow videotapes of their demonstration. Some groups try deliberately to provoke inappropriate responses from officers so they can sue or at least so they can get more publicity for their cause. Seeing some of their tactics ahead of time can help you plan your actions better. You may also be able to go on the Internet and find out what other agencies have learned when dealing with the group you're facing.

It's a good idea, incidentally, to practice and videotape crowd control tactics in role-playing exercises, just as you practice DT moves. Make and critique your mistakes with each other so you don't make them in public. Field-test your equipment beforehand, too.

If you use pain compliance or leverage techniques (like some we demonstrate in the Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar) to move people who are blocking an area, you are likely to get allegations of improper force afterwards. If the event has been taped, you can show in court that you used only an amount of force reasonably necessary to get the job done.

Departments and officers win almost all these force cases, unless the force used was clearly outrageous. More and more judges recognize that the way to evaluate an officer's use of force is to put themselves in that officer's shoes. They recognize the officer is in a tense, rapidly evolving, often dangerous situation and that he has to make split-second decisions. Even the Supreme Court has said that not every push or shove that an officer engages in that turns out to be unnecessary violates the law. There has to be room for understanding the dynamics of force confrontations...and videotape can help make the circumstances clearer.

Videotapes you make can be used for future training, too.

10. Generally, NO. Privately owned shopping malls are not considered to be public forum areas (like streets, sidewalks and public parks are) for purposes of 1st Amendment activity. People may have the right to protest outside the mall on public property, but you can keep demonstrators out of privately owned parking areas and the mall interior completely, if owners of the mall don't want people protesting there.

The same can be true regarding private universities. If it's private property it's not public-forum property. Even public buildings, like schools and police stations, are not normally open for demonstrations.

In July, 1997, a MN judge ruled that demonstrations must be permitted inside the Mall of America, the nation's largest, near Minneapolis. But that was because government funds were used in its construction. However, the judge said that the mall has the right to determine the time, place and manner of demonstrations and ruled that some animal-rights protesters must face trespassing charges because they failed to get permission from the mall before demonstrating inside last spring.

11. NO. From a legal standpoint, the media does not have any right of access to any area of public property or to your briefings or planning sessions that the public in general doesn't have. If you set up a no-person zone, with access barred by a police line, for example, the media has no legal right to say, "We're the media, we can come in there." You may decide to let them in, to give them extra access, but that's absolutely your choice.

Sometimes to cover big events, news helicopters will fly over areas where police don't want them for safety reasons. In LA this has been dealt with on occasion by a call to the FAA. The FAA, in turn, has declared the area in question a restricted zone, and news pilots who don't get out of there are subject to losing their licenses.

12. Not really. You can charge the group, but only for the cost their activities directly create. Say you have 50 Klanspeople who want to march down the middle of Main St., crossing 4 intersections. You can charge the Klan for traffic control officers at each intersection (including extra help you bring in from other jurisdictions), provided that you likewise charge other groups comparably for the same service. You can charge the cost of clean-up, but only for the clean-up activities you can actually tie to the activities of the protesting group, not those required because 2,000 onlookers trashed the area. That all has to be absorbed by your community as a cost of doing business in a democracy.

Likewise, you cannot charge protesters for the possible reaction of those observing their protest. In the case of 50 Klanspeople and 2,000 onlookers, if most of your extra resources are to keep the onlookers from bashing in the heads of the marchers, you can't charge for that protection.

Of course you can charge an administrative processing fee for a parade permit before a march-type demonstration is held, provided the fee is set and administered in a non-discriminatory, content-neutral manner. In other words, you must charge the Girl Scouts who want to stage a parade across town the same permit fee as you do the KKK. You don't favor 1 group over another because you like 1 group and don't like the other.

You can have a provision for indigent groups if you wish, but they must meet an objective test for indigence before the fee can be waived.
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #545 on: May 16, 2009, 10:24:52 AM »

GM; while I thought/hoped we were moving on...




10. Generally, NO. Privately owned shopping malls are not considered to be public forum areas (like streets, sidewalks and public parks are) for purposes of 1st Amendment activity. People may have the right to protest outside the mall on public property, but you can keep demonstrators out of privately owned parking areas and the mall interior completely, if owners of the mall don't want people protesting there.
[

ERGO -  IF the owners of the mall does not object, people cannot be kept out of the mall and demonstrations are allowed.

In this instance, the owner did not call the police nor did the owner seem to object, therefore again I repeat, NO CRIME...




Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2792


« Reply #546 on: May 16, 2009, 10:45:24 AM »

Tell us about the flat earth next, JDN. You're the only one who believes your swill.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2792


« Reply #547 on: May 16, 2009, 10:45:54 AM »

May 16, 2009, 7:00 a.m.

Fun with Dick and Nancy
Cheney has been entirely consistent on waterboarding. Pelosi has not.

By Mark Steyn

Uh-oh. Nancy Pelosi’s performance at her press conference re waterboarding has raised, according to the Washington Post, “troubling new questions about the Speaker’s credibility.” The dreaded T-word: “troubling.”

I doubt it will “trouble” the media for long, or at least not to the extent of bringing the Pelosi speakership to a sudden end — and needless to say I’m all in favor of Nancy remaining the face of congressional Democrats until November 2010. But her inconsistent statements do suggest a useful way of looking at America’s tortured “torture” debate:

Question: What does Dick Cheney think of waterboarding?

He’s in favor of it. He was in favor of it then, he’s in favor of it now. He doesn’t think it’s torture, and he supports having it on the books as a vital option. On his recent TV appearances, he sometimes gives the impression he would not be entirely averse to performing a demonstration on his interviewers, but generally he believes its use should be a tad more circumscribed. He is entirely consistent.

Question: What does Nancy Pelosi think of waterboarding?

No, I mean really. Away from the cameras, away from the Capitol, in the deepest recesses of her (if she’ll forgive my naivete) soul. Sitting on a mountaintop, contemplating the distant horizon, chewing thoughtfully on a cranberry-almond granola bar, what does she truly believe about waterboarding?

Does she support it? Well, according to the CIA, she did way back when, over six years ago.

Does she oppose it? According to Speaker Pelosi, yes. In her varying accounts, she’s (a) accused the CIA of consciously “misleading the Congress of the United States” as to what they were doing; (b) admitted to having been briefed that waterboarding was in the playbook but that “we were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used”; (c) belatedly conceded that she’d known back in February 2003 that waterboarding was being used but had been apprised of the fact by “a member of my staff.” As she said on Thursday, instead of doing anything about it, she decided to focus on getting more Democrats elected to the House.

It’s worth noting that, by most if not all of her multiple accounts, Nancy Pelosi is as guilty of torture as anybody else. That’s not an airy rhetorical flourish but a statement of law. As National Review’s Andy McCarthy points out, under Section 2340A(c) of the relevant statute, a person who conspires to torture is subject to the same penalties as the actual torturer. Once Speaker Pelosi was informed that waterboarding was part of the plan and that it was actually being used, she was in on the conspiracy, and as up to her neck in it as whoever it was who was actually sticking it to poor old Abu Zubaydah and the other blameless lads.

That is, if you believe waterboarding is “torture.”

I don’t believe it’s torture. Nor does Dick Cheney. But Nancy Pelosi does. Or so she has said, latterly.

Alarmed by her erratic public performance, the speaker’s fellow San Francisco Democrat Dianne Feinstein attempted to put an end to Nancy’s self-torture session. “I don’t want to make an apology for anybody,” said Senator Feinstein, “but in 2002, it wasn’t 2006, ’07, ’08, or ’09. It was right after 9/11, and there were in fact discussions about a second wave of attacks.”

Indeed. In effect, the senator is saying waterboarding was acceptable in 2002, but not by 2009. The waterboarding didn’t change, but the country did. It was no longer America’s war but Bush’s war. And it was no longer a bipartisan interrogation technique that enjoyed the explicit approval of both parties’ leaderships, but a grubby Bush-Cheney-Rummy war crime.

Dianne Feinstein has provided the least worst explanation for her colleague’s behavior. The alternative — that Speaker Pelosi is a contemptible opportunist hack playing the cheapest but most destructive kind of politics with key elements of national security — is, of course, unthinkable. Senator Feinstein says airily that no reasonable person would hold dear Nancy to account for what she supported all those years ago. But it’s okay to hold Cheney or some no-name Justice Department backroom boy to account?


Well, sure. It’s the Miss USA standard of political integrity: Carrie Prejean and Barack Obama have the same publicly stated views on gay marriage. But the politically correct enforcers know that Barack doesn’t mean it, so that’s okay, whereas Carrie does, so that’s a hate crime. In the torture debate, Pelosi is Obama and Dick Cheney is Carrie Prejean. Dick means it, because to him this is an issue of national security. Nancy doesn’t, because to her it’s about the shifting breezes of political viability.

But it does make you wonder whether a superpower with this kind of leadership class should really be going to war at all. Over at the New York Times, the elderly schoolgirl Maureen Dowd riffed off Cheney’s defense of waterboarding and argued that, no matter when the next terrorist attack comes, the former vice president would be the one primarily responsible. He is, she said, “a force multiplier for Muslims who hate America.”

Really? Last week, while Speaker Pelosi was preoccupied with her what-did-I-know-and-when-did-I-know-that-I-knew-it routine, the Daily Telegraph in London reported what is believed to be the second mass poisoning of Afghan schoolgirls, this time at Ura Jalili High School for Girls in Charikar. Fifty students had to be hospitalized after a mysterious “poison gas” infected the classrooms. As you may recall, under the Taliban it was illegal for girls to attend school, and Afghan insurgents have made a sustained effort to make the price of female education too high. So, in an effort to identify the poison, blood samples have been taken to Bagram air base to be analyzed by the U.S. military, taking time off its hectic schedule of mass torture.

Does waterboarding so outrage the Muslim world that it drives millions of young men into the dark embrace of al-Qaeda? No. But the media fetishization of U.S. “torture” is certainly “a force multiplier” for Muslims who don’t so much “hate” as despise America, not least for its self-loathing.

One of the few U.S. commentators to pick up on the Afghan schoolgirls story was Phyllis Chesler, who wrote about it under the headline “The High Cost Of Western Idealism.” America and its few real allies fight under the most constrained and self-imposed rules of engagement ever devised, and against an enemy that rejects every basic element of the Geneva Conventions. Perhaps we are so rich, so smart, so advanced that we can fight with one arm and both legs tied behind our back and still win — eventually. Along the way many innocents will suffer. But better that than that a Gitmo detainee with a fear of insects should have a caterpillar put in his cell.

Watching the Democrats champing at the bit last week, I thought perhaps we could cut to the chase and handcuff Cheney and Pelosi to a radiator in the basement of a CIA safe house somewhere. But on reflection this would be an unacceptable level of torture. It would be ungallant to say for whom.


— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2009 Mark Steyn
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YmQ5ZTA3NDE2NjE3YTEyNjY3ZjJlNzQ2YzE1OWZkNjU=
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #548 on: May 16, 2009, 12:43:36 PM »

Tell us about the flat earth next, JDN. You're the only one who believes your swill.

 rolleyes  grin  evil

Logged
HUSS
Power User
***
Posts: 192


« Reply #549 on: May 16, 2009, 01:39:25 PM »

doesnt change the fact that the video would have been improved had an out of control cement truck had made an entrance.

GM; while I thought/hoped we were moving on...




10. Generally, NO. Privately owned shopping malls are not considered to be public forum areas (like streets, sidewalks and public parks are) for purposes of 1st Amendment activity. People may have the right to protest outside the mall on public property, but you can keep demonstrators out of privately owned parking areas and the mall interior completely, if owners of the mall don't want people protesting there.
[

ERGO -  IF the owners of the mall does not object, people cannot be kept out of the mall and demonstrations are allowed.

In this instance, the owner did not call the police nor did the owner seem to object, therefore again I repeat, NO CRIME...





Logged
Pages: 1 ... 9 10 [11] 12 13 ... 28 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!