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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Aspects of Self-Love
Topic: Politics & Elections

Now that the presidency of Barack Obama can be seen to have failed, the question becomes urgent: Why did Americans elect him in the first place? Specifically why did so many people on the progressive side of the political spectrum allow themselves to be taken in by his soaring but rather low-calorie 2008 campaign rhetoric? You know the kind of thing: “We are the change we’ve been waiting for,” etc. How is it that the best and brightest among the self-described reality-based party failed to discern what was obvious from the start to a rube like Rush Limbaugh?

If you get in the Wayback Machine and return to 2008-09, you’ll find many embarrassingly craven examples of Obama worship, and not just from his starry-eyed campaign claque. There’s the example of New York Times columnist David Brooks, who gushed over his first meeting with The One: “I remember distinctly an image of—we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” There’s the truly weird example of CNN anchor/reporter Foreman, who started writing letters to Obama during President’s first term. He wrote one every day and the final tally was 1,460 letters totaling more than half a million words. From Tinseltown, we got this from Susan Sarandon: “He is a community organizer like Jesus was. And now, we're a community and he can organize us.” And from overseas a December 2009 editorial in the Danish newspaper Politiken agreed with Ms. Sarandon. Because, you know, Barry too evolved from humble origins into a defender of the weak and vulnerable, albeit without the annoying religious b.s.

What was going on? What the hell was going on?

One explanation frequently advanced for the outpouring of intemperate Obama worship was the candidate’s race. And this was true as far as it went. But Obama wasn’t just black. He was something more: the Acceptable Black Man for whom white progressives had long been waiting.

Sure, other blacks have run for president, the Rev. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton among them. But how could white progressives in the media, in academia or in the Democratic Party take such candidacies seriously? It wasn’t just that Jackson and Sharpton were seen as special pleaders, overly identified with one group of Americans. No, what really disbarred them from serious consideration in the minds of progressive establishment types was simple snobbery. With their flashy suits, histrionic rhetoric and camera-hogging habits Jackson and Sharpton seemed, well, tacky. Over the top. Lacking in class.

Then came Barack H. Obama.

Here was a black candidate with the qualities for which white liberals had been pining. Obama is a thoroughly atypical African American. He was born in Hawaii. He has lived in Indonesia. His father is a Kenyan and his mother is white. Himself aware that these anomalies set him apart, Obama made a conscious effort as a young man to connect with the African American mainstream, a quest that led him into the flock of the Rev. Jeremiah White. But his education and upbringing nevertheless fashioned him into a person with whom white progressives could easily identify. Disregarding his skin color, Obama is one of them. Their education, ideas, beliefs, opinions and habits of thought are his as well. He speaks their language. He makes them feel comfortable. He is the Acceptable Black Man.

It’s easy to understand why black Americans thrilled to Obama’s candidacy and election. Simply on the basis of his skin color, they identified with him. What could be more natural? But whether Obama has ever truly identified with them is a doubtful question. As president, he has paid no particular attention to the many problems of black America. On the other hand, he has been most solicitous of the desires of the progressive establishment. Ideologically he resembles Elizabeth Warren, not Jessie Jackson.

White progressives saw this in Barack Obama and it explains their worshipful attitude toward him in the salad days of his political career. That he was black was exciting and convenient—but that he seemed truly one of them clinched the deal. Their relationship with him, a form of self-love, has been one of the most amusing episodes in American political history.

Posted by tmg110 at 9:34 AM EDT
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Thursday, 24 July 2014
Oh, the Humanity! (Daily Menu Edition)
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinios, is really, really concerned about income inequality. To that end she has taken up “the minimum wage challenge,” pledging to spend a week or two eating what the downtrodden proles of America eat. No doubt in an effort to maximize our terror and pity, she released the Spartan menu on which she intends to subsist. Some excerpts: 

Breakfast: English muffin, one egg

Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich

Dinner: Pasta with tomato sauce, salad

Wow! This stands in sharp contrast to what I suppose her usual daily menu must list: 

Breakfast: Eggs Benedict, glass of Madeira

Lunch: Dover sole poached in white wine, fresh green beans, half-bottle of white Burgundy

Dinner: Lobster cocktail, Porterhouse steak, sauté potatoes, Caesar salad, bottle of Bordeaux, cheesecake, glass of Port

It’s almost as if these clueless congressional elitists are another species, only distantly related to us good old Homo Sapiens. Duh, Jan. Just duh…

Posted by tmg110 at 4:13 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Going All the Way in Gaza
Topic: Decline of the West

The calculation was obvious enough: the Hamas leadership thought that (a) high civilian casualties in Gaza would inflame international opinion against Israel, (b) that the continuing rocket barrage would demoralize the Israeli government and (c) that Israel would be thus be forced to accept a ceasefire on terms more or less dictated by Hamas. And when a rocket landed near the Tel Aviv airport, triggering a wave of flight cancellations by foreign air carriers, the Hamas leadership traded high fives, believing that they’d scored a propaganda coup.

This calculation is beginning to look more and more like a miscalculation, due mainly to the position of the Egyptian government.

US Secretary of State John Kerry got a chilly reception in Egypt today when he arrived there bearing proposals for a ceasefire. The new Egyptian regime, which came to power in a military coup that booted the Muslim Brotherhood, regards Hamas with dislike and suspicion. Having been rebuffed by Hamas in his earlier effort to broker a ceasefire, it seems that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has decided to let the battle run its course.

As for the Israel, the suspension of air travel is likely to have an effect precisely the opposite of that which Hamas apparently expects. The Israeli government now confronts the necessity, imperative for both security and political reasons, to eliminate once and for all the Gaza terrorist enclave. This means not only the total destruction of the terrorist infrastructure but the root-and-branch suppression of Hamas.

Bottom line: John Kerry is going to find that his ceasefire proposals are as unwelcome in Israel as they proved to be in Egypt.

Posted by tmg110 at 12:45 PM EDT
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Monday, 21 July 2014
Hamas, RIP?
Topic: Decline of the West

The Israeli government thought that a limited military incursion into the Gaza Strip would persuade Hamas to stop firing rockets into the Jewish state. This may turn out to have been a miscalculation.

Hamas has no interest in minimizing Palestinian casualties. From its perspective, the higher the body count the better. This is why its leaders have rebuffed all calls for a ceasefire: The think they're winning in the court of world public opinion, and that the Israelis will be forced to throw up the sponge. So where does Israel go from here?

One thing is clear: It's impossible for Israel to withdaw its troops from Gaza with no assurance that a period of peace and quiet will ensue. Logic suggests that the only course now is to continue the fight until Hamas has been uprooted from Gaza and destroyed. As long as this Jew-hating terrorist organization remains a factor in the calculus of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, there can be no peace. Its elimination and replacement by Fatah as Gaza's governing authority seems the only way to go.

Needless to say, Barack Obama and John Kerry will do all in their power to prevent Israel from following any such course of action. But will the Israeli government, faced with such a dangerous and implacable enemy, pay heed to the admonitions of the US gogernment? We shall see…

Posted by tmg110 at 9:05 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 July 2014 12:14 PM EDT
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Friday, 18 July 2014
Connecting the Dots
Topic: Decline of the West

The way I see it, the Obama Administration's fabled Russian reset button jump-started the process that culminated in the launch of a missile that downed a civilian airliner, killing nearly 300 people. Funny how these things work out…right, Hillary…?

Posted by tmg110 at 1:45 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 18 July 2014 1:50 PM EDT
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Thursday, 17 July 2014
A Touch of Evil in the US Senate
Topic: Liberal Fascism

There was a time, I suppose, when such adjectives as “monstrous,” “wicked,” “atrocious,” ghoulish,” etc. could not have been fairly applied to Democrats or to the progressive Left generally. Wrong—frequently. Dishonest—not infrequently. Stupid—ditto. Unsavory and reprehensible—sure. But not evil. No, not that.

But somewhere along the line of their long march through history the Dems and the larger Left passed a milestone. And there they left their souls. I know this because Senator Richard Blumenthal, with the support of a majority of his Democratic Senate colleagues has introduced a bill they call the Women’s Health Protection Act. Conservative commentator David French has suggested that it should be called the Kermit Gosnell Enabling Act, and I can see why.

Blumenthal’s bill would effectively bar states from exercising any regulatory oversight of abortion clinics. In other words it would foster and legalize the environment in which Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia, no serving time for murder, when about his bloody work. Senate Democrats propose to protect women’s health by erasing such basic state regulations as the requirement that abortions be carried out by licensed physicians. Current state laws that ban the horrific procedure known as partial-birth abortion would be summarily overturned. The bill would also legalize sex-selection abortions—well, why go on, because if it ever became law, Blumenthal’s bill would create an anything-goes abortion economy—precisely the kind of environment in which a monster like Gosnell thrived. As the editors of National Review note:

The Gosnell gore-fest was a direct consequence of the elevation of abortion to divine office: Neither the local authorities in Democrat-dominated Philadelphia nor the Democrat-dominated statewide bureaucracies in Pennsylvania were much inclined to exercise basic oversight of abortion clinics. Even after a woman died under Dr. Gosnell’s knife, there was little interest in investigating his practice: It took allegations of illegal prescription-drug use and the piqued interest of the DEA to put Gosnell on the radar.

Senator Richard Blumenthal wants to establish that standard for the whole country, which is monstrous, wicked, atrocious, ghoulish and more. The Democratic Party has reduced itself to this and it's an ugly thing to contemplate.

Posted by tmg110 at 1:28 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Of Sexual Stalinism on Campus
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Progressives can’t live without hysteria. Unless they’re in a three-foot hover about something, their ideological commitment appears suspect in their own eyes. Amerika is a racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialist, quasi-fascist state, after all—what’s not to be hysterical about?

Just now the supposed epidemic of rape and sexual assault on college campuses is producing progressive hysteria, with feminists leading the charge. But this isn’t sexual assault as normal people understand the term. No, this is the ideological criminalization of behavior arising from the very sexual culture that progressives have championed. The typical campus “sexual assault” has three components: binge drinking, hooking up, and morning-after remorse. A female student gets blind drunk. She allows a male student—possibly a friend, possibly a stranger—to cajole or pressure her into having sex. The next morning, the female student, feeling used and guilty, decides that she was raped.

The problem for campus officialdom in cases of this kind is that there’s usually no physical evidence of sexual assault: It’s her word against his. Now feminists will tell you that women never lie about sexual assault. But of course they sometimes do. To be fair, however, most young women on campus who raise charges of sexual assault believe what they’re saying. In a small minority of cases actual rape of sexual assault has occurred. But mostly the charge arises from the humiliation and remorse that young women feel after they succumb, with the aid of copious amounts of alcohol, to the hook-up culture. This explains why actual criminal charges are so rarely filed in cased of this kind. Most are adjudicated by campus officialdom, which finds itself under extreme pressure from campus feminists to run the proceedings like one of Stalin’s purge trials. The young woman’s charge is to be accepted without question; the young man’s guilt is to be assumed in the absence of evidence or even in the presence of evidence to the contrary.

I’ve said before that progressivism has evolved into a variant of totalitarianism. The bogus epidemic of sexual assault on campus, manufactured by progressives and exploited by them with contempt for the most elementary precepts of justice, is living proof of that.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:12 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 12:46 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 8 July 2014
More Light
Topic: Verse

Give me an afternoon at the summit
Of summer. Give me the long light of June
That frets the verdant crowns of these old oaks
With evening gold. Give me a glass of wine,
Cold to my touch and bright upon my tongue
With the herbs and acids of the good earth.
Give me these blessings. Return them to me
Year by year. Let me be happy in them.
Let me not mourn the failure of the sun.

The winter solstice, miser of the light,
Cannot sustain the empire of the night.

Posted by tmg110 at 11:15 AM EDT
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Friday, 27 June 2014
Today in Progressive Idiocy
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Simon Waxman is the editor of Boston Review, and he thinks that the US Army’s tradition of naming its helicopters after Indian—excuse me, Native American—tribes amounts to a racial slur. “Why do we name our battles and weapons after people we have vanquished?” he sobs. Well, the answer is obvious! “For the same reason the Washington team is the Redskins and my hometown Red Sox go to Cleveland to play the Indians and to Atlanta to play the Braves: because the myth of the worthy native adversary is more palatable than the reality—the conquered tribes of this land were not rivals but victims, cheated and impossibly outgunned.”

Pardon me while I wipe an empathic tear from my eye.

It really is amusing to see progressive busybodies like Waxman tossing blood clots over something about which normal people, i.e. the overwhelming majority of Americans, Native Americans included, don’t give a hoot. He’d probably fall dead out of his lushly padded office chair if he ever got a look at these campaign streamers that are affixed to the US Army Flag. Then there were the World War Two-era Tribal-class destroyers of the Royal Navy. The British actually had the nerve to name one of them Zulu! And they did it again in the 1960s, with the Type 81 Tribal-class frigates!

The weird obsession with such trivia shows just how divorced our elites have become from the reality of life in contemporary America. I have no doubt that Mr. Waxman is far more indignant over the Apache helicopter and the Tomahawk cruise missile than he was over the case of Kermit Gosnell or the sad plight of the long-term unemployed. What a doofus!

Posted by tmg110 at 11:42 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 25 June 2014
So Help Me God
Topic: Verse

I gave you the impulse; you raised your hand
With my hand on your arm, and I kissed you
Knowing that the road ahead would be hard.
You empowered me with a father’s pride
And I learned to live with a father’s fear,
Knowing that my hand had lifted your arm.
Daughter, you followed the road of duty,
Kept faith with your friends and with the dying,
And by the grace of God returned to me.
I well recall how breath stopped in my throat
When first I raised my hand as I pronounced
The fatal oath whose binding words we know.
So help us God, then, we’ll abide as one:
Father and daughter, soldiers together—
But to you belongs the post of honor.

Posted by tmg110 at 11:41 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 June 2014 11:45 PM EDT
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