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Wednesday, 25 March 2009
The Nanny State Needs Newspapers!
Topic: The Media

Never mind corporate welfare. How about media welfare? Check it out:

U.S. bill seeks to rescue faltering newspapers

The idea is to allow newspapers to restructure themselves as nonprofit entities. Oh, and they'll get a bunch of tax breaks. What's the catch?Just a minor one: Newspapers taking this deal would have to give up part of their first Amendment protection. They'd be prohibited from endorsing political candidates. You will not be surprised to learn that the Newspaper Revitalization Act is the brainchild of a liberal: Sen. Benjamin Cardin, Democrat of Maryland. So far, his bill has no co-sponsors. But stupid ideas never lacks for support in the US Congress—and this one is surpassingly stupid.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:53 AM EDT
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A Prez and His Prompter
Topic: Decline of the West

I really don't think it's a good sign for Barack Obama that his teleprompter has become something of a celebrity. And it's not just "right-wing talk radio" that's yucking it up over the President's teleprompter dependency. Consider the tone of this story from the Associated Press on last night's presidential press conference.  When I recall the fawning tone with which the mainstream media have been wont to report on Obama, AP's story strikes me as distinctly snide.

The unscripted Obama is not particularly compelling. When he's really flailing, the fractured syntax and  verbalized pauses would do credit to any American adolescent. So far, given the media's love affair with Big O, this hasn't mattered too much. But as the Obama presidency drags on, reporters will gradually grow bored with him. And there are few people nastier than a bored reporter.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:38 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Disarray on the Left
Topic: Liberal Fascism

To see how much damage is being inflicted on the Obama Administration by its feckless behavior on the economic front, just check out  the Huffington Post.

I was startled, frankly, to find that the HuffPo includes a business section—as unlikely a thing in its way as Pravda stock picks—and I was frankly amazed at the level of discontent that the Obama Administration has stirred up in the progressive fever swamps.

Plenty of HuffPo denizens want Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to be shown the door—amusing wen you reflect how many of them defended the guy's tax cheating at the time of his nomination. But Tim has been a disappointment. What progressives want is for the capitalists to be expropriated. Instead, Obama & Co. have gone hat in hand to Wall Street, offering all kinds of incentives if only the private sector would help bail out our troubled banks. The Revolution has been betrayed!

This growing progressive discontent underlines one of the fundamental truths of American politics: In the long run, a president's greatest liability isn't his enemies, but his friends. Those who supported the successful candidate most fervently tend to believe that they have the right to dictate the president's agenda. And right now, they want Geithner gone

But of course, there's no possibility that Geithner will be fired. He's  holding down the fort virtually single-handed. If he departed, there'd be no one left to answer the phone.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:25 AM EDT
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The Big, Bad Wolf
Topic: Decline of the West

The AIG mess is symptomatic of a growing problem for the Obama Administration—a problem that very possibly could derail its plan to bail out the nation's shaky banks.

In its attempt to combine fiscal responsibility with populist rage, the Administration has grabbed a wolf by the ears. Stoking up public anger over such a relatively minor issue as the AIG bonuses probably seemed like  good idea at the time. At the very least, it might pull the focus from the Administration's halting approach to the banking crisis, its failure to staff the Department of the Treasury, etc. And in Congress, anything tending to distract attention from the culpability of such luminaries as Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd had to look like a smart move. Ah, but our leaders forgot that the Law of Unintended Consequences never takes a holiday. And once you do grab a wolf by the ears, you dare not let him go.

The Obama Administration's bank rescue plan, which depends on the participation of private investors, may well have been undermined by the behavior of Congress and the President over the past couple of weeks. Think about it. If you were, for instance, a hedge fund manager, would you be eager at this point to partner with a government that howls against executive compensation, has no respect for the sanctity of contracts and seeks to tax bonuses as a rate of 90%? Would you consider such a government to be a reliable business partner? At the very least, you'd think long and hard before taking the plunge.

The Obama Administration is performing a potentially valuable (if hardly deliberate) service by demonstrating that where economic issues are concerned, our government is completely, utterly, almost comically incompetent. I only hope that America is paying attention.

Posted by tmg110 at 7:56 AM EDT
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Monday, 23 March 2009
Mob Rule in Washington
Topic: Decline of the West

scathing editorial in today's Wall Street Journal takes Congress and the President to task for their bad behavior in the matter of the AIG bonuses.

With it's stupid plan to tax back the AIG bonuses, Congress is behaving like a mob of thugs and bullies, while Barack Obama continues to display the timidity that is undermining his presidency. The government has demonstrated to the private sector that it can't be trusted as a business partner. As the Journal notes:

Hedge funds and other investors that Treasury needs for its new Public-Private Investment Program, or for the Federal Reserve's TALF, will also be warier, if they'll play at all. Treasury may promise nothing punitive for these programs, but that's also what it said about the TARP.

Do we really want this bunch of incompetents to be running our healthcare system, for instance?

Posted by tmg110 at 9:03 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 23 March 2009 9:18 AM EDT
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Head Trauma? Take the Bus!
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Every medical tragedy that occurs in the United States is seized upon by proponents of universal healthcare to prove that the nation's healthcare system is both cruel and inefficient—unlike those of enlightened countries such as Canada, for instance.

So I was somewhat startled to learn, while reading this story about the death of actress Natasha Richardson, that the province of Quebec has no medical helicopter airlift system. This, according to Montreal's top head trauma doctor, may have played a role in Richardson's death.

Life-saving medical airlift is commonly available in the United States (and in some parts of Canada), so why isn't it available in a a major city like Montreal? The story doesn't say, but let me hazard a guess. The cheese-paring bureaucrats who run the Canadian healthcare system think it's just too darn expensive. And if we let our government get control of the US healthcare system, a lot of the services that people in this country take for granted will begin to wither away.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:16 AM EDT
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Go Ahead, Tim, Make His Day
Topic: Decline of the West

If I were Tim Geithner, President Obama's recent statement of support would have me worried. He wouldn't accept Geithner's resignation, said Barack, even if the Treasury Secretary were to offer it. Hint, hint…?

Posted by tmg110 at 6:40 AM EDT
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Sunday, 22 March 2009
False in One Thing, False in Everything
Topic: Must Read


 My less-than-complimentary post about Margaret Atwood’s feminist screed, The Handmaid’s Tale, got me thinking about the relationship between politics and literature.


My principal complaint about Atwood was that she used the medium of fiction to send a political message. But I see now that my criticism flew wide of the mark. Though in the case of The Handmaid’s Tale the author’s ideological conformity spoiled a good idea, there’s no reason in principle to suppose that a writer with a political motive will inevitably produce junk.


The Handmaid’s Tale is a bad book not because Atwood had a political motive in writing it, but because the demands of feminist orthodoxy caused her to falsify her view of the world. Atwood is lying to her readers—but before that, she lied to herself. Because she doesn’t really believe that a cabal of religious fundamentalists will take over America and turn women into illiterate breeders, the intelligent reader cannot not believe it either. Nor can The Handmaid’s Tale be read as satire, for that which the novel may be seeking to satirize does not, in fact, exist. If anything, as I suggested in my earlier post, this book provides an insight into the weird mental universe of radical feminism—an insight hardly intended by the author.


It should be noted that there are on the conservative side some equally egregious examples of bad political fiction. Without doubt, the all-time champion is Ayn Rand’s libertarian tract, Atlas Shrugged. Once again, the basic idea is a good one: What would happen if the nation’s productive minority got tired of being fleeced for the sake of a parasitic majority and just…went on strike? But Rand could not control her fanaticism, and the result is an exercise in unpardonable exaggeration. Atlas Shrugged is variously adolescent, preachy, turgid, incredible (in the literal sense of the word) and just plain dumb. As with Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale, it soon becomes impossible for the intelligent reader to believe that Rand is serious.


Orwell, Koestler, Solzhenitsyn and others have nobly demonstrated that there’s no bar in principle to the fusion of politics and literature. But it needs intellectual honesty—a virtue conspicuously lacking in these books by Atwood and Rand.

Posted by tmg110 at 1:53 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 27 April 2013 10:05 AM EDT
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Admittedly, He's a Tough Act to Follow. . .
Topic: Decline of the West

The original Messiah made the lame walk and the blind see. Our current Messiah just makes fun of them on TV.

Posted by tmg110 at 1:30 PM EDT
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Friday, 20 March 2009
Obama Channels Goebbels
Topic: Decline of the West


It’s becoming rather difficult to keep up with the lies being told by the Obama Administration and its enablers. But here’s one that can’t be allowed pass unchallenged: the oft-cited claim that 46 million Americans (that works out to one in six of us) are without health insurance.


In fact, as Philip Klein demonstrates in this article for the American Spectator, the actual number of long-term uninsurable people in the US is under 9 million. Yet President Obama and his claque go on citing the figure of 46 million as if it were an established truth. Surely they know better. But it seems they’d rather lie in pursuit of their objective—universal, socialized healthcare—than deal with the facts. And as Dr. Goebbels taught, the bigger the lie, the better.

Posted by tmg110 at 9:17 AM EDT
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