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Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Swastika, Maple Leaf, Whatever
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Sure, there's plenty to gripe about these days in America. But at least we're not Canada.

It's sad to reflect that a nation with Vimy Ridge and the Reichwald on its permanent record has devolved into bastion of soft fascism. Free speech? That's so…so American. Just ask Ann Coulter, who was prevented by threats of violence from giving a speech at the University of Ottawa. (Coulter's priceless comment on this: "The University of Ottawa is really easy to get into, isn’t it? I never get any trouble at the Ivy League schools. It’s always the bush league schools.")

Canada's embrace of multiculturalism has had the ironic result of bloating anti-Americanism—always a theme in Canadian history, of course—to comically gigantic proportions. Now it's reached the point where freedom of speech, a bedrock principle of free government, is deemed to "American" for Canada. Apparently, since the First Amendment is American, there must be something wrong with it…


Posted by tmg110 at 8:18 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Poison Pill
Topic: Decline of the West

The latest CNN poll shows that a majority (51%) of the American people now disapprove of the job that President Obama is doing. The poll was conducted just before the Democrats rammed their helth care "reform" bill through the House.

Can Obama recover? Oh, he may gain back a few points in the weeks ahead, but don't expect a dramatic improvement. As noted above, the political capital that the President expended to get ObamaCare passed is gone forever. Pending issues (immigration reform, cap-and-trade) can only make a bad situation worse. And it's clear now that Obama is politically and psychologially incapable of changing course. Bill Clinton knew when to triangulate. Obama, the true believer (not least in his own divinely ordained mission) isn't half the politician that Clinton was. I'm not sure that's a compliment to either man. But Obama reminds me more of Jimmy Carter—and that's definitely not a compliment.


Posted by tmg110 at 8:54 AM EDT
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Obama's Prognosis
Topic: Decline of the West

Having taken a couple of days to think over the implications of the passage of ObamaCare, I've come to a conclusion: This was Obama's Stalingrad. The political capital that he (and the Democrats) expended to pass that highly unpopular bill can never be recovered—certainly not by November. Moreover, the GOP has been handed a resonant, one-word issue for 2010 and beyond: REPEAL!

Obama and the Dems may be counting on the American people's short attention span. They may think that now they can "pivot" to other issues. But the health care wars are just beginning. And the Dems are about to discover that their victory was bought at a price so high as to be indistinguishable from defeat.


Posted by tmg110 at 7:31 AM EDT
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Friday, 19 March 2010
Liberation Day
Topic: Verse

 

The captain had a flesh wound and it hurt.

But when he met the people of the camp,

He forgot about his arm. He stopped dead,

Just inside the gate, and could not go on.

Who are they? he asked. His voice appalled him.

It came out like sick man’s dying croak.

Juden, Juden. He didn’t know the word.

 

The red-haired corporal looked around and said,

I’m from Boston. We never had much use

In my neighborhood for Jews. Then he asked,

What kind of place is this? But the young girl—

If it was a girl—in the tattered stripes,

Who clutched his sleeve, had no answer to give—

No answer in her mouth, nor in her eyes.

 

The regimental surgeon kicked the dirt

And shrugged when someone asked him what to do.

He said, They’re starving—starving. Can’t you see?

No, don’t give them food. Too much would kill them.

He touched his pockets, hunting for a smoke,

But stilled his hand when some striped skeleton,

With a hideous smile, asked for water.

 

The sergeant took his helmet off. A year,

He said to no one in particular.

You know, I never even got a scratch.

The bastards couldn’t touch me. An old man

Shuffled up. Americans? he whispered.

Yeah, Americans, the sergeant answered.

We’re late. I’m sorry. Now he had his wound.


Posted by tmg110 at 8:36 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 March 2010 9:16 AM EDT
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What Obama Needs: A Theory of Everything
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Courtesy of Andrew B. Wilson at the American Spectator, I've finally learned the answer to that burning question: Whatever happened to Barack Obama? Wilson reports that two progressive luminaries (Frank Rich, Tom Friedman) have analyzed the sorry record of the Obama Ascendancy to date, their conclusion being that the President lacks—a narrative! As Friedman puts it: "He [Obama] has not tied all his programs into a single narrative that shows the links between his health care, banking, economic, climate, energy, education and foreign policies. Such a narrative would enable each issue and each constituency to reinforce the other and evoke the kind of popular excitement that got him elected."

Ah, so everything's connected—and if only the dim-bulb American public could be brought to see it, the President's problems would evaporate! Why didn't Team Obama ever think of that?

But then again, maybe everything isn't connected. Maybe, in fact, Obama is just muddling along, doing his inadequate best to reconcile the contradictions of his candidacy as his approval ratings sink and sink and sink. Still I like the touch of paranoia in the Dynamic Duo's analysis, the delusion that it's all connected being one of the hallmarks of advanced mental illness. I always suspected that progressives have, shall we say,  issues along those lines…


Posted by tmg110 at 8:15 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 March 2010 8:30 AM EDT
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Thursday, 18 March 2010
Badness is Relative
Topic: The Box Office

As I consider nominations to my personal cinematic Hall of Shame—see here—it occurs to me that whereas some movies are indeed bad in an absolute sense, others are bad merely in relation to the money and talent that was lavished on them. An example of the first kind of badness is the Ashley Judd vehicle Bug (which I excoriated here). It just stinks, period. But then there are movies like Cleopatra.

It's sobering to reflect what it would cost today to film this lavish, star-studded epic—probably more than the GDP of many Third World nations. Certainly no expense was spared back in 1963. And that's precisely my point. You can't really call Cleopatra unwatchable. OK, so Elizabeth Taylor flops as the seductive Queen of the Nile, coming off like some flirtatious bimbo with too much eye makeup. And yes, Richard Burton gives a notably bad performance. But still, Cleopatra has its moments.

But when I reflect on the time, money, talent, etc. expended to produce this second-rate sand-and-sandal potboiler—all I can think is bad, bad, bad. That kind of waste, it seems to me, is shameful. So I'm strongly inclined to include Cleopatra in the Hall of Shame.


Posted by tmg110 at 8:23 AM EDT
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Bye-Bye Babs?
Topic: Decline of the West

Without doubt, Senator Barbra Boxer, Democrat of California, is one of the 10 dumbest members of Congress—a bold statement, I agree, considering the competition. But if anyone deserves inclusion on that bottom-ten list, it's the inimitable Babs.

Dumbness, of course, is no deterrent to political success, particularly in California. But now it's beginning to look as though the Boxer brand has worn out its welcome in the Golden State. Facing a strong challenge from the GOP's  Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who emerged onto the political stage in 2008 as a McCain supporter.

But can Fiorina actually win? Well, first she has to win a tough primary; there are other Republicans who want a shot at the incumbent. Recent polls, however, suggest that Fiorina would be the strongest GOP candidate.  All I can say that 2010 is a good year to be running against a intellectually challenged progressive dinosaur like Babs Boxer. K.E. Grubbs, Jr. analyzes the race for The Weekly Standard. He thinks that Boxer's looking toasty. I agree.


Posted by tmg110 at 8:03 AM EDT
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Still Short of 216
Topic: Decline of the West

According to Byron York, writing in the Washington Examiner, in the House of Representatives there are currently 204 votes for ObamaCare and 209 against, with 18 votes, all held by Democrats, still undecided. Obama and Pelosi may be talking up the inevitability of passage, but it appears that they still haven't got the votes.


Posted by tmg110 at 7:49 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Thumbs Down
Topic: Decline of the West

While Democrats scramble to wire up some sort of mechanism to get ObamaCare passed, a new Wall Street Journal/ABC News poll shows that the country opposed them by a 48%-36% margin—this despite the fact that a plurality of American do wish to see some sort of health care reform.

No wonder Dems are flirting with the Slaughter Solution. If you were a Democratic member of the House representing, say, Indiana, would you want to be forced into an up-or-down vote on ObamaCare?


Posted by tmg110 at 8:17 AM EDT
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They haven't got the votes. . .
Topic: Liberal Fascism

. . .to pass ObamaCare in the House. How do I know this? Because Democrats are talking about using the so-called Slaughter Solution (named for House Rules Committee Chairman Louise Slaughter, who dreamed it up) to pass health care "reform" without an up-or-down vote. This, you see, will give political cover to nervous Dems who represent districts where ObamaCare is deeply unpopular.

As Bill Kristol notes in the above-referenced blog post, this parliamentary dodge shows what the Democrats think of the American people: We're stupid and uninterested in the details of governance. So what if the Constitution clearly stipulates a vote in both the House and the Senate to pass legislation? People don't care about that musty old scrap of paper!

I've come to the conclusion that no matter what the Dems do, they lose. Having painted themselves into this tight political corner, they've got no good options. The only remaining question: How hard are they going to screw themselves? We'll soon find out.


Posted by tmg110 at 8:04 AM EDT
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