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Wednesday, 18 January 2012
He Thinks You're Stupid
Topic: Decline of the West

 

The President of the United States doesn’t seem to think much of the intelligence of the American people. Why else would he say that extending the payroll tax cut and shelling out more unemployment check will create more jobs than a major construction project like the Keystone oil pipeline?

 

Obama made this fantastical claim as he killed the pipeline project, whining that those obstructionist Republicans were picking on him again. “However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline,” the Prez intoned in his plumy baritone, “they're going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance.” The only thing shovel ready about this administration is the pile of rhetorical crap behind the presidential podium.


Posted by tmg110 at 2:21 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2012 2:23 PM EST
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Don't Overestimate Him, Either
Topic: Decline of the West

 

In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had a warning for Republicans: Don’t underestimate President Obama, who is a consummate politician. Everybody nodded.

 

But this got me to thinking: Is Christie right? What actual evidence do we have that Barack Obama is such a skilful politician? Sure there’s the 2008 election. But in that instance, the stars in their courses fell into alignment for the Democrats. The economic meltdown, the ineptitude of the Republican candidate and, not least, the worshipful treatment he received at the hands of the media greased the skids for Obama. It took but a modicum of common sense to take advantage of these extraordinarily fortunate circumstances.

 

That aside, the striking thing about Barack Obama as politician is his political tone deafness, e.g. the promise to close down the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay and relocate the world’s most dangerous terrorists to prisons on US soil, his intemperate promises regarding the economy, the green jobs fiasco, etc. These were political as well as policy failures. And his reelection strategy? Class warfare leavened by petulant complaints about a supposedly do-nothing Congress. Hardly the stuff of Machiavelli!

 

Obama looks formidable now because he’s the incumbent, with all of the advantages thereunto appertaining, while on the GOP side, a hard fight for the nomination gives the appearance of chaos. A couple of months from now, things may look rather different.


Posted by tmg110 at 8:22 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2012 8:25 AM EST
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Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Four Million Homeless Vets? Seriously?
Topic: Decline of the West

 

A public service spot running on local radio in the South Bend area makes the startling claim that today in America “one in five veterans experiences homelessness.” I wondered if this could possibly true. Resorting to Google, I came up with the following statistics:

 

According the US Census Bureau, the population of the United States includes some 22 million veterans of military service. If the radio spot is correct, 4,400,000 of these vets “experiences homelessness.” But as a matter of fact, a government survey found that there were 67,495 homeless veterans on a given night in January 2011, representing an 11% drop since 2009.

 

Now obviously 67,495 is no trivial number, but it’s a far cry from 4 million plus! I can think of no legitimate excuse for such a gross exaggeration to be aired. A worthy cause is made to seem unworthy when it’s marketed in such an underhanded manner. And not incidentally, this is precisely the kind of thing that harms the image of American veterans, making them seem like pathetic victims and losers when in fact the overwhelming majority are proud, self-supporting, productive members of society.


Posted by tmg110 at 2:45 PM EST
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Bad Newt, Good Newt
Topic: Decline of the West

 

Newt Gingrich is an infuriating candidate. First he says something that makes you want to strangle him (e.g. attacking Mitt Romney as a predatory capitalist), then he turns around and wows you with a bravura performance. Good Newt was well on display last night in the GOP candidates’ debate, when Juan Williams asked him this race-baiting question: “Speaker Gingrich, you recently said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also say poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools. Can’t you see that this is viewed as at a minimum as insulting to all Americans but particularly to black Americans?”

 

Gingrich replied: “No, I don’t see that.” And the exchange went downhill from there for the hapless Williams, while garnering a standing ovation for Newt.

 

Check out the whole thing. Newt Gingrich may be erratic—but when he’s in the groove, the man is Barack Obama’s worst nightmare.


Posted by tmg110 at 1:14 PM EST
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Monday, 16 January 2012
The Respectable Prejudice (Part Two)
Topic: Liberal Fascism

 

Anti-Semitism has always been present on the American social scene. But unlike the European brand—a virulent hymn of hate—the American variant sounded in a minor key. To be sure, Jews in America encountered dislike and prejudice—particularly those Jews who emigrated from Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But their reception was not notably different from that accorded to other immigrants. The Irish who immediately preceded them experienced similar discrimination. In the long run, the unique character of American society and the American polity operated to the Jews’ advantage. They faced a good deal of informal discrimination, e.g. quotas for the admission of Jews to elite universities, exclusion form country clubs and business groups, etc. But the kind of open legal discrimination that had long burdened the Jews of Europe was never applied to them in America.

 

Up to the 1960s, overt American anti-Semitism was confined to the extreme right wing of the conservative movement: that faction of conservatism that could broadly be described as nativist, xenophobic and isolationist. A notorious example is Charles Lindbergh, whose otherwise respectable opposition to US participation in WW II was tinged with a disreputable attitude toward the Jews. One of William F. Buckley’s many valuable services to conservatism was his ejection of such extremists from the movement, e.g. his 1964 excoriation of the John Birch Society and his firing of the late Joe Sobran from National Review in 1993. Thus marginalized, the denizens of the far Right—the paleoconservatives and some libertarians—have nonetheless continued their flirtation with anti-Semitism, as exemplified by the career of Pat Buchanan.

 

The creation of the State of Israel supplied American anti-Semites with a new twist on their favorite prejudice. From the 1960s onward, the claim that American foreign policy was in thrall to a cabal of Jewish puppet masters gained traction with people like Buchanan and Sobran. A generation earlier, the claim that Jewish financiers dominate Wall Street has been the American Jew hater’s basic article of faith. Now it is claimed in addition that the Jews are running American foreign policy for the benefit of Israel. Ron Paul’s kooky foreign policy views are quite compatible with this paranoid thesis.

 

Anti-Semitism has also found a congenial home on the Left—which may seem remarkable but really isn’t. Karl Marx himself anticipated that the advent of the socialist paradise would solve the Jewish question (as it used to be called in Europe) by eliminating the Jews as an identifiable group. The tribalism that had enabled the Jewish people to survive centuries of persecution would serve no purpose in a worldwide socialist commonwealth, Marx taught. The persistence of a Jewish national identity stood, therefore, in opposition to the goals of the proletariat.

 

The appearance of Zionism—conscious Jewish nationalism—brought the tension between socialism and the Jews to a head, this despite the prominent role played by Jews in the international socialist movement. How the anti-Semitism of contemporary progressivism operates in practice will be the subject of my next post in this series.


Posted by tmg110 at 10:59 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 16 January 2012 11:33 AM EST
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Saturday, 14 January 2012
The Respectable Prejudice (Part One)
Topic: Liberal Fascism

 

In his 1945 essay, “Antisemitism in Britain,” George Orwell noted that:

 

It so happens that the war has encouraged the growth of antisemitism and even, in the eyes of many ordinary people, given some justification for it. To begin with, the Jews are one people of whom it can be said with complete certainty that they will benefit by an Allied victory. Consequently the theory that “this is a Jewish war” has a certain plausibility, all the more so because the Jewish war effort seldom gets its fair share of recognition.

 

>snip<

 

Whenever I have touched on this subject in a newspaper article, I have always had a considerable “come-back”, and invariably some of the letters are from well-balanced, middling people—doctors, for example—with no apparent economic grievance. These people always say (as Hitler says in Mein Kampf) that they started out with no anti-Jewish prejudice but were driven into their present position by mere observation of the facts. Yet one of the marks of antisemitism is an ability to believe stories that could not possibly be true.

 

Suitably updated, this would be a reasonable description of the situation in America and Europe today, where in paleoconservative and progressive circles at least, anti-Semitism is clearly on the rise. Scarcely had the dust settled on 9/11 when scurrilous stories about Jewish complicity began to make the rounds. It was alleged, without evidence, that Jews in New York danced in celebration of the attack, or that the whole thing had actually been engineered by the Israeli secret service. In the years that followed, a hardy perennial of the antiwar Left was the charge that George W. Bush was acting at the behest of his neocon puppet masters—“neocon” being a code word for “Jew.” Most recently, anti-Semitic attitudes were well on display at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

 

In his essay, Orwell opined that anti-Semitism is a neurosis supported by arguments of varying plausibility. I believe this to be true. Anti-Semitism is the father of all race prejudice, the great original, tracing its ancestry back to the early days of Christianity. Over the centuries it has taken various forms: the Jew as Christ-killer, the Jew as alien, the Jew as exploiter, the Jew as sinister puppet master. These various strands came together in the eliminationist anti-Semitism that arose in turn-of-the century Central Europe and culminated in the Final Solution. And though the horrors of the Holocaust made anti-Semitism unfashionable, it was not stamped out.

 

Ironically, the foundation of the State of Israel gave anti-Semitism a new lease on life. Today’s anti-Semite typically claims that he has nothing against Jews, but opposes the existence of Israel, which he characterizes as illegitimate, racist and imperialist. He supports the Palestinians in their demand for a state of their own. Anti-Semitism is thus rationalized as a simple call for justice.

 

But the claim that one can oppose Israel without hating Jews collapses upon close examination. For to deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel is to deny the Jews something that is conceded, in principle at least, to all the other peoples of the world: a national homeland. It’s one thing to debate the rights and wrongs of the conflict between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs. It’s something else entirely to demand a solution that entails the destruction of the Jewish state.

 

In Part Two of this series, I'll discuss where and how anti-Semitism expresses itself in America today.


Posted by tmg110 at 10:26 AM EST
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Friday, 13 January 2012
Organizer Man
Topic: Liberal Fascism

 

One of the entries in Barack Obama’s curriculum vita is “community organizer”—in Chicago during the 1980s. Those tiresome people who decide that their mission in life is to make the world a better place have to start somewhere. For Obama, it all began in the Windy City.

 

Now I lived in Chicago for seven years. As big cities go, it’s not a bad place. But I shed no tears when the time came to pack my bags and flee the People’s Republic of Illinois for the relative sanity of Granger, Indiana. Even in genteel Hyde Park where I had my apartment, there was no escape from the annoyances of city life: screaming arguments in the parking lot directly under my window at two in the morning, loud music blasting away in the adjoining apartment, crazy street people and panhandlers all over the place, the ever-present threat of crime (e.g. a murder in my building).

 

Every weekend in Chicago people are killed in drive-by shootings, stabbed, beaten to death, etc. Not infrequently, the victim is some little girl or boy who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police department is corrupt and not very efficient. The mayor and city council are more interested in playing race-based politics than they are in suppressing crime. The bureaucracy is bloated. The school system reeks. Despite state, county and city taxes on everything in sight, Chicago is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

 

So I’m wondering: What kind of a mark did Barack Obama make on Chicago? What problems did he solve? Did he leave the city a better place than he found it? Nah—Chicago simply shrugged Barry off. And a good thing, too. “From bad to worse,” perhaps translated into Latin, would make a fine motto for the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Community Organizers.


Posted by tmg110 at 10:03 AM EST
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Thursday, 12 January 2012
Hold the Champagne!
Topic: Decline of the West

 

Here's evidence that the euphoria produced by last month’s decline in the unemployment rate is unlikely to last long: “U.S. jobless claims rise sharply to 6-week high”

 

The story, from Reuters, goes on to say that the number of Americans applying for first-time jobless benefits jumped to 399,000 last week. That reverses a recent trend in which first-time claims were inching down. Reuters also notes that some economists believe that the recent decline in the unemployment rate was caused by discouraged people dropping out of the labor market altogether.

 

Told you so, didn't I?


Posted by tmg110 at 4:21 PM EST
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Debbie Does Civility
Topic: Liberal Fascism

 

Why the Democratic National Committee should choose as its chairperson a complete doofus is a good question. But there it is: the DNC’s fearless leader is none other than Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a gaffe machine in pumps. Today she added to her long list of greatest hits with a call for civility in politics—immediately followed by an attempt to link the Tea Party movement to the 2011 shooting of her House colleague, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

 

Just to review, the Giffords shooting (which left six people dead and twelve wounded) was carried out by a lone gunman who had nothing to do with the Tea Party. Jared Lee Loughner was an obsessive head case with a longstanding, albeit irrational, grudge against the congresswoman. Despite the Left’s best efforts, the attempt to link him to the Tea Party was went nowhere. Loughner was eventually found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

 

Given these well-established facts, why has the DNC chairperson made another clumsy attempt to make a connection where none exists? Personally, I incline to the simplest explanation: DWS is just as dumb as a box of rocks. Hey, Debbie, since when does “civility” include an exemption for slander?


Posted by tmg110 at 4:03 PM EST
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Wednesday, 11 January 2012
The High Priest of Race Hatred
Topic: Liberal Fascism

 

I rather enjoy receiving Nation of Change via email. It’s a perfect little Petri dish of progressive thinking—if that’s the word for the slop dished out by NoC, e.g. “James Cone’s Gospel of the Penniless, Jobless, Marginalized and Despised.” Here we are tutored on the hitherto unremarked similarities between the Crucifixition of Christ and the lynching of blacks in the Jim Crow era. Who knew?

 

That the comparison is beyond ridiculous seems hardly necessary to point out. In its way, this is as crude a formulation as the most fundamentalist, literal interpretation of the Bible. To accept it is to agree that any unjust death is pretty much the same as the Crucifixition. And I suppose that in some vague, cloudy, metaphysical sense this may be true. But in Cone’s formulation, it’s nothing more than a vicious expression of race hatred, directed in this case by a black “theologian” against white people.

 

I place his professional title inside quotes because it seems incongruous to describe this unsavory racist as a man of God. Cone is the founding father of what is sometimes called black liberation theology, i.e. Afrocentric racism dressed up in the vestments of Christianity. That his teachings inspired Barack Obama’s sometime spiritual mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright will come as no surprise. Check out this fawning review of Cone’s latest book, wherein the Crucifixition/lynching connection is laid bare. It's worth a laugh—or a grimace.

 

Nation of Change touts itself as the voice of the 99%. You’d be surprised, though, and probably disgusted, by the rogue’s gallery of latter-day Leninists who purport to speak for you in its pages.


Posted by tmg110 at 1:13 PM EST
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