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Friday, 27 January 2012
Worst Foot Forward
Topic: Decline of the West

 

Quick note on Obama’s State of the Union address: To expend 7,000 words while saying almost nothing of substance was a feat reflective of this president’s overall record. It was also well reflective of this president’s far from attractive personality: verbose, condescending, dishonest, brimming with self-regard. Even the hard Left hated it.

 

Once again we see the truth of the old adage that the American presidency magnifies the worst qualities of each incumbent. Obama as a community organizer or a law professor would be a minor annoyance. As president, however, this thin-skinned egomaniac is a national disaster.


Posted by tmg110 at 10:31 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 27 January 2012 10:56 AM EST
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Saturday, 21 January 2012
Road Trip!
Topic: Scratchpad

Posting may be rather sporatic over the next week—I'm off on an epic journey from the snowbound fastness of northwest Indiana to the sunny coast of south Georgia (the US state, not the uninhabited British island just north of Antarctica). I'll check in again when I can.


Posted by tmg110 at 3:23 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2012 3:28 PM EST
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Superman He Ain't
Topic: Decline of the West

 

I keep hearing that all the GOP presidential candidates have flaws. True enough. "Nobody's perfect" is a trite little cliché precisely because it’s so true. In which connection, perhaps angst-ridden conservatives should reflect for a moment on the comforting fact that Barack Obama isn’t perfect either. And now he has a record—a far from perfect record. So take a deep breath, people…


Posted by tmg110 at 3:07 PM EST
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Another Media Misfire
Topic: The Media

 

It’s interesting to note that ABC’s supposed journalistic coup—the interview with Newt Gingrich’s disgruntled ex-wife—doesn’t seem to have hurt him in South Carolina. As the voting commenced this morning, a Public Policy Polling survey gave him a nine-point lead over Mitt Romney. In fact, the former Speaker’s lead appears to have increased in the wake of ABC’s hit piece. Republican primary voters in South Carolina have clearly taken Gingrich’s side against what they view as the biased mainstream media.

 

Surprising? Perhaps not. Recall how the 2004 Dan Rather hit piece on George W. Bush backfired when it turned out that the damning National Guard memos were forgeries. Even if Rather and CBS would prefer to forget that sordid little scandal and countless other instances of media bias, conservative voters haven’t.


Posted by tmg110 at 10:50 AM EST
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Friday, 20 January 2012
The Respectable Prejudice (Part Three)
Topic: Liberal Fascism

 

The term “progressive anti-Semitism” may seem like an oxymoron. Not only is the Left formally opposed to racism, but Jews have always played a prominent role in the international socialist movement. So you might think that progressivism automatically excludes anti-Semitism. But that’s not the case—in fact the converse is the case.

 

As the Occupy Wall Street movement has demonstrated, Jew hatred is not at all incompatible with progressive principles. Some of the old Right’s anti-Semitic canards, e.g. the conspiratorial activities of “Jewish financiers,” are grist for the mill of the anti-capitalist Left. But the principal source of progressive anti-Semitism is the existence of the State of Israel.

 

Zionism—Jewish nationalism—has always been a controversial doctrine. Even among Jews themselves, there has been considerable disagreement over the advisability of creating a Jewish state. The horrors of the Holocaust, however, convinced the vast majority of Jews that a Jewish national homeland was a necessity. And the world’s bad conscience in the years immediately following World War II made it possible for that homeland—the State of Israel—to be created despite furious Arab opposition. But the Left in Europe and America soon repented of its early support of a Jewish national homeland.

 

Today, progressive anti-Semitism is largely based on perceptions of the alliance between Israel and the United States—at least, that’s how progressives justify their obsessive jihad against Israel. And like most forms of race hatred, progressive anti-Semitism contradicts itself it every point. Simultaneously, the nefarious Jews are said to be controlling US foreign policy and wicked Israel is said to be acting as a tool of US imperialism. Though not exactly compatible, these two charges are psychologically resonant. So too is the oft-repeated charge that a cabal of Jewish Americans (“neocons” in the code language of the progressive anti-Semite) are guilty of “dual loyalty”—e.g. posing as Americans while giving their primary allegiance to Israel.

 

Nor are progressives bothered by the contradictions inherent in their condemnations of Zionism, which exist simultaneously with fervent support of Palestinian Arab nationalism. That progressives wish to see the Jewish state destroyed, whether violently or through demographic changes, is scarcely to be denied. While ignoring the existence of xenophobic nationalism, Western progressives routinely condemn Israel as a racist, “apartheid” state—this despite the fact that there are over a million Arabs living inside Israel, while almost all Jews have long since been expelled from Arab lands.

 

To point out the glaring bias in progressive attitudes toward Israel is not of course to imply that the Jewish state is one hundred percent virtuous or that the Arabs are irredeemably wicked. The Palestinians have legitimate grievances. But their own genocidal nationalism, so fervently supported by Western progressives, prevents those grievances from being addressed. With a modicum of good will on both sides, the Mideast conflict between the Jews and the Arabs could easily be resolved. Yet good will is precisely what progressives are working hard to suppress. Their one-sided support for the Palestinians tacitly proclaims a belief that Israel must be made to disappear—by whatever means necessary, as the New Left used to put it. The rhetoric of Arab nationalism need not be pursued too far to discover how bloody those means would be. Thus in the name of peace, justice, democracy and all good things, progressives make common cause with the proponents of a second Holocaust.

 

I don’t think that the sheer illogic of the progressive position on the Jewish-Arab conflict, not to mention the crude Jew bashing that crops up in progressive venues like the Occupy movement, can simply be put down to ideology. For many people, I suspect, they provide a politically correct cover for the expression of a long-held albeit deeply buried prejudice.

 

All this is extremely embarrasing for the Democratic Party, whose left wing overlaps with the broader progressive movement. The question of how mainstream liberals cope with the anti-Semitism of those to their left will be the subject of my next post in this series.


Posted by tmg110 at 10:06 AM EST
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Questions of Character, Questions of Bias
Topic: Decline of the West

 

Newt Gingrich’s history of marital infidelity and the ugly breakup of his second marriage is not exactly fresh news. So why is ABC touting the complaints of his ex-wife, Marianne, as if they’re bombshell revelation? To judge from their demeanor during last night’s debate, it seems that GOP primary voters in South Carolina think they know the answer to that. The media’s out to get Newt—and all the Republican candidates—because the media’s in the tank for Barack Obama.

 

True enough. The same claque of reporters who were blind, deaf, and dumb concerning Obama’s ties to the racist Rev. Wright and the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers can’t get enough of Marianne Gingrich’s stale accusations. I can certainly understand her bitterness. But it’s pretty clear that ABC pursued her for months in the hope of getting something that would embarrass the candidate. (See this story in the New York Times for details of the network’s obsessive quest for some dirt on the former Speaker.) But in the end ABC got nothing new beyond Marianne’s claim—which in the nature of things cannot really be substantiated—that Gingrich asked her to agree to an “open marriage.” Pretty thin gruel.

 

Questions of character, including questions of marital infidelity, are certainly relevant in a presidential election. As the maxim of the law puts it, “false in one thing, false in everything.” But Newt Gingrich has long since acknowledged his infidelity and, as he says, sought reconciliation. So unless there’s a lot more to this story than the tenacious if understandable bitterness of an ex-wife, ABC’s decision to go with it just days before a key primary can only be characterized as yet another example of the mainstream media’s ideological bias.


Posted by tmg110 at 8:17 AM EST
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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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