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Saturday, 18 February 2012
High Gas Prices? Don't Blame Barry!
Topic: Decline of the West


Remember how Democrats and the media used to blame George W. Bush and his sinister cabal of neocon puppet masters for high gas prices? Well, now that Barack Obama is president, Dems and reporters have suddenly discovered that the causes of high gas prices are mysterious and quite complex! Take this story from the February 28, 2011Washington Post and this one from the February 17, 2012 Los Angeles Times, neither of which mention the Obama Administration at all.


It’s true, of course, that a complex of factors—Middle East unrest, rising demand, even the weather—is driving prices higher. This is as true today as it was when Dems and the media were squawking at the Bush Administration. But it’s also true that the anti-petroleum decisions of the Obama Administration are helping to keep prices high. North America is sitting on vast untapped oil and natural gas reserves that could have a significant effect on prices—if they were being exploited. (And, incidentally, exploiting those resources would create jobs.) But instead Barry and his minions hand out subsidies and loan guarantees to insolvent solar panel manufacturers, electric cars that no one wants to buy and useless high-speed rail projects.


When gas reaches a price of $5 per gallon for regular unleaded, remember that.

Posted by tmg110 at 9:10 AM EST
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Friday, 17 February 2012
Shrum? Dumb!
Topic: Liberal Fascism


That leading indicator of political trends, Bob Shrum, has opined on the dispute between the Obama Administration and the Catholic Church:


[I]n this pluralistic society, the prelates of one denomination are attempting to impose their strictures on everyone of every faith and none. This echoes the failed efforts of the Catholic hierarchy to prevent the legalization of divorce in Italy—and worldwide, their graceless enmity toward civil marriage for same-sex couples. It's hard to escape the sense that if they could get away with it, they would remake America in their own dogmatic image and likeness. Where logically do you draw the line? If the remarriage of those who are divorced is morally wrong—a lapse into "living in sin"—why not outlaw it?


Now there’s no doubt that Shrum’s crude and offensive diatribe echoes the views of the secular progressives who constitute the Democratic Party’s base. Despite the fact that most Catholic social teaching betrays a decidedly liberal bias, the Church gets no credit for this from the Shrums of the world. Unless and until the Catholic Church abandons its pro-life teachings and embraces that secular sacrament, abortion, it will always be reviled on the Left.


Shrum’s words well reflect the hatred with which the Church is viewed by secular progressives, e.g. his false and lying claim that the Catholic bishops “are attempting to impose their strictures on everyone of every faith and none.” In fact, the Church has neither the power nor the inclination to prevent people from obtaining contraception or even abortions. Its pro-life campaign relies on moral suasion, not coercion—in sharp contrast, incidentally, to the policies of the Obama Administration.


Shrum’s attack on the Catholic Church demonstrates the essential fraudulence of the progressive claim that universal access to free contraception is a civil rights issue. Once again, he has come through for us: Just listen to what Bob has to say and you can be sure that the converse is the case.

Posted by tmg110 at 11:37 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 18 February 2012 10:21 AM EST
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Troubled Waters
Topic: Liberal Fascism


Maybe Rep. Maxine Waters isn’t simply a shrill, offensive shrew with the soul of a Bolshevik apparatchik. It could be that the poor woman is messed up in the head. Her recent tirade against House Republicans, in the course of which she characterized Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor as “demons,” certainly calls her emotional and mental stability into question.


Why her own party permits her to get away with this is an easy question to answer. Waters is (a) black, (b) a woman and (c) a progressive. So no matter how crazily she talks, Maxine gets a pass from the Dems and their pals in the media. Can you imagine the uproar that would follow a comment from, say, Newt Gingrich, to the effect that Barack Obama is the spawn of Satan…?

Posted by tmg110 at 10:48 AM EST
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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Don't Blame Fame
Topic: Decline of the West


I hate to disagree with a nice girl like Kathleen Parker, but she’s dead wrong about Whitney Huston in this column. "There is sufficient history of the talented who met similar ends to comfortably conclude that fame is a risk factor for substance abuse," Parker writes. "Fans may pay the bills, but they also siphon the spirit of the adored. It isn’t just lonely at the top. It can be deadly."


In other words, Whitney Huston was cursed—and eventually killed—by fame. It’s a beguiling hypothesis in the Lifetime Movie for Television vein, but I’m not buying. Whitney Huston killed Whitney Huston, and there’s no particular reason to think that obscurity would have saved her. It’s true, as Parker notes, that other celebrities have destroyed themselves in a similar manner. But so have countless people that she and I have never heard of: average men and women who for one reason or another found their continued existence unbearable.


Whitney Huston’s death was remarkable only in this sense: Millions of people—her fans, her family, her friends, the media—stood around and watched while she reduced her life and career to a shambles. And though its no more credible than Parker’s contention that “fame” killed her, I can’t help but think that in some dark corner of the collective unconscious, all those people willed Whitney Huston’s death. When a celebrity dies like that, it’s the greatest show on earth…

Posted by tmg110 at 9:38 AM EST
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Tuesday, 14 February 2012
More Rights = Less Liberty
Topic: Liberal Fascism


One reason why progressives are so enamored of postmodern constitutions like that of South Africa is obvious when you think about it: Wide-ranging constitutional guarantees of universal human rights confer enormous power on government. Consider, for example, this provision in the SA Constitution’s Bill of Rights:


24. Environment

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that ­prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.


In the name of this “right,” the government is given enormous power to manipulate the economy “through reasonable legislative and other measures.” Al Gore can only dream of such an amendment to the US Constitution!


Now of course the SA Constitution also embodies civil liberties of the traditional kind: freedom of speech, association, religion, etc.—albeit spelled out in much greater detail than our own Framers thought necessary. Perhaps that’s another reason why it’s so dear to the hearts of verbose lefties like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But deep in their gnarled little hearts, what progressives really like about such laundry lists of rights—to food, to housing, to education, to social security, to fairness, to happiness—is the excuse they provide for an ever-increasing concentration of power in government bureaucracies and elite institutions. And if in the pursuit of such “rights” individual liberties are trampled, well, that’s a small price to pay. Isn’t it?

Posted by tmg110 at 3:44 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2012 3:49 PM EST
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Monday, 13 February 2012
Talent's Not Toxic
Topic: Decline of the West


The sordid death of Whitney Huston got me thinking along the obvious line: Why does there seem to be such a close correlation between great talent and self-destructive insanity?


I realize, of course, that most highly talented people have no death wish. But the minority who are self-destructive grab the headlines by being found dead in a hotel bathtub, etc. And we always assume that the burden of their extraordinary talent in some way killed them. It’s an assumption that can lend a phony air of tragedy to even the most untidy exit.


But what such incidents really show is that talent signifies nothing but itself. If you have a defective personality, great musical or literary talent won’t make up the deficiency. And if you possess a well-balanced personality, talent can’t destroy you. After all, there are plenty of self-destructive people who have no talent at all. What’s their excuse for polishing themselves off with a drug overdose, a noose or a leap from the roof?

Posted by tmg110 at 3:11 PM EST
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Our Very Accomodating President
Topic: Decline of the West


There are three possibilities: (1) Barack Obama is economically illiterate, (2) Barack Obama thinks that the American people are just plain stupid or (3) both (1) and (2). I’m going with (3). It seems to me that the President’s “accommodation” on contraceptive coverage is both clueless and arrogant—the usual Obama amalgam.


Let’s consider the President’s claim that women will receive “free” contraceptives courtesy of the insurance companies. Sounds great! But, as John Steele Gordon points out in this contribution to Commentary’s “Contentions” blog, there’s no free lunch. Birth control med cost money to manufacture, package and distribute. Somebody’s going to pay for them. Guess who? You, me and everybody in the form of higher insurance premiums! All the Obama “accommodation” does is shift the cost.


So does the Prez really believe that with a wave of his wizard’s wand he’s capable of conjuring up free contraceptives? Yes, I think that in some dim recess of his mind, he believes exactly that. To our philosopher-king-president, the laws of economics are like a ball of Silly Putty, to be stretched and pounded into any shape he desires. And the American people? A bunch of morons who’ll never notice that his “accommodation” is just a cynical shell game.

Posted by tmg110 at 10:42 AM EST
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Sunday, 12 February 2012
Just a Thought
Topic: Must Read

Philip Roth is, I believe, the great American writer of the twentieth century.

Posted by tmg110 at 7:10 PM EST
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Saturday, 11 February 2012
Bishops to Barry: No Deal
Topic: Decline of the West


Well, the Obama Administration’s "accommodation" (as the Prez chose to call it in a rather adolescent attempt to avoid using the word "compromise") of the Catholic Church’s objections to the Obamacare contraception mandate has fallen flat on its face. After a cautious initial reaction from the US Catholic bishops and a chorus of positive spin from the usual suspects, it turns out that a difference that makes no difference is no difference.


Noting that the so-called accommodation retains the mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients (morning-after abortion drugs), the US Conference of Catholic Bishops turned the Administration’s proposal down flat. "The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services," the bishops said. (See this story in the National Catholic Register for more details.)


Barry’s in trouble on this one because he and his people have lost control of the message. It’s not about women’s rights now (a ludicrous claim in any case considering the low cost and easy availability of contraceptives)—it’s about religious liberty. But of course, Obama and his supporters are the last people on the planet you’d expect to grasp the power of that message.

Posted by tmg110 at 3:35 PM EST
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Friday, 10 February 2012
A Textbook Case of Political Malpractice
Topic: Decline of the West


OK, let’s review: (1) The Obama Administration promulgates a health insurance mandate that’s certain to be offensive to the Catholic Church. (2) A wholly predictable uproar ensues. (3) In an attempt to quell the rising tide of outrage, the President announces an “accommodation” that’s patently phony. (4) So now many Catholics, liberals and feminists are discontented and suspicious. (Conservatives on the other hand feel vindicated. Unlike for example the president of the University of Notre Dame they never believed that Obama was acting in good faith.)


What on earth caused an intelligent fellow like Barack Obama to commit such a lame-brained political blooper? The answer in two words is intellectual vanity. Once again, the President acted on the dubious assumption that he’s the smartest guy in the room. He simply waved away the objections of Vice President Joe Biden and others who warned that forcing a contraception mandate on the Catholic Church would be seen as an assault on religious liberty. Egged on by a cabal of Catholic-hating radical feminists inside and beyond the White House, he picked a fight that he was guaranteed to lose. And in an election year!


Will someone please explain to me why so many people still insist on singing hymns to Barack Obama’s dazzling political skills?

Posted by tmg110 at 2:26 PM EST
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