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Friday, 16 March 2012
Angelica, I Fart in Your General Direction...
Topic: Liberal Fascism


A superb piece of socio-political commentary from one of America’s most notable thinkers: Angelica Huston: US Returning to “Dark Ages”


That her conception of the Dark Ages is no doubt based on a boozy viewing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in no way detracts from the scalpel-like incisiveness of Ms. Huston’s analysis.

Posted by tmg110 at 5:37 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 16 March 2012 8:32 PM EDT
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Barry's Improbable History
Topic: Decline of the West


Anyone who still thinks that our community organizer-in-chief is a master of political rhetoric should review his remarks yesterday to students at Prince George Community College: “Obama delighted [the students] by blasting his Republican critics for their resistance to investing in alternative energy sources, comparing their stance to the beliefs of those who thought that Christopher Columbus would sail off the edge of the world.”


But as Clayton Cramer notes, the President showed himelf to be as ignorant of history as the students who applauded him so wildly:


Now, if you attended high school, or college, you would know (or should know) that there was no educated European who thought the Earth was flat. None. The dispute that made it hard for Columbus to get funding was that he insisted the Earth was 18,000 miles in circumference, so the Indies were a plausible voyage west from Spain. The experts who told the various governments of Europe that Columbus wasn't going to be successful thought the Earth was closer to 25,000 miles around—and sailing west to the Indies was going to be a failure. Had there not been the Americas in the way, Columbus and crew would have died of thirst.

Given the sad state of American public education, it’s no surprise that the students at Georgetown Community College gave no clue. And come to think of it, it’s no surprise that Obama is also clueless. The chief distinguishing characteristic of a know-it-all is that he’s unteachable.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:41 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 16 March 2012 8:46 AM EDT
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Minimizing the Bad News
Topic: The Media

So last evening I received the following news alert via email from the New York Times:

Representative Gary Ackerman, a longtime member of Congress from Queens and Long Island, announced on Thursday that he would not seek re-election, in an unexpected development that brings an end to a colorful political career.

In a statement, Mr. Ackerman said: “The residents of Queens and Long Island have honored me with their trust and support for the past 34 years, first as a New York state senator, and for the past 15 terms as a member of Congress. I’ve been truly privileged to have had the opportunity to fight for the beliefs of my neighbors in both the state capital and in the halls of Congress.” His term will end Jan. 2, 2013.

And it seemed to me that something was missing. But what? Oh, right, the Times neglected to mention that Ackerman is a Democrat. To be fair, the full story does allude to his party affiliation, if only to reassure nervous liberals. After noting that Ackerman's announcement has "suprised and baffled" his fellow Dems, the story went on to opine, no dount hopefully, that his redistricted seat is unlikely to flip to the GOP. Really? Maybe the retiring congressman knows something that they don't know…and that the Times is too discreet to mention…

Posted by tmg110 at 8:17 AM EDT
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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Guess Who Came To Dinner?
Topic: Decline of the West


I know that standards have slipped since King Charles X of France was deposed in 1830, but really—this is the bloody limit! One of the weirdest, most crack-brained intellectual degenerates on the World Wide Web is Andrew Sullivan, whose widely broadcast obsession with Sarah Palin’s last pregnancy literally makes one’s flesh creep. And he, of all people, was invited to the state dinner that President Obama threw in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron. Why not just go the distance and bring in Bill Maher to do some gynecological standup?

Posted by tmg110 at 9:42 PM EDT
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A Very Typical Shambles
Topic: Decline of the West


That column of smoke you see rising in the distance marks the crash sight of what passed for Barack Obama’s Afghanistan policy. The fiasco in which he has embroiled the United States was foreordained from the day he accompanied the Afghanistan troop surge with a politically calibrated “exit strategy.” Prepare for bad news when a politician with a war on his hands starts bloviating about his “exit strategy”: It’s a euphemistic way of conceding defeat.


As is usual with our philosopher-president, Obama thought he could have it both ways: look tough by surging troops into the battle zone; look touchy-feely by pledging to get out by a date certain. This merely ensured (1) that the hardships and sacrifices of the troops deployed would be in vain, (2) that our ally, the government of Afghanistan, knowing that we’d soon be gone while the Taliban remained, would begin to hedge its bets and (3) that the Taliban would have no incentive to negotiate. Today, to the surprise of no one except Obama and the clueless dolts who mismanage foreign policy on his behalf, (1) the Taliban broke off talks with the US and (2) the government of Afghanistan demanded an acceleration of the US/NATO withdrawal. “If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly.”


Why, indeed, should the Taliban negotiate when Afghanistan will soon be theirs for the taking? And why should the government of Afghanistan trust the Obama Administration, with the precipitous abandonment of Iraq so green in memory? No one in the Obama Administration seems to have raised these obvious questions. Perhaps they trusted in Barry’s godlike powers of persuasion. Or something.


Two years ago, there were good arguments both for prosecuting the war in Afghanistan with the aim of scoring a clear-cut success, or of cutting our losses and pulling out. Obama couldn’t see this. Instead he tried to split the difference. Result: a humiliating debacle that will alarm our allies and embolden our enemies. How, for example, can Israel reasonably be expected to trust the promises of a feckless, light-minded US president?


“Let them hate as long as they fear” is a key principle of foreign policy—and “Can’t we all just get along?” is no substitute.

Posted by tmg110 at 7:40 PM EDT
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Topic: Virtual Reality

Just a note to advise that WAR FLAGS, my website devoted to military and naval flags of the world, past and present, has been updated with new content. The Featured Flags are the King's Standard and Regimental Standard of the 4th Regiment of Horse (British Army, 18th Century). Look for them on the front page. In the Showcase: current naval flags of Romania. Click on the "Latest Updates" link to see what else is new.

Historical Flags of the World, the WAR FLAGS special section devoted to flags of historical significance (not necessarily military) has been updated with a page covering the flags of the Boers of South Africa.

Posted by tmg110 at 3:02 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Down Memory Lane
Topic: Liberal Fascism


In the annals of progressive swinishness, how could I have overlooked the record of the “Rev.” Al Sharpton, who has quite a habit of spewing out racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric? The American Spectator’s Jeffery Lord reprises some of Al’s greatest hits here. My personal favorite: Al’s characterization of Socrates Plato, etc. as a bunch of "Greek homos" who stole the secrets of mathematics from the mighty civilization of prehistoric Black Africa…or something…

Posted by tmg110 at 12:26 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 16 March 2012 8:34 PM EDT
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Misogynists for Obama Update
Topic: Decline of the West


As of this morning the Obama super PAC (run by former Obama adviser Bill Burton) has still not returned the $1 million donation it received from the leering misogynist, Bill Maher. There’s hopeful news, however! It seems that Obama hatchet man David Axelrod, who was slated to appear on the slimeball’s HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” has suddenly discovered a scheduling conflict. Though I doubt that a goon like Axelrod would have found Maher’s obscene slurs objectionable, he’s obviously leery of associating the Obama campaign with Mr. Misogynist. But there’s still the question of that $1 million donation…

Posted by tmg110 at 12:08 PM EDT
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The Aspidistra Flies Again
Topic: Must Read


In an earlier post I mentioned that I’d acquired the Everyman’s Library volume containing three early novels by George Orwell: Burmese Days, Keep the Aspidistra Flying and Coming Up for Air. A couple of evenings ago I finished rereading Keep the Aspidistra Flying.


I was struck by how up-to-date this novel seemed, though it was written and is set in mid-1930s Britain. This was mainly due to two elements of the plot:


(1) Keep the Aspidistra Flying’s protagonist, Gordon Comstock, is a rather moth-eaten thirtysomething poet who is struggling to avoid falling into the money-trap—which is how he thinks of regular employment, marriage and family, home ownership, etc. Gordon is determined to live outside the world of money. But alas, he finds poverty to be something of a trial and at one point he's hectored by his family into taking a job at an advertising agency. There Gordon finds to his surprise and dismay that he has prodigious abilities in the copywriting line. Ultimately he must choose between poetry/poverty and advertising/prosperity. For anyone who has ever worked on the creative side of advertising, Orwell's depiction of Gordon’s agency, the New Albion, will seem very familiar indeed. And his mordant observation that advertising is nothing more than “the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket” will surely strike a chord.


(2) The plot device that drives the novel to its climax is the unplanned pregnancy of Gordon’s girlfriend, Rosemary. Living in squalor on subsistence wages, Gordon cannot support Rosemary and the child, and so the question of abortion comes up. After a visit to the public library, where he reads up on the development of the fetus and examines some pictures of same, Gordon rejects the option of abortion—which Rosemary was willing to endure if need be. Instead they agree to marry, and Gordon returns to a “respectable” job in advertising. Once again, and despite decades of pro-abortion propagandizing, this struck me as a realistic contemporary situation—far more realistic, indeed, than the smile-button view of abortion that’s promoted by the pro-choice mob.


Orwell has something of a somber reputation, and the good-natured, tolerant attitude of Keep the Aspidistra Flying may come as a surprise to some readers. He remains for me one of the most interesting writers of the twentieth century—for his political prophecy and also for his rare appreciation of the ordinary, the dutiful and the stiff upper lip.

Posted by tmg110 at 11:53 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Culture of Death Update
Topic: Liberal Fascism


I’ve always been a bit suspicious of people who describe themselves as “medical ethicists.” What exactly are the qualifications for that job? And what do they do all day? Writing in the Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson answers my questions:


They are happily employed by pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other outposts of the vast medical-industrial combine, where their job is to advise the boss to go ahead and do what he was going to do anyway (“Put it on the market!” “Pull the plug on the geezer!”). They also attend conferences where they take turns sitting on panels talking with one another and then sitting in the audience watching panels of other medical ethicists talking with one another. Their professional specialty is the “thought experiment,” which is the best kind of experiment because you don’t have to buy test tubes or leave the office. And sometimes they get jobs at universities, teaching other people to become ethicists. It is a cozy, happy world they live in.


And in that cozy, happy world, they spend a good deal of their time dreaming up alibis for such things as partial-birth abortion and—get this—“after-birth abortion.” In plain language, that means killing a newborn baby.


Ferguson’s article details the “thought experiment” performed by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, two Australian medical ethicists, whose conclusions about “after-birth abortion” were presented in the Journal of Medical Ethics. “When circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion,” they write, “what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”


In other words, a woman’s right to an abortion includes the right to have her newborn baby killed after its birth, if it has a disability or even if she changes her mind about motherhood. Since the “circumstances…that justify abortion” boil down to the woman’s “right to choose,” it logically follows that women possess this power of life and death as an inalienable human right. And besides, a newborn baby doesn’t really understand that it’s being deprived of its life…


Progressivism has been called “the party of death.” To the extent that progressives tolerate such views from people pretending to talk about ethics, it’s an accurate description.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:05 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2012 8:28 AM EDT
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