Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies



Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Right to Vote: Yes, it is Special

On Tuesday, residents of  Portland, Maine will vote on whether legal residents who are not citizens (student visas, green card holders) should be given the right to vote in local elections.

Meanwhile, across the country,  Roger Hedgecock reports that in California, many illegal aliens are routinely registered to vote. Thanks to ACORN, who took matters into their own hands, the current federal law that requires you to become a citizen before you get the right to vote, has been circumvented. And not just in California. Anywhere there is a significant illegal population – which is every major city. They decided that the federal requirements for citizenship - you must be a legal resident for five years, pass a test of English proficiency, demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government and swear allegiance to the United States of America - are too burdensome and unfair. So they waived them.

With ACORN’s registration system, all you need do is sign a document swearing you are a citizen. No one ever checks, and no one has ever been prosecuted for perjury in California. I’m not sure, but I’m willing to bet this is pretty much true across the country.

None of this makes any since on its face. The fact that some non-citizens pay taxes does not translate to a right to vote. I paid taxes from the time I was 14 until I was 21 without being allowed to vote (yes, that used to be the  legal age until the problem of drafting 18 year olds to fight and die in Vietnam, but not allowing them to vote, forced a revision).  Life’s not fair. Get in line to file your complaint.

If you’re not a citizen you don’t vote. Period. It’s one of the benefits of actually being a citizen, not a green-card holder, or an illegal alien working  and paying taxes with a stolen social security number.

So here’s the deal: until such time as I can go to Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Nigeria or France and vote in their elections as a non-citizen, I don’t want any of them voting for how to run my country either.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Idiot’s Guide to Driving off a Cliff

LINKED BY DOUG ROSS, THANKS!

What do David Brooks, Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman, all have in common? Aside from the fact that they all write unhinged opinion pieces for the New York Times.

Not a trick question: they’re all idiots.

For David Brooks and Maureen Dowd’s part, they’ve both recently demonstrated this fact so adequately in their own respective columns (The Flock Comedies, Playing all the Angles) that no further external analysis is required. But Friedman and Krugman deserve more formal external validation.

Thomas Friedman’s brand of idiocy was recently splayed out by Bookworm in her column Why Tom Freidman is an idiot.

I don’t think that there’s any doubt BUT that Tom Friedman is an idiot.  His worship for Communist China — which in typical Friedman fashion routinely takes the form of acknowledging its failings, yet nevertheless lusting after the same power that creates those failings — is manifest evidence of his idiocy.  He’s coy, but he can’t disguise his unwholesome passion for totalitarianism.

It’s not just his totalitarian yearnings, though, that make Friedman stupid.  It’s also his blatant inability to align facts and conclusions.  Friedman made his reputation as a fact guy.  He’s written lots of ostensibly fact-based books.  Certainly, he impresses the self-styled intellectuals on the Left with his mastery of facts.  But the reality is that, in his columns, he frequently ignores painful facts, fakes real facts, and misuses actual facts, all of which adds up to stupid 

Bookworm explains her burst of animosity towards the Hot, Flat Globalist of Record:

If you’re wondering why I’m harshing on Friedman with such venom this morning, it’s because of a column he wrote yesterday about Israel and the Palestinians.  The whole column exists in a parallel reality universe.  Taking his usual irritating, condescending stance of wise father lecturing recalcitrant children, he essentially demands that Israel just get with the Obama program and make concessions that will inevitably lead to the lion and the lamb lying in peace together...

Bookworm explains that, like so many others, Freidman didn’t start out as a complete idiot, but was – again, like so many others – caught up in the one-way feedback of a closed system:

Friedman wasn’t always such an idiot.  He was always a pedantic, formulaic writer, but twenty years ago, he actually used to make facts and theory mesh well together.  The problem is the bubble.  Friedman is encased in an ideological bubble, with no countervailing forces, that renders him the functional equivalent of an unpruned hedge:  he’s wild and ugly now, instead of neat and compact…Because the Times decided to remove comments, Friedman doesn’t have the reality checks that, in the stripper world, tell that gal to go on a diet and keep her clothes on; and that in the political world, should tell Friedman that he’s got his facts wrong, that he’s missing facts, or that his conclusions don’t make sense.

I’m not able to do the rest of her lovely, salacious commentary justice, so do read the whole article here. It’s a great piece on what happens when you are disconnected from reality. You simply can’t comprehend how it is that everyone else is such a dolt. It’s the Pauline Kael syndrome.

Next up, Stephen Spruiell  recently hammered Paul Krugman (the Hot, Flat, Economist of Record) along similar lines in his article at National Review Paul Krugman: Professor Ahab. He attempts to explain Krugman’s motivation and journey from author of left-leaning but mostly fair-handed commentary on all things economic to the vitriolic partisan he is now.

And then you have a writer like Paul Krugman… He has developed a reputation among liberals as one of the Bush administration’s most unsparing and effective critics. Conservatives, by contrast, tend to regard him as a crass and occasionally vicious partisan. But Krugman was not always this divisive: Though he never made a secret of his liberal views, most of his early public commentary (which predates his column at the Times) was devoted to cleverly debunking economic tropes dear to both Left and Right. His transformation into a bare-knuckled liberal brawler is a testimony to the perils of life on the high seas of opinion journalism. Let us reconstruct his journey.

It wasn’t until “Presidential candidate Bill Clinton took to citing Krugman’s findings on the campaign trail” in order to prove a point that Clinton had been “trying to make for months” that middle class income had stagnated during the Reagan boom, that Krugman began to compromise some of his intellectual integrity.

… Bill Clinton made up his mind that the Republicans were to blame for income inequality before he read Sylvia Nasar’s article [which used Krugman’s data] on inequality. He “added the statistic to his repertoire” in order to bolster a claim that he had already decided was true. That’s okay — politicians are supposed to be hacks. But writers and economists aren’t. Krugman once was careful not to make the same leap Clinton did, writing in the early Nineties that “we don’t fully understand why inequality soared.” But as his celebrity as a political commentator grew, he added the “institutions and norms” theory to his repertoire, not because it was especially robust, but because it proved a point he’d been trying to make for years: Voting for Republicans causes the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. It just feels true, doesn’t it?

Spruiell then permits Krugman to be hoisted by his own petard:

In “How to Be a Hack,” (Krugman) wrote that “love of money is only the root of some evil. Love of the limelight, love of the feeling of being part of a Movement, even love of the idea of oneself as a bold rebel against the Evil Empire can be equally corrupting of one’s intellectual integrity.” One could certainly paint a picture of Paul Krugman as a man enchanted and corrupted by all of those things, if one wished. His harsh criticism of George W. Bush in the New York Times broadened his fame to the point that, as reported in The New Yorker, he got a dinner invitation from Paul Newman.

… and he leaves him there a while, wafting along in thin air:

Then there is his bald inconsistency. In 2002, the disappearance of the projected surplus and the sudden appearance of chronic deficits led him to wonder, quite sensibly, “What happens [when foreign creditors] lose their enthusiasm” for financing our deficits? But these days, when policymakers tremble at the truly staggering size of the deficit, Krugman mocks them for worrying about “invisible bond vigilantes.” The bond vigilantes were also invisible in 2002, when Krugman feared them. All that has changed is the size of the deficit: It has gotten much, much larger. Krugman’s justification for his inconsistency is that things are different now: Interest rates will stay low because creditors will continue to view U.S. Treasuries as a safe haven in uncertain times. But that’s an awfully big assumption for policymakers to rely upon. They have responsibility for the solvency of the U.S. government. Krugman has a newspaper column.

Spruiell concedes that Krugman did in fact simply grow more partisan over the years, but also notes another powerful driver in play:

But he is also a man caught in the grip of a powerful ideology he believes in his heart to be true — an ideology that came back into vogue for an all-too-brief spell before losing favor again for reasons Krugman believes to be unjust. His preferred monetary and fiscal policies appear in practice to have horrible unintended consequences and costs that are far out of proportion to the good they do, but he insists that this is because we’ve put the wrong people in charge.

Hubris, my friends. In short, Krugman, like Freidman, like the gang at Enron and the sitting POTUS all suffer from the same grand delusion: that they are the smartest guys in the room. They all came to this unholy conclusion in the same way. Their lives evolve around a feedback loop consisting of  sycophantic praise and a steady feed of carefully screened positive input. Negative feedback is deemed to be cynical, aimed at undermining the “team’s” agenda and therefore dismissed out of hand. All leaders, writers, actors and politicians foolish enough to follow this screed are guaranteed only one thing: eventual failure. Without allowing negative feeds into the inner sanctum where it can be analyzed and dealt with, it will destroy you. The only surprise is how many seemingly intelligent people make this foolish error of judgment. Sometimes even experienced players fall prey to these Sirens, but nearly all inexperienced players do. If this is your strategy, you better hope for a combination of  economic good luck and apathy on the part of your constituents – whomever they might be – if you want anything more than a short run.

From where I’m sitting, it looks like President Obama boarded the bus of idiots, previously piloted into a ditch by the Republicans, grabbed the wheel, tromped on the gas and managed to lurch it out of the gully and headed straight for a cliff. It doesn’t appear as though he’s got luck going for him, and the natives are surely anything but apathetic.

All Aboard!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shovel Ready in the Promised Land

This may have been around the block a few times, but it’s new to me. I picked it up from Retriever, who lifted it from Jewel (who also has a link to an Oriana Fallaci tape, one of my personal heros, along with Geert Wilders who I see now they are going to retry) They are both excellent blogs.

And since it is a chain letter, by all means spread it around.

 

"Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel, "Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land."

Nearly 75 years ago,(when Welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said, "Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land."

Today, the government has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of camels and mortgaged the Promised Land!

I was so depressed last night thinking about Health Care Plans, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc . . . called a Suicide Hotline. I had to press 1 for English. I was connected to a call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal.

They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck......"

The Man Just Wants to Keep His Shoes On

This man is my newest hero: “Pilot Refuses Full-body Scan, Says TSA Doesn’t Make Travel Safer.”

Finally, someone who dares speak the truth. Our multi-billion dollar “screening” program at airports is a sham. Wow! Who’d of thunk?

I wish we could clone this ExpressJet Airlines first officer, Michael Roberts, and send the clones to Washington to replace the clowns that currently inhabit the halls of Congress.

Roberts told The Commercial Appeal newspaper he wants to go to work and not be “harassed or molested without cause.” adding that he believes “TSA (is) a “make-work” program that doesn’t make travel safer.”

This is really a no-brainer. the TSA boarding procedures make about as much sense as taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. Yes, that’s right, just like you’ve heard: then only the bad guys have guns. Really, how hard is this stuff, people? Do you want to shuffle  through airports without your shoes for the rest of your natural life? This is not exactly forward progress.

So, a salute to First Officer Roberts. He’ll probably get fired, but finally - someone with the chutzpah to reveal the truth about the Emperor’s new clothes. It’s a start.

Let’s send him over to the White House next.

 

NOTE: This was inexplicitly cross-posted by MOTUS! Raj, can you check out my firewall?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shovel Ready: It Needs to be Buried

This is for the half dozen people left who still think that the racist rightwing whack jobs were exaggerating about the impact Obamacare would have on healthcare in America.

Fortune Magazine has read the 2000 plus pages and analyzed the impact so that neither you, nor any of our elected officials, have to. Their report is –while far from surprising – deeply disturbing.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- In promoting his health-care agenda, President Obama has repeatedly reassured Americans that they can keep their existing health plans -- and that the benefits and access they prize will be enhanced through reform.

A close reading of the two main bills, one backed by Democrats in the House and the other issued by Sen. Edward Kennedy's Health committee, contradict the President's assurances. To be sure, it isn't easy to comb through their 2,000 pages of tortured legal language. But page by page, the bills reveal a web of restrictions, fines, and mandates that would radically change your health-care coverage. Read the rest and weep

H/T to Adrianne’s Corner, who advises that Repeal is the Answer. I concur: repeal of the bill, as well as every single legislator who voted for it.

Finally, a shovel-ready project we can believe in:

gravediggers for Obamacare

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Maureen: Time To Shut-up and Sing

Oh my goodness, MoDo. If this is the best you’ve got, you might wish to consider a late mid-life career change.  Saturday’s  column, “Playing all the Angles” didn’t even clear the hurdle for “just phoning it in.”

It’s more like a, well, like a mean girl from high school hit job. Yeah, like the kind of attack she’s accusing the “Mean Republican Girls” of  in her piece. Although I think it’s pretty clear that her main issue with these Republican “mean girls” is that she just doesn’t consider them cool enough for her to hang around with. Not only are they “mean” but, worse, they are terminal dweebs.

Oddly, she describes the “mean Republican girls” in terms that one could easily imagine applied more to her than her nemeses: “grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant.” And for good measure throws in “They are the ideal nihilistic cheerleaders for an angry electorate.”

Uh, “nihilistic” MoDo? That’s a pretty big word to be throwing around if you don’t know what it means, or how to use it properly with respect to your subject matter.

nihilism (ˈnaɪɪˌlɪzəm) — n

  1. nihilist - someone who rejects all theories of morality or religious belief
  2. a complete denial of all established authority and institutions
  3.  philosophy - an extreme form of skepticism that systematically rejects all values, belief in existence, the possibility of communication, etc
  4. a revolutionary doctrine of the destruction of the social system for its own sake
  5. the practice or promulgation of terrorism

It’s probably just me, but when I think of nihilism, my mind shoots immediately to liberals who think the Constitution is a dead document that needs to be rewritten by empathetic judicial activists. Or someone who thinks that capitalism is an anachronistic economic model that’s vastly inferior to, and therefore ought be replaced by, Marxist socialism. Or perhaps even the liberal segment of society who believe that God is dead and has been replaced by Gaia who wants us to use leaves and twigs to wipe our butts.

Oddly enough the Mean Republican Girls (MRGs), “Jan, Meg, Carly, Sharron, Linda, Michele, Queen Bee Sarah and sweet wannabe Christine”  per MoDo, seem more interested in reinstating the values, morals, and beliefs that served as the backbone and mettle of this country since its inception. The people bent on tearing them down further all seem to be our liberal brethren. Which “some critics” would argue is far more nihilistic than the bitter clingers who just want the freedom to hold onto their Bibles, beliefs and guns – just in case the good liberals decide someday that they are detrimental to society, like cigarettes and salt, and must go.

The only thing MRGs are skeptical of is government’s ability to do all things for all people by taxing the hell out of only the “richest” citizens. If ever there is an economic model that is not – liberal shibboleth alert – sustainable, that is it. Oh, and maybe the pseudo-science supporting Al Gore’s financial interests in sham man-made global warming and his disgustingly ridiculous and self-serving carbon credit trading scheme. But don’t get me started or I’m likely to sound like one of those “nihilistic cheerleaders for an angry electorate.

There was a time when I’d wonder out loud how someone with the mental prowess of Maureen Dowd landed a gig writing a column for the New York Times. But then, the answer is embedded in the question.

Next time you go to Vegas Mo, stay in the casino. Your odds of scoring – anything - are better there.

 

modo2 Despair: The moment you first realize the limitations of Botox and gauze photography

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who’s the Whore N.O.W.?

Everyone is jumping crazy over a comment made by Parry Bellasalma, president of the California chapter of N.O.W., about Meg Whitman, indeed, being  a “political whore” after all.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. N.O.W. is a hypocritical front group for an ultra-liberal feminist organization. That’s not exactly a news flash.  So can we just act like grownups and stop with the  holier than thou position regarding the recently outlawed use of the “W” word. Since when is “whore” so offensive it can’t be spoken out loud on television? Well, I guess since National N.O.W. President Terry O'Neill condemned its use as " hate speech that carries with it negative connotations associated with women, and it has no place in contemporary society," shortly after endorsing the candidate whose campaign staff used it to describe Meg Whitman, their opponent.

But please – can we stop accepting special interest groups directives for what is and isn’t acceptable? For what is and isn’t “hate” speech? Who died and made them the arbiters of fair use? Frankly, context serves to define what is offensive, not the word police. If you call someone’s mother a whore, that’s probably meant to be offensive. If you call a politician a whore, it’s intended to be descriptive of an age old political gambit.

Let’s stop wasting perfectly good – and useful – words just because MSM has determined it is divisive, even derisive. We aren’t in junior high anymore, and as far as I can tell we are not yet a “zero tolerance” culture. In fact, we’re even been told that in the context of rap lyrics written by downtrodden black males from the ghetto, even “nigger” is  a perfectly acceptable word. If there can be exceptions made for - easily - the most explosively offensive term in the English lexicon, I don’t see how anyone could take offense at calling a politician of either party a “whore.” As the old joke goes: “we’ve already established what you are, now we’re just arguing over the price.”

Politicians have been called whores (a generic term that applies equally to men and women in this usage) for eons. P.J. O’Rourke’s best seller, The Parliament of Whores released in 1991, is still laugh-out-loud funny 20 years later. On release, the book received rave reviews: Time Magazine called it "a riotously funny and perceptive indictment of America's political system." The New York Times called it "a funnily savage attack on the political authorities of the United States."

Why? Because it skewers the type of hypocritical, whorish behavior of politicians who are perpetually currying favor and buying the support of special interest groups in order to get themselves re-elected. It is ingrained in the big government, big union, big lobbies, big media system that we have allowed to pollute our democratic process.

So don’t get all huffy with me if someone calls your favorite pol a whore, because odds are a lot better than even that they fit the (alternate) textbook description: a person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain

If you’re sick of whores in positions of power, vote for a Tea Party candidate and hold them accountable for getting the whoring out of governing. It will be a much better use of your energies than bitching about  Jerry Brown’s wife calling another kettle black.

pot-calling-the-kettle-black-734818 Which may, or may not, be offensive. Get over it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dennis Does Not Suffer Fools Gladly

Tell us how you really feel about Harry Reid, Dennis:

H/T Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dutch Treat

There’s something going on in Holland that should have every self respecting Dutchman in the streets carrying a sign. It’s the Re-Education Camp style trial of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

gert wilders

Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament, now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Nomad: From Islam to America—A Personal Journey through the Clash of Civilizations", writes in today’s WSJ  opinion piece, “In Holland, Free Speech on Trial”, chronicles the descent into submission of a once proud and free nation.

Wilders is the former Liberal Party leader who broke ranks and founded the Freedom Party, in response to the “rise of political Islam in the Netherlands.” If you’re not familiar with the term “political Islam”, you’re probably hopelessly progressive, but it recognizes the fact that Islam, as defined by the quran, is more political/legal system, than religion.

The Islamic ’sharia system incorporates such classically liberal, tolerant principles as female genital mutilation, death by stoning for being raped (unless the victim can produce 3 male witnesses to her innocence), honor killing, and just for sport, killing Jews and other infidels.

According to Ms. Ali, the Islamification of Dutch politics begins with:

... immigrants from Morocco and Turkey in the 1960s and 1970s, and then by asylum-seekers and refugees from various Muslim countries beginning in the 1990s. Most elites responded by preaching "tolerance." Give Muslim immigrants benefits and wait until they voluntarily integrate, their argument goes. Even if that process would take generations—even when it became apparent that some Muslims practiced female genital mutilation and honor killings, and imams openly urged their congregations to reject Dutch culture and law—citizens were not to criticize Islam.

She reports that in the beginning, Wilders “was dismissed as a far right-wing extremist.” He was never one to constrain his rhetoric to the soothing, politically correct jargon of his Liberal Party:

He's famously compared the Quran to "Mein Kampf" and described it as a "fascist book," he's called Muhammad "the devil," and he's proposed policies—such as banning the construction of mosques and taxing women who wear the burqa—to halt further Islamification.

But it was when his Freedom Party started to take a bite out of the legacy power parties Parliamentary control:

In the national elections held in November 2006, his party won nine seats in parliament. When the Dutch government fell again this year, June elections saw his party take 24 seats in the 150-seat body.

Wilders’ Freedom Party was growing faster than the Tea Party movement here in the US. And the similarities do not end there.

The legacy powers in Holland were no longer amused. Their attempts to marginalize, ridicule and dismiss Wilders, his Freedom Party and his supporters had failed, so there was no other alternative left to protect their power and control: they made him illegal:

This has spooked Dutch parliamentarians, particularly those wedded to multiculturalism. That's why, in the fall of 2009, they modified Article 137C and 137D of the Penal Code to make it possible for far-left organizations to take Mr. Wilders to court on grounds of "inciting hatred" against Muslims.

So here we are today, watching, impotently, without recourse, a political trial the likes of which have not been seen in Europe since the fall of Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Fascist Italy.

Yes, I am calling the perpetrators of this crime against civilization Nazis and Fascists. Americans did not fight and die World War II for this charade.

nazis “First they came for Geert Wilders…”

And remember, the “peaceful majority doesn’t matter.”

Monday, October 4, 2010

Get Your Flu Shot

We are still under the throes of a most pernicious flu virus and unable to focus our eyes for any extended period, to say nothing about our brain. Hope to be back on deck soon.