Sunday, December 14, 2008

A shameful blot

On the cover of the November 17, 2008 edition of The American Conservative magazine is a list of the dismal accomplishments of our outgoing President, George W. Bush. It reads as follows:

Missions Accomplished
• Start a war (or two)
• Shred Constitution
• Crash economy
• Expand entitlements
• Ruin America's reputation
• Create Democratic majority
• Bribe churches
• Recruit for al-Qaeda
• Discredit conservatism
• Nationalize banks
• Cut taxes now, pay later
• Misunderestimate hurricane
• Export jobs, import workers
• Federalize education
• Spy on citizens

The cover story inside, "Bush's Broken Record," offers observations by several writers on the Bush tenure. A few excerpts:

He Fought the Wars and the Wars Won, by Gary Brecher

What George W. Bush loved best about his job was being a war president. Playing war, that is, as opposed to making war like a grown-up. Remember him strutting onto that carrier in his little flight jacket? You never saw Eisenhower, a real general, playing out his martial fantasies this way. You can take the drink out of the drunk, but you can’t take the swagger out of a fool. ...

Maybe there’s a lesson here: if the president doesn’t cut it in a crisis, we’re better off admitting that to ourselves and telling him so instead of pretending he’s a great leader. When you make a weakling into a hero, you give him a lot of power. ...

So we poured American blood and treasure into the Iraqi dust to prove the half-baked theories of a bunch of tenth-rate professors. The most expensive experiment in the history of the world, all to learn something any 10-year-old could have told them: people don’t take to foreign troops on their streets, and not everybody wants to be like us. You know those Ig-Nobel awards they hand out to the dumbest science projects of the year? The Iraq invasion is the all-time winner. Retire the trophy with the names of the winning team: Bush, Cheney, Kristol, Wolfowitz, Feith. ...

It’s no puzzle: we pretended a goon was a hero, let him play out his foolish fantasies about remaking the Middle East, and wasted our strength on a losing effort while the rest of the world drifted out of our power. Our leader was a laughingstock around globe, and he made America the butt of the world’s contempt. But Bush got his wish—he was a war president and then some. The rest of us were the casualties.

A Long Train of Abuses, by Alexander Cockburn

No doubt the conservatives who cheered Bush on as he abrogated ancient rights and stretched the powers of his office to unseen limits would have shrieked if a Democrat had taken such liberties. But now Obama will be entitled to the lordly prerogatives Bush established.

Growing up in Ireland and the United Kingdom, I gazed with envy at the United States, with its constitutional protections and its Bill of Rights contrasting with the vast ad hoc tapestry of Britain’s repressive laws and “emergency” statutes piled up through the centuries. Successive regimes from the Plantagenet and Tudor periods forward went about the state’s business of enforcing the enclosures, hanging or transporting strikers, criminalizing disrespectful speech, and, of course, abolishing the right to carry even something so innocuous as a penknife. ...

Bush has forged resolutely along the path blazed by Clinton in asserting uninhibited executive power to wage war, seize, confine, and torture at will, breaching constitutional laws and international treaties and covenants concerning the treatment of combatants. The Patriot Act took up items on the Justice Department’s wish list left over from Clinton’s dreadful Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which trashed habeas corpus protections.

The most spectacular abuses of civil liberties under Bush, such as the prison camp at Guantanamo, are acute symptoms of a chronic disease. The larger story of the past eight years has been the great continuity between this administration and those that have come before. ...

In the past eight years, Bush has ravaged the Fourth Amendment with steadfast diligence, starting with his insistence that he could issue arrest warrants if there was reason to believe a noncitizen was implicated in terrorist activity. Seized under this pretext and held within America’s borders or in some secret prison overseas, the captive had no recourse to a court of law. Simultaneously, the “probable cause” standard, theoretically disciplining the state’s innate propensity to search and to seize, has been systematically abused, as have the FBI’s powers under the “material witness” statute to arrest and hold their suspects. Goodbye habeas corpus.

Discounting Family Values, by Allan Carlson

The Bush team sacrificed the prospect of greater pro-family initiatives—like so much else—to the war in Iraq. Most disturbingly, the Defense Department relentlessly manipulated, and at times simply ignored, laws that limited exposure of women to combat. Desperate to fill its ranks, the Army ignored the lessons of all human history and put women—including young mothers—at risk, a shameful blot on the American record. Hundreds have been killed and many more severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands have spent months, if not years, separated from their families.

The administration’s deliberate twisting of gender roles was on gruesome display in the case of Jessica Lynch, in which Pentagon propagandists blatantly lied about her capture in the early days of the Iraq War, turning a frightened victim of Iraqi sexual abuse into a female version of Sergeant York. Private Lynndie England’s infamous exploits in the Abu Ghraib prison were another sign of the Pentagon’s direct complicity in the feminist-inspired degradation of American women.

In pursuit of its military agenda, the Bush administration achieved another landmark of gender-role engineering. Its deployment of women into combat made sure, given prior court decisions, that if the nation must someday return to a draft, the daughters of American families will join their brothers in involuntary military service.

Conservatives Follow the Leader, by Llewellyn Rockwell

To be sure, cultural problems abound, given the warfare state and the welfare state. But the answer is hardly to put the feds in total charge. Just as religion must be free from state interference, so must the culture, which is informed by religion. But once conservatives helped make these issues part of the political agenda, the state happily developed an aggressive strategy for shaping the culture in its image, through a wide variety of legislation and spending.

So when it came time for Bush to rally conservative support, he pushed very bad ideas like putting religious charities on the government dole. You might think that this would be opposed by anyone who valued religious independence, charitable autonomy, free enterprise, and limiting government. But no: conservatives stood foursquare with Bush, and even had their hands out for contracts. ...

Every Republican president can count on the conservatives eventually supporting whatever policies he dishes out for one simple and profound reason: they hate the Left more than they hate the state. So in the end, they will back anything that keeps the Left out of power. By anything, I mean anything—military dictatorship, fascist central planning, state management of the whole of the culture. One wonders what horror they think they are preventing by opposing the Left.

The answer is that they do not think. Most people calling themselves conservatives pay no attention to the history of ideas. George W. Bush certainly took no such interest. His understanding of American history, economics, and world affairs is thin and superficial. His goal as president was not to accomplish anything as such but merely to be president and do presidential things and hope to land on the right side of history.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beating up on the Dixie Chicks

An interesting thread about the Dixie Chicks and their travails, which still do not seem to be over, appeared on the Country Music Television site.

So many people still do not understand that the First Amendment was conceived to act as the primary vehicle that makes it safe for Americans to speak out against our government and those who claim to represent us. For many citizens, freedom of speech stops short of criticism of their pet politician.
• • •

(Dec. 5)
Jim C says:

Politics and Natalie Maine’s big mouth aside….. the Dixie Chicks play great music, and I look forward to hearing their new music. Having been in the Marine Corps for 25 years, I tend to forgive people who shoot off their mouth’s because I fight for their freedom to make asses of themselves. People in the public eye make stupid statements all of the time with little consequences; however, Ms. Maines forgot one important thing…. Country Music fans are very patriotic people!!!! We love our Country and we love our Country Music and we don’t like anyone treading on either one.

(Dec. 5)
Rosebud says:

Jim C, the first thing I want to do is thank you for serving our country. I do really appeciate the men and women who fight for our great nation. I do not agree that their (Dixie Chicks) comments make them unpatriotic. It’s been so long since they made those statements. The fact of the matter is their feelings of going to war were the same as a lot of people. That does not mean those people do not support the troops only they may question the motives of our Commander and Chief.

(Dec. 5)
Jim C says:

Rosebud…. what you say is valid; however, remember that America has a “Mob Mentality.” What Natalie Maines said about President Bush wasn’t that bad compared to other remarks that have been made about him. In her case, the timing was just wrong and the Dixie Chicks paid for it in the only way the “Angry Mob” could get back at them …. and that was by pulling their cd’s off the shelves and taking them off of playlists at Country Music Stations. Was it right? No way …… but as I stated in a previous entry, Country Music Fans love their country and they love their country music and Natalie Maines, for a moment, forgot about that. But here’s the thing …. the Chicks have made some great music since then and have had a very successful tour schedule, so their going to be okay.

(Dec. 6)
Stella says:

How does anyone buy the notion that lambasting a politician, whether the President or not, is the same as lambasting your country or its principles? Where does such an idea come from? Every President has faced an opposition that has torn him to shreds.

Politicians are there to be criticized and denounced by the citizens. Who else deserves it more? And how in the world does that make an American less “patriotic?” Why should anyone buy the notion that mindless robots, who meekly follow the mob, are people who “love their country?” Maybe they just love not having to think for themselves.

Why can’t the Dixie Chicks’ music be appreciated, while they are accepted on their own terms? Do you think that if Elvis had gone against the political grain of the times, that he would have been shunned and his music ignored by radio jocks?

(Dec. 6)
Jim C says:

. . . The fact of the matter is that a majority of Country Music fans, and many American’s do see the President as a symbol of American Patriotism. If you have ever traveled abroad, then you know that much of the world equates America’s President as America itself and judges us accordingly. I have been to many countries where the only English word they all collectively know is the name of the current President.

(Dec. 6)
Leanne says:

So, will country music fans be this respectful to our incoming president? Will they get up in arms if someone like Trace or Toby says something disrespectful about soon-to-be President Obama -- here in the U.S. or even on foreign soil? I’m thinking Mr. Keith will be able to say whatever he wants about Obama at his concerts and the majority of country music fans will simply cheer him on.

So, it’s somewhat disingenuous to suggest that the uproar over Maine’s remarks was a result of someone saying something negative against the President. I’m more inclined to believe that the anger was because she dared to say something about a Republican president, because I’m sure Obama will not be shown such patriotic respect by the fans who currently claim to be so respectful of the office of the president. ...

I just don’t believe that they would have been so angry if Natalie had spoken out against Clinton in the ’90s, and I don’t believe they will be angry if country artists say something disrespectful about Obama in the next 4 years, no matter what soil it’s said on. So, I wish people would just admit that they were mad because Natalie said something they didn’t agree with and stop trying to justify it for what might seem like a nobler reason.
• • •

Yes, as Leanne suggests, let's all wait to see if those patriotic country music fans insist on respecting the "Office of the President," when the flak is flying hot and heavy over Obama's head. Is the Office of the President respected only when a Republican holds it?

As each citizen should desire the right to criticize political figures, of any party, we should refrain from punishing one another when the verbal rocks are being thrown at our pet politician.
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You handed government a sword

Some excerpts from the wise words of Robert Hawes, who identifies as a Christian libertarian, in his post, "Enabling Tyranny: An Open Letter to Conservative Republicans," on his blog, The Jeffersonian:

• • •

In the meantime, while the GOP is busily rubbing at that boot-print on its rear end and wondering what to do next, let me ask you conservative Republicans out there a question:

Do you realize that what scares you the most about Obama and his democratic allies is largely your own fault?

I’m not talking about a failure to get the vote out for McCain (God help us), or the general ins and outs of campaign strategy. Rather, I’m talking about the powers that you have allowed Washington DC to consolidate, particularly during the last seven-and-a-half years.

You couldn’t see the wolf in Republican clothing. You trusted George W. Bush and his congressional allies because they had that all-important R behind their names. So you looked the other way while they tore the Constitution to shreds and stomped on it. You excused the abuses of power, the torture, the signing statements, the “unitary executive” rhetoric, the wars waged against populations that had done us no harm, the raids against war protestors and other suspicious characters, the destruction of the dollar, the increased federal control in everything from education to healthcare; and just because the “good guys” were doing it, you thought everything would work out fine.

You handed government a sword because you trusted the hand that would wield it, and because it had that good ‘ole “Made in the U.S.A.” label on it. And now that a new hand is reaching for it, you fear that you may soon find the edge of that sword pressed to your own throat.
• • •

Read this entire, impressive post at The Jeffersonian.
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The everlasting quest: To transform whites

Change you can believe in? For Black Panther veteran Larry Pinkney, the only change that would benefit society is a total overturn of the capitalist system. Pinkney, as a hard-core leftist, desires more than just reform; he wants revolution, which he deems a long-term goal. He is upfront about where he's coming from as he emphasizes class inequities, not race, as society's critical problem. The majority of this blog's readers tend to be miles to the right of Pinkney's policy positions, but this does not mean that all his observations about Barack Obama are worthless.

Pinkney holds no doubts about the role played by the "corporate media" in helping to bring about Obama's political ascension. On this subject, he and the political right are in agreement. There are times when he comes off sounding very much like my favorite presidential candidate, Patrick Buchanan, especially when he urges American citizens to recognize that "The very subterfuge of the corporate/military elite, and its hand maiden, the corporate media, is in fact what brought Barack Obama to power as the face of U.S. Empire."

The "slippery tongued" Obama is a product of a mainstream media that branded and marketed him, "with the people of the United States as their targets," Pinkney writes in "More of the Same Only Worse." This country's military adventurism will continue, declares Pinkney, as it now can be rationalized by a new potent weapon, that is, "the dangerously double-talking 'Emperor' in black face - Barack Obama."

Pinkney predicts that the "corporate-military elite" will use their media-created "Messiah" ultimately to destroy all liberation struggles throughout the world. In the meantime, "Wall Street barons prolong their glut of the every day people’s finances, resources, hopes, and dreams."

While rightwing partisans are going ballistic over the new President-elect, whom they label as "socialist" and "communist," and certainly an enemy of capitalism, to many leftwingers he is nothing more than a carefully crafted tool of the same warmongering powers that crafted George W. Bush.

And what will happen to dissidents and protesters? Non-blacks, who stand in opposition to Obama's policies, predicts Pinkney, "will be branded as racists and traitors." While blacks who oppose the Obama regime "will be ignored and/or branded as fringe radicals and traitors."

Pinkney holds a far more grandiose belief in "the people" than I do. He claims that, over time, the anger of the masses will "peak and explode," as "the proverbial scales of blindness" drop from their eyes, and they see that they've been had, once again. I think it's far more likely that, once the current economic beast is tamed, and "the people" realize they will not have to give up any of their toys, after all, and may even look forward to hoarding still more, they will be the compliant little mice they have grown used to emulating.

Once assured of bread, they will return to their circuses, as they continue to entertain themselves to death. Although we can expect some rumblings from a few hardy souls (like those who occupied that factory building or others who have taken to the streets), the only angry stirrings we are likely to witness among the masses will come when they are denied access to the latest plasma television sets or Apple's newest iPod.

Attention must be paid

While Larry Pinkney's predictions are huge, global and a-racial, mine tend to be modest, and focus more on the ramifications of social interactions.

I believe that blacks will take this Obama victory as a mandate, not to straighten out the mess in their own backyards, but to continue the job of "fixing" white folks. This means stepping up the crusade designed to keep whites in the habit of working to exterminate the "guilt" and "shame" that supposedly taints their hearts and souls. And it will not matter how you label these blacks. You may call them "liberal" or "radical" or even "conservative," but their quest will be the same. If there is one thing that unites blacks across all politics, religious attachments, and classes, it is the desire to control the attitudes and behavior of whites.

Our exalted black movers and shakers – heads of academia, civil rights mountebanks, government functionaries and elected officials – are sure to support even more vigorous integration policies. These will be necessary in order to reach those white holdouts, who are not actively working to de-racinate themselves for the coming "post-racial" world. That is, the world as devised by the coloreds, along with their white professional "anti-racists."

From the most trivial pop culture junk, to the gravest issues, whites are expected to pay attention when blacks are the principals involved. Take the concern of New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, for example. His very first column for the world's most prestigious newspaper is one I have never forgotten, if for nothing more than its unmitigated shallowness.

The column was a sermon scolding whites for neglecting to pick up on a piece of jargon that was popular for about ten minutes in 1993. Entitled, "In America, There It Is!," Herbert (a leading black "intellectual" pundit) expressed dismay over the fact that he kept encountering whites who had never heard the bit of black doggerel that went, "Whoomp, there it is!," and explains further, "Or, if you prefer, "Whoot, there it is!" (He offers the alternative spelling of this important contribution to the American vocabulary, because slang tends to get transformed from place to place; in this case, from black ghetto to black ghetto.)

About this piece of slang, Herbert exults:

It's the joyous cry of the streets and the clubs in the big cities, the cry of the young who refuse to succumb to their troubles and grief. "Whoot, there it is!"

Enraptured with this notion, he continues:

Little kids can't stop saying it. A 10-year-old boy in Detroit opened his birthday package and pulled out a new Nintendo game. "Whoomp!" he shouted. "There it is!" A little girl in Atlanta was striving for an A on an English test. When her graded paper came back, she jumped up in the classroom. "Whoot," she said, "there it is!" It's a phrase that makes you feel good. It gets the endorphins going. It's much better than a cigarette or a cocktail. Whoomp, there it is!

And then Herbert gets to the point of this brilliant first essay for the eminent New York Times. He claims to be "amazed" that very few people outside of the "black urban environment" (we know who they are) possess an awareness of this endorphin-rousing expression, "although the phrases have launched two hit songs." (Obviously, everyone is expected to share his interest in simple-minded popular music.) He then educates his readers:

The number two song in the country is by the rap duo Tag Team. It's called "Whoomp! (There It Is)." Also on the charts is "Whoot, There It Is," an altogether different – and blatantly risque – song by the rap group 95 South.

We also learn that a Manhattan bowling alley plays the song whenever someone scores a strike, and that a special version was recorded for the Chicago Bulls. Yet, in spite of all this outstanding acclaim, so many Americans (you know who) are oblivious to this verbal expression, which Herbert, several times, calls a "phenomenon." He writes:

In other words, the whoomp-whoot phenomenon is very big. But as it comes primarily from black kids, much of the country remains absolutely unaware of it. The media have stayed away from it big time. These are America's youngsters, but it's as if America can't hear them.

Oh, wicked, indifferent America! And, he continues:

On Capitol Hill, where Congressmen are shadowboxing with the big issues of our time, you'll get a dumbfounded stare if you happen to mention, "Whoot, there it is!" Several blocks away, in the D.C. neighborhoods, the phrase is everywhere, but hardly anyone on the Hill has heard it.

Calling such ignorance "a shame," Herbert offers the names of a couple of Congressmen who could benefit "from a little loosening up." Of course, they just happen to be Republicans: Senator Robert Dole, who has a "gloomy view of the world," along with the "exasperated" Senator Orrin Hatch.

And then the philosopher Herbert caps off his words of wisdom with observations about what disregard of this creative argot by "America's youngsters" says about black-white relations. How can one miss viewing "Whoomp!" as metaphor?

The whoomp-whoot phenomenon is a terrific example of how most blacks and whites in the U.S. continue to lead separate existences, looking past each other, not seeing one another, not hearing one another, except on those days when, inevitably, we collide and it's time to fight.

So, even ridiculous black slang must be respectfully acknowledged by the mainstream population, if Americans are to avoid leading "separate existences," a choice that is troublesome to Herbert and which he implies no one should have the freedom to make. The implication is that whites are culpable for their negligence of not learning about all aspects of "black culture," even that which an intelligent mind would dismiss as worthless rubbish.

Forbidden to whites

As Herbert so clearly demonstrates, whites are expected always to be thinking about and worrying over blacks. Are blacks happy or discontented? Can more be done to satisfy them? Just what is it that whites are expected to do to finally make blacks feel "equal" and certain that they are not neglected? Well, several black conservatives are happy to offer the key to this dilemma. They share the same principal quest as their liberal counterparts, that is, the longing to bring equality between blacks and whites at every level of economic and social interaction – most especially in the social realm of physical intimacy.

Now, you might think that people who call themselves "conservative," i.e., traditionalists, would wish to maintain the traditions of their own group, and that marriage within that group would be at the top of the list. How else to pass on one's traditions? Not so, with conservative blacks. They are as eager to break tradition as their liberal counterparts, if it assures marriage to a white person.

The public ascension of the mixed-race Barack Obama has brought great joy to these so-called black conservatives, as it has to the liberals who share his political convictions. For both political camps, Obama's personal ethnic history is a model for white Americans to ponder and consider emulating, as they mend their evil, "separatist" ways.

In a February 2008 commentary ("Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives") for Project 21, the black conservative B.B. Robinson laments the fact that black-white intermarriage is not as high as intermarriage between other groups. Although surveys show that in 1958, Americans' acceptance of black-white marriage was, in Robinson's words, "a dismal 4%," today that acceptance figure is up to 77%.

But this is just not good enough, according to Robinson, since it is "not as much as one would expect or want today." Robinson is hopeful that with the public's acceptance of Barack Obama as commander-in-chief will come a greater willingness on the part of whites to look to blacks "to fill the most cherished positions" in their lives. It seems that the Obama electoral victory shows that America has "graduated," and hence, "it is time to address the issue of interracial relationships."

Robinson discusses this most personal of all subjects as though it is incumbent upon society to sit white people down and reason with them. Perhaps a government agency could be formed to institute quotas on the numbers of whites who are permitted to marry one another, while offering incentives to those whites who intermarry with blacks. Will a white person have to explain him/herself for preferring a white mate? What if a person is genuinely not attracted to kinky hair and dark skin? Isn't the attraction component an important feature of mating? In such a case, should that government agency offer more multicultural workshops and "sensitivity" training sessions, to help counsel whites to overcome such clearly racist sentiments?

If you've wondered about how to recognize the indicators of "racial progress," there are black conservatives eager to explain this to you. In another Project 21 commentary, we learn more about the true goal of race relations. In a breathless article entitled, "The True Indicator of Race Relations," authors Joe Hicks and David Lehrer tell of an exhilarating event that took place on New Year's Day in 2007, when two football teams (Boise State University and Oklahoma University) squared off at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. At the game's end, one Ian Johnson, a black sophomore running back, fell to his knees, as witnessed by the entire stadium, and very publicly proposed marriage to one Chrissy Popadics, a white cheerleader. She accepted, and the authors exult that this was "a fitting end to a bowl game."

Hicks and Lehrer can hardly contain their enthusiasm, as they describe how the crowd in the stadium "noisily endorsed the union as a welcome part of the victory celebration." This episode, they joyously declare, is "a good barometer of the nation's race relations."

The Fiesta Bowl event is a very adequate indicator for those blacks, of which there are millions, who view as "progress" the ability to intrude themselves deeper into the social and family circles of whites. If this is the black conservative's view of "racial progress," you might wonder what's his beef with liberals. Coerced integration, that leads to assimilation, that leads to the Johnson-Popadics union, appears to be viewed by both conservatives and liberals as a "social good." And, apparently, a social goal for which to strive.

It comes as no surprise to savvy blacks and enlightened whites that the reason why so many blacks continue to insist that "integration" has not been fully realized, is a desire for closer proximity to whites, in order to better position themselves to form social attachments. The call to put an "end to racism" is really a call to limit the ability of whites to make personal choices on the basis of race or ethnicity. If possible, whites should be denied the right to be "racist," even in this most intimate corner of their lives.

The conservative Shelby Steele, of mixed-parentage himself, in his many books, articles and Op-ed pieces, offers his take on the black-white linkage. In his writings, we discover that the definition of "white supremacy" has expanded to include a host of sins, the major one being a strong acknowledgement of racial identity (an "atavistic connection," in Steele's words). He writes about race as though it were a remote characteristic, a residue of the past, an "atavism" that should not be embraced "too strongly." At least, not by whites.

Blacks spend inordinate amounts of time hyping their racial identity, but, according to Steele, "Only the strictures against a white racial identity keep us at all civilized around race." And, he writes, "Racial identity is simply forbidden to whites in America and across the entire Western world." This precept has so penetrated the minds of whites, that vast numbers of them work at keeping one another on a short leash, to prevent actions that might possibly be interpreted as acknowledgment of their white heritage.

Steele extends to minority ethnics his admonition to abstain from too strong an attachment to racial identity, but we know the true target of his caution – that group whom he cites as having pursued power in the past "in the name of their race."

What are we to make of the fact that Steele admits that a piece of cloth on a flag pole (i.e., the Confederate flag) poses a "racially aggressive" insult to his being, that he feels "profoundly rejected" by a symbol? And why exactly should anyone indulge his feelings enough to care? Are you a white supremacist if you consciously choose not to care about his feelings or his possible flag neurosis?

What of that white father, who desires white sons-in-law for his daughters, and white grandchildren? Should he care about Steele's disapproval of his choice to demonstrate his attachment to an "atavistic identity?" Such attachments "are inherently anti-democratic," says Steele, because they "exclude all outside the atavism." Well, yes, that's the general idea.

In this universe of "equality," where does personal preference and choice come in? Since when did handling your "hurt" feelings over rejection cease to be your own personal obligation? Or does the campaign to protect certain individuals from psychic pain trump all common sense? One would expect conservatives to be among the first to protect the right of association, which is essentially the right of the individual to discriminate.

The media drives the culture

Some years ago, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson described a dispute between the well-known black minister Frederick K.C. Price, founder of the Crenshaw Christian Center, a mega-church in Los Angeles, and a white pastor, with whom Price had a long friendship. It seems that the white pastor's son, also a preacher, touched on the subject of interracial marriage in one of his sermons. He suggested that he did not believe in such unions.

Word of this heretical attitude got back to Rev. Price, who demanded the father reprimand his "racist" son. The father refused to do so, and indicated that he shared his son's views on the subject. Price became enraged and sent a tape of the white pastor's comments on to various prominent black ministers, expecting them to share his outrage and to dissociate themselves from the white pastors.

Instead, the black ministers responded that the white pastors had a right to their views on the subject and, frankly, those views did not disturb them. Price now became even more enraged and, in his church, denounced the black ministers as "house niggers," citing as "evil" the position taken by the white and black pastors. Peterson asks, "When did it become evil to want your children to marry a man or woman who has the same skin color as their parents?"

Second only in influence to the education system, the entertainment media, for decades, has been force feeding the nation a steady diet of black cultural symbols and black imagery. In an adept move to coerce white producers and studios to continue increasing the visibility of black faces on the TV screen and in films, the black lobby persists in its lies about Hollywood's "racism." (See "Keeping the pressure on Hollywood.") This is a longstanding and clever game that black elites play: Even when there is an overabundance of the perquisites they demand, the best way to keep whites jumping through hoops and nervous about possibly being smeared with the "racist" tag, is to keep shrieking that enough still has not been done.

In an article about depictions of interracial coupling on television, Robert Entman, a professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, praises such depictions as "progressive." Says Entman, "It makes these couples more normal, and if they're more normal on TV, they might seem more normal out on the street." Now, here's a man who makes the goal crystal clear.

However, Entman is dismayed that these shows still aren't doing a good enough job of getting at the heart of mixed relationships, and he calls this a "missed opportunity to acquaint whites with the persistence of racism." Apparently, after all these years, whites still need more tutoring. What will it take for them to get the point? According to Entman, a white man, there's much work to be done, to convert the white mind.

Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, an executive producer at ABC, reflects perfectly the mentality of the black elite. She declares, "To show a black man and a white woman in an embrace, or in bed, tells how huge strides have been made." When a person like Anderson is pressed to explain just what social benefits, or "strides," these kinds of depictions bring to blacks, in particular, and to the society at large, they are at a loss to offer anything beyond feeble clichés and platitudes. Their convoluted blatherings usually drift from insisting on a "moral" need to "challenge viewers' assumptions," to the standard banality, which claims that the removal of any taboo is a social good.

Wherever two or more groups live in close proximity, there is going to be a certain degree of intergroup coupling. Usually, such intermixing is tolerable, as far as the racial and cultural integrity of each group is concerned. But what we now have is an activist media, spurred on by social engineers within academia and the civil rights movement. These collaborators seem to be determined, not only to undermine mainstream social mores, but often appear hell-bent on a biological goal – that is, purposely transforming white caucasian DNA. Are they taking their cues from the likes of the late Susan Sontag and her pernicious defilement of whites as a "cancer" on the human race? Have they taken on a mission to reduce that cancer?

As racial admixture browns their skin, darkens their eyes, and shrinks their IQs, the fast declining white race, that soon will make up only 50% of this country's population, is on the way to joining the ranks of extinct populations. These projections appear to be acceptable to some whites, who are proud of having "grown" beyond ethnocentric concerns to a "post-tribal morality," as put by Jason, a young white man, who writes to comment on my posts.

Jason accepts my contention that blacks take advantage of whites by using "racial victimhood" to gain power. However, he expresses pride that such acquiescence on the part of whites is a demonstration of "noble intentions" and proof that "white men have a real concern for those outside their own race." This sentiment is important to Jason and, apparently, to many other whites.

When asked to explain whites' lack of consciousness of their own race – a clearly self-destructive behavior in the midst of other "tribal" populations that are strengthening their ethnic bonds – Jason takes the moral high ground by declaring that, no matter the consequences, it is always morally preferable to live on a plane that is "beyond race."

To no avail do I remind Jason that whites may be in a "post-racial" stage, but no one else is. To no avail do I suggest that what he mistakes for a superior morality may be nothing more than a form of moral degeneracy.

Is the culture driving the media, or are members of the media earnestly striving to overturn and remake the culture? In a recent discussion on National Public Radio about the film Milk, a guest inadvertently answered the question of whether the culture or the media is in the driver's seat. The film is the story of the assassination, in 1978, of Los Angeles' openly homosexual city supervisor Harvey Milk and the city's Mayor. Needless to say, this is a partisan account of gay life and homosexual aspirations, as the producers offer heavy doses of politically correct propaganda.

The NPR guest arrogantly claimed that such dramatizations are important, because they play a part in "making people used to what they ought to become used to." This observation clarifies the nature of the social burdens that the denizens of Hollywood have taken upon themselves, as they lead their self-righteous crusades to reconstruct the American mind, whether it be around the issue of race or sexual proclivity. We're going to make you so used to our way of thinking, until it becomes a part of you. And we're going to attack you with all our invented politically correct buzz words – racist, sexist, homophobe, white supremacist, separatist – until you comply.

If you think that blacks have been a high maintenance group in the past, with a constant need for attention to their demands and their adversities, self-inflicted and otherwise, the coming years promise to offer more of the same, and then some. If you think that black issues have been front and center and in-your-face for too long, the Obama era, as envisioned by the above-mentioned B.B. Robinson, promises to make even greater demands for individual whites to "prove" their lack of bigotry. The ballot is not enough. There will be no peace until whites demonstrate, in all aspects of their lives, especially the personal, that they have reached that lofty state, which Robinson describes as one of "universal acceptance."

See also:
Brainwashing whites
It's about power

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Whose "Constitutional crisis?"

Here's another home run from the conservative traditionalist Rev. Chuck Baldwin. In his column, "Selective Constitutionalism," he discusses the question of Barack Obama's citizenship, and conservatives' agitation over whether he was born in the United States. Baldwin, in his usual, logical fashion, then asks some questions of so-called conservatives. Some excerpts:

• • •

Historically, "natural born Citizen" has always been understood to mean someone born in the United States of America. If Barack Obama was not born in the United States, he is absolutely unqualified to be President. Hawaii's secretary of state says Obama was indeed born in that state. However, to date, Obama's actual birth certificate has not been publicly released, which only serves to add fuel to the accusations that he was not born in Hawaii.

Many conservatives seem to be obsessed with this controversy, calling it a "constitutional crisis." The fact is, however, we have been in a "constitutional crisis" for years! The problem is, most conservatives only get worked up over a potential abridgement of constitutional government when it serves their partisan political purposes. In other words, when a Democrat appears guilty of constitutional conflict, conservatives "go ballistic," but when Republicans are equally culpable of constitutional conflict, they yawn with utter indifference.

For example, the one man who has the notoriety and political clout to actually bring about some meaningful investigation and resolution to the Obama citizenship brouhaha is none other than Senator John McCain. After all, he was Obama's principal opponent in the race for the White House. Plus, as the standard-bearer for the only other major political party, he has the attention of the national media, as well as the national legislative and judicial branches of government. So, why is John McCain not at all interested in the Obama citizenship issue?

Perhaps one reason that John McCain is so uninterested in where Barack Obama was born is because he, John McCain, was not born in the United States. He was born in the country of Panama. So, let me ask readers a question: Does anyone believe if John McCain had been elected President instead of Barack Obama that any notable conservative would have been distressed about a "constitutional crisis"? Get real!
• • •

Read Rev. Baldwin's complete column, "Selective Constitutionalism."
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Friday, December 05, 2008

Can the Republican party be rescued?

Is it possible to imagine the restoration of the Republican party of Robert Taft? Could it happen again? Might the pre-1980s party be restored, as it is removed from the domination of the crazies, i.e., the much-touted "base?"

People like Christine Whitman and John Danforth think the day is drawing near when those millions of Americans who identify themselves as conventional mainstreamers, with no interest in linking their social-theology concerns to their political party membership, will dare to step forward and reclaim Taft's party. There just might come a time when rational Republicans can advance to dominant positions within the party, whether or not they are "Born Again."

For Whitman's perspective, see "Free the GOP" (Washington Post, 11/14/08).

Also see new blog, Secular Right, founded by the City-Journal's Heather Mac Donald and others.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The fate of the next Republican presidential candidate

In "GOP Can Play By 'McCain Rules' and Lose, Or 'Sailer Rules' and Win" (Vdare, 11/9/08), Steve Sailer claims to know the secret to the future success of the Republican party. One of those secrets lies in the ability of the party to attract plausible, appealing candidates.

Sailer first goes into a long discussion about exit polls and immigration. He maintains that there is no need for Republicans to be concerned about losing segments of the Hispanic vote in the future, since the "widely assumed" notion that Hispanics are increasing in numbers is not true. Really? Along with this very questionable and unsubstantiated statement, Sailer asserts that Hispanic voters "don't care as much about illegal immigrants as their self-proclaimed leaders" contend.

It is true that during this election, Hispanic/Latino notables were not out in full force for the Democrats' candidate, a yet unknown quantity to many. Yet, I think over the next couple of years, the Democrats will be certain to solidify their connections with the major Hispanic groups, and they will become part of a dependable political base. Those "self-proclaimed leaders," just like among blacks, are the ones who get the masses to follow the bandwagon. And once they have sent out the signals, and even secured some political perks targeted especially to benefit immigrant groups, there will be an irresistible drive towards the Democratic party.

Sailer suggests that, in this electoral cycle, the GOP should have taken a strong stand against illegal immigrants. Considering the new realities that will undoubtedly prevail in the future, it would be unwise to take such advice in the next election go-round. Let's face it, there simply are not enough Americans who will consistently back policies to lock down the borders or urge the enforcement of stiff immigration laws. The stouthearted ones who do are growing more marginal every day. They could not even count upon official support from the Republican party while that party was in charge of things. Immigration reformers are unlikely to have even negligible support from the Democrats.

Sailer's main emphasis is on the recruitment of the best political talent to run for office. In creating a hypothetical young businessman, who chooses to enter politics in the Republican fold, instead of as a Democrat, Sailer suggests that such a candidate must not hesitate to wage an assault on political correctness, and should refuse to play by the "McCain Rules." Instead, the candidate must forego the leftwing rules of "diversity sensitivity," which hampered McCain, and must "play to win."

Easy to say, isn't it? Just who among the Republican stalwarts would back up such a courageous candidate? Who among the Republicans have not imbibed just about every racial assumption and feminist tenet concocted by their supposed adversaries on the left? Most Republicans would not know how to begin to disentangle their minds from politically correct thinking, even while calling themselves "conservative." In fact, most do not seem aware that they have been transformed into politically correct robots. Just look at the Sarah Palin debacle for confirmation of this. (See here and here.)

About Sailer's hypothetical businessman, whom he describes as a "32-year-old white guy," who decides to join his political fortunes to the Republican party: Won't this person need to be vetted by those pro-life evangelicals, the very ones who rejected businessman Mitt Romney for his "incorrect" religion and wavering positions on abortion? Will this hypothetical, enterprising businessman be ready to commit, not only to this camp's unyielding position on abortion, but also be prepared to pledge his allegiance to the "correct" view of Jesus?

Or, is Sailer assuming a future Republican party that has been rescued from the clutches of the Religious Right by a Whitman/Collins/Snowe type of axis? If such a prospective candidate, as described by Sailer, should appear before said rescue has taken place, it's likely that, long before the mainstream media has a chance to put him through the woodchipper, the faithful Republican "base" will have killed him off with their own versions of political correctness and religious intolerance.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanks to Sarah, we can do just about anything we want

The liberal Katha Pollitt, writing in The Nation magazine (11/24/08), conveys what so many bewildered conservatives concluded during the Sarah Palin fiasco, that is, the Republicans' public acceptance of Palin's untidy family scene proves that "the feminism of everyday life is taking hold across the spectrum." Writing from her liberal perspective, Pollitt rejoices over this fact, and observes:

Palin's presence on the Republican ticket forced family-values conservatives to give public support to working mothers, equal marriages, pregnant teens and their much-maligned parents. Talk-show frothers, Christian zealots and professional antifeminists – Rush Limbaugh and Phyllis Schlafly – insisted that a mother of five, including a "special-needs" newborn, could perfectly well manage governing a state (a really big state, as we were frequently reminded), while simultaneously running for veep and, who knows, field-dressing a moose. No one said she belonged at home.

According to Pollitt, Palin was not only "God's gift" to Barack Obama, Katie Couric and Tina Fey, "she was also a gift to feminism." And Pollitt is right. Surely, until now, there has been no better demonstration of what feminism has wrought than the Palin reality show, buttressed by the masses of devotees she acquired in her brief, but tumultuous tenure as vice presidential candidate.

Palin's lifestyle was thoroughly acceptable to liberals and conservatives, suggests Pollitt, so much so that,

No one said she was neglecting her husband or failing to be appropriately submissive to him. No one blamed her for 17-year-old Bristol's out-of-wedlock pregnancy or hard-partying high-school-dropout boyfriend. No one even wondered out loud why Bristol wasn't getting married before the baby arrived.

There is no doubt, Pollitt emphasizes, that feminism, in moving across the social and political spectrum, has changed attitudes, and behavior once looked upon by many Americans as dysfunctional, even sinful, is becoming normalized. She apparently agrees with conservative writer Heather MacDonald, who has pointed out that, once certain principles have been compromised, "there will be no turning back." Pollitt proclaims:

All these things have officially morphed from sins to "challenges," just part of normal family life. No matter how strategic this newfound broadmindedness is, it will not be easy to row away from it. Thanks to Sarah, ladies, we can do just about anything we want as long as we don't have an abortion.

Pollitt offers a hearty thanks to Palin for helping to further the feminist-liberal cause, with the send-off, "So thanks, Sarah. And now, please – back to your iceberg."

However, it does not seem that Sarah is taking Pollitt's advice. In fact, she simply refuses to go away, and appears to be positioning herself for an even bolder role, by establishing herself as the de facto leader of a very damaged Republican party.

Good luck with your new leader, Republicans.

See also: Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Laughing at conservatives

No conservative did more railing against the Bush neocon administration than did Rev. Chuck Baldwin, right from its beginnings. Over and over, he expressed his indignation at those who called themselves "conservative" and "Christian," while supporting one of the ugliest and most un-Christian clans to ever get hold of this country's government.

In his November 7, 2008 commentary, Baldwin writes, "Bush and his fellow neocons like to categorize and promote themselves as being 'pro-life,' but they have no hesitation or reservation about killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people in reckless and unconstitutional foreign wars. .... As a result of this insanely inconsistent and pixilated punditry, millions of Americans now laugh at the very notion of 'pro-life' conservatism. Bush and McCain have made a mockery of the very term."

How true. Who can ever again take the "pro-life" camp seriously?

And on finances, Baldwin says, "The American people look at these so-called 'conservatives' and laugh. No wonder such a sizeable majority of voters yawned when John McCain tried to scare them by accusing Barack Obama of being a 'big taxer.' How can one possibly scare people with a charge like that after the GOP has made a total mockery of fiscal conservatism? That's like trying to scare someone coming out from a swim in the Gulf of Mexico with a squirt gun."

All that business about "redistributing the wealth" was truly ridiculous. As if taxpayers' money wasn't regularly distributed among the Bush gang.

"Across the country," continues Baldwin, "rather than stand on principle, hundreds of thousands of pastors, Christians, and pro-life conservatives capitulated and groveled before John McCain's neocon agenda. In doing so, they forfeited any claim to truth, and they abandoned any and all fidelity to constitutional government."

What we have learned throughout these last eight years is that, among these Republicans, who call themselves "conservative," there is not even a pretense to recognition of the Constitution. It's now a given that this is an antiquated document with no relevance to our lives today. Liberals and conservatives call upon the Constitution only when they think they can cause some form of destruction to their political adversaries.

Read all of Chuck Baldwin's commentary, Conservatives Lost More Than An Election

Also see: The Religious Right: "Heralds of truth" as political lackeys
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We didn't know this?

TV contributing to teen pregnancy! - Sex on TV Increases Teen Pregnancy! - Racy TV shows switch teenagers on to sex! - Study Links TV Sex to Real Teen Pregnancies! - the headlines blare. Are they for real? We haven't known this all along? What does it take to connect the dots? Look at what's been brewing over the last three decades -- a cynical, out-of-control entertainment media allied with an irresponsible education system, each of which hypes sex to children from the earliest ages, and screeching "pro-lifers" who romanticize the thrill and "heroism" of giving birth -- and we see what teenage girls are up against.

Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin

Pro-lifers bring underclass mores into the mainstream

Parading the unwed daughter

Teenage pregnancy should never be glorified

Book - Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!), by Carol Platt Liebau
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The tyrannical criminal justice system

I recently learned of the "robocalls" being conducted by Rudolph Giuliani, on behalf of the McCain-Palin presidential campaign. In these unsolicited phone calls, Giuliani informs the called party that the Democrats are eager to put an end to the laws that establish Mandatory Minimum sentencing, and strongly implies that if such an effort succeeds, convicted criminals will be turned loose and serve no jail time at all. This is a gross, cynical tactic to play upon the ignorance of the general public.

If Republicans really were conservative and, therefore, true constitutionalists, they would have taken the lead, long ago, in wiping these atrocious laws off the books, instead of helping to multiply them around the country. These laws represent a perversion of the American court system. Congressman Ron Paul denounces Mandatory Minimum sentencing laws for "cluttering our courts and prisons with non-violent individuals," while undermining our liberties.

Over the years, I have written several articles on the subject of Mandatory Minimum sentencing, commending the tireless efforts of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), while citing reports by the major principals, legal and otherwise, involved in researching and documenting the field. Following are links to articles archived on Issues & Views-The Website, along with brief excerpts.
• • •

When judges don't judge [2003]


First came the system of mandatory minimum sentencing, imposed on states around the country. Under the restrictions of MM sentencing, judges must impose fixed sentences on defendants and are forbidden to exercise their own discretion. This means that we now live in an unconstitutional legal world where prosecutors determine not only which charges to bring against the accused, but also determine the final sentence, if said accused is found guilty.
• • •

Good intentions, bad consequences [2003]


Members of Congress and state legislators believed that harsher sentences would catch drug kingpins and deter others from entering the drug trade. Instead, thousands of low-level defendants and addicts now serve sentences designed for kingpins because judges no longer have the authority to make the punishment fit the crime. Mandatory sentencing laws prevent judges from considering the severity of the offense, and the offender’s role, or his or her potential for rehabilitation when determining the sentence.
• • •

Mandatory Minimum Sentences or Does This Make Any Sense? [2000]


Such mandatory sentences must be imposed, regardless of a person's role in the crime, or other mitigating factors. Prosecutors, not judges, have the discretion to decide what charges to bring, whether to accept or deny a plea bargain, and ultimately, to determine what the final sentence will be.
• • •

Bringing down families [2002]


The consequences of these immoral sentencing laws are horrendous – mothers of young children incarcerated for periods that span their children's youth; siblings separated from one another, never to be reunited in a family setting; families torn apart, often for good. All because a parent committed an act that is made foolish only because the laws are foolish. They are victims of zealous "drug warriors," who have succeeded in ratcheting up into felony crimes activities that once were misdemeanors.
• • •

When did we get this mean? [2003]


From the snares of determined prosecutors, "no one is safe," claims Paul Craig Roberts, author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice."> The cliché about the rich buying their way out of prosecution hasn't been holding up lately. In fact, it is easy and less messy to frame a white collar victim (such as Martha Stewart, Michael Milken or Leona Helmsley), since all a prosecutor has to do is "interpret an arcane regulation differently or with a new slant." The trend to criminalizing civil infractions makes prominent figures easy prey. Law becomes uncertain when ambitious prosecutors can create criminal offenses merely by interpretation.
• • •

Cruel and irrational [2004]


The appalling fact of mandatory minimum sentencing continues. This month, a Utah federal judge, like so many judges before him, was forced to impose a 55-year prison sentence on a first-time drug offender. As reported in the Deseret Morning News (11/7/04), Judge Paul Cassell appeared to be as upset about the sentence he imposed on Weldon Angelos as others in the courtroom.
• • •

Trying to be tougher than the next guy [2004]


On January 4, CBS's "60 Minutes" took on the horror that is called Mandatory Minimum sentencing, a subject frequented often on this website. Host Ed Bradley described these harsh sentencing laws and interviewed principals in law enforcement who object to them.

Bradley: In the wake of the cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, Congress passed harsh sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum sentencing laws requiring federal judges in most cases to impose long jail terms on anyone convicted of drug trafficking – no matter how small their crime. But now, objections to the drug laws are coming from an unexpected source – federal judges themselves. Normally reluctant to speak out on political matters, federal judges by the dozens have protested harsh drug laws, contending the laws force them to send some people to prison who don't belong there and others for many more years than they deserve.
• • •

Related Articles:

The Overcriminalized Society: Jailing the innocent [2004]

By Paul Craig Roberts


Americans are uninformed about the tyrannical nature of their criminal justice system. Until they become personally ensnared in the system, Americans believe that police and prosecutors would never convict an innocent person. Once they experience the system, Americans are terrified by the system's indifference to whether a defendant has committed a crime. ...

In a recent Cato Policy Report, Erik Luna says that "the sheer number of idiosyncratic laws and the scope of discretionary enforcement" are making criminals out of many Americans who had no intent to break a law or any knowledge that they had. A country that goes out of its way to imprison the innocent has no business preaching democracy to the world.
• • •

The vanishing jury trial [2002]


Craig Horowitz describes the vanishing jury trial in "The Defense Rests – Permanently," (New York magazine, 3/4/02), and claims that our criminal justice system no longer works to serve the truth. He concedes that no rational person would want a return to the permissiveness and lack of accountability of two decades ago, but that the current "overwhelming power of the criminal-justice system has raised a compelling question: Has the presumption of innocence and the constitutional guarantee of a trial by a jury of one's peers been compromised by measures designed to speed the accused through a system with fewer opportunities to escape?"
• • •

A wholesale transfer of power [2003]


American law, based as it was in Anglo-Saxon law, once required that before an individual is deemed a criminal he must have acted with an intent to do wrong. To commit a crime, the law required that an individual must both cause (or attempt to cause) a wrongful injury and do so with some form of malicious intent. Paul Rosenzweig, writing for the Heritage Foundation, joins his voice to others who declare that American law today has been contorted to criminalize acts of negligence and even actions that are accidental. In "The Over-Criminalization of Social and Economic Conduct," Rosenzweig describes how criminal law has strayed from its historical roots, even in terms of subject matter.

Paul Craig Roberts says of these "regulatory" crimes: "Prosecutors have been granted wide discretion by social welfare regulation, which criminalizes behavior that bears no relationship to moral wrongs (such as murder), which traditionally defined criminal acts. Today, Americans draw prison sentences for unknowingly violating vague regulations, the meanings of which are interpreted by the regulatory police who enforce the regulations."
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The state's patriotic sheep

We're all familiar with those Bible verses that are so dear to a certain type of Christian, who claims special "patriot" status, that is, Mark's exhortation to "Render unto Caesar," etc., and, of course, Paul's call to be subject to the governing authorities. These are the people who wear Paul's words proudly on their sleeves, to excuse their compliant submission to the state. But, in a system of government like the U.S., who exactly are the people whom Paul refers to as the "governing authorities." Here are some reflections by Rev. Chuck Baldwin on Paul's words in Romans:

• • •

It seems that every time someone such as myself attempts to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters to resist an unconstitutional or otherwise reprehensible government policy, we hear the retort, "What about Romans, Chapter 13? We Christians must submit to government. Any government. Read your Bible, and leave me alone." Or words to that effect. ...

Do our Christian friends who use these verses to teach that we should not oppose President Bush or any other political leader really believe that civil magistrates have unlimited authority to do anything they want without opposition? I doubt whether they truly believe that.

For example, what if our President decided to resurrect the old monarchal custom of Jus Primae Noctis (Law of First Night)? That was the old medieval custom when the king claimed the right to sleep with a subject's bride on the first night of their marriage. Would our sincere Christian brethren sheepishly say, "Romans, Chapter 13 says we must submit to the government?" I think not. And would any of us respect any man who would submit to such a law?

Read entire article here for Rev. Baldwin's interpretation of Romans 13.
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The death-or-glory boys

In reviewing Ron Suskind's book, The Way of the World, British journalist Simon Jenkins describes the outcome of a trial in England of eight possible terrorists, when the gung-ho Americans, led by Dick Cheney, intruded. In "This is what happens when a crime is redefined as war" (Guardian, 9/10/08), we learn about the sabotage of Operation Overt. Here are excerpts:

• • •

It has been an open secret in police circles that Operation Overt, the most complex in counter-terror history, was sabotaged by the American vice president, Dick Cheney, desperate for a headline boost to the Republicans' 2006 mid-term elections. British intelligence was following trails and acquiring evidence against 20 suspects. They needed American surveillance help in Pakistan and shared their information, foolishly it now appears, with Washington. ...

Cheney then privately dispatched the CIA's operations director, Jose Rodriguez, to Islamabad to secure the arrest of one of the British suspects, Rashid Rauf, believed to be a possible link with al-Qaida. The British had been watching him and preparing his extradition. They did not want him rendered useless through CIA or Pakistani torture. Within days, news of Rauf's capture reached the British plotters. In a panic, the police had desperately to round up as many suspects as they could find overnight. According to Suskind, "top officials in British intelligence cursed, threw ashtrays and screamed bloody murder."

Months of work, which might have unpicked an entire al-Qaida network back to the Pakistani training camps, was ruined by "forced, foolish hastiness" -- and all for the mid-term elections. Bush was soon boasting of having "foiled a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United States."

Two years later, a British jury, having to decide on the basis of evidence whether it faced another 9/11 or just a bunch of crazies, gave the benefit of the doubt to the latter. It was clearly fed up with scare stories and the politics of fear and felt the police had not made a case. Today, many of the plotters are at large, and Rauf himself has mysteriously escaped custody.

This is what happens when criminal conspiracy is redefined as an act of war. It goes political. As a conspiracy to cause mayhem, the suspected airline plotters merited and were getting thorough detective work in what was clearly a superb operation. Because it was also a "war," the death-or-glory boys took over and wrecked it.

Read complete article here.
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Ignoring advice when it could have made a difference

Describing someone as having a "pre-9/11 mentality" is meant as a denigration. It suggests that such a person supposedly still harbors the same naïve attitude toward the threat from terrorism as they did before 9/11, with an implication that they are either benighted or, perhaps, even un-American. But was everyone naïve prior to 9/11?

Writer Paul Mulshine admits to possessing the pre-9/11 mentality, since his understanding of the terrorism threat is unchanged today from prior to the 9/11 devastations. Back in 1996, Mulshine warned about the gutting of the CIA then underway by the Clinton Administration. In "Why I'm proud of my pre-9/11 mentality" (9/11/08), Mulshine argues that even after the USS Cole was attacked, along with several US embassies in Africa, Clinton did not turn his attention to reforming or beefing up intelligence-gathering operations. And, he writes, "George W. Bush took over and paid even less attention to the al Qaeda threat than his predecessor did."

Along with others, Mulshine is in company with Pat Buchanan, who, for years, warned in his columns and books, that sooner or later a day of reckoning was on the horizon for a country as unnecessarily involved abroad as the United States.

Mulshine tells of a report issued in 2000, by the National Commission on Terrorism, warning of defects in intelligence-gathering, which was ignored first by Clinton, and then by Bush. He writes,

The term "pre-9/11 mentality" is used as an insult, of course. But if you think about it for even a second, you have to ask yourself why any intelligent person would have had a different attitude toward terrorism on Sept. 11, 2001, than he had on Sept. 10, 2001. The threat was exactly the same. So was the means of countering it.

But instead of following the eminently sensible recommendations in that report, the Bush administration went from ignoring the threat of terrorism to endorsing the idea of ending all terrorism on the planet. This is impossible. Terrorism is a tactic, one better described by the term "asymmetrical warfare." The idea of asymmetrical warfare is that a lightly armed force can employ rudimentary resources – box cutters being the most extreme example – to create havoc against a conventional military power.

If such a war were symmetrical, with one conventional army against another, the United States could win easily. But since it is asymmetrical, we were forced to employ vastly more resources than the enemy, which is exactly what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those who deride the "pre-9/11 mentality" deride the very position that they ignored back when it might have made a difference, the idea of fighting terrorism through police and intelligence actions.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Pro-lifers bring underclass mores into the mainstream

If ever there were any doubt that there are pro-lifers who endorse promiscuous sexual behavior and illegitimate childbirth, R.R. Reno certainly removes it. Writing for First Things, a magazine edited by Father Richard John Neuhaus, whose mission claims to "advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society," Reno celebrates the news about those high school girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts, who, apparently, have purposely set out to become "Single Moms," with no husbands in sight.

Reno one-ups Sarah Palin as a negative role model for the young (see Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin), as he praises these confused and wayward youngsters for recognizing the satisfaction of experiencing, through childbirth, a "primordial blessing."

Skipping over the Bible's injunctions on fornication as such, and re-tooling Christian doctrine to suit his own proclivities, Reno informs us of the biblical claim that the "single greatest disaster" for any woman is barrenness. "Be fruitful and multiply," he further proclaims. Hence, these Gloucester girls are to be commended for not being "captive" to their own "selfishness," in contrast to today's typical woman who is overly involved in taking control of her future.

He derides what he calls a "Miss Prudence" class for these girls, where they might be informed of the consequences of their actions and the challenges they will face as mothers on their own. Candidly informing them of future difficulties is just so much dramatizing, according to Reno.

He says he finds "something reassuring" about the idea of a band of teenagers making a "pregnancy pact," to produce children on their own. It's "so much brighter, so much more hopeful, than the alternative, which is the 'sterility pact' of those so committed to controlling their futures."

Wouldn't you like to have this guy as speaker at the next assembly meeting of your high school's 15-year-olds?

Reno is contemptuous of those "upper middle class parents," whom he disdains for their "upper middle class attitudes," and who he says "live in fear that their daughters will find themselves pregnant at age sixteen and 'throw their lives away.'" It's not just the upper middle class, Mr. Reno, but responsible parents lower down the economic ladder, as well, would like to see a better future than early motherhood for their 16-year-olds. Especially since they know better than anyone the mentality of their 16-year-olds.

On conservative, pro-lifer Lawrence Auster's site, Carol Iannone responds to Reno's reckless discourse by reminding us that "trying to exert some control over the future by finishing school and getting a job and establishing a home and getting married before having babies is exactly what society has been rightly exhorting teenagers to do." Up to now, the Church also taught that this was the better path to take.

In the world of the deranged pro-lifer, one must never bring up either the social costs to the young person herself or the long-term impact on society of widespread single motherhood. Such concerns are cavalierly waved away by Reno, who calls this kind of thinking just so much "blah, blah, blah."

Lawrence Auster observes:

R.R. Reno's article expresses in pure form the mentality that led "Christian conservatives" to gush over Bristol Palin's out of wedlock pregnancy. If there is to be a movement worthy of the name conservatism, it will have to be created or recreated, because the conservative movement is dead. The so-called conservative movement should change its name to the anti-abortion movement, or "the cult of natalism for the sake of natalism," or "Christians for illegitimacy."

In Does pro-life now mean pro-libertinism?, Selwin Duke tracks how government inevitably steps into the breach when there are large numbers of dependent women and children. The average pregnant single mother, writes Duke, is likely to be left alone. "Individually, this is often tragic, but collectively, when the number of single mothers becomes great enough, it is always so – for a civilization."

Duke maintains, "The less the individuals fulfill their roles – in other words, the greater the number of single mothers laboring singly – the greater the government's role will become." And, "When there is a large population of dysfunctional youths in society, there will be impetus for a trove of other programs as well. You can start with pre-kindergarten, after-school, nutritional, youth-intervention, drug and anti-violence programs, but the sky is the limit. Virtually anything a good family would do, Hillary's village will do."

No writer has done a better job of dissecting exactly the phenomenon described by Duke than George Gilder. In his book, Visible Man, through the lives of roaming underclass black men, Gilder showed how the welfare state made it possible for unwed mothers to support themselves and thereby substitute government for the fathers of their children. [See The Civilizing Power of Marriage and Family]

It is due to the more than benign treatment extended by government, granting additional monetary stipends with each additional illegitimate baby, that we now have what was an underclass problem moved into mainstream society. There is a line, even if indirect and crooked, from the open-ended, free-for-all welfare policies begun in the 1960s, to those Gloucester high school girls.

Recently, a woman called Laura Schlessinger's radio show, and told of a relative who had already given birth to two illegitimate children, both of whom were being taken care of by a reluctant grandmother, and there was one more on the way. Dr. Laura asked when in the world would someone tell this woman to get her tubes tied. (Even though a pro-lifer, Schlessinger tends to be a sensible one.) The response was something like, "But she's only 24 years old."

Schlessinger almost had a fit. Three children down, and the concern is that, if her tubes are tied, this irresponsible wench, who is not even mothering her offspring, might not be able to have more in the future! That is, children to turn over to someone else's care, and, perhaps, ultimately dumped in the state's foster care system. This woman's story would surely warm the heart of a pro-life zealot like R.R. Reno. There obviously is no "sterility pact" involved here, nor a woman overly caught up in taking control of her future.

Since so many pro-lifers condone promiscuity among the young, I wonder why they pretend to be fans of abstinence. Surely, practicing abstinence, which in this case means not engaging in pre-marital sex, would mess up the game plan of unlimited baby-making, wouldn't it? Or, perhaps, these cynical creatures are counting on the game plan to be fulfilled by their very call for abstinence.

See related:

We didn't know this?
Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The good liberal Palin makes a mockery of conservatives

Did John McCain choose Sarah Palin as his running mate, to spite the party that would not let him appoint his alter ego Joseph Lieberman, as suggested by some? Or was he just determined to get even with a party that allowed for the outrageous vilification of him during the 2000 election campaign? Is it all about smoldering resentments? How could any serious person have bypassed Mitt Romney for this?

It's a pity that the grotesque role the party has given Palin as Attack Dog will probably do the Obama camp more good than they could do for themselves. The wild claims about his affiliations, all of which have been done to death by the media, show utter desperation. Hey, Miz Palin, our ears were filled with all this Wright/Ayers/Acorn stuff for over a year. Ever hear of burn-out?

Palin is making a wonderful mockery of the conservative cause and its supposed adherents. She is as liberal as the day is long, as we clearly see in her disregard of principles that used to be considered major among conservatives -- such as, her acceptance of the notion that mothers of minor children should take on full-time, all-consuming professional jobs; her refusal to express regret for the behavior of her wayward teenage daughter and for her own questionable parenting skills; her enthusiastic promotion of the public school system and the teachers unions, while disparaging vouchers; and her tolerant views on homosexual partnerships. Where's the conservative? On all these points, the lady shows herself to be a good and true liberal. Is she laughing up her sleeve?

Want to guess what the likes of Palin's faithful pro-life worshippers (her only base) would have done, if Chelsea Clinton had come up pregnant at age 17? Can you hear the filthy verbiage that would have spewed forth from them concerning Hillary's failure to pay attention to her mothering duties, instead of busying herself with that health care stuff? Who looks to be the better mother today?

If Palin came out in support of public fornication in the town square, these pro-lifers would begin spouting talking points in favor of the plan, as long as the fornication resulted in pregnancies, which resulted in babies. [See Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin]

Columnist Paul Mulshine calls Palin a "liberal populist." Well, maybe.

Here are four terrific articles by Mulshine on Palin:

Darn right conservatives have a beef with Palin

Palin sells out conservatives by opposing vouchers

Am I the only one who noticed the other Palin heresy?

Darn right Palin's a loony left-winger
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Friday, October 03, 2008

An awful mistake

The strong and harsh words of John LeBoutillier really sting, and they ought to. Not only should the Republicans not be in trouble with a weak Vice Presidential candidate, they should not be suffering the candidacy of John McCain himself. But this is what happens when a political party has been overtaken by people who do not share what used to be the party's declared principles, and, instead, bring their own obsessions to it.

LeBoutillier laments the loss of Mitt Romney as the VP candidate, while he should be regretting the loss of Romney in the Presidential spot.

Imagine your party falling under the control of driven "Evangelicals" and "pro-lifers," who have managed to acquire enough power to decide the outcome of the party's nominations – not on rational grounds, but on whether prospective candidates share the "correct" brand of religion, i.e., have the right take on Jesus.

In order to prevent the ascent to the White House of a "pagan" Mormon believer, these resolute party usurpers did all the conniving they could to nominate a totally non-religious type. At least, under McCain, there is no chance that people will be exposed to forming positive opinions about a Mormon family or the religion itself. Who knows? Such positive influences might have led to conversions – to the "wrong" religion!

What the heck would the Founders have made of all this? Here, they were worried about the government intruding on freedom of worship, and possibly establishing a state religion. It never occurred to them that a state religion could be imposed by other means.

Here are excerpts of LeBoutillier's insights, from "McCain's Chances Slipping Away" (Newsmax, 10/2/08):
• • •

In a spate of new polls taken since Friday’s debate, including polls in the crucial states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, in some states, Obama has surged across that crucial 50 percent threshold while McCain is bleeding daily. ...

Panic has taken over the McCain campaign. They do not know what to do to reverse this downward trend. And there may be nothing McCain can do to reverse this trend. Any hope may lie in either an Obama mistake, or an outside event; neither of which is under the control now of McCain or his staff. ...

Gov. Palin reveals that she is an uneducated, unread, and untravelled woman who is not, and never will be, ready to be vice president. And her latest line — that "Joe Sixpack" is who we want in the vice presidency — is idiotic. We do not want Joe Sixpack making governmental decisions. We want someone who understands Joe Sixpack's views, but someone who knows more than Joe and has broader experience and knowledge.

The whole Palin line from her supporters that "she is just like me" is an awful mistake. We want someone in the Oval Office who indeed listens to "me" but who knows more and has better judgement. ...

Too bad McCain didn’t pick Mitt Romney as he is/was the one candidate this year who could have seemed credible on this financial mess. But, in the end, it is John McCain who is hemorrhaging in the polls, especially among over-50 voters who see their retirement money shrinking by the day as this Wall Street mess spreads.
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pro-lifers and their talking points

Needless to say, in response to my post on Sarah Palin, Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin, I have been receiving the usual, typical talking points from pro-lifers about "cold-blooded murder." As if anyone over 12 years old hasn't heard their shtick endlessly. It's amazing how each person takes the stance that he/she is actually informing you of something you don't know and have never heard before. It's more than boring by now.

Don't we accept "cold-blooded murder" on other fronts? Don't these wonderful people, who are writing to me and identify themselves as "Christian," accept the murder of human beings for all sorts of reasons? (If they have their way, in fact, we will be seeing the death penalty applied to many more crimes than murder.)

These supposed lovers of life are among the most blood-thirsty, when it comes to following, like lemmings, the orders from above, to send their sons to die. It perturbs them not to send young men, in the bloom of their youth, to be blown apart in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, and, perhaps, Russia -- for absolutely nothing! They willingly send their sons to their deaths, or to be mutilated beyond recognition, because they're sold government propaganda. Contrary to their insistence, there is nothing "life-affirming" about these people.

(See the views of two traditionalist, pro-life ministers in The Religious Right: "Heralds of truth" as political lackeys -- here.)

"If we fight them over there, we won't have to fight them over here," goes the refrain. How could anyone buy such preposterous reasoning? "There has not been an attack since 9/11." Who says another attack was ever planned, after all the years of planning that went into the 9/11 catastrophe?

Thugs pulled off an operation that took down buildings in New York. They should have been hunted down as thugs, the way the government hunted down Dillinger. There was no need to intrude our military into a sovereign nation, unless, of course, there were other reasons for doing so that have nothing to do with U.S. security. And we know there were other reasons. They have been delineated ad nauseam, by now, and began with Pat Buchanan's brilliant, and now classic Whose War?

If our security and intelligence had simply been doing their jobs, and had just paid attention to warnings given them by ordinary citizens, like the head of that flying instruction school, who informed the FBI of suspicious characters taking his courses, 9/11 would have been avoided. See Jim Bovard on this.

Back to our caring pro-lifers, who supposedly love "life" so much, and talk about the "innocent" fetus. Well, these young soldiers are innocent, too, as far as I'm concerned. Is the "innocent" tag applied, because I'm supposed to think of a 19-year-old boy, who never got to live out his life, as having been a "sinner?" Is that the idea? Is that why he's not considered "innocent" enough? Am I expected to buy their theological stuff?

Also, one of their favorite talking points is the fact that many doctors will not perform the procedure. Well, yes, because they do not want to be shot through their kitchen windows, or have a family member accidentally shot in their place. That's enough to put restrictions on any activity, as these pro-lifers well know.

So, pro-lifers, unless you have something unique and genuinely different to say, don't bother me with your staid, memorized talking points. When you cease sending your sons to die, I'll believe that you are truly pro-life.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cheering on that other Nation

Okay, this post serves two purposes. To see if I can upload photographs to the blog, and to have a place to plop some of the zillions of photos of the Boston Red Sox that I've downloaded over time.

I need some irrelevancy right about now, an escape from the horror of politics, and baseball used to be my solace. When my youth was rudely disrupted by the New York baseball Giants being wrenched away from the city, I eventually tried to transfer my loyalty, first to the Yankees, then to the Mets, and then again to the Yankee
s. But my heart was never in it.

Fast-forward to the 1970s, when a bunch of us, who had gone camping in Vermont, ended our trip by attending a three-game Boston-Yankees series at Fenway Park. The excitement was lik
e nothing we had ever experienced, especially when the Red Sox won the third game, which put them in first place. Leaving that final game was exhilarating, as the chant, "We're Number One!," was shouted far and wide, not only by people in the streets, but also by those hanging out of windows. Those games turned out to be the highlight of what had been a disappointing rainy week of camping, and we didn't even mind that the Yankees lost.

For many years thereafter, I intermittently paid attention to post-season activity, like Pennants and World Series, but not too deeply. Then about four or five years ago, I absentmindedly began to follow the Red Sox, becoming familiar with the roster, catching the rare game that was shown on broadcast television, when they played the Yankees. And I found myself being drawn into Red Sox Nation. I knew I was lost when it became clear that I could not go to bed at night without learning the outcome of that day's game -- and when I found myself worrying over injuries, and caught up in wondering, "Just what the heck does Manny want?!"

So, as they take on California's formidab
le Angels, here's wishing the Red Sox the same kind of luck they had last year. And now I will see if I can upload those photos.

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