Saturday, February 26, 2011

VDH on Prolonged Adolescence as a Societal Defect

Victor Davis Hanson lets loose another jeremiad at the incredible intellectual and fiscal insolvency of the American political mindset.
...adolescents throw fits when denied a hip sweater or a trip to Disneyland, concluding that it is somehow “unfair” or “mean,” without concern about the funds available to grant their agendas. We see now just that adolescent mind in Wisconsin. “They” surely can come up with the money from someone (“the rich”) somehow to pay teachers and public servants what they deserve. And what they deserve is determined not by comparable rates in private enterprise, or by market value (if the DMV clerk loses a job, does another public bureau or private company inevitably seize the opportunity to hire such a valuable worker at comparable or improved wages?), or by results produced (improved test scores, more applicants processed in an office, overhead reduced, etc.), or by what the strapped state is able to provide, but by what is deemed to be necessary to ensure an upper-middle class lifestyle. That is altogether understandable and decent, but it is entirely adolescent in a globalized economy.

Why so? In a word, the United States is not producing enough real wealth to justify a particular standard of living among its public workforce far superior to counterparts in the private sector. We are borrowing massively abroad for redistributive entitlements. We fight wars with credit cards. We talk of cap-and-trade and “climate change” without prior worry about how to fuel the United States, as we sink in perpetual debt to import well over half our oil. We have open borders and pat ourselves on our backs for the ensuing “diversity,” without worry that illegality and lack of reverence for federal laws, absence of English, no diplomas, multiculturalism instead of the melting pot, the cynicism and chauvinism of Mexico, and recessionary times are a perfect storm for a dependent, and eventually resentful, underclass extending well into a second generation, one that fumes over why things outside are not equal rather than looking within to ensure that they could be.

Can you imagine middle-aged pre-pubescents like Katie Couric or Brian Williams interviewing a fellow with the depth of field and broad perspective of a VDH, let alone Jerry Brown [whose Jesuit seminary days at least made him cognizant that the classics exist]? There is no common ground where a civilized gentleman like VDH and the hucksters in the media can even imagine, at least in their skewed perspectives. VDH goes on to sum up the malaise that this Indonesian Imbecile has foisted on the USA.
...the adolescent thinks in a rigid, fossilized fashion in explicating the “unfairness” of it all, unable yet to process new data and adjust conclusions accordingly. So we now hear that the evil corporate/Wall Street nexus is turning us into a Republican-driven Third World — apparently unwilling to see that among the largest contributors of campaign cash were unions, and both Wall Street and international corporations favored Barack Obama in the last election, the first presidential candidate in the history of campaign financing legislation to opt out of the program in order to raise even more “fat cat” money. Just because one is a former Chicago organizer does not mean he cannot be the largest recipient of Goldman Sachs or BP donations in history. Railing against Las Vegas jet-setters does not mean that one cannot prefer Martha’s Vineyard, Vail, or Costa del Sol to Camp David.

We talk about all these “millionaires,” but fail to include a Rahm Emanuel who managed to receive several million for his apparent fiscal and investment “expertise” or the liberal Clintonite insiders who looted Fannie and Freddie in bonuses just before these agencies imploded. The Koch brother are deemed evil; George Soros and Warren Buffet enlightened billionaires about whose modes of acquisition of riches we must be indifferent. Anything that might upset the predetermined adolescent world view is simply ignored in “I don’t want to hear all this” teen-aged fashion. The adolescent plays reruns of Al Gore’s mythodramas and simply thinks away the ensuing evidence of fraud and malfeasance that seems so deeply embedded in the climate change industry. The rant and temper tantrum follow in the puerile mode of being so distasteful that someone surely must give in to stop the embarrassing disturbance.

There are lots of issues involved in Wisconsin, in the impending financial and fuel crises, and in the sense of American impotency abroad. Yet a common denominator is a national adolescence, in which we want what we have not earned. We demand the world be the way that it cannot; and we don’t wish to hear “unfair” arguments from “bad” and “mean” people.

Yes, the green meanies of the Beatles comes to mind, only now those who complained about the green meanies have become the green meanies....and they don't have the mental equipment to realize that irony.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim Returns to Cairo

Thankful to GWB, wondering about wallflower Obama

The WSJ has a great piece of SEIbrahim, whose home I was a guest in many times in the early nineties while working for Amoco as a political risk analyst. Bari Weiss has an interview that interjects a lot of the interviewer's own thoughts, but is interesting as well:
Mr. Ibrahim thinks that holding elections six months from now is "not wise." If he had his druthers, it would be put off for several years to allow alternative groups to mature. Still, he insists that the Brothers—some of whom he knows well from prison, including senior leader Essam el-Erian—are changing.

"They did not start this movement, nor were they the principal actors, nor were they the majority," he says. When they showed up in Tahrir Square on the fourth day of the protests, most were members of the group's young guard. Mr. Ibrahim points out that they didn't use any Islamist slogans. "Their famous slogan is 'Islam is the solution.' They use that usually in elections and marches. But they did not." This time, they chose "Religion is for God, country is for all." That slogan dates to 1919 and Egypt's secular nationalist movement.

What's more, some Brothers carried signs depicting the crescent and the cross together. "One of the great scenes was of young Copts [Christians], boys and girls, bringing water for the Muslim brothers to do their ablution, and also making a big circle—a temporary worship space—for them. And then come Sunday, the Muslims reciprocated by allowing space for the Copts to have their service. That of course was very moving. "

Maybe so. But this week Muslim Brotherhood member Mohsen Radi declared that the group finds it "unsuitable" for a Copt or a woman to hold a high post like the presidency. Then there's the Brotherhood's motto: "'Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Looking around Egypt's neighborhood, it's not hard to guess what life would be like for Coptic Christians, let alone women, under a state guided by Quranic Shariah law.

"That's still their creed and their motto," Mr. Ibrahim says. "What they have done is to lower that profile. Not to give it up, but to lower it." He adds that the Brothers have promised not to run a candidate for the presidency for the next two election cycles.

To skeptics like me, such gestures seem like opportunism—superficial ploys aimed at winning votes, not a genuine transformation. I press Mr. Ibrahim and he insists that the younger guard is evolving, and that they are "fairly tolerant and enlightened." Enlightened seems a stretch, but nevertheless, what other option is there? Banning the Brotherhood, as the Mubarak regime did, is a nonstarter.

If Mr. Ibrahim is a fundamentalist about anything, it's democracy. And his hope is that participating in the democratic process will liberalize the Muslim Brothers over the long term. They "have survived for 80 years, and one mechanism for survival is adaptation," he says. "If the pressure continues, by women and by the middle class, they will continue to evolve. Far from taking their word, we should keep demanding that they prove that they really are pluralistic, that they are not going to turn against democracy, that they are not going to make it one man, one vote, one time."

He compares the Brothers to the Christian Democrats in Western Europe after World War II. "They started with more Christianity than democracy 100 years ago. Now they are more democracy than Christianity." True, but the Christian Democrats never embraced violent radicalism in the way the Muslim Brotherhood has.

Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP)—formerly the Virtue Party—is a more recent model. "The Muslim Brothers seem to be moving in the same direction," he says.

That would probably be a best case, but it too is problematic. The AKP—and, by extension, contemporary Turkey—is democratic but hardly liberal. Over the past decade, it has dramatically limited press freedom, stoked anti-Semitism, supported Hamas, and defended murderous figures like Sudan's Omar al-Bashir.

Still, the Turkish scenario is far better than the Iranian one—the hijacking of Egypt's revolution by radical clerics like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who returned from Qatar to Cairo last week. For his part, Mr. Ibrahim doesn't think that Mr. Qaradawi—a rock-star televangelist with an Al Jazeera viewership of some 60 million—is positioned to dominate the new Egypt as Ayatollah Khomeini dominated post-1979 Iran.

Weiss does score some points in unmasking the general anti-Semitism of the Egyptian "reformers."
Mr. Ibrahim thinks that holding elections six months from now is "not wise." If he had his druthers, it would be put off for several years to allow alternative groups to mature. Still, he insists that the Brothers—some of whom he knows well from prison, including senior leader Essam el-Erian—are changing.

"They did not start this movement, nor were they the principal actors, nor were they the majority," he says. When they showed up in Tahrir Square on the fourth day of the protests, most were members of the group's young guard. Mr. Ibrahim points out that they didn't use any Islamist slogans. "Their famous slogan is 'Islam is the solution.' They use that usually in elections and marches. But they did not." This time, they chose "Religion is for God, country is for all." That slogan dates to 1919 and Egypt's secular nationalist movement.

What's more, some Brothers carried signs depicting the crescent and the cross together. "One of the great scenes was of young Copts [Christians], boys and girls, bringing water for the Muslim brothers to do their ablution, and also making a big circle—a temporary worship space—for them. And then come Sunday, the Muslims reciprocated by allowing space for the Copts to have their service. That of course was very moving. "

Maybe so. But this week Muslim Brotherhood member Mohsen Radi declared that the group finds it "unsuitable" for a Copt or a woman to hold a high post like the presidency. Then there's the Brotherhood's motto: "'Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Looking around Egypt's neighborhood, it's not hard to guess what life would be like for Coptic Christians, let alone women, under a state guided by Quranic Shariah law.

"That's still their creed and their motto," Mr. Ibrahim says. "What they have done is to lower that profile. Not to give it up, but to lower it." He adds that the Brothers have promised not to run a candidate for the presidency for the next two election cycles.

To skeptics like me, such gestures seem like opportunism—superficial ploys aimed at winning votes, not a genuine transformation. I press Mr. Ibrahim and he insists that the younger guard is evolving, and that they are "fairly tolerant and enlightened." Enlightened seems a stretch, but nevertheless, what other option is there? Banning the Brotherhood, as the Mubarak regime did, is a nonstarter.

If Mr. Ibrahim is a fundamentalist about anything, it's democracy. And his hope is that participating in the democratic process will liberalize the Muslim Brothers over the long term. They "have survived for 80 years, and one mechanism for survival is adaptation," he says. "If the pressure continues, by women and by the middle class, they will continue to evolve. Far from taking their word, we should keep demanding that they prove that they really are pluralistic, that they are not going to turn against democracy, that they are not going to make it one man, one vote, one time."

He compares the Brothers to the Christian Democrats in Western Europe after World War II. "They started with more Christianity than democracy 100 years ago. Now they are more democracy than Christianity." True, but the Christian Democrats never embraced violent radicalism in the way the Muslim Brotherhood has.

Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP)—formerly the Virtue Party—is a more recent model. "The Muslim Brothers seem to be moving in the same direction," he says.

That would probably be a best case, but it too is problematic. The AKP—and, by extension, contemporary Turkey—is democratic but hardly liberal. Over the past decade, it has dramatically limited press freedom, stoked anti-Semitism, supported Hamas, and defended murderous figures like Sudan's Omar al-Bashir.

Still, the Turkish scenario is far better than the Iranian one—the hijacking of Egypt's revolution by radical clerics like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who returned from Qatar to Cairo last week. For his part, Mr. Ibrahim doesn't think that Mr. Qaradawi—a rock-star televangelist with an Al Jazeera viewership of some 60 million—is positioned to dominate the new Egypt as Ayatollah Khomeini dominated post-1979 Iran.

When it comes to his own future, Dr. Ibrahim is coy:
Might he run for political office when his professorship at New Jersey's Drew University ends in May? "I'm 72 years old. And I'd really like to see a younger generation." But, he adds, "in politics you never say no."

"I am more interested in having the kind of presidential campaign similar to what you have here or in Western Europe. . . . That's part of creating or socializing our people into pluralism—to see it at work, to have debates, to have a free media," he says.

But Saad Eddin isn't shy about criticizing the rhetorician who now inhabits the Oval Office:
One political role he's already playing is as an informal adviser to Obama administration officials, his friends Michael McFaul and Samantha Power, scholars who serve on the National Security Council staff. But he doesn't mince words about Mr. Obama's record so far. The president "wasted two and a half years" cozying up to dictators and abandoning dissidents, he says. "Partly to distance himself from Bush, democracy promotion became a kind of bad phrase for him." He also made the Israeli-Palestinian conflict his top priority, at the expense of pushing for freedom. "By putting the democracy file on hold, on the back burner, he did not accomplish peace nor did he serve democracy," says Mr. Ibrahim.

'Dislikable as [President Bush] may have been to many liberals, including my own wife, we have to give him credit," says Mr. Ibrahim. "He started a process of some conditionality with American aid and American foreign policy which opened some doors and ultimately was one of the building blocks for what's happening now." That conditionality extended to Mr. Ibrahim: In 2002, the Bush administration successfully threatened to withhold $130 million in aid from Egypt if Mr. Mubarak didn't release him.

So what should the White House do? "Publicly endorse every democratic movement in the Middle East and offer help," he says. The least the administration can do is withhold "aid and trade and diplomatic endorsement. Because now the people can do the job. America doesn't have to send armies and navies to change the regimes. Let the people do their change."

Perhaps that is what Obama is doing while he twiddles his thumbs as Libya is dissolved in bloody civil conflict But he looks like a passive-aggressive speechifyer while Tripoli burns.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Why I hope Gov Walker faces down the Union Thugs

The Wall Street Journal has the final takedown statistics on the Milwaukee Public School System
The showdown in Wisconsin over fringe benefits for public employees boils down to one number: 74.2. That's how many cents the public pays Milwaukee public-school teachers and other employees for retirement and health benefits for every dollar they receive in salary. The corresponding rate for employees of private firms is 24.3 cents.

Gov. Scott Walker's proposal would bring public-employee benefits closer in line with those of workers in the private sector. And to prevent benefits from reaching sky-high levels in the future, he wants to restrict collective-bargaining rights.

The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools. When I showed these figures to a friend, she asked me a simple question: "How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?" The answers can be found by unpacking the numbers in the district's budget for this fiscal year:

Read on for the details on the BIGGEST RIPOFF of the US taxpayer anywhere.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rasmussen Poll Says Country Backs Gov. Walker

The NYT doesn't like polls that don't go along with its skewed take on reality. Here's my response to them in a letter on their comment site:
The Journal-Sentinel poll when this blew up last week had a 60-40 break for Gov. Walker. I know the NYT has its own brand of reality, but why would 48-38 be so much different? The people of Wisconsin knew very well what Walker's POV on public service unions was when they elected him over his Dem opponent in Nov. And in few words, you can sum up the difference between private sector & public sector unions.

In the private sector, on one side of the table sit those whose interest is in maximizing pay and benefits--that side represents the workers. On the other side sit those who seek to minimize them--that side represents the shareholders, its vendors and its customers. The two sides bargain over how to divide a fixed and limited sum of money.

In the public sector, there is no one at the table representing those who want to minimize the labor costs. The sum of money is almost unlimited, and is provided by people who have no say at the table. A substantial portion of the funds that go to labor are remitted directly to their negotiating "adversaries" in the form of campaign contributions.

In other words, public sector unions are probably in violation of the RICO law, in spirit if not in letter.

This will convince exactly no one, but Walker will be POTUS if this groundswell across the country keeps up. Now Indiana has a fugitive Dem legislature, reinforcing the national perception that the Demonrats are a bunch of scofflaw cheaters.

Scott Walker For President? Or at least Vice President...

The National Journal has the most amazing piece on Scott Walker, whose name ten days ago was completely unknown. Thanks to the incredible wrong-footed bumbling of the Indonesian Imbecile, Walker is now seen as the hero of the common man versus the greedy union thugs and their DNC henchmen.
A head-on collision with the labor movement has turned the rookie Republican governor of a Midwestern state into an overnight superstar.
Barely a month after his inauguration, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker already has prospective presidential candidates stampeding to help him. In today's turbocharged political climate, fueled by constant chatter on cable television and the Internet, can talk of a vice presidential bid be far behind for the man who two months ago was a little-known county executive?
“If you had suggested that about Scott Walker 10 days [ago] it would have seemed incomprehensible,’’ Byron Shafer, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told National Journal. “Stay tuned and ask me again in another 10 days."
Walker was the lead guest on Fox News Sunday; on Monday, MSNBC boasted of a “cable exclusive’’ with him. He's become one of the most sought-after politicians in the country ever since his plan to balance Wisconsin's budget by slashing labor costs sparked days of protests by tens of thousands of union workers in the state capitol.
Likely presidential candidates from Rick Santorum to Tim Pawlenty to Mitt Romney have clamored to offer support. Organized labor is a favorite target of the right, making Walker's fight a popular rallying point. Not to mention that budget balancing has become sacred political ground for the Republican Party.
Enhancing Walker's potential as a kingmaker: His state's potentially pivotal role in 2012. Wisconsin hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984, but close elections in 2000 and 2004 have made it a battleground state.
Walker has an opportunity to capitalize on his new national platform at the National Governors Association’s upcoming annual winter meeting, which starts Saturday in Washington. Walker’s staff, which has been fielding about 80 requests a day from the national media, said he has not decided yet whether to attend.
“He’s made it pretty clear that he’s focused on balancing the budget, and that’s all,’’ said spokesman Cullen Werwie.
Shafer said it’s too soon to know how Walker will stack up next to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was elected in 2009 and whose own bold austerity moves had made him the hottest Republican governor on the national stage -- at least until last week. Nor is it easy to predict the long-term career implications of the painful cuts both governors say they have to make.

The fight isn't over but the flailing of the lamestream morons on MSLSD and CNN demonstrates that they don't know how to deal with polls that jibe with his tough stance on unions.

Walker is the man of the hour and if he can start an avalanche of decertifying greedy union thugs, he'll have a national future.
UPDATE Here is serial wuss David Brooks exhalation on the NYT Op-Ed page, one of his usual anodyne bromide-ridden specimens of silliness where after destroying the Wis Dems behavior, he kisses the hem of Punch Sulzberger's robe. But there are two good paragraphs in his kowtowing to the Left:
Even if you acknowledge the importance of unions in representing middle-class interests, there are strong arguments on Walker’s side. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, state-union relations are structurally out of whack.

That’s because public sector unions and private sector unions are very different creatures. Private sector unions push against the interests of shareholders and management; public sector unions push against the interests of taxpayers. Private sector union members know that their employers could go out of business, so they have an incentive to mitigate their demands; public sector union members work for state monopolies and have no such interest.

Private sector unions confront managers who have an incentive to push back against their demands. Public sector unions face managers who have an incentive to give into them for the sake of their own survival. Most important, public sector unions help choose those they negotiate with. Through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout, they have enormous influence over who gets elected to bargain with them, especially in state and local races.

As a result of these imbalanced incentive structures, states with public sector unions tend to run into fiscal crises. They tend to have workplaces where personnel decisions are made on the basis of seniority, not merit. There is little relationship between excellence and reward, which leads to resentment among taxpayers who don’t have that luxury.

I actually see the public service unions, as opposed to public safety unions, as enemies of the middle class. And FDR was clear-sighted enough to spot the flaw in giving public employees the right to bargain collectively.

Scott Walker for President...!

Maine Coon Cats Are to Die For

Maine Coons Can Be Big

Here are hundreds of photos of my favorite brand of kitty. Look for Dumpling in the upper right hand corner.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Qaddafi to Venezuela? Chavez Boyfriend Comes to Papa

The Houston Chronicle reports that Qaddafi may [or may not] be on his way to close friend and ally Hugo Chavez.

I wonder if the rest of the Breakfast Club [such as members Sean Penn and Michael Moore] will be flying to Caracas to meet up with their old buddy Muammer?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thoughts on the Wisconsin Protests

Bring it on, you retarded unions and Demonrat fugitives...!

Gov. Walker gently but firmly asserts that he's not backing down on decertifying the teachers' unions right to bargain collectively and negotiate, EXCEPT on wage issues. A fat union thug named Biel is his opponent. Anyone watching closely during this entire contretemps has noticed that Gov. Walker has an encyclopedic grasp of the minutiae of all the issues, much like Cong. Ryan of Janesville has of national budget issues. Speaking entirely without notes, Walker's off-the-cuff remarks in front of reporters with no TELEPROMPTER to remind one [Indonesian Imbecile?] of talking points or statistics, impressed reporters used to slacker moronic vague nullities from Dem pols are now talking about Walker's prospects as a national candidate.

I'm for Walker as we both attended Marquette U., where he ran and lost the student body president job and I won a seat in the student senate. Plus we're both from Wauwatosa originally, and he represented my parent's domicile for eight years in the 1990s in the 14th district in the State Assembly.

As far as the antics in front of the State Capitol building, docs' fake scripts denoting illness are one sign that the scofflaws in the union movement are a tribe of scum-sucking bottomfeeders who break the law without compunction and flash the Italian salute at anyone who objects. The whole situation reminds one of the old Jewish saw: "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable...."

In addition, the hegira of 14 WI state senators to the neighboring People's Republic of Illinois is not popular AT ALL with the native Wisconsinites. Dishonesty from special pleading that the Minority Leader Miller, whining that the senators weren't given enough time to debate, when the outcome was a foregone conclusion because the dishonest crook, Gov. Doyle, had disgraced the Dems with malfeasance & total disregard of the GOP during his long tenure. The whining childish wimps in the Dem caucus are not popular as they hang out in the home of the hated Bears. Of course, the polls indicating how unpopular the Dem senators are canvassed by the Journal-Sentinel are not being published in the national media, the aptly-named lamestream media, which is also ignoring the inflammatory posters of the protesters with Gov. Walker's face on a target and wearing a Hitler mustache. In fact, the MSM is the choir to the Indonesian Imbecile's silly intervention, when he lumped police and firemen into the aggrieved protesters, even though they were not under the decertification of negotiating benefits. [The JS poll of 1000 Wisconsinites found only 27% supported the Dem senator's skedaddling to the People's Republic of Illinois.]

And the national lamestreamers are completely ignoring that Walker's bill does not strip the teachers' and other unions [besides the exempt firefighters & police] from all collective bargaining, and leaves them freedom to negotiate as a union for wages only. This is a massive onslaught against democracy by a self-absorbed and decaying collection of elites in the coastal states who want to halt GOP gains illegally and by violent means, if necessary.

This is par for the course and as a native Wisconsinite, albeit now transplanted, I think the state's traditional sense of fair play is being violated. Also, the intrusion of the Indonesian Imbecile and Trumka and JJackson are not appreciated except by die-hard supporters. Remember this is concerning around 100,000 public servants earning at a minimum, 50% above teachers in parochial schools, which intriguingly have a MUCH HIGHER test score and graduation rate than the second-rate public schools. My brother who teaches in a Catholic school and earns a pittance is coming to Boca next week, financed almost totally by his wife's retirement benefits, as she taught in the public school system.

All the signs point to a PR disaster for the Dems in WI and nationally for the Indonesian Imbecile. Let's hope that the feeling of disgust for the Demonrats' overweening arrogance is transmitted by word of mouth, since the media is in full cry supporting the illegal and undemocratic methods of the protesters and their 14 maverick senators.

If this sparks a national uproar, then states like CA, NJ, NY, IL, Michigan, MN, and others are plunging into deep deficits. The House in DC is under total GOP control and will not sanction the Indonesian Imbecile's attempts to buy the states out of bankruptcy, which in any event, they cannot declare. Finally, the country ought to consider a brilliant summary of what's at stake which I found on PJM by a commenter named Stevens:
The whole concept of public unions should be illegal, in that it allows members to be represented twice, once directly at the negotiating table as a union member, and again at the polling booth as a citizen of the locality. Simultaneously, each of those privately-employed citizens who together pay the bulk of the union members’ salaries have but one vote, and effectively no power to fight off the unions’ ever-greedier demands. One man, one vote? Not when there are public unions, who offer nothing but specious rationalizations and thuggery when challenged. Public unions are undemocratic in theory, and stink of nothing but corruption in reality. They must all be dissolved.

The previous Demonrat administrations in WI under a crime spree capo di tutti capiti named Gov. Doyle negotiated ridiculously high benefits and retirement packages for the public unions, which in turn canvassed and worked assiduously for the Demonrat Party in WI, helping this mafia to be ascendant for a decade. This utterly cynical and dishonest trade-off is now being revealed to undermine the very underpinnings of democracy in a small constituency like a 5-million citizen state like Wisconsin.

Hopefully, another "Wisconsin Idea," like the Republican Party born in Ripon in 1854 and the primary concept, plus many other innovations and refinements in achieving democratically what cynical politicians tried to keep for themselves, will sweep the land.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Obama a Power-Grabbing Czar

Pete DuPont has a great piece in the WSJ on the crazy jug-eared moron in the Oval Office:
In 2008, Sen. Barack Obama criticized President Bush's effort to "bring more and more power into the executive branch" and promised to reverse it when he became president. All of which goes to show how different promises and policies can be. Candidate Obama said it was wrong for a president to consolidate power in the White House, but President Obama followed a different path, bringing more power into his office and at times taking it away from Congress and the American people.

The best example is the "czars" the president has established: 39 people who are in charge of specific policy offices, appointed by the president, but in an end run most of them not confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has noted, there is a Great Lakes czar, a green jobs czar, an urban affairs czar, a TARP Czar, a stimulus accountability czar and a car czar and more. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution says that "the President . . . with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . public Ministers and Consuls . . . and all other Officers of the United States." Almost none of these 39 appointees have faced the Senate.

And it isn't just the Congress that is being bypassed. The Obama administration seems just as intent on ignoring the will of the people when it is increasing the size and cost of government well beyond what most people want. Washington spent $30,543 per household in 2010, up 23% from the 2007 figure of $24,817. Stanford economist Michael J. Boskin wrote in The Wall Street Journal last week that President Obama "is on course to add as much debt in one term as all 43 previous presidents combined."

Another example from Mr. Boskin: The president is calling for a freeze on "non-defense discretionary spending (18% of the budget). But that would leave the spending more than 20% higher than already elevated 2008 levels." In other words, the president simply wants to freeze his already increased spending, not reduce it.

Nor are state governments exempt from this treatment. ObamaCare will add almost 20 million Americans to Medicaid by 2019, estimated at a cost of up to $190 billion that will be paid by the federal and state governments. The states will have no choice in the matter; Washington is simply requiring that they pick up the tab.

The unconstitutional ObamaCare fiasco is another example of Obama's lying heedless feckless incompetence.
America's businesses will feel the pain as well. Tucked away in the ObamaCare law are many new regulations of businesses. Some are large, such as the federal mandate that larger companies provide insurance for employees under plans that must meet the federal government's definition of acceptability. But most interesting is the requirement that businesses report to the IRS every annual purchase from any vendor of more than $600. Unless it is repealed, some 40 million businesses, churches, charities and municipalities will have to comply. Congressional Democrats shot down efforts at repeal, even voting down an amendment to increase the 1099 threshold to $5,000. But the day after last year's election, President Obama admitted it was a "counterproductive" idea and agreed it ought to be repealed. The Democratic Senate has voted to do just that.

But the insane autonomy of the czars has resulted in the EPA flaunting its independence of the other two branches of gummint:
Another area of the administration's intrusion is the result of the Senate's failure to enact the carbon-regulated environmental rationing law that passed the House, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The Environmental Protection Agency is now looking at imposing on its own the regulation of carbon emissions. That worried Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, enough that he sponsored a bill that would have delayed the EPA's greenhouse gas regulation authority for two years. It did not pass, but Sen. Rockefeller has reintroduced it this year.

And ObamaCare is an unconstitutional disaster in other ways:
But the best example of the administration's attempted takeover of America's economy is its management of ObamaCare. In passing the bill Congress actually ceded hundreds of decisions and specifics about federal government control of health care to the secretary of health and human services. Example: HHS can now decide who can get a waiver to allow low-benefit plans and who cannot. HHS in fact has granted 733 waivers--about 40% percent of the employees covered by the waivers are union members--and there will be many more to come.

Many things must be done to get America back on its sound economic track: less regulation, lower taxes and much better control of spending. Unfortunately the President's recently released fiscal year 2012 budget did not make any serious attempts at real fiscal responsibility, or for the American people's desire for real spending control.

So none of the important changes we need will come to pass unless we have very different and much better leadership thinking than we are now seeing in Washington.

DuPont's understatement underscores just how frivolous and overbearing at the same time this unaccountable colossus of the Obamanation has become while it slowly engorges the entire US economy by acts outside of Congress---a truely silent coup d'etat that the nasty libs and sleepwalking RINOs can bearly be moved to exert activity against the illegal coup.

Athens in Mad Town

The Wall Street Journal has a great editorial supporting Governor Scott Walker's move to remove some of the collective bargaining rights of the grossly overpaid school teachers' unions. Other government unions are also included in the bill:
Mr. Walker says he has no choice but to make these changes because unions refuse to negotiate any compensation changes, which is similar to the experience Chris Christie had upon taking office in New Jersey. Wisconsin is running a $137 million deficit this year and anticipates coming up another $3.6 billion short in the next two-year budget. Governor Walker's office estimates the proposals would save the state $300 million over the next two years, and the alternative would be to lay off 5,500 public employees.

None of this is deterring the crowds in Madison, aka Mad Town, where protesters, including many from the 98,000-member teachers union, have gone Greek. Madison's school district had to close Thursday when 40% of its teachers called in sick. So much for the claim that this is "all about the children." By the way, these are some of the same teachers who sued the Milwaukee school board last August to get Viagra coverage restored to their health-care plan.

This demonstration was starting to heat up when the First Imbecile opened his Big Mouth and revealed his Empty Brain.
The protests have an orchestrated quality, and sure enough, the Politico website reported yesterday that the Democratic Party's Organizing for America arm is helping to gin them up. The outfit is a remnant of President Obama's 2008 election campaign, so it's also no surprise that Mr. Obama said yesterday that while he knows nothing about the bill, he supports protesters occupying the Capitol building.

"These folks are teachers, and they're firefighters and they're social workers and they're police officers," he said, "and it's important not to vilify them." Mr. Obama is right that he knows nothing about the bill because it explicitly excludes police and firefighters. We'd have thought the President had enough to think about with his own $1.65 trillion deficit proposal going down with a thud in Congress, but it appears that the 2012 campaign is already underway.

The unions and their Democratic friends have also been rolling out their Hitler, Soviet Union and Hosni Mubarak analogies. "The story around the world is the rush to democracy," offered Democratic State Senator Bob Jauch. "The story in Wisconsin is the end of the democratic process."

The reality is that the unions are trying to trump the will of the voters as overwhelmingly rendered in November when they elected Mr. Walker and a new legislature. As with the strikes against pension or labor reforms that routinely shut down Paris or Athens, the goal is to create enough mayhem that Republicans and voters will give up.

Will the demonstration of union workers taking off from work to do a sit-in at the State Capitol Building buffalo the 19 Republican Senators [out of 33]? The Wall Street Journal thinks that this is an important test of wills.
While Republicans now have the votes to pass the bill, on Thursday Big Labor's Democratic allies walked out of the state senate to block a vote. Under state rules, 20 members of the 33-member senate must be present to hold a vote on an appropriations bill, leaving the 19 Republicans one member short. By the end of the day some Democrats were reported to have fled the state. So who's really trying to short-circuit democracy?

Unions are treating these reforms as Armageddon because they've owned the Wisconsin legislature for years and the changes would reduce their dominance. Under Governor Walker's proposal, the government also would no longer collect union dues from paychecks and then send that money to the unions. Instead, unions would be responsible for their own collection regimes. The bill would also require unions to be recertified annually by a majority of all members. Imagine that: More accountability inside unions.

Looks like the Demonrats would rather flee than vote. I hope the people of Wisconsin blame the crooked unions who extort huge benefits packages from weak politicians. And the squalid imposters who are elected officials fleeing the state to avoid a politically important vote. Just as Democracy is destroying Greece, big corrupt states like California [where state employees can BUY five more years of "air-employment" towards their retirement] and New York, a human sewer where the State Assembly is not functioning. Let us not forget Illinois, so satisfied with crooked corrupt politicians that they re-elected proven criminals including a governor who's almost as corrupt as Blagdoevich.
The larger reality is that collective bargaining for government workers is not a God-given or constitutional right. It is the result of the growing union dominance inside the Democratic Party during the middle of the last century. John Kennedy only granted it to federal workers in 1962 and Jerry Brown to California workers in 1978. Other states, including Indiana and Missouri, have taken away collective bargaining rights for public employees in recent years, and some 24 states have either limited it or banned it outright.

And for good reason. Public unions have a monopoly position that gives them undue bargaining power. Their campaign cash—collected via mandatory dues—also helps to elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with those same unions. The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table. This is why such famous political friends of the working man as Franklin Roosevelt and Fiorello La Guardia opposed collective bargaining for government workers, even as they championed private unions.

The battle of Mad Town is a seminal showdown over whether government union power can be tamed, and overall government reined in. The alternative is higher taxes until the middle class is picked clean and the U.S. economy is no longer competitive. Voters said in November that they want reform, and Mr. Walker is trying to deliver. We hope Republicans hold firm, and that the people of Wisconsin understand that this battle is ultimately about their right to self-government.

The alternative to self-government is the bureaucratic authoritarianism of state employees running the country, vide Greece, California, Venezuela & Communist Cuba---all corrupt countries or states with stagnating economies outside one or two special sectors.
UPDATE Belmont Club over at Pajamas Media has a nice take on how important it is that Walker keep his backbone stiff.

Wisconsin Demonrats: Democracy for Me, but Not for Thee

Human Garbage Union Thugs on Parade

Ann Althouse lives in Madison and went to the Statehouse Square to figure out why she'd voted for Obama in 2008. Check out her site and the photo above to see why, in the words of one of her commenters, the Demonrats are always projecting, but rarely aware they are doing so.

More Thoughts on the Muslim Brotherhood

Right Wing News has a post entitled Muslim Brotherhood Plans To Form Political Party In Egypt. I wrote the thoughts below down for a fledgling article last year:

Is an Illegal MB a Cocoon for Hatching Extremists or Terrorists?

So the question must be asked. With MB Islamists, is the lure of activism tending to extralegal activity a feature or a bug? To use a far-fetched analogy, were the Christian Democrats of Germany outlawed as a religious party, would their impassioned advocates revert to Nazi-type extremism or a fifth column for the Vatican? Is the Kulturkampf implicit in MB’s dual status as a religious movement and a political party susceptible to employing democratic means to attain power, only to reject democratic processes once in power?

My thesis is that as long as they are illegal, relatively peaceful movements like the now-international Egyptian Brotherhood [“Islamintern”] will continue to serve as an underground nursery, even against the will of their leadership and vast majority of members, for germinating more radical and terror-minded zealots who may eventually migrate to underground organizations like Al Jihad and Al Qaeda [Al J/Q] or set up little shops of horror on their own. The difference in the beliefs in Jihad between the original MB and its offshoots like Al J/Q and other underground terror organizations are very wide and deep. [Rudolph Peters, pp. 164-5] Their differences also separated the Brotherhood “Islamintern” systems from the Al-J/Q dramatically in the view of the rest of the Arab world. [Kepel, p. 226]

Although to this day, the Egyptian MB, with its new and very low-key moderate “supreme guide” announced in January of 2010, remains one of the Arab world’s most influential movements, it has remained banned from functioning officially as a political party in Egypt since 1954. As a sort of “Islamintern,” the Egypt-based moderate MB has an allure for foreign observers and diplomats. Washington has long had a persistent cadre of Arabists who maintain that strong pressure must be put on the secular Egyptian government to allow at least a minimal legal position for MB in the domestic political firmament. In the past, the banning has been partly remedied by Mubarak’s political operatives’ looking the other way as MB surrogates got elected on opposition tickets. But after the debacle of Algeria in 1992, more suppression rather than relaxation has been the rule. The brief relaxation of 2005 saw a heavily constricted MB still gain success at the polls with 88 delegates. This was followed by a rapid crackdown and a constitutional ban in March 2007 on religious parties.

Some background:

After two hundred years of rationalist ideology where ideas held sway and its independence and constitution derived from high principles of government, America is suddenly discovering that the default mode for much of international and domestic politics is religion and ethnicity. “Tribes with flags” in the words of Egyptian diplomat Tahseen Bashir are the result of the failure of humanitarian ideals from 1789 through 1991 and the fall of the USSR. [Ralph Peters, p. 59-60] Gilles Kepel says much the same thing when he rejects the shallow politicized sociology of Marxism in its relegation of religion to a “banner” or a “mask,” a reductionist critical exercise of accenting the social dimensions of religion which he calls “dropping it through the trapdoor of ideology.” [Kepel, p. 225] God may have died at the end of the nineteenth century by Nietzsche’s lights, but He’s resurrected Himself at the end of the twentieth!

Therefore, the overall problem of American accommodation with Islamists is far more complex than mere adjustments in American policy. A total adjustment of attitude and mindset in formulating that policy is also in order. And a willingness to admit that getting into the political ring with some very bad characters and getting American hands dirty in messy little sideshows might be part of the adjustment process, if only in a transition mode. Such as dealing with Hezbollah who killed the Marines in Beirut, for example. How will that go down in proverbial Peoria? Sadat’s assassination in 1981 was portrayed by its perpetrators as a being caused by Camp David, but probably had its proximate causes from Sadat’s unpopularity by putting on airs of a pharaoh as well as to a harsh crackdown on religious and political dissidents only months prior to his assassination. And in a parallel manner, perhaps, the murder of 241 Marines in Beirut by Hezbollah were manifestations of a Syrian/Hezbollah joint operation with control of Lebanon as its larger aim rather than related to Israel, at least as a primary goal. Nowadays, the internet and more recently, the Palestinian staffers at Al Jazeera’s 24/7 TV coverage of news has projected a drumbeat of pounding the Israeli will-of-the-wisp into Arab consciousness daily, making what Egyptian columnist Mona Eltahawy call “the opium of the Arabs, an intoxicating way for them to forget their own failings, or at least blame them on someone else.” And Israel has long been the pretext used by Arab leaders for maintaining “states of emergency” at home and postponing reform.[Economist, July 23, 2009]. Just when everyone else is leaving the era of ideology, the Arabs in the short term remain mesmerized by past wrongs. India and China and the globalizing Tigers are bursting out of post-colonial cocoons while the Arabs remain in a permanent pity party of irredentist dreams and lost horizons. [Ajami, Dream Palace of the Arabs, p. 204]

Kicking the Can Down the Road? Or The Law of Unintended Consequences?

Any attempt to get the participants out of their hedgehog modes must remember that the Law of Unintended Consequences works overtime in the Middle East. Giving a legal status to an Egyptian MB might further enrage the Israelis, who know that Hamas in Gaza might get more sympathy politically in Egypt were the MB a full-fledged political party. Remember how the idealist urge of Condoleeza’s Rice’s insistence that Hamas participate in the 2006 Palestine Authority elections might be considered a classic example of idealism leading to an unintended consequence. To be fair, her miscalculation followed the Israeli miscalculation in the early ‘80s when they set up Hamas as a Islamist movement to counterbalance the secular PLO and soon lost control of its operations.

Using Iraq as another example of good intentions gone terribly wrong, after post-victory chaos brought about multiple insurrections based on sectarian and ethnic divisions, Wilsonian Constructivist idealism was conveniently unpacked to engage in what G.W. Bush ‘s inner circle had previously derided as “nation-building.” In Iraq, this invasive and intrusive methodology has led to democratization and the liberation of Shi’ite and Kurdish minorities giving what the Islamist Salafi radicals consider a group of heretics, as the Shi’ites actually comprised a demographic majority of Iraqi citizens, effective control over Iraq’s postwar future. The result, a simulacrum of a Shi’ite state that does not please US allies like Saudi Arabia or Jordan.

What would happen to the Brotherhood if the MB compromises?

Moving forward and somewhat sideways, if Obama’s administration were to nudge Egypt to admit MB into the legal political arena, a parallel with George Bush’s constructivist idealism would immediately be noted and perhaps decried by interested observers. The more fervent or zealous MB members might immediately depart for less compromised Islamist political groups. In the past, membership in a formally banned party like the Brotherhood conferred Islamist credibility, so to speak. But after 9/11 it appeared in Egypt that a sort of tectonic shift occurred. Whereas formerly MB membership was a symbolic protest against secularism, now it was suddenly deemed insufficient for full alignment with one’s religious beliefs.

The MB has long been accused of being a bit lukewarm on the religious side of its organizational umbrella. As Albert Hourani noted in his epilogue: “As a political movement, the [Egyptian] Brothers were more like a nationalist movement than Mahdism or Wahhabism: their object was to generate popular energy in order to seize power rather than to restore the rule of Islamic virtue. [Hourani, p. 360] Richard Mitchell describes the charismatic al-Banna’s calling for "a government inspired by religion, not a religious government" skeptically, as the powerful postwar tides of nationalism and secularism overwhelmed Egypt’s somewhat low-key religiosity. Mitchell tended to see the MB in the mid-century light of reactionary elements of Egyptian society left behind by westernization, but also granted them a sort of stunted corporatist role for the fellahin. After a short period of close collaboration with the Free Officer’s Movement, MB irritated the nascent megalomaniac Nasser and was suddenly banned in 1954. Though marginalized politically and formally banned, the MB continued its good works and though outlawed became ironically Egypt’s “only real political party [Ajami, Dream Palace of the Arabs, p.20]” in the thoroughly degraded “democratic” process. And although Egypt tends to punch above its geopolitical weight in the economic and military spheres, as a religious and cultural symbol of the Arab world’s focal energies, the “Gift of the Nile” still bestows lessons across the Arab Umma.

After 9/11 there began “A growing pattern is for Arabs with strong and even extreme religious ideals to eschew long-established political movements, such as the Brotherhood, and devote themselves to personal lives of extreme piety, a phenomenon that has come to be labelled ‘apolitical’ or sometimes ‘scientific’ Salafism.” Like al-Qaeda, the apolitical Salafists adhere to a Utopian vision of Islam mastering the world. But they do not pursue jihad against the West and refrain from attacking the prerogatives or legitimacy of the Arab regimes. They do not form political organizations, yet they are organized: when last year hundreds of people were buried under a rock slide in Cairo, commentators observed that Salafist groups were quicker than the Brotherhood to help the smitten. Extreme social conservatives, obsessed with ritual, purity and often sex, the Salafists are unfriendly to liberal causes such as female emancipation. Moreover, there is reason to wonder how long their present quietism will last. Issandr el Amrani, an independent analyst, calls them “incipiently takfiri”. Like al-Qaeda, in other words, they tend to regard those Muslims whose practice of the faith falls short of their own exacting standards as takfir—unbelievers or even apostates. Experience suggests that this sort of intolerance can all too easily give rise to political violence.” [Economist, July 23, 2009 pp.] Perhaps this is a more devout version of the religious wing of MB, which still is under a religious/political umbrella unlike any other Muslim. What this new manifestation of organized piety might bring is another mystery element in the potentially noxious brew of the religious “great awakening” happening across the Muslim world.

Next post, I am going to look at the variety of American policies in previous administrations toward Islamists & other religious groups.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Euro MultiCulti Nonsense is Officially DOA!!!

The American Thinker has a great article on the death of the nonsensical multiculti interpretation of laws such as the whimsical A-bishop of Canterbury who thinks the application of Sharia law in England [and shoplifting, by the by] are perfectly good ways to become cosmopolitan. Brussels was creeping into each country with intrusive and invasive thefts of sovereignty which were becoming ridiculous.
The indoctrinated left lives in a bubble of its own devising, and they are terrified to peek out at the real world. So they loved the cult of multi, because it allowed them to avoid having to take a moral stand. What evil? I don't see no evil!

Multiculturalism denied, among other things, that humans ever practiced cannibalism. But that turned out to be false, because we now know that all humans carry genetic immunity against prions, which are infectious particles that you get from -- you guessed it -- eating dead people. We carry immunity against the bad stuff that comes after gobbling up human brains, and that means that humans once practiced so much cannibalism that our bodies needed a way to protect us from flesh-borne toxins.

So it turns out that all the Evil White Guys of history were right on target after all, and that human beings often hunted and snacked on each other, just as in those old New Yorker cartoons about tropical missionaries sitting in large cooking pots.

Why don't you and I eat people today? Because it is a profound cultural taboo for Westerners, derived from our biblical roots. Other peoples don't necessarily have such humanitarian taboos. The fact that we are horrified by cannibalism shows that our culture is morally different, and that we are not the Stone Age Yanamamo tribe of Chile, who spend their weekends trying to kill each other. According to anthropologists who have studied them for decades, about a third of Yanamamo males die a violent death, in their version of Monday night football. But who are we to judge them?

James Lewis waxes lyrical about the profundities that the indoctrinated left systematically pumps into our children's curriculum:
In the world of reality, as opposed to the multi cult, it turns out that warfare is also a human universal. All known peoples do it, sometimes for reasons you and I would consider moral -- like defending our homes and children -- and sometimes for sheer cussedness.

Humans are not innately nice; we always need to be taught as children and teenagers to become truly human. In every generation we need to teach the values we cherish, and to protect them from those who would destroy them. That used to be called "education."

If you have any college-age kids, they have had the cult of multi beaten into their heads. That means they can no longer tell the difference between "Love thy neighbor" and "Kill thy neighbor -- unless he converts to the One True Faith." The MoBros who are now seeking power in Egypt believe in killing infidels unless they submit to their interpretation of Allah. Your friendly Christian fundamentalist neighbor believes in Love Thy Neighbor. But the left can't tell the difference any more, because they have systematically extirpated their own moral sense. For the left, it takes a cult to raise a child.

The perverse cult of multiculturalism despises only one thing -- our own deep roots in Judaism and Christianity. That is why the pop media always smear and laugh at devout Jews and Christians, while head-chopping Islamofascists are idolized. We are now seeing the media doing it again with Egypt. Go figure.

But against the three ignorant cultmonkeys of see no, hear no, speak no evil come three white knights of the Enlightenment:
...The cult of multi is no more. The Cult is Dead! Long live the Cult!

How can we tell? Because the head of three important European nations have proclaimed multiculturalism dead and buried: Germany's Angela Merkel, France's Nicolas Sarkozy, and Britain's David Cameron. Melanie Phillips gives us a summary in The Spectator:

"First, the Prime Minister did indeed travel a huge distance from the ruinous position taken by the previous government on both multiculturalism and Islamic extremism. The most important change he made was to end the absurd idea that the only threat comes from 'violent extremism'. Cameron has understood instead that the source of the threat lies in a set of ideas, and not just in the terrorist actions that sometimes result from those ideas.

"...we need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of where these terrorist attacks lie. That is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism. ...

"At the (most extreme) end are those who back terrorism to promote their ultimate goal: an entire Islamist realm, governed by an interpretation of Sharia."

Over there, the taboo against telling the plain truth is now breached. They've dumped the biggest mass delusion of the last thirty years.

It's just like the children's fairy tale "The Emperor's new clothes," by Hans Christian Andersen. Instead of a little boy pointing out the stark naked truth, we have three European heads of government doing it, one after the other, which can only help us to come back to sanity.

The reason for the emergence of these three cultural heroes is lost in the events at the end of the last century, when the crisis of Europe that had started in 1914 finally saw the breaking of the gigantic abcess of Communism. And a Fifth Column of haters of Judeo-Christian values and western civilization found themselves without a cause:
There is only one reason why all three of them are coming out with the same message. Europe is now really scared by its own suicidal open-door policy to millions of Pakistanis, Algerians, Sudanese, Somalis, and other Muslims who have been brainwashed to want to destroy Western culture. The annual burning of French automobiles in the suburbs of Paris has finally hit home. Europe now wants to teach Western values to its immigrants for fear of Islamofascist imperialism. But it's going to be close a race against time.

When the Soviet Empire collapsed in 1991 and the Berlin Wall tumbled down, Western leftists lost their whole reason for being, their very meaning in life. Bureaucracies instinctively spin new stories when they lose their reason for being, to keep justifying their huge appetites for tax money, power and perks, not to mention their obedient squads of worshipful students.

The leftish professoriate sought a new myth for itself when Gorbachev allowed Berliners to finally tear down that wall, as Ronald Reagan demanded in public, to the hysterical horror of the spinsters of the New York Times.

Academic radicals are tenured for life. Nobody can fire them. So they needed a new myth to keep their self-esteem alive. Multiculturalism was that myth, the keystone to the whole tyrannical mythology of Political Correctness.

Like a chicken with its head cut off, the western intelligentsia ran about spouting its life fluids and making a ruckus looking for its lost Comintern Brain:
When a lot of people begin to spread a flagrant lie as if it were true, and to go on witch-hunts against skeptics, we have all the makings of a cult, a shared delusional system. "Political Correctness" was Lenin's phrase for a Communist Party Line that was flagrantly false, but which would be enforced by propaganda, beatings, bullets and Siberian labor camps for any open skeptics. Lenin is dead, but Leninism is not. A few years ago the President of Harvard University was fired for questioning a tenet of the cult of PC in public.

Fortunately, after getting fired by Harvard, Larry Summers got a new job advising the Obamas on how to sabotage our economy. Summers will never, ever say any non-PC word in public again. He's been thought reformed by the commissars of Harvard.

So it will take time to rebuild confidence in our own values, and to get really clear that other cultures really do continue to violate our Judeo-Christian morality: North Korea, Burma, the Congo, Sudan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Iran. We have decades of false and malignant teachings to make up for. It will be a long convalescence.

Anthropogenic Global Warming has turned out to be just another flash in the pan, as little incongruities in the historical record like the Middle Age Warming Period and the Little Ice Age from the 17-18th centuries were glossed over by a "hockey stick graph" shown to be based on bogus invented statistics which omitted important variables to come to a preordained conclusion. All to take over parts of the economy of the USA & other advanced economies by onerous taxation of even the air we breathe. All refuted by a hacked bunch of e-mails that the NYT refused to print because hacked, while the same traitorous collection of clowns from Sulzberger/Keller/Abramson down put the top secret hacked wikileaks on the front page above the fold:
n Europe today the left is actually the ruling class, the ones who dominate the media, the schools and the parliaments. That's why Norwegian politicians gave a Chicago con artist variously named Barry Barack Hussein Soetoro Obama a Nobel Peace Prize before he ever stepped into the White House. They just recognized him as one of their own, and they always wanted to rule America, anyway. Give that man a Nobel Peace Prize!

Soon after that, Obama tried to save the Copenhagen global frauding conference, but it collapsed anyway, even after Tony Blair said we should all spend trillions of dollars to "fix" the climate, even if the hysteria wasn't true. (Yes. He said it.) Obama's EPA still claims to still believe that people breathing out CO2 will overheat Mother Gaia, but then Obama never has a new idea. He is mentally rigid and fixed in his own dogmas. Obama is never wrong. People who are never wrong are disastrous leaders.

So the Three Horsemen [actually two males and a female] of the Apocolypse Averted have thrown down the gauntlet while the simpleton-in-chief continues to natter mindlessly in the Oval Office while the alphabet networks and NYT crips&bloods of the media parrot his every exhalation. Somethings gotta give:
...Europe is turning against its own cult of multiculturalism. Behind the scenes thousands of Euro journ-O-lists are trying to figure out ways to spin their way out of this one. Now watch as millions of dazed European adults go ghost-walking through the streets of Berlin, Paris and London, rubbing their eyes and wondering why they ever believed what they said they believed. Because by now, finally, everybody over there is really scared of radical Muslims who will not learn Western civilization. France, Germany and the UK have finally seen the salivating beast that is dogging their footsteps.

When heads of governments in Europe say something about multiculturalism it's a sign of change, because their education systems are controlled by the State. Ever since Napoleon and Bismarck they've had top-down control over what kids are taught in school. Every EU country has a Ministry of Education that decides who teaches what at any level. That's why, when Sarkozy or Merkel makes a public statement like this, it means a radical change of direction all down the line.

In America our Education professors (like Bill Ayers) control what our teachers and students think -- like the need to vote for Democrats no matter how destructive and harebrained they are. We have a cultural monopoly of the left, witness the fact that the media always use the same headlines on the same day, word for word. It's a standard Rush Limbaugh schtick to play the copycat media mouthing the Party Line every day, and it hasn't changed in twenty years. All the alphabet channels say the same words in the same headlines, day after day. But real human beings don't repeat a Party Line. The goose-stepping conformity of our media is all you need to prove that we live in an ideological monopoly.

Because the State controls the schools in Europe, its famous Deep Thinkers always end up boot-licking the ruling class, just like Friedrich Hegel, the hero of Karl Marx. Hegel and Marx both admired the Prussian State, except that Marx was convinced that he should be Otto von Bismarck. It's not really complicated.

That's why it is clear by now that Obama is not a liberal at all; he's a Marxist, which means a top-down command guy, which means a good old goose-stepping Prussian Obersturmbahnfuehrer.

As we have just seen, Obama is willing to publicly humiliate Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, and to order him to resign from office without the benefit of an election; and Mubarak better jump to it, or Obama's twitter mob will throw him out.

That's a totalitarian mind at work, folks. You elected him, now you get to watch. If he can do it to General Motors and Wall Street, he can do it to our allies around the world. It looks like Obama is going to whip up a purge of our closest allies in the Arab Middle East, while leaving the Iranian fascisti in power. Hail Obama, Lightbringer!

But the complex confection of the changeling of diversity and metamorphisizer that is Obama still has a few months to juke and jive and moonwalk his path towards the 2012 election while trying to figure out how to bust a move that'll get him moving into 'yes, we can' forward drive The terrified JournoListas must coordinate and conflate at an even faster pace to keep ahead of the grim political reapers that the public recantation of multicult 'crisis of Europe' gibberish by Cameron, Merkel, Sarkozy represent to the guy on the rues, strassen, streets of a rejuvenated Europe no longer looking back over its shoulder:
Barack Obama was elected by the American version of multi cult, after decades of 24/7 PC media prop. He was elected to be the "historic" first black man who also happened to be a radical Leftist. Obama is our first rigidly ideological president, ever. The left hoped that by electing Obama they finally, finally had a big stick to beat ordinary Americans with, one that was strong enough to enforce their lust for power over everything.

It almost worked. The only trouble is that Obama now has to deal with reality rather than fantasy, and, as every president finds out, reality is not nearly as forgiving as the spinners of the media. In Egypt we are really facing one of two possible outcomes: Radical Islamofascism or relatively benign military rule. Turkey chose Islamofascism a few years ago and is purging their military. Pakistan is always torn between them. Iran still has the fascists in charge.

The good news is that we have just seen the death knell of Multicultismo. Conservatives deserve to celebrate, because we have been resisting the People of the Lie for decades. That's what conservatives do in life. We are the adults. Our job is to point out the truth.

Obama was elected by the mad logic of PC. He was not elected for his qualifications or experience, which he didn't have. He was elected because, as Joe Biden said so well, he was a "clean Black guy."

Obama has coasted his whole life on the myth of Multiculturalism. None of his college professors would ever dare to flunk him, because they would be witch-hunted by the left if they did.

But now it looks like the Euro version of the professoriate that would never flunk a slacker layabout dope fiend like Obama has got to once again reinvent its reason for existence---the posh slacker layabout occupations that tenure and grants and unlimited license to spew censorious nonsense, in a word, all the ridiculous posturing and impostery--- that academicide confers:
As the ground begins to shake underneath the left, they will frantically try their usual shape-changing act. They will deny they ever believed in the cult of multi, and explain through the propaganda media whatever little smidgen of Western civilization they wants us to believe.

What the Europeans really want is for the Muslim fascists to stop attacking them. They will try to buy peace by strong-arming Israel and America to compromise with Islamic radicals. That's what they did with the Soviet threat over sixty years. The civilized peoples of the West, led by people like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II held on grimly while the sharks of the media went on one attack after another. At the end, Gorbachev was forced by his own loss of face to tear down that wall.

Today, America and a few cultural allies -- Australia, Japan, India -- are the last bastions of civilization, because Europe has been attacking its own values for decades. It has raised generations of self-hating "idealists." American professors have aped their European models. We, too, must find our own roots again, and assert our values without shame and without being afraid to speak out.

The alternative is a new Dark Age, imposed by medieval fascism and enabled by the Left.

This fight isn't won. But we may be seeing a turning point in our generation's battle for civilization.

Sadly, James Lewis will not be invited to preside at any seminars in Ivy League Ivory Towers for the next decade or so. But sooner or later, he might have the last laugh, history's gift to those too honorable for Nobel Peace Prizes conferred by commissars of PC.

Clapper a "Broken Clock" on Iraq WMD?

Maybe I'm Dumb, but I'm right on Saddam's WMD!

DNI Czar James Clapper has garnered a lot of derision on his unenlightened view on the Muslim Brotherhood. In a Senate briefing recently, both he and DCI Leon Panetta hardly distinguished themselves in testifying on Egypt.

However, the old adage about a broken clock being right twice a day might apply to the feckless, hapless retired General, who also wrongfooted himself last December when he turned out to be clueless that the British had broken up another terrorist bombing attempt a day after it happened.

The famous urban legend that Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction might be where Clapper was right---he says the Russians had helped the Iraqis truck out their WMD before the war began and that the remaining evidence was turned into rubble when the facilities for WMD were totally destroyed during Operation Cobra II.
On Iraq, Gen. Clapper said in an interview with The Washington Times in 2004 that “I think probably in the few months running up prior to the onset of combat that … there was probably an intensive effort to disperse into private homes, move documentation and materials out of the country. I think there are any number of things that they would have done.” The comments came amid the debate over Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, which some U.S. officials had said were moved out of Iraq prior to the invasion of Iraq with the assistance of Russian military intelligence forces.

The Iraq Survey Group, the U.S. panel formed to find the weapons of mass destruction President George W. Bush had said Saddam Hussein was concealing, turned up no stockpiles of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

Whether or not Iraq moved some elements of its weapons programs to Syria before the war remains a matter of dispute.

Theodre Kattouf, the U.S. ambassador in Damascus in 2002 and 2003, said in 2006 that he did not believe Iraq sent material to Syria in the run up to the war.

John A. Shaw, a senior Pentagon technology security official during the Bush administration, however, said he believed that some Iraqi weapons and materials were covertly shipped out of Iraqi factories with the help of the Russians. Satellite images released in 2004 by the Pentagon also showed Russian vehicles loading goods at Iraqi factories, but the nature of their cargo has not been determined.

Mr. Shaw has said Gen. Clapper was present at a meeting of East European intelligence officials who disclosed the Russian role in moving the Iraqi material out of the country.

David Kay, the first head of the ISG, said in 2004 that he believed there were small numbers of weapons sent to Syria before the war.

The director of the ISG after Mr. Kay, Charles Duelfer, said in his preamble to the September 30, 2004 report that his “ability to gather information was in most ways more limited than was that of United Nations inspectors,” noting that many laboratories and arsenals were reduced to rubble from the war and were then subsequently looted.

Senior Israeli military officers have said their country snapped line of sight photographs of convoys leaving Iraq for Syria before the war that may have carried sensitive technology.

UPDATE: A commenter noted in exhaustive detail the long list of both captured materials and equipment to produce weapons-grade WMD that WAS found in Iraq.

Ex-Ambassador's lying testimony about yellowcake and other media deceptions notwithstanding, the basic problem was GWB's timidity about trumpeting the large dossier of FACTS that WMD had existed, that Saddam had them carted off to Syria [despite what localitis-infected Amb. Kattoug asserted], and Karl Rove could only bleat in response to the commenter:
Unfortunately, what we found didn’t match what the media (or most Americans) would accept, which were stockpiles of weapons that could have been deployed against coalition forces in March 2003

So as with Katrina, GWB allowed himself to be a punching bag for the MSM in hopes that historians would exonerate him later. I am getting his autobiography to read his side of his poorly-argued case. I knew Kattouf and Jack Shaw in my USG days, and both might be simply taking sides.

Unfortunately for GWB, he sometimes neglected to take his own side. He may have been a great cheerleader at Yale, but he was hardly a national leader when his side was begging for leadership and guidance. A busted flush.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Twitter, Facebook & "Government 2.0"

David Rieff is the son of the late unlamented Susan Sontag. He is relatively level-headed about the direction that Egypt must go and the hazardous obstacle course Egypt must traverse before it reaches "democracy." He says that social justice must be attained before democracy, if I read him correctly, and this is almost frivolous---as social justice is never attained. But his put-down of the silliness of "The Revolution will be by Twitter" is a reason to give this article a look-see:
H. L. Mencken, please call your office! Were information technology not the Golden Calf of our age, no sensible person could possibly believe that that the North African revolution took place thanks to social media. As Evgeny Morozov points out in his fine new book, The Net Delusion, this is the same sort of utopian credulousness that led Marx to write that the communications revolution of the railways under the Raj would lead Indians to give up the caste system. This is not to say that social networks don’t matter; they matter a lot. But they do not incarnate freedom, do not bring about some final, heaven-like stage of human history. Indeed, if there was a proximate cause, on the order of Connors’ “10 folks in a small apartment using social networks,” to the Tunisian uprising, it was that least virtual of political acts—the decision of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in the central Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid who burned himself to death in protest over the police seizing his cart and the produce he was trying to sell, and, more generally, over police brutality and grinding unemployment, poverty, and lack of opportunity. That was the action that provoked the first anti-government demonstrations in Tunisia and soon spawned other self-immolations from Egypt to Mauritania.

Nothing virtual about setting yourself on fire and burning to death. The chattering classes of the upper-middle-class Blackberry crowd can pat themselves on the back for being in the vanguard of history, but a delusion widely held doesn't become true by a majority vote.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Backdrop to Lara Logan's Sexual Assault on Cairo Streets

Lara Logan

Lara Logan has been sexually assaulted and there is no reason ever to excuse abominable behavior by Muslim men in public contexts.

I am/was a State Dept FSO trained as an Arabist and lived in four Arab countries. I’ve visited Egypt several dozen times both as a USG diplomat and afterwards as a Political Risk Analyst for Amoco, the largest foreign corporation in Egypt. What happened to Lara is absolutely inexcusable, but the photo shows her heading into the crowd without a shawl or scarf, the bare minimum a woman must wear in order not to be considered a prostitute when she walks in the streets of Cairo. TV snaps of Christiane Amanpour show her wearing a shawl/scarf when she was in a public street situation. Americans are notoriously [indeed all Brit Empire Anglos seem to be] very disrespectful or ignorant of foreign customs, just as a matter of course. Strange as it may seem to us Americans, Lara may have been perceived by the animals who attacked her as disrespecting Egyptian customs, flaunting a feminist agenda, or even taunting them by wearing inappropriate [to their eyes] apparel in a public situation. That’s the way the minds of these medieval males work.

No excuses, but Lara did not do the very minimum required to show that “when in Cairo, do as the Cairenes do.

Obama is a Complete Idiot, Several Examples

Teleprompters help this cheating lying BS artist keep his nose above the waterline. But they can't always do the job, because inside himself, Obummer is a mile wide and an inch deep.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Muslim Brotherhood Lurks Behind the Arras

Tarek Heggy has an excellent rundown on the MB or "Ikhwan" [H/T Barry Rubin] that everyone should check out. Here's the very last sentence of Heggy's article:

Finally, one must know that the Brothers are likely to use taqqiyya [emph. in ORIGINAL], a principle which--according to some clerics such as Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Taymiyya--allows Muslims to lie if so doing assists them in ultimately defeating the infidels!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Obama: Time to grow up and man up

Frank Wisner, a Smarter Hillary Clinton [or Anyone in the Obama Menagerie]

[Posted as a comment originally at The American Thinker, a message said that the contents couldn't be posted, so I'll throw it up here for your education and edification. Some duplication with my previous post may occur.]

Obama continues to drop the ball more often than Adrian Peterson did with the Vikings, and it's starting to look as if Panetta and Clapper were recruited in an audition for a Three Stooges remake, with Obama serving as Larry---Biden doesn't fit so well as a Stooge, so maybe the Marx Brothers with Clapper as Harpo. After King Abdullah did his call to Mubarak, an old friend and ally, to assure him not to worry if the US starts to threaten to pull the security assistance plug or economic aid programs, because the Magic Kingdom would come to the rescue, I believe the Egyptians knew they had an implicit blank check. They also knew that the disaster of the Jan, 2006 Palestinian elections resulting in a Hamas takeover of Gaza was still sticking in Israel's craw, having been strong-armed by an adolescent idealist named Condi into including these Islamist thugs on the ballot.

King Abdullah has always had a soft spot for Lebanon, with wives who hailed from that former Switzerland of the Middle East and only functioning Arab democracy [four decades back], and he's watching the Palestinians and Bedouins close to civil strife in Jordan. Lebanon has already gone over to the dark side in a coup de pouce by Hezbollah while young Saad Hariri was in DC, showing deception and guile worthy of their Persian overlords. King Abdullah doesn't want his Hashemite namesake to also be in a civil strife. Yemen is boiling over on the Kingdom's southwest border which is more porous than the Mexico/US boundary by far.

My strong feeling is that with Frank Wisner, a man far wiser than anyone on the current WH staff and a strong friend of Egypt, telling the EU in Munich that because of a constitutional quirk that demands elections be held in ninety days if Mubarak resigns, an impossible goal if stability is to be maintained, that Hosni should stay on as a figurehead and let Omar Suleiman do the day-to-day governing until September. may have been the bit of encouragement that pushed Mubarak to stay on, at least as a figurehead.

Now the witless adolescent golden boy with the jug ears has to grow up and wear long pants, metaphorically speaking. Manning up may be difficult for this lover of bland bromides and split-the-difference nostrums. Tomorrow, the mosques may be as angy as hornets' nests poked with sticks, but remember the 13 Vendemiaire---that whiff of grapeshot that led to Napoleon's ascendancy. Bad comparison, but we have to remember what happened when the Girondins lost to the Jacobins, and thousands died in the September Massacres. Each revolution is different, but almost all devour their own children. the mob in Tahrir may be quiescent for the moment, but if things heat up after Friday prayers, we'll see if the Egyptian Army can maintain order or else fractures into a well-armed and undisciplined mob capable of anything. That's when the real crunch occurs. If I were a western newsperson with a camera crew, Greg Palkot might have got off easy if things get really out of control and, names already having been taken, the violence hits the Fourth Estate. Too bad Christiane and Anderson aren't there on the ground doing play-by-play...!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

As Cairo Turns Its Back on the Future, the Saudis and Israelis are there to Keep Mubarak & Co. in Charge

Cairo's mob scene isn't finding Mubarak's speeh what it wanted to hear. However, mobs don't fare very well in the long term as far as Middle East history shows, because invariably what follows is even worse, if possible, than what preceded the mobocracy.

Shortly after Mubarak spoke, the supreme commander of the army sent a text message that went to nearly every cell phone in Egypt saying the military would have an important statement later tonight. Suleiman, also speaking to the nation, told the country's youth to go home and to not listen to satellite television. But the mood among protesters was hardly that of retreat. Instead, angry crowds marched towards the Egyptian state TV building in downtown Cairo.

It's obvious now that Egypt's Army and its elite statists have turned their backs on Washington. If Obama had any cred before this sequence of missteps on foreign policy, that credibility has disappeared, at least in the Middle East. It now appears that Egypt is going to rely on Saudi money and Israeli political & military heft to keep itself in power. Meanwhile tiny Jordan hangs on to their triumvirate to keep the Bedouins from attacking the Palesinians.

King Abdullah had more than one Lebanese wife and sees that country being destroyed by Hezbollah. So he assured Mubarak that this wouldn't happen with the Ikhwan taking over in Egypt and that the Saudis would bankroll whatever the Americans rescinded as far as foreign aid. Israel doesn't want Hamas with a big brother in Egypt supplying it with munitions. So the Big Three of Saudi Arabia, Israel, & Egypt are now turning their backs on the US as an undependable partner. Better Saudi money with no strings than US money with ten thousand AID auditors peeking into every nook and cranny.

And I wouldn't want to be a reporter for the West on the streets of Cairo tomorrow because Mubarak warned about subversive western cable media & TV. Judging from Anderson Cooper's comments, the old president may have a point. If & when it hits the fan, a lot of newsies are gonna get splattered.

Too bad Anderson and Christiane got out of Cairo before some of the fecal material could be distributed widely.

Why Limbaugh Continually Triumphs Over the Leftist Liberal Establishment

Commentary has a great article by Wilfred M. Maclay on why Rush has completely flummoxed the chattering classes. First, a comment by Victor Davis Hanson which alerted me to the Commentary article:
Did I read the current Commentary article on Rush Limbaugh? Yes, and I am on record as impressed with Limbaugh, always have been. Great article by Wilfred McClay. I wouldn’t last 1 hour on the air. How does one for 20 years comment three hours per day on current events, earn an audience of 20 million, have no insider contacts with the D.C.-NY ruling class, come out of the Midwest, fend off rivals and emulators yearly, and combine voice imitations, bombast, astute and incisive analysis, parody — all ad hoc? No one else can do it; those that have tried, from O’Reilly to Air America, proved that well enough. It would require a Don Rickles, Charles Krauthammer, Rich Little, William F. Buckley, George Will, etc. all in one. The ignorant write off Limbaugh as a overweight demagogue; the not so ignorant conclude that he is a genius of sorts that figured out the myriad of hypocrisies of the liberal cultural elite and created an entire industry ex nihilo at their expense.

McClay has another version of Limbaugh's effortless ascendancy over smarmy snarky moonbats like Maher, MessNBC unmentionables, and almost EVERY nitwit silly poseur on network and cable TV, including BOR and a few other icons of the "right."
Limbaugh’s vocal opposition to the stimulus package, which he dubbed “Porkulus,” helped galvanize a unanimous Republican vote in opposition—an astonishing achievement of partisan unity that would be repeated in subsequent lopsided votes on health care and other issues—and would lay the blame for these failed policies entirely on the Democrats’ doorstep, culminating in a huge and decisive electoral pushback against the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections. The question of whether Limbaugh was or is the “real leader” of the Republican Party suddenly became far less interesting to the White House and its friends in the media, perhaps because the answer was turning out to be something different from what they had expected. Limbaugh had goaded them into elevating his own importance; and in focusing on him and other putative “leaders,” they blinded themselves to the spontaneous and broad-based popular revolt that was rising against them.

In retrospect, the amazing part of the story is how thoroughly the White House misunderstood Limbaugh’s appeal, his staying power, and his approach to issues. It also points to a curious fact about Limbaugh’s standing in the mind of much of the American media and the American left. Even though they talk about him all the time, he’s the man who isn’t quite there. By which I mean that there is a stubborn unwillingness, both wishful and self-defeating, to recognize Limbaugh for what he is, take him seriously, and grant him his legitimate due. Many of his detractors have never even listened to his show, for example. Some of his critics regularly refer to him as Rush “Lim-bough” (like a tree limb), as if his name is so obscure to them that they cannot even remember how to pronounce it.

In short, he is never quite acknowledged as the formidable figure he clearly is. Instead, he is dismissed in one of two ways—either as a comic buffoon, a passing phenomenon in the hit parade of American pop culture, or as a mean-spirited apostle of hate who appeals to a tiny lunatic fringe. These two views are not quite compatible, but they have one thing in common: they both aim to push him to the margins and render him illegitimate, unworthy of respectful attention. This shunning actually works in Limbaugh’s favor because it creates the very conditions that cause him to be chronically underestimated and keeps his opposition chronically off-balance. Indeed, Limbaugh’s use of comedy and irony and showmanship are integral to his modus operandi, the judo by which he draws in his opponents and then uses their own force to up-end them. And unless you make an effort to hear voices outside the echo chamber of the mainstream media, you won’t have any inkling of what Limbaugh is all about or of how widely his reach and appeal extend.

McClay is simply brilliant in summarizing the myriad issues that Rush has to handle on a daily basis for three hours always laying himself open to whomever might have an agenda trying to pimp him on the phone banks. The uniformly narrow shallow canned liberal nutjobs phoning in always slip on their tongues or are aided to do so by Rush's inimitable mental ju-jitsu.
[His] influence is real and pervasive. Like it or not, Rush Limbaugh is unarguably one of the most important figures in the political and cultural life of the United States in the past three decades. His national radio show has been on the air steadily for nearly 23 years and continues to command a huge following, upward of 20 million listeners a week on 600 stations. The only reason it is not even bigger is that his success has spawned so many imitators, a small army of talkers such as Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, and so on, who inevitably siphon off some of his market share. He has been doing this show for three hours a day, five days a week, without guests (except on rare occasions), using only the dramatic ebb and flow of his monologues, his always inventive patter with callers, his “updates,” song parodies, mimicry, and various other elements in his DJ’s bag of tricks.

He is equipped with a resonant and instantly recognizable baritone voice and an unusually quick and creative mind, a keen and independent grasp of political issues and political personalities, and—what is perhaps his greatest talent—an astonishing ability to reformulate complex ideas in direct, vivid, and often eloquent ways, always delivering his thoughts live and unscripted, out there on the high wire. He conducts his show in an air of high-spiritedness and relaxed good humor, clearly enjoying himself, always willing to be spontaneous and unpredictable, even though he is aware that every word he utters on the air is being recorded and tracked by his political enemies in the hope that he will slip up and say something career-destroying. Limbaugh the judo master is delighted to make note of this surveillance, with the same delight he expresses when one of his “outrageous” sound bites makes the rounds of the mainstream media, and he can then play back all the sputtering but eerily uniform reactions from the mainstream commentators, turning it back on them with a well-placed witticism.

There are countless examples of his judo skills at work, but perhaps the most spectacular was the one in the fall of 2007, in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sought to humiliate Limbaugh only to have the humiliation returned to him threefold. Limbaugh had a caller who complained that the mainstream media would not interview “real soldiers” in Iraq but instead sought out the disgruntled. Limbaugh, in agreement, cited the case of Jesse MacBeth, an Army enlistee who had failed to make it through boot camp but lied about his lack of real military service in order to speak credibly at anti-war rallies. Limbaugh called MacBeth, accurately, a “phony soldier.” But his statement was quickly pulled out of context by Media Matters, one of the Democratic groups that monitors Limbaugh’s every word, and was reframed as a swipe at all soldiers who had misgivings about the war. Limbaugh was denounced in the House for “sliming” the “brave men and women.” Reid used the occasion to address the Senate and deplore Limbaugh’s “unpatriotic comments” for going “beyond the pale of decency” and then wrote a letter to Limbaugh’s syndicator demanding that the talk-show host be repudiated.

But Reid overplayed his hand. Far from running from the controversy, Limbaugh embraced it. He read Reid’s letter on the air, revealing it for the dishonest and bullying document it was, and then, in a stroke of pure genius, announced that he would auction it on eBay and give the proceeds to a military charitable foundation. The letter was sold for $2.1 million, and Rush matched the contribution with his own $2.1 million. Reid could only express his pleasure that the letter had done so much good. He had been flipped onto his back.

The loathsome sclerotic "Dingy Harry" was certainly a great subject for pillorying, after his pathetic bleating that "the war is lost" just as brave men contradicted this physical coward and moral leper by going into Iraq with the Surge and finally wrenching victory out of the jaws of defeat---defeat in Reid's and the loathsome left's twittering loser mentality. McClay goes on to point out an object lesson, or in the words of our ridiculous remander-in-chief: a teachable moment, about the left's utter delusionary self-isolation from reality:
Given Limbaugh’s talents and achievements, one would have thought that even his detractors would have an interest in knowing more about him: who he is, where he came from, and why he has acquired and kept such a large and devoted following. But in fact, there has been a remarkable lack of curiosity on that score and little incentive to go beyond the sort of routine demonization that only strengthens him. It was not until 2010 that a reasonably fair-minded account of Limbaugh’s life and work, by the journalist Zev Chafets, appeared in print.1 As Chafets reports in the book’s acknowledgments, it was not easy finding a publisher willing to take on such a book, unless it had the words “idiot” or “liar” in the title, since, as one friend explained it to him, “I have to go out for lunch in this city every day.” So call it a politically correct lack of curiosity, then; but whatever the reason, it has meant our missing out on a fascinating story of a very American life.

But not missing out entirely, since much of the story comes across in Limbaugh’s own account of himself on his show. Anyone can figure out from listening to the show that he was and is a quintessential radio guy, a product of that fluid, wide-open, insecure, enterprising, somewhat hardscrabble, somewhat gonzo world of the AM radio disc jockey, in which salesmanship and showmanship were two names for the same thing and in which incessant changes of name and employer were the most predictable element of life: “packing and unpacking, town to town, up and down the dial” in the words of the theme song of WKRP in Cincinnati, the 1970s TV sitcom that captured some of the knockout zaniness of that world. Limbaugh was smitten early and permanently with the romance of radio and never really wanted to do anything else with his life, including bothering to go to college, let alone taking on his birthright, the leadership of the family law firm.

It was a business one could learn only in the doing. While still in high school, he started working at KMGO-AM in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, spinning discs in the afternoons under the name “Rusty Sharpe.” Later, he was “Jeff Christie,” morning-drive DJ on WIXZ-AM in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, where he hosted “The Solid Rockin’ Gold Show.” There was a move to Kansas City, where he would eventually begin dabbling in political discussion, and then finally KFBK in Sacramento, where he followed in the footsteps of the unpleasantly provocative Morton Downey Jr. and was able to do politically oriented talk as a solo act without guests and using his own name, finally developing the bombastic Limbaugh persona (“El Rushbo” with “talent on loan from Gawww-duh”) and the familiar epithets (“Feminazis” and “Environmentalist Wackos”) applied to his designated opponents. In Sacramento, he perfected his formula and proved a great success, tripling Downey’s already sizable audience and attracting the attention of syndicator Ed McLaughlin, who in 1988 brought him to WABC in New York to do The Rush Limbaugh Program, 21 years after those first broadcasts back at KMGO.

On arriving in New York, Limbaugh immediately set to work building his affiliate network and his general visibility, charging forward indefatigably on all fronts at once. He wasted no time plunging the show into the 1988 presidential campaign, branding Michael Dukakis “The Loser” and assigning him update theme music drawn from the Beatles’ “I’m a Loser,” emphasizing the refrain: “ . . . and I’m not what I appear to be,” a dig at the Massachusetts governor’s futile effort to disguise or downplay his liberalism. He began giving one-man “Rush to Excellence” tours around the country. These efforts paid off very quickly. By 1990, the radio-show audience had hit 20 million; his first book, The Way Things Ought to Be, was released in 1992 and sold 2 million copies in six weeks, making it at that point the fastest-selling volume in publishing history.

Then his program hit a mid-life slump of sorts, with a trumped-up drug charge and catastrophic hearing loss, plus the demoralizing lack of leadership [except cheerleadership] from George W. Bush pushed him onto a railroad siding, though his immense audience persisted. Even a successful TV show Nielsen-wise failed to attract advertisers, a very interesting apercu on the prevalence of an elite mentality over a basically conservative American demographic. If anything, the military-industrial-petroleum complex tries to outdo itself in showing compassionate "soft" values as its major selling strategy. But Obama's election proved a wondrous boon, to Rush's career, at any event:
....Limbaugh clearly has the wind at his back again with a newly growing audience. Like the radio guy he is and always will be, he is a survivor. He has wisely chosen to avoid television for the most part after a syndicated television show successful with audiences (and produced by Roger Ailes in the early 1990s in a warm-up for Ailes’s unprecedented triumph as the creator of the Fox News Channel) proved less so with advertisers. Events, too, have moved his way. The abject failure of the John McCain campaign vindicated many of Limbaugh’s longstanding complaints about the more moderate wing of the Republican Party. And the rise of Obama has proved nothing less than a godsend for him—though only because he had the boldness to seize the opportunity it presented.

Occasionally, Limbaugh will talk on his show about radio, past, present, and future, and you understand that his great success is no accident. Able to draw with minuteness on more than four decades of work experience, he has achieved a comprehensive and detailed grasp of the technical, performing, and business dimensions of the industry, all of which give him an unmatched understanding of the medium and its possibilities. But it is more than a wonk’s understanding. He has a deep-in-the-bones feeling for what is magical about radio at its best—its immediacy, its simplicity, its ability to create the richness of imagined places and moments with just a few well-placed elements of sound, its incomparable advantages as a medium for storytelling with the pride of place that it gives to the spoken word and the individual human voice, abstracted from all other considerations. He probably also understands why he himself is not nearly so good on TV, faced as he is with the classic McLuhanesque problem of a hot personality in a cool medium.

He also understood why predictions of radio’s demise have repeatedly been proved wrong, why AM radio has lent itself particularly well to the kind of simple and easy interactivity on which talk thrives, and why the movement of talk radio into the AM band would have the same revitalizing effect there as an urban homesteader turning a decrepit old townhouse into a place of elegance and commodity. AM radio was supposed to have died off years ago due to its weak and tinny sound. But the takeover by talk in the early 1990s, primarily due to Limbaugh, managed to transform a decaying and outdated infrastructure into the perfect vehicle for the medium’s own aspirations.

Rush took a stunted and underused format and changed it utterly when the Fairness Doctrine was revoked in 1987 because the original reason that there was a limited amount of band-width had become ridiculous with the advent of cable and new networks on TV:
Talk radio is, implicitly, talk-back radio—a medium tuned into during times of frustration, exasperation, even desperation, by people who do not find that their thoughts, sentiments, values, and loyalties are fairly or even minimally represented in the “official” media. Such feelings may be justified or unjustified, wholesome or noxious; but in any event they are likely to fester and curdle in the absence of some outlet in which they can be expressed. Talk radio is a place where people can go to hear opinions freely expressed that they will not hear elsewhere, and where they can come away with a sense of confirmation that they are not alone, are not crazy, and are not wrong to think and feel such things. The existence of such frustrations and fears are the sine qua non of talk radio; it would not exist without them.

And Rush did another wonderful metamorphosis in talk-radio by freeing it from its inner demons, the tendency of some DJ's and dudes like Howard Stern to fly off the handle or devolve into regurgitation-worthy monologues of degraded patter and outright nonstop obscenities.
....Without Limbaugh’s influence, talk radio might well have become a dreary medium of loud voices, relentless anger, and seething resentment, the sort of thing that the New York screamer Joe Pyne had pioneered in the 50s and 60s—“go gargle with razor blades,” he liked to tell his callers as he hung up on them—and that one can still see pop up in some of Limbaugh’s lesser epigones. Or it might have descended to the sometimes amusing but corrosive nonstop vulgarity of a Howard Stern. Limbaugh himself can be edgy, though almost always within PG-rated boundaries. But what he gave talk radio was a sense of sheer fun, of lightness, humor, and wit, whether indulging in his self-parodying Muhammad Ali–like braggadocio, drawing on his vast array of American pop-cultural reference points, or, in moving impromptu mini-sermons, reminding his listeners of the need to stay hopeful, work hard, and count their blessings as Americans. In such moments, and in many other moments besides, he reminds one of the affirmative spirit of Ronald Reagan and, like Reagan, reminds his listeners of the better angels of their nature. He transmutes the anger and frustration of millions of Americans into something more constructive.

Mark Lavin is an example of a person of great brilliance who seems to be unable to channel his constructive energy into insightful analysis such as the stuff in his great best-selling book, and degenerates into occasional tirades before hanging up on a hapless dupe of the communist/socialist conspiracy to destroy our democracy, or at least our Constitution, which Mark dearly loves. And McClay then shifts to a much broader perspective in his final paragraph, painting with brilliant strokes a picture of deluded elite cultural institutions imposing their will on an electorate and populace completely disgusted with their overweening arrogance and duplicity.
The critics may be correct that the flourishing of talk radio is a sign of something wrong in our culture. But they mistake the effect for the cause. Talk radio is not the cause, but the corrective. In our own time, and in the person of Rush Limbaugh, along with others of his talk-radio brethren, a problem of long-standing in our culture has reached a critical stage: the growing loss of confidence in our elite cultural institutions, including the media, universities, and the agencies of government. The posture and policies of the Obama presidency, using temporary majorities and legislative trickery to shove through massive unread bills that will likely damage the nation and may subvert the Constitution, have brought this distrust to a higher level. The medium of talk radio has played a critical role in giving articulate shape and force to the resistance. If it is at times a crude and bumptious medium, it sometimes has to be, to disarm the false pieties and self-righteous gravitas in which our current elites too often clothe themselves. Genuinely democratic speech tends to be just that way, in case we have forgotten.

Ann Althouse perceptively noted that Rush's take is very inclusive when he takes on his enemies on the left. After a dodo ditz named Sarah Spitz from publically-funded NPR said she wanted to watch Rush die slowly, Jeffrey Toobin defended Rush: Toobin's private musings on JournoList which he thought would never reach the public, Toobin hit the undeniable truth:
Rush cannot be replaced. What people miss about Rush is that he is just astonishingly good as a broadcaster. He is compelling, funny, entertaining. I haven’t heard Thompson often, but he’s probably pretty lame. Ingraham is ok. I never listen to Hannity on the radio. But Rush is the man.

Rush however, as always, will have the very last word: When Rush said this, word had yet to leak out that Toobin was a secret admirer:
Friend sends me a note, "Rush what do you mean? What do you mean here this 'small time, crazy, left-wing bloggers'? Jeffrey Toobin, Eric Alterman, Paul Krugman Joe Klein are crazy left-wing bloggers? They're treated as giants." Let's take 'em individually. Eric Alterman. Do you know who Eric Alterman is? The left may treat him as a giant. I know that they do. He's a kook! He's a far-left fringe kook. But do you know who he is? Do you? Jeffrey Toobin. You might know who he is. He works for the least-watched cable news network in history, CNN. He also worked there when they had viewers. I know he's considered a giant. He's a "legal correspondent." He's considered to be above reproach.

There is no journalism. These people are not journalists. They're propagandists, whether it's Jeffrey Toobin or Eric Alterman or Krugman. Yeah, he's a New York Times columnist; he's a propagandist. He is a giant because he's in the New York Times. But my point is whether it's people you've never heard of on this list writing for blogs you've never heard of or whether it is names you never heard of, it's the entire Washington media -- and it's pervasive. I really do think that the take here is there is no media. This is the big myth. You know, the German historian Carl von Clausewitz once stated "War is diplomacy by another means." Well, journalism is just propaganda now: The government putting out its agenda by another means. There are no reporters. There is no journalism. It's just liberalism....

I do think that if Rush had taken over his family law firm [two relatives are judges, one a Federal Court Judge and one on the MO State Supreme Court, I believe], he would have been one helluva lawyer...!
UPDATE:Rush is right on the money with his take on the stupidity demonstrated by Washington & the Obamaniacs yesterday. Joe Biden should throw in the towel, because he's getting everything WRONG! And with Obama, it's who's on First...?!