Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The most influential "third way" politician of the 20th century was that famous Marxist theoretician, Italy's Benito Mussolini, the founder of Fascism. The idea seems to have enduring appeal to Leftists. But it always seems to end up as just another mask for the same old Leftist reliance on big government and coercion. And now Obama is playing that fiddle too. Few conservatives would see any substance in Obama's third-way claims. His actual policies all seem -- as far as one can tell -- to be boilerplate Leftism. The article excerpted below from a Left-leaning Australian writer does however buy the claim. He compares Obama to Australian centre-Leftists. Australian centre-Leftists do however exhibit a lot of genuine conservatism and I am at a loss to see any of that in Obama.
Now Barack has published a book with an improbable name. The Audacity of Hope. It has been a sales pitch for his presidential run, an attempt to make himself a crossover candidate for more progressive Republicans. Describing himself as a Christian and a sceptic, he distances himself from Huckabee by confirming his belief in evolution and stem cell research, but talks up a faith-based politics while defending secularism. It's a hard act in a society where religious and ideological differences have never been so emphasised and manipulated.

Obama became famous overnight when, in July 2004, the junior senator from Illinois (he's from Abraham Lincoln's Springfield, not Homer Simpson's) electrified the Democratic National Convention with a speech that sought to bridge the divide. And the book expands on all the themes of that address. I'm listening to the audio version, read by Obama with an energy and attack that's deeply impressive. If he weren't running for the presidency he'd be a contender for a Pulitzer in journalism. The political analysis of what he calls the dead zone of US politics is superb, as is the writing.

This is the classic third way argument, developed by Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, but with refinements. Most of all, Obama reminds me of Kevin Rudd in his views on the role of a social democrat party in a 21st century Western democracy. Their natural affinity was shown in Obama's congratulatory phone call to Rudd after his recent victory. If he wins the White House the two of them will be natural allies, capable of working more closely and more cordially than John Howard and George W. Bush....

On Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, Obama was a revelation. Not once in more than 50 years of watching telly had I seen a politician so utterly and seductively relaxed. Not the faux relaxation that most affect, it seemed to come from Obama's oft-stated view that he's learned to campaign without a fear of losing. If so, it's transformational, giving him a freedom of expression and a depth of humour that leaves Hillary and Mike Huckabee for dead. He's the least processed and manufactured of candidates, and certainly one of the smartest.

For example, he opposes the demonisation of Bush. We do that, we're the losers. While powerfully opposing the President's policies, he concedes the possibility of personal decency. When he argues that the administration, though monstrously wrong, believes that what it's doing is right for the country, fellow Democrats get very angry. But it wins Obama crossover Republican votes, as evidenced in Iowa.

More here



VERY sad news: Tim Blair has cancer. He is in his early 40s.

There is an interesting article here by the occasionally sensible Andrew Hotcock on the latest survey of violent deaths in Iraq since the U.S. intervention there. I think that there is now general agreement among those who know anything about it that the "600,000 deaths" report by Lancet has no credibility but the more recent NEJM survey reporting 151,000 deaths (of which only a sixth were due to violence) has not attracted much criticism. Hotcock makes a strong case that the 151,000 figure is also highly arbitrary. As a Leftist he thinks it is too low but nobody really knows -- and maybe nobody ever will know.

Hillary keeps mentioning that she is female and that Barack Obama is black, while also insisting that none of that matters: "This is the most exciting election we've had in such a long time because you have an African American, an extraordinary man, a person of tremendous talents and abilities, running to become our president. You have a woman running to break the highest and hardest glass ceiling. I don't think either of us want to inject race or gender in this campaign. We are running as individuals. . . . Well, you know, I don't think that either of us should use gender. I don't think this campaign is about gender, and I sure hope it's not about race. It needs to be about the individuals. . . . "

Hillary booed in NY: "Dogged by continuing racial tensions around her presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton drew a smattering of boos on Monday when she spoke at a religiously tinged Martin Luther King Jr. rally put together by a union organizing predominantly black security workers. The catcalls came when Clinton was introduced and her speech drew only tepid applause compared to the boisterous ovations drawn by many of the pastors and reverends - not to mention a hip-hop artist and slam poet - who took the podium before her."

Obama not so different from white racist David Duke?: "I have no idea how a member of a black church that apparently feels it owes greater allegiance to Africa than to America and that pays homage to a bigot like Farrakhan, has the gall to present himself as the one candidate who can bring us all together. To be fair, I acknowledge that he has a pleasant smile and speaks better than most politicians. The truth is, he sort of reminds me of David Duke."

Brit Muslim leader speaks out against "honor" killings: "One of Britain's leading Muslims has called on his community to rise up against a culture of fear and help stamp out forced marriages and honour killings after the third high-profile court case in Britain in the past year. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, head of the Muslim Parliament in Britain, spoke out after a coroner ruled on Friday that 17-year-old Shafilea Ahmed was "unlawfully killed" and that "the concept of an arranged marriage was central to the circumstances of her death". Mr Siddiqui said he was certain the schoolgirl, who wanted to go to university and become a lawyer, was the victim of an honour killing. No charges have yet been bought by police"

The financial cost of the Iraq war: "The future historian would note that for the past century America has been one of largest military powers on the planet. This naturally involved a budgetary commitment. For some of the past century, the American military was quite small. But on average American military spending was about twice the share of GDP that it now is, about 5%. Moreover, with Iraq consuming between 15% and 20% of that figure, the future historian would likely view the entire affair as relatively minor in purely budgetary terms. That is hard for us to comprehend while living through it, but it is the way the numbers break."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".



ERS said...

Bravo, Dr. Siddiqui! Wish there were more like you.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

Anonymous said...

good stuff. here's a link to what i wrote about a girl near here who was killed by her dad for taking off her hijab
and here's what i wrote about the can. govt. punishing a private citizen for not complying with sharia law. scroll down and there's stuff about mark steyn's run-in with the same commision, and my bio on james madison. cheers