Obama: We are Prepared to Consult Thesaurus ....
One day after North Korea launched a successful test of a nuclear weapon, President Obama said that the United States was prepared to respond to the threat with "the strongest possible adjectives."
In remarks to reporters at the White House, Mr. Obama said that North Korea should fear the "full force and might of the United States' arsenal of adjectives" and called the missile test "reckless, reprehensible, objectionable, senseless, egregious and condemnable."
Standing at the President's side, Vice President Joseph Biden weighed in with some tough adjectives of his own, branding North Korean President Kim Jong-Il "totally wack and illin'."
Later in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the North Korean nuclear test "supercilious and jejune," leading some in diplomatic circles to worry that the U.S. might be running out of appropriate adjectives with which to craft its response.
But President Obama attempted to calm those fears, saying that the United States was prepared to "scour the thesaurus" to come up with additional adjectives and was "prepared to use adverbs" if necessary.
"Let's be clear: we are not taking adverbs off the table," Mr. Obama said. "If the need arises, we will use them forcefully, aggressively, swiftly, overwhelmingly and commandingly."
Wise words that tail off into foolishness
by Amitai Etzioni
Much of the debate over how to address the economic crisis has focused on a single word: regulation. And it's easy to understand why. Bad behavior by a variety of businesses landed us in this mess--so it seems rather obvious that the way to avoid future economic meltdowns is to create, and vigorously enforce, new rules proscribing such behavior. But the truth is quite a bit more complicated. The world economy consists of billions of transactions every day. There can never be enough inspectors, accountants, customs officers, and police to ensure that all or even most of these transactions are properly carried out. Moreover, those charged with enforcing regulations are themselves not immune to corruption, and, hence, they too must be supervised and held accountable to others--who also have to be somehow regulated. The upshot is that regulation cannot be the linchpin of attempts to reform our economy. What is needed instead is something far more sweeping: for people to internalize a different sense of how one ought to behave, and act on it because they believe it is right.
That may sound far-fetched. It is commonly believed that people conduct themselves in a moral manner mainly because they fear the punishment that will be meted out if they engage in anti-social behavior. But this position does not stand up to close inspection. Most areas of behavior are extralegal; we frequently do what is expected because we care or love. This is evident in the ways we attend to our children (beyond a very low requirement set by law), treat our spouses, do volunteer work, and participate in public life. What's more, in many of those areas that are covered by law, the likelihood of being caught is actually quite low, and the penalties are often surprisingly mild. For instance, only about one in 100 tax returns gets audited, and most cheaters are merely asked to pay back what they "missed," plus some interest. Nevertheless, most Americans pay the taxes due. Alan Lewis's classic study The Psychology of Taxation concluded that people don't just pay taxes because they fear the government; they do it because they consider the burden fairly shared and the monies legitimately spent. In short, the normative values of a culture matter. Regulation is needed when culture fails, but it cannot alone serve as the mainstay of good conduct.
So what kind of transformation in our normative culture is called for? What needs to be eradicated, or at least greatly tempered, is consumerism: the obsession with acquisition that has become the organizing principle of American life. This is not the same thing as capitalism, nor is it the same thing as consumption. To explain the difference, it is useful to draw on Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. At the bottom of this hierarchy are basic creature comforts; once these are sated, more satisfaction is drawn from affection, self-esteem, and, finally, self-actualization. As long as consumption is focused on satisfying basic human needs--safety, shelter, food, clothing, health care, education--it is not consumerism. But, when the acquisition of goods and services is used to satisfy the higher needs, consumption turns into consumerism--and consumerism becomes a social disease.
Condemning the things that other people find satisfaction in is so Leftist. I find a LOT of things that other people enjoy strange -- mashed potatoes, to take a trivial example -- but I accept that tastes differ and leave the matter at that. But Leftists want to remake the world according to THEIR tastes and Etzioni is one of those. If he has (say) a liking for Cumquat marmalade (which I highly recommend, by the way), that would simply be good taste but if other people spend time and money seeking it out, that is "consumerism". It is principally the vast egos, amorality and authoritarian predilections of the Left that are hobbling our society, not "consumerism"
The usual difficulty that Leftists have with reality
But what about Gaza? Philip Weiss of TalkingPointsMemo.com visited there recently. He takes a strongly anti-Israel position, complaining of "persecution, of the Palestinians, by the state of Israel," and making no mention of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis or Hamas's genocidal aspirations toward Israel's Jews. Yet the picture he paints of "persecution" in Gaza doesn't sound that bad at all;
"I think the most significant impression I can convey is my surprise at how vibrant and alive the place is. . . . Downtown Gaza city is vibrant, full of street life, and the traffic is now and then interrupted by a flatbed truck going by with a wedding band banging drums on it, and a Mercedes carrying the bride and groom in tow. . . .
We see piles of watermelons by the side of the road and trucks filled with potatoes, and donkeys going by hauling wagons of tomatoes. Now and then you see a gleaming motorcycle. . . .
I remember during the Gaza slaughter that some tried to stop commentators from comparing Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. Now I am here and I find the analogy helpful".
Yeah, the Warsaw ghetto teemed with watermelons!
Excerpt from Taranto
Climate of Hate, World of Double Standards
by Michelle Malkin
When a right-wing Christian vigilante kills, millions of fingers pull the trigger. When a left-wing Muslim vigilante kills, he kills alone. These are the instantly ossifying narratives in the Sunday shooting death of late-term abortion provider George Tiller of Kansas versus the Monday shootings of two Arkansas military recruiters.
Tiller's suspected murderer, Scott Roeder, is white, Christian, anti-government and anti-abortion. The gunman in the military recruitment center attack, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, is black, a Muslim convert, anti-military and anti-American.
Both crimes are despicable, cowardly acts of domestic terrorism. But the disparate treatment of the two brutal cases by both the White House and the media is striking.
President Obama issued a statement condemning "heinous acts of violence" within hours of Tiller's death. The Justice Department issued its own statement and sent federal marshals to protect abortion clinics. News anchors and headline writers abandoned all qualms about labeling the gunman a terrorist. An almost gleeful excess of mainstream commentary poured forth on the climate of hate and fear created by conservative talk radio, blogs and Fox News in reporting Tiller's activities.
By contrast, Obama was silent about the military recruiter attacks that left 24-year-old Pvt. William Long dead and 18-year-old Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula gravely wounded. On Tuesday afternoon -- more than 24 hours after the attack on the military recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark. -- Obama held a press conference to announce his pick for Army secretary. It would have been exactly the right moment to express condolences for the families of the targeted Army recruiters and to condemn heinous acts of violence against our troops.
But Obama said nothing. The Justice Department was mum. And so were the legions of finger-pointing pundits happily convicting the pro-life movement and every right-leaning writer on the planet of contributing to the murder of Tiller.
Gates: US may rethink cuts in anti-missile funds: "US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has not ruled out pumping more funds into the nation’s anti-missile defense budget if North Korea threatens the United States. ‘If there were a launch from a rogue state such as North Korea, I have good confidence that we would be able to deal with it,’ Gates said Monday during a stopover in Alaska on his way home from a trip to Asia. Gates was visiting Fort Greely which houses parts of the US anti-missile defense shield — a land-based system with about 20 interceptors — and said of Pyongyang that its ‘behavior has certainly alarmed people.’ In the past Gates proposed slicing a billion dollars off the anti-missile system budget and freezing the development of interceptors at 30, instead of the 44 originally planned. But he indicated he might re-examine his proposal.”
US releases secret nuclear list accidentally: “The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked ‘highly confidential,’ that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons. The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an on-line newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy. That publicity set off a debate among nuclear experts about what dangers, if any, the disclosures posed. It also prompted a flurry of investigations in Washington into why the document was made public.”
FL: Couple fought $21,600 water bill: “A Tampa, Fla., couple said it took them several months to resolve the issue of a monthly water bill for more than $21,000. Ralph and Diana Salgado said their water bill usually falls between $21 and $110 each month, but their July 2008 bill from the Tampa Water Department totaled $21,600, indicating that 3.5 million gallons of water were used by the couple during that month …. The couple said they soon determined that the erroneous amount was the result of a new water meter that had not been calibrated to match the old reading. However, they said the water department continued to demand the money for months after the problem was identified.” [This is par for the course when dealing with any bureaucracy. Nobody with decision-making power is listening]
China’s socialist road to misery: "It is 20 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and China’s communist regime hasn’t budged an inch. The government has no reason to regret its murderous crackdown during ‘the political storm at the end of the 1980s,’ a foreign-ministry spokesman in Beijing told reporters last month. ‘China has scored remarkable success in its social and economic development. Facts have proven that the socialist road with Chinese characteristics that we pursue is in the fundamental interests of our people.’ As a euphemism for dictatorial savagery, ‘the socialist road with Chinese characteristics’ may not rise to the level of, say, ‘Great Leap Forward’ or ‘Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.’”
More disillusioned Leftists: “Back in 2007, then-candidate Barack Obama minced no words when it came to Sudan. ‘When you see a genocide, whether it’s in Rwanda or Bosnia or in Darfur, that’s a stain on all of us,’ he said. ‘That’s a stain on our souls.’ Obama is now president, and Darfur is still a mess. … Since Obama is a pragmatist — and pragmatism is, by definition, what works — we should judge his policies in this area by a single standard: Are they accomplishing the goal of ending Darfur’s suffering? We are sad to say that the initial signs have not been encouraging. In fact, as Obama supporters, we are extraordinarily disappointed.”
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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)