A Shooting Star Dims
Barack Obama was a rock star on the campaign trail and his aura went undimmed in his first few months of office. But then he began taking too many curtain calls. The applause subsided, but he kept coming back to center stage to try harder to wow us. He forgot what every star must learn, that you’ve got to know when to get off that center stage. If you don’t have anything new to say, shut up. This applies even to presidents.
He’s reaching for applause lines with the same ol’ same ol’. So his poll numbers begin to shrink. He pushes, and pushes, a flawed health care scheme without having anything new to add. Then he goes off script to accuse the Cambridge, Mass., cops of behaving “stupidly” in the arrest of professor Henry Louis Gates, and loses the applause of fans in the second balcony.
When Obama replaced George W. Bush as the top banana, his speech if not his politics was dramatically refreshing. We were relieved to listen to someone who wouldn’t muff his lines, miss a cue or garble the English language. Even those who disagreed with what the new president had to say appreciated his speechifying skills. We became a collective version of Moliere’s “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme,” delighted to discover a leader who could speak prose.
But we also discovered that a golden-tongued devil could deceive us with the alchemy of smooth talk at a time when we need straight talk. Great rhetoricians inevitably betray a weakness, small though it may be. That’s why the poet John Milton gave Satan the best lines, sprinkled with vivid similes and sparkling metaphors, in “Paradise Lost.” All the better to deceive. By comparison, God in His heaven is plain to the point of boring, but the smart reader gets the divine meaning.
Nobody likes being deceived. When the Congressional Budget Office said Obama’s health care numbers were wrong and his scheme would cost a lot more than we had been told, some of us grew suspicious. When the accountants at the celebrated Mayo Clinic said the cure was worse than the disease, more of us decided that we didn’t want the president’s medicine.
When the Blue Dog Democrats vowed not to be rushed to such an important decision, a lot more of us began to listen closely to other sides.
The Clinton administration knew Hillarycare would be a tough sell, so they kept it secret while they worked on it. That scheme crashed, anyway, when we discovered that it would make health care worse, not better but more elusive. The Obama administration has gone to the other extreme, turning it over to Congress where everybody wants to get an oar in, and we’re frightened on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the president keeps repeating his defensive rhetoric, defying the drip, drip, drip of hard, cold facts. His health care scheme promises change, but it’s hard to see how both quantity and quality of care will not be compromised. Can the president deliver both? He no longer sounds like a man who thinks he can.
The frightening facts are sometimes subtle and can’t be found in presidential press conferences. Will the new emphasis on bureaucratic control mean that the medical schools will attract mediocre applicants from a diminished pool of bright young men and women, who are willing to enter a profession that will tie them up in a tangle of endless red tape? Does it mean that the scientists who’ve produced miracle drugs through a capitalist system, which rewards accomplishment, will take their inventiveness somewhere else? As old people increasingly outnumber the young, will health care be increasingly perceived as an expensive burden to be avoided?
There’s another wrinkle that’s difficult to straighten out. The push to require giving insurance to people regardless of pre-existing medical conditions may lead young men and women to opt out of paying for health insurance, until they find themselves with a medical condition that requires expensive care. They’ll risk gambling that they can pay for it themselves when they need it.
The president likes golf because the greens provide refuge from the public. Just as he wants to get away from us, more of us feel the urge to get away from him. Too many press conferences and speeches without anything new to say bores us, too. While he works on his backswing and short putts, he might think about the tough questions that so far he can’t answer. He can take his time getting back to us.
Another Amazing Argument!
Day before yesterday I began a discussion of “An Amazing ‘Structural Inequality’ Argument by noting that
I’ve been writing this blog quite a while now, and one of the effects of that is that I’m rarely surprised any more by extreme or even bizarre arguments in favor of racial preferences, special treatment based on race, etc. But I’m about to share with you a justification of criminal behavior, and an official pass given to that behavior, based on an argument of “structural inequality” (as discussed at length here and here) that had even me gasping in disbelief.
Well, what shocked me then was as nothing compared to Paul Krugman’s column in today’s New York Times. According to Krugman, opponents of President Obama’s healthcare health insurance reform are “reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing, or even to what they’ve heard about what he’s doing, than to who he is.”
Whaaaaat? Did he really say that? In the New York Times? Yes, believe it or not, he did. And wait; there’s more:
That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that’s behind the “birther” movement, which denies Mr. Obama’s citizenship. Senator Dick Durbin has suggested that the birthers and the health care protesters are one and the same; we don’t know how many of the protesters are birthers, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s a substantial fraction.
And cynical political operators are exploiting that anxiety to further the economic interests of their backers.
Does this sound familiar? It should: it’s a strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites.
So, if us geezers are afraid of having to pay more for less care, of having our care rationed, of having needed procedures denied by federal bureaucrats (one I recently had, for example, cortisone injection for back pain, has been severely restricted in Britain), of inviting in more illegals to benefit from our involuntary largesse, we are now swastika-waving members of an angry racist mob?
And if you disagree with Krugman? Well then, you’re no doubt an anti-semite as well as a racist.
Finally, if, like me, you regard Krugman’s race-on-the-brain dementia as more than a little “fishy,” you can always report him to firstname.lastname@example.org, the Obama office that has been created to monitor purposeful disinformation.
Freedom of Speech
In order to more fully portray the vileness of the assault on democracy being propogated by Nancy Pelosi and the White House communications office, I'm going to discuss it in the context of this great Norman Rockwell painting, Freedom of Speech.
The painting depicts a 1940s version of Everyman: a working man, by his tidy but informal presentation, and the lean strength of his frame. He could well be a farmer - Rockwell frequently portrayed Middle America in his art. Note the wear and tear on his hands - aged well beyond his face. The figure has a bill or program or agenda in his pocket, and is looked up to and apparently admired by the citizens - citizens - surrounding him, young and old alike.
The painting, for those who may not be aware, was one in a touching series of paintings depicting the Four Freedoms as constructed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want, and Freedom of Worship were the others.
Now, when you or I see this painting, we see an admirable figure, a leader, a great American. We see a citizen speaking his mind, an American posessed of the God-given, inalienable right to freedom of expression. We see discourse and debate. We see what America is all about.
The modern Libtard, represented by Nancy Pelosi and the White House Press office, sees a manufactured mob.
This is pure poison. Pelosi and her enablers have simply declared rhetorical war not just on the Republican party, but on the electorate itself.
Their attitude is nothing short of a big 'F***k You' to the American people. I cannot overstate how vile and dangerous modern libtards are. They need to be opposed at every turn. They need to be made to feel the heat until they see the light, or driven from office. They are bigger enemies of America than McCarthy could ever dream of being. For all his faults, at least McCarthy loved his country and the things that made it great.
You and I look at this painting and see America. Pelosi and Obama see a threat. Splash, out
Do you still want a Smart Car?
It's that grey bit between the two trucks -- after a smash in Jefferson Parish, La. (near New Orleans )
'Afghan Obama' aspires to be his country's saviour: "A month ago, none of the 40 candidates running for president against Hamid Karzai seemed to have a chance, and the farmers of Samangan would not have bothered leaving their wheat fields for an election rally. But suddenly, a lacklustre election campaign has sparked into a ferocious battle. The hopes of millions who prayed for a better life after the fall of the Taliban government, and were frustrated, have been pinned on the challenger who promises to unseat Mr Karzai – the urbane former foreign minister, Dr Abdullah Abdullah. With just 11 days to go before a vote that will help decide Afghanistan's future, many believe he has enough momentum to win – thanks not just to his own popularity, but to widespread disillusionment with the incumbent. "Hamid Karzai has broken his promises," snarled farmer Mohammad Yousef, 56, one of 2,000 men who sat beneath the shade of parachutes strung between trees to hear Dr Abdullah speak in Samangan on Wednesday. "He hasn't done anything for us, so we will not support him this time." Instead, Mr Yousef's vote will instead go to Dr Abdullah, a former eye surgeon who went into politics after serving with the anti-Taliban guerrillas of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance in the 1990s. In a contest dominated by ex-warlords, Islamic extremists, and potentates of opium drug trade, he is regarded as of the few decent men of Afghan politics – free from the whiff of corruption, and with no blood on his hands."
Death threat from PETA: "When we told you yesterday about a disturbing animal-rights attack on a pharmaceutical CEO, we closed by noting that the Animal Liberation Front and other violent misanthropes have “mainstream charitable supporters” in the animal rights movement. And “as long as these charities can maintain their save-the-bunnies façade,” we said, “the public may never know the lengths these groups go to in the name of total animal liberation.” Were we talking about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)? You bet we were. And today PETA has given us another reason to sound the alarm about its band of deluded psychos: a death threat against an Australian fashion designer who refuses to embrace the “animal liberation” philosophy."
Prospects dim for Mexican firearms treaty: "President Obama's call for the Senate to ratify a hemispheric small-firearms treaty dominated his last visit to Mexico, but in the four months since, both the treaty pledge and the drug violence that prompted it have dropped off the radar - a victim of Congress' full schedule and gun politics. That means on Sunday Mr. Obama will go with an empty hand to Mexico, which blames the U.S. for many of the weapons used by drug cartels that have violently thwarted a crackdown by Mexican authorities. And even though Mr. Obama and his administration have accepted that blame, prospects are dim for passage of the treaty, which calls on countries to license gun manufacturers and try to control illicit trafficking in firearms, ammunition and explosives. But the National Rifle Association now claims CIFTA could hurt hunters and says U.S. Second Amendment interests should not be controlled by an international treaty. Key senators such as Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat whose gun-rights credentials may be crucial to his winning re-election next year, was cool to Mr. Obama's call for ratification in April, and a spokesman said nothing has changed since."
Health care Dems brace for recess protests: "As they head home to their congressional districts for the August recess, lawmakers who support health care reform are bracing for protests and demonstrations that threaten to turn violent. In North Carolina, a congressman who backs overhauling the health care system had his life threatened by a caller upset that he was not holding a public forum on the proposal. Democratic Rep. Brad Miller received the call Monday, one of hundreds the congressman's office has fielded demanding town-hall meetings on the health care proposal, said his spokeswoman, LuAnn Canipe. She said the callers were "trying to instigate town halls so they can show up and disrupt." Earlier this week, White House officials counseled Democratic senators on coping with disruptions at public events this summer. In the week since the House began its break, several town-hall meetings have been disrupted by noisy demonstrators. The latest occurrence took place at back-to-back town-hall meetings held by Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat, which got so raucous police had to escort people out."
Fractious Palestinians: " The convention convened by Fatah last week was supposed to bolster the founding Palestinian nationalist movement so it could block the Islamist Hamas' ascendancy and cut a peace deal with Israel. But after five stormy days of infighting, the once-in-a-generation conference only highlighted how the U.S.-backed party remains fractured, raising questions about whether it is strong enough to make tough compromises in negotiations while fending off accusations from its Hamas rivals. "They have not been able to resolve one fight since the beginning. I am not optimistic," said Assad Awiwi, a lecturer at Hebron University. "Fatah is deteriorating and needs a long time to rehabilitate itself. Four days cannot erase 20 years of mistakes." Though delegates unanimously endorsed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as the party leader on Saturday, the conference had to be extended several days beyond the scheduled finish on Thursday because of delegates' inability to resolve disputes". [So how do you negotiate with that?]
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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)