Friday, December 25, 2009
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL WHO COME BY HERE!
I have a full offering on all my blogs today (mostly put together yesterday) but I will probably not be putting up as much as usual for the next day or two. As Australia is in a much earlier time-zone than the USA, many readers will in any case be reading this on their Christmas Eve. As I write this, I have just been to a big family celebration on my Christmas Eve. It is swelteringly hot here at the moment so a Christmas Eve celebration makes sense. Later today (on Christmas day) I will be attending a sung eucharist at the Cathedral followed by a smaller family Christmas lunch. I don't take the tokens at the Cathedral but I enjoy the music and the show. The Church of England is good for that, though not much else
I hope all my readers do as well as the guy below:
Where Did These Guys Come From?
The Origins of Obamism
I do not think it will be easy to delay Obamism. It is not just that both houses of Congress are under liberal leadership with ample majorities, with a White House and captive media egging them on. The problem is that now the entire engine of the federal government is harnessed in the most unapologetic way to pushing through a far left agenda. There is no shame, no hesitancy in using the full powers of the state.
How does that work out? Without qualification (remember we are in a new age of transparency and ethical reform) votes are bought with hundred-million-dollar earmarks; the attorney general predicates judicial action on the political ramifications of indicting or not indicting; federal bureaucracies (watch the EPA if cap and trade stalls) are devoted to the new Caesar rather than the letter of the law.
Such a strange scenario we have found ourselves in—a clear majority of Americans is opposed to almost everything Obama has to offer; congressional representatives know they are acting against the will of the people, but know too that they are offered all sorts of borrowed money for their districts to compensate for their unpopular actions. And a charismatic commander in chief believes that he can charm even the angriest of critics, and that anything he promises (Iran’s deadlines, closing of Guantanamo, new transparency, no more lobbyists, etc) means zilch and can be contextualized by another “let me be perfectly clear” speech spiced with a couple of the usual “it would have been impossible for someone as unlikely as me to have become President just (fill in the blanks) years ago”
No, I would not count Obama out. So what drives his agenda? What are its origins? Here are the three most prominent catalysts.
Equality of Result
What Barack Obama advocates is as old as Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics, the agenda of the classical dêmos and Roman turba.
It is why the French Revolution emphasized égalité and fraternité, while the Founding Fathers instead championed the freedom of the individual from the despotism of the state. In short, equality of result doctrine ignores the role of markets, of skills, of tragedy itself that renders some of us ill, others in perfect health, some born gifted, others less so, some evil by nature, others good, and instead promises that the state can even us all out through its power of material redistribution. Give us all the same amount of money and perks at the end of the day, and then utopia reigns under the benevolent watch of Ivy-League professors and organizers.
It is a given that what we make is not our own, but predicated on the liberality of society. Thus, for those who were too greedy, too conniving, or even too lucky, the state must step in to ensure that we end up the same.
In its most benign form, we know this as progressivism or communitarianism, a big government, high tax philosophy that co-exists within democracy. Its more pernicious strains are socialist, in which the state ensures, through bureaucratic fiat and a labyrinth of laws that curb free expression, that redistribution is institutionalized. And the virulent form (thankfully with the fall of the Soviet Union and the transformation of China not so global-threatening any more) is, of course, a murderous communism, in which any means necessary are justified to ensure the desire ends and the rule of anointed apparat. Remember, history’s greatest killers (Stalin and Mao) do it all “for the people.”
But there is another element to Barack Obama besides progressive statism. A number of contemporary –isms and –ologies (multiculturalism, moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, post-modernism) also help to explain Obamism, especially in cultural terms. Our universities subscribe to race/class/gender theory of exploitation, in which much of the unhappiness of today’s women, of today’s nonwhite, and of today’s poor originates with the privileges of the white Christian Western male that are predicated on oppression.
It works like this: The ghetto resident, the denizen of the barrio, the abandoned and divorced waitress with three young children, can all chart their poverty and unhappiness not to accident, fate, bad luck, bad decisions, poor judgment, illegality or drug use, or simple tragedy, but rather exclusively to a system that is rigged to ensure oppression on the basis of race, class, and gender—often insidious and unfathomable except to the sensitive and gifted academic or community organizer.
So Obama combines the age-old belief that the state is there to level the playing field (rather than protect the rights of the individual and secure the safety of the people from foreign threats), with the postmodern notion that government must recompensate those by fiat on the basis on their race or class or gender. Remember all that, and everything from the Professor Gates incident, to the dutiful attendance at the foot of Rev. Wright to Van Jones become logical rather than aberrant. Michelle Obama could make $300,000 and she will always be more a victim than the Appalachian coal miner who earns $30,000, by virtue of her race and gender.
The Chicago Way
A third and final ingredient to Obamism is the Chicago way. Here we see an interesting updated version of the old big-city, Daley thuggery. Rahm Emanuel threatens recalcitrant congressmen with reminders of the long Obama memory. The Axelrod/Jarrett clique ensures that the government channels stimuli to blue-states, that key Congress people are bought off with tens of millions of government largess, that every campaign promise—from no lobbyists and airing on C-span health care debates to posting impending legislation on the Internet for set durations and “reaching across the aisle”—is simply cynical fluff that no sane person would take seriously.
So? In short, we have a traditional statist bent on redistribution (Obama’s words, not mine), updated with the postmodern belief that race/class/gender oppressions require government affirmative reactions (which also abroad explains why we reach out to enemies and shun allies), all energized by an ends justify the means Chicago bare-knuckles apparat.
And? These true believers, then, don’t really care that the Blue Dogs (if such really exist) bite the dust in 2010, if Harry Reid goes up in smoke, or indeed, if Barack Obama is reelected. Instead, they will institutionalize an agenda that will affect America for generations, move it sharply to the left, and earn a spot in the academic pantheon of American heroes.
Asking why would Obama & Co. be so self-destructive to push through an array of proposals that have no more than 45% of the public’s support is like asking whether the English Prof who teaches incomprehensible Foucauldian theory worries whether he has only 2 students, or whether the well-off union boss is all that upset that membership has sunk to 30% of the workforce, or multimillion-dollar-earning Sarah Palin-interviewing Katie Couric is worried about her sinking ratings, or whether the New York Times columnists are upset that their mother paper is broke with subscription and readership down, and laying off thousands of blue-collar employees.
Instead, for the true believer, it is all about the self, and the sense of the self—and damn all other considerations. (We saw that with Jimmy Carter as well; that he destroyed liberal Democrat politics for a generation meant nothing; that he won prizes and jet-setted the world for thirty years meant everything. For these people, it is always about them—all the time. Let us eat cake as they end up liberal icons for the duration).
What Are We Left With?
The most blatant cynicism in recent American political history—a man who ran as a bipartisan who is the most partisan we’ve seen, a healer whose even flippant comments are designed to offend, a statist who assumes that the sheared sheep cannot stampede somewhere else, a reformer who trusts his honey-laced rhetoric can disguise Daley style-corruption.
On that happy note.
Everything, as my dear late mother lectured me, happens for a reason, or at least presents a sort of logic—irony, paradox, karma, and nemesis being the best ways of interpreting our unfathomable existences. It took messianic narcissistic Barack Obama to expose the full extent of the mess that a once noble tradition of 19th-century liberalism had devolved into. Only he could have rammed it down the throats of the American people, and when he is done, we will suffer, but also sicken of it for quite a while.
Otherwise, Merry Christmas! And thanks again to the most informed, articulate, and outspoken commentators in the blogosphere!
Critical statement on ACORN Report
Statement of Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli on Congressional Research Service ACORN report requested by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI, which absolves ACORN of allegations of misusing taxpayer money received over the past five years:
"Anyone who saw the video of undercover filmmakers being advised by several different ACORN offices on how to break tax laws and set up brothels can figure that taxpayer money is likely being misspent somewhere by this radical group. Representative Conyers' refusal to conduct an investigation of ACORN, and ignoring the pleas of his colleagues in the process, is appalling.
"Now, it seems as if he is going to try to hide behind a report he commissioned from a research service controlled by the congressional leadership of which he is a member. This doesn't pass the smell test. There are plenty of things suspect about ACORN. Just watch the video. Or talk to prosecutors in several cities currently conducting investigations of ACORN-related vote fraud. Or read about how former a ACORN bookkeeper may have embezzled as much as $5 million from the group.
"Americans are appalled that taxpayers' funds are supporting the work of ACORN. The fact that ACORN receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants is reason enough for a formal Congressional investigation even without the allegations of wrongdoing.
"For Conyers to question the need for a bipartisan oversight hearing on ACORN is akin to his questioning of the need to read the health care bill earlier this year. It raises the question: What exactly are his responsibilities in his mind? Why are taxpayers paying his salary?"
Why the US economy is facing a very unhappy New Year: All in all, future prospects are pretty grim for the US economy. Right now economic indicators are not healthy. What is more, the economy could be paradoxically heading for a monetary crunch
Wondering why young people spout Marxist claptrap? Look no further than the universities : If Copenhagen reveals anything at all - apart from the stupidity of politicians - it is that the cult of socialism is alive and is as intolerant and as ignorant as ever. So where do young people get this socialist drivel from?
Activists use backdoor socialism to con and bludgeon corporations : Socialism is a power cult that will not die, a fact that the current political shenanigans in Copenhagen amply support. No matter how many times reason and history refute socialist fantasies its adherents always manage to dress it up in new garb
Obama's Afghan pickle and Bill Ayers : Is the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers threatening to blow the whistle on his old mate Obama? The US-hating Ayres has been deeply angered by Obama's failure to surrender outright to Islamic terrorism
Uncle Obama's extortion racket : Uncle Obama has gotten a hold of your credit card. And he's amassing charges on it that you - not he - are liable for. You can call the fraud line, you can call the police, you can call any politician or government agency, and they will all tell you the same thing. Shut up and pay up. Since misery loves company, you might feel better knowing that you're not the only one being extorted
Britain to print more new money: "Sterling remained mired at two-month lows yesterday as Bank of England rate-setters refused to close the door on more quantitative easing. The minutes from this month’s meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) showed that, while all nine members voted unanimously to keep rates at 0.5 per cent and to maintain the quantitative easing (QE) limit at £200 billion, more QE next year was not ruled out. Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics, said: “While it seems likely that the MPC is nearing the end of its measures to support the economy, further action is certainly possible if the recovery disappoints.” Sterling remained under $1.60 yesterday, hitting a low of $1.5924 amid fears that interest rates would remain at historic lows for some time yet, before closing the day up 0.2 per cent at $1.5971. The pound hit a trough of $1.5923 on Tuesday, the lowest since mid-October, as investors digested figures showing that the British economy had shrunk by 0.2 per cent in the third quarter, worse than expected."
British local authority couldn't afford enough salt (But you can bet that they are paying a heap of useless bureaucrats): "Cornwall County Council has said it failed to grit 80 per cent of its roads, including the stretch near Hayle where a Christmas tour coach crashed, killing two women. Irene Spencer, 78, and Patricia Pryor, 70, both from Camborne, Cornwall, died when their coach skidded off the road near Hayle and rolled on to its side. Emergency services said the roads in the area were “sheets of ice”. A police car responding to the 999 call skidded off the road and crashed into the upturned coach, which still had passengers trapped inside. Emergency crews could not get close to the crash site because of the icy roads and had to make their way on foot. The coach’s owner, Williams Travel, has accused the county council of failing to ensure roads were properly gritted despite warnings of severe weather. “The coach was unable to stop once it had come into contact with the black ice and then turned over on to its side and ended up in a ditch,” said operations manager Garry Williams on the company’s website. “All were amazed that this road was not gritted."
A triumph for steam in Britain: "Passengers stranded when modern-day trains fell victim to the freezing weather have been rescued by the crew of a steam engine. About 100 passengers climbed aboard the first mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost half a century at London Victoria when electric trains were delayed. The 1940s technology used to power Tornado, a £3million Peppercorn class A1 Pacific, was able to withstand the snow and ice that brought much of the South East to a standstill on Monday night. The locomotive's 'Cathedrals Express' service was offering festive trips in the region when staff on board heard about the stranded passengers. The travellers were offered free seats and were dropped off at stations as it chuffed through Kent, said Mark Allatt, chairman of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the charity which built Tornado. Mr Allatt said they were pleased to be able to help some of London's stranded commuters 'get home in style' and joked that rail operators could learn lessons from them. 'It's amusing because this engine is predominantly made up of 1940s' technology and we were able to keep running despite modern trains not being able to,' he said. 'If any of the rail operators would like to use this technology for themselves, we would be more than happy to build them an engine.' Built partly by volunteers with donations collected over 19 years, the apple-green locomotive can reach a top speed of 100mph and is designed for long-distance express journeys."
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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)
Posted by JR at 2:32 AM