Tuesday, April 27, 2010
America's Left/Right divide
The statement of vision defining American values appears in the Declaration of Independence. Understanding that vision is where I think the most fundamental conservative versus liberal divide exists.
Consider how President Obama relates to the Constitution, as he wrote in his book The Audacity of Hope – “Implicit in its structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth….”
Our president is a moral relativist. So we may expect that he doesn’t take very seriously the idea, as state in the Declaration of Independence, that there are absolutes. That we have God given rights that precede government and that the job of government is to secure them.
Rather than seeing government’s job as securing our rights, the liberal sees it to invent them. The politician – or the empathetic judge – defines what is moral and just.
There’s a lot of speculation about what is driving the tea party movement and why, as reflected in the latest survey by the Pew Research Foundation, Americans’ trust in government is at an all time low. I think most fundamentally it’s discomfort with this moral relativism that is driving the pervasive unrest.
The whole unique idea of American government – the idea of human liberty – was that there are absolute truths and that individual citizens can and must be protected from arbitrary rulers – whether it is a king or a political class with arbitrary powers.
President Obama said the other day regarding the kind of court nominee he will seek, “…I want somebody who is going to be interpreting our Constitution in a way that takes into account individual rights…”
What in the world can this possibly mean from our president who has just signed into law a health care bill which will force every single American citizen to buy a government defined health care insurance policy? A health care bill that opens the door to unprecedented government control over how private individuals manage their health care and the most private decisions they make over their own lives.
Or what can it possibly mean coming from our president who opposed the Supreme Court’s decision a few years ago banning partial birth abortion – which is pure and simple torture and murder of a live infant?
The real differences over liberal and conservative judges is most fundamentally about the world in which Americans will live. Whether we live and will live in a nation in which there are absolute truths or one in which we are at the hands of political arbitrariness in which our lives and property are up for grabs.
Our country is being governed today by those with the latter view of the world and, fortunately, more and more Americans are deeply concerned.
Obama plays the race card
Barack Obama wants to join the sordid ranks of the race hustlers, like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, if not necessarily the race baiters. Maybe there's only a small distinction between hustling and baiting, but once the toxic stuff is let loose, it doesn't matter what you call it.
The Democratic National Committee released a video clip Monday of the president rousing his troops with what Politico, the Capitol Hill political paper, calls with artful euphemism, "unusual demographic frankness." The auguries for November do not look good, the president concedes, and he wants "young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women who powered our victory in 2008 [to] stand together once again." Many of these "surge" voters cast their first ballots in 2008 and then ignored pleas to turn out for gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia (or that famous Senate race in Massachusetts) and the Democrats took a licking.
No candidate, Democrat or Republican, would take the risk — real and even frightening — of drawing the race card unless absolutely necessary, of course, "absolutely necessary" defined as the occasion when his survival is at stake. Mr. Obama's survival is not yet at stake, but if a calamity like the big blowout of '94 falls on the Democrats again this year the president's prospects for re-election in 2012 would dim considerably. Now's the time for unusual demographic frankness of the kind that the Barack Obama of 2008 so eloquently denounced with word if not always in deed.
Mr. Obama spent enormous political capital to ram the health care "reform" down the throats of a public struggling not to swallow, and now he wants to do it again, and then again, and then once more, with his toxic agenda of financial reform, global warming "solutions" and immigration "reform" that he won't call by its rightful name, "amnesty." It's almost as if the president has figured out that he will be a one-term president and is determined to use whatever capital he has to impose as much as he can of that radical stuff from his Chicago activist days.
The attempt to make "solving" global warming a bipartisan effort collapsed over the weekend when Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, who gives the impression of yearning to be a Democrat when he grows up, quit his alliance with Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Joe Lieberman. The collapse may be temporary. The unholy musketeers had decided to ditch something called "a carbon linkage fee" (what everyone but a senator would call a "tax") in favor of allowing polluting companies to buy the right to continue polluting from companies willing to sell their polluting indulgences. This is more of Al Gore's global warming fantasy, and in the end the Obama administration might have to settle for a Senate resolution telling the Icelandic volcano to behave itself.
If he can push the global-warming legislation aside Mr. Obama can move amnesty for the illegals to the top of his agenda, but this, as any number of Democratic congressmen are telling him loud and clear, is merely substituting a noose for the electric chair for a lot of Democratic incumbents. "It's not a tough vote at all for me," Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania tells Politico. "I'm not going to vote for amnesty. I'm not going to vote for a path to citizenship, or whatever you want to call it. … It's not like health care where everyone has a dog in the fight. If you come from where I come from, there's no support for [immigration reform] at all."
Mr. Obama, who rarely took a recorded stand on anything during his brief career as a senator, keeps demanding that Democrats in Congress fall on their swords for him. There's no scarcity of swords but he's running out of willing Democrats. The race card is all he's got left.
Obamacare lies unravelling already
Last week, reality dealt Obamacare twin blows -- not that Obama will care. An analysis inside his own administration and a report from New York state shed the grim light of reality on this monstrosity before its Draconian provisions have even gone into effect.
Economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department issued a report last week, conveniently after Obamacare was shoved through, finding that though more people will end up with health insurance (many of them against their will, of course), costs are going to increase. Shocker.
How could coverage not increase with the legal mandate forcing unwilling people to buy health insurance coverage? Today millions entitled to assistance don't avail themselves of it, but Obamacare will presumably be different because there will be a penalty for non-coverage -- an idea that Obama expediently mocked during the primary campaign.
But costs will also increase? I thought Obama promised to bend the cost curve down -- that he wouldn't add one dime to the deficit with Obamacare. But two dimes or a quarter are apparently a different matter.
The HHS analysis found Obamacare will raise projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years -- and this is without even considering the impact of numerous gimmicks and camouflaged items, such as the Medicare "doctor fix." There are presently scheduled 21 percent cuts in Medicare reimbursements to physicians, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised that they won't be implemented. What a sham!
The report also revealed that Obamacare could drive 15 percent of hospitals into the red and possibly jeopardize access to care for seniors.
Potential court pick could face foes on the Left: "Unlike several other possible candidates to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, US Court of Appeals Judge Merrick B. Garland probably will not face conservative opposition. Instead, it could be liberals lining up against him. A small but vocal group of activists is privately saying that Garland is not liberal enough to replace the legendary Stevens, whose opinions defended gay rights and abortion rights and opposed the death penalty. They say Garland is a centrist who will not champion liberal concerns, too often finds middle ground with his conservative colleagues on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and showed great deference to President George W. Bush’s indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
China: One-child rule may be eased -- too late?: "When asked why she and her husband don’t want a second child, Shi Xiaomei smiles at her pudgy 9-year-old son and does a quick tally of the family budget. Her salary as a cleaning lady and the income from a mahjong parlor in their spare room barely cover their son’s school fees and other expenses. ‘With just one, we can give him nicer things. But if you tried to split what we have between two or three, they would all end up with nothing,’ the 34-year-old says at her home in Dafeng, a prosperous but still-rural county 185 miles (300 kilometers) north of Shanghai. For years, China curbed its once-explosive population growth with a widely hated one-child limit that at its peak led to forced abortions, sterilizations and even infanticide. Now the long-sacrosanct policy may be on its way out, as some demographers warn that China is facing the opposite problem: not enough babies.”
OK: House overrides pre-abortion ultrasound veto: "The Oklahoma House voted overwhelmingly Monday to override vetoes of two restrictive abortion measures Gov. Brad Henry has called unconstitutional intrusions into citizens’ private lives and decisions. The Senate was expected to follow suit Tuesday, after which the bills would become law. One of the measures requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion. The other prohibits pregnant women from seeking damages if physicians withhold information or provide inaccurate information about their pregnancy. … Keri Parks, director of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Oklahoma City, urged the Senate to uphold the governor’s vetoes. ‘Doctors, not politicians, should be making these medical decisions,’ Parks said.”
CIA turns to violin-sized missiles in Pakistan: "The CIA is using new, smaller missiles and advanced surveillance techniques to minimize civilian casualties in its targeted killings of suspected insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal areas, according to current and former officials in the United States and Pakistan. The technological improvements have resulted in more accurate operations that have provoked relatively little public outrage, the officials said.”
King accepts resignation of Belgian government: "Belgium King Albert II accepted the government’s resignation Monday after negotiations failed to resolve a long-simmering dispute between Dutch and French-speaking politicians over a bilingual voting district in and around Brussels, the country’s capital. The king had waited since last week to see if last-ditch talks could keep the coalition government of Prime Minister Yves Leterme together. But late Monday, it became clear the differences between the linguistic groups were too deep. Elections could now be called in early June.”
Renouncing American citizenship: "Let’s be clear about something. A person who decides to give up his US citizenship is not guilty of disloyalty to America; quite the opposite. He could very well be more loyal to American principles than the regime is willing to tolerate. It also does not mean that he is giving up hope for liberty; he may have great hope for liberty, in a different way and in a different place. In any case, the rise of emigration, expatriation, and citizenship renunciation is a trend that is not going away. It is rising and will get more significant.”
Space is lost: "Twelve men have landed on the moon and stayed for a few hours, the last more than 40 years ago. They brought back some rock samples. This was important but in terms of advancing science did not even scratch the surface of what could be done. The Chinese, it seems, appreciate the potential scientific and possibly military value of the moon. They have launched four manned rockets, the last carrying two men, and it is reasonable to guess that they are aiming at a permanent moon-base. India, Europe, and of course Russia are all pushing into space, while the U.S. throws away its lead.”
Anti-libertarian point refuted: "The English Marxist political philosopher Ted Honderich asks us to imagine a perfectly just society, constituted according to libertarian principles. Then he asks, rhetorically, whether it is possible that there exist starving people in such a society? (Sure, that might be so but that’s true of any society and much less likely in a free one.) So Honderich then continues: ‘[I]n this perfectly just society they have no claim to food, no moral right to it. No one and nothing does wrong in letting them starve to death. There is no obligation in this society, on the state or anything else, to save them from starving to death. It is not true of anyone that he or she ought to have helped them. This is vicious.’(p.44) Here we have a blatantly misleading assessment of a free society as well as men and women in such a society.”
The evolution of toleration in the west: "At one time, church and state intertwined and tolerance was a minority opinion. Even prior to establishment of a Constitutional Republic in the United States, there was quite a bit of church-state entanglement. The results were often bloody and always nasty. Even when only Protestant Christians had their rights respected, these Protestants frequently and repeatedly turned on one another. I have previously written here about how colonial America routinely attacked minority Christian sects, even to the point of killing people for being the wrong kind of Protestant Christian. There was never a Judeo-Christian heritage, because the colonies routinely excluded Jews and Catholics from having legal rights and some colonies refused to allow either to settle there. Bloody persecution of Christians by Christians in the colonies was mild in comparison to the centuries of bloodshed in Europe over which form of Christianity should be imposed on everyone.”
Goodbye supply side: "Properly understood, there were no Reagan tax cuts. In 1980 federal spending was $590 billion and in 1989 it was $1.14 trillion; you don’t get Reagan tax cuts without Tip O’Neill spending cuts. Looked at from the proper perspective, we haven’t really had any tax cuts to speak of — we’ve had tax deferrals. Reagan and his congressional allies had an excuse in the considerable person of Speaker O’Neill. But George W. Bush and the concurrent Republican majorities in both houses of Congress didn’t manage to cut spending, either. Part of that was circumstances — 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, the subprime meltdown — but part of it was the fact that a poorly applied supply-side analysis has infantilized Republicans when it comes to the budget. They love to cut taxes but cannot bring themselves to cut spending: It’s eat dessert first and leave the spinach on the table.”
The new fat cats: "John Edwards was right. There are two Americas, just not his two (the rich and powerful versus everyone else). The real divide today is, on one side, the 20 million people who work for state and local governments and the additional 3 million who’ve retired with fat pensions. On the other, the rest of us, roughly 280 million Americans. In short, there’s a gulf between the bureaucrats and the people.”
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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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 11:38 PM