Saturday, September 11, 2010
Of the innocent victims of a primitive and barbaric religion
A Conservative Movie Initiative
The midterm elections this fall will feature young people born in 1992 – in other words, four years after Ronald Reagan left office. What do they know about this man?
It’s quite likely that many of them have been told of Reagan’s firm resolve to win the Cold War. But it’s also likely they haven’t learned about the Reagan budget policies that led to a historic economic recovery. Instead, liberal revisionists are working overtime to assign to the Gipper’s tax cut policies the blame for deficits on his watch. Given the disastrous performance of Barack Obama, it’s time to give this man a serious look once again.
Young Hollywood director and producer Ray Griggs has made a breezy and yet substantive documentary titled “I Want Your Money” that can educate young voters on the differences between Reaganomics and Obamanomics. Some might say that Griggs is trying to become the conservative Michael Moore, but that would be unfair, since Moore’s documentaries often depart from the classification of “nonfiction.” When Moore claims health care is better in Cuba than America, or that Iraq before the Iraq was a placid kite-flying paradise under Saddam Hussein, serious filmmakers run from him.
Griggs is talking about a real, gripping American disaster: our trillion-dollar deficits under Obama and the ever-increasing weight of the national debt. Conservatives in this film are appalled by the loose spending of George W. Bush and Congress over the last decade, and correctly so. But they know Obama is making those deficit years look like a nursery-school exercise in overspending. What’s emerging now is Tea Party anger, of conservatives who’ve been pushed too hard for too long.
“I Want Your Money” is stuffed with weighty conservative experts – Steve Moore, Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich, Ed Meese, Ken Blackwell, and more. But perhaps the most affecting visuals are the old clips of Ronald Reagan, speaking so clearly about the perils of liberal profligacy. There is Reagan at the convention in Dallas in 1984 joking “We could say they spend money like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors...because the sailors are spending their own money.”
It also has a “BS meter” which goes berserk when Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that the Democrats will pass the Obama agenda, including ObamaCare, with “no new deficit spending.”
The film not only discusses green-eyeshade budgeting, but the larger philosophical debate between capitalism and socialism. In an animated segment, the Reagan character lectures “Obama” about what kind of productivity you would get in a classroom if everyone was awarded the same grade, no matter how serious the effort: a dramatically reduced work effort from the productive people, while the lazy students would forever be lazy.
It exposes a real contrast between presidents. As experts point out in the film, Ronald Reagan used clarity to teach you about the real world. Barack Obama uses eloquence to hide what he’s doing, because if his real agenda became clear, as it did with ObamaCare, it would be opposed by the majority.
Griggs found a very nice film clip of the late Nobel Prize-winning capitalist economist Milton Friedman speaking to a dark-haired Phil Donahue in 1979. Donahue proclaimed that capitalism was all about greed. Why, Friedman wondered, was it that political self-interest was so much nobler than economic self-interest? A voter born in 1992 has probably never witnessed Milton Friedman’s television work, especially his “Free to Choose” documentary series (also in those paper-stuffed things called books). This kind of exposure could cause a rediscovery, just like this year’s new interest in Friedrich Hayek’s book “Road to Serfdom.”
So how will this film get into theaters, since it’s not one of those left-wing documentaries? A national effort is being organized by Motive Entertainment, the company that promoted the grassroots campaigns for “The Passion of the Christ” and the first “Chronicles of Narnia” movie. In mid-September, they’ll begin organizing private screenings to celebrate Constitution Day on September 17. From there, organizers will prepare for an October 15 theatrical launch in more than 500 theaters from coast to coast.
But this campaign to show box-office appeal won’t be successful without the same grass-roots energy that mobilized the Tea Party protests. The movie trailer on YouTube has more than two million page views. If everyone who watched the trailer would turn out for the whole movie, then theater owners would have no choice but to take notice.
Perhaps, then, Americans will laugh when news anchors (like CNN’s Rick Sanchez) try to describe Obama’s campaign speeches as “Reaganesque.” We can’t even find a Republican who has fully earned that grand adjective, and it certainly doesn’t fit the socialist blather of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Afghanistan presents no impossible military challenge, its so-called ‘history’ notwithstanding
By ANDREW ROBERTS
In the lexicon of the Left, the adjective “unconquerable” has now attached itself to the noun “Afghanistan” just as indelibly as the adjective “illegal” once attached itself to the noun “war in Iraq.” The New York Times, NPR, the Huffington Post, and the BBC, let alone the wilder shores of the liberal blogosphere, all take it for granted that Afghanistan has always been “the graveyard of empires” — thereby more or less openly encouraging us to draw the inevitable conclusion that the present struggle against the Taliban is unwinnable. Yet the truth could not be more different; rather than the graveyard of empires, Afghanistan has historically been their revolving door.
For as Thomas Barfield of Boston University, author of Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History, points out: “For 2,500 years [Afghanistan] was always part of somebody’s empire, beginning with the Persian Empire in the fifth century b.c.”
The reason that Alexander stayed in Afghanistan so briefly was that there was so little to keep him there, in terms of wealth or produce; he went to Afghanistan to pass through into India. Afghanistan had already been conquered by the Median and Persian Empires beforehand, and afterwards it was conquered by the Seleucids, the Indo-Greeks, the Turks, and the Mongols. The country was quiet for most of the reigns of the Abbasid Dynasty and its successors between 749 and 1258. When Genghis Khan attacked it in 1219, he exterminated every human being in Herat and Balkh, turning Afghanistan back into an agrarian society. Mongol conqueror Tamerlane treated it scarcely better. The Moghuls held Afghanistan peaceably during the reign of Akbar the Great, and for well over a century afterwards.
Hardly any of these empires bothered to try to impose centralized direct power; all devolved a good deal of provincial autonomy as the tribal and geographical nature of the country demanded in the period before modern communications and the helicopter gunship. Yet it was they who ruled, and the fact that the first recognizably Afghan sovereign state was not established until 1747, by Ahmad Shah Durrani, illustrates that the idea of sturdy Afghan independence is a myth.
Nor is Islamic fundamentalism a historically deep-seated phenomenon in Afghanistan. NATO is often accused by the Left of trying to impose Western values on the Afghans, but it was King Amanullah who instituted Kemalist modernization — such as monogamy, Western clothing, and the abolition of the veil — back in 1928. The only people seeking to impose a foreign culture on Afghans are the Taliban.
One of the more recent historical examples of Afghans’ supposed ability to fend off colonial powers, the country’s struggle with the British Empire, deserves close scrutiny. For all the undoubted disaster of Britain’s First Afghan War, the popular version of events is faulty in several important respects. It is true that 16,500 people died in the horrific Retreat from Kabul, but fewer than a quarter of them were soldiers, and only one brigade was British.
The moronic major-general William George Keith Elphinstone evacuated Kabul in midwinter, on Jan. 6, 1842, and the freezing weather destroyed the column as much as the Afghans did; one Englishwoman recalled frostbite so severe that “men took off their boots and their whole feet with them.” Wading through two feet of snow and fast-flowing, freezing rivers killed many more than jezail bullets did, and despite Lady Butler’s painting of assistant surgeon William Brydon entering Jalalabad alone on his pony, in fact several hundred — possibly over a thousand — survived the retreat and were rescued by the punitive expedition that recaptured Kabul by September 1842. Early in 1843, the governor-general, Lord Ellenborough, sent Sir Charles Napier to capture Sind, and thereafter Afghanistan stayed quiet for 30 years.
Sir Jasper Nicolls, the commander-in-chief of India, listed the reasons for the defeat at the time as: “1. not having a safe base of operations, 2. the freezing climate, 3. the lack of cattle, and 4. placing our magazines and treasure in indefensible places.” The lessons NATO needs to learn from the Kabul catastrophe of 1842 are therefore precisely nil, for none of these are applicable in Afghanistan today, where NATO has not lost a single man from frostbite, has not lost a significant engagement against the Taliban, and does not fight with a baggage train of civilians four times its number. Lack of cattle isn’t so important nowadays, either.
The Second Afghan War, which was actually won by Maj. Gen. Sir Frederick Roberts (no relation) at the battle of Kandahar in August 1880, holds similarly few lessons for us today. The major problems in 1878 were the maintenance of lines of communication over the passes and the intimidation of people in the occupied towns. NATO’s lines of communication are not being harried today, and anyhow air power has transformed that as well as the battlefield.
After 1880, in the words of Richard Shannon’s book The Crisis of Imperialism, “Afghan resistance was subdued and Afghanistan was reduced to the status virtually of a British protectorate” until it was given its independence in 1919.
How ObamaCare Guts Medicare
The president's pledge that 'If you like your health plan, you will be able to keep it' clearly does not apply to America's seniors
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has attacked Senate Republican candidates for wanting "to end Medicare as we know it." And in Nevada's hotly contested Senate race, Majority Leader Harry Reid is attacking Republican Sharron Angle, saying she wants to "gut" Medicare. But Mr. Reid has already gutted it. He and his colleagues did so by passing ObamaCare.
In his analysis accompanying the recently released Annual Report of the Medicare Board of Trustees, Richard Foster, Medicare's chief actuary, noted that Medicare payment rates for doctors and hospitals serving seniors will be cut by 30% over the next three years. Under the policies of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, by 2019 Medicare payment rates will be lower than under Medicaid. Mr. Foster notes that by the end of the 75-year projection period in the Annual Medicare Trustees Report, Medicare payment rates will be one-third of what will be paid by private insurance, and only half of what is paid by Medicaid.
Altogether, ObamaCare cuts $818 billion from Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) from 2014-2023, the first 10 years of its full implementation, and $3.2 trillion over the first 20 years, 2014-2033. Adding in ObamaCare cuts for Medicare Part B (physicians fees and other services) brings the total cut to $1.05 trillion over the first 10 years and $4.95 trillion over the first 20 years.
These draconian cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers that serve America's seniors were the basis for the Congressional Budget Office's official "score"—repeatedly cited by the president—that the health-reform legislation would actually reduce the federal deficit. But Mr. Obama never disclosed how that deficit reduction would actually be achieved.
There will be additional cuts under ObamaCare to Medicare Advantage, the private option to Medicare that close to one-fourth of all seniors have chosen for their coverage under the program because it gives them a better deal. Mr. Foster estimates that 50% of all seniors with Medicare Advantage will lose their plan because of these cuts. Mr. Obama's pledge that "If you like your health plan, you will be able to keep it" clearly does not apply to America's seniors.
Moreover, there will be additional cuts to Medicare adopted by bureaucrats at the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board. ObamaCare empowers this board to close Medicare financing gaps by adopting further Medicare cuts that would become effective without any congressional action. Mr. Foster reports that "The Secretary of HHS is required to implement the Board's recommendations unless the statutory process is overridden by new legislation."
The drastic reductions in Medicare reimbursements under ObamaCare will create havoc and chaos in health care for seniors. Many doctors, surgeons and specialists providing critical care to the elderly—such as surgery for hip and knee replacements, sophisticated diagnostics through MRIs and CT scans, and even treatment for cancer and heart disease—will cease serving Medicare patients. If the government is not going to pay, then seniors are not going to get the health services, treatment and care they expect.
City Council Meetings to Begin with Muslim Prayers: "In the wake of the battle over a mosque at Ground Zero, a move by the Hartford City Council is sure to have its critics. The Council announced Tuesday that it has invited local imams to perform Islamic invocations at the beginning of the Council meetings in September. Though meetings don't regularly begin with any form of prayer, an email from the Common Council called it "an act of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters."
Missouri’s licensing boards: Killing jobs every day: "Decades ago, only doctors, lawyers, and accountants were required to get a license from the state before they could lawfully practice their professions. Over time, however, clever people in other lines of work realized that they could use the state government insulate themselves from competition by establishing licensing requirements and other regulatory barriers. The established interests in that profession would, of course, be ‘grandfathered’ in and so would not have to obtain the schooling or pass the examinations that would be required for those wishing to compete with them.”
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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 9:14 PM