Culture versus Economy
IN THE LAME DUCK CONGRESS, the forces of the left were unable to raise tax rates on "the rich." They will stay unchanged for two more years. But the left was able to overturn "don't ask, don't tell," the law circumscribing speech affecting homosexuals in the military.
There's a pattern here. Conservatives prevail when the economy is the issue (I omit Obamacare, which if not overturned will deliver a serious blow to the economy). But we lose when it comes to what used to be called "social issues." It seems conservatives have lost every culture-war battle since the contraceptive pill was introduced 50 years ago. Here is a brief, recent history:
1. Speaking at the GOP convention in 1992, when George Bush Sr. was nominated, Pat Buchanan reported that we were in a "cultural war." He mentioned women in combat as something that should be resisted.
2. He was immediately accused of declaring a culture war. He was identified as an aggressor for noticing the assault that was under way.
3. Irving Kristol, the conservative commentator who died in 2009, said in 2001: "We in America fought a culture war and we lost."
4. Last November, the Family Research Council, a group in Washington that continues to mount rearguard actions in the culture war, was called a "hate group." The accusation came from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that itself bristles with hate -- hatred of the normal.
The real target of the culture war is the Judeo-Christian orthodoxy that prevailed in Western culture for millennia -- until recently. Orthodox Jews and a Catholic remnant are its principal upholders today. The Episcopalians and other major Protestant denominations have surrendered and in many instances have become culture warriors themselves -- opposing what they once supported. It's the same for Jews of the "reformed" congregation, or of none.
Recently the Family Research Council issued an "Index of Belonging and Rejection," based on 2008 Census data. It shows the percentage of American children who grow up in intact homes, with both birth mother and biological father legally married to one another until the child becomes a teenager.
Broken down by region and racial and ethnic groups, the figures are shocking. Nationwide, only 45 percent of youths grow up with both parents. For whites it's 54 percent. Blacks are down to 17 percent. Asian Americans are doing best, at 62 percent. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for blacks was 26 percent in 1965 when Daniel Patrick Moynihan identified the problem and was promptly accused of racism for his pains. Today the out-of-wedlock birthrate for blacks is 72 percent. It's 28 percent for whites and 40 percent for the nation as a whole. (The white illegitimacy rate was 3 percent in 1965.)
We are living in the midst of a revolution that few want to talk about even though, if not reversed, it will spell the end of Western Civilization. Accompanying this revolution has been the collapse of fertility rates, especially in Europe. This demographic revolution, aided by contraception and abortion, ensures that income transfer programs will not be sustainable for much longer -- perhaps no more than another 10 years in Europe.
There is little discussion of these issues in the press. The Wall Street Journal keeps a weather eye out for approaching economic icebergs but has little to say about the culture war and its implications. But economy and culture can't be kept separate for long. When children grow up without fathers, taxpayers foot the bill, girls grow up to imitate their mothers, and the boys join gangs and in many cases go to prison.
In Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age, Kay Hymowitz reported that "it is largely low-income twenty-somethings who are having a baby without a wedding ring." The women forgoing husbands "are precisely the ones who can least afford to do so." She also said that "virtually all" children whose families earn more than $75,000 a year "are living with both parents."
The culture war presses on with undiminished zeal. The FRC's "Index" has not been reported by the major media, who focus obsessively on "the drop in teen births." It is not the age but the marital status of parents that matters
FOR SOME YEARS, there has also been an organized pretense that male/female differences are more acculturated than real. With good training and propaganda it is imagined that such differences can be eliminated. Hence the push to house college students without regard to gender -- not just on the same dorm but in the same room. The earlier goal, to thrust women into combat, was similarly motivated.
The feminist ideologues will certainly fail in their campaign to homogenize gender. Male and female will remain starkly differentiated, as always. It's remarkable, though, that the attempt has been made, showing the fanaticism of the feminists. They have gone so far as to play into the hands of promiscuous men who have long embraced sex without consequences, otherwise known as the Playboy Philosophy. With a few exceptions, feminists have reinforced the sexual revolution rather than countered it. They see inequality of any description as an abomination and as something that must be stamped out.
Homosexual activists show a comparable fanaticism. They won't rest until their goal -- moral approval by the pope -- has been achieved. Feeble as the Catholic hierarchy has been since the Second Vatican Council, especially on sexual matters, such a surrender in Rome is not in the cards. The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" may itself have unintended consequences. Some of those who engage in homosexual activity fear being "outed" by other gays more than they fear "straight" disapproval. The pretense is that "openness" is the desideratum where gays are concerned, but the whole subject remains fraught with taboos. We'll see what happens.
It may well be that not much will happen, as those urging DADT repeal have said. The inborn male-female attraction is so strong that those who do not experience it at all are few -- certainly far less than the touted 10 percent of the population. Homosexuals may well pose more of a threat to each other than to society at large.
Times’ Slanted Wisconsin Coverage Contrasts With Their Treatment of Tea Party
In 2009 and 2010 the New York Times covered protests against the Obama administration’s stimulus spending bill and health care plan as the barely legal revolt of an unwashed and uncivil band of reactionaries determined not only to halt what the paper considered progress but also to thwart democracy. But anyone looking at the Times’ front page article on Saturday describing protests against the effort by Wisconsin’s newly elected governor and legislature to balance the state’s books got a very different view of a protest movement.
According to the Times, the activities of the Wisconsin public sector unions — whose expensive benefits have put their state on the brink of bankruptcy — are nothing less than the moral equivalent of the demonstrations in Tunisia that brought down an authoritarian dictatorship. As the headline “Wisconsin Leads the Way as Workers Fight Cuts” indicates, the whole focus of the piece is an effort to portray the unions and their Democratic allies as revolutionaries who are on the cutting edge of a movement that will, in effect, reverse the verdict of last year’s election.
There are two points to be made about this coverage.
First, the portrayal of the unions and their Democratic Party allies, who have attempted not so much to defeat the Republican program but to prevent the legislature from even meeting to vote, as the progressive movement that represents the will of the people is absurd. This fight is about the will of the people but it is the public sector unions and the Democrats who are trying to thwart that will.
As is the case with many other states, Wisconsin is going broke because past governments have let public employee unions have their way in collective bargaining. The result is an extraordinarily generous package of health-care and pension benefits that few, if any, in the private sector (where workers rarely are paid as much as government workers these days) enjoy.
Governor Walker wants those public employees to begin contributing to their health-care costs and their pensions the way almost everyone who is not a government employee must. And he wants to curb the ability of these unions to hold the government hostage by ending their right of collective bargaining. That is a setback for unions but the alternative is the budget chaos that is bankrupting state governments around the nation. The unions may use the rhetoric of the workingman but they are actually seeking to retain benefits that enrich their members at the expense of hardworking taxpayers who aren’t as lucky.
Moreover the idea that these unions are fighting oppressive Republicans is a joke. Contrary to the Times, the governor of Wisconsin and the Republicans in the legislature there are not the moral equivalent of Tunisian or Egyptian autocrats. They were voted into office by the people and what they are doing is exactly what they promised the electorate they would do once they gained office. It is the unions and the Democrats who are the reactionary defenders of an untenable and frankly undemocratic status quo, not the Republicans who advocate change.
Second, and just as important for those who watch the media, the Times’ flattering portrait of the protesters ignores the extremist and violent rhetoric that has characterized the union demonstrators. As we noted Friday, unionists and the Democratic Party activists who have been bused in to help them have compared Governor Walker to Adolf Hitler and the Republicans to Nazis, as this video illustrates. Yet the Times has ignored that aspect of the story even though such rhetoric and demonstrators’ signs were the focus of much of their coverage of Tea Party protests.
Liberal Political Operatives, Worried About Republican Oversight, Seek to Discredit Rep. Darrell Issa
In their usual "ad hominem" way. Defamatory accusations are all they've got
One gained the reputation as “Dr. Death” for his political tactics. He is joined by political operatives who worked for Democratic candidates such as Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Jerry Brown, and lent their know-how to the unsuccessful campaign to legalize marijuana in California. These political operatives have launched a campaign to discredit House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Members of the San Francisco-based political strategy firm SCN Strategies started an organization called Third Lantern, with a Web site, issafiles.com, which purports to show already public documents about Issa’s past. “The Third Lantern is a new organization formed to warn fellow patriots of a new threat to democracy from Mr. Issa’s deeply partisan investigation,” the Third Lantern press release said. “The Third Lantern will shed light on Mr. Issa’s misuse of taxpayer funds and show he is not qualified to be a credible investigator.”
The organization plans to run TV ads in the future, but thus far is not saying who is financing the initiative. SCN Strategies has been heavily involved in Democratic politics, but has traditionally worked on behalf of a candidate or group.
During the 2010 campaign season, many Democrats alleged that Issa would engage in partisan witch hunts of the Obama administration. However, since becoming chairman, all the investigations Issa has announced have had a nonpartisan flavor. The committee has announced plans, for example, to investigate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s contribution to the housing crisis in 2008, the administration’s response to the Freedom of Information Act and corruption in the Afghanistan government. The committee most recently subpoenaed information about Countrywide VIP mortgage loans.
The president of Third Lantern, according to the group’s press release, is Averell “Ace” Smith with SCN Strategies. Sean Clegg and Dan Newman, also of SCN Strategies, are overseeing the anti-Issa project, as is Jeff Millman of Los Angeles. Millman began his career in 2005 as an aide to Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn. He went on to be the press secretary for the California Democratic Party in 2006.
Smith worked for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2008, and helped her win the California and Texas Democratic primaries that year, according to several news reports. The San Francisco Chronicle marveled at his and his firm’s ability to go after opponents, with its tongue-in-cheek “Chronie Awards” on Nov. 5, 2010. “The Hot Political Shop Award: To the Dr. Death of Political Opposition Research – Ace Smith – and his SCN crew (Dan Newman and Sean Clegg),” the Chronicle wrote.
Democratic strategist Chris Lehane made Godfather-like comparisons about SCN in a Los Angeles Times article published on May 3, 2008. “I believe that every life lesson in politics can be extrapolated from ‘The Godfather,’” Lehane told the L.A. Times. “Some people are Fredos; at game time they disappear. There are Sonnys, who yell and scream. The most effective ones are the Michael Corleones. Very quiet, they know under which rib to insert the knife. Ace is a Michael Corleone.”
A May 12, 2007 Chronicle story was headlined “Clinton’s man in California is pro at digging up dirt.” That story quoted Garry South, a former advisor to former California Gov. Gray Davis, who called Smith “the best op research guy in America on either side of the aisle. He digs under every rock.”
Most of the information on the anti-Issa Web site had been widely reported when Issa was a candidate for office, such as charges for car theft in 1972 that were dropped and questions about his business that burned down in 1982, for which Issa was never charged.
“As Congressman Issa begins his frivolous investigations, The Third Lantern, will conduct our own examination of Mr. Issa’s behavior and prove he lacks credibility as a congressional investigator,” Smith said in a statement. “The Third Lantern will release documents which will shed light on Mr. Issa’s history and demonstrate that he is solely motivated by partisan rancor of the lowest order.”
Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella said this is not in keeping with President Barack Obama’s call for “talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” “The American people are not interested in this kind of destructive politics-as-usual attack that only serves to advance an agenda of divisiveness and pettiness,” Bardella told CNSNews.com. “It’s beyond hypocritical for the very people embarking on this misguided campaign to launch a McCarthy-esque fishing expedition against Chairman Issa, while refusing to disclose where their funding is coming from.
Let teachers tantrum … then fire them: "When our son would tantrum -- as all toddlers do at least once -- we would calmly carry him to his room; explain that we did not want to see or hear such ugliness; and give him permission to rejoin us in the common areas of the home once he 'finished.' Soon ... then sooner ... then soonest, he finished and the tantrum phase ended. Toddlers are much more sensible than many teachers."
Wisconsin: Battle for the soul of America: "It is hard to overstate what is at stake in the dramatic showdown between Wisconsin’s teachers and their Republican governor and legislature. The political and economic course of our country hinges on how the issue of public sector unions is resolved, in Wisconsin and elsewhere. For the sake of our country’s political and economic future, Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican colleagues need to prevail in the current contest with the Wisconsin teachers’ union and their allies."
Hyper-chutzpah: "The classic illustration of chutzpah is a man who murders his parents, then at trial throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. But what word would you use to describe the person who not only murders his parents but consumes their body parts, then goes to an adoption agency in search of new ones? ... This is about the best description possible of Bob King, the new head of the United Auto Workers union."
Zogby poll: Majorities Say States Can Cut Employee Salaries & Void Collective Bargaining Agreements: "Two-thirds of likely voters agree that state legislatures have the authority to cut state employee salaries and 52% agree they can void collective bargaining agreements to reduce spending. Voiding collective bargaining agreements is also seen as preferable to continuing to pay state employees at current levels or layoffs of state workers in order to reduce spending and control deficits. These results come from a Zogby Interactive poll conducted from Feb. 18-21, 2011."
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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)