Sunday, March 04, 2012

Hating Republicans In Southern California

“We are not the same. I equate Republicans’ political views with thoughtlessness, intolerance and narcissism. They’re neither kind nor empathetic.”

The preceding words are a direct quote, written by Diana Wagman, a novelist, in an Op-Ed piece she penned for the Los Angeles Times, on February 21, 2012.

Ms. Wagman, who describes herself and her husband as, “…both bleeding heart liberals”, related her tale of an inadvertent discovery of the political views of the couple who own a vacation cabin across the street from the Wagman’s own spread, in the Sierra Nevada, just outside of Fresno, California. Ms. Wagman described her shock when, after an evening spent playing poker and sipping scotch, she found, to her horror, that the aforementioned couple across the street were conservative-Tea Partying Republicans. Your humble Townhall correspondent assumed that the rest of this piece would become a rather commonplace “can’t judge a book by its cover”, missive, but at that point it spun off in exactly the opposite direction.

Ms. Wagman informed her readers that her across-the-street acquaintances were the perfect neighbors. They were pleasant, helpful, and friendly. As Ms. Wagman put it, “They are a lovely family: husband, wife, and four smart, funny, polite children. I was sure they were Democrats.” They were also an interracial family, with an African-American mother and a White father.

The trouble began when the Wagmans invited their new friends in for a final drink after the annual Camp Sierra Association poker game. The friends announced that they were members of the Tea Party, and for good measure, they added that the Tea Party was not racist because, they, an interracial couple, had been eagerly welcomed and accepted by their Tea Party compatriots. In Wagman’s own words, “…I was shouting, his wife was trying to calm him down, my husband was trying to calm me down, and our other friends-all Democrats- were trying to keep everybody from breaking the furniture.”

Ms. Wagman goes on to describe the downward spiral of the evening. She states that they argued about healthcare, welfare, Obama’s religion and citizenship, and the war on terror. Things soon descended to name-calling; “He called me a spoiled idiot and worse. I called him selfish, shortsighted and worse. It was awful, and it went on until after 3 AM.”

It is sad when friends sometimes fall out over politics, but it does happen. Thomas Sowell may have been correct in the late 1980s when he argued that political bickering masked deep divisions of a cultural and sociological nature, and that these divisions could never really be bridged.

Be that as it may, in this particular case apologies were proffered, but not really accepted. “The next morning, they knocked on our door and we apologized to each other and laughed sheepishly…But my feelings about them are changed. I cannot respect them as I did before…I don’t want to be friends with someone who is a member of the Tea Party, or is a Newt Gingrich Republican. We are not the same. I equate their political views with thoughtlessness, intolerance and narcissism. I think they are neither kind nor empathetic.”

Ms. Wagman goes on to express her wish for conservatives: “If only they would all go live in Gingrich’s moon colony.” She then rattles off a listing of her certified liberal views and argues that they “…seem so logical to me…these are no-brainers to me, and it kills me that my neighbor disagrees.” She idly wonders if any number of bitter misfortunes, such as having a son killed in Afghanistan, a daughter turning up pregnant, or a sister announcing that she was a lesbian would change her neighbor’s opinions. She finishes her article by stating, “Next time I drive to our cabin, I’m going to make sure I take everything I could possibly need. I don’t want to ask my neighbors for help. I hope it’s their weekend to stay home.”

Let us hope that Ms. Wagman is speaking for herself, and does not represent the views and attitudes of the modern American liberal. It seems quite bigoted, small-minded and petulant to argue that simply discovering that the neighbors are anti-Obama Tea Partiers precludes the possibility of friendship, or even cordiality between their respective families. This is pretty incendiary stuff. Whatever became of the Hubert Humphrey School of “Happy Warrior” type liberalism?

The material point in this column is quite simple. Diana Wagman is likely the type of liberal who bemoans the polarized nature of our politics, the divisive state of our culture, and the vanishing of civility from our public discourse. Yet, in her Op-Ed piece she freely admits that she is a liberal and that she essentially hates Republicans because they are conservatives.

Certainly Ms. Wagman would argue that Rush Limbaugh should be censored, that Ann Coulter is a national disgrace, and that George W. Bush was the worst President in American history. She does not consider these views over the top. On the contrary “they seem so logical” to her. (Perhaps these attitudes represent the worldview of regular readers of the Los Angeles Times.) It goes without saying that she considers hating conservatives to be quite logical, too. If Ms. Wagman really wants to pin the “polarizing” and “divisive” tails on the political donkey she can start with herself.



Obama's dithering is dangerous for Israel

President Obama responded calmly and masterfully to a heckler at one of his New York fundraisers this week. “Hold on there, young lady, nobody’s announced a war just yet,” he said. The protester demanded the U.S. not take military action against the escalating threat of Iran’s nuclear arms program.

No such action is in the offing. Mideast adviser Dennis Ross, who is forever counseling administrations of both parties on how to make nice with Israel’s not-so-nice neighbors, assures us that Iran will not be able to “surprise” the West during any negotiations. He says Iran is not like Japan.

Really? How does he know that? Aggressive. Insular. Driven by a sense of the superiority of their own culture and religion. Willing to engage in suicide bombings. That’s an apt description of the pre-Pearl Harbor Japan, or Iran under the Mullahs today.

The president tells his heckler not to “jump the gun” in assuming that he, Barack Obama, has decided on military action against Iran. “Nobody’s announced a war just yet.” That reminds us of the slogan of the anti-war Left in the 1970s: “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?”

Mr. Obama’s riposte makes about as much logical sense as that bumper sticker mentality from the Age of Aquarius. Suppose, Mr. President, Iran gave a war and you didn’t notice? Starting in 1979 with the seizure of our embassy in Tehran and the 444 days of captivity for our 52 hostages, Iran has been engaged in acts of war against the United States. The murder of 241 Marines and Navy Corpsmen in Beirut in 1983 was an act of war against us by proxies widely assumed to be acting on instructions from Tehran.

What kind of reassurance can Israel take from the statements of Mr. Obama’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Gen. Martin Dempsey said Iran is a “rational actor” on the world stage. If you assume that that means they have taken this president’s measure and will act accordingly, the general may actually be right.

Recall President Obama’s first act in foreign policy. He signed an Executive Order requiring closing within one year of the U.S. detention facility at Guantànamo Bay. That was more than three years ago.

Gitmo remains open. It should remain open. In one of its last acts, the Lame Duck 111th Congress—one of the most liberal Congresses in history—required by law that Gitmo remain open. Mr. Obama’s flourishing left-handed signature of Executive Order Zero is proof that you don’t need to take what this president says too seriously.

The Iranians obviously don’t take him seriously. Neither should the Israelis. President Obama recently told an interviewer from The Atlantic magazine:

"We, immediately upon taking over, mapped out a strategy that said we are going to mobilize the international community around this issue and isolate Iran to send a clear message to them that there is a path they can follow that allows them to rejoin the community of nations, but if they refused to follow that path, that there would be an escalating series of consequences."

“Mobilize the international community?” Would that include Russia and China? Sec. of State Hillary Clinton recently called their non-cooperation at the UN on the matter of sanctions against Syria “despicable.” Syria is a client state of Iran. If we cannot rely on Russia and China to help us with a non-nuclear Syria, how can we ever expect genuine cooperation with them on Iran? So far, both of these permanent members of the UN Security Council have been busy pulling the teeth of every UN sanctions resolution they see.

Barack Obama may worry about rejoining “the community of nations.” That was, ostensibly, the rationale for all his bowing with apologies tours of foreign capitals.

But the Iranian Mullahs have shown no concern about rejoining the community of nations. They are happy enough dealing with Castro Cuba and Venezuela’s anti-American dictator Hugo Chavez.

Contrast the feckless Obama administration’s handling of nuclear threats to Israel with that of Ronald Reagan in 1981. When the Israelis struck the Osirak reactor being built by Saddam Hussein, Israeli military leaders were invited to the Pentagon. Instead of being censured for their unilateral action, Reagan military chiefs wanted to know how they achieved such a stunning success.

Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israel’s military intelligence, argues in this week’s New York Times that now may be the Jewish state’s “last chance” to stop Iran’s nuclear bomb.

We should never have allowed it to come to this. As Charles Krauthammer says, “Israel was founded to prevent a second Holocaust, not invite one.”



The steady "Progressive" march towards a Fascist America

When big government becomes all-embracing you have Fascism. America is nearly there

The archbishop of Philadelphia. The president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The head of the Union for Traditional Judaism.

What do these three eminent religious leaders have in common? They’re among more than 300 distinguished individuals who have signed a statement by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty protesting the Obama administration’s infamous “contraception mandate.”

Their beliefs fall from one end of the theological spectrum to the other. But all agree that government has no business forcing every health insurance plan to provide “free” abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization.

In reality, of course, these things aren’t free. The costs will be passed on to employers, including those who have moral objections to them. Apparently they’re expected to just check their First Amendment rights at the door. Welcome to the land of the not-so-free.

The White House tried to sell a promised “accommodation” of the objections lodged by religious groups at an unspecified later date. But the Becket Fund group, among others, wasn’t fooled.

“This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand,” the group wrote. “It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience to imagine that they will accept an assault on their religious liberty if only it is covered up by a cheap accounting trick.”

The true importance of this issue goes deeper than many people realize. Anyone who thinks this is merely a scuffle over religion should think again. Atheists should be just as alarmed as the most devout Catholics, Protestants, Jews or Muslims. That’s because this fight really amounts to the latest skirmish in a larger battle over how free we Americans are today.

We’re living in the age of Unelected Bureaucrats. They can run our lives in minute detail, from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we go to bed at night. In the name of “progress,” no area of our lives, no aspect of society is left untouched.

“All is subject to government control, regulatory dictate and administrative whim,” writes Matthew Spalding, vice president of American Studies at The Heritage Foundation. “Nothing will be allowed outside of the new regulatory scheme: no independent state programs, no individuals or businesses permitted not to participate, no true private market alternatives.”

Today, it’s clear that one of the sharpest distinctions between conservatives and progressives lies in our contrasting attitudes to civil society. Conservatives, following Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville, see hope and renewal coming from families, churches and civic groups. Progressives see them as fomenting prejudice and ignorance.

For conservatives, social justice is best pursued by restoring community, familial love, self-respect and responsibility, all products of a robust civil society. Progressives, by contrast, believe that social justice means redistributing material wealth.

Today the “clash of visions” between conservatives and progressives over civil society is most apparent in their contrasting responses to the Tea Party movement. For conservatives, the Tea Party movement is a classic example of Edmund Burke’s “little platoons” springing into action.

Ordinary Americans, appalled by the sudden, massive expansion of Big Government, and by the equally sudden, explosive growth of the national debt, have spontaneously organized into associations demanding change. Were Burke alive today, he surely would cite the rise of the Tea Party movement as vital to the health and well-being of democracy.

It’s obvious, though, that progressives are unwilling to give up yet. They’re still trying to mold society in their image. But can they succeed by alienating every major religious group in the country?

When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he said he wanted to be a “uniter.” It looks as if he finally got his wish.



Obama Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Terrorists

In CNN’s Arizona Republican presidential debate, Newt Gingrich commented that under Obama’s presidency, “if you’re America’s enemy, you’re safe.” Newt added “I believe this is the most dangerous president on national security grounds in American history.”

Newt is absolutely right. For more than 11 months, Syria has been embroiled in a bloody, civil war, where over 6,000 people have been killed by President Assad’s orders. What has the Obama administration done? Virtually nothing but stand back and try to work through the useless body called the United Nations where China and Russian vetoed the UN Security Council’s resolution condemning the violence in Syria. Where was the Obama administration calls for Assad to resign months ago?

While Syria burns, the terrorist nation of Iran has been ramping up threats on its intentions to become a nuclear brandishing regime that would not only take aim at American but said it wants “to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” Again the Obama administration has been slow to act, only recently hitting Iran with economic sanctions. Remember this was the same president who said nothing about Iran’s 2009 rigged elections which allowed President Ahmadinejad to remain in office.

Obama seems to be coddling our enemies more like they are our friends. After jacking up our debt to $15 trillion in three short years, Obama thought now was a good time to build a $750,000 playground at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp (GITMO) so terrorists would feel comfortable. According to military police, the new soccer field was built because that’s the sport of choice for most of the detainees and because they deserve to be rewarded for crimes committed against the United States. Detainees are granted 20 hours a day access to the field.

It’s also worth noting, this soccer field will compliment the already existing indoor recreation field and outdoor field because evidently, the Obama administration feels a terrorist’s well being is a terrible thing to waste. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he “wasn’t aware of it.” I guess the next thing American taxpayers will be paying for is spa treatments for detainees at GITMO.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


No comments: