Monday, August 05, 2013
Understanding the Left
From an Australian Jewish viewpoint
I might have finally understood the Left. The stance of the Left is best explained by one of my favourite jokes – the social worker joke:
"Two social workers are walking down the street late at night. As they turn a corner, they see a man lying in the gutter. He is bruised and bleeding, his clothes torn, and he is moaning with pain; clearly he has been attacked. He sees the two people and calls to them “Please, someone help me!”
And one of the social workers turns to the other and says: “Whoever did this to him needs help!”"
This joke epitomizes the seemingly inverted attitude of the Left towards so many things today.
The Left love the victim or underdog in any conflict. In particular, they love someone they think they can help (whether they can is another question). In the joke, the man lying in the gutter is clearly a victim but can he be helped by a social worker? What he needs is urgent medical assistance. Instead the social worker wants to seek out the ‘root cause of the conflict’ and fix that. Why did the perpetrator of the attack do such a thing?
In the world of the Left there is no absolute good or bad. There’s actually not much free choice either. People are a product of their upbringing and the circumstances they find themselves in. These circumstances are what forces people to do what they do. So the perpetrator is the one truly deserving of help – that person is the true victim of their circumstance who was forced into crime. If only we can fix that person and people like them, crime would disappear!
For the Left, there is no such thing as a terrorist. They are ‘militants’ or ‘freedom fighters’ – heroes fighting for the most noble cause of freedom. Can there be a greater calling? Being ‘freedom fighters’ means their enemy are those who are depriving them of freedom, which in turn causes their ‘despair’, which forces them to do terrible things, like murder innocent civilians by blowing themselves up.
If Islamist leaders hate Jews and Israel and openly declare their intent to destroy them, the view of the Left is that it could not be because they have some twisted ideology, or are just plain bad folks. Rather, it must be because of something Israel did which causes them to be radicalized. Therefore, the onus is entirely on Israel to change, and/or to appease them. Whether it’s truly in Israel’s power to do anything about this is irrelevant. Nothing is ever asked of a victim. Israel is expected to free convicted murderers in order for the Palestinians will agree to come to the negotiating table!
In 1948 and 1967, Israel was the victim. That ‘plucky little country’ was surrounded by enemies seeking her destruction. The Left rallied behind Israel back then, but not any more. Why? Israel made the terrible mistake of defeating her enemies at war, then building a successful country instead of wallowing in self-pity and victim-hood. Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries made new lives for themselves. They can no longer be helped – they fixed themselves! What’s the Left to do except turn the tables and turn David into the new Goliath?
Asylum seekers try to reach Australia by the boat-load. They take huge risks to escape their home countries and seek out a safer, better life in a first world country like Australia, which is signatory to conventions governing the way we must deal with refugees. So if only they can get here, all will be well. We have a view of the tail end of their journey – the final boat leg across treacherous waters from Indonesia and thereabouts. But in fact, their journey starts well before that. We have no idea how much they have paid, how many have died along the way and what they have been told by people smugglers. Yet the view of the Left is that we are entirely responsible for providing first world refugee settlement services wherever they need them. Their view is that they are forced by their circumstance to take a dangerous boat ride and we must do whatever we can to help them.
Is taking out full page ads in newspapers declaring that they will not be settled in Australia the answer? I doubt it. For all we know, they may choose to believe the people smugglers instead. Will establishing refugee assessment centres in Asia fix the problem? It will fix it for some, but is unlikely to make a serious dent nor to stop the people who don’t want to be processed in Indonesia from taking a boat. Because as many refugees as we help, there will always be many more we cannot. But the Left will not stop campaigning until they help everyone in the world.
This bizarre inversion comes from from a fundamental view on the nature of people. If you believe that all people are essentially good, then you are stuck with a question: why do good people do really bad/dangerous/risky things? The only possible answer is that it’s because they have been provoked; because some ‘root cause’ has led them down this path.
By maintaining this view of people the Left believe they can fix the whole world. But in a world where there is no shortage of bad, what if the Left’s view of the world is flawed? What if there are people who are genuinely evil? People who view appeasement as weakness and either pounce on it, or shift the goalposts so that consensus is never reached, or until their true motives are revealed? What if wars must be fought and won to defeat those who wish our destruction? Unfortunately, we cannot count on the Left to fight these wars.
Bureaucratic overkill again
13 Wisconsin officials raid animal shelter to kill baby deer. No goodwill at all
Two weeks ago, Ray Schulze was working in a barn at the Society of St. Francis no-kill animal shelter in Kenosha, Wis., when officials swarmed the shelter with a search warrant.
“[There were] nine [Department of Natural Resources] agents and four deputy sheriffs, and they were all armed to the teeth,” Mr. Schulze told WISN 12. “It was like a SWAT team.”
The agents were there to retrieve a baby deer named Giggles that was dropped off by a family worried she had been abandoned by her mother, the station reported. Wisconsin law forbids the possession of wildlife.
“I said the deer is scheduled to go to the wildlife reserve the next day,” Mr. Schulze told the station. “I was thinking in my mind they were going to take the deer and take it to a wildlife shelter, and here they come carrying the baby deer over their shoulder. She was in a body bag. I said, ‘Why did you do that?’ He said, ‘That’s our policy,’ and I said, ‘That’s one hell of a policy.’”
Department of Natural Resources Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer told WISN 12 that the law requires DNR agents to euthanize wild animals because of their potential danger.
The station asked if the raid could have been done in a less costly manner by making a phone call first.
“If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don’t call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up,” the supervisor responded.
Shelter president Cindy Schultz said she plans to sue the agency. “They went way over the top for a little, tiny, baby deer,” Miss Schultz said.
Living the dream? Record Number 21 Million Young Adults Living With Parents
A record number of young adults are living with their parents. A new study from Pew Research finds that 36 percent of Millennials – young adults ages 18 to 31 – are living at their parents’ homes, the highest number in four decades. A record 21.6 million young adults were still living at home last year.
“Most of my friends that have graduated end up living back home because even if they have a job they can’t afford to pay rent and pay back their loans at the same time,” Stephanie Levonne, a 20-year-old college student living at home, told CBS News. “I know a lot of people that took out almost half or more of their tuition in loans which is $50,000 so it’s impossible to pay rent and live in New York City while paying off your loan.”
The number rose from 32 percent at the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007 and 34 percent in 2009.
Declining employment led more young adults to stay with their parents. Sixty-three percent of Millennials had jobs in 2012, down from 70 percent in 2007.
Obama's Creeping Authoritarianism
Imposed law replaces checks and balances
If we learned anything about Barack Obama in his first term it is that when he starts repeating the same idea over and over, what's on his mind is something else.
The first term's over-and-over subject was "the wealthiest 1%." Past some point, people wondered why he kept beating these half-dead horses. After the election, we knew. It was to propagandize the targeted voting base that would provide his 4% popular-vote margin of victory—very young voters and minorities. They believed. He won.
The second-term over-and-over, elevated in his summer speech tour, is the shafting of the middle class. But the real purpose here isn't the speeches' parboiled proposals. It is what he says the shafting of the middle class is forcing him to do. It is forcing him to "act"—to undertake an unprecedented exercise of presidential power in domestic policy-making. ObamaCare was legislated. In the second term, new law will come from him.
Please don't complain later that you didn't see it coming. As always, Mr. Obama states publicly what his intentions are. He is doing that now. Toward the end of his speech last week in Jacksonville, Fla., he said: "So where I can act on my own, I'm going to act on my own. I won't wait for Congress." (Applause.)
The July 24 speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., has at least four references to his intent to act on his own authority, as he interprets it: "That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I'll use it." (Applause.) And: "We're going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with or without Congress."
Every president since George Washington has felt frustration with the American system's impediments to change. This president is done with Congress.
The political left, historically inclined by ideological belief to public policy that is imposed rather than legislated, will support Mr. Obama's expansion of authority. The rest of us should not.
The U.S. has a system of checks and balances. Mr. Obama is rebalancing the system toward a national-leader model that is alien to the American tradition.
To create public support for so much unilateral authority, Mr. Obama needs to lessen support for the other two branches of government—Congress and the judiciary. He is doing that.
Mr. Obama and his supporters in the punditocracy are defending this escalation by arguing that Congress is "gridlocked." But don't overstate that low congressional approval rating. This is the one branch that represents the views of all Americans. It's gridlocked because voters are.
Take a closer look at the Galesburg and Jacksonville speeches. Mr. Obama doesn't merely criticize Congress. He mocks it repeatedly. Washington "ignored" problems. It "made things worse." It "manufactures" crises and "phony scandals." He is persuading his audiences to set Congress aside and let him act.
So too the judiciary. During his 2010 State of the Union speech, Mr. Obama denounced the Supreme Court Justices in front of him. The National Labor Relations Board has continued to issue orders despite two federal court rulings forbidding it to do so. Attorney General Eric Holder says he will use a different section of the Voting Rights Act to impose requirements on Southern states that the Supreme Court ruled illegal. Mr. Obama's repeated flouting of the judiciary and its decisions are undermining its institutional authority, as intended.
The three administration nominees enabled by the Senate's filibuster deal—Richard Cordray at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Thomas Perez at the Labor Department and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy—open a vast swath of American life to executive authority on steroids. There won't be enough hours in the day for Mr. Obama to "act on my own."
In a recent Journal op-ed, "Obama Suspends the Law," former federal judge Michael McConnell noted there are few means to stop a president who decides he is not obligated to execute laws as passed by Congress. So there's little reason to doubt we'll see more Obamaesque dismissals of established law, as with ObamaCare's employer mandate. Mr. Obama is pushing in a direction that has the potential for a political crisis.
A principled opposition would speak out. Barack Obama is right that he isn't running again. But the Democratic Party is. Their Republican opponents should force the party's incumbents to defend the president's creeping authoritarianism.
If Democratic Senate incumbents or candidates from Louisiana, Alaska, Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, Montana and Iowa think voters should accede to a new American system in which a president forces laws into place as his prerogative rather than first passing them through Congress, they should be made to say so.
And to be sure, the other purpose of the shafted middle-class tour is to demolish the GOP's standing with independent voters and take back the House in 2014. If that happens—and absent a more public, aggressive Republican voice it may—an unchecked, unbalanced presidential system will finally arrive.
A final quotation on America's system of government: "To ensure that no person or group would amass too much power, the founders established a government in which the powers to create, implement, and adjudicate laws were separated. Each branch of government is balanced by powers in the other two coequal branches." Source: The White House website of President Barack Obama.
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Posted by JR at 12:34 AM