Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Does the rally in the picture below remind you of anything?

Hitler? Obama? It is in fact a 1939 rally in London of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), led by Sir Osward Mosley.

Via Powerline, who also note that Sir Oswald was an early advocate of socialized healthcare. Mosley would no doubt be gratified by the extent to which his party's socialist vision of government control over the healthcare industry has become the policy of the current administration in the U.S.A. Note the following quote from the BUF health policy:
The voluntary hospitals which have done so much in the training of doctors, dentists and nurses, are undoubtedly finding it extremely difficult in carrying on at the highest pitch of efficiency, for financial reasons. The British Union of Fascists views with admiration the work done by the men and women who are responsible for the building up of this system, and it sees no reason for the abolition of the voluntary hospitals. On the assumption of power we envisage the appointment of a National Director of Hospitals, who would co-ordinate the working of all the different hospitals (both Voluntary and State hospitals) and who would be represented by a single nominee on the governing Committees of all the voluntary hospitals. The State would make it its duty to find the necessary additional funds for the management of the voluntary hospitals and would not interfere in their internal management.

Does that remind you of someone who repeatedly assures people that they will all be able to keep their existing healthcare insurance after his socialist plan is implemented?


Did Krupskaya cave?

(Krupskaya was the wife of V.I. Lenin)

We have closely followed the story of Obama administration flack Linda Douglass -- a cross between Nurse Ratched and Mrs. Lenin -- and her invitation to report fishy comments on Obamacare to the official email address. I thought the project was, as the liberals say nowadays, un-American, and rather obviously so. How fitting of the Obama administration to hark back to the ethos of Big Brother while promoting socialized health care.

Appropriately enough, the email address disappeared down the memory hole. The White House has apparently issued no announcement on the disposition of the email account. Many would-be informers have been left in the lurch, sadly including those of us who have taken to turning in Obama for his compulsively fishy comments on his putative program. Politico's Mike Allen reports the story without comment.

Did Krupskaya cave? Maybe, but she may also have beat a tactical retreat. Frustrated informants can still submit their neighbors' fishy thoughts on Obamacare to the White House via the "Reality Check" Web page on, which allows the submission of readers' comments. The Web form stresses, however, that viewers are discouraged from from submitting "any individual's personal information, including their [sic] email address, without their permission."

What can we learn from this episode? The Obama administration is sensitive to ridicule, disinclined frankly to admit error and virtually incapable of seeing itself as others see it. In the service of a radical agenda pursued with deceit and demagoguery, it will grudgingly take one step back while it rewrites its playbook to advance three or four steps forward.



Finding no buyers for snake oil

Master politician that he is, Barack Obama is a lousy calculator. He spectacularly misjudged the American public's appetite for a government nanny. Or maybe he miscalculated the power of his slippery tongue to sell government snake oil. His apparent willingness to abandon the attempt - for now - to nationalize the health-care industry appears to defer the Democratic first step in remaking the home of the brave and the land of the free into Little America, cutting it down to a size incapable of intimidating the likes of Switzerland or Swaziland.

But only if the opposition keeps up unremitting pressure. The president signals a change in tactics, not objectives. His concession that the so-called "government option" is temporarily dead does not mean the dream of "postalizing" health care, of making it as responsive as the Post Office, is dead. It's merely that the tenderizing pain in certain Democratic keesters is so acute that somebody had to find a way to get a little relief. Running up a fake white flag might do it; when the opposition puts down its guns the postalizers will fire at will.

The president never actually said he would defer to public sentiment. The special gift of snake-oil salesmen is their ability to say one thing and make audiences hear something else. "All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform," he told an audience on Sunday in Colorado. "This is just one sliver of it."

The leftmost fringe of his party is having none of this apparent concession to reasonableness and moderation. House Democrats recall their ecstasy of waking up on the morning after the 2008 elections, imagining that with their 78-seat margin it's now or never, and they can't wait to get started on the plastic surgery to alter the face of America the Beautiful. They've been sharpening scalpels and carving knives since.

This puts the House leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her liege man, Steny Hoyer, in a particular bind. They owe their 78-seat margin to men and women moderate enough to win in conservative districts; many of these freshmen know they will never be sophomores if they vote for a health care plan that dooms the private insurance coverage that works well enough for the middle class.

One of them, Rep. Eric Massa of New York, is a confirmed nanny-state Democrat who understands what a vote for Obamacare is likely to cost him. "I will vote adamantly against the interests of my district if I actually think what I am doing is going to be helpful. I will vote against their opinion if I actually believe it will help them."

The early Democratic strategy of trying to shout down the opposition, painting critics as Nazis waving swastikas (Nancy Pelosi), as "evil-mongers" (Senate Leader Harry Reid), as "un-American" (Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas), as over-dressed snobs and bounders (Sen. Barbara Boxer of California), clearly failed.

So has the attempt to portray critics as ignorant yahoos too thick to understand how well government health schemes have worked in places like Canada and Great Britain. The more we learn about the Canadian and British schemes the less they look like models for anyone.

The new president of the Canadian Medical Association says Canadian doctors must recognize how sick the Canadian system is and figure out how to fix it. "We all agree that the system is imploding," says Dr. Anne Doig, "and we all agree that things are more precarious than Canadians perhaps realize."

Stephen Glover, a columnist for the London Daily Mail, defends Britain's National Health Service but concedes that Americans wouldn't like it. "Consult any American who has encountered the National Health Service," he writes. "Often [visiting Americans] cannot believe ... the squalor, the looming threat, the long waiting lists and especially the target that patients in 'accident and emergency' should be expected to wait for no more than four - four! - hours, the sense exuded by some medical staff that they are doing you a favor by taking down your personal details. Most Americans, let's face it, are used to much higher standards of health care than we enjoy."

Americans aren't as dumb as the politicians often think they are, and nothing educates politicians like a well-aimed two-by-four square across the noggin. That's the hard lesson of the summer of '09.



Obama loses trust of Israel backers

Majority see president as 'pro-Palestinian'

President Obama's harsh criticism of West Bank settlements during his heavily publicized June speech to the Arab world in Cairo continues to reverberate here, undercutting his popularity and heightening tensions with some pro-Israel advocates in the United States. Navigating the complex relationship with Israel is a delicate task for any administration, but relations are especially delicate now as Mr. Obama is making a major push to build trust with the region's vast Muslim population and coordinate a diplomatic drive to halt Iran's nuclear programs.

During his June speech, Mr. Obama questioned the legitimacy of the settlements, saying they violated previous agreements and undermined the peace process, prompting a hawkish public response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A recent poll sponsored by the Jerusalem Post underscored the extent of the rift: Just 6 percent of Jewish Israelis surveyed said they now consider Mr. Obama's administration to be "pro-Israel." Fifty percent said Mr. Obama was "pro-Palestinian, and 36 percent said he was "neutral."

Otniel Schneller, deputy speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, warned that Mr. Obama's approach could stymie the peace process. "He doesn't understand the conflict. He thinks he understands it," Mr. Schneller told The Washington Times. "The formula is very easy. If they will continue to push us to give the Palestinians more than 90 percent of the West Bank, there will not be any peace in the future, ever."

Mr. Schneller, a modern Orthodox Jew, lives in the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Mikhmas. He is one of an estimated 300,000 Jewish settlers, many of whom have built homes in the region as an expression of religious conviction.

The United States has always maintained close ties with Israel, an alliance strengthened during the Cold War, when Israel provided vital intelligence about Russian military capabilities to U.S. agents. Cultural and religious ties also bind the two countries.

Pro-Israel groups in the United States initially expressed concerns about some of Mr. Obama's views as he began his White House bid. However, after he secured the Democratic nomination, a number of American Jewish leaders began to coalesce behind him.

Now, several leading Republicans said they think rising anti-Obama sentiment here could translate into inroads for Republicans who have been seeking support from American Jews. Virginia Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, No. 2 in the House Republican Party hierarchy and the only Jewish Republican in an elected national position, appealed to Jewish voters in the Israeli press, telling them they have a place in the Republican Party.

Mr. Cantor earlier this month led a delegation of 25 House Republicans, many freshman members, on a one-week tour of Israel sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, an arm of the powerful lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC maintains an annual budget of nearly $60 million and an endowment of $130 million.

Last week, 29 House Democrats were following suit, completing an ambitious schedule that included meetings with Mr. Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. "There is much discussion, I think, within the scene in American politics about the American Jewish vote, about potential gains for the Republican Party among many minorities, as well as the population as a whole," Mr. Cantor said in Jerusalem during a press conference.

The discussion of any true shift in allegiances, though, may be premature just six months into the new administration, many observers said. "I do not think that the relationship has been damaged yet," said George S. Naggiar, chairman of the American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights. However, Mr. Naggiar noted that "because the United States wants to maintain an image of power and credibility among Arabs and Muslims and because Israel's refusal to end settlements will undermine that image, such refusal has the potential to damage the U.S. relationship with Israel."

Mr. Naggiar said American Jews, while strongly linked with the Democratic Party, are not single-issue voters and only a small minority are fiercely devoted to maintaining and expanding Jewish settlements.

But Jeff Daube, director of the Zionist Organization of America's Israel office, said he thinks the president's positions have taken a toll. "There is no doubt that it has damaged the relationship," Mr. Daube said of Mr. Obama's call to halt settlements.



For the Left, war without Bush is no war at all

The soap-bubble "principles" of the Left again

Remember the anti-war movement? Not too long ago, the Democratic party's most loyal voters passionately opposed the war in Iraq. Democratic presidential candidates argued over who would withdraw American troops the quickest. Netroots activists regularly denounced President George W. Bush, and sometimes the U.S. military ("General Betray Us"). Cindy Sheehan, the woman whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, became a heroine when she led protests at Bush's Texas ranch.

That was then. Now, even though the United States still has roughly 130,000 troops in Iraq, and is quickly escalating the war in Afghanistan -- 68,000 troops there by the end of this year, and possibly more in 2010 -- anti-war voices on the Left have fallen silent.

No group was more angrily opposed to the war in Iraq than the netroots activists clustered around the left-wing Web site DailyKos. It's an influential site, one of the biggest on the Web, and in the Bush years many of its devotees took an active role in raising money and campaigning for anti-war candidates.

In 2006, DailyKos held its first annual convention, called YearlyKos, in Las Vegas. Amid the slightly discordant surroundings of the Riviera Hotel casino, the webby activists spent hours discussing and planning strategies not only to defeat Republicans but also to pressure Democrats to oppose the war more forcefully. The gathering attracted lots of mainstream press attention; Internet activism was the hot new thing.

Fast forward to last weekend, when YearlyKos, renamed Netroots Nation, held its convention in Pittsburgh. The meeting didn't draw much coverage, but the views of those who attended are still, as they were in 2006, a pretty good snapshot of the left wing of the Democratic party. The news that emerged is that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have virtually fallen off the liberal radar screen. Kossacks (as fans of DailyKos like to call themselves) who were consumed by the Iraq war when George W. Bush was president are now, with Barack Obama in the White House, not so consumed, either with Iraq or with Obama's escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan. In fact, they barely seem to care.

As part of a straw poll done at the convention, the Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg presented participants with a list of policy priorities like health care and the environment. He asked people to list the two priorities they believed "progressive activists should be focusing their attention and efforts on the most." The winner, by far, was "passing comprehensive health care reform." In second place was enacting "green energy policies that address environmental concerns." And what about "working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan"? It was way down the list, in eighth place.

Perhaps more tellingly, Greenberg asked activists to name the issue that "you, personally, spend the most time advancing currently." The winner, again, was health care reform. Next came "working to elect progressive candidates in the 2010 elections." Then came a bunch of other issues. At the very bottom -- last place, named by just one percent of participants -- came working to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's an extraordinary change in the mindset of the left. I attended the first YearlyKos convention, and have kept up with later ones, and it's safe to say that for many self-styled "progressives," the war in Iraq was the animating cause of their activism. They hated the war, and they hated George W. Bush for starting it. Or maybe they hated the war because George W. Bush started it. Either way, it was war, war, war. Now, not so much.

Cindy Sheehan is learning that. She's still protesting the war, and on Monday she announced plans to demonstrate at Martha's Vineyard, where President Obama will be vacationing. "We as a movement need to continue calling for an immediate end to the occupations [in Iraq and Afghanistan] even when there is a Democrat in the Oval Office," Sheehan said in a statement. "There is still no Noble Cause no matter how we examine the policies." Give her credit for consistency, if nothing else. But her days are over. The people who most fervently supported her have moved on.

Not too long ago, some observers worried that Barack Obama would come under increasing pressure from the Left to leave both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, it seems those worries were unfounded. For many liberal activists, opposing the war was really about opposing George W. Bush. When Bush disappeared, so did their anti-war passion.



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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)


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