Sunday, May 02, 2010

Change is the only constancy

That certainly applies to the internet. Sites and services that are there today may be gone tomorrow. And I have certainly had plenty of that. Sites that I have up suddenly vanish overnight or become no longer updatable.

That has recently happened to my personal blog. The blog was originally intended as an occasional online diary, where I could note details and times of the various small events in my personal life -- more as a crutch for my notoriously bad memory than anything else.

But a few people do read it occasionally and it is to them that the following may be of interest.

The site has been inaccessible for updating for a week now, which is pretty long for an internet service to be "down". I was not too perturbed, however, as, with my usual caution, I also had a backup site that repeated the same content as the primary site. If the primary site was down, people could always go to the backup site instead.

I found recently, however, that the backup site was sometimes "down" too so it seemed that the time for action had come. I have now given my personal blog a new home on the internet. You can find it here. The backup site is here.


The McCarthyism of the Left

The problem in America is not racism. Sure, there are cases of enmity driven by bigoted ignorance, but the greatest prejudice in this country is the now systemic painting of those who oppose policy as racists—ipso facto. We have a new McCarthyism in the nation —one that paints with a broad brush. “Are you now, or have you ever been, a card-carrying racist?”

We are witnessing the “borking” of America. Robert Bork, of course, was Ronald Reagan’s nominee to the Supreme Court in 1987. He found himself the victim of an insidious smear campaign—that worked—and his name became a verb: "To defame or vilify (a person) systematically, esp. in the mass media.”

If you’re a white person and you don’t support Obamacare—you must be a bigot. If you think global warming is an overheated issue—it’s surely racially motivated. The same goes with what is happening now in Arizona. It must be racism driving all the “hate.” The 7 out of 10 citizens of Arizona who support the recently signed immigration law must be motivated by “hate.” That whole property, safety and not wanting to overtax an already cash-strapped state with financial burdens—well, that’s just a cover.

To hear some describe it (newspapers, blogs or any hour on MSNBC), racism is all over the place and there is no defense allowed if you are accused. It’s a charge that sticks. It’s also a charge that, to an extent, works. This is why playing the race card tends these days to be the first from the deck. It has a way of stopping further discussion. It’s a tried and true intimidator.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said something about people not being judged by the “color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Amen! That statement rings so true. But what kind of character is represented when former ACORN president, Bertha Lewis, slanders the Tea Party movement as a “bowel movement” riddled with and motivated by “racism.” She was speaking, by the way to a group called the Young Democratic Socialists (the youth arm of the Democratic Socialists of America). Or for that matter, what kind of character was represented by the now discredited ACORN and their financial and moral bankruptcy?

It is disturbing to me that the historic election of the first black President of the United States has not led to a “post-racial” national experience, but rather it’s polarizing opposite. Are we moving toward a kind of country where speaking out and reasonable—even animated—opposition to policies and those who make them can be dismissed as merely racist and therefore irrelevant?

I do not support President Obama’s policies, but I am not a racist. I pray for the man (and other leaders) every day, by name, following the scriptural directive. I make sure to commend him when I can—for example, I thought his remarks at the memorial service for the West Virginia miners a week ago were excellent. He fulfilled one of his presidential duties—an extraordinarily difficult one (as any clergyman knows)—with grace and obvious compassion.

Mr. Obama loves his wife and children—they are truly a beautiful family. So, when I disagree with what he stands for politically I am not “hating” a man, or his “race,” I am simply exercising my rights as a citizen. But it is now clear that we have entered into a part of our national narrative, one that at first promised to be “post-racial,” that is becoming “most-racial.” The president has recently made a video for the Democratic National Committee appealing directly to (his words) "young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women,” in an effort to mobilize people to vote for his party in 2010.

How is that “post-racial?”

I implore all those on the other side of the political spectrum from today’s conservatives to resist the temptation to throw the racist flag when all that is happening is that some are voicing their disagreements to policies, the very way many of you did when George W. Bush was in office. It’s quintessentially American to disagree and speak out.

I recently heard a clergyman—someone I know and respect but strongly disagree with in this case—suggest that what Christians need to do these days is to “obey the powers that be.” This is, of course, Paul’s admonition from Romans 13 and it means that we are to be law-abiding citizens. However, the minister was using the text as a “proof text”—suggesting that speaking out or criticizing our current national leaders and their policies is a violation of scripture. Interestingly, I am not sure that text and argument were rolled out 5 years ago, but I digress.

What that clergyman—and some Americans—miss is that the “powers that be” in this nation are not merely governmental (though they are, in part), but reside ultimately in “We The People.” And we have a right to criticize and oppose and should be able to do so without heavy-handed “theologies” and broad-brush smears of racism.



Catholic Archbishop slanders Arizonans

The head of a nest of pedophiles faults the character of others? But he reveals his own moral faults most of all by his misrepresentations of Arizona immigration law. Go here to read a brief summary of what the law actually says. "His Grace" is both slime and a liar. No sign of Christian humility in his incendiary speech either. Quite a character

"Physician, heal yourself," said the founder of the church in which Roger Mahony is a cardinal. He is the Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles and he should heed the founder's admonition before accusing Arizonans of intemperateness. He says Arizona's new law pertaining to illegal immigration involves "reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation."

"Our highest priority today," he says, "is to bring calm and reasoning to discussions about our immigrant brothers and sisters." His idea of calm reasoning is to call Arizona's new law for coping with illegal immigration "the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law." He also says it is "dreadful," "abhorrent" and a "tragedy," and its assumption is that "immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder and consume public resources."

The problem of illegal immigration is inflaming Mahony, who strongly implies, as advocates for illegal immigrants often do, that any law intended to reduce such illegality is "anti-immigrant." The implication is: Because most Americans believe such illegality should be reduced, most Americans are against immigrants. This slur is slain by abundant facts -- polling data that show Americans simultaneously committed to controlling the nation's southern border and to welcoming legal immigration.

Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, said, "And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." Mahony uncharitably judges Arizona legislators and the constituents they represent to be "mean-spirited." His evident assumption, one quite common today, is that certain ideas cannot be held by any intelligent person of good will.

But what does -- what can -- Mahony mean by asserting that Arizona's law is "useless"? He must believe either it will have no effect on illegal immigration or that any effect must be without social value. He can know neither to be true.

Late night comedians, recalling World War II movies in which Gestapo officers demand "show me your papers," find echoes of fascism in Arizona's belief that there are occasions when police officers can reasonably ask for someone's documentation. On Tuesday, Barack Obama, showing contempt for the professionalism and character of police officers, said: "Now suddenly if you don't have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to be harassed."

Time was, presidents were held to higher standards than comedians. Today's liberals favor indignation over information, but lawyer Obama must know that since 1952 federal law has said: "Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him."

In today's debate, the threshold question is: Should the nation have immigration laws? Until 1875, there were none. There are strict libertarians who believe there should be none. But the vast majority who do not favor completely open borders believe there should be some laws restricting who can become residents, and presumably they believe such laws should be enforced.

Once Americans are satisfied that the borders are secure, the immigration policies they will favor will reflect their -- and the law enforcement profession's -- healthy aversion to the measures that would be necessary to remove from the nation the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants, 60 percent of whom have been here for more than five years. It would take 200,000 buses in a bumper-to-bumper convoy 1,700 miles long to carry them back to the border. Americans are not going to seek and would not tolerate the police methods that would be needed to round up and deport the equivalent of the population of Ohio.

Meanwhile, hysteria about domestic fascism is unhelpful, even though it is a liberal tradition. In his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR identified opponents of his domestic agenda as fascists. Declaring that his "one supreme objective" was "security," including "economic security, social security, moral security," he issued a dire warning: Woodrow Wilson's progressive policies had been frustrated by "rightist reaction" and "if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called 'normalcy' of the 1920s -- then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home."

Today's hysterics are unoriginal. But they learned their bad manners from a master.




The insurance mandate in peril: "A ‘tell’ in poker is a subtle but detectable change in a player’s behavior or demeanor that reveals clues about the player’s assessment of his hand. Something similar has happened with regard to the insurance mandate at the core of last month’s health reform legislation. Congress justified its authority to enact the mandate on the grounds that it is a regulation of commerce. But as this justification came under heavy constitutional fire, the mandate’s defenders changed the argument — now claiming constitutional authority under Congress’s power to tax. This switch in constitutional theories is a tell: Defenders of the bill lack confidence in their commerce power theory. The switch also comes too late.”

Expatriate to El Salvador?: "In the years since the end of its civil war in 1992, El Salvador has developed an amazingly vibrant economy. There is good reason for this and Peruvian economist Alvaro Vargas Llosa describes the situation perfectly. In El Salvador people are ‘desperate to own and trade goods and services.’ Salvadorans are hard working and friendly people and here individuals from all walks of life are busy trying to get ahead. Most seem weary of politics and wish to move beyond the troubled past. El Salvador really has two economies, especially in the capital, San Salvador. One economy features upscale shopping malls and exclusive beach hotels. The other exists on the streets of the city. Despite the pressures of a worldwide economic downturn, people in both sectors are making heroic efforts in the pursuit of free enterprise.”

The creepy corporatism of Obama’s America (very reminiscent of Mussolini's Fascist Italy): "Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit has written President Barack Obama endorsing ’strong regulatory reform’ for U.S. banks. What’s more, Pandit wrote, ‘You can count on me and the entire Citi organization to support’ Obama’s reform efforts. Of course, the U.S. government owns 27% of Citi, so one shouldn’t be surprised at this. And even without the direct ownership, Citi has no more interest than other big coprorations heavily dependent on government regulation and increasingly at the mercy of discretionary, not to say arbitrary, government action, in antagonizing the Obama administration or Democrats in Congress — especially since the administration and the congressional Democrats have shown a willingness to go after those standing in their way. But what’s particuarly creepy about the letter is the phrase, ‘and the entire Citi organization.’”

Reasoned discussion through slander, insults and ridicule?: "A couple of days ago I came across a rather odd attack on libertarians. I’m used to such attacks myself. After so many years actively involved in libertarian circles I’ve seen them all. But this one struck me as particularly bizarre, though typically inaccurate. Two things were odd to me. One was that the article, by Jim Taylor, was posted at the website for Psychology Today, and secondly, the author claimed his ‘intentions’ were ‘curiosity and understanding rather than judgment and criticism.’ That struck me as odd because his focus was not on libertarian thinking at all but entirely on attacking, or insulting libertarians.”


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)


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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