October 14, 2009

White Guilt and other byproducts of modern public education

My word, what are they teaching at Berkeley these days? First from JK's morning read we have Cal Berkeley American History major Jennifer Burns writing a doctoral dissertation cum biography of Ayn Rand and next we see another Berkeley girl, this time a psychotherapist, quoting the late philosopher in her explanation of why whites voted for Obama.

Given the brainwashing of several generations, did millions of whites vote for Obama out of white guilt? Yes, but it runs deeper than this.

What's happening is not just white guilt, but white shame. Shame is a much more devastating emotion.

We feel guilty about an action, for instance, cheating on taxes or spouses. Shame makes us feel bad about who we are, as though something is wrong with us.

(...)

That is what happened with Julie, Joe, and Rose. They were dumped on so often by so many that they absorbed the shame and started detesting themselves.

Interestingly, Obama, in one of his autobiographies, reports being intrigued by Malcolm X's statement that, as a biracial man, he despised his whiteness; that he wished there was some way that he could excise his white blood.

Now we have millions of whites who are ashamed of their white blood. Coincidence?

And there's more.

Along with white guilt and shame, there's another reason why whites flocked to a leader with no experience in leading: white fear. While many liberals reside in safe towns, still there's always a threat.

Turn on the 6 o'clock news and hear about the latest cop murder or mob rampage. Rodney King riots in LA, the mayhem in Oakland, murdered police officers. Then listen to reportage that blames the victims.

Thuggery is celebrated. Bad guys are hecka cool; the innocents stupid and naive. Write a rap song about beating up a whore and killing a cop, and win a Grammy.

Think I'm exaggerating? If there isn't an atmosphere of racial fear, why did people threaten a race war if Obama lost? Why are dissenters tarred with the vile label of racist? (Translation: pure evil)

Many liberals voted for Obama in the hopes that all would be forgiven. That if whites handed over some power, finally we can move on and get along. We'll be safe.

Had someone like General Colin Powell or former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. been elected, we probably would not have a foreboding, fearful atmosphere. Though they lean left, both men are patriotic, experienced leaders who may have facilitated racial healing.

Ironically, White America envisioned forgiveness, a letting go of old wounds. Instead we have emboldened people obsessed with evil deeds carried out by citizens long dead.

If you want to see her Rand quotes you'll have to read the article. I've excerpted enough already.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (9)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Yes, they are children. But being young(er) does not excuse them from knowing right from wrong. They are children, but they are not animals who should be allowed to run wild. Stealing is wrong. Hurting others (first) is wrong. Act honorably, especially by telling the truth. Isn't this what children should be taught from pre-K years? I was.

Children may not have a full capacity to reason, but they still have enough. If any act out of malice or "don't understand" that their actions are bad, then like adults, they should be locked away so they don't harm us. And if they simply cannot live peacably with the rest of us, then the rest of us need to put bullets through their medulla oblongatas and dispose of them like the animals they are.

You said that "both adults and children must be provided with alternatives..." But who is to "provide"? It's not my responsibility, ethically or even morally, to help others behave properly. It's their ethical and moral responsibility to not harm others.

Morality is absolute. If you find yourself in a bad situation, it does not excuse putting morality aside so you can "survive." Children never read the unedited stories of Sinbad the Sailor, who at one point was lowered into the cavern to be buried with his dead wife. He committed brutal murder to prolong his life at the end of others: a surviving spouse was given a little in the way of provisions, so Sinbad killed anyone else who was lowered with a dead spouse. This kept him alive until he found a way out.

At the risk of throwing out one personal anecdote after another, there was a punk in my 8th grade history class who delighted in walking up the aisles between desks and slapping the back of someone's head. Do you think he didn't know his behavior was wrong? After he did it to me twice, I stuck out my leg and tripped him. He fell down pretty hard but sadly was just lightly bruised at the most.

As much as the teacher wanted to get rid of him, she never could. He had "the right" to be there -- and that was the school district defending him from expulsion. His parents didn't care. So, I switched to a better class. Who knows where he is now, probably in and out of the state penitentiary.

Even in elementary school, there was one kid known as a bad seed. He went to a different junior high, and not long after, there was the story on the evening news: he walked out of class and was followed by the teacher, so he fired a shot from his concealed handgun (but thankfully missed the teacher). In 7th grade! The teacher would have never had the brush with dead if the punk had been put in juvie when he started to display violent behavior.

Another example: John Hehman was run over a few years ago when fleeing the hoodlums trying to rob him. You don't think they knew what they were doing was wrong, though they were as young as 11?

The parents may let their litters run around to destroy property and harming others, but it doesn't mean the rest of us need to put up with it. Stop the behavior early on, whether it's taking a 2x4 to their backsides or locking them up forever, and it's good odds that it will save lives in the future.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 16, 2009 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You and I know these things, but how many among us do not? Sure the virtues of not stealing, not hurting others and honesty should and usually are learned by kindergarten. But when did you learn, for example, that "morality is absolute?" All of the various moral codes I learned in my youth were contradictory with each other, and sometimes with themselves. The morality of altruism led to a bad decision on my part in choosing my first wife. I didn't learn a rational, consistent and unassailable morality until I was 37.

When these ideas are taught universally (and preferrably before the age of 37) then we will see true social progress.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2009 2:24 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

A child does not need to understand it as "Morality is absolute" to realize the truth behind "I don't have lunch, Billy has a big lunch, but it's still not ok if I just take his lunch." This is simple reasoning that should (not always, but should) be something innate to people's thoughts and everyday behavior. You don't need to delve into more complex philosophies of individualism.

And if people are so irrational and/or malicious that they cannot behave morally, then that's just too bad -- for them, because the rest of us will deal with them accordingly. "I had a rough childhood" or "My parents never taught me right from wrong" is no excuse for sociopathy.

What "contradictory" things were you told are "moral" that you realize now are not "moral"? It's a world of difference between "It's ok to tell a little white lie" and "It's ok to shoplift and bash the cashier's head in if he tries to stop you." My father believed in some taxation and redistribution of wealth -- not regular welfare programs, but he loved Social Security and praised FDR's economic interventionism. He still taught me that it's wrong to steal and hurt other people.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 16, 2009 4:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm thinking of the many contradictions in the Christian Bible and how, to a rational person, they introduce doubt and distrust about the foundation of that morality. The example you give of your grandfather is a good example of how Christian morality is close enough to an objective human morality that it has credibility even among those who do not believe in the deity it is attributed to. But Christianity contains the poison pill of altruism that encourages its adherents to act inconsistently with the causes of his own prosperity.

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2009 1:35 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm unclear on how we're talking about the Bible now, but I see no contradictions, particularly in morality. You can still pray for someone's sake, yet defend yourself against the person. It says "Turn the other cheek," not "Let the person run you through."

That was my father who loved FDR, actually, not my grandfather. He was in his 50s when he met my mom, and he wasn't a Christian by any means. Yet there were basic standards of absolute morality he agreed with. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness.

But Christianity contains the poison pill of altruism that encourages its adherents to act inconsistently with the causes of his own prosperity.
Charity is a choice by a free individual. It's a person's right to give his wealth away, or to turn it into a big lump of gold and dump it in the Marianas Trench. But here you're using the specific term altruism, which is not necessarily the same as charitable giving.

This is an example taught to me as a microeconomics student. Let's say there's a hurricane, and supplies of ice are scarce. You have quite a bit of ice yourself, but you're concerned about people who really need it (e.g. stores and restaurants who need to preserve food). So, you set up an auction where it's sold to the highest bidder. That's still altruistic; that you're making a monetary profit does not matter. If you were selling purely to make a profit, it would not be altruistic. However, this shows that what appears to be greedy is not necessarily so.

Charity itself can be a powerful motivator to be more prosperous. The needy and the church can't do well unless people are prosperous enough to tithe, and there was nothing wrong with Abraham being a wealthy man. It also gives people a sense of self-satisfaction that working hard allows them to do good things with their money.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 21, 2009 12:27 PM
But Robin Thomas thinks:

I'm going to be leading a discussion in the African-American-themed dorm "Ujamaa" at Stanford this Thursday, October 29th, at 6 pm, on how education in the USA is making society more racist. I was very interested to read your comments. If any of you would like to be there on Thursday, shoot me an e-mail at robthom (at) stanford (dot) edu.

Posted by: Robin Thomas at October 25, 2009 11:31 PM

November 5, 2008

Obama's Inaugural Speech

"My fellow Americans. Our nation is at a crossroads in history. We must choose, together, whether to continue the foreign policy goals of the past or to pursue a new course - one which considers the welfare of nations beyond just our own.

Now, with this historic election behind us and a hopeful future ahead, I have spent countless hours receiving the counsel of the man who knows more about the state of affairs in this world than any other American, President George W. Bush. By now everyone understands my priorities and beliefs, and to those I have added significant insight into the importance of events in our recent history. As a result I now pledge to the armed forces of the United States, the American people, and to the world that this nation will not abandon the cause of freedom that has been served for the past five years in Iraq. America will remain a steadfast ally of the Iraqi people and will enter into a joint forces pact with their government.

Let there be no confusion in the capitals of Iraq's neighbors as to the commitment and determination of the American people to prevent tyranny and militancy from ever regaining their former positions in this important part of the world."

Hey, a guy can dream, right?

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2008

Can we vote now?

Happy election eve, everyone.

I am certainly not predicting a McCain victory on Tuesday. But neither should the press corps be predicting an Obama victory on Tuesday.

(And neither should JK.)

The quote is from Mullings.com's Rich Galen. Where does he see a flaw in the inevitibility?

According to McInturff, it is important to note that even in the states Obama is leading he is under 50%. So is McCain, but the case we are making is this thing has not yet been decided.

In Pennsylvania - which I have been saying is going to be 21 electoral votes for McCain - the race is tightening daily. After being stuck at a double-digit lead for Obama for the past two weeks, a newspaper poll released yesterday showed the lead down to seven for Obama.

Remember that Hillary beat Obama by about 10 percentage points in the primary there, despite being outspent 3-1. Pennsylvanians - at least rural Pennsylvanians - were the subject of Obama's highly touted closed-press fundraising remarks in San Francisco.

(...)

I don't believe I'm breaching a confidence by relaying this from McInturff's e-mail:

In our internal numbers, there has been positive movement on voters seeing Obama as the "risky choice" and as McCain as the candidate who "will keep taxes low." As a pollster, this means there is a shift on the attributes that helps provide an understanding of what is causing the ballot to tighten.

The thinking is, of course, that the eleventh hour revelations - spread the wealth, Khalidi tape, bankrupt coal industry, electric rates "necessarily skyrocket" - are flipping the soft Obama votes to McCain. This is what I call the "America pulls its head out of its ass" effect. Or, probably more accurately, a decent percentage of voters wait until election day, when all the information is on the table, before making their choice.

I won't make a prediction. I'm just keeping my glass half-full.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:01 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Let me defend myself from this vicious personal attack :)

I offered my prediction as such: a parlor game, a guess and you all know that I hope to be proven wrong. I'd be extremely surprised if anybody stayed home because "jk says it's over." I will agree completely that outlets reporting that it's over based on polls and predictions as "news" are out of line.

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2008 11:09 AM

November 2, 2008

letter to johngalt's liberal friends

Last week I traded political emails with a group of friends, most of whom are liberal but one in particular who is very much so. The exchange began with his missive:

Dear Red States:

If you manage to steal this election too we've decided we're leaving. We
intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with
us. In case you aren't aware, that includes California , Hawaii , Oregon ,
Washington , Minnesota , Wisconsin , Michigan , Illinois and all the
Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and
especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas , Oklahoma and all the slave
states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue
of Liberty . You get Dollywood.

(...)

The rant continued, but I answered it by suggesting my "olive branch" idea:

Personally I think there’s a much simpler solution than any of this. It boils down to a simple trade. I put it like this:

“I offer an olive branch, from “one America” to “the other:” You let us drill for oil and we’ll let you smoke pot.”

That sounds like a win-win proposition to me. What do you say?

After explaining how such a trade would be a win-win for everyone but those who want neither legal oil or legal pot (and ignoring numerous baiting tactics like referring to Sarah Palin as a "mavericky MILF") I went on to draw the parallels between the two restrictions and call the liberals out on their propensity to control people:

And what do environmentalists have to give up in return? A nearly indefensible fear of extremely rare oil spills and terrestrial perturbation on drilling sites, yes, but more importantly, as you said – the ability to manipulate the behavior of individuals. “If people perceive that there’s an ample domestic supply, they’ll forget about conservation and the ultimate need for a transition to transportation that isn’t based on fossil fuels. The sooner we turn the page on oil, the better.”

There’s a lot for me to quibble with in those statements but what really, really blows my mind is how important it is to the greens to control other people. How different is this from drug laws, or abortion laws, or gay marriage laws, or any of the other “morality” issues that the religious right tries to impose through law?

This is why, to me, BOTH are indefensible – government restrictions on free and commercial use of pot and on free and commercial use of oil.

The entire letter, including my reason for choosing McCain over Obama in the closing paragraph, is attached below for posterity.

As far as I’m concerned the biggest reason to legalize pot is to reduce by one the number of laws that are largely ignored. Law should be objective, knowable and necessary. For this reason, and for reasons of utility and choice, I think it should be of value to pot aficionados to actually repeal government restrictions on the substance.

And what do environmentalists have to give up in return? A nearly indefensible fear of extremely rare oil spills and terrestrial perturbation on drilling sites, yes, but more importantly, as you said – the ability to manipulate the behavior of individuals. “If people perceive that there’s an ample domestic supply, they’ll forget about conservation and the ultimate need for a transition to transportation that isn’t based on fossil fuels. The sooner we turn the page on oil, the better.”

There’s a lot for me to quibble with in those statements but what really, really blows my mind is how important it is to the greens to control other people. How different is this from drug laws, or abortion laws, or gay marriage laws, or any of the other “morality” issues that the religious right tries to impose through law?

This is why, to me, BOTH are indefensible – government restrictions on free and commercial use of pot and on free and commercial use of oil.

Critics may say that I’m oversimplifying the oil issue but I believe I’m truly reducing it to first principles. All of the “reasons” for “turning the page on oil” can be refuted objectively. But they all boil down to the same thing – obfuscation of the physical reality that oil is the most concentrated, easiest to obtain, most portable and least dangerous fuel source on earth. (And this doesn’t even include it’s many other beneficial byproducts.) The only way to make this miracle substance less economical than windmills and solar cells is to restrict its production so that prices become artificially high. But the effect of this policy is to create oil kingpins in foreign countries where our laws don’t apply. See the other parallel to pot here?

If worldwide oil supplies really are about to be depleted then fret not, the economics of the “oil economy” will do what you want all by themselves – and sustainably so. If not then restricting US oil production is nothing more than a self-imposed trade prohibition which damages the US economy to the benefit of all others. Talk about killing jobs!!

In the meantime, John McCain and Sarah Palin both say they support massive government “investment” in alternative energy. I think this is wrong, but I fully expect they’ll spend our tax dollars on it. And I also fear McCain’s position supporting cap and trade for CO2 emissions. It’s a joke, and he’s on the environmentalists’ side, but I still support him over Obama. Why? Because Obama has never once used the word “victory” when discussing wars in Iraq OR Afghanistan, and because I have no doubt Obama’s true motive for the presidency is to gut national defense and balloon entitlement and public works programs. This is demonstrably unsustainable.

Sorry for the rant; one thing just sort of leads to the next.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:22 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I still don't get this one, jg, but keep on fighting the good fight. Toke, baby, Toke!

I would suggest the olive branch is Federalism. Let California offer drive-through abortions and let Alabama keep a stone Ten Commandments in the courthouse. I don't approve of either but could live in a state that shared a country with a state that did.

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2008 1:50 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Huh. Your liberal friend's letter is interesting, but he builds his case on a gross fallacy. Simply put, the United States does not have a single Blue State or Red State in it. (With the possible exception of Utah.)

After all, the good nation of New California managed to send 20 Republicans to Washington last year- heck, California has more registered Republicans than the states of Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado combined!

If there is a red/blue divide, it is not made by the states. A quick look at a county electoral map quickly dispels that myth. Rather, the line that divides our politics is the same that divides our country into rural and urban dwellers. Those folks living in the city are democrats. Those living in the country are Republicans.

This creates a dilemma for any politically-charged secessionist movement. After all, what are the Progressive States of America to do with the millions of Republicans scattered across the California heartland? Shall they expel Rochester, Minnesota or Palmyra, New York from their new country? Likewise, are they so ready to abandon Boulder, Colorado and Raleigh North Carolina to the abuses of the right-wing nutters?

This is the flaw with all such thoughts: when it comes down to it, America is purple.

~T. Greer

Posted by: T. Greer at November 3, 2008 6:28 PM

October 31, 2008

Give Light

I can't stop wondering how the Obama-Khalidi videotape situation would be handled if it were in the possession of a Scripps newspaper rather than the Los Angeles Times. Growing up in Denver I became accustomed to the phrase "Give light and the people will find their own way" printed in the masthead of the Rocky Mountain News. Naive youth that I was, I believed for many years that ALL newspapers adhered to this ideal. Silly me.

So today I sought out the LA Times motto. I couldn't easily find it on the paper's own website but here I found it quoted as, "Largest circulation in the west." Not quite as inspirational is it?

In this jaded era I found it refreshing to read the story of the Scripps motto:

Words are so often turned to such shabby or trivial ends that it's sometimes worth celebrating those with substance and a pedigree. Consider the Scripps motto: Give light and the people will find their own way.

Those words first appeared on a newspaper masthead June 22, 1922. They were placed there by a New Mexico editor who refused to damp down truth even when the mighty threatened to smash the lantern.

As the story goes, Carl Magee first attacked U.S. Sen. Albert B. Fall in his Albuquerque newspaper over the Fall machine's misuse of water rights to wrest the votes of New Mexico farmers. When Fall became interior secretary, he leaned on banks to call-in their loans to the paper.

(...)

"Scripps saw a man in New Mexico making a tough fight for the people of New Mexico, for principles in which the organization believed. They asked him orally about terms. He wrote a letter and Roy Howard scribbled 'OK.' Then they wired money to his paper. Sounds suspiciously like idealism."

(...)

Years later, Dante scholar H.D. Austin from the University of Southern California attributed the line to the following passage in Purgatory XXII67-69: "Facesti come quei che va di notte che porta il lume dietro e.a se non giova ma dopo se fa le persone dott." A literal translation of this would read: "Thou didst as one who passing through the night bears a light behind, that profits not himself but makes those who follow wise."

It is speculated that Carl Magee had read and liked the passage but might have forgotten its source, author and exact wording. Or, being an editor, he may have streamlined it for his editorial purposes.

In any event, the "give light" motto served Carl Magee's purposes and – more than 80 years later – continues to do so today for The E. W. Scripps Company.

So the natural question to the LA Times is, "What don't you want the people to see?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:15 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I stopped reading the Rocky awhile back. I see web articles and my relatives mail me clippings. Do you think they would hold to their motto?

Even in my 20s, working in media and spending a lot of time in Newspapers (as a flack) I was always taken by the inscription over the door of the Denver Post's old downtown building:

O Justice, when expelled from other habitations, make this thy dwelling place.

Sadly, I have little hope that either paper would live up its lofty ideals.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2008 2:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, that one from the Post depends on one's definition of "justice." Barry Obama claims to fight for "social and economic justice" by "spreading the wealth around."

Conversely, the Scripps motto is more like the old Fox News "you decide" slogan. All they have to do is "give light."

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2008 11:50 PM

October 30, 2008

Spread it around, Barry

From Rick McKee in last Thursday's Augusta (GA) Chronicle:


Augusta%20Chronicle%2010-23-08%20Obama%20funds%20sharing.bmp


Hat tip: jg's brother "doesn'tknowhe'sa galt"

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:44 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The cartoon forgot one thing but I guess didn't have enough space:

"This isn't fair to my donors! They voluntarily gave their money to me! They didn't intend for him to get any!"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 30, 2008 11:43 PM

October 29, 2008

McCain Wins!

AlexC writes today that the race is tightening, but yesterday The Freedom Fighter's Journal became the first to call the election - for McCain.

McCain_in_flight_suit.jpg

Congratulations to patriot and war hero John McCain for his triumph over the Marxist Obama on November 4, 2008 to become the 44th president of the United States. The staff of The Freedom Fighter's Journal salute this stalwart Republican and hope he will lead the first air strike against the American Communist Headquarters at the University of Chicago.

Congratulations Ronbo, I think you're on to something.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:29 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2008

Weather Underground: Kill the "die hard capitalists"

From LGF: Bill Ayers' Terrorist Group Discussed Genocide of Americans (includes video)

Quoting Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant and member of the Weather Underground, in a 1982 documentary on the group:

"I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

And they were dead serious."

I wonder if McPalin's last week of TV ads will include anything from this list. Though I suspect it may require pictures of Obama and Ayers building pipe bombs together to get through to some people.

Hat tip: Blog brother Cyrano

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Population planning, from abortion to forced sterilization, has always been part of the liberal/collectivist agenda.

"In order to stabilize world populations, we must eliminate three hundred and fifty thousand people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it's just as bad not to say it." No one batted an eye when Jacques Cousteau said this completely contemptuous thing.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 26, 2008 2:23 PM

October 22, 2008

American Journalism Dismantled by ... a Democrat

If John McCain is going to win this election it will be with the help of great Americans like Orson Scott Card. A science fiction writer (who's work dagny likes) he's also a Democrat and a newspaper columnist published in North Carolina. And according to Rush Limbaugh (where I first heard this) he's far enough left to be pro gun control. And yet, he takes American newspapers apart:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

(...)

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

(...)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

(...)

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

(...)

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.

Every blogger should link this column.

Every American should send it to his local newspaper.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2008

Two distinguished black men look at Obama

To support his decision to vote for Barack Obama as president, Colin Powell said, "I watched Mr. Obama," particularly in recent weeks, ... and "he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge . . . in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor."

To support his decision NOT to vote for Barack Obama as president, Thomas Sowell writes, "When one thinks of all the men who have put their lives on the line in battle to defend and preserve this country, it is especially painful to think that there are people living in the safety and comfort of civilian life who cannot be bothered to find out the facts about candidates before voting to put the fate of this nation, and of generations yet to come, in the hands of someone chosen because they like his words or style."

Now, I'm not suggesting that Colin Powell hasn't put his life on the line in battle to defend and preserve this country, or that he "cannot be bothered to find out the facts about candidates." But I am surprised that even the accomplished General Powell appears most impressed by Obama's "words or style."

The rest of Sowell's essay is equally powerful and explains, in part, the answer to dagny's question thusly:

An e-mail from a reader mentioned trying to tell his sister why he was voting against Obama but, when he tried to argue some facts, she cut him short: "You don't like him and I do!" she said. End of discussion.

There's also an excellent dissection of "change" and where it can take us if we aren't careful. Future excerpts would be unjust. Read it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:19 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2008

Colin Powell is not a "Real American"

I don't know if he still lives in the part of Virginia (McLean) that isn't "Real Virginia", but his endorsement of Barack Obama clearly proves that he is not a "Real American". Now Palin can slam Obama for palling around with Ayers and Powell. This could be the game changer that McCain has been waiting for.

Posted by LatteSipper at 10:29 AM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

General Powell is a true American in every sense of the word. I have not felt that he has been "a true Republican" for some time. He has held out-of-party-mainstream positions on several issues, endorsed GOP begrudgingly when at all, and it was long felt that he might endorse Senator Obama.

My biggest gripe is that he waited until Senator Obama had a big lead. The man's physical courage is clearly beyond reproach, but I question his political courage. He played coy with reporters throughout the race but he chose now to make his stand.

Welcome Home, ls, it is good to hear from you. I'm a little disappointed that you choose to fabricate a quote from Governor Palin to spark an indignant reaction. Have you any evidence that the McCain campaign is actively besmirching Powell?

Posted by: jk at October 19, 2008 11:14 AM
But AlexC thinks:

JK beat me to it... endorsements during big leads are not brave.

Posted by: AlexC at October 19, 2008 11:35 AM
But LatteSipper thinks:

No, it was not my intent to claim that the McCain campaign has attacked Powell in any way. I was alluding to the McCain/Palin approach of late (and general Republican approach during most of this decade) to question the patriotism of those who don't toe the party line. Whether it's Palin on "wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America" or Michelle Bachmann calling Obama anti-American. I expect Republicans and little 'l' libertarians to point out the many areas where they disagree with Senator Obama's views and policies and to argue that he's not the right man for the job - that's how political discourse should work. I take issue with their standard operating procedure of questioning the patriotism of anyone they're trying to defeat in an election and anyone who would vote for said target. We'll see in a couple weeks, but I think the Republicans may have gone to the well once too often on this one. PS - I agree with you regarding Colin Powell's political courage ... I've found that lacking on numerous occasions.

Posted by: LatteSipper at October 19, 2008 11:52 AM
But Afinbro2 in Houston thinks:

General Powell is a credit to the fabric of America. He has served our country well, held prestigious offices under the Republican party. What he did today was announce who he feels has the judgement and temperment to lead this nation with dignity and discipline.

Posted by: Afinbro2 in Houston at October 19, 2008 12:28 PM
But Dean thinks:

I believe that most people (including myself) have little appreciation for the difficulty that Colin Powell had in this. There are already the whispers that this is an 'African-American' thing. There are those (from both parties) who will use *any* opportunity to disparage and besmirch the reputation of anyone who opposes their views.

If you recall Colin Powell declined running himself, citing fears of negative repercussions - and I recall a statement by Barack Obama that Powell had advised him that this would be a dangerous course for him to pursue - both politically and personally.

It is easy to tell someone else they weren't being brave when one doesn't have to stand in the line of fire oneself... (though I admit that I also long for more leaders who will do so)

Posted by: Dean at October 19, 2008 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ignoring the "Afinbro2" and "Dean" flyby comments and responding directly to latte...

It really isn't possible to discuss patriotism in a climate where the very notion of what ideas constitute "the American way" are in dispute. Maybe we can get into that one later on.

You talk about how political discourse "should" work, and I agree with you. But those who don't toe the DEMOCRAT party line are terribly frustrated when a major party presidential candidate (Obama) has been involved with a known domestic terrorist (Ayers) to a sufficient extent to warrant further investigation of whether there are any common goals. And yet, no such investigation is forthcoming from the "inquisitive" media bent on bringing "truth" to light.

Do you suppose the NYT or any other leading news organization would assign a reporter to look into reports that Sarah Palin or John McCain had lunch with Timothy McVeigh (or anyone remotely connected to him) at any point in the last 40 years?

Posted by: johngalt at October 20, 2008 3:11 PM

September 19, 2008

Proud to be a Coloradan!

To paraphrase Michelle Obama, "For the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my state's position in the Electoral College." Stuart Rothenberg identifies Colorado as the state mostly likely to determine the election.

Nonetheless, The Refugee hopes that Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania make Colorado's nine electoral votes a non-factor.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:03 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2008

Scapegoat in Chief

Certainly everyone has heard that McCain today said that SEC Chairman Cox should be fired for "betraying the public trust." The Refugee is pleased that McCain has a plan... for finding a scapegoat. McCain seems intent on proving that he really is the economic ignoramus that he has claimed to be in the past.

All of the excitement that The Refugee felt for McCain-Palin last week has evaporated.

Sorry, gotta run - the garbage truck hasn't arrived yet meaning that the old nose plugs can still be rescued.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:08 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I dunno, br, I am torn. I join you in an extreme loss of enthusiasm for the McWhathisname-Palin ticket. And I agree that McCain has done a miserable job on the Panic of '08 or ECWTASTGD.

But I will not waste six bytes of ASCII defending SEC Chairman Cox. He was one of my favorite Congressmen and I applauded his appointment to the SEC. That said, I am not the only one to consider his tenure a disappointment. (He got some whacks on Kudlow & Co. the other night as well).

If nothing else, Cox should realize that muffed regulation is the platform for increased regulation. For a promising appointment, I think he has been AWOL.

Blog pragmatist is also looking at damage control. Scapegoating a Bush appointee is pretty good politics.

Megan McArdle did a far better job than I did humiliating both candidates' stands on ECWTASTGD. The fact is that it is very very tricky politics. My hero, Phil Gramm never won the Presidency for a reason (the truth? You can't handle the truth!) Compared to trashing greed, I'll take scapegoating an ineffective Bush bureaucrat.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2008 5:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You're approach is very pragmatic, jk, but I think McCain's approach is both wrong and misguided. First, throwing Cox and the Bush Administration under the bus only feeds the anti-Bush narrative that the last eight years have been an unmitigated disaster. It also stokes anti-Republican sentiment that hurts in Congressional races. If McCain is elected, I sure he does not want to confront a veto-proof congress. More important, the narrative is not true. There have been many successes in this adminstration and Republicans should not be embarrased about defending them. I actually think that plays well with moderates (although not the press).

Second, the populist pap that all calamities are foreseeable chaps my hide. Most regulation is 20/20 hindsight as it should be. If congress set about regulating phantom menaces, the cure would be worse than the disease.

Populist pundits like O'Reilly argue that Cox and others "should have known this would happen sooner or later." Well, nearly every driver gets into an accident sooner or later (hopefully minor), and this sentiment is like saying after an accident, "You knew you'd get into an accident sooner or later, so why did you drive your car today?"

The decisions that people made about mortgages, both buyer and financier, looked rational at the time. Rates made payments afordable and 10%-20% annual increases in home values protected lenders. Should both have realized that rates couldn't stay low forever and that home values might decline? Maybe, but the standard should not be crystal ball clarity. Moreover, no one said, "Let's make this loan because we know the borrower will default and we'll all take a bath." Demonizing legitimate business transactions between competent adults is unbecoming a Republican. The exception is clear fraud. For example, Franklin Raines and his ilk should be prosecuted as fully as Ken Lay and the Enron bunch.

This is a must-read from today's Journal on the topic.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 19, 2008 11:01 AM

September 17, 2008

Ushering in the "Most-partisan" Era

Hillary Clinton was scheduled to attend a rally sponsored by a number of Jewish organizations to protest Ahmadinejad's UN appearance . However, she canceled after learning that Sarah Palin would also be attending. So, a Democrat leader won't even be seen with a Republican at an event to protest a rogue dictatorship that sponsors terror, seeks nuclear weapons and promises to wipe Israel off the map once it gets them. If the Democrat's won't join Republicans on this, what will they join them on? This strips the veneer from the Democrat's "post-partisan" and "bipartisan" rhetoric for anyone who had such delusions.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:42 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

That would have been a powerful (bordering on historic) message for the two of them to stand together for freedom. Sad.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2008 12:04 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Nah. After that last SNL skit, those two won't be on the same stage for a long time...

~T. Greer

Posted by: T. Greer at September 17, 2008 3:49 PM
But jk thinks:

It gets better, as Democrat forces seek a disinvite.

I suppose that this is more "post-partisanship" on the Democrats' part, which is apparently defined as "partisanship so entrenched that it's been literally pounded into the ground."

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2008 7:50 PM

September 15, 2008

September Surprise?

The New York Post quotes Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying that Obama asked the Iraqi government to delay the drawdown of US troops during his visit last July. If there's a sniff of truth to this report (and there's no apparent motive for such a high government official to lie in such a matter), then Obama is playing politics with the lives of our soldiers. If true, this should be a major scandal.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2008

Biden Teaching Obama His Old Tricks

Lost in Obama's recent lipstick flap is the fact that his statement immediately prior to the ill-fated remark was plagiarized. Leading up to the punchline, Obama mocked McCain:

"Watch out, George Bush. Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics … we’re really gonna shake things up in Washington."

However, this is almost verbatim from a cartoon by Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles.

Who writes this guy's speeches - Joe Biden?

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:45 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

It is a pretty good line, br...

I've got double-standard fever: Biden's a one man wrecking crew yet the AP leads this morning with a STOP THE PRESSES revelation that Gov. Palin might have changed her position on global warming over the years.

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2008 11:32 AM

September 8, 2008

Experience, Exshmerience... blah, blah, blah

Much has been made of the pick of Sarah Palin vis-a-vis the experience issue. Democrats, and some Republicans, have said that her selection "takes the experience issue off the table." Even Charles Krauthammer, for whom The Refugee has the highest regard, laments in a recent Washington Post column that this issue has been negated:

Palin fatally undermines this entire line of attack. This is through no fault of her own. It is simply a function of her rookie status. The vice president's only constitutional duty of any significance is to become president at a moment's notice. Palin is not ready. Nor is Obama. But with Palin, the case against Obama evaporates.


For the Republicans, it's beneficial to engage the Democrats in a comparison of their #1 vs. the Republican #2. Even so, Krauthammer and others are missing the real issue. A recent piece is the Wall Street Journal by Peter Wehner makes this abundantly clear and has completely changed The Refugee's thinking in this matter. Wehner argues that Biden has been "manifestly wrong" on issues since Vietnam, and that no experience is better than bad experience:

There are few members of Congress whose record on national security matters can be judged, with the benefit of hindsight, to be as consistently bad as Joseph Biden's. It's true that Sarah Palin has precious little experience in national security affairs. But in this instance, no record beats a manifestly bad one.

Let's do a mind experient. Everyone, both left and right, can agree that GWB has more presidential experience that Barack Obama. So, how many Obama supporters would vote for GWB on the basis of experience? The answer: none. In other words, experience does not trump policy. If Obama had 20 years in the Senate, would The Refugee be comfortable voting for him? No, because Obama is profoundly wrong as a matter of policy.

Experience is a "threshold" issue. Once a candidate has met that threshold, more or less experiences is not relevant to the voter; they will vote issues and likes/dislikes. McCain is right to drop experience as a central theme of his campaign at this juncture irrespective of Sarah Palin as a running mate.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2008

Random Post-convention Thoughts

The Refugee has had a few random thoughts, hopefully to be found worth by his Three Sources bretheren:

1. First and foremost, WAY TO GO AC!! The daily updates were must-reads and something The Refugee awaited eagerly.
2. Do you suppose Barack Obama is wishing for a Mulligan on his VP choice?
3. Only the Democrats could simultaneously argue that no woman will vote for Sarah Palin just because she's a woman and opine that Obama should have picked Hillary to get the women's vote.
4. Even if Hillary were the Dem VP choice, here's what The Refugee would have to say: "I've seen Sarah Palin and you, Mrs. Clinton, are no Sarah Palin!"
5. Since intensely personal issues are in-play, could anyone find out Joe Biden's history of cosmetic surgeries?
6. On O'Reilly's show, Obama admitted that The Surge has worked "beyond anyone's wildest dream." (More precisely, he means that it worked beyond the Democrat's wildest fear.) He went on to say that he would still oppose The Surge, even knowing what he knows now. So, even in 20/20 hindsight he would consciously make the wrong decision. And we're suppose to believe he has the judgement to be Commander in Chief?!?
7. The #1 question that should be posed to Obama in a debate: "Mr. Obama, you've stated that going into Iraq was a colossal mistake. If you could wind the clock back to pre-invasion time, knowing that it would put Saddam Hussein back in power, would you wind it back?"
8. This is going to be a very interesting 60 days!

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:05 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

1. Indeed-squared. Awesome job, ac!
2. Give the Junior Senator three picks, he won't find a Sarah Palin (see #4). I guess I thought that Gov. Richardson was always his best chance, and he might hold up a little better than the scrappy kid from Scranton.
3,4. Yes,yes.
5. Don't wanna know, myself.
6. The One needs to find a little nuance on this. Not sure how he can stay stubborn without ignoring reality, but he has the best handlers.
7. Sad to say, br, more than half the country would say yes to that (I was just yelling at one of them over Celtic music night last Wednesday). I'm not one of them, but you can make a legitimate argument -- unlike defending a vote against the Surge or funding the troops in 2007/8.
8. IYNHFYNPA (If You're Not Having Fun, You're Not Paying Attention!)

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2008 5:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Can I add a #9? (No, git yer own danged post!)

9. Was not Cindy McCain impressive? This woman could have had the "Full Paris Hilton" lifestyle but chose to get a Master's Degree, travel the world, and pursue humanitarian endeavors. Wow.

(I don't want to rile the Randians -- Ms. Hilton has created successful businesses and is certainly entitled to live life as she chooses, I just see the more serious pursuits as having more meaning.)

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2008 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not at all. Ayn Rand would admire Cindy McCain for spending her life as a creator of things she (and most people) consider valuable. Paris Hilton, on the other hand, is a second-hander in every sense. There is nothing for a "Randian" to admire in Paris Hilton. You must be projecting the Libertarian mindset again.

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2008 11:18 AM

August 28, 2008

Obama's Acceptance Speech: Halloween in August

The Refugee had to look at the calendar while listening to Obama's acceptance speech; it was the scariest thing he's heard outside a haunted house.

The change that Obama proposes is naked socialism. He will insert government's heavy hand into every element of American society. He'll tell Detroit what cars to make; insurance companies what people to insure; students what jobs to take after school; parents how to educate their children; what energy producers can produce. And, he's going to pay for it with a tax cut. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:14 PM | Comments (4)
But AlexC thinks:

I was underwhelmed!!! Really... nothing new... and he ended with Bush's 2004 theme song! "Only in America"

I don't get the hype.

Posted by: AlexC at August 28, 2008 11:57 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

For the first time in my adult life, I am in fear of my country, not just by government -- for what an Obamanation will do to me.

Don't miss my subbing today for Ott Scerb. I'm not sure who he is, but he parodies the liberal tool Scott Erb in comments at Q&O. He hadn't jumped in yet, so I took the liberty.
http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=9182

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 29, 2008 9:58 AM
But jk thinks:

I have to drive in for a meeting today, so I will miss the McCain Veep watch and commentary on "The Speech."

br caught my feelings pretty succinctly. He said "Government can't solve all our problems," and then he proceeded to tell us how government was going to solve all our problems.

It didn't soar, ac, it did not soar. The set design was done by the folks who do Britney Spears's sets -- I could not stop wishing they hired the guys from Spinal Tap.

Besides "naked" socialism, I was most disturbed by his willingness to twist McCain's words and deeds. It wasn't new politics to trot out the $5 million line; that politics would have seemed old to Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

To boil it down to one riff, his line that the ownership society means "you on your own" captures it. That's his regard for individual empowerment and responsibility. The very idea that the Government may allow you to "risk" part of your Government pension is unthinkable to the Senator.

I'm plenty afraid, don't worry about that.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2008 10:15 AM
But dagny thinks:

I have to disagree with some of the analysis here. I agree with BR that what Obama proposes is collectivism. That is what Democrats have been proposing for decades and those of us who recognize that will continue to vote Republican. However, that is not what he SAID. Think about that speech from the perspective of the "undecided" voter and as BR says, "be very, very afraid."ť

He is going to curb Russian aggression and finish the job in Afghanistan. Sounds like a hawk.
He is going to go through the budget and eliminate programs that don't work (somehow I don't think Social Security will make his list). He is going to lower taxes for 95% of Americans. Sounds fiscally conservative. He SAYS he can pay for all this.

He says we are all Americans and we all need to unite. He says no one thought I could get this far but look at me now, maybe YOU should take a chance on me too and we can really take change to Washington. He sounds like the Redeem Team in the Olympics. It was practically enough to overcome MY cynicism with government. I practically wanted to vote for the guy and I KNOW BETTER.

I'm afraid, JK, that it did soar, Brittany Spears set and all. And therefore as noted, I am very afraid.

On the other hand, regarding his repeated line that GOP is telling you, "You are on your own." I wanted to say, "Thank you very much and get out of my way!"

Posted by: dagny at August 29, 2008 4:59 PM

August 19, 2008

Obama's Alternate Universe

The Refugee couldn't believe his ears. He was listening to Fox News on satellite radio and heard E.D. Hill inteviewing an Obama spokesperson about tax issues (Laura somebody-or-other; The Refugee was not quick enough on the uptake to get her last name while driving). E.D. asked about Obama's plans to increase taxes, and the spokesperson indicated that Obama was going to actually cut taxes. The conversation went something like this:

E.D.: "But won't Obama increase the capital gains tax?"

Spokesperson: "No. Obama has proposed a capital gains tax rate of 20%, which is lower than the rate in the 1990's. Therefore, it's actually an overall economic tax cut."

WOW!! So, if the rate is lower than at any point in history, it's a cut. The Refugee perhaps should not be so shocked, as this is from the same party that calls a 3% budget increase a spending cut (because it was less than 5%). Even so, what alternative universe is Obama in? That's like a doctor telling a patient that he's really lucky to have lung cancer - because he doesn't also have brain and liver cancer.

Actually, this rationale speaks less to Obama's economic acumen than it does to his regard for the body politic. Apparently, he thinks we're all a bunch of frickin' idiots if he thinks we're going buy this dog food.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 7:16 PM | Comments (0)