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12/31/2008
HAIL AND FAREWELL
CATEGORY: Blogging

In my youth, I fancied myself an actor. A degree in theater from Drake followed by a couple of modest successes with professional dinner theaters had me confident that I would be able to make a living someday.

Then, one day, I wandered into an audition in Chicago for some long forgotten musical. It was a “cattle call” where anyone and everyone was invited to try out. You bring a piece of music to sing and a short speech from a play and when your name is called, you go onstage and give it your best.

I had gone through this routine several times in my short career so I knew it was the longest of long shots. Usually, the director (or assistant director) cuts your song after a few bars with a very loud and impersonal “Thank you, we’ll be in touch,” and that’s it. You can wait 8-10 hours for a chance to be told in “theaterese” that you’re a chump for even trying so go home and get a law degree or something that will help you make a living.

Waiting in the back of the theater, I watched as one rather plain looking woman trudged to the middle of the stage and announced her name. The music started - “Another Hundred People” from Company was what she had chosen to sing - and when she opened her mouth, it was pure magic. It was incredible the talent, the verve, the sparkle that she put into the piece. The director let her sing a few bars more than anyone else - no doubt as mesmerized as I was with her ability - and then yelled “Thank you,” and that was it. The plain Jane trudged off the stage and back into pure obscurity.

It was then I realized that talent had little to do with “making it” in show business. That woman had as much talent as Barbara Streisand - perfect pitch, astonishing phrasing, and a vibrato that put a lump in your throat - but was destined to fail. Hard work, having a good agent, and making your own breaks counted more than any talent one might possess. That and a supreme, inner confidence in yourself to be able to withstand the constant barrage of people telling you that you are no good, that you can’t make it, that you are wasting your time. If you listen to the rich and famous actors, almost all of them have the same stories of struggling for 5, 10, even 20 years before realizing their goals.

It was then and there that I was cured of the acting bug and decided to take up my father on his offer to place me as an intern in the Sears government affairs office in Washington, D.C. I vowed never to regret that decision. But every once and a while (especially when I see some jamoke of an actor like Hayden Christiansen who can’t act their way out of a paper bag getting paid a gazzillion bucks in Star Wars), I think what might have been if I had the courage to pursue that dream.

Here I am 31 years later, I haven’t been on a stage since that day, pursuing another dream - that of making a living as a writer. What an odd and serendipitous set of circumstances that have brought me to the point where I can claim a modest success in going after that dream. I haven’t lit up the sky with my name or changed the world with my pen. But I know that my thoughts have caused some of you to re-examine your own beliefs just as many of the thoughts you have shared with me have forced me to rethink some of my own conclusions.

This coming year, I have resolved to write more - a lot more - than in 2008. I hope to write a book and contribute to other conservative publications. Where that will leave this blog, I am unsure. I am already fighting time constraints to get something on this site nearly everyday. But I suspect, as with many things, if it is important enough to you, you will find the time to do it. This site and you, oh, gentle readers, are indeed important to me. For that reason, I hope you stick with me during the coming year - a year that promises to be very interesting and productive.

The years are beginning to pass as if I were walking downhill now - not like when I was a kid and summer lasted forever as did the school day. Somewhere along the way in the last few years, I began to notice a blurring together of weeks and months. Wasn’t the election just yesterday? And it seems but an eyeblink has occurred since we celebrated the Fourth of July. Is the baseball season over already? Or are they getting ready to start up again?

A function of age no doubt. The big “Double Nickel” lands next month and I am discovering that I have less and less enthusiasm in “celebrating” birthdays. What’s there to celebrate? Getting one year closer to the end?

Yes, it’s true that you become more fatalistic the older you get.

But it is also true that with a modicum of good health and a song in my heart, I can still kick up my heels and enjoy life. And I fully expect 2009 to be full of joyful moments and laughter, and love and all the things that make life a fullfilling and rich experience for those of us lucky enough to live now, here in the United States.

And I hope the same for you.

Rick Moran
Proprietor
Right Wing Nuthouse

By: Rick Moran at 2:18 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (23)

THE HOUSE MAKES THE WEBLOG AWARD FINALS
CATEGORY: Blogging

I am pleased to announce that this blog has been named as a finalist for “Best Conservative Blog” in the 2009 Weblog Awards.

The last time I was a finalist was in 2005, also for Best Conservative Blog. No doubt this surprises some of you as much as it surprised me. Still, I’m pleased that the Awards Committee saw fit to include me as a finalist this year.

No doubt I will finish last or next to last given the quality of the competition:

 Add to any feed reader  Victor Davis Hanson
Add to any feed reader  RedState
Add to any feed reader  Ace of Spades
Add to any feed reader  Power Line
Add to any feed reader  Eject, Eject, Eject!
Add to any feed reader  Plumb Bob Blog
Add to any feed reader  Michelle Malkin
Add to any feed reader  American Thinker
Add to any feed reader  Blue Collar Muse
Add to any feed reader  small dead animals
Add to any feed reader  Little Green Footballs
Add to any feed reader  Right Wing Nut House
Add to any feed reader  The Next Right
Add to any feed reader  Atlas Shrugs

Frankly, I had no idea nominations were going on. Otherwise I would have directed my readers to the site - not only to nominate me but to take part in nominating your favorite blogs in other categories as well. Not sure who nominated this blog but whoever you are, thank you.

I was glad to see my friends Tom Lifson, Rich Baehr, and Ed Lasky nominated at American Thinker, one of my employers. AT is a finalist in both the Best Political Blog and Best Conservative Blog category. More brainpower among those gentlemen than the entire liberal side of the blogosphere. They deserve the recognition.

Voting starts January 5. As I said, I fully expect to finish far off the pace but it still warms my cockles that there are a few people who still consider me a conservative worthy of approbation. I am proud and humbled at this singular honor.

btw - a great big shoutout to Kevin Alyward and his team who have, as they do every year, expended an enormous amount of time and energy to pull this thing together.

By: Rick Moran at 9:54 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

REID BALKS AT BLAGO SENATE CHOICE

My latest column at Pajamas Media is up. I look at Blago’s master stroke of changing the dynamics of his personal political situation and throwing the ball into Harry Reid’s court as far as the senate choice is concerned.

A sample:

On the surface, this was a brilliant stroke by Blagojevich. By rolling the dice and naming Burris, he puts the onus of rejecting a supremely qualified African-American candidate smack on Senator Reid’s shoulders while perhaps even currying favor with Illinois blacks. In addition, if Reid were somehow to reverse himself, the drive for impeachment would slow considerably. The process had already been reduced to a crawl as a result of the holidays, and any urgency to impeach Blagojevich would dissipate because the idea was to get him out of office quickly so that he couldn’t name Obama’s successor.

To those who might wonder why this changes anything with regard to impeachment, it is important to remember that in Illinois politics all politicians are guilty until convicted. Then they are simply unelectable. Illinois House Democrats will move no faster than they have to. And if the Senate accepts Burris (or is forced to accept him), impeachment will proceed much more deliberatively.

Burris served from 1979-1991 as comptroller of the state and from 1991-1995 as attorney general. He is currently head of Burris & Lebed Consulting of Chicago, a high powered lobbying and consulting firm that, according to the Chicago Sun Times, has gotten nearly $295,000 in state contracts since 2004. Burris and his partners have donated more than $20,000 to Blagojevich since 2004.

In the news conference introducing him, Burris alluded to the idea that he was pleased Blagojevich had named another African-American to replace Obama and he pleaded with his “good friend” Senator Dick Durbin to talk with him about being accepted by the Senate. And it appears virtually certain that Blagojevich will fight to seat his choice, as Burris said during the press conference, “I welcome the challenge that awaits us.”

Read the whole thing.

By: Rick Moran at 9:17 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

12/30/2008
THE GOP BAILOUT CONUNDRUM

Is it smart politics to vote against what will be a wildly popular economic bailout package that may approach a trillion dollars? Further, is it really necessary in order to “save” the economy?

Politicians are always torn between doing what they know is right and what they know is politically safe. Many times, there is a happy convergence between the two schools of thought and the politician comes out a winner. For Republicans, this happens whenever tax cuts are up for a vote or votes on issues like welfare reform or military spending.

But what happens when an issue like the bailout package comes before you - a bill that most GOP conservatives worth their salt know deep down in their gut is the wrong approach to getting the economy out of a recession and will push the federal deficit toward the magic number of a trillion dollars?

To liberals like Paul Krugman (and probably some Republicans), the deficit doesn’t matter:

It’s politically fashionable to rant against government spending and demand fiscal responsibility. But right now, increased government spending is just what the doctor ordered, and concerns about the budget deficit should be put on hold.

Krugman may be half right. Government spending increases during a recession are inevitable and the fall off in revenue due to reduced business activity as well as the increase in the numbers of citizens forced on to the public dole as a result of job loss means a rise in the federal deficit. This much is unavoidable and repeating Herbert Hoover’s mistake in trying to hold the line on spending by increasing taxes is a non-starter. Even Obama knows that much in that he has put his tax increase plans on hold for a couple of years - much to the chagrin of his class warrior base.

But a trillion dollars? And beyond that incomprehensible number is the political fallout that would occur if the GOP were to fight against the stimulus package in the first place.

Such a move might please the Republican base which makes up about 30% of the electorate. But the last I checked it takes more than 50% to be successful in elections. And if the GOP wants to make inroads against the Democrats in the House and Senate, they are going to need considerably more than 50% of the electorate to vote for them in order to climb out of the huge hole they have dug for themselves.

So the smart political move would be to go with the flow and vote for Obama’s giveaway, right? Not so fast, says Nate Silver who lays out the political choices for GOP lawmakers quite nicely:

1) Try to pressure Obama into some kind of compromise, and vote for that compromise;
2) Let the stimulus pass as the Democrats choose to construct it, over your strong objection;
3) Yield to Obama, and vote for the stimulus in the name of national unity.

The third choice probably isn’t very appealing to you. It might be appealing to Newt Gingrich, who is telling you that you don’t have the credibility right now to pick a fight. Better off rebuidling and rebranding the party for the long term. But rebuilding and rebranding means someone other than you is in charge — someone, for example, like Newt Gingirch. So that option is out.

So let’s think through the other couple of choices. First thing first: if the economy improves substantially by the midterm elections, you’re screwed. It won’t matter whether you voted for the stimulus or voted against it, and it won’t matter whether you achieved some kind of compromise or you didn’t. If, by the summer of 2010, GDP growth has miraculously recovered to 4% per year, that’s all the public is going to think about. Obama Save Economy!! Me Vote Democrat!! They aren’t going to care about whether you snuck some sort of capital gains tax cut in there.

But let’s say that the economy still sucks in 2010 — which, frankly, is a pretty good bet. That’s going to work much, much better for you if you’ve voted against the stimulus. Not only can you pin the blame on the donkeys, but you can campaign on tax cutting and fiscal responsibility — the stimulus will “prove”, once and for all, the wisdom of conservative economic principles. And then think about this: the Democrats are going to be trying to spend $800 billion in taxpayer dollars as quickly as they can possibly get away with it. Somewhere along the way, they’re going to wind up funding a Woodstock Museum or a Bridge to Nowhere. Somewhere along the way, an enterprising contractor is going to embezzle a bunch of stimulus money, or cook up some kind of pay-to-play scheme. Maybe if you’re really lucky, this will happen in your Distrct. Better to keep the whole thing at arm’s-length and make sure that Democrats get the blame for that.

The Hobson’s Choice facing Republicans is fighting against a popular president and his very popular giveaway plan in which case if the economy improves by 2010 (more on this later), the GOP is toast or accepting the rationale of the Obama White House and voting in favor of the package in the name of national unity as a result of an “emergency” in which case you will get absolutely no credit from the American people and your base will desert you. The third choice is equally unpalatable; try to inject some sanity in the giveaway by dint of minor amendments, warn of catastrophe, and then vote for it anyway.

In other words, if you stand up for your beliefs and fight the bailout (a certain losing proposition at this point given the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate), your only hope is if the plan doesn’t work and the economy is still in the tank by 2010-12. But if you follow your political instincts and vote in favor of the plan - even if you are able to get Obama to modify some of the parameters - the American people will still see the package as a Democratic triumph. You only consolation by taking door #3 is that the GOP base won’t desert you entirely - probably.

More to the point, can an honorable politician of any ideology or party deny the president what he deems necessary to help people in what his advisors and many experts are telling him is an extremely serious economic crisis? And what does it say about the GOP as a party whose only real hope for gains in 2010 is if the president’s plan doesn’t work and millions suffer the consequences?

Or will they? We are in a serious recession, the depth of which is unknowable at the moment. A Republican Administration has already pumped trillions into the financial sector (without much effect on credit markets and all to the detriment of a free market economy). Few are asking would we have been better off - or just as badly off - if Bush and his gorgon Paulson (and bailout enabler Fed Chair Bernanke) had simply tweaked the system rather than drowning it in money. If the Bushies had allowed several larger Wall Street banks to go under or facilitated some mergers while letting others go down the drain, how much worse off would we be?

Stock market lower? Perhaps. Credit tighter? Hard to see how that would be possible. More job losses? Again, we’re bleeding half a million jobs a month so it would be difficult to imagine that pace getting much worse.

Then there’s all that worthless paper - mortgage backed securities, credit derivatives, and loans that have been foreclosed. There are trillions of dollars of this worthless toilet paper sitting in banks around the world - had been sitting there for months as the housing bubble burst and began to drag the economy toward recession. What changed that caused this bailout mania?

Panic took hold. The Panic of 2008 will be remembered for the scramble to inject “liquidity” into the financial sector so that the business of American business could continue. Gigantic corporations asked the government to sheild them from the results of their poor business decisions and the ebb and flow of the free market by claiming to be “too big to fail” and the government obliged them by throwing trillions of dollars in their direction. No one knows where this money went. No one knows how it was spent. We are told that by saving these companies, we avoided a “meltdown.” If it not be heresy, might I inquire as to just what proponents of these bailouts think we are experiencing now if not a “meltdown?”

In effect, we just spent $7 trillion or so (most of that printed up by the Fed and pumped into the “system” in ways that are so arcane, not even the deacons of high finance can explain it adequately) just to avoid what we are, in fact, going through right now. We don’t know how much worse it would have been without this massive bailout. Such prognostication is impossible. Indeed, even asking the question “How much bang did we get for those $7 trillion bucks?” will bring down criticism for even daring to think that perhaps - just perhaps - much of this massive giveaway was - dare I say it - unnecessary?

But with the GOP’s credibility at close to absolute zero, no one in the Republican party seems willing to make the case that before we pump another trillion dollars into the economy in free money, it might be a good idea to pause and reflect on exactly what we are doing. Forget the deficit for the moment. How is this bailout mania - the result of a feeding frenzy due to the smell of unearned cash available to those who whine the loudest and have the best lobbyists - affecting the ability of the free market to function?

For all the ignorant words written in opposition to the free market in recent months, no one has yet figured out a better way to deliver goods and services to the consumer so cheaply and efficiently, create wealth and jobs, innovate in cutting edge industries like energy, pharma, and bio-tech, while proving itself over time as the most spectacular engine for liberty and the fairest system in the history of industrialized civilization for distributing the economy’s bounty.

No, it is not perfect. Far from it. But this hybrid beast that is emerging as a result of such massive government intervention in the economy is an unknown animal. And if this is to be the end of the “American System” don’t you think we should like, you know, have a debate about it or something? Right now, the new Obama Administration is riding the crest of a wave of panic that gripped this country in late summer and early autumn. And the idea of making nation-changing decisions because Wall Street has been spooked or people are anxious about the future without the benefit of a full fledged debate is even scarier than anything the economy could ever elicit from me.

And now, at the exact moment that this country needs a strong, united Republican party who could come up with free market alternatives to this giveaway society being created by the Democrats and stand up for what they know is right, the GOP is busted, broken, toothless, and out of ideas.

It is not simply going to be good enough to scream “NO” into this hurricane wind of “hope and change.” The GOP must vigorously make the case that the need for this bailout has not been thoroughly examined or thought through adequately. They have a responsibility to try and apply the brakes to this juggernaut that has swept the country over the last few months as politicians have responded to panic by panicking themselves. Most importantly, they must do what minority parties are supposed to do; offer sound, reasonable, achievable ideas to counter what is coming from the majority.

This will not happen to the leaderless, dispirited crew of Republicans on Capitol Hill. In this respect, it won’t matter politically whether they vote for the bailout or not. They have already proven themselves to be emasculated by the voter and their own timidity and cowardice when it comes to standing up for their core principles.

By: Rick Moran at 10:16 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (28)

12/29/2008
BLOODTHIRSTY JEWS BRUTALLY MURDER HAMAS BABIES
CATEGORY: Middle East

My traffic has been down this holiday season so I thought a headline like the one above might draw the curious - and at least some liberals and far right wackos who think it an accurate statement and wish to read something with which they agree.

Sorry to disappoint, but the truth is a lot less prosaic. The fact is, even a lot of Palestinian sympathizers are wondering what the hell Hamas was thinking. The terrorists launched hundreds of rockets at Israel, trying to kill babies - hoping to kill babies - and as is their right under the UN Charter, the Jewish state is choosing to defend itself.

Even the “Blame Israel First” crowd is acknowledging these facts. So what’s the beef? Incredibly, it seems that the quality of Israel’s arms and their supremely competent air force is the problem. They are hitting back and it’s just not fair.

Ezra Klein:

Hamas lacks the technology to aim its rockets. They’re taking potshots. In response, the Israeli government launched air strikes that have now killed more than 280 Palestinians, injured hundreds beyond that, and further radicalized thousands in the Occupied Territories and millions in the region. The response will not come today, of course. It will come in months, or even in years, when an angry orphan detonates a belt filled with shrapnel, killing himself and 25 Israelis. At which point the Israelis will launch air strikes killing another 70 Palestinians, radicalizing thousands more, leading to more bombings, and so the cycle continues.

The rocket attacks were undoubtedly “deeply disturbing” to Israelis. But so too are the checkpoints, the road closures, the restricted movement, the terrible joblessness, the unflinching oppression, the daily humiliations, the illegal settlement — I’m sorry, “outpost” — construction, “deeply disturbing” to the Palestinians, and far more injurious. And the 300 dead Palestinians should be disturbing to us all.

There is nothing proportionate in this response. No way to fit it into a larger strategy that leads towards eventual peace. No way to fool ourselves into believing that it will reduce bloodshed and stop terrorist attacks. It is simple vengeance. There’s a saying in the Jewish community: “Israel, right or wrong.” But sometimes Israel is simply wrong.

The idea of “proportionate response” is a favorite among liberals. It appeals to their sense of “fairness” and besides, it makes them look like statesmen. Rather than using their jets, Israel should build an airforce of Sopwith Camels and drop cowpies on the terrorists. Better still, they should ask citizens to build the Israeli version of the Kassam rocket in their basements complete with crude homemade launchers and the occasional accident that prematurely blows up and kills a few kids along the way.

Klein’s laughable thesis boils down to this; Israel refuses to commit suicide. The idea that this or any other military action should fit into a “larger strategy that leads to eventual peace” could only be uttered by someone so clueless (or dangerously naive) that they are ignorant of the fact that the only “peace” Hamas has ever indicated that it wishes from Israel is for every Jew to be lying peacefully in their grave. And they have proven this singular attitude time and time again over the years. If this sounds simplistic, it is. There is no nuance in the Palestinians desire to kill the Jews and take their land. Those who purport to see any are fools.

Somehow when Klein - or Lambchop - berates Israel for defending itself, this notion of extermination and the Palestinians refusing to recognize Israel or any Israeli’s right to exist never seems to make it into their arguments. Instead, they prattle on about Israel not fighting fair, a la Klein and his “potshot” theory. Where in God’s name do liberals get these cockamamie ideas that it is necessary for a nation under attack to restrain itself or limit its response just to please the opinion and sensibilities of critics? Any nation has a right to defend itself as it sees best - except Israel and the United States who must play by a different set of rules than their bloodthirsty adversaries. “Don’t act too beastly towards the terrorists,” is not a military strategy.

I don’t like picking on Mr. Klein who, after all, is brighter than your average liberal and seems a very nice fellow. But this kind of sophistry has to be shown up if only to highlight a certain blind spot present in many on the left who believe that no matter what the provocation, Israel should refrain from carrying out sensible military actions like trying to degrade their enemy’s ability to fire rockets at their citizens because it is not helping the peace process. Klein lists many actions Israel has taken to defend itself short of war - checkpoints, restricted movements the “joblessness” (Israel’s fault Hamas is lousy at governing?), the “unflinching oppression” (Huh?), and still criticizes the Jewish state even when they don’t send in the IDF.

Evidently, Klein believes Israel is carrying out these measures not for purposes of defense but because they enjoy oppressing the Palestinians. Indeed, Mr. Klein and his liberal think alikes believe that Israel should just sit there and take the blows delivered by Hamas and try to woo the terrorists attempting to kill them all with soft words and grandiloquent gestures.

This is the “Obama way” and it is an attitude prevelant on the left because they refuse to believe that there are people and nations on this earth where talking does no good, where dialog is used as a tactic to further war aims rather than as a means to reach a settlement of differences. Israel is under no illusions when it comes to the intent of Palestinians. Why should lefties like Klein and Greenwald create them?

And speaking of Lambchop, Robert McCain has a great takedown of Greenwald’s diatribe against the Israelis who have incurred the sock puppet’s wrath because they refuse to stand down in the face of naked agression. McCain uses General Sherman’s thoughts on war to blast Lambchop’s idiotic posturing:

Greenwald correctly asserts: “Opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute are so entrenched that any single outbreak of violence is automatically evaluated through a pre-existing lens, shaped by one’s typically immovable beliefs about which side bears most of the blame for the conflict.” And he is certainly not exempted from the effects of entrenched opinion and immovable belief, unequivocally placing himself in the Blame Israel First camp.

Are there no innocent Israelis, no “numerous children” imperiled by the haphazard Hamas rocket and mortar attacks of recent days? Did not Israel warn Hamas that a continuation of the attacks would not be tolerated? It seems to me that one must either justify the Hamas attacks or else admit Israel’s right to act in self-defense. Greenwald and other critics might argue that Israel had a right to act, but has overreacted. However, in doing so they seek to make themselves arbiters of Israeli defense policy.

Sherman’s remonstrance that “war is hell” is lost on those who insist on believing that war should be fought the 17th century way - a contest between gentlemanly combatants where both sides refrain from firing on officers else the battle would get out of control and mobs of commoners would have at each other. Israel can’t use its jets because Hamas doesn’t have any - that’s unfair, don’t you know. Israel should forswear the use of its armor or sophisticated artillery - that just wouldn’t be “proportional.”

Israel should take being showered by rockets, smile, and invite Hamas for a cup of tea - that’s the way to demonstrate seriousness in peace negotiations. The fact that Hamas is not serious about peace is never the issue. After all, why criticize someone who would laugh in your face and spit in your eye for suggesting such a ludicrous idea as “peace.?” Better to rail against the Israelis who have to listen to the US, their best and most important ally rather than be tortured with the thought that Palestinian terrorists could give a fig what you think.

If there’s anything a liberal hates it’s being ignored.

By: Rick Moran at 9:54 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (41)

12/27/2008
IS ‘BARACK THE MAGIC NEGRO’ RACIST?

I suppose the real question is will there ever be agreement among everybody on just what is satire and what is racism?

The answer is not as long as liberals see playing the race card as the political advantage it is.

The latest blow up involves a Rush Limbaugh parody that first surfaced on his show during the campaign. “Barack the Magic Negro,” an edgy satire of Obama’s celebrity and popularity with white voters that was written by Paul Shanklin and played numerous times on Rush’s show. (The term ‘Barack the Magic Negro” was first used in an Los Angeles Times column by cultural critic David Ehrenstein - a fact that the parody makes mention of. Ehrenstein is a white liberal.)

The song was sent out as a Christmas greeting by RNC chair candidate Chip Saltsman with the message:

“I look forward to working together in the New Year,” Saltsman wrote. “Please enjoy the enclosed CD by my friend Paul Shanklin of the Rush Limbaugh Show.”

Also on the CD were other examples of Shanklin’s satire including “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,” “Wright place, wrong pastor,” “Love Client #9,” “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish banner.”

Shanklin’s stuff is mostly brilliant satire. But like all good political humor, it walks a line of good taste and decorum. In fact, by pushing the boundaries as Shanklin does, he defines for us the essence of political satire. In this respect (not in talent) Shanklin’s material is no more objectionable than Jonathon Swift or George Orwewll for that matter.

That is, unless you’re a liberal seeking to make political hay and stifle free expression. You can criticize “Barack the Magic Negro” as unfunny or not in good taste. But when you use the inflammatory word “racism” to describe it, you go beyond critiquing the work and enter the world of pure politics. This liberals do on a regular basis and they get away with the sliming of political speech and speakers they disagree with because the press refuses to call them out on it.

In fact, the left has lowered the bar on what constitutes “racism” by redefining the term to suit their own political needs. And by refusing to acknowledge any set definition of the word, the left deliberately undermines free speech by cutting off debate with liberals firmly ensconced in a superior moral position while the person being unfairly smeared as a racist is unable to defend themselves. If one tries to stand up and fight the charge, they give automatic legitimacy to the left’s argument. And if they remain silent in the face of such slimeball tactics, the smear works and sticks to the accused like glue.

Having said all this, is it an appropriate Christmas message from a potential RNC chairman? It wouldn’t be my first choice but then I don’t think Saltsman the guy for the job anyway.

What is clear is that this despicable tactic by the left predates Obama and has done more to poison relations between the races in this country than all the cross burnings and hate speech delivererd by the morons in the Klan or the Skinheads. The reason is simple; the left has appropriated the word “racist” in order to define the debate on race - any issue, any time, anywhere - on their terms and their terms alone. Do you oppose Affirmative Action? You’re a racist. Do you oppose set asides for business based on race? You are a racist. Do you oppose racial quotas in college entrance requirements? You are a racist.

No debate. No exchange of ideas. No give and take on any issue that touches race unless you first accept the left’s position on these and other issues. If you don’t, the debate is closed off by simply calling you a racist - end of discussion.

So it’s no surprise they see legitimate satire as “racist.” In fact, the surprise would be if they didn’t.

UPDATE

Thanks to so many commenters - both present and future - who are proving the thesis of my argument so spectacularly. Not only are those calling me a racist proving their aversion to free speech but the dumbing down of the term racism by my detractors and its use to cut off debate (with the obligatory nod to the idea that  defending 1st Amendment rights are what will keep Republicans out of power - which is used in lieu of any kind of intelligent answer to the points I raise) only goes to show that the mind of a liberal is extraordinarily predictable.

Simple minded sophists usually are.

By: Rick Moran at 11:31 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (93)

12/26/2008
JINDAL IS NOT THE ANSWER

Some trenchant analysis in Politico this morning on the problems facing Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in running for president in 2012:

One other similarity between the two: a charmed political existence so far. Jindal’s first year in office brought historic ethics reforms, deep tax cuts and major funding for workforce training and highway projects. State tax coffers bulged with oil industry revenues from $4-a-gallon gas.

So, along with his counterpart in Alaska, the Louisiana governor became the undisputed hot ticket for the GOP’s circuit of Lincoln and Reagan Day party fundraisers, traditionally a testing ground for presidential aspirants. And unlike Sarah Palin, Jindal is also quickly becoming the toast of Republican elites, the class of elected officials, donors, and consultants who are much sought after well before the first primary votes are cast.

Now some political reality is setting in.

For one thing, Jindal is facing what nearly every one of his counterparts is in capitals across the country: a gaping budget deficit.

With the price of oil plummeting, energy-rich Louisiana has lost a significant chunk of anticipated revenue and is projected to have a $2 billion deficit next year.

“He’s had a rocket ride,” said Maginnis, the Louisiana political analyst. “Nobody has had a first year in office like his. But next year is going to be a lot rockier.”

In addition to the deficit, the political calendar is working against him. It would be extremely difficult for Jindal to run for both re-election as governor in 2011 and the Republican nomination in 2012. The first primaries are going to be, at best, 10 weeks from election day in Louisiana - hardly enough time to shift gears and concentrate on running for president after spending the previous year campaigning in Louisiana.

Can he do both? It would be unprecedented and there are a couple of scenarios where it might work out, specifically a run against a weak Democratic gubanatorial candidate in what would shape up to be a Republican year. What the good people of Louisiana might think about someone running for both offices is a big unknown. And raising money for both races would almost seem to be a waste.

A more likely scenario is that Jindal skips 2012 and takes his shot in 2016. He will only be 41 years old in 2012 which would still make him younger than Obama if he were to wait for four years.

And speaking of the president-elect, Republicans are already referring to Jindal as “our Obama” - a gruesome thing with which to saddle anyone. It is a superficial recognition of his Indian heritage - a “man of color” - that shows how desperate the GOP truly is. One would think that other, more important factors, should recommend Jindal to national voters and no doubt, some will emerge. But the blatant race-based politics that can proclaim Jindal a serious candidate based at least partly - or mostly - on the color of his skin has no place in any party to which I want to belong. Turn the Obama question on Jindal - “If his name was Smith and he was white, would he be taken as serious fodder for the presidency?” - and you are left with an emphatic “no” for an answer.

Sizing up Jindal at this point is probably an exercise in futility since he will no doubt grow and change as his term in office continues. But what we know of him now is not very encouraging to me. I could never vote for someone who believes that creationism/intelligent design should be taught in schools - even if it is done in concert with the teaching of evolution with the goal of “letting the kids decide” which “theory” they wish to believe.

This kind of anti-intellectualism that promotes ID as science on a par with Darwinism is just plain loony. Imagine in Cosmology if we taught the “Steady State” theory of the origins of the Universe alongside the “Big Bang” and expansion theories, allowing students to decide which theory is “true.” The question answers itself. One theory is clearly wrong and the other is clearly correct.

If parents want to home school their kids and teach them ID or send them to private religious schools where Darwin is a dirty word, fine. They will grow up sweeping the floors of Japanese, Swedish, or Chinese bio-tech factories rather than owning them. You can deny the efficacy of evolution all you want but since modern biology is based on it (and not on ID/creationism) it stands to reason that the coming revolution in bio-technology will proceed without your children being involved. This nonsense has already affected the numbers of students entering graduate level life sciences which a recent Rand study showed will necessitate US bio-tech firms looking overseas for engineers and biologists within the next decade.

But this debate is only a symptom of what ails the GOP. Much of the base appears to be battling modernity itself. Declaring categorically - and without even a scintilla of the requisite knowledge to do so - that Climate Change is a “hoax” bespeaks an ignorance that causes most voters to blanche in horror at the prospect of electing a Republican. Scientists who advocate the theory of catastrophic climate change may indeed be wrong. They may be close minded and not open to opposing views. But “hoaxers?”

This is not the first time that eminent scientists have gotten it wrong and refused to consider evidence the the contrary. The theory of plate tectonics - the continents sitting on plates, floating on magma, that rub against each other and migrate great distances over time - was belittled for a 100 years. But no one accused proponents of the Continental Drift theory of perpetrating a scientific hoax to advance that theory at the expense of plate tectonics.

The evidence for Climate Change is hardly in dispute due simply to the fact that the earth’s climate is always changing. The question is how much humans have had to do with any change in climate and whether cutting emissions will do any good. To simply pass off these enormously complex questions as a “hoax” reveals the deep strain of anti-intellectualism in the GOP that raises its ugly head from time to time. I like the great physicist Freeman Dyson’s explanation for the disinterest of warming advocates in acknowledging that there is still a debate about the causes and especially the projections of scientists regarding the earth heating up. Dyson says that “When science gets rich it becomes political.”

In his comments at both the Nassau Club and Labyrinth, he decried the use of computer modeling to make “tremendously dogmatic” predictions about worldwide trends, without acknowledging the “messy, muddy real world” and the non-climatic effects of increased carbon dioxide. “There is no substitute for widely-conducted field operations over a long time,” he told the Nassau Club audience, citing the “enormous gaps in knowledge and sparseness of observation” that characterize the work of global warming experts.

Instead of engaging in debate on the scientific merits of the Climate Change proponents, many are apt to simply dismiss the findings of eminent scientists as a “hoax.” Dyson has exactly the right attitude; plead for additional research before implementing draconian solutions that may not even address the problem. And please note he says nothing about scientists trying to pull off a “hoax.”

Jindal may not believe in theories of Climate Change and wish to see ID/creationism taught in schools. Should this disqualify him from successfully running for president? Perhaps not. But it certainly portrays the Louisiana governor as someone without the intellectual curiosity that we in the GOP should have in our candidates. Believing in ID/creationism flies in the face of the facts. Do we really want a president who does that?

By: Rick Moran at 10:00 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (58)

12/24/2008
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE NUTHOUSE
CATEGORY: Blogging

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

By: Rick Moran at 7:48 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

OBAMA ABSOLVES HIMSELF IN BLAGOBUST - LEFT AGREES

The irony in the left’s total absolution granted the Obama transition team regarding any unethical contacts with Governor Rod Blagojevich or his staff actually makes for some pretty good comedy.

This is the crew that swallowed al-Qaeda propaganda whole with regards to every war “atrocity” ever reported instead of giving their own military or government the benefit of the doubt - including the “Haditha Massacre” where many liberals tried to outdo one another in heaping calumny on innocent soldiers. And now a single report, issued by a politician who presents no other evidence that could clarify or contradict its conclusions, is being trumpeted to the skies as “proof” that no one in the Obama camp did anything wrong.

In short, the left is apt to unquestioningly take what al-Qaeda and Obama say at face value while dismissing the reports of their own government.

Now I will be the first to point out that there were many reports from our military regarding readiness of the Iraqi Army and other political benchmarks set by Congress that were less than honest. And there have been other instances where our government lied outright about the war, specifically in their overly optimistic assessments about progress in bringing peace and security to the provinces.

I am not saying that we should automatically believe everything the government says and not believe al-Qaeda propagandists. I am saying that the left is being hypocritical by not showing the same skepticism they direct towards the Bush Administration on anything and everything they come out with compared to their superficial, eager embrace of the one sided, sole source Obama report on staff contacts with Blago.

It is a selective form of information processing that proves two things; most on the left are partisan hacks and that we are in for at least four years of insufferable hypocrisy from people who are so clueless that they fail to recognize it.

Apparently, we are to suspend disbelief for the duration of Obama’s presidency. No matter that not one single taped conversation with the principles has been released to either confirm the information in the report or make Obama out a liar. Reports in the press on what Fitzy actually has as far as taped conversations between Blagojevich and the Obama team have been wildly overstated (at least according to the report). And yet, when the press assures us that because of the findings in the president-elect’s own manufactured report we can now put this controversy to rest.

In a front page diary at Kos from JedL, we get this bit of certainty about our new president:

Let me emphasize this point: the reason why the release of the Obama report was delayed was to allow Fitzgerald to complete his interviews with the transition team. In other words, everything that Obama’s team has said has been true.

Such unquestioning devotion based on nothing more than a politician’s word - an oxymoron to be sure - would be laughable if this same attitude wasn’t so prevelant on the left.

Steve Bennen:

And as expected, there was nothing to hide. The entire Craig memo is online (.pdf), and after reading it, everything we’d heard from Obama and his team was completely true. Obama never spoke to Blagojevich or his office about the Senate vacancy; no one on Obama’s staff ever had any inappropriate discussions with the governor or his office; and no one Obama’s staff ever had any indication that Blagojevich was engaged in alleged corruption.

The report is quite thorough - in a self serving kind of way. But what in God’s name does anyone expect? If anyone actually thought Obama would put one iota of information in that report that would have contradicted anything he or his aides have said on the matter they belong in an insane asylum.

So what’s the rush, guys? The exoneration of Obama and his team as a result of findings released in their own report after conducting their own investigation would make most people with a molecule of curiosity say “OK, fine. I’m glad they say they’re innocent of any ethical breach or lawbreaking as a newborn babe. Perhaps we might wait upon Fitzgerald for a release of, like, you know, some actual evidence that what they say is true rather than swallowing their report whole like a good little Obamabot?”

But why let a little reality slip into the “Reality Based Community” when anti-intellectualism is so much easier to embrace?

UPDATE

I note that Steven Benen makes the arguement that because Fitzy has the tapes, this means that the Obama camp was “forced” to tell the truth lest any information that came out a a later date would contradict what’s in the report.

One imagines that Obama detractors might not believe these conclusions — “the transition team can’t clear itself of wrongdoing!” — but the review was done with the knowledge that Blagojevich and his office was the subject of FBI wiretaps. The transition team, in other words, knew in advance that any false claims would be easily exposed, so they had a very strong incentive to be completely honest.

First, there is no certainty that the tapes in question will ever see the light of day and the Obama camp could certainly have been told this. No doubt Fitzy would play some of the tapes at any trial of Blagojevich and Harris but since there almost certainly was nothing illegal offered by Blago to the Obama camp, the chances of any Blago-Emanuel converstations aired at trial would be slim. What kind of horse trading that might have gone on would be irrelevant in a criminal trial but might be damaging politically.

Secondly, as we saw with Bill Clinton, parsing words is an art form and statements made in the report could very well contradict what the actual conversations might say because a good lawyer can twist words and facts until they reveal exactly what he wishes them to reveal. The report could have said the sun rises in the west and Obama could come out with a statement that if you are standing upsidedown and facing sideways, of course the sun rises in the west, dummy.

No doubt Bennen et al would swallow that one without any skepticism too.

By: Rick Moran at 8:51 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

12/23/2008
WISHING THE GAY MARRIAGE ISSUE WOULD JUST GO AWAY

This whole Rick Warren blow-up that has occupied both the left and right recently reminds me of all that I hate about both conservatives and liberals. They aren’t discussing the very smart political move (and wonderful, healing gesture) by Obama to invite a man who equates gay love with incest to give the invocation at this historic inaugural. The issue has been folded into the Prop 8 brouhaha and has been deliberately used to reignite a debate that was settled the only way such thorny issues can be settled; at the ballot box by ordinary Americans making their feelings known in a clear, unambiguous way.

To my conservative freinds, I would ask what possible relevance this minor, irritating issue has when the country’s economy is going to hell in a handbasket? I don’t ask the same question of the left because to them, “the personal is political” and forcing the concept of gay marriage down the American people’s throat seems perfectly reasonable - especially since they believe the rest of us are a bunch of bible thumping, goober chewing yahoos who need to be instructed (by them) as to what is correct thinking and what isn’t - regardless of one’s personal beliefs.

Calling on government to either ban or bless how one chooses to express their love for another human being is the height of idiocy. If individual religious sects (or, through the ballot box, a state) wishes to recognize unions of same sex couples as “marriage” or something similar who are we to say otherwise? It’s not anyone’s business and the idea that it should matter is rapidly becoming ridiculous.

The challenges we face in the next few years are as serious as any faced by a generation of Americans since World War II. We are at war with a fanatical ideology, supported by nation states - one of whom may very well be close to having the ultimate weapon - using terror tactics to achieve their ends while their actions are supported or tolerated by tens of millions of their co-religionists.

Our economic situation is dire - and being made moreso by mortgaging our future so that politicians can be seen to be “doing something about the problem.” Eight trillion dollars later, the economy is arguably no better off and we have postponed the date of recovery. In the meantime, a budget deficit approaching a trillion dollars is staring the liberals and the face and they are not giving an inch. They are going to initate all their pet spending schemes come hell or high water. The trouble is that both those things have come already. We are in hell. High water would be an improvement.

The most inexperienced chief executive in American history will be learning on the job while the rest of the world - especially our enemies - will seek to test the limits of his patience and skill. There are so many landmines strewn in his path that the chances of him stepping on one of them is pretty darn good. Either Russia or Iran is almost certain to challenge Obama somewhere, somehow. That seems to be a growing consensus among our foreign policy wise heads who give the new president less than a year before he faces a genuine, teeth rattling crisis.

And despite all this, the gay community is throwing a tantrum about Rick Warren while seeking to nullify the will of the people in California. Inconvenient? No doubt. Democracy is a messy, ugly process. But working actively to tell the millions of Californians who voted for Prop 8 that their vote, their feelings, and their beliefs matter as much as a pile of crap is not the way things are done in democracies. They are acting as if there will never be another election and that people’s minds cannot be changed. If they keep up with these bully boy, screaming, foot stomping, two year old-like tactics, people will continue voting to deny what they see as their “right” to marry until they grow up and work like responsible adults to bring people around to their point of view.

To the Mormons and rabid gay-haters out there on the right who think they hold a patent on truth, I’ve got news for you; very few people care what you think. In fact, the more you work against gay marriage, the faster you hasten the day when it will become a reality. The only thing keeping a backlash from forming against you now is the backlash that has already formed against the kooks on the left who beat you to it through their childish idiocy of attacking people for their religious beliefs while screaming that everyone should boycott everybody if they even sneezed in favor of Prop 8. I never thought I’d see the day when people would feel sorry for Mormons and others who are in the line of fire of these ignorant boobs in the gay community.

In the end, this is a non-issue being pushed on both sides by ignorant statists who wish to use government to get what they want. Meanwhile, the world melts down around them and the rest of us wonder just what the hell has got this minority of loudmouths so upset. The only thing I know is that the louder they get, the more I wish they’d just shut up and the whole issue just go away.

UPDATE:

Judging by the emails I’ve gotten, my usual detractors are accusing me of dismissing the issue with a “pox on both your houses,” typical Moran BS. In this case, I see no difference between the Mormons, the gay haters, and those in the gay community who are blowing a gasket over the Rick Warren imbroglio and Prop 8 boycotts.. They are all statist boobs as far as I’m concerned, seeking to hijack government in order to impose their views on the rest of us.

Gay marriage is not a “conservative” issue. Conservatives don’t care whether someone loves another who is the same sex or not. Love is love and trying to redefine it is like trying to get the sun to rise in the west and set in the east. If you believe the love you hold for your own spouse is legitimate, you cannot deny the same kind of love that exists between two men or two women is equally correct - bible or not.

And there is no “human right” to get married. That may be the biggest bunch of hooey ever advanced by the left. If gay marriage is going to happen in the US, it will happen with acceptance by the majority and not as part of legal trickery that seeks to redefine what a “human right” is suppose to be.

By: Rick Moran at 3:10 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (21)