Normally if Mark Levin posted a link to Reason it would be cause for celebration at the Jamie household. If an arch-conservative like Levin can see the value in us squishy cocktail sipping libertarians then there might actually be some hope.
Then he goes and says something like this:
Marx and Engels preached destroying the existing society, as does Barack Obama with his transformations, as apparently do the Rockwellians.
Look I have my disagreements with President Obama on a whole host of issues, almost all of them in fact. To say that he preaches destroying existing society is just a realm of crazy I’m not willing to go to. This kind of reckless demagoguery might be great for building a sizable audience of people who already agree with you, but its not going to convince anyone not already on your side.
In a just world, government employees who used their position as government employees to threaten businesses regarding their political agenda would be fired and stripped of all post-employment benefits. Unfortunately, Wisconsin does not exist in a just world.
What really ties the whole thing together – the thuggery and the entitlement mentality of unionized government employees – is this: after sending out letters threatning public boycotts of businesses that do not actively support the union (“And sorry, neutral means ‘no’”), the union leader has the gall to complain about threats he gets.
I don’t know much about Wisconsin, but I know that what’s happened there over the past two months reveals how deadly unionized government employees can be to republican governence. The essence of a republic is that citizens rule and are ruled in turn. Unionized government employees simply are not interested in the last half of that bargain. I hope the people of Wisconsin are as repulsed by this thuggery as I am. If not, they’ll get what they deserve.
Apollo posted this at 9:13 AM CDT on Thursday, March 31st, 2011 as Politics
Because the less money government has, the less it can snoop on you. Scott Henson has a list of some of the horrid “Big Brotherish” dreck currently pending in the Texas legislature. Whatever the substantive arguments of allowing law enforcement to closely monitor citizens, our $23 billion shortfall almost surely means these new programs won’t pass.
In his pre-presidential book “The Audacity of Hope,” Obama said the U.S. will lack international legitimacy if it intervenes militarily “without a well-articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands.”
He questioned: “Why invade Iraq and not North Korea or Burma? Why intervene in Bosnia and not Darfur?”
So let’s go back to his famed 2002 anti-Iraq War speech. What conclusions do you think 2002 Obama would draw about 2011 Obama?
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.
He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.
Why wasn’t the president’s speech last night effective? Aside from any problems of substance (it’s hard to give an effective speech when what you’re selling is nonsense), it simply wasn’t believable that Barrack Obama believed the things he was saying. We didn’t know much about this man when we elected him in 2008, but we knew he opposed the Iraq War because he didn’t think Saddam was a threat to us. Last night’s speech throws into doubt whether he was sincere then, whether he’s sincere now, whether he’s capable of sincerity, or whether he just did a piss-poor job of explaining what’s different this time.
At any rate, I think it’s impossible to reconcile what little we knew about pre-presidential Obama with the Obama who was on tv last night. A speaker cannot be effective when he undermines his own credibility.
What happens when a law is declared unconstitutional? It doesn’t magically disappear from the statute books; every lawyer and law student in Texas knows that Penal Code Section 21.06 (“Homosexual Conduct”), declared unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas back in 2003, is still on the books. Unenforeable in any context, but still there. The Supreme Court can’t alter what appears in the law books; that takes a legislative act.
There’s some slight movement in the legislature this session to remove the section. Fine. If they’ve got time to do it and don’t mind doing so, bully for them. I can’t imagine it makes a lick of difference one way or the other, but making people happy is what democracy is all about.
But the story cites someone claiming that it would make a difference:
“By leaving it on the books, you create the potential for abuse,” said Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project , which is representing two gay men who were kicked out of an El Paso restaurant in 2009 for kissing in public.
In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Texas could not stop people of the same sex from engaging in sexual activity. Today, the Texas Penal Code still states that it is a Class C misdemeanor to engage in “deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex” — just after a line explaining that the law is unconstitutional.
El Paso police cited the “homosexual conduct” wording when the two men were kicked out of a Chico’s Tacos restaurant. The men refused to leave and called the police, assuming the restaurant staff was out of line with a city ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Instead, an officer told the men it was illegal for two men to kiss in public and said they could be cited for “homosexual conduct.”
At the time, El Paso Police Department spokesman Javier Sambrano described the officers involved as “relatively inexperienced.”
Section 21.06 addresses “deviate sexual intercourse,” not kissing, so not only was the officer ignorant of Lawrence, he was ignorant of the law he cited. But Harringon would have us believe that repealing the unenforceable law will make a difference because an inexperienced police officer who isn’t aware of perhaps the most prominent Supreme Court case of the last decade (which is noted under Section 21.06 in every copy of the penal code I have seen), or of the text of the law itself, will be aware of an unpublicized legislative act that strikes already meaningless language (which the officer hadn’t read) from the penal code?
But what do I know? Perhaps keeping it there actually does “creat[e] a climate favorable to bullying, gay-bashing and hate crimes.” One can imagine some hate criminals, sometime next year, setting out in their rebel-flag-adorned pickups to lynch some gay guy they thought made googly eyes at one of them in the bar. But as Cletus gets in his truck, he sees in a stack of mail he’d picked up earlier that day a hot-off-the-presses 2012 copy of the Texas Penal Code. “Hey fellers,” says he to his buddies, “let me take a gander through here to make sure them queers is still fair game.” And there, where Section 21.06 had been each and every time he’d consulted prior penal codes before lynchings, is a note that the law has been repealed. “Mah Gawd,” says he, “we got to change our lynchin’ policy.”
Kaus, on the implications of treating war as a routine occurrence. I’m of the same mind as him regarding whether what’s happening is good or bad:
I’m not sure whether humanitarian imperialism is a good or bad thing. The world might be a distinctly better place overall if the U.N. could overthrow every dictatorship the Security Council could muster a majority to overthrow. But the accompanying routinization of war is at least troubling, no?
A few weeks ago, a UCLA student named Alexandra Wallace posted a three-minute rant on Youtube complaining about “hordes of Asian*” students having long, loud telephone conversations at the school library. This, she said, is disruptive and not in accordance with “American manners.” Wallace , who — unfortunately, in this context — is blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and wears heavy make-up, went on to mock Asian accents, worked in a stupid reference to the Japanese tsunami, gave some disparaging opinions about Asian culture, and generally acted like a Ugly American.
The youtube video was condemned by UCLA’s president, which then got picked up by the mainstreamspress and went viral on the Internet. Despite a public apology, Wallace has been harassed all over the Internet (google her name with “racist or “bikini,” if you must) and has even received a number of death threats. Just a few days ago, she announced she’s leaving UCLA.
Yesterday, David Bell weighed in in an op-ed that was picked up on NPR and Gizmodo:
It seems like a great time to be a bully. When I was a kid, even the most productive bulliescould only manage a handful of victims at a time. What used to take a lot of effort can now be handled with a couple thumbs and some Wi-Fi. A hateful rumor can spread a lot faster on Facebook than it could on the school bathroom wall.
And who are these bullies Bell is talking about?
The connection between bullyand target is so seamless that hate speech can often spread more rapidly than its originator ever intended. One assumes that’s the case with UCLA student Alexandra Wallace, who recorded a three-minute rant against Asian students, in particular those who use cell phones in her school library…
Tomorrow’s kids — in addition to facing the usual natural disasters that come with adolescence — will be confronted with the multichannel, always-on, upsettingly viral slings and arrows of bullies. Although Alexandra Wallace is a far cry from the worst of bullies, the whole incident left me feeling depressed about the future.
Wallace may be a fool and a boor, but a bully? Bullies shames others to gain power or slam them up against walls to take their lunch money. Wallace didn’t threaten anyone; she didn’t intimidate anyone; she didn’t ruin anyone’s life. At worst, she’s offended people and made them cry, something she’s suffered and apologized for profusely.
That college kids say dumb things on the Internet is a regrettable part of life. That others threaten and bully college students for this behavior is a lamentable one. That seemingly respectable news organizations think its the dumb college kid who is the bully in all this, not the Internet hordes who expose, belittle, and drive them into hiding…well, I haven’t found the right word for that yet.
* As Apollo has previously noted, an adjective that could equally apply to Russians, Chinese, Afghanis, and Japanese peoples is remarkably useless.
From the Daily Bruin:
“If she’s received a death threat, I find that as deplorable as her original YouTube video. If this is the response of students on campus, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Robert Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students.
“As deplorable.” Good grief.
Tom posted this at 12:05 PM CDT on Saturday, March 26th, 2011 as Uncategorized
Fresh on the heels of news that the Libyan rebels are engaged in racial cleansing of some sort, we now learn that we’re on al Qeda’s side. This point is too important to miss: that report notes that the leader of the Libyan rebels fought against us in Afghanistan, was captured in Pakistan, and was later released.
I’ll adapt slightly from Mark Steyn’s closing snark here: Our first black president is using the American military to make Libya safe for anti-black racists and the same Islamist fighters who, elsewhere, kill American soldiers. It’s hard to think of ways in which this could get worse without entering the realm of the ludicrous – perhaps a company of Nazis, marooned in Libya since the surrender of the Afrika Korps, join up; vampire assassins helping the rebels during nighttime operations; specicidal aliens assisting the rebels to use captured Gadaffi fighters as test subject to develop a virus to wipeout mankind. Even then, the awful would only increase at the margins. How much worse is aiding a bunch of racist jihadist Nazi vampires than merely aiding a bunch of racist jihadists?
So it looks like Michelle Bachmann is going to run for president. In the past I’ve tried to ignore her existence, because she doesn’t seem like a terribly consequential figure, and, because she is both attractive (for a politician) and conservative, she is polarizing regardless of her actual merits, or lack thereof. Add the fact that she’s obviously unqualified and this is almost certain to become an enormous distraction from the serious candidates and the issues of the day. If the Sarahpalin experience has taught us anything, it’s that the media (and, let’s face it, the public) would rather spend its time diving into the irrelevant minutiae of an attractive woman than reporting on legitimate stories.
Let’s just hope she has a video record of giving birth to her five children so as to avoid that controversy. Even then, I’m sure tracking the true origins of her 23 foster children will keep Dr. Sullivan busy for much of the cycle.
As I said in my post, there are circles of depravity: The relatively small number of people willing to decapitate a baby; the larger number of Palestinians happy to celebrate the decapitation of a baby; and the massed ranks of Western media anxious to obscure the truth about the nature of the event. The comments below Miss Bagshawe’s column provide a glimpse of a fourth circle — the large numbers of Westerners who, even when confronted with the reality of what happened, are nevertheless eager to rationalize it as a legitimate response to a legitimate grievance.
For all the frictions between the aging, fading natives of Europe and their young, assertive Muslim populations, on this one issue at least there is remarkable comity.
Hubbard posted this at 11:00 AM CDT on Thursday, March 24th, 2011 as Arafatistan
So Socrates proposed a radical set of new ideas to guide his people into an age of reason and responsibility, and after lengthy efforts at persuasion these new ideas were rejected because they went against the morality of his age. We all know what came next, right? Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t really buy into international “laws” of war, morally speaking, so when I think of what we ought to do I don’t think about them. Still, to the degree it makes it more likely that we’ll end this conflict quickly and painlessly by simply killing Gadaffi, I’m glad doing so would be “legal.” I don’t actually think our administration has the stones or the sense to step up and do the right thing; I just approve of everything that makes that scenario look more attractive.
I admit I didn’t see it coming. The article is 7,500 words long. Roughly a third of those deal with Barbour’s childhood and black-white relations in Yazoo City. I used the other two-thirds to acquaint readers with matters that might make Barbour a problematic candidate for Republicans and a problematic president for the rest of us. His career as a Washington lobbyist is a civics-textbook example of the insular, self-dealing political culture that roused the slumbering masses to revolt in last November’s election. Only a handful of outlets followed the lead on Barbour’s lobbying, however— a painful and unnecessary reminder that the influence a writer has over his readers is vastly overrated. It turns out that I have the same luck with bloggers that I have with my dog. I point at a cat prowling the yard and he stares at my finger. . . .
As a TV host, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC shouldn’t be expected to read anything, but her sly misrepresentation of Barbour proved that even her staff has sworn off the printed stuff. The Standard’s “glowing article,” Maddow told her audience, was “clearly designed to elevate Barbour as the future of the GOP.” There’s no reason why anybody should care about my private opinion of Haley Barbour, but I will disclose that it doesn’t entail elevating him as the Republican future. As the story traveled further from its original source, the inaccuracies ramified, like a game of Telephone. Paraphrase begat paraphrase, ending in sheer fantasy. When one blog reported, erroneously, that Barbour had praised segregation itself, liberal opinion split in two: one school said that Barbour merely had been caught making racist comments, the other that Barbour had intentionally made the racist comments in a bid to win Republican, which is to say racist, votes. Al Sharpton counted himself a member of the latter school. Barbour, he said, was executing “a strategy of throw it out there, then pull it back and wink after you’ve sent a signal.” He would know.
Well, it looks as though a few people are quietly worrying or rooting about Mr. Barbour.
As a general rule, whenever presidential fields are dismissed as unusually weak or flawed, it’s a good idea to think back to late 1991 and early 1992, when virtually the entire political universe was convinced that the Democratic pack contained nothing but certain November losers.
This thinking was the product of President George H.W. Bush’s astronomical post-Gulf War popularity, which prompted every A-list Democrat to swear off a ’92 campaign, leaving the party to choose from five no-names (Paul Tsongas, Doug Wilder, Tom Harkin, Bob Kerrey and Bill Clinton) and one has-been (Jerry Brown). Their individual flaws were easy to spot, especially when Clinton was hit with allegations of womanizing and draft-dodging after seeming to separate himself from the pack. The economy was sputtering and Bush’s popularity was returning to earth, but well into ’92, the consensus persisted that the Democrats were doomed in November by their weak, flawed field.
[Haley Barbour] is the only Republican candidate who talks about economic growth as Ronald Reagan would have. When Romney talks about growth, it is in the white-paper language of the Boston private equity swell he used to be. Daniels and Christie have lashed themselves to trimmed budgets, and that’s mostly what they talk about, especially Christie. Fine as it goes – essential, even – but we don’t hear enough growth talk from either Daniels or Christie. . . .The Republican field for 2012 is wide open because no candidate, until Barbour, has made the consistent, compelling and credible case for economic growth. That case should be easy to make. It is simply this: All of America’s problems will get worse with 2% or less annual growth. That’s the growth America had in the first decade of this century. Actually, it was 1.8%, and sure enough, all of our fiscal problems got worse.
Say it loudly: America must grow at 3.5% or better to have any chance of transcending the fiscal messes, while providing a decent social safety net and securing our safety in a hostile world. That is the plain truth of it.
Reagan, inheriting the Nixon-Carter-Ford malaise, understood this. There is evidence to believe that Barbour, assessing the Bush-Obama fiscal disasters, gets it, too.
Barbour also gets another thing that is a core truth about American politics. The pro-growth candidate always comes off as the optimist. And Americans, given a choice, will almost always vote for the optimist.
So let us reiterate why Barbour isn’t the next Reagan.
Reagan governed a then-dynamic state that everybody knew was the wave of the future. People voted with their feet, and California boomed far more any other state in the union. Barbour governs a state that most people (fairly or no) think of as backwater. Mississippi has been stagnant for decades, and more than a few low scoring states have the motto “Thank God for Mississippi (or we’d be in last place in the state rankings).”
Reagan actually had a serious career in the private sector. He may have been a movie star (not necessarily the sign of serious brainpower) and then became President of the Screen Actors Guild, which meant he had to be familiar with a range of issues from labor strikes, Communist infiltration, and intellectual property rights. Barbour, as Ferguson’s Weekly Standard article makes clear, is entirely a political animal. He built his fortune by cutting deals for tobacco and oil companies. They have a first amendment right to lobby, but that doesn’t make their lobbyist presidential timber. Indeed, such lobbying is anathema to much of the free market tea party crowd, who are (thanks to bank bailouts) as skeptical of big business as they are of big government.
The big tent crowd likes to quote Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” They forget that Reagan violated that commandment, most notably when he challenged Gerald Ford in the 1976 Republican primary. Although everybody in the Republican establishment claims to be a Reaganite now, back when he was actually running for president, he had to fight the establishment. Even William F. Buckley preferred George H.W. Bush for president in 1979 (Buckley feared that Reagan was too old and would lose to Carter as Goldwater lost to Johnson). Haley Barbour, like Bush, was also RNC chairman and is the establishment.
Barbour could potentially be president. But he’s nowhere near so Reaganesque as Karlsgaard claims.
Hubbard posted this at 3:20 PM CDT on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 as Politics