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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, March 31, 2012

On Restoring American Individualism

Daren Jonescu

(This article first appeared at American Thinker

Much of the political crisis facing America today stems from a disintegration of the ethical basis of the free society. That is why the core of the 2012 election fight is not tax rates, job growth, or the national debt. These issues, though of enormous practical importance, are merely the policy manifestations of underlying moral sentiments. The fundamental battle to be waged concerns nothing less than the nature of man, and the moral implications of that nature. If public disapproval of particular Obama policies is to become a lasting movement toward societal renewal, then the conservative's primary objective must be the restoration of American individualism.

The problem is that the warm quilt of entitlement and dependency which the left has so cozily tucked around American society not only restricts freedom of movement; it also effectively reinforces the anti-individualist morality that makes the left's advances possible. In the doublethink names of "fairness" and "security," soft despotism of the modern leftist sort produces a siren-song promise of carefree mother's love forever -- with its corresponding appeal to a toddler's moral myopia, the inability to concretize and respect the wishes and wills of other people. Thus, creeping socialism ushers in a hitherto unknown ethic, which we might dub "collectivist self-absorption."

"We Are the World" and "We are the 99 percent" are both products of this ethic, expressed as, respectively, self-aggrandizing "brotherly love" and self-aggrandizing slothful covetousness. In both cases, the heart of the message is, "We are one; give us what we want." This sensibility is the very meaning of the "entitlement mentality" with which the left seeks to charm America into moral and intellectual submission. The constitutionalist is therefore saddled with the thankless task of serving up the repeated splashes of cold water that might prevent the cozily blanketed moral invalid from drifting into the long, nightmarish sleep of collectivist authoritarianism.

The most indispensable resource in this struggle to renew the individualist ethic is a clear understanding of the moral terms of the argument, and a refusal to allow those terms to be redefined by the authoritarians.

Theoretically, "individualism" is a relatively recent concept. This is not to say that it expresses a new idea, but rather that as a historically significant notion it was born of modern philosophical debates. In short, as nineteenth-century liberal democracy came under attack from those who rejected natural rights and the politico-economic freedom those rights demand, both freedom's critics and its defenders saw fit to introduce a term that might encompass the crux of the ethical dispute. That term, "individualism," was born, therefore, of a need to explain the moral assumptions of liberty.

Individualism does not mean "selfishness," "greed," a reticence to work with others, or even a denial of the interconnectedness of humans and their fates. These misrepresentations are the products of leftist materialism's populist efforts to undermine faith in freedom by aligning freedom with amoral and anti-human inclinations.

At its base, individualism -- or, as its detractors since John Dewey have renamed it, "classical individualism" -- is simply the presupposition that fundamentally discrete human beings do, in fact, exist. Absurdly obvious as that may sound, this presupposition is precisely what modern leftism is calling into question -- not just implicitly, but quite directly.

Late modern philosophy has rejected outright the commonsense awareness, which was elevated to metaphysical theory by Aristotle, that individual existents are the basic facts of material reality. This notion applies, of course, to the category of man as to all else. From this accepted principle -- that the building blocks of human civilization are particular humans, who exist in logical priority to any community or social arrangement -- gradually arose the theoretical edifice of political freedom.

From the classical understanding of the individuated human mind as the essence of man, through the Christian development of the notion of individual moral will, philosophy at last turned, under the influence of modern empirical science, to the attempt to understand man's practical (i.e., moral) essence with a view to determining the most natural social arrangement. This latter effort ushered in the concept of natural rights -- moral constraints on men's behavior towards one another, grounded in the empirical understanding that the primary natural objective of each man is the preservation and progress of his own life, and hence that each man's range of moral authority both limits and is limited by every other individual's primary natural objective of preserving and promoting his own life.

The coinage of a uniquely "American individualism" stems from the fact that America was the first nation grounded explicitly in the most concrete and practical conception of this modern notion of natural rights. Thus, America was a political community that, in its very founding, expressly rejected the hitherto generally accepted premise that the leaders of communities may, and should, determine the purposes and limits of human action. By directly embedding the theory of natural rights -- understood as a moral fence around each individual -- into its basic law and its conception of government, the United States became the first nation founded on the premise that men are by nature free, and therefore that the purpose of government is, and must be, only the protection of that natural freedom.

Prior to the developments described above, "individualism" was not part of the philosophical vernacular, simply because the logical primacy of individuals -- the belief in the existence of individual human beings -- was the given in all theories of human experience. The concept became historically relevant precisely as a means of explaining the American ethic. America translated the Aristotelian "metaphysical" primacy of individuals into socio-political reality. Government may not, constitutionally, encroach upon natural liberty. The law of the land, unlike the laws of all other lands, is first and foremost a set of clear moral restrictions on government, in favor of individual citizens.

The American, then, is the only citizen on the planet who is -- in a manner that is more than an abstraction -- functionally superior in political status to his "government." The American head of state -- unlike all equivalent leaders throughout the world -- is not the "head" of the society (in traditional "body politic" fashion). American government is merely an instrument of the citizens, their tool, assigned a specific set of tasks, with the explicit proviso that it may and should be disbanded if it ceases to perform those tasks within its defined limits.

From this unique political achievement -- genuine practical freedom -- grows a unique moral sense. The American, related to his government in a manner that inverts the normal political relationship, duly sees himself differently. His non-subjecthood, if you will, produces a heightened sense of personal responsibility -- of having no (moral) choice but to "do it himself" -- from which is born the virtue of forward-looking self-reliance that is almost definitive of the American soul. This virtue is the core of the notion of "American individualism"; it is in part the source, and in part the moral outgrowth, of the translation of a metaphysical premise, the primacy of individuals, into a political system -- i.e., rights-based constitutional republicanism.

What came to be called "individualism" can be found in the citizens of other nations, of course; however, it exists as an apolitical principle, in the sense that only in America is individualism consistent with the duties of citizenship. The individualists of other nations, then, may be called "spiritual Americans."

Those who wish to subvert the American republic, and to undermine its founding documents, have always understood that the primary obstacle is ethical individualism. And this subversion, then, if one wishes to dig up America from its roots, requires an attack on the metaphysical presumption of the primacy of individual beings. Dewey, America's friendly face of socialism, shoved the spade in deep. Seeing that individualism was the source of natural rights, he sought to dissolve this nexus by undermining the metaphysical presupposition of discrete individuals.

For Dewey, the father of twentieth-century American public education, the individual as the given -- as an entity complete unto itself -- is the fallacy at the heart of all previous philosophy. Individual human beings -- i.e., individuated minds -- do not exist. Rather, individuals are created through social and educational influences. Thus, the theory of natural rights, which presumes the logical priority of individual men, is destroyed. Where there are no individuals, there can be no individual rights. Dewey, and others following him, expanded upon the European socialist theories that reject individual human nature, instead regarding historical social conditions as the fundamental realities. Community is prior to the individual; the latter is merely the product of the former. "It takes a village," to state this in one of its well-known contemporary manifestations.

Dewey and his collectivist allies take this metaphysical reversal one step farther, arguing that a society based on the "myth" of natural rights -- i.e., America -- actually prevents the development of true "individuals." The laws and liberties of such a society are, for Dewey, antithetical to the growth of the genuine individual, who is progressive and creative in devising new forms of community. Here is a typical outline of the view, from Chapter 22 of Dewey's Democracy and Education:

"Not but that there have always been individual diversities, but that a society dominated by conservative custom represses them or at least does not utilize them and promote them. ... Regarding freedom, the important thing to bear in mind is that it designates a mental attitude rather than external unconstraint of movements, but that this quality of mind cannot develop without a fair leeway of movements in exploration, experimentation, application, etc. ... A progressive society counts individual variations as precious since it finds in them the means of its own growth. Hence a democratic society must, in consistency with its ideal, allow for intellectual freedom and the play of diverse gifts and interests in its educational measures."

End quote

Since "classical individualism" is based on a pre-societal notion of man, it tends toward the promotion of practical freedom, ultimately through natural rights. By redefining freedom as "a mental attitude rather than external unconstraint of movements" -- as creative "individuality" rather than political liberty -- and by regarding the preservation of liberty through law and custom as a "repression" of genuine individualism, the leftist turns freedom on its head. Freedom now means unconstraint in the "experimentation" and "application" of one's "gifts" to promote the "growth" of the "progressive society."

On this model, Thomas Jefferson is a repressor of individualism; William Ayers is a true individual. This leftist reversal of the moral concepts of individualism and freedom is explicitly grounded in a profound, and profoundly stupid, metaphysical reversal: the proposal that society is prior to the individual, that the individual is a product and instrument of the collective.

Do not be fooled by the modern, Dewey-inspired smokescreen composed of popular lingo such as "individuality" and "being an individual." These groundless notions are the harbingers of the most fundamentally anti-individualist philosophy ever devised.

The struggle facing America and the world over in the coming generations is nothing less than a battle between individualism and collectivism. Do you exist as a unique, rational being, independently of any community? Or are you merely an amorphous blob of nothing, to be shaped by your society, and a "free individual" only insofar as you are "creatively" serving the growth of the progressive community that made you? In political terms, are you, by nature, the master of your "government," or is it, by nature, your master?

Compared to the task of restoring genuine individualism, paying down the national debt will be a walk in the park. However, without ultimate success in this task, all other efforts to save America from the abyss will be futile. The imposed moral infantilism of American collectivism must give way at last to the self-reliant adulthood that is man's birthright. "We Are the World" must give way to "I am in the world -- and I have a right to be here."

The Stake in Count Warmula's Heart

Timothy Birdnow

The IPCC, of all groups, is dismissing any link between extreme weather and Global Warming!

From the article:

"There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change," writes the IPCC in its new Special Report on Extremes (SREX) published today.

"The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados," the authors conclude, adding for good measure that "absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses".

Roger Pielke Jr, a professor at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a blogger who aligns himself with the "debate is over" camp, welcomed the IPCC report.

"Anytime that you read claims that invoke disasters loss trends as an indication of human-caused climate change… you can simply call 'bullshit' and point to the IPCC SREX report," said Prof Pielke. He adds: "Kudos to the IPCC - they have gotten the issue just about right, where 'right' means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic."

End excerpt.

I predicted this sort of thing; the official organs of AGW alarmism would have to start walking this stuff back to maintain any credibility in the eyes of the public. Theory has failed, and quite miserably, to fit with the reality on the ground, so to speak, and the men involved are scientists whose reputations are tied to their "objectivity" so they cannot continue to promote this farce and expect to be thought of as anything but medicine show barkers. They have to start retracting their earlier hysterical pronouncements.

It's a sign that we have won this fight. But it's not over; something new comes along, a worldwide rise in temperatures, and it will, like Dracula in a B horror movie, rise from the grave. We've got to stay on top of this.

Clinton/Bush/Obama Part IV

Timothy Birdnow

Richard Viguerie rightly concludes that Mitt Romney is the return of the George Bush Presidency.

According to his piece at Conservative HQ:

"The first President Bush, conservatives will need no reminding, shook the Etch-a-Sketch once he was elected and infamously broke his campaign promise not to raise taxes. Bush’s description of his administration as “kinder and gentler” was really establishment Republican code announcing his plans to begin un-doing the policies of Ronald Reagan.

In this, Bush was aided and abetted by a loyal band of henchmen who went on to serve in the administration of his son, President George W. Bush, and long ago gravitated to Romney as the establishment Republican favorite in the race.

Personnel is policy. Conservatives recall all too vividly that as soon as George H.W. Bush took the oath of office as President he made it clear that Reagan conservatives were not welcome in his administration.

As Tom Pauken, who served on Ronald Reagan's White House staff and later became chairman of the Republican Party of Texas recalls, "A lot of people who had been in the [Reagan] administration were systematically thrown out by the Bush crowd… They only wanted people who were more pragmatic... moderate... middle-of-the-road and establishment Republicans.”

End excerpt.

And right he is.

Herb Meyer was the CIA analyst who first predicted that the Soviet Union was going to fall. He once told me that the George W. Bush Administration had a lockout of any and all former Reagan people - including himself. This fits with what we know about the Administration in general; you didn't hear any of the old names except Chaney. George H.W. Bush may have claimed the mantle of Reagan, and said he was a convert to Reagan's views, but he governed as Richard Nixon (albeit a cleaner, less paranoid Nixon) and his son didn't do much better. Yes, they were war hawks, willing to defend this country. But it should be pointed out that both Bushes fought wars that were international, for international purposes as much as anything. Iraq was ostensibly for American security (and I think it needed to be done) but it was sold as enforcing U.N. resolutions and helping to shape a "New World Order". Yes, Bush Jr. cut taxes (unlike his father who foolishly raised them to an "ahah!" chorus from the Democrats) but he also exploded spending and created a new entitlement program. Bush's "conservativism" was certainly of a peculiar stripe; neither socially nor fiscally conservative. Both father and son were Progressives in the end.

And Romney will be likewise. Granted, Romney is a better choice than the BHO, but what does that say? I would be a better choice than the BHO, as would most Americans (since this guy holds little in common with Americans in general.) Barack Obama may not be Hitler, but Mussolini...

So Romney will be a better choice, but not exactly what we need now. America is on the brink. This nation could conceivably collapse from loose fiscal policy, from social deterioration, from cowardly military policy and vacillating foreign objectives. We need a RESTORER not a go-along-to-get-along type. America needs a surgeon and not a masseuse. I fear Romney is just a guy with a bottle of baby oil.

Democrats have often tied Herbert Hoover's policies to Calvin Coolidge and the Republicans proceeding him, but this is grossly unfair; the tie is much more solid between Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, who maintained and expanded Hoover's experimentalist policies in the economy. It should be Hoover/Roosevelt that is thought of when the Great Depression is mentioned. So too, it should be Clinton/Bush/Obama, as they all pursued a similar course of action leading to this current mess. Obama is different only in degree; he is accelerating a course that was started under Bush, but had it's genesis under Clinton. Clinton was lucky; he had a booming economy and a shrinking defecit, so could afford to spend money. Bush broke the bank with TARP. And Obama has broken the whole economy. But their policies really have no differed much in kind. Romney will continue this tradition. We will have four years of a holding action at best, and will have to drag this guy kicking and screaming the whole way. Oh, and it will hurt us in Congress and at the local levels. And Romney's court picks will likely be Stephan Bryer types, or at best Anthony Kennedys.

All conservatives need to go in with their eyes open. We aren't going to save this country here, nor are we going to really be building for the future. This is not a mustard seed, from which a mighty plant will grow. This is more like a cover crop of clovers to keep the weeds from competing with what meager grain we have sprouting. Or if you prefer, a patch on a bicycle tire that leaks but keeps some air in for the moment. Or, if you prefer, a finger in a dyke (no Rachel Maddow jokes, please!) instead of a concrete sea wall.

Half a loaf is better than no loaf at all, granted. Of course, if you were a passenger on the Titanic I doubt that any loaf would much matter to you in the end.

No Limits

Timothy Birdnow

Trayvon Martin died for the liberal dream of no limits.

The circumstances and blame for Martin's death are still much in doubt, but the media has clearly staked it's position, with the usual narrative"brutal white thug terrorizes and murders innocent black child for fun".

This is indeed reminiscent of the way the media presented the Duke Lacrosse team incident - where a poor black "dancer" was brutally assaulted and gang-raped by a bunch of drunken white children of privilege - which turned out to be a case of a drugged-up prostitute accusing some men of rape because she got mad at them. The media tried and convicted these boys in the court of public opinion because they wanted a racial issue that would demand growing government involvement and force white men to stand ashamed and reviled. But this goes back farther, to the hysteria we see in almost every politically correct circumstance; the McMartin Preschool case where the family who ran a modest day-care were arrested, imprisoned, and had their names dragged through the mud because crusading psychotherapists (unlicensed, at that) coaxed every child in the school to claim they were molested when they weren't. This fit the narrative at the time, and served a useful political purpose, forcing tighter regulations on day care and getting the government involved in something that really is none of their business. Everyone knew that educating children is none of their business, so a reason to intervene had to be found. Rape is a powerful motivation to intervene.

This goes back to the Clarence Thomas hearings where Judge Thomas was accused by a woman of sexually harassing her, a woman who followed Thomas from job to job despite the "harassment". This goes back to Al Sharpton and Tawana Brawley, who falsely accused a bunch of white men - including a District Attorney - of raping her. This goes back to the accusation of marital infidelity by George Herbert Walker Bush during the presidential campaign, when the media knew Bill Clinton found nary a damsel uninviting and further knew Bush was a decent and honorable man who would not do such a thing. The media has use of tragic events that they can fit into a narrative of their choosing. This case was no different.

Here we have a poor black child murdered by a white cop-wannabe in a gated community, murdered for "walking while black". (I remember the line from the Al Pacino movie "And Justice for All" where one of his clients says "it's just like a cigarette, they gotta have an N***** every twenty minutes".) Pictures of Trayvon Martin when he was younger appeared ubiquitously in all of the news stories about the case. No mention was made about his three suspensions from school for drugs, jewelry that appeared to be stolen, and defacing lockers. No mention about his tweets (where he called himself the No Limits N****) in which he advocated "f*** a bitch, any bitch you want" or "ho you got USED fo you loose-ass p****" or "Your the type of bitch that give up your p**** for free and think it's cool". Or the ever popular "I want some head". A real class act.

Does this justify his killing? No. But it should have sent up red flags for the media that maybe, just maybe, there was more to this story than meets the eye.

As it turns out, George Zimmerman is an Hispanic, not a white guy. And his "gated community" is a $120,000 per home operation, not some rich compound. And Martin was trespassing. And the injuries sustained by Zimmerman suggest he was attacked. And eyewitness accounts suggest he was defending himself. And the police didn't charge Zimmerman. And Martin was 6 foot 2, a powerful man, not a small child.

The usual suspects immediately went ballistic; Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc. Spike Lee, the boring movie producer, published George Zimmerman's home address. The New Black Panthers, fresh off their voter intimidation tour, offered a $10,000 bounty "dead or alive" for Zimmerman. He was expelled from college. He lost his job. And yet the man has not even been charged with a crime, much less had his day in court.

These accusations are a political tool. They help advance hate crimes laws, gun control laws, get more money for social programs, advance the welfare state, the police state, the systematic disenfranchisement of white males in America. Sharpton, Jackson, and the other race hustlers understand the value of conflating issues like this.

Remember the beer summit following the arrest of Friend of Obama Professor Henry Gates? Any man, white or black, yellow or red, is going to be arrested if he is breaking into a private residence and does not produce identification. Had police failed to arrest Gates there would have been equal acrimony, claiming they didn't care because the house was owned by a black man. Obama made political hay with this, saying the police acted "stupidly".

It fit the narrative; the Man harassing poor, innocent blacks. It is a romantic tale, a morality play.

But the media will be the media, just as sharks will be sharks and a seal caught in their midst will be torn apart. Conservatives understand this. But there is another aspect to this case.

It stems from the Liberal view of how society should work. Freedom to the Left is to be the "no limits N****", to be free to do as you please and the hell with societal constraints. Nobody has a right to say "no", to say there is a line that you may not cross. Young people search for that line all of the time; it's part of growing up, learning where the parameters lie. Liberals want no parameters. They do not want wins and losses in little league, they do not want hard grades in schools, they do not want enforceable standards of conduct, nor enforceable laws. They think that "If it just feels good, do it" is a way to organize society. They want nothing to interfere with their godhead, with their absolute right to determine who and what they are and how they will behave.

Think about the many different group identities they have created over the years; one largely joins these groups as part of personal identity as a matter of choice. Barack Obama certain chose to join the angry black community of Jeremiah Wright and his fellows. Obama's mother was white, and he was raised by his mother and grandparents as a white child, but he CHOSE to be black, and joined the community not of working blacks but the black community of grievance. There are innumerable other such communities; the LGBT community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered for those who do not know), the aggrieved Hispanic, the aggrieved Native American, for all I know there is an aggrieved Laplander or other such. Then there are the political groups; the angry environmentalists, the anarchists, the social democrats, Neo-Nazis, Marxists. The list goes on and on. And followers of musical or artistic traditions. Hip hop culture. Heavy metal culture. Folk music culture, Reggae. And let us not forget Islam and other aggrieved religious types, like angry atheists.

But rebellion is at the core of all of these identities, a rebellion against Orthodoxy, against Natural Law, against the Judeo-Christian principles. It is the Original Sin, the dream of the first fallen angel who decided he would rebel against the way things are no matter if it destroyed him. (And remember that radical activist philosopher Saul Alinsky dedicated his grand Opus "Rules for Radicals" to Lucifer, the first rebel.) Liberalism is a philosophy of heterodoxy, of smashing all that is good, moral, and just in the name of authenticity. You cannot be authentic unless you rebel, and by rebelling we mean adopting a type of conformity to a particular radical group or end. As a result you have "bug chasers", homosexuals who actively pursue infection with the HIV virus so as to be "authentic". You have the Hip-Hop culture, with all the misogyny, the brutality, the emphasis on rage and hatred and rebellion.

Many have died for this creed. No limits!

But freedom is not without limits and never has been, because there are unpalatable consequences. If you should step off a cliff you will fall to your death; that is an example of the boundaries of freedom. You are free to do it, but the end result isn't pleasant. If you inhale exhaust from your car's tailpipe you will die, or if you try to remove your head with a chainsaw. There is a law inherent in the structure of Universe that says you cannot take such actions without paying a terrible penalty. And just as there are physical laws governing the Universe so too are there moral and spiritual laws governing human behavior. America was founded on this exact principle, that there are right and wrong actions that circumscribe our behavior. Freedom is being free to live within the parameters set for us by our Creator (or by Nature of one prefers). This is not so to the liberal/left; freedom is what THEY decide it is, and God or Nature will be the one to yield.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead claimed that "science" had established the malleability of human nature, that Man is not bound by moral or natural laws but can be twisted and molded. Many other liberal academics agreed with her, and began a worldwide program to remove the "archaic" moral constraints. The Free Love Movement, for example, sought to dismantle the protections that had been painstakingly put in place over centuries, protections designed to guard the emotional well-being of the young, both the lovers and any offspring that may result. But sexual morality was a hindrance to the godhead of the Progressive mind, and the desire to perform any sexual feats that may enter into their whim drove them to dismantle these safeguards. Out-of-wedlock-births? What need of fathers anyway! STD's? We can always make penicillin and use condoms. Emotional scarring? Just ignore it, or go deeper into the behavior that caused it in the first place.

The endgame was a world ruled by that most terrible of tyrants, the animal nature. Liberals, in the name of freedom, have stripped away the civilizing controls, the self-restraints, the basic core that makes Man different from the animals. What is left is purely animalistic in ambition.

So many of our young people have become "No Limit N***" types. They know deep down that there has to be a boundary, and they long to find an anchor in a stormy ocean of passion and pointlessness, but they cannot, because nobody will teach them where it is, and their whole culture tells them you should live however you please. No limits! The result is drive-by shootings, "knock out games" (assaults on innocent bystanders to see if you can knock them unconscious with one punch), drug abuse, rapes, criminality of every kind. Always the quest for limits, and finding none a more desperate effort. The eventual limits they find are death or imprisonment, which only hardens the rebellion. Death often seems the only constraint.

This is not to say Trayvon Martin was necessarily a bad young man; I do not know, and this story has much to reveal. But we have seen this all too often, and this particular case is starting to show a familiar pattern. This pattern, though not in the least limited to the black community, is particularly prominent there, where drug use is high, single parent homes common, illiteracy and violence rampant. There is a tendency in the black community to excuse much based on past racial discrimination, and there is a mistrust of the law as an enemy rather than partner. The unique historical perspective of blacks coupled with the decades of "help" from the welfare state have destroyed many of the better values in the poorer black community, creating an angry dependent class, angry at having to be dependent but not knowing how not to be, and with Progressive laws designed to excuse and dismiss rather than hold to account, they have removed the limits needed for this community to really be free. Schools have no control over the children when they attend (if they bother) because that would be wrong to impose our values, and so those children with weak or absent parents learn early that they are untouchable. They develop a provocative character, seeking to shock and offend as much as possible. Wearing pants at knee level is about shocking the "uncool" conformists as much as anything.

Now, teenagers tend to do this no matter what community they are from, but it is more pronounced in the black community where so many of the restraints, the civilizing influences, have been broken down by decades of social experimentation. The poorer communities are hardest hit by this plague. But it is a universal malady in America and the West.

But Trayvon Martin was trespassing, wearing a hoodie (a gang symbol), and that alone used to be called "asking for trouble". Does it justify killing him? Absolutely not, but should a white kid be attacked in a black neighborhood at night people will shrug and say "he should have known better" and that will be the end of it. Consider the assault on a white student on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois a few years back; the black kids cheered, and the attackers admitted to police that the assault was purely because the student was white. Too often this type of behavior is excused because the perpetrators are black, and assumed victims by default. Consider the female jogger in Central Park who was gang-raped, beaten, and left for dead a back in 1989; the attackers admitted it was because she was white and affluent, but hate crimes charges were not issued.

What is the point? The point is that there is a tendency to excuse misbehavior, even criminality, by the liberals who have caused this in the first place. As a result, a man like George Zimmerman (the man who shot Trayvon Martin) understood that he could well get beaten half to death with little consequences to his attacker, who so many would excuse as just an innocent young boy. Perhaps he shot him unnecessarily, but he may well have done so not so much out of malice as fear, a fear born of "no limits". One does not reason with a pack of wolves or an attacking bear. Our wonderfully compassionate liberals have turned our children into exactly that.

And of course the immediate response is to demand Zimmerman's head. The Black Panthers put out a contract on him (an illegal act, but they have committed illegal acts before with no consequences from Eric Holder's Justice Department so why not?), Spike Lee tweets his home address with the intent of getting him killed (and it turned out he tweeted the wrong address), and the civil rights hustlers are out in force. (If vigilantism is wrong on Zimmerman's part, why is it not equally wrong on Lee or the Panther's part?)

I would argue that, in the end, Liberalism killed Trayvon Martin as much as anything.

He deserved better. So do all the rest of us.

The Tea Party Call to Duty

Jack Kemp

This first appeared at American Thinker:

March 30, 2012
The Tea Party Call to Duty
By Sally Zelikovsky

At the time of America's founding, the notion of civic duty was commonplace. Our entire system was predicated on the idea that citizens would take an active role in the governance of their towns, states, and country. Little was asked of Americans other than self-governance, jury duty, fighting wars when necessary, protecting the homeland, and living by the rule of law. In time, Americans were additionally "asked" to forfeit a portion of the fruits of their labor to foot the bills the government would incur.

Over the years, we have handed off most of our self-governing and civic duties to others. As the Founders anticipated, we elect town council members and state and federal legislators to "represent" us. But all too often, we leave the voting booth, brush our hands together, and go back to our normal lives thinking we are done...until the next election. In the meantime, we relinquish considerable power and control over our lives to the very people who are supposed to be working for us.

We have so completely shirked our personal and civic responsibilities that we have inadvertently created a class of professional politicians. With the economic and personal stakes being so high for these professional politicians, the legislation they enact is often compromised, and their re-election campaigns are motivated more by what's good for the incumbent than by what's good for the People.

Jury duty persists, but most citizens will do anything they can to get out of it.
We no longer have a draft. The brave men and women who volunteer do it out of love of country so the rest of us don't have to, and for that, we compensate them.

Most of us try to live by the rule of law and comply with tax burdens, but both have become so onerous that they encroach on our freedoms while bloating the State with power.

Protecting the homeland has two different prongs -- the physical protection of our country, our borders, our property, and our people, and the more metaphysical protection of our ideology, our way of life, our principles, and our freedoms.
The metaphysical is as important as the physical protection of our homeland, yet it continues to be sorely neglected. While most of us are dismayed by the erosion of our liberties, only a fraction of us are willing to fight for them and make the necessary sacrifices our men and women in uniform make every day.

Most of us realize we are in an existential struggle for the country's soul and understand that there are many aspects to this war. Our endgame is to restore constitutional governance, and a key battle will be waged on November 6, 2012. During the next eight months, we will encounter many clashes on many fronts and, like our soldiers, will be asked to participate in many operations -- covert and overt.

From April 14 to 16, Tea Parties across the country will be having their fourth annual tax day Tea Party events. Conservatives of all stripes are required to report for duty.

Yet many conservatives do not see the sense in standing around with a bunch of like-minded people holding signs. They do not think it accomplishes anything. They think it is silly, beneath them, and kind of embarrassing. They could not be more misguided. The strategic benefit to participating in a rally is tremendous.

We do much in the Tea Party that is targeted and action-oriented -- we petition; get out the vote; support constitutional conservatives; call, e-mail, and fax our representatives; run for office, sponsor initiatives and legislation, attend town council meetings, etc.

But we cannot underestimate the value of psychological operations (PsyOps) or forget to employ them.
Taking to the streets is essential in any battle for the country. It shows the enemy that we are alive and organized. It shows them that we are nimble and can mobilize large numbers in a short time. It gets our message out. It brings us together to network and be heard with one loud bang. And protests and rallies do not drain precious resources or cost much.

While Nancy Pelosi is yammering that Tea Partiers are "anti-government," what sends a more powerful message to progressives, Democrats, liberals, and Occupiers? A gathering of a hundred conservatives with signs in a park or a gathering of ten thousand?

What size crowd is harder for the press to ignore? A crowd of 250 or one of 25,000?

So get off your couch, tell your kids you cannot make their game this one time, arrange for that weekend getaway to take place on another weekend, do your taxes ahead of time...and be part of your local Tea Party rally. If you cannot find one, get on a train or bus or plane and come to San Francisco, where you can Tea-Party in the Belly of the Beast.

But do not think for a minute that someone else is doing it. They are not. We have eight months left to find the lost soul of America's constitutional governance. We need every able-bodied conservative warrior to show up and make the sacrifice. This is a tiny request in comparison to the demands made on those who put their lives, their time, their families, and their dreams on hold to fight for freedom.

We might not fight with gun and sword, but we do fight with pen and word. And you cannot be heard if you are not shouting.

For those who brush aside the Tea Party this year, any loss in November will be on your shoulders. It will not be because the Republicans couldn't come up with a decent candidate. It will not be because people didn't try. It will be because too few tried.

The political road is littered with propositions, initiatives, and candidates that failed to garner enough votes, and with petitions that failed to amass enough signatures. We cannot allow this election to be a casualty of inaction.

Ronald Reagan -- whom conservatives love to quote -- spoke often about the risks attached to apathy and lack of participation.
Let us be sure that those who come after will say...we did everything that could be done."
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
Freedom ... must be fought for, protected, and handed on for [our children] to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children, what it was once like where men were free.
There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind ... and ... if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record ... that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.
Americans have faced many forks in the road, and it comes as no surprise that this is another "time to choose." Do I stay home or get involved? Do I set aside time in the next six months to help a candidate or watch the returns on TV? Do I go to my country home every weekend or postpone it so that I can GOTV? Do I go for my jog when the Tea Party is happening or do it earlier in the day? Do I make some phone calls to support a Senate candidate or chat with friends over coffee?

It doesn't matter if you wear a tool belt or a suit to work. It doesn't matter if you earn $20,000, $200,000 or $2 million a year. It doesn't matter if you went to trade school or law school.

This is not the time to worry about what your neighbor might think. This is a time for each of us to do his or her part to save the country. It is a time for valor -- maybe not on the battlefield, but certainly on the political battlefront.
You can simply quote Reagan and feel good about yourself for a few minutes, or you can get involved and preserve this shining city on a hill for generations to come.

Otherwise, as Lincoln said, "To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men."

October Baby's "October Surprise"

Jack Kemp

Recently conservative journalists, such as Brent Bozell, have written articles in praise of the anti-abortion movie "October Baby," in which a young woman, Hannah, finds out during an investigation of an illness that she was actually born as a result of a botched abortion attempt. It is also the first time she hears that she is adopted. Hannah then goes off on a quest to find her birth parents hundreds of miles away from her home. Jasmine Guy gave a great performance as the nurse who first worked at the abortion clinic and later on helped the mother get to a hospital for the birth. The young woman, played by a newcomer named Rachel Hendrix did a fine job as well. The liberal media critics vilified this film. You can see at America Online's Moviephone page a common phenomenon in many non-political films also happening with "October Baby," but for different reasons. The critics hated it (only 34 percent approved) while the audiences liked it (67 percent approved).

One of the most dramatic scenes in the movie - without giving too much away - was the birth mother, now a lawyer, breaking down and crying alone in her fancy office. The acting was amazing. But during the final credits, there was an unusual last minute revelation where the actress playing the birth mother appears on screen to say that when she got the script, it mirrored her life, as she had a secret abortion many years ago while working in a law office. She felt this was a sign that it was time for her to openly admit what she had previously told only a few people - and to grieve over the loss of her child. She says that she was not acting on camera and her tears were real.

This film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Red Rock Film Festival for Best Fiction Feature. Although obvioulsy pro-Life, it isn't as "preachy" as one might expect, just telling the human story of a confused and troubled young woman whose world is turned upside down by the late teenage discovery that she was adopted and why. There is a scene where Hannah discusses her situation briefly at the nearest house of worship (not her Baptist faith) with a priest.

I urge all to see "October Baby" either in its limited run now or on DVD later. It is a moving story.

The Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Month for the Left

Dana Mathewson

Here is a wonderful post on Power Line yesterday by contributor Steven Hayward, which was even quoted on the air by Rush Limbaugh. He correctly points out that we should occasionally step back and look at the problems the other side is having, not just get bogged down in our own.

FTA: "Then came the Trayvon Martin incident. But what looked like a by-the-numbers drill for the racial grievance industry has started to collapse beneath certain inconvenient facts that don’t fit the narrative such as Zimmerman’s ethnicity and political party registration (Democratic), eyewitness testimony that Martin was assaulting Zimmerman (perhaps with cause), and Spike Lee advocating vigilantism against Zimmerman, but tweeting an incorrect home address, endangering an innocent elderly couple. Again, while the media lap up the antics of Al Sharpton, it is doubtful most ordinary Americans are impressed with this. More blowback."

The whole article is cheering, to say the least. He ends with the excellent advice "Go ahead, enjoy a smile, have a drink, and then get back in the arena."

Couldn't have said it better myself!

The Righteous Mind: A liberal academic understands conservatives...somewhat

Jack Kemp

Recently while reading a conservative website, I came across a reference to a book written by a liberal psychologist and academic called "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" by Jonathan Haidt. Prof. Haidt is a self proclaimed Jewish liberal atheist whose grandparents were socialist garment workers in New York and worshiped Franklin Roosevelt.

Prof. Haidt talked of going to Yale, "the second most liberal of the Ivy League schools" where "It was not uncommon during class discussions for teachers and students to make jokes and critical comments about Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party, or the conservative position on controversial current events." He goes on to say that

"I could not understand how any thinking person would voluntarily embrace the party of evil, and so I and my fellow liberals looked for psychological explanations of conservatism, but not liberalism."

What made Prof. Haidt understand - but not necessarily agree with - conservatives was his extended stay in India studying their traditional culture. He lived for a long time in a society that respected its ancestors, had temples raised off of street level to indicate their holiness, saw people doing daily prayer rituals. He noted that traditional societies do not consider individualism first, but relationships to their social group as the primary concern. In essence, while living there, he got to behave and respect somewhat the patterns of a traditional society. Thus, on page 105, Haidt is able to envision the "conservative other" in the US and write:

"I also began to understand why the American culture wars involve so many battles over sacrilege. Is a flag just a piece of cloth, which can be burned as a form of protest....When an artist submerges a crucifix in a jar of his own urine, or smears elephant dung on an image of the Virgin Mary, do these works belong in art museums? Can the artist simply tell religious Christians, 'If you don't want to see it, don't go to the museum'?"

Notice the professor completely avoids that conservative argument that public monies were used to pay for the display in a government owned museum (in the case of the Virgin Mary example, at the Brooklyn Museum), that conservatives were perfectly willing to both disapprove of this display but have it in a private gallery where its probable lack of patrons would most likely make it a financial disaster as well as something most private galleries wouldn't want on their resume or reputation. Also, government grant money may have paid for the creation of this questionable art. But back to Prof. Haidt's revelations. That Haidt calls the creator of a figure of Christ in a jar of urine an "artist" shows he has more to learn about both art and English language definitions.

"If you can't see anything wrong here, try reversing the politics. Imagine that a conservative artist had created these works using images of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela instead of Jesus and Mary. Imagine that his intent was to mock the quasi-deification by the left of so many black leaders. Could such works be displayed in museums in New York or Paris without triggering angry demonstrations? Might some on the left feel that the museum itself had been polluted by racism, even after the paintings were removed?"

The professor is here making a standard argument that many conservative articles made about the Virgin Mary with dung exhibit, that no liberal museum would have shown Moses or Anne Frank with dung - or Martin Luther King Jr. That the source is a person raised as a liberal shows an attitude you won't see echoed in the Daily Kos website, The Nation magazine - or in a number of people in my recent New York advanced writing class taught by a former US News and World Report editor.

The professor continues on page 105:

"As with the ethic of community, I had read about the ethic of divinity before going to India, and had understood it intellectually. But in India, and in the years after I returned, I felt it. I could see beauty in a moral code that emphasized self-control. resistance to temptation, cultivation of one's higher, nobler self, and a negotiation of the self's desires. I could see the dark side of this ethic too: once you allow visceral feelings of disgust to guide your conception of what God wants, then minorities who trigger even a hint of disgust in the majority (such as homosexuals or obese people) can be ostracized and treated cruelly."

Another argument the book makes is what was called many years ago "the white mouse" fallacy of psychology. This meant that not only were psychological experiments done on an animal that doesn't live in wild, natural conditions but the college sophomores used in the human experiments are a select subpopulation that has a certain privileged background who have often never held a full time job in the outside world, so they too don't reflect reality. Professor Haidt calls these students the acronym WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. I suspect he could have also stated "Democratic" with a capital "D" political party affiliation.

On pages 96-97, the professor states:

"Several of the peculiarities of WEIRD culture can be captured in this simple generalization: The WEIRDer you are, the more you see a world full of separate objects, rather than relationships. It has long been reported that Westerners have a more independent and autonomous concept of the self than do East Asians. For example, when asked to write twenty statements beginning with the words 'I am....,' Americans are likely to list their own internal psychological characteristics (happy, outgoing, interested in jazz), whereas East Asians are more likely to list their roles and relationships (a son, a husband, an employee of Fujitsu)."

There is much more in this book and I've barely gotten a third of the way through it. I intend to write a fuller article that will include the above contents when I see, in more detail, what Prof. Haidt has uncovered for himself about the world beyond the walls of Ivy League academe.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Don't Get Drunk at the Individual Mandate Victory Party

Daren Jonescu

(This article first appeared at American Thinker.)

The individual mandate is merely the left's latest instrument in the effort to undermine liberty through health care; it is not the primary target. The Supreme Court's decision regarding ObamaCare's individual mandate will be extraordinarily important, and declaring the mandate unconstitutional would be a vital step in thwarting the left's achievement of government-controlled health care in the short term. But constitutional conservatives must be careful not to allow the thrill of possible victory to blind them to the continuing threat coming from progressives determined to put the state in charge of life-and-death decisions for every citizen.

It must not be forgotten that conservatives' distaste for the individual mandate is shared by Barack Obama himself. Prior to his 2008 election campaign, Obama was a clear and unequivocal proponent of full-scale "single-payer" health care -- i.e. of complete government takeover. The individual mandate was proposed precisely as a provisional measure on the road to true socialized medicine. As Obama has explicitly noted within recent days, the need to curry favor with Republicans is the main reason why he chose the individual mandate route in the first place.

When asked on Public Radio International whether there was anything he would have done differently in order to achieve broader public support for his health care law, Obama said:

I would have loved to have gotten it done quicker, uh, which is part of the reason why we designed a program that actually previously had support of Republicans -- including the person who may end up being the Republican standard-bearer, and is now pretending like he came up with something different. It is a program that says, we're going to continue to have a private marketplace for health care, but...

Aside from being a blunt reminder of the challenges conservatives will face with Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee, Obama's account emphasizes the fact that this law, centered on the individual mandate, was not what he really wanted. ObamaCare was the left's attempt to wedge open the door for future, broader government incursions into health care. Obama, Sebelius, Pelosi, and the rest of the socialist mob that pretends to be the Democratic Party would be quite happy to let the individual mandate go, if they thought they could get something much "better" -- i.e., true universal coverage of the British or Canadian sort.

This is why it is imperative that now, in particular, at the moment when the mandate is in jeopardy, conservatives become more alert and vigilant than ever on this issue. Obama never wanted the mandate. The mandate was passed as a mechanism to advance the general goal of "universal coverage" in the face of Republican opposition. The unquestionable long-term project, however, was always gradually to inure the public to the related ideas that (a) private insurance companies must be thwarted as the enemies of "fairness," (b) universal health care coverage ought to be a societal priority, and (c) government intervention is necessary to ensure both (a) and (b).

Having eased the public into this general mentality, leftists hope it will be only be a matter of time before the artificial maintenance of ObamaCare's semi-private system begins to seem a superfluous step, leaving evil profit-seeking insurers as middlemen in a process as essential as guaranteeing universal health coverage.

And "universal" means not only that everyone must have it, but that "it" must be provided for every condition the government (not the private insurer) deems "essential." For Obama and the left, that explicitly includes abortion -- conscientious objectors be damned. Obama has been very clear on this point for years, which is why the Catholic Church's recent outrage struck so many of us as a "told you so" moment.

If and when the individual mandate is struck down, expect the Democrats to retool immediately, and to begin proposing a "better solution." The first time, they will claim, they were seeking to accommodate Republicans -- "reaching across the aisle" -- by proposing half-measures that had previously been supported by "many on the right." This time, they will boast, they are going over the heads of the Republican Congress and speaking directly to the American people. Old-fashioned politics failed, they will say; it's time for the people to take their country and their health care back!

And here is where the three years of wrangling over the present bill will really pay off. Remember the three socio-psychological goals of pushing the unsatisfactory individual mandate. Having effectively focussed public disapproval on the mandate, while shifting the health care issue itself away from a concern about costs, and into the arena of "fairness" and "universality," Obama will now have a campaign opportunity to pull a bait-and-switch. Upon the collapse of the mandate, Obama can face the nation and say, "We didn't get it done this time, because I naively tried to do it the Republicans' way. But the problems of unfair insurance practices and millions of Americans without coverage remain unsolved. If you give me a second term, I promise you that I won't fall into the trap of trying to appease the Republicans again. We'll get it done this time, for all Americans."

And so he will, if given a second chance. As Obama has now made crystal-clear, through his private exchange with the Russian president, he needs only to complete his "last election" -- and hence no longer to be accountable to anyone -- to feel the "flexibility" to do those things that he dared not attempt in their boldest form while he still faced public judgment at the polls.

Obama's goal was never an individual mandate. He, like all leftists worldwide, knows that health care is the most powerful means of achieving direct, all-encompassing control over a population. Socialized medicine -- i.e., the "single payer" method, ends individual liberty. It declares the government the owner of your body, and thereby overrides the right to life. And it will be much more difficult to fight legally, because, unlike the individual mandate, the Supreme Court precedent of Social Security will be there to undergird the government's case. Socialized medicine must be stopped at the legislative level -- i.e., in the U.S. Congress.

Will the next Congress have the will, or the numbers, to stop it? Let's hope and pray that we never have to find out.

No Limits at Canada Free Press

Timothy Birdnow

My thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case at Canada Free Press.

While it may prove to be inaccurate in this case, the Liberal vision of freedom as being comprised of no limits may well have been the death of Trayvon Martin.

Domestic oil and gas production, plus fuel exports, equals real jobs and revenue

Paul Driessen

My friend Ohio congressional candidate Joe Wurzelbacher has asked me to send you his op-ed article, in hopes that you will post it, quote from it, and/or forward it to your friends and colleagues.

The article takes President Obama, his energy czars and bureaucrats, and his (mostly) Democrat allies in Congress to task for imposing policies that are raising gasoline prices and costing countless jobs. It also makes the commonsense, but too little appreciated, point that real, old-fashioned, unsubsidized American energy could create real, unsubsidized American jobs – if only our government would let it do so.

Domestic oil and gas production, plus fuel exports, equals real jobs and revenue

Joe Wurzelbacher

President Obama supports job creation, economic growth and revenue generation – except when he doesn’t.

Official announcements from his Labor Department reported that the nation’s February unemployment rate is still 8.3 percent. That’s a decent decline from previous months. But the reality is far worse.

Most of that job growth was in business and professional services, and half was temporary. Millions of Americans are working part-time or multiple low-wage jobs to make ends meet. Overall, 23.5 million are out of work or underemployed.

Factor all that in, and the real unemployment rate is 14.9%, according to University of Maryland economist Peter Morici. Worse, many of the 8.3% jobs are government workers (police officers, fire fighters, teachers and bureaucrats), paid for with “stimulus” and other tax revenues taken or borrowed from hard working private sector companies and employees, and their children and grandchildren.

Making matters still worse, regular gasoline prices have hit $4 in numerous cities – compared to a national average of $1.61 on December 31, 2008, three weeks before President Obama took office.

Thankfully, we could reduce these intolerable numbers dramatically, if President Obama would just stop currying favor with environmental extremists, and start supporting energy policies that benefit all Americans – policies that use real American energy to create real American jobs.

The answer to our job shortage, energy shortage, and soaring gasoline prices is the same. Extract more oil and natural gas from deposits under our land and offshore areas. Bring more oil to the U.S. from Canada via the Keystone XL pipeline.

Manufacture more fuels in American refineries, to power American cars and trucks, and to sell abroad to preserve jobs and lower our trade deficit. Reduce the excessive, oppressive regulations that federal bureaucrats are imposing on our energy industry.

According to a March 2012 World Economic Forum report, the U.S. oil and gas industry created 37,000 direct jobs and 111,000 indirect jobs in 2011. That’s nearly one out of ten jobs created nationwide last year – and they didn’t need any Solyndra, Fisker, Sapphire or Solazyme subsidies.

A January 2012 Wood Mackenzie study found that 530,000 more jobs could be created if American companies were allowed to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in some of the areas that are now off-limits. The study says this would generate $150 billion in increased government taxes and fees by 2025, and expand domestic production by 4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, greatly reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Instead, President Obama has adopted a bumper-sticker anti-fossil fuels policy: “Just say no.”

The president has made 95% of federal lands and waters off-limits to drilling. He has blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring more than 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to Texas. He wants to eliminate oil industry tax deductions, which would mean further reducing U.S. oil production and would make gasoline and diesel fuel even more expensive.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Institute for Energy Research calculate that the United States has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable conventional oil, plus huge additional supplies in shale deposits. That’s oil that American companies could and would produce, at today’s oil prices and using existing technologies – if they were allowed to do so.

Oil companies aren’t asking for subsidies to get this energy. They just want permission to produce it. But Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and other agencies keep throwing roadblocks in their way.

The president’s war on fossil fuels is designed to destroy many of the 9.2 million jobs already supported by the oil and gas industry – in hopes of replacing them with jobs in tax-subsidized “green” energy companies backed by his political supporters, campaign contributors and Democrat allies.

The president apparently believes some of these companies will succeed, if he just throws enough billions of your tax dollars at them. However, many of these failure-prone companies produce flawed and expensive products that American consumers wisely refuse to buy.

The $535 million in taxpayer money given to the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar power company is just one example of President Obama’s policy of subsidizing failure, and punishing success.

General Motors recently announced it was suspending production of the Chevy Volt gas-and-electric car: people simply haven't been buying the cars, despite the $7,500 taxpayer subsidy the president has been giving to anyone who buys one. Now the president wants to increase the subsidy to $10,000.

President Obama says we are running out of oil and gas, can’t drill our way to cheaper gasoline, and should blame anybody but him for $4-per-gallon gasoline. He’s wrong on all three counts.

The only petroleum we’re running out of is the tiny percentage of our total supplies that his administration is letting us produce.

Moreover, the EIA says 76% of what we pay for gasoline is determined by world crude oil prices; 12% is federal and state taxes; 6% is refining; and 6% is marketing and distribution.

The price of crude oil that refiners transform into essential products is set by the world market, and fluctuates based on supply and demand. You don’t need a PhD in economics to understand that producing more American oil and getting more from Canada would increase supplies and decrease gasoline prices.

That’s the direction we need to go.

Instead of embracing fantasy energy policies, President Obama needs to step into the real world. He should welcome expanded development of our vast oil and natural gas resources, increased oil imports from Canada, and the lower fuel prices this would bring.

Everyone would benefit – even his own dismal approval ratings.


Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher is a Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio’s ninth congressional district. Samuel Wurzelbacher rose to national fame as “Joe the Plumber” when he challenged then-candidate Barack Obama on his plans to increase taxes for the middle class. Since 2008, Wurzelbacher has spoken nationally in support of blue collar workers, encouraging voters to get engaged in the political process. Learn more at

Holder Loses Court Battle with Militia Group

Dana Mathewson

It's good news anytime we win one. And this was an ugly bunch, to be sure. The judge had to do her homework, for sure.

This is at a time when liberals are making stupid comments about guns, such as ABC's decorative but mentally-challenged Cokie Roberts: "And this is where the problem with guns comes, because if you just -- are a person who's a little off and has some false sense of power, that's one thing if you don't have a gun in your hand. ... I'm saying the gun is the problem. That's what kills you." The fact that people actually believe drivel such as this makes me wonder about the general sanity of this country.

Ryan Budget Raises Debt

Timothy Birdnow

Paul Ryan's proposed budget not only fails to reduce the deficit, but actually raises it.

From the article from Conservative HQ:

"Ryan’s budget doesn’t reduce the national debt. Indeed, his figures show the national debt held by the public growing to $15 trillion in 2022, up from about $11 trillion this year.

Moreover, the Ryan budget actually breaks the deal to raise the debt ceiling the establishment Republican House leadership forced through Congress over conservative objections last summer.

If Republicans can’t maintain a deal on spending for even one year what credibility do they have left as fiscal hawks?

Together, these problems with the Ryan budget largely destroy the credibility of the House Republican leadership on budget matters – particularly given that Ryan’s plan requires that Congress stay the course through many election cycles to hit its spending targets"

End excerpt.

Will the creature-that-ate-all-our-money ever stop devouring? It sucks in the best of our elected representatives, like the Blob, consumes them and turns them into more of itself.

I fear the only way to rid ourselves of this illness is to radically restructure things so our representatives have to stay at home and face their own voters rather than go to Washington. It is a cesspool.

Israel gets air base use in Azerbaijan, near Iran

Jack Kemp

Pam Geller at Atlas Shrugs has some big news in light of Obama's abdication of leadership of the Free World.

The article is titled "Post-American Presidency: Azerbaijan allows Israel to use its air bases near Iran border."

Also a quote from the main article Pam Geller references.

Former CENTCOM Commander Gen. Joe Hoar explained Israel’s calculations regarding a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities to Foreign Policy by saying, “They save themselves 800 miles of fuel. That doesn’t guarantee that Israel will attack Iran, but it certainly makes it more doable.”

Once again, people from outside the U.S. are willing to do the work that the Obama administration says "Americans are not willing to do." The Obama administration is wrong again.

Dowie's Conservation Refugees at Ecofascism

William Kay

A review of Dowie's Conservation Refugees.

The author of Conservation Refugees, Mark Dowie, is the former publisher and editor of Mother Jones magazine. Six books and 200 articles have won him 18 awards. Researching this peer-reviewed M.I.T. Press-published text involved years of globe-trotting and the interviewing of many conservation and indigenous leaders. Dowie was privy to several leaked documents from major conservation organizations. Unusually, this book has no Acknowledgements section and does not mention Dowie’s patrons.


Between 1900 and 1950 about 600 wilderness parks were created worldwide. 400 were added in the 1950s. Today there are 110,000 such parks. 12% of Earth’s land is now conservationist controlled. This is an area larger than Africa. This is an area equal to half of humanity’s farmland.
There is nothing civil about Third World environmental activism. Truckloads of armed men arrive at frontier villages. They torch shacks, wreck wells, rustle livestock, and confiscate firearms. This has happened thousands of times.
The global tally of conservation refugees is somewhere between 5 and 20 million. Dowie estimates 10 million. One scholar estimates 14 million conservation refugees in Africa alone. The topic of conservation refugees has been assiduously neglected by academia. Conservation refugees are invisible because visibility raises the price of conservation.
After 1970, in a top-down process, elite enviro-organizations recruited and indoctrinated an auxiliary from the world’s most atavistic indigenous peoples. This puppet sub-movement is now fronting much environmentalist obstruction.
Conservationists are divided between those who advocate complete depopulation of hinterlands and those who want indigenous-environmentalist auxiliaries to govern these areas.

There is nothing civil about Third World environmental activism. Truckloads of armed men arrive at frontier villages. They torch shacks, wreck wells, rustle livestock, and confiscate firearms. This has happened thousands of times.

The global tally of conservation refugees is somewhere between 5 and 20 million. Dowie estimates 10million. One scholar estimates 14 million conservation refugees in Africa alone. The topic of conservation refugees has been assiduously neglected by academia. Conservation refugees are invisible because visibility raises the price of conservation.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Political Affirmative Action

One of the best lines I have heard lately was from a retired shop foreman at the old Republic Steel Plant in Cleveland , Ohio when a young black kid was being laid off.

The black kid said to the shop foreman, "You're firing me because I'm black!"

The foreman thought a moment and said,
"No, we hired you because you were black. We're firing you because you are useless."
Sounds like a possible slogan for the 2012 election!

We Elected You Because You're Black, We're Voting You Out Because You're Useless.
"In God ONLY We Trust"

Rand Paul: Hillary commits to UN Small Arms Treaty

This from Rand Paul, courtesy of Jack Kemp and Tea Party Nation:

Gun-grabbers around the globe believe they have it made.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced the Obama Administration will be working hand-in-glove with the UN to pass a new “Small Arms Treaty.”

Disguised as an “International Arms Control Treaty” to fight against “terrorism,” “insurgency” and “international crime syndicates,” the UN Small Arms Treaty is in fact a massive, GLOBAL gun control scheme.

I’m helping lead the fight to defeat this radical treaty in the United States Senate and I want your help.

Please join me by taking a public stand against this outright assault on our national sovereignty by signing the Official Firearms Sovereignty Survey.

Ultimately, the UN Small Arms Treaty is designed to register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens like YOU.

So far, the gun-grabbers have successfully kept the exact wording of their new scheme under wraps.

But looking at previous versions of the UN Small Arms Treaty, you and I can get a good idea of what’s likely in the works.

If passed by the UN and ratified by the U.S. Senate, the UN Small Arms Treaty would almost certainly FORCE the U.S. to:
*** Enact tougher licensing requirements, making law-abiding Americans cut through even more bureaucratic red tape just to own a firearm legally;
*** CONFISCATE and DESTROY ALL “unauthorized” civilian firearms (all firearms owned by the government are excluded, of course);
*** BAN the trade, sale and private ownership of ALL semi-automatic weapons;
*** Create an INTERNATIONAL gun registry, setting the stage for full-scale gun CONFISCATION.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this is NOT a fight we can afford to lose.

Ever since its founding 65 years ago, the United Nations has been hell-bent on bringing the United States to its knees.

To the petty dictators and one-world socialists who control the UN, the United States of America isn’t a “shining city on a hill” -- it’s an affront to their grand designs for the globe.

These anti-gun globalists know that so long as Americans remain free to make our own decisions without being bossed around by big government bureaucrats, they’ll NEVER be able to seize the worldwide power they crave.

And the UN’s apologists also know the most effective way to finally strip you and me of ALL our freedoms would be to DESTROY our gun rights.

That’s why I was so glad to hear that the National Association for Gun Rights is leading the fight to stop this assault on our Constitution!

The truth is there’s no time to waste.

You and I have to be prepared for this fight to move FAST.

The fact is the last thing the gun-grabbers at the UN and in Washington, D.C. want is for you and me to have time to mobilize gun owners to defeat this radical legislation.

They’ve made that mistake before, and we’ve made them pay, defeating EVERY attempt to ram the UN Small Arms Treaty into law since the mid-1990s.

But now time may not be on our side.

In fact, we’re likely to only have a few weeks to defeat the treaty when they make their move.

And we definitely don’t have a President in the White House who will oppose this treaty.

So our ONE AND ONLY CHANCE to stop the UN Small Arms Treaty is during the ratification process in the U.S. Senate.

As you know, it takes 67 Senate votes to ratify a treaty.

With new pro-gun champions joining me in the Senate, rounding up enough votes to kill this thing should be easy, right?

Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even with the Republican tidal wave in 2010, there still isn’t a pro-gun majority in the Senate to kill ratification of the treaty.

You know just as well as I do how few Senators are truly “pro-gun.”

Not only that, but many Senators get “queasy” about killing treaties for fear of “embarrassing” the President -- especially with “international prestige” at stake.

They look at ratifying treaties much like approving the President’s Supreme Court nominees.

Remember how many Senators turned their back on us and voted to confirm anti-gun Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor?

A dozen more only voted against Sotomayor after receiving massive grassroots pressure from the folks back home.

So if we’re going to defeat the UN Small Arms Treaty gun owners have to turn the heat up on the U.S. Senate now before it’s too late!

Do you believe the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Second Amendment are the supreme law of the land?

Do you believe any attempt by the United Nations to subvert or supersede your Constitutional rights must be opposed?

If you said “Yes” to these questions, please sign the survey the National Association for Gun Rights has prepared for you.

Your survey will put you squarely on the record AGAINST the UN Small Arms Treaty.

And along with your signed survey, I hope you’ll send a generous contribution of $250, $100, $50 or even just $35 to help finance this battle.

With your generous contribution, the National Association for Gun Rights will continue contacting Second Amendment supporters to turn up the heat on targeted U.S. Senators.

Not only that, but they’re preparing a massive program to launch the second this treaty is brought before the Senate.

Direct mail. Phones. E-mail. Blogs. Guest editorials. Press conferences. Hard-hitting internet, newspaper, radio and even TV ads if funding permits. The whole nine yards.

Of course, a program of this scale is only possible if the National Association for Gun Rights can raise the money.

But that’s not easy, and we may not have much time.

In fact, if gun owners are going to defeat the UN Small Arms Treaty pro-gun Americans like you and me have to get involved NOW!

So please put yourself on record AGAINST the UN Small Arms Treaty by signing NAGR’s Firearms Sovereignty Survey.

But along with your survey, please agree to make a generous contribution of $250, $100, $50 or even just $35.

And every dollar counts in this fight so even if you can only chip in $10 or $20, it will make a difference.

Thank you in advance for your time and money devoted to defending our Second Amendment rights.

For Freedom,

Rand Paul
United States Senator

P.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced the Obama Administration will be working hand in glove with the United Nations to pass a new GLOBAL, “Small Arms Treaty.”

If we’re going to defeat the UN Small Arms Treaty gun owners have to turn the heat up on the U.S. Senate now before it’s too late!

Please return your Firearms Sovereignty Survey and put yourself squarely on the record AGAINST ratification of the UN Small Arms Treaty.

And if you can, please make a generous contribution to the National Association for Gun Rights of $250, $150, $100 or even just $35 right away!

And every dollar counts in this fight so even if you can only chip in $10 or $20, it will make a

Obama Trades His Oath for Russian Campaign Contribution

Daren Jonescu

Obama has been caught on mic telling outgoing Russian president Medvedev that he will be able to compromise more on on missile defense after reelection.
In a moment too perfect to have been planned, President Obama has been caught on tape informing Dmitry Medvedev that after the 2012 election, he, Obama, will have greater "flexibility" in dealing with Russia's demands regarding nuclear treaties, among other unnamed "issues." Sadly, too many conservatives seem willing to let this moment pass without serious discussion, as though there were nothing to see here. This neglect is another product of the general cynicism about politics that has pervaded Western civilization, and that serves only the interests of those who would undermine that civilization with impunity.

In fact, even those who have given this incident the attention it deserves have been so focussed on Obama's words that they may be missing an element of this scenario that is at least as important as Obama's continuing sell-out of U.S. national defense, but which only becomes apparent when one turns the spotlight onto Medvedev.

Obama, apparently not aware that his voice is within range of a nearby microphone, says, "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved—but it's important for him to give me space."

Medvedev replies, "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you."

Obama continues: "This is my last election. After my election I'll have more flexibility."

Medvedev responds, "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir by myself."

First of all, let us note the obvious: "Flexibility" in this context can only mean more freedom to give Vladimir Putin what he wants. Why else would an American president need to hide his intentions on arms negotiations with Russia during his re-election campaign? He is telling Medvedev, in no uncertain terms, that he can do more of what Putin demands, but only after he is no longer directly accountable to American voters.

Those who wish to dismiss this exchange as just "the usual backroom dealing" must think this through carefully. The secretiveness of the arrangement is not, in itself, the problem. "Secret" (i.e. private) negotiations are a part of intergovernmental decision-making, of course. The question of legitimacy turns not on the matter of secrecy versus transparency, but rather on the nature of what is being discussed in secret. Secret negotiations about how to achieve the nation's best interests—that is, strategic or methodological negotiations—are a foreign affairs necessity. Negotiating those interests themselves—that is, treating vital national interests as bargaining chips—and keeping this secret precisely from the nation whose interests are at stake, is a different matter entirely.

A U.S. president has just told the leaders of an unfriendly nation that he wants to make concessions to them on matters of national defense, but that he cannot do so until after he has freed himself from having to answer to the American people. In other words, he has explicitly made himself a servant, not of U.S. national interests, but of Russian national interests. He is assuring the Russians that he intends to satisfy their wishes, as soon as American public opinion ceases to be an obstacle. This, I suggest, is the kind of government secrecy that ought to cause alarm.

Notice, moreover, the manner of Obama's expression, and of Medvedev's replies. For one thing, Obama's presumption is that it is Putin, the president-elect, not Medvedev, the sitting president with him in Seoul, whom he must appease. And Medvedev is completely unperturbed by this way of speaking. He, too, speaks as though Putin is the real boss here.

In fact, Obama's plea for "space," and Medvedev's sober repetition of this term, is reminiscent of all those scenes in gangster movies wherein the small-time crook begs Mr. Big's enforcer for more time. "Tell him I can get the money next week. He just needs to be patient. I promise I won't let him down." At this moment, there is no more powerful gangster on the planet than Vladimir Putin. He is the ultimate Mr. Big. Obama's deferential pleading for "space" shows him, accurately, as the ultimate small-time crook.

The importance of the exchange, in the minds of the participants, is suggested by Medvedev's own choice of words.

Obama says Putin needs to "give me space." Medvedev replies, "I understand your message." That's awfully formal wording, isn't it, especially for someone who clearly has the upper hand in the situation? Then, when Obama says, "After my election I'll have more flexibility," Medvedev ramps up the formality to bizarre heights: "I will transmit this information to Vladimir by myself." "Transmit this information" is exceedingly impersonal language, almost suggestive of a chain of command. This exchange, therefore, is not informal talk. Rather, Medvedev is acting as an official go-between in this matter, using phraseology suited to the imparting of information within a hierarchy, and emphasizing the importance of the "message"—while also revealing the importance of reassuring Obama that Mr. Big will hear it—by promising to "transmit" the message personally.

Is this part of some paranoid conspiracy theory? Not in the least. I am not suggesting that Obama is a Kremlin plant, or that his exchange with Medvedev contains some secret coded message. The message is quite unencrypted and straightforward: "I want to meet Putin's demands, but I can't do it until after the U.S. election." The fact that Obama emphasizes that this is his "last election" is also telling. He is not merely saying, "I have to be careful what I do during a campaign season." He is talking about being permanently free from electoral scrutiny, and thus able to do things—sign or scrap treaties, reconfigure international military commitments, and so on—for which he will (in his own mind) be accountable to no one. No one, that is, except KGB Lieutenant-Colonel Vladimir Putin, who, after the KGB failed to overthrow the moderate Gorbachev regime, quit the official communist spy agency, turned "legitimate," and became a statesman whose ersatz "soul" a Republican president believed he could see, and trust—and whose patience Obama is begging for in this revealing encounter with Mr. Big's puppet/stand-in.

This is a key point: The man Obama is promising to accommodate as soon as the American public is out of the way can only be identified as a threat to the West. He is an anti-democratic thug within his own nation, and uses his U.N. veto powers to thwart Western interests in every possible way. If Obama had been caught on tape promising Raul Castro to end U.S. sanctions against Cuba, but only after the election, because he needs to win the swing state of Florida, conservatives would rightly be screaming from the rooftops. A national security sell-out to Putin is far more serious than that.

As I noted at the outset, there is another aspect of this exchange that ought to give one pause, but that has been overlooked, as everyone has been focussed on Obama's words alone. The last part of the exchange, accompanied by a warm handshake between the two presidents, carries an implication regarding Russian policy towards the U.S. election itself: The Kremlin wants Obama to win. They want something that he, and perhaps he alone at this time, can give them. Thus, Obama is telling Medvedev and Putin that he needs them to help smooth his path to electoral victory by downplaying the controversial issue of scrapping or altering major defense programs in Russia's favor. In other words, he needs the Russians to soft-pedal this issue until after the election—to give him space—so as not to put him in the uncomfortable position of having to defend these plans before the American people. This dialogue, then, concerns not only what Obama will do for the Russians after the election, but also what the Russians will do for him before the election.

It is this "information," specifically, that Medvedev repeatedly reassures Obama that he "understands," and that he will personally "transmit" to Vladimir. The Kremlin is going to modify its rhetoric to help Obama win the election, in order to get the defense concessions they know they would be less likely to get from any other U.S. president. If all goes well with this plan, Obama will get his second term to complete the socialization of the U.S. economy—just think how "flexible" he will feel on domestic issues after his "last election"—and, in exchange, Russia will get something along the lines of a treaty guaranteeing that U.S. missile defense, if it proceeds at all, will never be used to defend against the unfriendly thugocracy with the biggest arsenal of missiles. Consider the terms of that trade, and the fact that Medvedev seems both eager and very formal in accepting it, and then ask yourself again whether this is the permissible type of secret negotiation.

This mistakenly recorded exchange might have admitted of other interpretations, such as that Obama was playing a chess game with Medvedev/Putin, had he not previously shown himself anxious to bend over backwards to satisfy Russian arms demands, at the expense of official promises made to allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic—allies who are in the precarious position of understanding better than anyone what it means to trust the motives of the Russian government. And "bending over backwards" is the correct term here, as it precisely describes the "flexibility" that Obama says he will have for the Russians after the election.

Obama has a considerable list of mentors and associates—not to mention appointees—who have previously identified themselves as communists, Maoists, or socialists, but who, facing the historical winds, have subsequently adopted more "moderate" rhetoric and/or behavior. In at least some cases, it is entirely likely that the only real change these people underwent concerned outward presentation, or practical methods, rather than ultimate political beliefs or long-range hopes. Many of those Obama-affiliated leftists, such as William Ayers, Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Frank Marshall Davis, etc., overtly saw themselves as workers for the Soviet or Maoist cause, regardless of whether they had any direct contact or affiliation with their spiritual leaders overseas. They wished to be appreciated and approved of by their heroes in the Kremlin, or in Beijing.

Barack Obama, likewise, shows an unnatural desire to "impress" a Russian leader. "Tell Vladimir not to worry about me," he, in effect, informs Medvedev. "I promise that in the end, regardless of what I might say publicly before my 'last election,' I won't let him down."

Mr. Big will give him the time he needs. This small-time crook is still useful to the organization.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The EPA Wrecking Ball

By Alan Caruba

The Environmental Protection Agency is using its power to advance the objective of the environmental movement to deny Americans access to the energy that sustains the nation’s economy and is using the greatest hoax ever perpetrated, global warming—now called “climate change”—to achieve that goal.

“This standard isn’t the once-and-for-all solution to our environmental challenge,” said Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, “but it is an important commonsense step toward tackling the ongoing and very real threat of climate change and protecting the future for generations to come. It will enhance the lives of our children and our children’s children.”

This is a boldfaced lie. Its newest rule is based on the debasement of science that is characterized and embodied in the global warming hoax. It will deprive America of the energy it requires to function.

Since the 1980s the Greens have been telling everyone that carbon dioxide was causing global warming—now called climate change—and warning that CO2 emissions were going to kill everyone in the world if they weren’t dramatically reduced. The ball was put in motion with the United Nations 1997 Kyoto Protocols when many nations agreed to this absurd idea and carried forward by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ever since.

The Environmental Protection Agency was created to clean the nation’s air and water where it was deemed that a hazard existed. Like most noble ideas and most Congressional mandates, the initial language was vague enough to be interpreted to mean anything those in charge wanted it to mean. Add in the global warming hoax and you have the means to destroy the nation.

Now it means that the source of fifty percent of all the electricity generated in the United States is being systematically put out of business and please do not act surprised; that’s exactly what Barack Obama said he intended to do if elected President.

This is evil writ large.

Shutting down utilities that use coal, an energy source the U.S. has in such abundance that it could provide electricity for the next hundreds of years, and ensuring that no new ones are built fits in perfectly with all the Green pipedreams about "renewable" energy. Solar and wind presently provide about two percent of the nation’s electricity and, without government subsidies and mandates requiring their use, they would not exist at all.

How stupid is it to not build more nuclear power plants when this form of power doesn’t emit anything but energy?

How stupid is it not to use coal when the U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of coal?

How stupid is it to begin to find reasons to regulate and thwart fracking, the technology to access trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that has been in use for decades?

How stupid is it to cover miles of land, far from any urban center, with hundreds of solar panels or huge, ugly wind turbines that kill thousands of birds every year?

The sun does not shine all the time, nor does the wind blow all the time. In the event of overcast skies or a day without wind, traditional plants—those using coal, gas, nuclear or generating hydroelectric power—have to be maintained as a backup. Take away the coal-fired plants and there were be huge gap in the national grid.

Darkness will descend and Americans will begin to live with blackouts and brownouts that will undermine every aspect of our lives. It’s bad enough when a town or even a city briefly loses power because of a storm, but imagine that occurring on a regular basis because there just aren’t enough utilities generating power!

What kind of people stand by idly while its own government conspires to take away the primary source of energy that everything else depends upon? The answer? You. The answer is the many elected politicians that have done little to rein in a rogue government agency intent on undermining the nation by denying it the ability to generate power with the least expensive source of electricity, coal.

The EPA, an unelected bureaucracy, has just ensured that all Americans, industries, small businesses, and individuals will begin pay far more for electrical power.

Richard J. Trzupek, the author of “Regulators Run Wild” and an environment policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, said of the new rule, “With around 50,000 megawatts of coal-fired power set to be forcibly retired in the next few years—thanks to the draconian policies of Obama’s EPA—this rule ensures that no new modern, efficient coal fired power plants will be built to fill the gap.”

In a triumph of crony capitalism, Trzupek notes that “The big winner will be Obama’s good friend, GE Chairman Jeff Immelt. Since solar and wind cannot fill a 50,000 megawatt baseload gap, the only way to ensure continued reliability of the grid is to build a lot of natural gas-fired plants quickly. And who is the biggest supplier of natural gas-fired combustion engines? GE of course.”

If you think that environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth, among many others, are seeking to “protect” the Earth, you are seriously mistaken. They have been among the leading opponents of coal and they have had allies in Congress such as the Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, (D-NV) who has said “Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick.”

NO! Coal provides the engine of our nation’s electrical power and oil provides the energy that fuels our transportation and is the basis for countless products that enhance and improve our lives every day.

We are witnessing the destruction of the nation by the environmental movement and the EPA has just provided you with the most dramatic example of that plan.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

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