Liberalism

Window into mind of the left

"Help America survive Republicans"? An odd crusade for the left to launch, just when Dems control everything and the GOP is sidelined. On the other hand, financial derivatives for good or ill are big right now, so why not a fourth-order polemical derivative? The first order was Paul Simon's sardonic '70s ballad, "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." The second, a humorless book by two Colorado lefties called "50 Ways You Can Help Obama Change America." So I tagged along (your editor, John Andrews) with an Oct. 11 column in the Denver Post, "50 Ways to Help America Survive Obama." Now comes Post reader Kathy Graybill with her riff on my riff on their riff on Simon's overriffed original.

Give Kathy one thing: unlike many liberals with their handout mentality, this gal has a parodizing parasitic work ethic that won't quit. She labored away at countering my list of 50, to the full measure of her own two-score and ten, and only then did she put down her pen. Having no Nobel Prize to confer, I can at least reward her with publication here.

50 Ways You Can Help America Survive Republicans

By Kathy Graybill * kgraybill@frii.com

*Cleave to the Constitution (there’s nothing in it about capitalism being the economic system of America)

*Dust off the Declaration (“promote the general welfare” not promote only MY welfare).

*Work harder for social justice.

*Save more, borrow less.

*Pray.

*Be Jesus-like and help (financially, emotionally, etc.) those couples not as fortunate as you in order to help them to avoid the divorce epidemic.

*Read!

*Listen to NPR.

*Tithe to open, caring, affirming church groups and charities.

*Question authority in a critical, thoughtful manner – judges (Clarence Thomas as well as Sonia Sotomayor), lawyers (lawyers of mega-corporations as well as ACLU lawyers).

*Distrust the mean-spirited, entertainment news channels.

*Strive to show through our actions our country’s goodness, not by empty gestures and words.

*Gird against all types of radical, dogmatic beliefs that pose harm to others.

*Accept the unbelievably horrendous mistakes that were made by the Bush administration that have left us in Iraq and Afghanistan after so many years and start to pull out.

*Negotiate firmly with Iran while at the same time promote good will with the democracy-loving Iranian people.

*Militarily defend Israel like we would any other ally but don’t defend them if they present an obstacle to making a compromise with the Palestinians.

*Revive NATO.

*Suspect all dictatorial countries - Saudi Arabia as well as Russia.

*See the United Nations as an imperfect institution yet the best one we have to keep countries communicating.

*Secure the borders from companies outsourcing jobs to countries where they can pay workers less.

*Keep our country armed intelligently and geared to the 21st century problems.

*Work for a color-blind community.

*Reject the race card and strive to eradicate all racism.

*Boycott Wall Street.

*Support quality education for all students, not just the ones whose parents have the resources to get them into the schools of choice.

*Be mindful that non-parent taxpayers are paying for your children to be educated.

*Be thankful that we have a socialist public education system so your children can receive an education at a cheap price to you.

*Require that charter schools put ALL of the kids in the district into the enrollment lottery (or better yet, only the poor, disadvantaged, homeless, English language learners; only those with behavior problems, dysfunctional families, inattentive parents -the at risk students) to make our education system equal for all students.

*Be sure that colleges get the funding they require.

*Demand all types of diversity.

*Reject an exclusive society.

*Encourage the working and stay-at-home mom.

*Give to organizations that provide medical and counseling services to all pregnant women in all areas of the country.

*Support the criminalization and shaming of murderers of medical personnel who perform legal procedures.

*Get arrested protesting the war in Iraq that has caused an untold number of deaths and injuries and suffering, (how many abortions we have “performed” on women who didn’t want one is anybody’s guess; talk about death panels for the elderly!).

*Dare the rich CEOs of companies to put themselves on only Social Security for retirement and only Medicare for health care and forego any bonuses.

*Get arrested demonstrating for a timeline to pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

*Rally for the right of workers to get paid a decent salary.

*Organize for protecting the environment.

*Sit in for renewable energy research.

*Call for breaking our dependence on oil.

*Demand that quality health care is a right for everybody, not a privilege.

*Ridicule those who still believe that global warming is not a danger.

*Tell Cheney jokes.

*Circulate the rape exclusionary clause in the Halliburton employee contracts and demand that not one more cent of taxpayer money go to them.

*Start a Michael Moore club.

*Retire Boehner and Cantor.

*Draft somebody, anybody, that is mature, decent and thoughtful and who believes in the values of average Americans to run against Michele Bachmann in 2010.

*Get active as a Republican and elect at least a few responsible, critical thinking Republicans.

*Or get active as a Democrat – not because Democrats are so much better than Republicans, but because intelligent opposition is liberty’s lifeblood, not mean-spirited screaming.

GWB is gone and the U.S.A will survive in spite of his mean-spirited, ignorant, fascist regime. But at what cost? He ruined our economy (but, to be fair, only the little, regular people are suffering, not Bush’s friends and colleagues - see New Orleans) and killed tens of thousands of people in an unnecessary, poorly conducted war (but, to be fair, most of these people were poor, foreigners and not the God-sent people like Bush and his family and friends). As Bush revved the motor for change (huge tax cuts for the wealthy, non-regulation for Wall Street, two poorly-handled wars), somebody should have hit the brakes for thoughtful deliberation. I didn’t want our kids inheriting a country a rookie, shallow-thinking, uncompassionate rich kid wrecked. But they have.

Why Democrats call their critics liars

In their public statements on health insurance reform, Democratic spokesmen have consistently dismissed those with objections to government health care as liars. In emails from the Democratic National Committee (which I have been receiving regularly ever since I asked a question) Republicans such as Reps. John Boehner of Ohio and Michelle Bachman of Minnesota and others have been singled out for this charge. Yes, I know that Republican congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina shouted "liar" at President Barack Obama in a speech to Congress when he denied that illegal aliens would receive medical care under the Democrats’ health reform bill. But several times during his speech Obama repeated the line that he and other members of his party have put forth that critics are lying.

This has gone so far as government agencies ordering health insurance companies to cease informing their clients that costs will go up under government health care, congressional committees demanding access to records of companies who are critical, and most recently Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi chastising those firms for their bad "behavior" that points up the need for a "public option."

So seldom do liberal Democrats make the case for their policies on the merits, I have concluded that they believe that no legitimate reason can justify opposition. Their longest-standing device has been to denounce their critics as "special interests" who are utterly indifferent or downright hostile to the common good or the rights of others.

Insurance and drug companies, doctors and hospitals may not be public office holders, but they have as much right to express their opinion on legislation as anyone else. They are involved in commerce, which is hardly a crime, and they represent thousands of employees and millions of consumers who depend on them for their efforts. All ad hominem attacks on opposing arguments are not only fallacious but a bad reflection on the perpetrators of them.

There is a fundamental reason why so-called progressives habitually dismiss their critics so summarily. It is, I believe, because the now one-century old progressive movement, led by such stalwarts and Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow, concluded that the U.S. Constitution was an antiquated document that stood in the way of regulation of the modern corporation and of the alleged ideal of equality of condition.

Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution can be honestly interpreted to support equality of condition. The former declares that we all possess the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by nature, and the latter only secures those rights. In the marketplace in which millions of Americans participate every day, government’s role is to make uniform rules to ensure fair treatment, not to redistribute income from one person or entity to another.

Roosevelt, Wilson and their followers over the years in both political parties believed that something they call an historical process or evolution is moving mankind toward greater and greater equality of condition, and their role as statesmen is to lead their fellow citizens (who don’t always share their enthusiasm) toward the "glorious future" awaiting them.

Not our human nature but history unbound by nature is the basis for human progress, a position with which Obama and his fellow Democrats are in full agreement. As avatars of benefits yet to come, progressives have little patience with those of a different mind.

If this weren’t enough, those who have attended colleges and universities have been taught by professors in the social sciences and humanities that human beings are not governed by reason but entirely by passions such as greed (economic) and lust (sexual). Of course, routinely teachers of this doctrine exempt themselves from it as they claim to possess "value free" objectivity. The practical effect of this teaching is to stigmatize those who disagree with it and to license "enlightened" people to indulge any desires they wish.

Republicans, businessmen, middle class homeowners, Caucasians, males and heterosexuals have all been stigmatized for years, and they are expected meekly to accept their reduction to second-class citizenship. That so many Americans have spoken up at tea parties, town hall meetings, in letters to the editor, on talk radio and the internet is extremely inconvenient for those who believe that growing government to seize incomes and manage our daily lives is inevitable.

As ever, we are free to chart our own future which, for a growing number of us, does not include unconstitutional government. That is the truth that progressives must continue to deny.

Constitution? What's that?

We all know that Barack Obama doesn't think much of the Constitution.  And he certainly won't let it get in the way of the government takeover of health care.Courtesy of  Kim Strassel at the WSJ today comes some insightful commentary about what we can now expect from Obama and the merry leftists in Congress. The Baucus Bill has been subject to Congress' death panel and is DOA. Baucus attempted to craft a bipartisan bill that would enjoy a modicum of Republican support, but he ultimately caved to enough liberal demands that it got sufficiently watered down to appeal to precisely nobody. The Republicans find it too costly and pernicious in its penalties and taxes, and the left finds it far to soft on the insurance companies and other villains of the health care industry. Max tried, but in the end he truly made "mischief of one kind...or another" and got promptly "eaten up".

In any event, Strassel makes the very good point that we should all prepare ourselves for a renewed leftward turn in the health care debate as our President caves to the demands of his leftist base:

...Our bipartisan White House grew weary of the bipartisan process and pressured Mr. Baucus to produce. He jettisoned his colleagues and pushed out a product that Messrs. Grassley and Enzi promptly condemned. The White House did such a good job of suggesting that Ms. Snowe was its GOP patsy—a Republican who'd vote for a ham sandwich, if only they asked—that even the miffed Maine senator has stepped back.

The result is two-fold. With no, or little, GOP support, the only way Mr. Baucus can pry his bill out of committee is to allow the left to have its way. The White House knows this, which is why the president—despite seizing on the Baucus legislation in his speech last week—is already abandoning the finance chief and his bill to the tender mercies of West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller and New York's Chuck Schumer. The White House wants a bill, any bill, and this bloc now holds all the votes in committee. Pity Mr. Baucus, who just got used.

Into the hands of Rockefeller and Schumer we fall. And you can bet that what comes now is a highly partisan bill that will attempt the "public option" in one form or another, and a price tag that will be (conservatively) in the Trillion Dollar range. Worse yet, it will be couched in all sorts of creative accounting and political double speak that the public will think its getting steak when it is really horse meat with lots of sauce on it. Those who were gullible enough to elect Mr. Obama may likely be gullible enough to take his latest sleight of hand at face value.

Worse yet, it is apparent that Obama wants a bill -- any bill -- and will do whatever is necessary to force it through, even if it involves using the reconciliation tool that requires just 51 votes instead of the 60 needed to overcome an inevitable Republican filibuster.

What has changed is Mr. Obama's determination to push a bill through, regardless of what his party, or the public, thinks. The White House will make the case to waverers that the political fallout of a health-care failure will be worse than backlash that comes with voting for a bill. Maybe. Behind that is the further threat that Dems will go this alone, via 50-vote reconciliation, if necessary.

Reconciliation was meant to be used only for finance bills, not for momentous, life-altering legislation like major health care reform. The Framers of the Constitution created a system where major political initiatives such as this would be subject to the normal process of debate, with the rights of the minority (in the form of the filibuster) in place. The system of checks and balances was put into place for a reason -- to slow down the system so that radical change would be difficult and would require the support of the minority party.

But no matter. In the power play now going on in Washington, the left wants its way no matter who gets trampled. Obama is already on record as saying that the Constitution "is an imperfect document", and this might as well apply to the rules around health care legislation as well. He, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer and the others know best, after all -- and they clearly don't care what the people think or want.

We are in for a rough ride. Keep up the pressure on your local Congressional delegation. The only chance we have is that those in Congress will care more about getting elected than actually reforming health care.

Let's make it clear that an "aye" will result in a "nay" next November.

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck

Polls are showing (and Town Halls and Tea Parties are reinforcing) that America may have finally woken up this summer to the error of its decision to elect Barack Obama and his band of merry socialists. But is it too little, too late?

Sadly, yes.

To those of you who are regretting your decision to put a community organizer into the White House all I can say is -- you blew it.

You ignored the obvious facts about Barack Obama that were there for anyone who would listen. That he is a radical socialist wrapped in a nice package of smooth eloquence. That he associated with a known domestic terrorist with blood on his hands and sat in a hate-spewing church for 20 years. That he studied at the Saul Alinsky institute of hard-ball community activism and believes that America is a flawed nation. That he believes in "change" -- but the kind of change he really wants is of the revolutionary variety based on racial justice. That he is a product of his radical associations with little individual accomplishment outside of his electoral successes. And that he is essentially weak -- unable (or unwilling) to control a radical Congress that wants America to look like France. Obama walked like a socialist, talked like a socialist. Surprise! Obama is a socialist.

Tonight, Barack Obama goes before Congress for yet another high-minded speech on health care -- a "crisis" of his own creation, that he hopes to use to stab the free market for health care (such as it is) in the heart. He will push for a socialized option run by Congress because he believes that government should be running our lives. He will criticize (politely, of course) the opposition for having the temerity to question his goals. He will talk in soaring platitudes about the "historic opportunity" we have to fix a system by further destroying it. It makes no sense to those of us who believe that government destroys everything it touches. But to those who believe that their "social justice" goals can only be solved by forcing government down our throats, government-run health care is the first step toward a new and better America.

Viva la America!

The election results of November, 2008 foreordained this result. Voters decided to put Pelosi, Reid, Waxman, Schumer, Boxer and Obama in charge of this nation. They neutered the opposition and gave a potentially filibuster-proof majority to the left. It isn't a monolithic left, fortunately -- and there are some "conservative" Democrats who are giving Pelosi fits. But in the end the numbers will ensure that some form of government-run health care -- with individual mandates, increased regulation and fees on insurers, drug companies, medical device companies and hospitals -- will become law. It pains me to say it but it is true: more government is coming to your physician's office -- along with higher taxes, fees and rules that will govern your personal lives.

As I have said many times before, elections have consequences. The consequence of 2008 will be a tremendous amount of damage to our country. We can only hope that in 2010 and 2012 voters will restore balance in Washington and vote to limit the size and scope of government. It is the only hope we now have to keep this great country free.

Socialism really is a bad idea

As I noted last week, whenever a critic of Democrat policies uses the term "socialism," Democrats bristle. But if a policy or measure gives ownership of some business or industry to the government, (e.g., General Motors), socialism being defined as government ownership of the means of production, then it is entirely fair to call it socialistic. Not that this offends or renders defensive everyone on the left. Despite the fact that Democrats last year defended "spread the wealth" schemes - - without acknowledging their socialist pedigree - - last spring liberal columnist Evan Thomas of Newsweek devoted a cover article to proving that socialism is not such a bad thing even as he conceded that that is what the Obama Administration stands for.

Liberals know that Americans are not supportive of socialism in spite of their interventionist policy changes over the last 76 years, beginning with the New Deal, which brought massive government controls, intervention and regulation with the National Recovery Act, the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the Social Security Act; supplemented by the Great Society’s War on Poverty, Medicare and Medicaid.

The liberal strategy largely has been to advance in increments, their big innovations depending upon massive electoral victories in 1932 and 1964. They have been quite successful in getting the camel’s nose under the tent for years, without acknowledging the ultimate goal of their legislation.

One wishes that the American people as a whole could discern more readily that socialism by degrees is still socialism, even if we must be grateful to the American Constitution for making it difficult for American liberals to go as far as European social democrats.

The question must be posed: what’s wrong with socialism? Isn’t it right that the people have protection against wealthy corporations that have unlimited power to hire and fire thousands of people and earn unconscionable profits at the expense of the public? If the foregoing were an accurate description of the American marketplace, I might support socialism too. But it is not.

In the past I have written about the uncoerced trading relationship that exists between businessmen and their customers, and indeed their employees. Unlike the peasants of old in Europe, or millions of unfortunate people in unfree countries around the world today, no one in America  is forced to work for anyone in business or to fork over money to them. Despite government intervention that has distorted the marketplace, there is more "upward mobility" among Americans than any other people in the world.

Much of what rightly offends Americans is actually a product of government intervention. Why did three companies dominate the automobile business for so many years? The oligopoly of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford was necessary to pay the inflated wages and benefits of their employees who had the advantage of being represented by a powerful union that could negotiate contracts for the entire industry, thanks to the National Labor Relations Act of 1937. The Obama Administration is attempting to perpetuate that advantage through its majority control of GM.

Why do utility companies enjoy local or regional monopolies and have their rates set by a government agency? Where’s the competition in that? Why were there so few broadcasting networks which were (and are) practically mirror images of each other? Government regulation of these industries has restricted competition.

The real driving force of socialism is hatred of the marketplace which, governed by the profit motive, is alleged to be nothing more than greed. Members of Congress who enabled the reckless lending of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thereby causing an unprecedented credit crisis, believe that such government-sponsored entities (GSEs) are morally superior to private corporations. That is why they are trying to take advantage of the recession, ignoring GSEs’ miserable performance.

The truth is, major government programs, such as social security, medicare, medicaid, stimulus packages and so on either do not pay for themselves or are facing bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Democrats think it is better for their cronies in GSEs to pull down huge salaries than for corporate executives to do so.

Socialism assumes that the amount of goods and services available is always limited, overlooking America’s incredible increase in individual wealth. The object of socialism is to establish "equity," but actually punishes people for being successful and rewards the unsuccessful. Every government program depends on taxing those who have earned their wealth in the marketplace and redistributing it to others, especially the well connected in politics and government. The key element is coercion, which betrays the lack of charity by that very fact.