Jerry Brown slurs Whitman -- earns NOW's endorsement

The timing couldn't be more profound: just one day after California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is caught on tape as a campaign aide calls Meg Whitman a "whore", the National Organization for Women announces -- you guessed it -- that it is supporting Jerry Brown for Governor. Proving that liberal orthodoxy trumps gender every time, NOW not only is endorsing a man over a woman in California, but it is apparently not concerned with Brown's acceptance of sexist, demeaning language being used against his opponent. In NOW's view, Whitman -- who is pro-life -- apparently doesn't warrant the kind of protection from mysogynist attacks that the group's charter is supposed to provide all women. But as it has proven time and time again, female conservatives are the wrong kind of women. Not that NOW can't be enraged by a politician's words -- just not those of Democrat politicians. Posted prominently on the NOW website, the group is vehemently denouncing Senator Jim DeMint's "dangerous comments" on gays and sexually active single women "being unfit to teach". According to NOW, DeMint's comments to a "conservative church group" make him a "sexist bigot" who is "ignorant, homophobic" and unfit to serve in the U.S. Congress. DeMint actually made these comments six years ago, and was only recently reflecting on the impact they had in the media in a speech he gave last week to the Greater Freedom Rally in Spartanburg, South Carolina. And he actually said that "gays and unmarried pregnant women" should not be public school teachers -- a statement that NOW extrapolated to mean "sexually active single women" -- as if every sexually active single woman gets pregnant. Leaving aside the wisdom of DeMint's views on these issues, is putting forward a value statement on public education really worse than calling a woman a "whore"?

For NOW -- which has never met a conservative woman it can support, a man who uses a sexist slur is still better than a self-made woman who embodies the very feminist values of hard work and female mobility that the group is supposed to stand for.


Madison rolls over

As “Black Monday” dawned to the realization that the fraud-filled spectacle of "ObamaCare" has finally passed the House of Representatives, you may have noticed some rumblings under foot.  It wasn't an earthquake in the literal sense, though from the perspective of our constitutional republic, it might as well have been. It was the sound of James Madison rolling over in his grave.

Of all the Founding Fathers, Madison was the one who most understood the importance of structure and process in our new democracy.  He would have been shocked to hear the President of the United States telling the media that process doesn't matter, or the Democratic Majority Leader of the House of Representatives say that the American people don't care about how the government “makes sausage” -- only that it "gets things done".  To Madison, any such talk would be akin to blasphemy: the Constitution was set up to prevent the kind of system where rules could be changed on a whim, and where partisan, parochial "ends" could always be justified by employing "means" which would put government -- and not the people -- in charge.

In short, the sausage making matters.

Madison understood principally that if the American system of government was going to be truly "by and for the people", it had to function in a way that enshrined a balance of power between the legislative and executive branches, thereby preventing both the whim of an executive acting by fiat, or a tyranny of a majority in Congress usurping the rights of the minority party and acting on "winds of passion".  The challenge for Madison and the other Founders – particularly Hamilton and Jay, his fellow authors of the Federalist Papers – was to create a structure of government that simultaneously gave vigorous representative power to the legislature, but which ensured that this power would be divided between different branches, two distinct houses of Congress, with different representations, rules and procedures.  The goal, as Madison outlined eloquently in Federalist 51, was to ensure that government -- in scope and power – be controlled:

In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Principal among these “auxiliary precautions”, according to Madison, was to “divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them by different modes of election, and different principles of action, as little connected with each other” as possible.  The House of Representatives, then, was to be apportioned and elected differently than the Senate. House members, elected every two years and assigned to a relatively small constituency, was to be the “people’s house”.  The Senate, until 1913 appointed by state legislatures, offered equal representation among states irrespective of size and six year terms, insulating it from the vagaries of popular opinion. It also offered clear rules that protect the rights of the minority party from being steamrolled by the majority (thus the “filibuster”). The combination created, in Madison’s words, “opposite and rival interests, and the defect of better motives”.  And these motives were – first and foremost -- to create a government that reflected the will and interests of the people.

Given this, one can only imagine the outrage that Madison would feel today as the Congress – the very institution he crafted so carefully – made a mockery of its balanced powers to break every procedural rule in the book to pass a wildly unpopular bill.  It was a bill so unpopular, in fact, that the Democratic leadership in the Congress knew it could not pass on its own merits, and within Congress’ normal rules and procedures. After the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts as the “41st vote against ObamaCare”, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid decided to do an end-run around the Constitution by re-writing House and Senate rules to fit their partisan goals . Thus you had Rep. Louise Slaughter (D, NY) putting forth “Deem and Pass” – essentially passing the bill without any vote at all -- and Harry Reid’s decision to in the Senate to use reconciliation on ObamaCare to avoid the filibuster, even though the architect of the reconciliation rule, Democrat Robert Byrd, has said clearly that the rule is not appropriate for legislation of this scope and magnitude and should not be used.

For the left, such opinions are nothing more than inconveniences. The goals of progressive government – universal health care, wealth redistribution and social justice -- are so important, not even the Constitution itself should stand in its way.  Obama has said so himself: In an interview with Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ-FM in 2001, he talked explicitly of the Constitution as a “flawed document” with “essential constraints” that were placed by the “Founding Fathers and Constitution” limiting its ability to promote social justice goals.  Thus the concept of the Constitution as a living document, open to modern interpretation and cultural updating.  This is no longer a theoretical threat to the Constitution.  This threat now sits firmly in power on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

James Madison certainly understood one important thing about the nature of man and power: “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”  Indeed, our leaders today are no angels.  And never have we more needed Madison’s prescriptions for a limited government that operates on rules which guarantee the rights of the minority, and which derives its legitimacy from We the People.  They work for us, after all.  We don’t work for them.

The Hurt Locker and Hollywood

Last night I watched my first Oscars telecast since at least 2004.  I will admit to having developed a profound distaste for the event during the Bush years, when poorly educated, overpaid actors professed their opinions (and feigned knowledge) of international politics and foreign policy.  These opinions -- from the likes of Sean (Jeff Spicoli) Penn, George (ER) Clooney and others -- were harsh, anti-Bush and, at a time when American is at war, anti-American.  And when coupled with the snarky comedy of David Letterman and Chris Rock was enough to make me ask repeatedly:"Where have you gone Billy Crystal"? The 2010 edition of the Academy Awards seemed to represent a change -- if not of political perspective, certainly of attitude.  Not only did "The Hurt Locker" -- a film about the U.S. military in Iraq -- run away with the evening, but it's victory was accompanied by an acceptance speech from the film's director that actually paid tribute to American soldiers in harm's way.  While in previous generations such a statement of support might not have been anything unusual, in today's leftist Hollywood the speech by Best Director recipient Kathryn Bigelow is significant, indeed.  Her words, greeted by polite applause by the audience, were not echoed by the film's producers who also accepted the Best Picture award, leaving Bigelow to again repeat her "thanks" to "those who serve" a second time, though this time she did seem a little sheepish (saying "sorry to reiterate") and then throwing firemen, hazmat teams and others who keep us safe.  In a telecast with admittedly very low expectations, and even with Bigelow's slight temporizing at the end, it was a significant moment for Hollywood.

But what does it really mean?  Bigelow herself has called the film "anti-war" -- which may have swayed some dovish voters to support it, though when I saw the movie I did not come away with that message at all.  The Academy may have been rewarding a female director who has gotten herself out of the outsized shadow of her ex (fellow Best Director nominee James Cameron), or it may have found a movie that allowed it to tell the rest of America that it is "pro troops" even as it remains anti-war.  Or maybe in a crowded field where Avatar and its computer generated characters took the air out of the room, the movie was simply "the best of the rest".

We will never know the collective reasoning of the Academy, of course.  But could it mean that Hollywood has begun to tire of the leftist diatribe it has been on for the past decade?  Roger Simon at Pajamas Media asks this question in a piece entitled: "Did the 2010 Academy Awards mark the end of liberal Hollywood"?

The 2010 Academy Awards may not have marked the end of “liberal Hollywood” as we know it, but they certainly put a solid dent in it. With the pro-military “The Hurt Locker” winning over the enviro-pabulum of “Avatar” and Sandra Bullock garnering the Best Actress Oscar for a Christian movie, the times are a-changin’ at least somewhat, maybe even a lot.

But one thing is now certain. It is time for conservative, center-right and libertarian filmmakers to stop feeling sorry for themselves and go out and just do it. Their “victocrat” days are over. No more excuses. “The Hurt Locker” and “The Blind Side” have proven that it can be done. Get out of the closet, guys and gals. If you want to make a film with themes you believe in, quit whining about Industry prejudice and start writing that script and trying to get it made. That’s not an easy thing, no matter what your politics.

Right siders can take inspiration too from Sunday’s Oscar ceremonies themselves. They weren’t defamed for a moment. Missing in action was the usual libo-babble, no extended hymns to the cause du jour or ritual Bush-bashing. And Barack Obama wasn’t even mentioned. Not once. But the troops were – several times by Kathryn Bigelow.

We are obviously long removed from the Hollywood of John Wayne, who embodied American patriotism in film, or of Jimmy Stewart, who heroically flew a B-17 in combat in the real war against Germany. But it is possible that we've turned a bit of corner in the vehement anti-Americanism that Hollywood has taken up since 9/11, though I certainly wouldn't call the success of the Hurt Locker last night a sea change.  As Donald Douglas has recently pointed out, there is an effort underway by Robert Greenwald's  Brave New Films to fund a series of "hardline leftist films on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars" that use U.S. veterans to pursue a very typical anti-American line of exploitation and imperialism.
If past is prelude, I'd say that Greenwald will need a big star or some gratuitous nudity to find a large audience for his leftist fare: previous anti-American films on Iraq have fared badly at the box office, and have failed to find an audience -- let alone win mainstream cinema awards.  The Hurt Locker's appeal stems in part from its avoidance of policy and its gritty, realistic portrayal of young American soldiers in battle.  In fact, I found the Hurt Locker to be a patriotic film -- not in the "Flying Tigers" or "Hellcats of the Navy" genre, but rather in it's portrayal of American kids showing courage, ambivalence and even fear under fire.   These are things that ordinary Americans can relate to, and that is in part why the film has been so well received.

Socialist Obama: Could it be?

By Tom Graham - Part 1 During a recent “Meet the Press” the host, with feigned indignation, asked a Senator, “You’re not calling the President a socialist, are you?” Without waiting for a response, he repeated the question for emphasis. This performance highlights the hijacking of political semantics. “Socialist” was replaced by “Liberal” which, in turn, became a pejorative, and now “Progressive” is preferred, and used in titles of dozens of political and welfare advocacy groups. Constantly morphing ideas and permutations of definitions make it hard to compartmentalize politicians. An accepted basic view is that Socialism advocates state or collective ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods. That essential hallmark of freedom, private ownership of property, is prohibited. Note how the current abuses of eminent domain stretch the traditional definitions of public use.

Marx called Socialism a transition between capitalism and Communism. As any high school sophomore should be able to recite from Marx’s Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei, “To each according to his needs; from each according to his ability.” An advocate of these ideas is indeed a Socialist. To quote National Socialist German Workers’ Party leader, Adolph Hitler, “The needs of society come before the individual’s needs.”

Before labeling Obama and his inventory of actions, we must also note the academic definition of Communism. “All economic activity is controlled by the state, dominated by a single political party.” Further: “A system based on holding all property in common, with actual ownership by the state.” Differences between the categories, reduced to simplest form: Socialism actually takes ownership while Communism totally controls enterprise, which ostensibly could remain private. This administration’s actions overlap both, with the common goal of doing away with Capitalism. Degrees of success are temporarily limited by public resistance. Constitutional protections are rejected as archaic annoyances.

Obama, equipped with glibness and arrogance, was dismissed as a buffoon by serious economists. His experience was largely limited to preaching Alinsky to ACORN volunteers. Without apologies, he surrounded himself with cabinet and advisor appointees, and a cadre of czars with no accountability, most of whom have serious ethical, legal and moral taints. The czars have no Congressional approval. Uniformly visible in that group is the disturbing tendency to demonize the concepts of private property ownership and free markets. The last 18 presidents averaged 46% of their advisers from the private sector. Obama has 8%.

As perennial presidential candidate Norman Thomas, and others, famously said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation without knowing how it happened.”

Fabianism (strategy of establishing Socialism by gradual means), used with patience by subversive movements world-wide, is not in vogue with this administration.

To some degree or another, The administration has addressed all the elements of the Socialist or Communist state, with varying degrees and a common thread of shrinking Capitalism with alarming speed. The advice of Obama mouthpiece Rahm Emanuel is, “Never miss an opportunity to take advantage of a crisis.” Tactics of Chicago-style patronage, populism and corruption, unabashedly taken to the national level, have caught many flat-footed.

To correct what he blames his predecessor for, “long years of drift,” Obama is moving to control major industries in Communist fashion. What better start than the showpiece of American industry for a century, automobile manufacture? The President has no desire to own the auto companies, merely to control them. Perhaps he has read of the disastrous Soviet attempts at controlling manufacture with bureaucrats making all decisions.

Obama wants control while allowing experienced management to take care of the details. Bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler certainly were never meant to be loans, but rather a grab of equity. The action instantly took 78.3% of General Motors by the government, followed by a gift of 17.5% to the auto workers union. Bond value was whittled down to maybe 10% of GM equity. Investors without rational recognition of Communist control strategy held out hope for a rebound.

A sidebar of the auto industry takeover was the “Cash for Clunkers” fiasco which, at taxpayer expense, amounted to a marginal cost per car of $24,000. It had an effect of about 32 thousandths-of-one-percent CO2 reduction. It stimulated car purchases at the expense of future business a few months down the road. For example, by the end the year, Colorado new car registrations were 29.8% less than last year.

When will we wise up?

I was first inspired to start blogging back in the summer of  2005 in the wake of the July 7 terror attack in London I had lived in London during the late 1980s, and I was concerned then that Britain's penchant towards "multiculturalism" was creating an environment that was all too accommodating of radical Islam.  Indeed, the mosques and Imams in Finsbury -- not far from where I lived  -- were the source of the radical students who set off the bombs on the London transport system. Britain has sown the seeds of its radicalism by allowing the hate mongers to preach their venom without fear of retribution, and indeed with many legal protections. In the interest of being "open" the Brits have actually enabled an enemy to thrive inside its borders. It seems that at least some in the UK have gotten the message. From the Telegraph UK comes this piece entitled Detroit Terror Attack: A murderous ideology tolerated for too long. Its primary thesis is that the murderous ideology of radical Islam is tolerated in a way that other radical beliefs are not -- and that we do so at our own peril.  The most pertinent passage is as follows:

Is it time for a fundamental rethink of Britain's attitude towards domestic Islamism? Consider this analogy. Suppose that, in several London universities, Right‑wing student societies were allowed to invite neo-Nazi speakers to address teenagers. Meanwhile, churches in poor white neighbourhoods handed over their pulpits to Jew-hating admirers of Adolf Hitler, called for the execution of homosexuals, preached the intellectual inferiority of women, and blessed the murder of civilians. What would the Government do? It would bring the full might of the criminal law against activists indoctrinating young Britons with an inhuman Nazi ideology – and the authorities that let them. Any public servants complicit in this evil would be hounded from their jobs.

So, somehow preaching the murder of innocents is tolerated when it is done by Muslims, but not when it is being done by Nazis. Why? Because of the fear of being labled a racist. It is why so many things go unsaid in our culture today: it is too dangerous for people to speak the truth. It is more important to be sensitive and tolerant than it is to be right. We have dumbed ourselves down to the lowest possible common denominator.

Hear no evil.  See no evil.  Speak no evil.

The radical Imams who preach this hatred to young, middle class students in British university understand this all too well. They are gaming us -- and preying on our desire to be politically perfect in our sensibilities. It is a weakness from within that they are exploiting mercilessly.

By the way, lest you think this only happens in Europe: This is exactly what happened at Fort Hood, when Major Hasan was tolerated by his peers and promoted by his superiors even though he was openly preaching hatred. He wasn't stopped because even in the military we've been chilled by political correctness and a desire to be open.

When will we wake up and start to understand that our tolerance is being used against us?  When will we conclude that profiling and proactive security measures is needed to keep air travel safe?

When will we wise up?