Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Real President

It may be that in our darkest hour, what is needed more that fine words and righteous indignation is courage. One time, not so long ago, this country was suffering from humiliations abroad and economic distress at home. But a man stepped forth into the vacuum of leadership in Washington; and though he alone was not enough to constrain the growth of government, he showed the wisdom, leadership, and adherence to principle enough to inspire a generation to value its precious freedoms.

Ronald Reagan was revered and reviled for his ability to speak plainly, to sense the pulse of the American people, to soothe national wounds and to inspire citizens to aspire to personal greatness. There are many on the right who claim that the era of Reagan is dead, that liberty and responsibility are old-fashioned ideas; but if that be true, then the era of America is dead.

But I refuse to believe that. I will take up Reagan's mantle, as each one of us must, and carry the war of ideas to the enemy. Our children, out forefathers, our Founding Fathers know that we can and we must live up to our generation's calling: To preserve the Republic from the most dire threat it has ever faced - the enemy within.

We must renew our principles, our morals, and our courage with such wise words as were spoken at Ronald Reagan's Inauguration in 1981. We must be our own leadership until we find the right man or woman to lead the nascent movement to restore our liberty; and for examples of the leadership that will be sufficient to the task, we must turn to the past - to the Reagans and the Churchills, to the Jacksons and the Washingtons - men who endured incredibly perilous times, and who met their allotted challenges with steely persistence, bold principles, and unwavering grace.

Obama is Love

The President stood up, made the sign of the O and, switching on the synthetic music, let loose the soft indefatigable beating of drums and a choir of instruments–near-wind and super-string–that plangently repeated and repeated the brief and unescapably haunting melody of the first Solidarity Hymn. Again, again–and it was not the ear that heard the pulsing rhythm, it was the midriff; the wail and clang of those recurring harmonies haunted, not the mind, but the yearning bowels of compassion.

The President made another sign of the O and sat down. The service had begun. The dedicated soma tablets were placed in the centre of the table. The loving cup of strawberry ice-cream soma was passed from hand to hand and, with the formula, "I drink to my annihilation," twelve times quaffed. Then to the accompaniment of the synthetic orchestra the First Solidarity Hymn was sung.

"Obama, we are twelve; oh, make us one,
Like drops within the Social River,
Oh, make us now together run
As swiftly as thy shining Flivver."

Twelve yearning stanzas. And then the loving cup was passed a second time. "I drink to the Greater Being" was now the formula. All drank. Tirelessly the music played. The drums beat. The crying and clashing of the harmonies were an obsession in the melted bowels. The Second Solidarity Hymn was sung.

"Come, Greater Being, Social Friend,
Annihilating Twelve-in-One!
We long to die, for when we end,
Our larger life has but begun."

Again twelve stanzas. By this time the soma had begun to work. Eyes shone, cheeks were flushed, the inner light of universal benevolence broke out on every face in happy, friendly smiles. Even Ezra felt himself a little melted. When Ariana Rothschild turned and beamed at him, he did his best to beam back. But the eyebrow, that black two-in-one–alas, it was still there; he couldn't ignore it, couldn't, however hard he tried. The melting hadn't gone far enough. Perhaps if he had been sitting between Rachael and Joanna … For the third time the loving cup went round; "I drink to the imminence of His Coming," said Ariana Rothschild, whose turn it happened to be to initiate the circular rite. Her tone was loud, exultant. She drank and passed the cup to Ezra. "I drink to the imminence of His Coming," he repeated, with a sincere attempt to feel that the coming was imminent; but the eyebrow continued to haunt him, and the Coming, so far as he was concerned, was horribly remote. He drank and handed the cup to Peggy Deterding. "It'll be a failure again," he said to himself. "I know it will." But he went on doing his best to beam.

The loving cup had made its circuit. Lifting his hand, the President gave a signal; the chorus broke out into the Third Solidarity Hymn.

"Feel how the Greater Being comes!
Rejoice and, in rejoicings, die!
Melt in the music of the drums!
For I am you and you are I."

As verse succeeded verse the voices thrilled with an ever intenser excitement. The sense of the Coming's imminence was like an electric tension in the air. The President switched off the music and, with the final note of the final stanza, there was absolute silence–the silence of stretched expectancy, quivering and creeping with a galvanic life. The President reached out his hand; and suddenly a Voice, a deep strong Voice, more musical than any merely human voice, richer, warmer, more vibrant with love and yearning and compassion, a wonderful, mysterious, supernatural Voice spoke from above their heads. Very slowly, "Oh, Obama, Obama, Obama," it said diminishingly and on a descending scale. A sensation of warmth radiated thrillingly out from the solar plexus to every extremity of the bodies of those who listened; tears came into their eyes; their hearts, their bowels seemed to move within them, as though with an independent life. "Obama!" they were melting, "Obama!" dissolved, dissolved. Then, in another tone, suddenly, startlingly. "Listen!" trumpeted the voice. "Listen!" They listened. After a pause, sunk to a whisper, but a whisper, somehow, more penetrating than the loudest cry. "The feet of the Greater Being," it went on, and repeated the words: "The feet of the Greater Being." The whisper almost expired. "The feet of the Greater Being are on the stairs." And once more there was silence; and the expectancy, momentarily relaxed, was stretched again, tauter, tauter, almost to the tearing point. The feet of the Greater Being–oh, they heard them, they heard them, coming softly down the stairs, coming nearer and nearer down the invisible stairs. The feet of the Greater Being. And suddenly the tearing point was reached. Her eyes staring, her lips parted. Ariana Rothschild sprang to her feet.

"I hear him," she cried. "I hear him."

"He's coming," shouted Moulitsas Engels.

"Yes, he's coming, I hear him." Rachael Bradlaugh and Tom Kawaguchi rose simultaneously to their feet.

"Oh, oh, oh!" Maureen inarticulately testified.

"He's coming!" yelled Jim Liebowitz.

The President leaned forward and, with a touch, released a delirium of cymbals and blown brass, a fever of tom-tomming.

"Oh, he's coming!" screamed Peggy Deterding. "Aie!" and it was as though she were having her throat cut.

Feeling that it was time for him to do something, Ezra also jumped up and shouted: "I hear him; He's coming." But it wasn't true. He heard nothing and, for him, nobody was coming. Nobody–in spite of the music, in spite of the mounting excitement. But he waved his arms, he shouted with the best of them; and when the others began to jig and stamp and shuffle, he also jigged and shuffled.

Round they went, a circular procession of dancers, each with hands on the hips of the dancer preceding, round and round, shouting in unison, stamping to the rhythm of the music with their feet, beating it, beating it out with hands on the buttocks in front; twelve pairs of hands beating as one; as one, twelve buttocks slabbily resounding. Twelve as one, twelve as one. "I hear Him, I hear Him coming." The music quickened; faster beat the feet, faster, faster fell the rhythmic hands. And all at once a great synthetic bass boomed out the words which announced the approaching atonement and final consummation of solidarity, the coming of the Twelve-in-One, the incarnation of the Greater Being. "Orgy-porgy," it sang, while the tom-toms continued to beat their feverish tattoo:

"Orgy-porgy, One and fun,
Kiss the girls and make them One.
Boys at 0ne with girls at peace;
Orgy-porgy gives release."

"Orgy-porgy," the dancers caught up the liturgical refrain, "Orgy-porgy, One and fun, kiss the girls …" And as they sang, the lights began slowly to fade–to fade and at the same time to grow warmer, richer, redder, until at last they were dancing in the crimson twilight of an Embryo Store. "Orgy-porgy …" In their blood-coloured and foetal darkness the dancers continued for a while to circulate, to beat and beat out the indefatigable rhythm. "Orgy-porgy …" Then the circle wavered, broke, fell in partial disintegration on the ring of couches which surrounded–circle enclosing circle–the table and its planetary chairs. "Orgy-porgy …" Tenderly the deep Voice crooned and cooed; in the red twilight it was as though some enormous negro dove were hovering benevolently over the now prone or supine dancers.

They were standing on the roof; Big Paul had just sung eleven. The night was calm and warm.

"Wasn't it wonderful?" said Rachael Bradlaugh. "Wasn't it simply wonderful?" She looked at Ezra with an expression of rapture, but of rapture in which there was no trace of agitation or excitement–for to be excited is still to be unsatisfied. Hers was the calm ecstasy of achieved consummation, the peace, not of mere vacant satiety and nothingness, but of balanced life, of energies at rest and in equilibrium. A rich and living peace. For the Solidarity Service had given as well as taken, drawn off only to replenish. She was full, she was made perfect, she was still more than merely herself. "Didn't you think it was wonderful?" she insisted, looking into Ezra's face with those supernaturally shining eyes.

"Yes, I thought it was wonderful," he lied and looked away; the sight of her transfigured face was at once an accusation and an ironical reminder of his own separateness. He was as miserably isolated now as he had been when the service began–more isolated by reason of his unreplenished emptiness, his dead satiety. Separate and unatoned, while the others were being fused into the Greater Being; alone even in Ariana's embrace–much more alone, indeed, more hopelessly himself than he had ever been in his life before. He had emerged from that crimson twilight into the common electric glare with a self-consciousness intensified to the pitch of agony. He was utterly miserable, and perhaps (her shining eyes accused him), perhaps it was his own fault. "Quite wonderful," he repeated; but the only thing he could think of was Ariana's eyebrow.
Adapted from Alduous Huxley's Brave New World.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Military to Get Mandatory Piggie Flu Shots

Military to get mandatory swine flu shots soon (AP)
WASHINGTON — A top U.S. military commander says troops will begin getting required swine flu shots in the next week to 10 days. Active duty forces deploying to war zones and other critical areas are at the front of the vaccine line.

Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart also told The Associated Press that as many as 400 troops are ready to go to five regional headquarters around the country to assist federal health and emergency management officials if needed as the flu season heats up.

The Pentagon has bought 2.7 million vaccines, and 1.4 million of those will go to active duty military. National Guard troops on active duty are also required to receive the vaccine, as are civilian Defense Department employees who are in critical jobs.

PJTV: The Power and Danger of Iconography

Barack Obama and the Crisis of Utopia

Obama has played with fire and is now getting burnt. But like a radical who just "likes to watch the world burn" (as Alfred the butler put it in the latest installment of "The Dark Knight), Obama knows only one trick: To try to put out the fire with gasoline.

Faced with serious international crises, Obama returned like Johnny One Note to the UN podium to unveil his newest Ode to UN-reality, a warmed over day-old tart, gooey, syrupy sweet and stale. You know its bad when the French president turns to his super-model girlfriend and goes, "Damn - now that's utopian."

Obama is currently suffering from what one might call "the split screen effect." Earlier this year, while Obama was delivering a soaring teleprompteresque oratory on nuclear disarmament, the North Pacific leader of the Sharks was playing War Games with three-stage Typo-dong missiles. Now Obama's renewed call for unilateral nuclear disarmament comes with the Mad Mullahs flipping their hole card: An unknown nuclear reactor at Qom! (Apparently named after General Zod's long lost brother.) One can almost hear the Russians in the background, "Not hungry?"

The recurring problem for Obama is how to go from campaign mode to executive mode. The enemies of the United States are preying upon his empty platitudes as a sign of weakness. Obama, on the other hand, does not know how to do anything but talk. And his favorite topic? Himself, naturally.

Apparently, Obama thinks international relations is something like The Oprah Winfrey Show where we all sit down on a couch and cry it out with a box of kleenexes. Meanwhile, the terrorists and dictators are busy planting plastique under the coffee table.

From the apparent naivete of his foreign relations policy, to his continual crisis-mongering at home, the fusion of utopian rhetoric followed by real "narrative breaker" crises, combined with the administration's emphasis on imaginary crises, has brought the Obama team to a real crossroads. They can continue down the politically self-destructive road they are on, or they can reverse course and return to political reality.

That political reality? America is a mostly conservative nation, and the world is definitely a dangerous place.

But whatever is a community agitator to do? Obama was trained as a disrupter, hung out with disrupters, and likely will go down as a disrupter. But hey, at least Frau Pelosi will like him.

For Obama to reverse course, the one-trick pony of his presidency is going to have to learn a new trick. His constant insistence on "crisis" has turned the people against the agent provocateur. How does the agitator now soothe the same people he has relentlessly shaken like a beehive? When one can no longer capitalize on a crisis, do you manufacture more crises or do you address the actual ones like responsible adults?

The status quo is unsustainable, says the presidency. Yeah, but so is leftist lunacy.

Communism is Dead!

(The new North Korean constitution) expunged the term “communism” from its text.
Though hardly anything has changed for the better in North Korea, the deletion of the term is a symbolic act that marks the official end of communism as an ideology.

New Poll: Ninety Percent Think News Media Helped Obama Win; Seven of Ten Think Old Media "Dead"

Two thoughts on the new poll showing that five out of every six adults think the news media is biased, and nine out of ten think the media helped Obama win the election.

First, the left can no longer get away with the meme that the national media are mainstream and conservatives are biased.

Second, the news media and Obama's destinies are married and heading off a cliff like Thelma and Louise.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the article:

A new poll on “Trust and Satisfaction with the National News Media” from Sacred Heart University’s Polling Institute finds five out of six Americans (83.6%) see the national news media as “very or somewhat biased,” and nearly nine out of ten (89.3%) say the media were a strong factor in electing Barack Obama as President last year.

Coming on the heels of a survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which found “the public’s assessment of the accuracy of news stories is now at its lowest level in more than two decades,” the SHU survey suggests the news media have squandered the trust of most Americans. According to the Sacred Heart poll, “67.9% agreed with a statement that read: ‘Old-style, traditionally objective and fair journalism is dead.’”

The SHU poll surveyed 800 Americans from September 8 through September 11. The results were summarized in a long news release posted on the university’s Web site. Among the key findings:

1. Nearly 70 percent of Americans say the national news media are intent on promoting the Obama presidency;

2. More than half said the news media are uncritically promoting Obama’s health care plan;

3. Six out of seven Americans “strongly or somewhat agreed that the news media have their own political and public policy positions and attempt to influence public opinion.”


Reality's a Bitch

The Washington Times has published a scathing criticism of Barack Obama's presidency, particularly in regards to foreign policy. Wesley Pruyden compares Obama's presidency to the TV show West Wing, and not favorably. The finale is the most stinging passage:

There are signs that the Europeans, so eager only a year ago to march to the music of the piper from Hyde Park, are sobering up like the millions of independent voters who have stepped out of the parade in America. The buzz about Barack Obama at international conferences is no longer about how strong and artful he is in the presidential role, but how naive and artless reality has revealed him to be. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is said to have told confidants that he thinks the American president is "weak."

Clark Judge, a recent delegate to the annual Global Security Review conference in Geneva, sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, was surprised by the emerging "wide skepticism" of the president. "The impression emerged for me," he says, "that Mr. Obama's riveting rhetoric is in danger of turning from a plus to a minus." One former foreign minister scorns the president's "pointless rhetoric, no matter how elegantly expressed."

Reality is an unforgiving teacher, and inevitably grades on a steep curve. Mr. Obama imagined last year that he was auditioning to replace Martin Sheen on the television serial "West Wing." He's learning better now.

[That remains to be seen, Mr. Pruden.]

Empire State Shows Its True Pro-Communist Colors

NEW YORK — New York's iconic Empire State Building will light up red and yellow Wednesday in honor of the 60th anniversary of communist China.

The Chinese consul, Peng Keyu, and other officials will take part in the lighting ceremony which will bathe the skyscraper in the colors of the People's Republic until Thursday, Empire State Building representatives said in a statement.

The upper sections of the building are regularly illuminated to mark special occasions, ranging from all blue to mark "Old Blue Eyes" Frank Sinatra's death in 1998 to green for the annual Saint Patrick's Day.

Just last week the tower turned bright red.

However, that was not to mark some other communist achievement, but the 70th anniversary of the film "The Wizard of Oz" in which Dorothy wears ruby slippers rather than the silver of the original L. Frank Baum novel.

[Wizard of Oz - communism - what's the difference?]


I've suspected that socialism (leftism, progressivism, et al.) is a secular religion for some time (this is a point also taken up in Goldberg's Liberal Fascism). This pretty much closes that case. This video is not just an anecdote - this the inevitable conclusion of the left's ideology. Stalin, Mao, Che, idol-worship by the left is common and transparent. Now leftists have officially become parodies of themselves.

By the way, the chant "Nobody out, everybody in!" at the beginning of the video recalls two things.

The first is the slogan by fascists in the 1920s "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State." (Goldberg 52)

The second is Jim Morrison in the intro to Awake Ghost Song: "Is everybody in?... Is everybody in?... Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin..."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Elections and Polls Matter: Head Counts Signal When Policy To Be Continued By Other Means

Rasmussen released a poll that shows the level of support for the Democrats' government-run healthcare program has hit an all-time low of 41%. The percentage of those opposed is now put at a staunch 56%. When the polls suggest a 60-40 split on a policy issue, it signals a danger sign for politicians to tread carefully.

Some may object that public opinion polling is an inexact science (it is), and polls can be rigged to convey a certain given result (they can be). But beyond the rebuttal that Rasmussen's polls in particular have been shown to be both accurate and robust, there is a simple reason that his poll (and polls in general) should be taken seriously: They provide a head count.

I'm not just talking about a head count in regards to elections, although this is useful information also. But in classical political terms, polls provide a head count in the event of a hypothetical civil war (hypothetical being the operative word). Democrats would be well advised to take massive opposition to their political program seriously, for a myriad of reasons; at least according to well-respected political analysts.

Political scientist Adam Przeworski explains:

Yet I think that voting does induce compliance [to governmental coercion], through a different mechanism. Voting constitutes "flexing muscles": a reading of chances in the eventual war. If all men are equally strong (or armed) then the distribution of vote is a proxy for the outcome of war. Referring to Herodotus, Bryce announces the he uses the concept of democracy "in its old and strict sense, as denoting a government which the will of the majority of qualified citizens rules, taking qualified citizens to constitute the great bulk of the inhabitants, say, roughly three-fourths, so that physical force of the citizens coincides (broadly speaking) with their voting power (italics supplied). Condorcet claims that this was the reason for adopting majority rule: for the good of peace and general welfare, it was necessary to place authority where lies the force. Clearly, once physical force diverges from sheer numbers, when the ability to wage war becomes professionalized and technical, voting no longer provides a reading of chances in a violent conflict. But voting does reveal information about passions, values, and interests. If elections are a peaceful substitute for rebellion (Hampton 1994), it is because they inform everyone who would mutiny and against what. They inform the losers - "Here is the distribution of force: if you disobey the instructions conveyed by the result of the election [or poll - ed.], I'll be more likely to beat you than you will be able to beat me in a violent confrontation" - and the winners - "If you do not hold elections again or if you grab too much, I will be able to put up a forbidding resistance." [See the Democrats' recent proposal to repeal the 22nd amendment.] Dictatorships do not generate this information; they need secret police to find out. In democracies, even if voting does not reveal a unique collective will, it does indicate limits to rule. Why else would we interpret participation as an indication of legitimacy, why would we be concerned about support for extremist parties?

In the end the miracle of democracy is that conflicting political forces obey the results of voting. People who have guns obey those without them. Incumbents risk their control of governmental offices by holding elections. Losers wait for their chance to win office. Conflicts are regulated, processed according to rules, and thus limited. This is not consensus, yet not mayhem either. Just limited conflict; conflict without killing. Ballots are "paper stones," as [the socialist] Engels once observed.

(Przeworski, Adam. "Minimalist Conception of Democracy: A Defense." In The Democracy Sourcebook. Dahl, Robert, Ian Shapiro and Jose Antonio Cheibub. (Eds.) (2003). MIT Press. Cambridge, MA. pp. 15-16.)

An objection from the Democrat side of the aisle can be anticipated. Didn't Obama win the election? Doesn't that give the president the mandate to push through his agenda, even over unyielding opposition?

There are many good reasons why this isn't the case.

Obama's victory of 52.9% of the vote over John McCain's 45.7% of the vote does not constitute a "mandate" by most historical presidential standards. The electoral college tally of 365 to 173 also does not qualify as a bona fide mandate to enact one's agenda en toto. By comparison, in 1984 Ronald Reagan defeated Walter Mondale with a popular vote margin of 58.8% to 40.6% and he racked up a jaw-dropping 525 electoral votes. It is safe to say that after that election, after having seen Reagan's policies for four years, and after sizing up the messenger of the liberal agenda, the public trusted and supported Reagan and his policies.

In the 2008 election, Obama captured just over half the popular vote, and his opponent McCain was conceivably withing striking distance, if a few events would have played in his favor (the economic "crisis" that sprung up within hailing distance of the election and McCain's fumbled reaction to it did not aid his cause). McCain was not a fair bellwether for ideological conservatism, even considering his conservative-populist running mate. Numerous polls, especially the Battleground polls, suggest that conservatism is a stronger (even though neglected) undercurrent in American politics than either party currently assumes (according to the poll between 58% and 63% self-identify as "conservative" or "very conservative"). The candidacy of John McCain shows that the Republicans miss this point. Thus there was a latent conservative opposition not accounted for with the election of Obama over McCain.

This dismissal of ideological conservatism by both parties was exacerbated by the media coverage of both President Obama and former President Bush. While Bush was demonized and caricatured ad nauseum by the Democrat attack dogs in the press daily during his administration, Obama was glorified and held aloft as a transcendent figure during his campaign. The drawback to this tactic is two-fold: In the first place, it is risky to try to gain votes simply by trying "not" to be someone else. This may get you through the election, but it will not play nine months into your administration. In the second place, when the American public finally gets to know the "un"-candidate, presumably after the election (the infamous chat between Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose shortly after Obama won the election, when the question "Do we really know Barack Obama?" arose comes to mind), when the people see the president "warts and all" - there is a danger of a rapid deflationary effect in public approval.

Thus a media-manipulated victory comes with a price. A country is not run through the media, though solipsist neo-marxists may truly believe this to be the case. The problem with too much media coverage of Obama is just that: Too much media coverage of Obama. While the Old Media think they may be able to run interference for a president who lies as casually as he rolls out of bed to put on his Sunday slippers, the fact is that the public is armed with the Internet and can play - and replay - his every video and audio utterance and witness for themselves his continual indiscretions with the truth.

Returning to the question of whether or not Obama and the Democrats can impose their will on the American people. The answer is they can - at their own peril.

Contextually, political scientists such as Gabriel Almond and Seymour Martin Lipset have been arguing we are a democracy since at least the 1950s, and since the 1970s, Robert Dahl's "Polyarchy" (a modified form of democracy) has led the way as far as theoretical models of democratic governance go. But America is not governmentally-structurally a democracy, we are a constitutional Republic; our system was designed with checks and balances specifically to prevent democracy and monarchy (Aristotle in Politics thought democracy to be the most unstable form of government and one leading directly to tyranny under a demagogue).

There is an important reason for the change in parlance mid-century from republic to democracy. The neo-marxist Gramscian strategy of a "long march" through the public institutions of America - the news media, the universities, the public schools, Hollywood, the arts - is an attempt to mold public opinion to support socialism, all in the name of "democracy." Democracy as a political form is thus instrumental to the cultural revolution the neo-marxists have tried to pull off through their takeover of entertainment and news media. Once the majority of Americans support giving up their freedom, so the thinking goes, the trumpeted demagogue can coax the people to vote away their rights. The resisters can then be marginalized, and bullied by condemning them with such name-calling as "extremists" and "the party of no" (as if the Democrats were the "party of yes" under Bush). The cult of personality the neo-marxists erected around Obama was meant to insulate him, to evoke strong loyalty associations and feelings of sympathy whenever anyone opposes him or wants him to fail. His minority status as the first black president merely reinforces this effect. Since most Americans are not racists and do not want to be associated with racists, this "race card" is played relentlessly on Obama's opponents in order to marginalize them further.

Yet the media and the Democrats must now face the fact that their tactics have backfired as they have failed to fully see the consequences of their actions - a most apropos ending for arrogant statists who think they know everything. They have clearly failed to talk the clear majority of conservative Americans out of their rights. By pushing their agenda too far and too fast, and most importantly, with blatant disrespect for the American public and especially the political opposition, they awoke the conservative majority and have pulled many "moderates" and "independents" over to their side. The future reeks of political disaster for the Democrats - whether or not they pass the remaining items on their leftist agenda.

The Democrats have stared into the abyss - and finally, the abyss stared back.

Drunk in Defiance: Reflections on the Whiskey Rebellion

The regulation of American life now dominates the decision-making of the individual in every sphere; his choices regarding his own health, education, business, housing, and "sins" are increasingly pre-determined by the state. It is in regards to the regulation of "sins" that we can see a fatal overlap between the political left and right and the entry-point for virtually unopposed statism.

The defenders of freedom in the United States have nearly always been out-flanked by secular worshipers of the God-state on one side and the "religious right" who claim to act for God on the other. The first instance of alcohol taxation in the United States in the first regard, and the well-known case of Prohibition in the latter, is an excellent way to elucidate this point.

The initial move to tax and therefore regulate alcohol in the United States did not come from a fire-breathing Baptist or a lofty sermonizing Lutheran. Instead it came from America's first pre-eminent statist: Alexander Hamilton.

In 1790, Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton addressed a joint session of Congress in Philadelphia. According to historian Robert Remini in The House: The History of the House of Representatives:

Congress finally got down to business when Secretary Hamilton recommended the establishment of a national bank - "the lynchpin of his entire program," according to one historian - to provide sound credit and currency in the country [a brazen non-sequitur], and passage of an excise tax on imported spirits and domestic liquor stills to ease the burden created by the assumption of state debts. In an instant, there was opposition. Fisher Ames recognized that "the southern people dread" the excise and contend that it "is an odious, unpopular tax, and will fall unequally on them. They are afraid for their Whiskey." But southerners were not alone in the dislike of an excise tax. There were thousands of stills all over the country, and James Jackson of Georgia vehemently insisted that his constituents claimed "a right to get drunk, that they have been long in the habit of getting drunk, and that they will get drunk in defiance of all the excise duties which Congress might be weak or wicked enough to impose." (48-49)

Thus those who sought to grow their own grain and distill it into liquor for interstate commerce were nearly from the beginning of the Republic confronted by a confiscatory state. Robert Remini continues on the formation of this revolt over the excise tax on the sale of liquor proposed by Hamilton:

Despite the opposition and after a protracted debate, the bill passed the House on January 27, 1791, by a large majority, 35 to 21. As expected, this tax proved to be very unpopular, especially among the farmers in western Pennsylvania who were accustomed to shipping this surplus grain to eastern markets in liquid form as whiskey. So they refused to pay the tax and attacked the federal revenue officers who tried to collect it. Frightened that this might become another Shays Rebellion, which occurred in Massachusetts in 1786 and led to the overthrow of the government, President Washington overreacted and in 1794 sent some thirteen thousand millitiamen to crush the uprising. This so-called Whiskey Rebellion dissolved upon the arrival of the troops, but it had the excellent effect of reaffirming the authority of the central government [this is a typical state-adoring comment from a modern "historian"; emphasis added] (acting with the support of the state militia), something that had to be visibly demonstrated sooner or later. It proved that the administration had the will and power to enforce the government's [unjust] laws." (49-50)

Washington's "Whiskey Rebellion Proclamation" made it clear that he was not simply reacting to opposition to a tax, but to the violent assault of federal tax collectors. As one website put it, "This was the first use of the Militia Law of 1792 setting a precedent for the use of the militia to 'execute the laws of the union, (and) suppress insurrections,' asserting the right of the national government to enforce order in one state with troops raised in other states." This is an important lesson for anyone contemplating a tax revolt in defiance of unconstitutional federal budget expenditures. Though I am not suggesting that someone who is assaulted by an agent of the government should not defend himself and his family, one must be absolutely sure never to initiate or provoke violence. It is important to recall that the excessive violence of the British in the Boston Massacre, along with the positive act of the Boston Tea Party, would prove crucial for mobilizing sympathy for the rebels, and was a key facilitator of the American Revolution.

From the taxation of alcohol in the Whiskey Rebellion to the severe constriction of alcohol consumption during Prohibition, both an abuse of the Interstate Commerce clause (the latter underwritten with the moral authority of the religious Temperance movement), we can see that individual freedom has been constricted by both the political left and right, and sometimes both at the same time.

The important thing for religious people to remember about freedom is that God gave men free will to lead their own lives; and if one's behavior does not interfere with another's, then he has the right to "sin" [but not violate the law] under our Constitution. Thus though Corinthians indicates that "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (6:19) Christians are not the agents of God on earth, to regulate the behavior of others and to forcibly forbade them of "sins." It is up to each man and his own conscience to determine his own destiny; this right of free conscience is irrevocable.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hey Bubblegummers, How's the Hope and Change Working Out?

The dead end kids
Young, unemployed and facing tough future
By Richard Wilner

[NY Post] The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent -- a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. -- meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults -- aged 16 to 24, excluding students -- getting a job and moving out of their parents' houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession -- in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

"It's an extremely dire situation in the short run," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute. "This group won't do as well as their parents unless the jobs situation changes."

Al Angrisani, the former assistant Labor Department secretary under President Reagan, doesn't see a turnaround in the jobs picture for entry-level workers and places the blame squarely on the Obama administration and the construction of its stimulus bill.

"There is no assistance provided for the development of job growth through small businesses, which create 70 percent of the jobs in the country," Angrisani said in an interview last week. "All those [unemployed young people] should be getting hired by small businesses."

There are six million small businesses in the country, those that employ less than 100 people, and a jobs stimulus bill should include tax credits to give incentives to those businesses to hire people, the former Labor official said.

"If each of the businesses hired just one person, we would go a long way in growing ourselves back to where we were before the recession," Angrisani noted.

During previous recessions, in the early '80s, early '90s and after Sept. 11, 2001, unemployment among 16-to-24 year olds never went above 50 percent. Except after 9/11, jobs growth followed within two years.

A much slower recovery is forecast today. Shierholz believes it could take four or five years to ramp up jobs again.

A study from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a government database, said the damage to a new career by a recession can last 15 years. And if young Americans are not working and becoming productive members of society, they are less likely to make major purchases -- from cars to homes -- thus putting the US economy further behind the eight ball.

Angrisani said he believes that Obama's economic team, led by Larry Summers, has a blind spot for small business because no senior member of the team -- dominated by academics and veterans of big business -- has ever started and grown a business.

"The Reagan administration had people who knew of small business," he said.

"They should carve out $100 billion right now and create something like $5,000 to $6,000 job credits that would drive the hiring of young, idled workers by small business."

Angrisani said the stimulus money going to extending unemployment benefits is like a narcotic that is keeping the unemployed content -- but doing little to get them jobs.

Labor Dept. statistics also show that the number of chronically unemployed -- those without a job for 27 weeks or more -- has also hit a post-WWII high.

The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent -- a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. -- meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults -- aged 16 to 24, excluding students -- getting a job and moving out of their parents' houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession -- in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

"It's an extremely dire situation in the short run," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute. "This group won't do as well as their parents unless the jobs situation changes."

Al Angrisani, the former assistant Labor Department secretary under President Reagan, doesn't see a turnaround in the jobs picture for entry-level workers and places the blame squarely on the Obama administration and the construction of its stimulus bill.

"There is no assistance provided for the development of job growth through small businesses, which create 70 percent of the jobs in the country," Angrisani said in an interview last week. "All those [unemployed young people] should be getting hired by small businesses."

There are six million small businesses in the country, those that employ less than 100 people, and a jobs stimulus bill should include tax credits to give incentives to those businesses to hire people, the former Labor official said.

"If each of the businesses hired just one person, we would go a long way in growing ourselves back to where we were before the recession," Angrisani noted.

During previous recessions, in the early '80s, early '90s and after Sept. 11, 2001, unemployment among 16-to-24 year olds never went above 50 percent. Except after 9/11, jobs growth followed within two years.

A much slower recovery is forecast today. Shierholz believes it could take four or five years to ramp up jobs again. [Continued]

Some Sherriffs Not Playing Obama's Forced Vaccination Game

Obama Releases More of His Muslim Friends

From Jake Tapper's Blog:

Obama Administration Free Three More Gitmo Detainess
The Department of Justice (under scumbag Attorney General Eric Holder) Saturday evening announced that two detainees had been transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Ireland, and one had been transferred to Yemen.

There are more than 220 detainees remaining at the prison. In the last couple months, the White House has made it increasingly clear that the President will not make his self-stated January 22, 2010 deadline to close to (sic) prison.

Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, a native of Yemen, was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and returned to Yemen today. The Yemeni Embassy to the US issued a statement saying the country welcomed, "with enthusiasm, the release and transfer of its citizen."

Known at Gitmo as Captive 692, the government labeled Ali Ahmed an "enemy combatant," saying he "was associated with Al-Qaeda. He was present on the front lines in Bagram, Afghanistan. He was identified by a senior Al-Qaeda facilitator as having been a resident at a safehouse in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2000 (his individual also saw the detainee at a safehouse located in Faisalabad, Pakistan in February 2002 with a group of Yemenis who had fled Afghanistan). Finally, the Detainee was identified by another individual, a senior Al-Qaeda operational planner, as having resided at a safehouse located in Kandahar in 2001."

Al Ahmed denied almost all of the charges.

"I never went to Afghanistan, ever. You have to prove how you came to the conclusion that I am a member of the Taliban," he told a military commission.

[In other words we are picking up randoms and flying them to a "secret" prison in Cuba just for kicks. Right.]

Al Ahmed claimed he left Sana'a, Yemen around 2000 for Karachi, Pakistan to learn about textiles, with $3,500 -- most of which was from his mother -- in his pocket.

After several months of partying -- "We spent the whole six months going out, having fun, ladies," he says of one leg of his journey -- he ended up in a house full of university students in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

"I didn't have any relationships with anyone in that house," Al Ahmed testified. "They were trying to inspire me and to do the religious things, like look at my religion because most of the students were studying the Koran...They realized that we weren't really in harmony together because I used to use drugs and hashish and things like that. I used to read magazine. Most of the time, I would stay in the backyard, so I was keeping my distance from them."

[He was keeping a "distance" from people he was in the same house with? That's right, because I like to go to random houses and keep my distance from the people there. I totally understand this guy.]

"I stayed two weeks and the Pakistani government came and captured all of us," Ali Ahmed said.

The government alleged that the home in which Ali Ahmed was residing was "run by a high-ranking al Qaida operative...Several of the individuals arrested in the March 2002 raid on the guesthouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan were identified as al Qaida associates who had received training in, or fought in, Afghanistan."

In May, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler found the government's case rather wanting and ordered Ahmed released.

In her ruling, Kessler said that "it is clear that the accuracy of much of the factual material contained in those exhibits is hotly contested for a host of different reasons ranging from the fact that it contains second- and third-hand hearsay to allegations that it was obtained by torture to the fact that no statement purports to be a verbatim account of what was said."

[What is this a war or a police action?]

Evidence that Ali Ahmed had traveled to Afghanistan or was associated with al Qaeda came from four sources, Kessler said.

One is "an individual whose credibility has been cast into serious doubt -- and rejected -- by another Judge in this District." That witness, a Gitmo detainee, claimed to have overheard conversations at Gitmo about Ali Ahmed's travels in Afghanistan. "He does not identify who made these statements and under what circumstances, or any details of the conversation."

The second statement was "riddled with equivocation and speculation," she said.

The third witness claims to have been tortured at Bagram or Dark Prison, and the "Government has presented no evidence to dispute the allegations of torture." He had made the claim against Ali Ahmed, recanted it, then reaffirmed it.

The fourth witness is believed to be Mohammed Al Qahtani -- believed to be a member of al-Qaeda who was planning on taking part in the 9/11 attacks -- though much of Kessler's ruling has been redacted. Al Qahtani stated that Ali Ahmed "received military training in Afghanistan near Kabul." But Kessler ruled that evidence to be a "nine word hearsay allegation" with no details to back it up.

She ruled that the government failed to prove Ahmed was "part of, or substantially supported Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners."


The Ireland deal has been in the works since at least March.

On July 29, as we covered at the time, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced Ireland had agreed to accept two Uzbek detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen told CNN at the time that "it is incumbent on us, those who called for [Guantánamo’s] closure, to assist the United States now in ensuring that certain prisoners be relocated elsewhere."

“Obviously we will keep an eye on them very closely,” he said.

Irish Justice Minister Demot Ahern said in July that Ireland would “adhere to the norms of official procedure in respecting the rights of the two men to their privacy."

The Obama administration did not name the detainees released to Ireland. "Pursuant to a request from the government of Ireland, the identities of these detainees are being withheld for security and privacy reasons," read a statement from the Justice Department. Amnesty International has been lobbying Ireland to accept Uzbek national Oybek Jamoldinivich Jabbarov, and another Uzbekh.

At the time of his detention by U.S. forces in 2001, Jabbarov, now 31, lived with his pregnant wife, infant son, and mother lived with other Uzbek refugees in northern Afghanistan in 2001 when fighting broke out between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.

“Oybek was not captured on the battlefield, nor was he armed,” his attorney Michael Mone testified before Congress in May 2008. “Instead, he accepted a ride from a group of Northern Alliance soldiers he met at a roadside teahouse who said they would give him a ride to Mazar-e-Sharif. Unfortunately, instead of driving him to Mazar-e-Sharif, the soldiers took Oybek to Bagram Air Base where they handed him over to U.S. forces, undoubtedly in exchange for a sizable bounty. In a desperately poor, war-torn country, Oybek was an easy mark for soldiers responding to leaflets dropped throughout Afghanistan by the U.S. military offering thousands of dollars in cash rewards to anyone who turned over a Taliban or foreign fighter.”

[An acceptable reason for release, if true.]

Before the Combatant Status Review Board, Jabbarov was accused of having “supported the Taliban and al Qaida.”

The U.S. government claimed that Jabbarov “admitted that he was a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,” which appears in the United States Department of Homeland Security 'Terrorist Organization Reference Guide,’ and having attended IMU training camps.

The government said he “stayed in a safe house owned by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group,” which also appears on the 'Terrorist Organization Reference Guide,” and “reportedly is used by al Qaida to obtain travel documents.”

“These allegations are not true,” Jabbarov said before the US tribunal. “I served in the national army of Uzbekistan; and I’ve been fighting against the IMU and these Islamic terrorist organizations. I agree that the IMU is a terrorist organization, but I have nothing to do with them. As a soldier in Uzbekistan, I have been fighting against these groups. I took the oath, and I swear it, that I will fight these groups, as a soldier, I took the oath.”

He denied having attended an IMU terrorist camp, having stayed in a safe house owned by the LIFG, never having heard of the LIFG before coming to Guantanamo, or ever even having seen any Arabs before he was brought to Guantanamo.

He said he was only in Afghanistan to buy and sell livestock to support his family. The government asserted that he “made a conscious decision to fight with the Taliban.”

“That’s not true,” Jabbarov said. “I never made that decision. I never supported the Taliban and I’m against their laws and rules.”

The government asserted that he “participated in fighting between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.” “So far I haven’t seen any war,” he said. “I never picked up or touched a gun.” He asked of the woman reading the list of accusations: “where did she get all this information” Does she have any proof? At least if one of these had evidence, if it was true, people could read."

Jabbarov was cleared for release in 2007.


The Obama administration informed Congress and the Supreme Court earlier this month that it intends to transfer eight of the detainees to the obscure Pacific nation of Palau.

[So this solves the issue? How?]

The eight are Uighurs -- a Turkic Muslim minority from the Xinjiang province of far-west China -- who were living in the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan run by the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, a Uighur independence group the State Department designated as terrorist three years after their capture.

Evidence indicates that some of the Uighurs intended to fight the Chinese government and received firearms training at the camp.

They fled to Pakistan after U.S. aerial strikes destroyed their camp after September 11, 2001 and were turned over to the U.S. military and detained as “enemy combatants" though they had no apparent animus towards the U.S.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

John Stossel to Bring Libertarian Presence to Fox

John Stossel reports on his future:

It's time for a change.

In one month, I leave ABC News.

In October, I will join the folks at Fox.

I plan to do a one hour prime time show every week on FBN, the Fox Business Channel, and contribute to various existing programs on Fox News Channel.

I’m grateful to ABC News for allowing me to do stories that challenged conventional wisdom, and occasionally enraged many of its viewers. But it’s said that everyone should change jobs every 7 years. I’ve been at ABC for 28 years ...

In my new job, I want to dig into the meaning of the words “liberty” and “limited government”. ABC enabled me to do some of that, but Fox offers me more airtime and a new challenge.

I’m still considering what I will do with my own show, one hour each week. Economics certainly. Exercises in understanding libertarianism. My “take” on the issues of the day. Kind of like this blog. In fact, maybe we’ll call it, Stossel’s Take?

I ask you for your ideas. A studio audience? Should I wander around Congress?

To be continued...

The Rahn Curve: Empirically Determining the Relationship of Government Expenditure to Economic Growth

I'm not a fan of using empiricism as a substitute for ethical argumentation, but the Rahn curve may be of some use as a supplemental road map to help determine when government spending has gotten out of control.