Posts Tagged ‘republicans’

Decision Time

November 2, 2010

Today is the day.  Election day.  Finally.  If you have not already voted early, today is the day for you to do so.  To vote.  It is a rare and wonderful right that we possess as citizens of a magnificent and exceptional country.  But in this election it is especially so.  Certainly each individual candidate has his or her own distinctive strengths and weaknesses, his or her own policies they seek to support or oppose.  And while those considerations should be given their due weight, try to put those aside for a moment and think about something much larger.  No matter the personal peculiarities of the contestants, and their specific policy views, the decisions we make about those whom we choose to send to Washington will have far-reaching consequences for the greater future of this country, and for your own future as well.   For this is a time to decide what kind of nation we want America to be. 

The Democrats, and their leader President Obama, have made the choice a very clear one from the start.  They believe that a large and expanding central government offers the best solutions to the problems we face as a nation.  Obama, himself, has repeatedly said that government—and only government—can adequately address the challenges we have before us.  On the other hand most Republicans—at least those who are truly conservative—see things the other way.  That individuals, living and acting for themselves and interacting with one another through free exchange, are best able to make their own decisions about their own lives.  Indeed, government, they argue, has proven itself capable of only getting in the way; and the larger and more intrusive government becomes, the more it gets in the way, or worse.  It is an age-old struggle: the freedom of the individual against the ever-encroaching power of the government. 

The “Progressive” ideology advanced by Obama, and his followers in Congress, maintains that America must always be moving forward—changing, transforming, progressing ever-closer toward becoming something, and that the power and machinery of government are to be fully utilized in that endeavor.   But becoming what?  Becoming what they see as their idea of the ultimate society.  It is a grand vision they have.  One in which the individual, and the choices allowed to the individual about his employment, his compensation, his finances, his health, where he lives, how he moves about, what he eats, what he drinks, the air he breathes, and even the very speech he utters, are all in one way or another, monitored, measured, influenced, controlled or compelled by government.  It is a vision of a nation and society where everyone pulls together in a common purpose and towards a common goal, a goal that is predetermined by government, or specifically by a small elite within government. 

And this goes to the prime difference between the ideology of Liberal-Progressivism, as embraced by the Democrats, and the conservative philosophy of Republicans and the Tea Party groups that are having such an influential role within the Republican Party and in this election.  And that difference is this: Progressives start with a vision—their vision—of what society should be and they seek, through government, to compel individuals to comply with that which is needed to bring about that utopian vision.  Conservatives, on the other hand, start with an understanding of individual human nature—its strengths and its weaknesses, its aspirations and its limitations—and upon that foundational understanding, they craft the rules upon which to build a successful government and society.

The Progressive belief in a common, top-driven, overriding principle of society has been tried before, in many nations and at many times throughout human history.  It has come forward in many guises, under many banners, called many different names, but it is always the same and it has always failed.  Indeed, it has done much worse than fail, it has destroyed; destroyed economies, destroyed societies, destroyed cultures, destroyed families and destroyed lives. 

History has shown us that great civilizations will rise and they will fall.  But to the extent that they have succeeded, it has always been because they have stayed true to their founding principles.  If they have failed, it is because they have strayed from them.  If our founding fathers were alive today, being the men they were, as champions of a limited, judicious and ethical government, knowledgeable as they were about human nature and the tragedies of human history, how do you think they would vote in this election?  How would they decide the question: what kind of nation do we want to be?

Related Posts:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/to-be-american/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/coming-undone/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

 

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Gem of the Week: Woody the Fascist

May 20, 2010

 

“It is a fool’s prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak.” 1

In a recent interview published by a Spanish language newspaper, film director and comedian Woody Allen had this to say about Barack Obama: “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him… It would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.” 2

Dictator? Really?  Sounds ridiculous, right?  And coming from a nutty—albeit highly accomplished and creative—guy like Woody Allen, it’s to be easily dismissed. Or is it?  Perhaps Woody himself is unaware of just how germane his comment really is. 

First, need we remind ourselves that Obama and his party control the White House and both houses of Congress.  As Commander in Chief, he of course has full control over the military.  And in less than two years, the Obama government:

  • controls at least one-sixth of the American economy through the new healthcare law;
  • controls a large part of the automotive industry with the bailout and takeover of General Motors;
  • controls or exercises daunting power over the insurance and financial industries with the bailout of the banks and AIG;
  • controls 96% of the housing market through quasi-government housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
  • will have unprecedented control over a large part of the energy sector with the passage of “Cap and Trade” legislation;
  • will have unprecedented control over news and other media outlets that it doesn’t already have de facto control over (i.e., NBC and MSNBC) with the passage of the “fairness doctrine” or its equivalent.
  • will have unprecedented control over the Internet with the passage of so-called “net neutrality” or its equivalent.
  • is attempting to infiltrate and exercise control over the nation’s churches through a new faith-based initiative program that merges churches with the EPA.
  • is attempting, through the Justice Department, to usurp control over a state’s right to duly enact laws to deal with immigration problems within the state (Arizona);
  • is publicly contemplating, through the Justice Department, a modification to the Miranda laws with respect to certain U.S. citizens.

It would seem all President Obama needs now is some kind of national catastrophe or emergency (real or contrived) as justification for enacting his own form of “enabling” law to sweep away any remaining dissent and fully suspend all freedom of speech and civil rights.  So I’d say Woody is just one Reichstag Fire away from getting his wish. 3  But Woody may want to be careful what he wishes for.  His people don’t have a really good history with dictators, don’t cha know. 

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Footnotes:

Fn. 1: Attributed to Neil Gaiman, in Dream Country

Fn. 2: For Woody Allen quote:

http://entertainment.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/05/17/woody-allen-president-obama-dictator/

Fn. 3: For more information on the German Reichstag fire click here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire

Bill Clinton: Extremist in Chief

April 21, 2010

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty. —Thomas Jefferson

 

In a speech given last Friday, commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in which 168 people were killed and hundreds more injured, former President Bill Clinton said, in part, the following:

“Before the bombing occurred, there was a sort of fever in America… the fabric of American life had been unraveling. More and more people who had a hard time figuring out where they fit in, it is true that we see some of that today. … This Tea Party movement can be a healthy thing if they’re making us justify every penny of taxes we raised and every dollar of public money we spend, but when you get mad, sometimes you wind up producing exactly the reverse result of what you say you are for.”  (Emphasis added.)

Then on Monday, in an article appearing in the New York Times’ Op-Ed section, Clinton drew similar parallels between the conditions leading up to the Oklahoma City bombing and the political climate of today. Here are some excerpts:

“Finally, we should never forget what drove the bombers, and how they justified their actions to themselves. They took to the ultimate extreme an idea advocated in the months and years before the bombing by an increasingly vocal minority: the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them. On that April 19, the second anniversary of the assault of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, deeply alienated and disconnected Americans decided murder was a blow for liberty. Americans have more freedom and broader rights than citizens of almost any other nation in the world, including the capacity to criticize their government and their elected officials. But we do not have the right to resort to violence — or the threat of violence — when we don’t get our way. Our founders constructed a system of government so that reason could prevail over fear. Oklahoma City proved once again that without the law there is no freedom. Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. No one is right all the time. But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws.

We are again dealing with difficulties in a contentious, partisan time…. Fifteen years ago, the line was crossed in Oklahoma City. In the current climate, with so many threats against the president, members of Congress and other public servants, we owe it to the victims of Oklahoma City, and those who survived and responded so bravely, not to cross it again.”  1 (Emphasis added.)

Get it? Get the picture? If you are a member of the Tea Party movement or even just sympathetic to the cause, you better watch out! You better watch what you say or else you may be viewed as an extremist or, if something really bad happens, a facilitator to mass murder! So all you grandmothers, disabled veterans and other radicals better just put down your signs, get back on the bus, and get along back on home before you get yourselves in a real heap of trouble.

Liberal shills and other propagandists in the mainstream media as well as some Democratic members of Congress are saying the same thing. It is the same exact message and in some cases they use the same language: this Tea Party thing is dangerous! A year ago, they were ridiculing them. Remember Nancy Pelosi’s Astroturf jibe where she made the cynical claim that the Tea Partiers were really just the artificially contrived invention of a cabal of Republican operators rather than a legitimate grassroots movement? Well, it seems a few defeats at the ballot box have changed their tune. Now, it’s time to pull out the big guns. To get out that big brush and smear the hell out of these folks for having the temerity to speak up against an overreaching government.  And who bigger than Bill Clinton? 

To say that this is not a coordinated effort to besmirch the Tea Partiers on the part of the White House, the Democratic Party and their enablers in the mainstream media is to deny the obvious. The political wisdom of alienating almost a third of the electorate (by some estimates) is highly questionable but riskier gambits have worked before. And this Administration, I believe, is determined to let nothing stand in the way of its Progressive agenda.

 

But I think there is an even more sinister motive at work here. With regard to the ex-President’s words in particular, on its face it would appear that Bill Clinton is merely stating the axiom that words matter; that inciting extremism is a bad thing. 2  Well, of course words matter. (And no one would know that better than “Mr. Depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-is-is!”) But the words that matter include your words too, Mr. President. Indeed, your words matter more than those of most Americans. One could argue that Mr. Clinton, by these series of statements alone, has done much more damage with his words than any home-made signs at a Tea Party rally could do. As Rush Limbaugh put it, Clinton has effectively set the stage for any nut-job, either on the extreme left or on the extreme right, to go out and commit violence. In effect, it legitimizes the motivations of, and provides an excuse for, any wacko who might want to do violence by permitting them to simply say, “Hey, I’m just agreeing with what them Tea Baggers are saying,” or “You know, like Bill Clinton said, ‘The Tea Party made me do it!’ ” And if this, God forbid, should happen, Rush would be absolutely right: the blame falls squarely on Mr. Clinton. Which, in that case, I think kind of makes Bill Clinton the de facto leader of all the extremists: The Extremist in Chief, one might say.

But maybe Bill Clinton isn’t worried all that much about that. Maybe he’s prepared to have the debate over who’s to blame. In fact, maybe that is the scenario that he and their side really want to come about. So that when something horrible happens, they can point and say, “A-ha! See! This is what we’ve been saying all along! We told you they were extremists!” And then they can take whatever measures they believe are necessary to maintain order.  Maybe start by cracking down on all “anti-government” speech.  Followed by a general move toward “regulating” all free speech and freedom of the press (bye-bye FoxNews and talk radio!) through something like the “Fairness Doctrine.”  Then of course you must outlaw all gun ownership.  And in order to accomplish that, freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures would have to be swept aside.  Etc. etc.  It would be like their own version of the Nazi’s Reichstag fire.   Sound far-fetched? Time will tell.

For now, what gets lost in all this commotion over so-called extremism is the fundamental right of these patriotic Americans to peacefully protest under the protections of the First Amendment.  Doesn’t their right to free speech come into play here? Certainly Mr. Clinton doesn’t seem to be a big fan of it. The First Amendment guaranteeing free speech and expression isn’t there just for porn stars and Howard Stern. Unfettered political speech, especially political speech that vexes the sensitivities of the governmental authority, is precisely what the founders had in mind as the kind of speech most needful of First Amendment protection. That a former President, even one as discredited as Bill Clinton, should publicly declare otherwise, is nothing less than an affront to the very Constitution he once swore to uphold. But why in the case of Mr. Clinton doesn’t that surprise me?

I realize all this sounds like a harsh indictment of the illustrious former President, but believe it or not I actually like Mr. Clinton. He’s just a likeable guy: especially as an ex-President. So therefore, I respectfully suggest if Mr. Clinton truly wishes to put his gift of gab to good use, that he go back to using it where it serves him best: picking up slutty fat chicks. That way, nobody gets hurt.

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Footnotes:

Fn. 1:  To link to the full New York Times Op-Ed article, click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/19/opinion/19clinton.html?ref=todayspaper

Fn. 2:  Bill Clinton does have one point here: Inciting extremism is a bad thing. In fact, it’s almost as bad as pardoning extremist terrorists during the last months of your Presidency. In August of 1999, just months before his Presidency and under cover of night, Clinton pardoned 16 members of a terrorist group known as the FALN, or Armed Forces of National Liberation, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group, who were responsible for two bombs that exploded in New York City on New Year’s Eve, 1982. In addition, the FBI linked FALN members to 146 other bombings and a string of armed robberies, resulting in nine deaths and hundreds of injured victims. According to the Wall Street Journal, Clinton claimed he granted the 16 pardons because those who were offered the pardons had “sentences that were disproportionate to the crimes.”  Oh, really?  Well, if Clinton wants to have a discussion about promoting or coddling extremism, let’s start with his pardoning of these vile scumbags rather than picking on grandmothers and disabled war vets who are angry over cuts in their Medicare.

 

Fn. 3: For more information on the German Reichstag fire click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire

It’s Tax Day! So, We’re All Paying the IRS Double This Year, Right?

April 15, 2010

I mean, that is basically what Joe Biden said isn’t it?  It’s the “patriotic” thing to do, remember?  He said that about paying taxes back in 2008 when he and Mr. Obama were running to fundamentally transform America. 1   So to be good patriots, I’m assuming we’re all not only paying our fair share but we’re all going the extra mile this year and paying double what we owe to the federal government.  Right?

Well, I don’t expect everyone to be patriotic.  I certainly don’t expect those Tea Partiers or Republicans or anybody else who didn’t see the wisdom in voting for the Obama-Biden ticket to pay double, or even to pay just a little bit more.  Besides, those people are all just racists anyway.  I mean, they call Obama bad names like “socialist” so they must be racist, right? 

But I am confident that all patriotic Democrats can stand up and proudly say that this year they will be paying… What?  What’s that you say?  You’re a Democrat and you don’t want to pay double either?  But what about what Joe Biden said?  I mean, you do agree with your own Vice-President, don’t you?  You know, that it’s the patriotic thing to do?  Ok, well, how about just 30% more? No? 25% more? 10% more?  All right, well forget you guys then.

Ok, Liberal Democrats! Here we go!  All right, all you Liberal Democrats out there!  You guys are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.  The party faithful!  Surely, you’d be willing to pony up at least… What?  Not even you guys?  I mean, c’mon, you guys are liberals!  Don’t you practice what you preach?  What about government being able to solve all our problems?  Help the needy and all that good stuff.  C’mon, they’re here to help us and they need your money.  The government needs your money!  I mean c’mon guys, you’re supposed to be liberals!  C’mon!  All right, forget you too! 

"We're from the government and we're here to help."

Ok, ok.   Progressive Democrats!  Surely, I can count on you guys! I mean, it is called the Progressive income tax!  I mean, this is your baby!  Now, I just know that you guys will … What? Not even you?  Obama’s your guy!  He’s a Progressive!  You know, spread the wealth and all that!  I just can’t believe…

Wait a minute…

Wait, a news bulletin: The news is reporting on who pays taxes in America.  What?  Over 50% of all Americans don’t even pay federal income tax! What? That can’t be!  Well, those definitely wouldn’t be Obama supporters, I know that!  Because that would be like saying they don’t support what he’s doing with all his big government programs and such.  That wouldn’t be patriotic!  And that would be hypocrisy.  No, I can’t believe that.  I won’t believe that, even if it’s true.  Ok, but let’s say it is true that over half of all Americans don’t even pay federal income tax.  Let’s think about this for a minute.  So you’re saying we now have a majority of Americans who can vote for policies that they don’t have to pay for, but that a minority of Americans do have to pay for?  Let’s see, is that a good thing for a democracy?  Huh. I’m gonna have to think about that one a little more and get back to you. 

Ok, what about just Democratic members of Congress?  Surely, you guys must pay more than your fair share.  I mean you vote for this stuff, so you definitely…  I mean just to set an example… wait a minute, who am I kidding?  Ok, ok, just Joe Biden then. Joe, you’re the one who said paying taxes makes you a patriot, so you must pay way more than…  What? Not even you, Joe?  But Joe, these were your own words!  Joe! Joe!  Say it ain’t so, Joe! 

Wow!  Oh well.  And here I thought we were a nation of patriots.  I guess not.  I guess we’re all just a bunch of unpatriotic, racist, extremist, tea-bagging traitors.  And if you disagree with me, then you must be one too.

  

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Footnotes:

Fn. 1: For Biden’s statement:

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/09/18/biden-on-tax-increase-for-wealthier-citizens-time-to-be-patriotic/tab/article/

Fortune Favors the Brave

March 18, 2010

There is a phrase in Latin that the ancient Romans were fond of saying: Aduentes Fortuna Juvat.  Roughly translated, it means “fortune favors the brave.” 

Earlier this week, as a part of his final push for universal healthcare and the fundamental transformation of American culture and society, President Barrack Obama staged a rally in Ohio attended by scores of his hardcore supporters and, notably, Congressman Dennis Kucinich.  Obama concluded his speech by saying, “We need courage, that’s what we need…  I want some courage!”  He then jetted back to Washington, D.C.  The next day, Congressman Kucinich, who had been treated by the President to a ride on Air Force One, announced he was changing his “No” vote on healthcare to “Yes.”  In a speech Kucinich declared, among other things, that healthcare is a “basic right.”  Time will tell whether or not fortune smiles upon Mr. Kucinich.

Well, with all this talk by politicians about being courageous, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to look at an American leader with real courage: George Washington.  Now, I am quite sure most of us all know at least a few generalities about the following story from our high school history.  Unless of course you are a student in high school today, in which case you are busy learning about much more important things like: The Influence of Hip-Hop on American Culture; The Proper Way to Use a Condom; and Why You Don’t Need a Daddy to Have a Family.  But be that as it may, here goes…

It was winter of the year 1776.  The new American nation had declared its independence from Great Britain the previous July and all-out war with the British was underway.  The American Continental Army, led by General George Washington, had been beaten and chased out of New York by the British forces and was in a desperate retreat.  British General Lord Cornwallis had pursued Washington’s diminishing army through New Jersey, until the Americans withdrew across the Delaware River and took refuge in Pennsylvania in early December.  Although General Washington’s skillful retreat had prevented the British from completely crushing the dwindling American force, the outlook for the Continental Army, and American prospects for winning the war, was very bleak indeed. 

George Washington had fewer than 5,000 men in his army, whose morale was now at its lowest.  The Congress, ever pessimistic, had turned tail from Philadelphia and fled to Baltimore.  There was no money left to finance the army.  Provisions were scarce and Washington’s men were starving and cold.  “These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine, who was actually with the army at the time.  Virtually everyone considered the American cause lost.  That is, everyone except George Washington.  At this dire hour, faced with these demoralizing circumstances, George Washington, a man of deep faith and courage, decided to go on the offensive.  He knew that, despite the forces arrayed against him, he had two things in his favor. First, the popular mood among the people against the British remained strong, and, second, he had the element of surprise on his side.  So rallying his men before dawn on December 26th, he secretly led them back across the Delaware River, over land to Trenton, New Jersey where a force of some one thousand Hessian troops (German mercenaries engaged by the British) were quartered. Washington and his men took the Hessians by complete surprise and, after a brief engagement, defeated the entire force with negligible losses to their own side.  So overconfident were the Hessians that they were caught sleeping off the effects of their Christmas revelry from the night before.  As the story goes, after the battle the Hessian Colonel was found dead with a dispatch letter in his coat pocket warning him of the American sneak attack.  The letter was unopened.

Aduentes Fortuna Juvat!

After this victory, the American war effort was galvanized, the Congress found renewed confidence in General Washington, and enlistments in the Continental Army increased dramatically.  Eventually, the British were forced to retreat to their base in New York City.  Many consider this battle to be the turning point in the American Revolutionary War.  In later years, George Washington himself became convinced that America was guided by Divine Providence.  Fortune favors the brave.

In this the current battle over universal healthcare, we all of us are called once more unto the breach to defend what George Washington and his brave men risked so much to obtain.  On one side are the Republicans in Congress, some Democrats, and the vast majority of the American people whose mood against the proposed legislation remains strong.  On the other side are Mr. Obama and most Congressional Democrats.  In this process, we have seen secret deals made and Senators bribed, all manner of legislative chicanery used, deception and outright lies told by politicians at the highest levels, and a President who on the one hand expresses his ambivalence as to how his legislation is passed into law — as long as it is passed into law — while on the other hand talks about courage.  Courage?  Just what sort of courage do you mean Mr. President?

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For more on the healthcare debate, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/