Category Archive 'Current Events'
27 Jun 2010

No Room on the Fence

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Dave Weigel, the Washington Post’s blogger in charge of covering Conservatism, resigned this week after Matt Drudge and Daily Caller leaked some of his emails from JournoList, a private listserv founded by Ezra Klein on which the left’s punditocracy compared noted and coordinated coverage.

Doctor Zero, at Hot Air, looked on with interest on the comedy following the Weigel resignation. The leftwing commentariat lamented how unfair Weigel’s ouster really was, remarked enviously what a great job he used to have, and its founder closed down Journolist.

There is little room left for neutrality in American politics these days, Doctor Zero reflects.

Weigel has spent the last few months working as an observer of the conservative movement for the Washington Post, whose readers must wonder about the identity of the vast Tea Party crowds occasionally blocking their view of the IRS building. As it turns out, Weigel really hates the people he’s been covering, and sees himself precisely the way conservatives see most dinosaur-media reporters: as a partisan operative of the Democrat Party. He expressed his hatred, and loyalties, in a series of communications posted to JournoList. These emails became an embarrassing burst of digital flatulence when they were made public. Weigel is out of a job at the Washington Post, and JournoList is gone.

Blogger Ace of Spades wonders why the Post couldn’t find a sympathetic correspondent to cover the “conservative beat,” and answers his own question by pointing out the Post has no interest in publishing material that might lead its readers to begin grooving to that conservative beat. The last thing they want is for their right-wing avatar to come back with a horde of angry natives behind him and lead a successful insurrection.

Here we cross the line between editorial decisions and bias. Why would an unbiased newspaper be afraid to honestly report news that makes one side of a political debate look appealing, instead assigning a reporter to highlight fringe material to cast them in the most negative light possible? Of course, they are biased, but it’s even worse than that. They’re subjective. They pretend to be commentators, but they’re actually players in the game… just like everyone else. Our fates are all controlled by the immense central government worshipped by the Post. They have a vested interest in ensuring its sustained growth, so they can make their fortune writing epic tales of its heroic deeds.

Big Government makes for bad journalism. As I like to point out whenever someone like David Frum gushes over “moderates,” there is no meaningful way to be moderate when a carnivorous super-State is chowing down on huge portions of the private sector, while dismissing bedrock Constitutional rights with an irritated wave of its hand. You either resist the onslaught of the State with all your might, or bear passive witness to its expansion.

At this moment in American history, there is no functional difference between a genuine “centrist” and Dave Weigel’s right-wing “ratf**kers.” If you think you should be allowed to keep your own medical insurance, and see your own doctor, you’re taking an extreme partisan stance. If you don’t think the government should be able to revoke the First Amendment or due process rights of private corporations at its convenience, you are a declared enemy of the State.

Read the whole thing.

15 May 2010

The Politics of Immigration

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A century ago, they could come here legally.

Michael Gerson discusses how Republicans are committing political suicide, attempting to apply the precise same strategy that cost the GOP its political competitiveness in California nationally.

According to a 2008 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, 49 percent of Hispanics said that Democrats had more concern for people of their background; 7 percent believed this was true of Republicans. Since the Arizona controversy, this gap can only have grown. In a matter of months, Hispanic voters in Arizona have gone from being among the most pro-GOP in the nation to being among the most hostile.

Immigration issues are emotional and complex. But this must be recognized for what it is: political suicide. Consider that Hispanics make up 40 percent of the K-12 students in Arizona, 44 percent in Texas, 47 percent in California, 54 percent in New Mexico. Whatever temporary gains Republicans might make feeding resentment of this demographic shift, the party identified with that resentment will eventually be voted into singularity. In a matter of decades, the Republican Party could cease to be a national party.

Even describing this reality invites scorn from those who regard immigration as a matter of principle instead of politics. But this represents a deep misunderstanding of politics itself. In America, political ideals are carried by parties. Republicans who are pro-business and pro-life, support a strong national defense and oppose deficit spending depend on one another to achieve influence. Each of these convictions alienates someone — pro-choice voters, economic liberals, pacifists. But Republican activists who alienate not an issue-group but an influential, growing ethnic group are a threat to every other constituency. The vocal faction of anti-immigrant Republicans is not merely part of a coalition; it will eventually make it impossible for anyone else in that coalition to succeed at the national level.

The good news for Republicans is that Hispanics tend to be entrepreneurial and socially conservative. While the general image Hispanics hold of the GOP is poor, individual Republican candidates can make significant inroads. In presidential elections, Hispanic support can swing widely. In 1996, Bill Clinton got 72 percent of the Hispanic vote. In 2004, John Kerry’s support was in the 50s. And Republicans do not need to win a majority of the Latino vote to compete nationally, just a competitive minority of that vote.

But even this modest goal is impossible if Hispanic voters feel targeted rather than courted.


Meanwhile, J.R. Dunn explains why the unresolved illegal status of immigrant Hispanic labor works so beautifully for the left.

The history of the left in this country is a history of division. Whatever conflict was current — labor vs. management, class vs. class, race vs. race — there you’d find the left, stirring things up in order to derive as much political benefit as possible. A workable democratic system demands a willingness to seek consensus and engage in compromise. The left prefers Balkanization and permanent conflict.

For some years now, it has appeared that the Leftist formula had reached the end of its string. The corrupt and crime-ridden unions were on their last legs, hemorrhaging members even as they drove jobs overseas. Blacks were steadily moving into the middle class and becoming less susceptible to separatist rhetoric. An attempt to transform the university student body into a permanent revolutionary phalanx on the Peronist model had only partial success — students were willing to play while actually on campus, but after graduation they went on to more interesting pursuits.

So how to keep the pot boiling? The answer was to go find a new millet — or rather, to take advantage of the one next door, of the desperate people fleeing a serial kleptocracy, an uneducated, ignorant, and frightened mass open to all forms of manipulation.

This explains why illegal immigration is so important to the left. It explains why efforts to halt illegal border-crossings, a problem that wouldn’t challenge a six-year-old, are executed so half-heartedly and so often left unfinished (see the recent “virtual fence”). It explains the irrational response to Arizona’s effort to tighten up existing immigration law (not create new law — Arizona’s statute is no more than a reinforcement of existing federal law). It explains the insistence that any solution to the immigration problem provide for amnesty and citizenship for the millions of illegals already living within our borders. It has nothing to do with compassion, nothing to do with fairness, or practicality, or any of the other reasons offered by “reform” advocates. As is almost always the case where the American left is involved, what it has to do with is power.

The left wishes to use the illegals as a battering ram against the American polity, the same as they used labor, and blacks, and every other group they ever encountered. Illegals will become a new protected class, with privileges and entitlements denied the rest of the populace (including, ironically, current members of previous such classes). They will be discouraged from learning English, as occurs today under the doctrine of “bilingualism”, to assure that they remain a separate presence. A vast bureaucracy will arise to “assist” the new citizenry, funded with billions — oh hell, make that trillions, this is the Obama era — and staffed with sociologists, ethnographers, psychologists, and other disciplines unimagined today. All will be of the same political persuasion. A permanent crisis atmosphere will be generated around the new class. The “Amnestee” question will lead to endless problems and ramifications and act as a permanent indictment of the country and its policies. The native population (not to mention legal immigrants) will grow increasingly embittered and angered. The former illegals will be rendered even more miserable than they are today.

The solution is obvious. There must be no amnesty. Such an action would simply drop a permanent inassimilable presence in the midst of American society. Current law must be executed to the fullest, and where necessary (as in all the border states) reinforced with new state laws. Illegals now in the country must be encouraged to regularize themselves according to recognized procedure. They must not be allowed, for their sakes and ours, to become clients of the left-wing establishment. The immigrant problem must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, according to individual circumstances. The notion that there is an acceptable mass solution is pure fantasy.

While this may involve some hardship — and will certainly give rise to cries of “unfairness” — it is in the long run the best solution for all concerned. Even the illegals will be better off. Becoming a member of a left-wing client class may not be the worst possible fate, but it’s not far from the bottom either, as generations of welfare families can attest. American leftists did nothing for this country’s workers once the union vote-getting machines were established. The same can be said of blacks in the inner cities once the political machines were in action there. The goal of power is simply to perpetuate itself. Actually solving problems might interfere with that process.

05 May 2010

GOP Stepping on a Land Mine

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Mona Charen warns that the only thing likely to save democrats in future years is the alienation of a Hispanic vote that naturally belongs to the GOP by nativism and law-and-order games over immigration.

Imagine yourself inside Democratic National Committee headquarters, in the department of long-term planning. Huddling in the no longer smoke-filled room, stocked no doubt with eco-friendly coffee cups and whole-wheat snacks, the savants are pleased with themselves. In the great game of buying constituencies for more government, they believe that the gargantuan health care law is the greatest coup in history. Not only did it create millions more mendicants, but with the new legislation weighing in at 2,000 pages, endless new work for two other favored groups – lawyers and bureaucrats. Brilliant!

Pushed to the back of their minds are disquieting facts such as these: The health reform law remains deeply unpopular, with 55 percent (Rasmussen) saying they would like to see it repealed. The Congress that pushed it to passage has approval ratings of 23 percent (Gallup). President Obama’s approval ratings (Bill Clinton’s confident pre-vote predictions to the contrary notwithstanding) have not rebounded since passage.

Never mind, the Democrats reason, by hanging Wall Street around Republicans’ necks and by reviving the immigration controversy (with a great deal of help from the state of Arizona), Democrats will win out. Maybe not in 2010, as off-year electorates tend to skew older and whiter, but certainly by 2012, when President Obama stands for re-election.

The financial reform bill has yet to fully play out. But by stoking controversy over immigration, the Democrats are making a shrewd move. If Hispanics vote in 2010 as they did in 2008, it would be virtually impossible for a Republican to win.

John McCain won 55 percent of the white vote in 2008. Bravo for him. Even with 95 percent of African-Americans voting for Obama, McCain would have taken the oath of office had it not been for the lop-sided Hispanic vote that went for Obama by 67 percent. While it is true that estimates of the total Hispanic vote percentage have often been overblown (the total Hispanic vote in 2008 was 8 percent, not the 15 percent widely cited), the vote can be crucial in some key states. In California, Hispanics comprised 16 percent of the vote in 2008. In Florida, it was 14 percent, and in Colorado 13 percent.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 74 percent of California Hispanics voted for Obama, along with 61 percent of Hispanic Coloradans, and 57 percent of Hispanic Floridians. …

Hispanics are not ideologically committed. Not yet. George W. Bush received a respectable 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004. As Clint Bolick outlined in the Hoover Digest, a 2006 survey by Latino Coalition found that 34.2 percent of Hispanic voters considered themselves conservative, while only 25.8 called themselves liberals. More than 53 percent agreed that it was more important for Hispanics to become integrated into American society than to preserve their native cultures. Offered a choice between higher taxes and more government spending or lower taxes and less government spending, 61.2 percent favored the latter. Moreover, like other Americans, Hispanics tend to vote more Republican as they age.

Hispanic voters do feel very differently from many conservatives about immigration. Pew found that 53 percent of Hispanics worried about deportation in 2007, including 32 percent of the native born, and also that 55 percent opposed verification of citizenship before obtaining driver’s licenses.

Hat tip to Kenneth Grubbs.

11 Apr 2010

Immigration Reform: The Next Battle

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Italian immigrants at Ellis Island, 1911

They look smaller and they dress differently from the American functionary, but one of these funny-looking little guys could be grandfather of a conservative Supreme Court justice. I have photographs of my immigrant ancestors in which they look sinister and exotic, too.

The democrat party in Congress defied the will of the American majority and enacted socialism. The democrat administration quadrupled the deficit and deepened the economic disaster. Our political adversaries seem to be doomed, but they do have one key remaining opportunity to revive their political position. They can turn their attention to immigration reform, take substantive action to open a legal path to citizenship for millions of people already in this country overwhelmingly performing hard work at low pay, and secure a firm grip on the loyalty of a voting bloc they do not deserve.

As this Las Vegas Sun article describes, Hispanic voters, just like the rest of us, are not thrilled by what democrats have done to the country and their support for the party of leftism is fading.

The long-term affiliation of a hardworking, typically Roman Catholic bloc of voter with strong family values will determine the results of elections in this country for the next couple of generations. Hispanics are natural Republicans. We just need to recognize that obvious fact and start addressing their key issue and welcoming Hispanics to the GOP.

Republicans need to abandon nativism and cheap law-and-order sloganeering on immigration.

People entering the country to find work and make a better life is the fundamental story of the United States. That this is happening contrary to existing laws reflects unfortunately on our sclerotic politics and our national neuroses, not upon people voluntarily exchanging labor for money or on the natural desire of people less well off to make a better life.

The older laboring classes in this country, as has happened before, have improved their condition, acquired education, and moved up and out of the ranks of low-skilled labor. But demand for labor continues to exist. No country can operate on the basis of a universally white collar population. The world requires Indians as well as chiefs.

It is in the national interest and it is a fundamental part of the American tradition to welcome strangers willing to work, to offer to new arrivals the same kind of fair shake this country once offered our own ancestors.

We are never going to kick in doors, check identity papers everywhere, invade every business, search every home repair project and and arrest everyone running a lawnmower. We are never going to arrest and deport millions of people already here and already doing the most disagreeable and laborious jobs at the lowest wages.

What we need to do is reform the laws, remove perverse incentives, create a useable open door and make illegals into citizens and into rock-ribbed Republicans.

I will describe later a simple Republican-style of Immigration reform, which I think it will be impossible to contend is unprecedented or unfair.

07 Nov 2009

Democrats Scaring Independents

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David Brooks, too, observes that the willingness of democrats to try for radical change at the risk of the economy is costing them the support of the non-ideological center.

Independents turned on the Republican Party because the MSM persuaded them that it was George W. Bush’s intransigent extremism which had poisoned American political life and produced bitter factionalism, and that it was Bush’s war spending and Republican banking deregulation that produced the economic crisis. They put democrats in charge, and our politics has not become bipartisan, the Middle East is not at peace, and the economy has not recovered. On the other hand, the deficit has quadrupled, the government owns General Motors, and Congress is trying to nationalize another one sixth of the economy while adding another trillion dollar entitlement, just before it proceeds to start working on carbon taxes.

Right now, independent voters are astonishingly volatile. Democrats did poorly in elections on Tuesday partly because of disappointed liberals who think that President Obama is moving too slowly, but mostly because of anxious suburban independents who think he is moving too fast. In Pennsylvania, there was an eight-point swing away from the Democrats among independents from a year ago. In New Jersey, there was a 12-point swing. In Virginia, there was a 13-point swing.

The most telling races this year were the suburban rebellions across the country. For example, in Westchester and Nassau counties in New York, Republican candidates came from nowhere to defeat entrenched Democratic county officials. In blue Pennsylvania, the G.O.P. won six out of seven statewide offices.

Middle-class suburban voters who have been trending Democratic for a decade suddenly lurched out of the Democratic camp — and are now in play.

Why? What do these voters want?

The first thing to say is that this recession has hit the new suburbs hardest, exactly where independents are likely to live. According to a survey by the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, 76 percent of suburbanites say they or someone they know have lost a job in the past year.

The second thing to say is that in this time of need, these voters are not turning to government for support. Trust in government is at its lowest level in recent memory. Over the past year, there has been a shift to the right on issue after issue. According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who believe that there is too much government regulation rose from 38 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2009. The percentage of Americans who want unions to have less influence rose from 32 percent to a record 42 percent.

Americans have moved to the right on abortion, immigration and global warming. Over the past seven months, the number of people who say government is doing too many things better left to business has jumped from 40 percent to 48 percent, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

According to that same survey, only 31 percent of Americans believe that the president and Congress “should worry more about boosting the economy even though it may mean larger budget deficits.” Sixty-two percent, twice as many, believe the president and Congress “should worry more about keeping the deficit down, even though it may mean it will take longer for the economy to recover.”

These shifts have not occurred because conservatives and liberals have changed their minds. They haven’t. The shift is among independents.

According to Gallup, the share of independents who describe their views as conservative has moved from 29 percent last year to 35 percent today. The share of independents who believe there is too much government regulation of business has jumped from 38 percent to 50 percent. Independents are in the position of a person who is feeling gravely ill at the same time he has lost faith in his doctor. …

Independents support the party that seems most likely to establish a frame of stability and order, within which they can lead their lives. They can’t always articulate what they want, but they withdraw from any party that threatens turmoil and risk. As always, they’re looking for a safe pair of hands.

31 Oct 2009

Change 2009

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Photographed in Prince William County

Via the Politico.

29 Sep 2009

Conservative Cleavage

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Vera Lengsfeld (on the right) with well-known image of Angela Merkel in evening gown

Vera Lengsfeld, a 57-year-old Christian Democrat candidate facing a difficult race in a Berlin district against a Green incumbent, aroused controversy by producing and distributing the above poster, which informs voters: “We have more to offer.”

From the Telegraph.

22 Mar 2009

Obama’s Katrina Moment

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Even liberal blowhard editorialist Frank Rich is warning that the Obama Administration (two whole months into office) may have already reached the point where it can permanently lose the public’s confidence and trust.

It would be foolish to dismiss as hyperbole the stark warning delivered by Paulette Altmaier of Cupertino, Calif., in a letter to the editor published by The Times last week: “President Obama may not realize it yet, but his Katrina moment has arrived.”

Meanwhile, recent polls show that Republican support among independent voters has pulled even with democrats’.

22 Mar 2009

Obama Governs the Way 17 Year Olds Drive

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In their negative campaign books on Barack Obama, Jerome Corsi and David Freddoso took an extended look at the democrat front runner’s long record of radical associations and virtually nonexistent record of legislative accomplishment, and observed that Obama’s record was really that of a faithful servant of the corrupt Chicago democrat party machine.

Yes, Obama faithfully voted for the agenda of the democrat party’s leftwing base when it was safe to do so, but he carefully avoided sticking his neck out or crusading for controversial leftwing positions which might conceivably compromise his viability as a candidate for higher office.

Despite all the associations and the rhetoric, both authors speculated that Obama as president might very well operate as he did previously, as a faithful servant of the interests of his party’s key special interest constituencies and contributors, making only the occasional safe, usually symbolic, gestures to the radical base.

Obama, during the campaign, took great care to convey the impression that he was not ultra-leftwing or radical but really pragmatist, and would govern as another responsible moderate democrat.

Well, it turns out we were all in for a surprise.

Obama has not attempted to govern moderately or responsibly in the least. He’s taken the combination of his own electoral victory, a congressional majority, and an economic crisis as a license to spend, regulate, and socialize without restraint. For a long generation, ever since the Carter debacle, politicians have treated the US economy as a third rail, recognizing that voters would promptly and decisively respond to economic pain by punishing any party seen to be responsible for an assault on their prosperity.

Uncharacteristically, even democrats like Bill Clinton moderated their populist impulses, restrained their urge to redistribute, and kept Alan Greenspan in charge of the Fed simply in order to preserve confidence. Ironically, the Bush Administration made the mistakes it did, in rushing to intervene and to supply bailouts on the basis of exactly the same belief in the necessity of maintaining economic confidence.

But not Barack Obama. Obama has moved rapidly to treble George W. Bush’s war-based deficit in a single month. He has turned the treasury’s printing press on full speed, virtually guaranteeing a reprise of 1970s style, if not Weimar Germany style, inflation. He plans of raising taxes, nationalizing health care, regulating everything that moves, and putting caps on financial industry salaries. He might as well send in a few drone aircraft to launch hellfire missiles into Wall Street.

Barack Obama is obviously not afraid of losing the confidence of the business sector. He feels empowered by the economic crisis, not intimidated by it. The deeper the hole he digs, he seems to think, the more basis he has to justify increasing federal power and a greater federal share of the economy.

Obama is treating government the way a 17 year old drives. The more out of control he gets, the harder he pushes on the accelerator.

26 Feb 2009

Diagramming the Obamakreig

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Obama’s primary campaign left Hillary feeling like Poland, and Obama’s presidential campaign left John McCain feeling like France. The political blitzkreig combining media support, misdirection, and image continued on, right over the Congressional Republican minority, with the passage of the unread Stimulus bill.

Paul Schlichta, at American Thinker, suggests Republicans need to go back to staff college and start studying the Campaign of 2008 in order to figure out how to defeat his next offensive.

The audacity and speed with which Obama railroaded the stimulus bill through Congress took Republicans by surprise. It shouldn’t have; it was a logical extension of his campaign tactics.

Like the spear-carrying soldiers of Ethiopia, overwhelmed by Mussolini’s tanks and poison gas in 1936, the Republicans simply don’t know what hit them in last year’s election. Some felt that they had conducted an old-fashioned 20th century campaign while Obama mounted the first truly information-age 21st century political blitzkrieg. Others blame the blatant media bias, the race issue, or the unprecedented scale of fund raising and spending.

The first month of Obama’s regime has provoked a similar bewilderment. A dazed Congress hastily authorized a huge document, filled with hidden booby traps like RAT, that none of them had actually read, let alone comprehended. Republicans are now cowering in corners, wondering what atrocity will come next

Anyone hoping to launch a successful counterattack must first analyze Obama’s campaign and assess the factors that contributed to its success.

Mr. Schlichta fails to remark that General Recession has played a major role in panicking the civilian population into supporting “liberation” by Mr. Obama. Unreasoning fear caused voters to plump for an alternative, any alternative to Republicans who were inevitably tarred with responsibility for alarming economic developments during the final months of the lame duck Bush regime.

Personally, I think General Recession is already mightily indignant over the socialist measures recently adopted, and I believe that he and Marshall Inflation will before long turn on Mr. Obama, waging scorched earth war on his economy. The suffering public will inevitably assign responsibility where it belongs: to democrats, and the Emperor Obama’s Army of supporters will begin getting a whole lot smaller.

16 Aug 2007

Global Incident Map

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Displays terrorism events and suspicious activities. link

01 Jul 2006

Israel Bombs Gaza Power Plant; US Taxpayers Will Pay To Rebuild

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Israeli newspaper Haretz reports that the Palestinian Authority will be sending a bill to the US taxpayer for $48 million dollars to pay for rebuilding a power plant in Gaza destroyed by the Israeli air force last Tuesday.

Israel bombed the power plant as a not-so-subtle hint that the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority should instruct its militiamen to release the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit.

US taxpayers may reflect ruefully that we probably paid for the bombs and the Israeli Air Force planes too. You’ve got to think that there must be a some way to settle all this where we only pay one time.

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