Another Write-wing Conspirator

Commentary, observations, musing, and ranting from the middle of the road (or just to the right of center. Usually.) featuring The Curmudgeon

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 42 other followers

  • Recent Posts

  • Top Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

    If you see a posting you like and wish to share it with others, by all means feel free to do so. I'd prefer that you send the link to your friends, but you're also welcome to reproduce anything here—as long as you retain my identity on the document. If you have a web site of your own and wish to post a link to this blog (or to a specific post), again, feel free to do so.

    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

    Comments, of course, are always welcome. You may agree or disagree with me. Doesn’t matter. Of course, I reserve the right to completely ignore you — but, feel free to let your feelings be known, anyway. And if you don't want to comment directly here, my e-mail address is: jimseeber@gmail.com .

    Oh, and…yes, I can spell. That "Write-wing" is only a play on words. So, there. Again.

    Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

  • Twitter

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • About this “curmudgeon” guy…

    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

    Anything else you wanna know—just ask.

  • Blog Stats

    • 12,818 hits

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The Presidential Worm

Posted by The Curmudgeon on April 5, 2011

The early bird has struck.

In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Barack Obama announced his candidacy for re-election; if there’s a surprise involved at all, it’s the method of making this announcement.

Never one to shy away from cameras or microphones, Obama selected as his vehicle a peculiar web announcement in which he doesn’t even speak (the only real surprise), and his only appearance is a brief video clip taken during his inauguration. The announcement itself was decidedly low-key, lacking the pump-’em-up energy that marked his 2008 campaign; rather, it seemed more of a slow warm-up signal to his organizers to start oiling-up the apparatus for another run.

Though it’s unlikely that Obama opted for this approach in response to voters’ laments of being weary of the near-daily doses of Obama saturation, voter fatigue was repeatedly cited in the weeks preceding the ’08 election and should be considered a potential issue this time around. Indeed, one might speculate that the strategy was specifically intended to make Obama a candidate without having him look like a campaigning politician—a seemingly pointless effort given that most of the country is convinced that he never actually stopped campaigning after the 2008 race, but probably necessary since he’s now officially set himself on an absurdly long campaign trail. (And you thought Christmas shopping was the only thing that keeps coming earlier.)

Oh, and it sets the stage for his campaign machine to start raising the staggering heaps of cash his campaign is expected to consume, with estimates of an eventual $1 billion war chest being freely tossed-about.

The upshot of all this? Republicans need to take note: The early bird tends to get the election worm—and there’s no clear GOP favorite yet on the horizon.

.

________



Advertisements

Posted in democrat, election, obama, politics, Republican, speech, speeches, vote | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Soon They Forget

Posted by The Curmudgeon on December 15, 2010

Congressional amnesia strikes again.

Shortly before the “shellacking” he received last month, Barack Obama suggested that Republicans were pinning their hopes on voters suddenly developing amnesia. In an earlier comment, he also asserted that “elections have consequences.”

For those with short memories (that would apparently include most of Congress), voters overwhelmingly jettisoned Democrats in droves (sixty-three of them, to be precise) — giving Republicans control of the House of Representatives, narrowing the Democrats’ margin of control in the Senate, and delivering an unmistakable message to the Obama regime.

How soon they forget.

Just today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stood before the Senate and bluntly asked whether all of Congress was “tone-deaf” and stricken with amnesia.

The reason?

A massive, 1.2 trillion-dollar “omnibus” spending measure being rammed-through the lame-duck Congress by soon-to-be departing Democrats apparently intent on looting the nation’s treasury on their way out the door. More than 2400 pages long and delivered to members of Congress only three days ago, it’s apparently been read by absolutely no one (does this sound familiar?) and loaded with “earmarks” and hidden pet projects.

In other words, they (Congress) didn’t learn a damned thing. They heard us, loud and clear—and simply don’t give a damn about what we want or what we have to say.

To be sure, it isn’t just Democrats responsible; indeed, at least two of the leading “earmarkers” are Republicans. That said, the entire effort still is being shepherded by Democrats—many of them lame ducks with nothing to lose.

Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is intent on ramming-through his backdoor amnesty program (aka “The Dream Act”)—again relying on colleagues with nothing to lose by supporting the measure.

And just to round things out, “always-in-campaign-mode” Obama seems to think he’s still gearing-up for last November’s election, likening Republicans to “hostage-takers” in the ongoing battle of the soon-to-expire Bush era tax cuts. (Ironically, some of his stiffest opposition is yet again within his own party.)

However all this shakes out, everyone needs to keep one thing in mind: Though the lame ducks are already on their way out, they won’t be able to carry it off without help—and those who remain in office will be up for re-election in 2012.

Let’s hope voters hold the culprits accountable just as they did last month; since this batch of crooks obviously didn’t get the message, perhaps their replacements will.

__________

Posted in budget, congress, corruption, debt, deficit, earmark, economy, election, illegal aliens, immigration reform, income tax, obama, politics, pork barrel spending, Reid | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Democrats’ Reactions to Elections: In Denial, Defiant, or Delusional?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 9, 2010

Is it that they “just don’t get it” or that they’re that obsessed?

In the aftermath of the drubbing Democrats received in the midterm election, their leaders’ reactions evoked expressions from an incredulous electorate ranging from disbelief to disgust—with a large helping thrown-in of the same fury voters just expressed overwhelmingly with their ballots.

“He just doesn’t get it” seems the most common retort to Barack Obama’s assessment that voters had somehow managed to misunderstand his intentions. Widespread response to (soon-to-be former) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s defense of her role in ramming through the very policies and legislative efforts that ultimately resulted in the Democrats’ being ousted from scores of posts across the nation has alternated between guffaws and a lot of swearing (though we’ve noted that would-be Queen Nancy has suddenly acquired a taste for bipartisanship—now that her party has been emphatically relegated to the back seat).

“Shove it down our throats now, and we’ll shove it up your (picture of an ass—the equine variety) in 2010” was a common warning during the epic arm-twisting that was Obama’s push for his brand of health care. Democrats ignored the warning. Some even ridiculed it (recall Pelosi’s snarky dismissal as “Astroturf” the grassroots uprising that was born). They laughed.

They’re not laughing anymore.

The prospect of forty-years’ dominance of government by Democrats confidently predicted by strategist James Carville after the 2008 election has been obliterated. The seemingly invincible Obama juggernaut is staggering, stunned by a thunderous right cross that few other than the most optimistic Republican pundits forecast. Even now, wary Democrats (particularly in the Senate—where twenty of their members are up for re-election in 2012) are very carefully charting their courses for the anticipated onslaught of what they see as hordes of Republican visigoths intent on dismantling as much of the preceding two years of Democratic rule as they possibly can. And Obama himself is damaged—perhaps beyond repair—with his aura of invincibility shattered and his once-powerful coterie of congressional supporters joining the voters in jumping ship.

Even fellow Democrats have joined the chorus of criticism, with failed Florida gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink appearing to encapsulate the problem. She paints a picture of an Obama regime that completely disregards what it’s told, intent on its own agenda. In particular, she pointed out the badly-handled Gulf cleanup effort wherein the administration turned a deaf ear to state and local officials. Sink was also especially critical of the White House for refusing to acknowledge public resistance to the health care “reform” with which Obama seems uniquely obsessed.

And against this backdrop the Democrats’ standard bearer can muster no better response than to say that we all misunderstood him. One might infer that he’s saying it’s all our fault for being too stupid to appreciate the genius behind his concepts—much as Bill Press said. (Way to win ’em over, Bill.)

Right.

To the contrary…we got the message—loud and clear. We repeatedly replied—loud and clear.

Obama and his minions heard us—loud and clear.

And they summarily dismissed us.

They’re not tone-deaf, at all. They simply don’t give a damn what we think or what we want. They know what’s good for us—and they’re hell-bent on forcing it upon us.

Obama maintains that he merely has to re-package his message. That’s all. (Is he telling us that—or still trying to convince himself?)

Ri-iiiiight.

Obama’s real problem is that he seems to have believed as Gospel the flowery praise heaped upon him by the mainstream media. It should not be forgotten that he got elected more on charisma and voter discontent than on substance. He has never demonstrated political brinkmanship; he’s never had to, owing to the huge numerical advantage he had in Congress—which he wielded as artfully as a cudgel.

And now he’s going to stick with a proven loser, no longer in a position to twist arms with impunity, pinning his hopes yet again on ideas that voters just overwhelmingly rejected.

Let the 2012 election season begin.

__________
.

Posted in ballot, election, mainstream media, obama, ObamaCare, Pelosi, politics, tea party, vote | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Prodigal President Soundly Spanked

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 3, 2010

The voters took away his car keys; so…now what?

Shortly after his inauguration, Barack Obama fired-off a few terse comments at Republicans:  “Elections have consequences”…”That’s why we have elections”…and (my personal favorite) “I won.”

Having thus spake, he made clear far in advance that he now knows what to expect in the wake of yesterday’s election debacle.

As Joe Biden might put it: This is a big f– – – – – g deal.

Not as big as Republicans (and sensible voters everywhere) had hoped for—but still big.  Very big.

The message sent to the Obama regime (sent—but not likely to be well-received) was clear: We ain’t happy—and you’re to blame.  It was a repudiation of Obama’s agenda, with scores of Democrat whipping-boys bearing the brunt of the voters’ wrath.  The numbers clearly show voter disapproval of ObamaCare and cap-and-trade.  Had the Democrats been pushing weak candidates, the message might’ve been less concise; however, many longtime incumbent Democrats were sent packing—and those who backed Obama’s unpopular policies fared the worst.  Obama himself suddenly seems about as embraceable as plutonium, and survival-minded Democrats appear to have been prescient in distancing themselves from him during the weeks preceding the election.  Indeed, Obama’s intense campaigning seems to have been ineffective (if not harmful) in most key races; those nine trips he took to Ohio attempting to bolster relatively popular Governor Ted Strickland, for example, became instead an embarrassment as John Kasich won a close contest that many see as a bellwether.

That’s gotta hurt.

Nor could this be seen as merely a reactionary “throw the incumbents out” election, as incumbent Republicans in fact enjoyed widespread success.  Moreover, Republicans fared well in contests for open seats both in Congress and in a record number of gubernatorial contests.  Those two indicators pretty well establish this as more of a “throw the Democrats out” election.

Where does this leave us?

Well, the Republicans captured solid control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats’ hold on the Senate is now tenuous.  The Democrats’ majority is a slim one, and there’s much doubt as to how many of their “majority” will toe the party line; in particular, their most high-profile victor of this election — Joe Manchin of West Virginia — is seen by many as more of a Republican than many Republicans are, having already denounced both ObamaCare and cap-and-trade.  Moreover, Democrats in both houses who survived the massacre are now faced with re-assessing their own stands on key issues—making Congressional support of Obama’s agenda somewhat less than reliable.  (With twenty Senate Democrats and only ten Republicans up for re-election in 2012, the message delivered via this 2010 election will reverberate for a long time; having had a glimpse of what may be in store for them in two years, who’s likely to drink the Obama Kool-Aid with such a likely fate awaiting?)

The Tea Party contingent played a role (much to the consternation of the Democrat leadership), but it was a mixed message.  Some Tea Party-backed candidates (most notably Senator-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky) ran well, but losses by their highly-publicized candidates in Delaware (Michelle O’Donnell) and Nevada (Sharron Angle) in races that many felt should have been easy pick-ups by Republicans helped Democrats retain Senate control.  (Still, it’s pleasant to visualize soon-to-be former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi choking on Astroturf.)  It’s clear that Republicans need to take seriously their input, and make adjustments to party stances accordingly.  The newly-elected Tea Partiers are likely to exert pressure to control spending and taxes—and the Republican leadership would be well-advised to listen.

The runaway spending has to stop.  Period.  If no other message came across from this election, that one has to.

The Democrats’ ever-expanding dream of an ever-expanding government must also be reined-in.  The people are beyond simply being wary of government intrusion into business, finance, medicine, and (especially) into our everyday private lives.

In short: Less government is better government.

True to form, Democrats are already murmuring about the coming gerrymandering (you know: the gerrymandering that they had planned to control—but that control was largely lost with the ascension of all those Republican governors) of district lines, proving once again that they can get in that first punch ahead of Republicans with disturbing consistency.  (One can only hope that Republicans will eventually learn.  “Get there firstest with the mostest,” counseled Nathan Bedford Forrest—a lesson Democrats long ago embraced.)  With the imminent re-apportioning of congressional seats and the inevitable re-drawing of district lines, GOP governors will be able to influence the political landscape for years to come.

And what of our favorite flagellant—the manchild-in-chief?  Will he take this to heart and mend his ways?

Don’t count on it.  It’s far more likely that he’ll “double down” (in the current parlance) and merely adjust the means by which he tries to force-feed us his agenda.  For now, anyway.  It’s doubtful that his prodigious ego will allow him to do otherwise.  If Republicans have learned nothing else since the 2008 election, they should’ve at least concluded that the only way to do business with Obama is from a position of strength.  They’ll have to ram their agenda down his throat—just as he has force-fed us all since his ascendancy to the White House.  He’ll never play ball unless there’s a gun placed to his head.

With this election, Republicans acquired such a gun.

__________

Posted in ballot, budget, cap-and-trade, debt, deficit, economy, election, federal bail-out, health care costs, health care reform, illegal aliens, manchild, obama, ObamaCare, opinion, Pelosi, politics, Reid, stimulus, vote | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Who Would REALLY Benefit from Voter “Amnesia”?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 1, 2010

There’s much that Obama would have us forget, too.

Hip-deep in his perpetual campaigning, Barack Obama derisively pointed out to voters last week that Republicans were pinning their hopes on the electorate’s suddenly developing “amnesia”—then reiterated once again his oft-repeated claim that responsibility for everything currently going awry anywhere in the known universe should be laid at the GOP’s feet.

As usual, there was a modicum of validity to the manchild-in-chief’s assertion; after all, has there ever been a political candidate who didn’t wish the voters would forget about something?

Obama should keep in mind, however, that there’s also much that he would like to erase from the voters’ collective memory. Though not actually running for re-election himself, the imminent midterm election is very much a referendum on his record—and the outcome is crucial to his future plans. To a candidate who won the preceding election owing largely to voter vacuity, the continued cluelessness of the electorate is of inestimable value.

Our manchild-in-chief would much prefer, for example, that we not remember the intense pressure brought to bear by his regime to ram through his unpopular ObamaCare travesty far enough in advance of this election that we wouldn’t remember the promised transparency that turned to occlusion. We’re likewise expected to forget the behind-the-scenes deal-brokering and outright bribery that made his showcase legislation possible, notably the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase.” It’s supposed to fade from memory that the prohibition on using federal funds for abortions was inexplicably left out of the grand health care reform legislation, a claimed oversight that Obama promised to correct via executive order (the order was in fact issued—but it now seems to have less in the way of teeth than was claimed at the time signed it).

Though Obama has stubbornly clung to his habitual hammering of his predecessor for the nation’s economic woes and rising employment, the simple fact is that his own profligate spending (you remember: the spending that he insisted was necessary to hold unemployment under eight percent) has buried us under a mountain of debt from which we may never recover—and unemployment has now crept perilously close to ten percent.

He would dearly love for us to forget all about the problem of illegal immigration and his own scandalous refusal to secure the nation’s borders. (How very curious…we haven’t heard a word about “comprehensive immigration reform” for a few weeks—have we?) He’d like us all to forget that his response to the chaotic border situation was to sic his Justice Department on the state of Arizona for daring to do what he refused to do. He wants us to forget all about the efforts to secure amnesty for some twelve million future Democrats illegal immigrants.

It’s supposed to slip our minds that our first “post-racial” chief executive has in fact fanned the flames of racism. We’re supposed to no longer recall the specter of New Black Panther Party goons convicted of intimidating voters in Philadelphia—only to be sent on their merry way by Obama’s Justice Departmant, which inexcusably declined to pursue the case. We’re supposed to conveniently forget Obama’s own rash (and obviously incorrect) berating of the Cambridge Police Department and Sgt. James Crowley—who, as it turns out, hadn’t acted so “stupidly” as Obama had claimed. We’re supposed to not notice when he manages to find that “Negro dialect” that Harry Reid said he lacked—when he’s busy whipping-up support among a black crowd by creating an “us-versus-them” atmosphere.

We’re supposed to forget about the steady procession of tax cheats, avowed communists and socialists, and far left-wing whack-jobs he’s welcomed to his regime. We’re supposed to forget the blatant power grabs and attempts to exert direct government control over banking, manufacturing, communications, and the media (it’s telling when Helen Thomas — hardly a conservative icon — criticizes the administration for doing so).

He would like for many of us to forget how badly he needs to emerge from the midterm election with Democrats controlling Congress — though he’s quick to remind those who voted for him in 2008 that it’s essential for them to keep the faith, as he needs that power base “to continue with my agenda”…whatever his agenda may comprise. (His obsession with secrecy and hidden deals leaves us constantly guessing.)

We’re expected to forget all about the vacations, travel, and high living that his regime is enjoying at taxpayer expense while much of the nation struggles just to make ends meet. We’re not supposed to remember the unprecedented arrogance shown by himself and his henchmen. We’re expected to forget the tax that isn’t a tax, then is, then isn’t—depending, it seems, entirely on what our narcissistic dear leader is trying to pull at any given time. He wants us to forget the political thuggery that Democrats have freely exercised from the moment they grasped the reins of government.

Let’s hope enough of us have better memories than he gives us credit for.

__________

Posted in ballot, border security, budget, corruption, debt, deficit, economy, election, federal bail-out, health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, manchild, media corruption, national security, obama, ObamaCare, politics, Reid, stimulus, tax, unemployment, vote, waste | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Memo to Conservative Commentators: Shut Up—Before You Ruin Everything

Posted by The Curmudgeon on October 26, 2010

No chickens have yet hatched; now, stop counting.

Recent months have proved very encouraging for Republicans, tea-partiers, conservatives in general, and everyone else who regards the Obama-Reid-Pelosi triumvirate with a level of disdain ordinarily reserved for toenail fungus. Poll results for the Obama regime have been in virtual free-fall, Pelosi is widely viewed as the long-lost twin sister of the Wicked Witch of the West, and opinions are split as to whether Reid should be medicated and escorted to a padded cell or merely voted out to pasture. Indeed, congressional Democrats in general are scurrying for cover with a vigor more commonly observed in cockroaches caught out in the open when the lights are turned on, distancing themselves from their standard-bearer and onetime champion as they frantically seek to preserve careers seemingly doomed by their association with their dear leader.

Not surprisingly, conservative pundits are having a field day, trumpeting daily poll results and confidently predicting a resounding defeat for Democrats in the upcoming mid-term election. They’ve been positively giddy, smugly delighting in the Democrats’ apparent distress, speculating on whether control of one or both houses of Congress will change hands, and even boldly formulating their post-election agenda. Indeed, the GOP euphoria has soared to such a level that prominent commentators seem nearly at a loss for ideas on what to do next.

I have a suggestion for them: Shut the hell up. Now—before you screw everything up.

The grandstanding, chest-beating, and overconfidence are having an undesired effect: They’re now serving to energize the Democrats’ base.

Republican operatives should take particular note of the more subtle indications emerging from those polls. As predicted here months ago, the shake-up in the power structure that seems imminent is not the result of voters falling madly in love with the GOP. Don’t forget that they voted Republicans out not so long ago. As is often the case, this is less a matter of people voting for a party’s agenda and more a matter of voting against another party’s agenda. It’s not that everyone suddenly embraced the philosophy of the Republicans; rather, they’re now at least as disgusted with Democrats—and apparently even more so (for the moment, anyway; voters, however, are notoriously fickle).

If Republicans learned nothing else from political developments of the past several years, at least two clear messages should have sunk in: First, that the strategy they adopted back when they last had control of the government (and lost it) is a proven loser, and second, that the framing of the message is sometimes as important as the message itself. Pundits, power brokers, and voters alike have expressed outright revulsion over the arrogance shown by Democrats—and especially by Obama; for Republicans to now bombard everyone with essentially the same appearance borders on plain stupidity.

Yes, the Democrats have shown a remarkable talent for shooting themselves in the foot. Yes, Obama’s silver tongue seems to have turned to clay (thanks, Jim Croce, for that line). Yes, predictions of the disastrous effects of the Democrats’ actions now appear to have been correct. Yes, the poll numbers have been encouraging.

However…

The single most important variable at the moment is the question of how many people will actually get off their butts and vote this time around. Indications there have been favorable for the much-motivated Republicans, with apathy and complacency among Democrats and uncommitted independents boding well—but, if Republicans aren’t careful at this point, they’ll succeed only in talking their way right out of what seems an almost-certain victory. Would-be Republican voters may note this viewing of the election outcome as a foregone conclusion and not bother to vote, thinking it’s already in the bag. It should also be noted that the grandiose claims of Republican leaders have been seized upon by Democrats, and they’re using that ammunition to whip-up support. (For those who hadn’t noticed…many key Congressional and gubernatorial races have suddenly tightened within the past few days.)

Stop obsessing over polls; the only one that counts is the last one. The rest should be viewed as nothing more than indicators of where support should be bolstered.

Remember that no chickens have yet hatched; you guys haven’t actually won anything. Not yet. Stop acting like the boss—at least, until you actually become the boss.
 

________

 

Posted in economy, election, obama, Pelosi, politics, Reid, vote | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

To Burn, or Not to Burn…

Posted by The Curmudgeon on September 9, 2010

Once again, national angst builds—with Mohammed (again) the focus

Like many, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Reverend Terry Jones’ planned demonstration featuring the burning of Korans. Having considered it at length, I’ve reached one conclusion: I have mixed feelings about it—and this ambivalence will never be resolved.

On the one hand, I fall back on the default of freedom of religion and worship, and I cringe at the prospect of book-burning. It’s easy to understand how some would equate such an act to the Nazis’ heinous and destructive campaign against Jews. It’s easy to understand concerns that such a spectacle might focus hatred on a group based on their beliefs. It’s easy to understand why military commanders express concerns that our forces stationed in the Muslim world might be exposed to danger as Muslims’ ire is inflamed. It’s easy to understand why so many have felt compelled to distance themselves from the planned event, and to add their voices to the widespread condemnation of Rev. Jones.

On the other hand…

If one chooses to burn a U.S. flag, it’s considered “freedom of expression”—and likely to attract protection from legions of civil-rights attorneys. If a band of lunatics disrupts funeral services for a fallen soldier, the court not only affirms their right to do so, but requires the soldier’s family to pay the legal costs incurred by the loonies in defending that right. And where was the compulsion for widespread condemnation when Palestinians took to the streets in celebration even as the twin towers of the World Trade Center were still falling?

Here’s another thought: For those who may have forgotten, a shipment of Bibles was confiscated and burned by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan last year amid concerns that there might be an appearance of soldiers’ attempting to convert the local population to Christianity. In criticizing the action, a Pentagon spokesman remarked (perhaps a bit prophetically) that “There is no need to burn the Bibles. They could have been shipped back.” (I’ll add emphasis to the rest of his comment.) “Just imagine if we, the same the United States military, were to take a bunch of Korans and burn them. I can imagine the ramifications across the world.”

Indeed, soldiers assigned to the detention center in Guantanamo have been criticized for allegedly (no proof emerged) showing some measure of disrespect for the Koran (those allegations having been made, by the way, by detainees who routinely hurl their urine and feces at the staff). More recently, we’ve been bombarded with angry denunciations by Muslims for newspaper cartoons in Europe that were seen as criticisms of Islam. Still fresh is the memory of the brouhaha that resulted when the Comedy Central channel capitulated to Muslim demands over a South Park episode making fun of Mohammed.

It’s clear that a dangerous precedent has been set—and it’s being perpetuated. It seems that anything that might by any stretch of the imagination be misinterpreted by a Muslim as offensive draws criticism. It appears, in fact, to be the latest manifestation of censorship that began during the days of civil rights marches, when whites suddenly became aware of the need to choose every word very carefully just to avoid even the appearance of racism. It’s had the practical effect of creating an environment wherein Muslims anywhere in the world can now dictate behavior by whim—merely by suggesting that some unrest might result if we don’t take heed.

It is at its base a strategy intended to spread fear and force acceptance—and it’s working. Moreover, each case that sees someone appear to back-down in the face of such charges serves both to progressively embolden radical Muslim elements and to bolster the validity of their approach.

At this point, we might stop asking what may happen if Rev. Jones goes through with his planned Koran-burning event—and ask instead what may result if he doesn’t.

 

__________


Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, hate speech, islam, islamofascist, islamophobia, koran, mosque, muslim, obama, political correctness, politics, quran, speech, terrorism, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

A Little Knowledge

Posted by The Curmudgeon on August 28, 2010

It’s still dangerous—as is ignorance of history

Two of the most familiar and oft-quoted observations respectively hold that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and that failure to learn from history dooms us to repeat it.

With that, I present Chris Cuomo of ABC News.

This past week, Cuomo (seeming to echo the growing crescendo of ill-informed mainstream media figures) transmitted the following via his Twitter account: “To all my christian brothers and sisters, especially catholics – before u condemn muslims for violence, remember the crusades….study them”

Interesting.

Some of Cuomo’s Twitter “followers” then engaged him in a bit of back-and-forth, correctly pointing out that the Crusades were in fact preceded by an extended period of Muslim encroachment (indeed, Charles Martel and the Franks halted the Muslim invasion of Europe at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD—long before the First Crusade of 1095-1099 AD).

Not to excuse Cuomo’s ignorance, but his misperception is a common one: that Muslims have been running around in the pissed-off-and-locked position since the Crusades, having never forgiven Christendom for such effrontery—and itching for centuries to get even.

“Get even,” hell; they started this crap.

Or as Princeton University Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis put it: “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual response to the jihad – a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war.”

However, let’s set aside that issue for just a moment to allow me to digress (it is my blog, after all).

Many years ago, there was a war fought in a place known (then) as South Vietnam. Some of you may recall it. Some of you were too young (or still a gleam in your daddy’s eye) at the time. For those who recall that period, there are also distant memories of widespread unrest, anti-war demonstrations, riots, draft resisters, and so forth. It was a long and costly war, and it resulted in deep divisions among the citizenry.

Being in high school at the height of the war (and rapidly approaching draft-able age), I had more than a passing interest in the matter. Personally, I had mixed feelings about this nation’s involvement in Southeast Asia; however, my ambivalence was spawned by my own research.

The same could not necessarily be said of the majority of my peers.

Oh, they could regurgitate the rhetoric on cue. They had all the chants down pat.

But did they really understand what was going on?

I clearly recall a class discussion during that time. I pretty much hung back and listened for a time, noting the by-then familiar rhetoric being offered. Then, I posed a few questions to some of the more vocal critics of the war.

“You say the war is ‘illegal.’ Based on what?”

I was immediately bombarded with cries that the war was an undeclared one, and that Congress hadn’t approved our involvement there. In reply, I reminded them of the “power of the purse” that Congress wields, and noted that Congress itself had appropriated the funds necessary to conduct the war.

No answers to that one.

I then asked them whether they were familiar with the USS Maddox or the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The “domino theory,” perhaps?

Again, no answers.

Now, I relate this vignette not in an effort to revive the decades-old debate over U.S. involvement in the war, but to illustrate my point that many during that era formed their opinions based not on what they’d discovered through examination of facts but on whatever input (we frequently call them “talking points,” these days) they’d heard from others. It was often a lemming-like acceptance of whatever they’d been fed by commentators via evening news broadcasts—sources known even then for their biased interpretation of events (and reporting thereof).

Which brings us back to the present day, where we are currently assailed by recitals of the current rhetoric. For example, how many times have we heard various sources use the precise phrase “comprehensive immigration reform” in recent months? (This, by the way, is the Democrats’ and illegal aliens’ euphemism for “amnesty and pathway to citizenship to which they have no valid claim since they’re in the country illegally to begin with.”) The phrase’s use seemed to spread overnight, as if by a hidden network (and with the “outing” of the JournoList cabal, the scenario seems quite plausible). Political organizers plant the current phraseology among their minions to go and spread the word far and wide.

Cries of “racism” are also a staple—particularly for anyone with the audacity to criticize anything that Barack Obama says or does.

And then there are the “phobes.” After years of being attacked for being “homophobes,” for example, some are finally (and correctly) pointing out that a phobia is by definition “an irrational fear”—and resistance to the concerted presentation of the homosexual agenda has nothing to do with fear, at all.

Now we’re suddenly dismissed as “Islamophobic” for daring to object to the construction of a mosque where many believe it doesn’t belong, expressing dismay at what seems an insidious transformation of our legal system to a Shariah-compliant state, or pointing out the obvious lie that mass-murder committed by a Muslim officer in the U.S. Army who considers himself a “soldier of Allah” is anything but an act of terrorism. We wonder how there can be a Ramadan observance at the White House while prominent symbols of Christianity are under attack. We question why Uncle Sam foots the bill for repairs to mosques in foreign countries while court challenges halt the restoration of a mission (listed as a national historic landmark) in California based on assertions that the use of taxpayer funds implies endorsement of a religion. We’re aghast that the Obama regime would send an imam (at taxpayers’ expense) through the Muslim world as a sort of emissary and troubleshooter—then have it revealed that this same imam basically said that we brought on the 9/11 attacks ourselves. We’re alarmed and outraged that this imam insists on erecting a mosque at Ground Zero with funds of murky origin, and puzzled that others fail to see the symbolic significance of such a structure to a movement with a history of building mosques to commemorate victories.

Oh, and Cuomo’s response to a Twitter “follower” who challenged his claim? He tweeted: “not sure how pointing out muslim wrongs erases christian wrongs…more defense by attack? proof of bias?”

As Nathan Burchfiel of Newsbusters summed up Cuomo’s response: “So pointing out Muslim wrongs doesn’t erase Christian wrongs — but pointing out Christian wrongs justifies Muslim wrongs?”

Swell. Cuomo’s little bit of knowledge brings us full circle, repeating history once again. The blind leading the blind who refuse to think for themselves, whipped-up by scores of Cuomo’s ilk who have little understanding of history (my wife cites a Biblical reference calling this “zeal without knowledge”) but are intent on shaping the public debate to their liking.

As alleged “Islamophobes,” we’re assailed for having “an irrational fear” about a purported religion of peace that in fact has a long history of extreme violence and repression…a religion that often appears less a religion and more a politically-driven cult with a sinister agenda.

Well, the pundits got the “fear” part right; 9/11 frightened the bejesus out of us. There’s nothing irrational about it, though.

And the current “Islamophobia” label has no validity. What we’re feeling now has little to do with fear.

But we are mad as hell.

________

.

Posted in 9/11, corruption, crusade, ground zero, hate crimes, hate speech, health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, islam, islamofascist, islamophobia, JournoList, media corruption, media establishment, mosque, national security, obama, political correctness, politics, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The Money Pit: An Old Law Holds True

Posted by The Curmudgeon on August 11, 2010

Parkinson’s Law meets Obama…and Pelosi…and Reid…

In 1955, Cyril Northcote Parkinson first advanced a concept which eventually became known as “Parkinson’s Law.” Though it’s undergone some revisions and refinements (and led to a number of corollaries), its basic premise remains: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

For example, imagine a worker performing a routine task normally requiring sixteen man-hours (nominally, two business days) to complete. Now, imagine that some genius efficiency expert determines that forty hours (one work week) should actually be alloted for this task. According to Parkinson’s maxim, over a period of time our worker will adjust his routine to expend all forty hours alloted for the task—though he’d previously accomplished the same task on numerous occasions within the constraints of the old standard of sixteen hours. (It could also be argued that for a unionized operation there would be an additional demand for overtime—but, that’s fodder for a different rant.)

One popular corollary of this basic premise will sound familiar to most readers: Data expands to fill the space available for storage (i.e., go ahead and buy that humongous hard drive that makes your current drive look puny by comparison—but, you’re still gonna fill it up).

Another corollary is attributed to Parkinson, himself, and is sometimes referred to as “Parkinson’s Second Law”: Expenditures rise to meet income.

Based upon that assertion, one might reasonably deduce that the esteemed Mr. Parkinson must have at some point studied the spending habits of Democrats.

One might also be inclined to pose a hybrid corollary: Congress increases spending to consume whatever money is available—and even spends money that ain’t there.

Most budgets (whether business, military, or household) are intended to establish limits—not goals to attain. Employees are — from the top down — generally encouraged to find ways to reduce spending. Bringing in a project “under budget” is regarded favorably, as doing so makes available previously committed funds to be applied to other projects; should an overly-generous authorization be encountered, it’s not considered acceptable to spend more lavishly in an effort to insure that all alloted funds are exhausted. Exceeding the budget isn’t allowed; when one runs out of alloted funds, there simply isn’t any more money to spend. Work stops. The household has to wait until next month to buy that new television. The Army parks its tanks, trucks, and helicopters because there’s no money to purchase fuel. Plants close. Employees are furloughed.

Conversely, consider recent comments made by Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) to a gathering of his constituents:

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned up here, and I didn’t really need to come up here to learn it, is the only way to get Congress to balance the budget is to give them no choice. The only way to keep them out of the cookie jar is to give them no choice. Which is why, whether its balanced budget acts or pay as you go legislation or any of that—it’s the only thing.” (And now for the best part—with emphasis added…) “If you don’t tie our hands, we’ll keep stealing.”

One scarcely knows whether to be aghast at Perriello’s unexpectedly frank admission or curiously relieved by the refreshing honesty of it; at any rate, it at least confirmed what many already believed. (We’ve been known to sing the praises of an honest crook from time to time.)

Of course, Mr. Perriello overlooks recent history. Obama himself (after racking-up trillions in debt) exhorted Congress to adopt “paygo” to ensure that future expenditures would be deficit-neutral. Congressional Democrats enthusiastically(?) accepted the challenge and shepherded the legislation to passage.

…then began side-stepping their own brand spanking-new rule less than a week later.

More recently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cut short Congress’ summer recess, summoning members back to Washington to pass new bail-out legislation, tweeting that “I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers’ jobs and help seniors & children.” (more on that in a moment) The price tag? More than $26 billion added to the staggering deficit (forget actually paying for the measure; all this spending merely adds to the mounting debt—for which there are no funds). Actually, the measure as written assigns the tax debt to U.S. firms operating in overseas markets; however, if these firms respond by simply not shifting funds back home to be taxed, the burden for the resulting shortfall (added to the potential loss of $120 billion in profits that might also be kept overseas) would be transferred to…us.

The latest? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (you know; the federally-financed lenders on which Congress just spent billions upon billions of bail-out dollars it doesn’t have) just crawled back out of the woodwork, hats in hand, to beg for another $3 billion in federal alms. (Don’t breathe a sigh of relief, just yet; this latest request is merely intended to cover the shortfall for the current fiscal quarter. Stay tuned.)

Oh, and (in case it escaped anyone’s attention) there was yet another report released a few days ago showing that the massive “stimulus” package last year had been squandered in large measure on such boondoggles as:

  • $762,000 to create interactive choreography programs at the University of North Carolina
  • $296,000 for a study of dog domestication at Cornell University
  • $2,000,000 to send researchers from the California Academy of Sciences to islands in the Indian Ocean to study exotic ants
  • $500,000 for new windows at the Mt. St. Helens visitors center in Amboy, Washington. (The building has been closed since 2007 and there are no immediate plans to reopen it.)
  • $89,000 to replace sidewalks in Boynton, Oklahoma (The “old” sidewalks had been built only five years before. Moreover, one of them goes nowhere near any houses or businesses and leads directly into a ditch.)
  • $1,200,000 to create a museum in an abandoned train station in Glasboro, NJ

It should be noted that it’s unclear whether this “stimulus” package — intended to create jobs — actually created more than a relative handful.

How does this happen?

No great mystery. Remember the health care reform package? Remember how scandalized we all were to learn that virtually no one in Congress had read it prior to voting on it? It was 1,017 pages long.

This year’s federal budget is 2,450 pages long; how many people do you think have read all of that one? Or last year’s? Or the year before?

Pork-barrel projects are generally concealed very carefully within such spending measures; it’s sometimes nearly impossible to figure out who inserted specific expenditures (if anyone even notices them). In many cases, it’s a matter of “you vote for mine, and I’ll vote for yours.”

And we give these clowns the key to the treasury. Which probably explains why it’s currently empty.

As to Pelosi’s latest effort? Forget saving teachers’ jobs; that’s not what it’s about.

This bail-out is superficially intended to help debt-ridden states (those that refused to rein-in spending…California and New York, for example—blue states, it should be noted) to balance their budgets. The fix will be temporary, as these states have yet to make the necessary cuts in expenditures to ensure long-term viability (last year’s $862 billion “stimulus” package included $145 billion to balance state budgets—and it obviously didn’t last very long). So, Congress will now be voting to decide whether the states that practiced fiscal responsibility are ultimately going to be taxed to bail-out those that refused to.

But, wait; there’s more (R.I.P., Billy Mays). Consider these figures compiled by Americans for Limited Government in a recent newsletter:

Out of the estimated 3.3 million public school teachers nationwide, teachers’ unions were expecting about 160,000 layoffs this year—roughly 4.8 percent of all teachers. Slightly more than 38 percent of those expected layoffs are centered in just three states: 9,000 in New Jersey, 16,000 in New York and 36,000 in California.

About 57 percent of those 160,000 teachers are unionized, with contributions to state and local unions averaging $300 per teacher. Add another $162 per teacher to the National Education Association and $190 per teacher to the American Federation of Teachers (as reported by Education Next), and Congress will in effect be voting to pump no less than $40 million (emphasis mine) into the political coffers of teachers’ unions.*

Quickly, now; which party do you think will be the beneficiary of union contributions?

In other words: If you’re a Republican in a state that has a balanced budget, you can expect to be taxed not only to pay for wasteful spending in California and New York, but also to contribute indirectly to Democrats’ campaign funds.

Not that Queen Nancy (from California—just in case you’ve forgotten) has such thoughts in her mind. She just wants to help teachers and old folks and children. Oh, and cops and firefighters (again, widely unionized). Just ask her.

Just don’t ask her exactly what’s in the measure, nor what it’s actually intended to achieve. (Remember that she once said that Congress “has to pass the legislation in order for you to find out what’s in it.”)

Her mission is, at best, to spend more and more money that we don’t have.

Once again, Parkinson is proven a sage.

So is Congressman Perriello.

Somebody tie Washington’s hands—quickly.

 

 

UPDATE: The $26 billion in spending has been approved by Congress and awaits Obama’s signature.

The watchword now is “BOHICA.” (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again)

* ALG drew heavily from the following sources:

NetRight Daily How 39 Dems and Snowe and Collins Gave $40 Billion to Teachers Unions
EducationNext The Long Reach of Teachers Unions
The Heritage Foundation Teachers Unions Stifle Education Reform

__________

 

Posted in budget, corruption, debt, deficit, economy, education, election, federal bail-out, labor, obama, Parkinson's Law, Pelosi, politics, Reid, stimulus, tax, waste | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Manchild in PresidentLand

Posted by The Curmudgeon on August 2, 2010

The difference between men and boys isn’t their toys; it’s their tantrums.

Much has been said and written (though not so much in the mainstream lamestream media) about Barack Hussein Obama’s behavior. The most commonly-accepted assertions suggest that he’s a megalomaniac or that he’s a narcissist—or both.

An old friend of mine, however, blazed a new and promising trail a few months ago when he characterized Obama as a “manchild.”

Bull’s-eye. That summed things up quite nicely. (Thanks, Bob.)

Consider, for example, the spectacle presented to the nation with The Great Blair House Health Care Overhaul Summit of only a few months ago. Faced with a Republican opposition clearly dug-in for the long haul and a constituency that was just as succinct in its disapproval of his grand scheme, Obama responded with what was purported to be a negotiating session to iron-out differences and reach an acceptable agreement; it didn’t take long, however, to see through the facade.

There never was the slightest intent to compromise, nor to even present more than a thin veneer of reconciliation. Obama accurately summarized his position with one statement when he addressed the disparity of speaking time allotted with his blithe “Because I’m the President” dismissal. In a sneak-preview showing of what has come to be his signature strategy, he made a token attempt to present an appearance of good-faith negotiation, offered nothing in the way of giving ground, then seized the public podium to decry the intransigence of those who opposed him. Citing the obstructionist politics of his adversaries, he angrily rationalized his authoritarian ramming-through of the package he wanted.

As planned.

At the first hint of criticism (or even genuine analysis), Obama immediately lashes-out at anyone with the audacity to question him on anything. Time and time again, he has faithfully followed a familiar script—even to the point of attacking the very news media largely responsible for his political success. (For a Democrat — especially Obama — this can be most closely likened to a shark arbitrarily attacking the scavenging pilot fish that accompanies it and provides a cleaning service by devouring the ever-present parasites and scraps. It should be noted that in the shark world, this is practically unheard of; sharks know better.) This initial gambit will typically be followed by a deflection, attempting to shift blame to someone else (though George W. Bush remains his favorite scapegoat, any Republican—or group of Republicans—will do) or claim that his plan is necessary to offset damage done by someone else’s misdeeds. In the event this isn’t immediately successful, bribery and threats may be added to the mix. For the really stubborn resistance, he offers a reconciliation of sorts; however, it never actually materializes. Instead, he simply re-hashes his own proposal—then appears before the television cameras to angrily denounce his opposition for refusing to negotiate and compromise.

This Manchild-in-Chief has repeatedly thrust himself into matters not lying within his purview (e.g., building cars, running banks, interfering in state politics), consistently seeking to expand his sphere of control—all the while either ignoring problems that are his responsibility or attempting to manipulate events for the sake of his own political gain (the most glaring example, of course, being border security). His promises of “transparency” and “the most ethical administration in history” have long since proved hollow. His frequent savaging of rivals reveals a flawed and dark personality, the manchild bent on crushing his opposition in his quest for a government by fiat—his. His pressuring of New York Governor David Paterson to abandon re-election efforts was merely improper; the alleged inducements offered to Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak and Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff — if proven true — are patently illegal, while his suggested involvement in the ongoing Rod Blagojevich melodrama hints at some of the seamiest of dirty politics to emanate from the nether world of Chicago chicanery.

Obama recently demanded that British Petroleum establish an escrow fund of $20 billion to cover costs associated with the Deepwater Horizon disaster—a step assailed by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) as a “shakedown.” Though he retracted the charge under pressure from his own party, Barton was pretty much on the money—and Obama knows it. As a (supposed) Constitutional scholar, Obama knows full well that such matters rightly belong in the courts; for him to effectively establish his own set of rules is manifestly improper—if not downright illegal. (The Obama regime, of course, was ecstatic over Barton’s comments and the chance they provided for the White House to portray Obama as being on the side of those who’d sustained losses as a result of the spill—and the obvious opportunity to condemn Republicans as friends of the evil oil industry…yes, that very same oil industry whose money Obama was more than happy to accept in the form of campaign contributions.) Ironically, this little end-run around the Constitution came at almost exactly the same time that Obama directed his Justice Department to threaten legal action against the state of Arizona for (you’ve gotta love this) allegedly trying an end-run around the Constitution with its SB 1070 immigration law.

Several weeks ago, Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) revealed that in the course of a one-on-one conversation Obama reiterated his refusal to address the issue of border security, insisting that it would be remedied only as part of his sought-after “comprehensive immigration reform” package. According to Kyl, Obama’s worry is that his version of “reform” would fall by the wayside without the pressure of border security concerns to keep it alive—and The Manchild-in-Chief considers his trusted tool (extortion) appropriate to the occasion. Not surprisingly, the White House denies the claim (though the denial sounded suspiciously like a pitch for Obama’s “reform” effort)—but Kyl stands by his statement. (At this point, who would you believe?) Given more recent events (specifically, Obama directing his Justice Department to bring suit against Arizona to block enforcement of SB 1070—enacted in an attempt to fill the void resulting from the federal government’s refusal to stem the flow of intruders), Kyl’s version rings far more true; indeed, note that Obama himself didn’t directly deny the claim — relegating that duty to underlings who weren’t even present at the time of the exchange — and his subsequent actions serve only to lend credence to Kyl’s story.

Perhaps Joe Sestak could shed some light on the matter. Or maybe David Paterson. Or Andrew Romanoff. Or even Rod Blagojevich. (It’s very telling when your credibility is less certain than Blago’s.)

On a more positive note, at least, our manchild stops just short of the archetypal childish act of threatening to take his baseball bat and go home. So far.

__________

Posted in health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration reform, manchild, media corruption, obama, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »