Face the Nation

October 31, 2010

Email Exchange; Read from bottom
My Reply:
It’s hard to know what to say. It’s one thing to demean oneself; quite another to demean the Office. If only Obama could have been half as quick as Ahmadinejad was at Columbia University. I’m also not sure what to make of the influence of comedians in politics. Colbert testifying in character before Congress in an openly mocking manner? And they just take it? Pelosi calls it “Great?”
The above link quotes Nina Totenberg and Evan Thomas about how this election scares them. Evan Thomas, the man who said Obama was a God above the country, calls the election a joke.
He may be right for reasons he apparently can’t comprehend, but the people who are going to carry the day on Tuesday are the ones not laughing. I’m nor sure Thomas can begin to comprehend that.
I think Conservatives find Liberals pretty easy to understand. What’s so hard about the reverse?
I’m coming to understand just how frightening Fox News must be to these people.
Friend’s email;
…replayed the clip from John Stewart’s interview with Barack Obama in which the President said the message would be “Yea we can but…” and Mr. Stewart guffawed in his face, triggering laughter from the audience.  I commend the audience for looking to their comic overlord for a signal about whether or not to laugh in the face of a sitting president.  At least they were open to the possibility of respect.
It got me to wondering where it began.  I thought about Clinton on Arsenio (not yet president, but a step closer), and then earlier, Nixon on Laugh In (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80JC6frK0gA&NR=1).  Gerald Ford taped an opening of SNL (Live from New York…) while he was president.  Is there anything else remotely comparable?  GWB was scorched by Stephen Colbert at the Gridiron Dinner; maybe Mr. Bush should have known better, but so should Mr. Colbert.  And I must give Mr. Obama credit for blowing off two Gridiron dinners in a row.  They lost their privilege of feting a sitting president. 
Of all that I might hold against Mr. Obama, perhaps the greatest thing is his willingness to appear on Comedy Central while in office.  No journalist laughed in FDR’s face, nor in Ike’s, nor Reagan’s. 
Just remember all those day care centers bin Laden built for all those liberated Islamist wives.
What a freaking maroon.
It’s conceivable, but not probable, that all three Western states could fall.
Obama is doing his best to help the Republicans with his “back of the bus” and “enemy” comments. Allowing himself to be called “dude” on National (cable) TV probably didn’t earn him any votes from Americans who feel the Office of the President deserves more respect than say, your local pharmacist.
An excerpt from above written by Dana Milbank (a guy who actually likes the President)
” ‘You don’t want to use that phrase, dude,’ Stewart recommended with a laugh. Dude. The indignity of a comedy show host calling the commander in chief “dude” pretty well captured the moment for Obama.”

Warning to the French

October 27, 2010

Bin Laden issues a warning to the French
Whether Muslims in Europe consider themselves a vanguard or not, it’s pretty clear that Islamists do. Don’t be surprised if Iran uses its pending nuclear arsenal to try dictate how governments in Europe treat this particular minority.
I’ve been wondering if that’s what the arsenal is really for. What would Iran get from attacking Israel, other than annihilation? But cowing Europe? That would really be useful.

The Truth will Set us Free

October 26, 2010

Anyone who supports this guy really needs to take a look at how much they believe the means justify the ends.
This is the lead story on Drudge right now.
“He [Obama] said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. Now that progress has been made, he said, “we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”
Yeah, I know. This is just one statement. I no longer care. He’s exceeded the threshold of reasonable doubt, but he’s, at least he’s done it in a useful manner.
He’s spelled out how much he didn’t mean what he said during his campaign about working across the aisle. And he’s used inflammatory racist allusions to do it, which demonstrates how little he considers or respects the Republican (and a lot of Independents) point-of-view.
These are ideas beneath the dignity of the Office he holds. Earlier I wrote about Soviet apologists. You really have to be an Obama apologist not to be enraged.
As a [particular] friend would say, “UBELIEVABLE.”
. . . they just can’t seem to hide the unconscious contempt they have for their fellow citizens:
“That’s why Couric has spent recent weeks in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and New Brunswick, New Jersey. She is touring what she calls “this great unwashed middle of the country” in an effort to divine the mood of the midterms.”
Someone should ask her what constitutes the part of the country that’s washed?
If places like Chicago (at least geographically this one is correct), Philadelphia, Boston, and New Brunswick are the middle of the country, then there isn’t much of our proud national to be classified as clean.
I couldn’t finish this puff piece because the unwarranted condescension just got to me.
(More nods to Drudge)

What can be said. . .

October 24, 2010

. . . about NPR’s firing of Juan Williams that isn’t immediately obvious? I’m not sure, but I’m going to try.

First, to be honest, I simply can’t listen to NPR. Oddly, I can read an editorial by Paul Krugman, but I can’t get past a minute or two of NPR before I turn it off in frustration. Until recently I haven’t had an explanation for this, but, perhaps, I have now.
Reading an editorial is a personal thing. When reading it I don’t think of all the other people reading it who may be swayed by it. Secondly, editorials are written. You can go back, reread them, find the flaws (or virtues) in the arguments, respond to them.
Broadcast media are not personal. It’s impossible for me to not think of all the other people being influenced by them. And there is for all intents and purposes no record. One can be as subtly (or overtly) biased as he or she wishes. An expressed thought creates an impression which then can not be checked. But the impression remains. I always want to rebut just about everything I hear on NPR, but the medium doesn’t really allow for that.
That and the idea of the Federal Government supporting a news outlet directed at Americans strikes me as antithetical to a Democratic system.
Nothing original in all that.
But in reading about this story,I have come across a phrase that describes an idea worthy of exploration: “Preference Cascade.”
A preference cascade is created when a people who have been conditioned to behave in a way that contradicts their own beliefs realize that others feel the same way which frees them. This is how people like Chris Christie can gain popular support (so far) for taking positions in places where such ideas would seem inhospitable. Another one to watch for the same reason is Tom Pawlenty.
George Will had a take on that today: http://www.freedompolitics.com/articles/pawlenty-2100-minnesota-state.html This paragraph sums up Will’s belief that today’s politics is shaped by echoes from the past as well as why Pawlenty may be appealing to Republicans and Independents in 2012.
“Settled by many Scandinavians and Germans who arrived with European, especially Bismarckian, notions of social democracy, Minnesota has furnished leaders of American liberalism — Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone. In the four decades before Pawlenty was elected governor in 2002, the average two-year increase in state spending was 21 percent. During his tenure, the average annual increase has been 2 percent. He says the current two-year budget cycle will be the first in 150 years in which spending will be cut in real, constant dollars.”
Back to preference cascade: I quote from the article referenced by the link below:
“I think one of the reasons the hardcore liberals who run NPR terminated Williams is their desire to abort a preference cascade.  This is one of the major reasons black conservatives, or those like Williams who express some appreciation for the conservative viewpoint, are treated so harshly by the left.  The Democrat Party, political vehicle of the Left, depends on nearly-absolute support from black voters for its very survival.  Second thoughts from such a captive constituency would be deadly.

As described by Glenn Reynolds in a classic 2002 essay, a preference cascade occurs when people trapped inside a manufactured consensus suddenly realize that many other people share their doubts.  Preference falsification works by making doubters feel isolated and alone.  In a totalitarian society, the dissenter fears that if he speaks up, his will be a lone voice, easily squashed by the enforcers of the regime.  When dissenters realize they are not alone, and the true strength of their numbers becomes apparent, “invincible” regimes vanish with astonishing speed.

The same effect can occur without brutal oppression, when fear of ostracism and ridicule cause people to suppress their own doubts. This kind of preference falsification requires strict discipline from the makers of opinion.  Since a free society makes it very easy for individuals to change their opinions, they must be prevented from even considering such a change.  Manufactured consensus is very fragile in a competitive arena of ideas, when there is no fearsome penalty for a “Fresh Air” listener who decides to switch over to Rush Limbaugh.”
It would be an interesting exercise to identify issues where Americans are saying or doing things that contradict their core beliefs. These are the sorts of thing leaders can tap into by giving people permission to express what they feel they can’t. It could be me, but I think Liberals stand to lose more should this inconsistency be resolved.
. . . then you should check out Investor’s Business Daily.
Here’s one revealing the Chevy Volt gets 30-40 MPG somewhat lower than the 230 claimed. Can anyone claim to be surprised?
Here’s one describing what a  ruthless, hypocrite Barney Frank is.

NSC Appointment

October 21, 2010

Obama’s is apparently beyond caring to pretend he considers national security important
Perhaps, one of Donilon’s major objectives will be to have other nations feel better about their own national security. Our allies excepted, I’m sure most already do.
. . . to see that reform is going to be a lot more expensive than anyone has publicly stated. It’s possible another purpose of this legislation is tie up so much money in this mess so as to require us to reduce our military spending to the end of reducing the role the US plays in the world, which is, after all, another Progressive objective.
Two for one; brilliant.
As the government gets more control it will then be required to determine (as National Health Care systems tend to do) which procedures are worth doing. It’s instinct will be to pay less for everything. How can anyone argue differently? That’s it’s approach to Medicare and Medicaid. What’s going to change?
This will result in a reduction in the supply of health care. The next stage will be for the government to tell us to lead more healthy lives so as to better serve the State by reducing it’s expenses. This is already in motion and anyone who thinks this isn’t going to happen fundamentally does not understand the mentality and the incentives that apply to a human being predisposed to being and having the responsibilities of a regulator.
If absolute power corrupts absolutely then a people essentially surrendering themselves to the state in this regard will be prepared to give up everything else. (The premise of that sentence would require more argumentation to justify the conclusion than for which I have time at the moment.)
Regardless of economics, people who value freedom must oppose this law on moral and ethical grounds. Time to start throwing tea into the Bay. Someone might want to start a movement based on that premise.
On the other hand if one values equality of outcome regardless of the level of service and the mentally debilitating impact on a nation’s citizenry (look at riots in Greece and France from people not receiving benefits that are simply impossible to deliver), then this law is spot on.
We fought the Revolutionary War over much less than this.
. . . of the clear thinking that goes on in the citizenry of the United States, then please read this article for reassurance.
The troops understand the implications of our revised approach in Afghanistan, even it if eludes the “great, scientific minds” in the Administration.