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:: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 ::

A Call to Arms Addendum 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 7:08 PM

In the midst of composing and posting “A Call to Arms,” I left one remark of mine unclarified regarding the president’s veto powers. It was clear in my head, but not in my words. What I meant to say was that the president can veto even repeal legislation, but his veto can be overridden if two-thirds of the House and Senate so vote. In Obama’s instance, he would work to ensure that no such bill to repeal (for example, ObamaCare) ever got out of committee in either chamber and made its way to formal debate or to a roll call vote. Also, I have added a link to that section of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 7, which discusses presidential veto powers. And I have added in italics a clarifying sentence to this paragraph:

The president can veto any repeal of Obamacare, but Congress, if it has the votes, can override his veto with a two thirds majority in each house. This is a check on executive powers anticipated by the authors of the Constitution, one intended to forestall executive despotism. That is, he can veto a repeal bill but expect or risk his veto being overridden by a majority in Congress.

My apologies for the confusion.

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A Call to Arms 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 8:49 AM

There are three armed and activated surface-to-air, heat-seeking political missiles ready to launch, and one in reserve, armed but not yet activated. The target? ObamaCare, better known to its authors as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (HR 3590), passed by the House on March 21, and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23. After it is “reconciled” with the Senate version, it will be just more of the same.

ObamaCare not only is a usurpation of the Constitution -- that document has been adulterated before, which is why the advocates of national health care or socialized medicine have been so confident that HR 3590 would pass and not be seriously questioned by the courts -- and a deliberate discarding of the enumerated powers of the legislative and executive branches of government. It is a law that consciously, with malice aforethought, abrogates the individual rights of Americans ensured by that document. It does not merely abridge those rights; it renders them null and void.

With the strokes of twenty-two souvenir pens, President Barack Obama enlisted Americans into an involuntary army of indentured serfs, to perform services of submission at their own cost. The costs will be astronomical, the laughable explanations and assurances of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid, and others to the contrary notwithstanding -- making them liars. Its numbers are not only suspect, but outright fraudulent. Honest economists and observers have taken the trouble to crunch those numbers and expose the fraud, deceit and criminal legerdemain. The fiscal fraud is only one aspect of legislation loaded with many unsavory elements, such as the creation of a paramilitary “civilian army” commanded by the White House, and the drafting of doctors, even retired ones, into a “ready reserve” to combat emergencies.

ObamaCare will not reduce the federal deficit or save anyone money. Any money saved -- projected at about $140 billion, out of a projected $13 trillion -- will be eaten up by rising costs and inflation. It raids other “entitlement” programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, to make the legislation palatable. ObamaCare is a prescription for catastrophe, a shiny bottle of pills featuring a smile button pasted over a skull and crossbones. Robert J. Samuelson, for example, crunched the numbers and wrote an excellent critique of the legislation in the Washington Post. Commenting on the ongoing government debt, he stated:

Let's be clear. A "budget crisis" is not some minor accounting exercise. It's a wrenching political, social and economic upheaval.


And that is exactly what Obama and his co-conspirators want, the better to transform the United States into a giant slave camp. The enemy missile, unless it is brought down, will deliver a kind of economic and political electromagnetic pulse, calculated to bring everything and everyone to a standstill. So, it is not an issue of Obama and his gang not knowing mathematics. They know the math; they are subversives in office and by appointment.

The witnesses to this act of treason chortled, smiled, applauded, laughed and hugged each other in triumph. There was gaffe-happy, not-quite-all-there Vice President Joe Biden, looking fatherly with his hands on the shoulders of some kid who “campaigned“ for ObamaCare. There was scandal-forgiven-by-Pelosi Charles Rangel. There was Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late and also scandal-ridden Edward Kennedy of Chappaquiddick fame. There was the prissy, porcine face of Henry Waxman. There was Reid, Bernard Madoff’s alter ego in the Senate. And, there was Speaker Nancy Pelosi, beaming malevolently like the Nurse Ratched she is.

"Health care is no longer a promise, it is the law of the land," Obama exulted
.

And gaffe-happy Biden whispered in Obama’s ear for all the world to hear:

"You did it. It's a big f---ing deal."


A cast of hundreds witnessed the act, all 219 Democrats who voted for the bill. It would be impossible to write a satire of the event, when so many of the accomplices and abettors are already caricatures of evil.

Life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness? Gone with the wind.

Life? According to ObamaCare, your life belongs to the state, which will decide whether or not it is worth preserving. Liberty? Whatever the state permits you to do. Property? You are merely a steward of wealth and material goods, until it is clamed by the state. The pursuit of happiness? The state will decide what constitutes happiness, and your pursuit of it will be monitored and regulated. In short, the state owns you.

Unless Americans can reclaim their lives. And if they want to, they had better hurry. They should heed the words of their friends and enemies. On the totalitarian ingredients of ObamaCare, the Tenth Amendment Center wisely quoted two figures at opposite ends of the political spectrum:

“Medicine is the keystone of the arch of socialism” and “The goal of socialism is communism.” -- Vladimir Lenin

“Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” -- Thomas Jefferson


Our first missile might be effective, and this is a heavily qualified might. Several states have passed resolutions or plan to invoke the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


That retaliation might fly, if it is also buttressed by citing the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people
.

These resolutions and states’ invocations are intended to nullify the compulsory elements in ObamaCare, and will rely on interpretations of the commerce clause, or Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, which states that Congress is empowered:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes....


My readings of the Founders’ meaning of that clause is that it was intended to empower the federal government to establish uniformity in commercial law, to nullify brigandish, fiat state laws that might violate the rights of American citizens engaged in commerce.

The monkey wrench in this approach, regardless of the motives of state governors and attorneys general, is the issue of taxing and regulating authority. As I noted in “Murder, She Wrote”:

A state's well-intended protection of its citizens against federal taxing power, after all, will be seen as virtual secession. The states would, explicitly or implicitly, be challenging the federal government’s power to tax, as stated in the 16th Amendment, ratified in 1913:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.


A challenge to the mandated purchase of government-approved health insurance must logically and necessarily challenge that taxing power. Non-compliance by an individual in any state would result in a penalty tax. A state might ensure an individual’s right to not buy the insurance, but would be helpless to prevent that individual from being punished by the federal government. Such resolutions and acts by the states would be as weather vanes blowing in the wind.

So, it is the taxing authority of the federal government that must also be challenged. That event would be earth-shaking, for it would threaten all of the federal government’s powers to regulate and tax commerce and individuals (as well as the states’, counties‘, and municipalities’ own taxing powers).


Where do federal powers end, and state powers begin? The Constitution is quite clear on where. The specter of secession is no little matter. The states might succeed in upholding their sovereignty, but be required to see their citizens or residents submit to federal sovereignty (chiefly its taxing authority). It would be tantamount to Americans being taxed by Canada or Britain to subsidize the national health care systems in those countries. One issue the states will need to face or evade is their own power to regulate insurance companies. They cannot credibly challenge the federal power to tax and regulate without questioning their own.

But, the Democrats have demonstrated fathomless contempt for the Constitution, and for individual rights (provided they’ve even heard of them), they have denied and disparaged those rights, and the rule of law, and even Congress’s own protocols and rules. That contempt is best summed up in the immortal words of House member Alcee Hastings:

When the deal goes down…all this talk about rules…we just make ‘em up, as we go along.


Most state lawsuits against ObamaCare are fueling up at the wrong gas stations. These lawsuits, while many cite the unconstitutionality of the legislation, center their arguments on irrelevancies, such the funding of abortions, and plans to include non-tax-paying illegal immigrants in the raft of alleged benefits of compulsory health insurance. One lawsuit, filed privately by Conservative attorney Larry Klayman, is demanding that the administration release documents recording the “wheeling and dealing” behind closed doors with the pharmaceutical industry and other lobbyists over the bill’s contents.

Klayman’s suit refers to reports of meetings between administration officials on the "Health Reform De Facto Advisory Committee" and lobbyists representing the pharmaceutical industry, Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AARP and others….Klayman said the advisory committee has been tasked to design a policy that “is intended, at its endpoint, to socialize the American health care system.


Klayman is right about the endpoint. But the information he is seeking, while potentially, incriminating and sensational, is basically circumstantial to what should be the principal object of his suit: that ObamaCare violates individual rights, and should be repealed.

Other lawsuits contend that the compulsory provisions in the legislation are unconstitutional because the commerce clause prohibits the federal government from compelling Americans to engage in any commerce (whether within states or over state lines), which mandatory commerce is then federally required and regulated. Other arguments will assert that legislating health care or health insurance is not one of the enumerated powers, and, because it is absent, is therefore unconstitutional.

Which leads us to the third missile battery: repeal of ObamaCare. This is probably the most credible idea for striking down the legislation. If passed, Obama would be powerless to stop it. Repeal would be introduced as a special bill to be voted on by both Houses, but it would not be one loaded with line items and special earmarks.

However, Republicans who advocate changing the provisions, while they may argue against the "public option" compulsory element of the law, will probably settle -- if it comes to that -- for reducing some of the provisions but not make any headway against the public option. It is the public option, after all, that is the driving force of it.

And if, miracle of miracles, the Republicans actually take up the cudgels and use them unsparingly against the Democrats over the public option, Obama would not be able to veto the repeal. A bill to repeal is not the same thing as a bill loaded with pork or set-asides and the like. The danger is that, even if the repeal movement reached that point, the Democrats could change the rules, and allow Obama to repeal it if they could not defeat it in the House and Senate. That may take a Constitutional amendment, however.

The president can veto legislation passed on to him by the Congress, but he cannot veto a Congressional repeal of legislation, whether or not he or a predecessor signed it into law. This is a check on executive powers anticipated by the authors of the Constitution, one intended to forestall executive despotism.

In the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to veto any bill passed by Congress. The president's veto power is limited; it may not be used to oppose constitutional amendments, and it may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress. In practice, the veto is used rarely by the president (although Franklin D. Roosevelt vetoed over 600 bills), and a bill once vetoed is rarely re-approved in the same form by Congress. The pocket veto is based on the constitutional provision that a bill fails to go into operation if it is unsigned by the president and Congress goes out of session within ten days of its passage; the president may effectively veto such a bill by ignoring it.


But you never know what the Democrats have planned. Their malice and power-lusting are as deep as the Mariana Trench. They mean to rule.

What has happened now is that the executive and legislative branches of the federal government have established a shared form of despotism. This has happened in the past -- with FDR and Congress in the 1930’s passing social and economic legislation that established the welfare state, for example -- but Obama and Congress have raised the practice to a new and perilous level. They have simply dismissed the Constitution (recall Obama’s derogatory remarks about that document, and Pelosi‘s “Are you serious?” answer to a reporter about the power of Congress to pass such legislation) and trumped it on the basis of "national need."

A bill to repeal would be so singular that it would stand by itself and not be packaged with other pieces of legislation.

A repeal is not the same thing as a legislative bill that the executive had the power to oppose or endorse within the limits of his office. It is a rebuke and a nullification. The only way Obama could fight against repeal is to do what he did with the Senate and the House -- glad-hand, strong-arm, and lobby behind closed doors to line up allies and aisle-crossers in both chambers. This is what he did, with Reid’s and Pelosi’s eager cooperation, to get ObamaCare passed in some form.

But we should not count on Republicans to advocate a clean decapitation. Some are talking about repealing the “harsher” provisions of the law -- as though one could pick and choose critical elements of tyranny and servitude. Others are advocating scrapping ObamaCare and “starting over again” with an overhaul of health insurance and medical care -- as though the federal government had an enumerated power to enter as an arbiter and regulator of insurance and health care.

The fourth missile battery will be activated only after all the others have failed, and, according to experts, such as former judge, author, and judicial analyst Andrew P. Napolitano, we would need to wait until January 1, 2014. That is when the legislation goes into full force, and that is when any challenge, private or state, could be filed with any hope of making it to the Supreme Court. Then, it may be years before the Court could hear a case charging the unconstitutionality of ObamaCare. It is a certainty that Obama et al. know this. Chances are that such a case will be made on non-essentials, and not on fundamental issues. Chances are that the Court (and lower federal courts) by then will be “packed” with justices who subscribe to Obama’s notion of a “living Constitution,” one whose meaning can be interpreted to mean anything but an absolute. Napolitano is not of that school. He warns:

Until then, there would be no legal case that individuals had been actually harmed by the law. Moreover, Napolitano says it takes an average of four years for a case to work its way through the various federal courts the final hearing that's expected to come before the Supreme Court. "You're talking about 2018, which is eight years from now, before it is likely the Supreme Court will hear this," he says.


Napolitano is an absolutist, in the sense that the words penned by the Founders have eternal, unalterable meanings. He notes:

“The Congress [is] ordering human beings to purchase something that they might not want, might not need, might not be able to afford, and might not want -- that's never happened in our history before," Napolitano says. "My gut tells me that too is unconstitutional, because the Congress doesn't have that kind of power under the Constitution."


The Constitution, he emphasizes,

“…was not created in order to right every wrong. It exists only to legislate in the 17 specific, discrete, unique areas where the Constitution has given it power. All other areas of human area [sic -- action?] are reserved for the states."


According to Obama and Congress, however, if the Constitution does not specifically prohibit Congress from intervening in any specific realm of the private sector or in individual lives or state powers of regulation (which Napolitano mentions but does not question), then Congress will intervene. If promoting and regulating health care was not part of a hypothetical, endless catalogue of things Congress may not intrude on, then it is permitted to intrude.

The President's plan, far from being constitutionally questionable, rests on what has rightly been called "the first of the constitutional achievements of the American people ... the formation of a national government that may lawfully deal with all national needs.


Who said that? Attorney General Holder? Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor? David Axelrod? Cass Sunstein? No. It was a memorandum to Attorney General Janet Reno in 1993, endorsing the constitutionality of President Bill Clinton’s (or Hillary’s) proposed national health care plan, co-authored by two Duke University Law School professors, Walter Dellinger and H. Jefferson Powell.

Stuff and nonsense, they wrote. The Constitution was written by a bunch of fussy old fogies in funny clothes and who spoke in odd patterns of speech.

The most fundamental constitutional challenge to national health care reform is that it lies beyond the power of Congress and the President to enact. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has long since rejected the crabbed view of national legislative authority that necessarily lies behind such a challenge.


Let us ignore challenges based on fundamentals, by all means. Never mind that health care legislation lies “beyond the power of Congress and the President to enact.” We need “reform.” Need trumps reason, rights, and the rule of law. That is the chant we have been hearing for two years now, ever since Obama ran for office.

We can only hope that one of these missiles blasts ObamaCare out of the sky, or that Americans rise up and demand that it be negatived. The latter would necessitate mass civil disobedience, of going on strike against not just the government, but against the altruist morality and collectivist politics that sired ObamaCare and whatever else Obama and his allies plan to do to the country. The alternatives are slavery -- or secession, civil war, anarchy, and an excuse for Obama or his successor to impose a dictatorship.

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:: Monday, March 22, 2010 ::

Murder, She Wrote 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 10:59 PM

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” — O’Brien to Winston Smith, Nineteen Eighty-Four*

Politically, mass civil disobedience is appropriate only as a prelude to civil war—as the declaration of a total break with a country’s political institutions. — Ayn Rand**


George Orwell’s quotation is best underscored with a photo of gloating, laughing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, hefting an over-sized gavel, one allegedly used to hammer semi-socialist Medicare Reform into law, as she lead her fawning boy toys into the House. If you want a picture of America’s future, imagine her pounding the faces of Americans with that gavel, or twisting her heel into the face of anyone who opposes her, for the sheer pleasure of it. She looks like a frivolous, mentally light-weight Society matron, but she has the soul of a killer and the shrewdness of a successful gangster. She is the distaff version of Tony Soprano, or of James Taggart of Atlas Shrugged, who wanted to hear John Galt scream. It was she who “pressured” Obama and Reid into going for broke, instead of passing health care “reform” piecemeal.

Just who is the actual President of the United States? I can’t recall our having elected a matriarch.

And, to clarify Rand's observation -- it is President Barack Obama, Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and every Congressman who voted "Yea," and every Senator who voted for the Senate version of the same bill, who have broken with the country's political institutions to form an illegitimate statist government. The Constitution is quite clear on that matter.

Mass civil disobedience, if it can be communicated and orchestrated, is the proper response to such treason. That treason is represented in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (HR 3590), passed by the House on March 21, 10:49 p.m., on a “motion to concur in Senate Amendments.” The Democrats squeaked by with a majority of 219 for, 212 votes against. All one hundred and seventy-eight Republicans voted against the bill, and thirty-four Democrats. Readers with strong stomachs may read the proceedings of the 21st here. Readers who wish to go blind or insane reading the bill’s full text, may go here.

What is the political institution that has been usurped? A federal government constrained in its powers by the Constitution (before the Sixteenth or income tax amendment, and the Eighteenth Amendment, or Prohibition amendment), limited in its powers over individuals and states, and prohibited from expanding those powers through legislation or the courts.

In short, a government constitutionally fettered in the exercise of its power, but limited in that power to uphold and protect individual rights. And that is all.

Instead, we hear Pelosi crowing about her victory in Sunday’s health care vote in the House:

In doing so, we will honor the vows of our founders, who in the Declaration of Independence said that we are ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ This legislation will lead to healthier lives, more liberty to pursue hopes and dreams and happiness for the American people. This is an American proposal that honors the traditions of our country.


One wishes one had the power to prohibit such creatures from quoting thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson, to prevent them from perverting the meaning of the words of their moral and intellectual superiors. Pelosi’s intention, however, was to pervert the meaning of the Declaration’s principles; make no mistake about that. Of course, there is nothing in the Constitution that mentions “health care” or any Congressional power to legislate for or against it. But words, concepts, and clear meanings are nothing to Pelosi and her co-conspirators in the White House and Congress.

The task now is to educate Americans on that point, and to persuade them to support every effort to repeal and challenge Obamacare in court -- as well as support any individual who refuses to comply and is persecuted or rounded up by the government. Americans must be persuaded of the true, evil nature of Pelosi, Reid, Obama and that whole gang. Because that gang has usurped the Constitution in complete contempt of it, of the moral principles underlying it, and of the American people, we no longer have a "representative" government -- but a clique of tyrants. This is what we must convince Americans of -- enough of them to make a difference.

I find little solace in the Democrats being dethroned in November, which is a virtual certainty. Republicans may replace most of them in the House, but I have no confidence in their ability or motive to oppose Obamacare and get it sliced, diced, or even repealed. More likely, because they share with the Democrats the same altruist premises, they will simply seek to lessen the harsher provisions of the tyranny, such as possibly disconnecting the IRS’s expanded power to collect, enforce, and punish. For as long as the Republicans do not challenge the law on moral grounds, they will remain abettors to the crime, as “fiscal conservatives” -- as they have always been with Democratically inspired “social legislation” and economic “reform.”

Should the Republicans anger the electorate as do-nothing compromisers, the Democrats may find themselves back in the saddle in 2012. Columnist Mark Steyn makes a trenchant observation about why Pelosi and the Democrats do not care if they are massacred next November.

Look at it from the Dems' point of view. You pass Obamacare. You lose the 2010 election, which gives the GOP co-ownership of an awkward couple of years. And you come back in 2012 to find your health care apparatus is still in place, a fetid behemoth of toxic pustules oozing all over the basement, and, simply through the natural processes of government, already bigger and more expensive and more bureaucratic than it was when you passed it two years earlier. That's a huge prize, and well worth a midterm timeout.


In short, the Democrats are not bothered by an electoral ostracism. The little golden treasure box of power goodies will still be there after the Republicans have cursed it but cozened the electorate by leaving all its confiscatory essentials intact, kinder, gentler, but still toxic to individual rights and liberty.

Several states have already passed resolutions, or plan to file lawsuits, citing the 10th Amendment or the right of nullification of federal law, stating that their citizens are not legally required to purchase federally mandated health insurance.

However, it will not be enough for states' attorneys general to file lawsuits against mandatory health insurance, or to cite nullification. They must also challenge the IRS enforcement provisions in the law as part of those suits. If the IRS can threaten to empty an individual’s bank account for non-compliance of the law, state law not obliging him to buy federal health insurance will not be much protection. Do not doubt the extent of thuggery Obama et al. have intended this law to reach.

A state's well-intended protection of its citizens against federal taxing power, after all, will be seen as virtual secession. The states would, explicitly or implicitly, be challenging the federal government’s power to tax, as stated in the 16th Amendment, ratified in 1913:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.


A challenge to the mandated purchase of government-approved health insurance must logically and necessarily challenge that taxing power. Non-compliance by an individual in any state would result in a penalty tax. A state might ensure an individual’s right to not buy the insurance, but would be helpless to prevent that individual from being punished by the federal government. Such resolutions and acts by the states would be as weather vanes blowing in the wind.

So, it is the taxing authority of the federal government that must also be challenged. That event would be earth-shaking, for it would threaten all of the federal government’s powers to regulate and tax commerce and individuals (as well as the states’, counties‘, and municipalities’ own taxing powers). What are the chances of that challenge being made by the states singly or collectively? I do not hold out hope.

Furthermore, most states are dependent on federal funds for highways, education and other subsidized realms. They are addicted to federal assistance. Washington can retaliate by threatening to withhold or deny those subsidies and funds. And the challenge more likely will go poof.

That is one big carrot dangling at the end of the federal two-by-four.

Many of the proposed lawsuits against Obamacare are focusing on the language of the Constitution. One of the more credible arguments is that while Congress may regulate commerce between the states (the term regulate meaning something entirely different to the Founders, chiefly that individual state commercial law should have some uniformity), how can Congress regulate non-activity or no commerce? Or cause the commerce to occur, such as mandating the purchase of health insurance, whether within states or across state lines, and then “regulate“ it?

I would believe in the efficacy of such arguments were we not up against a gangster government (thank you, Michelle Bachmann, for that term) to whom words, oaths of office, individual rights, private property, privately earned wealth, and constitutional language mean absolutely nothing. This has been so amply and obviously demonstrated by Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their gang that I will not recount the numerous incidents there.

The Supreme Court regained some credibility when it ruled unequivocally in favor of the First Amendment in the Citizens United case. Should a challenge to Obamacare ever reach that court, could we count on an encore of that glorious moment? I am placing no bets, especially if Obama has a chance to pack the court after the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.

Barack Obama seems to be just a willing stooge, a youngster putty in the hands of a seasoned politician. The Wicked Witch of the West, the Harridan of the House, the Nurse Ratched of what she treats as her own private cuckoo’s nest -- America -- is but one half of the real power behind the throne in the White House. The other half is equally repellent, Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff and professional enforcer.

Bonnie and Clyde, if you will, who boasted that they robbed banks. And committed murder. Oh, I could call Pelosi especially so many more names, few of them printable here.


*Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four: Text, Sources, Criticism, 1963. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1982 edition), p. 178.

**”The Cashing-in: The Student Rebellion,” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, by Ayn Rand. 1965. New York: Signet, 1967, pp. 256-7.

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:: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 ::

Of Tom Hanks, the “Slaughter House,“ Polar Bears, and Bronx Cheers 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 8:31 PM

The avalanche of news and pending developments has compelled me to take a “shotgun” approach to the issues.

The Sands of Iwo Jima, according to Tom Hanks

Actor/Producer Tom Hanks made some unconventional, controversial remarks about the Pacific campaign during World War II. He more or less claimed that the conflict between American and Japanese forces was motivated by racism, not by ideas. Let me rephrase that: It was more a matter of American racism than it was stopping Imperial Japan’s version of Nazi’s Germany’s Lebensraum, a policy that could just as well have included the annexation of the West Coast if the U.S. had not recovered from Pearl Harbor.

Back in World War II,” he says, “we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”


One really is at a loss to task Hanks on this matter. He is a fine actor and heir to the mantle of also gregarious actor Jimmy Stewart (who actually piloted bombers over Germany). One is reluctant to slap his face silly, saying, “Wake up and smell the history!” but instead put a encouraging hand on his shoulder and say, “Read a few more books, son, before you make a fool of yourself.” But he did speak the words, and must take the slapping.

True, the Japanese were out to kill us. Just as they were out to kill the Chinese, the Koreans, the Filipinos, the Burmese, the Indians and any Europeans who were unlucky enough to be in the way of the Japanese march to “co-prosperity” at the point of a gun. Aside from race, just how “different” was our “way of living” from the Japanese “way of living”? Even with its nascent welfare state, America was still a relatively free country. Shinto and emperor worship, allied with bushido-driven fascist militarism, governed Japan. Also, the hubris of racial superiority.

True, many American soldiers went to war as racists. Much of the war propaganda was themed on race. But while Japanese war and political policy was racially motivated, American war and political policy was not. Its policy was: Defeat the aggressor. There was no trace of “moral equivalence” in those days. Victor David Hanson noted in his fine article, “Is Tom Hanks Unhinged?”:

Despite Hanks’ efforts at moral equivalence in making the U.S. and Japan kindred in their hatreds, America was attacked first, and its democratic system was both antithetical to the Japan of 1941, and capable of continual moral evolution in a way impossible under Gen. Tojo and his cadre.


Was our military out to “annihilate” the Japanese? No, not as a race, not even as a culture. Just its rank-and-file soldiers, who were indoctrinated to fight to the death in the realm of physical force. They owed their lives to the emperor, to their ancestors, and to die was to honor them. For our forces, it was a matter of killing them, or being killed by them. The stories of the suicidal combat and behavior of the Japanese brought back by soldiers, seamen, and Marines who fought them are legion.

So, it makes one wonder what interpretation Hanks would put on the European campaign. Was that fought from racist motives? He would be hard put to make such an argument, unless he claimed that “we” just didn’t like their cuisine, beer-drinking habits, folk-dances, and guys in funny uniforms who shouted speeches in a guttural language to mass rallies of true believers.

And, what did Hanks mean by “Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?” Frankly, no, it isn’t familiar with anything that’s going on today. It is difficult to construe any meaning in this statement, unless he was referring to Islam’s ongoing war against the West, or perhaps to Iraq and Afghanistan, or to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. He did not qualify or clarify his remark. Neither did he shed any light on his meaning during an interview. He didn’t back-pedal. He stuck to his original remark and said that “America overcoming racism is taking an awfully long time.” Really? America boasts a black president, blacks on the Supreme Court, blacks in Congress, senior officers in the military, intellectuals and writers of many races, doctors, scientists, Japanese and Indian financiers, innovators, CEO’s…have I left anyone out? Perhaps Muslims and Patagonians.

Bill Gates’ “Final Solution”

One would think that Bill Gates, preeminent apologizer for his success and wealth, would know better than to jump on the anthropogenic global-warming wagon and say foolish things. But, he believes in it. And not only does he believe in it, he has a solution. During this year’s “Technology, Entertainment, Design” (TED) conference, he discussed the absolute necessity of reducing CO2 emissions to zero percent. His talk omitted any reference to the Climategate scandal surrounding the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (and, as accomplices, NASA, NOAA, and sundry battalions of government-funded climatologists the world over), whose computers were diddled with and rigged and arm-twisted to produce the right politically-correct data and scary models. In his talk, Gates seemed to be oblivious to the headlines about the data-dumping conspiracy, a strange thing for a man to be whose career was devoted to creating computer software.

Addressing methods to reduce carbon emissions to zero, he suggested that, “if we do a good job on new vaccines, healthcare, and reproductive health services we could lower that [carbon emissions] by 10-15%.”

Did he forget that everyone in the audience, and he himself, was exhaling CO2? As was everyone else on the planet? Including all the inhabitants of the sink-holes he’s pouring his wealth into? All right. We’ll cut him some slack here. We’ll assume that he actually meant cutting CO2 emissions to zero by setting aside the human race’s own emissions and not including them in his equations. Then what? If the zero point is to be maintained, it means that we will all just sit around twiddling our thumbs until we drop dead from starvation (growing food entails producing those greenhouse gases), freeze to death or collapse from heat stroke (from seasonal climate changes), or begin to murder and cannibalize each other until a population number acceptable to Gates and his worry-warts is reached. Call that number a “critical mass.”

But, no one need starve to death or endure a slow death at the hands of nature. Bill will help to reduce the population with new vaccines, healthcare, and reproductive health services -- all necessarily administered by the state, although he doesn’t allude to that. His chosen panel of experts will decide who is to reproduce, and who isn’t, who is to receive medical care (when available), and who isn‘t. And if you are not lucky enough to be deemed an asset to the state, would you be so kind as to drop dead? We really wouldn’t want to resort to force, when things could become ugly.

Bill Gates either means what he says -- or he should stop to think before speaking. But, he hasn’t clarified his remarks, either, so we must assume he means what he says.

Those “Deeming” Democrats, or, The “Slaughter” on East Capitol Street

Speaking of “deeming,” Nancy Pelosi has a solution to voting for the health care bill this week: Don’t vote for it! That is, forgo the whole roll call business in the House and just "deem" the bill passed. That is, not vote on the equally horrendous Senate version of the bill. Then send the House version without amendments to the White House for certain signature. An excellent way to bypass all those troublesome socialist health care "deniers."

The "Slaughter" here is House Rules Chairman Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who CongressDaily reported Wednesday is "prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill." She is reportedly considering putting forth a rule that would dictate that the Senate version of the bill is automatically passed through the chamber once the House passes a corrections bill making changes to it.


This is the same Louise Slaughter of “her dead sister’s false teeth” fame I mentioned in a previous post, when she participated in the bogus “bipartisan” conference of fading memory. But, rather than belabor the obvious evil of any health care bill, there is an aspect of this enervating sordidness that has been overlooked, or not completely grasped. You look at the grunge who are running and ruining this country -- from the White House to Congress and all the way down to the mail room staff at the IRS or FDA or any federal agency or department you care to name -- and you must ask yourself: What moves them? What are they counting on? I can do no better than include here a remark I made in an email to a friend on the character and behavior of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

Just read your comments here, and it caused me to grasp the horrible motive behind especially Pelosi's actions, statements and arrogance: She can't help but realize that if her "beloved" health care passes -- without or without a vote, with a roll call or with just a "deeming" -- she will be voted out of office. I am certain that she doesn't care if the Democrats suffer a massacre in November, and that she is willing to sacrifice her own political career to get this bill passed.

She and Reid and Obama and Hoyer and the rest were willing to throw other Democrats under the bus. What can you say about someone who, driven by an obvious, naked malice for freedom and a demonstrable contempt for Americans and this country (remember her "Are you kidding?" reply to the reporter who asked if health care was enumerated in the Constitution?), is willing to help destroy this country, even if it means sacrificing herself? She has not only thrown some of her recalcitrant supporters under the bus, she herself has rolled under it.


There is the proof of the pudding -- the precise, unsweetened, undisguised character of altruism and self-sacrifice in action. She is the distaff James Taggart, a principal villain in Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged. She wants to hear America scream. She wants to laugh and say, “There! It’s law! Deal with it! You’re going to obey me even if it kills you!”

Would she care if she learned that tens of thousands of doctors and other medical professionals would quit if the bills passes? No. If millions of Americans engaged in mass civil disobedience and refused to cooperate with or submit to the law’s dictates? No. She will advocate the use of naked force. Obama would approve and give the order. After all, from the first day of his presidential campaign and throughout his administration, he has waged his own jihad against America. He, too, seeks submission. His friends the Islamists don’t have a monopoly on that end.

It’s time Americans woke up to that fact. It’s not just about health care. It’s about power. It’s about tyranny. It’s about destroying America.

Humpty Dumpty’s Crumbling Global-Warming Wall

Not surprisingly, the polar bears, the Amazon rain forests, the glaciers, the snail darters, woodpeckers of all sizes and colors, and spotted owls of yesteryear are doing just fine. They’re not disappearing, or melting, or perishing, or being driven to extinction. Gerald Warner in the London Daily Telegraph, however, focuses on just the polar bears and the rain forests in his unheralded article of March 16th, “Climategate: two more bricks fall out of the IPCC wall of deceit -- rainforests and polar bears.“ He writes, with some humor, after reporting on NASA‘s own findings that a slight decrease of rainfall over the Amazon rain forests did not turn Brazil into a vast Sahara desert:

So, the rainforest scare, like the Himalayan glaciers panic, is garbage. A further encouraging feature of this development is that genuine scientists are increasingly becoming emboldened to challenge the IPCC’s junk science: the Academy is beginning to reassert its integrity. AGW [anthropogenic global warming] without withered rainforests is Hamlet without the prince. It was one of those emotive claims much invoked by priggish children in the voice-overs of nanny-state “green” commercials, lecturing their elders on the stewardship of the planet.


And all of Al Gore’s disciples, soothsayers and king’s men can’t put it back up again.

In the meantime, Hollywood, or one of its suburban branches, insists on producing AGW scare movies. Rob Lyons in a Spiked Online article, “What’s wrong with exploiting nature?” delves into the latest non-block buster, “Dirty Oil,” about how awful it is that oil developers in Alberta, Canada, are despoiling the landscape and altering the bucolic lives of local inhabitants.

With greens constantly assuring us that the day of reckoning for ‘peak oil’ is just around the corner, being able to exploit Canada’s oil sands to increase the total world reserves of oil and provide energy security seems a pretty good deal. But Dirty Oil seems uninterested in the wider economic benefits of oil-sands production.


Practically my only reservation about Mr. Lyons’ article is that he innocently assumes that the “greens” are truly concerned about oil reserves and everyone‘s well-being. The “greens” would rather everything come to an oil-starved halt and everyone be so good as to take a powder.

Israel’s Bronx Cheer to Obama, Clinton, and Biden

Finally, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu cocked a snook at President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Vice-President Joe Biden by announcing the continuation of Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem, and on the very day Biden was in Israel to talk him out of it.

It left US Vice-President Joe Biden humiliated as he had traveled to the region in the hope of announcing the restart of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.


Biden, a buffoon, will get over the humiliation. He has the resilience of a rubber mouse pad.

Obama and Company would rather not see that construction take place because it would upset the Palestinians. The stateless Palestinians, you see, seem to be a better “client state” and ally to the U.S. than is Israel. The Palestinians do not recognize Israel’s right to exist -- indeed, Israel is missing from the maps Palestinian school books -- while Israel is expected to recognize their right to swamp Israel with its stateless manqués and so destroy it. The land at issue is land Israel won during the 1967 war.

Why would Obama and company side with losers? What could they possible gain in their ostensive fantasy of seeing Palestinians mix and mingle peacefully with Israelis in some Hegelian thesis-antithesis apotheosis? Daniel Pipes offers some advice to Obama, Clinton, and other policymaking denizens of the White House:

It concerns not a life-and-death issue, such as the menace of Iran's nuclear buildup or Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas predations, but the triviality of the timing of a decision to build new housing units in Israel's capital city. Wiser heads will insist that White House amateurs end this tempest in a teapot and revert to normal relations.


That advice is premised on the assumption that Obama and Company care about Iran’s nuclear buildup and Israel’s right to defend itself against Iran and the stateless beggars of non-existent Palestine, armed as they are by Hamas and Hezbollah. It presumes that the White House’s amateurs value “normal relations” with Israel. It asks that Obama and his fellow amateurs appreciate that it is a matter of life-and-death for Israel.

But, in truth, Obama does not value Israel. He would rather see it compromise and negotiate itself out of existence. Just as he would rather see America submit to socialism.

:: Permalink | 11 Comments ::

 

:: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 ::

Gore’s Wishes are Your Commands 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 3:29 PM

Former Vice-President Al Gore, star of the pseudo-documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Oscar for best documentary feature and garnered him a Nobel Peace Prize shared with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, continues beating his hockey sticks on the heads of an American public anxious about its future under multi-headed Hydra called Congress. He is determined to revive his Climategate-damaged credibility and salvage all the money he has invested in alternative energy companies -- whose “alternatives” are lower standards of living at higher costs, alternative energy sources dependent on the vagaries of nature (i.e., natural climate change) and the whims of bureaucrats.

On February 28, The New York Times carried his dour, straight-faced op-ed, “We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change,” in which he warns that “climate change” is real, notwithstanding that the whole anthropogenic global-warming thesis has been exposed as a politically-motivated conspiracy to foist false science on the world with doctored temperature numbers, hidden or destroyed evidence contrary to the thesis. Phil Jones and his colleagues at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia also ostracized and rebuffed “skeptics” who questioned or challenged the a priori conclusions Jones and his data manipulators wished to be accepted as truth. Gore’s only concession to the scandal is to admit to merely “two mistakes,” but dismisses them as irrelevant.

It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law. But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes.


Mistakes? Fraud and lies are “mistakes”? The first mistake was the acceptance as iron-bound truth that glaciers were melting as reported by a mountain-climbing magazine -- hardly a journal of scientific inquiry. The second “mistake” was climate researchers not wanting to prove their assertions and claims to climate “skeptics” who required such proof. Their willingness to dodge the British freedom of information law indicates an ulterior motive. It was the CRU’s version of taking the Fifth. Poor babies. They were “besieged” by the need to substantiate their claims. But revealing their doctored data would have not only blown their claims out of the water, but exposed them to the charge of being liars, and caused them to be discredited as “scientists.”

But the “stolen” emails reveal a multitude of “mistakes,” not least of which were the attempt to squelch dissent and the stonewalling of outside enquiries. The “mistakes” range from Phil Jones asking his accomplices in fraud to delete data being requested under the British Freedom of Information Act to another accomplice expressing his frustration with forcing the data and numbers to cooperate with the predetermined conclusion that global warming was “actual.”

Gore’s New York Times byline claims he is a “businessman.” That would be correct if businessmen by definition were scam artists and hucksters. But such a definition would comport with the character of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the CRU -- which have been exposed as dens of thieves and con-artists. Gore is in the right company.

It would be interesting to examine several of Gore’s main op-ed points.

What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged.


Gore’s reliance on the notion of consensus about global warming is critical to understanding why he continues to believe a lie he has been promoting for a decade. Consensus is nothing more than a number of individuals agreeing that something is true or false. But truth stands apart from human consciousness. It is independent of it. The number of minds that observe it, or call it something else, is irrelevant to its existence. Numbers of minds are not going to change it. As Ayn Rand once succinctly put it, “Fifty million Frenchmen can be as wrong as one.” Yet the vaunted consensus remains “unchanged” despite the beating the thesis has taken from the truth.

Gore comes off sounding like a television evangelist claiming that God exists, is all-merciful, and will forgive you your sins if you only obey him. The evangelist’s audience is composed of stunted minds for whom the proofs that God is a metaphysical impossibility would roll off their frontal lobes like water off a duck. It is the same with Gore’s true believers. They must believe, because they refuse to think and accept the evidence of their senses. These are the people, laymen and “scientists” alike, for whom faith is as trustworthy as certainty. So many people believe in anthropogenic global warming (decades ago it was global cooling); who are they to question such an impressive consensus? It must be true.

Michael Crichton, A.B. Anthropology at Harvard, commented on the historical role of consensus:

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus...



Gore opened his op-ed with:

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.


Yes, the “attacks” do indicate not only that there is no “unimaginable calamity” in store for the planet and human civilization (unless Iran uses nuclear weapons somewhere), but that they are legitimate critiques of junk science. Those attacks are as legitimate and deserving as exposés of junk economics, junk medicine, junk education, and junk multiculturism. That junkyard is more responsible for imperiling human civilization than any amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

And, I do not think Gore would be “relieved” if there were no crisis for him to exploit. His is the archetypical statist mentality that must have a crisis to serve as a platform through which to acquire power. He needs a crisis to justify his existence. He cannot project a single action of his own that would not “influence” others and establish him as a kind of Moses who received the word from God and is ready to lead the unwashed to salvation.

What has resorting to “green technologies” to do with national security? National security is the concern of our military and intelligence agencies. Whose environmental and regulatory policies made the U.S. dependent on a global oil market, specifically, a hostage of OPEC, all of whose members are hostile to this country? The federal government’s and those of a succession of administrations. Whose pragmatic foreign policies have made the Mideast the most unstable region of the world? Again, look to Washington. Aside from the hundreds of billions of dollars sent overseas for OPEC oil, we are sending hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid to prop up hostile regimes. But, according to Gore’s notion of foreign policy, no regime is so hostile that its “friendship” can’t be bought with foreign aid.

What “dwindling reserves” of oil? Studies indicate that the U.S. has more untapped oil off its shores than Saudi Arabia had before the feudalists there “nationalized” American and Western oil fields decades ago -- with our own government‘s sanction. And nowhere in his op-ed does Gore advocate the cleanest “alternative” energy yet invented: nuclear power.

Gore wrote:

Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States.


Just like computer models that cannot reliably project the weather twenty-four hours from now? These are the bane of meteorologists, in academia and on TV. Or computer models fed biased data to produce the “right” numbers? These are much like rigged slot machines. January was not seen as “unusually cold in much of the United States.” It was unusually cold. It’s winter, Al. Some winters are more severe than others. This has been the case for millions of years.

Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.


Note how Gore distinguishes between “climate deniers” and “scientists.” Anyone who disagrees with his assertions and the claims of the warmist tribe cannot be a scientist. He does not mention the hottest decade in recent memory, which was the 1930’s. Nor mention the Medieval Warm Period, something erased from his hockey stick graph and “hidden” in the CRU data. Which “scientists” in a consensus mood have confirmed that the last ten years were the hottest decade? Gore’s link takes one to NASA, implicated in the CRU scandal, and a report that relies on the “findings” of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

Throughout his op-ed, Gore blames “political paralysis” on governments not acting collectively to “combat” global warming, especially in Washington, a paralysis “now so painfully evident…has thus far prevented action by the Senate -- not only on climate and energy, but also on health care reform, financial regulatory reform and a host of other pressing issues.” He introduces a term I had not encountered elsewhere, the “atmospheric commons,” an idea whose root is the socialist/feudal status of land slowly abandoned by the enclosure of private property in Britain before the Industrial Revolution. He continually refers to CO2 as a “pollutant,” forgetting that people every day exhale more “pollutants” than all smokestacks and power plants that ever existed.

In a perfidious instance of concept subversion, Gore advocates what he and others call a “market-based solution” to combat global warming, cap-and-trade. But government-coerced “solutions” are anything but “market-based,” and are no more that than is Social Security, unemployment legislation, or just plain extortion. It is a deliberate misnomer.

What he and his ilk in Washington are advocating is a form of what Ayn Rand, in her novel Atlas Shrugged, described when the purchase and use of Hank Rearden’s new metal were forbidden except by government permission, and the sale and purchase of Taggart railroad bonds were similarly forbidden, both controls spawning black markets, politically connected transactions, and, for the railroad bonds, “a new profession practiced by bright young boys just out of college, who called themselves ‘defreeezers’ and offered their services ‘to help you draft your application in the proper modern terms.’ The boys had friends in Washington.”* As will, in a reality that is emulating the novel, cap-and-trade defreeezers.

Gore not only derogates “climate skeptics” and refuses to call them “scientists,” but peevishly lashes out at other critics and doubters of catastrophic climate change.

Simultaneously, changes in America’s political system — including the replacement of newspapers and magazines by television as the dominant medium of communication — conferred powerful advantages on wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets and weakened advocates of legal and regulatory reforms. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.


Aside from holding the bizarre notion that newspapers, magazines, and television comprise a part of “America’s political system,” Gore perpetuates the idea that they serve only the “wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets” and help to “weaken advocates of legal and regulatory reforms.” This is Marxism straight-up. The mainstream news media, however, are dominated by editors and news anchors friendly to Gore’s policies and to legal and regulatory reforms. The country’s major newspapers and broadcasting networks indeed act as a “potent drug in the veins of the body politic” -- but to Gore’s advantage, whether he knows it or not.

Gore snidely refers to Fox News and popular radio talk show hosts without naming them as “showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment.” No, Al. Americans who watch Fox News or listen to Limbaugh, Hannity and others are not “entertained”; they turn to them because they are tired of listening to the same old liberal pap in the MSM. Being told in no uncertain terms that they are being prepared for involuntary servitude hardly qualifies as amusement. Socialism means fetters and shackles and ration cards and sacrifice and no longer owning your own life.

Perhaps the scariest sentence in Gore’s essay is this one:

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.


The “rule of law”? Whose law? Used how and to what end? Gore can only mean redemption at the point of a gun. Pass a law -- cap-and-trade, compulsory health care, the regulation and taxation of carbon emissions, national service -- and employ government force as the instrument to compel obedience and compliance, and human redemption through “governance” is achieved.

Gore’s agenda and “counter-attack” against reason and reality fit perfectly into what columnist Mark Steyn has identified as a concerted but insidiously sly campaign by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and their allies in and out of Congress to establish the “legal” foundation of unbridled socialism in this country through primarily the health care legislation, even if it means sacrificing a Democratic majority to incensed voters next November.

Obamacare represents the government annexation of "one-sixth of the U.S. economy" – i.e., the equivalent of the entire British or French economy, or the entire Indian economy twice over. Nobody has ever attempted this level of centralized planning for an advanced society of 300 million people. Even the control-freaks of the European Union have never tried to impose a unitary "comprehensive" health care system from Galway to Greece. The Soviet Union did, of course, and we know how that worked out.


Obamacare would be just the beginning, or even arguably, just the continuation, of the absorption of every other facet and aspect of American life, and result in diminishing standards of living, virtual impoverishment, and the claustrophobic sense of living in a prison. The government’s obsession with “health” over the decades has conditioned many Americans to become self-conscious hypochondriacs sensitive to obesity, smoking, diet, nutrition, product safety, and anything else the government funds research to investigate what its otherwise idle “scientists” deem to be problems and crises. The relatively inauspicious hippie-inspired “ecology” movement has certainly come a long way -- unopposed -- and has been spurred by a political agenda from the start. “Earth Day,” April 22, first “celebrated” in 1970, also happens to be Lenin’s birthday. Coincidence, or intention? Ask the late Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, who wrote:

The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.


Doubtless, Al Gore would agree.

Some columnists ascribe the ravings of Gore about climate change and the concerted campaign by Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their numerous allies in and out of Congress to transform America into a prison of indentured servants to an ignorance of economics coupled with a blindness to history. But I do not believe the paucity of comprehension can be traced to mere illiteracy or to politicians being “slow learners” or conceptually dyslexic. The phenomenon has deeper, darker roots than that. John Chapman of the American Enterprise Institute, for example, offers an incisive comparison between the methods and ends of modern statists and Lenin’s, and remarks:

Marx and Lenin were brilliant intellectuals, and Mr. Obama may be as well. But all share a fundamental lack of understanding about how an economy based on the division of labor works, and how trade, sound money, and private property rights all serve to promote peaceful, harmonious social cooperation as evinced by this division of labor. As such, all fail to see how government policy errors can cause economic disasters, such as the 1930s or today's mess -- these leaders, like most members of the political class, fail to apprehend how wealth is created, and how this process is stultified via government interventions.


However, I think that Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al. do understand how all that works, and are out to destroy America. Like Al Gore, they claim (in so many obfuscating, rhetorically-sweetened words) to want to "remake" America. But the truth is that they wish to destroy the country for the sake of destroying it. I am confident that they know the consequences of their policies, and that they wish to plunge the country into economic chaos and civil anarchy. The death of America is their sole, unspoken vision, not fashioning a materialistic socialist paradise on earth. Otherwise, why would they keep insisting that "remaking" America would require sacrifices and hardship? Their vision of America is an America on its knees, or, as Ellsworth Toohey put it to Peter Keating in The Fountainhead, “locked, stopped, strapped -- and alive.“ They want Americans to take orders, to accept their wishes as their commands.

This, of course, requires a moral judgment of the responsible parties. They can be morally judged by their actions, and their actions speak volumes about their core motivation and ends. They are driven by unadulterated malice for freedom, private property, freedom of speech, and anything else the hallmark of liberty. That malice is what Obama et al. have in common. One can write the most eloquent defense of laissez-faire, free markets, market efficiency, fiscal responsibility, and so on -- but the creatures who inhabit government now do not really care how sound and unanswerable such proofs are. Destruction is their sole aim, and destruction they mean to bring about -- with no goal beyond that, except, perhaps, the sadistic pleasure of seeing vanquished Americans inhabit the desolate ruins of their country.

To combat that malice, the battle must be fought on moral terms. Moral judgment is what our would-be czars fear the most. And to fight that battle effectively, the whole altruist/collectivist axis must be refuted in the minds of Americans and discarded.

Wishing won’t make Al Gore go away, or see reason. To him and his ilk, truth is not just inconvenient -- it is unwelcome.

*Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. 1957. New York: Dutton, 35th Anniversary Edition, 1992, p. 352.

:: Permalink | 9 Comments ::

 

:: Thursday, March 04, 2010 ::

Our Paragons of Legislation 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 7:21 AM

Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes!
Bow, bow, ye tradesmen, bow, ye masses,
Blow the trumpets, bang the brasses,
Tantantara! Tzing, boom!

We are the peers of the highest station,
Paragons of legislation,
Pillars of the British nation.
Tantantara, tantara, tantara!
Tzing, boom, tzing, boom!

Entrance and March of the Peers
Gilbert and Sullivan, Iolanthe, 1882

That, more or less, is the heady, arrogant, snarky attitude of most Congressmen, senators and representatives alike -- not to mention that of President Barack Obama -- sans any melody. It has been more like bombastic nattering. It was expressed repeatedly over the last year over the health care bill, the various stimulus packages, most recently the jobs bill, in stubborn, nose-in-the-air defiance of the facts, and of the masses who participated in the tea parties and town halls. It continues today. They consider themselves the elite, the overweening Platonic guardians of the “public good,” the standard bearers of progressivism who will hear no protest, see no reason to argue with mere plebeians, and speak no evil in their campaign to coerce all Americans to comply with their wills and wishes.

But, just how “smart” are these pseudo-patricians? Not very. Most of them are career politicians, never having had to run a business or otherwise be responsible for their own lives -- and yet they presume to take responsibility for the lives of millions. If they retire or grow weary of politics, they usually repair to a law firm or academia. They are insulated from the real world of cause and effect. People move and work and generate wealth. The world in which people move, work and generate wealth, is, to them, alien, unfriendly, unattractive, and not a little frightening. It is a world they choose to keep at arm’s length.

They can pass legislation ruinous to the average American, and then put the ruined American on the dole -- on which he must pay a tax. But if, by chance, the legislation is recognized (usually by grudging consensus) as disastrous, they do not face the visceral consequences of their actions, or endure the destruction they have wrought. They are indemnified against any and all noxious outcomes. They employ taxpayer revenue to destroy revenue. If, perchance, they find themselves opposed, they fight back with the money extorted from those who oppose them, while those who oppose them must fight back at their own additional time and expense.

Old World patricians, or those of a past American age, had class and some presence of mind. By patrician, Thomas Jefferson comes to mind, and James Madison. Even Lincoln, for his humble beginnings, was a patrician of the spoken and written word. What passes for the appellation today? What is the personal, intellectual and moral caliber of those many, many dozens who presume to rule over the masses and tell them what is good for them?

Louise Slaughter, D-New York, Chairman of the House Rules Committee, and a busy-body advocate of Obamacare, is one of those “patricians.”

The Fox Nation has run a revealing video of Representative Slaughter. She seemed to be auditioning for a gig on Saturday Night Live, lampooning herself by telling the most ludicrous, non-heart-breaking story possible, when she was speaking her turn during the so-called bipartisan summit on the health care bill on February 26. If only she had been engaging in satire. Her spiel provoked guffaws of laughter around the country, unfortunately not heard by President Obama, Slaughter, or anyone else who participated in the alleged summit.

She claimed that a denture-deprived constituent’s sister died, and the “poor woman wore her dead sister’s teeth.” Which, of course, she said, would not fit. “Would you ever believe that in America, this is where we would be?”

Well, Madame, wait until we have socialized medicine, then you and all your other poor constituents will believe it, and not thank you for it. She must already have disgruntled constituents by the brigade; she refused to hold a town hall or “forum” in which they could question her about health insurance legislation. Her last experience, apparently, during the Clinton years, was too distasteful. And, she can rattle on about COBRA and Medicare and all the other intricacies of our semi-socialized medical establishment with the best of her ilk, in a folksy, coffee klatch and quilting party style that grates on one’s nerves.

She offered no explanation of why the constituent was so denture-poor that she would wear anyone’s second-hand teeth. I suppose we are supposed to conclude it was because she had no health insurance. A wad of paper called a health insurance policy, as Slaughter and her fellow Cargo Cultists in Congress must see it, somehow imparts magical fairy dust over the insured, making him automatically healthy and solvent, and wards off medical emergencies such as needing dentures, or miraculously brings the dentures to him.

She must be an acolyte of Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, alleged economist. Yes, all those connections make so much sense their logic exists in an ether inaccessible to mere mortals. As she puts it together in her rarified mind, getting the health care bill passed will restore our manufacturing base, recoup our technological edge, and put fresh false teeth into the mouths of every entitlement-obsessed gray panther.

The Washington Post ran what could only be called a puff-piece for a latter day Frank Nitti, Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, a power-luster wearing transparent knuckle-dusters and whom one can easily imagine using a baseball bat on the head of anyone who crosses him. The article was laden with complimentary quotations from Democrats and anonymous persons too frightened of Emanuel to risk attribution and therefore retribution. In Emanuel one can see the overall moral character of Obama, his staff, his departmental appointees, and those members of Congress whose arms Emanuel has twisted to get them to play ball with Obama‘s socialist agenda -- naked, cynical quests for power in complete contempt for the Constitution, for Americans, for the legislative process.

He has always showed a brash side. As a young operative in Illinois, he sent a dead fish to a pollster. As an aide to Bill Clinton, he stabbed a knife into a table while screaming the names of the president's enemies.

Obama's key campaign advisers, even those with whom Emanuel has clashed, are as eager as he is to make the civil war of the Chicago consiglieri story go away.


Well, that is appropriate behavior of a member of the new Chicago “consiglieri,” which won’t “go away” because Emanuel has the literal mentality of a thug. The “dead fish” gesture was once the message sent by gangsters to someone they planned to murder. Emanuel went to Sarah Lawrence College and received, somewhat incongruously, a Master's Degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University.

His brother, Ezekiel Emanuel, is the witch doctor to Rahm’s Attila, being a health-policy advisor in the Office of Management and Budget. He has concocted a who-gets-health-care-first-or-never system to be incorporated in Obamacare. Another older brother, Ari Emanuel, is a Hollywood talent agent who has held Democratic fundraisers and represents a stable of dimly lit stars, including left-wing “documentary journalist” Michael Moore. Perfect fit.


A pairing better than Emanuel and Obama is Emanuel and David Axelrod. Axelrod, said some jittery, anonymous source worried lest Emanuel have a knife sunk into him, “has a strong view of the historic character Obama is supposed to be.” Which, going by the evidence of Obama’s public demeanor and political agenda, is supposed to be a Marxist Messiah. Emanuel is the pragmatic fixer and speech coach for that “historic character.”

Which makes Obama the puppet-king. Watching him during the so-called bipartisan “summit” over health care, one saw the puppet bored, impatient, inarticulate, and worn out having to speak without his teleprompter -- an empty suit unable to conduct himself without the locker-room, obscenity-spiced pep talk of his chief of staff and his collectivist brain brother, Axelrod.

No, that aura of Chicago gangster politics isn’t going away any time soon, no matter how low a profile Emanuel keeps. Perhaps we are fortunate that Obama clashes with Emanuel over how best to ram socialism down the throats of Americans. His “over-confidence” may be his undoing.

Finally, Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky introduced a quantum of reason in a conflict by blocking a resolution to extend unemployment benefits, defying both Democrats and Republicans. Enough, he said, was enough. Where was all this money supposed to come from? The Washington Post reported his eventual capitulation with the chortling headline, “Days later, as a deal emerges, Bunning backs down.”

"If there were ever an emergency, this is it," Reid said. "It's not about the legislative process or Senate rules. It's about the rights of individuals to survive in America. . . . They've gone too far."

Bunning said Tuesday night that his efforts had been worthwhile in shedding a spotlight on growing federal deficits.


Reid, the consummate spendthrift of other people’s money, is laughably venal. The author of the article, Ben Pershing, however, mentioned several times throughout Bunning’s “impolitic comments,” implying that he was an embarrassing anomaly whose sanity was suspect. A sterling instance of objective journalism.

There was more pertinent information about Bunning reported, not by liberal writer Pershing, but by a reader of the article. Reader “Bertielou“ noted:

Actually this was not a new position for Bunning. Over the last two years, he has taken unpopular stands against massive, government entitlement expansions. He was the lone dissenter in April 2008 on a massive mortgage boondoggle. He was one of 25 Senators to vote against TARP in October 2008. He voted against the UAW/auto bailout in December 2008. He was one of only 14 fiscally responsible GOP Senators who voted against the $6 billion GIVE/SERVE national service entitlement expansion in March 2009. And he has consistently grilled Fed chairman Ben Bernanke over his spectacularly wrong assessments of the housing bubble and the state of the economy….Bunning is actually a fiscal conservative unlike so many Republicans and "conservative" Democrats who just talk the talk.


One of the questions Bunning asked was why the money being allocated for extended unemployment benefits and other payment programs was not taken from the unspent billions of so-called “stimulus” funds, instead of tacking the costs of the extension to the soaring out-of-sight deficit. No one chose to answer him. Democrats piled on him like ravenous wolves, while Bunning’s fellow Republicans turned tail and did not intrude on the mauling.

We'll say this about Kentucky's Jim Bunning: No one can accuse him of kowtowing to the polls. This week he has single-handedly blocked his Senate colleagues from extending aid to the unemployed. His "hold" on a $10 billion stopgap spending bill has started a wave of furloughs among federal workers and threatens doctors with a deep cut in their payments under Medicare.

President Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs calls Bunning "irrational." Fellow Republicans keep their distance. Democrats can't get enough of his antics, which they hope will feed the perception that Republicans are heartless and none too smart.


Perceptions! That is the key to success! Not truth, or responsibility, or concern about the economy, or the ability of the private sector to generate tax revenue. The Republicans would have helped their own stature in the electorate’s eyes by standing behind Bunning. But, they do not want to be “perceived” as closet “tea-baggers.“ Bunning’s forcefully made suggestion, “that the Senate should tap some of the unspent money from last year's stimulus bill to fund the new legislation” was instantly opposed and dismissed with unflattering haste by his fellow peers.

Majority leader Harry Reid has rejected that plan, even though — according to the Obama administration's www.recovery.gov website — more than $500 billion in stimulus money is yet to be spent.


Harry Reid, of course, together with his allies in the House and the White House, is determined to reduce the private sector to a fraction of its current size, which passage of the health care bill would do. One can fault Bunning only for not grasping this fact and underestimating the malice held by most in the Senate chamber for tradesmen, the middle classes, and Americans in general. But, for five days at least, he was peerless among his peers.

One important thing Americans must grasp, if they are to successfully influence this year’s mid-term elections, is that they are being governed and gutted by a nearly self-perpetuating statist oligarchy that looks down its nose at them and does not see itself as accountable for its actions.

Another important thing for Americans to grasp is that they must reject the whole welfare state philosophy -- Medicare, Social Security, unemployment benefits, every notion of the unearned, every element of altruism and living and existing for others implemented and expressed in current law -- if they are to “take the country back” from an oligarchy that means to enslave them.

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