Monday, August 31, 2009
Such a name would be a fitting monument to Kennedy's life's work; because, under this health plan, if you should suffer or die, it will be for the Greater Good.
UPDATE: This is a video-fisking of youtube video that trivializes health care and shows an appalling level of economic illiteracy (h/t The Corner):
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Apparently, even if you take the time to call their attention to reality, this is what transpires:
Mike, You do remember that Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist right? And the plot to kill Kennedy was either a Castro payback or a Mafia payback (given that Jack Ruby was a known associate of the mob). You do know that Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian Activist and Bill Ayers, a Weathermen member and friend of Obama, dedicated one of his books to him, right? Are you that ignorant or do you just think we are? I was born in 1957 and I do remember.
Malloy responded thusly:[Expletive redacted], you're stupid. Oswald was as much a commie as you are. Go back to school, dummie. What the [expletive redacted] do you know about Sirhan. Nothing. Go away. I don't tolerate dumbasses Scram.
Mr. Malloy, you can tell reality to "scram" all you want, but it's just not going to go away because you don't have the courage to face it.
In "The Consequences of Denial" I wrote:
In the vacuous recesses of their own minds, those who deny reality manage to convince themselves that they are "reality-based". One might justifiably ask them why they have an almost obsessive need to so aggressively tout their connection to reality, like some sort of celebrity name-dropper expecting to increase his stature in the eyes of the world: "Oh, by the way, did you know that I'm reality-based?"
Sadly for them, just because one repeatedly claims a close connection to the Big R, does not prove anything one way or the other; nor does it absolve the boaster of providing the requisite evidence to back up their claim. Feelings won't do, I'm afraid; though it is often to those arguments of emotion that the denier will ultimately resort when impeded in his quest to avoid reality.
As a psychiatrist, I would be the last person to suggest that even a primitive and immature psychological defense mechanism like denial didn't have some positive results for the individuals who use it. Obviously, if it resulted in the outright death or dismemberment of the person using it, denial would probably not last long as a viable strategy in the real world; nor would it be particularly helpful for the species as a whole.
The truth is that frequently denial works--at least for a short while--and that is why it is so often resorted to in extremis.
Some of the positive consequences of psychological denial include:
• In the short-term, psychological denial can help a person maintain their sanity--which would be threatened by awareness of a painful truth or reality
• In the short-term, denial can help a person function day to day
• In the short-term, denial can prevent a person from having to acknowledge painful thoughts, feelings or behavior and help them maintain a world view threatened by an unacceptable reality or truth
The operative word in all of the above is "in the short-term." In the short-term, even the unhealthiest of defenses--such as denial, projection, paranoia-- may be creative, healthy, comforting, and coping. And, while their use may strike observers as downright peculiar at times, in the short-term, they may be transiently adaptive.
In fact, psychological denial is a way to integrate one's experience by providing a variety of filters for pain and mechanisms for self-deception. It creatively rearranges the sources of conflict the individual faces so that the conflict becomes manageable.
Today's political left are the hands-down, gold medal winners in the Denial of Reality Sweepstakes. Watch them spin, lie, distort and finally resort to personal attacks on their critics without any debate on the facts--and learn all you need to know about their creatively dysfunctional coping.
UPDATE: Via The Other McCain : greased porcupine grappling!
Friday, August 28, 2009
The most revealing portion of the IG report documents the program's results. The CIA's "detention and interrogation of terrorists has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists and warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world." That included the identification of Jose Padilla and Binyam Muhammed, who planned to detonate a dirty bomb, and the arrest of previously unknown members of an al Qaeda cell in Karachi, Pakistan, designated to pilot an aircraft attack in the U.S. The information also made the CIA aware of plots to attack the U.S. consulate in Karachi, hijack aircraft to fly into Heathrow, loosen track spikes to derail a U.S. train, blow up U.S. gas stations, fly an airplane into a California building, and cut the lines of suspension bridges in New York.
Though the Journal does not get into it, Binyam Mohammed was released outright by the Obama administration in February. He is now living freely in England. That's our new counterterrorism approach: Release the terrorist who planned mass-murder attacks against U.S. cities but investigate the CIA agents who prevented mass-murder attacks against U.S. cities.
Release the terrorist, investigate the CIA.
If you want to put your finger on exactly what is wrong with the world today, this ubiquitous and bizarre moral inversion is the key. It's as if you were sitting in a crowded movie theater watching a Harry Potter film or one of the Lord of the Rings movies and whenever Deatheaters or orcs came onscreen, the people in the audience would wildly cheer and applaud.
The world is topsy-turvy; and insanity, hate and tyranny are the new heroes.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Barack Obama is close to brokering an Israeli-Palestinian deal that will allow him to announce a resumption of the long-stalled Middle East peace talks before the end of next month, according to US, Israeli, Palestinian and European officials.
Is there a Nobel Peace Prize waiting in the wings for this incredible, never-before-seen accomplishment by the holy one???
Look, folks, we are essentially back to square one YET AGAIN in a process that has been going on for most of my lifetime. Has anyone failed to notice that those of us (including Israel) who passionately desire peace happen to be dealing with a "peace partner" who basically is indifferent to peace, unless they get to destroy Israel in the process. The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace. They have been remarkably consistent in their lust to destroy Jews rather than to build any kind of society for their people.
So, this latest news is nothing more than what Mona Charen referred to as, "The Diplomacy of Wishful Thinking".
What, pray tell, is going to be different this time around? What could possibly motivate the Palestinians to behave differently than they have in every other "peace talk" revival? What will make Hamas suddenly change its Charter, which calls for the destruction of the Jewsish state and eternal jihad to this end?
For decades now, the West has held the firm belief that somehow, allowing the Palestinians to suffer the consequences of their choices and terrorist behavior would be "punishing them". A typical proponent of this attitude, for example, is former President Carter, who consistently and regularly advocates that Israel's actions should be punished, but that the poor Palestinians must be given a free pass by civilization.
Carter blithely discusses the "devastating consequences" of Israel or American actions, but I have yet to see him--or any others who put forth the same compassionate view-- grapple with the "devastating consequences" of the Hamas charter. Or of suicide bombers. Or of the intent, stated repeatedly by the leaders of the Palestinians and sanctioned by the Palestinian people who voted to elect Hamas, and to destroy Israel.
Carter and the other terrorist enablers of the West ignore predictable Palestinian behavior with the cultivated cognitive dissonance of today's postmodern left.
In fact, the obsession of the West with the eternal victimhood cult of the Palestininas has been the single biggest psychological impediment to a peace process that could achieve real peace in that region.
So I ask again, why should the Palestinians' behavior ever change? What could possibly motivate them to be civilized? Or deal honestly with Israel? They have every reason to believe that the Carters and Obamas of the world will always let them off the hook--and bail them out--no matter what they do; how many promises they make; or how badly they behave.
When it comes to seeking peace; or establishing a civil and productive society the Palestinians have shown themselves to be completely hopeless and only focused on war.
In fact, they are so committed to war; so determined to continue on their path homicidal violence for violence' sake, that they are indoctrinating the next generation into the cult of death (and they don't even need Mickey Mouse to do it).
Western leaders are amazingly slow learners. They have been excusing the Palestinians and vilifying Israel for decades now, and yet they wonder why peace is so elusive in that part of the world.
The Palestinian Con is one of the greatest deceptions in the history of the world.
And the Western world, which is the actual victim of the con seems bent on never calling these flim-flam artist to account for undermining every peace process; breaking every truce; squandering every chance; and worshipping death. It is truly amazing how the West, instead of understanding the con, are willing accessories to it and instead view the con artist as the victim and constantly act to protect and defend him. What would you say to a victimized senior citizen who delusionally protects the perpetrators of a scam who have robbed him of all his savings? You would rightfully think he is out of his mind and feel pity at how the ravages of age have compromised his cognitive functioning.
So, the "peace process" is once again "ON" in the Middle East thanks to the Obamessiah. Whoop-di-doo.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Yesterday’s release by the Justice Department was meant to bolster Eric Holder’s decision to name a special prosecutor, and to shock our consciences about how poorly we treated high-value detainees.
I think we should stop with the “high-value detainee” talk and call them “terrorists” from here on out, because I believe we’ve forgotten who these people are. They are not white-collar criminals, and they are not alleged homicide perpetrators. They are terrorists who killed hundreds and thousands of Americans and did their level best to kill more — to put an end to this country’s existence.
The media has led with the story of our interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and in an effort to shock our national conscience, the report says, among other things, that he was told that if there was another attack on American soil, the CIA would “kill your children.”
I’m sorry but I’m left cold by this. The man who masterminded the actual murder of 3,000 Americans and changed our country forever, wanting to do more, was told that his children would be threatened if another attack took place. Let’s recall what we’re actually doing right now: We use Predator drones to actually kill terrorists with missiles — and we actually kill their children, friends, and relatives at the same time.
Please read the entire piece. For details on the CIA Report, John Hinderaker has and excellent and detailed post.
Let's just review Eric Holder's moral preening about this issue; which, as it turns out mirrors the cynically opportunistic and deceitful posturing of his current boss in the White House.
Here is Holder's earlier weighing in on detainee civil rights and the war on terror in 2002 where he had his "no Geneva Convention" interview with Paula Zahn at CNN:
"One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people.
It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not."
And here’s Holder, as a top Obama adviser, in a speech delivered only six months ago [i.e., June 2008], in the comfy “progressive” confines of the American Constitution Society’s annual convention:
Our government authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance against American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants and authorized the use of procedures that violate both international law and the United States Constitution.
Meanwhile, Peter Brookes, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow, and a former CIA officer, suggests we keep the following in mind when thinking about the CIA interrogations:
Once we get beyond claims about the alleged mishandling of interrogations by CIA officers, there are a couple of things that people should keep in mind:Is there any doubt that our courageous President needs to appease his leftist zombie base (lest they turn on him) and throw them some red meat so as to distract them from his epic fail on promoting their utopian health care agenda?
1. The interrogation program provided critical information that led to the disruption of terror attacks against U.S. interests in the difficult, early days after 9/11.
2. It isn’t by chance that there hasn’t been another terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
3. These actions were taken by well-intentioned individuals who were likely doing what they thought would help keep their fellow Americans safe.
4. The Justice Department investigation will likely have a chilling effect on CIA officers in the field, who will wonder if they should be getting the terrorist or getting lawyers.
5. Let’s not forget: We’re still at war, and our intelligence professionals represent our first line of defense
Forgive me if I fail to feel anything but disgust at his and Holder's idea of "morality". Like Leibsohn, I am unmoved by the Khalid Sheikh Mohammeds of this world. I do not for one moment believe that our use of enhanced interrogation methods--which were not EVER used indiscriminantly, or without careful legal and moral debate--are any evidence of a significant deviation from our fundamental principles as a people. I already discussed this issue at length in "Barbarism, Torture and Moral Compasses", but the most relevant portion of that post is this:
In a comment thread from a 2006 post at The Belmont Club, Wretchard, speaking about the barbaric Islamic fundamentalist terrorists with whom we were at war, wrote:The brilliance of the new barbarism is that you cannot fight it without destroying your own value system into the bargain.His two points are particularly relevant in the discussion of torture. To the extent that we can, we have tried to maintain "civilization's rules" as much as possible, while at the same time suspending them when the situation demands--i.e., adherence to a life-affirming value system that requires you to protect innocents who might be harmed by evil. Indeed, when it comes to the issue of torture, one might even say from an historical perspective that the administration went overboard to try and find techniques that were sufficiently uncomfortable and even unbearable; and which would elicit the necessary information without inflicting lasting harm on the recipient.
Traditionally the solution has been to consider wartime a discontinuity, when civilization's rules are suspended. It becomes possible, for example, to lay waste to the Monte Cassino Abbey. Berlin was bombed without regard for its buildings, churches or people.
The alternative is to create methods of fighting so discriminating that we can literally shoot between the raindrops. But that creates a different problem, for we will need an intelligence system so comprehensive that it will become intrusive.
Either way, the war cannot be won without cost. And the fundamental fraud foisted on the public is to claim we can have war without horror, conduct an intelligence war without dishonesty and cunning and obtain victory without sacrifice.
In this, they were obviously successful.
In fact, I would say that the Bush Administration used an ethical system that appropriately put the value of innocent life higher than that of the dubious, or so-called "rights" of a terrorist, who happens not to value life at all. Not only that, but the previous administration also managed to identify and use techniques that effectively "shoot between the raindrops" of the multiple definitions and conceptualizations of torture. True, they identified techniques that were harsh; but they were also techniques which did not truly endanger the life of the terrorist (who himself does not value life in the least and would consider such scruples about it "weak").
To say that the use of such techniques is unethical seems to me to entirely miss the purpose of ethics.
If you consider the purpose of ethics--to codify and act on one's values--then the Bush Administration behaved in an exquisitely ethical manner. They codified the most important of American values and acted on them; and in doing so managed to keep America safe from a terrorist attack for more than eight years.
Obama is turning out to be a massive disappointment to even his most slavishly devoted and myopic followers; but this latest cynical and immoral manipulation of our national security to provide political cover for his incompetent leadership shows him to be seriously irresponsible and irresponsibly unserious as POTUS, both in national and foreign policy. He is a postmodern pied piper, leading the gullible of this country down a path of economic ruin and international impotence. As for his and his Administration's moral compass, it is spinning wildly trying to find a direction that pulls him up in the polls.
Obama was never ready for prime time; and is turning out to be a bad joke perpetrated on all Americans.
Leibsohn states, "This is an extremely bad way to begin a presidency — worse than Clinton’s first-year rookie mistakes — and I believe these are the signs of an already-failed presidency."
Hard to believe that we are only 7 months into this madness. It's kind of scary to imagine what may yet come out of this radical leftist Administration.
UPDATE: Over at the Jawa Report, Vinnie quotes Fouad Ajami:
All this hero-worship before Mr. Obama met his first test of leadership. In reality, he was who he was, a Chicago politician who had done well by his opposition to the Iraq war. He had run a skillful campaign, and had met a Clinton machine that had run out of tricks and a McCain campaign that never understood the nature of the contest of 2008.
He was no FDR, and besides the history of the depression—the real history—bears little resemblance to the received narrative of the nation instantly rescued, in the course of 100 days or 200 days, by an interventionist state. The economic distress had been so deep and relentless that FDR began his second term, in 1937, with the economy still in the grip of recession.
Nor was JFK about style. He had known military service and combat, and familial loss; he had run in 1960 as a hawk committed to the nation's victory in the Cold War. He and his rival, Richard Nixon, shared a fundamental outlook on American power and its burdens.
Now that realism about Mr. Obama has begun to sink in, these iconic figures of history had best be left alone. They can't rescue the Obama presidency. Their magic can't be his. Mr. Obama isn't Lincoln with a BlackBerry. Those great personages are made by history, in the course of history, and not by the spinners or the smitten talking heads.
And he ends with the Jawa Report Failed Seal of Approval:
UPDATE II: Andy McCarthy sums up this morning what would be an honest argument against the enhanced interrogation techniques:
There is a principled human-rights position on all this. You can say: "No one wants to see bad things happen to people, but I honestly believe abusive tactics are so corrosive of our society's principles that it would be better for 10,000 Americans to be killed in a terrorist attack than for us to prevent the attack by subjecting a morally culpable terrorist to non-lethal forms of coercion that cause no lasting physical or mental harm."
That would be the honest argument, but it is not going to persuade many people. Thus the continued pretense, against all evidence and logic, that the tactics don't work. Fewer and fewer people are fooled.
Not only will it not persuade many people, but such an argument is never made and isn't likely to be made because it is....well, honest. It is the completely dishonest arguments that keep being mouthed up by adherents of this Administration: Enhanced Interrogation techniques are torture; They don't work anyway; Any information gleaned by them could have been obtained in more compassionate ways; Terrorists are entitled to same civil liberties that all Americans enjoy; and so on and so forth.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — At least 1,200 veterans across the country have been mistakenly told by the Veterans Administration that they suffer from a fatal neurological disease.
One of the leaders of a Gulf War veterans group says panicked veterans from Alabama, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming have contacted the group about the error.
Denise Nichols, the vice president of the National Gulf War Resource Center, says the VA is blaming a coding error for the mistake.
Just a teensy weensy coding error.
If I may paraphrase a well-known saying: To err is human, to really screw things up requires a government bureaucrat with a computer.
Here's to the health care of the future!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Let's see now. Deficit projections are once again on the rise as Obama's approval rating falls. Health care reform is faltering, climate change legislation is stalled, and David Axlerod is under fire for his conflicts of interest. Seems like a good time to change the subject. Contents of the CIA inspector general's report on harsh interrogation methods have already leaked, so it won't do the trick. If I were a betting man, I'd expect something else to drop Monday or Tuesday.
And, here it is!
To be applauded throughout the week in in fits of hysterical euphoria by all the other "right" thinking lefty zombies.
That didn't take long, did it?
UPDATE: Lest you think that this tactic is not working, just listen to the news. There is not one single peep about the $2 TRILLION mistake made by the Obama administration on estimating the deficit. Instead, the topic of the day is the CIA. Michelle Malkin has more on the brou-ha-ha and faux outrage on the left about threats made to terror suspects. It is illegal, unfair, and extremely lacking in compassion, I guess, to try and trick terrorists into talking about their future plans.
As Ace says in utter disbelief: "Threats? We're going to prosecute people for threats?"
Welcome to the wonderful world of Obama--where a $9 Trillion deficit is nothing at all to worry about; and all our attention must be focused once more on the EVIL BUSH ADMINISTRATION who just happened to keep us safe for the last 8 years.
Who, dear reader, do you think you are? Do you think your mind is capable of independent judgment and largely directs the course of your life? Do you think that most of your decisions in life have been the product of your rational, conscious self? Do you believe you are in control of your life? Do you cherish ideas such as self-expression, a sense of autonomy and a distinct, self-authored identity? The chances are that, albeit with a few qualifications, most of your answers are yes. Indeed, given a pervasive culture which reinforces all these ideas, it would be a bit odd if you didn't.
But the point about this new explosion of interest in research into our brains is that it exposes as illusions much of these guiding principles of what it is to be a mature adult. They are a profound misunderstanding of how we think, and how our brains work. They are fairytales, about as fanciful and as implausible as goblins...
But take heart!
...we are on the verge of a new Enlightenment. He argues that the 18th-century concept of the individual self has run its course and that a new paradigm of human nature is emerging. Given that assumptions of an autonomous individual underpin every aspect of how we order society and our political economy, educate and tackle social issues, this kind of Big Idea tends to make you feel a tad dizzy.
Actually, they make me feel a tad nauseated.
The author makes sure we understand the political implications of all this wonderful research:
This humbling evidence of our hopeless decision-making exposes consumer capitalism as not being about millions of independent decisions of individuals expressing unique identities, but about how social norms can be manipulated to create eager shoppers. Or take the idea of introducing choice into public services; some bizarre consequences will result, such as the popularity of a hospital being determined by whether it has a car park, not the skill of medical staff.
There are two other areas of this new brain research which are arguably more important. First, we have much underestimated the social nature of the brain: how primed it is to recognise, interpret and respond all the time to the input of others and how that lays down patterns which govern our behaviour. We are herd-like animals who show a strong tendency to conform with group norms; what makes our brains so much bigger than other primates is this remarkable capacity for social skills such as empathy, co-operation and fairness. Instead of the old metaphor of individuals as discrete entities like billiard balls, we need to think instead of them as nodes in a relationship network.
The second area of astonishing discoveries is in the plasticity of the brain. We talk of "hardwiring" (computers have generated many misleading metaphors for the brain) but in fact, the brain can be changed. Parts of the brain can learn entirely new tricks. Neural pathways are not fixed, and even much of the damage done by deprivation in childhood can be repaired with the right circumstances of example, support and determination. We can shape our own brains to create new habits that we might have thought we were not capable of – it's a long, hard process but it is possible.
This all may seem remote from politics, but it's not. Jon Cruddas has a habit of startling audiences by arguing that the regeneration of the left requires a convincing new account of what it is to be human. Are human beings self-interested creatures or are they collaborative? The right's argument for market capitalism is rooted in the former but the research on the social brain supports the latter. Put crudely, we are social creatures with an inbuilt tendency to co-operate and seek out each other's approval and that is probably more important in determining day-to-day behaviours than narrowly conceived self-interest.
In a thought-provoking pamphlet on the implications for politics to be published early next month, Matt Grist, who runs the RSA's Social Brain project, concludes that both the right and the left have lessons to learn. The rightwing emphasis on the individual's capacity to triumph over their environment through willpower is undermined by the research which shows how childhood deprivation leaves such scarring on the brain. While the challenge to the left is to recognise that the myopic tendencies of the brain to privilege the short term has been held in check by institutions and traditions which can safeguard longer-term interests. Perhaps that requires greater understanding on the left of how such institutions operate and a revision of assumptions about why they restrict individual autonomy.(emphasis mine)
So, to summarize--and obviously, the facts are in, the scientific debate in this area, like that of man-made global warming, is over--individual responsibility is OUT; the nanny state is IN.
As one commenter to the article notes, "Fascists everywhere are going to love this...."
How convenient all this is for the left to have "scientific evidence" that the ultimate "enlightenment" for the human species is to evolve into the Borg!
My hapless little brain can't help wondering though, about all those compassionate and loving individual leftists jockying for control over the very institutions that "safeguard our longer-term interests" (read: do what's best for you even if you don't think it is). What about their lack of decision-making skills? Aren't they "lazy, imitative, over-optimistic, myopic" with "much of [their]decision-making..made by unconscious habits of the mind which are largely socially primed" too?
Or, are some individuals just more equal than others in this new "enlightened" animal farm?
Next thing you know, there will be a law (with "scientific" evidence to support it!) that prohibits the use of the word "I" because of its antisocial connotations. The individual is a mere "illusion" and the advancement of the species requires--no demands!--that we eliminate such unscientific ways of thinking.
Wasn't it Barack Obama (the most enlightened man in history--next to Jesus presumbably)who recently reminded us all that we are our brothers' and sisters' keeper? That it is our ethical and moral obligation (and the most correct way for our brain to operate) to pass some sort of socialist health care reform?
So, comrades, prepare yourselves for the new Enlightenment!
Which is actually not that different from all those wonderful "enlightenments" of the last century that resulted in the misery and death of millions of individual humans in the various leftist utopian gulags of that age.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Clearly we need the CIA and the FBI to change into more compassionate and caring agencies. And I have a simple suggestion. Here is a recent email I received, presumably from "@fbi.gov"(at least that was the return address):
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edger Hoover building 935
Pennsylvania avenue, NW Washington D.C
We the Federal bureau of investigation (FBI) Washington, DC have been
informed through our Global intelligence monitoring network, that you
are presently having a transaction going on in Nigeria.
This is to let you know that we have taken out time in screening through
this project as stipulated on our protocols of operation and have finally confirmed that your payment of $2,300,000.00 is 100% genuine and hitch free from all facet and of which you have the lawful right to claim your fund without any further delay.
All you have to do now to receive your funds is to open a bank account with Wema Bank Plc in Nigeria where your funds will first be transfered into. As soon as the account is activated, you will then transfer yourfunds to your personal account in America.
This Is An Official Advice From The FBI, Foreign Remittance/Telegraphic
WARNING: THE ONLY FEE REQUIRED TO OPEN THE ACCOUNT WITH WEMA BANK PLC
IS $350.00 Minimum initial deposit
You are to contact the genuine office for an account openning details with
the details below:
Prof. Tony Obi
We will be monitoring all your dealings with them as you proceed so you
have nothing to worry about.
Robert S. Mueller III
Yes, yes. I know must certainly be a fake. Because our intelligence agencies are awful and just so mean and vile, they could never in a million years be so sweet and concerned about little ol' me.
I'm sure President Wonderful will fix that soon, though.
UPDATE: Now this is exactly what our Feds need to be doing to prove they're looking out for us.
The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle has a post titled, “Who’s Crazy Now?”, in which she writes, “Liberal rage at right-wing loonies is starting to sound, well, a little loonie.” She cites comments by the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne and the New York Times’s Frank Rich and asks, “Why are so many journalists losing basic touch with reality?”
It’s a good question. After all, liberals have the man they viewed as a secular savior, a “sort of God,” in the White House. Democrats control 60 seats in the Senate and a 257–178 advantage in the House. This was supposed to be their time. Yet if you go to the Left’s most important internet outlets and its cable news station of choice, MSNBC, you find anger, rage, and fury. This has become, I think, very nearly a permanent state for many of them. Keith Olbermann, the ESPN-sportscaster-turned-rabid-commentator, embodies this as well as anyone. His show is all about channeling hate. For years it was hate directed against Bush; today it is hate directed at others. It appears to have consumed him and turned him, and the guests who appear on his program, into comic figures. Olbermann’s show is interesting, then, not as a political program but as a sociological and psychological phenomenon. Perpetual anger and dissatisfaction is interesting to watch — for a while. Then it gets boring. And then it gets clinical.
In a post shortly before the November election, I wrote a piece titled, "Win or Lose, the Left Will Remain Dysfunctional" in which I argued exactly the same point, except that I already understood that this perpetual state of rage on the part of the left was a clinical syndrome:
Taken as a whole, they are evidence of an ongoing and determined refusal to face reality--because it is a reality that threatens the belief systm of a whole section of the American population. Without the delusions and conspiracies concocted by the always creative political left, their whole house of Marxist cards will come crumblin down.
Some have said that Unwillingness To Face Reality And Its Consequences is the most serious mental illness of our time; and that is most certainly true.
Look, I have never pretended that lunacy is confined to one side of the political aisle or the other. Clearly it is not. Traditionally, the political party that is not in power tends to fall into what Richard Hofstadter called " The Paranoid Style in American Politics". When Hofstadter wrote compellingly about this issue, he was primarily concerned with the conspiratorial fantasies of the politicl right.
Our present political climate however, offers much support for those who, like myself, have come to appreciate that this same paranoid strain now is permanently a part of the DNA of the political left.
Consider the facts that Wehner lists--i.e., that the left now has achieved practically everything they could have wished for in order to foist their politices on the American public: a leftist President; a leftist majority in the House and Senate; a leftist media; and so on; and yet, even having an overwhelming amount of political power, they remain a rich source of unremitting projection, paranoia, and hate. What gives?
There is a simple psychological explanation for this. The left may have won the November election; they may have won a majority of seats in Congress; they may even really believe with a religious fervor that their time has come and that hopenchange is about to irrevocably alter American society, but, but...the problem with all this is that the left's "time" came and went in the last century; and their ideology utterly failed so horribly and miserably, that there is no way, short of bending the very fabric of reality--via the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of postmodern philosopy--that any living person with all brain circuits intact could believe somehow it would work this time around. Freud referred to such cognitive short-circuiting as a "repetition compulsion."
It has really been over for the political left for more than two decades now; but like all the undead zombies and blood-sucking vampires of literary fame that they resemble, they simply can't let go of their empty, souless and tyrannical policies. Instead, they mindlessly walk among the living and the free, knowing full well that they are dead, and that their only recourse is to to suck the life out of those still living; hoping to transform everyone into the voracious monsters they have become.
Psychologically, it is very difficult to abandon paranoia and projection; and almost impossible to face an unpleasant and unpalatable reality, when you have bet everything--EVERYTHING--on an ideology whose nonsensical ideas have never worked in the real world. The creative delusions that must be generated; the hate that must be constantly stoked, all serve many purposes; not the least of which is keep their dashed hopes alive.
But, they are raging against reality. And reality doesn't care about their utopian fantasies.
To survive even as undead, they must provide a scapegoat who can be considered racially, sexually, physically, or intellectually inferior; someone or some group onto whom their own fears can be projected; it would be horrifying and untenable to look inside one's own heart and soul for the source of the fear.
The left is suffering from clinical political zombism. On some level they know their ideology is dead and will not work; but they are determined to ignore reality even if it means the destruction of everything and everyone; even if it means marching mindlessly--and suicidally--onward.
ONWARD MARXIST SOLDIERS!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Repeatedly invoking the Bible, President Obama yesterday told religious leaders that health-care critics are "bearing false witness" against his plan.
The fire-and-brimstone president declared holy war in a telephone call with thousands of religious leaders around the country as he sought to breathe life into his plan for a system overhaul.
Without naming anyone specifically in the 10-minute conference call, Obama said opponents had been spreading lies.
"I know that there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness," Obama said.
"I need you to spread the facts and speak the truth."
He said the reforms aim to carry out one of God's commandments.
"I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper," Obama said.
He called health reform a "core ethical and moral obligation."
Victor Davis Hanson notes:
This contrived use of religiosity (e.g., “There are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness.”) has a Reverend Wright flavor of mixing politics and religion in cynical fashion to bolster Obama's fides as an authentic moral figure. And isn't the use of religion as a political tool precisely what Obama and others have objected to in the Christian Right?
...I think we are seeing a sort of presidential meltdown. As Obama's polls free-fall, and threaten wider political damage, it causes him a certain novel exasperation that for the first time in his life soaring hope-and-change rhetoric for some strange reason no longer substitutes for a detailed, logical, and honest agenda. The problem right now is not with un-Christian opponents, but dozens of congressional Democrats who simply do not wish to run on state-run medical care (as well as higher taxes, larger deficits, cap-and-trade, etc.), and no longer sense the president's popularity trumps the unpopularity of his agenda and gives them cover with the voters.
This false messiah is a modern day Elmer Gantry , with the same creepy charisma, malignant narcissism, and power-hungry instincts.
Personally, I find it a rather unique experience as a psychiatrist to observe Obama "on his way" to solidifying his divine moral credentials and his heavenly right to rule over us mere mortals.
UPDATE: OK, to be fair, Obama is not (as far as I know) a womanizer like Gantry was. But he shares the same seductive and narcissistic qualities that made Lewis' Gantry the ultimate religious hypocrite.
UPDATE II: Government as religion.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I heard a radio program last night where Rod Dreher and an editor from the American Spectator both allowed Eric Boehlert and the liberal host to tar Republicans with the “they call Obama a Nazi!” brush. The American Spectator editor, to his credit, pointed out that Bush was called a Nazi for years, but nobody piped up to mention that the Obama/Nazi crazies always turn out to be LaRouche supporters.
Allahpundit has done a great job reminding us of a few points we all need to keep in mind as the Eric Boehlerts and Tim Ruttens of the world try to paint Republicans as fanatics who uniquely demonize the president as a Nazi, call for him to be killed, and such....
All this manipulation and lying is to support the left's racism narrative.
Meanwhile, Zombie reminds of of recent history, so carefully ignored by the left in their frenzy of projection.
Meanwhile, Kyle-Anne Shiver makes an excellent point about the supposed intellectual "brilliance" of our current President:
We had the president's own shadowy record, with far more deletions than "allowable" information, which should have raised the skeptical antennae of anyone with half an ounce of common sense. What is the single reason why anyone assumed and portrayed as brilliant-beyond-brilliant hides his own scholarship and grade transcripts? If these records were demonstrably brilliant, they would be on prominent display.
Say what you will about Sarah Palin; even if you think her decision to quit being Governor of Alaska was a dumb move , I find her to be a breath of fresh air in the increasingly corrupt and incompetent era of Obama-the-Not-So-Wonderful.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
...But I guess I'm more in the McCarthy & Steyn camp. As a matter of the finer points of policy discussion, I think the death-panel label is awfully blunt and inexact.
I think M&S are right that it distilled some important issues down to an important truth: if Obama, Pelosi, Waxman et al get their way, the relationship between the citizen and the state is profoundly, and perhaps permanently, altered and down that path lurks death panels. Oh, they won't be called death panels, but that function will lurk like the ghost in the machine of the federal bureaucracy. Back when the health-care debate was abstract and liberals were sure they would win the day, they were far more comfortable talking about this sort of thing. Barack Obama talked about rationing care for people like his grandmother and seeking guidance from a super-smart panel of experts in this regard. Just a month ago, the New York Times magazine saw nothing wrong with running this unabashed love-letter to a health-care system, in effect, ruled by death panels (See my post on this last Friday, or Tom Maguire's Sunday item for more). Now, suddenly, to even suggest such a possibility is McCarthyism — now called Palinism — according to Richard Cohen.
What drives me crazy about liberal complaints about conservative tactics these days is how selective they are. Obama, Barney Frank, Jacob Hacker, and others have said that they want these reforms — specifically the public option — to lead to single payer. But when conservatives take them at their word, suddenly it's outrageous misinformation and "fishy" stuff. When the wind is at their backs, liberals look way off to the horizon, like Obama at a podium, dreaming of a future of European-style statism. But when conservatives use this to their advantage, suddenly it is outrageous to even consider the possibility of a road to hell being paved with good intentions. Suddenly liberals bleat that it is scare-mongering to look beyond what they are proposing in this exact moment, outrageous to ask "Where will this lead?" I agree entirely with Andy that conservatives are under no obligation to unilaterally agree to liberal terms or definitions but rather, as he puts it, "Our function is to call the opposition on such hair-splitting nonsense, not to make the fog harder to pierce."
And this raises what I think is part of the problem. As Mark says, this is a massive political fight — one that conservatives are winning, by the way — and there's a natural tension between wanting to argue the finer points of policy and win the battle over the politics. I don't begrudge NR's attempt to get this balance right by erring on the side of describing the policy correctly and in good faith. But, also in good faith, I don't see it quite the same way, and I don't think Palin's contributions are part of the problem with the health-care debate.
I'm inclined to agree with Goldberg. In fact, as a physician, I think that the descriptive "Death Panels" terminology effectively summarizes what is an entirely logical progression of Obama's health policies. This progression is derived directly from Obama's own words and those of his health-reform minions/czars.
Here is the logical progression:
(A) In order to reign in health care costs, some system of health care rationing must be put in place, or as Obama says, your government will undertake a "very difficult democratic conversation" about how "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care" costs. Or,for the exact quote:
"Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now."------------>
(B) So, what criteria for rationing health care (particularly at the end of life) is likely to be used? ------------->
(C) To answer (B) we only need to consider what criteria for health care rationing has already been put forth by one of Obama's key advisors on the issue, a bioethicist and "expert" on cost-efficient health care, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who wrote an article in a major medical journal in January, 2009 titled: "Principles for allocation of scarce medical interventions") :
Emanuel writes about rationing health care for older Americans that "allocation (of medical care) by age is not invidious discrimination." (The Lancet, January 2009) He calls this form of rationing — which is fundamental to Obamacare goals — "the complete lives system." You see, at 65 or older, you've had more life years than a 25-year-old. As such, the latter can be more deserving of cost-efficient health care than older folks----------->
(D)Therefore, based on a system proposed by none other than the key advisor to Obama on this issue:
The basic premise seems to be that since someone or some entity must allocate scare medical resources there should be a "morally" acceptable method for such allocation. The authors, which include Dr. Ezekiel J Emanuel, brother of President Obama's Chief of Staff, and "Special Advisor for Health Policy" to the president presents a detailed proposal of how this allocation should be done. (Using the passive voice here serves the purpose or not having to say that the government will do the allocation.)----------->
The authors begin with a critical review of the currently in existence allocation systems and finding flaws in each proceed to devise their own "hybrid" supposedly salvaging the good and casting out the less desirable elements of the various systems.
Expectedly, this "morally acceptable" allocation process would allocate less to the elderly and those with incurable illnesses. Perhaps unexpectedly, their process would place, for example, a fifteen year person allocation-wise above an infant because they say more social expenditures have been made on the adolescent and society need to get its money's worth.
The underlying theme is that individuals exist for the good of the collective ( state, society, pick one) and in health care decisions the greater good of society, now apparently denominated in "life years", trump the individual every time.
The authors describe their system:
This system incorporates five principles ... youngest-first, prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value. As such, it prioritises younger people who have not yet lived a complete life and will be unlikely to do so without aid. Many thinkers have accepted complete lives as the appropriate focus of distributive justice: “individual human lives, rather than individual experiences, [are] the units over which any distributive principle should operate.”Although there are important differences between these thinkers, they share a core commitment to consider entire lives rather than events or episodes, which is also the defining feature of the complete lives system.
They explain further in regard to the old folks issue.
Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years. Treating 65-year olds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not.
The blog Freerepublic.com summarizes the system in this way.
Infants get minimal treatment, because the State has not invested anything yet in their education. Old people get minimal treatment because their working lives are over.
So if you discriminate because someone is old that is ageism and invidious but if you treat differently because they have lived longer ( i.e. have had more life years) it is not. Talk about contrived nonsense.
Here is another quote that I find chilling.
The complete lives system assumes that, although life-years are equally valuable to all, justice requires the fair distribution of them.” (my bolding)
If you like social justice that sentence should really please you. Not only should most things be distributed fairly but now apparently how many "life-years" you get.
If you like distributive justice you will find a lot to like here. If you are old enough for Medicare or economically unfortunate enough to rely on Medicaid, you might be a little worried that the President's Advisor on health matters thinks this way.
(E) Now, there are many options for what you might call a panel that is set up to determine the "fair distribution" and "socially just" allocation of costly life-prolonging medical treatments, but "DEATH PANEL" captures the essence of what these arbitrary committess would do; and, in addition, it is a perfectly clear, concise, and to-the-point term.
What would you call them? Only the reality-challenged political left, with their loving, compassionate and bizarre notions of "social justice" would consider them... NICE.
UPDATE: Why stop at Death Panels? Why, indeed? When you can have Fat Panels, Exercise Panels, and Diet Panels to fairly distribute the socially just opinions of the leftist elites about how you should live your life.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Now that Mr. Bush is quietly going about his retirement, this strain of rage - the GWB43 virus - has spread like wildfire, finding unsuspecting targets, each granting us greater perspective into what not long ago seemed like a mysterious phenomenon isolated only on our 43rd president.
The first person to catch the virus was Sarah Palin, whose family also was infected, including, unforgivably, her children.
Then it was Joe the Plumber, for asking a question.
Next were the Mormons.
Then it was Rush Limbaugh - who hit back.
Next, tax-day “tea party” attendees were “tea bagged.”
Then there was a beauty contestant.
And a Cambridge cop, too.
And now we have town-hall “mobs.”
Smile … you’ve been “community organized.”
When put on the media stage, these individuals and groups have been isolated for destruction for standing in the way of a resurgent modern progressive movement and for challenging its charismatic once-in-a-lifetime standard-bearer, Barack Obama.
This is their time, we’ve been told. And no one is going to stand in the way.
The origins of manufactured “politics of personal destruction” is Saul Alinsky, the mentor of a young Hillary Rodham, who wrote her 92-page Wellesley College senior thesis on the late Chicago-based “progressive” street agitator titled, “There Is Only the Fight.”
Mr. Obama and his Fighting Illini, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, have perfected Mr. Alinsky’s techniques as laid out in his guidebook to political warfare, “Rules for Radicals.” In plain language, we see how normal, decent and even private citizens become nationally vilified symbols overnight - all in the pursuit of progressive political victory.
“Rule 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”
In a post long ago, I discussed the psychological underpinnings of BDS, which boiled down to psychological displacement.
Displacement is a defense mechanism which separates emotion from its real object and redirects the intense emotion toward someone or something that is less offensive or threatening in order to avoid actually dealing directly with what is frightening or threatening. It is usually considered a "neurotic" defense.
However, when you notice that the psychological maneuver is omnipresent, i.e., that it has gone viral as Breibart documents, what you are dealing with is displacement's primitive psychic antecedent: projection. In this case, the offensive or threatening emotion and/or behavior originates from one's own mind and is completely disowned so that the individual (or group) does not have to take responsibility for having it. Istead, it is perceived as originating from someone else. In other words, it is a primitive form of displacement.
Is your "grassroots" movement the product of a Soros-funded lawncare conglomerate? Then accuse your detractors of being "astroturf" and you can remain blissfully clueless about your own behavior!
Is your presidential candidate the most unprepared and unqualified in history without an iota of executive experience? Then accuse Sarah Palin, who was the chief executive officer of a state as being MORE unqualified!
Have you been uncivil, irrational, hysterical and deranged for the last nine years; with complete disregard for the free speech of others? Then accuse your political opponents of that behavior when they dare to disagree with you (make sure you sound simply outraged at their behavior, which on any level that is closely examined simply cannot compare with yours)!
Of course, you must be careful because displacement can get even more psychologically primitive than projection, and that is when it crosses over the bounds of reality into frank delusional paranoia. Most of us can become occasionally neurotic as we stumble around and try to cope with the the disappointments and dangers of life; but it takes a significant level of psychological obtuseness and denial to drift into the realm of psychosis.
Of course, this process can go either way, politically speaking. But right now in history, much as the left would like to believe the opposite--in fact, much as they are trying to pretend it is the right that is "crazy"--the pandemic psychosis of projection and displacement is really their very own.
Jesse Taylor of Pandagon is still at it, declaring Ken Gladney a fraud, still using a sexual term to refer to non-leftists who dissent from Obamessiah’s policies and “still not getting it” when it comes to medical care.
There’s the old argument that the power of the conservative movement convinces people to vote against their own economic interest; now they’re getting people to take to the streets and play victims against their own economic interest.
And, as Darleen Click notes, "...Jesse, like the majority of statist Leftists (but I repeat myself) I have talked to believe “economic self-interest” means voting yourself a share of your neighbor’s earnings. Adults with a developed set of morals realize that’s dishonest."
Let me just point out that the absolute last thing that the cognitively impaired leftist ideologues are concerned about is economic self-interest. Case in point is Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, a successful entrepreneur (dare I say, capitalist?) who writes a reasonable op-ed piece about the potentially negative consequences of Obamaomnihealthcare being imposed on businesses, the immoderate left went positively hysterical. Mackey probably balanced the long-term economic consequences of having an inept and economically disastrous program of socialized BS (disguised as "health care reform") on his business, versus the short-term consequences of pissing off the organic arugula crowd. Tsk. Tsk. You just can't win with the left.
Indeed, economics is always a zero-sum game for them:
In short, the means of creating unlimited wealth weren't really stumbled upon by human beings until the rise of industrial capitalism. Human beings had finally discovered the key to economic growth, which came down to the magical combination of individual liberty, free markets, strong private property rights, sound money, and the rule of law. And then get the hell out of the way.
And even then, it took several hundred more years to tame the "boom or bust" cycle [oops!], to the point that people no longer expect economic recessions, much less, depressions. It is now as if people imagine that unlimited economic growth and prosperity are the norm instead of an extraordinary deviation from the past. And with that, a sense of entitlement is nurtured, which in turn is rooted in what the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein called constitutional envy....
In other words, communism is our default state (as seen in our immediate families), whereas certain traits and habits of mind associated with capitalism must be learned, among them, trust of the stranger, the tamping down of envy, a focus on the future instead of the present, and an understanding that economic exchange isn't a zero-sum game....
For the vast majority of human beings, liberty is not a particularly important value, much less the most important one. They would just as soon barter it away for security, as they have done in western Europe.
Once you understand this, then much about the left begins to make sense. In Europe, we can see how the welfare state puts in place a system of incentives that creates a new kind of enfeebled man, but that's not exactly correct. In reality, it simply reveals man for what he is -- a lazy, frightened, selfish, superstitious, instinct-loving and lowdown rascal. Leftism aims low and always reaches its target.
Not only does the left "aim low", their fundamental economic assumption is that the only way to get wealth is to steal it from someone else because they cannot imagine how to create it. Thus, all their political policies are imbued with an infantile economic primitivism--of the sort a caveman, whose only strategy is brute force, would come up with: Ugh hits Grog over the head with his big club to get his "rightful" share of nuts and berries--and that's the only economic theory they can understand.
This is the origin of the looter mentality. It is the mentality of the parasite who wants the benefits of wealth without the effort of having to create any; who is always demanding "his 'fair' share" of wealth without the necessity of providing any value to anyone. Looters are people who think that wealth just appears out of nothingness and that it is perfectly justifiable to steal it from someone else, since it is a zero-sum game; and therefore it is a matter of "social justice" to redistribute it according to their whim.
Their redistribution plans have become more sophisticated than Caveman Ugh's, but follow the same basic principle.
This is why the left's policies almost always end up enabling and exposing the worse and most brutish aspects of human nature; and, curiously, these are the same people who are always coming up with some new, improved utopian scheme that promises a veritable paradise of human love, compassion, kindness and brotherhood. So, how come they always deliver a toxic brew of hate, envy, and discord? How can they be so completely clueless about something as obvious as the reality of human nature?
Perhaps, the best answer to that question is that, when it comes to themselves, the left is constitutionally unable to understand or accept the dark side of their own natures with any degree of clarity, let alone honesty.
The squalid utopian fantasies of socialism, communism--or any variant of Marxism for that matter--appeals primarily to people who refuse to acknowledge their own human imperfections, and hence their own capacity for evil. They don't want to admit it, but those who are drawn to the leftist view of the world, tend to see themselves as superior; above all the boring, ordinary human beings around them; more virtuous, more compassionate, smarter; and of course, much better qualified to decide what's best for lesser beings like you and me.
It is extremely ironic, considering the left's rhetoric to the contrary, to realize that it is conservatism and its underlying priniciples that fundamentally embrace the truth about human nature; and understand that nature is closer to the "lazy, frightened,s elfish, superstitious, instinct-loving, lowdown rascal" than to the utopian "ideal man", promoted in the rantings of communists, socialist, or any collectivist or totalitarian (whether from the left or the right side of the political spectrum). And, as a consequence of understanding that reality, conservatism and its economic policies (i.e., capitalism) are able to harness even the most negative aspects of human nature to bring positive good both to the individual and to the larger society as well.
Conservatism and capitalism are both ideas that have worked amazingly well for one reason: they do not pretend that human nature is something it is not. Leftism of any stripe fails miserably and catastrophically because they routinely pretend that human nature can be changed and perfected.
In essence, the left's denial and its psychological attraction to all these dysfunctional utopian systems inevitably leads to envy and a host of other negative and sadistic human traits; and, along the way, it promotes a cult of victimhood and identity politics with all the associated social and political conflicts those emotions generate. Envy, in particular, is the lovely human emotion that drives all these leftist systems; and it exists in pure, unadulterated and vicious form in those systems.
Contrary to leftist dogma, economic self-interest is not a matter of race or gender victimhood--or victimhood pimping of any kind. It is not a matter of "oppressor" versus "oppressed"; nor of "social justice"--it is a matter of supporting the freedom of the individual mind the fountainhead from which all wealth is created. The wealth of any individual not only benefits him or her, but also ultimately benefit everyone else in a free society because it slowly and inexorably pulls all up to a higher standard of living.
In a free society, wealth is never a zero-sum game; it is constantly created and exchanged; but in the left's Looter Utopia, where the looter mentality reigns, whatever wealth is created by those able to produce it is confiscated by brute force. This process continues until all those who are able to produce are prevented (for the sake of society) from producing, and the creation of wealth ceases, the very process having been murdered by the looters. Ultimately, the Looter Utopia ends up enshrining and enabling human barbarism, ensuring that we all return to the cave.
Monday, August 17, 2009
If you want to understand what is waiting for us at the end of the left's rainbow, then we need to look at the agenda being implemented by the heroes of the left . Andy McCarthy reminds us of that agenda:
At Powerline, John Hinderaker notes that the "leftist majority in Venezuela's legislative assembly has adopted a measure that extends state control over education and mandates that all education be conducted in accordance with 'the Bolivarian Doctrine.' Opponents of Hugo Chavez call it the 'socialist indoctrination law.'" John goes on to describe (including photographic evidence) how pro-Chavez jackboots — sort of the Venezuelan version of ACORN or the SEIU — were dispatched to beat up dissenters.
John's post reminded me of three things. First there was that warm embrace in April between Chavez and President Obama. Second was the fact that Obama had enthusiastically teamed up for years with his friend Bill Ayers, the self-described communist and former terrorist, in an ambitious education reform project in Chicago — the Annenberg Challenge, a kitty they used to line the pockets of sundry radicals. And third was the speech Ayers gave in 2006 at the World Education Forum in Venezuela, with a smiling Hugo Chavez in attendance. I've posted on it before — prior to the election, when the media and a choir of moderates insisted that we knuckle-draggers were making too much of the trifle that Obama was pals with a disturbing number of America-hating revolutionaries. But somehow it seems worth repeating some excerpts today — you know, as a weekend interlude amid the debate over Obama's effort to nationalize another one-sixth of the private sector:President Hugo Chavez, … invited guests, comrades. I’m honored and humbled to be here with you this morning. I bring greetings and support from your brothers and sisters throughout Northamerica [sic]! Welcome to the World Education Forum. Amamos la revolucion Bolivariana! ...
[M]y comrade and friend Luis Bonilla, a brilliant educator and inspiring fighter for justice … has taught me a great deal about the Bolivarian Revolution [i.e., Chavez's movement] and about the profound educational reforms underway here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution, and I’ve come to appreciate Luis as a major asset in both the Venezuelan and the international struggle—I look forward to seeing how he and all of you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane…. [For more information on the Venezuelan socialist Luis Bonilla-Montoya, see here.]
I began teaching when I was 20 yeas old in a small freedom school affiliated with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The year was 1965, and I’d been arrested in a demonstration. Jailed for ten days, I met several activists who were finding ways to link teaching and education with deep and fundamental social change. They were following Dewey and DuBois, King and Helen Keller who wrote: “We can’t have education without revolution. We have tried peace education for 1,900 years and it has failed. Let us try revolution and see what it will do now.”
I walked out of jail and into my first teaching position—and from that day until this I’ve thought of myself as a teacher, but I’ve also understood teaching as a project intimately connected with social justice. After all, the fundamental message of the teacher is this: you can change your life—whoever you are, wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, another world is possible. As students and teachers begin to see themselves as linked to one another, as tied to history and capable of collective action, the fundamental message of teaching shifts slightly, and becomes broader, more generous: we must change ourselves as we come together to change the world. Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion!
… [I’ve] learned that education is never neutral. It always has a value, a position, a politics. Education either reinforces or challenges the existing social order, and school is always a contested space—what should be taught? In what way? Toward what end? By and for whom? At bottom, it involves a struggle over the essential questions: what does it mean to be a human being living in a human society?
Totalitarianism demands obedience and conformity, hierarchy, command and control. Royalty requires allegiance. Capitalism promotes racism and materialism—turning people into consumers, not citizens. Participatory democracy, by contrast, requires free people coming together, voluntarily as equals who are capable of both self-realization and, at the same time, full participation in a shared political and economic life.
… Venezuelans have shown the world that with full participation, full inclusion, and popular empowerment, the failing of capitalist schooling can be resisted and overcome. Venezuela is a beacon to the world in its accomplishment of eliminating illiteracy in record time, and engaging virtually the entire population in the ongoing project of education.
… [W]e, too, must build a project of radical imagination and fundamental change. Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education—a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation.
Viva Mission Sucre!
Viva Presidente Chavez!
Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana!
Hasta La Victoria Siempre!
Isn't it nice that we have a sociopathic thug and a murderer as a recognized leader in the field of education? And that he has worked closely in the past with our current President on changing education in this country? I'm impressed. But Ayer is correct in one thing: Education is Revolution.
All thuggish leftists and collectivists, including many of those we have elected to represent us in Congress; as well as the Taliban and other Islamofascist movements, intuitively understand that by controlling the education of the young, they can have an endless supply of fodder for their revolutionary utopia.
Controlling health care, as was pointed out in the previous post, helps them control everyone's life in the present. But, when they completely control education, then the political left will control the future and will have achieved their final victory.
BTW, "Hasta la victoria siempre" was the signoff used by Ernesto "Ché" Guevara in the last letter he wrote to Fidel Castro.
It translates as "Forever, Until Victory" or in other words, "Keep fighting until victory". Guevara, in addition to his revolutionary credentials, also happened to have a medical degree. Cool, huh?
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Once the government decides it is in charge of health care, it has a say in everything you do (this, natch, was an argument of my book). Guns, diet, and cars are more relevant to our slightly lower life expectancy than insurance premiums and reimbursement rates, so of course Henry Waxman and Barbara Boxer and the rest of the gang are going to use their control over the health-care system as an excuse to go after those aspects of our lives. Why wouldn't they? They already want to influence those aspects of our lives now. Health care is really the only other policy area — after "the children" and global warming — that gives the State access to the most private spheres of our lives. Whenever someone says "it's a health-care issue" it's somehow supposed to trump traditional rights and liberties. That's what the push in the 1990s to make gun control a health-care issue was all about. That's why cameras once used to catch terrorists are now used to catch people eating in their cars in the U.K.
This isn't about better health care, folks. It is about P.O.W.E.R. If a person truly wanted to improve health care--and the lives of real people--then they might be interested in stats comparing current American healthcare and Britain’s NHS:
1. U.K.’s heart-attack fatality rate is almost 20% higher than America’s
2. Angioplasties in Britain are only 21.3% as common as they are here
3. NICE ruled against the use of two drugs, Lapatinib and Sutent, that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer
4. Breast cancer in America has a 25% mortality rate; in Britain it’s almost double at 46%
5. Prostate cancer kills 19% of American and 57% of Brits
6. in 2006, a U.K-based board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took three years to get that outrageous decree reversed.
7. NICE will cut annual steroid injections for severe back pain from 60,000 to 3,000. Result? “It will mean more people on opiates, which are addictive and kill 2,000 a year. It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky and has a 50% failure rate.”
8. Nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment
9. U.S. = 34 CT scanners per million; Britain = 8
10. U.S. = 27 MRI machines per million; Britain = 6
11. Brits wait twice as long to see a specialist than Americans
12. In U.S., recommended age for colon-cancer screening for men begins at 50. NHS starts at age 75.
13. Avastin, a drug for advanced colon cancer, is prescribed more often in the U.S. than in the U.K., by some estimates as much as 10 times more.
14. In U.K., 20% of potentially curable lung-cancer patients became incurable on the waiting list.
Thomas Sowell once wrote that the that political left have a major "investment in failure":
It is not just in Iraq that the political left has an investment in failure. Domestically as well as internationally, the left has long had a vested interest in poverty and social malaise.
The old advertising slogan, "Progress is our most important product," has never applied to the left. Whether it is successful black schools in the United States or Third World countries where millions of people have been rising out of poverty in recent years, the left has shown little interest.
Progress in general seems to hold little interest for people who call themselves "progressives." What arouses them are denunciations of social failures and accusations of wrong-doing.
One wonders what they would do in heaven.
We are in no danger of producing heaven on earth but there have been some remarkable developments in some Third World countries within the past generation that have allowed many very poor people to rise to a standard of living that was never within their reach before.
The August 18th issue of the distinguished British magazine "The Economist" reveals the economic progress in Brazil, Argentina, and other Latin American nations that has given a better life to millions of their poorest citizens.
Some of the economic policies that have led to these results are discussed in "The Economist" but it is doubtful that members of the political left will stampede there to find out what those policies were.
Go on! Take a wild stab at whether the policies involved allowed the "selfish" free market to operate; or whether they represented the latest in "selfless" tyranny.
Coincidentally, America as a whole is beginning to appreciate the "selfless" tyranny of complete leftist rule. We have the selfless-tyrant-in-chief, whose every move is calculated for our very own good--and, only incidentally, to keep himself in power by stacking the political deck (think ACORN, the recently articulated goals of the NEW, IMPROVED! Injustice Department, and all the usual double dealing and payoffs that America has come to associate with Chicago-style thug/politicians, who are easily mistaken by the left as god-like and worshipped.
It's just too bad for them that the "common folk" are beginning to wake up and smell something fishy.
In the same piece quoted above, Sowell went on to note:
Despite whatever the left may say, or even believe, about their concern for the poor, their actual behavior shows their interest in the poor to be greatest when the poor can be used as a focus of the left's denunciations of society.
When the poor stop being poor, they lose the attention of the left. What actions on the part of the poor, or what changes in the economy, have led to drastic reductions in poverty seldom arouse much curiosity, much less celebration.
The collapse of the global left is due to its pervasive intellectual and moral bankruptcy. Obama is the poster boy for this bankruptcy; and he carelessly and stupidly repeats all the mistakes of the left's past. This time he thinks it will work out because HE is the one in charge and he has cleverly repackaged all those failed policies in ribbons of hope and boxes of change.
But the disastrous policies he and the Democrats are trying to ram down America's throat remain out of touch with reality; and like all the despots before him, he and the clueless Democrats deliberately and callously ignore the actual consequences to real people. Like most people who wind up on the political left, they are truly only concerned with two main issues: feeling good about their moral superiority over the "common folk" (along with all the attendant preening self-righteousness and moral lecturing); and obtaining power over others (for their own good, and society's).
The statistics above--as well as the economic consequences of all their other policies--should pose a moral conundrum for any rational person who genuinely wants to improve the lot of the common man and the make the world a better place.
When you have no real principles except the desire for power over others, all moral conundrums are easy to resolve.
Friday, August 14, 2009
“Your Veritas Sux If It Ain’t Got the Lux.”
Academia has reached a new low, and that accomplishment is not easy considering the recent history of academic lunacy.
I remember an article by Victor Davis Hanson in 2007 which asked the pertinent question, "Have American academics lost their collective mind?"
Having been in academia for much of my professional career, I think I am qualified to andwer that question in the affirmative. And let me add, that it is because the "mind" of academia has become a "collective", that it has been lost.
Hanson considered some of the more recent examples of academic lunacy in their banning of certain politically incorrect speakers, while enthusiastically encouraging the speeches of thugs and tyrants:
In each of the above cases, the general public has had to remind these universities that their campuses should welcome thinkers who have distinguished themselves in their fields, regardless of politics and ideology. The liberal Chemerinsky, the Clinton Democrat Summers and the conservative Rumsfeld have all courted controversy -- and all alike met the criterion of eminent achievement.
But the propagandist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not. Unlike Chemerinsky, Rumsfeld and Summers, he used the prestige of an Ivy-League forum solely to popularize his violent views -- and to sugarcoat the mayhem his terrorists inflict on Americans and his promises to wipe out Israel.
Here's a simple tip to the clueless tenured class about why a Larry Summers or Donald Rumsfeld should be welcome to speak, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shunned: former Cabinet secretaries -- yes; homicidal dictators killing Americans -- no.
I noted in this post that:
Columbia University does not, as one person has astutely pointed out have to "give a soapbox to every lunatic in the world" to somehow "prove" that it believes in free speech or the free exchange of ideas. Giving a soapbox to a Hitler or a Bin Laden or a pipsqueak like Ahmadinejad is merely yet another histrionic display of narcissistic self-indulgence by a politicized academia; just as the decision to recind Larry Summers invitation to speak was at another institution of higher learning.
What all these cowardly academic antics have in common is the dedication and committment to a particular political ideology, rather than to any value or belief in "the free exchange of ideas."
And the collectivist ideology that many American universities and their faculties implicitly and explicitly promote and represent is what I have termed neo-Marxist fascism.
If students in these madhouses aren't anti-American by the time they enter college, quite a few are by the time they finish. And, of course, they are oh so politically correct and culturally sensitive!
Here is a definition of "politically correct" which captures its essence:
Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
The process of indoctrinating young minds into utopian Marxism and all other variants of collectivist thought has become the holy mission of many universities and colleges and their faculty, while disguising the neo-Marxist dogma as political correctness and multiculturalism. This travesty has implications for generations of minds, whose thought processes have been perverted by the distortions of reality that are necessary to shore up the underying totalitarian ideologies.
Hiding behind the concept of "academic freedom", the purveyors of thought oppression have gained control of education in this country.
The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of those overly-prized qualities of "diversity" and "multiculturalism" need to be thoroughly and painstakingly exposed for what they are: the politically correct posturings of incompetent social engineers who wish to impose their own mediocrity on all aspects of society. They champion a new kind of oppression (the oppression of the competent) under the benign guise of "political correctness". If your ideas merely hurt their feelings, you can be sent to their gulags.
The transformation of our intellectual centers of knowledge into vast emotional swamps of multicultural victimhood, offended by any idea that they don't like, can be best appreciated by the unwillingness to tolerate dissent and difference of opinion, and the utter willingness to resort to physical violence to silence anyone they don't agree with.
In this manner, the professors--sure of their ideological and moral superiorty-- are no longer bothered by pesky ideas, which might actually have to be defended by reason and logic. No, they rely almost totally these days on the primacy of their feelings, which they proudly point out need no defense, since they are honest feelings and reflect the utmost emotional sensitivity--except, of course, to those who happen to disagree with them.
It is precisely the "collectivist" and totalitarian mindset taught in American Universities and colleges that has ushered in an era of academic lunacy with its disconnect from the real world; its worship of feelings over thought, and its betrayal of knowledge, truth, and reason.
'LUX ET VERITAS' AT YALE IS COMPLETELY DEAD. LONG LIVE 'LUX ET VERITAS'!