Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

The truth about slavery

As with just about everything else, it’s a lot more complicated than most would like to think.

Nearly all modern historians agree that the scenario depicted by Alex Haley in Roots—that of white raiders penetrating the African interior to rout African villages for slaves—is fraudulent. Instead, European slave traders nearly always bought slaves from African vendors at coastal markets. We hear much about the brutal “Middle Passage” across the Atlantic Ocean, but almost never about the estimated 10 million or so indigenous Africans who perished while being marched to the sea in chains and yokes by their African captors.

We don’t hear that according to Boston University’s Linda Heywood and John Thornton, about 90% of Africans transported to the New World had initially been enslaved by other Africans. We don’t hear about Tippu Tip, who was once a world-famous black slave trader in Zanzibar. And we certainly don’t hear much about how Barack Obama—who has no ancestral ties to African slaves in America—is descended from the Luo peoples, who routinely captured other Africans in war and sold them into slavery.

But when the Transatlantic Slave Trade was still active, what did African blacks and their American descendants have to say? Glad you asked…

Go read the rest. His conclusion is right on the money.

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Preview of coming, uhh, attractions

Brace yourselves.

On January 20, 2017, President Bernie Sanders was sworn into office. The elderly Vermont politician, who had always made waves, refused to use a bible, instead taking his oath on a smudged copy of his own economic five-year plan. He also unilaterally modified the presidential oath from “preserve, protect and defend” to “enhance, enrich and humanize the Constitution of the United States”.

The unlikely candidacy of Bernie Sanders had shocked and divided a party and then a nation.

President Sanders won the Democratic Party nomination by going far to the left and then, defying conventional wisdom, he moved even further to the left in the general election. Unable to retain the minority portion of the Obama coalition, many of whose leaders had been allied with Hillary Clinton and were still bitter over her loss and did little to help him, his victory relied heavily on youth voter turnout.

Voter turnout in America had been falling since the sixties. But in 2016, it fell below the 50% mark for the first time in history. When Bernie Sanders won a three-way election, only 43% of a weary nation came out to vote. And barely a fifth of the country voted for the first Socialist president.

The Sanders campaign had eschewed a slogan; instead it listed all the things that would be given away for free. Free health care, free college, free homes, free phones, free internet, free cars and free money for everyone. In the last week of the campaign, President Sanders had unveiled a guaranteed minimum income that would be paid to every individual in this country making Welfare-for-All into a reality.

The disappointment did not take long to arrive.

It never does. Anybody think that this time, at long last and after who even knows how many object examples all over the world, they’ll learn a damned thing from it?

Daniel’s Bernie campaign posters are pretty good, too.

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Plaster saint

Correcting the liberal rewrite of history, one chapter at a time. This one’s from the wayback machine for sure (1983), but still worth a look if you don’t know much about the subject.

I had the singular honor of attending an early private screening of Gandhi with an audience of invited guests from the National Council of Churches. At the end of the three-hour movie there was hardly, as they say, a dry eye in the house. When the lights came up I fell into conversation with a young woman who observed, reverently, that Gandhi’s last words were “Oh, God,” causing me to remark regretfully that the real Gandhi had not spoken in English, but had cried, Hai Rama! (“Oh, Rama”). Well, Rama was just Indian for God, she replied, at which I felt compelled to explain that, alas, Rama, collectively with his three half-brothers, represented the seventh reincarnation of Vishnu. The young woman, who seemed to have been under the impression that Hinduism was Christianity under another name, sensed somehow that she had fallen on an uncongenial spirit, and the conversation ended.

At a dinner party shortly afterward, a friend of mine, who had visited India many times and even gone to the trouble of learning Hindi, objected strenuously that the picture of Gandhi that emerges in the movie is grossly inaccurate, omitting, as one of many examples, that when Gandhi’s wife lay dying of pneumonia and British doctors insisted that a shot of penicillin would save her, Gandhi refused to have this alien medicine injected in her body and simply let her die. (It must be noted that when Gandhi contracted malaria shortly afterward he accepted for himself the alien medicine quinine, and that when he had appendicitis he allowed British doctors to perform on him the alien outrage of an appendectomy.) All of this produced a wistful mooing from an editor of a major newspaper and a recalcitrant, “But still. . . .” I would prefer to explicate things more substantial than a wistful mooing, but there is little doubt it meant the editor in question felt that even if the real Mohandas K. Gandhi had been different from the Gandhi of the movie it would have been nice if he had been like the movie-Gandhi, and that presenting him in this admittedly false manner was beautiful, stirring, and perhaps socially beneficial.

Well, of course–there was a Valuable Lesson to teach us, and libtards are always seeking to “educate” the rest of us benighted swine in this fashion. Thus:

Gandhi, therefore, the film, this paid political advertisement for the government of India, is organized around three axes: (1) Anti-racism—all men are equal regardless of race, color, creed, etc.; (2) anti-colonialism, which in present terms translates as support for the Third World, including, most eminently, India; (3) nonviolence, presented as an absolutist pacifism. There are other, secondary precepts and subheadings. Gandhi is portrayed as the quintessence of tolerance (“I am a Hindu and a Muslim and a Christian and a Jew”), of basic friendliness to Britain (“The British have been with us for a long time and when they leave we want them to leave as friends”), of devotion to his wife and family. His vow of chastity is represented as something selfless and holy, rather like the celibacy of the Catholic clergy. But, above all, Gandhi’s life and teachings are presented as having great import for us today. We must learn from Gandhi.

I propose to demonstrate that the film grotesquely distorts both Gandhi’s life and character to the point that it is nothing more than a pious fraud, and a fraud of the most egregious kind. Hackneyed Indian falsehoods such as that “the British keep trying to break India up” (as if Britain didn’t give India a unity it had never enjoyed in history), or that the British created Indian poverty (a poverty which had not only existed since time immemorial but had been considered holy), almost pass unnoticed in the tide of adulation for our fictional saint. Gandhi, admittedly, being a devout Hindu, was far more self-contradictory than most public men. Sanskrit scholars tell me that flat self-contradiction is even considered an element of “Sanskrit rhetoric.” Perhaps it is thought to show profundity.

Read all of it, if you’re at all interested in the nuts and bolts of how the Long March Through The Institutions manipulates and deceives those who allow themselves to be hoodwinked by it. It’s about as good a demonstration as you’ll find of the folly of taking Hollywood movies as a reliable source of historical information–even ones that purport to be “historical.” Maybe especially those. It’s a long one, but it’s damned good.

And as far as I’m concerned, it’s yet another demonstration of the overall superiority of Western culture over all others, even–again, especially–those inexplicably revered by the ass-backwards Left. The money quote, and the bottom line? This:

As almost always with historical films, even those more honest than Gandhi, the historical personage on which the movie is based is not only more complex but more interesting than the character shown on the screen.

Seeing as how such rewrites of history are based entirely on the shibboleths of a vacuous, trite, and dull ideology promulgated by people who simply aren’t nearly as bright as they think they are, how could it ever be otherwise?

(Via Ed)

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Smart man

Guess who said it.

In communism, the individual ends up in subjection to the state. True, the Marxists would argue that the state is an ‘interim’ reality which is to be eliminated when the classless society emerges; but the state is the end while it lasts, and man is only a means to that end. And if man’s so-called rights and liberties stand in the way of that end, they are simply swept aside. His liberties of expression, his freedom to vote, his freedom to listen to what news he likes or to choose his books are all restricted. Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state.

This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me. I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God. Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as means to the end of the state; but always as an end within himself.

Amen to that. Now go see who that quote is from, bearing in mind that he’s just another great man hijacked by the Lying Left, who claim him as one of their own for their own purposes even though he was never any such thing. This, while denouncing true Progressivists who have now become…inconvenient. As Glenn says: nobody tell commie dimwit Bernie Sanders about this. His head would probably explode, and nobody wants to have to wipe all the fecal matter inside off of the walls.

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The (a)historical record

Diplomad sets ’em straight.

That said, serious problems exist with some of the narrative spun about King, in particular, and the civil rights struggle, in general. Part of the problem, of course, is that King died young, enabling others, as with the two Kennedy brothers, to fill in the rest of the story, and use it to further certain political agendas. King died short of his fortieth birthday; had he lived longer, presumably he would have evolved and, possibly, become a very different man than he was when he died–we will never know. What we do know is that the Democratic Party and their “progressive” media and education machines have rewritten the history of the civil rights struggle. This was driven home to me some years ago while visiting a college campus. The students assumed King was a Democrat, and the segregationists confronting the peaceful marchers, and using fire hoses, snarling police dogs, and truncheons, and wearing white hoods were Republicans. They assume a Republican killed King–today’s college kids probably believe the Tea Party had him killed. That the exact opposite is true, shocks many. King came from a staunchly Republican family–his father, a prominent leader in his own right–openly endorsed Richard Nixon against JFK in the 1960 presidential election. The Democrats had a one-party lock on the South. The party of slave owners and secessionists, had become the party of Jim Crow, school segregation, anti-miscegenation laws, poll taxes, and on and on.

Many Americans, not to mention foreigners, do not realize not only that the Republican party was formed in opposition to slavery, and that Lincoln was a Republican, but that the famous Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, whose rulings dismantled the legal basis for segregation and put serious limitations on the power of police, was a former Republican Governor of California. It was, furthermore, war hero and Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who sent troops to Arkansas to enforce court-ordered desegregation at Little Rock Central High School. Congressional Republicans were the main supporters of civil rights legislation; their votes ensured passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, over the opposition of a significant bloc of Democrats–let us also not forget that Congressional Democrats for years blocked Republican efforts to pass federal anti-lynching legislation. All this, of course, is history, but an important chunk of American history that is being lost, distorted, or otherwise flushed down the memory sewer–along with the fact that anti-leftist J. Edgar Hoover proved the most formidable foe of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), an organization founded and staffed by Democrats, such as long-time Democrat Senator Robert Byrd.

Before I get back to King, let me address another issue that has been badly distorted and become something of a meme among the quasi-literate left. I refer to the idea that the parties have “switched places.” This is something I have heard from some lefties who, knowing the true history of the Democratic and Republican Parties when it comes to race and civil rights, try to argue that that was then, and this is now. Since FDR or so, they argue, the Democratic and the Republican Parties “switched” places on the race issue, with Republicans taking the role of protecting white privilege and keeping minorities, especially blacks, down.

The truth is quite different. What happened was that the old party of slavers, segregationists, lynch mobs, and secessionists figured out that government programs and intervention were the means to deprive Republicans of a significant voter bloc. The aim was to keep black Americans dependent on the largesse of government and Democrat-run urban political machines. Anyone who doubts that should read the crude comment in which President Johnson revealed the real purpose underlying his massive social program expansion, i.e., to keep black Americans voting Democrat. The Democrats have succeeded admirably at this objective.

They certainly have–to everyone’s detriment. Were he still around, Goebbels himself could only stand back and marvel at how deftly his ideological descendants have deployed the Big Lie technique, and how total their success has been with it.

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An ideology that will live in infamy

Looks like turning into Parody Day around here.

Naval Base Bombed, Shinto Worshipers Fear Backlash – New York Times – December 8 1941
A day after planes passed over their peaceful village on the way to attack the Naval Station at Pearl Harbor, local fishermen are still picking up the pieces.

“I don’t know what any of this is about,” a man who would only give his name as Paji said, holding the remains of a net which he had used to earn a living. “All I know is that the killing has to stop.”

In Washington, government officials urged the public to stay calm and not to jump to any conclusions warning that such reactions might play into the hands of the militant extremists responsible for the attack.

Early copies of President Roosevelt’s upcoming speech to Congress likewise warn the American public of the dangers of overreaction.

“We are not at war with Japan,” it says. “We are at war with a tiny handful of extremists who are attempting to drag the Japanese people into a conflict. But we must keep a cool head and not allow them to win by provoking a war. We will defeat this enemy, but we will do it by not fighting them.”

A profile has emerged of at least one of these attackers. Hideki Nakamura, a graduate of Harvard and a talented oboe player, was shot down and captured. Nothing in his background, which included playing for the Harvard squash team, would have lead anyone to conclude that he was capable of such a thing.

KATANA, a local civil rights organization partly funded by Japan’s war propaganda office, has warned that American foreign policy is responsible for the radicalization of such young men like Nakamura.

“What made this man hate America so much that he wanted to bomb it?” a spokeswoman for KATANA asked. “How did America fail him? And how can we win him back?”

Nakamura’s guards have suggested that the pilot is soft-spoken and has pleasant manners, but that he becomes vocally exercised over the American embargo of Japan and the refusal of many universities to install rice paper doors in dormitories.

“Detaining Nakamura only inspires others to imitate him,” KATANA said, suggesting that he instead be released back to Japan where the government is running an anti-extremism program at the Strategic Institute of War that claims to be able to deprogram extremists with a 97% success rate.

Unfortunately the program, dubbed KAMIKAZE, is unable to accommodate all potential extremists without additional foreign aid funding from the United States government.

“It’s cheap for us to spend 3 million dollars fighting Japanese extremism by funding Kamikaze instead of spending 30 million on national defense,” Senator Earl Hawkins said. “Studies show that one of the leading causes of anti-American sentiments is unemployment. KAMIKAZE is tackling that.”

This is good and all, but what a lot of people fail to remember is that there were plenty of Progwads around back then who really did oppose going to war against Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito–they greatly admired Hitler and Mussolini, in fact, fascism and Progressivism being closely related ideologies with common roots and goals–and would have responded to Pearl Harbor in pretty much this same way. Thereby closing the circle: there really IS no parodying the douchebags anymore.

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Some things never change

Leftism=treason. It’s every bit as incompatible with/hostile to the Constitution as Islam is, and ought to be dragged kicking and screaming out from its dank skulking-place and into the light of truth for the same reasons.

It seems that every year since has brought new revelations about the Rosenberg case and reignites a debate about the meaning of the couple’s actions, the extent of what they actually did or did not do, and whether their actions did real harm to national security. Moreover, many of the Rosenbergs’ supporters still believe, as they did at the time, that the couple were innocent and made into scapegoats for America’s loss of its atomic monopoly.

Um–they were in significant measure responsible for that loss; how could that acknowledgment of reality be scapegoating, exactly? Just because Leftists ally themselves with our adversaries doesn’t mean that loss ought to be celebrated. By anybody but filthy traitors, that is.

The truth is that for those who accept evidence and reason, the debate should be over. Beginning with the first release in 1995 of the Venona decrypts of KGB messages to their agents in the United States, it became clear to even the most resolute doubters not only that Julius Rosenberg was a KGB agent who put together and ran an espionage ring made up of college friends who had become engineers or scientists but that his wife, Ethel, knew of and supported his activities. So, the question must be asked: Why did so many ignore the plain evidence of the Rosenbergs’ guilt? And why do so many continue to argue that the Rosenbergs were framed by the U.S. government?

Because they, too, are Leftists traitors to their country, that’s why. It’s in their direct and entirely selfish interest to obscure the truth, about both the Rosenbergs and themselves. Hardly a one among them would have any more qualms about selling out their country to communists than the Rosenbergs. As Glenn used to say regarding the so-called “War On Terror”: they aren’t antiwar. They are on the other side. As I said: always were. Always will be, until the hammer and sickle is finally hoisted over the Capitol in DC and the tattered, battered old Stars and Stripes is hauled down for good.

On the left, the Communists and their allies did all they could to attribute the indictment and trial of the Rosenbergs to anti-Semitism, which fit with their assertion—as hard as it is to believe today—that the Truman Administration was leading America toward a home-grown version of Fascism. Moreover, the Rosenberg trial coincided with the actual anti-Semitic trial of the former Czechoslovak Communist Party leadership—most of whom were Jewish. Almost all of the defendants in that trial were found guilty of spying for the United States and the Zionists and, after confessions forced by brutal torture, were hanged to death. By focusing on the Rosenbergs as victims of American fascism and anti-Semitism, the Soviets hoped to deflect attention away from what they were doing in their own bloc.

Boy, there are so many painful ironies in that paragraph I can’t even begin to contemplate them for further comment without wincing.

Today, so many decades later, the descendants of the people who proclaimed the Rosenbergs’ innocence have now begun yet another campaign to rehabilitate them. They now argue that although it appears Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet spy after all, he gave little of value to the Soviets, was motivated by the desire to stave off atomic war, and in any case had nothing to do with handing over atomic information of any kind to the Soviet Union.

A new variation of this argument was penned recently by the activist historian and lawyer Staughton Lynd, writing in the Marxist journal Monthly Review, founded in 1949 by the late Leo Huberman and the late Paul M. Sweezy. I have written at length about Lynd’s article, but his argument can be easily summarized. Lynd now accepts as fact that Julius Rosenberg led a Soviet spy network, but he objects to what he calls the triumphalism of those like me who have asserted this for years. More important for Lynd is that the couple refused to “snitch,” therefore making themselves heroes. He maintains that their trial was a “sham,” and he argues that even if they were guilty, they must be viewed as unadulterated heroes. Why? Because, he actually writes, the couple had “obligations as Communists, and as citizens of the world.” So, to Lynd, the Rosenbergs’ obligation to spy for Joseph Stalin stands above any loyalty to their own country, not to speak of their willingness to make their own children orphans. Secondly, Lynd believes that if the Rosenbergs helped the Soviets get the bomb, that “might have been justified,” since he believes Soviet strength stopped aggression by the American imperialists.

For years, the American Left argued that the Rosenbergs were framed and innocent. Now Lynd says they were guilty but that their actions were justified because they helped “preserve the peace of the world.” In effect, he is saying that instead of still attempting to prove the Rosenbergs were framed, we should celebrate them for being traitors to their own country. His argument reveals only the desperation some on the left have to descend to in order to maintain their view that the only guilty party was the United States.

I wouldn’t call it desperation, exactly. Dishonest as hell, sure, and ignorant, and wholly despicable. But to the Commie Left, red in tooth and claw and entirely dedicated to the destruction of the Constitution as our ruling document for all these years now by any means they can contrive or conjure, I’d say that shift merely represents “progress.” It’s certainly a marker of the success they’ve so far enjoyed at undermining the national will to resist their evil, un-American ideology.

To admit the couple’s guilt is to demolish in one fell swoop the case their defenders have made over the years about their martyrdom and to force their supporters to face up to issues they would rather ignore. That is why the distinguished historian Eric Foner—one of the most prominent historians in the United States—can write that “the execution of the Rosenbergs was only the most extreme example of a broader pattern of shattered careers and suppressed civil liberties”—rather than an actual espionage case in which two American Communists were recruited out of the Communist Party USA to work for the KGB.

Foner continues to assert that “rather than the nest of Soviet spies portrayed by the FBI, or creatures of Moscow … the party emerges in new [revisionist historical] work as a complex and diverse organization.” He sees the CPUSA as a legitimate political group no different than any other organization or party. But in fact, if not exactly a “nest of spies,” it was, from its top leadership down, a willing recruiting agency for the KGB. It might have been complex, but its diversity included the membership’s willingness to do whatever Moscow ordered.

Indeed, Walter Schneir inadvertently admitted as much, when he wrote in Final Verdict that if Julius Rosenberg had talked, he would have been forced to name “the very friends who he had himself recruited,” as well as reveal “the dark secret” that the CPUSA and its leader, Earl Browder, “had involved itself in enlisting dozens of members for espionage.” When Schneir writes that if Julius and Ethel Rosenberg had confessed, they would have “fueled the hysteria of the times,” he is admitting that the so-called hysteria had a real basis in fact—the CPUSA and its members’ principal loyalty was to Moscow.

And once again, I’m forced by anything close to a regard for fair use to cut off the excerpting, and insist that you read the rest. There’s a whole lot more; it’s well worth your time and consideration, and it all adds up to one thing: the Left is as committed and dangerous an enemy to America, its interests, and its now nearly-abandoned Constitution as any murderous Moslem fanatic ever was. More so, probably, given their incredible success at sabotaging not only our system of government, but our confidence in and perception of the Founding ideals themselves.

And it demands, too, that we seriously ponder an old but critical question: is the Constitution a suicide pact, or is it not? Are we required to tolerate serious threats to our liberty in the name of protection of our Constitutional rights? Or does a sense of national self-respect and love for our Founding ideals require that those ideals be bent or even broken in their defense?

And perhaps most of all, this: in an age when decades of Communist propaganda and PC agitation has rendered us all but incapable of even considering taking action of any kind against raw treason–indeed, when traitors such as Bowe Berghdahl are celebrated as heroes from the very steps of the fucking White House, not under cover of darkness and away from prying patriotic eyes, but with full fawning media coverage of the disgusting event, no less–is it all just a moot point now?

Via Ace, who has more on yet another sickening development in the long, long story of Leftard treason.

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Stacking arms

David French closes out the now well and truly lost debate over the Rebel flag (and, of course, liberty and a proper reverence for history, both also well and truly lost) with another moving post.

Let me be clear about my perspective: History should not be taught through a framework that first (or even materially) considers how a student or citizen feels about that history. Nor should it be taught through the closely related framework of dictating the teaching of particular point of view. Rather, the teaching of history should acknowledge – as much as human beings can – the truth of the past in all its complexity. That complexity can be difficult and painful to process. Yet it can also be revealing and inspiring, with the same set of facts playing on human emotions and knowledge in distinct and often contradictory ways.

I detect more than a whiff of a similar mindset in comments about the flag and about monuments, memorials, and other historical markers acknowledging or honoring Confederate soldiers and leaders. To the critic, their existence is all downside, no upside – hurting many (but not all) African-American citizens and sending deeply mixed messages about American attitudes towards the Confederacy. Never mind that these mixed messages have been part of American life for more than 150 years. Never mind that the memorials themselves are part of an important history of grief and healing that reflected the South’s immense loss of life, a loss we can’t comprehend in modern times. Never mind that the memorials cannot wipe away the horrible truths of slavery and Jim Crow. Never mind that the memorials and monuments have memorialized valor in a way that has helped motivate generations of Southerners to fight for freedom under the Stars and Stripes. The flags must come down, and the memorials must be transformed.

The contemporary cultural view of the Confederacy, its soldiers, and citizens is now fixed – there is absolutely nothing about their lives and legacy that’s worth remembering if it at all complicates the narrative of evil rebellion followed by evil resistance to integration and inclusion, not even when that complication involves a legacy of not just valor but also of charity and appreciation from many of the men who spilled their own blood and faced the agony of loss in their long fight against the South.

I’ve said this before – in my initial essay about the flag – my daughter is African-American, and the thought that she could be held (if born at a different time) in slavery or subjected to second-class-citizenship through Jim Crow is horrifying. I’m grateful beyond words that our nation culturally and legally embraces equal rights for all its citizens. As I also said in my essay, my forefathers wore gray in the Civil War, fighting at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Franklin, and Nashville. It is an aspect of God’s wonderful and mysterious grace that a descendant of Confederates is raising a bi-racial family. Yet my story is hardly unusual in the South. This transformation is both in spite – and because of – my deeply Christian ancestors. To change the South so that memorials are now re-cast as symbols of their eternal shame is to treat them worse than their Union adversaries did in the immediate aftermath of bloody conflict.

And that was pretty damned bad, all the revisionist history I’ve been seeing of late from conservative pundits decrying the “smearing” of vile, rapacious carpetbaggers as what they truly were notwithstanding. Vilification and hatred of Southern white males, it seems, is not the exclusive province of Progressivists working a larger agenda.

David closes with a wonderful passage from Union soldier Joshua Chamberlain:

At such a time and under such conditions I thought it eminently fitting to show some token of our feeling, and I therefore instructed my subordinate officers to come to the position of ’salute’ in the manual of arms as each body of the Confederates passed before us.It was not a ‘present arms,’ however, not a ‘present,’ which then as now was the highest possible honor to be paid even to a president. It was the ‘carry arms,’ as it was then known, with musket held by the right hand and perpendicular to the shoulder. I may best describe it as a marching salute in review.

When General Gordon came opposite me I had the bugle blown and the entire line came to ‘attention,’ preparatory to executing this movement of the manual successively and by regiments as Gordon’s columns should pass before our front, each in turn.

The General was riding in advance of his troops, his chin drooped to his breast, downhearted and dejected in appearance almost beyond description. At the sound of that machine like snap of arms, however, General Gordon started, caught in a moment its significance, and instantly assumed the finest attitude of a soldier. He wheeled his horse facing me, touching him gently with the spur, so that the animal slightly reared, and as he wheeled, horse and rider made one motion, the horse’s head swung down with a graceful bow, and General Gordon dropped his swordpoint to his toe in salutation.

By word of mouth General Gordon sent back orders to the rear that his own troops take the same position of the manual in the march past as did our line. That was done, and a truly imposing sight was the mutual salutation and farewell.

At a distance of possibly twelve feet from our line, the Confederates halted and turned face towards us. Their lines were formed with the greatest care, with every officer in his appointed position, and thereupon began the formality of surrender.

Bayonets were affixed to muskets, arms stacked, and cartridge boxes unslung and hung upon the stacks. Then, slowly and with a reluctance that was appealingly pathetic, the torn and tattered battleflags were either leaned against the stacks or laid upon the ground. The emotion of the conquered soldiery was really sad to witness. Some of the men who had carried and followed those ragged standards through the four long years of strife, rushed, regardless of all discipline, from the ranks, bent about their old flags, and pressed them to their lips with burning tears.

And it can well be imagined, too, that there was no lack of emotion on our side, but the Union men were held steady in their lines, without the least show of demonstration by word or by motion. There was, though, a twitching of the muscles of their faces, and, be it said, their battle-bronzed cheeks were not altogether dry. Our men felt the import of the occasion, and realized fully how they would have been affected if defeat and surrender had been their lot after such a fearful struggle.

And maybe that’s the whole problem: “liberals,” never magnanimous in victory to start with and flush with more than seven decades of near-absolute victory over enemies they regard as unworthy of the least regard, have now come to the point where they simply can’t conceive of defeat, and are viscerally incapable of the kind of humility and humanity demonstrated by Chamberlain and his men, among many others of the triumphant Union soldiery.

Leave it those who carry the rifles and run to the sound of the guns–themselves schooled by blood, death, deprivation, horror in equal measure with dauntless courage, integrity and valor–to truly get it, and to show themselves to be far better men than our contemporary hothouse flowers and simpering ivory-tower pusscakes can ever dream of being. Men such as Chamberlain and his troops are in tragically short supply nowadays. We’ve come a long way in a hundred and fifty years…some of it in salutary directions, of course, but by no means all of it.

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Ask a silly question

Is the Britain—or America—of 2015 Capable of Producing Another Churchill?” No. I mean, look around; do you SEE any Churchills? Or, for the matter of it, Pattons, Eisenwhowers, or even De Gaulles? Nope. It’s Chamberlains–or worse–from sea to shining sea, everywhere you care to look.

We could probably find a good few Hitlers if we looked under enough DC rocks, though. And you couldn’t swing a dead cat around in the Capitol building (or the White House) without hitting a whole slew of would-be Stalins, more’s the pity.

Update! Further evidence supporting my position here. As if any were needed, and my conclusion not as obvious and inevitable as the sunrise.

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A lot of people think comedians are smart

Mostly comedians, I’d say.

We’ve just come through an election that was a triumph for Fox News and a fiasco for Obama. What do you make of it?

Jon Stewart has said the reason Fox News works better than CNN is because the people at Fox News figured out how to make themselves into victims.

So will it now be harder for Republicans to play victims?

They have no problem playing victims.

Even in victory?

Even in victory. America — not black America, but America as a whole — started in England and was ruled by kings and queens and had a class system. I’m almost of the mind that that’s what America wants at the end of the day. Maybe America wants monopolies.

They always seem to want a Bush or a Clinton.

Maybe they just want a Bush. Maybe they want no regulations. It’s hard for me to figure out people voting against their own self-interests. At some point you go, Okay: Is that what they want?

Is it possible that they’re just angry, whether it’s anger at Obama or Washington in general, and they just want to lash out? If you’re angry, you don’t rationally consider what’s in your self-interest.

Maybe. But we had Bush for eight years. They saw what that was. Apparently a lot of people want to go back to that. A lot of people think rich people are smart.

What do you make of the attempt to bar Bill Maher from speaking at Berkeley for his riff on Muslims?

Well, I love Bill, but I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.

In their political views?

Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of “We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.” Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say “the black kid over there.” No, it’s “the guy with the red shoes.” You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.

Yeah, and we all know how the movement demanding political correctness has always been a phenomenon driven almost exclusively by conservatives. Right, Chris?

Genius. But any interview with Frank Rich in the NYT Magazine–hey, what else would you expect but great, stinking, flyblown piles of pure genius lying around waiting to be stepped in by the unwary?

Via Glenn, who linked it saying “CHRIS ROCK: I stopped playing colleges because they’re too intolerant.” Which, that ain’t precisely what he actually said here.

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Where it all began

Amity Shlaes exposes Ken Burns’s new hagiographical propaganda piece, The Roosevelts.

Absent, however, from the compelling footage is any display of the negative consequences of Rooseveltian action. The premise of Theodore Roosevelt’s trustbusting was that business was too strong. The opposite turned out to be true when, bullied by TR, the railroads promptly collapsed in the Panic of 1907. In the end it fell to TR’s very target, J. P. Morgan, to organize the rescue on Wall Street.

The documentary also neglects to mention that the economy of the early 1920s proved likewise fragile — casualty, in part, to President Woodrow Wilson’s fortification of TR’s progressive policies. Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge poured their own energy into halting the expansion of an imperial presidency and sustaining the authority of the states. This endeavor, anti-progressive, also won approbation: In 1920, the Harding-Coolidge ticket beat Cox-Roosevelt. The result of the Harding-Coolidge style of presidency was genuine and enormous prosperity. The 1920s saw the arrival of automobiles, indoor toilets, and the very radios that FDR would later use so effectively to his advantage. Joblessness dropped; the number of new patents soared. TR had enjoyed adulation, but so did his mirror opposite, the refrainer Coolidge.

When it comes to the 1930s, such twisting of the record becomes outright distortion. By his own stated goal, that of putting people to work, Roosevelt failed. Joblessness remained above 10 percent for most of the decade. The stock market did not come back. By some measures, real output passed 1929 levels monetarily in the mid 1930s only to fall back into a steep depression within the Depression. As George Will comments, “the best of the New Deal programs was Franklin Roosevelt’s smile.” The recovery might have come sooner had the smile been the only New Deal policy.

Coolidge remains the most underrated president in our history–and one of the very best ones too, compounding the tragic injustice of his obscurity. As for the Roosevelts, it surely must be acknowledged that their reigns were indeed consequential in the extreme–and just like their ideological heir, the tyrant Obama, not in a good way. Shlaes’s parting shot is telling in all too many ways:

The Roosevelts brings to light a failing in conservative investors and non-progressive educators: They don’t deliver enough serious history of their own. Frustrated at their inability to penetrate such institutions as PBS and the Ivy League, many abdicate, turning to the instant gratification of spin-cycle journalism or politics. Conservatives and classical liberals — indeed, anyone looking for true balance — might also devote attention and resources to filming, writing, and drawing a high-quality narrative. PBS might in turn surprise by airing such work: It did air Daniel Yergin’s history of the free-market movement, Commanding Heights. Through my own work I’ve attempted to supply a different perspective on the 1920s and 1930s. But an army of attempts is needed. Precisely at a time when they must decide whether to back yet further incursions by Washington, Americans can sorely use a more complete version of their own past — preferably one without thrones.

Yes indeed. But sheep will always seek a shepherd, I guess, whether he be benign or malevolent.

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More SCIENCE!

Or, y’know, not.

According to Cosmos, at the dawn of the age of astronomy there was “only one man on the whole planet who envisioned an infinitely grander cosmos, and how was he spending New Years Eve of the year 1600? Why, in prison, of course.”

Now we are getting away from the cosmic stuff and into the juicy personal side of science, with its anarchy and back-stabbing, and insurrection — a much different reality than the cold, logical, evidence-based perception of scientists. What science giant are they talking about? Galileo? Kepler? Brahe? No, Tyson is instead talking about Giordano Bruno, who, we are told, “couldn’t keep his soaring vision of the cosmos to himself” at a time when “there was no freedom of thought.”

And we are to believe science is the reason why he was in jail, because Copernicus “did not go far enough” and supposedly Bruno did.

The cartoon we get about Bruno shows him getting run out of Oxford also, but the audience must realize he got invited to talk at Oxford even though they knew what he was about, so clearly they were not suppressing freedom of thought. He lived in England for two years. What is left out of this very long cartoon — 10 minutes of a 41-minute program is devoted to this revisionist history of Bruno – is that Bruno only agreed with Copernicus because he worshiped the Egyptian God Thoth and believed in Hermetism and its adoration of the sun as the center of the universe. Both Hermes and Thoth were gods of…magic.

The church and science did not agree with Bruno that pygmies came from a “second Adam” or that native Americans had no souls, but they were also not going to kill him over it. There is no evidence his “science” came up at any time. He was imprisoned for a decade because the church wanted him to just recant his claims that Hermetism was the one true religion and then they could send him on his way. When he spent a decade insisting it was fact, he was convicted of Arianism and occult practices, not advocating science. It was discovered shortly after his execution that the “ancient texts” he believed had predicted, among other things, the birth of Jesus Christ, had only been created a century earlier, not at the time of Moses.

After the cartoon about Bruno, Tyson immediately concedes that Bruno was not a scientist.

This leads to an obvious question: Why would a science program devote 25 percent of its first episode to the persecution of someone who was not a scientist, was not accepted by scientists, and published no science, but was instead a martyr for magic?

That is a mystery only the producers can answer, but science historians can’t be happy that Galileo’s primary credit to the science of astronomy in Cosmos becomes that he “looked through a telescope, realizing that Bruno had been right all along.”

We can’t know exactly what Galileo thought when he looked through that telescope, but we can be certain that a sun-worshiping philosopher was not on his mind. Instead of being a champion for science and a martyr for freedom of thought, as Cosmos tries to portray him, Bruno undermined science — religious authorities, including the Pope, who had been interested in a good argument for Copernicus, began to wonder if it was all a cult. Yet they didn’t kill to protect religion from science, no matter how the story of Bruno is framed. Both Copernicus and Galileo, actual scientists who shook the pillars of heaven, died peacefully in their sleep.

There is one good thing about believing in the multiverse, though: if there are infinite universes, in one of them the story of Giordano Bruno happened exactly as the Cosmos show says it did.

Unfortunately, in the actual universe, it did not.

Well, they have to dumb things down for their target audience: “liberals,” who need the comfort of their cozy fictions far more than reason-oriented adults do. With Tyson, it would seem they’ve found themselves a perfect Pan to lead them prancing down their primrose path.

Update! Oh, they have a dilemma all right.

In the first go-around, these anti-capitalists tried to capture the science of economics, forming theories about how capitalism is a system of exploitation that will impoverish the common man, while scientific central planning would provide abundance for all.

Let’s just say that this didn’t work out. When it turned out that central planning impoverishes the common man and capitalism provides abundance for all, they had to switch to a fallback position. Which is: to heck with prosperity—too many material goods are the problem. Our greed for more is destroying the planet by causing environmental catastrophes. This shift became official some time in the 1960s with the rise of the New Left.

Some of the catastrophes didn’t pan out (overpopulation, global cooling) and others proved too small to be anything more than a speed bump in the path of capitalism (banning CFCs and DDT). But then along comes global warming—and it’s just too good not to be true. It tells us that capitalism is not just exploiting the workers or causing inequality or deadening our souls with crass materialism. It’s destroying the very planet itself.

The global warming theory tells us that the free market is a doomsday machine bringing about the end of the world. It turns capitalism into a metaphysical evil.

And there is no halfway solution to the problem, no practical fix or technological patch. Carbon dioxide emissions are an unavoidable byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels, and the entire system of industrial capitalism runs on fossil fuels. So the only way to avoid catastrophe is to shut it all down.

You can see how this brings order and balance back to the left’s universe. Their visceral reaction against capitalism is validated on the deepest, most profound level.

You can see how this would be almost like a drug or like an article of religious faith. How can you allow people to question and undermine the very thing that gives meaning to your life? Hence the visceral reaction to global warming skeptics.

Then there is a second dilemma faced by the left. Their own history—and indeed their present—hasn’t always been so liberal and enlightened and progressive. The hard-core advocates of central planning had embraced or excused Soviet totalitarianism, with its party lines and Lysenkoism, and the central planners and “pro-science” types of a previous era had embraced eugenics. Today, there are still those who want to shut down opposing opinions, and every couple of years somebody floats a proposal to imprison global warming skeptics. Or maybe they just try to sue them and shut them down in the courts.

What to do? Construct an alternative narrative in which the political right is the modern-day successor to the Inquisition and the political left is the inheritor of a tradition of bold free-thinking that goes all the way back to Giordano Bruno. Even if you have to fudge a few facts to make it work.

And one in which the Soviet Union, one of the most monstrous regimes in human history, really wasn’t all that bad; fascism was a product of the Right, and the “Socialist” part of Naziism is left out entirely; patently un-Constitutional acts are actually perfectly in line with the intent of the Founders, and those men were actually all for an overlarge and too-powerful central government; and “liberalism” means the exact opposite of what it was understood to mean for centuries previous.

But other than that, they’re perfectly logical, consistent, ethical, and reasonable.

You knew this was coming too update! The blind, worshipful Left strikes back. Feebly, in their usual dishonest fashion.

Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has long been a despised figure among conservatives—and now the right is accusing him of being a “fabulist” and making up quotes.

The conservative website The Federalist ran a story last week saying Tyson had used a nonexistent newspaper headline and a fake quote from a member of Congress in a presentation.

And demonstrated, with factual evidence and direct quotes, that he did exactly that. Not that any of that matters a whit to smug libtard fellow-fabulists.

Tyson hasn’t directly responded to the charges of inaccuracy, and his agent had no comment for this story.

Why should they? They have the unbiased, objective, “science”-loving liberal media for that.

But why do conservatives dislike Tyson so much to begin with?

The answers thus far have been unsatisfying. Amanda Marcotte, a Beast contributor, blamed the right’s “anti-intellectual paranoia” in a story for Alternet, while a piece in the L.A. Times blamed political ignorance. One progressive blog said racism was to blame.

And who would know better why conservatives might dislike someone than a bitter, frothing, hate-addled, hard-Left droolcase; a diehard “mainstream” liberal media outlet; and a race-baiting simpleton?

Perhaps the philosophical difference between left and right on the nature of knowledge is key to understanding the disdain for Tyson.

Now you’re getting somewhere. But you still got a long way to go, because you’re still assuming it’s “knowledge” that conservatives find annoying about Tyson and his bleating, know-nothing acolytes, “knowledge” that conservatives are opposed to. I know, I know, an excursion into the conservative thought process is frightening to liberals–a journey into a dark, alien place where emotion, narcissism, and visceral hatred aren’t necessarily the coins of the realm.

But get this: conservatives are not bothered by knowledge, nor by science, nor even by Tyson personally. They’re bothered by dishonesty and misrepresentation; they’re bothered by using science as an excuse for self-congratulatory ideological preening; they’re bothered by the liberal traits that seem to outweigh and override all others, up to and including their meddlesome lust for absolute power over everybody and everything: arrogance, and condescension.

And if you think any of that is anything remotely to do with science, you got some more to learn about science there, bub.

Actually, I’m probably being a bit harder on the author of the piece than he merits; the story is more even-handed than you might expect from the DB. And if you want to retain that small shred of reasonableness and good will I’m leaving you with there, I strongly recommend that you do NOT wade into the comments section.

(Via Ace)

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You’re no daisy

Interesting, and entertaining, stuff.

The bloodshed would eventually engender White House intervention: President Rutherford B. Hayes sent the U.S. Army, which responded by escalating the violence. Hayes also appointed a new territorial governor, Lew Wallace, who issued amnesty offers. They only applied to those not under indictment for murder, which ruled out Billy the Kid. He wrote Wallace requesting a pardon, but events had moved too far along for that.

Billy was violent, but he did not, as legend has it, kill 20 men, mostly Apaches and Mexicans. This kind of pulp fiction was the invention of Pat Garrett and his ghost-writer, another local newspaperman, along with a thousand imitators. The annoying and aggrandizing frontier scribe has been the inspiration for numerous less-than-flattering Hollywood depictions. But when it comes to Billy the Kid, the fictions peddled by the motion picture business are pretty wild, too.

Among those who have played The Kid, usually as a noble if misguided young anti-hero, are Audie Murphy, Robert Taylor, Roy Rogers, Buster Crabbe (more than a dozen times), Paul Newman, Kris Kristofferson, Emilio Estevez, Donnie Wahlberg, and Val Kilmer.

There’s an interesting footnote to Val Kilmer’s portrayal. That made-for-television movie, based on a screenplay by Gore Vidal, was made four years before Kilmer’s over-the-top (and quite wonderful) portrayal of Doc Holliday in the 1993 blockbuster “Tombstone.” In that film, it is Holliday who kills Johnny Ringo.

John Peters Ringo is another personage who has long captured Hollywood’s collective imagination.

The last line of the article is one of my favorite movie lines ever, and if you dig Tombstone as much as I still do to this day, you probably already know what it is.

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The Mary Jo Kopechne of the autumn of 1963

Kennedy myth-making, unraveled by Steyn: “‘What goes around comes around’ doesn’t have quite the same ring as ‘one brief shining moment’.” And while we’re un-revising the Left’s near-cartoonish version of history:

I happen to be a member of that minority—perhaps in America the minoritiest of all minorities—who doesn’t get it. I understand the sadness of a still youngish man killed in the presence of his wife before a vast television audience. What I don’t get is the glamor of, the intense emotion surrounding, the general significance of John F. Kennedy. Nor do I understand the eagerness of so many of my countrymen to make the Kennedy family America’s equivalent of the royals.

John F. Kennedy turned out to be a most mediocre president. He was at best hesitant in his support of the civil rights movement, the clearest moral event of the second half of the twentieth century. Nor did he pass any domestic legislation of major importance. In foreign policy, he made a great mess of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and with a less than pet bit of brinksmanship brought the Soviet Union and the United States as close to nuclear war as they ever got. He was the man who first put the American toe in the swamp of Vietnam, though his successor Lyndon Johnson would take the heat of liberal history for that misgotten war.

The specialty of the Kennedy administration was public relations, image-making—and an image, it is well to remember, is the thing that is not really there. The Kennedy years, or so we were endlessly told, were American Camelot, years in which culture had come to Washington, elegance to the White House, good looks and intellectual brilliance to the Oval Office. Intellectuals swooned, the higher media drooled. Think Charles Collingwood following Jacqueline Kennedy around the White House, enraptured as the first lady, in her best Miss Porter School whispering lisp, modestly explained how in her redecorations she had elevated the joint above the low standard of those pathetic philistines, the Eisenhowers.

Gee, THAT doesn’t sound at all familiar. Progressivists haven’t harbored a new idea in over a century, and this is just another example of it. They’re still plumping for another Great Man to come riding up on his white charger to save us all from ourselves.

Of course it was all baloney. None of it could withstand close scrutiny. When the scrutiny came it revealed that Jack Kennedy didn’t quite write the book, Profiles in Courage, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. The reality behind those touching photographs of his picture-perfect children cavorting round the Oval Office was their father bonking movie stars, mafia molls, and adolescent interns in the upstairs bedrooms.

The rest of the Kennedy family was scarcely better. The father, the founding father as he was called in the title of a book about him by Richard Whalen, had a dodgy financial past, was a major-league philanderer, and on balance didn’t find Adolf Hitler all that bad a sort. His brother Bobby was a bully who had worked for Senator Joseph McCarthy and, once he had power on his side, was able to make even Jimmy Hoffa seem sympathetic. The youngest brother, Teddy, later to become a great liberal hero, failed badly at Chappaquiddick, letting a young woman drown before endangering his own political career. As for the widow Kennedy, after a decent interval, she did what the cynical Gore Vidal said she was always about anyway, and went for the money in marrying the monstrous Aristotle Onassis. Such was the reality behind Camelot.

None of this is exactly a secret. Yet so little of it seems to have penetrated Americans, who, against all evidence, continue to look upon the Kennedys as our uncrowned kings.

Actually, that isn’t quite so. It isn’t Americans who feel that way about it; it’s the American corporate media establishment. In all those breathless hagiographies they’ll be running all damned day (thank God I have the little one today, so the TV will be stuck like glue to PBSKids and NickJr, who will hopefully keep their adoring tributes to JFK to a minimum), when you hear statements involving the supposed worshipful obsession with the Kennedys, just replace “Americans’ fascination/love affair/reverence/etc” with “OUR fascination/etc.” You’ll be a damned sight nearer the mark.

And while they’re revising history to better suit their pathetic fantasies, remember this too:

Look, guys. Lee Harvey Oswald murdered JFK. Oswald was a Communist. Not a small c, “all we are saying is give peace a chance and let’s support Negro civil rights” kind of Communist, but someone so committed to the cause (and so blind to the nature of the USSR) that he actually went to live in the Soviet Union. And when that didn’t work out, Oswald became a great admirer of Castro. He apparently would have gone to live in Cuba before the assassination if the Cubans would have had him. Before assassinating Kennedy, Oswald tried to kill a retired right-wing general. As near as we can tell, he targeted Kennedy in revenge for Kennedy’s anti-Castro actions.

The attempt to at best distract us from who the killer was and why he killed JFK, and at worst to pin the blame on entirely innocent people for inciting Dallas opinion against JFK (or perhaps to imply that the right-wingers plotted the assassination), even though those innocents were exactly the type of people Oswald hated, is just pathetic, and the Times and Post should be embarrassed for publishing these pieces. The Post piece is especially embarrassing because it explicitly links Dallas “right-wing extremism” circa 1963 to the modern “Tea Party,” as if to say, “if the Tea Party had been around in 1963, one of its members would have killed Kennedy.”

“As if to say”? It’s EXACTLY what they’re saying, and exactly what they believe–in direct contravention of reality, of course and as usual. But it’s not really their fault that they can’t cope with their idol having been murdered by one of their own, not entirely, the poor dears: “The King of Camelot was killed by a commie loser. The impossibility of processing that drove the left crazy, and they still can’t face it.” It really is a sickness; “liberalism” really is a mental disorder, and there’s not much out there that highlights it as clearly as all this.

Update! Nearly forgot to mention this: the object of modern Progressivists’ damp-crotched adulation would no way no how be welcome in today’s Democrat Socialist Party.

The New York Times’ executive editor calls Kennedy “the elusive president”; The Post calls him “the most enigmatic” president. Most libidinous, certainly; most charming, perhaps. But enigmatic and elusive? Many who call him difficult to understand seem eager to not understand him. They present as puzzling or uncharacteristic aspects of his politics about which he was consistent and unambiguous. For them, his conservative dimension is an inconvenient truth. Ira Stoll, in “JFK, Conservative,” tries to prove too much but assembles sufficient evidence that his book’s title is not merely provocative.

A Look magazine headline in June 1946 read: “A Kennedy Runs for Congress: The Boston-bred scion of a former ambassador is a fighting-Irish conservative.” Neither his Cold War anti-communism, which was congruent with President Harry Truman’s, nor his fiscal conservatism changed dramatically during his remaining 17 years.

As president, JFK chose as Treasury secretary a Republican Wall Street banker, C. Douglas Dillon, who 30 years after the assassination remembered Kennedy as “financially conservative.” Kennedy’s fiscal policy provided an example and ample rhetoric for Ronald Reagan’s supply-side tax cuts. Kennedy endorsed “a creative tax cut creating more jobs and income and eventually more revenue.” In December 1962, he said:

“The federal government’s most useful role is…to expand the incentives and opportunities for private expenditures…[I]t is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.”

John Kenneth Galbraith — Harvard economist, liberal polemicist and Kennedy’s ambassador to India — called this “the most Republican speech since McKinley.” It was one of many. On the day he was killed, Kennedy was being driven to the Dallas Trade Mart to propose “cutting personal and corporate income taxes.” Kennedy changed less during his life than liberalism did after his death.

Boy, you said a mouthful there. JFK wouldn’t recognize his own party now, so far Left has it lurched…and they wouldn’t recognize him from behind their rose-colored goggles. Nor would either want to have anything to do with the other.

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Pornography for liberals

Tams has a look at a risible piece of dreck called Christian Nation, with a followup post here. I didn’t bother mentioning it here when Ace pulled it apart like taffy a while back, because…well, I just don’t give much of a shit anymore what some twee urban dickhead thinks, about anything. But Ace had fun with it, and so does Tamara.

It’s all in well-edited English and the plot moves along with the whispering grace of a Gulfstream flying from New York to LA over the amorphous mass of undifferentiated howling savages between. The dialog is orderly, and painstakingly constructed, and represents interactions between people as seen by a disembodied mind from Zeta Reticuli that has never actually experienced anything you or I would recognize as human warmth, save a vague inarticulate longing that stands in for love.

I get a little annoyed at the Gays ‘n’ the ‘Bortion wing of the GOP, but this dude is convinced they’re under his bed, waiting to slither out as soon as he turns off his CFL night light, with their horrible Alabama accents and their Ku Klux NRA Intelligent Design yahooism and turn his beloved Manhattan into some unreconstructed hive of toothless hillocks, like Philadelphia.

Anyhow, if you can stomach it, it’s a chance to see what an Ivy League corporate attorney in Manhattan thinks of you when he’s pretty sure you’re not going to read it. Because he thinks you can’t.

She also links to an unintentionally hilarious Amazon review which includes this gem:

The back cover of Christian Nation features a review by, of all people, the former head of the Federal Election Commission, who opines that “both Republicans and Democrats should read this book.” As a Democrat, I really hope that Republicans DON’T read this book, which will appear to confirm many of their worst stereotypes about Democrats. First and foremost, this is a deeply elitist book. The author, Frederic Rich, an ostensibly wealthy corporate lawyer, makes no attempt to hide his belief that people on the coasts — and especially in New York — carry the mantle of culture and thought, while people in flyover country are hopeless rubes who are worthless at best and dangerous at worst.

As the novel reaches its climax, New York is of course the last bastion of intellect and goodness in America after all the other states have fallen to the forces of theocracy. In these last stages, a curious hero emerges: Mike Bloomberg, now the governor of New York and a strange choice for would-be secular savior considering that in real life, he’s defended school prayer. As a New Yorker myself, I think Bloomberg has been on balance a good mayor, but my major criticism of his mayoralty is that he’s presided over — and done nothing to stop — New York’s rapid transformation into a playground for the affluent, where starving artists can survive with enough roommates but the middle class has no place.

When in recent history has it been anything but? It gets funnier from there, with its severance from any but Manhattan-liberal reality being as amusing as anything in the book itself could possibly be.

All mockery aside, this sort of thing is exactly why there were will never be another conservative president: way more of the populace than most of us care to admit has been brainwashed just as thoroughly as the idiot who wrote the book and the clueless drone who wrote the Amazon review. They deeply, fervently believe this absurdist horseshit–not just about Palin but about everyone who professes concern for how far this country has strayed from its Constitutional moorings–and there’s no persuading them otherwise. And there is absolutely no circumstance that will lure them into even considering voting for a conservative, be he (or she) a Republican or anything else.

Once again: Gramsci was a genius, and he damned sure won.

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Is this member of the Party Of Slavery ignorant?

Or is he just lying?

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on states nullifying federal gun laws: I mean, let’s look at the context of nullification. Nullification was last used by Southern states to try to eviscerate Civil Rights legislation, to try to prevent states from basically enforcing desegregation and frankly, I think history will look back on this round of nullification as kindly as it did on the last round.

Umm, not so fast there, bright boy:

Many Americans associate nullification with racism, because they think Southern states used the principle to protect slavery. In fact, northern abolitionists advanced nullification and appealed to “states’ rights” in their battle against fugitive slave laws. And while modern Republicans generally respond tepidly to the idea of nullification, their party was born out of a nullification fight in Wisconsin, a historical fact that long ago fell down an Orwellian memory hole.

Historically speaking, the Republican Party is the party of nullification.

In March of 1854, Benammi Stone Garland, two federal marshals and several others broke into the home of Joshua Glover. They clubbed him over the head, dragged him bleeding from his shanty and locked him up in the Milwaukee jail. Glover was an escaped slave, and Garland his “owner.” Legally, Garland had every right to take his “property” into custody and drag Glover back to Missouri. The Constitution provided for the return of escaped slaves. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 created the mechanism. The act denied due process to anyone accused of escaping slavery. Federal courts authorized the capture of fugitive slaves simply on the word of their “owners.” The accused weren’t even allowed to testify in their own defense. The Fugitive Slave Act was wildly unpopular and actively resisted in every northern state.

Wisconsinites quickly acted. Led by Sherman Booth, an abolitionist newspaper editor, several thousand people gathered on the steps of the Milwaukee courthouse. When a federal judge refused to release Glover on a writ of habeas corpus, the throng broke him out of jail and ushered him onto the famed Underground Railroad. Glover ultimately escaped to freedom in Canada.

The events of that spring day sparked a five-year battle between Wisconsin and the federal government. The feds charged Booth for violating the Fugitive Slave Act, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court freed him on a writ of habeas corpus, declaring the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional. Justice Abram Smith wrote, “Every jot and tittle of power delegated to the Federal Government will be acquiesced in, but every jot and tittle of power reserved to the States will be rigidly asserted.”

The aftermath of Glover’s escape led directly to the formation of the Republican Party.

Democrat Socialists: when the history doesn’t fit the Narrative, we just change the history!

If they couldn’t lie, they wouldn’t have anything to say at all.

(Via the Captain)

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They weren’t called the National Socialist German Workers’ Party for nothing, you know

Yes, Virginia, Hitler was a socialist. Call him “right-wing” all you will, as loudly as you like, until you’re blue in the face and choking on it. You’ll still be all wet.

Let’s see, a socialist leader that punishes business that goes against his wishes and rewards those that do his bidding. Hmmm… Sound familiar? Want to drill for oil? Go screw yourself. Oh? Solyndra? Here’s another half a billion dollars. How much did GE pay in taxes recently?

Hanna said something to the effect that the socialist part of National Socialists was just a name, and it didn’t have anything to do with what they actually did. She went so far as to use the Democratic People’s Republic, i.e. North Korea as an example that a name doesn’t always fit the reality… However that is one dumbass argument when you realize that she’s talking about a communist dictatorship of a country where the people have no say, as opposed to the name of a political party, that was ELECTED.  So they named themselves socialist, ran as socialists, campaigned as socialists, in the birthplace of the philosophy of socialism, where the highly educated populace was familiar with socialism, won as socialists, and then implemented socialist policies. But they were sooooo not socialist.

Hookay then.

Good thing they’re smarterer than you and me. Correia takes ’em down point by point, including a bit where he calls eugenics “the global warming of the 1930s.” Delicious, and so good for you!

So in conclusion the National Socialists totally weren’t socialists because modern socialist academics said they aren’t, even though their party platform and policies were distinctly socialist. Does that much cognitive dissonance hurt?

It damned well ought to.

And then Correia REALLY starts to get rough with the dumbass. Just keep on reading…and laughing.

(Via Insty)

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A bum rap for Parson Weems

Interesting:

The most famous story of George Washington’s boyhood comes from a biography, aimed mainly at children, hurriedly cobbled together after his death by Mason L. Weems, a parson and itinerant author.

Its most famous anecdote, routinely dismissed by modern scholars, involves a chopped down cherry tree, and a brave confession of the deed by the culprit, 6-year-old George Washington.

But what about Parson Weems – was he telling the truth with the cherry tree story?

“Probably not,” says Mount Vernon’s official explanation. “Only a story,” add the curators at Ferry Farm,the planation owned by Washington’s father, Augustine, where the incident would have occurred.

Encyclopedia Britannica dismisses Weems as “an American clergyman, itinerant book agent, and fabricator of the story of George Washington’s chopping down the cherry tree.”

And so it goes. Even serious Washington historians are so disdainful of Weems’ work that they come across as not actually having read it.

Moreover, Weems never wrote that Washington “chopped down” a cherry tree. Instead, the boy “barks” the “beautiful young English cherry tree” – that is to say he swung his axe carelessly and gouged the tree.

Unlike his detractors, Weems cites a source for his tale, albeit one who, as we say today, prefers to remain anonymous. Nonetheless, Weems sets up the story, and attributes it, thusly:

“Some idea of Mr. Washington’s plan of education in this respect, may be collected from the following anecdote, related to me twenty years ago by an aged lady who was a distant relative, and when a girl spent much of her time in the family.”

The “Mr. Washington” Weems is referring to is Washington’s father, and the cherry tree story is really about him. One of the few modern historians who expounded on this point was the ever-perceptive Garry Wills.

Wills gives Weems his due as a story-teller and as a reformer: he opposed slavery, alcohol, gambling, dueling, and tobacco, and advocated education for children. In addition, and this is what the cherry tree story is about, he abhorred corporal punishment — or “the rod,” as whipping children was called in those days.

This is the point of the cherry tree story: that parents who beat their children essentially were forcing them to lie. “Weems was a natural educator,” Wills writes.

“The most famous tale — that of the cherry tree — is almost always printed in a severely truncated form, which destroys its point,” Wills added. “The moral, aimed at children, becomes: Never tell a lie. But that was not Weems’s moral.”

Wills notes that young George Washington can tell his father that he gashed the cherry tree, perhaps fatally, because he is not terrified at the consequences of the truth. “The conclusion of the tale makes it clear,” he writes, “that the hero is Washington’s father, who teaches a lesson to parents.”

Well, no matter, as long as the idea of Washington’s true greatness is well and thoroughly debunked, and our shallow hipster-douchebag cynicism about the Founders reinforced. Can’t have that sort of hero-worship and cult of personality going on in the age of Obama, y’know.

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Il Douche

Progressivists sure do love them some dictators. But given the history of liberal-fascism, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Whoever made it, the Mussolini/Fascist/dictator vibe is undeniable. And even if you were entirely unfamiliar with the famous Mussolini scowl replicated in the 2012 campaign sign, why would any Democrat voter find this particular Obama portrait appealing or impressive? It reeks of Big Brother-ish totalitarianism all on its own, even without an historical precedent. Why depict your lovable candidate as a menacing, frowning tyrant?

Could this be the progressives’ secret love of totalitarianism peeking through once again? Many have already demonstrated the progressive/totalitarian connection. In fact, our own Ed Driscoll previously noted back in the 2008 campaign some extremely disturbing graphic parallels between Obama campaign/cult posters and those of earlier, uh, shall we say movements.

If you are a progressive reading this, you likely imagine yourself the polar opposite of the Fascists, but I ask you to stop and ponder a moment how you, your belief system and your behavior are viewed by others. When we see people demanding greater government power and expressing unquestioned devotion to a charismatic leader, we think “incipient totalitarianism.” You only exacerbate that impression by imitating the very design philosophy of previous totalitarian movements.

Are you sure you’re on the right side of history?

I’m damned sure they aren’t, deny it though they always have. The Progressivist ideology is one with the other statist blights on human history; socialism, communism, Islamism, all are at their core about rigid government control over the masses, necessarily denying them liberty and self-determination. Just because our present-day liberal fascists bleat disingenuously about their devotion to “freedom” doesn’t make it so.

As for Mussolini, their devotion to him (and Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Che, et al) is another thing they’re desperate to deny, but also an incontrovertible part of the historical record:

For example, in 1926 the famous progressive muckraker Ida Tarbell visited Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. She gushed:

“I saw that he had a most extraordinary smile, and that when he smiled he had a dimple … When Mussolini accompanied me to the door and kissed my hand in the gallant Italian fashion, I understood for the first time an unexpected phase of the man which makes him such a power in Italy.”

Another progressive journalist, Lincoln Steffens, called Mussolini “the divine Dictator.” Steffens wrote, “The man is as powerful as an elemental force.” Not to be outdone, the magazine publisher Sam McClure, who published articles by these and other progressive authors, declared that fascism was “a new and dawning civilization,” Mussolini solved “the problem of democracy,” and Italians were “the one free people.”

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin excited progressives even more than Mussolini. An estimated 20 million citizens of the Soviet Union were killed by their own government, and Stalin was responsible for more those deaths than any other Soviet ruler. English author H.G. Wells reported that he “never met a man more candid, fair and honest…no one is afraid of him and everybody trusts him.” The English playwright George Bernard Shaw hailed Soviet prisons where victims “could stay as long as they liked.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ambassador to Moscow Joseph E. Davies purred that Stalin’s “eye is exceedingly wise and gentle.” One of the members of FDR’s “Brain Trust” was Rexford Guy Tugwell who became an admirer of the Soviet Union after his 1927 visit. He admitted that there was “ruthlessness, a disregard for liberties and rights,” but he insisted it was all worthwhile. Economist Stuart Chase praised communists for their “burning zeal to create a new heaven and a new earth.” Chase added, “Why should Russians have all the fun of remaking a world?”

The most famous of Stalin’s shills was New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty, the first Western reporter to interview Stalin (1930). Duranty described Stalin as “a quiet, unobtrusive man who saw much but said little.” Duranty claimed that Russian peasants welcomed the Soviet seizure of their homes, their fields, their crops and their farm animals. Duranty soared to awesome heights of duplicity when, during the early 1930s famine that killed some 6 million people in the Ukraine, he reported: “There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation.” He told a fellow journalist: “The ‘famine’ is mostly bunk.”

Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for whitewashing Stalin.

As I said above, there’s a reason for the affinity for monstrous tyrants:

The totalitarian impulses that animated both fascism and progressivism were once viewed by the Left as evidence of compassion and humanitarian concern for the welfare of the lowly. In its original sense, the word “totalitarian” did not have the negative connotations it has acquired over time. Mussolini himself coined the term to describe a society where everyone belonged, where no one was abandoned socially or economically. This ideal dovetailed neatly with the progressive (and fascist) desire to eliminate class differences among the populace. In many of his speeches, Hitler clearly stated his intent to erase all lines of division between rich and poor. Robert Ley, who headed the Nazis’ German Labor Front, boasted: “We are the first country in Europe to overcome the class struggle.”

Consistent with the totalitarian roots of fascism and progressivism alike, was the progressives’ dismissal of America’s traditional system of constitutional checks and balances as an anachronistic impediment to social progress. Progressives reasoned that such restraints on power would only slow the process by which the governing elite could implement their programs to refashion society in accordance with their own progressive vision.

The degree to which progressive and fascist values complemented and echoed one another was on clear display in the work of the progressive writer and New Republic founder Herbert Croly (1869-1930), one of the most important voices in American intellectual history and a leftist icon for more than a century. Specifically, Croly embraced economic socialism; promoted febrile nationalism; said that a “great” and heroic revolutionary leader was needed in order to restore American pride; rejected the concept of parliamentary democracy; believed that society could be guided to enlightenment by an intellectual elite – a cast of “social engineers” whose “beneficent activities” could bring about a “better future”; and rejected individualism, saying that “an individual has no meaning apart from the society in which his individuality has been formed.” All of these ideals were, by definition, both fascist and progressive.

They can squirm all they like, but there has never been a more appropriate and plainspoken appellation for them than “liberal-fascists”–a term originally coined by dedicated Progressive HG Wells to describe the movement, now despised by modern Progressivists who conveniently wish to disassociate themselves from fascism and, as Jonah G says, “projected their own sins onto conservatives, even as they continued to borrow heavily from fascist and pre-fascist thought.” The very fact that classical liberals are no longer referred to as “liberals” at all is testament enough to their success at rewriting and falsifying history.

Back then, they were a lot more honest and forthright about what they were, and about the totalitarian nature of their big plans for the little people. Otherwise, though, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Birth of a meme

Hey, anyone remember Bush’s “disastrousKatrina response?

(Reuters) – More than 1 million homes and businesses in a swath from Indiana to Virginia remained without power on Wednesday, five days after deadly storms tore through the region.

The outage meant no July 4 Independence Day holiday for thousands of utility workers who scrambled to restore lingering power outages.

Much of the damage to the power grid was blamed on last weekend’s rare “derecho,” a big, powerful and long-lasting wind storm that blew from the Midwest to the Atlantic Ocean.

Violent weekend storms and days of record heat have killed at least 23 people in the United States since Friday. Some died when trees fell on their homes and cars, and heat stroke killed others.

So where’s King Ogabe the Benevolent? Hey, watch this drive!

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Stupid snowbilly bint ruined EVERYTHING

Revisionist history, anyone? Joel Pollock ain’t having any:

I briefly served as a volunteer speechwriter on the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008. I was never part of the inner circle, and even if I had “dirt” to dish, I wouldn’t dare violate the confidentiality agreement I signed – even though that hasn’t stopped some former McCain campaign aides from publicly blaming Gov. Sarah Palin for everything that went wrong.

But here’s the truth about the McCain-Palin campaign, which HBO’s upcoming “Game Change” film attempts to shroud in fanciful anti-Palin fiction: Palin carried the campaign. She would have led the Republicans to victory had it not been for the September financial collapse and McCain’s disastrous decision to suspend his campaign so that he could vote for the TARP bailout in Washington.

The Democrats knew it, too. That fall, I was back in the classroom at Harvard Law School, surrounded by students and faculty who not only supported Sen. Barack Obama but were, in some cases, involved in his campaign at senior levels. They feared Palin and, after her arrival, could barely talk about the election without a sense of dread. They had no answer for her optimism, her authenticity, her femininity and her courage.

On the ground in New Hampshire, where I volunteered after classes and on weekends, Palin’s nomination had led to a sudden groundswell of support. Where McCain had struggled to fill an arena, lines outside events featuring Palin seemed miles long. She had awakened and rallied the conservative base.

And then, just as quickly, after the bailout vote, support for the Republican ticket collapsed. People who had greeted canvassers warmly just a few weeks before refused to talk to us. Some took razor blades and sliced their McCain-Palin bumper stickers so that only the “Palin” half remained (a few switched the names so that Palin was on top of the ticket). McCain changed the game – and Obama stuck to his strategy, casting himself as a beacon of stability in turbulent times. And he won.

The Prof dishes up more discomfiture for rabid, unhinged Palin haters here.

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Hindsight

Okay, this is another of those memes like the “disastrous Katrina response” one that I’m more than a little sick of:

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” a few days ago, Mitt Romney was asked whether, given what we know today, the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do. Romney wouldn’t say.

“Oh boy, that’s a big question,” Romney answered. “And going back and trying to say, given what we know now, what would we have done? Would we have invaded or not? At the time, we didn’t have the knowledge that we have now.” Romney mentioned intelligence before the war suggesting that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. After the war, U.S. and international inspection teams did not find those weapons, which had been the basis for much of the Bush administration’s case for invading Iraq. Still, Romney told Fox’s Chris Wallace that the invasion was “appropriate at the time” because the U.S. acted “in light of that belief” — that is, in intelligence that turned out to be faulty.

Wednesday morning, in an interview on MSNBC, Romney got the question again. This time, his answer was not only different but definitive: No, the U.S. would not have invaded Iraq had officials known there were no weapons of mass destruction there. “Well, if we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction — if somehow we had been given that information, why, obviously we would not have gone in,” Romney said.

“You don’t think we would have gone in?” asked MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.

“Well, of course not,” Romney answered. “The president went in based upon intelligence that they had weapons of mass destruction. Had he known that that was not the case, the U.N. would not have put forward resolutions authorizing this type of action. The president would not have been pursuing that course.”

It’s a stupid, useless question, and a weaselly answer. I’ve said this many times here myself, but in this case, I’ll let Mario Loyola explain it:

The supposed “intelligence failure” in the run-up to the Iraq war absorbed a good part of this country’s attention during the last decade. It became part of society’s received version of reality. But the real issue all along was this: What do you do about an unacceptably dangerous uncertainty when the certainty you seek can only come from preemptive military action? To talk about an intelligence failure presupposes an omniscient CIA, but such a presupposition is ridiculous. The CIA can’t know everything – and it especially can’t know everything when you need to know it.

The truth is that the supposed intelligence failure was irrelevant to the grave and novel issues of policy that were — and still are — at stake in Iraq. Imagine the CIA had come to President Bush in 2002 and said, “Mr. President, we don’t know what’s going on with Iraq’s WMD. It looks pretty bad. No way to verify Saddam’s story. They stopped keeping records in 1995, the last time they got busted lying. Plus, Saddam knows that having WMD will give us a reason to attack them, but not having WMD will make it less risky for us and the Iranians to attack him, hence his most rational strategic option is probably to assume an ambiguous posture.” If the CIA had just told the president that much, it would have done its job perfectly. And yet the president would have been faced with exactly the same situation in Iraq: a terrible uncertainty that could not be removed except by (1) Saddam becoming transparent and law-abiding, or (2) military action. Saddam was unable or unwilling to do the former, so the latter was left as the only option among available policy tools.

Saddam’s having had WMDs was NOT the basis of the invasion. Our not knowing, but knowing that he was unreliable, megalomaniacal, devious, a supporter and sponsor of Muslim terrorism, and his openly-proclaimed hostility was. And yes, all that–in the aftermath of 9/11, after he’d been harboring some of the original WTC attackers for years in open defiance of us–was reason enough.

It’s been particularly disgusting to see the Left pounce on the “no WMDs” rationalization as a way not only to continue to attack Bush and the rest of us actually concerned about the security of this nation–and as a smokescreen to obscure their barely-veiled anti-Americanism–but the very idea of pre-emptive war itself, using knowledge that we wouldn’t possess to this very day if we hadn’t taken Saddam out.

It was never up to Bush to prove that Saddam had WMDs. It was up to Saddam to prove that he didn’t, per a dozen and a half resolutions from the Left’s precious UN. He not only failed to do so, he defiantly refused to. Taking him out was the right thing to do, then, now, and forever; as Bill always says, it was the aftermath that was botched, a mistake brought on not by excessive military adventurism but by making unwarranted, politically-correct assumptions about…well, a lot of things.

In Vietnam, we pretended that we could defend South Vietnam without destroying the communist regime in North Vietnam. Result: North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam.

In Iraq, we pretended that we could defend Iraq without destroying the Islamic Shia regime in Iran. Result: Iran will conquer Irag.

This was all so sadly predictable, and I predicted it dozens, maybe hundreds of times over the past eight years, as I watched the Bush “strategery” degenerate into a deadly farce, thanks to the malign influence of Saudi Arabia in Ruling Class Washington and the gutless refusal to confront America’s greatest Islamic enemy, Iran, in any effective way.

What we should have done, part umpty-ump: On the day that George W. Bush proclaimed “Mission accomplished,” we should have immediately moved our military forces already on the ground and in the region to do the same thing to the Mad Mullahs in Tehran that we had just finished doing to Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. We should also have armed the Shia in Iraq and let them clean out the remnants of Saddam’s Sunni regime in Iraq at that time, rather than spending five thousand American lives to postpone that reckoning until exactly five days after our final departure.

Had we done that, the world would be a much different, and much better place, and Islamic terrorism would be a much smaller factor in our own daily lives here in America.

Yep, that’s about the size of it. And no amount of greasy political squirming and revisionist history, from Romney or anybody else, can change that simple fact.

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Wrong then, wrong now

A Eugene McCarthy hagiography.

Kennedy attacked the war in Vietnam with great and laudable venom; but McCarthy became the first presidential candidate to take on the very conceits of American foreign policy. In perhaps his best speech of the campaign, at San Francisco’s Cow Palace in May 1968, McCarthy aimed his verbal assaults at the assumptions underpinning the bipartisan consensus that had shaped America’s view of the world since the dawn of the Cold War.

“Involvement in Vietnam,” McCarthy said, “was no accident. It did not happen overnight. It was a direct result of America’s conception of itself as the world’s judge and the world’s policeman.” He ridiculed the beliefs held dear by both Humphrey and Kennedy: “America’s moral mission in the world; the great threat from China; the theory of monolithic Communist conspiracy; the susceptibility of political problems to military solutions; the duty to impose American idealism upon foreign cultures” calling them “myths and misconceptions, so damaging in their consequences.”

The consequences–and true legacy–fans of McCarthy and muttonheaded liberal foreign policy would rather you forget: untold millions murdered or enslaved by the “monolithic Communist conspiracy” they so blithely insisted did not exist.

Although the hawks won the battle in 1968, they would in short order lose the war, as a new generation of Democrats inspired by the campaign — and its model of grass-roots anti-war activism — would re-shape the party’s views on foreign policy.

More revisionist history: the “hawks” didn’t lose the war; treasonous Leftists, a wholly duplicitous Congress, and collaborators and useful idiots like John Kerry did–with the dire consequences and horrendous loss of life I mentioned above. Congrats on your great “victory,” Leftists; as usual, it was a disaster for everybody but yourselves.

(Via Insty)

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It’s never worked, and it never will

Lest we forget–and all too many have.

It’s wrong to say that America was founded by capitalists. In fact, America was founded by socialists who had the humility to learn from their initial mistakes and embrace freedom.

One of the earliest and arguably most historically significant North American colonies was Plymouth Colony, founded in 1620 in what is now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts. As I’ve outlined in greater detail here before (Lessons From a Capitalist Thanksgiving), the original colony had written into its charter a system of communal property and labor.

As William Bradford recorded in his Of Plymouth Plantation, a people who had formerly been known for their virtue and hard work became lazy and unproductive. Resources were squandered, vegetables were allowed to rot on the ground and mass starvation was the result. And where there is starvation, there is plague. After 2 1/2 years, the leaders of the colony decided to abandon their socialist mandate and create a system which honored private property. The colony survived and thrived and the abundance which resulted was what was celebrated at that iconic Thanksgiving feast.

I’m often asked why our current leadership class forgets the lessons of the past so often. They are, after all, very smart men and women. Don’t they know that collectivism will fail?

Well, you might want to ask Antonio Gramsci about that one.

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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