Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Cliche response

Kathy Shaidle offers some good writing advice on avoiding cliches and well-worn aphorisms–advice that I admit I could stand to take a little more to heart myself. Or, umm, a lot. Anyways, in the course of it, she throws this in:

Some of my “favorites” made the list — like “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” As one wise fellow noted:

Plenty of good men have vigorously stood up to evil men, and lost. In the 20th century alone, there are mass graves full of principled, courageous men that fought the good fight and were murdered for doing so, while their opponents died comfortable in their own beds, achieving all their goals. Lenin died of natural causes, while the White forces were murdered en masse. Stalin killed more people than Hitler ever dreamed of, and not only died a peaceful death, but had monuments and temples built to his memory for decades to come.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph” is for bad men to win. And it happens. The slogan makes it sound like if you just stand up, bam, evil loses. Reality doesn’t work like that.

Pretty danged timely and worthy of note, if you ask me.

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Prepping

Remember, it’s only insane, unnecessary paranoia when YOU do it.

In a puzzling, unexplained development, the Obama administration has been buying and storing vast amounts of ammunition in recent months, with the Department of Homeland Security just placing another order for an additional 21.6 million rounds.

Several other agencies of the federal government also began buying large quantities of bullets last year. The Social Security Administration, for instance, not normally considered on the frontlines of anything but dealing with seniors, explained that its purchase of millions of rounds was for special agents’ required quarterly weapons qualifications. They must be pretty poor shots.

But DHS has been silent about its need for numerous orders of bullets in the multiple millions. Indeed, Examiner writer Ryan Keller points out Janet Napolitano’s agency illegally redacted information from some ammunition solicitation forms following media inquiries.

According to one estimate, just since last spring DHS has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm. That’s sufficient firepower to shoot every American about five times. Including illegal immigrants.

To provide some perspective, experts estimate that at the peak of the Iraq war American troops were firing around 5.5 million rounds per month. At that rate, DHS is armed now for a 24-year Iraq war.

Two fairly obvious and by no means mutually exclusive explanations: one, that they’re taking as much ammo as they can out of civilian circulation. Two…well, that one is more than just fairly obvious.

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Ain’t it the truth

Glenn digs up another most excellent Heinlein quote:

Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.

More comfortable governors and leaders, too. Hell, somebody oughta dig up Heinlein and make him President. Near as I can make out, the man never said a wrong thing. And he’d be a damned sight better than the trainwreck we have squatting in the Oval Office now.

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And now, 60 Seconds with Andy McCarthy…

TICK…TICK…TICK…

At Big Journalism:

Q. You open with the memorable moment when President Obama bowed to the Saudi King. Although you dismiss the notion that Obama is some kind of “Manchurian Muslim,” why else would he do such a thing? In fact, why is he so loath to speak out against any Muslim, anywhere, if on some level he does not share either religious or cultural sympathies with them?

A. There is a difference between being a Muslim, which Obama is not, and sharing religious and cultural sympathies with Muslims — indeed, adhering to much of the Islamist narrative that blames America for our tensions with Muslims — which Obama surely does. … President Obama is the leader of the modern hard Left and King Abdullah — whose title is Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques, Islam’s crown jewels of Mecca and Medina — is the emblem of the global Islamist movement. They share a common goal of radically transforming the West. Even though they part company on the details of what they would transform it into, they both need to topple American constitutional republicanism in order to install their utopias.

At the NYPost:

Jihad is not mindless mass-murder, nor is it a syrupy “internal struggle to become a better person.” No, jihad is the mission to establish and spread sharia. … The goal is to seep sharia — Islam’s totalitarian legal code that governs not just the spiritual realm but all aspects of life — into our politics, law, financial system, educational institutions, labor negotiations, familial relations, and all facets of our domestic and foreign policy, from health care to engagement with Iran.

At Powerline:

I use the term Islamist advisedly. In the book’s second chapter, I’ve tried to take on the excruciating question of whether the existential challenge we face is Islam itself. … The problem is that those who say Islam is the problem have the better case. I was first struck by this sad fact during our terrorism trial in 1995…surely I should be able to locate three or four places where the Blind Sheikh had misstated the Koran and the other species of Muslim scripture. I searched high and low, but there were none.

To be sure, Islamic scriptures say a lot of things, and some of them are admirable. Good faith contentions can surely be made that passages terrorists cite need to be considered in conjunction with other passages they omit. (That’s a weak argument, by the way, but not a risible one.) But the point is that where the Blind Sheikh cited scripture, he did it quite accurately. Moreover, he is not, as we’d like to have it, a lunatic; he is a renowned doctor of Islamic jurisprudence…

Islam is not a religion of peace and Islamic doctrine is not moderate. There is, for those willing to pierce political correctness and grapple with fact, an undeniable connection between Islamic doctrine’s commands to violence and domination, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the often savage acts and the civilizational campaign carried out by Muslims against the West. For that reason, Islam is very problematic. There is, however, the other side of the coin: there are hundreds of millions of Muslims who, quite clearly, are moderate, tolerant people. These Muslims either reject terrorism (at least in the form of sneak attacks that kill civilians in the U.S.) or they don’t see terrorism as having anything to do with them. Thus, people who don’t want to grapple with Islamic doctrine point to these tolerant, moderate Muslim individuals and demand that we deduce that Islam, too, must be moderate and tolerant – regardless of what its scriptures say. …

As I point out in The Grand Jihad, it is fair enough to conclude that peculiarities of al Qaeda ideology are favored by only a fringe of the world’s Muslims. Here, I refer to the claim that it is legitimate to kill even other Muslims who reject the terror network’s strict interpretation of Islam. Now, I find even that fringe distressing. After all, 10 percent of 1.4 billion Muslims is a lot of people. …

The point is that Islamist ideology…is very mainstream. Sure, it is an aberrant position to endorse the killing of Muslims who fail to adhere to a strict interpretation of Islam; but if the proposition at issue becomes, say, “I support the killing of Americans operating in Muslim countries,” or “I would like to see the U.S. Constitution replaced by sharia law,” we find the percentage of approving Muslims shoots skyward. …

The thrust of my book is that we need to come to terms with this in order to defend ourselves. There is a vibrant debate in the Muslim world about terrorism. We need to understand, though, that it is a debate about methodology. Islamist terrorists and other Islamists are in harmony about the endgame: they would like to see sharia installed and the West Islamicized. That a person is not willing to mass-murder non-Muslims in order to accelerate that process does not make him a moderate.

Still, I think we have to support the reformist cause. I do not believe we can entice natural allies to our side by telling them their religion is irredeemable. They are trying to redeem it, and it is in our interest to help them – while recognizing that they may very well fail.

While they differ on a number of significant issues, Islamists and Leftists are in harmony on many parts of the big picture. Islamism and today’s Leftism (which, as I note in the book, David Horowitz aptly calls “neocommunism”) are both authoritarian ideologies: they favor a muscular central government, virulently reject capitalism, and are totalitarian in the sense that they want to dictate all aspects human life. They both see the individual as existing to serve the greater community (the state or the umma). Saliently, they have a common enemy: Western culture, American constitutional republicanism, and their foundation, individual liberty. When I argue that Islamists and Leftists are working together to sabotage America, this is what I am talking about.

On Rush:

RUSH: A giant mosque. In the shadows of 9/11. That mosque might be built before the World Trade Center is rebuilt. Now, everybody associated with the mosque says, “No, no, no, this is not about anything but good will and outreach.” What’s your take on this mosque? What if the purpose of this mosque is indeed to get a foothold of Sharia in New York City right there near Ground Zero? Is it possible?

MCCARTHY: Yeah. Rush, I think this has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It’s supposed to be named The Cordoba Islamic Center, as I understand it. Cordoba was the name of the caliphate that conquered Spain and ruled it, often brutally, for about half a millennium — actually longer than that. The guy behind the project is someone who has said that he would like to see Sharia law more insinuated into American law. The Islamist strategy is largely a propaganda strategy at this stage. The thought of having a mosque erected over the ruins of two of the great pillars of the Western economy and Western Civilization would be an enormous propaganda victory — and the most perverse thing of all is, the thought that it’s being done in the name of tolerance. You know, “We have to have the mosque because otherwise we’re intolerant.” We have 2300-plus mosques in the United States. There are probably a couple of hundred in the New York area. If you went to Mecca and Medina, you not only wouldn’t see a Christian church or a Jewish synagogue, you wouldn’t see a non-Muslim. They’re closed cities. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter. Yet we’re told that we have to have this mosque in this place where Muslim terrorists relying on a construction of the Koran, mass murdered thousands of Americans. It’s an affront not only to common sense, but it would be a major victory for the enemy in a an ongoing war — and, you know, we ought to remind people we’re still at war.

His new book, “The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America”.

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How it works — how it’s SUPPOSED to work

An oldie but goodie:

If you want to know where the future is headed, look where the people are going. And if you want to know where the people are going, check with U-Haul. Here’s an interesting indicator, first noted by the legendary economist Arthur Laffer: Renting a 26-foot U-Haul truck to go from Austin to San Francisco this July would cost you about $900. Renting the same truck to go from San Francisco to Austin? About $3,000. In the great balance of supply and demand, California has a large supply of people who are demanding to move to Texas. There’s a reason for this.

There is indeed, and it’s EXACTLY what any sensible person would expect. It’s summed up nicely later in the piece:

A divided executive, a relatively weak legislature, severe constitutional limits: not a recipe for over-ambitious government. The result is: low taxes, low spending, light regulation — and a resilient, productive, growing economy.

There’s plenty more, and it all ought to be required reading for…well, just about everybody.

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The List (part 1)

John Hawkins of the indispensable Right Wing News lists this year’s Top 25 Conservative Columnists of 2009.

First, I’d like to thank the Academy–oh, wait; I’m not on it? An oversight, I’m sure. Oh, well, there’s always next year–unless Congress decides that Next Year is a greedy, polluting, bigoted exploiter of the masses who must be taxed into oblivion for Their Glorious Forced-March into the Radiant Future.

Just as it takes a Revolution to get a Paine, the Unprecedented Assault on America has brought out the best in these writers, though a bittersweet taste, to be sure. Let’s take a bite:

25.) Larry Elder:

Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern left the Senate after 18 years and bought a small business. It went under. He wrote: “(I) wish I had known more firsthand about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople while I was a U.S. senator and later a presidential nominee. … Legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. businesses. … Many businesses … simply can’t pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable.”

President Obama, like many members of Congress, has little experience in or understanding of the private free-market economy. Obama never started a business, ran one or struggled to meet a payroll. He shows little respect for the hard, long hours people put in to build successful businesses that compete to provide goods and services to customers and that hire people.

24.) David Harsanyi:

“It’s like communism; you can’t fix it,” Barton went on after the testimony. As a person who frequently and recklessly refers to his political opponents as Marxists, I would remind the congressman that in communist nations, sports were under the management of politicians. Come to think of it, communists always are whining about unfairness. They always are nattering about the ills of money. Communists tend to do a lot of their best work on “committees,” as well.

Should college football bowl matchups hinge on an intricate computer program? Should Alabama and Texas be playing in the championship game? Should TCU or Boise State be ignored? I have no clue. What I do know is that schools and fans, not some Commie committee in Washington, should be the ones making those sorts of decisions.

23.) Jack Kelly:

The key thing to remember about Mr. Obama’s aides is that he chose them. Shaking up a troubled presidential staff is mostly an exercise in reshuffling deck chairs on the Titanic because each administration takes on the characteristics of its chief. There is a reason why Richard Nixon’s chief aides were conspiratorial; that so many in the George W. Bush administration were mediocre; that so many in the Clinton administration were corrupt.

Deck-chair shuffling continues, in part, because members of the president’s party find it safer to criticize the king’s courtiers than the king himself; in part because they retain illusions about the president. (He’s really a good guy on our side. He’s just been let down by corrupt/incompetent/inexperienced aides. All will be well if a few heads roll.) But policy won’t change unless the president changes.

After a start nearly as bad as Mr. Obama’s, President Clinton made a successful mid-course correction. But Mr. Clinton was more interested in holding onto power and in having sex than in advancing any particular policy. Mr. Obama is more ideological, and thus less inclined to make a major shift toward the center.

Mr. Clinton also had had 10 years of executive experience as governor of Arkansas and a circle of intimates that wasn’t restricted to radicals and Chicago political thugs. Only Barack Obama can keep Barack Obama from becoming Jimmy Carter. But he doesn’t seem so inclined.

22.) Jeff Jacoby:

More government control is not the cure for what ails American schools. The empowerment of parents is. No teachers’ union, no school board, no secretary of education, and no president will ever love your children, or care about their schooling, as much as you do. In education as in so much else, high standards are important – far too important to hand off to the government.

21.) Frank J. Fleming:

There’s an old expression I just made up: There’s no liberal in a bear attack. In matters of life and death, like a bear ripping apart your house, there is no time to morally preen and pat yourself on the back for how smart you sound. Back in the day, life was pretty brutal for everyone, so there just weren’t any liberals. Unserious people starved to death or were mauled by giant sloths. With death lurking around every corner, people had no time for useless worries like whether warming the ozone would kill unicorns or whatever.

Liberals have only one piece of wisdom to add to any discussion about war: “This war is just like Vietnam!” That’s it. Nothing else. Every war is Vietnam, and Vietnam is very bad. That’s all they know. I’m not even sure how they protested wars before Vietnam (“This war is just like 1812!”). And to distract from the fact that they have one argument, they also have the non sequitur of calling people chickenhawks.

And if someone was in the military, they’ll say he is still a chickenhawk because he’s not in it now. And if someone is in the military now, then if he believes so much in the war, why isn’t he over fighting it just this instant? And even if someone were to meet a liberal’s impossible standards for having the right to argue for a war, it would be completely pointless to engage them on the subject, because all one could ever get out of them is, “This war is just like Vietnam!”

20.) Mike Adams:

[S]omeone was offended by an anti-pornography article I had written. The offended party retaliated by signing me up for a subscription to Playboy and having it sent to my office. I gave the Playboys to a lesbian professor as a show of good will. Sometimes it’s better to extend an olive branch than to offer a fig leaf.

And that’s what gave me the idea to sign Bill Ayers up for the NRA. I found all of the information needed to fill out that application on the University of Illinois – Chicago website. Within weeks, issues of the NRA’s “American Rifleman” magazine will go right to his office. Signing him up cost my organization www.DrAdams.org a mere $35. It was money well spent in the spirit of reconciliation.

For years, liberals have been denying that Ayers is a terrorist while falsely accusing NRA members of being terrorists. Now that Bill is in the NRA, Leftists will have no choice but to admit the following: Bill Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist!

19.) Ralph Peters:

We have become largely a white-collar, suburban society in which a child’s bloody nose is no longer a routine part of growing up, but grounds for a lawsuit; the privileged among us have lost the sense of grit in daily life. We grow up believing that safety from harm is a right that others are bound to respect as we do. Our rising generation of political leaders assumes that, if anyone wishes to do us harm, it must be the result of a misunderstanding that can be resolved by that lethal narcotic of the chattering classes, dialogue.

History is no longer taught as a serious subject in America’s schools. As a result, politicians lack perspective; journalists lack meaningful touchstones; and the average person’s sense of warfare has been redefined by media entertainments in which misery, if introduced, is brief.

By 1965, we had already forgotten what it took to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, and the degeneration of our historical sense has continued to accelerate since then. More Americans died in one afternoon at Cold Harbor during our Civil War than died in six years in Iraq. Three times as many American troops fell during the morning of June 6, 1944, as have been lost in combat in over seven years in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, prize-hunting reporters insist that our losses in Iraq have been catastrophic, while those in Afghanistan are unreasonably high.

Instead of agonizing over a fatal mistake made by a young Marine at a roadblock, we must return to the fundamental recognition that the greatest “war crime” the United States can commit is to lose.

18.) Tony Blankley:

Our president has let it be known that he is an admirer of Abraham Lincoln’s — as well he should be, as are we all. He should take the time to read Old Abe’s speeches and public letters. Honest Abe was exactly that. He would make his cases with meticulous and honest presentations of facts. He would describe his opponents’ arguments honestly and fairly and then knock them down by genuine reason harnessed to a profound sense of morality. Lincoln wasn’t fast and clever; he was slow and honest, and he carved out a place in the pantheon for the ages. He also noted that “you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

17.) Dick Morris and Eileen McGann:

The Senate Finance Committee bill includes a broad provision taxing all manner of medical devices. This tax includes such frivolous luxuries as pacemakers, stents, artificial heart valves, defibrillators, automated wheelchairs, mechanized artificial limbs, replacement hips and knees, surgical gurneys, laparoscopic equipment and the like.

The medical device industry had its day at the White House, as did the insurance industry, the drug makers, the nurses and the doctors. But, unlike all these other groups, the medical device industry refused the deal. This posture enraged the tyrants in the White House, who vowed to punish the industry with cuts imposed by Congress. The result was a decision by the revenue-hungry Senate Finance Committee to extract billions in funds from the industry.

So, the result will be that virtually every piece of advanced surgical equipment will be subject to a price increase to meet the levy from Washington. No matter that these devices often make the difference between life and death and that, in effect, taxing them raises the cost of vital treatments. The vengeful White House will have its pound of flesh from the medical device industry for daring to be independent and refusing to knuckle down to administration pressure.

This tax, imposed in a spirit of haughty arrogance, falls on totally inappropriate objects. Valves, prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, hearing aids and such are essential therapies that make life longer, better and less painful. To tax them makes no sense — except in the world of sharp elbows and interest group politics that grips this take-no-prisoners and show-no-mercy White House.

16.) Michael Barone:

Card check would give coercive union organizers the chance to impose on large swaths of the private-sector economy the burdens the UAW imposed on the Detroit automakers. It would set up tollgates to channel the money of consumers as well as taxpayers to the Democratic Party. You can see how that would be good for union leaders and Democrats. But good for America?

15.) Dennis Prager:

There is only one good thing about the Obama administration’s attempts to nationalize most health care and to begin to control Americans’ energy consumption through cap-and-trade: clarity about the left. These attempts are enabling more and more Americans to understand the thinking and therefore the danger of the left.

It is dishonest to argue that the right wants to impose its values to anywhere near the extent the left does. This can be demonstrated to a fifth-grader: Who wants more power — those who want to govern a big state or those who want to govern a small state?

The president of the United States and the much of the Democratic Party embody these left-wing principles. Right now, America’s only hope of staying American rather than becoming European lies in making these principles as clear as possible to as many Americans as possible. The left is so giddy with power right now, we actually have a chance.

14.) Rich Lowry:

At this rate, when Obama writes his post-presidential memoir, it will be titled: An Audacious Presidency, or How I Saved America from That Bastard Bush. His presidential library will have a special fright-house wing devoted to Bush’s misrule. He will mutter in his senescence about 43, like the Ancient Mariner about his albatross. Obama’s perpetual campaign against Bush is graceless, whiny, and tin-eared. Must the leader of the free world – if Obama still accepts that quaint formulation – always reach for the convenient excuse?

When Obama first burst on the scene, he seemed to respect the other side. That refreshing Obama is long gone. Now, he impugns his immediate predecessor with classless regularity, and attributes the worst of motives – pure partisanship and unrestrained greed – to those who oppose him. Their assigned role is to get the hell out of his way.

The acid test of the White House inevitably exposes a president’s character flaws: Nixon’s corrosive paranoia, Clinton’s self-destructive indiscipline, Bush’s stubborn defensiveness. Obama in the crucible is exhibiting an oddly self-pitying arrogance. It’s unbecoming in anyone, let alone the most powerful man on the planet.

13.) Byron York:

This rally, which about 300 people braved the rain, wind, and 45-degree temperatures to attend, was a small-town, homemade affair. There were no Washington activists, no Fox News stars, nobody from outside the local area. It began with the Pledge of Allegiance and a capella renditions of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful.” It ended with “God Bless America.” There were lots flags and patriotism and quotations from the Founding Fathers.

This is not a rich place. According to the census, the median household income in Winchester is $44,808, significantly less than the statewide Virginia median of $59,575, a number that includes the affluent suburbs of Washington. Less than one in four adults here has a bachelor’s degree or higher. And with the economic downturn, particularly in the housing business, many are in rough situations.

“I started out with three or four workers, and it’s down to me,” Ken Hersh, the painting contractor, told me. “I had my sons working with me. It’s bad when you have to tell your sons to find another job.”

“You laid off your sons?”

“I laid off my sons. That’s bad.”

Cheryl Lancaster, the homemaker, told me her husband “sells evil corporate jets.” She explained that his job gave her a different perspective on the populist outcry against corporate CEOs and their private planes. “You know how a lot of companies were getting slammed on that, but I think of all the people the jet companies employed,” she said.

You can think what you like of the tea parties, and the media coverage of the tea parties, across the country. Here in Winchester, Tax Day was a serious and well-meaning affair. For the people here, there are principles at stake in this fight, and, as much as they can, they intend to stand up for what they believe.

(TO BE CONTINUED. COUNT ON IT…)

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The List (Part 2)

More from Right Wing News’ Top 25 Conservative Columnists of 2009:

12.) International Ladies’ Man, Dr. Walter E. Williams:

“The dilemma Congress always faces, when it messes with the economy, was aptly described in a Negro spiritual play by Marcus Cook Connelly titled “Green Pastures.” In it, God laments to the angel Gabriel, “Every time Ah passes a miracle, Ah has to pass fo’ or five mo’ to ketch up wid it,” adding, “Even bein God ain’t no bed of roses.” When Congress creates a miracle for one American, it creates a non-miracle for another. After that, Congress has to create a compensatory miracle. Many years ago, I used to testify before Congress, something I refuse to do now. At several of the hearings, I urged Congress to get out of the miracle business and leave miracle making up to God.”

“How can political commentators, politicians and academics get away with statements like “Reagan budget deficits,” “Clinton budget surplus,” “Bush budget deficits” or “Obama’s tax increases”? Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution reads: “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.” A president has no power to raise or lower taxes. A president cannot spend a dime that Congress does not first appropriate. That means that credit for a budget surplus or blame for budget deficits rests on the congressional majority at the time.”

“Where in the U.S. Constitution does it authorize Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance? If Congress gets away with forcing us to buy health insurance, down the line, what else will they force us to buy; or do you naively think they will stop with health insurance? Which way is our nation heading, tiny steps at a time? Are we headed toward more liberty, or are we headed toward greater government control over our lives? I think the answer is unambiguously the latter — more government control over our lives. Are there any signs on the horizon that the direction is going to change?”

11.) David Limbaugh:

It’s the Republican Party that’s in trouble, not conservatism. The GOP’s shrinkage can’t be because it’s too conservative. George W. Bush, our most recent Republican president, was hardly an extreme conservative. His most outspoken critics today include wide swaths of conservatives who decried his failure to rein in federal spending and control illegal immigration, among other things.

And the GOP’s 2008 presidential candidate, John McCain, was hardly a staunch conservative, either, lest he would never have been the liberal media’s favorite Republican. McCain didn’t lose because of any extreme conservatism. Nor did Obama win because he was honest about his liberalism, which he denied every time he was confronted about it.

10.) Karl Rove:

“Yes,” he said. “I’m a pretty good orthopedic surgeon. When my younger son is deployed to Iraq next March, I would like to be working as a Navy medical officer, but they won’t let me because I am 61 years old. Will you give me an age waiver, Mr. President?” Mr. Bush pointed to me. Dr. Krissoff and I exchanged business cards and he promised to fax me his application.

I checked him out on the way back to Washington. His reputation was that of an outstanding trauma and sports medicine surgeon. He was also a marathon runner and a really fine person.

Two days later, I placed Bill’s application on the president’s desk before he met with Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I made sure Gen. Pace had the file when he left. He promised to get back soon with an answer. I told him that he would have to get back to someone else: The next day was my last day at the White House. One of the last things I did before turning in my badge was to write Bill Krissoff to wish him well.

A day later, I was in West Texas for the start of dove season. While waiting for the next flight of birds, I realized I hadn’t written Mrs. Krissoff. So I sat down that night at the Gage Hotel in Marathon and did. She had already lost her oldest son. Her younger son was preparing to deploy to Iraq. Meanwhile, her husband wanted to give up their comfortable life, career and friends so he could honor their sons by joining the military at age 61. And she had given her full, heartfelt support.

Watching the smoke rise from the Battle of Bunker Hill, Abigail Adams wrote her husband John, who was away at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. While she and others lived “in continual Expectation of Hostility,” Abigail wrote, “like good Nehemiah, having made our prayer with God, and set the people with their Swords, their Spears, and their bows, we will say unto them, Be not affraid of them.”

Christine Krissoff’s husband and sons, wrapped in prayers and armed with swords and scalpels, have served our nation with valor. So has she. So long as our nation produces families like the Krissoffs, America will remain not only the greatest nation on earth, but also the most noble in history.

9.) Robert Samuelson:

“Barack Obama’s quest for historic health care legislation has turned into a parody of leadership. We usually associate presidential leadership with the pursuit of goals that, though initially unpopular, serve America’s long-term interests. Obama has reversed this. He’s championing increasingly unpopular legislation that threatens the country’s long-term interests. This legislation is a monstrosity; the country would be worse for its passage. What it’s become is an exercise in political symbolism: Obama’s self-indulgent crusade to seize the liberal holy grail of “universal coverage.” What it’s not is leadership.”

“Consider the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposal requiring permits for large industrial facilities emitting 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually. New plants or expansions would need permits demonstrating they’re using “the best practices and technologies” (whatever they might be) to minimize six greenhouse gases. Permits would be granted on a case-by-case basis; the proposed rule is 416 pages of dense legalese. How could this promote investment and job creation, except for lawyers and consultants? Government erects many employment obstacles: restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling; unapproved trade agreements; some regulations. But reducing these barriers would require the Obama administration to choose between its professed interest in more jobs and its many other goals — a choice it has so far avoided.”

8.) Charles Krauthammer:

When John F. Kennedy pledged to go to the moon, he meant it. He had an intense personal commitment to the enterprise. He delivered speeches remembered to this day. He dedicated astronomical sums to make it happen.

Today the manned space program will die for want of $3 billion a year — 1/300th of last year’s stimulus package with its endless make-work projects that will leave not a trace on the national consciousness.

Obama’s NASA budget perfectly captures the difference in spirit between Kennedy’s liberalism and Obama’s. Kennedy’s was an expansive, bold, outward-looking summons. Obama’s is a constricted, inward-looking call to retreat. Fifty years ago, Kennedy opened the New Frontier. Obama has just shut it.

7.) John Stossel:

If competition is a discovery process, the congressional bills would impose the opposite of competition. They would forbid real choice.

In place of the variety of products that competition would generate, we would be forced “choose” among virtually identical insurance plans. Government would define these plans down to the last detail. Every one would have at least the same “basic” coverage, including physical exams, maternity benefits, well-baby care, alcoholism treatment and mental-health services. Consumers could not buy a cheap, high-deductible catastrophic policy. Every insurance company would have to use an identical government-designed pricing structure. Steven Horwitz:

“By what method exactly will the officials know how to allocate resources? By what method will they know how much of what kind of health care people want? And more important, by what method will they know how to produce that health care without wasting resources? In markets with good institutions, profit-seeking producers can get answers to these questions by observing prices and their own profits and losses in order to determine which uses of resources are more or less valuable to consumers.”

Profit is the key to competition. Anyone who claims to favor competition but looks down at profit has no idea what he is talking about.

6.) Michelle Malkin:

The two most important questions for society, according to the Greek philosopher Plato, are these: What will we teach our children? And who will teach them? Left-wing celebrities have teamed up with one of America’s most radical historians to take control of the classroom in the name of “social justice.” Parents, beware: This Hollywood-backed Marxist education project may be coming to a school near you.

On Sunday, Dec. 13, the History Channel will air “The People Speak” — a documentary based on Marxist academic Howard Zinn’s capitalism-bashing, America-dissing, grievance-mongering history textbook, “A People’s History of the United States.” The film was co-produced and bankrolled by Zinn’s Boston neighbor and mentee Matt Damon. An all-star cast of Bush-bashing liberals, including Danny Glover, Josh Brolin, Bruce Springsteen, Marisa Tomei and Eddie Vedder, will appear. Zinn’s work is a self-proclaimed “biased account” of American history that rails against white oppressors, the free market and the military.

Zinn’s objective is not to impart knowledge, but to instigate “change” and nurture a political “counterforce” (an echo of fellow radical academic and Hugo Chavez admirer Bill Ayers’ proclamation of education as the “motor-force of revolution”). Teachers are not supposed to teach facts in the school of Zinn. “There is no such thing as pure fact,” Zinn asserts. Educators are not supposed to emphasize individual academic achievement. Ann Pelo disparages “a too-heavy focus on academic skills” in favor of “social justice and ecological teaching” for preschoolers.

Teaching for Change’s objective, in Obama-esque fashion, is to train students not to achieve actual proficiency in core academic subjects, but to inspire them to “become active global citizens.” Today’s non-achieving aspirants are tomorrow’s Nobel Peace Prize winners, after all.

5.) Victor Davis Hanson:

Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true.

1. Obama now rails against a pernicious Washington and its insiders: ergo, Obama controls Washington through both houses of Congress and the White House, and wants to expand Washington’s control…
2. Obama bashes the Supreme Court on weakening public efforts to curb campaign contributions. Therefore, we know Obama has done more than any other president in destroying public campaign financing by being the first presidential candidate in a general election to refuse public funds — in confidence that he could raise a record $1 billion, much of it from big moneyed interests on Wall Street. […and from overseas, which he also blasted the Court about!–ed.]
3. Obama calls for a freeze on government spending and deplores deficits. Hence, we know that…the Obama record budget deficits that will continue to grow well over an annual $1.5 trillion a year — as Obama piles up the greatest budgetary shortfalls in any four-year presidential term in history.

4.) Jonah Goldberg:

For many people, the idea that he is a Muslim fanatic, motivated by other Muslim fanatics, was — at least initially — too terrible to contemplate. How else to explain the reflexive insistence after the attack that the real culprit was post-traumatic stress disorder? The fact that PTSD is usually diagnosed in people who’ve been through trauma (hence the “post”), and that Hasan had never seen combat, didn’t seem to matter much. Apparently the “P” in PTSD can now stand for “pre.”

A few months ago, an anti-Semitic old nut named James von Brunn allegedly took a gun to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to get payback against “the Jews” and killed a black security guard in the process. In response to this horrific crime, the leading lights of American liberalism knew who was to blame: Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the GOP. One writer for the Huffington Post put it succinctly: “Thank you very much Karl Rove and your minions.”

The fact that Von Brunn was a 9/11 “truther” who railed against capitalism, neocons, and the Bush administration didn’t matter. Nor did the glaring lack of evidence that Rove et al. ever showed antipathy for the museum. It was simply obvious that Von Brunn was the offspring of the “right-wing extremism (that) is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment,” wrote columnist Paul Krugman.

If only Hasan were a fan of Glenn Beck!

We have a real problem when much of the political and journalistic establishment is eager to jump to the conclusion that peaceful political opponents are in league with violent extremists, but is terrified to consider the possibility that violent extremists really are violent extremists if doing so means calling attention to the fact that they are Muslims.

3.) Mark Steyn:

The Reuters headline put it this way: “Pirates Pose Annoying Distraction For Obama.”

So many distractions, aren’t there? The sub-headline of the Reuters story suggests the unprecedented pace at which the mountain of distractions is piling up: “First North Korea, Iran — now Somali pirates.”

Er, okay. So the North Korean test is a “distraction,” the Iranian nuclear program is a “distraction,” and the seizure of a U.S.-flagged vessel in international waters is a “distraction.” Maybe it would be easier just to have the official State Department maps reprinted with the Rest of the World relabeled “Distractions.” Oh, to be sure, you could still have occasional oases of presidential photo-opportunities — Buckingham Palace, that square in Prague — but with the land beyond the edge of the Queen’s gardens ominously marked “Here be distractions . . . ”

As it happens, Somali piracy is not a distraction, but a glimpse of the world the day after tomorrow. In my book America Alone, I quote Robert D. Kaplan referring to the lawless fringes of the map as “Indian Territory.” It’s a droll jest but a misleading one, since the very phrase presumes that the badlands will one day be brought within the bounds of the ordered world. In fact, a lot of today’s badlands were relatively ordered not so long ago, and many of them are getting badder and badder by the day.

[I]f the United States Navy hanged some eyepatched peglegged blackguard from the yardarm or made him walk the plank, pious senators would rise to denounce an America that no longer lived up to its highest ideals, and the network talking-heads would argue that Plankgate was recruiting more and more young men to the pirates’ cause, and judges would rule that pirates were entitled to the protections of the U.S. constitution and that their peglegs had to be replaced by high-tech prosthetic limbs at taxpayer expense.

Meanwhile, the Royal Navy, which over the centuries did more than anyone to rid the civilized world of the menace of piracy, now declines even to risk capturing their Somali successors, having been advised by Her Majesty’s Government that, under the European Human Rights Act, any pirate taken into custody would be entitled to claim refugee status in the United Kingdom and live on welfare for the rest of his life. I doubt Pirates of the Caribbean would have cleaned up at the box office if the big finale had shown Geoffrey Rush and his crew of scurvy sea dogs settling down in council flats in Manchester and going down to the pub for a couple of jiggers of rum washed down to cries of “Aaaaargh, shiver me benefits check, lad.” From “Avast, me hearties!” to a vast welfare scam is not progress.

As my colleague Andrew McCarthy [who belongs on this list!–ed.] wrote, “Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn’t recede willingly before the wheels of progress.” Very true. Somalia, Iran, and North Korea are all less “civilized” than they were a couple of generations ago. And yet in one sense they have made undeniable progress: They have globalized their pathologies. Somali pirates seize vessels the size of aircraft carriers flying the ensigns of the great powers. Iranian proxies run Gaza and much of Lebanon. North Korea’s impoverished prison state provides nuclear technology to Damascus and Tehran. Unlovely as it is, Pyongyang nevertheless has friends on the Security Council. Powerful states protect one-man psycho states. One-man psycho states provide delivery systems to apocalyptic ideological states. Apocalyptic ideological states fund non-state actors around the world. And in Somalia and elsewhere non-state actors are constrained only by their ever increasing capabilities.

When all the world’s a “distraction,” maybe you’re not the main event after all. Most wealthy nations lack the means to defend themselves. Those few that do, lack the will. Meanwhile, basket-case jurisdictions send out ever-bolder freelance marauders to prey on the civilized world with impunity. Don’t be surprised if “the civilized world” shrivels and retreats in the face of state-of-the-art reprimitivization. From piracy to nukes to the limp response of the hyperpower, this is not a “distraction” but a portent of the future.

2.) Ann Coulter:

Being ranked one of the worst presidents by “historians” is like being called “anti-American” by the Nation magazine. And by “historian,” I mean a former member of the Weather Underground, who is subsidized by the taxpayer to engage in left-wing political activism in a cushy university job.

At the time, historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. dismissed Reagan as “a nice, old uncle, who comes in and all the kids are glad to see him. He sits around telling stories, and they’re all fond of him, but they don’t take him too seriously” — and then Schlesinger fell asleep in his soup.

Even liberal historian Richard Reeves blanched at Reagan’s low ranking in 1989, saying, “I was no fan of Reagan, but I think I know a leader when I see one.” Reagan changed the country, Reeves said, and some would say “he changed the world, making communism irrelevant and the globe safe for the new imperialism of free-market capitalism.” In Reeves’ most inspiring line, he says Reagan “was a man of conservative principle and he damned near destroyed American liberalism.”

Soon after he took office, President Reagan famously hung a portrait of President Calvin Coolidge in the Cabinet Room — another (Republican) president considered a failure by historians. Coolidge cut taxes, didn’t get the country in any wars, cut the national debt almost in half, and presided over a calm, scandal-free administration, a period of peace, 17.5 percent growth in the gross national product, low inflation (.4 percent) and low unemployment (3.6 percent).

Unlike some recent presidents with Islamic middle names, he didn’t run around comparing himself to Lincoln constantly. Putting preposterously overrated presidents like John F. Kennedy or FDR in the same category as Reagan or Washington is like a teenage girl ranking the Jonas Brothers with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles as the three greatest bands of all time.

Liberals may call him a “war criminal,” but historians have inadvertently paid Bush a great tribute this week by ranking him as a “below average” president. I can only dream that, someday, no-name, left-wing historians will rank me as one of the all-time worst columnists.

1.) Thomas Sowell:

They say talk is cheap. But in fact it can be devastatingly expensive. Among the generation of Germans who were enthralled by Hitler’s eloquence, millions paid with their lives and their children’s lives for empowering this demagogue to lead them to ruin and infamy.

Do not for one moment think that we are either intellectually or morally superior to those Germans who put Hitler in power. We have been saved by our institutions and our traditions — the very institutions and traditions that so many are so busy eroding or dismantling, whether in classrooms or court rooms or in the halls of Congress and the White House.

Talk matters for good reasons as well as bad. Anyone familiar with the desperate predicament of Britain in 1940, when it stood alone against the Nazi juggernaut that had smashed whole nations in weeks or even days, knows how crucial Winston Churchill’s command of the English language was to sustaining the national will, which was the margin between survival and annihilation.

Unfortunately, people on the make seem to have a keener appreciation of the power of words, as the magic road to other power, than do people defending values that seem to them too obvious to require words. The expression, “It goes without saying. . .” is a fatal trap. Few things go without saying. Some of the most valuable things in life may go away without saying — whether loved ones in one’s personal life or the freedom or survival of a nation.

Barack Obama is today’s most prominent example of the power of words. Conversely, the understated patrician style of country club Republicans is no small part of their many problems. It is no accident that by far the most successful Republican politician of our lifetime — Ronald Reagan — was a man who did not come from that country club background but someone who was born among the people and who knew how to communicate with the people.

Words can shield the most blatant reality. Legislation to take away workers’ rights to a secret ballot, when deciding whether or not they want to be represented by a labor union, is called the “Employees’ Freedom of Choice Act.” The merits or demerits of this legislation have seldom been debated. Who could be against “freedom of choice”?

The Obama administration’s new budget, with deficits that make previous irresponsible deficits look like child’s play, has a cover that says “A New Era of Responsibility.” You want responsibility? He’ll give you the word “responsibility.” Why not? It costs nothing.

Wow–now I see why I’m not on the list this year. But I’ll keep on trying. Congrats to all those fine authors.

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“The Panel”

WHICH DOESN’T EXIST

“But without this procedure, I’ll be dead before Christmas.”

You try to keep the anger out of your voice. The last thing you want to do is offend them. But the politicians promised you—they promised everyone—there would never be panels like this. They made fun of anyone who said there would. “What do they think we’re going to do? Pull the plug on grandma?” they chuckled. The media ran news stories calling all rumors of such things “false” or “misleading.” But of course by then the media had become apologists for the state rather than watchdogs for the people. […]

“I’m only 62.”

He smiles politely.

“Look, it’s not just about me,” you argue desperately. “My daughter’s engaged to get married next year. She’ll be heartbroken if I’m not there for it.”

“Maybe you should have thought of that before you put on so much weight,” says the medical officer. “I mean, you people have been told time and again . . .”

But the chairwoman is uncomfortable with his censorious tone and cuts him off, saying more gently, “Perhaps your daughter could move the wedding up a little.”

Read it.

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How our system works 101: Remedial Democracy for Liberals

Yeah, I know I’m wasting my time here. But what the hell.

1) Winning an election does not mean that you then get your way without opposition on any half-baked scheme you care to dream up
Incredible as it may seem to you, when your opponents foolishly decide to run a weak, lame candidate who doesn’t represent their views and has in fact spent a large portion of his career undermining them, and they consequently stay home or vote for other candidates in droves to protest that ill-conceived choice, your opponents’ ensuing defeat does not mean that they must then cease to speak out on issues that concern them, or that they have forfeited the right to work to defeat measures they strongly disapprove of. In fact, whether you win the election honestly; by fraud and corruption; or because of your opponents’ mistakes, this principle still applies. Contrary to what you seem to think, we the people elect a president every four years, not a dictator, and Constitutional rights to free speech and dissent are not voided by election results. Nor are they voided by our tone of voice when we petition our representatives. Shouting is free speech too, and is sometimes necessary when it becomes clear that we’re being given the runaround.

2) Yes, it’s still fascism when your side does it
Those of you who complained vociferously — and with scarcely anything at all in the way of just cause — about Bush’s “destroying civil liberties” because he took a few unusual measures specifically targeted at the nation’s enemies in a war — whether you agreed with that war or not — are not allowed to gleefully applaud nakedly oppressive actions taken by subsequent presidents against their domestic political opposition simply because you don’t like them, and do like the president in question. Well, you’re allowed to, of course (see point #1 above), but you shouldn’t; it’s at best unseemly, and you will almost certainly be disappointed by the results.

3) In America, we have representatives, not rulers
Well, ideally we do, although that principle has been put under some pretty severe stress of late. But be that as it may, those representatives have an obligation and a duty to listen to ALL their constituents, not just you. We are not necessarily bound to respect them; they must earn our respect by being good stewards of the public trust. They, however, ARE required to respect US — all of us, and not just those who agree with them. Calling us Nazis and terrorists, deflecting pointed questions with dishonest talking points, and running away or using various subterfuges to dodge hard questions and protesters justly angry at being ignored are not good ways to earn that respect. Quite the opposite, in fact.

4) Election victories≠unchallengeable “mandates”
Very seldom in this country does the election of a certain candidate — of either or any party — mean that the electorate supports every single program the victor wishes to enact. Did you think Bush’s overwhelming ’04 victory meant that he was perfectly free to forcefully confront Iran, as many of us hoped he would, and that it was incumbent upon you to sit silently by while he did that and worse? If so, why were so many of you out in the streets with “Bush=Hitler” and “No war for oil!” signs, then (although we did mock you for it, almost nobody seriously called for you to be silenced — in sad and sorry contrast to your own response to the protesters now — except when some of you crossed the line into sedition and treason)? Why didn’t you stay home and keep quiet instead, like you think you have the right to demand we do now?

Election wins in this country are temporary; usually, government programs enacted by those victors are forever. If you think some policy or program is a bad idea when your side is out of power, you probably ought not be cheering for the same thing or worse next time your side wins. Sooner or later, the other guys will be back on top again, and those expanded powers your guy glommed for himself probably won’t look so appealing to you then.

5) If you’re going to sloganeer as a susbtitute for serious discussion, you can’t complain when those slogans are turned against you
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” “Speaking truth to power.” “Stop questioning our patriotism.” “Republicans are (pick any one, or all) Nazis/homophobes/racists/neanderthals/extremists/terrorists.” “George Dumbya Bush is (pick any one, or all) a chimp/moron/Satan/Hitler/fascist/religious nutjob/worse than bin Laden.” All that’s changed is the names of the players. Well, that, and the official government response to them.

Here endeth the lesson. Well, lesson one, anyway.

Update! Extra credit.

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Be True To Your School

WE TOLD YOU ABU GHARIB WAS A FRATERNITY PRANK

Via Betsy’s Page:

“In the last three or four months we have begun seeing detainees asking to stay in detention, usually to complete their studies,” Major General Douglas Stone told a news conference in Baghdad.

The US military offers a wide range of educational programmes to the 23,000 or so detainees — adults and juveniles — being held at its two detention facilities, Camp Cropper near Baghdad’s international airport and Camp Bucca near the southern port city of Basra.

Some parents of juvenile detainees, too, have asked that their children remain behind bars so they can continue their schooling, said Stone, the commanding general for US detainee operations in Iraq.

The first Gulag in world history with Pell Grants.

The school’s so good, Keith Olbermann is already jealous of their diplomas.

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Knock it off.

Seriously.  I know, I know.  You think you’re being cute by clogging our comments section with essentially the same response to every subject.  You think you’re starting or furthering a meme by using the same descriptive (“illuminati”) over and over and over, to describe the American Left and it’s media offshoots.

You’re not, squared.

You’re just making yourselves look like idiots.  Please stop.

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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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