September 24, 2009 - September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Afghanistan has always been complicated and mysterious.
CENTS WORTH. Maybe the last gift the Brits gave the world during
their catastrophic collapse into nanny impotence was the rescue of the
reputation of one Dr. John Watson, who assisted Sherlock Holmes far
more capably than Hollywood's
weirdly anachronistic slanders of that good man would have it. He
was by no means a fool, as the Jeremy Brett series
proved, but he remains a puzzling figure nonetheless because of author
Conan Doyle's own ambiguous account of him. Exhibit A:
Watson is a medical man of some
experience. He had served in the military in Afghanistan,
having been discharged following an injury received in the line of duty.
Watson gives two hundred and seventeen
separate locations for the Jezail bullet wound he received
whilst serving in the army. In A Study in Scarlet he states "I
was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered
the bone and grazed the subclavian artery". However in The
Sign of Four, Watson informs us "... sat nursing my wounded leg.
I had had a Jezail
bullet through it some time before, and though it did not prevent me
from walking it ached wearily at every change of the weather". The
Adventure of the Noble Bachelor contains the only other reference
to the injury. Here Watson is a little ambiguous: he tells us "the Jezail
bullet which I had brought back in one of my limbs as a relic of my
Afghan campaign throbbed with dull persistence".
Dr. Watson's Desk
It's an ache to be sure, even today,
but location and treatment are elusive.
is pretty much the standard story of Afghanistan and all the foreign
powers that have attempted to conquer, control, guide, or use that
country for their own purposes. They all receive wounds along the way,
but it can be damned hard to figure out where exactly those wounds are
located and what is required to treat them, let alone heal them. To put
it simply, outsiders always come away from an Afghan experience with
their own version of Watson's Jezail bullet, and they can't ever seem
to figure out whether to rub their shoulder or their (Obama-tingling?)
That's where we are in the United States today. The liberals now in
power ruthlessly used the Afghan War as a foil in their assaults on
George W. Bush while he was prosecuting the Iraq War. They insisted
that Afghanistan was "The Good War," the one that really did have to be
fought and was being stinted by the diversion of men and materiel to
Iraq. But now they're in charge, and suddenly (surprisingly?!), they're
no longer sure that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is worth the cost
-- or the potential distraction it represents from conquering,
controlling, guiding, and using the American people to effect a
government takeover of the most powerful and ingenious free people on
Which is hurting more from the sudden increase in casualties and
equally sudden loss of consensus? Arm or leg, Republican or Democrat?
Truth is, the fracture in support for the war is cutting across party
lines, creating unexpected new alliances of resistance and resolve.
Some democrats believed the "The Good War" propaganda and are dismayed
by the prospect of walking away from a breeding ground of Taliban and
al qaeda murderers. Some Republicans are uncharacteristically reverting
to ancient lessons from the Vietnam War: Seek victory or get the hell
Throughout, Afghanistan simply is.
What it has always been. A barbarian crucible that sits as an obdurate
test of the manhood of self-professed civilized nations and proves them
either weak and hypocritical chess players or strong and pragmatic cost
accountants. The Afghans tend to win both ways, because their own
preference is for violent anarchy, which invariably produces the usual
spoils of war, frightened women for the taking, lots of riding around
with guns on horseback, mucho opium revenue from the only viable
agricultural crop in Afghanistan, poppies, and an incredibly brisk
black market in the sale of miltary hardware abandoned by generations
of rich departing interlopers. It's possible to have a great life if
you're a stone barbarian in Afghanistan. Especially if you like killing, raping, protection
rackets, and drug and black market weapons trafficking. On horseback.
Steyn, who knows his British history, took a lot of grief
for pointing out that the British Empire managed to alleviate the pain
in both shoulder and leg for quite a long period of time:
The much misunderstood British strategy
in Afghanistan was, by contrast, admirably clear-sighted, and worked
(for them) for over a century. They took a conscious decision not to
incorporate the country formally within the Indian Empire because they
didn't want a direct British land border with Russia. So instead they
were content with a highly decentralized semi-client state and a useful
buffer between the British Empire and the Tsars, a set-up that worked
well (from London's point of view) for over a century until it all fell
apart in the Sixties when Moscow started outbidding the Brits for the
loyalty of various factions — or what passes for loyalty in that part
of the world.
The British strategy was cold and calculated and, if you care about
Afghan child mortality rates and women's rights, very unprogressive.
But it was less deluded than asking Western troops to die in pursuit of
the chimera of ending a "culture of poverty" while in reality providing
multilateral window-dressing for the country's slippage back to
warlordism and sharia.
What are the goals here? Maybe the president could tell us. Or are we
just going to (to cite the definitive film on the subject) Carry On Up
But even conservatives in America no longer have the balls to be a
long-term bad guy to others to be the good guy to our own. Even Brit
transplants are overcome by the nonexistent (according to Obama)
'American Exceptionalism' of having to be the clear-thinking designated
driver at every party, no matter how irrationally awful it gets,
because all that's important is getting everyone home in one piece tonight.
'Em, Bribe 'Em, or Leave 'Em Alone
Can anyone tell me what the %#*!&% we're doing in Afghanistan? I'm
darned if I know. I suspect the true answer is to be found in a certain
old WW1 marching song.
Eight years in, and there is "heavy Taliban activity across 80 percent
Eight years, and we still haven't figured out whom we need to bribe to
keep al-Qaeda from setting up bases there? What's so difficult?
And not only do the Obamarrhoids want to keep this futile war going,
they want to fight it nicely, only hurting the bad people . . . who
are, you know, so easy to distinguish from random herdsfolk. Sheesh.
meanwhile our guys are getting maimed and killed in this futility.
For goodness' sake, let's distribute a few truckloads of greenbacks to
the right people, then get the heck out of there.
Are you starting to feel that Jezail ache? Bear in mind, though, that
Dr. Watson never protested in the streets. He endured that pain without
much in the way of complaint. Yeah, he noticed and commented on it. But
he wasn't done in by it. Maybe he'd have understood Victor
Davis Hanson's take on the situation:
Just as Iraq was our second theater in
the war on terror, so it was for al-Qaeda and generic jihadists as
well. They diverted thousands into Anbar Province and Baghdad proper
rather than into Afghanistan; and while for a period they gained
traction, ultimately they lost thousands in combat or through
defection. That fact may have weakened their efforts in Afghanistan
rather than strengthened them; and after their material and
psychological defeat in Iraq they have returned their attention to the
single front in Afghanistan. In other words, they took their eye off
the ball in Afghanistan and focused on Iraq, but lost both materially
and psychologically, and now, like us, are refocusing on the single
Polls in the Middle East are now quite different from the radical
Islam's glory days following 9/11 when al-Qaeda and bin Laden were
iconic; the latter's ratings have nosedived along with the tactic of
suicide bombing. Rather than seeing the spike in violence in
Afghanistan as a sign of a lost theater, it may well be that the
Islamists are now increasingly unpopular, down to one front, and waging
their all on a last big effort to demoralize us. Both in conventional
wars and in insurgencies (as we saw in 2007 in Iraq) sometimes the
fiercest fighting is near the end rather than the beginning of the war,
as a final offensive is seen as a last gambit....
If there really is such a thing as a global war on radical Islamic
terrorism, and bin Laden is to be taken at his word that both
Afghanistan and Iraq have at times been alternately central fronts in
that war, then it would be a tragedy that after fighting a two-front
war, and winning one, we, rather than the losing enemy, would become
demoralized by our success, and they emboldened by their defeat.
Still. It's the American Way to find anything that requires long-term
patience and resolution unacceptable. Ambiguity is our national bete noire. We need a decisive
decision right now, today, this moment. Because we're Americans.
Except that the Afghans are not Americans. They're Afghans. We like
instant images so much. What do we make of these images? Well?
Some mysteries aren't solved; they
just get older.
If you're at all perceptive, you can easily see the second image latent
in the first. The startling alertness of the young girl is the animal
awareness of a danger that will never ever go away. The watchfulness of
the second image is actually barbarian triumphalism: "I made it this
far, and if I die now I have at least seen
some heights and depths you others could never understand..."
And that's where we have to leave it for now.
With those eyes.
I'll bet Dr. Watson saw those eyes. In his shoulder and in his leg. As I said up top,
he was no fool.
by a young'un. He was nervous. We're all for it.
Had an exchange with one of our younger punks. He said:
If you're starting to feel your years,
maybe you should throw on
some Iggy & the Stooges, Johnny Thunder and the Heart breakers
&etc. and start calling yourself "Grandpa Punk."
the originals are too fast and loud for you in your dotage, these guys
do reasonably comfortable covers of newer punk tunes:
You comfortable in that rocking chair, or
do you need another blanket?
Oh Man am I going to pay for this.
Truthfully, he's right. In a an age when the establishment is trying
to put us under the thumb of government, we all have to find our inner
punk and start SCREAMING back at authority.
He's right that I'm old. But as I pointed out to him:
I don't mind being a "grandpa punk." The
cobra grows throughout its life.
When it rears and hisses, smart people still retreat. I like it that
you don't. Mostly.
Meaning, mostly he doesn't retreat. I sure as as hell don't mind
that he objects when I rear and hiss. Venom
is my business. If you didn't like that aspect of my identity, you
wouldn't be here in the first place.
BUT. He was absolutely right to call for a return to punk roots, no
matter how old I'm getting. After yesterday's debacle of X and Y
generation kids unable to discern a clear categorical difference
between Michelle Obama and Jackie Kennedy, I agree it's time for a
testosterone infusion. So I'm going to post his recommendations to me,
as well as my recommendations for all, and solicit a
belly-up-to-the-bar call for all you X and Y wussies.
The litmus test is a cinch. Stir Grandpa's soul and you'll be
posted. Bore Grandpa and you'll be ignored. Now for Billy's
I mean. Sex Pistols. We need them today, don't we?
And Billy's cover
band... Actually I like them. Really do.
But they still don't have our lowdown, balls to the wall, you know, RAGE.
Billy. I eat, drink, and sleep rage. All day every day. All night every
night. Even punk classics aren't enough to express it. If you want real punk, try Gorecki. With a side
of Ry Cooder and his agonizingly stre-e-etched to the edge slide
A final warning.
They don't like us when we bite. But they still think it's their job to
observe, study, and control
Monday, September 21, 2009
Ready to Pull the Pin
THE CORRUPTION, STUPID. No matter how tired you get of reading
rehashes and reviews of
Obama's Sunday talk show fest, don't tune out of the Internet for the
next 48 hours or so. It looks as if Andrew Breitbart is ready to follow
up his one-two combination of the last two weeks (the NEA and ACORN scoops)
explosive story that will tie both simmering scandals together.
Just to set the stage dramatically, watch s few minutes of Chris
Wallace's interview with Bertha Lewis, CEO of ACORN, and Darrell Issa,
the Republican who's been on ACORN's case perhaps the longest of any
elected official. Note that throughout the interview, even when
directly questioned by Issa, who's sitting right next to her, Lewis can't bring
herself to make eye contact or even look in his direction once. There
is no more perfect visual of the stonewall approach to its critics that
has been so successfully practiced by ACORN till now.
Rememember this. Because everyone involved has been playing the same
game, including the MSMandPresident
Obama, who had the nerve during his news-show-palooza to deny that
the ACORN mess was even on the White House radar. You know. The
president's job is to do the people's business, etc, etc.
But Andrew Breitbart, who carefully orchestrated the release of the
ACORN videos to Fox News, is now warning us to get ready for something new that will command
everyone's attention. The evidence is in two parts. At Big Hollywood, every story at the top of the
site's page is about the National Endowment for the Humanities (Which
we mentioned here
on 9/9/09.) And in a column at the Washington Times today, he
offers what can only be described as a position statement designed to
set the context for his next (Big Hollywood?) act.
What's he got that can penetrate all the armor we've seen on display?
We can't wait.
Let's say you're preparing dinner and
you realize with dismay that you don't have any certified organic
Tuscan kale. What to do?
Here's how Michelle Obama handled this very predicament Thursday
The Secret Service and the D.C. police brought in three dozen vehicles
and shut down H Street, Vermont Avenue, two lanes of I Street and an
entrance to the McPherson Square Metro station. They swept the area, in
front of the Department of Veterans Affairs, with bomb-sniffing dogs
and installed magnetometers in the middle of the street, put up
barricades to keep pedestrians out, and took positions with binoculars
atop trucks. Though the produce stand was only a block or so from the
White House, the first lady hopped into her armored limousine and
pulled into the market amid the wail of sirens.
Then, and only then, could Obama purchase her leafy greens. "Now it's
time to buy some food," she told several hundred people who came to
watch. "Let's shop!"
Ironies not only abound, they predominate, sweeping away all the real
questions people might legitimately ask. For example: Why do media
images supersede matters of real debate at a a time when the legacy
mass media are hemorrhaging so much money they're angling today
for yet another of the president's patented government
takeover-bailouts? Why does the closest questioning of the president on
his Sunday healthcare propaganda binge come from the one member of the
journalistic community who is most vulenerable to the charge that he's
a partisan political operative who maneuvered his way into network
journalism camouflage? Why do Americans stand still for the
contradictory spin that the most radical president ever elected is
simultaneously Lincoln, FDR and John F. Kennedy when his most
outstanding characteristic is that unlike all of them, he maifestly despises
the country and citizenry he's supposed to lead?
So put that all away, sort of. Let's talk about something trivial. The
fashion and public relations initiatives of our glamorous new First
Lady. We all love her, right? She's beautiful (true), a mom
(indisputably), and cares so very much about her new responsibilities
as our national exemplar of the feminine divine (maybe not so much).
Actually, she's a very interesting case in point of the impossible
contradictions we're being asked to accommodate without much help from
our smarter cousins in the mass media on the left and right.
What brought it sharply into focus for us was the usual gang of equable
advocate-appeasers at HotAir. They posted a deliberately provocative
piece about Michelle
Obama addressing the healthcare issue and then delivered a stern
warning to their army of carefully pre-screened commenters:
For whatever reason, the posts about
Mrs. O tend to bring out our jerkiest commenters so if you haven’t read
Ed’s post today about comment protocol, now would be a good time. We’ll
be watching the thread, as will our many valued regulars. Ignore Ed’s
advice at your peril.
Well, excuse us all to hell, Ed and Allah. (Technically we're allowed
to comment there, though we never do anymore, largely because of
condescending crap like this...) Interestingly, however, the HotAir Hoi
Polloi didn't take this stricture lying down. They weighed in -- at
their peril!!! -- with a ton of pointed and sarcastic put-downs of our
first lady, and a few of them even made fun of the sainted bloggers who
are so much more politic about gender sensitivities than their own boss, Michelle Malkin, who's been whaling on Mrs. O since she was not
sworn into her non office.
Which got us to wondering. The animus against Michelle seems more
personal somehow than the animus against her husband. He's seen in
political, historical, ideological terms. Mostly. She's seen
differently. As more obnoxious than he is. As maybe even more dangerous
than he is, or at least more offensive. Why?
Readers here know that we're not terribly impressed by feminism or
female claims to superiority of various kinds. When feminist warriors
arise we tend to, well, laugh. The smartest and most talented women we
know like men better than women, and we hang out only with smart and
talented women because they're the only ones who have a sense of humor
and understand that an intelligent conversation consists of two people
exchanging respected opinions (as opposed to men listening while women
talk -- or whatever it is such women do with words, something along the
lines of insisting that everyone pay close attention while bad choices
of paint dry on a soap opera set.)
Curiosity killed the cat, they say. But not punks. So we pondered the
question, Why does Michelle Obama inspire such antipathy? Who the hell
knows? Everyone, including women, has irrational reasons for responding
the way they do to individual women. But we do have a theory. Want to
We think Michelle Obama is pretending to be two other first ladies,
both of whom she hates. And we think she is, in her heart of hearts, a
third kind of first lady that, regrettably, people can see is who she
really is. Sound complicated? It really isn't.
The Dem power brokers have worked pretty hard to make her look like two
of the three first ladies Dems have historically liked most. Who can
deny that she's being positioned as a 21st century Jackie Kennedy?
The winter is forbidden to December... or something.
But she sees herself as being
more like Hillary Clinton. Which is why she's always hated Hillary so
much (You women, please explain this to the other women...). That's
why she wants to be taken seriously, why she got herself into trouble
campaigning, and why she looks at times like she's running a counter
administration of her own. It's probably also responsible for some of
her "Hear Me Roar" pants outfits.
We really liked the thousand-dollar
If she were Hillary, she could probably get away with it. Except that
she isn't. A lot of us don't like Hillary, but we'd never suspect her
of writing a thesis at Wellesley that reads like this:
"Regardless of the circumstances
underwhich I interact with Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if,
to them, I will always be Black first and a student second.
These experiences have made it apparent to me that the path I have
chosen to follow by attending Princeton will likely lead to my further
integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social
structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of
society; never becom ing a full participant. This realization has
presently, made my goals to actively utilize my resources to benefit
the Black community more desirable.
At the same time , however, it is conceivable that my four years of
exposure to a predominately White, Ivy League University has instilled
within me certain conservative values. For example, as I enter my final
year at Princeton, I find myself striving for many of the same goals as
my White classmates–acceptance to a prestigious graduate or
professional school or a high paying position in a successful cor
poration. Thus, my goals after Princeton are not as clear as before."
Fortunately, Michelle did find a high-paying corporate position. And
she succeeded in becoming something like a queen. But there's more than
one kind of queen. There's the Jackie kind, which she isn't. The
Hillary kind, which she isn't. (Which Hillary also knew wasn't the same
kind as the Jackie kind, to her credit.)
I mean, the Michelle act is the kind of pap we'd expect from Prince
Charles at Oxford. A total idiot being handed a credential other people
have to earn, because how can you deny it to him? Michelle Obama is an
old-fashioned royal, as the first anecdote above demonstrates. The only
difference is that she was only the one who knew she was a royal until
her husband's election confirmed it. Now she's in the mode of proving
it to the rest of us. Which means we're subject to oceans of bad taste,
ostentation, and conspicuous consumption at what is probably the worst
possible moment for her husband and for us. If she had any sense, she'd
have headed the Jackie bullshit off at the pass; we're not at the dawn
of a great American age of prosperity, but on the edge of a cliff her
own husband wants to push us off the edge of into the abyss. So all the
royal behavior doesn't exactly help. It's just she's convinced we all
really should adore her high living because she deserves it.
And barring Jackie and Hillary, all her taste is really in her mouth:
Jackie? No. The story that goes with
right photo is truly cringe-inducing. Hillary?
No. Just because you have a big ass doesn't make you a smart
woman. The title is right.
Our first high self-esteem, low achievement, completely self-involved
First Lady. Welcome to the post-accomplishment generation. We text
because we can text. We wear what we can buy because someone else is
paying for it. If people are out of jobs and out of luck, at least they
should be able to enjoy watching me living high on the hog on their
behalf. Because I am Princeton-Harvard-First Lady royalty, and they
You know. Let them eat... me.
know some of you will think all this is mean-spirited. Just because
Jackie had taste and Michelle doesn't, and crap like that. Just because
Jackie went to the same college as my aunt, my sister, a cousin, my
college roommate's mother, and
(oh forget that long painful list...). Here's the lowdown nobody with
any maturity can gainsay. There is no Camelot in the Obama generation
because there is no sense of humor. Class has always had to do with
being open to laughter. Much as my father despised JFK, he admired the
fact that our 35th president was known to have listened to, and
greatest comedy album ever produced about a president.
Yes, it was funny. And, yes, Jackie really did sound like Marilyn Monroe. Did
you know that? Put that in
your pipe and smoke it. Think we'll ever have a comedy album about the
Obamas? Or that this First
Family would ever find it amusing?
There's been something of a Cheshire Cat grin about the various
conservative responses to the Democrats' playing of the race card the way
they have over the past few days. They're pretty unanimous, and smug,
about declaring it stupid. A few samples. First, Krauthammer
on Special Report, sitting next to an obviously defensive Juan WIlliams:
Look, this charge is so stupid. It is
also so offensive, and it's [so] lacking in any evidence of any kind
that…this only helps the Republicans. And that's why the White House is
not playing into it.
[W]hen it became clear that Carter had
turned this “debate” from mere fraud to farce, it suddenly dawned on
some Democrats, including those in the White House, that smearing
millions of constituents and swing voters (many of whom voted for
Obama) as racists isn’t the best politics. So one cheer for those who
objected to this idiocy too little and far too late.
But others just won’t let go. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times hears
Rep. Joe Wilson shout, “You lie!” And her instinctive response is:
“Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie,
It’s the “fair or not” that gives Dowd away. She admits to hearing
racism whether or not it’s warranted. That’s called prejudice. And
unlike Wilson’s foolish outburst, Dowd’s was carefully considered.
Dowd, Carter and Sharpton can’t grasp that conservatives are less hung
up on race than they are and that we can get past Obama’s skin color.
“Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never
accept it,” writes Dowd. She’s right. She’s one of them.
For Carter to be correct, we would have
to assume that a large portion of the population was unaware in late
2008 and early 2009 that Barack Obama is a person of color, or that an
increasing portion of the public is turning racist. Occam’s Razor
suggests the correct answer is that Carter is an unhinged, race-baiting
The picture that emerges may not be that of clever, biased journalists
highlighting extremism on the Right and whitewashing it on the Left.
The picture may be of intellectually lazy, incurious, knee-jerk liberal
journalists for whom the extremism of the Left does not register as all
that extreme, and for whom the concerns of half the population do not
even register as legitimate subjects of news coverage.
In short, we may be looking at a case for Hanlon’s Razor: “Never
attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by
stupidity.” Of course, I would not want to engage in the same sort of
gross generalizations discussed above. Life is just too complex for
that. Accordingly, we could also employ Heinlein’s Razor: “Never
attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by
stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.”
I could go on, but that's the gist. I don't know about you, but I
always get nervous when conservatives turn their back on the supposedly
vanquished enemy and start taking bows. In my experience, that's
usually the time to be especially vigilant, if not for a knife in the
back then for a missed opportunity.
InstaPunk has a Razor of his own: Never
attribute to sheer malice or stupidity that which can be explained by
I don't think this sudden racist offensive is even primarily about
opposition to Obama's healthcare plan and other socialist policies.
That's the supreme misdirection the lefties are trying to get away
with. It's a desperate gambit to be sure, with a ton of potential
downside consequences, but what if those consequences are more
acceptable than what they're really afraid of?
While they're all pointing fingers at a handful of Washington Tea Party
signs that feature inflammatory racial imagery, let's not forget that
this is also the week in which the sprawling ACORN edifice has been
dealt a shockingly unexpected knockdown blow. Is it coincidence that this is also
the week that Time Magazine
has -- responding with quite impressive speed -- assembled a hatchet
story on former radio-talk flyweight Glenn Beck?
A Time cover without an Obama on it.
Think about it. Why increase Beck's celebrity by attacking him if he
really is only the fringe "madman" we're supposed to think he is? What
if the truth is that he's sitting on so much dynamite that he has to be discredited before he can
do more damage, regardless of the downside risk that publicity will
increase his viewership and his power? That begins to seem like panic.
Everyone's expecting Obama's whirlwind tour of the Sunday news shows to
put an end to the racial discussion. Maybe it will. But I'm not so
sure. I think there's a good chance he'll be bland in his dismissals
without actually insisting that such apparently suicidal charges stop.
He may, as is his custom, vote 'present' on being aware of the issues but
refuse to denounce and demand an end to the tactics of his rabid defenders. Which means tacit
permission for them to continue. That's certainly consistent with the
way the White House has handled the firestorm thus far: sure, Obama doesn't believe it's racial,
and he would deeply regret it if it were, but his job is to let all the political
distractions sort themselves out while he does the people's business...
(and where have we heard that line before?)
If that's how it shakes out, the motivation of the Democrats and the
media is stark terror about the looming possibility of an ACORN scandal
that can't be contained. The most interesting thing about the votes in
the Senate and House to suspend certain parts of ACORN funding isn't
the senators and congressmen who voted to stop their funding; it's the
8 senators and 75 congressmen who voted to continue that funding. If they're
all in so deep that they couldn't not
vote for ACORN, that would be the biggest corruption scandal in the
history of the U.S. Congress. If this is the real problem, the lefty
racism offensive is not a last ditch attempt to salvage the health care
and cap-and-trade bills, but a preemptive strike intended to provide
cover against the sordid facts any real
investigation of ACORN might tie to 15 percent or more members of
congress and the President of
the United States.
Two key facts that must not be overlooked. ACORN cannot be separated
from the racial makeup of its membership. And any intensive
investigation of ACORN will eliminate any possibility of separating
Barack Obama from the activities of ACORN.
I'm not going to quote from it at all, but sound investigative work has
already been done on the relationship between Obama and ACORN. Its author was the recipient of some of the most nakedly demagogic tactics employed during
the Obama presidential campaign (which is saying something). The work
was done by Stanley Kurtz, one of whose carefully researched articles
Read it. (Yes, I mean you too, the one who never follows the links from
InstaPunk because it's simpler to get the lowdown from the post itself.
This time you have to read it
all the way through.)
It could be that the facts are so scandalous that the only hope the
Dems have left is to be able to claim that even starting an
investigation is a malignant proof that all the president's opponents
are hardcore racists.
Should conservatives be dancing in the end zone, jeering at Dem
stupidity? Or should they be paying very close attention in the huddle,
mapping the game-winning drive? You tell me.
btw, acorns are not by nature insignificant, isolated things. In case
From little acorns, mighty oak
seeds produce good trees. What do bad seeds produce?
Lots on the line. And don't overlook this.
Phony mortgages are trying to make another comeback. Wile E. Coyote
always made a comeback too. Why the Roadrunner had to keep running....
What's not to like about Ann Althouse? She's highly intelligent, a law
professor, attractive, a decent writer, and marvelously even tempered,
especially by the admittedly chaotic standards here. As a devout
moderate (whom we've commented on before
in that regard, and here
she's a kind of litmus test of what's going on with
the so-called 'Independents' right now. Her blog also attracts some
talented commenters, which we'll have more to say about later. Here's
what she has to say about all the charges of racism that are flying
around at the moment:
September 16, 2009
Jimmy Carter says "There is an inherent
feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not
be president"... and asserts
that Joe Wilson's "You lie!" was "based on racism."
Lots of people who voted for Obama believed that his election would
reflect the extent to which Americans had moved beyond racism. That was
part of why some people voted for him. Little did we realize that it
would turn every criticism of the President into an occasion to make an
accusation of racism. Racism is revolting, but so is the notion that we
aren't allowed to criticize a President!
Jimmy Carter's supremely sleazy accusation requires a solid, sound
rebuke. It is an effort to place the President of the United States
Imagine if, before last year's election, someone had argued: If a black
man becomes President, anyone who dares to criticize him will be called
1. I would have viewed that argument itself as racist. If that is
really true, I would have said, then it means that we have to vote
against the candidate because he is black, since it is not acceptable
to have a President who can't be criticized.
2. I would also have said: It is racist to say that it's racist to
criticize a black President, because you are being patronizing and you
are saying that a black person needs to be coddled and protected in
some special way that doesn't apply to white people.
Jimmy Carter is doing something that, before the election, he would not
have revealed that he planned to do. It is a low and despicable
political move that he should be ashamed of.
And since demanding apologies is all the rage, let me say that I would
like the wizened old husk of a former President to beg our forgiveness.
Hold your fire, everyone. What's really important about this post is
the response of her commenters, most of whom are her regulars, the ones
who keep coming back because they like a lot of what she has to say.
She is, after all, smart and articulate and routinely makes shrewd
points when her principal devotions are not on the line. What I'm
asking you IP readers to do is read
her commenters, some hundred of them on this post, generally polite and
well spoken but amazingly in agreement on a few basic points. Keep
reading as long as you can. You might
feel better about the national political atmosphere.
You're free, even encouraged, to cherry-pick your favorites and cite
them in your own comments here. Some are gems of concise wit and
wisdom. I'll start the ball rolling with my own favorite so far, by a
commenter named "Lucid" (How cool is that?)
The culture of affirmative action is a
major part of the reason we are hearing the nonsense that criticisms of
Obama are motivated by racism.
Affirmative action policies displace fairness with unfair preferences
for "protected" groups. Beneficiaries of affirmative... action
have a strong vested interest in its continuation -- ask any appplicant
to a competitive college, law, or medical school.
But the continuation of affirmative action policies requires a victim
and an oppressor. Thus, the continuation of affirmative action requires
not an end to racism, but its perpetuation in the myths and narratives
of the culture. And one of the best ways to do this is by accusing
white folks of racism.
Those who benefit from affirmative action literally cannot afford to
not accuse others of a pervasive racism. And at this point in our
history, the truth is that racism among blacks against whites is much,
much more extensive than white racism about blacks. Blacks often don't
even recognize it. This is why Obama could sit for 20 years listening
to Jeremiah Wright's racist rants and think it was no big deal. Because
in the black community, it is no big deal.
The advantage of the discussion we are having now--and of Obama's
election as president--is that it opens up the secret, hermetically
sealed racism of the black community, and its unwarranted sense of
special entitlements and dispensations, to the frictive and dissolving
effects of free speech. But expect the beneficiaries of affirmative
action and of the mythos of racism to scream bloody murder.
Jeez. Reminds me of some of you...
If you don't understand why I'm linking this or if you want more of my
thinking on what it all means, ask your questions. I'll do an early
update if one seems appropriate.
. What impresses me time and again in the new
the way that hysterical charges endlessly repeated against George W.
Bush are actually true of the
Obama regime. As if, with some eerie prescience, the Democrats knew
what they'd be guilty of when
they regained power and made sure to cuisinart future, more accurate
accusations into gray mush before those accusations came true for real.
I feel it every time I try to write about the political crisis we're
now in. Obama is the biggest liar I've ever witnessed in the
presidency. He's the closest thing to a pure power-hungry authoritarian
I've ever seen. He really does seem to be conspiring actively against
the nation and ordinary civil liberties. He really does seem to be in
league with foreign powers who want to use the United States government
in the interests of oil oligarchs, currency speculators, and a handful
of friendly special-interest dictators and billionaires. He really does
seem to be partnering, in some insane way, with Osama bin Laden. He
really does seem to see the power of the executive as a way to punish
demographics he doesn't like and enrich the demographics he does.
All of these were charges levied by the left against George W. Bush.
And every time Obama is obviously guilty of some similar transgression,
the lefties come out to yell that "Bush lied us into war," "Bush
destroyed our rights with the Patriot Act," "Bush went to war for
his cronies in Big Oil," "Bush knew about or even planned 9/11, with or
without bin Laden," and "Bush used Katrina to commit genocide against
African-Americans." That's right. Bush was a stone racist on top of
This is what's particularly scary to me right now. There are so many
parallels between the empty rhetoric surrounding Bush and the reality
of Obama that it causes me to wonder just how extreme the leftist agenda all
that earlier spate of accusations was laying the groundwork for. I
won't venture into the field of paranoid speculations that I now
believe are entirely justified. Instead, I'll go back to the first
The first thing is an incredibly important
thing. Obama is a liar. Not just occasionally, haphazardly, ignorantly.
He is a dedicated, pathological
liar. All of these are from before the election. The lies he's told
since then are even more outrageous.
Barack Obama Statements Come With an Expiration Date. All Of Them.
By popular demand, the list of
expired Obama statements...
Consumers should be aware that promises, pledged, and soul-healing
rhetoric are only effective for a limited time; upon expiration they
become "just words."
STATEMENT: “Based on the conversations we’ve had internally as well as
external reports, we believe that you can get one to two brigades out a
month. At that pace, the forces would be out in approximately 16 months
from the time that we began. That would be the time frame that I would
be setting up,” Obama to the New York Times, November 1, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: March 7, 2008: Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha
Power, to the BBC: “You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re
in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in
Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop
pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that
he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.”
Also: July 3, 2008: "My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything
I've said, was always premised on making sure our troops were safe,"
Obama told reporters as his campaign plane landed in North Dakota. "And
my guiding approach continues to be that we've got to make sure that
our troops are safe, and that Iraq is stable. And I'm going to continue
to gather information to find out whether those conditions still hold."
STATEMENT: On June 14, Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice called
the RNC’s argument that Obama needed to go to Iraq to get a firsthand
look "complete garbage."
EXPIRATION DATE: On June 16, Obama announced he would go to Iraq and
Afghanistan “so he can see first hand the progress of the wars he would
inherit if he's elected president.”
STATEMENT: May 16, 2008: "If John McCain wants to meet me, anywhere,
anytime to have a debate about our respective policies in Iraq, Iran,
the Middle East or around the world that is a conversation I’m happy to
EXPIRATION DATE: June 13, 2008: Obama campaign manager David Plouffe:
“Barack Obama offered to meet John McCain at five joint appearances
between now and Election Day—the three traditional debates plus a joint
town hall on the economy in July [on the Fourth of July] and an
in-depth debate on foreign policy in August.”
STATEMENT: “We can, then, more effectively deal with what I consider to
be one of the greatest threats to the United States, to Israel, and
world peace, and that is Iran,” Obama speaking to American Israel
Public Affairs Committee in Chicago, March 5, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are
tiny...They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union
posed a threat to us.” – May 20, 2008
STATEMENT: Question at the YouTube debate, as the video depicted
leaders of the countries, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Would you be
willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year
of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the
leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?....."
"I would," Obama answered. July 27, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: May 10, 2008: Susan E. Rice, a former State Department
and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser
to the Democratic candidate: “But nobody said he would initiate
contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and
JEREMIAH WRIGHT/TRINITY UNITED
STATEMENT: "I could no more disown Jeremiah Wright than I could disown
my own grandmother."
—Barack Obama, March 18, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: on April 28, 2008, cut all ties to Wright, declaring,
“based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I
STATEMENT: Obama said that his church, “Trinity United "embodies the
black community in its entirety" and that his church was being
caricatured on March 18, 2008.
EXPIRATION DATE: On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership at
Trinity United Church.
STATEMENT: Criticism of running mate vetter Jim Johnson loan from
Countrywide was "a game" and that his vice-presidential vetting team
“aren’t folks who are working for me.” June 10, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 11, 2008, when Obama accepted Johnson's
STATEMENT: Obama spokesman Bill Burton on October 24, 2007: “To be
clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes
retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”
EXPIRATION DATE: June 20, 2008: “Given the legitimate threats we face,
providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate
safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but
do so with a firm pledge that as president, I will carefully monitor
STATEMENT: “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.” Barack Obama,
December 30, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: The above statement actually was the expiration date
for his previous position, “I actually think we should explore nuclear
power as part of the energy mix,” expressed on July 23, 2007; the above
statement expired when he told Democratic governors he thought it is
“worth investigating its further development” on June 20, 2008.
STATEMENT: Tim Russert:: Senator Obama . . . Simple
question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, "This has
not worked for us; we are out"?
Obama: “I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that
Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton's
answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a
potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and
environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has
been happening so far.” February 23, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 18, 2008, Fortune magazine: “Sometimes
during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he
conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA "devastating"
and "a big mistake," despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the
trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.
Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? "Politicians
are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself," he answered.
"I'm not a big believer in doing things unilaterally," Obama said. "I'm
a big believer in opening up a dialogue and figuring out how we can
make this work for all people."
STATEMENT: “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue
an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly
financed general election.” Also, a Common Cause questionnaire dated
November 27, 2007, asked “If you are nominated for President in 2008
and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general
election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public
financing system?”, Obama checked, “Yes.”
EXPIRATION DATE: June 19, 2008: Obama announced he would not
participate in the presidential public financing system.
WORKING OUT A DEAL ON PUBLIC FINANCING
STATEMENT: “What I’ve said is, at the point where I'm the nominee, at
the point where it's appropriate, I will sit down with John McCain and
make sure that we have a system that works for everybody.”Obama to Tim
Russert, Febuary 27.
EXPIRATION DATE: When Obama announced his decision to break his public
financing pledge June 19, no meeting between the Democratic nominee and
McCain had occurred.
STATEMENT: “I probably would not have supported the federal legislation
[to overhaul welfare], because I think it had some problems." Obama on
the floor of the Illinois Senate, May 31, 1997
EXPIRATION DATE: April 11, 2008: Asked if he would have vetoed the 1996
law, Mr. Obama said, “I won’t second guess President Clinton for
signing” it. Obama to the New York Times.
STATEMENT: "Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples
should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight
for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the
California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should
make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.” –
campaign spokesman, May 5, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 29, 2008: “I oppose the divisive and
discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and
similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other
states… Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your
love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.” — letter
to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
STATEMENT: "Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the
health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue
that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to
the mother carrying that child to term." – Interview with Relevant
magazine, July 1, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: July 5, 2008: “"My only point is that in an area like
partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can
be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It
can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases.” statement
DIVISION OF JERUSALEM
STATEMENT: "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must
remain undivided." — speech before AIPAC, June 4, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 6, 2008: "Jerusalem is a final status issue,
which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of
"an agreement that they both can live with." – an Obama adviser
clarifying his remarks to the Jerusalem Post.
We can't believe what he says about anything. Although we might be
forgiven for believing that what he says in the first place is more
true than what he says in the second place. For example, here's what he
said to (and about) ACORN.
Just campaign rhetoric? Sure. Now he'll throw them under the bus, where
they'll join the bloodiest vehicular undercarriage splatter CSI ever had to explain away under their blue blue lights.
When will Americans start learning
they can't trust this man? How egregious will his sins have to
become before people start to reengage with the awful meaning of the
words that were reduced to nonsense by all the spurious accusations
You tell me. Only after that will it be possible for us to consider the
ramifications of the rest of the Democrats' preemptive propaganda
strike. How bad is it going to get? How seriously afraid should we be?
It begins, though, with the first step of recognizing that our
president is an inveterate liar.
Think about that.
The Mission of
that love for the common man is just so, uh, touching...
. You gotta wonder don't you, what they have at
Harvard and Yale
Law School and Columbia Journalism School that makes all the czars so
much better than us. You know, more able to discern what we need and
should do and pay, as opposed
to the crappy crap we want to do with our own
time and money and, well, lives.
It starts with having nice suits. And expensive haircuts. And never
getting laid once in their whole pitiful lives. That's what leads to
the impulse to become Josh Blank, Deputy Chief of Staff in the West Wing.
be happer when we're all in the hole while they pretend they know the way
If only we could all be like them, the world would be a better place,
eh? In fact, they even asked Josh about it recently.
He didn't want to say, but the answer to everything is the head-bop.
It slams your brain into a state of knowing everything about everyone
else. Kewl. Shame that it costs fifty grand to learn it in the Ivy
Secret decoder ring message for the Metalkort
crowd. Yeah, it's a sock puppet job. By me, InstaPunk,
emperor of punks.
btw, here's what
the crowd looked like in DC on Saturday. You see, the crowd that
small for the Washington Post
to cover. The name that comes to mind is Pravda. Start writing, people.