Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
September 24, 2009 - September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Jezail Bullet

Afghanistan has always been complicated and mysterious.

99 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.

Which 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?) leg.

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 earth.

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 out.

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.

Mark 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 the Khyber?

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.

Nuke '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 of Afghanistan"

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 front. ...

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.

Grandpa Punk

Spanked by a young'un.  He was nervous. We're all for it.

YOUNG'UNS. 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."

If 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 condescending picks:


Now mine:

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.

Do they?

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 guitar...

A final warning.

They don't like us when we bite. But they still think it's their job to observe, study, and control us.

Fuck'em. HISSSSS.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Breitbart Apparently
Ready to Pull the Pin

IT'S 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) with an 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 MSM and President 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.

Michelle Antoinette

"Let them watch me"

GIRLPOWER. This is my favorite news story of the week:

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 afternoon:

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 hear it?

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?


I know it sounds bizarre...

But that's how conditions are...

In Camelot!

In Camelot!!

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 sneakers...

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 the bottom 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 are...

You know. Let them eat... me.

P.S. I 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 enjoyed, the 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?

Not on your life.

I just hope that's not a literal truth.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is Obama the Antichrist?


Democrat Race-Baiting:
An Alternate Explanation

Some things really can take you all the way down.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?  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.

National Review's Jonah Goldberg was witty and withering:

[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, boy!”

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.

The Green Room's Karl was similarly triumphalist:

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 demagogue....

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 mortal fear.

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 job cover story on former radio-talk flyweight Glenn Beck?

LOOK! 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 is here.

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 you forgot.

From little acorns, mighty oak trees grow.

Good 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....


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Althouse Syndrome

Mainstream Mama: "None so blind..."

INSTAPUNDIT'S OTHER WOMAN. 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 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:

Wednesday, 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 beyond criticism.

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 a racist.

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.

Not the ACORN I knew...

(Graphic stolen from NRO and slightly enhanced.)

LONG TIME IN THE MAKING. What impresses me time and again in the new administration is 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 everything else.

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 thing.

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.

All 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 have."

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 advance work.”


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 thought.”

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 resignation.


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 the program.”


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.


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 to reporters.


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 against Bush?

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 the Czars

All that love for the common man is just so, uh, touching...

'CAUSE REAL LIFE SUCKS. 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.

They'll be happer when we're all in the hole
while they pretend they know the way out.

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 League...

P.S. Secret decoder ring message for the Metalkort crowd. Yeah, it's a sock puppet job. By me, InstaPunk, emperor of punks.

P.P.S. btw, here's what the crowd looked like in DC on Saturday. You see, the crowd that was too small for the Washington Post to cover. The name that comes to mind is Pravda. Start writing, people.

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