Instapun*** Archive Listing

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June 23, 2012 - June 16, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Arguments even Liberals might understand...

Easy Money

Springsteen's latest uninspired album is nevertheless aptly named.
What Obama has been and will be even in a second term. The truth.

TOLD YOU SO. I'm thinking even the most secular among us can appreciate that life offers lessons. Something about physics if not justice. Despite all their flailing and excuse-making, the MSM has an opportunity to learn an important lesson for their cause before it destroys their hopes for an entire generation. All those journalists who joined the profession to make the world a better place never learned that the first responsibility of a profession is not for its members to follow their hearts and aspirations but to do their duty. Like attorneys who learn in law school that their duty is not justice as they see it or wish it but providing the best possible advocacy for their clients. All defendants deserve the best possible legal representation, regardless of what defense attorneys think about their guilt or innocence. Prosecutors have an additional burden. Yes, they need to fight just as hard for convictions, but they cannot misrepresent or conceal facts in such a way that an innocent defendant is convicted of a crime he did not commit. For the system to work, both sides must follow the facts and trust the judge and jury to make the decisions. Journalists also have a duty to follow the facts. All of them.

The simple truth of the matter is that in 2008 the MSM did not do their duty as journalists. They did not vet the candidate Obama. Regardless of their good intentions -- desire for a post-racial transformation of American life, a belief in idealistic rhetoric that appealed uniquely to professional connoisseurs of rhetoric -- their failure to do their duty had two effects, both calamitous.

First, the Obama we got was not the Obama promised by his campaign, a uniter, an honest visionary, a gifted leader, a post-partisan and transparent idealist, an empathetic citizen of the world. In most ways, what we got was the exact opposite of this. A divisive fomenter of lefty grievances against the right, an utterly uncompromising ideologue, a distant and inattentive narcissist, a bitterly partisan inciter of class/racial/ethnic/religious conflicts, an inveterate cynic about all things American, and a cold-blooded politician -- and dare I say it, a personally cold cold man -- who would stoop to any tactic to get his way.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, we got a president for whom it all came too easily. Easy money. And you know what happens to easy money. It goes away as quickly as it comes. Ask any gambler. You can't hold on to easy money. You didn't work hard enough to get it. Why Obama started his term with a commanding majority in the house and a filibuster-proof majority in the senate and pissed it all away without accomplishing anything that helped the economy, which was the number one issue facing him from the beginning. And I'll say what no one else will. From his inauguration on, he has acted more like Al Pacino's Scarface than a president of the United States. The man doesn't actually do any work. He doesn't meet with his cabinet, he doesn't meet with members of congress, even leaders of his own party, and there's no sign whatever that he ever dug into any details of the frightful stimulus legislation or even ObamaCare. Yeah, he jetted around making speeches about healthcare, but he's had more face time with union bosses and celebrities and sports stars than he's ever had with the people who are supposed to make things work in Washington. The only attention to detail I've ever seen from this president is the bracket analysis he provides each year before the March Madness of NCAA basketball playoffs.

The rest of the time he plays golf, works out, schmoozes with Hollywood multi-millionaires, accompanies his wife (or not -- another story) on lavishly expensive vacations to the world's most elite tourist venues, and steps to his relentlessly telepromptered microphone only to blast Republicans. He doesn't even want to have press conferences anymore, and when he does, so-called  journalists aren't allowed to ask him tough questions. (He's the president, don't you know?) Bush used to get his daily presidential briefing every morning at 7:30 am. Obama gets his anymore somewhere between 10 am and 3 pm. Then it's off to golf or Beverly Hills.

Easy money. Everyone's afraid to tell the truth. He's a lazy, good-for-nothing president. Not because of any racial stereotype. But because the MSM made it all too easy for him. Most presidents spend their first two years learning how to be president. This one never bothered. Why should he? He's been taught by ridiculous adulation that it's his birthright and everyone should simply conform to his divine wishes.

But here's the rub.

A second Obama term will be a disaster for Democrats and an absolute cataclysm for black politicians. Reasons why even the MSM should start covering their collective ass and covering the president the way they would a Republican candidate:

1. No more Democrat presidents. Forget the first two years when most new presidents set about learning how to be president. Only the time since the 2010 elections is relevant. That's what the entire second Obama term would look like. He'll never again have the commanding majorities he had at first. Inconvenient, even impossible, for a latter day Napoleon. (Oops. Problem. Not nearly as smart as Napoleon. But even more intransigent.) Inevitable result? Total paralysis in congress. He will not compromise on anything EVER. He will not win back enough of the house or senate to get any legislation passed. He doesn't want to have anything to do with congress. He will rely increasingly on dictatorial end-runs around the congress and hence the Constitution. There is nothing whatever to suggest that he knows enough about representative government to make anything happen beyond stalemate. Result? More economic stagnation and a repudiation of the Democratic Party in 2016 that could finish the party in presidential politics for a generation.

2. No more black presidents. Eight years of grievances, policy folly, government stalemate, trumped up racial anger, and ostentatiously high living will be enough. Post-racial utopia will be toast.

3. Romney is the best bet to make compromises that will make Democrats relevant again. He'll at least talk to the opposition, negotiate with them, and foist some legislation on his own party that will make them as unhappy with the final result as you will be. And what's the real bet? Republicans may not at this point be able to fix the economy any faster than Obama did. The clock ticks, and there's at least a chance that a Democrat can run against Romney and Republicans the way Romney is running against Obama and the Democrats now. I don't think so, but if you're a Democrat, this is a bet you more or less have to take.

4. The MSM might actually return to life -- if the lessons of Obama have been learned.   Call it Return to Duty. In a Romney term, the MSM starts being objective. Reporting facts. Covering both sides. Earning back some trust from the voters. Not every economic report is spun exclusively in terms the Democrats approve of. Not everything the Republicans do is purely political and partisan. Not everything the Democrats do is a last ditch stand against the racist, sexist, soul-destroying fascists of the right. Then, when the 2016 campaign begins in earnest, the Great Unwashed might start paying attention again.

Sure, everything I've said is probably a waste of time. But maybe some of you have liberal friends who aren't complete moral and intellectual idiots. I keep hearing people say this is so. Give it a try.

I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised. But I'm skeptical. Something about easy money. A lot easier to assume you're right about everything than think about anything.

ADDENDUM: I know nobody reads my introductory links. This time, I linked to what I said the week of Obama's election, when I said he wasn't my president. One of the comments on that post provides context for my thoughts about those of you who can't bear to offend your liberal friends:

Dave  2008-11-07

This blog post has converted me. Or perhaps more aptly put, it has AWAKENED me. It is almost as if you articulated the voice of my subconscious. I have not wanted to accept that Obama at core is who he certainly must be based on his well established history, associations, and chosen peer group. Instead I have wanted to believe that all that Obama was, must have been washed away by the trial of campaigning for and winning the Presidency. Indeed I wanted to believe that the awesome responsibilities of the office and the Constitution would convert him. I have not wanted to admit to myself that there is every reason to doubt that Obama has been or can be converted to a Constitution honoring American.

You are correct, it is he who has much to prove regarding love of America and its Constitutional foundation. And I believe it unlikely that he will make any such effort. Why should he? He won despite his open and unapologetic associations with the likes of Ayres and Acorn. America has unwittingly given its imprimatur to who Obama is. America told him, "You're fine just they way you are." Awash in Presidential power and democratic mandate, he will feel the need to prove nothing.

So while Obama is to be the President, I need not accept him as my President. I would not have accepted FDR either. (Just FDR's effort to pack the Supreme Court with jurists sympathetic to his governance was an explicit violation of his oath to uphold and protect the US Constitution and therefore worthy of impeachment.)

That said, most of my friends are liberal. They are overwhelmingly clueless as to the value of the Constitution. And they would not understand my reasoning for rejecting Obama as my President. True, they never accepted Bush (whom they considered a ‘retarded-criminal-lying-war mongering-fascist') as their President. But I simply value their friendship too much to take serious issue with their hypocrisies and delusions. And I want to keep them as friends too much as to futilely try and explain why Obama is the President but he is not my President. They already know that I am an unapologetic conservative who will never vote for a liberal. - And that is tough enough for them.

So I hope to (and believe that I can) simply avoid the denying versus affirming of my allegiance to President Obama.

All the same, I thank you Instapunk for getting me to consciously acknowledge and accept what I already knew deep down about our next President: that there is every reason to suspect that Obama will maintain a tacitly subversive disposition to the Constitution; and that therefore he is not a President that I can accept as mine.

Some reality for all of you to remember. Despite all the hysteria and media adulation -- and the incredibly incompetent McCain campaign -- Obama won 53% to 47%. Romney needs 4% more of the total votes to win the presidency. This is, uh, not much. From messiah to failed president presiding over a rotten economy, multiple scandals, and both Europe and the middle east in collapse, can we not agree that retaking the White House is a doable thing? And that a few pungent words to your very dear liberal friends might be worth the speaking of?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Third Force

Simulators can't simulate real catastrophic stalls. Think about it.

FLT 447 BACKGROUND. This is going to be a messy, meandering post, but I trust you to burrow down to the gist. I had another of my "serendicity" events yesterday. My wife was not well and sleeping because sleep is medicine, and so I postponed my posting plans and went exploring On-Demand instead. The first thing I found was on one of my new favorites, the Smithsonian Channel, and it was the story of Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in June 2009. The Airbus never made it to Paris. Somewhere over the South Atlantic it disappeared. The Nova documentary whose final act is shown above attempts to piece together what happened to that flight. Evidence suggests that the crew was so mesmerized by state-of-the-art automation that it actually forgot how to fly an aeroplane (I've always loved that archaic word, which fits here.) They failed to recognize an incipient stall situation, which every cloth-winged barnstormer of the 1920s knew was the first rule of not dying in an aircraft, and when the stall occurred, they were too late in taking the elementary step (second rule of not dying in an aircraft) of initiating a shallow power-on dive that would restore the necessary airflow over the wings. Result? Everyone died.

My dad -- yeah, I've been thinking of him lately -- did a lot of international air travel in the late 1950s and 1960s. As a former fighter pilot, he was convinced he'd used up all his luck. So he was mighty particular about who he allowed to fly him. He had an ironclad rule about airlines: American, British, or German. Their pilots had war experience. They had seen the worst situations that can happen. They knew what to do when the shit hit the fan. Air France was the last airline he would ever fly. Pilots are superstitious and they pay attention to anecdotal evidence. He had a friend who was a BOAC pilot and RAF veteran who was taking a courtesy flight on Air France when the Air France captain came back to welcome him aboard, sat down, and had a drink with him. Wild horses couldn't have gotten my father on board an Air France flight. Ever.

My wife is actually a fan of Airbus because she's so suspicious of McDonnell Douglass and shares my own trepidations about the Lockheed L-1011. Not a Boeing fan, either, but I think that's an understandable objection to monopolies. I, however, have always detested Airbus. It's a multinational, government-subsidized monopoly of its own, and I hate the name. Airplanes are not buses. You don't hire Ralph Kramden to fly them. Except that's what Air France apparently did. Pilots who really don't know the two most important rules about flying and therefore get themselves and everyone in their charge killed. With an abundant assist from too much wrongheaded automation. I don't like grammar checkers, which are almost always wrong even though they're included in so-called state-of-the-art word processors. And I suspect that Airbus's advanced automated flying systems are no better than grammar checkers. Which is to say they are no replacement for pilots.

Serendicity? Here's the next thing I saw On-Demand.

No way I have the guts or the sheer crazy of this kid, but it still rings a bell with me and my youth. And probably with a lot of you and yours. I had a friend who mixed with me like nitro does with glycerine, and we raised hell in every way possible that involved moving things and risk. Cars, motorcycles, trucks, tractors, motorboats, sailboats, airboats, steamboats, and even pistols, but mostly cars, cars, cars, and more cars. If our parents had known what we were really up to, they'd have spared themselves the worry and killed us outright. We were completely out of control. We once flipped an XKE Jag so completely  that we were able to do our own forensic research after the fact and discover that it had traveled 20 feet upside down in midair (convertible!) before landing safely on all four wheels with both of us intact.

So I got to thinking about these two On-Demand programs. Where my idea of the Third Force comes in. Isn't Flight 447 the new government model?  The smart ones can automate everything to eliminate all the risk from our lives except the danger of idiots who no longer have any experience of risk or knowledge of what to do when the shit hits the fan?

But where do pilots come from, meaning the ones who can land that plane safely on the Hudson when all the odds say it can't be done because it never has been done. It comes from the risk takers who are braver or crazier than we are, meaning superior to us or at least different from us in important ways, and there has to be a realm where they can develop the talents the rest of us need from them. Which isn't in a world without apparent risk.

That's what the free enterprise system really is. A place where those people can experience risk and bring back the lessons of risk to the rest of us. The costs and the rewards. Both of which can and should be huge.

Note that I haven't even mentioned politics. The first two "forces" implied by the title are the left and the right of the political advocates battling for control of the government. What is the Third Force? No, it's not the Tea Party or the Internet or the Occupy Whatever movement. They all belong to the first two forces.

The Third Force is those of us who know that living life is about accepting risk and confronting it pro-actively, not as passive tools of policy and technology but as warriors of vitality. You are one of those warriors or you have cheered them -- the 8-year-old junior bull riders, the high school football teams, the unlikely restauranteur who becomes a franchise, the "homeless to Harvard" story, the "Defiance Ohio" mom, the blind cook on Master Chef, the guy without legs who climbed Kilimanjaro, and the everyday dads and moms who fight their way out of deprivation to send their kids on to good schools and rewarding careers.

Completely apart from politics, this is the force that needs to be heard from in this election season. People willing to stand up and say, "We do not need more government and its handouts to make our lives rewarding. All we need is less of the Global Warming that comes exclusively from government Hot Air."

Find a way for the Third Force to get its message across and we won't need Romney to make the case for Big Government Lite.

Any ideas?

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