Quick links

Whew! I’ve got at least twenty minutes before my computer is snatched away from me again for a family project.  So, let me use that time to send a few links your way.

Matt Labash may well have written the best Obamacare story yet.  There are enough talented conservative writers out there that he can be topped, but it’s going to be hard.

One of my uber-liberal friends posted this tweet on Facebook:

 

It took me about two seconds to come to the same conclusion as The Daily Caller, which is that Obama has once again inserted himself in history.  He’s not Zelig, who allows the real actors to remain; he’s more Stalin, who erases and massages the past, invariably to his self-aggrandizement.

Two Drudge headlines that are a matched set: POLL: Majority of Americans Distrust One Another… and ‘Genderqueer’ rising: Colleges welcome kids who identify as neither male nor female…  How in the world can you trust your fellow Americans if they can’t even pull down their underpants and figure out what sex they are?

Is it real or is it Iowahawk? Iowahawk, as you all know, is one of the most brilliant political satirists ever (and he’s now apparently devoting himself to turning Twitter into worthwhile reading). He is the verbal equivalent of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons. So when Tom Elia sent me an email that mentioned Iowahawk’s name and this quotation, I assumed it was Iowahawk’s satire:

“Obviously my most recent concern has been that my website’s not working,” Obama said. “We’re evaluating why it is exactly that I didn’t know soon enough that it wasn’t going to work the way it needed to. But my priority now has been to just make sure that it works.”

I am shocked and dismayed to tell you that those words actually issued from Obama’s lips. Please note the “my website” bit. Who died and made him king? (And yes, that’s rhetorical. I know that the answer is a functioning republican democracy died and made that little socialist pissant king.)

JKB thought you’d like to know that taxpayers are in the hole on another one of Obama’s “green business” enterprises.

Two stories that bid you “welcome to the Nanny state”:  (1) A paraplegic Canadian woman was denied passage to the US for a once-in-a-lifetime handicap-friendly cruise because the border agent somehow knew that her medical record contained a hospitalization for clinical depression.  Apparently there was some concern that she’d rise up from her wheelchair and do something terrible.  (2) An Italian woman who had a bipolar episode while on a business trip to England found herself placed in a hospital, forcibly sedated, and subject to a c-section, after which British social workers took her baby and refused to return it.

In case you haven’t heard, and entirely coincidentally we’re sure, the IRS is auditing a man who complained about Obamacare and the insurance agent who tried to help him out.  We all know it was a joke when Our Dear Leader, in 2009, promised to sic the IRS on his political enemies.  (And again, it’s just as possible, and just as horrible, that the IRS has mutated into a self-propelled, all-powerful partisan bureaucracy to protect the political party that kowtows to the government worker’s union.)

I commented this summer that, when I was in St. Petersburg, I could not get over the blatant capitalist excess.  My kids, having been to many major European cities, couldn’t understand why I found it so amazing to see Prada stores or Louis Vuitton billboards.  But wait, as Simply Jews explains, there’s more.

And to end on a funny note, go here.

Sorry for the silence

Sorry for the silence, but since yesterday, my computer has been commandeered for a family project and I’ve not had any access to it. Blogging on my iPad is not an option, because of the same family project.

I might get my computer back this afternoon and I’ll definitely have it back by tomorrow.

In the meantime, this is an open thread.

Watcher’s Council Winners — Thanksgiving Edition

The Council has spoken, proving that even bad news has its purpose, because it provides fodder for great writers:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Some things for which to be thankful

Tips for avoiding (or ways to survive) a “knockout” attack

From the Gracies:

Hat tip: The Political Commentator

The Democrats’ lawlessness

Charles Krauthammer gets to the heart of the matter:

The violence to constitutional norms here [with the filibuster's destruction] consisted in how that change was executed. By brute force — a near party-line vote of 52-48. This was a disgraceful violation of more than two centuries of precedent. If a bare majority can change the fundamental rules that govern an institution, then there are no rules. Senate rules today are whatever the majority decides they are that morning.

What distinguishes an institution from a flash mob is that its rules endure. They can be changed, of course. But only by significant supermajorities. That’s why constitutional changes require two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of the states. If we could make constitutional changes by majority vote, there would be no Constitution.

As of today, the Senate effectively has no rules. Congratulations, Harry Reid. Finally, something you will be remembered for.

Read it all.  I doubt you’ll find a better exposition of the profound damage the Obama administration is doing to the Constitution and to America.

Slowly coming back to the real world

That I am an indifferent cook is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that my proudest boast about my Thanksgiving dinner is that nobody got food poisoning.  Other than that, the food, over which I labored for two days, was more than adequate.  I had the whole Thanksgiving megillah:  Turkey (of course), stuffing (made in the crock pot to avoid food poisoning), butternut squash, candied yams, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, homemade gravy, salad, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  Our gathering was small (my immediate family, plus my mother), so we have leftovers for at least two nights.  That’s good, because I’m all cooked out.

I’m also slowly returning to real life, to my life.  I took two days off from writing and from reading news.  When I wasn’t cooking, I was walking dogs and reading junk novels.  The world didn’t go away but, for a brief time, I went away from the world.

Today, slowly, I’m catching up — and rather wishing I hadn’t bothered.  The news today, after all, is no better than it was two days ago.  Still, like a junkie staring at that needle heading to my vein, I’m equal parts loathing and desire.  Even as I fear the news, I crave it.

And so I’m reading again, and will soon be writing again.  Until then, please consider this an Open Thread.

Watcher’s Council’s Thanksgiving Bounty

If you need something to read today while you watch your turkey roast, there’s good stuff from the Watcher’s Council:

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

A few quick links before I shut down for the evening

Help us, Obama-wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope.  (And ignore that pesky constitution while you’re at it.)

I think this might just be the meanest cartoon Michael Ramirez has ever done — and I love it because it’s perfect and appropriate (although still not as mean as either party deserves).

Come on, everybody, let’s say it together:  I am so not surprised.

As someone who still regrets that we got priced out of our local Montessori school, I say “hear! hear!

And to repeat what I said in my earlier post:  Happy Hanukkah and Happy Thanksgiving.

(I’ll try to sneak in a little blogging tomorrow, but I’d be a fool to make promises.)

Thanksgivukkah — the perfect storm

clould_storm

A “perfect storm” occurs when circumstances that normally operate independently from each other occur at the same time, with each heightening the other’s impact.  Starting at sunset tonight, we are about to see the nexus of four circumstances that normally operate independent of each other, especially since two of those circumstances have never before occurred.  Two of the four are symbolic events; and the remaining two are entirely real, with possibly cataclysmic outcomes.

I refer, of course, to the fact that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap, an event that will not occur again for something between 600 and 70,000 years (depending who’s doing the calculations).  This holiday nexus overlaps with two real-world occurrences, the first of their kind in America:  Obamacare, which threatens to undermine America’s still-vaguely-capitalist economy, and Obama’s agreement to allow Iran, a totalitarian Islamist state with an apocalyptic religion and visions of world domination, to go ahead with its nuclear program.  The real world events are deeply disturbing to those who love America and Israel (the only true democracy in the Middle East), but perhaps Someone is try to send us a sign insofar as they occur in the year of Thanksgivukkah.

Tying these four seemingly disparate strands together requires understanding fully what these strands are.  I won’t bore you by repeating everything you know about Obamacare and the deal with Iran, since each can be summed up in one or two sentences.  Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, however, deserve somewhat more detailed treatments.

Obamacare saw President Obama and his democrat minions use outright fraud to take over the American healthcare and insurance system in such a way as to throw most Americans off the insurance that 85% of them found satisfactory, and to dump them in an exchange that sees them lose their doctors and hospitals, all for significantly more money.  It was manifestly meant to be a way-station to socialized medicine (complete with death panels), but the government’s ineptitude with regard to the exchanges meant that Obama and Co. tipped their hands as to the fraud before they were ready to do so.

Obama’s deal with Iran gives Iran permission to continue its uranium enrichment program to something just short of full weapons potential, and unlocks the money that the mullahs need to maintain their despotic hold over their country and that Iran needs to continue with its nuclear program.  Obama did this after years of telling Israel not to strike at Iran’s weapons program when it was still possible for Israel to do so, using the fraudulent promise that he would protect Israel from Iran’s frequently expressed genocidal intent towards Israel.  (And no, the doctrine of mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent for Iran.  Iran subscribes to an apocalyptic form of Islam that differs significantly from the Christian view of the apocalypse:  unlike Christians, who wait for the apocalypse, Iranian Shiites believe that it is their responsibility to bring it about.)

Put simply, we are looking at two possibly apocalyptic events, one that has the power to downgrade America irrevocably to the status of a poor, socialized nation, and the other that could witness Israel’s destruction and decades of turmoil and death in the Middle East.  Knowing this can leave anyone feeling lost, hopeless, and abandoned.  But I do believe that the concatenation of these events with both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving means something.  That all of this occurred now might be a coincidence, or it could be part of something larger — a Divine plan, for those religiously inclined — from which we should draw hope.

Lighting the Hanukkah menorah

For those who think of Hanukkah as a holiday that involves lighting candles, spinning dreidels, and giving gifts (the “Jewish Christmas”), let me take a few minutes to tell you about the miraculous military victory that Hanukkah commemorates, a victory that every Israeli must surely be thinking about today given Obama’s Munich-esque deal with Iran.

In 168 B.C.E., Greek soldiers in modern-day Syria (and isn’t that symbolic too?) seized the great Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and defiled it by dedicating it to Zeus.  Jews passively accepted this desecration for fear of incurring Greek wrath.  Human nature, though, is human nature, and you cannot appease a tyrant.  Within one year, Antiochus, the Syrian-Greek emperor, declared that observing Jewish ritual was a capital crime.  Instead, he said, all Jews must affirmatively worship the Greek gods.

As before, most Jews acquiesced, but they raged inside.  The smoldering tinder of Jewish resistance burst into flame when Greek soldiers in the village of Modiin tried to force the Jews to bow to an idol and eat pork.  Realizing that where the leader goes, the others will follow, a Greek officer focused his efforts on Mattathias, a High Priest.  Mattathias refused to acquiesce to the Greek demands.  In fear, another villager offered to violate Jewish law on Mattathias’ behalf.  Mattathias, rather than being grateful, was outraged.  He killed first the appeasing villager and then the Greek officer.  Mattathias, his five sons, and a handful of villagers then killed the remaining Greeks.

Outlaws now in Greek-controlled Israel, Mattathias, his sons, and their followers hid in the m0untains and began a guerrilla campaign of resistance against the Greek occupiers.   The fight came at a terrible cost.  Mattathias and several of his sons died in battle, leaving only one of his sons, Judah Maccabee to carry the fight to its conclusion.  As was the case with the American revolutionaries fighting their seemingly quixotic battle against the might of the British Empire (the most successful military in the world at that time), it seemed impossible to believe that the Maccabees (or Hasmoneans) could win — but they did, driving the Greeks from their lands and restoring the Temple to its rightful glory.

When the Maccabees re-claimed the Temple in Jerusalem, they knew it had been defiled by Greek religious practices, including the slaughter of swine on the altar.  They believed that they could purify the Temple by burning the ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days and eight nights.  The problem was that they had only enough oil left for one day and one night.  Nevertheless, the triumphant Maccabees lit the menorah and a great miracle happened there (nes gadol haya sham):  the menorah burned for eight days and eight nights.  It is this miracle that the Jews celebrate when they light the menorah every night for the eight days of Hanukkah.

The Hanukkah story is a wonderful story of faith, commitment, and bravery.  It is also a reminder that tyrannies, even those that appear to have unlimited power, are fundamentally unstable.  A committed band of people can come together to topple them.

Thanksgiving

And as for Thanksgiving, that tale too, deserves to be retold, since Progressives in the past 40 years have watered it down to a story about noble Native Americans rescuing fanatically religious Pilgrims who, having broken bread with the indigenous people, returned the favor by slaughtering them.  As Rush Limbaugh tells annually on his radio show and demonstrates in both See, I Told You So and in his best-selling children’s book, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans, that story is bunk.  The real story is much more interesting and lays the foundation for America’s robust development. Here is my précis of Rush’s factually accurate, extremely important telling of American history:

The Pilgrims set sail for American aboard the Mayflower on August 1, 1620.  Their reason for leaving the world they knew and striking how for this unknown wilderness was religious freedom.  While still aboard the ship, their leader, William Bradford, had them enter into a biblically inspired agreement that came to be known as “The Mayflower Compact.”  It established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

When the Pilgrims landed on the northeast tip of what came to be America, Bradford said that they found themselves in “a cold, barren, desolate wilderness.”  They were in an isolation that was anything but splendid, one without food or shelter.  In that first long, cold winter, says Rush, half the Pilgrims – including Bradford’s own wife – died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.

In the spring, the native population came to the Pilgrims’ rescue, teaching them how to harvest the land’s plant and animal bounty, an act of great kindness and humanity, and one that deserves to be remembered.  As Rush says, that is the beginning and the end of most American’s understanding of the Thanksgiving story.  Chapter two in every child’s history book is “and then the Pilgrims eventually killed the Indians.”  There is much, much more to the story, though.

When the Pilgrims had left England, they had entered into an agreement with their merchant-sponsors in London.  That agreement called for the Pilgrims to pool all their resources — their land, their crops, their meat and furs — and to draw from those resources according to their need.  Karl Marx would have recognized this:  “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.”

Things did not go well.  Indeed, William Bradford, who was now the colony’s governor, realized that, just as the Pilgrim’s first winter proved deadly, so too would this experiment with communism.  Bradford later summed up precisely what had happened with this first “commune”:

The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; -that the taking away of propertie, and bringing in communitie into a comone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For the yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and servise did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompence. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devission of victails and cloaths, then he that was weake and not able to doe a quarter the other could; this was thought injuestice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalised in labours, and victails, cloaths, etc., with the meaner and yonger sorte, thought it some indignite and disrespect unto them. And for mens wives to be commanded to doe servise for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, etc., they deemd it a kind of slaverie, neither could many husbands well brooke it. Upon the poynte all being to have alike, and all to doe alike, they thought them selves in the like condition, and ove as good as another; and so, if it did not cut of those relations that God hath set amongest men, yet it did at least much diminish and take of the mutuall respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have bene worse if they had been men of another condition. Let pone objecte this is mens corruption, and nothing to the course it selfe. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdome saw another course fiter for them.

Put in modern English, what Bradford said was this:  The ancient writers loved the theory of a commune, assuming that the doctrine of “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” would result in universal happiness.  Put into practice, though, communism bred laziness, jealousy, and discontent.  The most deleterious effect was seen on young men — the most important workforce in any agriculture society — who resented deeply having to expend their labor for other men’s families without any return on effort.  Redistribution of wealth ultimately meant less labor in an agrarian society, with the inevitable and dangerous decrease in the food supply.  People work cheerfully, industriously, and productively only if they know there is the possibility that outcome will correlate to effort.

Made wise by experience, Bradford abolished the commune and, instead, assigned to each family a plot of land for which it was solely responsible. The result was predictable.  “This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.”  Or, as Rush said, “supply-side economics.”

Because the Pilgrims had a personal stake in their labor, they worked hard, and produced surplus crops that they traded with the Indians or sold to British merchants.  Soon, this small band of wanderers in a far-off outpost of the nascent British Empire had created a profitable, growing, and quite attractive little society.

Paspajak Patrol

So, where are we now?  We are witnessing two events unfold, both of which have the potential to wreak terrible destruction on healthy, functioning, open democracies.  And we have those two events unfolding during the once-in-a-lifetime convergence of holidays that celebrate a military victory over tyranny and an economic victory over socialism.  These holidays celebrate defining moments in history.  They show that, no matter how dark things appear, people of passion, intelligence, and faith can “repair the world” (hebrew:  tikkun olam).  A great miracle happened there, in Jerusalem; a great miracle happened there, in the Plymouth colony; and we cannot reject the idea that great miracles can still happen, whether in the Middle East or in America.

We lose under only two circumstances:  we are wiped off the face of the earth (something all tyrannies have tried against the Jews, but thankfully without success) or we give up (something that too many disaffected, disheartened conservatives keep threatening to do).

Call it coincidence or call it a sign from a higher power, but the fact remains that, as Israel and her friends in America watch Obama try to include America in the Axis of Evil, and as we Americans watch a concerted effort to socialize the American economy, destroying America’s fundamental character and greatness, tonight and tomorrow serve as powerful reminders that, with faith and courage, a small band can destroy a great tyranny and that the socialist experiment can be undone with a return to greatness.

To everyone, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, I wish you a very happy Hanukkah, as we take eight days to remember that miracles do happen and that tyrants are overthrown.

And to everyone, American and non-American alike, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, a day on which we count the myriad blessings in our lives, both big and small, and we remember that, while socialism may temporarily mute the striving, creative, dynamic, productive, energetic parts of human nature, it cannot destroy them.

Thomas Sowell has a knack

It occurred to me that Sowell is somewhat Victorian in his ability to come up with pithy summations of large ideas.  In a pre-typewriter age, brevity was virtuous.  These are some of his thoughts for today, but I urge you to click on the link and read them all:

President Obama really has a way with words, such as calling the problems that millions of people have had trying to sign up for ObamaCare “glitches.” When the Titanic sank, was that a “glitch”?

[snip]

No one seems as certain that they know what the Republicans need to do to win presidential elections as those Republicans who have lost presidential elections, such as Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole. Moreover, people take them seriously, and seem not to notice that what the losers advocate is the opposite of what won Ronald Reagan two landslide election victories.

If you believe in equal rights, then what do “women’s rights,” “gay rights,” etc., mean? Either they are redundant or they are violations of the principle of equal rights for all.

[snip]

Those who want to “spread the wealth” almost invariably seek to concentrate the power. It happens too often, and in too many different countries around the world, to be a coincidence. Which is more dangerous, inequalities of wealth or concentrations of power?  [Emphasis mine.]

Really, I’m not just saying it to be polite:  Go read all of Sowell’s thoughts for today.

Coffeecare

Obamacare made simple:

Hat tip:  Caped Crusader

Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t appeasement — it’s worse than that *UPDATED*

Obamaworld in a Matt Drudge nutshell

I’ve noticed something interesting.  While serious thinkers are likening what John Kerry and Barack Obama did vis a vis Iran to Neville Chamberlain’s disastrous Munich Agreement, they’re  not using the world “appeasement” as the dominant trope.  (E.g., Charles Krauthammer and Bret Stephens.)  They’re just saying that, in terms of giving a tyranny permission to be tyrannical, Obama and Kerry have followed in Chamberlain’s footsteps.

This omission makes perfect sense when one realizes that there is a substantive difference between Munich and Tehran:  when it came to Munich, as Stephens points out, England couldn’t have done anything anyway.  Her military might was practically nonexistent.  The most that Chamberlain could do was put a smiley face on the situation in the hope that Hitler would come after England last, not first.  No wonder Winston Churchill famously said “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

Here, however, as Stephens again points out, America held the hand with three kings.  Right up until Obama signed on the dotted line, Iran was a pariah nation badly hurt by economic sanctions, while America still has the most powerful military in the world.  Thanks to Obama, though, Iran has been given permission to go ahead with all the enrichment it needs to do to position itself for becoming a nuclear power; it’s been relieved of an enormous economic burden; and it’s been legitimized — and all when we had the winning hand.

So why did Obama give away everything when he didn’t have to give away anything?  This is not appeasement; this is collaboration.  As Obama made clear from the beginning of his administration, he wants to side with the mullahs and he doesn’t like Israel.  Obama has now given free rein to the Obama doctrine:  the elevation of Islamic totalitarian dictatorships to the detriment of anything that stands in their way.  This manifestly awful agreement isn’t a desperate mistake, it’s an intended outcome.

So yes, this is much worse than Munich.  Obama isn’t trying to make the best of a bad situation; he is intentionally creating a bad situation because that situation harmonizes with his core beliefs and values.

And if that doesn’t scare you, nothing will.

UPDATELee Smith states it simply:  Obama has had America switch sides.  Iran is no longer our enemy, but our ally.  We once supported a liberal democracy, but we now side with a bloody-minded, genocidal, misogynistic, homophobic, totalitarian Islamic dictatorship.  Obama has soiled America.

Hat tip to Jon Gabriel for that great photoshop.

A clever visual pun and a devastating indictment

Big Fur Hat, at iOwnTheWorld.com, nails it in a very subtle, but devastating way:

Kerry Neville Academy

The existential despair that comes from living in Obama’s America *UPDATED*

I went to bed depressed and waking up to these Drudge Report headlines reminded me why:

Obamaworld in a Matt Drudge nutshell

The whole Iran-Munich moment has left me believing that Obama is much smarter than we realized.  Even as he was lying to Israel about (a) having her back and (b) not negotiating with Iran, he created a box from which it’s almost impossible for Israel to escape.  There are only bad choices says Yossi Klein Halevi:

Israel’s window of opportunity to launch an effective strike is closing. It is now measured in months, not years. The deal, worry Israelis, could further narrow that window.

Israelis note that the deal doesn’t cover inspections of Iran’s nuclear weaponization program, including fuses, timers and metallurgy, which will no doubt continue apace. And Israel takes for granted that the Iranians will persist in doing what they’ve done all along: lie and cheat, but this time under the cover of a deal. In every previous rounds of negotiations, after all, the Iranians continued building secret facilities. All of which could mean further reducing Israel’s timetable for a strike.

If Israel concludes that its window is closing and does decide to strike, even while the deal remains in effect, it risks becoming an international pariah—in effect exchanging roles with Iran. On the morning after an Israeli strike, Israel could find itself alone, facing tens of thousands of missiles from Hezbollah and Iran launched against its home front.

[snip]

During the first Obama administration, the urgent Israeli question was: Is he is a friend of the Jewish state? That question was largely resolved for many Israelis during the President’s visit to Israel last March, when he won over much of the public by affirming the Jewish roots in the land of Israel and the indigenousness of Israel in the Middle East, as well as Israel’s past efforts to make peace.

Now, though, Israelis are asking this: After eight years of President Obama, will the Middle East be a safer or more dangerous region for Israel?

For most Israelis the answer is self-evident. The turning point came this summer, when Obama hesitated to enforce his own red line over Syria. That was the moment that he lost the trust of the Israeli public on Iran.

This is chess on a malevolent scale.  It was also probably a planned move.  Never forget that the Los Angeles Times has hidden in its vaults a videotape of Obama speaking at a radical pro-Palestinian gathering.  The fact that the LA Times refuses to release the video has long led people to assume that Obama says something along the lines of “I’ll take care of Israel for you.”

We at this blog knew that Obama was never a friend to Israel, and was always doing whatever he could to curry favor with Islamist regimes. (Witness his love affair with the Muslim Brotherhood.)  It turns out that this wasn’t just a feeling, but was a goal to which he committed himself, even though it required the use of fraud and chicanery.  (And let’s not forget the quite obviously faked “long form” birth certificate, which almost certainly hides the fact that the father about whom Obama dreamed in Bill Ayer’s best-selling Obama autobiography probably wasn’t his real father.)

Indeed, Obama’s presidency is proving to have been built entirely on fraud.  Not just lies, which are often merely self-exculpatory or self-aggrandizing, but on fraud, which is the deliberate use of lies and information withholding in order to get people to change their position to their detriment and to your benefit.  He told Americans and Israelis lies, knowing that they were lies, for the specific purpose of getting both America and Israel to change their position to their detriment and to Obama’s benefit.

In the case of Obamacare, the (knowing and known) lies were that (a) you could keep your plan; (b) you could keep your doctor; and (c) average insurance costs would drop $2,500 per year for a family.  He told these lies to strip Americans of their insurance and pave the way for socialized medicine.

In the case of Israel, he repeatedly told Israel that (a) he would never abandon her and (b) he would work to end Iran’s nuclear aspirations.  These lies meant that Israel did not strike against Iran when the striking was relatively easy (as was the case in the strike against the Syrian nuclear facility).  Now, as Halevi showed, even if Israel successfully strikes Iran, Hezbollah is on her border with thousands of missiles aimed at her.  Moreover, having now struck this deal with Iran, Obama won’t have America’s back if she strikes; he’ll join the chorus of disapproval isolating Israel.

In the past, when Israel had her back against the wall, she came out swinging.  Thanks to Obama’s fraud, her hands may well be tied.

Do you remember the headline horror of 9/11?  I do.  Since we were on the West Coast, we woke up in time to turn on the television and see the towers fall.   I don’t need to find words to tell you what that felt like because you were there and you remember.  You felt it too — that sense of watching a train race towards a giant canyon, where the bridge is out, and there is nothing you can do to stop the inevitable carnage.  Every day, I wake up now, grab my iPad, and, driven by a fierce compulsion, open it, expecting that Obamaworld will show me headlines fully equal to the despair and horror of 9/11.

UPDATE:  The wonderful image that Matt Drudge used this morning comes from Jon Gabriel.

Clearing out the inbox

I’d reached critical mass in the inbox.  It was either spend the day working through it or go nuclear which, in my case, doesn’t mean blowing up Israel, but does mean simply deleting everything in my inbox, knowing that there’s no way I will ever read what’s in there.  I chose not to go nuclear, and I am grateful for that decision, as I was able to find a lot of wonderful stuff.  Herewith, and in no particular order, stuff I culled from my inbox:

Following up on my post about the fact that we’re now living in a Soviet joke, a reader sent me this great one liner:  “Under Obamacare if you get sick, the doctors will pretend to heal you and the government will pretend to pay for it.”

One of my favorite bloggers, who happens to be a teacher, is Mike McDaniel.  He saw two newspaper articles that I’d seen too, and that I wanted to blog about, but never got around to.  Now, I’m grateful for my sloth, because Mike did a better job with them than I ever could have done.  The first is a bit frisky, but that’s only because (honest to God truth) an American university is giving students credit for attending a class that teaches them how to masturbateWhen I were a lad, we were so poor, we had to figure those things out by ourselves.  The other “education” story is less funny, because it has even more seriously implications for the joke that our university system has become.  Once you learn about micro-aggression, I think you’ll agree that we’re within striking distance of the end of the world as we know it.

Speaking of how far we’ve come, someone sent me a link to this project:  beautiful photo albums showing toys that were once an ordinary part of life but that would now result in a manufacturer’s lynching.  I have fond memories of “puffing” on toy cigarettes.  Interestingly, those sugary white rods with bright red tips never made me more inclined to try the real thing, which smelled bad and made me cough.

Oh, and while we’re on silly stuff, here’s a test for you:  in which countries are these various toilets located?  I got 50% correct and I can’t decide if that speaks well of me or badly.

In September, during the shutdown, someone sent me a link to a Red State story about GOP hostility to Ted Cruz.  Showing that political time is like dog years, in the two months and one day since Red State published that article, the world has turned upside down, thanks to the Obamacare exchange roll-out.  Suddenly, the article seems like a relic.  The GOP is still hostile, but it now has a serious problem with the fact that Ted Cruz was right.  (I was right too; just sayin’.)

I spoke today on the phone with Stella Paul and it explained a lot about why her articles are so insightful, intelligent, and beautifully written.  She is insightful, intelligent, and beautifully spoken.  (I always knew Obama’s books were fakes because nobody who wrote as well as he ostensibly did could speak as badly as he does off the cuff.  The person who wrote Obama’s books loves language; Obama does not.)  You can catch a lot of Stella’s stuff at American Thinker, such as her delightful and astute attack against the Obamacare exchange.  She’s also publishing at Leeb’s Market Forecast, with her most recent article there about the scary fact that we are trapped inside a government Matrix and only a few brave folks are willing to take a stand against it.  When it comes to Hollywood, Stella includes in her article one of the most frightening quotations I’ve ever heard:  ”‘We know from research that when people watch entertainment television, even if they know it’s fiction, they tend to believe that the factual stuff is actually factual,’ said grant recipient Martin Kaplan of the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center.”  Lee Habeeb’s proposed alternate TV channel can’t come fast enough.

One of the fascinating things about the Obamacare debacle is the way in which the New York Times has desperately been trying to cover up Obama’s lies.  “Incorrect promise” tops the list of course, but the Times is spinning so frantically, it’s running out of neologisms, neo-phrases, and outright lies about lies in order to cover for Obama’s forked tongue.  They should be better at this than they are.  As Lee Stranahan wrote a month ago, the Left has always lied about itself and its motives.

Thomas Friedman may be nominally Jewish, but he’s nominally Jewish the way Noam Chomsky is.  These guys are anti-Semitic Jews who are “thoughtful” enough to provide cover for all the other anti-Semites who aren’t Jews.  (“Yeah, so what if I say a Jewish cabal rules the world and therefore all Jews need to be destroyed?  Some of my best friends are Jews and they say the same thing.”)  Elliot Abrams caught Friedman in a doozy of an anti-Semitic screed, one that could have fit comfortably in the pages of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Friedman isn’t just a fool and a hypocrite, he’s a fool and a hypocrite who worships at the altar of totalitarianism and will happily pave the way for the next round of gas chambers — although he’ll pride himself on the fact that, when the time comes, he’ll weakly protest that Jews shouldn’t actually be sent there.

Since the Obama administration has been preparing talking points for Democrats to use to browbeat friends and relatives about Obamacare during Thanksgiving, Ace prepared talking points for conservatives.  Very worth reading.

“Mr. Obama, we at Fox News are not the problem.  You are.”  (Hat tip:  Earl):

A friend of mine, a former Air Force pilot, wrote a book, called The Unusual Travels of Lee and Tammy.  I was happy to leave this review at Amazon:

Mr. Strom has written a charming, imaginative book about a gateway between our moon and another world that can support human life. Funnily enough, Mr. Strom’s writing style reminded me strongly of Damon Runyon’s wonderful stories (which served as the basis for “Guys and Dolls.”). His dialogue has that same present tense formality that Runyon uses, which allows us to see the characters as from a slight distance.

The plot is straightforward: several astronauts from the world’s major countries are sent to the moon for a scientific study. Lee, an Armenian, accidentally falls through a portal into another world. Once he convinces his fellow astronauts of his existence, four of them, including Tammy, who becomes Lee’s romantic interest, explore the world. They discover its connection to earth, and have some unnerving experiences as they navigate their way through this strange, yet familiar, world.

I actually expected the book to be a more “Star Wars” type adventure with lots of shoot ‘em stuff. It’s not, though. It manages, instead, to imagine a realistic scenario, one that sees far away scientists make an exciting new discovery, and then follows through on how both the scientists and those back home (both funders and governments) respond to the possibilities of this discovery.

And lastly, during the shutdown, someone made a wonderful poster about the National Park Service employees who seemed to be so willing to carry out Obama’s orders to punish Americans — especially those who served our country so bravely — by closing down open-air parks.  Even though the shutdown is over, it’s worth reminding ourselves what happened in October, because Obama has made it very plain that he will not hesitate to mobilize America’s unionized government workers against Americans:

National Park Service

A moment of sexist frivolity from America’s last Great Depression

I know this must be another Great Depression, because when I read the headlines, I get greatly depressed.  It’s useful to remind ourselves that we weathered one and, God willing, can weather another.  So I give you Busby Berkeley’s kaleidoscopic homage to lovely ladies:

The worse Obama looks, the better Reagan looks

I’ve frequently made a mea culpa for failing to appreciate Reagan when he was president.  I was too steeped in my Democrat upbringing (Democrat household, Democrat community, Democrat city, Democrat university) to see what was right before me.  I hope, though, that in my small way I’ve made up for that spectacular lapse in good judgment and common sense.

In any event, one man thinks I have redeemed myself a little bit, because he asked me to share with you a website he’s set up to make available actual memorabilia from the late, great Ronald Reagan.  Peter Johnson isn’t just a newcomer to Reagan, as I am.  He figured out in the 1960s that Reagan’s vision was the right one for a strong, vital America.

I’m going to quote directly from Mr. Johnson’s email to me, in part because it does inspire hope.  When Mr. Johnson turned to Reagan, another Johnson — President Lyndon Baines Johnson — was busy imposing the Left’s “Great Society” vision on America and America’s streets were witnessing the upheaval of the Free Speech Movement, the Hippies, and the anti-War protestors.  The economy was strong, but the country was flailing.  Reagan kept the faith, he took the White House, and he shepherded in an America so strong it took several decades (plus just five years of Obama, of course) to begin its destruction.  If we keep the faith, maybe we too can turn America around.

You’ll notice as you read that Mr. Johnson is using the website both to promote Reagan’s legacy and to make a little money for himself enabling others to have a piece of that history.  I think Reagan, that ardent capitalist, would have approved, so I say more power to him.

Anyway, here’s Mr. Johnson’s email to me:

Those who admire Ronald Reagan might find the web site “ReaganMemorabilia.com” of interest as it reflects on the details of Reagan’s first steps up the ladder towards the Presidency by his then Schedule Director and a Campaign Vice Chairman, Peter Johnson, with his background observations on working with Reagan as he planned and directed Reagan’s schedule for his campaigns in 1966 and 1970 for Governor of California.

I was a Vice Chairman of Reagan’s first campaign and also his Northern California Schedule Director in 1966. Later I served in his first administration. In his second campaign, in 1970, I was asked to serve as his Schedule Director for the entire state during the primary to train his campaign team for the general election.

The website presents memorabilia from those campaigns for sale including nine personally signed letters from Reagan and highly detailed materials from the actual schedules as well as the 57 page manual used by the campaign’s advancemen. The master campaign schedule for Reagan’s second primary campaign alone comprises a notebook of 134 pages. It is a virtual tutorial on how a campaign was run at that time. The archivist at the Reagan Library has said that they “would love to have a copy”. The website catalogues all of the materials and includes extra copies that could be contributed to the Library.

In addition to listing the terms for sale, as noted, the site also contains the personal history of my interest in politics that led to my participation in Reagan’s campaigns and relates a number of otherwise unknown campaign incidents and my observations occurring during those years.

I prefer clarity to agreement, and Obama’s second term is getting increasingly more clear

I trace back to Dennis Prager one of my favorite expressions:  “I prefer clarity to agreement.”  Too often, agreement can be like Tacitus’s definition of a Roman peace (“they make a desert and call it peace”).  In the years since Obama’s election, I’ve frequently argued that, with a weak American president, the world might get some necessary clarity.  (For example, in January 2011, I said apropos Obama’s retreat from the world stage, “The clarity that emerges when the strong man is gone might be helpful.”)

Looking at the headlines, it occurs to me that Americans are getting a lot of clarity about what today’s Democrats really stand for, while the world is getting a lot of clarity about what a post-American world looks like.  The following links all tie into this post’s theme about the clarity that Obama has wrought.

The end of the filibuster,* although weakening minority power in the Senate, may bring about a very useful clarity, both because it forces the two parties to own the legislation they pass, and because it enables Republicans to have an easier time getting their judicial picks confirmed.  History shows that, with the exception of the past year or two, while Democrat judicial picks got confirmed easily, Republican judicial picks did not.  Republicans will now be able to get judges on the bench with a simple majority.

Obamacare reveals Obama for what he is:  not a glorious tyrant, in the mold of Louis XIV or Henry VIII, but a petty bureaucratic Leftist.  You and I knew that early on, of course, but the rest of America is catching on to this reality . . . so there’s clarity for you.

The young and the poor just got a dose of clarity today:  Even the wealth transfer that is Obama’s core (but don’t call it redistribution) was done incompetently, with low-income, especially young low-income people finding that they’re in the increasingly expensive Obamacare market without a subsidy net.

I hope John Fund is correct when he says it can still be repealed — but that will happen only if the American people have learned their lesson and vote Republican in 2014, and if the Republicans don’t prove that they’re as complicit in Big Government as we currently suspect.  (And in that regard, the end of the filibuster may also bring some welcome clarity for conservative voters.)

Peter Wehner comes right out and says it:  Obamacare is finally causing people to see the President and the Democrats for at least some of what they are — failed technocrats.  But again, the question remains whether we’ll get intelligent action in clarity’s wake.

Angelo Codevilla thinks the same is true with Obama’s appalling agreement to allow Iran to continue building its nuclear program; namely, that it forces clarity (or, as he phrases it “reality’) on the world:  “But let us look on the bright side: There is value in leaving no doubt about reality.”

Certainly the Israelis now know where they stand.  Keith Koffler’s faux quote passes the Homer Simpson test.

And finally, even the media is getting a little tired of being pushed around.  This tiny rebellion won’t stop the media’s slavish devotion because, even if media members have had it with the man, they still support the cause.  However, to the extent the media consuming public watches this little tiff, it might produce enough clarity in some that they start backing away from the cognitive dissonance that enslaves them.

Clarity . . . it’s a good thing.

_________________________

*Thanks to Earl for pointing out that I’d forgotten those three very important words.

Monday morning open thread

(Yes, I know it’s already afternoon for some of you, but it’s morning here, and I’m rolling with that.)

So . . . yeah . . . whatever.  My brain is devoid of inspiration.  If any of you are doing better than I am (probably all of you are), please feel free to help out this morning (or afternoon).

How bad is the deal with Iran?

John Bolton explains just how bad the deal with Iran is.

Fred Kaplan, however, thinks it’s the best deal that ever happened, and that Republicans and Israelis should be celebrating the fact that President Barack “I’m really good at killing people” Obama finally earned his Nobel Prize.

I incline to the Bolton-ite view.  How about you?

Oh, and just to provide a little context, here’s Rouhani boasting about the lies he told the UN in order to keep Iran on the nuclear weapon track.  This is the same man that Obama and Kerry are boasting is a “peace partner” today.

It’s bad enough that American voters are so easily led, so credulous, and so ill-informed that they voted (twice) for a president who has committed every fiber of his being to turning America into third world socialist country.  It’s criminal that they voted for a president who has pretty much stopped pretending that he desires anything less than Israel’s destruction.

Has Obamacare increased or decreased the chances of socialized medicine?

We all know that Obama and the Democrats committed fraud on a massive scale when the sold the public on Obamacare.  I do not believe that, in the annals of history in any democratic country has a government ever committed fraud against its people in such a way.

Andrew McCarthy makes the case that the purpose behind this fraud was to pave the way for socialized medicine.  The goal he says, was to knock everyone off their insurance, to destroy the insurance companies by bankrupting them, and then to have the government ride to the rescue.  I have no doubt that this is correct.  Indeed, I have never had any doubt, since conservatives, including those gathered at this blog, having been making precisely that argument since 2009.

What I’m wondering now, though, is whether the Democrats bollixed up their obvious goal through their own corruption and incompetence.  In a couple of years, when everything collapses, will people see the government as the white knight charging to the rescue or, after having watched Obamacare in action, will they do everything possible to avoid having the government take over health care?  If this plays out right, moving into 2016, won’t there be a rush to Republicans?

As always, the only question is whether the Republicans will offer a real market-based plan, or if they’ll just offer their own dreadful version of government-run medicine.

Incidentally, when it comes to government’s built-in incompetence creating large-scale technological projects, I cannot recommend this post highly enough.

Anyone want to start a betting pool as to the date on which Israel bombs Iran?

So Obama did it — he gave Iran permission to go ahead with its nuclear program and gave the mullahs $4.2 billion of our tax dollars with which to do it.  I foresee an Israeli strike as inevitable.  Any bets as to when it will happen?  Also, any side bets as to which Middle Eastern countries facilitate Israel’s attack?  I’ve certainly got my money on Saudi Arabia.

In a peculiar way — a very peculiar way — Obama’s bought a simulacrum of peace to the Middle East.

Barack Obama:  the man who made Jimmy Carter look good.

Watcher’s Council winners for November 22, 2013

I was so busy chivvying my children along with homework Thursday night that I missed the voting deadline for the Watcher’s Council.  I am good mother, but a bad Council member.  In any event, here are the Council winners, and wonderful winners they are:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

The optimist’s take on Harry Reid’s going nuclear — and why I am a pessimist

nuclear-explosion

Harry Reid has just succeeded in doing what Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t do:  he’s going to pack the court.  Yes, Roosevelt was aiming for the Supreme Court, while Reid’s only going after the district and appellate courts, but the reality is that we’re seeing incrementalism.  Today, the lower level courts; tomorrow, the minority in the Senate becomes utterly powerless.

Daniel Horowitz recommends a hyper-nuclear retaliation:

There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate.  They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues.  They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.

How would Harry Reid respond to a complete shutdown of the Senate?  Would he abolish the filibuster even for legislation?  Let him try.  But for now, he has nothing to fear from just eliminating the filibuster on judges because he knows Republicans will not retaliate.  Reid knows that there is not a single issue where McCain, Corker, Graham, and Alexander will now withhold support simply because they were stiffed with the nuclear option.

On his show today, Rush recommended the Senate equivalent of a sit-down strike:  he said that Republican senators should refuse to vote on anything that the Democrat majority brings to the Senate floor. ending even the pretense of bipartisanship.  It also means that one party will own every piece of legislation, for better or worse.  There’s a certain purity to that.

Of course, both Horowitz and Rush know that the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are constitutionally incapable of withholding the hand of love and friendship from Harry Reid and his bomb dropping pals.  So, the ideas are cute, but unworkable.

There are others who think that Republicans shouldn’t be too worried, because Reid’s hypocritical destruction of a minority voice in the Senate will hurt the Democrats more in the long-term than help them.  Ezra Klein, who’s a partisan hack, but not an idiot, recognizes that Reid may unwittingly have delivered a Trojan Horse to his own party:

There’s a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama’s second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won’t have much of an argument when they try to stop them….

William Jacobson thinks Klein is on to something.  As he sees it, the filibuster actually worked against conservatives, because it locked in incremental socialism.  For the past several decades, once Democrats got a redistributionist, nanny-state policy in place, nothing could dislodge it, an effect he calls “the rachet.”  By going nuclear, says, JacobsonReid opened the door to the complete reversal of Democrat policies.  When Republicans get their turn at the majority in Congress and take the White House (which many assume will happen at the end of Obama’s reign), they will easily be able to reverse every bad Democrat policy, something that was always impossible before:

Decades of negative and destructive policies can be reversed with a bare majority. Obamacare can be repealed with a bare majority. True Conservative Judges will not be banished due to a filibuster threat.

Yes, it’s true that the absence of a filibuster could accelerate the destructive policies. That fear is justified, particularly as to the judiciary. But face it, we were headed there anyway unless drastic action was taken.

That drastic action took place yesterday. By Democrats.

Now at least we have a chance to achieve previously unimaginable progress in a single presidential term if we also have bare majorities in Congress and a President with the willpower. It will take only one such term.

The ratchet has been broken. And opportunity created, even if dependent upon future electoral success.

It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.

Jacobson’s last sentence, however, encapsulates why I do not share his optimism:  “It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.”  “Us” happens to be Republican politicians.  I think we’re all in agreement that, as I’ve repeatedly said, Republicans have good ideas but bad politicians.  As the song goes, “If there’s a wrong way say it, And a right way to play it, Nobody does it like me; If there’s a wrong way to do it, A right way to screw it up, ha, Nobody does it like me.” That song could easily be the GOP anthem, and they rush from failure to failure without Shirley Bassey’s charm and style:

Here’s the conservative reality in the 2014 and 2016 elections, and that’s even assuming GOP nominees win:  The GOP’s all-out warfare against the Tea Party, which seeks constitutional government, tells you that the guys in the Senate have no interest in rocking the boat.  Moreover, open primaries in states such as California mean that the likelihood of having a principled conservative even take a stand against the Democrat Senate monopoly is not just close to zero, but actually zero.

Also, we’re not looking at Reid having this Senate majority just through the 2014 elections.  First, the numbers game indicates that Democrats may continue to hold the Senate by the one vote even in 2014.  Moreover, even if Republicans get a majority, it’s impossible for them to get the type of majority that will survive an Obama veto.  This means that Democrats have three years to play around with unopposed power.  The damage they can do is incalculable and quite possibly irreversible.

If you’re more optimistic than I am, though, and actually think, as Jacobson does, that the GOP has a prayer of not screwing things up, you may be asking why in the world Harry Reid would deliver this Trojan Horse to his party.  James Taranto thinks he has the answer:

In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which we quoted in May, psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains the idea of loss aversion:

When directly compared or weighted against each other, losses loom larger than gains. This asymmetry between the power of positive and negative expectations or experiences has an evolutionary history. Organisms that treat threats as more urgent than opportunities have a better chance to survive and reproduce.

That insight is the basis of prospect theory, which posits that people will take bigger risks in the hope of minimizing a loss than in the hope of maximizing a gain. The psychological impact of the loss itself clouds one’s thinking about the risks of magnifying the loss. That explains why the Democrats went nuclear just as the perils of doing so multiplied.

Taranto and Jacobson could both be correct, but I will continue to believe until proven otherwise that the Republicans will take this theoretically golden opportunity and destroy it, because that’s what elected Republican officials do.