May 20, 2010 - Draw Mohammad Day...

I said: "Here is a box. The Mohammad you want is inside..." (with apologies to Sainte-Exupéry)




Saturday, February 27, 2010

Obama isn't a communist!

Instapundit flags this Andy McCarthy piece on whether the Democrats will ram through health care on the assumption that the permanent expansion of government is more important to their cause than one election cycle:
After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you've calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.
There is a word for this thinking: Totalitarianism.

There's one point on which we should be clear, however. The current crop of Democrats are not communists or Marxists. Marxists believe the workers should own the means of production. The Democrats, by contrast, believe the only thing workers are good for is paying union dues to fund their campaigns. It's quite plain that the means of production or even the idea of production at all doesn't enter into their calculations.

Things will work out in the long run, I think, because the government elites are blind to their powerlessness over reality in the long run. When Margaret Thatcher said that the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of Other People's Money, she wasn't actually wishing it weren't so. She was pointing out why the Soviet Union would run its course, and why the same thing would happen to Britain if it didn't go in a new direction.

Though our culture of liberty is shallower than before and our understanding of our traditions and their reason is weaker than before, the American sentiment of "Don't tread on me!" is still strong. So is our culture of ingenuity, which has wonders yet in store. Nobody works harder than an American trying to find an easier way to do their work. Our means of production will not go to the government, for they have always rested within us and always will. Reagan understood this, and so he let us do our best for ourselves, confident that a good and strong people with shared values and traditions would make their individual contributions to our shared purpose if left to their own devices.

Other People's Money is running out. The Chinese are not nervous because we might cease to produce. They are nervous because for years we have found that the easiest way to do our work is to let them do it and give them some paper in return. But if we can no longer get our highest return by producing IOUs, we can and will produce other things. But they will be things made with hands and minds, not things made with government processes and financial instruments.

The United States is perfectly capable of being Northern Italy - one economy for the government, one for everyone else - till the elites run their course. So the Democrats can do what they will. But economic law is against them, and the economy can see that they threaten it. And so the economy will hide until it knows they are safely gone. But production will go on, life will go on and the American Republic, hardly down for the count, will rise again even if we lose this round.

posted by gbarto at 9:27 AM

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Geaux Saints!

posted by gbarto at 10:07 PM

Tea Parties, Mainstream Republicans and Disaffected Independents...

Over at the Commentary blog, Jennifer Rubin has this to say about the Palin speech:
The issues she hit certainly comprise the core criticisms of Obama and will form the platform for conservatives in 2010 and 2012. Many of the issues she enumerated were positions that lifted Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, and Scott Brown to victory, proving that there is not, in fact, much daylight between Tea Party activists, mainstream Republicans, and disaffected independent voters. [my emphasis]
This is all very nice, but does not get to the central problem for the GOP, which is not the small and easily crossed divide between mainstream Republicans and disaffected independents, but the gaping chasm between the GOP leadership in Washington and the people who were proud to call themselves Republicans when Reagan was president.

If Republicans and Republican-leaning independents simply wanted to get the Democrats, all they would need to do is rally behind the Republicans. The Tea Parties arose because it's clear that Republicans and Democrats alike consult K-Street first and the American people second when it comes how we are to be governed. The primary difference between them is which powerful and monied interests they're taking they're cues from, not which party is listening to the American people. It sounds like Sarah gets this. It's clear that many of her critics do not.

posted by gbarto at 11:14 AM

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Scott Brown, Health Care Reform, etc.: Is Obama a leftist?

Glenn Greenwald over at Salon is a little tired of the left being blamed for the hopefully impending failure of Obamacare. And he's right. As he notes, the left did not get single payer, then did not get the public option, then did not get Medicare expansion. Now, of course, I'm far from on the same page as Greenwald when it comes to what we should do with health care. But so is Obama, or at least the Obamacare plan, and much else happening under the auspices of the Obama administration.

I was thinking earlier today about the meeting between Obama and Joe the Plumber and Obama's "spread the wealth" comment. At the time, a lot of people, including me, mistakenly thought this made Obama a socialist. But the first year of the Obama administration has made it clear that what concerns Obama is not how wealth is distributed, but who distributes it. Likewise, what concerns Obama with regards to power is not how it is used, but who has it. For this reason, it is logical that Obama would become a corporatist. Getting the workers of the world, or at least the United States, to throw off their chains and seize the government to enforce social justice is highly improbable. But getting big business to shed beliefs never held about unfettered capitalism and seize the government to enforce their oligopolies... that was already in process.

If Obama's first priority were making sure no one goes without healthcare, we would not be looking at the bill we have now. But Obama's first priority was not universal health access - it was the power and prestige that would come with the government taking over healthcare. After TARP, the auto bailouts, the Chrysler cramdown and more, it was second nature for this administration and this Congress to think that divvying up money and markets between companies that played ball and shutting out those that didn't was the same thing as fixing healthcare. For them it is.

There's only one problem in the mix: When the political parties cease to exist to represent ideas and come to represent constituencies and interest only, eventually it becomes too much to ask some people to take one for the team as they realize it's not their team anymore. It's tempting to gloat that the left was a bunch of suckers for Obama and the Democrats he brought with him into power, but the truth is we all were. Even those of us who worried the most about him thought that he was a closet socialist who would try to nationalize the economy. But since he and Axelrod - or at least Axelrod - were focused on power, not justice (however idiotic or misconstrued the definition of that justice might be), what we have instead is a game in which politicians distribute the economy to those who give money to politicians, the better to reinforce the political power of the first group and the economic power of the second. It looks, though, like America is waking up to this.

If Obama really were a socialist and health care reform really was about the transition to single-payer, Massachussetts might have elected Coakley. But they saw, I think, that health care reform, like so much else, was really just about seeing what part of our economy the Democrats could auction off next to fuel their drive for power. So Greenwald's right; the problem today is not that Obama's too far left, but that he's selling the country to the highest bidders, not ideas for change to the people.

posted by gbarto at 10:42 AM

Monday, January 18, 2010

Apparently at the rally for Coakley, Obama went on a riff about Scott Brown driving around Massachusetts in his truck. Here's the Althouse write-up. He tossed in this:
... I'd think long and hard about getting in that truck with Martha's opponent. (Laughter.) It might not take you where you want to go....
Now you'll have to tell me if I've got an unusually wicked mind, because the first thing I thought of was the dangers of getting into Senator Kennedy's car. In which case, the best you can take away from this for Coakley is that maybe she's Kennedy's designated driver.

But actually if you read the longer riff, it's implying that Scott Brown's an unknown and, well, you shouldn't get into a car with a stranger. And that made me think of the Amiraults, who were prosecuted on made-up child sexual abuse charges. You know, even after Gerald Amirault's innocence was established, Martha Coakley sought to keep him in prison.

That's progress for Massachusetts Democrats: Teddy Kennedy leaves an innocent girl in a sinking car. Martha Coakley tries to leave an innocent man rotting away in prison.

posted by gbarto at 9:06 AM

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I understand Harry Reid thinks it's good that Obama has light skin and no discernible "Negro dialect." Here's the Instapundit round-up.

There's one thing that's confusing to me though: Whom did he insult?

The short versions of the story make it sound like Reid personally thought it was a good thing to be lighter skinned and speak with no accent. But the longer form stories seem to imply that what he was really saying is that these were essential qualities for the first African-American president.

The distinction is not unimportant. It's the difference between Harry Reid being a racist bigot, which is run of the mill for senior Democrats, or Harry Reid thinking the American people are racist bigots who wouldn't have elected "a real black man" (scare quotes, not a citation).

I see that Reid has offered an Obama an apology and Obama has accepted.
But maybe Reid actually owes the American people an apology.

If he thinks that little of us, it makes you wonder how sincere his efforts are to bring health care to all us unwashed bigots.

posted by gbarto at 3:22 PM

Saturday, January 02, 2010

About that Mohammed cartoon...

For those who don't know, the other day an ax-wielding Somali man broke into the home of Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonists who did a drawing for Jyllands Posten by way of testing whether Islamists were really such freakazoids that they'd take up arms over pictures. This came after a woman making an unexceptional book about Mohammed discovered that no one wanted to illustrate it lest they run afoul of that species of Muslim who thinks any depiction of the Prophet is idolatry.

Instapundit has some of the latest updates here. More important, he has the cartoon Westergaard created.

Now, there are cartoon depictions you could do of Jesus that wouldn't make me very happy. But I think you'd be hard pressed to drag me into an actual fist fight over it, never mind starting to kill people. That said, it's sort of ironic that Muslims are up in arms over a cartoon that suggests that Islam could be dangerous.

The cartoon is at the top. I'm not sure about rights on this one. If Westergaard or Jyllands Posten - and only those two - contact me to take it down, I will since it's theirs. Failing that, though, I think we all ought to be posting it all over the place to send a clear signal that attempting to suppress speech and ideas will only lead to them being more widely distributed. (You can see my favorite of the cartoons here.)

posted by gbarto at 7:48 PM

Here's bmaz at Firedoglake, writing from the left about the Obama campaign's tendency to run over any group on the left that didn't get on board (it's in the 9:40 PM comment):
[I got] this nightmare scenario in my mind of Obama rolling through the election all shock and awe like and leaving all this behind him figuring he doesn’t even need to bother; they are discredited and he is king.
We know that shock and awe was enough to take down the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, but not enough to build something new and sustaining, hence the Surge in Iraq and the "please don't call it a surge" in Afghanistan. But did the Obama folks make the same mistake with the United States that Bush made with two foreign countries - assuming that if you could steamroll your way into the Capitol the rest would take care of itself? It's starting to look that way.

posted by gbarto at 10:40 AM

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obama: 'On the precipice' of health care change, though 'differences' remain
USA Today - ‎4 hours ago‎
President Obama, surrounded by Senate Democratic leaders, said today "we are on the precipice" of major health care changes, though "there are still some ...

All the news stories mention the "precipice" quote, none of them mention that, um, a precipice is something you fall off of, splattering to your death, if you're not careful. I'm just trying to imagine if Bush had said this about Social Security reform. There would have been jokes galore about Republicans off of the cliff and onto the Third Rail. But for Obama, the polysyllable gets quoted without an eye being batted. Is this the soft bigotry of lowered expectations?

posted by gbarto at 4:41 PM

Monday, December 07, 2009

Up the hill:

Down the drive:


Out from the porch:

It snowed up the mountain a ways last year, but this is the first time it's snowed at our house in a couple years.

posted by gbarto at 9:47 AM


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