"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


One of Salem Oregon's Unofficial Top 1000 Conservative Political Bloggers!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sarah Palin Responds to Obama's State of the Union Address

Sarah Palin has a rather common sense response to Obama's continuing campaign/excuse making speech.

Another Black Conservative has her Facebook page's response in full.

From Palin:

"Last night, the president spoke of the 'credibility gap' between the public’s expectations of their leaders and what those leaders actually deliver. “Credibility gap” is a good way to describe the chasm between rhetoric and reality in the president’s address. The contradictions seemed endless.

"He called for Democrats and Republicans to 'work through our differences,' but last year he dismissed any notion of bipartisanship when he smugly told Republicans, 'I won.'

"He talked like a Washington 'outsider,' but he runs Washington! He’s had everything any president could ask for – an overwhelming majority in Congress and a fawning press corps that feels tingles every time he speaks. There was nothing preventing him from pursuing 'common sense' solutions all along. He didn’t pursue them because they weren’t his priorities, and he spent his speech blaming Republicans for the problems caused by his own policies."

[...]

"Americans are suffering from job losses and lower wages, yet the president practically demanded applause when he mentioned tax cuts, as if allowing people to keep more of their own hard-earned money is an act of noblesse oblige. He claims that he cut taxes, but I must have missed that. I see his policies as paving the way for massive tax increases and inflation, which is the 'hidden tax' that most hurts the poor and the elderly living on fixed incomes.

"He condemned lobbyists, but his White House is filled with former lobbyists, and this has been a banner year for K Street with his stimulus bill, aka the Lobbyist’s Full Employment Act. He talked about a 'deficit of trust' and the need to 'do our work in the open,' but he chased away the C-SPAN cameras and cut deals with insurance industry lobbyists behind closed doors.

"He spoke of doing what’s best for the next generation and not leaving our children with a 'mountain of debt,' but under his watch this year, government spending is up by 22%, and his budget will triple our national debt."

[...]

"He condemned bailouts, but he voted for them and then expanded and extended them. He praised the House’s financial reform bill, but where was Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in that bill? He still hasn’t told us when we’ll be getting out of the auto and the mortgage industries. He praised small businesses, but he’s spent the past year as a friend to big corporations and their lobbyists, who always find a way to make government regulations work in their favor at the expense of their mom & pop competitors.

"He praised the effectiveness of his stimulus bill, but then he called for another one – this time cleverly renamed a 'jobs bill.' The first stimulus was sold to us as a jobs bill that would keep unemployment under 8%. We now have double digit unemployment with no end in sight. Why should we trust this new 'jobs bill'?"

[...]

"He spoke of supporting young girls in Afghanistan who want to go to school and young women in Iran who courageously protest in the streets, but where were his words of encouragement to the young girls of Afghanistan in his West Point speech? And where was his support for the young women of Iran when they were being gunned down in the streets of Tehran?

"Despite speaking for over an hour, the president only spent 10% of his speech on foreign policy, and he left us with many unanswered questions. Does he still think trying the 9/11 terrorists in New York is a good idea? Does he still think closing Gitmo is a good idea? Does he still believe in Mirandizing terrorists after the Christmas bomber fiasco? Does he believe we’re in a war against terrorists, or does he think this is just a global crime spree? Does he understand that the first priority of our government is to keep our country safe?

"In his address last night, the president once again revealed that there’s a fundamental disconnect between what the American people expect from their government, and what he wants to deliver. He’s still proposing failed top-down big government solutions to our problems. Instead of smaller, smarter government, he’s taken a government that was already too big and supersized it."

[...]

"Everything seems to be 'unexpected' to this administration: unexpected job losses; unexpected housing numbers; unexpected political losses in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey. True leaders lead best when confronted with the unexpected. But instead of leading us, the president lectured us. He lectured Wall Street; he lectured Main Street; he lectured Congress; he even lectured our Supreme Court Justices.

"He criticized politicians who 'wage a perpetual campaign,' but he gave a campaign speech instead of a state of the union address. The campaign is over, and President Obama now has something that candidate Obama never had: an actual track record in office. We now can see the failed policies behind the flowery words. If Americans feel as cynical as the president suggests, perhaps it’s because the audacity of his recycled rhetoric no longer inspires hope.

"Real leadership requires results. Real hope lies in the ingenuity, generosity, and boundless courage of the American people whose voices are still not being heard in Washington."

I really cannot understand why Obama's speeches do not make people pull out their hair in frustration. The man lectures, finger wags, makes excuses, lays blame and actively lies during these speeches in the most arrogant, classless and confrontational manner possible. And at this point Obama seems actively frustrated that people don't just blindly do and simply believe all that he tells us. It would be amusing if he were the president of some fan club, or the dean of a university-- but this man is the President of the United States. Three more years...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger, Author of Catcher in the Rye, Dies


The reclusive J.D. Salinger, author of the book The Catcher in the Rye and the long short story "Franny and Zooey," died today. He was 91. N.Y. Times story here.

Salinger's few published works often attempted to connect on a deeply psychological level, and in that way he was either a hit or a miss with readers. Either you could empathize or understand the character or you could not. This "getting it or not" has very little to do with intelligence on the part of the reader, but whether the work's angst, confusion, alienation and distance was in any way familiar and appealing.

Personally, I always liked "Franny and Zooey" although it possesses moments in its prose that are ever-so-slightly too elevated for the subject, and the narrating agent seems too smitten with the Glass family.

The Times article quotes Philip Roth who managed, I think, to nicely sum up Salinger's literary mark and, perhaps, the body of work's aspirations. "The response of college students to the work of J. D. Salinger indicates that he, more than anyone else, has not turned his back on the times but, instead, has managed to put his finger on whatever struggle of significance is going on today between self and culture."

Salinger himself was a recluse living on a large isolated spread in New Hampshire. The N.Y. Times article covers both his hermetic nature and some of his abusive and disturbing eccentricities alleged by his daughter and an ex-girlfriend with a reasonable, if a little too kindly, eye.

Personally, I believe writer's biographies, scandals, amateurish psychological profiles, and such things to be mere distractions. We did not know this man. Salinger's eccentricities mean little to us, merely something to cluck our tongues at and speculate upon in idle conversation.

What we do know is Salinger's writing (at least a small portion of it). And that is a body of work of undeniable influence and literary genius. For those of us who never knew him, let us remember him for that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Honduras' Would Be President-for-Life Leaving the Country


According to Reuters (h/t Legal Insurrection) Honduras' would be president-for-life Manuel Zelaya will leave Honduras (he's been in in the Brazilian embassy for four months and has claimed Israeli mercenaries were shooting him with thought altering gas or radiation, or something).

From the article:

"Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya will end his four-month refuge in the Brazilian embassy and leave the country next week, when his term would have ended, his closest adviser said on Thursday.

"Zelaya, a leftist who was ousted in a coup on June 28, accepted an agreement backed by the government of the Dominican Republic to travel to the Caribbean country, close Zelaya aide Rasel Tome told Radio Globo radio.

"Tome said Zelaya would remain politically active, but leaving the country effectively ends his career as a meaningful leader in Honduras."

[...]

"Zelaya failed to return to office and reverse the coup despite support from the United States and many Latin American countries."

[...]

"Zelaya was ousted on an order from the Supreme Court after he angered the country's business leaders and members of his own party with a bid to change the constitution, which is illegal under Honduran law.

"His critics accused him of trying to stay in office past his term, following in the footsteps of Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez, a charge Zelaya denies."

Notice the wording here again-- coup. Well, at least they weren't saying it was a "military coup" this time. Just to remind people, Zelaya was removed by the military under the full backing of the Honduran Supreme Court, the Honduran legislature, and the Honduran Constitution. Some coup, huh?

Obama, the US State Department, various European governments, and Venezuela's strongman Hugo Chavez all battled mightily to reinstate Zelaya. Yet, Honduras bravely held its ground despite US imposed sanctions and penalties, domestic turmoil and foreign pressures. Honduras' stalwart defense of their domestic law and Constitution should not be overlooked, written off, nor forgotten.

CNN Poll Finds Nearly Three-Quarters Believe Spent Stimulus Money was Wasted

A poll by CNN contains these rather interesting results:

"63% of public thinks projects in plan were included for purely political reasons.

"21% of people in poll say nearly all the money in the stimulus has been wasted.

"Only 4% think that no stimulus dollars have been wasted.

"56% of the public opposes the stimulus.

"Nearly three-quarters believe that at least half the stimulus money spent so far has been wasted, and one in five say nearly all of it has been a waste."

Yet, Congress is still talking about another stimulus push... Oh, wait! That's right, it's a "Jobs Bill." Still won't work-- even it was completely honest.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

HillBuzz Under Attack by Daily Kos and MoveOn.org

It seems that the blog HillBuzz, Hillary Clinton supporters turned McCain supporters following the nasty Democratic Primary, is under attack by Daily Kos and MoveOn.org.

Carol's Closet has a good collection here, including details from A Conservative Lesbian.

Backyard Conservative is also noting the story.

Click on any of the links to get started following the story. It seems that the Kossacks and others attackers are using the standard attack of yelling "racist." I have a passing familiarity with HillBuzz, but the attacks themselves seem to be motivated as typical smears rather than anything based in fact.

From HillBuzz:

"The Left is doing this to us now, on a personal level, because we backed Scott Brown, came up with the Hottie McAwesome tactic to defuse their best attacks against him, and refused to buckle and shut up when we were told to.

"Now, we were told by several good friends not to talk about any of this, and not to write a post like this taking this on directly. We were also advised to 'just stop writing' and all of this would go away eventually. There was even one Democrat who advised us, 'if you just stop, and close down the site, I’ll see to it that Kos and the others remove what they are saying, and we’ll help you clean things up on Google'. That sure felt like extortion to us.

"This is really what Democrats have become at this point.

"The party we loved our whole life has been taken over by thugs, who threaten, libel, malign, persecute, and extort anyone who does not fall in line with their Liberal-Socialist agenda. We’ve been on the receiving end of this harassment since November of 2007, when we started campaigning in Iowa for Hillary Clinton and first found ourselves on the receiving ends of Alinsky Method techniques. All of that increased 10, 100, and 1000 fold after we launched this site, started up Democrats for McCain efforts after Hillary suspended her presidential bid in June 2008, and we started actively promoting Sarah Palin as America’s best hope for the future in 2009."

I have to wonder if any of this is motivated by the shock and panic stemming from the Brown Senate campaign-- a reflex perhaps. Maybe the half-baked idea is to drive out effective internet campaigning with these pot shot attacks against people they deem knowledgeable about such and a threat. Don't know, but I gotta wonder...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yesterday Obama Combative, Today He's Just Like Brown

Interesting post from Another Black Conservative today.

While talking to Dem insider/journalist George Stephanopoulos Obama has this to say:

"Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated.

"People in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process.

"I think point number two is that it is very important to look at the substance of this package and for the American people to understand that a lot of the fear mongering around this bill isn't true.

"I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on."

This seems a far cry from the "combative response" that Politico was reporting on Monday. From the article by Mike Allen:

"President Barack Obama plans a combative response if, as White House aides fear, Democrats lose Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts, close advisers say.

"'This is not a moment that causes the president or anybody who works for him to express any doubt,' a senior administration official said. 'It more reinforces the conviction to fight hard.'

"A defeat by Martha Coakley for the seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy would be embarrassing for the party — and potentially debilitating, since Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof, 60-vote hold on the Senate.

"A potential casualty: the health care bill that was to be the crowning achievement of the president’s first year in office."

Huh... And I thought the $787 billion "Stimulus" Package (does anybody remember that little bit of legislation) was going to be his crowning achievement-- oh wait, no it was the 10% unemployment rate.

Anyway, after making snarky remarks about Brown's truck, et al, and threatening to turn up the heat on Republicans, Obama's suddenly talking bipartisanship. In fact, the White House is now claiming that Obama and Brown are practically cut from the same cloth. As Michelle Malkin pouts it, "Gibbs asserted with a straight face that the same kind of 'anger' that brought Obama into office also buoyed Brown’s candidacy."

Again huh... So the dissatisfaction that brought Obama to office is the same dissatisfaction that brought Brown to be elected to the Senate in Massachusetts? One of the bluest states in U.S.? Into a seat held by a Democrat for the 58 years? After a year of ambitious Leftist agendas? So was it Bush's fault that Coakley lost the election?

After writing off any opponents as ignorant, racist, angry, gun-clinging, Bible-thumping, reactionary Nazis for so long, it any wonder that people reacted and voted this way?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brown Wins Mass. Senate Seat! Coakley Concedes


Huge news! Coakley concedes in Massachusetts Senate race!

Here's a quick round up of links by the enthusiastic:




Mark Finkelstein at newsbusters.org has this little bit of comic relief about Olbermann implying racism at Coakley's defeat (did you really expect anything else from this guy?).


Special appreciation has to go to Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection who has been blogging, updating and working for the Brown campaign for six plus weeks now. Awesome job!

More as I find them!

Happy Birthday Critical Narrative! One Year of Blogging Down and Who Knows How Many to Go...



Yup. One year of blogging... It's funny. I never meant this to be a purely political blog, but the events of this past year seem to have shaped it into just that. Well... worse things have happened.

I'll lay off the ruminations and reflections that often go with this sort of thing. I will say, however, that even though this is a relatively rarely visited blog, this year has not been the lonely, big empty that I expected when I first started this largely cathartic project.

To my wife, my great thanks for putting up with me (an unenviable task most of the time), especially during my long rants that resulted from reading thousands of pages of incredibly bad health care "reform" legislation. I cannot find the words to express my appreciation for your boundless patience. This blog would never have existed without your whole-hearted support and encouragement.

To all my various readers and fellow bloggers (almost all of whom I have never met in person) I have to say that I am very grateful for the support and kindness offered to me over the course of this year. Your sympathy and kindly words during my computer crash and my health issues were especially appreciated. It really means a great deal to me. Thank you.

And now onward. Another year to go. More bad legislation, more political spin, more hard Left Obama, and more attempts at creating big nanny government await...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interrogating Terrorists and the Attacks these Interrogations Prevented

Check out this article in the National Review "Meet the Real Jack Bauers" by Marc A. Thiessen (h/t Michelle Malkin). Click on the link for the enlightening article.

From the article:

"The public view of interrogations had been shaped by the fictional Bauer, who captures a terrorist and proceeds to torture him — holding down his head in a bathtub full of water, using a Taser to shock him, lopping off his fingers with a cigar cutter — while screaming questions until the terrorist finally breaks and gives up the location of the nuclear bomb that is about to go off.

"For some critics of U.S. interrogation policy, this is not fiction, but a depiction of reality. In Newsweek, Dahlia Lithwick has written that 'high-ranking lawyers in the Bush administration erected an entire torture policy around the fictional edifice of Jack Bauer.' And Philippe Sands, author of the book Torture Team, has written that the show has been the 'midwife' for torture’s 'actual use on real, living human beings.' None of this is true.

"Unlike these critics, I have had the chance to actually meet the real Jack Bauers — the CIA officials who questioned Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other senior terrorist leaders and got them to reveal their plans for new terrorist attacks. They explained to my why their approach has nothing in common with the methods used by Bauer on the fictional 24.

[...]

"They began by clarifying precisely how the program actually worked. While 24 depicts violent scenes where interrogators inflict severe pain to get time-sensitive intelligence on terrorist dangers, in the real world, they told me, this is not how interrogations take place.

"They explained, for example, that there is a difference between 'interrogation' and 'de-briefing.' Interrogation is not how we got information from the terrorists; it is the process by which we overcome the terrorists’ resistance and secure their cooperation — sometimes with the help of enhanced interrogation techniques.

"Once the terrorist agreed to cooperate, I was told, the interrogation stopped and 'de-briefing' began, as the terrorists were questioned by CIA analysts, using non-aggressive techniques to extract information that could help disrupt attacks.

"The interrogation process was usually brief, they said. According to declassified documents, on average 'the actual use of interrogation techniques covers a period of three to seven days, but can vary upwards to 15 days based on the resilience' of the terrorist in custody.

"Most detainees, they told me, did not undergo it at all. Two-thirds of those brought into the CIA program did not require the use of any enhanced interrogation techniques. Just the experience of being brought into CIA custody — the 'capture shock,' arrival at a sterile location, the isolation, the fact that they did not know where they were, and that no one else knew they were there — was enough to convince most of them to cooperate."

The results of all this? It's described later in the article:

"Information from detainees in CIA custody led to the capture of a cell of Southeast Asian terrorists which had been tasked by KSM to hijack a passenger jet and fly it into the Library Tower in Los Angeles.

"Information from detainees in CIA custody led to the capture of Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, KSM’s right-hand-man in the 9/11 attacks, just as he was finalizing plans for a plot to hijack airplanes in Europe and fly them into Heathrow airport and buildings in downtown London.

"Information from detainees in CIA custody led to the capture of Ammar al-Baluchi and Walid bin Attash, just as they were completing plans to replicate the destruction of our embassies in East Africa by blowing up the U.S. consulate and Western residences in Karachi, Pakistan.

"Information from detainees in CIA custody led to the disruption of an al-Qaeda plot to blow up the U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti, in an attack that could have rivaled the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.

"Information from detainees in CIA custody helped break up an al-Qaeda cell that was developing anthrax for terrorist attacks inside the United States.

"In addition to helping break up these specific terrorist cells and plots, CIA questioning provided our intelligence community with an unparalleled body of information about al-Qaeda — giving U.S. officials a picture of the terrorist organization as seen from the inside, at a time when we knew almost nothing about the enemy who had attacked us on 9/11.

"In addition, CIA detainees helped identify some 86 individuals whom al-Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations — most of whom we had never heard of before. According to the intelligence community, about half of these individuals were subsequently tracked down and taken off the battlefield. Without CIA questioning, many of these terrorists could still be unknown to us and at large — and may well have carried out attacks against the West by now.Until the program was temporarily suspended in 2006, well over half of the information our government had about al-Qaeda — how it operates, how it moves money, how it communicates, how it recruits operatives, how it picks targets, how it plans and carries out attacks — came from the interrogation of terrorists in CIA custody.

[...]

"Harry and Sam [pseudonyms of two of the CIA interrogators] told me that the agency believed without the program the terrorists would have succeeded in striking our country again. Harry put it bluntly: 'It is the reason we have not had another 9/11.'"

And Obama wants to give these terrorists the Constitutional rights of American citizens and put on trial to ease the Left's conscience. Brilliant.

Apparently Thiessen has written a book about this subject Courting Disaster. I haven't read it, but it could certainly prove to be very interesting, and a contrast to the common perception of the CIA and its interrogations and de-briefings. Look it for it.

UN Could Retract Himalayan Glacier Meltdown Claim

The UK's Times is reporting that United Nations' IPCC is likely to retract their alarmist claims that the Himalayas' glaciers are melting.

From the article by Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings:

"A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.
Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

"In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC's 2007 report.

"It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

"Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was 'speculation' and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.

"Professor Murari Lal, who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, said he would recommend that the claim about glaciers be dropped: 'If Hasnain says officially that he never asserted this, or that it is a wrong presumption, than I will recommend that the assertion about Himalayan glaciers be removed from future IPCC assessments.'"

Junk science, telephone interviews, misinterpretations, and alarmist notions... that is what's driving the world's environmental policies. Great...

New Link Added! Breitbart's Big Journalism

Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism is now up-- it seems with less fanfare than Big Government. Anyway, I've now got a link to it set up in the Blog List.

Check it out. Right now there's an interesting post on the AP selling Coakley as an "historic candidate." Hmm.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kwanzaa: An Inauthentic Holiday Created by a Torturer of Women Pt. 2

Continued from PART 1 of this post.

The socialist (actually Marxist) nature of the seven principles, the Nguzo Saba, of Kwanzaa is addressed, but once again dismissed by Riley. Of the seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith), Riley writes "The ujima [collective work and responsibility] and ujamaa [cooperative economics] principles certainly sounds socialist, but any of the Kwanzaa principles can be interpreted to mean that through private means we should help others. I do think that these principles - if the focus is on private efforts, and not Big Government - have merit year-round in building black communities."

True enough. Who would have problems with the incredibly general idea of "faith" or "creativity" etc.? I mean, how many anti-faith (not necessarily religious faith-- faith here is used too generally for that) people are out there? How many people are against creativity?

But the seven principles of the Nguzo Saba were not created from an ideological vacuum, nor have they evolved from centuries of social development, such as Christmas' general "peace on Earth and goodwill toward men"-- a process that defines the general principle with a cultural understanding and imbues it with a meaning beyond the mere vague words. When scrutinized beyiond the thinnest of superficial gloss, it is evident (from Karenga's own words) that the seven principles, are, in fact, merely Marxist principles created by Karenga for the expressed purpose of promoting Marxist doctrine.

There is no question of Karenga's Marxism. He makes no effort to hide his Marxism and openly promotes it. From Scholer: "Eight years later [in 1989 according to the wikipedia entry on Karenga] California State University at Long Beach made Karenga the head of its Black Studies Department. Karenga had toned down his rhetoric and abandoned his cultural nationalism for straightforward Marxism." This "toned down" Marxism continued to be expressed in the seven priciples as detailed in the Kawaida Theory: An African Communitarian Philosophy, his book from 1980.

Karenga expounds on the intended principles of the Nguzu Saba here in 1965.

For Ujima (collective work and responsibility) he writes, "The third principle encourages self-criticism and personal evaluation, as it relates to the common good of the family/community. Without collective work and struggle, progress is impossible. The family and the community must accept the reality that we are collectively responsible for our failures, as well as our victories and achievements. Discussions concerning each family member's responsibility prove helpful in defining and achieving family goals."

For Ujamaa (cooperative economics) he writes, "Out of the fundamental concepts of 'African Communal Living' comes the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. In a community or family, wealth and resources should be shared. On the national level, cooperative economics can help African-Americans take physical control of their own destinies. On this day, ideas should be shared and discussed for cooperative economic efforts to provide for needs as related to housing, education, food, day care, health, transportation and other goods and services."

Let's see here... communal living, collective work, and a fading of the individual through "self-criticism and personal evaluation, as it relates to the common good of the family/community." I think it's perfectly reasonable to conclude that that an avowed Marxist (cultural nationalist at the time) talking in these terms is preaching to Marxist principles; therefore Ujima and Ujamaa do not just sound socialist, they are socialist.

When Karenga says Ujamaa he meant specifically the definitions I quoted above. As the originator of Kwanzaa, these are indisputably the specific meanings of Kwanzaa's founding, generalized principles. So while Riley maintains that "any of the Kwanzaa principles can be interpreted to mean that through private means we should help others," she is presenting a mis-reading that is obvious once Karenga's writings and theories are examined. If we are not a socialist or a Marxist, we should looks elsewhere for guiding principles to improve our communities.

Riley tacitly acknowledges Karenga's violent history by writing "And while Maulana Karenga’s history of abusing women is highly problematic, I believe that events can transcend problematic founders (look at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia back in 1787)." Again, an attempt to build an equivalency, in this case between Karenga and the attendees of the Constitutional Convention.

Rather than discuss in detail the myriad of differences between Karenga and various members of the Constitutional Convention (men whose births are separated by about two centuries), I will go into some detail about Karenga's acknowledged abuse as publicly reported by the Los Angeles Times and related by Scholer.

"On September 17, 1971, Karenga was sentenced to one to ten years in prison on counts of felonious assault and false imprisonment. The charges stemmed from a May 9, 1970 incident in which Karenga and two others tortured two women who Karenga believed had tried to kill him by placing 'crystals' in his food and water.

"A year later the Los Angeles Times described the events: 'Deborah Jones, who once was given the title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vice. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.'"

I'm sorry, but I don't believe that the phrase "highly problematic" really does justice to the imprisonment, stripping, binding, beating, burning, and the mangling of a toe during the systematic torture of two women by Karenga and a pair of cohorts.

Karenga's sanity can also be fairly questioned. Scholer again writes: "The shooting at UCLA [the Jan. 17, 1969 killing of Black Panthers John Jerome Huggins and Alprentice Carter by US Organization members George and Larry Stiner immediately following Huggins' and Carter's verbal attack of Karenga during a public meeting] caused Karenga to become deeply paranoid and spurred his bizarre behavior. At his trial, the question of Karenga's sanity arose. The psychiatrist's report stated, 'This man now represents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and elusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment.' The psychiatrist observed that Karenga talked to his blanket and imaginary persons and believed that he had been attacked by dive-bombers."

While it is, perhaps, true that at times "events can transcend problematic founders," Karenga's problems, to me, are an awful lot to transcend.

And of course, this begs the question as to what an event will become once it transcends its founder. Would Kwanzaa become transformed into something more then a racially divisive, anti-religious, Marxist promoting event?

As I wrote in part 1 of this post, as Kwanzaa became more popular within mainstream Black American communities, Karenga backed down from his virulently anti-religious bent. As I stated before, Karenga's newer books like Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture (1997) tell lies (contradicted by Karenga's earlier works) about Kwanzaa not being intended as an alternative to Christian holidays.

But this inauthentic backing away from its anti-religious roots has not been coupled with Kwanzaa backing away from the radical black separatist movement. At least none is in evidence at the Official Kwanzaa Information Center as Scholer, once again, points out. "Still, some charge that the holiday and its official black, green, and red flag promotes racial separatism and violence. Says the official Kwanzaa Information Center: 'red, or the blood, stands as the top of all things. We lost our land through blood; and we cannot gain it except through blood. We must redeem our lives through the blood. Without the shedding of blood there can be no redemption of this race.' The Kwanzaa Information Center also notes that the flag 'has become the symbol of devotion for African people in America to establish an independent African nation on the North American Continent.'"

Okay... So the official Kwanzaa Information Center is basically calling for a race war (the shedding of blood to redeem the race etc.), not unlike white supremacists. Great. Actually that quote is from the "Feel Good Information" section (I am not making this up) of the Kwanzaa Information Center's website. The quote regarding the Black Nationalist flag in full is:

"Origin of the Flag of Pan-Africanism and/or Black Nationalism Red is for the Blood. Black is the Black People. Green is for the Land.

"Red, Black and Green are the oldest national colors known to man. They are used as the flag of the Black Liberation Movement in America today, but actually go back to the Zinj Empires of ancient Africa, which existed thousands of years before Rome, Greece, France, England or America.

"The Red, or the blood, stands as the top of all things. We lost our land through blood; and we cannot gain it except through blood. We must redeem our lives through the blood. Without the shedding of blood there can be no redemption of this race. However, the bloodshed and sorrow will not last always. The Red significantly stands in our flag as a reminder of the truth of history, and that men must gain and keep their liberty, even at the risk of bloodshed.

"The Black is in the middle. The Black man in this hemisphere has yet to obtain land which is represented by the Green. The acquisition of land is the highest and noblest aspiration for the Black man on this continent, since without land there can be no freedom, justice, independence, or equality."

A little further down the page is the "devotion for African people in America to establish an independent African nation on the North American Continent" part.

For an event to transcend the problematic founders, paraphrasing Riley, the event must move beyond both the faults and the intentions of the founder. If we were to peel away from Kwanzaa the racial exclusivity of the black separatism, the anti-religious ardor, the rituals designed to replace Christmas celebrations, the Marxist doctrines contained within the Nguzo Saba's seven principles, all of this imbued by its angry founder Karenga-- what's left?

I understand that Riley was somewhat ambivalent to Kwanzaa and that the very short blurb was not intended as an endorsement of the "holiday." I have nothing against Shay Riley. I have never met Riley, never (to my knowledge) have read anything else written by Riley, and this very long posting was not meant, in any way, to be an attack against Riley personally.

But Riley's ambivalence is something very common, and found both in my own and my wife's family. There's a real lack of understanding regarding the fringe origins of Kwanzaa. The idea seems to be that if Hallmark makes Kwanzaa cards, the holiday must be legitimate and not a bad thing. My family shies away from scrutinizing "black things" (best to leave it all alone) and my wife's family generally give black opinions, theories, and views (no matter how wild or fantastic) their quick approval and then an almost completely unearned pass. I don't think there's anyone in either branches of my family that would support Kwanzaa after learning the facts about its origins and creator.

Kwanzaa is founded on principles that are incompatible with today's mores and unacceptable by mainstream America's current values-- mores and values resulting from the many years of struggles for civil rights. Kwanzaa champions racial separation, segregation, anger, and meaningless racial confrontation while rejecting racial integration and downplaying interracial understanding and tolerance. It attacks religion rather than respects it-- uses outlandish language and concocted suppositions to coerce a needless and artificial racial confrontation. Kwanzaa's seven principles sacrifice the rights of the individual upon a Marxist altar-- for the sake of communal work, collective economics, and sacrifice of self, all designed to help control Black American individuals and bring them into a black separatist fold-- making them think "correctly." Kwanzaa was founded by a radical and violent black nationalist; a man who was convicted of personally participating in the atrocious tortures of two black women, as well being very closely (if not directly) linked to the1969 murders of two members of the Black Panthers. Kwanzaa is an contrived, artifical, and inauthentic holiday champioing anger and alienation. It is not something to celebrate.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kwanzaa: An Inauthentic Holiday Created by a Torturer of Women Pt.1

I read this little blurb "Reflection on Kwanzaa" by Shay Riley at Hip Hop Republican, and decided I couldn't just sit by and let this one pass without comment. Kwanzaa (wikipedia link for those unfamiliar with the holiday) and its creator Maulana Ron Karenga (originally named Ron Everett) is a bit of a raw nerve with me. I hope that if you read the whole entry here, you can, perhaps, see why.

From Riley (in its entirety):

"I have mixed opinion about Kwanzaa. I’d argue that it’s based on culture - however garbled - not race. I don’t buy many conservatives’ claims that Kwanzaa is a racially divisive holiday, unless one is prepared to argue the same for St. Patrick’s Day (which is practically its own very-secular holiday here in Chicago). Critics charge that Kwanzaa sets up Christmas as a 'white' holiday, and thus isolates blacks from others. One of my aunts calls Kwanzaa a 'devil’s' holiday, designed to undermine the gospel of Jesus Christ among blacks. Calling Kwanzaa an invented holiday - which it is - is meaningless, as invention is behind all holidays. And while Maulana Karenga’s history of abusing women is highly problematic, I believe that events can transcend problematic founders (look at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia back in 1787). I don’t see the holiday as anti-Christian, but I’m not religious.

"Many bookeristas have also taken Kwanzaa to task for promoting socialism, but I don’t have a problem with the Kwanzaa principles per se: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). The ujima and ujamaa principles certainly sounds socialist, but any of the Kwanzaa principles can be interpreted to mean that through private means we should help others. I do think that these principles - if the focus is on private efforts, and not Big Government - have merit year-round in building black communities.

"I don’t have a problem with a black American-specific holiday, but my main issue with Kwanzaa concerns authenticity. Kwanzaa isn’t rooted in black American culture and experience. While the official Kwanzaa website calls it a 'celebration of family, community, and culture', why is the holiday a mishmash of East African cultures when the overwhelming majority of black Americans are of West African origin? Nor is it even a holiday that resides with Africans. Kwanzaa thus contributes to the stereotype that Africa is just one big blob, with few if any inter-country differences. This viewpoint is ironically a strange bedfellow of many white attitudes towards Africa, as if one can switch African cultures in and out at will. Black Americans should certainly learn more about Africa. However, Kwanzaa - with its misinformation about our African heritage - falls short of this goal."

While Riley's conclusion is ultimately true-- that Kwanzaa is "a mishmash of East African cultures," that it "contributes to the stereotype that Africa is just one big blob, with few if any inter-country [and racial, and ethnic] differences," and that it lacks "authenticity,"-- she reaches this conclusion but denies pretty much all the factors that would create a common definition of authenticity.

Kwanzaa's purposefully invented nature, its racial divisiveness, Kwanzaa's direct attack on religion and attempt to replace it with socialist doctrines, and Karenga's own history of violence (including the imprisonment and torture of women) are all mentioned, but rather off-handedly dismissed by Riley. Frankly, I just can't abide that and I thought I might address each of these in my response.

"The Story of Kwanzaa" is an eye-opening short essay written by J. Lawrence Scholer and the editors of The Dartmouth Review. Click on the link for the entire piece. I won't reprint the whole thing here, although it is short, but will use selected quotes from it to cover some of the facts glossed over by Riley.

Riley denies that Kwanzaa's made-up nature is any problem for its authenticity. "Calling Kwanzaa an invented holiday - which it is - is meaningless, as invention is behind all holidays."

In a way this point is difficult to address, as the generality of this statement makes it almost meaningless. Exactly what form of culture, what item, trait, accomplishment, or artifact within a society is not a human invention? In the broadest possible strokes, Riley seeks to build some of sort of equivalency between all holidays by virtue of their common human origins, or at least a human recognition of a holiday as such. This is ludicrous and sloppy. With this same logic, why can I not draw the same level of equivalency between Thanksgiving and the hi-lighter sitting here on my desk based on this implied criteria-- I mean they're both human inventions, right?

Okay, but let's restrict this line of thought in ways that Riley does not do (it is a very short work and perhaps it is terribly nitpicking and unfair of me to criticize her logic in this way) and restrict the talk to holidays. Riley sees no difference between Kwanzaa and, let's say, Christmas. She doesn't acknowledge that there is a difference between a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of the Christian religion's namesake and a set of days made up by a man with an immediate and very contemporary political agenda (more on that in a second). Perhaps I should whip out some red, white, and blue candles, declare January 12th "TeaPartia" and insist that it's a holiday that is, in all intents and purposes, the equivalent of Christmas.

Even if one were to divorce Christmas from its religious nature, one is still left with centuries of tradition and various forms of celebration. Yes, the more readily identifiable traditions are not nearly as old as popularly thought to be. The Victorians were really the ones to turn what had become a drunken and oftentimes riotous holiday (sort of a winter Mardi Gras) into something more approximating the "peace and goodwill among men" that are at the holiday's Christian roots. And yes, the day itself was a Christian usurpation of a pagan holiday celebrating the winter's solstice. But all of this, a mere portion of Christmas' convoluted history, is part of the cultural complexity that makes a holiday what it is. It doesn't merely exist because some small group of people (I am talking here about Karenga and his handful of cronies at Kwanzaa's inception on Dec. 26th, 1966 and not about the Black American population-- don't even try to interpret my words that way) say that it did. To draw an equivalency by paralleling the contrived origin of Kwanzaa with the long and complex history (and the accompanying cultural resonance and feelings) of other more readily accepted holidays is nonsense.

Riley denies that Kwanzaa is an alienating holiday, designed to be segregationist. "I don’t buy many conservatives’ claims that Kwanzaa is a racially divisive holiday, unless one is prepared to argue the same for St. Patrick’s Day (which is practically its own very-secular holiday here in Chicago)."

Oh, I think I can claim Kwanzaa is divisive without arguing against St. Patrick's Day. Let's go ahead and use the words of Karenga while doing it. Let's briefly establish Karenga's mind-set with some quick facts about Karenga. To begin, he helped establish the United Slaves Organization (US) in 1965, a radical black nationalist-- or "cultural nationalist" as Karenga would describe it at the time-- group.

In the late 60s (the actual dates seems fuzzy and ranges from 1967 to '71-- the book is copyright itself is '67) Karenga wrote and published The Quotable Karenga edited by Clyde Halisi and James Mtume. Important research detail: To qualify all this I have to state that I have no idea as to the source of this PDF link in this entry-- the source blog does not allow uninvited visitors like myself to its homepage. I do believe this to be a genuine scan, while the book itself is hard to find (I'm not paying $300 for it on Alibris) and a bit mysterious (Karenga himself does not list the 30 page book on his own webpage), the cover scan of the PDF matches an actual first edition of the book and much of the material within the scan jibes with my own research on Karenga including the "Seven-fold Path of the Blackness" on page 5. So I want to be absolutely clear that I am arbitrarily accepting this PDF as genuine without knowing anything about the source.

Contained within the 30 pages of the book(let) are gems like these that attempt to both divide black from white and to unify black at the exclusion of white. *note all page references are the book pages and not the PDF file's pages.

"There is no such thing as individualism, we're all Black. The only thing that saved us from being lynched like Emmet Till or shot down like Medger Evers was not our economics or social status, but our absence." Page 1-- the first quote of the book.

"If we could get a nigger to see how worthless, unimportant, and weak he is by himself, then we will have made a contribution." page 2

"Black people aren't superior or inferior to one another, but complimentary. We are all on the same level but in different categories." page 3

"The sevenfold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black." page 5

"Thinking Black is thinking collective minded." page 5

"Individualism is a white desire; co-operation is a Black need." page 5

"Black values can only come through a black culture." page 6

"Man is only man in a philosophy class or a biology lab. In the world he is African, Asian, or South American. He is a Chinese making a cultural revolution, or an Afro-American with soul. He lives by bread and butter, enjoys red beans and rice or watermelon and ice cream." page 6

"To talk Black is to start talking 'we' instead of 'me.'" page 7.

"We want integration-- integration of dark and light Black people." page 16

"We should not be blamed for talking separation. Racism in America has already decided this. We just want to be separate and powerful, not segregated and powerless." page 18

"Brothers must watch out for whites who are rebelling against their own society and uses the wave of Black revolution to push their cause." page 29

"White people can't be Black peoples friend. A friend is your alter-ego and a reflection of yourself." page 30

"All whites are white. White doesn't represent a color it represents a mentality that is anti-black." page 30

"To say the white boy would wipe us out if we moved against him is to say he is bad. Why would he wipe us out if he were not bad?" page 30-- the last entry.

Beyond these examples, reading through this work cover to cover leaves little doubt as to where Karenga stands in terms of racial integration and makes clear his view of the both the established and desired relationship between blacks and whites. So now, I believe, we have a decent idea of Karenga's mind-set at the time of Kwanzaa's inception on Dec. 26, 1966 (remember The Quotable Karnega was copyrighted in 1967). Taking these quotes into account it's a bit hard to believe that when Karenga says "We must institute holidays which speak directly to the needs of Black people," (page 5) that he is suggesting that Kwanzaa is something that should, in any manner or way, be inclusive to whites or any other peoples. There is really is no way that Kwanzaa can be anything else but divisive.

Riley brings up St. Patrick's Day, again offering some sort of equivalency between this traditional Irish holiday and one that was contrived in 1966 by Karenga. Just to restate Riley writes: "I don’t buy many conservatives’ claims that Kwanzaa is a racially divisive holiday, unless one is prepared to argue the same for St. Patrick’s Day (which is practically its own very-secular holiday here in Chicago)."

Well, I can't make any claims to possessing intimate knowledge of Chicago's St. Patrick's Day celebrations. While I've been to Chicago several times in my life, I was never there on St. Patrick's Day. However, where I grew up (in Southern California) St. Patrick's day was basically wearing some article of green clothing to grade school so you didn't get pinched (do they still do that?), having Irish-themed meals, and stapling paper shamrocks to the classroom walls. When I got older, the St. Patrick's day celebrations pretty much became drinking green beer and spirits at the local "Irish pubs" dotting Los Angeles and San Diego. There was never any particular exclusivity (my wife was always served with the same courtesy as I was) and the make-up of the crowds were racially mixed-- no I wasn't keeping count, but I can assure you that it was never even close to all white. Any recent attempt by some bigot or white supremacist to make St. Patrick's Day a racially exclusive holiday a) has not been popular enough to make into my general knowledge (and I don't think I'm all Pollyanna on the subject), and b) is not the fault of the holiday itself.

Yes, you can argue that St. Patrick's Day is exclusive in the sense that it is an Irish holiday. That's right. It's origins are that of an Irish holiday. The same can be said of Hanukkah a Jewish holiday, or Ramadan a Muslim holiday, or Diwali an Indian holiday. Describing a holiday as "exclusive" simply because of its place of origin cannot be thought of as equivalent to describing Kwanzaa-- a holiday arbitrarily invented by a black separatist/nationalist that was intended, from its very inception, to be racially exclusive. I'm sorry, but they are not equivalent in this manner.

Now, let me address Kwanzaa being an anti-religious holiday. Riley writes, "Critics charge that Kwanzaa sets up Christmas as a 'white' holiday, and thus isolates blacks from others. One of my aunts calls Kwanzaa a 'devil’s' holiday, designed to undermine the gospel of Jesus Christ among blacks. [...] I don’t see the holiday as anti-Christian, but I’m not religious."

Whether Riley is religious or not, I think that she should be comfortable coming to the conclusion that Kwanzaa is anti-Christian after we, once again, examine the nature of Karenga's beliefs as reflected in his own words, and what he writes about the purpose of Kwanzaa.

In The Quotable Karenga, Karenga's antipathy toward American mainstream religion is evident as these following excerpts (a mere sampling) demonstrate.

"Christianity is a white religion. It has a white God, and any 'Negro' who believes in it is a sick 'Negro.' How can you prey to a white man? If you believe in him, no wonder you catch so much hell." page 25

"Jesus was psychotic. He said if you didn't believe what he did you would burn forever." page 25

"We are Gods ourselves, therefore it is not good to be atheistic or agnostic. To be an atheist is to deny our existence and do be agnostic is to doubt it." page 26

"The time we spent learning about Jesus, we should have spent learning about Blacks. The money we spend on church should have been spent on our community and the respect we gave to the Lord should have been given to our parents." page 26

"If you realize how human Jesus was you'd see he was no God." page 26

"Next thing Christianity deal with is spookism which is a degeneration of spiritualism." page 26

"They taught us Christianity so we could be like Jesus-- crucified." page 27

"Jesus said, 'My blood will wash you white as snow'. Who wants to be white but sick 'Negroes', or worse yet-- washed that way by the blood of a dead Jew. You know if Nadinola bleaching cream couldn't do it, no dead Jew's blood is going to do it." page 28

This next quote probably best illustrates Karenga's contempt of Christianity: "The Christian is our worse enemy. Quiet as it's kept it was a Christian who enslaved us. Quiet as it's kept it's the Christian that burns us. Quiet as it's kept it's a Christian that beats us down on the street; and quiet as it's kept, when the thing goes down it'll be a Christian that's shooting us down. You have to face the fact that if the Christian is doing all this there must be something wrong with Christianity." page 27.

Karenga has directly said that "Christianity is a white religion," so I think we can safely make the logical step forward that he would view Christmas as a white holiday. Given Karenga's penchant for separating black and white, again amply evidenced by (and directly stated within) his own words, we can therefore presume that his intention at setting up Christmas as a white holiday is indeed to" isolate blacks from others."

As Scholer points out in his essay, Karenga said as much himself. "Thus, Karenga explained in his 1977 Kwanzaa: Origin, Concepts, Practice, 'Kwanzaa is not an imitation, but an alternative, in fact, an oppositional alternative to the spookism, mysticism and non-earth based practices which plague us as a people and encourage our withdrawal from social life rather than our bold confrontation with it.' The holiday 'was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.'"

No matter how not religious one may be, the fact that the creator of Kwanzaa is a black separatist with an obvious antipathy for Christianity and states that Kwanzaa is "a Black alternative to the existing holiday" gives ample evidence to the critics' "charge that Kwanzaa sets up Christmas as a 'white' holiday, and thus isolates blacks from others."

Yes, Karenga has backed away from this position more recently as Scholer notes. "Since then, the holiday has gained mainstream adherents, and Karenga has altered its justification so as not to alienate practicing Christians: 'Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday,' he writes in Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, published in 1997." This more recent statement is, as can be clearly seen, a lie. Karenaga has written publicly that Kwanzaa was an alternative to, in his directly stated view, "white" Christianity.

I'm not really going to address Riley's aunt's claim that "Kwanzaa [is] a 'devil’s' holiday," but perhaps you should keep this characterization in mind as I later write about some of the facts of Karenga's history of violence and mental illness.

Continued in Part Two now posted.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Obama's $20 Billion Building Projects Have Not Helped Unemployment Rate

File this one under "yeah, people have been saying that"-- Jacobson at Legal Insurrection for starters.

From the AP article by Matt Apuzzo and Brett J. Blackledge:

"A federal spending surge of more than $20 billion for roads and bridges in President Barack Obama's first stimulus has had no effect on local unemployment rates, raising questions about his argument for billions more to address an 'urgent need to accelerate job growth.'

"An Associated Press analysis of stimulus spending found that it didn't matter if a lot of money was spent on highways or none at all: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless. And the stimulus spending only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, the analysis showed.

"With the nation's unemployment rate at 10 percent and expected to rise, Obama wants a second stimulus bill from Congress including billions of additional dollars for roads and bridges — projects the president says are 'at the heart of our effort to accelerate job growth.'

[...]

"But AP's analysis, which was reviewed by independent economists at five universities, showed the strategy of pumping transportation money into counties hasn't affected local unemployment rates so far.

"'There seems to me to be very little evidence that it's making a difference,' said Todd Steen, an economics professor at Hope College in Michigan who reviewed the AP analysis.

"And there's concern about relying on transportation spending a second time.

"'My bottom line is, I'd be skeptical about putting too much more money into a second stimulus until we've seen broader effects from the first stimulus,' said Aaron Jackson, a Bentley University economist who also reviewed AP's analysis.

[...]

"Even within the construction industry, which stood to benefit most from transportation money, the AP's analysis found there was nearly no connection between stimulus money and the number of construction workers hired or fired since Congress passed the recovery program. The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it.

"'As a policy tool for creating jobs, this doesn't seem to have much bite,' said Emory University economist Thomas Smith, who supported the stimulus and reviewed AP's analysis. "In terms of creating jobs, it doesn't seem like it's created very many. It may well be employing lots of people but those two things are very different.'

"Despite the disconnect, Congress is moving quickly to give Obama the additional road money he requested."

*sigh* More enormous amounts of money spent for no discernible effect. Welcome to the spending practices of the Obama administration and Left Congress...

MSNBC's Maddow Denies Climategate and Doesn't Want to Fight "People Who Refuse to Acknowledge Reality"

A headline from newsbusters.org: "Rachel Maddow Insists Climategate Is 'All Made Up,' Conservatives 'Refuse to Acknowledge Reality.'" HEH.

From the post by Tim Graham:

"MADDOW: [...] There are a lot of interesting ways to talk about the right way to respond to that, but instead, it‘s Climate-gate, it‘s all made up. Following the Republican framing into nonsense land and we‘ve ended up talking about stuff that is not real instead of talking about policy. I want to have policy fights. I don‘t want to be fighting with people who refuse to acknowledge reality."

So Maddow doesn't want to have fight over global policy? Is that it? Oh, wait... No she wants to have a fight over it with only her side's "facts" in undeniable evidence. I understand. Does anybody still wonder why MSNBC's ratings are so low?

Just this quick link here for now. I'm doing some research and working on a pretty long blog post at the moment. I'll have it up either today or tomorrow and then will take a break for a few days to make up on some time lost for my fiction writing. Thanks.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Peter Wehner, Obama's CSPAN Deception, and the Pending Image Makeover

An interesting observation by Peter Wehner (h/t Leary at Backyard Conservative) in Commentary. From his short essay:

"Sometimes in the life of a politician, a particular moment, word, or act defines them — and badly damages them. This much-viewed montage of comments by Barack Obama, repeatedly promising that he would allow C-SPAN to broadcast health-care negotiations, may well qualify. The reason is that it requires no commentary or interpretation by others; it is Barack Obama in his own words — words we now know to be false, cynical, and (quite literally) unbelievable. My hunch is that this episode will do considerable harm to Obama’s standing with the public, in part because it annihilates what had been at the core of the Obama campaign and the Obama appeal: the belief that he embodied a new, uplifting kind of politics; that transparency would be a watchword of his presidency; that he would 'turn the page' on the practice of cynical politics. It is not simply that the negotiations will not appear on C-SPAN; it is that the process itself has been a model of payoffs and backroom deals, of dishonest arguments and false claims, of secrecy and cynicism.

"It’s important to recall that Obama was not elected because of his record or personal achievements or the power of his ideas; by those standards, Obama offered very little. His appeal was to the aesthetic side of politics; his supporters spoke of him, and at times Obama spoke of himself, in almost mythical terms. He would not only govern well, they believed; he would transform the way politics was practiced. Mr. Obama was so good, so pure, so very nearly perfect that, as one liberal person I correspond with wrote me, our country did not deserve him. (I responded that I agreed our country did not deserve Obama as president — but for the opposite reasons.)

"It turns out it was all an elaborate, beautifully packaged, wonderfully choreographed, and deeply dishonest game. Before this concern was inchoate; now, thanks to the 'these negotiations will be on C-SPAN' video, it is metastasizing. (It cannot be reassuring to the White House that Jon Stewart ridiculed Obama last night on his program; see the link to 'Stealth Care Reform' here.)"

[...]

"The health-care debate has involved pushing through massive, extremely unpopular, and incoherent legislation. In the process Mr. Obama has shattered the most appealing aspects of his image. The direct and collateral political damage of this entire enterprise on Mr. Obama and his party will be almost incalculable."

It's hard to say what the lasting effect of Obama's obvious deception is. Much depends on just how disastrous the resulting legislation will be in the short to medium term, if it even passes as more then just a spending bill (outrageously this is probably the best case outcome of any passage), if it is satisfying (on some level) to the Left and the Obama rah-rahing media. Certainly, no matter the results of these other factors, some damage has been done to Obama and the Dem's image. "Almost incalculable" is overstating the matters a bit.

The "mythic" status of Obama has long been since abandoned by all but the most die hard OFA Obamatons-- and nothing short of Obama eating babies will change their minds. Too much damage has already been done as Obama's and the Democrats current leader's hard Left agendas have become apparent. Independent voters are moving to the right and describing themselves as conservative rather than moderate, moderate Democrats are under assault by the Pelosis and Maxwells of their party, and the fed's astronomical spending has yielded results that are, in the kindest and most optimistic light, almost completely unapparent. Obama has never accepted an iota responsibility for any mis-step, and has blamed Bush so much that even the Obamatons have begun to be embarrassed by it. How much lower can Obama's current image go until he is held in open contempt by the majority of Americans?

Most likely we will soon be treated to a presidential makeover. Obama will do some softball interviews, try to come off as personable and not an elitist after much coaching (good luck on that one), and then sort of ease into the acknowledging disingenuously that "mistakes were made," and that he'd "do things differently" if he had the chance, and so on and so forth. We all know the routine. Of course, then we'd then all be treated to more of the same since Obama is now doing exactly what he wants to be doing (the bad results are simply not his fault, and it will work if we keep working and spending and stand firm, etc.).

So my prediction is some additional damage to Obama's already tarnished image, followed by an image reboot, and then more of the same both in policies, politics and attitude. I think most of Obama's people hold Americans in enough contempt to believe that they can do this indefinitely.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Added New Link! Donald Douglas' American Power

I've added a link on the Blog List to American Power. Far too late I suppose, but in the world of blogging linkages the phrase "better late than never" is often true.

Right now there's a ton of pictures up as well as a particularly interesting link to the story regarding Jodie Evans, Code Pink, and a visit to the White House following Code Pink's sit down with Hamas (complete with letter to Obama).

Check it out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gallup Polls Show Liberal Congress in a Conservative Nation


Check out this graph from Gallup (click on pic to enlarge). Interesting.

Gallup has released a poll showing that more people in this country identify themselves as "conservative" than either "moderate" or "liberal" (h/t Jacobson at Legal Insurrection).

According to Gallup:

"The increased conservatism that Gallup first identified among Americans last June persisted throughout the year, so that the final year-end political ideology figures confirm Gallup's initial reporting: conservatives (40%) outnumbered both moderates (36%) and liberals (21%) across the nation in 2009.

"More broadly, the percentage of Americans calling themselves either conservative or liberal has increased over the last decade, while the percentage of moderates has declined."

[...]

"The rather abrupt three-point increase between 2008 and 2009 in the percentage of Americans calling themselves conservative is largely owing to an increase -- from 30% to 35% -- in the percentage of political independents adopting the label. Over the same period, there was only a slight increase in professed conservatism among Republicans (from 70% to 71%) and no change among Democrats (at 21%) [emphasis mine]."

Okay. Now for the kicker a little later in the same Gallup findings:

"Democrats Grow Increasingly 'Liberal'

"Similar to the increased conservatism among Republicans, there was a gradual increase in the last decade in 'liberal' identification among Democrats, from 29% in 2002 to 38% in 2007, and it has since remained at about that level.

"The effect of this shift among Democrats is most apparent when one reviews the trend in their ideological profile over the past decade. Whereas moderates constituted the largest bloc of Democrats in 2000, today they are about tied with liberals as twin leaders, and the proportion of conservatives has declined."

So, we have a rather interesting situation here according to these polls. We have a Congress in the midst of enacting hard Left policies (Socialized health care, Cap & Trade, GM takeover, etc.) and the public has responded by becoming slightly more conservative (40% in 2009 from 37% in 2008)-- yet those describing themselves as liberal have never increased beyond their high water mark of 22% in 2008.

When looking at the trends published by Gallup for the past 16+ years (I wonder when the Left will take their shot at Gallup now as they did with Rasmussen), it is hardly surprising that the Left and Left-dominated Congress is acting in the opaque and tone-deaf manner for the last six months or so. After all, being an unquestioned minority in this country forces you to develop both a certain immunity to both public outcry and the instituted belief that the majority is ignorant or wrong most of the time. How can it be otherwise?

The election of Obama and the rise of the far-Left is really a development of the various political suns, moons, and stars all aligning at just the right moment-- sort of a socialist's Age of Aquarius. But it is also due to certain more conscious and readily recognizable agendas. Jacobson puts it this way:

"America was hoodwinked in 2008 by a presidential candidate who faked a move to the right to set himself up for a hard move to the left. The C-Span broken promise is just the latest example.

"And it all was made possible by a dishonest mainstream media invested in promoting a political candidate instead of reporting and investigating. And who spun the election as a mandate to move the country to the left, when in fact there was no such mandate.

"The Great Deception of 2008 is not water under the bridge. And it shouldn't be treated as such."

I have to agree with that assessment. It seems absurdly true that the media was intent on promoting the historic election of some kind of politically identifiable minority as a president either a woman or a Black American (thus setting into motion the amusing "Olympics of Suffering" during the Democratic Primary-- a face-off that seemed to indicate that both historical and perceived oppression are the primary factors in determining a presidential nominee) and actively did their utmost to accomplish this. But it was not all the media's fault. Hoodwinked or not, Americans elected Obama and a cadre of congressional Democrats eager to tax and change the U.S.
The eventual price of all this could be very high. If the trends that these polls suggest continue, then the price to the Democratic Party could be especially high. But will it be too late to fix the damages to the health care industry, to the economy, and to the national debt by then?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Former CNN News Writer Suggests Christmas Bomber was a Republican Plot

Mike Malloy, a Left wing talk radio host and former CNN news writer (1984 - 1987), recently suggested that the Underwear/Christmas bomber was not an al Qaeda plot, but a plot hatched by the Republican Party.

According to Tim Graham of newsbusters.org (himself citing Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer) Malloy had this to say about the attempted terrorist attack:

"Now, the inquiry, the questions are being raised as to whether or not this is not a deliberate attempt to embarrass... ah, that's not quite a strong enough word, but let's start there, embarrass the Obama Administration - that there are forces at work in this country, and I believe this as surely as I put on my right shoe before my left - that there are forces alive who are very active, very wealthy in this country, at work in this country that want Obama to fail no matter what and the idea of killing 200 to 300 people on a jetliner in order to make the point is nothing. It means nothing.

"We kill that many in a week in our adventures around the world in places where we're bombing where we shouldn't even be. So, apparently, there's some investigation, I don't know who's going to do the investigating, lot of questions to be answered.

"My gut feeling is this was deliberate, this was deliberately done in order to put the Obama Administration in such a vice grip, that it's impossible to get anything done, to raise so much fear, this is what Republicans do, this is what they do..."

Hmm. A fear-mongering radio host claiming that fear-mongering Republicans are secretly trying to discredit Obama by killing 300 people in Detroit and blaming it all on innocent terrorist groups...? There are a lot of layers of hypocrisy here-- or is it literary irony?

Not that this paranoid idiocy needs to be discredited, but does Malloy mean to suggest that the White House itself is in on this conspiracy-- or are they just too dumb to see this "Republican plot" of his? I mean, even Obama (eventually) claimed that the Nigerian bomber is an associate of al Qaeda. I guess the administration is just too incompetent to know any better--unlike crackerjack reporter-wanna-be Mike Malloy.

It gives me a great feeling that CNN saw fit to employ this guy for three or so years.

From Sarah Palin: It's War, not a Crime Spree

Via the Weekly Standard, Sarah Palin posted this on her Facebook page (UPDATE: First link down, new link here).

"President Obama’s meeting with his top national security advisers does nothing to change the fact that his fundamental approach to terrorism is fatally flawed. We are at war with radical Islamic extremists and treating this threat as a law enforcement issue is dangerous for our nation’s security. That’s what happened in the 1990s and we saw the result on September 11, 2001. This is a war on terror not an 'overseas contingency operation.' Acts of terrorism are just that, not 'man caused disasters.' The system did not work. Abdulmutallab was a child of privilege radicalized and trained by organized jihadists, not an 'isolated extremist' who traveled to a land of 'crushing poverty.' He is an enemy of the United States, not just another criminal defendant.

"It simply makes no sense to treat an al Qaeda-trained operative willing to die in the course of massacring hundreds of people as a common criminal. Reports indicate that Abdulmutallab stated there were many more like him in Yemen but that he stopped talking once he was read his Miranda rights. President Obama’s advisers lamely claim Abdulmutallab might be willing to agree to a plea bargain – pretty doubtful you can cut a deal with a suicide bomber. John Brennan, the President’s top counterterrorism adviser, bizarrely claimed 'there are no downsides or upsides' to treating terrorists as enemy combatants. That is absurd. There is a very serious downside to treating them as criminals: terrorists invoke their 'right' to remain silent and stop talking. Terrorists don’t tell us where they were trained, what they were trained in, who they were trained by, and who they were trained with. Giving foreign-born, foreign-trained terrorists the right to remain silent does nothing to keep Americans safe from terrorist threats. It only gives our enemies access to courtrooms where they can publicly grandstand, and to defense attorneys who can manipulate the legal process to gain access to classified information.

"President Obama was right to change his policy and decide to send no more detainees to Yemen where they can be free to rejoin their war on America. Now he must back off his reckless plan to close Guantanamo, begin treating terrorists as wartime enemies not suspects alleged to have committed crimes, and recognize that the real nature of the terrorist threat requires a commander-in-chief, not a constitutional law professor."

I did not start off being much of a Sarah Palin fan. I like to reserve my judgement on political people until they have said (in no uncertain terms) or accomplished something of political significance. Yet, the outright venom that is spewed at Palin certainly made me take notice of her, and the more I read what she has written, the more I see that she manages to succinctly state the reasonably obvious with a refreshing candor.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Times Online Reports Guantánamo Inmates Rejoined al-Qaeda in Yemen

Keeping in mind terrorism czar John Brennan's promise that some Gitmo will go to Yemen, this article by Tom Coghlan in The Times is particularly bothersome.

From the article:

"At least a dozen former Guantánamo Bay inmates have rejoined al-Qaeda to fight in Yemen, The Times has learnt, amid growing concern over the ability of the country’s Government to accept almost 100 more former inmates from the detention centre.

"The Obama Administration promised to close the Guantánamo facility by January 22, a deadline that it will be unable to meet. The 91 Yemeni prisoners in Guantánamo make up the largest national contingent among the 198 being held.

"Six prisoners were returned to Yemen last month. After the Christmas Day bomb plot in Detroit, US officials are increasingly concerned that the country is becoming a hot-bed of terrorism. Eleven of the former inmates known to have rejoined al-Qaeda in Yemen were born in Saudi Arabia. The organisation merged its Saudi and Yemeni offshoots last year.
The country’s mountainous terrain, poverty and lawless tribal society make it, in the opinion of many analysts, a close match for Afghanistan as a new terrorist haven."

[...]

"A Yemeni, Hani Abdo Shaalan, who was released from Guantánamo in 2007, was killed in an airstrike on December 17, the Yemeni Government reported last week. The deputy head of al-Qaeda in the country is Said Ali al-Shihri, 36, who was released in 2007. Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, who was released in 2006, is a prominent ideologue featured on Yemeni al-Qaeda websites."

[...]

"The US Government issued figures in May showing that 74 of the 530 detainees in Guantánamo were suspected or known to have returned to terrorist activity since their release. They included the commander of the Taleban in Helmand province, Mullah Zakir, whom the British Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Jock Stirrup, called 'a key and seemingly effective tactical leader'. Among others who returned to terrorism was Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti who killed six Iraqis in Mosul in 2008.

"The number believed to have 'returned to the fight' in the May 2009 estimate was double that of a US estimate from June 2008. US officials acknowledged that more detainees were known to have reoffended since, but the number has been classified [emphasis mine]."

[...]

"Officials said that a higher proportion of those still being held were likely to return to terrorism because they were considered more of a security threat than those selected in the early stages of the release programme."

Great. Well, heck Obama promised to close Gitmo-- and a campaign promise is a campaign promise. Right? Like that transparency and no lobbyists in his administration thing... Does anybody even remember that line?

The question begs to be asked, in light of Obama's "just words" attitude regarding campaign promises, why is this administration intent on further endangering ourselves and our allies by keeping this particular promise?

I wonder if it might not be related to the reason that Congress is passed and rushing to clandestinely reconcile the two extraordinarily unpopular health care "reform" bills. Are both the current Congress and the Obama administration so intent on pandering to the far Left's sensibilities that they will ignore, not only logic but, any costs resulting from their actions? I wonder.

UPDATE: Check out this post from Bread upon the Waters. It seems that the "U.S. has also released the leader [Qais Qazali] of an Iranian-backed Shia terror group behind the kidnapping and murder of five US soldiers in Karbala in January 2007."

Meanwhile milblogger and war correspondent Michael Yon was handcuffed for refusing to say how much money he made and Joan Rivers was bumped from a flight for having two names on her passport (h/t Michelle Malkin), which is apparently suspicious.

I'm just not quite sure that our priorities are in the correct place right now.

UPDATE 2: Michael Yon gives a brief interview regarding his experience here at BigGovernment.com.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Obama Administration's Dec. 16 HAMP Directive Forgives Mortgage Liars and Cheats

Continuing on the theme of creating a new housing bubble, Tom Blumer at newsbusters.org has found this interesting little tidbit via business columnist Rachel Beck, the AP, and the Obama Administration's HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) directives.

From Beck:

"The government shouldn't reward liars. But that's the effect of changes to the Obama administration's failing program to help homeowners modify their mortgages.

"Until recently the rules were clear: if you grossly understated your income to qualify for the program, you had to restart the loan modification process. It made sense. After all, we got into this housing mess partly because too many people were dishonest about how much they made.

"Fast forward to today. The federally funded Home Affordable Modification Program was aimed at getting banks to rework mortgages for homeowners in order to slow the pace of foreclosures. The government set a goal of modifying up to 4 million mortgages over the next three years.

"The program isn't working like it's supposed to. Since March, just 31,000 homeowners have won permanent relief. One big reason why is that lenders are doing what they should have been doing all along - requiring things like proof of income.

"How's the government responding? By letting homeowners who fudge their income numbers off the hook with little more than a wink and a nod."

[...]

"Under the $75 billion program, lenders are paid by the government to alter mortgages in hopes that cheaper loans will lead to fewer defaults. In most cases, modifications lower interest rates on home loans. Lenders also offer grace periods, longer repayment schedules or lower loan balances.

"Borrowers say lenders are permitting trial modifications, but few are being made permanent. Lenders say borrowers aren't providing all the necessary paperwork to get loans permanently altered. Many lenders don't require documentation of income upfront. First, they'll make a verbal agreement with a borrower for a modification, and then verify the income once the trial period starts.

"The government needs this program to work - and fast. That's the only way to explain the Treasury Department's waiver of a requirement punishing borrowers who understate their income by 25 percent or more when trying to get a modification.

"That means a borrower who had told a lender he made $75,000 but was found to make $100,000 doesn't have to restart the modification process. Under the waiver announced Dec. 16, that person now gets to continue the trial period instead of being rejected immediately. [emphasis mine]"

[...]

"The housing market's collapse wasn't just caused by lenders issuing risky loans to borrowers who couldn't afford them. More than a third, or 4.3 million, of the home loans issued from 2004 through 2007 were for borrowers who provided no or little documentation of their income, according to real-estate data company First American CoreLogic."

The HAMP directive Beck refers to can be found here. Issued on December 16, it states:

"Critical Home Affordable Modification Program Waiver Granted to Participating Servicers

"Effective today, a new critical Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) Waiver is granted to participating servicers, as detailed below.

"Permanent HAMP Waiver for Elimination of the 25% Trial Period Restart Rule #20091203

"Supplemental Directive 09-01 (issued April 6, 2009) required borrowers to be reevaluated for a HAMP trial period if their verified income (as evidenced by the borrower's documentation) exceeded the initial income information used by the servicer to place the borrower in the trial period by more than 25%. The borrower would be reevaluated based on the program eligibility and underwriting requirements and, if eligible, would have to restart the trial period.

"With the issuance of this waiver, borrowers are no longer required to restart the trial period. The trial period payments would not be adjusted, but the permanent modification terms would be based on the borrower's higher verified income."

Nice, huh? The fed is spending $75 billion with a directive almost calling for an official lack of oversight.

Blumer's piece emphasizes the lack of publication and play of Beck's article, saying "a truly revolting development in a costly program that is distorting the housing market, creating mountains of paperwork, and straining private-sector resources has gone virtually unnoticed."

I couldn't agree more. And the question must be asked as to why this $75 billion program (the very merits of which are debatable) is now being designed and modified to help liars and cheats.

More evidence of a new housing bubble?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Housing Bubble?

Is Congress once again foolishly setting up another housing bubble? According to Foreign Policy magazine (and anybody paying attention to this year's Congressional rhetoric), that is a distinct possibility.

From the article: "More than any other factor, ill-advised speculation on U.S. real estate set off the global financial crisis. But even after millions of foreclosures and secondary effects rippled through economies around the world, U.S. homeowners might be starting to make the same mistakes all over again.

"After suffering their largest month-to-month drop in history, U.S. home prices began to increase again in May. The S&P/Case-Shiller index, widely considered the most reliable measure of housing prices in the United States, rose 3.4 percent between May and July, with gains in 18 of the 20 cities the index measures. Prices were still 13.3 percent lower than last year, but even that figure was less than expected. The release of this data coincided with other positive indicators, including an increase in existing home sales and home construction. 'We've found the bottom,' one economist told the New York Times.

"Not so fast. Economist Robert Shiller, one of the index's creators, sees the numbers as alarming rather than promising. Pointing to survey data showing that most homeowners think that their house will increase dramatically in value over the next decade, he worries that 'bubble thinking' might once again be taking hold.

"'[I]t appears that the extreme ups and downs of the housing market have turned many Americans into housing speculators,' he wrote in the New York Times.

"The government's solution to the housing crisis might, ironically, be causing the new problem, by encouraging irresponsible home buying by people who aren't able to afford it. The Federal Housing Administration, which backed nearly 2 million mortgages in 2009, saw the percentage of its loans that are delinquent or in foreclosure rise to nearly 8 percent in June, and the agency is quickly burning through its reserves for loan losses. A congressional committee has been formed to investigate the losses. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that Congress should look into the potential trade-offs of federal loan support.

"With prices looking likely to keep rising in the near term and the U.S. government giving generous incentives for homeowners, there's a risk that the same irresponsible speculative behavior that caused the Great Recession might be returning."

The idea that "[t]he government's solution to the housing crisis might, ironically, be causing the new problem" is not really all that ironic to me. In fact, the federal government's buttressing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac coupled with the encouragement of lender's loosening up of their lending policies with "wink wink" de facto guarantees, were major factors that led to the housing crisis.

These reasonably obvious factors have been consciously ignored, and Congress and the Obama administration have followed simply (and nonsensically) blamed Bush and the amorphous concept of "greed." There has been no real reassessment of the policies that encouraged reckless loans and the resulting bailouts of "greedy" lenders and irresponsible loan recipients. Without this, the potential short-term political pay off of federal meddling spun as "helping out the little guy" is far too seductive to ignore.

Understanding this does not make a repeat building of a housing bubble surprising nor ironic.