Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Obama's Iran Fantasy

It's a good day to indulge in some fantasy, or at least to examine one.

Which reminds me that people have been wondering lately what Obama will do about Iran. By now the answer should be obvious: nothing. Nothing beyond his usual finger-wagging shtick, that is.

A recent headline in the British newspaper The Telegraph read: Obama gives Iran ultimatum over secret nuclear plant

Yeah, right. Stop pursuing nuclear weapons or I'll wave my finger some more, and use stern language in a somber tone. And if you taunt me in reply, I'll give the deadly Obama disapproval stare.

That is the sum total of this foreign policy featherweight's arsenal. It may not blow up many uranium enrichment plants, but boy does it ever play well on the Letterman show. That Obama has honed his act there more times than he's met with the senior commander in the Afghan theater should not distract anyone.

Of course, there are those who disagree. Juan Cole of Salon thinks that "the smartest guy in the room" - no matter whether that room is the Oval Office or the Letterman green room – is actually playing Ahmed-squiggle like a fiddle.

In an article titled: Obama's Shrewd Moves Are Undercutting Iran the professor of Middle East history tells us why. My first reaction was that after a title like that I really didn't need to read the article. But I did my duty and extracted this gem: "Brown erred in charging Iran with having a nuclear weapons program, which U.S. intelligence can find no evidence for."

I was about to write that Prof. Cole is due to be embarrassed soon, but then I remembered that Progressives are incapable of that particular emotion. Then I decided I really didn't need to read the rest of the article.

But thank you for reading this one because I, too, enjoy wagging my finger while giving disapproving looks and speaking in somber tones. And, the second anyone hands over the United States Air Force to me for a day, I'll be shaking it like a metronome accompanied by a highly arched brow. Right after I announce in somber tones that Iran's nuclear facilities are a smoking ruin, and twelve of its leading physicists are now dead or employed by the U.S. DoD.

That, unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office, I'm willing to admit is just a fantasy.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sowell Shreds Welfare Bureaucrat

In this YouTube video from the 1980s, Dr. Thomas Sowell demonstrates why he has been one of the country's best thinkers for decades. Here, he shreds the tissue-thin, but regrettably still-common arguments of the Secretary of Welfare of Pennsylvania.

Notable about the video is that, despite welfare reform of the 1990s, the problem is not only still with us but many times worse, precisely because her arguments are still accepted on both sides of the aisle. To wit: What shall we do about the poor, who would (it's claimed) starve in the streets without welfare? Here's one possible response: not consistent with the facts, but if they did at least we'd have lower odds of a repeat of the election of creatures like Barack Obama.

[Hat Tip FrontPage]

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dewey to Obama: Progressive Education and Politics

De-Shintoizing American Culture

Michelle Malkin nails it with this comment about Progressive education:
Lost in all the chanting for change is the core commitment to impart actual knowledge. For progressives in the Age of Obama, setting high academic standards is secondary to the self-improvement of the "whole child" and "service" to the cause of social justice."
What Ms. Malkin doesn't mention — there really was no need to in the column — is that what concerns her is straight out of John Dewey's work.

It's no accident that Dewey was one of the major inventors of both Progressive education and modern liberal Fascism. He was one of the triad that invented Pragmatism. (He called his version Instrumentalism.) He was also a social democrat and a proponent of doing away with classical education. All of these are intricately linked.

Pragmatism essentially teaches that there are no eternal truths, because there are no objective natural laws. Everything is in Heraclitean flux, forever shifting. All we can do is arrive at a social consensus of what is true.

That view prepares the field for the educational agenda that Dewey advocated, one in which it would no longer consist of memorizing "dry facts" and performing boring cogitation with them. Instead, not just the child's mind but the "whole child" would be taught, chiefly by "socializing" him. I.e. what counts is not objective reality and what it requires of us to create values, but whatever others think is true and worthwhile.

The political consequences are all around us. Every single disastrous policy of Obama and the leaders of Congress is informed by the doctrines of Progressivism, virtually unchanged in the hundred years since Dewey laid them down and Wilson adopted them. (There is one exception: Wilson was much more interested in military victory, albeit for the wrong reasons.)

That's why, every time one is tempted to be puzzled by Obama's actions — whether because of his willingness to commit political suicide to push Fascist health care reform or his blatant groveling to Middle Eastern despots — one only has to remember this: Progressives are the consistent practitioners of what the Left has been preaching for three generations: social subjectivism, collectivism, and statism.

Time to run them all out of all forms of public life — education, media, and politics. It's necessary for the same reasons that no one who advocates Italian Fascism ala Mussolini should hold a public position of influence. To wit, that Progressivism - Fascism Lite - leads to Fascism Heavy.

What I'm suggesting is the complete De-Shintoizing not just of American politics, but American culture. After the end of WWII, the final series of battles against Japan took place, with the removal of the influence of State Shinto from Japanese public life. Individuals could do as they like, but no State sponsorship of the philosophy that led to Pearl Harbor and the Rape of Nanking was allowed to operate in the government, the newspapers, or the public schools.

A similar program is need to restore the American Republic today. And, it's necessary to complete it before they become literally indistinguishable from their intellectual ancestors, before the mask of Smiley Face Fascism is removed and becomes the original.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Qaddafi Endorses Obama - Surely, Proof Enough

Qaddafi, madman of Libya, looking like he shares a plastic surgeon with Joan Rivers, appeared before the U.N. today. Among the other pithy statements of this long-time supporter of terrorism was this: "We would be happy if Obama would remain forever the leader of the United States."

Now, if that isn't the exact endorsement needed to convince anyone still on the fence that Obama needs to go asap, I can't think would could be more persuasive.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Henry Waxman, Consistency Award Winner of the Month

A headline on Big Hollywood reads "Henry Waxman Votes Against Defunding ACORN." I'm actually comforted by this fact. I like people to be consistent and it's comforting to know that Rep. Waxman continues his unbroken record of being among the most Progressive in Congress.

Of course, as is intrinsic with all Progressives, he is a complete Anti - anti-freedom, anti-prosperity, anti-life. So, it's good to know he's also anti-cracking down on some of the lowest scum in the country, a group that makes political hay out of crack whores and welfare bums.

Isn't that comforting?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Time Capsules

A group of children recently buried a time capsule with no specific end date. This practice is surpassing odd, especially since it occurs so frequently.

Has anyone ever considered the likely thoughts of some far future civilization, or even another species from a world beyond, digging these things up?

"Strange, Kirk. These people buried a mixture of useless junk, bad writings, and valuable gold because...? What gave them the idea that anyone a thousand years ahead would care? What is so special about the bric a brac of a group of semi-civilized barbarians who were given the great gift of a near perfect Constitution... only to let their country deteriorate by ignoring it?"

"There were many, Mr. Spock, who protested. Loud and clear. A fair number of them even knew why and what for."

"Then they buried the wrong things."

"There you have me, Spock. There you have me."

Not a deep puzzle, but an interesting one.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Obama Complains of Coursening of National Dialogue

From a 60 Minutes interview to be aired tonight:
And so one of the things that I’m trying to figure out is: How can we make sure that civility is interesting?”
I see. So, now on top of being School Principal in Chief, the Surgeon General, the CEO of AmericanCars, and all his other roles, he wants to be the Chairman of All Debate Anywhere, like some omnipresent television news executive.

Is there no limit to this totalitarian-wannabe nag's endless, pompous hectoring? Apparently not. Effete moralizing is the Progressive's life mission and this guy's got a severe case of Carter's disease.

On the upside, couple that with his continual pouting because Congress won't instantly pass his every wish, and you have a guarantee of continually falling ratings.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Iranian-D.C. Parallels

Has anyone observed how similar the silence downplaying of the mainstream media on the 9/12-Tea Party protests in D.C. is to the recent Iranian post-election news blackouts?

Just sayin'...

Hey, fellas. Ignore this!
Barbara Espinosa, a volunteer with Freedomworks, reports that the organization’s “metered” count of protestors is “more than 450,000.”

"Michelle Malkin reports that Capitol Police are estimating crowd at 1.2 million."

[Hat Tip: Big Hollywood]

Friday, September 11, 2009

Special Post By Michael Moeller

Just below (above?) this post is a superb analysis of the parallels between the Obama administration and that of FDR. It seems appropriate on this day of mourning to understand them. Not only are many of the domestic policy similarities striking, but many of the historical conditions provide an uncomfortable lesson in how some things have changed, while others remain revoltingly the same.
Michael Moeller is a chemical engineer who has worked in electrochemical and biomedical R&D. He is a recent law school graduate pursuing a career in intellectual property law. Michael can be contacted at moeller_time(at)hotmail(dot).com
Please welcome Michael and his excellent contribution to Shaving Leviathan by your attention and feedback.

Jeff Perren

The Obamanous Parallels

“History is philosophy teaching by example.”—Thucydides

According to the following policies and methods, can you name this U.S. president?

This U.S. president campaigned almost exclusively against the failures of the previous administration. He would make alternating and contradictory promises depending on his campaign audience. On the one hand, he promised to cut the burgeoning deficits of the previous administration and balance the budget. On the other hand, he promised aid to just about every industry and to create public works projects that would guarantee millions of new jobs. He promised to fund the new programs with increased taxes on the wealthy.

Since the American people were severely dissatisfied with the previous administration, the president easily rode into office in his first election. The newly elected president immediately forged ahead with remaking policy by creating all kinds of centralized agencies, including the nationalization of multiple industries.

The legislation written for this authority was so haphazard and cobbled together it is still considered the worst drafted legislation in U.S. history. Not only did the programs create perverse incentives in the midst of a terrible economic downturn, the programs necessitated bloated, burgeoning bureaucracies to carry out the edicts.

As to his campaign promise to balance the budget, the president immediately abandoned the prospect by injecting steroids into the previous administration's policies (plus many newly created programs). When called to account for the increased deficit problems, the president blamed the previous administration for creating a mess that required more spending to keep the government out of the red.

The president surrounded himself with collectivist radicals. When the nature of these radicals was exposed before his eyes, he would ignore the warnings or laugh it off with mocking derision. In fact, he would take it a step further and install radicals in positions of power and agencies that were outside the purview of the constitutionally-limited republican structure.

The president would use his personal charm and gregarious nature to court favorable news coverage and loyalty from the media. He would clog the airwaves with his personal appeals to the American people. He would also use the power of government agencies to threaten and/or shut down political criticism.

Am I speaking of President Obama? No, not directly, this catalogue of policies and tactics were the cornerstone of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration. If one did not know any better, one would swear that the corpses of FDR's administration were dug up to serve in Obama's administration.

FDR's campaign consisted of lampooning Herbert Hoover's explosion of the deficit, the rise in unemployment, and the general economic decline. While promising to cut the deficit by 25% and balance the budget in each year of his presidency, FDR contradictorily promised a host of new programs and government spending that guaranteed a "right to a comfortable living".

Sound familiar to Obama campaigning against Bush's policies, the general economic recession, and Obama's promising to balance the budget while simultaneously promising a chicken in every pot in his nomination speech? How about his soak the rich rhetoric to pay for the chickens? FDR did the same thing, and eventually raised taxes to 90% on those making over $25,000. (I think Obama simply added a zero when promising to raise taxes on those making over $250K.)

When asked to account for the increasing deficits that significantly outstripped Hoover, Roosevelt would blame the Hoover Administration for a "reckless and extravagant past" that led to an emergency — an emergency that justified FDR's increase in spending and deficits explained thusly:
"The only way to keep the Government out of the red is to keep the people out of the red. And so we had to balance the budget of the American people before we could balance the budget of the national Government" (Burton Folsom, New Deal or Raw Deal?, pg 221).
Obama, when asked about his own increased spending and deficits and spending via the stimulus bill, likewise stated that the Bush Administration created a “mess” and justified spending by rhetorically stating: "What do you think a stimulus is?".

Or, in one of his most stupid justifications, Vice President Joe Biden instructed:
"Well, people when I say that [the need to increase spending] look at me and say, 'What are you talking about? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?' The answer is yes, I’m telling you."
In FDR's haste to remake the U.S. economy, legislation was poorly drafted and purposely vague so as to grant wide latitude for government intervention. The agencies created perverse economic incentives, such as purposely destroying commodities or paying farmers not to produce while people starved.

The bureaucracies became so overwhelming that hordes of new bureaucrats were needed to monitor prices, production levels, what should be produced, and how the producers should be taxed. Any different than energy plans aimed at putting the coal industry out of business or dramatically increasing the cost of electricity amidst a recession?

Or, how about the vague 1000+ page bills that are hastily pushed through Congress without being read, much less debated? How about this type of Byzantine bureaucracy labyrinth that would be imposed under ObamaCare?

FDR surrounded himself with Marxist sympathizers and radicals ready to implement their ideology, including Vice President Henry Wallace and communist spies Alger Hiss and Owen Lattimore.

When FDR was personally warned about Hiss and other communist spies by assistant secretary of state Adolf Berle, FDR laughed and told Berle to go “fuck himself”. (Ann Coulter, Treason, pg 18) For his part, Hiss played a primary role in creating the United Nations, which is now a springboard for leftists undermining the U.S. Constitution and paying heed to despots all over the globe.

The only question remains: what monstrosities will be bequeathed to us by the collectivist radicals Obama has surrounded himself with, including Rahm Emmanuel, Mark Lloyd, Eric Holder, and Van Jones?

Will it be a Kyoto-like treaty or cap-and-trade bill, spearheaded by radicals like Van Jones, which will permanently cripple the energy industry? Will U.S. servicemen be dragged into international courts on charges from America’s enemies and tried by America’s critics, as Eric Holder desires?

Will Sunstein’s goal of allowing polar bears to lawyer-up and seek redress for having their habitats destroyed be granted? Besides Van Jones, Obama thus far has either ignored criticism of these individuals or brushed off charges of socialism with the same mocking behavior as FDR did in his day.

In what is perhaps the most ominous of the Obamanous parallels, Obama called for a civilian national security force that is "just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the U.S. military. Let's not forget Obama's use of “disinformation czar” Linda Douglass to ferret out “fishy” information, or Janet Napolitano’s use of the Department of Homeland Security to spy on private individuals, particularly “right wing” subversive groups.

FDR attempted the same tactics by creating the American Protective League — a quasi-secret police used to spy on private individuals. In a radio address, FDR also called on the American Legion to become his private army, stating: "I reserve to myself the right to command you in any phase of the situation which now confronts us." (Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism, pg 151) Insulating one's political regime with a private army is one of the shiningrusty hallmarks of a dictator.

On cannot help shudder in revulsion at Blue Eagle program that used informants to monitor compliance with New Deal programs. Part of the Blue Eagle program was aimed at indoctrination, which included marches by thousands of schoolchildren that forced them to swear to the following oath: "I promise as a good American citizen to do my part for the NRA. I will buy only where the Blue Eagle flies." (Liberal Fascism, pg 155)

Sound eerily familiar to Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren in which they were initially suppose to pledge loyalty to Obama and write an essay on what they could do to “help” the administration?

Just as FDR used his personal charm to cast a spell on the media, Obama is sending a "tingle up the leg" of such media luminaries as Chris Matthews. FDR would clog the radio airwaves with his "fireside chats", while Obama is busy mugging before primetime TV cameras on every policy initiative.

These tactics, however, will only get you so far as dissent grows. To quell opposition, FDR set up the FCC with the express purpose of silencing dissent by granting the FCC the power to grant or revoke radio licenses (with a shortened renewal period from three years to six months), thus giving FDR de facto control over what was said on the radio waves.

Now, we have the prospect of Obama's FCC “diversity czar”, Mark Lloyd, proposing to tax radio stations 100% of their operating budget in order to promote "diversity" of opinion. How does that differ from FDR's chilling of free speech, except in complexity? Control ownership and you control what is said.

Why is it important to highlight these parallels? To expose the intellectual bankruptcy of the policies and the tactics used to implement them. First and foremost, one must be aware of and expose the damaging consequences that arose from these policies--many of which we still live with today, including the alphabet agencies, minimum wage laws, social security, employer-based health insurance, agricultural subsidies, and on and on.

Even a decade after the onset of the economic crisis in 1929, FDR's policies only worsened the crisis as unemployment rates had risen above 20% and industrial production was down 20-25% from a decade earlier. Or, as it was told straight from the horse's mouth, FDR's longtime friend, right-hand man, and secretary of the treasury Henry Morgenthau confessed in 1939 before the House Ways and Means Committee:
"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, if I am wrong...somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises...I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started...And an enormous debt to boot!" (Burton Folsom, New Deal or Raw Deal?, pg. 2).
The policies are like the hydra — cut one down and two more will be proposed in its place. Even more important than highlighting the failures of these policies is exposing the methods used to implement the policies. Cut the mortal head of method off the Marxist revolutionary to prevent two more from growing with still bigger fangs.

In the parallels between FDR and Obama, notice the common methods used by collectivist radicals:
    (1) Isolate and target opponents to distract attention from their own policies, (2) Use vague legislation to seize unprecedented and unconstitutional powers, (3) Use these powers to nationalize industries, (4) Insulate one’s power with agencies outside the confines of the constitutionally-limited republican structure, including a private military force, (5) Silence dissent through government control of media outlets, and (6) Attack the young and the education system with thinly veiled indoctrination schemes.
Use one of their methods against them. Isolate, target, expose, attack. And don’t let up. They are afraid of light, which is why many, if not most, of these policies are done hastily and under cover of darkness. Collectivist radicals know they cannot withstand scrutiny in the open light of day.

After a personal conference with FDR in which he revealed his court-packing scheme, New Dealer and Congressman Hatton Sumners is alleged to have said: "Well, boys, here is where I cash in my chips."

Some otherwise freedom-loving individuals have openly supported Obama. Some advocated for Democrats in 2006, have engaged in relatively muted criticism of Obama, and played the moral equivalence card with the Bush Administration. Even still, some desire to see Obama stay in office in order to promote a "backlash" against his policies. In view of the potentially irreversible havoc that could be wrought, my advice to all those people is: cash in your chips.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baghdad Bob Finds New Employment

Some may recall the gentleman who was somewhat, shall we say, loose with the facts during the American invasion of Iraq.

Apparently, the hapless Iraqi ex-official is alive and well and working in Washington, D.C.
"White House economists said Thursday the Obama administration’s recovery efforts have saved or created more than one million jobs so far."
Best of luck in your new career, Robert.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What Obama Should NOT Do

One could list plenty of things Barack Obama should do: resign, apologize for nearly everything he's done in public since puberty, then shut up for the rest of his sorry life, and so on. But equally important, since he holds a paid government job, are a few of the things he should NOT be doing.

The list could be endless. Here are just a few of the things Obama should NOT be writing legislation — or issuing decrees — about:

1. GHG regulation (Cap and Trade)
2. Executive compensation (Auto bailouts)
3. 'Green' jobs (Stimulus)
4. Health Care payment methods (Health Care Reform)

Some conservative critics have lambasted him, for example, for failing to offer a clear, explicit health care reform bill. (Odd criticism from a group that is supposed to understand the Constitution and separation of powers better than their liberal opponents.)

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but why should the head of the Executive Branch be creating any legislation at all? That is Congress' job.

[Note: Congress shouldn't be legislating any of the above, either, but that's irrelevant with regard to the theme of this post. Just in case...]

Even saying that the President should be laying out clear goals, his wishlist, or however one wishes to put it, is a serious error. The President, under the American system, is not King, or even Prime Minister. That the current occupant longs to be Dictator is completely beside the point. Or, rather, it should be.

Obama also most definitely should not be giving speeches en masse to the entire public education system. There are those who'll say that calling this action fascist is an absurd exaggeration. As the Objectivists are wont to say: "Check your premises." It most decidedly is fascist.

That the head of the Executive Branch of the Federal Govt is telling the students of the entire country anything - barring any national emergency with no other way to communicate - is irresponsible at best.

But "best" and "Obama's intentions" never belong in the same thought. It's unquestionably the reflection of a totalitarian mindset, one that says - as Mussolini so eloquently put it:
The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative.
That differs little - except by being much less of a bromide - from his DNC speech some years ago, repeated often since:
“It’s that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.”
Whether Obama is exhorting them to persist and study hard or smoke crack and rob banks makes no difference. The students will tune out the content in either case. The problem is deeper than that.

In the speech, Obama makes clear that they are to choose their goals not in order to fulfill their own potential for their own sake. They are to do it so they can answer the question without guilt: "what's your contribution going to be?"

No, Obama is not Mussolini. (He should be so honest, clear, and decisive in the viciousness of his philosophy and actions.) The issue is not one of personality or — in this instance — even content. It's an issue of the role he's attempting to pretend that the occupant of the Oval Office should play in society.

That he's addressing the 'entire student body of the Nation' at once is a clear signal, and a dangerous one, that he feels his role is to be School Principal-In-Chief, and that is a fascist conception of the presidency. It's also just one more instance of this creature behaving like the hectoring nag he is, just like every other relentlessly finger-wagging Progressive.

In this case, though, the digit doing the dance has the power of the Federal Government behind his gesture.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Revolting Statistic of the Day

From a fine article by Star Parker:
"A hundred years ago the "public sector" was less than ten percent of our economy. By the 1940's it was almost one quarter. Soon it will be one half."

Sounds like time to invoke Jefferson's epigram:
"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.

* Letter to James Madison (30 January 1787); referring to Shays' Rebellion Lipscomb & Bergh ed. 6:65
Although, frankly, I'm pretty sure "little" isn't going to cut it this time around.

Quote of the Day: Obama's Ruby Slippers

From a Townhall column by Kevin McCullough:
At the end of the day, serving "We The People" as President has turned out to be much harder than simply talking about being President.

And doing so while trying to change the very fabric of what America fundamentally is has not been quite as easy as simply repeating the words, "Hope and Change" while clicking one's ruby slippers together three times.

President Obama lives in a world that he desperately wishes existed. Vice President Cheney lives in the world that actually does.
Never read this guy before. Think I'll start.

James Pethokoukis on Van Jones and 'Green' Jobs

James Pethokoukis (formerly of U.S. News and World Report, now writing for Reuters) continues to show why he's one of America's best columnists:

"[H]aving a truther in charge of green jobs is a good fit... you need a certain willing suspension of disbelief for both"

[Hat Tip: Stephen Spruiell of NRO]

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quin Hillyer On Obama and Overconfidence... Ours, Not His

By kind permission of the author, I've reprinted below in full the text of Quin Hillyer's excellent American Spectator article:

He's Not Jimmy Carter

By Quin Hillyer on 9.3.09 @ 6:09AM

Conservatives are taking too much solace in the precipitous drop in Barack Obama's approval ratings, and too many of us are overconfident that his administration is merely a replay of the hapless presidency of Jimmy Carter that was easily swept out in a landslide election.

Today's situation is far different, far more conducive to our political adversary's political power, than that which faced Carter. And Obama is an entirely different breed of cat. He's more ruthless, more tactically savvy, and has far more dangerous objectives. A drop in his poll ratings isn't as serious a setback for him as similar occurrences were for the peanut farmer from Plains.

In short, conservatives should beware. The political battle we're in is far more difficult than any the conservative movement has ever faced. It will take all our energy and all our smarts to win it.

First, consider the differences in political circumstances between Obama and Carter. Unlike Carter, Obama does not face a Kennedy-led left wing of his party that despises him. Unlike Carter, Obama did not take office by an incredibly slim majority vote so close that a few thousands votes in two states would have swung the whole election. Unlike Carter, Obama took office in the middle of a crisis he could blame on his predecessor and coming off an unpopular war that he could blame almost entirely on the Republican Party. On the right, Carter faced a conservative movement (even if not a Republican Party) unified and energized by an inspirational leader -- but no similar, single spokesman today galvanizes conservatives like Ronald Reagan did then. Carter also did not have a nationwide movement kept together by a tool like the Internet, and did not have billionaires behind his general aims the way Obama has George Soros.

Finally, Obama has the advantage of a more ethnically diverse nation that has far less of a common culture and less of a common appreciation of shared socio-political history and values. Why is that an advantage? Because it gives him more leeway to make outlandish claims, and still have huge pluralities believe him, than Carter could ever hope for.

More important than all that, though, is that Obama's personal skills, aims, and training are like nothing we have ever seen before in the White House. Every other president before him has intended at most to achieve change within the American political system. Obama wants to change the system itself. He is a radical's radical, with an authoritarian impulse. His Alinskyite training means that social unrest doesn't unnerve him; it plays right into his hands. Social unrest is both his modus operandi and his mid-term goal. The more unrest, the greater the crisis; the greater the crisis, the more excuse he has to use and consolidate central power in order to completely remake society.

And unlike Carter or most other Democratic presidential nominees of the past 45 years, Obama has tremendous oratorical skills. Sure, Bill Clinton could please lots of audience members with small promises, but he did not possess half the ability to inspire people (however misguidedly) that Obama does. Obama has the talent to raise demagoguery to an art form.

Already we see a cult of personality around Obama, one deliberately encouraged by the Obama political operation. Already we see him push for centralizing, fascistic economic powers. Already we see him creating "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the regular military, complete with uniformed youths (and even senior citizens) formed into "cadres." And in order to make AmeriCorps less answerable to the public, Obama fired the Inspector General trying to blow the whistle on nefarious AmeriCorps activities. Now he is using AmeriCorps and the National Endowment for the Arts to politically agitate for his "recovery agenda."

And that's not to mention the Big Brother-like data-mining and reporting of "casual conversations" to a White House website, or the creepy address to all the nation's school children -- or the continued public trashing, by the permanent Obama campaign known as Organizing For America, of ordinary citizen protesters as "Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists."

Obama also is politicizing the Census; giving contracts to ACORN; letting a recognized hate group like the New Black Panthers go free; undermining the CIA at every turn, radicalizing the Supreme Court; re-orienting the civil rights division of the Justice Department; appointing more "czars" than anybody can keep track of and who, unlike Cabinet members, do not answer to Congress; resisting transparency on TARP bailout funds; refusing to enforce financial reporting requirements on union political organizers; and doing all sorts of other things designed, as are the items above, to consolidate power, tilt the deck, and rig the political rules in his favor for the long haul.

In foreign affairs, his radicalism is even more apparent. He keeps undermining allies while embracing enemies. He deliberately undercut the brave protesters in Iran. He stubbornly continues to punish Honduras and its citizens, via economic and travel sanctions, because Honduras actually followed its own Constitution in removing a harshly anti-American president from office -- when he should have been rewarding Honduras for its commitment to the rule of law. Yet while he punishes friendly Hondurans, he refuses to punish radical leftist Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa when Correa's government tries to shake down an American company for $27 billion. It's all very bizarre. One wonders what exactly his agenda is. But it's clearly something the likes of which we've never seen. Again, the comparison with Carter's foreign policy is telling. Carter's was full of woolly-minded, pie-in-the-sky idealism, but it didn't deliberately mollycoddle sworn enemies. Obama's, on the other hand, portrays Obama to the world as if Obama himself is more admirable than the nation he supposedly represents -- a nation for which he continually apologizes. This attempt, so far quite successful, to garner personal, worldwide glorification is another gambit for power. Again, it makes him nobody for domestic political adversaries to trifle with. It gives him tools never enjoyed by the Jimmy Carter who was burned in effigy by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his pals in 1979 and 1980.

To defeat Obama's radicalism will take plenty of political savvy on the right. Until the 2010 elections, discontent should simmer, but not boil over. Civil unrest will not win the day; it will only help him. The one, and perhaps only, opportunity to stop his juggernaut will be in those mid-term elections. Every bit of conservatives' efforts should be directed at building a massive voter turnout to defeat Obama's leftist allies in 2010. The TEA parties and town hall protests and all the rest should be aimed at building a political infrastructure and political arguments sufficient to win those elections. The energy of conservatives should climax then and only then. Anything premature, anything over the top, will allow Obama to more effectively mobilize his own troops in the supposed name of order and stability.

Finally, it will help Obama that, probably by design, the bulk of the "stimulus" funds remain unspent. What will happen is that at just the right time, those funds will spur a false recovery -- a "recovery" hailed by the establishment media as proof of Obama's wisdom. The recovery won't last, because it won't be real. But that won't matter. Timed just right, it will allow Obama to claim the economic high road -- something Jimmy Carter never was able to claim. Relieved Americans who are apolitical could easily be swayed to "stay the course," just as Americans stayed the course with Ronald Reagan in 1982. But Reagan's course led to greater freedom; if Obama's course is stayed and he consolidates power in 2010, the diminution of freedom may be well-nigh irreversible.

In short, the wonderful conservative success in August should not hide the reality that our backs are still against the wall. Obama still owns the upper hand. If we make any major mistake, he will use that hand as a fist to smash the conservative movement to bits. Clear-eyed about this possibility, conservatives must keep fighting. Uphill. Against the wind. And without a Reagan to lead us.
"Quin Hillyer is a senior editorial writer at the Washington Times and senior editor of The American Spectator. He can be reached at qhillyeratgmaildotcom."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Media Bias, Quantified

Van Jones is a crazy communist recently appointed by Obama to be "green jobs czar," whatever the heck that entails. (And thinking of the possibilities is truly frightening.) But he's not what this post is about. It's about media bias. For those who believe it doesn't exist among the mainstream press, Byron York offers some objective data.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the New York Times: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the Washington Post: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on NBC Nightly News: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on ABC World News: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on CBS Evening News: 0.
[Hat Tip Mark Hemingway at NRO.]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Scary Economic Note of the Day

[T]he top 1 percent is comprised of just 1.4 million taxpayers and they pay a larger share of the income tax burden now than the bottom 134 million taxpayers combined.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never have so few been raped so hard to benefit so many. And damned ungrateful for the sex they are, too.

[Hat Tip Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe.]

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Scary Historical Note of the Day

"In 1981, when America's accumulated debt was creeping up on $1 trillion, President Reagan explained in his first address to Congress,
'I've been trying … to think of a way to illustrate how big a trillion really is. And the best I could come up with is that if you had a stack of $1,000 bills in your hand only 4 inches high, you'd be a millionaire. A trillion dollars would be a stack of $1,000 bills 67 miles high.'"

It's now 10-50 times that (depending on what you include). If there's any better way to destroy the Republic from within, I can't think of it.

[Hat Tip Jonah Goldberg at NRO]