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Unexamined Premises

Monthly Archives: July 2012

On the home page, Victor Davis Hanson has a devastating indictment of Road Warrior California, while over at NRO, Kevin Williamson piles on with “Penniless in Paradise,” about the parlous financial circumstances of the no-longer Golden State. It’s all very depressing to us semi-native Californians, who still harbor hopes that the best place to live in America can somehow yet be salvaged if the racket ruled by the state Democratic Party and the public-employee unions can ever be broken up.

The news, however, is not good. As Kevin points out in his piece, which concentrates on the dysfunctional city of San Berdoo, which basically has got no dough.

San Bernardino spends about 75 percent of its general-fund budget on salaries, benefits, and pensions, with the vast majority of those expenses coming from one class of employee: public-safety workers, meaning cops and firemen, who earn as much as $230,000 a year with overtime. Their pensions, as will not surprise anybody who has been paying attention to government finances in recent years, are extraordinarily generous. In 2007, a consulting firm warned the city that its budget was in trouble because its personnel costs were growing considerably more quickly than revenue, and the city’s response was . . . to offer even more generous pensions in the same year. The firemen are fat and happy in the California sunshine, but the rest of San Bernardino is not doing as well:

“When times were good, my wife and I didn’t go hog-wild and play the let’s-get-a-bigger-house game,” says Mike Potter, who works for a local construction firm. “But now times aren’t good. At my company, 50 percent of the employees have been laid off, and I’ve taken a 15 percent pay cut. I was the head of engineering, and now I’m also a part-time receptionist and janitor.” He is one of the lucky ones — the local unemployment rate runs around 15 percent — and he is blunt on the subject of what encumbers San Bernardino and other bankruptcy-bound California cities: “The public-employee unions are killing us. They are killing our cities, our states, and our country.”

Well, duh. Abbott and Costello explained all this for you years ago. So hear instruction and be wise:

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All clear now? Good. Now get back to loafing.

The Levin Effect

July 28th, 2012 - 9:01 am

My friend Mark Levin was kind enough to have me on his radio show yesterday to discuss my new Encounter Broadside booklet, The People v. the Democratic Party, and I woke up this morning to this:

 Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

#1 in Books > 4-for-3 Books > Nonfiction > Politics > General

#1 in Books > 4-for-3 Books > Nonfiction > Politics > Political Parties

#1 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Political Parties

Thanks, Mark.

 

 

 

‘Kauft Nicht bei Chick-fil-A’

July 26th, 2012 - 2:51 pm

How quickly does the Left move from “tolerance” (for one of its transgressive ideas) to fascism? This fast:

All of a sudden, biting into a fried chicken sandwich has become a political statement.

Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain known for putting faith ahead of profits by closing on Sundays, is standing firm in its opposition to gay marriage after touching off a furor earlier this month.

Gay rights groups have called for a boycott, the Jim Henson Co. pulled its Muppet toys from kids’ meals, and politicians in Boston and Chicago told the chain it is not welcome there.

It’s only been two months since President Obama came out of the closet as a supporter of gay marriage, but that’s all it took for the Regressives to move from pleading for acceptance to organizing boycotts and using thug political muscle to try and ruin a private business. And why?

The latest skirmish in the nation’s culture wars began when Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that the company was “guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of a family.” In a later radio interview, he ratcheted up the rhetoric: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”

That fired up gay rights advocates, including a group that waged a campaign against the company in recent years by publicizing $3 million in contributions that the Cathy family foundation has made to conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council.

“This solidifies Chick-fil-A as being closely aligned with some of the most vicious anti-gay voices in the country,” said Carlos Maza of Equality Matters.

When the mask drops on the Fairness & Tolerance crowd, it’s never a pretty sight. Expect a lot more of this should Obama somehow win a second term. And speaking of socialist boycotts against commercial establishments with religious principles with whom the rabid Left disagrees…

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Related: From Bryan Preston at the Tatler, “Mumbles Menino: On Second Thought, I Can’t Ban Chick-Fil-A from Boston.”

Mike Bloomberg’s Suicide Cult

July 24th, 2012 - 12:16 pm

If there is one particularly virulent strain of self-loathing that runs throughout contemporary leftist thinking — and so vividly illustrates the true nature of this fundamentally fascist political theology — it’s the implicit insistence that citizens of the United States ought to have little or no right to defend themselves.

For proof, here’s New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, in the Aurora aftermath, arguing that it’s better that a citizen die and have his corpse be collected by a unionized city worker — in this case, the police — than for him or her to have a fighting chance against homicidal criminals. From CNN:

“I don’t understand why the police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike,” Bloomberg told the “Piers Morgan Tonight” host. “We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.”

A co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns – a coalition of more than 600 mayors fighting illegal gun trafficking and gun violence – Bloomberg is frustrated with the level of dangerous ammunition and supplies that are readily available:

That’s right — in Bloomberg’s universe, the ungrateful taxpayers should count themselves lucky that the cops don’t just say the hell with them.

This absurd statement does conservatives a valuable service, by framing so clearly how people like Bloomberg — who commands an armed NYPD and no doubt employs private security guards  to protect his Manhattan mansion and his Bermuda retreat — think about the role of the police: that the cops are there to prophylactically “protect” the citizenry.

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A History of Violence

July 21st, 2012 - 5:42 pm

Writing early in the aftermath of the evil — not tragic, evil — events in Colorado, Roger Simon has laid out some challenging thoughts on Hollywood’s philosophical culpability in such horrific crimes of violence:

Given the horrifying death toll, rare as the likes of Holmes may be, we have to account for the similarly deranged and aberrant. We owe that to the dead of Colorado and elsewhere. Moreover, we should not encourage these events, wittingly or unwittingly. And by we I mean the people who make films (which includes me).

I am not calling for censorship here, nor for gun control laws, but for a modicum of self-censorship on the part of the filmmakers and the film and television industries. They should ask themselves to what end is the violence they are portraying and whether it need be so explicit. Can they make their points as effectively, perhaps more effectively, without the endless splatter and gore?

Allow me to take this argument in a slightly different direction. If you glance to the right of this column, you’ll see the three (so far) books in my “Devlin” series, about a top-secret and very lethal operative for the Central Security Service, as well as the great Irish-American gangster Owney Madden’s own personal memoir (channeled through me) of the most violent days of Prohibition, And All the Saints.  To wrap up this orgy of literary ultra-violence, there’s As Time Goes By, my prequel/sequel to Casablanca, which finds Rick and Ilsa wrapped up in the assassination plot against the architect of the Final Solution, Reinhard Heydrich, the Hangman of Prague.

So you’re not going to find me arguing against violence per se. Violence, alas, is a part of life, and a history of civilization is also a history of violence  – of force met with force, of great armies clashing on the plains, or two special ops waging a secret war in the back alleys of Berlin. To those who say that violence never solved anything, I say: ask Hitler. As Al Capone famously observed, in his neighborhood (Brooklyn), you got farther with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word.

Saving Private Ryan is violent. 300 is violent. Enemy at the Gates is violent. But they are about men at war.

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Takers and Makers

July 19th, 2012 - 7:54 pm

Now that President Obama is out of the closet and stands revealed as a petulant and resentful socialist, who values the collective over the individual and sees the productive class as vampires feeding on the weak and the downtrodden, let’s give equal time to Ayn Rand, via her architect, Howard Roark, in The Fountainhead.

First, the president:

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If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

Yeah, right. Only someone who’s never accomplished a thing in his life except get elected to various offices could say something like that. His statement bespeaks anger, pettiness, jealousy, destructiveness and rage — in short, everything we’ve come to expect from the Parasitical Left.

Contrast Obama’s “Kinsley gaffe” (defined as when a politician inadvertently blurts out the truth) with Roark’s famous defense speech from the 1949 movie starring Mr. All-America himself, Gary Cooper. You don’t have to be a Randian to cheer sentiments like these:

The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks; the parasite copies. The creator produces; the parasite loots. The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men… The parasite seeks power. He wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery.

Look at history. Everything we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots… It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective.

So there it is, Election 2012 in a nutshell: the individual vs. the collective.

We know which side the president is on. Which side are you on?

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Also read:

The Three Great Scams of Our Time

Here it is only mid-July and already the true thuggish face of the Obama Permanent Campaign is emerging for all to see. When the president of the United States feels utterly free to bash private enterprise and the now-deceased Protestant work ethic, and even tries to criminalize it, you know we have entered uncharted waters in American political history.

Not since the Copperhead Democrats tried to appease the South and derail the Lincoln presidency have the Democrats been such an explicitly anti-American party. The relatively moderate party of JFK and Hubert Humphrey was hijacked in the streets of Saul Alinsky’s Chicago in 1968 and at the Miami Beach convention of 1972, which nominated George McGovern, and was transformed into a radical group that can no longer contain its animus against our country, our history, and our Constitution.

All eminently predictable, of course.

I’ve often called the Democrats a “criminal organization masquerading as a political party” — please read my brief  new book on the subject, The People v. the Democratic Party, now available on Amazon, for chapter and verse. But the current rogues calling themselves “Democrats” are, as I pointed out last year over on NRO, especially dangerous:

For years now, I’ve been saying that the modern Democratic party is the unholy issue of thirties gangsters and sixties Marxists, a criminal organization masquerading as a political party, composed of thugs, lawyers, layabouts, and guilt-ridden dupes, and motivated entirely by a lust for power disguised as the phony virtue of “compassion.” And I mean that in the nicest possible way: The Republicans could use a little — no, make that a lot — of their ruthless moxie.

The Professor

Speaking of gangsters and Marxists, Alinsky himself credited some of his effectiveness to the tactics he learned as an accomplice of the Capone mob in Chicago:

He introduced me to Frank Nitti, known as the Enforcer, Capone’s number-two man, and actually in de facto control of the mob because of Al’s income-tax rap. Nitti took me under his wing. I called him the Professor and I became his student. Nitti’s boys took me everywhere, showed me all the mob’s operations, from gin mills and whorehouses and bookie joints to the legitimate businesses they were beginning to take over. Within a few months, I got to know the workings of the Capone mob inside out.

I’ll bet he did. As a gangland historian myself, it’s been fascinating for me to watch the Mob’s progress from the cudgel wing of Tammany Hall, when it realized it could take over an entire city, to its seizing of various states (Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, New York, Missouri and Illinois) and — in the person of Barack Hussein Obama II and cronies like Jake Lingle and the Ballerina – one whole nation. Courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times, here’s the current mayor of Chicago, in happier times:

Primo Uomo

It’s all well and good for Mitt Romney to point out, in his golly-gee genteel way, that the Obama administration pays off its political contributors in the form of government-guaranteed loans and rigged contracts. Of course it does — that’s the very essence of gangsterism, rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies.

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The Party of Burr

July 13th, 2012 - 3:03 pm

That’s basically the thesis of my new essay, The People v. the Democratic Party, now available on Amazon from my PJ colleague Roger Kimball’s Encounter Broadsides. The first review went up today, over at the lively website of the Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons. Some excerpts from the review by “the Czar,” one of its erudite contributors:

The book begins with the premise that the Democratic party was effectively founded in an act of crime—the murder of Alexander Hamilton by Aaron Burr, and how this links to the founding of Tammany Hall, the eventual spoils system of Andrew Jackson, and so on down the line to today’s party. Along the way, Walsh covers the Democrats’ presistent racism to maintain or acquire power, financial entanglements, manipulation of the media, and more, while showing the continuing pattern that repeats every generation…

The point is that the Democrats have not changed in two-hundred years, even though they alter their shape: their shift from pro-slavery to forcing blacks to live on government programs seems like a 180° irony but is no different than the virulent anti-Communist Democrats of the past suddenly embracing radical socialism today: find out where a group is disenfranchised with Republicans, promise them whatever they want in exchange for a vote, and then backstab them once elected. This logic seems tortuous as the Czar puts it here, but Mr. Walsh guides you through it expertly.

Case Closed

Criticism? Well, really, only one. In the conclusion, Mr. Walsh elects to quote a stanza from Milton’s Paradise Lost, which we confess was like hitting a speed bump hidden around a highway curve. The stanza is clever, and underlines a point, but struck us as a strange distraction from the fast-moving text of the rest of the book. A line or two would have sufficed, but a dozen lines of blank verse iambic pentameter is a thwack in the face. We might have edited that out entirely.

So if you can live with that—and you’re gonna have to, because the book’s in print—this book is a superb and swift read.

For whom does the Czar recommend this book? If you are fairly new to politics, or want to learn more about suppressed history, this book is a gem. Inexpensive, too—and did we mention owning it is a click away? This is the sort of stuff that a lot of people would prefer you not read; so even if you already know the sordid history of the number 2 party, you will enjoy Mr. Walsh’s infrastructure thoroughly, as we did.

Also, if you’re a Democrat, you ought to read this book. We didn’t mention it above, but a small portion of this book strongly suggests that the Democrats need to go. This is not a mere partisan challenge; rather, like the Tea Party has begun a serious and increasingly successful reformation of the Republican party, it might be time for Democrats to start a similar reformation of their own.

Exactly.  Here’s my conclusion:

After more than two centuries, it’s time to send the Democrats the way of the Federalists, the Whigs, the Know-Nothings, the Dixiecrats, and the other splinter parties and factions that litter American political history. No law says a given political party is eternal. And yet as long as the party of Burr continues to thrive, its loaded gun is no longer pointing at a man but at a whole nation.

Is there a place in the American political system for a truly loyal opposition – one that does not seek “fundamental transformation” of our constitutional Republic but rather its betterment and continuance? Of course there is.

But is there a place for a criminal organization masquerading as a political party?

If our nation is to survive, not any more.

Full disclosure: As the full review notes, I’m Twitter-friendly with the Gormogons, although I’ve never met any of them in person.  I do have a cordial email friendship with one of the members (not the Czar), who’s reviewed my work favorably in the past.

‘Twilight’ Zone

July 12th, 2012 - 12:38 am

This horror story by James Pethokoukis ought to scare the living daylights out of you and anyone else who cares about the future of the country soon to be formerly known as the United States of America:

The original purpose of Medicaid was to provide improved healthcare access for poor people, while not turning the safety net into a trap. Under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Medicaid will be greatly expanded beyond what Congress originally intended.

In fact, as these charts show, it has already expanded beyond what Congress surely originally envisioned and, in the process, has created a terrible fiscal problem for the United States. (These charts and graphics come from a briefing today here at AEI, conducted by Gary Alexander, secretary of public welfare for Pennsylvania.)

A few scary factoids:

  • In the 1960s, there were 18 workers per Medicaid recipient. Today that number is 2.5.
  • The number of Americans on disability has risen 19% faster than jobs created during this recovery.
  • There are just 1.2 private sector workers per 1 person on welfare or working for government.
  • There are now just 1.65 employed persons in private sector per 1 person on welfare assistance.

There follows a series of charts that are even more terrifying than the factoids, so please read the whole thing.  And then think about this: what happens to a nation when the Party of Take becomes bigger than the Party of Give?

Be careful what you wish for

And that’s just Medicaid. Medicare and Social Security are even worse; in fact, their trustees flatly say their trust funds will be exhausted in just a few years — Medicare by 2016, according to one estimate that factors in the double-counting under the deceitful ObamaTax. The national debt will soon be at 100 percent of GDP. And then what?

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The People v. the Democratic Party

July 9th, 2012 - 6:54 am

My new Broadside from my PJ colleague Roger Kimball‘s Encounter Books is now available on Amazon for the low, low price of $5.99. (The Kindle edition — with links! — comes out at the end of the month.) How can you resist:

A taste of what’s in store:

The first thing you need to know about the Democratic Party is that its first vice president, the traitor Aaron Burr, shot and killed one of the Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, and then plotted sedition against his own president. Everything else is, as they say, commentary….

My brief is against the Democratic Party, which from the inception of the Republic has been a public enemy – an organization antithetical to our nation’s traditions, civic virtues, and moral values.

Does that seem overstated? Consider the facts. Whether it has been defending slavery, selling out our secrets, or simply voting “present” so as not to take a stand on the crucial moral issues of both statecraft and soulcraft, the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition has always been in the forefront of everything inimical to the United States of America.

Its unofficial modern slogan – “by any means necessary” – is indicative of its fundamental amorality. Its will to power, especially since the mid-19th century, is insatiable. It sees greater government as the greater good. It views individual liberty as dangerous and personal choice – always excepting abortion, the only sacrament the atheist left acknowledges and honors – as contrary to the will of the demos. It is always in favor of centralized fascism, including but not limited to the power to ban, criminalize, and anathematize speech and ideas with which it does not agree and which threaten its hegemony.

And all of this in disguise – under the cloak of “compassion,” of “tolerance,” of “fairness.” The Tarnhelm beneath which modern “liberalism” (its very name mocks the political origins of the term) lurks, coiled and ready to strike whenever our side lets down its guard. “Come, I think hell’s a fable,” says Dr. Faustus to Mephistopheles in Marlowe’s play. “Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind,” replies the devil.

And so in the hell the left has made of America over the past half-century or so we currently dwell.

My Broadside, which runs about 6,000 words or so, is the 30th in Roger’s ongoing series of provocative essays about current events; other authors include my friend and PJ/NRO colleague, Andy McCarthy, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, and European Parliamentarian extraordinaire, Daniel Hannan. So think of them as playing cards in an all-star conservative lineup and collect the whole set!

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