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Unexamined Premises

Who’s Next?

April 22nd, 2014 - 7:58 am

Birds of a feather, and all that: the Peaceful and Tolerant Left loves nothing better than heroic, godlike, even martial imagery as it pursues its relentless agenda to remake the world by any means necessary. Remember: they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit. Vorwaerts in die Zukunft!

In the Beginning were the German Beards:

And the Beards were Good

And there were Beards

And the Beards were good.  The Beards were also inspirational. Although they flopped in Germany and Britain, they managed to convince the Russians to pick up hammers and sickles and begin slaughtering millions of their fellow citizens, in order to show them the Light — like these guys:

Die Strahlen der Sonne vertreiben die Nacht,

Die Strahlen der Sonne vertreiben die Nacht

And these guys:

The People, united, will never be defeated

The People, united, will never be defeated

The Beard  on the next page really knew how to rouse the rabble to mass murder:

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Take this sign and shove it

Take this sign and shove it

I have little to add to John Hinderaker’s analysis of the Bundy ranch standoff, except this: if the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency, thinks it can establish “First Amendment Areas” while it goes about its business, it and the rest of the federal bureaucracy need to think again. First, the moral case for Bundy (who, as Hinderaker correctly notes, doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on):

Over the last two or three decades, the Bureau has squeezed the ranchers in southern Nevada by limiting the acres on which their cattle can graze, reducing the number of cattle that can be on federal land, and charging grazing fees for the ever-diminishing privilege. The effect of these restrictions has been to drive the ranchers out of business. Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one. When Bundy refused to pay grazing fees beginning in around 1993, he said something to the effect of, they are supposed to be charging me a fee for managing the land and all they are doing is trying to manage me out of business. Why should I pay them for that..?

So let’s have some sympathy for Cliven Bundy and his family. They don’t have a chance on the law, because under the Endangered Species Act and many other federal statutes, the agencies are always in the right. And their way of life is one that, frankly, is on the outs. They don’t develop apps. They don’t ask for food stamps. It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician. They don’t subsist by virtue of government subsidies or regulations that hamstring competitors. They aren’t illegal immigrants. They have never even gone to law school. So what possible place is there for the Bundys in the Age of Obama?

Well, this is what you get with gangster government. But, just as in the 1930s, when corrupt big-city machines like Tammany Hall worked hand-in-glove with both politicians and criminals — but I repeat myself — it’s going to take the public to rise up and destroy the rackets. Where is the Tom Dewey of our time, the two-fisted racket buster who sent legions of crooks to the slammer? We’re still waiting.

But a “First Amendment Area?” That’s something every American needs to denounce, as loudly as possible. No federal agency has the right to do this, and in a decent administration, the bureaucrat who thought up the idea and ordered the signs posted would be publicly defenestrated pour encourage les autres. There is, however, no accountability in the Obama administration and its corrupt enablers in Congress, for whom everything is a racket — either a source of personal enrichment or an opportunity to mete out some punishment to the regime’s ideological enemies.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The BLM’s stunt violated every one of the amendment’s proscriptions except the “establishment” and “free exercise” clauses, and Obamacare is working hard on those. For the record, here’s the official spokesdroid’s explanation for the zones:

While anybody can express their free speech any time on open public lands in accordance with the codes and ordinances that exist, there are temporary closures of some of the public lands related to this impound operation and those are in place for public safety. So we identified two areas where the public could safely and conveniently express their opinions without having to go through the codes and ordinance process and apply for permits.

So this is the country we live in at the moment: militarized local cops and weaponized federal agencies, whose bureaucratic whims are enforced at gunpoint. It’s not the country I grew up in, nor one in which any right-thinking American would want to live.

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Come back Eliot Ness, your country needs you

Come back Eliot Ness, your country needs you

Another day, another chronicle of Democratic Party malfeasance. Enjoy:

In Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of California has just leveled an explosive charge against his Democrat counterpart on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee — to wit, that the gentleman from Maryland colluded with the IRS to harass a conservative organization fighting for honest elections:

Issa said records obtained last week from the IRS show communications from the office of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., about True the Vote, a Texas-based, non-profit conservative group that aims to prevent voter fraud.The communications at one point involved Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official whom Issa’s panel is poised to hold in contempt of Congress on Thursday for refusing to provide testimony about her involvement in targeting conservative groups.

“The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” a statement from the Oversight panel reads.According to Issa, Cummings and his staff sought “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” from True the Vote.

Naturally, the honorable gentlemen denies the charges:

Cummings said the letter from Issa and others Republicans is “a desperate attempt to shift the focus on tomorrow’s contempt vote away from the serious Constitutional deficiencies in these proceedings.”

Did somebody say “contempt vote”? (UPDATE: it just happened.) What kind of nefarious activity might occasion such a thing? 

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Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. And sometimes there are simply not enough words to do it justice:

 

With Hillary and Jeb waiting in the wings!

With Hillary and Jeb waiting in the wings!

Is this a great country, or what?

And Speaking of the Cold Civil War…

April 6th, 2014 - 11:48 am

walsh_kahane_radical_conservatives_4-6-14-1

This excerpt is from the book Rules for Radical Conservatives by the noted Leftist radical, “David Kahane.” If you don’t know who David Kahane is, click here. And here. Buy it, read it, weep, and enjoy it if you can:

Despite all the evidence of the past several decades, you still have not grasped one simple fact: that, just about a century after the last one ended, we engaged in a great civil war, one that will determine the kind of country we and our descendants shall henceforth live in for at least the next hundred years – and, hopefully, a thousand. Since there hasn’t been any shooting, so far, some call the struggle we are now involved in the “culture wars,” but I have another, better name for it: the Cold Civil War

In many ways, this new civil war is really an inter-generational struggle, the War of the Baby Boomers. America’s largest generation, the famous “pig in the python,” has affected everything it’s touched, from the schools of the 1950s (not enough of them) through the colleges of the 1960s (changed, changed utterly), through the political movements of the 1970s and ‘80s (revolution and counter-revolution), and into the present, where the war is still being waged. For the dirty little secret is that all those fresh-faced kids, crammed together in public-school classrooms, have hated each other almost from the moment they first drew breath, and realized that they were to be locked in lifelong, mortal competition with the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of other kids their same age. From their first moment of self-consciousness, they were aware that they would have to fight for everything they got: for the love of their parents, for a desk in the classrooms, for a place in the elite colleges, for a job, for a title, for money, for everything.

It was back then, shoulder to shoulder in those crowded, stinky classrooms, benighted places where there was scarcely a grief counselor ever to be seen, where Attention Deficit Disorder and the whole host of other imaginary diseases we have since inflicted on you had not yet been invented (any kid claiming ADD would have been laughed at and, in Catholic school, probably slapped upside the head by the nuns), and where the idea of filing a lawsuit on just about any pretext would have been considered trashy, that our respective sides developed our deep antipathy for one other. My crew was resentful that we had to share space, not only in the classroom but on the planet, with inexplicably happy alien beings like you, who, at best, ignored us as you got on with your lives in pursuit of the chimerical “American Dream,” or worse, treated us with contempt as we whined, moaned, bitched and complained about the awful unfairness of life and the vast evil all around us and all that jazz. Just because you happened to be the so-called “majority” at the time didn’t mean we couldn’t start planning ways to take you down, to change things, to effect a fundamental transformation of your society. Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is now ours.

You admired strength, resolve and purposefulness; we were stuck with weakness and indecision. You saw the world as something to be conquered; we saw the world as a hostile force needing to be appeased. You dealt with life head-on, never complaining and never explaining; we ran home and told our mommies. You cheered when macho neanderthals like John Wayne or Steve McQueen kicked some “bad” guy’s butt, and swelled with pride at that whole faked “moon landing” charade, while we ogled Jane Fonda as Barbarella atop that anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, and rolled around naked in the mud at Woodstock. Think of us as Cain to your Abel, hating you from practically the moment we were born, hating you for your excellence and your unabashed pursuit thereof while we were the ugly stepchildren. Well, Cinderfella – how do you like us now?

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Um... stinkburger, er... meanwich

Um… stinkburger, er… meanwich…

Now we know why our Punahou-educated president feels so comfortable in a kindergarten classroom:

President Obama compared the Republican budget plan to a “stinkburger” or “meanwich” during a speech here Wednesday, using a series of zingers in an attempt to strike a contrast with the GOP on economic issues in an election year.

In a speech to an enthusiastic crowd of 1,400 at the University of Michigan, Obama repeatedly mocked Republican ideas about how to improve the economy, as he touted his own proposal to raise the minimum wage.

Obama, who visited the local Zingerman’s deli before the speech, said that Republican proposals to cut taxes for wealthier Americans and federal investments in education, as well as replace his federal health-care program, would harm the economy.

The GOP has proposed the same ideas so many times, Obama said, “It’s like that movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ except it’s not funny. If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s, they’d have to call it the stinkburger or the meanwich.”

Hard to know where to begin with one. The uncritical use by the reporter of the term “federal investments”? A “crowd” of 1,400? A “series of zingers” from the Commander in Chief? “Mockery” from the bully pulpit? Can it be that Obama really doesn’t listen to himself, weigh his words, or respect what, pre-Clinton, we used to laughingly call the “dignity of the office”? Surely somebody wrote those lines for him; this is, after all, a man whose forays off-prompter often end in disaster:

More likely, he simply doesn’t care. His glide path to the presidency has been marked by one thing in particular: no one has ever said “no” to him about anything. He went to one of the most exclusive (and, if you’re into racial bean-counting, whitest) private prep school in Hawaii, then skated through Occidental, Columbia and Harvard while leaving nary a mark or a memory. More than five long years into the Obama presidency, it’s clear that his sense of the job is entirely confined to its ceremonial aspects — parties, vacations, junkets — and to campaigning, which is the only thing he’s any good at.

And yet, to this we’ve come: a country in which style trumps substance, to the cheers of the media. And does Obama ever have style: from the moment he delivered his famous speech at the 2004 Democrat convention as an obscure state senator running for the U.S. Senate, I knew he would be the party’s next nominee, and that he would probably win. The only thing that might have blocked his ascension was Sarah Palin, and once the media recovered from the shock of her nomination and acceptance speech, their knives bloodied her badly — with John McCain, of course, doing nothing to defend her. Indeed, I parodied the reaction in my viral NRO piece, “I Hate You, Sarah Palin“:

But she’s not a Democrat, which despite her va-va-va-voom appearance, means she’s not really a woman, which is one of the reasons we’ve spent the past four days since McCain unveiled her trying to tear her limb from limb. Just because she’s the governor of a state sandwiched between two obscure and unimportant countries, Canada and Russia, and spent more time in her first five minutes visiting American troops in Iraq than Evita Barry did during his entire Rainbow Tour, what could she possibly know about foreign policy? It’s not like she’s John Edwards or something.

So that’s why we’re having our Wellstone Funeral Moment at the moment. We mean well; we promised ourselves we wouldn’t go over the top with our outright loathing of the Neanderthals who preach “Christian” values while practicing Wiccanism and child sacrifice and who hate black people and gay people and want to destroy the environment just because they can, and want to amass more money than even John Kerry or Jon Corzine or Herb Kohl or Jay Rockefeller or Dianne Feinstein — the five richest senators — or Ted Kennedy or John Edwards or Nancy Pelosi have. That, usually, is the Kos Kidz’s job. Along with speculating exactly how Bush got from My Pet Goat to planting the depth charges that blew up the levees in New Orleans.

But sometimes the mask slips and you can see — whoops! — how much we hate you. Normally we’re against hate in all its forms, and embrace tolerance as one of our defining moral attributes. But when it comes to you conservatives, well, with the best will in the world, we just can’t tolerate you. You’re elitist, you’re judgmental, you’re hypocritical, and we know that deep down you hate us even more than we hate you. Therefore, by any means necessary, we will defeat you this fall. Voter fraud, “walking around” money, legions of lawyers, as many recounts as it takes — bring it on!

So why we should be surprised at “stinkburger”? As Lucianne.com drily noted on its post this morning, What next? Republicans are “poopyheads”?

For a look at what a real president looks like, please turn the page.

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Your 2014 Democratic Party "leadership"

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Thanks to my friend and colleague Ed Driscoll for his plug today regarding my phrase, “a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.” As Ed notes, I first coined this handy explanation for everything Democratic over at National Review, in my alter-ego guise of “David Kahane,” in my world-famous parody essay, “I Still Hate You, Sarah Palin.” (Please join “Dave” on Facebook — look for the cover of Rules for Radical Conservatives — or follow him/me on Twitter @dkahanerules.) Some of it is worth revisiting today:

I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but maybe now you’re beginning to understand the high-stakes game we’re playing here. This ain’t John McCain’s logrolling senatorial club any more. This is a deadly serious attempt to realize the vision of the 1960s and to fundamentally transform the United States of America. This is the fusion of Communist dogma, high ideals, gangster tactics, and a stunning amount of self-loathing. For the first time in history, the patrician class is deliberately selling its own country down the river just to prove a point: that, yes, we can! This country stinks and we won’t be happy until we’ve forced you to admit it.

In other words, stop thinking of the Democratic Party as merely a political party, because it’s much more than that. We’re not just the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition. Not just the party of Aaron Burr, Boss Tweed, Richard J. Croker, Bull Connor, Chris Dodd, Richard Daley, Bill Ayers, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II. Not just the party of Kendall “Agent 202” Myers, the State Department official recruited as a Cuban spy along with his wife during the Carter administration. Rather, think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.

So the news yesterday that the FBI has been bagging crooked Democrats all across this great land of ours comes as exactly zero surprise to me.  After all, at the behest of my PJ Media colleague, friend and publisher, Roger Kimball, I wrote the book on the subject: The People v. the Democratic Party, which you can find on Amazon and at better bookstores everywhere. These people have been enemies of the state since Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton (Burr, who was basically the first Democrat vice president, also was one of the founders of Tammany Hall, the first and last word in Democrat municipal corruption). It’s time to start seeing them for what they really are.

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Burn, baby, burn

Burn, baby, burn

Comes the news that Britain’s dreaded National Health Service — a dreamboat to American lefties who have obviously never experienced British “medicine” and a nightmare to conservatives who have — has been incinerating the body bits of aborted babies as “medical waste.”  Coming from the folks who gave Ireland the Drogheda Massacre, this should be no surprise, since a healthy regard for human life has never been characteristic of the former colonial power that left trails of dead bodies in its wake from China to India to Africa to Ireland. To wit:, this eyewitness narrative from the year 1649:

A number of the townspeople fled for safety to St. Peter’s Church, on the north side of the city, but every one of them was murdered, all defenceless and unarmed as they were; others took refuge in the church steeple, but it was of wood, and Cromwell himself gave orders that it should be set on fire, and those who attempted to escape the flames were piked. The principal ladies of the city had sheltered themselves in the crypts. It might have been supposed that this precaution should be unnecessary, or, at least, that English officers would respect their sex; but, alas for common humanity! it was not so. When the slaughter had been accomplished above, it was continued below. Neither youth nor beauty was spared. Thomas Wood, who was one of these officers, and brother to Anthony Wood, the Oxford historian, says he found in these vaults “the flower and choicest of the women and ladies belonging to the town; amongst whom, a most handsome virgin, arrayed in costly and gorgeous apparel, kneeled down to him with tears and prayers to save her life.” Touched by her beauty and her entreaties, he attempted to save her, and took her out of the church; but even his protection could not save her. A soldier thrust his sword into her body; and the officer, recovering from his momentary fit of compassion, “flung her down over the rocks,” according to his own account, but first took care to possess himself of her money and jewels. This officer also mentions that the soldiers were in the habit of taking up a child, and using it as a buckler, when they wished to ascend the lofts and galleries of the church, to save themselves from being shot or brained. It is an evidence that they knew their victims to be less cruel than themselves, or the expedient would not have been found to answer.

Lovely folks, then and now; why the English are heroes to anybody but themselves is beyond me, since I am entirely immune to the strange phenomenon of Anglophilia that seems to infect so many Americans. Still, even the Brits seem to understand that murdering babies and then sending them skyward as a burnt offerings to a dark and savage god is probably not a good idea, pr-wise. Notes the BBC:

Hospitals should cremate or bury aborted foetuses rather than incinerating them, the medical director of the NHS in England says. The move by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh comes after it emerged that some hospitals have been burning foetuses as clinical waste. Channel 4 Dispatches programme says 10 NHS trusts have been burning remains alongside rubbish. It claims two more disposed of bodies in incinerators used to heat hospitals. Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said this practice was “totally unacceptable”.

As my National Review colleague, Kevin Williamson, noted succinctly: “Some days, you pray for a meteor.” Meanwhile, continuing our violent narrative:

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And I do mean alot

And I do mean ‘alot.’

Attention, the Creative Community: does this make any sense to you? One of my pet peeves on Facebook — and you may friend me there simply by looking up “David Kahane” and finding the avatar for Rules for Radical Conservatives — is this kind of list, which purports to impart wisdom but usually just makes your brain ache. Are “creative people” “easily bored”? Do they “think with their heart”? Do they “hate the rules”? No, no, and Hell No, says I.

As the author of six novels (with a new one on the way), one produced script and another heading into production, plus half a dozen sold scripts and four or five projects in various states of fruition (i.e., producer and director attachments), let me say as a member in good standing of the creative community that this list strikes me as better describing a civilian’s idea of “creativity.” For one thing, creative people are not easily bored. From conception through publication of my novel, And All the Saints (winner of the 2004 American Book Award and soon to be available in a spiffy new Kindle and other platforms e-edition), the time elapsed was seven full years. Seven years to think it up, internalize it, decide on the voice (first-person) and the tone, research it on location in New York City and Hot Springs, Ark., write it, get it edited, proofread the galleys and at last hold the finished book in my hand. Was I bored? Not a single time, never, to quote another famous resident of Hot Springs and, as it turned out, a protege of my narrator, the great Irish-American gangster Owney Madden. When the work is going well it’s not work, it’s fun.

Another false meme is that creative folks hate the rules. On the contrary, we love the rules. We internalize the rules. We master the rules. And we continue to love and use the rules even when we are breaking them — which of course we could not do had we not learned them well in the first place. Rules are not arbitrary edicts, but standards that evolve over time based on what works. Only amateurs break them without knowing them — and it shows. The creation of any work of art requires a knowledge of structure, which is why writers and other artists — such as architects — learn how to build from the ground up. They don’t think with their hearts, they think with their heads. After all, the heart can only beat when it’s encased in a solid structure first.

Even “work independently” is not quite right. True, the super-glamorous profession of novelist or screenwriter takes place for long stretches of time with the writer sitting alone in a small room, typing. But nothing exists in a vacuum: writers have agents and editors, screenwriters have agents and producers and directors and studio suits and a horde of other colleagues once the film is actually being made. We interact constantly and symbiotically, and benefit both emotionally and (some of the time, anyway) financially.

One thing that’s true: we do make lots of mistakes, with the bones of countless false starts, misdirections and even whole drafts buried in our back yards. And it’s also true that we change our mind(s) “alot.” A. Lot. We also learn how to spell. Meanwhile, back on the home front:

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What are you lookin' at?

What are you lookin’ at?

So I’m on the other side of the pond for a while, and figured St. Patrick’s Day would be a fine time to start this little subdivision of Unexamined Premises. A look at our beloved country from a different perspective; quick hits, brief observations, drive-by opinionating. In so doing, I’m aiming to start an ongoing dialogue with our PJ readers, which means I’ll be reading and responding to many of your comments, as if we were having a conversation, perhaps right here in my local haunt in Ireland. Let’s get the party started:

● Conservatives, especially social conservatives, never embarrass themselves more than when they write about Hollywood without apparently having worked a day in the Industry. Two recent pieces illustrate my point: Christian Toto’s ridiculous notion that renegade filmmaker John Milius’s career effectively ended, for political reasons, after he made the 1984 version of Red Dawn; and Ben Shapiro’s ludicrous (and much-derided) claim that “Hollywood” killed Philip Seymour Hoffman. A brief flavor of both — first, Toto:

Milius was as hot as the proverbial pistol in the industry in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and even a commercial misstep like Big Wednesday couldn’t cool his pen or power. Then he directed a tale of middle American teens who battle against Soviet forces, and Hollywood suddenly mistrusted his talents.

Red Dawn‘s unabashed patriotism and appetite for violence cast him out of polite Hollywood circles. His career never truly recovered, an issue explored in the documentary.

Dawn made a bundle, but that didn’t matter since its values clashed with the minds who mattered–film critics and fellow Hollywood players alike.

Yeah, right, that must be it — what other explanation can there be? Let’s let the Telegraph make a small point:

In recent years Milius has suffered two serious setbacks. A close friend who was his accountant made off with large quantities of his savings and, even worse, a couple of years ago he suffered a serious stroke. He is now, however, well on his way to recovery and is, allegedly, in the first stages of bringing a long-cherished script for a biopic of Ghengis Khan to the screen in collaboration with RZA of hip hop maestros the Wu Tang Clan.

And now to Shapiro’s Unified Field Theory regarding the irredeemable wickedness of Tinseltown:

But his self-inflicted death is yet another hallmark of the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood, enabling rather than preventing the loss of some of its greatest talents. Libertarianism becomes libertinism without a cultural force pushing back against the penchant for sin; Hollywood has no such cultural force. In fact, the Hollywood demand is for more self-abasement, less spirituality, less principle, less standards.

Be sure to read the comments, in which NRO’s readers send young Ben off to stand in the corner until he masters English grammar, learns geography, understands libertarianism, and shows a little respect for the dearly departed. Ignorant resentment of Hollywood is the hallmark of outsiders who don’t understand it, envy it, and will absolutely never be a part of it, except as audience members. Meanwhile:

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