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Unexamined Premises

Most Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

October 17th, 2013 - 2:18 pm

Attitude readjustment time

They’re out there. After “Call me Ishmael,” perhaps the greatest opening sentence to an American novel, ever. The saga of McMurphy, the not-quite-sane man in an nuthouse full of lunatics, as told by Chief Broom — the lone sane inmate, who just pretends he’s crazy — is one of the underrated classics of American literature, a book so brilliantly conceived and perfectly executed that it makes the reader shake his head in wonder.

We’ve all seen the movie, of course, the 1975 Milos Forman film that made Jack Nicholson  a star, and we know how Black Jack’s one-man war against the State — in the form of the evil Nurse Ratched — ends (see above). Here’s how the Chief describes McMurphy’s neutering in the book:

Put on those things like headphones, crown of silver thorns over the graphite at his temples. They try to hush his singing with a piece of rubber hose for him to bite on.

“‘Mage with thoothing lan-o-lin.’”

Twist some dials, and the machine trembles, two robot arms pick up soldering irons and hunch down on him. He gives me the wink and speaks to me, muffled, tells me something, says something to me around that rubber hose just as those irons get close enough to the silver on his temples — light arcs across, stiffens him, bridges him up off the table till nothing is down but his wrists and ankles and out around that crimped black rubber hose a sound like hooeee! and he’s frosted over completely with sparks.

And out the window the sparrows drop smoking off the wire.

After yesterday’s “budget-crisis” sellout, the sparrows falling off the wire are us; the Surrender Caucus in Congress has seen to that, voluntarily subjecting themselves to the same Obamacare treatment that McMurphy fought so gallantly against. How else to interpret this gloat from Big Nurse himself, Chuck Schumer?

“I’ve talked to Mitch about this — I think the whole Republican Senate is different now,” Schumer said on Morning Joe on Thursday. “I don’t think Ted Cruz will recover so quickly. . . . I think the Tea Party and Ted Cruz have peaked.”

The New York Democrat said the tea-party members have now alienated their Republican colleagues as well as the general public after the shutdown. “I think you’re going to see a more mainstream, conservative Republican party,” he added.

I bet we will.  More right after the page break.

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Alive

October 2nd, 2013 - 5:12 pm
Please, sir, I want some more big government

Please, sir, I want some more big government

A couple of days into the so-called government shutdown and already some Republicans are scratching their heads and wondering why they’re losing the messaging war. After all, they have the facts — it’s Obama and his stooge, Harry Reid, who really want the shutdown and are determined to keep it going as long as possible — and the emotions (cancer kids being turned away from the NIH) on their side. Why, just today I heard the real face of the Democratic Party, Chuck Schumer, pointedly blaming House Speaker John Boehner, and loving every minute of it.

Conservatives are kidding themselves if they think, as some do, that the Voice of the People — making itself heard in such actions as the World War II veterans’ liberation of their monument in Washington yesterday and today, or a nebulous notion of “citizen journalism” — will be enough to force the Democrats to the reality side of the ledger. The recent history of the Tea Party — victorious in 2010, neutered (in part by Lois Lerner and her IRS) in 2012 — shows that. A disorganized, multi-headed movement is not a movement at all, but a rabble, a Children’s Crusade, and one that will end up the way the Children’s Crusade did back in 1212.

What the conservative cause needs now is a leader.

I have no idea who that leader might be. Now that civil war has broken out in the ranks of the GOP, the momentum is with the insurgents, so any leader, whoever he or she may be, is likely to come from the ranks of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Jeff Sessions, et al. It is, on the other hand, highly unlikely that he will step forth from the spear carriers who currently surround Boehner and Eric Cantor, but who will melt away like the Praetorian Guard after the assassination of the Emperor once Boehner is deposed. The banshee screech of a frightened and wounded Leftist establishment speaks volumes about who and what they fear — and they fear the Tea Party.

This time is different. What is at stake in this government shutdown forced by a radical Tea Party minority is nothing less than the principle upon which our democracy is based: majority rule. President Obama must not give in to this hostage taking — not just because Obamacare is at stake, but because the future of how we govern ourselves is at stake.

What we’re seeing here is how three structural changes that have been building in American politics have now, together, reached a tipping point — creating a world in which a small minority in Congress can not only hold up their own party but the whole government. And this is the really scary part: The lawmakers doing this can do so with high confidence that they personally will not be politically punished, and may, in fact, be rewarded. When extremists feel that insulated from playing by the traditional rules of our system, if we do not defend those rules — namely majority rule and the fact that if you don’t like a policy passed by Congress, signed by the president and affirmed by the Supreme Court then you have to go out and win an election to overturn it; you can’t just put a fiscal gun to the country’s head — then our democracy is imperiled.

No names, please, though — we’re the Tea Party. The marginalization of the Tea Party is the point of nearly everything I read on the left these days; they are the giant ogres out to devour democracy. I have very dear and old friends who are convinced Tea Party “terrorists” are undermining our political system, that Obamacare is “settled law” (the Left’s fondness for “settled” concepts is striking for the Party of Reality and Science, and binds them philosophically with Islam, for which everything was settled in the seventh century), and that zealots have seized control of the House.

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The Turning Point

September 25th, 2013 - 7:57 pm

King Pyrrhus: No we can’t.

In the decades to come, historians may well look back on the partisan passage of Obamacare during President Obama’s first term and its disastrous implementation in the second as a Pyrrhic victory, the beginning of the end of the Progressive project to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America. Whether Senator Ted Cruz ultimately succeeds in his quest to defund Obamacare this time, his electrifying quasi-filibuster yesterday and today nevertheless marks a turning point in modern American political history — the day when conservatives turned their back on the collaborationist Republican Party and finally fought back.

It’s been a long time coming. The tottering bonzes of the GOP were so mesmerized and intimated by a young upstart named Barack Hussein Obama back in 2008 — even though they should have seen him coming as long ago as 2004, when he became the inevitable nominee of a party that could finally put its money where its mouth had long been — that they were utterly incapable of mounting any effective opposition to him. What little pushback there was came, almost by accident, from Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate, who was quickly muzzled by the establishment apparatchiks and then marginalized by a compliant and vicious media. The Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party protects its own:

John McCain’s former senior adviser Steve Schmidt says he has “deep regret” for helping to create a “freak show” wing of the Republican Party when he had a hand in bringing former McCain running mate Sarah Palin to the national stage.

Schmidt said Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball” that it’s time for the GOP to stand up to the “asininity” embodied by Palin and others.

“For the last couple of years, we’ve had this wing of the party running roughshod over the rest of the party. Tossing out terms like RINO, saying we’re going to purge, you know, the moderates out of the party,” Schmidt said. “We’ve lost five U.S. Senate seats over the last two election cycles. And fundamentally we need Republicans, whether they’re running for president, whether they’re in the leadership of the Congress, to stand up against a lot of this asininity.”

Well, one man’s asininity is another man’s principles, but principles are something the PBFP doesn’t much understand. The only principle that counts to them is maintenance of office; long ago they realized there’s no percentage in bucking the system. Far better (for Republicans) to pretend to be “conservative” during election season — especially in the Senate — only to return to “Senate comity” once safely past the shoals of the electorate. In the winter, they’re Buddhists, in the summer they’re nudists, to quote the late Joe Gould.

No longer — Cruz’s “filibuster” has changed all that. For Republicans, the year is suddenly 1968 and they are in the same position the Democrats were back then. This time, there’s no pitched battles in the streets of Chicago as Obama’s mentor, Bill Ayers, and others went up against Mayor Daley’s pigs and came out broken, bloodied but unbowed as they fought for control of the party of slavery, segregation, sedition and secularism. Four years later, they had replaced Hubert Humphrey with George McGovern as part of their long march through the institutions.

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Twelve Years Later…

September 11th, 2013 - 8:59 am

Commencement of hostilities

… we are still at war with the Muslim world, and it most certainly is still at war with us.

… we have lost the strategic advantage of having large concentrations of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, surrounding Iran, and the mullahs are well on their way to acquiring nuclear weapons in order to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam.

… in addition to the 3,000 souls lost in 2001, more than 5,000 soldiers have perished in the “War on Terror,” and for absolutely no strategic purpose or effect.

… we lost four diplomats and security personnel in Benghazi, Libya, exactly one year ago today, and still the government not only continues to lie about what happened but also refuses to let the truth come out. Or, maybe, somehow it will.

… our best fighting generals have been sacked, on one pretense or another, since the start of combat operations in the Af-Pak theater.

… we have active hostiles serving openly in our Armed Forces.

political correctness has spread to all corners of the Armed Services, including the Marine Corps, and is directly responsible for the Bradley Manning and Major Hasan fiascos; there will be more to come.

US President Barack Obama gestures for t

Don’t ask, don’t tell

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Run for your lives! It’s inanimate objects!

Even by the standards of the Daily Beast/Newsweek/Whatever, there’s a remarkably silly and poorly argued piece of emotionalism masquerading as journalism by one Jamelle Bouie, in which our intrepid reporter sees a bunch of guns and freaks out:

For years, police officers in North Carolina had a choice when it came to confiscated guns. They could use them for law enforcement purposes—training, testing, examining—or they could destroy them.

But a new law passed by Republican lawmakers in the state changes that. Police officers can still use confiscated guns, but as of this week, they can’t destroy them. Instead, if a department wants to get rid of a gun, it has to sell it or auction it. Effectively, men and women who once worked to keep guns off of the streets must now moonlight as gun dealers.

The headline says it all: Gun Fanatics Score Big Victory in North Carolina. Here’s the gist of the argument:

It’s a fanaticism that hints at something elemental. It’s one thing to support and defend gun rights, which through the years have become an integral part of American identity. It’s something else entirely to oppose the destruction of guns used to commit violence and harm innocent people.

You read that right: the guns themselves committed violence and harmed innocent people, and therefore need to be destroyed before they can wound and kill again.

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The Very Best of Hands

August 29th, 2013 - 6:38 am
The Commander-in-Chief

The commander-in-chief, muscular and robust

I’ve had my say about Syria here and on the home page, as part of PJ Media’s college of columnists, so there’s little to add until the President makes up his mind: to intervene in the Syrian civil war or not? A third course, inaction, would seem more suitable for a man of his unmartial temperament, but the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party will have none of that:

One U.S. official who has been briefed on the options on Syria said he believed the White House would seek a level of intensity “just muscular enough not to get mocked” but not so devastating that it would prompt a response from Syrian allies Iran and Russia.

“They are looking at what is just enough to mean something, just enough to be more than symbolic,” he said.

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. Over at, Jeffrey Goldberg has had enough:

There’s nothing like acting out of an acute fear of mockery to get you mocked, I suppose. Remember “leading from behind”? This quote ranks up there in the did-someone-actually-say-that category. (By the way, I don’t doubt the accuracy of the reporting, I’m just incredulous that someone in a position of responsibility would be so brutally frank.)

“Muscular,” by the way, is one of those words — like “robust” — that Washington policy makers use to describe foreign and defense policies that otherwise might not be mistaken for muscular or robust.

As the saying goes, the country’s in the very best of hands.

UPDATE: Even Assad’s kid is apparently getting into the act. The utter humiliation of Barack Hussein Obama — and of the country he purports to lead — is now almost complete. Let’s just hope the former Punahou bench-warmer doesn’t take umbrage at trash talk. On the other hand, he does seem to have sensitivity issues


Military Officers Warn Against Syria Strike

Muslims, doing what they do best

Muslims, doing what they do best

Here we go again. In the wake of Sept. 11 — an atrocity wholly attributable to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which provided most of the hijackers and whose evil Wahabbist ideology offered the emotional and “religious” justification for mass murder — the Bush administration did almost everything wrong: attacking Iraq, trying to “nation-build” in Afghanistan, creating the ludicrous Department of Homeland Security and its idiot stepchild, the Transportation Security Administration, appointing a useless director of national intelligence, and establishing the Big Brother security state that Barack Hussein Obama is now exploiting to spy on the very people he is supposed to lead.

Deceptively running on an “I’m not Bush” platform, Obama has merrily presided over the third and now the fourth terms of the Bush administration — a cause in which he is happily joined by the likes of Arizona Senator John McCain and his mini-me from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, two of the charter members of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Government that has been in power in the U.S. since 1988 and shows no signs of lessening its choke hold on the nation.

And now this. In a development rich with irony, the Winter Soldier himself, John “Mr. Eighteen Weeks” Kerry — who returned from Vietnam with almost as many medals as Audie Murphy, and in record time — has now declared that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its Islamist rebels and thrown the latest hot potato over to his boss — who’s characteristically dithering. Still, with Obama’s proclaimed “red line” against the use of chemical weapons by the Bashar Assad government, and the cheerleading from the McCain side of the aisle, there seems little doubt that the U.S. is about to enter yet another war in the Middle East. What could go wrong?

How about this item in Forbes:

Moscow urged Washington on Sunday not to repeat “past mistakes” in the Middle East when dealing with the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad.Washington said Assad used it before. Russia said they did not.

Doctors Without Borders and Syrian opposition say that more than 300 people died after the alleged toxic gas attack in an eastern Damascus suburb on Wednesday, but Syrian authorities denied the claim.

Of course. Why make this black and white?

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday that President Barack Obama has told him to “prepare options for all contingencies” while the White House is deciding whether to use military force against Syria, according to various U.S. news agencies.

Shortly after that news broke, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the alleged chemical attack could have been a staged “provocation” by the Syrian opposition and that the U.S. might use it as a pretext to go after Syria.

“All of this makes one recall the events that happened 10 years ago, when, using false information about Iraqis having weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. bypassed the United Nations and started a scheme whose consequences are well known to everyone,” the ministry said in a web-posted statement.

There were never any weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. And numerous reports by the U.K. and U.S. government at the U.N. were actually old information, some of it even plagiarized.

From Russia’s view, President Barack Obama is just another Middle East war-loving George W. Bush.

A senior Russian lawmaker said Sunday that Obama was a George W. “clone”.

“Obama is restlessly heading towards war in Syria like Bush was heading towards war in Iraq. Like in Iraq, this war would be illegitimate and Obama will become Bush’s clone,” said Alexei Pushkov of the international committee of the Russian lower house, according to Forbes. 

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Leverage and Lysistrata

August 20th, 2013 - 10:51 am
The Grand Old Party in action

The Grand Old Party in traditional attack mode

Amazing what a little backbone and a few functioning teeth can do:

You know that Hillary Clinton miniseries that has the RNC all up and arms and people at NBC News all worried?

Well it is more than likely not going to hit the air at NBC.

NBC sources tell FTVLive that the NBC suits have figured the Clinton miniseries ” just isn’t worth it.”

Word is that NBC is going to let it quietly go away without saying a word.

NBC does not want to make it look like the RNC or their own news people “got their way,” so the project will likely die in the “in development” stage.

One NBC source told FTVLive that the miniseries has gone from a 90% “go” to more like a a 60% “No go.”

“They just want it to quietly die before it ever goes into production,” said our NBC source.

Now, whatever could have caused that? Or, for that matter, this:

Fox TV Studios, division of 21 Century Fox and a sister company of Fox News, won’t be the producer of NBC’s planned 4-hour miniseries Hillary, about Hillary Clinton, that has Diane Lane attached to star as the former First Lady and Secretary of State. The network and the studio had been in preliminary talks with the two sides far apart, and they were never able to bridge the gap on the deal terms.

For you civilians, to get a big miniseries off the ground, it takes two to tango: a producing entity (in this case, Fox) and a network on which to show it (NBC). Each side chips in some major dough to get the thing made, and away we go. This was the first sign that all was not well in Clintonland:

NBC began to circle the wagons on its Hillary Clinton miniseries this afternoon, hours after the Republican National Committee blocked the network from GOP primary debates, calling the miniseries a Clinton promo. “The Hillary Clinton movie has not been ordered to production, only a script is being written at this time,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said this afternoon in a statement. “It is ‘in development’, the first stage of any television series or movie, many of which never go to production. Speculation, demands, and declarations pertaining to something that isn’t created or produced yet seem premature,” he added. The statement was issued not long after word got out that Fox TV Studio, which had been in early stages of talks to produce the miniseries, would not move ahead with the project about the former First Lady and Secretary of State.

Ask me about Benghazi. No, wait -

Ask me about Benghazi. No, wait -

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Obama, the Media, and Dog World

August 12th, 2013 - 7:22 am
Their master's voicre

Their master’s voice

A friend of mine, who happens to own three dogs, once articulated the concept of Dog World for me: the canine’s charming ability to completely forget everything outside its immediate purview and then instantly light up with delight when, say, you come back into the room — even if you’ve only been gone for a couple of minutes. Everything has been forgotten and forgiven, and the world begins again anew.

This phenomenon, I think, explains the mainstream media’s utter inability to cover Barack Hussein Obama and his administration with any degree of rationality. It’s been a commonplace for at least five years now that the MSM is more lapdog than watchdog, and the rapidly diminishing news organizations have become kennels for the housing of particularly prized hunt (conservatives) and fetch (for liberals) hounds.

The MSM gleefully abandoned all pretense of neutrality once Obama showed up — for the aging Baby Boomers who still control the legacy media, the Civil Rights movement (not the Cold War against Soviet Communism) was and remains the signal issue of their lives; for them, Obama was the living embodiment of Martin Luther King’s great “Dream” speech and, however unworthy he was to take on Dr. King’s mantle … well, you go to war with the army you have. There cannot be any “objectivity” about Obama, because to allow any into the coverage would be to negate the entire reason the news chiefs went into journalism in the first place.

Fair’s fair — the men (and they were all men in those day) who hired Boomers like me back in the late sixties and early seventies were, for the most part, cold warriors. There was a national bipartisan consensus about George Kennan’s doctrine of containment (although even then the original red diaper babies were doing all they could to help out their ideological allies, the Soviets). Was the coverage therefore slanted against “objectivity” when it came to Soviet communism and the danger it posed to American society? Of course it was.

Now the Left is in the ascendancy in the media and academe and all the other professions into which they fled after their revolution of 1968-70 came up short, and they figured out you could get your head busted or worse trying to go up against The Man without adequate backup. It’s just their luck that, late in their careers, they’ve completely taken over journalistic enterprises like the New York Times and the Washington Post, just as those newspapers are crumbling; when Carlos Slim bailed out the Times and Jeff Bezos bought the Post, they temporarily suspended their War on the One Percent in the interests of self-preservation, but you don’t need a former member of the Weather Underground like Obama’s buddy Bill Ayers to know which way the wind’s blowing.

Still, for the Left, “objectivity” in covering Obama hasn’t entirely died, it’s just been redefined. Where once it mean “balance,” today it means “forget everything that happened yesterday,” just like in Dog World. Obama’s prior actions, statements, inconsistencies, gaffes? No problem! Yesterday’s fishwrap, pixels in the sand. Did the president switch positions on a dime? Who can remember back that far? It’s like the scene in Casablanca (no, not that scene) in which Rick  blows off Yvonne, his French girlfriend:

Yvonne: Where were you last night?

Rick Blaine: That’s so long ago, I don’t remember.

Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?

Rick Blaine quote: I never make plans that far ahead.

In other words, Obama and the Democrat-Media Complex exist in the Context of No Context. This allows the president to stay on the campaign trail (the only thing he really knows how to do; it’s certainly not basketball or golf) and, in effect, to run against himself. The media allows him to hold one position — say, opposition to gay marriage — for years and then suddenly switch sides after “evolving,” without ever mentioning again his former opposition. (That’s because, in their hearts of hearts, they knew he was lying all along.) To bring it up again would not only be bad form, it would be indulging in “analysis” in the sacrosanct “news columns,” which as we all know are completely free of spin, attitude or snark unless some Republican or conservative deserves it.

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RINOs in Wonderland

August 7th, 2013 - 8:31 am

I’ve got mine, Jack — yours, too

As the record shows, I was no big fan of Mitt Romney. On the 2011 National Review cruise, I predicted that if Romney was the Republican candidate against Barack Obama he would lose, and on the 2012 cruise I had to say: told you so. I took, and take, no pleasure in that; in fact, I even succumbed to an election-eve bout of irrational optimism (along with most of my PJ colleagues) that somehow the American electorate would see through the fraud that is Barack Obama and do the right thing. Oops.

But now that we’re well into the fifth year of the very slow slog known as the Obama administration, maybe Romney’s loss wasn’t so bad. Like John McCain, who’s all but gone over to the other side, Mitt would have driven us conservatives crazy. Deep down, we all knew his “severe conservatism” was just an act, delivered with Mitt’s trademark sincerity. And in any case, the thing that should have instantly disqualified Romney as the GOP nominee — Romneycare in Massachusetts — would have been the gift that kept on giving. Does anybody really think that Romney would have started dismantling Obamacare on Day One?

Of course not. And that’s why it’s not surprising to see Mitt pop out of his La Jolla mansion to warn against the campaign by Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and other radical conservatives in Congress to defund Obamacare. After all, that might mean (gasp!) shutting down the government should the Democrats call the Republicans’ bluff, and we can’t have that — because what would the United States of America do without the federal government? From the Washington Times:

“We need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government,” Mr. Romney said at a fundraiser in New Hampshire for the state’s Republican Party, according to prepared remarks. “What would come next when soldiers aren’t paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty?”

The former Massachusetts governor said that the GOP has better options for removing Mr. Obama’s health care law.

“I’m afraid that in the final analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy,” he said. “I think there are better ways to remove Obamacare.”

I can think of one right off the top of my head: running better candidates than the two RINOs who cost us the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, candidates who would have excited the party’s conservative base instead of taking it for granted. There are a lot of reasons Romney lost — narrowly but still decisively — to Obama last year, among them the customary Democrat willingness to bend or even break election rules in order to win; for them, as for Vince Lombardi, winning isn’t everything — it’s the only thing. The thought was that conservatives would have nowhere else to go once they got to the ballot box, but the flaw in that thinking was exposed when not enough conservatives bothered to show up at the polls in the first place. Contrast that with the Left’s relentless bush-beating; the Democrats managed the amazing feat of actually increasing black and minority turnout for the second Obama election, which proved to be their margin of victory. That’s how you play the game: to win.

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