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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Liberal Indulgences

October 28th, 2011 - 10:02 pm

Medieval Liberalism

Recently I saw some TV clips from MSNBC and CNN, one critiquing Herman Cain, the other an interview with Michael Moore. They both reminded me that one of strangest aspects of modern American society is the system of indulgences that permeates our entire culture.

In a nutshell, our American elites, even if well-meaning with real concern for the less fortunate, have adopted the medieval practice of compartmentalization. Loud demonstrations of general progressive piety exempt one from consistency. Our medieval ancestors could practice usury if they helped repair a collapsed nave or joined a Crusade, as traditional Christianity tried to deal with an imperfect world of important Christians who did not wish to live by their doctrine.

Today, liberalism puts a comparable burden on its elites: can one occupy Wall Street and still enjoy the luxury of that iPhone 4s? Did the university professor in Zuccotti Park worry about Wall Street when his TIAA-CREF account used to return 8% plus per annum? Can we still jet to Tuscany and worry about carbon footprints? Can we live in Chevy Chase, Malibu, or Woodside and be stalwarts on the barricades of racial integration and multiculturalism? How can we make $200,000 a year as assistant vice provost for diversity affairs, when a part-time lecturer gets 1/5 for the same class a full-time, top-step professor teaches?

Examine the burdens of modern liberal exemption and indulgence.


Democratic strategist and MSNBC analyst Karen Finney said this the other day, “One of the things about Herman Cain is, I think that he makes that white Republican base of the party feel okay, feel like they are not racist because they can like this guy. I think he giving that base a free pass. And I think they like him because they think he’s a black man who knows his place. I know that’s harsh, but that’s how it sure seems to me.”

Accusing either Cain of being an Uncle Tom sort or his supporters of being racists in backing a supposedly minstrel-like African-American (and that is what the successful entrepreneurial Cane is reduced to) is now a sort of standard left-wing narrative. There are no repercussions in such smears, no charges of racism. I assume that when Cain authentically drops his g’s, he is a sort of embarrassment to the liberal elite; when Obama does that in front of the Black Caucus, apparently we are to assume that this is some sort of wink-and-nod necessity for the former Harvard Law Review editor to do the necessary pandering to his “base.” Indulgences for racist stereotyping are purchased by loud proclamations of liberalism. Were Cornel West or Harry Belafonte a conservative, their rantings would long ago have been written off as false-consciousness racism.

Big Money

Michael Moore’s wealth is usually pegged around $50 million. If half his fortune were liquid and conservatively put into a savings account at about 2% interest, Moore’s annual income would be about $500,000 per year. That income would easily put him into the now hated “1%”, a group which he and others have blasted as schemers who benefit from capitalism at the expense of the 99%.

Yet when asked about his own 1% status recently on CNN, Moore was left sputtering and grasping for straws about his high-school education and all the philanthropic things he does. In other words, his liberal fides supposedly purchase him an indulgence from the supposed sins of being rich — in the manner that the left, the media, and popular culture do not go after George Soros for nearly breaking the Bank of England (making a $1 billion profit in currency speculation), or being convicted of insider trading in France (upheld on appeal). There are no signs at Occupy Wall Street damning the Soros speculations that fund “good” causes.

Savvy wealthy people — whether the Kennedy Trust beneficiaries, a Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett — understand that minimizing tax exposure, trying to avoid federal inheritance taxes through foundations, or accumulating vast riches are, in the liberal sense of ethics, offset by progressive platitudes. In short, we are supposed to think differently of John Kerry trying to avoid taxes on his multimillion-dollar superfluous yacht than we do of a car dealer’s Lexus. Warren Buffett can praise big government and higher taxes as the indulgence necessary to feel OK about shorting the government billions of future inheritance taxes by giving his fortune to a privately-run foundation that apparently is felt to be more efficient than the Department of Human Services, who, after all, could use the cash in these times of mega-deficits.

Greener Than Thou

Rarely have indulgences been more transparent than in the carbon-offset racket of the early 21st century, in which Al Gore and others established companies to do green audits on millionaires, enabling them to keep the big Malibu beach house, the Net jet account, or the 20,000 sq. ft. estate. Burning nearly 20,000 kilowatts per month or flying on private jets is the sort of indulgence purchased by Earth in the Balance or An Inconvenient Truth.

Green indulgences allow one to consume almost anything one wishes, to such an extent that one can assume that usually the loudest and most influential green advocates are themselves greater than average consumers of carbon. Loud advocacy of cap-and-trade might win you release from the purgatory of a rather large house.

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Rage On—and on and on…

October 23rd, 2011 - 12:17 pm

Occupy Wall Street?

I’ve been following the Wall Street protests, in New York and elsewhere. I read as well of the Democratic Party’s sorta interest in turning the anger of a few into a left-wing Tea-Party-like movement of many.

Against that background, I’ve also been counting up Barack Obama’s excuses (ATM machines are to blame and so are the tsunami, the EU, George W. Bush, the nine-month-old Republican House, the Arab Spring, the D.C. earthquake, and rising oil prices). He’s also growing his target list of various insults (everyone and everything from Clarence Thomas, Nancy Reagan, and the Special Olympics to fat-cat bankers, corporate jet-owners, millionaires and billionaires, and “the teabag, anti-government people”).

Out of all that chaos, I think there are two constants that explain the Obama frustration and the current outpouring of invective at Wall Street, “them,” the affluent, and our capitalist system in general.

So Sorry — It Doesn’t Work

On a wider political level, there is a growing realization that today’s brand of liberalism is really a form of slow societal suicide. We see red states recovering from recession; blue states are still broke. Greece is a mess; so is the entire anti-democratic, statist, and redistributive EU. Keynesian economics is about as dead as global warming/climate change/climate chaos in the age of Climategate, Al Gore, Inc., and a planet cooling over the last decade.

The old idea of open borders is also over. The notion is discredited that teaching new arrivals multiculturalism and ethnic chauvinism, providing them massive subsidies, and ignoring federal statutes was both more humane and more efficacious than the old melting pot of our youth. Solyndra was the epitaph of the lie of “millions of green jobs.” Obama will never utter that now bankrupt phrase again. “Green” means millions of dollars in printed federal money for each job produced, but even far more millions to crony capitalists who hid their malfeasance with hope and change sloganeering.

The Façade Peels Away

Independents are starting to see the end of the latest liberal experiment. Society simply cannot continue paying a half-trillion-dollars to import gas and oil, and hundreds of billions to subsidize inefficient wind and solar, even as known U.S. coal, gas, oil, shale, and tar sands reserves soar — but remain vastly underutilized. The administration’s Energy Department (e.g., gas should reach European levels, people cannot be trusted to buy the right light bulbs, California farms will blow away) is now simply the sibling of the EPA.

Raging Against the Machine

Soon even some mainstream Democrats will grasp the lie. Obamism not only does not work; its fiscal, energy, cultural, and foreign policies result in Greek-like stasis and chaos. It hinges on scapegoating those who say it does not work. Its current anger is sort of like the furor directed at those who were either trying to change or depart from the ossified medieval Church, when altruistic doctrine hides penances, exemptions, and vast estates. Stop the Smears begat JournoList which begat AttackWatch.com.

Again, all of the above is why Obama’s target and excuse lists grow and the old calls for civility and unity fade. How can a Democratic president, with a Democratic-controlled House and Senate for two years, keep faulting the present mess on either an ex-president who left almost three years ago, or a Republican-controlled House of some nine months tenure?

Junior Has Been Had?

But on a personal level, these more cosmic issues are coming home as well. Many of the current group of protestors down at Wall Street — remember the summer’s earlier flash mobbing here and the hoodies in the UK — are unknowingly raging against just this “system” where some have more than they do and will always have more, given the current frozen economy. About 2010, the music stopped and those without chairs were out of luck.

Many are furious that they have or soon will have very expensive degrees, bought at the price of either exorbitant loans or near insolvent parents who paid the $100,000-200,000 for today’s BAs. The students cannot rage against the modern corrupt, but ideologically sacrosanct, university. There, diversity czars outnumber French professors. Academic success is calibrated by avoiding introductory undergraduate classes — and all for the “student.”

The Old Way

After all, in the old days, faculty taught 6-8 (and more) classes a year. Administrators taught too and were relatively small in number (unlike the 1-1 ratio at the CSU system, the world’s largest university). The curriculum was designed to instill inductive thinking. It prepared the student to write well, think, and have a corpus of dates, events, people, and places at his fingertips for reference and elucidation.

In the Belly of the Beast — And?

Politicking was rare even in the 1970s. Well over thirty years ago, I took some 30 courses in Greek and Latin language and literature at UC Santa Cruz, and another 12 PhD seminars at Stanford — all from whom in retrospect I would imagine were mostly hard left. But who knew? Not once in eight years of undergraduate or graduate education did a liberal professor go off topic to rant or, indeed, to mix politics with history or literature or language. There were no points given for politically correct answers. No sermonizing poured forth from the rostrum. There was also simply no time to do so, given the enormity of the assignments. Reading five pages of Thucydides in Greek for each class or understanding the structure of ancient Athenian democracy left no time to blast an aspiring Ronald Reagan. I am sure indoctrination started in the early 1960s, but even in the 1970s it had not completely taken hold.

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Did 2008 Come True?

October 16th, 2011 - 11:15 am

The Right-Wing Complaint of 2008

In 2008, the following was the general right-wing argument against Obama’s candidacy:

a) The self-professed “uniter” Obama had, in truth, little record of uniting disparate groups. From community organizing to politics, his preferred modus operandi was rather to praise moderation, but politick more as a radical, and sometimes go after opponents as unreasonable or illiberal. Thus the most partisan voting senator in the Congress, who talked grandly of “working across the aisle,” also urged supporters to “get in their faces” and “take a gun to a knife fight.” Acorn, Project Vote, and SEIU were not ecumenical organizations.

b) Obama knew very little about foreign affairs, or perhaps even raw human nature as it plays out in power politics abroad. At times, he seemed naive about the singular role of the U.S. in the world, especially his sense that problems with Iran, the Middle East, Venezuela, Russia, and others were somehow predicated on American arrogance and unilateralism (and neither predating nor postdating George Bush) — to be remedied by Obama’s post-racial, post-national diplomacy.

c) In truth, Obama, for all his rhetorical skills and soft-spoken charisma, had little experience in the private sector outside of politics, academia, foundations, and subsidized organizing. Consequently, he did not seem to understand the nature of profit and loss, payrolls, how businesses worked and planned, or much of anything in the private sector.

d) Obama at times seemed to lack common sense, and perhaps even common knowledge. He appeared confused about everything from the number of U.S. states to the idea that air pressure and “tune-ups” might substitute for new oil exploration. He seemed assured when reading a teleprompted script, and yet lost much of his eloquence when it came to repartee and question and answer.

e) Obama saw race as essential to his persona and his success, rarely incidental. Collate the writings and rantings of his triad of pastors and friends — Rev. Wright, Rev. Pfleger, and Rev. Meeks — and one sees a common theme of racism (sometimes overt), anti-Semitism, and class warfare. It was considered irrelevant to remind voters in 2008 that Michelle Obama had alleged that the U.S. was a downright mean country, or that she had confessed to never heretofore being very proud of her country until it gave consideration to her husband as a presidential candidate — though both sentiments would seem rare for a potential first lady.

f) Obama, it was also felt, counted on a sense of entitlement. His admissions to Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard were alleged not to have been based on the usual competitive test scores or grades — and such charges were not refuted, but considered ancient history. As Harvard Law Review editor, he seemed to assume, quite rightly, that he did not have to publish an article. As a University of Chicago Law School lecturer he also rightly assumed that Chicago — and later Harvard as well — would, if he had wished, granted him tenure, again, despite nonexistent publication. Sen. Clinton argued, without much refutation, that as a state legislator Obama had both authored very little legislation and voted present on any vote that might be considered problematic for a higher political office — a charge that later disappointed supporters would come to echo, along with admissions of prior inexperience on Obama’s apart.

g) Obama, like many on the elite left, had an ambiguous attitude about affluence and its dividends. The more, as a community organizer, he had railed about bankers and unfairness, the more he had enjoyed a mini-mansion and dealt with the soon-to-be criminal Tony Rezko. The current Wall Street protests take their cue not just from presidential anger at “millionaires and billionaires,” but also from the idea that affluent young people are exempt from their own rhetorical charges.

Yet in 2008, to suggest “spread the wealth” meant anything important was to be either racist or a rank partisan. But Obama in 2001 in a Chicago public radio interview could not have been clearer about the need for government to redistribute income and his unhappiness that the Constitution seemed to prohibit that. Here is a telling excerpt in all its half-baked Foucauldian vocabulary:

But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in the society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. … I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.

Again, to refer to all of the above in 2008 was considered not so much unfair as improper.

The Proving Ground

Then came the election, and a perfect storm of events. The general unhappiness with Bush over deficits and Iraq, the recession that had started in December 2007, the absence of any incumbent vice president or president in the race for the first time since 1952, an unusually unenergetic McCain campaign, and a nakedly partisan media — all that by early September still had not given Obama the lead. But the mid-September 2008 financial crash did. And so what in the last fifty years was usually considered improbable — the election of a northern Democratic liberal — soon seemed foreordained.

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The Moral Dimensions of Illegal Immigration

October 10th, 2011 - 4:38 pm

The New Old Debate Over Illegal Immigration

The debate over illegal immigration is mostly fossilized. We know the predictable contours. Despite different realities on the ground, they have not changed much from the 1960s. The narrative for half-a-century has gone something like this: a callous America welcomed in cheap laborers. It treated them not so well and then panicked when their numbers grew and workers did not go home after harvest — changing the very demography of several states. Undeniable racism and discrimination fueled the tensions. That was ironic inasmuch as the American Southwest was once taken by the Yanquis from Mexico.

Readers could add sidebars about the weird open-borders alliance: the corporate Right wanted access to plentiful cheap labor; the therapeutic Left saw constituent advantage in millions of illegal aliens without English, legality, and education — but with apparent need of elite self-appointed representatives in academia, journalism, and politics. If supposedly right-wing American employers had been often predatory, so in response grew a new left-wing grievance industry that enhanced the status of some second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans, who, in salad-bowl rather than melting-pot fashion, now saw their ethnicity as essential and not incidental to new more partisan personas.

But time moves on, even if interested groups do not. And now the debate has vastly metamorphosized in often mysterious ways.


Poverty is the burden of illegal immigration — understandable when poor indigenous peoples from the Mexican interior left everything behind and started at the bottom rung of American society with three strikes against them – illegal, undereducated, and without English. But recently Mexico has been the recipient of billions in remittances; estimates usually range from $20 to $25 billion per annum.

The new magnitude of such transfers raises a number of questions never quite adequately addressed. The profits certainly explain the loud editorializing of the Mexican government, which has opened dozens of new consulates and is now suing Arizona over the state’s new immigration laws. And they raise questions about American entitlements as well. Do the math. One assumes that most of the remittances are sent home from Mexican nationals. California, for example, is also thought to spend about $10 billion-plus for entitlements to ensure minimal parity for illegal aliens. California is also believed to be the home of 25%-40% of those illegal aliens now residing in the U.S. — or probably between 2 and 4 million in the state.

In some sense, then, California allots about the same amount of cash to help illegal aliens as the latter may well send home to relatives in Mexico. That might raise all sorts of ethical questions: Is the undeniable poverty of illegal aliens in part due not to a stinginess on the part of the California taxpayer or the rapacity of the employer, but rather also to the choice to send thousands of dollars per year back to Mexico? Both the capital flight from California, coupled with the staggering increase in entitlements, may well nullify any advantage rendered the state by industrious and rather inexpensive workers. Is it ethical to take state support and still send money back to Mexico?

Visitor and Host

The debate over illegal immigration was always located in the context of an immigrant bewildered by a foreign land. That was the theme of a number of 1960s-like documentaries. But an 11-million-plus community creates in some areas majority realities that often turn such moral questions upside down.

If a neighbor brings in four Winnebagos to his yard, violates zoning laws, and rents the trailers out to illegal aliens, is he a victim of cultural disorientation or cynically choosing to disobey the laws of his host, either on the premise that so many of his associates are doing similar things that the law simply cannot be enforced, or that his controversial immigration status conveys political exemption from tradition statute enforcement? Bilingual services originated on the premise that a small minority was needlessly overwhelmed by a difficult language like English. Somehow that allowance has evolved into an entitlement that almost ensures an illegal alien that he need not learn the language of his resident country — while ensuring needless waste in time and efficiency to millions of Californians, who must push buttons on phones to get to English information or flip through bulky manuals in duplicate languages. And when one sees state and federal jobs with requisites of Spanish fluency, one wonders if the same listing demands English fluency as well? Nearly 50,000 Mexican nationals are now part of the California state penal system and the county jails — at a cost of over $1.5 billion. Is there a new lack of respect for the host, in a manner unlike that legal adherence of prior waves of immigration?


Current immigration policy is unfortunately embedded in questions of racial politics and ethnic tribalism. When Barack Obama urges Latinos “to punish our enemies,” or jokes about illiberal Republicans wanting “moats and alligators,” or skips immigration reform when he had both houses of Congress, only to demagogue the issue when Republicans won back the House, he apparently reasons that Hispanics/Latinos/Mexican-Americans will vote for him on the premise that he will help illegal aliens find legality in the U.S. Note that Mexican-Americans en masse are assumed (I think often quite wrongly) to place ethnic solidarity over the enforcement of federal law. Strange questions then follow: if 11 million Chinese were landing by barge on the California coast, would the Latino political community favor such illegal immigration, be indifferent, or worry about the cost, and the effect on the sanctity of the law?

Who, then, becomes the ethnic chauvinist — the advocate of amnesty or open borders by virtue of a shared ethnic heritage, or the citizens of all races worried that any one particular constituency does not wish to comply with the law? When a group like the National Council of La Raza demands amnesty, are we to laugh or cry that “The Race” is engaged in the issue not on behalf on South Koreans or Ugandans who have overstayed their student visas?


In one of the more brilliant public relations feats in recent memory, the Mexican government has managed to play the aggrieved party, whose citizens are supposedly lured away by rapacious American capitalists. The cynicism has become unmistakable. Let us count the ways: a) Mexico reaps billions — remittances are the second largest source of foreign exchange for the Mexican government— from the hard toil of its own expatriates. (I say cynical because it has published a comic book on how to cross the border illegally — assuming, apparently, that legality is of no importance, and most of its own emigrants are illiterate.); b) Mexico seems little interested in creating conditions in its interior that might improve the lot of its indigenous citizenry, in the manner it has managed to accomplish in Baja to attract the capital of mostly affluent American vacation-home owners; c) Mexico would never allow conditions on its own southern border that it insists should apply on its northern; Why so?; d) Mexico is more concerned about galvanizing a potent expatriate community once it is gone from Mexico than in pursuing social equitability that might lead to improved conditions to keep Mexicans home. I could go on, but the debate over illegal immigration must focus on Mexico as a cynical player, one that sees the lives of millions of its own citizens not in terms of moral concern, but largely through foreign exchange and geopolitical leverage.

The nature of work

The labor of Mexican nationals was traditionally associated with agriculture, as in referents like the Bracero Program and the unionizing efforts of Cesar Chavez. But due to mechanization, suburbanization, and the massive influxes of Mexican national laborers, agriculture is now only a small source of employment — dwarfed by employment in landscaping, meat-packing, construction, restaurants, and hotels. In other words, “them” — the proverbial rapacious agribusiness person — long ago was replaced by “us,” the upper middle class, whose nannies, gardeners, cooks, and housekeepers may well be, in Meg Whitman fashion, illegal. And given that 37% of the state’s population is self-described as Hispanic, we should assume a great number of illegal aliens work themselves for Mexican-American employers. The old stereotypes of oppressor and oppressed simply do not make any sense.


“Raza” is now also an anachronistic term in so many ways in the American Southwest. “White,” to the degree it is even distinguishable (why, for government purposes, is a darker-skinned Armenian-American considered “white,” while a lighter-skinned Mexican national is sometimes not?), is obsolete, in an intermarried, integrated, and assimilated culture. Who, then, is white? My half-Mexican-American nieces and nephews? My neighbor’s ¼ Japanese, ¼ white, ½ Mexican grandson? And who is the establishment — poor Bakersfield whites, upscale Palo Alto Asians, wealthy Central Valley Sikhs, super-wealthy Beverly Hills Iranians? And what incites contemporary prejudice — the turban of a bearded dark-skinned Punjabi or the name Gonzales of a half-Mexican-American valley girl? As the debate ages to the point of senility, we are now often in the fourth and fifth generation of Mexican-Americans, who know as much about Oaxaca as I do about Lund, Sweden. In other words, race, in the sense of identification with a Hispanic surname, is no longer defined by a look, a culture, a language even, much less demonstrable racial prejudice and social disadvantage. Instead nomenclature is a brand of sorts used mostly for identity politics, sometimes in the most bizarre distortions — a fact that gets us back to illegal immigration.

An affluent Chilean immigrant can piggyback onto the ordeal of the illegal alien, and find affirmative action help, by the fact his name is Pedro Lopez. I have seen just that happen often in the California State University system. But if his father were a German-immigrant to Chile with a name like Beck, and if he were foolish enough to Anglicize his first name, then a Peter Beck would have little luck in the American bureaucratic archipelago. Hispanic surnames, often superficially so, can become keys to unlock a calcified system of preferences, but which often offer little guidance any more about half-century-old issues like minority identity, oppression, and victimization.

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The Coming Post-Obama Renaissance

October 2nd, 2011 - 3:59 pm

The Parting of the Clouds

In every literary, historical or cinematic masterpiece, times must grow darkest before the sunrise and deliverance. Tolkien worked that classical theme to great effect. A sense of fatalism overtook a seemingly doomed Gondor — right before the overthrow of Barad-dûr and the dawn of a new age of men. The historian Herodotus, in literary fashion, also brilliantly juxtaposed the Greek collapse at Thermopylae (the Spartan King Leonidas’ head impaled on a stake), and the Persian firing of an abandoned Athens, with Themistocles’s sudden salvation of Western civilization at Salamis. In the classic Western film, hopelessness pervades until out of nowhere a Shane rides in.

What Was Hope and Change?

We are living in an age of such morality tales, though the depressing cycle reminds us that the gloom is hardly fiction or artistry. For those with a little capital there is only a sinking stock market. It seems to wipe out more of their 401(k)s each week, as if each month cancels out yet another year of prior thrift. Near zero interest means any money on deposit is only insurance, not any more a source of income. Millions are trapped in their unsold houses, either underwater or facing an end to any dreams of tapping equity by sale.

And for the greater number without savings? Stagnant GDP, 9.1 unemployment, another $5 trillion in debt, $1.6 trillion annual deficits, and sky-high fuel and food prices have combined to crush any notion of upward mobility. (If in 2004 5.7% unemployment was supposed to mark a “jobless recovery,” what exactly is 9.1% called? If Bush’s average $500 billion deficits over eight years were abhorrent, what must we say of Obama’s average $1.6 trillion over three? Really bad?)

In response, the Obama administration — let me be candid here — seems clueless, overpopulated as it is by policy nerds, academic overachievers, and tenured functionaries (cf. Larry Summers’ “there is no adult in charge”). They tend to flash Ivy League certificates, but otherwise have little record of achievement in the private sector. Officials seem to think that long ago test scores, a now Neolithic nod from an Ivy League professor, or a past prize translates into knowing what makes America run in places like Idaho and southern Michigan.

Yes, I know that Steven Chu is “brilliant” and a Nobel laureate. But that means no more than suggesting that laureate Paul Krugman was right about adding even more trillions to the debt. My neighbors know enough not to quip, as the know-it-all Chu did, that California farms (the most productive in the U.S.) will dry up and blow away, or gas prices should reach European levels, or Americans can’t be trusted to buy the right light bulbs, or a failed Solyndra just needed millions more of taxpayers’ money.

Solyndra and Van Jones are the metaphors of these times, reminding us of the corruption of the very notion of “green.” In the age of Al Gore, it has eroded from a once noble ideal of conservation to a tawdry profit- and job-scam for assorted hucksters and snake-oil salesmen. Without the lofty hype and shake-down, most otherwise would have had to find productive jobs. Tragically, “green” is the new refuge of scoundrels.

Costal del Sol Community Organizing?

I fear we have not seen such a divisive president since Richard Nixon. Suddenly there is a new fiscal Rubicon. Those crossing $200,000 in annual income now are to be suspect (“fat cat,” “corporate jet owner,” “millionaires and billionaires” [note how the two are sloppily associated — as if 1/1000 the wealth of one is still approximate to the other ]); those still on the other bank, are far more inherently noble (cf. Michelle Obama’s selfless legions, who, like the first couple, supposedly were to take her advice to turn down guaranteed riches in the abhorrent, but easy, corporate sector, to take on a life of noble service and relative poverty as hard-working community organizers and reps).

When did immigration law become embedded within the racial industry? If millions of Koreans were entering the U.S. illegally, would the National Council of La Raza insist on their amnesty, or be indifferent, or worry that such an influx might tax existing social services that provide for U.S. citizen poor? Did we ever have a president who issued a video (cf. 2010) appealing to constituents by their race, or suggested that border enforcement was equivalent to “moats” and “alligators,” or beseeched his Latino allies “to punish our enemies”? Is the president trying to turn enforcement of a federal statute into community organizing?

The Black Caucus has sadly become a caricature of itself, bewildered that Great Society II has further decimated the black community — now in racial solidarity with a failing president, now lashing out at the Tea Party. Yet the latter’s advocacy of fiscal discipline, greater deregulation, oil exploration, smaller government, and entitlement reform would unleash the private sector — and, to use the administration lingo, really create for the inner cities “millions of new jobs.”

So we are all confused by this new Morgan Freeman-esque (one of my favorite actors) racial illogicality: electing Obama was proof of racial harmony; but criticizing him proof of racialism; wanting to end his policies (that have impoverished black America most of all) borders on racism; expanding what will further harm blacks is proof of racial harmony? So one was supposed to vote for Obama to prove himself not racist, and then to stay quiet to ensure that he was still not racist? *

Readers will add here the end of an investigative media, ObamaCare, the new Solyndra and Fast and Furious scandals, “lead from behind” foreign policy, spread-the-wealth demonization of business, crony capitalism, punitive measures against everyone from guitar makers to plane manufacturers, distrust of oil and gas producers, Eric Holder’s politicized Justice Department, and so on.

OK—So Why the Optimism?

Why, then, do I see blue sky and a break in the present storms? For a variety of very good reasons.

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