Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Political Digest April 6, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Would the Founders Love ObamaCare?
Excerpt: Constitutional professors quoted in the press and across the Web explain that much about the federal government's modern authority is "settled" law. Even so, many of these legal commentators are quite close to arguing that the national government's economic and political powers are now limitless and unfettered. I wonder if Justice Kennedy believes that. Or as David Kopel asked on the Volokh Conspiracy blog: "Is the tax power infinite?" In a country that holds elections, that question is both legal and political. The political issue rumbling toward both the Supreme Court and the electorate is whether Washington's size and power has finally grown beyond the comfort zone of the American people. That is what lies beneath the chatter about federalism and the 10th Amendment. Liberals will argue that government today is doing good. But government now is also unprecedentedly large and unprecedentedly expensive. Even if every challenge to ObamaCare loses in court, these anxieties will last and keep coming back to the same question: Does the Democratic left think the national government's powers are infinite? No one in the Obama White House, asked that in public on Sunday morning, would simply say yes, no matter that the evidence of this government's actions the past year indicate they do. In his "Today Show" interview this week, Mr. Obama with his characteristic empathy acknowledged there are "folks who have legitimate concerns . . . that the federal government may be taking on too much."

A Reason to Believe
Excerpt: Probably no one has coined as many memorable phrases about belief than GK Chesterton. His key insight was to observe that “human nature simply cannot subsist without a hope and aim of some kind”. Hope is like a drug which humanity can’t survive without. Therefore hope — and the faith that it will be fulfilled – is “as dangerous as fire.” The wisest treat it with caution because it can be twisted into a noose around their necks; but the most careless of humanity imagine themselves above it and fall into it more completely than those who see it from what it is. Chesterton wrote that “the modern world is filled with men who hold dogmas so strongly that they do not even know that they are dogmas. It may be said even that the modern world, as a corporate body, holds certain dogmas so strongly that it does not know that they are dogmas.” The history of secularization can be understood not as a replacement of belief by reason, but an exchange of one belief for another. The traditional monotheisms were hustled out of the way so that they could sell Lenin in the place left vacant by Jesus. Perhaps no other century has seen more god-men than the 20th. Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Nicolae Ceauşescu, Saparmurat Niyazov, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il-Sung, Ayatollah Khomeini, Sukarno, and Kim Jong-Il promoted a cult of personality. And there’s a reason for that. The dictators could only sell the box of matches with their likeness on the cover if they could darken the sun of faith. “During the peak of their regimes, these leaders were presented as god-like and infallible. Their portraits were hung in homes and public buildings, with artists and poets legally required to produce only works that glorified the leader.” Maybe Chesterton was right when he predicted that “the first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.”

The president's popularity plunge
Excerpt: The president's popularity is plummeting -- down to a 44 percent approval rating in the most recent, post-Obamacare CBS poll -- and his rhetoric is getting angrier as he tours the country demanding that critics of Obamacare shut up. His predecessor, George W. Bush, was blasted by the media when he used "Bring it on" against our nation's enemies. President Obama's jeering "Let them try" challenge was followed by a sneering attempt at stand-up in Portland, Maine, on Friday when he compared critics of the new health care regime to fools wondering why seeds don't sprout immediately upon planting. Americans love a good winner, but when the winner is a whiner, the public's reaction is not going to be admiration. The president ran in 2008 as a post-partisan "uniter" who would usher in an era of bipartisan reform, but he has chosen to become a polarizing figure and a Chicago jam-down artist for whom trash talk is as much a part of his daily game. Rarely has the promise been so far removed from the result.

Still Out Of Control? Measuring 11 Years of E.U. Regulation
Excerpt: How much does regulation, including legislation that originates with the European Union cost the economy of the United Kingdom? Plenty, says Open Europe, an independent think tank based in London and Brussels. Consider: Since 1998, regulation introduced in the United Kingdom has cost its economy £176 billion (about $265 billion) and 12.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Of this, £124 billion (about $187 billion), or 71 percent, had its origin in the European Union. This means that E.U. regulation in the past 11 years has cost every U.K. household an average of £4,912 (about $7,402). This is a clear argument in favor of regulating at the local or national levels as much as possible, and an indication that deregulation efforts should be targeted at the E.U. level, says Open Europe.

Republicans plan $50 million independent effort in 2010
Excerpt: A group of prominent Republican strategists have combined to form American Crossroads, a 527 committee that is aiming to spend upwards of $50 million on House and Senate races this fall. "We intend to paint a very vivid picture of the fork in the road that this country faces -- not merely a choice between two candidates, but a serious philosophical decision about the future of this country," said Jim Dyke, a former Republican National Committee communications director and now a member of American Crossroads' board of directors. Dyke is joined by former RNC chairman Mike Duncan and vice chair Jo Ann Davidson on the board while Steven Law, a former executive director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, will serve as president and CEO. Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie and former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove are serving as informal advisers to the group as well. Dyke added that the group is currently hiring operatives with state-specific campaign knowledge to bolster the operation.

$20 million in loans to felons
The Senior Loan Officer of this family bank, now running as a Democrat for the US Senate, knew nothing about them. Welcome to Chicago.

Obama inspires black politicians to seek office — as Republican candidates
Excerpt: Dean Nelson says as far as he knows, there have never been as many black Republicans running for Congress as there are this year. Asked why that’s the case, the vice chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a conservative group of black people who promote smaller government, pointed to an unlikely inspiration for the Republicans: Democratic President Barack Obama.

Afghan leader threatens to join Taliban
With friends like these. Excerpt: Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened over the weekend to quit the political process and join the Taliban if he continued to come under outside pressure to reform, several members of parliament said Monday. Karzai made the unusual statement at a closed-door meeting Saturday with selected lawmakers — just days after kicking up a diplomatic controversy with remarks alleging foreigners were behind fraud in last year's disputed elections. Lawmakers dismissed the latest comment as hyperbole, but it will add to the impression the president — who relies on tens of thousands of U.S. and NATO forces to fight the insurgency and prop up his government — is growing increasingly erratic and unable to exert authority without attacking his foreign backers.

An Iranian Secret Agent's Message to America
Excerpt: As the world watches, Iran is in the final stages of transforming into a nuclear-armed state. Reza Aslan talks to a former Revolutionary Guard turned CIA agent about what's at stake.

Al-Qaeda urges UK fanatics to build DIY cruise missiles
Dear fellow members of the religion of peace: Please build missiles and murder children. Excerpt: London, Apr 4(ANI): Fears of a terror attack during the UK General Election have been further fueled by reports that the Al-Qaeda has urged British fanatics to build DIY cruise missiles to attack passenger jets. According to reports, an Al-Qaeda website explains how to build missiles with solid fuel engines using operating manuals for the Russian 107mm Katyusha rocket. Numerous links are also available for guides to make explosives, including C4 plastic explosive, acetone peroxide and TNT.

"It has been said that all Government is an evil. It would be more proper to say that the necessity of any Government is a misfortune. This necessity however exists; and the problem to be solved is, not what form of Government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect." --James Madison. The Patriot Post www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/


  1. I just read your "I'm Tired". My son, a captain in the Air Force ran across your blog and sent it to me. I am 64 and was in the AF for four years with a short stint in Vietnam. I now look back on my life and thank God for my dad who kicked my ass and taught me the value of a work ethic, I thank the Air Force for teaching me to accept responsibility for myself. I have never taken any hand outs or welfare or unemployment. I did what I needed to do to support my family. I still feel I owe my contry for the opportunities it has provided.

    At 64 I too am tired in the same way you are. I wish America the American leadership could be a little more like Australia's. We speak English here, if you don't like it, get the hell out. We offer opportunity for work, if you don't want to work, get the hell out. We don't care who your God is, don't mess with ours.

    Thank you.

  2. “Perhaps no other century has seen more god-men than the 20th ”century.”

    I find this an interesting observation because when I listen to Glenn Beck and many conservatives refer to our Founding Fathers, it’s quite obvious they view them as deities and the Constitution is their Bible. Now, I would never liken Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson to Kim Jong Il or Adolph Hitler – the differences in outcomes and philosophies are vast – but for many modern-day Americans, these predecessors are indeed cults of personality.

    Yes, the Constitution is sacred and yes, our forefathers were genius architects of government. But these men are and were not morally or even intellectually infallible. They were living in an entirely different time from ours and as such, their philosophies do not always apply helpfully to our current situation. Remember, these were wealthy, white, male slaveowners and landowners who did not, by and large, have any real similarities with ordinary Americans of the or their times or our own. Yet ordinary Americans to this day profess a belief in them as though what was in their best interests is also what is best interest for all Americans today. This is dangerous and foolish, and I’m surprised it’s gone on for this long and to this extreme extent.

    ... you asked the question of what our Founding Fathers would say about healthcare reform. I wonder what they would say about The Patriot Act.

    Lastly, I find your analysis of the poor and the causes of poverty to be simplistic and short-sighted at best. I strongly recommend you read the book NICKEL AND DIMED by Barbara Ehrenreich. Yes, there are welfare cheats and people not doing enough to help themselves. But that never excuses the well-offs to blame hard-working poor people for their lot. These are the invisible Americans and they are everywhere, working in fast food joint, cleaning offices at night, trimming lawns, sorting in an assembly line, etc. No, they are not just Mexicans and other illegal aliens, but *white* people whose lineage traces back more than a century.

    Poverty is often generational and this phenomena is well researched and explained by historians and economists. A simple search on Google should result in a plethora of sources on this topic.

  3. To the fellow who posted above, you do know you are reading article I linked from someone else, not written by me, right? I suggest you send your comments to the authors, as they are unlikely to read them here....Bob

  4. I'm not really interested in communicating with those authors because it would take too much effort to go into each and every link to post a rebuttal -- so much easier to do it here all in one shot. I highly doubt I could influence those authors or bring up points they haven't already heard from their detractors. But if I leave a comment here, it's kind of like having your letter published in a newspaper. Other readers see my take on things and maybe it will make them reconsider their assumptions/illusions.

    You are very pointed about distancing yourself from the very articles you link to -- which are consistently conservative. It's somewhat disingenuous for you to imply in your disclaimer that it's possible you disagree with any of them. That is not what I'm sensing. In a way you're like mainstream media -- claiming to be neutral but really right of center.