Saturday, September 27, 2008

How thing like THIS happen

Once again, one of my comments over at PW grew arms and legs, so I'll post it here to save Jeff's bandwidth.

I was responding to this comment, and my response starts out here.

So here's the problem:

Many progressives see the requirements to getting a mortgage — credit checks, asset evaluation, collateral, down payments — as the equivalent of the poll tax; in other words, it was a means of keeping the non-privileged down by creating an arbitrary, pseudo-legitimate bar that they knew the "undesirables" could not clear.

The aforementioned barrier to voting was genuinely discriminatory. But because progressives understand economics less than I do, they don't get that the qualifications for a mortgage are not arbitrary at all but instead are a real index of whether someone is able to handle the long-term responsibility of a mortgage. And then there's the bit about when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Very inflexible paradigms in progressivism, see.

Think about it: if you're a greedy bastard, you're not going to lend your precious money to someone who will likely default, because foreclosures are expensive and messy. Merely repossessing the house and the car does not sufficiently compensate you for the trouble, and you lose money in the deal.

So the bar that lenders set is designed to reduce their risk, which is what all greedy bastards do: protect what's theirs while making a buck.

Without the implied guarantee of government bail-out, no greedy bastard worth his salt would lend all that money to people who didn't meet those requirements. I mean, people on welfare could get mortgages. The artificial interference of the CRA and Fan & Fred and its agitators permitted the greedy bastards to pursue a path to filthy lucre that was not open before.

But as usual, progressives don't understand the real causes of poverty, so their solutions are entirely wrong-headed and usually hurt more than help. (Cancer? Use cyanide!) They think that people are poor in the U.S. because greedy bastards are hogging the finite pie and won't share.

But in this country, if you're poor it's because you don't possess the habits and beliefs and attitudes that permit you to function as a bread-winner. The poor often are not responsible for the fact that they don't have the chops to be wealthier, but the fact remains that if you want to help people not be poor, you have to help them acquire the necessary habits and attitudes for getting and keeping a steady, reasonably good-paying job, and then to wisely manage the money they earn.

But those kinds of skills are difficult to teach, especially in our I Want It Now culture. And many of the poor also have serious emotional, psychological, and/or physical problems that make it unlikely that they'll ever be able to support themselves, or if they do, it will be years before they've learned how.

And don't forget those who are caught in the endless cycle of dependency that has prevented them from internalizing the rhythms of responsibility — you get up, get to work, on-time, every day, whether you want to or not. You do what the boss says, even if he is a first-class moron. You tolerate slights. You hold up under pressure. Unless you grew up in a home where at least one person did that, it's hard to acquire that rhythm yourself. Most people can't do it without help, and some people actually don't want to become solid citizens, for reasons only they understand.

As usual, the progressives took the easy way out as they relied on their caricatures of Evil White Lenders and and on their confidence in the utter purity of their motives.

They just handed out the mortgages like leaflets in Vegas and figured that that would be all it took to get people out of poverty and into the mainstream of life.

But because their plan was not founded on How Wealth Works, this is the result: the collapse of the credit market and possibly a big recession or the D word for the rest of us. They tossed a bunch of people into icy, deep water without teaching them how to swim. BECAUSE OF THE COMPASSION!

Did a bunch of greedy bastards contribute mightily to the problem? Oh hell yes. There is no shortage in human society of predators who never miss an opening to exploit someone or something. They're the flesh-eating bacteria of society, always present, always awaiting the opportunity to invade a paper cut and gangrenate your whole hand or leg.

But the paper cut — or gaping wound, in this case — was inflicted by excessively wrong-minded do-gooders (or those who pose as such) that profoundly misunderstand the consequences of their actions and refuse to acknowledge them when they're pointed out. And whose cooperation has usually been bought by the greedy bastards who are benefiting the most from the racket.

This crisis was both foreseeable and foreseen, and Cassandras have been sounding the alarm for years. But if you've invested all your ego in how Good you are and how Evil society is, then you're not going to rethink your positions.

Especially if taking down the current system is the end game after all, the rubble upon which you will build your Perfect Society for all to enjoy. As long as they toe the line, that is. All else need to be moved from their place, by any means necessary.

UPDATE: Oh, look. Corroboration.

UPDATE II: How ACORN intimidated lenders into compliance.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

S.190

That's the key bill, isn't it? S.190, "A bill to address the regulation of secondary mortgage market enterprises, and for other purposes," sponsored by Chuck Hagel and cosponsored by Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu, and John McCain.

On 26 Jan 2005, Hagel gave the following speech on the senate floor:
S. 190. A bill to address the regulation of secondary mortgage market enterprises, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Mr. HAGEL. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce, along with my colleagues Senators SUNUNU and DOLE, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005. This is needed regulatory reform at a critical time for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

There is no doubt that our housing government sponsored enterprises GSEs, have been successful in carrying out their mission of providing liquidity for the housing market. The market has remained strong through tough economic times, and homeownership in this country is at an all-time high.

The housing GSEs, however, are uncommon institutions with a unique set of responsibilities and stakeholders. Fannie and Freddie are chartered by Congress, limited in scope, and are subject to Congressional mandates, yet they are publicly traded companies with all the earnings pressure that Wall Street demands. Additionally, Fannie and Freddie enjoy an implicit guarantee by the Federal Government that has aided them in developing substantial clout on Wall Street. With their influence in the markets, their ability to raise capital at near-Treasury bill rates, and their use of the most sophisticated portfolio management tools, Fannie and Freddie today are no longer simply secondary market facilitators for mortgages.

The significance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to our economy cannot be overstated. Together, the companies own or guarantee roughly 45.6 percent of all mortgage loans in the United States. The companies combined have issued over $3.9 trillion in obligations comprised of $2.2 trillion in mortgage backed securities and $1.7 trillion of GSE debt.

It is clear that the recent revelations at both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae precipitate the need for Congress to address GSE regulatory reform. In 2003, Freddie Mac found itself treading through a wave of accounting problems and questionable management actions. That led to an income restatement of $5 billion, a penalty of $125 million and the removal of several members of its executive management. One year later, a similar surge of questionable practices was discovered at Fannie Mae. That led to the retirement and resignation of two of Fannie Mae's top management officials, as well as last month's ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, that Fannie could face a $9 billion income restatement.

At a minimum, the bar for a GSE should not be held lower than it is for any other company. In fact, given its congressionally chartered mission to serve a public interest, the bar should be held significantly higher. The operations of such companies should be managed with uncompromising integrity and unabridged transparency.

Our legislation would create a new independent world class regulator for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. Our bill provides the new regulator with enhanced regulatory flexibility and enforcement tools like those afforded to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. Furthermore, the bill would:

  • provide the new regulator the authority of receivership to close down a failing GSE and protect against a taxpayer bailout;
  • provide the new regulator greater discretion in raising capital standards to protect against insolvency;
  • provide the new regulator approval power over new programs and activities proposed by a GSE;
  • provide the regulator with greater authority to limit exit compensation packages or golden parachutes for executives removed for cause;
  • require the annual audits of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's affordable housing programs to ensure that these programs support the enterprises' affordable housing mission;
  • end presidential appointments to the board of directors of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and would require all Federal Home Loan Bank directors to be elected.

This reform is important to restoring and maintaining the confidence that investors and the markets require. In light of the recent problems at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, it is even more important. I urge my colleagues to support this reform effort and invite them to cosponsor our bill.

Emphasis and formatting mine.

Here's the text of the bill, and it was killed in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Here is a list of all congresscritters who got $0 from the Fan-Fred PAC from 1989 to the present, as shown on Open Secrets:

John McCain (R-AZ)
Wayne Allard (R-CO)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Sander Levin (D-MI)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
James T Walsh (R-NY)
Robert E Andrews (D-NJ)
Jerry Weller (R-IL)
Chuck Hegel (R-NE)
Betty McCullom (D-MN)
Ron Paul (R-TX)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Joseph R Biden JR (D-DE)
Jane Harman (D-CA)
Patrick J Kennedy (D-RI)
Dave Hobson (R-OH)
Walter B Jones Jr. (R-NC)
Mike Ferguson (R-NJ)
James Oberstar (D-MN)
Edward J Markey (D-MA)
Jerry Morgan (R-KS)
Ralph Regula (R-OH)
Tom Allen (D-ME)
Edolphus Towns (D-NY)
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Heather Wilson, Heather (R-NM)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
John Linder (R-GA)
Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Bob Filner (D-CA)
Robin Hayes (R-NC)
Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Bobby L Rush (D-IL)
Robert C Scott(D-VA)
Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Lee Terry (R-NE)
Tim Walberg (R-MI)
Elizabeth S Dole (R-NC)
Frank R Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Donna D Christian-Green (D-VI)
Jay R Inslee (D-WA)
Brian P Bilbray (R-CA)
Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
Kathy Castor (D-FL)
Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Ray LaHood (R-IL)
Connie Mack (R-FL)
Denny Rehberg (R-MT)
John Sarbanes (D-MD)
John Shadegg (R-AZ)
Dave Weldon (R-FL)
David WuH (D-OR)
Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Warner, John W Warner (R-VA)
Robert B Aderholt (R-AL)
Arcuri, Michael Arcuri (D-NY)
Chris Carney (D-PA)
Norm Dicks (D-WA)
Nick Lampson (D-TX)
Don Manzullo (R-IL)
Todd Platts (R-PA)
Diane E Watson (D-CA)
Anthony D Weiner (D-NY)
James W DeMint (R-SC)

I am not pleased to see that none of Utah's congresscritters appear. Here's the skinny on them:

The columns are Total, PAC, Individuals

Sen. Robert F Bennett $107,999 $71,499 $36,500
He's #4, after John Kerry. Way to go Bob. He's also on the Senate committee mentioned above. I can't find out what his vote was, though. His web site doesn't mention S.190 at all.

Rep. Jim Matheson $24,500 $24,000 $500

Sen. Orrin G Hatch $18,250 $12,500 $5,750

Rep. Chris Cannon $2,500 $2,000 $500
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Exchange of the day

From an otherwise depressing blog post at PW:

83. Comment by Jeff G. on 9/19 @ 9:56 pm

...having a good credit rating really helps one’s self esteem.

And that’s what’s most important. I know, because I used to watch Oprah.


85. Comment by happyfeet on 9/19 @ 9:59 pm

I’m too cheap to find out my score. That’s probably a sign it’s not too bad, no?


87. Comment by dre on 9/19 @ 10:04 pm

$5.95 Equifax


89. Comment by happyfeet on 9/19 @ 10:09 pm

$5.95 is two slices of red velvet cake. Credit score. Red velvet cake. Credit score. Red velvet cake. I think you know how this ends.
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Monday, September 01, 2008

How things like this happen

I've been browsing the blogosphere again, looking at the reactions to the news that Bristol Palin is pregnant, is keeping the baby, and is marrying the father.

The sick and twisted among us are using phrases like "unable to control her own daughter" and "didn't pass her values along" and, that universal constant, "hypocrisy."

But let me give you some insight into how perfectly staunch Christians and other believers in abstinence before marriage can end up pregnant anyway. It's not from a lack of belief or a tendency toward hypocrisy or any remarkable kind of moral failing.

This is what happens:

In the cold light of day, these young girls (I speak only for the gender to which I belong) can hold very strong convictions about the proper time for sexual intimacy. They can embrace it and believe it and have every intention of following through with those beliefs.

Unfortunately, they are also very inexperienced about How Things Can Go Too Far, and being the Invulnerable Teenagers they are, they tend to believe that their convictions are sufficient. They think that they can put the brakes on their make-out sessions at any time, no problem.

What they don't know is that the arousal sequence includes a point where the inhibition centers of the brain get dialed way down, and the pleasure centers get amped way up, to the point that you stop caring if it's wrong or a bad idea or whatever.

Which is what your brain is supposed to do, after all, or the species would soon die out.

Experienced women know that you have to control the situation from the beginning, meaning that you don't put yourself into temptation's path in the first place. But 17-year-old girls don't have stellar judgment to begin with, so these things happen from time to time.

Look, I would marvel at the fact that I made it out of my teens without committing that same error, except that the boyfriends I had during high school and college were both closet cases. So, no virtue or superior judgment on my part.

My whole extended family is staunch LDS, but I know of three couples among my grandparents, aunts, and uncles whose children were conceived before the wedding. Among my cousins, who knows.

But religious people all know relatives who "had to" get married, and maybe they themselves did. The difference is that we believe that when you commit the easiest sin of all to commit (and no one is immune from the temptation), there are proper ways to deal with the aftermath. And the Palins are doing what's best for all concerned according to Christian teachings.

She couldn't control her own daughter? What was she supposed to do? Make her wear a chastity belt? Lock her in a closet until she is 35? Forbid her to ever be alone with a boy?

I mean, come ON, people!

At LGF, a statement by James Dobson on the proper Christian response to this type of thing.

The usually irreverent Ace of Spades expounds on the extraordinary nerve that Lefties have in lecturing anyone at all about morality.

And Jeff Goldstein lays into them too, with satisfying results, as a follow-up to his now-legendary round-up of Leftist toxic dumping on Sarah Palin herself.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Sermon

Jeff Goldstein's round-up of Leftist reaction to Sarah Palin's nomination spurred this comment of mine, which I'll reproduce here for posterity. So to speak.
We ought to do a "Sarah Palin Facts" post based on those Chuck Norris Fact goofs. This would get my vote for number one.

They're doing it on Twitter already. Some are in her favor, others are not. So someone would have to separate the wheat from the chaff on another list.

As for aborting Down's kids: I know that some women are frightened and concerned about caring for such a child, and they choose to abort, but they may have given up the opportunity to grow in ways they've never imagined.

I am Gov. Palin's age, so if I were to conceive, there's a good chance I would have a Down's child, too. I would most definitely get tested to find out. Not so that I could abort, but that so I could bone up on the challenges specific to Down Syndrome.

I would also undoubtedly experience quite intense anxiety and even sorrow about the child I wouldn't have, and probably resentment at having to give birth to a freak after all these years. (Look, I'm a freak too, but for different reasons, so I don't use the term as an unqualified pejorative.)

No parent of a Down's child will tell you that their kid is a burden that they wish they'd aborted. Instead, they tell you that the kid might be different in some ways, but that only means that the difficulties are different, not increased.

In most cases, that is. Being a spectrum syndrome, as SarahW pointed out, some Down's kids never learn to function except at very basic levels, so they have to be institutionalized. Others end up with a nasty temperament instead of the typical sweet one. I've dealt with developmentally disabled people who were not little angels at all but rather overgrown children prone to explosive temper tantrums and the like.

However, I fear that we Americans are far too spoiled, to the point that we think that we are entitled to an easy life. We fail to see how dealing with the disabled can help us become better people. In fact, we fail to see how hard times of any kind are actually to our benefit if we handle them with a reasonable degree of integrity and humility.

I would never levy a blanket judgment against women who decide to abort their defective offspring. Some women truly don't have the resources -- especially a sufficient maturity level -- to deal with disabled children. And given how hard it is to put up the disabled for adoption, etc.

However, if that woman had the attitude of a nishi, I would condemn her with all the force of my soul. Such women have lost their humanity. They need to get off their high horses, learn to despise their social privilege, and grow the hell up.

The people that I admire most are not those who have staggering intellectual or artistic talents. They're not high-powered athletes or successful politicians. They're not beautiful or sophisticated. They may not have ever attended a symphony, read Russian literature, studied out a political philosophy, or darkened the door of a college classroom.

But they have enough generosity of soul to see these disabled kids and decide that they will go ahead and give them the best life they can, even if that means living in a run-down house with old furniture and appliances.

These people live in my neighborhood. This couple has one normal child, one Down's child, and two Asian girls with various physical and developmental disabilities. These girls are loved. Their parents and sister are patient with them, helping them along as they learn to do what they can.

I could never do that. I just flat-out don't have that skill set. I've got the ability to jump through any and all academic hoops you place before me. I'm a damn good writer. I used to play in a symphony orchestra. (Don't be impressed. I played the viola badly and half-heartedly from grades 4-7.) I've studied literature in two languages. Lived a spell in Madrid.

But given the choice, I'd much rather that the world were populated with people like my neighbors than with people like me. People like me tend to think like nishi and the soulless Lefties who now attack Sarah Palin. People like me start revolutions that descend into horror. People like my neighbors and their daughters don't.

He dicho. (Look, it's Sunday; I gotta deliver at least ONE sermon, eh?)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Intelligent Design Is Bad Theology, Too

I am not in favor of teaching Intelligent Design (ID) in the schools, especially not in science class. Orson Scott Card's essay on ID echoes my objections to the theory vis-à-vis its status as science.

However, most people don't take on ID from a theological point of view, so I'll do it here.

ID fails as a solid theological assertion because of its invocation of the God of the Gaps as its controlling deity.

The link above goes to Wikipedia, which states in part that
The God of the gaps refers to a view of God deriving from a theistic position in which anything that can be explained by human knowledge is not in the domain of God, so the role of God is therefore confined to the 'gaps' in scientific explanations of nature.
Which describes ID perfectly: evolution is real, they say, but it cannot explain everything -- particularly "irreducible complexity" -- so hey, it must be God.

But the God of the Gaps is an unreliable God because his existence is based entirely on human ignorance. As we push forward the envelope of the Known, the domain of this God inevitably shrinks.

It is unfortunate that over the centuries, as the scientific worldview took root, Christians themselves have continued to support the God of the Gaps as the One True God. For example, Catholics do not declare that a miracle has occurred unless they fail to find another explanation. And they do perform due diligence to find a prosaic explanation, to their credit. But I think they're barking up the wrong tree.

However, this concept of God has had unforeseen consequences. It used to be that you could argue against atheism by pointing to all creation and saying, "Well, how do you explain all this?"

And there was no answer to be given except the ancient Greek idea that the universe has always existed: no creation necessary.

And then came Charles Darwin. Now, don't misunderstand me. I don't think that Darwin was an evil man, nor that he was sent by the devil to deceive us or anything like that. But because the primary God for most of the population was the God of the Gaps, Darwin's theory of evolution was able to provide a plausible alternative to that God.

And many were eager to ditch the God of the Gaps and the whole concept of religion with it, because that meant they were no longer beholden to the theologians, whom they despised. Sometimes rightly.

However, some of those new atheists decided to take the place of the God of the Gaps, embraced the new idea of Progressivism — which proclaimed that human knowledge was sufficient to create a Perfect Society Where Superstition Failed — and the tragic, ongoing consequences of this conceit are documented in Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. Read the book; learn the lesson.

So, why do Christians continue to "cling" to this unreliable God?

Because many in the scientific community have not confined themselves to science: they have gone ahead and ventured into metaphysics and called it Science. They say that science has obviated the "need for a God," by which they mean that the gap that God formerly occupied has been filled by human knowledge. So don't go pushing your medieval superstitions on We The Enlightened. Separation of Church and State and all that.

The Christians are fighting against this assertion by trying to use science to show that the gap is not filled, which means there is still room for God's existence.

But this is a misguided line of attack for the reasons explained above: it's almost inevitable that the gaps will continue to be filled by human knowledge, and those who rely on the God of the Gaps will be left with nothing to believe in, eventually. Many former believers saw the Gap closing and decided that God was in fact not needed. You can make your own list of the results.

Look, you cannot deduce the existence of God by observing the natural world.

Here's a thought experiment to demonstrate:

Imagine that all trace of human existence vanishes from the Earth: no cities, no houses, no roads, no ruins, no bones. Nothing physical that would indicate that we were ever here. What remains are all the flora and fauna as they currently exist, in the locations where they currently exist.

Then we give it fifty years for the sterile hybrids to die off, and for animals and plants that cannot survive in the wild in their current latitude to die off. Also missing are genetically engineered organisms of any kind.

Then along come some aliens, who set about studying and analyzing the biosphere. One of the things they will discover is that there sure are a lot of different kinds of dogs, and what's more, they're all really wolves.

From this information alone, can they deduce our existence? Because all of the dog varieties are the explicit result of human intervention: we'd have nothing but wolves if we had never existed.

Also consider the many varieties of horse, cow, pig, chicken, sheep, goat, corn, tomato, wheat, potato, rose, clematis, daylily, etc. which are also the result of human intervention.

Can our existence be deduced from these creatures and plants, or can they rightly assume that they are the product of natural evolution. I mean, there's nothing irregular about the DNA. It all obviously happened by natural means.

You are not supposed to be able to deduce God's existence from the natural world. (Why? Two words: plausible deniability.)

Knowledge of God is spiritual knowledge, which can be acquired only through spiritual channels, which means that you cannot really know that God exists except through revelation.

Observe this passage from Matthew 16:

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

It may have been possible to deduce that Christ was the Messiah, but any conclusion you arrive at by deduction can also be dismantled by deduction. Not a solid foundation for religious faith.

No, there is no other legitimate basis for faith except divine revelation; all else is unstable, perishable, and changeable. The Bible is a record of revelations that have been given to others, and it is a valuable instrument in helping you develop the desire to have your own revelatory knowledge of the truthfulness of the testimonies that are recorded therein.

But it's not a replacement. Mere interpretation of scripture as a basis for faith is not stable. I was an LDS missionary for 18 months, and we could sit there for hours with Jehovah's Witnesses and "Bible bash," they giving their evidence and we giving ours, but no minds were ever changed. Besides, if the Bible were sufficient, we would not have these dozens and dozens of denominations, all using the same text to come to different conclusions.

I mean, try arguing with a Jewish scholar that the Old Testament testifies of Jesus of Nazareth. You. Will. Get. Nowhere. First, because his level of knowledge dwarfs yours utterly (he knows the original Hebrew). And also because interpretation of a written text alone is not sufficient to reveal all of the Truth.

Nope, it's divine revelation or nothing. Which is why the God of the Gaps is NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That God asserts his existence through revelation, not by dwelling just beyond the boundary of human knowledge.

For that reason, I say that if ID is taught in public schools at all, it should be taught under the rubric of Philosophy, and it should be identified correctly as a God of the Gaps theory, and the theological weaknesses of that approach need to be outlined.

And Christians need to abandon the God of the Gaps and embrace the Revealed God, because otherwise they will lose their children to the better arguments of the SecProggs.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

OK, ST, lay it on me

Use the comments to this post.

And remember the question at hand: why troll PW? Why troll at all?

Don't move the goalposts or I'll delete your stuff.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

The Purpose of Government

From Jerry Pournelle:
The purpose of modern government is to take money from the folks who save and pay their bills and live within their means, and use that to hire government workers; and to keep their power by using the money to buy votes from those who do not save and pay their bills and live within their means. And of course the money comes from those who work and save and pay their bills and live within their means -- who else will have any money for the government to take?

Or am I unduly cynical? But you ain't seen nothing yet.
h/t: Insty.
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Quote for the Record Books

"Against the argument that you cannot cry fire in a crowded theatre: Oh yes you can — you must, if in your considered view there is a fire. In that case there is a duty to cry fire."

Julian Porter, QC, speaking at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal on Friday 6 Jun 08
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Monday, June 09, 2008

Why Can't a Democrat Be More Like a Man?

So asks Gagdad Bob at One Cosmos. After explaining why male sexual identity is trickier than a woman's, he observes the following:
We are about to elect a feminized man whose official policy is to surrender to our enemies, so we have moved well beyond the theoretical to the actual. In the triangulated war between liberals, Islamists, and the left, only one side can win. Our side will lose if we run out of real men because we simply do not create enough of them. We will lose if we allow the new cutural ideal of the feminized adultolescent male to become the ideal. We will lose if we forget that an upright and noble man with the capacity for righteous violence is at the very foundation of civilization.

Liberals sneer at such men, which is to say, men. I found a typical example by a college professor at dailykos, called A Pacifist’s Agony. S/h/it writes that “I've always hated the term ‘war crime,’ since it's an insidious tautology. It implies that some wars are not crimes, and some of the atrocities committed during war are excusable by virtue of their context. I believe that if there can be any single concept by which a civilization ought to be defined it's this: there is no context that can justify the intentional killing of a sentient being who does not wish it. Period” (somehow, I'm sure there is a loophole for abortion).

The professor's job is not to educate students but to make them “politically aware,” which in practice means to arrest their developmental journey toward adulthood. It is a form of spiritual and intellectual body-snatching; for the boys, it means a fantasized acquisition of manhood, for the girls, contempt for it. Before being indoctrinated, students are “not particularly politically aware,” but by semester’s end, if all goes well, they will be “different people. They now understand the direct relationship between their own deliberately inculcated ignorance and the crimes that are committed in their name.” They will have inverted reality, so that they imagine themselves to be Morally Superior to the primitive and murderous men who protect and defend them.

In other news, Jeff Goldstein has been posting short passages from Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism about the bulwark against the pure worship of science, which brought us, among other thrilling things, the Holocaust, eugenics, and Tuskegee.

The series, called "Provocateurism" has several parts, and each post yielded hundreds of comments. I was only been able to participate in the first two (and my work suffered greatly as a result), because part three was on Sunday and part four was well underway before I got to work.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This last part kinda petered out because Jeff had to rush his wife to the emergency room for reasons unknown. He updated us three hours into the ER wait. How I love the ER. I'm glad I haven't had to go since I was eight (appendicitis).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Laughing at the wrong time

So this morning I'm sitting there at the dentist's office getting a root canal--no, really--and I'm listening to Shire Network News on my iPod, and they play the sound from this video, which I'd already seen, but I still was unable to stifle a laugh.

Yeah, I've got four hands in my mouth, plus a rubber dam and a bite-block, and a running drill, and half my face numb, and the thing still made me laugh.

They had to stop a sec before I stopped shaking.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

From a comment over at PW:
You haven’t got a clue. You couldn’t get a clue if you covered yourself in clue musk and stood in a field full of horny, lusty clues, during clue mating season.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mercy!

Ace's IQ Test for Dogs is a monitor AND keyboard destroyer, and if you're at work and trying not to LOL, a destroyer of your inner ears as well.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Obamessiah

Once again, Gagdad Bob over at One Cosmos nails it. I'll post an excerpt below, sans indents, to make it easier to read. Bold added by me.

Obama and the Lure of the False Vertical: Worshiping a Groovin' Image

Regardless of whether or not you believe human beings are in need of salvation, they inevitably seek it in one form or another. Some of these forms are both "authorized" and therefore operative (i.e., vehicles of grace, the only real means of salvation), while others are sham versions that — at risk of conjuring a disturbing image — may send a tingle up Chris Matthews' pasty and dimpled thigh, but leave you back down on the launch pad in some rancid dimension of hell — which you soon realize when you look to your left and are assaulted by the beastly image of Keith Olbermann.

Now, among the ten commandments there is one in particular that leftists always poke fun at, and that is the injunction against worshiping graven images. Why would the Author of Creation care about that? And what relevance could it possibly have for contemporary people?

The purpose of this commandment is to check the human tendency to worship the relative, the ubiquitous tendency to "bow down and serve" manmade gods, whether secular or religious. Idolatry occurs whenever one holds a value higher than God, or let us say the Absolute, or One.

Thus it is actually possible to turn one’s religion — or irreligion — into a false god, and to value it above all else. Certainly in the Muslim Middle East, it would appear that the worship of God has been completely eclipsed by the worship of Islam. But it is also soph-evident that the secular left displaces the need for religion and salvation to the plane of politics — i.e., they horizontalize the vertical, and imagine that, with enough coercion, manipulation, and thought control, they can recreate paradise on earth.

....

Now, where does the latest messiah, Obama, fit into this scheme? Clearly — often in a shockingly naive and undisguised manner — Obama draws upon (or, to be precise, his enthusiasts draw upon) the universal hunger for messianic redemption, for a cosmic-historical figure who will shatter the existing corrupt order and make us "whole" again, which is to say, at one with God.

Now the fact that even secularized flatlanders sense the need for a messianic redemption speaks to unconscious awareness of our fallen situation. But naturally, the leftist understands the Fall in an unorthodox — to say the least — way. In fact, it would be an interesting exercise to "reverse engineer" their outward passion for the Obamessiah, to try to discern their unconscious understanding of what he is here to accomplish, or "undo." In short, exactly what is Obama's divine mission?

I think Julie is on the right track with a comment from yesterday. Obama
"embodies (at least outwardly) everything that leftists wish they were themselves: he's black, but also white; he's American, but also a 'citizen of the world'; he pushes for everything the leftiest of lefties desires, but somehow he also has social skills and charisma, so he makes it all look cool and appealing (as opposed to a Cindy Sheehan, or Code Pinkos, or Hillary, or any of the nutjobs who tend to flock to protests). He doesn't screech, whine or nag (he leaves that to the wife, I guess); instead, he cajoles and (anti)inspires. He absolves them of the sin of being white. He's like a great big mirror, showing them exactly what they want to see; they see their dream selves in him. Which would be all well and good, if what they fervently desired were not the most deadly, self-destructive governmental policies man has ever conceived — socialism, multi-culturalism, pacifism, etc." [and Fascism, I'd add — Ed.]

Therefore, our first guess is that Obama is indeed a messiah, only a messiah of the lower vertical, the projection of faux wholeness — i.e., the healing of spiritual brokenness — only in a circular, narcissistic, and ultimately "infertile" way. It is the creation and projection of a just and healing god to compensate for the absence of God. In essence, he is a groovin' image for the spiritually grooveless secular masses.

Reminds me this line by Samuel Johnson, quoted today in Peggy Noonan's tribute to Buckley: "How small of all that human hearts endure / That part which laws or kings can cause or cure."

Obama's finest speeches.... elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. —Ezra Klein, blogging under the influence

****

When I heard Michelle Obama's infamous "he will heal our souls" speech, it sounded as if they both had read Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, not for enlightenment but to copy the techniques of the Big Guys. Spooky.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Jonah Goldberg's Tribute to WFB

It was written in 2005, but it's worth reading now, on the day that the giant of modern conservatism died.

Conclusion:
William F. Buckley understood that conservatism can only be a partial philosophy of life, because any calling which claims to be a whole philosophy of life is not one at all. It is a religion, and in all likelihood a false one. Armed with this conviction, he changed the world by arguing with those who could not comprehend that a man could be joyful, charming, generous, and passionate about hobbies and people far outside politics while walking against what all the right people insisted was the tide of All Good Things. In this he remains the archetype for conservatism, properly understood.

Conservatives believe in dreams but we don't believe they can ever be made reality in this life. Nonetheless, when Bill Buckley once asked, "Have you ever seen a dream walking?" he may not have realized that for conservatives, at least, he was the answer to his own question.

I have yet to read God and Man at Yale, but it's on my Amazon wish list, and I'll eventually get to it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why We're Angry

Many of the pundits on the right are perplexed by the apoplexy of most of talk radio and the blogosphere over McCain's apparent nomination to the GOP.

Here's the reason for the "Kossak-like anger," Glenn:

For about a year, over here in alternate-media land (talk radio and the dextrosphere), it's been all about Rudy, Mitt, and Fred--Fred, Mitt, and Rudy. McCain and Huckabee were nowhere on our radar, and didn't appear to be on anyone else's, either.

We've slowly grown disillusioned with GW Bush's "compassionate conservatism" and the country's slow slide into the Nannystate.

So all of the sudden, the primaries arrive, and out of nowhere, there's this Huckabee chap who strikes new-media types as a Jimmeh Carter with an -R after his name. And he takes Iowa for no apparent reason.

That made no sense. No sense at all.

Then McCain sweeps in from left field (literally) and takes the nomination. McCain: whose mutual animosity with the conservative base and New Media has been going on for years.
  • Whose amnesty bill was opposed by 70% of the entire population. (And who hired Juan Hernandez on the one hand while saying he's "learned his lesson" on the other.)

  • Who believes in Global Warming and would spend 1.2 trillion annually to fix it.

  • Who wants to shut down Gitmo.

  • Who doesn't understand that tax cuts "for the rich" fill the state's coffers and employ the poor.

  • Who organized the Gang of 14 so that SCOTUS nominees can't get an up or down vote.

  • Who uses class warfare language to defend his positions.

  • Who thinks the Fairness Doctrine and other free-speech restrictions are dandy.

  • Who TWICE has flirted with crossing over to the Dems.

This makes no sense to us. No sense at all. And it came upon us fast, like a 2x4 to the back of the head.

And strangely enough, we're howling in pain over this very unexpected, inexplicable blow.

Screaming that we'd rather vote for Hillary than McCain is more an expression of rage over the fact that the party has failed—again—to nominate an actual conservative. We supported Bush because he was "good on the war," as is McCain, but Bush was a moron the rest of the time.

We don't want that to happen again.

Of course, what happened is that most voters don't inhabit the New Mediasphere, so they haven't been hashing all these issues out day after day, and in many cases, they aren't aware at all of who believes what. Most voters would rather not deal with the political morass until they absolutely have to, and they go on impressions rather than analysis. That's just how people are. I can't say I blame them, either.

We may be Kossak-like in intensity, but there is an important difference: Kossaks raged because they were denied the levers of power, thus to impose their idea of a Good Society on the benighted masses.

We are enraged at the prospect of someone else using the levers of power to micromanage our lives. That it might be a Republican—again—is enough to drive anyone to madness.

Don't worry: most of us will calm down by November. Life turns on a dime, and anything could happen between now and then to focus our minds differently than they're focused today.

Let us yell for awhile, K? It's cathartic. And catharsis is one of the aims of Tragedy, which this is.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

McCain Derangement Syndrome

I've got it, at least today. Some on the right are perplexed by it, notably Roger Simon, so here's a response from one of his commenters, which sums it up for me:
Why so many on the Right detest McCain ought not be that tough a mystery to crack - they're returning the bile he's spewed in our direction for years.

McCain argues against tax cuts using "class warfare" rhetoric.

McCain gives Democrats cover for accusing the Bush Administration of "torture" with his very public posturing about waterboarding (this after we all know waterboarding broke KSM, by the way).

McCain tries to ram his immigration bill through over conservative objections & associates himself with that lil' puke Graham, who calls us bigots.

McCain snatches defeat from the jaws of victory with his "Gang of 14" deal. (It broke the logjam for a select few - Bush nominees are still being stalled - and took an issue where we had the high ground off the table.)

McCain provides cover for Democrats on "McCain / Feingold" - if he doesn't know Democrats will use it as a political weapon against Republicans when they get the chance, if he can't recognize how it enhances the influence of a media hostile to our interests, he's a fool.

McCain's harshest rhetoric, etc. is directed at "other" Republicans - find me criticism of Kennedy, Feingold, Edwards, Clinton, Gore, etc. that matches the temper & tone of what he's said about Romney on Iraq.

McCain's no party builder. He has no respect for anyone on "our side" who doesn't agree with him (it's almost as if he gives Democrats a pass because they're in the "other army"). He grandstands constantly.

McCain v. Hillary or Obama is a tough vote for me. I don't know how it comes out - - - - as the day draws nearer, I suppose I'll think a lot about just how much damage I think the Democrat could do. Maybe it'll be enough to convince me to fill in the "McCain / _______" bubble on the ballot.

But make no mistake - if that happens, it won't be a vote "for" McCain.

But as the Anchoress says, much could happen in the interim, so we can afford to chill a bit and wait.

THEN we can go ape.

Friday, January 11, 2008

From AoSHQ

I just posted something brilliant over at Ace's pad in response to a magnificent post of his, wherein he makes the best case against Ron Paul that I've heard—it's precisely what I've been thinking all along.

Hard-core libertarians like the Ronulans remind me of what Jonah Goldberg was telling Dennis Prager yesterday. He observed that the core difference between leftists (Liberal Fascists) and conservatives is that the latter recognize that we are all made from the "crooked timber" of humanity and can never achieve a perfect society because of our collective and several imperfections, most of which we can't get rid of, and if there's to be any kind of Utopia to be had, it will be in the next life.

Leftists, OTOH, want Utopia Now, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, and they believe that if you just tweak the system enough, that if you just set up the right kind of government and economic infrastructure, we'll all be Happy and United forever.

It would appear that the difference between Leftists and Libertarians is that Leftists believe that the state can be perfected thus to perfect the society it governs, and Libertarians believe that individuals will form their own Utopia if government would just get out of the way.

They're both wrong, of course, because they both seem to believe that most of humanity can be trusted to do the right thing most of the time, either in governing others or in being left to their own devices.

Enter the Classical Liberal, who recognizes humanity's weaknesses and tries to construct a society that will maximize our productive impulses and minimize our tendency toward self-destruction. The whole Constitution was based on a deep mistrust of people in power, so the federal government it circumscribed had limited power over the smaller state governments, and power was distributed three ways to prevent any one person or faction from having too much of it.

I'll paraphrase something I read recently, by someone whose name doesn't come to mind right away: We seem to have abandoned the dream of pursuing happiness and now want it delivered.

Goldberg's book is in the mail, BTW. I can't wait. I've been hoping for someone to put this all together for a long time.