What should be a really big story has largely been buried–the cancellation of book release of The Jewel of Medina. Why? The usual reasons; threat of violence from partisans of the Religion of Peace. Safety of Random House employees. Sensitivity for the tender feelings of Muslims. The book’s not all that good anyway. And, on and on.
Once again is we have an abject abandonment of fundamental principles that undergird an individual’s right to freely express himself (or herself). And, an abdication of the principles of the First Amendment rights that not only do we have a right to freely express ourselves, but we have governing principles and institutions that are there expressly to allow and protect the right of free expression. In fact, I would submit that the Department of Homeland Security needs to involve itself with such issues as this abridgment of rights by intimidation by the implicit threat of violence.
And, I would submit that Random House, if it is really interested in continuing in business as a publisher in a society that allegedly values free expression, has an obligation to publish this book. I no longer matters that this book may be a piece of trash; “harlequin” “soft porn.” Just as it matters not that the famous Danish Muhammad cartoons were as art or political commentary a bust. The fact that there people who will commit violence and, in the cartoon matter, kill. It therefore becomes imperative that such behavior will not succeed in silencing free expression.
Two final comments:
Aisha was betrothed to Muhammad when she was six or seven years of age. The marriage was consummated at the age of nine. Okay, child marriages and polygamy were common practices in the middle east circa 600 A.D. I think most reasonable people would understand that fact and would be willing to still evaluate Muhammad’s religious pronouncements objectively nonetheless.
But, Islam needs to just acknowledge this fact rather than taking umbrage at actions that have a historical basis in fact. And, acknowledge that such practices are now simply beyond the pale in the 21st century Islamic world-view and Islamic theology.
The second thought is the greater propensity for dhimmitude in Second Amendment-free zones; like New York City. Might I humbly suggest that Random House move its offices to a red-state location so that its employees could take a more proactive role in using their Second Amendment rights to defend their First Amendment rights. That’s why the Second Amendment was written into the Bill of Rights in the first place.
Mr. William Katz of Urgent Agenda cross-links to an NRO post in his post Obama and the Kids. The NRO article concerns Obama’s slippage in the polls among young voters. McCain seems to be winning forty percent of the young vote.
But, why should this be surprising. In general, political affiliations are familial. Much like showing up at your 25-year high school reunion and finding everyone there just like their parents (which we all swore we’d never become), so it is with voting. See any of the Kennedy clan running as Republicans? See any of the Bush clan running as Democrats?
But, abortion is killing, disproportionately, the Democrats. Statistically, the more liberal, the more likely you’re going to get an abortion. So, what’s left from the most aborted generations of the last forty years? The children of conservatives. Its roughly a 60/40 split, so you still have plenty of young folks to show up for Barry’s rallies.
But, what the MSM fails to show are a huge number of young folks that didn’t show up. There’re off doing their homework. Or, patroling the back streets of Iraq and Afghanistan. They really know the stakes; they have a legacy to protect; they have a country to run.
Following Saddleback, much of the punditry has been playing on this distinction of an intellectual Obama and a gut punching McCain; with a spin that prefers the “nuance” of Obama. Here’s an example by Sally Quinn in the Washington Post. The point is not to comment on Quinn’s post directly but to comment on spin that Adali Stevenson II intellectualism is the preferred fit to the White House.
But the point missed is that the president is an executive who’s job is to make decisions. You hire staffs of advisors and wonks to do the necessary intellectual massaging. What is so admired in Obama’s long-winded answers points to a man unable to make decisions. Nuance has some other synonyms. Intellectual masturabtion. Chasing your tail. Having your cake and eating it too. Dithering.
And, on the other hand, there are many capable people who can see to a clear cut answer with out endless verbalizations of how to get to that answer. Yes, back in high school you had to show your work in arriving at an answer in algebra class. But, there are people who can see the answer immediately without the intermediate steps. Chief executives are not paid to show their work, but to see the options and decide.
It is the executive’s job to take this data and recommendations and to distill it into very crisp and direct orders. And, much of the executive’s job is a brutal distillation down to and choice between two options. Yea or Nay. Sign the bill or veto. Evacuate off Dunkirk in a bleak hope of winning a war or suing for peace with the Nazis. Watching Hussein acquire nuclear weapons or bombing the reactor at Orsik. Sitting at a crossroads of history and making a choice between a bad alternative and a worse alternative; and trying to know which is which is which.
P.S.: There’s no pay grade above President of the United States.
There’s a recent story of a woman in Britain who had an abortion, followed by sterilization so as not to burden the earth with her consumption of the earth’s finite resources; or reduce her carbon footprint; I can’t remember the precise reason. Apparently, she didn’t care enough to eliminate herself as well.
Then, there’s information that a tankful of ethanol consumes enough corn to feed a person for an entire year. Also, the creation of that gallon of ethanol consumes enough energy so as to create no net gain in energy available. The ultimate farm program–grow corn and then burn it.
Then, we have the situation of a resurgence of insect borne diseases, particularly malaria in the third world. It seems that the enforcement of our ban on DDT is being enforce world-wide. These poverty stricken countries, unable to afford the more expensive substitutes, elect to do nothing since they cannot. Now malaria, on the wane, has claimed a toll of tens of millions of lives. Is it that the lives of raptors exceeds the value of the lives of our dark skinned brothers and sisters in the third world? Oh, no, such politically incorrect thoughts would never cross the minds of the melanin-challenged directorate of the Sierra Club.
Same said environmentalists will do everything to block any logging activities in our public lands. The result is fuel chocked forest stands that burn with a ferocity that makes firefighting so lethal that lives are now routinely lost fighting those fires. And, somehow, clear cutting is the most horrible fate to befall any forest. Yet, burnt out stands of forest, moonscapes sometimes occupying hundreds of square miles, are somehow more attractive.
A distinction needs to be drawn between the conservation of Teddy Roosevelt and modern-day environmentalism. The former is good stewardship. Use what you need, but don’t waste what you don’t. It is an ethic that recognizes that our natural resources are there for human beings. Human beings are part of the ecosystem. That the one species, made in the image of God, does have a priority and that we have a moral obligationto use those resources to aid and preserve human life.
Environmentalism, however, looks upon man as some alien interloper to be somehow banished. At least those humans that live in fly-over country. Not the ones that assuage their guilty consciences by eating free range chicken at some tony San Francisco eatery on some environmental foundation expense account. Never mind that factory-farm Tyson chicken is, for some families, the only way to afford reasonable priced protein. It is not science, but an aesthetic only of individuals who have the economic wherewithal to spin loopy theories of social ordering. Then have the clout, courtesy their foundations, to buy their way into the halls of power and impose such since their theories will never intrude into their insulated lives; but will wreck devastation upon those less fortunate (and less enlightened) who don’t have the decency to know their places in the environmental new world order.
Scores or more of these troglodytes are rendered unemployed because logging operations are completely shut down for some environmental aesthetic. Never mind that any forest needs to be culled. And, those trees culled can become wood for peoples homes. No, it is far preferable to allow those some fuel chocked woods to burn to the ground rather than allow human benefit in the form of jobs or forest products such as shelter for fellow humans.
Then, we get to the ultimate burning. Corn for ethanol. The ethanol craze is leading to the conversion of crop land to the cultivation of crops merely for the purpose of ethanol distillation. Even rain forests (remember that vogue cause) are being leveled in the name of ethanol. Now, food shortages are leading to food riots in the third world. And, in those same areas, where hope of economic progress was lifting millions out of abject poverty, we are seeing those dreams flattened by rising food prices driving those same-said people back into extreme privation. It is one area where environmentalism has crossed a bright moral line. It is a practice that needs to be stopped because it is literally stealing food from the mouths of fellow humans. Conservatives, like myself, once decried farm price supports. Now, I pine for the good old days of farm subsidies–subsidies that at least lead to farm production that produced food. Food for people to eat.
Finally, we come to the role of pseudo-science, myth, in the role of extending the reach of the environmental aesthetic. DDT is the index case. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, it turns out, played fast and loose with the facts. There is a considerable group of counter-arguments that call into question the validity of Carson’s conclusions. Eagle populations were, in fact, recovering long before the DDT ban because of other legislative measures going back to the 50’s that were successfully protecting our national bird. The DDT ban was a contest of wills and the marker of a committment to the cause of environmental aesthetics, not a regulatory policy scientifically designed to address a specific problem. Yet, the precedent was set. Namely, a green light for any environmental “problem” to given credence with out any evidence to support such a charge. It became the practice to level an environmental charge and force the target to prove the negative. The latest is the fraud known as global warming (or now climate change since warming isn’t quite hold water anymore).
Yet, while this latest pseudo-scientific fad, global warming is finally wilting under data that is implying the opposite (and finally going the way of the such fads as eugenics), it has already left a wreckage of public policy that will take years to sort out. Maybe four dollar gasoline is a God-send to the environmental set, but it has had a devastating impact on the lives of “bitter” America. The plumber that installs your $1500 designer faucet as the tile man installs your granite counter top in your gourmet kitchen comes to your house in full-size pickup because they need them to carry the tools and materials that are part and parcel of their trade–no, it won’t fit in a Prius.
History never really took a vacation; even during the 90’s. However, large swaths of the liberal intellectoid class never came to grips with that even after the attacks of September 11, 2001. These intellectoids tiptoe around the elephant in the living room; that we are in fact at war. One is a young senator named Obama. Here, courtesy Powerlineis Obama’s McGovernite military policy formulated in the very midst of our conflict defending Western Civilization against the barbarism of Islam. A proposal for disarmament in the heat of battle.
Now, history is really back with a bang as Russia attacks Georgia. Never mind the ideology, it is the Russian Bear in the midst of asserting its hegemony over central Asia. It is the Great Game back in spades. Obviously, Barry never cracked open a history book. All we get, from Hawaii, is some lame kumbya response about everyone just needs to just get along.
Now, lets look at the full extent of this problem. Map of Georgia. Georgia is sandwiched, with Azerbiajan between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. To the north is Russia. To the south is Iran. And, running through is the sole oil pipeline not controlled by either Russian and Iran. This incursion gives Russia and Iran a chokehold on oil from the Arctic circle to the straits of Hormuz.
So, now you have two rouge powers sitting astride a huge chunk of the world’s oil. One of those powers is nuclear. And, if Barry gets his way so will the other.
Fixing our energy policy now takes on a new urgency. We need to be drilling to counteract a monopoly control that could very well choke the world’s economy. We need to counteract a monopoly that has a nuclear arsenal to enforce that monopoly. And, Barry’s proposals to tax oil companies, inflate our tires, take the bus and build windmills become frighteningly absurd in the face of a very powerful monopoly that is under the control of one and potentially two nuclear powers.
The MSM in its biased coverage, does the GOP a huge favor in screening out week candidates. The result for the Democrats is that there’s a shallow bench of very weak candidates. And, Barry is such a candidate. But, the fact he still has a shot at the Oval Office can only be explained by a electorate that simply forgot the last time the Democrats really ruled the roost–that being Carter’s four years as president. How many people remember the years of double digit inflation? Or, double digit prime interest rates? Does any remember the travails of “bracket creep?”
Does any remember the shame and humiliation of the Iran hostage crisis? The debacle of Desert One? Does any remember “the hollow military?”
Some of the attractiveness of the Democrats are due to the GOP’s neglect to the basic message of small government, low taxes and minimal regulation. And, for that reason, they very much deserved the kick in the butt in 2006. Being in the minority has had the salutary effect of making the GOP return to its small government roots.
But, much more is due to an electorate that for nearly a generation has not experienced real hardship. And, in the conceit of such wealth and prosperity of the last 30 years, we have the “luxury” to dabble in such stupidities of Obama-ism.
Let’s do the demographics. For the sake of argument, let assume you come of age at eighteen years of age. On that assumption, let’s go back to the high school class of 1972. These folks were born about 1954 and are about 54 years of age. This is the last class that would face the draft. And, this is the last class that would, contemporaneously face military casualties on the magnitude of D-Day. Not to denigrate the sacrifice of our servicemen fighting Islamic imperialism, the sum total of our casualties since 2001, were tragically exceeded on many occasions in a single day in the Civil War, WW I and WW II.
Moreover, even though the class of 1972 had to live through the Carter years, it was largely on the sidelines. Many of this demographic were in college, grad school, or otherwise were just starting out in their careers; only to be ready to step into the economic prosperity of the Reagan years.
The high school class of 1980 was born in 1962 and is about 46 years old. Barry roughly falls into this cohort. In addition to witnessing ascendant foreign and military policies that ended the cold war, this cohort never really experienced a true economic downturn.
So, now we have an economy that has wrung out an slack that Reagan’s economic policies provided. We no longer have the room to accommodate the loony Utopias Barry would want to impose by government fiat. We no longer can outsource our dirty activities to the third world so we can feel good about how “green” our “personal” life. We’re going to have to actually put down our lattes and get our hands dirty by doing things like drill for oil.
Barry’s not going to talk his way out of this one. The question is whether a generation of voters will listen to an older generation about life before our 30 year vacation from history.
Perched along the scenic banks of Elkhorn Creek is the world renown Elkhorn Creek Lodge. A brilliant architectural conception, it is evocative of the old west. Yet, with a bow to the 21st century, is features indoor plumbing and flush toilets.
So, welcome in…