Monday, April 29, 2013

Reports of the Obama Presidency's Death Are Exaggerated by Daren Jonescu

If, during the 2008 campaign, Obama and his mouthpieces had stood up and said, without reserve or qualification, that the primary intentions and ultimate achievements of his presidency would be: (a) taking America's definitive step off the cliff into the world of socialized medicine; (b) creating vast new regulatory bureaucracies to curtail what was left of the free market; (c) moving through back channels and white papers towards the nationalization of local police; (d) creating new national academic standards and pre-school programs designed to make non-public school options virtually impossible, setting the stage for an eventual outright ban on private child-rearing, as is the norm in Europe; (e) crashing the U.S. economy with runaway federal debt and unrestrained money-printing; (f) reorienting U.S. foreign policy towards open support of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of Islamist government in general; and (g) the humdrum-ization of every wacky campus leftist agenda item (transgender rights, pot party rights, Gaia rights, consequence-free promiscuity rights) -- if these intentions and others like them had been stated directly during the 2008 campaign, would Obama have been embraced as the redeemer, or dismissed as a well-dressed kook? 
And yet all of these agenda items are well on their way to completion, often with bipartisan support, as in the case of the Common Core curriculum, which has suckered many so-called conservatives with its (provisional) inclusion of a few good titles for literature class.  In fact, this example perfectly illustrates the problem with fantasizing that the demythologizing of Obama the Man will precipitate the undoing of Obama the Agenda.  The premise that government, at whatever level, ought to be in the business of educating children, and even that such education ought to be compulsory, is so deeply embedded in the contemporary consciousness that anyone who questions it is regarded as some kind of nut by a large swath of mankind, including most self-described conservatives.  (Trust me.)  And yet it was not so long ago that universal compulsory government schooling was just a twinkle in the eye of a few progressive power-mongers who understood that controlling what goes in gives one control over what comes out.
Having achieved such absolute cultural submission on the ownership of your soul, it was only a matter of time before the progressives moved to complete the transfer of ownership by claiming sole proprietorship of your body.  ObamaCare will face numerous challenges on its details and internal mechanisms in the coming years, but its underlying principle -- that government ought to have central decision-making authority in what is euphemistically called "healthcare," but is more properly named "self-preservation" -- will be far more difficult to challenge.  A large bureaucratic apparatus and funding mechanisms are already in place, new rules are already insinuating themselves into the economy, and a major constitutional hurdle to the law's practical implementation has already been cleared, thanks to a Republican-appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 
And this leads us to the Republican Party, which is daily bringing new meaning to the old parliamentary term, "the loyal opposition."  Immediately after Obama's re-election, Speaker Boehner conceded defeat on ObamaCare, declaring it "the law of the land."  Not that his declaration indicated a substantial change in the GOP's real position -- as opposed to base-baiting rhetoric -- on the subject.  After all, the GOP establishment took great pains to ensure that their presidential nominee would be the only candidate among the final eight primary contenders whose own position on government-run healthcare was so compromised that the entire party would be effectively muzzled during the presidential campaign regarding the single most winnable issue on the table. 

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chechens, Russia & the Boston Marathon Massacre

All I would add to this article excerpt from 2006 is that the same dynamic now seems to apply to the USA, where ABC television is apparently still supporting the Chechen cause...

The fear of terrorism was even stronger. My students said they were
afraid when they rode the Metro—there had been a bombing shortly before
our arrival in the Puskhin station. Still raw were memories of the September 3,
2004 Beslan school tragedy, in which 344 civilians were killed, 172 of them
children. Nor had anyone forgotten the Dubrovka (Nord-Ost) theater hostage
crisis of October 2002. Although many criticized Putin’s handling of Chechen
affairs, the phenomenon of Chechen terrorism was largely seen as part of an
international Islamist movement, rather than as a local protest against lack of
autonomy. Russians are well aware that Chechen Russians perceive that
America is supportive of the Chechen cause.

When ABC television broadcast an interview by a Radio Liberty correspondent
with the purported mastermind of Beslan, Shamil Basayev, in late July 2005,
Russia revoked ABC reporters’ credentials. Americans seem unable to quite
understand, even after 9/11, the impact of the Chechen conflict in Russia. That
conflict has turned Russians against liberal democracy, which for a variety of
reasons has become associated with defending Chechen terrorists at the
expense of security, both personal and national. While few Russians approved
of the war in Chechnya, and many would not mind if Chechnya became
independent, most had no sympathy for terrorists or their sympathizers. The
linkage of liberal democrats to the cause of Chechen terrorism and the
perceived support by Western NGOs of Chechen terrorists has been a handicap
to those wishing to further liberalize Russia.
(From Cultural Challenges to Democratization in Russia, by Laurence Jarvik, 
Orbis, Jan. 2006)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Massacre

3 Bostonians are dead. More wounded. Yet US government responds as Hillary Clinton did to the Benghazi massacre: "What difference does it make?"

How's that Benghazi investigation going these days? How's Maj. Hasan's Ft. Hood trial? And who carried out the 9/11 anthrax attacks?

If we knew, it might make a difference, after all...

We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren

We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ann Coulter on Newtown & Mental Illness

Ann Coulter - Official Home Page

Brendan O'Neill on Gay Marriage

Daniel Pipes on Syria

The Obama administration is attempting an overly ambitiously and subtle policy of simultaneously helping the good rebels with clandestine lethal armsand $114 million in aid even as it prepares forpossible drone strikes on the bad rebels. Nice idea, but manipulating the rebel forces via remote control has little chance of success. Inevitably, aid will end up with the Islamists and air strikes will kill allies. Better to accept one's limitations and aspire to the feasible: propping up the side in retreat.

At the same time, Westerners must be true to their morals and help bring an end to the warfare against civilians, the millions of innocents gratuitously suffering the horrors of civil war. Western governments should find mechanisms to compel the hostile parties to abide by the rules of war, specifically those that isolate combatants from non-combatants. This could entail pressuring the rebels' suppliers (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar) and the Syrian government's supporters (Russia, China) to condition aid on their abiding by the rules of war; it could even involve Western use of force against violators on either side. That would fulfill the responsibility to protect.

On the happy day when Assad & Tehran fight the rebels & Ankara to mutual exhaustion, Western support then can go to non-Baathist and non-Islamist elements in Syria, helping them offer a moderate alternative to today's wretched choices and lead to a better future.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Latest on DC's Corcoran Museum Scandal

To the Corcoran Board of Trustees,
We, The Students for Saving the Corcoran, begin our campaign of action today at the Corcoran College of Art + Design as we have been incredibly troubled by the constant problems the Corcoran has endured due to an irresponsible administration.  This action is in response to the lack of transparency and accountability that has plagued our college and museum for the past decade and now threatens the institution’s future stability and founding mission to encourage American Genius.
We have initiated this campaign because we believe you are leading the college down the wrong road.  Continuous poor decision-making by the Board of Trustees and leadership has contributed to a dire financial deficit for which no one has been held accountable.  The manner in which the Corcoran is being governed is deplorable and consequences must be faced for this blatant mismanagement.  Your actions have disrupted our creativity and environment for learning, as well as jeopardizing the futures and careers of hundreds of students.  You have left us with little choice than to bring your actions into public light.
We will continue our campaign until the following demands have been met:
1. The board of trustees must immediately implement structural changes with the goal of creating transparent and democratic decision-making process.
The administration’s gross mismanagement and cronyism warrants a new and different process than what has led the college into this crisis.  To end this pattern, we have outlined initiatives that the board must take:
Record and document board meetings and make minutes publicly available;
- Appoint a student, a faculty member, a staff member and alumni as voting members of the Board of Trustees;
Implement a board member removal process where board members may be removed by a majority vote from the Corcoran student body and Faculty Association.

2. Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Harry F. Hopper III and Director Fred Bollerer must resign immediately. 
Under your tenure, the Corcoran has been set on a path to financial ruin.  Your lack of vision, accountability, credentials and integrity has shown you are no longer suitable for the positions you hold.    

3. Appoint Wayne Reynolds as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. 
- The appointment of Mr. Reynolds will allow the Corcoran to thrive once again without the aid of a partner.  It is our goal that the Corcoran remain independent until the institution is financially stable.  Mr. Reynolds’ vision will realign the institution with the original intentions of its founder, William Wilson Corcoran, as a place for creativity, world-class contemporary art and the encouragement of American genius.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

RubinReports: None, A Poem


None (Satire)

By Barry Rubin

Ten little countries standing in a line,
Iran had a revolution, then there were nine.
Nine little entities dangled just like bait,
Hamas took over Gaza and then there were eight.
Eight little countries thinking about heaven,
Turkey elected Islamists and then there were seven.
Seven little countries, in the geopolitical mix,
Lebanon elected Hizballah and then there were six.
Six little countries trying to stay alive,
The Brotherhood took Tunisia and then there were five.
Five little countries leaning on the door,
There goes Egypt and now there are four.
Four little countries redefining what is free,
Syria had a civil war and soon there will be three.
Three little countries doing something they will rue,
Afghanistan when Americans go will probably make it two.
Who will be next? It’s not all that hard to say,
Some think Saudi Arabia already is that way.
Bahrain’s on the verge; Qatar’s on their team,
Things may be far evenworse than what they seem.
Obama, Brennan, Hagel, Kerry think this is good,
Do you really believe they should?