Thanks to the Volcano no one can pronounce, mankind is momentarily reminded of the fact that we are not Colossus of Rhodes and we do not stand astride the world ruling and reigning supreme over all. We cannot predict the weather a month from now much less a year from now. The long years of econuts making sure weather stations were moved to heat islands and gaming the system, the faked hockey-stick graphs of the Mann clan, the intentional faking of data finally unraveled by Climategate...Guess what?
- The globe is cooling not warming. Notice that arctic ice is growing?
- Polar Bears are doing just fine.
- One oil platform mishap should not shut down drilling and exploration. But watch the President do it anyway and further stress our failing economy.
- Cap and Trade/Cap and Tax is nothing more than a way to kill normal industries and enrich people like Al Gore who have invested in carbon offsets.
- Carbon offsets are a nasty game. The trees that get planted instead of using the land to grow food means more poor people go hungry. But Gore and Obama and Soros don't care, they have more money than they know what to do with. They can afford gasoline prices that double. We can't! Plus, when they want to accomplish something they just take more of YOUR money.
Please see the words at the bottom of the post!
Victor Davis Hanson
I think sometime this year elite radical environmentalism died. And at about the same time perished also the notion of the man in the mansion as the man on the barricades. Let me explain.
We all know that Al Gore has become a near billionaire through tirelessly warning the Western world that our daily habits have ruined the planet and nearly doomed us. Gore argues that what we take for granted—the too large homes in which we live, the carbon-spewing cars that we drive, the superfluous vacations and energy-hogging appurtenances that we enjoy—are all pernicious to the environment, and unsustainable.
That advocacy—expressed through investments, partnerships, advertising, movies, lectures, books, private companies, ads, and essays—has made Al Gore fabulously wealthy. The recent climate-gate scandal concerning fudged science did not affect the religion of Gore, LTD.
Nor did the horrendous natural ash cloud that blanketed Europe—and in unprecedented fashion shut down all European air travel for days—remind a humbled Gore that sometimes nature in a second has the destructive power to alter the very way we live in a way that man does not over decades.
No, what ended the gospel of Gorism was Al Gore himself.
In this context, the recently purchased Gore second mansion at Montecito, in Oprah country, is of some national interest. Why would Gore purchase a second energy-guzzling estate, replete with several fireplaces, fountains and bathrooms, when he was stung so badly about his hypocritically profligate energy use in his Tennessee compound, his houseboat, and his private-jet junketeering? Does he understand that his newest mansion is a sort of volcanic ash-cloud that has now overwhelmed Earth in the Balance, Inc?
Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
The answer is sort of important, because it is emblematic of the decline of liberalism over the last thirty years. Collate the anti-capital rants of a zillionaire currency speculator George Soros, the green sermons from a late Ted Kennedy who stopped a wind farm from marring his vacation home’s views, a John Edwards of “two nations” fame constructing a Neroian Golden House, a Tom Friedman warning of the consumer habits that lead to a hot, flat earth from a 10,000 square foot English-style estate of the sort that 18th-century English barons built after successful careers in the Raj, the comic case of Jeremiah Wright moving to a mostly white golf course to dream up more sermons about “white folks’ greed runs a world in need” or a $5 million a year earning Obama—with all his expenses picked up by the government— lamenting out loud why rich people seem to want ever more money they don’t need. Some spread the wealth around.
We can call this malady Gorism—living not merely at odds with your zealotry, but living entirely against your zealotry—and it seems to reflect a few assumptions of the modern progressive elite that are not mutually exclusive:
a) Penances and Indulgences. A life professed spectacularly at odds with one lived seems a psychological mechanism akin to medieval penance. The sinner finds exculpation through loud confession of, or material payment for, his sins. And the payment is not just for past hypocrisies, but works preemptively—in the expectation of present and future enjoyments to come once the pay as you go formula is established: one new docudrama about a polar bear trapped on a melting ice shelf, one new mansion in and about Santa Barbara.
The more spectacularly Mr. Gore’s veins bulge, the more he hits the high notes with “digital brownshirts” and “he lied to us!,” and the more he weeps over shrinking ice caps, and coastlines on the rise, the more these manors—and others to come—become morally acceptable. In other words, gallantly bearing the environmental cross more than earns the Gores’ hot tub and Pacific view. By now, given the decade of Gore’s indulgences, I think he can do just about whatever he pleases and still enter the green fields of Elysium.
b) The Guardian Mystique. Plato’s Guardians at least took on some sort of sacrifice as the price to dictate to others. Our new ones do not. Al Gore has convinced himself that if he is to triple his productivity on our behalf, he really must, from time to time, endure a ride on a private, carbon-spewing jet—to ensure that there are fewer carbon-spewing jets.
If he were to fly commercial economy class, just imagine the cramped quarters, the bad food, the missed flights that would all result in one less documentary, one less speech—and soon an extra degree or two in global warming. A John Edwards cannot get the details right on universal, socialized medicine for the poor, unless he has something like “John’s room”, a 4,000 sq. ft. hideaway within the Golden House, where the mix of calm and electronic appurtences allow him to work efficiently on our behalf.
Obama can talk of “redistributive change,” “spread the wealth”, and “at a certain point you’ve made enough money” (e.g., did Obama last year stop at $3 million?)—but only if he is freed up from the worry of making ends meet.
In other words, anointed progressives all need a little help if they are going to suffer and work so hard on our behalf. Think Hadrian’s Villa and our emperors writing out imperial directives on our behalf among colonnades and songbirds.
c) The Disconnect. A third element is classic narcissism, or delusions of divinity. The Julio-Claudians somehow convinced themselves that were godlike and different from mere mortal Romans, and therefore their tastes were actually quite mundane given their deification (sort of like Trimalchio’s ice during a Pompeian summer). Al Gore since 2001 has been given such attention, made so much money, exercised such influence, and experienced such adulation, that by now he really does see himself as a sort of Zeus on Olympus. In that context, a $9 million second cottage is nada—and neither is a week on a Gulfstream 550. John Kerry’s fleet of SUV’s and nearly a dozen retreats for us are sumptuous; but for Sen. John Kerry nothing all that great. In other words, elite progressives surround themselves with elite progressives. While they seek psychological exemption for their excess, and while they justify their sumptuary indulgences as necessary perks for their public benefaction, they also very soon simply lose touch. By now a hilltop home at Montecito for an Al Gore is no more than a tract house for the rest of us.
d) The Right Does it—so Why Not Us? At one point, Al Gore defended his indefensible hypocrisy by snapping that at least he was putting his money where his mouth was by investing in green technologies—sort of like a Mafioso defending his vast drug empire by confessing to an occasional snort or two, or Louis XIV defending Versailles by claiming at least he did not build such a palatial compound in Great Britain. In other words, the elite left—cf. Bill Clinton’s nearly decade-long tawdry global jetting to hit the $100 million figure for honoraria, or Chris Dodd’s taste for ill-gotten Irish cottages, or Charles Rangel’s weird tax-free Caribbean rentals—sees that aristocrats and oligarchs on the right live lives of excess all the time. And these selfish conservatives are people who aren’t even for universal health care, affirmative action, or cap and trade! So if the Republican elite can be bad and still live the good life, why can’t the Left too who is so good?
And the Wages of All This?
I have referred in the past to the old farming adage of “an upfront crook” being preferable to a smoother hypocritical one. In the early 1980s Sun-Maid Raisin Cooperative, in the months leading up to its bankruptcy and confiscation of the growers’ revolving fund, used to send us slick brochures, praising its overpaid executives, and a bloated and overpaid work force, who both were “working for the farmer”—e.g., the poor bankrupt raisin growers who thought a cooperative meant shared sacrifice in order to achieve greater long-term profitability. But very soon, we all noticed that the hard-nosed, legendary private packers, who despised cooperatives and those in them, were paying farmers more in upfront money for a ton of raisins that our hallowed Sun-Maid communitarian enterprise ever did over two years. When my blasphemous neighbor quit Sun-Maid and sold for cash, he laughed to me, “You’ll always do better with an upfront crook.” He was right.
I think we can deal with Richard Fuld and the Goldman-Sachs bunch. Ken Lay at Enron was a caricature of a conservative sybarite. All were identifiable for the moral obtuseness and a certain sort of unapologetic greed.
But the combination of liberalism with excess wins the additional charges of insincerity and hypocrisy—and seems to make natural human indulgence all that much more distasteful and hard to criticize.
It is difficult to adjudicate which is worse—greed or hypocrisy. Was a Timothy Geithner more odious because he sought to shave off for himself a few thousands from his taxes, or that as a soon-to-be Sec. of the Treasury and formerly high federal official, he was doing things that his offices are supposed to ensure others do not?
Yet the resulting combination is far greater than the mere sum of the two parts. You see, professed liberal humanitarianism and old fashioned “get mine” breed cynicism among the populace. If one were to believe Al Gore that there is a danger of manmade global warming and we all need to cut back, one might well lose faith when one sees that Al Gore lives differently from the way in which he has convinced you to live. And if one sees that the advocates for forced equality most certainly don’t want to be forced to do anything they advocate, then what are we left with?
Nothing on the national scene has proven more ironic than to see a thin liberal veneer masking traditional self-interest. Crusty conservatives of the more honest sort justified their own riches by the old, much caricatured notion that their hard work and brains trickled wealth down to us poorer that otherwise we would not have; or that they fight in a free arena and anyone brave enough to go out there and battle the lions is likewise free to enjoy their sort of rewards; or that life is inherently tragic and unfair—some succeed and others fail—and to ensure an quality of result usually entails a despotic enforcer and a growing pile of corpses.
I think I prefer an up-front profiteer to Al Gore’s sermons from Montecito. It was why I too finally left Sun-Maid.
What Arizona Must Live With
Gordon Brown called Gillian Duffy a “bigot,” then got into his limo and drove away. Remind you of anybody?
As I write, I have my papers on me — and not just because I’m in Arizona. I’m an immigrant, and it is a condition of my admission to this great land that I carry documentary proof of my residency status with me at all times and be prepared to produce it to law-enforcement officials, whether on a business trip to Tucson or taking a 20-minute stroll in the woods back at my pad in New Hampshire.
Who would impose such an outrageous Nazi fascist discriminatory law?
Er, well, that would be Franklin Roosevelt.
But don’t let the fine print of the New Deal prevent you from going into full-scale meltdown. “Boycott Arizona-stan!” urges MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, surely a trifle Islamophobically. What has some blameless Central Asian basket case done to deserve being compared to a hellhole like Phoenix?
Boycott Arizona Iced Tea, jests Travis Nichols of Chicago. It is “the drink of fascists.” Just as regular tea is the drink of racists, according to Newsweek’s in-depth and apparently non-satirical poll analysis of anti-Obama protests. At San Francisco’s City Hall, where bottled water is banned as the drink of climate denialists, Mayor Gavin Newsom is boycotting for real: All official visits to Arizona have been canceled indefinitely. You couldn’t get sanctions like these imposed at the U.N. Security Council, but then, unlike Arizona, Iran is not a universally reviled pariah.
Will a full-scale economic embargo devastate the Copper State? Who knows? It’s not clear to me what San Francisco imports from Arizona. Chaps? But, at any rate, like the bottled-water ban, it sends a strong signal that this kind of hate will not be tolerated.
The same day that Mayor Newsom took his bold stand, I saw a phalanx of police officers doing the full Robocop — black body armor, helmets, and visors — as they marched down the street. Goosestepping? No, it’s actually quite hard to goosestep in those steel-reinforced kneepads. So just regular marching. Naturally, I assumed they were Arizona state troopers performing a routine traffic stop. In fact, they were the police department of Quincy, Ill., facing down a group of genial tea-party grandmas in sun hats and American-flag T-shirts. They were acting at the behest of President Obama’s Secret Service, who rightly recognized a polite knot of citizens singing “God Bless America” as a clear and present danger to the republic.
If I were a member of the Quincy PD, I’d wear a full-face visor, too, because I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror. It’s a tough job making yourself a paramilitary laughingstock.
And yet the coastal frothers denouncing Arizona as the Third Reich or, at best, apartheid South Africa seem entirely relaxed about the ludicrous and embarrassing sight of peaceful protesters being menaced by camp stormtroopers from either a dinner-theater space-opera or uniforms night at Mayor Newsom’s reelection campaign.
Meanwhile, in Britain, a flailing Prime Minister Gordon Brown was on the stump in northern England and met an actual voter, one Gillian Duffy. Alas, she made the mistake of expressing very mild misgivings about immigration. And not the black, brown, and yellow kind, but only the faintly swarthy Balkan blokes from Eastern Europe. And actually, all she said about immigrants was that “you can’t say anything about the immigrants.” The prime minister brushed it aside blandly, made some chit-chat about her grandkids, and got back in his limo, forgetting that he was still miked. “That was a disaster,” he sighed. “Should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that . . . ? She’s just this sort of bigoted woman.”
After the broadcast of his “gaffe,” and the sight of Brown slumped with his head in his hands as a radio interviewer replayed the remarks to him, the prime minister found himself going round to Gillian Duffy’s home to abase himself before her. Most of the initial commentary focused on what the incident revealed about Gordon Brown’s character. But the larger point is what it says about the governing elites and their own voters. Mrs. Duffy is a lifelong supporter of Mr. Brown’s Labour party, but she represents the old working class the party no longer has much time for. Travis Nichols may be joking about “the drink of fascists,” but, in the same way as Gavin Newsom and Keith Olbermann, Gordon Brown genuinely believes Gillian Duffy has drunk deeply from the drink of bigots for so much as raising the subject of immigration. How dare she! Ungrateful bigot!
Gillian Duffy lives in the world Gordon Brown has created. He, on the other hand, gets into his chauffeured limo and is whisked far away from it.
That’s Arizona. To the coastal commentariat, “undocumented immigrants” are the people who mow your lawn while you’re at work and clean your office while you’re at home. (That, for the benefit of Linda Greenhouse, is the real apartheid: the acceptance of a permanent “undocumented” servant class by far too many “documented” Americans who assuage their guilt by pathetic sentimentalization of immigration.) But in border states, illegal immigration is life and death. I spoke this week to a lady who has a camp of illegals on the edge of her land: She lies awake at night, fearful for her children and alert to strange noises in the yard. President Obama, shooting from his lip, attacked the new law as an offense against “fairness.” Where’s the fairness for this woman’s family? Because her home is in Arizona rather than Hyde Park, Chicago, she’s just supposed to get used to living under siege? Like Gillian Duffy in northern England, this lady has to live there, while the political class that created this situation climbs back into the limo and gets driven far away.
Almost every claim made for the benefits of mass immigration is false. Europeans were told that they needed immigrants to help prop up their otherwise unaffordable social entitlements: In reality, Turks in Germany have three times the rate of welfare dependency as ethnic Germans, and their average retirement age is 50. Two-thirds of French imams are on the dole.
But wait: What about the broader economic benefits? The World Bank calculated that if rich countries increased their workforce by a mere 3 percent through admitting an extra 14 million people from developing countries, it would benefit the populations of those rich countries by $139 billion. Wow!
As Christopher Caldwell points out in his book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, “The aggregate gross domestic product of the advanced economies for the year 2008 is estimated by the International Monetary Fund at close to $40 trillion.” So an extra $139 billion works out to a spectacular 0.35 percent. Caldwell compares the World Bank argument to Austin Powers’s nemesis, Dr. Evil, holding the world hostage for one million dollars! “Sacrificing 0.0035 of your economy would be a pittance to pay for starting to get your country back.” A dependence on mass immigration is not a gold-mine or an opportunity to flaunt your multicultural bona fides, but a structural weakness, and should be addressed as such.
The majority of Arizona’s schoolchildren are already Hispanic. So, even if you sealed the border today, the state’s future is as a Hispanic society; that’s a given. Maybe it’ll all work out swell. The citizenry never voted for it, but they got it anyway. Because all the smart guys in the limos bemoaning the bigots knew what was best for them.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2010 Mark Steyn.
Okay, why not have a state where the heritage is more Indian/Hispanic than white? I welcome the further Heinz-fiftyseventization of America! I am part a lot of different things, mostly white and I have brown hair and blue eyes and I was blonde until third grade. Frankly, I hope that more white people and brown people and black people and yellow people and red people and pink people and freckled people and anything I missed intermarry fairly regularly so that we begin to forget about races and realize we are all part of the same family.
When will we see that there is no significant difference between us in terms of value?
When will we see that there is inherent value in each and every life?
We trivialize the value of our one precious and fleeting life on Earth by playing race cards and seeking ways to divide us from each other. This is one thing I like about the Tea Party movement. Because we have no one leader and no membership requirements we do get a few kooks and a few bad people with ill intent but for the most part it is just a bunch of Americans of all shades of skin tone and ages and wealth or poverty intent on seeing the good old USA become more like it used to be, just better.
Could we have the unity of purpose we knew during World War II and add the civility and wisdom of our Founding Fathers and make the USA even better? Or will the socialists drag us down and make us another Spain or Greece or Venezuela or even a Soviet Union or some kind of sixth degrees of Nazi Germany? Our current administration has little or no respect for the absolutes upon which our nation was founded and far more familiar with the words of Saul Alinsky than Blackstone or Madison or even Franklin and Jefferson. Our supposed Constitutional expert President seems to have little grasp of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence and the reason they are such great documents, he is too busy finding ways to subvert their wording.
I am supporting Marlin Stutzman for Senate in Indiana this year in the Republican primary. There are good reasons for me to prefer him over my second choice, John Hostettler. But I will say this, if you had an Obama versus Hostettler debate on the content and composition of the Constitution the President would be reduced to sputtering incoherence within ten minutes of time. It would take Marlin probably twice as long, but you take Barack Obama away from his handlers and teleprompters and speech writers and he is lost in space. He doesn't even know one player on his so-called favorite team, the White Sox and doesn't know the name of their ballpark. He is Commander in Chief and cannot pronounce "corpsman!" I doubt if he really knows a whole lot beyond how to fire up the poor with Marxist propaganda and the way of small talk at political gatherings with men and women of wealth.
I beg you for the sake of your country to vote for whoever will be willing to stand for you against the socialist mob and not fall victim to the lure of money and influence and power that will be thrown at them once they win a national office. Many are the Mr. Smiths who go to Washington and become Dick Durbins and Harry Reids. God help us!
President Obama is inciting racial division. He rightly fears that the Democrats will suffer huge losses in November's midterm congressional elections. Republicans are within reach of retaking control of the House of Representatives. Even the Senate may be in play. His party's grip on power is threatened - and with it, Mr. Obama's radical socialist agenda.
Fear breeds desperation. Hence, Mr. Obama is resorting to the worst kind of demagoguery: playing the race card. In a video to Democrats, the president embraced identity politics; black, Hispanic and female voters are to be courted at the expense of white middle-class America.
"It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women, who powered our victory in 2008, stand together once again," he said.
Mr. Obama conveniently ignored the large chunk of white voters - suburbanites, latte-sipping professionals, environmentalists, labor union members - who voted for him in huge numbers. For Mr. Obama in the 2010 election, whites no longer matter - especially white Christian males.
In recent memory, no president has so deliberately and publicly sought to pit racial and gender groups against each other. The president is not simply the titular head of a party or the leader of government. He is the head of state and embodies the collective will of the American people. He is the president of all Americans - not just certain segments of his electoral coalition. Mr. Obama's rhetoric is reckless. It is fostering civil strife and racial animosity.
Imagine the media uproar had President George W. Bush, for example, in 2006 called for "whites, Southerners, Christians and veterans" to vote for the Republican Party. Mr. Bush would have been excoriated (rightly) for racist and sectarian pandering.
Mr. Obama is fracturing America. He is calling on the primacy of race and gender in order to perpetuate his national socialist revolution. He is championing a revanchist tribalism - the politics of grievance and racial victimology that undermines our common national identity. Just like his old pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Obama is an anti-American, virulent race-baiter.
Instead of seeing Americans, he classifies people according to their race and gender. Modern liberal identity politics is rooted in fascist doctrine. The most influential philosopher of the 20th century was Martin Heidegger. His 1927 classic work, "Being and Time," is widely acknowledged as profoundly influencing Western thought - especially the academic left and its embrace of postmodernism. It's the very culture from which Mr. Obama - by his own admission - comes.
The German thinker developed the theory of the primacy of race, blood and group identity in a secular, relativistic world. Heidegger rejected eternal Judeo-Christian principles of moral absolutes. Instead, he called for the will to power through racial communities and tribal solidarity. Heidegger adamantly opposed democracy, capitalism and market-oriented growth - denouncing them as unjust and oppressive.
What is conveniently ignored is that Heidegger also was a passionate Nazi. He admired Adolf Hitler. He was a member of the National Socialist Party. Heidegger believed that fascism - with its racialism, neo-paganism, economic corporatism, worship of state power, rabid environmentalism and hatred of Western civilization - represented the true future. Sadly, he may have been right.
Today's Western liberal elites are Heidegger's heirs. For decades, the American left has been obsessed with race, class and gender. It despises America's national heritage and common culture. The Founding Fathers' dream of a republic based on limited government and rugged individualism, the Constitution, the notion of American exceptionalism, our roots as an English-speaking, Christian civilization based on a distinct national identity - these idols must be smashed in the name of progressivism.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Mr. Obama's presidency is not simply about erecting European-style social democracy. It is more insidious and dangerous than that. It is an attempt at establishing a liberal fascist regime - Heidegger meets Jane Fonda.
The results are similar to what exists in other fascist states: a pliant dominant media, greater government control over all aspects of national life, a bloated public sector, economic sclerosis, a corporatist economy, permanently high unemployment, crushing taxes, a hostility to Jews (Israel), a growing intolerance to dissent, the demonizing of critics and an irrational cult of personality.
The most distinctive characteristic, however, is the incitement of racial conflict. Fascism thrives on fomenting ethnic divisions and hatred, targeting internal race enemies to galvanize supporters behind their leader.
This is what Mr. Obama is doing today. He and his Democratic allies have deliberately fanned the flames of racial tensions over Arizona's immigration law.
The state statute does nothing more than empower local police to enforce existing federal immigration laws. Overrun by Mexican drug cartels, a soaring crime wave and many illegal migrants, Arizona's authorities are taking action to protect the border in the wake of federal government inaction. The state's comprehensive immigration enforcement law is simply patriotic common sense and self-defense.
Mr. Obama, however, has blasted it as "misguided." The liberal media is comparing the law to Hitlerism, a form of apartheid and white supremacy, supposedly for its racial profiling of Hispanics. The Rev. Al Sharpton is leading an economic boycott of the state. The attack on Arizona's immigration law is an attempt to frighten Hispanics into believing that white Arizonans are seeking to impose a racial caste system. It is deliberately playing the races against one another to help Mr. Obama get higher voter turnout among minorities in November.
The consequences are the gradual Balkanization and breakup of America. The mainstream media refuses to report on one overriding reality: Racial violence has broken out in protest of Arizona's law. Gangs of Hispanic protesters in Arizona have been throwing rocks and bottles at police, spitting at them and denouncing them as "pigs." Massive rallies are planned across the country this weekend to demand amnesty for illegal aliens. Event leaders will use Arizona's law as a rallying point to channel ethnic anger and rage.
Mr. Obama is fueling greater ideological, political and racial polarization. Not since the Civil War have Americans been so divided. He is laying the groundwork for a possible race war. Welcome to Mr. Obama's fascist America.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily host of "The Kuhner Show" on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from noon until 3 p.m.
With a tip of the blog hat to the Daily Kenn!