Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pajamas Media » Obama and Me by by David Solway

This essay presents an eloquent summary of one disillusioned former Obama supporter's evolution.

When I first heard about Obama as a rising star in the Democratic Party, a man so refreshingly different from his predecessors and contemporaries, I was intensely curious and quite favorably disposed toward the youngish, African-American legislator and author. And when I gleaned from my local newspaper that he might harbor aspirations to the White House, I found myself very much in his corner, one of his many Canadian fans. He had an effect similar to the new car smell, appropriately called “outgassing” in the trade, which is often irresistible to prospective buyers.

Naturally, I wished to learn as much as I could about the man who represented an unprecedented phenomenon on the American political scene. I soon discovered that very little of substance was known about this rara avis and so began a disciplined search for more information. Within months I had accumulated a towering stack of articles, commentaries, editorials, and diverse kinds of documentary materials, much of this stuff mere unfocused adulation and adjectival irrelevance but many of these items of a distinctly troubling nature. His autobiographies notwithstanding, I was soon caught in the grip of a profound paradox. It seemed the more I knew, the less I knew. But this “less” was more than enough to convince me, by the time he had won the Democratic nomination, that Obama was everything he presumably was not.

I had finally amassed enough documentation to determine that he was not the centrist he affected to be but a far-left ideologue, that he was a gyrating opportunist who could reverse his proclamations on a dime to suit the occasion, that he had neither knowledge of nor competence in the complexities of foreign affairs, that he was an unabashed plagiarist in his stump speeches, that there was no chance of him becoming a “post racial” president but rather a demagogue who would sharpen racial tensions, that his grasp of real-world economics was shaky to non-existent, that he was an unnervingly ignorant man (e.g. the Austrian language) as well as a showboat (e.g., the fake classical pillars), that he was associated with some of the most dubious people in the political, academic, and religious communities, and that he would waste little time putting the screws on Israel while flattering and appeasing the Islamic world.

Monday, February 14, 2011

As the lies come crashing down by Caroline Glick

This article covers events in Pakistan that have not received much attention. I found these comments within the article to be particularly enlightening and concerning.

Since taking office, the Obama administration has failed to conceive of a strategy for contending with the situation. One of the main obstacles to the formation of a coherent US strategy is the Obama administration's move to outlaw any discussion of the basic threats to US interests. Shortly after entering office, President Barack Obama banned the use of the term "War against terror," substituting it with the opaque term "overseas contingency operation."

Last April, Obama banned use of the terms "jihad," "Islamic terrorism" and "radical Islam" in US government documents.
Maybe there is an innocent explanation for this change in official wording although I'm having a difficult time conjuring one.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt - By Victor Davis Hanson - The Corner - National Review Online

Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt - By Victor Davis Hanson - The Corner - National Review Online

Thanks to Robert Bidinotto for this reference. As he commented when he posted this on Facebook:

Like Mubarak, Fidel is a dictator, heads a poodle military, and has been around for decades; but the media here don't call for HIS ouster. In fact, they sing the praises of his Potemkin hospitals practicing socialized "healthcare" -- which of course is denied to beaten and imprisoned dissidents.

So, what's the difference between Castro and Mubarak, which allows the former to get a pass? Simple: He's anti-American. The same goes for the thugocracy in Iran: Western intellectuals, media, and politicians only wanted "regime change" when the regime was headed by the pro-Western Shah. You haven't heard a peep from them about "democratic revolutions" since. And where are the calls for "people power" to depose the communist thug Hugo Chavez in Venezuela? Instead, he's a magnet for Hollywood leftists like Sean Penn, Danny Glover, and Michael Moore.

For the American/western left, the only distinguishing characteristic between "good" dictators and "bad" dictators" seems to be that the former are our sworn enemies, while the latter are our allies against the former. Hey, I'd love to be wrong about this. So please find me some exceptions.

“Altruism: The Moral Root of the Financial Crisis” by Richard M. Salsman

This article presents a different explanation for the current financial mess. Salsman rejects the commonly offered explanation that the inherent flaws of the free market caused the recession. His economic explanation is not unique. Others, like Thomas Sowell, have shown that government policies, not fatal flaws in capitalism, thrust us into the present mess. Salsman takes a critical step not evident in other free market based explanations. He identifies the ethical ideas behind certain policies: these ideas, accepted by Republicans and Democrats, pushed an altruist agenda in order to help folks without the necessary financial means buy houses. This was a recipe for disaster.

Those who claim greed caused are partially (and only partially) right. While Salsman explains how banks were "encouraged" by the certain politicians to lower lending standards I'm sure it's also true that some institutions and individuals were motivated by greed to play along and even profit from these lowered standards. This would include those who managed Freddie Mac and Freddie Mae as well as their political buddies who protected them. Greed by itself doesn't explain why the housing market imploded. Otherwise it would happen all the time and not just in the housing market. (Do we see this happening, say, in the cell phone market? Or with PC's? Or food?) You need something to prevent the market from correcting itself. In this case one of the factors was the unhealthy alliance between those who ran Freddie Mac and Freddie Mae and those who "regulated" them and the banking industries. Greed certainly was a factor but not the sole or even the main one.

“Altruism: The Moral Root of the Financial Crisis” by Richard M. Salsman