Saturday, July 30, 2011

Today's Laugh Track: Chris Farley Interviews Paul McCartney

Today's Tune: Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - Go It Alone (Live)

‘Life on this planet' about to change

By Mark Steyn
The Orange County Register
July 29, 2011

That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the "debt ceiling" negotiations the other day: "What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today."

It's always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to the House Minority Leader for putting it in layman's terms: What's at stake is "life on this planet as we know it today." So, if right now you're living anywhere in the general vicinity of this planet, it's good to know Nancy's in there pitching for you.

What about life on this planet tomorrow? How's that look if Nancy gets her way? The Democrat model of governance is to spend four trillion dollars while only collecting two trillion, borrowing the rest from tomorrow. Instead of "printing money," we're printing credit cards and preapproving our unborn grandchildren. To facilitate this proposition, Washington created its own form of fantasy accounting: "baseline budgeting," under which growth-in-government is factored in to federal bookkeeping as a permanent feature of life. As Arthur Herman of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out this week, under present rules, if the government were to announce a spending freeze – that's to say, no increases, no cuts, everything just stays exactly the same – the Congressional Budget Office would score it as a $9 trillion savings. In real-world terms, there are no "savings," and there's certainly no $9 trillion. In fact, there isn't one thin dime. But nevertheless that's how it would be measured at the CBO.

Around the world, most folks have to work harder than that to save $9 trillion. That's roughly the combined GDPs of Japan and Germany. But in America it's an accounting device. This is something to bear in mind when you're listening to the amount of "savings" touted by whatever triumphant bipartisan deal is announced at the eleventh hour in Washington.

So I find myself less interested in "life on this planet as we know it today" than in life on this planet as we're likely to know it tomorrow if Nancy Pelosi and her chums decline to re-acquaint themselves with reality. If you kinda dig life on this planet as you know it, ask yourself this: What's holding the joint up? As the old gag goes, if you owe the bank a thousand dollars, you have a problem; if you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank has a problem. If you owe the banks 15,000,000,000,000 dollars, the planet has a problem. Whatever comparisons one might make with Europe's soi-disant "PIIGS" re debt per capita or deficit-to-GDP ratio, the sheer hard numbers involved represent a threat to the planet that Portugal or Ireland does not. It also represents a threat to Americans. Three years ago, the first developed nation to hit the skids was Iceland. But, unless you're Icelandic, who cares? And, if you are Icelandic, you hunker down, readjust to straitened circumstances, and a few years down the line Iceland will still be Iceland and, if that's your bag, relatively pleasant.

That's not an option for the U.S. We are chugging a highly toxic cocktail: 21st century spendaholic government with mid-20th century assumptions about American power. After the Battle of Saratoga, Adam Smith replied to a pal despondent that the revolting colonials were going to be the ruin of Britain: "There is a great deal of ruin in a nation," said a sanguine Smith.

That's generally true. Americans of a certain bent looking at post-war France or Germany might reasonably conclude what's the big deal about genteel decline. The difference, of course, is that Europe's decline was cushioned by America. Who's around to cushion America's decline?

If the IMF is correct (a big if), China will be the planet's No. 1 economy by 2016. That means whoever's elected in November next year will be the last president of the United States to preside over the world's dominant economic power. As I point out in my rollicking new book, which will be hitting what's left of the post-Borders bookstore business any day now, this will mark the end of two centuries of Anglophone dominance – first by London, then its greatest if prodigal son. The world's economic superpower not only will be a communist dictatorship with a largely peasant population and legal, political and cultural traditions as alien to its predecessors as possible, but, even more civilizationally startling, it will be, unlike the U.S., Britain and the Dutch and Italians before them, a country that doesn't even use the Roman alphabet.

The American economy has been "stimulated" to a bloody pulp by the racketeers in Washington, mostly to buy off approved interests. Meanwhile, as Nancy defends life on this planet today, the contours of life on this planet tomorrow are beginning to emerge.

Remember the Libyan war? Oh, come on. It was in all the papers for a couple of days. And then, oddly enough, the media lost interest in Obama's war.

But it's still going on, out there on the fringes of the map. "We are generally in a stalemate," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced to a roomful of chirping crickets the other day. At the start of NATO's desultory bombing campaign, the French and the British were demanding that Gadhafi be removed from power, leave Libya and be put on trial at the Hague. Last week, they subtly modified their position: He can remain in Libya, but he definitely has to step down from power. Expect further modifications in their next ultimatum: He can remain in the presidential palace, but he has to move to the poky guest bedroom under the eaves.

Meanwhile, the Lockerbie bomber has been appearing at delirious pro-Gadhafi rallies. Remember the Lockerbie bomber? He was returned to Libya because he was terminally ill and only had three months to live. That was two years ago. It's amazing what getting out of the care of the Scottish National Health Service can do for your life expectancy. Likewise, back in the spring, NATO declared that Gadhafi's presidency only had three weeks to live. Like his compatriot, he seems disinclined to follow the diagnosis.

The Libyan war never caught the imagination of the American public, even though you're paying for most of it. But in Tehran and Moscow and Beijing they're following it. And they regard it as a useful preview of the post-American world. Absent American will, even a tin-pot desert drag queen can stand up to the great powers and survive. The lesson of Obama's half-hearted little war isn't lost in the chancelleries of America's enemies.

For dominant powers in decline, it starts with the money, for Washington as for London and Rome before it. But it never stops there. The horizons shrivel. Two-bit provocateurs across the map pick off remnants of the old order with ever greater ease.

America has had two roles in a so-called "globalized" world: America's government was the guarantor of global order; America's economy was the engine of global prosperity. Right now, both roles are up for grabs. And there are no takers for the former. Pace Nancy Pelosi, "life on this planet as we know it today" is going to change, and very fast.


Friday, July 29, 2011


By Ann Coulter
July 27, 2011

Norway's twin terror attacks suspect Anders Behring Breivik, left, sits in an armored police vehicle after leaving the courthouse following a hearing in Oslo, July 25, 2011. (Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Aftenposten/AP Photo)

The New York Times wasted no time in jumping to conclusions about Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian who staged two deadly attacks in Oslo last weekend, claiming in the first two paragraphs of one story that he was a "gun-loving," "right-wing," "fundamentalist Christian," opposed to "multiculturalism."

It may as well have thrown in "Fox News-watching" and "global warming skeptic."

This was a big departure from the Times' conclusion-resisting coverage of the Fort Hood shooting suspect, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. Despite reports that Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar!" as he gunned down his fellow soldiers at a military medical facility in 2009, only one of seven Times articles on Hasan so much as mentioned that he was a Muslim.

Of course, that story ran one year after Hasan's arrest, so by then, I suppose, the cat was out of the bag.

In fact, however, Americans who jumped to conclusions about Hasan were right and New York Times reporters who jumped to conclusions about Breivik were wrong.

True, in one lone entry on Breivik's gaseous 1,500-page manifesto, "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," he calls himself "Christian." But unfortunately he also uses a great number of other words to describe himself, and these other words make clear that he does not mean "Christian" as most Americans understand the term. (Incidentally, he also cites The New York Times more than a half-dozen times.)

Had anyone at the Times actually read Breivik's manifesto, they would have seen that he uses the word "Christian" as a handy moniker to mean "European, non-Islamic" -- not a religious Christian or even a vague monotheist. In fact, at several points in his manifesto, Breivik stresses that he has a beef with Christians for their soft-heartedness. (I suppose that's why the Times is never worried about a "Christian backlash.")

A casual perusal of Breivik's manifesto clearly shows that he uses the word "Christian" similarly to the way some Jewish New Yorkers use it to mean "non-Jewish." In this usage, Christopher Hitchens and Madalyn Murray O'Hair are "Christians."

I told a Jewish gal trying to set me up with one of her friends once that he had to be Christian, and she exclaimed that she had the perfect guy: a secular Muslim atheist. (This was the least-popular option on the '60s board game Dream Date, by the way).

Breivik is very clear that you don't even have to believe in God to join his movement, saying in a self-interview:

Q: Do I have to believe in God or Jesus in order to become a Justiciar Knight?

A: As this is a cultural war, our definition of being a Christian does not necessarily constitute that you are required to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus.

He goes on to say that a "Christian fundamentalist theocracy" is "everything we DO NOT want," and a "secular European society" is "what we DO want."

"It is enough," Breivik says, "that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian-atheist." That statement doesn't even make sense in America.

At the one and only meeting of Breivik's "Knights Templar" in London in 2002, there were nine attendees, three of whom he describes as "Christian atheists" and one as a "Christian agnostic." (Another dozen people mistook it for a Renaissance Faire and were turned away.)

Breivik clearly explains that his "Knights Templar" is "not a religious organization but rather a Christian 'culturalist' military order." He even calls on the "European Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu community" to join his fight against "the Islamization of Europe."

He doesn't believe in Christianity or want anyone else to, but apparently supports celebrating Christmas simply to annoy Muslims.

Breivik says he is "not an excessively religious man," brags that he is "first and foremost a man of logic," calls himself "economically liberal" and reveres Darwinism.

But Times reporters had their "Eureka!" moment as soon as they heard Breivik used the word "Christian" someplace to identify himself. No one at the Times bothered to read Breivik's manifesto to see that he doesn't use the term the way the rest of us do. That might have interfered with the paper's obsessive Christian-bashing.

Other famous killers dubbed conservative Christians by the Times include Timothy McVeigh and Jared Loughner.

McVeigh was a pot-smoking atheist who said, "Science is my religion."

Similarly, Breivik says in his manifesto that "it is essential that science take an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings" –- a statement that would be incomprehensible to all the real scientists, such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Bacon, Newton, Mendel, Pasteur, Planck, Einstein and Pauli, all of whom believed the whole purpose of science was to understand God.

The Tucson shooter, Jared Loughner, was lyingly described by the Times as a pro-life fanatic. Not only did more honest news outlets, such as ABC News, report exactly the opposite -- for example, how Loughner alarmed his classmates by laughing about an aborted baby in class -- but Loughner's friends described him as "left wing," "a political radical," "quite liberal" and "a pothead." Another said Loughner's mother was Jewish.

The only reason Timothy McVeigh has gone down in history as a right-wing Christian and Jared Loughner has not -- despite herculean efforts by much of the mainstream media to convince us otherwise -- is that by January 2011 when Loughner went on his murder spree, conservatives had enough media outlets to reveal the truth.

As explained in the smash best-seller "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America," the liberal rule is: Any criminal act committed by a white man with a gun is a right-wing, Christian conspiracy, whereas any criminal act committed by a nonwhite is the government violating someone's civil liberties.

It's too bad Breivik wasn't a Muslim extremist open about his Jihadist views, because I hear the Army is looking for a new psychiatrist down at Fort Hood.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fanaticism, mass murder and the left

By Melanie Phillips
July 26, 2011

In the wake of the Norway atrocity and the reaction it has generated, I have been thinking some more about hatred, fanaticism and moral confusion.

This shouldn’t need saying, but it does: there can be no excuse, justification or rationale whatsoever for the atrocity perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik. The reason it unfortunately needs saying is that I have been reading too many weaselly equivocations about this, along the lines of ‘Yes, it was indeed a most terrible atrocity and one’s heart bleeds for those poor victims; but Norway’s politics towards Israel do stink/Norway’s Labour Party stinks/Quisling’s country, say no more/the Islamisation of Europe stinks/it was only a matter of time before someone was provoked by the railroading of public opinion into doing something like this’.

No, no, no! Any variety of such ‘yes-buttery' inescapably makes some kind of excuse for the atrocity, however dressed up it may be in suitably pious expressions of horror. There is never any justification for mass murder. None. Any concerns about the Norwegian ambassador to Israel’s disgusting comments or European Islamisation or anything else are a totally separate matter and must be addressed through the democratic process of argument, persuasion and public debate.

Not only can mass murder never be excused, but the notion that ‘it was only a matter of time before someone was provoked into doing something like this’ is itself as nonsensical as it is obscene. Yes, there are a lot of people in Europe who are angry -- very angry indeed -- about a whole host of things. Some of them are decent people who are boiling with rage at being disenfranchised by an entire political class which seems determined to destroy their civilisation. Some of them have deeply unpleasant or racist views about some of their fellow human beings. Some of them are so angry they may join political groupings which resort on occasion to thuggery and hooliganism (the BNP, EDL or the anti-globalisation riots all come to mind). But violent as some of their behaviour may be, they would not travel to a youth camp, invite the teenagers to gather round and then open fire on them all with dum-dum bullets.

The suggestion that Breivik’s behaviour resulted from political rage – let alone from reading thinkers such as John Locke, John Stuart Mill or Winston Churchill – is frankly itself an opinion in need of treatment. The man is either in the grip of a psychosis or he is a psychopath – in other words, a grossly abnormal personality incapable of human feelings of empathy (my money is on the latter). What he himself says about his own opinions or state of mind therefore does not bear examination. Yet throughout the west, apparently intelligent people have been not only ascribing to him rational thought processes but have been poring over his own words to extract clues about what made him do this.

Repeat after me very slowly: Breivik did not murder dozens of teenagers because he was ideologically opposed to cultural Marxism; he mowed them down because he was grossly mentally abnormal.
In the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens makes a useful point – and also explains why the frenzy of demonisation being directed at writers and thinkers who were name-checked in Breivik’s ‘manifesto’is quite so vile, as well as deeply stupid. Observing that Breivik was neither Christian nor conservative but intended to detonate an apocalypse, Stephens writes about this particular pathology:

What it is is millennarian: the belief that all manner of redemptive possibilities lie on just the other side of a crucible of unspeakable chaos and suffering. At his arrest, Breivik called his acts ‘atrocious but necessary.’ Stalin and other Marxists so despised by Breivik might have said the same thing about party purges or the liquidation of the kulaks.
These are the politics that have largely defined our age and which conservatives have, for the most part, been foremost in opposing. To attempt to tar them with Breivik's name is worse than a slur; it's a concession to a killer with pretensions of intellectual sophistication. And it's a misunderstanding of what he was all about.
Indeed. That’s why the relationship between even ultra-nationalistic thinking and acts of terror is very different indeed from the relationship between Islamist radicalism and Islamic acts of terror. The former is characterised by terrorism perpetrated in pursuit of discrete and limited aims. The latter aims to effect an apocalypse in order to bring about the perfection of the world. The former may be appalling in its effects but is nevertheless fundamentally rational since its goal, however noxious, is achievable. The latter is fundamentally irrational since its goal is a utopian fantasy. Consequently those who are in the grip of millenarian apocalyptic fantasies tend to be lunatics or psychopaths; and so it is as ridiculous to ascribe the pathologically murderous behaviour of Breivik to political rage as it would be to do so in the case of Stalin, Hitler or Ahmadinejad.

There is however yet another aspect of the millenarian mindset which should not be overlooked. In my book The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power I consider at some length the millenarian fantasies not just of modern-day Islamists but also of the modern left. (I owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Richard Landes, who generously talked me through millenarian theories when I was writing my book some two years ago and whose own magnificent book on the subject, Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of Millennial Experience, has just been published.)

All the totemic creeds of today’s ‘progressive’ classes -- environmentalism, egalitarianism, multiculturalism, anti-Zionism and so on --- are millenarian, in that they all posit in their different ways the perfection of the world (just like, in their time, the Inquisition, Stalinism and fascism).

Consequently, today’s militantly secular leftists display some astonishing similarities to both modern-day Islamists and medieval Christian fanatics. There is the same belief in the Revealed Truth – Revealed, that is, to them alone – from which no-one is permitted to dissent. Anyone who denies it is a heretic and has to be destroyed. Because the left believes it embodies virtue -- on account of its desire to perfect the world – anyone who dissents or opposes it is evil. Because it is Manichean, all who are not left-wing are right-wing (even if they are in fact liberal). So all who oppose the left are evil right-wingers who must be destroyed. That to leftists is a moral project.

They are therefore in effect a modern secular Inquisition. They are in the same mould as the religious and political totalitarian tyrannies of the past; they make in this respect common cause with the Islamists whose agenda poses a mortal threat to their own lives and liberties and most cherished beliefs; and they share the characteristic of a closed thought system which is totally impervious to reason and destroys all who challenge it with the monsters of history and Anders Behring Breivik.

That is surely why the left seized upon the Norway atrocity with demented joy and detonated a terrifying eruption of distortion and demonisation, irrationality, hatred and sheer blood-lust as it saw in the ravings of Anders Behring Breivik the mother and father of all smears which it could use to crush those who refuse to surrender to cultural totalitarianism. So those of us who fight for life, liberty and western civilisation against their enemies found ourselves – and by implication, the many millions who share these mainstream views – grotesquely damned as accessories to mass murder by those who actually cheer on religious fascists and genocidal madmen and who are set upon silencing all who resist.

The appalling actions of a Norwegian psychopath tell us next to nothing about our society. But the reaction to that atrocity tells us a great deal more.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, ca. 1497–98
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today's Tune: The Raveonettes - Forget That You're Young

The Tea Party: Right About Everything

By Randall Hoven

July 25, 2011

The false narrative is that the Tea Party is a bunch of stubborn nuts, if not outright racists. In truth, the Tea Party has been right about everything, while almost everyone else has been nuts, especially the "experts."

Minimum wage. One of the first things Democrats did after taking back Congress in 2007 was raise the federal minimum wage 41% from 2007 to 2009. Result? The unemployment rate went from 4.4% in May 2007 to 10.1% in 2009. It is 9.2% even today -- four years later.

As for teens, the unemployment rate went from 14.9% to 27.1%, the highest ever recorded, meaning since 1948. Today it is still a high 24.5%. And for blacks: from a low of 7.9% in 2007 to 16.5% in 2010. It is still a high 16.2%.

The Democrat Congress also decided to apply the same minimum wages to American Samoa. Results? Near-decimation of its economy, one that had been based largely on low-cost tuna canning and textile work.
... employment fell 19 percent from 2008 to 2009 ... tuna canning employment fell 55 percent from 2009 to 2010... Average inflation-adjusted earnings fell by 5 percent from 2008 to 2009 and by 11 percent from 2006 to 2009.
Of course, some of the increase in unemployment was a result of the Great Recession. But the Employment Policies Institute did a study to separate the effects for the most vulnerable group: males aged 16-24 without high school diploma. EPI's answer: the minimum wage increase killed over 100,000 jobs (31% of the lost jobs) for that demographic.

TARP. Unless you were a politician or executive of a large bank, you were likely against the Troubled Asset Relief Program. I would guess that most anyone now calling herself a member of the Tea Party was against TARP in 2008. But Senator Barack Obama voted for it, along with most of his Democrat colleagues. Also the top brains of the Stupid Party pushed it: Henry Paulson, George W. Bush, and John McCain.

On October 3, 2008, Congress authorized Treasury Secretary Paulson to use up to $350 billion under TARP to do what was needed to stave off financial disaster. By December, after using $267B, Paulson said he was done, crisis averted. (Of course his successor, Tim Geithner, was not done.)

Here's the funny thing: while Paulson was lending out less than $0.3 trillion, the Federal Reserve was lending out over $16T to do about the same thing! By my calculations, Paulson's TARP slush fund was less than 2% the size of the Federal Reserve's.

Do you think that 2% was critical to staving off financial apocalypse? (FYI, over 3T of the Fed's emergency loans were to subsidiaries of foreign-owned banks.)

When the dust cleared, the federal government owned two bankrupt car companies and the god-awful home mortgage portfolios of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- entities that had nothing to do with the original purpose of TARP.

Global markets were so enamored with TARP that there was an immediate sell-off of about 20% in global stock markets the moment it went into effect. I also credit TARP, and McCain's reaction to it, for McCain's loss to Obama. Ever since, all budget discussions have involved units of trillions instead of mere billions. The world has not been the same since TARP.

Stimulus. Opposition to Obama's stimulus was the origin of the Tea Party. Now we know the story.
How the stimulus was sold: It would create three million jobs or more. It would keep the unemployment rate under 8%, instead of 9% without a stimulus. It would cost $787B. The jobs were shovel-ready.

What really happened: There are 1.2 million fewer jobs now than when the stimulus was passed. Unemployment went over 10% (vs. prediction of 8%) and is still over 9% (vs. prediction of about 6.8% at this time). It cost $814B or more. Maybe 6% of it went to infrastructure projects. Obama's reaction? A little joke: "Shovel ready was not as shovel ready as we expected."

Of course, Obama and his minions simply blame this on their underestimating the size of the mess they inherited from Bush. But that has been studied by economists at the University of Western Ontario and Ohio State University. The verdict: the stimulus itself cost about one million private-sector jobs; the net job loss was about 595,000. We'd have been better off without any "stimulus" at all, just as the Tea Party said.

ObamaCare. ObamaCare was sold as a way to bend the health "cost curve" down. As it turned out, it is bending the cost curve up -- health care will be more costly than it would have been without ObamaCare. It's so great that in its first year about 1,500 companies, states, and unions were granted waivers.

ObamaCare strangled the recovery in the crib. The private sector has been generating only 6,400 jobs per month since it was passed, compared to 67,600 before. We would never return to pre-recession unemployment levels at the current pace. ObamaCare is costing us over 60,000 jobs per month.

Drilling moratorium. According to a new study by IHS Global Insight, merely picking up the pace in granting oil drilling permits would go a long way in producing jobs throughout the US, adding to GDP and reducing dependency on foreign oil sources. In 2012 alone it could mean 230,000 new jobs, $44B more in GDP, 150 million more barrels of oil, and $15B less in imported oil.

Budgets. Now we find ourselves in another budget fight, with the Tea Party getting the blame from much of the media and liberal punditry. The truth is that Democrats have not even written, much less passed, a budget of any kind in over two years; they simply kill everyone else's.
  • The Republican-led House passed a budget on schedule in April. Senate Democrats voted it down.
  • Obama proposed a budget in February. The Congressional Budget Office scored it as having a 10-year cumulative deficit of $9.5 trillion. The Democrat-led Senate voted that down too, 97-0.
  • The House proposed the only written plan for addressing the debt ceiling -- the Cut, Cap and Balance plan. Senate Democrats voted that down, too.
It shouldn't take a keen insight to see that Senate Democrats are the "Party of No" and the obstacle to resolving budget and debt issues.

Uncertainty and arbitrariness. Just last December Obama said keeping Bush's tax rates was critical to keeping the recovery going. He and the Democrat Congress at the time extended them for another two years, plus added over $300 B in additional tax cuts and credits. Now, just seven months later, Obama insists that any deal to raise the debt ceiling must include tax increases.

Like ObamaCare, the Dodd-Frank bill to regulate all finance in the country is a thousand-page-plus piece of legislation. As the New York Times understated it just after its passage, "[a] number of the details have been left for regulators to work out." Got it? Those thousand-plus pages did not include the details.

The EPA now has power to regulate every use of fossil fuels in this country, as well as every breath we take, if they so deem. What will it do with that power? You get to guess. If you think it wouldn't do anything too stupid, know that the FDA just outlawed common inhalers for asthma sufferers. Their reason was, get this, those inhalers are blamed for contributing to upper-atmosphere ozone loss.
Even if you think CFCs contribute to ozone loss, how much do you think the CFCs released by asthma inhalers have to do with it? And how much is the indirect and ambiguous loss of ozone worth compared to the direct and known suffering of asthma patients? Such is the wisdom of government regulators.

The list is endless. If you were thinking of starting a business or making an investment that might not pay off for five or ten years, would you feel like you know the rules and could depend on them? No, you'd hunker down, which is exactly what everyone with any money left is doing right now.

This jobless recovery is not some mystery. It is very clearly the result of decisions -- decisions made by Obama and the Democrats. At every opportunity they grew government, shrank the private sector, and viewed budding enterprises as little more than beasts of burden -- something to whip while healthy and carve up and eat when not.

As Robert Mugabe viewed white-owned farms, Obama views corporations not yet in Chapter 11.
Nothing Democrats did helped; everything they did hurt. Everything. Min wage. TARP. Stimulus. ObamaCare. The Gulf oil spill. Every budget they ever proposed, written or not. Every little czar they put in place to spend other people's money and to bully the only productive people still toiling away at the thankless tasks of making stuff and providing jobs.

At every point, the Tea Party and its sympathizers tried to stop these idiocies, only to be called ignorant racists. You might want to ask yourself why so many people talk of the "Tea Party," whatever that is, the way Lenin and Stalin talked of kulaks and saboteurs, whoever they were.

Do "taxed enough already," "stop spending," and "obey the Constitution" sound that crazy to you? If so, you might want to think about why you think so.

Randall Hoven can be followed on Twitter. His bio and previous writings can be found at

Monday, July 25, 2011

Understanding the Norway Massacre

By on 7.25.11 @ 6:08AM
The American Spectator

Is 32-year-old Norwegian murder suspect Aders Behring Breivik a "Christian extremist"? The New York Times thinks so. "As Horrors Emerge, Norway Charges Christian Extremist," declared the Times in its Sunday print edition.

The online version of the Times, likewise, asserted (on Saturday), "Christian Extremist Is Charged in Norway."

The Times has since changed its online headline to read: "Right-Wing Extremist Is Charged in Norway." That's better, but still not quite right.
The problem is this: There is no "Christian extremist" movement in the way that there is an Islamist or "Islamic extremist" movement.
There are bad Christians, to be sure; but they have no modern-day intellectual and political movement that supports and sustains them -- modern-day Islamists, or Islamic extremists, do.
Osama bin Laden, after all, founded al-Qaeda for the express purpose of waging war against the West -- and not only the West: As we learned in Iraq, al-Qaeda militants also target and kill other Muslims who dare to dissent from its extreme and intolerant views.

Hamas and Hezbollah perform a similar role in Gaza and Lebanon, respectively. And a deep-seated hostility toward Christians and Jews is inculcated in many Islamic Madrasahs worldwide.

There is today no Christian counterpart to al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. Despite whatever historical failings you might attribute to Christianity, there is no active "Christian extremist" movement that preaches violence against non-Christians.

In fact, quite the opposite: Christians worldwide are taught to love their (non-Christian) neighbors and to hate the sin, but love the sinner.

For example, in his 1965 "Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions"(Nostra Aetate), Pope Paul VI declared:
The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these [other] religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.

Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim, Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.

The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.
Moreover, there is no reason to think that Breivik, acted out of religious conviction or deep theological belief. What church did he belong to? Insofar as I can tell, we don't even know if he belonged to a church, let alone that he attended church. "AFacebook page and Twitter account," reports theTimes,
were set up under his name days before the rampage, suggesting a conscious effort to construct a public persona and leave a legacy for others. The Facebook page cites philosophers like Machiavelli, Kant and John Stuart Mill .

His lone Twitter post, while not calling for violence, paraphrased Mill and suggested what he saw as his will to act: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests."
Given the apparent influence of Mill, the Times could just as easily have written -- and with far more justification, it seems to me, since Breivik specifically referenced Mill -- "Classical Liberal Extremist is Charged in Norway."

But of course that would be ludicrous and nonsensical. Breivik's murder spree did not result from classical liberal influences any more than it resulted from Christian influences: It resulted from his own evil and twisted mind.

In fact, it would be wrong, I think, to impugnany religion and any political ideology because of Breivik's crimes. The Times now calls Breivik a "right-wing extremist," because he is politically minded and harbors extreme, "right-wing" views.

Breivik is an anti-Islam extremist. His 1,500-page manifesto, which he published online to coincide with his murder spree, calls for an "ongoing Western European cultural war" to stop "the ongoing Islamisation of Europe."

In this sense, Breivik's massacre makes total sense (to him): He attacked the political leaders, and future political leaders, of the Norwegian Labour Party , which he despises and holds responsible in large part for the appeasement of political Islam.

In any case, although Breivik describes himself as the "Justiciar Knight Commander for [the] Knights Templar Europe," he has no apparent ties to the "Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE)" movement. "He has never been in contact with us and he has never given us any advice," SIOE founder Andes Graverstold Reuters.

According to Graves,
an SIOE member in the Faroe Islands had checked Breivik's Facebook "friends" on the social media site when he tried to join and discovered one who used a picture of Danish neo-Nazi leader Jonni Hansen as his profile picture.

"He advised us not to allow this guy to join or be able to post on the Facebook wall (message page)," said SIOE co-founder Stephen Gash.
Breivik, in fact, references numerous nationalist, anti-immigration parties as potential allies in his struggle to "defeat Islamisation [and] halt/reverse the Islamic colonization of Western Europe." But all of these parties seem to him to be insufficiently bold and courageous They seem unwilling (or unable as of now) to take the radical measures that Breivik thinks are necessary to "save Europe from Islamification."

So while Breivik clearly believes himself to be at the vanguard of a worldwide Christian (and Jewish) movement to stop Islamic "demographic warfare (indirect genocide)," he is, in truth, a politically isolated sociopath. There is no religious, intellectual and political movement that supports and sustains him.

The same thing cannot be said, unfortunately, of modern-day Islamists, who, in clear contradistinction to "Christian" and "right-wing" extremists, do have an extensive network of radical Imans, Madrasahs and extremist teachings to guide and inspire them.

So no, Breivik is not a "Christian extremist," because such an animal really doesn't exist today. Nor is he a "right-wing extremist," properly understood.

Yes, Breivik harbors extreme anti-Islam political views; but none of his apparent political and philosophical influences -- and certainly not Machiavelli, Kant and John Stuart Mill (!) -- provide him with a justification or rationalization to commit mass murder.

Breivik is an evil and vicious criminal responsible for a horrific massacre that killed more than 90 innocent men, women and children. He acted out of political motives, yes; and he is an anti-Islam extremist. But he is also a loner with no discernible political, religious and intellectual allies.

If only we could say the same about al Qaeda and other Islamists: The world, then, would be a much better, safer and far more peaceful place.

John R. Guardiano blogs at www.ResoluteCon.Com, and you can follow him on Twitter:@JohnRGuardiano.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When all was said and done, Blyleven was a TC kind of guy

The righthander was traded twice by the Twins, but he truly is one of us.

Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 22, 2011

"To me, it's a day of saying thank you, thanking all of the people who mentored me," incoming Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven (right, with fellow 2011 inductee Roberto Alomar) about Sunday's induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y. Blyleven won 287 regular-season games in a career that included four and a half seasons with the Indians.

Greek and Shakespearean dramas are divided into five elements, and so, too, was the pitch that proved tragic for so many American League hitters.

Bert Blyleven's curveball and career followed the structure of the world's most famous plays: introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. What might have been the most pronounced curve in baseball history mimicked Blyleven's strange and roundabout career journey with the Minnesota Twins, the team whose hat he will wear upon induction into baseball's Hall of Fame on July 24.

Blyleven's history with the Twins is anything but linear. The team traded him twice to avoid meeting his salary demands. He left once while waving a one-finger farewell and left again in the wake of a World Series championship. He attempted a comeback at Twins spring training in 1993 and returned to become a broadcaster famous for the ultimate curve, a circle he draws with a telestrator around fans begging his attention.

The Dutchman's career arc in Minnesota proved as circuitous as ol' Uncle Charlie.

"I'm going into the Hall of Fame as a Twin, no question about that," Blyleven said. "Of course, there were ups and downs.

"It's really pretty cool. I'm lucky to be with this organization for as long as I have been here, and I have a great relationship with the people here."

Blyleven offered that smile that followed so many complete games and successful pranks and said, "I can definitely say it's been interesting."

• • •

The Twins chose Blyleven in the third round of the 1969 draft. They offered him $5,000 plus a promise to pay for his college education. Blyleven's father sent them away, saying, "He doesn't want to go to school. He wants to pitch. Come back with more money."

The Twins did, signing Blyleven the next day for $15,000. He broke into the big leagues in 1970 and began compiling the strikeouts and victories that would lead to the Hall of Fame but not always earn him raises.

"Not many people can say they were teammates of Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "Bert can."

Blyleven is also the rare player traded by both Andy MacPhail and Calvin Griffith.

Twins players of the '70s considered Griffith a one-man recession.

"In 1976, I played for 20 percent less than I made in '75," Blyleven said. "The media said I was greedy. Well, they gave me a 20 percent cut and never talked to me about negotiations.

"As it got close to the trading deadline, I was pitching a ballgame against the Angels, and that afternoon, someone told me I was going to be traded to the Texas Rangers after the game, myself and Danny Thompson, my roommate at the time.

"I was kind of in shock. I was going after my 100th win. I said, 'Why don't you just make the trade, then?' They said, 'Well, you're going after your 100th win. We want you to pitch tonight. Calvin wants to see you get your 100th win here.'"

Blyleven pitched nine innings and took the loss. He remembers trudging off the field after his last pitch.

"From about the fifth inning on, there were some drunk guys behind our dugout and they were screaming, 'Bye, bye, Bertie,'" Blyleven said. "Because the media was saying I was this greedy guy that wants millions of dollars. I'm making $54,000, so, of course, I want a million.

"It just hit me coming off that field that I'm not wearing a Twins uniform after this last out, and it pissed me off. So I hear them and I saw them and I did the ol' one-finger salute to them, and I felt bad about it, but I did it.

"It was just frustrating, and I'm a very competitive person."

Blyleven was indeed traded that night, to the Rangers.

"The Rangers owner, Brad Corbett, called me and gave me a three-year guaranteed contract and a Mercedes," he said. "I went from making $54,000 to making $150,000 overnight. It was pretty nice. At the time, guys were starting to get better contracts, but Calvin didn't want to give me or Danny Thompson a contract."

• • •

Clark Griffith, Calvin's son, is a Minneapolis attorney and businessman who closely follows the Twins.

"I was dismayed by Bert's departures from our organization," Griffith said. "I loved watching the guy pitch, and he had great stuff, but such was life in the big leagues in the '70s.

"It was an unsettled time for the business in the late '70s. People were still figuring out how to play and manage the game. Blyleven was a great talent. We thought we could improve the team by letting him go, and that turned out to be not necessarily true.

"Even though we traded him, there was always an allure to having him back. He's the kind of player you have on a championship team. I hated to see him pitch for Pittsburgh, for God's sake."

Blyleven pitched for five teams, winning World Series titles in 1979 with Pittsburgh and in 1987 with the Twins.

"That was life in the big leagues," said former Twin Jerry Terrell, who played with Blyleven in the '70s. "Mr. Griffith was not an easy man to play for. My first three years combined, I made less than a high school teacher at that time. The only reason I got a raise is that the minimum salary went up a couple of thousand dollars.

"You know what's great? That Bert did come back, and when he did, he performed just as good as when he left. That shows you the class of that young man. I mean, old man, now. He was a professional and he loved the game, wherever he pitched."

Near the end of Blyleven's first stint with the Twins, he met Clark Griffith at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

"I told Clark I wanted to stay with the Twins," Blyleven said. "I wanted to be with one team my whole career. You wanted to be like Harmon Killebrew, although Harmon had to finish his career in Kansas City, which was sad to see.

"I said, 'Clark, your dad gave me a 20 percent cut.' Clark said he hadn't heard anything: 'Let me go see what I can do.' That was the last I heard until after I got traded.

"Listen, he's a good man. It's a good family. They had to do what they had to do."

When he pitched against the Twins, Blyleven liked to remind them what they had lost. The first time he returned to Minnesota with the Rangers, Blyleven beat the Twins with a two-hit shutout.

"Gene Mauch was the Twins manager," Blyleven said. "He was always in the dugout, but he decided to coach third that night. He was going to distract me. By the seventh inning, I was tipping my hat to the crowd as I'm shutting them down, and finally, by the seventh, Mauch said, 'I can't do anything with that guy, he's in his own little world.'"

• • •

Next Sunday, Blyleven will enter baseball's most exclusive universe. Despite his two departures, he began his career as a Twin, won a World Series as a Twin, made his last attempt to extend his career with the Twins, and will enter the Hall of Fame as a Twin.

"How many times, in a family, are there ups and downs, peaks and valleys, mood swings?" St. Peter said. "I think Bert and the Twins are a lot like that. I think, at the end of the day, Bert always felt like the Twins were his team, and our organization always viewed Bert as a Twin.

"You don't take it for granted, and the decision is now made by the Hall of Fame, but when you look at his body of work and what he means to our franchise, it's pretty easy to conclude that the TC logo is the one he should be wearing in Cooperstown."

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2:40 p.m. on 1500ESPN. Twitter: @Souhanstrib •

On eve of induction, Blyleven offers a tip of the cap to baseball's past

Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 23, 2011

Former Minnesota Twins' Bert Blyleven, left, Harmon Killebrew, center, and Frank Quilici talk before the Minnesota Twins 50th Season Celebration Legends Game before a baseball game between the Twins and Rangers, Sunday Sept. 5, 2010 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Bert Blyleven reached baseball's Hall of Fame by throwing a curve, and this week the Hall is throwing one right back at him.

Blyleven craved the immortality that Cooperstown promises. Now that he has arrived, he has trouble escaping reminders of mortality.

After waiting through 14 years of voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America and reaching 60 before being inducted, Blyleven looks around the museum and sees as many ghosts as plaques.

His father, Joe, died in 2004. The rare man to play alongside Kirby Puckett and Harmon Killebrew in a Twins uniform, Blyleven finds himself mourning both this week, even as he prepares for the induction ceremony on Sunday in a familiar field in Cooperstown.

"My dad is here, as far as his spirit," Blyleven said Saturday. "My mother cried. She wished that my dad was here.

"He is here. I feel him. So maybe he's not here body-wise, but he's here spirit-wise. And he's the one, in my speech tomorrow, I'm going to thank a lot, because he mentored me. He introduced me to the game of baseball.

"He's here."

Blyleven's mother flew from California to join a group of relatives, friends and Twins employees. Last month, Blyleven spoke of sitting on the veranda of the Otesaga Hotel with his mother, in rocking chairs. Friday, he cleared a space for her.

"My mother, Jenny, she's 85 years old," Blyleven said. "She came in from California. That's a long way for her to come. My sisters, my brother, my kids, we're all on that porch, we're chasing people away.

"We got the rocker and got my mother up front. We reminisced about Pops, my dad, but also just enjoyed the company.

"What I do, with the broadcasting and also living in Florida, I don't see my family that much. It was a nice reunion, and that's part of what this ceremony is all about."

Blyleven will enter the Hall with second baseman Roberto Alomar and general manager Pat Gillick. He will think more about the people who helped him when he was a 19-year-old rookie pitching for a veteran team.

"Harmon Killebrew -- we lost him this summer," Blyleven said. "You look back at people who mentored you and who meant a lot to you as a player. I was very fortunate, when I first came up.

"I had Jim Kaat, Jim Perry, Luis Tiant, Dave Boswell, Ron Perranoski, Stan Williams on the pitching staff when I came up in 1970. The likes of Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Bob Allison. All these people helped mentor me my rookie season.

"How do you say thank you to everyone? That's the biggest thing for my induction speech tomorrow. How do you say thank you to everyone?"

Cooperstown is hard to reach, even if you're a fan. Most outstaters fly into Albany and drive 90 minutes on winding roads through farmland and small towns.

Upon arrival you find the village of Cooperstown and a main street devoted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum along with a row of quaint shops and restaurants.

"I might move here," Alomar joked. "I might buy a house. Is there a real estate professional here?"

Blyleven has toured the museum, holding Walter Johnson's warmup jacket, Cy Young's jersey and Babe Ruth's bat. Saturday, he wished for a time machine that would allow him to see those items before they were artifacts.

"I've always said I would love to ... see how the game was played when Cy Young won 500 games and pitched over 7,000 innings, and Walter Johnson, The Big Train, how he had 110 shutouts."

Today, Blyleven will enter the closest thing living mortals have to a time machine. He'll become a member of the Hall of Fame, an accomplishment perhaps foreshadowed by his family name.

Blyleven said that when he was born in Holland, his birth certificate read: "Blijlaven." Canadian officials changed the name to its current spelling when his family emigrated.

"In Holland, it's 'Bly-LA-ven,' " he said. "Which means, 'Happy life.' "

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2:40 p.m. on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is Souhanstrib. •