sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

October 3, 2012

Look Who’s Clinging to Guns and “Religion”

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:15 am

It’s Barack Obama who’s on record clinging to guns and religion — if by religion we mean Marxism of sorts.  Via Legal Insurrection comes the following MLK Day remarks:


he philosophy of nonviolence only makes sense if the powerful can be made to recognize themselves in the powerless. It only makes sense if the powerless can be made to recognize themselves in the powerful. You know, the principle of empathy gives broader meaning, by the way, to Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but rich people are all for nonviolence. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got what they want. They want to make sure people don’t take their stuff. But the principle of empathy recognizes that there are more subtle forms of violence to which we are answerable. The spirit of empathy condemns not only the use of firehoses and attack dogs to keep people down but also accountants and tax loopholes to keep people down. I’m not saying that what Enron executives did to their employees is the moral equivalent of what Bull Connor did to black folks, but I’ll tell you what, the employees at Enron feel violated. When a company town sees its plant closing because some distant executives made some decision despite the wage concessions, despite the tax breaks, and they see their entire economy collapsing, they feel violence . . . [emphasis Patterico’s]

I have a feeling he’s no fan of MLK.  Well, to be honest, I had that feeling for a very, very long time.

I don’t like the sloppy reasoning that imagines everything unpleasant to be violence, but ‘Bamster was onto something when he said that rich people being non-violent because they already have everything they want.  That’s why so many upper middle class Americans are pacifists: they are well off, and although their fortunes are protected by cops and soldiers, they easily ignore that, and insist that everyone should embrace pacifism, just like they do.  It’s all very self-serving.

How do you square this rhetoric with his bitter clingers remark?


July 30, 2012

Is Barack Obama Trying to Define a New Baseline of Support for Democrats?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 8:48 am

After the election of Barack Obama, a book called “The Emerging Democratic majority” was the talk of the town.  Written in 2004 by John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira, the book predicted that the growth of black and “Hispanic” voting blocks as well as the leftward shift among the highly educated will give Democrats a natural permanent majority.  November 2008 seemed to be the proof, but the “emerging” majority went bust two years two years down the road with the rise of the Tea party.  Demographic shifts are not to be taken lightly, and we might yet hear from that “emerging majority” at some pint in the future.  Right now, however, it seems like Barack Obama is trying to see how well he can do while screwing up badly.

BO is weakest on all matters relating to the economy.  He probably thought that he’d ram through his agenda, and, given that he took stewardship of the country at the bottom of the recession, the economy would recover on its own.  Instead, we are talking of a double dip and the unemployment rate hovers over 8%, and no President was ever reelected with unemployment numbers that high.  This one also ran up a potentially devastating deficit.  Please visit King Shamus to see the chart that should win Republicans this election.  Voters who do not follow the news might not have heard that for the first time in history Canada surpassed the US in household wealth (as they might not know about Fast and Furious or Solyndra), but they still feel uncertain about their and their kids’ future.

Obama has a strange relationship with the Democratic base.  On the one hand, he’s pandering, and everyone knows it.  He declared that he’s “evolving” back to his earlier position of personally supporting gay marriage, only he won’t do anything about it.  Hollywood posers ate it up, but the polls didn’t move.  Gay marriage is supposed to be a hip issue with gays, young voters and miscellaneous social liberals, but maybe not at the time of economic uncertainty.

On the other hand, Jews constitute an important voter and donor base of Democratic party.  Yet he demands that Israel returns to the ’67 borders, slights Benjamin Netanyahu and gives away details of a possible Israeli strike on the Iranian nuclear facility.  Result: Jews might deliver Florida to Romney.

This administration sure has a way to ensure that the opposition will make it to the polls.  Aside from treatment of Israel, a partial list of his offenses includes ramming through Obamacare, record deficits, poor economy, complete disregard for the rule of law, enemies lists and the clandestine Fast and Furious.  It’s a very partial list, to be sure.  There is something to add to it every week, if not twice a week.  Then he goes out and insults middle of the road voters with comments like “you didn’t build that”, and lets miscellaneous little errors pile up , like getting Joe Biden to campaign or having Vogue editor Anna Wintour record a campaign video.

BO is most certainly not running your typical Presidential campaign.  When all is said and done, we’ll see how low his support can drop.  If Romney doesn’t win by a landslide, however, we should panic a little.

February 22, 2012

A Classic History 101 Question

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:23 pm

Do people make history or does history make people?  Was the rise of Napoleon a natural outcome of the French Revolution because all revolutions end in dictatorships, or did Napoleon emerge as a dictator bending history to his will?

If history makes people, we’d see a genuinely conservative candidate emerge in 2012, right?  Because conditions for his election are there: a weak incumbent, a restless base and a country ready for change.  While we have a few promising conservatives waiting down the line — I’m thinking Rubio and Ryan — they are not ready quite yet.  Rich Perry made a mess of his campaign — better luck next time.

Here is King Shamus on not having a Ronald Reagan this time around:

I know that there are no Republicans running for President in 2012 who are even in the same galaxy as President Reagan.  Ronaldus Ultra Magnus has been called a once-in-a-lifetime politician.  Modern conservatives are starting to see just how painfully singular Reagan really was in America’s history.

But would Ronnie want us to just let Barack Obama win this election and drag the country even further into a statist death-hole?  No.  Reagan would tell us to do the right thing and vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.  Emphasis on ‘vote’.

Also remember Operation Counterweight to keep the next White House occupant in check.

But if the current lack of convincing conservative leadership illustrates the importance of personality in history, it can be a cause for optimism.  Someday soon we  will have a leader like Reagan again.  Lets not screw things up in the meantime.

February 1, 2012

Barack Obama: Man of the People?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 3:04 pm

For reasons beyond my understanding,  The American public continue to believe that Barack Obama can relate to them:

  • 55% say he relates to the needs of average people fairly or very well. Not bad, next to 39% for Mitt Romney and 36% for Newt Gingrich.
  • Some 41% of those polled say Obama doesn’t understand average problems well or at all. Asked the same about Gingrich, 51% agreed; 48% gave the same answer about Romney.
  • Among independent voters, 53% call Obama empathetic, while only 38% and 37% say the same of Romney and Gingrich, respectively.

If so many adults believe that the compulsive golfer who held a real world job briefly and didn’t like it, can relate to their concerns, then Obama needs to be attacked on this issue.  Perhaps the video of the President finding it “interesting” that people can’t find jobs should be played more often:

And maybe there should be more discussion of lavish White House parties off-limits to press and public, and where the First Lady is more likely to shop, Target or Agent Provocateur.

Michelle Obama $450 sneakers

FLOTUS wears $450 sneakers to a soup kitchen

I don’t think this discussion will hurt Republican contenders because the general population perception that they are able to relate to ordinary people is not their strong suit.  For that reason I have a hard time believing that the latest gotcha on Romeny will have much of an effect.

December 31, 2011

Saving Libertarianism from Ron Paul

I know there are people out there, decent people, who really, really want to like the Texan OB Gyn because he made a name for himself championing libertarian economic ideas.  They want to like him to the point of denying his racism.  But come on.

Steve Horwitz who was around when Paul devised his “paleolibertarian” strategy in the 80s, thinks that Paul was pandering to the Neo-Nazis (via Dan Mitchell).  You see, he didn’t want hippies in his movement, so he went for the white supremacist demographic.  Which makes total sense, of course.  I mean, Neo-Nazis are vastly more admirable, and the choice between the two is not a false dilemma.  Certainly in the 80s when greed was good and Ronald Reagan was the President the American mainstream was not primed for Libertarian ideas.  And in the 1980 the Libertarian Clark/Koch ticket didn’t get over 1% of the popular vote, best performance by Libertarians in a presidential race ever.

And in any case, if Paul didn’t like hippies then, he certainly likes them now, parsing #Occupy and pledging to unite them with the Tea Party.

Ron Paul Neo-Nazi

Your Congressional creep from TX with Stormfront founder and Stormfront founder's son

Longtime Paul adviser Eric Dondredo contends that Paul is not anti-Semitic, merely anti-Israel.  How do you figure?  Consider that Paul invents all sorts of imaginable unimaginable excuses for Iranian nukes and HAMAS.  And oh, he also claimed that Israel was behind the World Trade Center bombing.  For an alleged not anti-Semite, Paul acts and sounds an awful lot like one.

Still, Paul tells Haaretz that he feels “a bit surpris[ed] and disappoint[ed]” at being left out of Republican Jewish coalition Presidential debate.  The Congressman’s innocence is truly disarming.  Or not.

As is usually the case with the “anti-Israel” types, Paul is anti-American.  Take a look at his campaign commercial:

Yep.  Terrorists shooting at our men are freedom fighters.  US is the source of evil.  That this kind of rhetoric is coming from a Texas Republican should give every Berkeley professor pause.

In September 19 issue of National Review, Kevin D. Williamson, who writes terrific libertarianish essays on economics and politics, did a delightful expose of Ron Paul.  In it, Paul is quoted saying that there is no way a libertarian could possibly be a racist because libertarians just don’t have it in them.  Williamson commented that somebody put racist crap in Ron Paul’s newsletter, and it was a libertarian.

What’s “paleolibertairan” anyway, and how does he forge an alliance with the Nazis?  Libertarians are supposed to be live-and-let-live kind of people — small government, personal freedom and all.  Nazis took “live and let live” literally and turned it on its head.  They built a big government killing machine that successfully exterminated the Jewish population of Western and central Europe — along with Poles, Gypsies, Belorussians and others.  Ron Paul is supposed to be the principled candidate but his pandering to the neo-Nazis doesn’t sound too awfully principled to me.

Neither does his asking for earmarks and then voting against the bill that contains them.  The supposed principled libertarian got to bring the pork home and claim to be a principled libertarian on the national stage.  His supporters don’t like hearing about it.  Speaking of which, I fail to see how Paul’s personality cult positively reflects on libertarian movement.

Even if, as Horwitz suggests, Paul’s alliance with white supremacists was a matter of strategy, not conviction, Paul should recognize that he outlived his usefulness (granted, if libertarian ideas are currently popular, it is despite and not because of Ron Paul and his “paleolibertarian” strategy), step aside and allow a new generation of Libertarian Republicans (preferably not related to the Congressman by blood) rise to prominence.  A decent libertarian-leaning Republican candidate should be able to gather momentum, if only Paul wasn’t sucking all the air out of the room.

So far the MSM has largely given Ron Paul a pass.  A few weeks ago Rush Limbaugh explained that the Republican establishment wants a large group of non-Romneys to split the vote, so they left the OB alone (just realized, Barack Obama is BO, and Ron Paul is an OB, which is kind of amusing, admit it).  Democrats for their part would love Ron Paul to prevail because he’s the only Republican in the race who can’t defeat Obama.  The media that went berserk on the occasion of Sarah Palin’s target signs and turned stones on Rick Perry’s property is, curiously enough, not too terribly interested in Ron Paul’s racism.  At least not yet.  They know they have him by the balls, so they can ignore him for the time being.

I don’t believe the creep will get the nomination, but if he does well in Iowa, he will generate enough attention to damage the Republican party and libertarian ideas that he’s supposed to champion.  We will be associated with his racism and put on the defensive on the subject of race:

“What do you mean the Tea Party is not racist?  Isn’t Ron Paul a Tea party darling?”

“Libertarian economics?  But you are Jewish!”

I can hear it in my ears.

Take heart, though, the Republican and Libertarian blogs and magazines that are doing the vetting of Ron Paul.  The push back is a grass roots phenomena.

Happy New Year and cheers!

November 28, 2011

Why Have Kids If Not to Spend Time With Them?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 2:03 pm

Nancy Pelosi hopes to regain Speakership campaigning on federal childcare (via Maggie’s Notebook).  I suppose each princess is entitled to a wet nurse of two:

Last week, the California congresswoman hit five cities in five days, barnstorming for money to try to win the 25 more seats it would take to regain control. And if that happens — or when, according to her — at the top of her to-do list, she says, will be “doing for child care what we did for health-care reform” — pushing comprehensive change.

There’s a bit of symmetry to that: Amid allegations that he has been disrespectful to women, Cain refers to the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history as a princess. And when Pelosi takes a shot based on gender, she’s not afraid to mention that next on her agenda is the mother of all women’s issues: child care. Under fire for health-care legislation that conservatives consider a big-government power grab, she’s happy to promise more of the same.

Of the need for child-care legislation, she says, “I could never get a babysitter — have five kids in six years and no one wants to come to your house. . . . And everywhere I go, women say the same thing” about how hard it is to find the kind of reliable care that would make their family lives calmer and work lives more productive. When it comes to “unleashing women” in a way that would boost the economy, she says, “this is a missing link.”

Congress did pass such a bill, in 1971, but President Richard M. Nixon vetoed it because he thought it would undermine families and force them to put children in government-run centers.

“One of the great pieces of unfinished business is high-quality child care; I wonder why we just can’t do that,’’ Pelosi said. Her spokesman Drew Hammill said later that she doesn’t have a specific child-care proposal at the ready; that’s what the legislative process is for. But the Nixon-era legislation of which she spoke approvingly subsidized child care for low-income parents and was available to anyone who wanted to pay for it. “She sees this as the next big problem to tackle,’’ Hammill said.

Before I say anything else, let me point out that 5 children in 6 years is not recommended.

In the past decades, middle class parents tried to build a better and smarter baby.  Quite a few  early childhood education gimmicks came to pass — baby flashcards, red white and black mobiles, Mozart for your gestating baby Einstein.  Experts, however, warned that while the activities are not known to have any positive long-term effect, some can backfire.  What babies and toddlers need is one-on-one attention that the great majority of mothers seems to be hardwired to give: lots of hugs and motheresse.

One of my favorite books on the topic is The Myth of the First Three Years by neuropsychiatrist John T. Bruer.  Bruer explained that contrary to popular misconception, early childhood education does not predetermine future intellectual achievement.  Bruer also showed that politicians on both sides of the isle like to play into these popular misconceptions and legislate all sorts of interventions from mandating Mozart tapes in hospital nurseries to Head Start.

the myth of the first three years

These policies are not based in science and are not justified by follow up research.  Notoriously Head Start doesn’t yield substantial long term gains.  The reason the federal government should not be involved in daycare is because centralized nurture factories will be affected not by the needs of children but by what is politically expedient.

I’m certain that federal daycare would put lots of giddy thoughts into the tots’ brains — how we all need to love each other and yada-yada-yada.  In the spirit of multiculturalism they’d teach kids to be bi-lingual in Spanish.  Unfortunately, our other languages are Russian and Hebrew, and I prefer to start them in infancy and keep up in pre-school years.  It’s up to me and my synagogue, not the federal government, to pass our heritage to the kids.  Since I am the one ultimately responsible for my children’s moral and intellectual development, I’d like the choice to teach them myself and, if needed, I’d like to pick a private pre-school of my choosing too.

Speaking of which, my oldest attends pre-school.  Part time daycare around San Francisco starts at about $250 a month, which doesn’t feel too terribly burdensome.  And sure it would be nice to have that very same daycare center provide the very same services free, but as any libertarian (or is it feminist?) knows, there is no such  thing as a free lunch, even if it’s served by a loving teacher.  It’s possible that if federal government takes over pre-schools, the quality of daycare will deteriorate.  Federal daycare might become the only option for the overtaxed families trying to make ends meet, and this situation is still preferable to passing the nursery bill to the tots.

I can see Dr. Laura shaking her head at the idea of federal pre-schools.  She is not alone.  According to a 2003 Pew poll, 72% of Americans agreed with the statement that too many children are being raised in daycare centers.  This number rose slightly since Pew started asking the question in 1987.  As I mentioned earlier, mothers in my liberal neck of the woods either stay home or wish they could.  A few days ago, an occupy troll stopped and made a fabulous comment that “[Occupy kids] are our future while yours are at a day care shooting people on video games.”  I don’t know what demographic is expected to lend support for Mrs. Pelosi’s proposal.

A better solution for working families is a strong economy where any father can find employment enabling his wife to spend time with young children.  2012 is promising to be an interesting election, mommy wars-wise.

November 11, 2011

Just Give Me a Damn GOP Candidate to Vote for

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:43 pm

I’m underwhelmed by the GOP Presidential hopefuls.  While I sympathize with Cain because of what he has been put through, I don’t believe he is running to win; he’s running to increase name recognition.  I don’t like his 9-9-9 plan.  I’m not digging the irony of a Tea Party candidate being elected on a new tax platform.  Which is what 9-9-9 would do, it would institute a new national sales tax.  Although a tax that punishes consumption is preferable to a tax that punishes production, since the country started out taxing production, we can’t switch because once taxed savers’ wealth will be taxed again.

I had high hopes for Perry, but I’m most disappointed by his performance in the debates.  It’s not that he stumbled a few times, but that he broke the 11th Amendment which shows lack of foresight.  Still, the Texas miracle is something to write home about, so our nominee could do much worse.

Which brings me to Romney.  I would like to see Paul Ryan adopting the Paul Ryan plan because I don’t trust Romney to carry it out. And I do want to see Ryan running for the highest office.  Unfortunately, conservatives who came of age during the Reagan Revolution are not quite seasoned to run for the White House.

Am I suppose to support Gingrich after I swore off of him?  He’s certainly intelligent and well-spoken and he knows how to stay above the fray… but gosh, with his baggage?  On the other hand, he should be credited with welfare reform.

You know what, you early primary voters, just pick me a candidate.  I’ll vote for him — especially if he promises to appoint John Bolton Secretary of State.  I’m so disgusted by the current administration, any one of them will do.

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