Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night

The last sunset of 1999, on the street where I live. A lifetime ago.

This will be this blog location's last post. You are invited to join me at my new blog, Beyond Hollywood. I've provided a link, to the left. Thank you.

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It has been a saving grace of this past year that I've met some amazing new friends here. I'm grateful to you all.

Be well, good people. I hope we can all keep believing in our republic and one another, throughout this new year and beyond.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Hollywood hates the Suburbs

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As I toil to complete my novel, my little blog is being neglected, sorry to say. But here is an on-point article I want everyone to read, a piece far better, with better examples, than I could have cobbled together even if I had the time:

This is a subject that has bothered me for a long time: Hollywood's unchallenged distaste for suburbia and normalcy.

Thank you, and I'll see you soon.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hell freezes over

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Great article with a title so perfect I've appropriated it to use here. Read the article:


your humble correspondent (drinking hot cider; we had frost this morning here in SoCA)

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Poetic perspective: Robert Nathan

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How oft Columbus, dreaming of Cathay,
In the night's shadow, lost upon the sea,
Doubting the stars, and fearful of the day,
Wept in the cabin of the Saint Marie.
All was uncertain then, and only he
Leaned on his sails and fed them to the spray,
Spreading the waves before him at his knee,
Drawing the winds behind him on his way.
And shall we then who steer a sturdier bark
Across obedient seas from pole to pole,
Or climb the sky on errands like the lark,
Turn in despair from yet a worthier goal,
And crying,
All ahead is death and dark,
Miss the remoter heavens of the soul?

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Robert Nathan, 1935

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I ran into the above poem this morning while beginning my research for an essay.

Robert Nathan wrote a novel in 1928 called The Bishop's Wife, made into a film by the same name in 1947. This film will be the subject of my essay.

Nathan was the author of a number of works including Portrait of Jenny, another novel turned into a film on my personal classics list. A haunting and sentimental supernatural drama, Portrait of Jenny (Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten) was released one year before The Bishop's Wife. Both films were shot in glorious black and white.

For reasons that will eventually be clear, my wish is to review The Bishop's Wife and discuss it in a cultural context. The film is timely because it is a Christmas story; its pertinence, however, goes beyond that.

It is usually classified as a romantic comedy, yet what lingers in modern memory are the inspirational moments and messages, the quiet dignity of the performances, and perhaps, a poignant sense of loss.

Here is the thesis of my essay:

The Bishop’s Wife
Samuel Goldwyn
1947 Directed by Henry Koster, with

Cary Grant, David Niven, Loretta Young

There are many notable qualities to films of the 1940s. Not the least of these is the obvious and correct presumption made by filmmakers of that time that their films’ audience consisted of a single national culture, people who shared an overall-- but still fairly specific-- set of values and beliefs. That such a film as The Bishop’s Wife would never be produced by today’s Hollywood is a powerful statement about how far we’ve come as a nation… and not for the better.

It is my belief that while we may have lost the innocence required to produce a film such as The Bishop's Wife, I cannot accept that the heart and wisdom behind such a film is gone forever.

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I'll let you know when and where the article is available online.

In Christmas cheer, I remain your humble commentator.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Note to friends: Link to my new Blogspot

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Welcome. I'm getting things going at a
new blog, my new online home.

Beginning very soon, I will do all my posting at a new blogspot called Beyond Hollywood.

Here is the link:

The original blog will remain open as an archive of posts, with all internal and external links kept active, but anyone wanting to stay in touch should replace their blog link with the above new hollywood goes conservative address.

The media have done a great job of representing the views of an opinionated minority, while the rest of us often feel like outsiders in our own culture.

Imagine if that were to change...

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The only quote we really need

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This quote is lifted shamelessly and gratefully from a blog I just ran into called Monkey in the Middle. I've been pulled in quite a few directions lately and haven't been blogging, but I wanted to take a minute and share this timeless wisdom:

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could, and should, do for themselves.

Abraham Lincoln

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

And to All a Good Night

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Email forwards: we all get them. Some are meant to be funny, many are designed to be inspirational or even serious.

The funny ones, the cartoons and photos-with-captions, are the online equivalent of the photocopied wit that gets taped up in the office lunchroom. At their worst, email forwards can be puerile or even offensive, but more often they are neutral, predictable, well-meaning.

We receive parables, poems, and cute cat photos. Warnings about credit card scams. Personality tests from Oprah and the Dalai Lama.

Some questionable email forwards, when of interest, might have us stopping over at Snopes or the equivalent for a quick check of its online provenance. Then we get on with our day.

Generally speaking, I skim these kind of emails very quickly. It's not that I resent getting them; I remind myself it's good to have friends who think of me now and then, even if it's just because I'm on a list.

Yesterday, I was emailed a poem about Christmas that was supposedly written by a Marine. I have no idea if this is true, but it doesn't really bother me if someone merely wanted it to seem that way.

My closest friends know I'm a soft touch for patriotism, Christmas, and our fighting men and women, and while this poem is unlikely to win a literary award-- which isn't the point, anyway-- I think it's worth sharing with you folks:






















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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Heavy lifting

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That's me, a few years ago. It was a memorable visit. One of the high points was seeing for myself our nation's documents at the National Archives and thinking about the forging of our nation, how far we have come, and what it means to be an American. I don't mind admitting it was a moving experience, seeing tangible objects-- mere inches away-- the actual documents outlining our freedoms and responsibilities, drafted and signed by people much wiser than we are.

For most of my life, I assumed that my gratitude, along with thoughtful voting, was enough; I never took my good fortune at living in this great, free country for granted, but I certainly didn't think I would need to defend America to my fellow Americans to the extent it is now necessary.

As I've stated here before, I'm a relative newcomer to this fight, scrambling to fill in my knowledge gaps in these dangerous times, and help spread the word in my own small way.

We have so much to be thankful for, so much to lose.

In keeping with the week's Thanksgiving state of mind, I want to encourage any visitors passing through this blog to stop by the various blogs and sites whose links I've included here.

These, and countless others, are the real heroes of online media and the blogosphere. These are the folks who do the heavy lifting, the Generals in the culture war leading us foot soldiers, the leaders of the frustrated, the insightful commentators, talented satirists, passionate civilians, professional and amateur journalists of high repute, esteemed analysts. There are literally hundreds of amazing conservative blogs out there, everything from back-fence rants to elaborately sophisticated news sites. I had to limit the number of links, but if you want more destinations you can check the blog links on those blogs, and so on, and keep yourself busily reading for days.

Last night, I watched Flight 93, the story of brave citizens who "did something". Thoughtful people can't watch this film without thinking about what it means to step up and do what's necessary in unspeakable situations.

In a sense, the free world is presently being hijacked. Many people-- too many-- are in denial of this.

One thing we can do at the grassroots level is to gently encourage the good people around us to see how bad things really are. This takes some tact; you don't want to sound shrill and scare people away from the message, even though the alarm we feel is all too appropriate. Many people still rely on television and newspaper news coverage for the information shaping their frame of mind. They know bad things are happening without necessarily seeing the implications of the big picture.

I've been encouraging people I know to at least be familiar with Bloomberg, National Review Online, Michelle Malkin, and other online services. If your friends and relatives are skeptical you can start with some of the more well-established sites to ease them in, and go from there. Or perhaps they'd be curious about a specific Thomas Sowell essay, or the viewpoint of someone in the millitary. What's important is to gently open the door and give them a peek.

Thank heaven there are some heavy lifters out there in the online world who are doing what needs to be done. Their strength is inspirational; their insights and information are essential.

Light and Liberty,

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Wishes

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Like so many of you, I am busy today doing all those holiday things that feel familiar and comforting. My family is smaller than it used to be, so an important part of my Thanksgiving experience is to spend a few moments and fondly remember times past. Gone is the annual Thanksgiving house filled with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and boisterous cousins. My husband and I have a lovely day together, but it's so different now.

I won't sit here typing too long when I should be downstairs, but I didn't want the day to go by without sending my love and good cheer to all the amazing people I've met online in recent months.

One of the most striking differences between the world of my childhood and the world I now live in is that the people I'm now closest to are people who live scattered across the country, or elsewhere on the globe, many of whom I've never met face to face. No longer am I closest to the people with whom I share simple geographical proximity. Likewise, family bonds don't necessarily mean shared beliefs. Several of my family members hold views completely unlike mine, and while we still love each other, the chasm between us is now wider and deeper than ever.

And so it is. This curious modern-day situation is made more profound because the ideological divide in this country is so great. We can't assume that the people where we live share our general perspective on things. Even something like basic heartfelt patriotism isn't something we can count on. What might have been a lively but essentially civil debate years ago between a democrat and a republican is now more likely to be raging warfare between an America basher and an American patriot. Who could ever have imagined we'd have to explain to people why the constitution is so important? Or capitalism? Or freedom? It always seemed self-evident to me. But that's how extreme things have gotten, that's the degree to which we are torn.

But I don't want to depress you good folks... You know exactly how it is.

What all this is getting at is this: You bloggers, journalists, and online friends are amazing, and mean a lot to me. I learn from you every day, and draw strength from knowing there are capable, admirable people who share my deep concerns. In our lives when we can't always connect positively with people based on family ties or geography, in the online world we can connect via our shared beliefs. I'm proud and humbled to know you.

I hope you are having a marvelous Thanksgiving. Thank you for all you do, but also for helping me feel less alone in difficult times.

Cheers, and bless you all.


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Monday, November 24, 2008

Michael Steele

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The more I find out about this man, the more convinced I am that he's the right choice to lead the GOP.

Here's a link to his website. He encourages active participation and is optimistic about the future of the party of Lincoln:

Thank you.

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Powerful brief video on global warming fallacies

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Not merely an intellectual or economic debate, human lives in the developing world are literally at stake. Let the light of reason shine:

Share the link. Hat tip to Giovanni's World.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quotes of the day

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America suffers as much today from a well-intentioned identification of its citizens by race as it does from old-fashioned racism.

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[R]ace, though a biological fact, is a dangerously empty distinction because it can carry whatever meaning we give it without the support of reason and evidence.

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Shelby Steele, 1996

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This is an age of the world when nations are trembling and convulsed. A mighty influence is abroad, surging and heaving the world as with an earthquake. And is America safe? Every nation that carries in its bosom great and unredressed injustice has in it the elements of this last convulsion.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852

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In today's conception of fairness, only when all have the same prospects of winning is the fight fair. It was not in The Nation or some other left-wing magazine, but in the neoconservative quarterly The Public Interest that we find opportunity equated with "the same chance to succeed" or "an equal shot at a good outcome"-- regardless of the influence of social, cultural, or family background.

This confusion between the fairness of rules and the equality of prospects is spreading across the political spectrum. Regardless of which of these two things might be considered preferable, we must first be very clear in our own minds that they are completely different, and often mutually incompatible, if we are to have any hope of a rational discussion of policy issues ranging from anti-trust to affirmative action.

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Thomas Sowell, from a speech on Race, Culture, and Equality

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Israel up for grabs?

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Those of us who have seen this coming take no pleasure in seeing it now unfold: the threat against Israel is becoming more ominous and specific.

During his campaign, Obama worked hard to downplay his sympathies for Israel's aggressors because he didn't want to lose the Jewish vote. (And lest we forget, the Los Angeles Times helped him accomplish this by refusing to release a tape of the Obamas at a Jew-bashing fete). While Jews in America apparently bought into his rhetoric-- I'm always amazed that the Jewish vote is so consistently against the best interests of Israel-- the Israeli Jews knew better. And while Obama did not disclose this at the time, he was audaciously communicating with Israel's bloodthirsty enemies before he was elected.

Small wonder, then, that the war cries against Israel are getting louder and more urgent by the day. In my view, they've been emboldened by Obama's sympathetic noises. Obama is apparently about to find out that oldest of truths: you can't be all things to all people, and eventually he'll have to choose a side. Under GWB we knew that the enemy of Israel was our enemy, too, but this new administration seems to be saying "all bets are off".

Are we really ready to lay Israel on the chopping block? Peace at any price? I can only hope Israel is strong enough on its own in the interim before we remember who our friends are. It's tragic we're so busy trying to make our sworn enemies leave us alone by rolling over. If ever there was a formula for defeat, that's it.

For review, here is what I feel is an excellent slideshow history of Israel and the conflicts in that region, courtesy of the David Horowitz Freedom Center:

My comments here are brief and general; to read a detailed report on the newest threats against Israel, go to Gateway Pundit (link at left, in blogroll). Thank you.

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The Modcon Project -- a comprehensive plan for American political realignment

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This PDF file is the executive summary of a new movement to bring conservatism together into a clear, articulate, and powerful new force. I'm impressed at what these people are doing and intend to become involved in their efforts. Take a peek and see what you think:

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

But all the cool people believe in global warming

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John Hinderaker at Power Line invites us to catch the blundering global warming Misinformation Machine in the act, using some information put together by sharp UK journalist Christopher Booker. A great little piece.

Button up your favorite cozy sweater, pour yourself a toddy, and see what those wacky global warming hotheads are up to now:

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Friday, November 14, 2008

50 Million Americans

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Media bias? What media bias?

This year we witnessed the mainstream media sink under the weight of its own liberal agenda to an all-time low. Frustration at this problem runs high, naturally, but it's hard not to feel helpless. We write our blogs and do what we can, but will we ever see ethics in journalism again?

Check out 50 Million Americans and see what they're up to:

"...[This] site is for those of us who are fed up with yellow journalism and liberal media bias. It's a place to organize our resources and efforts, discover and partner with like minded organizations, and try to affect real change. United we could become a powerful force for change. We were out-flanked during this last election by people who did a better job of organizing this kind of grass roots effort. The website is simple, the project something of a blank slate for us to approach together. If interested or curious, visit and vote on the opinion poll, maybe leave a comment. If you like this idea, talk about it with everyone you know. Spread the URL around."

Thank you.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fairness Doctrine: get ready for the assault on free speech

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Ah, the Fairness Doctrine.

Although 44 (as I now prefer to call him) has not expressly supported the idea of exhuming and resuscitating this dead monster, those around him have declared themselves fans of the idea. And since our new monarch is apparently ready to "rule" from Day One-- according to his own transistion team-- this is one of the many issues we'll have to watch very carefully.

Joe and Jane Public need to know what this doctrine would mean, and we must do all we can to keep Washington from going down this path.

Never forget, the left has always been free to develop and broadcast their own radio programming, but this programming never does well. Naturally, they are sputtering mad that people like Rush are so popular, so successful. Unfair! Too much power and influence! People need to hear the other side!

Brushing aside for the moment the obvious overwhelming bias in daily mainstream media, which serves as the de facto presentation of the "other side" nearly all the time, this proposed doctrine needs to be seen for the Orwellian nightmare it really is.

For a clear look at this looming adversary, check out the Culture and Media Institute main page. The link to their article on the Fairness Doctrine is under Special Reports: Unmasking the Myth Behind the Fairness Doctrine, by Brian Fitzpatrick.

Be ready.

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The broader context of this issue is presented in this sobering essay by Lance Fairchok in New Media Journal:

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Urgent letter to my elected officials

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Respectfully submitted:

As a concerned US citizen, I am imploring you to do everything within your power to help stop the insanity of the enormously expensive and wrong-minded Global Poverty Act, and the so-called UN Millennium Goals, now being advanced by the incoming administration.

This madness would reduce the great United States to a small, second-rate nation incapable of taking care of herself, let alone continue the tremendous generosity and support for freedom and growth it has shown the world for decades.

Recall, if you will, the dismal track record of the UN in helping emerging nations. We would be killing the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs, and surrendering our strength in doing so, possibly irretrievably. Once we give in to this plan, coupled with our vastly reduced economic strength we will become almost powerless, no longer the exceptional and blessed Republic we once were.

The spectre of global government never loomed so dangerously close. Among other devastating problems, this represents the "equal sharing of misery" Winston Churchill warned us about taken to a global level.

Please help restore us to the wonderful free and prosperous nation envisioned by our founding fathers before it is too late! This is America’s darkest hour; it originates in irrational guilt and self-loathing.

You must do the right thing. If not, I fear there will be widespread outcry and bitter division when the good people of this nation strive with their last collective breath to save her.

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Radarsite has the article and the links-- I salute you guys; thank you:

I am writing to all of my elected officials, and urge you to write something similar without delay. We cannot let this happen to our country. Thank you.

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Remember our brave Americans

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This moving piece from American Thinker by Kyle-Anne Shiver reminds us not to forget about our American troops in harm's way, and calls attention to a heartbreaking situation: countless unsent care packages-- donated by caring citizens-- waiting for postage.

Thank you.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Democrats in the dark on energy

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Here's a link to a brief, succint analysis of the democrat party's alarmingly flawed approach to the energy needs of our country, by author and philosopher Larrey Anderson of Idaho.

I am calling attention to this article because the economy and energy are inseparable and urgent issues.

It was first published in May 2008 and remains entirely relevant:

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Thank you very much.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hello new visitors

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Welcome to the new visitors starting to arrive here at my humble corner of the metaverse. I am just an ordinary American, like you are, deeply worried about the damage that is being done to our country. You don't have to be an ultra right-wing extremist to be alarmed by erosion of liberty and the weakening of this great nation.

Apparently patriotism is something to sneer at for roughly half of our country. Or is it? It's hard for me to believe that everyone who voted for the most far left radical candidate in history is really as extreme as he and his entourage are. What I do know is, these people do not speak for me.

We who support free enterprise, personal responsibility, voluntary acts of charity, unobtrusive government, and strong defense... and abhor the socialist slide we're currently facing... must combine our strengths without delay.

We know what we believe, why we believe it, and we have logic and reason and solid history on our side. Through these rough times, I'm learning who my truest friends are: the people who are friends and supporters of the greatest nation this world has ever seen. We all know we have a precious constitution worth defending, and a vital role as leader of the free world.

Thank you, and welcome.

This is a small personal site. I write for it in my spare time between other projects, and I don't maintain it as a debate forum. Please note, if you're here to be disruptive, you should do us both a favor and direct your energies elsewhere.

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Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.

We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Ronald Reagan

40th president of US (1911 - 2004)

The striking image is a byline credit stock photo by Troy McCullough.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

March 1, 1975

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Normally I wouldn't post such a lengthy piece, but it has an uncanny relevance to today, and it's wisdom is something we dismiss at our peril. If time is of the essence, scroll down to the red highlighted portion and you'll get the idea.

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Let Them Go Their Way

Since our last meeting we have been through a disastrous election. It is easy for us to be discouraged, as pundits hail that election as a repudiation of our philosophy and even as a mandate of some kind or other. But the significance of the election was not registered by those who voted, but by those who stayed home. If there was anything like a mandate it will be found among almost two-thirds of the citizens who refused to participate.

Bitter as it is to accept the results of the November election, we should have reason for some optimism. For many years now we have preached “the gospel,” in opposition to the philosophy of so-called liberalism which was, in truth, a call to collectivism.

Now, it is possible we have been persuasive to a greater degree than we had ever realized. Few, if any, Democratic party candidates in the last election ran as liberals. Listening to them I had the eerie feeling we were hearing reruns of Goldwater speeches. I even thought I heard a few of my own.

Bureaucracy was assailed and fiscal responsibility hailed. Even George McGovern donned sackcloth and ashes and did penance for the good people of South Dakota.

But let’s not be so naive as to think we are witnessing a mass conversion to the principles of conservatism. Once sworn into office, the victors reverted to type. In their view, apparently, the ends justified the means.

The “Young Turks” had campaigned against “evil politicians.” They turned against committee chairmen of their own party, displaying a taste and talent as cutthroat power politicians quite in contrast to their campaign rhetoric and idealism. Still, we must not forget that they molded their campaigning to fit what even they recognized was the mood of the majority.

And we must see to it that the people are reminded of this as they now pursue their ideological goals—and pursue them they will.

I know you are aware of the national polls which show that a greater (and increasing) number of Americans—Republicans, Democrats and independents—classify themselves as “conservatives” than ever before. And a poll of rank-and-file union members reveals dissatisfaction with the amount of power their own leaders have assumed, and a resentment of their use of that power for partisan politics. Would it shock you to know that in that poll 68 percent of rank-and-file union members of this country came out endorsing right-to-work legislation?

These polls give cause for some optimism, but at the same time reveal a confusion that exists and the need for a continued effort to “spread the word.”

In another recent survey, of 35,000 college and university students polled, three-fourths blame American business and industry for all of our economic and social ills. The same three-fourths think the answer is more (and virtually complete) regimentation and government control of all phases of business—including the imposition of wage and price controls. Yet, 80 percent in the same poll want less government interference in their own lives!

In 1972 the people of this country had a clear-cut choice, based on the issues—to a greater extent than any election in half a century. In overwhelming numbers they ignored party labels, not so much to vote for a man or even a policy as to repudiate a philosophy.

In doing so they repudiated that final step into the welfare state—that call for the confiscation and redistribution of their earnings on a scale far greater than what we now have. They repudiated the abandonment of national honor and a weakening of this nation’s ability to protect itself.

A study has been made that is so revealing that I’m not surprised it has been ignored by a certain number of political commentators and columnists. The political science department of Georgetown University researched the mandate of the 1972 election and recently presented its findings at a seminar.

Taking several major issues which, incidentally, are still the issues of the day, they polled rank-and-file members of the Democratic party on their approach to these problems. Then they polled the delegates to the two major national conventions—the leaders of the parties.

They found the delegates to the Republican convention almost identical in their responses to those of the rank-and-file Republicans. Yet, the delegates to the Democratic convention were miles apart from the thinking of their own party members.

The mandate of 1972 still exists. The people of America have been confused and disturbed by events since that election, but they hold an unchanged philosophy.

Our task is to make them see that what we represent is identical to their own hopes and dreams of what America can and should be. If there are questions as to whether the principles of conservatism hold up in practice, we have the answers to them. Where conservative principles have been tried, they have worked. Gov. Meldrim Thomson is making them work in New Hampshire; so is Arch Moore in West Virginia and Mills Godwin in Virginia. Jack Williams made them work in Arizona and I’m sure Jim Edwards will in South Carolina.

If you will permit me, I can recount my own experience in California.When I went to Sacramento eight years ago, I had the belief that government was no deep, dark mystery, that it could be operated efficiently by using the same common sense practiced in our everyday life, in our homes, in business and private affairs.

The “lab test” of my theory – California—was pretty messed up after eight years of a road show version of the Great Society. Our first and only briefing came from the outgoing director of finance, who said: “We’re spending $1 million more a day than we’re taking in. I have a golf date. Good luck!” That was the most cheerful news we were to hear for quite some time.

California state government was increasing by about 5,000 new employees a year. We were the welfare capital of the world with 16 percent of the nation’s caseload. Soon, California’s caseload was increasing by 40,000 a month.We turned to the people themselves for help. Two hundred and fifty experts in the various fields volunteered to serve on task forces at no cost to the taxpayers. They went into every department of state government and came back with 1,800 recommendations on how modern business practices could be used to make government more efficient. We adopted 1,600 of them.

We instituted a policy of “cut, squeeze and trim” and froze the hiring of employees as replacements for retiring employees or others leaving state service.

After a few years of struggling with the professional welfarists, we again turned to the people. First, we obtained another task force and, when the legislature refused to help implement its recommendations, we presented the recommendations to the electorate.

It still took some doing. The legislature insisted our reforms would not work; that the needy would starve in the streets; that the workload would be dumped on the counties; that property taxes would go up and that we’d run up a deficit the first year of $750 million.

That was four years ago. Today, the needy have had an average increase of 43 percent in welfare grants in California, but the taxpayers have saved $2 billion by the caseload not increasing that 40,000 a month. Instead, there are some 400,000 fewer on welfare today than then.

Forty of the state’s 58 counties have reduced property taxes for two years in a row (some for three). That $750-million deficit turned into an $850-million surplus which we returned to the people in a one-time tax rebate. That wasn’t easy. One state senator described that rebate as “an unnecessary expenditure of public funds.”

For more than two decades governments—federal, state, local—have been increasing in size two-and-a-half times faster than the population increase. In the last 10 years they have increased the cost in payroll seven times as fast as the increase in numbers.

We have just turned over to a new administration in Sacramento a government virtually the same size it was eight years ago. With the state’s growth rate, this means that government absorbed a workload increase, in some departments as much as 66 percent.

We also turned over—for the first time in almost a quarter of a century—a balanced budget and a surplus of $500 million. In these eight years just passed, we returned to the people in rebates, tax reductions and bridge toll reductions $5.7 billion. All of this is contrary to the will of those who deplore conservatism and profess to be liberals, yet all of it is pleasing to its citizenry.

Make no mistake, the leadership of the Democratic party is still out of step with the majority of Americans.

Speaker Carl Albert recently was quoted as saying that our problem is “60 percent recession, 30 percent inflation and 10 percent energy.” That makes as much sense as saying two and two make 22.

Without inflation there would be no recession. And unless we curb inflation we can see the end of our society and economic system. The painful fact is we can only halt inflation by undergoing a period of economic dislocation—a recession, if you will.

We can take steps to ease the suffering of some who will be hurt more than others, but if we turn from fighting inflation and adopt a program only to fight recession we are on the road to disaster.

In his first address to Congress, the president asked Congress to join him in an all-out effort to balance the budget. I think all of us wish that he had re-issued that speech instead of this year’s budget message.

What side can be taken in a debate over whether the deficit should be $52 billion or $70 billion or $80 billion preferred by the profligate Congress?

Inflation has one cause and one cause only: government spending more than government takes in. And the cure to inflation is a balanced budget. We know, of course, that after 40 years of social tinkering and Keynesian experimentation that we can’t do this all at once, but it can be achieved. Balancing the budget is like protecting your virtue: you have to learn to say “no.”

This is no time to repeat the shopworn panaceas of the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society. John Kenneth Galbraith, who, in my opinion, is living proof that economics is an inexact science, has written a new book. It is called “Economics and the Public Purpose.” In it, he asserts that market arrangements in our economy have given us inadequate housing, terrible mass transit, poor health care and a host of other miseries. And then, for the first time to my knowledge, he advances socialism as the answer to our problems.

Shorn of all side issues and extraneous matter, the problem underlying all others is the worldwide contest for the hearts and minds of mankind. Do we find the answers to human misery in freedom as it is known, or do we sink into the deadly dullness of the Socialist ant heap?

Those who suggest that the latter is some kind of solution are, I think, open to challenge. Let’s have no more theorizing when actual comparison is possible. There is in the world a great nation, larger than ours in territory and populated with 250 million capable people. It is rich in resources and has had more than 50 uninterrupted years to practice socialism without opposition.

We could match them, but it would take a little doing on our part. We’d have to cut our paychecks back by 75 percent; move 60 million workers back to the farm; abandon two-thirds of our steel-making capacity; destroy 40 million television sets; tear up 14 of every 15 miles of highway; junk 19 of every 20 automobiles; tear up two-thirds of our railroad track; knock down 70 percent of our houses; and rip out nine out of every 10 telephones. Then, all we have to do is find a capitalist country to sell us wheat on credit to keep us from starving!

Our people are in a time of discontent. Our vital energy supplies are threatened by possibly the most powerful cartel in human history. Our traditional allies in Western Europe are experiencing political and economic instability bordering on chaos.

We seem to be increasingly alone in a world grown more hostile, but we let our defenses shrink to pre-Pearl Harbor levels. And we are conscious that in Moscow the crash build-up of arms continues. The SALT II agreement in Vladivostok, if not re-negotiated, guarantees the Soviets a clear missile superiority sufficient to make a “first strike” possible, with little fear of reprisal. Yet, too many congressmen demand further cuts in our own defenses, including delay if not cancellation of the B-1 bomber.

I realize that millions of Americans are sick of hearing about Indochina, and perhaps it is politically unwise to talk of our obligation to Cambodia and South Vietnam. But we pledged—in an agreement that brought our men home and freed our prisoners—to give our allies arms and ammunition to replace on a one-for-one basis what they expend in resisting the aggression of the Communists who are violating the cease-fire and are fully aided by their Soviet and Red Chinese allies. Congress has already reduced the appropriation to half of what they need and threatens to reduce it even more.

Can we live with ourselves if we, as a nation, betray our friends and ignore our pledged word? And, if we do, who would ever trust us again? To consider committing such an act so contrary to our deepest ideals is symptomatic of the erosion of standards and values. And this adds to our discontent.

We did not seek world leadership; it was thrust upon us. It has been our destiny almost from the first moment this land was settled. If we fail to keep our rendezvous with destiny or, as John Winthrop said in 1630, “Deal falsely with our God,” we shall be made “a story and byword throughout the world.” Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people’s earnings government can take without their consent.

Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.And let it provide indexing—adjusting the brackets to the cost of living—so that an increase in salary merely to keep pace with inflation does not move the taxpayer into a surtax bracket. Failure to provide this means an increase in government’s share and would make the worker worse off than he was before he got the raise.

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding those who commit misdeeds personally accountable.

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of “peace at any price.”

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view.

And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

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The preceding address was given to the CPAC on March 1, 1975. Guess who?

Deepest thanks to the good people at ... There's a link on my blog list (left).

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Wise quote of the day

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Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

Winston Churchill

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Michael Crichton, goodbye

Brave new world: elderly man attacked by Obama supporter

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The election may be over, but not my outrage. Sorry to keep repeating myself, but I still can't believe what I'm seeing. What kind of a country have we become? I've devoted two ardent blog posts to this problem already and will keep mentioning the problem again and again as it rears its ugly head. And it's these very folks who keep crying out how hateful we are, all evidence to the contrary.

The malady runs deep, and even if our new president were to miraculously ask people to be civil-- unlikely since division seems to be the ongoing point-- that alone isn't likely to cause a core shift in ethics and behavior.

My thanks to the Moonbattery blog for this video link.

If this is where Change (tm) is helping to take us, I'll go back to when character and civility meant something.

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Christian aid worker killed, draws media yawn as usual

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First, my hat tip to Michelle Malkin for this news that should not get swept aside, quoted here in its entirety:

A BRITISH aid worker gunned down in Kabul yesterday was murdered because she was a Christian, the Taleban claim.

Gayle Williams, 34, was shot at close range by two men on a motorbike, in a residential district of the Afghan capital popular with missionaries.

Eyewitnesses said she collapsed in a pool of blood, after the men fired six shots from a pistol, hitting her in the chest and legs.

Daolad Khan, who was working on a building site directly opposite the murder scene, said: “They raced up the street and stopped in front of the lady. They took out a gun and shot her on the spot. Then they rode off.”

Security officials said it was the first time an international aid worker had been killed inside Kabul since 2001.

The Taleban said they carried out the attack on the grounds that Ms Williams was trying to convert people to Christianity. “This woman came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to the people of Afghanistan,” militant spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said. “Our (leaders] issued a decree to kill this woman.”

Williams was working for a British-based Christian charity called Serve Afghanistan. Staff there insisted she had never tried to convert others.

Rina van der Ende, a spokeswoman for Serve in Kabul, said: “They are here to do NGO aid work. It’s not the case that they preach, not at all.”

Mike Lyth, the London-based chairman of Serve Afghanistan, said he had lost a “close personal friend” who had devoted her life to helping others.

He said: “She was working with disabled children: blind children, deaf children and children hurt and maimed by the fighting.”

Colleagues last night paid tribute to a “selfless” woman dedicated to her work. A message on the charity’s website read: “Gayle was not a woman who thought of herself. Her time and energy were always spent on behalf of others.”

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Terrorism against Christians and Jews around the world gets relatively scant attention in the press. This needs to change. We must seriously begin to acknowledge these murders and reveal the full ongoing extent of the enemy threat for what it is.

Please visit Michele's site (link at left) to see this and other important stories of the day. Thank you.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some borrowed artwork for my comrades

A huge THANK YOU to my comrades at

Election day prayer

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Dear God,

For weeks now I have tried to be optimistic, but in my heart I have been preparing for the worst. I pray our country makes the right choice. If we prevail it will be by the slimmest of margins. We have much work to do regardless of who takes office, but if we lose our great nation to a dangerous radical leftist, we will need to call upon all of our collective strength to save the greatest nation the world has ever known from self-inflicted mortal injury. This bad situation didn't happen overnight. I should have been paying more attention; I thought I was, but clearly it wasn't enough.

I've always loved my country, though, and never took it for granted. We are doing so much good in the world; we've achieved so much here at home. Good people are living their lives and pursuing their dreams. I've always felt fortunate to be here.

We have millions of decent people, people who want to work hard and be part of what America should be. These people do not hang anyone in effigy, even on Halloween. They do not cheat when voting or making campaign contributions. They do not cheer in approval as a candidate flips a bird during a speech, or joke about gang-raping a mother. They don't storm into campaign offices and use mace. They don't have friends who stomp on the flag or damn our country from the pulpit, or set off bombs that kill police officers on our own soil.

We have true friends who are counting on us, and can't worry about false friends that want to drag us down.

We don't laugh at common people because we are the common people, the good people.

Regardless of the outcome, I am making a vow within this prayer: I pledge a committment to my country- not an apologetic country that would capitulate to our enemies, but a country founded on the Constitution, a country strong and clearminded enough to defend it.

It's true that I'm unhappy about the huge ideological chasm that has cracked open within my own family. But I am grateful to have met so many people online, my new friends from all across the globe who feel like I do. You people are my new family, and I am making a pledge to you as well, that I will do all I can, regardless of what happens this week, to stand alongside you and be part of America's solutions as best as I can. Thank you and bless all of you.

Whoever and whatever you are, dear God, you know that my religious beliefs are essentially Christian, although you know I'm still more of a seeker than one who serves. But I will defend the Judeo-Christian core of our great government and pray for our deliverance. The good people of the world of all beliefs who try to follow your commandments need to stand together.

Thank you for hearing my prayer. People always pray when they're in the foxhole, I know, but I will never ever forget the sick and anxious feelings I felt these long weeks, no matter how things turn out. It's certainly not just another election.

We have much to do.

And now, I want to make one final statement in writing. I pledge alliegance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


your humble servant

From Fidel to freedom

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This post originally appeared here several days ago; I wanted to reprise it this rainy election day morning. Thank you.
* * * * * *

It's a rough time for those of us not basking in the radiant light of the Annointed One. While pondering the frightening list of influential people in the life of the Democratic party's candidate, I've been thinking a great deal about one of the most influential people of my school years.

* * *
Mrs. Yolanda Gomez was my Spanish language teacher in high school, and a refugee from Castro's Cuba.

In between our regular class lessons covering regular and reflexive verbs and reciting our little dialogos, Mrs. Gomez would, from time to time, share her personal experiences. More riveting than any television show and definitely more engaging than our textbooks, her real life adventures had us riveted. She told of how the regime came into power, the fear and deaths that followed, how she was forced out of her life as owner of a girls' school, escaping the mounting terror with her young son, on the run for their lives to America for sanctuary and freedom. We would sit transfixed as this incredible personal history unfolded in her rich Cuban accent. When the class bell rang we'd be jolted back to our reality. We'd gather up our things and move on to our next class.

Some years ago she passed away, and I never got to properly thank her. But I'm so honored to have met her, to have known her, to have experienced her generous spirit.

Mrs. Gomez was an unapologetic champion of America, eager to tell true stories of oppression and loss in her homeland, warning us again and again that freedom was more important than anything. She was a tireless advocate for our education and success. I can recall when it came to light during my senior year that I'd won a small, local journalism recognition, she scolded me for not sharing the news with her right away. "This is a great thing," she enthused. "I am very proud of you. You should have told me!"

Nobody who had the outgoing and exuberant Mrs. Gomez for a teacher could possibly forget her. I wish we all could have had someone like her in our lives. Her passion for young people, for teaching, and her endless gratitude for the freedom of this great country was in evidence every day.

I'm quite certain that this unabashed patriot is now turning over in her grave as the country she grew to love so much seems poised to elect a man whose policies have the outspoken approval of Fidel Castro.

Enduring harrowing adventures right out of a Robert Ludlum novel, Yolanda Gomez was able to (barely) escape with the help of a nameless American and arrive on our soil with her son. In the sort of patriotic story of self-motivation liberals love to roll their eyes at, she looked at her new country with a feeling of hope and gratitude, applied herself with fierce determination, and left a legacy of enlightenment that far exceeded the conjugation of Spanish verbs.

* * *
Thank you, Mrs. Yolanda Gomez, and others like you.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Hate Parade

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Hateful behavior from the left is piling up at our virtual doors almost faster than we can deal with it.

Even so, Michelle Malkin and others are doing a great job staying on top of this, reporting everything from the KGO talk radio host Charles Karel Bouley who cried out he wanted Joe the Plumber dead (in stronger language than I'm using here), to the man who wanted to summon a stoning of Sarah Palin "old school" style, to the Obamessiah himself actually flipping the bird on camera to McCain, just exactly and deliberately as he did (to hoots of delight) when he debated Hillary. Sandra Bernhard joked in a nauseatingly tasteless standup routine that Sarah Palin should be gang-raped. Protestors at McCain-Palin rallies carry mock fetuses and vile signs.

Hour after hour, day after day, hard-working alternative news sources and bloggers are reporting these maniacal incidents, shining light on behavior that should have every decent American reeling in disgust.

While we on the right may have a few seriously disturbed folks showing up now and then, this onslaught from the left is several orders of magnitude more prevalent. For a taste of how mindlessly depraved it is, have a peek at the hate mail section of Cinnamon Stillwell's dignified and intelligent site.

Everything we need to know about the left's hatefulness and irrationality is out there for anyone to see: the would-be leader of the free world and his people. It's sad, but it's also frightening.

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links to follow/stay tuned

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Don't confuse them with facts

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The breakdown in civility makes me sad for our country. But we can take note of a few key reasons why it's happening.

Over the last few months I've been spending several hours every day doing my self-assigned homework. Part of what I've paid attention to is the rhetoric on the left.

It's not a pretty sight. The so-called defenders of open-mindedness and acceptance, the people who so deplore racism and assaults against civil liberties, launch-- hands down-- the most illogical, vehement, hateful venom imaginable. I've never seen it like this. Are we suddenly a nation of racists and class-divided zealots? Or is there a force at work goading people on?

One of the most striking aspects of this raging ideological war is the unapologetic lack of cogent arguments from the liberal camp to facts and conclusions put forth by the conservative camp. Present a series of historical facts, and a logical argument based on those facts, and you're not going to get a solid point-by-point rebuttal. You could hold your breath until you're purple and it just won't happen, because it can't.

We wait patiently to hear either that certain facts are incorrect, or that the logical conclusion based on those facts is itself flawed. Or perhaps be presented with an effective argument that despite the facts being acknowledged as correct as well as the logic, that there are overriding facts and solid logic that must prevail instead.

It doesn't happen.

What does happen, at best, is you are treated to a series of broad generalities, a smattering of emotional anecdotes and a few character assassinations for good measure. I've seen this again and again. Prepare an article, letter, or document outlining the history of economic policies, fully footnoted by reputable sources, and nobody is going to bother to refute any of it with any specificity because it's impossible to do so. Point out the futility and danger of cowtowing to our enemies, making your case by citing history, and prepare yourself for a straw-man argument instead, one unrelated to your actual points but delivered as if it refutes what you're saying.

Nowhere is the lack of clear thinking so obvious as when the problems with the democrat candidate himself are pointed out. So determined are people to believe in this man that they will ignore the stunning preponderance of damning evidence and danger signs... and build a shrine to him instead.

Without blinking an eye.

Any one of the outrageous problems with this candidate should have been enough to give people serious pause, but the messiah machine sees to it that facts are seen as irrelevant. Hatred of the right is encouraged.

For every occasional creepy pathetic skinhead poisoning the debate from within conservative ranks, there are hundreds of screaming liberals photoshopping blood onto our faces and using the foulest language imaginable. Evidence of this lopsidedness is so abundant there is absolutely no contest here. Any casually interested party can confirm this for themselves by spending just a short time online reading blogs and posts.

And while this seething rage and gleeful namecalling is no doubt meant to be the measure of their passion and committment to their beliefs, it displays a ghastly disregard for honest debate and an underlying hatred so pathological that it stops all hope of civility dead in its tracks.

What all this deliberatedly incited hubris means-- everything from snide ad hominem editorials to redfaced streams of obscenities-- is there's no firm grasp on reality. You can't mount a clear, logical argument when there isn't one.

* * *

If there is to be any progress towards civility and rationality, root causes need to be addressed. We need to shed light on the postmodern beliefs that erode society. Fight the ignorance of the dangers presented by our enemies. Guard against the willing dismissal of history. Acknowledge the spiritual vacuum that all too easily invites a candidate to step in and be deified. Rid our society of its irrational self-loathing. Call out the outrageous liberal control of education and media. Not insignificantly, we need to wake up to the tragic suppression of low income black America by the democrat party, the people who are (ironically) served so poorly by the democrat candidate and his policies. Failed ideologies shouldn't even occur to people any longer except as cautionary tales. Be ever mindful of signs of growing fascism, knowing that this grows out of socialism, not capitalism. We are always free to examine alternatives, but if they don't make some kind of basic sense, we should be wise enough not to seriously consider them.

We supporters of the Constitution have our work cut out for us.

Honesty, ethics, and courage to name and face our enemies must overcome postmodern self-destruction. In economics and foreign affairs we must be willing and able to learn from history and act accordingly. Our hearts and emotions show us where the problems are, but clear, rational minds must address them.

But don't expect a lot of support for this idea from the left. They're too busy screaming, fainting, cheering, mocking, damning, and lighting candles.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ayers America: a chilling true story

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Regarding the democrat candidate's undeniable link to William Ayers and the Marxist revolutionary ideology he still clearly represents, it appears there are two kinds of people: those who would care about such an ideological link but don't know, or those who know about it but don't care.

Just in case there are people who feel they do know about all about that silly long-ago stuff but still on balance feel support for their candidate, keep in mind there are tapes of Ayers specifically confirming his anarchist and Marxist views in a radio interview as recently as 2002, a time period when he know he was in touch with Obama. Marxism itself may be an antedelluvian non-starter, but radical socialism is what this is all about, and it's alive and well.

It sneaks up on us and takes the form of fascism, the most frightening -ism of all.

Here's a glimpse into the revolution, courtesy of my dear friend at Bohemian Conservative:

If you don't believe he'll destroy the goose laying America's economic golden eggs... if you roll your eyes when you hear about one relative after another living in poverty... if you don't believe there's a tape of his Kenyan grandmother telling everyone he was born there... if you shrug off his association with Chicago mobsters... if ACORN is no big deal... if none of this causes you a moment's hesitation, at least allow yourself to watch this short video and really think about what this mindset actually means... and see how well this candidate's policies of change fit this agenda.

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Extra credit: What do Ayers, Dohrn, Davis, Odinga, Wright, Khalidi, Farrakhan, Castro, Hamas, and Ahmadinejad have in common?

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Who are we? The making of conservatives, part 1

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The following is Part One of an interview where I answer questions about my move years ago to conservatism. It is my goal to provide an ongoing look into various nuances and implications of conservative thinking within a liberal landscape.

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Part 1: California Dreaming

Your political views are the opposite of your family’s. How has this been for you?

I’ve spent very little time discussing these things with my family because I haven’t wanted to create discord. My mother is gone, and now it's just my father and sister who I care for very much. Fortunately my husband and I are on the same page.

One problem with not saying much is the incomplete, inauthentic feeling you get by holding back all the time. While I was always very clear about how liberal my family was, they had no idea until recently just how strong my beliefs are. And by the way, most liberals I know are utterly unaware of just how insulting their constant brittle and condescending remarks are to conservatives; it's relentless and irrational.

So you can talk about it, or not. Basically, either way, it’s a wedge… a kind of tightness when it’s unspoken, and a glaringly uncomfortable feeling for us all when it’s out in the open, as it is now. The word painful wouldn't be too strong. I have no idea how couples with mixed ideologies can be together. It would be completely impossible for me. We’re not talking about whose baseball team is better, after all.

So you grew up in a liberal household.

Well, it was a democrat household, to be sure. There wasn’t a lot of political discussion. And when you’re young and making your way in the world, finding your identity, dealing with personal issues, these things are extremely abstract and, for the most part, irrelevant. As it turns out, my family was growing further and further left along with their party, which they can deny all they like but I know to be true. But it’s really a great deal more than just learning these things at home. Now that I look back with adult eyes, I can recall time and again the indoctrination of my school environment.

And you’re not talking about college, but before that.

Oh, it began way before college, although college is where it becomes the most sophisticated. It’s hard to say which is worse. I can remember in grade school our teacher telling us about the difference between democrats and republicans, and thought, wow, those republicans sound so mean.

My reading and comprehension skills were years ahead for my age so I was rewarded by being given more adult reading by the time I was in junior high. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the point of view that would send a young teen off to read Jessica Mitford. Nobody was trying to teach me to think; they were trying to direct me. And naturally, kids look up to teachers, and have no way of really processing all that.

What would you say if someone said you moved deliberately to an opposite point of view, that your changed beliefs were some kind of mindless rebellion against your upbringing?

The only way I can respond to that is to explain that sometime in my twenties, gradually, I began to consciously develop a world view. Eventually it was a very conscious decision because at some point I realized I never actually sat down and figured out: What should I really believe?

So I decided to make the slate as blank as possible and start—as much as I could— from scratch. A lot of this ethic of logical thinking came from being around my husband and his engineering mind. There was this gnawing feeling that I’d been drifting along applying sloppy methods, picking up information carelessly and arriving at important beliefs using faulty or nonexistent logic. If your methods for forming your views are based on that, you’re at the mercy of very powerful coercive cultural forces all around you. History shows us how destructive that can be when this prevails throughout societies.

It eventually just seemed irresponsible to arrive at an ideology first and then run around finding supporting information. But that’s what a lot of people do. And of course, so much of conservatism is counter-intuitive, and it doesn't have the superficial caring voice of liberalism.

You’ve said before that your year at U.C. Berkeley helped strengthen your views. Tell me more about that.

Well, I’d been working for years in the beauty industry because it paid well, was pleasant and undemanding, and I was still emotionally immature in so many ways and figuring out who I was, and what I wanted to do with my life. It was like having my finger on the Pause button.

Eventually it seemed like I might be a good teacher, an art teacher, so I applied to U.C. Berkeley and got in, with the vague plan that I’d get an art degree. I was already conservative, and I expected it to be a liberal culture there, so it's not like I was naive about it. But the extent to which professors try to indoctrinate their students in anti-American anti-Constitution leftist ideology is nothing short of breathtaking; I can personally attest to that.

What was it like there?

This was in 1983, and I'd been out of high school for 12 years. I’d sit in my world geography class listening to our professor extoling the virtues of socialism and think, these young students all around me are soaking all this in, never mind that none of it really made any real sense. You’re taught these elaborate theoretical constructs that have no relevance to the real world, that don’t withstand logical scrutiny. I’d get blistering remarks scrawled across the margins of my papers. I had a professor who kept office hours at a local coffee shop instead of on campus. Students don’t simply meet with their teachers; it was more like getting together to plot the Revolution with a poster of Che Guevara on the wall.

But as discouraging as it was, I tried hard not to react to the cultural environment emotionally; it’s actually very instructive because you see how it all operates. When you are in the ideological minority, the burden of proof always falls on your shoulders, which is a huge drag. But it can be beneficial because it forces you to really look at facts. And even if you can’t persuade blind ideologues to look at documented facts and lead them by the hand through logical arguments, at least your own head is clear.

Nothing is more useful than real information and logic if you don’t want to be at the mercy of illogical yet powerful oratory... but for me, it's mostly for my own satisfaction. Maybe I'm too sensitive about this but I hate arguing these things, and rarely do. This is partly because what passes for debate in liberal circles is their tossing out obscure stories and positing them as broad proof of one idea or another, making incendiary statements, engaging in straw-man arguments, or demanding you come up with some obscure fact on demand to prove your grasp of the situation, or lack thereof.

Anyway, despite getting onto the Dean’s list for academic excellence, I finally grew so discouraged spending all that time on the other side of the Looking Glass that I quit Berkeley and went back to work. I can remember later explaining this to my sister once, telling her how crazy it was there. Her response was unintentionally revealing. “I’m glad that didn’t happen to me,” she said. That is a very telling comment.

Could you elaborate on this?

It reveals how she accepts that ideologies are formed and subject to influence, and that she wouldn't want to have lost her beliefs. This scenario leaves no room for logical assessments but talks instead about one faith versus another. In essence, her remark was remorse at the notion of someone becoming soured on liberal (IE humanitarian) beliefs by being in a too-far-leftist environment like the one I found myself in… as if that properly defined the mechanism. But nothing happened to me in the way she essentially suggests. The only thing that ever happened is I noted what was going on and went off and educated myself, and I’m still doing that.

Conversely I can see that her beliefs did more or less happen to her. Although she's very intelligent, she didn’t put in the long hours and consciously develop them from the ground up, even though I’m sure she feels she’s given it all such rational thought. I know she would find all this insulting, and I’m not trying to be unkind or pick on her... it's a really prevalent perspective. But all belief systems are not equally valid, which sounds arrogant, but it’s true. When solid facts and logic are on your side, when you acknowledge things like human psychology and look even informally at the weight of history, it’s impossible to defend the Marxist theories at the core of radical liberalism.

It’s not enough to read a book by Al Franken or Al Gore and claim you’ve done your homework when you’ve never read about the forming of the Constitution, or know about some key war statistics and history, know the basics about supply-side economics, or don’t really understand what a republic is or why it’s so precious. I'm certainly no historian, but anyone who ignores history or reads faulty history and opinion is in danger of bad ideology. I see daily confirmation of how passionately people hold to liberalism with a stunning lack of evidence.

Liberal views are supported round the clock by a frighteningly biased media and cultural environment. It’s unbelievably disturbing to me to spend more than a day or two up in the Bay Area for that reason… not because I feel susceptible to its message, but because it’s sad that such a wrongheaded ideology is so ubiquitous.

When I was younger I thought it was so great we had two parties that balanced each other, and the checks and balances between the three branches of government always seemed incredibly brilliant to me. But it’s become a far different picture because now we have what I call American Socialists mostly in charge of all three branches of the government and supported by mainstream media to boot, with people you could call Constitutional Patriots fighting for our very existence… that’s basically what we’re doing. The dialog about how much and what kind of social services are appropriate, and how best to fund them, should arguably be taking place on a lot smaller scale.

How do you explain the appeal of liberalism?

There are a lot of reasons, and taken together they are very powerful… greater than the sum of its often illogical parts. For some, it's a simple matter of wanting more than they have, of buying into the Evil Rich/Noble Poor idea and going for it. But for the people that really put it forth as an agenda, it's more than that. And it's certainly not that I don't get it.

There’s a strong emotional component to people’s attachment to liberalism. Rather than being logical, it has its roots in the idea of defining oneself as a do-gooder… the idea of intent trumping actual outcome. It really is at the core of all liberalism once you recognize it. Former radical David Horowitz writes quite eloquently about this. It's also rooted in the childish misconception that you can fix all ills and injustices. As Thomas Sowell reminds us, there are no solutions, only trade-offs.

There’s so much irony lately. It’s crazy for America to embrace socialism in a fit of self-loathing at a time when countries like France have finally gotten fed up with being piss-poor and going nowhere and are slowly becoming more capitalistic… but that’s what’s happening here. There’s an old Soviet joke that socialism is the long road between capitalism and capitalism. The Soviets learned that the hard way.

We, on the other hand, romanticize Europe and have what Tom Wolfe has called a colonial complex. So there’s that. Many Americans, especially we baby boomers, feel so un-cool with our tidy suburban houses and dozens of home appliances, and fantasize about simple cottages or Old World flats and a grocery bag filled with daisies and a baguette.

There is so much guilt in America—guilt for the native Americans, guilt over slavery and civil rights issues. We feel guilty for bringing our goods and our perspectives to a world seen as unspoiled and idyllic before our oafish feet stomped on them. We lose sight of how we’ve brought more freedom and prosperity, by far, to more people than any other country or institution. The stock market crash of 1929 is felt, in a gut way, as an indictment against greed, and the social engineering that followed is romanticized as having saved the poor when in fact the opposite is true… a bad recession was actually turned into a long depression. Good-hearted and genuinely caring, we became embarrassed by the postwar era and our explosion of prosperity, the nuclear family, and comfort. And then there was McCarthy, and now you’re a tyrannical fascist if you worry out loud about the communist/socialist voice. So it’s not hard to see who the cool, smart people are, and it’s not us capitalist pigs.

With liberalism, aided constantly by a powerful media rewriting history on the fly, its champions get to show to themselves and others how they really care about people. Plus, and I hate to say this so bluntly, you get to sit in a coffee house wearing a beret, and feel a bit sorry for all the simpletons in America's heartland

The horrifying thing about liberalism is that it hurts and even kills real human beings in the big picture, but people don’t seem to notice in their eagerness to "do something".

Describing the danger that way, that’s a pretty strong statement.

Believe me, I wish it weren’t true.

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Next, living in media oblivion.

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