Friday, October 31, 2008
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.
* * *
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.
* * *
Next, living in media oblivion.
* * *
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Marx himself … envisaged two broad lines of action that could be adopted to destroy the bourgeoisie: one was violent revolution; the other, a slow increase of state power, to a point where a smooth transition could be effected from an individualist to a collectivist society.
* * *
William F. Buckley
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The following is a powerful commentary from a woman named Pam (see end of article). The hotlinks aren't working here, probably due to technical ineptitude on the part of yours truly, but they do work when you click over to her original post. /b.
* * *
So here we are, less than a week from an election that could quite literally mean the end of the United States of America as we know her. Paranoia? Perhaps. I never would have believed that my nation could truly be on the verge of voting itself out of existence. But here we are.
The golden child of this presidential election has deep, obvious cracks in his hallowed facade. There are signs that few could miss if they actually look - signs that indicate severe issues. Besides his associations with radicals and terrorists, there are scores of trouble markers.
He appears not to care who supports him. His website does not utilize credit card matching for donations; a test using the names Osama bin Laden, John Galt, and Saddam Hussein to make donations with the same credit card revealed that all the donations went through. In fact, a lot of interesting people have been donating to Obama; and foreign credit are also being accepted. Donations have come from Palestine. Good Will, Loving, and Dela Ware have also made donations. Obama also accepts donations from largely untraceable pre-paid credit cards. His campaign’s response to questions was that “no campaign can fully insulate itself” from these types of issues. John McCain and Hillary Clinton used computer matching (ABS) and citizenship checks for their donations. Obama checks neither.
Barack Obama reflects the far Left in this country - a political sect that wants to cut the military 25% during a time of war. He advocates negotiating with dictators who vow to see Israel and the United States eradicated. He goes to a country where we are fighting a war, and urges them to delay a deal on withdrawal of American troops - so that he can be sure to get the credit for that withdrawal.
Barack Obama doesn’t want you to use his middle name. He doesn’t want you to ask questions about his Marxist leanings, or his radical ties. Yes, he advocates redistribution of wealth, and thinks it’s too bad that the essential restraints of the Constitution limit the ability to act at will. Yes, he intentionally (and “carefully”) chose Marxist professors and friends. But don’t call him a Marxist. Don’t call him a Socialist - or you will be banned from any contact. Yes, he has ties to terrorists. But don’t talk about it. Don’t dare ask about it.
If you do, like “Joe the Plumber,“ you may find your DMV and other government files illegally accessed, and your life open to investigation. You may, like Sarah Palin, find your private email hacked and published. You may, like reporter Barbara West, be denied any further access to the campaign. Don’t cross the line, or you will see the consequences. And the Left doesn’t just want to restrict certain speech - it wants to go much further. The Left seeks to mandate speech (the Fairness Doctrine). The Left seeks to ensure that you hear what it wants you to hear - and only what it wants you to hear. If the Fairness Doctrine passes, blogs like mine may be required to publish “both sides” of the story. Even if “both sides” means the truth, and the lie from the Left. I have already decided that I will not comply. If I maintained a bigger blog, with a larger audience and a voice that might make a difference, I might openly defy the order. Realistically, though, I’m not that big. I will simply cease to blog. Much bigger voices may be silenced - the prime target of the Fairness Doctrine is talk radio. Barack Obama may not be a leading voice for the Fairness Doctrine, but if the Left has the House, the Senate, and the White House, do you really think that it won’t get passed? Can you see him using a presidential veto to prevent it?
Barack Obama wants you to stay away from examining his wife’s anti-American statements, associations, or political leanings. He says that family is off limits. Unless, of course, you’re talking about his opponent’s family. How has this campaign been to Sarah Palin’s family? To John McCain’s wife? The press is almost universally in the tank for Obama. CNN distorts quotes to portray Sarah Palin as negatively as possible. Other outlets refuse to cover stories that are negative to Obama - even to the point of refusing to release a tape where his own words might harm his campaign. Those who expose him are detained by countries where he has ties. How do you think people who oppose him will be treated once he is in power?Barack Obama promises that the poor downtrodden masses will be lifted up, and that the evil rich will be taken off their pedestals. So did Lenin.
Barack Obama promises that he will cut taxes for 95% of Americans. But only about half of those he’s promising tax cuts to actually pay taxes. Barack Obama will take your money and decide that someone else who has less deserves it - though you’re the one who worked for it. From each according to his ability; to each according to his need - not his worth, but his need.
Barack Obama promises to restore our standing in the world. We will be liked by a world filled with terrorists, socialists, communists, sellouts, and radicals. What will we have to sell to earn their praise? What is the value of our soul?
Well, it’ll only be four years, you might say. Eight, at most. And then the Left will have screwed things up so badly that they’ll be out of power for a long time. Maybe. But maybe not. During beloved Bill Clinton’s presidency, there was a movement to lift presidential term limits. It died then, but now there’s precedent. In New York, a lifting of term limits is allowing Bloomberg to run again (despite two referendums enforcing a two-term limit). After four years of nothing but positive press, nothing but the pap of propaganda, who will there be to oppose lifting presidential term limits?
If elected, Barack Obama has the potential to make us long for the good old days of Jimmy Carter. A Barack Obama presidency will be far, far worse. For the first time, we will have a socialist president, presiding over a legislature where the Democrats - a party with a significant number of like-minded socialists - rule.
The Republicans, with few exceptions, don’t have the guts to stand up to him. Even if they did, it would likely not do much good - they will not even be able to count on the filibuster. We are headed for a period of time where the checks and balances that form the basis of this government may mean nothing. Elect him, and we will likely have a Socialist president, a rubber-stamping Socialist legislature, and eventually, a rubber-stamping Socialist Supreme Court. We also have a fawning, socialist media - the type that refuses to air a tape in which Barack Obama praises PLO-linked Rafik Hariri as having views that “the whole world“ should hear (for example, that Israel should be obliterated).
How much damage do you think all of that can do in four years? Eight years? Longer?
Recently, a growing chorus of voices are priming the pump. How bad is socialism, really? Would it be so bad to be liked by other nations? Would it be so bad to have those less fortunate lifted up? Would it be so bad if we tried something different? But the beautiful picture they paint of socialism is, and has always been, a lie. And make no mistake - Barack Obama is a liar. He is, like many charismatic leaders before him, one person on the surface, and another when you look any further. Barack Obama is a socialist. He is a radical. He is dangerous. And if he is elected, it could very well mark the beginning of the end for this country as she was meant to be. He says that his opposition is trying to scare you. It doesn’t take that much effort. He’s a pretty scary person.
Some elements of the Left will tell you that to not vote for him means that you’re a racist. But just because they say something, it doesn’t make it true - the Truth and the Left aren’t close friends anyway. I am not voting for him because I am an anti-socialist. I view redistribution of wealth as an evil. I view unbridled altruism as evil. I view restriction of free speech as a violation of the principles on which this country was founded - principles which formed the basis of the greatest form of government to ever exist on Earth. I define social justice as ensuring that everyone gets a fair shake - that they rise or fail based solely on their own merits - and not because someone propped them up or ensured that they would have what someone else earned. I am not voting for him because I believe him to be a radical, diametrically opposed to what this country stands for - or used to, anyway. I view him as someone who will sell our country out to whomever he sees fit. I am not voting for him because anyone who would enter into a dialogue with Iran deserves contempt, not a seat in the highest office in the land. I am not voting for him because he lacks the character and qualifications to be president.
Maybe the country that I believe in is already gone. Maybe political correctness, socialism, and self-loathing are the values of the new America. I hope not. I hope that this country takes a long look at Barack Obama before next Tuesday, and realizes the threat that he poses to its survival.We will know shortly. We have already started down the slope, but our fingers are still desperately clinging on the edge. Take a moment to fix in your mind the country you have on Monday. You may never see it again.
Paranoia, maybe. But then again, maybe not.
* * *
Pam's editorial is from Iraq War Today. There's a link here on the left of this site.
* * *
The question isn't whether the Los Angeles times has a video tape of mainstream media's favorite presidential candidate at a posh Jew-bashing dinner party. The rag has admitted they have a tape of the would-be president knee-deep in an event praising PLO operative and anti-Semite Rashid Khalidi, and they've already written a tepid story about it.
But this "news" institution adamantly refuses to air the damning tape itself. What happened to people's right to know? Or do we only have the right to know about wardrobes and tax returns?
The Times knows full well the damage this shocking, quite probably election-losing look at reality that video would create. In their infinite wisdom, they've decided what we don't need to see.
Not surprisingly, domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn were apparently on hand for the videotaped fete. And just to be clear, the media darling candidate and his wife weren't eight years old at the time, either. These particular wine glasses were raised in recent history. We're not talking the exploratory identity-forming adventures of a college student. This is a US senator in post 9-11 America.
Los Angeles Times, your ideology-driven suppression of vital news is obscene.
Leading the charge against this incredible affrontery are Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, Michelle Malkin, and other alternative-media notables; Newt Gingrich and others have offered large rewards for copies of this tape. Make no mistake, Rashid Khalidi is not this candidate's only anti-Israel connection, but seeing him in the room with a smile on his face is more than enough to open some eyes.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times is working hard to secure its rightful place in the bottom of readers' catboxes.
In this nightmare of an election year, the challenge each day is deciding which of the dozens of insults to reason and attacks on liberty is most noteworthy. Today it's no contest.
Looking at this situation more broadly, talk radio needs to continue its campaign to warn people about the dangers of an America like the one we're seeing, where mainstream news picks a side and stumps without apology while liberal politicians demand the end of talk radio under the guise of the fairness doctrine.
Liberty in America will just be a memory if this tide isn't turned. Will we allow a so-called fairness doctrine to turn us into an Orwellian nightmare?
Under such a doctrine, the blog you are now reading could well be illegal.
Think about it.
Meanwhile, here's one of many places to check out the story:
* * *
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Talk about getting right to the point... There is more bottom-line truth in this young man's videos than you'll find almost anywhere.
* * *
A huge hat tip to colinacomments.blogspot.com
EXTRA CREDIT VIDEO:
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Hello to the handful of friends and associates who stop by here now and then.
Not long ago I decided I wanted to organize my thoughts and growing concerns, and maybe make a few new friends. Like many Americans, I have grave concerns about the direction our country seems to be going, despite what I prefer to believe are surely sincere, if sometimes dangerously misguided, agendas that come from the hearts of certain candidates and their supporters.
I've tried to put together an interesting assortment of links here, and make my comments with care. As with all such links in the blogosphere, not all of us have identical views, but the blogs I link to have shown themselves to have some basic concerns that resonate with my own. And my thoughts are my own, based on information I believe to be correct. Just like you, I am a seeker of truth and understanding.
Posting comments on other blogs is not my main activity; although I do occasionally comment, you won't find long comments of mine on other sites, even the ones I really support. When I do comment, I sign my entire name, never just my first name, so if you go to other blogs and see comments signed with just the name 'Brenda' out there, that post is not mine.
There are many terrific reporters out there doing great work. From time to time I will be sending out original pieces to other publications when I feel I have a useful or interesting take on something, but by and large, I'll largely confine my thinking out loud to my own site.
There is absolutely no agenda here with regard to becoming a media figure or person with a following. I am just one person, one voice, in a vast sea of voices in a free country. And that's just fine with me.
My time, like yours, is limited. Brief civil comments are welcome here, but please realize I'm not here to argue with anyone; that's absolutely not why I'm here. This is especially true if you haven't bothered to keep your post even remotely relevant to my actual posts and comments, or if you have me confused with someone else.
In closing, what's most important is this is not a debate forum; there are plenty of sites that are set up for that... and most of them have legions of more readers than I do here.
It makes sense to me.
* * *
Friday, October 24, 2008
The online news and opinion source American Thinker has just published a short essay of mine you might find of interest. The editor retitled it The Threat of Obama, originally called Thought Experiment. In part, it's a meditation on the significance of careful decision-making.
Here's the link to their main page:
You can also find American Thinker on my list of permanent links here.
A special thank you to Thomas Lifson and the staff and contributors at this high-quality publication.
While you are there, have a look at article The Supreme Court on the Ohio voting case, by Eileen McDevitt and Larrey Anderson. Both pieces are now archived under Special Features.
* * *
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Journalism's 'sub-tabloid' assault on truth and America
* * *
One of my dreams is that this election, among other things, creates a tipping point of awareness in America. Outrageously biased and undeniably agenda-driven, our behemoth mainstream journalism machine needs to be outed once and for all, held accountable for countless grievances against truth.
When journalists are encouraged by their editors to indulge in lies, clear distortions, and deliberate misdirection, it's unacceptable not to hold the institutions accountable.
With freedom of the press comes serious responsibility, and we the people need to demand a more ethical journalism.
* * *
Notes to self: a few other nagging issues
* * *
The Ayers Problem: well, he wasn't eight years old when Ayers appears to have written much of that amazing autobiography; helpful friends you've got there, Barry
The Citizenship Question: Berg may be flaky, but I think he's onto something; Mr. Candidate, please show us the proof and then we'll be quiet about it
The Constitutional Crisis: who decides who has "standing" to bring suits and why; the decay of our Constitution
The Economy 1: if you're part of the problem, you can't be part of the solution; Raines and those dems too close to our economic collape for comfort
The Economy 2: 40% pay no taxes so you can't lower taxes for 95% of Americans without it becoming a welfare state; all math answers are not created equal
The Deification Project: we haven't heard you deny you're the messiah; candles and shrines for the annointed one
campaign contribution fraud, domestic
campaign contribution fraud, foreign
lies and distortions to citizens
unsavory alliances with frightening agendas
new world order/ global village/ UN problem
appeasement of enemies
reduced millitary strength
hanging Israel out to dry
the Africa problem
the Indonesia problem(s)
the Michelle-writes Most-whites-in-the-US- are-racist problem
Rules for Radicals phrases in speeches
the Rezco association and home loan problem
the Marxist agenda problem
the "No More Pre-existing conditions exclusion" plan for insurance collapse
the end of 401K?
the end of talk radio (Fairness Doctrine)?
To be continued...
draft; work in progress.
* * *
Saturday, October 18, 2008
* * *
CRESCENT OF BETRAYAL
Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93
What happens when a memorial turns out to be a cruel perversion?
There are, sadly, some offensive and-- dare I use the word--subversive plans unfolding here on American soil.
The justifiable outrage over something like the Flight 93 Memorial you're about to discover is just the sort of thing the ever-vigilent and politically sensitive far left loves to attack, attempting to paint concerned Americans as paranoid and hateful. But it's impossible for any intelligent observer (who takes a few minutes to look at the evidence) to deny there is a real problem here with the planned memorial to the heroes of flight 93.
* * *
First, I would like you to meet Alec Rawls, introducing himself on his site:
Here is a short bio I sent to press people covering the Flight 93 memorial debacle.
My training is as an economist. I was in the PhD program in economics at Stanford until my research led me more towards moral theory and constitutional law, at which point I dropped the program and started working on my own. I was writing a book on republicanism (the system of liberty under law) for World Ahead Publishing when I discovered that the Flight 93 memorial was going to be a terrorist memorial mosque.
World Ahead agreed to first publish my book about this rehijacking of Flight 93 (Crescent of Betrayal, temporarily available for free download at CrescentOfBetrayal.com).
This is not my first venture into journalism. Over the years I have been a writer, opinions editor, and advisor for Stanford’s conservative campus newspaper The Stanford Review, and am currently on the Review’s board of directors.
[end quoted material]
First, let's revisit a moment in history.
On September 11, 2001, forty passengers and four terrorists were on a United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, California. As summarized in a Wikipedia entry:
Over forty minutes into the flight the hijackers breeched the cockpit, overpowered the pilots, and took over control of the aircraft, diverting it toward Washington, D.C. Several passengers and crew members made telephone calls aboard the flight and learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As a result, the passengers decided to mount an assault against the hijacker and wrest control of the aircraft.
The plane crashed in a field in Stonycreek Township, near Shanksville, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles (130 km) southeast of Pittsburg and 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., killing all 44 people on board, including the hijackers. Many witnessed the impact from the ground and news agencies began reporting on the event within the hour. The plane fragmented on impact, leaving a crater, and some debris was blown miles from the crash site. The remains of everyone on board the aircraft were later identified.
Subsequent analysis of the flight records revealed how the actions taken by the passengers prevented the aircraft from reaching the hijacker's intended target, thought to be either the White House of the United States Capitol. A permanent memorial is planned for construction on the crash site. The chosen design has been the subject of criticism, but the memorial is scheduled to be dedicated in 2011.
[end quoted material]
A memorial to this horrific attack certainly seems fitting. And plans eventually were underway, as explained in an article in Philanthropy News Digest, January 29, 2005:
Exhibition for Flight 93 Memorial Competition Opens in Pennsylvania
Nearly one thousand entries have been submitted to the competition set up to select a design for the permanent memorial to honor the passengers who lost their lives when United Flight 93 crashed in a field in southwestern Pennsylvania on the morning of September 11, 2001, and an exhibition of the entries has opened online.
The Flight 93 Memorial Design Competition — a partnership among the Families of Flight 93, the Flight 93 Advisory Commission, the Flight 93 Memorial Task Force, and the National Park Service — was made possible through grants of $500,000 each from the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Endowments and the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. A nine-member jury comprising family members, partners, and design professionals will select five finalists in late January, each of whom will receive an honorarium to further develop their concept for the second stage of the competition. A second jury will then meet in July to select the winning entry for recommendation to a federal advisory commission, with the winning design to be announced in late September.
"We are so humbled by the depth and breath of sentiments expressed in these design submittals," said Flight 93 Advisory Commission chair John Reynolds. "The passengers and crew gave their lives here to save our nation's capital, unwittingly winning the first battle in the war on terrorism. This national memorial will serve forever as a tribute to that moment in our nation's history, and generations to come will never forget their heroism."
[end quoted material]
What happens next is an affront to those lives lost, and everything our country should represent.
I'll quote the beginning of a letter to all Americans, written by Tom Burnett, Sr., father of one of the heroes of flight 93:
From Tom Burnett Sr: A petition to stop the Flight 93 Memorial
Dear Fellow Americans:The planned Flight 93 Memorial contains extensive Islamic symbolism. It is an insult to my son Tom, and to the other murdered heroes of Flight 93 who stopped Islamic terrorists from destroying the White House or the Capitol that terrible September day.
Please consider signing this online petition that I and some compatriots have put together. It calls for a new memorial design, and for investigation of the present design. If you want to do more, feel free to forward or post this appeal.
[end quoted material]
To read the rest of this letter, and learn more about this disgraceful planned memorial and its implications, please go to this page, and then explore the rest of Alec's blog:
or the TinyURL version of the link:
To the left here at my blog on my Blog List, you can always find the link to Alec's site, Error Theory, and it will take you to his latest post.
Please note this isn't merely a matter of something being slipped through by a single person of perverted aspirations, which would be horrible enough, but a number of people seem to be taking great pains to enable this obscenity to be erected. This is not a simple matter of a crescent shape; it's far more elaborate and exacting than that, as you will see. Imagine, if you will, the world's largest mosque, erected on the graves of the American "infidels".
Thank you for your kind attention. I stand with Alec and Tom and other citizens on this matter.
* * *
Today's conservative voice has many built-in frustrations. If we speak out against the dangers of socialism we are labelled McCarthyites. If we question Obama's citizenship or even criticize the man himself, we must surely be racists... never mind that we'd all vote for Thomas Sowell in a heartbeat. If we recognize the threat of Islamofascism, we are dangerously intolerant of Muslims. And everyone who has absorbed the relentless message of liberal mainstream culture knows that a Republican is either a vacuous Thurston Howell III smugly enjoying his probably unearned wealth, or a wild-eyed outcast poking his rifle out the window of his cabin.
In our daily lives, convervatives make rather less an issue of image than liberals do (as I've observed in my considerable personal experience with the unapologetically left-wing media industry, as well as my year at UC Berkeley), but that doesn't mean we're not aware of it. Do we disregard issues related to our image and currency within an arena defined and all but owned by our ideological adversaries? How can we carry messages across this divide? Even someone like David Horowitz, who was an active participant in radical politics before he awakened to his new beliefs-- views expressed with exacting care and powerful eloquence-- has far less mainstream acknowledgement than he should. Instead of these rare first-hand insights being given all due respect, his perspective brands him as someone who has sold out. At worst, we see ad hominem attacks; at best, we hear the sound of silence.
So what do you do when the culture itself is a kind of funhouse mirror?
Unfortunately, this seems a rhetorical question, at least for now. We preach largely to the choir, in hopes that someone from the other side wanders by the church and hears our message through the walls.
* * *
Friday, October 17, 2008
The friends I've never met over at PajamasMedia are careful journalists. This post by Andrew Walden (with quotes from the Washington Post) was painful for me to read, but to my knowledge these are all facts about Obama's track record, and there's every indication it's a snapshot of how he would address the challenges in the black community:
If you go to the PajamasMedia site, be sure to check out the articles by the two Iraqi writers who are part of their group. The phrase journalistic integrity comes to mind.
* * *
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Here's another video I ran into recently, one with more cringe-inducing footage of republican warnings and democratic congressmen denying there were any problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Community Reinvestment Act-related loaning mandates.
No assessment of the current economic meltdown is complete without a good look at the loan crisis and those who, wittingly or not, enabled it. As with all of my posts here, I certainly make no claim of expertise. But I have a pretty good idea how to follow a logical argument, check public records, choose my sources of information with care, look at cause and effect, and put two and two together.
There's nothing quite like actually seeing and hearing some of the key players in action. No, it doesn't give me any satisfaction, but it does give me some insights.
Even so, when is the d-camp going to look at each other, grit their teeth and agree with Bill Clinton's admission that they should have done something long ago, before all this mess happened? I hate to be cynical, but I think Bill is going to be the exception here.
The economic disaster didn't just fall out of the sky one morning when we were having coffee. This problem was years in the making, but denial was, and remains, rampant. And in some ways, that's a tougher problem than mere greed.
To compound the situation during this fallout period, the convervatives who sounded the alarm, and those who are beginning to point this out, are now being accused by some bureaucrats of blaming poor blacks for the problem. This claim is utter nonsense and a clear straw man argument; no such accusation on the part of conservatives is made or implied at all. But I ran into precisely this race card today on the progressillinois.com site.
There's more to this tale, beyond my ability to narrate, but democrats: Your congressmen (and women) let you down... and the rest of us while they were at it.
We'll have plenty of time to reflect on this while we wait for our economy (and our retirement money) to come back, all subject, of course, to whether we willingly bring a socialist with undeniable Marxist ties to the world's most important leadership position.
* * *
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
You don't create peace by pretending we're not at war.
* * *
Today I thought it would be good to bring up the subject of national defense. With our far-left candidate making it very clear he would cut defense spending dramatically-- an amazing statement in this age of Jihad--your humble reporter has been looking online for a worthwhile piece addressing this subject from a historical perspective.
Here is a piece from the Los Angeles Times with some facts of recent history half our country would apparently prefer to ignore, presented calmly and logically:
All Americans should be concerned about this, but my sense is that half the country is in serious denial. I live in San Diego, a target city, but an attack anywhere would be a tragic blow. Our government has averted several attacks in the last seven years, and we know the war against western freedom is not over.
* * *
Monday, October 13, 2008
Can YouTube videos and other alternative media make a difference?
A video presentation on the sequence of main events leading to our economic crisis has just come to my attention, one that goes into more detail than the short piece I shared here earlier.
Knowledge is power. Economics is a complex subject, but the tale told here is not hard to grasp.
When you click on this link you'll see there are 2 versions available. I advise clicking on the link and simply letting the default video run and ignoring the invitation to view the updated one where they tried a bit too hard, which actually reduces its impact. The original doesn't have the voice at the very beginning (very briefly), but after that the soundtrack is actually simpler and far better than the updated version, and the message more straightforward:
* * *
The facts are all in place here. Beyond the sequence of events, viewers will note the tone of the piece is one of sympathy for the original goals of the democrats with their housing legislation, a tone adopted so the video could be more persuasive to those not predisposed to blaming their party. The decision to present the message this way is entirely understandable given the crucial upcoming election.
This sentiment echoes again near the end of the video when it briefly mentions Wall Street greed and emphasizes the many poor people who were cataclysmically effected when the behemoth endeavor imploded. Even upon several viewings my throat still tightens and my eyes water when the simple slide comes up: This is cruel. It's a powerful moment for everyone, but beyond that, the irony should give thoughtful democrats pause.
If the piece were to go further, it could legitimately expand its final message to include mention of how the implosion's fallout affected thousands of middle, upper middle, and higher income families as well, people who have been investing for years (often for their retirements) and saw huge portions of their portfolios vanish. They didn't deserve this travesty, either, and the aggregate loss will no doubt ripple through the economy for years to come.
But such a sentiment isn't the point of this particular video under the circumstances, and rightfully shouldn't be.
And finally, to review, here is a much shorter video that focuses on the roles played by congress, one I shared here a few days ago:
* * *
One doesn't hear as much about the Berg lawsuit these days.
Understandable; everyone in our camp has their hands full getting the word out on domestic terrorist and Obama associate Ayers, ACORN's outrageous widespread illegal vote-recruiting activities, the largely democrat-facilitated money collapse, and little side issues like explaining to a wide-eyed 50 percent of our people why socialism is historically catastrophic and indefensible... all in the fifteen minutes or so we have left before the Left comes to unprecedented power.
But this ten-minute interview video is well worth watching. Pay particular attention to his discussion of conflict-of-interest.
If your media diet has consisted mostly of television and newspapers, you might not even know about this attorney's lawsuit claiming that Obama is not a citizen, which would render the DNC's campaign and Obama's possible presidency unconstitutional. By the way, Berg is a longtime democrat. Admittedly he has a history of making outrageous high-profile claims, which goes to reducing his credibility. But even so, given the evidence he presents and how he presents it, he seems to be onto something here.
The lack of open and forthcoming response shown in this piece isn't limited to Obama's citizenship issue. Equally dubious are the Obama camp's donation records. The McCain camp has apparently produced without delay their detailed clear records of every single campaign donation, no matter how small. Not so for Obama, however, and reports indicate at least 3.3 million dollars in overseas donations (illegal, for obvious reasons) have apparently been discovered so far at the time of this writing when combing through their less-than-straightforward documents.
Is all of this relevant? Maybe not, if what you're talking about is finally bringing home the revolution instead of electing the next leader of the free world via our Constitutional law. Why didn't the DNP sort this out ages ago?
* * *
"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened."
– Norman Thomas, American socialist
* * *
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
You don't have to be Jewish to be concerned about our allies in Israel. Judeo-Christian solidarity is both humanitarian and patriotic.
Some friends of mine have created a powerful and factual short documentary video on the history of Israel and the relatively untold story of Jimmy Carter.
To some, this may seem somewhat irrelevant to the current election, but facts in the public record show us the current democratic candidate shares many specific goals and attitudes with Carter.
There are many reasons to fear a catastrophic reprise of Carter policies, and an abysmal socialist US economy is only one of them.
Presidential attitudes towards Israel is the other.
* * *
Friday, October 10, 2008
* * *
Here is an excellent very short video piece with an overview history of our present stunning financial situation. The truth of this matter is arguably a main key to the upcoming election, and this is where internet media can be effective. I've been directing everyone I know to the excellent detailed article in Bloomberg, and will continue to do so, but this short video by the NRCC* might be more effective of a tool to share with the uninitiated because it shows actual footage of some of the guilty parties and policies, making it much harder to deny. (Plus it doesn't require any of that pesky reading).
A very special thanks to the lively and insightful blog, bRight & Early. As a new-ish blogger I'm inspired daily by the great work of my fellow fighters in the trenches.
And they're right. We need to stay with this. Spread the word.
*National Republican Congressional Committee
Sometimes the media gets it right.
Here you will find a soft-spoken professional man who makes the abstract idea of domestic terrorism quite real for us, recounting his childhood brush with the deadly Weather Underground, and explaining-- with startling specificity-- a previously unreported law firm connection that predates the now famous Ayers/Obama fund raiser connection.
Friday, October 3, 2008
We're sorry; that name has already been taken. What? Someone has already staked a cyberclaim on the blogspot name Hollywood Conservative? A quick click confirmed this; someone had, indeed, created such a blog. But then with a stab of dismay I realized nothing had been posted there in years, a proverbial cobwebsite.
My mind swam instantly with a fiction writer's assortment of various scenarios from best to worse case: Nothing had been posted there for so long, perhaps the author was now busy on a higher profile and more important project; good for them! No, wait... they might have become terribly ill and could no longer write. Maybe someone had begun to drive around their neighborhood at night, slowly, in a car with no lights on. Or they were abducted by little green men, probably contractors with a strong labor union.
Or, in the worst of all explanations, they finally lost hope.
Losing all hope is something I'm personally fighting every single day as the Presidential election grows closer.
* * *
When I use the word Hollywood in the blog title, this should be construed in the broadest possible way, IE not a literal geographical reference, or even a reference merely to the filmmaking industry or surrounding culture. I put in the word "does" because its positive; it feels like such a hopeful word. Hollywood Does Conservative feels like there could just be a special, surprising truth... actual conservatives in the media in need of encouragement.
I've come to think of Hollywood as shorthand for the entire worm ouroboros biofeedback loop of media products, cultural landscape, and political opinion.
Be it known to all, I do not work in Hollywood The Place, and not even in the so-called Movie Industry per se, at least not in the way most people think of when you say "movie."
For twenty years I've worked successfully (but not without difficulties) as a freelancer in the world of corporate film and video production, usually in various art department-type roles. For most of those years the bulk of my work took place in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I am now semi-retired.
Like most conservatives in my industry, of necessity I remained, and remain, largely quiet about my beliefs. Oh, and it was the same story when I was a student at U.C. Berkeley, as well. (Talk about a glutton for punishment). I will be visiting these themes and memories not out of self-pity but the desire to share first-hand the way things really are.
Like many conservatives, I come from a fairly liberal background, and for years have lived at odds, in my case quietly, with a great number of people in my life.
Coming out of the conservative closet is risky but necessary business. But because not all conservatives hold precisely the same spectrum of beliefs, some explanation is always necessary. All too often, however, even before our mouths are open, the ears and minds of those around us are anything but. Why? Two reasons: (1) they "know what a conservative is", that is to say [pick at least one]: evil; fascists, racists, homophobes, etc.)", and more broadly; (2) a liberal stands on the high hallowed unshakable ground of moral superiority.
Beliefs are never so strong as when they are unreasonable, and one of the many ironies of the various forms and degrees of liberalism is that while its believers claim to stand for open-mindedness, we barely have time to open our mouths to calmly explain our world view than they are (pacifism notwithstanding) almost screaming and close to bashing us on the head. And if that isn't enough, their frequent anti-religious views often take on, dare I say, dogmatic fervor... with nary an eye-blink of irony.
No, I'm not advocating church and state be fused. No, I'm not a basher or a bigot. No, I'm certainly not a fascist. No, I'm not a hysterical ultra-extremist Christian or a close-minded so-called redneck, or... Where to begin? The battle is as wide as it is deep, and it's not an exaggeration to say I'm sick with concern about the country I love. Come to think of it, I'm not just worried about the USA, but Israel, too; you don't have to be Jewish to care deeply about the future of that country and its people.
It's a shame it's so difficult to share this concern with the people I love most. But I'm tired of not saying much of anything, so this is where the journey begins.
* * *
Talk to you soon.