Saturday, December 1, 2012

op ed review 12/2

A new Gallup poll shows that 54 percent of Americans think it is not the federal government’s responsibility to ensure all citizens have health care coverage. This is the first time Gallup trends have shown a majority of Americans holding this opinion since 2000.

“Two-thirds of millionaires left Britain to avoid 50 percent tax rate”

The first family will be vacationing in Hawaii for the Christmas holidays at a cost of at least $4 million to taxpayers,

President Barack Obama has dramatically upped his demands in the fiscal crisis negotiations: He wants Congress to levy twice as much in extra taxes from Americans as he urged during the election campaign, give up its control over the nation’s debt limit, and fund an immediate $50 billion stimulus for his political priorities.

A painting that features President Obama posed as Jesus Christ crucified on is on display at a community college art gallery in Boston.

Texas Sen.-elect Ted Cruz advised the Republican Party to rebrand itself under a banner of “Opportunity Conservatism” during a sweeping speech that will only stoke speculation about a 2016 presidential run. “Why did we lose? It wasn’t as the media would tell you: because the American people embraced big government, Barack Obama’s spending and debt and taxes. … That wasn’t what happened. I’m going to suggest to you a very simple reason why we lost the election: We didn’t win the argument,” Cruz said before pointedly lowering his voice. “We didn’t even make the argument.”
Media tries to ambush Senator Marco Rubio:   the Republican front-runner for 2016, was asked, "How old do you think the Earth is?" It´s a ridiculous question of utter irrelevance to the status of the country and whether Marco Rubio would be a good president. Rubio´s answer was excellent: "I´m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that´s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.”

“Susan Rice’s enrichment program”:  The portfolio of embattled United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice includes investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in several energy companies known for doing business with Iran.”

“Harvard approves student club dedicated to ‘kinky sex’”

Female Marine officers are unlikely to join the infantry anytime soon, in part because of a lack of volunteers for the Marine Corps‘ Infantry Officer Course, which was opened to women in September. Only two of about 80 eligible female Marines have volunteered for the course — a grueling, three-month advanced regimen conducted at Quantico, Va., that was opened to women to research their performance. Of the two female volunteers, one washed out on the first day and the other dropped out two weeks later for medical reasons.
But the ACLU is undeterred, suing the U.S. Defense Department on Tuesday to end a ban on women in combat.

“Obama Donors Got $21,000 in Government Money for Every $1 They Gave”

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived a challenge to President Barack Obama´s healthcare reforms, allowing a Christian college to pursue litigation raising First Amendment objections to a law that the court mostly upheld in June.

Finally, there´s proof that Americans prefer "Merry Christmas." By a wide margin, 68 percent to 23 percent, Americans prefer stores with signs that say "Merry Christmas" during the Christmas holidays than the more generic and secular "Happy Holidays," according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey.

Important article: (edited for length)
“Conservatives Must Learn the Dark Arts of Image Manipulation”
J.R. Dunn

Okay, we've had the End of the Republic, the degenerate electorate thesis, and the ritual beating of Mitt Romney. I hope everybody has had their catharsis, because it's time to get serious. It's typical in an election lost by the right for every last factor is poked at, examined, and raked over the coals except for the single most important element, always and forever overlooked: conservatism itself……One of the major failings of millennial conservatism -- possibly its major failing -- involves image…….Several common stereotypes of conservatism exist and are utilized to define and destroy conservative candidates and movements. These include the twittering, ambiguous urban right-wing intellectual, (Steven Colbert has made quite a tidy fortune caricaturing this group), the backwoods wild man wearing camo and a white hood, a Kalashnikov in one hand and a Bible in the other, the greedy, cold-blooded businessman, and a variant on the backwoods theme distinct enough to form its own category, the crazed evangelical (the left uses the term "fundamentalist", not knowing the difference between evangelicals, Pentecostals, or, for that matter any other type of Christian.)

What all these have in common is that they are clown images -- laughable, easily caricatured, and, like all clowns, sinister and menacing at base. They are neither rigid nor fixed, and possess enough variety so that virtually any GOP or conservative spokesman or candidate can be slotted into a particular stereotype, and often more than one.  None have any positive aspect. All are intended to degrade, dehumanize, and remove the individual in question from serious consideration. Leftists and their captive media utilize these stereotypes to construct a narrative in which the GOP -- and conservatism beyond it -- produces such types as a matter of course, decade after decade and generation after generation, and that little else can be expected of either.

Image manipulation has been a useful tool for the left ever since liberalism turned transcendental as long ago as the New Deal……Since that time left-wing image manipulation has continued unabated through the Cold War (when conservatives were pilloried as McCarthyists), the Civil Rights Era (racists, naturally enough), the Reagan era, (the "decade of greed"), and the Bush era, which introduced "neocons", a distortion of a very real faction which no leftist could have accurately defined if hung out a window by his heels.

Under this onslaught, conservatives simply sat there stupefied, like pinstriped versions of those clown dolls that pop back up when hit. The left worked every possible theme from every possible angle through every possible medium, from the printed press through entertainment, though academia and finally though the Net and social media. These efforts have been highly effective, and are one of the primary explanations as to why left-wing progressivism remains a serious force in a society so inhospitable to it. (Note that the typical left-wing image -- various shades of congenital rebel -- carries little of the ignominy attached to those pinned on the right, and in fact, has considerable innate appeal to the inexperienced, uneducated, and plain foolish.)

These images have become received wisdom among the public at large, beyond debate or necessity of proof. They are fully integrated into public consciousness and have virtually become matters of instinct -- people hear "conservative", "Republican", or "neocon" and immediately picture one stereotype or the other. They govern all discussions of conservatism in this country -- anyone who doubts this has never spoken to a liberal….. The typical leftist method is to create and maintain the stereotype and then slot individuals into the one that they share superficial characteristics with. The individual is then saddled with all kinds of baggage usually having no relevance or connection to his actual status or character. He has to battle his way through all of it simply to reach the starting line. Ten years after Senator Joe McCarthy nearly wrecked the anti-communist movement though a display of pure opportunism,  presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was hit from all sides with the label of anti-communist extremist. ….A little over twenty years later in 1986, Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Bork was -- and remains -- one of the most perspicacious legal minds in the country.  His record was impeccable, his credentials beyond criticism. So the left, in a campaign that came out of nowhere, simply made their case up. Bork was characterized as what might be called the legal variant of the Northeastern conservative template: a cold , cruel intellect enslaved by dusty legal tomes, quite satisfied to let people suffer so long as all the i's were dotted. Aided by a substantial wave of media hysteria, it worked quite well. In a shameful display of senatorial pusillanimity, Bork went down to defeat. No figure of similar stature has been nominated to the Court in the years since.

With almost clockwork timing, 22 years later Governor Sarah Palin, a reform politician of high reputation, was selected as GOP vice-presidential candidate…..Using every possible means, and attacking every conceivable target -- including her family (and not forgetting her disabled son), the left poisoned Palin's image to extent not seen since the Goldwater era.  Palin's life in Alaska…enabled the left to utilize the dangerous backwoods hick motif. The governor's status as a convinced evangelical Christian gave them further ammunition…

With Mitt Romney, the choice of stereotype was obvious: that of the rapacious cold-blooded businessman derived from Gordon Gekko, J.R. Ewing, and the little man on the Monopoly cards. Romney, a man who tithed, who had once shut down his multimillion-dollar firm to free his entire staff to search for the missing daughter of a company employee, a man who had spent a year overseas as a missionary, was the farthest thing in the world from any such figure. But the caricature, in the absence of any conservative pushback whatsoever, was extremely effective. Most of Romney's vote deficit involved middle-income voters in the $30,000 to $50,000 range, apparently fully convinced by the portrayal of Romney as a corporate looter. (The sad irony here is that it is precisely these voters who have suffered most -- and will suffer further -- under the Obama regime. There are few other cases where the American public has so clearly voted against its own interests.) So effective was it that the left's fallback, Romney as religious crazy - remained unused….

A detailed analysis of leftist tactics and techniques in this regard can wait. What is important is the conservative response. Disheartening as it may seem, this has been almost exclusively negative, when it has occurred at all.
The typical conservative reaction to leftwing image manipulation consist of simple paralysis, a deer-in-the-headlights response composed of equal parts fear, confusion, and ineptness…. A politician or party that will not stand up for its own reputation is unlikely to stand up for anything at all -- principle, tradition, or the interests of the voters. But this is far from the lowest class of response. That belongs to the conservative turncoats, a large group among the upper conservative punditry,  who are not only easily led into stereotyping their own but can often be found taking the lead…….And yet, at the same time, these people are still esteemed by conservatives, still honored, their advice and presence still sought after. This is clear evidence of a serious strain of decadence within the conservative movement.

Which could also be said of the third major class of response, that of embracing the stereotype, of taking it on as a kind of costume, and even pushing it farther than the left themselves. I knew a noted spokesman for one of the major conservative media organizations who used to appear at public lectures with two heavy-set young men standing at either side of the lectern wearing camo fatigues and sunglasses, thus turning himself from conservative spokesman into Benito Mussolini. This same kind of behavior can be found at all levels of the movement from comment threads all the way to the top. Rush indulges in it all too often. Ann Coulter has made a career of it. While definitely a crowd-pleaser, it is, in the end, self-defeating. These stereotypes were constructed by the left for a reason -- to manipulate the public at large, ignorant of political subtleties and unfamiliar with doctrine, into certain visceral reactions to conservatives and their ideas. They were created to destroy conservatives. Why play along with them? 

It's not at all clear why no effort has been put into combating leftist image manipulation and stereotyping…we'd better resign ourselves to getting our seersucker rumpled and start doing that kind of thing. Inaction may have been excusable fifty years ago, when the major papers, the two newswires, and all three networks were owned and operated by convinced liberals. In the age of the internet and social media, it is excusable no longer. There are vast resources that remain unused in the image wars. We need to learn how to use them….

Many old-school conservatives would stand aghast at such a campaign on grounds of brutality and incivility, and they would be as correct as they are irrelevant. There comes a certain point where you must take up the weapons of your opponent if you wish to survive. That point came and went when some clever network exec in the spring of 1964 said, "Let's make Goldwater into a Nazi." …..Punishment is also useful. Every time a leftist media figure employs a degrading stereotype, or insults an innocent party, or suggests that a political figure be assaulted or killed, they need to be punished. The social networks, Twitter and Facebook being the leading examples, comprise perfect weapons for such an effort. Thousands of tweets or emails will send the heads of the network execs spinning, with calls sent out for Larry or Ed or Rachel to drop by the office before they go the studio. Make them pay a price -- now they pay no price whatsoever….We need to learn all there is to know about image generation, narrative strategies, propaganda, and the tricks of the media…..

….the new conservative activists, often dismissed as the Tea Parties….are the ones who can remake the conservative image into something that will attract rather than repel. The 2012 election has clearly revealed how high the stakes are. This is a knock-down, drag-out battle, a battle that the movement has so far declined to accept. We must stop refusing to play the game as it has to be played -- refusing to learn, refusing to move into a new era, refusing to step beyond the stereotypes. Above all, we need to stop walking into sucker punches.

"One of the more amazing post-election spectacles is the media celebration of Republicans who say they're willing to repudiate their pledge against raising taxes. So the same folks who like to denounce politicians because they can't be trusted are now praising politicians who openly admit they can't be trusted. The spectacle is part of what is becoming a tripartisan ... attempt to stigmatize Grover Norquist as the source of all Beltway fiscal woes and gridlock. Mr. Norquist, who runs an outfit called Americans for Tax Reform, is the fellow who came up with the no-new-taxes pledge some 20 years ago. He tries to get politicians to sign it, and hundreds of Republicans have done so. He does not hold a gun to their heads.... The real problems are a political class that won't control its spending and economic policies that are retarding growth. That's where the GOP should keep its public focus. Mr. Norquist's tax pledge has been one of the few restraints over the years against those bad Beltway appetites. Democrats demonize Grover because they know this. They want to pit Mr. Norquist against other Republicans precisely so they can dispirit the tea party grass-roots and take away the tax issue as a GOP advantage."
                           -The Wall Street Journal

"[R]aising taxes would result in less economic activity, not more. Herein lies the key to understanding why the left wants higher taxes for 'the rich.' To the rich-should-pay-more crowd, the question of whether raising taxes hurts economic growth is less important than the issue of 'fairness.' ... Andy Stern, the former head of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing American union, describes the economic philosophy of the left: If raising taxes on 'the rich' hurts the economy, that is an acceptable price. 'Western Europe,' says Stern, ' has made different trade-offs which may have ended with a little more unemployment but a lot more equality.' Any questions?"
                            -Larry Elder

"The Left misunderstands conservatives when it believes the argument over tax rates is an argument about greed -- that wealthier Americans simply want to grab all the money we can. In fact, many of the top 5 percent are among the most generous people in the world; they just tend to give their money to charities that actually produce results. Leaving aside -- for the moment -- the increasingly inverse correlation between taxation and individual liberty (a crucial consideration all its own), we conservatives look at the vast bureaucratic beast with a sense of utter futility. We opt out of government projects and seek personal independence in part because we see government fail time and again -- and not for lack of resources. For millions, government is less 'the thing we do together' than it is the 'monster inflicted upon us,' and the taxes we pay are less a contribution to the well-being of the community than a ransom payment to keep the monster away from our door."
                           -David French

“Sex and God at Yale” by Nathan Harden with forward by Chris Buckley.  Bill Buckley’s now legendary “God and Man at Yale” carries a more world-historical formulation of what was going on at Yale than “Sex and God at Yale.” This is Nathan Harden’s point. In the 60 years that separate Buckley from Mr. Harden, the experience at Yale has devolved from the ascendant intellectual liberalism of Buckley’s day to the solipsistic “just do it” postmodernism of today.
A Civil War Professor Reviews ´Lincoln´

An Islamist-dominated panel is voting on Egypt's new draft constitution.  Omissions of certain articles, such as bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties, were equally worrying to critics of the new draft.

A French politician who calls for nationalizing certain French companies told CNBC that his government is only “acting like U.S. President Barack Obama.” “Nationalizing is a very modern step to take.”

In Cuba, “the largely tax-free life under a paternalistic government is on its way out.”

Dennis Prager:  “If you want to understand why President Obama was re-elected despite a largely unsuccessful presidency and almost unprecedentedly high and continuous unemployment, just look at the Cuban-American vote. In fact, if you want to understand America today -- specifically, why it is in decline -- just look at the Cuban-American vote. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, "The president captured 48 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Florida -- a record high for a Democrat." Democratic presidential nominees went from 25 percent of the Cuban-American vote in 2000, to 29 percent in 2004, to 35 percent in 2008 to 48 percent on 2012. We obviously have a dramatic trend here.  Now, why would that be? There are two reasons: No experience of evil and American education.”

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign paid millions of dollars to companies led by top advisers and, by many measures, the campaign got less to show for it than in-house staffers performing a labor of love for President Obama’s campaign, expenditure records show. The Romney team spent twice as much as the Obama campaign on direct mail and telemarketing, paying tens of millions of dollars to two companies tied to Romney aides. Republican operatives said that resulted in a potential conflict of interest that could explain why the party’s nominee relied heavily on those tactics, and not enough on the kinds of grass-roots efforts Mr. Obama rode to victory. “The problem is the Republican consultants have a very incestuous relationship. They’re sending money to companies they all control at a profit, and they’re telling donors this is what wins elections. And I think they were exposed badly” on Election Day, said Drew Ryun, a former RNC official………“No one has figured out how to make a 15 percent commission when they hire a field representative to line up county commissioners and precinct captains and, shockingly, we do too little of it,” he said. “The fact that someone’s making money from a specific type of voter outreach has got to at a certain point affect their judgment.”
Three views on immigration, read and decide:
Krauthammer:  “They lose and immediately the chorus begins. Republicans must change or die. A rump party of white America, it must adapt to evolving demographics or forever be the minority. The only part of this that is even partially true regards Hispanics. They should be a natural Republican constituency:…. The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants. In securing the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney made the strategic error of (unnecessarily) going to the right of Rick Perry. Romney could never successfully tack back. For the party in general, however, the problem is hardly structural. It requires but a single policy change: Border fence plus amnesty. Yes, amnesty. Use the word. Shock and awe — full legal normalization (just short of citizenship) in return for full border enforcement.  Imagine Marco Rubio advancing such a policy on the road to 2016. It would transform the landscape. He’d win the Hispanic vote. Yes, win it. A problem fixable with a single policy initiative is not structural. It is solvable.
Schlafly:  The Republican strategists who confidently predicted that their candidate, Mitt Romney, would win the 2012 election are already pontificating about what Republicans must do to win in 2016. After their disastrous defeat, strategy and policy mistakes and expensive super PAC advertising that failed to win votes, why should anybody take their advice again? The elitists now tell us that amnesty for illegal aliens, aka "immigration reform," is the key to future Republican nirvana. That's wrong-headed advice….
Linda Chavez:  There may be no single, simple explanation why Mitt Romney lost the election -- but clearly the perception that the GOP is anti-Hispanic didn't help. For years, I've been warning my fellow conservatives that their position on immigration would be costly, not just politically but for the economy as well….Without winning more Hispanic votes, the Republican Party may be doomed to permanent minority status. Most of my fellow conservatives don't understand why Hispanic citizens are so offended at the party's position.……So let me try to explain. First, even for someone like me whose family has been here for centuries, the tone of the debate on illegal immigration has been unsettling. Illegal immigration is down to historically low levels….Still, the GOP platform and Romney himself insisted that those illegal immigrants who are living here -- some of them for decades -- must self-deport. I doubt there is a Hispanic anywhere who doesn't know at least one individual or family this policy would affect. Illegal immigrants are not numbers -- they're people we know.  Telling workers, friends and family members, we don't want you here -- no matter how productive and law-abiding you are and no matter how long you've lived here -- sounds very much to us as if we're being told the same thing....

Post election data from Pew, some of it depressing:   A third of young voters described their political views as liberal, while 41% said they were moderate and just 26% said they were conservative. A majority (59%) said that the government should do more to solve problems, while 37% said the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals……Black women under 30 voted 91% for Obama.

On Tuesday evening, Glenn Beck featured an Obama bobble head doll in a jar of yellow liquid, meant as a parody of the controversial “artwork” that defaced a crucifix in a glass of urine. Beck’s piece was meant to highlight the hypocrisy of those who rail against disparaging figures who they hold dear, but do not hold themselves to the same standard when disparaging figures others hold dear. Beck was auctioning the jar, complete with the Obama doll, on the auction site, with all the proceeds set to go to  Beck’s Mercury One charity. At the last entry its bid was up to $11,300.
Predictably, liberals went berserk:

Mitt Romney isn’t going to be the next President of the United States. But the familiar spectacle of the post-election circular firing squad shouldn’t blind us to the many good things that Mitt Romney brought to the 2012 election. First and foremost, he had the courage to campaign on the most pressing domestic policy problem we face: the explosion of deficit spending caused by our health-care entitlements. No modern Republican presidential nominee—not even Ronald Reagan—has ever attempted anything like it.

Putting Some Facts in the Tax-the-Rich Debate

Pravda:  “Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society”

'Dear God will you please take care of my dog': Heartwarming story of girl who mailed letter to heaven... and post office worker who wrote back to her
Things you never knew had names.

"Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it."

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