Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mr. Jefferson

Here is a great video produced by Mike Church and performed by the Mike Church Show Band.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why the left won't tell the truth about communism

I found this essay by Dennis Prager on Front Page Magazine and wanted to share it:

Why is it that when people want to describe particularly evil individuals or regimes, they use the terms "Nazi" or "Fascist" but almost never "Communist?"

Given the amount the human suffering Communists have caused - 70 million killed in China, 20-30 million in the former Soviet Union, and almost one-third of all Cambodians; the decimation of Tibetan and Chinese culture; totalitarian enslavement of North Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Russians; a generation deprived of human rights in Cuba; and much more -- why is "Communist" so much less a term of revulsion than "Nazi?"

There are Mao Restaurants in major cities in the Western world. Can one imagine Hitler Restaurants? Che Guevara T-shirts are ubiquitous, yet there are no Heinrich Himmler T-shirts.

This question is of vital significance. First, without moral clarity, humanity has little chance of avoiding a dark future. Second, the reasons for this moral imbalance tell us a great deal about ourselves today.

Here, then, are seven reasons.

1. Communists murdered their own people; the Nazis murdered others. Under Mao about 70 million people died - nearly all in peacetime! - virtually all of them Chinese. Likewise, the approximately 30 million people that Stalin had killed were nearly all Russians, and those who were not Russian, Ukrainians for example, were members of other Soviet nationalities. The Nazis, on the other hand, killed very few fellow Germans. Their victims were Jews, Slavs, and members of other "non-Aryan" and "inferior" groups. "World opinion" - that vapid amoral concept - deems the murder of members of one's group far less noteworthy than the murder of outsiders. That is one reason why blacks killing millions of fellow blacks in the Congo right now elicits no attention from "world opinion." But if an Israeli soldier is charged with having killed a Gaza woman and two children, it makes the front page of world newspapers.

I have to quibble over this one. The Jews, at least those who were from Germany were Germans. They were German citizens and many of them had fought for Germany in the First World War. Then there's the issue of Arab violence against Jews in Israel. Hamas can fire all the rockets into Jewish neighborhoods, using schools and hospitals and residential neighborhoods as launching pads, as it wants but let the IDF respond and the left howls in outrage. Fact is that the right hates Hitler because he was a genocidal antisemitic tyrant who tried to conquer the world. The left hates Hitler not because he murdered Jews, but because he attacked the Soviet Union.

2. Communism is based on lovely sounding theories; Nazism is based on heinous sounding theories. Intellectuals, among whom are the people who write history, are seduced by words -- so much so that deeds are deemed considerably less significant. Communism's words are far more intellectually and morally appealing than the moronic and vile racism of Nazism. The monstrous evils of communists have not been focused on nearly as much as the monstrous deeds of the Nazis. The former have been regularly dismissed as perversions of a beautiful doctrine (though Christians who committed evil in the name of Christianity are never regarded by these same people as having perverted a beautiful doctrine), whereas Nazi atrocities have been perceived (correctly) as the logical and inevitable results of Nazi ideology. This seduction by words while ignoring deeds has been a major factor in the ongoing appeal of the left to intellectuals. How else explain the appeal of a Che Guevara or Fidel Castro to so many left-wing intellectuals, other than that they care more about beautiful words than about vile deeds?

Christians don't get "beautiful words" credit because they believe in God.

3. Germans have thoroughly exposed the evils of Nazism, have taken responsibility for them, and attempted to atone for them. Russians have not done anything similar regarding Lenin's or Stalin's horrors. Indeed, an ex-KGB man runs Russia, Lenin is still widely revered, and, in the words of University of London Russian historian Donald Rayfield, "people still deny by assertion or implication, Stalin's holocaust." Nor has China in any way exposed the greatest mass murderer and enslaver of them all, Mao Zedong. Mao remains revered in China. Until Russia and China acknowledge the evil their states have done under communism, communism's evils will remain less acknowledged by the world than the evils of the German state under Hitler.

No arguement here. I once told Vladimer Posner that the Russian people needed a "decommunisation" process like the denazification that the victorious allies imposed on Germany.

4. Communism won, Nazism lost. And the winners write history.

Communism lost the Cold War. Where are the Capitalist histories? Oh, Miss Ann is writing them.

5. Nothing matches the Holocaust. The rounding up of virtually every Jewish man, woman, child, and baby on the European continent and sending them to die is unprecedented and unparalleled. The communists killed far more people than the Nazis did but never matched the Holocaust in the systemization of murder. The uniqueness of the Holocaust and the enormous attention paid to it since then has helped ensure that Nazism has a worse name than communism.

What about the way that Che rounded up and executed homosexuals?

6. There is, simply put, widespread ignorance of communist atrocities compared to those of the Nazis. Whereas, both right and left loathe Nazism and teach its evil history, the left dominates the teaching profession, and therefore almost no one teaches communist atrocities. As much as intellectuals on the left may argue that they loathe Stalin or the North Korean regime, few on the left loathe communism. As the French put it, "pas d'enemis a la gauche," which in English means "no enemies on the left." This is certainly true of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cuban communism. Check your local university's courses and see how many classes are given on communist totalitarianism or mass murder compared to the number of classes about Nazism's immoral record.

True. As long as the enemies of Western civilization rule the academy don't expect any improvement.

7. Finally, in the view of the left, the last "good war" America fought was World War II, the war against German and Japanese fascism. The left does not regard America's wars against communist regimes as good wars. The war against Vietnamese communism is regarded as immoral and the war against Korean (and Chinese) communism is simply ignored.

WWII was America's "good war" because it was waged - in the leftist's mind - to rescue Stalin from Hitler. Don't misunderstand me. Hitler was pure evil and he needed to be stopped, but the more I study the war and the events leading up to it the more convinced I become that FDR's primary motivation for wanting the US in the war was saving Stalin.

Until the left and all the institutions influenced by the left acknowledge how evil communism has been, we will continue to live in a morally confused world. Conversely, the day the left does come to grips with communism's legacy of human destruction, it will be a very positive sign that the world's moral compass has begun to correct itself.

Good luck getting the left to make that admission. The fact is that they deeply admire Stalin and Mao, Castro and Pol Pot. They envy the raw power these dictators wielded and the fact that they cloaked their tyranny in pretty words. That is the secret dream of the American and European left. To hold the kind of power that a communist tyrant like Stalin held but to cover the iron fist in the velvet glove of "serving the people" and similar talk.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mountain legend dead

These tragic deaths tend to come in threes:

PARROTTSVILLE, Tenn. — The wife of famed Appalachian moonshiner Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton says he took his own life at his Tennessee home because he couldn't stand the thought of going to prison.

Pam Sutton told The Asheville Citizen Times in North Carolina that her husband was depressed about an 18-month federal sentence he was due to start serving Friday. A telephone listing for Sutton could not immediately be found by The Associated Press.

Tennessee authorities have said they suspected suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning after Marvin Sutton was found Monday dead in his car in Parrottsville. An autopsy has been ordered.

The author of the book "Me and My Likker" pleaded guilty in April to illegally producing distilled spirits and being a felon in possession of a handgun.

Popcorn Sutton was the last of the great Hillbilly moonshiners. Here he is in action:

Popcorn knew that given his age and poor health he would not survive a prison sentence and so chose to die on his own terms as a free man.

It is to be hoped that someone will bring out a new edition of his book.

To honor Mr. Sutton on his passing I hereby declare him the Dean of the Hillbilly Ecosystem.

Miss Ann is talking

That means that YOU are listening!

I wish I could ask Ron Silver what he thinks of the AIG bonuses. He'd have some original take -- maybe propose re-opening the bonuses paid to Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick for their yeoman's work running Fannie Mae into the ground and then collecting bonuses of $90 million and $24.7 million, respectively. Or maybe he'd just make a joke.

But I can't ask him anymore because Ron died of a rare esophageal cancer last Sunday.

So now there is one less person in the world who never chooses his positions to feed a pompous ego or to stroke his self-image as a thinking person. There was no point to posturing for Ron: His social standing in Hollywood was revoked the moment he supported Bush and the Iraq War.

Perhaps Ron always spoke his mind, but I didn't know him when he was "brave"; I only knew Ron when he was actually brave.

I've noticed that words like "brave" and "courageous" are mostly used nowadays to mean "left-wing.." We're constantly asked to admire the monumental courage of Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, Janeane Garofalo and the Dixie Chicks -- sometimes even by other people.

But for my younger readers, what courage traditionally meant was risking the disapprobation of people you know. It was about losing friends, losing work and losing status where you live -- not alienating people you will never meet. Insulting people in Kansas when you live in Los Angeles is not speaking truth to power; it's speaking anything to serve power.

One thing you cannot say about Ron's magnificent speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention is that he did it to go with the flow in Hollywood, to take the path of least resistance, to win easy applause. Ron did lose work, lose friends and lose his entire social apparatus.

Ron didn't say what he said to get any kind of reaction, but because he believed it. He was an intellectual trapped in an actor's body.

Amid the antiques at his beautifully appointed Park Avenue pre-war, there were piles and piles of magazines and newspaper articles on topics ranging from Sunni Muslims to Darwinism. Nearly every room was lined with books, most of them dog-eared.

When I needed to stay with Ron for a few weeks once, he'd get up hours before I did, read all the major newspapers and leave the interesting articles circled at the foot of my bed.

This might be the nicest thing a man could ever do for me. Hey, skip the bagel and fresh coffee -- bring me that op-ed page and a pair of scissors! It was like a fabulous Park Avenue hotel with a clipping service.

During his long-shot chemo treatments at "the spa," as he called Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Ron turned his chemo rooms into Command Central. Most people doze off during chemo; Ron would be sitting upright, watching the news, checking his laptop and making cell phone calls, seemingly oblivious to the poison being injected into his arm.

He'd often come to church with me on Sundays -- while insisting he favored the "Original Testament," as if the New Testament were an act of judicial activism. He just liked to hear an intellectual lecture on the Bible -- and always perked up when the minister began discussing the "Original Testament."

On Sundays when we had communion, Ron would pop the host in his mouth as soon as the tray passed him, approvingly observing that matzo was served at church.

No ideas frightened him, which is part of the reason why we were always laughing, even when we were arguing.

Ron sometimes told me of the cruelty directed at him by his former friends, but never with bitterness or for publication -- although I'm tempted to get it off my chest even if he didn't want to get it off his chest. You know who you are.

As with his impending death, Ron mostly joked about his banishment from the plutocracy. When I off-handedly mentioned in December 2004 that I had to get a Christmas tree, he told me he'd like to help, but having recently spoken at the Republican National Convention, the last thing he needed was to be seen walking through the streets of New York carrying a Christmas tree.

After an aborted operation on his cancer in July 2007, as soon as I saw Ron in his hospital bed, I told him I had Christians across the country praying for him. He said, "That's good, because the Jews are praying for me to die."

Here he was joking only hours after being told his cancer was inoperable and he had mere months to live. Nearly two years later, he was gone. Luckily for him, he now faces a Maker who rewards bravery, but despises "bravery."

I almost wrote something about Ron Sliver's passing but decided to wait for when I would have more time. Now I'm glad that I did wait because Miss Ann, who knew him personally, can say what needs to be said far better than I could.

Ann calls Mr. Silver brave and he certainly was but the world that always comes to mind when I think of him is "honest". Ron Silver was a man who had taken in the left-wing zeitgeist of Hollywood but when brought face to face with reality he was simply too honest to stick his fingers in his ears and hum real loud till the nasty old facts went away.

Ron Silver paid the price for his honesty in the loss of his acting career. I leave it to others to expound upon the Hollywood blacklist which ostracizes anyone who dares to be a sincere patriot. I will simply observe that we are a great deal poorer for the passing of one who counted the cost and did the right thing anyway.

May his tribe increase.

Natasha Richardson dead

NEW YORK (AP) - Tributes have begun to pour in from across the show business generations for Natasha Richardson, the Tony Award-winning actress who died after suffering a head injury on a ski slope.

"She was a wonderful woman and actress and treated me like I was her own," said Lindsay Lohan, who as a preteen starred with Richardson in a remake of "The Parent Trap" in 1998. "My heart goes out to her family. This is a tragic loss."

Richardson, who fell during a private ski lesson Monday at a ski resort in Quebec, was seemingly fine afterward. But about an hour later she complained that she didn't feel well.

The 45-year-old actress was hospitalized Tuesday in Montreal and later flown to a hospital in New York. Alan Nierob, the Los Angeles-based publicist for Richardson's husband, Liam Neeson, confirmed her death Wednesday without giving details on the cause.

Neeson and Richardson's sister, actress Joely Richardson, were seen leaving Lenox Hill hospital Wednesday. Actress Lauren Bacall also visited the hospital.

Richardson's career highlights included the film "Patty Hearst" and a Tony-winning performance in a stage revival of "Cabaret."

Descended from at least three generations of actors, Richardson was a proper Londoner who came to love the noise of New York, an elegant blonde with large, lively eyes, a bright smile and a hearty laugh.

Jane Fonda on Wednesday recalled meeting a young Richardson on the set of "Julia," the 1977 film Fonda starred in opposite Richardson's mother, Vanessa Redgrave.

"She was a little girl but already beautiful and graceful. It didn't surprise me that she became such a talented actor," Fonda recalled on her blog. "It is hard to even imagine what it must be like for her family. My heart is heavy."

As an actress, Richardson was equally adept at passion and restraint, able to portray besieged women both confessional (Tennessee Williams' Blanche DuBois) and confined (the concubine in the futuristic horror of "The Handmaid's Tale").

Like other family members, she divided her time between stage and screen. On Broadway, she won a Tony for her performance as Sally Bowles in a 1998 revival of "Cabaret." She also appeared in New York in a production of Patrick Marber's "Closer" (1999) as well as 2005 revival of Tennessee Williams'"A Streetcar Named Desire," in which she played Blanche opposite John C. Reilly's Stanley Kowalski.

She met Neeson when they made their Broadway debuts in 1993, co-starring in "Anna Christie," Eugene O'Neill's drama about a former prostitute and the sailor who falls in love with her.

The New York Times critic Frank Rich called her "astonishing" and said she "gives what may prove to be the performance of the season."

Her most notable film roles came earlier in her career. Richardson played the title character in Paul Schrader's "Patty Hearst," a 1988 biopic about the kidnapped heiress for which the actress became so immersed that even between scenes she wore a blindfold, the better to identify with her real-life counterpart.

Richardson was directed again by Schrader in a 1990 adaptation of Ian McEwan's "The Comfort of Strangers" and, also in 1990, starred in the screen version of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale."

She later co-starred with Neeson in "Nell" and with Mia Farrow in "Widow's Peak." More recent movies, none of them widely seen, included "Wild Child,""Evening" and "Asylum."

Richardson was born in London in 1963, the performing gene inherited not just from her parents (Redgrave and director Tony Richardson), but from her maternal grandparents (Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson), an aunt (Lynn Redgrave) and an uncle (Corin Redgrave). Her younger sister, Joely Richardson, also joined the family business. She also is survived by two sons, Micheal, 13, and 12-year-old Daniel.

I was always impressed with Ms. Richardson's performances and am sorry to see her go at such a young age and in such an senselessly tragic manner.

Let us keep her family in our prayers in the coming days.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tonight's Music

Mike Oldfield's version of Flowers of the Forest, a lament for those who have fallen in battle.

I've heard the lilting, at the yowe-milking,
Lassies a-lilting before dawn o' day;
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning;
"The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away".
Dool and wae for the order sent oor lads tae the Border!
The English for ance, by guile wan the day,
The Flooers o' the Forest, that fought aye the foremost,
The pride o' oor land lie cauld in the clay.
I've heard the lilting, at the yowe-milking,
Lassies a-lilting before dawn o' day;
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning;
"The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away".

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The tide is turning

PRINCETON, NJ -- Although a majority of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated. This represents the highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade of Gallup polling on the subject.

This is one time the US is lagging behind Europe. In the UK the majority of the public now realized that global warming is a hoax designed to remove what little wealth and freedom they still retain.

Why are Americans being slow on the uptake?

Simple, America is a richer country with a stronger economy. As long as the American people felt confident of their own economic situation they were willing to pay the dollars and cents price for the self esteem boost of "being part of the effort to save the planet from the danger of man made global warming".

However when they are frightened of things like not being able to pay the mortgage or buy groceries the thrill of being on the front lines in the battle to preserve human civilization from a non-existent threat just isn't worth the cost.

I have said all along that global warming was the best hobgoblin that the left had ever come up with to terrorize the population into surrendering their wealth and liberty. I have said that they would not abandon global warming - regardless of the evidence against it - until they found a replacement hobgoblin.

I submit to you that the global financial crisis is that very replacement hobgoblin. The government has managed to bury its tentacles more deeply into the private economy due to the economic meltdown than it ever could because of global warming. As this fact becomes ever more apparent to the left it will allow global warming to die a quiet death unmourned by any except the environmentalist lunatics who externalize their own self loathing into a belief that their entire species is a "cancer on the earth".

War criminal to face justice

I guess that its time for Pat Buchanan to work up another angry "free the war criminal" crusade.
BERLIN (AP) - German prosecutors said Wednesday they have charged retired Ohio auto worker John Demjanjuk with more than 29,000 counts of accessory to murder for his time as a guard at the Nazis' Sobibor death camp, and will seek his extradition from the U.S.

Demjanjuk is accused of participating in the murders while he was a guard at the Nazi camp in occupied Poland between March and September 1943.

"In this capacity, he participated in the accessory to murder of at least 29,000 people of the Jewish faith," Munich prosecutors said in a statement.

The 88-year-old Demjanjuk, who lives in a Cleveland suburb, denies involvement. His son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said Wednesday he would return a call later with comment. A family spokesman, former Demjanjuk son-in-law Ed Nishnic, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at Israel's Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he was "very pleased that the German authorities have taken this step."

"We hope that the process can be expedited to ensure that this Holocaust perpetrator will finally be appropriately punished," Zuroff told the AP in a telephone interview from Jerusalem. "We're on our way to a victory for justice today."

A native of Ukraine, Demjanjuk emigrated to the U.S. in 1952 and gained citizenship in 1958.

In denying involvement in war crimes, he has said he served in the Soviet army and became a prisoner of war when he was captured by Germany in 1942.

Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel in 1986, when the U.S. Justice Department believed he was the sadistic Nazi guard known as Ivan the Terrible from the Treblinka death camp.

He spent seven years in custody before the Israeli high court freed him after receiving evidence that another Ukrainian was that Nazi guard.

Demjanjuk's U.S. citizenship was restored in 1998, but the U.S. Justice Department renewed its case, saying he was another Nazi guard and could be deported for falsifying information on his entry and citizenship applications in the 1950s.

A December 2005 U.S. court ruling determined that he could be deported to his native Ukraine or to Germany or Poland, but Demjanjuk spent several years challenging that ruling.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to consider Demjanjuk's appeal against deportation, clearing the way for the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which oversees cases against former Nazis, to seek his removal from the United States.

But it was unclear which country would take him—his native Ukraine, Poland or Germany.

Now, the Munich prosecutor's office, which is handling the case because Demjanjuk spent time at a refugee camp in the area after the war, said it was working on the extradition request with the German government.

Munich prosecutors credited help from the U.S. Office of Special investigations in clarifying the validity of Nazi-era identity papers in enabling them to file charges against Demjanjuk.

They said Demjanjuk will be formally charged before a judge once he is extradited to Germany.

If the past is any guide to the future we can soon expect an avalanche of angry columns from Pat Buchanan denouncing the US and German governments attempts to persecute this fine man for the trifling offense of murdering a few ten thousands of Jews.

It was THE JEWS!

WASHINGTON: Charles Freeman Jr., President Barack Obama's choice for a major intelligence post, has withdrawn his name and blamed pro-Israel lobbying groups for his decision, saying they had distorted his record and campaigned against him.

Freeman had come under sharp criticism for his past statements about Israel as well as his association with the Saudi and Chinese governments.

Freeman's withdrawal Tuesday from consideration as chairman of the National Intelligence Council came just hours after Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, vigorously defended him and said his comments had been taken out of context.

In a message to colleagues and friends, first posted Tuesday evening on Foreign Policy magazine's Web site, Freeman blamed pro-Israel groups for the controversy, saying the "tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth."

Joshua Block, a spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, said Tuesday that his organization had not taken a formal position on Freeman's selection and had not lobbied Congress members to oppose it.

A former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Freeman had in recent years questioned Washington's steadfast support for Israel. He had also been deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. His critics unearthed past statements that seemed to indicate at least partial support for the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Critics in Congress also questioned Freeman's financial ties to China because he had served for four years on the board of the China National Offshore Oil Corp., a state-owned company. He also led the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington-based group that receives financial support from the Saudi government.

In the intelligence post, Freeman would have been in charge of producing all U.S. intelligence estimates, documents that represent the consensus judgment of the government's 16 intelligence agencies.

Opposition to Freeman's appointment had been building on Capitol Hill, and several lawmakers said they had been lobbying the White House to withdraw its support for Freeman. Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, said Freeman's "statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration."

But he has to withdraw because of the evil Jewish conspiracy.

Once again we must ask ourselves what is the source of the mutual magnetism which draws Barack Obama and people like this together.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Murder rampage in Alabama

SAMSON, Ala. (AP) - A gunman on a terrifying rampage across two southern Alabama counties killed at least nine people Tuesday, including members of his own family and apparent strangers, and burned down his mother's home before shooting himself at a metals plant, authorities said.

Police were investigating shootings in at least four different locations in several communities, all of which were believed to be the work of a single gunman who had not yet been identified by investigators.

The afternoon of bloodshed began in Kinston, near the Alabama-Florida border, where the shooter burned down his mother's house, according to the Coffee County coroner, Robert Preachers. Officials located the woman's body inside the house, but they had not been able to get inside the still-burning house to determine if he shot her first.

The gunman then headed east, into Geneva County, where he shot and killed five people—four adults and a child—at a home in the nearby town of Samson. Then he killed one person each in two other homes. The identities of all the victims were unknown, but Preachers said they included other members of the shooter's family.

"He started in his mother's house," Preachers said. "Then he went to Samson and he killed his granny and granddaddy and aunt and uncle."

"We don't know what triggered it," Preachers added.

The gunman also shot at a state trooper's car, striking the vehicle seven times and wounding the trooper with broken glass.

He then killed someone at a Samson supply store, and another person at a service station.

My opinion: The guy had lost his job and saw his whole life going down the drain. He wanted to end it all but couldn't stand the idea of his family living on after him and thinking that he was a loser so he took them all with him.

And anyone else who got in his way or just happened to catch his eye.

Given that this was Alabama and not Illinois I'm surprised that there wasn't someone with a gun somewhere along his path to take him out.

Two things go without saying. One is that he was mentally ill and the other is that if Bush were still president and the economy were tanking as badly as it is under Obama the left would be screaming that this man was the first victim of the "Bush Recession".

Two more things go without saying. One is that the usual suspectes will try to use this tragedy to call for more gun control and the other is that the House Democrat leadership will not want any part of it. They're all too afraid that the Obama recession is turning into the Obama depression and the prospect of being voted out of office in 2010 is beginning to be eclipsed by the fear of being lynched (literally, congressman, rope, tree - some assembly required). They will not want to pour gasoline on the fires of voter discontent by enacting something as deeply unpopular as a gun control law.

Tonight's Music

Clandestine's Cannonball, from their CD The Haunting.

My son John was tall and slim
And he had a leg for every limb
Now he's got no legs at all
They're both shot away with a cannonball

Well were you drunk or were you blind
To leave your two fine legs behind
Or was it from walking upon the sea
That took your legs from the ground to the knee

I wasn't drunk and I wasn't blind
To leave my two fine legs behind
Was a cannonball on the fifth of May
Took my two fine legs away

And all the foreign wars I'll now denounce
'Twixt this king of England or that king of France
I'd rather my legs as they used to be
Than the king of Spain and his whole navy

For I was tall and I was slim
And I had a leg for every limb
Now I've got no legs at all
You can't win a race with a cannonball

For I was tall and I was slim
And I had a leg for every limb
Now I've got no legs at all
You can't win a race with a cannonball

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tonight's Music

Carrie Underwood - Just A Dream

It was two weeks after the day she turned 18
All dressed in white
Going to the church that night
She had his box of letter in the passenger seat
Six pins in a shoe
Something borrowed, something blue

And when the church doors opened up wide
She put her veil down trying to hide the tears
Oh she just couldnt believe it
She heard the trumpets from the military band
And the flowers fell out of her hands

Baby, why'd you leave me
Why'd you have to go
I was counting on forever
Now I'll never know
I cant even breathe
It's like I'm, looking from a distance
Standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream

The preacher man said lets bow our head and pray
Lord please lift his soul and heal this hurt
Then the congregation all stood up and sang the saddest song
That she ever heard
Then they handed her a folded up flag
And she held on to all she had left of him
And what couldve been
And then guns rang one last shot and it felt like a bullet in her heart

Baby, why'd you leave me
Why'd you have to go
I was counting on forever
Now I'll never know
I cant even breathe
It's like I'm, looking from a distance
Standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream

Baby, why'd you leave me
Why'd you have to go
I was counting on forever
Now I'll never know
Ooh, Ill never know
It's like I'm, looking from a distance
Standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream

Healing our international reputation?

Mark Steyn in NRO:

There is a great deal in Mr. Steyn's piece to mull over and here are a few thoughts of my own.

British prime minister Gordon Brown thought long and hard about what gift to bring on his visit to the White House last week. Barack Obama is the first African-American president, so the prime minister gave him an ornamental desk-pen holder hewn from the timbers of one of the Royal Navy’s anti-slaving ships of the 19th century, HMS Gannet. Even more appropriate, in 1909 the Gannet was renamed HMS President.

The president’s guest also presented him with the framed commission for HMS Resolute, the lost British ship retrieved from the Arctic and returned by America to London, and whose timbers were used for a thank-you gift Queen Victoria sent to Rutherford Hayes: the handsome desk that now sits in the Oval Office.

And, just to round things out, as a little stocking stuffer, Gordon Brown gave President Obama a first edition of Sir Martin Gilbert’s seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill.

In return, America’s head of state gave the prime minister 25 DVDs of “classic American movies.”

Evidently, the White House gift shop was all out of “MY GOVERNMENT DELEGATION WENT TO WASHINGTON AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT” T-shirts. Still, the “classic American movies” set is a pretty good substitute, and it can set you back as much as $38.99 at Wal-Mart: Lot of classics in there, I’m sure — Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Sound of Music — though this sort of collection always slips in a couple of Dude, Where’s My Car? 3 and Police Academy 12 just to make up the numbers. I’ll be interested to know if Mr. Brown has anything to play the films on back home, since U.S.-format DVDs don’t work in United Kingdom DVD players.

It could be worse. The president might have given him the DVD of He’s Just Not That Into You. Gordon Brown landed back in London a sadder but wiser man. The Fleet Street correspondents reported sneeringly that he (and they) had been denied the usual twin-podia alternating-flags press conference. The Obama administration had supposedly penciled one in for the Rose Garden, but then there was that catastrophic snowfall (a light dusting). This must be the first world leaders’ press conference to be devastated by climate change. No doubt President Obama could have relocated it to a prestigious indoor venue, like the windowless room round the back of the White House furnace in Sub-Basement Level 5. But why bother? Some freak flood would have swept through and washed the prime minister and his DVD set into the Potomac and out to the Atlantic. And by the time the Coast Guard fished him out, the sodden classic movies wouldn’t work in any American DVD player any better than in the Brit one.

He did, however, get to give an almost entirely unreported address to Congress. U.S. legislators greeted his calls to resist protectionism with a round of applause, and then went back to adding up how much pork in the “Buy American” section of the stimulus bill would be heading their way.

I would make a modest prediction that in 2012, after four years of the man who was supposed to heal America’s relations with a world sick of all that swaggering cowboy unilateralism, those relations will be much worse. From Canada to India, the implications of the Obama ascendancy are becoming painfully clear. The other week Der Spiegel ran a piece called “Why Obamania Isn’t the Answer,” which might more usefully have been published before the Obamessiah held his big Berlin rally. Written by some bigshot with the German Council on Foreign Relations and illustrated by the old four-color hopey-changey posters all scratched up and worn out, the essay conceded that Europe had embraced Obama as a “European American.” Very true. The president is the most European American ever to sit in the Oval Office. And, because of that, he doesn’t need any actual European Europeans getting in the way — just as, at his big victory-night rally in Chicago, the first megastar president didn’t need any megastar megastars from Hollywood clogging up the joint: Movie stars who wanted to fly in were told by his minders that he didn’t want any other celebrities deflecting attention from him. Same with world leaders. If it’s any consolation to Gordon Brown, he’s just not that into any of you.

What Mr. Brown and the rest of the world want is for America, the engine of the global economy, to pull the rest of them out of the quicksand — which isn’t unreasonable. Even though a big chunk of the subprime/securitization/credit-bubble axis originated in the United States and got exported round the planet, the reality is that almost every one of America’s trading partners will wind up getting far harder hit.

And that was before Obama made clear that for him the economy takes a very distant back seat to the massive expansion of government for which it provides cover. That’s why he’s indifferent to the plummeting Dow. The president has made a strategic calculation that, to advance his plans for socialized health care, “green energy,” and a big-government state, it’s to his advantage for things to get worse. And, if things go from bad to worse in America, overseas they’ll go from worse to total societal collapse. We’ve already seen changes of government in Iceland and Latvia, rioting in Greece and Bulgaria. The great destabilization is starting on the fringes of Europe and working its way to the Continent’s center.

We’re seeing not just the first contraction in the global economy since 1945, but also the first crisis of globalization. This was the system America and the other leading economies encouraged everybody else to grab a piece of. But whatever piece you grabbed — exports in Taiwan, services in Ireland, construction in Spain, oligarchic industrial-scale kleptomania in Russia — it’s all crumbling. Ireland and Italy are nation-state versions of Bank of America and General Motors. In Eastern Europe, the countries way out on the end of the globalization chain can’t take a lot of heat without widespread unrest. And the fellows who’ll be picking up the tab are the Western European banks who loaned them all the money. Gordon Brown was hoping for a little more than: “I feel your pain. And have you ever seen The Wizard of Oz? It’s about this sweet little nobody who gets to pay a brief visit to the glittering Emerald City before being swept back to the reassuring familiarity of the poor thing’s broken-down windswept economically devastated monochrome dustbowl. You’ll love it!”

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”? Oh, perish the thought. The prime minister flew 8,000 miles for dinner and a movie. But the president says he’ll call. Next week. Next month. Whatever.

1. While it is certainly possible that the little messiah's unwillingness to hold a formal press conference with Prime Minister Brown was purely a matter of ego, Obama's distaste for sharing the limelight, I think the reasons go much deeper.

Almost the first thing Obama does after taking the oath and entering the Oval Office for the first time as President (the first was ordering the thermostat cranked up to 84 degrees) was order the bust of Winston Churchill which was given to President Bush by the British government after 9/11 to be boxed up and returned to the Brits. Add to that his incredibly shabby treatment of Mr. Brown during his recent visit and you see a pattern of calculated insult aimed at the United Kingdom by this president.

The question then becomes why. Why would our new president choose to show such disrespect to our nation's oldest and closest ally? The only reason which I can come up with is that Obama wants to punish The UK for being George W Bush's staunchest ally in the war on terror.

The Obama campaign wanted the American people to believe that the only reason that America was hated around the world was because of the "bumbling cowboy" Bush and that the sophisticated and brilliant Obama would heal our damaged image. It would seem that Obama is only worried about improving America's image in certain select quarters. How else to explain spitting in the face of the United Kingdom while giving 9 billion dollars of gun money to Hamas to enable them to murder even more Jews.

2. Mr. Steyn has hit the nail on the head when he says that the economy is taking a distant backseat to Obama's socialist agenda. In fact I think that Obama is intentionally driving the economy down in order to intensify the crisis atmosphere. After all the people might insist on actually reading the legislation if they hadn't been whipped into hysteria by things like rising unemployment and a plunging Dow.

3. The leaders of Europe are very aware of the fact that the comfortable socialist hyper-secular welfare states that they have built for themselves are only possible because the United States is there to back them up economically and militarily. All of the things which make us distasteful to European elites, our dynamic individualism, capitalism, militarism and even our religious faith all combine to make the US the kind of economic and military superpower that a decadent and defenseless Europe must rely upon to guarantee its continued existence.

This dependence creates resentment which the European "man in the street" does not need to hide but which Europe's political leaders have to hold somewhat in check. This creates a "tightrope" situation in which Euro Leaders must pander to the anti American mob on one hand while remaining firmly attached to the US with the other.

This was seen in the 1980's when President Reagan was deploying Pershing and cruise missiles and ERW's (neutron bombs) to Europe. European political leaders knew that the USSR's strategy was to win by intimidation and that a viable means to strike back from European soil would make any Soviet invasion of Western Europe vastly less likely. However the European citizenry was up in arms over "cowboy" Reagan's "escalation" of the Cold War. Elected leaders in Europe had to appear "gravely concerned" for domestic public consumption while having their ambassadors deliver notes to the White House urging Mr. Reagan to hurry up with the damn missiles because they were damn tired of living under the threat of 50 thousand Russian tanks parked on their borders.

Today what the European leadership wants is to be able to go before the cameras in their own countries and bloviate about how the global financial crisis proves the failure of capitalism while the US cuts taxes and spending and puts its own economy into overdrive - consequently lifting them out of what could eaisly become a global depression.

But that seems unlikely to happen this time. Obama is truly a man of the radical socialist left. He is not going to "waste this crisis" by passing up the oppurtunity to transform America into the kind of nation his Marxist college professors told him it should be. He is not going to pass up the chance to punish the "white power structure" as his angry bitter wife and angry bitter pastor want him to.

So the Europeans watch and worry. So should we.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

Tonight's Music

Little Big Town -- Boondocks

Miss Ann is talking

That means YOU are listening!

Fortunately, we have Keith Olbermann to point out that Rush Limbaugh did not accurately quote the preamble to the Constitution in his CPAC speech last weekend. I'm not sure what scam Olbermann imagined Rush was trying to put over on the American people by saying conservatives believed in the "preamble to the Constitution" and then quoting words from the Declaration of Independence -- but Olbermann put an end to that cruel deception!

These small-time opportunities to show off by correcting someone else's teeny-tiny mistakes are the lifeblood of Olbermann's MSNBC show, "Countdown." Olbermann is no more capable of not correcting Rep. Charlie Rangel when he said "inferred," but meant "implied," than an obsessive compulsive could pass a sink without washing his hands.

There is utterly no purpose to these lame "gotchas," except that Olbermann is so desperately insecure that he is willing to waste valuable airtime in order to convince other status-conscious idiots that he is, like, scary-smart.

Olbermann relentlessly attacked low-level Bush administration employee Monica Goodling for not going to a name-dropping college, saying -- approximately 1 million times -- that she got her law degree "by sending 100 box tops to Religious Lunatic University."

I would venture to say that the students at Goodling's law school at Regent University are far more impressive than those at the Cornell agriculture school -- the land-grant, non-Ivy League school Keith attended.

I wouldn't mention it, except that Olbermann savages anyone who didn't go to an impressive college. As it happens, he didn't go to an impressive college, either.

If you've ever watched any three nights of his show, you know that Olbermann went to Cornell. But he always forgets to mention that he went to the school that offers classes in milking and bovine management.

Indeed, Keith is constantly lying about his nonexistent "Ivy League" education, boasting to Playboy magazine, for example: "My Ivy League education taught me how to cut corners, skim books and take an idea and write 15 pages on it, and also how to work all day at the Cornell radio station and never actually go to class."

Except Keith didn't go to the Ivy League Cornell; he went to the Old MacDonald Cornell.

The real Cornell, the School of Arts and Sciences (average SAT: 1,325; acceptance rate: 1 in 6 applicants), is the only Ivy League school at Cornell and the only one that grants a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Keith went to an affiliated state college at Cornell, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (average SAT: about that of pulling guards at the University of South Carolina; acceptance rate: 1 of every 1 applicants).

Olbermann's incessant lying about having an "Ivy League education" when he went to the non-Ivy League ag school at Cornell would be like a graduate of the Yale locksmithing school boasting about being a "Yale man."

Among the graduates of the Ivy League Cornell are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thomas Pynchon, Paul Wolfowitz, E.B. White, Sanford I. Weill, Floyd Abrams, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Ginsburg, Janet Reno, Henry Heimlich and Harold Bloom.

Graduates of the ag school include David LeNeveu of the Anaheim Ducks, Mitch Carefoot of the Phoenix RoadRunners, Darren Eliot, former professional hockey player, and Joe Nieuwendyk, multiple Stanley Cup winner.

One begins to understand why Harvard students threw a chicken on the ice during Cornell's famous rout of Harvard at a 1973 hockey game.

If you actually want to pursue a career related to agriculture, there is no better school than the Cornell ag school. I have nothing but admiration for the farmers and aspiring veterinarians at the ag school. They didn't go there just to have "Cornell" on their resumes.

In addition to the farmers, there are some smart kids who go to the ag school -- as there are at all state universities. But most people who majored in "communications" at an ag school don't act like Marshall Scholars or go around mocking graduates of Regent University Law School.

The sort of insecurity that would force you to always say "trebled" instead of "tripled" could only come from a communications major with massive status anxiety, like Keith. Without even looking it up, I am confident that Harvard, Yale and Princeton do not offer degrees in "communications." I know there is no "communications" major at the Ivy League Cornell.

"Communications" is a major, along with "recreation science," most commonly associated with linemen at USC. But at least the linemen can throw a football, which Keith cannot because his mother decided he was not physically robust enough to play outdoors as a child.

It may seem cruel to reveal the true college of someone who already wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat worried that he's a fraud. But I believe that by pointing out that Olbermann actually is a fraud, I am liberating him.

You may not realize it now, Keith, but you will look back on this day and say, "That was the best thing that ever happened to me!"

Finally, you can stop pretending that you went to the hard-to-get-into Cornell.

Now you won't have to quickly change the subject whenever people idly remark that they didn't know it was possible to major in "communications" at an Ivy League school.

No longer will you have to aggressively bring up Cornell when it has nothing to do with the conversation.

Relax, Keith. Now you can let people like you for you.

Ah, Keith - That you're a loser and a lightweight has been obvious from the start, but now it's out there so plainly that even Obama voters can't deny it.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Tonight's Music

Another good hillbilly song, even if it is about Northern Michigan and from a former Rapper.

The current civil war

Larry Kudlow on the CNBC website:

Let me be very clear on the economics of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and his budget.

He is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.

That is the meaning of his anti-growth tax-hike proposals, which make absolutely no sense at all — either for this recession or from the standpoint of expanding our economy’s long-run potential to grow.

Raising the marginal tax rate on successful earners, capital, dividends, and all the private funds is a function of Obama’s left-wing social vision, and a repudiation of his economic-recovery statements. Ditto for his sweeping government-planning-and-spending program, which will wind up raising federal outlays as a share of GDP to at least 30 percent, if not more, over the next 10 years.

This is nearly double the government-spending low-point reached during the late 1990s by the Gingrich Congress and the Clinton administration. While not quite as high as spending levels in Western Europe, we regrettably will be gaining on this statist-planning approach.

Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge across-the-board tax increase on blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, but new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less.

The tax hikes will generate lower growth and fewer revenues. Yes, the economy will recover. But Obama’s rosy scenario of 4 percent recovery growth in the out years of his budget is not likely to occur. The combination of easy money from the Fed and below-potential economic growth is a prescription for stagflation. That’s one of the messages of the falling stock market.

Essentially, the Obama economic policies represent a major Democratic party relapse into Great Society social spending and taxing. It is a return to the LBJ/Nixon era, and a move away from the Reagan/Clinton period. House Republicans, fortunately, are 90 days sober, as they are putting up a valiant fight to stop the big-government onslaught and move the GOP back to first principles.

Noteworthy up here on Wall Street, a great many Obama supporters — especially hedge-fund types who voted for “change” — are becoming disillusioned with the performances of Obama and Treasury man Geithner.

There is a growing sense of buyer’s remorse.

Well then, do conservatives dare say: We told you so?

There it is, out in the open. The American system of free market Capitalism is hateful to Obama and the other Marxists who run the Democrat party (and make no mistake they are Marxists). They hate Capitalism because it places too much freedom in the hands of individual citizens and not enough power in the central state. They hate Capitalism because what drives and directs it is the individual rather than the collective.

The "Market" is nothing more than the aggregate of the individual self-interested economic decisions of millions of free individual actors. Their decisions as to how to spend their money on their individual wants and needs interacts with the factors of scarcity and abundance to create the pressures of supply and demand which in turn establish the price of goods and services. And price is the piece of information which is most critical in informing producers how they need to invest their productive resources.

Because the market provides this real time picture it is vastly more efficient than any form of central planning could ever hope to be. Therefore planned economies will always be far less capable of meeting the needs of their citizens and those citizens will consequently have to endure a diminished standard of living compared to persons in free market nations.

The reason that Marxists like Obama find this situation of maximum abundance anathema is that the citizen is not (and knows that he is not) beholden to the government for such plenty. The government contributes to this prosperity by simply getting out of the way. By not erecting barriers of excessive taxation or regulation to hamper economic activity and by not creating perverse incentives to non-productive economic activity (like arm-twisting lenders to provide mortgages to people whose credit history suggests that they will be unable to repay the loans).

Barack Obama and his fellow left-wing Democrats want the American people to receive whatever they have from the hand of the federal government. That doing things this way means that the average American will have a great deal less than he would have in a free market system is of absolutely no concern to them. As long as they can engineer things in such a way that it is the government which provides the people with jobs, housing, health care, transportation and even food and water people like Obama will be able to enjoy the naked exercise of raw power while still casting themselves in the role of enlightened benefactors.

To wield the power of Joseph Stalin while wearing the mask of Mahatma Gandhi is the holy grail of the left-wing elites. To those who hold this dream the destruction of the greatest engine for the production of wealth and freedom the world has ever seen is a small enough price to pay.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hating Sarah

Here's a good piece from Thomas Sowell.

If Barack Obama has been the most remarkable phenomenon of the recent political scene, Sarah Palin must be second. The emotional responses to each-- especially by the media and the intelligentsia -- go beyond anything that can be explained by the usual political differences of opinion on issues of the day.

That liberals would be thrilled by another liberal is not surprising. But there are conservative Republicans who voted for Barack Obama, and other conservatives who may not have voted for him, but who are quick to see in various pragmatic moves of his since taking office an indication that he is not an extremist.

Anyone familiar with history knows that Hitler and Stalin were pragmatic. After years of denouncing each other, they signed the Nazi-Soviet pact under which they became allies for a couple of years before going to war against one another.

Pragmatism tells you nothing about extremism. But the conservative intellectuals who seize upon President Obama's pragmatism to give him the benefit of the doubt are obviously bending over backward for some reason.

With Governor Palin, it is just the opposite. The conservative intelligentsia who react against her have remarkably little to say that will stand up to scrutiny. People who actually dealt with her, before she became a national figure, have expressed how much they were impressed by her intelligence.

Governor Palin's "inexperience" is a talking point that might have some plausibility if it were not for the fact that Barack Obama has far less experience in actually making policies than Sarah Palin has. Joe Biden has had decades of experience in being both consistently wrong and consistently a source of asinine statements.

Governor Palin's candidacy for the vice presidency was what galvanized grass roots Republicans in a way that John McCain never did. But there was something about her that turned even some conservative intellectuals against her and provoked visceral anger and hatred from liberal intellectuals.

Perhaps the best way to try to understand these reactions is to recall what Eleanor Roosevelt said when she first saw Whittaker Chambers, who had accused Alger Hiss of being a spy for the Soviet Union. Upon seeing the slouching, overweight and disheveled Chambers, she said, "He's not one of us."

The trim, erect and impeccably dressed Alger Hiss, with his Ivy League and New Deal pedigree, clearly was "one of us." As it turned out, he was also a liar and a spy for the Soviet Union. Not only did a jury decide that at the time, the opening of the secret files of the Soviet Union in its last days added more evidence of his guilt.

The Hiss-Chambers confrontation of more than half a century ago produced the same kind of visceral polarization that Governor Sarah Palin provokes today.

Before the first trial of Alger Hiss began, reporters who gathered at the courthouse informally sounded each other out as to which of them they believed, before any evidence had been presented. Most believed that Hiss was telling the truth and that it was Chambers who was lying.

More important, those reporters who believed that Chambers was telling the truth were immediately ostracized. None of this could have been based on the evidence for either side, for that evidence had not yet been presented in court.

For decades after Hiss was convicted and sent to federal prison, much of the media and the intelligentsia defended him. To this day, there is an Alger Hiss chair at Bard College.
Why did it matter so much to so many people which of two previously little-known men was telling the truth? Because what was on trial was not one man but a whole vision of the world and a way of life.

Governor Sarah Palin is both a challenge and an affront to that vision and that way of life-- an overdue challenge, much as Chambers' challenge was overdue.

Whether Governor Palin runs for national office again is something that only time will tell. But the Republicans need some candidate who is neither one of the country club Republicans nor-- worse yet-- the sort of person who appeals to the intelligentsia.

Sowell nails it. Both the liberal elites and the faux conservative chattering class (whose primary ambition is to be liked by the liberal elites) hate Governor Palin because she is what they are not - a real American with a natural appeal to other real Americans.

Another good hillbilly song. Perhaps it is having a president and congress who deserve absolutely no respect whatsoever that brings out the rebel in me.

Here are the lyrics:

Well my name's John Lee Pettimore
Same as my daddy and his daddy before
You hardly ever saw Grandaddy down here
He only came to town about twice a year
He'd buy a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line
Everybody knew that he made moonshine
Now the revenue man wanted Grandaddy bad
He headed up the holler with everything he had
It's before my time but I've been told
He never came back from Copperhead Road

Now Daddy ran the whiskey in a big block Dodge
Bought it at an auction at the Mason's Lodge
Johnson County Sheriff painted on the side
Just shot a coat of primer then he looked inside
Well him and my uncle tore that engine down
I still remember that rumblin' sound
Well the sheriff came around in the middle of the night
Heard mama cryin', knew something wasn't right
He was headed down to Knoxville with the weekly load
You could smell the whiskey burnin' down Copperhead Road

I volunteered for the Army on my birthday
They draft the white trash first,'round here anyway
I done two tours of duty in Vietnam
And I came home with a brand new plan
I take the seed from Colombia and Mexico
I plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road
Well the D.E.A.'s got a chopper in the air
I wake up screaming like I'm back over there
I learned a thing or two from ol' Charlie don't you know
You better stay away from Copperhead Road

Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road