Monthly Archives: April 2010

She Asked About Immigration, Must Be a Bigot

Peggy Noonan:

…Arizona is moving forward [on stopping illegal immigration] because the government in Washington has completely abdicated its responsibility. For 10 years—at least—through two administrations, Washington deliberately did nothing to ease the crisis on the borders because politicians calculated that an air of mounting crisis would spur mounting support for what Washington thought was appropriate reform—i.e., reform that would help the Democratic and Republican parties.

Both parties resemble Gordon Brown, who is about to lose the prime ministership of Britain. On the campaign trail this week, he was famously questioned by a party voter about his stand on immigration. He gave her the verbal runaround, all boilerplate and shrugs, and later complained to an aide, on an open mic, that he’d been forced into conversation with that “bigoted woman.”

He really thought she was a bigot. Because she asked about immigration. Which is, to him, a sign of at least latent racism.

The establishments of the American political parties, and the media, are full of people who think concern about illegal immigration is a mark of racism. If you were Freud you might say, “How odd that’s where their minds so quickly go, how strange they’re so eager to point an accusing finger. Could they be projecting onto others their own, heavily defended-against inner emotions?” But let’s not do Freud, he’s too interesting. Maybe they’re just smug and sanctimonious.

The American president has the power to control America’s borders if he wants to, but George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not and do not want to, and for the same reason, and we all know what it is. The fastest-growing demographic in America is the Hispanic vote, and if either party cracks down on illegal immigration, it risks losing that vote for generations.

But while the Democrats worry about the prospects of the Democrats and the Republicans about the well-being of the Republicans, who worries about America?

No one. Which the American people have noticed…

Advertisements

A Valuable Note of Realism

A bit of sanity from the Washington Post:

… the broader implication raised by senators at Tuesday’s hearing [of the Senate Sub-Committee on Investigations] — that Goldman somehow rigged the market in subprime mortgages, and that this led to the meltdown — does not strike us as a terribly useful or even accurate analysis of the crisis. Yes, in its capacity as a market-maker, the firm sold complex derivatives to market players who wanted to bet on a rosy view of housing long after Goldman had turned more pessimistic. To that extent, Goldman’s interest in short-term revenue clashed with what, in hindsight, was society’s need for a whistle-blower. For the most part, though, these were large, sophisticated institutional investors who had the opportunity to conduct the same analysis of economic data that Goldman did. They knew that there was someone on the short side of every trade. And Goldman had no legal obligation to trade in the same direction as these clients did. Indeed, if it had, then Goldman could not have started hedging its own bets on housing early, as it did. The firm would have lost billions, and it might have wound up needing an even bigger bailout by U.S. taxpayers than it actually got. It could have ended up like Citigroup, which tried to ride the bubble until it was too late and had to be propped up with hundreds of billions of dollars in federal cash and credit guarantees.

Implicitly, Tuesday’s hearing was an attack not only on Goldman but on short selling itself. “Shorts” have never been popular, because they do, by definition, profit from the misery of others. However, they can inject a valuable note of realism in overheated markets; perhaps the housing bubble would have been mitigated if more shorts had piled in earlier…

He Forgot the Jews!

After attacking “special interests” in a political ad, Barry then seeks to mobilize his own special interests: “young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008.”

Something wrong with that? I can’t help but wonder what the reaction would be if a Republican candidate put out an ad with a bit about “reconnecting” with the pro-life, “defense of marriage,” and anti-reverse discrimination communities.

Of course, Barry doesn’t need to “reconnect” with the Jews, whose religion is the Democratic Party with holidays.

And speaking of Jews and double standards, what if a Bush adviser had said this?

"A" Students Teach

P. J. O’Rourke on the plague of the A students:

…The secret to the Obama annoyance is snotty lecturing. His tone of voice sends us back to the worst place in college. We sit once more packed into the vast, dreary confines of a freshman survey course—“Rocks for Jocks,” “Nuts and Sluts,” “Darkness at Noon.” At the lectern is a twerp of a grad student—the prototypical A student—insecure, overbearing, full of himself and contempt for his students. All we want is an easy three credits to fulfill a curriculum requirement in science, social science, or fine arts. We’ve got a mimeographed copy of last year’s final with multiple choice answers already written on our wrists. The grad student could skip his classes, the way we intend to, but there the s.o.b. is, taking attendance. (How else to explain this year’s census?)

America has made the mistake of letting the A student run things. It was A students who briefly took over the business world during the period of derivatives, credit swaps, and collateralized debt obligations. We’re still reeling from the effects. This is why good businessmen have always adhered to the maxim: “A students work for B students.” Or, as a businessman friend of mine put it, “B students work for C students—A students teach.”…

Cutting-Edge Cowardly Central

Mark Steyn on the kind of hypocrisy you can’t make up:

…As longtime readers know, I have enormous respect for the Democrats as masters of the politics of personal destruction. What a track record!

“Bushitler” … “General Betray-Us” … Excellent stuff, up there with Oscar Wilde. But this is, like, a whole new level: Bill Clinton is on the road, demonizing (and with an impressively straight face) half the American people as the express lane to ka-boom! And the poodle media are taking it seriously.

Meanwhile, Comedy Central – you know, the “hip” “edgy” network with Jon Stewart from whom “young” Americans under 53 supposedly get most of their news – just caved in to death threats. From a hateful 83-year-old widow who doesn’t like Obamacare? Why, no! It was a chap called Abu Talhah al Amrikee, who put up a video on the Internet explaining why a “South Park” episode with a rather tame Mohammed joke was likely to lead to the deaths of the show’s creators. Just to underline the point, he showed some pictures of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film director brutally murdered by (oh, my, talk about unfortunate coincidences) a fellow called Mohammed. Mr. al Amrikee helpfully explained that his video incitement of the murder of Matt Stone and Trey Parker wasn’t really “a threat but just the likely outcome.” All he was doing, he added, was “raising awareness” – you know, like folks do on Earth Day. On Earth Day, lame politicians dig a hole and stick a tree in it. But aggrieved Muslims dig a hole and stick a couple of comedy writers in it. Celebrate diversity!

Faced with this explicit threat of violence, what did Comedy Central do?

Why, they folded like a Bedouin tent. They censored “South Park,” not only cutting all the references to Mohammed but, in an exquisitely post-modern touch, also removing the final speech about the need to stand up to intimidation. Stone & Parker get what was at stake in the Danish cartoons crisis, and many other ostensibly footling concessions: Imperceptibly, incrementally, remorselessly, the free world is sending the message that it is happy to trade core liberties for the transitory security of a quiet life. That is a dangerous signal to give freedom’s enemies. So the “South Park” episode is an important cultural pushback.

Yet in the end, in a craven culture, even big Hollywood A-listers can’t get their message over. So the brave, transgressive comedy network was intimidated into caving in and censoring a speech about not being intimidated into caving in. That’s what I call “hip” “edgy” “cutting-edge” comedy: They’re so edgy they’re curled up in the fetal position, whimpering at the guy with the cutting edge, “Please. Behead me last. And don’t use the rusty scimitar where you have to saw away for 20 minutes to find the spinal column.”

Terrific. You can see why young, urban, post-modern Americans under 57 get most of their news from Comedy Central. What a shame 1930s Fascist Europe was so lacking in cable…

The Times Are A-Changin'

James Lileks notes that the times are a-changin’:

…Now that things have changed, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Discussing the threat posed by militant Islam and its innumerable anti-American manifestations, based on a long record of attacks [is] fear-mongering designed to make us accept a police state, and opportunism of the most despicable sort.

2. Discussing the threat posed by citizens who dispute budgetary and legislative initiatives: temperate analysis. Remember, Timothy McVeigh had an AM radio in the vehicle he drove to carry out his attack, and Rush Limbaugh was on AM radio. You have to deny science to say that’s not true.

3. All efforts to roll back any initiatives of the Obama administration are RACIST. Example: say they’re opposed to increasing the penalty on late-reporting of data relating to a Medicaid billing that may have been due to an interpretation on the wording about whether an in-patient procedure required an examination or a consultation. But it’s really about the melanin content of the guy who signed the bill, although he probably has no idea which provision you’re talking about.

4. Bringing up the way some investors in GM got the drive-shaft in the take-over is a subtle threat to violence, because history shows most cross-burners drove to the scene of the crime.

5. Saying you want to “defeat” President Obama is eliminationist rhetoric, a code word that recalls WW2, when everyone knew that “defeating” Germany meant putting Hitler on trial and hanging him.

6. Anyone who describes himself as a “Christian” and a “Patriot” is probably a “Christian Patriot,” which means they probably stay up nights discussing fertilizer bombs via ham radio with Aryan Nation cells in Idaho. Or, writing lesson plans for Sunday school about how marriage should really be about a man and a woman. Six of one, half dozen, etc.

In other words: Protest is fine, as long as the cast of characters and the content of their chants reminds people of the ’60s. This is why protests against Clinton’s Balkan war weren’t lovingly covered: that was a just war, fought for just reasons, by a serious man. Gulf War 1 was for oil, duh, and Gulf War 2 was for oil, daddy, and because Fox News told George Bush that Saddam ran the planes into the WTC via remote control. If President Obama ordered a strike on Iran tomorrow, the protesters would be marginalized, and CNN would find tea partiers who supported the move. Anderson Cooper would be amazed to find that the Teepers had overcome their hatred of the president to support him, but it would be up to Joe Klein to say they just wanted to see brown people dead.

The Brave New Age of Civility

Victor Davis Hanson celebrates Barry’s greatest achievement (so far): the creation of a new dawn of civility in political discourse:

During the Bush years a dangerously heated rhetoric became commonplace. Now, lo! a new age has dawned.

It was sometime early this year that Americans finally learned the rules of proper political discourse — another dividend from the Obama administration. We can all be grateful for our new bipartisan protocols, which will go something like the following.

It will be considered childish to caricature a stressed president for mangling his words, whether “nucular” or “corpseman.” If, from time to time, the commander-in-chief flubs up and says something stupid like Bush’s “Is our children learning?” or Obama’s “Cinco de Quatro,” we have learned to accept that such slips are hardly reflective of a lack of knowledge. The old “gotcha” game is puerile and, thankfully, is now a thing of the past.

Nor should we ever refer to any elected administration as a “regime” — that unfortunate habit of the likes of Maureen Dowd, Chris Matthews, and various talk-radio hosts. Thank God, we in 2010 all recognize the pernicious effects of such near-treasonous rhetoric.

At last there is a return to civility. If we were confused in recent years as to whether “hate” was a permissible word in public discourse — as in the outburst of Democratic national chairman Howard Dean, “I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for,” or the infamous essay by The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait that began, “I hate President George W. Bush” — we now accept that such extreme language in the public arena is not merely uncivil, but is an incitement to real violence. The use of the word “hate” at last has become “hate speech.”

With Rep. Joe Wilson’s improper outburst to President Obama — “You lie!” — we also have at last come to appreciate that those in Congress have a special responsibility not to use incendiary language to defame our government officials. That’s why we now lament Rep. Pete Stark’s slur of George W. Bush from the House floor as a “liar” — the same Rep. Pete Stark who said of our troops that they had gone “to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.” …

Lives And Treasure For Whom?

From an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Imagine that you’re an Israeli perusing the past week’s headlines. Senior U.S. military officials have told Congress that Iran may be a year away from producing a bomb’s worth of fissile material. Efforts to sanction Iran are again bogged down at the U.N., even as the sanctions are watered down to insignificance. And senior Israeli officials now say that Syria has supplied Hezbollah with Scud-D missiles that can hit every city in Israel with a one-ton warhead to an accuracy of 50 meters.

Oh, and now the Obama Administration seems increasingly of the view that Israel is the primary cause of instability in the Middle East. In a press conference last week, President Obama said the U.S. had a “vital national security interest” in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the theory that “when conflict breaks out . . . that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”…

For all the current talk about Israel costing America lives and treasure, the striking fact is that the U.S. has never had to go to war to defend the Jewish state. This is more than can be said for Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo and the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s because for 62 years Israelis have provided for their own defense, in an alliance with the U.S. that has reflected American values and—in both the Cold War and the war on terror—advanced American interests.

The Obama Administration seems not to grasp this point, which is why these are anxious days for Israel and its American friends.

The Clock Is Ticking

Former peacenik Israeli academic Benny Morris lays out the existential Iranian nuclear threat to Israel:

I take it personally: Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wants to murder me, my family and my people. Day in, day out, he announces the imminent demise of the “Zionist regime,” by which he means Israel…

The Jews of Europe (and Poles, Russians, Czechs, the French, etc.) should likewise have taken personally Adolf Hitler’s threats and his serial defiance of the international community from 1933 to 1939. But he was allowed, by the major powers and the League of Nations, to flex his muscles, rearm, remilitarize the Rhineland and then gobble up neighboring countries. Had he been stopped before the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II, the lives of many millions, Jews and Gentiles, would have been saved. But he wasn’t.

And it doesn’t look like Ahmadinejad will be either. Not by the United States and the international community, at any rate. President Obama, when not obsessing over the fate of the ever- aggrieved Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, proposes to halt Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program by means of international sanctions. But here’s the paradox: The wider Obama casts his net to mobilize as many of the world’s key players as he can, the weaker the sanctions and the more remote their implementation. China, it appears, will only agree to a U.N. Security Council resolution if the sanctions are diluted to the point of meaninglessness (and maybe not even then). The same appears to apply to the Russians. Meanwhile, Iran advances toward the bomb. Most of the world’s intelligence agencies believe that it is only one to three years away.

…can Israel go it alone, without an American green (or even yellow) light, without American political cover and overflight permissions and additional American equipment? Much depends on what the Israeli military and intelligence chiefs believe their forces — air force, navy, commandos — can achieve. Full destruction of the Iranian nuclear project? A long-term delay? And on how they view Israel’s ability (with or without U.S. support) to weather the reaction from Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria.

An Israeli attack might harm U.S. interests and disrupt international oil supplies (though I doubt it would cause direct attacks on U.S. installations, troops or vessels). But, from the Israeli perspective, these are necessarily marginal considerations when compared with the mortal hurt Israel and Israelis would suffer from an Iranian nuclear attack. Netanyahu’s calculations will, in the end, be governed by his perception of Israel’s existential imperatives. And the clock is ticking.

They Changed, Not Me!

Ann Coulter looks at John Paul Stevens’ (and his apologists’), now accepted as gospel on the left, assertion that it was the Court that changed, not him:

…Stevens’ claim that he hasn’t moved left, the court has moved right, if stated during a mental competence hearing, would have earned him a straitjacket and a handful of Thorazine.

But because Stevens’ self-characterization comports with the legal left’s position that the Supreme Court’s failure to enact the entire platform of the Green Party constitutes “conservative judicial activism,” it has been reverently repeated.

It’s true that on a few issues, Stevens didn’t change. He has long found any religious practice not crushed by the government to be an “establishment of religion.” Stevens has also never been an enthusiast of tenuous claims to free speech rights, voting to uphold city restrictions on strip clubs in 1976 and voting to uphold a law that prohibited the burning of the American flag in 1989.

But on many other issues, such as race discrimination, Stevens swung so far to the left that his earlier opinions would be unrecognizable as having been written by the same man.

In 1978, Stevens was not only in the majority in University of California Regents v. Bakke, but he wrote the opinion holding that the school’s race-based admissions program violated Title VII and ordering the university to admit Bakke.

In another case of government race-based classifications, Fullilove v. Klutznick (1980), Stevens ridiculed the idea of race-based “remedies” being applied to every ethnic group under the sun…

Unlike blacks, who were “dragged to this country in chains to be sold in slavery,” Stevens said “the ‘Spanish-speaking’ subclass came voluntarily, frequently without invitation, and the Indians, the Eskimos and the Aleuts had an opportunity to exploit America’s resources before the ancestors of most American citizens arrived.”

Now fast-forward to 2003, when the court considered the race-based admissions policy at the University of Michigan. The school automatically awarded 20 points — one-fifth of the total points needed for admission -– to every minority, including not only blacks, but also Hispanics, Indians, Eskimos and Aleuts.

This time, affirmative action for Aleuts was just peachy with Stevens, who came up with a ludicrous procedural objection to the lawsuit, basically concluding that no one ever has standing to sue for race discrimination in college admissions…

That’s quite a change from the Justice Stevens of Fullilove, who compared government affirmative action programs to Nazi policies, saying if the government “is to make a serious effort to define racial classes by criteria that can be administered objectively, it must study precedents such as the First Regulation to the Reich’s Citizenship Law of Nov. 14, 1935,” translated in Volume 4 of “Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression.”