Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So it Begins

I have never heard of preemptive apologists, but this WAPO editorial comes as close as possible to a preemptive defense of what will surely be another Obama defeat. The editorial seeks to address the president's promise to "reset" relations with Russia, arguing in its subtitle that "Mr Obama isn't contemplating change solely on the part of the United States." This goes back to the problem I documented twice already: Obama is perceived by everyone around him, including his admirers, as weak and vulnerable. Or as David Broder put it, "unimposing." The Russians are strong, dangerous, and corrupt. President Obama has about as much chance of getting anything from the Russians as Elton John would have of solving the Latin American drug war if Obama appointed him Drug Czar. Although Sir Elton would probably have less scandal in his background than the rest of the President's appointments... The chorus of one of his most famous songs is prescient considering Obama's situation:

And i think it's gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think i am at home
Oh no no no i'm a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone

Monday, March 30, 2009

More empty posturing

Wow. The Obama administration got tough and forced out the CEO of GM. The President has mastered stating the obvious

"`We think we can have a successful U.S. auto industry," President Obama said on Sunday. "But it's got to be one that's realistically designed to weather this storm and to emerge—at the other end—much more lean, mean, and competitive than it currently is.''

Water is wet too. Wonder how long it will take the magic tele to get around to that little tidbit. Of course, the president will dress it up a little, "we have noticed the amazing capacity of hydrogen dioxide and are looking into ways we can utilize this untapped potential for solving the crisis I inherited from my predecessor."

Don't hold your breath waiting for Obama to demand Ron Gettelfinger, overpaid president of the UAW, to step down. The more things CHANGE, the more they stay the same.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Take the Training Wheels Off Please!

At this point in the Obama administration I have actually had a few dark moments wondering whether Obama really thought there are 58 states in the union. Given the astounding ignorance the powerline boys have documented so well, I find myself wondering...

Here's why. You can forgive some offhand failures: 58 states, mispronouncing Orion, and stuff like that. Even though at some point you do look at little gaffes and make conclusions. But the president has gone far beyond simple verbal ticks and made some impossibly stupid and illiterate comments. For example, no one thinks the Kennedy Kruschev meetings were successful. Historians rarely agree, but there is no debate on this. Kennedy knew it was a failure and historians don't debate this one. Yet Obama went beyond a goofy slip of the tongue and made a substantial argument based on his..."belief"?... that the meetings were a success. This goes far beyond the everyday misstatements we all make. It is substantial and real. Similarly, Obama justified his position on giving terrorists civilian trials by saying that we basically did the same thing at Nuremberg. Again, he could not be more wrong. No competent lawyer with any knowledge of the Nuremberg trials would make such a claim. Because those trials were not civilian trials. They were international military tribunals. This goes way beyond mistaking oranges for apples, or cats for dogs. It is more like saying a cat is a fish, or even an orange is a fish. Only someone with colossal ignorance would make such a claim. There is far more evidence for his ignorance as well. Add that to his weekly blunders, and teleprompt addiction and it seems reasonable to start asking questions we never thought we would ask the Elegant One.

For me there are other more personal reasons to question his intellectual depth. I too am a minority in academia. I have read both Obama's books, and I know the sum of his education. The thinkers and intellectuals he refers to identify his intellectual foundations very clearly: a faithful postmodern leftist. Now this is where we start wandering from clear factual evidence building into more speculation. I know from experience that at least half of the grad students who simply believe what they are told by the establishment (and Obama is one of these) are blissfully ignorant of history and ideologies that were not part of the assigned reading. Academic leftists have turned academia into activism and diluted the intellectualism. This is why unqualified people like Ward Churchill become chairs of major departments at prestigious universities with only an MA, no Phd. This is why the most prestigious award in the discipline of American history was rescinded for the first time in its history at Columbia. Bellesile made the establishment argument and the Bancroft panel was very uncritical in reading his hopelessly fallacious book. This is why Duke lacrosse happened. This is why Sokal got his hilarious satire, "Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" published as a serious work. This is why my best friend got his fictitious story published in the school newspaper. I actually had to explain to an award winning Stanford professor whose expertise was the Enlightenment what basic and nonbasic beliefs were in epistemology! This is like a basketball player or pundit not knowing who Michael Jordan is. I could go on, but the examples are legion and well documented elsewhere. The point is that intellectualism takes a backseat to partisanship, activism, and laziness.

How does this relate to Obama? Well, if the amazing failures above slid through without ever being caught, how many grad students are inadvertently encouraged to intellectual laziness? Another Mexican and myself experimented with this over and over, getting more and more daring every time, because we consistently found that if we simply said something acceptable to the leftwing establishment you get an automatic B+. A's were not that much more difficult. Now many students were willing to find alternative voices, but even if they tried it was hard to find, because academia has become such a vacuum. Black Americans and Native Americans are the worst victims of this bizarre situation. They can skate through any school and come out as ignorant and less capable of critical thinking than when they entered.

Which is why I find myself wondering about the president. He probably never took an astronomy class and may never have heard of Orion. And the history he learned was postmodern. Strong on theory, which we know from his bios he loved, but very weak on facts and classical historicism. So he may have never encountered simple facts like the number of states enough times for it to become part of his basic knowledge. Obama's ignorance is not all that shocking in light of a report by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He truly is the president of the youth vote! Obama's academic career was full of ethnic studies types of academia, which are the weakest of all disciplines, and even though he still gets called a "constitutional scholar" he has never produced the publications or depth that typically goes with that accolade. The only class he taught, as far as I can tell, was, not surprisingly, Race and Gender in the Constitution- or something along those lines. Again, another piece of circumstantial evidence that makes someone who understands just how bad academia has become wonder.

What can Obama do to prove himself? Take off the training wheels. Even his admirers are admitting he is the most teleprompt dependent president in history. We know this is because he tends to fall hard without the training wheels. His gaffes are growing at an exponential rate it seems. I remember when I was young and I would pretend I was Magic guiding the Lakers to glory on my local court. The beauty of such immature fantasies are that you can always find a way to win no matter how many bricks you throw up. Because you are in your fantasy land, and eventually you make a shot and that is the one that sets the crowd roaring. Unfortunately, Obama has lived in such a fantasy bubble his entire life, and now finds himself unable to make the shot even when there is no competition. Let's be perfectly honest here. How many presidents get such a perfect start? Control of Congress, astronomical approval ratings (higher than Ore-ee-on?), and a bumbling, demoralized, and completely routed opposition? To borrow a hockey analogy it's like every guy on the opposing team has five for fighting and yet Obama still can't get the puck in the goal. The media even tries moving the goal to catch his errant shots, but can't make it happen! This is because he is still playing teeball in the major league. Note to the president, you're out after three strikes, no more tee. No more training wheels. Prove yourself please.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I always liked the circus but...

At this point in the New New Deal we can stop talking about ideological differences and start talking about simple competency. If the Obamateur,as Mark Steyn refers to him, was referring to his Congress and his administration when he made his Special Olympics comment he might have had a point... The media does treat democrats as if they were "special." Rush that stimulus through at the urging of the president and forget that AIG lobbyist, er senator, Dodd added that "special" language to it that you didn't read Mr President? That's ok, here's a cookie and a couple more adoring biographies. Be incompetent enough to give Gordon Brown a DVD set encoded for North America? Don't worry, we know, you're special. Did your big wig economist say that the fundamentals of the economy are "sound"- almost exactly what you ridiculed Senator McCain for a few months back? Well, we understand that you struggle with the similarities between the words "strong" and "sound."

The only problem is that real "special" people are genuinely likable and decent people. Like many kids growing up I was a little unnerved by people with Downs Syndrome, but my best friend had an aunt with Downs and through him and her I learned first to be comfortable, and then to enjoy people with Downs. They are some of the most likable and beautiful people you will ever meet. Not so our with our "special" leaders. They run our country like carnival hucksters taking our cash at the door and leaving town when we realize they painted stripes on a donkey and called it a zebra. You can put lipstick on a pig, but its stilla pig right? So why aren't we enjoying this circus? Because we aint getting our money's worth. These clowns aren't funny.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

David Freddoso Kills it

I only heard of David Freddoso during this past election, but he has been on a killing spree. This article goes into great detail about the phony outrage and hypocrisy of the democrats over the AIG bonuses. He goes beyond the soundbites from Dodd everyone is hearing and really digs into the depth of the democratic corruption and hypocrisy. The democrats voted for it, even after various republicans had pointed out the errors , arguing that this very thing could happen! Absolutely amazing. Please read the article. The democrats should be getting hammered for this- but don't hold your breath. Establishment corruption at its best. Welcome to Chicago.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

God Bless the French

I have been an unabashed Francophile since becoming good friends with a frenchman upon whom I and the rest of the Socal skate/surf crew bestowed the coveted title of "Bro". So I celebrate with France Bernard D'Espagnat's Templeton Prize. His arguments justifying the rationality of the supernatural and even God are good and worth reading.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Or what, You gonna slap me? revisited

Obama supporter David Broder officially announced the end of the honeymoon for President Obama in a piece that has created a lot of discussion. Unfortunately the most important line he wrote is a throw away that has gotten zero attention. Toward the end he admitted, "Despite his popularity, Obama is not an intimidating figure and so he can expect to be tested time and again." I wrote about this in a January post Or What? You gonna Slap me? Because this by far the most critical and dangerous aspect of President Obama.

I grew up on the other side of the tracks in a heavily masculine, Mexican culture. A culture where "weak" men got no respect. Coming from this background one of my first solid impressions of the young president was that he was a pushover. As I wrote then, this is the kind of black man you see coming down the street... and cross to say hello. So what is going to happen when Obama runs into the clear and present dangers on the international scene? How is he going to impress the still Red Chinese? Ahmadinijab? The Dear Leader of North Korea? Boris "KGB" Yeltsin? Heck, Sarkozy has more moxy than the President and he's the president of France. The snubbed Gordon Brown has far more dignity and elegance (sorry Sean Penn) than teleprompt dependent Obama. I would guess that millions of blue collar and rough around the edges Americans with backgrounds similar to mine are already developing the same gut level lack of "intimidation" Broder so aptly identifies. What does that mean for the truly dangerous men? They are not so favorably disposed to President Obama as Broder and the elegance lover Penn. It's safe to say they see him with disdain, and will respond accordingly.

Huff and Puff and Blow their House Down!

It's rich to see a bunch of politicians who voted themselves a raise during a recession, and President Obama whose earmarks back to Chicago got his wife a 200k raise (but whose "important" job has now been mothballed since she's in Washington) complaining about the AIG bonuses. Methinks the lady doth protest too much... Or as one Kentucky good old boy once told me, "Throw a rock into a pack of dogs and the one that gets hit is the one that barks the loudest."

Today the almighty tele says...

It's like Russian roulette waiting to see what Obama's teleprompter will say this week. Last week it was full of optimism:

"We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before." — Tuesday's address to Congress.

Previously it had been all doom and gloom. Who knows what it will say next?! "The Browns will win the Superbowl" or maybe even "Eulalie!"

As we hit another Monday there's no way of knowing. It's like we have returned to some primitive moment in prehistory gathering around the altar waiting for our idol to dispense wisdom and knowledge. All hail President Obama, chief interpreter and Holy Man for the great and mighty Teleprompter.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I want my MTV

Many moons ago a sharp cat named Karl observed that religion was "the opiate of the masses." While being religious, I find that I can still agree with him on many levels. Religion does have a sedative or relieving effect for the believer. It offers a sense of hope beyond the tragedies of history. I have always thought that this explained one of the main differences between Leftists and conservatives. For even conservatives who are atheist still maintain many of the epistemological assumptions about certain transcendent realities that will exist regardless of tragedy or personal failure. Leftists on the other hand acknowledge no secure knowledge of anything transcendent and thus, find themselves forced to create heaven here on earth. This is why their activists are so much more passionate and religious about their politics- it's all they have.

But I digress. Sometime during the 20th century a new opiate made its way to the center of western civilization. An opiate even more numbing and desensitizing than previous ones: Hollywood. It has often occurred to me that the Right is wrong in thinking that the Left has no plan for defeating Radical Islam. The Left has the greatest and most culturally devastating weapon of mass destruction produced in the 20th Century. George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Brangelina, and company can wreak more havoc on an indigenous culture than any Special Forces operation. Just let em loose and you have complete and total cultural decay faster than a Sean Penn oscar acceptance speech. Sex, drugs, and rock n roll, baby. It's all you need to bring a culture down.

"Money for nothing and chicks for free." There is no greater opiate, no stronger narcotic than Hollywood. Millions of Americans care less about the recent election than they do about seeing the Dark Knight catch the Joker. Timothy Leary would be proud of our current culture with its ability turn on, tune in, and drop out. It also explains why so many Americans would vote for a man with no experience and little more than an astounding ability to read from a teleprompter. He is a new politician. He is Hollywood. Welcome to the new opiate of the masses. As long as they keep us entertained they can do whatever they want, consequences be damned. Because of this "celebrity politics" Obama may not be held accountable just like the rest of his colleagues in Hollywood. He can make or break any promises provided he just keeps us entertained. In essence, Obama is more Hollywood than Reagan or Schwarz. He lives in the same elite bubble and channels the same celebrity indulgences. We can forgive him everything as long as he keeps us entertained. Welcome the new opiate of the masses. Rock on.

Friday, March 6, 2009

No Solid Leadership on the Right

It's hard not to like Michael Steele. As a conservative Mexican, I can relate to him on a very deep level. I know how much the establishment hates us, and fights to undermine and demonize us. I am listening to him host Bill Bennett's radio show, and again I find myself liking the man. But I also liked what used to seem like a genuine honesty and sincerity in Barack Obama. But Obama's numerous lies and broken promises revealed (to me at least) the Chicago politician I now believe Obama to be. Michael Steel's first big blunder happened this week when he made his caustic remarks about Rush (a guy I am ambivalent about myself). So far the episode reveals more about Steele's ability to lead than any real rift between him and Rush. Where he goes from here is critical. So far he has not shown the flexibility, verbal skill, and quick wittedness necessary for the position of leading the republican party or even rebranding the party.

Listening to him I do feel like he could become that man- he just needs to learn to anticipate his opponents better. A few years in academia would have helped, as he could have learned to see and understand the Left better, which would have enable him to have better responses that reveal the weaknesses and hypocrisies of the Left. He is eloquent and comes off as a very genuine and likable man. Obama used to have the same effect on me, but his dishonesty has destroyed the charm. Steele needs to demonstrate that the Rush incident was a one time thing, and that he is not just another phony politician like Obama. It's up to him. Right now, the only real conclusions we have on the Right is that we have a vacuum in leadership.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One question settled...

To all those lunatic fringe conspiracy theorists who think President Obama is a Muslim: We now know beyond the shadow of any doubt that he is not, cannot, shall not, be a Muslim. He likes pork way too much...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Tale of Two Mexicans

Both of my grandfathers were proud Tejano (Texas Mexicans) Catholics. Each came to the states for different reasons, but they both loved America and were grateful to live here. They were also on opposite ends of the political spectrum. One was a democrat and the other was a republican. Back then that didn't matter much though, because they were fundamentally the same. This is because they had broader cultural connections through their ethnicity and their religion. Essentially they had shared values and beliefs in spite of their political differences.

In their simple, patriotic lives they encapsulate everything that has changed since the 60s. Prior to the 60s republicans and democrats were from the same culture, shared the same values. But the 60s brought a radical shift to "liberals" as they stopped being liberals and became Leftists. Millions of Americans have yet to understand this, and our current dialog does not help as we tend to use the word "liberal" instead of the more accurate "leftist." Why is this important? Well, for one thing millions of Americans still think of the democrats as liberals when in fact they are leftists. Why is this important?

Because a leftist is radically different from a liberal. I have written about this in my post "If 6 was 9" analyzing the fundamental dissonance between "liberals" who adore a Marxist thug like Che Guevera and liberals like JFK who would have opposed Che. This difference is extremely critical on an intellectual level because it explains the activism that has replaced scholarship in our universities. Leftists built a brave new world on a foundation laid by a number of important 20th century scholars like Thomas Kuhn, Michele Foucalt and a number of other important thinkers we can label under the broad term "postmodern." Bear with me because this obscure academic discussion has world changing implications for America and American culture.

Kuhn argued that even science was biased because it was filtered through subjective human beings. Complementing this argument Foucalt argued that things like "knowledge" and "truth" don't exist and all that really matters is power, and who has power. Think Nietsche. Truth does not matter, power does. This philosophy led to Stanley Fish and deconstructionism, which argues that meaning and truth are "deconstructed" into every text and every situation by a person's cultural norms and beliefs, but that those deconstructed interpretations have no real validity. Enter all these new fields of scholarship like ethnic studies, women's studies, and a host of other "disciplines" that function more like religions than disciplines.

In essence, truth becomes relative to the observer or the culture. So who cares? Well, how does one be a "patriot" in such a mindset? How can one country, one culture, one way of thinking be worthy of anything we call patriotism? On an intellectual level Leftists have no reason for such a thing as patriotism because it is an irrational concept within their frame of mind. There is no good reason to decry a leftists lack of patriotism, because they are being rationally consistent and intellectual honest. The "truth" behind patriotism is nonexistent. This explains why revisionism of western history is so important, because western culture must be proven to be no morally or culturally better than any other culture if Leftists assumptions are correct. In spite of the fact that major developments in the history of human rights, let alone the concept of "human rights" itself, came out of western culture. Such things must be proven to be accidents of history and not a result of the intellectual foundation of Greek and Judeo-Christian thought.

This is why we have abandoned Martin Luther King's ideas. His core principles were founded on western thought, western thinking and Christianity. Our government and our schools honor him once a year, and then spend the rest of the year actively undermining everything he valued in their focus on skin color and culture rather than character and ethics. We can even imagine a time when he will no longer be read in American schools because of the religious content of his
thought and arguments. This is why our high schools no longer teach "history" and instead teach something called "social studies." Social studies falls in line with postmodern thinking about ethnicity and history- less facts, more theory.

Ultimately, this is why our cultural institutions have abandoned the Founding Fathers. They do not agree with them. Their understanding of justice, and government are distinctly different because they are based on a completely different worldview than the Fathers. Again, there is nothing wrong with this, they could be right, but they are also extremely deceptive about these differences because they know that the vast majority of Americans still agree with the Fathers and not them. The answer for those with power, the postmodernists, is to undermine American culture before they discover the bait and switch that has been played. Don't teach history while simultaneously revising it to create an America and that is dirty, ugly, and imperialistic.

Ironically, my conservative grandfather sensed this years ago. He had a sixth grade Mexican education, but read a lot, and rose through the ranks before the days of slobbering multicultural obeisance to actually help draft real estate law and teach real estate at Texas Universities. Maybe that is where he sensed the inherent imperialism and deception of postmodern leftists. I can remember being fairly young and hearing him warm me about the deception of the new white man. I never really understood what he was talking about at the time, but his vivid descriptions of the Faustian deals he saw postmodern leftists striking with minorities across America eventually came back to memory when I saw them being enacted out in college.

My other grandfather, a committed FDR democrat never saw this and continued to vote for FDR well into the 90s in spite of the fact that the only similarity between democrats today and FDR is their love of failed government spending programs... Why is this important? Well, think of Rome, which failed not so much because of external defeat, but because of internal cultural decay. but more importantly, a democracy needs real transparency and honesty for the people to make informed decisions. Instead we find ourselves voting for a man who on one side of the country goes bowling and has a beer with the common folk before jetting off to a champagne San Francisco fund raiser and mocks those little people for clinging to their thundersticks and sky god. The same man who channeled voters frustration with Bush's spending, and then promptly spent more than Bush in his first two months in office.

Those are the immediate issues. But those are not the most important. What really matters are the long term cultural affects of such a situation. For a democracy to be healthy the people, the voters, need to be in the loop. Democrats and republicans no longer come to the table with the same culture and values. The broader and deeper connections my grandfathers had no longer exists, as the Left has adopted an entirely new and fresh way of thinking about humanity, the world, government and culture. Ironically, they are the preachers of multiculturalism and tolerance, but fail to act this out every time they call people on the Right intolerant, racist, bigot, homophobe, sexist, etc. Much of their cultural power relies on not acknowledging the cultural differences between them and the Right, because once they do, they have to be genuinely tolerant. In academia I have found this argument to be ab extremely successful wedge issue, because most honest Leftists will admit that we should think of the Left and Right as separate cultures, which has immediate implications about the incredible lack of real diversity on campus among other things... Maybe we can also learn to understand and dialogue about those differences better when we consciously accept the cultural differences. My students have told me that this revelation really made it easier to understand the other side of the political spectrum and not immediately dismiss the other side. We need to expand this to ther rest of the nation.

Both of my grandfathers liked each other and even went on hunting and fishing trips together, but that was because they were still from the same culture. Such is not the case anymore. Political difference amount to much more than a simple difference in preference- I like Coke but you like Pepsi kind of difference. They now reflect something more like the difference between an atheist and a theist. They are vast and huge and we need to explore them for the sake of the democracy.