Giving thanks for the lone defender of freedom

November 28, 2010

John Yoo, a Korean immigrant to the United States, has written a brief meditation for Thanksgiving on what America’s willingness to stand up to tyranny has meant, occasioned by the North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong Island. An excerpt:

Wars in both Korea and Vietnam sent important signals to the Soviet Union and China that the United States would continue to resist communist expansion forcefully.  While Korea was a stalemate, and Vietnam a defeat, communism did not spread in Asia and America’s defense allowed nations such as Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, at first, and now others like Indonesia and Maylasia to rise out of poverty.   This all may have served the interests of the United States, but it should not be forgotten that the United States sent its men and women to fight and die on foreign lands so that people they never knew might live a more prosperous, peaceful life.

In the midst of our internal squabbles, the words of an immigrant serve to remind us of the unique role we’ve played in preserving human liberty.


The sea is rising! The sea is rising!

November 28, 2010

If only we had listened to the Goracle!

That’s the global-warming alarmist’s version of Chicken Little’s cry “the sky is falling!” They warn us that, thanks to mankind and the greenhouse gases he pours into the atmosphere, the Earth’s temperature will rise, the ice caps will melt, and coastal cities will be flooded.

Disaster!!

Calm down, little cultist. Your religion may demand that we be punished for our sins against Mother Gaea (Warming and sea-level rise… fire and flood?), but it’s not the catastrophe you think. There is such a thing as land subsidence along coasts, and the sea level has been rising gradually since the end of the last ice age. You don’t need evil spirits greenhouse gases to explain it.

And, all that aside the predictions of disaster from sea-level rise are risible, as Anthony Watts shows, using the History Channel’s dire predictions for Manhattan as an example:

Yeah, [the water level at Battery Park is] headed up, wayyyy up. 2.77 millimeters per year. So, to get the levels in the photo and 3D GE model shown above, we’d need to do some simple calcs.

The Google Earth 3D model is easy. It specifies a 3-5 meter sea level rise, so we’ll call it 4 meters.

For calculation purposes, we’ll assume sea level rise to be linear, and round up the Battery Park tide gauge rate to 3.0 mm per year, which puts it closer to the 3.1 mm per year measured by satellite and published at Colorado State University’s Global Sea Level Page.

4 meters = 4000 millimeters

4000 millimeters /3.0 millimeters per year = 1333 years

Read the whole thing; Anthony uses other examples to demolish History Channel’s hysteria-laced argument, and finds the study of Manhattan’s history of land reclamation since 1640 to be most illuminating. Between the time needed for the seas to rise catastrophically and Mankind’s adaptability and creative use of technology, we’ll be in a new ice age with the water being locked up before we’re ever flooded out.

Rest easy, Chicken Little.


Sunday Book Review: Radical in Chief

November 28, 2010

One of the salient features of the 2008 presidential campaign was the obscured background of the Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama. While the basic facts were known (Born in Hawaii, lived in Indonesia, graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, community organizer and state senator in Illinois), certain areas were kept hidden from the public: his school records at Columbia and Harvard, and his state senatorial papers, for example. Thanks to a compliant press more interested in Sarah Palin’s tanning bed than the character and beliefs of a man who might (and did) become president, by Election Day in 2008 we knew little about what Barack Obama believed and what experiences shaped him. While a few researchers raised troubling questions, we instead were left with the image his campaign and media allies projected and protected: a post-partisan liberal pragmatist.

According to journalist Stanley Kurtz in his new book, Radical in Chief: Barack Obama and the untold story of American Socialism, it was all a deception, a lie to conceal the truth: that President Obama is and has always been a committed Socialist.

To tell this story, Kurtz also has to take us through recent history of the American Socialist movement itself, from the crack-up of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the late 1960s through the ideological struggles between the radical Weathermen and NAM factions, on the one hand, and the Democratic-Socialist groups that sought incremental change. The former advocated direct action and confrontations leading to revolution based on an alliance of radicalized Blacks supported by Socialist activists and an “awakened” middle class. The latter felt the United States was not in a pre-revolutionary state (the failure of the government to collapse after Nixon’s resignation stunned many SDSers), and that the best way to advance Socialism was to work through organized community groups (sound familiar?) and sympathetic politicians to pressure corporations from below and above. Changes would be gradual and would involve both creating entitlements that would be hard to take away, and “non-reforming reforms,” that would purport to fix a problem while actually making it worse and, eventually, precipitating a crisis that would make the American people open to Socialist solutions. The infamous Cloward-Piven strategy is one example.

It is this latter faction that became dominant and in which, according to Kurtz, Barack Obama found a home.

Kurtz traces two threads that converge in Chicago: the rise of Socialist-dominated community organizations and Barack Obama’s intellectual awakening as a community organizer that lead him from New York to Chicago. The former covers community organizing’s origins as a largely Socialist profession and takes us through both well-known groups, such as ACORN, and more obscure (outside of the Socialist community) ones, such as the Midwest Academy and UNO of Chicago. We encounter Socialist activists who are nearly household words these days -Bill Ayers, for example- and others who are influential behind the scenes, such as Greg Galluzzo, Harry Boyte, and Heather Booth. All of these and more became part of Obama’s network as a community organizer and a rising politician. He benefited from their connections, and they later benefited from the money and influence he could funnel their way as a board member on several foundations and as a state senator.

The other thread traces Obama’s intellectual development. Kurtz touches on his teenage association with Communist Party member Frank Davis in Hawaii and his open Marxism-Leninism at Occidental College, but focuses on his introduction to the combination of Socialism and community organizing at the two or three Socialist Scholars Conferences he attended while a student at Columbia University, and on his exposure tothe Black Liberation Theology developed by James Cone, which lead him to… Chicago and Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

As Kurtz shows us this complicated and tightly-woven tapestry, he wants us to bear two things in mind: first, that the strategy of the modern incrementalist Socialists has been to disguise their Socialism (except among themselves), knowing that most Americans would reject doctrinaire Socialism if offered openly. Instead, it is clothed in terms of pragmatism and community and American values to make the program palatable to more people, only revealing the Socialist goals behind the community organization’s plans to a dedicated few. Second, that Barack Obama himself adopted this deceptive strategy to disguise his own Socialist leanings as he presented himself to the targets of his organizing efforts and then the voters.

Along the way, Kurtz examines the controversies that arose during Obama’s campaign -the associations with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, his service on the boards of the Woods Fund and the Chicago Annenberg Project, and his membership in the ACORN-controlled New Party- to see what the truth was. In each case, Kurtz concludes, either by direct documentation or strong deduction, that Barack Obama and his allies have at best been misleading or have flatly lied about these and other issues. He also shows that, had the mainstream media even done a modicum of genuine investigative work, much of this could have been uncovered, likely derailing Obama’s presidential aspirations.

In the end, Kurtz seeks to answer two questions: Is President Barack Obama a Socialist, and, now that he is in office, does his past matter? He answers both in the affirmative. Kurtz argues, and I agree, that the weight of the evidence shows that Barack Obama was not only a committed Democratic-Socialist in his early life, but that there is no evidence he ever changed his beliefs, either as a state senator or as president. Indeed, Kurtz uses the example of the supposed craziness of pushing ObamaCare in the face of terrific opposition and at great cost to the Democratic Party to show Obama following the strategies of an Alinskyite community organizer, willing to take a short-term setback to get a long-term, irreversible change. Instead of crazy, Kurtz says, Obama may be crazy like a fox.

Regarding his second question, Obama’s past matters now because, as the President and his allies have gone to such lengths to hide these Socialist values, it is only through studying his days in New York and Chicago that we form a clear idea of the path on which he wants to take America as its president. Should he run for reelection, they will again try to present him as a pragmatic problem-solver seeking to bring people together for common solutions. (This time, one expects, they’ll be greeted with guffaws.) It is up to us, since the major media will hardly help, to bear in mind the truth of Obama’s past to see through the moderate-liberal haze and focus clearly on the Democratic-Socialist reality.

Radical in Chief: Barack Obama and the untold story of American Socialism is an excellent book that should be on the short list for all those interested in modern American politics and the direction of the nation. Stanley Kurtz takes the complex stories of man and movement and, through extensive research and with meticulous footnoting, presents them in a clear, compelling fashion that makes a strong case.

Highly recommended.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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