l’Affaire Giuliani, or, “Does Obama love America?” No, and yes.

February 22, 2015
x

He loves one of these Americas

So, late last Wednesday, the MSM and the Left (I know, I’m repeating myself), exploded in outrage at comments made by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a dinner for likely presidential candidate Scott Walker at New York City’s “21 Club.”Speaking before the assembled guests, Giuliani stated with no equivocation that President Obama does not love America:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

With Walker sitting just a few seats away, Giuliani continued by saying that “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that and carry it out.”

“And if it’s you Scott, I’ll endorse you,” he added. “And if it’s somebody else, I’ll support somebody else.”

Naturally, the airwaves exploded as Obama’s defenders rushed to express outrage: “How dare he question Obama’s patriotism?” (Conveniently forgetting that Obama did just that to George W. Bush) There were demands for apologies and, of course, cries of “racism!” I’m only surprised no one screamed “lèse–majesté” and demanded Rudy’s head.

But, enjoying the furor he caused, Giuliani refused to back down. The next day on “Fox and Friends,” he went there again:

“I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents. And when it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter,” Giuliani said. “You can be a patriotic American and be a critic, but then you’re not expressing that kind of love that we’re used to from a president.”

Here’s video courtesy of Nice Deb:

If I understand that last sentence right, it sounds like Giuliani saying that a president cannot be critical of America and still love her. If so, then I respectfully disagree.

On the other hand, I think his general argument should be uncontroversial, when understood in a certain way: Barack Obama does not love America as she is. He does not love Americans as they are.

Bear with me for a bit.

To understand how it can be true that the President of the United States does not love the United States, we have to keep in mind his intellectual background:

  • His grandparents were very much on the Left (1), and his mother had a very left-wing education at her high school. She later married the Kenyan Barack Obama, the president’s father, who was himself on the far Left.
  • His mentor in Hawaii was Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA and a devout Stalinist who was savagely critical of America and its leaders. Davis was important to Obama, as one can see in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.”
  • As an undergraduate at Occidental College, we know from people who knew him that Obama was a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist.
  • Transferring to Columbia, and though his records are sealed, researcher Stanley Kurtz has made a strong case that Obama remained on the far Left, perhaps there first learning of community organizing, the profession created by “small c” communist Saul Alinsky, and becoming acquainted with James Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
  • In Chicago as a community organizer, again per Kurtz, Obama’s professional associations, direct and indirect, were all on the Socialist left: the crypto-Socialist Midwest Academy; his work with Socialist/communist community organizing groups ACORN and UNO of Chicago; his membership in the Socialist New Party; his close association –professional and personal– with former “small c” communist terrorist Bill Ayers; and the fact that he willingly sat for 20 years in the church of Reverend Jeremiah “God damn America!” Wright, a follower of Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
  • During his return to school at Harvard for a law degree, he was influenced by Professor Derrick Bell, the author of Critical Race Theory.
  • On his return to Chicago, he entered politics by running for the state senate seat of the retiring incumbent, Alice Palmer, a Socialist/Communist who was a great fan of the USSR. Palmer initially gave Obama her warm endorsement.

One could go on, but I think you the pattern: From the beginning of his life through his professional career to today, Obama’s intellectual and emotional world has been almost wholly on the “America stinks” Left, and there is no evidence that I know of that he has ever moderated or rejected those views, other than to go from revolutionary Marxism-Leninism to a vague democratic socialism or corporatism.

With that kind of background –strongly Socialist and racialist– why would anyone expect Obama to love a nation founded on principles of limited government, free markets, capitalism, and the sanctity of property rights? All  our strengths he sees as flaws, and our wrongs as our main legacy. Ace puts it nicely:

…our weaknesses are footnotes (and footnotes worth reading, as footnotes usually are) to our accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t see our failings as footnotes. He sees them as the main text. He sees America doing a few good things here and there (most importantly: electing him) as the footnotes.

A president who loves the “America that is” accepts her for what she is, acknowledging her faults but seeing her good works, her greatness, and her exceptionalism as far outweighing the bad, marking her as indeed something special in the family of nations.

Obama, on the other hand, loves an America, but it’s not the same America most of us know and love. You don’t really love something or someone you want to “fundamentally transform.”

Barack Obama loves the America of his leftist dreams: statist and corporatist, where equality of result is guaranteed through the pervasive intervention of the only real arbiter of fairness, the government. A nation wherein people are treated as members of groups, not as individuals.

So, the answer to the question “Does President Obama love America,” is both “no” and “yes.”

The president we should look for is the one who simply and honestly answers “yes.”

RELATED: Moe Lane on why the Left is really upset. Kevin Williamson, who says Obama not only doesn’t love America, he doesn’t even like it.

Footnote:
(1) Kengor, “The Communist,” p. 229, Kindle location 4412. And, before someone accuses me of picking on his family, their potential influence on his future views is very much germane.


What the hell is wrong with New Jersey prosecutors? #2A

February 18, 2015
Citizen! Have I got a job for you!

Good job, New Jersey!

Here’s the situation in brief: Gordon van Gilder is a 72-year old retired English teacher who lives in New Jersey. He also happens to have a hobby collecting 18th century memorabilia: coins, furniture, etc. Along came the opportunity to buy an antique 18th-century pistol. No bullets or powder, just the pistol. He and a friend drove to Pennsylvania to get it and then, on the way back, they were stopped by New Jersey police. Mr. Van Gilder cooperatively told the officer of the weapon in the glove box, and the officer promptly wanted to arrest him for violating New Jersey gun laws — for an antique pistol that wasn’t working. A superior talked some sense into the officer and told him to return the firearm and let the two men go. You’d think that would be the end of it, right?

Per Charles Cooke, think again:

The officer did as he was told, and gave the pistol back. The next morning, however, he came back — “with three cars and three or four sheriffs.” Van Gilders says, “He told me, ‘I should have arrested you last night.’” So he did. “They led me away in handcuffs” and, at the station, “chained me by my hands and feet to a cold stainless-steel bench.”

“I’ve never been handcuffed in my life — or arrested, even,” Van Gilder explains. “I was embarrassed and ashamed. The only prisoner there was myself: a 72-year-old English teacher. I was really ashamed.”

Before long, Van Gilder had been charged and the gun had been taken away for “ballistics testing,” almost certainly never to be returned. (That the department believes that a ballistics test on a flintlock pistol can be useful should give you some indication of who we’re dealing with here.) “They’ve angered me,” Van Gilder concedes. “But technically, by New Jersey’s law, the officer was probably right.”

The officer may have been right, but the law that officious jerk was enforcing is an ass. Now Mr. Van Gilder is facing a possible ten-year sentence with a minimum of 3.5 years without parole.

Remember the Obama administration’s risible claim that it had “prosecutorial discretion” to not enforce immigration law over a whole class of people? That was bunk, but here is a case where discretion should have been applied by by New Jersey authorities to refuse to prosecute a case that was clearly never contemplated under the state’s gun laws. Leave aside the fact that those laws violate Mr. Van Gilder’s Second Amendment rights, the very idea of humiliating him and then facing him with mandatory jail time over an antique pistol the federal government doesn’t even regard as a weapon is infuriating.

More Cooke:

Earlier this week, the lawyers’ group blog Popehat noted caustically that “none of the New Jersey founders who ratified the Constitution when this pistol was crafted would have questioned the man’s right to keep it.” This is indisputably true. Indeed, the news that an arthritic septuagenarian retiree had been tied to a bench for a non-violent crime would presumably have shocked them to the core. But, for all that their words live on, those leaders are dead, and we must look now to the ones that we have today. Where the hell are they? Where are the voices crying out for a change in the rules, and for a restoration of basic American liberties? And above all, where is the fearless Chris Christie — a man who seems to want to be president of the United States — when one of his constituents is being harassed by the state?

That’s a darned fine question, and I’d be very interested in would-be President Christie’s answer.

PS: As Cooke’s editors point out, you can help out with Mr. Van Gilder’s defense here.

PPS: And this isn’t the first time New Jersey prosecutors have tried to curb-stomp the Second Amendment.


The Hawaiian independence movement should be grateful…

February 10, 2015

Map of Hawaii

Via Moe Lane, I didn’t even know Hawaii had an independence movement, let alone that elements of the Chinese military had made noises about arming it in revenge for our help to Taiwan. Not that I give it much credence; I suspect the Judean People’s Front has more supporters.  One part did catch my eye, however:

Not surprisingly, both the Hawaiian state government and the federal government dispute the independence activists’ claims. Both have tried to placate the movement by offering to recognize native Hawaiians as an American Indian tribe, with the same level of independence Indian tribes have had within the U.S. system of government.

Siu says the federal government has dismissed the independence claims as “water under the bridge” arguing that because of long U.S. government control that past claims of independence are no longer valid.

“Native Hawaiian people are quite insulted to be grouped as an American Indian tribe and so that has been totally rejected by our people,” he said.

I’m not sure Mr. Siu will gain much sympathy for his movement by calling it an insult to be grouped with the American Tribal Peoples; in fact, I think he should be darned grateful the US government has never carried out this threat. The Indians received wretched treatment at the hands of the US, such that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The kindest thing we could do for these people is abolish the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Meanwhile with regard to the Chinese “threat,” these guys need to get out more.


San Francisco raises minimum wage, kills beloved local bookstore, residents shocked

February 8, 2015
Didn't pay attention

Didn’t pay attention

Call it a “teachable moment?”

Due to the new increased minimum wage law in San Francisco, a beloved bookstore and mainstay of the Mission District has been forced to close its doors for good.

The minimum wage for San Francisco workers, currently at $11.05 an hour, soars to $15 an hour in July 2018. The store’s projected labor costs, reported ABC7 News, impelled Borderlands Bookstore to write its final chapter.

The store owner had this to say:

In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.

But the best line came from one of the stunned customers:

“You know, I voted for the measure as well, the minimum wage measure,” customer Edward Vallecillo lamented. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses. I feel sad.”

Evidently Mr. Vallecillo and the other voters of the Special City were asleep during their economics lessons — assuming that’s even taught anymore. Let’s review, shall we?

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

(Aside: It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the Leftists on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a bill to prevent owners from doing just that. Can’t let the Kulaks get away with acting as if they own their own property, after all.)

In a functioning, literate polity that teaches its young fundamental lessons of civics and economics, an informed electorate could have looked at that proposal and said, “Nah, that’s going too far.” Instead, we have voters who feel good about themselves  for voting themselves more consequence-free stuff, and then feel sad when the consequences arrive.

Maybe they’ll learn something from the experience.

Nah.

RELATED: This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the consequences of ill-thought policy regarding the minimum wage. Seattle voted a high minimum, and now businesses are considering leaving. Some companies are considering replacing now-expensive minimum-wage workers with computerized kiosks. Los Angeles wants to raise the minimum to $13.25. Can’t wait to see how many entry-level jobs are lost thanks to that, or how many low-skill young workers looking for their first job are priced out of the market because of it. More from Ron Radosh, and more posts on the minimum wage.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sunday Book Review: “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century”

January 11, 2015

book cover kengor dupes

Dupes is good book on an important, under-covered aspect of our political history: the relationship over the last nearly 100 years between liberals and progressives, on the one hand, and the communists (big “C” and small “c”) who used them to advance their goals. The book is meticulously footnoted and historian Paul Kengor is scrupulously fair to his subjects, often at pains to point out that the targets of the communists’ most vicious attacks were not conservatives and Republicans, but anti-communist liberals, such as Harry Truman and Woodrow Wilson.

On the subject of dupes, Kengor writes:

This is a book about dupes, about those Americans who have unwittingly aided some of the worst opponents of the United States. Misled about the true aims of foreign adversaries, many Americans (and other Westerners) have allowed themselves to be manipulated to serve opponents’ interests.

He rightly notes that for the duped, the main enemy was always to the Right, not the communists who were committing atrocities year after year, to which these dupes were blind, sometimes willfully so. Among the revelations (or perhaps just “arguments settled”) in the book are Senator Ted Kennedy’s clandestine offer to cooperate with the USSR against President Reagan and the truth that most of the famous “Hollywood Ten” really were members of the Communist Party, or at least highly sympathetic toward Stalin.

The book brings the topic of “dupery” into the modern era by connecting the generations of communists and socialists from the 1920s through the 60s radicals (especially the SDS and Weatherman) to those same radicals’ connections to President Obama in his Chicago days. It closes with an intriguing look at whether Humphrey Bogart, who violently denounced the communists when he discovered he had been duped over the Hollywood Ten, was himself a member of the Party or at least very sympathetic toward it at a low point in his life in 1934. Again, Kengor is very judicious in his analysis of the available evidence.

If I have one criticism, it’s that the book seems more a history of the communists and socialists, than of the dupes they played for sometimes-willing suckers. Still, Dupes fills a gap in our country’s recent history and is well-worth reading. The book is available in Kindle and hardcover formats. As for the Kindle edition, I’m happy to say I encountered no typos or formatting problems, which are all too common in e-books. Kengor’s writing style flows easily, sometimes conversational, but is never unprofessional.

Recommended.

RELATED: I earlier reviewed Paul Kengor’s “The Communist,” his biography of Frank Marshall Davis, President Obama’s Stalinist mentor during his Hawaiian boyhood.


The Best-Ever Argument for Federalism

December 21, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Competition among the states as a check on the greed and foolishness of progressives, with Vermont as an example.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I’m a big fan of federalism for both policy and political reasons.

Returning programs to the states is the best way of dealing with counterproductive income-redistribution policies such as welfare, Medicaid, and food stamps.

Federalism is also the right way of unwinding bad education schemes like Obama’s Common Core and Bush’s No Bureaucrat Left Behind.

And the same principle applies for transportation, natural disasters, and social issues such as drugs.

And I can’t resist pointing out, for the benefit of those who think such things matter, that federalism is also the system that is consistent with our Constitution’s restrictions on central government power.

Simply stated, federalism is good news because we get innovation, diversity, and experimentation. States that make wise choices will be role models for their peers. And it’s also worth noting that states that screw up will provide valuable…

View original 1,153 more words


The eyeroller you knew was going to happen – California winter storm caused by “changing climate”

December 12, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Say it after me, kiddies: “Global Warming: Is there nothing it cannot do?” Sigh….

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

People send me stuff. This “never let a good crisis go to waste” dreck was sent to me today from a Madison Avenue PR outfit called “Climate Nexus” who doesn’t seem to know much about climate, or weather, or California. But, they can spin a good yarn. The storm impacting California today is just like hundreds of previous storms in recorded weather history, the only thing that is new is the desire to link it to climate change for political purposes. In my opinion, it’s bullshit of the highest order.

sat_pacific_640x480[1] The Winter storm hitting California today, claimed to be driven by “changing climate”.

FYI FOR JOURNALISTS

Northern California Super Storm Linked to Changing Climate

To: Journalists
From: Climate Nexus
Date: December 11, 2014
Re: The Climate Context of California’s Atmospheric River Storm

With the drought-causing high-pressure zone dubbed the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” pushed aside for now, a powerful…

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