Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What Wright Tells Us

And you thought we were through with Jeremiah Wright.

Like the media hounds Jackson and Sharpton, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright proved that he too can grab the spotlight and monopolize our televisions with his version of grievance politics, er, I mean Christianity.

Wright and his famous parishioner have been exchanging blows in the media and one has to wonder, why now? It’s been nearly two months since we began seeing Wright’s tirades and gyrations. We know this man has spewed hate from his pulpit and perpetuated racial screeds that are harmful to racial relations in this country, but why are we still wasting breath over this?

Perhaps because we might be witnessing a public sabotage to a presidential election. Obama had virtually wrapped up the nomination by the time that we began seeing these words of hate. I don’t wish to accuse the mainstream media of hiding bad news about the candidate they favor, but it does reek of the New York Times and the McCain-lobbyist "affair."

This parade of Obama’s poor judgment, be it Wright, or Bill Ayers, or Tony Rezko, demonstrates that he is not fit for the office which he seeks, an epidemic in this election year which is not relegated to Obama. In this poor judgment, people can see how inexperienced Obama is as well as how out-of-the-mainstream liberal he is. The "guns and religion" comment in San Francisco attests to his elitism.

The story is being told that Obama was the newcomer, someone who didn’t play by the politics of old. He was a reformer, a changer. Starting with his 2004 Democratic National Convention address, people have been intoxicated by his personality and charm. As Saturday Night Live captured, some people could only see the color of his skin or the mere tone of his voice. It’s a fact that a black man can be elected president in this country -- the Democratic primaries have demonstrated that Americans are willing to vote for a man with different color skin. But some, especially in the media, have thrust this black man to the forefront because they wanted a black president, any black president.

However, Obama the agent of change, represents very little that can be considered change. He is a far-left liberal, not a Republican-hugging centrist as even some GOPers believe. Is he a regular person like you and me? Probably not. His voting record doesn’t indicate anything other than he’s a straight-down-the-line liberal Democrat. He has no significant legislation to talk about. Obama apologists keep telling us he’s the real deal and the last best hope for this country and that these are just attempts at character assassination. But Obama doesn’t have any real accomplishments of which to speak. That’s one reason why people are so enamored by his personality. There’s nothing else about the man to admire!

But now the appeal of that personality may be waning. Obama lost Pennsylvania by 10 points, which was about what was expected. Certainly the comment about those bigots in the country didn’t help him, but we may have heard the real Obama with those words. There’s the public Obama, the one who loves everyone and is the secular Christ liberals have been dreaming of. But there’s also the Obama who worships at a church which spews racism and bigotry of its own, hob-nobs with lobbyists and domestic terrorists. And now we know that he will denounce his pastor, whom he earlier told us was like a member of his family and could not be denounced. Even Wright, when talking about why his famous parishioner and friend was suddenly (pardon the cliche) throwing him under the bus, has told us in not so many words, Barack has to say what he has to say to get elected. In other words, Obama is playing politics as usual and is not that magical agent of change who will create heaven on earth.

So, why talk about this media circus more? It tells us what we always needed to know about Obama: He does what’s expedient, he has played on his rock ‘n roll image to make up for his lack of experience, has probably played on the fact that many Americans do want to elect a black man to the presidency, and ultimately is no different from Hillary Clinton or any other liberal seeking this office.

And in much milder news, Pastor Chuck Baldwin won the nomination of the Constitution Party last weekend. No word yet on whether the God in his Bible damns America or not.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Neocon Delusion

Why is Jonah Goldberg defending neoconservatism? The author devoted his Wednesday NRO piece, to at least what his opinion of that bankrupt philosophy is. Goldberg is already known for skewering those who disagree with him as the title of his best-selling book, "Liberal Fascism," suggests. Interestingly, however, Mr. Goldberg doesn’t seem to leave much room for the Trotskyite heritage of neoconservatism’s founding fathers. The principle author Goldberg uses in his defense, it should be noted, is Robert Kagan, a neoconservative veteran.

With as poorly as the American enterprise in Iraq, the personification of militant neoconservatism, has been, why is this still the seemingly most mainstream school of conservative thought? So, we should probably briefly look at what neoconservatives have given us.

We have 5 years in Iraq, more than 4000 dead, well over $1 trillion so far, and the nomination of John McCain for president who promises more wars for starters. The Necons’ candidate has not only promised, "there will be more wars," and famously doesn’t know the difference between Shia and Sunni, but once on "Fox News Sunday" with host Chris Wallace, said that America is a superpower and the burden of responsibility to the world falls to it. So, the candidate also doesn’t understand the disaster of overextension. In light of this, I’d like to ask McCain and his war worshipers how being a superpower ever worked out in the end for Spain, England, and Rome.

All of them fell. In Rome’s case, they brought in immigrants (Germanics) with no sort of restriction and stood by while the empire crumbled more from within more than from without.

While immigration has always been an issue for our country, the Bush administration has been completely derelict in the patrol and enforcement of our borders, the southern border in particular. Because of that policy, the American Southwest is being ceded back to Mexico without any resistance. Do the neocons really think the Middle East is so important that it is worth having the military permanently stationed there, fighting Israel’s wars, while states in our own country are being shaved away?

So, while Goldberg tries to spin neoconservatism as something else, I contend that it has utterly destroyed the actual conservative movement. Not only is the military literally bleeding to death, but the whole Iraqi venture is bleeding the conservative movement of any credibility whatsoever. Conservatives once stood for prudence both domestically and abroad but both are now gone, I can only hope not forever. And Bush, whether with a Democratic or Republican congress, spends like the Great Society was not enough. All these facts notwithstanding, how can Mr. Goldberg’s defense (or spinning) of neoconservatism continue to hold any water? With all that has happened under the Bush administration, the neoconservative ship ought to be at the bottom of the sea by now.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Passion of Ben Stein

Over the years Ben Stein has played many roles. He was a speech writer for Richard Nixon, a game show host, and an actor whose roll call made him famous: "Bueller . . . Bueller . . . " You get my drift. But now Stein has taken on a huge challenge: the science community and the theory of Evolution in his film "Expelled."

Set upon the backdrop of the Berlin Wall, the movie symbolizes the rift between Evolution and Intelligent Design just as the wall was the physical barrier between democratic West Germany and Socialist East Germany. While academia is designed to be a place where ideas may be freely discussed, Stein’s film paints a picture that departs from the ideals of the ivory tower and has a message which resonates with readers of William F. Buckley’s inaugural classic "God and Man at Yale." Just as Buckley’s subtitle was "The Superstition of Academic Freedom," Stein’s could well have been "The Myth of Academic Freedom" or even "The One-Way Street of Academic Freedom." The truth in this film is that one has freedom academically, but only if they have the right position. Believing the right way may be the difference between earning tenure and losing one’s job, regardless of what their research indicates.

The film features several scholars from both sides of the Evolution–Intelligent Design divide. The film is structured in a way so that both sides of the argument may be heard. Appearing in the film is prominent atheist Richard Dawkins. The other side featured, among others, Alister McGrath, a Christian scholar with a background in molecular biophysics. The Evolutionists paint Creationism and Intelligent Design as identical theories, a claim which Stein makes nowhere in the film. In fact, the Evolution scholars by and large dismiss any possibility of an Intelligent Designer. It is a ludicrous theory and only those stupid Fundamentalist Christians think Intelligent Design has any merit or truthfulness to it. Translation: Evolution = smart people, Intelligent Design = ignorant people who rely on religion to cope with their existence and who wish to impose a theocracy, or even worse, bring prayer back into the schools.

The most chilling moments of the movie revolve around Evolution’s role in the eugenics movement, its impact on Nazi Germany, and its U.S. incarnation of Planned Parenthood. As a Jew, Stein is especially concerned about how Evolution contributed to the sick idea of the disposal of unnecessary people or those not worth the air they breathe. Hence, people who had disabilities or had the poor luck of being born Jewish were rounded up, sterilized, or simply put to death because they were deemed to be of no contributive value to the country. It is even scarier to think how that functions for much of the rationale for abortion in this country. It is still the disposal of people who would be considered burdens of the state or just born into bad situations. It’s disposal of people deemed unnecessary however one slices it.

The Evolutionists offered hypotheses to explain how life began which range anywhere from arising out of the primordial soup to being planted on earth by an intelligent civilization from another planet, which of course does not explain how life begins, just how life arrived here! However, the only unacceptable answer is anything that resembles God or any other sort of Intelligent Designer.

Everyone is still free to make their own decision on the matter, but Stein provides a new platform for Intelligent Design, and gives more than ample time for Evolutionists to answer criticisms, but for this reviewer, their only rationale for Evolution is, "It’s Evolution. It’s scientific fact and if you disagree with me then you, sir, are stupid."

And if you disagree with me, then feel free to crawl back into the primordial soup. Or Berkeley.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Quit pandering and just play ball!

Baseball, last week, celebrated a day which political correctness has turned into a practically meaningless event. And all this in the midst of presidential election which was supposed to transcend race.

April 15 marked the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game when he broke baseball's color barrier. In 1997, at the 50th anniversary of the historic event, Commissioner Bud Selig, in an act of racial and political pandering, forever retired Robinson's #42 with a grandfather clause. This year Major League Baseball decreed that any player could have the option of wearing #42 if they wish. That may be a fine tribute to a gentleman of the game but it comes with certain racial and political overtones. For example, what if a player chooses not to wear #42? Does that mean that a certain player is racist or wishes to spit on the grave of Jackie Robinson because he does not sanctimoniously don his number for a single day?

Now, Jackie Robinson was certainly a talented baseball player. There is no denying that. But every year about this time baseball fans are hit with a barrage of labels for Robinson such as "pioneer" and "trailblazer." To what point are baseball fans hit with this? It creates the impression that Robinson fought his way through all by himself to make it into something in American life which is a purely entertaining and vain activity: Baseball.

Let us not forget that it took Branch Rickey, General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers to first pick Robinson as the player that should cross the color line. This fact is not meant to diminish Robinon's achievements as a ballplayer but to remind people that there are more actors in this play. This uncomfortable fact also reminds us of the not-so-distant past when Hillary Clinton reminded many of us that although Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, it took President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act into law. Yet, there are endless numbers of MLK bridges and highways, yet almost none for LBJ outside of Texas. So, I suppose there is a great deal of irony in the most wasteful spender before George W. Bush getting nothing named for him, but I digress.

Baseball fans are also overwhelmed with stories about the disappearance of the African-American from the game of baseball. To which I ask, what about the disappearance of the white athlete in basketball and football? Nobody complains about the paucity of white athletes in these sports which are increasingly gaining an image of thuggery. The last time I checked, these institutions could employ whoever they wanted at the lowest possible price. Professional sports, after all, are businesses.

Anyway, if you have read this blog more than once or twice, you will also realize that I consider diversity to mean something more than simply looking different. This wonderful country is about achievement and discipline, two things for which Jackie Robinson can be clearly associated. And just looking at Robinson as simply the first black player horribly cheapens his accomplishments and only perpetuates racial issues which do not pertain to games. I move that rather than celebrate "diversity," we celebrate diligence and self-reliance, two traits which are supposed to be embodied by all Americans, not just professional athletes.

Play ball.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Where have you gone, Conservatives?

Why does Sean Hannity insist on brow-beating anyone who is to his right? It’s not so unusual to see Alan Colmes pummeled by the provincial Irishman but it’s altogether more objectionable against a man of conservative and libertarian principles.

Libertarian presidential hopeful Bob Barr appeared on Fox News’s "Hannity and Colmes" on Thursday night the 10th only to be maligned as unpatriotic, self-serving, hypocritical, and worst of all: "unconservative". Hannity spewed about McCain’s campaign promises and when Barr said he was reluctant to believe them Hannity flung this one: "So, you’re calling him a liar?" I probably would have said so if provoked like that but Barr took a higher road.

Hannity’s endorsement of Bush’s third term via McCain doesn’t really come as a surprise. McCain’s campaign promises to close the borders, lower taxes, and appoint strict constructionist (i.e. conservative) justices are as good as gold for Hannity. The record, however, suggests differently. Mainstream conservatives always seem to be screaming about how liberal Obama and Hillary’s records are (which they are) but that apparently doesn’t carry over to liberal Republicans who promise to carry on Bush’s policy of perpetual war in the illusion that it will produce peace . . . sometime . . . maybe . . . well, probably not.

Heads have been spinning and continue to spin over McCain’s comment about being in Iraq for 100 years and how it is supposedly taken out of context. Everyone is saying, "He means being in Iraq for 100 years with a presence similar to the one we’ve had in Germany for 60 years and the one in Korea for over 55. Okay, but that brings up the point of why we’ve been in those places for all this time. In our time in Germany the Soviet Union only receded and after the Korean War were never a threat to Central Europe. But what if there is an attack? some ask. There could be an attack anytime! But that does not mean we have a right to have bases and thousands of military personnel across the planet because we have a flawed belief that extremists around the world hate us because we are rich and free. We incite hatred and anti-Americanism because of our actions in the internal affairs of other nations with Iraq being the worst example and war with Iran fast approaching.

Continued military presence around the world is not the solution but the cause for many of our woes. National Review Online writer Clifford May, in a discussion of General Petraeus’s recent trip to Washington , says Iraq is the "heart and soul" of the War on Terror and calls Afghanistan a "strategic backwater." This is an astonishing statement to say the least. Afghanistan was the place that harbored the terrorists who attacked us that Tuesday morning. Iraq no did no such thing. But they could have, some say, but in fact they didn’t and had only gotten weaker and poorer since the Gulf War. Immediately after 9/11 we knew that our enemy was al Qaeda because they inflicted the wound. By essentially skipping over Afghanistan and taking out Saddam Hussein, we made new enemies for ourselves by engaging in an imperialistic war. And if we had not gone to Iraq we would probably not be in this proxy war with Iran. By biting off much more than we could chew, we opened a barrel full of worms. So, our government chose to ignore the counsel of our sixth president and needed to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy who are right now not only bleeding us to death but slowly destroying at the very least our prestige in the process.

And McCain has already promised more war! With what army and what unity of country? And what do conservatives see in McCain that makes his candidacy such a necessity? Well, we always hear, "But he's right on the war."

No. He is the most wrong, but Republicans seem more content to retain power than have any semblance of principles. Republicans used to be opposed to interventionist war. Hannity’s capitulation on McCain demonstrates this perfectly. Either Hannity (and many other "mainstream conservatives" for that matter) is ignorant or is loyal to party first and conservative values second. McCain throws out promises to cut taxes and nominate conservative justices despite a record that screams otherwise but promises more war. Now he gets the support of someone who despite his adulation to the contrary is not a conservative but simply a devoted party man. Libertarian Bob Barr could be the Ralph Nader to John McCain. With Ron Paul staying with the Republican Party Barr represents the greatest threat to McCain’s lust of power. A vote for McCain is a repudiation of conservative values whose strongest credentials are that he is for war and he is the prevention of an Obama presidency or a Clinton restoration.

That’s the best you have? He’s not the worst? It’s a tie if you ask me.

And in the worst irony of all, it is from Barry Goldwater’s old seat that McCain has orchestrated this dissolution of conservative values.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ignorance Marches On

The more things change the more they stay the same. As I page through my book of cliches, this old ditty sprung to mind.

Much of the rationale for continued support of U.S. presence in Iraq suggests that the world is a far different place because of what happened on September 11, 2001. Certainly anyone who lived through that shocking and tragic Tuesday morning will never forget it. But 9/11 was not the first instance of terrorism in human history. Terrorism, for centuries has been employed as a weapon of the weak. In short, it is not new.

Democracy, we are told, is the answer to terrorism. Free elections, representative government, and responsibility are the answer to hate. If these people can only vote and see how terrific liberal western democracy is, then these various ethnic and religious groups will finally get along, stop hating western culture, and support us in our fight against terrorism.

Wrong. This view of democracy presupposes realism and knowledge of the region and history in general. It additionally ignores human nature and views democracy as a utopian solution. A utopia, which in Greek literally means "no place," is absolutely true. It is a Garden of Eden which no longer exists on Earth. Adam’s sin expelled him and his wife and civilization as recorded in the Bible commenced. Eden is no longer with us and the world has been sinful, chaotic, and altogether self-serving ever since. Point being, people do not just choose benevolently to do the right thing or even the conscientious thing. People are sinful and self-centered and will almost always think of themselves first.

So, how could democracy just automatically supplant hatred? If one ethnic group hates another and suddenly gets a vote to discriminate or exterminate another ethnic group, they will likely do so.

And why institute democracy in the Middle East? Because we suffered through 9/11, the blowback from years of U.S. foreign policy? Human nature isn’t any different post-9/11. Our actions across the world indeed have consequences and they continue to do so. Terrorism has existed for a long time and I presume will persist until Judgment Day. President Bush promised to eradicate terrorism from the world but sinful people (which is everyone without exception) will not eradicate evil from the world any more than we can stop the sun from shining.

The point is that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were never threats to us. If Iran is a threat to us it is only because we have gotten bogged down in Iraq for the past 5 years. If Iran had uprooted regimes in Canada and Mexico, we’d probably be arming ourselves and finally guarding our borders, one would think.

Also, if we should have gone to Iraq because of Saddam’s human rights violations then why haven’t we done anything more to China (whose human rights violations greatly exceed Saddam’s) besides threatening to boycott the exhibition that is the Summer Olympics?

Perhaps we can put it to a democratic vote and hope that will give Christians freedom in China. That logic is working in Iraq, right?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Obama the Great Deceiver

Can you judge a man by the company he keeps? At least that’s how the saying goes. If that expression is to be followed, what can be deduced? Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, and Bill Ayers, are all friends of Obama and are all incredibly remarkable characters. These people are: a black supremacist, an embezzler, and an urban terrorist. The list just gets longer for Obama.
The is the man who was supposed to be the unifier this country needed with bipartisanship unseen since the days of Abraham Lincoln. But what about these characters?

I have said before that if listening to Obama’s rhetoric only and if one wanted to know where Obama worshiped, Trinity Church of Christ might be the last place one might think to look. But what about the man who consorts with an avowed terrorist, domestic or otherwise? Bill Ayers, Obama’s most recent shady acquaintance, has spoken of destroying the government, killing parents, and destroying the social order so clearly and definitively that it makes Trotsky look like a moderate.

So what does this say about the man who would be president? Obama himself says nothing of the sort of an Ayers or Wright but does it mean anything when a man seems to surround himself with such people who do?

I do not personally believe for one second that Obama is this unifying, nonpartisan so many people believe he is. His Illinois state senate record was straight down the Democratic line and his three insignificant years in the U.S. Senate have produced the most liberal voting record in that time. So, a black supremacist pastor, a corrupt businessman, and an urban terrorist can all call the Great Uniter their friend. Those aren't exactly unifying cronies.

Again, I have said before that the most magnificent lies are wrapped in the most beautiful of packages. There is a lot about Obama that we do not know yet but he has been given an unquestionable benefit of the doubt. The less we know about him, the more he will be able to get away with once he wins the Oval Office.

The company one keeps says a lot about a person. This man was supposed to transcend race and heal America but for 20 years had a pastor who routinely spewed hate at his own country. He was supposed to be the first honest politician, but he counts an embezzler among his friends. And an urban terrorist counts among them as well. Obama apologists have already bellowed that this is all circumstantial and really says nothing about the man. That aside, does this sound right for America?

If you need an example to further illustrate this duplicity, imagine if George W. Bush had a mere acquaintance who bombed an abortion clinic.

How’s that for hope in America?