Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Neoconservative Carol

If someone locates my facebook profile, they will find a list of movies that includes "Airplane!" and the highly popular "Naked Gun" trilogy, all by the famous brothers Jerry and David Zucker. The classic spoofs have mocked movies and popular culture to my delight for years. This year, David Zucker, having had a political conversion of sorts, made a movie all neoconservatives and fervent war supporters are sure to love, “An American Carol.”

Responding to left-wing antiwar movies “Rendition” and “Redacted” that American soldiers were nothing more than murderers and that the whole War on Terror is nothing more than a crock, “An American Carol” sets to portray American soldiers as noble warriors volunteering out of selfless service to country and a burning obligation to defend freedom.

Kevin Farley, a lovable blob like his late brother, plays the fictitious Michael Malone, a character obviously based on socialist filmmaker Michael Moore, and a character whose only ambition is to see the United States dismantled. Kelsey Grammer breaks out of his Frasier Crane role to play the ghost of General George S. Patton. Through his airy portrayal, the audience is expected to believe that the dead Patton is even more “all-war all-the-time” than the live one. Together, the odd couple travels through history, a la “A Christmas Carol” to see how war has been used for good.

The central message of the movie seems to be that all wars are good as long as they are waged by the United States. In it, there is a sophomoric re-enactment of the infamous Munich peace conference of 1938 where that blundering idiot of a British prime minister Neville Chamberlain signed over the Sudetenland to Hitler, thus sealing the West’s fate by helping the Austrian corporal launch World War II. This comic book version of the events of 1938 is enhanced by the presence of the Japanese at the European peace conference, presupposing that like all wars, the nefarious henchmen are all united against everything that is good and free, i.e. the United States. It reminds one of President Bush’s now-infamous “Axis of Evil” speech in 2002, where he named Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as state sponsors of terror determined to threaten the United States, as if they were all united in a 3-headed monster of evil.

Back to the fake Munich: the point of this charade was to tell the audience that even talking to a potential adversary is tantamount to surrender, a classic neoconservative argument. And if you talk to that opponent, then expect them to become a genocidal maniac who will wage war on as many continents as possible.

On a note of history, the British probably could not have cared less whether ethnic Germans living in Czechoslovakia lived under German rule or Czech. The Munich conference was anti-climactic: war in Europe was probably already an inevitability once Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland in 1935 with no resistance, not when the Czech Germans were signed over to Hitler. And if anyone cares, the Japanese were thousands of miles from Munich.

Just as ludicrous was the characters' trip to a southern plantation where, in a world where there had been no Civil War, slavery still existed and the South’s “peculiar institution” still thrived. Never mind the fact that slavery vanished everywhere else in the West through gradual emancipation, not through bloody wars. The audience is supposed to believe that despite all the modernization and industrialization of the North, chained humans would be still be picking cotton to this day. Here is where the neocons’ undying devotion to Lincoln shines through: the ill of slavery could only be accomplished by war and no one can question the methods Lincoln used to bring them about. Today, the neocons impress upon the country that the president has unquestionable authority to fight terrorists and that the only way to defeat a network of terrorists not tied to a country is to invade and make war on countries we don’t like.

But perhaps the most unconscionable scene of the movie was a group of soldiers about to be deployed, who were all praying. I do not contest a soldier’s right to pray, but the scene presupposes that American soldiers are on a divinely ordained mission to bring democracy to the Middle East. They may as well have opened up the Bible and said that salvation comes through the United States.

The prayer scene also smacks of emptiness because in it, the soldiers are supposedly praying for their own protection in battle. But in war, there is an unavoidable atrocity known as “collateral damage,” which is what happens when unintended targets, oftentimes civilians, get caught in the bombing of a strategic target. It is unfortunate and every war has to deal with it. What is unconscionable is the indifference many in our country have for it. Many Christians in this country think of our country’s venture into Iraq as a divine mission or that George W. Bush was ordained to become our president. War is a spiritual experience in this flick which is unsurprising since war is the chief article of the neoconservative faith. If there should be any praying done in war, my unsolicited opinion suggests it should be for its speedy conclusion, for one’s own protection, and for the protection of innocents. It rings hollow when Christians wail over the atrocity of abortion but are strangely silent when fellow innocents unjustly die in war.

Regarding all this cynicism spewing from my keyboard, someone might be wondering, why all this fuss over a movie? The Zuckers’ lampooned airplane disaster movies in the early 1980’s to the delight of many. Why is this movie any different? It is different because the issue of the movie is an always hot political topic: war. The other Zucker movies have been light-hearted and even a little political. In the second “Naked Gun” movie (“Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear) President George H. W. Bush is portrayed as a bumbling fool and all the surrounding special interest groups are only concerned with destroying the environment. Since the early 1990’s, David Zucker has had some sort of conversion to the mainstream Right where war is the only answer.

There is still some slapstick humor, but it is forced and it gets clouded over by the political tones. The other Zucker movies are completely unserious and are a distraction from the trials of reality. Therefore it made laughing at this movie a little more strained because it took the matter of war so lightly. Yes, it was still a moderately funny movie but not the side-splitting one expects from previous Zucker flicks.

In this blog, much has been written about neoconservatives, their glorification of war, and their constant need for it. There are books one could read about neoconservatives, but watching “An American Carol” is a good introduction to the propaganda of their worldview without all of the hassle of actually reading.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Palin Destruction

Many were shocked when John McCain selected Alaska governor Sarah Palin while others were excited. I was perked up by the selection and even spent half an hour considering voting for Mac after all. That dissipated after I threw a bucket of cold water on my face: Sarah Palin might be a real conservative, but she has been condemned to the McCain agenda, and there lies her own destruction.

Much attention has been heaped on Mrs. Palin’s dismal showings in national interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric. The national media’s apoplectic hatred of the governor is the reason the interviews received so much attention in the first place. If she had been quick and articulate, no one would have ever heard of the interviews. Instead, the muddy answers had to be put on a loop because otherwise, only about a dozen senior citizens would have known about it. That doesn’t excuse the governor’s ambiguous responses, but it is something one should expect when a literal outsider gets dropped into a national campaign and is expected to shine. Providing vague answers does not mean someone is clueless but is still becoming acquainted with the agenda. It is an indicator that the McCain platform of eternal war and unlimited government was not in her DNA.

Critics wailed that she was not qualified for the office of vice president, especially since the man at the top of the ticket was hooked up to a breathing machine and feeding tube. But that brings up an interesting question: just who is qualified to be president? What job in either the public or private sector actually qualifies someone for the current job description of president, especially with all the powers which are not delegated to them in the constitution? Being a community organizer? Being a politician in Alaska? Flying missions over North Vietnam 40 years ago? I don’t think so.

Despite all that, there were soon catcalls for Mrs. Palin to be dumped, obviously from the Left, but even from the Right. Writing at Bush administration organ National Review Online, Kathleen Parker suggested that she be thrown overboard, and one can only assume it is because the governor was not parroting the Bush-McCain forever war message clearly enough, since that is the issue which most concerns them. It’s not about social issues, cutting spending, or doing anything about obtaining energy independence - it’s about the war, stupid. John McCain’s main issue is the war and she doesn’t do it well enough for them.

What really condemns the McCain-Palin ticket is the McCain message itself. This cacophony about the terrible candidacy of Sarah Palin is a ruse. This election was never really about the issues. If it was, then both Barack Obama and John McCain would have been defeated long ago. Mr. McCain won the nomination because he was a war hero. Mr. Obama won his nomination because the voters thought they wanted change but mostly wanted to elect a black man out of white guilt.

The problem is that Sarah Palin IS a conservative. Despite public denials, she probably was a Buchanan Brigader, she cut wasteful spending, lives out her pro-life views, and actually addressed the pro-secessionist Alaska First Independence Party. Imagine any southern politician addressing a League of the South or Sons of the Confederacy gathering. While pro-secessionist tendencies and admiration for the old American South were common among conservatives, the southern cause is not appreciated by the neoconservatives who turned conservatism into something diametrically opposed, but I digress.

The problem is not that Sarah Palin has some political deficiency. The problem is that she is a conservative who is running on a liberal’s ticket and thus has to defend a liberal’s record. That she struggles and stumbles should give authentic conservatives some hope. It means that when she is giving the McCain campaign stock answer, she is probably racking her brain to make sure she doesn’t let her conservatism slip out. After all, Mrs. Palin expressed support for Mitt Romney and admiration for Ron Paul. One acted like a conservative while the other is the closest there is to an outsider who is actually in Washington. A McCain or Establishment Republican she is not.

Contrary to popular regurgitation, Sarah Palin is not a hindrance to the McCain campaign. She did not tell her running mate to say, “The fundamentals of the economy are strong.” She did not force Mr. McCain to suspend his campaign, feign interest in the financial debacle, and then vote for the bailout. The McCain campaign is self-destructing but Sarah Palin is not the culprit, John McCain is. The only remaining enthusiasm for the failing campaign is because of Mrs. Palin. John McCain has never been a big crowd-grabber. Now he cannot be seen without her. She is the one drawing crowds for the Republican ticket, not the donkey in elephant’s clothing. After months of struggling to get the religious vote, John McCain finally secured it with the selection of Sarah Palin. His support in the election is stronger because of his running mate, not weaker. If the McCain campaign is weaker now than it was in mid-August, it is because of McCain himself.

This fuss over Sarah Palin and her conservatism is noteworthy because many traditional conservatives have sold their souls during the Bush administration. They latched on to the Bush administration like it was the second coming of Ronald Reagan. When President Bush became discredited, the conservatives who attached themselves to him became discredited as well. When people see conservatives defend someone who expanded the welfare state as well as the warfare state, they are apt to think that conservatives stand for all those things too.

Conservatives who bellowed against President Clinton’s bombing of Kosovo have defended the Iraq war to the bitter end of the Bush years. Conservatives screamed in defiance of Bill Clinton’s spending but looked the other way when George W. Bush and the Republican congress spent in ways that made Mr. Clinton look like the conservative. And once the presidential race became a contest between John McCain and Barack Obama, most of these same conservatives on the radio and in print, threw their lot in with Mr. McCain, a worthless and liberal candidate. Better a Republican than a Democrat, even if both are liberal.

Let us hope, even if it is just for her sake, that the Republican ticket loses. So perhaps one conservative can keep her soul.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chuck Baldwin for President

In a year of endless presidential endorsements for John McCain (Jon Voight, Chuck Norris, Tom Selleck) and Barack Obama (the rest of Hollywood and all other narcissists), I don’t suppose another endorsement could possibly cause any more damage.

Perhaps this is not an official endorsement. Endorsements typically come from celebrities who don’t feel they get enough attention. On this issue I tend to agree with, of all people, Kid Rock. One of the only remaining singer-songwriters honestly admits that he does not understand much about politics and cares little for celebrities who endorse candidates. He says that celebrities don’t understand politics and now they tell us how we should vote. It’s just another chance to force their views on the American people, the rocker tells us. This is especially true when most celebrities’ reason to vote for someone like Barack Obama is that he "represents change" and "has the ability (i.e. race) to unite like FDR, Kennedy, and Reagan." Blah Blah Blah. Love Me. Blah Blah Blah. Celebrity babble.

So, please think of this as my explanation for voting for Dr. Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party.

As the two major candidates continually prove that neither major party has the fortitude to lead, 2008 would seem like the perfect year for a 3rd party to break through and shake things up. Republican Ron Paul would have been an obvious choice to disrupt the balance of the two-party system but Dr. No was content to remain in his congressional seat. Fair enough.

Bob Barr, former representative from Georgia, threw his hat in the Libertarian race and generated some enthusiasm. Mr. Barr wrested the nomination on the sixth ballot and is running with self-promoter Wayne Allyn Root. Enthusiasm for the Barr-Root ticket faded as more people realized that Mr. Barr is really just a Republican posing as a libertarian in order to cash in on Ron Paul’s popularity. When antiwar sentiment drew a million voters to Dr. Paul in the Republican primaries, it made sense that a consistently antiwar candidate would pick up that block of the vote. But while he was still in Congress, Mr. Barr voted for the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act. Today, he still says he would have supported the war, but would have executed it in a different way. In a nutshell, Bob Barr has the same Iraq position as John McCain. Likewise, Mr. Barr’s running mate says the invasion of Iraq was a disaster, that it should not have happened in the first place, and that the situation is such that he would not leave. The folks at are correct in attributing “neocon” status to the 2008 libertarian ticket.

That was the case against Bob Barr. The case for Chuck Baldwin is that he is a genuinely antiwar conservative. The host of the “Chuck Baldwin Live” radio program is a Baptist minister (W. James Antle III dubbed him "Reverend Right"), a syndicated columnist, and was the vice presidential nominee of the Constitution Party in 2004 when he ran behind Michael Peroutka. His website,, is a repository of Dr. Baldwin’s writings, dating back to 2001. If anyone wishes to inquire about any of Dr. Baldwin’s positions, they are easily accessible. Also found are articles written by an assortment of journalists and other writers on topics ranging from foreign policy and immigration to trade and economic policies. To my knowledge, he is the only candidate in this year’s race who actively spoke out against the nation’s banking problem.

Dr. Baldwin repeatedly invokes Dr. Ron Paul in his writings. He particularly supports the good doctor’s “Sanctity of Human Life” amendment, which Dr. Paul brings up annually in Congress, only to have it voted down or killed in committee. One of Dr. Baldwin’s hammering points is that Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress for six years and did nothing to alleviate the abomination of abortion. Many values voters keep voting for the GOP because they have been duped by the party on the issue of judges. The logic goes that if enough conservative judges are appointed to the Supreme Court, then they can overturn Roe v. Wade. Republicans are more conservative, so they are the best bet to get abortion outlawed. But Sandra Day O’Connor, John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter, foes to values voters both past and present, were all appointees of Republican presidents. And if the Republican establishment knows they will always have the antiabortion vote, then what incentive do they have for nominating justices who actually would outlaw abortion? And Dr. Baldwin knows that if abortion would be overturned in the country, it has to be through an act of Congress, in whose authority the issue lies.

But perhaps Chuck Baldwin’s chief issue in the 2008 election surrounds America’s national sovereignty. He, like myself, is disturbed at the immigration mess that is literally turning the American southwest into “Mexamerica,” a region that is neither America nor Mexico in any definable way. He opposes the proposed NAFTA superhighway, which would connect the trade of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, as if the three supposedly sovereign nations had no border whatsoever. Dr. Baldwin insists that as national sovereignty fades away, so too will the remaining liberties of our nation. As a conservative Christian, Chuck Baldwin understands the value of religious liberty, for all religions, and how the de facto merging of the three North American nations could not guarantee religious liberty for anyone.

Now for a brief note on character. This summer there was a demonstration dubbed the “Ron Paul March on Washington,” an event orchestrated to oppose the continued war in Iraq and the federal government’s perpetual encroachment into the lives of its citizens. There, Dr. Baldwin was scheduled to speak for a substantial amount of time, but voluntarily withdrew some of his allotted time out of respect for Dr. Paul‘s schedule. In an election where all third party candidates were yearning for a Ron Paul endorsement and any connection to the man, Chuck Baldwin resisted and humbly declined to lobby for the physician’s vote of confidence. He repeatedly says that if Dr. Paul was currently in the race, he would not be running himself. He insists that the message of liberty is stronger than any one candidate and that he is not necessarily the best person to be its spokesman, but accepts it as the candidate of the Constitution Party. The resistance to lead is the most qualifying characteristic for a good leader. While Chuck Baldwin might have that characteristic, George Washington definitely had it, which made him the great leader he was.

I will not sit here and tell anyone that they must vote for Chuck Baldwin because I am or because I say so. I am voting for Dr. Baldwin because he has well-articulated opinions and positions with which I agree. I cannot agree with him on everything (a look at Martin Luther's Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms should be in good order), but his positives far outweigh his negatives. He is not running on name recognition or riding on someone’s coattails. In a country whose federal government causes more problems than it solves, I am voting for someone who preaches limited government, a message found in neither the Republican nor the Democratic party.

*I am not picking on Mr. Hanks by posting his video but it is merely one example.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Screwed coming and going

The events of the last two weeks, ie. the recent Wall Street crisis and impending $700 billion bailout, clearly demonstrates why each of the nominees and their parties are unfit to lead. John McCain suspended his presidential campaign to return to Washington last week in order to address the fiscal crisis that will result in the nationalization of our country’s banking system. After doing nothing and coming off as brutish in the debate, Mr. McCain proved himself inept. Continuing to shirk his senatorial responsibilities, the only contribution to the situation from the freshman senator of Illinois was an aloof, “Call me if you need me.” Now tell me, do you have the Messiah on speed-dial?

As last Friday’s debate approached, observers believed it was going to be exclusively about foreign policy. Not that I looked forward to 90 minutes of Senator McCain’s saber-rattling, but about half of it was dedicated to the financial mess and what each bonehead would do. It told us precisely why neither candidate should win. John McCain used the time to take a few new positions on the bailout, while it was the opportunity for Mr. Obama to tell the country that there isn’t a federal regulation he doesn’t like. (Lending institutions are bankrupt? Let the government take care of it! Public schools don’t teach enough sex ed? Let the government take care of it! Can‘t say anything nice about Barack Obama? Well, the government can take care of that - and you - too) One candidate promises intervention into the economy of our country while one candidate promises military intervention into other countries. Is there anyone still alive who remembers when the United States was a free country?

Regarding the financial debacle, Republicans point at Democrats while Democrats blame the Bush economic policies that (in their minds) forced banks to lend out money they didn’t have. It would be comical if not so tragic that the most irrelevant House speaker of all time, Nancy Pelosi, continually asserts that Democrats bear no blame for the bad money policies that are biting the country on the back side. As bad as the Republicans were, especially during the first six years of the Bush administration, it was the Democrats who promised in 2006 that they would end Mr. Bush’s atrocious war in Iraq and end Washington’s “culture of corruption.” Little did anyone know that it was only the corruptive majority party that would change. As for the economy, the Democrats blame the upcoming depression on the president “because it happened on his watch.”

That would seem a pretty damning charge, but Democrats Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who each head committees on banking, have each received generous amounts of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Despite receiving warnings, the two corrupt politicians continually claimed that the institutions were stable and intact. Considering what we know now, then we should probably assume that because the Democrats were the controlling party of the whole legislative branch, then they are also responsible. They were the ones truly just watching as the economy collapsed. The absurd $700 billion bailout serves only to save their own butts and the butts of their partners in crime. If knowingly lending out unsupported money to unsuspecting people is not a crime, then I guess neither is waging an aggressive, undeclared war against a country that never attacked us. Just a little something for Democrats to chew on.

Barack Obama can probably coast to the White House now. Before the primaries, John McCain infamously said that he did not understand much about the economy. He spent the past week proving it (somewhere Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee and probably sobbing). Barack Obama demonstrates more competence in talking about economics, regardless of whether the content he knows will be useful for taxpayers. People will be more willing to trust him to handle money matters.

Even after eight relatively good years, the American masses tend to tire of the incumbent party. While Ronald Reagan was not quite as spectacularly loved during the 1980s and Republicans gloat, his general popularity did not immediately benefit Vice President George H. W. Bush. And despite Bill Clinton’s little impeachment problem, his enormous popularity did little to help Al Gore. In 2000, George W. Bush and the Republicans tied Mr. Gore to Mr. Clinton, despite the latter’s popularity. Even though George W. Bush’s popularity probably does not need to be reiterated here, it helps to show how the GOP nominee, whoever it would be, was in for an uphill struggle. The incumbent party is always bound to face trouble after eight years in the White House. Incompetence and corruption would only compound the situation, paving the way for the opposition party.

So, what to do? My unsolicited opinion is to reject all faith in the two governing parties. This not-so-unexpected calamity regarding the nation’s economy, readily pointed out by Ron Paul, tells this writer everything necessary to decide that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have the will nor desire to actually fix anything. Both parties stood by and watched as their mess came to fruition. John McCain’s ignorance and incompetence disqualify him from serving as president, with his age being the least of his problems. Barack Obama, who only intends to inject more fake money into the economy, somehow fund universal health care, raise taxes, and refuse to end a war that will soon be in its sixth unpopular year, will probably make taxpayers yearn for the good olds of George W. Bush.

Maybe the Alaska Independence Party in on to something.

Soon: Palin. What Happened?