Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

03/10/2008 (10:52 am)

Disenfranchisement

Huffinton Post yesterday carried an opinion piece by Seth Grahame-Smith subtitled “A Loyal Clinton Soldier Turns in His Badge,” that explains neatly why we can’t really talk sense to Democrats. Here’s the wrapper:

She has no idea how many times I defended her. How many right-leaning friends and relatives I battled with. How many times I played down her shady business deals and penchant for scandals — whether it was Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Cattle Futures, Web Hubbell, or Norman Hsu. She has no idea how frequently I dismissed her husband’s serial adultery as an unfortunate trait of an otherwise brilliant man. For sixteen years, I was a proud soldier in the legion of “Clinton apologists” — who believed that peace and prosperity were more important than regrettable personality traits.

And then she ran for president.

After seven years of George W. Bush, America is hungry for change. Big change. And let’s face it — Hillary Clinton, the party standard-bearer and former White House denizen — isn’t it. But even after voters coalesced around Barack Obama, handing him eleven straight primaries (twelve, if you count Vermont), she refused to accept the possibility -though math, money and momentum were clearly against her — that the Bush/Clinton Family Band might not be #1 on America’s Billboard chart anymore…

Are the conservatives right about the Clintons? Will they do and say anything to get elected?

I don’t know.

All I know is…I’m through apologizing.

To be sure, I’m not sorry that another human being has woken up to the malignancy that the Clintons brought on American politics, and I’m not going to try to convince Mr. Grahame-Smith to pin his badge on again. But I’m wondering: does he intend actually to think through the implications of his current line of reasoning? or, is this just a Demo-Snit in which he cries, picks up his ball, says “You’re MEAN,” and tromps on home to mom? Because, you see, in the world of adults, ideas have actual consequences.

Why, for example, did he defend her in the first place? Did he really not realize how dishonest these people were? even though they’d been caught literally dozens of times, by reporters from their own party, telling outright falsehoods even at times when the truth would have been just as good or better? No, this is not like the pretend “Bush lied us into war” that the CIA and the Democrat handlers have been try to sell us, despite the fact that the Iraq war was the logically consistent next step in a 15-year progression against Hussein’s Iraq, with the full support of three Presidents and both houses of Congress the whole time. This is Mike Isikoff of Newsweek actually calling President Bill “pathological,” Chris Matthews of Hardball calling him a “slimeball,” and Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow Coalition calling him “nothing but an apetite.” Big lies, small lies, needless lies. Lies.

And then, if she really is self-centered to the core, and untrustworthy, what then? Is it possible that the innocent protestations about the FBI files — “Oh, gee, I wonder how they got there? Who hired Craig Livingstone anyway?” — were disingenuous cover? And if that’s so, then was the Clinton administration actually using federal law enforcement to persecute political opponents? This would be a deeply serious Constitutional crisis if true; if Mrs. Clinton is not to be trusted, does this not follow logically?

Or if Hillary Clinton will literally say anything, can we believe her surprise at the announcement of Vince Foster’s death, when her office was clearly engaged in a felonious obstruction of justice? Should we not have been satisfied with Bernie Nussbaum’s sacrificial resignation, and instead investigated what was so important in that office that the administration had to break the law to prevent it from being seen?

Do we really believe she knew nothing about the felonious land scam that took down a $60 million Savings and Loan, and cost thousands of investors their life’s savings? When she said “I don’t recall” 51 times in 40 minutes, was she lying? (By the way, this is no different from what sent Scooter Libby to prison.) When a clearly fraudulent affidavit written by attorney Clinton was discovered, and she plead “incompetence” (the only legal alternative to fraud, in this case), was she lying? Is it the case, then, that Mrs. Clinton is not just a bad candidate, but a bad human being, and belongs in jail?

Grahame-Smith dismisses the obligation to follow his thoughts to their logical conclusion on these and dozens of other scandals with a non-committal “I don’t know.” Not very impressive. To be candid, I would have preferred that he keep his badge on, but start actually using systematic logic, allowing major premise A and minor premise B to synthesize into an incontrovertible C, which has to be regarded as fact whether it feels appealing or not. A person engaged in genuine, intellectually honest pursuit of the truth, even on the other side, is a valuable person to converse with; a snit fit against your enemy will invariably become a snit fit against you sooner or later.

But then, he drops the D-bomb:

Will she subvert the will of the voters? Will she turn Denver into a series of shady back-room deals and arm twisting? Will she dispatch her husband to pressure superdelegates into switching allegiances at the last minute? Are we in for, as one pundit put it, a good ol’ fashioned “knife fight?”

And if she does manage to secure the nomination, what about the scores of disenfranchised Obama supporters (many of them young people with little loyalty to the Democratic Party)? How will she bring them back into the tent?

Disenfranchisement. What absolute, whining, infantile pap. This is the sniffling of a toddler needing a diaper change, not a rational analysis by an adult.

In the first place, let’s draw some parameters around the word: if candidate A runs against candidate B and all the rules of the contest are obeyed, and A receives 110 votes while B receives 90 votes, have the voters who voted for B been “disenfranchised?”

Of course not. All 200 voters participated in the process according to the rules. B lost. That’s just the way it works. So, simply losing in a process doesn’t constitute disenfranchisement. Disenfranchisement only occurs when somebody is deliberately locked out of the process.

The Democratic party primary process has been specifically engineered to make it possible to “subvert the will of the voters.” For that matter, the election process in the US Constitution has also been engineered to make that possible; hence, the Electoral College, and the number of electors based on Senators as well as Congressmen. Democrats chose to do this after the grassroots in the Democratic party selected one of the most inept candidates imaginable but a darling of the rank-and-file, George McGovern, to run against Richard Nixon. The Democratic party pols re-engineered the primary process so they’d be able to prevent that from happening again — like it just might this year, as swooning sycophants enshrine a Completely Cynical Bonus Baby in Messianic garb. This feature of the Democratic party primary process should have been noted by the participants long ago; the fact that they’re crying “foul” in mid-election to something that’s been part of the rules for almost 30 years just indicates the level of maturity we’re dealing with: “That’s not fair!” whines the spoiled 8-year-old as his magnificent catch gets called out of bounds. Sorry, children, you picked the rules, and you need to abide by them. Just ’cause you didn’t have the foresight to read the rules doesn’t make them any less the rules; and no, you don’t get a do-over just ’cause you were lazy.

The thing Mr Grahame-Smith needs to come to understand is that “the will of the people” was nothing but demagogic rhetoric for the need of the moment in 2000, when the Gore campaign was attempting to overturn the outcome of an election they knew they had lost. “The will of the people” is always, always determined by the process carried out according to the rules agreed upon by both sides before the process begins. That’s the only way the phrase has any meaning other than being a handy, demagogic club. This is why one must never, ever permit rules changes in mid-flight. You made a mistake in designing the process? Fix it next time; otherwise, every election will disintegrate into a shooting match.

You might not think “shooting match” is to be taken literally, but we just watched Kenya explode into violence because one side accused the other of rigging the election — or perhaps they intended all along to make that charge if they lost (Dick Morris headed that campaign, after all. I’m serious.) Two hundred and fifty people died, and hundreds of thousands fled their homes. The orderly changing of government is one of the glories of the American system, which is why this infantile rhetoric about “the will of the people” and “disenfranchisement” is so dangerous, why the “Recreate ’68″ nuts in the Democratic party are so ominous, why Bush Derangement, as silly as it is, is not a laughing matter. Democrats seriously threaten to turn the US into a third world-style election system, complete with picketing and violence.

Infants who can’t take a single loss don’t deserve a place a the grown-ups’ table. And frankly, Mr. Grahame-Smith, if you’d been honest all along, you wouldn’t have been defending this Lady MacBeth and her sex-addicted narcissist of a husband, they’d both be in prison where they belong, and you wouldn’t be in this mess. Go ahead and remove your Hillary Soldier badge, that’s long overdue. But, no, sir, it’s not Hillary’s fault. It’s yours.

03/07/2008 (2:37 pm)

Eco-terrorist Convicted

Michelle Malkin reports the conviction of eco-terrorist Briana Waters on two counts of arson, for setting fire to the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001. Malkin also posted a list of 10 members of the same group, the Earth Liberation Front, who have been convicted of arson recently. According to the Seattle Times story,

The Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the fire because it believed, mistakenly, that a UW researcher was genetically engineering trees.

And they say the Right hates science… This gives us the first reason vigilantism is wrong; people acting on their own frequently make mistakes, and attack the innocent. Far better to let the system work.

The public does not widely understand how common leftist eco-terrorism has become in recent years. In the period 2002-2005, ecology activists and animal rights groups accounted for 23 out of 24 recorded terrorist incidents in the US, according to the FBI:

In keeping with a longstanding trend, domestic extremists carried out the majority of terrorist incidents during this period. Twenty three of the 24 recorded terrorist incidents were perpetrated by domestic terrorists. With the exception of a white supremacist’s firebombing of a synagogue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, all of the domestic terrorist incidents were committed by special interest extremists active in the animal rights and environmental movements. The acts committed by these extremists typically targeted materials and facilities rather than persons.

The burning of four luxury homes in Washington earlier this week adds to the tally. No suspects have been arrested yet, but eco-terrorism is suspected.

All this, and the string of anti-recruitment attacks as well. And yesterday, Hot Air reported that leftist activists are preparing to disrupt the Democratic convention in Denver this summer, naming their group “Recreate ’68!” a reference to the violence attending the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.

The fact that their acts usually target facilities rather than individuals does not make the matter any better. The loss of a facility is devastating to the people involved, and disrupts normal life for years. The outlay by the insurance company drives up rates for everybody. And, as I discussed in my previous post, attempts at political statements by violence attack the fabric of the Republic, and say “We’re not part of your nation.” Domestic terrorism in the US occurs when a group of True Believers fails to win public support for a position of theirs through legal means; they’re trying to force on us what we’ve already chosen not to do. This is an act of tyranny at its core.

I’m waiting for a denunciation of ecological, animal rights, and anti-war terrorism from American liberals. I still haven’t heard it. Is it possible that they secretly admire these terrorists, as they accused Christians of admiring abortion clinic bombers? The growing violence of the Left reminds me of the thuggery that preceded WWII in Italy and Germany. These activists, a tiny percentage of the populace, think they have an inherent right to force the rest of us to do as they demand. Of such sentiments are tyrannies made.

There’s an HBO western entitled “The Jack Bull” that explores the cost of vigilantism to the public order in a provocative and highly entertaining fashion, with a surprising performance by John Cusack. I recommend it for families wanting their children to understand why respecting the law is essential, and why taking it into one’s own hands is usually disastrous.

03/07/2008 (10:35 am)

Recruitment Bombing and Civil Disobedience

Michelle Malkin’s site this morning contains a lengthy recitation of the escalating violence against military recruitment stations in the United States. Yesterday’s bombing of a recruitment center in Times Square was nothing new or unusual, except that it involves a bomb instead of less deadly forms of vandalism. We have a growing problem here at home.

Americans have a love-hate relationship with political activism, because we recognize how disruptive violence is, but our own nation was born out of a violent, political struggle followed by outright war. Consequently, I thought it was appropriate to review the reasoning behind our own violent government overthrow.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

That’s the relevant portion from the colonists’ Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, with the central argument highlighted. Jefferson claims that governments exist to secure natural rights, and derive their authority from the consent of those who are being governed. He then argues that if the government aims, instead, at imposing pure despotism over the people, the people have a duty to change the government, forcefully if need be. This is a solemn duty, and should only be approached after “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object…” This duty is owed ultimately to God, Himself.

What we’re seeing with the military recruitment stations, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with this sober, thoughtful assertion of divinely-appointed duty.

In the first place, ours is an all-volunteer military. Recruits enter recruitment stations entirely of their own accord. Nobody is forcing them. The recruiters themselves operate more like retail stores than like any sort of oppressive government.

In the second place, we elect our officials, and they continue to serve by means of our ongoing consent. Gray Davis, former governor of California, discovered the hard way that even when a politician has a clearly-defined term of office, he can’t count on finishing the term if his performance doesn’t meet with the citizens’ approval. Richard Nixon and William Clinton discovered the same thing, although Clinton did not have enough of a sense of civic duty to remove himself for the sake of the nation’s peace, as Nixon did.

In the third place, there is no “long train of abuses and usurpations.” Even if every charge the high-frequency-whining Left has laid against the Bush administration were true (and to my knowledge, they don’t have a single complaint that can survive a sober assessment of the facts, which is truly remarkable given the number of accusations) Bush’s term is about to expire. The sort of activism that says it’s a part of the process would be aimed at getting a Democrat elected President, not throwing red paint at military recruiters doing their jobs, let alone planting bombs.

No, what we’re looking at is an assault on the system. First attacking, then bombing recruitment centers says “We want the entire political system to collapse, and we especially want the military to collapse.” These activists are enemies of democracy, and need to be treated as such.

I imagine law enforcement is working long hours to bring the perpetrators of the Times Square bombing to justice. I hope, and I expect, that the FBI is carefully watching anarchist groups who are attempting this sort of disruption, as violent protesters, even when not planting bombs, are enemies of the system, attempting something far more damaging than mere vandalism.

The leftward blogosphere is already crying “foul” at the mere insinuation that it was probably a leftist activist organization that set off the bomb. Tough. There’s “a long train of abuses and usurpations” from leftists, “pursuing invariably the same object,” the disruption of military recruiting (and with it, the disruption of the Republic.) If they want credibility, they need loudly and consistently to condemn all those who use violence to achieve political ends in the US, and denounce these specific bombers, even if they’re leftists. I haven’t heard any such yet.


Update: A leftist writer named Steven Reynolds at a blog called “All Spin Zone” accuses PowerLine’s John Hinderaker of spreading malicious rumors. He says “John himself speculates that Code Pink, the anti-war protest group, is responsible for the bomb that went off at a military recruiting station at 3:43 a.m. this morning.” That’s a direct quote from Reynolds’ site. I read PowerLine’s comment, and Reynolds’ statement is simply and completely false; there is no such speculation. I posted a comment to that effect on All Spin Zone, and he tried to shrug off the false accusation by claiming that PowerLine was engaging in “insinuation, not accusation.” This, also, is false — there was no such insinuation, Hinderaker simply observed that “a liberal group is the most likely suspect.” I posted a rebuttal to his cowardly and false evasion, but Reynolds, coward that he is, refused to publish it. Also, Reynolds links to four alleged instances of rightward blogs who took Hinderaker’s lead and accused Code Pink; only one of them actually did, a scandal rag called “Catskill Commentator” (I attempted to post a comment there as well, indicating the error, but the operator of that blog did not post it). Reynolds is simply a liar. Put “All Spin Zone” firmly in the category of “untrustworthy blogs operated by individuals of low character.” Tenatively put “Catskill Commentator” in the same category.

Updated Update: I checked at 1:27 PM, and Reynolds has posted my second comment on his blog, but without answer. I’ll give him credit for posting my opinion; I still believe he’s falsely accusing John Hinderaker of Power Line Blog, and should be considered untrustworthy. Still no word from Catskill Commentator; either he’s not paying attention, or he doesn’t care about reporting accurately, and is also untrustworthy.