Sunday, November 22, 2009

Two walls; two presidents

Things are happening fast.

I used to say that a lot in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. When I’d be jacked up on a combination of LSD, marijuana, and bourbon, I’d reach a mellow peak where nothing mattered, and when others around me—equally wasted—were freaking out, I’d comment in a bemused tone “Wow, things are happening fast!”

These days, I haven’t had a drink of whiskey since Memorial Day—when I toasted absent friends with a Constant Reader—and the only drugs I consume now are for high cholesterol and increasing my bone density.

Things are still happening fast, though. I’m still bemused.

Quite a few months ago, when this whole health care thing started happening, I made a comment that bears repeating today: When the government takes over health care, it will be the end of private insurance. The government will be able to set premiums as low as it needs to in order to drive out all competition, and they can subsidize their losses indefinitely with taxpayer money. Once they have a monopoly, they can set premiums at whatever level they care to, and make up the difference.

Today, we are one step closer to having this prognostication become a reality. I now know how Miz Possum felt when she was pregnant. Today’s morning sickness came courtesy of news clips showing Dirty Harry Reid kissing his cohorts because of their stealth vote to proceed in the Senate with the political colonoscopy known as “health care reform.”

Hang on, kids. We’re in for a bumpy ride, and things are about to get a lot worse. When the absolute perfect storm finally breaks, and the penultimate moment arrives, I will take no satisfaction at all in saying “I told you so!”

That’s not what brought me soaring into cyberspace today, though.

Burqua Barbie, Somalian pirates, Sarah Palin, and people being arrested in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for not leaving a tip at a restaurant are tempting subjects for my careening attention, but they can wait.

I have a faded tee-shirt that proclaims “Old hippies never die—they just flash back.” Let’s flash back for a moment. Not to Ye Olde Days; that erstwhile freedom of 30+ years ago is gone forever. Let’s take a look back at the last couple of weeks. Please bear with me while I draw a comparison of two presidents and two walls.

Any student of history—before Oprah Winfrey began replacing Albert Einstein and Paul Revere in high school textbooks—has probably seen the clip of John F. Kennedy standing in from of the Berlin Wall proclaiming “Ich bein Ein Berliner!” [“I am a Berliner!”] He made this remark to illustrate America’s solidarity with the free people of West Germany against the creeping threat of Soviet Communism and totalitarianism. Twenty-odd years later, Ronald Reagan stood in front of the same wall and beseeched “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

The Berlin Wall was a literal symbol of the repression of collectivism. People in Berlin were voting with their feet, and running away from communism as fast as they could. The State didn’t cotton to the flight of their best and brightest, so they constructed a wall, and enhanced it with barricades across the country that included barbed wire, mine fields, motion-sensor-activated machine gun nests, and watchtowers to vector armed patrols with shoot-to-kill orders onto unarmed refugees. A lot of people died trying to flee the collectivist, hyper-socialist mentality that is engulfing America today.

The wall eventually came down, and the German people were reunited. Last week, the descendants of those who were hoodwinked by Hitler and the Third Reich celebrated the twentieth anniversary of freeing themselves from that karmic burden and the communist yoke that enslaved them for decades afterward. As a people, they embraced the principles of freedom espoused by Kennedy and Reagan and exemplified by America during those decades of struggle.

Our current president, who is currently pulling off the greatest national fraud of modern times, couldn’t be bothered to make an appearance in Berlin. I suppose to his way of thinking, it was somehow unseemly to walk in the footsteps of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, and reaffirm those values of freedom and democracy.

The only thing that would get The Red Herring out of town was the announcement that Khalid Sheik Mohammed—the mastermind of 9/11—will be brought to Manhattan to stand trial in civilian court for his part in the debacle. Osama Bamalama left that chore to one of his myrmidons, Attorney General Eric Holder, and split town. Hell, Obama split the country to dodge the heat from the people he allegedly serves.

And where did the Manchurian Candidate go to escape the inevitable fallout from his tacitly-approved decision? Why, to China, of course. He went to hang out with his philosophical brethren in Communist China and brush up on his next steps for ruining the economy of the United States. While he was there, he went for a big photo opportunity, posed atop the Great Wall of China. With his head cocked skyward in his trademark Hitlerian stance, he proclaimed “This is awesome!”

Too bad he couldn’t be bothered to show up in Berlin at the appropriate moment and say the same thing about millions of people freeing themselves from communism.

Along about the same time—actually, a few days before—Obama’s predecessor showed up at Fort Hood, Texas. You remember Fort Hood; it’s the place where a “disturbed individual”—now referred to as a “detainee”—committed an act of mass murder that The State is going to great pains to not refer to as an act of terrorism. Thirteen people were killed, and dozens wounded. Many are still in hospital, including hero cop Kimberly Munley, who stopped the shooter.

Normally, the movements of ex-presidents are tracked and reported upon by pool reporters assigned to them. In this case, George W. Bush and Lady Laura issued strict instructions that there was to be no coverage of their trip to Ft. Hood. No photos, no commentary, no breaking-news flashes. Instead, they went to the medical facilities at Ft. Hood and gave comfort and support to the survivors of the terrorist massacre. They thanked medical personnel for their heroic efforts in caring for the wounded. They posed for a few personal photographs with medical staff and patients. Two of these photos were leaked to FOX News, with the story, ten days after the fact. As far as the Bushes were concerned, none of this should have been made public. They didn’t do it for a photo-op; they did it because they care.

I am still processing some input I got last week. As recently as my birthday in February, Miz Possum was still remarking that she was glad “that dumbass” was gone from the White House. Previous retorts to my casual use of names like “Osama Bamalama” included “Stop calling him that! Give him a chance! He’s better than the chimp he replaced!”

(Sorry, darlin’. You know it’s true; you keep me honest.)

With comments like that in mind, imagine my shock and awe when she admitted a few days ago that she would rather be living through a third term of George W. Bush than watching the deterioration of America under Barack Obama. She actually said “I miss him [GWB] now.”

You will never know this woman as I do; thus you cannot fully appreciate how earth-shaking this pronouncement is. Our disparities are what bind us, and I have a better chance of walking unaided than I do of influencing her opinions on any given subject. I am a fair hand at literary and rhetorical devices, but I can’t make this stuff up.

My Significant Other objects strenuously when I mention her online in any context, but I am so rattled by her recent admissions concerning the current state of national affairs, I’ll take the heat for passing them along. Miz Possum is notoriously apolitical, but the ascendancy of the “bipartisan” Anointed One has alarmed her to the point of taking sides on political issues. We are a classic example of opposites attracting, but her recent dissent from the Obama cult of personality reflects thought and common sense, which is why I love her.

I was going to wait until next year to channel Ronald Reagan and pose the following question, but it’s going to come up PDQ at The Possum Den, so I’ll ask it here: Are you better off now than you were last year?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One steps down, another steps up...

John Allen Muhammad has left the auditorium.

He departed at 9:11 EST last night. Witnesses say he died much more peacefully than his victims.

Y’all remember Mr. Muhammad and his sidekick, Lee Boyd Malvo. They pioneered Islamic terrorist shooting sprees in the United States. All eyes are currently on Major Nidal Hasan, but seven short years ago Muhammad and his teenaged accomplice held the DC area in a reign of terror with their sniper attacks. (In keeping with my personal policy, I won’t mention the kid’s name again…ever. He’s doing life without parole, at least until the Supreme Court rules such sentences to be “cruel and unusual punishment.” I’m sure the little git has a fan club, but to my archaic way of thinking, cold-blooded killers should be deemed non-persons and relegated to total anonymity.)

I believe in redemption, for most people for most things. We are our own best judges of the wrong things we’ve done in our lives, and anyone over the age of fifteen or so probably has something relatively evil they wish they’d never done in their background. “Normal” people, when they acknowledge their transgressions, feel remorse for their actions. Sociopaths like Charles Manson, O.J. Simpson, and John Muhammad portray themselves as victims of…something, and remain defiant to the end.

I don’t have a lot to say about John Muhammad. He shot people in cold blood. Some cases that are linked to him will never be fully closed. He showed no remorse. He had no final words as he was plugged in for The Really Big Shot. While redemption is available, and comes to most of us, there was none for him. We have a saying in Georgia that applies to people like John Muhammad: “He needed killin’.”

An informal poll run on FOX News yesterday between seven and eight o’clock indicated that 96% of the respondents agreed with this saying.

My father was murdered by a serial killer in 1985. I have zero tolerance for killers. I have known a few people convicted of murder, and knowing the circumstances of their cases, I’m willing to cut them some slack. Their motives were all different, but what they all had in common was recognition that they had committed a mortal sin, and they possessed enough humanity to feel remorse. They vowed—not to some parole board, but to themselves—to never do anything remotely like that again. By retaining and increasing their decency as human beings, those convicted murderers are worthy of redemption. I hope they find it.

People like Muhammad, his punk sidekick, and Nidal Hasan don’t seek, nor do they deserve, redemption by God or by man. I believe that there is an inherent spark of goodness in almost everyone, no matter how badly they may comport themselves. Sometimes, though, people will manage to extinguish that spark, through spiritual enslavement to an errant ideology, subversion of personal morality and responsibility, or sheer dogged meanness. When they do, they become nothing more than a waste of protoplasm, and should be returned to their component elements as soon as possible.

Dealing with terrorists is like playing one of those whack-a-mole games. As soon as one is dealt with, another pops up. John Allen Muhammad has received his final judgment here on earth. Now it’s between him and God. I’m betting on The Deity. About the time society deals with Nidal Malik Hasan in whatever politically correct manner is the expedient of the day, another mutant will show up. Let’s hope that our willingness as a society to deal with these affronts to humanity never falters.

I don’t feel like I’m gloating over last night’s execution, but I wrote this little screed just because I wanted to paraphrase the good-night line from Elvis’s concerts:

“Muhammad has left the auditorium.”

Thank you and goodnight.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Too much news...

This was going to be specifically about last Tuesday’s off-year elections and what they might—hopefully—herald, but once again more pressing news has overridden the thoughts of the moment. We’ll keep the optimism brief.

National attention was focused on two governor’s races and a congressional election. Conservatives went two-for-three on those, a batting average of .666. Not bad for people who were declared totally marginalized after the great hoodwink of last November. The symbolic significance of that batting average is not lost; the “666” Number of The Beast is also associated with apocalypse, which is what the Democritters are facing next November if they don’t cure their cranial-rectal inversion and become responsive to the people of this country. I’ve been hearing phrases like “mid-term revolution” and “electoral bloodbath” tossed about; it is to smile and hope.

What broadened my smile was the denial coming out from Madame Botox and the White House. Robert Gibbs, speaking for The Red Herring, said the elections were local, and don’t portend anything. Nancy Pelosi went several solar systems further, claiming Democritters “won big” by gaining one congressional seat in upstate New York and saving another one in California. If having a couple more rats run aboard a sinking ship is a big win for Those People, then I have no complaint. The arrogance and narcissism of our elected leaders right now is unparalleled. I can’t remember any time in my adult life that the government has been so unresponsive to the will of the people. Granted, this is a nation of laws, not a mob-ruled democracy, but this is a democratic republic, and the laws that govern us are supposed to be in accordance with the will of the majority, not some whimsical legislation dreamed up by pie-in-the-sky ideologues seeking to emulate failed social systems like socialism, fascism, and communism.

In my red neck of the woods, you’re either “fer” something, or you’re “ag’in” it. If Madame Botox wants to channel Cleopatra and be The Queen of Denial, then I’m all fer it. Today or tomorrow is a big vote in Congress on the socialized medicine bill that Dudley Do-nothing is staking his political fortune on. The word is that even with their majority, Those People are hoeing a hard row to come up with enough votes to pass the thing. The Manchurian Candidate’s campaign promise of “transparency” has long since gone into Orwell’s “memory hole” of oblivion; the 1900 page bill—longer than Atlas Shrugged, War and Peace, or The Lord of the Rings trilogy—hasn’t been posted online as Obama and Pelosi promised. I once read Atlas Shrugged in a week, but I was jacked up on acid and speed at the time. (Some books, like Ayn Rand’s novels and Lord of the Rings require re-reading every three years or so. I mostly do this sober and straight these days. War and Peace was a one-shot read.) Even if Those People had bothered to put the bill online for the promised 72 hours, it’s so obtuse and convoluted that no one—even those freakish speed readers who can handle a page every five seconds—could understand the ramifications of it. Hopefully, when they ram this legislation down our throats and commandeer one-fifth of the nation’s economy, it will further outrage and energize voters to turn out next year and tell the administration exactly what they think about this political colonoscopy. I have the traditional $100 bill under the paperweight on my desk, and if anyone wants to bet that the status quo will continue past next year to when we un-elect The Red Herring in 2012, I’ll take even money. I’m betting on the American people, not the power-mad spin-masters in DC, to initiate real change. My liberal friends know better than to bet against me, so please be advised.

If Those People want to continue believing that everything is dandy and they have some sort of imaginary mandate for their social engineering experiments, then I can’t wait to see the expressions on their faces next year when a lot of incumbents suddenly have to join the ranks of the 10% unemployed in America.

Two things close to home give me even further confidence in the common sense of the people to overcome the fraud of “progressive” ideology. The first is several conversations I’ve had recently with Miz Possum, who is notoriously apolitical. She has admitted to being uncertain, frightened, and disappointed about “change we can count on.” The second is from The Older Daughter, who lives on The Left Coast and is cast more in the mold of Madonna’s Material Girl than in Sarah Palin’s earth-mother persona. In a telephone conversation last week, she griped that unemployment in California is at 20%, outstripping her mom’s home state of Michigan, which is publicly proclaimed to be the nation’s highest at 15%. When asked if she thought Obama would be re-elected in 2012, the reply was an emphatic “Hell NO!”

I rest my case.

In other news, the horror at Fort Hood is still unfolding. The Red Herring has already been on TV urging the public to “not jump to conclusions” about the shooter. I have a policy of not mentioning the names of mass murderers or serial killers, because some deformed gene in the public consciousness makes us treat them like rock stars, and I don’t want to add to that sickness. However, it’s germane to state the name of the Ft. Hood shooter: Nidal Malik Hasan. He is a lifelong Muslim. According to eyewitnesses, he allegedly shouted “Allah akbar!”—“God is great!”—while shooting over 40 people. He gave away most of his material possessions prior to his rampage, indicating premeditation. His pistols weren’t just lying around waiting to be picked up and used in a sudden act of madness, they had to be smuggled onto the base. Is there some conclusion besides the obvious that we should not jump to? This was as much an act of terrorism as flying an airliner into a skyscraper.

Time, Newsweek, and Dr. Phil are already trying to spin this tragedy away from the obvious motive. They seek to somehow blame George Bush, the horrors of war, and secondhand PTSD for this man’s insanity. Hasan’s uncle Rafiq expresses amazement that his nephew even knew how to handle a firearm, and then laments that the American-born Army Major couldn’t read the Koran in Arabic. (Hello, Rafiq! Last time I checked, every member of the American military is given some rudimentary weapons instruction in basic training. The Marines train everyone as a rifleman first, with any other MOS as a necessary option. During the Battle of the Bulge, the Army clerks and cooks were grabbing their rifles and heading to the front lines to stop the German onslaught. If every 12-year-old kid in the Third World has an AK-47 and knows how to use it, why is it a surprise that a US Army officer knows how to lock and load a weapon?)

If anything contrary to my conclusions about Major Hasan’s actions comes out, I will be truly amazed. I have been wrong about many things before, and I wouldn’t mind being wrong about this. If Hasan acted out of cowardice and madness, it would take some heat off the four million innocent Muslims living in America. By their failure to speak out condemning terrorist acts by Islamic radicals, such homegrown Muslim groups as CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] and others have added to the inherent suspicion and prejudice against Muslims in general since the 9/11 attacks. This is unfortunate in a country where one of our guiding principles is freedom of religion. No one should be persecuted because they call The Higher Power “Allah” instead of “God”, but when all one sees on an almost daily basis is murder and condemnation coming from one religious sect targeting another, it gets difficult to remember that many don’t believe in that aspect of Islam. In these matters, silence equals tacit approval, and will be interpreted as such by a majority of “non-believers” in The Prophet. Americans are not known for subtle or nuanced responses when things become too much to tolerate, and the eventual backlash may be as tragic as the event at Fort Hood.

To close on a lighter note: They’re commissioning the USS New York today! I take a kid’s delight in this; it’s so cool! The details of the ship’s crest, with the bars signifying the Twin Towers and the motto “Never Forget” denote the spirit of America before The Manchurian Candidate’s fraud. The bow being made from steel salvaged from the World Trade Center is an outstanding message to the rest of the world. I supported an earlier idea that was floated to strike service medals for the military out of the scrap metal from the WTC; the New York is a beautiful ship, and this is a better idea. Medals get lost over time, whether they mean little or a lot to the recipients. An earlier battleship bearing the New York moniker was sunk by friendly fire after War II; I doubt we’ll use the new incarnation for target practice when it’s outmoded for the fleet. Perhaps they will strike those service medals when the New York is retired. Meanwhile, sail on, brave ship!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Good to be back...

How nice to return to cyberspace after an enforced absence, and find the Internet as we know it still here! I was vaguely worried that one of The Red Herring’s czars—specifically Cass Sunstein, the Minister of Regulation—might have jumped in to shut down freedom of speech and dissent from the Fourth Reich. We take so many cues from China and North Korea, where children sing praises to Fearless Leader in government schools; I wouldn’t have been totally amazed to find this blog shut down as somehow seditious.

As Constant Readers already know, I had to go on hiatus over Halloween. My much-abused computer, HAL-9000, developed a problem. The hard drive finally gave up the ghost, and had to be replaced. I had my intrepid computer technician/chainsaw mechanic install a new one with five times the memory, and quadruple my RAM while she was replacing stuff. (My local computer store really does repair chainsaws as well; it’s a mom-and-pop operation in the same building. She works on computers and he does the chainsaws and other power tools in a separate workshop.)

There was a lot to comment on while I was away. It seemed that every day I would wake up to some new governmental outrage. Some were absurd, and some were critical. There was nothing to do but shrug, mutter “Why are you surprised?” and go back to reading an old-fashioned book or watching the news. The tsunami of socialism continued to wash ashore unabated.

During that time—when computer withdrawal manifested itself physically with boredom, anxiety, insomnia and depression—I came up with yet another affectionate name for President Obama. When it was announced that he is considering sending 20,000 new troops to Afghanistan, instead of the requested 40,000, I flinched and rolled my eyes. “Great! Dudley Do-nothing is weaseling! He’s going to have it both ways. He’s going to provide half of what his general says he needs, and when that fails and he declares defeat, he can whine that he sent more troops when they were requested.”

As yet, the president has done nothing at all about the escalating war in Afghanistan, preferring to blame his predecessor for opening a second front in Iraq and “ignoring” the requirements of the war in Afghanistan. So, my new name is even more appropriate for Obama: Dudley Do-nothing.

This is a president who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize after only twelve days in office. When asked, the Nobel Committee said they decided to award him the prize based on his campaign rhetoric. This was unprecedented, like Obama’s election. Alfred Nobel spun in his grave. He intended his award to be for accomplishments toward world peace, not for someone writing checks with his mouth that his ass can’t cash.

After a year in office, I can recall only one thing that I regard as genuinely presidential to be forthcoming from Barack Hussein Obama (“Mmmm…mmmm!” as the indoctrinated schoolchildren sing). Remember the Somali pirates who seized the Maersk Alabama earlier this year? Do you remember how that affair ended? Navy SEALs were in place, ready to do what they do best, and Commander-in-Chief Obama gave them the “weapons free” order. Seconds later, the pirates were dead and a courageous ship commander was free and unhurt. I was still in “give him a chance” mode, and gave credit where it was due. It was a flash-in-the-pan moment illustrating the kind of power the president must occasionally deploy. Unfortunately, it was a fluke. There wasn’t a photo opportunity, but it was as much a public-relations ploy as the recent photo-op posing at Dover Air Force Base where Dudley Do-nothing solemnly saluted the incoming caskets of servicemen killed in Afghanistan. Later, when he surrenders in Afghanistan and gives Al Qaeda a home base for bringing jihad home to America, he’ll say with a straight face that he couldn’t bear the sight of all those coffins coming back. I guess it’s more progressive to have caskets coming from domestic terror scenes than from foreign wars.

If Osama Bamalama wasn’t so busy feuding with FOX News, pushing an economic takeover agenda that no one besides George Soros wants, and posing for photos with losing Democrat candidates to forestall the inevitable, he might find the time to actually address some of the urgent issues on his desk. That desk is the one where Harry Truman had that little sign saying “The buck stops here.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there was—literally—yesterday’s news about the gubernatorial elections that garnered so much national attention. The pundits have lit up the airwaves with what that may or may not mean. I think it’s important enough to deserve a separate post, which will appear above when it’s posted.