We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, June 27. 2007
"Go spray flowers on the Americans." Kids in suicide vests. Gateway
How did they vote on the first cloture item? Right Wing News has the scorecard. Mexico wins that round.
Repubs protect secrecy of union votes from Dem assault. Wizbang
Make yourself a PC for $72. Attack Machine
A flyboy joke. Alpha
Indigent defence counsel. Do disparities violate the Civil Rights Act? Volokh
Getting ready to punish your reps in DC? Here's the immigration polls. Dino
Senate just passed the largest farm subsidy bill in US history. But they termed it an "energy bill." Coyote.
Pay more for math and science teachers? Why not? They seem to be much more difficult to find.
Final proof: Matter does bend space-time, as Einstein claimed. Synthstuff
If you can't understand English, you have no business voting. Cramer
I am confused by all of these Iraqi refugees to the US. I thought we were saving their country for them, so why do they want to leave? And to move to Michigan, of all places? It's a fine state, but not too strong in the jobs department these days.
John McCain: Once a poll-leader, now going down the tubes. It is possible to respect the guy without agreeing with him on some of his strong views. Ankle-Biting
Boston Globe hypocrisy re campaign spending and the Court's decision. A quote from the piece from Squaring the Boston Globe:
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First they allowed Amnesty to illegal aliens, and I did nothing because I was not an illegal,
Then they came for free speech, and I did nothing, for I had nothing to say,
They are coming for our sovereignty next.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
June 27, 2007
Good People Can Disagree (As Long as They Have Permission)
By Steve Alderman
In the 2000 presidential campaign, then-Governor George W. Bush was visiting a charter school in Newark with New Jersey Governor Whitman. When he was asked about Whitman's pro-abortion rights position, Bush stated,
"Good people can disagree on the issue, and I understand that I'm standing up here with a friend of mine...I respect Gov. Whitman's views and I respect her as a person."
This in essence is the "new tone" which the optimistic, and seemingly naïve Governor Bush took to Washington. To this day he has not abandoned this acceptance of basic human goodness and sincerity, in spite of his Christian faith which would clearly argue against it. It is one thing to love your enemy; but it is also important to recognize that you have an enemy.
It may all be for public consumption, but you cannot be an effective leader of the free world while compromising and chumming with the enemies of freedom, both foreign and especially domestic. Peering into Vladimir Putin's soul might have been an interesting experience, but the darkness which lurks there should not have left President Bush all warm and fuzzy. Watching Bush side with Senators Kennedy and McCain on giving up our national sovereignty through the amnesty of illegal immigrants makes my head spin and my stomach churn. If good people can disagree, then it is also true that bad people can lie and seem to agree. And therein lies the heart of the matter.
Much of the muted conservative debate left in Washington loses its power because of the castration induced by the new tone. Rather than being a noble position of peace and understanding, the new tone is a mask which not only fools the public, but emasculates the Conservative defense against the Left. The Left has no illusions about its agenda, nor does it need to be nice or civil. If a Leftist politician argues for civility, he is only attempting to convince his Conservative opponent to lay down his sword, so that he can stab him in the heart, or in the back. This is the nature of Leftist argument: it is fundamentally insincere, daring not reveal its real agenda.
The most recent example of this, and truly an artful expression of Leftist propaganda, is a tome crafted by the Center for American Progress titled "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio". Although it falls short of becoming the Communist Manifesto for the 21st century, it does accomplish a primary goal of the Left: framing the political debate and redefining the language used. Even if one could not smell the Clintonesque odor (John Podesta is CEO of the Center), one knows that this document comes from the headquarters of the Ministry of Truth.
The Left has substituted the word "Progressive" in place of "Leftist" or "Socialist" or "Liberal" because these words have fallen out of favor with the American public. This immediately creates a value judgment in the mind of the reader. After all, who could be against progress, except of course the evil Conservatives? Progressive is a word that has been successfully market tested.
The title of the study betrays the way in which the debate is framed. Rather than accept the obvious fact that people who listen to talk radio like Conservative talk rather than Leftist talk, the writers blame this market response on a structural imbalance; i.e., insufficient federal regulation of ownership. This is the Leftist answer to all problems. The market cannot be trusted because it will inevitably be dominated by a few powerful individuals, so bust up the monopolies and force the market to move in the direction desired by the Left.
Now, I could pretend that these Progressive writers mean well, that in their warm and loving hearts they are genuinely concerned about the need for balance in the marketplace of ideas. This would be the same as adopting the new tone, that good people can disagree on an issue and still have a beer together.
But what if they don't mean well?
Quoting from the paper:
Our conclusion is that the gap between conservative and progressive talk radio is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast, the elimination of clear public interest requirements for broadcasting, and the relaxation of ownership rules including the requirement of local participation in management.
Ownership diversity is perhaps the single most important variable contributing to the structural imbalance based on the data. Quantitative analysis conducted by Free Press of all 10,506 licensed commercial radio stations reveals that stations owned by women, minorities, or local owners are statistically less likely to air conservative hosts or shows.
To support their sweeping conclusions, the authors of the paper assume the following axioms:
There needs to be a public trustee concept of broadcast in a commercial broadcasting enterprise.
There is a clear public interest requirement, and that someone in the federal government determines what this clear requirement should be.
There is a need for local control of the content of political discourse.
The solution (according to the Clintonistas) to this structural imbalance is to:
Restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.
Ensure greater local accountability over radio licensing.
Require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.
All of these conclusions, assumptions and recommendations are founded on a single, unquestioned principle, that the Federal government must regulate the political content of the electromagnetic spectrum because the electromagnetic spectrum is a finite resource. I could say the same for the easements which carry cable or phone lines, the trees frok national forests that go into making newsprint, or the spaces available for billboards along the streets and highways. Where does this argument end, or why does it stop with radio? Why not television? Why not the internet? What about the political or even religious balance in our public schools and academia?
Senator Inhofe has been the only politician to take some risk and expose the Leftist agenda for what it really is, nothing more than an attempt by the Leftists (including Clinton, Feinstein, McCain, and Lott) to stifle free speech. Good people may disagree, but these people aren't good people. They do not stand for freedom. They do not mean well. They do not misunderstand the issue, nor is their collectivist heart in the right place.
This proposal to regulate political speech carries the stench of totalitarianism, and whether it comes from the Democrats or the Republicans, it is still a greater threat to our national security than the suicidal Islamic zealots who at least have the consideration to kill themselves in the process of killing others.
The new tone has now reached its inevitable climax. By showing weakness, the Republicans (starting with the budget battle in 1995) have appeased and played nice, and allowed their base to carry their water. The rise of alternative media, both internet and talk radio, has been a grass roots response to the spinelessness of the elected leadership. The Democrats have succeeded in emasculating and demonizing the Republicans, culminating in the absurd elevation of Pelosi and Reid as King and Queen of Washington DC. Is it any wonder that a hapless George Bush decides that if you can't beat 'em, then join 'em?
The Amnesty Bill has now become the battleground to determine whether or not our nation deserves to be the leader of the free world. The Fairness Doctrine (another label brought to you by the Ministry of Truth) is the weapon by which to slay the grass roots opposition. Just as the United States cannot be defeated from without, but must be eroded from within, so too the Conservative movement must be betrayed by those who have been elected to defend the gates. President Bush, do you understand?
They have failed and have joined the enemy. Good people don't disagree because there are no good people. There are only sinners and timeless truths, one of which is that freedom is good and worth defending. Our founding fathers understood this. The First Amendment could not be any clearer:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Very good read. Evil (in the sense of restricting freedom) is, as Evil does. The internet and talk radio must be a huge thorn in the side of the left, most especially since they've had almost complete control of the message for so many years. But as stated above the "progressives" are working on removing this thorn. And succeeding, if the amnesty bill is any indication. I do agree with the author re Bush. There are times when lines must be drawn, and then defended. A quality sorely lacking in this administration, except it seems for the trivial (at least to my mind) and inconsequential.
A favor Habu. I'd like too laud your personal contribution to a post when appropriate, but a lack of quotes makes that difficult at times. Though thanks for the post nonetheless. And yes, that's what really counts.
And while we are on the subject of clear and concise writing - some are of the opinion that such is an indicator of conservatism. I can certainly see the logic behind this gentleman's lecture. Lengthy, but worth it I think.
Well I just have too share this as well:
"Philosophy of History"
RE: Coyote asks...That's a corn field the size of Arizona. Exactly where is that corn field going to be?
Maybe in Saskatchewan. I heard something about the price of farms and houses there finally going up. If so, Kates' (sda) friends and neighbors won't be too unhappy.
Maybe my northern relatives will finally make out OK, then.
And - despite having an equipment shed full of $400,000 tractors and air seeders and such - they will finally break down and buy a new sofa to replace the one they got as a wedding present back in 1949.
Between The News Junkie and Meaningless Hot Air, little of telling interest eludes the Combs of Arcania:
Skook, that's so ridiculous, and so funny and true, I can't laff for crying--and remembering my not-so-long-ago likewise pretty insanely rational farming priorities.
The sofa story is actually the saga of my elderly uncle. When we last visited them about six years ago, the sofa was still there. I bet it still is. And all the offspring are just the same. It comes with the job, I'm thinkin'.
Still, a wonderful life in some ways - a frightful one in others.
The sofa story is so funny Skook. Farming is a bit frightful. They work alone too much.
"They work alone too much."
Lots of time to think, which means you have a well-considered opinion on absolutely everything. Kinda like bloggers. :-)
So he met a nice gal, got married, got a sofa as a wedding gift, and together they drove down to metropolitan Havre, Montana in their Mercury pickup truck for their honeymoon. A honeymoon in the big city. I guess they could have gone to Regina but they wanted someplace exotic...
LOL--I can just see 'em. I remember as a kid some of the older relatives made that Grant Wood couple seem like a Vaudeville comedy act.
Apologies if I were rude or inconsiderate here, in one way or another.
But, OTOH, bite my ***. I happen to have still, a child's wonder, and on occasion, bluntness. I get excited over sharing 'neat' stuff. I also at times write what I would say, over the table, so to speak. This pixelated world can be confusing. Especially when one doesn't write well. But I refuse the constriction of some artificial tableau of intelligence determining what I might or might not say. I would respect most heartily, someone forgetting politeness and just calling me FOS or impolite. A slap in the face can, at times, be character building. I've built my life on constructive truth. It has not failed me yet, though life or death, at the time, was in the offing.
Have felt guilty, all night and day, about the above. Upon rereading, I wouldn't change a word. But, odd, the dead thread. I thought I addressed real issues, guess not. Many different perspectives in the world, many different presenters. A life lesson I learned, long ago, everyone has a place in the answer. Some more accepted than others.
The dead thread..............
It's happened to a lot of us, Luther. That's the thing about blogs - some just hijack a thread, and then some have their minds set on an earlier comment.
I've done it plenty. I wanted to talk more to Apple Pie about her step-dad, but the timing and flow of the thread was off. Funny thing though - I haven't gone a day since she told the story that I haven't wanted to talk about her step-dad. I'm haunted by her story - in a good way, but the threads fill up so fast with walls of text and links, and I feel out-of-place.
I hope I understood what you were feeling with this. Yeah, we all have a place in the answer, but who wants to bother when someone has picked "All of the above" and moved on to more white space to fill.
You understood beautifully Phoenix. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.
Believe it or not, it is not my ego that gets offended. (well maybe a little :-)) But the sense of community (false, most likely) that I tend too (when I should know better) project upon blogs that I bother to comment on. This virtual world has done much (since 9/11) in helping me keep a steady course while the rest of the world appears too have gone mad. I look at comments and blogs as "distributed intelligence", where the many do a better job than the one. (not a novel concept I know) As a part of that I try to contribute when I think it worthwhile and not just fill up "white space". IOW's, I take the whole damn thing too seriously and should just lighten up :-)
PS. I did mean that about the "slap in the face" though, should you ever see the need :-)
PPS. You should never feel "out-of-place". You bring intelligence, unique wit and the always helpful to/too lessons to the place.
Thank you again, see you up top!
I suppose I could say, at least I'm man enough too place a name next to my need for 'neediness'. Or, I might ask what voyeuristic 'need' was sated, by coming all the way down here, just too make an infantile and unnecessarily disparaging comment. Honor, is in the "eye of the beholder" I guess.
All of the above. A+ :)
With one minor caveat: Honor is in you. If it's not, it can't be in the eye of the beholder. I see it, so it must be in you.
It's a southern thing P. :-) Those who talk vs those who walk. And I'm joking, really, about geography. Anonymity is OK, when just shooting the shit. But, when aspersions are cast, I think a consistent name is not an unusual request. Doesn't have too be real, but at least related to one's normal screen identity. Just seems somewhat cowardly otherwise. Not that one can prove anything. Nor do I really care to. The writer speaks volumes without any help from me..