Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Commentarama Endorses!

With the election coming up in only 19 months, I think we've seen enough to endorse a candidate for 2015. In fact, we're going to endorse an entire ticket! Woot woot!

The candidates we have chosen have really proven to me that they stand head and shoulders about the rest. These people have amazing experience, verbal accuity and they are shameless a sh*t, which is important if we're going to deal with a world of thugs and punks running third-rate countries. These people have shown that they know how to answer the phone at 3:00 AM and shoot through that door with a shotgun to end whatever threat we face. Domestically, they have shown they know how to make money too, either by shaking down foreigners or just separating fools from their money.

What more could we want?

So without further ado, here is the ticket Commentarama endorses:
President Joe Biden
Vice President Ted Cruz
Sure, they're from different parties, but this is the DREAM TEAM of modern politics! Thoughts?

P.S. April Fools
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New York - We're #1....Oops

Well, this was a surprise. No, not that swastika. That's from last week. But, this...of all the things that New York excels at - Culture, art, finance, #1 in taxes (39% above national average), #1 in job stagnation, and #1 in least happy people, I did not expect that New York would be #3 with most number of hate groups. Only California and Florida out-hate New York (by a wide margin I might add.) Well, at least we outrank New Jersey.

Southern Poverty Law Center "Hate Map"

Though I should have guess it was true. When I move to NYC 25 years ago, I was confronted with the overwhelming amount of bigotry that pervaded (and still pervades) the city. Shocking really for someone coming from below the Mason-Dixon line. I just chalked it up to so many different people from all over the world to hate bringing their old world charm and homespun blood feuds with them. Oh, yeah and then there's that swastika at my subway station...

Discuss...anything.
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Liberals Exposing Themselves...

Liberals are fascinating creatures. Their instincts are all wrong. It's like their minds are wired backwards. Anyways, there have been a couple articles lately in which liberals have exposed the twisted reasoning that clouds their thinking. I thought I'd point some of this out.

Knee Jerk My Butt

By now you've heard about the crash of the Germanwings airline. The critical facts, for our purpose, are that the copilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit when the pilot left to use the bathroom and the pilot could not get back in. The pilot had a code which was supposed to let him back into the cockpit, but the copilot disabled it. And since the door was reinforced, the pilot was unable to break into the cockpit after that, even though he used an axe to try to break through the door. Those are the facts.

Enter the liberal.

The liberal in question is an aviation expert from Britain, named Philip Baum, who writes for Aviation Security International. His telling comment was this: "The ill-thought reinforced cockpit door has had catastrophic consequences." Apparently, in Philip's mind, creating a situation where pilots can keep terrorists out of the cockpit is an "ill-thought" idea, which he describes as "a knee-jerk reaction to the events of 9/11." Think about what this means. It means that Philip thinks it is safer to leave an unsecured door which terrorists can access than it is to trust the pilots to lock the door. Translation: he trusts terrorists more than he does pilots.

Sick.

Not surprisingly, everything else Philip says is wrong too. For example, contrary to what Philip asserts, the problem here wasn't that the cockpit door was reinforced. The problem was that there wasn't a way to prevent the copilot from locking out the pilot. And that actually has a simple solution: require at least two pilots to stay in the cockpit at all times... as US law but not EU law requires. Philip is wrong to call this a knee-jerk reaction too. This decision was made after a serious and lengthy debate involving everyone in the industry with many proposals offered and most rejected.

It should be shocking that Philip would trust terrorist more than pilots, but it really doesn't. Liberals routinely believe the public should just submit to the whims of the bad guys rather than risk "making things worse" by trying to stop them. Interestingly though, in anything other than dealing with criminals or terrorists, liberals advocate blind faith in experts.

Liberals Have Souls?

Right after the election in Israel, Politico published an article about the defeat of the Israeli left titled "Is Israel Losing Its Soul?" This title alone tells you the problem with liberals: they don't see elections as being a competition of ideas, they see elections as a choice between good and evil, with a victory by the opposition "disfiguring the future" and costing the country "its soul."

Interestingly, the same writer later in the article hypocritically attacks the voters for seeing the election in religious terms, calling Likud a "religious movement." So voting based on a religious preference is wrong, but voting for the opposition will destroy the country's soul.

Anyway, the real money quote is this: "Although, in their everyday lives Israelis are dynamic, creative, vibrant and optimistic, people who crave social justice and affordable housing and cheaper consumer goods—the good life—once in the voting booth they act from a deep sense of fear, of existential angst." In other words, Israels are happy leftists until they get to the voting booth. And what makes them vote the polar opposite of their real views? The right tricks them into fearing for their lives.

The first stupid assumption in this is that the public really is on their side. I've heard this for decades from leftists (and now the right-wing fringe) with any number of excuses given for why this never proves to be true. As football coaches say, the reality is that you are only as good as the score says you are... but liberals don't believe this. Secondly, notice that this statement completely sidesteps the question of why these people don't trust the left to protect them. Seriously, what this liberal is saying is that "the public shares our view, they're just afraid that we'll get them killed." Finally, it ignores the fact that there is an existential threat to Israel.

There was a similar comment in an article about gays voting for the far-right in France. In the article, a leftist who was horrified at the trend tried to explain it away by saying that gays have been made to fear "alleged intolerance" from Muslims. Isn't it interesting that direct threats, religious doctrine that calls for the murder of gays, random attacks, and gays being thrown off roofs is "alleged intolerance," but those same liberals love to claim that Christians who do none of that pose a genuine threat to gays?

It's Never Been So Bad!

Finally, in one of the many articles discussing Obama's Mideast failures, the AP interviewed Suzanne Maloney, a foreign policy talking head at the liberal Brookings Institution. She noted that "the mood here is that we really are at a crisis point that is unprecedented in recent memory." She then added the money quote: "This feels more intense and more complicated [than past moments of turmoil.]" In other words, Obama is facing worse problems than anyone else has faced.

Liberals love to exaggerate their challenges. To them, every challenge they face is new, unheard of and could not have been predicted... even though everyone else warned them. Of course, this is never true. And let me tell you that it's ridiculous to say that Obama is facing more complex problems than those faced by other presidents since Eisenhower. Obama's problems are no different than any of his predecessors, nor are they more complex. The problem is that his preferred solutions don't work. In fact, that is what "complex" really means to a liberal: that their solutions don't seem to be working.

By the way, in another telling quote, a State Department official said: "The truth is, you can dwell on Yemen, or you can recognize that we’re one agreement away from a game-changing, legacy-setting nuclear accord on Iran that tackles what every one agrees is the biggest threat to the region." This is a telling quote too. It shows the liberal mindset that they deserve to be considered a success, so long as even part of what they are doing succeeds. This is a very common argument position among liberals even though it's ridiculous. It's like arguing that your A in math justifies ignoring the four F's you got in your other classes.

Anyways, I thought you might find these quotes interesting. They highlight the bizarre and stupid assumptions behind the moronic ideas liberals spout.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: Foreign Affairs and Some Books

by Kit

I didn't have anything planned today (schoolwork) so instead I am going to do another foreign affairs round-up. Call it "An Occasional Look at the Mess Obama Has Gotten America Into Around the World with Some Stuff on Books."

The title needs work. So, let's start with…


Yemen

As you might be aware Yemen has undergone quite a lot in recent months. The Iranian-backed Houthis shot their way into the capital city and seized the parliament building, declaring a new government. The US withdrew its personnel from the area. The situation has deteriorated to the point where a UN official declared Yemen to be "on the edge of civil war."

Such a statement is, of course, false. Saying a country is "on the edge of civil war" implies it is not already in a civil war. It is like saying after the Battle of Bull Run that the United States was "on the edge of civil war." The civil war has already begun.

And it is becoming a proxy war between the Saudi-backed Sunni fighters and the Iran-backed Shiite Houthis as Saudi Arabia is now not only launching air strikes at Houthi targets inside Yemen, but massing troops at its border. The US, under Obama's leadership (presumably), is right now backing the Saudis. Of course, this means we are probably backing by proxy a group quacks with a philosophy close to ISIS but the alternative is a group of quacks bound to Iran, so it's a bit of a lose-lose right now unless we could set up a functioning, secular(-ish) government. But a Saudi-backed government in Yemen is preferable to an Iranian-backed government in Yemen.

Now Yemen is no stranger to proxy wars. During the 1960s it was home to a proxy war between the Saudi-backed Royalists and the Republicans backed-up by Nasser's Egypt, who sent troops to the country in what historian Michael B. Oren called, "an entanglement so futile and fierce that the imminent Vietnam War could have easily been dubbed America's Yemen." Guerrilla warfare and all the hallmarks of nasty, third-world fighting; chemical warfare, villages wiped out, brutal torture of prisoners, etcetera.

Now, to my knowledge neither the Saudis nor the Houthis have used chemical weapons —yet. Neither party may want the bad press. Houthis gassing Sunnis may create some bad press for Iran as well as some uncomfortable questions as to how they attained those chemical weapons, which would make a US-Iran deal harder for Obama. Of course, seeing as how things worked out for Assad when he crossed Obama's red line by launching a chemical attack they might decide, "Hey, why not?" The Saudis gassing Shiites would definitely throw a wrench into the US-Saudi relationship but given how unpredictable Obama has been in the realm of foreign affairs they too might decide, "Hey, why not?"

Oh, I should mention that this country, which is the Lebanon of the Arab peninsula, was previously called a "model" of Obama's counter-terrorism policy by the White House. A bit embarrassing.

Iraq

US launched airstrikes on Tikrit to support an Iraqi offensive. Things took an interesting turn of events when the Shiite militias backed off with the US claiming we asked them to hold off during the air strikes but some of the militia fighters claimed they held off to protest US involvement, with one militia spokesman* saying, "We are able to conclude the battle ourselves but the US came to usurp our victory." I got nothing.

*Spokesman? Do these Iraqi militias have PR departments, now?

Ukraine

Still a mess. But things took a turn for the bizarre (and comical) when the Speaker of the Chechen Parliament attempted a pathetic version of the Zimmerman Telegram vowed to send arms to Mexico if the US sent weapons to Ukraine in order to help Mexico regain the lands it lost in the Mexican-American War.

You read that right. And the story appears on Newsweek, Radio Free Europe, and Moscow Times so I think this story is legit. And pathetic.

By the way, we should be sending arms to Ukraine. Or something more than night vision goggles.

In Sum

Now, not all of this is necessarily Obama's fault. Yemen would be a basket case even without Obama, it has been that way for decades. But between his "reset" with Russia and his refusal to do anything when Assad drove a steam-roller over the red line and everything else it is safe to say that if Obama were following different policies towards Russia, the Middle East, and everywhere else half the stuff I described would be nowhere near as bad as it is.

And the thing about foreign policy is that mistakes cost lives, often in the thousands. The conflicts in Iraq and Ukraine have each cost several thousand human lives, many of them civilian. And they will continue to cost lives throughout the decade, maybe beyond. Such is the cost of incompetence.

Books

How about something cheerier?

Read Max Boot's most recent book, Invisible Armies, an excellent history of terrorism and guerrilla warfare going back to the days of Persia and Rome. He points out that (1) Guerrilla, or irregular, warfare is not "asian" and terrorism is not modern but is instead the "warfare of the weak" practiced by those unable to field conventional armies be they indigenous nomads, mid-20th century nationalists in Vietnam, or bomb-throwing anarchists during the fin de siècle and (2) they are not impossible to defeat. Some succeed like the Viet Cong in the 1960s-70s and the Ku Klux Klan in the 1870s but most fail. They are doing slightly better in the modern day but still have trouble. Some, like FARC, have spent decades fighting for their goal but are no closer to it than the day they launched their war.

I am now reading The Conservatarian Manifesto by Charles C.W. Cooke, a British-American writer at National Review. The book was written with a certain group of people in mind, people whom he said "feel like libertarians when they are with conservatives and conservatives when with libertarians," some of whom have begun calling themselves "conservatarians." An obvious portmanteau of "conservative" and "libertarian." So far it is a pretty good book but I am only on chapter 3, about federalism, so I have quite a ways to go. I will tell you about it when I finish.

Two other books I have read recently:

(1) Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas by Jonah Goldberg: This one is very much like his Liberal Fascism but, whereas Liberal Fascism was an (entirely successful) attempt to point out the ties between fascism and modern progressivism, Tyranny of Clichés is a history of liberal evasions and word games such as "only being interested in what works," "violence never solves anything," and others, including stuff about the Catholic Church and "Social Justice".

(2) Seven Deadly Virtues: 18 Conservative Writers on Why the Virtuous Life is Funny as Hell edited by Jonathan V. Last: This one is more in line with the traditionalist strain of conservative writing rather than the Classical Liberal strain so the result is sometimes pessimistic but most of the time the writers are so good at laying out the case for classical, old time virtues and values such as 7 Cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice, Courage, Temperance, Hope, Charity, and Faith as well as some other small but still important virtues such as Chastity, Forbearance, and Perseverance. Writers include Jonah Goldberg, Rob Long, P.J. O'Rourke, and, writing the last essay, on Perseverance, Christopher Buckley, who shows he has at least a modicum of his old man's talent with the pen. I highly suggest it, if only for that essay.

So, there it is. Discuss this or whatever you wish. The events around the world I've described, the ever-hastening decline of Pax Americana, or some book you've recently read. This is a sort-of open thread.

Discuss Away!
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

At The Film Site: Ikiru (1952)

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Finally We Can Put This Controversy To Rest!

Of all the great controversies that have confounded humankind for generations, nothing could be more perplexing and wrought with strife than this one. How many wars have been started and how many families have been broken apart over this all-important issue? This is serious business. Come on, you know that you have had this argument at least once in your life. Admit it. What is this all important issue? Without further adieu...Drumroooooooollll, please....

Which way the toilet paper should roll out of the toilet roll - over or under?


Well, now this issue can finally be put to rest. After years of fighting and gnashing and rolls of two-ply Charmin flying across the bathroom, some wise person finally thought to just look up the patent.

Now THIS is truly a settled science. Let's us never speak of this again...

But if you want to speak of other issues, be my guest.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cruz'n For a Bruiz'n

Ted Cruz has announced that he intends to seek the GOP nomination for President. Forget it. He’s finished. Here are my thoughts...

What Does He Really Want?: It’s obvious to anyone who is the least bit impartial that Cruz cannot win the nomination or the general election. So why is he running? What does Cruz want?

In most instances, the answer to why a fringer runs for President is simple: they want attention. Some, like Tom Tancredo or “B-1” Bob Dornan, want their one issue discussed. Others, like Ralph Reed, are looking for name recognition, which they can then parlay into a fundraising empire which will make them rich. Others, like Fred Thompson run because their wives push them. So which is Cruz?

Well, as odd as this sounds, I think Cruz actually sees himself as President. I have no proof to back this up, but here is what I’ve seen. Cruz has run a classic presidential campaign since arriving in Washington:
● First, he has the classic insider background – Harvard grad, worked in Washington, worked on campaigns.

● Secondly, like Obama and others before him, he has scrupulously avoided creating a legislative agenda which can be used against him. If he were truly the partisan he claims, he would be lobbing legislative bombs like Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders.

● Third, he has followed the classic strategy of shoring up his flank first by pandering to the far-right fruitcakes who decide elections in the South. But even more importantly...

● Fourth, Cruz has played his followers for fools by very carefully caveating every... single... thing... he’s... said... over the past two years. Remember when he opposed immigration reform? Actually, he didn’t. He opposed the particular bill, but made it clear he supported reform. Ditto on every other issue. In doing this, he thinks he’s left himself room to now move to the center with the media being unable to prove that he has changed positions. This is a standard tactic.
What this tells me is that Cruz has been cynically building a record (and avoiding a record) so he can shape his own campaign as needed, while simultaneously shoring up the mouth breathers long before he has to pander to the center. This is not the strategy of a partisan, it is the strategy of a chameleon who genuinely thinks he can make it all the way to the White House. Essentially, he is the mirror image of Obama in a ten gallon hat. But he has problems...

Cruz Has Miscalculated The “Base”: Despite Cruz apparently following the classic modern campaign plan for winning the election, Cruz has several problems. His first, is that he has miscalculated when it comes to “the base.”

Cruz’s strategy involves winning the self-described base before the primaries begin so he is free to run as a moderate on the national stage. This is something the Democrats excel at. What Cruz doesn’t understand, however, is how mentally ill the far right has become. What he doesn’t get is that they have become so obsessed with purity that they need constant reinforcement that their leader is just as obsessed as they are. That means that the minute he stops spewing the same nonsense they spew, they will begin to suspect something is wrong with him. And the moment he tries to sell himself as a moderate, they will turn on him as a betrayer. Cruz thinks they will accept a wink and nod and stay quiet as he tricks the public at large, but that is not who these people are. They want their leader to unapologetically foam at the mouth.

Cruz Has Also Miscalculated The Public: Despite Cruz caveating everything, which he thinks will give him the ability to sell himself as a moderate, Cruz seems to have misunderstood his own reputation with the public. Cruz’s battles with the GOP, which the public already views as too extreme, have painted him as an extremist among extremists. And once the public has an image of you, it is virtually impossible to change that image.

This is true of GOP primary voters too. For a couple years now, polls have shown that only 40% of GOP voters have held a positive view of Cruz, even as other candidates have scored well into the 60% range. He can’t really undo that. That means he can't win the public to win the general election and he can't win enough primary voters to win the primaries... even assuming the base doesn't turn on him.

Worsening his problem, his supporters are clustered in the evangelical states. Apart from the South and Iowa, Cruz is likely to find that he has negligible support. That means that all Bush needs to do is hang on for the Northeast and the West Coast and he will crush Cruz with insurmountable numbers.

Cruz Faces Money Problems: Finally, Cruz has so turned off the GOP money men that he will never get the funding he needs to organize and run a genuine campaign. This will hurt him after the first couple primaries.

As I see it, I actually do think Cruz thinks he can win this. He thinks he owns “the base” at this point and that he can now tack left to win the public. He will run as an outsider with Washington experience, but common sense. And he thinks this will let him hold the base while winning over enough moderates to cruise (pun intended) to the White House. I think he’s wrong on all counts though.

Am I right? Thoughts?

BTW, the media has written their first article calling O’Malley “the new JFK.” Put a fork in Hillary, she’s done.
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Anti-Semitism Again...

I was on the #5 subway line as it pulled into the Fulton Street Station in lower Manhattan (one stop north of the Wall Street Station and one block east of Ground Zero...) when I saw this carved into the pillar on the opposite side of the tracks.


Needless to say, I was shocked to see it and saddened too. I remember when I was in my early 20's being so frustrated that Jews continued to hold on to their fears of anti-semitism. I proclaimed that their fears were surely imaginary. The world had learned the lessons from the Holocaust and obviously anti-semitism had finally been eradicated from the world. Why couldn't they see that?

I must admit that it embarrasses me to think I thought these thoughts and that I was so naive. And more horrifying to me, I said these things to people who bore witnessed to the Holocaust first-hand.

Now, one swastika on one pillar in a NYC subway should not be a sign, but hate-filled graffitti is cropping up all over NYC these days. Weekly, there is some report of swastikas being painted on synagogues and attacks on orthodox Jews are becoming a regular event. Add to that a dramatic rise in attacks on Jews in Europe like in Paris earlier this year. Just this weekend, a drunken mob launched an attack on a synogogue in the UK and in Hungary, a Jewish cemetary was desecrated. The skeletons pulled from graves and tossed over toppled headstones. It has gotten so unsettling that many Jews in France are having serious discussions on whether to just leave.

Then there's the UN Human Rights Council:


Yes, Israel has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Council more than any other group. Once Israel's most reliable ally, our present administration grows increasely belligerent towards Israel and is openly hostile towards Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama is angry (and probably embarrassed) that Bibi won so easily last week. He wasn't supposed to. Obama sent his campaign experts to Israel to help the opposition party. But it did not help.

Well, anyway, as I should have suspected, the State of Israel and Jews are once and will always be considered the cause of all the ills in the world simply because they refuse to not exist...
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Step Back From That Ledge My Friend!

You may have noticed the other day that our good friend Kit was feeling a wee bit depressed. It's hard to blame him. We live in an appallingly cynical age. But you know what? There is hope.

Each of you knows the problem:
● Politics has become a game played by the fringes, but mastered by the Robber Barons. Conservatism seems long dead... as does liberalism, actually. The right killed Ronald Reagan’s conservatism and replaced it with Pat Buchanan’s paranoid xenophobia. The left has devolved into a collection of single-issue hate-groups. And the only business Washington achieves is what big business wants.

● Our businesses lie to our faces and then issue laughable non-apologies as they rob and abuse us. Our rich now feed off the life blood of the economy rather than build the economy, and they twist the laws to stifle competition.

● Our religions have become politicized and distorted. The Religious Right has turned Jesus into a hating machine. The left has made him immoral. At Mega Churches, he apparently wants you to drive an SUV. And Islam? WTF Islam! Good luck when any of you people die.

● Our intellectuals are hacks. They have abandoned thought and creativity and now mistake the semantic game of deconstruction for knowledge, insight and wisdom.

● Hollywood is turning out cynical, marketing-generated crap, which they dumb down to the lowest common denominator. The record industry keeps turning out the same song over and over and over, and they are selling white trash and ghetto culture. Hey baby, you’re not a ho just because you dance on a pole. Uh, yes you are.

● People seem angrier, stupider, and vastly more paranoid than ever before, and rage and personal destruction are the order of the day online.
This all sounds bad, but there is hope. In fact, I would even argue that the above is misleading. Consider this.

Our political system may be at a low right now, but it can change overnight. JFK renewed the spirit of the American people, who needed a spark after struggling with massive, unsettled race and ethnic issues. If not for LBJ, he might have transformed American much more successfully into a colorblind society with its eyes on the future. Ronald Reagan brought hope to a country that was stuck in malaise after two decades of the Great Society and the defeat in Vietnam. Overnight, the country renewed itself as the shining city on the hill and we re-took our natural place as the leader of the free world. This lasted until the GOP became obsessed with other people’s bedrooms and W. Bush redefined crony socialism and foreign policy incompetence as conservatism. Obama 2008 gave the country hope that we could end our racial problems and move beyond both the Second Gilded Age and the paranoid war footing 9/11 had put us on. That lasted until Obama 2009 proved to be Bush with a nasty, cynical attitude.

The point is this: the country renews itself all the time. And all it takes is the right person to inspire the country to leapfrog to a new approach. The right Republican can throw away the hate, the paranoia and the xenophobia and replace it with the conservatism of Ronald Reagan. The right Democrat could replace their tribalism with the kind of liberalism that attracted Reagan before the Democratic Party left him. Are such people waiting in the wings? It’s hard to tell, but look how quickly Obama rose from nobody to potential political messiah.

On the religious front, consider the new Pope. This is a man who seems determined to drive the politics and the money and the cynicism from the Catholic religion, but is doing so without taking an “anything goes” approach. Catholicism may not be the dominant religion in the US, but it is highly influential and I expect this to spread.

In terms of business, I’ve pointed out many things before to keep in mind. The technological progress being made in fields like electronics, safety and medicine are astounding... and they’re being done well outside the regulated industries, i.e. away from cronyism’s twisted reach. Most jobs are being created by small businesses, so big business is increasingly less important. Labor costs in places like China have risen so much that America is seeing a rebirth in its manufacturing sector. And forget this garbage about China having a bigger economy – that’s a claim made using a false formula that gives China credit for unrealistic things. In reality, China’s economy is 75% of ours and they will never catch us.

Movies are crap, yes. But television has entered a new golden age. In fact, television right now is better than anything movies or television ever created.

As for the paranoia, conspiracy theories and rage, think about this. Yes, talk radio is full of assholes who spew hate; not only political talk radio, but sports talk radio too. And the internet is full of the worst kinds of trolls who demonstrate just how sick and stupic human beings can be. But they cluster, which only makes them seem like they exist in larger numbers than they do. The reality is that their numbers are tiny compared to the rest of us. Rush, for example, has at times suggested he has 20 million listeners, but radio metrics show it is closer to 1.6 million... out of 310 million Americans.

Moreover, there has been a real change lately. Indeed, there have been several high profile instance lately where internet trolls have done their thing only to have an army of good people counter them. For example, there was a fat guy who got caught on film dancing and it went viral. All the trolls mocked him, only for a group of celebrities to invite him to a party to fight back against the trolls. Another guy took a half-court shot at a Duke basketball game and missed badly. Again, the trolls mocked him online. It turns out he has a rare disease that almost killed him and it wiped out his muscles. Thousands of people saw the mocking and sent him their support. There was a kid who had a birthday party, but no one came. This went viral and hundreds of people turned out. Every day, stories like this appear now which show that despite the sick f**ks who spend their time tearing everything down to make their pathetic lives feel better, there are huge numbers of people out there who don’t just let it pass anymore and they actively offer their support to the victims of these trolls. The point is, there are a vast number of great, caring people out there and they aren't silent anymore. And never forget the tens of thousands of people who participate in things like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Think too of the stories of the people who volunteer time and money to people they see who need help. Americans give around $350 BILLION to charity each year, with 75% of that coming from individuals, numbers which have risen year after year in real terms.

America may seem in decline, but it’s not. What is happening is that a tiny, tiny minority of people are presenting a distorted view of America. It’s like crime. Crime statistics show that we are in one of the lowest crime periods ever, yet people freak out because their nightly news is screaming about every crime they can find and people like Drudge are inventing nationwide crime epidemics like the “knock-downs.” It’s the same thing in other areas. When you look behind the numbers, you will see that Americans are a much different people than they are presented. We are kinder, more productive, more happy, and more neighborly. America is strong, and its flaws can be fixed.

Hang in there, folks!

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At the Film Site: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of: Akira Kurosawa

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: Depressing Thoughts

by Kit

The following, as the title indicates, is going to be depressing. It is also a bit of a rambling collection of thoughts rather than a coherent thought. It is really a collection of desultory thoughts I've had looking at the current political and cultural landscape. 

The idea of America is dead, or is dying. It has been replaced with identity politics, which is antithetical to America.

Neither side really seems to believe in America anymore.

And the Right has happily gone along with it, replacing Reagan-esque American idealism with the culture war identity politics of Pat Buchanan.

The Right's adoration of the Greats and now subtle embrace of the Boomers while sneering at X-ers and Millennials is just another form of identity politics. Adding to this, they have embraced white identity politics, as well. Pandering to racist union workers in Pennsylvania.

This has also caused conservatives to abandon making a case for immigration, embracing instead the idea espoused in the title of Mark Krikorian's book (emphasis mine), The Case Against Immigration: Legal and Illegal. Quixotically, they still wonder why they can no longer win among Cubans and Koreans.

Also, in 2016 they will go down in flames because this spring the Supreme Court will issue a ruling legalizing Gay Marriage throughout the land causing the Republican Party to face pressure from the Religious Right demanding they treat this as an "illegal and unconstitutional ruling" (to quote one writer). In fact, they already are.

Knowing the GOP, especially Boehner, they will fold like a cheap suit. And in 2016 they will have in their platform a proposal for a federal marriage amendment and will run hard on it as their main platform. And lose.

They know better than to write up an actual platform of policies (a.k.a., goals), which would likely involve compromises to reality. Which would offend the talk-radio crowd.

Our culture? It is saturated with cynicism and self-loathing. We no longer look for the mysterious joys and simple pleasures. Instead, our culture teaches people to aspire to be the most degraded among us. Rap and country teaches Americans (in the South, at least) to emulate the ghetto and white trash cultures.

In short, America died the moment Larry the Cable Guy replaced Norman Rockwell as the artistic representation of Middle America, "America" became "'Merikuh!", and a patriotic American citizen ceased to be a good husband, father, and citizen and instead became a fat guy with a beer gut and shotgun. Patriotism is a joke even among those who call themselves patriotic.

Can it be saved? Some days I'm not so sure. Like a heroin addict in his final days day America seems to prefer, nay, relish injecting more poison into its last remaining veins.

** I've more or less snapped out of the funk due to some help from the excellent movie The Kingsman. It is surprising what a bizarre blend of British 1960s spy-fi and Tarantino-style action can do.
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At The Film Site: Real Genius (1985)

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"No Shirts, No Shoes, No Service" Issues

I have a simple question to discuss. Do you think that private business owners have the right to deny service to someone that they "conscientiously object" to giving service to?

Yes, I know the history of denying Black citizens the right to eat at a lunch counter was a flashpoint in the civil right movement. But should a private business owner like a bakery or a florist be compelled by law to provide their service to a same-sex marriage when it does not comport their personal religious belief?

I have had a day-long discussion on the Dailybeast.com with several people on this subject and, maybe I am just a bit too libertarian on this subject, but I truly believe that small private business owners should have some rights to refuse service to anyone for whatever reason that they deem objectionable. Do I think that it makes for "good business" practice...absolutely not. But do I think that they should have the right to do it? Absolutely, yes, I do. Private business owners should have the right to decide. I call it the "No shirts, No shoes, No service" rule. Maybe I am wrong, but what do you think.

Let's discuss.

Disclaimer: No people of Irish descent were harmed in the making of this post...
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Starbucks Wants To Talk About What?

Starbucks apparently has a new policy. They want their baristas to discuss race relations with their customers. Hmm. This will not end well.

Oh, where to begin.

(1) Their baristas aren’t smart enough to discuss politics. And how exactly are they supposed to start these discussions?
Bubbly Barista Attempt No. 1: Hey, you’re dark like this coffee!
Rare Black Customer: What the f*ck?

Bubbly Barista Attempt No. 2: Why can’t people of different races get along?
Redneck Customer: Yep. We should ship all them coloreds back where they came from.
Bubbly Barista: I know, right?

Customer: Wasn’t Selma great?
Barista Attempt No. 3: Selma Blair?

Barista Attempt No. 4: Wanna talk about race relations?
Customer: No! I want you to get my f***ing order right! I said SKINNY MACHIATTO!
(2) What does Starbucks know about race relations? They’ve never had a black customer and they don’t hire Mexicans. All their customers, well 95.7%, are white suburban mothers in mini-SUVs and yoga pants. (The other 4.3% are angry white males in bike shorts who glare at their electronic gadgets as they spend the day using the free wifi.)

(3) The average interaction time with a barista is about 20 seconds. So these “discussions” will more likely turn into trivia sessions. How useful will this be:
“Black people make up 14% of the population.”
Ok.

“Black unemployment is 24%.”
Hmm.

“Mexicans come from Mexico.”
Really? Do tell.

“Asian are the new illegal immigrants.”
What?
Or is it going to be touchy-feely?
Bubbly Barista Attempt No. 1: I like black people.
Rare Black Customer: Are you hitting on me?

Bubbly Barista Attempt No. 2: Black people make great athletes.
Customer: (jaw drops)
Seriously, this is not a good idea. In fact, I can’t wait for the lawsuits as hypersensitive race baiters start visiting Starbucks waiting for the inevitable slip up. Even better, I can’t wait for the comedians to take advantage of this and go lead various unsuspecting baristas into making suicidaly stupid pronouncements about race, which they will then post on Youtube. You know it’s going to happen and it’s going to be hilarious.

Look, it’s one thing for people with an interest and some knowledge of a topic to engage in a discussion. But it’s quite another to ask thousands of low-wage morons to start randomly opining to customers about controversial issues.

Starbucks seems to think this isn’t a problem because they encouraged their baristas to talk about gay marriage and no one freaked out about that. But here’s the thing: that was an easy debate because the groupthink position was not only widely known, but so were all the acceptable responses to stay safely on the PC reservation. Said differently, even the worst morons amongst us knew what to say to stay out of trouble because the media and celebrities drilled it into them.

This is really different. There is no set of approved talking points about blacks and race relations because race relations are a broad range of issues, not a single issue that can be distilled to one view point, and the race baiters are super touchy and will freak out pretty much randomly – that’s how words like “picnic” and “black hole” can suddenly be called racist. Moreover, the race baiters often find offense in statements that are true. Hence, it takes an experience expert to avoid the landmines this topic encompasses.

Good luck.

It might be time to sell their stock.
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St. Patrick's Day Celebration

I know we have lately had some issues with "the Irish", but it's St. Patrick's Day, y'all! Can't we make nice?

Just to get things started, did you know that St. Patrick wasn't even Irish? Yeah, he was actually British, then part of the Roman Empire. March 17 is actually the date St. Patrick died in 461 A.D. Oh, heck, here is everything you'd ever want to know from the History Channel...Bet You Didn't Know - St. Patrick's Day

So, to celebrate the death day of the Patron Saint of Ireland who wasn't even Irish, put on something green, go out to a local Irish pub, and raise a glass or three to the fact that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland...well, except that there have never been any snakes in Ireland. Something to do with global warming, I think. And that he would use the shamrock to teach about the Trinity except that the shamrock doesn't really exist...[Oh, just watch the videos]

If all of this is just a bit too confusing, please feel free to change the subject.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Up Yours Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics once sang a song called "The King and Queen of America". I like the music a lot, but I hate the lyrics. They are insulting. They are also either blatantly false or retardedly stupid... I'm not sure which. Anyways, I thought I would take some time today to extend the finger to the Irish tramp and to point out the lie behind her song.

As I noted, the song I want to talk about is called "The King and Queen of America." This was written as an attack on Ronald Reagan, but let me start with the stupidity in the title itself. We ain't got no king or queen you Irish hag. Americans, unlike Irish trash, don't naturally view people as superior because the accident of their birth. We believe in achievement. We also believe that the public should have input into who represents us. That's why we have Representatives and why the President is elected... not born. Not sure if you know that, but I thought I'd point it out. Perhaps you can look it up, if you're ever not drunk... or fingering a Leprechaun.

Anyway, the offending lyric reads thusly:

The king and queen of America,
Yea it's the king of nothing
And the queen of rage
With a pile of confusion
Upon a glittering stage.

You know we never did anything
To make ourselves feel proud

You know we never did anything
So let's play it loud.

Really? You actually think Americans "did nothing to make ourselves proud"? Well, let me run a few of our achievements by you and see if you think the world would have been better off without us doing said things:

● We won WWII and stopped Nazism, saving the Jews and millions of Europeans.
● We rebuilt Europe when it was rubble.
● We won the Cold War and stopped Russia.
● Invented the telephone, the airplane, the internet, GPS, the light bulb, the skyscraper, the personal computer, the cell phone, etc.
● Discovered the Polio vaccine.
● Only country to land on the moon.
● Invented the artificial hip, the heart/lung machine, the artificial heart, defibrillator, MRI machines.
● Invented football, baseball, basketball.
● Hollywood.
● Rock and Roll, blues, jazz, country.
● Dominates list of world's best colleges - 8 of top 10, 43 of top 100.
● Olympic Medals 2681 (Ireland 28).
● American farmers feed to the world (Irish, see Potato Famine).
● Invented the airbag, the child safety seat.
● Invented the pill, the communications satellite, the laser, virtual reality.

And so on. In fact, if I was going to list all the world changing inventions, discoveries, or historical actions we took, this post would be several hundred pages long. We are the reason famine and most diseases are a thing of the past. We are the reason people live longer and healthier than ever. We are the reason poverty is vanishing around the globe. We are the people who entertain the world. We educate the world. Our scientific research drives the world's science. Our foreign policy and military have protected the freedoms of billions of people. Without us, the world would be a dark, nasty, dangerous place.

Now, just for fun, let's list Ireland's greatest hits, seeing as how Annie is Irish:

● Waged terror war against British civilians.
● Flirted with Nazis.
● Invented the tattoo machine.
● Invented the Kelvin scale.

So who exactly has never done anything to make themselves feel proud?
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: Why Jeb Bush is Not Wooing the "Base"

by Kit

Conservative writers John Nolte and Jonah Goldberg recently bemoaned, rather understandably, on twitter that while Mitt Romney at least tried to appeal to the conservative “base” Jeb Bush seems to show little to no desire to do so.

The better question would be, “Why would Jeb Bush want to appeal to the base?”

Like with Romney in the 2012 primaries, the base has already decided they hated him. Throughout the spring they attacked Governor Romney with an almost unparalleled sanguinolent fury. Anyone who lacked their required level of hatred for Romney was attacked for being an establishment, Rockefeller-Republican RINO already in the tank (and maybe on the dole!) for Romney. One example was Jonah Goldberg, who, though critic of Romney, failed to blast the candidate in every column as the death of conservatism and the Republican Party and was therefore branded as a RINO squish. An idiotic accusation considering this was the man who wrote Liberal Fascism and had attacked Bush’s spending binges… in 2003.

They only calmed down (somewhat) in the summer when Santorum and Gingrich dropped out, making Romney the definite nominee. They weren’t going to support Ron Paul even if hell froze over. So they (begrudgingly) gave their (reluctant) backing to Romney as he turned his sights towards Obama, though he still had to deal with attacks from the Ron Paul-wing of the GOP and the base still snipping at his heels, making sure he stayed within the dogma of the Talk-Radio Orthodoxy. The Party put out a platform bending over backwards to appeal to the Religious Right. For example, it called for a legal crackdowns on pornography (not child, adult). All while some, especially in the Religious Right, defended brain-dead quacks like Todd Akin.

And when he lost? Despite Romney’s gyrations and prostrations they attacked him for abandoning conservatism and failing to stick to conservative principles and running as a moderate. Romney was never pure enough for them and nothing he did would appease them, short of handing the nomination over to someone like Rick Santorum. They only warmed to him when he was seen as the anti-Jeb bush.

So, with this in mind, why would Jeb Bush want to appeal to a group of people who, as he well knows, already hate his guts, will never be satisfied by any level of contrition on his part, and might even undermine his general election campaign?

Heck, as Rick Perry learned, being a “conservative” candidate is no protection as they might still tear into your background looking for some spit of evidence that you are secretly a RINO squish. They were starting to do this to Scott Walker until the left started ragging him about his lack of a Bachelor’s Degree.

So, in their zeal to ensure that only the most pure of purest candidates is elected we have an election season where the most likely candidate knows that in order to win he must aim for the center and hope the crushing weight of inevitability and his army of donors carries him across the finish line. After all of the talk radio set’s inquisitorial vetting of any candidate they may now have created first candidate to run in the Rockefeller Republican mold in 40 years.

Congratulations.
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