Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 29, 2012

Can one be both socially conservative and libertarian? Answer: yes

Roger Simon discusses something I had been meaning to write about. His post touches on the tension between social conservatism and the libertarian impulse.

I myself identify as both a social conservative and a small-l libertarian. The contradiction, in fact, is only an apparent one. Allow me to explain.

First of all, there is a fundamental difference between libertarianism and libertinism. Libertinism seeks not liberty but license — the license to ‘do as thou wilst’ while being fully insulated from the consequences of irresponsible behavior. Libertarianism, on the other hand, seeks to get the state out of one’s wallet and bedroom to the extent practically possible, but by definition rejects the concept of the state insulating one from consequences of one’s own irresponsible behavior.

Yes, I believe deeply in a number of values that are generally considered socially conservative, and believe society would benefit greatly if more people would strive to live by these time-proven values. But I believe in furthering them by persuasion and personal example, not by state coercion with its reverse Midas touch.

The answer of every GOP candidate when asked about social issues (other than work ethic and self-reliance, which were still considered social issues when I was young) should be this: “My beliefs are well known, but I do not believe it is the government’s task to enforce them. Now, about the federal deficit and the economy…”

Of course, here’s the flipside: if you don’t want public resources to be used to enforce your beliefs, neither should they be used to enforce those of the other side (no subsidized abortions or s3x changes, no creating a ‘protected/privileged class’ out of a s3xual preference,…). And if you want to engage in risk behaviors (be they nutritional, sexual, smoking,…) do not seek to simultaneously deny us the right to criticize these behaviors yet tax us to foot the bill for them.

And the flip side of rejecting state coercion in “family values” matters is, what ‘cousin Dave’ calls, “get[ting] government out of the business of rearranging society with its offerings of perverse incentives. “

“Bring the state back to basics.” Even if you do believe that the state should do some stuff beyond what I call “night-watchman duties” (national defense, public law and order, border protection, international relations), as long as it cannot handle the essentials properly it should not concern itself with peripherals. One does not argue about interior decoration while the house is on fire.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 29, 2012

Focusing on marginal hate speech as a form of ‘displacement’

Laura Rosen Cohen reflects on a recent incident in Canada:

A Quebec broadcaster let someone on his show and “Maria” proceeded to call Israelis dogs, and talk about how the Holocaust was the best thing to have ever happened, and say all kinds of other things about Jews.

The host warned her that one must be careful about saying things about Jews because the conversation can easily get shut down, that’s it’s a sensitive topic.

Well first of all, the person trying to insult me by calling me a dog needs to work a little harder, since I can think of quite a few categories of humans that make dogs look excellent in comparison — such as  antisemites, apologists for islamofascism, fascist sympathizers (whether their favorite color of fascism be black, brown, red, or green), and of course Chicago Machine hacks. My answer to the kook and her host would probably be something along these lines (NSFW, especially in Italy).

Laura bemoans the excessive amount of attention devoted by Canada’s establishment (and left-leaning) Jewish organizations to combating a few marginal antisemitic kooks, to the detriment of fighting much greater, clearer, and more present dangers elsewhere. While I quibble with some of the language and specifics of her post, her general points — including that the answer to ‘hate speech’ is not ‘hate speech laws’ but better counterspeech — are well taken.

But I believe something else is at work, namely the psychological defense mechanism known as displacement:

an unconscious defense mechanism whereby the mind redirects affects from an object felt to be dangerous or unacceptable to an object felt to be safe or acceptable.[1] The term originated with Sigmund Freud.[2]

A special case of displacement I have discussed on these pages: incompetent managers, when faced with problems that are clearly too big for them,  single out some small, insignificant aspect of the problem, redefine that as “the” problem, attack that, and declare success.

In this case, the establishment Jewish community organizations are afraid to tackle the really serious problems — because that would, inter alia, make them no longer salonfähig among the cocktail party set, or cause a confrontation with a type of imported fascist that may actually try to kill you. Or, for those deeply invested in left-wing world views,  it may entail a reassessment of values and realignment of loyalties more comprehensive than they can handle. Much simpler to ‘displace’ onto a few marginal remnants of the “ancient enemy” (which command no public sympathy) than to try and face the “new enemy” which all too many consider the wave of the future…

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 24, 2012

Saturday beauty: Jon Schmidt, “All of me”

I owe y’all a post on what the cease-fire in Israel means but am swamped with work. Meanwhile, here is a piano piece that I instantly fell in love with, played by the composer (Jon Schmidt). Some would call the style New Age piano, others neo-roots music, I might call it ‘neoclassical’: by any other name, after a brief intro, you get three minutes of sheer exuberance. (For the  pianists among us, here you can view sheet music and here you can buy it.) Enjoy!

 

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 15, 2012

Ayatollah Ghilmeini on “Pillar of Cloud and Pillar of Fire”

At Correspondence Committee, commenter “Ayatollah Ghilmeini” has some reflections on mivtza amud anan/Operation Pillar of Cloud (a.k.a. Operation Pillar of Defense) that need sharing:

I had wondered how many more rockets were going to hit Israel before there would be response.  It was clear the recent escalation, right after Obama was elected, stemmed from multiple needs of the people shooting rockets: Iran and Syria needed international community pressure off of them while they murder the Syrian people into submission, the radical Islamists in Egypt and Gaza, flush with the belief that Obama would protect them wanted to get the shooting started, lastly, and most importantly, all of these radical organizations and governments are committed to jihad against the Jewish people.  The jihadis are in political ascendancy throughout the region and they only know one way, permanent war until victory.

In blessing the rocket assault the triggered this war, they made one supreme political miscalculation.  They believed, that the Israeli government going into elections would be afraid to respond for fear that there be political backlash at the polls.  This fundamental misreading of the Israeli body politic is the reason for this war.  When Israeli political leaders acknowledged that 1 million Israelis were within missile range of Gaza, it was clear to me that any politician wishing to get elected that did not speak to this continuing and unacceptable situation faced certain defeat at the polls.

[...]Looking back over the last few days it was clear that the silence coming from the Israeli government as it checked its fire and the enemy kept shooting rockets was the implementation of the modern war plan.  The operation is currently called Pillar Of Cloud, and anyone who remembers their Bible, remembers that with the pillar of cloud [by day], there was also a pillar of fire [at night].  It is my belief that, unless the rocket fire diminishes immediately, Israel will shortly begin ground operations in Gaza on a major and significant scale.  Unlike the inconclusive war 2006, this time, they will go all the way.

[...] If a bunch of New Jersey separatists were firing rockets into New York demanding back Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty because they are part of the sacred religious property of the New Jersey people, the people of New York, and the United States for that matter, would shut that crap down in about a day.  But in the bizarre double standards of the modern world, Israel is expected to tolerate this. When the situation finally got so unbearable that they had to act, Israel’s leaders finally acted.  [...]

I pray for her soldiers and people [...] I also pray for the Palestinian people to be freed from the tyranny of the bunch of psychotic religious terrorist maniacs.  May this war be short and end in a complete and total Israeli victory. Am Yisroel Chai!

Amen. Go read the whole thing.

UPDATE: “Anne in Petach Tikva” has updates from the scene here and here. The named of the town in central Israel where she lives, fittingly, means Gate of Hope.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 14, 2012

Replacing the aristocracy of money by the aristocracy of pull

Ayn Rand is an extremely verbose author, but she could be very concise and to the point when she put her mind to it. Witness this scene from ‘Atlas Shrugged’: the crony-capitalist James Taggart starts on a familiar rant and suddenly gets cut off:

We will liberate our culture from the stranglehold of the profit-chasers. We will build a society dedicated to higher ideals, and we will replace the aristocracy of money by–

“the aristocracy of pull,” interjects d’Anconia.

Bingo. Had she been writing today, she might have said “the aristocracy of clout” or “the aristocracy of connections” or in Israel or Russia “the aristocracy of protektziya“.

Make no mistake: there is no such thing as a purely equal society. As George Orwell had his fictitious Emmanuel Goldstein put it: every society in human history has had a High, a Middle, and a Low. In a capitalist society, the High tend to be those with the most money. In a society of the type envisioned by the ‘social justice’ crowd (a term like “People’s Democratic Republic” in which every word actually means the opposite of its plain meaning) all that will happen is that who is part of the ‘High’ gets determined no longer by one’s net worth, but by the number and quality of one’s connections.

I have seen this first-hand in socialized medicine systems, where indeed money could not buy you access to gold-plated treatment — but being connected to the right people could. As an Israeli friend told me: “I’d go to the hospital and say my name is Yossi Cohen and get one type of treatment; I’d go back and say my name is Prof. Joseph Cohen from [name of famous research university] and get the red carpet. It ought not to be like this but this is reality.” (Or it was, until private medicine started making significant inroads.)

Now guess what kind of people figure they would be the High in such a system? Yes indeed, the New Class. This is what ‘social justice’ is really about: a disaffected group from the (upper) Middle trying to set itself up as the new High, using the Low as mascots or (electoral) cannon fodder.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 14, 2012

CNN pop shrink declares we have a disorder now

 

 

Correspondence Committee reports that the CNN pop shrink now has tips for ‘Republicans depressed by the election outcome’. Yes, we have a ‘disorder’ now. Gee, diagnosing refractive political disagreement as a disorder: what could go wrong?

Tell her to look up ‘gaslighting‘, which is what her own employers have been perpetrating on the American public:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memoryperception and sanity. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

The term “gaslighting” comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations, in which a husband secretly dims the gas lights in the house and, when his wife remarks on it, he claims that she is mistaken. This is done to convince the woman that she cannot trust her own judgment, and so will not be believed if she tries to report other strange things that are genuinely occurring, which the husband wishes to keep secret. The term is now also used in clinical and research literature[…]

On a lighter note (ahem), here is Steely Dan live with “Gaslighting Abbie”:

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 11, 2012

The beached whale ORCA: a campaign consultant con job?

I am a firm believer in Hanlon’s Rule (actually Heinlein’s Rule): “Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity/incompetence”, but at times that faith gets shaken. Such as by the ORCA fiasco (see AceBusinessInsiderWaPo , CNETComputerWorldPolitico, and Breitbart) which may very well have cost Romney the election. RedState (via Althouse) now has more on how the campaign acquired this turkey. Go read it all and weep: it is a horrifying story of nest-feathering by consultants, arrogance, and campaign decisions based on bogus statistics and poll numbers from the turkey’s droppings.

The result of all of these false numbers and inaccurate ground reports is simple: Mitt Romney was ill-prepared for the actual numbers on election day and his false sense of confidence directly translated into how the campaign operated in the closing weeks. In the words of one source, it was a con job. As David Mamet famously said, “If you’re in the con game and you don’t know who the mark is … you’re the mark.” Mitt Romney had no idea what was coming.

And thanks to the greed and hubris of a few we are now stuck with four more years of the worst administration in living memory. Thanks for worse than nothing.

UPDATE: More here from Bethany Mandel. And more on the company: seems to consist of a bunch of execs and marketers and… two coders, one of which actually used to work for Al Gore. I might have been able to overlook the latter, but on principle I avoid IT companies that are “all hat and no cattle” (or all jacket and no bomber) like the plague.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 10, 2012

Saturday music therapy: Marillion, “Easter”

Marillion are a “neo-prog” band that rose to mainstream prominence in the 1980 (even scoring an international hit with “Kayleigh”) then continued as a cult band with a rabid fan following.

This (quite melodic) song is about “The troubles” in Ireland. At 2:30, floating on lush keyboards, an elegiac, meltingly beautiful guitar solo sets in that takes you to another realm for 90 seconds until the sun breaks through (as it were). Because of this solo, the song is reportedly a fan highlight of every Marillion concert; I’ve had this song on repeat quite a few times in the last, very difficult, week.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 10, 2012

Orson Scott Card goes nuclear on the EneMedia

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 9, 2012

The prodigious multiplication of voters

0bama truly is a lightworker. Not content with minor feats such as feeding a multitude with five loaves and two fishes, he has managed to do the impossible and reach 135% voter turnout in some Boston districts:

STATE ELECTION BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS NOVEMBER 6, 2012 UNOFFICIAL RESULTS (dc: Picked this up in Ace’s comments – I’m sorry, I can’t remember who to hat tip for it. Check out these numbers.)

% Turnout

Ward 1, Precinct 1 135.22%

Ward 1, Precinct 2 127.96%

Ward 1, Precinct 3 119.21%

So is this how Fauxcahontas Lieawatha got elected? Of course I do not think the POTUS outcome got affected by Boston (Massachusetts being a hopelessly ‘blue’ state) but… who says it was only Boston?!?  “littleoldlady” drew my attention to something interesting:

There is a rather interesting statistical correlation between the degree of voter ID verification and the percentage of States carried by Romney.
Yes, I know, correlation is not causation, and red states are generally more open to passing voter ID laws, but… Do I trust the Chicago combine even one nanometer further than I can throw them?
Then again, it appears that the electoral catastrophe was a truly bipartisan affair, as the Romney campaign shot itself in the foot big time with putting all its GOTV efforts in the basket of  a half-baked, poorly stress-tested custom IT system called ORCA (see here and here). Whoever is responsible for this debacle has an awful lot to answer for.
Massive voter fraud by the opponent, accidental massive vote suppression by his own side: it is a miracle that Romney came within a hairbreadth of unseating the Campaigner-In-Chief.
The Republic is starring in a new Neal Stephenson novel called REAMED.
UPDATE:
Cleveland too?! (site new to me, caveat lector)
UPDATE 2: More on the ORCA beached whale from ComputerWorld, CNET,  Politico, and Ace. Even if your politics are the opposite of mine — if you’re an IT manager or customer relations manager there’s a must-read cautionary tale there.
Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 9, 2012

Religion as a “containment vessel” for irrationality

“buzzsawmonkey” at @corrcomm quotes his father, a scientist, on the irrational (see comment #16):

When I was young, I thought—we all thought—that science and rationality would triumphantly replace religion.  We were wrong, because man, while capable of rationality in certain areas, is not a rational animal.

There is no removing the non-rational from human beings—and if you try to do this, all you get is bad science, because the non-rational impulse will invade and corrupt the ability to think rationally.  It is the lack of a place and a control for non-rational thinking that creates false science like the hysteria over cancer from cell phones or power lines, or over global warming.

Human non-rationality is like a universal solvent, which dissolves whatever it touches.  The problem with a universal solvent is to find a vessel to contain and control it so it cannot do any harm. The only vessel that has proven itself capable of containing non-rationality over any period of time, and making it possible to control it so that it is not harmful, and even to harness it for useful ends, is religion.  Religion is not a perfect vessel; there are spills and breakages. But it is the only vessel which has been able to contain non-rationality and harness it for good.

Nail, meet hammer. I now see where buzz’s way with words comes from.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 9, 2012

Now what? The long game and the short game

Like many of us, I was heartsick over the election. Not because “our team” lost, but because what is without doubt the worst president in living memory, after a term in office that reads like a litany of disasters and miserable failures, managed to secure reelection despite at least two major scandals that would have brought down any Republican president — who, of course, would not benefit from a gleichgeschaltete press.

I’ve read plenty of “we are doomed” articles over the last few days, and certainly understand the despair speaking through them. John Hinderaker struck a backhanded positive note: namely, that the person dealing with the damage wrought by the first 0bama term will be none other than Barack Hussein 0bama. (Clementine Churchill “Winston, this may be a blessing in disguise.” Winston Churchill: “At this moment it seems quite effectively disguised.”)

I am not sure we’re lost or doomed, but I think we have to play two games at once: a short game (on economics) and a long game (on social/moral issues). Forgive me the “stream of consciousness draft” nature of what follows.

A number of pundits have struck a “two tribes” or “one nation divided” theme: America nearly equally split into two nations. Actually, I’d go even further: two nations that don’t even speak each other’s language. I don’t agree with, say, Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum on many issues but I share enough of a reference framework with them that I understand what makes them tick. Your average MTV-head (or, for that matter, the indie rock-fan bashing “eMpTyV”) won’t even get where Romney or Santorum come from — and they tend to be so low-information on anything not immediately relevant to their daily lives that they are easy targets for media manipulation.
It’s like — as happened to me the other day — somebody walks in on you listening in obvious bliss to music on headphones, and just hearing cymbal noise and what sounds like vocal shouting because nothing else leaks from the headphones. The person coming in thinks you like crap noise, while you are actually hearing Deep Purple’s “In Rock” album in all its sonic glory.
To some kid that’s been brainwashed by entertainment TV on “hookups”, consequence-free s3x, and glorification of non-heterosexual s3x, somebody like Romney is never going to be able to explain his position (ahem) on marriage, let alone on abortion. (I’m not even thinking of Santorum’s, and don’t get me started on Todd Akin, an embarrassment that managed to blow a shoo-in Senate seat). Even when the kid might be open to the idea that a foetus is not just some clump of tissues that can be flushed at will until right before birth (and even when born alive after a botched abortion, according to some extremists such as a certain former Illinois state senator), they are vulnerable to all the “back-alley abortions” “steal your lady parts” etc. propaganda of the other side. And here’s the clincher — women from the more so-con side, even when personally atheist or agnostic (like Dr. Helen Smith, a.k.a. “Instawife”) won’t even get why the women from the other side aren’t turned off by this obviously simplistic, manipulative, and patronizing propaganda.
It used to be that positions, liberal or conservative, might have been taught in school in a relatively dispassionate fashion, leaving people (comparatively) free to make up their own minds. What happens now is that kids get little or no actual information in school (and whatever they do get is thin on information and heavy on propaganda), and nothing but propaganda (glorifying one perspective and demonizing another) through the popular culture. As Sarah Hoyt pointed out, outliers can exist in the latter, but only after they have already become established and feared in some niche — Brad Thor, for example, can be an outspoken conservative, or some Justin Bieber-type singer can be an evangelical, or Bob Dylan can be a quasi-Orthodox Jew [though even he has to at least be seen as genuflecting to the hipster orthodoxy once in a while].
Therefore, on social and cultural issues, only the long game can be played. I am not even talking about persuading people, simply of convincing them that there is another perspective at least as valid as the therapeutic left-liberal one they take for granted. It is high time to make the culture celebrate “diversity” beyond the skin-deep kind of race and ethnicity, but this is a slow game that (Bill Whittle makes this point masterfully) requires essentially the patient building-up of a competing popular media infrastructure.
So much for the long game. On economic issues, however, the short game can and should be played, if only because we are so close to the economic abyss that the daily consequences will hit very soon and very hard, way beyond the extent that they are already hitting many people. At some point very soon “other people’s money” will run out, and the “blue model” discussed at great length by Walter Russell Mead will crash. If 0bama weren’t such an economic innumerate, he’d (quietly, so as not to upset environmental extremists) push for maximum development of US oil resources to have an export commodity available for “the day after” Arab oil runs out — because nanny statism of the type he envisages can only be financed (while it lasts) if you’re literally sitting on a gold mine with the whole world lining up to buy.
In other words: the only message that the GOP can, in the short term, preach outside the choir is the economic one of “we have no more money and better do something about it before it all comes crashing down”. This message should be stated clearly, forcefully, and insistently. This will not fall on kind ears — as the hysterical reactions to the ‘Ryan plan’ illustrate — and entrenched interests will do all they can to demonize the GOP here too. But here the GOP has been able to score at least tactical victories at the local or regional level (note Scott Walker in WI), and in the short-to-medium term, their best ally are “the cold equations”: either the GOP will be ignored in the short term and then gain new respect as “the gods of the copybook headings with [financial] terror and slaughter return”, or they will be hearkened to and in the process become stronger, or adult leadership will come back to the D party and it will adopt modified forms of GOP solutions and then claim their ownership, justifying itself to its base by explaining how much worse the medicine would taste if the GOP did it. (The latter outcome may take the wind out of the GOP’s sails in the short run but may actually benefit it in the long run — as it will be seen as a responsible partner by supporting effectively GOP-lite policies from the opposition benches.)
In both long and short game — as the late lamented Andrew Breitbart understood better than anybody else — the legacy media is Enemy Number One and this should be kept in mind at all times. Covering for D presidents may not be something new (think of FDR and JFK), but the blatancy, near-universality, and shamelessness of today is something unprecedented. Insty has referred to them over and over as “DNC operatives with bylines” — if they aren’t actual operatives, they have become functionally equivalents thereof. As veterans of the Chicago Machine, the 0bama consiglieres will know how to reward their friends: I am willing to bet nearly my bottom dollar on an overt or covert bailout or subsidy of the legacy media “in the public interest”. Treating them as ‘the enemy’ does not always mean being confrontational or aggressive: Breitbart was at his most devastating to them when playing mental jujitsu games with them.
Us obsessive newsbloggers/newsblog readers are making the mistake of targeting high-information voters. A president (and his followers) behaving like middle schoolers just won re-election — because that is the level of information and maturity of half the electorate! Therefore, we must target our message simultaneously to all levels of information and attention span, and in such a way that the consumer can choose their level without feeling patronized.
You may call me a dreamer, but I can’t believe I’m the only one.
On a final note: there is one subject notably absent from the above, immigration. With the economy in the current doldrums, the wave of illegal immigration from South of the border appears to be petering out as even menial work “that Americans won’t do” is no longer abundantly available. As much as the stories described by Victor Davis Hanson make my blood boil, nothing will put a more effective end to these than (for lack of any fiscal alternative) severely curtailing transfer payments to the ‘documented’ and ‘undocumented’ alike. For good reason, Milton Friedman was an advocate of both minimum-government and  open borders: one can easily (and only) afford the latter if one has the former.
UPDATE: Megan McArdle (one of the very few redeeming features of the execrable Daily Beast) had predicted an 0bama win, but in the short-to-medium term foresees a fracturing of the ‘permanent’ D coalition  as the money runs out and it will be impossible to continue paying off all interest groups at the same time, forcing difficult choices between them. She uses the term ‘Hobbesian war of all against all’: I might have chosen the term Ragnarok.
Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 8, 2012

Why wordsmith (pseudo)intellectuals tend to favor 0bama and big government

Neo-neocon attempts to answer this question. She argues that wordsmiths (that is, people who earn a living by pushing words around, suc as journalists, lawyers, most bureaucrats… all New Class professions) often tend to fall prey to the delusion that only words are real, and that anybody who speaks and writes well will be a good thinker or policy maker. In other words, wordsmiths tend to confuse articulateness and intelligence.

Those of us in the hard sciences know (or should know) better. I know scientists that speak like truck drivers and need major editorial help to turn their papers into something publishable — but that have stratospheric numerical and visuospatial IQs and have had very successful careers in academia or industrial research.

Conversely, I know all too many “wordsmiths” (especially journalists) that may be very articulate (and thus presumably have verbal IQs in the gifted, or at least the upper bright normal range) but that are shockingly innumerate and/or lack the visuospatial skills to understand simple scientific or technical problems even when broken down devoid of jargon. Often these people think of themselves and each other as “the best and the brightest”, when in fact their general IQ (averaged over verbal, numerical, and visuospatial) may be in the bright-normal (IQ 115-129) range at best.

These are also the people that go on and on about how ‘stupid’ Bush 43 was; yes, Bush had major articulacy problems, but somebody who was a skilled pilot on a pretty unforgiving jet fighter plane as well as tutored his fellow pilots on math problems cannot possibly be a moron. (In fact, analysis of his SAT and Air Force Officer Qualification Test scores suggests an IQ of about 125 — in the upper tier of bright-normal.) But, of course, his mental profile would be the exact inverse of the average wordsmith: average verbally, bright normal to gifted otherwise.

Robert Nozick wondered earlier if there is a reason why so many ‘intellectuals’ favor big-government solutions to scoietal problems, and ascribes it to their fallacious beliefs that the same factors that garnered them praise in the classroom should be the ones that determine material prosperity and prestige in the wider world. “OMG! He was hopeless in class and now sells cardboard boxes — yet got filthy rich and is even running for Congress. IT. IS. NOT. FAIR.”

One of my rabbis — who grew up in a Muslim country — used to say that the tragedy of the Arab world was its language being so beautiful that people get intoxicated on words and lose sight of more concrete matters, thus ending up going nowhere, and being envious of those who do succeed (like their ‘cousins’). The mind wonders if this explains the strange, and counterintuitive, tolerance so much of our ‘liberal’ intelligentsia has for the ultra-reactionary ideologies of Islamism.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 7, 2012

Kagi’s lament: ineffable sadness in music

ברוך אתה ה’ אלוקינו מלך העולם, דיין האמת (Blessed art Thou L-rd, Ruler of the Universe, the True Judge — traditional blessing upon learning of a calamity.]

I have no words that suffice to express my grief for the Republic. So music will have to do.

 

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 7, 2012

Waiting, phase one

Poll closing times map, via Ace:

Porcupine Tree, “Waiting, phase 1″, studio and live versions.

While waiting, here are two useful web apps (OK, make that three):

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 6, 2012

Today is the day

“Work like it all depends on you, for it does.

Pray like it all depends on G-d, for it does.”

(variously attributed to Augustine, Ignacio de Loyola, Carlo Borromeo, and John Wesley)

Let freedom ring!

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 5, 2012

Michael Barone’s prognosis: Romney by 315

Michael Barone (he of the Almanac of American Politics), possibly the biggest election wonk in the USA, reviews the chances of 0bama and Romney in the battleground states:

Which candidate will get the electoral votes of the target states? I’ll go out on a limb and predict them, in ascending order of 2008 Obama percentages — fully aware that I’m likely to get some wrong.

Indiana (11 electoral votes). Uncontested. Romney.

North Carolina (15 electoral votes). Obama has abandoned this target. Romney.

Florida (29). The biggest target state has trended Romney since the Denver debate. I don’t see any segment of the electorate favoring Obama more than in 2008, and I see some (South Florida Jews) favoring him less. Romney.

Ohio (18). The anti-Romney auto bailout ads have Obama running well enough among blue-collar voters for him to lead most polls. But many polls anticipate a more Democratic electorate than in 2008. Early voting tells another story, and so does the registration decline in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County. In 2004, intensity among rural, small -town and evangelical voters, undetected by political reporters who don’t mix in such circles, produced a narrow Bush victory. I see that happening again. Romney.

Virginia (13). Post-debate polling mildly favors Romney, and early voting is way down in heavily Democratic Arlington, Alexandria, Richmond and Norfolk. Northern Virginia Asians may trend Romney. Romney.

Colorado (9). Unlike 2008, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats, and more Republicans than Democrats have voted early. The Republican trend in 2010 was squandered by weak candidates for governor and senator. Not this time. Romney.

Iowa (6). The unexpected Romney endorsements by the Des Moines Register and three other newspapers gave voice to buyer’s remorse in a state Obama carried by 10 points. Democrats’ traditional margin in early voting has declined. Romney.

Minnesota (10). A surprise last-minute media buy for the Romney campaign. But probably a bridge too far. Obama.

New Hampshire (4). Polls are very tight here. I think superior Republican intensity will prevail. Romney.

Pennsylvania (20). Everyone would have picked Obama two weeks ago. I think higher turnout in pro-coal Western Pennsylvania and higher Republican percentages in the Philadelphia suburbs could produce a surprise. The Romney team evidently thinks so too. Their investment in TV time is too expensive to be a mere feint, and, as this is written, Romney is planning a Sunday event in Bucks County outside Philly. Wobbling on my limb, Romney.

Nevada (6). Democratic early-voting turnout is down from 2008 in Las Vegas’ Clark County, 70 percent of the state. But the casino unions’ turnout machine on Election Day re-elected an unpopular Harry Reid in 2010, and I think they’ll get enough Latinos and Filipinos out this time. Obama.

Wisconsin (10). Recent polling is discouraging for Republicans. But Gov. Scott Walker handily survived the recall effort in June with a great organizational push. Democrats depend heavily on margins in inner-city Milwaukee (population down) and the Madison university community. But early voting is down in university towns in other states. The Obama campaign is prepared to turn out a big student vote, but you don’t see many Obama signs on campuses. Romney.

Oregon (7), New Mexico (5), New Jersey (14). Uncontested. Obama.

Michigan (16). Romney chose Pennsylvania, where there’s no auto bailout issue. Obama.

Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.

From Mr. Barone’s mouth to G-d’s ears. Here is the interactive electoral map of his prediction. Tomorrow is the day to make it happen. Vote like the Republic depends on it, for it does.

It seems that either the campaign is desperate or they have lulled themselves into thinking that the only two demographics that matter are “grievance studies” and “hipster D-bags”. (That’s what echo chambers will do to you.)

In any case, at a campaign appearance in Springfield, OH (not the namesake in IL), 0bama urged voters to “take revenge” on election day. The Romney campaign wasted no time in pouncing on this, asking voters “”Are you voting for Revenge Or Love Of Country?”

 

Seriously, 0bama and his campaign are increasingly making middle-schoolers look poised and mature in comparison.

Or they are plain desperate. Just gleaning from my twitter feed:

As Insty put it memorably: “Don’t forget to change your clocks tonight, and your president on Tuesday”.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | November 4, 2012

Healthcare — free, top-quality, available, pick any two

In response to a commenter here I wrote the following:

Healthcare — free, top-quality, available, pick any two. I have lived under multiple healthcare systems. If the price for “free” and “available” is involuntary euthanasia of the elderly, I’ll pass. If “free” and “available” means “7th-rate”, so will I. If “free” means “whoever has the best connections gets the best quality care”, it’s just “inequality” in a different way. (Except, of course, that the “deserving” New Class of bureaucrats, academia, and “helping” professions think they will get first dibs in a system run by them.)

Israel comes the closest to a workable socialized medicine system (thanks to an unusually healthy age pyramid) and even their system is increasingly becoming two-tier: gold-plated for those able to afford private care and bare-bones for everybody else.

Old Maggie had it dead to rights: “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” It was 0bama’s misfortune (but also his innumeracy — a common characteristic of “wordsmith intellectuals”, in my experience) to try and implement more socialist schemes just as the state ship was reaching the shoals of bankruptcy. [I couldn't resist the Monty Python reference :-)]

Ann Althouse notes that, most unlike McCain in 2008, Romney is currently leading 0bama in newspaper endorsements by a sizeable margin — and that no less than 28 papers switched from 0bama to Romney this election cycle. Via the comments, here is a detailed list of endorsements., from which we learn that only six papers made the reverse switch.

Does this mean that the “preference cascade” has now spread to a quintessential bulwark of the New Class, the legacy media? (To be sure, the Pravda-on-the-Hudson and the Izvestia-on-the=Potomac are still endorsing the Naked Emperor, the NYT orgasmically so, the WaPo less enthusiastically.)

The winner in the “don’t hold back, tell us how you really feel” category must surely be the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Benghazi blunder: Obama unworthy commander-in-chief“. These lines deserve being shouted out to the world:

This administration is an embarrassment on foreign policy and incompetent at best on the economy – though a more careful analysis shows what can only be a perverse and willful attempt to destroy our prosperity. [...]

[Mr. Obama's] behaviors go far beyond “spin.” They amount to a pack of lies. To return to office a narcissistic amateur who seeks to ride this nation’s economy and international esteem to oblivion, like Slim Pickens riding the nuclear bomb to its target at the end of the movie “Dr. Strangelove,” would be disastrous.

Candidate Obama said if he couldn’t fix the economy in four years, his would be a one-term presidency.

Mitt Romney is [a] moral, capable and responsible man. Just this once, it’s time to hold Barack Obama to his word. Maybe we can all do something about that, come Tuesday.

Indeed.

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