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“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Obama and Redistribution: 2001 Radio Interview Reveals Much

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monster at The E3 Gazette::

Joe the Plumber wasn’t the first person to get Barack Obama to admit his position on wealth redistribution….

The referenced excerpt from a 2001 radio interview with Senator Obama, now on YouTube (follow the above link), is the lead story on Drudge today too.

Somehow Obama’s condescending mockery of “Joe the Plumber” seems less surprising now, though no less troubling.


Glenn Reynolds comments:

Maybe it’s just because I’m a law professor who’s followed Obama, but this is no surprise to me. Or to Jennifer Rubin. In fact, this is pretty standard stuff in large parts of legal academia.

Bill Whittle responds to the story with a short essay, “Shame Cubed”:

We have, in our storied history, elected Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives and moderates. We have fought, and will continue to fight, pitched battles about how best to govern this nation. But we have never, ever in our 232 year history, elected a President who so completely and openly opposed the idea of limited government, the absolute cornerstone of makes the United States of America unique and exceptional.

If this does not frighten you – regardless of your political affiliation – then you deserve what this man will deliver with both houses of Congress, a filibuster-proof Senate, and, to quote Senator Obama again, “a righteous wind at our backs.”

Comment thread for Bill’s post here.

"I am Bill"?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Iowahawk responds to a critic who feels he’s neglected poor scandalized Bill Ayers in his fervor to stick up for Joe the Plumber. Hilarity ensues:

I AM BILL. I am the everyday forgotten little guy in your neighborhood, the quiet anarcho-syndicalist family man who gets up early and punches the clock at the local state university, writing the manifestos and polemics and grant proposals that keep America humming. I’m just doing my job, and all I ask in return is a little respect. And tenure. And Chicago Citizen of the Year awards. And two graduate assistants to grade exams for Practicum in Imperialist Racist Hegemony 311, because I’m teaching two sections this semester. Also, a sabbatical to Italy next summer would be nice.

Read the whole, delightful fisking.

The Sinking of the M.S.M. Titanic

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Another great installment of Chris Muir’s reader-supported “Day by Day” cartoon. Guest-starring Joe the Plumber!

As the Pendulum Swings...

Are “closeted” conservatives/libertarians/hawks in creative fields the “new gays”? There’s an excellent very relevant (to me) comment thread over at neo’s titled “Hope for the post-boomers?”, with lots of great, thoughtful contributions so far.

I may drop by later this weekend and add a comment from my own experience if I can find some writing time. But first, I’ve got a baby room to paint! (A task for which I am only too happy to use the plastic sheeting I bought years ago in preparation for a worst-case scenario biological or chemical jihadist attack — a scenario that I’m grateful has not yet and I hope never will come to pass.)

See also this earlier article of neo’s: A plea to the closet Republicans of Marin: come out, come out, wherever you are

ABC News' Michael Malone Ashamed of His Profession

Friday, October 24, 2008

At PJM (hat tip: Little Green Footballs):

The traditional media is playing a very, very dangerous game. With its readers, with the Constitution, and with its own fate.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer”, because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist.

Prairie Fire: The Real William Ayers

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Zombie has acquired a copy of Bill Ayers’ 1974 manifesto, “Prairie Fire”, and posts scanned excerpts and analysis.

This essay only exists to correct and unequivocably debunk claims routinely made by the mainstream media over the last few weeks about William Ayers, his beliefs, and the purpose behind his bombing campaign during the 1970s.

Specifically, when questions arose during the 2008 presidential race about Barack Obama’s past associations with William Ayers, many media reports and articles blandly described Ayers as a “Vietnam-era radical” and the Weather Underground as a group that set bombs “to protest against the Vietnam War.” Both of these characterizations are demonstrably inaccurate.

Read the whole, revealing thing, which makes it seem imperative that we get some much-needed clarification on the extent or limit of Senator Obama’s relationship to Ayers. Could Mr. Obama really have reviewed another of Ayers’ books in 1997, let alone served on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge with Ayers, without having developed any awareness of Ayers’ virulently anti-U.S. radical-revolutionary ideology?

Thanks to Monster and Little Green Footbals for pointing this out.

Update 10/23: The “Ayers’ Current Views” wrap-up to the essay is now up. It concludes with this chilling quote of undercover Weather Underground infiltrator Larry Grathwohl, regarding the group’s plans for post-revolutionary America:

I asked, well, what’s going to happen to those people that we can’t re-educate; that are die-hard capitalists. And the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated. And when I pursued this further, they estimated that they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these re-education centers. And when I say eliminate, I mean kill. 25 million people.

I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees from Columbia and other well known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

And they were dead serious.

Update 10/28: More in a Bob Owens interview with Larry Grathwohl: Eyewitness to the Ayers Revolution

New Spirit of America Projects

Spirit of America’s fundraising activities have facilitated many good works done by U.S. servicemen and women in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa.

They’re now soliciting funds for a number of worthy projects, including building a women’s center in Baghdad, purchasing and distributing farming tools in Afghanistan, outfitting a school for the deaf in northern Muthana Province, Iraq, and building desks for a school near Nasiriyah.

Spirit of America has a long track record of humanitarian accomplishments that have filled urgent needs while helping to build positive relations with the local populations in areas where U.S. forces are active. They’re a fine outfit and well worth donating to if you’re looking for ways to help people in these regions.

Journalists today ... what can you do?

A must-read, can’t-be-adequately-summarized-with-a-quote plea to the press by Orson Scott Card: Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

(Thank you Instapundit!)

"The Third Jihad" Will Make Cultural Islamists Squirm

Monday, October 20, 2008

Patrick Poole at PJM on director Wayne Kopping’s new documentary “The Third Jihad”. I haven’t seen it yet, but intend to:

[T]he film is narrated by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout American-born Muslim physician, a former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Jasser has been one of the most outspoken American Muslim leaders against the agenda of radical Islam in the U.S. and the organizations that actively work to advance the jihadist cause against our country.

Let’s hear from more brave Muslim voices of this sort, please.

In The Third Jihad, Jasser pointedly attacks the central elements to the public narrative advanced by radical Islamic groups — that there is no problem within Islam, that there is no religious element to Islamic terrorism, and that any expressions of fear about the spread of Islamic extremism and terrorism are merely reflections of latent bigotry and Islamophobia of those concerned.

In the past two years, more material has been made public about the origins of CAIR and its network of allied Islamic organizations than ever before. And these strategic documents calling for a “civilization-jihadist process” dedicated to “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within” have been recovered through court-approved warrants and made public by federal law enforcement authorities. These documents have been submitted by federal prosecutors and entered into evidence in ongoing terrorism finance trials.

By all means read the whole thing, and don’t miss the clincher:

As Jasser observes, the chief obstacle to those advocating this global Islamic state through jihad is America itself.

The Saga of Joe the Plumber Continues

Some articles of particular note:

Claudia Rosett: First They Came for Joe the Plumber…:

Within days, reports were all over the news that Joe owes back taxes, he doesn’t have an Ohio plumber’s license, his real name is Samuel, and he is — shock and horror — a registered Republican. Within days, Obama and Biden were holding up Joe to public ridicule, and by implication mocking any American working stiff who might have the audacity to want to earn more than $250,000 per year.

Obama may be full of talk about delivering the American dream, but he apparently has enormous disdain for Americans who actually sweat to earn it for themselves. He wants to take Joe’s money and spread it around in the name of helping others get ahead — but if anyone gets ahead more than Obama deems fitting, watch out.

Ruben Navarette Jr.: The Democratic Party’s Drubbing of Joe the Plumber.

Iowahawk: I AM JOE


Like Iowahawk, I’m finding that the attacks on Joe the Plumber have made me angrier than almost anything else in this long and nasty campaign.

Power Line: Two faces of socialism:

Barack Obama’s candid comment to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth around” brought back memories of a similarly candid moment during Robert Kennedy’s 1968 campaign.

The criticisms of Joe Wurzelbacher have reminded me of a quote from “The West Wing” that I took note of around the time I started to sour on the show’s ideological bias and occasionally heavy-handed rhetoric: “That’s the problem with the American Dream,” intoned the fictional President Bartlett, in frustrated in response to the notion of people having the audacity to complain about their taxes being too high. “Everyone worries about when they’re going to be rich.

Because hey, higher taxes are OK as long as it’s somebody else who’s paying them, right?

Obama's "Spread the Wealth" Plan

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Via Instapundit: An interview with the now-famous “Joe the plumber” (not this “Joe the plumber”) whose tax question at an Ohio campaign rally elicited Barack Obama’s now equally famous “spread the wealth” comment. Very interesting stuff.

And now this video: Obama Mocks Joe The Plumber, Crowd Laughs.

That’s quite a hefty dose of sneering condescension. Don’t politicians realize by now that everything they say is recorded by someone, somewhere and can and probably will come back to bite them?

Meanwhile, Joe’s been put under the microscope:

Glenn Reynolds:

They’ve done more investigations into Joe the Plumber in 24 hours than they’ve done on Barack Obama in two years … .

Daniel Glover:

[W]hy is it that political reporters only get curious when a conservative Joe America storms onto the scene?

James Pethokoukis at U.S. News: Did Barack “Spread the Wealth” Obama Just Blow the Election? (hat tip: Instapundit):

A while back I chatted with a University of Chicago professor who was a frequent lunch companion of Obama’s. This professor said that Obama was as close to a full-out Marxist as anyone who has ever run for president of the United States. Now, I tend to quickly dismiss that kind of talk as way over the top. My working assumption is that Obama is firmly within the mainstream of Democratic politics. But if he is as free with that sort of redistributive philosophy in private as he was on the campaign trail this week, I have no doubt that U of C professor really does figure him as a radical. And after last night’s debate, a few more Americans might think that way, too.

Renovations Afoot!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

As very nearly promised last August, I’ve decided to make a break with the standard Blogger stylesheet that I’ve been relying on for the past 3+ years and give this site a new design of its own. What you should see now, if all went reasonably well, is a tentative first iteration of the re-design.

In taking this makeover leap I’ve risked revealing the very humble, limited nature of my graphic design “skills”. It seemed worth venturing, though, as I’ve really wanted to try to give this space a unique look and feel appropriate to the spirit of its purpose: a place to illuminate and celebrate the ideas and culture — nay, Civilization — that move me and are dear to my heart. I expect to continue making adjustments as I attempt to converge on that desired feel, but hopefully this first version is most of the way there (and reasonably legible!).

In accounting for the image that I’ve chosen for the top of the page, I should clarify that I am not a pilot — just an appreciator of aircraft in all their wonderful variety, who nurses hopes of learning to fly those beautiful machines someday. (If and when I do, I will certainly write about the experience here.) As for the fair ladies of relative antiquity who grace the sidebar with their presence (I’ve added one more since the previous design), they are meant to embody the virtues of this free society that I love so dearly, and serve as a reminder that it must be both stridently defended and gently and wisely nurtured. I hope my choices of imagery succeed in conveying that this is a celebration.

Anyhow, enough meta-blogging for now… In short: Pardon our dust, thank you for your patience, and please resist the urge to adjust your V-HOLD. A few links and image references might not quite be working yet, but I’m working to find and fix the loose ends and get everything running smoothly again as soon as possible, in preparation for more on-topic blogging to come. Hope you’ll drop by again soon.

The Management

Since Palin was asked about creationism, should Obama be asked about Marxism?

Jennifer Rubin, quoting Sol Stern regarding Bill Ayers’ Annenberg Challenge agenda:

Ayers’s school reform agenda focuses almost exclusively on the idea of teaching for “social justice” in the classroom. This has nothing to do with the social-justice ideals of the Sermon on the Mount or Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Rather, Ayers and his education school comrades are explicit about the need to indoctrinate public school children with the belief that America is a racist, militarist country and that the capitalist system is inherently unfair and oppressive.

So even if Obama is never queried on whether he was the only adult in Chicago unaware of Ayers’s Weather Underground background, shouldn’t someone ask why he was working for and helping to fund an organization which supported this type of curriculum? Again, perhaps he wasn’t paying attention, or they never mentioned all this in his presence, or Obama figured out it was all a bunch of bunk, but it seems it is an area worth exploring. After all, the media spent weeks puzzling over whether Palin wanted to teach creationism in schools. (For the umpteenth time, she doesn’t.) Don’t we get to know if Obama wanted to teach Marxism?

Seems like a fair enough question to me. Hat tip: Instapundit

More here, with an apt comment from Megan McArdle:

The problem Obama’s critics have is not that he once spent some time talking to Bill Ayers; it’s that he refuses to apologize for it now. That refusal to apologize is why the charge has proven hard to counter. You can argue that it isn’t a big deal, but you can’t argue it isn’t true, and unfortunately for Obama, some voters think it is a really big deal.

Still more, from Victor Davis Hanson:

Why in the world was Barack Obama still communicating on the phone or via email with Bill Ayers up until 2005 — when in 2001 Ayers gave widely publicized interviews claiming he had no regrets about the bombing, indeed regretted that he had not done enough, and did not necessarily have any remorse either about his Weathermen career?

Ponder that: the possible next President of the United States, well after 9/11 and in the climate of hourly worry over terrorism here at home, was still friendly and communicating with an associate that had to abandon his book tour due to popular outcry, and was widely quoted as absolutely unrepentant about his terrorism. That is a damning indictment of his judgement — among other things — and it is no “smear” to raise the issue.

Modern Lunacy In Postmodern Debate

John Leo at

Many of us are unfamiliar with the postmodern debating style on college campuses, but here’s how it works. A topic is picked. The skilled postmodern debater ignores the topic and instead talks about race, gender and personal feelings.

Cowboys and Secret Agents

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Another fine article by Bill Whittle at NRO. Comment thread at Bill’s site.

Bill’s back on PJTV too!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Josh Strawn writes at PJM:

American exceptionalism gets a new name in a recent New York Times column from Roger Cohen: Palinism. This is a bizarre form of compliment from a detractor of Mrs. Palin — using her name to label a tradition in American ideology that’s been “around since the Founding Fathers,” which he admits is an “inspirational notion, however flawed in execution, that has buttressed the global spread of liberty.” But where Cohen sees antagonism between universalism, embodied by Barack Obama, and the American exceptionalism of Sarah Palin, in reality there is not much.