Barack Obama exasperates Vladimir Putin. How is it in the U.S.’s interest, Putin wonders, to have complete chaos in the Middle East? Doesn’t President Obama understand that a Qaddafi or Mubarek is preferable to blood in the streets and radical Islam in charge? And why would you leave a potentially winning hand on the Iraq table when you’re pot committed? Why play small?
The exasperation galvanized Putin. If Obama will be weak, someone needs to be strong and it might as well be him. So, Putin humiliated the President in the New York Times. He negotiated in Syria. He’s giving his blessing to candidates in Egypt. He’s bullying the Ukraine. In short, Putin is filling the vacuum. Who will stop him?
Still, for a strong man like Putin, who deals in measures of strength as a commodity, President Obama’s unnecessary weakness makes little sense. Certainly, President Obama’s ideology isn’t that distant from Putin’s. In fact, President Obama has consistently advanced a quasi-socialist America–increased taxation, increased redistribution, an enlarged and empowered state, more regulation, more central control, media harassment and threats, using the government to investigate political opposition, etc. All these decisions, while not nakedly Marxist, certainly aren’t limiting the state and shrinking its power.
So why wouldn’t this statist aggression be pushed around the world?
Here is where President Obama differs from President Putin: Vladamir Putin loves Russia and views the state as an extension of himself. In contrast, President Obama does not like America. Further, he views his own country and people with suspicion. President Obama believes in worldwide redistribution and believes that Americans don’t deserve their power, wealth, or status. So, he cedes it or straight up gives it away.
President Obama’s loathing for colonial powers makes him averse to using the US’ power on the world scene even when it makes him personally look weak and pathetic.
For Putin, the notion of separation of self and state is absurd. He is a Russian. He is proud of his country. He is fond of communism. He chafes at the loss of power and face since the days when the Soviet Union split up. He seeks to regain glory for the state of Russia and by extension, himself.
Obama is a man divided. He wants personal prestige but he is not willing to claim it if it means making America look great. So, he’ll give a grand speech in Egypt, but he won’t make a grand decision there. He’ll say provocative words to the Russian president, but he won’t do anything.
We Americans can take little solace in President Obama’s playing small on the world stage. He doesn’t like America very much except to the extent it makes him a media personality. As long as he wins a Charles Barkley interview while expanding the state, that’s enough. Being a celebrity trumps being a statesman.
So expect more weakness on the world stage. Expect Vladimir Putin to fill the void. Expect China to test limits. Expect more turbulence and confusion. Expect more tyranny. Expect more communism.
Don’t expect President Obama to care about America’s interests. He’s too busy tending his own.
Related to this: Jonah Goldberg has a piece up today about the Nazis and socialism. It’s an interesting read. What occurred to me, though, is that Obama is a “true” Marxist in contrast to, say, Putin. Obama is an internationalist. He wants all the worlds workers to unite. That’s why he cheerleaded Chavez (fist bump!) and seemed unworried about the Muslim Brotherhood a thoroughly socialist organization with socialist goals.
As Jonah notes, the dewy eyed world proletariat uprising fails when faced with reality as nation states have their own aims and they often conflict (see Nazis versus Stalinists). Does President Obama have provincial American concerns? Does he worry about America’s loss of face in the world if the proletariat in Egypt or Libya or China or Russia wins? It sure doesn’t seem like it.
Liberals don’t like Texas. Whether they’re liberal Democrats or liberal Republicans, Texas inhabits a hard-scrabble mythology. Red dirt, rocks, heat. A tough landscape. A big sky. Openness. Hardness.
After living in California, New York and Michigan, I’m convinced environment shapes our view of the world more than we care to admit. The coasts, used to milder weather and milder expectations, don’t like the tough life inherent in living in oppressive heat, freezing cold and general discomfort.
Texas ain’t that pretty. It certainly isn’t lush. There’s space. Hard ground. Texas is big. Texas is not, however, soft. There are no rolling hills of heather. There are no natural lakes. And yet, the people come.
People have had to make Texas what they want it to be. They have wildly succeeded.
The government reflects the landscape: spare and open.
Want a life of government paid-for ease? Don’t move to Texas. Move to California, New York or Michigan–well, until they stop using debt to finance their lavish ways. They’re out of money.
So, on this backdrop, here’s a story about the kindness of capitalism in Texas.
Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and thousands of exiles trekked to Texas. When the crisis hit, Governor Perry called mayors, business leaders, and probably most importantly, church leaders. [Aside: Governor Perry’s leadership through Hurricanes has been impressive and stellar. It’s difficult for outsiders to fathom the sheer magnitude of evacuating a city the size of Houston, for example. When the first evacuation showed logistical weakness, local and state leaders did a correction of errors and the next one was flawless.]
The church leaders sent the call out to the churches. The mega churches have huge charitable organizations. They coordinated the smaller churches and resources. They asked church and community members to help. And the local people responded. So enthusiastic was the response, that when I finally got to Target to buy supplies for folks (toothpaste, brushes, and all the rest) the shelves were empty. Nada. Picked clean.
Helping Hurricane Katrina victims was probably the single largest charitable outpouring in a concentrated time for that many people in American history.
This charity was, is, a result of capitalism. People had the extra resources to give because all their extra income wasn’t soaked up in taxes.
There is a palliative effect from this sort of action–both for those who are suffering and those who are relieving the suffering. The sufferers often got to meet who was helping them. They were prayed with and cared for and loved by individuals profoundly moved by their plight. The caregivers were blessed to see their actions making a direct difference in the lives of those in need. This was not some antiseptic government bureaucrat having a person check off a list in order to get a bar of soap and diapers. This was a friend helping a friend.
The government helped, too. But it took a while to get the government engine going. It always does. People got vouchers to find homes and apartments. The Houston public school was flooded with new, and woefully behind, students (an average of two years behind academically).
After six months of the transplanted New Orleans folks living off the kindness of strangers and the government dole, a Democratic Houston city councilwoman told the visitors, pointedly, “It’s time to get a job.”
At the time of her pronouncement, the unemployment rate was 4%. She rightly noted that no one had an excuse for not working. It was time to get to work and become a member of their new community or go home. And so, some people went back home. Some people stayed.
One woman who stayed is my favorite grocery checker at my local HEB. She got plunked in my community because her house was flooded and destroyed in New Orleans. She decided to make Texas home. When I asked her why, she said that she got a job, found a rental home in a neighborhood she really likes, the schools were great, her son was happy, New Orleans was violent and scary, and she was happy here. Mind you, she’s living happily and well in one of the best school districts in Texas as a single mother on a grocery checker’s wage.
Another woman, a nurse, moved here and stayed. She was thrilled with her pay (40% more than in New Orleans!) and the low cost of living (cheaper house!).
Capitalism, the Texas kind, is kind.
The free market here in Texas creates jobs. People with jobs have dignity.
But it’s not a living wage! liberal Democrats and Republicans cry. Really? In Texas, the cost of living is a fraction of what it costs in other states in the nation. I know this from personal experience having lived, and decently, on $2000 a month gross, with a baby. Mind you, that was without delux cable, smart phones, and home entertainment systems. It was eating Ramen noodles and sitting on the floor. Is that a horrible way to live? It’s a way a person starts. Where he ends is his choice.
But insurance! Texas has a high number of uninsured people. A good chunk of that is illegal immigration. I’m sorry, liberals, but I do not want to pay for someone else’s insurance. Still, Texas has programs for those who have difficulty. Lots of young Texans don’t want to pay for insurance. When we first started, we had no insurance. What’s the first thing we purchased when we had two nickels? Insurance. Many people choose not to make that expenditure. Fine. It’s a choice. With Obamacare, no one can be turned away from insurance. People make choices. Let them choose.
If they choose poorly, they end up at the free clinic where local doctors donate time. They get wonderful care. If they really get messed up, they end up an an emergency care center (Texas communities have lots of these) or the hospital. If they don’t have eye insurance (my family doesn’t), they go to Walmart (I do) and have a reasonable eye appointment and get low-cost glasses (which I have on my face right now). In a Texas hospital, you get damn good care. The problem with illegals overwhelming border hospitals is something that’s the Fed’s failing that’s become a state problem. Illegal immigration needs to stop. It’s sucking up resources.
Kindness according to big government types is some distant person making a decision for another person with other people’s money. It’s all very detached. It lacks personal warmth, connection and accountability.
Liberals want social services to not have any behavioral expectations. When a person is receiving help from a local charity or church, the organizations know the people. There’s an element of involvement and expectation. Isn’t that a good thing?
Wasn’t it a good thing that the city councilwoman loved the Hurricane Katrina folks enough to tell them to go get a job rather then subject themselves to the corrosive effects of living helplessly, waiting for the next check to come in? Isn’t it important for people to have to look those who are giving to them freely, from their own cupboards of food and necessities, in the eyes? Isn’t it important for those in need and those giving to be connected? That is the essence of community, is it not?
Many liberals find this sort of thing demeaning–both the charitable work and seeing those who need charity. It’s uncomfortable. They don’t think of the churches that built hospitals and homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers and pregnancy crisis centers. The intimacy scares them.
Capitalism, though, creates this intimacy. Both the consumer and supplier are connected. So too, are the needy and the charitable connected.
It is tougher. Just as a loving family will boot a kid out of the nest who needs to be on his own (or should), a loving society encourages its members to live as independently as possible. This is for the good of the individual and the good of the community.
From the outside, liberals see Texas and recoil. From the inside, Texans are quite content. Hard work, independence and autonomy are appreciated. And when community is needed, charity comes out of love and desire rather than force and coercion.
Is it a perfect system? No. But I’d point to the city of Detroit and to New Orleans as examples of entrenched corruption, excessive government services, and desperation among generations of inhabitants enslaved by an anything-but-loving liberal compassion.
I’ll take the kindness of capitalism any day. Given the choice between a job and independence and an unemployment check and dependency, the thousands of people moving to Texas every month agree: capitalism is kind. They’re counting on it.
Why stop at socialism? I mean, really. That’s just a pretty way of saying communism. Here’s the most accurate label for the New Left: NeoComms. I plan to use it everywhere.
Think I’m being extremist? Well David Frum and all his smooth talking moderate talkers can chew on this:
These debates are happening on the basis of charges like reformism, revisionism, and right opportunism. For me, this is proof that not enough has been done to modernize our organization and to transform Marxism from an old catechism into a real guide to action and a way of understanding the concrete conditions of struggle in our own country and in our own time. As one of the main preconvention documents said, “We have to accept and adapt to the reality that times have changed” (from U.S. Politics at a Transition Point).
The growing influence of the Tea Party movement, the long and grueling fight that was healthcare reform, and so many other features of the current struggle should demonstrate convincingly that though the 2008 election dealt a major blow to the ultra-right, it did not knock them out completely as we had hoped.
Rather than jumping to the conclusion that we need to shift our focus to criticism of Obama, the Democratic Party, or the labor movement, we should instead be seeking to recommit ourselves to defeating the ultra-right and building the broad democratic coalition more strongly than ever. This is the orientation that the main discussion documents point us toward. We have to keep in mind who the “main social force(s) hindering progressive development” are and keep our fire aimed at them (from U.S. Politics at a Transition Point).
If the policy of defeating the ultra-right was correct in the 1980s, the 1990s, and 2008, how can it not be just as correct now that we are in a moment of transition toward a time when we can more forcefully go on the offensive? Let’s update our strategic policy to take account of post-election developments of course, but let’s not take a path that would isolate us from the rest of the coalition for change.
So the threat to Marxism-Leninism isn’t from President Obama and the Democrats. Indeed, the problem with the Democrats is their implementation. The communists merely disagree with how it’s happening. They like that it’s happening.
And in fact, the real problem is the Tea Partiers. The pesky folks pushing back against socialism must be stopped. Notice that they didn’t mention the Republicans.
The article ends with a plea to change the communist movement, maybe even renaming it and making it more palatable to the modern world.
Why? Why hide what you are? Ultimately, don’t bother. Just call yourselves Democrats and be done with it. And commies should worry about Tea Partiers. They name you. And the Democrats, too.
Communists. Socialists. Statists. Totalitarians.
The name change won’t disguise a NeoComm. The ideas reveal the heart of these people.
Much as they’d like to destroy the Tea Party movement, it won’t happen. The Tea Party movement is organic. It will morph and change and grow. It isn’t headed by an organization. It doesn’t require one leader to exist.
But most of all, the beliefs of the Tea Party folks will help them win in the end. Liberty. Ingenuity. Creativity. Life. Happiness. Freedom. Those values beat the smallness of socialism. Always.
The Democrats are always shy about their socialist intentions. Sometimes they have moments of candor:
If socialism is state-sponsored compassion, what is conservatism? In the binary political world, the default is that a small-government mindset is cruel. This political duality was turned on its ear by George W. Bush’s campaigning and governing as a “compassionate conservative.” A compassionate conservative, it turns out, buys into the liberal’s criticism. Compassion meant the government “helping”. Compassion meant giving the American taxpayer’s money to the needy all over the world. Compassion meant going into debt in order to feel good.
The premise stinks to high heaven.
There is much more, I hope you’ll go read it and come back and comment here. I think that compassion is misused and abused by the liberals. Conservatism is compassionate. By definition.
Byron York has an excellent piece up at The Examiner about the Flag.gov deal. Here’s the program:
On Monday, White House director of new media Macon Phillips posted a note on the White House web site complaining of “disinformation about health insurance reform.” “These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation,” Phillips wrote. “Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Well, that caused serious outcry and some amusing responses, too. Americans have fun with fascism! There is a serious side, though. This information, must, by law, be kept forever. York says:
In addition, the lawyers say the collected emails likely will be covered by the Presidential Records Act, which requires the White House to preserve and maintain its records for permanent storage in a government database. Phillips’ request suggests that whatever information the White House receives on health-care reform “disinformation” will be used to further the goal of passing a national health-care makeover, which is, of course, one of the president’s main policy initiatives. Such material, and whatever the White House does with it, would qualify as presidential records. Only after more than a decade would such records be publicly available.
“So the White House, whether by design or accident, has requested information from the public that will become ‘records’ under the Presidential Records Act, yet would be impermissible for any government to otherwise collect under the Privacy Act,” writes one Judiciary Committee source. “Where were the lawyers in all of this? What is their legal basis for authorizing the collection of these records?”
Read the whole thing. So, the White House, the President of the United States, is asking you to inform on a friend even in “casual conversation“.
And, it’s likely illegal. Says Erick Erickson:
According to 5 U.S.C. § 552a, United States agencies, including the Executive Office of the President shall, “maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity.”
The White House may take the position that certain of its offices aren’t subject to the Privacy Act (that is a longstanding Office of Legal Counsel position, see here), but most Presidents instruct their staffs to comply. This will be a the first significant time the White House has ignored the Privacy Act and may open President Obama up to litigation.
This is another example of the Obama administration ignoring long time precedent when it is no longer convenient for them. And ignoring this precedent lets them collect data on and potential harass individual American citizens.
The legality is troubling. The information is troubling. Perhaps the most distressing element is the knee-jerk reaction the President has to disagreement with his policies. He doesn’t view disagreement as legitimate. In fact, President Obama assumes that all disagreement is disinformation.
This seems like another revealing way that President Obama has statist tendencies.
Where has Al Gore been? Like a bad penny he turned up on the news yesterday. So, the topic of the show covered environmentalist wackos, demands for Henry Waxman’s birth certificates, getting into the spirit of reporting your neighbor, or even better, your elderly mother, and the tactics the Palins will take against their enemies in the blogosphere and press. Hope you’ll download it!
If there’s a guest you’d like me to have on the show, or a topic you’d like covered, email me at email@example.com.
Melissa’s show can also be found on RFC Radio every Monday and Wednesday night at 10:00 pm Eastern.
How far behind Venezuela does America lag in the populist, socialist, state-run “solution” to the perceived injustice and unfairness of our formerly great capitalistic state? In this podcast, I interview my brother who is in Venezuela doing business and how the people there perceive the changes. The subjects of Sotomayor’s intelligence, the NRSC Toomey endorsement, and Obama’s socialist health care and taxation policies make up the show.
Melissa’s show can also be found on RFC Radio every Monday and Wednesday night at 10:00 pm Eastern.
There has been something I’ve been wanting to show you guys. It is so cool: A United States map that morphs over the years to demonstrate where jobs have been gained and lost. Go look and then come back.
Disturbing, right? Informative, too. See how Katrina blew up the economy of New Orleans? See how it hasn’t really substantially returned and probably never will? Notice the financial sector disaster in New York, self-inflicted, mind you. Notice how high taxation states like California and New York suffer. Notice how Florida still bleeds from overbuilding and overvaluing property. Like a wrecking ball, the economy swings due to lack of foresight and government interference. See how the whole country suffers now?
Layer on more horrible government interference into the energy and technology sectors, as Cap-n-Trade does and what will happen? Alaska Governor Sarah Palin explains in her Washington Post Op-Ed today:
Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over eight years. So much for creating jobs.
In addition to immediately increasing unemployment in the energy sector, even more American jobs will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under the cap-and-tax plan. For example, the cost of farming will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices. The costs of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also increase.
The ironic beauty in this plan? Soon, even the most ardent liberal will understand supply-side economics.
The Americans hit hardest will be those already struggling to make ends meet. As the president eloquently puts it, their electricity bills will “necessarily skyrocket.” So much for not raising taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.
Even Warren Buffett, an ardent Obama supporter, admitted that under the cap-and-tax scheme, “poor people are going to pay a lot more for electricity.”
So, the Health Care plan will hurt the working class because they’ll be stuck with government run health care. In addition, the same people will be paying more for energy costs. Worse, many of these same people, the guys who work in the energy industry will lose jobs.
If this seems outrageous to you, do something. Call your Senators. Call your Congressmen. The Trifecta of Doom(TM) is before them today. Right now, this instant, while everyone is diverted by Sotomayor, it’s health care. Time is short to stop this madness and the time to act is now. [More here.]
This Pajamas video by Steven Crowder is a must-see. It’s 20 minutes of human evidence about horrible health care. And remember, the rich will always be able to afford to pay for better care. The public plan forces middle and lower income people who have good medical care now, into a government-run abyss of waiting lists, rationing and outright denial of care.
And check out the facilities. No gleaming, beautiful waiting rooms. Cinder block, gray, socialist, misery.