• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Prager Fans Gathering To Celebrate America!

The organizers of the Minnesota Prager Discussion Group invite Prager fans to come together to celebrate our 2nd Annual “Celebrating America” Seder, Friday, July 3, 2009 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
The “inventor” of this solemn, yet joyous get together, was none other than Dennis Prager himself. He challenged us all to meet and share a time together in a seder-like setting to review our debts to and blessings from this great experiment called America. Please refer to the Events tab for further information.
For the second year in a row, I am honored and thrilled to open my landscape garden to my favorite group of people to honor our country. I would like to share with all of you my view of the ideals of the landscape garden:

“The garden has long been perceived as the highest, most perfect form of all art creations, the one closest to God and bearing the imagery of paradise itself. Indeed, the timeless quote, “One is closest to God in the garden,” has been the splendid pleasure driving countless generations to transform the land into garden.

No matter how pleasurable, how physically and spiritually rewarding working the vegetable garden and nurturing the home orchard may be, however, the paradise of gardening is the creation and maintenance of a landscape garden. This is the garden of art, the garden of soul.

A landscape garden is a plot of ground made beautiful by the arrangement and careful cultivation of plants. The art is called landscape gardening and its artist and cultivator a landscape gardener. Landscaping one’s home ground is the means by which most Minnesotans become acquainted with at least the fringes of the art of landscape gardening. When they dream of home it is a house in a setting, a setting of lovely trees and shrubs civilized with a carpet of lawn and an arrangement of beautiful flowers.

Landscape gardening is primarily a visual art form. Its beauty is first to be seen, but its purpose is to stimulate thought, to cause to dream, to effect memory, to inspire. The landscape garden is classically to be a place of quiet where the visitor, upon entering, finds a closer communion with the thoughts and feelings of all who have ever gardened this Earth than with the time and troubles of the day.

Although picturesque, the landscape garden is not a painting, it is a performance. Its artist is not a painter but a choreographer arranging not fixed colors and forms on a canvas, but directing exits and entrances of living members of Earth’s realm, plants bearing color and form, lines and textures which, especially in our northland, are constantly changing. Yesterday’s garden as yesterday’s ballet will never again be performed. Yet the skilled landscape garden artist, by tailoring shrubs and trees to a particular style or by using annual flowers for sweeps of color, can slow change in the garden to give the impression of permanence.

The landscape garden is to be entered, as one enters a cathedral or library. In English literature one “retires” to or “withdraws” into the library, presumably to consult or escape with some thought, some dream, some memory, some inspiration in print. To aid withdrawal there must be border. The gardened place must be defined so the eye and mind cannot wander; so thoughts and dreams cannot be interrupted. With no borders the landscape garden is no garden at all, but a field.

The arrangement of plants is to the landscape gardener what the arrangement of chords is to the pianist. Although it is possible for a novice pianist to find a pleasing chord, one chord does not make a composition. Likewise, a novice gardener may plant a pleasing combination of flowers and shrubbery, but a landscape garden this does not make. “Composers” of the successful landscape garden know their plants. They know plants’ shapes and sizes and how these can be tailored to style. They know plant colors and textures and when and how they change. Garden artists know the sun and shadow of the garden and how to introduce or exclude either. They know plant preferences for shade, soil, and moisture. They gain their knowledge primarily from the experience of working with plants, from years of planting and replacing until the right combination suits the eye.

Not only must the successful landscape garden be designed and planted, it must be given time to mature. Gardens, like people, gain character with age. It may take years, decades before a landscape garden performs its best. Trees cannot yet be manufactured. And the garden must be groomed, regularly tended by caring, experienced hands, the hands of an artist, the hands of a worker. And even when all this is done well, what is achieved is an arrangement of living plants each and all subject to Nature’s mood and dictate, to stand or fall as Nature sees fit. A garden as planned is a garden never achieved.”

Thank you, Prager folk. We’ll see you July 3rd.

Sotomayor’s Racism: Charles Krauthammer’s View

These days Americans go to university to learn a new brand of racism. They attend or teach or otherwise propagate these learnings at Women’s Studies Departments and Black Studies Departments. Staffs of these shadowy propagandists weave in and out of other departments of institutions of “higher learning” institutionalizing racist tribalism at the expense of America’s traditional values, professional education, and western concepts of truth.

Now, one of the spokeswomen from this tribalism, Sonia Sotomayor, is being elevated to the United States Supreme Court. She won’t be the first racist and probably not the last to manipulate the highest law of the land.

My favorite commentator and writer on these matters, Charles Krauthammer has written another masterful article in his assessment of her elevation to expand the Democrat party’s rule over America. He writes:

“Ricci is a New Haven firefighter stationed seven blocks from where Sotomayor went to law school (Yale). Raised in blue-collar Wallingford, Conn., Ricci struggled as a C and D student in public schools ill-prepared to address his serious learning disabilities. Nonetheless he persevered, becoming a junior firefighter and Connecticut’s youngest certified EMT.

After studying fire science at a community college, he became a New Haven “truckie,” the guy who puts up ladders and breaks holes in burning buildings. When his department announced exams for promotions, he spent $1,000 on books, quit his second job so he could study eight to 13 hours a day and, because of his dyslexia, hired someone to read him the material.

He placed sixth on the lieutenant’s exam, which qualified him for promotion. Except that the exams were thrown out by the city, and all promotions denied, because no blacks had scored high enough to be promoted.

Ricci (with 19 others) sued.

That’s where these two American stories intersect. Sotomayor was a member of the three-member circuit court panel that upheld the dismissal of his case, thus denying Ricci his promotion.

This summary ruling deeply disturbed fellow members of Sotomayor’s court, including Judge José Cabranes (a fellow Clinton appointee), who, writing for five others, criticized the unusual, initially unpublished, single-paragraph dismissal for ignoring the serious constitutional issues at stake.

Two things are sure to happen this summer: The Supreme Court will overturn Sotomayor’s panel’s ruling. And, barring some huge hidden scandal, Sotomayor will be elevated to that same Supreme Court.

What should a principled conservative do? Use the upcoming hearings not to deny her the seat, but to illuminate her views. No magazine gossip from anonymous court clerks. No “temperament” insinuations. Nothing ad hominem. The argument should be elevated, respectful and entirely about judicial philosophy.

On the Ricci case. And on her statements about the inherent differences between groups, and the superior wisdom she believes her Latina physiology, culture and background grant her over a white male judge. They perfectly reflect the Democrats’ enthrallment with identity politics, which assigns free citizens to ethnic and racial groups possessing a hierarchy of wisdom and entitled to a hierarchy of claims upon society.

Sotomayor shares President Obama’s vision of empathy as lying at the heart of judicial decision-making — sympathetic concern for litigants’ background and current circumstances, and for how any judicial decision would affect their lives.

Since the 2008 election, people have been asking what conservatism stands for. Well, if nothing else, it stands unequivocally against justice as empathy — and unequivocally for the principle of blind justice.”

For the entire article turn to Townhall.com…May 28, 2009, entitled “Criticize, Then Confirm”. Mr. Krauthammer closes his article with:

“Vote Democratic and you get mainstream liberalism: A judicially mandated racial spoils system and a jurisprudence of empathy that hinges on which litigant is less “advantaged”.

“No Man Is An Island” by John Donne

Who wrote the phrase, “For whom the bell tolls?”

I tried my own hand at searching the internet. Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper got in the way, but eventually I was patient enough to come across “the poem”.
Alas, I too, forgot…..it IS from John Donne’s “No Man Is An Island” meditation, something I once knew without hesitation. I had memorized it in 11th grade Miss Cochrane’s English class toward fulfilling the class requirement of memorizing 400 lines of poetry. I chose it for two reasons, 1. I really liked the piece and 2. It was an easy 14 lines to learn. I won’t confess as to which most persuaded me.

I further remember that my best friend in the class, Bill Rice, had memorized the entire poem by Samuel Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” for one of his presentations. (Look it up and read it, friends!) Each member of the class was required to recite their choices of poetry and was marked on the quality of the learning and demonstration one understood the drama of its meaning.

I am embarrassed to think I forgot I had once actually memorized the “for whom the bell tolls” poem, as we called it, by John Donne! It is the price one pays for the good fortune of reaching an age when one begins to be uncertain about things once known for certain.
Regarding Mr. Sowell’s error, I so respect his views on culture and economics, I automatically questioned my own confidence…”John Donne wrote ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls!’, I thought, but then…..”He did, didn’t he?” I questioned myself.

It is very dangerous for conservatives to make any kind of error when writing. Since lefties advance their world by stealth, and in truth, often, because of their own lack of knowledge, they find it imperative to deflect from their evil or emptiness by constantly attacking or mocking the veracity and ability of anyone who is deemed retro.
Well I am very proud to be an American retro, although I admit, I once was a lefty, myself.

People, like gardens, gain character with age.

I believe Mr. Sowell, with all of his brilliance and exemplary organization of thought, is even older than I am. I knew he was eminently human even before this error of his memory. Now there is full proof. I repeat, no writing by Thomas Sowell should ever go unread!

Here is John Donne’s Meditation-poem written in 1624:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem – the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose. The words of the original passage are as follows:

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

“For Whom The Bell Tolls” Author?

In my previous writing, “No Writing by Thomas Sowell Should Go Unread”‘ I was struck by what I believe was a mistake of memory by my favorite conservative, period!

Mr. Sowell attributed the poetic quote, “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee” to Robert Burns. I am quite certain the author was John Donne, but at my age I would not bet much on the point. It was a piece I remember as a boy being eerily moved by its message.

Please, I appeal to some dear Prager Fan, could you check out who, indeed, gave this quote to English speaking peoples? I suppose, if I were more modern in my internet skills, I could search out the answer. I think I shall try. glenn h. ray

No Writing By Tom Sowell Should Go Unread!

Prager Friends: Please read the following “jewel in the crown” of contemporary analysis of one of our many American dilemmas, from my favorite conservative, period! Thomas Sowell:

“The other day I sought a respite from current events by re-reading some of the writings of 18th century British statesman Edmund Burke. But it was not nearly as big an escape as I had thought it would be.

When Burke wrote of his apprehension about “new power in new persons,” I could not help think of the new powers that have been created by which a new President of the United States — a man with zero experience in business — can fire the head of General Motors and tell banks how to run their businesses.

Not only is Barack Obama new to the presidency, he is new to running any organization. One of Burke’s fears was that “we may place our confidence in the virtue of those who have never been tried.”

Neither eloquence nor zeal was a substitute for experience, according to Burke. He said, ‘eloquence may exist without a proportionate degree of wisdom.’ As for zeal, Burke said: ‘It is no excuse for presumptuous ignorance that it is directed by insolent passion.’

The Obama administration’s going back and forth on the question whether American intelligence agents who forced information out of captured terrorist leaders will be subjected to legal jeopardy, even though they were told at the time that what they were doing was not only legal but a service to the nation, came to mind when reading Burke’s warning about the dangers of continuing to change the rules and values by which people lived.

Burke asked how we could expect a sense of honor to exist when ‘no man could know what would be the test of honour in a nation, continually varying the standard of its coin?’

The current drive to take from ‘the rich’ for the benefit of others came to mind when reading Burke’s warning against creating a situation where ‘any one description of citizens should be brought to regard any of the others as their proper prey.’

He also warned that ‘those who attempt to level, never equalise.’ What they end up doing is concentrating power in their own hands– and Burke saw such new powers as dangerous, even if they were used only sparingly at first.

He said, ‘the true danger is, when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients and by parts.’ He also said: ‘It is by lying dormant a long time, or being at first very rarely exercised, that arbitrary power steals upon a people.’

People who don’t like ‘the rich’ or ‘big business’ or the banks may be happy that President Obama is sticking it to them. But such arbitrary powers can be turned on anybody. As Robert Burns said: ‘Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.’ There was a lot of wisdom in the 18th century.

The Constitution of the United States set out to limit the powers of the federal government but judges have greatly eroded those limitations over the years and the dispensing of bailout money has allowed the Obama administration to exercise powers that the Constitution never gave them.

Edmund Burke understood that, no matter what form of government you had, in the end the character of those who wielded the powers of government was crucial. He said: ‘Constitute government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of ministers of state.’

He also said, ‘of all things, we ought to be the most concerned who and what sort of men they are that hold the trust of everything that is dear to us.’ He feared particularly the kind of man ‘whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it’– the kind of man ‘who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends.’ Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and others came to mind.

The biggest challenge to America — and to the world — today is the danger of Iran with nuclear weapons. President Obama is acting as if this is something he can finesse with talks or deals. Worse yet, he may think it is something we can live with.

Burke had something to say about things like that as well: ‘There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief. Acting — not talking.”

This jewel, its article and its author were passed on to me by my good friend, Steve Levin, a loyal Prager person to which person Steve also introduced me almost five years ago. I have become much the better person from all of these introductions. God bless them all.

No writing by Tom Sowell should go unread!

Learning the Ways of the Left

“On June 2, 1967, a West German policeman fatally shot an unarmed 26-year old literature student in the back of his head during a demonstration in West Berlin against the visiting Shah of Iran. Benno Ohnesorg became ‘the left wing’s first martyr” (per the weekly Der Speigel). His dying moments captured in a famous news photograph, Ohnesorg galvanized a generation of left-wing students and activists who rose up in the iconic year of 1968. What was a fringe soon turned to terrorism.

To them his killer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, was the “fascist cop” at the service of a capitalist, pro-American “latent fascist state”. “The post-fascist system has become a pre-fascist one,” the German Socialist Student Union declared in their indictment hours after the killing. The ensuing movement drew its legitimacy and fervor from the Ohnesorg killing. Further enraging righteous passions, Mr. Kurras was acquitted by a court and returned to the police force.

Now that’s being turned on its head. Last week, a pair of German historians unearthed the truth about Mr. Kurras. Since 1955, he had worked for the Stasi, East Germany’s dreaded secret police. According to voluminous Stasi archives, his code name was Otto Bohl. The files don’t say whether the Stasi ordered him to do what he did in 1967, but that only fuels speculation about a Stasi hand behind one of postwar Germany’s transformative events.

Mr. Kurras, who is 81 and lives in Berlin, told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he belonged to the East German Communist Party. “Should I be ashamed of that or something?” He denied he was paid to spy for the Stasi, but asked, “What does it matter? It doesn’t change anything.” Mr. Kurras may be the monster of the leftist imagination – albeit now it turns out he is one of their own.

To answer his last question, this revelation matters. It belies yet again the claims of the ’68 hard left, passed on to our times as anti-globalization riots, that a free market and liberal democracy are somehow “fascistic”. This brand of intolerance is at the core prone to violence. The true, ruthless heirs to National Socialism (NAZISM) and the Gestapo were the East German regime and the Stasi, the Soviets and the KGB. And in turn, some of the terrorist groups that emerged from the radicalization of the 1960s.”

The above is a quoting of a portion of the May 28, 2009 WSJ Opinion Page article, “Ghosts of the ’60s in Germany”. The author continues to remind readers that these copycat terrorist groups spinning off from the 1967 Communist format include the Baader-Meinhoff gang (the Red Army Faction, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and the American “analogue”, the Weather Underground. Kidnappings, bombings, and murders were their politics. (For those too young to know or remember.)

In concluding the author warns: “Historical amnesia makes us vulnerable to repeating mistakes. Particularly in an America, WHERE MANY QUICKLY FORGOT THE LESSONS OF THE COLD WAR AND OF 9/11.” That is assuming, of course, that Americans might have been taught something about these left wing events since the 1960s, and that certain national leaders, namely the braindogs of the Democrat Party haven’t worked hard to have America forget the Cold War and 9/11!

By far the most informative movie about the workings of a Socialist State secret police system and the people it “served” ever produced is: “The Lives of Others”. Every conscious American should view and study this film again and again, yet should also remember, the 1960s Stasi reign of control in Germany, was a sewing circle culture compared to the socialist paradise, Soviet Union’s NKVD and the KGB under Josef Stalin. Every conscious American should understand what it means to be a citizen of a country whose population is EQUAL BY FORCE.

But then, only conservatives and moderates would view the film, but that would be a good start to understanding what is before us in America.

Obama’s Ability To Speak Duets All By Himself

In his today’s column at townhall.com, David Limbaugh notices baritone Obama’s special speeching gift when soothing the American people; the graduate student’s remarkable ability to speak a duet all by himself. He writes:

“True to form, President Barack Obama — in his remarks introducing his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor — said he was doing one thing while doing the exact opposite. He articulated his criteria for the optimal nominee yet chose someone who falls squarely outside those criteria — as best we can tell.

But what’s all the fuss? A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little conservative minds. Obama’s mesmerized audiences are not supposed to pay attention to the meaning and context of his words, only to their aesthetic appeal and to the tonal qualities and modulation in his voice.

Obama said a Supreme Court nominee’s two most important qualities are her rigorous intellect and mastery of the law and her recognition of the limits of the judicial role — that a judge’s job is to interpret law, not to make it.

Then came the “but,” the exception that imperceptibly swallowed the rule. He quoted former Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes as saying, “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” In other words: “Forget what I just said about how judges should interpret, not make, the law. I want my judges to have empathy. And don’t tell anyone, but when I say ‘empathy,’ that’s code for bending the law to achieve the results I want based on the selective empathy I have for certain victimized groups.”

Before you fall for the upcoming protests that Sotomayor truly is a practitioner of judicial restraint, you might want to examine her record, including the case of Ricci v. DeStefano.

Frank Ricci is a dyslexic Connecticut firefighter who quit a second job in order to study up to 13 hours a day and paid someone to read his textbooks onto tape in preparation for the New Haven Fire Department’s exam for promotion to lieutenant or captain. Though he received the sixth-highest score out of 77 applicants vying for eight vacancies, the city decided to deny him (and all other applicants) his earned promotion because no black applicants passed, even though the exam had been carefully constructed to ensure race neutrality.

Ricci was among 18 candidates — 17 whites and one Hispanic — who sued the city of New Haven for racial discrimination. The district judge issued summary judgment against the plaintiffs. On appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Sotomayor was one of three judges on the panel who issued a per curiam opinion (adopting the full reasoning of the district court without elaboration) affirming the district court’s ruling.

The plaintiffs failed to achieve an en banc (entire court) rehearing of the appeal, but not without a strongly critical dissenting opinion from one of Sotomayor’s fellow Clinton appointees on the court, Judge Jose Cabranes.”

Prager friends, please learn about Obama and his appointed Sonia Sotomayor versions of empathy by reading more from David Limbaugh’s article at townhall.com.

Again and again, the chosen one runs circles around his sentence meanings implying knowledge and circumspection, yet all the time uttering circular motion.
Remember how the media lit up when GW let loose with a few verbal inventions? Even with these occasional entertaining slips, president Bush clearly was understood in his message. Here is the question.

When Obama speechifies in such duets, does he choose to do so intentiionally, or can’t he help himself, or both? Why? ghr

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