• 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

“Two Californias”, by Victor Davis Hanson

The last three weeks I have traveled about, taking the pulse of the more forgotten areas of central California. I wanted to witness, even if superficially, what is happening to a state that has the highest sales and income taxes, the most lavish entitlements, the near-worst public schools (based on federal test scores), and the largest number of illegal aliens in the nation, along with an overregulated private sector, a stagnant and shrinking manufacturing base, and an elite environmental ethos that restricts commerce and productivity without curbing consumption.

During this unscientific experiment, three times a week I rode a bike on a 20-mile trip over various rural roads in southwestern Fresno County. I also drove my car over to the coast to work, on various routes through towns like San Joaquin, Mendota, and Firebaugh. And near my home I have been driving, shopping, and touring by intent the rather segregated and impoverished areas of Caruthers, Fowler, Laton, Orange Cove, Parlier, and Selma. My own farmhouse is now in an area of abject poverty and almost no ethnic diversity; the closest elementary school (my alma mater, two miles away) is 94 percent Hispanic and 1 percent white, and well below federal testing norms in math and English.

Here are some general observations about what I saw (other than that the rural roads of California are fast turning into rubble, poorly maintained and reverting to what I remember seeing long ago in the rural South). First, remember that these areas are the ground zero, so to speak, of 20 years of illegal immigration. There has been a general depression in farming — to such an extent that the 20- to-100-acre tree and vine farmer, the erstwhile backbone of the old rural California, for all practical purposes has ceased to exist.

On the western side of the Central Valley, the effects of arbitrary cutoffs in federal irrigation water have idled tens of thousands of acres of prime agricultural land, leaving thousands unemployed. Manufacturing plants in the towns in these areas — which used to make harvesters, hydraulic lifts, trailers, food-processing equipment — have largely shut down; their production has been shipped off overseas or south of the border. Agriculture itself — from almonds to raisins — has increasingly become corporatized and mechanized, cutting by half the number of farm workers needed. So unemployment runs somewhere between 15 and 20 percent. 

Many of the rural trailer-house compounds I saw appear to the naked eye no different from what I have seen in the Third World. There is a Caribbean look to the junked cars, electric wires crisscrossing between various outbuildings, plastic tarps substituting for replacement shingles, lean-tos cobbled together as auxiliary housing, pit bulls unleashed, and geese, goats, and chickens roaming around the yards. The public hears about all sorts of tough California regulations that stymie business — rigid zoning laws, strict building codes, constant inspections — but apparently none of that applies out here.

It is almost as if the more California regulates, the more it does not regulate. Its public employees prefer to go after misdemeanors in the upscale areas to justify our expensive oversight industry, while ignoring the felonies in the downtrodden areas, which are becoming feral and beyond the ability of any inspector to do anything but feel irrelevant. But in the regulators’ defense, where would one get the money to redo an ad hoc trailer park with a spider web of illegal bare wires?

Many of the rented-out rural shacks and stationary Winnebagos are on former small farms — the vineyards overgrown with weeds, or torn out with the ground lying fallow. I pass on the cultural consequences to communities from  the loss of thousands of small farming families. I don’t think I can remember another time when so many acres in the eastern part of the valley have gone out of production, even though farm prices have recently rebounded. Apparently it is simply not worth the gamble of investing $7,000 to $10,000 an acre in a new orchard or vineyard. What an anomaly — with suddenly soaring farm prices, still we have thousands of acres in the world’s richest agricultural belt, with available water on the east side of the valley and plentiful labor, gone idle or in disuse. Is credit frozen? Are there simply no more farmers? Are the schools so bad as to scare away potential agricultural entrepreneurs? Or are we all terrified by the national debt and uncertain future.

California coastal elites may worry about the oxygen content of water available to a three-inch smelt in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, but they seem to have no interest in the epidemic dumping of trash, furniture, and often toxic substances throughout California’s rural hinterland. Yesterday, for example, I rode my bike by a stopped van just as the occupants tossed seven plastic bags of raw refuse onto the side of the road. I rode up near their bumper and said in my broken Spanish not to throw garbage onto the public road. But there were three of them, and one of me. So I was lucky to be sworn at only. I note in passing that I would not drive into Mexico and, as a guest, dare to pull over and throw seven bags of trash into the environment of my host.

In fact, trash piles are commonplace out here — composed of everything from half-empty paint cans and children’s plastic toys to diapers and moldy food. I have never seen a rural sheriff cite a litterer, or witnessed state EPA workers cleaning up these unauthorized wastelands. So I would suggest to Bay Area scientists that the environment is taking a much harder beating down here in central California than it is in the Delta. Perhaps before we cut off more irrigation water to the west side of the valley, we might invest some green dollars into cleaning up the unsightly and sometimes dangerous garbage that now litters the outskirts of our rural communities.

We hear about the tough small-business regulations that have driven residents out of the state, at the rate of 2,000 to 3,000 a week. But from my unscientific observations these past weeks, it seems rather easy to open a small business in California without any oversight at all, or at least what I might call a “counter business.” I counted eleven mobile hot-kitchen trucks that simply park by the side of the road, spread about some plastic chairs, pull down a tarp canopy, and, presto, become mini-restaurants. There are no “facilities” such as toilets or washrooms. But I do frequently see lard trails on the isolated roads I bike on, where trucks apparently have simply opened their draining tanks and sped on, leaving a slick of cooking fats and oils. Crows and ground squirrels love them; they can be seen from a distance mysteriously occupied in the middle of the road.

At crossroads, peddlers in a counter-California economy sell almost anything. Here is what I noticed at an intersection on the west side last week: shovels, rakes, hoes, gas pumps, lawnmowers, edgers, blowers, jackets, gloves, and caps. The merchandise was all new. I doubt whether in high-tax California sales taxes or income taxes were paid on any of these stop-and-go transactions.

In two supermarkets 50 miles apart, I was the only one in line who did not pay with a social-service plastic card (gone are the days when “food stamps” were embarrassing bulky coupons). But I did not see any relationship between the use of the card and poverty as we once knew it: The electrical appurtenances owned by the user and the car into which the groceries were loaded were indistinguishable from those of the upper middle class.

By that I mean that most consumers drove late-model Camrys, Accords, or Tauruses, had iPhones, Bluetooths, or BlackBerries, and bought everything in the store with public-assistance credit. This seemed a world apart from the trailers I had just ridden by the day before. I don’t editorialize here on the logic or morality of any of this, but I note only that there are vast numbers of people who apparently are not working, are on public food assistance, and enjoy the technological veneer of the middle class. California has a consumer market surely, but often no apparent source of income. Does the $40 million a day supplement to unemployment benefits from Washington explain some of this?

Do diversity concerns, as in lack of diversity, work both ways? Over a hundred-mile stretch, when I stopped in San Joaquin for a bottled water, or drove through Orange Cove, or got gas in Parlier, or went to a corner market in southwestern Selma, my home town, I was the only non-Hispanic — there were no Asians, no blacks, no other whites. We may speak of the richness of “diversity,” but those who cherish that ideal simply have no idea that there are now countless inland communities that have become near-apartheid societies, where Spanish is the first language, the schools are not at all diverse, and the federal and state governments are either the main employers or at least the chief sources of income — whether through emergency rooms, rural health clinics, public schools, or social-service offices. An observer from Mars might conclude that our elites and masses have given up on the ideal of integration and assimilation, perhaps in the wake of the arrival of 11 to 15 million illegal aliens.

Roger Kimball: “The British Disease: Coming Soon – the Bureacracy Near You”

Roger Kimball ferrets out another Barack Hussein Obama “Sneaky Pete” move in uncovering another Obamatrick for Marxism.   This article was found at Pajamas Media:

A specter is haunting America, the specter of public-sector unions.

You’ve seen New Jersey Governor Chris Christie confront the teachers’ union. You’ve seen him confront the police union. Unless you happen to belong to one of those unions — and possibly even if you do belong to one of them — you have probably cheered Christie’s honest, no-nonsense approach to the fiscal emergency brought on by out-of-control public sector unions.

You cheered him, figured he was winning, and turned the channel.

No so fast. We’ll see what happens with unionized state and municipal workers in New Jersey. Christie just might make a difference, and bully for him if he does.

But what about the larger problem of federal unionized employees? How are we doing there? As you may have noticed, Barack Obama is no Chris Christie when it comes to dealing with unions (or anything else, for that matter). Instead of confronting them, he coddles them — and why not? They are his most reliable constituency, indispensable to the livelihood of the contemporary Democratic Party. He takes care of them, and they “encourage” their members to vote for him and other Democratic candidates. It’s a time-tested formula.

Consider, to take but one example,  Executive Order 13522, which Barack Obama signed in December 2009. The stated purpose of “Creating Labor-Management Forums to Improve Delivery of Government Services” is “to establish a cooperative and productive form of labor-management relations throughout the executive branch.”

But, as an editorial in the Washington Examiner points out,  this anodyne bureaucratese conceals a worrisome power-grab by — or, more accurately, a power-gift to — the unions. It provides for what the Examiner’s editorialist calls an injection of “a massive dose of the British disease into the daily operation of the federal government.”

Remember Britain in the late 1970s? There were labor strikes, shutdowns, slowdowns everywhere. “Company owners and managers,” the Examiner reminds us, “had to secure prior approval from union bosses before carrying out even the most routine workplace tasks. As a result, productivity plummeted, and exports of once-popular British products like cars and motorcycles dropped sharply or disappeared entirely. Economic growth stagnated, investors fled overseas, and the country’s standard of living declined.”

Executive Order 13522 is supposed to “improve delivery of government services.” But as the Examiner points out, the only thing that will be improved  is the ability of union bosses to tell managers of government agencies what they may and may not do.

Not only that, but you, the public, won’t even know what is going on:

What makes this an even more extraordinary turn of events, however, is the fact the Obama administration has empowered union bosses to exercise this new power behind closed doors without fear of exposure via the Freedom of Information Act.

Another victory for “the most transparent administration” in history.

Once again, the devil is in the diction. Savor the use of the phrase “pre-decisional involvement”:

According to a recently distributed guidance memorandum signed by Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry and Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients, federal managers must “allow pre-decisional involvement with unions in all workplace matters to the fullest extent practicable, without regard to whether those matters are negotiable subjects of bargaining.”

Use of the term “pre-decisional” means documents produced prior to a specific policy decision are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. And requiring federal managers to involve union bosses on all matters regardless of whether they are negotiable under the law effectively gives them a veto on virtually any workplace issue. Such power represents the essence of the British disease and thanks to Obama, it’s now established policy in the federal workplace.

In other words, the only thing the public, the people paying for all this, will ever see is a series of faits accomplis. Along, of course, with the bill in the form of higher fees/taxes and more burdensome regulations and bureaucratic intrusiveness.

I suspect that the person or committee writing Executive Order 13522 (think about that: there are at least 13521 others!)  had at least a little sense of humor, for there is this lovely sentence: “Labor- management forums, as complements to the existing collective bargaining process, will allow managers and employees to collaborate in continuing to deliver the highest quality services to the American people.”

Got that? The order will help The Bureaucracy to continue “to deliver the highest quality services to the American people.”  What a card!

But that’s the only funny moment the order contains. For what it presages is another giant engorgement of an insatiable anti-democratic bureaucracy that is teetering out of control. The unions brought Britain to knees in the 1970s. It took Margaret Thatcher to break them and restore sanity and prosperity. Is there a Thatcher on the horizon for us?”

Comment:  Are there still readers who don’t yet believe that Mr. Obama is a leader  of the “Progressive”-progressing- to-Marxism crew of the Democrat Party?

MSNBC VP: “MSNBC does not have a political agenda.”

John Sexton at HotAir wrote the following article to the above headline:

“An interesting story by Paul Bond in the Hollywood Reporter. It’s focused primarily on MSNBC’s role in driving Palin-mania:

Olbermann first mentioned Palin on his show July 1, 2008…Since then, he talked about the former governor of Alaska in a total of 320 separate segments during his former MSNBC show, according to data compiled by LexisNexis…

But if the attention Olbermann gave to the diminutive and perky hockey mom from Wasilla sounds excessive, think again. LexisNexis indicates that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has reported on her during a whopping 420 segments of his Hardball show since she burst onto the scene as McCain’s running mate two months after Kristol’s Countdown appearance.

This unattributed quote from a Fox employee is priceless:

Says another Fox insider: “Detractors are more obsessed with her than supporters are. And they can’t even explain why they hate her. Ask them about it, and they mumble something about her being stupid. But I’d hook her up to an intelligence test against Joe Biden any day.”

But here’s the quote in the headline that will make you shoot milk out your nose:

MSNBC vp primetime programming Bill Wolff maintains that his network covers Palin because she’s newsworthy. Period. End of story.

“She’s powerful and important, even if all you measure her by is her ability to raise money,” he says. “She matters. Her blessing and her endorsement mean something.’

Wolff called it “nonsense” that MSNBC is driven by politics or even profits when it comes to how much airtime it devotes to Palin.

“MSNBC does not have a political agenda. The idea that we’re beholden to one side or the other is ridiculous,” he says. “And if Sarah Palin is so good for business, why would we want to destroy her? We tell the truth. We hold up a mirror and say, ‘This is what’s going on.’ We’re not so crass to think that she’s good for business, therefore we’ll talk about her.”

Wolff is also executive producer of The Rachel Maddow Show, which ran 90 segments on Palin in 2009 and 99 in 2010, according to LexisNexis.

Yes, that’s the MSNBC we all know and love. Holding a mirror up to the truth. Offering unbiased reporting with no agenda. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

The article goes on to describe in detail MSNBC’s role in tying Palin to the Arizona shootings. In the context of this article it becomes clear that Palin is MSNBC’s Emmanuel Goldstein, the fictional villain from Orwell’s 1984. Their coverage (and that of much of the MSM) amounts to a daily two minute hate which serves their political and business interests even if–as in the case of the Arizona shootings–it has little to do with reality.

[Cross-posted at Verum Serum]

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.

Comment:  How can it be that these “Progressive Democrats Progressing To Marxism” are so oblivious to FACTS….TRUTH…..REALITY?     The easy answer is …these people are devoted Marxists….Marxism IS their religion and within the practices of this religion, there is no truth, are no facts, and reality ‘really’ doesn’t exist.

With these “Progressive Democrats Progressing To Marxism” only the fate of their religion, Marxism, counts.

It is my deep belief that Barack Hussein Obama has been programmed by his university and  personal experiences with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah “Goddamn America” Wright as Obama’s father figure, is an evangelist of this religion.  

Mr. Obama does NOT preach democracy.   But he DOES preach.  Despite some lip service to impress gullible voters, Obama ‘preach’ does not include much good news about America.  (Yet he is CRIMINAL as a liar when he imagines himself a close student and believer of Ronald Reagan.

Do these Marxist-Democrats lie all of the time?   No….I don’t think so, but I ‘don’t go to bed with them’.   Their devotion to their religion allows for them to do whatever they deem fit to advance the establishment of a Government Enforcement of Equality of its citizens as well as Government micromanaging citizen lives to maintain Forced Equality.

Obama folk know what is best for the people over whom they rule.   Obama folk go to university to learn those things…..Obama people believe in Global Warming…Climate Change…..Obama people do Not believe in democracy and private enterprise.

Obama folk hang around with other wealthy Progressive-to-Marxism  do-gooders eminantly  satisfied with their high moral thoughts and politics.

Obama folk cannot be bothered by such out-of-date JudeoChristian moral restraints as telling truths.   They have moved beyond that!

Global Warming Alarmists in Retreat; Glaciers, Not so Much….

…..is the headline for this  article at HotAir by Jimmie Bise, Jr.:

The Church of Global Warming has faced an uphill battle lately. The average person is not likely to accept the message that the planet is warming and that only an unprecedented shift of power and money to progressive policy makers will brings things back to normal once they’ve lived through a couple horrible winters and witnessed the massive fraud perpetrated by the climate science community. So it has come to pass that the number of Britons who believe that global warming is both real and dangerous has shrunk rapidly in the past four years.

The number of climate change sceptics has almost doubled in four years, official research showed yesterday.

A quarter of Britons are unconvinced that the world is warming following successive freezing winters and a series of scandals over the credibility of climate science.

The figures suggest that a growing proportion of the public do not share the belief of all three major political parties and Whitehall – that climate change is a major and urgent challenge requiring radical and expensive policies.

According to the article, 86 percent of those surveyed were at least “fairly convinced” that global warming was a big deal in 2006. That number is now 75 percent and the number of those unconvinced has risen from 12 percent to 23 percent. What’s worse for the climate science alarmists is the part of the survey that asked if people were willing to sacrifice to end the “crisis”. Less than half of those surveyed are willing to switch from driving to using public transportation to help the cause. That number drops even lower when it comes to giving up air travel.

The reasons people see global warming alarmists are less credible is not limited to the “Climategate” fraud or cold winters. Better scientific studies are turning the tide from faith-based politics and toward — dare I say it — a more reality-based position (via memeorandum).

Researchers have discovered that contrary to popular belief half of the ice flows in the Karakoram range of the mountains are actually growing rather than shrinking.

The discovery adds a new twist to the row over whether global warming is causing the world’s highest mountain range to lose its ice cover.

It further challenges claims made in a 2007 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the glaciers would be gone by 2035.

Although the head of the panel Dr Rajendra Pachauri later admitted the claim was an error gleaned from unchecked research, he maintained that global warming was melting the glaciers at “a rapid rate”, threatening floods throughout north India.

What’s more, the new study, which included almost 290 glaciers, showed that global warming isn’t the chief reason a glacier melts, but terrain and how much debris covers the glacier’s surface. That makes sense, if you take a few moments and noodle it through.

This study is just the latest scientific nail in the global warming alarmism coffin. The general population is running away from the alarmists and toward the far more reasonable position that the global climate is an enormous beast whose course we can not easily nor carelessly change but whose workings we should study more earnestly. To quote Michael Rubin Ledeen in a different context, “Faster, please”.

Jimmie runs The Sundries Shack and has his own very entertaining podcast called “The Delivery”. He is also an amateur musician, an aspiring composer, an unrepentant geek and an avid fan of Twitter.

Tom Sowell: “Mascots of Self Congratulatory Elites”

 The following Thomas Sowell article was found at “Detroit News:”

“Dr. Victor Davis Hanson’s quietly chilling article, “Two Californias,” in National Review Online, ought to be read by every American who is concerned about where this country is headed. California is leading the way, but what is happening in California is happening elsewhere– and is a slow poison that is being largely ignored.

Professor Hanson grew up on a farm in California’s predominantly agricultural Central Valley. Now, as he tours that area, many years later, he finds a world as foreign to the world he knew as it is from the rest of California today– and very different from the rest of America, either past or present.

In Hanson’s own words: “Many of the rural trailer-house compounds I saw appear to the naked eye no different from what I have seen in the Third World. There is a Caribbean look to the junked cars, electric wires crossing between various outbuildings, plastic tarps substituting for replacement shingles, lean-tos cobbled together as auxiliary housing, pit bulls unleashed, and geese, goats, and chickens roaming around the yards.”

This is a Third World culture, transplanted from Mexico, and living largely outside the scope of American law, state or federal.

Ironically, this is happening in a state notorious for its pervasive and intrusive regulation of the minute details of people’s lives, homes, and businesses. But not out in the Third World enclaves in the Central Valley, where garbage is strewn with impunity and unlicensed swarms of peddlers come and go, selling for cash and with no sales tax.

While waiting in line at two supermarkets, Victor Davis Hanson realized in both places that he was the only one in line who was not paying with the plastic cards issued by welfare authorities to replace the old food stamps. He noted that these people living on the taxpayers were driving late-model cars and had iPhones, BlackBerries and other parts of what he calls “the technological veneer of the middle class.”

Sadly– and, in the long run, tragically– this is not unique to California, or to illegal immigrants from Mexico, or even to the United States. It is a pattern to which the Western world has been slowly but steadily succumbing.

In France, for example, there are enclaves of Third World Muslims, living by their own rules and festering with resentments of the society that is content to let them vegetate on handouts from the welfare state.

The black ghettos of America, and especially their housing projects, are other enclaves of people largely abandoned to their own lawless and violent lives, their children warehoused in schools where they are allowed to run wild, with education being more or less optional.

What is going on? These and other groups, here and abroad, are treated as mascots of the self-congratulatory elites.

These elites are able to indulge themselves in non-judgmental permissiveness toward those selected as mascots, while cracking down with heavy-handed, nanny-state control on others.

The effect of all this on the mascots themselves is not a big concern of the elites. Mascots symbolize something for others. The actual fate of the mascots themselves seldom matters much to their supposed benefactors.

So long as the elites have control of the public purse, they can subsidize self-destructive behavior on the part of the mascots. And so long as the elites can send their own children to private schools, they needn’t worry about what happens to the children of the mascots in the public schools.

Other people who cannot afford to send their children to private schools can simply be called “racists” for objecting to what the indulgence of the mascots is doing to the public schools or what the violence of the mascots is doing to other children trapped in the same schools with them.

A hundred years ago, groups who are now indulged as mascots were targets and scapegoats of Progressive era elites, treated like dirt and targeted for eradication in the name of “eugenics.”

There are no permanent mascots. As fashions change, the mascots of today can become the scapegoats and targets of tomorrow. But who thinks ahead any more?”

Michael Barone’s “Ronald Reagan at 100”

“A True Believer Who Caught Destiny’s Eye”
“Within the Reagan household, and perhaps in Ronald Reagan’s heart,” his definitive biographer Lou Cannon writes, “there was an early sense that he was a child of destiny.” Certainly there was not much in his family background to suggest that. The 40th president was born one hundred years ago on Feb. 6 in the second floor of a gritty-looking building in Tampico, Ill. The family moved to other towns, and briefly to Chicago, before shoe salesman Jack Reagan and his wife, Nell, settled in the prosperous town of Dixon when Reagan was 9.Reagan always remembered his boyhood there in elegiac terms, and the modest but comfortable hillside house where he spent several years seems to confirm that impression. But Jack Reagan was overfond of drink and failed at one business after another, and Lee County tax records indicate that each place the Reagans rented was worth less than the one before. They ended up in an apartment literally on the wrong side of the railroad tracks.

Yet from an early age Ronald Reagan seems to have been, as one biographer said of Abraham Lincoln, “a little engine of ambition.” An ambition to be someone important in the world, someone who could do things for others; maybe, although he never said so, to be president.

But how to move up in the world? One way was athletics; high school stars are celebrities in small towns. But the young Dutch Reagan stayed home reading while his older brother Moon played baseball, and he was too nearsighted to hit a pitch or catch a fly ball. In high school he played football, but became a lineman and, as he later confessed, not a good one. Swimming proved to be his sport. At 16 he talked his way into a job as lifeguard at a park along the treacherous Rock River. It was a busy place; he worked 12 hours a day for six summers and rescued 77 people, making a notch on a log for each one. That helped make him popular enough to be elected senior class president in high school.

Another way up was college. Only 6 percent of Americans graduated from college in the late 1920s, and Reagan’s parents had not even attended high school. But at 17 Reagan made the remarkable decision to attend Eureka College, 95 miles from Dixon, financing his education with his earnings as a lifeguard, an athletic half-scholarship he talked his way into, and a job washing dishes. Every so often his mother would send him 50 cents for expenses, and by the end of his college days he was sending money home — and bringing Moon to Eureka with him.

At Eureka, Reagan played football, swam and coached the swimming team, was president of the student senate and — most important for his future — acted in plays. As a young boy, his mother encouraged him to perform in public readings and church plays, and he was always able to memorize his lines quickly. “I knew then that I wanted to be an actor,” he told Lou Cannon, “but it wasn’t considered a way to make a living.”

The way to make a living, he decided, was in the new mass medium of radio. Dixon is 100 miles straight west of Chicago, and the signals of Chicago’s clear channel radio stations come in loud and clear. And in the 1920s, stations in Chicago, not New York or Los Angeles, were the great innovators, presenting the first situation comedies, sportscasts and national convention coverage. Listening to the radio in his parents’ homes in Dixon, Dutch Reagan was at the cutting edge of innovative mass media.

When he graduated from college in June 1932, unemployment stood at 24 percent, just about the highest rate in American history. He hitchhiked to Chicago and applied for jobs as a radio announcer. He was told that Chicago was the big time and that he should get some seasoning at a small station in “the sticks.” He hitchhiked home, borrowed the Oldsmobile his father could not afford to buy gas for, and drove to Davenport, Iowa, the home of WOC, owned by the Palmer Chiropractic School (the station’s call letters stood for world of chiropractic). Told that there was no opening, he talked the station manager into letting him audition by announcing an imaginary football game between Eureka and Western Illinois. He got the job: $5 and round-trip bus fare to broadcast a University of Iowa football game.

That break surely fortified an innate optimism. In 1933 Reagan moved to another Palmer station, WHO in Des Moines, where as a sports announcer he did what he had heard Chicago announcers do in the 1920s — narrate games from a pitch-by-pitch account received by telegraph (with lots of foul tips when the telegraph broke down). He became something of a local celebrity and a frequent speaker to civic groups, and sent one-third of his paycheck home to his family. He also did political commentaries with future Republican Rep. H.R. Gross. He got raises and made $75 a week (more than $1,200 in today’s dollars), twice what his father had ever made.

In early 1937 he got the idea of spending his month’s vacation following the Chicago Cubs at their spring training in Catalina Island off Los Angeles. WHO agreed. In Los Angeles he sought out a singer who had worked at WHO; she got him an appointment with her agent, who got him a screen test. When he returned to Des Moines, the agent wired him that Warner Brothers was offering him a seven-year contract for $100 a week. “Sign before they change their minds,” Reagan wired back.

Reagan’s movie career, later derided by reporters and political adversaries, was successful. He learned his lines quickly, always showed up on time, patiently waited during delays in shooting. He received many favorable reviews. His performances in “Knute Rockne, All-American” and “Kings Row,” both made just before the United States entered World War II, landed him a million-dollar, multiyear contract. Military service during the war, most of it in Los Angeles, prevented him from making movies and money from what might have been his peak earning years, and after the war he bristled against the studios’ insistence that he play light comedy rather than dramatic roles.

The movies of the 1930s and 1940s, like the radio of the 1920s and 1930s and the television shows of the 1950s and 1960s, were a universal culture, aimed not at niche audiences like the media of today but at the entire population. They were intended to be universally acceptable and to embody the values shared by almost all Americans, and indeed, 1940s movies still strike us as expressing the national spirit more than any other popular art.

In this national spirit Ronald Reagan was always a true believer. He was a believing and observant Christian, a Protestant like his mother rather than a Catholic like his father. Like both his parents he was a Democrat in heavily Republican Downstate Illinois, and he became an enthusiastic fan of Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal policies. As a Hollywood star he kept up with political news; as a board member of the Screen Actors Guild from 1941 and its president from 1947 to 1960, he opposed Communist activists but refused to name names or to support outlawing the Communist party.

It was always in Reagan’s interest to portray himself as an ordinary person and certainly not as any kind of intellectual. “Mr. Norm is my alias,” Reagan wrote in a 1942 article for the fan magazine Photoplay. “Nothing about me to make me stand out on the midway.” But he also admitted, “I’m interested in politics and government problems.” More interested than he let on. His first wife, Jane Wyman, in seeking a divorce in 1947, complained that he talked about actors union and political issues all the time. And in 1948 he campaigned for Harry Truman’s re-election over Republican Thomas Dewey and the leftist Henry Wallace, and emceed Truman’s final campaign speech in the Hollywood Bowl.

Four years later, Reagan supported Republican Dwight Eisenhower. He always insisted that the Democratic party left him rather than the other way around, but clearly he changed his mind on some issues. He resented the 91 percent top tax rate when he was in his peak earning years, and before you could escape high rates by averaging income over several years. He had been affected by books like Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom,” which argued that socialism eroded personal freedoms. Hired by General Electric CEO Ralph Cordiner to speak to GE employees across the country as well as to host “GE Theater,” he became in the 1950s a dedicated opponent of big government.

The times seemed to be going against Reagan. A movie star in his 20s and 30s, he was less of a celebrity in his 40s. In his 50s, normally the peak years in most professions, he was an old man by Hollywood standards. He resigned as head of the Screen Actors Guild in 1960 and General Electric cancelled his show in 1962. John Kennedy, six years younger than Reagan, was a popular president seeking to make big government even bigger.

By Reagan’s reckoning, the country seemed to be moving in the wrong direction, so he took it on himself to persuade his fellow citizens into changing course. The result was a speech, developed from the talks he had delivered to GE employees, called “A Time for Choosing,” and a group of Goldwater-supporting businessmen persuaded the Arizonan’s reluctant campaign to broadcast it on national television in October 1964. Reagan was visibly angry at the prospect of big government destroying the American dream but, with his congenital optimism, quoted Roosevelt quoting Lincoln that Americans had a “rendezvous with destiny.” The speech raised money for the Goldwater campaign, with little effect on the result. But it convinced many that Reagan had a rendezvous with destiny himself.

Conventional political wisdom held that Goldwater’s landslide defeat meant the end of conservatism in America. Reagan thought it was more like a beginning, with a major role for himself. Encouraged by the businessmen who had promoted the 1964 broadcast, he set about running for governor in 1966 against two-term Democrat Pat Brown, who had beaten Richard Nixon in 1962. Events helped. Student protests at Berkeley in 1964 and the black riot in Watts in 1965 showed that two supposed beneficiaries of big government were anything but grateful for aid provided by the tax dollars of the ordinary middle-class Americans, who had flocked to California as a kind of promised land after World War II. Reagan, like so many of those taxpayers a migrant from the Midwest, voiced outrage at this ingratitude and at the failure of big government policies to produce the America they believed in.

Reagan showed in 1966 and 1970 that a conservative Republican could win landslide victories in what had recently become the nation’s largest state. To be sure, his record in office was not as impeccably conservative as many contemporary conservatives believe: He acquiesced in a tax increase and signed, to his later regret, one of the most liberalized abortion laws in the nation. But he also made himself a plausible candidate for the presidency and tried for it three times — in a last-minute campaign in 1968, in a prolonged march through the primaries up to the national convention in 1976, and in a long campaign against an incumbent president in which success seemed anything but assured till the weekend before the election in 1980.

Only three presidents since 1900 have won popular vote majorities more than once: Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. On the surface, all three seemed men of great geniality, but in fact none of them had any really close friends or anyone in whom they fully confided, except for Reagan — and his confidante was his wife, Nancy. Beneath the smiles there was a certain cold, inaccessible calculation. One difference is that Roosevelt entered the White House at 50, Eisenhower at 62 and Reagan just a month shy of turning 70. And if Roosevelt and Eisenhower had serious health problems, Reagan was shot and came close to dying in his second full month in office. His inattention to detail and his reliance on chiefs of staff who rationed his time and set his agenda arguably made him less effective than he might have been had he come to office earlier in life.

But since he left office it has become apparent that the portrait of Reagan as an airheaded actor manipulated by sinister aides is very far from accurate. It was always in Reagan’s interest to portray himself as an ordinary guy, unaffected by intellectual influences — the actor who called himself “Mr. Norm,” the candidate for governor who insisted he was only a citizen-politician, the president who said, “They say that hard work never killed anybody, but I say why take the chance?”

On the contrary, the picture we get from his 1970s radio scripts, written out in his legible handwriting and retrieved from the wastebasket by a history-conscious secretary, show a man who was widely read and well-informed on all manner of issues, with a clear philosophic compass and a gift for phrasemaking. It was one of his strengths that he could speak in the universal language of the 1930s and 1940s movies at a time of cultural conflict, a time when other politicians could only appeal to their particular niches of support. “I think it would be hard to be president without having been an actor,” he once said. His greatest performance may have been after he was shot. In the process of losing half his blood, he insisted on walking into the hospital and buttoning his jacket, before collapsing on the floor when he was out of camera range.

Ronald Reagan changed his mind on economic issues and switched parties in his 40s. But if he sought to reverse the thrust of his hero Franklin Roosevelt’s economic policies, he continued to believe as Roosevelt did that America had a special mission to deploy a strong military to oppose tyranny and expand freedom in the world. The New Deal historian William Leuchtenberg, interviewing all living presidents for the 100th anniversary of Roosevelt’s birth, found Reagan by far FDR’s most enthusiastic admirer — the interview went over the allotted time.

Reagan was a believer, as Roosevelt was, in American exceptionalism. “I, in my own mind, have thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land,” he said in a commencement speech in 1952, when he was still a Democrat. In his farewell speech as a Republican president in 1989, he said, “I’ve spoken of the shining city [on a hill] all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”

“I wasn’t a great communicator,” said the man who talked his way into college, into radio, into the movies, into politics and into the presidency, “but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full blown from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation — from our experience, our wisdom and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.” The president who voted for more winning presidential candidates than any other president seems to have always regarded himself as a child of destiny, and it turns out he was. But the destiny, he insisted, was not his own but that of the people of the United States of America.”

Comment:  For those of you who haven’t discovered Ronald Reagan exceptional gift of humor, especially political humor, do google it up.  
Only over the past few years I have been able to look at photos of Ronald Reagan without seeing him as a simple minded oaf selling his B movie screen talents for a rightwing cause which no longer had any value for progressive, free thinking, non Christian,  modern American life.    I was trained to be a lefty throughout his movie and political careers,   I was a graduate student and teacher at the University of Minnesota, where discounting Reagan flowed freer than beer.
He was ridiculed, profoundly ridiculed for having ‘dead’ ideas.
Yet, in 1980 out of total digust with my Democratic  Party and its move to the violent street left which  led to  riots throughout the country, the rise of the druggies, the SDS and Weather Underground, the bombings, kidnappings, murders and above all, the actions of the foulest American of my lifetime who has not been sentenced for treason, John F. Kerry his betrayals, lies and staged performances before television to satisfy his lust for political fame, in my view, a traitor of the first class I voted as a Democrat for Ronald Reagan in protest.
In 1984 I voted for Ronald Reagan for President as a Republican.  I have come to like him better every year since.

George Will: “Uncle Sam in the Driver’s Seat”

 Found at the Washington Post…..by George Will:

“Disregard Barack Obama’s rhetorical cotton candy about aspiring to be transformative. He is just another practitioner of reactionary liberalism and champion of a government unchastened by its multiplying failures.

The word “entitlements” was absent from his nearly 7,000-word State of the Union address – a $183 million speech that meandered for 61 minutes as the nation’s debt grew $3 million a minute. He exhorted listeners to “win the future” by remembering the past.

On May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, in the Utah Territory, a golden spike was driven to celebrate the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads. In the 1960s, the United States sent men to the moon. Obama said: Today’s government should take more control of the nation’s resources so it can do innovative things akin to building the transcontinental railroad and exploring space.

The nation heard: You should trust the government whose recent innovations include the ethanol debacle that, four days before the State of the Union, the government expanded. And you should surrender more resources to the government whose recent innovations include the wild proliferation of subprime mortgages.

Obama spoke to a nation limping into a sixth year of declining housing prices (housing accounts for about one-quarter of households’ assets), with an additional 10 to 20 percent decline likely. With 5 million households at least two months’ delinquent on their mortgage payments and 5.5 million households with mortgages at least 20 percent larger than the value of their houses, more housing foreclosures will probably take place this year than the 1 million in 2010, when sales of new homes hit a 47-year low. It is indeed amazing what innovative government can accomplish.

The day after Obama told the nation that the key to prosperity is creativity defined by this government and propelled by more government spending (“investment”), the Congressional Budget Office said that this year’s budget gap is widening to $1.5 trillion, making the national debt 70 percent of gross domestic product, up from 40 percent in 2008.

But Michigan’s Levin brothers remain faithful to Obamanomics, which holds that prosperity is just around the corner – if government spends more on innovations it imagines. Sen. Carl Levin and Rep. Sander Levin have a combined 60 years of Capitol Hill tenure, and an innovation. Like most liberals’ new ideas, theirs is to make an old idea more expensive. The day of the CBO’s dark forecast, the Levins said that the government should double the scope of its program to bribe people to buy a kind of car the government likes much more than do buyers of cars.

The government already offers $7,500 tax incentives for people who buy electric cars such as the $32,780 Nissan Leaf and, more to the point, General Motors’ $41,000 Chevrolet Volt. As The Post’s Peter Whoriskey reported, these prices are “well above” those of “comparably sized cars with gasoline engines that can cost about $20,000.”

Obama’s goal of getting 1 million such cars on America’s roads by 2015 cannot be met unless innovative government rigs the market. Introduced in 2008, the $7,500 bribe was limited to the first 250,000 cars. Under Obama’s stimulus, it was expanded to 200,000 per manufacturer. The Levins, uttering liberalism’s timeless rallying cry (“More!”) want it to cover 500,000 per manufacturer.

The Levins’ applied liberalism is regressive because it conscripts all taxpayers into subsidizing a fortunate few: As Whoriskey reported, the subsidy would flow to “early adopters” of a new kind of car, and they “generally tend to be affluent.” But this is “all about economic and national security,” says Robbie Diamond, president of the Electrification Coalition.

It represents, among others, people who sell electricity and related products and those who want to sell electric cars. The coalition’s leaders include Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive, and Jeff Immelt, GE’s chief executive and (simultaneously) chairman of Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Diamond says that electric cars will help prevent America from being “hostage to one fuel source produced in the world’s unstable and often-hostile regions.” America’s two largest sources of imported oil are Canada and Mexico. Both Levins oppose tapping the large oil reserves in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Levins’ innovation could cost $19 billion over 10 years, but if it does, says Sander, “it means that the program worked.” So, a program “works” if it pays people enough to get them to do something they otherwise would consider irrational – to buy something so overpriced it would fail in an unrigged market. If it “works,” the cry will be: “More!”

MSNBC’s Filth Called Chris Matthews

Keith Olbermann, now gone from the halls of poison gas called MSNBC News reporting, was obnoxious, a bully, and gave his befouled opinions as if he were making  an obscene gesture.

Chris Matthews is more evil.   He has  a much more clever style of spewing lies and sculpting  fiction.  He doesn’t approach his audience, as thin as it might be, with obscenities gestured or otherwise.   He has the Roadrunner’s mouth with words of a magician.   One feels subliminally abused by simply looking at this television make up doll.

John Hinderaker has an excellent article at PowerLine today displaying a video and script of  the Chris Matthews’ quick analysis and the foulness of his interpretations and accusations said so rapidly, one almost misses the meanings.  Here is the script so you can detect his deceit….which is the foundation of his delivery style showtime.

The script:

“Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Leading off tonight: Unrest in Egypt. Proving the Iraq war wasn`t needed, these protests in Egypt, as well as in Yemen and Tunisia, are all aimed at dictators supported by the U.S. The demonstrations have not yet turned anti-American, but they could. These are the events the Bush administration hoped to encourage by lying about weapons of mass destruction and invading Iraq.”

John reviews the Matthew habit:   “Matthews takes obsession to the brink of insanity. What possible reason is there to begin one’s coverage of events in Egypt with partisan references to George Bush and Iraq? How on earth do riots in Egypt and Tunisia “prov[e] the Iraq war wasn’t needed?” Two weeks ago Egypt and Tunisia were quiet; was that evidence that the Iraq war was needed? Libya is quiet still; is that evidence that the Iraq war was necessary? This is all a bizarre non sequitur.

Matthews says that the current unrest is “aimed at dictators supported by the U.S.” But how does that relate to George W. Bush or the Iraq war? The U.S. has supported the Egyptian government for decades, a policy that has been continued by Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress. Again, what is the point? In 2009 there were violent demonstrations in Iran, against a dictatorship that is not supported by the U.S. Did that prove that the Iraq war was a good idea? Or was that also evidence that the Iraq war was unnecessary? If so, why are we talking about which governments are supported by the U.S.? Does Matthews have any idea what he is talking about?

Next Matthews claims that the Bush administration “hoped to encourage” the events (i.e., riots and their suppression) that we now see in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia. But wait! Didn’t Matthews just say that all of these governments are “supported by the U.S.?” So why would Bush (or Obama) want to encourage riots against those governments?

Matthews says the Bush administration “hoped to encourage” riots by “lying about weapons of mass destruction and invading Iraq.” I don’t get that either. Apart from the silliness about “lying”–both Democrats and Republicans thought Saddam had WMDs, as did the CIA and the intelligence agency of every Western country–what is the connection? Why would “lying about weapons of mass destruction” cause Egyptians and Tunisians to riot, either in 2003 or seven years later? What in the world–in short–is Matthews talking about?

We can take it as a given that most liberals do not have high standards when it comes to political commentary. Still, one can only wonder at the fact that they are willing to put up with this sort of deluded, obsessive nonsense from the members of their media team.”

Comment:   Some people in life don’t at all  mind leading a sleazy life, some at home, others at work and still others nearly all of the time.  The public can know Mr. Matthews by the character and quality of his work as he performs during his show.   He is a smart guy and knows exactly what he is doing with his offensive manners and style.

I believe he is a perfect symbol of the American Marxist Left.    There is no honor advanced by his show in presenting the news.   As with Keith Olbermann his schtik is his performance not his profession which demands the highest of human qualities to serve a free public well.

Mr.Matthews as do other leftists cannot sell  Marxism  honorably.  Being in the realm of the Progressive progressing to Marxism, the goal is being a Marxist Progressive no matter what the means.

It is also a lazier as well as a meaner person to present a news program as befouled as Matthews’ than to do some research to discover the truer truths of the day.

Michael Ledeen Analyzes the Revolt in Egypt, the By Whom and the For What

Revolt in Egypt:  By whom and For what?….an article at Pajamas Media written by Michael Ledeen:

“As I’ve remarked in the past–but you can’t say the truth too often, right? — nobody knows what a revolution looks like.  And in fact that last clause may be very misleading, because there is no one thing that a revolution looks like.  Some revolutions happen very quietly, like the Information Revolution.  On the other hand, some very revolutionary-looking events, like lots of people in the streets calling for the downfall of a government or a regime, are just street theater.  Ask the “revolutionaries” who filled the streets of Paris calling for the end of de Gaulle.  Or the crowd that levitated the Pentagon.

You can’t judge a revolution by its theatrics.  Something real has to happen, something beyond marching, chanting slogans, and making demands.  Revolutions end systems of rule and replace them with new ones.  Is that happening now in the Middle East?  I think that the Green Movement in Iran is revolutionary, and that, if successful, it would end the Islamic Republic and replace it with a secular political system that separates mosque and state.  I think that the efforts by Hezbollah to take over Lebanon also constitute an attempt at revolutionary change, because it would turn the secular Lebanese system into an Islamic Republic.  It can go both ways.

All of which is a long way of saying that there’s a lot of tumult in the Middle East (and not only the Middle East;  there were big demonstrations a few hours ago in Albania), a great perturbation in the Force, as Obiwan would say.  Lots of fighting.  Lots of factions.  In Egypt, which is by far the most important of the Arab countries affected by the tumult, there are genuine democrats and also members of organizations (from the Muslim Brotherhood to Islamic Jihad, Hamas, et al.) who would transform Egypt from an authoritarian to a totalitarian regime.

Remember my Grandma Mashe:  “Things are never so bad they can’t get worse.”

So how are we to look at it all?

The basic point is that most everything and everywhere is up for grabs.  From Yemen to Iran to Lebanon and Somalia,  from Egypt and Jordan to Syria and Tunisia, we’ve got tumult.  There are lots of different forces in play, and in many cases there is no way to know who will make what decisions, let alone what decisions they will make.  Orders will be given, some of them will be obeyed while others will be ignored.

Welcome to the real world.

Let’s take the most important Arab country, Egypt.   The key institution is the army, which does not want an Islamic regime, but also does not want Mubarak fils.  I suspect that if they agree to save the current regime (likely), they will want to inherit it.  They remember that the shah’s generals made a deal with the forces of Khomeini’s revolution in 1979, and were decimated.  But even if they prevail and put an end to the tumult, how long would that “order” last?  That may depend on other things in other lands.

The key to many of these tumults — certainly not all, for example, Tunisia — is Iran.  The mullahs have been pounding their chests and claiming to have inspired the insurrections.  Everywhere.  This is nonsense and they know it.  Few Jordanians or Egyptians want to live in the Arab version of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Indeed, you can be sure that the mullahs are frightened by a lot of this.  They know that the Iranian insurrection of 2009-2010 was the real inspiration for many of the demonstrators, and they know that the Iranian people know that, as they also know that Iranians are saying to themselves that “if the Arabs can overthrow their regimes, surely we (superior Persians) can do the same.”  That is why the thugs were out in force in Iran’s big cities the last couple of days.

It follows that the Iranians will — probably have already — mobilize their terror army against Mubarak, as against the Jordanian monarchy, and for the tyrants in Khartoum.  They are good at manipulating Arabs (when’s the last time you saw a Persian suicide terrorist?  They’re all Arabs manipulated by the Persians) and the Iranians’ religious proxies and self-starting fellow travelers and useful idiots in Sunniland will be calling for mass martyrdom.  Nobody knows how this will play out.  Not even the mullahs.  Everyone’s in a big hurry, and lots of mistakes will be made.

And what about us?  We are supposed to be the revolutionaries, and we must support democratic revolution against tyranny.  But we must not support phony democrats, and for the president to say “Egypt’s destiny will be determined by the Egyptian people,” or “everyone wants to be free” is silly and dangerous.  Egypt’s destiny will be determined by a fight among Egyptian people, some of whom wish to be free and others who wish to install a tyranny worse than Mubarak’s.  That’s the opposite of freedom.  Think about the free elections in Gaza that brought the Hamas killers to power.  For that matter, think about Khomeini, viewed at the time as a progressive democrat by many of the leading intellectual and political lights of the West, from Foucault to Andrew Young.

We should have been pressuring the friendly tyrants in the Middle East to liberalize their polities lo these many years.  We should have done it in the shah’s Iran, and in Mubarak’s Egypt, and in Ben Ali’s Tunisia.  It is possible to move peacefully from dictatorship to democracy (think Taiwan.  Think Chile.  Think South Africa).  But we didn’t, in part because of the racist stereotype that goes under the label “the Arab street,” according to which the Arab masses are motivated above all by an unrelenting rage at Israel for its oppression of the beloved Palestinians.  That myth went along with another:  the belief that the culture of the Arab world (sometimes expanded to “the culture of the Muslim world”) was totally resistant to democracy.  The tumult has nothing to do with Palestine/Israel and even a blind bat can see hundreds of thousands of Arabs fighting for democracy, as have their fellow Muslims in Iran.

We shoulda, coulda done better all along.  But here we are.  It’s quite clear that Obama is totally bamboozled.  He has no culture to deal with this situation, nor does Hillary.  I wonder about Panetta.  Does the intelligence community have people who know in detail who is who in the tumults?  Historically we haven’t been great at this — the intelligence failures at the time of the Iranian revolution could fill a fat volume, with another needed to chronicle the failures during the following 31 years — but we’ve got a lot of Arabists and we may be lucky enough to have a few very good ones.

If we do, and if Panetta and General Clapper know who they are, then we can try to pick and choose, supporting real democrats and thwarting the likes of al Baradei, the love child of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Tehran crowd.  Surely we know who he is.  We should broadcast it.

We have to play this game.  Let’s hope there’s someone who can grab the president’s ears and explain the rules and the players.  But the winning gambit — finally support democratic revolution in Iran — isn’t even being discussed.  Paradoxically, this is a very good moment to endorse the Green Movement.  I mean, if we’re going to praise the Tunisian and Egyptian freedom fighters, all the more reason to hail the true martyrs in Iran, currently being slaughtered in the country’s prisons at the blood-curdling rate of three per day.  And that’s only the officially acknowledged executions.

So, having failed to do what we should have done for the past many decades, we should stick to what got us here:  support democratic revolution.  But not false revolutionaries.  Remember Grandma.

And this is not a time for dawdling.  Faster, Please!”

Anarchist Chris Hedges, the Dour, States, “Obama is Incompetent”

Every once in awhile I scan the television channels beyond sports and the history, nature, and science wars to the lectures and round table exercises on zombie tv at C-SPAN2 and C-SPAN 3.  One day I picked up Hugo Chavez giving his State of the Union Speech to the Venezuelan people at one of the two C-SPANS  with  “U.S. Senate” as the program title.    Even Barack Hussein Obama was a bit more interesting.   Hugo complained about bad television in the Venezuelan afternoon and bragged about his doubling the number in the police force.

This evening I found a severe and sour looking man complaining about Liberals.  I thought I’d join in and listen.  He might teach me a thing or two about how much more damage they have done to the country  than even I might be accusing them of.   His name is Chris Hedges.   Chris is a leftwing anarchist.

Chris  called Obama incompetent.   I agreed and waited for Mr. Hedges to give several examples some of which I could add to my list this Marxist is achieving for the country.   None came.   He described Bush as “vile”.   No reasons for the charge were specified…..for Mr. Hedges  reviled  Liberals…..those morally vein uppity ones who are so pleased with their pride of being  Liberal Democrats, leaders of the American “high road”.

He condemned the Obamacare bill as a swindle and the bailouts as courtiers for Corporate industries.

“We are not doctors caring for the sick system.  We must kill the system itself.  We don’t hear the cries of our own kids.  The whole system is so rotten.”

He chided Oprah and the Christian right, but he looked decidedly religious….severely religious, but he had only splashed a bit of religion hither and thither and rather sternly critical with a rather stern Christian vocabulary.

Hedges’ heroes besides Ralph Nader and Henry A. Wallace, are Dan Berrigan and Wikileaks…..about Wikileaks, Hedges remarked, ” ‘He’ has done us great services.”

Chris Hedges wanted to unleash dark movements.   “We anarchists must achieve constant rebellion to fight Corporate Capitalism.”  “We do not only hear the death rattles of  our country, but of the planet as well.”   “We only have our bodies left……They have Exxon who have the money to fool people. 

Poor people of Camden, New Jersey are reduced to eating “grease and sugar”.  (I was wondering if Governor Christie had had a chance to talk to the Camden people about bad diets.  “The Corporate machine will burn up all of our fossil fuels and create a Venus.  

He reminisced about Emma Goldman, likened himself to Alexander Herzen.   “The great man” Noam Chomsky had exposed Liberalism collaborating with the Corporate Power Elite.

The American working men and women have been dispossessed.  “The rich take care of the rich!”

The Corporate Business conspirators, including  Bill Clinton had given us NAFTA.   “The Liberals took Ralph Nader down.”   “The rise in America of protofascism can be seen in the Tea Party, the militias, and talk radio”.

He spent time villainizing the Christian Right and the Tea Party.   “They aren’t Christians at all.  They are heretics.  Jesus didn’t come down to make us ‘rich’.   “I went to seminary, (confessing he was a PRESBYTERIAN seminary student son of a PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, a minister getting kicked out of this church and then that one…as Chris Hedges proudly described his father’s pastoring.

“Jesus came down to sacrifice,,,,that was the path of life of Jesus Christ”. 

I did not include here all of the cliches he decorated each sentence describing his hates for the corporate class and their hoarding of money and power.   By  this time I was feeling greedy  even about wearing the clothes I had on my back.   (I didn’t take them off, however.)

I was tiring, but noticed he was not.   I turned channels to listen to a tub of lard criticize Woodrow Wilson about being a militarist on CSPAN 3.  “Gun-boat diplomacy”, he called it.  We were fighting Mexicans in the border wars before entering in World War I.  Ironically the Presbyterian Reverend Hedges was chastising Woodrow Wilson back on C-SPAN2 for robbing Liberals  from the “real” Liberals, that is the anarchist pacifists, by making them ‘corporate warriors’.

I decided I’d return to the self-defrocked Reverend.   I couldn’t tell if he was about to wrap it up for every tone of every word arose from the same drawn out monotony and yet, I got excited for this one and only time, when he announced, “The Christian Right is all wrapped up in the American flag and grasping the Christian Cross and will make war on America.”  

(He sure did sound like an unhappy Presbyterian to me…. preaching from inside those drab and dreary buildings built around an empty cross.  Chris Hedges spoke from no teleprompter and from no notes as I could detect.   He had fallen into a trance….and seemed to be dragging his audience into it along with himself.   He spoke kindly of Dennis Kucinich, Russ Feingold, and Ralph Nader, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, and  “the Great Henry A. Wallace.”    He referred fondly to Leon Trotsky for his rebellion to the Soviet system.

Go figure.  I’m tired.  He wore me out.

The American working men and women have been dispossessed.  “The rich take care of the rich!”

The Corporate Business conspirators, including  Bill Clinton had given us NAFTA.   “The Liberals took Ralph Nader down.”   “The rise in America of ‘protofascism’ can be seen in the Tea Party, the militias, and talk radio.”

Warning:   Watching this video may be detrimental to you health.  Mr. Hedges is a very experienced depression-  spreading anarchist.

Chris Hedges: Death of the Liberal Class

Grit TV interviews Chris Hedges about his new book, The Death of the Liberal Class:

“We have a choice,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges. “You can either be complicit in your own enslavement or you can lead a life that has some kind of integrity and meaning.” Hedges argues for moral responsibility in a world bankrupt of it, and discusses the downfall of what he refers to as the liberal class in his newest book. From World War I to the present, he traces the rise and fall of liberal values, and paints a grim portrait of the future.