Monday, November 30, 2009

Media (Un)Ethics

The media loves to destroy careers and damage peoples' lives. if someone is unfortunate enough to be in the media spotlight due to their iridescent talents, that person can count on being treated like the subject of the Truman Show. Especially if something in that microscopically-studied life should happen to occur that promises lots of free publicity for the jackals of the Press.

Tiger Woods is one of these unfortunates. The man is a supremely skilled golfer. He is athletic, rich, attractive to the fair sex and seemingly lives the Perfect Life. But he is also an intensely private person off the golf course. He doesn't appear on frothy 'celebrity' shows. He doesn't appreciate fake topless shots of his wife. And he certainly doesn't enjoy the media intruding into what he does off the golf course. All of which stands should be uncontroversial. But the media can't let it go. In a world populated by self-serving trash like TMZ and Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr (who calls himself Perez Hilton), if the media cannot catch a celebrity in an embarrassing, headline-provoking scandal, they are perfectly prepared to create it out of whole cloth.

Such is the case here. The undisputed facts are these:

  1. The National Enquirer magazine published a story claiming Mr. Woods had an affair with a woman.

  2. Both Woods and the woman (Rachel Uchitel, 34) promptly denied the report.

  3. Mr. Woods and his wife may have had an argument, possibly caused by the Enquirer's story. No physical force has been reported to have been involved.

  4. Mr. Woods left the house at a very early hour and was involved in a minor automobile accident.

  5. Mrs. Woods assisted in rescuing her husband, who suffered minor injuries.

As far as I am aware, no laws were broken by either Mr. or Mrs. Woods. However, the media, having created the situation that caused the problem, are now in full-throated roar demanding that Mr. Woods somehow owes them an explanation.

Er, how to put this in language our logically- and ethically-challenged media will understand? NO. Tiger Woods owes the the press nothing at all. In addition, unless some evidence emerges that he broke the law in some manner, neither does he owe the police an explanation. Jason Whitlock, one of the very few members of the press who has both respect for others' privacy and common sense (he was virtually the only member of the national media to get the Duke Rape Hoax right), put it best in his column this morning, writing,
The media members/outlets asserting Tiger Woods owes the public and the Florida Highway Patrol an explanation for a fender-bender and his wife's jaws-of-9-iron rescue owe America an explanation for their self-serving jealousy and obvious stupidity.

The price of fame and wealth should not be the sacrifice of marital privacy. Tiger Woods plays golf for our enjoyment. He didn't marry Elin Nordegren for our entertainment.

Jason Whitlock gets it. Why don't the rest of America's supposedly 'professional' press corps? The media does not have a right to invade the privacy of people just because their professions bring them into the public eye.

America's media has a lot of problems, from their abject failure to actually display any professional objectivity (11 'fact-checkers' for Sarah Palin's book, zero for Barack Obama's or Joe Biden's)to their complete failure to accurately inform the American public about many important stories currently ongoing (ACORN's corruption, the University of East Anglia's emails, etc.). But while they don't seem to have enough time to actually deal with actual issues of real importance to most Americans, they do have enough time to descend on a professional athlete who has done nothing wrong and try to wreck his life. For shame!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Courts Destroy Citizen Rights, Part 2,000,000

It has always been my understanding that the courts' major job is to ensure justice and uphold the law of the land. Pity that so many of them seem to have signed on to the statists' big government mantra. Starting with the empowerment of government over citizens in the Progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century, the courts have steadily ceased to perform their role as limiters of government's constant power grabs.

The latest example of courts riding roughshod over citizens' rights occurred in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Supreme Court ruled that the government could use eminent domain to force homeowners and businesses to give up their property so that a multi-millionaire developer could build a new sports arena among other things.

The main problem, as I see it, is that the Founders supposed that the government would not attempt to engage in mass redistribution of wealth at the expense of their subjects - er, I mean citizens. Therefore, they wrote in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution (which statement is echoed in the New York Constitution),
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Note that nowhere do they specifically say that property may not be taken for public use. Nor is there any mention that property may not be taken for private use. Thus the government is not breaking the letter of the law, though they have long since broken the spirit into a million little pieces (see Kelo).

The answer, I regret to say, is a Constitutional amendment stating that no private property can be seized for any reason save those specifically stated, and that under no circumstances can private property be seized for transfer to any non-public use. We have a government and a court system that wants to impose government oversight over every aspect of its citizens' lives. The only way to prevent this is to specifically bar the government and the courts for being allowed to impose. We have gone a long way down the road to serfdom already and unless we act, we will wake up in a feudal system - which of course is precisely what the big government proponents in the courts and the government want - a hierarchy where they may enjoy the fruits of everyone else's labors.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Tarkanian Touch

In the interests of full disclosure, I was never a big fan of Danny Tarkanian when he played basketball at UNLV and I have a long-standing contempt for his father Jerry. However, the Danny Tarkanian for Congress campaign has come up with one of the most hilarious political advertisements I have seen in a long time. As both Ed Morrissey and Jim Geraghty have said - watch this before YouTube pulls it for copyright infringement.

Danny Tarkanian advertisement:

Liberal Arrogance - and Guilt

It has been noted many times that the modern American Left - which includes a large percentage of the Democratic Party - seems to be more interested in controlling every aspect of the Little People's lives than they are in anything else. Evidence for this proposition includes the massive government power grab of the financial, automotive and health care industries, as well as the ever-increasing reams of regulation that are mainly spearheaded by the Left.

However, there is another piece of evidence for the predilection - the tendency of self-professed 'elites' in the United States to try to force Americans to pronounce foreign words exactly as a native speaker would. Food Critic and Top Chef judge Toby Young mercilessly exposes this affectation in his Spectator column today, writing,
In the States, pronouncing foreign words ‘correctly’ is a high-status indicator. It’s not just about demonstrating your racial sensitivity. It’s a way of advertising your membership of the elite. Saying ‘py-el-a’ rather than ‘py-ay-a’ is to risk being thought of as lower class.

I don’t mean that they’re concerned about appearing not very well travelled, though that comes into it. It’s more a question of manners. Not tiptoeing around other cultures is considered impolite. To make a ‘racially insensitive’ remark is to reveal a lack of familiarity with the code. They’re worried about appearing ignorant, but not of other cultures. What concerns them is that people might think they don’t know the form. Being politically correct is also socially correct — which helps explain its ubiquity. When a political trend is reinforced by snobbery it becomes an irresistible force, which helps explain the success of the environmental movement.

As a speaker of Japanese, I am well-acquainted with the fact that a Japanese person will not pronounce English words in precisely the same accent as a native American. Words are spoken differently by different cultures. For instance, in English Roma is Rome, 東京 is Tokyo, and Paree is Paris. In Japanese London is 'Rondon' and Los Angeles is 'Rosu'. And why not? Making an effort to pronounce words correctly when speaking a foreign tongue aids communication. However, when speaking English, I do not labor to pronounce foreign words as they would be in their native tongue - I give them the common English pronunciation.

In essence what these elitists are doing is trying both to show their elite status and to force everyone to meet their own narrow ideas of what is 'correct'. As Mr. Young so correctly concludes,
A world in which all ethnic groups speak slightly differently, following their own idiosyncratic rules when it comes to pronouncing words not in their language, is preferable to one in which everyone is forced to pronounce things ‘correctly’ by a bunch of guilty white people. In the end, that’s more ‘imperialist’ than saying ‘py-el-a’.

I could not agree more. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is Major Hasan a Traitor?

Austin Bay makes a strong case in his StrategyPage column today that the answer may be yes. Writes Bay,
One word aptly describes Ft. Hood mass murderer Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan: traitor.

Traitor is a tough word. It doesn't smudge and squish. "Traitor" draws a hard line, one that sharply divides essential life-determining values and marks a defining personal choice between the profound and the profane.

Treason is one of the few crimes specifically defined in the text of the United States Constitution. As defined in Article Three, Section Three,
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Well, then. Major Hasan was a voluntary member of the United States Army, sworn to protect the United States and furthermore, he was a member of the Army Medical Corps, sworn to serve his fellow soldiers. He voluntarily swore two oaths to that effect. Yet he opened fire on his unarmed fellow soldiers, on a military base on his country's soil. He did not take the honorable course of resigning and seeking to fight as a part of our enemies' forces, but instead hid behind his rank and shot down his fellow soldiers when they could not defend themselves. I would say that this meets the characterization of 'levying war' as well as 'adhering to their enemies'. Taken together, this is a pretty clear picture of a traitor. Colonel Bay compares Hasan with Benedict Arnold and I believe that to be a fair analogy but I would classify Hasan's acts as even more despicable than Arnold's.

Bay also takes to task journalists and activists like Joe Klein and the partisan hacks at for abusing the word treason - a word that in some cases (ie. Eric Lichtblau and James Risen) actually applies better to those same abusers. Bay says of these contemptible members of the chattering class,
Self-styled mainstream journalists with no regard for the awful moral weight and terrible consequences of the actual act of sedition heedlessly employ the accusation as a word weapon to thwart discomfiting political criticism. For example, Time Magazine's Joe Klein wrote this past Oct. 23 that "some of" what Fox News presents ("peddles" was Klein's verb) "borders on sedition."

Klein's rash innuendo (so indicative of people who live in a relatively safe world protected by cops and soldiers) is lightweight prostitution compared to the thoroughly dirty work of the hard left propagandists at, who all but called Gen. David Petraeus a traitor.

This is unfortunately true. Many members of the left like to throw around words like this in an attempt to silence their political opponents. However, treason has a deeper meaning - simply disagreeing with a President's policies, and pointing out the flaws and problems with those policies, is not treason. That is dissent, and is the lifeblood of a free country. The Left, however, prefers to silence their adversaries than to hold an open debate. I would suggest that my readers, such as they may be, might want to take note of that tendency. Republicans and conservatives are not known for silencing debate - quite the contrary. It is the Left who wishes to shut down open discourse, whether by the Orwellian 'Fairness Doctrine' or by cruder threats, such as frivolous lawsuits or even using their SEIU shock troops.

Did Major Nidal Malik Hasan commit treason? Based on the available evidence the answer appears to be a resounding yes. I fully support a full investigation in a military courts martial. However, should the resulting judgment agree with this assessment, we can only hope that a military overcome with dangerous political correctness can and will take the necessary steps to execute him for actions against the men and women he was sworn to protect and serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AP Rewrites History for Muslim Sniper John Muhammad

Today's AP article on the Yahoo! News site regarding the impending execution of convicted Virgina sniper John Muhammad is almost breathtaking in its politically correct craven-ness. Muhammad and his accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, confessed that they were undertaking a home-grown jihad against Americans in support of their Muslim brethren overseas. In addition, drawings done by Malvo in jail leave no doubt that the two were inspired by Muslim theology.

However, the Associated Press cannot bring itself to admit what is well-known. Instead, in an article on Yahoo! News today, reporter Dena Potter writes,
The motive for the shootings remains murky. Malvo said Muhammad wanted to use the plot to extort $10 million from the government to set up a camp in Canada where homeless children would be trained as terrorists. But Muhammad's ex-wife has said she believes the attacks were a smoke screen for his plan to kill her and regain custody of their three children.

Um, no. Muhammad and Malvo were unrepentant Muslim terrorists. Their aims, as presented in court and reported at the time by the New York Sun newspaper, were to terrorize American cities and ultimately create a force of of like-minded terrorists to spread out and execute similar terror missions in other cities. At no time did either Muhammad or Malvo try to deny that Islamic teachings formed a major part of their inspiration. In fact, in his courtroom testimony, Malvo specifically said that Muhammad had introduced him to the Nation of Islam teachings.

So we must ask ourselves - is Ms Potter ignorant or is she simply following the meme and is unable to think for herself? Based on the AP's track record, I would suspect the latter. Remember - it's only news if it fits the narrative.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fort Hood Thoughts

I had not intended to blog about the events that took place at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. This is mainly because I do not believe that I can add anything to the discussion. However, an article on the Forbes online edition today has changed my mind. But first, allow me to offer my sympathy and outrage to the families of those killed and wounded in this despicable attack. And let me suggest to our elected leaders that a more sincere expression of outrage and tangible actions to deter any future episodes of this nature are absolutely required. The current lukewarm reaction simply won't cut it.

The facts of the case are not in doubt. Major Nidal Malik Hassan opened fire at a processing center on the base, killing thirteen and wounding twenty-nine people befire he was taken into custody. Based on reports that have been coming in regularly, ther seems to be little doubt that Hassan's motives were due to his identification with fundamental Islamic terrorists and thier attempts at global jihad - attempts that include the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Since the attacks, the Obama administration has bent over backwards to obscure any possible linkage of the shooter with the Islamic religion. And they have also shown a startling lack of compassion or sympathy with the victims, choosing to focus on Indian tribal matters as opposed to the US Armed Forces.

Today, Forbes editor Tunku Varadarajan writes a column about the lessons and possibilities opened by Hassan's actions. Regarding the shooter's motives, he writes chillingly,
"Going postal" is a piquant American phrase that describes the phenomenon of violent rage in which a worker--archetypically a postal worker--"snaps" and guns down his colleagues.

As the enormity of the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sinks in, we must ask whether we are confronting a new phenomenon of violent rage, one we might dub--disconcertingly--"Going Muslim." This phrase would describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American--a friendly donut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood--discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans. This would appear to be what happened in the case of Maj. Hasan.

This is a truly frightening thought. The United States, as Varadarajan points out, has a long history of assimilating new arrivals and in most cases, has successfully managed to integrate them quite well. This appears to be less successful in the case both of the illegal aliens from the south and the Muslim immigrants, regardless of their country of origin. As Varadarajan says,
America differentiates itself on integration from Western European countries, which are far more cringing and guilt-driven in their approach. But can the American swagger persist if many Americans come genuinely to view Muslims as Fifth Columnists? The integration compact depends on a broad trust that the immigrant's desire to be American can happily co-exist with his other forms of racial/cultural/religious identity. Once that trust doesn't exist, America faces a problem in need of urgent resolution.

This is undoubtedly true. If a majority of Americans come to see Muslims as incapable of assimilating, they could eventually lead to a violent confrontation. And that is something that no one in their right minds wishes to see. But if this phenomenon is not dealt with, that possibility could come to pass.

Finally, it is clear that the Army itself and the federal government ignored signs that Hassan was no friend of the United States. The question has been raised as to why he was still an officer in the United States Army. That question is salient. Why indeed? The Obama Administration has reportedly instructed the FBI to rule out any idea that this is related to Islam or Islamic terror. if this report is tru, then the Obama Administration is even more pathetic and less friendly to the country they are sworn to represent that was previously thought. The first and foremost duty of the President is to protect the United States. Hassan killed thirteen members of the US Armed Forces while they wer unarmed. This is murder, plain and simple. Why is the FBI not allowed to pursue all possible leads?

Finally, Varadarajan points out the the Army itself failed to take action on the many warning signs Hassan exhibited before he opened fire. Among these were the following:

  • Dressed in traditional Islamic garb

  • attended a mosque closely linked to the 9/11 terrorists

  • wrote comments highly critical of the UNited States and supportive of the Islamic terrorists

Why was Hassan never investigated for these actions? Taken together, they present a fairly consistent pattern of anti-American, pro-Islamic terror actions. But apparently no action was ever taken. Was this because Hassan was Muslim and no one dared to complain, fearing the lawsuits of the grievance-mongers like CAIR? Was there some policy that stated Muslims were to be given extra leeway in their actions? Answers need to be provided. As Varadarajan concludes,
Let the first lesson of the Hasan atrocity be this: The U.S. Army has to be a PC-free zone. Our democracy and our way of life depend on it.

I could not agree more.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Thoughts on Maine and Gay marriage

In the aftermath of last night's elections, it has become apparent that the gay movement has failed to redefine marriage in Maine, one of the most left-leaning states in the entire country. I have received several comments on Facebook to the effect that somehow this vote is a disgrace and that those who voted should be ashamed of themselves. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has weighed in with his thoughts, and between the two points of view, this has occasioned a few thoughts on my part as well.

First, the gay movement has for some time been heavily invested in painting its critics as racists, sexists and any other derogatory term they think they can get away with using. After losing the Proposition 8 vote in California, they unleashed a torrent of hatred and even violence against those they chose to identify as opposing gay marriage. This is tyranny and absent the government supporting it, it doesn't work too well in a free society. If I could give one piece of advice to the gay movement, it would be to concentrate more on persuasion and coming up with valid arguments as to why marriage even needs to be redefined. So far, the gay movement has not made a single valid argument for why society's definition of marriage needs to be redefined. Which brings up the second point.

Marriage is not a right. Not for heterosexuals, not for homosexuals, not for pedophiles, not for sado-masochists and not for anyone else. No one is guaranteed a marriage partner. Marriage has been many things through humanity's long history - a duty, a burden and a privilege. But it has never been a right. Just because four California judges are too arrogant or too power-hungry (yes, the original judgment that provoked Prop 8 was a judicial power grab, just like Roe vs. Wade and the more recent Boumedienne ruling) to understand that does not make their point of view correct. Five justices of the Supreme Court once ruled that slavery was OK too. Were they correct? Marriage is a social contract, and as such, should, be defined y society. For those of you who have difficulties with math, that means a majority. Homosexuals are not by any stretch of the imagination a majority and due to their utter inability to breed true never will be. So absent some violation of their rights, they are not allowed to dictate to the majority. Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air writes,
The recognition of marriage is a legitimate public policy question, one that should be decided through either the legislature or by direct vote in referendums. No one has proposed any law to ban gay relationships, and the law should not interfere with consenting, non-sanguinary adults in creating legal partnerships for property, access, and so on — the incidentals of long-term relationships. But the people of the states have the right to determine what relationships qualify for state recognition as marriage.

But the homosexuals claim that they are being discriminated against - that they are somehow being denied their 'rights'. As to the right of marriage, see above. As to their ability to form domestic partnerships with the consenting adult of their choice, no one is denying them this privilege. However, as Ed notes, it is society's privilege to set the terms of its contracts. Not a tiny little minority. And in most states, homosexuals are offered essentially the same legal protections for their relationships as normal people have. So I fail to see their complaint.

I would suspect that the real goal of the gays is to replace the current definition of marriage with their own and force the rest of society to embrace their particular sexual choices. Allowing them to do this would be a tyranny of the minority, especially when foisted on the majority by a group of arrogant, unelected judges. Which was one of the main rallying points for the Prop 8 supporters last year.

So for the gay movement, may I suggest that it is time to abandon the vicious language and hateful demonization of your opponents. Concentrate on defining a valid argument for why marriage ought to be redefined. So far, the homosexual movement has utterly failed in making a valid argument for redefining marriage. And no, making obviously false comparisons to the civil rights movement is winning no arguments. Persuade society that marriage needs to be redefined. Until that happens, you will continue to lose these contests and your behavior is not calculated to win any friends in the electorates you are so ready to insult!

Ed concludes his piece by writing,
People would be better protected by partnership contracts, where property and child access would be decided and agreed long before problems appeared in the relationship, and leave marriage to the churches, which are much better suited to protect the institution. Divorce is a much bigger danger to marriage than gay marriage ever will be, and the dissolution of the nuclear family a much bigger threat to the fabric of society than gays and lesbians living together. Everyone would be better off with government out of the bedroom and the chapel — and so would marriage.

I think if the homosexual movement wanted to make better use of their energy, they should join with the Tea Party folks in demanding that government get out of our daily lives. Let government give out 'partnership contracts' and leave marriage where it should be - in the domain of the churches and individual choice. Just a suggestion....

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Coming Crash?

Peggy Noonan has an opinion piece in today's online Wall Street Journal talking about the current state of things in the United States. She writes,
The biggest threat to America right now is not government spending, huge deficits, foreign ownership of our debt, world terrorism, two wars, potential epidemics or nuts with nukes. The biggest long-term threat is that people are becoming and have become disheartened, that this condition is reaching critical mass, and that it afflicts most broadly and deeply those members of the American leadership class who are not in Washington, most especially those in business.

She has a point. While the ignorant, self-important corruptocrats in Washington DC and mot State and local governments continue their orgy of spending, new taxes and increasing the size and power of their governments, ordinary Americans are beginning to turn away and lose faith in them entirely. And if the governed once lose trust in the governors, then he system will no longer work at all,

The Constitution is built upon one simple idea - that the governed PERMIT their elected representatives to make decisions for them. In return, they expect their representatives to exercise restraint and behave morally in their best interests. This contract has long since been abandoned by the inhabitants of that strange city we call Washington DC. Buoyed by the ranks of government unions (since when is it acceptable that bureaucrats get unions while the soldiers and sailors - the only government employees who actually EARN their pay have none), the elected representatives are busily dipping into the public till or their own perks while ignoring the interests of the people they profess to serve. William Jefferson had freezers full of cash, and the Washington establishment has ben almost entirely silent about his corruption. Chriss Dodds and Barney Frank have massive sweetheart deal with shady lobbyists - including many of the people responsible for the financial collapse, and the Washington establishment seems to think that is perfectly fine.

Noonan suggests that it is because they are the Baby Boomers - a generation that has never had to worry about anything and one that is infamous for it's selfishness and self-obsession. She writes,
We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.

I hope that they notice at some point. The tea partiers may not have the juice in the long run to end this orgy of disaster that the Washington elites are engaged in, but they symbolize a frustration and a slow-growing wave that may in time take down the corruptocrats. And I issue a warning to these self-important jacks-in-office. Be careful. You folks - particularly on the Left side of the political spectrum - have made a career out of polarization and personal attacks. Remember the typical descriptions of every conservative from Ronald Reagan to George Will to William F. Buckley. They have ben demonized, hung in effigy and compared to Nazis (who were actually closer to the political Left than to the modern American conservative movement). And these same people - many of whom could not have succeeded at a real job where there are actual performance reviews - who are increasingly telling us that only they are qualified to make decisions for us on all levels of our daily lives, regardless of the Constitutional limits on what government can and cannot do.

Be careful, government bureaucrats. Remember that it was a similar situation in ancient Rome that gave rise to Julius Caesar and the Empire. While I would be happy to see most of the bureaucracies disbanded (especially on the Federal level), I don't think that any of us wish to see an American equivalent either to the Roman Empire or to the Socialist nightmares that the current Adminitration seems to be bent on recreating here. But I warn the political elites (and their shills in the Establishment media) - ignore the rising anger and cycnicism at your own cost. Some day there WILL be a reckoning.

To the Democrats, I warn you to stop with the socialism. Most Americans are not socialists and socialism is a system that has failed everywhere it has been tried. Name a single state that has experienced success with a socialist philosophy. There is not one. You can bribe your way to power, but most Americans are still adamantly opposed to your particular brand of ideology - even those nominally DEmocrat. The Leftists who actually support your agenda are noisy, but they constitute under thirty percent of the UNited States. They are not a path to power. Respect the Constitution instead of merely picking the parts you like. All parts of the Constitution should hold equal power. Just because you don't like guns or conservative speech is no reason to toss aside the First and Second Amendments. Weren't you the folks who screamed about dissent being the highest form of patriotism when George W. Bush was President?

To the Republicans, I say - return to your roots or you will cease to exist. Conservatives outnumber liberals and if we have no place to go, we will form our own party. The Democrats are the party of bribery, of election-rigging, of racial politics and of out and out machine politics. The Republicans must be a viable alternative preaching small government, self-respect, individualism and the responsibility. If you are merely Democrat-lite, you have no reason for being. Small government, a strong defense of American interests and a healthy respect for free markets, private property and the individual are the path to power, but only so long as you continue to support those beliefs. The Left controls the Press, the educational establishment and most of the legal profession. You will get no help from any of those and they will sabotage you at every turn. But if you can put your case directly to the voters, I believe that you can persuade them that your path is the correct one. Maybe not in states too far gone down the corruption path - I refer to New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois, etc - but to the swing states you will need to get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. You must not merely reduce the rate of growth of government, but somehow begin reducing it!

Noonan suggest that if the government pushes people far enough, they might simply tune out and take their tax dollars with them. That is possible - in Italy, tax evasion is a national sport. if that begins to happen in this country, there is no way the Federal government could finance their grandiose dreams and the IRS cannot persecute everyone in this country - though they certainly will try! However, history says that is is far more likely that if the people are pushed far enough, a strong leader will arise who will simply take power in his own way. And ultimately, that is not a good thing for the country's survival. Rome itself endured a mere four hundred years or so after the change from Republic to Empire. And I doubt that a multi-cultural America ha any chance at matching that record.

If I had influence or money or power on the requisite scale, I would be busy recruiting solid conservatives in every state to go to Washington and their local governments and dismantle this socialistic nightmare that the left is busy erecting around us. But I don't have any of that. I wrote my thoughts on the future of this once-great nation when Obama won. Nothing I've seen since has changed that opinion.