Monthly Archives: August 2009

Vague Senate Bill Would Grant President Emergency Control of Internet

How appropriate the bill is drafted by a Rockefeller.

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency. Continue reading

New Article on Conservatism: Worth Reading but not Without Serious Flaws

It is a review of four new books on conservatism in The National Interest.

It is not a bad retelling of some conservative movement history all conservatives would benefit from knowing. It includes a good takedown of the neocons as well. But the author, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, loses a lot of credibility when he mounts the PC grandstand and criticizes National Review for it’s early opposition to civil rights legislation. When NR opposed unconstitutional civil rights legislation it was evidence of their conservatism at the time, not an indictment of it. It takes some serious hindsight philosophical gymnastics to make support for Federal civil rights legislation the conservative position, and opposition to it something else. Wheatcroft could not possibly believe such face obvious nonsense. This is just plain PC pandering.

The National Interest, published by the Nixon Center, seems to represent foreign policy realism and the idea that conservatism is best understood as maintainence of the status quo, slow managed change, skepticism toward big ideas, with a healthy dose of elitism. The kind of people who would agree with Jeffrey Hart (scroll down) that Eisenhower was the embodiment of conservatism. As such, it is conservative in a broad sense but also anti-radical and anti-reactionary. The problem with this is that since we have drifted so far to the left, conservatism has to be radical and reactionary, focused on the restoration of what has been lost not the maintenance or conservation of what is. For example, note Wheatcroft’s approving observation that Eisenhower recognized the New Deal as a done deal, and his obviously disapproving counter observation that the original writers for NR did not. (I’m not even sure this is good history anyway. It could be argued that the originators of the modern conservative movement, while perhaps not happy about it, accepted the New Deal as well wanting to save their political capital for the fight against Communism.)

Once aligned with The National Interest,the neocons have since broken from it. (See the Wiki entry.) Given this background and context, the article makes a lot of sense. It is worth reading, as long as you keep where it is coming from in mind and can tolerate the icky PC pandering. (Funny something published by the Nixon Center bemoaning the “Southern Strategy.”)

HT: The American Conservative

Republican Socialists

All this talk about Socialism regarding Obama and healthcare potentially puts Republican politicians in a difficult situation. The estute left-winger will ask, “Well what about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? Are they Socilaist too?” The correct answer is “of course they are,” but fat chance getting an elected Republican to admit this.

Gary DeMar has an excellent discussion of this little rhetorical problem here.

Scotland’s Disgrace

Yesterday’s release of terrorist Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, underscores the type of cultural decline indicative of nations which abolish capital punishment. It’s bad enough that this murderer wasn’t given the death penalty after his conviction for bombing Pam Am Flight 103, sending 270 people to their deaths. Now we have a Scottish government which is content to release murderers for “compassionate” reasons. In Megrahi’s case, it was because he had prostate cancer.

Think about this situation: The UK is undergoing an invasion by third-world Islamists who protest in the streets with signs reading “Islam Will Dominate the World,” meanwhile the magistrates in Scotland lack the moral backbone necessary to keep a convicted murderer in prison. Never mind the fact that Megrahi ought to have been executed. Yesterday’s action shows that Scotland (and the UK as a whole) is a joke when it comes to meting out justice and defending the commonwealth against men like Megrahi.

This is exactly the kind of weakness we see among the various nations which have abolished the death penalty. When capital punishment ceases, the legitimacy of the state itself begins to erode. Pat Buchanan has long bemoaned the “de-Christianization” of the West and here we see another example of how this is bearing fruit. To be sure, the end of the death penalty is not a cause of the West’s decline. Rather, this is just one symptom of a hollowed out civilization on the brink of collapse.

The “Racial Undertone” Of The Health Care Debate

Watch Tim Wise strut his moral superiority as he rails against the “background noise” of “white racial resentment” in the debate over socialized medicine health care reform. Yes, Tim, it’s always about race. Always. Unless it’s about you.

I’ve found another version of Don Lemon’s softball-tossing interview with Tim the Wise, who immodestly describes himself as “among the most respected antiracist writers and educators.” Check out the end of the interview, when Wise is emitting toxic levels of self-satisfied smugness:

Don Lemon: At a town hall, people were calling for the Real America, give me back my America, what do they mean?

Tim the Wise: When you say you want the nation the founders envisioned, when the country the Founders envisioned was a formal system of white supremacy, excuse me if I don’t believe those who say that race isn’t playing a big role.

Wow. Hey, what about Japan, Ethiopia, Korea, and China? Were they founded on globalist ideology, or on the historic cultures of their respective peoples?

Tim? Tim?

Obama urges repeal of Defense of Marriage Act

And I agree.

Here’s what he said:

President Barack Obama on Monday declared that the Defense of Marriage Act discriminates against gays and lesbians … “The Department of Justice has filed a response to a legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged,” the president said in a written statement. “This brief makes clear, however, that my administration believes that the act is discriminatory and should be repealed by Congress.”

I hope — and pray — that the Democratic majority repeals the act. Here’s why:

The law, passed by Congress in 1996, denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages, thereby banning federal spousal benefits to those in such unions. It also allows states that prohibit same-sex marriages to deny recognition of such unions granted in other states.

Catch that? The DOMA “allows states” to prohibit “same-sex marriages.” Just where in the Constitution do the sovereign States delegate regulation of marriage to the Federal government? That’s the problem with this act — it assumes that ultimate sovereignty resides in the District of Corruption, and thus implies that all the rights the people of the States enjoy can be snatched away at DC’s whim.

Let Obama and the liberals in both Big-Government parties repeal DOMA. With the popular mood still red hot from the health care protests, the backlash to DC’s de facto legalization of “same-sex marriage” in conservative States will be swift and decisive, with more “Sovereignty Resolutions” passed in response. This will ignite the afterburners of the incipient rebellion against DC’s New Reconstruction, and the New American Revolution will have begun.

Why I am not a Libertarian

Surprise! The pro-war (Waritarian?), pro-Open Borders Cato Institute endorses — Open Borders:

A new study from the libertarian CATO Institute concludes that legalizing the more than eight million undocumented workers in the United States would have significant economic benefits for the country, while simply enhancing border enforcement and applying restrictive immigration laws would actually hurt the U.S. economically.

Got that? ECONOMIC BENEFITS are all that matter. I’m sure they’re right when they say there’s money to be made in opening the borders to the Third World — Big Business is always hungry for more cheap, easily exploitable labor. American workers may suffer, but who cares? Libertarian ideologues don’t give a rip about them. To Libertarians, it all comes down to the Golden Rule, which they understand as, “Whatever makes me the most gold.” Here’s how one writer paraphrased this belief:

For the economist, all human beings are alike, not of course because they have some higher calling in common but because they all rationally pursued objectives that are equally irrational. Homo economicus is cold, rational, and utilitarian; he is gifted in calculating but empty of substance. Human beings are indistinguishable in their way of being; they can only be distinguished by their incomes, their levels of consumption or productivity. Here, everything that Peguy loves, all that he celebrates–good manners and morals, fine workmanship, beautiful language, simple joys, bonds of the flesh, the honor of the poor, the genius of Homer–none of this has any meaning. We are indeed in the world of equality by default.

Which is why leftist egalitarians and Big Business support Open Borders.

By the way, check out the Cato Institute’s sources:

The new report, written by Professor Peter B. Dixon and Research Fellow Maureen T. Rimmer at the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University in Australia, relies on an economic model used by the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, as well as International Trade Commission.

Well. No question about the objectivity of THAT data. If you can’t believe the departments of a globalist empire, who can you believe?

Putting the Right in the RightOnline Conference

Recently I received an e-mail from Erik Telford of American’s for Prosperity (AFP) informing me that Michelle Malkin had agreed to speak at the upcoming RightOnline Conference.  Of course, he was encouraging me to come hear her. This will be the second annual RightOnline Conference. It is an effort to bring together conservative internet bloggers and activists, and is intended to counter the NetRoots Nation Convention (formerly Yearly Kos) of lefty bloggers and internet activists.

What immediately struck me about the list of speakers is how predictable, uninspiring and conservative movementy (is that a word?) it is. Whatever one may think of the NetRoots, they were generally not Democrat party regulars or run-of-the-mill Establishment liberals. They, whether more or less rightly or wrongly, saw themselves as dissident liberals on the outside fighting the Democrat party machine. They were fighting to drag their party to the left. Hence their support for Howard Dean for President and later for head of the DNC, their opposition to Lieberman in the Democrat primary, their harsh treatment of Hillary at their convention, and their overwhelming support for Obama among other things.

I get very little sense of that spirit of dissent based on the speakers at this year’s RightOnline Conference. There is that spirit at many of the TEA Parties, something AFP also has some hand in, but what is dissenting about GOP water-carriers like Erick Erickson of RedState(dot)com, whose chief claim to fame (infamy) may be banning Ron Paul supporters from his website. I hate to repeat and give credibility to a frequent left-wing charge, but this looks to me more like Astroturf than grassroots.

I don’t have a particular ax to grind against AFP. My impression of AFP is that by focusing on fiscal, free-enterprise and spending issue, while they are not consistent constitutionalists or von Mises style Austrians, they actually tend to be somewhat more “pure” than many other movement conservative organs. From my limited experience with their Georgia branch during the Ron Paul campaign, they treated Paul supporters respectfully and unlike Erickson’s crowd didn’t run screeching for the tall grass at the mere mention of his name.

Unfortunately, this conference is simply not the conservative equivalent of YearlyKos. It is a gathering of what my friend Sean Scallon calls Conservative Inc. This is odd because if any convention of rightists should incorporate Ron Paulites, libertarians, paleolibertarians, Constitutionalists, anti-war conservatives, paleoconservatives, etc. (hereafter referred to collectively as the alternative right) it should be a convention of bloggers and internet activists. The Ron Paul supporters were particularly distinguished by their internet savvy.

The alternative right is disproportionately represented among thoughtful conservative bloggers and websites, and (how to say this without sounding like a pompous elitist?) they represent the preponderance of the, shall we say, “intellectual heft” of the critique of the current administration and the status quo. Let’s face it; it doesn’t take a lot of thought to regurgitate GOP talking points. I more than welcome the newfound voice of Conservative Inc. decrying Obama’s reckless spending and takeover of healthcare in their role as the loyal opposition, but they lost their credibility to lead an authentic opposition when they defended the previous administration that gave us the massively expensive Medicare drug bill, banker bailouts, and a host of other budget busters including an unnecessary war of aggression. (Yeah, yeah, I know most of the grassroots opposed the bailouts and maybe even the drug bill, but VERY few of them were willing to cast a retaliatory vote for Bob Barr or Chuck Baldwin against one of the leading bailout shills, John McCain, and Conservative Inc. was completely in the tank for McCain.)

The alternative-right has been way ahead of the curve in its criticisms of the Powers That Be, note all the mainstream conservatives now signing on to Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill. It is the source of most of the fresh and new ideas (actually they are a recovery of old ideas) and critical introspection and self-examination of where things went awry. Please note that I am not talking about centrist hand-wringing critics of the GOP and the conservative movement such as David Frum, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, Peggy Noonan, et al whose advice to the GOP is to move left. I am talking about critics from the right. The alt-right has earned the right to be represented and heard at a Conference ostensibly dedicated to internet activism and leading the opposition to Obama and his lefty internet supporters. But the alt-right is nowhere to be seen at the RightOnline Conference.

In order to rectify this grave omission, I would like to make a few suggestions. The conference isn’t until Aug 14 and 15 so there is still time to send out some more invites. Of course, Ron Paul, the only consistent upholder of the Constitution in DC, would make an excellent guest, as would any of the leadership of Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty. Campaign for Liberty is doing great work on the activism and candidate recruitment front and would surely have something to add.

FOX News’ Judge Napolitano could bring us up to speed on the courts and legal issues. Tom Woods could explain to us the folly of the bailout. Kevin Gutzman could give us a tutorial on the Constitution and the new movement back toward federalism and state sovereignty. Daniel McCarthy could represent The American Conservative magazine, one of the primary voices of the anti-war right, which has been way out in front on the disaster that is the Iraq War and our interventionist foreign policy in general. Daniel Larison could intelligently discuss the intricacies of Middle Eastern politics instead of the shrill “the Islamomeanies are out to get us unless we bomb them first” cries that suffice for intelligent foreign policy analysis at most Conservative Inc. get-togethers.

Potential alt-right candidates such as Peter Schiff in Connecticut, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Debra Medina in Texas, Ray McBerry in Georgia, and Marshall DeRosa in Florida could update us on their efforts to unseat liberal Democrats or Republican RINOs.

A paleo-sympathetic but still movement friendly voice like Jim Antle could offer some suggestions for finding common ground. Paul Gottfried of TakiMag, who is the premiere scholar of the conservative movement, could give us his insights into why the movement has been such an unmitigated failure at actually conserving anything.

I could go on, but I suspect you get the point. We definitely do not need any more Conservative Inc. confabs with a bunch of inside the movement box thinkers railing against Obama and the Democrats and offering up me to Democrat light counterproposals all the while patting themselves on the back for fearlessly fighting the good fight. Been there, done that, and it doesn’t work. The far left NetRoots need an equidistant from the center counterbalance, not more of the same ol’ same ol’ movement conservative phony opposition.

Lincoln’s appeal to Marxists

Christopher Hitchens, like many other Neocons, is a former Trotskyite, which means he came to realize that the ultimate goal of a global revolution could never be accomplished by socialism. Crony capitalism is a far better engine for revolution, and that revolution will be accomplished through transforming what’s left of traditional America into the embryo that will one day become the multicultural, one-world government Trotsky dreamed of.

As we’ve documented many times before, Lincoln is a mythical figure in the Neocon worldview. It only makes sense: Revolution and Reconstruction require the machinery of a centralized state, and it was Lincoln who strangled the Jeffersonian Republic and replaced it with a regime that Robert E. Lee characterized as “sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home” — in other words, exactly what the bankers and industrialists in the Northeast dreamed of. So in his review of Michael Burlingame’s new Lincoln biography, Hitchens embraces Lincoln as the essential forerunner of the Neocon ideology. Notice how Hitchens (like Lincoln!) perverts the language and meaning of our founding documents as justification for centralizing the Union into a unitary nation-state:

Before Gettysburg, people would say “the United States are …” After Gettysburg, they began to say “the United States is …” That they were able to employ the first three words at all was a tribute to the man who did more than anyone to make that hard transition himself, and then to secure it for others, and for posterity.

One thing you have to admit about the Neocons: They’re logically consistent. I have argued until I’m blue in the face with “patriotic” Southerners and conservatives who despise Lincoln but cannot grasp that supporting an aggressive, centralized, open-borders government endorses Lincoln’s agenda against the South. If we are to stop the slow bleeding of our liberty and our society, the first step is to understand the philosophy and agenda of our enemies.

Peg Luksik Needs to Reconsider Her Rhetoric

Below I mentioned Peg Luksik, who is challenging Pat Toomey for the Republican nomination for Senator of Pennsylvania. (* See Editor’s Note in the comment section below.)

Mrs. Luksik is an ex-Constitution Party member and candidate and as such is likely highly reliable on issues that matter to us, certainly more reliable than ex-Club for War … err … I mean Growth President Toomey. If I lived in Pennsylvania I would surely vote for Luksik.

But that said, I noticed when I was looking over her website that there are problems with Luksik’s rhetoric that are extremely common among a certain type of Constitution Party candidate and the mainstream right. While I largely agree with her on the laundry list of issues she mentions, the intro to her “Issues” page screams “Declarationism” and opens by repeating the Proposition nation fallacy. It is the very first sentence, in fact. :-( Her intro has a distinctly Alan Keyesesque feel to it, which shouldn’t be at all surprising since Luksik is a strong pro-lifer, and I believe she was a former Keyes supporter.

She opens, “America was founded on an idea.” NO IT WAS NOT! This is an incredibly pernicious idea and what these misguided conservatives don’t seem to understand, it is an entirely liberal (in the first sense) idea. America was not founded “on” an idea. It was founded BY a particular people in a particular time and place. This “idea nation” universalism is fundamentally hostile to the Christian particularism that candidates like Luksik in many ways support.

Her “My Beliefs” page is better, focusing as it does on the central importance of the family, and the importance of a family-centered society vs. a government centered society. While I have issues with the philosophical and theological concept of endowed rights which she invokes frequently, that is for another essay. That reservation aside, her “Beliefs”  page has shades of paleoism (societies arising out from the family) and shades of Kuyper, that should make paleocons happy. But what is baffling is how she and so many others can not see the obvious contradiction here with her promotion of Proposition Nation nonsense. Propositionalism is inherently government centered. It is inherently hostile to the blood and soil concept of the nation that arises from family-centeredness.