August 27th, 2015

Democrats plan to filibuster Iran deal vote

It’s been clear for quite some time that the anti-Iran-deal forces will not get enough votes to override an inevitable presidential veto. But now it seems that Obama’s Democratic deal-supporters may have enough votes in the Senate (all they need is 41) to block cloture and therefore stop any vote from happening in the first place.

What a bunch:

Democrats have begun plans to wield the power of the filibuster as a show of strength should things start sliding downhill, prompting those opposed to the deal to cry foul:

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) spoke to two undecided Democrats on Tuesday about the deal. He said he doesn’t believe he should put his thumb on the scale to counter the White House, but when he saw Reid say that he is trying to build a filibuster, his response was: “Are you kidding me?”

“Is that where they really want to be? Do they really want to vote to block consideration of … probably the biggest foreign policy endeavor?” Corker said in an interview. “Do they want to be in a place where they voted to keep from going to the substance [of the Iran debate]?”

The White House may be optimistic, but the fact that their last best hope may be to simply prevent discussion and debate shows just how low they’ve sunk in their desire to capitulate to the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

Actually, I think it doesn’t even begin to show how low they’ve sunk.

The point, however, is this: Obama and many Democrats seem determined to undermine the future of this country, Israel, and most probably the world in protecting and enabling Obama’s destructive foreign policy. What’s more, this shows still another reason that the Corker-Menendez bill was not an error. In addition to all the previously-mentioned reasons, there is the additional one that, if the Democrats can muster 41 votes to block the vote of disapproval, they certainly could (and would) have mustered 41 votes to block any vote on the Iran deal as a treaty. Corker-Menendez gave them at least the possibility of another tool, although both tools would be rendered inoperative if the Democrats can come up with the 41 votes.

“Unprecedented” is an overused word lately. But this sort of thing is unprecedented—in the US.

You know, this might just be the moment to end the filibuster/cloture rule on whatever category of bills this one would fall into. Even though it would be mostly a show vote, because Obama would undoubtedly veto the bill, this needs to be voted on.

By the way, these numbers also show why although impeachment might be successful, a conviction in the Senate would never occur, because that would require 67 senators to vote “guilty.”

August 27th, 2015

How to destroy a city in five minutes

…or maybe an entire country.

This is one of the best things Michael Totten has ever written.

And that’s saying a lot.

Remember the terrorist attack on the beach at Sousse in Tunisia two months ago? Tunisians do, and Europeans do as well. And they’re not vacationing there any more, which has tremendous repercussions for the city and the entire country. The terrorist who attacked foreign tourists on that beach knew very well what he was doing, and why.

The massacre on the beach at Sousse reminded me almost immediately of the 1997 terrorist attack at Luxor, an Egyptian archaeological site that was a major tourist attraction. As in Sousse, the victims were tourists (the only Egyptians killed were police and a tourist guide), and the goal was to harm the country’s economy by discouraging tourism. Mission accomplished:

The tourist industry in Egypt in general and in Luxor in particular was seriously affected by the resultant slump in visitors and remained depressed until sinking even lower with the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001, the 2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks, and the 2006 Dahab bombings.

So the idea behind the Sousse massacre was old rather than new. And the attack in Egypt was apparently financed by none other than Osama Bin Laden.

Tunisia, according to Totten, never had many inhabitants who were fans of terrorism or of the terrorist cause. It exports the majority of its small number of jihadis, who seem to come from one region of the country only. But the remainder can do an awful lot of damage.

August 27th, 2015

Ashley Madison’s women were a hoax

It turns out that most of the women on the Ashley Madison site didn’t exist. So the men were paying for the fantasy of an affair, and the vast majority of the men on the site—who had their identities revealed in the hack—were just fooling around, literally. Or they were just curious.

Here’s the scoop:

Overall, the picture is grim indeed. Out of 5.5 million female accounts, roughly zero percent had ever shown any kind of activity at all, after the day they were created.

The men’s accounts tell a story of lively engagement with the site, with over 20 million men hopefully looking at their inboxes, and over 10 million of them initiating chats. The women’s accounts show so little activity that they might as well not be there.

Sure, some of these inactive accounts were probably created by real, live women (or men pretending to be women) who were curious to see what the site was about. Some probably wanted to find their cheating husbands. Others were no doubt curious journalists like me. But they were still overwhelmingly inactive. They were not created by women wanting to hook up with married men. They were static profiles full of dead data, whose sole purpose was to make men think that millions of women were active on Ashley Madison.

Is this what it’s come down to? Fantasy infidelity that has to be exposed? Like Jimmy Carter’s “lusting in his heart”?

I’m all for fidelity. But there’s something about this public exposure that I find very, very repellent.

And, as was probably inevitable, some people are trying to extort money out of those who were listed as having used the site.

August 27th, 2015

The Virginia shooter and background checks

After shocking murders such as the one in Virginia yesterday, there are the predictable calls for more and/or better gun control, particularly regarding background checks. In the case of Flanagan, he purchased his gun legally and apparently passed a background check:

On August 26 Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) spokesman Thomas Faison confirmed that Virginia gunman Vester Lee Flanagan bought his gun “weeks ago” and that “he apparently passed a background check” to get the gun.

The gun was a Glock 19 9mm.

Let’s take a look at the questions asked for legal firearm purchase in the state of Virginia. You can see that they fall into several general categories: being under active misdemeanor or felony arrest warrant, being under indictment or conviction for a felony, having had a conviction of misdemeanor punishable by more than 2 years in prison (even if not given a prison sentence), having undergone involuntary psychiatric commitment or been ordered to involuntary mental health counseling, being an unlawful user or addict of a controlled substance, being under a restraining order for domestic violence, having been convicted of the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, having been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, being an illegal alien, plus a couple of other miscellaneous categories having to do with being judged mentally incompetent.

As far as we know, none of them applied to Flanagan. So he could have answered truthfully and purchased a gun legally, despite the fact that there was a veritable mountain of evidence that he was, as he himself described in his farewell manifesto, a “human powder keg… just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”

In fact, Flanagan had gone “BOOM!” (at least verbally) many, many times. Much of his history is detailed here, and it involved threats at work in addition to appalling incompetence, He was ordered by his bosses to undergo some sort of counseling, described this way:

After getting ‘very angry’ and storming off while filming another July 2012 report Flanagan was warned he would be fired unless he sought help from the company health advocate.

‘This is a mandatory referral requiring your compliance,’ Dennison told Flanagan. ‘Failure to comply will result in termination of employment.’

After continuing to argue with colleagues and averaging just 2.9 out of 5 in his June 2012 performance review, Flanagan was fired in February 2013 due to his ‘unsatisfactory job performance and inability to work as a team member.’

It is unclear whether that comes under number 12 in the Virginia background check laws, which reads as follows:

Have you ever been involuntarily admitted to a facility or involuntarily ordered to outpatient mental health treatment?

I believe that it depends on who is doing the involuntary “ordering,” and that a work-related order would not disqualify anyone and does not apply. In addition, I don’t think a work-related order enters the public records, and therefore would be unverifiable anyway (please correct me if I’m wrong there).

Flanagan’s threats and bad behavior ultimately came to the attention of the police:

Yet Flanagan was fired in February 2013 due to “unsatisfactory job performance and inability to work as a team member”, according to his notice of termination.

His last day at work was recorded in exhaustive detail in another series of memos. Flanagan met with Dennison and another boss in his office. There Flanagan was informed he would be terminated. When he was presented with the severance package, Flanagan reportedly became angry and called it “bullshit”.

A second memo detailing his termination records Flanagan as yelling: “I’m not leaving, you’re going to have to call the f###ing police [sic],” Flanagan reportedly said, according to the memo. “Call the police. I’m not leaving. I’m going to make a stink and it’s going to be in the headlines.”

Flanagan then stormed out of the room and slammed the door, at which point Dennison decided to call the police.

When police arrived to escort him out of the building, Flanagan refused. The officers approached Flanagan and tried to remove the desk phone from his hand, repeatedly asking him to leave.

Flanagan then threw a hat and a small wooden cross at Dennison, reportedly saying: “You need this.”

As police escorted him out of the newsroom, he told an officer, according to the memo: “ You know what they did? They had a watermelon back there for a week and basically called me a n—– [sic].”

The memos were filed to a court in Roanoke, Virginia, as part of a civil lawsuit filed by Flanagan against the station in March 2014. He alleged racial and sexual discrimination, which the station denied. The case was dismissed later that year.

It occurs to me that the station (or individuals there) might have tried to get a protective order (known in many jurisdictions as a restraining order) against Flanagan—not that it would have stopped him from killing anyone (and by the way, none of this would have stopped him from getting a firearm illegally). But it might have stopped him, or someone who likewise was an obvious “human powder keg,” from getting a firearm legally—if, that is, if Virginia law did not limit its restrictions of legal gun purchases to those under restraining order for domestic violence.

If you read numbers 7 and 8 of the Virginia law, for example, they very specifically limit the scope of the law to restraining orders described this way:

7. Is there an outstanding protective or restraining order against you from any court that involves your spouse, a former spouse, an individual with whom you share a child in common, or someone you cohabited with as an intimate partner?
8. Is there an outstanding protective or restraining order against you from any court that involves stalking, sexual battery, alleged abuse or acts of violence against a family or household member?

Protective/restraining orders are not only issued for threats to domestic or former domestic partners, however. They can be gotten (and as far as I know this is true in most areas) by unrelated people who have been threatened. The problem with restraining orders in these non-domestic cases would be twofold, however. The first problem is that, as with cases involving domestic partners, there is always the possibility of a false accusation resulting in a restraining order without merit, requested in order to thwart or harass the person being accused. The second problem is that the system for a firearm purchase background check must also involve some effective and efficient mechanism to check against the court record of outstanding restraining orders that have been issued, or it rests on the truthful disclosure by the accused. I don’t know how that verification system works in Virginia or other states, but I do know that it should not be on the honor system.

There seems to be no logical reason for the Virgina law about restraining orders precluding a person from purchasing a gun to be restricted to domestic orders only (although there may be a political and/or historic reason). Nor is there any evidence that, in the case of Flanagan, the TV station or any person there ever sought a restraining order against him, although in his case the police themselves had witnessed his threats and angry behavior. Did the police write these off as a momentary lapse, an immediate and passing reaction to his firing? But that sort of behavior by Flanagan was part of the cause of his firing, not the result—a fact which seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of his own lawsuits and multiple allegations of racial discrimination.

Even had the station or someone at the station successfully obtained a restraining order against Flanagan, however, without a law in the gun check rules covering non-domestic restraining orders it wouldn’t have mattered and would not have kept him from obtaining a weapon legally. I’m not for Draconian gun control in the least, but this does seem to be a loophole that could and should be closed It seems that someone with such a clear, repetitive, and well-witnessed (including official police witnesses) record of gratuitous threats of violence should not have been able to obtain a weapon legally.

August 26th, 2015

What is a conservative?

Political definitions are tricky. The words we use are convenient shorthand for a host of characteristics, and not every person using them means the same thing by them.

When I call myself “a conservative,” for example, what do I mean? Not necessarily the same thing someone else means. And the word means something different when used as a noun to mean a person who belongs to a particular political category (“I’m a conservative”) than when used as an adjective in the general and less-political sense (“He’s a conservative person in his private life”).

Used as a noun to describe myself, I mean that I’m a small-government classical liberal conservative. Yes, throwing “liberal” in there is confusing to most people, but you political junkies know what I mean. When I describe myself that way I also am indicating a relatively strict adherence to the Constitution, and a tremendous devotion to liberty.

I would say those things unite most conservatives today, although some social conservatives (not all by any means, but some) are not averse to big government if it would effect the social changes they’re looking for.

When I was in school, we were taught that the definition of “conservative” was a person who wanted the country to return to a previous way of being–in other words, to turn back the clock—or at the very least to preserve the status quo and stop change. Today, of course, many conservatives are fairly radical in their desire for a very sweeping change—“throw the bums out”—only they say that the change they want is in the interests of getting back to certain basic principles that made our country great. So one could say that some political conservatives are somewhat or even quite radical in their methods.

Conservatives of that type, for example, disliked Romney in 2012 for two main reasons: they felt he was insufficiently conservative in his principles, and they felt that his methods were also too polite and too business-as-usual. With Trump in 2016, on the other hand, they brush away as unimportant the fact that he is deficient in his support of many conservative principles, because they perceive him as both strong in his support for one big principle (that of opposition to illegal immigration) and because he seems to them to offer a radical solution and to not be averse to radical methods.

August 26th, 2015

The touching and strange tale of Lucy the chimp

I heard this story recently on NPR. Since it was first aired back in 2010, it must have been a repeat. But what a fascinating tale! It begins with psychotherapist and professor Maurice Temerlin and his wife Jane, who decided—in an act that seems to have been sweeping in its lack of consideration of the logical and almost inevitable consequences of what they were doing—to raise a chimpanzee virtually from birth, as a member of their household.

They named her Lucy. For a while the experiment (because that’s what it was) went very well, and the couple clearly loved the chimp. Lucy was a very bright animal and quickly learned many things, including a huge amount of sign language. However, it soon became clear that she thought of herself as a human.

I mean that quite literally: as far as we can tell, she related only to humans and not to chimps at all. When she reached adulthood, when chimps become bigger and much stronger than people, and virtually unmanageable in the type of home setting the couple had accustomed her to, they set out to reintroduce Lucy (or actually, to introduce her for the first time) to the wild, with the help of a psychology graduate student named Janis Carter.

They thought it would take a few weeks for this to be accomplished. But it actually took Carter many long and astoundingly patient years. Lucy was remarkably set in her ways and rejected the chimpanzee role with no small amount of creativity and persistence. In the end—well, listen to it or read the transcript for yourself.

Here’s the entire thing in audio:

August 26th, 2015

Murder in Virginia…

on live TV.

The victims: reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward, both now deceased. They were attacked by former reporter Vester Lee Flanagan (aka Bryce Williams) during a live broadcast and the shooting was witnessed by viewers.

As often is the case, British newspapers seem to have more detailed information (and this contains very disturbing photos):

Before apparently attempting suicide, Flanagan took to Twitter to explain his reasons for killing his former coworkers, all while being pursued closely by police.

Flanagan, who is African American, wrote that Parker made ‘racist comments’ and that a complaint was filed against her through the equal employment opportunity commission, but his station chose to hire her anyway.

As for Ward, Flanagan says that after working with the cameraman once, Ward complained to HR about the former general assignment reporter. It’s unclear what exactly happened between the two men.

But the most shocking post of all was a video Flanagan took of the attack, which he shared on his Twitter. The chilling clip is taken from Flanagan’s point of view and shows him approaching the two journalists as they were interviewing Vicki Gardner, the local chamber of commerce.

It sounds like workplace violence and probably paranoia with a racial twist.

Ms. Gardner was also shot and is in stable condition.

Later, police saw Flanagan’s car on the highway, tried to make it pull over (unsuccessfully), and then it veered off the highway. When they approached it they found that Flanagan had shot himself; he is now in critical condition.

Meanwhile, in a move that seems to be standard for these acts, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) calls for stricter gun control. I doubt that McAuliffe has a single clue whether a background check or any other tightening of the laws would have mattered one iota in this case.

RIP, Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

[ADDENDUM: More background here on the shooter:

Jeff Marks, the station’s general manager…spoke…about the suspect in an on-air conversation with WDBJ anchors Wednesday morning saying, “Vester was an unhappy man. We employed him as a reporter and he had some talent in that respect and some experience, though he had been out of the business for a while when he was hired here. He quickly became, gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with.”

He was sort of looking out for people to say things that he could take offense to, and eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him and he did not take that well. We had to call the police to escort him from the building.”

August 25th, 2015


There’s so much news and so many good articles I thought I’d do a short roundup.

Here’s a piece further elucidating the treaty vs. executive agreement argument on the Iran deal. The gist of it is that although it is not a treaty, it may violate a treaty (nuclear non-proliferation), and that nothing in Corker-Menendez precludes the Senate from saying this and treating the deal as a treaty, but that Obama would successfully ignore that.

We are just finding out that Lois Lerner had a second secret email account, this one under the name of “Toby Miles,” that she used for IRS business during the time of the monitoring of conservative groups. This is how it came out:

According to IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas, the agency discovered the email account when it was assembling documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, the public interest law group that filed an open-records lawsuit to gain access to emails sent by Lerner during the time she targeted conservative groups seeking tax exempt status.

…”It is simply astonishing that years after this scandal erupted we are learning about an account Lois Lerner used that evidently hadn’t been searched,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, accusing the IRS of concealing information from Lerner that could inform the targeting controversy.

Not all that astounding, actually. But interesting.

The French train defenders were lucky as well as heroic, but anti-gun opponents are trying to spin their successful capture of the train terrorist into some sort of argument that you don’t need a gun to stop an attacker who’s armed with an AK-47. Good luck with that; his guns were inoperative, and that’s probably the only reason the heroes all lived to get their Legions of Honor.

August 25th, 2015

Jimmy Carter’s big regret

Ann Althouse reports on Jimmy Carter’s major regret, according to Carter:

REPORTER: And anything you wish — I’m sorry — that you had not done or that you’d done differently?

JIMMY CARTER: I wish I’d sent one more helicopter to get the hostages and we would have rescued them and I would have been re-elected.

I’m going to leave out the question of whether Carter is narcissistic in relating it to his own re-election. What I want to focus on now is a different sort of narcissism on Carter’s part, as well as Carter’s poor judgement: that is, his idea that “one more helicopter” would have done the trick.

Years ago I wrote a long post on the rescue mission known as Operation Eagle Claw. There were so many things wrong with the operation that it’s hard to know where to begin. Some were bad luck; some were mechanical, some were logistical:

…[T]he details…are a case of “whatever could go wrong, did go wrong;” from vicious sandstorms, to the utterly improbable coincidence of the planes’ initially encountering a truck and a civilian passenger bus as they landed in the desert, to a fatal airplane crash. Debacle, indeed; the planes never even came near Tehran.

One more plane probably would not have mattered, because so much had gone wrong. But there was also a serious problem that probably could not have been fixed even by a few more planes. The problem was inherent in a directive for which Carter himself was directly responsible:

Perhaps it’s a good thing [the planes] didn’t [get to Tehran]. From the evidence in the piece, the loss of life would likely have been even greater had they done so. It’s very difficult to believe that this mission ever had any chance of succeeding. Not only was the weather problem in the desert underestimated, and the assault force relatively small (one hundred thirty two men maximum, with some planes expected to encounter technical difficulties and drop out), but here was the game plan for controlling crowds around the embassy:

“Another presidential directive concerned the use of nonlethal riot-control agents. Given that the shah’s occasionally violent riot control during the revolution was now Exhibit A in Iran’s human-rights case against the former regime and America, Carter wanted to avoid killing Iranians, so he had insisted that if a hostile crowd formed during the raid, Delta should attempt to control it without shooting people. Burruss considered this ridiculous. He and his men were going to assault a guarded compound in the middle of a city of more than 5 million people, most of them presumed to be aggressively hostile. It was unbelievably risky; everyone on the mission knew there was a very good chance they would not get home alive. Wade Ishmoto, a Delta captain who worked with the unit’s intelligence division, had joked, ‘The only difference between this and the Alamo is that Davy Crockett didn’t have to fight his way in.’”

Carter is old and sick now. But that doesn’t change history, even though he’d probably like to do so.

Why doesn’t Carter mention as a regret the ascendancy of the mullahs in Iran under his watch? Yes, I know—there’s no way he could argue that that might have been cured by one more helicopter.

If you’re not familiar with his role in that transition, take a look at this post of mine. Here’s an excerpt:

The Shah lived in what’s known as a “rough neighborhood.” This meant that, in order to implement the modernization of Iran, he felt he needed to be harsh in dealing with the opposition. Jimmy Carter was dedicated to the cause of spreading human rights throughout the world, and he decided to put pressure to bear on the Shah to expand civil liberties and relax his policies towards those in his country who were against him.

Carter threatened the Shah with cutting arms shipments, and in response:

The Shah…released 357 political prisoners in February, 1977. But lifting the lid of repression even slightly encouraged the Shah’s opponents. An organization of writers and publishers called for freedom of thought, and 64 lawyers called for the abolition of military tribunals. Merchants wrote letters requesting more freedom from government controls. Some people took to the streets, perhaps less fearful of being shot to death, and they clashed with police. A group of 120 lawyers joined together to publicize SAVAK torture and to monitor prison conditions. Dissident academics formed a group called the National Organization of University Teachers, and they joined students in demanding academic freedom. Political dissidents started disseminating more openly their semi-clandestine publications.

As events spiraled out of control, there were demonstrations throughout Iran. Police reacted harshly, and many protesters were killed, which led to more demonstrations and more deaths, which led to–well, you get the idea.

A genie of dissent had been unleashed–a valid one, because there was much to protest. But as things escalated, and the Shah eventually lost the support of the army and the police (a turning point), few seemed to be prescient enough to predict what forces would replace his regime–not what was hoped for, but what was likely to do so. There were only three choices, and two of them–the mullahs and the Marxists–could reasonably be expected to be far more repressive than the Shah.

Jimmy Carter was probably sincere in wishing that his pressure on the Shah would lead to greater civil liberties, not fewer. But if so, it was one of the gravest miscalculations in history. Be careful what you wish for.

On New Years Eve of 1977:

President Carter toasted the Shah at a state dinner in Tehran, calling him “an island of stability’ in the troubled Middle East….Did the Carter administration “lose” Iran, as some have suggested? Gaddis Smith might have put it best: “President Carter inherited an impossible situation — and he and his advisers made the worst of it.” Carter seemed to have a hard time deciding whether to heed the advice of his aggressive national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who wanted to encourage the Shah to brutally suppress the revolution, or that of his more cautious State Department, which suggested Carter reach out to opposition elements in order to smooth the transition to a new government. In the end he did neither, and suffered the consequences.

Even after it became known that the Shah was suffering from cancer, President Carter was reluctant to allow him entry to the United States, for fear of reprisal against Americans still in Iran. But in October, when the severity of the Shah’s illness became known, Carter relented on humanitarian grounds. “He went around the room, and most of us said, ‘Let him in.'” recalls Vice President Walter Mondale. “And he said, ‘And if [the Iranians] take our employees in our embassy hostage, then what would be your advice?’ And the room just fell dead. No one had an answer to that. Turns out, we never did.”…

No, they never did. And soon the whole world knew it.

We are reaping the rewards now.

I would compare Carter to Obama, but I think the former comes out much better than the latter. At least Carter tried. I think his main flaws re Iran were weakness and naivete. Those are not Obama’s main flaws, although some seem to think so.

August 25th, 2015

I am declaring war on cobwebs…

…with my fabulous new ceiling duster.

I bought it yesterday at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, a store that’s a bit expensive but really the only place to go for such esoteric items. I have high ceilings and quite a few cobwebs, a combination that requires a specialized tool, and there it was: a telescoping pole that’s about seven feet long when fully extended, with a lambswool top that resembles a lighter-colored version of the bearskin hat.

You know the hat:


Here’s a photo of the duster (made by Casabella, in case you’re interested):


And a closeup of the top, which is removable and washable and beautifully soft:


Why am I carrying on like this? I don’t know, but there’s a feeling of intense satisfaction at finding the exact right thing for the job. Oh, and perhaps the duster is really a tribble, which would explain a lot:

August 25th, 2015

John Bolton on Iran

Bolton says that the situation is not good, and a pre-emptive strike by Israel is the only option.

And he also says that has been the only option for a long, long time—even before Obama’s abominable Iran deal.

Please read the whole thing.

August 25th, 2015

Conservative whining, conservative solutions

Some of the responses to my post yesterday on activism had interesting suggestions, but others featured what I’ve come to think of as conservative whining (sorry folks). For example, one common complaint is that demonstrations don’t work because the MSM won’t cover them.

No, the MSM doesn’t cover and won’t cover them unless they are massive and continual, and even then probably not. At any rate, demonstrations are hardly the best solution, they are just (as I wrote in the post) the first suggestion that popped into my head. But whether it be demonstrations or something else, the idea is to make the MSM cover you; to get creative, like the Yippies were (remember Abby Hoffman and Jerry Rubin?), or like Breitbart.

I know, much easier said than done.

I sometimes fall prey to this whining too, but I think it needs to be resisted. I often think that people on the right believe in their hearts of hearts that other people should see that their ideas are obviously superior, and so all they should have to do is to state them clearly and they’ll win converts. But obviously that’s not the way the world is going to work, is it?

There were some good suggestions in the comments section in that thread. Please take a look, particularly at this, this, this, this, this, and this.

And if it’s not time for a march on Washington, then it’s certainly time for a Gramscian march. Way past time, actually.

In the comments section of a similar post I wrote yesterday at Legal Insurrection, one commenter responded this way:

Sorry, but until we get “activists” in the Congress, White House, and Supreme Court, daily million man marches won’t do anything but make the marchers feel better.

A President can only ignore the will of the people for eight years, and Obama’s eight years are about up. Then it will be time to put an activist in his place, and enough activists in Congress to reverse the course of this country.

Here was my reply:

One of the points I was trying to make in the post (and in the quotation towards the end of the post) is that expecting electoral politics to somehow do the trick first is probably an error. The left didn’t suddenly win more elections because the population spontaneously decided to go left. It won more elections because of activism and what is known as the Gramscian march through many institutions in American society. The right may keep losing elections unless it can counter that activism and that march.

About the Gramscian march:

The war of manoeuvre was the Stalinist model. One simply used political violence to achieve one’s ends. But Gramsci thought this would not work in the more highly developed Western countries. For these countries, he recommended a war of position. A war of position is one in which one first identifies “switch-points of social power” and then one seeks to peacefully take control of those switch-points. The switch-points all relate to the field of cultural values – in particular, the arts and education. The most important switch-points of power are positions like school principal, university professor, government policy maker, education department bureaucrat and journalist.

In 1967, Rudi Dutschke, a German student leader, reformulated Antonio Gramsci’s philosophy of cultural hegemony with the phrase, “The long march through the institutions.” Instead of a long military march, such as the one undertaken by the Chinese Marxist Maoist Tse-Tung, in the highly developed western countries the long march would be through the most culturally significant of our social institutions – that is, through schools, universities, courts, parliaments and through the media, through newspapers and television.

I’m better at describing the problem than in finding the solution. But I don’t see how throwing up our hands in despair and declaring ourselves victims—of the MSM, or of the politicians—is going to solve it.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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