…because now they’re being extended until October of 2016—that is, until further notice from our fearless leader, Barack Obama.
The audacious transparency of this move is almost breathtaking. Obama must truly think the American people are incredibly stupid and won’t catch on to what he’s doing. Maybe he’s even correct, although I think they’re catching on—much too slowly, but catching on.
But it’s becoming ludicrously apparent that every decision this administration makes is political, and that the Constitution means nothing to President Obama.
It’s crucial to grasp that last point, that extending un-canceled plans hurts ObamaCare financially. There’s no way that Obama would do this without a pressing political reason; just as Phil Klein says, the whole point of making insurers cancel plans in the first place was to force healthy middle-class suckers into more expensive “comprehensive” plans so that their premiums could be redistributed to people with preexisting conditions. Allowing those suckers to stay on their old, cheaper pre-ObamaCare plans means that insurers will have to rely on less revenue than they thought, which means Uncle Sam will be under even more pressure to use the “risk corridor” mechanism as a bailout mechanism to cover unanticipated losses. Healthy people will stick with their old plans, sick people will stick with their new ObamaCare plans (replete with guaranteed issue and community rating), and insurers will tear their hair out wondering how to pay for it without billions of dollars from HHS to help. Quite simply, Obama was forced to choose between doing something that would help his party at the ballot box but hurt his signature health-care law and doing something that would help stabilize the law financially at the risk of generating a nasty backlash to his party from consumers with cancellations. He made the political choice. Which is exactly what O’s critics feared would happen as government insinuated itself further into the health-care industry via O-Care. Decisions on health-care policy are now a species of politics. You’re welcome, America.
Allahpundit also asserts—and I agree with him—that before October of 2016, Obama will just extend the deadline again, past the election in November.
However, I do have one correction to what Allahpundit said: I’m not sure that the new delay in the cancellations of the old policies will have quite as disastrous an effect on the Obamacare exchanges as he seems to think it will, because there are certainly some sick people who will choose to remain on their original un-canceled plans, if they think those plans are better than what they could get through Obamacare. Nevertheless, I believe he is correct in saying that the exchanges will probably be composed of a significantly higher percentage of sick people than was originally projected, because some sick people previously without health insurance (or those with grandfathered plans who will now get a nice fat subsidy on the exchanges and are therefore willing to voluntarily give up their old plans) will sign up on the exchanges.
…to defeat his nominee for the head of the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, Debo Adegbile, a choice that raised an unusual amount of criticism because Adegbile had defended convicted cop-killer and leftist darling Mumial Abu-Jamal.
The LA Timescalls the vote “a surprising defeat” and, strangely enough, that’s not hyperbole. It actually was surprising. There are a number of reasons why, the first being that Harry Reid doesn’t usually bring something up for a vote till he knows he’s got it in the bag. The other reason is that (at least as far as I know, and I could be wrong on this), although in the past Democrats have sometimes defected from the party line if it would be politically expedient in their state for them to do so (Obamacare would be a prime example), the number who defect is usually strictly controlled to make sure the desertions don’t defeat the bill.
This time somebody left the reservation unexpectedly, and nobody seems to know who it was. Well, nobody in the press, that is; the senators themselves must know (my guess is Coons).
By the way, this is one of the first confirmation votes that’s occurred since the filibuster was ended. Under the old rules, Adegbile’s nomination would probably never have even gotten to a vote, and Obama would have had to find someone a little less objectionable. The end of the filibuster for nominees must have emboldened him to choose Adegbile, but thinking he had the extra leeway may have backfired on Obama.
According to the LA Times, Adegbile’s nomination had been expected to pass “until recently.” My guess is that in this case “recently” means “until the vote itself.” Even before that, they knew it would be close, however; Joe Biden was standing by to vote in case he was needed to break a tie. But he wasn’t needed; even his vote would not have been enough to get Adegbile through.
This action today may or may not mean much. It really depends whether it will be followed by any more defiance of Obama’s wishes. Is it the first sign (however slight) of a revolt by moderate Democrats who are fed up with being sacrificial lambs for Obama, or is it just a one-shot deal?
In a fairly humorous side note, Harry Reid had earlier warned Republicans that “if Adegbile lost there would have to be a ‘broad discussion’ of civil rights in America.” This, of course, is because the topic of civil rights has never been brought up before, especially during Obama’s years in office.
In an ironic move, Reid changed his own vote to “no” at the last minute because he realized even with his vote the nomination would not be confirmed, and voting “no” apparently preserves (for technical reasons) his right to call another vote on the same subject later. I can only imagine the sorely twisted arms some Democratic senators will be enduring as he tries to persuade them a change of vote in the future might be a really good idea for them.
Born Adebowale Patrick Akande Adegbile in New York City, Adegbile is the son of a Nigerian father and an Irish immigrant mother. He was raised by his single mother. He also was a child actor on the children's TV show Sesame Street during the 1970s, playing the character Debo and performing in episodes for nine years.
On a personal note, let me say that I don't hold against Adegbile that fact that he filed "an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in 2009, arguing that [Mumia's] conviction was invalid because of racial discrimination in jury selection.” At the time, Adegbile was a lawyer for the NAACP, and that organization was in Mumia’s corner. If you believe in our legal system, someone had to defend Mumia and help him appeal his case, and it’s hardly surprising that the NAACP—and therefore Adegbile—would be part of that process. [See "ADDENDUM" below.]
However, if you want to protest Adegbile’s nomination because he worked for the NAACP and the NAACP has become a leftist, kneejerk, racemongering, divisive institution, that seems more valid to me. And, as Democratic Senator Coons said, to explain his vote of “no”:
…[A]t a time when the Civil Rights Division urgently needs better relations with the law enforcement community, I was troubled by the idea of voting for an Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights who would face such visceral opposition from law enforcement on his first day on the job…
Coons added that it was the toughest vote he’d taken as a senator. I don’t doubt it. And the story’s not over yet.]
The widow of [slain] officer Danny Faulkner along with police organizations and other groups, objected to the nomination, arguing among other things, that Adegbile became a champion of Abu-Jamal beyond being his appellate lawyer.
That makes a great deal more sense to me as an objection than that Adegbile merely was Mumia’s appeals lawyer.
Here is part of the widow’s statement:
Mr. Adegbile previously led the Legal Defense Fund at the NAACP. In that position, Mr. Adegbile chose to throw the weight and resources of his organization behind Abu-Jamal. Attorneys working under Mr. Adegbile’s supervision have stood before rallies of Abu-Jamal supporters and openly professed that it was “an extreme honor” to represent the man who put a hollow based bullet into Officer Faulkner’s brain as he lay on the ground wounded, unarmed, and defenseless.
So Adegbile was an especially eager defender of Abu-Jamal, the guy in charge of the NAACP’s decision to defend him and to do so vigorously. Here’s the text of the widow’s entire statement.]
I wanted to highlight a discussion from yesterday’s comments section. First, from commenter “DNW”, who is quoting me and then asking a question:
“Most of my friends are garden-variety liberals. And most are relatively apolitical, although they vote.
“I do have some friends who are more on the leftist end of things. But they are bleeding-heart leftists and really have very little idea what it actually is they’re supporting, for the most part, and are not particularly activist or even political. They are not of the hard left, although they are helping it without realizing what they’re helping.”
Neo … how could they not? How could it be that they [as liberals] imagine they can grasp the indirect and remote environmental effects of a burning incandescent bulb, yet not grasp the transformation the fascist “individual mandate” has worked on our most fundamental predicates of political association?
What matters to them, and makes their lives worthwhile? Where’s their focus? Brute satisfactions? Dancing in that G’damned circle you mentioned, ecstatically liberated from themselves, until the lights go permanently out?
How can the implications be missed, and the inferences not be drawn?
And, if they are not in fact unapologetic coercive collectivists, mustn’t they be … and I do hesitate to say it … the so-called “good Germans who (supposedly) didn’t know”?
How can they shrug at and be complicit in, the destruction of the only thing that made this country worthwhile in the first place: our freedom of self-direction and responsibility?
The world’s already full to the brim with stinking social hothouses where everyone runs around with their nose up everyone else’s ass; sniffing for traces privilege or advantage. Probably many of them have ancestors who fled from just such cultures.
And now they complacently point to these cultures as moral models to be emulated.
Have you read my “A mind is a difficult thing to change” pieces? Remember: I was a liberal for most of my life. I was raised one, nearly everyone I knew was one, all my media sources were liberal and I didn’t even know it, and although I knew something about history I didn’t know all that much (except for certain topics such as WWI and how it affected the culture). I was interested in all the arts and especially poetry, in people in general (friends, family), psychology, all sorts of things really. Politics seemed like a dirty nasty business, and although I kept up with it in a surface way I really didn’t go all that deep with it.
Most of my friends are some variation on that theme.
You ask, “How can the implications be missed, and the inferences not be drawn?” My answer is EASY. At least, earlier in my life, it was very easy. Obviously, something changed, beginning in 2001. I became interested, and these things seemed more intensely important. I realized there was a lot I had missed and needed to learn. But I have no problem whatsoever understanding how it is that many people still are more or less on automatic pilot. To know what’s happening and why it’s significant, you have to have a knowledge base and a context, or else it’s just blah-blah-blah noise.
And of course, there are some people I know who do know quite a bit about history, etc., and are still liberals. I think, however, that most of them have never been exposed to alternate sources of information. They don’t read conservative media or watch Fox or anything like that, although they hear about Faux News. Since everyone—almost literally everyone—they know agrees with them, and they know smart, educated people, why would they be curious?
And in a later comment on the same thread, I added that most of the liberals I know:
…do not think in terms of the “collective” or anything of the sort. Their politics could be described mainly as the desire to be nice, kind, peaceful, and generous, both at home and abroad. They conceptualize the things they support as leading to those goals, and Republicans as mean, stingy, racist, etc.. It’s really that propaganda has reached them and stuck in their minds, and they think it’s reality, and are focused on their own lives.
I will add that during the 2012 campaign, no sooner did the Democratic meme that Republicans and Romney were waging a “war on women” begin than I heard it thrown around among my friends. The absorption of the meme was quick, and accepted as self-evident truth. I have seen over and over how well propaganda works and how hard it is to challenge it when most people are not reading any more deeply than that. And to read more deeply than that, one would have to have the time and inclination, and be questioning one’s point of view in the first place. Why bother when all the smart and nice people agree with you, and it’s only weird outliers like neo who don’t?
Why was our intelligence community caught flat-footed about Putin’s moves? That’s a question being asked on Capitol Hill, and in Politico.
One answer is, “No, it wasn’t.” That one was given by James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz, who both made statements to the effect that the intelligence community “included warnings of possible scenarios for a Russian military intervention in Ukraine.” I have to say that James Clapper has a bit of a general credibility problem regarding statements to the American public about intelligence. And a warning of a “possible scenario” does not include whether this was considered a distant possibility or a likely one.
The Politico article goes on to mention a bunch of liberal MSM pundits who failed to predict it. Gee, is that some sort of surprise? The tone was set by our president and his entire administration, followed slavishly by most liberal journalists, who have spent a great deal of time and effort saying what a pussycat Putin is, and ridiculing as outdated (Obama to Romney: “the 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back”) anyone who might say otherwise. This began in 2008 with mockery of Sarah Palin, and reached a crescendo with Romney during the 2012 campaign.
To take any other scenario seriously would mean giving credence to those troglodytes Palin and Romney, agreeing with them instead of mocking them, and admitting that the world hadn’t turned into the fantasyland that suited Obama’s, Democrats’, and the MSM’s own rhetorical and political purposes.
The Politico article seems to be blurring the distinction between the intelligence community’s predictions and the predictions of people such as The New Yorker’s David Remnick, who may be in some ways “intelligent” but are not part of that community. But maybe Politico actually has a point, because expectations and mental set help to determine what can be seen and noticed. If the intelligence community is following the lead of the administration, its mental set may be such that it doesn’t see what it might otherwise see. Or, if Clapper and Ebitz are telling the truth and the intelligence community did see this coming (and I’m not at all certain they are), then the intelligence community can say whatever it wants, but if the administration has other ideas it doesn’t much matter what intelligence says. The administration can ignore them.
Romney was right. Why was Obama wrong? Because, I think, he was willfully blurring the distinction between “geopolitical” and other sorts of threats. He was playing to the cheap seats. Voters do not fear Russia, or particularly care about its movements in its sad, cold sphere of influence. They do care a lot about terrorism. And Obama would use any chance he had, in 2012, to remind voters that he was president when Osama Bin Laden was killed.
So you see the politics—they reveal Obama as the player of a cheap trick. Of course al-Qaida isn’t a “geopolitical threat” to the United States. It’s a terrorist organization, untethered to states or geography. Obama himself (like George W. Bush before him) repeatedly claimed that the organization was on the run. How could al-Qaida be the greatest threat to America and a pathetic coalition of losers? It couldn’t. Obama was spinning, hopefully faster than Romney could un-spin.
But I don’t want to spin for Obama. Romney really did maintain a more cynical long-run view of Russia than Obama did. Obama saw Russia as a declining power that he could do business with, as he did with the New START treaty. Romney, as he laid out in his pre-campaign book No Apology, saw Russia as a recovering power. Its “rediscovered ambition for superpower status,” he wrote, “is fueled by its massive energy reserves.” This wasn’t as sustainable as China’s free-enterprise empire strategy, but it was an empire strategy, and that was enough to get spooked about.
That’s almost the entire text of Weigel’s article. Why do I find it interesting? Well first of all, like a few others from current or former Obama-supporters (Weigel voted for him in 2008 and Kerry in 2004), it does concede an incontrovertible but very inconvenient truth: Romney was right, Obama wrong. That it concedes it at all is surprising.
But—like the other articles of its type that I’ve read—it treats that fact as though it exists in a vacuum. There are no larger conclusions drawn, and why would there be? To do that would be to concede far more than these authors could bear. To actually assimilate the information and try to integrate it into a world view might require that world view to change, and that (as we know) is very threatening and very hard, and can be very costly for a journalist (or even a regular person, as we also know).
Weigel might wonder how it was and why it was that Romney got it right and Obama wrong. Maybe Romney’s general outlook about the geopolitical world was actually more correct? Instead, Weigel assumed that Obama knew the truth but pretended he didn’t. However, if Obama was the “player of a cheap trick” in this regard, maybe that’s what he is: a bagful of cheap tricks, and a liar as well? Maybe that bag fooled Weigel and most of his illustrious colleagues? Maybe Obama’s not what he appeared to be at all?
[NOTE: Weigel himself is a strange bird politically; fairly liberal but with pockets of conservatism and especially libertarianism. He was a player on JournoList, which exposed his cover and made many think of him mainly as a liberal, but that's not exactly the case.
Weigel is also 32 years old. Like so many journalists today, he is not only achingly young, but inexperienced in all fields except journalism, a career he entered right after graduation from Northwestern's famed school of journalism, from which he received a BA.
Weigel did not vote for Obama in 2012---he went with the libertarian Johnson---but not because he really rejected Obama, he just thought him a "mediocre executive." That seems to be the sum total of the motivation for Weigel's turning away from Obama at the time. You can read his reasons here.]
A personal note: I sometimes have found insurance companies annoying, but in general they’ve done right by me. I don’t understand the generalized hatred of them. They’re a business, responding to business pressures and the need to make a profit at the same time they provide a service.
Here’s Emanuel’s Brave New World of the transformed and/or eliminated insurance company:
Some people may be concerned about the prospect of having to choose among large integrated delivery systems with selective physician and hospital networks. The worried well might wonder what happens if they contract a serious illness, such as cancer or some rare disease, will they be restricted only to the physicians in the delivery system? We should note that many people pick Kaiser or Group Health and get all of their care from those integrated systems, and they don’t seem to worry that they are not getting the highest-quality care. The real issue is not whether there is a selective network of physicians and hospitals; the real issue is whether the network is of high quality. Having the assurance of a high-quality network is the key. These integrated-delivery systems will begin competing with their objectively validated, high-quality networks.
More importantly, health systems have learned from the managed-care backlash; just saying “no” really aggravates people, especially well-off, powerful people. Although it may be cheaper in the short run, it can be expensive, especially in terms of reputation, in the longer term. There are better ways to approach this.
I suspect these integrated delivery systems of the future will adopt two strategies. For rare but serious conditions they will identify recognized centers of excellence—the absolute best places in the country— and contract special arrangements for the referral and treatment of their patients. These centers of excellence may have slightly higher sticker prices, but forging these special arrangements will be worth it for integrated delivery systems because then they will be able to boast negotiated rates, better outcomes, and fewer complications. Second, richer and, thus, more expensive benefit packages, such as platinum plans in the exchanges, would cover second opinions. In addition, there will be a market for supplemental insurance that covers second opinions for serious conditions. The well-heeled and worried will be a prime target for such plans.
Kiss your choice goodbye—unless you’re rich. And remind me again why this is better—much much better—than just tweaking the health insurance system we had in place by making insurance portable and having a national high-risk pool?
The timing could not have been any more deliberate — an assault on the prime minister’s policies delivered precisely as Netanyahu was flying in to meet with him, and on the first day, too, of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual tour de force conference across town.
At the very least, that might be considered bad manners, poor diplomatic protocol, a resounding preemptive slap in the face: I’ve just told the world you’re leading your country to wrack and ruin, Mr. Prime Minister. Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?
More substantively, the president’s comments reinforce years of grievance that have accumulated in Netanyahu’s circles and some distance beyond, to the effect that the president ignores the inconsistencies, duplicities and worse of the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, while placing exaggerated blame for the failure of peace efforts at the door of the Israeli government.
Completely predictable. I wish we’d some day get to see that tape the LA Timesis guarding in its vaults, but whenever we do it will be way too late. At any rate, what matters more than the past is what Obama has been doing lately, and what he’s planning in the future.
Also please see this piece by Elliot Abrams entitled, “If he believes it, it must be so: Obama’s scary interview.”
What a sad and terrifying story of another political changer: Dmitri Volkogonov. Ultimately it’s also a story of great courage and integrity, although that courage and integrity came late in the game:
Volkogonov entered the military at the age of seventeen in 1945, which was common for many orphans. He studied at the Lenin Military Academy in Moscow in 1961; transferring to the Soviet Army’s propaganda department in 1970. There he wrote propaganda pamphlets and manuals on psychological warfare and gained a reputation as a hardliner…
But even as he was indoctrinating troops in Communist orthodoxy, General Volkogonov was struggling with private doubts based on the horrors he discovered hidden in the archives”. Volkogonov also had the opportunity to view the conditions of various client states during the Cold War. While these countries received military aid, Volkogonov later recalled, “…they all became poorer; their economies were collapsing everywhere. And I came to the conclusion that the Marxist model was a real historic blind alley, and that we, too, were caught in a historic trap.”
For a while Volkogonov did nothing—rather, he continued on his path as a dedicated Communist, while entertaining profound private doubts that grew and grew and finally erupted in a book:
Only with the most impeccable communist credentials did Volkogonov access the most secret Soviet archives. While reading in the archives during the Brezhnev years, Volkogonov “found documents that astounded him — papers that revealed top Communists as cruel, dishonest and inept”. Thus, while Volkogonov was actively writing and editing Soviet propaganda materials for troops, “Volkogonov was engaged in a lengthy, tortured but very private process of re-evaluating Soviet history.”
Volkogonov began writing the biography of Stalin in 1978. He completed it by 1983, but it was banned by the Central Committee. It was published under Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of Glasnost before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The publication of the book on Stalin within Russia made Volkogonov “a pariah among his fellow senior officers”…
“Volkogonov admitted publicly that, like many senior Soviet officials, he had lived two mental lives, rising higher and higher in his career while burrowing deeper in the archives, as if symbolically undermining the system that had nurtured him.”
Later, Volkogonov wrote biographies of Lenin and Trotsky that exposed their own cooperation in terror and repression, and in devising policies that facilitated even greater terror and repression under Stalin. It was all a seamless whole:
Volkogonov always used to say “that in his own mind, Lenin was the last bastion to fall.” He said that the turning point was when he discovered one of Lenin’s orders calling for the public hanging of Kulak peasants in 1918:
“Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers…Do it in such a way that for hundreds of versts around, the people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucking kulaks.”
Perhaps the most poignant statement Volkogonov ever made—and probably the one that prompted me to write this post—was this [emphasis mine]:
…[I]t was only late in my life, after long and tortuous inner struggle, that I was able to free myself of the chimera of Bolshevik Ideology. I felt enormous relief, and at the same time a sense of deep regret that I had wasted so many years in Utopian captivity. Perhaps the only thing I achieved in this life was to break with the faith I had held for so long…Disillusionment first came to me as an idea, rather like the melancholy of a spiritual hangover. Then, it came as intellectual confusion. Finally, as the determination to confront the truth and understand it.
Late in life Volkogonov drew strength from the fact that he had been baptized as a Christian. He later said:
…that when he would enter the Russian Parliament (where he had held a seat as a liberal since the Gorbachev era), he would be met by Communist legislators who would “line up at the door and shout insults.” Of this Volkogonov commented at the time, “I take these shouts as sounds of historical praise.”
Volkogonov died of cancer in 1995. Despite his illness, in his final years he had picked up the pace of his writing.
You might say of Volkogonov that he lost the requisite Soviet ability to say that 2+2=5. He finally had to shout out that 2+2=4!
[NOTE: One of the most interesting things about this story is how it indicates that many Soviet higher-ups understood their own hypocrisy and cooperation in a system they knew to be corrupt and even evil. Volkogonov was unusual in that he finally was determined to expose it, even at some personal cost. The time was right, or he would never have gotten as far as he did with it; Stalin would have murdered him and all his family in a heartbeat.
Another thing that strikes me is that the incriminating letters and material about Lenin and Trotsky were kept in the archives and never destroyed. Was it because the Soviets knew that only the most hard-line Communists would be looking at them, and that they'd be able to handle the revelations without experiencing remorse? Or were the archive-keepers just lazy and unaware of what was in the papers? Or was it because they didn't even realize such material would compromise Lenin's saintly image, because (for example) the only good kulak is a dead kulak?]
Seeing into the future is easy sometimes when you take a look and pay attention:
So Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. I’m surprised that anyone is surprised. I’m hardly an expert on Ukrainian history or politics, but I’ve been there, and I’ve been to the Crimea, and this was just obvious. It was obvious to me even before Viktor Yanukovych became president…
When the Soviet Union cracked up and Ukraine declared independence, Russia initially refused to cede Sevastopol and Crimea at all and only later relented when it signed the Peace and Friendship treaty with Kiev…Ukraine barely holds onto the Crimea oblast as it is [written in 2009], and on even numbered days I can’t help but wonder how long even that is going to last.
Another correct forecaster—none other than Sarah Palin:
Though she was mocked for it, Palin actually speculated in 2008 that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be encouraged to invade Ukraine after President Barack Obama’s weak response to the nation invading Georgia.
“After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next,” Palin told Foreign Policy in 2008…
Yes, I could see this one from Alaska. I’m usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as ‘an extremely far-fetched scenario’ by the ‘high-brow’ Foreign Policy magazine.
Back in 2008, here’sForeign Policy‘s Blake Hounshell pooh-poohing Palin’s statement. You should see Hounsell’s Twitter page right about now. He was hardly alone, though; she was universally not only disagreed with by the MSM and Democrats, she was condescendingly mocked for that and almost everything else she said and did.
And of course, we have Mitt Romney’s statement on Russia, and Obama’s snarky juvenile response during the presidential debates:
Here was Romney’s response to Obama, just to refresh your memory:
What about the experts? They got it wrong, wrong, wrong too. But how many will ever utter a word of apology to either Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney?
I will take a wild stab at it: none. If you find any, please let me know.
Today we have a curious editorial in the WaPo. Actually, “curious” doesn’t even begin to cover it; read it. To whet your appetite, let me say that the title is “President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.”
And even that editorial doesn’t really come down all that hard on Obama. Of course, the WaPo won’t come down all that hard on Obama. To do so, its editors would have to come down hard on themselves. They’d have to abandon their own fantasy world, where they were correct to have supported Obama all along, and where those on the right are just aggressive warmongers (stupid, as well) and peace and love can win out over nastiness, if you just close your eyes and wish real hard.
That brings us, of course, to the next question: is this really what the WaPo editors believe? In other words, how hard left are they? Are they merely very very very useful idiots for the left, or are they more manipulative and devious true believers? My provisional answer: they’re probably a mixed bag rather than a unitary bunch.
[NOTE: In the comments, "sergey" indicates that it's not just Obama and the WaPo editors who are in the grip of fantasy:
This morning Moskow stock exchange collapsed, and this downfall still under way. Annual GDP gowth rate this year is 0.71% officially, and capital flight from the country in January and half of February comprises 3/4 of the amount expected for the whole year. There was a panic at currency exchange offices yesterday, in one day ruble lost 1/7 of its value. Inflation is galloping, and all this happened mostly even before Ukrainian crisis erupted. If real invasion would take place, economy will fold in two monthes. But Putin lives in reality of his own, and it has little in common with the reality in which almost everybody else lives. A paranoid delusion also known as Caeserian insanity.
I have no way of knowing whether sergey is correct. But he's certainly closer to events than I.]
I don’t care who wins. The only nominated flick I’ve seen this year is “Gravity,” and I thought it fair-to-middling.
And did I mention that I don’t care? I’m watching for one reason only, the reason I always watch: to see the clothes. Specifically, the women’s clothes, although Kevin Spacey looked particularly fine in his dark blue tux.
If anyone else is watching, I have thoughtfully provided this thread for you to discuss all the pressing issues associated with the Oscars. Including why you care or don’t care or semi-care.
UPDATE: Kim Novak is scaring me. Really scaring me. She’s unrecognizable from cosmetic surgery and Botox. She’s announcing the award for animated shorts, but her own lack of animation is profound. Granted, she’s 81, and as someone wrote on Twitter, “I can see why she’s have a hard time letting go of [her original] face.” But surely there’s some way she might have aged more gracefully.
Yesterday there was a horrific terrorist attack at a train station in China, in which knife-wielding separatists killed at least 29 people and wounded over a hundred others before four of the murderers were shot and killed by police.
Points to ponder:
—This was in China, where gun control is so strict that private citizens are not allowed to own them except for extremely restricted purposes. At least the police were allowed to have guns and managed to trump the knives. But wouldn’t concealed carry—or at least the idea of concealed carry—have given the terrorists pause? They knew that they could rely on the fact that none of the innocent people they attacked would be carrying firearms.
It proves what really already needed no further proving: that a violent group determined to wreak havoc on a disarmed populace can do it without guns. And if the official reports are correct about the identity of the perpetrators, it lends further credence to the observation that, although most Muslims are not terrorists, almost all terrorists are Muslims.
I’ve been reading another book about Robert Frost, and I keep coming across fascinating tidbits.
For example, the following is taken from a letter Frost wrote to the Amherst student newspaper in 1935, and it gives some perspective:
…you will often hear it said that the age of the world we live in is particularly bad. I am impatient of such talk. We have no way of knowing that this age is one of the worst in the world’s history. [Matthew] Arnold claimed the honor for the age before this. Wordsworth claimed it for the last but one…I say they claimed the honor for their ages. They claimed it rather for themselves. It is immodest of a man to think of himself as going down before the worst forces ever mobilized by God…Whatever progress may be taken to mean, it can’t mean making the world any easier a place in which to save your soul—or if you dislike hearing your soul mentioned in open meeting, say your decency, your integrity.
That’s what I mean about the complexity of Frost’s thought.
Frost, as I’ve written before, was a student of many disciplines in addition to literature and poetry: ancient history, botany, science, and philosophy, to name just a few. Early in his life he had read the works of William James and they remained of importance in his own thinking. The Frost book that gives the above quote from Frost also presents this one by James, from an essay entitled “Is Life Worth Living?” in a book called The Will to Believe:
If you surrender to the nightmare view and crown the evil edifice by your own suicide, you have indeed made a picture totally black. Pessimism, completed by your act, is true beyond a doubt, as far as your world goes…But suppose, on the other hand, that instead of giving way to the nightmare view you cling to it that this world is not the ultimatum…Suppose, however thickly evils crowd upon you, that your unconquerable subjectivity proves to be their match, and that you find a more wonderful joy than any passive pleasure can bring in trusting ever in the larger whole. Have you not now made life worth living on these terms? What sort of a thing would life really be with your qualities ready for a tussle with it, if it only brought fair weather and gave these higher faculties of yours no scope?
Frost wrestled with depression for much of his very long life, and his life contained enough objective sorrow to have felled any man. But he resisted mightily, and I think on balance he won his war against it.
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. Read More >>