Tuesday, January 31, 2006

FLASH! Christianity Is Politically Incorrect!

James Lileks reports:

I read stories like this, and the very first paragraph makes me tired.

A UNIVERSITY Christian Union has been suspended and had its bank account frozen after refusing to open its membership to people of all religions.

I could understand a University turning a cold narrow eye to a group that declared, in its charter, that nonbelievers and sodomites alike would be cast into the lake of fire on Judgment day - and to prepare them for that event they would be set alight should they attempt to attend a meeting of the Christian Union. But:

Members claim the actions have been taken against them after they refused on religious grounds to make “politically correct” changes to their charitable constitution, including explicitly mentioning people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.

Personally, I suspect that the organization would welcome anyone who showed up for services, and not inquire too closely about what they wish to do with whom. But the Union isn’t in trouble for excluding people. They’re in trouble for not rewriting their constitution to “explicitly mention” some noisy people who, one suspects, are less interested in access to this particular group than enforcing the use of a wide bland smear of magic words that somehow insulates them from exclusion. It gets richer:

The Christian Union was advised that the use of the words “men” and “women” in the constitution were causing concern because they could be seen as excluding transsexual and transgendered people.
Lileks' entire lengthy commentary on this latest Gramscian attempt to use language issues to either eviscerate Christianity or force it to conform to secular Marxist class struggle standards is well worth reading, as we pursue with vigor the Great Culture War that the Marxists insist is totally passé. But his profound conclusion says it all. Note particularly the sentence HazZzmat has conveniently bolded for you, a point we have made again and again when explaining the Gramscian tactic of remaking the culture by redefining "truth" via the repetition of absolute falsehoods:
Words mean something, as people always say when they’re annoyed by words that now mean something else. A strange example was in our paper today. A vegan boutique has opened in St. Paul, and was given a nice-sized story in today’s paper, complete with photo. Spot the phrase in the next excerpt that made me sigh:

Living in Los Angeles in 2003, Jon found vegan boutiques in San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura, Calif. He said that others exist in New York City, but that his is the only 100 percent cruelty-free vegan boutique in Minnesota.

I have no problem with anyone who wishes to go vegan; we all have our dietary quirks for reasons great and small. But “Cruelty-free” is not a term we should let pass without quote marks. Small thing, I know. As one copy desk editor explained, the term comes in a paraphrase of the fellow’s remarks, so you could say we weren’t passing along the term without comment, but it’s debatable – and it certainly didn’t seem that way to me. All it takes is a few stories like this, a few examples where people get used to “cruelty-free” living large without the shackles of quote marks, and the term becomes shorthand for a truth.

Eventually, the world is finally set right; men are Males, Christian groups don’t use bad exclusionary words like “Christian,” hemp socks are cruelty free, and conversation has the nice smooth sound of lowing beasts, neither giving offense nor taking it. All is well.

Fine. Good. Now. What next shall we fix?

Randolph, Utah: Fisking David Finkel

Washington Post reporter David Finkel has a good old time today, finding lots of laughs amongst the good folks in the remote town of Randolph, Utah as he tries to pull a liberal hatchet job on both them and President Bush. (Note: You may have to register to access this link.) The funniest thing in the article, though, is that these obviously Mormon yokels actually love George W. Bush. BIG TIME. And they persistently refuse to take the reporter's bait, in spite of his nonstop attempts to trick them into blasphemy.

What more evidence do you need that these people are probably descended from the Missing Link?
RANDOLPH, Utah -- To get to the place where they like George W. Bush more than any other place in America, you fly west for a long time from Washington, then you drive north for a long time from Salt Lake City, and then you pull into Gator's Drive Inn, where the customer at the front of the line is ordering a patty melt.
Yep. These people live nowhere near a major East Coast urban area. It's not even near Utah's Happy Valley itself. Therefore, they know nothing, and now the Post will lay it out.
Like most residents of Randolph, Utah, Pat Orton, owner of Gator's Drive Inn, is a loyal supporter of President Bush. The town gave the president 95.6 percent of the vote in 2004.
See, there's the proof. Dumber than posts. If you don't believe it, Finkel culls snippets from an involved discussion amongst the locals on the relative demerits of fancy-ass East Coast pretentions like Dijon mustard, which mostly comes from the American companies anyway:
"Dijon mustard," [teenager Ryan] Louderman says as the woman drives away. "I don't know what Dijon mustard is. Don't care to find out, either."
Well, that ends THAT conversation. Just to show you how out of touch these Utah folks are, Finkel reminds us that:
On Tuesday night, when President Bush delivers his State of the Union speech, he'll be speaking to a nation that no longer approves of the job he is doing. According to recent polls, including a Washington Post-ABC News poll released over the weekend, Bush's overall approval rating -- once as high as 92 percent just after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- is down to 42 percent, with the percentages even lower on specific issues, such as health care, the federal deficit and the war in Iraq.
Of course, Finkel refers to his own paper's poll which systematically oversamples Democrats. He doesn't bother to cite the most recent Rasmussen poll(whose work is demonstrably more accurate than the Post or other pollsters) that gets Bush back up to 50%, thus proving the success of the President's recent countrywide campaign to regain his admittedly faltering momentum. But the Posties always feel it's best go with their own poll which is always designed to support the left's point of view.

Finkel makes a token attempt to insert a little balance at this point, quoting a science guy:
"The mind-set of Utah" is how Frank Guliuzza III, chairman of the political science department at Weber State University in Ogden, explains the percentages. Not only is Utah the nation's most Republican state, "there's a sense of loyalty and patriotism that kind of overcomes the tendency toward cynicism that is evident in the rest of the country right now," he says.
Well put. But Finkel quickly moves to undercut this unfashionable observation by revisiting his Missing Link motif:
In Randolph, though—where Bush received 95.6 percent of the vote and support for him continues to be nearly unanimous—the mind-set is even more specific to a place that seems less a part of the modern United States than insulated from it. It isn't just mustard, but everything.
Randoph "seems" less a part of the modern U.S. than insulated from it? To whom? Maybe it's the other way around, sir. As Finkel meanders through the rest of this piece, he allows the local residents to hang themselves, he thinks, by showing just how banal and unsophisticated they are in comparison to highly sophisticated East (and West) Coast denizens like himself and all the rest of the Post Toasties. I recall a New York friend, in her 50s, who was absolutely astounded to learn that power was carried in suburban Northern Virginia via overhead wires. She had never seen them, therefore had no clue that they existed. The invincible ignorance of the bicoastal literati, when it comes to the lives of the average American in flyover country, is breathtaking in its shameless ability to generalize, and in its appalling tendency to sneer and condescend. Finkel uses a light touch here, but his snarky attitude is unmistakable. For all we know, this guy hails from Ames, Iowa. But if so, he was probably only too happy to escape from those corn-fed yahoos as well. And that damn yellow mustard.

Just to show you how out of touch the people of Randolph are, Finkel explains:
There have been no funerals here from Bush's war on terrorism. There are no unemployment lines, no homeless people sleeping in doorways, no sick people being turned away from a hospital because of a lack of insurance, no crime to
speak of, no security fence needed around the reservoir, no metal detectors at the schools.
The horror! The horror! Normalcy!! Now the agenda journalism surfaces. If one of Randoph's kids had died at the hand of Islamofascists who'd rather be blowing up Salt Lake City, well, then, these jingoistic idiots would stop supporting "Bush's war on terrorism" soon enough, wouldn't they, just like any other sentient being with the perspicacity to live in a blue state and vote Communist in every election? Gee, and there's no crime to speak of either in Randolph, nor any of the intimate comforts of urban homesteading like homeless people pissing on your front step and drug dealers accosting and maybe shooting your kids after school, or cleaning up used condoms from your back alley. These Utah people are not only deluded. They are deprived!

It gets worse:
Terrorist threats? That's anywhere but here. Iraq? That's somewhere over there. Hurricane Katrina? That was somewhere down there. Illegal immigrants? Not here, where everyone is fond of Ramon, who came long ago from Mexico and is married to the Catholic woman, who is the one non-Mormon everyone mentions when the conversation turns to religious diversity. As for racial diversity, everyone says there are three African Americans in the county, including the twins on the high school cheerleading squad, which also includes a Hispanic, according to the superintendent of schools, Dale Lamborn, which means "we've probably got the most diverse cheerleading squad in the state."
What a hoot! Are these people for real???

Gosh, just imagine! People who are so busy working and tending to their lives and their difficult survival in an impossibly remote area—these people actually don't have time to sit glued to CNN all day to find out how horrible they are??? Hel-looo? How out of touch are these clueless dudes and dudettes? And imagine, these morons actually think that, because a Hispanic guy and three African Americans live there, this is diversity? Maybe it's time for some Section 8 housing out there so we can dilute some of those smug, whitebread attitudes a bit. (More on the African Americans later.)
What else is here?

One main road that is 1.3 miles long from the county building on the north end to the fence on the south end with the faded yellow ribbon on it in honor of the only child of Randolph so far to have gone to Iraq.

One church, where everyone gathered to welcome the young man home from Iraq with ice cream.
There's that Iraq meme again. The implication, don't you just know it, is that the next time this young patriot returns to Randolph, it will be in a pine box. THEN THESE PEOPLE WILL WAKE UP. And presumably turn against "Bush's war on terrorism."

Short break. Let's find a Democrat.
One post office, with one full-time employee, Postmaster Gage Slusser Jr., who, as everyone knows, was one of the 17 to vote for John Kerry in 2004. "The village pseudo-intellectual," Slusser calls himself. "Don't get me wrong," he adds. "These are good people."
Slusser is at least honest enough to be self-deprecating, even though he didn't show much sense the last time he voted. Then again, we can safely observe that most govies are Democrats, which is why the bureaucracy always works 24/7 to undermine the policies of any Republican president. Of course, Slusser is probably not a real Democrat, since he isn't bristling with hatred for his misguided neighbors.
"Just good people," echoes Debra Ames, the county recorder, adding: " You try to feed your cows at 40 below zero." The courthouse where Ames works is near the one little market, which is near the one service station, the part-time hair cutter, and the one bank, where deposits are up and defaults are down and banker Adam Jensen says of Bush, "What's not to like about him?"
I.e., the implicit message from Randolph would seem to be, "Just TRY really earning a living sometime, young man instead of scribbling scurrilous stuff about hicks in the sticks." Finkel, with unintentional accuracy, lays out the attitudes of people who are not dumb but practical. They focus most of their attention on simply surviving in an environment where self-reliance, not government handouts, are the only way to get from here to there. They figure they hired George Bush and pay him good money to sit in Washington and handle that pesky international nonsense for them so they can lead their lives in peace, just as it should be for them and everyone else.

This down-to-earth practicality may not impress the snot-nosed kids and aging Boomers who populate the MSM right now, but it is, frankly, the way most people live. Even in the greatest country in the world, life is still largely day to day, and reporters are repeatedly astonished to find that nearly anyone outside of Manhattan or the Beltway cares not a whit for all the Democratic talking points when the President is keeping Al Qaeda out of the South 40 and saving women from the burqa. Makes one wonder just who is naive anyway? Who are the hicks, really?

But hey, this is getting too close to the noumenon. Let's get back to showing our readers, in case they hadn't noticed, just how primitive these witless people are, like when they chuckle at 1950s schoolyard cliches:
"I'm the boss, applesauce," [Orton's] mother used to say, and Orton can imagine Bush liking that sentence as much as she does.
Yep, Bush is an eejit, too, and most likely would find this uproariously funny and repeat it to his friends if he had any. But we already knew that, even if he actually did do better than that intellectual giant, John Kerry, in college.
"Don't be wise, bubble eyes, or I'll knock you down to peanut size."
Meaning to drive the point home, Finkel makes a minor Freudian slip, inadvertently inserting a cogent observation on the mental prowess exhibited lately on the international scene by Saint Jimmy Carter.

But let's get back to our fisking here and see if poor Finkel can't get someone to rat out W:
In[to the restaurant] comes Debra McKinnon, 53, who says she nearly dropped dead nine months ago from heart failure and is working for one reason only: health insurance. She takes 12 pills a day, for which she pays several hundred dollars a month, which, without insurance, would be four times that. Is that Bush's fault, though? "No," McKinnon says. "It's a problem from the drug companies to the lawyers to the doctors to Congress, and it's not because Bush isn't a caring man. I think he's a very caring man. I think he's a decent, God-fearing person, and I hope we are, too."
Damn, she missed her cue. Worse, though obviously of sub-normal intellect, she hits the nail on the head. She's made sure she has insurance, and the insurance companies are helping keep costs down. What a concept. Next...
In comes Blair Hurd, the high school shop teacher, who says: "This whole thing with domestic spying? I think there's a little bit of it that needs to go on. I do. And if he" -- meaning Bush -- "is listening to my calls? I'm not doing anything wrong. Why would I care? He'd be bored to death is what I think."
Say, these Randoph numskulls are proving to be annoyingly perspicatious. Blair Hurd's observations on the purposely misnamed "domestic spying" scandal are almost certainly the same rational response you could expect from about 75% of all Americans. They're well aware that you have to shave a few rules around the edges if a devious enemy is trying to exploit our democracy to destroy it. Say, could these sly dogs be watching Fox and tuning in to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity?
In comes Charlene McLean, who runs a flower business out of her garage and says that the problems in America are due to a "gimme, gimme, gimme" attitude that is the fault of the Democrats and is turning the country cockeyed. "We can't do this because it offends the gays. We can't do that because it offends the atheists," she says. "Well what about the average American? What about thecommon person?"
Well, well, lookee here, even more brilliance and common sense, and it obviously didn't take a Ph.D. to get here. Ms. McLean describes the Dems exactly right, wealthy, condescending boors who carefully conceal their own wealth while picking everyone else's pockets to buy votes and assume a studied stance of moral superiority. And she also understands that, while it protects the rights of all Americans, the Constitution is geared to support the will of the majority. She fully comprehends that something is very, very wrong when phony, allegedly aggreived Democrat minorities like the atheists and their Gramscian enablers in the ACLU crank up their phony rights-generation machine to obliterate the right of the majority to live their lives and run their communities as they see fit, including maybe even putting a creche in Randolph's public square at Christmas. (If they have a public square. Maybe as a compromise, they could call it a Holiday Creche.) You get the sense that Finkel is having a lot of fun with these country-fried soundbites, prefacing each anecdote with "In comes X," sort of like writing stage directions for the script of an old Andy Griffith sitcom. He seems not to recognize that each cited statement just bristles with common sense and easily verifiable folk wisdom.

Ah, but maybe he's found a complainer here:
In comes Lois McLean, Charlene's mother-in-law, who is 77 and works at Gator's part time because Social Security isn't quite enough to finance her modest life. "I think he's doing a good job," she says, her voice hoarse from having a tube pushed down her throat. That happened when she went to the dentist to have a tooth pulled and she suddenly stopped breathing, and then passed out. She woke up in the hospital emergency room, where, once she was stable, the dentist finished yanking out the tooth.
See, even though, mind, she's not complaining, she "has" to work since Social Security doesn't cover everything, which, of course, it was never meant to do. More and more retirees work these days, at least just a bit, to add a bit of money to the till and perhaps most importantly, to avoid terminal boredom, unlke rich Democratic parasailers from Massachusetts. But, say, wait a minute, Ms. McLean had a near-death experience here, and it must've been Bush's fault, right?
Adapt to your circumstances, she says. That's what the dentist did, that's what Bush has done, and that's what she tries to do, too. "I myself have to make my life better," she says.
Damn. Self reliance! And even more of that bloody-minded common sense. And she won't blame her misfortunes on Bush, who obviously was directly responsible for them.

Now Finkel is really getting exasperated with these cretins:
Bush's believers: One after another, in they come to say "It's not Bush's fault" and "He's trying to protect us," and on this goes until early evening, when what must be the entire population of Randolph gathers at the high school to cheer on the basketball teams.
But Finkel is saved by the bell, and gets another opportunity to shake these people out of their complacency:
Gator's, never that busy anyway in the winter, is especially quiet now. Ryan Louderman remains by the counter, lost in thought, and Orton is listening to a Paul Anka CD when the clang of the cowbell catches them by surprise.

"Hey, Aaron," Orton says, and in comes a young man who is 16, and who is considered one of Rich County's three African Americans even though he considers himself a mix of a white mother and black father.

He spells his last name: "C-H-E-N-E-Y."
Ah, delicious irony. (And Paul Anka, what a hoot!) Here's a kid, Aaron, who, like more and more Americans, is half white and, well, half something else, in this case, half black. BUT HE DOESN'T KNOW THAT HE'S BLACK!! He describes himself as a "mix," but doesn't understand the rule, namely that if you're half-black you're all black, and thus oppressed. If he lived in DC or New York, he'd find out he's black soon enough! But even worse, HE MUST BE RELATED TO HALLIBURTON!!!!
"Yeah," he says. "Distant relatives." His grandmother did the genealogy and explained the connection. He has no idea if it's true, he says -- but even if it is, the reason he likes Bush has less to do with that than with his mother's decision to come to Randolph when he was 8 years old.
But he's BLACK! How could he possibly like Bush?? If you are black, YOU CANNOT LIKE BUSH. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LIKE BUSH. Everyone knows this, right? Right?
"I enjoy pushing cows, chasing girls and shooting guns," he says of who he has become here.

Also: "I'm a Republican."
Ah, that explains it. He's another one of the Pod People. One of Rush Limbaugh's mind-numbed robots. Pushing cows, chasing girls, shooting guns. Sounds like a Republican bozo to me. Or maybe one of the subnormal creatures in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdrome." And heterosexual, too. How unfashionable.
And one more thing: "I love it here. I love the people here. It's a small town. Everybody knows everybody. I wave at everybody; everybody waves back."
Neighborliness, peace, and love. What a concept. Finkel can't imagine it. Republicans just don't do that. (Do they?)

Finkel tries another tack, and gets back to the hardworking (female) owner of Gator's:
She turns off the "open" sign and starts adding up the day's receipts. It isn't much. She netted $10,000 last year, if that. She has no savings. She has no retirement plan. She works seven days a week, 12 hours a day. . . . In small-town quiet, she finishes her work.
Another hapless American, impoverished by George W. Bush. And too stupid to know it. This is the stuff. Time for some angst-ridden prose poetry:
Somewhere out there are the sounds of chattering terrorists, and shivering homeless people, and helicopters ferrying soldiers, and a president rehearsing a vitally important speech. Here in 71.5 percent Utah, though, and 95.6 percent Randolph, and 100 percent Gator's, the only sound is of a believer explaining why, come Tuesday night, she doubts she will bother to listen.
Finkel's peroration here seems to plaintively recall another big windup and pitch, this time from the misty legends of baseball:

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout,

But what about the evil of George Bush?
"I don't think there's anything he could say that would make me dislike him," she says.
To which we might append this slightly bowdlerized coda:
But there is no joy in Mudville --
Mighty Finkel has struck out.

Jihad in Denmark

The MSM has been giving little if any coverage to the flap over a series of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed that have been run in a Danish newspaper and rerun in Norwegian media as well. The Islamofascists, of course, as well as their friends in the "street" are in a high dudgeon, demanding apologies, lobbing death threats, the usual. The Danish newspaper issued a tepid "apology" and the Norwegian government is actually trying to appease these thugs.

But, as usual, the U.N. takes it one better:
Responding to a complaint by the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC) over twelve caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten last September, Louise Arbour - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - has appointed two UN experts on racism to carry out a detailed investigation into what Arbour characterizes as a “disrespect for belief.”
Leave it to the U.N. to set things right!! Just like they did with the Oil for Food scandal. We're wondering why they didn't investigate the Piss Christ and Elephant Dung Virgin Mary scandals in the U.S. over the last few years, but then again, that's only those superstitious Christians bitching, and we all know about them.

This issue, unfortunately, is a bit more complex than it might seem, which is why you can't leave it to the corrupt and simplistic idiots in the U.N. to deal with it. In democracies, you have, at times, a serious confrontation between the right to free speech and the seemingly more esoteric matters of respect and good taste. The far left in this country in particular, but in Europe as well, has made a fetish out of trashing Christianity as part of their Gramscian effort to exterminate organized religion as a force to be reckoned with in contemporary Western society. Christians, particularly in this country, have fought back hard and the tide is turning, but it has by no means turned.

A civilized society tries to strike a balance between freedom of speech, which must be honored, and malicious attempts to damage others, which need not be honored at all. We seem, however, to have lost this distinction when it comes to organized religion, which is regularly offended in this country.

While you can't exactly shut blasphemers up, you can deny public funding for their art, refuse to exhibit them, refuse to award them prizes, and essentially deny them endorsements and monetary rewards for their obnoxious, anti-social behavior. They'll either get the message or remain incorrigible at their own risk and expense. They have chosen freely to participate provocatively in the world of ideas, and in the end and must be allowed to say their piece. But once they have done so, we're under no obligation to agree with them or to support them in any way. If we shower cultural misfits like these with death threats, however, we are committing acts that are even worse than the provocation.

We can easily see how a devout, non-violent Muslim could get torqued off by the content of these cartoons, but that doesn't justify the usual insane violence that the extreme Islamofascists are more than ready to whip up at the least provocation. It also doesn't justify their lack of respect for countries in which they are, effectively, guests. I wonder what would happen to me if I started praying the Stations of the Cross in Mecca. It works both ways.

Christ famously advised those who were testing him politically that people should "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." Good advice. But, unfortunately, from the New Testament, not the Koran.

There's no solution to this problem for now. Muslims have to learn that to enjoy the fruits of democratic government, they're going to have to learn a bit of tolerance for the views of others, at least in the public sphere. They also have to understand that cartoons like the Danish caricatures don't exist in a vacuum. Adherents of Islam have allowed the violent to bear it away. They shouldn't be surprised that—after the subway attacks in Spain and the UK, the Islamic violence in France, the casual gang raping of non-Muslim women in Europe by Islamofascist thugs, and the countless grisly beheadings in Iraq—Westerners should view their religion as inherently violent, remorseless, and entirely intolerant. Until they gain the capability to look deeply within their own souls and motivations, such people are doomed to remaining on the fringes of civilized, democratic society as it is currently defined and understood.

But the West, on the other hand, is going to have to realize that they have reached a dead end in their headlong pursuit of nihilism and moral relativism. A democracy must tolerate reasonable yet differing points of view. But it also has no obligation to endorse those that will lead to an erosion of the society that they have achieved. The West will be able to counter radical Islamofascism only when it reconnects to its own Judaeo-Christian democratic roots, regaining at last the moral authority it lost when it established godless Marxism as its secular state religion.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Academics Claim Republicans Are Racist. Who Knew?

The Washington Post today attempted to compete with the completely discredited New York Times by publishing an article claiming that exhaustive research proves Republicans are racists. The alleged "study" claims to have used brain scans to determine reactions of white voters to images of white and black people. Guess what? Self-proclaimed Republicans allegedly show clear bias against blacks.
That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.
Of course. Academics, particularly those involved in the social sciences, operate from a deep and inherent bias themselves. For this reason, their "studies" always find what they expected to find.

The professors heading up the "study," of course, hedged their bets for public consumption, asserting something that needs no proof, namely that voters on either side of the aisle are prone to believe the best of people they favor and the worst of everyone else. Quel surprise!

Here's the kicker, though, which occurs at the conclusion of the article, the usual MSM trick that leaves the summary thought, defensible or no, firmly in the reader's mind:
Jon Krosnick, a psychologist and political scientist at Stanford University, who independently assessed the studies, said it remains to be seen how significant the correlation is between racial bias and political affiliation.

For example, he said, the study could not tell whether racial bias was a better predictor of voting preference than, say, policy preferences on gun control or abortion. But while those issues would be addressed in subsequent studies -- Krosnick plans to get random groups of future voters to take the psychological tests and discuss their policy preferences -- he said the basic correlation was not in doubt.

"If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial," he said. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting.... Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, 'This takes me aback,' they are ignoring a huge volume of research."
Well, I guess that closes off that avenue of argument, kids. Who are we to question the perfect wisdom of the esteemed professor Krosnick? (He, and the Post article, conveniently side-step the percentage of self-proclaimed Democrats who are biased, even thought the Post article clearly implies that not all Democrats were free of bias.)

But, as Quick Draw McGraw used to say, "Now just a darn minute there!"

First of all, the study in question was conducted in California by social psychologists.

Flaw #1: Since we already possess ironclad proof that 92-95% of all academics are left of center; and since, within this already biased sample, we can further conclude that the possible existence of a conservative social psychologist is statistically insignificant, we can preliminarily conclude that those conducting the "study" were interested in biasing the "study" to obtain information they already "knew," mainly that white Republicans are therefore racists. Thus they can be expected to have assembled the "study" in such a way as to "prove" their foregone conclusion.

Secondly, we have no description of the content of the statements or the nature of the images involved, leading us to

Flaw #2: In this "study," "images" of anonymous individuals, black and white, were paired with various "statements" and the interviewees' reactions, positive or negative, were compiled in order to detect alleged racial bias. One wonders just what "images" were shown. If many of the black images in the study were of "gangstas," for example, might that not lead to a strong negative reaction from a white suburban Republican? Very possibly. So what did these images look like? No one says.

Of course, since the "study" is being conducted by academics with a near perfect probablility of hard left bias, we can easily suspect them of

Flaw #3: Gaming the system. The survey was conducted among "self-described" Republicans and Democrats. Misidentification is the oldest game in the Democratic playbook. So, too, is the "sampling" of the populace (allegedly nationwide) that was used in the "study." What was to prevent oversampling "David Duke Republicans" in Louisiana and radical leftists in Berkeley, CA? Nothing. I'd like to see just how this sample was assembled. Political polls of all kinds are notorious for their undersampling of Republicans. An intentional lower sampling of Repubs, put together with gerrymandered geographical locales, can easily produce the desired results for any study of this nature.

The credibility killer, though, is the finale of the article, where the good professor Krosnick terminates debate by flatly declaring anyone who questions the poll's results is "in denial." This is a typical leftist tactic meant to instantly silence anyone like HazZzmat who might question the study's methodology and results. When academics—indeed, when anyone—gets cocky like this, you can bet that they're interested in quashing all further debate and all queries regarding the methodology behind their phony "studies."

It is, in fact, demonstrably biased academics, particularly in the leftist wasteland of the social sciences, that need to demonstrate their lack of bias, not the other way 'round. Having transformed college campuses nationwide, over the past 30-40 years, into heavily guarded leftist ghettos, academic leftists have become accustomed to an atmosphere where no one dare question their received wisdom.

Well, sorry guys. Your "study" was almost certainly statistically loaded against the Repubs from the start. You have zero credibility with the general populace. And most of us know hate-mongering when we see it, even when it is hidden in what is alleged to have been a respectable "study." This socalled "study" is nothing more than another sham academic exercise, probably funded by the taxpayers, that was designed solely to further the Gramscian aim of redefining the culture by redefining its terminology and standards. If it had been truly scientific, the "study" would have spoken for itself, and would not have required insulting helpful commentary from professor Krosnick.

Which leads us to

Flaw #4: Although Krosnick's inflammatory and reductive gasbagging is not part of the "study," his assertion that he has 50 years of data supporting his conclusion of inherent Republican racial bias is laughable. The Gramscian reconstruction of our history fails to mention that it was the Republican Party that fought the Democratic Party throughout the late 1940s and the entirety of the 1950s on the issue of racial parity. The Democrats marginalized their own equality champions like Hubert Humphrey, and rolled over the Republican minority each and every time they tried to propose civil rights legislation. None other than that sainted hero of civil rights, Lyndon Johnson, controlled the U.S. Senate during much of this period. He saw to it that each and every Republican civil rights legislative initiative was roundly rammed back down their collective gullet. The easily-proved Republican championing of civil rights throughout this era, as well as their enthusiastic support for the 1965 Civil Rights Act entirely negates Krosnick's asinine assertion, and immediately uncloaks the deep bias of his own political agenda. The Gramscian left, aided by unprovable nonsense such as the above comments, has succeeding in writing these bold and lonely Republicans right out of the history books, allowing them to be remembered only for the aberrant behavior of Senator McCarthy, the leftists' Great Satan.

Don't believe us on the Republican crusade for civil rights? Check out the third volume of Robert Caro's masterful biography of Lyndon Johnson. Unlike this highly subjective and suspect "study," there is simply too much hard information in that volume to refute.

Trumpeted breathlessly in the Washington Post, the cited "study" is nothing more than a further attempt to bias the American public, particularly the African-American public, against Republicans by declaring them, in effect, genetic racists whose own brain waves betray their rottenness. Too bad it's not going to work this time. We have the blogosphere, now, gentlemen, and we're available 24/7 to deconstruct the dogmas of the left, whether they involve this sham "study" or Dan Rather's "fake but accurate" lies concerning W's military service.

Or are you in denial?

Wonkette, Take Two

The latest in Wonkette's transgendered makeover. Gotta say this for the new, er, guys, their entries have kicked the intellectual content of this site up a notch. Although they're still pretty obviously Democrats, and confess they're not used to seeing straphangers read The Washington Times. (So, get over it already.)

Note the umbrella, undoubtedly supplied by the Pinkos of Code Pink. We told you the left was duplicitous. Have you any further doubts? This is the most bizarre makeover since Miss Lonelyhearts turned out to be a guy.

All of which leads us to a curious thought. Where are the feminazi critics of this all-male power grab? Oh, that's right. Although they are craftily wearing ties, the boys are clearly not Republicans. Never mind.

Chocolate City, Take Two...

Speaking of manipulating the language, how about let's manipulate a whole story?
The [Louisville, Ky] Courier-Journal’s ombudsperson has an article about the Ray Nagin “Chocolate City” comments. The paper had changed the mayor's characterization to “a majority African American city.” Why?

The short answer: We messed up.It's not a monumental goof, but it's one that fuels suspicions some readers have about the news media in general and this newspaper in particular. That's why I'm addressing it today.

A copy editor who worked on the first day's wire story paraphrased Nagin's remarks because he did not want to give offense to readers.
A hat-tip to Jim Lileks. Read the rest here, along with some pithy comments on racist cartoonist Aaron McGruder, who'd already have been strung up if he were a white guy. Ditto for the copyeditor above if he were, say, "reinterpreting" a comment by Trent Lott.

Leftists can be highly disciplined when maintaining their traditional double standards.

Jimmy Does Ramallah

The latest political reading from the priceless Cox & Forkum:

America's worst ex-President ever really knows how to call 'em, eh?

The Wabash (College) Cannonball?

Interesting goings on at once (and future) exemplary Wabash College which may now be poised to hire a new President whose backstory and current aims should have cut him off from consideration a long time ago. Roger Kimball dishes some of the details.

Hat tip to Power Line.

(BTW, Power Line, why not get rid of that annoying, pulsating ad you've been running at the top of the blog for a week. It's beneath the dignity of the site, and no one is going to click on it.)

Liberalism: The End of an Era, Part Deux

Interesting post on Instapundit today—one that is in some ways an echo of our observations yesterday, mainly that "liberal" as it is currently used in the MSM, academia, and elsewhere, is no longer a viable term to describe the hate-filled leftists that now control the heart and soul of the Democratic Party:
Reader Rachel Walker emails:

I just finished reading MyDD's opinion on polls. As a liberal I was rather disturbed with the blogger's wish that Bush's approval rating was in the 30's. Does that mean he is so unimpressed by our own party that the only way we could win is to make Bush look bad? With such an attitude, we don't look so great either.

It's such whiny and desparate behavior that leads me to more centrist and conservative blogs than anything Kos or DU related. It seems to me liberals have forgotten to be liberal (tolerant, polite, yet firm in belief), and such behavior is why many people, though they do not like Bush or some conservative ideas, tend to distance themselves from the left. I know that's the reason for me.
Emphasis in the above is courtesy of HazZzmat. We'd observe that reader Rachel is still a little slippery on her own definition of "liberal" in that she lists attributes of what she believes their behavior to be (tolerant, polite, yet firm in belief) without actually defining what their "belief" might be. Nonetheless, she does single out the nature of the virtues that so-called liberals endlessly bleat about but very rarely practice: tolerant (except if you're conservative or pro-life), polite (unless you're talking to a Republican), and firm in belief (like supporting Roe v. Wade while protesting the clubbing of baby seals?).

We're not dissing Instapundit's honest reader here. Indeed, although her own response is telling in ways she might not have imagined, she nonetheless is figuring out that the screaming hatemongers on the hard left do not at all fall into the definition of what she, herself, would term "liberal." The fact that she can't quite define it herself is less her own fault than the fault of the leftists who have tried to retain the inherent surface virtue of the term "liberal" while eviscerating entirely its core meaning.

Politically, Dems seem to think that more of this crusading hatred, added with (mostly) Republican Congressional scandals will spell victory for them in 2006 and 2008. But with people like Rachel wising up to the motivations of people they've customarily supported, we suggest that too-clever-by-half Dems like Kerry and Hillary think again.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Some Dare Call It Treason

Interesting observation in today's Power Line, regarding the ongoing hypocrisy-fest being waged against the Bush Administration by the New York Times, re: the NSA surveillance "scandal":
...James Risen, Eric Lichtblau and everyone else at the Times involved in the publication of the NSA surveillance story have engaged in conduct violative of the federal espionage laws. Yet the Times has never even acknowledged its own legal jeopardy. John concludes with a point close to my heart:

[I]t is worth mentioning that Lichtblau and Liptak purport to sit in judgment on the legality of the administration's conduct, without ever noting the fact that Lichtblau and the Times itself unquestionably violated federal law by publishing leaks about the NSA program. In the world of the antique media, illegality requires no explanation if it is directed against the Bush administration.

Every word the Times now publishes about the NSA surveillance story is deeply compromised by a conflict of interest that the Times has yet to acknoweledge.
Yep. Conflict of interest, all right. And, would you believe, treason?

Read the rest here.

High Church Karl Marx

Commenting on the ongoing assault by the left on Western government and culture, Belmont Club's Wretchard observes:
The West is menaced not only by its declining fertility but by an assault on its intellectual core. We have become as the Ancients whose ideas of freedom went on to illuminate distant generations, but not their own descendants, who hastened to embrace the following dark.
He presents an interesting side-by-side table, comparing the hysterical feminist reaction to Lawrence Summers' observations on gender to the high-priest's reaction to the words of Jesus Christ, concluding that by "declaring blasphemey," i.e., enforcing political correctness, one effectively ends any possibility for meaningful argument. Whic, of course, is the point of the intellectual and political thugs who do this.

Read the whole thing via the link above.

Liberalism: The End of an Era

I've been thinking a lot lately about one of my favorite issues: the manipulation of terminology by the left. Read, for example, the following snippet from Saturday's Washington Post, obtained via Instapundit:

Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest groups vs. elected officials trying to appeal to a much broader audience.

These activists -- spearheaded by battle-ready bloggers and making their influence felt through relentless e-mail campaigns -- have denounced what they regard as a flaccid Democratic response to the Supreme Court fight, President Bush's upcoming State of the Union address and the Iraq war. In every case, they have portrayed party leaders as gutless sellouts. . . .

"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."

The article, of course, is discussing the beehive busy antics of hatemongers like the Daily Kos and others. But note where HazZzmat has highlighted (boldface) terms in the quote above.

In the first paragraph, Kos and his ilk are referred to as "fiery liberals." In the second graf, they are now "activists." In the third graf, they have become the "activist left." Now, as any have decent journo knows, you have to vary your wording a bit to keep reader interest. But the above paragraphs also conceal something far subtler going on, and it's not always in the consciousness of the journalists who write such stuff.

Writers today, when describing the left or the right, invariably use two or three simple, derogatory terms to describe those to the right of them: "religious fundamentalists," "right wing extremists," "right wing Republicans." There are minor variants, but these are the faves. Since the negative terminology describing the right has become common currency among the journos, its use is a signal that the information following the moniker can automatically be derided or dismissed.

But what is imprecisely called "liberal" or "liberalism" these days is a vast pantheon of the post-Marxist left that contains numerous splinter groups, many of whom defy precise categorization, although you know them when you see them. "Liberal" at one time was actually a good word, and Wonker and many of his cohorts would have automatically used that word to describe themselves had they been discussing politics in, say, the 1940s or 1950s—perhaps even the early 1960s. A liberal at that time was concerned with civil rights, equality of opportunity, democracy for all, and, above all, a strong national defense. For this reason, it was not hard to sign on to that social and political program. Most of us agreed with it in toto.

Now, however, "liberalism" is the beneficial old tree behind which hide an incredible array of political muggers and hatemongers. Nearly all of them loosely affiliate with the Democratic Party which, today, they dominate by means of economic and propagandistic terror. Fact is, a significant majority of politically active "liberals" are, in fact not liberals at all, but members, fellow travelers, and propagandists of substantial remnants of the hard left. The term "liberal" has, in fact, become a convenient disguise for closet Marxists, collectivists, socialists, anarcho-syndicalists, social utopians, diehard "Popular Fronters," and Gramscian manipulators. It allows them to don the mantle of benevolence while secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) supporting a socialist world government that would replace all nation-states with something resembling, no doubt, the Workers' Paradise of Josef Stalin.

Once you realize this, you can grasp quickly that, numerically, there are no "liberals" in the Democratic Party, or at least very, very few. Extremists like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, for example, are not only very, very rich. They are elitists and socialists who intend to hang on to their riches while plundering such nest eggs as the rest of us have been able to acquire. Likewise other hatemongers in that party like Henry Waxman and the invincibly ignorant Maxine Waters. The rest of the party, by and large, either follows hard leftists such as these. Or they stay in the background, cowed by the force of these hard leftists, and deathly afraid of losing the money that runs them, and thus their next election.

The writer in the passage above somehow understands, deep down, these distinctions. But he either lacks the terminology, or the will, to avoid using the facile and essentially meaningless term "liberal" (or its twin, "activist," an approving word that is almost never used to describe someone of equal passion on the right) to describe the hatemonger wing of the party to which he doubtless belongs. The closest he can get is "fiery liberal." But wouldn't that have described Hubert Humphrey during his early (and forgotten) crusade for civil rights? The writer clearly knows that things have changed since, say, 1984, but doesn't bother to update his terminology.

Increasingly here at HazZzmat, we're going to start eliminating the term "liberal" from our blog entries because it is no longer even remotely accurate. It is now painfully obvious that a substantial majority of those hiding behind that term are, in fact, not liberals at all, but proponents of one or more belief systems united under the loose collective of hard leftists that was always there but which has coalesced more strongly since the fall of the Berlin Wall and since the start of the Bush II presidency.

For too long, the hard left has managed to obscure the political argument by hiding behind a traditional term, "liberal," that contains within it a considerable residue of good will that was well earned during the first half of the last century. But the term now, as it is used today, is fraudulent, lacking even a shred of its original meaning. We're going to do our best to get rid of it, and start telling things like they are.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Mozart's Birthday

The problem with holding a day job is that your employer actually expects you to do something for that fat, undeserved paycheck. Unless you're tenured in the Federal government, the public school system, or academia, of course. So obviously light blogging today. Wonk is up to his eyeballs in the complexities of capitalism.

But lest we forget, it is Mozart's Birthday today. Happy 250th, Amadeus!

Wonker and Mrs. Wonker will be attending a special concert at the Austrian Embassy tonight in Mozart's honor. For once, we'll be delighted to celebrate Old Europe.

Have a good weekend, and consider dining tonight to a CD of Mozart's piano or chamber music. Your life will improve. Civilization will be enhanced. Conversation will be possible. Wine will be appropriate.

Heavy metal just doesn't cut it for a Romantic dinner. Mozart obviously knew this. Now you do, too.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

RIP Wonkette

Although this is relatively old news, we were hardly saddened to hear that Ana Marie Cox bowed out as Wonkette a couple of weeks ago in the midst of a publicity tsunami for her self-referential (and very bad) new novel, Dog Days, which we won't link to or publicize. The blog has been taken over by a couple of male bloggers, although its name remains the same.

Wonkette (the blog) actually inspired the blogname of this writer, mainly by Wonkette's insistence on serving as a content-free zone in the blogosphere. Cotton-candy fluffy, self-referential, Blackberry-obsessed, and thirty-something snarky with all surface and no depth, Wonkette initially made a name for herself by interfacing with folks like flash-in-the-pan "Washingtonienne," a onetime low-level staffer for an Ohio Senator. Washingtonienne gained fame by boasting to the world of her skanky, Nighttown prowess as Capitol Hill's most available female rectum. Her breathless blog entries frequently read like The Story of O for the Naughty Aughties, but her misadventures promptly got her fired once her identity was outted. Sadly, it was frequently to this level of discourse that Wonkette herself sank on countless occasions.

Wonk himself has never figured out why her blog gained so much traction, except perhaps amongst shallow young male readers. Frequently sporting bald pates offset by Arafat-like facial hair, such self-parodies possess an inflated sense of their own sophistication even while mouthing vulgar, post-ironic profundities whose sheer lack of perspicacity would stun even Beavis and Butthead into slack-jawed amazement. One must reluctantly draw the conclusion that a certain portion of the American populace, particularly in the scribbling world, remains mired in, addicted to, and obsessed with a sniggering, adolescent response to the act of human reproduction.

Cox' marriage to onetime deputy editor of the Washington Post Book World, Chris Lehmann (now with Congressional Quarterly Weekly, after a surprisingly short stint with New York magazine) probably guaranteed predictably incestuous free coverage from time to time in that paper's debased "Style" section, which has evolved into a free PR insert flakking for whomever publicists and marketing execs have decided is "in," at least this week. In a typical Pravda-type maneuver, these revisionists upgraded Ana Marie's image by Photoshopping away the ugly, three green (or blue?) stars tattooed to her right upper arm. (Although more accurate images have appeared in other, less trendy newspapers, blogs, sites, etc. A lame explanation for the tattooes is provided at the end of this article.)

Look. Cox is attractive, has some talent, and clearly has a gift for the quip. She's also quite good at projecting low-level Gen X gravitas or a reasonable simulation thereof. But as to real intellectual content, there's no there there, as Gertrude Stein once said in another context. This Writer Formerly Known as Wonkette (for a mere two years) is a classic example of a scribbler well back in the pack who caught the right coattails at the right time and rode them to instant fame and probable oblivion.

But don't take it from us. P.J. O'Rourke was even less kind to Cox and her faux roman a clef. In, of all places, the Post's Book World. Which makes it difficult for us to draw a moral conclusion to this mess. O tempora, o mores?

More Evidence of Global Warming


This should warm Sundance-bound Al Gore's cold, privileged heart.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Oh, One More Thing...

Still in the office, but about ready to depart, and thought I'd share a nifty tidbit from David Horowitz, obtained via the intrepid Power Line. Scott Johnson is musing on the New York Times' clearly treasonous behavior in trumpeting national secrets obtained from apparently still mostly-anonymous sources connected with the National Security Agency (NSA) regarding the inaptly termed "domestic wiretap" situation. En route, Johnson remembers a story from Horowitz that, unbelievably, may provide cover for these cynical bastards:
In his autobiography Radical Son, former Ramparts editor David Horowitz recounts an incident involving the magazine's 1972 receipt of a draft article by a pseudonymous National Security Agency employee. Horowitz characterizes his involvement in the publication of the article in Ramparts as "the most shameful or humiliating thing I ever did."

In the article, the NSA employee revealed that the agency had cracked the Soviet intelligence code and could read Soviet electronic communications at will. Deliberating over whether publication of the article might subject the magazine editors to prosecution under the espionage laws, Horowitz consulted prominent Harvard law professor Charles Nesson. (Nesson denies recollection of the conversation recounted by Horowitz.) Nesson was then working as a member of Daniel Ellsberg's defense team in connection with the government's prosecution of Ellsberg for removing copies of the Pentagon Papers and turning them over to the Times -- the incident underlying the Pentagon Papers case itself. Horowitz relates that Nesson advised him that publication of the article would violate the law. In addition to providing certain technical guidance, according to Horowitz, Nesson advised:

To make its case in a court of law, the government would have to establish that we had indeed damaged national security. To do so, it would be necessary to reveal more than the government might want the other side to know. In fact, the legal process would force more information to light than the government would want anybody to know. On balance, there was a good chance that we would not be prosecuted. I had just been given advice by a famous constitutional law professor on how to commit treason and get away with it.
(Our itals.) Read the rest of Scott's column here.

Just goes to show you how carefully, how stealthily, and how long the Gramscian left has endeavored to game the American legal system. Nonetheless, to their credit, the Bushies in the Department of Justice (DOJ) are at least going to take a shot at prosecuting the seditionists inside the Federal government and its own intelligence agencies.

And Now We Interrupt This Program...

The daily grind is transporting Wonker from Northern to Southern Virginia for roughly the next day and a half, so blogging may be light to non-existent for just a bit. If something happens in the meantime that, in your opinion, requires an astute response from HazZzmat, just drop it into the comment area for this entry and Luther or I will jump on as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, though, I'm comfortable that the Gramscian, er, Democratic Party, driven by the propagandists in the Kos Kids' Politburo, will disgrace themselves on something anyway that will require a timely corrective here.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Down On Mrs. Clinton's Plantation

Power Line today cites some interesting comments from Shelby Steele on Hillary Clinton's recent pandering to the black community (highlights by HazZzmat):
Mrs. Clinton came to Al Sharpton's MLK celebration looking for an easy harvest of black votes. And she knew the drill--white liberals and Dems whistle for the black vote by pandering to the black sense of grievance. Once positioned as the white champions of this grievance, they actually turn black resentment into white liberal power. Today, Democrats cannot be competitive without this alchemy. So Mrs. Clinton's real insult to blacks--one far uglier than her plantation metaphor--is to value them only for their sense of grievance.

Mrs. Clinton's husband was a master of this alchemy, and his presidency also illustrated its greatest advantage. Once black grievance is morphed into liberal power, it need never be honored. President Clinton notoriously felt black pain, won the black vote, and then rewarded blacks with the cold shower of welfare reform. And here, now, is Mrs. Clinton sidling up to the trough of black grievance, eyes wide in expectation, but also a tad contemptuous. It is hard to fully respect one's suckers.
This excerpt is so good that there's really no point in commenting much further, except to state that Wonker has been beating this drum for at least 30 years to no effect. It's like the tree falling in the forest with no one there. Does it really make a sound? We find it hard to imagine that the African-American community has not finally gotten completely fed up with being played for suckers since at least 1954. We suspect many of them have. But the fear of shunning, the same fear shared by artists, writers, and journalists, is apparently still far, far to strong for them to stage a revolt and move to the other side where'll they'll be more than respected and more than welcome. Social conditioning is an amazing thing, in that, more often than not, it prevents entire ethnic and interest groups from acting in their own best interests, thus perpetuating the cause of their own oppression.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Watcha Gonna Do?

For the uninitiated, our headline was swiped, er, re-appropriated, from the "Cops" cable TV show theme song. But we're talking about schoolboys here. You know, the kind of hyperactive but lovable kids that used to disrupt classrooms with their antics but later went on to become our scientists, politicians, and business leaders. Well, not much chance of that happening for boys these days, according to the First Lady and others, as reported by America's newspaper, The Washington Times:
"I think we need to pay more attention to boys. I think we've paid a lot of attention to girls for the last 30 years ... but we have actually neglected boys," Mrs. Bush told Parade magazine early last year.

William Pollack, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, agrees.

"Boys are suffering. They are sitting in classrooms where they can't perform at the same level as girls and so cannot compete with girls," he says. "As a result, they have lower self-esteem. The bottom line is that they are suffering both academically and emotionally."
This isn't exactly news for our pal Luther and others like Christina Hoff Sommers who've repeatedly attempted to put this issue in front of the American public. The gender feminization of our educational institutions has ruthlessly punished a good deal of rambunctious but innocent young male hijinks over the years, or, more subtly, has turned the brains of these cutups into slow-growing mushrooms by fertilizing them with horse manure and Ritalin.

Males are, surprise, different from females, and one has to concede that it's sometimes tough to channel a lot of this useful energy into socially acceptable behavior. In grade school, at least, girls are simply more socialized than boys.

But it's wrong, except in extreme or pernicious cases of violence or aggressive behavior, to declare this kind of behavior abnormal and try to medicate or punish it out of existence. The behavior of the average young male is not wrong, it is different, and that doesn't make it, de facto, bad.

Complicating the problem are the essentially anti-male textbooks that have increasingly taken hold in public school classrooms. We recall a high school textbook on introductory business practices for young people that our daughter brought home in the late 1980s. Wonk was appalled to see that, while each chapter began with a full page picture and short bio of an American business leader, they all, save for Thomas Alva Edison, highlighted women and minorities.

Don't draw the facile (and wrong) conclusion about our reasoning here. The book's stated intend was to primarily highlighted bios of business leaders circa 1870-1960. Rightly or wrongly, nearly 100% of major U.S. business figures during this time period were white males. But, with the exception of Edison, the textbook seems to have forgotten minor personalities like Cyrus McCormick, the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, just to name a few.

The intent of the textbook's biography sections was not to relate the fact of American business life during this period. It was, rather, to address perceived greivances and "right the wrongs" allegedly perpetrated on our society by the white, male patriarchy.

While past textbooks have indeed been guilty of a certain level of intended and unintended bias, one doesn't correct these simply by employing an equal an opposite level of intentional bias. This pattern, repeated in textbooks across all subject areas, has rooted out, over time, a great many male role models who, for all their flaws, have always served as an inspiration for young men, guiding them toward future accomplishments, goals that can be achieved if only they will harness and channel the unbounded energy that seems, these days, to be so socially unacceptable.

The evil done against young males in the public schools over roughly the last half century has been profound. Young males are now dropping out of high school and college in record numbers, and they are no longer the majority in colleges and universities. This is not in and of itself a terrible thing, save for the fact that the educational environment now so demonstrably favors, or as academics like to say, "privileges" females and female behavior to the point where males increasingly feel left out and inadequate in intellectual environments.

It is incontestible that the reverse used to be true. Nonetheless, once again, we fail to see how creating the opposite situation—removing oppressive circumstances from girls and young women and placing them on boys and young men—creates any kind of progress at all.

Once again, the Gramscians, with their agenda of transforming the cultural norm while Americans look elsewhere, have succeeded in undermining not only the educational underpinnings of our society. They are also increasingly robbing this country of an aggressive but moral type of male leadership that is, in fact, needed now more than ever as we confront an often faceless enemy whose endgame, ironically, will result in a horror apparently unimaginable to the smug ideologues on the American feminist and Marxist left.

Triumph of the Left?

The Christian Science Monitor lays out today the following unpleasant observation:
The political left in America is emerging victorious. No, this isn't about the damage that Jack Abramoff's mischief has done to the political right. Nor is it about President Bush's lousy poll numbers. And it doesn't refer to Democrats' recent win of two governorships.

It's about something much deeper; namely, that the era of big government is far from over. Trends are decidedly in favor of that quintessential leftist goal: massive redistribution of wealth.

Republicans' capture of both Congress and the White House was, understandably, a demoralizing blow to the left. But the latter can take solace that "Republican" is no longer synonymous with spending restraint, free markets, and other ideals of the political right.

While the left did not get its way on tax cuts, this may be only a temporary defeat: Freewheeling spending has made future tax cuts politically a lot harder.
Yep. (Highlights by HazZzmat.)

The remainder of the article provides further evidence of this "trend," barely concealing a smug, triumphalist tone. And we don't entirely agree with the conclusions of this piece.

But the article does lay out in stark terms just what has happened over the last year or two as Republicans, particularly in the House, have easily co-opted the Dem's favorite political tool over the past 75 years or so: buying votes. "Earmark" some money, buy more votes. Bring home the bacon for "your constituency." How? By stealing the money from someone else's constituency.

The trend observed in the Monitor is not irreversible. No trend ever is. But it is tough to teach pigs not to eat out of the trough where they have become accustomed to dine. With "entitlements" (a word we have come to despise) eating by far the majority of the national budget—not the military industrial complex as the left would have us believe—adding more and more pork to the taxpayer burden and increasing debt to pay for it only delays what is fast becoming a political Armageddon.

If Repubs don't start waking up and rediscovering their fiscal discipline, voters this fall will have a hard time discerning what their choices are and just might start pulling the wrong levers. Time to wake up, guys and gals, before you wake up one Wednesday morning early in November, 2006, and find yourselves out of power.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Why Mommy Is a Democrat

A hat tip to Soxblog for discovering that leftwing propaganda and indoctrination have now trickled down to the pre-school level via Jeremy Zilber's new "reader" entitled "Why Mommy Is a Democrat." Judging from the excerpts in Soxblog (complete with simplistic illustrations straight from yellow nineties journalism), Zilber has adapted Maoist techniques to suit the current era. Have they no decency?

Hey, no point in our describing this further when Sox says it all. Check out the link above for a fine literary exegesis and a rueful Sunday chuckle at the expense of our predictable Moonbat friends.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Censorship! Censorship!

The Washington Post's ombudsperson, Deborah Howell, has been caught in the crossfire of fulminating liberals who are denouncing her for allegedly—supporting conservatives! (Did we read that right?) Howell had the temerity to suggest in her column that more than a few Democrats might have been caught in flagrante with money tainted by the Abramoff scandal in addition to all those hateful Republicans. In point of fact, they have, but don't ever tell that to a true believer on the left.

Howell was apparently inundated almost instantaneously with outraged email commentary from lefties who had their knickers in a knot over anyone at the Post even suggesting that anyone but genetically evil, knuckle-dragging Republicans could possibly be involved in the scandal. After all, the Post is a reliable mouthpiece for the left, right? So how DARE they betray this current article of leftist faith, namely, that only Repubs are involved in the scandal?

When the comments starting going over the top (as leftist commentaries always do), Howell cut the bitching off and deleted the online comments. But print journalists still haven't picked up on the lesson learned (or maybe not) by Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, namely, that censorship ain't that easy on the Internet, particularly when the blogosphere is around. The denouement of this story is nothing less than hilarious.

If you don't believe us, read all about it here. And be sure you follow the "deleted" links just to see the hilariously easy methodology that was used to resurrect the "censored" comments. Courtesy of the ever-watchful Instapundit.

After you have a few chuckles at Howell's and the Post's misfortunes, the important lesson to learn is that the left never allows the actual facts of a case to interfere with secular church dogma.

MINOR UPDATE: Howell retracted her initial assertion that Abramoff contributed money directly in all instances. While he contributed some money of his own to candidates, much of it was "directed" to be contributed by others. A hairsplit, really, and doesn't alter any of the above observations.

Iraqi Election Results In

Iraq the Model has the complete totals today, plus a preceding story providing some background. The MSM has been remarkably uninterested in this important ongoing story, preferring instead to focus on the spikes in violence. As you read Iraq the Model over the weeks and months, you begin to see that at least a certain portion of this murderous violence is apparently the way some Iraqis choose to negotiate. Appalling, but that is the way in that part of the world, at least for some, and it is this equation that GW Bush has ambitiously decided to change—realizing that changing habits like this could take decades.

ITM's Omar, a secular Sunni and a reliable source, does not endorse this violence, and has provided a remarkably evenhanded narrative from his troubled country over the past two years. ITM is well worth reading if you'd like to gather a little bit of actual news from someone who is there and who cares very deeply about the outcome of these activities.

Make no mistake—what is happening in Afghanistan and Iraq is causing major ripples in this part of the world, most obviously in Lebanon, Libya, and even Egypt. Even stubborn Syria is being affected.

Now if we could only see something positive out of Teheran. Wonker is an incurable optimist, but optimism doesn't have much traction in Iran's current mullahcracy. But that's a blog entry for another time.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

AWOL Today

Wonk has been AWOL today, obviously, but much that is interesting has been happening on many fronts, so hopefully, we'll be back at it tomorrow. But today, gotta earn a living!! That's capitalism for you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Progressive Socialism According to the Washington Post

One of the things we get on our soapbox about here in HazZzmat is the way in which MSM leftists have twisted the language to frame literary, artistic, social, and legal arguments geared toward destroying U.S. cultural and governmental institutions and replacing them with some new collectivist world order. In accordance with the philosophy of Antonio Gramsci, a major part of this effort involves the effective rewriting and calibrating of history in such a way that capitalism, religion, and other forces that have served to unify this country are gradually pushed out of the picture frame and replaced by something totally different which is then trumpeted as the norm.

Case in point is an editorial in today’s Washington Post print edition that also appears here on the Web. (NOTE: You may have to go through a tedious WaPo registration process to get to it, but unlike the stingy NY Times, the Post has not yet begun to charge for content.) We thought it might be a good idea to give this subtly biased piece a good fisking to show you what we mean. The editorial is almost humorously entitled “A Leader for the 21st Century.” Who, of course, is most assuredly not George W. Bush.

The editorial begins by casting in a most favorable light the election of two “socialists” as presidents of Chile and Bolivia respectively. All highlights in the reprinted material are courtesy of HazZzmat:
SOUTH AMERICAN neighbors Chile and Bolivia have recorded groundbreaking presidential elections within weeks of each other. Last month Evo Morales became the first indigenous leader to take power as president of Bolivia; on Sunday, Michelle Bachelet was elected to become Chile's first female president. Both leaders call themselves socialists, and thus represent a Latin American movement that for decades was forcibly excluded from government. Yet in political substance, Mr. Morales and Ms. Bachelet could hardly be more different. The contrast between them illustrates how Latin American nations, unlike developing countries almost everywhere else in the world, remain mired in confusion over economic models.
So far, so good, sort of. “Groundbreaking” is hardly the word, as Chile elected a bona-fide Marxist, Salvador Allende, as its President back in the 1970s. Allende, who intentionally mislabled himself a socialist, was overthrown, allegedly murdered (but possibly committed suicide), and replaced by the Pinochet regime, transforming his short, Communist-friendly era into a “Paradise Lost” myth propagated by the U.S. and Latin American left ever since. Calling the current elections, particularly the one in Chile, “groundbreaking” is to conveniently omit reference to Allende's attempt to nationalize its major industries and set up a Soviet-style Communist dictatorship with the help of Moscow and Cuba. (It was analagous, in many ways, to Cuba's growing and nefarious support of Venezuela's thuggish Cesar Chavez.)

Today’s media largely ignores Allende and his predations to focus instead on Pinochet’s violent, Newtonian response to the incipient Communist takeover. We don’t mean to belabor the point, but it’s important, as you will see, to carefully tease out what is conveniently not mentioned in slanted pieces such as this. Bringing up the truth about Chile’s past flirtation with “socialism” would cause bodily harm to the propaganda that’s about to be pitched by this editorial.

The second thing we need to note before moving on is the term “socialism.” The editorial writer carefully introduces a form of the word in this first graf by stating, entirely correctly, that both leaders “call themselves socialists.” This is a slippery term, however. The writer will shortly use its very slipperiness to carefully, subtly draw a golden nimbus of sainthood around it by the conclusion of the editorial.

The editorial next describes, quite accurately, the nature of Evo Morales’ “socialism,” carefully skirting any mention of the C-word or the M-word so as not to taint the term when it is further developed a bit later. He does this by substituting an apparently neutral term:
Though his presidency symbolizes the expansion of Bolivian democracy to fully include the country's poor, indigenous majority, Mr. Morales is a throwback to Latin America's past. His "socialism" is the populist statism that first appeared in the region more than half a century ago. Mr. Morales promises to nationalize Bolivia's oil and gas reserves, reverse the sale of state companies to foreign investors, and defy the international financial community. Like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, his mentor, he expects to raise living standards through statist pump-priming; foreign trade and investment are regarded with suspicion. That these policies have led repeatedly to catastrophe, and were long ago discredited elsewhere in the world, is trumped in these Latin countries by the politics of class resentment, anti-Americanism and, more often than not, authoritarian muscle.
Again, no real problem here. This paragraph pretty accurately describes Morales’ outlook and correctly equates it with the disastrous path Chavez has already charted. However, note the use of the terms "statism" and “statist,” as in “statist pump-priming.” Very clever. “Statist” is substituted for the correct term, which could be either “Communist” (C-word) or “Marxist” (M-word). Using either word at this point, however, would soil the terms “socialist” and “socialism”—leftist mantras that are about to be carefully nuanced and transmogrified once we get Morales out of the way.

Good. Now our writer will vaguely redefine “socialism” in a very attractive and interesting way, particularly if you regard a failed Europe—as the MSM always does—as the economic model to follow:
Chile, by contrast, increasingly looks and behaves more like a European country than one of its neighbors. Ms. Bachelet -- an agnostic, a single mother, urbane and well-traveled (she attended middle school in Bethesda) -- would be at home in the social democratic parties of Western Europe. Like them, she favors steps to improve economic equality, which still lags in Chile. But she doesn't question the foundations of her country's growing prosperity -- which are the very free trade, foreign investment and free markets that elsewhere in the region are demonized as "neo-liberalism." Chile, like Mexico, has a free-trade agreement with the United States; it also has trade deals with the European Union, China and India. All were signed by its outgoing, highly popular socialist president, Ricardo Lagos.
Well, now we’re well into it. There’s a lot going on in this paragraph which is pivotal for convincing the reader that: 1. Europe is the model Chile is going to follow; 2. Bachelet is politically-correct and socially acceptable; and 3. A “socialist” president is a very good thing and this is what enlightened Chileans want.

The writer asserts that Chile “looks and behaves more like a European country.” Actually, Chile’s robust capitalism, cited lower in the graf but not called out by name on purpose, is more American-style than European style. Were it truly enraptured with a European-style socialism, as this piece will contend, Chile's unemployment rate would be going up, not down, as is currently the case in Europe whose collective economy is essentially stagnant. Thus, the analogy to Europe is false, and a backhanded way to avoid giving avowedly capitalist America, which has arranged mutually beneficial free trade agreements with Chile, any credit for Chile’s post-Allende, post-Pinochet development at all. Which is consonant with the “hate America firsters” in the MSM.

Next, this graf praises Bachelet’s most important personal qualities. She is “an agnostic, a single mother, urbane and well-traveled (she attended middle school in Bethesda)” who “would be at home in the social democratic parties of Western Europe.” Cool. As an agnostic, she is no doubt a former Roman Catholic who has left the Church (and Pope Ratzinger) behind, but not so far as to become an “atheist” which is a bad word and probably not good politics in Chile. But essentially not believing in God makes Bachelet right-on with the Post.

She’s also “a single mother.” This is great, too, as it clearly means she’s jettisoned her no-doubt typically brutish Latino husband, the kind of male albatross that all too many feminists seem to endure far too long before they see the light and release themselves from the bondage of the patriarchy. Good score so far. She’s tossed God the Father and the male of the species out the window, squaring her bona-fides with the atheists and the gender feminists on the left.

And say, she’s “urbane and well-traveled,” too, and even went to middle school in trendy Bethesda, Maryland. This is a bit of a mish-mosh, as it did expose her to the hated U.S. at some point, but, fortunately, probably only to the country club set, all of whom (in Maryland anyway) are Democrats.

Best of all, she’d be “at home in the social democratic parties of Western Europe.” Very clever here, too clever by half. First of all “social democrat” is fairly ambiguous and means different things in different countries in Europe as elsewhere. (The term can sometimes even connote “conservative.”) The writer tries to evade this problem by carefully excluding Eastern Europe, whose fresh democracies, now recovering from a half-century of Marxist destructiveness, have pretty much broken with socialism forever, although party terminology sometimes remains. What the writer is really trying to do is equate Bachelet with Postie heroes like Jacques Chirac and the now-deposed Gerhard Schroeder, both of whom preferred to concede the failure of their social and economic policies by demonizing George Bush and the U.S., much as our Wahhabi friends continue to do.

Oh, and by the way. Bachelet’s predecessor was also a socialist. And he was popular, too. Which means the Chileans are really, really smart, because they like European socialism, follow?

Bottom line, for the Post, is that Bachelet is (allegedly) a Euro-socialist and thus sure to hate George W. Bush, which therefore means they like her.

But now, the Post begins to undercut its own argument. However, you’ll only notice this if you've been able to avoid the editorial’s seductive cultivation and redefinition of “socialism” as a really, really good thing:
One of the paradoxes of contemporary Latin America is the slowness, even among elites, to absorb the lessons of Chile's success. Its trade, as a percentage of its economy, is twice the regional average; so was its growth rate through the past 15 years. Since 1990, Chile's poverty rate has dropped from 38.5 percent to 18.8 percent; extreme poverty stands at 4 percent. In Venezuela, poverty rose from 43 to 53 percent during Mr. Chavez's first six years in office. Mr. Chavez seeks to extend his leadership, and what he calls his "socialism for the 21st century," across the region. Yet if Latin Americans can look beyond his hoary caudillo antics and simple-minded demagoguery, they will see that the real socialism of the 21st century is espoused by the very modern woman who was just elected president of Chile.
How sweet. How apparently fair and balanced. But let’s lay it on the line. Throughout the world, “socialism” is a term that has evolved in numerous directions. In the U.S., it is mostly a synonym for leftism and collectivism, used sometimes in the vicinity of “progressivism” to hide the fact that its practitioners are mostly Marxists and fellow travelers who have learned it’s not good to use the M-word or the C-word. Throughout the world, however, particularly when hooked into a term like “Social Democrat,” “socialism” can refer to political phenomena on the right as well as the left.

But the editorial writer here has blurred that distinction to sculpt the term “socialism” to vaguely describe a redistributionist political philosophy primarily rooted in Western European upper-class intelligentsia and social circles. And from this definition, they are very careful to exclude what amounts to the true, radical socialism espoused by Morales and Chavez, which will, as it always does, eventually ruin their respective countries and result in a violent coup that overthrows them. The editorial writer tries to redefine terms in such a way as to allow him to have his philosophical cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, like most leftist writers in the MSM, this writer's ideas have been subject more to robotic, head-nodding approval from fellow travelers rather than being honed to withstand even the most rudimentary logical scrutiny. And thus, a fine-sounding argument ultimately fails quite resoundingly.

In fact, what soon-to-be-former president Lagos and president-elect Bachelet espouse is American-style capitalism wrapped in some socialist trappings to make it more palatable to the Chilean intelligentsia, many of whom suffered greatly during the country’s near-fascist Pinochet days. (Although don’t forget that Pinochet himself was a violent reaction to a nearly perfectly engineered Communist takeover which would have brought upon Chile the equal and opposite problem.)

However, by ignoring the tangled but genuine American support for Chile’s dramatic recovery and that country's highly beneficial effects of free trade with the U.S. and instead tying this electoral event to failed European socialism, old-style, the editorial writer fails to see that what he calls “real socialism of the 21st century" is actually good old-fashioned American capitalism at work, revitalizing Chile, its people, and its economy.

The writer paints a picture of a “socialist” president who must inevitably follow the thoroughly failed European model of a tired socialism that is increasingly failing to produce enough wealth to redistribute. While Bachelet is not likely to be W’s best buddy, her economic policies are far more likely to follow the U.S. model than the discredited European economy.

Which just goes to show you. There’s socialism. And then there’s “socialism.” Don’t count on the Washington Post to give you the straight story. The history of the 20th century is concurrently the history of the beginning, middle, and end of failed socialistic policies that resulted in mass economic misery and the deaths of millions in a series of disastrous wars. There’s no way you can rehabilitate this word or the essentially Marxist-Leninist philosophy that lurks behind it. But that never prevents the indigenous lefties on the Post’s editorial page staff from trying.

Meanwhile, this die-hard American capitalist intends to pop the cork of a fine Chilean cabernet this evening at dinner and toast the stunning and continuing success of the one Latin American country that has found a way to rediscover itself at last in the verdant valley running between the polar extremes of Salvador Allende and Augusto Pinochet. And "socialism" has not been the key to Chile's success, the Post's intellectualoids notwithstanding. Rather, Chile now practices a sort of wary capitalism that balances its economy in a way that, hopefully, lifts all economic boats. Sounds more American than European to us.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Make Mine Chocolate!

Hizzoner Ray Nagin, so-called Mayor of the Crescent City, is at it again, this time dissing the whites who voted for him in significant numbers and siding with the Islamofascists to boot by suggesting that Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath were Divine Punishment for the Bush Administration's evil ways. MSNBC reports blithely on the aftermath, opening with the following graf:
NEW ORLEANS - Mayor Ray Nagin apologized Tuesday for a Martin Luther King Day speech in which he predicted that New Orleans would be a “chocolate” city once more and asserted that “God was mad at America.”
Yep, Nagin quickly apologized, so the press will probably chortle for a day or so and leave him alone. MSNBC is quick to let him off the hook.

Can you imagine what would have happened had, say, Trent Lott endorsed turning New Orleans into a "vanilla" city, or maybe progressively suggesting that they split the difference and turn it into a swirl cone?

Silver lining for Nagin. Once they oust him as mayor in the next election, he can probably count on being hired as a spokesperson for Hershey.

Wisconsin Voter Fraud, Take 2...

This from Hugh Hewitt:
Wisconsin, not Ohio, was ground zero for voter fraud in 2004. Because that fraud helped put a state in the blue column, it has gone unreported.
Yep. So was Pennsylvania, mainly in Philadelphia, which was also the case in Y2K. As Hewitt states in his short piece, the Wisconsin cases haven't gotten much attention, though, since they "went blue." If they'd gone "red" you can bet they'd have gotten the Ohio treatment for sure.

Read Hugh's piece and follow both links, although the Wisconsin State Journal's moral equivalency on a related issue, rolled out in the third last graf of the linked piece, is typical. Count those votes until they come out right. That's the Dems' mantra. Always has been, always will be. It's the kind of arrogance they still can't distance themselves from. The kind of arrogance that always grows from a sense of entitlement and an unchallenged ability to shape the media message. HazZzmat vows to do its part to bring this long, sordid chapter to an end.

When Behind In The Game, Cheat

The rise of alternative media—political talk radio in the eighties, cable news in the nineties, and the blogosphere in the new millennium—has broken the liberal monopoly over news and opinion outlets. The Left understands acutely the implications of this revolution.... and illiberally are working to smother this flourishing universe of political discourse under a tangle of campaign-finance and media regulations. Their campaign represents the most sustained attack on free political speech in the United States since the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts...The most imminent danger comes from campaign-finance rules, especially those spawned by the 2002 McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act....
Brian C. Anderson, The Plot to Shush Rush and O'Reilly, City Journal, Winter Edition 2006

If you look back a little here, you'll see a post about how bloggers shouldn't take their freedom for granted. Brian C. Anderson at City Journal offers a refreshing bluntness on the subject.

McCain-Feingold dizzying do's and don't's...have made running for office, contributing to a candidate or cause, or advocating without an attorney at hand unwise and potentially ruinous...campaign finance reform now has the blogosphere in its crosshairs...a first, abandoned draft of proposed FEC WEb rules...regulated all but tiny, password-protected political sites...Recognizing that McCain-Feingold is out of control, liberty-minded Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling introduced the Online Freedom of Speech Act (HR 1606)...the bill reinforces the Internet's current regulation-freee status by excluding blogs and other Web communications from campaign finance strictures. Brought to an expedited vote...that required a two-thirds majority in the House, the bill -- opposed strenuously by the campaign-finance reform "movement" -- failed....

Bloggers should not get caught napping on this one. Read the whole article; then contact your Congressional and Senate representatives and demand that they support the reintroduction of the Online Freedom of Speech Act. We can't wait for, nor depend upon, the confirmation of Judge Alito to protect what is, after all, Constitutionally protected speech. Free speech is not a patron's gift for good behavior; it's a Constitutional right!

Not enough people are looking at this direct attack on American freedoms, not that we should be surprised that it's happening. What the Left has done in response to overwhelming rejection of its program in the past is to engage in character assassination of its critics or in outright censorship. The more things change...