Hypocrisy 1

We delight in the fact that capitalism provides opportunity for anyone to become rich. We applaud those clever/industrious/lucky  people who have achieved great wealth in our  (comparatively) free society. We feel energized and encouraged by the happy spectacle of “conspicuous consumption” that some visible billionaires display with their mansions, their yachts, their jets, their football teams … For we see them as the living proof to us all that it is perfectly possible to become “filthy rich”. If they can do it, maybe we can to. They’re a spur to noble effort.

We are therefore bewildered by the cognitive dissonance of those self-made billionaires who vote Democratic. For instance, those who have made their fortunes in Silicon Valley by their marvelous inventions precisely because they were able to take advantage of circumstances – freedom, leisure, investment – which capitalism alone can provide. Do they not realize that to vote for Obama and the Democratic Party is to vote for socialism? Do they not know that socialism is a killer of private enterprise? That collectivism puts an end to innovation? We cannot suppose them to be so mean-spirited that, having made their own fortunes, they want to prevent others following in their footsteps. We’d rather conclude that very clever people can be very stupid about things outside their expertise.

The Democrats of course notoriously pour scorn on “the 1%” and long to make them poorer and ashamed of themselves. So a question arises: How come the extremely wealthy political elite of the Left are not ashamed of their hypocrisy?

This is from PJ Media, by Victor Davis Hanson:

I confess I never admired John Edwards …  I didn’t think much of Al Gore or John Kerry …  I was not surprised when Susan Rice just disclosed that she is worth considerably over $30 million — and has money in Keystone no less. Are they all part of the “one percent”? Did they pay “their fair share”? Do they “spread the wealth”? At what point in his life did Al Gore know that he had made enough money (before barreling ahead and making more)?

Why do a Timmy Geithner and John Kerry preach about raising taxes while trying their best … to avoid them? I remember the Clintons seeking write-offs for the donation of their underwear, Tom Daschle not counting limo service as income, and Hilda Solis with a lien on her husband’s property. Why wouldn’t the above pay too much rather than too little? If Barack Obama did not get free government everything … would he still preach that guys like him need their taxes raised?

Of course, I accept without much worry that government service can lead to the contacts that lead to big money. Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld made millions in the private sector in between D.C. jobs. I grant too that old-boy networking is lucrative. George W. Bush’s Texas Rangers small fortune came from having powerful friends in the right places. No doubt Colin Powell and Bill Clinton are multimillionaires. Bravo to them both.

And Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush are not of the Party that pretends to despise the rich. Democrats who are keen on redistributing wealth should start by redistributing their own.

What we cannot stomach is all the sermonizing about “fair share” and “play by the rules” and “the one percent” from those who seek to be exempt from their own rhetoric. Can’t Warren Buffett keep quiet and just leave his $50 billion to his heirs — and let the wonderful federal government do what it must with a $30 billion estate tax on his earnings? … His estate will dodge more tax liabilities than what millions of his proverbial overtaxed secretaries pay. Why isn’t George Soros one of the despised money speculators of the sort that Occupy Wall Street was enraged about? … So weird what constitutes good and bad riches!

I guess the rub is not big or small money, or what you must do to get it and keep it. No, the lesson instead is what you say when you get it. If I were to advise a young rich man, I would promote entering politics or the media and talking up the liberal redistributionist state, the model being a sort of Chris Matthews, Katie Couric, Nancy Pelosi, Jon Corzine, or Jay Rockefeller.

If you know what to say against the rich –

You may meet and marry a rich person …  all sorts of doors will open that allow you to keep and compound what you garner — and you will feel wonderful in the bargain.

And Larry Elder writes at Townhall:

Ah, the hypocrisy of tax-hikers who do everything they can to avoid the taxes they wish to impose on others.

Sen. John Kerry  tried to avoid $500K in his home state’s sales and excise taxes by docking his newly purchased $7 million 76-foot yacht in Rhode Island.

Massachusetts lowered its state income tax in 2001. Given the presumably large number of rich people who pine to pay more taxes, the state allowed tax filers to check a box and voluntarily pay the old, higher rate. In a liberal state of over 3 million tax filers, how many volunteered to pay the higher rate in 2004? A tiny fraction of 1 percent — 930 taxpayers.

We’re astounded that there were any. To the well-known statement, “tax payers are entitled to arrange their affairs to attract the least taxation”, the retort must be, “what sort of fool would  arrange his affairs to attract the most taxation?”

Among those who refused to pay the higher rate? Sen. Kerry and Rep. Barney Frank. …

John Edwards, former senator and Democratic presidential candidate: His wife, Elizabeth, once called him a person of “character” because Edwards voted against his own economic “interests” by voting for higher taxes. Well, OK, but like billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who urges higher taxes, Edwards is less than keen on paying them. As a lawyer winning major jury awards, John set up a subchapter S corporation to pay himself through dividends — and thus avoid $600K in Medicare payroll taxes.

Well, the guy may be nasty – is infamously so! – but he’s not an idiot.

Ted Kennedy and his family shield[ed] their money through a series of complicated family trusts first begun by father Joe Kennedy. The trusts transfer wealth from generation to generation while avoiding estate taxes.

The late Ohio Democratic Sen. Howard Metzenbaum … enjoyed a lifetime rating from Americans for Democratic Action of 95 (100 being perfect) and a zero from the American Conservative Union. He never met a tax hike he did not like. [But] he moved to Florida when he retired from the Senate. Why Florida? No state estate or personal income taxes.

“Civil rights” leader and MSNB-Hee Haw host Al Sharpton: Though he supports increasing taxes on the rich, Sharpton, it seems, fails to do his part as a member of the 1 percent. As of last year, according to the New York Post, Sharpton owed $3.5 million in state and federal income taxes. His nonprofit, the National Action Network, as of 2011 owes nearly $900K in unpaid federal payroll taxes.

What do these individual instances of hypocrisy say about whether taxes should be increased on the so-called rich? …

The Congressional Budget Office just issued a report on what would happen to the economy if Congress fails to retain the Bush-era tax rates. Keeping the Bush-era rates for all but the rich, the CBO says, adds 1.25 percentage points to GDP. Retaining tax rates for all, including the rich, however, adds 1.5 percent to the economy. In other words, raising taxes on the rich lowers economic output.

Obama cannot really believe that making the rich pay more will help the economy out of recession. Even he knows it won’t. His reason is ideological. He is a communist by breeding and instinct, which is to say an egalitarian, a leveler. He must inform his voting fans, both rich and poor, that he is against the rich in principle. He knows that just so long as he talks that way, it’s okay for him to be rich himself. Okay to be a hypocrite.

Obama’s grandiose equivocation 3

President Obama’s speech on what he is planning to do about the war in Afghanistan was the speech of a deeply committed radical with a mind soaked in the toxic ideology of the Left, challenged to explain to himself and his ideological comrades just why he was continuing to wage war in a Third World country in defiance of all their passionately held ideals.

Pity the man! What a task he was forced to set himself!

As president of the United States, addressing men serving in his country’s military, he had to present his decision to commit 30,000 more troops to the war as a move reflecting an unswerving appreciation of their willing sacrifice, a determination to win, and a passion for upholding the honor of the country he leads. In  none of this he believes, but he had to say he did. He had to come across as encouraging, dedicated to the cause, intent on achieving goals for which his audience were willing to give their lives. He had to sound sincere when he was not. As part of the act, but making his task even harder for himself, he chose to announce his new strategy for the war at the Military Academy at West Point, which Chris Matthews of MSNBC called, speaking for peaceniks of the left everywhere, the ‘enemy’s camp’.

At the same time he had to be true to his political faith, which is in absolute opposition to any war waged by the United States on or in a Third World country, especially against an Islamic movement. His speech had to signal to the pacifist faction of the American left, the whole of the international left, and to Muslims world-wide that he was in principle against the war, against all war, against America being militarily strong, against America being the mightiest power and the most successful capitalist country in the world.

No wonder it took him months to work out what to do and how to spin it. Did he succeed? Superficially, yes. The speech, amazingly, so well fulfills his contradictory needs that it could almost be called a masterpiece of equivocation. At least until it is scrutinized in detail. Then the irreconcilable bits show up all too plainly.

How did he do it?

Pick the speech apart and you can see how it was done. For instance, for the voters and the patriots, for the generals and the soldiers, for the fulfillment of the duties of his office – let’s put all of these into a category headed Patriots –  he says:

On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women and children …’

Then for the left revolutionaries, for the pacifists, for Islam, for America-haters, for the panel of Marxist advisers in his White House, for his dead communist father, his  hippy mother, his wife, his best friends, for his Marxist professors and mentors and benefactors, his pastors, his erstwhile Alinsky-team employers,  for his  terrorist associates, for ACORN and the SEIU, for his whole revolutionary base, and for Islam their ally – let’s put all these into a category headed the Left – he says:

‘… without regard to their faith or race or station.’

What could this mean?  What faiths or races or stations in life could have been regarded, taken into consideration, which would have qualified the evil of the act? We know the answers. If the only people to be hit had for certain been white, been captains of the ‘military-industrial complex’, been Christians and Jews, then the attack would have been more understandable, perhaps excusable, perhaps even justified. No, it isn’t said. But it is implied. What other meaning can be found in the words?

In paragraph after paragraph the pieces stand out as these for the Patriots, these  for the Left. (And there are a few that do for both, such as those strongly condemning al-Qaeda – safely enough since many Islamic states are fervently against it.)

First for the Patriots: He tells the soldiers that he has been very good to them; they really have nothing to complain about. He has ’signed a letter of condolence to the family of each American who gives their life in these wars’; he has read the letters sent to him by ‘the parents and spouses of those who deployed’; he visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed; and he ‘traveled to Dover to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans returning home to their final resting place’. And here are more sops to Patriots: ‘A testament to the character of our men and women in uniform’; ‘thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance’; ‘as cadets you volunteered for service during the time of danger’; ‘as your commander in chief I owe you a mission that is clearly defined and worthy of your service’; ‘I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan’; ‘we will pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban’s momentum’; ‘to abandon this area now would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al-Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies’; ‘the struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly’; ‘it will be an enduring test of our free society, and our leadership in the world’; ‘where al-Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold – whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere – they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships’; ‘we have to improve our intelligence so that we stay one step ahead of shadowy networks’; ‘our country has borne a special burden in global affairs’; we have spilled American blood in many countries’; ’we have not always been thanked for these efforts’; ‘more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades’; ’unlike the great powers of old,  we have not sought world domination’; ‘we do not seek to occupy other nations’; ‘we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom’; ‘men and women in uniform are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people and for the people a reality on this Earth’.

Most of the rest of the speech is primarily to placate the Left and Islam. It would be tediously long to quote, so here’s a summary and interpretaion:  Al Qaeda  has ‘distorted and defiled Islam’; it has even attacked Muslims, for instance in Amman and Bali; our use of force in Afghanistan was fully sanctioned by both Congress and the UN’s international approval;  then we were distracted from pursuing it properly by  the unjustifiable, illegal war that Bush (not named but fully blamed) waged on Iraq;  although I am going to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, after 18 months all our troops will begin to come home; after that we’ll keep a kindly eye on the progress the Afghans make in becoming a country that is not corrupt, holds elections without fraud, and grows something more desirable than opium;  we must exercise restraint in the use of military force; in any case we cannot afford to wage war because we have an economic crisis and what resources we have must be used to change America to you-know-what; I don’t really like bothering with foreign affairs at all very much, but since I  have to let me remind you that we’ve got other tasks to do in the world, for instance in ‘disorderly regions’ (such as, not needing to be named to those who know, the Middle East); we’d rather negotiate peace than fight for it, even with the Taliban; but if the Taliban has to be fought let Pakistan do the fighting, we’ll pay them to do it; I am pursuing the goal of a world without nuclear weapons; I’ve prohibited torture; I’ll close the prison at Guantanamo Bay; I’ll speak out for human rights everywhere in the world (okay, not in China, or Cuba, or Venezuela, or Saudi Arabia, or … No, he doesn’t imply this, it just happens to be the case.)

But he fears he might not have pleased both sides after all. He anticipates disagreement and rebukes it:

‘This vast and diverse citizenry will not always agree on every issue — nor should we. But I also know that we, as a country, cannot sustain our leadership nor navigate the momentous challenges of our time if we allow ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse.’

He ends with a series of grandiose but entirely empty rhetorical flourishes designed to elicit applause, which they did as a mater of courtesy and custom, though most of the speech was listened to without it. No wonder. It was a self-serving exercise, not improved by the flattery bestowed on the audience.

‘America, we are passing through a time of great trial. And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might, and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes. …’

Are the Patriots deceived? Is the Left placated and are Muslims appeased?  It remains  to be seen.

Jillian Becker  December 2, 2009

Obama derangement syndrome 10

‘Bush derangement syndrome’ was irrational, demonstrating  how the political left is the side of the emotions. Such ‘reasons’ as were given for it – and still are – do not stand up to scrutiny.

Now there are those who accuse rational critics of Obama as manifesting a similar sickness, calling it ‘Obama derangement syndrome’. Some of these are conservatives and Republicans! Even that doughty warrior for freedom, David Horowitz, has made this accusation in Front Page Magazine.   

Well, there is an ‘Obama derangement syndrome’, but it is not in the heads of those who oppose him. We are sure of this because we are among them. True, the degree to which we are outraged and appalled by Obama’s mind-set and policies and the threat he constitutes to America and the world cannot be exaggerated. But we continually explain the very sound reasons why we think of him as we do.

So what is ‘Obama derangement syndrome’? It is the irrational adoration of him.

The mainstream media display it constantly. The editor of Newsweek, Evan Thomas, went so far as to declare recently on MSNBC: ‘Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God.’

 And Chris Matthews’s comment on MSNBC on February 13, 2008, will long be remembered: ‘I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people [!] get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.’

Okay then. If Obama is the Second Coming, prepare yourselves, ye worshipers, for the  Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. 

The tingle man becomes entangled 4

 … with disappointing reality; gets no stimulating massage from the stimulus message.

Jennifer Rubin writes at Commentary’s ‘contentions’ website:

It seems that the Obama team is losing all sorts of things. Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh sounds panicky as he warns the President “has all but lost control of the agenda in Washington at a time when he simply can’t afford to do so.” We are told:

The decisive issue here is leadership. The lack of it is what is plaguing the Obama administration. Every war needs a successful general, and this administration doesn’t have one yet.

Hirsh thinks the problem is giving in to those tiresome Republicans who don’t want to lard up a “stimulus” bill. But, of course, the real problems started when the President ceded the floor to Nancy Pelosi and in return got what virtually everyone agrees is an embarrassing, unworkable bill.

Politico says he’s “losing the stimulus message war.”

And Chris Matthews may have lost the tingle:

You knew Kennedy wanted the Peace Corps; wanted to put a man on the moon, wanted civil rights. You knew Reagan was out there cutting taxes to make government smaller. What’s Barack Obama doing? He keeps talking about his stimulus package like it’s some big Santa’s bag filled with all sorts of sundry items: extended unemployment benefits, “green” jobs, aid to states. But how on earth does this trillion-dollar grab bag work? How does spending this money—all of it borrowed—repeat, all of it borrowed, going to help the country get moving again?

But all of this “losing” raises a question about temperament. Remember how critical that was, how impressed everyone was with Obama’s temperament during the campaign? Well, some ofus questioned ”the Zen-like benefits of inactivity.” And sure enough it seems that vaunted temperament has manifested itself as passivity or cluelessness. Yes, he’s very calm — as he’s losing control and losing influence.

Granted, calm is good. Focus, decisiveness, good judgment and leadership would be better.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 5, 2009

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