Follow by Email

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jon Lovitz and the Tolerant Left, or David and Goliath the Race Baiter

Sean Hannity may have registered surprise last night when Jon Lovitz informed him that thus far he has seen no backlash for his now infamous frustration-fueled rant directed at President Barack Obama, but given the number of Hollywood heavyweights who quietly lean to the right, this should not necessarily be a surprise. While most of Hollywood – particularly young Hollywood – is pressed from the same basic mold, there are still plenty of power players who would likely back Lovitz’s play. Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Jon Voight, Tom Selleck, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, to name a few. And having Chuck Norris on your side is never a bad thing.

But a few days ago, Lovitz voiced his surprise via Twitter that people would call him a racist and a bigot for believing that he already pays his “fair share” in taxes. In a town where most people would quite happily throw even former friends under buses for business or pleasure, how could he possibly be surprised that the minute he stepped a toe out of line he would be just so much fodder for the cannibals?

And in the few days since, things have only gotten worse. As Stephen Kruiser (of Kruiser Control on PJTV) so aptly put it,
Sadly, @realjonlovitz is meeting a lot of the Tolerant Left now. Because he was honest.
And the “tolerant left” clearly doesn’tdisappoint. Their hit-and-run attacks via Twitter range from calling Jon one name after another to making snarky comments about his rather successful career. One even stooped low enough to reference the death of brilliant comedian Phil Hartman as the only reason for Lovitz’s success.

The sad truth, unfortunately, is that Hollywood along with most of liberal America now routinely use terms like “racist” and “bigot” to describe people who have displayed no racism or bigotry whatsoever – instead, they have displayed the audacity to think for themselves and the arrogance of coming to a conclusion that differs from that reached by the mainstream.

So Jon, I hope that your willingness to “speak Truth to power” does not hurt your career. I hope that you continue to speak the truth, even if it does. And I pray that the firestorm of hatred and intolerance isn’t headed your way, but having lived in that firestorm myself since the election of 2008, I have to warn you that the worst is likely yet to come. I continue to applaud your efforts, both professionally and politically, and will be watching for the continuation of a brilliant career.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Exceptionalism of Americans Who Hate American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism. It’s an idea that means a different thing to nearly everyone who considers it.

One hundred years ago, even fifty years ago, most Americans took it for granted that there was something “different” about America. Alexis de Tocqueville first referred to America as “exceptional” in the 1830’s. It made perfect sense to Americans, who had emerged from revolution and developed an ideology which, though based on the combined ideas of Locke, Hobbes, Paine, and Rousseau, was as a whole uniquely American. Some even stretched that to mean that as an exceptional nation, America also had an exceptional mission: to spread liberty and democracy to the rest of the world.

If you read the words of the Founders, though they may certainly have agreed that America was exceptional both as an idea and as a nation, it is clear that they would not have agreed that the exceptionalism extended into the spread of democracy and liberty.  (They were terrified of true democracy.)It is true that they valued liberty above all else, but it is also abundantly clear that they understood that liberty was worthless if it was not earned. Liberty cannot be spread from those who have to those who don’t. It must be asked for, demanded, fought for, and people must die to earn it.

I take a slightly modified view of American Exceptionalism. I do believe that America is different because of the foundations of liberty and free market that were set in motion by the Founders. I also believe that America has proven through the years that we are different. Especially in the 20th Century, most military conflicts involving the United States were directed not only toward protecting our own resources, but toward protecting the sovereignty and resources of other nations. Once those conflicts were over – most of which were won in large part due to American aid – instead of waltzing in and taking over other nations and territories at will, we instead helped even enemy nations to rebuild. We kept small military bases in strategic locations to prevent further conflict, but nothing more.

Today, more and more people want to make an issue out of the idea of American Exceptionalism. They want everyone to be upset by the idea that Americans might think themselves superior in any way. They point to European qusai-socialism as a model for the way Americans ought to act and govern, and they look to Marx and Mao for more egalitarian solutions to this perceived arrogance.

The irony? Marxism has failed everywhere it has ever been tried, but these people swear that this time it will be different. These people who hate their own nation for its arrogance in believing that the American system is somehow better also want us to believe that the only reason Marxism has always failed is that Americans haven’t tried it yet. Which, loosely translated, means that if Americans do it we will necessarily do it better than anyone who previously tried it because…wait for it…Americans are better than anyone who has ever tried it before.

How’s that for American Exceptionalism?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Put the Bunny Back in the Box, Don't Put the Girls in Ranger School

The dust hasn’t even settled following the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and the Pentagon is already warming up for another internal battle. They are now considering the possibility of opening up the prestigious and highly elite Ranger School to women.

The reasoning for this consideration is that the bar has just recently been lifted on women serving in the infantry, and since nine out of ten senior infantry officers are Ranger qualified, not allowing women to become Ranger qualified would reduce their likelihood of being promoted to senior officer positions.
What they are not talking about is the fact that every time the Army concedes jobs to women, they also make concessions in physical standards to accommodate them. They are also not talking about the reasons that women were barred from infantry jobs in the first place.

The concessions began as soon as women entered the Armed Forces. Some were trivial, such as the USMC regulation during World War II which determined that while eight male Marines could sit on the bench of a 2½ ton truck, that same bench would only accommodate seven women. The intent was to make the women more comfortable. This, of course, led to the perversion of the acronym BAM (originally “Beautiful American Marines”) to mean “Big Ass Marines.” And the concessions have continued until the present day.

I myself spent ten years in the Army and Army Reserve working as an Administrative Assistant (think Radar O’Reilly) and an X-ray/CT tech. To pass a PT test, I only had to do 17 push-ups. A male soldier my age, to get the same passing grade, had to do at least 39. He had to complete the two-mile run with a faster time as well.

However, I earned rank and pay at the same rate as male soldiers, even though I took six months off over three years due to the births of two of my children and the male soldiers hardly missed a sick day.

That’s not to say that I think women have no place in the military. I am grateful especially that I had the opportunity to serve. And it’s true that there are always going to be a few women who have the physical capabilities to meet the male standards. If that is the case, then perhaps exceptions should be made when individual cases warrant. But to change the standards so that the exceptions become the rule is to ask for more and more military standards to be lowered, for the United States Armed Forces to be weakened, and for what? So that women can feel better about themselves because now they can wear a Ranger Tab?

The other issue, the reason that female soldiers traditionally have not been allowed in forward units, is more psychological. Sure, some say that it’s all sexism and the Army is an old boys’ club that just doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of women and their monthly cycles in the field. And, let’s be fair, sometimes that cycle is a hassle even when you’re not under direct fire. But it’s really more about the visceral reaction that most men have when confronted with the sight or even the idea of a woman being hurt, killed, or captured. (Granted, the repeal of DADT has muddied this issue somewhat as well.) Since the beginning of time there have been wars, most fought primarily by men. What often drove those men to do what they did, beyond patriotism and duty, was the thought of someone at home. And whether it was a mother, a sister, a wife, girlfriend or daughter, there was almost always a woman in his heart. To see a woman hurt in combat, or perhaps captured by enemies who aren’t likely to treat her or her body with respect, deals a psychological blow that even the best training is hard pressed to overcome.

A good friend who also happens to be a former Navy Seal had this to say: “Operators have enough to worry about on a mission without adding the unnecessary pressure of concern about the female teammate who could be captured or killed as a result of their action or inaction.”

But perhaps the biggest concern is yet to come, and it may not be what anyone would suspect. The Law of Unintended Consequences is about as well known as Murphy’s Law (“anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”) in the Armed Forces. Just about every new initiative creates problems down the line that likely could have been prevented or at least lessened with a little more forethought.

So what is it that we wouldn’t expect? This whole thing could easily turn into a swinging back door for the recent birth control issues. It wouldn’t be an issue of access to birth control, as all active duty soldiers can get pretty much any type of birth control they ask for on the Army’s dime. Rather, it could become an issue of mandated birth control. I know it sounds a little out there, but go with me on this. Pregnancy in a combat unit would obviously be a major liability. There are three ways to fix this “problem.”

First, you can regulate the female soldiers, telling them that if they want to attend Ranger School and serve in combat, they will be required to use birth control. This is not likely to go over well, as enforced birth control could be perceived as a violation of individual rights.

Second, you can demand that the military make concessions for female soldiers who do get pregnant by allowing them access to abortion services. Currently it is illegal for an active duty soldier to get an abortion, something that many of the same people who want women in Ranger School would like to see changed.

Or third, you can avoid the problem altogether by…not allowing women into Ranger School, infantry units, or close combat areas. (Keep in mind that there are still some 200 other jobs within the Army alone that would still accept female soldiers.)

But most importantly, no one is considering the horrific effect a move like this could have on American pop culture. Take, for example, the movie Con Air. Can you imagine the Army Ranger character being played by a female instead of Nicolas Cage? Who wants to hear Reese Witherspoon drawl, “Now why couldn’t you put the bunny back in the box?” after beating some dirty convict to death in the cargo bay of a prison transport plane?

I shudder to think.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Coveted Jersey Shore Endorsement

This past week, as everyone not currently residing under a rock is aware, President Barack Obama stood up and announced his stance on the subject of gay marriage. By some accounts, this decision was nearly as gutsy as the call to raid Osama Bin Laden’s Headquarters. By other accounts, it was more of a scramble than a decision.

Ellen DeGeneres applauded the President for his bravery, as did other openly gay stars Neil Patrick Harris and Ricky Martin. “It takes a brave man to take a stand like this, especially in an election year,” Ellen gushed on her live talk show.

Liberal online rag The Gawker, in stark contrast, berated him for his cowardice, saying that his “personal position” statement amounted to nothing more than a “half-assed, cowardly cop out.”

So which is it? Is it bravery? It is true that many black voters who voted for Obama in 2008, and who also voted 70-30 in favor ofCalifornia’s Prop 8 banning same-sex marriage, are not thrilled with the position he has taken.  It is also true that some in the LGBT community feel that his personal position is not enough, and that he should be willing to make same-sex marriage officially part of the DNC platform. Given those facts, he is likely to take some heat over the announcement.

Is it cowardice? Was the President backed into a corner by the constantly running mouth of VP Joe Biden? Did he make this announcement in an election year as a last desperate grasp at the socially liberal independents whose votes seem to be ever hemorrhaging rightward?

Obama’s history suggests that his current position is more “revolving” than “evolving,” as he came out in support of gay marriage as earlyas 1996His public position was changed to “evolving” during the 2008 election, when he had to draw in social conservatives to win a national nomination and the subsequent general election. Why the Hollywood elite are so quick to label an obviously political move as “bravery” requires some head-scratching.

Perhaps a tie-breaker is necessary? Saying that Obama’s statement concerning gay marriage came “better late than never,” Snooki and JWoww of MTV’s The Jersey Shore proudly rallied behind the President. I suppose it’s too much to ask that either one of them were aware of his 1996 statement.

Mr. President: if an endorsement from The Jersey Shore can be viewed as helpful in any way, America is in worse shape than I thought. After all, even clothing giant Abercrombie and Fitch offered fellow Jersey Shore resident The Situation financial compensation for NOT displayingtheir products on the show. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Free Speech Questionable, Molotov Cocktails Ok

Sanjay Sanghoee, in a piece that ran this evening on The Huffington Post, goes on a vicious and accusatory rant in an effort to expose the reprehensible right-wing entertainers who make money for their own vicious and accusatory rants. Perhaps you already see the irony, but there’s more. There’s always more.

In between insinuations of a possible homosexual relationship between Ted Nugent and Rush Limbaugh and cheap digs at Nugent’s music, Sanghoee rambles on about Rush Limbaugh’s recent comments concerning Sandra Fluke – you remember, the comments Rush apologized for making – and asserts that the Founding Fathers would turn in their graves at the thought of capitalists who have the audacity to behave as…capitalists.

After beating the dead horse that is the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke exchange for awhile, he goes on to blather about Ted Nugent’s alleged threats at the recent NRA events. Only he forgot to mention that the “threats” were not actually any such thing. He claims that in a nation where free speech (for the time being) reigns supreme, speech that he finds to be offensive should be considered a crime.

[Um, Sanjay, “freedom of speech” is not part of the Bill of Rights to protect individuals who want to lay prostrate at the feet of our leader, praising him with every breath. Free speech is only necessary to protect those who have something to say that others might find offensive.]

But what amused me most about this particular piece was the fact that Sanghoee could not let go of the idea that it’s always right-wingers who support, condone, and incite violence. “Ted and Rush make a lot of money by throwing Molotov cocktails into the public discourse,” he says. If you want a good giggle, go back through Sanjay Sanghoee’s posts at The Huffington Post and He’s sympathetic to Occupiers worldwide. So if you want to throw a verbal Molotov Cocktail, Sanghoee will be there to nail you to the wall. But if you want to throw a real one, break things, set things on fire, or attack local law enforcement, he’ll give you a glowing review. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Violent rhetoric vs. Violence: Why the media can’t let go when conservatives trip over their own tongues.

This week, St. Louis resident Scott Boston accidentally made national news. As a Tea Party activist and co-founder of the Gateway Grassroots initiative, he intended only to support Missouri Senate candidate Sarah Steelman at a Tea Party Express Rally held largely in her support.

He made a statement referencing the squeaky-clean, almost cuddly image of current Senator Claire McCaskill, the Claire Bear. When she is campaigning in Missouri, she affects the “Missourah” dialect and passes herself off as just like everybody else. You know, the everybody else who have access to private jets and get a slap on the wrist when they evade hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of taxes owed.

Scott’s actual words? “We need to kill the ‘Claire-Bear.’” His intent? To destroy her misleading narrative, to bare the real “Claire Bear,” the tax-evading hypocrite who claims “Missourah pride” and then behaves as Obama’s lapdog (sorry, Bo)when in Washington, to the voting public.

Although everyone present at the rally realized that Boston was speaking metaphorically, McCaskill’s campaign immediately beefed up security and contacted the FBI. The story was even leaked to local news outlets before Scott was even contacted either by law enforcement or by media outlets for comment.

Flash forward to today: The FBI has completely cleared Scott Boston of any harmful intent. Scott has explained his comments via many media outlets, saying that his choice of words may not have been the best but that it was only ever intended as a metaphor. And still, the left-wing blogs are buzzing about “death threats from Tea Partier Scott Boston” and “Claire McCaskill’s obvious need for increased security.”

Why won’t they let the story die? THEY CAN’T. The media needs violent rhetoric from the right in order to help obscure actual violence from the left.

Claire McCaskill herself proves to be an excellent example of this. The media needs a story that can be painted to look like violence might conceivably come from the right because they don’t want anyone to remember that McCaskill herself spoke out in support of the Occupy movement, likening them to the Tea Party even after they had shown a willingness to physically attack police officers and security guards and destroy private property. 

The examples don’t end with Claire McCaskill, nor does the violent rhetoric only come from the right. How quickly the media forgets that the New Black Panther Party called for the murder of George Zimmerman. How quickly they forget that President Obama courted the Hispanic vote by calling Republicans “the enemy.” How quickly they forget that we are watching, and that we do not forget.

Journalism 101

In order to get a job in the media covering politics today, one of the most important qualifications is the ability to determine what information is actually relevant and of interest to the average voter. I offer here a simple tutorial, designed to give some basic examples that should provide a workable framework for that decision-making process. I hope that you find it useful.

1. According to the mainstream media, it's somehow relevant to the 2012 Presidential campaign that 30 years ago Mitt Romney strapped a dog carrier (with a dog in it) to the roof of his car.

It's not relevant that Obama, as a child in Indonesia, was given dog to eat.

2. It's also relevant that nearly 50 years ago Romney may or may not have engaged in a high school prank involving another student who may or may not have been gay (and who died in 2004, making him unavailable to either confirm or deny the story).

Obama's college thesis and transcripts, his close associations with Marxists and domestic terrorists and radicals, and anything he did while Senator in Illinois are not relevant.

3. It is relevant that Anne Romney spent $900 of her own money on a blouse.

It is not relevant that Michelle Obama spent $2500 on shoes for a trip to a soup kitchen, or that her latest vacation cost the taxpayers $500k. It is also not relevant that we paid for the first daughter's spring break soiree with her entire class in Mexico - just weeks after Americans were warned about how dangerous it was for tourists to travel to Mexico.

4. It is relevant that Michelle Obama wants to fight obesity and promote good health by growing healthy food in the White House gardens.

It is not relevant that Michelle often chooses burgers and ice cream for herself and her daughters, and the President himself orders hot wings at 1am.

5. It is relevant that Anne Romney never held a job outside her home.

It is not relevant that she raised five boys, helped support her husband, and battled both breast cancer and MS. It is also not relevant that she never asked the government to pay her extensive healthcare expenses.

6. It is relevant that Mitt Romney is personally against gay marriage. It is also relevant that President Obama is personally in favor of gay marriage.

It is not relevant that they both agree that whether or not gay marriage is legal should be left up to the states.

The short form is even simpler: If Obama did it and you can make it look good, it's relevant. If you can't, it isn't newsworthy. If Romney did it (or might have done it or you can convince people that it's likely he did something like it) and it makes him look bad, then it is relevant. If you can't make it look bad, then why even bother bringing it up?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Akin Endorsement

The Tea Party Express ignored local grassroots organizations and endorsed Sarah Steelman in the Missouri Senate race.
Freedomworks, despite vocal opposition from local grassroots activists, is set to endorse John Brunner in the same race, just days after he placed his foot in his mouth by denouncing Sarah Palin (whose endorsement he has been courting for months) and a local grassroots activist practically in the same breath.

 Left behind by the endorsers and check-writers? Todd Akin.

Todd Akin, the longtime local grassroots favorite.

Todd Akin, the man whose nearly flawless conservative record speaks for itself.

Todd Akin, one of the founding members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus.

One can easily see why Akin doesn't spend much of his time pandering for money and publicity. He spends most of his time boldly going toe to toe with a President whose every move strikes another blow against individual liberty. He comes home and prays for his children,several of whom are currently deployed in military service. And the next day, he returns yet again to his own chosen battlefield.

People are asking why he isn't chasing endorsements. The real question, the one Akin asks himself, is "why should he have to?" His record speaks volumes, and yet the people with money gravitate toward the candidates whose voices are louder than their records (which in some cases are nearly non-existent). The problem is quite a bit more widespread than the Missouri Senate race.

And it isn't limited to the Republican Party. This problem is the reason a community organizer from Chicago was able to forgo experience and receive the Democratic nomination.

So as conservatives, what do we really want? Do we want organizations that bear our names - such as Freedomworks and the Tea Party Express - to offer their endorsements and their money based on record/potential or volume?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Violent (rhetoric) breaks out! Thousands of taxpayer dollars flee to Claire McCaskill in panic!

Last week at a Tea Party Express rally in Fenton, MO, Scott Boston made a comment that quickly became infamous on the Twitters... He said that we (conservatives) need to kill the "Claire Bear," in reference to the squeaky-clean, cuddly, nicey-nice image of the not-so-squeaky-clean senator from Missouri, Claire McCaskill.

The reality is that this was a dumb thing to say - and Scott himself has said that the choice of words was not ideal. We conservatives who work in new media know that as a rule, the left does not engage in fair and unbiased reporting. We know that they are watching us, listening to us, and waiting for something that they can use to make us look like hateful, bigoted, mean-spirited or racist. And the fact is, though the intent of Scott's statement was not at all violent, he effectively handed the other side a loaded gun.

Since the left is only really opposed to violence when it's theoretical and coming from the other side, they immediately pulled the trigger, planning to ask (or ignore) questions later. At taxpayer expense, the Claire Bear bulked up her security team. (Ironically, she stacked it with large men who carry guns and are willing to violently subdue anyone who tries to get too close with a loaded...question.) Also at taxpayer expense, the FBI was quickly dispatched to Scott's home to disrupt his family life, investigating what they would later admit was a nonstart.

The aftermath is what has been truly telling. Left-wing bloggers have been repeatedly hounding Scott's friends and associates in the Tea Party and Gateway Grassroots Initiative to come out with a collective statement either condemning or backing Scott's words. What they can't seem to wrap their brains around (perhaps it's the ponytails?) is the fact that the Tea Party and Gateway Grassroots Initiative are groups that exist only because they are a loose association of like-minded INDIVIDUALS. Each of us speaks for ourselves, no one of us speaks for the group. There will be no "collective" statement, because we do not exist as a collective. We are individuals who sometimes share opinions and sometimes do not. We do not presume to put words in the mouths of our friends and associates because we believe them fully capable of their own thoughts and speech.

Several candidates, namely John Brunner in the MO Senate race, have come out against the statements made by Scott - not to say that they believe that Scott's intent was to incite violence, but to say that his choice of words was extremely poor. (And we all already knew that.) But in doing this, they may have been jumping the gun, if you will. Violent rhetoric is not new to politics. Nor is actual violence. Consider for a moment the fact that our Founding Fathers were ready to die for their political views. And I don't mean at the hands of the British, either. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr dueled to the death over politics, and they weren't the first or the last to do so.

The problem here is not that violent rhetoric is used. The problem is that when it's convenient, the left consistently obscures the difference between violent rhetoric (statements such as "kill the bill," "job-killing legislation," "kill the Claire Bear") and actually condoning violence in support of things like OWS. While the actual violence is coming from the pets of the organized left, it's the bullseye on a map that gets coverage.