The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Month: April 2010

The Liberal/Left‘s Ventriloquist Dummy

Former President Bill Clinton revealed his totalitarian bent during an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper on April 17, when he linked Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building in 1995 with current “anti-government“ rhetoric, rallies and demonstrations by Tea Partiers. It is almost surreal, listening to this vile, hypocritical, amoral person pontificating on the necessity for civil debate. His language was banal, but in its banality, lurked evil.

One can’t decide if Clinton was speaking ad libitum or reciting a memorized lesson. It sounded like a rehearsed spiel. Perhaps it was a teleprompter he was reading over Tapper’s shoulder, out of camera shot. His focus was on “demonization” he said can motivate people to commit atrocious crimes. He is a product of the Frankfurt social engineering school of politics: men have no real volition, they are just products of their social and economic environment, and not really responsible for their values or actions — until, mysteriously, a force compels them to make a choice and turn to violence or to utter nasty things about their perceived oppressors.

Except, of course, if they happen to be leftists, Democratic flunkies, the Students for a Democratic Society, Bill Ayers, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and a large company of enemies of capitalism, individual rights, limited government, and civil debate. Then, violence is okay. They’re on the side of the totalitarians and social engineers in government. Their “demonization” and “careless language” are forgiven when by chance they’re remembered.

The Frankfurt School, as readers might remember, was an institution that promoted communism and socialism and heavily influenced especially American academia in virtually all the humanities. Banned in Germany by Hitler, it moved to the U.S. and established the New School for Social Research in New York. It reestablished itself in Germany after the war.

If the Frankfurt School acted as the theoretical arm of socialist/fascist advocacy, Saul Alinsky, Hillary Clinton’s mentor in political action, was its most prominent field agent.

Clinton himself was the Progressive heir to John F. Kennedy. I have kept for years a New York Times full-page photo of 17-year-old Bill Clinton, then a member of the American Legion Boys Club, shaking hands with JFK in the White House Rose Garden in July 1963. I dubbed the photo “Passing the Torch of Fascism.” I kept it to remind me of the link between Clinton’s polices and JFK’s and how those policies, if not questioned and throttled, would continue to be implemented and expanded under Republicans and Democrats alike in the future. During his two terms as president, Clinton and his wife worked to advance statism. According to one fawning article:

Clinton was one of the first in line to shake President Kennedy’s hand in the Rose Garden. That event was one of the most important experiences of his youth. After that, he knew he wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people of America by becoming President of the United States


Again, listening to Clinton ramble on about the consequences of “violence-provoking” rhetoric like a cracker-barrel yahoo in the backwaters of Arkansas, one cannot believe this person is emblematic of the forces that have been working to convert the vestiges of a constitutional republic into a European style socialist “republic” governed by an elective and appointive political elite.

However, a scrutiny of the moral and intellectual depths and make-up of most of our current political leaders — including Republicans, but especially of the ones in power now, the Democrats — leaves one the poorer for the effort. They are neither sinister nor brilliant; they exhibit no evidence of being “evil geniuses.” They are “ordinary” in the sense that they are non-intellectual opportunists taking advantage of an absence of reason in politics, a phenomenon of which they are not aware. They are the cockroaches, poisonous centipedes, and maggots who can infest an unoccupied house. There. I’ve demonized Pelosi, Frank, Reid and many more. So, sue me, Bill.

In answer to Tapper’s question about Rush Limbaugh’s charge that, because of a speech Clinton gave about the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing by McVeigh, Clinton would be responsible for future violence, Clinton answered:

The only point I tried to make is that when I went back and started preparing for the 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City, I realized that there were a lot of parallels between the early ’90s and now, both in the feeling of economic dislocation, and the level of uncertainty people felt. The rise of kind of identity politics. The rise of the militia movements and the right wing talk radio with a lot of what’s going on in the blogosphere now.

That was his opening remark. What an invitation to regulate the Internet.

And in the right wing media, and with Oath Keepers, the 3 percenters, the — all these people, you know, who are saying things like, “If Idaho wants to succeed from the union,” the militia group out there says, you know, “We’ll back them.” One leader of one of these groups said that all politics was just a prelude to civil war. And then the politicians of course have not been that serious, but a lot of the things that have been said, they — they create a climate in which people who are vulnerable to violence because they are disoriented like Timothy McVeigh was are more likely to act.

And the only point I tried to make was that we ought to have a lot of political dissent — a lot of political argument. Nobody is right all the time. But we also have to take responsibility for the possible consequences of what we say. And we shouldn’t demonize the government or its public employees or its elected officials. We can disagree with them. We can harshly criticize them. But when we turn them into an object of demonization, you know, you — you increase the number of threats. But I worry about these threats against the president and the Congress. And I worry about more careless language even against — some of which we’ve seen against the Republican governor in New Jersey, Governor Christie.

As Tony Blankley in Real Clear Politics and Philip Klein in American Spectator note in their incisive articles, this is the “same old, same old” from Clinton’s Alinskyite playbook: check anyone who voices anti-big-government ideas and criticisms by demonizing them in return with suggestions of “probable” violence, sedition, insurrection, or otherwise disturbing the public peace.

Bethania Assy, in her essay on Hannah Arendt’s book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, reports on Arendt’s surprise by how innocuous Adolf Eichmann looked.

Hannah Arendt’s first reaction to Eichmann, “the man in the glass booth,” was — nicht einmal unheimlich — not even sinister.” She argues that “The deeds were monstrous, but the doer … was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither demonic nor monstrous.” Arendt’s perception that Eichmann seemed to be a common man, evidenced in his transparent superficiality and mediocrity, left her astonished in measuring the unaccounted evil committed by him, that is, organizing the deportation of millions of Jews to the concentration camps. Actually, what Arendt had detected in Eichmann was not even stupidity, in her words, he portrayed something entirely negative, it was thoughtlessness. Eichmann’s ordinariness implied in an incapacity for independent critical thought: “… the only specific characteristic one could detect in his past as well as in his behavior during the trial and the preceding police examination was something entirely negative: it was not stupidity but a curious, quite authentic inability to think.”

This is not to suggest that Clinton is or could have become another Eichmann; rather, it is to know that Clinton’s banality — and that of countless other “ordinary” individuals who have never had an original thought in their entire lives and don’t intend to — makes possible the kinds of crimes a demonic or monstrous Eichmann could commit. Think of all the political non-entities in Weimar and Nazi Germany whose public pronouncements on politics are forgotten, but whose words helped to move countless thoughtless Germans in the direction of the Third Reich. Clinton, as contemptuous of America as his current successor in office, simply repeated the smear against opposition to Obama’s policies launched by the left and the Democrats. It was indeed a thoughtless iteration of the same charge, solicited by Tapper, a “journalist” far down in the ranks of those who want to believe, rather than think.

Thoughtless? Yes, to the extent that Clinton did not need to remember anything but what he has been told, taught, and was expected to repeat all his life — and has never questioned. In this instance, on cue from Tapper, he merely weaved the same old bromides and catch phrases of the left into his homey delivery of an answer. He did not need — and certainly didn’t feel the need to — to look reflective and check his words, and reply something to the effect:

“Well, you know, all the bad things being said about the Tea Party and Americans being worried about the government, that’s unfair, because none of the people I saw on TV looked like they were about to blow up buildings like Timothy McVeigh did in Oklahoma City, I don’t think these people are disturbed in the way McVeigh was. I think that’s a disgraceful accusation and someone ought to apologize for it. They looked like ordinary, angry Americans who think they’re getting a raw deal from the government, so, who can blame them? I don‘t agree with anything they‘ve said, but they should be allowed to say it without being called racists or bigots or Nazis.”

That’s what Clinton could have said. But didn’t. And couldn’t. He has been credited with being a shrewd politician, able to play sides against each other and come out the winner. But, is that thought, or is it merely the feral instincts of a predator, who “thinks” in terms of pressure points, favors, slander, extortion, arm-twisting, personalities, deceit, fraud, and gaming a corrupt system?

Why was Clinton asked for his thoughts? Because the Left has been searching desperately for an “official” sanction of their unrelenting smear campaign against Americans who oppose the take-over of their lives and wealth by Obama and Congress. And they chose, not so ironically, “Grand Old Man” Bill Clinton, a creature only a little less vile, hypocritical, amoral, power-lusting, and slickly dissimulating than his current successor in the Oval Office. Or, rather, “they” didn’t choose him; he simply fell into line, as did Tapper. Birds of a feather.

Was Tapper part of a conspiracy? Was he asked to solicit Clinton’s all-too-predictable opinion? No. It was just part of the liberal political culture in which Tapper resides. It was as natural for him to pose the question to Clinton as it would be for a priest to query the Pope on a theological matter.

Clinton represents the Left’s conception of a respectable, “disinterested” third-party concurring in his own distinctive style with the notion that “angry rhetoric” and “careless language” pose a threat of violence, and with Obama’s growl that Tea Party dissension should be “toned down.”

The hypocrisy of Clinton, the Democrats, and the Left is the least serious charge one could lay on them. Clinton’s political record is so rife with corruption and underhanded political manipulation it doesn’t need recounting here. I suspect that he deliberately sabotaged his wife’s bid for the Democratic nomination in hopes of foisting Obama on the country; I refuse to believe he is so stupid and gauche to say the things he said during her campaign without meaning his statements to have some consequence. Perhaps that was his vengeance on her and on the country that nominally rejected his and her socialist policies when Al Gore’s bid for power went down in flames in 2000.

The Clinton marriage has always been one of political convenience; I do not think they see each other much, with Bill traveling hither and yon collecting munificent speaking fees and playing the humanitarian, and Hillary globe-trotting doing Obama’s bidding to betray our allies and make friends of tin pot tyrants. That’s her vengeance on the country that rejected her. I believe this conjecture is valid, founded on the characters and whorish behavior of both Clintons in their quest for power.

It is unfortunate that the Democrats and leftists have appropriated the term “demonization.” But, I refuse to argue the issue on the enemy’s terms. A demon, after all, is either an evil spirit intent on causing mischief, or it’s a tormenting anxiety about something. Americans certainly see the Obama agenda as inherently evil and promising nothing but mischief, and they’re right to be anxious to the point of torment that the agenda means them no good.

Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann, to whom Clinton referred when he remarked that some politicians “create a climate in which people who are vulnerable to violence are disoriented,” for example, did not “demonize” the Obama administration and Congress by calling it a “gangster government.” She characterized it, by correctly identifying the key features and consequences of legislative fraud (and gave columnist Michael Barone credit for coining the term; has any Democrat or administration official given Saul Alinsky credit for the smear tactic? They don‘t dare.). Then, it was merely the consequences of the government take-over of General Motors. As it is clear now to anyone with two eyes and a functioning mind — a mind that is willing to see the ample evidence and is wiling to think — the term can be applied to the whole of Obama’s administration.

Bill Clinton is a minor but prominent player in the ongoing debacle. His words on the Tea Party and talk radio and Timothy McVeigh were intended to elevate a disgusting smear campaign from blatantly obvious turpitude to the level of righteous moral concern. He opened his mouth and scurrilous words came from it.

We have heard all he said before — from President Barack Obama, from Nancy Pelosi, from Harry Reid, from Barney Frank, from the New York Times and the Washington Post, and the MSM — and those are the voices we heard when Bill Clinton spoke.

He sits on the liberal/left lap, and others move his mouth. Mortimer Snerd, anyone?

Asserting States’ Rights: A Turf War

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.*

And passed ObamaCare against the wishes of most Americans, in defiance of the Constitution, in a wholesale negation of individual rights. That is representative democracy in action. Hardly the leitmotif of a rights-protecting republic.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee, indeed. They were both holding that rattle in their tight little fists. The monstrous crow was…the Tea Party.

The pending initiatives over the constitutionality and legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA Pub. L. No. 111-148), better known as ObamaCare, and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, should make for an interesting spring, summer, fall and winter in 2010. It can take on the drama and perhaps heartbreak of Alfred the Great fighting the invasion of and occupation of Britain by the Danes, or of Washington’s victory over the British at Trenton and Princeton in 1776, or of a barroom brawl and melee, no last man standing but the bartender with his baseball bat, and all the felled participants bloodied and groaning.

Short of reading all the provisions and costs of the law, and delving into the details of its Senate-inspired companion (which is not receiving nearly as much attention), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-152), signed into law on March 30, I recommend Wikipedia’s précis of both laws. The second law is a product of reconciliation with the Senate version of the House’s.

But, as the federal government prepares to stonewall any action against ObamaCare, state or private, the question in everyone’s mind is: How successful will all those suits and actions be? ObamaCare specifically states that states may not contravene the individual mandate (formerly, the compulsory “public option”) or any other provision of the law, presumably basing that assertion on the supremacy and commerce clauses of the Constitution. If a state insists on the validity of its own conflicting statutes, ObamaCare stipulates that it must enact a companion law that complements the federal one and accomplishes the same thing, which is mandated health insurance, and establish its own bureaucracies to administer it. It allows no opting out by individuals or states. This is a claim of non-severability that binds the states as well as individuals to comply with the law.

Two state attorneys general, Robert Cordray of Ohio and Tom Miller of Iowa, are dismissive of other states’ suits against the government over ObamaCare.

Under long-settled Supreme Court precedents, Congress has ample power under the commerce clause of the Constitution to legislate on health care.

Congress has the authority to regulate anything that affects interstate commerce “among the several States.” This is bolstered by the supremacy clause, which explicitly makes the Constitution and the laws of the United States “the supreme Law of the Land” for all Americans. For Congress to have the power to pass this legislation, therefore, the health care problem need only affect interstate commerce. It clearly does.

One northern Virginia attorney concurs, and cites Justice Antonin Scalia’s five-year old endorsement of the federal government’s powers derived from the commerce clause:

The regulation of an intrastate activity may be essential to a comprehensive regulation of interstate commerce even though the intrastate activity does not itself “substantially affect” interstate commerce. Moreover, as the passage from Lopez quoted above suggests, Congress may regulate even non-economic local activity if that regulation is a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce. See Lopez, supra, at 561. The relevant question is simply whether the means chosen are “reasonably adapted” to the attainment of a legitimate end under the commerce power. See Darby, supra, at 121.

The states will argue that the law is unconstitutional because it violates both the supremacy and commerce clauses. Virginia asserts not only that, but that if unconstitutionality is proven, state law — in this instance, its recently enacted Health Care Freedom Act — is consequently constitutional and sovereign. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli first addressed the supremacy clause:

….[I]f a federal law is proved unconstitutional while a conflicting state law is constitutional, the state law will prevail. We in the attorney general’s office feel that the new federal individual mandate — the requirement that everyone be forced to buy government-approved health insurance by 2014 or face fines — is unconstitutional.

And then the commerce clause:

It is unconstitutional because the federal government is claiming that the source of its power for imposing the mandate is the Constitution’s “commerce clause,” which gives the federal government the power to “regulate commerce among the several states …” We argue that if someone isn’t buying insurance, then — by definition — he is not participating in commerce. How, then, can the government use the commerce clause to regulate non-commerce, i.e., regulating inactivity?

In my January 6th commentary, “States’ Rights: Dumb Show and Noise,” I noted that:

In the meantime, over two dozen states, also citing the Tenth Amendment, have drafted proposals, resolutions or amendments to their state constitutions that would nullify any federal health care legislation that may pass, because the power of Congress to enact such legislation is not enumerated. This movement smacks of secessionism.

If courts subsequently and consistently uphold the federal law for whatever illogical reason — progressing from the initial suits to appeal, perhaps even up to the Supreme Court — what alternatives would be left to the states but to submit? States would be faced with an unprecedented conundrum: submission to federal law, or secession (unprecedented, at least, since the Civil War and the civil rights movement era). What are the chances of secession? Virtually nil, because, as I pointed out in “Dumb Show and Noise,” most states are dependent on federal funds for a multitude of other government enterprises, including highway building and maintenance and healthcare. South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster discusses merely the healthcare part of that intractable issue:

Medicaid was originally designed to be a voluntary federal-state partnership, but this new health care law turns it into a compulsory, top-down federal program in which the discretion of the states is removed….A 61 percent increase in Medicaid enrollees will force the state to spend billions of dollars to hire and train new employees to comply and implement the expansion of the state Medicaid program under national health care….

Even if you believe that it has still has the legal option, South Carolina could not realistically withdraw from participating in Medicaid, because over the more than four decades of its existence, the state has become increasingly dependent on federal funds for its operation. Washington politicians know this, and use this undeniable fact to force states to comply with their will. This violates the core constitutional principle of federalism upon which this nation was founded. In so doing, the national health care law exceeds the powers of the United States and in a second way violates the Tenth Amendment.

So, the state has the power to tax South Carolinians to administer Medicaid, but the federal government hasn’t? Where is the voluntary role for individuals in that program? (Actually, the South Carolinian is being taxed twice: once by the federal government, and then by the state.)

The issue of the Tenth Amendment and states’ rights may be dismissed by any court. The list of state suits is likely to grow, as state attorneys general and governors absorb the implications of the law and the fiscal burdens it will impose on the states. What are the powers reserved to the states (or “to the people”) by the Tenth Amendment? It is curious that while states are bringing action against the federal government — specifically against the Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with administering ObamaCare — citing a breach of the Amendment, state powers to regulate, control and mandate are also open to the question of their constitutionality. Myriad state laws contradict and violate the fundamental intention of the Constitution, which is to preserve and protect individual rights.

Only seven states have no personal income tax, except on dividends and income from interest. Five states have no corporate income tax, nor any sales tax. Numerous counties and municipalities impose their own sales taxes, in addition to licensing fees and various business taxes. Property and estate taxes exist in all states. States regulate insurance companies, practice eminent domain, and regulate alcohol sales and consumption, smoking, auto emissions, building standards, and so on. Where is the surcease of federal powers and those reserved to the states?

While Congress may have exceeded its enumerated powers, where is the check on state law? What are the restricting enumerated powers delegated to states? What prevents states from committing the same offense they charge the federal government of committing? Nothing.

One paragraph from the Case Law site points up this issue, argued by now-retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (not one of my favorite justices):

… [B]ecause the dispute involved the division of authority between federal and state governments, Justice O’Connor wrote for the Court, one could inquire whether Congress acted under a delegated power or one could ask whether Congress had invaded a state province protected by the Tenth Amendment. But, said the Justice, ”the two inquiries are mirror images of each other. If a power is delegated to Congress in the Constitution, the Tenth Amendment expressly disclaims any reservation of that power to the States; if a power is an attribute of state sovereignty reserved by the Tenth Amendment, it is necessarily a power the Constitution has not conferred on Congress.”

While the pot can call the kettle black, the kettle can call the pot black, as well. Briefly, the Constitution prohibits Congress from usurping state sovereignty. Yet, states may violate individual rights — the sovereignty of an individual over his own life and property — with impunity as long as Congress doesn’t first claim the prerogative.

In his statement about the unconstitutionality of ObamaCare, Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli let drop one interesting piece of information:

To the second question, why states can mandate the purchase of auto insurance, but the federal government cannot mandate the purchase of health insurance: The federal government is subject to the constraints of the U.S. Constitution. The Founding Fathers laid out specific and limited powers for the federal government and reserved the rest “to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, the states have powers the federal government does not. For example, the states do have the authority the federal government lacks to impose a health insurance mandate. [Italics mine.]

I have not seen this issue addressed elsewhere, not even by Judge Andrew Napolitano, who is even more voluble in his charges against Congress than any of the state attorneys general. He has noted:

“The Constitution does not authorize the Congress to regulate the state governments,” Napolitano says. “Nevertheless, in this piece of legislation, the Congress has told the state governments that they must modify their regulation of certain areas of healthcare, they must surrender their regulation of other areas of healthcare, and they must spend state taxpayer-generated dollars in a way that the Congress wants it done.

Napolitano tells Newsmax that the longstanding precedent of state regulation of the healthcare industry makes the new federal regulations that much more problematic.

“The Supreme Court has ruled that in areas of human behavior that are not delegated to the Congress in the Constitution, and that have been traditionally regulated by the states, the Congress can’t simply move in there,” Napolitano says. “And the states for 230 years have had near exclusive regulation over the delivery of healthcare. The states license hospitals. The states license medications. The states license healthcare providers whether they’re doctors, nurses, or pharmacists. The feds have had nothing to do with it….”

But what logical difference would it make to an individual if his state government may enact a rights-violating law that Congress may not, one having the same end and which is equally pernicious? One must question the scope and foundations of the moral reasoning of the more prominent opponents of ObamaCare.

The suits being filed by the state attorneys general, while employing some startling language, do not expressly promote individual rights, do not recognize that men own their own lives and property, and do not assert that individual rights are inviolate regardless of the proximity of a government. They are little more than claims of power-wielding jurisdictional turf against a greater power-wielding entity.

Given the Constitution-scrapping precedents set by all three branches of the federal government over more than a century, these claims are destined to fail. The federal government is the bartender with the baseball bat.

*I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edition., 1997), p. 418.

A Malice That Dares Not Show Its Face

I ended my July 5th, 2009 commentary, “Parsing Obama,” with reference to a remark made by Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post, that, to understand President Barack Obama, one must pay attention to what he does, not to what he says.

On March 23 we paid attention to what he both said and did: he conscripted the medical and insurance fields into government service, and claimed he looked up into the sky and saw no asteroids hurtling toward the earth as punishment for enacting such a law. It was an “historic event” that he proved did not trigger the wrath of nature. Such flippant mockery of the opponents of ObamaCare is easy to understand, and the “historic event’ will be another day that will live in infamy.

Trying to shame a flippant Obama over his lies, posturing, and political subterfuge is as futile as throwing spitballs at a charging rhino, or shooting rubber bands at a provoked bull. He isn’t going to be stopped. He intends to knock you down and gore you until you move no more, and for extra measure, toss you into the air a few times to make sure you‘re no longer a threat or a provocation. His collectivist soul and commitment to subduing America requires that he be deaf to public opposition to his agenda and heedless of the consequences of bringing it to implementation. This requires the habitual and ultimately ingrained psychological insulation adopted by all power-lusters and dictators. They don’t like being contradicted, questioned, or doubted.

It is akin to the psycho-epistemological state of James Taggart in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, who introduces himself with an impatient, “Don’t bother me, don’t bother me, don’t bother me.” As it is with Taggart, reality is Obama’s enemy; wishing seems to make it go away, and if there are unfortunate consequences of that action, they will fall on other people, not on him.

In an excellent analysis of Obama’s habitual pragmatism, Doug Reich on The Rational Capitalist site ably parses the workings of the mind of a pragmatist when dealing with unwelcome questions and issues. It was not Mr. Reich’s purpose, but his essay doesn’t address the question of why an individual would adopt such a practice, for example, of Obama’s evident hostility for anything that threatens to contradict his own ideological premises. Examining Obama’s 17-minute “answer” to a simple question about the wisdom of raising taxes, Obama oscillated between using words, on one hand, as weapons, and on the other, as excelsior.

Obama does not speak so much “Newspeak” as he does “No Speak.” His delivery style, in which he cannot or will not speak truthfully in generalities, and when faced with public questions, can be characterized as tossing a hundred tightly crumpled pieces of paper into a waste basket, and leaving listeners to retrieve them, flatten them out, and piece them together, if possible, into a coherent whole.

As a pragmatic policy, it is one he is comfortable with. But it doesn’t mean that it is unintentional, either. It is his preferred way of fending off ideas and words that imperil his epistemology and metaphysics. He is probably certain that a basketball will go through a hoop and that a golf ball will land on the green somewhere. But he cannot be certain of much else. More importantly, certainty isn’t crucial to him. Things like economics, finance, market forces, individual rights, and certainly the language of the Constitution are beyond his grasp because he chooses them to be.

He is not the only president to adopt a policy of public and personal obfuscation (Ayn Rand called it “blanking out“); Republican and Democratic ones honed the practice over generations. Obama is only the latest but crudest practitioner of it.

For example, an Associated Press report reveals that Islam and jihad are no longer going to be acceptable subjects in reviewing national security strategy.

President Barack Obama’s advisers plan to remove terms such as “Islamic radicalism” from a document outlining national security strategy and will use the new version to emphasize that the U.S. does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terrorism, counterterrorism officials say….

The revisions are part of a larger effort about which the White House talks openly, one that seeks to change not just how the U.S. talks to Muslim nations, but also what it talks to them about, from health care and science to business startups and education. That shift away from terrorism has been building for a year, since Obama went to Cairo and promised a “new beginning” in the relationship between the U.S. and the Muslim world. The White House believes the previous administration based that relationship entirely on fighting terrorism and winning the war of ideas.

Obama is certainly wrong about Bush’s strategy. But note that excising all terms referring to Islamic terrorism and jihad will accomplish Obama’s goal of de-demonizing Islam, terrorism, and jihad, as though doing so will render them non-existent and therefore unrelated to national security. This is putting on the proverbial rose-colored glasses, but a pair that can filter out the guns, bombs, 9/11, Iran’s nuclear fuel program, and Islam’s decades-old war against the West.

He doesn’t wish these things to have any substance. His solution is to banish any terms that serve as referents to them. Is this indicative of a hostility towards his own country, of a desire to see it vanquished by Islamists? Yes, because he would not banish the terms if he did not concede, in some dark corner of his consciousness, that their referents existed. He would rather paste a smiley face on the head of a cobra. And if the cobra strikes Americans again, it will be their fault for antagonizing it.

Another example of Obama’s mockery of words that mean something — and not just anything — was reported in the Washington Examiner. Wading into criticisms from the press that reported his declining poll numbers and that the country is “divided” on ObamaCare, he went stand-up comic:

“Can you imagine if some of these reporters were working on a farm?” Obama asked. “You planted some seeds, and they came out the next day, and they looked, and nothing’s happened! (Laughter and applause.) There’s no crop! We’re going to starve! Oh, no! (Applause.) It’s a disaster! (Laughter.)”

Reality will have the last laugh. The economic consequences of the legislation he signed into law will be catastrophic. He knows it, as well as do Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid, and every politician who voted for it. Yet, it may seem odd that he is still campaigning for it. That is because he must overcome Americans’ loyalty to reality.

In another twisting of words, Obama claimed that without “reforming” health care, “this country was going to go bankrupt.” But, isn’t it already? What are trillion dollar government debts, with no way to even service the debt except to confiscate more lives and wealth, but a sign of bankruptcy? He must have had a sneak peek at the Director of the Congressional Budget Office’s blog notice that:

Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run.

But Obama is claiming that astronomical federal spending programs on ObamaCare and everything else would make the federal budget sustainable. Is this mere pragmatism, or evidence for a contempt for the truth?

Harry Smith of CBS spent some time with Obama at the White House, and asked him what he thought of what was being said about him.

“I’ve been listening to talk radio, the kindest of terms is a socialist, worst of which I’ve heard is you called a Nazi, are you aware of the level of enmity that crosses the airwaves about you?” asked Smith.

“Well I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it’s pretty apparent, but keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out,” said Obama. “It happens often when you’ve got an economy that is making people more anxious, but that’s not the vast majority of Americans. I think vast majority of Americans know that we’re trying hard. I want what’s best for the country. They may disagree on certain policy issues but I didn’t buy all the hype right after inauguration where everybody was only saying nice things about me and I don’t get too worried when things aren’t going as well because I know that, over time, these things turn.

It may be comforting to know that at least Harry Smith listens to the enemy, but one must question his stock of political knowledge; even a National Socialist would wonder why he makes a distinction between the terms socialist and Nazi; because a Nazi is a socialist and a socialist is a Nazi, for after all, it‘s just a matter of the nature and scope of government controls. He then prompts Obama to agree about the “level of enmity that crosses the airwaves” about the President, the key term being enmity. Not about disagreement, or opposition, or even stance, either of which might have elicited a different response from Obama. Smith acted as Obama’s walking, talking teleprompter.

Obama’s first sentence falls in line with Smith’s prompting. He complements enmity with “this kind of vitriol,” charging popular talk show hosts Limbaugh and Beck with inflammatory, violence-inciting speech, but, more importantly, insinuating, as many liberal pundits and politicians have, that such speech naturally triggers violence.

Such speech “happens often when you’ve got an economy that is making people more anxious.” So, it’s nothing important, anxiety about the future of the country, Americans worried about the future of their freedom and livelihoods, that’s all just a knee-jerk response to the prospect of more taxes, controls and regulations, all the destruction that seems to be ahead of them because of Obama’s and his predecessors’ economic policies — that’s to be expected. Obama may as well have suggested that Americans take a sedative and stop making so much noise.

Oblivious or indifferent to polls conducted by friendly and opposition pollsters alike, Obama then claims that it’s just a minority of Americans making all the noise, they’re just the wingnuts and the lunatic fringe, they can be dismissed, because other Americans understand that he’s “trying hard.” “I want what’s best for the country.” Which is what? What he promised during his campaign and has promised while in office all the while, in sugary, not so hard to decipher rhetoric, a command economy that is essentially socialistic with fascist trappings.

“They may disagree on certain policy issues” — but not on his whole agenda? Not on his push to force Americans to buy insurance, or to enslave the medical profession, or to take over one-sixth of the economy, or to usurp the Constitution and toss it into an Orwellian memory hole?. Pish! Stuff and nonsense! Mere details!

A moment later Obama remarks: “I do think that everybody has a responsibility — Democrats or Republicans — to tone down some of this rhetoric, some of these comments” — or else what? What is it about the “tone” that bothers him and his Democratic allies? And why is it that Democrats can exhibit “tone,” but not their opponents, lest they be accused of “hatefulness”? Hate is an emotional response to something one fears. One of its contributing emotions is anger. And what is it that his critics and enemies are angry about?

Why would Obama believe that such hatefulness and anger are undeserved — unless he believed that he was committing treason, but that it was okay, because others were complicit in the treason, so it couldn’t be a crime, it‘s just politics, it‘s just “community organizing.” It is only the “tone” he hears, not the ideational content of that tone. That, he refuses to acknowledge; his self-induced insulation protects him from it.

So, who is it that is also imbued with hatefulness and anger, and whose actions precipitated deserved reciprocation?

Being hateful and angry about political policies that are asphyxiating freedom, as The Washington Post’s Michael Gerson sneers, is not “political maturity.” Grow up, Americans. This is a democracy, not a republic that ensures the protection of rights against majorities or minorities, against a real or imaginary “will of the people.” Take your medicine and stop complaining.

George Orwell, in an essay appended to his dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, remarks that:

Prerevolutionary literature could only be subjected [by government lexicographers] to ideological translation — that is, alteration in sense as well as language. Take for example the well-known passage from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government.

It would have been quite impossible to render this into Newspeak while keeping to the sense of the original. The nearest one could come to doing so would be to swallow the whole passage up in the single word crimethink. A full translation could only be an ideological translation, whereby Jefferson’s words would be changed into a panegyric on absolute government.

And it is absolute government that Obama and Congress are promoting, enacting, and imposing on what is left of the American republic — but calling it a paradise of “social justice.” And saying that it is a “social crime” to think otherwise. Beneath the patina of Obama’s words as weapons and the excelsior of his mockery lies a leaden malice that dares not show its face — for his country, for Americans, for reason.

*“The Principles of Newspeak“ in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four: Text, Sources, Criticism, 1963. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1982 edition), pp. 204-205.

Florida Democrat to Complain About Anti-Obama Sign

As if to underscore the Democrats’ complete indifference to the political and economic consequences of ObamaCare, now or four years from now, and the “offensive” they are launching against anyone who resists or criticizes Obama or anything to do with him, Alan Grayson, a Florida Democratic representative, is filing a “complaint” against a Florida doctor, Dr. Jack Cassell, a urologist, who affixed a notice on his office door that read:

“If you voted for Obama, seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years.”

Cassell’s is the kind of fight-back we should hope to see and expect of medical professionals of all suasions. After all, ObamaCare not only abridges or denies Americans their right to choose to buy health insurance or not, whether or not they want it or need it, but, in our semi-socialized medical establishment, expects those professionals to take cuts in income and abide by byzantine bureaucratic rules. It expects them to submit their patients to a welter of bureaucratic advisory boards which will determine the “justice” of medical costs and whether or not treatment is even “justified.” ObamaCare turns both doctors and patients into wards and slaves of the state.

A single constituent of Grayson’s complained about the sign to the representative, who will officially complain to the Florida Department of Health. His argument will be that the doctor is in ethical violation of the Hippocratic Oath. But, which version of that Oath will Grayson base his complaint on? Surprise, Mr. Grayson: There is nothing in either the classic or modern version of it that commits a doctor to working for free, or to forbidding him to refuse a patient, regardless of his race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, ailment, or even politics. In the modern version, the closest the Oath comes to altruism is:

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

Nothing in that sentence suggests that any doctor turn himself into a compliant, indentured serf. What are those “special obligations,” and how would they differ from the obligations of a businessman to honor his contracts? Nothing is itemized. If a doctor wishes to work for free among the poor, at his own cost, that is his choice. ObamaCare, however, robs him of that choice. An altruist interpretation might be inferred in the sentence, but would hardly be grounds for claiming it is a commitment to servitude. Being a “member of society” is not an automatic sentence to servitude or slavery.

As Fox News reports, not even the Florida Department of Health claims that Cassell’s sign violates professional ethics or is in conflict with a statute.

“Because there is no statute, there would be no grounds for a complaint,” said Eulinda Smith of the Department. “It would be legally deficient.”

It would be “legally deficient,” not to mention unconstitutional, if there were a statute that denied any doctor his freedom of speech. Such a statutory gag would not permit a doctor to defend himself proactively (as in the urologist’s case) or in defense of himself in any circumstances governed by his relationship with real or potential patients.

In short, Grayson is grasping for straws that aren’t even there. But, that never stopped a politician from asserting they were there. Such hubris on the part of politicians and collectivists is the foundation of our rights-abridging and wealth-consuming welfare state.

Dr. Jack Cassell should be commended for his stand. Anyone who values the First Amendment should rally to his defense and support him.

No, no, chirped William Allen, a specialist in bioethics, law and medical professionalism at the University of Florida. Allen felt generous and said that Cassell can say what he wants as long as he doesn’t question patients about their politics or turn them away if he or the patient don’t agree on politics. Allen’s implied public position is that doctors are under strict obligation to accept anyone as a patient. Which is not true. No statute compels a doctor to accept or treat anyone — except perhaps in countries with socialized medicine.

Because Cassell has not turned away the few who voted for Obama — although it would be within his rights to, he probably suspects that the government and even the AMA would come down on him like a ton of bricks if he did refuse anyone — Allen quips that the doctor is “trying to hold onto the nub of his ethical obligation. But this is pushing the limit.”

And, what “ethical obligation” is Allen referring to? There’s nothing in the Hippocratic Oath that describes or expresses it in the context of a doctor/patient relationship. It is as vague and ambiguous as the commerce and general welfare clauses in the Constitution. At least, those clauses meant something specific to the Founders, if not to the Supreme Court and other legal authorities who have rendered them vague and ambiguous over the decades — purported adumbrations on which the Democrats are justifying taking over one-sixth of the economy through ObamaCare.

What is that “limit,” other than a doctor exercising his freedom of speech? In a collectivized society — such as Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, wish to establish in America — if a doctor is denied ownership of own his mind and body, and of the skills he studied for years to acquire, and is prohibited from making any choice in how he uses them, then his freedom of speech is irrelevant and so secondary it disappears from sight. Allen’s warning is: Don’t put into practice what you say, Dr. Cassell, or you’ll be sorry. Just shut up and obey.

Grayson and Allen are harpies of a feather in a numerous flock of unsavory creatures who wish to persuade Americans that they have a “right” to medical care. Well, no one has a “right” to medical care, just as no one has a “right” to health insurance, or to a job, or to a home, or to a good sex life.

Neither Grayson nor Allen has a leg to stand on. All they can do is express their malice for anyone who refuses to become a slave, or for anyone who speaks out against the prospect of becoming one.

Thomas Jefferson noted: “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” I would amend that to read: “When injustice becomes law, resistance is a right.”

And, in the context of our present predicament, he noted, two years before composing the Declaration of Independence, in A Summery View of the Rights of British America:

Scarcely have our minds been able to emerge from the astonishment into which one stroke of parliamentary thunder as involved us, before another more heavy, and more alarming, is fallen on us. Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, began at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably…too plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.

ObamaCare is merely the latest episode of that concerted and deliberate reduction. It didn’t start with President Barack Obama, but, if enough Americans stand up with and in emulation of Dr. Jack Cassell, it may end with Obama.

Long Live Lady Liberty!

A Call to Arms Addendum

In the midst of composing and posting “A Call to Arms,” I left one remark of mine unclarified regarding the president’s veto powers. It was clear in my head, but not in my words. What I meant to say was that the president can veto even repeal legislation, but his veto can be overridden if two-thirds of the House and Senate so vote. In Obama’s instance, he would work to ensure that no such bill to repeal (for example, ObamaCare) ever got out of committee in either chamber and made its way to formal debate or to a roll call vote. Also, I have added a link to that section of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 7, which discusses presidential veto powers. And I have added in italics a clarifying sentence to this paragraph:

The president can veto any repeal of Obamacare, but Congress, if it has the votes, can override his veto with a two thirds majority in each house. This is a check on executive powers anticipated by the authors of the Constitution, one intended to forestall executive despotism. That is, he can veto a repeal bill but expect or risk his veto being overridden by a majority in Congress.

My apologies for the confusion.

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