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October 31, 2009

America's Moral Drift: A Horror for the World to Behold



Former White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino, whom I had the delightful opportunity to meet at the Royal Automobile Club in London last August, knows a thing or two about dealing with a hostile press. However, despite the overwhelming percentage of reporters hostile to Bush personally over those even somewhat critical of Obama’s policies, the Bush White House, as Dana put it in a recent appearance on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, took the high road.




Transcript excerpt (courtesy LexisNexis):



PERINO: Here's what I think. I think -- let's step back for a second. When you are the White House you don't just speak to the 16 reporters who are in the room. What you say at that podium really matters. What you say -- as the chief of staff or other members, the senior staff, matters to everybody, including emerging democracies around the world.


And what they see is what they see like dictators do, right? They go after a legitimate news organizations. […]And they think that that's OK. I actually think that they should just step back. I understand not doing opinion shows. But don't rub their nose in it. Just let it go and take the high road.



Clearly, regardless of who holds the White House, the Constitution must be upheld. If we are to begin sliding into this eerily grey area of questionable spite-fests against those whose job it is to keep government honest, what then will happen when the other party takes power and follows the precedent set by the one prior? Evidently, the Obama administration hasn’t thought about that.


During all of my time being critical of President Bush and his policies of not being aggressive enough on China, not investing more in DoD programs, his position on illegal immigration and its toll on legal immigrants and natural-born citizens, and avoiding pushing a flat or national sales tax to replace the graduated income tax, I never once felt this man would send his goons after me and abridge my God-given Constitutional right to speak out. Nor did I seriously spend much time worrying about Mr. Clinton, for that matter.


The Obama White House, however, has set a far different tone; one that has made even fellow liberal Democrat partisans and otherwise fans of his both inside and outside the media uneasy. Since White House Communications Director Anita Dunn’s attempt to shut Fox News out of the press pool last week, for instance, it is beginning to appear that various usually obsequent news outlets have begun a bit of chirping about Obama policy shortcomings and even aspects of his private life.


Most notable was the Associated Press publication of perhaps its first sharply critical piece about Obama’s lack of stimulus job creation, to much consternation and angst from the White House. CNN has also begun throwing tough questions as Obama officials, at times catching them flat-footed expecting no doubt the usual softer round of questioning, as happened recently with White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett. During this same period, criticism has begun to emerge over the First Couple's lavish date nights and private concerts as the rest of the country faces greater unemployment and other hardships. 


And perhaps this is good, considering how important it is for the press, no matter the issue, to keep government on its toes, but perhaps more so given the Obama team's rather lengthy history of creepy repressive tactics against its opponents, such as when the Obama campaign attempted in some states like Missouri and Pennsylvania to have opposition ads taken off the air and even criminal charges brought up against those vociferously opposing Obama the candidate in last year’s election. In the case of Pennsylvania, the man behind that iron curtain was none other than Anita Dunn’s husband Bob Bauer who now is on a fast track to replace Greg Craig as White House Counsel.


The tragedy in the mean time is that both Obama’s policies and actions have caused negative human rights and strategic reverberations around the world. His refusal to condemn human rights violations In Iran, China, Venezuela, and so on, to aggressively challenge Iran on its nuclear weapons program, to support rule of law and the Constitution in Honduras, and to allow more troops in Afghanistan to languish and die for months without proper support because he is afraid to make a decision have all given aid and comfort to our enemies and put countless innocents in peril.


If anything, Obama’s choice domestically to persecute opposition media, it seems, along with his foreign policy penumbras of silence and nuances of acquiescence, is to create perhaps Obama’s most resolute statement to date: that we are no longer a nation that stands for right or a nation which stands up and defends the little guy against the tyrant and the oppressor. Instead, as Obama’s manufacturing czar Ron Bloom recently quoted the world’s most murderous thug Mao Zedong as saying, the noble aspirations that made America so great should be thought of as a lie and instead we should surrender to the barbaric notion that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”  Such a statement and a belief stands without question in stark contrast to the ideas of civil and free political discourse which has marked our comparatively genteel and by far, freer and more just society.


The behavior that we have seen as a result not only stands to dull the prestige of the Office of the President, and by extension the country, it is contemptible in every other moral and historically American sense. Whether it is done through a cynical game of power as was witnessed during the Nixon administration or a combination of Chicago-style power-mongering and an imported murderous ideology, the end result bears little difference, for it is a thugocracy by any other name.


It is also very much about not denying our leadership in the world. As Perino mentions here – and it very much bears mentioning – the way in which the administration chooses to act towards what is a Constitutionally ordained free and adversarial press will show dictatorial thugs around the world how much they can get away with. If Obama, in the freest country on earth, persecutes and delegitimizes the free press – and by extension a 222 year old Document that protects them – regimes like Venezuela, like Iran, and like China will proceed with horrifying impunity assailing to ever greater degrees the rights of their people and others around the world.



Posted by Martin at 12:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 29, 2009

Bringing About the Josiah Moment in American Awareness

Undoing statist academia and remembering our roots



Do we need deprogrammers to undo the lies, propaganda, and indoctrination a lot of people were victims of by attending public schools? The ignorance about this great country and its founding and exceptionalism is breathtaking. Part of the idea of free speech was that government would not control dissemination of crucial information, because doing so gave the government far too much power. As George Washington once said, a tyrant’s goal is to lead the “dumb and silent” away “like sheep to the slaughter”.


It's time we un-do the ignorance imposed on a generation by government schools. Government should never be the controller of information, nor even an unaccountable co-equal purveyor, because that power will invariably be used to serve the government's own interest, which is greater power at the expense of Liberty. George Washington and countless other of our Founding Fathers warned against the government monopoly of power through a lock on information, which is partly why he and others so strongly supported our First Amendment - that information should be under the control of the people, free from self-serving government fetters.  


The federal government acting outside its Constitutional role and accountability for local government acting within its appropriate role are the two key issues here. Should we abolish public schools in favor of a 100% tax credit-driven system in which parents would send their children to the schools of their choice? It could certainly be discussed at length and I certainly support some form of voucher system at least concurrent with a public school system. But that’s not as important as whether government, which is eternally self-serving (and more so the farther away it is from those it governs), will be the primary source of the information your child uses at an age that statistically tends to leave the most lasting impressions he will develop of the world around him.


One way we can obviously limit the extent to such abuse of our children is through ensuring control of those schools be local. In this way, communities will have the toolbox they need to force school officials to be transparent and accountable, which in turn will reduce counter-value un-American statist textbook indoctrination (or that by the occasional nutter teacher), increase the number of students who actually receive a quality education and become thinking contributors rather than leaches and sheep in society, and certainly curtail the type of PC inanity that leads to known criminals being permitted to stalk the halls of schools while Boy Scouts receive month-long suspensions for carrying sporks. Indeed, in an accountable, meritocratic school, Boy Scouts should be given special privileges based on their proven character, quality teachers should receive raises and bonuses, while gang members are expelled and lazy, incompetent teachers fired and blackballed.


But again, the first step is waking up and educating a large swath of the public, which through no fault of its own was lied to and kept in the dark by public school curricula both in K-12 and in college that deprived them of the knowledge of who they are as Americans. Once armed with this knowledge, they will be better prepared to fight for it in defense of their own children.



Posted by Martin at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2009

Gun-Grabber, Socialized Murdercine, Progressivism FAIL



What banning guns from law-abiding citizens has led to in the UK: “Armed officers placed on routine foot patrol for first time” to deal with skyrocketing numbers of armed thugs.


Meanwhile, criminals in the UK continue to receive light sentences for serious crimes as citizens increasingly hemmed in by regulations, laws, and surveillance and afraid to step outside because of the criminal are forced to live in fear of both the criminal and the government. The death penalty for murder is banned and the criminal is let out early while the elderly, those suffering from certain types of breast cancer and other ailments, and those born too young, are condemned to die.


This, of course, is where liberalism invariably leads: injustice for the powerless at every level. While some may herald this as proof of some great leap forward for the progressive movement, they fail to differentiate between progressivism and progress. In reality it leaves citizens stuck in a system that only differs from places like Iran and China in that it chooses to use the slow death of passive aggression to wipe away their human rights, which winds up being just as tragic.


Thankfully, Britons may be waking up to this, but sadly the Obama  administration seems intent on moving Americans toward this failed dystopia, whether they like it or not. Progressive? More like regressive – back towards the most barbaric of times before the powerless had rights. A sad commentary indeed.



Posted by Martin at 03:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2009

CNN: Nagin Heads to Cuba for Disaster Advice. What?



Epic mayoral fail heads to Cuba to find ways he can fail better. Because no one handles natural disasters like Third World and communist countries:




Posted by Martin at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

Economist Article: Some Corrections and Further Notes



In a recent post here at Blogbat, we wrote that James Miles, Beijing Bureau Chief for the Economist, had stated in an interview with Jim Falk of the World Affairs Council that the need to fix “climate change can’t be interrupted by human rights”. In fact, Blogbat had erred in transcribing the live audio interview and had misquoted Mr. Miles. As such, Blogbat sincerely regrets the mistake. However, Blogbat is also gravely concerned about what we believe is an utter lack of professionalism on the part of Mr. Miles, a public figure, in resolving the issue and in his choice to immediately, according to his own e-mail, spread apparent falsehoods to others about a private individual with whom he disagrees.


Blogbat constantly strives to get it right, and in that effort, we always employ due-diligence when quoting others. In the case of the quote in question, since it was a live audio event, we were unable to replay it at the time, so we asked others in attendance if they believed they had also heard him say this. They believed that he had. Of course, we know now not a one of us had heard him correctly, as the audio recording and transcript sent to us by Mr. Miles bears out. While it is natural that in the course of writing any sort of report of such events, errors can be and are made, we certainly seek to correct them as soon as possible. We harbor no ill will toward Mr. Miles and wish him the very best in his work. As such, we sincerely apologize where we have factually erred.


This matter, of course, was brought to my attention today by Mr. Miles in an e-mail. We have since been in communication, and despite the fact his communications were not altogether friendly, we have worked to ensure all factual errors are corrected. Below, you may click on the screen shots of the e-mails sent to me by Mr. Miles as well as my responses to him.


e-mail 1  response 1   e-mail 2   response 2


Now that this is out of the way, let’s move on to some of the issues-related items we discussed with Mr. Miles. While we did get a sense that, in our opinion, climate change seemed to be of greater importance to Mr. Miles than human rights (as is very much the fashion in international politics today), Mr. Miles vehemently denies this. We thank him for clarifying and are very glad that he has taken the time to do so. We are also very happy to see someone such as he at this point articulate a strong position in favor of human rights, as the world does indeed need more strong voices in its cause. We also commend Mr. Miles for the “personal risk” which he claims in his e-mail to me he has taken in order to report on abuses by the regime. For this, we believe Mr. Miles should be honored, if that be the case.


His interview does suffer some seeming contradictions, such as his belief that, "in a way it is China's authoritarianism that helps America and helps the world generally” (38:20) and then later states “The authoritarianism which I think is likely to persist over the next decade or next couple of decades is not a stable one.” This then begs the question, how is an unstable China a benefit to the world, and isn’t it a primary argument of those who want to see the status quo remain in China that any disturbance to the current regime will lead to instability and as a result trouble for the rest of the world? Unfortunately, he did not address this in our communication, though it was touched on in the original article.


Mr. Miles also states that China’s response to global epidemics over the last decade has had “authoritarian components” (35:50), and follows by offering several examples. This, too, does not seem to be something which would support the idea that Chinese authoritarianism is helpful in the global sense.  


It is important also to note that Mr. Miles did not dispute any of the other points made in my article about China, the international community in general or human rights. Since his interview with WAC essentially only served to set up the article which covered far broader issues – ones which he expressed to me were of great concern to him also – I was surprised they were not also addressed, if not commended. That again, however, is his choice.


Mr. Miles also stressed that he does not allow the Chinese communist regime to influence his reportage, and I made it clear to him my concern, since the regime is well-known for quite some time for trying to influence all who do business within its borders, as Washington Times writer and author Bill Gertz has noted. So, while we believe it is fair to always question whether such is the case, Mr. Miles has made it clear that with him it is not, so as we retain the right to some skepticism, we take him at his word.


So again, despite the fact Mr. Miles did seem to us to downplay the importance of human rights in his interview, he is entitled to his opinion as are we entitled to ours, and in this instance he does not himself characterize it as such and in some regards we may be mildly persuaded by his vigorous defense. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. When asked if he might proffer one or two pieces that sharply defined his pro-human rights positions, he declined. In all fairness we will always give the other side a chance to respond whenever it is willing and available.  


Beyond our quote which we attributed incorrectly to Mr. Miles and corrected, we understand that Mr. Miles is a public figure and therefore available for public criticism. A public figure should consider avoiding spreading rumors about a private citizen, as such behavior tends to be frowned upon; it certainly is not acceptable when the issues at hand are one errant quotation that was readily acknowledged and corrected, and other matters common to the often passionate political discourse in the foreign policy arena where debate over ideas and the intent of spoken and written work is carried out heatedly every day. Blogbat's interest here is the truth, so it is important to set the record straight where it has been in error above all else. We certainly hope that we have done so today.



Posted by Martin at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2009

The Economist's James Miles Misses It on Human Rights

Miles: Need to fix “climate change can’t be interrupted by human rights”



On Monday, the China correspondent for The Economist, James Miles, took some time to talk by phone with Jim Falk, President of the Dallas-Ft. Worth World Affairs Council (of which I am a member). Those of us who are members were invited to take part by listening to the streaming interview on our computers and were also invited to send in questions through a chat-room-like window.


During the hour-long interview, topics ranged from anthropogenic climate change, which received the bulk of the time allotted, the economy – a close second –and human rights, which was relegated to the status of also-ran inglorious-mention status.


The fact that human rights has become an all-but forgotten virtue – nevertheless one most in need of immediate action – is naturally not an exclusive fault of Mr. Miles, though his statements during the interview were probably among the most egregious and reprehensible I’ve heard so far.


The United Nations has become infamous over the past decade about moving in the same direction as Mr. Miles, who should know better. It has spent countless more man hours and millions more in dollars chasing the highly controversial and increasingly repudiated meme of man-made global warming while refusing time and again to address the horrific plight of people around the world suffering unspeakably at the direct hand of other people.


I have also been a witness to this willful ignorance. During a visit to a United Nations Association event at the UN in April of 2008, where human rights was given sickeningly short shrift in favor of radical environmentalism and engaging in partisan and unproductive bashing of the Bush administration.  In her publication, “A Guilt Beyond Crime”,  Julia Pettengill discusses at length not only the consequences of ignoring human rights violations and, in particular, genocide, she also cites numerous experts from both sides of the political isle who point out both lost and future opportunities to prevent and eliminate it.1 You would think with all of her work and the work of countless other NGOs and people around the world that the UN and the internationalist community (of which I include myself) would do something to make it a top priority.


This remains far from being the case. In point of fact, beyond the expected United Nations Security Council resistance one expects to find from self-serving human rights violators Russia and China, the real reason nothing has heretofore been adequately done is that those with a conscience have done very little. And this takes us back to Mr. Miles, who during his interview not only downplayed the importance of human rights around the world and in China specifically, his chilling quotes left no question about the disregard he seems to hold for them altogether.


During the interview, not only did Mr. Miles state that “China’s authoritarianism helps America and the world…”, a point that taken alone could be discussed, along with its moral implications and a talk about the need for America to return to its moral roots. But a more worrisome, revealing juxtaposition came to fore that many human rights campaigners suspected in general existed among some global warming advocates. It was given voice in the interview with Jim Falk when Mr. Miles stated that we can’t let “climate change…be interrupted by human rights”. Interrupted? I am sure I was not the only one picking himself up off the floor after this horrendous statement.


So then, where exactly does this take us?  It is of course not the first time someone has put human rights behind some “greater” momentary cause. Indeed, if we look back through the history of the past century this is precisely how Mao Tse Tung managed to exterminate the better part of a hundred million people. 2 The cause of Communist control of China was more important than a “few people” here or there.  This rationale was also used by countless others during the 20th Century, including Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, the Imperial Japanese, and many of the leaders of the Hutus in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide that killed several hundred thousand men, women, and children with axes, guns, fire, and machetes, the horrors of which are noted in Philip Gourevitch’s tragic bestselling account. 3


But it also gives the excuse China needs today to continue abusing its people with impunity, as well as exporting that abuse around the world, as they have in Africa, and most tragically, in the Sudan. If, in the Sudan, the poster-child for the tragic consequences of ongoing genocide where China continues to export arms, support the regime, and block Security Council and other resolutions and action aimed at stopping that genocide, little or no attention is being paid to human rights, then certainly what we might conceive of as less egregious examples of abuse will go ignored altogether. And the current international mindset is solely to blame.


Miles goes on to admit that he believes “authoritarianism is not a stable [system]”, but if that is the case – and we know that it is – then what other horrors are Mr. Miles and so many of his countless other blind followers of climate change reactionism at all costs await a people currently suffering unimaginable indignities and injustices in the clutches of a brutal, barbaric, and illegitimate regime?


While I can understand the temptation Mr. Miles must face to watch his words about China in order to keep in its good graces (as Bill Gertz has noted and CNN has learned, China tends to translate its displeasure over unfavorable reporting into restricted access)4, there still exists the moral obligation of every reporter – every human being – to remember what this is all about in the end: someone’s mother, someone’s daughter, father, son, uncle, lover, friend taken away in the dark of night by violent men, never to be seen again; organs harvested, torture, rape, forced confessions, dreams wiped from the face of the earth.


There needs to be a sea change in the international community without question. While being good stewards of our natural resources is fundamental, it loses all meaning if in so doing we trample asunder the child, the student, the everyman simply trying to live and with the freedom to make the best choices possible in the process. When one encounters such human rights flat-earthers one can’t help but wonder: when it comes to forgetting, how long is never?






1 Julia Pettengill is an Associate Fellow with the Henry Jackson Society, with whom I had the opportunity to work on occasion and who spoke at one of the events Henry Jackson Society hosted during my internship there.


2  Courtois, Stéphane. (1997). The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press (English).


3  Gourevitch, Philip. (1998). We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families. New York: Picador.


4 Gertz, Bill. (2000). The China Threat: How the People's Republic Targets America. Washington, D.C.: Regnery.

Posted by Martin at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2009

Obama: Nobel Opiate for the Statists



Theories are now beginning to circulate that statist Norwegian elites, confused by the use of their letter Ø by the American “angry Mob" in "Øbama". Sources say the Nordic statists believed it to be a peaceful sign of broadened understanding and  warmth for the tiny, unheard-of Scandinavian clique among the knuckle-draggers in US flyover country, and that somehow Obama had brought this about.


Naturally, nothing could have been farther from the truth. The Norwegian statists, long seemingly over-guilted by their contribution to the European exploitation of North America by Leif Erikson (to say nothing of their contribution to the exploitation of Europe by, well, everyone else), were in fact so well-versed in the ivory tower mindset that they were completely cut off from even other liberals living abroad – in this case the US.


Had they kept in touch, perhaps they would have known the truth, the dirty, shameful, rubber-to-road reality about Obama’s failure to convert the heathen. Or that things have waxed ever dreadful to the point there now seems underway a  great apostasy of even Biblical proportions – well in motion before the messiah’s “Waco” in Copenhagen last week.


Still, we must give the Nobel Prize Committe (which is appointed by a frightfully statist Parliament) credit, if not for its choice of recipients, its choice of timing. October 9th was, after all, Leif Erickson Day in the U.S., which included rather ironically, a Presidential Proclamation noting the day "Liberal Guilt" was born. So I suppose in that sense the circle is now complete.  


However, rather tragically for Oslo and certainly for quite a few in Washington for the time being, it seems most Americans in hopelessly unenlightened fashion continue to resist the transformative power of The One. Obama is indeed recognized in much of Western Europe as a man of great wisdom who wishes to impose upon the great unwashed for their own good some of that “redistributive change” though unequal sacrifice and guilt. If only they would take their medicine (and wait in line for it). Instead, the dullards hold on to backward notions of human rights and shun the enlightened Old Knowledge held by the rest of the world, where elites have always ruled the roost and the common people know their place.


This idea of self-preservation through a “right” to use firearms to even things up against intruders or a “right” to find life-saving medical treatment  despite age or disability as parts of an overall invented right to self-determination for the lower casts is causing tension around the globe. Tension, I might remind you, is not peace, just as unrest is the opposite of rest. And so for their own good, it is necessary that the hoi polloi rest in peace when they’re told to.


This is why the UN throws money and time into fighting modern mythical dragons like anthropogenic global warming and discussing global poverty over champagne with thugs instead of pursuing human rights and causes for which more qualified Nobel Laureates (such as Lech Walesa and Aung San Suu Kyi) have been honored in times past.


The difficulty for the statist of course is that the idea of human rights causes tension, tension causes strife, strife causes war, and war is not peace (conflict is only acceptable under terms laid out by conflict theorists; terms which favor the tyrant and dictate terms of peace to the peasant). President Obama was the Nobel Prize Committee’s choice for Peace Prize recipient because he so far by the above and rather painfully true definition has proven to be a man of “peace”. He said he will not “meddle” except in countries like Honduras which resist thugs and as such cause the tension that causes strife, that leads to war, which prevents the peace. Or put another way, Obama’s the man who would also only meddle when 85 Year old Esther Ann of Indianapolis selfishly wants to fight the cancer she was diagnosed with. After all, tension causes strife, strife leads to war, and war is the opposite of peace. Rest in peace, Esther.


Since around the time of the American Revolution, the ideas of each human being's unique worth and the resultant values of human rights and liberty have spread, and with them a growing distate for repressive governments and double standards. Expectedly, this has lead to skirmishes here and there involving those who want to save the old, backward ways of despotism and rule by the elite over their miserable masses and the people of the world yearning to be more free. As long as people accepted the knife into their backs without resistance, there was no struggle, but now there is – and certainly one worth having.


One can almost hear the collective groan of the Old Worlders even as they dismissed America yesterday by praising an American president who dismisses his own people almost daily:


“These Americans are making it bad for everyone who is fighting the good fight to keep their serfs in check. Such a time-honored tradition of the order of rulers and peasants should be preserved as it has worked out quite well for our little clique – or did until our peasants began to see what they were missing and started getting all uppity. We thought Americans were beginning to turn over a new Leif when they voted for høpe and change last November; it now seems reasonable to suppose this will take more time.”   



Related: Two pieces I wrote for the Henry Jackson Society, one titled, "Global Warming: Questioning the Science, Shredding the Motives" posted at their blog and an artcle titled, "On the Return of the State".



Posted by Martin at 02:48 AM | Comments (0)