The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Global Warming" My Ass

Now Playing: Nine to the Universe, from Jimi's "Message From Nine to the Universe," just arrived on CD - sounds great after 26 years...

Just a quick note about that vast neo-collectivist fraud called "global warming":  This morning (well, yesterday morning - it's oh-dark-hundred,) I had to scrape ice off of my car before I went to work.

Yes, it's January but...

I live in sunny Los Angeles.

Ten years ago in January I was getting sunburned by the pool.

Then there's this...

and this...

and this...

And those are just what's happening here. As Robert Bidinotto has reported, the weather is roughly the same in China.

And in the Middle East...(!)

As a matter of fact - "inconvenient" for some, I suspect - temperatures over the last year have been colder than hell all over the planet.

Noticeably muted has been reportage among major media of this; conspicuously silent too these last couple of months have been the Climate Armageddon faithful. As Mr. Bidinotto pithily observes, the eco-faithful's terminology of "global warming" is at max volume in the dog days of summer, but mysteriously transforms itself into "climate change" when people worldwide are up to their hairy eyebrows in Winter Wonderland.

Generally speaking, people with respect for and rudimentary grasp of science don't try to extrapolate incidental weather into broad, epochal climatic shifts, but the Climate Armageddon faithful have never been particularly fond of scientific rigor (pg. 5.) So when their own logic is bounced back at them courtesy of this inconvenient blizzard of...blizzard reports from around the world, their response is a uniform "Well, cold weather, too, is caused warming."


It's a neat trick, the non-falsifiable concept. Sews everything up and preserves the myth for the devout, and wipes out all of that tedious mucking about with...proof.

By the time I'd gotten halfway into Michael Crichton's excellent thriller State of Fear," I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face ever again upon hearing some breathless new media splash about "global warming." Yet there are people who persist in buying into that fraud, all around us.

What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall some 250 years from now, at a gathering of historians and cultural anthropologists looking back at early 21st-century politics. Those guys are going to be clutching at their sides, hooting in laughter.

For those of us in the here-and-now, the primary question (pun if you want one,) is: How much of our lives and of our livelihoods will be destroyed, how much economic and social wreckage will come about, as a result of this collective lunacy going by the name of "environmentalism?"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Annual Political Theater - Instant Impressions

Now Playing: The 2008 State of the Union address

Our annual exercise in cheesy political theater is under way, and I'm here to provide some initial impressions.

Once upon a time I'd go through the text of SotU addresses line-by-line and take them apart, but it's long since become clear that that is a colossal waste of time and threat to sanity. Better to do some more generalized observations - plus the task of posting here while watching will make anything more in-depth impossible.

First off, there's the Grand Entrance, in which camera-whores Congressional members line up along the aisle and, as the Cabinet and President pass, they struggle to grab hands, pat backs, and most importantly, get their smiling mugs on camera - including the ones who hate the President's guts and who have never given him the time of day, much less cooperation on vital issues. Maybe they had a sudden change of heart.

- The President just announced his full-on attack on earmarks, and Herr Pelosi looks like she's fighting back tears...; Speaking of Pelosi: If she slides any farther to the right to get better camera position she'll be in Cheney's lap...

- Fast-forward to education: Some proposal to help children get better grades, but not a peep about...getting government out of education. Which means: Status Quo Pablum;

- A call to improve trade with a number of South American countries and South Korea - clearly a veiled proposition to compete against China head-to-head...

- The rundown of energy proposals, and Pelosi sits motionless during applause for nuclear power, the cleanest and most technologically-advanced source of raw energy available. An eco-fascist to the end...

- Oh, a cut to Hillary: She's got a weird, dreamy look on her face, and it's hard to avoid the assumption that she's daydreaming about one day being in Bush's place. Maybe when she grows up?

- Now that's strange... the Republican side of the aisle is on its feet applauding advances in stem cell technology, and the Democrat-Socialists are motionless...

- D'OH! They're showing their unanimous approval of Bush's idiotic, Medieval proposal to ban "buying, selling, patenting or cloning of human life." Just what an emerging, vital and potentially history-altering technology needs - government stomping on its economic component at square one...

- Anybody keeping an eyeblink count on Pelosi? It went crazy when Bush read the line about "evil people who despise freedom and hate America." Hmmm...

- Ahh, "Our military and civilians in Iraq...deserve the gratitude of the whole nation." Can nauseating, self-serving hypocrisy get any worse than those contemptible Democrat pacifists jumping to their feet after that line? Do they think we haven't been keeping tabs on their behavior? Arrrrrghh...

- Funny, they're all sitting motionless after Bush's call on Congress "to fully fund our troops." Hmph. Now I'm all confused...

- Still on Iraq... Interesting but in no way surprising to see the further reactions of the aforementioned Democrat-Socialist hypocrites members; nothing new from the President - 'likely he's reasserting his policy on that country with as in-your-face an attitude as he can muster, which is to say: not much...

- of "compassion" and the "call of our conscience" - not a good combination to be hearing from a government official. Which means we're moving into a litany of welfare programs?

- We oppose genocide in Sudan and support freedom in Cuba (tick!tock!tick!tock!,) Zimbabwe, Belarus and Burma (Rambo - go see it, if for no other reason than to tweak the sensibilities of Hollywood's leftists.) That's all good...

- "Fight against global hunger" and "humanitarian assistance" and "education initiatives..." Yeah, let's internationalize American welfare, that's the ticket. Sheesh...

- He's wrapped it up, surprisingly with no smarmy and overt religiosity - rather with a decided focus on liberty as a beacon of hope. So...why did he wait until his last SotU speech for that?

- More copious theatrical hand-pumping, back-patting and autograph-scamming, from both plausible members and blatant hypocrites. *sigh* Could future productions limit camera coverage to the actual speech? Unlikely.

Bottom line: Pretty standard GW Bush fare - the only standout moment was when he basically declared war on "earmarks," something that, again, should have shown up at least five years ago. Never better than late, as the GOP "leadership" would say. Or something.

We can be fairly certain, unfortunately, that aside from his promised vetoes - assuming they actually, finally show up - his sudden conversion to fiscal responsibility won't amount to much in the way of government downsizing.

'Guess Rudy'll have to tackle it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thompson's Lesson to Giuliani

Now Playing: Brush With The Blues (the Master at work,) originally recorded on Who Else?, 1999

Johnny-come-lately GOP Presidential contender Fred Thompson officially bowed out of the race today, bringing to a close a near-perfect exposition of the GOP "leadership's" philosophical vacuity.

Recall that less than a year ago we heard breathless talk of Thompson being "the keeper of the Reagan flame," a candidate who " Ronald Reagan, is a man of tremendous substance" sure to champion the same brand of (relatively) principled Republicanism and sweep his way to the GOP nomination.

Our first clue that something was seriously amiss with this appraisal came in the form of a purely strategic error that can only be defined as "boneheaded." Thompson stayed out of the early stages of the GOP primary season, even to the point of missing several of the early debates - a move that saw him transformed in both street buzz and media from "eagerly-awaited" to "indecisive and lazy." In short, he entered at least two months later than he ought to have.

The second clue came right at the end of Thompson's candidacy announcement speech of September 6, 2007: "We are steeped in the tradition of honor and sacrifice for the greater good. ...That's the belief that this campaign is based upon." As you can see and hear, there isn't a word in that speech related to individual rights as a foundation for changes to government policy. "Sacrifice for the greater good" was elevated to the status of core principle, while man's right to live for his own benefit - America's political First Principle - was not worthy even of passing allusion.

John Locke wrote these magnificent words in his Second Treatise:

"Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself."

Thompson, evidently, has never read them.

Our third clue arrived at Thompson's first debate showing on Oct. 9, 2007. The burst of proudly-professed Reaganism eagerly awaited by the GOP rank & file was...a no-show. What we heard was lukewarm, visionless pragmatism, a stark contrast to Reagan's emphatic and urgent assertions of the need to control and shrink, drastically, an out-of-control government. Thompson's campaign moved into a more or less continuous downward spiral thereafter.

So...why, after all the buildup, did Thompson's campaign fizzle, sputter and die like a post-Nanny-State firecracker?

Simple: There was a gaping void where, at the very least, an aggressive commitment to individual rights and to strictly-limited government should have been.

The reason for that void? Unquestioning acceptance of altruism as a foundational principle. As I wrote to the Thompson campaign's website on September 25, 2007: "How do you propose to effect any significant Reaganesque downsizing of that bloated, slobbering, oppressive pig that is our government, if your ethical credo is precisely the same as that used to bring it to that condition in the first place?... 'Sacrifice for the greater good' is the flipside of 'It Takes a Village.'"

It's no wonder Thompson had such a hard time mobilizing enthusiasm for his message, even within himself - it was anchored to a large dinosaur carcass.

Note to Mayor Giuliani: If you want to win this thing, familiarize yourself with the proper principles, and fight for them as though they matter. Your reading list could start with Capitalism, economist George Reisman's 1996 treatise. Or maybe just a certain 1957 novel.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Michigan Primary Caveat: "Open"

Now Playing: One Note At A Time by the immortal Shawn Lane - playing all instruments...

The Michigan primary has officially been called - Romney for the Republicans and Clinton for the Democrat-Socialists. This is pretty much as expected, and given the fact that no one person has yet won two GOP primaries in a row, any prognistications are pure speculation. While I'm normally loath to engage in guessing on political matters and even less fond of "spin," the exception in this case is that this is getting fun, and I'm a big fan of fun.

So what's my angle?

First, an essential attribute of the Michigan primary is that it's an "open" primary - which means that anyone can cast a vote for anyone, regardless of party affiliation. Secondly, Hillary Clinton was the sole candidate on the Democrat ballot due to the DNC's penalizing the state for holding its primary earlier than that party's rules allow. For once the Demo-Socs get something right - bravo!

Thirdly, though there's no positive confirmation that this actually took place, leftwing activists were urging Michigan Democrats to monkeywrench the GOP results by picking up Republican ballots and skewing the vote to their liking. Given the total absence of any appreciable stake in the Democrat contest, it's likely that a large percentage of votes on the Republican side were actually cast by hardcore leftists from the dark other side

One leftwing blogger had argued for Democrats to cast votes for Romney, on the theory that Romney's continued presence in the race would dilute the perception of any clear GOP frontrunner, thereby benefiting (somehow,) the Demo-Socialist Party. Umm, I always say "there's a Rush lyric for every situation in life," in this case it's: "You can twist perceptions / reality won't budge." If the Demo-Socs think they're going to get some kind of tangible uptick in November from that strategy, they're more delusional than even their ideology would suggest.

My take on the results: The more likely scenario of leftwing electoral tinkering is that they cast votes for McCain, who aside from his stance on the war is one of the two Democrats currently masquerading as Republicans. The other, of course, is Huckabee, but his theocratic worldview is too disturbing even for those enamored of his strident statism and hostility to economic liberty. The Romney-McCain-Huckabee trifecta indicates that Michigan GOP voters a.) like the Romney pedigree, and b.) remain disturbingly aligned with the religious right's tunnel-vision - as evidenced by Huckabee's double-digit showing well ahead of Giuliani, Thompson and Paul, also their probable contribution to the religious Romney's win.

All in all, with the GOP results from upcoming primaries in Nevada, South Carolina and Florida projected to maintain the "horse race" status of no consistent frontrunner, the GOP primaries prior to "Super Tuesday" will be a push. As I've said before, the real battle within the GOP field won't have been joined until the results are in the night of February 5 - and the fact that Giuliani is my current fave has absolutely nothing to do with that appraisal, honest.

Seriously, Giuliani won't really have entered this race until and unless he wins some of the huge delegate prizes on the 5th, though pulling off a victory in Florida ahead of that would be a huge coup. He's selected a do-or-die strategy, and the gloves have to come off February 5th or he's out of this.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fox News Reverts To The Gong Show Format

Now Playing: "Every Time it Rains" from KWS' Live On

Fox News has got a game show running just now - it's got the snazzy stage sets, the packed cheerleader audience, the groovy panning multi-angle cameras, and there are six contestants. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

Some play-by-play:

- Much as I dislike Paul, you've got to admire a candidate who actually talks about Austrian economics by name in the midst of a televised debate. When he did so (on a question on an impending recession,) you could almost hear - and see, in Romney's case - five other throats swallowing hard... The problem with Paul, once again, is that his irrational foreign policy stance - and his vehement emotionalism whenever it comes up - has instantly disqualified him as a serious Presidential candidate at a time when the very survival of Western Civilization is on the chopping block. Therefore everything else he says, no matter how valid and admirable taken by itself, is disgraced by association. This guy is a one-track broken record on retro-60s head-in-the-sand pacifism.

- I'm wondering why, after John "Traitor" McCain's and The Reverend Huckabee's being queried specifically by the "moderator" about the apparent betrayal of Reaganomics by the current GOP "leadership," Fred Thompson had to ask that "moderator" to be given the same opportunity and time to...have his turn. After he had done the "moderator's" job for him, Thompson landed a one-two punch to the solar plexus of the confused Reverend Democrat Huckabee. So..why the odd focus by the network on the two Democrat candidates, Huckabee and McCain? 'Guess we know who the media are backing... I'll be interested to see a comparative breakdown of time and speaking opportunity allotments given the candidates.

- A detail note: I'm a big fan of precision in speaking and in choosing one's words. Which means I'm liking, big time, Hizzoner Giuliani's alteration of the phrase "war on terror" to "the terrorists' war on us." Precise, pithy, illustrative. More of that, please.

- Clapping. Lots...and lots...and lots...of clapping. Back and forth. And back and forth. And squealing - literally squealing - cheerleaders jumping into the "debate" on their idol's cue. As if I give a tinker's damn what a game show crowd thinks of a given point, and as if their emotional response is likely to cause me to rearrange my beliefs - which intent is palpable with every childish outburst. *sigh* This is not a good use of my time, Fox. Can you study the difference between a game show and a Presidential debate, then try to apply whatever you might learn to the situation at hand? Could somebody else create a news network that's run by professionals? Please?

- Paul eats serious crow on his 60s-flower-child pacifism when, after a lengthy rant of escalating emotionalism (as mentioned above,) the moderator asks what Paul was responding to, when the rest of the candidates had all urged calm and restraint on the Iranian agression against the American Navy. In the aftermath, even the half-baked rest of the field made Paul look like a naïve teenager on national defense, which, as I've said earlier here, is kinda-sorta important...?

- A big part of me wants very badly to be a Thompson supporter. His body-slam reply to Michael Moore's taunt in May of last year was the kind of thing I'd expected would be the tip of an iceberg of Reaganism. Unfortunately, we only hear that from Thompson on the rarest of occasions. And there's his noxious endorsement of the altruist ethics, the foundation of collectivism, in his paean to "sacrifice for the greater good," which "greater good," historically, has shown itself to be malleable to whatever the mob wants it to be, and generally enforced by a dictator. Essentially, the precise, polar opposite of inalienable rights of individuals.

The characterizations of him as "lazy" would be more accurately described as something like "inexplicably reticent" or "inappropriately passive." In any case, though Thompson's style of quiet gruffness and authenticity is a refreshing contrast to the slick, prepackaged, and coached artifice that's become the norm among American politicians, an appealing style - oddly attenuated at that - can't mitigate a disastrous view of ethics and some consequently disastrous black marks on his record. He'd have to convince me that the "sacrifice" blather was a momentary lapse of reason and outline some proposals at least as bold as Reagan's. Like eliminating entire cabinet departments like Education and Energy, alphabet soup agencies like the FDA, EPA, ICC, FTC, and above all, the FCC. But Thompson's most egregious offense remains his support for the McCain Campaign Censorship Act.

So as it stands, Thompson got some great soundbite points - and by the calculation of one of Fox' instant reaction panels "won" the debate overall - but he'd have to undergo a sea change of both substance and style to merit nomination.

All in all, the last two debates have illustrated vividly that, on a philosophical level, Giuliani is as good as Thompson is as good as Romney. The only real differences between them are superficial, mostly personality and stylistic differences. None of the GOP candidates is anything close to the Reaganesque fiscal conservative / social libertarian mold except Paul, but he has, as I've indicated, disqualified himself as a serious candidate on that whole Basic Survival question. That's really too bad because he literally ran rings around the others whenever he got away from 60s pacifism, which was roughly: 15% of his total speaking time. So given that we're left only with induced pragmatism, the candidate with the best cross-partisan appeal, therefore the candidate most likely to score the landslide defeat of Clinton / Obama / Edwards / Mussolini / etc., is the logical choice. That would be: Giuliani.

Yes, I'd rather vote for a candidate I could back enthusiastically and strictly on principle, but Janice Rogers Brown, Robert Bidinotto and T.J. Rogers are all gainfully employed. So I'm reduced to gutter pragmatism.

Just like the last five Presidential elections. This is getting real, real old - but what's a guy to do?

Hey France! Can we borrow....

Yeah, yeah - "No Person except a natural born citizen...shall be eligible..."


Please pass the Jenlain, s'il vous plait.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The First Presidential Debate Finally Airs - Bravo FoxNews!

Now Playing: Woogie the Weasel by Freeway Philharmonic, from Car Tunes, 1991

~~ Ah, back in the New Year from a self-induced vacation blackout on all things political - even political junkies need the periodic reboot. 'Hope everyone had a happy holiday season. [Note that I said absolutely nothing about "safe" - I'm not your nanny and neither is anyone else, assuming you're past the diaper stage.] ~~

I think congratulations of some sort are in order - with an adjectival mixture of "exasperated" and "relieved" - to Fox News for airing the first Presidential debate of the ‘08 campaign.

That's right, the first Presidential debate of the '08 campaign. No game-show format, no arena crowds of screaming, booing, jeering, applauding, groaning bonehead cheerleaders dragging discourse into the fetid gutter of tabloid journalism. Just Presidential candidates seated before a moderator, discussing issues. Imagine that.

Why we've had to wait the better part of a year through the inane game shows before getting a real discussion - you know, as if hearing what the candidates have to say were important or something - will likely remain a mystery. The vastly-improved format did not prevent the candidates from evasion, of course, nor did it suddenly instill in them better ideas, but for the first time we got to hear them.

The question now is: How do we drum into the collectiv(ist) heads of the rest of America’s news media that this is the kind of format that the debates from here to November 4 need to adopt?

This is a backhanded compliment, to be sure, but a compliment nonetheless. Televised political "debates" in America have been atrocious - nay, scandalous - in their juvenility for years, but thanks are due to Fox News for finally getting it right, and may the idea stick.

More on the debate's content as I digest it in reruns - this is a snapshot impression of format based on having caught the last 1/3 of it.