Archive for the ‘left’ Category

Thankful for interesting times

November 27, 2008

“May you live in interesting times” is supposed to be an ancient Chinese curse, but I can’t find evidence that the saying is Chinese at all, much less that it’s ancient. One of the earliest reliable citations seems to be a 1950 short story by the British science-fiction author Eric Frank Russell, writing under the pen name Duncan H. Munro, who quotes the imprecation and then adds: “It isn’t a curse any more. It’s a blessing.” 

By Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post
Thursday, November 27, 2008; Page A29

That’s the glass-half-full way of seeing this extraordinary moment. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter the holiday season, it feels as if our nation is at a cusp, a brink, a verge. It’s true that if things get much more “interesting,” we might have a collective nervous breakdown. But along with the anxiety, there’s also a sense of rare opportunity — a chance to emerge better than we were economically, politically and socially.

Easy for you to say, many people would respond, and they’d have a point. I’ve been as mesmerized and freaked out as anyone watching the stock market lose nearly half its value, then recover some ground, then oscillate so wildly that a 200-point gain or loss in the Dow is the new definition of a slow day. I’ve lost money (not that I had that much in the first place), but I haven’t been wiped out the way some people have. I don’t have an adjustable-rate mortgage or a house that’s “underwater.” My employer is still in business.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/26
/AR2008112603250.html?hpid=opi
nionsbox1

The Electorate’s Left Turn: Sorry, GOP: Nation No Longer Leans Right of Center

November 16, 2008

Here’s the main thought Republicans are consoling themselves with these days: Notwithstanding President-elect Barack Obama, a nearly filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate and the largest Democratic majority in the House of Representatives since 1993, the United States is still a center-right country. Sure, voters may be angry with Republicans now, but eventually, as the Bush years recede and the GOP modernizes its brand, a basically right-tilting electorate will come back home. Or, in the words of the animated rock band the Gorillaz, “I’m useless, but not for long/The future is comin’ on.”  

By Tod Lindberg
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 16, 2008; Page B01

Thus Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, in Outlook last week: The United States “is indeed, as conservatives have been insisting in recent days, a center-right country.” On election night, former Bush guru Karl Rove opined on Fox News, “Barack Obama understands this is a center-right country, and he smartly and wisely ran a campaign that emphasized it.” And it’s not just conservative pundits and operatives singing this song. Take Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who wrote an Oct. 27 cover essay entitled “America the Conservative,” which argued that Obama will have to “govern a center-right nation” that “is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal.”

The only problem: It isn’t true….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/13
/AR2008111303550.html

US comedians sharpen claws for Obama presidency

November 6, 2008

Even left wing comedians and satarists are getting ready for new meat: Obama-Mania!

Photo from 1997 Emmy Awards.
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They love him now, but America’s razor-tongued, left-leaning comedians say president-elect Barack Obama will soon be the butt of jokes.

Satirical cartoonist Ted Rall said he couldn’t wait to move on from Republican President George W. Bush.

“Making fun of George Bush is so easy — it’s just kindergarten stuff,” Rall complained at a post-election comedy discussion panel Wednesday. “Doing Obama is going to be so much more fun.”

Political humor enjoys something of a golden age in the United States after a presidential campaign where TV shows like Saturday Night Live not only made fun of news, but made news.

Most comedians are strongly Democratic and their juiciest targets were Republicans, especially Sarah Palin, the Alaskan “ice hockey mom” chosen as vice president on John McCain‘s defeated ticket.

Now Obama, who takes office in January, is in the firing line.

“Obama is so stiff and uptight, he’s just asking for it,” said Rall, who proudly proclaims his liberal credentials. “I’m going to be fascinated.”

Stand-up comedian Roseanne Barr said the coming Obama presidency — already burdened by huge expectations and vast challenges — would provide rich material and “raise the intelligence of the jokes.”

The discussion, held in Manhattan at the opening of the New York Comedy Festival, soon gave a foretaste of the edginess likely in wisecracks about Obama, the country’s first black president-elect.

When Barr innocently predicted “very pointed jokes, tip of the spear jokes,” fellow comedian Robert George, who is black, asked in mock shock: “Did you say tip of the SPEAR jokes about a black man?”

For now, most comedians, including the panel on Wednesday, seem to be holding back from making fun of an election victory they all wanted.

Rather un-comic passions exploded during a row between the comedians and one of the panel’s two lone conservative guests, Monica Crowley from the right-leaning Fox News channel.

“This is getting out of control,” Crowley muttered during a shouting match about Iraq and McCain’s negative campaign ads.

But satirical newspaper The Onion is already plunging ahead into the era of Obama humor.

The latest issue carries this story under the headline “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.”

“African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America….

“As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind.”

One thing that’s sure, comedian Lizz Winstead told the discussion panel, is that the jokes will get close to the bone.

“Basically, it’s going to be about how he handles power. Is he going to blow it? Will he become an egomaniac?” she asked.

To which Rall responded:

“Of course he’ll blow it — they always do!”

From AFP

We Could Be In for a Lurch to the Left

November 4, 2008

There’s an old saying that politics in America is played between the 40 yard lines. What this means, for those unfamiliar with football, is that we’re a centrist country, never straying very far to the left or the right in elections or national policies. This has been true for decades. It probably won’t be after today’s election.

For the first time since the 1960s, liberal Democrats are dominant. They are all but certain to have a lopsided majority in the House, and either a filibuster-proof Senate or something close to it. If Barack Obama wins the presidency today, they’ll have an ideological ally in the White House.

A sharp lurch to the left and enactment of a liberal agenda, or major parts of it, are all but inevitable. The centrist limits in earlier eras of Democratic control are gone. In the short run, Democrats may be constrained by the weak economy and a large budget deficit. Tax hikes and massive spending programs, except those billed as job creation, may have to be delayed.

By Fred Barnes
The Wall Street Journal
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But much of their agenda — the “card check” proposal to end secret ballots in union elections, the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio, liberal judicial nominees, trade restrictions, retreat from Iraq, talks with Iran — doesn’t require spending. And after 14 years of Republican control of Congress, the presidency, or both, Democrats are impatient. They want to move quickly.

Democrats had large majorities when Jimmy Carter became president in 1977 (61-38 in the Senate, 292-143 in the House) and when Bill Clinton took office in 1993 (56-44, 258-176). So why are their prospects for legislative success so much better now?

The most significant change is in the ideological makeup of the Democratic majorities. In the Carter and Clinton eras, there were dozens of moderate and conservative Democrats in Congress, a disproportionate number of them committee chairs. Now the Democratic majorities in both houses are composed almost uniformly of liberals. Those few who aren’t, including the tiny but heralded gang of moderates elected to the House in 2006, usually knuckle under on liberal issues. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bosses them around like hired help.

In the past, senior Democrats intervened to prevent a liberal onslaught. Along with Republicans, they stopped President Carter from implementing his plan to pull American troops out of South Korea.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122576065024095511.html

Revenge of The Left Over Economic Losses Not Limited to U.S.

November 3, 2008

It is not just that the Democrats will win a crushing victory in both houses of Congress, perhaps reaching the 60-seat Senate threshold that lets them steam-roll legislation. It is also that the incoming class of 2008 is of a new creed. Many no longer believe – or actively reject – the free trade and free market catechisms.

As commentator Markos Moulitsas put it in Newsweek: “The big question is, will Democrats nationwide simply ‘win’ the night–or will they deliver an electoral drubbing so thorough that it signals the utter rejection of conservative ideology and kills the notion that America is a ‘center-right’ country?” he said.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The Telegraph (UK)

No matter that statist policies were responsible for this global crisis in the first place. It was Western governments that set interest rates too low for too long, encouraging us all to abuse credit.

It was Eastern governments that held down their currencies to pursue mercantilist trade advantage, thereby accumulating vast foreign reserves that had to be recycled. Hence the bond bubble. This is the deformed creature known as Bretton Woods II. Protectionist Democrats are right to complain that the game is rigged. Free trade? Laugh on.

But at this point I have given up hoping that we will draw the right conclusions from this crisis. The universal verdict is that capitalism has run amok.

In any case the damage caused as credit retrenchment squeezes real industry is likely to be so great that Barack Obama may have to pursue unthinkable policies, just as Franklin Roosevelt had to ditch campaign orthodoxies and go truly radical after his landslide victory in 1932. Indeed, Mr Obama – if he wins – may have to start by nationalizing the US car industry.

For those who missed it, I recommend Edward Stourton’s BBC interview with Eric Hobsbawm, the doyen of Marxist history.

“This is the dramatic equivalent of the collapse of the Soviet Union: we now know that an era has ended,” said Mr Hobsbawm, still lucid at 91.

“It is certainly greatest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s. As Marx and Schumpeter foresaw, globalization not only destroys heritage, but is incredibly unstable. It operates through a series of crises.

“There’ll be a much greater role for the state, one way or another. We’ve already got the state as lender of last resort, we might well return to idea of the state as employer of last resort, which is what it was under FDR. It’ll be something which orients, and even directs the private economy,” he said.

Dismiss this as the wishful thinking of an old Marxist if you want, but I suspect his views may be closer to the truth than the complacent assumptions so prevalent in the City.

To those who still think that business can go on as normal now that EU taxpayers have had to rescue the financial system, I can only say: what will happen to London if EU exchange controls are imposed, or if leverage is restricted by draconian laws – as demanded by the German, Dutch, and Nordic Left?

Does the UK still have a blocking minority under EU voting rules to stop a blitz of directives that could shut down half the activities of the City – or the ‘Casino’ as they say in Brussels? I doubt it.

Who thinks that the three key Commission posts – single market, competition, and trade – will still be held by free marketeers when the new team comes in next year?

In Germany, Oskar Lafontaine’s Linke party now has 23pc support in Saarland on a Marxist pledge to nationalize banks and utilities. Needless to say, the Social Democrats (SPD) are shifting hard Left to protect their flank.

“The rule of the radical market ideology that began with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan has ended with a loud bang,” said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s foreign minister and SPD candidate for chancellor next year.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_
pritchard/3366575/Revenge-of-the-Left-across-the-world.html

The Audacity of Obama-Wright Rhetoric

March 30, 2008

By Thomas Sowell
The Washington Times
March 30, 2008
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It is painful to watch defenders of Barack Obama tying themselves into knots trying to evade the obvious.

Some are saying that Senator Obama cannot be held responsible for what his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, said. In their version of events, Barack Obama just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — and a bunch of mean-spirited people are trying to make something out of it.

It makes a good story, but it won’t stand up under scrutiny.

Barack Obama’s own account of his life shows that he consciously sought out people on the far left fringe. In college, “I chose my friends carefully,” he said in his first book, “Dreams From My Father.”

These friends included “Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets” — in Obama’s own words — as well as the “more politically active black students.” He later visited a former member of the terrorist Weatherman underground, who endorsed him when he ran for state senator.

Obama didn’t just happen to encounter Jeremiah Wright, who just happened to say some way out things. Jeremiah Wright is in the same mold as the kinds of people Barack Obama began seeking out in college — members of the left, anti-American counter-culture.

In Shelby Steele’s brilliantly insightful book about Barack Obama — “A Bound Man” — it is painfully clear that Obama was one of those people seeking a racial identity that he had never really experienced in growing up in a white world. He was trying to become a convert to blackness, as it were — and, like many converts, he went overboard.

Nor has Obama changed in recent years. His voting record in the U.S. Senate is the furthest left of any Senator. There is a remarkable consistency in what Barack Obama has done over the years, despite inconsistencies in what he says.

The irony is that Obama’s sudden rise politically to the level of being the leading contender for his party’s presidential nomination has required him to project an entirely different persona, that of a post-racial leader who can heal divisiveness and bring us all together.

The ease with which he has accomplished this chameleon-like change, and entranced both white and black Democrats, is a tribute to the man’s talent and a warning about his reliability.

There is no evidence that Obama ever sought to educate himself on the views of people on the other end of the political spectrum, much less reach out to them. He reached out from the left to the far left.
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That’s bringing us all together?

Is “divisiveness” defined as disagreeing with the agenda of the left?
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Who on the left was ever called divisive by Obama before that became politically necessary in order to respond to revelations about Jeremiah Wright?

One sign of Obama’s verbal virtuosity was his equating a passing comment by his grandmother — “a typical white person,” he says — with an organized campaign of public vilification of America in general and white America in particular, by Jeremiah Wright.

Since all things are the same, except for the differences, and
different except for the similarities, it is always possible to make things look similar verbally, however different they are in the real world.

Among the many desperate gambits by defenders of Senator Obama and Jeremiah Wright is to say that Wright’s words have a “resonance” in the black community.

There was a time when the Ku Klux Klan’s words had a resonance among whites, not only in the South but in other states. Some people joined the KKK in order to advance their political careers. Did that make it OK? Is it all just a matter of whose ox is gored?

While many whites may be annoyed by Jeremiah Wright’s words, a year from now most of them will probably have forgotten about him. But many blacks who absorb his toxic message can still be paying for it, big- time, for decades to come.

Why should young blacks be expected to work to meet educational standards, or even behavioral standards, if they believe the message that all their problems are caused by whites, that the deck is stacked against them? That is ultimately a message of hopelessness, however much audacity it may have.

South Korea shifts right with new president Lee Myung Bak

December 20, 2007
By Donald Kirk
The Christian Science Monitor
December 20, 2007
 

Seoul, South Korea – The conservative former mayor of Seoul roared to an easy victory in South Korea‘s presidential election Wednesday in what is widely viewed as a referendum for economic reform and an end to the left-leaning leadership of the past decade.

With Lee Myung Bak receiving nearly as many votes as all 10 other candidates combined, analysts see his triumph as a return to traditional conservative values and repudiation of the liberal policies of the outgoing president, Roh Moo Hyun, and Mr. Roh’s predecessor, Kim Dae Jung, who forged the country’s reconciliation with North Korea.

“This will be good for the economy,” says Huh Chan Guk, director of economic research at the Korea Economic Research Institute. The institute is affiliated ….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20071220/wl_csm/olee_1