Friday, December 31, 2010

Show Trials

From 1929-1937, Stalin conducted a series of show trials in which his enemies were pilloried and then executed for offenses against the communist regime. The first of the trials, like those which followed, was carefully scripted to include angry crowd scenes in which thousands shouted, “Death, death death!”

By the time the later trials were organized, the methods employed to destroy Stalin’s opponents had been refined to the point confessions were first extracted from supposed “wreckers” of the Soviet economy by torture and by threats to family members, including wives and infant children.

The singling out of certain individuals and groups for elimination, however, was only part of Stalin’s script, as the broader purpose behind the trials and executions was the complete purging of opposition as well as the provision of a diversion which would keep attention focused on the alleged criminality of a few while Stalin’s broader agenda proceeded apace and his power was completely consolidated.

Ultimately consolidation of Stalin’s power was achieved by his prolonged war against all Soviet citizens, a war that exterminated whole classes of people; while the show trials, with their very public examples of chastened victims, ensured the instilling of utter fear which kept any emergent opposition silenced.

Stalin’s tactics were straight out of the playbook of the radicals responsible for the Terror of the French Revolution, which playbook has been used in various permutations to isolate and destroy political enemies for over two hundred years.

“Gentler” modifications of Stalin’s (as well as Hitler’s) tactics have found their way into Western politics. The famed Alinsky method is but one example of modified Stalinist show trial and purge tactics.

One Alinskyite rite includes the “politics of personal destruction.” It is a brutal but very highly refined and honed process for destroying one’s political opponents, utilized to break down and annihilate the opposition.

But one doesn’t have to be a follower of Alinsky in order to implement the politics of destruction. The tactics of destruction can be applied without a particular name attached to them.

Tactics include repetition of offenses, sometimes real but mostly perceived and exaggerated, until the public consciousness is permeated with simple but effective negative images. The result is that every time an opponent’s name is mentioned, a negative term such as “witch” or “Nazi” comes to mind, much as the terms “wreckers,” “hooligans” and “enemies of the state” were used in the Stalinist and Maoist eras.

Next, the stupidity of the opponent must be emphasized relentlessly. Every verbal gaffe, every misplaced phrase, any small mistake in facts, any inexact recall of events is elevated to criminal status and repeated endlessly so that the targeted person always looks like an idiot. The tactic is coupled with ignoring any well thought out position papers or speeches.

Usually only a few figures are targeted for the show trials, as the object is to stereotype the victim and then to make the target representative of the entire opposition. Thus Sarah Palin, for example, is made the representative of the conservative movement within the Republican Party; while in the state of Delaware, Christine O’Donnell is anointed by her opposition as the representative darling of the Tea Party movement and conservative Republicans. Even though there are thousands of other informed and thoughtful conservatives, a caricature suits the purposes of the opposition. It makes things much simpler and avoids the chore of thoroughly examining the issues.

Last, the tactics employed by opposing forces are meant to keep everyone focused on the freshest twigs thrown on the burning fire meant to consume the targeted victim. Old scandals are continually renewed and new ones continually concocted, old history is revisited and regurgitated, personal relationships past and present are ruthlessly examined under a microscope. All are continually thrown into the bonfire, while the burning glare ensures the voting public is constantly distracted and continually focused on the targeted person. Meanwhile, the broader landscape of pressing issues and concerns is thrown into the shade.

Conservatives should continually be aware of and to repudiate the show trial tactics employed by the opposition, both from without and from within the Party. They need to refuse to join in and/or continually rebut the crowds howling for blood. They need to stop allowing the experts at “show trial” tactics set the agenda for discussion and action, for such carnival barker types will feed the frenzy for as long as they can.

In sum, conservatives should stop their participation in and mimicking of the three ring circus trials designed for personal destruction.

Instead, they need to relentlessly focus on the issues, to provide solutions and to establish and articulate a vision for the future.

Perhaps most importantly, they need to refuse to imitate or employ the politics of destruction

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wizards of Oz

The theme of many sci-fi scripts is the abandonment of the human dimension for that of the machine.

One aspect of that theme is the elimination of the human factor entirely as giant computers take on a life of their own, become sentient and resolve to exterminate the human race, which is needed no longer.

Welcome to the new reality on Wall Street, which is no longer dominated by human analyses, but which is increasingly dominated by computers which specialize in complicated algorithms which determine the rise and fall of global markets.

Felix Salmon and Jon Stokes, in their article “Algorithms Take Control of Wall Street,” are among the latest authors outlining the promise and perils of unregulated computer control of stock markets.

Computers have the ability to store more data and to transfer it at speeds impossible for humans to replicate, though it is still possible for humans to “control’ the machines and put them to work to their advantage.
The abilities of computers for lightening fast absorption and actionable information has resulted in a new service known as “Lexicon,” which has clients who are algorithms, “lines of code that govern an increasing amount of global training activity.”

How does it work?

Lexicon scans every Dow Jones stock record with the immediacy only computer speed can accomplish, and look for clues that indicate the ups and downs of the investors. “Then it sends the slight variants in “emotive” behavior of investors back to computer subscribers who can break it down in order to make decision about their buying patterns.”

The lengthy evaluative process humans once had to make for themselves—reading the news and making personal evaluations, is not just abbreviated. It’s eliminated. The machines make the decisions.

Welcome to the new Wall Street, where screaming floor traders are no longer “actionable.”

Salmon and Stokes write that the entire financial system has been taken over by algorithmic trading. “From the single desk of a startup hedge fund to the gilded halls of Goldman Sachs, computer code is now responsible for most of the activity on Wall Street…Increasingly, the market’s ups and downs are determined not by traders competing to see who has the best information or sharpest business mind but by algorithms feverishly scanning for faint signals of potential profit.
Algorithms have become so ingrained in our financial system that the markets could not operate without them.”

It’s enough to make a mere human being break out into a cold sweat.

But for Washington, determined to bring Wall Street under its control, the algorithmic finesse of computers means trading, always a volatile and elusive mess, is a regulatory nightmare, as it is no longer humans who are to be regulated.

And, frankly, show me the congressman who understands the new trading systems.

What is understood, no matter how vaguely, is that the algorithmic method produces extreme volatility.

As the authors point out, “individually, these algorithms may be easy to control but when they interact they can create unexpected behaviors—a conversation that can overwhelm the system it was built to navigate. On May 6, 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average inexplicably experienced a series of drops that came to be known as the flash crash, at one point shedding some 573 points in five minutes. Less than five months later, Progress Energy, a North Carolina utility, watched helplessly as its share price fell 90 percent. Also in late September, Apple shares dropped nearly 4 percent in just 30 seconds, before recovering a few minutes later.
These sudden drops are now routine, and it’s often impossible to determine what caused them. But most observers pin the blame on the legions of powerful, superfast trading algorithms—simple instructions that interact to create a market that is incomprehensible to the human mind and impossible to predict.
For better or worse, the computers are now in control.”

Also, for better or worse, academics—math, science and engineering whiz kids—are now in charge as they have begun applying algorithms to “every aspect of the financial industry. Some built algorithms to perform the familiar function of discovering, buying, and selling individual stocks (a practice known as proprietary, or “prop,” trading). Others devised algorithms to help brokers execute large trades—massive buy or sell orders that take a while to go through and that become vulnerable to price manipulation if other traders sniff them out before they’re completed. These algorithms break up and optimize those orders to conceal them from the rest of the market. (This, confusingly enough, is known as algorithmic trading.) Still others are used to crack those codes, to discover the massive orders that other quants are trying to conceal. (This is called predatory trading.)

“The result is a universe of competing lines of code, each of them trying to outsmart and one-up the other. ‘We often discuss it in terms of The Hunt for Red October, like submarine warfare,” says Dan Mathisson, head of Advanced Execution Services at Credit Suisse. ‘There are predatory traders out there that are constantly probing in the dark, trying to detect the presence of a big submarine coming through. And the job of the algorithmic trader is to make that submarine as stealth as possible.’ ”

So while the smart kids devise the algorithms, the algorithms tend to take on a life of their own, seeing the market from a computer’s point of view, “which can be very different from a human’s. Rather than focus on the behavior of individual stocks, for instance, many prop-trading algorithms look at the market as a vast weather system, with trends and movements that can be predicted and capitalized upon. These patterns may not be visible to humans, but computers, with their ability to analyze massive amounts of data at lightning speed, can sense them.”

So the statistical minutiae computers can separate and sense patterns which then determine within milliseconds the buying and selling of stocks.

Congressional efforts to report on the inevitable mess-ups that occur when a computer glitch sends the market plummeting have been an almost comical, as the reports they gather take months to compile while the computers whir on and on.

“In the wake of the flash crash, Mary Schapiro, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, publicly mused that humans may need to wrest some control back from the machines. ‘Automated trading systems will follow their coded logic regardless of outcome,” she told a congressional subcommittee, ‘while human involvement likely would have prevented these orders from executing at absurd prices.’

“Delaware senator Ted Kaufman sounded an even louder alarm in September, taking to the Senate floor to declare, ‘Whenever there is a lot of money surging into a risky area, where change in the market is dramatic, where there is no transparency and therefore no effective regulation, we have a prescription for disaster.’”

Well.

The comical saga continues even though the SEC tried to get a grip on regulating the insane computers which had displayed their mad ability to disrupt the markets; and, (Gasp!) worse, to bypass regulations altogether. Heaven forefend that any computers bypass by sheer speed of intelligence the regulatory powers of congress and the SEC.

But they did.

The efforts of the SEC and the desire of congress to get a grip on the takeover of machines did little nothing to control the algorithmic market. All their attempts at regulation merely slowed them down or stopped the process for a few minutes.
Salmon and Stokes write, surely with a wry twist of humor, “That’s a tacit admission that the system has outgrown the humans that created it.”

They conclude, “For individual investors, trading with algorithms has been a boon: Today, they can buy and sell stocks much faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before. But from a systemic perspective, the stock market risks spinning out of control. Even if each individual algorithm makes perfect sense, collectively they obey an emergent logic—artificial intelligence, but not artificial human intelligence. It is, simply, alien, operating at the natural scale of silicon, not neurons and synapses. We may be able to slow it down, but we can never contain, control, or comprehend it. It’s the machines’ market now; we just trade in it.”

But perhaps there are even more arresting conclusions to be drawn; namely, that congress, which is a slow moving human institution used to (cough!) slow and methodical deliberation, will remain eternally behind and unable to regulate the momentum of computer technology, not only as it pertains to the national and global markets, but as it pertains to much else as well.

After all, who knows how many unelected Wizards of Oz are behind the innards of the computers that now control the markets of the globe?

In fact, who knows who is in control?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Divorce

Nationally and statewide, conservatives have been like spurned lovers. Like the wife who once proved useful in maintaining a home base for a disinterested spouse whose true passions lay elsewhere, restive conservatives who demanded more love and attention have been turned out of the house and in some case issued a divorce decree.

Michael Filozof documents the repudiation of the conservatives and their agenda in his excellent article (found in the American Thinker) entitled, “Is the Republican Party Finished?”

Filozof points out the lame-duck session proved the Republican Party once again does not represent the interests and passionate concerns of conservatives--even after the conservative tsunami of the 2010 elections. For conservatives, the results of the lame-duck session are stomach turning.

He writes:

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spectacularly failed to hold his caucus together to even delay ratification of the START treaty until the 112th Congress is seated in January. Republican leftists Olympia Snowe and Lisa Murkowski sided with Democrats to end the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, forcing the gay agenda from the streets of San Francisco right into the U.S. Marine Corps. Congressional Republicans agreed to cut FICA taxes for Social Security (which is underfunded already) and expand the Democratic Party's welfare state constituency by extending unemployment benefits -- in exchange for maintaining current tax rates for a paltry two years. The deal will add billions to the deficit. Tea Party darling Scott Brown, mocked by Obama for driving a truck in his insurgent 2009 campaign in which he stole "Ted Kennedy's seat" from the Democrats, voted for Obama's agenda on all of these issues.”

Why was there such a debacle in view of the fact all Republicans knew the voters’ feelings demonstrated by the results of the 2010 election?

First, Filozov writes, Democrats are Machiavillian. They know how to exercise power ruthlessly and they did so; whereas Republicans have not ruthlessly pushed their agenda since the time of Henry Cabot Lodge.

Why don’t Republicans hotly pursue their agenda? It’s because they don’t have one, at least not a conservative one that is different from the Democrats.

Part of the reason for a lack of an agenda which incites passion and unity, he continues, is that “conservatives today are essentially in the same position that the radical Left was in back in the Sixties.” The “establishment” was essentially still conservative. “The radicals found themselves with nowhere to go but the streets. Today’s “Establishment” is as uniformly leftist, and conservatives are as unwelcome in the halls of power today as the radical Left was 45 years ago.”

The result of the left Establishment’s control of institutions is that Republicans, at least in many respects, began to ape leftist establishment values, becoming part of and enablers of the establishment’s values.

In brief, Republicans lost their first love and became lukewarm.

So what do conservatives do?

In order to move forward, Filozov continues, conservatives [such as the Tea Partiers, among others] are going to have to “begin in the streets, capture a political party and convert it to their agenda, and follow up in the courts when they lost elections.

“Even more importantly, conservatives are going to have to learn to exploit national crises to advance their agenda.” [Never let a crisis go to waste!]

Not that there aren’t or won’t be plenty of crises. There’s a virtual banquet, including the national debt, the dollar, inflation, nuclear proliferation, illegal immigration, and on and on.

If the Republican establishment doesn’t woo back and engage conservatives by espousing conservative alternatives, they are doomed.

Conservatives will divorce the establishment just as the Left divorced the establishment during the Sixties.

That is because the restlessness of conservatives, who are thus far at least somewhat willing to live under the same roof as moderates within the party in the hopes they will be listened to and enabled to share power, will turn to the establishing of a third party.

In other words, conservatives will divorce the establishment just as the Left divorced the establishment during the Sixties.

Establishment intransigence will not win back conservatives; nor will vague promises that conservatives’ concerns will be addressed in the vague and indeterminate future woo back the disaffected ranks.

The observations above are applicable to the Republican Party in Delaware, for what is true nationally is true locally as well.

The Delaware GOP, if it is to survive, much less present alternatives to the current Democrat agenda, will die if it continues aping and wooing Democrats while repudiating conservatives within its ranks, for disaffected conservatives will not continue to support a party which has promised much, taken much and delivered little to the conservative partners it has relied on for votes and support. Conservatives will not continue to support an organization which has too often and not so subtly displayed a “Conservatives Not Welcome” sign in the Republican house. In brief, conservatives will not continue a marriage of convenience with a party which often displays hostility almost as severe as the Democrat establishment.

So there it is.

The Delaware GOP has to reconcile, learn to love and to share the household with a spouse it fell out of love with a long time ago. And the conservative spouse must learn to start heeding and responding to overtures when and if given.

Is it possible?

I think so. I hope so. I pray so.

Otherwise, a divorce is inevitable.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christ and the Political Divide

The one essential and transformative influence in politics was articulated by Jesus Christ. Before his time, and long after, as his precepts were slowly and gradually introduced into the institutions of the West, there was no concept of limited government, as never before had any state or empire other than that of the Hebrews recognized an overarching, higher authority which limited earthly governance.

But, as Lord Acton pointed out in his great essay, The History of Freedom in Antiquity, "when Christ said,‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s,' those words, spoken on His last visit to the Temple, three days before His death, gave to the civil power, under the protection of conscience, a sacredness it had never enjoyed, and bounds it had never acknowledged; and they were the repudiation of absolutism and the inauguration of Freedom. For our Lord not only delivered the precept, but created the force to execute it. To maintain the necessary immunity in one supreme sphere, to reduce all political authority within defined limits, ceased to be an aspiration of patient reasoners [such as the Greeks],and was made the perpetual charge and care of the most energetic institution and the most universal association in the world [the Church]. The new law, the new spirit, the new authority, gave to Liberty a meaning and a value it had not possessed in the philosophy or in the constitution of Greece or Rome, before the knowledge of the Truth that makes us free.”

The limitations and boundaries of the state, previously limitless and onerously exacting, including in the matter of taxation, were articulated in that one phrase: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

From that time on, the war against the all consuming power of the state to take whatever it wished from its citizens, was commenced and has been fought over centuries.

That war continues to this day, and is currently expressed by the revitalization of the Right—not the Left, which sees the state in antique, pre-Christian terms as limitless; in fact, as a god unto itself who attributes to itself the divine attributes of omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Radical

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…” William Butler Yeats

“Burn, baby; burn…” Rioters in Watts, CA, 1965

“O Lord, remember what the Edomites did on the day the armies of Babylon captured Jerusalem. ‘Destroy it!’ they yelled. ‘Level it to the ground.’” Psalm 37


There is nothing particularly new about Julius Assange other than his use of internet communication as a means of destruction of the international order and, maybe, the Alexandrian grandiosity of his intent.

Yes, his intent is truly grandiose. By his exhaustive revelations of secret and intimate communications among the world’s national leaders, he has almost single handedly destroyed international diplomacy and upset the intricate and delicate order of the global political enterprise. This is to say nothing of the lives he has jeopardized and the alliances he has either truncated or wholly destroyed.

Why is he doing it?

Because he can. Because he wants to. Just because.

If the above sounds strange, it's good to recall Assange follows in the hallowed footsteps of anarchists throughout the ages, particularly of the last two or more centuries since the French Revolution. The goal is to tear down the existing societal order by any means necessary. The focus of the efforts is resistance to an order considered alien and intrinsically worthy of destruction; the message is action, action, and more action; the attacks are against the entire system of nation states—singly or internationally; and the means of execution are by trans/supranational cells operating subversively and mostly secretly.

He has at his disposal disaffected hackers who are spy worms within the systems, but
Assange also joins countless cadres of anarchists and terrorists who are part of a worldwide effort to bring down the entire global order, but the West is a specially favored target.

Assange has more than empathetic and skilled hackers to assist him. He finds friends and allies among the established far Left, many of whom support or ignore anarchists and terrorists for one chief reason; namely, because the Left has similar goals, but tends to achieve those goals incrementally from within the system. Assange provides both a useful and dramatic diversion at the same time he is a companion in the effort to revolutionize and transform the West according to Leftist doctrines.

That is why you will hear the Left, both in Europe and here in the US, defending Assange. Paul I. Adujie, author of WikiLeaks & Julian Assange, Heroism, Courage, Visionary of Our Time,—the title says it all!--is typical of those on the Left who champion Assange as a hero for revealing the duplicitous nature of the West, which the Left believes richly deserves Lady Godiva public nudity for transgressions real and imagined. Mr. Adujie, along with others who see the West as the Great Satan of the world, now feels vindicated. The West is as rotten to the core as he always believed it to be. Never mind Adujie is feverishly typing away while using the West’s invention of the internet to promote his hero.

For Mr. Adujie, as well as others of Leftist persuasion, Assange serves as a necessary and salutary emetic for the West, which has now been forced to vomit out all its secrets regardless of the consequences to the delicate diplomatic dances which always have to be conducted among nations; regardless of the lives which are now endangered; regardless of the alliances destroyed; regardless of the aid given anarchists and terrorists determined to destroy not only the West, but the entire global community.

Any good the West has ever accomplished or contributed to the world order is of no account, for she can never expiate her sins, as they are unforgiveable and so she must be entirely destroyed.

In the meantime, as noted above, the established Left within academia, the media and Hollywood applauds a fellow revolutionary, as he serves a useful purpose. They know that he, like they, is a true anarchist. Ironically, they may not think he, like them—if he lives long enough—will gradually become part of the system within which they themselves operate.

They may not realize Assange is like a Nikolai Bulganin, brutal and effective in ways they now do not wish to be, but gradually becoming as they now are--comfortably established apparatchiks ensconced within the hallowed halls of their privileged domains.

So they applaud Assange, like other revolutionaries before them and like them—in fact, just like they themselves—not realizing the day will come in which Assange also is seated within the established order, a blind termite who with the likeminded, will continue to gnaw at the foundations in hopes that eventually the whole structure will collapse.

Those Leftists who see present day radicals such as Assange reduced to the level of apparatchiks such as themselves should pause and take account of what may happen if the structure they live in and despise were finally to collapse on their own heads.
But being anarchists serving the god of Destruction, they can never look ahead that far. Like termites, they're too busy chewing on the foundations to take account of the damage to themselves.

It would be the penultimate irony if perhaps one day, like Bill Ayers, Assange were to become a respected professor and counsel to the White House. Perhaps he might even have a song written about him, maybe even a song as glorious as the “Horst Wessel” anthem.

After all, strange things have happened before.

But in the meantime, let's hope and pray that before such happens, others who are dreaming the good dreams, who are repudiating and looking beyond mere anarchy, will act to rebuild the grand but imperiled vision of the West.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Public education: More Than a Fiscal Problem

Nearly everybody agrees, even those within the system: Public education is a fiscal mess of epic proportions and a disastrous failure at doing what it is supposed to do--educate children. Fiscal concerns and cultural concerns about public education are inextricable intertwined.

First, the fiscal mess.

Caesar Rodney Institute’s November 8 letter outlining the state’s fiscal problems—the state is now the largest employer in Delaware—noted Delaware’s public school system has 429 school administrators and employees making more than $100,000 a year—a total of more than $42,000,000 per annum. A search on (www.DelawareOnline.com ) reveals that over 282 school employees have, at one time or another, earned over $100,000. (http://php.delawareonline.com/schoolemploy_salaries.php )

But, as the site www.sunshinereview.org states: “Information about Delaware state employees is limited. However, you may find information here about certain teachers who at some point were paid more than $100,000 annually.”

However,the figures on the salaries of teachers are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. They don’t begin to include the growing problem of the unsustainable cost of teachers’ pensions. As Sunshine Review notes, the opacity surrounding information on Delaware’s public employees means complete information is hard to get hold of; but, according to (http://www.scribd.com/doc/29909590/Underfunded-Teacher-Pension-Plans-It%E2%80%99s-Worse-Than-You-Think)59 states face underfunded liabilities, including Delaware. The total liabilities amount to about 332 billion dollars.

As RiShawn Biddle points out in his article “Teacher Pension Bombs,” years of lavish traditional teacher compensation bolstered by bargains struck by state and district politicians and the NEA plus the AFT have made teaching the best-compensated public sector profession.

He adds that overly inflated investment growth models, risky investment of teachers’ pension funds, coupled with loose standards for accounting for risk and rates of return have meant pensions have overstated the actual value of their portfolios while understating their deficits. Bottom line: The pension funds are underfunded and the taxpayer is on the hook.

The point of listing the above facts is that fiscal conservatives would be right in their assumptions that budget reform for public employees, including teachers, is absolutely necessary. For instance, recommendations for consolidation of administrative districts, a hard look at the number of school employees and the compensation offered, plus an assessment of the fiscal sustainability of teachers’ pensions funding are all legitimate and necessary endeavors.

But budgetary reform and numbers crunching will not solve the overarching cultural problems afflicting failing schools; nor will throwing money at schools to solve problems work, as conservatives with a broader base of reforms readily acknowledge.

Fiscal conservatives might insist the problem of public education expenditures can be solved by mere budgetary means. Conservatives who are looking at broader based cultural issues, however, do not look at education as a mere accounting problem. They look at reforming the entire educational structure, which structure they see as absolutely foundational to the entire cultural structure. Such a look necessarily has a moral component; a “should” element that pure fiscal conservatism lacks; or, rather, simply cannot address separately, as the cultural issues are intimately and inseparably interwoven with fiscal issues (a point I’ve made in Part I).

Conservatives question the establishment of an education monopoly for several reasons, one of which is that state run educational monopolies are often a herald to encroaching state tyranny. When the entity which controls the minds of children is the state, only what the state wants taught is taught. The State becomes the “nurturing” Parent, not the children’s real parents, while children themselves are deliberately weaned away from parental influence.

Conservatives believe the state monopoly on education has as firm a grip as Standard Oil or Ma Bell ever had, respectively, on oil and telephone service. They believe the monopoly should be broken up by means of alternatives such as charter schools, voucher programs which promote private education, and home schooling.

All alternatives, no matter what individual teacher's putative disagreement with their union, have been steadfastly opposed by the Teachers Union, which correctly discerns and wrongfully opposes any competition.

Secondly, conservatives would like to look at the question of just what our kids are being and should be taught, as they consider the John Dewey progressive model of education not only inadequate, but probably the best means for “dumbing down” children in the name of forced egalitarianism, a concept which, along with politically correct extremism, runs rampant throughout the public school system.

How bad is it out there in America school land?

The great Russell Kirk, in his great work Prospects for Conservatives, gives one of the best and most succinct analyses of the American system of education the reader will ever find:

“A system of education in which respect for the wisdom of our ancestors is deliberately discouraged, and an impossible future of universal beneficence taken for granted; a system in which all the wealth of myth and fable; the symbolic study of human nature, is cast aside as so much rubbish; a system in which religion is treated, at least covertly, as nothing better than exploded superstition, or at best a vague collection of moral observations; a system in which all the splendor of history is discarded in favor of amorphous ‘social studies’; a system in which the imaginative literature of twenty-eight centuries is relegated to a tiny corner of the curriculum, in favor of ‘adjustment’; a system in which the physical sciences are huddled incoherently together, as if they formed a single discipline, and then are taught as a means to power over nature and man, not as a means to wisdom; a system in which the very tools to any sort of apprehension of systematic knowledge, spelling and grammar, mathematics and geography, are despised as boring impediments to ‘socialization’—why, is it possible to conceive of a system better calculated to starve the imagination, discourage the better student and weaken reason…

"Is it any wonder that our educational administrators, to escape from the spectacle of their own failure, turn to purposeless aggrandizement, ’plant,’ doubled and tripled and quadrupled enrollments, larger staffs, larger salaries, tougher athletic teams, as a means of concealing from the public the gigantic fraud they have put upon the nation?” (Italics mine.)

Who could put it better? In fact, since Russell made his observations concerning the starvation of children’s minds and hearts, matters have only worsened.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, as an ad for an Afro-American university reminds us. Poor parents are not alone in realizing their kids’ minds (and thus their very souls) are being wasted by progressive thinking, or rather, the lack of thinking, as Russell points out. If parents did not realize, even if merely intuitively, that their children’s minds were being wasted, we would not see the pathetic sight of parents’ anguish as charter school positions were being raffled off by lottery, some kids being allowed an “education” while others are assigned to the equivalent of jail—witness the tragic toll at a school like Martin Luther King in Philadelphia, where youngsters are put through metal detectors and frisked, and where half the students can’t even read.

All of the above points out the indivisibility of cultural considerations from fiscal policy and the need for radical reform of our public schools. As Russell notes, “The conservative task must be one of assault and reconstruction, rather than simply one of defense.”

And, to conclude, fiscal conservatives must realize that the preservation of their single conservative domain (as they define it) is in jeopardy, as progressive economic and social issues, which are intrinsically anti-capitalist and anti-free market, will drown fiscal conservatism along with the rest of conservatism if our educational system is not reformed.

In brief, the US educational system, including the Delaware public system, is hatching out cadres of young progressives inimically opposed to the US capitalist and free market system as well s to traditional conservative mores. Fiscal conservatives need not delude themselves into thinking their small preservation will escape absorption and annihilation.

Conservatives cannot avoid the necessity of systematically addressing social issues along with economic issues, and must, as Russell points out, “endeavor to redeem the modern mind” by affirming the entirety of the divine human enterprise, attacking and reforming the seminal bases from which progressivism assaults the entire culture—namely, public education.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wait

"Bombing the railway lines to Auschwitz and other camps would only have achieved a temporary respite for the Jews, and distracted attention and resources from the larger purpose of overthrowing the regime that was killing them."
--Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich at War (New York: Penguin Press, 2009), p. 560
Ah, yes. Of course, we saw the point: Larger purposes for a greater good.

We understand.

We agree those “larger purposes” meant attempts to secure justice for the Jews had to be delayed. God forbid we got distracted by the immediacy of saving of innocent lives. After all, we had something bigger in mind.

Of course the Jews had to wait. Wait until they died.

How many times have the voiceless and oppressed heard similar arguments?

Frederick Douglass was told by Lincoln that political exigencies were of more importance than the immediate freeing of slaves. Lincoln was concerned about border states loyalty and feared his higher goal of saving the union would be jeopardized if he freed the slaves at the outset of the Civil War. He later capitulated to Douglass’ and other abolitionists demands, but not until he had reasonable hope of victory. Doubtless the ethics of his decision will be debated for decades to come.

Regardless, slaves had to wait for their freedom.

In a similar manner, women were told for decade after decade their quest for eaulity would have to wait until circumstances were more favorable. Voices of caution counseled incremental and timely steps. Susan B. Anthony heard such voices and drily noted, “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations…can never effect a reform.”

In the meantime, however, caution and care were thrown to the wind when other priorities dear to the hearts of those cautious about women’s rights were emphasized. There was infrastructure to be attended to-- railroads that needed to be built to grow the burgeoning economy. Reconstruction demanded the attention of the government. The growth of the United States as an economic power dictated attention to the military. In these matters, all of which generated money and poltical power, caution need not apply.

Butthe enfranchisement of women had to wait.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous letter from a Birmingham jail, and included it in his book Why We Can’t Wait. Told by authorities that other matters were more important than ridding the US of the glaring injustice of apartheid; told that interminable, fruitless negotiations should continue, he wrote:

“For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied...We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. “

Precisely.

How many times during our nation’s history have the disenfranchised, the politically impotent been told to wait until more important matters are addressed? How often have “priorities” left the voiceless at the bottom of the pile of more “pressing” concerns? How many times have those at the bottom of the totem pole been told, “We will address your concerns as soon as we”—(fill in the blank.)

For the pragmatists, the long time politicos, those caged in economic apartheid, the utopian idealists who look to the “larger vision,” no time is now or ever will be right for protection of the unborn. After all, the little ones have no votes. They have no voice at all except those who would speak for them. They are helpless.

Fiscal conservatives tell us that until economic matters are addressed and solved, abortion must be placed on the back burner. And what happened during the last forty years since Roe vs. Wade when times of prosperity returned after recession?

Still the issue of abortion had to wait.
P
ragmatists, politicos and utopians all have their reasons for delay as well. They have been busied themselves with more important matters.

In the meantime, over 50 million lives have been lost and still the carnage continues

Still the answer is, “wait.”

The September 5th discovery of 35 late term infants who were aborted by a doctor at an Elkton clinic and thrown in a freezer has provoked little sustained outrage.

“Wait,” some counsel. This matter can be addressed later. We need to deal with the foundational reasons for abortion first. We need to look at the larger picture.

In a similar manner, the grainy photos of Jews being shot and dumped unceremoniously into a ditch were disregarded for the sake of more pressing military and political concerns.

“Wait,” was the counsel. There’s a war to be won first. There are broader issues at stake.

The time for waiting is over. There is a war going on against the unborn.

Our nation is in the midst of a war for the definition of our culture at large, a war that crosses many fronts. As that cultural war is fought for the survival of our nation, it must be also be fought on many fronts, not the least of which is moral and ethical. In fact, it is not too much to state that unless the gross moral distortions of the national character are not addressed with immediacy, the rest of the national health—including economic health--is vitiated beyond restoration, for the health of a nation depends on its attitudes toward the helpless, the innocent, the victims—those regarded as sheer refuse of society.

As people like Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Martin Luther King, among thousands of other less noted voices, some now silent and others now just being heard, when a nation loses its moral compass, and that compass is not readjusted to the due North of life, liberty and justice for all, then that nation is on its way to disintegration.

Those who seek to refocus and to change the direction of our country should recognize the necessity of fighting on many fronts, including justice for the unborn, in order to achieve restoration and vitality to our beloved nation.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unity

Members of both political parties love the idea of unity, but find it elusive, even within membership ranks. Personality differences, ideological tension, sense of priorities create dissension most often resolved by the application of power and money, the application of which is most often expressed as “pragmatism.”

But power and money, always chief armaments of any political party, ultimately fail to achieve unity. That is because a unified party can only be established among people of identical or nearly identical beliefs.

Whether the unity based on ideals holds individuals’ loyalty and attention depends on the comprehensiveness and depth of the party’s foundational bases.

Over the last ten decades or so, the cultural hegemony of the Judeo/Christian ethic was gradually eroded by the progressive vision birthed during the nineteenth century. The erosion of the former cultural hegemony has meant the major institutions of the West, including those within the US, have been absorbed by progressivism.

The process of absorption by progressive thought has affected political parties, dividing camps of thought into two major and conflicting political philosophies: progressive and conservative. While the Democratic Party has been taken over almost without exception by leftist progressivism, particularly as regards the current administration, the Republican Party is in the midst of a titanic struggle for its ideological soul.

Progressives and conservatives are fighting for the ideological/philosophical heart of the Party.
Generally speaking, however, the fight is not defined as a battle between progressivism and conservatism. It is most often defined by the terms “moderate” and “conservative.” “Moderates,” who are actually progressives at heart, proclaim themselves reasonable pragmatists who are interested only in fiscal conservatism.

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not see the ideological pie as easily sliced and are interested in a broader agenda which addresses the marked deterioration of Western culture, including but not confined to the political culture.

In addition to their concerns over government’s fiscal responsibility, conservatives are pro-life, strict interpreters and upholders of the constitution, interested in retaining national identity and sovereignty, anti-statist and strong advocates for individual freedoms.

In other words, conservatives are interested in the reform of the entire culture; and for Republican conservatives, that reform starts with the political culture.

Particularly germane to this essay, conservatives do not see economics as divisible from other issues. However, moderates/progressives do see economics/fiscal conservatism as divisible from what are broadly (and I believe mistakenly termed) “social” issues.

How did economic issues become conceived as separable from the cloth of culture at large? What is the reasoning behind the idea that fiscal conservatism is separable from the rest of conservative beliefs?

I believe fiscal conservatives have at the heart of their beliefs in the separateness of economics from the rest of culture an irrational belief that economics is an objective science based on mathematics and statistics and therefore not subject to value judgments. For them, the measure of society and mankind is material.

Therefore, the reasoning goes, it is possible to apply objectively the science of economics to politics without concern for the value judgments and the moral freight “social” issues inevitably bring with them. As we shall see in another essay regarding the test case of public education, such an assumption is wrong.

But first, what is the reasoning behind the idea that fiscal conservatism is separable from social/cultural issues?

Those who follow the philosophy of science will know that the effort to find a formula to reconcile the seemingly contradictory theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity has at the heart of the efforts to reconcile, a Theory of Everything; that is, a formula the explicates and links together all known physical phenomena. The formula is then supposed to have predictive power to explain any particular phenomenon.

Forgotten in the impulse to explicate the entirety of the universe in mathematical terms is Kant’s admonition in his Third Critique that higher (“pure”) mathematics, while capable of much seduction, elegance and beauty, may not bear any particular resemblance to reality.

In brief, there are many other facets to be considered in the interpretation of the complexities and meaning of the universe. A mathematical formula may not contain the universe nor serve as a total explicatory device.

What does the above mean concerning for “fiscal conservatism?”

It means, among other things, that the mathematics and statistics attendant to economics do not define or “objectify” economics; which, after all, is a human activity and which is fraught with moral judgments.

It means that the economic measure of humanity (economics being defined as an “objective” science with universal applicability to human history and culture) is an insufficient and truncated means of measure.

It also means that the mere material, economic measure of humanity, when applied universally, creates destruction of society, as has often been noted by historians who have observed the results of communism, which used as its measure the sole factors of economics; that is, humans as purely material being measured by economics. Thus, each person is assigned a particular economic value, which in progressive/socialist/communist terms means equal distribution of wealth since equality is defined as equal material possessions.

But the presumed objectivity and certainty of economics gives, as it has given to socialists and communists, a wedge whereby value judgments contrary to political conservatism may be inserted into the political structure. In other words, supposedly objective economic issues become the proverbial nose of the camel in the tent. The real but most often unstated purpose of “fiscal conservatives” is to get the whole camel in the tent in order to obtain control of the rest of the conservative agenda, substituting progressive values for conservative values.

The above is the reason why conservatives must resist the idea that economics is a thread separable from the rest of the societal fabric; that it alone is the objectifying measure of humankind and human culture. On the contrary, every economic decision, every facet of fiscal responsibility carries with it a value judgment. The only question remaining, then, is whose value judgment will infrom economic policy; whose value judgment will prevail?

For the conservative, the value judgments undergirding economic policies are the same value judgments which are the foundational beliefs of conservatives, most of whom believe those values were most ably articulated by the founders of this nation.

Part II: Delaware’s Public Schools as a case example of the impossibility of separating out fiscal conservatism and value judgments based on conservative political philosophy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Carnage

There is one chief reason behind the stunning losses of GOP candidates for offices in Delaware: The GOP establishment.

For years the moderate/liberal leaders of the party have welcomed money and votes from conservatives, asking them to hold their noses and vote for the party’s anointed candidates while promising conservatives their time would come if they were just patient and went along with the plan.

That time came.

But when the party leadership was called on to support conservatives, with a few notable exceptions such as Governor Pete DuPont, the moderate/liberal establishment made deliberate choices to sit out the election, go over to the Democrats’ camp, or actively sabotage the campaigns of the conservatives running for national and state offices.

Whether it was Tom Ross actively excoriating Christine O’Donnell as not being worthy of the office of dog catcher or whether it was the passive aggression of quietly withdrawing support from Glen Urquhart and other conservative candidates, the message was the same:

“We’d rather go down with the Titanic than send out life boats to save conservatives. Let them swim in the icy waters by themselves.”

Conservatives will wait until doomsday before they stop hearing the excuses of why the establishment wouldn’t support them--the candidates were personally flawed, they were inexperienced, they didn’t have the knowledge of how things really work, they were na├»ve, they were rash, they said silly things—and on and on.

But every Republican candidate would have been flawed. Human weaknesses and failures had little or nothing to do with the rejection of the GOP slate of candidates by party leaders and hangers on.

The main reason the slate of conservative candidates were not supported was that they were, well, conservative.

For decades Republican leadership has had a chummy relationship with the Democrats that has gone beyond mere collegiality and “reaching across the aisles." The reasons for the intense cooperation have most often been presented in terms of pragmatism and “reality;” but the truth of the matter is that by and large, Delaware Republican leadership has bought into liberal ideology, carving out only one consequential conservative domain: fiscal conservatism. Social issues have been and are still regarded as entirely superfluous. Reduction of the size of government, tackling the teacher's union and other important issues were not meaningfully addressed.

The result, as we have seen, has been absolute carnage.

The Republican Party in Delaware is now destroyed, mainly because the establishment
refused to embrace the conservative movement as exemplified by Tea Party movement and its legitimate concerns. Those who thought they held the reins of power entirely missed the conservative tide that swept through nearly every other state in the union.

Going forward, things look grim for the Delaware GOP, as conservatives have learned a bitter lesson and probably will move on without the party. They might well choose to leave the Republican establishment in their chosen seats—the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The Delaware GOP has been sunk because of its leadership’s pride and false sense of power, its delusional belief in its effectiveness. To use another historical metaphor, the current leaders have become like China’s last emperor—ruler of Forbidden City, surrounded by a sycophantic retinue and deluded as to the revolution going outside their walled compound.

As for the conservatives of Delaware? The Tea Partiers, the 9/12 patriots, the Rail Splitters, devout Catholics and evangelicals and other reformers who want a return to small government and constitutional principles—they will move on regardless, for their passion for reform of our great nation remains.

Delaware's conservatives will regroup and continue their efforts, looking toward the election of 2012.

For as these 2010 elections have shown, the blue tide is turning red.

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010: What's at stake

While the economy, taxes and other economic issues justifiably occupy the minds of all Americans going to the voters’ booth tomorrow, there is much more at stake than those immediate and legitimate concerns.

The truth of the matter is that the character; indeed, the very existence of our nation is at stake.

If the Left prevails, it will not be just socialism that prevails. The continued dismantling of American defense and her sovereign status as a nation and super power will relentlessly proceed. America will be in danger of disappearing.

Why?

America is in danger because the Left is committed to the leveling of American hegemony and the forced rehabilitation of her nature.

In foreign affairs, the US is to be consigned to a “one among many” status in a global governmental system dominated by world organizations such as the UN, the IMF, and the World Court.

America is to be humbled, her sovereignty taken away and her affairs conducted by global deliberative bodies intent on redistributing her great wealth. At one time such a plan was called the International Communist movement, but nowadays, the plan goes by softer appellations such as establishing a “global village.” Nonetheless, the intent is the same.

Domestically, the plan is to complete the dismantling of the federal system, making the states mere provincial appendages dependent on and administering the will of an all powerful federal government run by an elite cabal. Federal, state and legislative bodies will continue to be relegated to futility as an ever increasing bureaucracy will accomplish through myriad decrees and regulations what elected officials once were responsible for.

We get more than a hint of what an unelected bureaucracy can accomplish without being responsible to the American public by the ways in which it already advances the Left’s agenda, be it through the 159 new agencies established by Obamacare or by carbon emissions regulations imposed by the EPA.

This is to say nothing of the countless directives, rules and regulations directed against personal freedoms.

The point is that unless action is taken now, both state and federal elective bodies will become even more irrelevant because of an all powerful and all pervasive bureaucracy, possibly even attaining the status of the Roman senate under Caligula.

While the progressives plan to “radically transform” (destroy) America probably will not be entirely vitiated, the 2010 election offers voters a last chance to say “Stop!” It offers the opportunity to stem the tide, build the dam against the flood and to gather forces to reverse the flow starting in 2010 and moving forward in 2012.

What must happen nationally must also happen state by state. The issues of national and state sovereignty are inextricably intertwined and are as serious on the state level as they are on the national level. For in all cases, personal freedom, true representative government, and the existence of government as defined and limited by constitutional principles is at stake.

This election, every American interested in the return of America to its roots must get out and vote as if their lives depend on it.

Because they do.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Us and Them

The good news is there are more of us than there are of them–in every state of the union.

“Us” being conservatives and “them” being liberals.

The bad news is that nearly all of America’s major institutions have been captured by radical leftists who portray conservatives as whatever pejorative comes to mind, be it tried and true, never fail to shock “racist;” blatant or latent “homophobe;” plain old generic “wing nut;” just your average “moron;” “far right wing;” ultra-conservative;” or most pejorative of all, “evangelical or fundamentalist Christian.”

Republicans and other ordinary conservatives–those who have the temerity to want smaller government, lower taxes, states’ rights, traditional morality, among other things–could add to the list of names they are routinely given by liberals. Many conservatives have become almost used to the invective, and from what they see and hear on television, often believe themselves to be in the minority, sometimes feeling intimidated by the harassment they receive by the Left “majority.”

But conservatives are NOT in the minority, writes Bruce Walker in his article, “Good News for GOP and Great News for Conservatives,” found in American Thinker. Walker writes, "There is a vast gulf between Stalinists who occupy the choke points of education, information, government and entertainment in America and us, the huge conservative majority. This disconnect is so vast that there are two Americas: the ocean of conservatives and the small delusional islands of leftists whose ignorance of America is so profound that they might as well be colonial governors from some European kingdom…Flyover country is ALL [caps mine] of America except for imperial enclaves in Washington, Manhattan, Hollywood and those leftist monasteries called universities.”

Walker bases his assertions on the much respected “Battleground Poll,” which is a joint effort between Democrat and Republican polling institutions. Gallup, he writes, concurs with the results of the “Battleground Polls.”

“In every single one of the last nineteen Battleground Polls over the last decade, about 60% of Americans describe themselves as ‘conservative,’ while about 35% of Americans describe themselves as ‘liberal…’Only 2% of Americans call themselves ‘moderate.’ “

The truth of the matter is that conservatives outnumber liberals in every single state of the union, which means that even if a state like Delaware is called “Blue,” it really isn’t. Delaware, like all the rest of the states, is red. It’s just that the levers of control in the areas Walker mentions have been held by the blues.

The above facts should be inspiring to those who are running as conservative Republicans and Libertarians, for if the conservative base in Delaware remains fired up during the next few days, candidates such as Urquhart and O’Donnell (among others) will indeed win.

That’s a pretty heady but realistic prospect.

Following the wins, the political complexion of Delaware inevitably will change to reflect the true conservative nature of the majority of voters in our little state.

For Mr. Walker’s article in its entirety, please go here:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/good_news_for_gop_and_great_ne.html

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Paradigm Shift

Paradigm shift is the term first used by Thomas Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). Kuhn described a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science. The result is a revolution in scientific thinking and practice that challenges prevailing orthodoxies.

An illustration of a radical paradigm shift within the scientific community would be that of the transition from the Ptolemaic view of the universe to the Copernican view. The Ptolemaic view, reinforced in a thousand ways for almost two thousand years throughout ancient, medieval and Renaissance civilizations provided philosophical, theological stability for millennia. It was probably was the longest lasting scientific paradigm in history, the thought patterns of which infused the entirety of societies it permeated.

Critical inquiries about such a long lasting and unquestionably elegant explanation of the universe were usually discarded because of the strength of the explanatory nature of the paradigm, which not only made a great deal of sense from the human experiential viewpoint, but was also conceptually beautiful.

For many years, scientists attempted to explain anomalies within the context of the
Ptolemaic paradigm, adding epicycles and other elaborate explanatory devices, but the unfortunately the system did not quite match scientific observations. Eventually the Copernican system brought down the entire paradigm, creating societal reverberations still felt even today.

In the end, the entire system proved unworkable, and the explanations it provided no longer prevailed in the public imagination. It was discarded, but not until it was defended for centuries long past its overdue expiration date. Explanations by defenders grew ever more convoluted and ridiculous even as evidence of the paradigm’s explanatory insufficiencies mounted.

The paradigm of Left progressive liberalism has followed a trajectory similar to that of the Ptolemaic system. Still established throughout Western institutions, Leftist thought has become increasingly removed from reality. The Left has always been firmly committed to destruction of existing societies in order to bring in revolutionary changes designed to establish an earthly Utopia. Not once has it succeeded in establishing the longed for Utopia.

In fact, ever since the French revolution, the varied progeny of the Left, be they communism, fascism or socialism have wreaked havoc within the very societies they purportedly wish to transform into a new Eden. Wherever the Left has prevailed it has created death, destruction and at the very least, in the case of socialism, stagnation and eventual ossification. The very bones of society crumble before the onslaught.

Explications and explanations no longer justify what has become—actually always has been--a destructive paradigm completely unrelated to the realities of human nature and society. The defense of the indefensible merely becomes more and more absurd as the Left searches for yet more societal mores, yet more foundations of Western civilization to destroy.

Here in our own country, even as Europe gives signs of turning away from the societal paralysis brought on by an unsustainable and smothering socialism, the evidence that left progressive liberalism has manifestly failed and can no longer be shored up by rational explanations and arguments mounts daily.

Whether it is the decadence of corrupting children as young as ten by sex “education” programs whose enthusiasts promote allows birth controls pills for ten-year-old girls, condoms for pre-pubescent boys and lectures on adult sexuality to first graders; whether it is wholesale commitment to abortion on demand throughout pregnancy; whether it is the collapse of the Western ideal of marriage; whether it is the ludicrous persecution by the ACLU of churches and people of faith by the infliction of frivolous law suits; whether it is the civilianization of the US military by the intrusion of radical mores designed to vitiate military capacity; whether it is runaway spending in the face of national bankruptcy; whether it is the jettisoning of national sovereignty in favor of globalization--in all the above and more, the absurdities of the Left have reached a point of no return.

The paradigm is not only exhausted, but has reached the point of absolute insanity. No new rationale, no adding of elliptical non-logic, no linguistic slight of hand or trickery can conceal the fact the entire paradigm is collapsing under its own weight of nonsensicality.

Meanwhile, the rumblings of a paradigmatic political revolution are growing day by day. At the very same time the paradigm of the Left has reached its apex in the US political system, in academia, the judiciary, the media, a groundswell of public revulsion is shaking the very foundations of US society.

The whole Leftist paradigm is shaking and about to collapse.

That shaking, evidenced by a spiritual awakening and by a coincident and companionate rise in opposition to the current political thuggery determined to disregard and to wreck the foundations of our nation and to replace free enterprise with a command economy, will not stop at mere tremors. That shaking will turn into an earthquake which will be felt not only at the voting booth during the coming midterm elections, but which will not only collapse the Left, but will continue to produce aftershocks for a very long time.

What will rise in its place will be a restoration of our country, the like of which we’ve never before seen, a restoration that will revive and revitalize American institutions and the American way of life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Call That Thing a Car? Here's a Real Car...

Ah, those were the days.

Americans still made cars in the grand tradition, including the 1941 Cadillac Imperial Sedan my dad picked up for a song in the 1950′s to ferry us seven kids to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Middletown, DE.

Jet black, heavy as a tank with wide whitewall tires, black leather interior in the front, beige fabric in the back. Automatic transmission, a radio, cigarette lighters and electric windows. Jump seats for the little kids, with the baby wedged in the back seat where the center arm rest came down. She couldn’t budge.

And best of all–for my folks at least, a window behind the driver’s seat that Dad rolled so he and Mom could tune out the incessant bickering in the back.

Intial price: around $2,100, but by the time it was fourteen years old, dad picked it up dirt cheap. Restored models today go for about $60,000.

We kids loved it. We looked like a Mafia family, with the older guys in long grey coats and black fedoras, with Mom all dolled up in her Sunday best looking like a gorgeous moll. Dad with greenblack sun glasses, hat rakishly tilted to the side, looking like a real tough guy.

Got lots of stares wherever we went.

Never did know what the mileage was, but nobody cared.

You could never get off with making such a grand car these days.

Here it is, folks: http://www.schmitt.com/viewimage.asp?ID=4207

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Taxman Cometh

The Taxman Cometh


here’s been a lot of talk about Chris Coons ideological leanings, all of which is important.

His inclination toward liberation theology aside--well, not really, as taxes are one of the main ways to redistribute wealth--there are some very practical economic reasons any New Castle County resident as well as all other Delaware citizens should be concerned, because the truth of the matter is that Chris Coons is THE TAXMAN.

Today I took a look at some of my old invoices for county and city services.
A cursory look at my water bill reveals Coons tax policies at work. In 2005, my average quarterly water bill was about $50. Since then, sewage taxes have raised the bill to around $75.00 per quarter.

Now, I don’t want to put matters indelicately,but I have lived here alone for the last five years and have not dumped (pun intended) any more sewage down the toilet in 2010 than in 2005. Yet there’s been a 50% increase in taxes on sewage.

Why? Inquiring minds want to know.

Looking at my mortgage escrow fund, I note an increase in New Castle county taxes of about 48% since 2005. About one third of my monthly payment to the bank now consists of insurance payments AND more county taxes. The increase in taxes has nearly canceled out any reduction in interest. Meanwhile, since 2004, when I bought the property, the value of my home has depreciated about 25-35%. Yet my taxes on my modest town house have increased exponentially.

Why? Inquiring minds want to know.

After all, it’s not as if services from the county government have increased. On the contrary, my neighborhood, though officially an historic district, has received very little notice or help from the county. So where, specifically, are my tax dollars being allocated? Not to my neighborhood, that’s for sure. Pensions, perhpas?

I won’t even speak of what will happen to my electric bill if Coons is elected and supports the Obama agenda of “Cap and Trade.” Obama himself has said the rates will “necessarily skyrocket.” Chris Coons supports the Obama agenda, so I can expect my electric bills to skyrocket even further?

As if they haven’t already? When I first moved to Delaware, my monthly electric bills amounted to about $50-65. My last bill was $143.00. On average, my electric bills already have increased 110-120% from when I first moved back to Delaware in fall of 2004. What will the electric bill amount to if Coons is elected?

Inquiring minds want to know.

In the meantime…Help! Please help me! I’m asphyxiating from the increased weight of taxes!

But wait! Don’t call 911. Coons want to tax my calls for help.

Arrrrgggghhhh. Gasp, gasp. Gurgle, gurgle.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Miss Biddle

My second grade teacher, Miss Biddle of Chesapeake City Elementary School, was an absolute dictator.

She had rules, and God help her trembling charges who broke them. Students even had to pee on schedule, a stipulation that got Timmy Walston into a deep puddle of trouble when he wet his pants while sitting at his desk. He got punished by having his chair moved into a corner. The ancient upright piano—it was never played– was shoved catty-corner in front of the chair so he couldn’t get out. All the children then filed by him on the way to recess. He was sobbing his eyes out, but to no avail.

One of her favorite tactics was to stand an offending child on a stool in front of the class and encourage the rest of the class to ridicule the kid as a “cry baby.” “Look at her cry, class,” she would say. And, of course, the child would oblige by turning on the water works, crying her heart out.

Yes, Miss Biddle had rules.

Lots of rules.

One day she handed out a picture for us to color. It was of a robin sitting in a nest. By now, having experienced Miss Biddle’s wrath on more than one occasion, having spent time on the “fool’s stool” and having had my head thumped against the blackboard, I had learned to follow the rules exactly. I colored the robin orange and brown exactly within the lines as precisely instructed by our beloved teacher; and so did just about every other kid in the class. Heaven help the budding Jackson Pollack who dared to do anything free form–likewise anyone who wanted to color a Miro-like fantastical bird with rainbow wings and a purple tail.

Needless to say, Miss Biddle’s rules suffocated initiative and creativity.

But that’s what too many suffocating rules, regulations and punishments do to children. They stifle their spirits and dumb down their creativity.

Welcome to Miss Biddle’s world writ large, American “children.”

Our state and federal governments are having the same stifling effect as my second grade teacher’s plethora of rules and punishments—suffocation.

Few put the consequences of too many laws and punishments as eloquently as Philip K. Howard, who in a recent article in the NY Daily News, sums up the results of too many laws, rules and regulations: “Government is broken and the economy is gasping.”

Did you know that a new governor of most states, including Delaware, will come to office and find that about 90% of the state budget is “pre-committed to entitlements and mandates enacted by politicians long dead;” and that, among other things, in stark contrast to Miss Biddle’s cruel authoritarianism (but equally a pox on creativity and learning), “Teachers no longer have authority to maintain order in the classroom?” Heck, they can’t even hug a crying student without fear of a law suit claiming they are pedophiles.

And what about small businesses, the engines of our economy?

There is so much legal sludge to slog through that it is impossible for small businesses and entrepreneurs to wade through the legalities. Innovation has been stifled by impossibly complex laws and an incomprehensible tax code.

To make things worse, “Hardly any social interaction is free of legal risk”—and consequent punishment. Legalities are so pervasive that any given American at any given time is automatically guilty of breaking the law and thus open to persecution from governmental entities armed with platoons of lawyers anxious to put an offender on the equivalent of Miss Biddle’s “fool’s stool.”

What is the answer to the “Biddleization” of our country?

As Howard points out, “Changing leaders or parties will not solve [the] problem…What’s required to revive America is a major structural overhaul. This is a task of historic proportions—not unlike the simplification of law by Justinian in ancient Rome. Our founding fathers never imagined that democracy would become a one-way ratchet—always adding laws but never repealing them. Nor did they intend law to be a form of central planning. The Constitution sets forth our governing goals and principles in only 16 pages.”

Yet despite the need to simplify, the new healthcare bill—as one example—adds 2,700 pages of new regulations, agencies and requirements. This is to say nothing of what would happen if “Cap and Trade” were to be enacted. Imagine what small businesses would groan under if yet another 2,000 or more page monstrosity was to be enacted?

The truth of the matter is that there will be no going forward until America gets free of the Miss Biddle authoritarian mentality. The “color between the lines” mentality has meant a legal straight jacket that paralyzes the American spirit, suffocates the entrepreneurial spirit and vitiates the body politic.

Those we send to Washington or to the Delaware State House must be committed to radical reform of the law of the land.

We need Justinians.

Miss Biddle has got to go.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Food Fight

Approximately two out of every eight denizens of New York city--plus some forty million Americans across the nation-- are buying groceries with the assistance of government issued food stamps.

Prohibitions against using food stamps to buy alcohol, cigarettes, pet food, vitamins or household goods already exist. But in the interest of restraining the epidemic of childhood obesity and encouraging delinquent parents to supervise their children’s diets more closely, NYC Mayor Bloomberg and Governor David Paterson have issued a fatwa against sugared drinks for the impoverished masses receiving the food stamps.

Bloomberg, who has already been responsible for outlawing trans-fat in restaurant foods and for restaurants posting calorie content on their menus, has joined an anti-salt campaign as well. He is quoted as saying: “This initiative will give New York families more money to spend on food and drinks that provide real nourishment.”

Right.

Maybe New York families living on the edge of poverty will suddenly become avid nutritionists, but probably not. It seems anxieties over economic survival, rampant crime, lack of employment and the disintegration of the family are some of the prime reasons for worries among inner city residents, trumping anxiety over the excess consumption of Coca-Cola. They just don’t seem all that worried over sugar.

More pressing anxieties aside, do any but the most dedicated health food advocates really think food stamp recipients are going to stop buying sugary drinks—much less cigarettes and alcohol--just because of new regulations?

Of course not.

For those already offended because their idea of a enforced health food utopia has been sullied; yes, excess consumption of sugar is not healthy.]

And by the way, does anyone really think Mayor Bloomberg is going to serve guests invited to NYC’s galas club soda and carrots instead of alcohol, sweets and other forbidden goodies—goodies also paid for by tax payers’ money?

Of course not.

But as usual, austerity measures are applicable to the lower classes, not to the ruling class. Carrots for thee, but caviar for me. But isn’t this the usual bifurcated standard for the virtuous ruling class, whose motives are, of course, impeccable but whose actual behavior is not expected to be held to the standards they apply to those on the government handout list?

Regardless of whether the anticipated virtuous outcome will match the sterling motives of the originators of the new regulations, Mr. Bloomberg’s push for new rules dictating what the recipients of food stamps may and may not eat are clearly illustrative of a larger issue than children swilling Coke and Dr. Pepper.

The fact of the matter is that whenever government doles out largess, for whatever sacrosanct reasons—in this case supposedly the health of youngsters—that largess always comes with the big, fat price tag of government control and intrusion into family life and individual choices. It also will come with a new bureaucracies complete with employees whose nanny state mentalities compel them to look into every suspected unhealthy purchase. If the USDA approves Bloomberg’s new regulations, many “well meaning” US citizens will be involved in making sure those regulations are enforced against their comrade citizens.

All for the greater good, of course.

What can the unhappy beneficiaries expect? Is it outside the realm of possibility that every checkout clerk in every grocery store will be required to supervise what food stamp recipients buy, acting as a quasi Stasi citizen food police looking out for food transgressions?

Is it difficult to envision an extension of the rationing, controlling, supervisory mentality to include benefits given—or denied--to recipients of health care? But of course, we already have such a health care system in place, complete with the 159 or so new bureaucracies and agencies “needed” to run it.

In the meantime, we are learning there’s not only no such thing as a free lunch, but apparently, there’s also no such thing as an unregulated lunch--at least not for food stamp recipients. Who knows who is next? Maybe those nefarious three martini business lunches could be brought under state control by requiring everyone to submit his/her lunch selections to a supervisory health board concentrating on business executives. Then again, with the current anti-corporation mentality, it might be better to let the greedy capitalist pigs have their rib roast and booze, the better to hasten the demise of the evil profit mongers.

Bottom line, it just won’t work.

Fact of the matter is, that for every heath food devotee, like Jerome Rodale, who died on live TV-- doubtless from eating too many roots and berries coupled with asparagus boiled in urine—somewhere in Japan there’s a little 112 year old man who will attribute his longevity to drinking twelve bottles of sake per diem.

Plus, recipients of food stamps are just as bright as the next guy, and will be busy subverting regulations every way they wish to.

So why continue pushing nightmarish and ultimately unenforceable regulatory complexities?

How much simpler it would be to encourage the education of parents (and children) about basic rules of nutrition and health in order they begin by their own free will to make sound choices for themselves and their children. The basics of the food pyramid are not all that hard to learn and implement.

But I guess that would be just too easy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Now or Never

At different times during its history, a nation inevitably experiences “now or never” moments, turning points irrevocably leading to its restoration or to unmitigated disaster. At times, a yawning precipice opens up revealing a danger so wide, deep and threatening that if one more step is taken, the entire national enterprise falls off a cliff.

We can see such moments in retropsect: The expiration of the Weimar republic; the rise of the Bolshevik Revolution; the grand experiments of the Great Leap Forward. All signaled the absolute terminal point of national constructs.

The United States is at a "now or never" moment.

During the last decade, the annihilation of federalism proceeded apace as increasingly, big government trampled the constitutional principles of limited government and abandoned the commandments of fiscal common sense.

Since the elections of 2008, the accelerants poured on the bonfires ignited by the last administration have resulted in a raging inferno whose wildfire flames are devouring what little remained of our national structures.

Among the many foundational building blocks of our nation that have been consumed by the Obama arsonists, who consider the incineration of our nation’s traditions a mere bonfire of vanities: State sovereignty, as witnessed by the egregious attacks of the administration on the state of Arizona; equal justice before the law, as demonstrated by the failure to prosecute the Black Panther voter intimidation case; the free market economy, as evidenced by the government takeover of big banks, the auto industry and health care; the corruption of the governmental process by bribes and handouts; the great good of genuine civil rights, now being consumed by the inflammatory class and racial warfare; and the integrity of the economy, as shown by the volcanic eruption of federal spending and debt.

Stunned citizens, seeing the rapidity with which our country is being consumed, have reacted with shock—and with resistance. Suddenly, the conservative American center, alarmed by the prospect of a bonfire of personal liberties, the burning of the Constitution and cremation of true federalism, has risen to stop the country from falling off the cliff into an inferno. Suddenly, Americans realize that if they do not act, the inferno will, if allowed to spread, melt the Statue of Liberty herself; and in her place would rise, like Phoenix from the ashes, the terrible Medusa-like Leviathan of an iron fisted, all powerful State.

The great American conservative center has awakened. They know the election of 2010 is like none other in their nation’s history. They see the “now or never” moment for their beloved country is upon them. They agree the nation must be rescued and dragged back from the precipice and the pit of fire that lies beneath.

Conservative Americans realize nothing must divert their strength from the task of rescue before them. And nothing must prevent their turning out in droves to effectuate a devastating defeat to the powers that fiddle, play and tinker with the country's destiny while our nation burns.

Americans must erect a political firewall "now or never."

2012 might be too late.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Abattoir

ABATTOIR:"A public slaughterhouse."

In August 1941 Heinrich Himmler travelled to Minsk, as he wanted to see with his own eyes how the einsatzgruppen were performing their extermination campaign against the Jews. While there, he witnessed 100 Jews being shot in a ditch outside the town.

SS-Obergruppenf├╝hrer Karl Wolff described the event in his diary: “Himmler's face was green. He took out his handkerchief and wiped his cheek where a piece of brain had squirted up on to it. Then he vomited.”

Wolff records that after shakily recovering his composure, Himmler proceeded to give the SS men a lecture on following the "highest moral law of the Party" in carrying out their work.

Though Himmler was revolted, he did not change his ideology, no matter how gruesome its actualization proved. Instead, he gave orders that a more efficient means of killing be devised.

Later, after the war was ended General Eisenhower would demand that German citizens be forced to go to Buchenwald not only to see the results of Himmler’s efficiency but actually to load the corpses on wagons for disposal.

Time and again the German folk would say, “We didn’t know.”

Blindness similar to Himmler’s prevails among the ideologues of the “pro choice” crowd. No matter how gruesome the actualities of the mega buck abortion industry, no compromise is accepted. Abortion on demand throughout pregnancy is adhered to steadfastly, though the means of killing the pre-born may vary according to efficiency and assurance of result; namely, a dead baby.

And so the carnage goes on virtually unobstructed.

But once in a while, the veil of secrecy is rent and the entire populace is given a glimpse of the horrors of the lucrative abortion industry.

On August 12 in Elkton, MD, just across our state line, an 18 year old girl who had been 21 weeks pregnant was rushed to the hospital. Her uterus, bowel and vagina had been pierced by one Dr. Nicola Riley, who flew in from Utah every other week to do late term abortions.

The abortion had been initiated by New Jersey abortionist Steven Chase Brigham, who runs a chain of 15 abortion mills. He had inserted laminaria to dilate the teenager’s cervix so the baby could be dismembered and pulled out piece by piece. But things did not go according to plan. Not only did Riley lacerate the girl’s organs, but the abortion was incomplete. The baby’s head was detached and pushed through the uterine wall into the abdominal cavity.

The semi-conscious teen was dropped off at the hospital by Riley and Brigham in a rental car. Riley then left the bleeding patient to go perform another abortion. The girl herself was flown to John Hopkins hospital where, at last report, she remains in critical condition.

When police raided Brigham’s Elkton “clinic,” they found 32 late term fetuses—one of which was 35-36 weeks gestation--tossed in a freezer. A search for documents revealed there were no medical records for most of the women and girls who had undergone abortions.

I wonder if the police threw up.

Certainly they, like Elkton residents, came face to face with the revolting and grim reality of the abortion industry. Unlike the German citizens who supposedly “Didn’t know what was going on,” Elkton police and residents now can’t use the “I didn’t know” excuse.

They know.

So what happens to the 32 tiny flash frozen corpses?

What may not be known to Elkton residents is that sale of fetal parts is a lucrative companion business to the abortion industry. As the aborted infants have no status under law, they can be and are sold for use in medical research. The biggest demand for human fetal parts comes from pharmaceutical and biological firms, government and university research laboratories.

Doubtless the pre-born frozen babies were going to be sold to such organizations, some of which place orders specifying the body parts come from live survivors of the abortion process. No frozen goods for those picky types. They want fresh samples.

Now Elkton residents know this, too.

So the question for Elkton residents (along with the rest of US citizens) is why, now that they know exactly what is going on in their town, they would continue to tolerate the grisly practices of abortionists like Steven Brigham and Nicola Riley?

Other questions Elktonians should think about: How are the practices of abortionists Brigham and Riley any different from the execution of Jews by the SS? How is the sale of fetal body parts different than turning Jews into soap and lampshades?

Elkton residents now know there has been a baby abattoir in their back yard. While it is presently under investigation and closed down, there is no legal reason why other enterprising abortionists can’t open yet another “clinic.”

So what are they to do? What can they do?

They must work to stop the carnage. They must cease looking the other way. They must stop the denials of the truth and look at it in those frozen, tiny faces.

Why?

Because now they know.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Religion Matters

Those who believe citizens should “Keep religion out of politics” betray a lack of knowledge about both. For the truth of the matter is the two have always been inextricably intertwined--never more so than today.

The current president as well as Delaware’s Democrat nominee for the senate, Chris Coons (among others either already in or presently seeking high office), hold strong religious/political beliefs based on a contemporary distortion of Christianity known as liberation theology.

President Obama learned much of his theology as a congregant of Jeremiah Wright, whereas Mr. Coons became a convert to the new theology during his stay in Africa and through his studies at Yale Divinity School. Both men share similar world views; views that infuse and inform their politics.

For those unfamiliar with theological trends, liberation theology as propounded by its founder, Gustavo Gutierrez and his followers and imitators such as James Cone and the aforementioned Mr. Wright, sees salvation not as an individual relationship with Christ, but as a collective sanctification of an entire society. For the proponent of liberation theology salvation is both social and political.

To put it another way, sin is no longer primarily of individual origin (original sin) but is collective, finding its origins in social structures which must be dismantled and rebuilt according to new salvific principles. Basically, those principles involve integrating the Marxist critique of capitalism within the framework of a re-interpreted Christianity. The concept of individual sin and individual redemption is replaced with the idea of collective sin stratified in class and social structures which need radical, “fundamental change” if humanity, especially the poor and oppressed of humanity, is to be collectively saved.

A new communist/socialist/”Christian” economic system is to replace capitalism, which is seen as inherently evil and oppressive. Capitalism is seen as creating poverty, fostering oppression of minorities and favoring only a few rich people.
Further, liberation theology proponent James Cone, who heavily influenced Jeremiah Wright, saw the most oppressive class as white, believing white racism alone was responsible for the oppression of minority status blacks, but he did not stop there. He not only integrated Marxist economic thought with Christian belief, but called for a complete liberation of blacks from racism, capitalism and imperialism.

Our current president’s domestic and foreign policies are explicable in terms of black liberation theology, as he fights all three fronts—racism, capitalism and imperialism—from his position in the White House. Further, his foreign policy is an offshoot of liberation theology in that it exhibits strong “third worldism;” that is, a belief that the poverty in Africa and elsewhere is the fault of Western capitalist structures which keep the boot on the neck of impoverished nations. All wealth has the stench of unjust gain, and only redistributing unjust gains made at the expense of the poor will redeem society. Third-worldism also involves giving support to Third World national liberation movements against the West, as the West is the premier example of collective guilt by virtue of its sinful social structure.

In sum, for those whose beliefs are based on liberation theology, salvation for the world involves ridding the US of its faulty capitalist economic and social structures and leveling the classes by distributing the wealth of the rich. Thus both the US and the entire world will be collectively redeemed. That is why our president speaks so often of “collective salvation.”

The ferocious drive of the left to radically transform and fundamentally change the social and economic structures of the US and the entire West—to say nothing of the entire world-- then, often arises from their strongly held religious/political world view, a view which amounts to forcing a religion down the throats of the masses.
***

The above thoughts are pertinent to the hurly burly of the current senatorial contest in Delaware. For Delawareans, it is important to know Mr. Coons’ background and convictions are those of liberation theology. As Delaware is the corporate capital of the nation—capitalism defined!—it might not be a good idea to elect a man whose theological and political weltanschauung is intrinsically anti-corporation, anti-capitalist and anti-rich (anti-business class). It might be ruinous to elect a senator who has already indicated redistribution of wealth by heavy taxation is a cornerstone of his world view.

There is a reason Mr. Coon is attracting favorable notice from the White House. He shares Obama’s liberationist beliefs and has already indicated he is on board with the Obama agenda of radical restructuring of America—"fundamental change."

Delawareans should beware.

Someone else’s religion is about to be forced on you.

***Post script on an article just found: It appears I have a doppelganger in Jeffrey Lord of American Spectator, whose article on Coons and liberation theology provides much more exhaustive coverage than my own piece on the subject. For those interested, go to the following link:
http://spectator.org/archives/2010/09/20/chris-coons-volunteer-for-libe

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gollum

Every candidate for office dreams of the day his opponent is tagged with an unforgettable, indelibly etched, iconic moment. Usually it’s a photograph, but it really doesn’t matter what the moment consists of. The opposition is doomed because the event is emblazoned on the voters’ memory and nothing else computes. It’s no use. It’s over. Speeches are no longer remembered, policy statements fall on deaf ears, the candidate’s protests and explanations automatically muted. The candidate is doomed.

Who can forget helmeted little Michael Dukakis with his dopey grin riding in M1 Abrams tank? How could the guy who released Willie Horton pull off a warrior stance? It was a risible and unforgettable image. Dukakis never recovered.
People are still laughing over Jimmy Carter and the rabid swamp rabbit incident. According to the eye witness account, the rodent came at the canoe, “hissing menacingly, its teeth flashing and nostrils flared and making straight for the president.” Would the beast had been a bear instead of a rabbit, as the image of Carter flailing at the desperate creature with a canoe paddle seemed to define his timid presidency perfectly.

Or, who could conceal (admittedly undeserving) snickering over President Ford’s pratfall down the stairs of Air Force 1? To make matters worse, he even fell up the same stairs while wearing ...well,uh…an extremely unattractive and clownish brown and gold plaid jacket. The apparent clumsiness of someone who was actually a fine athlete was a godsend for the opposition, who used the images to their own nefarious ends. Ford was not helped by the fact he made a serious foreign policy goof by claiming during televised debate that Eastern Europe was not under the control of Russia. The clumsy image stuck. He was done for.

But iconic images are in the making for today’s races, most notably one gifted by Harry Reid to the O’Donnell campaign. Reid has called Mr. Coons, O’Donnell’s opposition, “My pet.”

Oh, dear.

No sooner had he spoken than Michelle Malkin had the perfect photo shopped image up on her web site, the headline saying it all: “Creepy Harry Reid Hands O’Donnell her First General Election Ad on a Silver Platter.” Here is the unfortunate and soon to be iconic image of Ms. O’Donnell’s opponent:

http://michellemalkin.com/2010/09/15/creepy-harry-reid-hands-odonnell-her-first-general-election-ad-on-a-silver-platter/

My guess is that Coons won’t recuperate any time soon from this image, as Reid’s fatally condescending and diminishing words indicate to every voter that Mr. Coons is not his own man, but is merely a pet for Harry Reid and the Democrat establishment. Many commentators have said and written as much, but the iconic Gollum image will fix that perception in the mind of the public as nothing else would.

In a way, that’s too bad, as the policy differences between Ms. O’Donnell and Mr. Coons could not be more starkly delineated or more deserving of deep and serious discussion. After all, one candidate stands for Reagan style conservatism and the other stands for the Obama agenda. They are, regardless of iconic images, representative in symbolic and real terms of the politics dividing our country.

Nonetheless, we can doubtless expect more photo shopped images of Mr. Coons, whose physiognomy will now appear in a burst of creative and unflattering images put together by busy computer geeks working in their basements.