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Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

February 9, 2010 2 comments

A lot was made about the pro-life ad that ran during the Superbowl sponsored by Focus on the Family and featuring college QB Tim Tebow and his mother. Feminist and pro-choice groups came out against the ad and a lot of ink was spilled in an attempt to counter what some groups said was its “dangerous” message.

Of course, the message wasn’t “dangerous” at all, it was simply pro-life.

But, I was personally struck by the imagery of the ad. Why was it necessary to show Tebow tackling his mother?

Not that I was offended by the ad and I certainly understood that the intent was supposed to show the “toughness” of his mother, but why was it necessary that the ad show him taking her down in a full tackle? I don’t get it?

If you ask me, the ad failed on its own, because without the outside controversy, I wouldn’t have really known what it was about. In the context of the ad, I would have been forced to ask, “Does Tebow have a form of Turet’s Syndrome where he compulsively tackles his mother without warning from time to time?” Remember, in the text of the ad, she does say “I still worry about his health” just before he rams into her.

But, worse, the ad was one of many that were overtly violent, and dare I say, one of a number that were openly misogynist. I know, as conservatives we’re not supposed to get all uptight about such things lest we wander into the land of political correctness, but  my concerns are not what you think; I am concerned here about the state of the culture.

Now, I know that Super Bowl ads do not make up the whole of the cultural output of contemporary Western civilization. I am constantly reassured that there is plenty of great art being produced today, and any “end is nigh” hysteria about the state of cultural production does not take into account the quantities of what is being produced these days.

However, I personally believe that these commercials are saying something and that something is an ominous sign of a failing civilization. With all due respect to “A Clockwork Orange”, when  “ultra-violence”provides us with humor and fun, and open hostility to women is tolerated within a culture, something wicked this way comes.

Someone has put together a montage of the violent ads in the Super Bowl and it is below.

This video led Joe Carter at First Thoughts to comment:

Apparently, advertisers get their ideas about how to market to us from watching the Ain’t-It-Funny-When-Someone-Gets-Hurt clips on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Which got me to thinking about the movie the Idiocracy. Released in 2006, to a very limited run in movie theatres, Idiocracy is a not-so-concealed commentary on contemporary American culture. Despite it being set in the “distant” future, the director, Mike Judge, was no doubt aiming his sights on a dumbed-down, overly consumeristic American culture, which he obviously believes (using poetic license and not a little hyperbole to make the point) is producing a population that within the span of a few generations will become so incompetent that even the most basic knowledge necessary for survival will be lost to it. In the movie, for instance, the fact that water, and not Gatorade, is needed to grow crops is high science even to the country’s political leaders.

In this idiotic America of the future, the most popular television program is a show called “Ow, My Balls!”It features  a guy who finds various ways to abuse his own testicles and films the self-injury in real time.

So, I wonder: Are we there yet? I mean, if this kind of stuff is being used to sell products and TV shows and movies now (think Jackass), where will the culture be in a few years? And what does it mean for society and politics in general? I think history shows that societies in such a state of decline are neither predisposed nor capable of self-governance. But, we’ll leave that discussion for a a later post.

Along with the violence exhibited in this year’s Super Bowl ads, most of it aimed at men, there was a concomitant and equally disturbing theme running through some of the ads during the game: There seemed to be a hint of hostility towards women. The best ad that exemplifies this is below:

This one too:

Both ads express an appeal to power for men, and sort of frustration with women and domestic life.If marketers have determined that this is the experience of a good number of men in modern society, and they can use the experience in order to sell more stuff, what is it saying about the state of male/female relationships and the traditional family altogether? What does it mean for the American dream-at least for men?

The answer to that question may take a lot more posts, but in brief, it is my opinion that these ads express a kind of pre-Fascist consciousness. According to historian Edward Veith, Fascism arose out of a cultural milieu of Europe which included an alienation from the 19th century positivistic and materialist worldview. The reaction to this alienation bred a form of romanticism or, a sort  modern pantheistic paganism that reasserted the value of the natural world and insisted that it be experienced not through reason, but through experience and emotion.

According to Veith and other historians, this renewal of paganism led to a very open hostility to the established order which expressed itself primarily by violence and ugliness through art. And as eith has written, the aesthetic of pre-Fascist and Fascist art is visible in the culture today:

In the 1930s, avant-garde artists shocked the bourgeoisie with their aesthetic theories that glorified violence and the release of primitive emotions. Today, if you like examples of early fascist aesthetics, simply go to the latest Hollywood blockbuster, turn on MTV, or go to a Heavy Metal concert.

Here you will see realized the fascists’ artistic ideals: pleasure from violence; the thrill of moral rebellion; the cult of the Aryan body. The grisly blood-letting of a slasher movie; the body-builder who takes the law into his own hands by machine-gunning his enemies; the masses of teenagers slam-dancing as Metallica sings `Scream, as I’m killing you!’–such art is the quintessence of the fascist aesthetic.

Well, I could go on. But it is also important to mention that culture and politics are inexorably intertwined. If our culture exhibits the “quintessence of the fascist aesthetic” I think we need to truly examine that culture and the state of our political life as it relates to human liberty. And I believe that phenomena like the personality cult that surrounds Barack Obama, is a part of something that is very wrong with Western civilization, but let’s leave that for future posts.

As for the culture, conservative philosopher and writer Roger Scruton has the cure:

“I think we are losing beauty, and there’s a danger that with it, we will lose the meaning of life!”

I just wonder if we aren’t too far gone for Beauty ever to have meaning in our lives again.

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“Incompetence of Obama” Ideation Spreads, Political Crisis Approaches

January 23, 2010 Leave a comment

As we predicted yesterday in this post, the idea that Obama is incompetent and needs to be replaced as President of the United States is spreading and gaining traction even outside of conservative circles.

Over the weekend the idea will  probably ferment, and over the next few weeks it may emerge in force.

For now, this article by the Washington Post confirms that there is a crisis brewing over the incompetence of the Obama Administration concerning the underwear bomber, and this article lays out the case -in full- about the overall incompetence of Obama over the past year. I agree when Conrad Black says: “It has been a year of fecklessness, amateurism, and posturing. Less that is useful has been accomplished by this president in his first year than by any president since Herbert Hoover, and he was ambushed by the Great Depression after seven months.”

Obama and his Maoist comrades misunderstood their mandate. The American people do not like government spending and an increase in government power through bureaucracy. When Clinton said “the era of big government is over” he knew what he was doing, even if he didn’t really mean it. He knew that the Reagan Revolution was indeed a real revolution and that the American taxpayer, even as long ago as 1980, was not willing to finance the age-old anti-American and central planning dreams of socialist elites.

The Democrats defeated the Republican majority and George Bush because the well-funded Soros propoganda tanks were very successful in spreading the idea that Republicans were corrupt and wasteful of government money. (They got a heavy assist from the liberal advocacy media (LAME) as well.) Republicans did a piss-poor job of defending themselves, but now we can see the real color of the truth. We still hear about Larry Craig for God’s sake, while the LAME covers up stories about the abuse of power in the White House and the culture of corruption that permeates Obama’s administration.

It was almost a foregone conclusion during the 2008 campaign that Democrats weren’t going to raise taxes and that a Democratic administration would cut federal spending.  Obama himself said he was going to “take a scalpel” to federal spending in one debate. That is what people voted for. Instead, what they got was someone who does not believe that the Reagan Revolution was real, and that if it was, it was a well-managed public relations gimmick that kept the “real change” demanded by the people encumbered by a persistent cult of personality.

This is elitist thinking at its worst, and it is clear by the reaction of the LAME and other elites, that they find it easy to disregard the political will of a majority  because they believe the people expressing that will are misinformed, misguided, and led astray by corporate-financed media. But how can that be, if this heinous corporate media is themselves? No, what really afflicts this nation’s elites  is that it is  impossible for them to accept that conservatism has a rational basis and that it appeals to millions of thoughtful, reasonable voters.

This is why so many liberal commentators feel free to insult conservative spokesmen and conservative organizations. They have read a few books about media and the formation of mass political cognition and they are convinced that anyone else who reads what they have, will automatically be in agreement with them. If not, well, they must just be dumb.

Anyway, that is what the Obama crowd thinks and it was clear that they were pursuing their health care reform despite popular opposition because they believed that people would not reject it once it was established. They expected the progressive movement to spread and that opponents would be so beleaguered by “progressive” propoganda by then, resistance would whittled to  a mere token. Ironically,  smart progressives eventually resorted to   a moral appeal to pass health care, while the opposition kept making arguments based on  economics and political science. Americans went with the latter, but this seems lost on the Left altogether.

The American people aren’t buying the most hallowed arguments in the rhetorical bag of tricks employed by American socialists. What remains to be seen, however,  is if Obama will be willing to backtrack far enough and long enough, so people forget what progressive policies really mean for the country.

Categories: My Commentary, Quick Hits

Obama Will Be Forced to Resign If He is Forced to Renege on KSM Trial in NYC

January 22, 2010 3 comments

First, I’d like to wish everyone a happy Guantanamo Bay Closure Day!

Sec. 3. Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo. The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. …

BARACK OBAMA
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 22, 2009.


Now, although some may think the heading for this post is overblown, it must be recognized that there is a crisis brewing in Washington over Obama’s treatment of the Christmas Day underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and there are signals that his decision to hold the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed in New York City is in peril.

If the crisis over treating the Detroit terrorist Abdulmutallab as a criminal continues to brew, and the Congress is able to sideline the New York trial of KSM, I predict that credible calls for Obama to resign the presidency will begin to be heard.

These two missteps, if widely disseminated, should be the final straws that break Obama and from which he will never be able to recover politically. No matter which direction Obama pivots after the devastating election in Massachusetts, these two national security missteps show that he has become an ineffective and incompetent leader. And with his incompetence fully exposed- especially on foreign policy and national security issues- he has become a dangerous liability not only for the Democratic Party, but more importantly, for the country as well. This should be unacceptable to a country trying to recover from economic crisis, that is in a war with extremists, and which is being challenged internationally on a every level.

The crisis over giving Abdulmutallab civilian legal rights was exacerbated Wednesday by the congressional testimony of Dennis Blair, the  Director of National Intelligence. In that testimony, Blair said that it was a mistake that Abdulmutallah was not held for interrogation by the High Value Interrogation Group, of HIG, an agency created for the express purpose of making decisions about terrorist interrogations. Blair  explained  that even though the FBI was able to question Abdulmutallah briefly before his surgery on Christmas Day and that it revealed a “a treasure trove of intelligence,” shortly after his surgery, Abdulmutallah was read his Miranda rights and clammed up.

It was also revealed at the same hearing that Blair,  FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael E. Leiter, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano-the four most important counter-terrorism officials in the country- were not consulted about the charging decision. Essentially the decision to treat Abdulmutallah as a civilian with full legal rights  was made on the ground, and many questions have been raised about the Administration’s preparedness on domestic terrorism.

Also, in a Newsweek blog, Michael Isikoff reveals that there is growing consensus in Congress that locating the trial in New York City was a really, really bad idea. Isikoff reports that Republican Senator Lindsay Graham will soon force another vote on his previously failed amendment to strip funding for the trial. Isikoff reports that there is renewed support for the measure in Congress:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he will force another vote on his amendment to stop the trial (which was defeated 54-45 in November) once Congress reconvenes. “With Detroit and everything else going on, we’ve got a pretty good chance of winning this thing,” says Graham, adding that he’s privately heard from a number of Democrats, saying “they’re with me.” GOP Rep. Frank Wolf says he plans a similar move in the House. “I’m afraid it’s probably going to pass,” says Democratic Rep. Jim Moran, who has strongly backed the administration on the issue.

These are epic failures by Obama and his Administration. Add this to his clearly inept handling of Iran, his admitted failure on Middle East peace, and not to mention his falling popularity and stalled domestic agenda, and it is very conceivable that even people within his own party will begin calling for his resignation.

No matter which direction Obama pivots now, I think it is almost impossible for him to reclaim any political ground. If he moves to the center, he loses the far-Left. Why would they support this move before he gets health care? Why should they put their issues on hold in an attempt to save Obama’s presdency and a possible second term? They have the political clout now and can’t get things done.

No, unless they believe him blindly, the Left must  demand that Obama moves to the left now, and if he pivots to the center, they will move against him and start clamoring for a third party or support a more progressive candidate in 2012.

Consequently, if Obama moves to the Left, there is a good chance he will be finished altogther. While this may inspire his far-left base to get out in the streets again, it will alienate the moderates and resurgent conservatives even more. They will not give him the cover he sorely needs on his foreign policy and national security incompetence, and he will then appear to be  flailing and ineffective on that front.

So, his best move is probably going to the center. Once there, he must hope that his administration’s repeated attacks on Bush and conservatives in order to decimate them are forgotten. He must hope the Tea Party Movement goes away (and it isn’t), and that the electorate forgets his massive failures and lies to date. If “moderates” and conservatives are unwilling to support  Obama’s move to the center and he simultaneously loses the far-left, what will be the point of him serving out the next four years? (He is already in danger of losing the far-left anyway, given that he has not repealed some of the most hated of Bush’s anti-terror policies. Discarding the radical domestic agenda now, I think, will put them over the edge.) He will then be unable to garner support for anything he does, and the country will enter a protracted stage of political crisis as its leader will be powerless. And political crises are consistently resolved throughout the world by the main perpetrators of the crisis being forced to step down. Here and now, that would be Barack Obama.

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Incidentally, I found a video that sends chills down my spine. And in accordance with my series on the crisis in Honduras, I made a connection that is very unpleasant.

Watch the video below, especially the first 2:20 (especially 1:50-2:18) minutes and you’ll see what I mean. See if you make the same connection I do. Don’t believe you are just paranoid if you do, this documentary was produced by the CBC in the 1980s, and was not funded by the Birchers or any anti-Communist group in America.

Perhaps protracted political crisis in the United States is what Obama wants. If it is, we’re in for a bumpy ride in the coming year.

“Listen, Little Man! The Only Thing Standing Between You and Republican Fascist Hell: The Democratic Party and Martha Coakley!”-Boston Globe / K. Olbermann

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Now, shouldn’t some of the stuff coming from the liberal advocacy media (LAME) because they fear a potential victory by Republican  Scott Brown in today’s Massachusett’s U.S. Senate race, disqualify them from ever claiming they are objective reporters again? I mean, really… It is so blatant and obvious that I am only one of probably thousands of blogs pointing it out.

The best comes from Keith Olbermann, admittedly a partisan, but if anyone takes this seriously, well, I would be in favor of taking away the right to vote for people with IQs of 60 or lower. His keen analysis:

In Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against women.

Who falls for that stuff anymore? Who are the fear-mongers now?  When they’re desperate, Democratic hacks show what world-class  demagogues they can be. The emperor is bare nekkid today.

And here at CPN in this post 10 days ago we noticed something about the campaign reporting coming from the  Boston Globe. We noticed that while some polls had Brown closing on Coakley, the Globe still had him down by 15 points. The Globe also refused to notice the race was competitive until Saturday, when they could only bring themselves to admit that the race was a “dead heat”, despite most polls showing otherwise.

This was the same line they used yesterday as well, despite the polling data. In a blog post at Real Clear Politics, Boston Globe Puts Thumb on Scale- Again, Tom Bevan makes the point:

Let me see if I have this right: there have been six polls of the Massachusetts Senate race released in the last 24 hours, five of which show Scott Brown with leads of 5 points, 7 points, 9 points, 10 points and 10 points, respectively. Only one poll shows the race tied. None of the polls show Martha Coakley with a lead.

How then, you might ask, can the Boston Globe justify characterizing the race as a “dead heat?”

I suppose if you were disingenuous enough to downplay and/or ignore the five polls showing Scott Brown with fairly sizable leads, then that headline wouldn’t be false. Massively biased and misleading, yes, but technically accurate. And wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what the author of the story does…

But today, the nekkid emperor has started throwing all the bombs in his arsenal. Yep, our good friends at the Boston Globe have put up numerous reports about how Brown supporters have been “intimidating” those nice, little Democrats and “suppressing” their vote.

The Sweetness and Light blog has a good breakdown of one of these articles:

Brown supporters trying to suppress vote by bullying

By Joan Vennochi, Globe Columnist  |  January 18, 2010

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But wait, apparently the Boston Globe planted an “interactive map”  in their paper today that showed Coakley winning the election at about 1:00 in the afternoon. They claim it was a mistake!


You old nekkid thing you.

In consideration of 2010 polling data.

December 23, 2009 1 comment

updated!

I try to avoid talking about polls and elections which are far off. Things can change and  it is difficult to foresee the outcomes of elections  far in advance.

But, given the inevitable passage of the health care reform bill, and the increasing likelihood that the US Senate will pass a cap-and-trade bill, the first (and perhaps only) chance that Americans who are opposed to these two massive pieces of “transformative” legislation will have  to repeal them (barring a few astonishing rulings by the Supreme Court) will be through the 2010 elections. So, it is important to see if there will likely be enough of a mandate to turn the tide.

Many people do not agree with me that cap-and-trade is inevitable in 2010, but one merely has to point to the successes of Copenhagen and the recent health care legislation to see that for Democrats, the socialist  mother wheel has appeared in the sky and is calling them home.  Either they pass the legislation they have been clamoring for now, and create the over-regulated society they have always dreamed of, or they retreat.

But why should they be incremental at this point when they have majorities immune to the conservative opposition? It makes no sense. As influential Brazilian journalist Olavo de Carvahlo wrote in an essay November 18, 2008 titled What Will Obama Do?:

whatever its proclaimed goals, any scheme of power will always safeguard its own continuity and expansion first and foremost… The existence and continuity of the scheme are a prior condition of its doing whatever it may want to do. Thus, what we must consider before anything else is what the head of state will necessarily have to do, not to reach this or that goal, nor to face the objective problems that afflict the nation or part of it, but simply to keep – and, in the case of a revolutionary leader, to increase – the power of action it already possesses.

So, I am expecting cap-and-trade to be close, but eventually get passed because all the power amassed and being enjoyed by Democrats now, has been in development for a number of years. The cap-and-trade struggle will involve the same political legerdemain that was evident in the process to pass the health care reform bill. Institutionalizing federal control of health care reform and a  cap-and-trade system are the most important components in building not only a domestic, permanent, progressive political architecture, but also a global one.

Losing substantial power in the  next elections will not matter to the Left; there are always more elections. Better to use the  majorities now to expand government power and hope the bills facilitating it cannot be repealed in the future by a blundering and confused Right. Premature announcements by the Republicans and conservatives of impending repeal, will most likely put them under such  serious media assault throughout 2010, it may serve to weaken their growing strength before election season anyway.

House of Representatives

The Republicans need to win 40 seats to regain control in the House of Representatives. It is not clear yet if this is shaping up to be possible or not. Most agree that Republicans will be able to make significant gains in the House in 2010, but no one knows the extent.

There were a few developments yesterday  related to elections that deserve mention.  Of course, the most significant development was the announcement by  Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama that he will be switching from the Democrat to the Republican Party. Griffith is a freshman congressman and a blue dog who voted against health care. Maybe he sees the writing on the wall for 2010.

This corresponds with the announced and somewhat unexpected resignations of four blue dog Democrats recently in Kansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee that would not be running for re-election in 2010. The collective wisdom is that for each of these seats polling data suggests they are  either  toss-ups or lean favorably Republican.

However, it is important to take into account that 12 incumbent Republican Representatives have also announced their resignation or retirement. Some of their districts, like the At-Large in Delaware or Michigan’s 2nd are vulnerable to Democrats.But Republicans have just topped Democrats in the generic Congressional poll:

Poll Date Sample Republicans Democrats Spread
RCP Average 12/3 – 12/20 43.3 40.8 Republicans +2.5
Rasmussen Reports 12/14 – 12/20 3500 LV 44 36 Republicans +8
USA Today/Gallup 12/11 – 12/13 898 RV 45 48 Democrats +3
Battleground 12/6 – 12/10 1000 LV 42 41 Republicans +1
Bloomberg 12/3 – 12/7 714 LV 42 38 Republicans +4

See All Generic Congressional Vote Polling Data

Even though there have been some positive developments for Republicans in light of the 2010 House elections, it is not at all clear how substantial the gains may be. Go to this link to see a comprehensive chart of the races.

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U.S. Senate

There are 36 seats up for election in the U.S. Senate in 2010 (38 if you include the special elections to be held in  Massachusetts and Texas). 19 seats are held by Democrats and 19 held by Republicans. 41 Democratic seats and 21 Republican seats will be retained by both parties as they will not be decided this year.

What this means is that in order to maintain control of the United States Senate, the Democratic Party only needs to win 9 of the total  19 Senate races they are running in, with Joe Biden providing the tie-breaker. On the other hand, Republicans would have to win 30 seats to gain control. That would mean that they would have to win all 19 races for seats they now hold and win 11 out of the 19 Democratic seats available in 2010. Barring a complete collapse for Democrats, many believe that is not going to happen.

So, the question becomes which Republican seats will be contestable by Dems in 2010 and what Democratic seats are visibly vulnerable at this point.

There are  7 Republican seats that have come open  due to resignation or retirement. These are FL, KS, KY, NH, OH, MO and  TX. It is generally believed that  New Hampshire and Ohio are toss-ups at this point. The rest are leaning Republican, but with some interesting developments in some of them.

Florida

Republicans will most likely hold onto this seat. However, Marco Rubio who is running against Governor Charlie Crist in the Republican primary has pulled even with him. Rubio is also supported by the Tea Party Movement and this is significant as the national media and leftists have tried to make it toxic for Republicans to embrace the Tea Partiers.

In the last couple of polls, Rubio has pulled even with Crist and he beats the leading Democratic candidate, Kendrick Meek, in the general election. This is a good sign for Rubio and it allows Republican supporters to safely abandon Crist for a potential winner.  The numbers show Rubio’s incredible gains against the Democratic candidate:

Date Sample Rubio (R) Meek (D) Spread
RCP Average 10/12 – 12/14 37.3 36.3 Rubio +1.0
Rasmussen Reports 12/14 – 12/14 49 35 Rubio +14
Daily Kos/R2000 11/16 – 11/18 30 38 Meek +8
Rasmussen Reports 10/20 – 10/20 46 31 Rubio +15
Quinnipiac 10/12 – 10/18 33 36 Meek +3
Rasmussen Reports 8/17 – 8/17 43 30 Rubio +13
Strategic Vision (R) 5/29 – 5/31 31 30 Rubio +1
Strategic Vision (R) 2/6 – 2/8 26 24 Rubio +2
Daily Kos/R2000 1/26 – 1/28 22 31 Meek +9

This chart shows Rubio’s gains against Crist:

Date Sample Crist (R) Rubio (R) Spread
RCP Average 10/12 – 12/14 46.7 38.3 Crist +8.4
Rasmussen Reports 12/14 – 12/14 431 LV 43 43 Tie
Daily Kos/R2000 11/16 – 11/18 400 RV 47 37 Crist +10
Rasmussen Reports 10/19 – 10/19 466 LV 49 35 Crist +14
Quinnipiac 10/12 – 10/18 396 LV 50 35 Crist +15
McLaughlin & Associates (R) 10/12 – 10/13 500 LV 53 29 Crist +24
Rasmussen Reports 8/17 – 8/17 470 LV 53 31 Crist +22
Quinnipiac 8/12 – 8/17 446 LV 55 26 Crist +29
Mason-Dixon 6/24 – 6/26 300 LV 51 23 Crist +28
Quinnipiac 6/2 – 6/7 486 RV 54 23 Crist +31
Strategic Vision (R) 5/29 – 5/31 468 LV 59 22 Crist +37
Mason-Dixon 5/14 – 5/18 300 LV 53 18 Crist +35

My bet is that he still has some ground to make up, but he is making Crist regret his embrace of Obama now.

Kentucky

One of the most interesting results of the polling data is that Rand Paul, Congressman Ron Paul’s son, has taken a commanding lead in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Kentucky against Secretary of State Trey Grayson. The numbers:

Paul-44%

Grayson-25%

Paul is running 54-18 amongst conservatives and is also  supported by the supposedly toxic Tea Party Movement. The Democrats believe that Rand Paul would be vulnerable as a Senate candidate. No doubt the campaign against him will try to link him to the “right-wing extremist” meme.

I think that’s pretty much played out by now.

There are a couple of somewhat vulnerable  incumbent Republicans according to the national political reports. These are Vitter in Louisiana and Burr in North Carolina. However, both incumbents hold 10-point leads or better over their Democratic rivals.

So, the best chance for Democrats to gain US Senate seats from Republicans is probably in New Hampshire and Ohio. But, Democrats  also have pronounced vulnerabilities in seats held by incumbents.

Democratic Vulnerabilities

Many observers believe that it is possible the Republicans can pick up seats from Democratic incumbents in AR, CO, CT, IL, ND, NV, and PA.

So what are the polls showing?

North Dakota

This is considered a safe seat for  Democrats by most observers. However,  one of the more interesting polls that came out yesterday was one for  a theoretical race for U.S. Senate between US Senator Byron Dorgan (D) and Gov. John Hoeven(R).  It shows that Republican challenger in the lead:

Hoeven (R)-58%

Dorgan (D)-36%

That is a large margin, however, some commentators have suggested that Hoeven may not run for the seat and other GOP challengers would not poll as high. Hoeven said he will announce his intentions soon.

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Pennsylvania

In another very positive development for Republicans, it appears that Pat Toomey is now beating Senator Arlen Specter slightly in Pennsylvania. Although most polls show them running even, if you click the link “all Pennsylvania Data” in the chart below, Toomey has been making steady gains since the summer and now runs almost even with Specter even in the polls where he is behind.

Toomey (R)-40

Specter (D)-40

Polling Data

Poll Date Toomey (R) Specter (D) Spread
RCP Average 10/7 – 12/14 40.5 40.3 Toomey +0.2
Quinnipiac 12/8 – 12/14 44 44 Tie
Rasmussen Reports 12/8 – 12/8 46 42 Toomey +4
Franklin & Marshall 10/20 – 10/25 31 33 Specter +2
Susquehanna 10/7 – 10/12 41 42 Specter +1

See All Pennsylvania Senate – Specter vs. Toomey Polling Data

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Connecticut

Sen. Christopher Dodd is losing ground to Rob Simmons and trails him in all polls, except those conducted by Daily Kos.  Dodd is also losing to, but appears to be stronger against Republican candidate Linda McMahon. Dodd has made up some ground against Simmons, but Simmons has improved his numbers steadily. However, it appears Dodd is in real trouble and there are many in Connecticut  asking if Dodd is electable in 2010.

Pollster Dates Simmons Dodd Other Undecided Not Voting Margin
GQR (D-Dodd) 12/15-17/09 51 46 +5R
Rasmussen 12/7/09 48 35 7 11 +13R
Quinnipiac 11/3-8/09 49 38 11 2 +11R
Quinnipiac 9/10-14/09 44 39 1 15 1 +5R
Rasmussen 9/10/09 49 39 5 6 +10R
DailyKos.com (D)/ Research 2000 9/8-10/09 46 42 12 +4R
Quinnipiac 7/16-20/09 48 39 0 10 2 +9R
Wilson (R-Schiff) 6/24-25/09 47 38 15 +9R
Quinnipiac 5/20-25/09 45 39 2 13 1 +6R
Quinnipiac 3/26-31/09 50 34 2 12 2 +16R
DailyKos.com (D)/ Research 2000 3/23-25/09 40 45 15 +5D
Quinnipiac 3/3-8/09 43 42 1 12 1 +1R

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Nevada

Senator Harry Reid is in trouble. He is losing to both Republican candidates, Tarkanian and Lowden. Although he has made some gains, he has been behind for a long time. Many are saying Reid’s numbers, especially because most Americans oppose the health care bill he shepherded, are unrecoverable. Presently he runs 6 points behind both Republican challengers.

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Colorado and Arkansas

Colorado is too early to call as appointed Senator Bennet will be running in a primary in 2010. The Democratic candidate will then be facing Lt. Gov. Jane Gordon in the general election. And Norton is polling well against Bennett:

Poll Date Sample Norton (R) Bennet (D) Spread
Rasmussen Reports 12/8 – 12/8 500 LV 46 37 Norton +9
Rasmussen Reports 9/15 – 9/15 500 LV 45 36 Norton +9

Arkansas will be competitive, but there is no clear Republican candidate. The incumbent, Blanche Lincoln, has been polling in the low forties. She is vulnerable.

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In another development yesterday,  Rudy Giuliani announced he will not run for higher office in New York. This is disappointing because the polling data shows he is the only candidate that gives Andrew Cuomo any competition for Governor and up until recently, he has been beating  Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand by huge margins for the U.S. Senate. The most recent polls show:

Giuliani (R)-49

Gilibrand(D)-42

She has closed a bit on him as  a poll in November showed:

Giuliani(R) -54

Gilibrand(D)-40

Even though New York is considered a safe seat for Democrats, it is clear that it is not that safe. But, the Republicans are weak in New York and are becoming weaker and have not announced a candidate for U.S. Senate yet. If it is a RINO like Dede Scozzafava, this seat will most likely be gifted to a weak Democratic candidate.

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So what to make of all this?

There are a number of predictions that the Republicans could regain the House in 2010. Many pollsters sympathetic to Democrats have been saying the trends show massive losses for Democrats. In 1994, most pundits did not believe that the Republicans would win a majority in 1994. That year, they needed to win 40 seats but instead won 52.

So, it remains a possibility that the Republicans can take the House.

It will be much harder in the U. S. Senate. Larry Sabato has said that “the Republicans have a chance to become relevant again in the Senate by netting a few seats. There is the possibility that they will do better, retain their incumbent seats and beat all the weak Democrats, which will yield a Senate of 52 Democrats and 48 Republicans.”

That’s probably the best case scenario for the Senate.

So, if the Republicans have a good year, there is a possibility they will be able to begin either slowing down or slowly repealing health care reform and cap-and-trade. However, it will be difficult to get anything done on either front while Obama holds the veto until 2012 and if the House and Senate remain fairly even.

I also think that it is clear the Tea Party Movement is having an effect on things. Republicans will probably do well by not running away from these millions of committed  American voters.

The Left is going to attack the Tea Party Movement regardless of what their actual positions are. It is time for Republicans to get their cajones back  and stand against the Obama-ite,  Soros-funded  mob, and embrace the Tea Party Movement and its ideas.

It appears the Tea Partiers stand ready to run interference against the left-wing mob, but only for candidates willing to stand up for principle. The Tea Party Movement may also be an important resource in coming years if 2010 does not go so well. It will be the center around which a long-term extra-governmental resistance to Big Government may must be organized.

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Success at Copenhagen. Pointing the way to Kyoto II was not a fool’s supper.

December 21, 2009 1 comment

ORIGINAL REPORT from CONSERVATIVE POLICY NEWS

The general narrative that has emerged from the Copenhagen  Climate Change Conference is that it was a failure because no binding agreement on carbon reduction goals was signed. But, despite the predictable assertions by developing and poorer countries, and environmental NGO that the summit was “farcical,” the critique conceals the successful nature of the Accord for climate change activists.

While many of the developing countries did not get the deep emission cuts they sought from the industrialized world, what was agreed to in no way defeats the push for an international policy architecture that advantages developing nations, nor does it curtail the notion that vigorous redistributive efforts, through cap-and-trade, will be employed in the future.

On the contrary, the resulting document, the Copenhagen Accord,  marks the first time that the United States has signed on to the idea that a “climate debt” is somehow owed to developing countries by advanced, industrialized ones. This is a remarkable precedent and probably what Obama meant when he said the Accord was “an important first step” before he left the Conference.

Through the Copenhagen Accord, a goal that would redistribute $100 billion a year by 2020 was agreed to by the developing countries. The U.S., the European Union, and Japan  also agreed to  provide $30 billion in financing to developing countries between 2010 and 2012. In addition the signatories have obligated themselves to  “pursue opportunities to use markets to achieve cost-effective mitigation actions.”  This is an important development for the United States as the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Bill  was passed in U.S. Congress in 2009 and there is a possibility that it may  pass the United States Senate in early 2010. In fact, at least one commentator has suggested that the outcome of the so-called “shameful” Copenhagen Accord could be that it boosts the odds for the U.S. Senate to pass a bipartisan cap-and-trade bill.

The passage of cap-and-trade in the United States would be the beginning of a truly global redistributive scheme, that would effectively take money from the American energy consumer and put it in the hands of foreign governments or foreign investors. With cap-and-trade, American consumers may possibly be taxed (through additional costs) every time they turn up the heat, use their air conditioning, drive a car and take a plane. Though China and India would be the main beneficiaries of this policy, anti-American countries in Latin America, notably Lula Da Silva’s Brazil and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, also stand to benefit from this transfer. Is there any wonder that Chavez railed against the United States and insulted Obama at Copenhagen-he was amongst Marxist friends who believe the West owes them a climate debt.

So, it is important to understand that  the narrative of Copenhagen’s “failure” comes from the Left and is diversionary. For, the Copenhagen Accord was really just a patchwork agreement that was meant to ameliorate and gauge the present political environment on climate change and also supplement treaty provisions before the renegotiation of the Kyoto Protocol that expires at the end of 2012. The outlines of Kyoto II has already been agreed to at the Washington summit in 2007 by the way.

For his part, Obama has been given credit for bringing  China to heel, and this, it is hoped, will also allow him to effectively advocate for passage of cap-and-trade in the U.S. Senate before 2012. But, the much reported spat between the U.S. and China at Copenhagen, was, in fact pure theatre. For one thing, the U.S. and China had already made an agreement in November that essentially mirrors in full the outcome achieved by the Copenhagen Accord. In a joint statement issued by  President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao on November 17 in Beijing, the two leaders agreed on a common approach and a successful outcome in international climate agreements. The joint statement expressly stated:

Regarding the upcoming Copenhagen Conference, both sides agree on the importance of actively furthering the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in accordance with the Bali Action Plan. The United States and China, consistent with their national circumstances, resolve to take significant mitigation actions and recognize the important role that their countries play in promoting a sustainable outcome that will strengthen the world’s ability to combat climate change. The two sides resolve to stand behind these commitments.

In this context both sides believe that, while striving for final legal agreement, an agreed outcome at Copenhagen should, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, include emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries. The outcome should also substantially scale up financial assistance to developing countries, promote technology development, dissemination and transfer, pay particular attention to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt to climate change, promote steps to preserve and enhance forests, and provide for full transparency with respect to the implementation of mitigation measures and provision of financial, technology and capacity building support.

Although we were told that the rift between the U.S. and China was about transparency, it was not a rift at all, but was an expected application of diplomatic pressure by China and other “emerging economies'” ( India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, and Korea) that would enable them  to emit  greenhouse gases and continue as a non-annex I countries well beyond Kyoto II.  Staying in the classification reserved for developing nations, China and the other “emerging economies” understand that they could then continue to grow their industry  while being allowed to apply less stringent reporting on their emissions. While the Copenhagen Accord sets up a framework for these “emerging economies” to report their mitigation efforts to the U.N., it also significant that the three-tiered Kyoto system apparently has remained intact.

Consequently, two significant details in the Accord seem designed to give China and others some wiggle room. Contained in the second annex, it is clearly stated that  emission goals for “developing” countries are voluntary. This means that unlike developing countries who can be punished for over-emitting, developing countries will be allowed to stay in Kyoto II even if they fail to meet their goals.

Second, the langauge in the section concerning reporting and mitigation is weak as it allows “international consultations and analysis,” which would help keep track of whether the country is meeting its goals, but is not really an enforcement provision. There is also an escape clause in the agreement  that provides the international consultations be designed “to ensure that national sovereignty is respected.” If  “domestic imperative”  provisions are carried over to Kyoto II, it is difficult to fathom that there will be any rigid international checks on the carbon emissions of  countries with “emerging economies.”

However, there is another reason why the developing countries see it as beneficial to keep emitting with operational impunity but remain in the Kyoto regime: Carbon credits.

Essentially, China and India stand to make windfall profits if they are allowed to keep their emissions at or close to present levels. This is because those countries are the main beneficiaries of UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).This mechanism was formally created in 1997 by the Kyoto climate treaty and started operation in 1998. It began with 78 million “credits” (or Certified Emission Reductions, CER, as they are formally known) and grew to 333 million this year with a projection of 1.7 billion by the end of 2012.

Additionally, the global carbon market is one of the hottest items in town. In 2004, it was valued at less than $300 million. But in 2005, the trade really started to soar, ending the year with $10.8 billion-worth of transactions. A year later, in 2006, the “carbon” market had grown to $31 billion. In 2007, again it more than doubled its turnover, to $64 billion. Last year, it did it again, reaching a colossal $126 billion. By 2020, some estimates suggest the annual value of the market will reach $2 trillion.

This is why the renegotiation of Kyoto is a major milestone because at that time, there must be considerable will amongst policy-makers to  commit their countries to long-range integration of parts of their national energy economies to a global cap-and-trade system. Although the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme accounts for 73 percent of the market at present, the whole enterprise is underpinned by “project based transactions” comprised mainly of the CDM generated carbon credits.  The better positioned a nation is to benefit from the emerging global carbon market at the end of 2012, the more money they can make through the global carbon trading scheme. And presently, China, India and Brazil are positioned to do that in a big way. The chart below shows what countries own the most carbon credits under CDM:

This also explains why governments and investors from the West are chomping at the bit to establish a functioning system of carbon trading: Untold gobs of money  can be had from the  guilty, browbeaten citizenry of Western nations when prices are increased throughout the system by the taxation and regulation of carbon emissions. If you can pervert the mind of the energy consumer into accepting that they have a “climate debt” you no longer have to guarantee efficient and low-cost energy to them. Instead, if you have a population that believes it does not deserve to be warm in the winter and cool in summer and accepts higher energy prices as they support “development” in poorer countries, you have pulled off the greatest political rip-off of all times.

This is why Christopher Booker has said:

The only really concrete achievement of Copenhagen was to win agreement to the perpetuating of those Kyoto rules that have created this vast industry, which has two main beneficiaries. On one hand are that small number of people in China and India who have learnt how to work this system to their huge advantage. On the other are all those Western entrepreneurs who have piled into what has become the fastest‑growing commodity market in the world…The only tree they were concerned with hugging was the money tree and all the vast political apparatus that now supports it, allowing governments to tax and regulate us into handing over ever more of our money…

What to do about climate change.

December 19, 2009 1 comment

The emerging media  narrative about the results of the Copenhagen Summit is following a predictable path. Because it is so wedded to the idea of Obama becoming the greatest president in the history of the world, the liberal advocacy media (LAME)  will try to conceal the disappointment they feel that no binding agreement on global warming was passed. They will fittingly praise the President for his realism and of course, blame conservatism and the ignorance of the American people for tying his hands politically, thus not allowing him to commit the country to a more far-reaching concordat. Pledges of $100 billion per year to be transferred to Third World kleptocracies isn’t good enough when de-industrialization of the entire Western world is your goal.

People clean snow from globe at Copenhagen global warming climate conference, 12-17-09.

Unfortunately for Americans, the increasingly unpopular Obama will be the President for three more years and because the Left and the LAME are so wedded to writing a colorful hagiography for him already, this alone will probably prevent them from moving out of the cities to create new hunter/gatherer ecotopias -complete with daily drum circles- and prepare for the coming cataclysm. That will probably be unfortunate not only for conservatives, but also for the rest of the world. After all, if they truly believe  the pronouncements coming from the likes of Al Gore and UN General Secretary Ban-Ki-Moon, I can think of no other logical alternative for enlightened progressives.

If the world is truly at a  point-of-no-return crisis of exigency concerning the environment, it would make sense for the deeply committed to develop a plan to, at least, save themselves and do it soon.  Since they are possessed of such incredible precognition and purity of intent the rest of us obviously lack,  they should at least attempt to preserve progressive knowledge for future generations; for God’s sake.

This way we all can be more hopeful that once the rapacious, benighted, conservative citizenry commits suicide by energy gluttony and destroys civilization, humanity’s future generations- once they emerge from the wasteland- will be able to make  use of progressivism to rebuild. Even if the oafs of the “outworld” manage to fuck up the planet enough so that the progressive sanctuary does not survive, at least someone, somewhere, will have preserved the most important high-minded works ever produced by our civilization. Just imagine, a new world raised from the ashes by utilizing the wisdom contained in Das Kapital, Manufacturing Consent, and Planting Seeds in  Poison Soil:A History of the Weather Underground!

This isn’t that wacky of an idea. Just think about it. Enlightened progressives  could move to somewhere in the world and declare their independence from the capitalist world. Free from the retrograde flippancy of creatures like climate “deniers,”  the sonorous hubris of Rush Limbaugh, and the majority of humanity that doesn’t listen to them, the enlightened progressives could build a true “city on a hill” complete with clean water, genderless marriage, and organic turnips. The superior intelligence of the community, led by an all-female, multi-racial coop board with a rotating chairperson, could build glorious new green technology that will not only sustain the community and leave a negligible carbon footprint, but also protect it from the growing barbarity, decay, and fascism of the petroleum gulping “outworld.”

The perfect human being.

Because carbon producing activities effect the entire global eco-system many enlightened progressives may resist this project at first. After all, they have been selflesly dedicating their efforts to the political scientific indoctrination re-education of the uninformed and perplexed, and they are having success. No one can tell when the tipping point for acceptance of  socialist revolution free market solutions to climate change may come, when the proverbial twelfth monkey will be born, when critical mass has been reached and the entire world converted.

Yet, the hour is late and the time for deciding has come. Can the enlightened progressives wait any longer and risk being extinguished (along with warming denying fools) by raging torrents flowing uncontrollably from melting glaciers, massive, unstoppable tidal waves endemic to rising oceans, or starving polar bears rushing southward to escape the doomed arctic that was once their homeland?

If progressives stay and fight for everyone, think of the loss to the world!

There will be no one left to preserve the accumulated wisdom of the ages. No one left to pronounce the essential truths of progressivism. No one left to analyze the situation as succinctly and resplendent as humanists like Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela did at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Reportedly his speech was met with the most resounding approval and thunderous applause of the entire two weeks of summitry. Listen:

Let’s not change the climate. Let’s change the system! And as a consequence, we will begin to save the planet. Capitalism is a destructive development model that is putting an end to life, that threatens to put a definitive end to the human species.”

One could say, Mr. President, that a spectre is haunting Copenhagen, to paraphrase Karl Marx, the great Karl Marx, a spectre is haunting the streets of Copenhagen, and I think that spectre walks silently through this room, walking around among us, through the halls, out below, it rises, this spectre is a terrible spectre almost nobody wants to mention it: Capitalism is the spectre, almost nobody wants to mention it.

Let’s talk about the cause, let’s not evade responsibilities, and let’s not evade the depth of this problem. The cause, undoubtedly, I return to the theme of this whole disastrous panorama, is the destructive metabolic system of capital and its embodied model: Capitalism.

Socialism, the other spectre Karl Marx spoke about, which walks here too, rather it is like a counter-spectre. Socialism, this is the direction, this is the path to save the planet, I don’t have the least doubt. Capitalism is the road to hell, to the destruction of the world. We say this from Venezuela, which because of socialism faces threats from the U.S. Empire.

If the destructive nature of capitalism opposes us, let’s fight against it and make it obey us, let’s not wait idly by for the death of humanity.History calls on us to unite and to fight.

If capitalism resists, we are obliged to take up a battle against capitalism and open the way for the salvation of the human species. It’s up to us, raising the banners of Christ, Mohammed, equality, love, justice, humanity, the true and most profound humanism. If we don’t do it, the most wonderful creation of the universe, the human being, will disappear, it will disappear.

So, progressives, I implore you, by saving yourselves you are saving humanity.  Crisis is upon us and it requires the commitment of  really, really intelligent people to take brilliant action.  Please, take the advice of your brother Hugo Chavez and do what he has done; separate yourselves from capitalism, build your own society far from the conservative horde, and create the utopia of your dreams somewhere (preferably) outside the really evil United States.

In just a few short years, Hugo Chavez has turned Venezuela into a country of your most naughty progressive dreams. He has destroyed the independence of the Venezuelan judiciary, he has prevented duly elected officials in Venezuela from taking office, he has suppressed the freedom of speeech,   he has all but endorsed anti-semitism in the Venezuelan government, and he has embraced other renowned enlightened progressives to his professed cause of saving humanity.

If you are having doubts about the potential for your new community do not. Your brother, Hugo Chavez, has also shown you the way to developing your own green paradise. Being in control of vast oil, natural gas, and hydroelectric energy in Venezuela has not tempted brother Chavez from the goal of green paradise. Thanks to the policies which he controls, blackouts and water shortages have become so frequent in Venezuela, the great liberator himself has had to take drastic measures and recommended that people take “3-minute showers, lose weight and buy generators.”

Good, solid green advice.

Blackouts in Venezuela

Although the less energy the better, some capitalists have made the Venezuelan energy crisis a big deal. According to them, as Venezuela becomes more socialist, it becomes more difficult to to extract the energy the people need. The New York Times says,  “a combination of negligence and poor planning” has been the cause of new electricity plants fueled by natural gas “to remain completely or partly idle.” It also has reported that  “nationalization effectively halted renewable-energy projects” and “is the reason renewable energy remains negligible in Venezuela, despite its vast potential.”

To hell with such criticism. The time for action is now. The world awaits the enlightened progressives to begin plowing the way to the future. While the rest of us burn and starve due to our skepticism about global warming and socialism, it is my sincerest wish that you, enlightened progressives, join with your brother Hugo Chavez and his friends, to develop the architecture of the sustainable planet.

I just hope  you can find a place far from the United States so you are allowed to do your best work and are not troubled by inconvenient things like open debate.

Brother Chavez can help you with that too.

I wish you the best. Goodbye, and good luck!