On Monday I noted Vaclav Havel’s death; there was an interesting article on Havel at The Guardian by Neil Clark:
No one questions that Havel, who went to prison twice, was a brave man who had the courage to stand up for his views. Yet the question which needs to be asked is whether his political campaigning made his country, and the world, a better place.
Havel’s anti-communist critique contained little if any acknowledgement of the positive achievements of the regimes of eastern Europe in the fields of employment, welfare provision, education and women’s rights. Or the fact that communism, for all its faults, was still a system which put the economic needs of the majority first.
Those “faults” include the state murder of tens of millions.
Never forget that the free world is full of people who thought and still think that communism was a great thing. Now, an entire generation has come of voting age with no historical memory of the atrocities that occurred in Eastern Europe. If people are not taught what happened, its proponents will try to first whitewash the past, and then expand Communism once more.
The Occupiers are a great example of this lack of memory and historical awareness. Jay Nordlinger discusses their ignorance:
In southern Manhattan, the “Occupy” crowd tried to squat on private property, and were arrested. One of the occupier-squatters was quoted as saying, “We’re just trying to say that this country has gone in the wrong direction, and we need spaces that we can control and we can decide our future in, and that’s what this is about.”
Haven’t Communists talked like this, more or less, for generations? Is that too McCarthyite for you? Or just true?
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Even more amazing is this video of an Occupod objecting to a nativity scene at Christmas:
This is what you might call “irony overload.” It comes to us via the crew at Misfit Politics, who are simply awesome.
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And it’s not just the Occupiers who think some public protests are more equal than others, as Michael Graham points out:
LYNN — First police charged his brother for assaulting a thief allegedly breaking into his truck.
Now Ken McKay Jr., of Swampscott says police told him he risks being arrested and up to a $5,000 fine and or a year in prison for supporting his brother by holding a protest outside Lynn District Court.
How, in the era of the Occupod, does someone get arrested for standing around outside a courthouse for a few hours holding a sign? If those repugnant weirdos at Westboro Baptist can interrupt the funerals of American heroes, why can’t I stand outside the courthouse and complain about the political prosecution of a guy whose only “crime” was defending his home and property from an armed drug dealing thief?
I suspect that story won’t get much press.
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Right Wing Granny tells us that once she retires, she’s leaving Massachusetts for tax reasons. If you’re young, I wouldn’t suggest waiting until retirement.
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Here is a story that won’t get much press either:
Over the last two calendar years, NEA has lost almost 139,000 total members, and more than 169,000 total members over the last three years. Since its ranks of retired members have been growing during that span, it understates the union’s losses among working education employees.
While NEA has instituted extraordinary measures to bring its budget in line with reduced revenues, the membership losses will require an additional $9.5 million in cuts at the national office.
Don’t worry, NEA members: That extra $10 in dues that could be going to your pension will instead make its way to democratic pols all across the nation, though perhaps it would be better spent helping the top third of California public-school students with remedial English and math:
The remedial numbers are staggering, given that the Cal State system admits only freshmen who graduated in the top one-third of their high-school class. About 27,300 freshmen in the 2010 entering class of about 42,700 needed remedial work in math, English or both.”
As Glenn Reynolds points out: “And yet California spends a fortune on schools and pays its (unionized) teachers very well.”
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I never expected much from—or paid attention to—Polifact, a site run by The St. Petersburg Times. It has a mixed record on accuracy, and it tends to lean left—so when its staffers announced their “Lie of the Year,” I was flabbergasted:
Lie of the Year 2011: ‘Republicans voted to end Medicare’
PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated “False” or “Pants on Fire,” most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.
Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.
The only people who are emotionally invested in PolitiFact tend to fall into two categories. First, there are zealots so wild-eyed that their ideology is Truth, with no “fact” outside their belief system. Paul Krugman personifies this type, right down to his non-falsifiable belief in the gospel of Keynes. Second, there are the partisan hacks who are only interested in “fact” as a political convenience. Greg Sargent, who manages to make Bob Shrum look like a cross between Socrates and Hamlet, personifies this type even better than Steve Benen, which is undoubtedly why the WaPo hired Sargent. Ironically, it’s the sharper ideologues who are interested in acknowledging a difference between fact and opinion. PolitiFact is to be thanked for exposing this, if for nothing else.
That is the single best thing about this: the likes of Steve (“Credibility Killing”) Benen, Paul (“Politfact RIP”) Krugman, and Greg (“I had lunch with the president but I’m really an unbiased Journalist”) Sargent will have a lot of trouble re-using this club in the future.
The folks at Politfact might have been shocked to discover that only radical Islam is tougher on religious apostates than Liberalism—but they should not fear. As the election gets closer and the left decides they need them, they will be forgiven, just as long as they provide fodder for the left-wing blogs.
Last thought on the subject: Morning Joe uses the Politfact guys on a semi-regular basis, but I didn’t see them on this week. I wonder why?
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The big news over the past week has been the payroll tax cut. Word has just come that the house caved on the issue, even though the argument they needed to make was so simple I could make it with a cheap camera and sixty seconds at the mall.
I’d be willing to have that fight every day of the week, and twice on Sundays.
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Did anyone else notice that while the MSM was pushing the house to pass the Senate bill it was “Bipartisan,” and the people quoted were folks like John McCain and Scott Brown—but now that it has passed, the only people given credit for the tax cut are Obama and the Democrats?
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A friend has made me aware of a third worthy choice; it’s called Healing the Unseen Wound. Here is the mission statement:
To provide recently separated combat veterans with a carefully managed and long term program that will help them develop the professional, psychological and inter-personal skills needed to succeed in civilian life. During their period of engagement with Healing The Unseen Wound qualified veterans will receive skills training in recognized civilian trades, opportunities to serve in community service projects, sustained esprit de corps with their fellow veterans and accredited PTSD/Trauma support to address their mental health concerns.
Smitty, who is back from a year in Afghanistan, has this to say about the group:
Even before going to the ’Stan, I had an office mate who, as a Marine Corps Reservist, was yanked out of college and sent overseas in a mortuary affairs unit. His PTSD symptoms from picking up the pieces played out in serious obsessive-compulsive disorder. He spent time re-arranging and cleaning things, as though removing tiny bits of entropy from the universe could make it all right. It wound up wrecking his marriage.
This is a group that does good work. Consider giving them a hand so they can give a hand to our vets.
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Finally a Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy Hanukkah—or Festivus, or even Kwanzaa to those who celebrate these holidays. And if you don’t celebrate anything at all, have a nice day!