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Tag Archive: Nancy Pelosi

Free Speech and the Peaceful Public Order

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 (11:19 pm), by John W Gillis


I arrived home from my sister Mary’s funeral Saturday evening, and saw that Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several other people had been shot during some kind of meet-and-greet in her congressional district. I’d never heard of Giffords, but was discouraged that such a thing would happen – it’s hard enough just given our political process to get good people to run for public office, and it was of course a terrible tragedy for the people involved. It seemed to me that it had been a long time since something like that had happened.

As I read the AP story published on Boston.com, I began to get increasingly uncomfortable as the report progressively shifted from providing information about the tragedy and background on the people involved, to inserting accusatory innuendo aimed at various opponents of the Democrat Party and overall leftist political agenda: repeatedly finding a way to mention Sarah Palin by name in a setting suggestive of her being a menace to the lives of her political opponents; dredging up a reminder of a man who once threatened Nancy Pelosi over the telephone; dropping in a reference about a mad gunman from California the article tied to “conservatives” while simultaneously reporting that he wanted to “start a revolution” (note to moronic left-wing journalists: conservatives, by definition, are anti-revolutionary); pointing out that Giffords’ TEA Party-backed Republican opponent this past fall had fired a gun at a rally during the campaign; and suggesting in less-than-subtle language that this tragedy should be interpreted as the culminating denouement of “a highly charged political environment” that had hitherto not “reached the point of actual violence.”

I was, needless to say, dripping with disgust at the sleaziness of the journalism by the time I finished the story. Even the sketchy details in the earliest stories were enough to make it obvious that this was the handiwork of a deranged idiot, not an attempted political assassination. But the willingness of the leftist journalist class (and I quickly discerned that several other “mainstream” propaganda channels had picked up essentially the same meme) to immediately exploit the tragedy as an opportunity to try to score political points was just truly revealing – and infuriating.

Over the next several days, as we all know, we have seen an avalanche of contemptible opportunism from the leftists, as they’ve tried not only to pin the blame for the violence on the usual opposition scapegoats (Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, talk radio in general…), but have taken to self-reporting a mysterious hubbub of “concern” over “inflammatory political rhetoric:” an ailment that quite obviously knows no medicine except the silencing of such opposition.

And this new ethic of “civility” is being trumpeted by even some of the most screwball partisans in the leftist media! Even Keith Olbermann is in on the act! Keith Olbermann! This is the man who, on his April 23rd, 2008 “Countdown” show, back when Hilary Clinton was an opponent to Barack Obama for the Democrat nomination for U.S. President, and therefore a legitimate target for leftist bile under the ethics of the revolutionary order, wished on the air for “somebody who can take her into a room, and only he comes out," this on account of the "negativity, for which she is mostly responsible."

Negativity? Gee, sound familiar? This despicable clown all but called for someone to snuff Clinton out in order to save the narrative of the left’s favorite candidate from criticism, and the other left-wing loonies in the so-called “mainstream media” largely yawned and looked the other way. Three years later, he’s in the vanguard of a reactionary assault force intent on suppressing criticism of the leftist agenda by exploiting a personal and national tragedy to call for political speech censorship – or “an end to inflammatory rhetoric.” Priceless. You couldn’t sell fiction this corny.

The history of the leftists, from the Jacobins to the Bolsheviks to the Olbermanns, routinely resorts to characterizing criticism as “extremism” or “reactionaryism” in an attempt to marginalize and suppress it – a useful tactic when you can’t win the intellectual battle, and are stuck trying to sell a bagful of lies. Not only is this chicanery in and of itself, but in the American context, it is thoroughly disrespectful of the reality of what this country has managed to nurture as its political life.

Admittedly, being called a racist, or some other clever form of ”hater,” simply for opposing a puerile and idiotic political agenda, is frustrating (not to mention mendacious on the part of the accusers). On the other hand, for some reason, left-leaning people in this country resent being called socialists simply for trying to advance socialist ideas. And for some other reason, libertarians often want to be called conservatives, even though about the only thing they want to conserve is their bankrolls (and, I suppose, the U.S. Constitution, which is ironically an archetypical document of liberalism).

So while, yes, there are fissures in the political fabric of our society, they are fissures that run only from philosophy to rhetoric – and branding, or marketing. Political violence in the U.S. is virtually unheard of – unlike so many places in the world. Why is the media fixating on the Giffords shooting while giving short attention to those who died in the shooting – including a U.S. District Court Justice and a nine year-old? It may very well be in part because Giffords is a Democrat (the judge, on the other hand, was a G.H.W. Bush appointee), therefore facilitating the propagation of the above discussed agitprop, but I suspect is has more to do with the fact that elected officials are so rarely targeted for violence in the U.S. Even looking more broadly, I can’t recall any political violence in the U.S. in about 40 years, save a couple of abortionists who were assassinated in retribution for their death-dealing. People like Hinckley (and Loughner) are  lunatics, not partisans.

The idea of “overheated political rhetoric” fomenting violence in the USA is absurd – and worse than absurd: it is a dangerous threat to the country’s ability to retain the relatively peaceful political climate we enjoy. The left would like to suppress dissent, but that cannot be allowed to happen. The liberals who formed this country were so much wiser than their unfortunate French cousins precisely because they understood the value of political moderation, and the value of allowing political opposition secure standing.

Some of the people being lambasted by the leftists today for their “inflammatory rhetoric” do indeed go over the top sometimes, and the Ed Schultzes and Keith Olbermanns on the left are even worse; and we’d all be better off if political discourse was always more polite and more thoughtful; but that’s not the important point at all.

Our institution of free speech is crucially important to maintaining not just an environment ripe for good intellectual discourse, but, more importantly, the very requirement of a peaceful public order that is capable of solving its political differences at the ballot box, regardless of how much yelling and screaming precedes it. Only a fool would fail to recognize what a good that political freedom truly is for society.

Slander as Political Fashion

Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009 (11:57 pm), by John W Gillis


Boy, am I growing weary of the political environment. What George W Bush did for for international relations with his “with us or against us” rhetoric, Barack Obama is doing to the political climate within the country with his treatment of political dissent. Of course, nations actually do operate in an environment of mutual belligerence, which is forever flaring up as actual warfare in some corner or another, whereas nations are supposed to operate, internally, with a civility stemming from civitas, but why split hairs?

Perhaps it’s unfair to blame Obama for the whole mess, but then again, it’s not. He’s the unquestioned leader of the ruling left wing in this country, with the power and ability to set the tone, and he sits back and watches the fissure. Whether that’s because of incompetence, or because he senses political advantage in it, I’ll let the reader judge – we’ll assume he doesn’t enjoy it for its own sake. He may pose as someone seeking unity (show me a politician that doesn’t!), but in the real world, he uses and approves actions and tactics that reveal a very different kind of leader.

So, we have Rep. Joe Wilson being censured by the House for blurting out “You lie!” during an Obama campaign speech before the joint Houses. Can we call it that? Maybe an infomercial? No, he didn’t pay for it. I think “policy address” is the official term – I’m not sure – but whatever it’s called, it was nothing but a powerful man using the bully pulpit available to him to advance his agenda. Nothing wrong with that, but why is it being treated as if it were some kind of sacred religious service?

It’s kind of creepy, really, the way the setting is being portrayed in the public propaganda narrative. I will admit that, for a few seconds, I felt like I was watching British Parliament instead of the U.S. Congress, but the “sacred” halls of American power were built for the rough and tumble of modern liberal politics, not for the circumspect adulation of Divinely appointed royalty that the whole liberal enterprise set out to overthrow. And, like many, I don’t remember a previous occupant of the Pennsylvania Avenue throne whom the public propaganda narrative depicted as deserving of such circumspect adulation. Creepy, I tell you…

But I think what bothers me the most about the whole affair is that Wilson is being accused of introducing incivility into the proceedings. What a load of crap. Undoubtedly, Wilson was absolutely fuming over just having been called a liar in front of both Houses of Congress, on national TV, by the President. Obama set the tone from his pulpit, and Wilson fired back in defiance from the cheap seats. It had been only perhaps 15 seconds before Wilson’s outburst that Obama had accused opponents of his, who included “prominent politicians” (and while speaking to the joint Congress, it’s pretty tough to misconstrue that reference), of lying about the implications of his proposed end-of-life panels of experts: “It is a lie, plain and simple” he stated baldly. Even I was dumbfounded at the time that he would say such a thing, and I’m not even a radio or cable talk show host, nor a prominent politician.

So we see yet again that we reap what we sow. But who is even talking about Obama’s incivility, his tactics of divisiveness and marginalization, or his responsibility for setting the tone of discourse at the level of personal insult? Incredibly, Teflon Barak just accepts Wilson’s apology, and sits back while Wilson gets savaged by Obama’s supporters, even to the point of being slandered as a racist for his outburst. Incredible.

At least there’s people like Scott Harrington over at the Wall Street Journal uncovering the dishonesty of Obama’s characterization of the examples he uses in his demonization of the insurance carriers. All that really seems to matter here to the President is that people’s contempt for, and distrust of, the insurance companies is fed and enforced. President “Hope, Not Fear” is willing to fudge the facts in order to scare people into thinking they need to buy his socialist snake oil to protect them from the ogres of the business world. Disgusting. Disgraceful. And depressing.

Meanwhile, the left wing picks up this theme of the “racist” calumny, which has been, at a minimum, simmering in the pot since the election cycle, and which has ever since been pulled out, time and again, to smear Obama’s opponents, and they bring it to an absolute boil. It’s not just effete TV celebrities and fatuous journalists slinging the slander now, but high-level political leadership among the left wing, including former president Carter, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Hank Johnson, and undoubtedly many more I could find if I wanted to waste my time Googling for the info.

Suddenly, the air is ablaze with insinuations that opposition to Obama’s policies involves “elements of racism.” The verbal trick here is to morph the idea that racists are opposed to Obama into the idea that people who are opposed to Obama are racists. The trick is made all the more clever by feigning subtlety by referring to “elements.” If racists are opposed to Obama, them some of the opposition to Obama is racially motivated, therefore opposition to Obama is at least partially racially motivated. Hence, the implication is clear: If you are opposed to Obama, you are part of the partially racist opposition, and therefore you are (at least) partially racist. Not that opposition to his agenda has anything to do with his person anyway, but there I go splitting hairs again, and getting off-narrative.

This is shameful, of course – and sinful – to be slandering people with the “racist” label as a means of trying to advance a political agenda. This is so regardless of how corrupt the political agenda is: even a noble cause is irreparably defiled by ignoble tactics. But aren’t such tactics the very warp and woof of progressive political argumentation? It angers me – as it is angering an increasing number of people – to be called a racist for being a political dissenter (as I snicker at the thought of what these same snide and cynical folks would have had to say about my support for Alan Keyes’ presidential bid in 2000), but in a sense, it’s just the typical fare that is served up for dissenters from the orthodoxy of progressivism. There’s just an assumption at work that if you reject the progressive orthodoxy, you have bad motives.

It’s not because you think the programs are bad, it’s not because you think you have a better idea, it’s not even because you’re mistaken, it’s because of your bad motives. Hence, if you oppose so-called liberal (socialist, really) policies concerning the welfare of the poor, it’s obviously because you hate the poor. It’s not possible that you think those policies will actually be bad for the poor, you just hate the poor. Case closed. “Hate” is a very important word in the lexicon of the left – it explains just about all dissent. How clever.

But this “racism” game is going to run aground before long. There are too many people seeing through the facile “solutions” of the left – and especially of the salesman-in-chief. That means there are increasing numbers of people who are going to be uneasy – if not outright offended – by the mean-spiritedness of the chimerical “racism” slander, and they’re going to push back.

Suddenly, Nancy Pelosi is fretting about the right wing stirring up a frenzy of violent opposition (shades of “right wing terror threats” in the form of returning Iraq veterans!), but she couldn’t be more wrong. People get violent when they’re angry, and the Rush Limbaughs of the world don’t get people angry (except liberals, that is). What gets people angry – angry enough to fight – is being insulted, having their character and integrity questioned.

Whatever anger is out there on the right is not there because of political activism or talk-radio manipulation, it’s there because these are good people, who are good neighbors, who love their country, and who are fed up with being told they are “haters” of one stripe or another simply because they retain some semblance of conservative moral and/or fiscal values. Nancy Pelosi is too much the stooge of her ideology to see that, but I think Barack Obama is politically astute enough to recognize it. When the violence comes, it won’t come from the right, from those folks “clinging to their guns and religion” who place so much importance on law and right public order, and I think Obama knows that too. What I don’t know is whether or not he thinks he can survive politically without ratcheting down the “hate” speech. I suspect that will depend on what happens over the next few months with his health insurance takeover plan. We shall see.

Is It Enough Yet?

Posted: Thursday, January 29, 2009 (11:50 pm), by John W Gillis


I suppose there are crazy things going on all the time, but there seems to be a concentration of them happening all at once. Every day brings news of more layoffs, and I wonder how many people will be unemployed before the spiral stops – and of course, I wonder if I will be among them. Meanwhile, more and more Ponzi schemes and other financial wrongdoing is being unearthed daily. Stewards of funds are being revealed as thieves, and countless reckless investors are finding out that the investments they gleefully thought were too good to be true, actually were.

The chorus of condemnation and accusations of greed that were trotted out by all the politicians and their media hacks against “Wall Street types” during the campaigns have been inconspicuously replaced by hand wringing over the fate of the “Main Street victims” who in fact acted just like their Wall Street counterparts in an irresponsible quest for a quick and cheap buck. And the government’s response to all this has been to throw “bailout” money at every squeaky wheel with political connections, meaning that the rest of us get to pay for the profligate spending of others, instead of being able to keep our savings. What are the odds that someone will eventually get angry about this?

It might help the cause that the “bailout” plans call for things like nine-figure sums of money for Nancy Pelosi’s “Family Planning” crusade, even if she couldn’t come up with a coherent justification for the outlay if her life depended on it (it saves the states money down the road? Where exactly is the state supposed to get its money if its citizens are being murdered in the womb?). Meanwhile, the anti-child theme is intensified with the President’s putting aside of the Mexico City policy, freeing baby exterminators to push their brutal abortion “solution” around the world with American tax receipts.

American culture has been immoral, in many ways, for a long time, and none of this is really new. But it’s too often too easy to look beyond the day-to-day prevalence of an enabling immorality when the end result is a comfortable living. I wonder if maybe the difficult character of these days might give sufficient moral energy to enough of us, that an adequately forceful cry of “enough already” might actually be raised to a point of carrying some political weight? Could it be that the time is finally ripe for some serious opposition to the status quo to arise?