Witch’s Will For A November Morning
If – Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
My Pick Of The Litter Today
On Tyranny and Liberty
by Myron Magnet
A U.S. Supreme Court justice recounted over cocktails a while ago his travails with his hometown zoning board. He wanted to build an addition onto his house, containing what the plans described as a home office, but he met truculent and lengthy resistance. This is a residential area, a zoning official blustered—no businesses allowed. The judge mildly explained that he would not be running a business from the new room; he would be using it as a study. Well, challenged the suspicious official, what business are you in? I work for the government, the justice replied. Okay, the official finally conceded—grudgingly, as if conferring an immense and special discretionary favor; we’ll let it go by this time. But, he snapped in conclusion, don’t ever expletive-deleted with us again.
Isn’t that sort of petty tyranny? I asked.
Yes, the justice replied; there’s a lot of it going around.
Tyranny isn’t a word you hear often, certainly not in conversations about the First World. But as American voters mull over the election campaign now under way, they’re more than usually inclined to ponder first principles and ask what kind of country the Founding Fathers envisioned. As voters’ frequent invocations of the Boston Tea Party recall, the Founding began with a negation, a statement of what the colonists didn’t want. They didn’t want tyranny: by which they meant, not a blood-dripping, rack-and-gridiron Inquisition, but merely taxation without representation—and they went to war against it. “The Parliament of Great Britain,” George Washington wrote a friend as he moved toward taking up arms several months after the Tea Party, “hath no more Right to put their hands into my Pocket without my consent, than I have to put my hands into your’s, for money.”
With independence won, the Founders struggled to create a “free government,” fully understanding the novelty and difficulty of that oxymoronic task. James Madison laid out the problem in Federalist 51. “Because men are not angels,” he explained, they need government to prevent them, by force when necessary, from invading the lives, property, and liberty of their fellow citizens. But the same non-angelic human nature that makes us need government to protect liberty and property, he observed, can lead the men who wield government’s coercive machinery to use it tyrannically—even in a democracy, where a popularly elected majority can gang up to deprive other citizens of fundamental rights that their Creator gave them. In writing the Constitution, Madison and his fellow Framers sought to build a government strong enough to do its essential tasks well, without degenerating into what Continental Congress president Richard Henry Lee termed an “elective despotism.” It’s to ward off tyranny that the Constitution strictly limits and defines the central government’s powers, and splits up its power into several branches and among many officers, all jealously watching one another to prevent abuse.
When we ask how our current political state of affairs measures up to the Founders’ standard, we usually find ourselves discussing whether a given law or program is constitutional, and soon enough get tangled in precedents and lawyerly rigmarole. But let’s frame the question a little differently: How far does present-day America meet the Founders’ ideal of free government, protecting individual liberty while avoiding what they considered tyranny? A few specific examples will serve as a gauge.
Stories/Articles You Might Find Interesting – or not
Game Show Government
Democrats advocate Game Show Government. “Vote for us, and we’ll give away cash and prizes. We’ll send you a check!” On the other side, certain hardcore Republicans say, “Vote for us, and we’ll cut your cash and prizes to the bone! No more checks for you!”
In a poll released Nov. 7, 2011, Gallup reports that 42% of Americans call themselves conservative, while 21% say they’re liberal. What about the rest? 37% identify themselves as moderates.
Who are the 37%? Hint: they don’t belong to the Tea Party. They’re not in the Occupy Wall Street movement. But they are the most powerful constituency in America. They decide elections. Conservatives overlook or scare them, to their own electoral peril.
The most important poll comes out of the voting booth. We are a deeply divided nation, even when the elections are about small districts, as many were in 2011. Despite Reagan’s oratory gifts, his gobs of charisma, and his pleasant smile, he was never able to bring both the House and Senate into his party. He still had to work with a divided legislature, making many compromises. Bush Sr. had to work with a Democratic-controlled Congress during his four years. Clinton was elected in 1992, and he and the Democrats controlled all of D.C., but the Republicans took over the House and Senate in 1994, where they remained until the end of his second term. He too had to compromise, which did the country good.
Something To Think About
A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.
Dem: Members shouldn’t act like Vultures in looking to succeed Barney Frank
A top ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee chastised maneuvers to replace Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) as the top Democrat on the panel as “circling a carcass like vultures.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), the fourth-ranking Democrat on the committee, said in a terse statement Tuesday that lawmakers should be focused more on helping people, not moving up the committee food chain.
“We should put the needs of the U.S. people before any speculation on whose political career will be moving forward or back just because a great Congressman has announced his retirement,” he said.
I seldom agree with Rep. Luis Gutierrez about anything. On this, I do.
Are You An Adult Or A Child
If, like the hero of Rafael Sabatini’s wonderful adventure novel Scaramouche, you were “born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad,” you no doubt guffawed as I did at the CBS News show 60 Minutes‘ reaction to the failure of the mis-named super-committee. Those twelve stout-hearted congressional heroes were assigned the task of cutting 1.2 trillion dollars out of a 44 trillion dollar deficit over the course of ten years — so minuscule a drop in so vast a bucket that it wouldn’t even have gone plink when it hit the bottom. And they couldn’t do it — couldn’t do even so little as that.
In the wake of such abject failure, 60 Minutes might have noted that President Obama — who has increased the debt more rapidly than any other president — showed precisely zero leadership during the committee negotiations. He demagogued the issue in public while leaving committee members without support or guidance behind the scenes. The news show might also have pointed out that committee Democrats rejected offers from Republicans that would have given them some of the increased tax revenue they so desperately crave.
But no, of course not. Instead 60 Minutes rushed into the fray with a profile of anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, whom “many” (translation: the Democrats at CBS News) blame for scuttling the process. Well, for uproarious predictability and silliness, it was good for a spit-take anyway. As for the truth of the matter, the mighty Krauthammer has it here.
And it seems to me that in order to know where you stand on that question, you need to answer another question first: Are you an adult or a child?
No, really. If you are a child, then the government might seem to you like a parent. It needs to be big and strong in order to take care of you and pay for all your needs and emergencies. If you are an adult, you might view the government more like one of your offspring: someone who has a limited number of chores to do and should be given a small allowance by way of payment for those chores.
If you are an adult, you know freedom entails responsibility. You expect to be able to make whatever choices you deem proper, as long as they don’t directly injure anyone else, but if you choose poorly, you understand you have to suffer the consequences. Even if you find yourself in need, you want others to help you in freely chosen charity, not by force.
A child, on the other hand, wants total freedom — and then comes crying to Mommy when it gets him in trouble. He wants to drive the car, but wants Daddy to pay for the body work. He wants to have whatever sort of sex tickles him, but expects the ‘rents to pick up the bill for his diseases and abortions. A child is always either strutting about demanding his rights, or sobbing pitifully for help and comfort. (See, for example, the folks at the Occupy rallies, boldly breaking the law and then shrieking about being arrested.)
An adult can make do with courage, family, friends and neighbors. A child requires an all-powerful caretaker.
So… should we cut spending or raise taxes? Well, are we adults or children? Figure out the answer to the second question, and you’ll know the answer to the first.
Yesterday, I wrote a post on the newly-released “ClimateGate II” emails, which included a number of messages from former New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin. Most of Revkin’s emails were typical, unobjectionable conversations with scientific sources. But some of them included disparaging remarks about climate change skeptics, and supportive comments that seemed to indicate – in my opinion – that Revkin saw himself on the same “team” as the climate scientists.
All reporters interact with sources differently, and none of the individual messages Revkin messages sent were blatantly outside the bounds of ethics. But the combination of them, along with his decision to not publish the 2009 ClimateGate emails, seemed problematic. I also felt that his coverage of ClimateGate downplayed the story, focusing more on the fallout of the scandal than on the actual content of the emails.
Unsurprisingly, Revkin disagrees, and he asked for a chance to respond. Here’s my email exchange with him (my questions and comments to him are highlighted in bold):
In some of the emails, you wrote disparagingly of climate change skeptics. You wrote that Inhofe “still speaks to and for a big chunk of America — people whose understanding of science and engagement with such issues is so slight that they happily sit in pre-conceived positions.” And you wrote that “the ‘Average Joe’ out there is only hearing radio soundbites about the sun turning off, or cable-news coverage or some stray TV image of snow in Baghdad.”
There are ill-informed people at both edges of the spectrum on climate science and policy, and influential people in the debate who tend to rely on caricatures to suit our soundbite culture. This particular e-mail was about an influential subset at one end (those who tend to bundle a big, rich body of science on greenhouse warming into a simple basket called “hoax”). I know from the careful wording of his speeches that Inhofe is mainly rejecting evidence pointing to “catastrophic” human-caused warming, but I don’t see him being quick to point out that he doesn’t dispute the basic reality that greenhouse gases keep Earth warm and more will make things warmer. That’s a starting point for discussing the need for, and nature of, any response.
Someone could easily sift my e-mails and find some in which I’ve spoken disparagingly of climate scientists and campaigners pushing a scientifically unsupported case for greenhouse action, as well. Of course that wouldn’t serve the interests of the person behind the email release called FOIA2011.
At the time, did you think that people who didn’t agree with the AGW theory were uneducated, or were being fed lies by irresponsible media outlets? And did you think that someone could be a global warming “denier” if he was also an educated, sincere person?
On AGW (anthropogenic global warming) Theory: Here, you’re making the mistake I allude to above in discussing Sen. Inhofe — lumping “AGW theory” (which even Michael Crichton did not dispute) with the range of views (some supported, some not) on whether the case has been made for dangerous human-driven climate change. That’s a very different question, and one laden with values judgments. A first step in having any kind of informed discussion of climate science and policy has to start with that delineation. I’ve even come up with a visual aid to help.
On bad media: There’s been plenty of misinformation and/or disinformation on climate disseminated by media over the years — much of it related to the AGW point above (conflating all climate science with flawed examples, or mashing up meanings). One case in point was George Will’s coverage of polar climate issues. Another was Time Magazine’s “Be Worried, Be Very Worried“ cover story.
On the word “denier” and sincerity: There are plenty of sincere, highly educated critics of some climate science and scientists. Words like denier and skeptic have been greatly abused in the climate fight for far too long — often as a catch-all. I’ve long pointed out that there is a dizzyingly wide spectrum of attitudes, some informed, some not, on the amorphous thing called global warming. I’ve also noted that there has been plenty of denial to go around — noting that I was in denial for a long time, presuming that more communication of climate findings could matter.
In another email you wrote, “the only discourse now is among folks who believe human-forced climate change is a huge problem…the ‘hotter’ voices are doing their job well. I’m doing mine.” From the context and the linked article, I take this to mean that your “job” was to inform the public that the only respectable discussions on climate change were going on between the “reasonable” AGW believers (you, in this case), and the extreme AGW believers – cutting out the skeptics completely. Is that what you were trying to say, or can you clarify?
I find it hard to draw the same conclusion in looking at my coverage, which has long included the voices of researchers challenging the predominant line of thinking on climate science, among them Roger Pielke Sr., Richard Lindzen, who was quoted in the 2006 article you read, John Christy, Ivar Giaever (Nobelist who rejects the science pointing to dangerous greenhouse warming) and others.
Did your decision to not publish the emails have anything to do with your involvement on the email list, and your relationship with the scientists? You seemed to have a friendship with some of them, and agree on the issues – did this play a role in your coverage of ClimateGate?
The simple answer is no. First of all, I noted from the start that I was mentioned in some of the emails. The 2009 batch was there for anyone to sift for meaning from the get-go.
As has been written about extensively (see Steve McIntyre’s post on the hypocrisy of the Times), the decision on publishing the emails directly in the paper was not made by me, but by Times lawyers. This was made clear in a big addendum to my original coverage back on 11/29/09.
Obama’s political goals bad for us all
The long struggle over the national debt, the deficit, taxes and spending reflects the reality of our divided politics, and nothing much is likely to change until next year’s elections. That’s the message of last week’s failure of the so-called supercommittee of Congress to produce a deficit-reducing blueprint.
The problem is that the last two elections — the 2008 presidential contest and the 2010 congressional balloting — delivered sharply opposed mandates to the capital.
President Barack Obama emerged from 2008 with what he saw as a mission to transform America, expand federal entitlements with a new health care law and, above all, make the country a fairer place by having government “spread the wealth around.”
To Republicans and conservatives, that understandably sounded like the income redistributive model of European welfare states.
The problem for Obama is that a radical spread-the-wealth agenda wasn’t why voters elected him. Weary of the George W. Bush years and his wars, they turned to a man with so little experience that they could project their own aspirations on his campaign. Voters wanted someone to fix the collapsing economy and find a way to elevate Washington policy-making above the petty nature of hyper-partisan politics.
But it soon became obvious that Obama placed priority on transformation, as in passing Obamacare, above a laser focus on the economy. And he had little interest in working with Republicans, outsourcing legislation-writing to ultra-liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and their huge Democratic majorities. When Republicans sought to influence legislation, Obama reminded them that “I won” the election.
Revulsion — and that’s not too strong a word — among Republicans, conservatives and center-right independents over the aggressive Obama agenda fueled the 2010 election that swept the GOP into control of the House.
The problem for Republicans is that they run only one-half of one branch of government.
Furthermore, Obama and Democrats believed the 2010 voting was a cry of pain about the nation’s high unemployment rate, not a protest of their big-spending, big-government platform.
All that added up to gridlock.
What’s Going On In The World?
The Nuclear News That Wasn’t
Imploding Europe, nuclear Iran, American cities under ‘Occupation’ the end of the NBA lockout – whatever it is we think of as defining the world in the last week of the second-to-last month of 2011, it’s clear what won’t make the cut: This won’t be remembered as the week Russia threatened Europe with nuclear missiles.
And yet, that’s just what happened. In a blast from the Cold War past, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated that if the U.S. and its NATO allies proceed with plans for a regional missile defense system, Russia will put the European anti-missile installations in its nuclear cross-hairs.
What’s astonishing is what didn’t happen next. Aside from a bit of pro-forma push back from U.S. government spokesmen, Medvedev’s missile-flexing was met with a collective shrug. A young U.S. president didn’t channel his inner-JFK to put the nation on alert as he talked Russia back from the brink to an uneasy peace. The Atomic Scientists didn’t reach out to tick forward the nuclear Doomsday Clock to 5 Minutes to Midnight.
Image of the day from the animal kingdom:
That’s what I call a soft landing!
Holder lashes out a Daily Caller reporter
Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder today demanded The Daily Caller stop publishing articles about the growing calls in Congress for his resignation because of the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program.
As Holder’s aide was escorting the attorney general offstage following his remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House, a Daily Caller reporter introduced himself and shook Holder’s hand. The reporter asked him for a response to the growing chorus of federal legislators demanding his resignation.
Holder stepped towards the exit, then turned around, stepped back toward the reporter, and sternly said, “You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”
Holder then walked offstage without answering TheDC’s request for comment about calls for his resignation.
Republicans opinions on Cain show wide gender gap
Men much more positive than women toward Cain
PRINCETON, NJ — Republican men view GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain much more positively than do Republican women. Fifty-eight percent of Republican men have a favorable view of Cain and 26% an unfavorable view, for a net favorable rating of +32. Among Republican women, 42% view Cain favorably and 34% unfavorably, for a net favorable of +8
70% prefer Merry Christmas over Happy Holidays on store signs
Holiday shoppers, as they have for several years, would prefer to be greeted with signs reading “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” this season.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 70% prefer that stores use signs that say “Merry Christmas.”
Gingrich tells protesters to take a bath, get a job – 43% agree
Rising Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich made news recently when he suggested that the Occupy Wall Street protesters should stop protesting and get jobs after taking a bath. Voters are evenly divided over whether that’s a good idea.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with the former House speaker and think the protesters should take baths and get jobs. But an identical number (43%) disagree, and 14% more are undecided.
Quote For Today:
In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.
~ Oscar Wilde