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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Good Reads

Pedro The Quietist has an excellent post up about leftist adoration of Chavez. It includes topics such as "revolutionary tourists". Pedro writes:
What I can't understand is that Latin America is full of perfectly wonderful, sincere, and (most importantly) democratic left-leaning leaders. Why in the world do self-righteous leftist gringos feel the need to hail Chavez as their champion?
He gives examples, and ends:
I am very confused as to why pampered Western "dissidents" always have to support the most vicious, the creepiest, the least democratic. Hugo Chavez is an absolute disaster, even by leftist standards. What is it? Why focus on him as the champion?

It doesn't have anything to do with his demagogic anti-Americanism, does it?
Hmm. Do ya think?

This is also funny, but sort of scary. It's about a federal sting to catch appraisers who are not exactly objective, but are certainly making good money:
Przybylek arranged for Espe to give a bogus appraisal, the affidavit said. Przybylek also allegedly recruited a buyer who obtained a $257,800 mortgage.

The plan was for the buyer to make a couple of payments, then disappear and leave the mortgage in default, authorities said. The buyer was not identified in court documents.

In November, Espe met the undercover Secret Service agent at the house. Espe said his job was to "play with the paperwork," the affidavit said. He appraised the property at $257,800 in March, saying the house had "new electrical, plumbing was upgraded," and the hardwood floors were refinished.

The undercover Secret Service agent inspected the house and discovered new windows and new siding. But no other work was done, including the electrical upgrades, plumbing and floor restoration mentioned in the appraisal, the affidavit said.
Aw, gee. Picking on people for little details like fraud? Care to guess how often this happens?

The Anchoress reviews Bush's administration and asks some very, very good questions:
Ever stop to think maybe the president feels his base has abandoned him, that uncontent with 75%, they’ve simply moved beyond reason? Ever stop to think that while you’re calling the president every despicable name in the book and demanding his fealty or you’ll “teach him a lesson,” that perhaps there is a lesson you need to learn? That a good man, disinterested in merely laughing or crying for the camera for 8 years and looking to do a difficult job in the face of unprecedented hate, unprecedent speed of communication, unprecedented global instability, unprecedented backstabbing from within his own CIA, deserves some loyalty and the benefit of a doubt as he tries to bring you the 75% you so callously spit back at him as insufficient?
I still think George Bush has been a great president in extraordinarily difficult times. Americans have gotten spoiled in my opinion - they want success and results, but don't consider the possibilities. Bush tries to diminish problems which he found as he came into office; Bush tries to address the problems no one else will; Bush tries to present fair and workable solutions. The Miers nomination? That was an attempt at getting a nominee to pass through a Senate when Republicans let Bush know that they didn't want a known conservative. The outcry by the base forced the Senate to deal with Alito's nomination.

Some are being childish about the issue of illegal immigration; we have let this go on until it cannot be simply fixed. The "throw them out" crowd won't recognize even the minimum reality that many of these people have children who were born here, and that our economy would be crippled if you just threw them all out. Any proposal must address reality, not some conservative or liberal's fantasy! Anyway, President Bush will not make policy in this area. Congress will. It's time to call your Congressman rather than screaming about Bush. Tell them what you want.

As the Anchoress writes, it is not the President who has changed. It's the voters who have gotten lazy, complacent, self-satisfied and stupid. It's our job to let our representatives and senators know what we want, but don't expect to get it if what you want will hurt the economy badly. A slow and reasonable solution to minimize illegal workers in this country will work. You don't have to like President Bush's suggestions, and I don't like the Senate bill, but you do have to deal with reality. And that reality should be leavened with humanity, for everyone's sake.

Bush should just give a speech and tell us all, "Look, if you ask consistently and firmly, your parents probably will get you a pony for Christmas. But no amount of temper tantrums will deliver a live flying reindeer under the Christmas tree, and that's because they don't exist. And you also won't get a rattlesnake, because it is too risky. Grow up and get real, wouldja?"

And Sigmund, Carl and Alfred have some wise words:
Politics has become more of a bloodsport than ever before. It has become that way because the citizens of this nation are no longer able to deal with dissent and compromise.

The story played in the political arena is played out every single day on the home front. Women- and some men- are beaten, children abused and as a result, families are broken and people are forever scarred. Why? the answer can be found in single word. Control.

People are driven to hate and violence when they realize they cannot control others or their beliefs- without resorting to violence of any kind. In doing so, they highlight the reality that they cannot control themselves. They want what they want, when they want it- and woe unto anyone who gets in the way.
It's a well deserved thwap.

"the most vicious, the creepiest, the least democratic"...I'm afraid that in the eyes of many on the left, those things are features, not bugs (as they say in the software biz)
That is why Pedro felt impelled to comment. But why do they see them as features?
"But why do they see them as features?" That is perhaps the most important question of our time: why do so many people living in more-or-less civilized societies have an attraction to "revolutionary" violence?

Several years ago, I saw a picture of an "anti-war" demonstration in Spain. The demonstrators were all women, holding "no war" signs and pretty near naked, but wearing simulated (I presume) dynamite belts after the manner of suicide bombers.

What immediately came to mind were Leonard Cohen's lines:

I know that you have suffered, lad
But suffer this awhile:
Whatever makes a soldier sad
Will make a killer smile
"That is perhaps the most important question of our time: why do so many people living in more-or-less civilized societies have an attraction to "revolutionary" violence?"

I suppose this is fundamentally a moral and/or character issue.

It's not confined to a positive admiration of violence. A portion of our society seems to set forth the proposition that opposing violence and mass murder is morally wrong.

Perhaps it's a failure to understand games theory. I don't know what kind of understanding of humans and history can support the ideology of these people.
I liked your "live flying reindeer" speech so much I used it as the title of my post today.
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