Thursday, June 28, 2012

In Defeat: Defiance

This is the entry I posted the day after Obamacare passed the House. Unfortunately, it is still appropriate today:

In 1938, Neville Chamberlain, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, betrayed the Czechs to Hitler at Munich, and thereby passed up the best opportunity of stopping the Nazi war machine without a war. When the news reached England, an aging and washed up politician named Winston Churchill talked about getting a group of friends together and throwing a brick through the Prime Minister’s window.

Churchill has been much on my mind since the House of Representatives passed the Health Insurance Takeover last night, and not just because I have an urge to chuck construction materials at certain D.C. residences.

There’s no point in sugar coating. Last night was a disaster. It was the worst defeat for freedom in three decades. But we can draw inspiration from the example of Mr. Churchill when facing a disaster and a threat to freedom that was far worse.

As a result of Chamberlain’s appeasement at Munich, most of Europe lost its freedom during the next two years. On May 10, 1940, the German armies poured into the Netherlands, the collapse of France was imminent, and the Nazis were weeks away from driving British forces off the continent. In Churchill’s words, “The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.” Under those horrific circumstances, compared to which Obamacare is, like a dripping faucet, merely a minor annoyance, Neville Chamberlain resigned and King George asked Winston Churchill to become his new Prime Minister.

And then Churchill rallied his country. In the next several weeks, he gave two of the most famous speeches in the English language.

On June 4 he told the House of Commons, “I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once more able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

"Even though large parts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

And then, on June 18, “Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.’”

Churchill’s oratory was remarkably effective. In the following months, under sometimes nightly bombings, there are stories of the British singing “Roll out the Barrel” and “White Cliffs of Dover” in their air raid shelters. Hitler did not break them in their island, and he lost the war.

Without losing sight of the gravity of the situation and the cost in lives, Churchill not only led his people during dark times, but he had fun doing it. If you go to London today, you can visit Churchill’s own air raid shelter, the underground war rooms built to protect the Cabinet during the Blitz. But it turns out he was rarely there. More likely he was up on the roof, watching the bombs fall. On a visit to America, he recited poetry to Franklin Roosevelt and told jokes to a joint session of Congress ("If my father had been American and my mother British, instead of the other way 'round, I might have got here on my own.")

So yes, last night was disaster. But if we harness the power of oratory and if we never surrender, we will have our finest hour. And let’s have fun doing it. Because you know, those angry people, who never mix humor and politics, tend to be on the other side.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

With apologies to The Honeymooners

Art Carney, White House Press Secretary
Photo sources: CNN, Time, C-SPAN

For those who don't get the reference:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is the Attorney General of the United States conspiring to steal the presidential election?

Attorney General Eric Holder
Photo source: Department of Justice

No, not Eric Holder.

Meet Bill Peterson: Harvard Law graduate, presidential contender, and the nation's top cop in my new novel, Full Asylum. Some people suspect Peterson is up to no good. But check out what he said at his confirmation hearing:

While I was waiting for this hearing to start, I had an opportunity to study the Seal of the Senate on the wall behind you. At the center is the American flag. Above is a red cap, like the ones that were worn during the French Revolution. The red cap, also called the Phrygian cap, symbolizes liberty. Below are the fasces. Those are the axes that you see on the bottom wrapped in bundles of sticks. The fasces symbolize authority. The seal reminds us to maintain a balance between liberty and authority. But since the Financial Meltdowns we’ve had only the fasces; we forgot the red cap. If you choose to confirm me as attorney general, I promise you that my highest priority will be to restore the balance. The authority of government is necessary for our safety as citizens. But the liberty of the individual is our birthright as Americans.

Sounds good, but I’m sure an observant patriot can read between the lines.

Full Asylum is available at

Seal of the United States Senate US Senate seal
Photo source: Wikipedia

Monday, June 18, 2012

Illegal Immigration: The Negative Program

A thoughtful Facebook post from my friend Cris Crawford about illegal immigration:

In most cases the illegal immigrants who are deported have committed some actual crime. When an employer is busted, usually the workers are not deported. The employer loses his trained staff, and they go work for someone else. At least this is what has tended to happen in El Paso, with which I am most familiar. So for Obama to say he won't enforce deportation is to say that he won't do anything different than is already done. There are not enough resources to deport all the undocumented immigrants who show up on the radar, and the damage to the economy that would result from their deportation would cause an outcry and backlash against that enforcement.

The issue of illegal immigration is explained in "The Road to Serfdom" in the chapter "Why the worst get on top."

"It seems to be almost a law of human nature that it is easier for people to agree on a negative program - on the hatred of an enemy, on the envy of those better off - than on any positive task. The contrast between the 'we' and the 'they,' the common fight against those outside the group, seems to be an essential ingredient in any creed which will solidly knit together a group for common action." - F.A. Hayek

In this case the common action is the election of "conservative" politicians. The left has their own convenient group of hated people - the rich.

The idea that immigrants take away jobs, that they use more welfare than citizens, or that they cause crime or won't learn the language are myths that are easily dispelled by sound economic analysis or factual data. But enough votes to win an election aren't going to come from the relatively small number of people who are able to understand economics or who are able to discern truth from data. Those votes are going to come from ignorant, dissatisfied people who settle for a convenient scapegoat for the ills that plague our economy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Stand Up for Religious Freedom

I wrote previously, with respect to the Obamacare contraception mandate, that it is a violation of religious freedom to require someone who objects to contraception on religious grounds to pay for other people to use it (Liberty and the Pill, March 3, 2012). On Friday I attended Stand Up for Religious Freedom and got to spend a beautiful afternoon in Boston with some folks who agree.

Mother Olga is the founder of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth. According to their website, she “was born and raised in Iraq,” where she “lived through four wars.” She “served the prisoners, homeless, elderly, and handicapped of war for many years.” Presumably, this experience taught her the difference between real victims and those who are merely victims in their own mind because they have to pay for their own birth control pills. Here Mother Olga leads the crowd in “Come, Holy Ghost.”

Raymond Flynn – mayor of Boston (1984-1993) and ambassador to the Vatican (1993-1997): “I’ve been in politics now a little bit more than 50 years and I can’t imagine that in the year 2012 we’d be once again gathered here fighting for our religious freedom.”

Don Feder, former editorial writer for the Boston Herald: “In the 1920s, Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci, who coined the phrase ‘the long march through the culture’, concluded that worldwide revolution would never succeed unless religion and the family were first eliminated. That’s why the radical left wants the public schools to indoctrinate your children in its neo-pagan worldview. That’s why it opposes parental consent and notification laws. That’s why it insists that abortion and contraception be publicly funded.”

Couldn’t help wondering why a guy in some sort of police uniform was photographing us from the State House balcony:

MA State House policeman spies on Stand up for Religious Freedom Rally

MA State House policeman spies on Stand up for Religious Freedom Rally

I also had a chance to politely engage the handful of counter-demonstrators across the street. They claimed to represent freedom of religion, but they had a very strange idea of freedom: you’re not free to do something – in this case use contraception – if you have to pay for it. I already refuted that argument when Giuliani used it five years ago (The Giuliani School of Constitutional Law, April 8, 2007).

Learn more about Stand up for Religious Freedom at their website and please support this worthy cause.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

After Wisconsin

Wisconsin Recall Map
Photo source: New York Times

To my Left-of-Center friends: I know it hurts. I know it feels like democracy is at an end. Those of us on the Right have been there, more than once. You should have seen us the night Obamacare passed.

Do whatever it takes to deal. Call us uneducated tools of the Koch brothers. Threaten to move to Europe. Post pictures on Facebook comparing Scott Walker to the human derriere.

And then, in a few days, let’s get back to debating the effects of tax policy on an economy.

As for my friends on the Right, yes, it was a hoot watching Rachel Maddow last night. But I have three words for you. From Winston Churchill: “In Victory: Magnanimity.”

Monday, June 4, 2012

FDR to Barack Obama: What a falling-off was there

Can't claim originality on this one. Jon Golnik, who's running for Congress in the 3rd Massachusetts District (includes Concord, Marlborough, and Fitchburg), tweeted last week that, "Higher deficits, debt and unemployment is '21st Century Raw Deal' not New Deal." I just thought it would make a good cartoon.

New Deal vs. Raw Deal
Photo source: Wikipedia

Friday, June 1, 2012

Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg!

You no doubt heard the news yesterday that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken on a major threat to public safety — sugary soft drinks. According to CNN, he has proposed a ban that “would outlaw such drinks larger than 16 ounces at restaurants, food carts and any other establishments that receive letter grades for food service.” He announced the proposal with this bit of Orwellian Newspeak: “We're not taking away anybody's right to do something; we're simply making it different for them in how they do it.”

Soda Bottles
Photo source: New York Times

It was very thoughtful of Mayor Bloomberg to provide a news story with a tie-in to my new novel, Full Asylum — on the same day the print version went on sale. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 8. I mention Jon Dunn in the scene; he’s a movie spy, similar to James Bond:

The bedroom door wasn’t quite latched. Gimbel nudged it open with his toe. Surveying the room, he saw pastel-colored fabric on his bed; it didn’t belong there…[It] was a pair of pajamas. They covered the lithe body of Miss Lacey Briefs. She sat on the bed with her chin resting on her bent knee as she daubed nail polish on her toenails. The lavender color matched the flowers on her pajamas. A curtain of honey-colored hair hid her down-turned face from Gimbel…
      “Don’t think that I’m not happy to see you,” [he said,] “but how did you get in?”
      “Mr. Willow. I told him you said it’d be all right.”
      “That was rather irresponsible of him. You might have been planning to rob the place. Lucky for me, all you wanted was to rest in my bed and paint your toenails.”
      “Oh, I’m not here to rest,” she said, her Southern accent sexier than usual.
      “What about Chris?” asked Gimbel.
      “Now Chris isn’t here now, is he?”
      Jon Dunn would have kissed her at that point, but then Dunn was accustomed to returning to his room and finding women in his bed. Gimbel O’Hare needed time to get used to the idea. “He’s still your boyfriend,” Gimbel said.
      “I have recently arrived at the realization that Christopher Scott Molson is an asshole. He indicated to me that his idea of a romantic evening is to dress up in black like a Gestapo agent and play Nazi interrogator. Looks like I need to begin anew in the romance department.”
      Gimbel wondered if Chris and Lacey were engineering a trick at his expense. The Nazi interrogator story was plausible, of course. During the last couple weeks, Gimbel had heard plenty of slammed doors and raised voices in the apartment upstairs; Chris and Lacey certainly acted like they were fighting. Although that could be part of the trick.
      He knew what Jon Dunn would do: dive in. “Well then,” he said, “we should celebrate new beginnings. Don’t go anywhere.” He left the bedroom and rummaged in the kitchen. When he returned he held two glasses of ice in one hand. But what got Lacey’s attention was the dusty bottle he held in the other.
      “How did you get that?” she asked, impressed and excited.
      “I’ve been saving it for a special occasion. I bought it before it was illegal.” He twisted the red cap off. The gentle hiss of carbonation greeted them. Gimbel poured the brown liquid into the glasses, waited for the heads to go down, and poured again. Lacey watched eagerly.
      “Here you go,” he said, offering her one of the glasses. “Vintage Volta Cola. Here’s to genuine sweetness.”

To discover what happens between Gimbel and Lacey, purchase the print edition of Full Asylum here. The Kindle version is available here.

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