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Rebates for Refrigerators?, OR Barack Obama Hearts Big Business

MINT-AND-CORN COUNTRY, INDIANA — Because Cash for Clunkers proved to be such a great vehicle for saving “the Economy”, not to mention an unnatural instigator of a climb in used-car pricing, (and which has the further insalubrious effect of reinforcing the throwaway mindset that dominates today), now this:

Starting this fall, you could get a rebate of $50 to $200 for buying a new, more energy-efficient appliance. As with the Clunkers program, the Obama administration hopes to jump-start the flagging appliance industry while improving the environment. It has set aside $300 million to be used for rebates as part of the economic stimulus program.

Now, green conservative who I am, I support the use and promotion of energy-efficient appliances, green technology, and the like. Not so much, however, continued profligacy on the part of a government that squanders money with recklessness comparable to that displayed by Sarah Palin when the English language is involved.

But even leaving aside my qualms with such spectacularly spendthrift shenanigans, my doubts about the long-term benefits to “the Economy” that this policy may create, and my Constitutionalist (to say nothing of Articles-of-Confederationalist!) skepticism toward this sort of federal involvement in economic policy per se, I deplore this policy particularly for the detrimental effect that I reckon it will have on localism and small-town America by way of acting as an indirect subsidy (Surprise, surprise!) to big business, specifically in the form of big-box appliance/electronic and home-improvement stores.

Eric Hart, owner of Nason’s Appliances in Crown Point, hopes the program will sway more people to buy new instead of opting for a used appliance or repairing the one they have, although he admits $50 or $100 off won’t make a big enough price dent for some people.

“If you can spend $100 to $200 on a used washing machine, compared to northwards of $600 for an Energy Star washing machine, I don’t think $100 is enough of an incentive,” Hart said.

That fifty-to-two hundred-dollar rebate, more often than not, is going to go a little further at a Best Buy or Lowe’s than it will at Origer’s Ovens or, say, Nason’s Appliances in Crown Point, Indiana (home of the annual Corn Fest; North Judson, my hometown, hosts the Mint Festival). (Lest anyone call me out here, based on past posts, I note that I am well aware, as some commenters have diligently noted, that for multifarious reasons, chain retailers often — though not always — sell at (sometimes significantly) lower costs than to independent businesses; it is the trade-offs involved here, inter alia, that compel me nonetheless to eschew, when possible, and to excoriate big business.) So, while a number of thrifty Americans may engage in the good practices of having their malfunctioning machines mended or purchasing previously possessed appliances, those who take advantage of this “free” money, hoping to capitalizing on the savings as much as possible, will have all the more reason to pack the kids into the Prius and smugly to head off to Noplace, USA, in search of the most affordable earth-friendly microwave, comparing prices between Circuit City (Oh, wait…) and the Home Despot and then having the delivery truck arrive the next day.

What happens when big business and big government further collaborate and big labor, already complicit with both, is seemingly left out of the game? Hurray for the corpocracy!

Maybe it’s time to rethink this entire “bigger is better” mentality — and to make a little more noise, a lá the Tea Parties, but when Republicans are in office, too, about pandering, populistic, profligate policies.

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Glenn Beck joins the Lincoln Brigade

Just caught his latest rant about the radicals in the Obama Administration, focusing on the unsympathetic example of one time black Marxist “green jobs czar” Van Jones.  But in a flash of Beck’s total ignorance, in one of his melodramatic flourishes about saving the republic he invoked the Spanish Republican slogan “They shall not pass”.

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New(ish) Weblog

I’d not normally dedicate a post to nothing more than directing readers elsewhere, without, say, commenting on or otherwise engaging a particular post, but I’d like to draw y’all’s attention to Humane Pursuits, a fairly new stop on the Right-wing Virtual Super Highway operated by friends of a few friends. The contributors are, I think, more Lockean than I’d like, and they certainly have kinder words about the deplorable Hamilton and Lincoln than I could ever emit, but they’re a sharp bunch of young, intellectual (more mainstream) conservatives and they’ve a fair amount of interesting material, particular in their responses to a few Front Porch Republic posts. I certainly side with Willson and Deneen over Brown and D’Luzansky; am amused to see Lockeans refer to “Front Porch Whiggism”; and wonder if, occasionally, the high-horsedness could be toned down a tad, but I think that Mr. Brown & Co. offer a worth-the-while new outlet. Do check it out: They could use some outside commenters.

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Ted Kennedy, RIP

Yes, he was a liberal’s liberal, both good and bad, but any senator who said the vote they were most proud of was their vote against the Iraq War deserves a hearty “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”

What must not go unmentioned therefore is the history behind this.  Ted always seemed to have more of his father in him than any of his brothers – and undoubtedly he was haunted to no end by seeing in Dubya’s zeal to avenge his father’s wimpiness an echo of how nearly Jack brought about nuclear armageddon with his eagerness to destroy the legacy of their father, the architect of Munich.

So in the midst of the coming avalanche of Chris Matthews’ barely disguised homoerotic asphyxiation on the Kennedys, let us pause and pay homage to the Kennedys who dared say no to war.

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Xinjiang

Two hundred prosecutions. No, nor would I wish to stand trial in China. But a point still needs to be made.
Why are Han Chinese “Han Chinese”, but Uighur Chinese simply “Uighurs”? They have been Chinese for about as long as each other, i.e., more or less for ever. For that matter, they have lived in Xinjiang (even if not always at the current ratio) for about as long as each other, i.e., more or less for ever. But, of course, we all know why the Han are described as Chinese yet the Uighur are not. The Trots are in charge now. For that is what hatred of China in our media is: student Trotskyism from back in the day.

For all the same depiction of the perpetrators as the victims that we saw when Tibetans also turned on their age-old Han and Hui neighbours, the events in Xinjiang show up the vitally important point that just because the Chinese regime is nasty, that does not make its opponents nice. Those who want an ethnically pure Islamist state in Xinjiang are of a piece with those who want an ethnically pure feudal theocracy in Tibet, with those who feel that Maoism has been betrayed, with those who always saw Maoism as a betrayal of Stalinism, and with the Koumintang ludicrously agitating to have their accidental bolt-hole on Taiwan declared independent.

Is every one of China’s 56 ethnic groups to be given a state? The population clearances necessary to create such states in Tibet and Xinjiang alone would make the partition of India look like a parish council boundary dispute. Even leaving aside the horrifying visions of those who want control of those territories in order to give those visions life. The whole thing is completely unconscionable.

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Neoconservatism From Beyond The Grave

The Libya deal was vintage neoconservatism in action – pretending to get rid of non-existent WMD so that the oil money could flow. And look what has come of it.

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Dum Spiro Spero

And, for that matter, Animis Opibusque Parati. Fascinating emails (davidaslindsay@hotmail.com – keep them coming) from people saying, either that they have been thinking these things for while, or that it had never occurred to them to become Democrats but it certainly has now, or in a few cases that they had already done so for the reasons that I set out. Well, what can I say? Sometimes the spectator sees more of the game. And a party is strictly a machine, a device, a means to ends. It can never be an end in itself. What ends does the Republican Party now serve? Certainly not yours.

Bob Conley had had quite enough of the Republican Party’s completely closed attitude to conservative views on trade, immigration, war, and actually doing anything about abortion or in defense of marriage. So that Ron Paul activist and traditional Catholic (which latter presumably inoculates him against the more virulent strains of Paul’s libertarianism) changed his registration. He became a Democrat. Classy.

But then he went, not one, but two better. He entered the Democratic Senatorial primary. And, against a liberal Democrat from central casting, he won it. Narrowly. But he still won it. Okay, so he did not win the general election, at his first attempt and against a very well-known incumbent. But he managed a creditable showing under the circumstances. Not least the circumstance of the wider movement’s failure to get behind a Ron Paul-supporting, traditional Catholic Democrat as it would have gotten behind a Ron Paul-supporting, traditional Catholic Republican. Remind me, which Ron Paul-supporting, traditional Catholic Republican was running for the United States Senate last year, or indeed any year? Including next year.

On the matter of winning the Democratic primary, just how black is the Democratic Party in South Carolina? You may know better, but I am betting that it is very, very black indeed. And you may know better, but I am betting that those politicized preachers did plenty of work at the grassroots to secure the nomination of a man who shared their own and their congregants’ views on protecting blue-collar jobs, on immigration, on English as America’s national language, on war, on abortion, and on the nature of marriage. Is there any state in which no such alliance could be forged? Are there not many in which it could be decisive?

Not that that is the only such possible, and therefore morally and politically obligatory, alliance. For example, there are also the labor unions overtly on job protection, with plenty of their members broadly or entirely sound on the other issues, too. And there are others besides.

Do you, or do you not, ever want to get anything done on trade, immigration, the status of English, corporate power, corporate welfare, big lobbyists, the constitutional rights violated by the Bush Administration, helping those on low and middle incomes, reducing abortion, defending traditional marriage, a realistic foreign policy, and a strong defense capability used strictly for its properly defensive purpose? Who could disagree with you on those issues? The Republicans, that’s who. Only on abortion and on marriage do they even so much as make the right noises. And noises are all that they are. Yes, you would have to put up with some things that you did not want but your allies (the preachers, the unions, whoever) did. And yes, you would have to do without some things that you wanted but they did not. To be in that position would indicate your acceptance as part of the coalition, as part of the family. As things stand, you are forced to accept everything that you do not want and to forego everything that you do. You are part of no coalition. You are part of no family. You are cast out. It is very high time to come in from the cold. Come into the party in which anyone agrees with you, if not about everything, then at least about anything. Come into, come home to, the party of Bob Conley. The Democratic Party. Why not?

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Debbie Schlussel: She Takes Pride in Being Second in “Popularity” only to Ann Coulter. Hmm.

SOVIET ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA* — Relatively speaking, Mark Levin, about whom I ranted for far too long, is a pretty swell guy. Contrarily, Debbie Schlussel takes the damn cake for irredeemability. Levin, I think, is tremendously misguided. Schlussel is, at best, batsh*t crazy. No, seriously:

As an attorney, Schlussel represented University of Michigan students in a lawsuit against the University when it hosted Al-Arian as a speaker at a radical conference (a conference urging divestment from Israel) on campus, exposing him and other radical speakers, and putting them and their supporters on campus on the defensive.

Below, I linked to her cry for help veiled as an asp bite in the late Bob Novak’s ankle; that’s just the very crazy tip of the loony iceberg. With Levin, I felt the need at least to explain why certain things that he says bother me. I think that simply quoting Ms. Schlussel suffices to reveal what a terrifying(ly bigoted and close-minded) Lilith she is.

The “conservatives” who support Whole Foods are the same ones who look the other way in other areas when someone they like on some issues is a jihad-enabler. You know who they are. They’re the same ones who praised Jew-hating HAMASnik Robert Novak, promote Jihad Darrell a/k/a Darrell Issa (Hezbollah’s favorite Congressman), and lamented Sami Al-Arian/Islamic terrorist buddy Henry Hyde, because a conservative’s pan-jihadism can be overlooked in a convenient dose of double standards and hypocrisy.They’re group–not critical–”thinkers.”

But, unlike them, I look beneath the surface of silly, shallow talking points and principle-free partisan knee-jerking. And I’m not upset that Whole Foods is being boycotted. In fact, I love it. It’s a great episode in poetic justice for a store chain that helps fund and promote jihad and anti-Semitic/anti-Israel radio programming. And now they’re getting what they deserve . . . from their own crazy ideologue.

Normally, FPM–David Horowitz’s outfit–is right on the money in the fight against jihad and Islam’s attempted usurpation and elimination of our freedoms. But with this nauseating, lying article, by FPM Managing Editor Jacob Laksin (who calls this jihad-enabling liar, Novak. a “superb journalist”), they have given up all moral high-ground on this issue.

Never again can FPM be taken seriously when it criticizes the likes of Jimmy Carter, Cynthia McKinney, and sundry others (including Barack Obama) for reaching out to and praising HAMAS. Because FPM’s newly-anointed late hero, Robert Novak did the same, and they’ve chosen to look the other way because he’s “our anti-Semite, our pan-jihadist.”

(Aside: Ms. Schlussel would benefit immensely from a remedial grammar course.)

If you enjoy “Mad Men”–as I do–that means you’re probably either a woman or a gay man (male designers love the show). Yes, for me, it’s a guilty pleasure, mostly because I like the early ’60s clothes and sets and the eye candy of the very hot (but uber-liberal) Jon Hamm who plays the suave and dapper protagonist–more like anti-hero–of the show, “Don Draper.” But let’s face it, it’s a soap opera no less than “Desperate Housewives,” with the addition of period clothing, hairstyles, furniture and news events of the early 1960s woven in.

And let’s be honest: while the show is entertaining, it’s anti-male. It’s written for women. All of the men–especially lead Don Draper–are boozy, smoking lecherous, womanizing, cheating, bigoted jerks (except–per leftist orthodoxy–the closeted gay and the civil rights activist), and the women–even the ones who sleep around–are the sympathetic “victims.” I always assumed the show’s writers were women or gay men.

That’s why it came as no surprise to me when I read the Wall Street Journal profile of the show’s writers–seven of nine of whom are women (and one of the male writers is married a female writer, so he doesn’t count)–and the Journal’s note that “Mad Men” has had more women direct the show than most TV shows do. The show’s portrayal of straight men in a nuclear family–regardless of the era–can only be the work of feminist women or gay men (as “Desperate Housewives” is–creator Mark Cherry is openly gay). And in this case, it’s the former.

Draper is using a fake name (his real name is Dick Whitman, but he stole his current moniker off a dead fellow Korean War soldier in his unit), his mother was a hooker (he’s the product of her union with a john), he was abused by his religious Christian stepfather (there’s that anti-Christian theme that’s like crack to Hollywood writers), he was a used car salesman, he was in a fake first marriage his wife doesn’t know about, and he’s had four affairs/four different women in two seasons of the show.

Jeering FOX News is pretty commonplace amongst the various segments of the “alternative Right” and paleoconservatism. Perhaps some of the criticism isn’t always fair (but, often enough, I reckon that it is). Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure that allowing any show on your network to bring this woman on as a credentialed “conservative commentator” destroys any credibility, whatsoever, that you may have possessed. This woman isn’t a conservative; you can’t love the government as she does and be one. This woman may not be sane. By her logic, Russell Kirk was no conservative (see section four).

And Mad Men is a damn fine program.

*It’s downright depressing that, as we feared and fought off the “Red Menace”, we so ably mimicked the Bolshevik degradation of the public realm with dreary, soulless buildings, like those here in Crystal City, where I’ve spent the last week.

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If Debbie Schlussel is a conservative, then I’m anything but.

SOVIET ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA* — I think that this one speaks for itself: the wholly uncharitable tone, the irrational Zionism (and concomitant need to label anything smacking of critical judgment of Israel as “anti-Semitism”), referring to Buchanan’s book as “pro-Hitler”, making Novak out to be a self-loathing (former) Jew, the use of “pro-Muslim” as an epithet, and so forth. It’s everything that you could possibly want from a neoconservative wrapped into one funny (but not “Ha, ha”-funny) screed.

An excerpt:

**** UPDATE: One thing I forgot to put in this column, which I’ll add now: Robert Novak desperately wanted to be a WASPy patrician like his writing partner Rowland Evans. But even after he adopted his Jew-hating tone and converted away to Catholicism, Novak lamented that Rowland Evans never socialized with him away from work, never invited him to his fancy parties at his tony Georgetown home. Because, you see, no matter how much Bob Novak hated himself and wanted to get away from being a Jew, his anti-Semitic partner–to whom he pandered and like whom he desperately wanted to be–still saw him as a dirty Jew. Sometimes justice is poetic, indeed.

Oy vey! Requiescat in pace, Bob Novak.

*It’s downright depressing that, as we feared and fought off the “Red Menace”, we so ably mimicked the Bolshevik degradation of the public realm with dreary, soulless buildings, like those here in Crystal City, where I’ve spent the last week.

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Re: Get On The Donkey

I appreciate David seconding my view as to the continuing relevance of Obamaconism.  Like David, I certainly excite at the possibility of Jim Webb as a contender in 2016, and of course I also share his anticipation that the Republicans will be lucky to crack 41% of the vote in 2012.

But I was also quite moved by Jim Antle’s review of the recent manifesto by Joe Scarborough.  I strongly suspect that Scarborough is positioning himself for 2016 in anticipation of a debacle in 2012, and could quite easily grab enough media and establishment support to be Willkie to the Landon of a Sarah Palin.  As almost certainly the person in the TAC family of blogs with the most personal and family background on the left, I would absolutely vote for Scarborough over the likes of Hillary or Al Franken.

And in the event of a Webb-Scarborough race in 2016?  Thy Will Be Done.

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