Monthly Archives: October 2008

3 Stooges: Obama, Reid, Pelosi

Too funny to pass up…

“Where are those three loafers?”

“They’re in there, talking politics. I just heard one of them say, ‘Let’s have a New Deal’.”

– Harrison Greene & Hilda Title, ANTS IN THE PANTRY, 1938

Would you fight for this great Republic, and…”

“Republican?! Naw, I’m a Democrat!”

“Not me!! I’m a pedestrian!”

– Edward LeSaint, Moe and Curly, HALF-SHOT SHOOTERS, 1936

c/o ThreeStooges.Net

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Humor, Nancy Pelosi, Politics

You couldn’t fool your own mother on the foolingest day of your life with an electrified fooling machine!

The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected. ~Will Rogers

Just to remind you, Barney Frank was one of the Democrats in the 110th Congress who was in a position to oversee and reform Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac before the September debacle. Barney Frank, in his own words (at 4:50 and 6:04) found no fault with Fannie/Freddie’s performance:

Frank was given a well-deserved tongue lashing for his failures and comments by Bill O’Reilly on the FoxNews show, The O’Reilly Factor.

Now, Barney Frank is shamelessly trying to cast blame for his own failure to oversee Fannie/Freddie onto the Republicans… Republicans such as Newt Gingrich, who hasn’t been in a member of Congress since 1998.

Boston.com is reporting the following exchange of comments by John McCain and Frank:

“You know, we’ve already seen a preview of their plans. It’s pretty simple and unfortunately pretty familiar: tax and spend. When the chairman of one of the most powerful committees, Barney Frank, says . . .” McCain said Friday night in Durango, Colo. “Here’s what he said, my friends, and I quote, ‘focus on an immediate increase in spending,’ we should take him at his word,” McCain went on. “And when he says there are, quote, ‘a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax,’ it’s safe to assume he’s talking about you.”

Frank yesterday dismissed McCain’s words as “an appeal to prejudice” that he said reminded him of past Republican efforts to raise voter concerns about the prospect of congressmen Charles Rangel and John Conyers, who are black, becoming committee chairs.

“I’m flattered by this,” said Frank, who is gay. “But I don’t think I’m the single most important member of the House after Nancy Pelosi. There are also a lot of straight white men who are committee chairmen. [emphasis added]

Awww, the prejudiced bullies are picking on the poor, misunderstood little gay man from Massachusetts, the man who’s been sitting on his hands, doin’ nothin’ (North Central American English dialect) in Congress for 28 years.

How the voters in his Massachusetts district can continue to re-elect this shameless, spineless twit is beyond me. They let him off the hook for this:

In 1990, the House voted to reprimand Frank when it was revealed that Steve Gobie, a male escort whom Frank had befriended after hiring him through a personal advertisement, claimed to have conducted an escort service from Frank’s apartment when he was not at home. Frank fired Gobie earlier in 1990 and reported the incident to the House Ethics Committee after learning of Gobie’s activities. After an investigation, the Ethics Committee found no evidence that Frank had known of or been involved in the alleged illegal activity and dismissed all of Gobie’s more scandalous claims. The committee recommended that Frank receive a formal reprimand for his relationship with a prostitute. Attempts to expel or censure Frank, led by Republican member Larry Craig (who himself was later embroiled in his own gay sexual scandal), failed. Rather, the House voted 408-18 to reprimand Frank who later won re-election in 1990 with 66 percent of the vote, and has won by larger margins ever since.

And more details here:

Frank admitted a lengthy relationship with a male hooker who ran a bisexual prostitution service out of Frank’s apartment.

Not to mention this conflict of interest:

Unqualified home buyers were not the only ones who benefitted from Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts to deregulate Fannie Mae throughout the 1990s.

So did Frank’s partner, a Fannie Mae executive at the forefront of the agency’s push to relax lending restrictions.

If there ever was a better argument for term limits, I can’t find one.

[Title quote from Homer Simpson]

EXTRA READING:

Video: Guy who helped wreck the economy touts his “work” on the subprime crisis, HotAir.com

Barney Frank: People Are Blaming Me For the Subprime Crisis Because I’m Gay, and Not Because I Blocked Reform and Determined We Should “Roll the Dice in Favor of Affordable Housing”, Ace of Spades

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barney Frank, Bill O'Reilly, Fannie Mae, Financial Crisis, Lying Liars, Politics

Jedi Mind Trick: No LGBT curriculum here, move along

Update: School Clams Up on ‘Gay’ Pledge Cards Given to Kindergartners, FoxNews.com

Maybe it’s just me, but I always thought that schools were supposed to teach kids to read and write and expose them to the worlds of math, science and history. I don’t understand why the following has to a part of an elementary school program.

Ally Week pledge cards draw parents’ rebuke

HAYWARD — School district officials will evaluate lesson plans used to expose students to homosexual ideals after parents raised concerns that materials used in relation to last week’s national Ally Week were not appropriate for kindergartners.

The incident spurred some parents from Faith Ringgold School of Arts and Science to keep their children out of school during the program and write complaints to the district office.

“My husband and I firmly believe our daughter is too young to be exposed to some of the teaching the classroom teacher has printed in the classroom October newsletter,” said parent Adela Voelker in a letter to school officials obtained by The Daily Review.

[snip]

Pledge cards were distributed to classrooms for students to confirm their alliance in promoting safer schools “for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”By signing the card, students become allies and pledge to “not use anti-LGBT language or slurs, intervene — when I feel I can — in situations where others are using anti-LGBT language or harassing other students, and actively support safer schools efforts.”

Some parents said they interpreted that as forcing youths to take a stand on issues that are inappropriate for their age, prompting officials to look into the wording of the pledge cards with expected changes next year.

“Certainly the kids can make that decision at the high school or college level,” McReynolds said. “But at the kindergarten level, when these students don’t know what the phrases mean, is inappropriate.”

Question of the day: If, as Jack O’Connell claims in the video below, LGBT issues are not a part of the “approved” curriculum, how come they always seem to pop up in schools anyway?

UPDATE: Mike Spence has an answer in his column My school district will teach gay marriage and Jack O’Connell knows it!

Education Code section 51933 makes it clear that schools that teach “comprehensive sex education” have to teach, “respect for marriage and committed relationships”. This is something no school district can get around.

It is the choice of school districts whether or not they teach sex education. This is why the Anti- Proposition 8 campaign and Jack O’Connell say there is no requirement to teach about marriage.

What Jack O’Connell knows but doesn’t say is that 96% of school districts teach comprehensive sex education. Those numbers are from O’Connell’s California Department of Education. 96% must teach respect for marriage.

Extra Reading:

Yes On 8 Update: Respecting Marriage, Aaron Park, RedCounty.com
California Teachers vs. Traditional Marriage, Michelle Malkin
Gay Men Support Prop 8, California Conservative
Cultural Marxism, Linda Kimball, American Thinker
The Curious Rationale for a “Day of Silence,” Mark Coppenger, American Spectator

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Filed under 2008 Election, Education, LGBT, Politics, Prop 8, same-sex marriage

The Audacity of Redistribution

“The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of basic issues of political and economic justice in this society, and to that extent as radical as people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical,” Obama said in the interview, a recording of which surfaced on the Internet over the weekend…. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it has been interpreted.”

Obama, in 2001 Interview, Lamented Failure of Civil Rights Movement to Redistribute Wealth

“I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.” F. A. Hayek, Economic Freedom and Representative Government

Ace of Spades points out the most salient aspect of Obama’s remarks:

Also a reminder: this story is not about simple redistribution from the haves to the have-nots, which is the norm from Democrats and therefore unsurprising. Obama’s redistribution is in the context of the civil rights movement. In other words, from everyone else to blacks, based on nothing so much except skin color.

Extra Reading:

Shame, Cubed by Bill Whittle, National Review
Obama’s Redistributionist Obsession by Tom Blumer, Pajamas Media
Daily Kos Desperately Spinning Obama ‘Redistribution of Wealth’ by P.J. Gladnick, Newbusters.org

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Politics, Redistribution

Saturday Night Songs: Dikanda

Dikanda is a Polish folk group whose music is flavored with gypsy, Macedonian and African motifs.

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Filed under Dikanda, music, Saturday Night Songs

Conservative, Average Joe and Proud of It

I’ve always been a dedicated reader of The Rightwing Nuthouse. Blogger Rick Moran always posts interesting, thoughtful commentary. He seems to be increasingly resentful of the criticism that certain “conservative” writers such as Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, and Kathleen Parker have received for their remarks about John McCain’s candidacy and his choice of Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential nominee. Rick has described these critiques as “anti-intellectualism” and attacks on the “thinking class.” If that be the case, how can he defend Kathleen Parker’s Townhall column “Maverick’s Tragic Flaw” in which she essentially says that McCain chose Sarah Palin because he was thinking with his “d**k”?

How intellectual is that kind of argument?

All I know is that I am a Conservative according to the Russell Kirk definition:

Ten Conservative Principles

by Russell Kirk

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. After some introductory remarks on this general theme, I will proceed to list ten such conservative principles.

Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.

The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.

In essence, the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night. (Yet conservatives know, with Burke, that healthy “change is the means of our preservation.”) A people’s historic continuity of experience, says the conservative, offers a guide to policy far better than the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers. But of course there is more to the conservative persuasion than this general attitude.

It is not possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions; nevertheless, I offer you, summarily, ten general principles; it seems safe to say that most conservatives would subscribe to most of these maxims. In various editions of my book The Conservative Mind I have listed certain canons of conservative thought—the list differing somewhat from edition to edition; in my anthology The Portable Conservative Reader I offer variations upon this theme. Now I present to you a summary of conservative assumptions differing somewhat from my canons in those two books of mine. In fine, the diversity of ways in which conservative views may find expression is itself proof that conservatism is no fixed ideology. What particular principles conservatives emphasize during any given time will vary with the circumstances and necessities of that era. The following ten articles of belief reflect the emphases of conservatives in America nowadays.

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless. When successful revolutionaries have effaced old customs, derided old conventions, and broken the continuity of social institutions—why, presently they discover the necessity of establishing fresh customs, conventions, and continuity; but that process is painful and slow; and the new social order that eventually emerges may be much inferior to the old order that radicals overthrew in their zeal for the Earthly Paradise.

Conservatives are champions of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know. Order and justice and freedom, they believe, are the artificial products of a long social experience, the result of centuries of trial and reflection and sacrifice. Thus the body social is a kind of spiritual corporation, comparable to the church; it may even be called a community of souls. Human society is no machine, to be treated mechanically. The continuity, the life-blood, of a society must not be interrupted. Burke’s reminder of the necessity for prudent change is in the mind of the conservative. But necessary change, conservatives argue, ought to he gradual and discriminatory, never unfixing old interests at once.

Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time. Therefore conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription—that is, of things established by immemorial usage, so that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. There exist rights of which the chief sanction is their antiquity—including rights to property, often. Similarly, our morals are prescriptive in great part. Conservatives argue that we are unlikely, we moderns, to make any brave new discoveries in morals or politics or taste. It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away. As John Randolph of Roanoke put it, Providence moves slowly, but the devil always hurries. Human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if they are to be efficacious. The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. Sudden and slashing reforms are as perilous as sudden and slashing surgery.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk. By proper attention to prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order. But if the old institutional and moral safeguards of a nation are neglected, then the anarchic impulse in humankind breaks loose: “the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The ideologues who promise the perfection of man and society have converted a great part of the twentieth-century world into a terrestrial hell.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling, conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

Sir Henry Maine, in his Village Communities, puts strongly the case for private property, as distinguished from communal property: “Nobody is at liberty to attack several property and to say at the same time that he values civilization. The history of the two cannot be disentangled.” For the institution of several property—that is, private property—has been a powerful instrument for teaching men and women responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act. To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labor; to be able to see one’s work made permanent; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny. The conservative acknowledges that the possession of property fixes certain duties upon the possessor; he accepts those moral and legal obligations cheerfully.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. Although Americans have been attached strongly to privacy and private rights, they also have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some of these functions are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger. Whatever is beneficent and prudent in modern democracy is made possible through cooperative volition. If, then, in the name of an abstract Democracy, the functions of community are transferred to distant political direction—why, real government by the consent of the governed gives way to a standardizing process hostile to freedom and human dignity.

For a nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed. A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities. That experiment has been made before; and it has been disastrous. It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. Politically speaking, power is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic. When every person claims to be a power unto himself, then society falls into anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long, being intolerable for everyone, and contrary to the ineluctable fact that some persons are more strong and more clever than their neighbors. To anarchy there succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is monopolized by a very few.

The conservative endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise. In every age, nevertheless, men and women are tempted to overthrow the limitations upon power, for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.

Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite—these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Such, then, are ten principles that have loomed large during the two centuries of modern conservative thought. Other principles of equal importance might have been discussed here: the conservative understanding of justice, for one, or the conservative view of education. But such subjects, time running on, I must leave to your private investigation.

The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.

 

I have a BA, did all of my course work for an MA (didn’t finish my thesis because the events of 9-11 showed me how pathetically idealistic and ridiculous my hypothesis was), and I have an IQ of 136. I am not stupid nor useless, but the liberal Academics that I work for view me as both. I may be qualified to balance their budgets. I may be qualified to pour their Chateau Margaux at Chez Panisse. I may be qualified to clean their house. But, I will never be their equal nor someone who they can converse with on an equal footing, about anything from football to climate change.

I refuse to let the “elite” of my political party treat me the same way.  I don’t think most of the conservative leaders in the Party view me as a dimwit,  just some of the “Inner Ring“–those who need to preserve their pseudo-intellectual, self-important egos.

I voted for Romney in the Republican primary.  By all accounts such a distinguished businessman and public servant should be the Republican nominee for President.  What happened?  Instead of pointing fingers at McCain, Palin and the Average Joes in the Party, these writers should be asking themselves how and by whom the nominating process was manipulated and stolen and how we ended up where we are.

If you don’t like Sarah, by all means vote for Obama.  Just don’t expect me and my .45 to ride to your rescue when your First Amendment Rights are usurped by a power-hungry, power-consolidating, socialist administration. Ah shit, yes I will… just on principal.

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, conservatives, John McCain, Kathleen Parker, Politics, Republicans, Rick Moran, Russell Kirk, Sarah Palin

Revolutionary Hymns: There’s no one as Irish as Barack Obama

For your amusement, here’s a little ditty from Berzerkley’s Starry Plough club. Take note of the quotation on the wall behind the singer:

“No Revolutionary movement is complete without its poetic expression. If such a movement has caught hold of the imagiantion [sic] of the masses, they will seek a vent in song for the aspirationns [sic], fears, and hopes the loves and hatreds engendered by the struggle. Until the movement is marked by the joyous, defiant singing of revolutionary songs, it lacks one of the most distinctive marks of a popular revolutionary movement; it is the dogma of the few and not the faith of the multitude”

-James Connolly 1907

[Text taken verbatim from the Starry Plough website. Which is more fun: drunk blogging or drunk webmastering?]

Hopefully, the USA won’t become the new Ulster after November 4. Bill Ayers and his buddies will be leading the way (William Ayers’ forgotten communist manifesto: Prairie Fire).

To quote The One himself, this is one of those “ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Berkeley, Irish Music, music, Politics