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Jeff Goldstein Explains Ron Paul

Get out of my head, man:

Of course, Paul is a disaster as a candidate, and his ties with various unsavory types less careful about expressing their bigotry than he has been would sink him in a general election. But he does come across onstage as anti-establishment — while not carrying the “baggage” of faith that many conservative / classical liberal / libertarian types seem so much to distrust in their prospective candidates (at least, if the candidates gives the impression that s/he believes the tenets of that faith and might actually hew to them) — and this appeals to many of those who are fed-up with a business-as-usual government they can’t seem to change, even after sending an unmistakable message via the ballot box that it is significant change they desire and demand.

Hence, Ron Paul. The ultimate protest vote from those who reject big government and Wall Street crony capitalism; from those who want significant spending cuts and the elimination of vast swathes of governmental “oversight”; and for those who are put off by the caricature of social conservatism that both the GOP moderates and Democrats have spent years creating and institutionalizing.

Sometimes a single issue dominates an election enough to turn down the volume on things that would normally be disqualifying in a candidate. I think Ron Paul’s supporters hope that his ne plus ultra Tea Partyishness will cause voters to overlook that unsavoriness. “He has leftish suppoters! Occupiers!” they think.

They’re wrong. The Occupy crowd is nowhere near as significant in the voting bloc as they would like to be, and I doubt very much if they’re really going to ever actually vote for Paul. Right now the media is playing a classic rope-a-dope; ignoring Paul’s past during the primaries only to unload it during the general.

Not that it matters. No one whose foreign policy matches up with George McGovern is going to get the nomination anyway. The GOP makes room for everyone except doves.

All is not Well Behind the Ayatollah’s Robes

Michael Ledeen reminds us that the Iranian regime is weaker than it seems:

This debacle coincides with an amazing confession of weakness from the highest level of the regime:  Ali Saeedi is the supreme leader’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards, and since Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei commands the Guards, Saeedi’s words are authoritative.  Asked why Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi–the two Green Movement leaders who have been held in isolation for more than ten months—Saeedi publicly stated that it can’t be done, because the two have such powerful support. The opposition leaders can’t be prosecuted, he said,  “because they have supporters and followers” as well as “a few turban-heads [clerics] who continue to back elements within the sedition.”

This is a key development. When the regime can no longer destroy its enemies for fear of public backlash, it has effectively lost initiative. The question of why our President, who committed bombs to the destruction of Khadaffi, has not done more to remove the greater foe hangs in the air.

Of course, if Obama really is hoping for a nice quick war sometime this year to plump his electoral chances, we may soon find out.

Complicating Just-War Theory

At Catholibertarian: Do the elements added by the U.S. bishops in 1983 to traditional just war criteria help in determining whether a particular war is just?.

I always took the requirement of “a probability of success” to mean that there was a serious and thoughtful plan, in line with other principles, to bring about success quickly. I don’t take it to mean an impossible prescience of what is going to happen. As Hitler put it, going to war is walking into a dark room.

But read the whole thing.

Alan Colmes Loosens His Filter

Rick Santorum’s Catholicism runs to the fervent, and can discompose people whose faith is nominative at best. As one who believes in charity as a divine command, I’m going to offer that as an explanation for Alan Colmes’ cheap shot about Santorum bringing his dead son home in 1996 before taking him to the funeral home. (h/t: Memeorandum). In all likelihood, Colmes simply experienced a visceral reaction to the oddness of treating a dead child like a member of the family, if only to say good-bye.

There is nothing specifically Catholic about saying good-bye to a dead baby, but it comes from the wellspring of Santorum’s faith. A dead child is still, however briefly, a child, a son, a brother. Santorum will always be that child’s father, and he believes implicitly that, should he attain Paradise, his dead son will be there, welcoming him.

Inasmuch as our society regards the dead as waste, to be disposed of with a minimum of fuss, what Santorum did was odd. But I get it. And, after a moments, reflection, Colmes did as well: hence his apology. It would have been better had he reflected for a moment before naming him some kind of a religious nut, but I do not expect such from TV ideologues. In many ways, the Church of Rome is still an alien faith here.

Imagine All The People…Liking Better Songs: A Fisking of John Lennon

I hate “Imagine” by John Lennon. Hate it. I hate it’s sappy, maudlin piano riff; I hate it’s  dull, lazy structure. I hate the video featuring Yoko just off to the side like some soul-engulfing gargoyle. I hate the insipid cartoon image of Lennon that packages the song.

What a dork.

But most of all, I hate the lyrics, which paint the picture of the saddest, lamest utopia ever conceived by the mind of man, yet has been transubstantiated into some kind of progressive Sermon on the Mount.

Let’s rip into them, shall we? Continue reading → Imagine All The People…Liking Better Songs: A Fisking of John Lennon

How Much Do The Irish Hate Great Britain?

This much. (h/t Instapundit)

John Stout served with the Irish Guards armoured division which raced to Arnhem to capture a key bridge.

He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge, ending the war as a commando.

On his return home to Cork, however, he was treated as a pariah. “What they did to us was wrong. I know that in my heart. They cold-shouldered you. They didn’t speak to you.

“They didn’t understand why we did what we did. A lot of Irish people wanted Germany to win the war – they were dead up against the British.”

The centuries of British misrule in Ireland was not merely neglectful, bigoted and quasi-genocidal. It left behind a dark ember of hatred in the Irish heart. A wronged people can gorge themselves on righteous fury to the point where they cannot see that the enemy of their enemy is the enemy of all mankind.

At some point, forgiveness is needed by all.

“We Are the Ramones in All Their Egalitarian Glory…”

“…yet we crave the virtuosity of the Satriani elite.”

Smitty makes an excellent metaphor to describe the difficulty of the Tea Party and the Conservative blogsophere vis-a-vis the GOP establishment and primary field.

Never forget that the Ramones, and the Sex Pistols, and the Clash, and the Dead Boys, and everyone else wanted to sell records. They didn’t want to end up as cult bands whose albumss would be hunted for by nerds like me at Record & Tape Traders. The stipulation that every band with more than 50 fans had “sold out” became de rigeur in the hardcore 80’s. First-generation Punk laughed at that idea.

And like first-generation Punk bands, the first generation of Tea Party candidates busted in more on sensation and zeitgeist than on substance. That’s why Christine O’Donnel and Sharron Angle weren’t good candidates. That’s why Rand Paul stuck his foot in his mouth on the question of the Civil Rights Act. That’s why the current GOP field is so unsatifying. The ones that are savvy pols (Gingrich, Romney, maybe Santorum) aren’t Tea Party, and the ones that are Tea Party (Bachmann, Paul) aren’t electable. Because the Tea Party has yet to produce its Sonic Youth.