Category Archives: Political Clarity

Can Muslims Awaken from their Civilizational Nightmare before they bring about the end of the world?

Very interesting from Bahrani blogger Emoodz, as translated by Amira Al Hussaini of Global Voices.

My family, like a lot of other families in Bahrain, suffers from a breakdown due to work, which never ends. We rarely meet as a family for lunch on weekdays. This gives lunch gatherings during holidays a special flavour, even if they lack in all the rice and curry dishes as many of us are avoiding getting obese – which has become the boogie man many families have been avoiding in the last half of the previous decade, mostly at the expense of delicious food.

While speaking to my dad as he was devouring a piece of Mullet (type of fish) in a unique ferocity associated with Bahranis (Shia population of Bahrain), we started speaking about sectarianism and the division in society based on sects, particularly in Bahrain, and around the Arab world in general. He spoke in depth about how religion was the basis and reason for sectarianism, adding that it is now one of the woes we as Muslims have to accept without objection. Continue reading

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31 Great Questions and a few more – Plus 50

Radly Balko has a whole bunch of great questions to ask presidential candidates.

  1. A recent study found that over half the country now derives part or all of its income from the federal government. Three of the richest counties in the country are in the D.C. suburbs, a telling indicator of just how bloated with taxpayer dollars Washington has become. The federal government is today pervasive in our day-to-day lives, from cradle to grave, from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. Do you think these trends are healthy? Looking at the premise of this question, would you agree or agree federal government is getting too large, too influential, and too pervasive?
  2. The government is made up of people. Flawed people, just as the private sector is. But when private people make mistakes, the consequences are limited to them, and perhaps a few people around them. When a government official makes a mistake, it can affect millions. Isn’t it better to let the American people make as many as their own decisions as possible? What makes a government bureaucrat more qualified to make decisions about the average Americans life than the average American?
  3. In the same vein, can you name five government agencies that are either superfluous, anachronistic, ineffective, or otherwise no longer necessary, and that you would eliminate? To make things interesting, let’s take everything under the Department of Defense off the table, with the acknowledgment that there’s plenty of cutting to be done there, too.
  4. Do you think it’s appropriate for drug cops to be making medical policy?
  5. What is your philosophical approach to federalism? What issues do you feel are best decided at the national level? What issues should be left to the states? Is there any underlying principle you use in separating one from the other, or would you make such decisions ad hoc?
  6. Do you believe the U.S. military should be deployed for humanitarian missions?
  7. Do you think an atheist could be president? Do you think an atheist should be? Assuming you generally agreed with an atheist on more issues than the alternatives in a given election, would you vote for one?
  8. Name five things you think are none of the federal government’s business.
  9. What is your view of the pardon power and executive clemency? Should it be used frequently? Should it be use to show mercy and forgiveness or to correct injustices that slip through the cracks? Neither? Both?
  10. Do you think the criminal justice system is adequate in its present form? Do our criminal courts achieve the just outcome in an acceptable percentage of cases?
  11. When the two are in conflict, do you believe a politician is obligated to vote for his own principles and values, or for the will of the people?
  12. Is there any type of speech you believe should be criminalized?
  13. Do you promise not to claim for yourself any of the executive powers you’ve criticized the Bush administration for claiming?
  14. Do you think it’s appropriate that the minority party in the senate can filibuster the majority? Would your position change if your party was in the minority?
  15. What is your position on Kelo vs. New London? Under what circumstances would it be appropriate for a government to seize land from one private party and give it to another?
  16. If elected, will you fire all of the U.S. attorneys appointed by President Bush?
  17. What federal crimes will you instruct the Justice Department to make a priority during your administration?
  18. Do you think a journalist should ever be tried for treason for making public classified information?
  19. Are there any currently private industries that you believe are “too important” to be left to the private sector? Oil and gas? Health care? Google?
  20. America by far and away has the highest prison population in the world. Does this concern you? Are there any federal crimes you feel should be repealed from the books, or devolved to the states?
  21. Should violations of regulatory law be criminalized? That is, should people go to jail for violating EPA, OSHA, or other regulations? Or should they merely be fined?
  22. Would capturing Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri be a priority for your administration? How would you go about doing it?
  23. Do you believe we’re winning the war on terror? Are we doing all we can be doing? Are we overreacting? What would you do differently?
  24. What’s your philosophical approach to risk assessment and the precautionary principle? Do you think government should ban products, treatments, and procedures until they’re proven safe, or permit them until they show signs of being unsafe?
  25. Do you think it’s a legitimate function of government to protect people from making bad decisions or prevent them from developing bad habits? Even if those habit or decisions don’t directly affect anyone else? How far should the government in preventing bad habits and bad decisions? In other words, should the government’s role be merely advisory, or should it criminalize things like gambling, pornography, drug use, or trans fats?
  26. At what point a child’s rights supercede a parent’s rights? Should a Christian Science parent be allowed to deny his child basic medical treatment? Should parents be allowed to teach their children to be racist? If parents believe some vaccinations are too risky, should they be permitted to decline them for their children?
  27. Should members of Congress be required to follow all of the laws that they pass?
  28. Should members be required to read each bill before voting on it?
  29. Would you support a requirement that each law be limited in scope and subject, so members wouldn’t be required to cast a single yes-or-no vote on bills that have multiple amendments covering a variety of issues?
  30. Would you support a sunset provision requiring Congress to revisit and re-pass each law after five years?
  31. Do think presidents should be term limited? What about members of Congress? If you didn’t give the same answer to each question, what’s the difference?

And a few more.

  1. As the purpose of PBS in the United States was to broadcast artistic and cultural programs of lasting quality that wouldn’t appeal to a large enough audience to justify them for the main three networks, as most Americans now have 30, or 100, or 500 television channels to choose from with far more quality programming than is offered by PBS, and as the majority of programming on PBS is now anti-capitalist, anti-conservative commentary and repeats of BBC programs, is PBS worth keeping? If it is worth keeping, how do you propose to fix it so it isn’t so egregiously biased?
  2. Public Radio features NPR, which isn’t quite as leftist as Air America or MSNBC, but it also features leftist, America-bashing news features from BBC International and the Canadian CBC, and leftist entertainment such as Le Show, This American Life, and All Things Considered. As the aggregated programming of Public Radio is biased far to the left of the country’s populace what would you do to remedy the situation with this network that is paid for by taxpayers?
  3. Do you believe in content monitoring or censorship on the Internet? In Magazines or Newspapers? In Books? If the answers are different, why?
  4. What concrete steps would you take to restore civility, manners, and shared Judeo-Christian moral principles to politics and public life in America? What would you do first in order to get the ball rolling?
  5. Would you support a national mission to identify and repeal bad federal, state and local laws? What criteria would you use to evaluate them for goodness or badness? A measurement of happiness and misery, enforcement costs, compliance costs, perverse side-effects? If you would not support the repeal of bad laws, why not?
  6. Do you think it is healthy for our country that the vast majority of Senators and Congressmen are lawyers who have never served in the military or any form of national service?
  7. Do you think it is healthy for our country to encourage immigrants to settle in homogeneous communities, keeping their own languages and customs and even their own family laws, and getting their news from satellite television from the countries they fled to come to America? Does this produce immigrant tribes, for want of a better word, that see their society in opposition to their country, leading inevitably to tensions, criminal activity, and civil disturbance? Does ethnicity and religion matter? What would you change about the immigration and naturalization system?
  8. When government programs were founded in order to remedy or fix a social problem, and have not succeeded or have made the problem worse, how long should they be allowed to continue before they are canceled?
  9. How do you propose to prepare Social Security to stay solvent thirty years from now, when more than a third of all Americans will be 65 or older? Will every working American be supporting one retiree on his or her own? Will you allow ordinary Americans to invest their Social Security in the same higher-yield market instruments that members of Congress and other federal employees invest their Social Security in?
  10. Is there a danger to the nation in falling fertility rates and depopulation? If women in other countries are reproducing at much higher rates, creating an expansive population pressure that must expand somewhere, won’t this when coupled with falling fertility rates in America produce a flood of immigrants to America that will overwhelm our ability to assimilate them, or even to perform reasonably prudent security checks on them?
  11. Why are Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Anna Nicole Smith and other celebrity train wrecks on the news all the time? Is there something to be learned from the wall-to-wall coverage? Is there anything to be done, and if there is, what would you do?

I’m done for now. Your turn.

Update: I found more great questions at the Andrew Jacksonian Blog, Dumb Looks Still Free. Continue reading

Word Up!

Myron Magnet writes an article for the ages, a classic, a must read on the dysfunctional, welfare-dependent urban culture of America’s self-selecting permanent black underclass at the City Journal.

Wynton Marsalis’s scathing critique of rap understands how hip-hop relates to the larger problem. Leaving aside the lyrics, rap is musically “ignorant,” Marsalis says. “Rhythms have to have a meaning. If the rhythm is corrupt, the music is corrupt and the people become corrupt.” (And, one might add, rap also subverts music’s aim of creating a realm of harmony and beauty.) As for the lyrics, Marsalis says, “I call it ‘ghetto minstrelsy.’ Old-school minstrels used to say they were ‘real darkies from the real plantation.’ Hip-hop substitutes the streets for the plantation.” In its conception of black authenticity, rap perfectly embodies the cultural tragedy of the ghetto underclass. As Marsalis puts it in the title of a 2006 song, when you look at the underclass, it seems that all the progress blacks have made is to go “from the plantation to the penitentiary” and to be, as the song puts it, “in the heart of freedom . . . in chains.”

Those chains are not only the chains that bind prisoners but also what the poet William Blake called “mind forg’d manacles”—beliefs, attitudes, and habits of feeling that imprison you even when you are outwardly free. For the underclass, those manacles are the beliefs that they’re victims, that they’re entitled to be angry and resentful, that the law is an oppression, that the larger community owes them a living, that education is useless, that sex is without responsibility or even emotion, that they’re not responsible for supporting and nurturing their children, and that because they’re victims they never need to be ashamed of anything they do.

The most positive development I know came when Bill Cosby addressed the NAACP on the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision and spoke the truth that people like Jesse Jackson, glaring at him from the next chair, try to suppress and stigmatize as racist. “The lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal,” Cosby said. “In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. . . . People in jail, and women having children by five, six different men. . . . We’ve got to take the neighborhood back. . . . It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing . . . . All of these people . . . they’ve got to be wondering what the hell happened. Brown v. Board of Education—these people who marched and were hit in the face with rocks and punched in the face to get an education, and we got these knuckleheads walking around who don’t want to learn English. . . . Well, Brown v. Board of Education, where are we today? . . . What did we do with it? . . . . Fifty percent drop out—rest of them in prison. . . . You have the pileup of these sweet beautiful things born by nature—raised by no one.”

Blacks need to heed this message, and whites need to stop telling them anything different.

Read it all!

H/T: Real Clear Politics

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