Thou Shalt Not Discuss Politics and Religion… Culture, Discussion, Love, and Millionaire Matchmaker?

I was fortunate enough to have a brief moment of pause this holiday season that allowed me to try and catch up on some television shows I don’t regularly watch. That is my excuse for watching Millionaire Matchmaker the other day, and I’m sticking to it. The premise of the show is that some obnoxious woman has crowned herself queen of coupling what were once single millionaires, and she has some sort of database from which she draws her ingredients (other singles whom, I assume, spend the rest of their days like zombies wandering around aimlessly waiting for her call) and throws them into her witch’s brew of love. Of course, the Millionaire Matchmaker has to place the prized single man or woman in all sorts of situations with other singles in order to make sure the two ingredients have a chance of merging into some erotic souffle.

What I heard during one episode, and I am not sure whether these rules are laid out during every episode, was the matchmaker telling the singles that the rules included “no talking about religion or politics.” Imagine meeting several people and going on dates with them to establish a relationship that you hope will take you longer than the evening and awkward morning thereafter, and not being able to talk about the most important topics to our heart.

This is no different than the unspoken rules of a party or a bar scene: religion and politics are strictly forbidden (of course, in some circumstances you can throw another important topic in there: sports). Anything that might excite the passions of the party-goers or cause someone to take a stand on an issue and defend that stance has to be expelled. Yes, we cannot have people fighting over the concept of God, or what is right, good or just; but you are welcome to fight over beer pong, which person can drink more, why the Washington Redskins are vastly inferior to the Dallas Cowboys, or because you have the wrong Greek letters on your t-shirt.

In a culture open to looking up to 17 year-old pop stars poll dancing on ice cream carts, or a culture that has a film director being applauded because he was fighting an NC-17 rating because he felt “the messy sex seen was tastefully done,” we simply cannot offend our peers’ sensibilities by discussing such nugatory issues like politics and religion.

It is rather unfair for me to comment on what I see as a cultural trend, based on my watching a television show on Bravo. However, these same rules exist in countless situations in an effort to define what we should consider to be “polite company.” Furthermore, large institutions that have been around for hundreds of year now have rules that advocate the same censorship of conversation. Imagine a large and prestigious guild of men that once prided themselves in their meetings that discussed politics and religion to such a degree that they helped shape political and religious thought. Now that same organization has those same activities condemned during their official meetings.

There is a funny shirt out there that defines a liberal as “someone who is so open-minded, their brains have fallen out.” While that shirt is looking to define a contemporary liberal on the political spectrum, I think it speaks loudly about our liberal culture (classically or progressive). Have we become so open minded that we cannot even discuss those things dear to our heart and worth defending? What does that say about our culture, or country, our schools, or even ourselves? One need not look too far and find an example of our brains falling out: one in four students cannot pass the military entrance exam, and we find ourselves in the middle of the pack of industrialized nations with regard to standardized testing scores.

In the end, the moral of the story seems to be this, gentlemen: if you are planning on having conversations with women at a bar, a restaurant, or any good old fashioned dates, do not venture into the deep end of the pool. It is preferable to stay in the shallow end and establish your relationship on tid-bits of popular culture instead so that no one might drown and you can guarantee a successful “relationship.” Allan Bloom called the term “relationship” a “pallid, pseudoscientific word the very timidity of which makes substantial attachments impossible.” Our social compacts, our “relationships” are based on Sartre’s idea that “hell is- other people.” Now, however, hell is deep conversation with other people.

Despite the leitmotif of despair in my article, there is, and I hate to use the term, Hope. Some people are perfectly content with the idea of holding shallow conversations with a significant other, and it seems to work out well on Millionaire Matchmaker (actually I jest, I’d love to know exactly how many of those relationships pan out). I wouldn’t be so timid as to avoid such conversations with people at a bar; if they do not find your company agreeable, they will leave or change the topic. But you can become closer with a group of people after one evening of fruitful conversation that stems from those thoughts that truly dwell in your heart than countless Thirsty Thursdays talking about nothing (how Seinfeldian). What’s better, if you find someone with whom you can talk to about important topics night after night, then you can have your Beatrice to lift you from Sartre’s hell after all!

-rj

The Party of Oh… Crap

I am a Cowboys fan… Dallas Cowboys.  Let me give you a quick synopsis of what that meant this past year:

Dallas Cowboys start season as Super Bowl contenders, and Jerry Jones hints constantly at looking forward to the Cowboys playing in the Super Bowl at the brand new Texas Stadium (which, of course, is bigger than YOUR stadium).

Dallas Cowboys go 0-2… win 1 game, then lose the next 5.

1-7 for the team that had high hopes.  Many wept, Redskins fans rejoiced; we crumbled.

HOWEVER,

I now get to see what it felt like to be a Skins fan, and watch your rivals crumble under the weight of their own egos and expectations (Well, I got to twice, when the University of Texas precipitously fell to the bottom of the Big 12 South; below Baylor!).  Did anyone pay attention to the events of tonight on Capitol Hill?

I am watching the Democratic Party collapse tonight.  I’m popping popcorn, drinking a Shiner, and laughing at what I am hearing and reading.  Democrats were short of the 60 votes they needed to try and pass the DREAM Act in the Senate, so they shelved it.  Bear in mind, it is being placed on hold temporarily because the democrats have before the end of the year to try and legislate themselves some-million votes nation-wide.  Nevertheless, a victory for Republicans.  Next, Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed for a procedural motion on the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill, which included the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell provision.  Since that failed, Senators have promised to re-introduce a free-standing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell bill on the floor; but this is not exactly a morale booster for Senate Democrats today.  Finally, Democrats are none-too-pleased with the President and his reaching across the aisle on the issue of tax cuts.  How mad could they be?  Well, Rep. Shelley Berkley acknowledged that someone in the Democratic Caucus hissed “F*** the President” as they debated the bill.  As Ron White says: there’s some good news.  The outcome is that the Democratic Caucus came out and announced their stance on the bill, which follows what was said inside the caucus in the end.

Democrats seemed poised to enter into the wilderness as they relinquish control of the House.  Perhaps Sam Tannenhaus will write a book about the death of legislative liberalism?  But for right now, kick back and enjoy the new “Best Show on Earth,” because in two years, that might be us again…

-rj

Hallowed Ground of Gettysburg

America is blessed with a history graced by phenomenal political orators.  One of America’s most prized political speeches occurred this day, one hundred and forty seven years ago (seven score and seven years ago): the Gettysburg Address.  The number of words used barely reaches three hundred, a feat that most of us at thelobbyist cannot even endure.  The length of time was said to be around two minutes, and President Lincoln was not even the featured speaker. 

One of my idols, Dr. Walter Berns, remarked in his book Making Patriots that President Lincoln was unique in American history; he helped the nation realize that the Constitution could not be properly understood without the Declaration as her foundation.  Lincoln died for this belief, earning him the somber title of  “statesman, poet, and . . . the martyred Christ of democracy’s passion play.” 

Not everyone shares these sentiments, and I eagerly await fellow lobbyist Nick’s rebuttal.  Thomas J. DiLorenzo and the other paleo-cons have rather unflattering things to say about Dr. Berns and Lincoln admirers, going so far as to make claims that Dr. Berns and other scholars of his ilk are secret fascistsI can find such slandering on the signs of Lyndon LaRouche crack-pots as I visit the MVA… but I digress.

President Lincoln penned and then spoke words that have stood the test of time, and even this day the spirit of those words transcends modern politics.  That is what made his rhetoric so powerful: he spoke in terms of the high.  This does not mean that he was apolitical, and he did not seek a depoliticizing of history like our current President.  Au contraire, he met his adversaries head on and threw the gauntlet at the feet of slavery and demanded that America be unified according to her principles and the promises she made to all men under the omnipresent eye of Providence. 

I used to give Capital tours in DC, and I used to love to talk about how it was during President Lincoln’s tenure as Commander in Chief that saw the completion of the Capital dome we see today.  Critics would reprimand him for spending the money and using the iron necessary to construct the behemoth cave, but Lincoln said that he wanted those across the river in Confederate Virginia to see that the nation would be unified again. 

Please use this opportunity to read through one of America’s most prized oratorical relics, and visit American Rhetoric the website:

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

 

-rj

Dear Dems… Thank You

It’s around 1900 hours, or 7:00 pm.  About the time that everyone sits down to eat dinner after a long day, and many people will have the news on while eating and get caught up on the day’s events.  Well, there is something that I wanted to break to any fellow conservative Republicans on this website:

Nancy Pelosi won Minority Leader today.

Yes, the woman that ruined the democratic control of the House, and took Congressional approval to levels where the members need a snorkel to breath (that’s 17% approval folks) has been placed back in charge of the Democrats in the House.  Ya can’t fix stupid!

Dear Democrats,

THANK YOU.

Sincerely,

-rj

Take a Lesson from My ‘Boys…

I think it is safe to say that I have a particular affinity for tragic figures: Batman, Siegfried, Rorschach when I suffered through the movie The Watchmen, Fred Thompson in 2008, and my beloved Texas teams (NOT the University of Texas) including the Dallas Cowboys.  The Dallas Cowboys are finally taking the steps necessary to correct a season that transcends the term “tragic.”

The Cowboys fired Wade Phillips.

Praise the football Gods (which, as everyone knows, is a Holy Trinity consisting of Emmitt Smith, Daryl Johnston, and Troy Aikman) or human reason.  However, I learned very quickly that there can be a negative flip-side to every good action: the interim head coach for the Dallas Cowboys is now Jason Garrett, who is undoubtedly an even bigger reason for the Cowboys’ failures.

I got what I wanted… and now that old adage be careful what you wish for is ringing in my head.

So for those of you within the conservative movement that argue in favor of impeaching President Obama, keep this in mind: behind every Wade Phillips is a Jason Garrett, and behind President Obama is Vice President Biden…

-rj

Sorry Y’all

OK, I want to admit right off the bat that we here at theLobbyist have been fairly derelict in our duties.  This has been an exciting election season, and many of us are caught up in the fervor by campaigning for some of our local guys, or perhaps ypu have noticed that out ConservativeCongress site has blown up recently as people become more and more aware that CC exists to help people identify the conservative Congressional candidates in their district.

So I want to say, I’m sorry.

Here we are on the crest of a wave that is scheduled to level the political landscape in two days and those of us writing at theLobbyist have let you down.  Nevertheless, we are going to get up off our rear-ends (and enjoy it when we kick the Democratic establishment onto its rear-end) and get things up here for our readers.  Thanks!

-the editors

A Poem For That September Day

They reached for heaven, those towers, tall,

And graced her ever-blue skies that morn.

And though under man’s ire they were brought to fall,

crumbling to ash; natures truest form.

They reached for heaven, those birds of man,

For no other purpose than what we prescribe.

Down below, shadows grace the land,

As they slip across our own sky.

As Elijah’s chariot, they took to heaven,

Four, themselves full, against their will.

And shepherded many more, that nine eleven,

Whether by building, or man’s metallic quill.

No words born by man’s tongue dare,

Do what is justly owed to that day.

Though many wish to try, and fare,

Well, in telling of their own soul’s decay.

For many nothing more need be said,

Than the feeling shown, by our cheek’s tear.

For those of us, who claim no dead,

Embrace the less fortunate, and admonish their fear.

-rj

Obama Might Be Targeting Americans… and I’m OK With That

I am trying to work some things out in my mind, and I was hoping that I might solicit the help of a few of our thelobbyist comrades-in-arms (probably a poor idiom considering the topic at hand). Am I to assume, that police departments are not allowed (according to some) to ask for documentation pertaining to a person’s legal status in these United States; but it is imperative that our troops and commanders check the citizenship of people overseas in war-torn sections of the world before we take out a target?

The specific case I am talking about has to do with an American born- Anwar al-Awlaki. “Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen, born in New Mexico, and now residing in Yemen, where he repeatedly issues exhortations to murder his fellow Americans,” as reported by the Washington Independent. The Obama Administration has secret intelligence, as well as overt intelligence, tying the American to Al Qaeda operating in Yemen; he ministered to the 9/11 hijackers, was the possible inspiration for the Ft. Hood shooter, and purportedly had ties to the would-be Christmas bomber. Because of this, he has been placed on a counter-terrorism ‘hit-list.’ It is important to note, that the CIA reported that he was not placed on that list until they received intelligence that would lead them to believe that the operation al-Awlaki has been working on recently has gone from the planning stages to the operational stage.

Civil libertarians are upset over the fact that the Executive would use its power to summarily strip away an American’s citizenship and have that person, what they call, assassinated. I want to clear up, however, because killing someone who happens to be an American is not “assassination.” Every surreptitious murder of a fellow American would be assassination. It is the murder of a prominent political figure-head, generally for political purposes. Strategically killing someone who is fighting for the other side is not assassination, or does every time a Taliban or Al Qaeda soldier get killed without knowing whom killed him/her considered assassination? I think the fact that people are saying “Obama is assassinating Americans” only works to hype up the readership of periodicals (like they ever do that).

I understand the plight of the civil libertarians, I understand that they think that this action is a gross misuse of government power and that Americans cannot have their liberties stripped away.  Let us clear the record: yes, the government can take away your citizenship. There is a set of guidelines that shows what it takes for someone to loose their citizenship. Title 8, § 1481 details all of the reasons why someone might have their citizenship revoked:


A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—

People against the policy of killing American citizens during a time of war while those citizens are operating against the United States point to the ending clause of Subsection 8:

(8) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.

However, this final statement pertains to subsection 8 alone, because the previous seven subsections discuss other reasons why the government might revoke someone’s citizenship. Some talk about if the citizen goes to a consulate office and writes a formal letter, only then can their citizenship be officially withdrawn. Considering we are talking about people who are willing to use airplanes with civilians as missiles, and place plastic explosives in their shoes to kill Americans; I just can’t say that it is reasonable for people to expect terrorists (home-grown or not) to act reasonably. Besides, a person’s citizenship can be revoked the minute they join the ranks of a foreign army or try to usurp the United States government.

When the police are in a stand off with a suspect, an American citizen or not, they are forced to abide by the rule of law and their own standard operating procedures. In times of imminent peril and danger, either to themselves or to the hostages, they use sharp shooters to take out the suspect. No Mirandizing, no obtaining a warrant to search his persons, no trial and jury of his/her peers, the executive has the prerogative to take matters into their own hands in particular situations. I think that a war might be one of those situations. This is not the first time this question has been brought up, as Andy McCarthy writes:

The president is the commander-in-chief with primacy on questions regarding the conduct of war. Even if we were to accept for argument’s sake that at issue is a legal rather than a political judgment, Supreme Court precedent (the World War II era Quirin case and the 2004 Hamdi decision) hold that American citizens who fight for the enemy in wartime may be treated as enemy combatants, just like aliens.

The problem is that we have people who are trying to legislate war. Ironic. War is chaos, it is hell, it is the state of nature according to Hobbes. But then again, it is not the state of nature, because it isn’t all against all, it’s us against them: it’s political. Part of political justice is ensuring the safety of your own before that of those who are trying to harm you, and if it is someone who was once a part of the ‘us’ crowd, it is necessary and proper for the government to take the necessary steps to keep that person from harming the whole. We can try to contain the ravages of war with laws, but there are limits to doing this, as there are limits to everything else in life. But if we tie the hands of the president during a time of war, we tie the hands of the country and ultimately make it more possible for Americans here and abroad to perish. I support what the President is doing in this case, I think that going and throwing Hellfire missiles at every target does us no good; we loose actionable intelligence and sometimes cause collateral damage. But taking out someone that could be critical in the carrying out of terrorist operations is the duty of the President and myriad organizations that have been established to keep this country safe. When they are doing that, I will gladly thank them.

I just hope people keep this in mind when the DoJ and Attorney General Holder talk about “going after” the Bush Administration for their “detaining” and “enhanced interrogation” memos. The pro-National Security Bush crowd seems to be the only crowd (aside from the civil libertarians against both Administrations) that has a consistent policy. The real problem lies in the Obama Administration’s hypocrisy.

-rj

Free Speech…. NO! I Didn’t Mean ‘Theirs’!

Someone should tell Glenn Beck that is is terribly insensitive for him to have a “restoring honor” rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a Dream” speech and at the same location.  Haven’t we learned anything from the Ground Zero Mosque?  Obviously, this is not how I feel; I believe that the Ground Zero mosque can be built wherever the legal property owners want to build it, and we should give them the benefit of the doubt that they are going to operate as a peaceful mosque like so many other mosques in America do.  If the Northern Protestant Irishmen and women held the Catholic Church accountable for the sins of the IRA (and PIRA) as we do for Muslims, there wouldn’t be a single Catholic Church there.

But I digress: there is apparently something wrong with Glenn Beck’s rally, but not something wrong with the Ground Zero Mosque.  This is the stance some of our friends on the left are taking lately.  People are reacting worse to the Beck event than the Ground Zero Mosque as a matter of fact:

“We are going to take on the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty, that the Ku Klux — I meant to say the Tea Party,” Fauntroy told a news conference today at the National Press Club. “You all forgive me, but I — you have to use them interchangeably.”

So there are going to be counter-“Restoring Honor” rallies held to protest the people who are going to celebrate MLK’s dream, celebrate the brave men and women overseas, and celebrate the country and patriotism.  Apparently, these are topics that would offend the late Dr. King.  Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped Dr. King’s niece from supporting the “Restoring Honor” rally.  As a matter of fact, she is speaking at it.

What I am interested in seeing, is places like Wonkette and the DailyKos and Outside The Beltway, and how they are going to treat the counter-protesters.  Perhaps with the same venom and animosity as they have the Tea Party and counter-Ground Zero Mosquers?  I won’t put money on that!

-rj

Didn’t Ya Know!? The Government SAVED Ford Motors!

Yes, from the lips of (hopefully) soon-to-be-retired Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s lips, to your ears.  Senator Reid describes how Ford Motor Company, along with Chrysler (sold off) and General Motors, was saved by our wonderful Hegelian-God state (government is from whom you gain salvation, didn’t you know?).  Unfortunately, we find it necessary to remind Senator Reid that such is not the case.  As a matter of fact, we dedicated an entire article to it when Ford first pulled themselves up by the boot-straps! 

…it seems to me that Ford isn’t the only thing “F’d On Race Day,” as it appears Senator Reid will have the same problem this November.  (And before anyone gives me a hard time for citing the Rasmussen Poll instead of the newer PPP Poll, I say it’s because PPP hasn’t be considered the most accurate pollster like Rasmussen has…)

-rj

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