Thought for the day

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**Posted by Phineas

Roger Kimball quoting pollster Scott Rasmussen on the B-side of the entitlement mentality:

All this is true, and it deserves our constant attention. But Scott Rasmussen shifts his focus to the other side of the equation, one which I tried to adumbrate last week in my column β€œWards and Warders.” In order to work, the dependency agenda needs not only to cultivate the sheep, a population of dependents. It also needs to foster a population of controlling bureaucrats, the shepherds or warders of the system. And this brings us to what Rasmussen calls β€œthe real entitlement mentality that threatens to bankrupt the nation: A political class that feels entitled to rule over the rest of us.”

(Emphasis added)

One of those things that’s so obvious once said, you wonder how you never realized it before.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

“Meeting Young Obama”

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**Posted by Phineas

One of the great mysteries surrounding President Obama is his college career: not so much his grades as what he studied, under whom, and what his major activities were. His transcripts from his undergraduate and law school years are sealed, leaving a major gap in our knowledge of formative times and events of a man who would become President of the United States.

Before the election, the mainstream media failed utterly in their duty to examine the life of a serious candidate for president, choosing instead to beclown themselves with obsessions over Sarah Palin’s tanning bed and generally acting as Obama’s “Information Guards.”

Serious examinations of Obama’s background only finally began to come out years after the election, such as Stanley Kurtz’s meticulously researched “Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism,” and the current expose of Obama’s radical law school mentors underway at Breitbart.com.

There are other pieces to the puzzle coming out now, too. At American Thinker, former radical Marxist John Drew relates the story of the first time he met then-Occidental College undergrad Barack Obama. After first establishing his own credentials as a Marxist, Drew recounts his discussion with the young Obama:

[Obama’s friend Chandoo] Boss and Obama, however, had a starkly different view. They believed that the economic stresses of the Carter years meant revolution was still imminent. The election of Reagan was simply a minor set-back in terms of the coming revolution. As I recall, Obama repeatedly used the phrase “When the revolution comes….” In my mind, I remember thinking that Obama was blindly sticking to the simple Marxist theory that had characterized my own views while I was an undergraduate at Occidental College. “There’s going to be a revolution,” Obama said, “we need to be organized and grow the movement.” In Obama’s view, our role must be to educate others so that we might usher in more quickly this inevitable revolution.

(…)

Drawing on the history of Western Europe, I responded it was unrealistic to think the working class would ever overthrow the capitalist system. As I recall, Obama reacted negatively to my critique, saying: “That’s crazy!”

(…)

Since I was a Marxist myself at the time, and had studied variations in Marxist theory, I can state that everything I heard Obama argue that evening was consistent with Marxist philosophy, including the ideas that class struggle was leading to an inevitable revolution and that an elite group of revolutionaries was needed to lead the effort. If he had not been a true Marxist-Leninist, I would have noticed and remembered. I can still, with some degree of ideological precision, identify which students at Occidental College were radicals and which ones were not. I can do the same thing for the Occidental College professors at that time.

(Emphasis added)

Drew then recounts his satisfaction at thinking he had begun the process of steering Obama away from revolutionary Marxism toward bringing about Socialism through the electoral process.

I think he’s right. As revealed by Kurtz in his investigations, Obama over the next few years and as he learned while working as a community organizer and with people affiliated with the Midwest Academy, evolved into an “incremental” Socialist, seeking to bring about Socialism through gradual but irreversible change — such as ObamaCare.

But his commitment to that Socialist future has shown no sign of ever wavering.

PS: Some may argue that this is of little importance to the forthcoming election, that what matters is Obama’s miserable record in office. I disagree. While Obama’s record is crucial, without understanding his background, beliefs, and goals as best as we can, we have no context in which to truly understand that record. Thus books such as Kurtz’s and articles such as John Drew’s are still of singular relevance.

via Jayne Cobb Adam Baldwin

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Afghanistan: US soldier murders 16 Afghan civilians?

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**Posted by Phineas

Horrifying news.

An American soldier apparently went nuts in Afghanistan and gunned down 16 civilians in a village. From the BBC via Threat Matrix:

The soldier has not been named, but is thought to be a staff sergeant.

He is reported to have walked off his base at around 03:00 local time (22:30 GMT Saturday) and headed to nearby villages, moving methodically from house to house.

“Eleven members of my family are dead. They are all dead,” Haji Samad, an elder from Najeeban village, told the AFP news agency.

Haji Sayed Jan, from Alkozai village, was quoted by the AFP as saying: “My home was attacked and I lost four family members”.

A delegation from the provincial governor’s office has arrived in the village to determine exactly what happened, a spokesman said.

The soldier – who had reportedly suffered a breakdown before the attacks – is said to have handed himself over to the US military authorities after carrying out the killings.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said in a statement that US officials in Afghanistan would work with their Afghan counterparts to investigate what happened.

These are first reports and we can expect some part of them to turn out wrong, of course, but one has to wonder why a soldier who had “suffered a breakdown” was still in Afghanistan or even allowed a weapon.

Regardless, while doing all it can to quell the almost-inevitable furor, the Administration should resist any demands to turn him over to Afghan authorities for “justice.” He should be tried and, if found guilty, punished as dictated by Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

This will almost surely make the riots after the Qur’an burning incident look like Sunday in the park; the Taliban are already exploiting this for all it’s worth. In a tribal shame-and-honor culture, revenge killings are the norm. Let’s hope any precautions taken are enough to prevent other American and Coalition soldiers from suffering for this man’s crime.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)