Posts by: "Joe Steigerwald"

billofhannityControversy is raging in America. The First Amendment, long the bulwark of our country’s freedom, is under attack from the left and the right. Our freedom to say whatever we want, anytime we want, to whomever we want, is being threatened by the fascist forces in our government, hellbent on silencing the last true American patriots.

Wait, are you telling me this doesn’t have anything to do with the government?

You’re telling me it’s about a redneck duck?

Oh, not a redneck duck, a redneck on a show loosely based around ducks.

And who else?

From The Hunt for Red October?

That’s it?

Ah yes, the guy who wants Sarah Palin defecated on.

No America, the government isn’t trying to take away our rights to say moronic things. That freedom is very obviously still intact. In reality this matter has nothing to do with the government, and thus is completely unrelated to the First Amendment.

For  you see gentle readers, the government has absolutely no control over whether or not employees get fired by their employers. If you want to go on YouTube and make racist, sexist, or profane comments about your company, your boss, blacks, whites, Jews, Jamaicans, short people, women, men, cats, dogs, the blind, or the deaf you have every right, as granted by the First Amendment, to do so without fear of government repercussion.

But your ass is gonna get fired if you do. That’s because your First Amendment rights absolutely do not protect you from your place of work. You can rail all you like against the repressive policies arbitrarily placed on you by your employer, but guess what, if you want to go around airing your views, you better make damn sure you’re not going to offend the people in charge (and I’m not talking about Obama).

Therefore when Willie Robertson compares homosexuality to bestiality or Alec Baldwin uses offensive language or Martin Bashir hopes people shit on Sarah Palin they’re going to get fired. It may not be the “right” thing to do, but it sure as hell isn’t a First Amendment issue. So next time a mentally deficient, fake-constitutionalist like Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, or Bobby Jindal decides to bring up the First Amendment, you can politely point them to this: First Amendment to the Constitution. They obviously need a refresher.

This fun little parable was written by my father, the great Bill Steigerwald, and I, the good Joe Steigerwald. Originally written as a children’s book, it was turned into a serial and rewritten to appeal to a more mature audience when we found out that there is no market for a non-liberal kids book. First published at Townhall and Watts Up With That? It’s now being re-released in full at Steigerwald Post.

G. P. Bear goes to Washington

The true story of a libertarian carnivore

George Orwell used satire and talking pigs in “Animal Farm.” Now, with a foot of snow in Jerusalem signaling the start of the next ice age, veteran libertarian journalist Bill Steigerwald shamelessly steals Orwell’s idea and uses talking polar bears to poke fun at global warming alarmists and their fellow travelers in Washington and the media.

Twisting the title of director Frank Capra’s movie masterpiece to his own evil ends, Steigerwald and his son Joe have created “G.P. Bear Goes to Washington.”  The 6-part serialized “docu-fable” stars Grandpa, a magical, media-savvy and proudly skeptical libertarian polar bear who understands his species is in far greater danger from the interventions of the federal government, Barbara Boxer, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio and overzealous wildlife scientists than from anthropogenic climate change.

 Part 1

“Are we not polar bears?”

Of all the animals the Inuit traditionally hunted, Nanuk, the polar bear, was the most prized. Native hunters considered Nanuk to be wise, powerful, and “almost a man.” Some called the bear “the great lonely roamer.” Many tribes told legends of strange polar-bear men that lived in igloos. These bears walked upright, just like men, and were able to talk. Natives believed they shed their skins in the privacy of their homes.

– Polar Bears International

 TASIILAQ, EAST GREENLAND

 

Grandpa Polar Bear was relaxing in his easy chair watching a special news report on TV called “Plight of the Polar Bears.” As a mother bear and her cub stood forlornly on a tiny shrinking iceberg somewhere near the Arctic Circle, the dashing reporter from CNN sounded like he was going to cry.

“…. because of global climate change, polar bears are suffering population losses and may soon become extinct. Rising temperatures are melting the sea ice earlier and earlier each summer, leaving the bears less time to hunt for their primary food ­ — ringed seals. If we don’t reduce our burning of fossil fuels soon, scientists say the only place our children will be able to see these magnificent creatures will be in a zoo or in a Walt Disney movie. For CNN, I’m Anderson Cooper.”

“Extinct!?” Grandpa roared, slapping the arms of his leather chair with his huge paws. “Melting sea ice!? Shrinking bear populations? Who writes this junk, Al Gore?”

“Don’t get upset, Dad,” said Mother, looking up from her latest copy of Reason magazine. “It’s CNN. What do you expect? Fairness? Balance?”

“What were they saying about polar bears dying, Grandpa?” asked Junior, looking worried as he came in from the kitchen with a bottle of Coke.

“Nothing, Junior. Nothing,” Grandpa grumbled. “Just a lot of make-believe.”

After dinner, Grandpa read Junior a bedtime story. As Grandpa was about to turn off the nightlight, Junior asked, “Grandpa, why do you yell at the TV? The people in it can’t hear you.”

“I know,” Grandpa said with a smile. “They live far away in New York and Washington. That’s why they don’t know anything about polar bears or the Arctic.”

Junior looked anxiously at Grandpa. “Mother said your heart will get attacked if you keep yelling at the news.”

“Don’t you worry,” Grandpa chuckled. “I just get mad when humans make us look like sissies who can’t handle a little change in the weather. We’re polar bears, for Pete’s sake. We’re not helpless victims. We don’t need the government, Keith Olbermann, Greenpeace, Leonardo DiCaprio or anyone else to protect us from Mother Nature.

“If humans just left us alone ­ and if their scientists stopped chasing us with helicopters and shooting us with dart guns ­ we’d be fine.”

“Why don’t you go to where the humans on TV live and yell at them?” wondered Junior. “Everyone always listens when you yell.”

“They wouldn’t believe a thing I’d tell them. But that’s a good idea, Junior,” Grandpa said, clicking off the nightlight. “A darn good idea. ”

*****

“Guess what I learned today?” Junior asked as he came running in from school.

“I can’t imagine,” Grandpa mumbled.

“Shush, Dad,” said Mother. “What did you learn, Junior?”

“I learned all about ‘global melting,’ ” Junior began breathlessly. “The whole world is getting hotter because humans drive too many cars. The sea ice is going to go away forever and — ”

“Whoa!” interrupted Grandpa. “Who taught you that stuff? Rachel Maddow?”

“No,” said Junior. “Principal Hansen. She came to homeroom today. Her big computer says Earth is getting hotter and hotter and Greenland is melting really, really fast. All the ice will be gone when I get as old as you.”

“That’s preposterous,” Grandpa said.

“Principal Hansen said the oceans will get taller and taller,” Junior said with a worried look on his face. “Principal Hansen said polar bears and lots of other animals will get ‘stinkt if humans keep burning stuff like coal. It’s really scary, Grandpa.”

“Principal Hansen’s crazier than Al Gore,” Grandpa said to Mother so Junior couldn’t hear. “Didn’t I tell you that boy should have been home-schooled?”

Later that same night, after midnight, Grandpa was at his desk. He was sending his usual round of disparaging e-mails to the politicians in Washington when Junior’s cry pierced the stillness.

“Grandpa!” Junior wailed. “Help me. I’m burning!”

Grandpa and Mother raced to Junior’s bedside. Junior was crying in his sleep. “Help me, Grandpa,” he pleaded mournfully. “I’m too young to melt.”

“Junior, wake up,” Grandpa said, shaking him. “You’re dreaming.”

Junior’s eyes popped open. “Grandpa! Mother! The ice was all gone! We were stuck on a tiny iceberg. The ocean was boiling!”

“It was just a silly nightmare, Junior,” soothed Mother. “The ice isn’t melting. See?” she said, patting the rock-hard wall of their cave.

Grandpa was fuming. He gritted his big teeth and looked Junior straight in his teary eyes.

“Boy,” he said firmly, “I’m going to tell you something I want you to remember for the rest of your life. We are polar bears. We are the largest land carnivores on Earth. We are the species ursus maritimus — ­ ‘bears of the sea.’ We can swim 200 miles. We can walk 100 miles a day.

“We learned how to live on this frozen wasteland thousands of years before humans discovered fire. There are 25,000 of us alive today ­ — twice as many as 50 years ago. We are not going to become extinct ­ no matter what Principal Hansen and her big computers say. Now go to sleep ­ and no more silly nightmares.”

“That was no nightmare,” Grandpa whispered angrily to Mother. “That boy’s being brainwashed by a bunch of kooks.”

“That’s all the schools teach,” said Mother. “It’s like a new religion. Every cub I know thinks the ice will be gone before they grow up. All the mothers are complaining.”

Grandpa was fuming. “Polar bears having nightmares,” he snarled. “That’s pathetic. It’s time somebody stood up to lunatics like Hansen and their doomsday stories.”

 

READ PARTS 2-6 OF THIS MAGICAL ADVENTURE HERE.

imagine-a-world-without-DCAn ass sits where an Abe once sat.

The year is 20whatever and a nuclear sunset falls over the once glorious Capital built on the backs of the taxpayers of the land once known as North America. A young boy, sick from lack of universal health care and a withered man without unemployment compensation stumble towards the great phallic symbol of the United States. Now broken and crumbling, it signifies the end of the American empire, metaphorically. The boy and his father won’t survive the winter, even though the ice caps have all melted and global warming has increased average winter temperatures to a balmy 70 degrees.

“What is this place?” the boy inquired.

“My son, we are in what is called a ‘parable,'” the father replied solemnly. “It’s an instructive story that illustrates lessons and principles to the reader through analogies and metaphors. It’s a way for people who believe they are intelligent and witty to dumb down complex ideas to a straightforward manner so that morons can easily understand the point the writer is trying to make.”

“I don’t understand any of the things you just said, dad,” the boy said, staring down at what was at one time a road, but now was just a metaphor for a budget impasse that was never solved. “I grew up in a time without the Department of Education, remember?”

“Son, for the last time, that’s not an excuse. You can still learn things without government.”

“I’m a victim of bad character development, Dad, lay off.”

In the distance a loud kerfuffle could be heard. The dad grabbed his son and dove behind a dilapidated park bench.

“What is that?” the son whispered as a group of Mad Max-inspired bikers rode by.

“Those, my son, are dystopian cliches, and they are everywhere in poorly-written parables like this one.”

The father reached into his pocket and carefully unfolded a yellowed and torn piece of paper. At the top, the words Welcome to Ted Cruz’s Thunderdome, by Maureen Dowd, were written in faded black ink.

“This is the bullshit world in which we live.”

The father scanned the writings that he had read countless times.

An ape sits where Abe sat.

“That’s a reference to Planet of the Apes,” the father said as he counted out the number of obvious dystopian references that Dowd had packed into her parable. “It doesn’t make any sense in this context, but no piece of bad dystopian writing would be complete without at least a reference.”

Tea Party zombies, thrilled with the dark destruction they have wreaked on the planet, continue to maraud around the Hill, eager to chomp on humanity some more.

“Zombies, always a necessary detail in a dystopian cliche. They represent the breakdown of society and a government unable to protect its people from themselves.” [or sometimes just consumerism, OMG MALLS)

Unlike Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games,” where the capital thrived as the nation withered, here, the capital withered first, as the federal city shriveled without federal funds. But, in other ways, it mirrors the fantasy dystopias depicted by Hollywood and Cormac McCarthy in his novel “The Road,” “bloodcults” consuming one another in “an ashen scabland,” a “cold illucid world.”

“Here’s where Dowd gets lazy, she starts to just name-check popular movies that were adapted from popular books in her time.”

In 2084, there’s little sign of life in the godless and barren lost world. The insurance exchanges are open and the kinks are almost ironed out. But there is no one to sign up. Koch brother drones patrol the skies.A Mad Max motorcycle gang wielding hacksaws roars through the C.I.A., now a field of dead cornstalks, and the fetid hole that was once Michelle Obama’s organic vegetable garden. Will Smith and Brad Pitt are here, hunting aliens and monsters.

“Those are the bikers that just roared through.”

The Navy-Air Force game goes on, somehow, and there are annual CrossFit games on the Mall, led by flesh-eating Dark Seeker Paul Ryan, now 114 years old.

“Dark Seekers, now that’s a reference to the movie I Am Legend.”

“Please stop papa!” the boy cried out in pain. “The writing… it’s just too terrible. None of it makes any sense, except for the glitches in the online health insurance exchanges. Why would the Koch brothers have their own fleet of drones? How are Brad Pitt and Will Smith still alive and how are they the ones fighting aliens and monsters? She knows they’re just actors right? I can’t take any more bad movie references.”

“I’m sorry son, I know it’s hard to read. I should have just showed you this.” The father said as he pulled out his iPhone and navigated to Wikipedia. He typed list of dsytopian films in the search box.

The boy looked down at his feet, bloody for lack of shoes. (They had been worn to dust in the great CrossFit games.) “Can’t we escape?”

“No, I’m afraid we’re stuck here in this poorly written, cliche-wracked parable forever.”

“What will happen to us?”

“Well, if I know anything about bad writing…” The father trailed off and stared stoically into the distance. His gaze took in the alien ships blasting lasers at destroyed buildings, Godzilla fighting Mothra, the vampires, the sentient machines hunting human prey, the zombies, The Tea Partiers, the giant two-headed 0ctopus with the word “Kochtapus” on its brow that towered above the DC skyline.

“What?” The son asked.

“I’m afraid we have to die to satisfy the liberal orthodoxy that has permeated this shoddily-constructed, nonsensical world.”

“Well,” the son said sighing, “It’s probably better than living in a badly-written world filled with contradictions and over-the-top conservative boogeymen.”

“That’s a good boy,” the father said proudly. “You’re already smarter than 87 percent of The New York Times op-ed columnists, and you have a brighter future!”

The boy began to smile. “Papa stop, you’re making me happy. Are all the bad liberal dinosaur newspapers gone?”

Looking through the burning sky toward the (INSERT POST-APOCALYPTIC ADJECTIVE HERE) Lincoln Memorial where Maureen Dowd sits in Abe’s chair, the man replies happily, “Yes son. They’re all gone now.”

espn-native-american-expert-rick-reilly-washington-redskinsJust call him Rick Reilly, Indian whisperer.

As much as I hate the PC crowd, there are lines. Lines that white 11-time sportswriters of the year from ESPN probably shouldn’t cross. It’s not that I’m against anyone opining on any subject. But if you’re going to write about why the Redskins shouldn’t change their name it’s probably best if your star witness isn’t your part American Indian father-in-law.

I guess this is where I’m supposed to fall in line and do what every other American sports writer is doing. I’m supposed to swear I won’t ever write the words “Washington Redskins” anymore because it’s racist and offensive and a slap in the face to all Native Americans who ever lived. Maybe it is.

I just don’t quite know how to tell my father-in-law, a Blackfeet Indian. He owns a steak restaurant on the reservation near Browning, Mont. He has a hard time seeing the slap-in-the-face part.

Reilly, whose wife’s father speaks for all Native Americans, doesn’t care, so you’re off the hook, America.

Who cares if the dictionary defines Redskin as dated and offensive, who cares if the team was named by one of the most notorious racists in the history of professional sports. Who cares if Reilly himself was one of the first sportswriters to come out against professional sports teams who caricatured Native Americans, before he was against it.

Who cares that the Oneida Indian Nation is actively protesting the name?

Of course Reilly has the right to express his opinion on the matter. This is America, (and his opinion isn’t any stupider than that of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder). But as Americans who possess brains, we have the right to berate the hell out of Reilly for doing so. And we Americans have spoken. Our response? Reilly is an idiot. Chris Greenberg from Huffington Post, Bobby Big Wheel of Kissing Suzy Kolber, Dave Zirin of The Nation, and Tim Marchman of Deadspin are just a few of the many sportswriters piling on Reilly for his over-generalized, anecdotal defense of the name “Redskins.”

As much as it pains me to agree with The Nation or Huffington Post, they’re right. Once one of the most respected sportswriters in the country, Rick Reilly’s fall from grace since leaving Sports Illustrated is well documented. But his weak defense of “Redskins” is so monstrously out of touch and misbegotten that it’s more likely that it will have the opposite effect as intended and will drive people over to the other side of the debate. Really, Reilly couldn’t have penned a better article for those arguing for a name change. A middle-aged white man, using anecdotal evidence derived from relatives and some high-school employees, yeah, that’s going to change a lot of people’s minds.

Reilly takes the few Native Americans that he spoke to across the country and uses that as proof they don’t care about the name. Hell they’re even proud of it.

“I’ve talked to our students, our parents and our community about this and nobody finds any offense at all in it,” says Tim Ames, the superintendent of Wellpinit schools. “‘Redskins’ is not an insult to our kids. ‘Wagon burners’ is an insult. ‘Prairie n—–s’ is an insult. Those are very upsetting to our kids. But ‘Redskins’ is an honorable name we wear with pride. … In fact, I’d like to see somebody come up here and try to change it.” […]

“We have two great tribes here,” says Kingston assistant school superintendent Ron Whipkey, “the Chicasaw and the Choctaw. And not one member of those tribes has ever come to me or our school with a complaint. It is a prideful thing to them.” […]

“It’s a name that honors the people,” says Kingston English teacher Brett Hayes, who is Choctaw. “The word ‘Oklahoma’ itself is Choctaw for ‘red people.’ The students here don’t want it changed. To them, it seems like it’s just people who have no connection with the Native American culture, people out there trying to draw attention to themselves. […]

“My kids are really afraid we’re going to lose the Redskin name. They say to me, ‘They’re not going to take it from us, are they, Dad?'”

Nice try, Reilly, but what you’ve forgotten to mention in your strawman argument is that no one is trying to scrub the moniker “Redskins” from all America’s sports teams — just the one that has no affiliation with Native Americans.

Reilly is unmoved even by his fellow ESPN employees are jumping on the hate wagon.

Edmundo Macedo, vice president of ESPN’s Stats & Information group, told ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte that the term Redskins is abhorrent. “We would not accept anything similar as a team nickname if it were associated with any other ethnicity or any other race,” Macedo said.

Oh, yes, we would.

In fact, ESPN and many other media companies cover the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves without a single searing search of their social conscience.

Doesn’t matter. The 81-year-old Washington Redskins name is falling, and everybody better get out of the way. For the majority of Native Americans who don’t care, we’ll care for them. For the Native Americans who haven’t asked for help, we’re glad to give it to them.

Trust us. We know what’s best. We’ll take this away for your own good, and put up barriers that protect you from ever being harmed again.

Kind of like a reservation.

A lesser property than Reilly would have been fired on the spot for that last line. But Reilly is still gainfully employed (for now).

As far as the other teams mentioned by Reilly are concerned, Indians is not considered a slur, neither is Braves. Notre Dame Fighting Irish could be construed as an insult but as Joe Flood at Buzzfeed notes, “the key difference between Notre Dame and the Washington Redskins: Notre Dame is a Catholic, largely Irish institution. ‘Fighting Irish’ is their term to use.” Just like “Redskins” is okay for Native American high schools that want to use it.

It’s safe to think that Reilly wouldn’t have been so bold in talking about a larger, more powerful minority group. If he had been talking about African-Americans would he have had the gumption to write “plantation?”  No, because Jesse Jackson would have been on him before he finished typing the sentence. And therein lies the crux of the problem. Since Native Americans only make up 0.6% of the population of the United States, they don’t have the power to make their voices heard over the NFL noise machine.

Would Reilly be okay with a sports team from Cape Town being named after an ethnic slur for black people? How about a team from Berlin being named the “kikes?” Would Reilly substitute “reservation” for concentration camp? Of course not. That would be unbelievably racist and insensitive to the genocide that took place in the 1930s and ’40s. But in Reilly’s world the two are different. Native Americans were murdered and forced out of their lands back in the 1700 and 1800s and Reilly, like most Americans, develops convenient amnesia about that genocide. Moreover, the city where the proclamations and laws permitting genocide against Native Americans originated decided to “honor” them by naming its sports team after them. If I were Native American, I’d be as upset about being associated with Washington D.C. as I was the name “Redskins.”

simpsons-kodos-treehouseofhorrorStupid Point/Counterpoint is a new feature in which Stag Blog columnist Joe Steigerwald counters the worst editorials on the internet with a well-written and thought out rebuttal. Also: mockery and yelling.

How do you write a critique of libertarianism without doing any research into the subject of libertarianism? Join Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer as they answer that question, and more!

AMERICA, did you know there is a shadowy group of extremists whose only goal is bringing about the destruction of the state? This cadre of radicals operates under our very noses, advocating for less government and more personal freedom. If we allow them to succeed they will plunge the country into destruction. They must be eliminated.

I for one thank God that we have Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu to expose these monsters.

Are Libertarians the new Communists? The question, authored by Michael Bloomberg under the pen name Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu, would appear to have an obvious answer: no. Or, more appropriately: hell no, are you stupid? However, that is only because you have been brainwashed by the massive libertarian juggernaut. They of the 1 percent of the popular vote in the 2012 Presidential election and zero active members in the U.S. government.

The article posits that while communism and extreme libertarianism (a word so unpopular spell check doesn’t even recognize it) appear to be “polar opposites” they are actually “mirror images,” and the adoption of either would result in unchecked human misery, poverty, and tyranny.

I’d like to think (or at least pray) that most people would laugh when they read Hanauer and Liu’s anti-libertarian polemic appearing (ever so appropriately) at Bloomberg.com. I’d love to believe that most rational humans who read the article threw up their hands, closed down their browsers, got back into their beds, and pulled up the covers; vowing never again to leave their house. Those few people who actually finished the article probably fell into one of two camps: enraged libertarians and Michael Bloomberg worshiping authoritarians.

Some articles with terrible headlines actually improve upon close reading. This isn’t one of them. It turns out the title is probably the most well thought-out part of the entire endeavor. It’s completely misleading, but it’s excellent link bait. The headline screams that juicy controversial content is inside — it begs to be clicked and shared– but the article can’t deliver upon that promise. It’s obviously unreasearched, blatantly misleading on every level, and poorly written. The writers have to strain the limits of belief to build their rather shaky case that a country run by “extremist” libertarians would develop the same problems that plague the communist-controlled China, Cuba, and North Korea.

By the second paragraph Hanauer and Liu have changed their entire premise: libertarians aren’t the problem, it’s the “extremist” or “radical” wing of the party that is the problem. Unfortunately the named are all Republicans, not libertarians, and certainly not part of the “extremist” wing of the party:

Some of the radical libertarians are Ayn Rand fans who divide their fellow citizens into makers, in the mold of John Galt, and takers, in the mold of anyone not John Galt.

Some, such as the Koch brothers, are economic royalists who repackage trickle-down economics as “libertarian populism.” Some are followers of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whose highest aspiration is to shut down government. Some resemble the anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, who has made a career out of trying to drown, stifle or strangle government.

Yes, liberty is a core American value, and an overweening state can be unhealthy. And there are plenty of self-described libertarians who have adopted the label mainly because they support same-sex marriage or decry government surveillance. These social libertarians aren’t the problem. It is the nihilist anti-state libertarians of the Koch-Cruz-Norquist-Paul (Ron and Rand alike) school who should worry us.

Liu and Hanauer round up the usual capitalist boogey men: Ayn Rand and her ever-pulsing mass of followers, the “sinister 6,” an evil group of superlibertarians featuring: The Koch brothers, AKA the Kochtopus, Rand “Republican Senator from Tennessee” Paul, Ron “Dr. No” Paul, Grover “The Tax Slayer” Norquist, and Ted “I’m not a libertarian, why am I on this list” Cruz. This band of evil anti-statist extremists want nothing more than to destroy the government and plunge America into freedom anarchy.

Lui and Hanauer make the usual mistake of equating anyone who wants to reduce the size of government (no matter how slight) to extremist libertarians. No self-respecting libertarian (must less a radical extremist) would ever include Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in their secret coven, even if they agree with some of their policies. This is where the authors betray their own statist ideology. Even the smallest notion of shrinking the government sends shockwaves through Lui and Hanauer’s entire being. Their reaction to a tiny faction of dedicated but hopelessly outnumbered ideologues is to go nuclear on an entire ideology. They don’t want to marginalize the radical libertarian movement, they want to annihilate anyone who dares think that government is growing too large. To them this means cobbling together a disparate group of politicians and advocates who loosely share a streak of libertarianism into a shadowy group of “extremists” and “radicals” and slandering the hell out of them.

Lui and Hanauer’s premise — which on its own is ridiculous — is quickly revealed to be merely a hit piece on Republican bigwigs and future presidential candidates  Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are almost a lock to run in 2016, and Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers receive nearly daily slandering from the left.

When you compare an ideology that has produced nearly 100 million victims to one that advocates personal freedom and extremely limited government you should probably introduce some evidence into the equation. Alas, there is little evidence to to be found in the article (though they have plenty of hearsay and conjecture. Which are “kinds of evidence.”)

We say the conditional “would” because radical libertarianism has a fatal flaw: It can’t be applied across a functioning society. What might radical libertarians do if they actually had power? A President Paul would rule by tantrum, shutting down the government in order to repeal laws already passed by Congress. A Secretary Norquist would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and progressive taxation, so that the already wealthy could exponentially compound their advantage, as the programs that sustain a prosperous middle class are gutted. A Koch domestic policy would obliterate environmental standards for clean air and water, so that polluters could externalize all their costs onto other people.

Radical libertarians would be great at destroying. They would have little concept of creating or governing. It is in failed states such as Somalia that libertarianism finds its fullest actual expression.

First of all it would be very hard for a single, lone libertarian in the halls of Washington D.C. to do anything close to the kinds of things that Lui and Hanauer propose would happen. Apparently they have forgotten about the hundreds of Republicans and Democrats lining the aisles of Congress. Secondly, once again the authors fail to name a single libertarian. Thirdly, saying Somalia is the “fullest actual expression” of libertarianism is represents an alarming lack of knowledge about Somalia, libertarianism, world affairs, politics, war, culture, religion, federalism, constitutional law, economics, capitalism, rational arguments (etc. etc.). It’s a gross misrepresentation of libertarianism, and all too common from the statist left. (For future reference I do recommend at least wikipedia-ing “libertarian” before writing about it. Hint, hint)

Some libertarians will claim we are arguing against a straw man and that no serious adherent to their philosophy advocates the extreme positions we describe. The public record of extreme statements by the likes of Cruz, Norquist and the Pauls speaks for itself.

Citations? References? Links? A link to a Google search of “extreme statements by Ron Paul?” Something/Anything?  When you include “speaks for itself” in an article, it usually means, “I heard Ed Schulz bashing him on TV and it sounded pretty convincing.”

The rest of the article is a wan, inarticulate defense of government:  cooperation! Evolving blends of freedom! True citizenship! Buzzwords written for the Sesame Street crowd. Not even worth a copy and paste.

Even if  libertarianism isn’t your political ideology of choice it’s hard to imagine an article that does less to actually link libertarianism and communism together. If Liu and Hanauer had used the headline “radical libertarianism is bad” no one would have batted an eyelash. Even if they had written a well-reasoned, researched article about how they don’t believe libertarianism can work in this global climate, there would be little outrage. But they misrepresented their entire argument in the title, thus ensuring angry libertarians would comment/tweet/write blog rebuttals (wait a second…) and their article would go viral. However, this fails to identify this article’s raison d’etre: It’s a hit piece on the libertarian(ish) conservatives currently flexing their muscles in the House and Senate. Somehow the article paints the (slight) inclination to (possibly) reduce the size of government as a tenet of radical libertarianism. That’s not radical, that’s not even libertarian. That’s very basic conservative, small government-type views. (If you want radical libertarianism try Sheldon Richman on for size.)

Liu and Hanauer subscribe to the standard liberal trope: government is inherently a good and pure institution. All it takes is tinkering and fine-tuning to make it work. To all problems, the solution: more government. But the moment anyone wants to reduce or streamline the massive government bureaucracy, they are viewed as radicals. Liu and Hanauer’s piece is one published in fear and reaction to a growing  inclination amongst the plebeians that government might be growing too big and too powerful for its (or, rather, our) own good.

But all is not lost. When the radical libertarian Rand Paul is elected President in 2016 we, dedicated soldiers of libertarianism will descend on Liu, Hanauer and their ilk, and send them and all enemies of the revolution to prison camps, where they will starve and die. No wait, that’s communism. I’m sorry, I get them confused sometimes too.

If you’ve made it this far you already know; this article was written by Joe Steigerwald. Follow him on twitter @steigerwaldino. Don’t follow him on Facebook, but you can follow The Stag Blog. Look at the other stuff I’ve done: Steigerwald Post

This is Kal Penn.

kal-penn-2Notice the dark hair, eyes, and complexion. Born Kalpen Suresh Modi, he changed his name once he became an actor because he thought his birth name inhibited his ability to get call-backs on auditions.

Penn rose to movie notoriety through the “Harold and Kumar” series. In Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Kal’s character Kumar and his best friend Harold (John Cho) suffered a series of misadventures punctuated by racist cops and racist “extreme” punks, while interacting with stereotype-busting Asians and put-upon African-Americans who were thrown in jail for no reason (other than being black). In the sequel Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Harold and Kumar are sent to Guantanamo Bay because Kumar is mistaken for a terrorist.

haroldandkumarterrorist

Why is this important? Because of irony (and not just the Alanis Morissette kind).

On Monday, a federal judge ruled the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy “violated the constitutional rights of minorities in the city” and could not continue in its current form.

Naturally New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg was upset that his pet project was put on the skids.

More surprising was the support the law received from Mr. Penn.

Irony: the star of a franchise whose central theme revolves around the fallibility of stereotypes — and the problems that arise from it, decides to come out in favor of a law that stereotypes African-Americans (and Hispanics) as criminals that don’t deserve protection under the Fourth Amendment.

Kal, a fervent Democrat and who worked as associate director for the White House’s Office of Public Engagement until 2011 (read: he was a hype man for Obama,) fancies himself a future political star. Unfortunately it looks like he’s also a racist.

You’d think that an actor who rose to fame in a movie franchise that revolves around breaking stereotypes would be a little more sensitive to the plight of minorities.

Unfortunately Kal didn’t soak up any of the information gleaned from these movies. Hopefully he’ll learn something from the upcoming sequels to the Harold and Kumar series: Harold: Because Kumar got Renditioned and Harold and Kumar Don’t Get to Go to White Castle Because Kumar gets Killed by Racists Who Think He’s Muslim in the Post 9/11 Fervor.

When we think about anti-government songs, naturally the mind wanders to the punk and folk genres. And usually these songs are terrible. Three to four chords, awkwardly forced lyrics, musicianship that would make Simple Plan blush. Fortunately, there exists songs that not only rock, but also have a good ol’ fashioned anti-government message. Because these songs feature actual rock and roll played by actual musicians, hippies, indie kids, and punks should use caution when listening.

7. The Trees – Rush

PEART-INENT LYRICS: So the maples formed a union/And demanded equal rights/The oaks are just too greedy/We will make them give us light/Now there’s no more oak oppression/For they passed a noble law/And the trees are all kept equal/By hatchet, axe, and saw.

This prog-rock classic by Rush from their 1978 album Hemispheres is a searing attack on unions and forced equality. The use of oaks and maples makes the lyrics a little too cute, but the message is loud and clear.

6. Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who

KEY PHRASE: There’s nothing in the streets, looks any different to me/And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye/And the parting on the left is now parting on the right/And the beards have all grown longer overnight.

Won’t Get Fooled Again isn’t exactly a libertarian screed– Pete Townshend probably shares more in common with socialists than libertarians– but the lyrics definitely harken a world in which both the left and right fight for their own good and the people get the shaft. Every third party candidate should adopt this song as their own.

5. Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine

KEY RAGING: Line up to the mind cemetery now/What we don’t know keeps the contracts alive an movin/’They don’t gotta burn the books they just remove ’em/While arms warehouses fill as quick as the cells

One of the hardest rocking songs ever written, and a dynamite screed against government. Rage Against the Machine may be awful, horrible left-wing nutjobs, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t common ground with libertarians. They hate the government, we hate the government. They hate the military industrial complex, we hate the military industrial complex. They hate capitalism, we hate… [END OF SIMILARITIES].

4. Symphony of Destruction – Megadeth

LORD ACTON-APPROVED LYRICS: You take a mortal man/And put him in control/Watch him become a god/Watch peoples heads a’roll

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine may be insane, and he may not be a lyrical genius (see above,) but he can shred a mean guitar and he hates the government. The song itself rails against the corruptive power of power. Lord Acton would be proud.

3. Taxman – Beatles

THESE LYRICS APPROVED BY GROVER NORQUIST: If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street/If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat/If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat/If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

Not the subtlest lyrics ever written. But damn are they accurate.

2. Electric Eye – Judas Priest

NSA NON-APPROVED LYRICS: Up here in space/I’m looking down on you./My lasers trace/Everything you do./You think you’ve private lives/Think nothing of the kind./There is no true escape/I’m watching all the time./I’m made of metal/My circuits gleam./I am perpetual/I keep the country clean.

If there was ever a song to describe the past few months, this would be it. Priest may have written the song in 1982 as an homage to George Orwell’s 1984, but it holds even more meaning in today’s ever-expanding surveillance state. It’s easy to imagine the analysts at the NSA cranking this over their loudspeakers as they record your personal conversations. “Electric Eye” was so prescient it was even noticed by Stephen Kinsella at Lew Rockwell.com.

1. Cult of Personality – Living Colour

BLINDLY FOLLOW THESE LYRICS: I sell the things you need to be/I’m the smiling face on your TV/I’m the cult of personality/I exploit you, still you love me/I tell you one and one makes three/I’m the cult of personality/Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi/I’m the cult of personality

According to Wikipedia, “Cult of personality” refers to “an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.” If there was ever a song to describe the past 5 years… “Cult of Personality” isn’t just one of the best songs ever written, it’s also informative and educational! Living Colour name drops Stalin, Kennedy, Gandhi, and Mussolini, and includes a snippet of FDR reciting his famous “nothing to fear but fear itself” speech. A killer riff, history, one of the great guitar solos of all time, a thoughtful examination of the dangers of hero worship and a complicit media; this song has it all.

The Loathe List is a weekly monthly whenever I have time feature where Joe Steigerwald, erstwhile Stag Blog “hater,” takes on the worst of the media world, and literally disembowels them (figuratively).

Meet Joe Klein: author, journalist, and according to Joe Klein Idiota Google image search, idiot.

Joe Klein enjoys looking smug and possibly playing basketball for the Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics in the 1980s. In his spare time he writes “In the Arena” for Time magazine and stumps for the murder of foreign children.

Joe Klein (the writer) is part of a large group of mainstream journalists that pretends to be non-partisan while writing about how great liberals are and how awful and out of touch conservatives are. He’s constantly stumping for the “third way,” an unholy mixture of statism that pulls the worst parts of the political spectrum together under the guise of compromise.

Klein pretends to be a centrist. His Time columns bear headlines like “A Tea Party Test Case: A headstrong conservative faces an Iraq war heroine in a pivotal House race,” “Closing Arguments: We will not jump off the fiscal cliff. We’ll be find despite an unsatisfying campaign,” and “No Labels. No Agenda. Some Hope: Why, in one centrist group, Republicans and Democrats are talking to each other.” Nothing there screams “I’m a dirty liberal with an ax to grind,” but even a cursory glance at his writing reveals the true Joe Klein: a dirty liberal who indeed has an ax to grind.

Klein’s November 12 column “Closing Arguments,” in which he wraps up the 2012 Presidential campaign, is the perfect example of his writing style and reveals Klein’s true ideological identity. He sets up the column with what sounds like a moderate, even balanced approach, writing:

Barack Obama’s inspirational whoosh to the presidency in 2008 was unusual. Most campaigns are less exhilarating; indeed, they are downright disappointing–until someone wins. Then, suddenly, it becomes “clear” that one candidate magically understood and responded to the needs of the electorate and that his team of strategists were, ahem, geniuses. But in the days just before a closely contested election like this one, the missed opportunities and tactical blunders seem painfully obvious on both sides. The pettiness and lack of substance are suffocating. Has this year been particularly awful? It certainly seems so now, especially as the devastating truth of Hurricane Sandy beggars a campaign in which major issues like climate change were either ignored or denied by both sides.

Besides the explicit tying of global warming to Hurricane Sandy, he toes a centrist line. He rails against both sides’ “missed opportunities and tactical blunders.” But after reading the next two paragraphs, all you can think of is how hard it was for Klein to abstain from slobbering over Obama for an entire 15 seconds.

The President has run a tactical, largely negative campaign, more concerned with Romney’s weaknesses than with the strength of his own record. It is almost as if his victories–with the exception of Osama bin Laden’s death and the auto bailout–were too technical or abstract to explain. His various economic moves in early 2009 prevented another Great Depression, but on the advice of his consultants, Obama isn’t even using the word stimulus anymore because it’s too controversial. His health care plan represented not just a moral step forward but also a path to lower prices–especially for small businesses–and a reform of a wasteful medical system, but it hasn’t been implemented yet, and it has been demagogued to near death by the Republicans.

In fact, the President has bought the basic Republican assumption: that the public loathes government action. This has severely limited his ability to talk about his plans for the next four years, even though the libertarian trope is a delusion easily refuted. The federal response to the hurricane is Exhibit A; just ask New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. And Obama’s failure, or unwillingness, to make the case for his essentially moderate vision of governance has raised major questions about his continuing ability to lead the nation.

You can actually see the drool marks on the pages of the magazine. Where to even begin? Klein’s biggest complaints are a “largely negative campaign” and that Obama is “… more concerned with Romney’s weaknesses than with the strength of his own record.” Hey Hammer, don’t hurt ’em. And that’s the end of the negatives for Mr. Obama.

To summarize:

Obama’s failures:

  1. Tactical, largely negative campaign
  2. Failure to make the case for his moderate vision of governance

Obama’s victories:

  1. Killed Osama Bin Laden
  2. Bailed out the auto industry
  3. Saved country from another Great Depression
  4. Health plan represents a moral step forward, lower prices for businesses and a reform of a wasteful health system

That’s it. In a piece that’s set up as a look at the failures of both campaigns we get two mealy, halfhearted criticisms of Obama and four accolade’s that if true would place him atop of the pantheon of greatest Presidents of all time. Let’s look again at the previous two paragraphs, this time with with the slobbering removed.

The President has run a tactical, largely negative campaign, more concerned with Romney’s weaknesses than with the strength of his own record. It is almost as if his victories–with the exception of Osama bin Laden’s death and the auto bailout–were too technical or abstract to explain. His various economic moves in early 2009 prevented another Great Depression, but  on the advice of his consultants, Obama isn’t even using the word stimulus anymore because it’s too controversial. His health care plan represented not just a moral step forward but also a path to lower prices–especially for small businesses–and a reform of a wasteful medical system, but it hasn’t been implemented yet, and it has been demagogued to near death by the Republicans.

In fact, the President has bought the basic Republican assumption: that the public loathes government action. This has severely limited his ability to talk about his plans for the next four years, even though the libertarian trope is a delusion easily refuted. The federal response to the hurricane is Exhibit A; just ask New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. And Obama’s failure, or unwillingness, to make the case  for his essentially moderate vision of governance has raised major questions about his continuing ability to lead the nation.

Apparently Joe just needed to add to his word count and without anything negative to say, he had to fill the article with Obama’s virtues instead.

Okay, so maybe Klein is just a teddy bear, he talks tough, but really he’s just an ol’ softie. Hopefully he extends the same charity to Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney hasn’t made much of a case for himself either, and his quick-change policy reversals, false claims and false advertising raise serious questions about whether he has the character and constancy to be President. In the week before the election, he put up an insultingly false ad about the President’s record on the auto bailout. He claimed that Obama had “sold Chrysler to Italians” who were sending Jeep jobs to China. Chrysler immediately repudiated this. The truth is, Chrysler is adding Jeep jobs in the U.S. and, given its resurgence here, may boost Jeep production in China for Chinese consumption. This sort of ad seems particularly galling given the fact that Romney opposed the auto bailout and has spent his whole business career embedded in the global economy, selling companies to the “Italians,” or whomever, so that they could send jobs to “China,” or wherever. It is rare to find a candidate so willing to repudiate his life’s work.

I suspect that Ohioans, who are legitimately grateful to the President for saving the auto industry, will see past the arrant cynicism of Romney’s ad. But perhaps they won’t. The Romney campaign’s assumption from the start–from its very first television ad, a sleazy attempt to pin John McCain’s 2008 reluctance to “talk about the economic crisis” as something Obama said more recently–was that it could get away with practically anything, including the full-body transformation of its candidate in the debates from severe conservative to warmhearted moderate. Given the closeness of the election, who can say Romney’s gamble hasn’t paid off?

Republicans will say Obama has been every bit as cynical as Romney, and there have been moments when the Obama campaign has been less than heroic. But we need to be clear about this: there is nothing close to moral equivalency here. The Romney campaign has indulged in many of the worst fantasies promulgated by the GOP’s wingnuts, from the Obama “apology tour,” which never happened, to blatant misrepresentations of Obamacare and the President’s Middle East policy, to the constant undertow of implication that the President is not quite American enough.

Okay, so maybe not. Not that Romney was beyond reproach. Klein could have dedicated an entire column to Romney’s shortcomings and called it “Why I’m Voting for Obama”, but that would have given away his actual political position. Instead Klein sets up his column as a look into an unsatisfying campaign, with himself as merely an observer writing from a position of impassioned non-partisanship. He never explicitly picks Romney or Obama, yet as soon as he begins writing about them he cannot help himself. Romney — who was arguably more moderate than Obama — gets excoriated at every turn for his campaign. Obama’s only faults are that he can’t make America understand how great he is.

This kind of writing is the gold standard in mainstream publications. Liberal writers are accepted as average. Their views are considered normal, unexceptional, the standard. Conservatives on the other hand are always labeled as such. In Klein’s article  “A Tea Party Test Case: A headstrong conservative faces an Iraq war heroine in a pivotal House race”, the headline looks innocuous, but the bias is there. There is no labeling of the Democratic opponent; she is an Iraq war vet and a heroine. The Republican incumbent is a “headstrong conservative.”

This is Klein’s shtick, and it is repeated in every single column; play the impartial observer, then blame conservatives for all of America’s problems. He is a shill for the Democrat party and an apologist for Obama. His February 25 Time column “Aiming Low, Missing Greatness” tries to blame Obama’s opponents across the aisle for preventing him from rising to greatness and implementing his glorious liberal programs.

But what do you expect from a man who swore on his journalistic integrity that he didn’t write the book Primary Colors?

So carry on Joe Klein, keep writing your love letters to your liberal agenda. Keep pretending to be above the fray, a man unencumbered by bias, or political labels. Keep lying to yourself and to the unfortunate ever shrinking readership of Time.

Klein, you’re a partisan wolf in sensible centrist sheep’s clothing, and I’m happy to make you the opening entry of the “Loathe List.”

In closing,

joeklein