Book review, quote du jour, and brilliant commentary all in one post

I just finished reading (the day before yesterday, in fact) Brett Baier’s new book, “Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission.” The core subject of the book is that brief transition of power between President Eisenhower and President Kennedy in January, 1961, and hones down even deeper to Ike’s farewell address to the nation just before he left office in which he warned the American people (and the president-elect) about the growing military-industrial complex. The Cold War and an arms race between the United States and Soviet Union was going full throttle by then, and President Eisenhower was trying to keep us balanced between strong national defense and runaway military spending. Also built into the novel is a loose biography of our (highly underrated) 34th president, who saw himself, even in retirement, as more of an Army general than former chief executive.

This is a fabulous book. Baier is an excellent writer, and the material was thoroughly researched. I first heard about Baier’s book a few weeks ago when he was a guest on the Rush Limbaugh Show. It is extremely rare for Rush to invite guests onto his show to talk about a book. It literally only occurs once every few years. So I figured it had to be a special book to warrant this level of attention from the Maha Rushie.

There is one quote from the book that I’m adding to this post, because it allows me to segue into some commentary on liberalism and the Democrat Party, and it’s a quote that serves as Baier’s interpretation of how President Eisenhower viewed Soviet communism:

But what was its appeal? He looked at the scene and saw an illusion where people were promised liberation at the expense of personal freedom; community at the expense of individuality. There was the myth of superiority grounded in a rickety economic system.

As I read this, my immediate reaction was, my gosh, this sounds a lot like liberalism in the 21st century.

There are two elements here that warrant explanation.

1). Liberalism promises liberation at the expense of personal freedom. In the end, you get neither.

For example, let’s look at ObamaCare. What does ObamaCare presume to offer? It’s not just health coverage, because ObamaCare isn’t just about health coverage. It’s about putting government in control of health care. And when government controls your health care, it controls YOU. With ObamaCare, liberals presume to offer a person liberation. Liberation from what? Liberation from the whims of free-market health care and greedy, heartless insurance companies. Liberation from being one hospital stay away from bankruptcy. You know the left’s arguments.

In the end, you lose personal freedom because government is now in control of your health care. But the liberation you were promised also proves elusive; since ObamaCare places enormous mandates on health insurers, competition is discouraged, premiums skyrocket, and on top of that, your deductibles are often so high that you end up paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before you ever get to use your health coverage. So instead of of liberation, you find yourself in bondage to government.

2). Liberalism promises community at the expense of individuality. In the end, you get neither.

This is particularly ironic since we just had a community organizer as our president for eight years. Yet we’re more divided as a nation now than we were before. Liberalism discourages individuality in the name of equality. But what liberalism ultimately produces is sameness, not by elevating those on the bottom, but by reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator. The only sense of community under liberalism is among homogeneous groups. This is because liberals drive a wedge between different groups by pitting one against the other, thus discouraging any sort of cross-group sense of community.

With liberals, it’s poor vs. rich, women vs. men, blacks vs. whites, gay BLT’s vs. homophobes, Muslims/jihadists vs. Islamophobes, transgenders vs. bathroom signs, etc. Each homogeneous group is united around one thing: victimhood. The left seeks to turn all these protected groups into victims. Most often, the victimhood is contrived, and the ones doing the victimizing are simply straw men created by the left. So with liberals, you lose your individuality, and really the only sense of community is among homogeneous groups united around a contrived grievance against made-up bogeymen.

Quote du jour

This comes from yesterday’s Rush Limbaugh Show at the very end of the second hour. The topic is the “day without a liberal woman,” and tha Maha Rushie is quoting an email from a “female friend” who describes the feminist march and feminism in general:

Feminism, Mr. Limbaugh, is about one thing today, and that’s abortion. And abortion is immoral. And I believe, Mr. Limbaugh, they all know it. You can call it a choice, you can call it an unviable tissue mass, but it isn’t. It’s a life and they’re killing it, and they know it. It’s immoral. So to assuage the fact that they are supporting the immorality of abortion, they have these monthly rage rallies to scream about wages and wear these silly pussai hats and smile and blame evil white men. It’s the only way to make them feel better about themselves and have meaningful lives because deep down they know they are supporting immoral action.

Well that monologue turned on a dime

Here’s a portion of Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue at last night’s Oscars:

I’m not the man to unite this country, but it can be done. You know, if every person watching this show — I don’t want to get too serious, but there are millions and millions of people watching right now — and if every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with, someone you like, and have a positive, considerate conversation — not as liberals or conservatives, as Americans — if we could all do that, we can make America great again. We really could. It starts with us.

Then, immediately afterwards, like the good liberal he is, Kimmel eschews his own advice:

I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?


Quote du jour

What we see in the sky is real in the sense that history is real, but you can’t grasp on to it any more than you can hold a beam of light in your hand. Our night sky is like a home movie of what the universe looked like at some distant time in the past or, rather, what the universe looked like at various infinite points of time in the past. In this way the past and present exist simultaneously — some light reaches our eyes as the continuing vibrancy of a distant living source of energy, while some is remnant radiance of a long-dead celestial body. Our eyes don’t distinguish. We can never really know what the reality of the universe is at any given time, only what we perceive it to be based on our position within it, with life and death, light and darkness and our own understanding of time fabricating a relative sense of what is real. As small creatures of limited life spans, we are conscripted to incoherence, we are the wide-eyed children of an incomprehensible and sublime mystery. — Krista Schlyer, Almost Anywhere: Road Trip Ruminatins on Love, Nature, National Parks, and Nonsense

Quote du jour

Rush Limbaugh’s opening monologue on Friday was absolutely stellar, even by the Maha Rushie’s sky-high standard. I’ve trimmed this down as much as I could, but there’s just too much that’s relevant to reduce to a single sentence. And I laughed my head off at the opening statement:

You know, I long for the days of Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, just arrest the judges and put them in jail when they violate your constitutional authority. I don’t think people have any idea who Andrew Jackson was. They think he was a populist. They don’t know what he did. He went too far, don’t misunderstand. But this is simply outrageous.

I have a story here in the Stack: “Hundreds of Thousands Rally in Iran Against Trump.” Who else is rallying against Trump? The Democrat Party in this country and the American left. As so often happens, anti-American institutions, anti-American leaders, anti-American countries sound no different than the domestic Democrat Party. They sound no different than the American left. In fact, these hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallying against Trump actually issued thanks to American Democrats for their help in supporting the nation of Iran, which is a state sponsor of terrorism.

This is why it’s time to start calling the Democrat Party the #TerroristParty.


Quote du jour

This is from yestrday’s 3rd hour of The Rush Limbaugh Show. The Maha Rushie was reassuring us Trump supporters that the mayhem we’re seeing with the fake protests and fake news and fake outrage was always going to happen. There is a literal undoing of the political establishment in Washington, and it was never going to happen without chaos, contrived or otherwise.

Explains Rush:

They still haven’t realized what’s hit them, I don’t think. They’re gonna make up polls, approval polls. They’re gonna try to tell you Trump’s the most unpopular president after three weeks that we’ve ever had in America. They’re gonna make you think that everybody that voted for Trump is abandoning him, except you. They want you to think you’re alone. They want you to think that your associates and like-minded voters have all abandoned you and you’re the only guy still pulling for Trump. You’re the only person out there still hoping and praying this all happens. They want to bust up the coalition. It is vicious. This is exactly what it has always been going to look like.


Quote du jour

Leftist protester at UC Berkeley last night:

The whole reason we’re here is for free speech. Milo’s hate speech is not allowed here. When it’s hate speech, our free speech is to shut him down.

This is who leftists are. This is what they believe. This is what they do.

UC Berkeley cancels right-wing provocateur’s talk amid violent protest

Marcus Aurelius’ greatest hits

I just finished reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and highlighted a number of useful ideas (many of which are consistent with Scripture). If I read it again in the future, I’ll opt for a more modern translation, however, as the one I chose rendered Aurelius’ Latin into an old-fashioned version of English. In copying some of the highlighted text here, I’ve modified the translation somewhat, but it still sounds like the King James Version of the Bible at times. At any rate, here is a taste of Aurelius:

How many who have commended you will in a short while speak ill of you?

At the conceit and apprehension that someone has sinned, ask yourself, ‘What do I know whether this is indeed a sin, as it seems to be? If it is so, what do I know but that he himself has already condemned himself for it?”

If it’s not befitting, don’t do it. If it isn’t true, don’t say it. Keep your own purpose and resolution free from all compulsion and necessity.

Give yourself leisure to learn some good thing and cease wandering to and fro.

No one can admire you for your sharp acute language, such is your natural disability that way.

Let these things be seen in you, which depend wholly upon you: sincerity, gravity, laboriousness, contempt of pleasure, not querulous, content with little, kind, free, avoiding all superfluity, all vain prattling, be magnanimous.

Rejoice with true simplicity and modesty.

It is a princely thing to do well and to be ill-spoken of.

It is ridiculous that anyone should excuse vice and wickedness in himself, which is in his power to restrain, and should go about to suppress it in others, which is altogether impossible.

To righteousness, in speaking the truth freely, and without ambiguity, and in doing all things justly and discreetly.

Now in this good course let not other people’s wickedness or opinion or voice hinder you.

Receive temporal blessings without ostentation when they are sent and you will be able to part with them with all readiness and facility when they are taken from you again.

All worldly things you must behold and consider, dividing them into matter, form and reference, or their proper end.

Rid yourself of all manifold baggage by which you are roundabout encumbered. He who regards neither his body, nor his clothing, nor his dwelling, nor anything external gains for himself great rest and ease.

How happy is a man with the power that has been granted to him, that he needs not do anything but what God shall approve, and that he may embrace contentedly whatever God sends him.

Le quote du jour

It is cool to be blocked by an actual political figure.

That was a tweet sent late last night by a good friend after we were both blocked by Congressman Steve Cohen from Memphis. He is one of two Democrat Congressman from Tennessee. This was, to my knowledge, only the second time I’ve ever been blocked by someone on Twitter.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I don’t engage in vituperative activity. I have in the last few months trolled several (mostly) liberal politicians for the simple reason that I am tired of being lied to by politicians (and the media), and I’ve made the effort, in my own small way, to help correct the record.

Steve Cohen, who is boycotting President Trump’s inauguration — this is a good thing — has lied about the Bush’s not attending the inauguration. Well, they aren’t attending, but they aren’t boycotting the inauguration, as Congressman Cohen would have us believe. It turns out that George H.W. and Barbara Bush are both hospitalized, hence, the Bush family won’t be at the inauguration. I and many others took Rep. Cohen to task for this. He not only kept up the lie, he doubled down on it.

Also, in genuine SJW (social justice warrior) form, Mr. Cohen made it a point to try to project the Democrat Party’s egregiously racist history onto the GOP. I get unnerved when they do this, and I made it my business to point out that the Democrat Party is the party of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation. Democrats own their own history and Republicans don’t want any part of it.

So, in the midst of retweeting some of Rep. Cohen’s tweets with my own comments attached, some element of truth I used to correct him struck a nerve, and I found myself blocked. I’m not upset about it, I just find it humorous. And it is cool to be blocked by an actual political figure.