NOTE: This is a full spoiler plot summary for The Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep in the role of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. If you don’t want to know what happens in the film, please don’t click below and read the rest of the article as the plot of the movie will be spoiled for you. I intend this plot summary as a guide to the movie for people unfamiliar with Baroness Thatcher’s life story; I took the time to research many of the things referenced quickly in the movie so that there are names, dates, and context provided in this summary that are not in the actual film. However, while I grew up in the time period covered in the movie and vividly recall the days when Baroness Thatcher was Prime Minister of Great Britain I have never been a subject of the Commonwealth and am not an expert on British politics. If I misunderstand the politics of the time or how things work in the parliamentary system, please don’t leave irate comments on this article with the usual feigned outrage over things like that (you know who you are). I would however, very much appreciate those in Commonwealth countries who’ll read this and offer additional insights or corrections where needed. I saw the film once — and only once — and this spoiler plot summary was completed from memory immediately after seeing the film. I have done my level best not to include any personal opinion in this summary and have not judged the film one way or the other. This is not a review, but a summary and guide to the film.
I will say, however, that anyone who was afraid that Baroness Thatcher would be depicted poorly in this movie should rest assured that this is an excellent depiction of her. The controversy that’s been ginned up centers around the fact that Baroness Thatcher is depicted in the year 2009 in the movie — after she’s suffered a series of strokes and is having trouble with her memory. This is a Hollywood device that’s been employed in recent years, similar to how the movie Titanic depicted an elderly woman remembering her life and loves; I believe the people at the movie studio felt this was a way to make the Baroness seem human and vulnerable at the end of her life, with flashbacks highlighting her political career and marriage to her husband Baronet Denis Thatcher. The movie thus becomes the story of roughly 24 hours’ of the Baroness’ life in October of 2009 (a month before her official portrait was unveiled at 10 Downing Street in November 2009). Baroness Thatcher, as an elderly woman in her 80s, stops throughout this day from breakfast-to-breakfast to reminisce on her career and personal life through flashbacks.
The filmmakers make attempts at being clever, where they show objects or engage dialogue that triggers the Baroness’ memory of earlier times so that the film can progress through the years via Baroness Thatcher’s recollections. The other device used for these trips down memory lane is the ghost of Denis Thatcher, whom the Baroness can see but who is invisible to everyone else. It’s never implied that the Baroness actually thinks she sees him, but rather she misses him so much (even after six years of outliving him) that his presence is tangibly felt in his absence.
All of the memories are being triggered by the fact that Baroness Thatcher’s daughter Carol (a gaudy and off-putting woman who is best known for being a failed TV reporter and the second female winner of a reality show called “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” where she ate bugs and kangaroo testicles) has pushed for Denis Thatcher’s old suits, clothes, and other things to be emptied out of the Baroness’ home in the Chester Square area of London. It’s the packing of all these things and the memories they conjure that has rattled the Baroness enough for all the old ghosts of her past to emerge. You can be the judge as to whether or not you believe this is a clever (or silly) means of driving the memories and narrative of the movie.
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE:
I wanted to post these photos of the exact replica of the Oval Office that’s displayed at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California — because they are an excellent resource for anyone who enjoys photoshopping and would like to use them for political cartoons in the upcoming election.
It’s hard to find photos of the Oval Office without people in them, so on a recent trip to the Reagan Library I took shots of the replica from every angle imaginable so that I’d have access to whatever possible image I’d ever need of an Oval Office in the future.
I always feel a little let down on Boxing Day, with the joy and celebration of Christmas concluded for another year. The lights may still be strung up on the trees and houses around town, but a lot of people stop turning them on. The store shelves are being cleared of Christmas items and will have Valentine’s Day chocolates for sale by this afternoon, I’m sure.
So I thought it would be nice to show you one more Christmas treasure today from the Reagan Library’s collection in Simi Valley, California.
This was a gift to President Reagan from Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, made from clam shells, sea star needles, and other sea life appendages and accoutrements that washed ashore on those islands in the Pacific.
By law, Presidents are not allowed to keep gifts that are given to them by the visiting heads of state or government who visit the White House. The President, as the representative of the people of the United States, graciously accepts these various items…which are often displayed to the public somewhere in Washington during that president’s term.
Upon leaving office, the private entity that is formed to create that departing President’s official library and museum raises the funds from donors to purchase many of the treasures given to the President by these dignitaries. For instance, when Gordon Brown visited the United States as Prime Minister of Great Britain in 2009, he gifted Obama an antique pen set that was carved from wood of as sister ship to the HMS Resolute (the ship from which the wood for the Oval Office’s desk was obtained); Barack Obama, it should be noted, gave Brown a set of dvds a staffer had bought at Best Buy (which contained old movies that routinely play for free on most cable stations…and the dvds were in fact Region-1 coded, which British dvd players can’t operate…on top of Gordon Brown being legally blind and unable to watch dvds of anything, so they might as well have been radio programs).
After he leaves office in 2013, the Obama presidential library and museum in Honolulu, Hawaii will have an option to purchase that pen set from the US government for display to the public in the same way this Philippine shell Christmas tree is displayed at the Reagan Library. Something tells me the pen set is going to stay in the White House or end up in the Smithsonian, though, since I can’t imagine Obama wanting to part with any of his own coin for something thoughtful and historic the British people gave to him (considering how aggressively Obama seized every available opportunity to snub and slight our allies in London).
If you’re someone who still thinks the Obama Library will be in Chicago, you need to think again. I have a friend who works at the University of Chicago; in 2009, the University here was very gung-ho in pursuing the Obama Library. Mayor Daley and other Chicago politicos were zealously scheming to land what they saw at the time as “a prize”. The doomed Chicago Olympics bid included a provision to use land reclaimed from one of the temporary stadiums to have been constructed for the Games to build the Library near the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus, with the University gaining all the documents and other treasures for some sort of “Obama Center” akin to the “Carter Center” in Georgia.
Well, I’ve been told that “it’s been a long time” since anyone at the University of Chicago “has said boo about even wanting that Library”. It is as good as a done deal that the University of Hawaii is getting the Library, and that it’s going to be, most likely, some sort of gaudy Frank Gehry-designed, crumpled steel and curvy glass monstrosity right on the water. The Obamas are not coming back to Chicago once they vacate the White House in January of 2013…they are headed to Honolulu, where no doubt Barack Obama will pick up where Jimmy Carter leaves off and become the official America-hating former US president once Carter passes away in 2013 or 2014.
It’s sick how the timing on all this has worked out: just as Carter’s about to permanently join Kim Jung-Il, Muyamar Quadaffi, and other vile America haters somewhere much, much warmer than Hawaii or the Philippines, Barack Obama’s going to begin his post-presidency in Honolulu where he’ll no doubt eclipse Carter in the global apologies-for-American-excellence department.
It’s like there’s an undeserved gift that just keeps on giving or something.
Worse than Carter!
Which means there’s always hope that the 45th or 46th president could be even better than Reagan.
It’s Boxing Day…I just have to end on a positive note here.
Last week, someone posted in the comment section of one of the Hillbuzz articles that we had turned into a Ron Paul site so I thought I would chime in and make a correction. I am not a fan of Ron Paul. I have never taken him seriously as a GOP contender and always just thought of him as an annoying distraction. Until now. If the polls are to be believed, he could very well win Iowa. Disturbing. It would most likely end there for him (hopefully) but it does make you sit up and take a healthier look at him and what he believes and some very disturbing things are bobbing to the surface. Like any candidate that is taking a lead in the polls…media scrutiny is part of the territory. I have to say that I agree with his general theory that less government is ideal. I know that Ron Paul wants to get rid of many (or most) of the government agencies and for that I applaud him but his foreign policy views scare the hell out of me. Islam is a very big threat to the United States…Iran is a very big threat to the United States…we can’t ignore them and leave them alone. A nuclear attack from Iran would change life as we know it. Like it or not, the world counts on us… and our current president wants to weaken us to the point that we are no longer able to protect those who want to live free. In the words of the great Ronald Reagan…
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”
So, like all the other candidates, Ron Paul is having to answer questions about his past and there’s plenty of skeletons to dig out of his closet. Here are a few things you may (or may not) know about Congressman Paul.
1. Did you know that Ron Paul endorsed Cynthia McKinney in 2008 as the Green Party candidate? Yep…you read that right. Instead of endorsing McCain/Palin (or remaining silent) he actually endorsed one of the looniest humans to ever walk the Earth…Cynthia “I love Muammar Qaddafi” McKinney.
2. I know this has been covered on here before but did you know that Ron Paul thinks that Bradley Manning is a patriot? Yep…the Bradley Manning who gave stolen classified military documents to Wiki-leaks to be exposed to the world? How could an American presidential candidate actually voice support for someone who knowingly put our troops lives in danger?
3. Did you know that in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s, Congressman Paul had a monthly newsletter called Ron Paul’s Freedom Report? This newsletter made very controversial anti-gay, anti-Semitic and anti-black statements. One newsletter claimed that gays were trying to infect other Americans with AIDS by compromising our blood supply. Another stated that order was established during the LA riots only because the blacks had to go pick up their welfare checks. Paul has tried to distance himself from the newsletters by saying that he did not write the articles but they were written in the first person (as if by him) with no other name in the byline and Mr. Paul profited over a million dollars from the newsletters. Whether he wrote all the newsletters or only some of them, he should have been aware of what was being written in his name. He has been given a free pass on these newsletters because no one has taken him seriously as a presidential candidate but in light of his poll numbers in Iowa…he has some explaining to do.
Whether you love Ron Paul or hate him…you have to ask this question…
If Ron Paul is so libertarian that he won’t even police people who use his name, if his movement is filled with incompetents and opportunists, then what kind of a president would he make? Would he even check in to see if his ideas are being implemented? Who would he appoint to Cabinet positions?
For the record…Kevin and I have discussed at great lengths the current GOP field and agree that currently Newt Gingrich would be the best man for the job (unless Sarah decides to jump in and save the day…how wonderful would that be?). Rick Perry is also a good man but may have done too much damage to himself during the debates to recover fully. We both were greatly disappointed by the demise of Herman Cain, who clearly was not ready for prime-time. I am almost completely burned out by this political roller coaster and we haven’t even begun the primaries yet. The people that I used to admire and respect (Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Ann Coulter, Nikki Haley etc.) have really let me down and have proven to all be establishment cocktail party hacks. I’m not sure where the Tea Party is in all of this mess. Who are they supporting? Have they made any statements? Will we be stuck with Romney? Will Ron Paul launch a 3rd party bid should he not be the GOP nominee or will he accept defeat so as not to damage his son Rand’s political career?
What are your thoughts?
Last week I wrote about a couple of traitorous additions to the Defense Authorization bill written in secret by John McCain (RINO-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI).
According to the ACLU and DownsizeDC.org, among other watchdog organizations, sections 1031 and 1032 of the bill give Obama—and every future president, if there are any—“the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world….The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.”
And (SURPRISE!) it turns out that Obama asked for that power himself.
How nice of our favorite backstabbing Constitution-shredding s0-called “Republican” John “Benedict Arnold” McCain to oblige him (may he rot in HELL, after losing a brutal primary fight that bankrupts him.)
But McCain wasn’t alone in his treachery.
Sen. Lindsey “Rights for Illegals, but Not American Citizens” Graham said about it on the Senate floor: “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”
It is a sad commentary on Mr. Graham–a co-sponsor of the bill–that one can’t predict if that was praise or criticism without looking at the replay. Turns out, Senator Graham thinks it’s awesome that one person the the U.S. government can pick up a phone, make a call, and make you disappear, without charges, without trial, forever.
More gullible and/or partisan members of the DNC-controlled media have been trying to insist for the past two weeks that the law doesn’t apply to Americans here, in America. And The White House was claiming that Obama was going to veto the bill if it applied to American citizens (now, not so much.) But…
“Another sponsor of the bill – Senator Levin – has also repeatedly said that the bill applies to American citizens on American soil, citing the Supreme Court case of Hamdi which ruled that American citizens can be treated as enemy combatants:
‘The Supreme Court has recently ruled there is no bar to the United States holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant,’ said Levin. ‘This is the Supreme Court speaking.’
Levin again stressed recently that the bill applies to American citizens, and said that it was president Obama who requested that it do so.”
I’ve tried to find out what happened to the bill in Conference Committee, but the general consensus in the Liberty blogosphere this evening seems to be that the bill is just as bad coming out of committee as it was going in.
This evening at 6:58 p.m., 90 Democrats and 193 Republicans voted AYE to give the most corrupt president in U.S. history the power to kidnap and detain Americans anywhere in the world, forever, just on the basis of his opinion that they’re terrorists.
I’m kind of at a loss for words here, which may be appropriate, since technically anything I say can now be used against me by the president of the United States.
The bill now heads back to the Senate. Now may be a good time to pick up the phone and let your Senators know what you think.
Thoughts? Comments? Last words? Condolences?
How did YOUR
Reprehensibles Representatives vote?
Like most Americans who work for a living*, I was outraged by the TARP bailouts that totaled over $700 Billion.
I was offended on principle, of course…any amount of public (borrowed) money going to bail out privately-owned companies is wrong. But the amount–so large that no normal person can get their brain around it–was offensive, too.
The bailouts spawned protests and Tea Party events across the country, and probably helped fuel the electoral bloodbath of 2010.
But here’s the jaw-dropper, which has received next to no media coverage. Between December, 2007 and June, 2010, the Federal Reserve (which is not federal, nor is it a reserve) secretly bailed out politically-connected U.S. banks and corporations, AND foreign banks and governments, to the tune of $16 Trillion in U.S. taxpayer money.
Now, if you can’t imagine $700 Billion, there’s no way you can picture what $16,000,000,000,000.00 looks like, or what kind of value that represents.
I just found a video that puts these dollar figures into context, using a penny to represent $100,000,000 (one hundred million dollars). Disclaimer–it’s a pitch for a Republican congressional candidate in Texas, so please don’t be offended by that mention at the end of the video.
It’s just sickening…sickening is the only word I can come up with.
If you don’t know what the Federal Reserve is, or how it determines the value of the money you work hard for, I would highly suggest that you pick up a copy of The Creature from Jekyll Island to learn how the Federal Reserve came into existence and how it impacts your everyday life.
UPDATE: Here’s some sourcing for the $16 Trillion figure:
The Federal Reserve Bank committed some $7.77 trillion in funds to major Wall Street banks during the height of the 2008 financial crisis, according to a report published by Bloomberg News November 28 through a Freedom of Information Act request.
It’s unclear from the methodology explained by Bloomberg’s analysis of some 29,000 Federal Reserve documents released how much overlap there is with the Government Accountability Office audit published last July that counted some $16 trillion in Federal Reserve loans to major Wall Street banks. Bloomberg’s explanation of its methodology does indicate at least some overlap.
Throughout the financial crisis, Congress remained blissfully unaware that trillions of dollars were being committed by the Fed with the implicit guarantee of the U.S. taxpayer. “We were aware emergency efforts were going on,” Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank told Bloomberg, but “we didn’t know the specifics.” Frank, who announced his retirement November 28 after the Massachusetts state legislature gerrymandered him out of his district, served as Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee at the time the bailouts began. That committee is charged with oversight of the Federal Reserve and the banking industry.
The Bloomberg report noted that top Wall Street banks** benefited most from the deal. “The big six — JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley — took 63 percent of the Fed’s emergency-loan money as measured by peak daily borrowing,” the San Francisco Chronicle observed November 29 of the Bloomberg data.
*except those who belong to government employee unions, many of whom don’t actually work for a living
**AKA Mittens Romneycare’s chief source of campaign cash
As a marketing copywriter, I am paid to influence my readers’ behavior (i.e., make them buy my clients’ stuff.) It’s my job to know how to do this, and I’m pretty good at it.
So when other writers are attempting to do the same thing–make their readers behave in certain ways, to further a political agenda–it’s laughably easy for me to recognize.
One of the Democrat-Controlled Media’s favorite slurs against Sarah Palin is that she’s “polarizing.” And it has been wildly successful. A Google search of the words “Sarah Palin polarizing” returns About 18,900,000 results.
When applying labels like “polarizing,” the goal of a propagandist is to subconsciously create a sense of unease or fear. Why? The emotion of fear creates a primal biochemical reaction that interrupts one’s ability to think rationally. So fearful people are much easier to manipulate.
Most propaganda campaigns also involve setting up an “other” purported to be unlike ourselves, whom we can hate and separate ourselves from. It’s a way of encouraging a “mob” mentality, as demonstrated most recently by the OccuPooper protests. (Their “other” is “Wall Street.”) Taken to extremes, this kind of propaganda reaches its “heights” when its used to literally dehumanize groups of people (such as Jews in Germany, or intellectuals in Maoist China).
The propaganda campaigns run by DNC surrogates in the media contain both of these elements–inducing fear, and splitting the bloc of voters who are likely to vote against Obama.
The DNC-controlled media did a masterful job of this with their successful attacks against Herman Cain, who was merely accused of engaging in behavior that is completely acceptable, if not encouraged, among members of the Democrat elite.
The DNC propaganda machine was also remarkably effective in labeling Sarah Palin as “polarizing.” Sarah Palin isn’t running, unfortunately, so the Democrat-Controlled Media has focused its propaganda machine on the GOP candidate most able to beat Obama in the general election, according to the latest poll: Ron Paul.
Except in Dr. Paul’s case, the DNC propaganda machine is pushing the “isolationist” meme instead of the “polarizing” meme. But the goal is the same: to cause fear, and brainwash voters into believing that they have to go with a “safe” choice like Mittens Romneycare. (Notice how often Gingrich and Romney are referred to as “safe” choices by the agenda-driven media–it really is an appeal to the unconscious biological drive to move away from fear.)
So today’s lesson in combating media bias is about the difference between “isolationism” and “non-interventionism.”
Most people reading this haven’t had any serious education in American history or philosophy, because we went to government schools staffed by members of the NEA. It’s up to us to educate ourselves so we can sift through media bias and hope to uncover what’s really happening and what the real issues are.
Most of us have never read George Washington’s Farewell Address, nor do we understand its significance.
For perhaps the first time in world history, the leader of a country voluntarily gave up power in an organized and peaceful transition. But he warned his countrymen to be wary of future attempts to seduce them into trading their liberty for the illusion of “security.”
“The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you….But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth…
In his Farewell Address, George Washington also advised the new Nation how to deal with other countries. Washington’s foreign policy view was that the United States’ prosperity and power would rise, not as the result of British-style militarism, but out of our morality and righteousness, in addition to our dedication to Liberty:
“Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct…It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.”
In other words, Washington expected the United States to be the “shining city on the hill,” a country that led by example, and a beacon to freedom-loving people around the world.
Washington pointed out that “permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others,” should be avoided, because
“The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.”
Washington pointed out that heated public opinion either in favor of, or against, another country could lead U.S. leaders to make policy decisions that would ultimately hurt their constituents: the very people whose opinions they were hoping to cater to.
It’s impossible to deny that Washington’s warnings to maintain positive but neutral international friendships have gone unheeded; and it’s equally impossible to deny that we’ve paid the consequences in blood and treasure. As Washington said,
“Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.“
Maintaining positive commercial relationships, freedom of travel, diplomatic relationships, cultural relationships and friendship with other nations–while remaining politically aloof from their internal affairs–is what George Washington advocated.
This kind of foreign policy position is called “non-interventionism.” It’s what Ron Paul advocates, and has advocated for at least 30 years.
In contrast, proponents of interventionism believe that the United States military and spy agencies, as well as economic sanctions and trade restrictions, can and should be used to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries.
In an outstanding piece called America’s Tradition of Non-interventionism, Chris Leithner notes that non-interventionism was America’s foreign policy for most of our existence. We minded our own business unless there was a national security threat so dire it could convince members of Congress to declare war and send their constituents to fight and die for their country.
And that’s why the Founders put the power to declare war into the hands of the House of Representatives–to ensure that the government wouldn’t embroil the People in unnecessary, unjustifiable wars.
“Yet presently in America, as for most of the past half-century, few things provoke more indignation, ridicule and denunciation from political, academic and journalistic élites (as opposed to consumers and taxpayers) than scepticism towards America’s interventionist foreign policy.”
In 1982, American troops invaded Lebanon. Ronald Reagan was vilified for “cutting and running” after withdrawing U.S. troops from Lebanon in 1983 after suicide terrorist attack on a Marine barracks that killed 231 Americans. And yet, in his autobiography, Reagan admitted,
“In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believe the last thing that we should do was turn tail and leave. Yet the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there. If there would be some rethinking of policy before our men die, we would be a lot better off. If that policy had changed towards more of a neutral position and neutrality, those 241 marines would be alive today.”
Pat Buchanan earned the propagandist label of “isolationist” during the 2000 presidential campaign. I recall being afraid of Buchanan’s views at the time, though I confess I did zero independent research and just accepted what the TV told me about Buchanan. (I’m embarrassed to admit this now.)
It’s chilling to read Pat Buchanan’s warnings against interventionist foreign policy. Just a year before September 11th, Buchanan predicted the future with startling accuracy:
“How can all our meddling not fail to spark some horrible retribution … Have we not suffered enough – from PanAm 103, to the World Trade Center [bombing of 1993], to the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam – not to know that interventionism is the incubator of terrorism? Or will it take some cataclysmic atrocity on U.S. soil to awaken our global gamesmen to the going price of empire? America today faces a choice of destinies. We can choose to be a peacemaker of the world, or its policeman who goes about night-sticking troublemakers until we, too, find ourselves in some bloody brawl we cannot handle.”
Now, the United States has 700 bases in 120 foreign countries and we’re at war (undeclared, but no less deadly) in four? five? conflicts. Clearly, for at least 60 years, America’s foreign policy has been one of interventionism (the last Constitutionally-waged war was World War II.) In the past 60 years, our military and intelligence agencies been involved in warfare and/or regime change in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Central America, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya…and I’ve probably left out a few.
So now we know what interventionism is, and we know what non-interventionism is.
So, what is isolationism? According to Wikipedia, isolationism is “the policy or doctrine of isolating one’s country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc.”
In most instances, isolationist regimes seem to also have an element of authoritarianism, necessary to keep its citizens from traveling to and trading with other countries. Probably the best current example of an isolationist regime is North Korea. (Isolationism also typically involves poverty, as protectionist trade policies are also often involved.)
Why is “isolationism” an excellent label for a propagandist?
First, most government-school graduates like me are ignorant of world history, American history, and philosophy. They don’t know what isolationism is, but it sounds scary. And lonely.
No one wants to be frightened and alone, and that’s the subliminal emotional baggage attached to the label of “isolationism.”
The “isolationist” label is also powerful because for a single word, it’s “loaded” and easy to use in conversation. In this way, it’s similar to the propaganda word “racist.” (That word comes with over 300 years of baggage.)
And finally, propaganda words like “racist” and “isolationist” are powerful because they cause conversation (and thought) to stop. That’s why “racist,” in particular, is such a go-to word for The Left.
Labeling Ron Paul an isolationist isn’t accurate by any stretch of the imagination. Even the most cursory examination of his foreign policy positions–easily available in his book on the subject, A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship–makes it clear that he’s in favor of free trade, cultural exchange, freedom of travel, and other forms of friendship with other nations.
But labeling Ron Paul an “isolationist” isn’t about accuracy; nor is it about having a sincere discussion of foreign policy differences among the GOP candidates. It’s propaganda: it’s about manipulating emotional reactions and shaping voting patterns. Just like labeling Sarah Palin “a polarizing figure.”
The DNC-controlled media’s #1 job in the GOP nomination process is to ensure the nomination of John McCain II–a squishy reach-across-the-aisle so-called “moderate” who has no chance of winning against Obama. Everything they do is in furtherance of this goal. These candidates get the most airtime; they get the most debate questions, and they get the most deference from the DNC operatives who read the “news.”
Any truly conservative candidate–and especially, any candidate with a real chance at winning–is the subject of relentless propagandizing (see Sarah Palin and Herman Cain.)
The DNC-controlled propaganda machine has successfully eliminated these two possibilities.
Until very recently, their “Ron Paul’ playbook consisted of pretending he didn’t exist, which has become harder and more comical as he has risen in the polls. As they’re forced to abandon this “blackout” strategy, look for the continuation of two back-up strategies to turn Ron Paul and his supporters into an “other” to alienate Ron Paul from the conservative voting bloc: endless questions about a mythical, and consistently-denied third-party run (questions that no other candidate ever gets, not even Jon Huntsman, the one candidate who has said that he WOULD run as a third-party candidate); and labeling Ron Paul as an “isolationist.”
Since Ron Paul massively outstrips all other candidates (including Obama) in donations from active-duty military, these foreign-policy attacks may be easier to fend off. That leaves only the “third-party” propaganda option open.
We’re having this discussion in front of God and everybody, so I hope this will be an example of how people who believe different things can discuss things rationally and still respect each others’ basic goodness.
In tonight’s GOP Debate Live Blog, you say,
I am horrified by Ron Paul’s assertion that the United States government was gleeful after 9/11 or that our government knew the attacks were going to happen and let them happen anyway….After these 9/11 remarks, I’ve had enough of this garbage and no longer feel like indulging Fifth-Dimensional craziness in serious debate proceedings. I really hope Paul has to answer a question about his 9/11 remarks; I am sure my friend Jane will be looking down from Heaven with great interest to hear what he has to say.
You and I have not talked about Ron Paul’s comment in private and this is the first I’ve heard about your reaction to it. For those who aren’t familiar, it was part of a speech at the University of Iowa in which Dr. Paul was discussing his foreign policy of non-interventionism, and warning that the Obama Regime is making noises about going to war with Iran:
“Think of what happened after 9/11, the minute before there was any assessment, there was glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq, and so the war drums beat…That’s exactly what they’re doing now with Iran.”
I think that after working with you for a year, and helping keep HillBuzz.org going at a significant personal investment of time and money, you know my character. I hope you understand me to be unwaveringly patriotic and dedicated to restoring America to the great Constitutional Republic that it once was. And I hope you know that I would never support a candidate who didn’t love America, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence as much as I do. So I hope you’ll evaluate what I’m about to say while keeping that in mind.
The concepts I’m going to touch on are tough. It takes an open and curious mind to get beyond the knee-jerk, emotional reaction the Democrat-Controlled Media is counting on you to have upon hearing a sound byte like this. Members of the Ruling Class are counting on a dumbed-down electorate who are incapable of critical analysis, and ignorant of even recent history, to keep them in power. I would ask you to take a deep breath and consider this as dispassionately as you can, given the loss of your friend.
Ron Paul has said repeatedly that he’s NOT a “truther” and does not believe that 9/11 was somehow an “inside job.” Dr. Paul has, however, called it (accurately) a massive failure of our intelligence agencies. In a statement before the House of Representatives in February of 2004, Dr. Paul said,
“There is plenty of blame to go around for the mistakes made by going to war in Iraq, especially now that it is common knowledge Saddam Hussein told the truth about having no weapons of mass destruction, and that Al Qaida and 9/11 were in no way related to the Iraqi government.
Our intelligence agencies failed for whatever reason this time, but their frequent failures should raise the question of whether or not secretly spending forty billion taxpayer dollars annually gathering bad information is a good investment. The administration certainly failed us by making the decision to sacrifice so much in life and limb, by plunging us into this Persian Gulf quagmire that surely will last for years to come.
But before Congress gets too carried away with condemning the administration or the intelligence gathering agencies, it ought to look to itself. A proper investigation and debate by this Congress– as we’re now scrambling to accomplish– clearly was warranted prior to any decision to go to war. An open and detailed debate on a proper declaration of war certainly would have revealed that U.S. national security was not threatened– and the whole war could have been avoided. Because Congress did not do that, it deserves the greatest criticism for its dereliction of duty.
There was a precise reason why the most serious decision made by a country– the decision to go to war– was assigned in our Constitution to the body closest to the people. If we followed this charge I’m certain fewer wars would be fought, wide support would be achieved for just defensive wars, there would be less political finger-pointing if events went badly, and blame could not be placed on one individual or agency. This process would more likely achieve victory, which has eluded us in recent decades.”
And this is the key point I want to make, Kevin. Ron Paul’s foreign policy comes from the same philosophical basis as his domestic and economic policy…Enlightenment traditions of individual freedom, personal responsibility, free market economics, and the Golden Rule. Treat others as you wish to be treated. His foreign policy views are based on the Constitution and advice of the Founders, including George Washington, who warned the young country to avoid “entangling alliances” in his Farewell Address in 1796. It’s also based on the concept of “just war.”
America was a colonial outpost of a Imperial superpower on which the sun never set, and where the King’s word was law. One of my ancestors took up arms against the British Empire and fought under George Washington’s command, creating what was, at the time, the only country on Earth where citizens held free elections to choose their leaders.
A scrappy, ragtag band of rebels fought and died to found the United States of America, defeating the world’s greatest superpower at the time. And their fight was based on ideas and ideals, one of which was “just war,” a very old concept that had been discussed extensively in the 13th century by Thomas Aquinas. To many who believe in the “just war” concept, pre-emptive war is considered immoral in nearly all cases.
If you went to government schools (as I did), this may be hard for you to comprehend. It’s astonishing how ignorant and unschooled we all are, compared to our forebears.
Here’s where I admit that I didn’t vote for Bush. I’m a libertarian, and Bush was a big-government, big-spending conservative. Not my cup of tea. And my personal feeling is that George W. Bush is an honorable man who loves America, and loves the military, but made some really bad policy decisions that I can’t support. (Even so, he was a vastly better president than our first postracial, non-Muslim, Marxist and probably gay president, Barack Hussein Obama.)
I think any American with a heart still has a little PTSD about September 11th. And because September 11th was so horrifying and traumatic, it’s very hard for us to remember anything that was happening in the Bush administration prior to that date. Frankly, most of us (including me) weren’t paying much attention.
But several members of the Bush administration have said that from Day One, a number of Bush advisors and members of his administration were, in fact, eager to go to war and affect a regime change in Iraq, and were looking for any excuse to do so.
This goes against everything Ron Paul, and libertarians like me, believe in–the initiation of the use of force in the absense of a a confirmed, imminent threat to national security. And it goes against what I think America stands for.
In an interview on “60 Minutes,” former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill said “From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go….For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.” [emphasis added]
And this is the beef I have with George W. Bush. As a libertarian, I don’t believe in pre-emptive war, just as I don’t believe in pre-emptively executing people who might commit crimes but haven’t actually done anything yet.
A story on CNN continues [emphasis added],
O’Neill and other White House insiders gave him documents showing that in early 2001 the administration was already considering the use of force to oust Saddam, as well as planning for the aftermath.
“There are memos,” Suskind told the network. “One of them marked ‘secret’ says ‘Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.’”
Suskind cited a Pentagon document titled “Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts,” which, he said, outlines areas of oil exploration. “It talks about contractors around the world from … 30, 40 countries and which ones have what intentions on oil in Iraq.”
In the book, O’Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting asked why Iraq should be invaded.
“It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,’” O’Neill said.
Paul O’Neill’s assertions are backed up by former CIA director George Tenet in his book, At the Center of the Storm. In a 2007 article in the Washington Post, Karen DeYoung writes [emphasis added],
White House and Pentagon officials, and particularly Vice President Cheney, were determined to attack Iraq from the first days of the Bush administration, long before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and repeatedly stretched available intelligence to build support for the war, according to a new book by former CIA director George J. Tenet.
Although Tenet does not question the threat Saddam Hussein posed or the sincerity of administration beliefs, he recounts numerous efforts by aides to Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to insert “crap” into public justifications for the war. Tenet also describes an ongoing fear within the intelligence community of the administration’s willingness to “mischaracterize complex intelligence information.”
“There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraq threat”…The debate “was not about imminence but about acting before Saddam did.”
According to Ron Paul–who is in a position to know, as a civil libertarian having served 10 terms in Congress–various provisions of the PATRIOT ACT had been floating around Congress for years prior to September, 2001. And after the attacks, in the tradition of Rahm Emanual, Congress “didn’t let a good crisis go to waste,” bundling up a number of privacy-killing, civil-liberties-killing chunks of legislation that had been seen as too extreme into a bill that most Representatives didn’t actually read before signing, and wouldn’t have voted for had it not been called the PATRIOT ACT.
So, in the eight months before the September 11th terrorist attacks, several members of the Bush administration were eager for an excuse to invade Iraq. Several members of Congress were eager for an excuse to start spying on Americans without due process.
I have no reason to believe that members of the Bush administration were happy that nearly 3,000 Americans died on September 11th. None at all. And that isn’t what Ron Paul said, though that is what “news” coverage has implied.
But the record and several contemporary accounts support Ron Paul’s statement, made to a packed house of over 1,300 at the University of Iowa:
“Think of what happened after 9/11, the minute before there was any assessment, there was glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq, and so the war drums beat…That’s exactly what they’re doing now with Iran.”
Dr. Paul discussed his statement in an interview on Fox News, starting at about the 5:00 mark:
The money quote is:
“This doesn’t mean [the administration] had glee about 9/11, that’s a total misinterpretation. They had pleasure in knowing that they had an excuse now to do what they’d been wanting to do for so long and what did they do? They marched into Iraq based on lies, there was no Al Qaida, no weapons of mass destruction, and look at the tragic outcomes from that effort. Undeclared war…matter of fact, that is carried over into Afghanistan, it looks like it won’t ever end unless we change the administration.”
Kevin, I sincerely hope that you’ve taken the time to read this whole letter, which, I grant you, is probably only of interest to other liberty wonks like myself.
Most people won’t have read this far. Most Americans–if they’re paying attention at all–will still make their voting decision as though they’re watching an episode of American Idol, thanks to decades of hard work by the teachers’ unions.
But I hope, at least, that you hold me in enough regard to know that both Ron Paul and I recognize the September 11th attacks for what they were–horrible, gutwrenching tragedies. And I hope you believe me when I say I’m terribly sorry for the loss of your friend Jane.
But I think that the loss of civil liberties, and endless, unconstitutional, undeclared wars are equally tragic. Because that means that the sacrifices of those who fought and died to protect those hard-won liberties–including my Revolutionary War ancestor, Moses Gee–were in vain.
Kevin, I know you aren’t going to vote for Ron Paul, but I hope that after reading this, you don’t respect me any less for my decision to do so.
I’ve never censored anything from you as a Ron Paul supporter and have given you free rein to write as much as you want about him, even though I am not a supporter of his. This generates considerable hatemail for me from people out there who think Ron Paul supporters should never be given a forum, but I’ve never interfered with your making your case for Ron Paul.
The reason I’ve done this is because not only do I respect you on a personal level as a friend and as a writer, but because like him or not, Ron Paul is a phenomenon and he attracts scores of devotees coast to coast. There’s a reason that so many people are so excited by his candidacy…and I want to understand what they are so excited about.
I have tried numerous times to understand this excitement, but every time I try to dig deep and appreciate what Ron Paul is all about, something horrifying jumps out like his feelings toward 9/11.
In the debate tonight, Dr. Paul went on a tear about how we should close the Embassy in Baghdad and bring troops home from shuttered bases all over the globe, with America withdrawing all personnel to the continental US. That’s madness. Pure and utter madness.
While I do believe there are bases that are no longer needed and forces should be shifted in many cases, I don’t think Dr. Paul has a real appreciation of the ripples his dream plan would cause. I do think the US needs to start charging hefty fees for the protective services the country’s military provides, so that American taxpayers are not footing the bill for this ourselves. But I can only listen to Dr. Paul for a few minutes before he goes off the deep end with me.
I don’t think I’m alone in this, and in fact feel I’m more fair to Dr. Paul than 95% of people out there because I do keep trying to understand him and the phenomenon that surrounds him.
But 9/11 is sacred to me, as it’s sacred to many Americans. And Ron Paul’s comments on 9/11 are horrifying to me. So much so that he’s really crossed a line this time. These remarks lost a good deal of whatever credibility I had for Dr. Paul. I’m not sure why his supporters will continue to stand with him after these 9/11 remarks, but I certainly will never see Dr. Paul the same way after this.
I encourage you to keep writing about Dr. Paul and the clear media push against him (which is indeed real). I also think you may be right that Dr. Paul will win the Iowa Caucuses, since ground game is everything there and Dr. Paul’s supporters certainly are motivated to head out into the cold and vote for him. If Huckabee won in 2008, and his “I Heart Huckabee” supporters were only a fraction as devoted as the Paul supporters are, then there’s a very good chance that Paul could, indeed, win Iowa.
To be totally honest, I hope Paul DOES indeed win Iowa…because this might be the final straw that forces the parties to remove Iowa as the first in the nation state come primary season. It’s high time Iowa lost this honor, and a Paul victory following Huckabee’s the cycle before that could be just what’s needed to change the nomination calendar in the future.
I love Ron Paul’s zeal for cutting spending, but am horrified by more of what he says than I’m appreciative of his willingness to go out on a limb. Just as I see the need to recognize the fact that Ron Paul generates such fervent support amongst his supporters, Paul supporters like yourself need to understand the horror Dr. Paul strikes into the hearts of many when he talks about his dreams for American foreign policy.
Ron Paul has a very real problem, in that I am certainly not the only person horrified by his 9/11 remarks. Dr. Paul has a very real communication problem since there always seems to be such a solid disconnect between what supporters like you say he really means as opposed to how non-supporters like myself interpret the words he says.
I’ve been following this film the entire time it’s been in production and am delighted by this new official trailer; I sincerely hope this puts to rest the fears voiced by many that Leftist-leaning actress Meryl Streep would somehow make fun of or malign the Baroness Thatcher in the movie “The Iron Lady”.
Whether Streep would ever want to do that has always been eclipsed by the simple fact that Streep’s been in a race with the ghost of Katherine Hepburn for Academy Award glory. Kate claimed a quartet of little, nude gold men in her lifetime while Streep’s been languishing with twins forever now.
Then there’s her long-simmering rivalry with Glenn Close, forged back in the 80s when the two vied for the title of “America’s consummate and ubiquitous blond actress”.
Streep wants the Oscar for this role.
She narrowly lost her third trophy for playing Julia Child a few years ago; she would not deliberately do anything to prevent her winning for another biographical role that is clearly designed as Oscar-bait.
Her performance in this movie will be respectful and highly accurate. The film itself is gunning for Oscar gold in all categories and will thus avoid ever being seen as a dated, politically-motivated hit piece.
There is nothing to be afraid of in this film.
It will be this year’s “The King’s Speech” and will be loved by everyone who has any connection to the people depicted in it.
AND…on top of all that…it has the most kickass movie poster I have seen in a few years.
Seriously…I am already sizing up walls here at Buzzquarters where this will someday soon hang as soon as it can be delivered.
Never compromise, indeed.
News came down a few minutes ago that the trustees of Penn State University fired head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier effective immediately.
I haven’t followed this story closely, so I just became aware of the fact that Joe Paterno KNEW that his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, had been CAUGHT RAPING A 10-YEAR OLD BOY IN 2002 AND YET CONTINUED TO WORK ALONGSIDE HIM IN THE PENN STATE FOOTBALL PROGRAM FOR NINE MORE YEARS.
I am about to throw up.
I also just found out that the person who WALKED IN ON Jerry Sandusky RAPING A 10-YEAR OLD BOY, one Mike McQueary, not only DID NOT RESCUE THE BOY AND BEAT JERRY SANDUSKY TO DEATH at the time, but IS CURRENTLY RECEIVERS COACH FOR THE TEAM!
This “man,” Mike McQueary [seriously? That's his name?], DIDN’T EVEN CALL THE POLICE to report the rape. As reported on FoxNews.com,
“The 84-year-old Paterno has been besieged by criticism since Sandusky was charged over the weekend with sexually abusing eight young boys between 1994 and 2009. Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with failing to notify authorities after an eyewitness reported a 2002 assault. [...]
Though Paterno is not accused of any wrongdoing, he has been questioned over his apparent failure to follow up on a report of the 2002 incident, in which Sandusky allegedly sodomized a 10-year-old boy in the showers at the team’s football complex. A witness, Mike McQueary, is currently receivers coach for the team but was a graduate assistant at the time.
McQueary told Paterno about the incident the next day, and the coach notified Curley and Schultz, who in turn notified Penn State president Graham Spanier. Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report the incident to authorities, as required by state law.
I would like to point out that this story includes all the elements that the sexual harassment smear campaign against Herman Cain does not.
- An eyewitness.
- Sexual contact.
- A very long paper trail.
The only thing that appears to be missing is the one thing the Herman Cain smear campaign has in abundance: OUTRAGE.
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE???
Last night, ESPN broadcast video of a student rally at the home of Joe Paterno. They RALLIED in front of his house, shouting words of encouragement to him.
Presumably the residents and students of State College, PA were more aware of the situation than I was. Some, if not all, of these people must have known that this Jerry Sandusky had been protected by Penn State’s coaching staff and administrators, including Paterno.
But the people of State College PA and the students in front of Joe Pa’s house were more concerned with FOOTBALL than with CHILDREN BEING RAPED.
This is what a sex scandal looks like.
And the fact that the Democrat-Controlled Media has spent more time in the past three days reporting on Herman Cain than on Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno…that’s a scandal all its own.