People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Strange Contortions

I read with mild bemusement a letter written by Democratic party cheerleader (and former counsel to Bill Clinton) Lanny Davis that appears in this morning's Opinion Journal ("Liberal McCarthyism: Bigotry and hate aren't just for right-wingers anymore"). In a rather lame attack on left-wing hate that has manifested itself, in Lanny's view, in several inane and generally puerile emails he received with regard to his support for Joe Liberman's candidacy for reelection to the Senate, Davis compares the hate exhibited in his correspondence to the hatred evinced by right-wing idealogues toward communist sympathisers in the 50's. His point (at least in part):
... My brief and unhappy experience with the hate and vitriol of bloggers on the liberal side of the aisle comes from the last several months I spent campaigning for a longtime friend, Joe Lieberman.

This kind of scary hatred, my dad used to tell me, comes only from the right wing--in his day from people such as the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, with his tirades against "communists and their fellow travelers." The word "McCarthyism" became a red flag for liberals, signifying the far right's fascistic tactics of labeling anyone a "communist" or "socialist" who favored an active federal government to help the middle class and the poor, and to level the playing field.
Here's what baffled me: If Davis wanted to draw a comparison between the vitriol expressed by left-wing bloggers today and right-wing hatemongers of a bygone era, why didn't he bring up segregationists? The lynch mobs? The Jim Crow era? The KKK?

Joe McCarthy and his followers have been called many things over the years - paranoid, delusional, dastardly, slimy, treacherous, mean-spirited, cunning, political ... - but they have never been described in terms relating to hate. So what gives?

Then it came to me.

Joe McCarthy was a Republican. The preponderance of segregationists - racists - in Davis' youth were Democrats. It wouldn't do for Lanny to bring up Robert Byrd's past or Woodrow Wilson's despicable actions in implimenting Jim Crow legislation during his Presidency or the Dixiecrats who fought the civil rights movement in the 50's and 60's. George Wallace. Lester Maddox. The party of Davis.

Thus we get treated to the really bizarre and innocuous notion that hatred in days of old was exemplified by "the far right's fascistic tactics of labeling anyone a "communist" or "socialist" who favored an active federal government to help the middle class and the poor, and to level the playing field."

Do you remember that battle cry? "Lynch those sunsabitchas who favor an active federal government to help the middle class and poor and to level the playing field!" Somehow I must have skipped that history class.

Poor Lanny. He had to twist himself in knots just to avoid any mention of the most shameful period in American history - post Civil War. The era when racial hatred consumed this country and brought the worst out of many of us.

Back to rewrite, pal.

What Was The Purpose Of Those Trails Again?

As I understand it, the reason we have 123 hiking trails and bike paths in Southwest Virginia with another God-knows-how-many under construction is to bring tourists into the area, each of whom is to shell out bookoo tourism dollars at local businesses, boosting the economy and creating tourism jobs. Sounds good anyway.

Since that is our only plan for salvation, we'd all better hope and pray it works.

But the following doesn't bode well for The Plan:

Pending Creeper Trail fees worry businesses
Debra McCown, Bristol Herald Courier

Jerry Camper says a new National Forest Service fee is about to "kill the goose that laid the golden egg."

Over the past decade, businesses that cater to users of the hiking and biking trail – tens of thousands per year – have sprouted up and flourished, contributing to the development of the tiny Washington County town’s tourism-based economy.

The fee takes effect Sept. 1. It requires 3 percent of gross revenue plus hefty insurance fees to the federal government from businesses that transport people to the trail, about half of which is National Forest Service land.

The Forest Service is requiring permits nationwide for commercial use of its land.

The permit and insurance will cost [Steve Mann, owner of The Bike Station Rental & Shuttle in Damascus] an estimated $6,000-$10,000 a year ... adding $1-$2 to the price of a ride to the trail. (link)

Not to mention the growing gasoline price issue.

So we find ourselves scrambling feverishly to draw tourists to Southwest Virginia and, at the same time, we're trying mightily to drive them away.

I'm not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling about all this ...

Diving Into Virginia's Past

How cool is this?
Bay reveals buried Jamestown history
Archaeologists find 26 sunken ships in the Chesapeake Bay
The Associated Press

JAMESTOWN-- Underwater archaeologists have discovered a trove of history in the waters near Jamestown.

Among their finds: 26 shipwrecks, including numerous barges approaching 100 feet in length as well as a 72-foot-long skipjack; and landings, wharves and piers, including one that may be linked to early 17th-century Virginia Gov. George Yeardley. (
Sunken treasure. The stuff that young boys' dreams are made of.

A Tactic Tried And True

To those of you who think the USA is going to hell in a handbasket because the Democratic party has sunk to the level of name-calling and mean-spirited and unfounded attacks on our President, I have this bit of news: These guys perfected that artform long ago.

Take this editorial written by New York Times editor, Henry Raymond, in 1864:

No living man was ever charged with political crimes of such multiplicity and such enormity as Abraham Lincoln. He has been denounced without end as a perjurer, a usurper, a tyrant, a subverter of the Constitution, a destroyer of the liberties of his country, a reckless desperado, a heartless trifler over the last agonies of an expiring nation. Had that which has been said of him been true, there is no circle in Dante’s Inferno full enough of torment to expiate his iniquities.
Sound familiar? The only thing missing is the whine: "No WMD! He didn't find WMD!"

Source: "Reelecting Lincoln: The Battle For The 1864 Presidency," John C. Waugh, Crown Publishers, Inc. 1997