Blog of Steve Whealon - Saba University School of Medicine 3rd Year Medical student

Monday, March 16, 2009

From today's Wall Street Journal Opinion page - a brilliant essay by Shelby Steele on conservatism and race.
I am very confused about what we can do as conservatives to broaden our appeal into the minority communities, and especially into those family-centric, independent, liberty-loving groups who poll as overwhelming supporters of the things that conservatives believe. Why do such large portions of the Hispanic community, and essentially all of the black community, reject the Republican party and conservatism in general? Why do such large numbers of our fellow citizens continue to believe that our country is racist, elitist, etc etc, contrary to all the evidence to the contrary, despite all the advances minorities have made in the last 50 years?

What is the path forward to prevent our great country from being destroyed?

Why the GOP Can't Win With Minorities

Today conservatism is stigmatized in our culture as an antiminority political
philosophy. In certain quarters, conservatism is simply racism by
another name. And minorities who openly identify themselves as
conservatives are still novelties, fish out of water.

Yet there is now the feeling that without an appeal to minorities,
conservatism is at risk of marginalization. The recent election
revealed a Republican Party -- largely white, male and Southern --
seemingly on its way to becoming a "regional" party. Still, an appeal
targeted just at minorities -- reeking as it surely would of identity
politics -- is anathema to most conservatives. Can't it be assumed,
they would argue, that support of classic principles -- individual
freedom and equality under the law -- constitutes support of
minorities? And, given the fact that blacks and Hispanics often poll
more conservatively than whites on most social issues, shouldn't there
be an easy simpatico between these minorities and political

[Why the GOP Can't Win With Minorities]
Associated Press

'Compassionate conservatism' was clever -- as a marketing ploy.

But of course the reverse is true. There is an abiding alienation between
the two -- an alienation that I believe is the great new challenge for
both modern conservatism and formerly oppressed minorities. Oddly, each
now needs the other to evolve.

Yet why this alienation to begin with? Can it be overcome?

I think it began in a very specific cultural circumstance: the
dramatic loss of moral authority that America suffered in the 1960s
after openly acknowledging its long mistreatment of blacks and other
minorities. Societies have moral accountability, and they cannot admit
to persecuting a race of people for four centuries without losing
considerable moral legitimacy. Such a confession -- honorable as it may
be -- virtually calls out challenges to authority. And in the 1960s
challenges emerged from everywhere -- middle-class white kids rioted
for "Free Speech" at Berkeley, black riots decimated inner cities
across the country, and violent antiwar protests were ubiquitous.
America suddenly needed a conspicuous display of moral authority in
order to defend the legitimacy of its institutions against relentless

This was the circumstance that opened a new formula for power in
American politics: redemption. If you could at least seem to redeem
America of its past sins, you could win enough moral authority to claim
real political power. Lyndon Johnson devastated Barry Goldwater because
-- among other reasons -- he seemed bent on redeeming America of its
shameful racist past, while Goldwater's puritanical libertarianism
precluded his even supporting the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Johnson's
Great Society grandly advertised a new American racial innocence. If it
utterly failed to "end poverty in our time," it succeeded -- through a
great display of generosity toward minorities and the poor -- in
recovering enough moral authority to see the government through the
inexorable challenges of the '60s.

When redemption became a term of power, "redemptive liberalism" was
born -- a new activist liberalism that gave itself a "redemptive"
profile by focusing on social engineering rather than liberalism's
classic focus on individual freedom. In the '60s there was no time to
allow individual freedom to render up the social good. Redemptive
liberalism would proactively engineer the good. Name a good like
"integration," and then engineer it into being through a draconian
regimen of school busing. If the busing did profound damage to public
education in America, it gave liberals the right to say, "At least we did something!" In other words, we are activists against America's old sin of segregation. Activism is moral authority in redemptive liberalism.

But conservatism sees moral authority more in a discipline of
principles than in activism. It sees ideas of the good like "diversity"
as mere pretext for the social engineering that always leads to
unintended and oppressive consequences. Conservatism would enforce the
principles that ensure individual freedom, and then allow "the good" to
happen by "invisible hand."

And here is conservatism's great problem with minorities. In an era
when even failed moral activism is redemptive -- and thus a source of
moral authority and power -- conservatism stands flat-footed with only
discipline to offer. It has only an invisible hand to compete with the
activism of the left. So conservatism has no way to show itself
redeemed of America's bigoted past, no way like the Great Society to
engineer a grand display of its innocence, and no way to show deference
to minorities for the oppression they endured. Thus it seems to be in league with that oppression.

Added to this, American minorities of color -- especially blacks --
are often born into grievance-focused identities. The idea of grievance
will seem to define them in some eternal way, and it will link them
atavistically to a community of loved ones. To separate from grievance
-- to say simply that one is no longer racially aggrieved -- will
surely feel like an act of betrayal that threatens to cut one off from
community, family and history. So, paradoxically, a certain chauvinism
develops around one's sense of grievance. Today the feeling of being
aggrieved by American bigotry is far more a matter of identity than of
actual aggrievement.

And this identity calls minorities to an anticonservative
orientation to American politics. It makes for an almost ancestral
resistance to conservatism. One's identity of grievance is flattered by
the moral activism of the left and offended by the invisible hand of
the right. Minorities feel they were saved from oppression by the
left's activism, not by the right's discipline. The truth doesn't
matter much here (in fact it took both activism and principle, civil
war and social movement, to end this oppression). But activism
indicates moral anguish in whites, and so it constitutes the witness
minorities crave. They feel seen, understood. With the invisible hand
the special case of their suffering doesn't count for much, and they go
without witness.

So here stands contemporary American conservatism amidst its
cultural liabilities and, now, its electoral failures -- with no
mechanism to redeem America of its shames, atavistically resisted by
minorities, and vulnerable to stigmatization as a bigoted and
imperialistic political orientation. Today's liberalism may stand on
decades of failed ideas, but it is failure in the name of American
redemption. It remains competitive with -- even ascendant over --
conservatism because it addresses America's moral accountability to its
past with moral activism. This is the left's great power, and a good
part of the reason Barack Obama is now the president of the United
States. No matter his failures -- or the fruitlessness of his
extravagant and scatter-gun governmental activism -- he redeems America
of an ugly past. How does conservatism compete with this?

The first impulse is to moderate. With "compassionate conservatism"
and "affirmative access" and "faith-based initiatives," President
George W. Bush tried to show a redemptive conservatism that could be
activist against the legacy of America's disgraceful past. And it
worked electorally by moderating the image of conservatives as uncaring
disciplinarians. But in the end it was only a marketer's ploy -- a
shrewd advertisement with no actual product to sell.

What drew me to conservatism years ago was the fact that it gave
discipline a slightly higher status than virtue. This meant it could
not be subverted by passing notions of the good. It could be above
moral vanity. And so it made no special promises to me as a minority.
It neglected me in every way except as a human being who wanted
freedom. Until my encounter with conservatism I had only known the
racial determinism of segregation on the one hand and of white
liberalism on the other -- two varieties of white supremacy in which I
could only be dependent and inferior.

The appeal of conservatism is the mutuality it asserts between
individual and political freedom, its beautiful idea of a free man in a
free society. And it offers minorities the one thing they can never get
from liberalism: human rather than racial dignity. I always secretly
loved Malcolm X more than Martin Luther King Jr. because Malcolm wanted
a fuller human dignity for blacks -- one independent of white moral
wrestling. In a liberalism that wants to redeem the nation of its past,
minorities can only be ciphers in white struggles of conscience.

Liberalism's glamour follows from its promise of a new American
innocence. But the appeal of conservatism is relief from this
supercilious idea. Innocence is not possible for America. This nation
did what it did. And conservatism's appeal is that it does not bank on
the recovery of lost innocence. It seeks the discipline of ordinary
people rather than the virtuousness of extraordinary people. The
challenge for conservatives today is simply self-acceptance, and even a
little pride in the way we flail away at problems with an invisible

Mr. Steele is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

El Hombre...I Believe...

The Star-Spangled Banner - Our National Anthem...a fantastic rendition...always brings tears to my eyes

National Anthem - Beautiful Way to Sing It......what its all about!!!

I forgot about this......why did no one care???

Barack Hussein Obama refuses to salute US flag


Listen to the interview...understand what our President believes in...click link below and listen to this interview from 2001 - available before last years election, but not covered by MSM...Looks like Joe the Plumber got the truth...

Wealth Redistribution An Unattained Civil Right: Obama Interview

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A beautiful sight ... El Hombre at work !!

The best player in baseball today... and perhaps the best all-around hitter ever....

Pujols in the cage 090216

I am not surprised at all by this news. It matches perfectly my experience working in the military aerospace industry for 25 years before giving up and entering medical school....

From today's online Wall Street Journal...

Air Force Says

Fewer F-22s Needed

...Lockheed says problem-free F-22s are coming off of its Marietta, Ga., production line and the plane represents a known quantity, with one F-22 capable of replacing two older F-15 fighters. "We're trying to make the point that this isn't a decision you get back," said Lockheed's Larry Lawson, general manager of the F-22 program.

(emphasis mine)

This is what has happened to every major defense program of the past 20+ years...cut back, cut back, cut back... especially when Demos are in charge. I worked on the B-2 program for most of my 25 years as an engineer, and I watched that program go from 132 aircraft to an (almost) irrelevant 20, plus one or 2 token plus-ups added by Pres Clinton as a phony gesture to defense hawks in his attempts to move to the center....

This is one reason why engineers are hard to find in the US. We can no longer manage a Manhattan Project or Race to the Moon, and I think that all these Green Manufacturing Economy ideas are complete fantasies. Smart students no longer want to enter engineering, and especially defense-related engineering, because there is absolutely ZERO career stability. Every year the program you are working on is threatened with reduction or elimination, and big exciting programs like the B-2 or F-22 are always targeted, and not only by the military-hating pols and groups. It is impossible to raise your family, save for retirement, put your children thru college, and perhaps support your church and community and enjoy life some when you are CONSTANTLY worried that your project will be eliminated.

Please dont tell me that I am belly-aching, that this is how it is in every field of endeavor. I dont buy that. We that work, or have worked, in the national defense industry trade economic freedom for some expected benefits. In the defense industry, we have essentially a single customer - the US Military and, by extension, the population of the country. Foreign military sales are a relatively recent aspect of that industry, and are not a good thing but are instead a symptom of the problems with the industry - not enough purchases by your main customer, uncertain procurements, broken promises every 1-2-4-8 years, etc. I have also worked on foreign military sales programs, and they are very poor shadow of their US DOD counterparts.

Our single customer dictates how much we can charge, how much profit can be made, demands ownership of all work product - all things that do not happen in other work fields. It is true that the development of a product is paid for by the customer, but this is to be expected - can anyone imagine a company developing a product like the F-22 or B2 on their own nickel and then selling it to the US military. The commercial airplane manufacturer Boeing, and the others that have since disappeared - I have worked for both Douglas Aircraft and Boeing - develop their aircraft "product" on their own because they can sell them to companies around the world. This would never happen with important military products like the B-2 or F-22. Even foreign military sales version of US weapon systems like the F-15, F-16, and soon the F-22 are HIGHLY regulated by the US customer before the sale ever is approved. This is not the case for commercial products, at least not nearly to the same extent.

I wanted the blogosphere to have my words on this subject. I gave up on military engineering several years ago, and switched to a full-time medical career in 2007 after preparing part time for the previous 4 years. This essential industry is going the same way of all US manufacturing, although a little more slowly.

I will discourage my children from ever considering an engineering career, and especially in aerospace. It is a career choice full of disappointment and uncertainty lacking in real advancement potential.

Boys - Choose Medicine or Law.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I look forward to seeing this ....

LCpl Chance Phelps... 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

A great American and Patriot.... Semper Fi !!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm Not a Socialist Now...or Ever....

Please read Claudia Rosett's latest post here

No, We Are Not All Socialists Now

 and ask yourself if you really believe that the government (any branch or  part thereof) can provide the kind of life we all wish for ourselves and our children and grandchildren...look at what became of people in the Soviet Union ... look at how it seems that EVERY Chinese citizen wants China to be more like the US....

Think about it....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Congress Demos Trying to Sneak In Nationalized Healthcare !

Everyone should know about the nasty goodies tucked into the Spendulus package that will lay the foundation for Nationalized Health Care......

Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan: Betsy McCaughey

Very Bad JuJu !

Its good to be back home in the good ol' USA...
Bad form, I know, to go through 20 months of medical school without posting a single thought on my blog. Too many things have transpired since I first opened this channel....
  • Lots of studying
  • Kids doing 2 school years worth of home schooling
  • Living in a foreign country, making us all appreciate what we have in our beloved USA
  • Many things I could have blogged on if I had the time, not the least of which was the elections, Iraq, the recession, etc etc
I'll try to make this more timely and relevant in the future.

For now, I must try to study for my first medical licensing event, the USMLE Step 1 exam.

What I have learned is... a review class is a waste of time and money after 20+ months of classroom work. I underestimated my fatigue at sitting on my "brains" all day long. Sure wish that I had realized this before I shelled out the almost $7 Grand for the class.

Live and learn...

Is it just me, or does the political news surrounding the beginning of the Obama administration very similar to the "mess" at the beginning of the Clinton admin..... hmmm, wonder why???

Monday, February 09, 2009

Thoughts on the stimulus...
Does anyone else wonder why the President is so intent on getting Republicans to sign on to his "stimulus" package? He has sufficient votes in both the House and Senate to pass whatever he wants...clearly, there is SOME reason for desiring Republican support? Could it be that he wants to have Republicans on board in order to blame them when the boondoggle doesn't stimulate the economy at all?

FDR didnt care about Republican support...why does Pres. Obama?

Doesnt anyone read history at all, or learn from past mistakes? What lessons can be taken from Japan's lost decade? Surely the economists working for the Obama administration know that Japan's " Lost Decade " was not corrected with massive increases in spending! Talk about willful suspension of disbelief!

Watch for Sec. Geithner to unveil even more treasury stimulus (read = Spending) after the big Congressional stimulus package gets passed...perhaps we wont notice that ever more $BILLIONS are being poared down the rat home of wasteful spending.....

Watch this space...