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DougMacG
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« Reply #1200 on: May 30, 2013, 03:47:28 PM »

Fay was one of our contributors on a previous forum.   Link and contact info at the end.

May 26, 2013
Dear IRS: Concerning the Content of my Prayers
By Fay Voshell

Dear IRS,

I understand your people have been deeply interested in the content of my prayers.

I never thought I'd see the day.

I have always assumed prayer in any form goes against the current notion many of you in the IRS share -- the notion that absolute separation of Church and State involves suppression of any religious expression in public.

We religious types are used to being called out for praying at football games, graduations, and the like. But I hadn't thought you would be interested in the private prayers offered by me and my like-minded fellow citizens -- people who collectively wish to put their concerns before the Almighty.

Was I ever wrong!

I'm shocked you are inquiring about private thoughts before God. I assume you may also want to talk to our pastors, insisting they break their vows to keep confessions confidential?

I suppose I should not be surprised at your behavior, since a great Prophet warned there would always be people who desired to pry into all the secrets of the human heart. "Be on your guard," he said. "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs."

Let me be clear: My prayers are none of your business. I like to keep my thoughts between me and my God. But since you asked, I will let you know what I'm praying. I pray for my family.

I ask they will be blessed, particularly the littlest members. I ask they grow up to be pure, true, noble and brave. I ask they be preserved from predators who wish to devour their minds, bodies and souls. I ask God to place guardian angels around them to keep them from harm. I pray that when and if God calls them home to live with Him, they are escorted by angels. I pray the death of innocents and innocence will cease.

I pray for the Church.

I ask she will be free to preach the blessed gospel of Christ in all its permutations. I ask she is salt to preserve an increasingly corrupt culture. I pray for bravery for her as she faces persecution here and around the globe. I pray her priests and pastors will be emboldened to stand up for the truth.

But I am guessing you don't care much about my prayers for my family and my church. I am guessing you want to know what I am praying about the government, the nation and the world. You want to know where I stand politically, and think my prayers will give you some clues.

Very well.

Here is some of what I pray:

I pray God will recall the good deeds of America and have mercy on a nation which stood up and battled at great cost the evils of fascism and communism, taking down the Nazi scourge and felling the Iron Curtain. I ask God to remember the great good our nation has done, to take note of her generosity to nations less fortunate, to remember how many of the poor and oppressed she has absorbed into her borders. I ask him to recall her great deeds of generosity, for her attempts to ameliorate the grim conditions of those living in poverty, afflicted by disease, destroyed by famine, and ground down by oppression.

Then, knowing what evils presently afflict her, I ask God to recall her to Him. I ask she repents and is forgiven. I pray for an end to the massacre of the unborn, an end to the rise of infanticide and mercy killing. I pray for the true education of our children, and for rich opportunities for them to rise to their God-given potential. I ask for the reform of our once great academic institutions and for the triumph of thinking over ideology. I pray for our military, that it not be corrupted but that it remains honorable, strong and committed to our defense and the defense of freedom everywhere.

And, yes, I pray for our government. I ask that whatever evil is hidden within be exposed; whatever nefarious machinations are being carried out be brought to the light and expunged. I ask perpetrators of evil be punished according to the law. I ask true reform sweep throughout our national, state and city governments. I pray for just and righteous servants to be raised up as leaders. I pray for congress, our courts and our executives to be models of integrity, justice and righteousness.

I ask for honesty and impartiality to reign in our civic institutions, including the IRS.

You read that correctly. I pray for the IRS, too.

I ask that it and its employees be returned to the impartiality demanded of our civil servants. I ask that if it fails that test and continues in the paths of oppression and corruption, it collapses and is replaced with a more just system.

I ask for discernment and courage for my fellow citizens. I pray we are always on the alert. I pray we all will render to Caesar what is justly his. I ask we respect and honor in as far as possible our government and our fellow citizens. I ask we have the bravery to refuse obedience when our leaders demand we go against our God-given consciences.

Last, I pray we will not give to Caesar what he has no right to know, much less demand or control; namely, our consciences, our thoughts, our hopes and our dreams -- and our prayers.

Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, which awarded her the Charles Hodge prize for excellence in systematic theology. She was selected as one of the Delaware GOP's "Winning Women," class of 2008. Her writing has been published in American Thinker and National Review. She may be reached at fvoshell@yahoo.com

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/05/dear_irs_concerning_the_content_of_my_prayers.html#ixzz2UoKvEUFr

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1201 on: May 30, 2013, 05:34:05 PM »

Thanks Doug.  If you happen to be in contact with Fay please give her my warm greetings.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1202 on: June 18, 2013, 10:31:35 AM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/350920/americas-vast-margin-error-victor-davis-hanson
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1203 on: June 18, 2013, 11:18:31 AM »

second post of the day

It's the Profiling, Stupid!
Obama, Trust and the NSA
By Mark Alexander • June 13, 2013         
"All men having power ought to be distrusted..." --James Madison (1787)
 

Last week, Barack Hussein Obama deflected new concerns about the National Security Administration's intrusive domestic data-mining operations, saying, "If people can't trust ... the executive branch ... to make sure we're abiding by the Constitution, due process, and rule of law, then we're going to have some problems here."
Barack, we have some problems here.
Of course, trusting the Executive Branch is not the issue. The problem is Obama's life-long record of deceit and deception, and his utter contempt for Rule of Law.
Amidst recent revelations that Obama's black-bag cutouts inspired his "low-level" union cadres at the IRS to target his Patriot and Tea Party political enemies list, and scripted a cover-up of the Benghazi murders in order that it not derail his 2012 re-election campaign momentum, is it conceivable that his "low-level" union cadres at the NSA might collect intelligence data on U.S. citizens to profile those whom oppose Obama?
As with the other scandals, Obama's political handlers and their Leftmedia talkingheads are obfuscating the facts regarding NSA data collection. They ignore legitimate civil liberty concerns, and focus instead on the question of whether such data is essential to our national security.
Allow me to reframe a quote from James "Ragin' Cajun" Carville's political playbook about focusing on the big issue, and adapt it for the big data debate: "It's the profiling, stupid!"
The question is not whether intelligence data collection is critical to our nation's ability to defend itself -- good intelligence is, and has always been a critical component of national defense and security.
The overarching questions are, what is the scope of domestic NSA intelligence gathering, and what is the potential for an administration to use that information to profile and target political opponents?
Post Your Opinion
Here is a very brief background pertaining to the genesis of the NSA data-mining programs that have violated First and Fourth Amendment proscriptions against government infringement of the rights of American citizens.
After World War I, a civilian code-breaking group called Black Chamber seized daily telegrams from major telegraph companies, in violation of the 1912 Radio Communications Act. This operation was exposed and shut down, but after World War II, President Harry Truman rightly deemed the threat of nuclear weapons to be so significant that, by way of executive order, he formed the National Security Agency.
The NSA was tasked with collecting as much signal and communication intelligence as the limits of technology would allow, and its budget soon dwarfed that of the Central Intelligence Agency as it expanded those limits. The NSA exponentially accelerated the old Black Chamber ops far beyond any commercial capabilities, and disseminated its findings to the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (DEA predecessor) and the Department of Defense.
NSA operated without court orders and warrants, and its domestic data mining operations flourished unabated until two of its collection programs, "SHAMROCK" and "MINARET," were discovered by congressional investigators after the Vietnam War.
In 1975, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Frank Church (D-ID) noted that these programs "certainly appear to violate section 605 of the Communications Act of 1934 as well as the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution." He described the NSA operations as "the largest government interception programs affecting Americans ever undertaken." But those operations were a drop in the ocean compared to NSA programs today.
From 1980 to 2000, NSA intelligence gathering capabilities advanced well beyond what academicians considered the theoretical limits, due primarily to Internet communication and transactions. However, congressional intelligence oversight committees maintained strict limits on domestic intelligence gathering.
Fast forward to the rise of "Jihadistan" and the 9/11 al-Qa'ida attack on American soil.
Under the authority of post 9/11 Patriot Act provisions, the NSA greatly expanded its gathering operations to include mountains of metadata -- essentially macro data tags about micro data -- on virtually every electronic transmission and transaction, including the tagging of individual financial, telecommunication and internet traffic. That is on top of all the data the government already maintains on individuals, and when ObamaCare is fully implemented, the government will then have complete access to medical histories and conditions.
The NSA has the added benefit of tapping into massive commercial data mining operations at Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple, and collected chat videos, stored data, file transfers, social networking, videos and photos, and especially encrypted communications, which can be virtually deciphered and read in real time. (For the record, the massive commercial data mining also poses significant threats to privacy, and should be subject to disclosure limitations and regulation requiring consumers to approve or disapprove the collection of such data.)
 

The legitimate purpose for gathering massive amounts of metadata, and probably many "deeper layers of data," is that such data can be sifted by algorithms in search of patterns, trends and associations that may be linked with national security threat profiles.
When there were profile hits in the data, investigators are required by law, subject to the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), to obtain a court order to conduct a deeper review of the stored data.
Now, if the executive branch is to be trusted, and congressional oversight is sufficient, then there is no problem with the collection of metadata, and the transactions or transmissions associated with that data. But our Founders wisely established that no such trust should ever be afforded those in power, so the question of trust should be a mute point.
So, who is to be trusted?
Post Your Opinion
Certainly not Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was asked in a March congressional hearing, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper responded, "No, sir. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect [intelligence on Americans], but not wittingly."
Clapper, who apparently does not grasp the concept that when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging, attempted to parse his response, saying this week, "I responded in what I thought was the most truthful or least most untruthful manner, by saying, 'No.' And again, going back to my metaphor, what I was thinking of is looking at the Dewey Decimal numbers of those books in the metaphorical library. To me collection of U.S. persons data would mean taking the books off the shelf, opening it up and reading it."
OK, in the intelligence trade craft, "gathering intelligence" refers to the accumulation of data. "Collection" refers to the analysis of data, but Clapper obviously knew that the distinction between gathering and collecting intelligence would not be apparent to any elected official during the hearings.
But according to White House paid professional liar Jay Carney, Obama "certainly believes that Director Clapper has been straight and direct in the answers he's given," and added that he thinks Clapper has been "aggressive in providing as much information as possible to the American people, to the press."
So, what about "trusting the executive branch" with collection programs like PRISM, which co-opt data from domestic telecommunication and Internet service providers?
In 2005, then Senator Obama declared, "If someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document, through library books they've read and phone calls they've made -- this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. ... This is just plain wrong."
In 2008, an indignant candidate Obama promised, "I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining the Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping ... [spying] on citizens ... tracking citizens who do nothing but protest... No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. ... The law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers ... justice is not arbitrary. [Bush] acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security... The first thing I will do, when I am president, is call in my attorney general and ... review every executive order issued by George Bush to determine which of those have undermined civil liberties, which are unconstitutional, and I will reverse them with a stroke of a pen."
Now, Obama says, "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That is not what this program is about. What the intelligence community is looking at is phone numbers and duration of calls. They're not looking at names and not looking at content." He added that when he became president, "My assessment was [that NSA intelligence] helps us prevent terrorist attacks. The modest encroachments" on privacy, he said, "was worth us doing." (Watch Obama then and now.)
In fact, under the Obama administration, the NSA activities have massively expanded.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), one of the key architects of the Patriot Act, said this week that the scope of the NSA data mining operation is "beyond what the Patriot Act intended." Sensenbrenner, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, added, "I know because I helped draft Section 215 and it was designed to prevent the NSA from [domestic] data mining and that is exactly what they're doing. ... Apparently what the president seems to think is that universal background checks for guns are okay, so universal seizure of people's telephone records is okay."
According to The New York Times' editorial on NSA operations and Obama's response, "He has now lost all credibility."
The Times later amended that post to read, "lost all credibility on this issue," but they had it right the first time.
Ironically, amid the NSA controversy, Obama announced last week, "We're going to take a new step to make sure that virtually every child in America's classrooms has access to the fastest Internet. I am directing the Federal Communications Commission, which is the FCC, to begin a process that will connect 99 percent of America's students to high-speed broadband Internet within five years."
 

Recall, if you will, just a few weeks back when Obama preached his "ignore tyranny sermon" to Ohio State graduates: "You've grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They'll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices."
Well, in Ronald Reagan's inimitable words, "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." And indeed, "tyranny is always lurking just around the corner," and our Founders expected us to be ever vigilant against despotism, regardless of Obama's demand we "reject these voices."
Note that Obama's IRS profiling of Patriot and Tea Party political opponents was not the first time this administration's foot soldiers set their sights on his political adversaries. There are many other examples of government agencies targeting his enemy list.
For example, the Department of Homeland Security wasted no time after Obama took office targeting conservatives in a 2009 DHS document "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." That terrorist profile included a footnote that defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as any groups that question federal authority and support states' rights. It also notes that DHS "will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months" to collect information on these radicals, with "a particular emphasis" on sources of "rightwing extremist radicalization." DHS czar Janet Napolitano expressed her concerns about "trends of violent radicalization in the United States," but insists, "We are on the lookout for criminal and terrorist activity but we do not -- nor will we ever -- monitor ideology or political beliefs."
Right, you can trust her -- she's from the government.
And consider the 2010 security exercise at Ft. Knox, in which an Obama supporter wrote into the scenario that "Tea Party terrorists" were the adversaries.
The bottom line is that most Americans in the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities are Patriots -- and there are even some in the IRS and other civilian government agencies. But when Obama's wayward NeoCom cadres use the power of their government office to profile and target his political adversaries, that does not require a directive from Obama. The profilers were already predisposed with a political bias, and Obama has fueled that predisposition in every government agency.
Where there is a corrupt executive, there will be corruption in the ranks. Obama is not to be afforded any measure of trust. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered."
Footnote: Amid all the debate about NSA profiling of terrorists, I thought the Left universally argued that "profiling" was a bad word. Fact is I fully support tactical profiling measures, like behavioral profiling at airport security checkpoints, rather than subjecting grandmothers and babies to full body searches. (Read "Anyone for Terrorist Profiling?")
Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis
 
Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1204 on: June 19, 2013, 09:21:51 AM »

By NIALL FERGUSON

In "Democracy in America," published in 1833, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the way Americans preferred voluntary association to government regulation. "The inhabitant of the United States," he wrote, "has only a defiant and restive regard for social authority and he appeals to it . . . only when he cannot do without it."

Unlike Frenchmen, he continued, who instinctively looked to the state to provide economic and social order, Americans relied on their own efforts. "In the United States, they associate for the goals of public security, of commerce and industry, of morality and religion. There is nothing the human will despairs of attaining by the free action of the collective power of individuals."

What especially amazed Tocqueville was the sheer range of nongovernmental organizations Americans formed: "Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations . . . but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fetes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools."

Tocqueville would not recognize America today. Indeed, so completely has associational life collapsed, and so enormously has the state grown, that he would be forced to conclude that, at some point between 1833 and 2013, France must have conquered the United States.

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Barbara Kelley

The decline of American associational life was memorably documented in Robert Puttnam's seminal 1995 essay "Bowling Alone," which documented the exodus of Americans from bowling leagues, Rotary clubs and the like. Since then, the downward trend in "social capital" has only continued. According to the 2006 World Values Survey, active membership even of religious associations has declined from just over half the population to little more than a third (37%). The proportion of Americans who are active members of cultural associations is down to 14% from 24%; for professional associations the figure is now just 12%, compared with more than a fifth in 1995. And, no, Facebook FB +0.21% is not a substitute.

Instead of joining together to get things done, Americans have increasingly become dependent on Washington. On foreign policy, it may still be true that Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus. But when it comes to domestic policy, we all now come from the same place: Planet Government.

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Clyde Wayne Crews shows in his invaluable annual survey of the federal regulatory state, we have become the regulation nation almost imperceptibly. Excluding blank pages, the 2012 Federal Register—the official directory of regulation—today runs to 78,961 pages. Back in 1986 it was 44,812 pages. In 1936 it was just 2,620.

True, our economy today is much larger than it was in 1936—around 12 times larger, allowing for inflation. But the Federal Register has grown by a factor of 30 in the same period.

The last time regulation was cut was under Ronald Reagan, when the number of pages in the Federal Register fell by 31%. Surprise: Real GDP grew by 30% in that same period. But Leviathan's diet lasted just eight years. Since 1993, 81,883 new rules have been issued. In the past 10 years, the "final rules" issued by our 63 federal departments, agencies and commissions have outnumbered laws passed by Congress 223 to 1.

Right now there are 4,062 new regulations at various stages of implementation, of which 224 are deemed "economically significant," i.e., their economic impact will exceed $100 million.

The cost of all this, Mr. Crews estimates, is $1.8 trillion annually—that's on top of the federal government's $3.5 trillion in outlays, so it is equivalent to an invisible 65% surcharge on your federal taxes, or nearly 12% of GDP. Especially invidious is the fact that the costs of regulation for small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) are 36% higher per employee than they are for bigger firms.

Next year's big treat will be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, something every small business in the country must be looking forward to with eager anticipation. Then, as Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) warned readers on this page 10 months ago, there's also the Labor Department's new fiduciary rule, which will increase the cost of retirement planning for middle-class workers; the EPA's new Ozone Rule, which will impose up to $90 billion in yearly costs on American manufacturers; and the Department of Transportation's Rear-View Camera Rule. That's so you never have to turn your head around when backing up.

President Obama occasionally pays lip service to the idea of tax reform. But nothing actually gets done and the Internal Revenue Service code (plus associated regulations) just keeps growing—it passed the nine-million-word mark back in 2005, according to the Tax Foundation, meaning nearly 19% more verbiage than 10 years before. While some taxes may have been cut in the intervening years, the tax code just kept growing.

I wonder if all this could have anything to do with the fact that we still have nearly 12 million people out of work, plus eight million working part-time jobs, five long years after the financial crisis began.

Genius that he was, Tocqueville saw this transformation of America coming. Toward the end of "Democracy in America" he warned against the government becoming "an immense tutelary power . . . absolute, detailed, regular . . . cover[ing] [society's] surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way."

Tocqueville also foresaw exactly how this regulatory state would suffocate the spirit of free enterprise: "It rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one's acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces [the] nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd."

If that makes you bleat with frustration, there's still hope.

Mr. Ferguson's new book "The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die" has just been published by Penguin Press.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1205 on: June 19, 2013, 01:00:41 PM »


Hanson makes an important observation here, one that Wesbury built his workhorse economy theory on, and the premise for all Liberalnomics.  The American culture and the American economy is so strong that it can absorb certain inefficiencies and keep right on ticking, like nothing is wrong.  We can handle a 1% tax rate.  We can handle a 10% tax rate, maybe 20%.  But maybe we can't handle lost economic activity that real rates of taxation now approaching 65% will cause.  We can handle one page of regulations and we can handle a thousand pages of regulations, even excessive ones.  But maybe we can't handle the 80,000 pages of business strangulation now in place.  We can handle the government meddling in 40% of health care.  50% maybe, but not 100% with no private sector remaining.  We can handle $3 gas, but maybe not $10, $20.  Maybe we can afford to put 50 million people on food stamps, but not 51 million.  At some point there will be too many people riding and not enough pulling the wagon to keep it going.  We could probably handle $16 trillion in debt if we removed other chains that are holding us back.  At some point we will have absorbed all of our margin of error and cannot place one more ounce of weight on the load we are carrying without collapsing.  Like the piece about China banking built on a house of cards, we have already had our own brushes with economic meltdown.  Our current failure to address anything that is wrong in our policies will eventually come back to bite us - sooner and worse than all but a few (GM, Peter Shiff, etc.) can imagine.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1206 on: June 23, 2013, 10:04:51 AM »



Truth is the lifeblood of democracy. Without honesty, the foundations of consensual government crumble.

If the Internal Revenue Service acts unlawfully, our system of citizens’ computing their own taxes implodes.

Yet Lois Lerner, one of the IRS’s top officials, would not answer simple questions about her agency’s conduct during congressional testimony, instead pleading the Fifth Amendment. Any taxpayer who tried that with an IRS auditor would end up fined, if not in jail.

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Almost everything that IRS officials have reported about the agency’s unlawful targeting of conservative groups has proven false. IRS malfeasance was not limited only to the Cincinnati office, as alleged, but followed directives sent from higher-ups in Washington. Lois Lerner confessed to the scandal only through a rigged public query by a planted questioner, designed to preempt an upcoming critical inspector general’s report. There is legitimate dispute over both the number and the purpose of former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman’s visits to the White House and nearby executive office buildings, but he did his credibility no good by snidely remarking to Congress that at least one of those visits was to take his kids to the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Attorney General Eric Holder — who had already been held in contempt by the House of Representatives for declining to turn over internal Justice Department documents in the earlier Fast and Furious scandal — swore to Congress that he had no knowledge of any effort to go after individual reporters. But according to an official Justice Department statement, Holder had in fact signed off on the search warrant to monitor the communications of Fox News reporter James Rosen. In other words, the attorney general of the United States under oath misled — or lied to — Congress.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was recently asked by Senator Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) whether the National Security Agency collected the phone and e-mail records of millions of ordinary Americans. Clapper said that it did not. That, too, was an untruth. Clapper’s supporters argued that Wyden should not have asked in public a sensitive question that threatened the needed secrecy of the program. But Clapper did not demur or request a closed session. He instead found it easier to deceive, later dubbing his response the “least untruthful” answer possible.

Washington reporters and spin doctors argue whether newly appointed national-security adviser Susan Rice knowingly lied when she wove a yarn about a single video maker’s being responsible for spontaneous violence that led to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. Yet no one disputes that her televised accounts — as well as those of both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton — were untrue, and demonstrably so at the time. Yet Rice was promoted, not censured, following her performance.

Last November, White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked point-blank whether the administration had altered CIA-produced intelligence memos to fit its narrative of a spontaneous riot in Benghazi. Carney answered unequivocally that the administration had made only one stylistic change. That, too, was not accurate. In fact, there were at least twelve different drafts that reflected substantial ongoing changes by the administration of the original CIA talking points.

Former EPA director Lisa Jackson created a fake e-mail identity — “Richard Windsor” — to conduct official business off the record. But Jackson did not stop with that ruse. She turned Richard Windsor into an entire mythical persona, who supposedly took online tests and was given awards by the EPA — a veritable Jackson doppelgänger who was certified as “a scholar of ethical behavior” by no less than the agency that the unethical Jackson oversaw.

Deception is now institutionalized in the Obama administration. It infects almost every corner of the executive branch, eroding the trust necessary for the IRS, the Department of Justice, our security agencies, and the president’s official spokesman — sabotaging the public trust required for democracy itself.

What went wrong with the Obama administration?

For one thing, there is no longer a traditional adversarial media in Washington. Spouses and siblings of executives at the major television networks are embedded within the administration. Unlike with Watergate, the media now hold back, believing that any hard-hitting reporting of ongoing scandals would only weaken Obama, whose vision of America the vast majority of reporters share. But that understood exemption only encourages greater lack of candor.

There is also utopian arrogance in Washington that justifies any means necessary to achieve exalted ends of supposed fairness and egalitarianism. If one has to tell a lie to stop the Tea Party or Fox News, then it is not seen by this administration as a lie.

Barack Obama swept up an entire nation in 2008 with his hope-and-change promises of a new honesty and transparency. That dream is now in shambles, destroyed by the most untruthful cast since Richard Nixon, H. R. Haldeman, Ron Ziegler, and John Dean left Washington in disgrace almost 40 years ago — after likewise subverting the very government they had pledged to serve.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His new book, The Savior Generals, is just out from Bloomsbury Press. You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com. © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1207 on: June 25, 2013, 04:18:05 PM »

Stephens: The Age of American Impotence
As the Edward Snowden saga illustrates, the Obama administration is running out of foreign influence.

    By BRET STEPHENS


At this writing, Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive National Security Agency contractor indicted on espionage charges, is in Moscow, where Vladimir Putin's spokesman insists his government is powerless to detain him. "We have nothing to do with this story," says Dmitri Peskov. "I don't approve or disapprove plane tickets."

Funny how Mr. Putin always seems to discover his inner civil libertarian when it's an opportunity to humiliate the United States. When the Russian government wants someone off Russian soil, it either removes him from it or puts him under it. Just ask investor Bill Browder, who was declared persona non grata when he tried to land in Moscow in November 2005. Or think of Mr. Browder's lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, murdered by Russian prison officials four years later.

Mr. Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong, where local officials refused a U.S. arrest request, supposedly on grounds it "did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law." That's funny, too, since Mr. Snowden had been staying in a Chinese government safe house before Beijing gave the order to ignore the U.S. request and let him go.

"The Hong Kong government didn't have much of a role," Albert Ho, a Hong Kong legislator, told Reuters. "Its role was to receive instructions to not stop him at the airport."

Now Mr. Snowden may be on his way to Havana, or Caracas, or Quito. It's been said often enough that this so-called transparency crusader remains free thanks to the cheek and indulgence of dictatorships and strongmen. It's also been said that his case illustrates how little has been achieved by President Obama's "reset" with Moscow, or with his California schmoozing of China's Xi Jinping earlier this month.

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AFP/Getty Images

A show of support in Hong Kong for a fugitive visitor, June 18.

But however the Snowden episode turns out (and don't be surprised if the Russians wind up handing him over in exchange for an unspecified American favor), what it mainly illustrates is that we are living in an age of American impotence. The Obama administration has decided it wants out from nettlesome foreign entanglements, and now finds itself surprised that it's running out of foreign influence.

That is the larger significance of last week's Afghan diplomatic debacle, in which the Taliban opened an office in Doha for the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan"—the name Mullah Omar grandiloquently gave his regime in Kabul before its 2001 downfall. Afghan President Hamid Karzai responded by shutting down negotiations with the U.S. over post-2014 security cooperation.

Now the U.S. finds itself in an amazing position. Merely to get the Taliban to the table for a bogus peace process, the administration agreed at Pakistan's urging to let Mullah Omar come to the table on his owns terms: no acceptance of the Afghan Constitution, no cease-fire with international forces, not even a formal pledge to never again allow Afghanistan to become a haven for international terrorism. The U.S. also agreed, according to Pakistani sources, to allow the terrorist Haqqani network—whose exploits include the 2011 siege of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul—a seat at the table.

Yet having legitimized Haqqani and given the Taliban everything it wanted in exchange for nothing, the U.S. finds itself being dumped by its own client government in Kabul, which can always turn to Iran as a substitute patron. Incredible: no peace, no peace process, no ally, no leverage and no moral standing, all in a single stroke. John Kerry is off to quite a start.

What's happening in Afghanistan is of a piece with the larger pattern of U.S. diplomacy. Iraq? The administration made the complete withdrawal of our troops a cornerstone of its first-term foreign policy, and now finds itself surprised that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki won't lift a finger to prevent Iranian cargo planes from overflying his airspace en route to resupplying Bashar Assad's military. Syria? President Obama spent two years giving the country's civil war the widest berth, creating the power vacuum in which Iran, Hezbollah and Russia may soon achieve their strategic goals.

And Iran: In 2003, Tehran briefly halted its secret nuclear-weapons work and agreed to suspend its enrichment activities, at least for a few months. Yet since then, every U.S. effort to persuade Iran to alter its nuclear course has failed. Is it because the Obama administration was insufficiently solicitous, patient, or eager for a deal? Or is it that Tehran believes that treating this administration with contempt carries little cost?

"America can't do a damn thing against us" was a maxim of the Iranian revolution in its early days when America meant Jimmy Carter. Under President Obama, the new maxim could well be "America won't do a damn thing."

Which brings us back to the Snowden file. Speaking from India, Mr. Kerry offered a view on what it would mean for Russia to allow him to flee. "Disappointing," said our 68th secretary of state. He added "there would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship and consequences."

Moscow must be trembling.
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« Reply #1208 on: June 25, 2013, 05:22:18 PM »

I guess this is the smart power we were promised...
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« Reply #1209 on: June 25, 2013, 11:57:03 PM »

I have to wonder where the United States would be if it weren't busy doing warrantless wiretapping (under Bush, even with wide leniency by the FISA court in terms of obtaining warrants after the fact - they still didn't bother), spying on it's own citizens, or actually staying out of countries where they obviously aren't welcome, ceasing the role of world super cop. I wonder what that would look like.
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« Reply #1210 on: June 25, 2013, 11:59:55 PM »

No power vacuum is left unfilled.
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« Reply #1211 on: June 26, 2013, 12:07:22 AM »

No disagreement there at all.
I like a lot of the things I'm learning here, like how criminals should be treated. What I don't understand is why we don't treat politicians that are criminals in the same manner (they do in some other countries), leaving the power vacuum to be filled by those that actually have integrity.
I'm dead sure many on this site know what discipline and accountability are. Not quite certain why there is a complete absence of it on Capitol Hill. No longer my business I suppose, but enjoy staying somewhat in contact. Good to read your stuff GM. I enjoy it. Thank you.
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« Reply #1212 on: June 29, 2013, 11:05:04 AM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/352350/simulacrum-self-government-mark-steyn

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 — just another day in a constitutional republic of limited government by citizen representatives:

First thing in the morning, Gregory Roseman, Deputy Director of Acquisitions (whatever that means), became the second IRS official to take the Fifth Amendment, after he was questioned about awarding the largest contract in IRS history, totaling some half a billion dollars, to his close friend Braulio Castillo, who qualified under a federal “set aside” program favoring disadvantaged groups — in this case, disabled veterans. For the purposes of federal contracting, Mr. Castillo is a “disabled veteran” because he twisted his ankle during a football game at the U.S. Military Academy prep school 27 years ago. How he overcame this crippling disability to win a half-billion-dollar IRS contract is the heartwarming stuff of an inspiring Lifetime TV movie.

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Later in the day, Senator John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota and alleged author of the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the immigration bill, went on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show and, in a remarkable interview, revealed to the world that he had absolutely no idea what was in the legislation he “wrote.” Rachel Jeantel, the endearingly disastrous star witness at the George Zimmerman trial, excused her inability to comprehend the letter she’d supposedly written to Trayvon Martin’s parents on the grounds that “I don’t read cursive.” Senator Hoeven doesn’t read legislative. For example, Section 5(b)(1):

    Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a strategy, to be known as the ‘Southern Border Fencing Strategy’ . . .

On the other hand, Section 5(b)(5):

    Notwithstanding paragraph (1), nothing in this subsection shall require the Secretary to install fencing . . .

Asked to reconcile these two paragraphs, Senator Hoeven explained that, “when I read through that with my lawyer,” the guy said relax, don’t worry about it. (I paraphrase, but barely.) So Senator Hoeven and 67 other senators went ahead the following day and approved the usual bazillion-page we-have-to-pass-it-to-find-out-what’s-in-it omnibus bill, cooked up in the backrooms, released late on a Friday afternoon and passed in nothing flat after Harry Reid decreed there’s no need for further debate — not that anything recognizable to any genuine legislature as “debate” ever occurs in “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Say what you like about George III, but the Tea Act was about tea. The so-called comprehensive immigration reform is so comprehensive it includes special deals for Nevada casinos and the recategorization of the Alaskan fish-processing industry as a “cultural exchange” program, because the more leaping salmon we have the harder it is for Mexicans to get across the Bering Strait. While we’re bringing millions of Undocumented-Americans “out of the shadows,” why don’t we try bringing Washington’s decadent and diseased law-making out of the shadows?

Just when you thought the day couldn’t get any more momentous, the Supreme Court weighed in on same-sex marriage. When less advanced societies wish to introduce gay marriage, the people’s elected representatives assemble in parliament and pass a law. That’s how they did it in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, etc. But one shudders to contemplate what would result were the legislative class to attempt “comprehensive marriage reform,” complete with tax breaks for Maine lobstermen’s au pairs and the hiring of 20,000 new IRS agents to verify business expenses for page boys from disparate-impact groups. So instead it fell to five out of nine judges, which means it fell to Anthony Kennedy, because he’s the guy who swings both ways. Thus, Supreme Intergalactic Emperor Anthony gets to decide the issue for 300 million people.

As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben so famously says in every remake, with great power comes great responsibility. Having assumed the power to redefine a societal institution that predates the United States by thousands of years, Emperor Tony the All-Wise had the responsibility at least to work up the semblance of a legal argument. Instead, he struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that those responsible for it were motivated by an “improper animus” against a “politically unpopular group” they wished to “disparage,” “demean,” and “humiliate” as “unworthy.” What stump-toothed knuckle-dragging inbred swamp-dwellers from which hellish Bible Belt redoubt would do such a thing? Well, fortunately, we have their names on the record: The DOMA legislators who were driven by their need to “harm” gay people include notorious homophobe Democrats Chuck Schumer, Pat Leahy, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, and the virulent anti-gay hater who signed it into law, Bill Clinton.
====================

It’s good to have President Clinton’s animus against gays finally exposed by Anthony Kennedy. There’s a famous photograph of him taken round the time he signed DOMA, at a big fundraiser wearing that black-tie-and-wing-collar combo that always made him look like the maître d’ at a 19th-century bordello. He’s receiving greetings from celebrity couple Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, who’d come out as gay the week before and, in the first flush of romance, can’t keep their hands off each other even with President Happy Pants trying to get a piece of the action. For a man motivated only by a hateful need to harm gays, he’s doing a grand job of covering it up, looking like the guy who decided to splash out for the two-girl special on the last night of the sales convention. Nevertheless, reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, President Clinton professed himself delighted to have been struck down as a homophobe.

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In his dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that “to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions.” Indeed. With this judgment, America’s constitutional court demeans and humiliates only its own. Of all the local variations through which same-sex marriage has been legalized in the last decade, mostly legislative (France, Iceland) but occasionally judicial (Canada, South Africa), the United States is unique in its inability to jump on the Western world’s bandwagon du jour without first declaring its current vice president, president pro tem of the Senate, majority leader, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, and prospective first First Gentleman raging gay-bashers. As the Paula Deens of orientation, maybe they should all be canceled.

There is something deeply weird, not to say grubby and dishonest, about this. In its imputation of motive to those who disagree with it, this opinion is more disreputable than Roe v. Wade — and with potentially unbounded application. To return to the immigration bill, and all its assurances that those amnestied will “go to the end of the line” and have to wait longer for full-blown green cards and longer still for citizenship, do you seriously think any of that hooey will survive its first encounter with a federal judge? In much of the Southwest, you’d have jurisdictions with a majority of Hispanic residents living under an elderly, disproportionately white voting roll. You can cut-and-paste Kennedy’s guff about “improper animus” toward “a group of people” straight into the first immigration appeal, and a thousand more. And that’s supposing the administrative agencies pay any attention to the “safeguards” in the first place.

As I say, just another day in the life of the republic: a corrupt bureaucracy dispensing federal gravy to favored clients; a pseudo-legislature passing bills unread by the people’s representatives and uncomprehended by the men who claim to have written them; and a co-regency of jurists torturing an 18th-century document in order to justify what other countries are at least honest enough to recognize as an unprecedented novelty. Whether or not, per Scalia, we should “condemn” the United States Constitution, it might be time to put the poor wee thing out of its misery.

— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2013 Mark Steyn
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« Reply #1213 on: June 30, 2013, 11:48:27 PM »

http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2013/06/30/
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« Reply #1214 on: July 05, 2013, 09:58:49 AM »

CATCHING PIGS....
 

 
There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab,
the professor noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back and stretching as if his back hurt. The professor asked
the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his
native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist regime.
 
In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked: "Do you know how to catch wild pigs?"
 
The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line.
 
The young man said that it was no joke. "You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground.
The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn.  "When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side
of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of
the fence. "They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side.
 
"The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again. You then slam the gate on them and
catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught.
Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves,
so they accept their captivity."
 
The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in America. The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income,tax exemptions, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc. while we continually lose our freedoms, just a little at a time.
 
One should always remember two truths: There is no such thing as a free lunch, and you can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.  If you see that all of this wonderful government "help" is a problem confronting the future of democracy in America, you might want to send this on to your friends.

But, God help us all when the gate slams shut!
 
Quote for today:
 
"The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living." 
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« Reply #1215 on: July 07, 2013, 11:32:42 AM »

One of the strangest things about the modern progression in liberal thought is its increasing comfort with elitism and high style. Over the last 30 years, the enjoyment of refined tastes, both material and psychological, has become a hallmark of liberalism — hand in glove with the art of professional altruism, so necessary to the guilt-free enjoyment of the good life. Take most any contemporary issue, and the theme of elite progressivism predominates.

Higher education? A visitor from Mars would note that the current system of universities and colleges is designed to promote the interests of an elite at the expense of the middle and lower-middle classes. UCLA, Yale, and even CSU Stanislaus run on premises far more reactionary and class-based than does Wal-Mart. The teaching loads and course responsibilities of tenured full professors have declined over the last half-century, while the percentage of units taught by graduate students and part-time faculty, with few benefits and low pay, has soared.

The number of administrators has likewise climbed — even as student indebtedness has skyrocketed, along with the unemployment rate among recent college graduates. A typical scenario embodying these bizarre trends would run something like the following: The UC assistant provost for diversity affairs, or the full professor of Italian literature, focusing on gender and the self, depend on lots of graduate and undergraduate students in the social sciences and humanities piling up debt without any guarantee of jobs, while part-time faculty subsidize the formers’ lifestyles by teaching, without grading assistants, the large introductory undergraduate courses, getting paid a third to half what those with tenure receive.

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The conference and the academic book, with little if any readership, promote the career interest and income of the trendy administrator and the full professor, and are subsidized by either the taxpayers or the students or both. All of the above assumes that a nine-month teaching schedule, with tenure, grants, sabbaticals, and release time, are above reproach and justify yearly tuition hikes exceeding the rate of inflation. The beneficiaries of the system win exemption from criticism through loud support of the current progressive agenda, as if they were officers with swagger sticks in the culture wars who must have their own perks if they are to properly lead the less-well-informed troops out of the trenches.

Take illegal immigration. On the facts, it is elitist to the core. Big business, flush with cash, nevertheless wants continued access to cheap labor, and so favors amnesties for millions who arrived without English, education, or legality. On the other end of the scale, Jorge Hernandez, making $9 an hour mowing lawns, is not enthusiastic about an open border, which undercuts his meager bargaining power with his employer.

The state, not the employer, picks up the cost of subsidies to ensure that impoverished illegal-immigrant workers from Oaxaca have some semblance of parity with American citizens in health care, education, legal representation, and housing. The employers’ own privilege exempts them from worrying whether they would ever need to enroll their kids in the Arvin school system, or whether an illegal-alien driver will hit their daughter’s car on a rural road and leave the scene of the accident. In other words, no one in Atherton is in a trailer house cooking meth; the plastic harnesses of missing copper wire from streetlights are not strewn over the sidewalks in Palo Alto; and the Menlo schools do not have a Bulldog-gang problem.

Meanwhile, ethnic elites privately understand that the melting pot ensures eventual parity with the majority and thereby destroys the benefits of hyphenation. So it becomes essential that there remain always hundreds of thousands of poor, uneducated, and less-privileged immigrants entering the U.S. from Latin America. Only that way is the third-generation Latino professor, journalist, or politician seen as a leader of group rather than as an individual. Take away illegal immigration, and the Latino caucus and Chicano graduation ceremony disappear, and the beneficiaries become just ordinary politicians and academics, distinguished or ignored on the basis of their own individual performance.

Mexico? Beneath the thin veneer of Mexican elites suing Americans in U.S. courts is one of the most repressive political systems in the world. Mexican elites make the following cynical assumptions: Indigenous peoples are better off leaving Mexico and then scrimping to send billions of dollars home in remittances; that way, they do not agitate for missing social services back home; and once across the border, they act as an expatriate community to leverage concessions from the United States.

Nannies, gardeners, cooks, and personal attendants are increasingly recent arrivals from Latin America — even as the unemployment rates of Latino, African-American, and working-class white citizens remain high, with compensation relatively low. No wonder that loud protestations about “xenophobes, racists, and nativists” oil the entire machinery of elite privilege. Does the liberal congressman or the Washington public advocate mow his own lawn, clean his toilet, or help feed his 90-year-old mother? At what cost would he cease to pay others to do these things — $20, $25 an hour? And whom would he hire if there were no illegal immigrants? The unemployed African-American teenager in D.C.? The unemployed Appalachian in nearby West Virginia? I think not.
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« Reply #1216 on: July 09, 2013, 12:36:44 PM »


Egypt's Coup ... and Ours
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
ShareThis

Here is what Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution had to say about Egypt's coup in a New York Times op-ed:

"Now supporters of the Brotherhood will ask, with good reason, whether democracy still has anything to offer them."

As much as I loathe the Muslim Brotherhood and the whole Islamist enterprise, it is difficult to imagine any other response among Islamists than this: Our votes don't count.

They were voted into office; many Egyptians and the army didn't like the results, so the vote was overthrown.

With some important differences -- and not all of them to the credit of the United States -- the Supreme Court of the United States, colluding judges and the Democratic Party of California did the same thing to the voters of California.

First, in March 2000, the voters of California, by the lopsided percentile margin of 61-38, voted to enact a statute that restricted marriage to one man and one woman. Eight years later, in May 2008, the California Supreme Court struck it down on the grounds that it violated the state constitution.

Having had their vote overturned by the California Supreme Court because Proposition 22 allegedly violated the California Constitution, the citizens of California later that year voted to amend the California Constitution. It would include these 14 words:

"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Known as Proposition 8, it, too, passed in liberal California -- by a margin of 52-47.

Immediately challenged by pro-same-sex marriage groups, the California Supreme Court actually upheld the vote. Even a California Supreme Court had no choice but to vote that way since, in effect, it was being asked to vote on whether the California Constitution was constitutional in California.

But the left in America knows that all it needs to do in order to overturn a vote it opposes is to find a left-wing judge or court.

So, the left went to a federal court and found the perfect judge, a gay leftist, former U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker. On August 4, 2010, Walker overturned Proposition 8, asserting, among other personal opinions, that the amendment to the California Constitution "violated the Equal Protection Clause [of the U.S. Constitution] because there is no rational basis for limiting the designation of 'marriage' to opposite-sex couples." (Italics added.)

All of Western civilization for all its history had been irrational in defining marriage as a man-woman institution. So believed one man, and he used that view to overturn -- for a second time in eight years -- the vote of a substantial majority of Californians.

Walker's ruling was, of course, upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most left-wing circuit court in the country. Like Walker and most other leftwing justices, the Ninth Circuit rules according their ideology, not according to the law and certainly not according to the will of voters.

The left uses left-wing judges and courts to achieve its ends. They uphold votes that support the left, and overturn those that don't.

But it gets worse.

The left-wing governor and attorney general of California chose not to defend Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court, though it was their legal duty to do so. "Social justice" is the supreme left-wing value; honor and integrity are redefined to mean that which promotes social justice, as the left defines the term.

Consequently, there was no one with legal standing to defend the vote of a substantial majority of Californians before the Supreme Court. And so, the Supreme Court ruled that since no one but the State of California had the legal standing to defend the voters of California, neither the Supreme Court nor the Ninth District Court of Appeals could rule on Judge Walker's decision. And so one leftist judge's ruling was allowed to remain in force.

As a result, another vote was overturned and the most important social institution was radically redefined. It was all done by a left-wing judge, a left-wing governor of California and four left-wing justices plus one swing vote on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In America we don't need the army to overthrow elections. We have left-wing judges to do that.
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« Reply #1217 on: July 09, 2013, 06:55:28 PM »

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2013/07/wrong-side-of-street.html

Tuesday, July 09, 2013
 

Wrong Side of the Street

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog 19 Comments


The Zimmerman case is about many things, but it isn't about George Zimmerman, an Hispanic Obama supporter who campaigned against police brutality only to find himself plucked up by the hand of Big Brother to play the villainous white racist in the latest episode of liberal political reality television.
 
Zimmerman is the latest Bernie Goetz; another wholly unlikely cult figure who currently campaigns for vegetarian lunches in public schools and squirrel rescue. It's not that the two men had anything particularly in common. Unlike Goetz, it is very unlikely that Zimmerman jumped the gun, so to speak, but they both fill a similar niche. They represent the embattled lower half of the middle class.
 
To understand the Zimmerman case, you have to live in a neighborhood that has just enough property values to keep you paying the mortgage and just enough proximity to dangerous territories to make you feel like you're living on the frontier.
 
The chain of events doesn't make much sense to the elites, which is one reason why they assume that the explanation must be racism There weren't a lot of New Yorker readers cheering as Charles Bronson's Paul Kersey stalked the subways and parks of the city blowing away hoods. The perfect target audience for the Death Wish movies or for Goetz saying "You don't look too bad, here's another" was that bottom half of the middle class that didn't have enough money to leave the city and didn't have enough liberalism to accept the violence as their just due.
 
But the case isn't about race either. It's about a struggling middle class in a precarious economy trying to hang on to what it has. And it's about a culture of dropouts from the economy who celebrate thuggery and then pretend to be the victims. It's doubtful that anyone in Zimmerman's neighborhood who weathered multiple break-ins has much sympathy for the Martin family. And that's one reason that the prosecution hasn't found any useful witnesses.
 
If Trayvon Martin had been the clean cut innocent kid that the media tried to pretend he is, the reaction might have been different. But he wasn't. The gap between Martin and Zimmerman wasn't race, in other circumstances most liberals would have called both men members of minority groups, it was aspiration.

George Zimmerman wanted to to be a cop. Trayvon Martin wanted to be a hood. It's quite possible that Martin got no closer to his ambition than Zimmerman got to his. Both men were just going through the motions on the edge of a game of cops-and-robbers that suddenly turned deadly real. And even in a country where the thug tops the entertainment heap, the vulnerable parts of the middle class have more sympathy for aspiring cops than for aspiring thugs.
 
What are cops and thugs? Cops are the protectors of the middle class and thugs prey on the middle class. Not just any part of the middle class, but the vulnerable parts, the men and women without enough money and mobility to get out when neighborhoods turn bad. And then it all comes down to territory and who can intimidate whom. Either the cops intimidate the thugs or the thugs intimidate the cops.
 
Everyone is the hero in their own story, but George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were living out different stories. George Zimmerman was looking out for his neighbors while Trayvon Martin was looking to live the thug life. Martin's story ended with him realizing that sometimes attitude isn't enough and Zimmerman's story ended with him realizing that sometimes even when you try to be the hero, you're going to be drawn as a villain.
 
But the Zimmerman and Martin story is an American story. That's why it has become so big. Back in the 70s, when Paul Kersey was skulking around on the silver screen, it was mainly an urban story. Now it's an everywhere story. It's a story about homesteaders and savages, about a shaky middle class built on piles of debt trying to protect what's left of its way of life while across the street, there's the glamor of not working and scoring money any way you can.
 
It's a culture clash of a primal kind. Settlers and nomads. Cops and robbers. Builders and destroyers. And it was never going to end well. The elites want the settlers to make way for the nomads, the cops to acknowledge their role in alienating the robbers and the builders to admit that their construction is really the destruction of the way of life of the destroyers. They don't understand the struggling lower middle class and they don't care to. They have a great deal of empathy for the Trayvon Martins swaggering around another neighborhood that decays at their touch, but none for the George Zimmermans, sweating, mopping their brows, worrying how they're going to hold everything together.
 


Neighborhood watches don't have to turn violent, but they exist because of the potential for violence in a society with plenty of law, but little order. The struggling middle class looks to the cops only to realize that the cops have their own job and it isn't to protect them, it's to protect each other. And so they become cops. It's vigilantism of a sort and it's a symptom of social collapse. But it's also the attitude that helped make the United States happen.
 
That's the real story behind the headlines, the agitprop and the circus of a public trial. It's the reality that doesn't get talked about much because it's much less interesting than the straightforward story being fed into the presses. The one about an innocent young boy killed for no reason at all. It's a story about what happens when people are backed into a corner and then told to stay there. It's about a frightened middle class trying to survive. And it's about territory.
 
Settlers make homes. Nomads walk in and out of them. Builders thrive on making things and destroyers on trashing them. Zimmerman picked his side of the coin and Martin picked his.
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« Reply #1218 on: July 17, 2013, 05:32:59 PM »

http://superchief.tv/leaked-north-korean-documentary-exposes-western-propaganda-and-its-scary-how-true-it-is/
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« Reply #1219 on: July 19, 2013, 01:06:09 PM »



The Goldberg File
By Jonah Goldberg
July 19, 2013

Dear Reader (unless you are in Detroit, and are busy fighting off Humungous, the C.H.U.D.s, Morlocks, Mole Men, Minions, Skrulls, and those folks from the government who are here to help),

Welcome to the United States of Trolling

In case you didn't know, trolling is one of those Internet words the kids today use. The Urban Dictionary has a series of entirely serviceable definitions of the term. But the gist of it boils down to pretending to be serious while saying something outrageous in an effort to really piss people off for the sake of pissing people off.

I will be the first to confess that we at the Goldberg File are not strangers to the practice because, well, it's fun. As my favorite Russian proverb goes, "If you see a Bulgarian in the street, beat him. He will know why."

More relevant, journalism is a lot like Sara Lee's Home Style Troll Pie ("Now with at least 10 percent real troll!"), the troll is simply baked in. That's because trolling is often in the eye of the beholder. One man's trollery is another man's speaking truth to power. Writers are supposed to be provocative. Good writing often involves stating truths boldly and clearly. (For instance: Harry Reid smells vaguely like stale corn chips, failure, and cat urine; on this there can be no debate.) A dedicated Communist or Nazi who reads Orwell probably won't think Orwell is a profound witness to evil, he'll think Orwell should live under a bridge. The moment we try to cut through the white noise of life and synthesize a simple truth, we invariably generalize. And any generalization will seem unfair to the exceptions who prove the rule. (This is one reason why writing about issues like race and gender are so perilous. No matter how true the generalization, the exceptions must be treated like the rule. More on that in a bit.)

Trolling Stone

Anyway, I suppose I should get to the point. As I've written before, all poisons depend on the dosage. A little salt makes food tasty, a lot of salt is lethal. My concern is that the sodium content of American society is approaching fatal proportions.

Consider the entirely intended controversy over Rolling Stone's new cover of that murderous loser Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Now Rolling Stone has been a really lame magazine for a very long time. I'm talking about the non-music-industry coverage, since I've never had much interest in reading how Hair Bands find their muse.

On the few occasions I've picked up Rolling Stone in the last 15 years, it's always seemed to me to be the print version of the judges' table on Animal Planet's Pet Star -- a roving agglomeration of has-beens and sell-outs eager for a check in return for the cachet of their faded glory supported by a bunch of people just happy for a little attention. In the print version at least, the political orientation of the magazine has long been driven by a bundle of hoary clichés about the inherent radicalism of young people, particularly the notion that capitalism is antithetical to the interests and aesthetics of the young. This sort of thinking is what fueled both the Occupy Wall Street movement and the coverage of it. The false premise underlying it helps explain why OWS fizzled out like a wet match rather than igniting a populist prairie fire. From what I can tell, the average young person is far more interested in getting a good job or starting a career than living on a kibbutz or bringing down The Man, but that is too inconvenient a fact for the Jann Wenners of the world. You have to wonder what serious Marxists think of such spectacle. The magazine eagerly turns itself into a cog for the mass-marketing operations of huge conglomerates promoting centimillionaire populists like Bruce Springsteen and allegedly radical rappers who're more interested in bragging about how much money they make than tearing down The System.

Oh, and let's not give in to the seductions of nostalgia and think the rock-and-roll industry was ever just "about the music." The essence of marketing to young people -- in politics and everything else -- is necessarily condescension. For instance, take a look at this ad from 1968. It shows a bunch of long-haired protesters in one of The Man's cages. The headline: "But the Man Can't Bust Our Music."

Pssst! Kids, The Man thinks you're stupid.

Anyway, I agree with everything Jim Geraghty says about Rolling Stone. He's right: Running a print magazine is hard enough, never mind aiming one at the one demographic most solidly hostile to reading on paper (or even reading at all). The Tsarnaev cover is nothing more than an attempt to troll the country in the hope that the ensuing controversy will fool a bunch of idiot kids into confusing the controversy for edgy rebellion. I can only assume we'll look back on this lame "Hail Mary" as a symptom of the magazine's interminable death rattle.

The View at The View

In other "news," Jenny McCarthy is joining The View. Look, opinions vary on Jenny McCarthy. My friend Ronald Bailey makes a very strong case that she's harmed countless children by peddling her antivaccine nonsense. Our own talented Betsy Woodruff has a very entertaining and enlightening piece showing that her antivaccine views are part of a seamless tapestry of McCarthy's overall vapidity. An excerpt:

McCarthy wrote a book about her Papist upbringing called Bad Habits (wordplay! If you missed it, she's dressed as a nun on the cover), which she plugged on The View in 2012, dispensing such logical and coherent spiritual insights as "Worship an elephant, if it puts you in a state of grace." Then again, I guess it would be too much to ask for her to know what a complicated term like "state of grace" means, given that McCarthy -- who says she once wanted to be a nun -- seemed to think the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Jesus, not Mary.

But look, there's one thing all informed and fair-minded people across the ideological spectrum can agree on: Jenny McCarthy looks really good naked. I say this without fear of contradiction, for I have done some reporting on this. Not as much as I would like, I will concede. But enough to be confident this statement will make it past this "news"letter's diligent fact-checkers.

Alas, McCarthy will not be naked on The View (unless the producers act on my numerous e-mails and voice messages). This is particularly ironic given the title of the show. Instead she will speak her mind, which is not her strong suit. As a result, you can be sure she will say really stupid things that lots of people will get up in arms about.
And that's the point. The show is one long exercise in trolling people. Whoopi Goldberg (no relation) plays the exact same role. (Note: I cannot confirm this, but sources tell me that Ms. Goldberg does not look good naked.) When she said that what Roman Polanski did wasn't really "rape rape," she was playing her part. The show may have started with the intent of having crones stand around the village well gossiping, and no doubt that's still part of its function, but the only way that show is ever in the "news" is when one of the biddies says something remarkably dumb. And you can be sure the producers are ecstatic when people remark upon it.

Trollier Than Thou

And that's my real gripe here. Because of the insatiable desire to "go viral," the entire media landscape is being sucked into the black hole of YouTwitFacetaGram. You know, there's a certain irony to the fact that Barbara Walters is the host of The View. She is endlessly celebrated as a pioneer who proved that women could do "hard news," but she's spent the vast bulk of her career working to make news as soft as possible. Journalistically speaking, she is the opposite of Viagra (coincidentally, that's actually how one of my sources described Whoopi Goldberg). She spent a couple years anchoring a nightly news broadcast, but has spent decades asking celebrities what kind of tree they'd most like to be. And now she's finishing her career sitting at the head of the mean-girls table at the electronic high-school cafeteria. While she's not solely responsible for the long decline of her profession, it's hard to say she didn't contribute to the problem.

Watch The Today Show some morning. At the opening when they announce the big stories they'll be covering, there's invariably a tease for a YouTube video of a dog playing a xylophone (badly) or some baby walking around with a bucket on its head. I always wonder what the victims of a forest fire or the families rounded up into a camp in some godforsaken corner of the globe would think if they knew that their plight gets equal or lesser billing to a Siberian Husky that says, "I love you!"
I think it's fair to say that I'm no purist on such things. I take a back seat to no man in my fondness for dogs saying "I love you." But I don't claim it's "news." Indeed, that's why here at the G-File, we put "news" in quotation marks.

The Bell Trolls for Thee

Today's column is on Al Sharpton. I don't mention George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin once, in part because the Zimmerman controversy will eventually go away, but Sharpton, like herpes, is forever. I also didn't mention the Trayvon Martin controversy because I resent the contrivance of it all. I have sincere sympathy for the Martin family. I also have sympathy for Zimmerman. I think he made a terrible mistake that night, but he doesn't deserve to have his life threatened or spend the remainder of his days having millions of Americans thinking he's a monster.

My resentment stems from the fact that this is all so manufactured. For instance, there have been literally thousands of articles talking about Stand Your Ground laws in the last three months (I checked Nexis). But the Stand Your Ground law had nothing to do with what happened in Florida. Why not use this tragedy to launch a national debate about the Kellogg-Briand Pact or the infield-fly rule?

The very idea this tragedy is the result of racism mistakes a premise for a conclusion. Actually, there's an impressive consistency here. Liberalism's whole approach to racial issues is to reverse engineer from results to causes. Whatever the issue -- from the number of Ph.D.s to the number of business loans -- liberalism looks first to inequality of results and then postulates that the cause must be racism or sexism or some other institutionalized bigotry. If you note that there is no actual evidence for their conclusion, they keep pointing at the result as if that's all the evidence needed. It's a bit like when my dog looks at his empty food bowl. I can say, "But you just ate like five seconds ago, don't you remember?" Or, "You have historically unprecedented explosive diarrhea so I cannot feed you at this juncture." It just doesn't matter. All the proof Cosmo needs that something is horribly wrong is the fact that his food bowl is empty. Causes, reasons, explanations are like the "blah, blah, blahs" in a Far Side cartoon and nothing more. This is in fact the essence of "disparate impact" -- the result is the proof of racism regardless of the cause. The same goes here. Trayvon Martin is dead. Zimmerman isn't. "What more proof do you need?" liberals ask.

None. None at all. And that's the problem.

Of Kings and Crowds

Both the literal and the merely figurative mobs clamoring for justice against Zimmerman are in important respects asking for the same thing. Sure, the lynch mobs want Zimmerman dead, while those pushing for a federal case just want him locked up -- an important distinction to be sure. But they both want to reject the findings of a court of law and a duly appointed jury because they do not like the result. In this, both are manifestations of arbitrary power, the bane of conservatives since Edmund Burke. Arbitrary power is the exercise of force for grievances found neither in law nor reason. It is the marshaling of violence to remedy resentment and justify caprice.
Because we are drenched in the language of democracy, we tend to think that the will of the crowd has legitimacy simply by virtue of numbers. But numbers alone do not a reasonable argument make. As I wrote back in 2006:

Politics has a math of its own. Whereas a scientifically minded person might see things this way: One person who says 2+2=5 is an idiot; two people who think 2+2=5 are two idiots; and a million people who think 2+2=5 are a whole lot of idiots -- political math works differently. Let's work backwards: if a million people think 2+2=5, then they are not a million idiots, but a "constituency." If they are growing in number, they are also a "movement." And, if you were not only the first person to proclaim 2+2=5, but you were the first to persuade others, then you, my friend, are not an idiot, but a visionary.

Arbitrary power is the same whether it comes from a monarch or a mob. Indeed, they are very often the same thing. In modern times, all leaders derive their legitimacy from the masses. In democracies, we formalize the process and temper it with the rule of law. But even so, while presidents and prime ministers derive their formal power from elections, they derive their practical power from popularity. If president Obama had an 80 percent approval rating (shudder) he could do far more with the same office than he can with a 45 percent approval rating.

The same often holds true for kings. In The Treason of the IntellectualsJulien Benda noted that the rising tide of populism meant that kings were now subject to the whims of the masses. In the past, a monarch could act on the national interests of the state without fear of correction from below. But by the 20th century, "The modern citizen claims to feel for himself what is demanded by the national honor, and he is ready to rise up against his leaders if they have a different conception of it." That may sound like an improvement. Indeed, it may well be one. But absent the rule of law and constitutional guarantees of individual liberty, it's all just different manifestations of arbitrary power. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines from William Jennings Bryan: "The people of Nebraska are for free silver and I am for free silver. I will look up the arguments later."

Most mobs have someone out front egging them on, telling them where to find the victims, and where best to string them up. Whether that person is a king, a president, or just a random human carbuncle like Al Sharpton is of little difference. Legitimacy has already left the building.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1220 on: July 19, 2013, 09:11:13 PM »

Which of these encounters is Racist?

1. Black man Kills a White Man
2. Black man Kills a Hispanic Man
3. Black man Kills a Asian Man
4. Black man Kills another Black Man

5. White Man Kills another White Man
6. White Man Kills a Hispanic Man
7. White Man Kills an Asian
8. White (who is actually Hispanic) Man Kills a Black Man

Congratulations; if you selected #8 you are not a Racist and you correctly identified the only encounter that could remotely be considered racist in the current frenzy of vigilantism.

Let's suppose a Black Man (who happened to be President) left 4 White Americans to fend for themselves in Benghazi to ultimately die a horrible death far away from family and friends. Would that fall into any sort of Racial Profiling as trumpeted in the Zimmerman case, or would that simply be a matter of needing to get to your next Political Campaign stop along with another round of Golf?

Let's suppose a Black Man (who happened to be the US Attorney General) allowed literally tons of military-style weapon systems to be shipped directly to known cartels in Mexico (and blaming said weapons transfers on Law-Abiding Americans) and as a direct result many, many Hispanics as well as White US Border Patrol Agent died of gunshot wounds. Would that be considered to fall on any part of the Racial Profiling spectrum or would that simply be a minor oversight on his part of which he had no direct knowledge?

You see, I don't care one bit what your skin color happens to be. I don't really care what happened to your ancestors. Mine were slaughtered at the hands of the Russians and Germans. I've gotten over it. What I actually care about is an individual's personal behavior as judged by an objective standard.

This "Racism" fire-hose of nonsense needs to be turned off and the word itself needs to be properly used, defined and reserved for actual racists who are an abomination to all humankind.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1221 on: July 24, 2013, 11:35:12 AM »

"Like Detroit, America has unfunded liabilities, to the tune of $220 trillion, according to the economist Laurence Kotlikoff. Like Detroit, it's cosseting the government class and expanding the dependency class, to the point where its bipartisan 'immigration reform' actively recruits 50-60 million low-skilled chain migrants. Like Detroit, America's governing institutions are increasingly the corrupt enforcers of a one-party state -- the IRS and Eric Holder's amusingly misnamed Department of Justice being only the most obvious examples. Like Detroit, America is bifurcating into the class of 'community organizers' and the unfortunate denizens of the communities so organized. The one good thing that could come out of bankruptcy is if those public-sector pensions are cut and government workers forced to learn what happens when, as National Review's Kevin Williamson puts it, a parasite outgrows its host." --columnist Mark Steyn
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« Reply #1222 on: July 25, 2013, 10:29:33 PM »

“Dear Ann:

You used to be fun; at least funny.  At least gently and amusingly insane, but girlfriend, you’ve changed!  The thousand-yard stare you’ve acquired in the last couple of years says lonely nights, too much wine and insecurity about the future of your career.  Where to now, my sweet fascist?  Another one of your silly books?  More hilarious appearances on Hannity & Colmes?  Bill Maher has to be tired of you by now.

You’re anything but stupid and by now , you must see the writing on the wall.  You’ll never have a real place with the Beltway in crowd, as they see you as a northeastern, hickoid, pro wrestler, Nascar type with a degree from Cornell.  I mean, really, Ann; where can it go from here?  Ann, I think I have the answer, in fact, I know I do.

I want to hire you, Ann.  I want you to come and work for me.  I want you to be my “Ann Friday,” my housekeeper, beekeeper, floor, chimney and minesweeper, my window-washing, grocery-buying, dinner-cooking, obsequious, submissive concubine-domestic.

You will laugh at my jokes, celebrate my victories and lament my failures.  You will praise my friends and vow great harm upon all who oppose me.  You will treat me like a god, a guru, a mentor – and the best night in the sack you’ve ever had.  You will carry my bags, wash my cars, walk my dogs and turn your savings over to me.  You  will massage Susan Sarandon’s aching shoulders, whip up vegan delights for Hanoi Jane Fonda, and loofah Barbra Streisand’s stretch marks.

But most of all, Ann, you will just shut the fuck up.

I can offer you a life of obedient servitude on my compound; in your time with me, you will learn much.  You will learn that America is made up of people from all races, walks of life and sexual orientation and that it’s all OK.  You will learn to be patient and kind.  You will learn the meaning of the word “respect” and memorize every line of Caddyshack.  You will  listen to The Ramones, Black Sabbath and the Brides of Funkenstein.  You’re a figure of fun and I plan on having fun with that figure.  You will learn who your daddy is, that’s for sure.

But mostly, Ann, you will just shut the fuck up.

Come on, Anne, ya fuckin’ psycho; let’s do this!

Henry”
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« Reply #1223 on: July 28, 2013, 10:19:41 PM »

The kiss of death for Weiner was having Huma stand by him.  Dems are fleeing in droves.  Can't have this guy drag their 2016 investment into the picture by way of Huma.  Besides it is for NYC mayor only.  And they got their Alternative.   So for the first time I can recall feminists are finally abandoning a Democrat:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/opinion/sunday/dowd-time-to-hard-delete-carlos-danger.html?ref=maureendowd&_r=0
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1224 on: August 15, 2013, 09:19:38 PM »

http://accordingtohoyt.com/2013/08/15/i-am-spartacus/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1225 on: August 26, 2013, 07:40:13 AM »


http://youngcons.com/conservative-professor-writes-epic-letter-after-hes-called-the-biggest-embarrassment-to-higher-education-in-america/

Conservative professor writes epic letter after he’s called “the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America”




I want to take the time to thank you for writing and telling me that I should be fired from my position as a tenured professor because I am “the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America.” I also want to thank you for responding when I asked you exactly how you arrived at that conclusion. Your response, “because you insist that marriage requires one man and one woman,” was both helpful and concise.

While I respect your right to conclude that I am the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America, I think you’re wrong. In fact, I don’t even think I’m the biggest embarrassment to higher education in the state of North Carolina. But since you’re a liberal and you support “choice” – provided we’re talking about dismembering children and not school vouchers for those who weren’t dismembered – I want to give you some options. In fact, I’m going to describe the antics of ten professors, official campus groups, and invited campus speakers in North Carolina and let you decide which constitutes the biggest embarrassment to higher education.

1. In the early spring semester of 2013, a women’s studies professor and a psychology professor at Western Carolina University co-sponsored a panel on bondage and S&M. The purpose of the panel was to teach college students how to inflict pain on themselves and others for sexual pleasure. When you called me the biggest embarrassment in higher education, you must not have known about their bondage panel. Maybe you were tied up that evening and couldn’t make it.

2. At UNC Chapel Hill, there is a feminist professor who believes that women can lead happy lives without men. That’s nothing new. But what’s different is that she thinks women can form lifelong domestic partnerships with dogs and that those relationships will actually be fulfilling enough to replace marital relationships with men. I can’t make this stuff up, Ed. I don’t drop acid. Well, at least not since the late 1980s. But I promise this story is real and not an LSD flashback.

3. At Duke University, feminists hired a “sex worker” (read: prostitute) to speak as part of an event called the Sex Workers Art Show. After his speech, the male prostitute pulled down his pants, got down on his knees, and inserted a burning sparkler into his rectum. While it burned, he sang a verse of “the Star Spangled Banner.” I believe that stripping incident was almost as embarrassing as the other one involving the Duke Lacrosse team.

4. A porn star was once paid to give a speech at UNCG. The topic was “safe sodomy.” After her speech, the feminist pornographer sold autographed butt plugs to students in attendance. I’m not sure whether the ink could contribute to rectal cancer. I’m no health expert. But I do know it was pretty darned embarrassing when the media picked up on the story.

5. A few years ago at UNC-Chapel Hill, a feminist group built a large vibrator museum in the middle of the campus quad as a part of their “orgasm awareness week.” I think that was probably the climax of the semester, academically speaking. But they certainly weren’t too embarrassed to display a vibrator that was made out of wood back in the 1920s. Keep your batteries charged, Ed. We’re about halfway done.

6. A feminist administrator at UNC-Wilmington sponsored a pro-abortion event. During the event they sold tee shirts saying “I had an abortion” to students who … well, had abortions. That’s right, Ed. The students were encouraged to boast about the fact that they had killed their own children. That’s how the UNC system is preserving the future of our great Tar Heel state.

7. The following semester, that same UNCW administrator sponsored a workshop teaching students how to appreciate their orgasms. I learned art appreciation in college. Today, college kids are taught orgasm appreciation. I will let you decide whether that’s an embarrassment to higher ed., Ed.

8 A few years ago, a UNCW English professor posted nude pictures of under-aged girls as a part of an “art exhibit” in the university library. The Provost then ordered the nude pictures to be moved away from the library and into the university union. This decision was made after several pedophiles had previous been caught downloading child pornography in the university library just a few yards away from the location of the display. The English professor was incensed so she asked the Faculty Senate to censure the provost for violating her “academic freedom.” The faculty senate sided with the feminist professor. The provost was later pressured to leave the university.

9. A different feminist professor at UNCW accused a male professor of putting tear gas in her office. She was later caught putting her mail in a microwave oven. She did this because she thought people were trying to poison her with anthrax and that the oven would neutralize the toxins. She was not placed on leave for psychiatric reasons. Instead, she was designated as the university’s official “counter terrorism” expert.

10 And then there is Mike Adams. He thinks marriage is between a man and a woman.

So those are the choices, Ed. You can simply write back and tell me which of these professors, groups, or guest speakers has caused “the biggest embarrassment to higher education” – either in North Carolina or in America altogether. Or you can just concede that our system of hire education is the real embarrassment because it has been hijacked by radical feminism. And please pardon any puns – especially those that take the form of ms-spelled words.
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« Reply #1226 on: August 30, 2013, 06:23:29 AM »

Noonan: Work and the American Character
We need political leaders who can speak to the current national unease.

 By PEGGY NOONAN
 
Two small points on an end-of-summer weekend. One is connected to Labor Day and the meaning of work. It grows out of an observation Mike Huckabee made on his Fox show a few weeks ago. He said that we see joblessness as an economic fact, we talk about the financial implications of widespread high unemployment, and that isn't wrong but it misses the central point. Joblessness is a personal crisis because work is a spiritual event.

A job isn't only a means to a paycheck, it's more. "To work is the pray," the old priests used to say. God made us as many things, including as workers. When you work you serve and take part. To work is to be integrated into the daily life of the nation. There is pride and satisfaction in doing work well, in working with others and learning a discipline or a craft or an art. To work is to grow and to find out who you are.

In return for performing your duties, whatever they are, you receive money that you can use freely and in accordance with your highest desire. A job allows you the satisfaction of supporting yourself or your family, or starting a family. Work allows you to renew your life, which is part of the renewing of civilization.

Work gives us purpose, stability, integration, shared mission. And so to be unable to work—unable to find or hold a job—is a kind of catastrophe for a human being.

There are an estimated 11.5 million unemployed people in America now, and those who do not have sufficient work or who've left the workforce altogether inflate that number further.

This is the real reason jobs and employment are the No. 1 issue in America's domestic life. And what I have been thinking in the weeks leading up to this weekend is very simple: "Thank you, God, that I have a job." May more of us be able to say those words on Labor Day 2014.
Related Video

Wall Street Journal Declarations columnist Peggy Noonan on the state of employment and economic opportunity in the United States on Labor Day. Photos: Getty Images

And may more political leaders come up who can help jobs happen, who can advance and support the kind of national policies that can encourage American genius. One of the things missing in the current political scene is zest—a feeling that can radiate from the political sphere that everything is possible, the market is wide open. In the midst of the economic malaise of the 1970s the TV anchormen spoke in sonorous tones about the dreadful economic indicators—inflation, high interest rates, "the misery index." But Steve Jobs, in his parents' garage, was quietly working on circuit boards. And strange young Bill Gates was creating a company called Microsoft. All that work burst forth under the favorable economic conditions and policies in the 1980s and '90s.

What is needed now is a political leader on fire about all the possibilities, not one who tries to sound optimistic because polls show optimism is popular but someone with real passion about the idea of new businesses, new inventions, growth, productivity, breakthroughs and jobs, jobs, jobs. Someone in love with the romance of the marketplace. We've lost that feeling among our political leaders, who mostly walk around looking like they have headaches. But American genius is still there, in our garages. It's been there since before Ben Franklin and the key and the kite and the bolt of lightning.
***

The second point is about a kind of cultural unease in the country that is having an impact on the national mood. I think it's one of the reasons the right track/wrong track polls are bad.

To make the point, we go back in political time.

Really good politicians don't try to read the public, they are the public. They don't try to be like the people, they actually are like them. Ronald Reagan never thought of himself as a gifted reader of the public mind, but as a person who had a sense of what Americans were thinking because he was thinking it too. That's a gift, and a happy one to have—the gift of unity with the public you lead. The lack of that quality can be seen in many current political figures, who often, when they speak, seem to be withholding their true thoughts. As if the people wouldn't like it, or couldn't handle it.

Reagan was a good man, and part of his leadership was that he thought Americans were good too. He had high respect for what he saw as the American character. He liked to talk about the pioneers because he was moved by their courage, their ability to endure and forge through hostile conditions. He thought that was a big part of the American character. He was similarly moved by the Founders. He talked about the men who founded Hollywood , too, because those old buccaneers were great entrepreneurs who invented an industry. He admired their daring and willingness to gamble. They were wealth creators—that's who Americans are. He liked to talk about inventors who create markets—that's us, he thought. He liked to talk about barn raisings—the practice out West of local settlers coming together to build some neighbor's barn, so pretty soon they'd have a clearing and then a town.

By celebrating these things he felt he was celebrating not the America that was, but the America that is. That America, he felt, was under threat of being squashed and worn down by the commands and demands of liberalism. He would fight that and, he thought, win, because Americans saw it pretty much as he did.

So Reagan didn't just have something, the ability to lead. He was given something—the America he grew up in, knew and could justly laud.

To today: I've been thinking about the big bad stories of the summer, the cultural ones that disturb people. The sick New York politician who, without apparent qualms, foists his sickness into the public sphere again. The kids who kill the World War II vet because they're bored. The kids who kill the young man visiting from Australia because they too are bored, and unhappy, and unwell. The teacher who has the affair with the 14-year-old student, and gets a slap on the wrist from the judge. The state legislator who's a sexual predator, the thieving city councilor and sure, the young pop star who is so lewd, so mindlessly vulgar and ugly on the awards show.

We're shocked. But we're not shocked. And that itself is disturbing. We're used to all this, now, this crassness and lowness of public behavior. The cumulative effect of these stories, I suspect, is that we're starting to fear: Maybe that's us. Maybe that's who we are now. As if these aren't separate and discrete crimes and scandals but a daily bubbling up of the national character.

It would be good if we had some political leaders who could speak of this deflated and anxious feeling about who we are. Conservatives have been concerned about our culture for at least a quarter-century. Helpful now would be honest liberal voices that speak to our concerns about who we fear we're becoming. They might find they're thinking the way the American people are thinking, which is step one in true leadership.
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« Reply #1227 on: August 30, 2013, 10:36:19 AM »

"What is needed now is a political leader on fire about all the possibilities... someone with real passion about the idea of new businesses, new inventions, growth, productivity, breakthroughs and jobs, jobs, jobs. Someone in love with the romance of the marketplace."

Peggy Noonan is right.  Big, centrally planned and controlled governments don't create prosperity, economic freedom does.  We talked about finding the next Reagan until it was cliche.  It isn't the next Reagan we need, we need the next real leader. 

Republican governance of 2001-2006 had no discipline, no clarity and no purpose.  People changed the direction in Nov 2006 and loved the idea of hope and change in 2008 with no idea that a left turn was a backwards turn.   The tea party surge of 2010 was a start.  It was grass roots, but it was leaderless and not policy specific.  2012 was a year of confusion.  The failure of the Obama Presidency was not clear enough to enough people and Romney was not quite right. 

Now young people feel that their country is failing when it is their leaders and their policies that are failing them.  A real leader could change hearts and minds.  The table is set.  Maybe we always say this but true now without a doubt - never before has there been a greater opportunity.
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« Reply #1228 on: September 02, 2013, 04:04:40 PM »


In Herman Wouk’s classic World War II novel, The Caine Mutiny, there is a moment when a group of the ship’s officers are getting away from the increasingly eccentric Captain Queeq by relaxing ashore.
 
Suddenly the malcontent Lieutenant Keefer asks the others: “Does it occur to you that Captain Queeg may be insane?"
 
In fact Queeg is not insane, at least not at that time. He is simply grappling, more and more disastrously, with a job too big for him. Come the crisis of a typhoon, he becomes paralyzed and nearly sinks the ship by failing to give the obvious orders. At the subsequent court-martial he appears quite normal until he breaks down under the pressure of cross-examination. Before this, the officers have searched the regulations for guidance, but the regulations refer only to a captain who is clearly and unmistakably insane, not one who is merely guilty of eccentricity and bad judgment. At a lower level of responsibility, Queeg might have performed adequately, but with Keefer’s question, the remaining respect for Queeg’s office has gone.
 
Obama’s second inauguration speech may be his Queeg moment - an undeniable demonstration that, in an emergency, he is incapable of grappling with reality. For all his unceasing invocation of the word “change,” the outstanding thing about Obama has been his apparent inability to react, even to an imminent crisis. Like Queeg, he stands frozen on the bridge as the waves grow higher, or obsesses over issues like homosexuals and women in the military as the typhoon rises.
 
Faced with the worst looming fiscal cliff-fall in world history Obama, like Queeg in the typhoon, has done nothing at all, but has, increasingly, resorted to meaningless words. His pseudo-Keynesian fiscal notions and a mantra-like repetition of old and failed ideas, suggest a serious lack on mental versatility.
 
Economics is not an exact science, but some of its rules are now well-known, and one is that a government cannot spend its way out of a recession.
 
Yet Obama does not project any sense of urgency, merely a smug, radiating sense of his own greatness. The one fiscal measure to which he seems committed - taxing the rich - is infantile stuff, like Queeg’s obsession with who ate the wardroom strawberries. Any first-year politics or economics student knows that there are not enough rich, even in as wealthy a country as the United States, to have raising their taxes make any appreciable difference.
 
President Reagan’s application of the Laffer Curve proved emphatically, and only a short while ago, that the way to both stimulate the economy and to increase government revenues is to lower taxes.  And it is not hard to pick some areas as least where towering taxes would make no appreciable difference to public infrastructure.
 
Like Queeg, Obama shows an inability to change course when such a change is desperately needed. Giving 20 F-16 fighters and hundreds of tanks to Egypt was never, in my opinion, a clever idea. Even when Egypt was an unequivocal friend its security required things like armored cars to put down street violence, not these hi-tech weapons whose only conceivable use would be against Israel. Indeed, Obama seems to show no awareness that Egypt and other major Islamic countries have changed from being friends to something like enemies in a few months.
 
For a President of the United States there is a difference between making a bad policy choice and clinging to that policy when it is plainly completely wrong, like the Caine steaming in a circle and cutting its own tow-line. Mistakes that cannot be ignored are always someone else’s fault (refer George Bush).
 
The dancing is still there, the golf, the celebs, the multi-million dollar holidays, but behind them it is possible to detect a desperate emptiness, an interconnected mosaic of failure.
 
The one much-boasted triumph, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, was the work of other men. One of those most responsible, Dr. Shakil Afridi, rots in the hellhole of a Pakistani jail, abandoned.
 
Obama’s oath to bring the Benghazi murderers to justice seems to have been forgotten as soon as it was made, something - I am not sure if there is a word for it - actually below the level of a campaign promise.
 
Allies have been lost or slighted in almost every part of the world, the Afghan war has brought the U.S. and NATO humiliation and Russia and China lead in Space. The defenses of the U.S.’s major allies, such as Britain, are in an even more dire situation.
 
This does not even consider the exploding levels of domestic poverty. Restoring flexibility to the wage system, so as to give American industry a reasonable degree of competitiveness, seems out of the question.
 
The Western position in Mali seems to have suddenly collapsed without warning, or without preventative action being taken, and meanwhile, we have had the North Korean threat. I somehow doubt we would have had that if Reagan had been at the helm.
 
What, exactly have things come to when a cockroach of a country, apparently run by real, certifiable lunatics, can threaten the United States with nuclear weapons?  The typhoon waves are starting to break over the bridge.
 
Hal G.P. Colebatch
 
Hal G.P. Colebatch, a lawyer and author, has lectured in International Law and International Relations at Notre Dame University and Edith Cowan University in Western Australia and worked on the staff of two Australian Federal Ministers.
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« Reply #1229 on: September 06, 2013, 10:34:06 AM »

 From the late Jean Bethke Elshtain's 2003 book "Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a ¬Violent World" (Robert George writes about Elshtain nearby.):

In Albert Camus's novel, The Plague, an allegory on the coming of totalitarian terror, one of the protagonists comments acerbically on the naive reactions in a time of crisis of those he calls the "humanists," people who see themselves as living in a reasonable world in which everything is up for negotiation. They believe there is a utilitarian calculus by which to gauge all human purposes and actions. Walking down the streets of Oran (the city in which the novel is set), "humanists" may smash underfoot a rat carrying the plague bacillus but claim, "There are no rats in Oran." Why? Because there cannot be. That sort of thing does not happen anymore. In modernity, it simply must be the case that all human purposes and the means deployed to achieve them are open to adjudication and argument. Just get the aggrieved parties to really talk to one another, because that is the way reasonable people do things. The thinking of the "reasonable," Camus's narrator suggests, is dominated by their own internal preferences rather than the concrete realities of the situation.

Camus's "humanists" are unwilling or unable to peer into the heart of darkness. They have banished the word evil from their vocabularies. Evil refers to something so unreasonable, after all! Therefore, it cannot really exist. Confronted by people who mean to kill them and to destroy their society, these well-meaning persons deny the enormity of what is going on.
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« Reply #1230 on: September 07, 2013, 02:19:53 PM »

Then the war in which we had refused to believe broke out, and it brought - disillusionment. Not only is it more bloody and more destructive than any war of other days, because of the enormously increased perfection of weapons of attack and defence; it is at least as cruel, as embittered, as implacable as any that has preceded it. It disregards all the restrictions known as International Law, which in peace-time the states had bound themselves to observe; it ignores the prerogatives of the wounded and the medical service, the distinction between civil and military sections of the population, the claims of private property. It tramples in blind fury on all that comes in its way as though there were to be no future and no peace among men after it is over. It cuts all the common bonds between the contending peoples, and threatens to leave a legacy of embitterment that will make any renewal of those bonds impossible for a long time to come.

Moreover, it has brought to light an almost incredible phenomenon: the civilized nations know and understand one another so little that one can turn against the other with hate and loathing. Indeed, one of the great civilized nations is so universally unpopular that the attempt can actually be made to exclude it from the civilized community as 'barbaric', although it has long proved its fitness by the magnificent contributions to that community which it has made. We live in hopes that the pages of an impartial history will prove that that nation, in whose language we write and for whose victory our dear ones are fighting, has been precisely the one which has least transgressed the laws of civilization. But at such a time who dares to set himself up as judge in his own cause?

People are more or less represented by the states which they form, and these states by the governments which rule them. The individual citizen can with horror convince himself in this war of what would occasionally cross his mind in peace-time - that the state has forbidden to the individual the practice of wrong-doing, not because it desires to abolish it, but because it wants to monopolize it, like salt and tobacco. A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual. It makes use against the enemy not only of the accepted stratagems of war, but of deliberate lying and deception as well - and to a degree which seems to exceed the usage of former wars. The state exacts the utmost degree of obedience and sacrifice from its citizens, but at the same time it treats them like children by maintaining an excess of secrecy and a censorship upon news and expressions of opinion which leaves the spirits of those whose intellects it thus suppresses defenceless against every unfavourable turn of events and every sinister rumour. It absolves itself from the guarantees and treaties by which it was bound to other states, and makes unabashed confession of its own rapacity and lust for power, which the private individual has then to sanction in the name of patriotism.

It should not be objected that the state cannot refrain from wrong-doing, since that would place it at a disadvantage. It is no less disadvantageous, as a general rule, for the individual to conform to the standards of morality and refrain from brutal and arbitrary conduct; and the state seldom proves able to indemnify him for the sacrifices it exacts. Nor should it be a matter for surprise that this relaxation of all the moral ties between the collective beings of mankind should have had repercussions on the morality of individuals; for our conscience is not the inflexible judge that ethical teachers declare it, but in its origin is dread of the community and nothing else. When the community no longer raises objections, there is an end, too, to the suppression of evil passions, and people perpetrate deeds of cruelty, fraud, treachery and barbarity so incompatible with their level of civilization that one would have thought them impossible.

Well may the citizen of the civilized world of whom I have spoken stand helpless in a world that has grown strange to him - his great fatherland disintegrated, its common estates laid waste, his fellow-citizens divided and debased!

There is something to be said, however, in criticism of his disappointment. Strictly speaking it is not justified, for it consists in the destruction of an illusion. We welcome illusions because they spare us emotional distress, and enable us instead to indulge in gratification. We must not complain, then, if now and again they come into collision with some portion of reality and are shattered against it.

The whole essay can be found here:
http://www.panarchy.org/freud/war.1915.html
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« Reply #1231 on: September 08, 2013, 06:06:17 PM »



http://video.foxnews.com/v/2657047627001/judge-jeanine-another-false-narrative-from-the-white-house/
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« Reply #1232 on: September 11, 2013, 10:57:03 PM »

Obama lifted his Syria speech from Bush
By Marc A. Thiessen, Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 6:08 AM

President Obama never misses a chance to “blame it on Bush,” and last night’s address to the nation on Syria was no exception.

The reason Obama has failed to win support military action in Syria, the president declared last night, is not because he has failed to lay out a coherent strategy — it’s because of “the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Obama further slammed former president George W. Bush for presiding over “a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the president and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.”

Put aside the fact that Congress explicitly authorized the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while Obama did not seek congressional authorization before launching his war in Libya — or that dozens of nations joined us in Iraq and Afghanistan, while in Syria we have . . . France.

If Bush was so bad, then why did Obama lift so much of his speech making the case for military action in Syria from Bush’s speech making the case for military action in Iraq?

In his address Tuesday night arguing that the United States must hold a Baathist dictator who used chemical weapons against his own people to account, Obama said: “I know Americans want all of us in Washington — especially me — to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home. . . . It’s no wonder then that you’re asking hard questions. So let me answer some of the most important questions that I’ve heard from members of Congress and that I’ve read in letters that you’ve sent to me.”

He then went on to pose a number of questions raised by critics about the need for military action, and answer them: “First, many of you have asked, won’t this put us on a slippery slope to another war? . . . Others have asked whether it’s worth acting if we don’t take out [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad. . . . Other questions involve the dangers of retaliation.. . . Many of you have asked a broader question: Why should we get involved at all in a place that’s so complicated and where, as one person wrote to me, those who come after Assad may be enemies of human rights? . . . Finally, many of you have asked, why not leave this to other countries or seek solutions short of force?”

Hmm, that sounded familiar. In his October 7, 2002, speech in Cincinnati, making the case that the United States must hold a Baathist dictator who used chemical weapons on his people to account, Bush declared: “Many Americans have raised legitimate questions: about the nature of the threat; about the urgency of action. . . . These are all issues we’ve discussed broadly and fully within my administration. And tonight, I want to share those discussions with you.”

Bush then went on to pose a number of questions raised by critics and answer them: “First, some ask why Iraq is different from other countries or regimes that also have terrible weapons. . . . Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. . . . Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. . . . Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. . . . Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? . . . Some believe we can address this danger by simply resuming the old approach to inspections, and applying diplomatic and economic pressure.”

In other words, Obama essentially copied Bush’s speech making the case for military action in Iraq to make his case for military action in Syria.

The similarities don’t end there. Obama also mimicked Bush in laying out the consequences of inaction, Obama said: “A failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran, which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon or to take a more peaceful path. This is not a world we should accept.”

In 2002, Bush declared: “Failure to act would embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events. . . . And through its inaction, the United States would resign itself to a future of fear. That is not the America I know.”

While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, it takes a special kind of chutzpah to plagiarize your predecessor while attacking him at the same time.

Of course, the imitation only went so far. After making the case for military action, Bush issued an ultimatum to the Iraqi regime. After making the case for military action, Obama announced he was deploying . . . Secretary of State John F. Kerry to meet with his Russian counterparts. Presumably Kerry will explain that if Assad fails to comply with Obama’s just demands, the Syrian dictator will face the consequences — a military strike that is “unbelievably small.”

Now that wasn’t lifted from George W. Bush.

Read more from Marc Thiessen’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.
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« Reply #1233 on: September 13, 2013, 11:27:43 AM »

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh: "It is because of this liberty and freedom that our country exists, because the Founders recognized it comes from God. It's part of the natural yearning of the human spirit. It is not granted by a government. It's not granted by Putin. It's not granted by Obama or any other human being. We are created with the natural yearning to be free, and it is other men and leaders throughout human history who have suppressed that and imprisoned people for seeking it. The U.S. is the first time in the history of the world where a government was organized with a Constitution laying out the rules, that the individual was supreme and dominant, and that is what led to the U.S. becoming the greatest country ever because it unleashed people to be the best they could be. Nothing like it had ever happened. That's American exceptionalism. Putin doesn't know what it is, Obama doesn't know what it is, and it just got trashed in the New York Times. It's just unacceptable."
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« Reply #1234 on: September 16, 2013, 11:44:49 AM »

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh: "It is because of this liberty and freedom that our country exists, because the Founders recognized it comes from God. It's part of the natural yearning of the human spirit. It is not granted by a government. It's not granted by Putin. It's not granted by Obama or any other human being. We are created with the natural yearning to be free, and it is other men and leaders throughout human history who have suppressed that and imprisoned people for seeking it. The U.S. is the first time in the history of the world where a government was organized with a Constitution laying out the rules, that the individual was supreme and dominant, and that is what led to the U.S. becoming the greatest country ever because it unleashed people to be the best they could be. Nothing like it had ever happened. That's American exceptionalism. Putin doesn't know what it is, Obama doesn't know what it is, and it just got trashed in the New York Times. It's just unacceptable."


Rush at least nailed the fact that Obama and Putin are two people who don't understand what made America great / "exceptional".

In the longer rant on the radio, he played the clip of Obama asked if he believed in American Exceptionalism.  The President said yes and then went on to express that he hoped the Greeks believed in Greek Exceptionalism as well.  Good grief.  If he had any clue as to what made America great, he wouldn't be trying to dismantle it.
---------------------

Here is Matthew Spalding writing at Heritage, 2010:

In 1776, when America announced its independence as a nation, it was composed of thirteen colonies surrounded by hostile powers.

Today, the United States is a country of fifty states covering a vast continent. Its military forces are the most powerful in the world. Its economy produces almost a quarter of the world's wealth. The American people are among the most hard-working, church-going, affluent, and generous in the world.

Is America exceptional?

Every nation derives meaning and purpose from some unifying quality—an ethnic character, a common religion, a shared history. The United States is different. America was founded at a particular time, by a particular people, on the basis of particular principles about man, liberty, and constitutional government.

The American Revolution drew on old ideas. The United States is the product of Western civilization, shaped by Judeo-Christian culture and the political liberties inherited from Great Britain.

Yet the founding of the United States was also revolutionary. Not in the sense of replacing one set of rulers with another, or overthrowing the institutions of society, but in placing political authority in the hands of the people.

As the English writer G. K. Chesterton famously observed, "America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed." That creed is set forth most clearly in the Declaration of Independence, by which the American colonies announced their separation from Great Britain. The Declaration is a timeless statement of inherent rights, the proper purposes of government, and the limits on political authority.

The American Founders appealed to self-evident truths, stemming from "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," to justify their liberty. This is a universal and permanent standard. These truths are not unique to America but apply to all men and women everywhere. They are as true today as they were in 1776.

Working from the principle of equality, the American Founders asserted that men could govern themselves according to common beliefs and the rule of law. Throughout history, political power was—and still is—often held by the strongest. But if all are equal and have the same rights, then no one is fit by nature to rule or to be ruled.

As Thomas Jefferson put it, "[T]he mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God." The only source of the legitimate powers of government is the consent of the governed. This is the cornerstone principle of American government, society, and independence.

America's principles establish religious liberty as a fundamental right. It is in our nature to pursue our convictions of faith. Government must not establish an official religion, just as it must guarantee the free exercise of religion. Indeed, popular government requires a flourishing of religious faith. If a free people are to govern themselves politically, they must first govern themselves morally.

    "Being an American is more than a matter of where you or your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal." – Harry S. Truman
    October 26, 1948

These principles also mean that everyone has the right to the fruits of their own labor. This fundamental right to acquire, possess, and sell property is the backbone of opportunity and the most practical means to pursue human happiness. This right, along with the free enterprise system that stems from it, is the source of prosperity and the foundation of economic liberty.

Because people have rights, government has only the powers that the sovereign people have delegated to it. These powers are specified by a fundamental law called a constitution. Under the rule of law, all are protected by generally agreed-upon laws that apply, equally, to everyone.

The United States Constitution defines the institutions of American government: three distinct branches of government that make the law, enforce the law, and judge the law in particular cases. This framework gives the American government the powers it needs to secure our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The ultimate purpose of securing these rights and of limiting government is to protect human freedom. That freedom allows the institutions of civil society—family, school, church, and private associations—to thrive, forming the habits and virtues required for liberty.

The same principles that define America also shape its understanding of the world. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that the thirteen colonies were a separate and sovereign nation, like any other nation. But America is not simply another nation.

The United States is a nation founded on universal principles. It appeals to a higher standard that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. All nations are answerable to this principle, and it is this principle that makes the United States a truly legitimate nation.

Liberty does not belong only to the United States. The Declaration of Independence holds that all men everywhere are endowed with a right to liberty. That liberty is a permanent aspect of human nature everywhere is central to understanding America's first principles.

Nevertheless, the primary responsibility of the United States is to defend the freedom and well-being of the American people. To do this, the United States must apply America's universal principles to the challenges this nation faces in the world.

    "Our founding documents proclaim to the world that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few. It is the universal right of all God's children." – Ronald Reagan
    July 15, 1991

This is not easy. America has not always been successful. But because of the principles to which it is dedicated, the United States always strives to uphold its highest ideals. More than any other nation, it has a special responsibility to defend the cause of liberty at home and abroad.

As George Washington put it in his First Inaugural Address: "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." America's role in the world is to preserve and to spread, by example and by action, the "sacred fire of liberty."

America is an exceptional nation, but not because of what it has achieved or accomplished. America is exceptional because, unlike any other nation, it is dedicated to the principles of human liberty, grounded on the truths that all men are created equal and endowed with equal rights. These permanent truths are "applicable to all men and all times," as Abraham Lincoln once said.

America's principles have created a prosperous and just nation unlike any other nation in history. They explain why Americans strongly defend their country, look fondly to their nation's origins, vigilantly assert their political rights and civic responsibilities, and remain convinced of the special meaning of their country and its role of the world. It is because of its principles, not despite them, that America has achieved greatness.

To this day, so many years after the American Revolution, these principles—proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and promulgated by the United States Constitution—still define America as a nation and a people. Which is why friends of freedom the world over look to the United States not only as an ally against tyrants and despots but also as a powerful beacon to all those who strive to be free.


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« Reply #1235 on: September 18, 2013, 11:06:09 AM »

The Syria Deal Has a Hint of Munich
I fear that soon we will hear Assad, an enemy of humanity, praised for his cooperation and spirit of responsibility.
By

•   BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY
It would be nice to believe that Saturday's Russian-American agreement on Syria's chemical weapons constitutes the "advance" that everyone seems to be so eager to call it.

And one hopes that France's firmness—the declared will of President François Hollande to strike Syria militarily, followed by his effort, unsuccessful, alas, to push a tough resolution through the United Nations Security Council—will eventually pay off and bring the international community into line.

But meanwhile, what a situation!

I am not talking about the letter of the agreement, which the experts immediately observed was: (1) Unimplementable. How, in a country at war, does one gather up and then destroy 1,000 tons of chemical weapons scattered across the entire territory? (2) Unverifiable. According to the best estimates, the task would require 20 times more inspectors than the United Nations mustered in Syria last summer, and who, for the most part, remained shut up in their hotels or were trotted around by the regime. (3) Unaffordable. The United States has invested $8 billion to $10 billion to destroy its own chemical weapons and, 20 years later, the task is not yet finished. (4) Tied to a timetable ("mid-2014") that, apart from being technically meaningless, sounds like a bad joke in a country where, for two and a half years now, hundreds of civilians have been killed each day by conventional arms. (5) The equivalent of a terrible trick, the principal effect of which will be, by placing the onus on the chemical-weapons inspectors, to externalize the tragedy, so to speak, and return the world to sleeping the sleep of the Unjust.

What I am talking about is Bashar Assad, who has been transformed, as if by magic, from a war criminal and enemy of humanity (in the words of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon) into an unavoidable, nay, legitimate, negotiating partner—whose spirit of cooperation and responsibility I fear we will soon hear being widely praised.
I'm talking about Vladimir Putin, who brought off the tour de force of posing as a peacemaker—getting everyone to forget, in the process, his own crimes in Georgia, Chechnya and Russia—with the same aplomb that he has showed when playing the superman athlete who brings down whales, tigers and giant pike.

I'm talking about the hesitant, timorous America that we have seen—through the incredible sequence in which Secretary of State John Kerry's wise, forceful speech was juxtaposed against Barack Obama's strangely indecisive remarks—taking seriatim and almost simultaneously every conceivable geopolitical position. I'm talking about an America willing itself into weakness. A quiescent America that Mr. Putin, with his astounding lecture on democratic morals published in the New York Times, has allowed himself the luxury of humiliating on her home field.

I'm talking about North Korea and Iran, which will have good reason to believe, from here on out, that the West's word, its warnings, the promises it makes to its allies, aren't worth a thing. Can you blame them for thinking that? And will those who presently are granting Assad his license to kill finally rouse themselves to anger when they see the ayatollahs crossing the nuclear threshold? Maybe. But the fact that one even has to wonder—the fact that this or that Islamist fanatic or crazy dictator might be encouraged to think that he could, in future, act with impunity, Damascus-style—constitutes a source of misunderstanding and confusion in international relations. The result is an instability far greater than anything that might have accompanied the warning shot planned, then abandoned, by the U.S. and France.

And, finally, I'm thinking about the civilians in Syria not yet killed by shelling or made to flee, and who now more than ever find themselves trapped. They are caught in a vise between the regime's army—supported by Russian advisers, Hezbollah auxiliaries and Revolutionary Guards from Tehran—and the jihadists who draw strength from the West's abdication and who increasingly are able to present themselves, despite poisonous future results not difficult to imagine, as the last hope of a people pushed to the brink.

There is, in the cowardly relief so widely expressed at the idea of seeing the prospect of military strikes dispelled, regardless of the consequences, a tone that cannot but recall detestable memories of the late 1930s.

Because history has more imagination than do human beings, let us suppose that Assad, heady from his unexpected reprieve, commits another massacre that the world deems excessive. Or let us suppose that the Syrian tragedy meter passes a certain point (150,000 dead? 200,000?) and that public opinion, which is now the arbiter of war and peace, suddenly finds this intolerable. Or let us suppose that the chemical-weapons inspections take a dramatic turn, requiring a response and military strikes. When one of the above happens, we will remember Winston Churchill's famous and fateful phrase, adapted to the present context: "You were given the choice between strikes and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have strikes."

Mr. Lévy's books include "Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism" (Random House, 2008). This article was translated from the French by Stephen B. Kennedy.

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« Reply #1236 on: September 19, 2013, 04:54:14 PM »

I thinking delete here on put on the MMA thread , , ,
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« Reply #1237 on: October 02, 2013, 09:19:04 AM »

Don't the Federal employees ALWAYS get their back pay?

And don't they essentially get the time off with pay in a shutdown?

So they should be happy.

I wish I could get some days off with pay.
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« Reply #1238 on: October 03, 2013, 07:58:39 AM »

Creed
by Steve Turner

We believe in MarxFreudandDarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don’t hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and
After marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything’s getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
and you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in horoscopes,
UFOs and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man, just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
his good morals were bad.

We believe all religions are basically the same—
At least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
Sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
They say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it’s
compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What’s selected is average.
What’s average is normal.
What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe man is essentially good.
It’s only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute Truth
Excepting the truth
That there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.

PS: Chance:

If chance be
the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear

State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!

It is but the sound of man
worshipping his makers.
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ccp
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« Reply #1239 on: October 03, 2013, 10:22:21 AM »

To prevent starvation, isolation, and despair one synagogue has discovered a new way to be charitable:

http://news.yahoo.com/video/washington-dc-synagogue-helps-furloughed-103243176.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1240 on: October 09, 2013, 08:56:35 AM »



http://www.nationalreview.com/article/360583/medieval-liberals-victor-davis-hanson
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ccp
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« Reply #1241 on: October 11, 2013, 07:55:44 AM »

There could be no other person who uses his government influence to make a lot of money.
Whenever associated with any wrongdoing just donate to charity, take a big tax deduction, deny any wrong doing and shift the attention to another subject.   Works every time:

*****McAuliffe among investors in Rhode Island insurance scam that preyed on dying people

  By Fredrick Kunkle,   Published: October 10 E-mail the writer
 
 Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was one of dozens of investors with a Rhode Island estate planner charged with defrauding insurers by using the stolen identities of terminally ill people, according to court documents filed Wednesday by federal prosecutors in Providence.

McAuliffe’s name appeared on a lengthy list of investors with Joseph A. Caramadre, an attorney and accountant who obtained the identities of dying people to set up annuities that ultimately cost insurance companies millions of dollars, the documents say.
 
McAuliffe claims Cuccinelli tax plan could cost $8B

Ben Pershing 8:02 AM ET

Democrat ignores rival’s pledge to cut income tax only if he can recoup funds through closing tax loopholes.

Cuccinelli and McAuliffe trade blows at Richmond forum

Laura Vozzella OCT 10

The rivals for governor made claims about an investment scheme and abortion.

McAuliffe tells a good story — though facts may be missing

Laura Vozzella OCT 10

Democratic candidate for governor in Va. is known for enthusiastic embellishment.


The list also included the law firm of a former Rhode Island Supreme Court justice, a Roman Catholic monsignor, a former Cranston, R.I. police chief, and a bookmaker, according to The Providence Journal, which first reported McAuliffe’s investment Wednesday.

Federal court documents do not accuse McAuliffe of wrongdoing, and it wasn’t clear whether he had made money or lost money on the investments. His campaign spokesman said McAuliffe was a “passive investor” who was deceived like many others. Spokesman Josh Schwerin also said that the campaign and McAuliffe donated sums to the American Cancer Society totaling $74,000 — approximately the amount McAuliffe earned as a return on the investment and received in a campaign donation from Caramadre.

“Terry was one of hundreds of passive investors several years ago and had no idea about the allegations against the defendant — who, at the time, was widely respected by business leaders and elected officials,” Schwerin said. “The allegations are horrible and he never would have invested if he knew he was being deceived.”

Caramadre and his former employee Raymour Radhakrishnan were charged in November 2011 in a 66-count indictment accusing them of wire fraud, money laundering and witness-tampering. Both men pleaded guilty last November, the FBI said in a press release.

Federal authorities say Caramadre, through his firm Estate Planning Resources, began developing products in the 1990s that used the identities of terminally ill people to purchase variable annuities from insurance companies. The annuities offered death benefits when those annuitants died. The investments — which Caramadre allegedly made on behalf of himself, friends, family and others — included returns of all the money invested and sometimes a guaranteed profit, federal authorities said.

In 2006, Caramadre also began investing in “death-put bonds” that relied on obtaining the identities of terminally ill people, according to prosecutors. These investments allowed the owner to redeem the bonds years or decades earlier than the maturity date when the bond’s co-owner died.

The FBI, in a November 2012 press release announcing mid-trial guilty pleas by Caramadre and Radhakrishnan, said Caramadre located terminally ill people by visiting AIDS patients at a hospice, locating relatives of terminally ill people, and placing an ad in a local Catholic newspaper offering $2,000 cash to people with a terminal illness.

In 2009, Caramadre gave McAuliffe’s campaign an $26,599 contribution, including an in-kind event donation of $1,599, according to records kept by the Virginia Public Access Project.

Researcher Alice Crites contributed to this story.*****


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1242 on: October 11, 2013, 08:28:31 AM »

Why is this here?  Wouldn't go better in the corruption thread?
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« Reply #1243 on: October 12, 2013, 08:26:54 PM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/node/361057/print
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bigdog
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« Reply #1244 on: October 13, 2013, 07:10:53 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-the-nation-state.html?ref=opinion

From the article:

One scenario, “Nonstate World,” imagined a planet in which urbanization, technology and capital accumulation had brought about a landscape where governments had given up on real reforms and had subcontracted many responsibilities to outside parties, which then set up enclaves operating under their own laws.

The imagined date for the report’s scenarios is 2030, but at least for “Nonstate World,” it might as well be 2010: though most of us might not realize it, “nonstate world” describes much of how global society already operates. This isn’t to say that states have disappeared, or will. But they are becoming just one form of governance among many.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1245 on: October 18, 2013, 12:24:21 PM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btvSE6tVHzQ#t=96
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1246 on: October 20, 2013, 11:16:15 AM »



http://nationalreview.com/article/361051/funding-jihadists-while-denying-military-benefits-andrew-c-mccarthy

While I disagree with the opening swipes on the War on Islamic Fascism, many worthy points are made here:

=================

Here is where we’re at: The Republican establishment — the guys who told us that for a trillion dollars and several thousand American casualties, we could build “Islamic democracies” that would be reliable U.S. allies in the War on Terror — say it is Ted Cruz who is “delusional” and the effort to stave off Obamacare that is “unattainable.”

These self-appointed sages are, of course, the same guys who told us the way to “stabilize” and “democratize” Libya was to help jihadists topple and kill the resident dictator — who, at the time, was a U.S. ally, providing intelligence about the jihadists using his eastern badlands as a springboard for the anti-American terror insurgency in Iraq. That’s probably worth remembering this week, during which some of our new “allies” abducted Libya’s president while others car-bombed Sweden’s consulate in Benghazi — site of the still unavenged terrorist massacre of American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. officials 13 months ago.
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Not to worry, though. So successful do they figure the Libyan escapade was, GOP leaders are backing a reprise in Syria. It is there, we learn from a Human Rights Watch report issued this week, that our new “allies,” the al-Qaeda-rife “rebels,” executed a savage atrocity just two months ago. Sweeping into the coastal village of Latakia, the jihadists slaughtered 190 minority Alawites. As the New York Times details, “at least 67 of the dead appeared to have been shot or stabbed while unarmed or fleeing, including 48 women and 11 children.” More than 200 other civilians were captured and are still being held hostage.

So that’s going well.

And, you’ll be pleased to know, supporting the Syrian “rebels” is a high enough priority that it’s not part of the 17 percent of the federal government affected by the “shutdown.” America’s enemies are still receiving taxpayer-funded weapons, so that they can fight America’s other enemies, the Assad regime, to what Washington hopes will be a resounding victory. Er . . . check that — to what the administration hopes will be . . . a tie. The administration also let slip this week that it is arming our preferred jihadists so they can grind to a stalemate with Russia’s preferred jihadists — after all, we wouldn’t want to upset Iran’s ruling jihadists after they’ve just finally deigned to take, yes, a phone call from our pleading president after blowing him off in New York.

So support for the Syrian jihad remains unaffected by the shutdown, just like the Capitol Hill gym and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” website. Obama did manage, however, to cut off death benefits for the families of American troops killed fighting for our country. Or at least our conniving Alinsky-in-chief thought he’d succeeded in cutting off the military death benefits — along with forcible closures of war-hero cemeteries, national monuments, private homes, and the ocean.

It turned out he’d miscalculated.

President I Will Not Negotiate ended up negotiating, and then quietly paying bereaved military families, because he discovered, to his astonishment, that the public would hold him, not Republicans, responsible for this unspeakable breach of faith. He’d thought he had that covered. After all, as the Republican establishment repeatedly tells us, Obama’s media always blame the GOP — thus making it “delusional” for the GOP to stand up and fight about anything.

The president was caught by the strategy devised by the delusional rubes who want to exercise Congress’s prerogative not to fund Obamacare — a purportedly unattainable goal, notwithstanding that the prerogative is rooted in the Constitution, in marked contrast to Obama’s own selective waivers of Obamacare, which are apparently rooted in . . . Obama.

See, in order to demonstrate beyond cavil that they were being reasonable, notwithstanding huge objections to the current unsustainable $3.6 trillion trough of federal spending, conservatives volunteered to fund everything the government does except Obamacare. The administration and its scribes shrieked, of course, but there is nothing illegal or unusual about withholding appropriations for federal programs. The government does it every year. Obama himself does it, not just in refusing to enforce the federal immigration laws (to take just one example) but in refusing to execute aspects of Obamacare that harm preferred corporations, union cronies, and Congress.

As expected, our petulant president refused the deal, directing his minions to forge ahead full-speed on his signature socialization of health care — never mind its unpopularity, unconstitutionality, and unreadiness for implementation. Meantime, he schemed to make the shutdown he was forcing as painful as possible. The mainstream-media division of the White House press operation would then, he figured, dutifully blame Republicans for the inevitable public outcry, and the GOP would instantly unfurl its ever-ready white flag.

But instead of waving the flag, House conservatives decided to wave a series of appropriations bills: bite-size portions of the mega-funding the president had already refused — a page out of the Left’s book, offering heartstring-tugging dollars for Head Start, disadvantaged women and children, cancer patients, emergency responders, national-parks operation, city services for Washington residents, etc. Obama thumbed his nose at these House overtures, banked on the press’s refusal to cover them, and went merrily about the business of scalding Republicans over a government shutdown that he was actually causing.

Except Obama let one bill get by: the House’s Pay Our Military Act (POMA). Why? Because Obama needs to hold Senate Democrats in lockstep “no” mode, but even they would not sign on to refusing to pay our troops in wartime. So the bill was passed — proving that, as the delusional Ted Cruz maintains, Democrats can be moved if unified Republicans make the pressure intense enough.
==========================================

Obama signed POMA even though it cut sharply against his Maximum Pain strategy, but that was because he had his usual Plan B: ignore federal law. As Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky explained on the Corner, administration lawyers issued tortuous guidance, twisting a statute that directs the payment of death benefits into a prohibition against the payment of death benefits. The idea was to add POMA to the community organizer’s propaganda campaign: to show that the Republicans would betray even our fallen heroes if that’s what it took to deny health care to millions of Americans.

But the president who slept through the Benghazi massacre once again forgot that our military is not just an agitprop. Our soldiers really do put their lives on the line, and lose them — as did the one marine and four soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan last weekend. That made it all too real. When bereaved families were suddenly denied death benefits by our government, there was no hiding the fact that the commander-in-chief had, yet again, abandoned those who’d made the ultimate patriotic sacrifice. What’s more, this dereliction was nothing more than crass political calculation — or, as it turned out, miscalculation.
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Public anger erupted and even the Associated Press courtiers were reduced to reporting a sharp drop in the president’s approval rating. Congressional Democrats scrambled and a superfluous, face-saving death-benefits law was enacted so the White House could try to pretend the president now had payment authority he’d previously lacked. Administration lawyers continue to mumble about how, though Obama felt really terrible about it, the perfectly clear POMA had been “too vague” to help military families in their time of need.

You know, there’s also a 1996 law on the federal books that makes it a felony to provide material support to terrorists. It’s not vague. In fact, it’s clear as a bell, according to the many federal courts that have applied it in sentencing scores of jihadist-abettors to hundreds of years in prison.

Don’t you find it strange, don’t you think the public at large would find it strange, that in a shutdown Obama has instigated in order to enforce the Obamacare law Americans don’t want, he so skews the rest of our law that his administration says we can fund al-Qaeda but we can’t fund the families of our war dead?

What a great argument that would be for Republicans . . . if only they were on the right side of it. But they’re not. So let’s roll over on Obamacare, get behind the Syrian jihadists, and make sure everyone knows Ted Cruz is the delusional one around here.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1247 on: October 24, 2013, 01:17:59 PM »


http://sufficient-reason.tumblr.com/post/26781491317/dear-liberal-heres-why-im-so-hostile
« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 07:27:22 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1248 on: October 26, 2013, 08:01:40 PM »



http://gopthedailydose.com/2013/10/26/zo-responds-wave-rainbow-flag-confederate-flag/
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bigdog
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« Reply #1249 on: October 30, 2013, 02:07:10 PM »

Not a thought piece so much as thoughtful:

http://nedhardy.com/2013/06/14/powerful-pictures-18-pics/
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