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→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:33 am MDTCargo ship worker rescued after injury at Fla port(AP) — A worker on a cargo ship docked in South Florida is recovering from injuries after officials say he was struck by a cargo container. Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue officials said the 52-year-old man was working on the upper deck of a ship at Port Everglades when he injured his leg in Sunday's accident.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:31 am MDTMuseum in Knoxville to host 'Birds in Art' exhibit(AP) — A new museum exhibit at the University of Tennessee that is scheduled to be unveiled later this month will celebrate the timeless appeal of birds. The University of Tennessee in Knoxville says the touring exhibit, "Birds in Art," begins Saturday and runs through Aug. 18 at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:30 am MDTOn table in NJ: Using sales tax to preserve landTRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey Senate panel is poised to consider a plan that calls for funding open space preservation purchases with sales tax revenue for the next 30 years. The measure would provide about $200 million a year from sales taxes for preservation of farmland, flood-prone properties and historic sites.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:30 am MDTArias returns to court for penalty phase of trialAssociated Press Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Updated 12:32 am, Monday, May 20, 2013PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias returns to court Monday for the continuation of the penalty phase of her trial after being convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of her one-time lover as jurors consider a sentence of life in prison or execution. Judge Sherry Stephens instructed jurors they could consider a handful of factors when deciding what sentence to impose, including Arias' lack of a prior criminal record and assertions that she was a good friend, had an abusive childhood and is a talented artist. In opening statements, prosecutor Juan Martinez told the panel none of those factors should cause the jury to even consider a sentence other than death, given the brutal nature of the killing. Under Arizona law, if the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision on sentencing, the panel will be dismissed and jury selection will begin anew. "Jodi Arias has proven herself to be a conniving manipulator so she may be saying something like this to get a reaction from the jury," said San Francisco criminal defense lawyer Michael Cardoza. Arizona defense attorney Thomas Gorman, who has handled dozens of death penalty cases, said Martinez may not need to mention Arias' comments in the television interview to jurors given they haven't been sequestered throughout the trial.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:29 am MDTGOP ponders how to capitalize on Obama's woesAssociated Press Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Updated 12:33 am, Monday, May 20, 2013Legislatively one of Obama's biggest second-term goals is to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, including a new pathway to citizenship for millions of people living here illegally. Republicans have been equally indignant in ongoing inquiries into the administration's role in last September's terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four U.S. officials. The third controversy now dogging the White House — the Justice Department's secret seizure of Associated Press phone records in a security leak investigation — has thus far stirred less emotion and partisanship on Capitol Hill. Cole, however, said Boehner and other party leaders are keenly aware that Republicans can overdo their attacks, and even build sympathy for Obama, if their criticisms appear nakedly political or not supported by facts. Tea party groups — whose influence in 2012 waned compared to their muscular role in 2010 — are finding new political fuel, especially in the IRS scandal that largely centers on such conservative groups. Even if tea party activists boost GOP turnout in next year's nonpresidential elections, they could complicate the Republican Party's need to woo a wider audience to win presidential elections in 2016 and beyond. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said he hopes the scandals will increase public attention on Congress, enabling Republicans to highlight an agenda he thinks voters will embrace. Some of Congress' biggest actions lately — including the January "fiscal cliff" tax increase, and the March "sequestration" budget cuts — began as mutually unacceptable threats, designed to spur Democrats and Republicans to agree to better alternatives.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:29 am MDTClosure planned for I-530 in Pine Bluff(AP) — Arkansas highway officials say pavement repairs scheduled on Interstate 530 in Pine Bluff will require a lane closure. [...] at Exit 42, Hazel Street, the off-ramp will have traffic barrels and signs directing motorists.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:28 am MDTGarland County man convicted of negligent homicide(AP) — A man who prosecutors say was intoxicated when he fatally struck a pedestrian has been found guilty of misdemeanor negligent homicide by a jury in Garland County. Prosecutor Steve Oliver noted that 90 percent of victims would have survived the blow from Jones' car, but Hipkins' age and health worked against his chances for survival.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:17 am MDTConn. lawmakers to announce mental health proposal(AP) — Lawmakers, advocates and the mother of a child killed in the Newtown school shooting are unveiling a new proposal for child mental health at the state Capitol complex in Hartford. Bartolomeo's office provided few details about the bill but called it "comprehensive" and said it would complement the gun violence prevention and school safety measures enacted last month.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:16 am MDTAd to begin airing praising gun-control billANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A television ad will begin airing in the Baltimore area that praises the gun-control measure recently signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley. Vincent DeMarco, the president of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, says a fingerprint licensing component in the law is one of the most effective solutions available to reduce gun violence.
→ National News RSS Feed | 20 May 2013 | 1:13 am MDTMass. energy summit to focus on cutting costs(AP) — Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley will host an energy summit to bring together experts in the field for discussions on ways to reduce energy costs and improve the state's competitiveness. Nearly 200 elected officials, energy and environmental experts, clean energy advocates and business leaders are expected to attend.
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 19 May 2013 | 10:26 pm MDT
Singer-songwriter Alan O’Day passed away on Friday of cancer. He was 72.
O’Day is best known for his number one hit “Undercover Angel” which topped the charts in 1977.
Prior to that, O’Day had written songs for other artists most notably “Angie Baby” for Helen Reddy which number one in 1974 as well as co-writing The Righteous Brothers’ final hit “Rock n’ Roll Heaven”.
O’Day never replicated the success of “Undercover Angel” and spent the rest of his career writing music for TV programs such as Muppet Babies and National Geographic’s Really Wild Animals.
Here is O’Day discussing what inspired him towards songwriting and his subsequent career in the music business. I believe this is the last interview he ever did.
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 7:53 pm MDT
Several major cases will be decided by the Supreme Court over the next six weeks, including historic issues such as gay marriage and affirmative action. These cases make the remainder of the Court’s term—which ends in June—one of the most carefully watched terms by millions of Americans.
In addition to several significant cases that have already been decided this year, the justices of the High Court have at least ten important issues to decide before adjourning for the summer.
Two headline cases involve race relations. In Fisher v. University of Texas the Court is considering whether racial preferences (affirmative action) violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. This case was argued on Oct. 10, 2012, in the first days of the Supreme Court’s term (which by law starts Oct. 1 each year), and it is unusual to have a case argued in early October still awaiting a decision in late May.
In the other—Shelby County v. Holder—the Court is considering whether disenfranchising voters on account of race has receded to the point that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which allows the U.S. Department of Justice to supervise voting laws in some states (mostly in the South), is no longer authorized by the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
There is also a second election law case. In Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Ariz., the Court will decide whether Congress’ power under the Constitution’s Elections Clause to regulate the time, place, and manner of federal elections trumps state laws in the same fashion as the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause enables federal laws to trump state laws, or instead if a different test determines which side prevails when federal and state authorities conflict.
Under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, the government cannot take your property unless such taking is for a public purpose and the government compensates you with the market value of your property. A second case out of Arizona involves property rights. In Horne v. Department of Agriculture, the Court is determining whether when the government sues you for money you can refuse to pay if you’re using the Takings Clause as a defense, or instead of you must pay the money, then later sue the government to argue the Takings Clause has been violated.
Another Fifth Amendment case involves a criminal procedure issue concerning the Self-Incrimination Clause. In Salinas v. Texas, the justices will decide under what circumstances the Fifth Amendment protects a defendant who refuses to answer police questions before either being arrested or read his Miranda rights.
A second criminal procedure case pertains to the Fourth Amendment, which governs searches and seizures. If a person has been arrested and charged with a serious crime, in Maryland v. King the High Court will determine whether the Fourth Amendment permits police to collect DNA samples from cotton swabbing of the mouth.
In an intriguing case that highlights the questions our society will face as technology progresses, another case involves patent law. In Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, the justices will determine whether human genes can be patented.
One case involves free speech. In Agency for International Development v. Alliance for an Open Society, the Court will decide whether a federal law requiring an organization to have a policy opposing prostitution and trafficking in order to receive federal funds violates the First Amendment.
Finally, the biggest issue before the Supreme Court is gay marriage. In U.S. v. Windsor, the justices are considering whether the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment. (It should also be noted that there might be a 50-50 chance the Court will dismiss this case on technical grounds, since it’s possible the federal courts lacked jurisdiction over the facts of this particular case.)
And the biggest case of this year is Hollingsworth v. Perry. In that case, the Court is deciding whether the Fourteenth Amendment includes a fundamental right to gay marriage. If so, then every state law that defines marriage as one man and one woman is unconstitutional. It should also be noted that if there is a constitutional right to gay marriage, there is almost certainly a constitutional right to polygamy as well.
So the next couple months at the Supreme Court are ones to remember, which could reshape significant parts of American society for future generations.
Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is on faculty at Liberty University School of Law.
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 6:44 pm MDT
Hollywood films have a powerful impact that influences the world. As incredible as it may seem, sometimes that influence is for the good.
To prove that point, director Steven Spielberg's Lincoln prompted interest in not just the Oscar-winning film but American history as well. The movie, a box office smash, likely sparked more than a few viewers to learn more about the early president by seeking out books with "Lincoln" in the title.
The most thorough insight into the 16th president graces the pages of Lincoln by David Herbert Donald (Touchstone Books-Simon & Shuster, 1995), and now newly re-discovered. This is the definitive book of Abraham Lincoln and the most thorough examination of the man behind the presidency who so shaped the United States.
Donald states in his forward that he wanted a more "grainy" biography of Lincoln than had been published in the past. In this, he succeeded admirably. Eschewing the obligatory gloss and romanticism found in most books written about him, we see at last, the honest, human side of Lincoln, warts and all.
That not only gives us a better understanding of one of the most important men in American history, but challenges us all to let nothing hold us back from following the paths of our own hearts. Donald's book is rich with little-known information about the future president's childhood, his dysfunctional family, his surprising sense of humor and his regular bouts with melancholy and depression so severe that, "he took to his bed for over a week."
Donald's book gives attention to Lincoln's unquenchable ambition, to his brain-numbing labor in his law practice, to his tempestuous married life, and his repeated defeats. And herein lies the success of this book; its honesty in portraying Lincoln as a human being with whom we can all identify. There are many poignant scenes that come vividly alive in these pages, some so personal that a times the reader may feel he is intruding.
One such scene shows Lincoln alone, and lonely in the Soldiers' Home three miles from the capital. His wife Mary was recovering from a carriage accident which resulted in a head injury. Lincoln could not spend much time at her beside because of the draft riots in New York. Union troops had to be called to New York to try and restore order. During this period, Lincoln reflected on his administration, his challenges and accomplishments. His problems were many, including the still unsolved slavery issue. He was stubborn to the point of believing that only he could solve the problems at hand, which made him seem abrupt, even rude by some. Others accused him of being a dictator.
It became a private time of introspection and mental justification of many of his misunderstood actions. As he stares into space we want to slip quietly away, without disturbing him, closing the door gently behind us.
Common Lincoln myths are dispelled in Donald's book.
He did not scribble the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope on the train taking him to the site. Lincoln worked many hours to craft that speech, re-writing it 50 times, checking every dot and comma. He had more than his share of detractors. He was not unanimously loved as we might believe. His own General George B. McClellen not only disrespected Lincoln but made no pretense otherwise. The feelings were mutual with Lincoln saying of McClellen, "He has the slows."
Lincoln's ever-working mind kept him so preoccupied that once his son fell out of the carriage and he didn't even notice. This kind of thing is what makes this easy read so charming. We live with him through his doubts and disillusionment, particularly with the Supreme Court following the Dred Scott case.
We find ourselves blushing with him in his conversation with male friends as they, in their unsophistication, acknowledge their ignorance of sex, his awkward meeting of Mary Todd (he once let it be known that he liked plump women), his nervous breakdown and suicidal thoughts when he broke off with her and his showing up to fight a duel that almost was.
We can wonder how the marriage of Lincoln and Mary survived at all. Once she struck him on the nose with a piece of firewood. He found solace during his lengthy absences as a circuit riding lawyer.
Donald's book is written in such a compelling manner that we find ourselves standing taller at each victory. We agonize with Lincoln during the push for the Kansas-Nebraska Bill and even get a few butterflies before the important debates on the issue with Douglas. We even share and feel his exhaustion and burden of an immense responsibility. This book fills in all the blanks.
Nearing the end of the book, we find ourselves slowing down as if to delay what we know is coming. Maybe, by not rushing forward, we can maybe, stop that shot from being fired. We do not want it to happen. We know the man now and care about him. We know his feelings. This is unquestionably the best book on Lincoln ever published. The author spend ten years preparing it. He was obsessed with Lincoln. Indeed, if you look closely, you will see that Donald has chosen to make his home in ... Lincoln, MASS. Now that is devotion.
Hollywood should take notice of how an extremely well made film with values can influence people for the good while enjoying over the top box office success. Choice of actors is pertinent. Daniel Day-Lewis, who remarkably played Lincoln, is the consummate performer who has raised acting skills to a high art form bringing dignity to the profession.
Lewis is a class act who always presents himself well and displays a refreshing humility when appearing on interview programs. He is a true movie star. More productions like this can bring a genuine greatness to Hollywood that is more than capable of producing films that can affect the world in a positive manner and make solid money doing it. This movie even stimulated people to read books to learn more of the subject matter of the film.
The public has spoken. Is Hollywood listening?
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 6:43 pm MDT
Appearing on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Sunday, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas said senators who opposed universal background checks in the failed Toomey-Manchin bill were cowardly and "beyond feckless."
Costas said, "there's a large number--or was a large number--that were beyond feckless to craven and cowardly and caved in front of the NRA and wouldn't even vote for something as simple as a universal background check."
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 6:42 pm MDT
Forget his prissiness, his pouty wife, his diva-like antics in the MLS, the unconventional and "hip" name of one of his sons ("Brooklyn"), the claims that he was overrated, his hairstyles, and allegations that the "pretty boy" cared more about his image off the field than on it.
David Beckham's announcement on Thursday that he would retire from soccer matters--even in the United States--because people often forget why Beckham, the man with a high-pitched voice who was less naturally talented than many of the game's elite players, became one of the biggest global superstars with much more of an influence and reach than mega icons like Tiger Woods or current living legends of the beautiful game like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Beckham was simply a working class kid who willed his way to become great on the pitch and married a pop star after first seeing her on television. As the story goes, Beckham saw Posh Spice in a music video and turned to teammate Gary Neville and declared, "That one there, that's the girl I'm going to marry."
"I chose her off the telly," Beckham told interviewers when he made his move from England to the United States to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy. "It felt straight away like we'd always been meant to be together."
Before she had even met Beckham, Victoria "Posh Spice" Adams, saw Beckham in a magazine while doing an interview with a soccer magazine and was instantly attracted to the "gorgeous" superstar.
When the two finally met after a Manchester United game, she said it was "love at first sight" though both had been familiar with the other from magazines and music videos.
One can say Beckham played and achieved beyond his talents on the soccer field.
Millions of people around the world saw in Beckham the aspirational qualities that separate transcendent figures like Beckham and, to a lesser extent, Derek Jeter in the United States, from the inauthentic wannabes.
He led Manchester United to the Treble in 1999, overcame his ignominious 1998 World Cup appearance in which he got a red card against Argentina's Diego Simeone to redeem himself in the 2002 World Cup. He became a global ambassador for the sport. He has been a champion in four different countries--England, France, Spain, and the United States. He was a winner.
But to those who weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouths or with silver boots on their feet, Beckham, the working class kid who left to join Manchester United as a teenager to pursue his dream on the world's grandest stage, was someone for whom they could easily cheer.
He lacked the natural talent, strength, and instinct of some of the game's elite players but he made up for it by willing himself to be arguably the best in the world at what he could practice--free kicks and corner kicks and set pieces. He curved the ball so brilliantly that a movie was named after him--though, in fairness, "Bend it Like Beckham" sounds a lot better than "Bend it Like Roberto Carlos." He lacked the deft touch of a Luis Figo, the power of a Zinedine Zidane, the skills instincts of a Ryan Giggs or Gary Neville, but he was a winner.
It was striking that some on the right who consistently talk about appealing to "new demographics" and "urbanites" not only dismissed Beckham's announcement but failed to, as they always do, understand the root of why he was a transcendent global superstar and how powerful the authentic working class ethos resonates beyond statistics and "metrics." These are the same people who would think it would be a smart strategy to court Southern voters by dissing SEC football.
There was much about Beckham that was worthy of mockery, but it is worth understanding why millions around the globe rooted for him. They did so because he was ultimately a winner relentlessly worked to improve the skills that he could. And his working class roots and sensibilities were as genuine as his tears on Saturday night when he played his last game as a professional.
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 6:30 pm MDT
On Saturday’s Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live, Seth Meyers and former anchor Amy Poehler touched on the IRS scandal but spared the government agency any scathing critiques.
Instead, the duo used softball critiques of the IRS, such as "you're less popular than exercise," and then launched into a defense of the IRS, attacking the Tea Party:
POEHLER: Really, Tea Party? Really? You’re surprised that you’re targeted by the IRS? You named yourself after a group of people who proudly and historically violated tax laws! Look, if I had a vanity license plate that said “Weed 420,” I might expect to get pulled over now and then.
MEYERS: And really, politics aside, should we be surprised that the IRS takes special attention to the tax forms of the Tea Party? Judging from the terrible spelling on their protest signs, attention to detail isn’t really their thing….
Poehler’s NBC sitcom, Parks and Recreation, has a history of mocking conservatives, including Tea Party types in a recent episode that aired last month.
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 6:29 pm MDT
It does not take much to make LeBron James mad, and he's one person that you do not want to have extra fuel when he plays your team. It is even worse when he puts words in your mouth.
Such is the situation in which Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel finds himself. After saying that the Heat were "the next team" on his team's road to an NBA Championship, his comments have been twisted by King James.
On Saturday, the NBA's most dominant player was furious at the insinuation that the Heat were "just another team." These comments will certainly serve as motivation for LeBron and Miami, however, the problem is that that is not what Vogel said.
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 19 May 2013 | 5:38 pm MDTThe complete Benghazi timeline, now augmented with information from eyewitness testimony before Congress, various leaks from the warring Obama/Clinton camps, Stephen Hayes, Sharyl Attkisson, and the House Oversight Committee [PDF], leads me to four inescapable conclusions.
It is now clear to me that:
a) Hillary Clinton lied to Congress.
b) Barack Obama went to sleep knowing that a U.S. Ambassador and other Americans were under terrorist attack.
c) Barack Obama awoke refreshed the next day to begin fundraising.
d) The entire Executive Branch lied repeatedly to the American people to save Obama's chances for reelection.
Could someone drag John Boehner out of whatever bar he's in, wake him up, and get him to name a Select Committee on Benghazi?
Related: OBAMA AIDE: It's Now "Offensive" to Ask What President Did for Eight Hours as Four Americans Fought and Died in #Benghazi
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 5:29 pm MDT
Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Syria are reportedly funding their activities by selling oil from fields they took from Bashar al-Assad.
According to the the Telegraph, up to 380,000 barrels of crude "that were previously produced around the city of Raqqa and in the desert region to the east are now in Rebel hands." As a result, the al-Nursa Front, "a violently anti-Western jihadist group," is selling the crude for profits to fund their operations. '
This oil is crucial to Syria's future. And strategically speaking, the oil fields now controlled by the Al Qaeda affiliates give Iran an advantage in any post-Assad Syria.
For example, the oil fields controlled by al-Nursa are "in the three provinces closest to Iraq--Hasakeh, Deir al-Zour, and Raqqa." Moreover, al-Nursa itself was thought to have been formed by Al Qaeda fighters from Iran.
That puts the European Union in a tight spot, because they've been pushing to reduce the embargo on oil exports for anti-Assad forces while simultaneously trying to "marginalize the extremist group within the opposition." Now they are in a position where reducing the embargo could give a helping hand to Al Qaeda.
General Selim Idriss, the Western-backed head of the Syrian opposition, has asked the West to help seize the oil fields back from al-Nursa.
Note: image above is of Syrian rebels in Aleppo, not necessarily Al Qaeda-affiliated.
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 5:24 pm MDT
Internet companies are forcing a biased Palestinian narrative onto users. First, Yahoo artificially divided Jerusalem into Israeli and Palestinian sections. Then Google made headlines by creating a Palestinian state. Now Facebook is promoting “East Jerusalem.”
The term “East Jerusalem” often refers to the make-believe capital of a currently non-existent country called “Palestine.”
The usage of “East Jerusalem” is not some slight slip. With it, Facebook has made a foreign policy declaration denying the reality that all of Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish State of Israel.
I was confronted with Facebook’s political bias while posting photos during a recent trip to Jerusalem, when the automatic location prompt kept insisting I was in “East Jerusalem.”
The same thing happened everywhere I went--to the east, to the west, and also in the former no-man’s land in between. Facebook always declared my presence in this pretend-city called “East Jerusalem.”
Israel’s capital city, which Facebook decided to call by its French and Hebrew names, was relegated to secondary status along with sundry hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions.
Caption: Facebook promotes “East Jerusalem” while relegating Israel’s capital of Jerusalem to secondary choices in French and Hebrew. Note, this location is actually in the western portion of Jerusalem. Credit: Danielle Avel
Facebook not only took this idea of “East Jerusalem” and promoted it, but even worse, it did so in places such as the Mamilla shopping center--which is in the former 1949-67 no-man’s-land--and also in the neighborhood around Ben Yehuda Street (pictured above), which is a part of the western portion of Jerusalem.
Facebook did not respond to my requests to clarify and/or comment on its incorrect use of “East Jerusalem.”
Caption: Screenshot, “Why does Facebook keep insisting I’m in "East Jerusalem”? Credit: Danielle Avel
What arrogance. Foreign policy decisions are made by elected governments, not by Internet corporations.
When Facebook promotes a biased Palestinian assertion of fake geography, it deceives users. While searching the Internet or posting a photo on a social media network, users should not be subjected to a biased political narrative, but rather be given a prompt that reflects reality.
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 5:10 pm MDT
Politico has declared embattled Attorney General Eric Holder untouchable after the many scandals, lapses, overreaches, and contempt charges have failed to induce the President to fire him.
After noting that politicians have been calling for his ouster for years, Politico says that "after years of trying to get Holder, the attorney general doesn’t seem at all worried" that he'll be fired from his position as chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America.
Quoting only Holder's friends on the direct question of the AG's current status; presenting Holder as but a fall guy for Republicans to beat up on because they can't attack the President directly; and saying that the GOP has no "discipline" and has repeatedly made claims that were "overblown or just plain goofy," Politico says that he'll be able to hold his job for as long as he wants to be there and with the President's full support.
But while Politico tries to paint Holder's tenure as beset by mere political attacks, and even as it plays it down, the Washington newser does point out some of Holder's misdeeds in office.
Politico points out that Holder is the first AG in history to be held in contempt of Congress for flat out refusing to supply records on the murderous gun-running scandal known as Fast & Furious. It also notes that he was one of the first Obama administration officials to come out forcefully in favor of gun bans, and early in his tenure called the US a "nation of cowards" on race issues.
What Politico doesn't mention is the overtly politicized manner in which Holder has run his office. From refusing to prosecute real examples of voter intimidation--because it was the Black Panthers that was doing the intimidating--to hiring extremist, left-wing activists to serve in his DOJ Voting Section, to his refusal to obey Congress during Fast & Furious, to his using intimidation to try and stop states from implementing voter ID laws, all the way to his overbroad use of powers to snoop on the phone calls of journalists, Holder has used his office to further Obama's political aims instead of to assure compliance with the nation's laws.
That President Obama refuses to fire him and stubbornly stands by Holder despite all his actions is not evidence that Holder is innocent as Politico claims but merely evidence that Obama has no sense of shame.
→ Breitbart Feed | 19 May 2013 | 5:07 pm MDT
On Sunday, a day after the dramatic Republican Party of Virginia convention in Richmond that picked Ken Cuccinelli as the party's standard bearer for the Governor's office, and tapped E.W. Jackson for Lieutenant Governor and Mark Obenshain for Attorney General, the trio wasted no time hitting the campaign trail.
Their three-day, statewide fly-around began in Virginia Beach on Sunday afternoon and will include campaign events a total of ten cities before it ends in Fredericksburg on Tuesday night.
Sunday night, they will be in Fairfax, and Monday they will be in western part of the state, beginning at Weyer's Cave in the Shenandoah Valley, then moving south to Roanoke, on to Abingdon in the southwestern corner of Virginia, and ending the day in Martinsville.
Tuesday begins in Lynchburg, moves on to Charlottesville and Winchester, before ending up in Fredericksburg.
The Republican ticket has a one month head start on the campaign trail over the Democratic ticket, which will not be picked until a primary in June.
→ Maggie's Farm | 19 May 2013 | 3:33 pm MDT
This is tough.
→ Maggie's Farm | 19 May 2013 | 2:42 pm MDT
We discussed salt last week. Here's The Bogus Public Health Attack on Sugar
Sugar in soda pop is no more fattening than any other carb, eg fruit, bread, milk, fruit juices like apple juice and orange juice. Nevertheless, it's not a "public health" issue, it's an individual choice issue. I like that light brown granulated sugar in my coffee. It's brown, so it must be healthier, right?
→ Warning Signs | 19 May 2013 | 2:39 pm MDT
By Alan CarubaIt comes as no surprise that, during a CBS interview in February, President Obama supported having the Boy Scouts of America open its membership to gays and, presumably, those who lead scout troops as well. “My attitude, the President said “is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life.” Spoken like a good Communist hiding the true intent of debasing the cultural and moral life of America.It is worth revisiting the Scout Oath: On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physical strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” The Scout Law is “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”These are attitudes and beliefs that have served generations of Scouts through life, inspiring them to maintain values that we admire in anyone and which benefit society.On May 23rd, the BSA board of directors will vote on whether to change its policies to allow openly homosexual scouts as members and/or gay scout leaders. A survey of its members released in early May demonstrated that a majority support keeping the current, longtime policy of exclusion in place, prohibiting homosexuals from joining or leading the organization. Fully 61% favored keeping the current policy while 34% opposed it.There is a compelling reason, beyond the cultural and moral issues involved. According to the Centers for Disease Control “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV”, the virus that causes AIDS. “In 2010, MSM accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections.”The Boy Scouts are one of the largest youth organizations in the nation with 2.7 million youth members and more than a million adult volunteers. Since its founding in 1910 as part of the international scouting movement, more than 110 million Americans have been members of the BSA.Its goals, as the Scout Oath reveals, is to train young men in citizenship, to develop worthy character traits, as well as self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, for older scouts, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations. Cub Scouting is open to boys ages 7 to 10½ years, Boy Scouting for boys ages 10½ to 18 and Venturing for young men and women ages 14 through 21. It also offers Learning for Live that provides in-school and career education. Units are led entirely by volunteers.The BSA holds a Congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code making it among a very small number of other patriotic and national organizations that are similarly chartered. Among them are the Girl Scouts of America, the American Legion, and the American Red Cross.As attacks mounted against the BSA, the Supreme Court in 2000 ruled in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that it and all other private organizations are constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of freedom of association to set membership standards. In 2004, the BSA issued a statement that “Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations of the Scout Oath and Scout law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word and deed.”The attacks on the Boy Scouts of America represent the many efforts by progressives to undermine the essential values of the nation and a review of Communist goals reveals the success in part that they are having. Many Americans believe the nation is threatened by moral decline and there is ample evidence to support that belief.It is my hope that on May 23rd, the BSA board of directors will reject the inclusion of homosexuals as members and volunteer scout leaders. If it does not, many parents will not permit their young male children to join, nor should they.© Alan Caruba, 2013Alan Caruba blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 19 May 2013 | 2:35 pm MDTGuest post by Allan Erickson of Clash Daily
Actual quotations or paraphrases from former speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):
• Unemployment benefits are the best form of economic development.
• The IRS admission it illegally targeted conservative groups is the fault of the Supreme Court.
• ObamaCare is responsible for bringing down the deficit.
• We have to pass the bill (ObamaCare) to see what’s in it.
• The Tea Party is astroturf.
• Every week we don’t pass a Stimulus package, 500 million Americans lose their jobs.
• I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels.
• We don’t have a spending problem.
• The CIA misleads us all the time.
• I didn’t know about torture. Bush tricked us. OK, I did know but I didn’t think it mattered because it worked, but now I’m definitely against it, although I didn’t know it was going on.
• Enforcing immigration laws is un-American.
Editor's postscript: And to think, Pelosi is what passes for an intellectual in the modern Democrat Party.
Hat tip: BadBlue.com/Guns.
→ Maggie's Farm | 19 May 2013 | 2:28 pm MDT
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 19 May 2013 | 2:15 pm MDT
As I describe at CFIF, Artur Davis has identified some of the important meanings of the triple-scandals engulfing the Obama administration. He blitzes what he calls “Obama’s Weak ‘I’m No Nixon’ Defense.” He correctly identifies the administration’s lack of accountability — which is actually its defense against accusations that its conduct has been even more nefarious.
Please do read my analysis of his analysis — and of course, read his original analysis, too. This former congressman is, as usual, very astute.
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:04 pm MDT
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:04 pm MDT
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:04 pm MDT
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:04 pm MDT’90s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models then and now.
Then: Judit Mascó (1990)
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:04 pm MDTWhen it happens, it just happens.
Oh Sh*t (28 pics)
Oh Sh*t. Part 2 (46 pics)
Oh Sh*t. Part 3 (50 pics)
Oh Sh*t. Part 4 (57 pics)
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:04 pm MDT
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:03 pm MDTYou might also like:
Behind the Scenes of the Famous Movies (55 pics)
Behind the Scenes of the Famous Movies. Part 2 (59 pics)
Behind the Scenes of the Famous Movies. Part 3 (87 pics)
Behind the Scenes of the Famous Movies. Part 4 (40 pics)
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:03 pm MDTWhat version of the girl is prettier? The normal one or fitness overkill?
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:03 pm MDT
→ AcidCow.com - The One and Only | 19 May 2013 | 2:03 pm MDTExamples of great Cosplay and Halloween costumes and makeup.
OBAMA AIDE: It's Now "Offensive" to Ask What President Did for Eight Hours as Four Americans Fought and Died in #Benghazi
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 19 May 2013 | 1:54 pm MDTThe White House appears to be in full cover-up mode over the President's missing eight hours as the Benghazi attack unfolded.
The latest evidence: Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer appeared on Fox News Sunday and made the astounding claim that asking questions about the President's actions during the terror attack "is offensive."
WALLACE: ...the ambassador goes missing, the first ambassador in more than 30 years is killed. Four americans, including the Ambassador, are killed. Dozens of Americans are in jeopardy. The president at 4:00 in the afternoon says to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to deploy forces. No forces are deployed. Where is he while all this is going on?
PFEIFFER: This has been tested to by --
WALLACE: Well, no. no one knows where he is, who was involved, the --
PFEIFFER: The suggestion of your question that somehow the president --
WALLACE: I just want to know the answer.
PFEIFFER: The assertions from Republicans that the President didn't take action is offensive. There's no evidence to support it.
WALLACE: I'm simply asking a question. Where was he? What did he do? How did he respond in who told him you can't deploy forces and what was he doing as president?
PFEIFFER: The president was basically uninterested in getting involved, because acknowledging any terror attack with a military response could have jeopardized his reelection. Remember, he'd just spent the entire convention claiming Al Qaeda is dead and GM is alive! He went to sleep, Chris, so he could get some rest for his trip to the Vegas fundraiser.
I made up that last snippet from Pfeiffer. Suffice it to say that's precisely what happened, though.
It wasn't offensive to question the President's actions when G. W. Bush served. Remember the incredible questions the media raised after the 9/11 attacks regarding Bush's seven minutes reading The Pet Goat to an elementary school class? How the media portrayed Bush as cowardly and clueless for taking seven whole minutes to respond?
Never mind that the Secret Service needed that infinitesimally small delay to prepare Air Force One to scramble as well as to scout evacuation routes to the airport.
When questioning the president's actions during a terror attack is portrayed by the White House as "offensive", you can be sure his actions (or, rather, his inaction) were egregious. And the act of suppressing questions from the press is itself offensive and indicative of a fascist mindset.
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 19 May 2013 | 1:30 pm MDT
House Cloakroom: May 20 – May 24 Analysis: This week, the House will take up the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and student loan rate reform. The Northern Route Approval Act does just what its name suggests—approves the Keystone pipeline. This pipeline will be source of jobs and energy … More
The post Cloakroom: May 20 – May 24 appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 19 May 2013 | 1:07 pm MDT
I would not, could not pretend to do an unbiased job of a full, official review of a new novel by a close cousin. I do, however, feel comfortable doing at least this blog post recommending Precipice, a thriller by my first cousin Leland Davis, who is a well-known extreme kayaker, river guide, and publisher of detailed river descriptions for paddlers. I recommend it not because he’s my cousin, but because it’s a heck of a fun read.
The premise is this: A team of former Navy SEALS engages expert kayaker Chip Wilson to teach them advanced paddling skills, in preparation for a mission to take out a Mexican drug lord. Wilson gets sucked in to something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he imagined — something that takes the story through the halls of Congress and into all sorts of unexpected twists and turns.
Now I can say I didn’t like all the plot developments. But it’s a tale told with verve and excellent pacing — one during which, several times, I just couldn’t put the book down when I had planned to (in other words, staying up to read it into later hours than I intended).
The prose, for a thriller, is excellent — muscular, streamlined without being thin, and descriptive enough to give a very solid sense of scene without obtrusively interfering with the forward momentum of the action.
Back in his boat, Chip slid into the water and peeled gracefully into the flow. He lined up for the gut of the falls, leaned forward, and savored the exhilarating feeling as the front end of the boat dropped. His view swung wildly until the tip of his kayak lined up like a gun sight on the point where the falling water exploded into the pool below. He moved his paddle off to the side so it wouldn’t break over this chest or crush his nose on impact and turned his head sideways at the last moment to lead with the crown of his helmet, which crashed into the foamy water a fraction of a second behind the tip of his boat.
Precipice left me hoping that Leland will write another novel. Spectator readers: Order it, and see for yourselves.
→ Maggie's Farm | 19 May 2013 | 11:17 am MDT
More bad news about American higher ed: Overqualified and underprepared
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 19 May 2013 | 10:41 am MDT
Obama, IG Report refuse to touch powerful Treasury Employees Union headed by ex-IRS agent.
Millennials are going out of their way to deserve their sad fate.
Why is television canceling its homosexual shows?
Health savings accounts are the solution, along with a dose of impeachment.
… that liberals can’t or won’t understand?
→ Maggie's Farm | 19 May 2013 | 10:31 am MDT
North America hosts a number of species and subspecies of Cottontail Rabbits. Around here, we have the Eastern Cottontail. (There is also one named the New England Cottontail, but I could not tell the difference.)
They are most abundant here in the later summer and fall, but their numbers nosedive during the winter mostly due to predation by owls, hawks, coyotes, and Red Fox. The cottontails' position on the food chain leads to an annual survival rate of around 20%.
When we see one hop out of its nesting "form" when mowing, we mow around it.
Here's a list of the rabbits and hares of North America
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 19 May 2013 | 10:27 am MDTVia Moe Lane by way of the invaluable BadBlue News.
Homeowners Association told man he couldn't the American flag in his yard. ►His Response: twitter.com/TweetSmarter/s…— TweetSmarter (@TweetSmarter) May 19, 2013
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 19 May 2013 | 10:18 am MDTReading this timeline, I have come to three conclusions:
1. Steve Miller lied to Congress
2. Lois Lerner lied to Congress
3. Barack Obama lied to the American people
This scandal has the fingerprints of Axelrod, Jarrett and/or the Chicago Machine all over it.
This is fascism on the part of the IRS and the White House. It is fascism, straight up.
Or, as I call the IRS: Organizing for Revenue.
Related: DAMNING: The Complete Benghazi Timeline Spreadsheet - Updated With the Latest Testimony and Leaks.
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 19 May 2013 | 10:00 am MDT
In light of a recently overturned guilty verdict in a sexual assault case, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has called on Congress to modify the military criminal justice system, specifically this authority to overturn a court-martial. Appropriately, an independent review panel has been established to review the issue of sexual … More
The post Don’t Hastily Change Military Justice Code appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.
→ Most recent blog entries | 19 May 2013 | 7:59 am MDT
The overwhelming presence in the Extortion 17 press conference last week, which I wrote about in last week's syndicated column, was the pain that filled every corner of the room. The shootdown of the Chinook CH-47 carrying 17 SEALS and 13 other American forces on August 6, 2011 may have faded like newsprint for most of us, but there on the top floor of the National Press Club, a stone's throw from the White House, the shock of it was still nightmare-vivid, particularly as the families described the holes in the military's investigation, and closed doors and runaround they gotten ever since. What they want are answers to their natural questions, and accountability for the failures of the mission. For them, this is a grieving process without end untl they are treated with the decency and respect that their sacrifice merits and they receive answers they need and surely deserve.
One set of question that burns is why, on a SEAL Team 6 mission in August 2011, three months after the bin Laden strike, at at time when (by September) I could already count 40 murders of American and other infidel (NATO) forces over the past 22 months, were 7 Afghans along for the ride?
Why were the 7 Afghans on the manifest scrubbed at the last minute and replaced?
Who were the 7 Afghans who came on board?
And why, as the families say, weren't any Afghan commanders interviewed during the military investigation?
I asked the aunt of slain SEAL Michael Strange to describe how it happened that she first heard about the Afghans on board. She wrote:
Hi Diana --
It was on the morning of August 6th they went to my sister in laws house (Michael's mother Betsy) Betsy had called me screaming around 9:30 that the Navy was at her house and that Michael was dead. It was horrific.
My husband & I ran up to her house and 3 representatives from the Navy were there. I kept asking them over and over what had happened & they said that Michael had gone on a rescue mission & the helicopter he was in had been shot down by the Taliban.
We thought that it was just Michael & a pilot we did not know there were other people on board. They kept telling us they were waiting for an update from the Command that they only had a little information. Then after about an hour my husband went on the computer and it was on there and he said "It wasn't just Michael...there were others on the Chinook."
Then I asked them again what had happened and they told me the number of our guys that were on there and they said there were 2 Afghan soldiers with them--they were interpreters. I said "I thought you said they were going to rescue Army Rangers" They said "That's right" So I asked them "If they were going to rescue Army Rangers why would they need interpreters? Army Rangers speak English" They did not respond.
It was absolutely horrific. Michael was a sweet kid and he had plans for the future he was taking college courses and he was looking into going to Johns Hopkins for nursing. He was smart, he was really funny, and he had the kindest heart you would ever imagine.
One thing I am happy about--he knew that we all loved him dearly.
If they were going to rescue Army Rangers, why would they need interpreters?
If there's a good reason, let's have it.
Follow me @diana_west_
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 19 May 2013 | 7:54 am MDTSend us tips! Bloggers: install a Larwyn's Linx widget. Get real-time news, 24/7, at BadBlue.
NationSen. Ted Cruz leads call to abolish IRS in wake of targeting scandal: Twitchy
Obama and the ‘Official Truth’: Glick
Jack Lew learned of IRS probe in March: Politico
The Most-Corrupt Administration Ever?: Denninger
IRS accused of hiding existence of Tea Party targeting documents: WFB
Camp: IRS ‘Arrogance’ Came Across at Hearing: WFB
Obama Administration Talking Points Scrubbed "Jihadists": Power Line
Rep. Issa subpoenas Benghazi auditor Thomas Pickering: Hill
What did Hilary and Obama discuss at 10pm on 9/11/2012?: TAB
IRS Chief Apparently Lied During Testimony Yesterday: WZ
Friday Obama dump … “Me demand more taxes”: PW
Gang of Eight: Never Have So Few Told So Many Lies: RWN
EconomyLew asks Congress for debt increase, says it’s 'not open to debate': Hill
Fifth IRS Agent In Cincinnati Office Tied To Tea Party Scandal: WZ
HHS: We Need Money To Implement Obamacare: RWN
Scandal CentralHighlights of Friday's IRS Hearing: Power Line
Obamacare Donor-Gate Scandal Looming Over White House: Shark Tank
Is the IRS scandal the worst political scandal in American history? I say “yes.”: Bookworm Room
Climate & EnergyEPA inspector general to look into FOIA scandal: DC
Three Cheers For Tesla: Power Line
Republicans see IRS scandal parallel in EPA info requests: Reuters
MediaBenghazi and Other ‘Concocted’ Scandals: RSM
NYT's Peters 'Cleans Up' Jonathan Weisman's Original Report on Friday's IRS Scandal Hearing: NB
Joe Scarborough, Piers Morgan: Obama Scandals Prove Gun Advocates Aren't Crazy: Breitbart
WaPo Mocks IRS With Tea Party Tax-exempt Form Demands: Produce a 'Non-Blurry Photo of a Yeti': NB
Judge Jeanine Pirro RIPS the Obama administration in another fantastic monologue: Scoop
Totalitarian Subversion- Can we Awaken from the Nightmare?: Loyal to Liberty
WorldDid Huma Abedin ‘quietly’ step down as Deputy Chief of Staff in same month Bachmann letter sent to IG?: Shoebat
Obama Administration to Sign U.N. Arms Trade Treaty "In the Very Near Future": NRA-ILA
Biden Now Blamed in SEAL Team 6 Deaths: WND
Terrorists given new identities allowed to board commercial flights, watchdog finds: WaPo
Report: Syria prepared to fire missiles at Tel Aviv: ynet
Obama War Powers Under 2001 Law ‘Astoundingly Disturbing,’ Senators Say: NoisyRm
Sci-Tech (courtesy BadBlue.com/Tech)Military 3-D Printers: Wired
Meet the career con man who pulled off a federal sting that forced Google to pay $500 million.: Wired
Google App Engine finally supports PHP, the language that runs 75% of the web: VenBeat
CornucopiaWHAT THE GOP CAN LEARN FROM THE WWE (YES, THAT WWE): Brodigan
Addition in the Age of Obama (subtraction, not so much): MOTUS
The Republican Party’s History On Race: RWN
Image: Addition in the Age of Obama (subtraction, not so much)
Today's Larwyn's Linx sponsored by: Call John Boehner Now: We Demand a Select Committee
QOTD: "The absolute worst scandal that’s emerged lately, and the worst administration scandal in American history is the IRS scandal. Why? Because you, the People, became the targets of a comprehensive federal government effort to stifle dissent, one made using the government’s overwhelming and disproportionate policing and taxing powers.
All of the other scandals, going back to Andrew Johnson’s post-Civil War scandals, Warren G. Harding’s 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, and Clinton’s Oval Office sexcapades have actually been narrowly focused acts of cronyism, garden-variety political chicanery, or personal failings. It’s been insider stuff.
The IRS scandal, by contrast, is a direct attack on the American people." --Bookworm Room
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 19 May 2013 | 6:00 am MDT
Today’s technology means that education can be tailored to the specific needs of each child. Idaho is leading the way in adopting these types of innovations with its statewide initiative to integrate Khan Academy videos into the classroom. The Khan Academy is an online-based learning tool that creates a self-paced … More
→ Maggie's Farm | 19 May 2013 | 4:00 am MDT
2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2:2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
2:3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
2:5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.
2:6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.
2:7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
2:8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
2:11 Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power."
2:12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"
2:13 But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."
2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
2:15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning.
2:16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
2:17 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
2:18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
2:19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
2:20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
2:21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 19 May 2013 | 3:30 am MDT
On May 19, the United States hit its debt ceiling after adding $300 billion in more debt since lawmakers suspended the ceiling in February. But the cash won’t run dry until at least Labor Day, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, whose department can employ a variety of cash management … More
→ Maggie's Farm | 19 May 2013 | 2:40 am MDT
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 18 May 2013 | 8:56 pm MDTThanks to the least transparent administration in history, Americans still don't know what the President did during the night of the terror attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other heroes.
What did he order? What did he do? Did he take any steps to save the diplomats who were systematically slaughtered over the course of a 6-hour terrorist attack?
One little-mentioned aspect of the evening is a 10pm phone call to Hillary Clinton from Barack Obama.
...Benghazi is not a scandal because of Ambassador Susan Rice, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, and “talking points.” The scandal is about Rice and Nuland’s principals, and about what the talking points were intended to accomplish. Benghazi is about derelictions of duty by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton before and during the massacre of our ambassador and three other American officials, as well as Obama and Clinton’s fraud on the public afterward.
...Fraud flows from the top down, not the mid-level up. Mid-level officials in the White House and the State Department do not call the shots — they carry out orders. They also were not running for reelection in 2012 or positioning themselves for a campaign in 2016. The people doing that were, respectively, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
Obama and Clinton had been the architects of American foreign policy. As Election Day 2012 loomed, each of them had a powerful motive to promote the impressions (a) that al-Qaeda had been decimated; (b) that the administration’s deft handling of the Arab Spring — by empowering Islamists — had been a boon for democracy, regional stability, and American national security; and (c) that our real security problem was “Islamophobia” and the “violent extremism” it allegedly causes — which was why Obama and Clinton had worked for years with Islamists, both overseas and at home, to promote international resolutions that would make it illegal to incite hostility to Islam, the First Amendment be damned.
All of that being the case, I am puzzled why so little attention has been paid to the Obama-Clinton phone call at 10 p.m. on the night of September 11.
...There is good reason to believe that while Americans were still fighting for their lives in Benghazi, while no military efforts were being made to rescue them, and while those desperately trying to rescue them were being told to stand down, the president was busy shaping the “blame the video” narrative to which his administration clung in the aftermath.
We have heard almost nothing about what Obama was doing that night. Back in February, though, CNS News did manage to pry one grudging disclosure out of White House mendacity mogul Jay Carney: “At about 10 p.m., the president called Secretary Clinton to get an update on the situation.”
Obviously, it is not a detail Carney was anxious to share. Indeed, it contradicted an earlier White House account that claimed the president had not spoken with Clinton or other top administration officials that night.
...Carney’s hand was forced by then-secretary Clinton. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, she recounted first learning at about 4 p.m. on September 11 that the State Department facility in Benghazi was under attack. That was very shortly after the siege started. Over the hours that followed, Clinton stated, “we were in continuous meetings and conversations, both within the department, with our team in Tripoli, with the interagency and internationally.” It was in the course of this “constant ongoing discussion and sets of meetings” that Clinton then recalled: “I spoke with President Obama later in the evening to, you know, bring him up to date, to hear his perspective.”
The 10pm phone call is a trap waiting to be sprung. It could be the lynchpin that holds together the last vestiges of the most inept and corrupt administration in modern American history.
Congress must demand Clinton testify under oath and send an interrogatory to the President.
The critical questions for both parties:
a) What were the topics of the 10pm discussion?
b) Were either a "protest" or an Internet video raised as a cause of the Benghazi attack?
c) Who raised using a "protest" based upon an "Internet video" as a cover story for that attack?
d) Who gave the order to use the video/protest pretense?
e) Who gave the "stand down" order to prevent the rescue of Americans under attack?
Putting both Clinton and Obama under oath will raise an interesting dilemma for both. Which ever party answers first could be contradicted on any of these matters. If Clinton answers under oath to protect herself, Obama could easily throw her under the bus. Conversely, if Obama replies to an interrogatory first, Clinton could contradict any of his answers.
Benghazi is ultimately a conflict between the Clinton Democrats and the Chicago Machine. A wedge can be driven between these two destructive forces with some well thought-out subpoenas. Exploiting that wedge could light the fuse on the time-bomb and detonate the Obama administration once and for all.
Related: DAMNING: The Complete Benghazi Timeline Spreadsheet - Updated With the Latest Testimony and Leaks
→ Warning Signs | 18 May 2013 | 5:19 pm MDTBy Alan CarubaAmong the greatest liars on Earth today is the international organization called Friends of the Earth (FOE). It has engaged in the most scurrilous fear-mongering for decades, along with Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the World Wildlife Fund, while all the time they pulled in billions in funding.In May 2012, the Daily Caller noted that “The Congressional Research Service estimates that since 2008 the federal government has spent nearly $70 billion on ‘climate change activities.’” The leading critic in Congress, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) asked at the time, “Which would you rather have? Would you rather spend $4 billion on Air Force base solar panels, or would you rather have 28 new F-22s or 30 F-25s or modernized C-130s?”“Would you rather have $64.8 billion spent on pointless global warming efforts or would you rather have more funds put toward modernizing our fleet of ships, aircraft and ground vehicles to improve the safety of our troops and help defend the nation against the legitimate threats that we face?’On May 9th, I received an email from Friends of the Earth that repeated all the lies we have heard for years. Painting with a very broad brush that completely ignores the fact that the U.S. climate has always had highs and lows of temperature, FOE complained that “Last year the U.S. experienced record-breaking weather all over the country. But, the nightly news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC barely talked about what was fueling this extreme weather—climate change.”What FOE failed to mention was a record that was set in 2012-13; as of May, according to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, the U.S. had its longest stretch in recorded history—2,750 days—without a major hurricane landfall. The many claims of “extreme” weather are classic fear-mongering. I might also add that, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, the number of wildfires is at a ten-year low. Glaciers are not melting and seas are not rising, unless a millimeter or two worries you.“Climate change” is the replacement name for “global warming.” Climate is measured in centuries. The weather is whatever is happening anywhere in the nation on any given day. Around the world, however, there has been a significant increase in cold weather and many are still waiting for spring to arrive.Typical of the hyperbole that is representative of the lies we have heard from so-called environmental organizations, FOE fumed that “the nightly news programs at the major broadcast networks have largely ignored what is fueling this extreme weather—climate change.” Citing a Media Matters for America study, FOE noted that “ABC’s nightly news program did only one segment about climate change last year. Meanwhile NBC’s news show did only four and CBS just seven segments to this critical issue.” Perhaps this is because these notably liberal news organizations have concluded it is nota critical issue?It gets better, FOE was angry, saying “What’s almost worse is that when these networks have covered global warming, they have often treated climate change as a ‘two-sided debate’ rather than what it really is; an issue in which there is overwhelming scientific consensus.” These are people who do not want to have a debate because, based on the facts, they would lose. As for scientific consensus regarding either global warming or climate change, there is NONE. If anything, leading scientists around the world have been debunking global warming now for years.One of the leading think tanks in the effort to end the global warming hoax has been The Heartland Institute. It has sponsored several international conferences in which scientists and others have offered papers and addressed the topic. I recommend you subscribe to its national monthly, Environmental & ClimateNews. Its Managing Editor, James M. Taylor, J.D., provides the latest information on the environmental organizations greatest villain, carbon dioxide (CO2).Two recent dispatches by Taylor noted in one that “Climate models supporting predictions of rapid global warming during the next century have performed miserably predicting global temperatures during the past two decades”, citing a comparison of computer model predictions and real-world temperatures by climate scientist Roy W. Spencer. In another, Taylor noted that “New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, but global temperatures are not following suit. The new data undercut assertions that atmospheric carbon dioxide is causing a global warming crisis.”Undismayed by the facts, FOE could only cite the taxpayer-funded PBS News Hour that “devoted 23 segments to covering climate change.” When the President is telling everyone that the climate is the greatest threat to the nation, PBS bureaucrats who know where the money comes from can be depended upon to broadcast his lies.Ironically, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion by Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer on the same day the FOE email arrived. It was titled “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide.” Schmitt was an Apollo 17 astronaut and a former U.S. Senator from New Mexico. He is an adjunct professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Happer is a professor of physics at Princeton University and a former director of the office of energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy.“The cessation of observed global warming for the past decade or so has shown how exaggerated NASA’s and most other computer predictions of human-caused warming have been—and how little correlation warming has with concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”No wonder FOE is upset that even the mainstream media networks no longer want to report on a global warming that does not exist. There’s real science and there’s the fulminations and lies of Friends of the Earth.© Alan Caruba, 2013Alan Caruba blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 18 May 2013 | 5:05 pm MDTA tremendous op-ed by Bookworm Room with a troubling argument that is difficult to refute: the Obama administration's abuse of the IRS is the worst of its kind in U.S. history:
There’s been a lot of debate swirling amongst the pundits lately. Is the Watergate cover-up worse than the Benghazi cover-up or vice versa? Is the only scandal that matters the Justice Department’s decision to tap Associated Press phones, because that’s the only one that the media will care about? What did Obama know and when did he know it?
Ignore all that. The absolute worst scandal that’s emerged lately, and the worst administration scandal in American history is the IRS scandal. Why? Because you, the People, became the targets of a comprehensive federal government effort to stifle dissent, one made using the government’s overwhelming and disproportionate policing and taxing powers.
All of the other scandals, going back to Andrew Johnson’s post-Civil War scandals, Warren G. Harding’s 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, and Clinton’s Oval Office sexcapades have actually been narrowly focused acts of cronyism, garden-variety political chicanery, or personal failings. It’s been insider stuff.
The IRS scandal, by contrast, is a direct attack on the American people...
...Those who offer these excuses are either morally flawed themselves or delusional idiots. Pastor Martin Niemoller, who once supported the Nazi party, finally and famously figured things out after World War II:
First they came for the communists,Once a government gets the bit between its teeth and starts targeting special interest groups, that is the end of freedom, not just for those first groups targeted, but for everyone...
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
...On May 5, at Ohio State University..., Obama gave a speech that was viewed then as yet another in the endless list of examples showing Obama painting his political opponents as loony paranoids:
Unfortunately, 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. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.Reading those same words now, it’s clear that, like the rattlesnake’s warning, Obama was previewing the reality of a Leftist government’s total control over the people who have naively consigned themselves to its care.
The Obama administration's malevolent influence appears to have poisoned every aspect of the administrative state. The EPA, the HHS, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, and the Treasury Department are among the worst offenders. But the IRS has been used as a political weapon since its inception.
The IRS must be disbanded and replaced with The Fair Tax.
And, yes, read the whole thing.
→ Maggie's Farm | 18 May 2013 | 3:13 pm MDT
Three weekends ago, my wife's company ran a volunteer day. They have one every year, and we will sign up to clean beaches, parks, or do a variety of things which benefit the community. I feel if I use the beach or the park, I should help keep it clean.
This year we signed up to help clean a shore town in New Jersey that was afflicted by Sandy. We were assigned to clean streets and lend a hand to any homeowners who requested assistance in removing trash. Others in our group were assigned to paint the Ambulance Hall. We cleaned a 2 square block area, and our team 'captain' was a local man who not only gave us guidance on what we would be doing, but also filled us in on what transpired in the town.
He pointed out that May 1st would be the 6 month anniversary of Sandy, and requests for FEMA funds would have to be in by then. He said most residents had already applied, but the funds were limited. In addition the payment wasn't enough to help those with any substantial damage. His home had filled with water up to the ceiling of the first floor and his foundation had cracked, so he was renting the house next door in order to keep his kids in the school district. FEMA was a drop in the bucket for him. Charities were few and far between in this section of NJ. He was getting by on his pension and couldn't afford to get work done on his home.
He took some of us on a brief walk around town to point out the damage. The water level had reached 4-18 feet in this 1 square mile town. 7 of the 21 bars and restaurants were open. The police were still operating out of a trailer.
Continue reading "6 1/2 Months and Counting"
→ Maggie's Farm | 18 May 2013 | 2:27 pm MDT
What a great country! It's no wonder why Americans are little on the heavy side.
→ Maggie's Farm | 18 May 2013 | 12:33 pm MDT
An update on the Bowdoin study: The case of Bowdoin College - A new report paints a devastating portrait of the current state of college education.
It's all too sad.
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 18 May 2013 | 12:00 pm MDT
1. The Ugly Facts About the Internet Sales Tax 2. Obamacare Is About Power 3. The IRS Wants to Know If You’re a “Patriot” 4. Looming Student Loan Interest Rate Hike: Prudent Next Steps 5. Serving Justice to Gosnell Policy Picture Share on Facebook | Retweet
The post Top 5 Reports of the Week appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 18 May 2013 | 11:07 am MDT
Former Canadian politician and First Nations band chief Elijah Harper passed away yesterday of heart failure. He was 64.
A Cree Indian, Harper was born on the Red Sucker Lake Reserve in Northern Manitoba. At the age of 29, Harper became the reserve’s chief.
In 1981, Harper became the first Aboriginal elected to the Manitoba legislature under the NDP banner. The NDP under Howard Pawley unseated the Tory government of Sterling Lyon in that election. Pawley elevated Harper to his cabinet after the NDP’s re-election in 1986. Harper left cabinet the following year following a DUI incident but was re-appointed before the end of 1987. The Tories regained power in Manitoba in 1988 relegating Harper to the opposition benches.
But it was as a member of the opposition where Harper would wield his power. That power would be shortlived but for two weeks in June 1990, Harper was the most powerful man in Canada as he singlehandedly blocked the implementation of the Meech Lake Accord.
Three years earlier, Tory Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the ten provincial Premiers drew up a constitutional reform package that would bring Quebec into Canada’s constitution which had been brought into being in 1982 without Quebec’s signature. These reforms were known as the Meech Lake Accord and were to be ratified by the Canada’s Parliament and the ten provincial legislatures. This had to be done by June 23, 1990.
Manitoba was the only province that had not ratified the Meech Lake Accord. Newfoundland had earlier approved the accord but then rescinded their approval. The Liberal government of Clyde Wells thought Meech gave Quebec special status at the expense of the other provinces.
As for Harper, his objection to Meech Lake was that it excluded Aboriginals from the constitutional process altogether. Armed with only a feather, Harper utilized a parliamentary procedural tactic and would not give his consent for the Manitoba legislature to debate the Meech Lake Accord. Debate in the legislature requires unaminous consent. June 23, 1990 came and went. Manitoba did not ratify Meech and Meech Lake was dead.
For his part, Mulroney pinned the blame of Meech’s defeat on Wells because he had promised to hold another vote in the Newfoundland House of Assembly but cancelled the vote at the last minute. It would not have mattered if Wells had held the vote, Meech was dead the moment Harper said no. However, it would not have been politically viable to expend his wrath on the soft spoken Harper.
In 1993, Harper moved from provincial to federal politics winning a seat in the House of Commons as a Liberal, defeating New Democrat Rod Murphy during Jean Chretien’s sweep to power. This alienated Harper’s one time allies in the NDP. Yet the Liberals didn’t embrace Harper either especially the Quebec caucus who reviled him. Harper was relegated to the backbenches and was defeated in the 1997 federal election by Bev Desjarlais of the NDP. Although an admired figure in most of Canada, Harper would never regain the level of influence he had in those two weeks 23 years ago.
A made for TV film aired titled Elijah aired in Canada in 2007.
Afghanistan: Pro-Sharia lawmakers block law criminalizing child marriage and banning prosecution of rape victims for adultery
→ Hyscience | 18 May 2013 | 10:02 am MDT
Interestingly, just yesterday we learned that Obama's DHS Guidelines Advise Deferemce To Pro-Shariah Islamic Supremacists. Then today we learn how pro-sharia lawmakers in Afghanistan feel about child marriage and prosecution of rape victims for adultery.
Robert Spencer reports at Jihad Watch:
This AP story uses "conservative" to refer to the pro-Sharia Muslims who blocked this women's rights law. That's in accord with common journalistic practice, which refers to religious people of any religion as "conservative" and to more secular types as "liberal." The common journalistic practice runs into a contradiction, however, with the global alliance between Islamic supremacists and the forces of the Left. That leads the mainstream media to term opponents of Sharia "right-wing" and even "far-right," their all-purpose term to semaphore to readers that we are bad people and decent folks should stay away from us. But that means that in the U.S., opponents of Sharia are "conservatives," while in Afghanistan, proponents of Sharia are "conservatives." If ever (and this will never happen) a counter-jihad, anti-Sharia movement arose in Afghanistan, AP's collective head would explode.Read the rest here.
Anyway, note that the Sharia supremacists block a law banning child marriage. This is because Muhammad consummated his marriage with Aisha when he was 54 and she was 9, and he is the supreme example for conduct (cf. Qur'an 33:21), so his example is normative and cannot be questioned. And the law also would have prevented the prosecution of rape victims -- one of the most noxious manifestations of the fact that in Islamic law, men are not called upon to exercise any self-control at all. Their conduct is entirely the woman's responsibility. If she gets raped, it is her fault.
"Conservative Afghan lawmakers block legislation protecting women's rights," from the Associated Press, May 18 (thanks to all who sent this in):
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Conservative religious lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked legislation on Saturday aimed at strengthening provisions for women's freedoms, arguing that parts of it violate Islamic principles and encourage disobedience.
The fierce opposition highlights how tenuous women's rights remain a dozen years after the ouster of the hard-line Taliban regime, whose strict interpretation of Islam once kept Afghan women virtual prisoners in their homes.
Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, a conservative lawmaker for Herat province, said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in parliament because of an uproar by religious parties who said parts of the law are un-Islamic.
"Whatever is against Islamic law, we don't even need to speak about it," Shaheedzada said.
The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women has been in effect since 2009, but only by presidential decree. It is being brought before parliament now because lawmaker Fawzia Kofi, a women's rights activist, wants to cement it with a parliamentary vote to prevent its potential reversal by any future president who might be tempted to repeal it to satisfy hard-line religious parties.
The law criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans "band," the traditional practice of selling and buying women to settle disputes. It also makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.
Kofi, who plans to run for president in next year's elections, said she was disappointed because among those who oppose upgrading the law from presidential decree to legislation passed by parliament are women.
And Obama's DHS Guidelines advise giving deference to Pro-Shariah Islamic Supremacism? Is this what America voted for? Keep in mind that eighty-three percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. The percentage of Muslims in America is 1.8. The percentage of Jews in America is 2.2%. I'm not sure if the percentage of Muslims in America includes Barack Obama since, although he clearly favors Muslims, he claims to be a Christian.
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 18 May 2013 | 10:00 am MDT
It has been over three years since Obamacare became law. This week, the House voted again to completely repeal it. There are plenty of reasons to repeal Obamacare, especially before its most egregious provisions begin next year, and just this week a few more were added to the list: Small … More
The post This Week’s Reasons to Repeal Obamacare appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.
→ Big Lizards | 18 May 2013 | 9:49 am MDT
Just in case you needed another reason to get all wee-weed up over the burgeoning IRS scandal, consider this: One of the factors often cited in Obama's victorious 2012 re-election bid was his campaign's formidable ground game. His get-out-the-vote efforts were superb, and probably made all the difference in what the polls were indicating would be a very close race. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, was clearly unable to match that effort himself, given that he got fewer votes than John McCain did back in 2008.
So what accounts for that difference?
Conventional wisdom tells us that there was just less enthusiasm for Mitt Romney last time around, and perhaps that's true; but one cannot discount the chilling effect that the IRS harassment of conservative grassroots groups must've had on their own get-out-the-vote efforts. What if these groups had been approved for non-profit status in a timely manner (as their progressive counterparts had), and had been allowed to operate during the election? Might they have mobilized more voters for Mitt Romney? And if they had, would it have made a difference in the outcome of the election?
Obviously, we can't know the answer to that question -- but it certainly is well within the realm of possibility. I think the Obama administration knew that too, which only taints the IRS further and makes their actions even more sinister. That a federal agency could be used by the party in power to suppress the vote of the opposition is beyond scary. It's downright terrifying.
→ Hyscience | 18 May 2013 | 9:43 am MDT
Via Charlie Spiering at The Examiner ... this Jimmy Fallon spoof put together by Jimmy Fallon and the 'Late Night' show crew has it that despite all the White House scandals this week, President Obama is more concerned about a Buzzfeed article listing things that will make you feel old.
When the president's scandals have reached the point of being late night comedy jokes, it's a sure sign that even the left 'is catching on' to the reality of the scandal's seriousness and damage to his faux image.
→ Hyscience | 18 May 2013 | 9:30 am MDTAccording to a new poll from Gallup, 69 percent of those polled agreed that questions over the Obama administration's public response to the September 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya deserve more investgiation, including 52 percent who "strongly agree." Bottom line: Most Americans say that the issues being raised by congressional hearings into the Benghazi terrorist attacks and the revelations that the IRS unfairly targeted conservative groups "involve serious matters that need to be investigated." On the IRS scandal, even more Americans, 74 percent, agree that issue needs to be investigated more, including 56 percent who "strongly agree." Gallup's Frank Newport has more: From the looks of it, Americans aren't as dumb as the White House thinks they are ... or wants them to be, after all. Related: HAS THE IRS SCANDAL AWAKENED A SLEEPING GIANT
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 18 May 2013 | 9:14 am MDT
One almost despairs when reading people’s comments about the White House scandals. The obvious take-away is that the state is too powerful, and in particular the Office of the President. But that’s not what people are saying. Instead, they’re saying that the problem is that the president is too weak. He’s Chance the Gardener. He votes present. He lets subordinates run the show.
It’s what they used to say in Tsarist Russia. It’s true that the Governor is a crook. The tax collector is a rogue. The minister is evil. “If only the Tsar knew!”
→ Most recent blog entries | 18 May 2013 | 8:16 am MDT
Great Britain is once again being rocked by revelations of the hell on earth little British girls are growing up in as sex slaves to gangs of Muslim, mainly Pakistani men -- and the craven impotence of British society which above all are supposed to be guardians of its own precious children.
The Telegraph's Alice Pearson writes:
Rochdale, Rotherham, Derby, Oxford. The towns change, but the pattern is always the same. Gangs of men, mainly of Pakistani Muslim heritage, lure white girls as young as 10 with gifts and displays of affection. Next, the girl is raped as a way of “breaking her in”. Once the child’s spirit is subdued, and her mind fogged with drugs, she is sold for sex to multiple men at £200 a time. If the girl tries to break away, a gang member might threaten to behead her or firebomb her home. Mohammed Karrar, who was found guilty in the Oxford sex-grooming case this week, took a scalding hairpin and branded one girl so she would know she was his property. Later, the gang gave the same girl a DIY abortion. She was 12 years old. And this, all this, is happening in Britain now.
It goes on from there. Pearson also highlights an earlier case in which a British court excused a Muslim 18-year-old's rape of a 13-year-old girl by ignoring British law and deferring to the Islamic teaching that excused the rape.
Back in January, there was a profoundly disturbing case at Nottingham Crown Court. Adil Rashid, who had “raped” an underage girl, was spared a prison term after the judge heard that the naïve 18-year-old attended an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless. Rashid told psychologists he had no idea that having sex with a willing 13-year-old was against the law; besides, his education had taught him to believe that “women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground”.
If the fresh-faced Rashid had picked up that view in a madrassa in Karachi it would be profoundly depressing, though not surprising. But the school he attended was in Birmingham, for heaven’s sake! Although it cannot be named for “legal reasons”, the school is voluntary-aided – mainly funded by the taxpayer. At this hugely popular Islamic school, where a majority of pupils are from a Pakistani background, boys and girls are taught in separate classes; a segregation policy no normal comprehensive could get away with.
Rashid’s barrister said: “The school he attended, it is not going too far to say, can be described as a closed community.” So, the defence against a rape charge by a young Muslim living in 21st-century Britain was not just ignorance of the law (which should be no defence at all). It was that the law and, indeed, the values of the wider country, were irrelevant in his Islamic school, even though it was a state institution funded by citizens who would go straight to jail if, for instance, they tried to have sex with a child.
The fact that the judge accepted Rashid’s defence shows what a god-awful mess this country has got itself into over multiculturalism.
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 18 May 2013 | 7:45 am MDTSend us tips! Bloggers: install a Larwyn's Linx widget. Get real-time news, 24/7, at BadBlue.
NationIRS Deliberately Chose Not to Fess Up to Scandal Before Election?: WS
The Benghazi Inbox: Tatler
IRS Asked Tea Party Groups For Access to Their Websites: GWP
Boom: Obama Administration Knew of IRS Targeting in June of 2012: Benson
Stand up and cheer these House Republicans: LI
IRS said to target Latino-run conservative group: Fox News Latino
Judicial Watch Investigates HHS Sec. Sebelius’s Latest Scandal: JW
Passing the Buck: "Leadership" in Obama's Administration: TPNN
Were conservative car dealers targeted for GM closures?: Breitbart
IRS Told Dr. James Dobson He Had Been “Critical Of President”: Nice Deb
The Scandal Factory: JPA
Congressional hearing turns into IRS smackdown: Daily Mail
Romney donor: from Obama's Enemies List to IRS Audit Target: Scoop
While IRS Abused Tea Party, Muslim Groups Given Special Treatment?: Tatler
Durbin Asked IRS to Probe Conservative 501(c)(4) Groups in 2010: PJM
Climate & EnergyEPA addresses bias complaints: Politico
Senate Panel Approves EPA Nominee: WSJ
Even with huge subsidies, Fiat is losing about $10,000 on each of the tiny electric cars that it sells: Lott
MediaIRS Defenders Are Still Relying on Debunked Claims: Comentary
Rep. Mike Kelly Rips Into Man Wearing Dead Poodle on His Head: Ace
US Rep Kevin Brady ( TX-R) asks, “Is this still America”?: Scared Monkeys
Amid scandals and sequester the band plays on at the White House: CowboyByte
President Asterisk: Why the Obama IRS scandal may be worse than “a cancer on the presidency.”: Instapundit
Steyn Warns of ‘Serious Secession Movements’ if Drift Toward Socialism Not Reversed: Joe Miller
WorldHuma’s Moonlighting? No Problem … Just Don’t Mention Her Crescent-lighting: McCarthy
State Dept Employees 'Held Accountable' For Benghazi Failures Still Receiving Paychecks: Breitbart
'Expect Israeli strikes on Russian arms shipment to Syria-Hezbollah': Hayom
Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant: Rob Cunningham
Boise Man Arrested on Terrorism and WMD Charges: IPT
1 SEAL dead, others injured in training accident: Navy Times
Sci-Tech (courtesy BadBlue.com/Tech)Why 3D Printing Is Overhyped (I Should Know, I Do It For a Living): Gizmodo
Pentagon officially grants security clearance to Apple's iPhone and iPad: Apple Insider
Antarctic Neutrino Observatory Detects Unexplained High-Energy Particles: SciAm
CornucopiaCalifornia's Real War on Women: RWN
Burglars lock homeowner in gun closet with predictably hilarious results: Hot Air
The Buck Stops (Cartoon): RWN
Image: The Buck Stops (Cartoon)
Today's Larwyn's Linx sponsored by: Call John Boehner Now: We Demand a Select Committee
QOTD: "From the beginning of the Obama Administration, the Tea Party movement in America has been treated with great animus and hostility. From Vice President Biden to former President Bill Clinton, to numerous members of Congress, to entertainment celebrities and so-called journalists, we have been demonized, cursed and treated with completely undeserved slurs and vulgarity. To expect us to believe that an Administration which acts in this fashion would also not seek to politicize the IRS such that Tea Party groups could not enjoy tax exempt status, is simply naïve. It is with great relief and a sense of vindication that this corruption has come to light." --Royal Alexander
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 18 May 2013 | 6:00 am MDT
Over the past week, the Obama Administration has been hit with scandal after scandal. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized for targeting conservative organizations, the State Department covered up its reaction to Benghazi, the Department of Justice (DOJ) secretly seized phone records of AP reporters, and the Department of Health … More
→ Hyscience | 17 May 2013 | 10:29 pm MDT
There is no doubt whatsoever that the Obama administration targets those who oppose, criticize, expose the failure of the president's policies. This is the proven, simple, straight-forward truth that can no longer be denied ... and the Jerusalem Post helps make this clear.
Here's a few excerpts to pique your interest:
[...] It has hidden the jihadist motive of terrorists and information relating to known jihadists from relevant governmental bodies. The Benghazi cover-up is the most blatant example of this policy of obfuscating and denying the truth. But it is far from a unique occurrence.Take the time to read the whole thing
For instance, the administration has stubbornly denied that Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan's massacre of his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood in Texas was a jihadist attack. And in the months preceding the Tsarnaev brother's bombing of the Boston Marathon, and in its immediate aftermath, the FBI did not share its long-held information about the older brother's jihadist activities with local law enforcement agencies.
To advance its "official truth," the administration leaked information to the media about top secret operations that advanced its official narrative. For instance, top administration officials leaked the story of the Stuxnet computer virus that compromised Iranian computers used by Iran's nuclear weapons program. These stories compromised ongoing US and Israeli intelligence operations. But they advanced the administration's foreign policy narrative.
Conversely, as the AP scandal shows, the administration went on fishing expeditions to root out those who leaked stories that harmed the administration's narrative that al-Qaida is a spent force. In May 2012, AP reported that the CIA had scuttled an al-Qaida plot in Yemen to bomb a US airliner. The story damaged the credibility of Obama's claim that al-Qaida was defeated, and challenged the wisdom of Obama's support for the al-Qaida-aligned antiregime protesters in Yemen that ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in November 2011.
Finally, the administration has promoted its policy by demonizing as extremists and bigoted every significant voice that called that policy into question.
[...] In the lead-up to the 2010 midterm elections, Obama and his supportive media characterized the grassroots Tea Party movement for limited government as racist, selfish, extremist and uncaring.
And now we have learned that beginning in March 2010, the Internal Revenue Service instituted what can only be considered a systemic policy of discriminating against nonprofit groups dedicated to fighting Obama's domestic agenda. The IRS demanded information about the groups'ndonors, worldviews, reading materials and social networking accounts, and personal information about its membership and leaders that it had no right to receive. And according to USA Today, it held up approval of nonprofit status for 27 months for all groups related to the Tea Party movement. Some 500 organizations were victimized by this abuse of power.
We also learned this week that the IRS leaked information about donors to at least one nonprofit group that opposes homosexual marriage to a group that supports homosexual marriage. The latter group was led by one of Obama's reelection campaign's co-chairman. We learned that the IRS audited a university professor who wrote newspaper articles critical of fake Catholic groups that supported Obama's pro-abortion policies.
All of this aligns seamlessly with the Obama administration's demonization of conservative donors like the Koch brothers, and other stories of persecution of conservative donors that have come out over the past several years.
Last July, The Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel reported that after the Obama campaign besmirched as "less-thank reputable"neight businessmen who supported political action committees associated with Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, one of the donors, Frank VanderSloot, found himself subjected to an IRS audit and a Labor Department investigation.
Finally there is the administration's discriminatory treatment of pro-Israel organizations.
A day after Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS department overseeing nonprofit groups, admitted the IRS had been discriminating against groups affiliated with the Tea Party movement, we were reminded of the appalling treatment that Z Street, a new pro-Israel organization that opposes Obama's policy toward Israel, received at the hands of the IRS ...
As the article notes in its closing paragraph, one can only hope that Obama's thuggish creation and corrupt defense of his "official truth" will anger, disgust -- and frighten -- all Americans ... (enough that they make sure their representatives in the Congress block his agenda, policies, and executive actions until such time that he is either impeached or his term expires!)
→ Hyscience | 17 May 2013 | 9:54 pm MDT
It's fast becoming a gigantic hole that the IRS has dug for itself ... and it's one that is becoming way too deep for them to dig out of. Things were bad enough already, but now it has been proven that the IRS lied to avoiding filling a FOIA request of documents pertaining to the Tea Party.
The Washington Free Beacon reports: Cover Up - IRS accused of hiding existence of Tea Party targeting documents:
The Internal Revenue Service denied the existence of any documents related to its policy of targeting Tea Party organizations in response to a 2010 Freedom of Information Act request, even though such documents were later discovered by the IRS inspector general.Read the whole thing here.
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a conservative nonprofit group, filed a FOIA request in 2010 through investigative journalist Lynn K. Walsh seeking all IRS documents related to the agencies tax-exempt division specifically mentioning the Tea Party.
IRS headquarters responded in 2011 that it "found no documents specifically responsive to your request."
However, the May 14 inspector general report found that the "first Sensitive Case Report [identifying Tea Party groups] was prepared by the Technical Unit" in April of 2010.
The report's timeline chronicles the existence of numerous 2010 emails, memoranda, and policies related to the targeting of conservative organizations.
According to the IG timeline, an email was sent on July 27, 2010 "updating the description of applications involving potential political campaign intervention and providing a coordinator contact for the cases."
"The description was changed to read, 'These cases involve various local organizations in the Tea Party movement [that] are applying for exemption under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4).'"
The IRS determinations unit developed a "be on the lookout" listing on Aug. 12, 2010, "in order to replace the existing practice of sending separate e-mails to all Determinations Unit employees as to cases to watch for, potentially abusive cases, cases requiring processing by the team of specialists, and emerging issues."
The language of the listing was identical to the July 27, 2010 email.
"Either IRS Headquarters was entirely incompetent in maintaining awareness of prominent policies and documents within the IRS, or it deliberately covered up the existence of anti-conservative IRS policies. Either is terrifying," Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center, said in a statement. "Legal action is necessary to ensure that the IRS does not lie to taxpayers in this manner in the future."
[...] The revelation, which confirmed nearly a year of suspicions among conservative groups and lawmakers, has been roundly denounced as a breach of core constitutional values.
US Rep Kevin Brady ( TX-R) asks, "Is this still America"?: IRS Official Steven Miller Responds With "I Don't Think Targeting Is Wrong"
→ Hyscience | 17 May 2013 | 9:10 pm MDT
Amazingly, Commissioner Miller of the IRS actually responded to Rep Brady's question with, "I do not believe targeting against Americans is wrong." Incredible, true, but nonetheless he actually said these exact words. This is the same organization that is to going to police Obamacare ... and they think its ok to target Americans. The Obama administrator does not believe in targeting Muslims for terrorism, but his IRS official believes it is perfectly OK to target Conservatives:
he Daily Mail reports:
The IRS under the Obama administration painted targets on the backs of conservatives beginning in 2010, and ousted acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller apologized to the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday. But members on both sides of the aisle were furious, and castigated him for the mismanagement and political gamesmanship the IRS engaged in on his watch.They have the balls to say this when ONLY CONSERVATIVES WERE TARGETED!
Texas Republican congressman Kevin Brady had the harshest criticism for Miller.
'Is this still America?' he asked him.
'Is this government so drunk on power that it would turn its full force, its full might, to harass, and intimidate, and threaten an average American who only wants her voice, their voices heard?"
'The American public deserves better,' Miller agreed. But both he and J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration, insisted that no IRS employees engaged in political witch-hunting.
They, including their ultimate boss Barack Obama, must think the American people and their Congressmen are dumber than a box of rocks!
→ Doug Ross @ Journal | 17 May 2013 | 8:53 pm MDTThey pointed the Hubble space telescope into a part of the sky that seemed utterly empty. A patch to avoid planets, stars, and galaxies. This area was close to the Big Dipper, a very familiar constellation. And the patch of sky was no bigger than a grain of sand...
This was a somewhat risky move by the scientists. After all, observation time on this telescope is in very high demand, and some questioned whether it should be wasted trying to look at nothing. There was a real risk that the images returned would be as black as the space at which it was being pointed. Nevertheless, they pointed the telescope and slowly hovered the course of ten full days.
Photons that had been traveling for over 13 billion years finally ended their journey on the detector of humanity's most powerful telescope. Their feeble signals collected almost one by one. When the telescope was finally closed, and the images were processed, the light from over three thousand galaxies had covered the detectors, producing one of the most profound and humbling images in all of human history. Every single spot, smear and dot...
...was an entire galaxy. And each one containing hundreds of billions of stars. Later in 2004 they did it again. This time pointing the telescope towards an area near the constellation Orion. They opened the shutter for over 11 days and 400 complete orbits around the Earth. Using detectors with increased sensitivity, and filters that allowed more light through than ever before, over 10 thousand galaxies appeared and what became known as the Ultra Deep Field. An image that represented the farthest we've ever seen into the universe.
The photons from these galaxies left when the universe was only five hundred million years old, and 13 billion years later they end their long journey as a small blip on a telescope CCD. These galaxies, while standing absolutely still, are racing away from us, in some cases, faster than the speed of light.
The space time between us and everything else grows larger by the minute, pushing the galaxies in this image to a distance of over 47 billion light years. And because of universal expansion, the farther something is away from us, the more its light is shifted toward the red and the faster it appears to be moving. Edwin Hubble himself discovered this by measuring the red shift of many galaxies. And it's a measure of not only speed but distance as well.
Recently, Hubble scientists put the icing on a cake; using the measured red shifts of all the galaxies inside the image, they made a 3-D model of Ultra Deep Field. This is how it looks when we apply the distances of the galaxies in the most important image ever taken. There are over one hundred billion galaxies in the universe. Simply saying that number doesn't really mean much to it because it doesn't provide any context. Our brains have no way to accurately put that in any meaningful perspective.
When we look at this image however, and think about the context of how it was made, and really understand what it means, we instantly gain the perspective and cannot help but be forever changed by it. We pointed the most powerful telescope ever built by human beings at absolutely nothing for no other reason than because we were curious and discovered that we occupy a very tiny place in the heavens.
Hat tips: DeepAstronomy.com and Papa B*.
* Who, astoundingly, didn't email us about guns, women or liquor. We surmise his email account may have been compromised by progressives. Or the Chinese. But I repeat myself.
→ The Liberty Zone | 17 May 2013 | 5:21 pm MDTAs everyone in Virginia politics knows, this weekend is the Republican Party of Virginia state convention. In the last week, a gnarled up, washed up crank of a former Delegate, Tom Gear (R-Hampton) has been pushing out emails about the Republican candidates for Lieutenant Governor. He apparently sent out his own questionnaire to all of […]
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 17 May 2013 | 4:30 pm MDT
On Wednesday the United Nations General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning the Syrian government’s forces while praising the opposition. Although the resolution passed, the non-binding text received less support than last year’s resolution condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. With support for Syria’s rebels waning, it is clear that the … More
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 17 May 2013 | 3:48 pm MDT
We already knew the government’s excuse for the IRS scandal—that it was a couple of staffers gone rogue at the Cincinatti office—was absurd. Now one of the those Cincinatti employees, speaking anonymously to the Washington Post, has confirmed it:
“We’re not political,’’ said one determinations staffer in khakis as he left work late Tuesday afternoon. “We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. . . . That’s why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”
The staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said that the determinations unit is competent and without bias, and that it grouped together conservative applications “for consistency’s sake” — so one application did not sail through while a similar one was held up in review. This consistency is paramount in the review of all applications, according to Ronald Ran, an estate-tax lawyer who worked for 37 years in the IRS’s Cincinnati office.
“You’re not going to have a bunch of flaming liberals in the exempt-organizations department looking for conservative applications,” he says.
Pretend for a second that you’re an IRS career staffer, and also happen to be a raging socialist who despises the Tea Party. Are you really going to risk your well-being and start a sprawling, surreptitious operation to stall the applications of conservative non-profits? It’s a ludicrous notion, and one that seems impossible when you consider the IRS’s enormous command structure.
This goes higher. Let’s hope we learn how much higher in the weeks ahead.
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 17 May 2013 | 3:35 pm MDT
The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) official score of President Obama’s budget shows in numbers a vision for economic decline in America. The President imposes a tax increase totaling $1.1 trillion (and a net increase of about $1 trillion), some components of which would directly hit middle-class and lower-income Americans. On … More
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 17 May 2013 | 3:17 pm MDT
In his opening statement before a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee today, former acting IRS director Steve Miller apologized for the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, saying: “Partisanship has no place in the IRS.”
After his opening statement, however, it became clear that Miller wasn’t really sorry. Repeatedly, he objected to committee members’ use of the word “targeting” to describe the actions of the IRS, calling it “pejorative.” He frequently defended his own actions, refusing to acknowledge that he did much of anything wrong and calling his agency’s actions “horrible customer service.”
Eventually, when pushed on the matter by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Miller said, “I never said I didn’t do anything wrong” and “I should be held accountable, whether I was personally involved or not.”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) repeatedly asked Miller who was responsible for the targeting of these groups. Miller repeatedly avoided answering, instead focusing on his objection to the word “targeting.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) hammered Miller on his past testimony before the committee, saying Miller clearly misled the committee when he said that no targeting occurred when he already knew that it had. Miller vehemently denied misleading the committee, but kept saying variations on “Let’s step back” to avoid explaining how his statement was not misleading.
Miller continued defending the IRS throughout the hearing, saying it is not corrupt and angering Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). “The subtext of that is that you’re saying ‘We’re just incompetent,’” Roskam said.
Several Democrats on the committee, including Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), showed more outrage over their allegation of past targeting of liberal groups under the Bush administration than of the current scandal that the IRS has admitted.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), blamed the Citizens United ruling for the targeting of conservative groups, saying it opened the floodgates to these groups and led to the IRS looking at them. He also went on to defend the IRS in relation to its access of Obamacare data, saying that it would only have enough information to decide if a person can get a subsidy for his insurance premium.
“It is not a fascist takeover that is going on here,” McDermott said. “A couple of people making problems, that does not damage the organization in my view.”
McDermott’s statements about Obamacare all rely on the trustworthiness of the IRS, which is clearly in question right now. Just because the IRS isn’t supposed to do something doesn’t mean it won’t, as the targeting scandal has shown all too clearly.
UPDATE: Here’s the best video from the hearing today. First Rep. Mike Kelly blasting Miller and receiving cheers and applause, and then Rep. Paul Ryan doing what he does best.
→ Hyscience | 17 May 2013 | 2:53 pm MDT
Welcome to America under our Islamist-Muslim Brotherhood-endorsing and supporting president that places Islamic criticism of the American system of government over traditional American values and traditions.
Charles Johnson reports at The Daily Caller:
The Department of Homeland Security, which under Secretary Janet Napolitano has shown a keen interest in monitoring and warning about outspoken conservatives, takes a very different approach in monitoring political Islamists, according to a 2011 memo on protecting the free speech rights of pro-Shariah Muslim supremacists.Continue reading the mind-blowing, jaw-dropping rest of the report - here ... and be prepared to be mad as hell at the anti-American, Muslim-loving, bastard and his administration that the poorly informed. naive American people just put back in office for another four years.
In a checklist obtained by The Daily Caller entitled "Countering Violent Extremism Dos and Don'ts" the DHS's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties notifies local and national law enforcement officials that it is Obama administration policy to consider specifically Islamic criticism of the American system of government legitimate.
This policy stands in stark contrast to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis' 2009 memo "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" [pdf], which warned of the dangers posed by pro-life advocates, critics of same-sex marriage and groups concerned with abiding by the U.S. Constitution, among others. ...
The whole "conspiracy theory" of the Obama administration being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, purging government documents critical of Islam, and seeking to criminalize the criticism of Islam is just that - a conspiracy theory - isn't it?
Sadly, it isn't.
If you simply pull back the curtain and look at what Obama has been doing in plain sight - inviting groups convicted of terrorism into the White House, having Muslim Brotherhood members within the State Department, purging training materials of anything critical of Islam - you would find that this whole "conspiracy theory" goes by another term: the truth.
How America got to this point and whether we can return to that Shining City on a Hill instead of on our way to the trash heap of history remains to be seen.
Read the entire article on 'Obama Moving To Criminalize Criticism Of Islam' - here.
→ Warning Signs | 17 May 2013 | 2:45 pm MDTAlan Caruba blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 17 May 2013 | 2:31 pm MDT
Opponents of voter ID laws like to say that voter fraud doesn’t matter and never affects election results. But as we learned this week, voter fraud is the reason John Rizzo, a Missouri House representative, won in the state’s 19th House district
In the Democratic primary for the seat in 2010, Rizzo beat his opponent, Will Royster, by one vote. The district is heavily Democratic, so Rizzo was able to easily win the general election.
This all sounds fine until you look ahead to this week when John C. Moretina pleaded guilty to voting in the district, even though he did not live there. Moretina never said which candidate he voted for, but he is Rizzo’s uncle, so it isn’t too difficult to connect the dots there.
If Moretina hadn’t voted illegally, the race would have been a tie. If allegations that Moretina’s wife also voted illegally prove to be true, it will be safe to say that Royster lost his chance to be a state representative through voter fraud.
As the Kansas City Star is reporting, this local story could have important national ramifications:
The case revived bitter accusations of fraud in a local political primary, but it could have national implications, as well. It may provide supporters of stricter voter laws with a concrete example of fraud that conceivably changed the results of a race.
“It certainly provides something of an answer to people who take the position that we don’t need tougher voter ID or other safeguards,” said Woody Cozad, a former chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. “Just because (one-time Jackson County political boss) Tom Pendergast is dead doesn’t mean vote fraud has come to an end.”
This is just one example of how voter fraud can impact election results. Conservatives don’t want voter ID laws because they hate minorities. They want them because voter fraud compromises the integrity of our electoral system and validity of the results.
→ The American Spectator and The Spectacle Blog | 17 May 2013 | 2:28 pm MDT
The bipartisan drumbeat for privacy safeguards regarding domestic drone use continued at a congressional hearing Friday morning. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations was overshadowed in everything but name by the Ways and Means inquiry into the IRS’s political targeting of conservative groups, as reported by my colleague Kaylin Bugos. The proceedings illustrated that members of both parties are wary of drones’ privacy implications but open to their considerable promise. While addressing lingering regulatory questions, expert witnesses added details to the emerging picture of our nation’s buzzing future. The hearing was dominated by two issues: Law enforcement surveillance and the expectation of privacy.
Chris Calabrese of the American Civil Liberties Union said the relatively low cost and compact size of unmanned platforms mitigated the natural limits of traditional helicopter surveillance, noting a large blimp could monitor many square miles or a small helicopter could peer into windows. The advancement of camera technology was a theme: Greg McNeal of the Pepperdine School of Law described reading name tags and facial expressions from two miles away; Boston University School of Law’s Tracey Maclin touched on capabilities such as night vision, biometric facial recognition, and microwave scanners that can see through walls. This goes beyond the plainview standards previously used to examine the reasonableness of searches under the Fourth Amendment, he said.
The ACLU representative laid out four domestic drone policy principles: No mass surveillance, minimal information retention, no weaponization of drones, and the need for oversight, specifically the involvement of communities in any law enforcement decision to acquire a drone and notification of usage. Calabrese specified that law enforcement agencies should only deploy drones with a specific objective in mind under a warrant issued according to a traditional probable cause standard, and any information should be discarded once its specific reason for being gathered is exhausted. “In the 21st century as we get these new technologies we have to make sure our values come with us,” he explained, adding that Congress is well-suited to that role, although the FAA can play an expert function.
Saying the Fourth Amendment offers the most protection, the Brooking Institution’s John Villasenor asserted courts are in the best position to guard against law enforcement abuses. He also pointed to a longstanding body of common law and state civil and criminal statutes regarding invasion of privacy. But the nature of public space has changed, Calabrese argued, because most people do not assume they are being recorded while out and about. Law enforcement cameras mounted on traffic signals and squad cars are already ubiquitous, but drones made further the trend. “A camera trained on someone’s home persistently day after day will be treated the same whether it is on a drone or mounted a different way,” said McNeal. Maclin seemingly confirmed this, asserting there would be no constitutional distinction whether a camera was mounted on a drone or elsewhere.
→ Hyscience | 17 May 2013 | 2:17 pm MDT
Your Obamacare tax money is being poured into radical leftist community organizations so they can enroll the uninsured in Obamacare. The obvious end-result is that they will enroll people into the Democratic Party as well. And the Senate immigration bill does the same thing. It pays such leftist community organizations to educate immigrants on their path to citizenship and to the Democratic Party.
Sara Noble writes at The Independent Sentinel:
[...] Sebelius did an end-run around Congress last week and solicited funds from organizations like Enroll America to help publicize Obamacare. Enroll America management is purely political. President Anne Filipic is a White House insider who networks with community organizers. She was a DNC official before she worked on Obama's 2008 campaign in Iowa.Continue reading the whole thing.
She manages messaging for the very community organizations who are taking our money ... ACORN (exposed as corrupt but still functioning), LaRaza (the radical open borders group) and MoveOn (a radical socialist organization) are some of them. Filipic also manages the messaging for 39 Democratic members of Congress.
Obamacare requires these far-left community organization be hired as "navigators" to enroll the uninsured. Union members are also being hired as navigators and we know where they stand. (Investors Business Daily has more on this at "Sebelius Spends Your Taxes On Community Organizations")
The corruption doesn't stop there. Community Organizations like ACORN are also involved in taking our money to set up Obamacare CO-OPs. ...
Saul Alinsky would be proud of Obama's subversive, tyranical, tactics!
→ The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation | 17 May 2013 | 2:15 pm MDT
This week, the House Republican conference met to discuss what their priority will be in connection with any vote to increase the debt ceiling. This is timely since the current suspension of the debt limit expires tomorrow. According to reports of the Republican House caucus meeting, “Members came away with … More
→ Warning Signs | 17 May 2013 | 2:13 pm MDT
By Alan CarubaAll through George W. Bush’s two terms, the Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and others claimed that they represented “a culture of corruption” and yet I cannot recall any significant examples, nor does a look back at those years reveal any scandals resulting from his administration’s governance. It was not perfect, but it was not corrupt.This charge, however, marked Barack Obama’s first term and now his second which is currently imploding from a confluence of scandals involving Benghazi-Gate, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Justice. Let’s not forget “Fast and Furious.”The very first example of the changes that would mark his administration was the announcement of Obama’s “czars”, a shadowy group of advisors whose power to set and influence government policy without any congressional oversight appears to have transcended that of his cabinet members, many of whom would contribute to lengthening the recession he “inherited” as the result of the 2008 financial crisis while increasing the national debt and deficit to heights never before seen in the history of the nation.What we have come to learn in his first term was that Obama had scant regard for the Constitution, the guiding instrument of governance. It was in his view an “imperfect” instrument and yet, with amendments, it has guided the nation to superpower status since its ratification in 1791, a process that took four years from the 1786 Annapolis Convention that called for a Constitutional Convention.What we learned through his first campaign and first term was that Obama lies about everything, starting with his personal life. What we have learned is that his answer to everything is to give another speech, hold another press conference, issue another executive order, and to dismiss any criticism as “a sideshow”, and to host a number of dinners to give the impression he is willing to work with Republicans in Congress. In truth, he rarely interacted even with Democrats in Congress.In short, Obama has never addressed his duty to govern. He has instead maintained a non-stop process of campaigning and fund-raising. It did not work in 2010 when voters returned power to the Republicans in the House and now he is doing everything he can to regain Democrat control there in 2014.His priority on September 11, 2012, the night in which he was informed of the attack on the Benghazi consulate in Libya, was to go to bed in order to get a good night’s sleep before flying off to Las Vegas for more fund-raising the next day, skipping his daily intelligence briefing. An American ambassador had been killed along with three other personnel, but it did not alter his schedule.This is a President who spent his entire first term blaming his predecessor, George W. Bush, for every problem that crossed his desk and demanded his attention.This is a President whose foreign policy in the Middle East failed to address events there while delegating responsibility to his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton who as of 2 AM the morning of September 12th knew that it was an orchestrated attack by al Qaeda. And then, in concert with the White House, told Americans that it was the result of a video and was a “spontaneous” event.This is a President who has withdrawn U.S. troops from Iraq, a nation now wracked with daily bombings and has set in process the withdrawal from Afghanistan, a nation that will fall once again under the control of the Taliban. The alleged ally of America, Pakistan, now fears for its stability from the same threat. Both wars, the longest since the Vietnam War, were and remain unpopular, but both were intended to reduce the role of al Qaeda in the Middle East. That role has now expanded into the Syrian civil war and was manifest in Mali.His response was to depend on isolated drone attacks in Yemen and elsewhere, and of course his authorization of the assassination of Osama bin Laden for which he took total credit despite the fact that the effort had begun in the Bush years.In the years prior to Benghazi-Gate we have now learned that Obama was using the Internal Revenue Service to harass organizations associated with the Tea Party movement, that identified themselves as “patriots”, or had a pro-Israel agenda. In a similar fashion his Environmental Protection Agency was denying Freedom of Information inquires to organizations opposed to its policies while granting access to those who supported it.In his first term, his Department of the Interior pursued policies that denied access to drilling for oil and natural gas on federally owned lands and while his Department of Energy wasted billions on “renewable energy” companies manufacturing solar panels no one wanted to purchase, going bankrupt one after another. At one point the President advocated using algae—pond scum—as a source of energy.This is a President who promised his “stimulus” program would put Americans back to work and revive the economy.This is a President who has continued to tell Americans that global warming is the greatest threat to the nation and the world despite a sixteen-year cooling cycle in progress.The current scandals, derided as being “politicized” by Republicans, suggest that impeachable offenses have been authorized and committed by branches of the administration he leads. The current makeup of Congress in which the Senate is still controlled by Democrats suggests that impeachment would be difficult to pursue, but the 2014 midterm elections could and should change that.The worst of his offenses is Obamacare, described by members of his own party as “a train wreck”, and a program to be administered by the IRS!It is not hyperbole to say Barack Obama is the worst President in the history of the nation.Ask the millions of Americans who are still unemployed more than four years since his first inauguration.Ask the millions of new graduates from colleges and universities who cannot find jobs commensurate with their degrees.Ask the millions of Americans unable to retire due to the agonizingly slow recovery of the economy.And ask the mainstream media, after years of ignoring his failures have suddenly awakened to the seizure of Associated Press phone records after acting as mere stenographers for his daily “talking points.”.The question is how long before he is either impeached or forced to resign as the dream of “hope and change” has turned to hopelessness and the change has become the “transformation” of America from the greatest economy the world has ever known to a debtor nation disrespected by allies and enemies alike.© Alan Caruba, 2013
→ The Liberty Zone | 17 May 2013 | 2:00 pm MDTOn April 30, 2013, Second Amendment activist James Kaleda was forcibly ejected by armed guards from a hearing in Trenton, NJ. He was making decent points. He wasn’t belligerent or violent. But he was tossed out by armed government agents – and he only got heated when he was interrupted in the middle of his […]
→ Most recent blog entries | 17 May 2013 | 12:00 pm MDT
A preface to my appearance on Afterwords this weekend, airing on C-SPAN2 on Saturday May 18 at 10pm, Sunday May 19 at 9pm, and Monday May 20 at midnight and 3am. It will re-air on C-SPAN2 next Sunday May 26 at noon.
Every author wants to go on C-SPAN Book TV's Afterwords, and why not? Book TV audiences actually tune in to hear about books they might like to read. I was elated to have my new book, American Betrayal, chosen for the Afterwords show and went to tape the program yesterday with high hopes.
It is a most civilized setting, produced by lovely people, and it provides an author, who has spent years alone in a hole, reading, writing, toiling, thinking, with the chance, faciliated by an informed interviewer, to tell the world what it's all about. Lay out the themes. Hit the highlights. Even defend the controversial bits and emit some sparks along the way just for fun.
But no. That is, this was not exactly my experience as you'll see if you tune in. It was tough at times to get a word in edgeways (especially before the off-camera intervention took place midway through) so there are times when the interview is more like a battle for airtime-space -- more Senate filibuster meets Hunger Games than convivial let-the-author-cut-loose-and-talk-about-baby. (Watch for host's reading of verses from The Internationale.) Baby still made as much noise as possible, of course, but the birthday party didn't come off quite as expected.
Which could make interesting viewing in its own way.
Awesome Must-Watch Video: Rep. Mike Kelly Receives Standing Ovation at Ways & Means Hearing on IRS Scandal
→ Hyscience | 17 May 2013 | 11:47 am MDT
Maybe most awesome ever. GOP Rep. Mike Kelly was a huge hit at Friday's House hearing on IRS harassment of conservative groups as he skewered acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller. It was so awesome that he actually got a standing ovation:
What Mike Kelly just said ... absolutely needed to be said - and more!
Related video: IRS Deliberately Chose Not to Fess Up to Scandal Before Election.
What's so amazing about the above video is that it came from the ultra-liberal, far-left MSNBC!
Paul Ryan Nails IRS Commissioner During Hearing: He Admits Progressive Groups Were Not Targeted By IRS (Video)
→ Hyscience | 17 May 2013 | 9:56 am MDT
Rep. Paul Ryan blasted acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller today during testimony at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing. Ryan pointed out the commissioner's previous inaccurate statements to the committee.
Ryan also got Miller to admit that liberal groups with progressive names were not targeted by the IRS.
→ Most recent blog entries | 16 May 2013 | 8:14 pm MDT
This week's syndicated column
Grief and politics don’t mix. When raw, aching grief and the dirtiest kind of politics meet, a hot volcano of pain and outrage erupts that is unstoppable. But it is necessary. It is the only way things might ever be clean again.
I am thinking of recent casket transfer ceremonies that have taken place at Dover Air Force Base, where senior administration officials have used the solemn occasions – Benghazi, the shoot-down of Extortion 17 – less to comfort grieving families than to lay blame, to establish a narrative, to lie.
Think of Sean Smith’s mother. Think of Tyrone Woods’ father. After the Obama administration’s hugs came the Obama administration’s stonewalling. They still don’t have answers about what happened in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012.
We don’t either.
We still don’t know who in the U.S. government gave the order not to rescue Americans under fire for eight and a half hours, and how and why such an unconscionable order was given. We still don’t know who convinced senior White House officials to tell grieving parents meeting their children’s caskets that a video-maker, not jihad against the West, was to blame for the assault that took four American lives – or what the political motivation was.
This is a national disgrace.
But before Benghazi, there was Extortion 17, the call sign of a Special Operations mission in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011. Three months after the strike on Osama bin Laden, 30 Americans – including 15 from the bin Laden strike-team unit, Navy SEAL Team 6, and two other SEALs – were killed in the costliest single-day loss for the U.S. military in the Afghanistan war, and the largest SEAL loss ever. A “lucky shot” in the dark brought down the old CH-47 Chinook helicopter attempting to land them in the middle of an ongoing battle in Wardak Province. Or so the U.S. military claims. The families are not so sure.
Then again, they’re not sure about anything. The runaround, the lies, the callous disregard they have received at the hands of the government and military is similar to Benghazi, maybe worse.
“We go to Dover to see bodies, and we’re all in the hangar down there,” Charles Strange, father of slain SEAL Michael Strange, recalled last week before a rapt audience at the National Press Club, where several Extortion 17 families gathered to call on Congress to investigate. “And President Obama comes up to me and he says, ‘Mr. Strange’ – and he grabs me by the shoulders – ‘Michael changed the way America lives.’ I grabbed Mr. President by the shoulders and I said: ‘I don’t need to know about my son, I need to know what happened, Mr. President.’
Strange continued. “The Secret Service guys grabbed me. I’m crying. He went to give me a hug. I whispered in his ear: ‘Mr. President, Is there going to be a congressional inquiry?’ And Mr. President whispered in my ear – and I could feel his lips touch – and he said, ‘Mr. Strange, we’re going to look into this very, very, very deep.’ Well, I haven’t heard nothing.”
Nothing that makes sense, anyway. A military investigation led by then-Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Colt (since promoted to major general) tells us there was no “eye in the sky” that night. Why not? No forces had been sent in to prepare the area. Why not?
More sickening was the fact that rules of engagement prevented suppressive fire from being aimed at the tower firing on the Chinook. Billy Vaughn, father of slain SEAL Aaron Vaughn, recalled how a three-star admiral explained this breach to the grieving families: U.S. forces couldn’t fire back, the admiral said, because “we want to win hearts and minds.” As Mr. Strange later put it: “What about my heart? What about my mind?”
American hearts and minds don’t count with this U.S. government – and that is our national tragedy until we change the government.
What commander is responsible for assembling so many SEALs in one inadequate aircraft, for this particular landing site, for a mission many believe was in fact unnecessary? Extortion 17 took off three months after the strike on bin Laden, three months after the Obama administration blew SEAL Team 6′s cover in the bin Laden raid, three months after intelligence indicated the Taliban were out for revenge. “The chain of command” was responsible, the families were told. Who were they? No answer.
Why was there no gunship escort that night? What happened in the final minutes of Extortion 17? The black box was never recovered, the military insists. Really? What about the seven Afghan soldiers who joined the mission at the last minute, replacing Afghans previously scheduled to fly? No one knows the identities of this last-minute group, or why they flew that day. More troubling still, military investigators didn’t interview Afghan commanders to find out.
Why not? To win their “hearts and minds,” too? The word for that is “submission.” Such submission also explains the appalling inclusion of an imam at the casket transfer ceremony in Afghanistan – a ceremony preceding the transport of the dead bodies, American and Afghan, to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where they would finally be identified. (This makes families wonder whether American sons lay in caskets draped with the Afghan flag.) There, in the midst of an otherwise ecumenical ceremony (devoid of any mention of Jesus Christ), the imam invoked Allah, while establishing that Muslims reside in heaven and non-Muslims reside in hell.
Standard Islamic fare, to be sure, but this is the same supremacist basis of the jihad that killed the men of Extortion 17. No wonder the families are doubly outraged.
As should we all be. Congress must investigate Extortion 17 and find out exactly what happened, and who bears responsibility. It is the very least we can do for our people.
→ The Liberty Zone | 16 May 2013 | 5:16 pm MDTFirst it was Captain Legthrill, declaring to the world that his public love affair with Teh Won has come to an end. Chris Matthews apparently has gotten over his puppy love for Zero, and has crawled back into the closet with his binky and his desiccated, well beaten carcass of Karl Marx to hug. But […]
→ The Liberty Zone | 16 May 2013 | 2:10 pm MDTIt appears I’m not the only one who is disillusioned with the path ahead being forged by my America. Seems Chris Matthews has lost the ole “thrill up the leg.” “What part of the presidency does Obama like? He doesn’t like dealing with other politicians — that means his own cabinet, that means members of […]
→ Warning Signs | 16 May 2013 | 10:26 am MDTBy Alan CarubaHow is it that, time and again, the most powerful man on the planet doesn’t seem to have a clue what is happening in his own government? Famed for never accepting blame for anything, the more I see President Obama these days, the more I am reminded of Sergeant Hans Schultz of the TV sitcom, “Hogan’s Heroes”, that ran from 1965 to 1971.The wonderful John Banner the actor who played the prisoner of war guard left an indelible legacy with his repeated denials, “I know nothing. I hear nothing, and I see nothing”; often all three at the same time to avoid being implicated in Col. Robert E. Hogan’s manipulation of Werner Klemperer’s Col. Wilhelm Klink, the camp commandant of Luftwaffe Stalag 13.Obama’s way of dealing with everything has been to talk it to death and he has been responding to questions from the press, claiming that the accusations are all “a sideshow” or that “there’s no there, there.” It is not working. In the case of Benghazi-Gate, his lies are so blatant that it has gone from an embarrassment to a full-fledged cover-up.Similarly, the Attorney General, Eric Holder, has relied on claiming ignorance and putting distance between himself and his Department of Justice’s increasing list of scandals, from Fast and Furious that earned him a citation for contempt of Congress in June 2012 for his lack of candor. His latest “I know nothing” testimony regarding the DOJ’s seizure of the phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters makes one wonder why the President continues to retain him in office or, for that matter, why he isn’t in jail for stonewalling about Fast and Furious, an ATF gun-running scheme that got a border patrol and ICE agent killed.Those of us who follow the President closely know that he has been lying consistently before and since being elected--twice. His two “memoirs” have been picked apart by reporters who have written their own books on the subject. It would appear that Obama picked up the habit of lying early on in life as the son of a Kenyan who had abandoned his mother, the step-son of an Indonesian whom his mother also divorced, and a man who remarkably was a friend or associate of a long list of shady characters you might more likely find in a detective novel.He dismissed his close friendship with former 60s Weatherman terrorist, Bill Ayers, as someone who lived in his Chicago neighborhood. He had to throw his longtime pastor, Jeremiah Wright, under the bus when it became known he said many bad things about America over the course of the many years Obama was a member of his church. The man who conducted Obama’s wedding and christened his children said of 9/11, “the chickens have come home to roost” as if it was America’s fault it was attacked.Even so, this is small potatoes compared to the way the many “renewable energy” companies received billions in government loans and rapidly went bankrupt. It turned out that many of the many of the men who created those companies where major “bundlers” and contributors to his 2009 presidential campaign. Of the most famous bankruptcy, Solyndra, Obama said, “That was not our program, per se. Congress-Democrats and Republicans—put together a loan guarantee program…” Maybe so, but we have not seen such a program lose so much money in such a short time, betting on solar and wind power projects. The taxpayers got stuck with the bill. The number of actual “green” jobs ended up costing over a million dollars each to create.Of his failed “stimulus” package, Obama said “Apparently there weren’t as many shovel ready jobs as we thought.” Before spending millions to allegedly revive the economy, you are supposed to know such things.If not Benghazi-Gate, than the IRS targeting of conservative, patriot, and constitution education groups could provide the fulcrum to bring down Obama’s presidency. Despite his denials of knowledge about the program within the IRS to harass and deny these groups non-profit status, vital to raise donations and funding, and the firing of the IRS commissioner, this is a scandal with which ordinary taxpayers can identify, fearful of audits. Imagine now as the realization sinks in that it is the IRS that will be administering Obamacare!Up to now Obama could count on the mainstream media to ignore much of the blunders, failures and lies that characterized his first term, but the scandals coalescing as his second term begins have a weight that includes the growing unhappiness of the White House press corps who are tired of being lied to or having to listen to press secretary Jay Carney speak to them as if they were a bunch of witless clowns.It is said that “the fish stinks from the head” and what we are witnessing is an administration whose corrupt political practices have seeped deep into the government agencies for which Obama is responsible.It is still too soon to know which scandal or combination of scandals will bring down his presidency, but it will only take a few more eye-witnesses and whistle-blowers to turn Obama into the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind the curtain and pulling the levers to fool Dorothy and her pals or, in our case, those of us who still believe laws should be obeyed and power should not be abused.© Alan Caruba, 2013
→ The Liberty Zone | 15 May 2013 | 7:27 pm MDTBeen out of pocket for a while, and haven’t really been in the mood to blog. So much has been going on, that I wasn’t sure how to even begin commenting on things. I keep wondering what the hell is happening to this country, then I want to blog about it, then I really just […]
→ Warning Signs | 15 May 2013 | 2:14 pm MDTBy Alan CarubaIt is fair to say that the nation is as divided today as it was in the decades leading up to the Civil War that came about by the decision to secede and thereby destroy the Union. The seeds of that decision were planted in the Constitution because of the compromises that were needed to secure its ratification by the states.The Founders, many of whom were slave owners at a time when slave labor was necessary to the economy of the south and existed in the north as well, In his new book, “A Disease In the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War”, historian Thomas Fleming provides a context of the nation’s earliest years, noting that “Long before the first slaves arrived in the English colony of Virginia in 1619, slavery was a thriving institution in the New World…Few people criticized or objected to slavery; it was one of the world’s oldest social institutions with roots in ancient Babylon, Greece and Rome.”It is an irony of U.S. history that the Revolution “had ended in the creation of a slave-owning republic devoted to freedom, liberty, and equality.” A contradiction to be sure.At the heart of cause of the Civil War was the growing fear among white southerners who were vastly outnumbered by the slave population on whom their economy depended. Events like the Nat Turner slave insurrection and the slaughter of whites in Haiti fanned these fears. This was an era before mechanization eliminated the need for slave labor, but ironically it was the invention of the cotton gin that separated seeds from fiber that led to the rise of “King Cotton” and the wealth it produced. As Fleming notes, “Congress was aware that Americans north and south had been involved with slavery for over a century, and had profited immensely from it.”The rise of the abolition movement would lead to the Civil War as those opposed to slavery and those dependent on it divided sharply, resulting in secession by the southern states. By then the north and the south cordially hated one another.The issues that divide the nation today are quite different, but they are tied to the Constitution which many see as having been abandoned and trashed. Like the decades leading up to the Civil War, the process has a long history, primarily reaching back over the past century in which the central government assumed increasing power over the states, instituting the income tax, the Federal Reserve, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Departments of Energy, Environment, Housing,and Education, along a mountain of regulation affecting all aspects of our lives.The passage of Obamacare which nationalizes 16% of the nation’s economy is bringing the nation to the brink of rebellion. More than half of the states have filed suits against it and passed laws resisting its implementation. The same state that led seccession in1860, South Carolina, is leading the opposition to it.Another constitutional issue, the protection of the Second Amendment, is generating a similar response. Millions of Americans are rallying around this constitutional freedom.The debate about immigration is a third leg of the stool as Americans grow fearful over the failure of the federal government to protect its southern border from millions of illegal aliens in our midst (not unlike southern fears of its black population), the costs of public services, and the implications of enfranchising them, shifting political power to the Democratic Party which is responsible for Obamacare and other social programs draining the public treasury.It is surely an irony of history that a majority of voters have now twice elected the first black President of the nation, initially responding to his message of “hope and change” until that change manifested itself as the socialism that has led some European nations to the brink of bankruptcy. Half the voters now see his administration as a threat to their freedoms and are being joined by others who are beginning to see the lies surrounding the attack in Benghazi (on September 11, 2012, the anniversary of 9/11) as an impeachable offense.Adding to the fears driving Americans is the threat of militant Islam which dramatically altered public opinion after 9/11 in 2001 and the most recent bombings in Boston.In ways that reflect the divisions and fears of the years leading up to the Civil War, the current era is filled with concern for the integrity of the Constitution. It has led to the creation of the Tea Party movement and revelations that the IRS has specifically audited organizations identified as conservative, patriotic or pro-Israel have only added to those fears. The Supreme Court decision regarding Obamacare is an error as great as the Dred Scott decision that prolonged slavery.It is a cliché that history repeats itself but that is because it is true. The issues have changed, but fears for the sovereignty of the states, the viability of the economy, and the sanctity of our Bill of Rights (insisted upon by the states before ratification) lie at the heart of our current national mood.© Alan Caruba, 2013
→ The Liberty Zone | 15 May 2013 | 12:50 pm MDTThe indefatigable Emily Miller tells us that Media Maggot David Gregory is still getting away with committing a criminal act in Washington DC – knowingly and willingly, in fact. As you may remember, Gregory asked DC officials permission to use the high capacity magazine on his show as a prop to push his odious gun […]
→ Big Lizards | 15 May 2013 | 4:02 am MDT
Does it seem that the current Power Line line reduces to, "Another terrible scandal in the Obama administration? Good Lord, Republicans are doomed!"
Friend Lee says, "Barack Obama is the most Nixonian president since Franklin Roosevelt."
Yeah. Think about it.
→ Big Lizards | 14 May 2013 | 3:13 pm MDT
Poor Jay Carney has been having a lousy time of it as of late, hasn't he? First he has to deal with the fallout over the Benghazi whistleblower testimony, then that whole business with the IRS targeting conservative groups pops up, and before you know it the AP is out for blood over Eric Holder's Justice Department going through the news giant's phone records like the boys of Delta House going on a panty raid. Carney must've been a naughty boy in a previous life to reap this kind of karma.
What's really interesting, though, isn't the scandals so much; we mouth-breathing conservative Troglodytes have been carping over corruption in the Obama administration since Fast & Furious reared its ugly head, so to us it's nothing new. No, what's fascinating is how the mainstream media are actually starting to treat these developments as, well, the scandals that they are. In that regard, poor Carney reminds me of a guy who hasn't strapped on a pair of sneakers in years suddenly being forced to run a marathon: He just ain't used to taking that kind of abuse -- and from reporters, no less! Morning Joe, say it isn't so!
In their response to all of this, conservatives have reacted pretty much as you would expect, much like gamer geeks who have suddenly discovered that by tuning their TVs just so that the Spice Channel comes in for free. But while I enjoy a good glass of schadenfreude as much as the next guy, I think it might be best if we engaged in a little constructive deconstruction and ask ourselves: Why are the media doing this? After all, they've been Barack Obama's battered girlfriend for the last four years and never said a cross word about him. What would make them go all Jennifer Lopez in Enough on him now?
The answer -- at least partially -- is that the scandals have now come so hard and so fast that they've reached a critical mass. One Benghazi? We can handle that. The IRS thing? By itself, a piece of cake. A little diversion, a little song and dance, and John Q. Public will forget all about that. But when you have the kind of week that Obama has had, there emerges a pattern that even the MSM can no longer ignore. The truth, in spite of all their protestations to the contrary, starts to shine through: These are not nice people.
And it's a terrible thing to lose one's illusions.
That does not, however, mean that the MSM will not happily resume their delusional state if given the right enticement. Obama, after all, is a pretty smooth operator when he wants to be. Like Tiger Woods, he just miscalculated how much he could push his luck before the missus came after him with a golf club. The breaking point probably came over spying on the AP, and right now all those reporters turning the White House press secretary into Carney-kabobs know they have to draw some blood if they wish to retain a sliver of credibility. But in the end, my guess is that the administration will offer to lop off some heads and make some sort of amends, and the press will fall in line once again. It's what they do, and to expect them to behave otherwise is too much to hope for.
The lesson? Don't count on the MSM to take Obama down. They won't do it. And they never will.
→ Warning Signs | 14 May 2013 | 2:05 pm MDTBy Alan CarubaUsually there are signs a dam is about to burst. Tiny cracks show up, the structure makes strange noises, and then, whoosh! That’s what we are witnessing as the President, the former Secretary of State, and the Attorney General struggle to keep the bulwark of lies and half-truths they have built intact. It is showing signs of collapse.Liberals say absurd things all the time—mostly because they either don’t know the facts or because they prefer to ignore or obfuscate them. The current example is the shout-it-from-the-rooftops claim that Republicans are “politicizing” the events in Benghazi that left a U.S. ambassador and three security personnel dead.In the wake of the House hearings on May 8th, the most elemental politics is at work within the White House and that is the decision to abandon Hillary Clinton. The decision to appoint her Secretary of State was political and, since the President sets foreign policy, it kept her wing of the party in the tent while affording the White House the opportunity to keep her conveniently on the road and largely out of the spotlight.Name a single treaty or significant foreign policy achievement of Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nienta.Consider the meltdown of influence the United States has had in the Middle East where the single act of a Tunisian peddler who committed suicide as a response to the harassment of the police set off a revolution that drove its dictator from office and then spread rapidly to Libya where Gaddafi was killed and to Egypt where its dictator (and ally of the U.S.) was driven from office with the President’s blessing. And, for two years, the U.S. has stood on the sidelines and watched as the Syrian dictator has slaughtered 70,000 Syrians, driving some 2.5 million to flee to Turkey and Jordan.It has taken eight months since the September 11, 2012 attack on the Benghazi consulate and a House committee hearing to learn the truth as to why repeated requests for increased security assets were denied in a nation that is still essentially a war zone between the north and the south. We still do not know who told available forces to stand down. The President and his regime call this “politicizing.”Beyond Benghazi, every decision the President makes or chooses not to make has political implications. The choice to go to bed the night of the attack and then fly to a fundraiser the following day was political. As Commander-in-Chief he had responsibility to issue the orders to protect his diplomats—our diplomats—but he is also the Great Delegator and, as the noose tightens around Hillary, she is very expendable.It’s a political decision to exploit the murders in a Connecticut elementary school to attack the Second Amendment and gun ownership. The response of ordinary people was to go out and buy a gun. Indeed, fear of the White House’s intentions has made the President the greatest gun salesman in the nation.Even in the Obama Justice Department there is the odor of deception that still reeks from the bungled gun-running program called “Fast and Furious” which allowed guns purchased In the U.S. to be transferred to various Mexican drug cartels. The result, in one case, was a dead U.S. Border Patrol officer, an ICE agent, and an unknown number of Mexican cartel victims. It took a presidential executive order to throw a blanket of silence over the role of the Justice Department in this lethal debacle. That’s political.Now we learn that the Justice Department obtained Associated Press phone records in a probe to discover the source of a leaked story. AP officials called it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how a news organization gathers news. The ever-reliable, politically-correct, liberally oriented AP has become a crack in the dam.The revelation that the Internal Revenue Service “targeted” the Tea Party, patriotic, and pro-Israel groups for special attention regarding their tax status now adds to a growing sense of a regime without any internal limits on its exercise of power.The result is a period in which the barely concealed scorn of the President, his wife, and those around him in appointed and elected office has half the population outraged while the other half is content to live parasitically, not paying taxes, and receiving an amazing array of benefits which a bankrupt nation cannot afford.When enough people—citizens, voters, taxpayers—think they are being lied to and betrayed by those in high office, the dam of lies will begin to show signs of bursting under the pressure of their pent up anger.© Alan Caruba, 2013
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 12:14 pm MDT
Spokesman Jay Carney said some at the White House "were aware" of reports that IRS was targeting conservatives, but that nobody bothered to do anything about it:
"I still don't quite understand the timeline," said MSNBC's Chuck Todd, about the IRS scandal. "We had members of Congress complaining about this for two years. Did it just never reach you guys here at the White House that there was these complaints that conservative groups felt they were being singled out and targeted?"
"I'm sure people were aware of and knew some of the stories that had been reported about the complaints, but we were not aware of any activity or of any review conducted by the inspector general until several weeks ago," Carney responded.
Todd replied, "Should you have been made aware sooner? I don't understand."
"Let's just say that -- well, first of all for all the reasons why distance between -- you know, why the IRS should not be politicized, you know, there has to be that distance. But on the specific question that you had, I want to wait and see what the report says and wait and see what we actually know happened and what the facts are before we comment beyond what the president said yesterday on this matter and before we make any decisions or pronouncements about what actions should be taken. I mean, you heard the president say what he believed and what he feels what is reported about specific targeting turned out to be true. But we need to see if that's actually the case," Carney said.
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 11:51 am MDT
Speaking today in Stockholm, Sweden, John Kerry called "climate change" a "life and death" issue. And the secretary of state apologized on behalf of the United States for not doing enough to fight "climate change."
"I also want to say that we appreciate Sweden’s partnership because these challenges in Europe and North Africa and Central Asia simply do not belong to one nation; they’re shared by all of us and they affect all of us. And at the top of that list of shared challenges which does not get enough attention, and it’s one of the principal reasons that I came here today to share bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister but also will travel on to Kiruna to take part in the Arctic Council, a principal challenge to all of us of life and death proportions is the challenge of climate change," said Kerry.
"It is not a challenge that can be solved by any one nation, and in our discussions with the Prime Minister he pointed out to me that, in fact, Sweden’s contribution to the problem of – to the problem of climate change is a tiny point percentage of the total problem. And yet Sweden’s contribution to the solution is much more significant than anything that might be expected because of the level of its own contribution to the problem. So Sweden is way ahead of the curve."
Kerry want on to apologize for lack of action on the part of America:
"And I have to say that I regret that my own country – and President Obama knows this and is committed to changing it –needs to do more and we are committed to doing more. And we come here to Kiruna with a great understanding of the challenge to the Arctic as the ice melts, as the ecosystem is challenged, the fisheries, and the possibilities of increased commercial traffic as a result of the lack of ice raises a whole set of other issues that we need to face up to."
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 11:34 am MDT
From today's press briefing:
"If I could then goo back to the IRS issue," said a reporter from the AP. "The president did use the word 'if these activities had taken place,' but there has been an acknowledgement on the part of the IRS leadership that these things did indeed occur. I wondered why the president used that phrasing in claiming that it was outrageous?"
"Those from the IRS that have spoken about this obviously have much greater insight into what took place than we do. We have not seen the report. We have not independently collected information about what transpired. We need the independent inspector general's report to be released before we can make judgments. One person's view of what actions were taken or what that individual did is not enough for us to say something concretely happened that was innapropriate," said Carney.
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 10:01 am MDT
Richard Rubin at Bloomberg poses the following head scratcher:
What is known so far about the Internal Revenue Service's examination of political nonprofit groups doesn’t answer one main question -- whether the U.S. tax agency’s actions were malicious or just inept?
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 9:04 am MDT
Last week, the Benghazi talking points took center stage in the ongoing investigation of the 9/11 anniversary attacks in Libya. Jay Carney came under intense questioning at Friday's White House press briefing as he struggled to justify a dozen iterations of talking points before Susan Rice used the final version for her now-infamous five Sunday talk show appearances on September 16, 2012. However, a background briefing by the State Department four days before Rice's appearances provides the earliest extended look at the information used to prepare those talking points.
On September 12, in the evening following the attacks, three unnamed State Department officials briefed journalists via teleconference on the rapidly developing story. Although President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton had already made some public statements, this briefing contained far more detail than any previous remarks. As the teleconference commenced, the most striking part about it is that "senior administration official one" (who has been widely reported as Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland) does not mention "protests" or "demonstrations":
So let me give you a little bit of the chronology to the best of our knowledge. Again, the times are likely to change as it becomes a little bit more precise, but this is how we’ve been able to reconstruct what we have from yesterday.
At approximately 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time yesterday, which was about 10 p.m. in Libya, the compound where our office is in Benghazi began taking fire from unidentified Libyan extremists. By about 4:15, the attackers gained access to the compound and began firing into the main building, setting it on fire...
Later in the briefing, a journalist asks a question about protests [emphasis added]:
QUESTION: ...[T]he larger question is, you didn’t talk at all about the protests. You started your timeline with that the firing began. Can you talk about the timeline of when the protests started, how that fit in with it, and your sense of whether or not the protestors and the assailants were the same?...
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: ...With regard to the protests – I assume you’re not talking about protests in Cairo, are you? You’re talking about protests in Benghazi? ... We frankly don’t have a full picture of what may have been going on outside of the compound walls before the firing began. So I really just don’t have any specifics on that at the moment. I apologize.
It is apparent that the idea of protests at Benghazi had not yet even entered into the discussion at the State Department. The official in fact clarifies that the questioner is not referring to the protests outside the Cairo embassy, which of course had dominated the news the previous day. Another journalist raised the Cairo protests again later in the briefing:
QUESTION: ... Do you believe that this attack was in any way related to the incident in Cairo? You suggested this attack in Benghazi was more complex; so is it safe to rule out that this was a reaction to the inflammatory internet video?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: ...With regard to whether there is any connection between this internet activity and this extremist attack in Benghazi, frankly, we just don’t know. We’re not going to know until we have a chance to investigate. And I’m sorry that it is frustrating for you that so many of our answers are “We don’t know,” but they are truthful in that.
Again, when given the opportunity to connect the Cairo protests with Benghazi and the anti-Muhammad video, the State Department official referred to the lack of "any connection between this internet activity and this extremist attack in Benghazi," not "the protests in Benghazi." This complete absence of "protests" or "demonstrations" in the State Department's discussion of Benghazi makes the revision in the talking points changing "attacks" in the first version to "demonstrations" in the third version even more curious.
A second point of contention regarding the talking point revisions relates to the spontaneous versus planned nature of the attacks and the participation of al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliates. Andrea Mitchell raised this question early in the briefing:
QUESTION: ...there’s a lot of reporting now on this being linked to a terror attack, an organized terror attack – possibly al-Qaida sympathetic or al-Qaida linked. Can you speak to that?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: ... Frankly, we are not in a position to speak any further to the perpetrators of this attack. It was clearly a complex attack. We’re going to have to do a full investigation. We are committed to working with the Libyans both on the investigation and to ensure that we bring the perpetrators to justice. The FBI is already committed to assisting in that, but I just – we’re – it’s just too early to speak to who they were and if they might have been otherwise affiliated beyond Libya.
As the administration has stressed in defense of the early statements, the official declined to confirm or deny the suspected participation of al-Qaeda groups. In fact, Mitchell's question contains the only reference to al Qaeda or "terror" in the entire briefing, and yet the first version of the talking points prepared by the CIA included multiple references to al Qaeda and its affiliates. This is perhaps an early indication of the differences between the State Department and the CIA that would eventually lead to the twelve revisions in the following days.
Regardless, the State Department official did note that "[i]t was clearly a complex attack." In fact, "attack" or "attackers" is used twelve times throughout the briefing. By contrast, in reference to Benghazi, "protest," "demonstration," and "spontaneous" are not used at all.
A third and final point raised over the talking point revisions was the removal of references to prior attacks in Libya in the months leading up to September 11. A questioner raised the issue of prior security incidents at the briefing:
QUESTION: ... Listen, there’ve been troubles in Benghazi for some time now. I understand the Consulate was attacked or bombed two, three months ago. The British have put out threat warnings about Benghazi. Was there any consideration before the attack yesterday of beefing up security there?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, again, I’m not going to get into the specifics of how we were postured in terms of security at our mission in Benghazi beyond what I said. So – because we don’t ever talk about the details of those kinds of things.
What I would say, though, is that we did, as we did in missions around the world, review the security there in the context of preparing for the anniversary of September 11th. And at that point, there was no information and there were no threat streams to indicate that we were insufficiently postured.
Although the official stated that "we did, as we did in missions around the world, review the security there in the context of preparing for the anniversary of September 11th," an overview of State Department warnings and alerts shows a clear drop off between 2011 and 2012 in 9/11 anniversary warnings.
After the background briefing on September 12 and over the next three days, the information the administration had presented in this briefing was combined with new information that continued to be gathered by intelligence and other agencies and ultimately led to the talking points used by Susan Rice. It was also during this time, as we reported, that the Overseas Security Advisory Council withdrew a report that had been issued on September 6, five days before the attack, entitled "Terrorism and Important Dates." The report downplayed the likelihood of a 9/11 anniversary-date attack by al Qaeda or other terror groups, noting that concerns over such attacks are often due to "increased media attention to the issue." A State Department official contacted via email said the report was withdrawn because "the content had expired," and did not respond to requests for further clarification.
The removal of references to prior security incidents from the talking points and the withdrawal of the Terrorism and Important Dates report suggests that the administration was not inclined to draw attention to its pre-Benghazi posture on diplomatic security and preparedness.
Clearly the information during the first few days and even weeks after the Benghazi attacks was incomplete and even contradictory. But in retrospect, it is clear that the Obama administration understood almost from the beginning the politically vulnerable position it was in due to its actions (and inaction) before, during, and, as soon became apparent, after the attacks. The clear frustration of the White House press corps during Friday's press briefing with Jay Carney may be another sign that the concerns over the last eight months of mainly conservatives and Republicans are beginning to spread. Even Democrats at the Benghazi congressional hearings on Wednesday were openly calling for additional hearings to resolve the many remaining unanswered questions of Benghazi and the deaths of four Americans.
The coming weeks and months will be a strong test of the sincerity of an administration that has claimed on many occasions to be the most transparent in history. The continuing obfuscation on Benghazi by administration officials up to and including the president is casting further doubt on that claim.
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 8:23 am MDT
Seems K Street and Max Baucus were looking forward to a fun year of fixing up the tax code and making it stand up and salute. But now the IRS has gone and muddied the waters. As Erik Wasson and Peter Schroeder write at The Hill:
The uproar over the Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party groups has stirred jitters on K Street over the prospects for getting tax reform done this Congress.
The uphill battle to simplify the complex tax code by winnowing tax breaks and lowering tax rates could take a step back if Democrats and Republican become consumed by the admitted IRS wrongdoing.
This is sad news since, as we all know, K Street and Baucus have only the public good in mind in their quest to undo some of the complexity for which they bear so much responsibility.
PS: It seem that Baucus was in favor of the IRS playing hardnosed with the Tea Party right up until the time he was against it. Wasn't he supposed to be going back to Montana where the elk bugle and the wild geese call?
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 8:00 am MDT
In a couple minutes, the top Republican in the Senate will say that "we’ve only started to scratch the surface of this scandal." Mitch McConnell will say those words in reference to the IRS-targeting-conservatives scandal, and will make those remarks on the Senate floor.
"Over the past few days we’ve heard many in the media talk about how this has been a “rough week” for the Administration. It’s been a worse week for the First Amendment," McConnell will say.
He'll ask the president to take action--and help get to the bottom of the scandal. "This morning, I’m calling on the president to make available, completely and without restriction, everyone who can answer the questions we have as to what was going on at the IRS, who knew about it, and how high it went. No stonewalling, no more incomplete answers, no more misleading responses, no holding back witnesses, no matter how senior their current or former positions — we need full transparency and cooperation. "
And McConnell will say that the scandal, he believes, runs deeper. "Clearly, we’ve only started to scratch the surface of this scandal. The American people are looking for answers, and I’m determined to help them get to the bottom of this."
"Over the weekend, we learned that the extent of it was even broader than we originally thought. Then this morning, we all learned that the targeting wasn’t limited to an IRS office out in Cincinnatti — as the Administration suggested last week — but that it reached all the way to IRS headquarters in Washington. What we don’t know at this point is whether it jumped the fence from the IRS to the White House. But we do know this: we can’t count on the administration to be forthcoming about the details of this scandal — because so far they’ve been anything but."
→ Most recent blog entries | 14 May 2013 | 7:58 am MDT
Maybe I missed it in the US press, but I never saw this heart-stopping shot of the Martin family and other innocent Americanss in the presence of pure evil, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (circled in red), who has just set his back-pack bomb packed with nails and ball bearings near the Boston Marathon finish line.
Young Richard, 9, circled in blue, was killed, his mother Denise suffered brain injuries and lost the sight in one eye, and little Jane, in the green jacket next to Richard, lost her left leg. Father Bill, who was finishing the race, is still recovering from a shrapnel wound and hopes to regain hearing he lost in the blast.
According to the London Daily Mail, which published the picture and update on the Martin family last week, Jane has now undergone her eleventh surgery to close the wound on her leg and to prepare it eventually to be fitted for a prosthesis. "She has battled infections in the hospital and faces more surgeries," the newspaper reports.
Tamarlan Tsarnaev lies at rest in a Virginia cemetery.
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 7:19 am MDT
In a letter to a seven-year-old Wisconsin boy, Vice President Joe Biden considers the possibility of guns with chocolate bullets. Biden's letter reads:
I am sorry it took me so very long to respond to your letter. I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate.
You are a good boy,
The vice president was responding to Myles's suggestion that guns shoot chocolate bullets.
“He said if we have chocolate bullets, nobody would get hurt and nobody would be sad,” a teacher at the boy's school said. “I’m going to start crying again because he was so insightful.”
→ Most recent blog entries | 14 May 2013 | 6:52 am MDT
A word about the Islamic burial of Tamarlan Tsarnaev in a cemetery in Virginia.
Virginia. Cradle of our Founders -- and resting place, too. George Washington. James Madison. Thomas Jefferson. ... Tamarlan Tsarnaev.
This is a defilement of the land. The killer waged jihad by destroying American lives as viciously as possible -- killing three, including young Richard Martin, consigning many Americans to life without limbs, skull and brain injuries, pain, trauma, shrapnel, nails, ball bearings lodged in their bodies, sowing terror in the land. He should have no resting place here, anywhere. His corpse should have been cremated and disposed of.
Why wasn't this done? Why did Tsarnaev receive undue consideration? Islam, we read in every story about this abomination, does not permit cremation. Well, that's too bad. The vicious act of war Tsarnaev committed against unarmed United States citizens canceled any claim to consideration. His casualties, dead, maimed, suffering, received none.
But Islam's law ruled. Once again, the United States submitted to Islamic religious dictates. This is another abomination. And notice what it seems to says about Islam. Not even this act of evil depravity "ex-communicated" Tsarnaev. Like Osama bin Laden, he presumably remained a Muslim in good standing.
Islam's law should not have moved US authorities with possession of the body. Cremation was clearly and patriotically in order. The jihadist's parents didn't want to claim him, nor his wife. The ashes should have been scattered to the winds or the seas.
Islam dictated once again? Tthe wishes of the odd and well-connected Uncle Ruslan trumped all. This should not stand.
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 6:09 am MDT
Ahead of his official nomination this week as the GOP's candidate for governor of Virginia, state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli has a new ad outlining part of the Republican's economic plan.
"I have a plan to make Virginia an engine for job growth," Cuccinelli says in the 30-second spot. "It starts with ending tax loopholes and putting an end to special interest giveaways." He touts his proposal to lower tax rates for small business owners and middle-class families.
"The powerful and well-connected already get their breaks," Cuccinelli concludes. "As governor, I'll be on your side." Watch the ad below:
National Democrats, meanwhile, have begun to link Cuccinelli's anti-abortion views with those of "radical Republicans" like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, two failed 2012 Senate candidates whose campaigns were sunk by innapropriate comments on rape and abortion. Watch the Democratic Governors Association web ad below:
According to the Real Clear Politics poll average, Cuccinelli leads his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe by 4.4 points.
→ The Weekly Standard Blog | 14 May 2013 | 5:38 am MDT
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, both Republicans, have written a letter President Obama saying the IRS scandal "is big brother come to life."
"We write to you today disturbed after learning that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been unfairly targeting and applying added scrutiny to applicants for tax-exempt status based on their conservative beliefs. To be blunt, this is Big Brother come to life and a witch hunt to prevent Americans from exercising their First Amendment rights," the letter reads.
The First Amendment gives Americans the ability to freely express their opinions regardless of their political beliefs. The actions of the IRS are an attempt to gag the voices of Americans who may disagree with the policies and left-leaning ideology of your administration. Quite frankly, this is un-American.
This is a subversion of American liberty and a secret but direct attack against the U.S. Constitution. Immediate action must be taken to ensure this never happens again. Here are two steps that should be taken:
- Fire any and all employees responsible for this situation.
- Appoint a Special Prosecutor now to find out if laws were broken and if anyone committed crimes.
The bottom line is that regardless of one’s political beliefs, conservatives and liberals alike must be able to exercise their First Amendment rights without fear that the federal government will abuse them for having differing opinions.
→ Warning Signs | 13 May 2013 | 2:46 pm MDTBy Alan CarubaThe famed Boston Tea Party was a protest against “taxation without representation”, but our pockets are picked every day by a plethora of taxes of which most Americans are not even aware.We get robbed when the federal government thwarts exploration and extraction of energy resources that would greatly reduce those costs. We get robbed when the government (EPA) conspires to force coal-fired plants out of business through excessive regulation or declares that milk is a form of “oil” to be regulated.One particularly egregious form of robbery is ethanol. In March, a Washington Times editorial pointed out that “only the government could come up with a bubble in a commodity that’s merely speculative…renewable identification numbers are ethanol production credits created by the Environmental Protection Agency to help companies meet federal quotes for the production of a fuel that doesn’t actually exist.”Not content with requiring the waste of a basic food product, corn, this other supposed source of ethanol requires refineries to purchase a “renewable identification number”, then priced at $1.10, up 500% from the three cents it would have cost a few months ago. The cost is passed along to everyone filling up their tank.The cost of the corn that is diverted from the dinner table is in the billions and creates worldwide shortages. Before the Renewable Fuel Standard was imposed, corn prices were between $2 and $3 per bushel. The price of corn has since spiked to $7 per bushel and you pay for that at the gas pump and in the supermarket where corn is an integral element of thousands of food items.Ethanol is justified as reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but it creates more as it is processed for use and it actually reduces the mileage that a gallon of gas provides. Worse yet, it damages the engines of all new cars and trucks. It is so corrosive, it cannot be shipped via pipelines. And the EPA wants to increase the amount of ethanol to be blended from ten percent to fifteen percent!Not content with that approach to fending off a global warming that has not been occurring for the last sixteen years, the EPA recently proposed a “Tier 3” rule to further lower sulfur content in gasoline that would increase the refining cost of gasoline by up to nine cents per gallon.Reflecting on Obama administration policies, David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, co-founders of CFACT, a free market think tank devoted to environmental and development issues, recently noted that “All of the above” too often means all of the above groundand little or nothing below the Earth’s surface: wind, solar, biofuels and wood, for example – but little or no oil, gas, coal or uranium. In fact, more than any other in history, the Obama administration is using its executive powers to delay, obstruct, hyper-regulate, penalize and bankrupt the proven energy that is the foundation of modern living standards.”The fleecing of the American taxpayer defies the imagination. The Institute for Energy Research recently reported that President Obama has spent $11.45 million for every “green job” created. Since 2009, Obama’s first year in office, the Department of Energy’s $26 billion loan program has created just 2,298 permanent jobs. The DOE has squandered billions on so-called green energy companies—solar and wind—whose investors have also turned out to be heavy contributors to his political campaigns. This is borderline criminality.Since 2008 when the housing bubble burst, causing a huge economic downturn that has created an estimated 26 million unemployed, the Obama administration has gone about cancelling oil and natural gas leases while at the same time putting an embargo on the issuance of new leases on all federally owned lands.The federal government owns 28% of the land in the nation and a majority of the land in the energy-rich Western states. It also controls oil and natural gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf, the submerged area between land and deep ocean.In sharp contrast, drilling on privately owned lands has proved to be a bonanza. If the full capacity of the nation’s technically available reserves of oil and natural was unleashed, the United States would not only have no need to import oil, but would become an exporter!Most Americans are totally unaware of what the government is doing, but all are being impacted as the cost of transportation and electricity continues to rise for no good reason other than government policies and the environmental propaganda about “climate change” and “pollution.”The Greek myth about Cassandra tells of the god Apollo’s gift of prophecy he bestowed on her to win her affections. When she would not become his lover, he punished her by causing anyone to hear her prophesies of future events to interpret them as lies. The gift became a curse.Think tanks like CFACT and others are telling Americans the truth, but too many remain deaf to it. The result is our present torpid economy and the cost of energy and commodities that have been increased by the lies Greens tell.© Alan Caruba, 2013
→ Warning Signs | 11 May 2013 | 6:14 pm MDTBy Alan CarubaThe resistance to Obamacare is writing a new chapter in U.S. history. It may well become the most unpopular law since Prohibition became an Amendment to the Constitution in 1919. By 1933, another Amendment repealed it.Obamacare passed by a straight Democratic party vote on Christmas Eve in 2009. No Republican voted for it and, as one poll recently revealed, a third of Americans are still unaware it is the law of the land. A divided Supreme Court gave it a pass, calling it a tax, but it is a profoundly unconstitutional law insofar as the federal government may not pass a law that requires Americans to purchase something and to fine them if they do not. It is also playing havoc with the economy, delaying recovery as it deters hiring and encourages firing.Nonetheless, a number of states have gone on record seeking to nullify its enforcement and some are doing the same as regards gun control. Arizona became famous when it passed its own immigration law in response to the federal government’s failure to protect its border with Mexico. The proposed “Gang of Eight” immigration law is facing stiff opposition for its various provisions, most of which do not address the central issue of security on the southern border.How out of touch is the President? He went to Mexico and blamed the violence arising from its drug cartels on America, saying “Most of the guns used here to commit violence came from America.” He made no mention of the scandalous “Fast and Furious” scheme in which the ATF actually ran guns into Mexico, claiming they would track them. It took an executive order to throw a blanket of silence over it and a compliant media to ignore that scandal.It is, however, Obamacare that poses the greatest threat to the nation, intruding on the patient-doctor relationship, robbing billions from Medicare to pay for it, requiring states to fund more Medicaid when many are strapped to meet other needs, and putting 16% of the nation’s economy under federal control.A total of twenty-seven states have filed suit against Obamacare. Two federal judges have upheld its individual mandate to purchase health insurance and two others have ruled that it is unconstitutional.Twelve states have introduced versions of the Federal Health Care Nullification Act that was drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center. They include Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Alabama, and Maine. All declare that Obamacare is “hereby declared to be invalid, shall not be recognized, is specifically rejected, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect.”In South Carolina, on May 1st, the state House passed a bill that declares the bill null and void and goes a step further, criminalizing its implementation. Earlier Governor Nikki Haley, in her state of the state address, said that South Carolina does not want and cannot afford Obamacare, saying of the President’s namesake, “not now, not ever.”The following day, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback sent a letter in response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s opposition to its Second Amendment Protection Act, declaring it unconstitutional; essentially tell him to piss off. “The people of Kansas,” said the Governor, “have clearly expressed their sovereign will.” The same day, Missouri passed a comparable law protecting the Second Amendment.Not since the years leading up to the Civil War was kicked off on December 20, 1860 when South Carolina voted for secession, has there been such open resistance to the mandates of the federal government by the states on a range of issues. Earlier, in 1832, President Andrew Jackson had threatened to send troops to South Carolina to enforce federal laws.Nullification, however, will not succeed as a means to rid the nation of Obamacare. To Obama’s dismay, his gun control law failed in Congress when even members of his party joined in voting against it. The fate of immigration reform remains unknown but it will come to a vote soon enough.The reason why nullification will fail is embedded in the Constitution. The Supremacy Clause states “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be found thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary, notwithstanding.”That has not discouraged the legislatures of many states from expressing their opposition to Obamacare, intrusions on the Second Amendment right of citizens to bear arms, and to demand the federal government enforce the laws regarding its borders.There isn’t a constitutional scholar that does not support the Supremacy Clause. The Heritage Foundation has a policy paper on the subject of nullification that says “there is no clause or implied power in either the national or the various state constitutions that enables states to veto federal laws unilaterally.”The states, though, can express their displeasure and their opposition to federal laws and that is what lies at the heart of the spate of nullification laws that have been passed. As sovereign republics, the states can and do express themselves and, through their elected Senators and Representatives, have the power in concert to repeal obnoxious and injurious federal laws.That will be the fate of Obamacare.© Alan Caruba, 2013
→ Warning Signs | 10 May 2013 | 2:47 pm MDT
→ Most recent blog entries | 10 May 2013 | 8:22 am MDT
The Behennas write:
To all the thousands of Michael supporters,
Just a quick update to let you know that the Government filed their Response to Michael's Petition before the Supreme Court. Michael's lawyers now have ten days to file a Reply to the Government's Response. The Supreme Court will then set Michael's case for Conference (hopefully by June) and decide whether to grant Certiorari which means a review by the whole Supreme Court. For the Supreme Court justices to grant Certiorari from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces would be the first time a military petition has reached this stage - so prayers for discernment for these nine Justices are certainly welcomed.
An encouraging tidbit was that Michael's case was selected by the Supreme Court Blog as the petition of the day for May 1st - http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/05/petition-of-the-day-446/
We ask that you spread this email and please continue to tell Michael's story. Have your friends and neighbors sign Michael's petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/MBehenna/petition.html . If they want to further assist, please have them contact their Congressional Representatives and Senators and let them know that Michael has served enough time in prison and deserves the same freedom you and I all enjoy. To locate your state’s Representative's / Senators click on the following link: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
Lastly, Michael will ‘celebrate’ his 30th birthday on May 18th behind the prison walls of Fort Leavenworth. We’d like Michael to receive no less than 500 birthday cards and well wishes to let him know that despite this being his fifth birthday in prison he is anything but forgotten. You can mail your cards to:
Michael Behenna 87503
1300 Warehouse Road
Ft. Leavenworth, KS 66027-2304
Bless you all for your support of our son,
Scott & Vicki Behenna
→ Most recent blog entries | 10 May 2013 | 6:34 am MDT
On the lighter side ...
An LA Mirror "Movieland Mystery Photo" in 2010 feature asked readers to identify the young man in a candid photo with a young Elizabeth Taylor.
A second photo (above) showed him in uniform in a still shot from a movie. The Mirror caption reads: "Here’s another photo of our mystery guest with a mystery companion. Aren’t her eyes haunting?"
His name is Jimmy Lydon. Her name is Barbara Belden -- my mother!
The movie is "When the Lights Go On Again," and it came out in 1944, when Barbara Belden was 15 years old.
→ Most recent blog entries | 10 May 2013 | 5:35 am MDT
This week's syndicated column:
“I want to ask a couple of questions about the February 17 Martyrs Brigade,” said Rep. Blake Farenthold.
The Texas Republican was addressing the three State Department “whistleblowers” who testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The three witnesses were Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for counterterrorism; Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer in Libya.
When Farenthold introduced this crucial subject into the hearings, he also opened a window into Benghazi that shone light not only on disastrous Western support for “Arab Spring,” but also on the core crisis in U.S. foreign policy.
Farenthold: “Mr. Nordstrom, can you tell me the role of February 17 Martyrs Brigade in protecting the consulate in Benghazi?”
Nordstrom: “Certainly. That was the unit, for lack of a better term, that was provided to us by the Libyan government.”
This already was news to me: The Libyan government provided known jihadists to guard U.S. interests?
On second thought, there is nothing fantastic about this when – or, rather, if – we consider that the U.S. government supported an army of known jihadists in its revolution against Libya’s anti-jihadist former leader Moammar Gadhafi. I say “if” because I don’t expect even the members of the committee to see the “Arab Spring” this way. Uncle Sam’s open support for jihad is an epic scandal that is never even acknowledged.
Farenthold: “Were you aware of any ties by that militia to Islamic extremists?”
Nordstrom: “Absolutely. Yeah, we had that discussion on a number of occasions, the last of which was when there was a Facebook posting of a threat that named Ambassador Stevens and Sen. (John) McCain, who was coming out for the elections. That was in the July (2012) time frame. I met with some of my agents and also some (CIA) annex personnel, and we discussed that.”
More news: Nordstrom seems to be saying that the February 17 Martyrs Brigade actually threatened both the U.S. ambassador and a U.S. senator – and still served as U.S. security guards. This is shocking to read in black and white, although, again, when it becomes clear that Uncle Sam supported the same, exact jihad in Libya that al-Qaida supported, it makes, if not sense exactly, then certainly a pattern.
Farenthold: “Mr. Hicks, you were in Libya on the night of the attack. Do you believe the February 17 militia played a role in those attacks, was complicit in those attacks?”
Hicks: “Certainly, elements of that militia were complicit in the attacks. The attackers had to make a long approach march through multiple checkpoints that were manned by February 17 militia.”
More news: Most media accounts identified al-Qaida-linked Ansar al-Sharia (“Supporters of Shariah”) as the militia manning the checkpoints around the compound that horrible night. Of course, Libya militias seem to be loose organizations with overlapping membership. More important, though, as John Rosenthal, author of “The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion,” puts it, virtually all of them “sympathize” with Ansar al-Sharia. “In fact,” Rosenthal said in a recent interview with me, “in the literal sense of the term, virtually all of the Eastern Libyan militias are ‘Ansar al-Sharia’ – that is to say ‘supporters of the Shariah.’”
February 17 Martyrs Brigade is no different. Its Facebook page has displayed a photo featuring the black flag of al-Qaida, and more important, the brigade demonstrated for Shariah in Benghazi last summer.
In March 2013, Rosenthal reported at Newsmax.com that the brigade’s Facebook page also featured “a graphic celebrating Jabhat al-Nusra,” the U.S.-designated terrorist offshoot of al-Qaida in Iraq fighting Syria’s Bashar Assad.
“In defiance of the U.S. designation,” Rosenthal wrote, “the Arabic on the graphic declares, ‘We are all Jabhat al-Nusra.’”
“We” were also U.S. security guards.
Farenthold: “I’m stunned that the State Department was relying on a militia with extremist ties to protect American diplomats. That doesn’t make any sense. How does that happen?”
For me, Nordstrom’s reply was the most candid moment in the hearings. Out came the man’s evident frustration at serving a country gone mad in crippling alliances with jihadist enemies everywhere.
Nordstrom: “You mean like in Afghanistan, where Afghanis that are working with our military … turn on them and shoot them? Or in Yemen, where our embassy was attacked in 2008 by attackers wearing police uniforms? Or in Saudi Arabia, in Jeddah, we had an attack in 2004. The Saudi National Guard that was protecting our facility reportedly ran from the scene and then it took 90 minutes before we could get help.”
It felt as if Nordstrom could have continued, but the congressman, perhaps mindful of the clock, jumped back in.
Farenthold: “There’s pretty high unemployment in the United States. I would imagine there’s some Americans that’d be willing to take jobs overseas.”
Nordstrom: “We couldn’t agree with you more. But unfortunately, as I said earlier … that was the ‘best’ bad plan. That was the unit that the Libyan government had initially designated for VIP protection. It was very difficult to extract ourselves from that.”
If Americans ever learn how and why this is so, why our government is making common cause with jihadist groups everywhere, they will realize that Uncle Sam has himself joined the jihad. Let’s hope we learn before it’s too late.
→ Most recent blog entries | 9 May 2013 | 5:31 am MDT
9/11 anniversary outside the US Embassy in London
This week's article for Dispatch International:
"US Religious Commission Won't Touch Sharia"
But is keen to revile Western countries trying to defend against Islamic law
WASHINGTON DC. Fifteen years ago, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom opened shop with a mandate from Congress to examine the state of religious freedom around the world, and issue an annual report to the President. The idea was to provide the information necessary for the U.S. government to make religious freedom a greater factor in foreign-policy-making by highlighting the world’s worst offenders. Such offenders run, as the commission’s 2013 religious freedom report tells us, from Saudi Arabia to China to Russia to Sudan to Iran to Western Europe.
The 2013 report marks the first time that the region of Western Europe has made the commission’s official watch list. It doesn’t debut as a “tier-one” offender, or even “tier two”. Western Europe, however, is listed in the commission’s third category of concern along with Bahrain, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Turkey and Venezuela as a “monitored” region.
Not that the commission can claim much influence on U.S. foreign policy. After all, of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid – Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan and Egypt – four out of the five make the commission’s religious freedom watch list, with Iraq, Pakistan and Egypt ranking as top-tier offenders. Afghanistan is deemed a second-tier offender. Israel, meanwhile, is not on the list of offenders at all. It is also the only non-Islamic nation of the five. Coincidence
As far as the U.S. religious freedom commission goes, yes, absolutely. In cataloguing all manner of religious totalitarianism of mainly Islamic and Communist (or post-Communist) varieties, the commission fails utterly to connect the repressive, punitive laws of the Islamic nations to their direct sources in Islam. For example, the commission’s report tells us that Iraqis have “regulations” barring Muslims from “converting to another religion”. Similarly, in Sudan, it is “Article 126 of the 1991 Criminal Act” that defines leaving Islam as a capital offense. Neither of these statements are untrue, but the original source of both laws is in the sharia – Islamic apostasy law.
Such connections elude the commission’s report. It is “the Iranian justice system”, for example, that fails to grant Iranian women the same legal status as men, as when Iranian courts weigh a man’s testimony as “equivalent to testimony by two women”. Again, this statement isn’t untrue, but this example of male supremacism is a direct expression of sharia in the Iranian justice system. When it comes to Pakistan, the report explains that “Article 295, Section B” makes defiling the Koran punishable by life imprisonment”; additionally, it is “under Section C of the same article [that] remarks found to be derogatory against Prophet Mohammed carry the death penalty.” What the report doesn’t make clear is that the source of all such repressive legislation is, again, Islamic apostasy laws, pure and simple. These laws from the sharia represent the life-and-death powers of the Islamic religious state.
This should be of central relevance to any religious freedom commission. However, the direct connections between Islamic law and religious-based repression are lacking throughout the 371-page U.S. report. Even when the commission catalogues manifestations of this religion-based repression, it never links them to mainstream Islam or classical sharia. Rather, it is always an “extreme” or “restrictive” or “local” variant of Islam or sharia that is to blame. This disconnect leads directly to the commission’s decision to “monitor” Western Europe.
Given the commission’s evident concern over increasing enforcement of “blasphemy laws” in its countries of concern, it wouldn’t have been at all out of place for the commission to focus attention on the spate of Islamic “blasphemy” cases that European nations have prosecuted against such critics of Islam as Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria, and Lars Hedegaard in Denmark. However, the US commission has completely ignored all such Islam-inspired state encroachments on freedom of speech and conscience.
Instead, what comes under critique are those relatively few legislative efforts in Western Europe that restrict vectors of the same totalitarianism the commission has seen fit to flag in Islamic countries. The commission expresses worry about the abuse and inequality of women in the shadows of Islam, but sees public bans on full-face veil in France and Belgium, for example, as limitations on religious liberty. The commission is alarmed by harsh punishments meted out by Islamic states for “blasphemy” or “apostasy” – the ultimate act of political control of the human spirit – but it scores the Swiss for banning the construction of new minarets, the ultimate symbols of political Islam.
Blind to the doctrinal nature of Islamic religious repression, the U.S. commission is also blind to the measures required to preserve religious freedom.
→ Big Lizards | 9 May 2013 | 1:59 am MDT
PolitiFact Wisconsin has done us a great service by resurrecting Hillary "Hell to Pay" Clinton's January cri de coeur (rather, hysterical, squeaky, falsetto, voice-cracking, calculated screech) anent the Benghazi terrorism:
Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?
The attack (even the White House now admits it was an al-Qaeda terrorist assault) killed four Americans -- Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and two embassy security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Ten others were wounded in the attack. But a few days after, then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice rushed onto nearly a thousand Sunday talk shows to pitch the rewritten, reelection-friendly talking points of the Obamunists: That the attack was unplanned, not premeditated, and was in fact an out-of-control movie review.
The PolitiFact piece is part of an "occasional feature" called In Context, a.k.a. the lazy man's journalism; it consists of taking some controversial statement, quoting several of the paragraphs surrounding it, and calling it a news story. But it is useful, providing a longer length of rope by which those afflicted by foot in mouth disease, such as Madame Erstwhile Secretary, can hang themselves all the quicker.
In context, Clinton's "What difference at this point does it make!" ejaculation is even worse than what we thought from the video snippet in January. We thought she had simply lost her temper after being badgered, bear-baited, and hogtied by some sneery senator. But the In Context piece shows a very different story: The shriek heard round the world was a planned evasion of a simple but devastating question, one that Clinton would surely know was coming -- but for which she had no good answer.
The questioner who extracted the Scream was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI, 100%). And he really had only one simple, substantive question: Wouldn't a simple phone call to the survivors and evacuees, even a couple of days after the fact, have told us that there was no "demonstration" or "protest" prior to the assault? Therefore, that it was indeed a planned and executed terrorist attack.
Johnson asks his question several times:
Did anybody in the State Department talk to those folks very shortly afterwards?...
The point I’m making is, a very simple phone call to these individuals, I think, would’ve ascertained immediately that there was no protest prior to this.... Why wasn’t that known?...
But, Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest? That was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained?
But to each attempt to get Clinton to explain why she couldn't have found out almost immediately what really happened -- terrorism, not a spontaneous protest against a YouTube video -- Clinton evades, sidesteps, and tapdances... because she knows very well that, had she made that phone call, she would lose her plausible deniability; she would have owned the Big Lie of her subordinate, Susan Rice. Here are Clinton's "answers":
[O]nce the assault happened, and once we got our people rescued and out, our most immediate concern was, number one, taking care of their injuries.... We did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews. And we did not -- I think this is accurate, sir -- I certainly did not know of any reports that contradicted the [Intelligence Community] talking points at the time that Ambassador Rice went on the TV shows.... Was information developing? Was the situation fluid? Would we reach conclusions later that weren’t reached initially?... [W]hen you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one.... Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown --
Did I miss an actual answer in that pot of message? I mean, something like, "Yes, I could have called them and found out"... or even, "No, I couldn't call them, any of them, even days later, because my boss put the kibosh on any investigation until after he was safely reelected."
At the end, Johnson draws the only conclusion possible:
No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that -- an assault sprang out of that -- and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.
And that was when she unleashed her staged and rehearsed banshee wail, the silencing scream of the outraged woman under sexist assault by a Republican Fascist:
With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?
Of course she didn't dare answer! The simple and honest response to Johnson's question is, Yes, I could have found out immediately; but if I did, how could I safely send Siouxsie out to lie to the American voters just before President B.O.'s reelection?
Her hands were tied; rather, they were wired firmly over her ears. There are some things Man, or in this case a reasonable facsimile thereof, was not meant to know.
And don't think that Madame can just walk away from it. To paraphrase Josef Mengele in the Boys From Brazil: She betrayed her ambassador; she betrayed her oath of office; she betrayed her country!
If she chooses to run for president again in 2016, I expect her primary opponents won't forget to remember her lies, her multiple betrayals, her treasons, stratagems, and spoils. I stand by my prediction that Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham will never, ever be the Democrat nominee for president.
→ The Liberty Zone | 8 May 2013 | 9:30 am MDTI hate giving Adam Kokesh any time or publicity. Frankly, Kokesh is all about Kokesh and the publicity for his stunts. Kokesh is not about freedom; he’s just an attention whore – a self aggrandizing assclown, who got booted out of the Marines for engaging in political activity in uniform, something that is verboten in […]
→ Big Lizards | 8 May 2013 | 1:19 am MDT
(The title is a feeble and obscure play on Rubik's Cube. Best I could do -- sorry!)
Theme: Why I think the "comprehensive" immigration "reform" package -- S. 744 (the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013"), currently waist deep in the big Senate muddy -- should not be passed, but should instead be flushed... and this despite the fact that I generally support an extensive reform of our immigration laws, one that would likely admit more and better immigrants than today.
Alas, the "Gang of 8" bill just isn't that reform. Here are several reasons why...
Most of the bill's elements are premature at best
I have belabored you all for many years with my own blueprint for reforming immigration properly and permanently. A proper reform needs the following components in the following order:
- Finishing the physical wall/fence all the way along the southern and northern borders. This is not so much for actual immigration security; as Johh Hinderaker notes, most illegal immigrants are legally admitted but overstay their visas, which could not be prevented by a wall. Nevertheless, the wall is vital in order to get Republicans and blue-dog Dems to support the bill, and also as a show of our resolve, thus to get the American populace on our side. And it certainly wouldn't hurt!
- Transforming our legal immigration agency from its current function -- a welfare program for transnationals and a Mecca for terrorists -- into a systematic gathering into the United States all and only those who are truly American at heart, but had the bad luck to be born in some other country.
- Eliminating in its entirety the so-called "guest worker" visa (H-2a and b): As Mark Steyn points out, the last thing in the world we need is an army of nearly 100,000 foreigners who by definition have no loyalty to the U.S., who are necessarily transient, and who cross the border frequently with impunity: It's an invitation to resentment, America-hatred, criminal activity, and terrorism.
- And only after doing all of the above, finally deciding what to do about the estimated 10 million to 20 million illegal immigrants already here. But as everyone knows, All the wrangling and hair pulling is about the component of immigration reform that should come last of all, not first of all!
But by the very nature of being a "comprehensive" bill, it tries to do everything all at once and out of order: For example, legalization will surely precede real reform of the legal immigration system. On this count alone, the bill should fail; it's more important to do things in the right order than do them right now.
The most important element, reforming the legal immigration system, is a farce in the current bill
The current USCIS immigration laws and procedures are arbitrary, unpredictable, corrupt, and perverse (as were those of its predecessor, the INS):
- Arbitrary -- There is no real standard for admission, it depends upon the mood of the interviewer that day; identically qualified individuals get different outcomes.
- Unpredictable -- An applicant for citizenship or permanent residency has no idea at all, at any stage of the process, whether he is on the right track or about to be rejected; and if rejected, he is never told why or what he can do to improve his chances for next time.
- Corrupt -- Administration officials and legislators at the highest level make immigration decisions in order to import voters for their side or to create an army of guest serfs for companies in favored districts.
- Perverse -- Those same "deciders" also let their ideology drive immigration policy into absurd and dangerous extremes, such as encouraging indigent immigrants to come here and suck up our welfare payments, and welcoming foreign enemies into the U.S. to help the Left promote its America-hatred.
But nothing in the false "reform" of S. 744 fixes any of these problems. We need real reform that is rational (immigration decisions that make sense); predictable (applicants know what they need to do and avoid doing); honest (decisions should not be made on the basis of monetary or political bonanzas for the politicians); and pro-America (supporting and upholding the assets and virtues that made America great, including individual liberty, Capitalism, e pluribus unum-style assimilation, justice, and American exceptionalism).
We may not be able to perfectly distinguish Americans at heart from clever con men, but we ought to devise a system that at least takes a whack at it. At the moment, it seems, if a wannabe immigrant is pro-America, it's the kiss of death for his application!
We need a system that privileges those already halfway assimilated; but this bill does none of that. Scrap it.
S. 744 breaks every rule and promise of representative democracy; it's not a bill, it's a beat down
The bill's history is convoluted, tortuous, and therefore contains many unexploded landmines; worse, it was concocted in secret, which is itself unAmerican. It's the vital essence of a nasty, back-room deal. I'm guessing that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL, not yet rated) finally understands he has an asp by the tail, but he can't figure how to let go without being snakebit.
He may have thought his Democratic partners would negotiate in good faith; but the Devil is in the pudding: He (Rubio, not the Devil) should loudly and publicly withdraw his support, take his lumps, and stop imagining himself as the next President of the United States. Too soon, Marco, too soon!
Further, proponent sayeth not. Just wanted to get this on the record.
→ The Liberty Zone | 7 May 2013 | 9:09 pm MDTWell, apparently despite the expiration of the “assault” weapons ban in 2004 and a number of states passing concealed carry laws, the hoplophobes’ predictions of blood in the streets have fallen flat. Crimes committed with firearms have plunged, including murders, assaults and robberies. In less than two decades, the gun murder rate has been nearly […]
If After Reading This Post, You Don’t Get This Uncontrollable Urge to Reach Through Your Screen and Eviscerate This Twat, I Disown You!
→ The Liberty Zone | 7 May 2013 | 3:40 pm MDTMy pals at This Ain’t Hell report that this drooling fucktard has offered to give up her (nonexistent) burial plot at Arlington National Cemetery to the festering carcass of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Julie Frein, has offered the space she thinks that she’s earned at Arlington National Cemetery to the family of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. And, […]
→ The Liberty Zone | 7 May 2013 | 2:10 pm MDTFor those of you who thought you were safe from the politicians trying to relieve you of your Second Amendment rights, I have one thing to say: not so fast, Sparky! First, according to Uncle Joe, they have to tongue bathe the collective anuses of the illegal aliens prior to the 2014 Congressional elections, so […]
→ Big Lizards | 30 Apr 2013 | 11:35 pm MDT
If this here bill in the California state Assembly actually passes, California may swing sharply to the right -- and might even come into play again for presidential elections.
Well I can dream. But it's undeniable that the bill percolating through the Assembly is virtually an Onion-like parody of Progressivist gender madness... one that will strike deep and horribly into every family in California that has school-aged children.
AB 1266 would allow all students in elementary and secondary school to decide for themselves what "gender" they are today or tomorrow, and use whichever bathroom, locker room, or shower facility they think fits best. That is, a fourteen year old boy in middle school, even one never known for gay or transgendered tendencies, can simply walk into the girl's shower room, strip naked, and join them... and by state law, he cannot be stopped or disciplined for doing so, as long as he claims that today he feels more like a girl than a boy.
How many offensive ways of wrongness does this absurdist law embody?
- The bill utterly demolishes any idea of privacy; schoolchildren at all levels have the right to expect, as part of respecting their personhood, that they will not suddenly find themselves forced to go to the bathroom and take showers with members of the opposite sex. Many kids, boys and girls, are already embarassed enough showering with members of the same sex; but forced nudity in mixed-company clearly pushes far beyond that boundary of privacy.
- Anyone who thinks that teenaged boys will not take advantage of the new law, will not stroll into the girls' shower to just sexually intimidate the girls and arouse themselves -- and perhaps even sexually assault them, believing that's what the girls really want -- is naive to the point of retardation. Of course they will; teenaged boys are the epitome of irresponsible sexual acting out. (And the recent fad of "sexting" indicates that teenaged girls are not too far behind in the irresponsibility Olympics.) When "It seemed like a good idea at the time" morphs into "I felt like a girl at the time," school administrators will be helpless to do anything about it. Hey, they're just expressing their gender indecision!
While we're at it, let's admit that the bill will also completely obliterate girls' sports in school, since it also allows any male student to declare himself to be female (in his own mind, at least) and (again by law) play on the girls' team, instead of the boys'. Of course, since they're physically still boys, still bigger, stronger, faster, better at throwing baseballs or footballs, shooting basketballs, or kicking soccer balls, that means the girls will be more or less window dressing. And more or less targets for the meaner boys passing as girls.
Net effect: Girls will simply drop out of sports, because they can't win against boys twice their size and obviously prone to bullying. (Why would a boy want to play on a girls' team unless he wanted to bully?)
Back in the 1970s and early 80s, when the Equal Rights Amendment was wending its tortuous and ultimately unsuccessful path through ratification, the sexist line on it was that it would force boys and girls to use the same bathrooms and showers, and force women to be drafted into the Army. As I recollect, the feminists were furious at the spurious claim; but they were mostly "equity feminists" back then, not "gender feminists," to use Christina Hoff Sommers' terminology. "That's utterly ridiculous!" they (rightly) argued; "nobody's trying to erase the line between boys and girls!"
But today, the gay Left openly tries to erase that line -- and the leftover gender feminists cheer and applaud.
Of course: Since we all know that boys and girls are exactly the same, why shouldn't they shower together, go the the bathroom together, and play on any sports team, male or female, at their own will? Equality of rights begets equality of outcomes begets complete interchangeability between male and female... first in child rearing, then marriage, and now the ultimate leveling, bathroom buddies. The Progressivist Left is never satisfied; anything worth doing must surely be worth double-plus ultra overdoing!
I'm trying to imagine how even normal, moderate-liberal parents will react when their young daughters come home in tears because naked boys came into the girls' shower, leering, panting, displaying, and maybe even grabbing the girls -- and the school says, "hey, the law says we have to let them!" Or the sexual-assault lawsuits that surely would follow, filed not only against the school district but the parents of the assaulters (who thought the law would protect them from any consequences).
Or for that matter, how will all taxpayers feel about the enormous class-action lawsuits filed against the state and local school districts under Title 9 of the Civil Rights Act, for the de-facto destruction of girls' sports in school through state-sanctioned intimidation and violent assault, when the state allows boys join the opposing girls' team.
Simply put, if this bill passes without a massive political backlash, then America is doomed.
The Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative-leaning, pro-religion law firm, is all over this; they have up a web site on this bill and one other (designed to destroy the Boy Scouts and other private civic and fraternal organizations) at GenderInsanity.com.
And if you still think I'm overreacting, just flying off the handle, here is the text of AB 1266 itself; relevant portion (paragraph f) at the end in vivid and appropriate blue:
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Section 221.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:
(a) It is the policy of the state that elementary and secondary school classes and courses, including nonacademic and elective classes and courses, be conducted, without regard to the sex of the pupil enrolled in these classes and courses.
(b) A school district may not prohibit a pupil from enrolling in any class or course on the basis of the sex of the pupil, except a class subject to Chapter 5.6 (commencing with Section 51930) of Part 28 of Division 4 of Title 2.
(c) A school district may not require a pupil of one sex to enroll in a particular class or course, unless the same class or course is also required of a pupil of the opposite sex.
(d) A school counselor, teacher, instructor, administrator, or aide may not, on the basis of the sex of a pupil, offer vocational or school program guidance to a pupil of one sex that is different from that offered to a pupil of the opposite sex or, in counseling a pupil, differentiate career, vocational, or higher education opportunities on the basis of the sex of the pupil counseled. Any school personnel acting in a career counseling or course selection capacity to a pupil shall affirmatively explore with the pupil the possibility of careers, or courses leading to careers, that are nontraditional for that pupil’s sex. The parents or legal guardian of the pupil shall be notified in a general manner at least once in the manner prescribed by Section 48980, in advance of career counseling and course selection commencing with course selection for grade 7 so that they may participate in the counseling sessions and decisions.
(e) Participation in a particular physical education activity or sport, if required of pupils of one sex, shall be available to pupils of each sex.
(f) A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, and activities,
and facilities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.
→ Big Lizards | 26 Apr 2013 | 4:16 pm MDT
How can the GOP take advantage of the axioms of coolness, without losing its soul?
Remember, the axioms of coolness don't mandate going over the top! Unlike Democrats, Republicans should always ask, "WWRD?" I don't mean with regard to policy; many of Reagan's programs would be anachronisms today (such as building a massive tank corps). What we need to start emulating is Reagan's understanding of how elections are won... and the core of that understanding does not change, even while the technology and specific mechanisms are in constant flux.
For example, Reagan never tried to demonize vast segments of ordinary Americans; he confined his attacks to actual enemies, such as the Soviet Union and corrupt politicians. Nor did he frighten us by saying we're all going to die if we don't slavishly support every policy of his. And he would have laughed in the face of any aide who advised him to compare himself to Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed.
Our current "cool" president embodies all three of these vile, bullying strategies, to the point of narcissism bordering on self-deification. Alas, such tactics work very well for the Left; it's their bread and buttered circuses.
Consider the recent upswing in the number of Americans who now favor redistribution of wealth. When economic times are good, most folks are happy to "allow" rich people to keep the money they earn. But when the economy turns sour, a large swath of the electorate panics -- they believe the only way the rich got their riches was by stealing it all from the rest of us. There's no other possible explanation! (Cf. Sneaking Apples from the Great Wealth Tree)
Democrats play on that paranoia, whipping up class warfare, because they thrive on insecurity, fear, and chaos... as do radical Islamists. But that simply doesn't work for Republican candidates.
But what does work for us is the emotional connection most Americans still have to our country. Democrats used to be able to rely upon loyalty and patriotism, but they have thrown that all away in their pursuit of divide-and-conquer and control-by-crisis. But the GOP still has the ties that bind, tethering us to the America I think the great majorities long for: The America that is truly "e pluribus unum," out of many, one, not the other way 'round.
I believe most people still support the idea of private property. They still want their economic and intellectual liberty. They still believe in a melting pot for immigrants, in assimilation, despite all the hate-mongering and propaganda from the salad-bowl activists. They believe in traditional marriage and normal families, not all the bizarre and incomprehensible hook-ups you find in gay and swinger communities. (Americans also believe in minding their own business, which is why ultraconservative fantasies of reinstating a ban on gays in the military and overturning Lawrence v. Texas, the Court ruling that struck down all anti-sodomy laws, are not only futile but electorally devastating.)
I believe most Americans are outraged by late-term abortions, particularly partial-birth abortions; but they see an enormous distinction between a baby and a single fertilized cell, a zygote. If we conflate the horror show of Kermit Gosnell and his post-birth "abortions" with embryonic stem-cell research, we lend credence to the absurdist charge that Republicans are anti-science theocrats.
We have many, many paths to beating Democrats by playing according to our rules, not theirs. We can turn the tables on them in many different ways; but like Jerry Seinfeld's lock, we actually have to use these techniques in order for them to work.
How about this: "We don't want people to needlessly suffer from lack of medical treatment for devastating illnesses like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. But at the same time, we don't want to force devout people support a procedure that causes them moral anguish. But we can resolve this dilemma by pressing hard for more funding of non-embryonic stem-cell research (placental, amneotic, and adult stem cells), and especially by pursuing non-destructive embryonic stem-cell research, a new approach which has quietly been percoating in the background."
This puts the Democrats into the perilous position of arguing that they would prefer destructive embryonic stem-cell research, because they want to see more embryos die. (This is almost as awkward a position as advocating partial-birth abortion while the Gosnell trial rages.)
We miss great emotional opportunities because we're so fixated on logicking voters into submission. Yet in successful political campaigns, logic never leads; it backfills. That is our first fundamental tactic.
- First convert, then persuade; get the right emotional pitch, and voters will retroactively be persuaded by the logic.
The logic is important, vital; it separates us from the Bonesian Left. When Dr. McCoy and Commander Spock agree, that is when we can find the Kirkian Mean... and that is when we win elections, often by a landslide.
Next, everybody in the Republican Party agrees that we need to do a better job of candidate selection; but that's like sticking your head out the window and then opening it, or putting on your shoes and socks -- in that order. Before we select a candidate, we must have a set of criteria for the qualities we're selecting! And "likeability" and "coolness" must be much higher up the great chain of candidate selection than "is a policy wonk" and "has a 5,000-page master plan to solve everything."
We will rarely win elections when our candidate is boring and reactionary (Romney), cranky and verging on iconoclastic (McCain), doddering and constantly referring to himself in the third person (Blob Dole), or a monomaniacal, one-note wonder (practically all the losing GOP candidates in the last several primaries). Unfortunately, it seems as if this is your grandfather's Republican Party!
We shouldn't toss away the eternal verities, but every old and ineffectual policy of the past is fair game for preemptive defenstration. This brings us to our second tactic:
- GOP candidate-selection criteria must lean heavily towards hip, likeable, and interesting candidates, technically savvy, forward-looking, with new ideas instead of the tired old garbage that didn't work well even back in the day, and is far less likely to succeed tomorrow and next year.
Finally, we don't need a detailed Theory of Everything; that sounds a bit too millennarian for comfort. But we do need a coherent overarching narrative into which all the bits and pieces can eventually fit.
For example, Reagan's narrative was that domestic government was too big, while security government was not nearly big enough: The government should stop intruding where it's neither needed nor desired, such as hampering innovation by driving up interest rates, trying to control the economy by brute force, launching anti-competitive spending sprees, and raising tax rates in order to "level" wealth... and instead should start spending its money to protect the American people from harm by, e.g., the evil empire.
Once Americans understood Reagan's priorities, virtually every policy, from tax cuts to defense build-ups to his (failed) attempt to curb domestic spending made perfect sense in context. That's because Reagan did, in fact, think logically from first principles, then craft policies that embodied his reasoning. (Though he pitched those policies in "emotion, then logic" order.) Thus, the coherent overarching narrative is our third tactic:
- Republican candidates must be able to tell an enthralling story about where we are now, how we got there, and where we go from here. And the candidate's actual, specific policy proposals must arise naturally out of that narrative.
Rules for fighting radicals, or brother can you paradigm?
Nobody can guarantee that Republicans will hold the House and take back the Senate next year, nor that one of us will be elected president in 2016. But if we follow these three fairly obvious rules for candidates and the party itself...
- Lead with passion and emotion, backfill with logic
- Nominate candidates who are likeable, cool, and futuristic, not pining for the "good ol' days"
- Construct a believable and uplifting general narrative; then fit policy to the story, not the other way 'round
...Then we Republicans will improve our chances of electoral victory a thousandfold, because finally we'll have earned it!
Those of us who remember the JImmy Carter years will recollect how hopeless everything seemed during his term; here's what we faced (and this is a non-inclusive list):
- We had a president who hated America and everything for which it stands, and who was feckless, hapless, and clueless.
- Democrats had controlled the Senate since 1955, and the House since 1933 (FDR's first landslide). In fact, the House remained in Democrat hands throughout Reagan's entire term as well, not switching until the 1994 Newt Gingrich revolution; yet somehow, Reagan got about 70% of everything he sought, a much better record than the current occupier.
- Entrepeneurs could not start new businesses, and existing businesses could not expand. The economy had sunk into a hellish quarmire of a stagnating economy and rapidly rising inflation simultaneously, dubbed "stagflation" -- which the Keynesians assured us was impossible, therefore wasn't really happening. (Whenever a "theory of everything" runs up against stubborn facts on the ground, the only proper answer is to deny the facts and "correct" the measurements to whatever theory says they should be. Cf. Globaloney.)
- Taxes were very high, interest rates even higher. Energy prices were through the roof, and we had long lines for federally rationed gasoline. America seemed to have caught a terrible case of the flu.
- Our military was shrinking while the Soviet and Red-Chinese threats expanded; we were wrong-footed again and again in areas as far-flung as Vietnam, Angola, and Afghanistan, and as close as Cuba, and Nicaragua. Communism was advancing all across the globe, and nearly everybody believed it was unstoppable. America's best days appeared to be far, far behind us. Carter fully embraced the grand vision of detente, which meant trying desperately to "contain" the Red threat while doing nothing to roll it back anywhere, pure defense with no offense.
- Our nation was humiliated by the hostage crisis -- a bunch of theocrats in Iran, emboldened by Carter's astonishing weakness and triggered when he allowed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to come to the U.S. for cancer treatment, seized 66 embassy personnel including U.S. Marines. The hostage takers, so-called students, later released thirteen women and blacks ("oppressed minorities") and one white man who was seriously ill... thus inflicting further embarassment on us, as their mockery of Western compassion made us look like the real guilty party. 52 hostages were held for the last 443 days of the Carter administration and the first day of Reagan's.
- Carter was a spoil-sport even in the world of sport, preventing American athletes (and via treaty, the athletes from 64 U.S. allies) from attending the Moscow Olympics; the boycott was a spasmotic gesture of utter futility over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. (Carter opined after the invasion that he hadn't realized that the Soviet Union was expansionist.) Net effect of the boycott: Countries from Western Europe, more or less tied to America (Italy, France, and Great Britain), won 50 medals; countries in the Soviet sphere won 581 medals. Boy, we sure taught them a lesson!
We were weak economically, militarily, and morally; and during the depths of that horrible time, it sure looked like it might be a permanent shift to the left that would never be undone.
Then along came a presidential candidate with a forceful but likeable personality, a set of good ideas, and a history of keeping both his word and his principles; and that was all it took to shatter the old paradigm and initiate a new.
Defeat is always an option; but despair, surrender, cowardice, and quitting need not be. No nation is truly defeated until its citizens simply give up the fight, roll over, and take the slave's collar.
So let's not. Let's get up on our pins and start fighting back. But this time, we'll take the fight to the Progressivist Left, and we'll swim with the current of the great river of traditional American culture, and ride the oceanic swells of shared emotional understandings to which every human is heir. We have a huge advantage: Progressivists despise the former and cruelly exploit the latter... and don't think Americans don't know that! We simply haven't given them a viable alternative recently.
Instead of calls to jettison conservative policies, which are as valid today as they were thirty-three years ago, let's reappraise our emotionless and atomized method of delivering the traditional ideas that still resonate with the American people. Instead of cross-dressing our ideology and getting political-reassignment surgery to look more like Progressivists, we ought to campaign on our traditional principles, but with a lot more romance!
→ Big Lizards | 25 Apr 2013 | 4:14 pm MDT
Why everything we know is wrong
We drew the wrong lesson from Reagan's stunning success. Because he always provided the logical basis and underpinning for his positions and policies -- after the emotional, road-to-Damascus conversion; and because Republican and conservative/libertarian activists tend to be more Spockian, we developed the bad habit of seizing upon that logic as if that was what did the trick... while neglecting all the Bonesian, emotional arguments that did the actual heavy lifting.
Then we try to win elections by dropping entire encyclopedias of wonk on the voter's head (e.g., Paul Ryan).
There is nothing wrong with converting by emotional reason if there is also a logical argument as well. But we often forget that and find ourselves embarassed, as GOP activists, by emotionalism, by passion, even by such as simple thing as "feeling someone's pain." It's hardly surprising that voters like people who appear to like them, and dislike people who appear to disdain them. That's why, even on the left, successful leaders are more like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama than like Maxine Waters or Hillary Clinton. But for some reason, the Left is perfectly willing to reach out to ordinary people in an emotional way, but the Right obsesses on wonkism. The Right understands principle and policy, but the Left understands people; which side do you think will usually win?
That was Reagan's great breakthrough: He discovered a way to develop policies and positions from logical reasoning from first principles, but explain them in language that ordinary folks can understand and agree with.
It's a powerful combination, strong enough to overcome great electoral obstacles: "Compassionate conservative" George W. Bush pulled off a stunning victory over the anointed successor to Bill Clinton, Vice President Algore, despite the Clinton administration having left office in peace and plenty; and he followed that up by winning an even more solid victory four years later, despite recession and years of warfare. In this instance, Bush sincerely felt the joy and the pain of the American people -- and both his foes were robo-Dem nerds.
Lessons that should have been learnt: Empathy springs from shared emotional understanding, not shared political algorithms.
Emotions evolved in archaic Man as a means of communicating on a deeper level than mere words. Words could be lies; but emotions have always been thought to be harder to fake than language. (Again, whether this is really true is irrelevant; it matter only that most people think it true, thus are more convinced by emotional than logical argument.)
So what makes a candidate cool?
Almost nothing John McCain could have done in the 2008 endgame would have reversed the outcome; his goose was cooked when he ran a national-security campaign, and the bottom fell out of the housing market instead. In 2012, I tried to keep up my spirits, but my heart sank when I realized that Mitt Romney simply could not convey an emotional connection. He might have been the most heartfelt feller in the race (anything's possible!); but he couldn't deliver on the most important issue of every election: "understanding people like me," which is shorthand for "understanding my joys and sorrows, liking the kinds of things that I like, disliking what I dislike, and reveling in the popular culture of the United States."
People disconnected from pop culture are notoriously uncool; they seem remote, aloof, uncaring. (I should know, that describes me to a T!) Many contemporary conservatives and anti-liberals -- and especially libertarians -- hate and despise pop culture, because they only see the parts that are bad -- Paris Hilton Pop.
But there are many facets to pop culture, from family-oriented and often uplifting country-western music, picnics and parties, NASCAR and baseball, TCM and Dancing With the Stars, sports bars and "foreign" restaurants, movies and Broadway plays, concerts and Shakespeare in the park. "Pop culture" includes lonely and disturbed teenaged sexters looking for Mr. Goodbar, but that's only a sad sliver of it, the part that the Left adores.
But rarely anymore does a GOP nominee come across as connected to any aspect of pop culture; instead they condemn virtually all pop culture, painting with an enormously broad brush. But connecting to pop culture means, by definition, connecting to the mass of voters.
Consider our last two standard bearers, John McCain and Mitt Romney. How connected did they seem to the ordinary American and the culture of the people? But there are always aspects of pop culture that any Republican candidate should be able to embrace wholeheartedly and with complete sincerity, without looking awkward and embarassed by it.
Too, survival is always cool: Even Richard Nixon, the paranoid android, was able to beat two candidates ostensibly cooler (or at least less nerdy), Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern. Clearly the Republican was nevertheless able to persuade voters, by the use of entirely justified fear-mongering, that the Democrat Party of the late sixties and early seventies didn't take national security seriously enough.
That is a meme that is always available to the GOP -- but we have to make the case, of course; as George W. Bush could do after the 9/11 attacks. And of course right now many Americans are feeling quite vulnerable, less secure about their own safety... which is a major reason why Barack Obama's approval is sinking, while Bush's is rising.
So there we have a couple of criteria for coolness -- connection to popular culture and committment to protecting Americans from violent attack and economic collapse. But here is a third, one that leaves Republicans with a bad taste because of its most recent abuser: conveying the opportunity of a transcendent transformation of America.
At the risk of offending readers who hate explicit definitions, let me define that term. A "transcendent transformation" is a wholistic and fundamental reconfiguration of the very idea of America and Americanism, comprehensive changes to the status quo in order to achieve overarching goals that pass beyond quotidian experience, beyond the commonplace.
The current occupier of 1600 Pennsylvania clearly ventured into a call for transcendent transformation when he claimed that, due to his own advent (and I mean that in its Messianic sense) --
If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.
Delusions of grandeur, even a God complex? Perhaps; but also extremely effective electorally. Obama filled a gaping hole in the hearts of many Americans, bogged down by a sagging economy, unending warfare with no clear narrative for victory, and purposeless governance that merely responded to crisis after crisis without "getting anywhere." Despite all the good, even great things George W. Bush did, that was the psychic legacy he left in 2008.
So let's review these three criteria for coolness in a presidential candidate:
- A strong connection to the culture of most Americans -- "I am one of you, not one of them!"
- A forceful pledge to protect ordinary families and individuals from violent attack and economic upheavel -- "I will stand beside you and protect you from harm as your guardian angel!"
- A promise of fundamental change that ushers in a new, transcendent era of peace, prosperity, and justice -- "I am the One to lead you to the promised land!"
There are surely other aspects of political coolness, but I believe these are the tree most effective ones. Each of these three axioms of coolness can be played soft and reassuring, as with Reagan (let's fundamentally change back to the roots of Americana), or hard and radical (let us create the New Soviet Man), or anywhere in between, producing either a great hero or a nightmarish dictator. But every transformative leader in history has used some combination of these three axioms: I am of the body, I am your lord protector, and I will lead you to a great and mighty future.
Presidential candidates who deftly campaign within the axioms of coolness tend to be elected; those who do so clumsily (or ignore them altogether) lose a great advantage, and will likely lose the election if they run against a "cool" competitor (e.g., Hoover vs. FDR, Carter vs. Reagan, Romney vs. Obama).
→ Big Lizards | 24 Apr 2013 | 4:12 pm MDT
What's cool anyway?
It cannot be defined so easily, because coolness can be neither measured nor contained: A charismatic candidate will shift the very definition of "cool." Reagan turned big government into a pejorative, and he turned tax cuts and a beefy national defense into cool new ideas; but more recently, Barack "Limitless" Obama turned Americans in exactly the opposite direction, towards the coolness of being welfare kings and queens, being cruel and atomized, and being politically apathetic (except when "protest" morphs into a political rave).
The policies did not make Reagan and Obama cool; these winning candidates made the policies cool, simply by association with themselves. The coolness of a cool candidate rubs off on his programs almost as an afterthought.
Reagan's magic formula
So what makes a candidate cool in the first place? How did Reagan sell America on such a major transformation in 1980? Much as it pains me, a Spockian (and the innovator of the Spockian-Bonesian axis of emotion and logic in the first place, many years ago*), Reagan's primary method of converting voters to Reaganism and Reaganomics was not logical argument.
Most people cannot be persuaded or converted by logic or reason alone. Reagan himself said something to that effect: You can't logically argue a man out of a position he wasn't logically argued into in the first place.
So Reagan perfected a brilliant technique:
- First, convert the voter emotionally, passionately.
- Then once converted, give him the underlying logic to retroactively justify his conversion.
Converting in this order is vital. All the brilliant logical arguments in the world will not suffice to convert the average voter from A to B. But after first being converted by raw, seething emotion, by passion, by a transcendent vision, then even the easiest logic will keep him in your camp forever: The convert is looking for any excuse to agree with you. ("Reagan Democrats" are best evidence of this proposition.)
To win elections, you first must be able to "win friends and influence people." When folks like you, they'll be hugely more receptive to anything you have to say.
* From a piece I posted on a bulletin board on January 23rd, 2003:
A while back, I came up with a sceme to describe different personality types -- another one of those axes with one extreme at one end, another at the other, and every person falling somewhere along the axis.
At the extreme left edge are the "Bonesians;" at the extreme right are the "Spockians;" and in the center is the "Kirkian Mean."
The vast majority of folks fall on the Bonesian side of the axis: they relate on an emotional level better than on an intellectual level; emotional arguments are more convincing to them that logical arguments; they empathize with others, they are good at comforting, they enjoy socializing -- and in social settings, they don't want to talk about controversial or "argumentative" subjects.
At the opposite end are the Spockians, who are much fewer in number than the Bonesians. Spockians are very uncomfortable with emotional displays, arguments, or situations. They do not empathize with others, they are not quick to offer sympathy. But they are better at intellectual type arguments; they understand logic; they actually enjoy discussing controversial topics and eagerly accept counterarguments, so long as the ripostes are also intellectual, not emotional, in character.
Obviously, both sides have strengths and weaknesses; the Kirkian Mean combines the best of both: Captain Kirk can move either left to empathize and understand the emotional component of a problem, or right to grasp the logical complexities and difficulties.
I like to describe it like this: You want your priest to be a Bonesian and your cardiac surgeon to be a Spockian, and your family doctor had better reside at the Kirkian Mean!
Spockians think Bonesians are intellectual lightweights. Bonesians think Spockians are cold-hearted stonefaces. People are what they are, but it's always a good idea for Spockians to try to understand to the left and Bonesians to understand to the right.
But here's the "big but": Bonesians are so numerous, they rarely encounter a Spockian. They can live their lives while seduously avoiding all Spockians. Whereas the Spockians are surrounded by Bonesians and can't help bumping into them. Thus, usually Spockians have more experience of Bonesians than vice versa. To a Bonesian, a Spockians is more or less an "alien" (Gene Roddenberry wonderfully understood this in Star Trek), and the Bonesian is either frightened, angered, or repelled by him. No matter how Spockians feel, however, and unlike their counterparts, they are compelled by circumstances to deal with a lot of Bonesians.
→ Big Lizards | 23 Apr 2013 | 4:19 pm MDT
First movementNote: This next series of posts has nothing whatsoever to do with current events; it's a ponder-piece, nothing more. And I am not a grizzled, old veteran of electoral combat, like Karl Rove or Rich Galen. I know absolutely nothing about this subject; it's all my own ruminations. So take everything I say with a boxcar of salt. So there!
Some days back, my fave blogger on my fave blog posted a plaintive, desperate cri de coeur: "Why aren't more people repelled by the Left?"
I can't tell whether John's question is serious or rhetorical, but there is an obvious explanation: Defiance is "cool" to younger voters and activists, because they're still in the throes of their own genetically driven urge to leave the nest and create their own family line. Without evolutionarily induced defiance, mammals would never leave their mothers.
This is likely why teens and early-twenties tend to vote more leftish than older voters: genes.
But it brings up a larger point: For decades now, at least since the late sixties, Republicans have been thought to be stodgy, old-fashioned, reminiscent, hidebound, nerdy, and out of touch with the contemporary world. By contrast, the Left has successfully painted itself as bright, new, clever, nimble, snarky (which now seems a good thing), and above all, cool.
I will say this over and over: In elections, reality is meaningless; image is everything.
So given our image, we must ask a very serious (and not at all rhetorical) question: Can GOPers ever be elected again?
The answer, I'm happy to say, is absolutely! But not by the kinds of campaigns Republicans prefer running these days; we're chasing hydrofoils with canoes.
We need to emulate, not the corrupt, totalitarian policies of Progressivists, but their brilliant ability to grab the electorate and make it dance to their tune. In particular, we Republicans must master three techniques that we have (for the most part) disdained until now:
- Convert your voter first by passion and emotion, and only later persuade him with logic.
- Pick candidates that are likeable, future-looking, and cool -- not nerdy, annoying, and obsessed with a Golden Age that never was.
- Develop a consistent narrative of government, what it should be and do; then let policy flow from that story, rather than warp the story to justify predetermined policies of the past.
To make my point clearer, I will focus only on presidential candidates. But the same strategies of coolness, emotion, and finally logic to retoactively justifiy the emotional decision still apply, even when scaled up to the 535 members of Congress -- e.g., Newt Gingrich's victory in 1994.
Wait, isn't this pointless, now that the "Gang of Eight" is going to grant a path to citizenship for all the illegal aliens, and they'll all vote for Democrats, so the GOP will never win another election?
The two phenomena are not connected; it's not like we have to choose either to improve GOP campaign strategies or securing the border, but not both! Each will either happen or not happen independent of the other. So there's no rational reason to reject improvement of electioneering skills just because the 2016 electorate will have more Hispanics than in 2012, or because the 2024 electorate will include some number of erstwhile illegal immigrants. It's like saying, "Radical-Islamist terrorism will probably increase in a few years, so there's no point in refinancing your high-interest home loan."
Now let's get on with the show!
Coolness as political proxy
In any election, the mass of voters will cast votes for the candidate they consider the coolest and most likeable, and who seems to be looking ahead, not behind, with little regard to logical argument or rational policy-making.
Let's define "hyper-informed Republican voters" (HIRVs) as those folks who read blogs like Power Line, Patterico's Pontifications, Hot Air, who read books by Ben Shapiro, Thomas Sowell, Jonah Goldberg, and suchlike, and who tend to vote GOP. We must understand that HIRVs do not win elections.
Most voters vote a straight party ticket, usually whichever party their parents voted; and the balance of the election, especially in more recent times, is held by the Low-Information Voters (LIVs), those who rarely read about politics or policy -- and almost never deliberately. Most of their political ideas, quirks, and outbursts come from ostensibly non-political sources, from celebrities, gossip columns, and meme-squibs squirted into otherwise apolitical articles in culture media (glamor shows, teen idols, fashion mavins, homemaking magazines). Alas, the vast majority of such sources lean very far to the left.
But it's important to understand that LIVs are not necessarily stupid or even ignorant; they simply don't obsess over politics as we do, being too busy at the "real life" thing.
But does that mean we anti-liberals are doomed to suffer defeat after defeat until Doomsday? Not at all. Bear in mind that in 1980, the electorate considered Ronald Reagan more futuristic, coherent, and certainly way cooler than doddering, ineffectual, confused, rabbit-fearing Jimmy Carter. Why was Reagan cooler than Carter? Well for several superficial reasons and one deep insight. True, the Gipper was better looking, more affable, a much better speaker, more optimistic about America's future, more patriotic; but most of all, because Reagan enunciated ideas we hadn't heard a thousand times before, from tax cuts to ballistic missile defense. He shattered the old paradigm of "make do with less, settle for adequacy," and showed us a "shining city on a hill" that we could have, if only we would look forward, not backwards.
Reagan clearly came across to most voters as exciting, adventurous, innovative, and brave; not bad for the oldest president we've ever elected! Reagan didn't back down from anybody; and in 1980, Americans were getting pretty tired of being kicked in the aspirations by every tinhorn, Commie dictator on the planet.
Would he be elected today? Would he fit within the GOP's current ideology? Of course he would -- because the Republican Party would change to fit Reagan, just as it did twenty-three years ago!
But in the list of requirements for a winning candidate, notice the one that isn't there: conservative. Conservatism is no longer an automatic asset to a candidate, if it ever was; we must face reality that, for the large majority of voters, ideology is irrelevant to electibility. Anyone, from a rock-ribbed conservative like Reagan to a card-carrying Progressivist/socialist like Barack H. Obama, can be "cool."
-- Finis --