The movement toward calling a state-led Constitutional Convention for the purpose of altering the Constitution bypassing Congress, as specified by Article V of the Constitution, has taken a step forward. Dan Carden of the Northwest Indiana Times reports:
Legislative leaders in all 50 states have been asked to send delegates to Indianapolis for a second discussion on the state-led process for crafting amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and to begin shaping the rules and procedures a Convention of the States that would follow.
Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, is among the organizers of the June 12-13 meeting of The Mount Vernon Assembly that will convene in the Indiana Statehouse.
He said delegates won’t be proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution this time. Instead, the goal is “to put a structure and a foundation in place for a Convention of the States, so that we can have consensus on how this thing is going to be run.” (snip)
Long said he’s heard the calls for fast action on an Article V convention, but is confident the careful, thoughtful approach being taken by The Mount Vernon Assembly is the best way to ensure Congress authorizes a Convention of the States and that any proposed constitutional amendments are seen as legitimate.
“This is the one group that is moving forward, with state legislators, putting a process in place so whatever ideas ultimately win out and get to a convention, we will have everything ready to go and the process will work effectively,” Long said. “Without this structure, it won’t work.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers from 33 states initially met in December at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia to see if there was sufficient support to move forward with planning for a Convention of the States.
Long said he expects The Mount Vernon Assembly will meet a third time later this year to tweak and finalize the decisions it makes at the Indianapolis session. Then state legislatures in 2015 can begin sending identical resolutions to Congress requesting a Convention of the States.
He said the topic of the first proposed amendment likely will be a requirement for a balanced federal budget or some other plan to rein in the national debt.
“We need something to change and this is, I think, the only way it’s going to happen – the states are going to have to take charge,” Long said.
The process outlined by Mark Levin in his bestselling book, The Liberty Amendments, is beginning to unfold. Sen. Long is to be commended for his careful and deliberate process. It won’t be easy or quick, and a lot of debate lies ahead. The right has no monopoly on Article V consideration:
On Friday Vermont became the first state to call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which precipitated a flood of cash into politics.
Mike Monetta, 37, drove from Boston with a colleague and spent more than 10 hours Thursday in the House gallery waiting for the lower chamber to vote on the Senate-passed resolution, which – as lawmakers race to wrap things up before the end of the biennium – was taken up at the end of a marathon floor session.
He was back in the gallery Friday morning to see Vermont’s resolution get final approval from the House. Monetta is the organizing director for Wolf PAC, which he described as a political action committee to end all political action committees.
“We exist for only one purpose and that’s to get a 28th amendment to get all money out of politics,” he explained.
The Left wants to limit the scope of the First Amendment freedom of speech guarantees, while conservatives want to limit government. Which do you suppose will better stand up to debate?
(Excerpt) – By the fifth article of the plan, the Congress will be obliged “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the States [which at present amount to nine], to call a convention for proposing amendments, which shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the States, or by conventions in three fourths thereof.” The words of this article are peremptory. The Congress “shall call a convention.” Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to a change vanishes in air. Nor however difficult it may be supposed to unite two thirds or three fourths of the State legislatures, in amendments which may affect local interests, can there be any room to apprehend any such difficulty in a union on points which are merely relative to the general liberty or security of the people. We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.
ARTICLE V CONVENTION DEBATE
(Excerpt) – Thomas H. Neale
Specialist in American National Government
April 11, 2014
Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two ways of amending the nation’s fundamental charter. Congress, by a two-thirds vote of both houses, may propose amendments to the states for ratification, a procedure used for all 27 current amendments. Alternatively, if the legislatures of two-thirds of the states apply, 34 at present, Congress “shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments…” This alternative, known as an Article V Convention, has yet to be implemented. This report examines the Article V Convention, focusing on contemporary issues for Congress. CRS Report R42592, The Article V Convention for Pro posing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress examines the procedure’s constitutional origins and history and provides an analysis of related state procedures.
Significant developments in this issue have occurred recently: in March 2014, the Georgia Legislature applied for a convention to consider a balanced federal budget amendment, revoking its rescission of an earlier application; in April 2014, Tennessee took similar action. While both applications are valid, they may revive questions as to the constitutionality of rescissions of state applications for an Article V Convention and whether convention applications are valid indefinitely. Either issue could have an impact on the prospects for a convention. In other recent actions, the legislatures of Ohio, in November 2013, and Michigan, in March 2014, applied to Congress for an Article V Convention to consider a balanced federal budget amendment; these are the first new state applications since 1982 and are also the 33rd and 34th applications for the balanced budget amendment convention. If all 32 previous related state applications are valid, it is arguable that the constitutional requirement for requests from two-thirds of the states has been met, and that Congress should consider calling a convention.
Internet- and social media-driven public policy campaigns have also embraced the Article V Convention as an alternative to perceived policy deadlock at the federal level. In 2011, the “Conference on a Constitutional Convention,” drew participants ranging from conservative libertarians to progressives together to discuss and promote a convention. In December 2013, a meeting of state legislators advocated a convention, while the “Convention of States” called for a convention to offer amendments to “impose fiscal restraints and limit the power of the federal government.” Also in 2013, the advocacy group Compact for America proposed the “Compact for a Balanced Budget,” an interstate compact that would provide a “turn-key” application, by which, with a single vote, states could join the compact; call for a convention; agree to its format, membership, and duration; adopt and propose a specific balanced budget amendment; and prospectively commit themselves to ratify the amendment.
Congress would face a range of questions if an Article V Convention seemed likely, including the following. What constitutes a legitimate state application? Does Congress have discretion as to whether it must call a convention? What vehicle does it use to call a convention? Could a convention consider any issue, or must it be limited to a specific issue? Could a “runaway convention propose amendments outside its mandate? Could Congress choose not to propose a convention-approved amendment to the states? What role would Congress have in defining a convention, including issues such as rules of procedure and voting, number and apportionment of delegates, funding and duration, service by Members of Congress, and other questions. Under these circumstances, Congress could consult a range of information resources in fashioning its response. These include the record of the founders’ original intent, scholarly works cited in this report and elsewhere, historical examples and pr ecedents, and relevant hearings, reports, and bills produced by Congress from the 1970s through the 1990s.
Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature may have inadvertently made history last month when it adopted a resolution urging a convention of the states for the purpose of drafting a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Article V requires Congress to authorize a convention when 34 states have called for an amendment on the same topic, but that threshold has never been reached.
Conventional wisdom suggests – and supporters repeatedly stated – that by adopting its resolution, Michigan had joined more than 20 other states with similar applications.
But Michigan may unknowingly have been the 34th state to call for a federal balanced budget amendment, according to at least one constitutional scholar. A California Congressman is asking U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to consider the argument and explore whether a convention should be called.
The dispute hinges on an apparently untested legal question: Can a state rescind an application after petitioning Congress?
“There is a school of thought – scholars are very divided on the subject – that once a state Legislature has said ‘yes’ to an Article V Convention, it is without the ability to then turn around and change it’s mind and say, ‘No, we don’t want that any more,” said Gregory Watson, a constitutional expert who works as a staffer in the Texas House.
“The issue has never been brought before a federal court, and that’s why I think perhaps, maybe, possibly someone somewhere – not necessarily in Michigan – could file a lawsuit in a federal court claiming that the 34-state threshold has indeed been met.”
Watson, best known for spearheading ratification of the 27th Amendment some 200 years after it was proposed, believes that Michigan became the 22nd state with a clearly active application calling for a convention and balanced budget amendment. By his tally, 12 other states applied decades ago before they later changed their minds, but he’s not sure they had the authority to do so.
“If a federal judge were to rule that the activities that occurred in Lansing on March 26, 2014, did indeed make it the 34th state, then it was a very historic day,” Watson said. “If the judge ruled that, ‘No, a state can repeal it’s previous request,’ then it was not a historic day.”
Michigan’s resolution made national headlines last week, with The Washington Times and Fox News reporting on the prospect of a constitutional convention and questions over how many states have active applications.
Citing published reports, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) sent a letter to Boehner suggesting that the House “should lead an effort to ascertain whether 34 states have voted affirmatively” for a convention and asking the speaker to direct appropriate entities to make that determination.
“A balanced budget amendment is long overdue and remains an effective tool to address runaway spending and deficits,” Hunter wrote. “With the recent decision by Michigan lawmakers, it is important that the House – and those of us who support a balanced budget amendment – determine whether the necessary number of states have acted and the appropriate role of Congress should this be the case.”
Still, even some supporters are skeptical.
Rob Natelson, a constitutional scholar and former law professor, told The Washington Times that states have always had the ability to rescind applications and does not think Michigan’s resolution is the 34th of its kind.
“I think it’s unlikely that a request for Congress to call a convention at this point would get anywhere,” said Natelson, who wrote an Article V handbook for state lawmakers published by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative organization that supports the push for a balanced budget amendment.
State Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville) said he was aware that there was some sort of dispute over the status of old applications when he introduced the balanced budget resolution in Michigan’s upper chamber last year, but he was surprised to learn that Congressman Hunter raised the issue with Boehner in D.C.
“The latest count that I was getting back from the group of legislators that I’ve been working with is that we were going to be number 23,” Green said Wednesday.
The issue may very well end up in federal courts, Green acknowledged, but he would prefer that other states sign on soon so that there is no question over active convention applications. Any proposed resolution would have to be ratified by 38 states.
“My goal is to get a balanced budget amendment done, and if it comes sooner rather than later, I’m all for it,” Green said. “I’d like to see it get done right now, when for sure we’d have 38 states that would (ratify) it. After the next election, you never know.”
If all this sounds hypothetical, that’s because it is at this point.
An Article V Convention has never been called, and it’s not even clear whether Congress or states or delegates would set the rules. The nation’s last constitutional convention was its first, as the founding fathers drafted the document now under dispute.
Despite those unknowns, supporters say states must act and force the federal government to stop what they believe is a reckless and now-annual pattern of deficit spending.
Michigan Joint Resolution V, like those adopted by several other states, calls for an amendment limiting federal appropriations to estimated revenues in each fiscal year, allowing exceptions only in the case of a national emergency.
Critics argue that a balanced budget amendment would limit the federal government’s ability to respond to fiscal crises or make strategic investments, and some have suggested the process could devolve into a “runaway convention” ruled more by public pressure, lobbyists and outside influences than sound policy.
“Government would become more beholden to artificial spending limits that would all but ensure that the shutdown of the federal government we just saw last month would become an all too-common occurrence,” State Sen. Bert Johnson (D-Detroit) said in November during an early floor debate on the resolution.
“Congress already struggles to complete its most basic functions. Why would we bog down the process even further? This amendment wouldn’t limit government, it would drown it.”
The resolution passed the Michigan House with some bipartisan support, but the Senate vote split directly down party lines, with all Democrats voting against it.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder endorsed the push for a federal balanced budget amendment in his January State of the State address but the joint resolution did not require his signature for adoption.
ARTICLE V CONVENTION SUMPOSIUM
Advocates of a “living” Constitution argue that the Founders’ Constitution is hopelessly outdated and unable to grow and adapt to the times. The amendment procedure detailed in Article V belies such claims. As Madison explains in The Federalist, the amendment procedure allows subsequent generations to correct errors and make whatever “useful alterations will be suggested by experience.” Yet at the same time, the difficulty of constitutional amendment prevents the Constitution from being deprived “of that veneration, which time bestows on everything, and without which the wisest and freest governments would not possess the requisite stability.” By design, the amendment process requires extensive deliberation and ensures that amendments are the settled opinion of the American people. To date, as was expected, every amendment to the Constitution has been proposed through Congress before being ratified by the states. Although there have been several attempts to call an Article V amending convention – some of which have driven Congress to act – the extensive unknowns and significant risks involved in that uncharted option make congressional proposal of amendments abundantly more prudent and the most viable method to achieve serious constitutional reform. This essay is adapted from The Heritage Guide to the Constitution for a new series providing constitutional guidance for lawmakers.
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress…” – Article V
The process of amendment developed with the emergence of written constitutions that established popular government. The charters granted by William Penn in 1682 and 1683 provided for amending, as did eight of the state constitutions in effect in 1787. Three state constitutions provided for amendment through the legislature, and the other five gave the power to specially elected conventions.
The Articles of Confederation provided for amendments to be proposed by Congress and ratified by the unanimous vote of all thirteen state legislatures. This proved to be a major flaw in the Articles, as it created an insuperable obstacle to constitutional reform. The amendment process in the Constitution, as James Madison explained in The Federalist No. 43, was meant to establish a balance between the excesses of constant change and inflexibility: “It guards equally against that extreme facility which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty which might perpetuate its discovered faults.”
In his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Justice Joseph Story wrote that a government that provides
no means of change, but assumes to be fixed and unalterable, must, after a while, become wholly unsuited to the circumstances of the nation; and it will either degenerate into a despotism, or by the pressure of its inequalities bring on a revolution… The great principle to be sought is to make the changes practicable, but not too easy; to secure due deliberation, and caution; and to follow experience, rather than to open a way for experiments, suggested by mere speculation or theory.
In its final form, Article V creates two ways to propose amendments to the Constitution: through Congress or by a special convention called by the states for the purpose of proposing amendments. In either case, the proposed amendment or amendments must then be ratified by the states, either (as determined by Congress) by state legislatures or by ratifying conventions in the states.
The Virginia Plan introduced at the start of the Constitutional Convention called for amendment “whensoever it shall seem necessary.” The Committee of Detail proposed a process whereby Congress would call for a constitutional convention on the request of two-thirds of the state legislatures. George Mason feared this method was insufficient to protect the states, while Alexander Hamilton thought that Congress should be able to propose amendments independent of the states. Madison (as recorded in his Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787) thought the vagueness of an amendment convention sufficiently problematic to reject the provision: “How was a Convention to be formed? By what rule decide? What the force of its acts?” After further debate, the delegates passed language proposed by Madison (and seconded by Alexander Hamilton) that the national legislature shall propose amendments when two-thirds of each House deems it necessary, or on the application of two-thirds of the state legislatures. Proposed amendments were to be ratified by three-fourths of the states in their legislatures or by state convention.
The Constitutional Convention made two specific exceptions to the Amendments Clause, concerning the slave trade (Article V, Clause 2) and equal state suffrage in the Senate (Article V, Clause 2), but defeated a motion to prevent amendments that affected internal police powers in the states.
Just before the end of the Convention, George Mason objected that the amendment proposal would allow Congress to block as well as propose amendments, and the method was changed again to require Congress to call a convention to propose amendments on the application of two-thirds of the states. Madison did not see why Congress would not be equally bound by two-thirds of the states directly proposing amendments as opposed to the same number calling for an amendments convention, especially when the proposed Article V convention process left so many unresolved questions. In the end, Madison did not object to including an amendments convention “except only that difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum etc. which in constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided.”
The careful consideration of the amending power demonstrates that the Framers would have been astonished by more recent theories claiming the right of the Supreme Court to superintend a “living” or “evolving” Constitution outside of the amendment process. More significantly, the double supermajority requirements – two-thirds of both Houses of Congress and three-quarters of the states – create extensive deliberation and stability in the amendment process and restrain factions and special interests. It helps keep the Constitution as a “constitution,” and not an assemblage of legislative enactments. Most importantly, it also roots the amending process in the Founders’ unique concept of structural federalism based on the dual sovereignty of the state and national governments.
The advantage of the Amendments Clause was immediately apparent. The lack of a bill of rights – the Convention had considered and rejected this option – became a rallying cry during the ratification debate. Partly to head off an attempt to call for another general convention or an open-ended amendments convention, but mostly to legitimize the Constitution among patriots who were Anti-Federalists, the advocates of the Constitution (led by Madison) agreed to add amendments in the first session of Congress. North Carolina and Rhode Island acceded to the Constitution, and further disagreements were cabined within the constitutional structure.
Madison had wanted the amendments that became the Bill of Rights to be interwoven into the relevant sections of the Constitution. More for stylistic rather than substantive reasons, though, Congress proposed (and set the precedent for) amendments appended separately at the end of the document. Some have argued that this method makes amendments more susceptible to an activist interpretation than they would be otherwise.
As Madison predicted, the difficulties inherent in an Article V amendments convention have prevented its use, though some state applications (depending on how those applications are written and counted, an additional controversy in the Article V convention process) have come within one or two states of the requisite two-thirds. Precisely because of the potential chaos of the process, the very threat of an amendments convention can be used to pressure Congress to act rather than risk an amendments convention. The movement favoring direct election of Senators was just one state away from an amending convention when Congress proposed the Seventeenth Amendment in 1911. Most recently, in the 1980s, state applications for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment led Congress to vote on such an amendment and pass the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act (later declared unconstitutional in part by the Supreme Court) requiring the federal budget to be balanced.
There have been hundreds of applications for an amending convention over the years from virtually every state. Because no amending convention has ever occurred, an important question is whether such a convention can be limited in scope, either to a particular proposal or within a particular subject. While most calls for amending conventions in the nineteenth century were general, the modern trend is to call (and thus count applications) for conventions limited to considering a single, specific amendment. Some scholars maintain that such attempts violate the very mechanism created by Article V: the text says that upon application of the states Congress “shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments,” not for confirming a particular amendment already written, approved, and proposed by state legislatures (which would effectively turn the convention for proposing amendments into a ratifying convention). Indeed, it is not at all clear as a matter of constitutional construction (and doubtful in principle) that the power of two-thirds of the states to issue applications for a convention restricts, supersedes, or overrides the power of all the states assembled in that convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. Other questions include the many practical aspects of how an amending convention would operate and whether any aspects of such a convention (including going beyond its instructions) would be subject to judicial review.
The Federalist Papers, unfortunately, offer no guidance on this matter. Madison refers to amendment conventions in Federalist No. 43 only in general terms, noting that Article V “equally enables the general and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors.” And in Federalist No. 85, while Hamilton discusses how Congress cannot limit the scope of an Article V convention, he says nothing as to whether states can or cannot do so.
The requirement that amendments proposed by such a convention must be ratified by three-fourths of the states is a significant limit on the process and likely prevents a true “runaway” convention from fundamentally altering the Constitution. Serious scholars will undoubtedly continue to debate the historical record and speculate about the possibility of an amendments convention under Article V. Nevertheless, the lack of precedent, extensive unknowns, and considerable risks of an Article V amendments convention should bring sober pause to advocates of legitimate constitutional reform contemplating this avenue.
While a valid method created and available under the Constitution, “a Convention for proposing Amendments” has never been viewed as just another tool for reform but has become ever more so an ultimate option to be deployed only in extremis for the sake of maintaining the Constitution. Hence, the only time Madison pointed to an amendments convention was during the Nullification Crisis of 1832 as a last-ditch effort to prevent the wholly unacceptable and unconstitutional alternative of nullification and secession that then threatened the continued existence of the United States. Likewise, when Abraham Lincoln looked to constitutional reforms to resolve disputed questions in the midst of the Civil War, he noted that “under existing circumstances” the convention mode “seems preferable” precisely because it “allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose.” Yet when the immediate crisis was over, Lincoln strongly advocated what became the Thirteenth Amendment by congressional proposal and did not pursue an amending convention, despite the amendment’s initial failure in the House of Representatives. It should be noted that in both cases an amendments convention was understood to be free to propose whatever amendments thought necessary to address the problems at issue.
Much greater certainty – not to mention extensive historical experience and proven political viability – exists as to the power of Congress to propose amendments. Since 1789, well over 5,000 bills proposing to amend the Constitution have been introduced in Congress; thirty-three amendments have been sent to the states for ratification. Of those sent to the states, two have been defeated, four are still pending, and twenty-seven have been ratified. Because of the national distribution of representation in Congress, most amendment proposals are defeated by a lack of general support and those amendments that are proposed to the states by Congress are generally likely to be ratified.
In a challenge to the Eleventh Amendment, the Supreme Court waved aside the suggestion that amendments proposed by Congress must be submitted to the President according to the Presentment Clause (Article I, Section 7, Clause 2). Hollingsworth v. Virginia (1798). In the National Prohibition Cases (1920), the Court held that the “two-thirds of both Houses” requirement applies to a present quorum, not the total membership of each body. One year later, in Dillon v. Gloss (1921), the Court allowed Congress, when proposing an amendment, to set a reasonable time limit for ratification by the states.
Since 1924, no amendment has been proposed without a ratification time limit, although the Twenty-seventh Amendment, proposed by Madison in the First Congress more than two hundred years ago, was finally ratified in 1992. Regardless of how an amendment is proposed, Article V gives Congress authority to direct the mode of ratification. United States v. Sprague (1931). Of the ratified amendments, all but the Twenty-first Amendment, which was ratified by state conventions, have been ratified by state legislatures. In Hawke v. Smith (1920), the Court struck down an attempt by Ohio to make that state’s ratification of constitutional amendments subject to a vote of the people, holding that where Article V gives authority to state legislatures, these bodies are exercising a federal function.
Although some scholars have asserted that certain kinds of constitutional amendments might be “unconstitutional,” actual substantive challenges to amendments have so far been unsuccessful. National Prohibition Cases (1920); Leser v. Garnett (1922). The Supreme Court’s consideration of procedural challenges thus far does not extend beyond the 1939 decision of Coleman v. Miller, dealing with Kansas’s ratification of a child labor amendment. The Court split on whether state ratification disputes are nonjusticiable political questions, but then held that Congress, “in controlling the promulgation of the adoption of constitutional amendment[s],” should have final authority over ratification controversies.
In the end, the Framers believed that the amendment process would protect the Constitution from undue change at the same time that it would strengthen the authority of the Constitution with the people by allowing its deliberate reform while elevating it above immediate political passions. “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government,” George Washington wrote in his Farewell Address of 1796. “But the Constitution which at any time exists, ‘till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.”
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WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH AMERICA?
It is beneficial to remind ourselves periodically of the realities in the struggle between Constitutionalism / Capitalism and Marxism-Leninism. It is a continual struggle, whether we acknowledge it or not. And the enemy of America as a constitutional republic with a capitalistic economic system is Marxism-Leninism, whether it be characterized as communism, socialism, progressivism, leftism, statism, or liberalism (in its current state).
Historically, we can consider the birth of the fusion between Marxism and Leninism to be in 1917, when Vladimir Lenin first took power as the leader of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, later to be known as the USSR. Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution that gave the world its first taste of socialism, established as Communism. He transformed the political philosophy of Marxism into his own brand, Marxism-Leninism. Here are a few of his famous quotations 1:
“The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”
“One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”
“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”
“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”
“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them in parliament.”
“The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.”
“The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.”
“Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.”
“Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”
“There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.”
“Democracy is indispensable to socialism.”
“It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.”
Joseph Stalin took over leadership of the new USSR after Lenin’s death. He was ruthless in crushing dissent, killing thousands of counter-revolutionaries and political opponents through military actions and political purges. His singular achievement was in killing seven million Ukrainians by starving them to death, a triumph of socialist collective power over political opposition known to history as the Holdomor. These are some of his better-known quotations 1:
“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
“The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.”
“We don’t let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?”
“Death solves all problems – no man, no problem.”
“Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”
“When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use.”
“If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”
“The only real power comes out of a long rifle.”
It is well-recognized that President Obama’s political philosophy is heavily influenced by Marxism-Leninism, originating primarily through his childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis. He has demonstrated through his policy implementation that he believes in a strong centralized government and increasing governmental control over the financial system, media, education, energy, healthcare, private property, where people live, their means of transportation, and how they behave.
His beliefs are reflected in his words:
“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times.” 2
“Generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties.” 3
“If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” 2
“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” 4
“Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” 5
“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program.” 6
“I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution…” 7
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” 8
“…We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” 9
In a similar vein, Hillary Clinton was immersed in a Marxist environment at an early age. Her senior thesis at Wellesley College was a positive analysis of the dirty political tactics of radical organizer Saul Alinsky, whom she referred to having a “compelling personality” and “exceptional charm.”
To illustrate her political leanings, the following are a sampling of her quotations:
“We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”
“It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, for the few, and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity.”
“We can’t just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people.”
“We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own turf in order to create this common ground.”
“I certainly think the free market has failed.”
“I think it’s time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in the entire economy, that they are being watched.”
“What I want to do is take those profits and apply them to alternative energy.”
“I really believe that it takes a village to raise a child. 10“
“I also believe that every new handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry… 11“
Isn’t it amazing how little the goals and objectives of Marxism-Leninism have changed over the past 97 years, and how clear they continue to be for those who open their eyes.
1 Source: Brainyquote.com
2 Source: Townhall.com, September 18, 2012
3 Source: wnd.com, October 27, 2008
4 Source: abcnews.go.com, October 14, 2008
5 Source: Forbes.com, January 14, 2014
6 Source: cnsnews.com, August 12, 2009
7 Source: Breitbart.com, September 18, 2012
8 Source: nation.foxnews.com, January 10, 2011
9 Source: Spectator.org, October 25, 2010
10 Source: Ontheissues.org/hillary_clinton.htm
11 Source: CNN.com, June 2, 2000
It is a condition of my admission to this great land that I am not allowed to foment the overthrow of the United States government. Oh, I signed it airily enough, but you’d be surprised, as the years go by, how often the urge to foment starts to rise in one’s gullet. Fortunately, at least as far as constitutional government goes, the president of the United States is doing a grand job of overthrowing it all by himself.
On Thursday, he passed a new law at a press conference. George III never did that. But, having ordered America’s insurance companies to comply with Obamacare, the president announced that he is now ordering them not to comply with Obamacare. The legislative branch (as it’s still quaintly known) passed a law purporting to grandfather your existing health plan. The regulatory bureaucracy then interpreted the law so as to un-grandfather your health plan. So His Most Excellent Majesty has commanded that your health plan be de-un-grandfathered. That seems likely to work. The insurance industry had three years to prepare for the introduction of Obamacare. Now the King has given them six weeks to de-introduce Obamacare.
“I wonder if he has the legal authority to do this,” mused former Vermont governor Howard Dean. But he’s obviously some kind of right-wing wacko. Later that day, anxious to help him out, Congress offered to “pass” a “law” allowing people to keep their health plans. The same president who had unilaterally commanded that people be allowed to keep their health plans indignantly threatened to veto any such law to that effect: It only counts if he does it — geddit? As his court eunuchs at the Associated Press obligingly put it: “Obama Will Allow Old Plans.” It’s Barry’s world; we just live in it.
The reason for the benign Sovereign’s exercise of the Royal Prerogative is that millions of his subjects – or “folks,” as he prefers to call us, no fewer than 27 times during his press conference – have had their lives upended by Obamacare. Your traditional hard-core statist, surveying the mountain of human wreckage he has wrought, usually says, “Well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” But Obama is the first to order that his omelet be unscrambled and the eggs put back in their original shells. Is this even doable? No. That’s the point. When it doesn’t work, he’ll be able to give another press conference blaming the insurance companies, or the state commissioners, or George W. Bush . . .
The most telling line, the one that encapsulates the gulf between the boundless fantasies of the faculty-lounge utopian and the messiness of reality, was this: “What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.” Gee, thanks for sharing, genius. Maybe you should have thought of that before you governmentalized one-sixth of the economy. By “we,” the president means “I.” Out here in the ruder provinces of his decrepit realm, we “folks” are well aware of how complicated insurance is. What isn’t complicated in the Sultanate of Sclerosis? But, as with so many other things, Obama always gives the vague impression that routine features of humdrum human existence are entirely alien to him. Marie Antoinette, informed that the peasantry could no longer afford bread, is alleged to have responded, “Let them eat cake.” There is no evidence these words ever passed her lips, but certainly no one ever accused her of saying, “If you like your cake, you can keep your cake,” and then having to walk it back with “What we’re also discovering is that cake is complicated to buy.” That contribution to the annals of monarchical unworldliness had to await the reign of Queen Barry Antoinette, whose powdered wig seems to have slipped over his eyes.
Still, as historian Michael Beschloss pronounced the day after his election, he’s “probably the smartest guy ever to become president.” Naturally, Obama shares this assessment. As he assured us five years ago, “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.” Well, apart from his signature health-care policy. That’s a mystery to him. “I was not informed directly that the website would not be working,” he told us. The buck stops with something called “the executive branch,” which is apparently nothing to do with him. As evidence that he was entirely out of the loop, he offered this:
Had I been I informed, I wouldn’t be going out saying, “Boy, this is going to be great.” You know, I’m accused of a lot of things, but I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying, “This is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity,” a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.
Ooooo-kay. So, if I follow correctly, the smartest president ever is not smart enough to ensure that his website works; he’s not smart enough to inquire of others as to whether his website works; he’s not smart enough to check that his website works before he goes out and tells people what a great website experience they’re in for. But he is smart enough to know that he’s not stupid enough to go around bragging about how well it works if he’d already been informed that it doesn’t work. So he’s smart enough to know that if he’d known what he didn’t know he’d know enough not to let it be known that he knew nothing. The country’s in the very best of hands.
Michael Beschloss is right: This is what it means to be smart in a neo-monarchical America. Obama spake, and it shall be so. And, if it turns out not to be so, why pick on him? He talks a good Royal Proclamation; why get hung up on details?
Until October 1, Obama had never done anything – not run a gas station, or a doughnut stand – other than let himself be wafted onward and upward to the next do-nothing gig. Even in his first term, he didn’t really do: Starting with the 2009 trillion-dollar stimulus, he ran a money-no-object government that was all money and no objects; he spent and spent, and left no trace. Some things he massively expanded (food stamps, Social Security disability) and other things he massively diminished (effective foreign policy), but all were, so to speak, preexisting conditions. Obamacare is the first thing Obama has actually done, and, if you’re the person it’s being done to, it’s not pretty.
The president promised to “fundamentally transform” America. Certainly, other men have succeeded in transforming settled, free societies: Pierre Trudeau did in Canada four decades ago, and so, in post-war Britain, did the less charismatic Clement Attlee. And, if you subscribe to their particular philosophy, their transformations were effected very efficiently. But Obama is an incompetent, so “fundamentally transformed” is a euphemism for “wrecked beyond repair.” As a socialist, he makes a good socialite.
But on he staggers, with a wave of his scepter, delaying this, staying that, exempting the other, according to his regal whim and internal polling. The omniscient beneficent Sovereign will now graciously “allow” us “folks” to keep all those junk plans from bad-apple insurers. Yet even the wisest King cannot reign forever, and what will happen decades down the road were someone less benign – perhaps even (shudder) a Republican – to ascend the throne and wield these mighty powers?
Hey, relax: If you like your constitution, you can keep your constitution. Period. And your existing amendments. Well, most of them – except for the junk ones…
1. Health Care
Nancy Pelosi described the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as something that “captures the spirit of our founders” and will “put money back in the pockets of America’s patients” (WSJ, House.gov). However, only 46% of Americans had a favorable view of the ACA when a Democrat-controlled Congress voted it into law. Since then, approval has decreased to 37%.
According to Pew Research, less than 1/3 of Americans are happy with our nation’s education system. However, instead of promoting an overhaul of the system, which the public wants, the President and legislators send the message that they don’t care by enrolling their kids in elite private schools and cutting initiatives like the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (CNS News).
In his series of speeches on the economy this summer, President Obama insisted that “America has fought its way back” and has already “recovered” (LA Times). Yet, only 28% of the public feels that the U.S. economy is recovering.
Democrats’ 2012 election platforms saw a larger embrace of pro-choice stances than we’ve ever seen before. Their TV ads were filled with pro-choice messaging, abortion rights activists were main speakers at the DNC, and the head of Planned Parenthood even introduced President Obama at a campaign rally (Politico). In the real world, more Americans feel that having an abortion is “morally wrong” than those who don’t.
When George Zimmerman was deemed “not guilty” of the murder of Trayvon Martin, countless Democratic leaders echoed the President’s calls for an honest discussion on race. In fact, 62% of Democrats felt that the Zimmerman verdict raised issues about race than needed to be discussed, though only 36% of the total public agreed with them.
6. Trust in Government
In recent years, the Democratic party has been riddled with one scandal after another, from Benghazi to Weiner to the IRS. As a result, the public’s trust in government has plummeted since 2007 – it is now a measly 19%. Despite how “phony” Obama may believe the scandals to be, the American public definitely feels otherwise.
Even a blind monkey with half a brain could tell you that there’s a disconnect between the current administration and the public. Just how big is this disconnect? Surprisingly massive. On the major issues that dominate interviews and debates each year, Democratic leaders are increasingly distancing themselves from the views of the majority of American people.
The President is taking multi-million dollar vacations while regular Americans are decreasing their number of paid off days just to keep their jobs. Legislators are enrolling their children in elite private schools while the rest of us are volunteering personal time and money to help our local public school systems. The NSA is defending its right to access public phone records, though we are adamantly calling for it to stop.
The truth about Benghazi, the Associated Press/James Rosen monitoring, the IRS corruption, the NSA octopus, and Fast and Furious is still not exactly known. Almost a year after the attacks on our Benghazi facilities, we are only now learning details of CIA gun-running, military stand-down orders, aliases of those involved who are still hard to locate, massaged talking points, and the weird jailing of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
We still do not quite know why Eric Holder’s Justice Department went after the Associated Press or Fox News’s James Rosen – given that members of the administration were themselves illegally leaking classified information about the Stuxnet virus, the Yemeni double agent, the drone program, and the bin Laden document trove, apparently to further the narrative of an underappreciated Pattonesque commander-in-chief up for reelection.
Almost everything the administration has assured us about the IRS scandal has proven false: It was not confined to rogue Cincinnati agents; liberal and conservative groups were not equally targeted; and there were political appointees who were involved in or knew of the misdeeds.
The NSA debacle can so far best be summed up by citing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has now confessed that he lied under oath (“clearly erroneous”) to the U.S. Congress. Even his earlier mea culpa of providing the “least untruthful” statement was an untruth.
Yet the truth does come out. None of these scandals so far has been as ignored as the initial Watergate break-in and associated Nixon-administration misdeeds. If the doctrinaire press is now leading from behind, instead of launching a full-scale attack as it did in the Watergate years, the media as a whole are far more diverse than in 1973, with so many different venues and agendas that it’s difficult to suppress the truth for long.
Remember, between when the Nixon operatives drew up their initial plans to commit illegal acts in early 1972 and when the media furor over cover-ups and lying forced Nixon out of office in late summer 1974, the time elapsed was over 30 months – a period as long as or longer than the gestation of the present scandals. Recall also that no one died in Watergate; that the IRS resisted, not abetted, calls to go after critics of the president; and that Attorney General John Mitchell did not lie under oath to Congress. Scandals wax and wane, but until the truth is told, they never quite end.
There is also nothing new in administration denials. Both President Obama and his press secretary, Jay Carney, characterized the Benghazi, IRS, AP, and NSA allegations as “phony.” So too Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, characterized the Watergate break-in as “a third-rate burglary attempt” and insisted that “Certain elements may try to stretch the Watergate burglary beyond what it is.” In August 1972, when news of the break-in first got out, Nixon himself assured the nation, “I can say categorically that… no one in the White House staff, no one in this Administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.” The Obama administration’s variation on outright denial is “What difference, at this point, does it make?” And when Jay Carney declares, “I accept that ‘stylistic’ might not precisely describe a change of one word to another,” I am reminded of Ron Ziegler’s quip, “This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.”
By the summer of 1974, Richard Nixon was almost alone. His attorney general, John Mitchell; his closest two advisers, Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman; his White House counsel, John Dean; and a score of others – some of them directly involved, others only tangentially mentioned – had resigned, had been fired, or had been indicted. Those not involved simply wanted out of the administration, lest they suffer from guilt by association.
Less than a year after Benghazi, all the chief participants in reacting to the attack are gone from their positions: Susan Rice left the U.N. ambassadorship and is now a very quiet national-security adviser; Hillary Clinton is no longer secretary of state; we have both a new defense secretary and a new CIA director; the ranking military officer responsible for the area around Benghazi, General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, has retired.
Likewise there have been several resignations and suspensions from the IRS. I don’t think James Clapper will last long as director of national intelligence – such a high-ranking official simply cannot confess to lying under oath to a congressional committee and expect ever again to be taken seriously. Eric Holder may prove to be Obama’s version of a steadfast-to-the-very-last General Haig; yet, like the mostly silent Susan Rice, he has been so tainted with scandal as to have little reputation left other than for being loyal to the president, and is thus irrelevant.
I think it is a fair guess that had the public learned the truth about the Benghazi deaths – that a videomaker had no role in the violence and that the administration was paranoid about drawing attention to an ascendant al-Qaeda, U.S. missile-running, and lax diplomatic security – or about the IRS targeting or the NSA surveillance or the AP/Rosen monitoring, Barack Obama would have lost a close election. All these scandals had their geneses before the 2012 election, and all were adroitly hushed up until after Obama’s second inauguration.
That too is in accord with the Watergate pattern. The Nixon administration covered up in Machiavellian fashion the June 1972 Watergate break-in, almost five months before the president’s landslide win. At least six weeks before the election, the nation knew that there were members of the Nixon administration or the Nixon reelection committee involved in Watergate-related misdeeds – but they found that in comparison to Vietnam, the Chinese initiatives, or the economy, the Watergate news was boring. Again, that the Obama scandals were successfully kept hushed up before the 2012 election is not unusual.
Whereas Nixon suppressed the truth and won big in 1972, by the 1974 midterm elections there had been enough blowback from the Watergate scandals that the Democrats picked up four Senate seats and 49 House seats. In other words, 2014 is still a long time away.
The Obama administration’s methods and aims – going after political opponents, monitoring a supposedly leaking press, fingering fall guys, soiling the IRS – are likewise Nixonian to the core.
Nixon tried to use the IRS to punish his enemies, although Lois Lerner and William Wilkins appear to have had far less integrity than did Nixon’s IRS chief, Johnnie Walters, who resisted rather than abetted Nixon’s illegal efforts. As in the case of doctoring CIA talking points and pressuring CIA operatives, so too Nixon tried to cloak misdeeds as “national security” operations. Nixon went after members of the press; Obama had the communications of James Rosen of Fox News – and even those of Rosen’s parents – monitored. Mr. Nakoula was the poor soul the authorities almost immediately jailed for his supposedly right-wing, Islamophobic film. He proved a sort of updated version of the caricatured crazy Cuban burglars and the unhinged Gordon Liddy, whose freelancing zeal allegedly caused the Watergate problem in the first place. The only difference is that the latter really did commit relevant illegal acts, while Nakoula’s videomaking was uncouth, not criminal – and irrelevant to the Benghazi deaths.
Lois Lerner’s resort to the Fifth Amendment is not new and will not be successful in covering up her record at the IRS. During the Watergate scandals, almost everyone from Charles Colson to John Dean took the Fifth at one point or another while under oath in front of various committees and grand juries. Such stonewalling delayed but did not stop the investigations. I expect more participants in the Obama-administration misdeeds will invoke the Fifth, and the dodges will ultimately have little effect, other than to remind us that many in the administration have lots to hide.
Nixon left office with historic low poll numbers and the economy a wreck. His successful feat of Vietnamization was undone by Congress’s refusal to make good on American promises of aid. His foreign trips were seen as failed efforts to regain political stature back home.
So too already with the unraveling of Obama. Cap-and-trade, green energy, and the idea of global warming are politically dead. So is a new gun-control initiative. The president, not his critics, is dismantling key elements of Obamacare, his signature achievement. Cabinet posts resemble musical chairs. About all we can expect is a new Nixonesque war on someone – post–Trayvon Martin “bigots,” conservatives supposedly waging a “war on women,” “nativists” who sabotaged “comprehensive immigration reform.” In other words, there will be no positive initiatives, just attacks on Them.
The president’s poll numbers are tanking, and even some of the liberal press feels increasingly betrayed. The Middle East is a mess: Syria a charnel house, Egypt pure chaos, Libya the new Somalia, Iraq abandoned, Afghanistan ignored. Al-Qaeda is on the run — toward Westerners everywhere.
The common denominators are perceived presidential weakness, and inattention. But whereas Richard Nixon was seen as a brilliant foreign-policy realist, Obama prior to his scandals was already struggling to overcome the reputation of being a naïf about foreig and cool, distant, and inept at home.
Because something terribly wrong occurred in Benghazi, with the IRS, with the treatment of the Associated Press and James Rosen, and perhaps with Edward Snowden and the NSA, and those involved are seeking to mask their culpability, the scandals grind on. They will not end until the truth sets us all free. So expect a long-drawn-out and sordid saga.
If the administration continues to stonewall and taunt its critics, there will soon appear updated Obama versions of diehard Nixon defenders like Rabbi Korff and Representative Sandman – with plenty of the same old “Let me be perfectly clear” and “Make no mistake about it” presidential denials.
Just when I thought the George Zimmerman “trial” couldn’t sink any lower, the prosecutorial limbo dancers of the State of Florida magnificently lowered their own bar in the final moments of their cable-news celebrity.
In real justice systems, the state decides what crime has been committed and charges somebody with it. In the Zimmerman trial, the state’s “theory of the case” is that it has no theory of the case: Might be murder, might be manslaughter, might be aggravated assault, might be a zillion other things, but it’s something. If you’re a juror, feel free to convict George Zimmerman of whatever floats your boat.
Nailing a guy on something, anything, is a time-honored American tradition: If you can’t get Al Capone on the Valentine’s Day massacre, get him on his taxes. Americans seem to have a sneaky admiration for this sort of thing, notwithstanding that, as we now know, the government is happy to get lots of other people on their taxes, too. Ever since the president of the United States (a man so cautious and deferential to legal niceties that he can’t tell you whether the Egyptian army removing the elected head of state counts as a military coup until his advisors have finished looking into the matter) breezily declared that if he had a son he’d look like Trayvon, ever since the U.S. Department of so-called Justice dispatched something called its “Community Relations Services” to Florida to help organize anti-Zimmerman rallies at taxpayer expense, ever since the politically savvy governor appointed a “special prosecutor” and the deplorably unsavvy Sanford Police Chief was eased out, the full panoply of state power has been deployed to nail Zimmerman on anything.
How difficult can that be in a country in which a Hispanic Obama voter can be instantly transformed into the poster boy for white racism? Who ya gonna believe – Al Sharpton or your lying eyes? As closing arguments began on Thursday, the prosecutors asked the judge to drop the aggravated assault charge and instruct the jury on felony murder committed in the course of child abuse. Felony murder is a murder that occurs during a felony, and, according to the prosecution’s theory du jour, the felony George Zimmerman was engaged in that night was “child abuse,” on the grounds that Trayvon Martin, when he began beating up Zimmerman, was 17-years-old. This will come as news to most casual observers of the case, who’ve only seen young Trayvon in that beatific photo of him as a 12-year-old.
In that one pitiful closing moment, the case achieved its sublime reductio ad absurdum: After a year’s labors, after spending a million bucks, after calling a legion of risible witnesses, even after the lead prosecutor dragged in a department store mannequin and personally straddled it on the floor of the court, the state is back to where it all began – the ancient snapshot of a smiling middle-schooler that so beguiled American news editors, Trayvon Martin apparently being the only teenager in America to have gone entirely unphotographed in the second decade of the 21st century. And, if Trayvon is a child, his malefactor is by logical extension a child abuser.
Needless to say, even in a nutso jurisdiction like Florida, the crime of “child abuse” was never intended to cover a wizened old granny kicking the ankle of the punk who’s mugging her a week before his 18th birthday. But, if ‘aggravated pedophilia’ is what it takes to fry that puffy white cracker’s butt, so be it.
If, for the purposes of American show trials, a Hispanic who voted for a black president can be instantly transformed into a white racist, there’s no reason why he can’t be a child abuser, too. The defense was notified of this novel development, on which the prosecution (judging by the volume of precedents assembled) had been working for weeks or more likely months, at 7:30 that morning. If you know your Magna Carta, you’ll be aware that “no official shall place a man on trial… without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.” But the rights enjoyed by free men in the England of King John in 1215 are harder to come by in the State of Florida eight centuries later.
So the prosecutors decided, the day before the case went to the jury, that Zimmerman was engaged in an act of child abuse that had somehow got a bit out of hand: no “credible witnesses” to this charge had been presented in the preceding weeks, but hey, what the hell? Opposing counsel, taking the reasonable position that they’d shown up to defend Mr. Zimmerman of murder and had had no idea until that morning that he was also on trial for child abuse, check bouncing, jaywalking, an expired fishing license, or whatever other accusation took the fancy of the State of Florida, asked for time to research the relevant case law. Judge Debra Nelson gave them until 1 p.m. At that point, it was 10.30 a.m. By the time the genius jurist had returned to the bench, she had reconsidered, and decided that “child abuse” would be a reach too far, even for her disgraceful court.
The defining characteristic of English law is its distribution of power between prosecutor, judge and jury. This delicate balance has been utterly corrupted in the United States to the point where today at the federal level there is a conviction rate of over 90 percent, which would impress Mubarak and the House of Saud, if not quite yet, Kim Jong-Un. American prosecutors have an unhealthy and disreputable addiction to what I called, at the conclusion of the trial of my old boss Conrad Black six years ago, “countless counts.” In Conrad’s case, he was charged originally with 17 crimes, three of which were dropped by the opening of the trial and another halfway through, leaving 13 for the jury, nine of which they found the defendant not guilty of, bringing it down to four, one of which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional and the remaining three of which they vacated, only to have two of them reinstated by the lower appeals court. In other words, the prosecution lost 88 percent of the case, but the 12 percent they won was enough to destroy Conrad Black’s life.
Multiple charges tend, through sheer weight of numbers, to favor a result in which the jury convict on some and acquit on others and then tell themselves that they’ve reached a “moderate” “compromise” as befits the reasonable persons they assuredly are. It is, of course, not reasonable. Indeed, the notion of a “compromise” between conviction and acquittal is a dagger at the heart of justice. It’s the repugnant “plea bargain” in reverse, but this time to bargain with the jury: okay, we threw the book at him and it went nowhere, so why don’t we all agree to settle? In Sanford, the state’s second closing “argument” to the strange, shrunken semi-jury of strikingly unrepresentative peers – facts, shmacts, who really knows? Vote with your hearts – brilliantly dispenses with the need for a “case” at all.
We have been warned that in the event of an acquittal there could be riots. My own feeling is that the Allegedly Reverend Al Sharpton, now somewhat emaciated and underbouffed from his Tawana Brawley heyday, is not the Tahrir Square-scale race-baiting huckster he once was.
But if Floridians are of a mind to let off a little steam, they might usefully burn down the Sanford courthouse and salt the earth. The justice system revealed by this squalid trial is worth rioting over.
Barack Obama has never been clear on the distinction between sovereign and servant, between the American people and those, including himself, elected to do the people’s business. We saw that yet again this week with the president’s unilateral rewrite of the Bataan Death March known as the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare. For this president, laws are not binding expressions of the popular will, but trifling recommendations to be ignored when expedient.
The collapse of law – not just Obamacare but law in general – is the Obama administration’s most egregious scandal. With the IRS here, Benghazi there, and Eric Holder’s institutionalized malevolence crowding the middle, it gets little direct attention. Perhaps it is so ubiquitous, so quotidian, that we’ve become inured to it.
As if more evidence were needed about the tragedy of black education, Rachel Jeantel, a witness for the prosecution in the George Zimmerman murder trial, put a face on it for the nation to see. Some of that evidence unfolded when Zimmerman’s defense attorney asked 19-year-old Jeantel to read a letter that she allegedly had written to Trayvon Martin’s mother. She responded that she doesn’t read cursive, and that’s in addition to her poor grammar, syntax and communication skills.
Jeantel is a senior at Miami Norland Senior High School. How in the world did she manage to become a 12th-grader without being able to read cursive writing? That’s a skill one would expect from a fourth-grader. Jeantel is by no means an exception at her school.
I would like to declare a war on women – namely, all those cringe-inducing ninnies who lust after every celebrity criminal defendant with big muscles, tattoos, puppy-dog eyes or Hollywood hair.
You know who I’m talking about, right? America’s Bad Boy groupies. They’re on the courthouse steps with their “Free Jahar” signs, cooing over how “hot” and “cute” the bloodstained Boston Marathon bombing suspect is. He “can blow me up with babies,” one moral reprobate quipped shortly after his capture. “I’m not gonna lie, the second bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is hot. #sorrynotsorry,” another young girl boasted.
When do insensitive words destroy reputations?
It all depends.
Celebrity chef Paula Deen was dropped by her TV network, her publisher, and many of her corporate partners after she testified in a legal deposition that she used the N-word some 30 years ago. The deposition was made in a lawsuit against Deen and her brother over allegations of sexual and racial harassment.
Actor Alec Baldwin recently let loose with a barrage of homophobic crudities. Unlike Deen, Baldwin spewed his epithets in the present. He tweeted them publicly, along with threats of physical violence. So far he has avoided Paula Deen’s ignominious fate.
I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white.
Apparently other Americans also recognize that the sources of racism are different today from what they were in the past. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31 percent of blacks think that most blacks are racists, while 24 percent of blacks think that most whites are racist.
The difference between these percentages is not great, but it is remarkable nevertheless. After all, generations of blacks fought the white racism from which they suffered for so long. If many blacks themselves now think that most other blacks are racist, that is startling.
President Obama wants to make government “smarter.” Who could disagree with that? After all, it’s unlikely that even the biggest fans of big government believe the way government does what it does is the very best, very smartest way imaginable. Whether you’re an anarchist, a Leninist, or somewhere in between, everyone can agree that Uncle Sam could afford a few more IQ points.
Let’s put it another way. If government is going to do X, it should do X the smartest way possible. On that proposition both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party agree.
1) This is President Obama’s number one political agenda item because he knows we will never again have a Republican president, ever, if amnesty goes into effect. We will perpetually have a progressive, liberal president, probably a Democrat, and we will probably see the House of Representatives go into Democrat hands and the Senate will stay in Democrat hands. – Michele Bachmann
2) The bill is worse than universal healthcare. Listen to me, it is worse than universal healthcare, and in the coming days as we get closer, we will explain why it’s worse than universal healthcare. It is the death knell of the country, there is no recovery from this one. None. No recovery. – Glenn Beck
3) If Republicans are opposed to what mass immigration is doing to the country demographically, ethnically, socially and politically, there are, as Reagan used to say, “simple answers, just no easy answers.”
Those answers: No amnesty, secure the border, enforce laws against businesses that hire illegals, and impose a moratorium on new immigration so wages can rise and immigrants enter the middle class and start voting as did the children and grandchildren of the immigrants of 1890-1920 by 1972.
So what are the Republicans doing?
Going back on their word, dishonoring their platform, and enraging their loyal supporters, who gave Mitt 90 percent of his votes, to pander to a segment of the electorate that gave Mitt less than 5 percent of his total votes.
Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. – Pat Buchanan
4) The nation’s plutocrats are lined up with the Democratic Party in a short-term bid to get themselves cheap labor (subsidized by the rest of us), which will give the Democratic Party a permanent majority. If Rubio’s amnesty goes through, the Republican Party is finished. It will be the “Nancy Pelosi Democratic Party” versus the “Chuck Schumer Republican Party.” – Ann Coulter
5) Instead of cracking down on the Administration’s abuse of power, S. 744 places unprecedented new restrictions on interior enforcement – making the current situation much worse and much more hazardous. It is as if S. 744 were explicitly written to handcuff law enforcement officials – binding their hands while giving virtually unchecked authority to executive branch officials to prevent future removals, including removals of criminal aliens. – ICE Council president Chris Crane
6) It doesn’t stop illegal immigration. If anything it makes the problem worse by not securing the border and by incentivizing future illegal immigration. – Ted Cruz
7) Creating more than 30 million new immigrants, including 11 million former illegals, and supplanting their numbers with another 20-odd million guest workers is from a sociological and demographic point of view quite radical: 30 million is roughly a tenth of the current population of the United States. How we handle immigration is of fundamental importance to questions ranging from national security to economic growth to the character of our nation itself. That we cannot get a couple of small-time performance benchmarks written into the bill suggests that this issue is not being treated with the intelligence and the prudence it deserves. – The Editors at National Review
8) This is the administration that has refused to enforce the law… they have created new law out of nothing. They’ve violated the law in a number of ways. And our guys are counting on the administration to all of a sudden actually keep their word on something like securing the border when they’ve never done it before and they believe it’s in their political interest to continue not to secure the border even if there’s a deal? I mean that’s crazy to think they’re going to start securing the border and until we secure the border everything else is completely meaningless. – Louie Gohmert
9) Should this be grounds to primary challenge every Republican who voted for this bill, and I mean every single one? I don’t care if they just got re-elected. Next time they’re up for re-election. Ann Coulter’s right. This is a single issue – this is a single-issue primary challenge. You know why? Because this is it. As Bill Kristol said on this show, as he said on this show, once you give this pathway to citizenship all these benefits, all this discretion to [Janet] Napolitano, it’s over. It’s too late to complain about it. It’s over. – Laura Ingraham
10) The federal judge in Crane v. Napolitano has ruled that the ICE agents are likely to prevail in their argument that the Obama administration is ordering them to violate federal law. Think about that: This administration is ordering career law enforcement personnel to break the law. Now, the administration is pushing for an amnesty bill that contains almost nothing to improve immigration enforcement. All that the American citizens will get in return for the amnesty is the promise from the Obama administration that they will try harder to enforce the law. The administration has already shattered that promise, doing exactly the opposite. This is a stark warning to Congress. I sincerely hope that they hear it. – Kris Kobach
11) Almost every requirement in this bill can be waived by Janet Napolitano: for instance, the time limits on when people can be legalized, the requirements on criminal activity or even the enforcement triggers. Those basically don’t mean anything if any of them is held up in court, still. …The litigation over the 1986 bill didn’t end until just a few years ago. The ACLU has been quite clear that it intends to sue to stop mandatory e-verify and probably sue to stop a bunch of other things. If, for instance, mandatory use of electronic verification is still in the courts 10 years after the bill passes, it’s entirely possible the Secretary of Homeland Security can just give everybody Green Cards on her own – and there are hundreds of other examples of that kind of discretion. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that this 1,000 page bill after all of the amendments could be boiled down to, “We trust you, Obama; just do the right thing.” – Mark Krikorian
12) The ‘Gang of Eight’ bill is not immigration reform. It is big government dysfunction. It is an immigration Obamacare. All advocates of true immigration reform – on the left and the right – should oppose it. – Mike Lee
13) Okay. So what does that mean, the republic is at stake? This is the ball game. I remember people saying that about Obamacare. Now they’re saying it about immigration reform. And they’re both right. In the case of immigration reform, it effectively wipes out the Republican Party. – Rush Limbaugh
14) Will they listen? Suicidal Republicans have supported illegal alien amnesties dating back to the Reagan era. They have paid a steep, lasting price. As bankrupt, multiculti-wracked California goes, so goes the nation. The progs’ plan has always been to exploit the massive population of illegal aliens to redraw the political map and secure a permanent ruling majority.
Now, in the wake of nonstop D.C. corruption eruptions, SchMcGRubio and Company want us to trust them with a thousand new pages of phony triggers, left-wing slush-fund spending and make-believe assimilation gestures. Trust them? Hell, no. There’s only one course for citizens who believe in upholding the Constitution and protecting the American dream: Stop them. – Michelle Malkin
15) On every major front, this legislation fails to deliver on its core promises. It delivers only for the special interest groups who helped write it. Should it pass, it would represent the ultimate triumph of the Washington elite over the everyday citizen to whom Congress properly owes its loyalty. – Jeff Sessions
More opinion articles:
Excerpt – Every time I go on his show, my radio pal Hugh Hewitt asks me why congressional Republicans aren’t doing more to insist that the GOP suicide note known as “the immigration deal” include a requirement for a border fence. I don’t like to tell Hugh that, if they ever get around to building the fence, it won’t be to keep the foreigners out but to keep you guys in.
I jest, but only very slightly and only because the government doesn’t build much of anything these days – except for that vast complex five times the size of the Capitol the NSA is throwing up in Utah to house everybody’s data on everything everyone’s ever done with anyone ever.
Excerpt – One might expect Keith Alexander to advocate on behalf of the two programs at the center of our national debate about terrorism and surveillance. He is, after all, the head of the National Security Agency, which runs them. “It’s dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent—both here and abroad-in disrupting or contributing to the disruption of terrorist attacks,” Alexander testified last week.
And it’s not entirely surprising that the four leading members of Congress on intelligence matters would argue on behalf of these programs, known as “215” and “702,” for the sections of the laws that authorize them.
Excerpt – One of the most common arguments for allowing more immigration is that there is a “need” for foreign workers to do “jobs that Americans won’t do,” especially in agriculture.
One of my most vivid memories of the late Armen Alchian, an internationally renowned economist at UCLA, involved a lunch at which one of the younger members of the economics department got up to go get some more coffee. Being a considerate sort, the young man asked, “Does anyone else need more coffee?”
“Need?” Alchian said loudly, in a cutting tone that clearly conveyed his dismay and disgust at hearing an economist using such a word.
Excerpt – We all know now what the vengeful Obama IRS has been doing to conservative nonprofits the past four years: strangling them in the crib. But do you know how much pampering and largesse far-left welfare-state charities have received while limited-government groups suffered? You don’t know the half of it.
Before President Obama took office, I warned that Democrats planned to steer untold amounts of taxpayer dollars to his shady community-organizing pals. The Dems’ 2008 party platform proposed the creation of a “Social Investment Fund Network” to subsidize “social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations (that) are assisting schools, lifting families out of poverty, filling health care gaps and inspiring others to lead change in their own communities.”
Excerpt – Grutter v. Bollinger was the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the University of Michigan Law School’s racial admissions policy. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writing for the majority, said the U.S. Constitution “does not prohibit the Law School’s narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.” But what are the educational benefits of a diverse student body?
Intellectuals argue that diversity is necessary for academic excellence, but what’s the evidence? For example, Japan is a nation bereft of diversity in any activity. Close to 99 percent of its population is of one race. Whose students do you think have higher academic achievement – theirs or ours?
Excerpt – “Why are there no libertarian countries?”
In a much-discussed essay for Salon, Michael Lind asks: “If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?”
Such is the philosophical poverty of liberalism today that this stands as a profound question.
Definitions vary, but broadly speaking, libertarianism is the idea that people should be as free as possible from state coercion so long as they don’t harm anyone.
Is every liberal an immoral, nasty tempered, habitual liar who accuses people of racism for fun and trashes his own country because he thinks it makes him look sophisticated? Of course, not! On the other hand, is that a fairly accurate description of most liberals in politics? Yes, it is. Most of them aren’t evil per se, but as Margaret Thatcher said,
“Left-wing zealots have often been prepared to ride roughshod over due process and basic considerations of fairness when they think they can get away with it. For them the ends always seems to justify the means. That is precisely how their predecessors came to create the gulag.”
Liberals view themselves as good people because they’re liberals. People who are outside of that ugly little bit of circular reasoning don’t have such a benign view of their horrible behavior. So, what reason could you have to dislike liberals?
1) Only liberals would be cruel enough to pick on kids running lemonade stands with a permit, children putting on Christmas plays at school and the Boy Scouts.
2) Because the closest thing to Sodom and Gomorrah in the modern world is San Francisco and Berkeley.
3) Whether you’re talking about cop killers, terrorists, radical Islamists or dictators, all you have to do is say, “I hate America,” and liberals start to sympathize with you.
4) Liberals are actually bothered by people who do love America. On the rare occasion when you do see a liberal waving a flag, look for a camera.
5) The same people who voted Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama into office think they’re smarter than tradition, the Founding Fathers and God Himself.
6) Liberals might not want to admit it, but the world would have been a better place if Mary Jo Kopechne had crawled up out of that car instead of Ted Kennedy.
7) Only an ass could like Bill Maher, Alan Grayson or Sheila Jackson Lee.
8) Liberals believe in taking money from people who earn it, handing it out as bribes in order to get more power and then using that power to hurt the people that are giving them money.
9) The same liberal who’ll laugh at a rape joke about Sarah Palin and then attack Michele Bachmann’s family will then turn around and accuse someone else of being sexist for respectfully noting that a woman is attractive.
10) Liberals view hooking people on welfare and food stamps as a core part of their election strategy, which is terrible for the country, shows they have no character and requires more than a little hatred for poor people.
11) The dumbest, most close-minded and mean spirited people in all of politics are inevitably liberals who are convinced they’re brilliant, open-minded and compassionate because they call themselves liberals.
12) A policy that makes liberals feel superior and caring that doesn’t work and wastes billions is considered a smashing success because they genuinely DON’T CARE WHETHER THEIR POLICIES ACTUALLY HELP PEOPLE OR NOT.
13) The same liberal who pretends to be angry about Susan Smith or Casey Anthony will then turn around and give the thumbs up to women who do the same thing to their children via abortion.
14) There’s a reason why the average homeschooled kid gets a better education than he would in a public school run by liberals. It’s because the kid’s parents are interested in educating him while his liberal teachers view public schools as just another way to indoctrinate children.
15) Noam Chomsky is an America-hating creep and to think of him as some kind of genius, you have to both despise our country enough to suspend your disbelief and be largely ignorant of world history.
16) Anyone whose first reaction after a terrorist attack is, “Why do they hate us?” is just an intolerable douche.
17) Liberals talk up Hillary Clinton as the most prominent and important female politician in America; yet her entire political career is based on the fact that she married Bill Clinton. That’s actually kind of pathetic.
18) Liberals have been big supporters of slavery, Indian massacres, the KKK, eugenics, fascism, communism and Jim Crow laws. Then, down the road, after liberals finally join everyone else, they try to claim that conservatives still support all the practices that we fought liberals on from the beginning.
19) Liberals think black Americans are inferior to whites, which is why the worst, most crime-ridden places to live in America are inevitably run by liberals. That’s acceptable to liberals because they don’t think black Americans deserve any better.
20) A liberal is more likely to support a man who murders a cop like Mumia Abu Jamal than cops who want to regularly patrol a bad neighborhood in force to keep the criminals from terrorizing the innocent people who live there.
21) The average middle aged Tea Partier who’s going to rallies, talking about the Constitution and calling for reduced spending cares more about “the children” than 99% of the liberals out there who demand that we support one stupid program after the other “for the children.”
22) You have to be a horrible human being to be okay with terrorists like Bill Ayers teaching kids at a college.
23) Because liberals are unable to ever admit they’re wrong, they systematically ruin and destroy everything they become involved with and then either point the finger elsewhere or demand even more government involvement to fix the problems they created.
24) Detroit – and, yes, liberals did that.
25) Even “liberal Christians” are generally supportive of other liberals who attack Christianity, which is why “liberal Christians” is in quotes.
Appearing on CNN Wednesday, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward said a “very senior person” at the White House warned him that he would “regret doing this,” referring to his outspoken criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of the impending forced cuts known as the sequester.
“I think they’re confused,” Woodward told CNN host Wolf Blitzer. Woodward apparently went on to criticize Obama further over the sequester the same day he received the warning from the White House.
“It makes me very uncomfortable for the White House to be telling reporters, you are going to ‘regret’ doing something that you believe in,” he added. “It’s Mickey Mouse.”
TheBlaze’s Becket Adams has more details on the feud between Woodward and the White House:
Bob Woodward on Wednesday accused President Barack Obama of acting with a “kind of madness” in his handling of the automatic spending cuts set to take effect Friday.
He continued, turning his attention to the White House’s recent claim that spending cuts would prohibit it from deploying aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf.
“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’” Woodward said.
“Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need’ or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ as he did when Clinton was president because of some budget document?” he added.
Woodward initially started his fight with the White House after he accused the Obama administration of “moving the goal posts” in its budget negotiations with Republican lawmakers. He also reported in his book, “The Price of Politics,” that the automatic spending cuts were actually Obama’s idea – and now he wants to avoid them at all costs.
A day after The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward insisted he was “threatened” by a senior White House official, a former Clinton aide turned columnist says his publication was once threatened by the Obama White House as well.
Lanny Davis, formerly a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, told WMAL’s Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor that a White House official once threatened to have The Washington Times’ White House credentials revoked over columns Davis had written.
Davis says his editor “received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn’t like some of my columns, even though I’m a supporter of Obama. I couldn’t imagine why this call was made.”
The White House aide allegedly told Times editor John Solomon, “that if he continued to run my [Davis'] columns, he would lose, or his reporters would lose their White House credentials.”
Last week, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling warned Woodward in an email that the reporter would “regret staking out” the claim that Obama’s “asking for revenues is moving the goal post,” according to copies of the emails obtained by Politico.
Woodward characterized that statement as a threat in interviews on Thursday.
Some genius said this last night:
I think there is a push to kill this story before other reporters realize they have a story if they report their own experiences.
As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Woodward called a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.
Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.
I wrote back:
“I asked you to stop e-mailing me. All future e-mails from you will be on the record – publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you. My cell-phone number is… If you should decide you have anything constructive to share, you can try to reach me by phone. All of our conversations will also be on the record, publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you.” I haven’t heard back from the official. It was a step not taken lightly because the note essentially ended our working relationship.
Given that Woodward is now being called old and brokedown by David Pflouffe, and the Juicebox Mafia has picked up the “senile” message they’re putting out there… I would in fact say efforts are being made to insure Woodward “regrets” having correctly reported Obama’s ownership of the sequester.
Incidentally, credit where credit’s due: Sexton has stayed on this subject – ownership of the sequester – when most people (such as myself) considered it not interesting enough to stay on.
Flashback To 2009:
When I was a kid…
If you mouthed off to an adult – even a teacher in school – you’d more than likely get the taste slapped out of your mouth, and anybody who saw you get smacked would assume you had it coming.
Doctors made house calls, and they were usually paid in cash for that service.
Boosting a kid’s self-esteem was maybe the last thing any teacher cared about. Forcing their students to study and get good grades was the top priority, and accomplishing that goal naturally led to kids feeling better about themselves.
Climate change was a concept we were keenly aware of, although, back then we just called it weather.
Black folks were called blacks, colored people or negroes by most whites and blacks alike. There was no such thing as an African-American. Even immigrants from Africa who had passed their citizenship tests weren’t called African-Americans, they were just Americans like the rest of us.
There wasn’t a single kid in my school who couldn’t read, write, do basic math or recite the Pledge of Allegiance by the time they were eight years old… not one.
The word gay just meant cheerful.
Wearing a helmet while riding your bike was far more dangerous than not wearing one, because if other kids saw you in sissy gear like that, they’d beat the crap out of you.
Israelis were known as the survivors of the worst genocide in modern history, and Palestinians were thought of as just a bunch of Arab Nazis pretending to be the victims of Jewish tyranny.
A rich person was somebody you aspired to be like, not somebody you sought to punish.
Communism was an almost treasonous concept that only doped-up, America-hating hippies experimented with.
Every classroom in my grammar school had a Christmas tree in it at Christmas time, and if any parent had complained and tried to force us to remove them, that person’s car would have ended up with sugar in its gas tank, a busted windshield, four flat tires and the words ‘Merry Christmas’ spray-painted on its hood.
Our heroes were people like George Washington, Neil Armstrong, Mother Teresa, Thomas Edison, Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, General George S. Patton and Albert Einstein.
We understood that the Vietnam War wasn’t lost by U.S. military forces, it was lost by incompetent politicians in Washington DC.
Only wimps played tee-ball.
Most folks had home computers, although they were more commonly known as calculators.
After school, on weekends and during the summer months – unless the weather was particularly bad – kids could be found outside playing with their friends. We didn’t hang around inside, watching TV or playing board games before dinner, and even if we’d wanted to do that, our parents would have forbade it.
Most black voters were Republicans.
Popular music was incredibly diverse, and most performers knew how to play instruments, compose complex melodies and lyrics, and sing entire songs without proving to their audiences that some notes can, indeed, be strangled to death.
Able-bodied people who received public assistance were pitied by other folks, and most of them felt shame for allowing themselves to become dependent on the government for their sustenance.
Nobody played any game just for the fun of it. That’s why we always kept score. If you weren’t playing to win, the game was pointless.
If you saw a grown man cry, it was probably because either his mother or his dog had just died.
It was mostly Europeans who thought of Hitler’s Nazi party as a right-wing political movement. Americans generally understood what the term National Socialist implied.
Reality TV shows included Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Candid Camera and The Undersea World Of Jacques Cousteau.
We didn’t need government warming labels on everything. We knew that electrical appliances were dangerous if used improperly, that smoking was bad for you, that swallowing things like marbles and those little, plastic, toy soldiers could choke you to death, and that placing a scalding hot cup of coffee between your thighs while riding in a car was as good a way as any of proving to emergency room staff just how freakin’ stupid some people can be.
Books were more popular than food stamps.
Respect was something that your parents were entitled to, your friends earned, and politicians pretended they deserved.
Gas station attendants didn’t just take your money, they pumped your gas, washed your windshield, checked your oil level and even applied a pressure gauge to your tires if you asked them to. And their service didn’t cost you a penny extra.
Only teenage boys bragged to their friends about having sex, especially when they hadn’t. Most teenage girls denied that they’d had sex, especially when they had.
Heavy drinkers didn’t have a disease, they simply lacked self-control. Diseases were things you had no control over.
A liberal was an open-minded, intellectually honest individual who looked at all sides of an issue before arriving at a thoughtful conclusion, not a scatterbrained, reactionary jackass whose natural inclination was to spout socialist theory as a default position on practically every topic.
Everybody who was born in America was a native American.
Men were builders, risk-takers, hunters, warriors, protectors and heads of their households. Women were refiners, nesters, nurturers, teachers and disciplinarians who were usually willing to let their male counterparts delude themselves into thinking that men were the heads of their households.
Most folks understood the difference between discrimination and bigotry.
Marriage was an institution that a man and a woman entered into when they wanted to exhibit their commitment to one another, their willingness to accept adult responsibilities, and their desire to legitimize their offspring. It had nothing to do with making a political point.
Teenagers bringing guns to their high schools was commonplace – especially during hunting season – and anyone who complained about such a thing was generally considered a nutcase.
Illegal aliens were called illegal aliens by practically everyone, because that term best described foreigners who’d snuck into our country in defiance of our laws.
The greatest movie ever made was The Great Escape.
On the scale of human trustworthiness, the vast majority of politicians fell somewhere between used car salesmen and coke whores. In fact, the only people who ever exhibited any level of trust in politicians were the people who had enough money to buy them off.
Plumbers were more respected than Harvard law students.
My friends and I genuinely cared about nature because we spent a lot of time hanging out in it. We went into the woods and built forts, fished in streams, and made campfires, employing the lessons we’d learned in the Boy Scouts and from studying American Indian cultures. We respected nature because we knew what nature really was; a hostile, unforgiving place that would kill you if you didn’t know your way around it. We loved the challenge of the wilderness, and soldiering through it made us appreciate our cushy home lives all the more.
Making fun of other kids or calling them names – while generally frowned upon – wasn’t considered bullying. A bully was a guy who punched you in the head and took your lunch money.
The President of the United States wasn’t a father figure to anybody but his own kids.
Mainstream news reporters were pretty much the same sort of biased, dim-witted, arrogant, assclowns that they are today, only we didn’t have the internet at our disposal to easily prove just how unreliable they were.
Video games were things you played at arcades, unless you were lucky enough to get an Atari Pong console for Christmas.
Abortion wasn’t a privacy issue, it was a moral issue, and people who committed abortions weren’t “pro-choice”, they were baby killers.
The application of oil and its byproducts to run machinery and generate electricity was widely understood to be as important to the advancement of human civilization as the discovery and utilization of fire, the practices of cultivating crops and breeding livestock, and the development of a written language.
Nobody I knew gave half a damn what people in other countries thought about anything.
Concepts like honor, integrity, courage and chivalry were alive and well.
The United States of America was the greatest nation in the history of the world, bar none, and just about every American school kid knew why. Our brilliantly conceived Constitution, Judeo-Christian ethic, free market economic system, adherence to the rule of law and willingness to embrace people from every culture on Earth made us great, and we were conspicuously proud of that fact.
By Edward L. Daley
On the One Hand…
These should not be foreboding years. The U.S. is in the midst of a veritable energy revolution. There is a godsend of new gas and oil discoveries that will help to curtail our fiscal and foreign policy vulnerabilities – an energy bonanza despite, not because of, the present administration.
In terms of farming, the United States is exporting more produce than ever before at record prices. Americans eat the safest and cheapest food on the planet.
As far as high-tech gadgetry, the global companies that have most changed the world in recent years – Amazon’s online buying, Google search engines, Apple iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops – are mostly American. There is a reason why Mexican nationals are not crossing their border into Guatemala – and it is not because they prefer English speakers to Spanish speakers.
Militarily, the United States is light years ahead of its rivals. And so on…
The New Poverty Is the Old Middle Class
We have redefined poverty itself through government entitlements, modes of mass production and consumerism, and technological breakthroughs. The poor man is not hungry; more likely he suffers from obesity, now endemic among the less affluent. He is not deprived of a big-screen TV, a Kia, warm water, or an air conditioner. (My dad got our first color television during my first year in college in 1972, a small 19 inch portable; I bought my first new car at 39, and quit changing my own oil at 44.)
In classical terms, today’s poor man is poor not in relative global terms (e.g. compared to a Russian, Bolivian, or Yemeni), but in the sense that there are those in America who have more things and choices than does he: a BMW instead of a Hyundai, ribeye instead of ground beef, Pellegrino rather than regular Coke, Tuscany in the summer rather than Anaheim at Disneyland, and L.L. Bean tasteful footwear rather than Payless shoes. I was in Manhattan not long ago, and noticed that my cheap, discount-store sportcoat and Target tie did not raise eyebrows among the wealthy people I spoke to, suggesting that the veneer of aristocracy is now within all our reach. When I returned to Selma, I noted that those ahead of me at Super Wal-Mart were clothed no differently than was I. Their EBD cards bought about the same foods.
Put all the above developments together, and an alignment of the planets is favoring America as never before – as long as we do not do something stupid to nullify what fate, our ancestors, and our own ingenuity have given us. But unfortunately that is precisely what is now happening.
The New Hubris
These are the most foreboding times in my 59 years. The reelection of Barack Obama has released a surge of rare honesty among the Left about its intentions, coupled with a sense of triumphalism that the country is now on board for still greater redistributionist change.
There is no historical appreciation among the new progressive technocracy that central state planning, whether the toxic communist brand or supposedly benevolent socialism, has only left millions of corpses in its wake, or abject poverty and misery. Add up the Soviet Union and Mao’s China and the sum is 80 million murdered or starved to death. Add up North Korea, Cuba, and the former Eastern Europe, and the tally is egalitarian poverty and hopelessness. The EU sacrificed democratic institutions for coerced utopianism and still failed, leaving its Mediterranean shore bankrupt and despondent.
Nor is there much philosophical worry that giving people massive subsidies destroys individualism, the work ethic, and the personal sense of accomplishment. There is rarely worry expressed that a profligate nation that borrows from others abroad and those not born has no moral compass. There is scant political appreciation that the materialist Marxist argument – that justice is found only through making sure that everyone has the same slice of stuff from the zero-sum pie – was supposed to end up on the ash heap of history.
Read the News and Weep
That is not conspiracy talk, but simply a distillation of what I read today. On the last day of the year when I am writing this, I offer you just three sample op-eds.
A journalist, Donald Kaul, in the Des Moines Register offers us a three-step, presto! plan to stop school shootings:
Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. …Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. …Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.
Note the new ease with which the liberal mind calls for trashing the Constitution, outlawing those whom they don’t like (reminiscent of “punish our enemies“?), and killing those politicians with whom they don’t agree (we are back to Bush Derangement Syndrome, when novels, movies, and op-eds dreamed of the president’s assassination.)
What would be the Register’s reaction should a conservative opponent of abortion dare write, “Repeal the First Amendment; ban Planned Parenthood as a terrorist organization; and drag Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi from a truck”? If an idiot were to write that trash, I doubt the Washington Times or Wall Street Journal would print such sick calls for overturning the Constitution and committing violence against public officials.
Ah Yes, Still More Redistribution
Turning to a column in The New Republic, John Judis, in honest fashion, more or less puts all the progressive cards on the table in a column titled “Obama’s Tax Hikes Won’t Be Nearly Big Enough” – a candor about what the vast $5 trillion deficits of Obama’s first term were all about in the first place.
Here is the summation quote: “But to fund these programs, governments will have to extract a share of income from those who are able to afford them and use the revenues to make the services available for everyone.”
Note that Judas was not talking about the projected new taxes in the fiscal cliff talks, but something far greater to come. He understands well that the “gorge the beast” philosophy that resulted in these astronomical debts will require enormous new sources of revenue, funds “to extract” from “those who are able to afford them” in order to “make services available for everyone.”
That is about as neat a definition of coerced socialism as one can find. Implicit in Judas’s formulation is that only a very well-educated (and well-compensated) technocratic class will possess the wisdom, the proper schooling, and the morality to adjudicate who are to be the extracted ones and who the new “everyone.”
The Constitution – Who the Hell Needs It?
The third item in my year-end reading was the most disturbing. A law professor (could it be otherwise?) named Louis Michael Seidman enlightens us with “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution” – yet another vision of what the now triumphant liberal mind envisions for us all:
As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
Did Madison force Obama to borrow a half-billion dollars to fund Solyndra and its multimillionaire con artists?
Note Seidman’s use of “evil,” which tips his hand that our great moralist is on an ethical crusade to change the lives of lesser folk, who had the misfortune of growing up in America – a place so much less prosperous, fair, and secure than, say, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Spain, Greece, Italy, or Japan and Germany (in the earlier 20th century history). When I lived in Greece, traveled to Libya, and went into Mexico, I forgot to sigh, “My God, these utopias are possible for us too, if we just junked that evil Constitution.”
White Guys Did It
The non-archaic, un-idiosyncratic, and anti-downright evil Professor Seidman presses his argument against his inferiors who wrote the “evil” document: “Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.”
Ah yes, old white male Madison, who lacked the insight, character, and morality of our new liberal technocrats in our successful law schools, such as, well, Mr. Seidman himself:
As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official – say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress – reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?
I suppose human nature changes every decade or so, so why shouldn’t constitutions as well?
I can see Seidman’s vision now: Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi decides that semi-automatic handguns, not cheap Hollywood violence or sick video games, empower the insane to kill, and, presto, their “considered judgment” and favored “particular course of action” trump the archaic and evil wisdom of “white propertied men.” But if we wish to avoid the baleful influence of white guys, can Seidman point to indigenous Aztec texts for liberal guidance, or perhaps the contemporary constitution of liberated Zimbabwe, or the sagacity of the Chinese court system?
The Law Is What We Say It Is
Note the fox-in-the-henhouse notion that a constitutional law professor essentially hates the Constitution he is supposed to teach, sort of like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warning the Egyptians not to follow our own constitutional example, when South Africa has offered so much more to humanity than did Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, and others: “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa.” Ginsburg obviously vacations in Johannesburg, goes to Cape Town for her medical treatment, and has a vacation home and bank account in the scenic South African countryside.
Seidman looks fondly on Roosevelt’s war against the Constitution (especially the notion that law is essentially what an elected president who has proper “aspirations” says it is):
In his Constitution Day speech in 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt professed devotion to the document, but as a statement of aspirations rather than obligations. This reading no doubt contributed to his willingness to extend federal power beyond anything the framers imagined, and to threaten the Supreme Court when it stood in the way of his New Deal legislation.
Free at Last from Constitutional Chains
In the age of Obama, the constitutional law lecturer who once lamented that the Supreme Court had not gone far enough by failing to take up questions of forced redistribution, Seidman writes:
In the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim by the Constitution’s defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature if we asserted our freedom from this ancient text. Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper.
But I thought it was the Constitution, not the anti-Constitution or egalitarian good will, that separated us from Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Tojo’s Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and most of the miserable places that one sees abroad today, from Cuba to North Korea, which all had and have one thing in common – the embrace of some sort of national, republican, or democratic “socialism” guiding their efforts and plastered about in their sick mottoes.
The progressive mind, given that is it more enlightened and moral, alone can determine which parts of the “evil” Constitution should be summarily ignored (e.g., the Second Amendment) and which should not be: “This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.”
Give Real Freedom a Chance
I am sure that history offers all sorts of examples where people without evil documents like our Constitution protected free speech and religious worship – out of “respect.” Ask Socrates, Jesus, six million Jews, 20 million Russians, or those with eyeglasses during the days of the Khmer Rouge. Apparently, what stops such carnage is not the rule of constitutional law, but good progressive minds who care for others and show respect. I’ll try that rhetoric on the next thief who for the fourth time will steal the copper wire conduit from my pump.
So just dream with Professor Seidman:
The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity… What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences. No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation, and I harbor no illusions that any of this will happen soon. But even if we can’t kick our constitutional-law addiction, we can soften the habit… before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.
I have seen their future and it is almost here right now. Scary times, indeed.
Yeah, they did. The “Truth Team,” now with more anti-Semitism! Obama’s Truth Team tweeted out the link to Maureen Dowd’s latest column, which has been widely denounced as anti-Semitic.
Dowd’s column has come under fire for its anti-Semitism. And its utter hackery, which is par for the course with Maureen Dowd.
@AG_Conservative It’s really not! Dowd is an opinion columnist. Lemme know when actual non-Bernie Goldberg Jews are offended. #wegotthis
@danielboudreaux Are you really that clueless? Jews from the left and right spoke out. mediaite.com/online/maureen…
More from Mediaite:
Commentary Magazine’s Jonathan Tobin savaged Dowd’s column as “creepy” and says that this episode should not be swept under the rug:
Dowd’s column marks yet another step down into the pit of hate-mongering that has become all too common at the Times. This is a tipping point that should alarm even the most stalwart liberal Jewish supporters of the president.
Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, responded immediately to the slurs printed in the Times on the eve of the Jewish new year holiday. In Happy New Year, Puppet Masters, Goldberg goes after Dowd for her liberal use of offensive slurs to attack Ryan.
But that didn’t stop Team Obama from spreading the anti-Semitism when they tweeted out Dowd’s column in an attempt to slam Romney. This, of course, is coming from the team of a man who has no time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, what with all his Vegas trips and all.
Who would ask, indeed? The lapdoggies at Politico at least ask, allegedly, yet they chose to bury the lede. They made slight mention of the Truth Team tweeting out the article in the last paragraph, as NRO’s Jonah Goldberg noted.
Theophilos Hoopskirt @Sharpinsky
@JonahNRO Why are Jews so easily offended? It’s not ant-Semitic if it’s true.
Jonah Goldberg @JonahNRO
@Sharpinsky Never said it was anti-Semitic, said the cliches she lazily trafficked in were. Oh, and it’s not true. So there’s that.
Jonah Goldberg @JonahNRO
Honest Q for Politico. If Romney campaign tweeted out pat buchanan column denounced by Jews, would you put that in last graf?
Ha! That would be all over in huge headline-y font. Several times. Politico’s Glenn Thrush tries to play defense.
Glenn Thrush @GlennThrush
Times ain’t exactly Der Sturmer, mesbuchah MT @JonahNRO: Obama camp peddles Dowd column which even lib Jews say has anti-Semitic cliches
Jonah Goldberg @JonahNRO
@GlennThrush I’m just going by the experts quoted in the piece bubalah.
Glenn Thrush @GlennThrush
Times ain’t exactly Der Sturmer, mesbuchah MT @JonahNRO: Obama camp peddles Dowd column which even lib Jews say has anti-Semitic cliches
Jonah Goldberg @JonahNRO
@GlennThrush oh and you can come up far short of der Sturmer and still be crappy on Jewish issues, as the times history has shown.
Glenn Thrush @GlennThrush
Meh. Hag sameach. RT @JonahNRO: @GlennThrush I’m just going by the experts quoted in the piece bubalah.
Jonah Goldberg @JonahNRO
@GlennThrush still doesn’t explain buried lede.
Bingo! We all know the answer, don’t we? Fetch, Politico, fetch!
Twitter users find Obama’s Truth Team to be neither truthful nor decent.
Why Romney and Ryan’s foreign policy sounds “ominously familiar”: OFA.BO/fbij3d
Rising Dawn @DawnRiseth
Obama echoes anti-semitic article RT @truthteam2012 Why Romney and Ryan’s foreign policy sounds “ominously familiar”: OFA.BO/fbij3d
Why Romney and Ryan’s foreign policy sounds “ominously familiar”: OFA.BO/fbij3d
Henry D’Andrea @TheHenry
Obama campaign endorses Dowds’ column MT @truthteam2012 Why Romney’s foreign policy sounds “ominously familiar”: OFA.BO/fbij3d
Wow @truthteam2012 tweeted Maureen Dowd’s anti-Semitic column, making it wholly appropriate to ask Obama Camp if they agree w/ it.
Sarah Nelson @sarahsside
@AG_Conservative @truthteam2012 Is that how they wish Jews a Happy New Year? Of course O agrees with Dowd’s column. Letterman or Netanyahu?
Your move, lapdoggies. Will you ask President Obama if he agrees with the anti-Semitic tropes in Dowd’s article? His Truth Team is wholly endorsing them and all.
If the C.I.A. had been forced to refrain from utilizing the enhanced interrogation techniques that Barack Obama and the entire Democrat party leadership fought tooth-and-nail to get rid of, Osama Bin Laden would still be alive today. The information acquired from the terrorists upon whom those techniques were employed was integral in finding Bin Laden, as well as other Al-Qaeda leaders. This is no big secret, it’s a well-known fact, yet Obama is more than happy to let you continue to delude yourselves into thinking that his war policies had something to do with Osama’s death. They didn’t, and every Democrat politician from D.C. to Dallas knows it.
Beyond that, your leftist leaders and their minions in the Jurassic media would have you believe that Obama’s decision to allow our special forces personnel to kill Bin Laden, once they discovered his whereabouts, was somehow a “gutsy call”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Obama had NO ALTERNATIVE but to make the call he did. If you don’t think so, just imagine what would have happened to his re-election chances if the American people found out that he’d had an opportunity to authorize the death of the most wanted terrorist in history and refused to do it! The Republicans could run a stale potato chip against him in November and win in a landslide. You all know that’s true, just as you know that Mitt Romney would have made the exact same call for the exact same reason. Only a suicidally stupid politician wouldn’t have done so.
So let’s recap…
1.) Bin Laden was hunted down and killed in spite of Obama’s policies, not because of them.
2.) Obama made the only call possible under the circumstances, just like any other president would have.
3.) You’re all a bunch of idiots.
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If you like how the Obama administration’s multibillion-dollar “investments” in bankrupt solar companies have turned out, you’ll love the latest federal loan program to nowhere. It’s the Obamacare loyalty rewards program for progressives.
To appease liberal Democrats pushing for the so-called “public option” (the full frontal government takeover of our health care system), the White House settled for the creation of a $6 billion network of nonprofit “CO-OPs” that will “compete” with private insurers. It’s socialized medicine through the side door. House Republicans sliced about $2 billion from the slush fund in last spring’s budget deal and proclaimed the program dead. Hardly.
On Wednesday, the White House trumpeted the release of nearly $700 million in taxpayer-funded low-interest loans for seven CO-OPs in eight states. Administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the fund will pour more money into CO-OP plans nationwide throughout the next year. In 2014, according to Washington bureaucrats, the plans will be offered on the federally approved and federally monitored state health exchange “marketplace.”
Some marketplace. Given how Team Obama has dispensed special Obamacare waivers to scores of campaign donors, it’s a sure bet the CO-OP/exchange mechanism will be brazenly rigged against non-subsidized, for-profit insurers. And against taxpayers. Obama health officials assure us that there will be an “early warning system” in place before loan recipients get into financial trouble. But we know from the half-billion-dollar Solyndra scam that when this administration sees red flags, it’s full speed ahead.
In fact, the Obamacare CO-OP overseers already predict a nearly 40 percent default rate for the loans, according to Kaiser Health. Welcome to the Chicago-on-the-Potomac reverse rule of holes: When you’re in one, keep digging.
So, who are the lucky winners of the Obamacare slush fund lottery? Freelancers CO-OP of New Jersey, New Mexico Health Connections, Midwest Members Health in Iowa and Nebraska, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in Wisconsin, Freelancers CO-OP of Oregon, Montana Health Cooperative, and Freelancers Health Service Corporation in New York.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the Freelancers Union – the largest CO-OP loan beneficiary to date, with a total $341 million subsidy – is a left-wing outfit founded by a self-described “labor entrepreneur” and MacArthur “genius.” Sara Horowitz has already snagged countless grants from the city and state of New York, the liberal Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Horowitz and Obama served together, along with former green jobs czar Van Jones, as advisers for the progressive think tank Demos – which in turn partnered with fraud-ridden community organizers ACORN and Project Vote. She also runs a political action committee called “Working Today” that crusades for an expanded government safety net. Crowing about the CO-OP loan from her fellow progressive warrior, Horowitz exulted: “It’s like venture capital for health care.” Or more accurately, to borrow South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint’s phrase, venture socialism.
While Horowitz plots to rope in 200,000 new clients, existing customers protested in The New York Times over lousy customer service and abrupt changes that resulted in “higher premiums, higher deductibles and more holes than their current plans.” Horowitz is more preoccupied with ensuring that the “social-purpose company” meets social and environmental justice goals than with customer needs.
Another of the Obamacare slush fund winners, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in Wisconsin, scooped up a $56.4 million federal loan. The group describes itself as a “coalition of religious groups and other organizations.” Its pedigree is much more radical than that. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted, Common Ground “is the Milwaukee affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, founded in 1940 by Saul Alinsky, a famed community organizer and author of ‘Rules for Radicals.’ The organization, based in Chicago, bills itself as the oldest and largest community organizing network.”
The Industrial Areas Foundation was funded largely by the Gamaliel Foundation, which employed Obama in Chicago. As I first reported in 2009, Gamaliel’s Gregory Galluzzo wrote that he “met with Barack on a regular basis,” that Obama “acknowledged publicly that he had been the director of a Gamaliel affiliate,” and that “we are honored and blessed by the connection between Barack and Gamaliel.” No kidding. As Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson put it: “These grants/loans reek of political payola.”
Cronies reap. Taxpayers weep.
We have officially lost our minds.
The New York Times reports that President Obama has sent a formal letter of apology to Afghanistan’s ingrate president, Hamid Karzai, for the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base. The only upside of the apology is that it appears (based on the Times account) to be couched as coming personally from our blindly Islamophilic president – “I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident… I extend to you and the Afghani people my sincere apologies.” It is not couched as an apology from the American people, whose frame of mind will be outrage, not contrition, as the facts become more widely known.
The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages.
CNN’s John King did his best the other night, producing a question from one of his viewers:
“Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?”
To their credit, no Republican candidate was inclined to accept the premise of the question. King might have done better to put the issue to Danica Patrick. For some reason, Michelle Fields of the Daily Caller sought the views of the NASCAR driver and Sports Illustrated swimwear model about “the Obama administration’s dictate that religious employers provide health-care plans that cover contraceptives.” Miss Patrick, a practicing Catholic, gave the perfect citizen’s response for the Age of Obama:
“I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans.”
During a recent Fox News Channel debate about the Obama administration’s tax policies, Democrat Bob Beckel raised the issue of “fairness.”
He pointed out that a child born to a poor woman in the Bronx enters the world with far worse prospects than a child born to an affluent couple in Connecticut.
No one can deny that. The relevant question, however, is: How does allowing politicians to take more money in taxes from successful people, to squander in ways that will improve their own reelection prospects, make anything more “fair” for others?
Even if additional tax revenue all went to poor single mothers – which it will not – the multiple problems of children raised by poor single mothers would not be cured by throwing money at them.
As gas nears $5-a-gallon out west, the president, who has cancelled a key pipeline and frozen federal leases from Alaska to the East Coast, teaches us about American algae potential, in the way he used to emphasize the importance of tire pressure and “tune-ups.” He castigates the opposition for making political hay out of bad news, in the way he routinely did as a senator in compiling the most partisan voting record in the Senate. Energy Secretary Chu cannot and will not say a word about soaring gas prices, since he is on record not so long ago hoping that they might double – that is, get to $8- to 10-a-gallon as they are in Europe. The Energy Department can do almost everything Americans don’t want, but not the single thing they do want.
The more Afghans kill Americans, the more the president seems to apologize for our troops disposing of confiscated Korans, desecrated by Muslim-terrorist detainees. Would that Obama talk so deferentially to Americans instead of serially emphasizing their laziness, their nativism, and their past transgressions in the Middle East.
Want to open a business in America? It isn’t easy.
In Midway, Ga., a 14-year-old girl and her 10-year-old sister sold lemonade from their front yard. Two police officers bought some. But the next day, different officers ordered them to close their stand.
Their father went to city hall to try to find out why. The clerk laughed and said she didn’t know. Eventually, Police Chief Kelly Morningstar explained, “We were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade and of what the lemonade was made with.”
Give me a break. If she doesn’t know, so what? But kids trying their first experiment with entrepreneurship are being shut down all over America. Officials in Hazelwood, Ill., ordered little girls to stop selling Girl Scout cookies.
If one manages to graduate from high school without the rudiments of algebra, geometry and trigonometry, there are certain relatively high-paying careers probably off-limits for life – such as careers in architecture, chemistry, computer programming, engineering, medicine and certain technical fields. For example, one might meet all of the physical requirements to be a fighter pilot, but he’s grounded if he doesn’t have enough math to understand physics, aerodynamics and navigation. Mathematical ability helps provide the disciplined structure that helps people to think, speak and write more clearly. In general, mathematics is an excellent foundation and prerequisite for study in all areas of science and engineering. So where do U.S. youngsters stand in math?
Drs. Eric Hanushek and Paul Peterson, senior fellows at the Hoover Institution, looked at the performance of our youngsters compared with their counterparts in other nations, in their Newsweek article, “Why Can’t American Students Compete?” (Aug. 28, 2011), reprinted under the title “Math Matters” in the Hoover Digest (2012).
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Time and time again I hear Republican politicians refer to Barack Obama’s administration as a total failure. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The current presidency is among the most successful in my lifetime, even though it pains me deeply to admit it.
What do I mean by that? Well, it’s quite simple really, if success is defined as accomplishing one’s goals then who among us can deny that President Obama has achieved nearly everything he’s set out to do since taking office?
Think about it, during the 2008 campaign cycle he promised to transform our health care system. He promised that his energy policies would dramatically increase energy costs. He promised to redistribute the citizenry’s wealth in a manner previously undreamed of by his leftist peers in government. He promised that he would pull American troops out of Iraq, regardless of the situation on the ground. He promised to appoint left-wing activist judges to the federal courts. In essence, he promised to fundamentally change America, and damned if that isn’t exactly what he’s gone and done.
Many of you will remember a few years back when the leftist media got all bent out of shape because Rush Limbaugh told us that he hoped Obama would fail. The MSM lemmings assumed that what he meant was he hoped America would fail under Obama’s administration, but that’s not the case at all. What Rush was hoping for was that Obama would fail to get his way and further erode our nation with his leftist machinations. Unfortunately, Obama’s “hope” has won out over Rush’s thus far, and the “change” he promised is now evident all around us.
Just because we, the conservative majority, despise what is going on in our country today doesn’t make the man who is chiefly responsible for our woes a failure. Quite the contrary, he is a maddeningly successful politician by any reasonable measure. The failure does not lie with Barack Obama, my friends, it lies with those of us on the right who have yet to stop the most anti-American man to ever control the Executive branch of our federal government from getting his way at almost every turn.
Now, I know what some of you are going to say. Ed, our country is failing BECAUSE of Obama’s policies. THAT is why we call his administration a failure! Don’t you get it?
Well, yes, I do appreciate where you’re coming from and agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, but I still object to the terminology being used by every GOP primary contender whenever Obama’s name is mentioned. I mean, cripes, is there a bigger cliche’ in all of politics than saying “my opponent’s policies have failed”? How about, instead of characterizing the Obama presidency in this way, we start calling it what it actually is for a change?
That is why I hereby propose that, from now on, every right-winger in America use the term ‘virulently oppressive’ to describe the current regime. After all, what is the upcoming election anyway if not a desperate battle between those who believe in the virtues of individual liberty and those who endorse governmental tyranny? If someone out there can describe it in more exacting terms, please feel free to do so at your earliest convenience.
Edward L. Daley (aka DarcPrynce)
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Governor Mitt Romney’s statement about not worrying about the poor has been treated as a gaffe in much of the media, and those in the Republican establishment who have been rushing toward endorsing his coronation as the GOP’s nominee for president – with 90 percent of the delegates still not yet chosen – have been trying to sweep his statement under the rug.
But Romney’s statement about not worrying about the poor – because they “have a very ample safety net” – was followed by a statement that was not just a slip of the tongue, and should be a defining moment in telling us about this man’s qualifications as a conservative and, what is more important, as a potential president of the United States.
Mitt Romney has come out in support of indexing the minimum-wage law, to have it rise automatically to keep pace with inflation. To many people, that would seem like a small thing that can be left for economists or statisticians to deal with.
But to people who call themselves conservatives, and aspire to public office, there is no excuse for not being aware of what a major social disaster the minimum-wage law has been for the young, the poor, and especially for young and poor blacks.
It is not written in the stars that young black males must have astronomical rates of unemployment. It is written implicitly in the minimum-wage laws.
We have gotten so used to seeing unemployment rates of 30 or 40 percent for black teenage males that it might come as a shock to many people to learn that the unemployment rate for 16- and-17-year-old black males was just under 10 percent back in 1948. Moreover, it was slightly lower than the unemployment rate for white males of the same age.
How could this be?
The economic reason is quite plain. The inflation of the 1940s had pushed money wages for even unskilled, entry-level labor above the level specified in the minimum-wage law passed ten years earlier. In other words, there was in practical effect no national minimum-wage law in the late 1940s.
My first full-time job, as a black high-school dropout in 1946, was as a lowly messenger delivering telegrams. But my starting pay was more than 50 percent above the level specified in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Liberals were of course appalled that the federal minimum-wage law had lagged so far behind inflation – and, in 1950, they began a series of escalations of the minimum-wage level over the years.
It was in the wake of these escalations that black teenage unemployment rose to levels that were three or four times the level in 1948. Even in the most prosperous years of later times, the unemployment rate for black teenage males was some multiple of what it was even in the recession year of 1949. And now it was often double the unemployment rate for white males of the same ages.
This was not the first or the last time that liberals did something that made them feel good about themselves while leaving havoc in their wake, especially among the poor whom they were supposedly helping.
For those for whom “racism” is the explanation of all racial differences, let me assure them, from personal experience, that there was not less racism in the 1940s.
For those who want to check out the statistics – and I hope that would include Mitt Romney – they can be found detailed on pages 42 to 45 of Race and Economics, by Walter Williams.
Nor are such consequences of minimum-wage laws peculiar to blacks or to the United States. In Western European countries, whose social policies liberals consider more “advanced” than our own, with more generous minimum-wage laws and other employer-mandated benefits, it has been common in even prosperous years for unemployment rates among young people to be 20 percent or higher.
The economic reason is not complicated. When you set minimum-wage levels higher than many inexperienced young people are worth, they don’t get hired. It is not rocket science.
Milton Friedman explained all this, half a century ago, in his popular little book for non-economists, Capitalism and Freedom. So have many other people. If a presidential candidate who calls himself “conservative” has still not heard of these facts, that simply shows that you can call yourself anything you want to.
President Obama and his radical feminist enforcers have had it in for Catholic medical providers from the get-go. It’s about time all people of faith fought back against this unprecedented encroachment on religious liberty. First, they came for the Catholics. Who’s next?
This weekend, Catholic bishops informed parishioners of the recent White House edict forcing religious hospitals, schools, charities and other health and social service providers to provide “free” abortifacient pills, sterilizations and contraception on demand in their insurance plans – even if it violates their moral consciences and the teachings of their churches.
Imperial regimes can crack when they are driven out of their major foreign outposts. The fall of the Berlin Wall did not only signal the liberation of Eastern Europe from Moscow. It prefigured the collapse of the Soviet Union itself just two years later.
The fall of Bashar al-Assad’s Syria could be similarly ominous for Iran. The alliance with Syria is the centerpiece of Iran’s expanding sphere of influence, a mini-Comintern that includes such clients as Iranian-armed and -directed Hezbollah, now the dominant power in Lebanon; and Hamas, which controls Gaza and threatens to take the rest of Palestine (the West Bank) from a feeble Fatah.
There’s been a heap of criticism placed upon President Barack Obama’s domestic policies that have promoted government intrusion and prolonged our fiscal crisis and his foreign policies that have emboldened our enemies. Any criticism of Obama pales in comparison with what might be said about the American people who voted him in to the nation’s highest office.
Obama’s presidency represents the first time in our history that a person could have been elected to that office who had long-standing close associations with people who hate our nation. I’m speaking of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for 20 years, who preached that blacks should sing not “God Bless America,” but “God damn America.”
As Senator Obama said during the 2008 campaign, words matter. Modern “liberalism” is strikingly illiberal; the high priests of “tolerance” are increasingly intolerant of even the mildest dissent; and those who profess to “celebrate diversity” coerce ever more ruthlessly a narrow homogeneity.
Thus, the Obama administration’s insistence that Catholic institutions must be compelled to provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients. This has less to do with any utilitarian benefit a condomless janitor at a Catholic school might derive from Obamacare, and more to do with the liberal muscle of Big Tolerance enforcing one-size-fits-all diversity.
“It’s the economy, stupid,” was a useful slogan for the 1992 Bill Clinton campaign. Of course, it wasn’t really true. The Clinton campaign was about much more than the economy. It was about “ending welfare as we know it,” for example, and putting government on the side of those who “work hard and play by the rules” – all of this part of a broader redefinition of the Democratic party away from the failed liberalism of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis.
And the collapse of the Bush administration in 1992 was also, as it happens, about much more than the economy, which was in fact coming back strong in the fall of that year.
There are a lot of things NOT to like about liberals, but you have to give them some credit. These are people who are badly, dangerously, and devastatingly wrong on almost every issue of consequence and yet, year after year, they hang in there at a rough parity with conservatives. So, they may do a lot wrong, but there are things we can learn from the Left.
1) Fight Harder: Liberals win a lot of battles just because they’re willing to fight harder. Look at what happened to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Komen decided not to keep giving free money to Planned Parenthood and liberals, who aren’t even willing to oppose cancer unless some babies can be aborted to even it out, raised so much hell that Komen had to engage in a public face-saving maneuver.
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