Blatant cowardice, patent courage 5

A Jewish organization caved to Muslim pressure and cancelled a talk to be given by Pamela Geller, who is one of the bravest warriors against Islam in America.

It was a cowardly and stupid thing to do.

Also, it means that law-enforcement is not trusted as it used to be in the US.

The videos come from Atlas Shrugs:

 

She gave her banned speech elsewhere:

One judge, two identities 1

Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner Brust

Die eine will sich von der andern trennen

(Two souls, alas, dwell in my breast

The one would sever itself from the other)

- Goethe: Faust I.

We deplore the ruling of the Supreme Court, issued yesterday, that upholds Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

Why did Chief Justice Roberts, whose vote decided whether the tyrannous law should stand or fall, vote to let it stand?

A plausible – but not consoling – explanation is offered by Charles Krauthammer.

He writes:

Chief Justice John Roberts joins the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and upholds the constitutionality of ObamaCare. How? By pulling off one of the great constitutional finesses of all time. 

He managed to uphold the central conservative argument against ObamaCare, while at the same time finding a narrow definitional dodge to uphold the law — and thus prevented the court from being seen as having overturned, presumably on political grounds, the signature legislation of this administration.

Why did he do it? Because he carries two identities.

Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative.

Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the court’s legitimacy, reputation and stature.

As a conservative, he is as appalled as his conservative colleagues by the administration’s central argument that ObamaCare’s individual mandate is a proper exercise of its authority to regulate commerce. That makes congressional power effectively unlimited. Mr. Jones is not a purchaser of health insurance. Mr. Jones has therefore manifestly not entered into any commerce. Yet Congress tells him he must buy health insurance — on the grounds that it is regulating commerce. If government can do that under the Commerce Clause, what can it not do?

But now government can do it not under the Commerce Clause, thanks to the ruling. Mr. Jones can be ordered to do anything, and be fined if he doesn’t, on the grounds that the fine is a tax.

“The Framers … gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” writes Roberts. Otherwise you “undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers.”

That’s Roberts, philosophical conservative.

But he lives in uneasy coexistence with Roberts, custodian of the court, acutely aware that the judiciary’s arrogation of power has eroded the esteem in which it was once held …

National health care has been a liberal dream for a hundred years. It is clearly the most significant piece of social legislation in decades. Roberts’ concern was that the court do everything it could to avoid being seen, rightly or wrongly, as high-handedly overturning sweeping legislation passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.

How to reconcile the two imperatives — one philosophical and the other institutional? Assign yourself the task of writing the majority opinion. Find the ultimate finesse that manages to uphold the law, but only on the most narrow of grounds — interpreting the individual mandate as merely a tax, something generally within the power of Congress.

Result? The law stands, thus obviating any charge that a partisan court overturned duly passed legislation. And yet at the same time the Commerce Clause is reined in. By denying that it could justify the imposition of an individual mandate, Roberts draws the line against the inexorable decades-old expansion of congressional power under the Commerce Clause fig leaf. 

Law upheld, Supreme Court’s reputation for neutrality maintained. Commerce Clause contained, constitutional principle of enumerated powers reaffirmed.

That’s not how I would have ruled. I think the “mandate is merely a tax” argument is a dodge, and a flimsy one at that. (The “tax” is obviously punitive, regulatory and intended to compel.) Perhaps that’s not how Roberts would have ruled had he been just an associate justice, and not the chief. But that’s how he did rule.

ObamaCare is now essentially upheld. There’s only one way it can be overturned. The same way it was passed — elect a new president and a new Congress.

So it is up to the voters to decide in November whether they want a government that is their master or their servant.

To choose between tyranny and freedom.

A UN failure a triumph for humankind 1

These statements were made in speeches at the 2012 UN Earth Summit in Rio. We have taken them from a collection at Climate Depot:

Climate Depot’s Executive Editor Marc Morano:

Failure here is good for the world’s poor people. Failure is the only option for this conference if you care about the environment and poor people. Carbon based energy has been one of the greatest liberators of mankind in the history of our planet. James Lovelock, the father of the modern green movement [and founder of the cult of Gaia] says “sustainable development” is “meaningless drivel”. I’ll go further and say we need to redefine sustainable development as oil, gas, coal — energy that works and energy that lifts people out of poverty.

CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker:

While we stand here, 1.4 billion people are suffering in poverty… Any hope they have of rising out of poverty is being threatened by the negotiations here at Rio+20. … There is no imminent eco-disaster. We must not sell the potential prosperity of the poor for the dirty rags of sustainable development. Human beings must come first. In fact, history has shown that the environment is best protected when humans prosper. It is no coincidence that the regions of the world with the best air and the purest water are the also the ones that have the most advanced economies and used conventional development to get there. On the other hand, the poor cannot afford to care for the environment when every day is a matter of survival. Nature suffers when people suffer.

CFACT President David Rothbard:

People are not pollution. People are not a disease. People are the greatest natural resource on the Earth The way to help the environment is to lift people up out of poverty. Unleash their abilities through political and economic freedom. Not a top down approach, not one environmental crisis after another designed to have people give over more of their political rights, more of their economic freedom to unelected bureaucrats or government regulators. But allowing people to flourish so that people and nature can flourish together.

Lord Christopher Monckton:

Having failed with “global warming” … they have now come up with “sustainable development”. This means pretty much whatever you want to mean.You can say it is about gender equality and women’s empowerment – mentioned at least 5 times in pre-session draft negotiating texts. It’s about all kinds of fashionable left-wing Marxist and other socialist causes. It is not in fact about the environment and it is not about development.

The Rio+20 Earth Summit – we’re happy to say – failed in its own terms: a failure for the anti-human cohorts of Big Green and the Church of Gaia.

But if it marks an end to the concocting by Big Green of “one environmental crisis after another designed to have people give over more of their political rights, more of their economic freedom to unelected bureaucrats or government regulators”, and a redefining of sustainable development “as oil, gas, coal — energy that works and energy that lifts people out of poverty”, then its failure can be counted as a triumph for humankind.

The UN must be destroyed.

Fairness, racism, compassion, and the hungry 8

Cruelty and sentimentality are two sides of the same coin. Collectivist ideologies, however oppressive, justify themselves in sweet words of sharing-and-caring. Disagree with a leftie, and she will lecture you in pained tones on how a quarter of the children of America “go to bed hungry”. Or say that you are against government intervention in industry, and she’ll describe horrific industrial accidents, as if bureaucrats could prevent them from ever happening. Collectivists believe that only government can cure poverty by redistributing “the wealth”, not noticing that, if they were right, poverty would have been eliminated long ago in all the socialist states of the world – the very ones we see collapsing now, under the weight of debt.

However rich the crocodile weepers of the Left may be (and many of them are very rich and passionately devoted to redistributing other people’s wealth, such as John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, George Soros), they are likely to tell you that they “don’t care about money”. They despise it. (“Yucks, filthy stuff! Republicans with their materialist values can think of nothing else!”)  Or if they are union members, and demand ever higher wages and fatter pensions, they express the utmost contempt for the producers of wealth. To all of these, we at TAC issue a permanent invitation. If you feel burdened by the possession of wealth, we’re willing to relieve you of it. We have a soft spot for money. The harsh words said about it rouse our sincere compassion. We promise to welcome it no matter where it comes from, and give it a loving home.

In regard to the hard Left and its sweet vocabulary, here are some quotations from a column by the great political philosopher Thomas Sowell. He writes:

One of the most versatile terms in the political vocabulary is “fairness.” It has been used over a vast range of issues, from “fair trade” laws to the Fair Labor Standards Act. And recently we have heard that the rich don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes. …  Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.

“Racism” is another term we can expect to hear a lot this election year, especially if the public opinion polls are going against President Barack Obama. Former big-time TV journalist Sam Donaldson and current fledgling CNN host Don Lemon have already proclaimed racism to be the reason for criticisms of Obama, and we can expect more and more talking heads to say the same thing as the election campaign goes on. The word “racism” is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything — and demanding evidence makes you a “racist.”

A more positive term that is likely to be heard a lot, during election years especially, is “compassion.” But what does it mean concretely? More often than not, in practice it means a willingness to spend the taxpayers’ money in ways that will increase the spender’s chances of getting reelected. If you are skeptical — or, worse yet, critical — of this practice, then you qualify for a different political label: “mean-spirited.” A related political label is “greedy.”

In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be “greedy,” while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give them to others (who will vote for them in return) show “compassion.” 

A political term that had me baffled for a long time was “the hungry.” Since we all get hungry, it was not obvious to me how you single out some particular segment of the population to refer to as “the hungry.” Eventually, over the years, it finally dawned on me what the distinction was. People who make no provision to feed themselves, but expect others to provide food for them, are those whom politicians and the media refer to as “the hungry.” Those who meet this definition may have money for alcohol, drugs or even various electronic devices. And many of them are overweight. But, if they look to voluntary donations, or money taken from the taxpayers, to provide them with something to eat, then they are “the hungry.”

Beware the Compassioneers: even as they pick your pocket they try to pluck your heartstrings.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, government, liberalism, Progressivism, Race, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Cold civil war 2

We often hear it said that the coming election is as raw a clash of political philosophies as can be imagined — the most important election since 1860. And in a sense, that’s true. The national divide over the issue of slavery and its expansion into the rapidly settling territories was a constitutional crisis of the first order. It took the Civil War to sort out an issue that the Framers had partially punted, at a dreadful cost of lives and treasure. Now we are engaged in a great Cold Civil War.

So Michael Walsh writes at PJ Media.

The decision American voters will make in November is far more than merely an ideological clash about what the Constitution meant or means. For that supposes that both sides are playing by the same rules, and have a shared interest in the outcome. That presumes that both sides accept the foundational idea of the American experiment, and that the argument is over how best to adhere to it.

That is false.

For some, this is a difficult notion to grasp. … The idea that one party — and you know which one I mean — is actively working against its own country as it was founded seems unbelievable.

But that is true.

Don’t take it from me, take it from Barack Hussein Obama who famously said on the stump in 2008: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” …

“Fundamental transformation” is the Holy Grail of the modern Left — I do not say “American Left,” since much of its inspiration and sustenance is most definitely not American — and by “fundamental transformation” they mean the utter destruction of the founding principles of limited government, individual self-reliance and personal freedom. In their place, they bring the poisoned gifts of fascism, central planning and rule by a credentialed aristocracy of like-minded fellow travelers.

And when they say “by any means necessary,” you had better believe they mean it.

Election 2012 is not a clash of political parties but an existential struggle for the soul of America. To treat it as anything but that is both willful blindness and arrant foolishness.

We’ll accept the word “soul” in this context. He means the principles by which this nation lives. They must continue to be freedom and self-reliance, the principles on which this nation was founded, and which served it so well that it became the strongest and most prosperous in all history.

Until everyone on the Right fully grasps this, our country will remain under siege. It’s a siege that’s been ongoing, in one form or another, since the Wilson administration, with one side (and you know which one) “fundamentally” rejecting the Constitution — they’re getting bold enough to admit it now — and explicitly denigrating America’s history in order to prepare the way for their new progressive order.

The long march through the institutions has left a terrible trail of cultural destruction in its wake — which, of course, was precisely the intention.

This is why it’s crucial, when dealing with the Left, to reject the premises of their arguments, since those premises must necessarily posit that there is something “fundamentally” wrong with the American system, and that they are the cure.

By rejecting their premises, you do more than simply level the playing field: you also force them out of hiding and either cause them to flee or, more rarely, actually admit their true intentions — something that is almost impossible for them to do. For they [conceal] their destructive purposes under the rubrics of “Fairness,” “Tolerance,” “Compassion,” etc.

We think his description of the present intense clash between collectivism on the one side and liberty on the other as “cold civil war”  is no exaggeration.

He concludes:

It’s a choice we have to make next November, and we’re only going to have one last chance to get it right.

Yes.

In the West at twilight 1

To say this is the funniest Mark Steyn column yet is not possible because so many of his columns are, so to speak, the funniest. But it is very funny. These samples should tempt you to read the whole column. 

Courtesy of David Maraniss’ new book [Barack Obama: The Story], we now know that yet another key prop of Barack Obama’s identity is false: His Kenyan grandfather was not brutally tortured or even non-brutally detained by his British colonial masters. The composite gram’pa joins an ever-swelling cast of characters from Barack’s “memoir” who, to put it discreetly, differ somewhat in reality from their bit parts in the grand Obama narrative. The best friend at school portrayed in Obama’s autobiography as “a symbol of young blackness” was, in fact, half Japanese, and not a close friend. The white girlfriend he took to an off-Broadway play that prompted an angry post-show exchange about race never saw the play, dated Obama in an entirely different time zone, and had no such world-historically significant conversation with him. His Indonesian step-grandfather, supposedly killed by Dutch soldiers during his people’s valiant struggle against colonialism, met his actual demise when he “fell off a chair at his home while trying to hang drapes.”

In recent years, the Left has turned the fake memoir into one of the most prestigious literary genres: Oprah’s Book Club recommended James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces,” hailed by Bret Easton Ellis as a “heartbreaking memoir” of “poetic honesty,” but subsequently revealed to be heavy on the “poetic” and rather light on the “honesty.” The “heartbreaking memoir” of a drug-addled street punk who got tossed in the slammer after brawling with cops while high on crack with his narco-hooker girlfriend proved to be the work of some suburban Pat Boone type with a couple of parking tickets. (I exaggerate, but not as much as he did.)

Oprah was also smitten by “The Education of Little Tree” [by Asa Earl Carter under the pseudonym Forrest Carter], the heartwarmingly honest memoir of a Cherokee childhood which turned out to be concocted by a former Klansman whose only previous notable literary work was George Wallace’s “Segregation Forever” speech.

“Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood” is a heartbreakingly honest, poetically searing, searingly painful, painfully honest, etc., account of Binjamin Wilkomirski’s unimaginably horrific boyhood in the Jewish ghetto of Riga and the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. After his memoir won America’s respected National Jewish Book Award, Mr. Wilkomirski was inevitably discovered to have been born in Switzerland and spent the war in a prosperous neighborhood of Zurich being raised by a nice middle-class couple. … The “unimaginable” horror of his book turned out to be all too easily imagined.

Exploitation of the Holocaust for personal – or any – financial gain is especially repugnant.

Fake memoirs have won the Nobel Peace Prize and are taught at Ivy League schools to the scions of middle-class families who take on six-figure debts for the privilege (“I, Rigoberta Menchu”). They’re handed out by the Pentagon to senior officers embarking on a tour of Afghanistan (Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea”) on the entirely reasonable grounds that a complete fantasy could hardly be less credible than current NATO strategy.

In such a world, it was surely only a matter of time before a fake memoirist got elected as president of the United States. …

You’ll notice that, in the examples listed above, the invention only goes one way. No Cherokee orphan, Holocaust survivor or recovering drug addict pretends to be George Wallace’s speechwriter. Instead, the beneficiaries of boring middle-class Western life seek to appropriate the narratives and thereby enjoy the electric frisson of fashionable victim groups.

And so it goes with public policy in the West at twilight.

Islam’s little helper in the White House 0

Niall Ferguson, the historian, is interviewed on MSNBC on the Egyptian revolution, before the recent elections brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt. Ferguson predicts that very outcome, and criticizes Obama’s policy towards the Middle East. He sums up Obama’s  foreign policy as “I’m not George W. Bush – love me”. Obama’s “touchy-feely speeches”, he says, are no substitute for a vision and a plan. The interviewers disagree with him, even seem quite shocked at Ferguson’s very well informed opinion. They say they think the Egyptian revolution is “going really well”.

We agree with Ferguson’s analysis. Our only point of disagreement with him is this: he says that what is happening in Egypt and elsewhere shows Obama’s policy to be a failure.

We think the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East, Iran’s progress towards nuclear capacity, and the greatly accelerated advance of Islam in the world as a whole since Obama was absurdly elected to the presidency of the United States, does not reflect a failure of his, but a success. These developments are bad for America, but they are victories for Islam; and Barack Obama wants Islam to triumph. 

 

A bad idea, badly executed 3

To continue our discussion of the “Fast and Furious” scandal (see the two posts immediately below, one of them a video of Bill Whittle putting his argument), we now quote Paul Mirengoff’s opinion on what the operation was intended to achieve:

Bill Whittle is arguing that the Fast and Furious program was an effort by the Obama administration to increase bloodshed in Mexico and thereby lead to tougher gun control regulation in the U.S. … The theory cannot be ruled out. However, I don’t find it persuasive. …

Obama and Holder probably would not have believed that increased violence in Mexico could lead to tougher regulation of guns in the U.S. Americans simply don’t care enough about Mexico to alter domestic policy based on what occurs there, especially when it comes to an issue as passionately and endlessly argued as gun control. Americans view violence in Mexico the way they viewed violence in Colombia – unfortunate, typical, and not our problem at any fundamental level. …

Why, then, was the program implemented? As noted, considerable frustration existed over attempts to deal with gun running through interdiction at the point of sale because this form of enforcement resulted in the apprehension of only the small fry. Those who came up with Fast and Furious probably hoped that if guns followed their natural course into Mexico, they would lead to much more important players. Wire taps and other surveillance of Mexican cartel bosses would assist in nailing these players, or so the thinking went.

It was a very bad idea, poorly executed. But, as conservatives should understand better than most, the government frequently implements very bad ideas and does so incompetently.

Yes. Whatever government does, it does badly.

In any case, trying to apprehend cartel bosses through Fast and Furious strikes me as less foolish than intentionally increasing shootings in Mexico to enhance the cause of gun control in the U.S.

But what about the cover-up, including the assertion of a weak executive privilege claim? Bill Whittle says that to understand it, we should follow the ideology. In reality, cover-ups typically stem from a quintessentially non-ideological motive – the desire to escape blame and stay out of trouble.

What kind of trouble? The administration may be motivated by the desire to cover up evidence that the Attorney General knowingly and deliberately lied to Congress. It may want to cover up evidence that Holder knew plenty about Fast and Furious and/or that Obama did too.

Bill Whittle is right anyway that Obama and Holder are evil men. 

Two evil men 5

Bill Whittle gives his answer to the question we ask in the post immediately below.

He calls Obama and Holder evil men – and explains precisely why he calls them that.

Why? 2

The mainstream media tried to ignore the “Fast and Furious” scandal, but can do so no longer. A Congressional panel has recommended that the House of Representatives cite Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for contempt of Congress, and President Obama has asserted executive privilege to shield Justice Department documents from disclosure.

This summary of the dire results of the nefarious activity authorized by the Department of Justice comes from Investor’s Business Daily:

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010 at the hands of an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa Cartel just 10 miles from the Mexico border near Nogales, Ariz. Two AK-47 assault rifles found at the site of the Terry shooting were traced back to a straw buyer allowed to smuggle guns into Mexico with the blessing of the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] and Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.

In addition to Agent Terry, Immigration Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata was also killed [February 2011] in a separate incident by a weapon allowed to “walk” into Mexico from the U.S. as part of the administration’s third-rate alleged attempt to track and catch gun traffickers. Let us not forget the hundreds of Mexican nationals who have been killed by Fast and Furious weapons.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tried to get information from the DOJ and the ATF about the operation dubbed “Fast and Furious”.

They were lied to. The DOJ claimed that allegations of sales of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then took them to Mexico were false. President Obama declared on TV that neither he nor the Attorney General, Eric Holder, had authorized Fast and Furious.  In May 2011 Holder testified to the House Judiciary Committee that he didn’t know who had approved the operation but now it was being investigated. He said he’d only heard about it in “the last few weeks”. But in October 2011 documents surfaced revealing that he had known about it since July 2010. Holder then hastened to say that he had misunderstood the question. (“When did you first know about …” is a difficult question to understand?) In November 2011 he admitted that “gunwalking” had in fact been done in Fast and Furious, and explained that his earlier denials had been unintentional. But he still insisted that he personally had been unaware that “gunwalking” tactics had been used. On June 7 2012 Holder again testified at a Congressional hearing (his seventh on this issue), and again denied knowing anything about his department ordering “gunwalking”. His department had provided only 7,000 documents, about 5% of the number Congress had asked for. Now Congress asked for 1,300 documents in addition to the 7,000. Holder refused to hand them over. On June 20 2012 President Obama invoked “executive privilege” to keep the documents from Congress under his personal orders. On the same day, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform cited Holder for contempt. The House of Representatives will vote on the issue next week.

Can anyone explain, or plausibly conjecture, why Fast and Furious was launched? What the real motive was for the operation, just what the DOJ hoped to accomplish, and exactly how?

The aim stated when the operation was finally admitted to, was to track the firearms to the bosses of Mexican drug cartels, who would then be arrested so that the cartels could be destroyed. Without the co-operation of the Mexican government – which was not even informed about it – how might that have been managed?

Some say it was to help the Obama administration make a case against the Second Amendment rights of US citizens to carry arms. How might that case be argued?

Answers are invited.

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