Saturday, June 22, 2013

op ed review 6/23

“Barack Obama Bombs in Berlin:  a weak, underwhelming address from a floundering president”
“Obama to Berliners: Ich bin ein awful speaker”

Over the course of just one month, President Obama´s approval rating in the CNN/ORC poll has dropped a full 8 points to just 45%, his lowest rating in eighteen months

A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.

The decision to keep U.S. personnel in Benghazi with substandard security was made at the highest levels of the State Department by officials who have so far escaped blame.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appears to have lied to the Senate when he said there was never a “stand down” order during the Benghazi attack.

Even as reports break about the size and scope of the National Security Agency’s vast data storage center in Utah, new details are emerging about a second massive NSA center in San Antonio, Texas.
The American people are growing increasingly concerned about reports of domestic spying. And Congress isn’t sure how to respond.
FBI director admits domestic use of drones for surveillance
A former intelligence analyst says that the intelligence community has ordered surveillance on a wide range of groups and individuals, including high-ranking military officials, lawmakers and diplomats.

Senators on Tuesday rejected building the 700 miles of double-tier border fencing Congress authorized just seven years ago, with a majority of the Senate saying they didn’t want to delay granting illegal immigrants legal status while the fence was being built. The vote broke mostly along party lines, though five Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio and the rest of the bill’s authors, voted against the fence, and two Democrats voted for it.
Allen West Threatens To Challenge Marco Rubio In 2016 Primary
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) launched a national petition on Thursday to stop the Senate Gang of Eight's amnesty bill and send Washington a "strong signal" of the grassroots opposition to the bill. 
Obama runs immigration bill from the White House, according to new report.
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona law that required people registering to vote in federal elections to show proof of citizenship. 

Local Governments Reeling Under ObamaCare Costs
Signs of ObamaCare´s failings mount daily, including soaring insurance costs, looming provider shortages and inadequate insurance exchanges. Yet the law´s most disturbing feature may be the "death panel”…
A new 253-page Obamacare rule requires state, federal and local agencies as well as health insurers to swap the protected personal health information of anybody seeking to join the new health care program.
America’s Catholic bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention joined forces, calling on Congress to pass bills that would exempt companies and nonprofits from the contraception insurance coverage mandate in President Obama’s health care law.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered military workplaces searched for materials “degrading or offensive” to women..  What’s degrading or offensive is open to interpretation.  The Navy will even inspect its bathrooms.

House Republicans  made their most concerted effort of the year to change federal abortion law with legislation that would ban almost all abortions after a fetus reaches the age of 20 weeks.

A state senator from Louisiana who recently announced his departure from the Democratic Party to become a Republican says the party of President Obama is one of “overseers.” State Sen. Elbert Guillory released a video Sunday explaining his reason for leaving the Democrats:  African Americans should quit exchanging self-reliance for the “allegiance of overseers” through government programs that are intended not to help people, but to control them. He said in his video message that Democrats push a social justice and welfare aid strategy to manage citizens, not help them from poverty.

Hidden camera catches wireless company employees passing out 'Obama phones' to people who say they'll sell them for drugs, shoes, handbags and spending cash.  The 'Lifeline' free-cell-phone scheme cost $2.2B last year alone, all of it from fees added to the phone bills of paying customers. (you are paying for it)

Democrats in Washington are starting to shift from the Obamas to the Clintons. Hillary Clinton has already racked up a couple of endorsements for the 2016 presidential race — and she hasn’t even announced she’s running yet.

The Girl Guides (girl scouts in the UK) have dropped "God" from their Girl Guides´ Promise. In a multicultural and individualist age, the thinking goes, the movement should pledge "to be true to myself and develop my beliefs". None of that guff about God and country. It´s now all about "Me" and the anything goes spirituality. Hindu, Druid, New Ager, Muslim, Christian: everything´s the same these days. We´ve seen it elsewhere. Druids and Christians are accorded equal rights in the workplace: when a Druid employee, say, wants time off to go to Stonehenge for the Solstice, the boss must treat her the same…..

“Christendom’s Greatest Cathedral to Become a Mosque”.  Hagia Sophia — Greek for “Holy Wisdom” — was for some thousand years Christianity’s greatest cathedral.

The Consequences of Liberalism, Christopher Chantrill, 6/17

Here we are at the midpoint of the Obama years, assailed on every side by looming consequences of liberal hubris and liberal corruption. But the Obama Scandals don't get me all riled up with partisan outrage. What's the surprise? If liberals in the media, in the academy, and in politics stigmatize conservatives as monsters, racists, sexists, homophobes, why be surprised that little Lois Lerner (at the IRS) wants to please her teacher? 

Why wouldn't the Democrats want to do immigration reform and never mind the consequences to low-paid Americans? It's heads I win if it passes and Democrats get another 10 million votes or tails you lose if it fails and everyone from President Obama to Chris Matthews gets to blame the anti-Hispanic Republicans for the disaster.

It's misleading to say that the social consequences of the welfare state are "unintended." We know what the liberal welfare state does to people. I occasionally rile up my liberal friends by noting that a century ago the rich were fat and the poor were thin, but today the rich are thin and the poor are fat. Same with work. Back then the poor worked all the time; today the rich work all the time. Liberals don't like to hear stuff like that.  But look at the Current Population Survey,  shows that, of the 29.5 million households in the U.S. with no earners, fully 15 million are in the lowest income quintile. But there are 46 million U.S. households with two earners or more. One million are in the lowest income quintile and 18 million are in the highest income quintile. Imagine that: If you have two or more earners in the family there's a 40 percent chance it will put you into the top 20%.

Let's say it again. In a household where nobody works you have a 50 percent chance of being in the bottom 20%. In a household where two or more people work you have a 40 percent chance of being in the top 20%.

Things are pretty frustrating for conservatives right now. You could get really discouraged. But when the clouds are threatening and the world is dark it is well to remember how battles are won. They are won by the side that gives up last. That's why Jonah Goldberg's recent column "Freedom: The Unfolding Revolution" is such a ray of sunshine. Liberals think that their government programs are the "wave of the future," writes Jonah, but they are dead wrong. Their politics, whether class politics for the working class or today's identity politics of race and gender, is nothing more than "gussied-up tribalisms, anachronisms made gaudy with the trappings of modernity, like a gibbon in a spacesuit." Adds Jonah: “The only truly new political idea in the last couple thousand years is this libertarian idea, broadly understood. The revolution wrought by John Locke, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and the Founding Fathers is the only real revolution going. And it's still unfolding.”

How did this libertarian idea get started, two thousand years ago in the Axial Age? It was based on the notion of individualism, the responsible self, people thinking and acting for themselves and forming new associations rather than going along to get along with the tribe. Why did the West do this first, and not India and China, civilizations far richer and sophisticated than the European? According to Max Weber it was because Western city dwellers broke away from tribalism and, as individuals, formed new kinds of association in the cities while in India and China they did not. 

In India the caste system and in China the ancestor cult kept people from trusting each other in the city. They looked to their caste or clan outside the city for identity and protection. They could not bring themselves to burst the bonds of caste and clan to trust their fellow citizens in the city.

It is the responsible individual that created the modern world, and it is liberals, with their politics of identity and victim-hood, that are turning the clock back to a primitive age of tribalism. They are reinventing caste with their rage for credentialism, and reviving clan with their multiculturalism and race-card politics.  It makes complete sense that liberals sneer at the responsible individual, the busy bourgeois, the independent householder, the church member, and harass them. The bourgeois middle class with its businesses, its adaptability, its families, its work and its savings represent the existential threat to liberal power and its curdling tribalism.

We know full well the consequences of liberalism. They are manifesting themselves before our eyes in Chicago's bloodbath and Detroit's bankruptcy. 

Why weren't you harassing those guys, Lois? Because if you could just have saved one life... ________________________________________________________________________

“Berlin hadn’t seen bombing like this since the allies turned the city into a wasteland in the spring of 1945.  This week the bomb was the bomber himself, and when the day was done, the legend of the irresistible eloquence of Barack Obama lay in shreds and tatters. The allies required 363 raids between 1942 and 1945 to level the city, while President Obama leveled himself with only one.”
                 -Wes Pruden

“Leftists repeatedly invoked their "If it saves one life" maxim to promote gun-grabbing legislation, but when it comes to protecting the life of an unborn baby, the mantra is, "If it inconveniences one woman..." Thus, in the world of the "progressive," imaginary constitutional rights trump life, but rights that are actually enumerated do not.”
               -Mark Alexander

It was tough choosing between “Ecofeminist Ecosocialism in Action: Perspective on Contemporary Movements for a Planet Beyond Capitalism” and “Sarte Re-visited in a Time of Crisis,” two of the highlights of the 2013 Left Forum. But somehow I managed. The Left Forum is the preeminent socialist confab in the United States, bringing together leftists of all stripes since 1981 for three days of panels, lectures, and more panels. So many panels…..

“Lincoln Unbound:  How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream—and How We Can Do It Again”  by Rich Lowry. Abraham Lincoln’s vision of an upwardly mobile society that rewards and supports individual striving was wondrously realized. Now, it is under threat. To meet these challenges, conservative columnist Rich Lowry draws us back to the lessons of Lincoln. It is imperative, he argues, to preserve a fluid economy that makes it possible for individuals to thrive and live the American dream.

James O´Keefe is back to muckraking, with a new book and fresh "Obamaphone" scandal as the "Ashton Kutcher of the Conservative movement" reaffirms his commitment to guerilla journalism.

Anti-gun rally in San Bernardino attracts 3 people.

Frustrated by an increase in petty crime, residents of an Oregon neighborhood have decided to arm themselves instead of calling the police. Residents have put up fliers advertising their new policy.  ´This is a Glock Block,´ the fliers read. ´We don´t call 911.´

???? Eighth-Grader Who Refused to Remove NRA Shirt Could Face Year in Prison

If you want to start a fight with a room full of liberals, insist that Barack Obama is the worst president in recent history. The blowback about George W. Bush and Iraq will drown you out, but here’s a way to quiet the crowd: Insist that Obama’s second term is the worst term in recent presidential history. There can be no argument there. Each week hits a new low point, and the only debate is about which moment was the worst.

Hey, Dad. If you’re going to send your kid to a public school or a state run university, then you’ve got to teach your child not to just sit there in class, like a nice boy, and take whatever propaganda the “progressives” shove down their pie hole. The Conservative/traditionalist is the rebel of our day. “The Man” and “The Machine” on campus to rage against is not stodgy traditionalism, but rank socialism and its moral and political vacuity.

Frank Miele:  The so-called “comprehensive immigration reform bill” is just the latest turn of the screw in the ongoing campaign to fundamentally transform America into a socialist republic. Sadly, it may just be a matter of time before Congress surrenders its responsibility to protect our country and passes this bill, almost certainly resulting in a new America that will be less affluent, less secure, less educated and less relevant, but certainly more international in character.

He didn't think he would give a speech. For quite some time, Roy Costner IV was second among his classmates, and didn't realize an extra class raised his grade point average enough for him to be the valedictorian of Liberty High School's Class of 2013.  But when the honor was bestowed on him, and he was asked to give the traditional valedictory speech, Costner didn't want to waste this opportunity to acknowledge the most important influence in his life: his Christian faith. There was a problem.  Liberty High School is a small public school in Pickens County, South Carolina, and the County's Board of Education had been targeted over the past year by activist atheists from Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) for praying at their meetings.  The (legally void) threats from FFRF had their intended effect, and the school board voted to suspend traditional prayer at their gatherings.  For good measure, the board also decided to eliminate religious references at graduation.
For many years, the networks have done a sloppy job of comparing "conservatives" around the globe. As the Berlin Wall fell, the "conservatives" became the communists who wanted to keep their grip on power and not give way to democracy. That´s hardly comparable to American conservatives. On Saturday night, CBS News was doing this sloppy dance on the elections in Iran. From London, reporter Elizabeth Palmer declared all the candidates to succeed Ahmadinejad were the Islamist equivalent of the American Tea Party movement:

Elbert Guillory: "Why I Am a Republican"

Revealed: the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant

5 Uses for your old computer monitor

"Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules."
                   -Thomas Jefferson

Fallon: Last week Obama asked China´s president to stop spying on Americans. And the Chinese leader responded, "You first."

Conan: Everyone please turn off your phones. I’ve got some jokes I don’t want the government to hear.

Leno: Yesterday the FBI admitted they do use drones on U.S. soil for domestic surveillance. The FBI's Robert Mueller told Congress that he does sometimes use drones, but he said the good news is that these drones are made in America, by Americans, to spy on Americans…… President Obama's approval rating has dropped eight points over the past month, down to 45 percent, his lowest rating in over a year. Obama's vowing to find out whose approval he's lost, track them down using their email and phone records, and personally win them back……This day marks the 42nd anniversary of the war on drugs. Today our partners in Mexico observed it with a moment of silence followed by hours of laughter.

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