October 31, 2013

Fisking Ornstein On The Right To Vote

Im not sure which notion is more disturbing that possibility that Norm Ornstein believes what he has written in this National Journal article or the possibility that he does not believe it and is instead intentionally lying to us in his article on voting.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, is leading to a new era of voter suppression that parallels the pre-1960s erathis time affecting not just African-Americans but also Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others.

Well actually it isnt, despite that expansive and alarmist claim. After all, the decision in Shelby County v. Holder did not eviscerate the Voting Rights Act it struck down one provision based upon the fact that it is not rational to base contemporary policy upon statistics from an election that took place half a century ago. The bulk of the Voting Rights Act remains intact the burden of proof now reverts to the federal government to prove racial discrimination. And no ones vote is being suppressed.

The reasoning employed by Chief Justice John Roberts in Shelby Countythat Section 5 of the act was such a spectacular success that it is no longer necessarywas the equivalent of taking down speed cameras and traffic lights and removing speed limits from a dangerous intersection because they had combined to reduce accidents and traffic deaths.

One could use that analogy or one could recognize that keeping the overturned test is akin to continuing to treat a patient with antibiotics because they had pneumonia 50 years ago and the antibiotics still havent changed what is in the 50 year old medical records.

In North Carolina, a post-Shelby County law not only includes one of the most restrictive and punitive vote-ID laws anywhere but also restricts early voting, eliminates same-day voting registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and bans many provisional ballots. Whatever flimsy voter-fraud excuse exists for requiring voter ID disappears when it comes to these other obstacles to voting.

Restricts early voting? Not really there are the same number of hours of early voting, just fewer days. And last time I checked, there was no requirement in the Constitution for pre-registering those who will not be eligible to vote for years. As for doing away with same-day registration, long-standing Supreme Court precedent has held that there is nothing wrong with a 30-day deadline for registration. And as for the flimsy voter-fraud excuse well, the US Supreme Court upheld such laws several years ago on the basis of that even if voter-fraud is uncommon, it is important enough an issue for states to require photo ID.

In Texas, the law could require voters to travel as much as 250 miles to obtain an acceptable voter IDand it allows a concealed-weapon permit, but not a student ID, as proof of identity for voting. Moreover, the law and the regulations to implement it, we are now learning, will create huge impediments for women who have married or divorced and have voter IDs and driver's licenses that reflect maiden or married names that do not exactly match. It raises similar problems for Mexican-Americans who use combinations of mothers' and fathers' names.

In a recent election on constitutional issues, a female Texas District Court judge, Sandra Watts, who has voted for 49 years in the state, was challenged in the same courthouse where she presides; to overcome the challenge, she will have to jump through hoops and possibly pay for a copy of her marriage license, an effective poll tax on women.

The claim of a 250 mile round trip to obtain a proper photo ID is true if one lives in one of the more remote, sparsely populated parts of Texas, it is possible but unlikely that you will need to make such a trip. Of course, something similar is true of going to vote on election day (folks sometimes have to travel as much as an hour, round trip, to reach polling places in some counties) but Ornstein does not note that fact. The decision to allow a concealed-carry permit but not a student ID (which might not be government issued and does not require the stringent proof of ID of a concealed-carry permit) is not that outrageous and that permit is only one of a number of forms of acceptable identification allowed under the law, as this video makes clear. Similarly, the huge impediments that Ornstein claims exist for women dont really exist the provision for folks with similar names on the two documents allow for a great deal of leeway on the part of election officials at the polling place (folks like me, the presiding judge in my precinct) to allow folks to vote if the names are similar -- and heres another video that explains the issue quite well. And despite a few alarmist news reports (such as the false story Ornstein cites about one judge in one county who may gasp! have to get a copy of her marriage license to prove her identity), there have been relatively few folks in the state of Texas turned away or required to vote by provisional ballot over Voter ID issues. Not only that, but in Harris County, where there the city of Houston has a couple of significant city-wide races in addition to the county-wide referendum on the future of the Astrodome and a bevy of state constitutional amendment proposals, early voting is running significantly ahead of recent off-year turnout rates. Indeed, the media here in Texas reports that the law has caused virtually no problems statewide.

The Justice Department is challenging both laws, but through a much more cumbersome and rarely successful provision of the Voting Rights Act that is still in force. It cannot prevent these laws and others implemented by state and local jurisdictions, many of which will take effect below the radar and will not be challenged because of the expense and difficulty of litigation.

I'll just note that Ornstein's objection here is that in order to overturn a state law, the Justice Department is now required to go to court and prove it to be discriminatory rather than make such a declaration by fiat. Apparently the time and expense of due process of law -- not to mention the equality of all states under the law -- is an outrage that cannot be allowed to stand in the Land of Ornstein! And that he wants this power placed into the hands of what is demonstrably the most ideological and most corrupt Justice Department since the days of the Teapot Dome Scandal is evidence of his bad faith as well as his bad judgment.

Voter suppression is nothing new in America, as the pre-civil-rights era underscores. But it is profoundly un-American. The Texas law, promoted aggressively by state Attorney General Greg Abbott, the GOP choice for governor in next year's election, establishes the kinds of obstacles and impediments to voting that are more akin to Vladimir Putin's Russia than to the United States. Maybe we should change the state's name to Putinexas.

Oh, the humanity! Never mind that the only element of truth in the paragraph is that Attorney General Greg Abbott is a strong supporter of the new law -- Texas is now akin to the Russian thugocracy simply because it has a law that has not caused any of the problems that Ornstein is falsely claiming it has/will cause!

Looking at the demographics in Texas, the Republican authors of the law decided that suppressing votes was easier than changing either policies or approaches to appeal to the emerging elements of the state's electorate. In Virginia, with polls showing that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe's robust lead over Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli is driven by a huge gender gap, it is not surprising that Republicans in Texas are trying to suppress the votes of women as much as those of Hispanic-Americans.

Of course, Ornstein has no data to work with here, but he has already divined that the law here in Texas is a voter suppression tool. Never mind that there is no indication of actual voter suppression -- it is the seriousness of the charge rather than its truth that matters!

A new Voting Rights Act would help to ameliorate some of these problems, especially if it applied nationwide (many of the restrictive laws are occurring in non-Southern states such as Indiana and Kansas). I have previously suggested a host of areas that could be included in a VRA 2.0 to make voting easier and more convenient. But despite the endorsement of a new VRA by influential Republicans such as Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the odds of enacting new voting-rights legislation in today's thoroughly dysfunctional and hyperpartisan Congress are slim.

I guess that Norm Ornstein is suffering from amnesia. Efforts by Republicans to apply the Voting Rights Act nationwide -- or even to use data from more recent elections than those that brought us President's Johnson and Nixon -- were deemed to be anti-civil rights by Democrats in 2006. Only now, when the Supreme Court recognized that the old standard could no longer be justified due to the antiquated standard used to determine the application of one punitive provision, do the same folks who rejected such proposals deem them essential.

The effort should be accelerated. We need a modernized voter-registration system, weekend elections, and a host of other practices to make voting easier. But we also need to focus on an even more audacious and broader efforta constitutional amendment protecting the right to vote.

Many, if not most, Americans are unaware that the Constitution contains no explicit right to vote. To be sure, such a right is implicit in the 15th, 19th, and 26th amendments that deal with voting discrimination based on race, gender, and age. But the lack of an explicit right opens the door to the courts' ratifying the sweeping kinds of voter-restrictions and voter-suppression tactics that are becoming depressingly common.

Now there is a nugget of a good idea there -- after all, how can anyone object to enshrining the right to vote in the Constitution? Well, other than anyone who is actively involved in administering elections -- based upon my experience I have a number of concerns. As I see it, the problem is that any such amendment would have the same issues as the current system -- or perhaps worse problems. Would such an amendment allow for states to require voter registration? Would it allow for registration deadlines, or would same-day registration become the norm? Would such an amendment overturn the explicit sanctioning of felon disenfranchisement that is found in the Fourteenth Amendment? Would voters be permitted to vote in any precinct under this amendment, rather than only in their home precinct? And what of early voting -- would it be mandatory in all states, with a constitutionally established number of days and hours of early voting? In other words, would the amendment have little effect on how we currently hold elections, or would it impose a nationwide one-size-fits-all set of standards that would make the running of elections more difficult and expensive -- and put one more nail in the coffin of the concept of federalism? Such an amendment might even be deemed a stealth repeal of the Electoral College by either Congress or the Courts! Frankly, the only one of Ornstein's proposals that I find particularly interesting is the weekend date for federal elections -- something that would require a constitutional amendment to accomplish.

An explicit constitutional right to vote would give traction to individual Americans who are facing these tactics, and to legal cases challenging restrictive laws. The courts have up to now said that the concern about voter fraudlargely manufactured and exaggeratedprovides an opening for severe restrictions on voting by many groups of Americans. That balance would have to shift in the face of an explicit right to vote. Finally, a major national debate on this issue would alert and educate voters to the twin realities: There is no right to vote in the Constitution, and many political actors are trying to take away what should be that right from many millions of Americans.

Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., have introduced in Congress a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to vote. It has garnered little attention and no momentum. Now is the time to change that dynamic before more states decide to be Putinesque with our democracy.

And there you have my biggest reason for rejecting Ornstein's proposals and ridiculing his article -- they are based upon a partisan talking point for which he offers no proof whatsoever, namely that there is someone (Republicans) seeking to gain partisan advantage by stripping the ability to participate from Americans who don't vote for them. Given that Ornstein's underlying premise is so fundamentally dishonest, how can he even be taken seriously? And given that we have historically only amendment the Constitution when there is a demonstrable need to solve a critical problem, I'd argue that the burden for making the change is simply not met -- and that Ornstein's proposed amendment is akin to Prohibition, a symbolic change that will cause endless amounts of mischief due to the questions I raised earlier about its effects. I'm therefore quite pleased that the amendment Ornstein is pushing is gaining no traction.

By the way, here is the text of the amendment that Ornstein makes a push for at the end of this piece.

SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.

SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.

So vague as to be meaningless with a grant of power potentially so expansive as to strip the states of any effective control over any election. Talk about your bad ideas!

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October 29, 2013

Nevada Pol Makes Dumb Comment To Explain Flawed View Of The Duty Of An Elected Official

Hes being denounced and rightly so.

A Nevada assemblyman came under fire Monday after a YouTube video surfaced in which he told a Republican gathering he would vote to allow slavery if that is what his constituents wanted him to do.

"If that's what they wanted, I'd have to hold my nose ... they'd probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah," Assemblyman Jim Wheeler told members of the Storey County Republican Party at a meeting in August.

His comments were swiftly denounced by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Do elected officials have an obligation to represent their constituents? Yes. Is it their obligation to do so (dare I use the word) slavishly, even when it is clear that their constituents are wrong? No they do not. Edmund Burke suggested that all a representative owes his constituent is his best judgment. I dont know that I hold that view in as absolutist a fashion as that great English statesman, but I agree with there is a point at which a representative must be prepared to do what he or she believes to be right even if those who hold elected them disagree. Dare I suggest that the example Wheeler offered up is a classic example of such an instance?

The issue is one that John F. Kennedy dealt with quite forthrightly in Profiles in Courage. Consider the best example found in the book, Edmund G. Ross, who defied the people and legislature of Kansas by refusing to vote to remove President Andrew Johnson from office during the impeachment trial. Similarly, Gov. Sam Houston of Texas courageously stood with the Union when Texas seceded from the Union and was deposed from office for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy. Both rejected their constituency in favor of what was right -- and both are recognized as having been right to have done so.

It is reasonable, of course, to question where the line is drawn -- but no, it would never be acceptable to vote for slavery regardless of the strength of the demands made by one's constituents. If Wheeler doesn't get that, he needs to go.

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Will There Be Government Action Over This?

Or is explicit racial discrimination against white people legal in the age of Obama?

Shokazoba's cancellation from the Hampshire Halloween event Friday night atHampshire College, after one band member said they were criticized of being "too white" to play Afrobeat music, is reverberating on social media.

Shokazoba keyboard player Jason Moses said on Saturday that the entire incident has upset the band, which he said was the target of an online campaign by approximately 30 people - a campaign that led to the band's ultimate cancellation from the annual event.

* * *

Elaine Thomas, Hampshire College spokeswoman, said in a statement that the student organizers of Hampshire Halloween contracted with a number of bands, and that some students "questioned the selection of one band, asking whether it was a predominantly white Afrobeat band, and expressing their concerns about cultural appropriation and the need to respect marginalized cultures."

"The students tried to be clear that they meant no disrespect to the members of the band in question, but wished to raise larger questions and deeper thought within our own community," Thomas said. "Unfortunately, voices unconnected to our campus and to the events of Hampshire Halloween drowned out a reasonable conversation about how to ensure that the entire student community could have a safe and happy evening. As can happen on social media, posts from off-campus individuals trivialized the concerns of our students and made them feel disrespected."

I wonder would the committee have taken the same action if a group of 30 white students announced they felt disrespected by a mostly-minority group performing country, rock, or any other type of music? Or would the students instead have been publicly denounced and subjected to disciplinary action because they demanded an act that was "too black" or "too Hispanic" or "too Asian" be dropped from an event's program?

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Drug And Spouse Abusing Lover Of Dictators Proposes Stalinist Solution To Dissent In The Age Of Obama

Have Obama issue an executive order declaring his opponents mentally ill and lock them up for psychiatric treatment!

"There's a mental health problem in Congress," says actor and liberal activist Sean Penn. The president could solve the problem "by committing them by executive order," Penn told CNN's Piers Morgan Monday night.

Asked if Penn would have "people like Ted Cruz" committed, Penn said, "He is my American brother. I won't -- I think we should take care of him, he is in, he's the trouble."

"Well, actually have him committed," Morgan followed up.

"Yeah, I think it's a good idea," Penn said.

I guess I shouldnt be surprised by Sean Penns efforts to bring an Obamunist version of the old (and now new) Russian practice of involuntarily committing those who challenge the will of the regime for the good of society on the basis that disagreeing with the ruler is a sign of mental illness. After all, the past month has seen repeated calls by the Obamaunist Left for the arrest of those who dared oppose Obama over the continuing resolution and debt ceiling. Given that Penn is a drug addicted, wife beating college dropout (who was majoring in auto mechanics and speech) with totalitarian tendencies, Im sure he knows all about mental illness from personal experience.

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October 28, 2013

From the Watcher's Council Forum

This week we were asked to opine on the future fate of ObamaCare. Here's my view.

Frankly, I have very little hope regarding ObamaCare. I dont see it being overturned by the courts, I dont see it being repealed by Congress, and I dont see it working anything like it was advertised. The most likely outcome I see will be even worse for America than what is currently enacted into law.

Lets be honest the ruling by the Supreme Court in 2012, and the opinion written by John Roberts in particular, were a disaster. The notion that the penalties in the legislation are a tax is completely at odds with the legislative history of the bill (such as it is) and the claims of the Obama Administration. The president and his henchmen admitted as much at the time of the ruling and have continued to do so since then. Based upon admissions made within days of the ruling that the Solicitor Generals office had committed a fraud upon the Court by making the argument that the penalties were taxes and and their arguments that John Roberts and the liberal wing of the Court got the decision wrong, the losing parties in the case should have made an appeal for rehearing under the Supreme Courts Rule 44. Unfortunately they did not do so, and so it is likely that any future Supreme Court decision will continue to abide by the precedent in place.. At most we will see some nibbling around the edges based upon First Amendment issues and statutory language regarding state vs. federal exchanges, but no judicial flip on the question of constitutionality.

As for repealing ObamaCare, we dont have the votes in Congress to do it, or even delay it one second longer than Obama wants it delayed for. After all, The Democrats control the Senate, Harry Reid is refusing to run that body in a collegial fashion, and there is no way we can get a veto-proof majority in either house of Congress even if Reid allowed the Senate to consider repeal legislation. That means that Obama can stop any Congressional effort to repeal ObamaCare with a stroke of his pen. The same will be true after the new Congress is seated after the 2014 elections there is no way the GOP will have the sort of landslide that it would take to get to a veto-proof majority, and without one Obama will still wield the veto pen.

Which leads to the question of the implementation of the law. Weve already seen that it is a fiasco and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. Software doesnt work, prices are high, and millions are losing the medical insurance they like and the doctors they have been seeing, promises by Barack Obama notwithstanding. By 2016 it will be clear just how big a failure ObamaCare is but too many Americans will already be dependent upon it. Republicans campaigning on a platform of repealing ObamaCare will be depicted by the Democrats and their media toadies as seeking to take access to healthcare away from millions of Americans who cannot afford it. Any Republican plan to replace ObamaCare with something else will be attacked by the lapdog media as even worse than the status quo. And into the fray will step Hillary Clinton and other Democrats who will declare that the failure of healthcare reform was the fault of Republicans who opposed fixing the system in 1993, refused to work with us to care for the poorest Americans in 2009, and whose efforts to thwart ObamaCare after the passage of the law was nothing short of a program of sabotage responsible for the every unpleasantness experienced by Americans due to ObamaCares failure. Their proposal will be nothing less than a single-payer system perhaps MediCare for All. Presuming that the GOP does not manage to pull off a trifecta by holding the House, gaining a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and winning the White House, we will see the passage of a single-payer bill by the end of 2017. Any likely 2016 winner (and no, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Sarah Palin are not likely winners), regardless of party, will sign the resulting legislation on the basis that it will be better than ObamaCare though I question whether that will prove to be the case over the long term. At that point we will have a federal health care system funded by massive tax increases for all but the poorest quintile.

Do I truly see such a dystopian future? Sadly, I do. The choices of the GOP since the adoption of ObamaCare have brought us to a position where we have failed to stop ObamaCare and are unlikely to find ourselves positioned to undo ObamaCare. The result will be the ultimate success of the sort of single-payer system that the Left has been seeking, the resulting expansion of federal power, and the increasing irrelevance of the Constitution as a blueprint for limited government and maximum individual liberty. The Reaganite vision of my youth will have failed, only to be replaced with an Obamunist state that will collapse within two generations.

Other members of the Council have different views -- check them out here!

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October 27, 2013

Watcher's Council Results

Here are this weeks full results

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

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October 22, 2013

Panty-WaistParents Seek To Declare Having A Superior Athletic Team To Be A Form Of Bullying

Is it any surprise, though, that the latest fad in protecting kids would lead to an effort to emasculate competition?

The parent of a North Texas high school football player has filed a bullying complaint against a rival team's coaching staff after a 91-0 loss.

The undefeated Aledo Bearcats have made a habit of soundly defeating their opponents this season. After seven games, the team is outscoring the opposition 485-47.

A Western Hills High School parent filed the bullying complaint after Bearcats defeated the Fort Worth school 91-0 on Friday.

"Never; I've never heard of a bullying report in a football game," Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said Monday.

Buchanan said he started substituting players in the first quarter. He also said the game clock ran continuously starting toward the end of the third quarter.

Apparently the failure of the Aledo coaches to order their players -- second and third stringers, not starters -- to lie down on the field and allow Western Hills team to score unimpeded somehow constitutes bullying. This is a far cry from the old notion that taking a defeat -- even a rout -- like a man constitutes a character-building experience.

Seems to me that the parents of at least one Western Hills High School student are lacking in character -- and want to make sure that their son (not to mention his teammates) is every bit the sort of flaming pansy that they are.

And apparently when they read the Kurt Vonnegut short story "Harrison Bergeron" (full story here), they didn't recognize that it was a satire critical of folks like them who are threatened by those who have natural gifts and strive for excellence.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Panty-WaistParents Seek To Declare Having A Superior Athletic Team To Be A Form Of Bullying" »

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A Word From Our Sponsor -- Memorabilia

All of us are fans of someone or something. Maybe it is a television show or a singer. Others are fans of athletic teams in various sports. And fans like to collect things related to their idols -- and as a result there is a huge market for memorabilia in all of these areas. As a result, we find various dealers who buy and sell the products, especially autographed items, related to athletes, actors, musicians, and the like.

Now suppose you were looking for soccer/football autographs for a favorite team -- perhaps Manchester United autographs because you are a fan of that acclaimed team. Well, you would have to find a dealer like Up North Memorabilia to fill that need. And you would be amazed by the variety of items that are available for you to purchase. There are, of course, the run-of-the-mill autographed photos -- some nicely matted and framed -- for you to consider. But the possibilities go well beyond that. How about an autographed goal keeper's glove? Or maybe an autographed jersey is more along the lines of what you are looking for. And let's not forget some items that are even more exotic -- say an autographed shoe for your favorite player. The possibilities are almost endless for a fan who is looking for that particular item to celebrate a favorite player or a favorite team. And the prices of such items are not out of reach of the average fan, either -- something that I personally find quite appealing.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "A Word From Our Sponsor -- Memorabilia" »

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October 20, 2013

Government Hostility To Christian Expression -- Even In Death

Where did folks get the notion that the government can suppress religious speech by Christians on the chance that someone might be offended?

Linda Baker lost her battle with cancer last week. She was the wife of Mark Baker, the pastor of Harvest Baptist Church in Ovid.

[Stacy] Adams said her mother-in-law was passionate about her Christian faith and her family. Her final wish was to have her cemetery marker engraved with the ichthys, a symbol of early Christianity. She also wanted the word Jesus written inside the fish.

At first they told us it wouldnt fit, Adams told me. But after we kept pushing them the cemetery director told us that it might offend somebody. They werent going to allow it.

The family was devastated and asked the cemetery director to reconsider. He refused.

He said, What if somebody wanted to put a swastika? she recounted. My reply was, so what if they do? Its not my business how they want to be remembered.

The family then took their concerns to the Sterling city manager but once again they were rebuffed.

He refused to work with us, she said. He said he would have to take it to the city attorney. They were being difficult.

She said city officials kept telling them that people would be offended by the name of Christ.

We werent asking for a six-foot neon sign, she said. We did not want to put a cross on everyones tombstone. Its a six-inch fish with the name Jesus on it.

So the family decided to post their plight on Facebook and thats when the city had a change of heart.

In case you aren't clear, this is what the city was afraid would offend someone.


Really? Anyone offended there would have to be quite unreasonable.

And just imagine what they would do if they saw something like this.


I'm curious -- has the city ever attempted to apply this standard to a cross? To a Star of David? To a Masonic symbol? To any other symbol? What of a tombstone depicting Jesus? Once containing a Bible verse? Frankly, something is not right here -- and there needs to be a much deeper investigation into this act of hostility to the religious sensitivities of Christians.

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Obama's Army Declares Christian Ministry To Be A Hate Group For Preaching The Gospel

Part of a pattern that has been ongoing during the Obama Regime.

Several dozen U.S. Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values.

The briefing was held at Camp Shelby in Mississippi and listed the AFA alongside domestic hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam.

A soldier who attended the briefing contacted me and sent me a photograph of a slide show presentation that listed AFA as a domestic hate group. Under the AFA headline is a photograph of Westboro Baptist Church preacher Fred Phelps holding a sign reading No special law for f***.

American Family Association has absolutely no affiliation with the controversial church group known for picketing the funerals of American servicemembers.

I had to show Americans what our soldiers are now being taught, said the soldier who asked not to be identified. I couldnt just let this one pass.

The soldier said a chaplain interrupted the briefing and challenged the instructors assertion that AFA is a hate group.

The instructor said AFA could be considered a hate group because they dont like gays, the soldier told me. The slide was talking about how AFA refers to gays as sinners and heathens and derogatory terms.

The thing is, the AFA does not preach hate against homosexuals. It preaches that homosexuality is sinful, and that engaging in same-sex relations is contrary to the teachings of the Gospel. They oppose same-sex marriage. In other words, they do and say nothing that would not have been deemed to be within the theological, sociological, and political mainstream at the time of my birth and through most of the first half of the half-century I've spent on this planet.

I'm curious -- where is the ACLU on this one? Where is the so-called Military Religious Freedom Foundation? Where is our "deeply spiritual" president? My guess is that all are actively promoting this designation, given their open hostility to evangelical Christianity.

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Dem. Congressman Declares That Dissent Makes You A Domestic Enemy

Especially if you are a member of Congress doing what your constituents elected you to do.

The perpetrator of this hate speech against his fellow Americans is Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN).

STEVE COHEN: I obviously do not have an opportunity to go within the conference, the Republican, we call it a caucus, they call it a conference. But I know some of the members there, and a lot of those members, they're rabid, they're sophomoric, literally, they're second term in Congress, never worked in politics before, and they think they are somehow like--it's all talked in military terms. They think they're some kind of guerillas there to strike a blow for freedom. I think they may try to pull this off again. What John Boehner is going to have to do is decide that he's not going to be Speaker in 2015 and work with the same crew that gave us the opening-up of government: Nancy Pelosi's Democratic caucus and give or take 80 reasonable Republicans and pass some bills to avoid another CR problem and shutdown and avoid the debt crisis, protect the country from these people, who really, you got to think, we take an oath to support the country against all enemies foreign and domestic, and these are the domestic enemies.

STEVE KORNACKI: You sound very pessimistic I think I can safely say about the near-term prospects for anything to be different.

Please understand what we have here -- it is another example of eliminationist rhetoric from the Left which is declares opposition to the Obamunist agenda is not merely wrong, but treasonous.No wonder you have petitions from left-wing groups demanding that conservatives in Congress be arrested and sent to Gitmo, and "patriotic" left-wingers threatening violence against Ted Cruz and his family.

Now some years back, I defended Steve Cohen from anti-Semitic and racist attacks by his fellow Democrats. I declared I would not offer such a defense again, after he compared conservatives to the Klan. Here's hoping that the hatemongers in the Democrat party go after him again in 2014 -- and that this time they are successful. After all, they could not be any worse for America than is Steve Cohen, who has revealed himself to be anti-American and anti-Constitution by declaring dissent and opposition to the sitting president make one a domestic enemy.

And as I've noted before, those Leftists who declare their opponents to be "hostage-takers", "terrorists", and "domestic enemies" know that their claim is untrue -- because they would lack the courage to stand up and speak out if conservatives were, in fact, engaging in such activity. But since we confine ourselves to peaceful dissent and working within the constitutional process, it is safe for them to attack us.

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Watcher's Council Results

OK, here are this weeks full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

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HUD Reverse Mortgages

When you reach that point in your life when you are making your plans for retirement, you really need to consider HUD Reverse Mortgages. These are tools for borrowers aged 62 and older that enable them to access the equity in their home while still occupying it. This is particularly helpful because often older individuals do not qualify for home equity or other loans, and the reverse mortgage provides a way to tap into one's equity free from the traps of the home equity loan, like limits on the amount that can be borrowed, monthly payments to repay the loan, and the ever-present possibility of the credit line being canceled.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "HUD Reverse Mortgages" »

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October 17, 2013

Obama And the Red Chinese -- The Difference Is Only A Matter Of Degree, Not Principle

Barack Obama has this to say about those who have the audacity to actively oppose him.

Now that the government has reopened and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and thats grow this economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, educate our kids, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul, Obama said.

TRANSLATION: Dissent is no longer patriotic, and it is time for Americans to ignore the voices of the treasonous folks who undermine confidence in an ever-expanding government.

Which dovetails with what is happening in Red China.

Police in China have arrested an influential blogger and are holding a cartoonist in a widening crackdown on online "rumour-mongering", friends and a lawyer for one of them said on Thursday.

Hundreds of people have been detained since August, say Chinese media and rights groups, as the government has stepped up its campaign to banish rumours. Most have been released, but some are still being held on criminal charges.

The latest moves targeting the bloggers appear to suggest the new government, led by President Xi Jinping, is expanding its crackdown on dissent, although some critics have warned the move could backfire on Communist Party leaders.

Now tell me that Obama would not be locking up the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists right this minute if he thought he could get away with it. After all, they profit from conflict, just like those bloggers in China do when they criticize the Communist regime in Beijing. And after all, their speech against Obama and the Democrat cabal has been deemed by the president and his administration interfere with the important policy goals that they claim benefit the nation and are allegedly what the majority of Americans sent us here to do. Having been declared enemies of the American people (and in the rhetoric of recent weeks, hostage-takers, bomb-throwers, and terrorists), is it really all that unthinkable for the government to begin locking up such folks? After all, shouldnt such disrupters of the common good be punished?

You may think Im being overly dramatic in this assessment, but consider the tactics of this administration since it took office in 2009. Opposing ideas and policies have regularly been declared not merely to be wrong, but to be evil. Opposition to this administration and its policies has been declared to be outside of the realm of acceptable political discourse and motivated by the basest of motives. As we saw when Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot by a madman with no apparent political motives, words and symbols that have a long and legitimate history of use by both parties as a part of normal political discourse were decreed to be uncivil and the underlying cause of that violent act and specific political opponents were decreed to bear responsibility for the shooting. And now we have seen legitimate, constitutionally sound legislative tactics, ones historically used by Democrats under Republican (and even Democrat) presidents, declared to be acts of violence against the nation and those who use them to be the moral equivalent of those who flew airplanes into the Twin Towers and Pentagon on 9/11).

In other words, the First Amendment is in danger from the President of the United States. Freedom of speech (talk radio), freedom of press (bloggers), freedom of assembly (events organized by professional activists, and the right to petition of a redress of grievances (lobbyists) are being defined as illegitimate and harmful to the nation if they do not support the agenda of the Obama Administration and the Democrat Party. And that is the danger of the pronouncement of Barack Obama and why I assert again that his words and the actions of the Chinese government differ only in degree, not principle.

|| Greg, 03:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Belated Watcher's Council Results

Here are this weeks full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

|| Greg, 05:49 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 08, 2013

Regarding The Debt Ceiling Increase

The junior senator from Illinois said these words in 2006, when there was an effort to raise the debt ceiling to approximately half the level that said senator, now the President of the United States, is seeking.


Was he wrong in 2006, or is he wrong in 2013? And isn't it fair to say that the fact that the debt limit has nearly doubled during his presidency a sign that Barack Obama is a failed leader who has weakened the United States both domestically and internationally?

H/T GayPatriot, Zero Hedge

|| Greg, 08:51 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will The Left Denounce Mika Brzezynski For Questioning Patriotism Of Ted Cruz And Other ObamaCare Opponents?

The MSNBC empty talking head declared that opposing ObamaCare indicates that one does not love this country.

That shows just how much they hate him and dont love the country, and thats whats scary about this, she said. If they actually go through with this, this is about something else.

Are you saying they dont love the country? Scarborough asked.

Are you saying they do? Ted Cruz and his group loves the country? she replied. We disagree.

So opposing the presidents policies and acting to stop them constitutes not loving ones country? That even goes beyond the hate-filled eliminationist rhetoric that we have been hearing from the regime about Obamas opponents..

I wonder what would be said by Democrats about conservatives who questioned the patriotism and love of country of liberals who opposed a president and showered him with invective?

Oh, I know they would respond like Hillary Clinton did in 2003!

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton opened up both barrels on supporters of President Bush Monday night, saying she's "sick and tired" of the way the patriotism of Bush's critics has been questioned.

"I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic," a shrill-sounding Clinton shouted during her address to Connecticut's Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner.

"We should stand up and say, we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration," she shrieked.

I wonder will Hillarly Clinton and others who took similar positions in the Bush years stand up and denounce members of the commentariat like Mika, elected Democrats like Reid and Pelosi, and even officials in the Obama Regime for their efforts to delegitimize debate, disagreement, and dissent against this president and his policies? Or is the right to debate and disagree with any administration limited to any Republican administration?

|| Greg, 01:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Nonsensical Veto By Californias Jerry Brown

On its face, this seems reasonable.

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Monday that would have allowed non-citizen legal immigrants to serve on juries in the most populous U.S. state, saying that such service was an obligation that went along with citizenship.

"This bill would permit lawful permanent residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury," Brown, a Democrat, said in his veto message. "I don't think that's right."

I think he has a point jury service is a citizenship duty.

But why, then, did he sign two bills this week benefiting illegal aliens one to give them a drivers license and the other to allow them to practice law? Why is it that in California it is possible for a law-breaking foreigner (who cannot legally work for pay in this country) to argue a case in court but not for one who is legally seeking American citizenship legally to decide a case as a juror?

|| Greg, 01:27 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will Obama Call For Their Firing?

This news about public employees in Boston.

According to Boston Public Schools, school bus drivers in the city are staging an illegal work action.

According to a statement from Boston Public Schools, "United Steelworkers of America Local 8751, which represents approximately 700 school bus drivers in the city of Boston, is staging an illegal work action this morning aimed at disrupting school bus service to students in BPS, private, parochial and charter schools."

An illegal work action designed to shut down the employer until the employees get their way? I seem to recall some discussion of such matters in the very recent past.

During his speech today, the president said something rather strange. If a worker shut down a manufacturing plant until they got what they wanted, theyd be fired, Obama shouted.

Presumably Mr. Obama will be giving Boston Public Schools a waiver of federal labor law so that these bus drivers can be fired immediately.

|| Greg, 01:24 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (297) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 07, 2013

After All, Could This Option Be Any Worse For The Houston Texans?

Four straight games with a Pick-6?


After all, would it really be worse than what we've seen so far this season?

|| Greg, 06:41 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 06, 2013

Watcher's Council Results

Here are this weeks full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

|| Greg, 02:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 05, 2013

Fellow TX SD11 Precinct Chair Makes Washington Post

Dale Huls and I may disagree at times -- sometimes rather vehemently -- but I am proud to call him a friend and a man who I respect.


HOUSTON Thanks to Texas new senator, Dale Huls is out of a job at least for now. Yet Huls has never been prouder that he voted for him.

Without Ted Cruz this doesnt happen, said Huls, a NASA systems engineer who was among roughly 3,000 federal employees furloughed from Houstons Johnson Space Center after tea party Republicans triggered the partial government shutdown.

This is something Americans have to get used to, said Huls. Even if it affects your livelihood, youve got to stand up.

* * *

Huls said he doesnt believe his job is a waste of money: The public doesnt think much of federal workers these days, but were people with car payments just like everyone else.

Still, he said of Cruz, Hes fighting for what he believes in and Im taking a side.

I'll go so far as to day that Dale and I may have different visions of what the endgame to this shutdown and the upcoming debt ceiling matter should look like -- I'm not sure, we haven't talked about it -- but I want to state on the record that I appreciate Dale and the position he is taking.

|| Greg, 08:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (389) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama Agrees To Negotiate - With America's Enemies, But Not Elected Representatives Of American People

Rep. Doug Lamborn made this completely valid point about who Obama considers to be enemies who cannot even be talked with.


The Republicans have sent multiple continuing resolutions to the Senate -- and on the orders of the petulant man-child in the White House, Senate Democrats have rejected them. This one is all on Barry Hussein and his sycophantic followers -- and as far as I'm concerned, the government can remain shut down until Hell freezes over if Obama is going to refuse to compromise with the elected representatives of the American people in the House of Representatives as our Constitution envisions.

H/T Legal Insurrection

|| Greg, 07:09 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 02, 2013

Leftist "Journalist" Race Baits

Because in Joan Walsh's world, any opposition to anything Obama does can only be based upon race.

On the day the Affordable Care Act takes effect, the U.S. government is shut down, and it may be permanently broken. Youll read lots of explanations for the dysfunction, but the simple truth is this: Its the culmination of 50 years of evolving yet consistent Republican strategy to depict government as the enemy, an oppressor that works primarily as the protector of and provider for African-Americans, to the detriment of everyone else. The fact that everything came apart under our first African-American president wasnt an accident, it was probably inevitable.

The Left has no real basis upon which to defend its programs and policies, therefore it must default to the only thing it has -- cries of racism and bigotry. After all, when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem gets treated like a nail.

|| Greg, 03:58 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 01, 2013

A Headline That Got My Hopes Up

Obama Leaving the Country on Friday

Unfortunately, it isn't an exit like the Shah of Iran, Baby Doc Duvallier or Idi Amin -- it is just another opportunity for him to go and negotiate with foreign leaders but not with the elected members of a co-equal branch of the American government.

|| Greg, 06:32 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama, Democrats Shoot Their Hostage

We now have a government shutdown because of Democrat intransigence.


Yet the delusional claim continues to be advanced that it is the House GOP and Speaker John Boehner who are responsible for the shutdown.

The U.S. government began to shut down for the first time in 17 years early Tuesday, after a Congress bitterly divided over President Obamas signature health-care initiative failed to reach agreement to fund federal agencies.

Hours before a midnight deadline, the Republican House passed its third proposal in two weeks to fund the government for a matter of weeks. Like the previous plans, the new one sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act, this time by delaying enforcement of the individual mandate, a cornerstone of the law that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance.

The new measure also sought to strip lawmakers and their aides of long-standing government health benefits.

The Democratic-led Senate quickly rejected that plan on a party-line vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) urged House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to abandon the assault on the health-care law and pass a simple bill to keep the government open. Otherwise, Reid warned, the responsibility for this Republican government shutdown will rest squarely on his shoulders.

Remember -- the Republicans have passed three funding proposals over the last couple of weeks, while Harry Reid and the Democrats refuse to budge at all on their position. Barack Obama has said he will not negotiate at all on the continuing resolution. And Obama and the Democrats have failed to enact a budget for virtually all of the Obama presidency. So how is this shutdown the fault of the Republicans?

|| Greg, 03:53 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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NAME: Greg
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