June 30, 2015

Statue Of Obama's White Supremacist Hero Vandalized In South Carolina

No, not Robert Byrd. "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman.

Officers patrolling the grounds Tuesday morning discovered that a monument of “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman had been vandalized with a red paint filled balloon.

Tillman, a former governor and U.S. senator whose political career spanned 1890 to 1918, promoted white supremacy, including lynching and denial of voting rights to blacks and women. He also was a participant in the massacre of black militia members during Reconstruction.

And no, I'm not gratuitously insulting Barack Obama -- I'm simply reminding folks that this is the man whose major legislative accomplishment in support of Jim Crow was praised by the president during his first State of the Union address.

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Another Religious Double Standard

One of my former seminary professors, now the Archbishop of Milwaukee, has denounced the decision of the art museum in that city to acquire and display a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made out of condoms.

I fully support the right of the artist to create such a work of "art", even as I join in Archbishop Listecki's condemnation.

But in light of the controversy, and past statements on insulting religious artwork, I have to ask a question.


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My One Comment On The Error Of The SCOTUS Ruling On Gay Marriage

On Friday, five black-robed kangaroos on the Supreme Court imposed gay marriage on the nation. Our nation will suffer for this in many ways in the years to come.

I'm not going to go into a theological discourse on the nature of marriage -- others have done it better than I ever would. Besides, theology is not particularly relevant to the Constitutional question.

I'm not going to go into a natural law discourse on the nature of marriage, even though it is plain to see that the duality of the sexes and the necessity for both for procreation makes it clear that there is a basis for marriage that unambiguously argues for it being limited to one man and one woman.

And I won't go into an extended legal discourse on why the ruling is wrong -- four justices of the court offered rather persuasive dissenting opinions on the problems with the majority opinion.

I'll simply ask one question that each and every supporter of the outcome in Obergefell needs to answer before they can truly claim that the opinion written by Anthony Kennedy reaches the correct result.


When it comes right down to it, that is the essential issue -- does the meaning and intent of the authors and those who ratified control the interpretation of the Constitution, or, like Nancy Pelosi said of Obamacare, do we have to pass it before we can know what is in it?

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June 28, 2015

Watcher's Council Results

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

"A republic, if you can keep it." -Benjamin Frankin

"What is euphemistically called government-corporate 'partnership' is just government coercion, political favoritism, collectivist industrial policy, and old-fashioned federal boondoggles nicely wrapped up in a bright-colored ribbon. It doesn't work." - Ronald Reagan

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt, in the House of Commons November 18, 1783

This week's winning essay,Joshuapundit's The Time For Changing Is Now was my reaction to the Republican leadership's betrayal of the party's conservative base to push through ObamaTrade...and my reflection what this and similar betrayals mean.

Here's a slice:

The Republican leadership today managed to threaten or bribe enough GOP congressmen to pass something most Americans overwhelmingly did not want passed - 'Fast Track' authority, the TPA for President Obama on his top secret trade bill that mostly isn't one.

The vote was 218-208, with 28 Democrats voting for it.

The fast track authority for President Obama was originally paired with another bill called the TAA, a bogus welfare crumb for all the American workers whom will lose their jobs thanks to Obama's secret trade bill. The combination legislation was voted down last week, but the TPA fast track was shoved through on its own and now goes to the Senate.The GOP leadership has promised to put the TAA provision, which expires in September to a separate vote, which the GOP leaders have promised will be nearly simultaneous.

Oh, I'm sure it will be...after the rest of the secret trade bill gets passed. And of course, as RINO Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, the Republican Gruppenführer for Obama's trade agenda tells us, the peasants like you and I will find out what's in it when it's passed, since on a need to know basis, we're not even on the list.

Neither is most of congress, since the administration our president told us would be "the most transparent in history' is anything but. Only a handful have actually seen it, because it's locked in a secret room and no one is allowed to take notes or photograph any of it. Based on Wikileaks and a few things Senator Jeff Sessions has said, it's pretty easy to extrapolate why Barack Obama wants this so bad, and very little of it is actually concerned about trade.

According to the draft provisions,a brand new, unelected international bureaucracy is to be formed, in which America would have the same vote as Qatar. Countries could be barred from trying to control where their citizens’ personal data is held or whether it’s accessible from outside the country.

The Healthcare Annex, according to WikiLeaks, “seeks to regulate state schemes for medicines and medical devices. It forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grants corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests.”

In other words, congress would no longer have sole authority to over reforming MediCare and of course, ObamaCare. And the FDA would be subject to this international bureaucracy that's being set up as well.

Immigration is a big part of this too. U.S. laws, what remains of them, would now be subject to this international agreement. It calls for special fast tracking of visas that essentially would turn ICE into a rubber stamp. If this passes, look for thousands of American jobs to be replaced by foreigners at vastly lower wages and benefits as fast as corporate America can process the paperwork. And it allows much easier fast tracking of corporate off shoring of American jobs, putting Americans in competition with workers happy to receive less than a dollar an hour in countries like Vietnam.

Of course, there are also provisions to steal billions of dollars from America's tax payers in the name of global warming as well, while driving utility costs sky high.

Even more shocking, TPA gives congress no leeway on changing any of this. No amendments are allowed, simply a yes or no vote.

Overall, it's a great plan to finish bankrupting America's middle class and subject our sovereignty to the 'international community.' No wonder this president wanted it so bad and worked so hard to push it through. None of this was possible without the fast track TPA authority. And a GOP majority House just gave it to him.

Here's Louie Golmert (R-TX), one of the House's honest men, trying to stem the tide (H/T The Noisy Room and The Right Planet):

So did Senator Jeff Sessions
, who is one of the few congress members who has actually seen the proposed trade bill locked in that secret room:

“It is essential that there be no misunderstanding: fast-track preapproves the formation of not only the unprecedentedly large Trans-Pacific Partnership, but an unlimited number of such agreements over the next six years,” Sessions said. “Those pacts include three of the most ambitious ever contemplated. After TPP comes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, followed by the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), seeking as one its goals labor mobility among more than 50 nations. Together, these three international compacts encompass three-fourths of the world’s GDP. Including the nations whose membership is being courted for after enactment, the countries involved would encompass nearly 90 percent of global GDP. Yet, through fast-track, Congress will have authorized the President to ink these deals before a page of them has been made public. Then, the Executive sends Congress ‘implementing’ legislation to change U.S. law—legislation which cannot be amended, cannot be filibustered, and will not be subjected to the Constitutional requirement for a two-thirds treaty vote.”

“According to the European Commission, the TiSA agreement—which most House and Senate members did not know about when they voted—will follow in the footsteps of the WTO’s Trade in Services Provisions, which has already inhibited the U.S. from making needed immigration changes,” Sessions said. “The European Commission says the EU ‘wants as many countries as possible to join the agreement.’ We have already seen how the EU has curtailed sovereignty in Europe; we do not want to follow in its footsteps.”

With regard to TPP, Sessions warned that America has “never seen” anything like it before—and that it’ll force the United States into a version of the European Union he calls “a new Pacific Union.”

“This nation has never seen an agreement that compares to the TPP, which forms a new Pacific Union,” Sessions said. “This is far more than a trade agreement, but creates a self-governing and self-perpetuating Commission with extraordinary implications for American workers and American sovereignty. Such a historic international regulatory Commission should never be fast-tracked, and should never be put on a path to passage until every word has been publicly scrutinized, every question answered, and every last power understood by Congress and the American people.”

This is still going to be bounced back and forth between the Senate and the House, but the fix is likely in for this colossal betrayal. We're being told that this 'free trade bill' will benefit American workers. It will not. Actually, it will cost many of them their livelihoods as visas for foreign workers to replace them at cheaper wages are rubber-stamped. One more time - this isn't primarily a trade agreement at all.

I just heard Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) trying to sell it that way on one of the talk shows, saying we didn't have trade agreement with Japan, or China, or a number of other countries. Well and good senator. What's wrong with the normal process of sending diplomats to negotiate them on a per country basis and submitting them to congress for approval as we've done in the past?

Or is it just that your corporate donors want it done this way, in stealth and secrecy? Because it isn't going to benefit the American economy so much as milk it dry for the benefit of the well connected...and of course, their servile toadies in congress.

So once again, we're faced with outright betrayal. Virtually everything the Republican Party campaigned on in 2010 and especially in 2014 was an outright lie. Instead of being 'pulled out root and branch' as Mitch McConnell told voters in 2014 in Kentucky, ObamaCare is being funded by congress and the GOP establishment is already plotting to save it in case the Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional, which it always was.

President Obama's amnesty of illegal aliens by executive order? In spite of all the rhetoric, that's being funded too. We essentially have no borders anymore, or any standards whatsoever on whom we let stay here.

Shutting down President Obama's appointments of radical judges and federal appointees at offices like the FCC? Or his radical new racialist attorney general? Using the nuclear option, the way Harry Reid did to stop over 200 bills the house passed from even going to committee? Nothing. The GOP's congressional leaders have made sure that President Obama has gotten whatever he wanted.

Barack Obama's EPA war on coal? Same story.

And forget about congress using the power of the purse to compel the release of documents and the testimony of those involved in major scandals like Benghazi, the IRS targeting political opponents or the Clinton Foundation's dealings.

I have speculated on these pages that with all the warrentless NSA spying and data collection going on, it's quite possible this president has something juicy on key Republicans like McConnell and Boehner. Or it may be they're simply being paid off in one way or another.

In the end, it really doesn't matter. What does is the realization of this foul betrayal and to look at Tolstoy's eternal question; what then must we do?

Much more, and an update at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winners were Gillespie & Welch at Reason.Com's Hit and Run Blog with How Government Stifled Reason's Free Speech submitted by Rhymes With Right.

This is an excellent complement to this week's winning Council essay because [t concerns government overreach and tyranny. Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. Only The Right Planet was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y'know?

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What Do I Think Of Donald Trump?


And for those who don't speak Spanish, see definition #2.

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June 25, 2015

The ObamaCare Ruling As Legal Gnosticism

In the early Christian church, there arose the Gnostic heresy. It diverged wildly from the orthodox teachings of the Christian community in a number of ways, among them in the belief that Biblical texts have a deep, hidden meaning which could only be understood by those initiated into the "secret wisdom" to which the Gnostics claimed access. Thus the average believer might understand a scriptural text to have a clear meaning based upon the written word, but those who were initiates would understand the actual meaning which lurked beneath the text because they were "in the know".

Frankly, I have not thought much about the Gnostics in the two decades since I left the seminary -- but that changed this morning after the announcement of the Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell. Why? Because the majority opinion goes to great lengths to show that the actual text of the statute establishing ObamaCare means something other than what the words clearly state -- just trust the enlightened initiates whose special knowledge enables them to see a meaning quite different than what those words actually say!

Today’s decision in King v. Burwell is notable in many respects. It is a significant legal victory for the Obama Administration, a victory for purposivist statutory interpretation, a loss for textualism, and a loss for an expansive Chevron doctrine. In these latter respects, the decision is something of a double-loss for Justice Scalia (which may explain the last line of his opinion). King also means that, in many respects, the PPACA is now the law that Chief Justice Roberts wrote as here, as in NFIB v. Sebelius, the Chief Justice has decided it is the Court’s job to determine what the statute means — even if this requires ignoring or rewriting text — if such is necessary in order to save it. The umpire has decided it’s okay to pinch hit to ensure the right team wins.

The primary basis for the Chief Justice’s decision is that a “fair construction” of the statute requires more than giving meaning to discrete phrases, so “established by the State” need not mean “established by the State” insofar as such an interpretation — given the intervening decision of several dozen states not to establish their own exchanges — would produce untoward effects that Congress would not have intended or wanted when it enacted the PPACA. Specifically, the Chief Justice argued, insfoar as an interpretation of the PPACA would undermine the statute’s goals — such as by creating a “death spiral” of increasing costs and declining coverage — it is the Court’s job to avoid it. That the phrase “established by the State” was added to multiple places in the relevant statutory provision (Section 1401) at multiple times is immaterial. “Established by the State” need not exclude an exchange established by the federal government. The majority opinion shows no sympathy for the Solicitor General’s silly argument that “established by the State” was an undefined “statutory term of art.” No matter, for the government wins anyway.

There you have it -- Legal Gnosticism that enables the enlightened members of the majority to see beneath the words a meaning that is quite different than what the words say!

Justice Scalia was having none of this.

“This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under §36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an ‘Exchange established by the State.’ The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the State—which means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under §36B.”

* * *

“The Court interprets §36B to award tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges. It accepts that the ‘most natural sense’ of the phrase ‘Exchange established by the State’ is an Exchange established by a State. Ante, at 11. (Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Afford- able Care Act!) Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that ‘it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal.’ Ante, at 13. (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!)”

For all of Scalia's paraphrases of Shakespeare, he might have done better to eschew the Bard and instead channel Irenaeus, who assessed the Gnostic approach to scripture as follows:

When however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and assert that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For they allege that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but viva voce (orally)...

It takes but little effort to paraphrase that passage from Against Heresies into a passage worthy of the senior Associate Justice's dissent.

When however, the majority are confuted from the statute, they turn round and accuse that same statute, as if it was not correct, nor of authority, and assert that it is ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from it by those who are ignorant of their method For they allege that the meaning of the statute was not delivered by means of written documents...."

Yes, my friends, the Gnostics have returned and dwell among us. Today, however, they do not twist the Word of God, but instead the Constitution and the statutory law of the United States. Today's majority decision in King v. Burwell is nothing short of an act of Legal Gnosticism, based upon the premise that they alone can discern within the law what is really meant, even when the actual text says something other than what their doctrine claims it does. Who will stand against this heresy?

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June 24, 2015

Time For Conservatives To Ostracize Coulter

I've not always agreed with Ann Coulter over the years, but that has been OK -- I do not claim that I am the gold standard of conservatism. Indeed, I have defended her at times, in particular after she wrote an overwrought post-9/11 column while grieving the the death of her dear friend Barbara Olson that ultimately got her fired from National Review. But I think she has crossed a line with her latest over-the-top comment, and it is time for conservatives to declare she has strayed beyond the pale.

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter said on Tuesday night that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is unqualified to deal with her state’s use of the Confederate flag because she’s an "immigrant."

“I’d really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican, but on the other hand, she’s an immigrant and does not understand America’s history,” Coulter told host Kennedy on her Fox Business show Tuesday evening.

A few points.

First, Nikki Haley is a natural born American citizen -- indeed,, she is a likely vice presidential candidate in 2016. She was born in South Carolina.

Second, even if she were born abroad, we know that does not mean Haley is incapable of knowing and understanding the history of this country.

Third, Haley's decision, even if I disagree with it (see this post, written before she announced it), is completely defensible,.

Fourth and finally, Coulter's attack on Haley is clearly based upon her race/ethnicity, because she would not make such mistaken claims regarding any white public official.

For these reasons, I believe the time has come for conservatives and Republicans to follow the lead of William F. Buckley, who read Birchers, Jew-haters, and segregatio ists out of the conservative movement in the 1960s. Coulter's words in this instance, taken along with the entire body of her work, shows her to be the sort of individual with whom we must refuse to be associated. If her liberal ex-boyfriend Bill Maher wants to hacer her on his show to be the token conservative, that is his prerogative -- but we on the right must say that Ann Coulter does not speak for us, and that she is not welcome at our events and on our platforms. Why? Because she does not and must not be our public face or voice -- and because said excommunication from our midst is the right thing to do.

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Anti-Confederate Flag Movement Jumps The Shark

As I noted the other day, there are times and places where the Confederate flag is appropriate. But may I add that there are others where it is simply inoffensive to anyone with a lick of common sense? But that hasn't stopped the stampede from moral clarity to utter absurdity.

The Confederate flag will disappear from merchandise of the popular 1980s television series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Warner Bros. announced Tuesday it will no longer sanction the production of any “Dukes of Hazzard” products displaying the controversial emblem.

“Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the Confederate flag on its roof – as it was seen in the TV series,” a spokesman for the company told Vulture on Tuesday evening.

“We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories,” they added of the General Lee, the show’s iconic orange Dodge Charger with the Stars and Bars on its roof.




Makes one wonder -- how long until Amazon and eBay prohibit videos of the shows and movie from their sites? How long until Wal-Mart takes those videos from their stores? After all, if you are going to have a "no rebel flag", that illogic would seem to apply.

And now they mob is howling to ban

The shark has been jumped.


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No, Barry, It Is Our House

Somebody needs to remind Obama that he isn't a king.

Obama was interrupted shortly after beginning his speech to the crowd by a person who repeatedly shouted the president’s name.

“No, no, no , no. Listen, you’re in my house,” Obama told the person.

No, no, no, no -- you are in our house. Know your place, know your role, and and know that to don't own the Whie House.

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June 22, 2015

Obama Was Right To Use That Word

My readers know that I rarely agree with Barack Obama on much of anything. It is therefore a rare pleasure to support Barack Obama -- on his use of a particular word in an interview today.

WASHINGTON — It was a single word, just six letters long, but one that has not been spoken by an American president in public for generations.

President Obama invoked the word “nigger” in a podcast interview released on Monday to drive home his point that slavery still “casts a long shadow” on American life. But in the process, he touched a raw nerve in a country struggling to confront racism and hatred in the days after nine black parishioners were killed during Bible study in a South Carolina church.

“We’re not cured of it,” Mr. Obama said of racism during an interview for a “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not.”

A lot of folks, both on the Right and on the Left, have taken umbrage at the president's speaking of one of the most hated slurs in contemporary society. But as I see it, the decision to speak the word instead of using a polite circumlocution ("the N-word") was rhetorically appropriate. Obama sought to point out that while what was once a common word is now shocking, its virtual elimination from polite society does not mean that all racism is dead and buried. He was right -- and his linguistic choice was right as well.

Obama's choice brings to mind something that I used to talk about with students when I still taught English. My curriculum included both John Steinbeck's Of Mice and men and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird -- both works that include the word "nigger". Given my students were some 35-40% African-American, I felt it was important to confront the use of that slur. My students and I discussed the ubiquity of the word in the times and the places where the books are set and why it was appropriate to include them -- as one student succinctly put it my first year teaching at that school, "that's how those people would have talked and so it is the right word for the author to use." And in this case, Barack Obama wanted us to remember the casual use of that word, and so he consciously and carefully chose to use it. -- and I applaud him for taking advantage of a teachable moment to do so.

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Sometimes Flying The Confederate Flag Is The Right Thing To Do

A little less than a year ago, I railed against the removal of the Confederate battle flags from Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University, noting that it constituted a politically correct travesty. It struck me as inappropriate to remove the flags from above a statue of a Confederate general located above the crypt where he and his family are buried in a building named after him on the campus of a college that bears his name. It was, I argued, one of those places where that flag is contextually appropriate. I stand by that argument without reservation.

Why bring it up? Because in the wake of the Charleston Horror, efforts have been renewed to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol. I think those efforts, while certainly well-intentioned, are misguided. After all, the flag does not fly over the capitol building itself, where it was first raised in 1962 by Democrat Governor (later Senator) Fritz Hollings. It instead flies next to a memorial to Confederate war dead. Don't believe me? Here's a picture.


It is that location which, for me, makes all the difference in the world regarding its presence on the capitol grounds. No, that flag does not belong flying over government buildings (or on state flags). Yes, its presence in museums is appropriate. But I would also argue that it is appropriate as a part of memorials to those who fought beneath that banner -- which is what that particular flag is in that location. As the descendant of a soldier who fought in the Union Army, I take no offense at remembering those who fought against my ancestor with the flag under which they fought.

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Racism, Hypocrisy, Or Simple Double Standard?

Something has not set well with me regarding one aspect of the media coverage the Charleston Horror. What is it? The way in which the media has dealt with the religious expression and tradition of the black community in the wake of the evil committed against the pastors and parishioners of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a racist little piece of shit.

Now it would be quite reasonable for a reader to respond to the last paragraph by saying "But Greg, the media has been incredibly respectful of those beliefs and practices -- fulsome in their praise for them, in fact. How could you possibly object to such an approach?" And I'll concede that such a response would be a reasonable one. After all, the media has gone out of its way to present the faith that has sustained this community in the most positive of lights, and anchors, reporters, and commentators have expressed how deeply moved they are by the expressions of forgiveness and prayer for the murderer. It is how coverage of religion expression ought to be.

But that's the problem -- it is how it ought to be. Unfortunately, that is not how the American media generally receives expression of faith from spirit-filled evangelical communities.

Consider one of the many memorial services over this weekend. I do not have a transcript and I did not get the lady's name, but one of the African-American pastors at the service lifted up a prayer for the killer. And what a prayer it was -- it included (if I may paraphrase due to the lack of a transcript) a petition to God to take control of the heart of the Dylann Roof and cast from it the demons that had caused him to be filled with hate and racism and to act so violently. As a believer, I could not help but respond to it with a hearty "Amen".

But think about how such a prayer would have been received had it come from a white evangelical pastor (or layperson, for that matter). The response of the media would be one of mockery and/or contempt. Don't believe me? Here's an article from the 2008 presidential campaign.

The video clip is from 2005, and Sarah Palin, who is running for governor, stands on the dais of a small church; three pastors surround her in a huddle. They are touching her shoulders, her forehead, her back. The would-be governor is stone still, eyes cast down, palms up toward heaven. The man on her left, the one touching her forehead, bends occasionally to whisper in her ear.

This is Ed Kalnins, senior pastor of Wasilla Assembly of God, the church Palin attended from the time she was 4-years-old until 2002. The man behind her is praying loudly, relentlessly and with an intensity rarely seen in America's mainstream churches. This is the Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee, a Pentecostal powerhouse who has a reputation for being able to cast out demons and witches through prayer.

First, Muthee urges the congregation to pray for Palin's success "even in the political arena ... [to] bring finances her way ... and give her the personnel." And then he offers this cryptic blessing: "In the name of Jesus. Every form of witchcraft is what you rebuke." The laying of hands on the Alaska politician, the invoking of Jesus and witches in the same sentence—what the heck is going on?

What's going on is a prayer by those who hold to a very literal belief in the words of Scripture. To some, especially those reared in mainline denominations or in no faith at all, it may seem weird. But is it any more outrageous than what was said at the first service held at Emanuel AME Church since the murders?

"The doors of the church are open," declared the Rev. Norvel Goff during prayers. "No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God's church," he proclaimed.

The words there were quoted as something to be honored, not mocked or questioned. Indeed, they were included as words of inspiration that set the tone for the entire rest of the article. Apparently words proclaiming an evangelical faith in spiritual warfare are so much easier to take when they come from the mouths of African-Americans in a black church than when they are part of the spoken and lived faith of white evangelicals.

And that was not the only thing that struck me. A few weeks ago, a prominent white family from an evangelical background had an ugly family secret exposed. The eldest son of the Duggar family apparently engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with several girls a decade ago when he was in his early-to-mid teens. When his sisters, two of the victims, were interviewed, they responded that they had forgiven their brother as their faith taught them to do. Bill Maher, for example, mocked the very notion of forgiveness as a religious value. The Washington Post ran a column rejecting the notion that such forgiveness as a religious value was even appropriate.

Contrast that with the reaction to the families of the victims and the wider church community expressing their faith-based forgiveness of the punk who walked into a church, sat and spoke and prayed with members of the congregation, and then murdered them. Liberal internet news site The Daily Beast proclaimed in a headline that "Charleston Shooting Families Proved Grace Wins Out Over Hate". The relatives of the victims were described as "gracious". And rather than insist that forgiveness is an inappropriate response, we were treated to articles about the importance of forgiveness to spiritual and mental health. Quite a contrast.

Which leads back to the question in the title of this post. Is the response of the media in Charleston the result of racism, hypocrisy, or a simple double standard?

Do those in the media see blacks through a racist prism -- as somehow simpler and more primitive, needing to "cling to their. . . religion"? Or on the contrary, is there a hypocrisy in being unwilling to show the same contempt for black evangelical faith as is shown for white evangelical faith because, you know, we wouldn't want to be seen as racist by criticizing something so central to the culture of the African-American community despite their willingness to trash something that is so central to the lives of tens of millions of white Americans? Or perhaps there is simply a double standard -- the black church is left untouched because it is a part of the Coalition of the Left, while the fact that white evangelicalism is more closely tied to conservative political causes makes it fair game for ridicule. I don't know -- and I won't assign a motive since I cannot read the hearts of members of the media. But I will add these data points to my mental graph of the culture war that undeniably exists in our society.

|| Greg, 08:48 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (16) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 21, 2015

Watcher's Council Results

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

"I have an institutional fear of big government. I have an institutional opposition to bureaucracy." - Rush Limbaugh

I'm not against business. I'm against big business in bed with big government." - Rep. Dave Brat

"Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it" - Will Rogers

This week's winning essay,The Right Planet's The Slave Trade Deal dones an in depth job of tackling the top secret ObamaTrade legislation and explains what it means for our economy and our national sovereignty.

Here's a slice:

Once again, Bill Still has really knocked it out of the park in the video above, if you ask me. Bill cogently deconstructs the diabolical nature of the entire Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. And I’m right on-board with just about everything Bill Still says in this video. Mr. Still succinctly expresses many of the major issues I have concerning TPP, and why I oppose the so-called “free trade” deal that has come to be called “ObamaTrade.”

If you’re wondering, who is Bill Still? He won the Best Documentary of 2010 at the Beloit International Film Festival for his work “The Secret of Oz,” a compelling and fascinating exposé on the debt-based monetary system and fractional reserve banking. After I watched his documentary several years ago, I’ve been following his work ever since.

The TPP has been a cornerstone of Obama’s “pivot toward Asia.” The proposed trade agreement hopes to establish a free trade zone that includes 12 nations: Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Chile, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States—representing forty percent of the world’s GDP. Taiwan and South Korea have also expressed interest in joining.

Last week, the House narrowly passed Trade-Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “fast-track,” by a vote of 219 to 210. Fast-track gives the executive branch many of the powers usually reserved for Congress, allowing the president to negotiate international trade deals. Under TPA, Congress can approve or disapprove, but not amend or filibuster any proposed trade deals. Fast-track authority was first granted to President Gerald Ford in 1974. It expired in 2007 … leading Bill Still to ask, “If it was such a great thing, why was it allowed to expire?”

The only reason TPA was prevented from becoming law is due to the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) measure being voted down. The purpose of TAA is to provide enhanced unemployment payments to Americans who will lose their jobs as a direct result of passing TPP!

Let that sink in for a moment. The whole TPP scheme is being sold to the American people as something that will benefit the U.S. economy and spur job growth. And yet the TPP bill includes a measure (i.e. TAA) providing assistance for Americans who will lose their jobs as a result of passing the trade deal. You can’t make this stuff up, folks; nor would I have any desire to do so. Furthermore, the reason Democrats like Nancy Pelosi voted down TAA because it didn’t spend enough money and the unions weren’t happy about it. The Democrats still want TAA.

The TAA measure was slated for a second vote today. But, now, the TAA do-over vote has been postponed until July 30, giving the president and the pro-TPP crowd in Congress seven weeks to rally their minions. The delay also pushes the do-over vote right up to the very last possible moment before the month-long August recess.

(UPDATE: The Republicans have resurrected ObamaTrade … vote set for Thursday (6/18).)

Similar to what Bill Still expressed on the whole ObamaTrade scheme, I, too, feel like I’m being transported back to 1993 when NAFTA was passed. It was the same rhetoric being used then that we are being served now concerning TPP. Americans were promised it would be a big boon to the economy that result in more good-paying jobs. But, instead, we experienced significant job loss. Some 700,000 jobs were lost to Mexico due to NAFTA, according to the AFL-CIO.

As Bill Still points out, NAFTA didn’t just hurt Americans. It also adversely affected corn farmers in Mexico on small communal farms run by indigenous Indians, jeopardizing Mexico’s self-sufficiency—victims of giant, subsidized, corporate farming in the U.S. The same subsidized corporate farming giants also hurt American farmers as well. The bottomline is that it’s not only Americans who are concerned and opposed to so-called “free trade” deals like NAFTA and TPP.

Lately, there has been a push by pro-TPP individuals and organizations to try and woo the American public in supporting ObamaTrade by playing the us versus them meme.

Don Lee wrote at the Los Angeles Times:

In recent weeks, one Obama official after another has hammered away at the same line of argument: It’s crucial that Congress supports the TPP — including passing a related trade-promotion bill that would strengthen the president’s negotiating hand — because the alternative is that China, not the U.S., will write the rules of global trade.

Interestingly, this is the same pro-TPP propaganda the Chamber of Commerce is selling. Postcards have been sent out, and radio ads have been playing, stating if the U.S. doesn’t get on-board with ObamaTrade, China will “write the rules for global trade.” This is simply fear-mongering.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Doug Ross for a superb essay, Top 10 Questions Hillary Clinton Won’t Answer submitted by Joshuapundit. My reaction to Doug's list is, 'only ten?' Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. OnlytheRazor was unable to vote this week but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y'know?

|| Greg, 07:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (13) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 19, 2015

On Calling Terrorists Terrorists

Here's the definition of "domestic terrorism" from the FBI:

"Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and

Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

Now I will concede that there is a reasonable case to be made for declaring the little punk who perpetrated the Charleston Horror to be a domestic terrorist. One can certainly point to the above definition above and check off points 1 & 3 quite easily -- and make an argument that the second prong of the definition is met as well

So tell me -- why did the people making the argument for classifying the little prick in Charleston as a terrorist not want to classify the perpetrators of some other recent acts of violence as terrorists? Doesn't this same definition also apply to the actions of the Ferguson and Baltimore rioters? By my reading, it fits their actions. After all, rioting, arson, property destruction and attacks on law enforcement officers certainly endanger human life and are in violation of state and/or federal law, the goal was to affect the conduct of government by mass destruction, and the crimes took place within the United States.

Of course, we know the answer to the questions I asked above. The media elite supported the rioters -- indeed, they created, encouraged, aided, and abetted the mobs. What's more, the media went out of their way to defend the rioters from serious criticism, labeling much of that criticism as racist -- remember the kerfuffle over the use of the word "thug"?

I guess it all comes down to a question of privilege. But is it the "white privilege" to be accurately described as what one is, or the "black privilege" to have one's misconduct obscured and excused because of the color of one's skin? Seems to me we need to answer those questions as a matter of getting a little bit more of the moral clarity that commentators have been seeking over the last two days.

|| Greg, 01:48 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (11) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 16, 2015

Having A Bit Of Twitter Fun

Hillary for Prison in 2016!

|| Greg, 04:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (13) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Anti-Lifers Have No Shame

I suspect the poor child being abused by this woman is secretly asking "Mommy, why do you support killing babies like me?"

Personally, I prefer this shirt.


And as a former fetus, I will continue to speak on behalf of those who the abortion advocates seek to exterminate.

H/T Twitchy

|| Greg, 04:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (14) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Meanwhile, Outside An Abandoned Texas WalMart


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June 14, 2015

Watcher's Council Results

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

'No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.' - Mark Twain

'Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.' - Ambrose Bierce,'The Devil's Dictionary'

"This is the Most Transparent Administration in History." - President Barack Obama

This week's winning essay,The Right Planet'sThe Trans-Pacific Partnership and the March Toward ‘Global Governance’ — #StopFastTrack is a great run down of the secret treaties and protocols the Obama Administration is trying to shove through congress. Here's a slice:

Free trade. Sounds great, huh! I mean, who doesn’t like free trade? Right? Yeah, I’m all for free trade, too. The problem is that since the end of World War Two, starting with General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the United States has entered into a number of so-called “free trade” agreements (GATT, NAFTA, WTO, FTAA, SPP, etc.) that have decimated our manufacturing base and sent thousands of jobs offshore. Textile and steel industries have literally been wiped out.

As a woodworker, I always told people, if you want quality furniture that’s made in the good ole USofA, visit High Point, North Carolina. High Point was literally the furniture capitol of the United States for many years—with shops that had been in business for generations, employing highly skilled crafstman. Not anymore. High Point has literally become a ghost town. Most furniture manufacturing has relocated to China and elsewhere. I can even begin to tell you how much this saddens me. But I can only imagine how much it must sadden the people who had to shut up shop in High Point.

These so-called “free trade” agreements have little or nothing to do with free trade. Scott Callan and Janet Thomas wrote in their book Environmental Economics and Management: Theory, Policy, and Applications: “The multilateral trading system established under GATT is referred to as the set of WTO agreements (comprising some 30,000 pages), which are essentially rules of trade established through negotiation among its members.” Yes, you read that right … 30,000 pages! When one begins to review the provisions within these trade deals, it becomes obvious—at least to this author—that they have more to do with “global governance” than they do with free enterprise. But it’s always sold under the banner of “peace and prosperity.”

Back in 1994, Sir James Goldsmith, in a prophetic interview with Charlie Rose (see video below), predicted serious ramifications for the U.S. economy if the Clinton Administration followed through with GATT. At the time of the interview, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had only been in effect for a few months. Appearing on the same show with Goldsmith was economist Laura Tyson, former Chair of the U.S. President’s Council of Economic Advisers, who argued the pro-GATT position for the then-Clinton Administration.

Since the passage of NAFTA, the United States has lost one out of three of our manufacturing jobs—nearly six million of them. The federal workforce now employs more people than the manufacturing sector. Now, from the same people that gave us GATT and NAFTA, Congress is ready to grant President Obama trade-promotion authority (TPA, also known as “fast track”) to negotiate trade deals—namely, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Obama promised during his presidential campaign to redraft NAFTA; a promise he has failed to fulfill. But now we are being promised that TPP (a.k.a. ObamaTrade) will be different. If you like your free trade, you can keep your free trade. But I digress.

Oh, but it only gets worse. As if TPP and TTIP aren’t bad enough, another far-reaching agreement that most Americans have probably never heard of is the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA).

The New American reports:

Here comes another secret ObamaTrade treaty with enormous ramifications for every American. Wikileaks has released 17 documents related to a mammoth trade agreement the Obama administration has been negotiating that will, purportedly, cover 80 percent of the U.S. economy. It’s called TISA, the acronym for Trade In Services Agreement….

As with the TPP and TTIP, the TISA treaty negotiations have been ongoing for several years in total secrecy, despite the Obama administration’s absurd claims that the process is completely “transparent.” Members of Congress and the American public are excluded from the process and are not allowed access to the document texts, texts that will become binding upon United States citizens once they are rushed through Congress on the TPA fast track. U.S. courts, or tribunals created under TISA, or World Trade Organization (WTO) tribunals are virtually certain to use TISA — as they have already done using NAFTA — to rule that U.S. laws are illegal and must be changed.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn- Birth Of The New submitted by Bookworm Room. In his usual tongue in cheek fashion, Steyn examines the Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner story, the neo-faschist intimidation perpetrated on people who even mildly question certain aspects of it and the cultural ramifications of that intimidation.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Bookworm Room was unable to vote, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y'know?

|| Greg, 07:27 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (17) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 11, 2015

Mark Kirk -- A Profile In Stupidity

Some six decades ago, John F. Kennedy (or his ghostwriter) published the classic book, Profiles in Courage, all about what he saw as great acts of courage and principle by past senators. Were Kennedy alive and writing today, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) would be a candidate for inclusion in a sequel entitle Profiles in Stupidity for this lame attempt at humor caught on tape.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is a “bro with no ho,” according to his colleague, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)

The assessment of Graham’s love life was made during a Senate Appropriations Committee markup on Thursday and caught on a live microphone.

“I’ve been joking with Lindsey,” Kirk can be heard saying. “Did you see that? He’s going to have a rotating first lady. He’s a bro with no ho.”

A "bro with no ho". Damn -- my high school students wouldn't even find that crap amusing.

|| Greg, 06:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (15) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The More I Hear From Carly

The more seriously I find myself taking her as a candidate.

Consider her willingness to stake out a strong position on foreign policy, and to take on Barack Obama when she does so.

I think once again President Obama has continued to give the American people a false choice, which is implied in your question. His false choice is, ‘If you don’t agree with what I’m doing or not doing there is no option but to go to war.” I think with ISIS there is an option we haven’t availed ourselves of. Likewise, I think that’s true with Iran… I would make two calls day one in the Oval Office. There first is tow Bibi Netanyahu. The second would be to the Supreme leader of Iran. And while he might not take my phone call, he would get the message. And the message would until and unless you are prepared to open every nuclear facility, every uranium enrichment facility, to full unfettered, anytime, anywhere inspections, we will exact the most punishing financial sanctions we can.

Fiorina is correct here. Barack Obama wants to make Americans believe in a false dichotomy -- his way or war. Like Firoina, I don't see that as a legitimate view of the world -- unless one wishes to presume that Obama is giving away the store to our enemies in a frantic effort to avoid warfare that is otherwise inevitable. Apparently Obama believes that maintaining the status quo -- his policies -- is tantamount to putting America on the road to war. In that case, Obama is a failure (not an unreasonable point of view in any event) and is selling out America's interests in order to avoid (or at least delay) the consequences of his own ineptitude.

Fiorina presents the non-war alternative -- shoring up relations with our allies and standing firm against those whose success is inimical to America interests. While I'm sure that those views are similar to most of the GOP field, Carly Fiorina has been stronger in her presentation of that position. I urge my fellow Republicans to take another look -- she may not be the ideal nominee, but she certainly belongs higher in the polls than she is right now.

|| Greg, 05:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (11) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 07, 2015

Watcher's Council Results

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

""No solution can be reached with terror except by striking it with an iron fist." " - Syrian Leader Basher Assad

Peace is purchased from strength. It's not purchased from weakness or unilateral retreats. - Benyamin Netanyahu

"You don't despair about something like the Middle East, you just do the best you can."- PJ O'Rourke

"Above all, it is not decency or goodness of gentleness that impresses the Middle East, but strength."
- Meir Kahane

This week's winning essay by a hair is Joshuapundit's Syria Splits Apart As Assad Digs In Against ISIS . While the main focus of attention for the media these days is on Iraq, interesting things are going on in Syria that could shape the Middle East for some time, and this was my take on it.Here's a slice:


While a lot of attention is being paid to ISIS's successes in Iraq, few people have been watching the changes going on in Syria.

As I predicted just shy of three years ago, Syria, a made up country to begin with appears to be fracturing pretty much along the lines I saw back then.

Assad's hold on Syria depended on two things - how long the carnage could continue on one side or the other before it reached the point of no return and how long the Russians, Hezbollah and Iran would continue to support him. That point has apparently been reached with a quarter of a million deaths and the reduction of Assad's army from its beginning strength at 300,000 to something like 175,000 men from Assad's regular army, pro-regime Syrian militias and foreign fighters mostly from Hezbollah and Iran.

He simply no longer has the forces necessary to hold all of Syria. And his allies are gradually moving on.

The latest gain for ISIS was their successful offensive on the ancient city of Palmyra in Eastern Syria,which gave them a strategic path to assaults on the regime's key cities of Homs and Hama. If they're successful, they would literally cut off Damascus from the rest of Assad's territory.

The victory by Isis was celebrated Old School style:

Islamic State militants have executed at least 400 mostly women and children in Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra

Eye-witnesses have reported the streets are strewn with bodies – the latest victims of the Islamic State’s unrelenting savagery – on the same day photographs of captured Syrian soldiers have emerged.

It follows the killing of nearly 300 pro-government troops two days after they captured the city, now symbolised by a black ISIS flag flying above an ancient citadel.

As an added bonus, ISIS freed a large number of jihadis held in Palmyra's notorious Tadmur Prison.

What Assad is hoping for now is that he has enough troops to hold on to his strategic corridor in North and west Syria..Damascus, Homs and Hama and the coast areas of Latakia and Tartus, key cities where the majority of Alawites, Assad's Shi'ite oriented sect live.

What he's doing is attempting a strategic withdrawal into territory his forces are better able to hold,something his allies are likely insisting on because their own commitments are becoming strained.

For the Russians, supplying Assad with the tools of the trade has become an expensive proposition, one Russia has increasing difficulty meeting. Putin is still selling Assad ammunition and other supplies, but the Russians have cut way back on the more expensive toys like attack helicopters and are taking a wait and see attitude.

As Hezbollah's casualties have increased in Syria, its leader Sheik Nasrallah has come under massive pressure to cut back on the number of troops being sent to Syria from Lebanon. Hezbollah troops are still fighting in Qalamoun along the Lebanese border,one of the few areas where the Assad regime is taking the offensive, but massive casualties incurred during Assad's failed offensive in February on Aleppo have taken their toll.

This all puts a great deal of pressure on Iran. Aside from the financial cost, the strategic cost is huge. As Assad is forced into a defensive redoubt, the Shi'te bloc Iran thought it was creating from Tehran to Beirut is increasingly unlikely, especially with the pressure ISIS is putting on Iran's Shi'ite allies in Iraq. They will undoubtedly have to commit a lot more resources, human and otherwise just to keep Assad holding on.

For Basher Assad, his task will be to hold on to Damascus, the highways between Damascus and Beruit and Damascus and Homs, as well as the coast cities like Latakia and Tartous. With his reduced supply lines and less territory to defend, Assad has a decent shot at hanging on, especially since his part of Syria would contain about half of the country's population.

More at the link, including an interesting update on ISIS's latest moves.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Western JournalismWhy The Mass Media Are Silent On The Largest Human Rights Disaster Of Our Time submitted by Joshuapundit. It features a must-see video by Ray Ibrahim that explains exactly why the mass edia are keeping quiet.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Don Surber was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y'know?

|| Greg, 05:35 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (15) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 05, 2015

NY Times Breaks Major Rubio Scandal Story

Clearly disqualifying for any public office -- the Florida senator and presidential hopeful clearly needs to resign from office and slink out of the public eye in abject disgrace.

Senator Marco Rubio has been in a hurry to get to the top, rising from state legislator to United States senator in the span of a decade and now running for president at age 44. But politics is not the only area where Mr. Rubio, a Republican from Florida, has an affinity for the fast track. He and his wife, Jeanette, have also shown a tendency to be in a rush on the road.

According to a search of the Miami-Dade and Duval County court dockets, the Rubios have been cited for numerous infractions over the years for incidents that included speeding, driving through red lights and careless driving. A review of records dating back to 1997 shows that the couple had a combined 17 citations: Mr. Rubio with four and his wife with 13. On four separate occasions they agreed to attend remedial driving school after a violation.

Mr. Rubio’s troubles behind the wheel predate his days in politics. In 1997, when he was cited for careless driving by a Florida Highway Patrol officer, he was fined and took voluntary driving classes. A dozen years later, in 2009, he was ticketed for speeding on a highway in Duval County and found himself back in driver improvement school.

Things got more complicated in 2011 when Mr. Rubio was alerted to the fact that his license was facing suspension after a traffic camera caught him failing to stop at a red light in his beige Buick. His lawyer, Alex Hanna, paid a $16 fee to delay the suspension and eventually it was dismissed.

Oh, the horror of it all! This dwarfs Ted Cruz's high school drinking escapade. After all, it isn't like Rubio did something minor like set up an unsecured personal server to avoid disclosing classified emails and then deleted them and destroyed the server in violation of federal law., or used a private foundation to enrich himself personally by giving preferential treatment to donors. Rubio committed traffic offenses. Off with his head!

Only one thing -- the NY Times apparently just took the info from a liberal a tivist group without citation. So much for independent journalism -- and focusing on relevant issues.

|| Greg, 07:53 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (18) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 01, 2015

As Obama Regime Winds Down, Journalist Asks "Did We Do Our Job?"

The answer is clearly "No!"

The retiring host of CBS’s Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer gave a sort of exit interview to Fox News’ Howard Kurtz on Sunday and raised some eyebrows. Kurtz asked him if he thought the media gave President Obama an “incredibly easy ride” during his 2008 campaign. Schieffer acknowledged that was possible given the obviously historic nature of Obama’s campaign: “I don’t know. Maybe we were not skeptical enough. It was a campaign.” Schieffer then went on claim that it wasn’t the role of journalists to raise issues about a candidate. “I think, as journalists, basically what we do is watch the campaign and report what the two sides are doing,” he said.

In 2008, FoxNews used the slogan "We Reprt, You Decide". Unfortunately, the rest of the media instead decided "We Distort, You Comply" was the better way to go. America will pay for that journalistic malpractice for a generation or more.

|| Greg, 06:27 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (14) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will Al Sharpton Be Held To Basic Standards Of Journalism?

If MSNBC does not fire him immediately, all the NBC networks (NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC) and all NBC affiliate stations must be denied press credentials by the RNC.

In the latest demonstration of the complete lack of separation of activism and “cable news” at MSNBC, Al Sharpton pledged in a Friday night speech in Cleveland that he’ll be protesting the Republican convention in the streets in that Ohio city next July.

"Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and them think they are going to come in here and have four or five days of convention," Sharpton said. "We are going to have another convention outside."

Al Sharpton can be a political activist. Al Sharpton can be a journalist. Al Sharpton cannot continue to function as the latter and be granted the privileges of the former. If MSNBC is going to allow him to try to do both, then it is time to stop helping its corporate parent to facilitate their aid to the Democrat Party.

|| Greg, 06:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (79) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

In Re. Bruce Jenner


I fail to see why desiring to cut off a perfectly healthy arm or leg because you feel it isn't properly a part of your body is defined as a mental illness while desiring to cut off/turn inside out perfectly healthy genitalia because you feel it isn't properly part of your body is celebrated as a courageous decision that must be respected.

|| Greg, 02:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (24) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Hastert Indictment

About 30 years back, a group of my fellow College Republicans drove to a neighboring Congressional district to campaign for the GOP candidate there – a high school teacher and coach named Dennis Hastert. He went on to become Speaker of the House. And last week he was indicted on some serious charges – none of which I believe should be crimes in the first place. After all, is it really government’s place to monitory when you take money out or put money in the bank, absent some evidence of criminal conduct?

Over at Commentary, John Steele Gordon expresses my feelings quite well.

Dennis Hastert, the former Republican Speaker of the House, was indicted last week on federal charges. First he was indicted for “structuring” bank cash withdrawals so as to evade bank reporting requirements. Federal banking regulations require banks to report cash deposits or withdrawals in excess of $10,000. Second he was indicted for lying to a federal official (an FBI agent) as to the reason for these withdrawals.

Hastert has always had a reputation for being personally squeaky clean, so when the indictment was unsealed and it stated that the money — totaling $1.7 million — had been used as hush money to prevent “past misconduct” with “individual A” from becoming public, it was front-page news around the country. And while the indictment was very carefully gender-neutral, it was very soon leaked that “individual A” was male and had been “inappropriately touched” by Hastert when he had been a high school teacher and wrestling coach decades ago.

There are a lot of questions here. Did a former Speaker of the House really not know that banks report large cash withdrawals to the feds and that evading those reporting requirements is a crime? Did he not know that lying to federal agents is also a crime? That strains credulity. On the other hand, the bank reporting requirements are intended to prevent, or at least deter, such serious crimes as money laundering, racketeering, drug dealing, and tax evasion. Paying hush money is not a crime. (Blackmailing someone, however, most certainly is, but at the state level. Is Illinois looking into the conduct of “individual A”? And did he pay taxes on the money he “earned” in this affair? And while lying to a federal official is also against the law, there was no underlying crime to be investigated here. Hastert was desperately trying to preserve his reputation, not evade justice.

It may shock people, but it looks like Hastert is being prosecuted because he tried to pay off a blackmailer. Paying a blackmailer is no crime – but engaging in such extortion is a crime. As such, what we have going on here is the victim of a crime being prosecuted. Will the state of Illinois look into prosecuting the blackmailer for committing extortion? Will the DoJ do so if it becomes clear that the extortion effort made use of the US mail or interstate electronic communications? After all, those are much more serious crimes, and are crimes even if (and it is a big if, given the lack of any details) Hastert did in fact engage in some sort of sexual misconduct with one of his students thirty or more years ago.

And let me make three things very clear about the alleged sexual impropriety on Hastert’s part. First, if it is true, then I unambiguously condemn the abuse, something which I have consistently declared to be a great evil since the earliest days of this blog. Second, if the accusation is true, then the alleged victim should have contacted law enforcement and used the legal system to seek financial compensation. Third, I understand Hastert’s willingness to pay even if the charges are false – I’ve seen men I considered friends, colleagues, or mentors (both priests and teachers) have their lives and careers destroyed by the taint of false accusations.

|| Greg, 02:32 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (20) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Beau Biden – RIP

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. I may have profound differences with his father, Vice President Joe Biden, but this is one of those things that reminds us that there are things that rise above the petty realm of politics. No parent should have to bury a child – and this is the second time Biden has had to do so. My heart aches for him, and he is in my prayers.

Joe and Beau had a particularly close relationship, and the elder Biden lived out a commitment to be a good father to his sons after the accident that killed their mother and their sister.

Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden who died Saturday at the age of 46, was recently described by the vice president as his "redemption." Along with his brother, Beau was the light in the terrible darkness that seemed inescapable in the face of Biden family tragedy more than 40 years ago.

Biden's first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a Christmas time car accident in 1972, just weeks after Biden became the second youngest man elected to the Senate, according to The Associated Press. Biden's two sons, Beau, who was 3 years old at the time, and Hunter, who was 2 at the time, were critically injured, and doctors weren't sure if they would live.

Biden, facing abrupt single fatherhood, wanted to resign before taking office, but was convinced by the likes of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and others to see out his term, according to the Washingtonian. Eighteen days after the death of his wife and child, Biden was sworn into the Senate at the hospital where his two young sons were being treated.

"I felt I should be sworn in with my children today," Biden told reporters from beside Beau's bedside, according to an AP article at the time.

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Beau Biden's death draws outpouring of sympathy for VP, family 2:29
Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden who died Saturday at the age of 46, was recently described by the vice president as his "redemption." Along with his brother, Beau was the light in the terrible darkness that seemed inescapable in the face of Biden family tragedy more than 40 years ago.

Biden's first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a Christmas time car accident in 1972, just weeks after Biden became the second youngest man elected to the Senate, according to The Associated Press. Biden's two sons, Beau, who was 3 years old at the time, and Hunter, who was 2 at the time, were critically injured, and doctors weren't sure if they would live.

Biden, facing abrupt single fatherhood, wanted to resign before taking office, but was convinced by the likes of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and others to see out his term, according to the Washingtonian. Eighteen days after the death of his wife and child, Biden was sworn into the Senate at the hospital where his two young sons were being treated.

"I felt I should be sworn in with my children today," Biden told reporters from beside Beau's bedside, according to an AP article at the time.

'They were best friends': Chuck Todd on Beau and Joe Biden 2:47
The precedent of balancing his political life with his family life was set then. Biden would commute by train from Delaware to Washington for four hours each day "to be able to get home to spend evenings with my two sons," he wrote in a 2011 essay in the Huffington Post.

"By focusing on my sons, I found my redemption," Biden told students at Yale University's Class Day, just two weeks ago.

"The incredible bond I have with my children is the gift I'm not sure I would have had, had I not been through what I went through," he said. "Looking back on it, the truth be told, the real reason I went home every night was that I needed my children more than they needed me."

Beau Biden was, by all accounts, a good man. He was a military officer and served as Delaware's Attorney General. I wish I was writing about his campaign for governor or senator from that state instead of this post. May he rest in peace.

|| Greg, 02:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Trying To Get Back In The Swing Of Things

You may have noticed that blogging has been quite light of late – as in the last few months. It all began when both my wife and I were laid low by a bug lovingly given me by one of my students. I never get sick – but really wanted to die for about a week. My darling spouse got it much worse – it turned into a two month long bout with bronchitis that left us making frequent trips to see the doctor. In the course of all that, I struggled to get my stamina back.

If that wasn’t enough, this has been my first year teaching mostly seniors. I received a deluge of requests for recommendations for college and scholarships – and worked really closely with one young lady on the application for a scholarship I nominated her for (we won’t know if she gets it for another six weeks or so). That took up a lot of time, but it was more important than anything I could possibly blog about.

And then came the month of May. It is amazing how twelfth graders get serious about making up tests and late work when they find out their grades are lower than they want – or lower than they need to graduate. I’ve stayed after school for tutorials and make-ups a lot more frequently over the last four weeks than I have the rest of the year – but it is worth it. I had a lot of these kids when they were freshmen, and to be here on the other end of the high school journey as they get ready to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas is particularly gratifying. I’m going to miss them.

But I’m back – and should have much more to say.

|| Greg, 02:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (155) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
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