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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

 

Guest Post: Could Declining House Values Spark The Next Taxpayer Rebellion?

Here's an intersting factoid. While housing pricesw are going down, property taxes are going up.

Something remarkable happened to property taxes in the U.S. while housing lost 31% of its value from 2006 to 2009: they went up by $100 billion (27%). Equally remarkably, as we can see from this U.S. Census Bureau data on state and local tax revenues, property taxes went up even when housing slumped in the early 1990s.

So even as the net worth of property has fallen by a third, the property taxes collected from the owners have risen 27%.

The next Tea Party rebellion?  Read the whole thing.

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Here’s How to Manage Our Politicians

Vik Rubenfeld at Pajamas Media gives us a list of goals that we should establish for our politicians.  The challenge is finding the mechanism for rewarding or punishing them for meeting or failing ot meet these goals.

GOALS
Effective management begins with the setting of goals. The single most important part of developing such an organization is the specification of the goals of the people. The goals must be long-term and evergreen. This would differentiate the organization from groups that focus on specific legislation.
Potential goals include:
National Security
Financial Health of Federal and State Governments:
Financial Health of the People
Medical Health
Upholding the Constitution
Upholding Personal Freedom
Upholding Judeo-Christian Culture
Supporting Capitalism
Education
Smaller Government

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Libya: Serious or Not?

Via Stacy McCain (the other McCain, the one who's not such an F'ing loser)



One of the reasons I’m having trouble taking the war in Libya seriously is that President Obama keeps treating it like another opportunity for political posturing. He gives his big nationally televised primetime speech on Monday and is off to wine and dine $30,000-a-plate donors on Tuesday while Vice President Joe Biden vacations in Aspen.

Wait, did I say “war” in Libya? I meant “kinetic military action.”

Read the whole tnhing.

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Math is hard for Politico

Via Don Surber:

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Andrew Breitbart's Journey From Hollywood Liberal to Conservative Bad Boy

Click on the link for the video.

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“I always use the word extreme,” Mr. Schumer said. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”

And I thought that "Chuck You" Schumer was a congenital ass without needing instructions.

"Propaganda is psychological manipulation aimed at the people.... Propaganda is a tool of tyranny."

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Pension-Crisis Deniers Never Sleep

Short term thinking.  What happens when the money runs out?
No matter what data you look at, you can see that many state pensions — led by Illinois and New Jersey — have underfunded their liabilities for years, which means that when their pension plans run out of money, these states will have to either raise taxes dramatically, cut non-pension spending massively, or alter their pension formula for current employees. The question of whether states will be allowed to change the benefits for current retirees will depend on the courts, but the reality is that when there is no more money, there is no more money.


You would think that those who support public pensioners would want to insure the sustainability of those pensions.  But you would be wrong.

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Muslim money in academia.

Clarice Feldman at Pajamas Media reveals that Anti-American, Foreign Donors Are Paying Off Our Profs. Shouldn’t We Address This?
Adversaries have been buying sway in Congress and the public eye by funding American professors who advocate for them, to the tune of $600M.
Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

 

Is our military the new mercenary army for foreign governments?



David Limbaugh says more directly what I was alluding to in this column that relied on a Roger Kimball essay.

Limbaugh on Obama's Libyan adventure:
As I argued in my most recent column, this is just the foreign policy outworking of Obama's campaign to fundamentally transform America. Notice the common thread. He is using domestic policies to effectuate "economic justice" at home, trying to cut "wealthy" Americans down to size. Now he is using foreign policy to diminish America's role and stature in the international community to cut wealthy, imperialistic America down to size.

...

In trying to distinguish between the Libyan and Syrian situations, Clinton said the Syrian situation isn't as severe yet. Then she got to the crux of it: "But in Libya, when a leader says 'spare nothing, show no mercy' and calls out air force attacks on his own people, that crosses a line that people in the world had decided they could not tolerate."

As liberal writer William Saletan points out, "the key phrase isn't no mercy or air force. It's they could not tolerate. Not we, but they. We're outsourcing our standards for intervention." But Saletan noted it is "worse than outsourcing." Outsourcing is hiring someone to do your bidding, but in Libya, "we're hiring ourselves out to do what somebody abroad wants." Indeed, one might consider our military the new mercenaries for foreign governments.

To quote Obama:
“. . . it is our military that is being volunteered by others . . .”
There may be other reasons for the U-turn that Obama has taken on Libya since a revolt broke out there, such as: here, here, here, here, here.

But why was the Obama administration busy coordinating with the UN and the Arab League but had no interest in consulting with Congress or in using a Presidential address to get the American people on board?  Our military and our foreign policy are not "ours" any more.  Under Obama, our wealth and the lives of our fighting men are the UN's and the Arab League to command.  If Congress and the American people allow this to stand, the creation of a "one world" government, as Mickey Kaus put it, will have been achieved, with America playing a subservient role.

This is something that the people who are active in the Tea Party can understand.  This is something they can rally around.  Don't be surprised if the next round of anti-war demonstrations are not the usual bunch of Leftist, neo-hippy freaks.  The next crowds in the streets may well be made up of middle class patriots who are not ready to give up America's sovereignty to foreign despots and dictators who make up the UN.   

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Monday, March 28, 2011

 

GE: Poster Child for Free Enterprise vs. National Socialism

From Powerline
So the symbiosis between GE and the federal government, in particular the Obama administration, is obvious. GE strikes us as a "modern" company, in that its business strategy consists largely of exercising political influence. In truth, however, the concept is not new: the virtual merger of Big Government and Big Business has long been a hallmark of national socialism.
After noting that GE
John at Powerline compares GE to Koch Industries:
One can hardly resist comparing GE with another American company--one that has steadily increased its American workforce, rather than cutting it. One that has never gone to the federal government for a bailout. One that lobbies out of self-defense, as all companies do, but not to secure special privileges for itself at the taxpayers' expense. One that pays lots of taxes. One that not only advocates free enterprise, but lives by it, competing for business with superior products and services.

A number of companies would fit that description, but I have in mind Koch Industries. Koch is smaller than GE, although not radically so--$100 billion in revenues vs. $150 billion--but it pays a whole lot more in taxes. One might think that a company like Koch would be honored and respected compared with a company like GE, but that is not the case--not on the left, anyway. On the contrary, it is Koch's very integrity that makes it public enemy number one for the Democratic Party.
I once worked for GE; I'm very glad I don't any more.
So the questions are posed rather starkly. Which company should Americans respect, the company that lays off more and more Americans, or the one that keeps hiring them? The company that dodges taxes, or the one that pays them? The company that makes money by partnering with government to force uneconomic products on an unwilling public, or the one that sells top-notch products that consumers want, without any compulsion from Washington? The company that stands for a Big Business-Big Government partnership, or the one that stubbornly defends, and practices, free enterprise?

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is a very, very bad man.

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Leftist violence and plausible deniablity.

Richard Fernandez makes the point that
In fine anarchists are Red Guards of the European Left, a collection of dupes formed inside the vast and creaky infrastructure of Marxism to advance the interests of one faction against another faction. It is impossible to understand the politics of the Left without grasping that it is all about deniable intimidation. The real problem European anarchism solves is how to send bombs without seemingly sending them, or how to trash the Tory party headquarters in London without really doing it.

That's true whether describing the rampaging "anarchists" in London, or Madison, Wisconsin public employee unionists sending death threats to people who disagree.

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Resentment Studies

Mike Adams writes a provocative essay explaining how, in a difficult economic environment, the university system can save money.
My plan is very simple: Combine African American Studies, Gay & Lesbian Studies, and Women’s Studies into one academic program called “Resentment Studies.” I know that initially some will resent my proposal. But allow me a chance to explain my thinking with a few examples:
Read the whole thing.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

 

An Old School Imperialist

Mark Steyn: 
I am by temperament and upbringing an old-school imperialist: There are arguments to be made for being on the other side of the world for decades on end if you're claiming it as sovereign territory and rebuilding it in your image, as the British did in India, Belize, Mauritius, the Solomon Islands, you name it. Likewise, there are arguments to be made for saying, sorry, we're a constitutional republic, we don't do empire. But there's not a lot to be said for forswearing imperialism and even modest cultural assertiveness, and still spending 10 years getting shot up in Afghanistan helping to create, bankroll and protect a so-called justice system that puts a man on death row for converting to Christianity.
And there you have the problem with America's intervention beyond its borders. Hawaii is good example. It's a state of the Union even though its thousands of miles away. Check out its history.

It takes generations, not years, to create a democratic society where one did not exist before.

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The Emperor Seth and Kinetic Islam

Roger Kimball:
“Kinetic Islam”: that’s Andy McCarthy’s brilliant coinage. Between us, it means “jihad,” as in what excitable Muslims do after yelling “Allahu Akbar.” You know: Muslim major screamed “Allahu Akbar” before slaughtering 13 at Ft. Hood. Air Force shooter shouted “Allahu Akbar” before killing two US airmen in Frankfurt. Just another bomb-plotting jihadist yelling “Allahu Akbar!” in Portland, Oregon, at Christmas time last year. Ditto Sweden: “Jihad In Sweden: Homicide Bomber, Screaming Allahu Akbar, Targets Christmas Shoppers.” So many “isolated extremists,” so little time!

Future historians, looking back on this era, will marvel at its capacity for linguistic evasion: never speak about a “global war on terror” when you can talk instead about “overseas contingency operations.” Don’t mention “Islamic terrorism” when “anti-Islamic activity” sounds so much nicer. And just the other day, struggling to find the right, i.e., the politically acceptable, i.e., the patently mendacious, words to describe the President’s Excellent Adventure in Libya, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes proffered this gem: “I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone. Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end.” Orwell, or at least the guardians of Newspeak about whom Orwell wrote, would have been proud.

A question that is increasingly being asked: whose mandate are we following? Bob Wright claims that taking our marching orders from the UN Security Council is the right and “legal” thing to do. I’m not sure how many Americans agree.

Just whose resolution are we talking about here? We know what he meant by “enforce”: he meant bombing various targets in Libya. But the question remains: whose resolution, whose will was being enforced?

Was it the will of the American people, expressed through its duly elected representatives, the folks in whom the authority to declare war actually rests? No. Was it the resolution of the UN Security Council, which (with the abstention of Russia, China, and Germany) had voted to authorize the use of military force against Libya? Possibly, but what is the connection between a UN resolution and the use of the American military? Or maybe it was the Arab League, who liked the idea of establishing a “no-fly” zone in Libya but, to judge by their sudden about-face when the bombs actually started dropping, had not yet taken on board the Marxist precept that he who wills a certain end also wills the means to that end.

The embarrassing thing is that it is pretty unclear exactly whose resolution was being enforced when the planes took to the skies over Tripoli. The president seems to think that it was some species of voluntary social work instigated by the General Will of the “international community.”

Obama said:
“. . . it is our military that is being volunteered by others . . .”

People are asking:
What others? The others whose resolution we are enforcing. Who are they? The international community, e.g., the United Nations, the Arab League? Are they in command of the United States military?

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American Dream

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Obama's "dumb war, rash war"

It takes a certain personality to use the term “dumb” referring to the opposition; a person who feels intellectually and morally superior. But that’s the term Senator Obama used about the Iraq war. That was while he was saying that we could not win that war. That was while he said the surge would not work. That was before Bush won and Obama took credit for it.

Cal Thomas paraphrases the “dumb war” speech that Obama gave and tell me if it does not sound timely:
[I, Barack Obama am not] “opposed to all war,” only “dumb war, rash war.”

“I suffer no illusions about Moammar Gadhafi. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions. … He’s a bad guy. The world and the Libyan people would be better off without him.”
“Gadhafi poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors … the Libyan economy is in shambles … the Libyan military is a fraction of its former strength and … in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.”
So why are we engaged in a dumb, rash war with a country that is no direct threat to the United States? If we only wait the passage of time will consign K.Daffy to the dustbin of history.

Humanitarian reasons? You must have a short memory if you bring out this old chestnut. Read Obama again about that “brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power.” Saddam Hussein butchered more of his own people, and his neighbors, than K. Daffy could ever hope to.

Don’t you hate it when your own words come back to bite you in the ass?

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

 

OBAMA LIKES SPENDING

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Know who your friends are.

You have to be careful who your friends are. That’s an old adage but it still applies, especially in the age of blogging. Charles Johnson became an overnight sensation on the Right with his very graphical illustrations showing Dan Rather’s fake letters about George Bush’s National Guard service were composed on a computer using Microsoft Word. A few years he later reverted to form and today is back to being a hate filled Lefty.

I’m afraid that the newest Right-wing darling, Ann Althouse, is also destined to go back to her Liberal roots. She and her husband are famous for their “Army of Davids” photos and videos of the union protests and riots in Madison, Wisconsin. By showing what the MSM is “spiking,” the Right has adopted her as one their own. But she’s not. Anyone who voted for Obama - and before him a long list of Democrats - is a Liberal at heart. She is, after all, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison; a position and a location that virtually guarantees that you will be a Liberal.

I was brought back to reality by this exchange she had a Bloggingheads video discussion with Robert Wright. In their discussion of the Libyan war this is what Wright said (my transcript begins at 12:00 minutes)

“This intervention was authorized by the UN security council which as a lawyer… you know … in terms of international law is actually lawful … whereas Bush’s was the opposite. The Security Council did not go along. It was .. it was … a … technically in my view an illegal war he was launching. I hope given these two facts alone the magnitude and the illegality he would have a word with the American people …” [Wright then goes on about the Arab League, an assembly of Middle Eastern dictators, asking for the UN to intervene as a way of enhancing the “legality” of Obama’s War.]
Here’s my “aha” moment: Althouse – who frequently interrupts Wright in this discussion – raises no objections. Wright is stating that the American President gets his legal authority to wage war from the United Nations Security Council, not from the American Constitution, Congress or the American people … and Althouse raises no objection.

Althouse implies in the video exchange that she voted for Obama because she approves of his international orientation. Later on in the exchange she said that she voted for Obama because she wanted to draw the Democrats into the things that needed to be done to protect the country. In effect what she’s saying that she figured that Obama was lying when he denounced Bush for the so-called “War on Terror,” Guantanamo, military tribunals, etc.   Or, if he was not lying but deluded, becoming President would make him face reality.  This is a species of logic that appears to be previously undiscovered. It reveals someone who really, really wanted Obama to be President but is unwilling to admit the underlying reason to herself.

This is an academic willing to shoot craps with the safety of the country. Give the country over to those who deny the reality of the war we are in, hoping that they will take it seriously when they control the levers of power.

And if that does not go well, what then? This is not a classroom exercise where the bell rings at the end and everyone goes to another course. This is Krauthammer’s The professor's war in the flesh.

Wright and Althouse both appear to support the subordination of American interests to the United Nations and the use of American troops and American treasure to carry out the mandates of the United nations. Wright believes that Obama has consulted with all the right people and gotten all the right approval. Althouse agrees but thinks that Obama should have given the American people a better explanation.

If Obama’s War turns out to be a success, we can be sure that the Left will become ever more firmly committed to the subordination of the US to the UN as will people like Wright and Althouse who are predisposed to that already.

If the war turns into a failure, the excuses will be like the excuses for Socialism or Communism: that the concept is right but it was just not implemented properly.

Ann Althouse has periods of misalignments with her Liberal impulses, but make no mistake, she is reflexively Liberal. Remember that and be prepared for reversion to form.

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War in Libya: "... obsessed with legality but completely bereft of sense."

Richard Fernandez, quoting Charles Krauthammer:
In any case, for Obama, military objectives take a back seat to diplomatic appearances. The president is obsessed with pretending that we are not running the operation — a dismaying expression of Obama’s view that his country is so tainted by its various sins that it lacks the moral legitimacy to … what? Save Third World people from massacre?

But for those who see Obama operating from malice, here's a thought by Fernandez:
A cynic might be inclined to argue that President Obama’s operation in Libya serves the purpose of preemptively tying up US reserves. It supplies a relatively target easy to beat up on — admittedly a bad guy who looks and plays the part — so that if and when the heavy lifting is required elsewhere the Commander in Chief can justly say, “I already gave at the office”. In that way, if Assad decides to play Hama rules, the President can claim he is already preoccupied with protecting unnamed persons in the Eastern Libyan desert. You can avoid the big conflicts by embroiling yourself in little ones.

The entire Middle East is in an uproar, and Israel will soon become the focus of hate if the Islamofascists topple the current rulers. At that point, Obama can say that he can't help Israel survive because there are no more resources that the US can supply.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

 

GE paid no taxes on $26 billion in profit.

Via the Heritage Foundation
General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

GE has become a poster child for a corrupt system of government that provides targeted benefits to preferred companies.

Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman:
[W]e are going through more than a cycle. The global economy, and capitalism, will be ‘reset’ in several important ways. The interaction between government and business will change forever. In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner.
How do you feel about a company that's the Obama administration's partner so that it can avoid taxes on billions in profits?  I have no fondness for taxes or for the absurdly high taxes that US corporations pay compared to the rest of the world, but I do believe in fairness and a level playing field.

This is how GE plays the game
The [tax]shelters are so crucial to G.E.’s bottom line that when Congress threatened to let the most lucrative one expire in 2008, the company came out in full force. G.E. officials worked with dozens of financial companies to send letters to Congress and hired a bevy of outside lobbyists.

The head of its tax team, Mr. Samuels, met with Representative Charles B. Rangel, then chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which would decide the fate of the tax break. As he sat with the committee’s staff members outside Mr. Rangel’s office, Mr. Samuels dropped to his knee and pretended to beg for the provision to be extended — a flourish made in jest, he said through a spokeswoman.

That day, Mr. Rangel reversed his opposition to the tax break, according to other Democrats on the committee.

The following month, Mr. Rangel and Mr. Immelt stood together at St. Nicholas Park in Harlem as G.E. announced that its foundation had awarded $30 million to New York City schools, including $11 million to benefit various schools in Mr. Rangel’s district.

We’re sure there was no quid pro quo between Rangel and Immelt. That would be bribery, which is illegal. [sarcasm off].
Jeff Immelt presided over a GE whose stock price plunged 90% and a dividend cut of 70%.  He is not only corrupt, he's incompetent. 

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How do you know when you are being lied to? When the lie starts with "But I want to be very clear..."

Barack Hussein Obama on the Obama administration gun running program that sent thousands of weapons to Mexico. 
Well, first of all I did not authorize it. Eric Holder, the Attorney General, did not authorize it. He’s been very clear that our policy is to catch gun runners and put them into jail. So what he’s done is he’s assigned an I.G., an inspector general, to investigate what exactly happened…

Question from interviewer: AND YOU WERE NOT EVEN INFORMED ABOUT IT?


Obama answer:
Absolutely not, this is a pretty big government, the United States government. I got a lot of moving parts. But I want to be very clear, I spoke to President Calderon when he came to visit just a few weeks ago, our policy is to ramp up the interdiction of guns flowing south because that’s contributing to some of the security problems that are taking place in Mexico ... blah blah blah.
So some low level minion was buying thousands of guns and shipping them across the Mexican border because .... uh, .... uh,  .... this is a big government!?!?  I want to be clear about that

I heard Wayne Lapierre of the NRA on the radio this morning claiming that the political purpose of this action on the part of the administration is to bolster the claim that most of the guns used by Mexican drug cartels come form the US.  The objective is to create a political atmosphere to pass new gun control laws. 

Got that?  Pull the other one Barack.

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How the ruling class lives.

Behind the scenes with John Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes at the White House
Letter from the "significant other" who sleeps with the Oregon Governor as they attend the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.

A few excerpts (read the whole thing).

Airport security checks are for the little people...
Once we checked our bags, John and I were escorted by the Dignitary Protection Unit (DPU) guards right around airport security. A TSA man looked at our passports and sent us on our way. No lines, no inspections, no taking off shoes and jackets, no pulling laptops out of their cases.

How do you introduced the Governor's girlfriend at the conference?
When she started to introduce me she said, “This is Cylvia Hayes, from Oregon, the uh, First … uh, Governor’s uh … Significant …uh, partner…” I jumped in and said, “I’m complicated and my title is evolving.” Everybody laughed. I realized at that moment that was probably the first unmarried partner ever to attend an NGA event in the First Lady role. She went on to mention my professional background and political involvement and then she whispered to me, “Can I tell them about the NA thing?” I said, “oh sure,
why not?” (To myself I was thinking, “Uh oh. Some of these very prim and proper wives may not like this very much.”). She pointed to the First Spouses contact directory and announced that I interpreted NA to mean “Nuptually Agnostic”. The room roared in laughter. From that point forward nearly everyone was warm and welcoming to me....
I remember reading about the roads in Moscow where the middle lane was designated for high communist officials. The ruling class in America did it one better.  As they head for their next meeting:
There we were, in all the puff of importance and urgency, with traffic lights being shut down and cars forced to stop to let us pass...
The Obama White house has lots of experience with the homely fare of the little people ...
I had a great time – interesting conversation and a phenomenal meal comprised of many tasty small courses paired with lovely wines.

To finish off the night, why not rub it in the rubes faces?
When we arrived back at the Marriot, it was late and I was bundled up in my black wool coat. But at the door, I told John I had to exercise the gown. He understood immediately and removed my coat and held out his arm. As we strolled through the lobby in tux and designer gown, shamelessly turning heads, knowing we had just dined with the President and First Lady, I reminded myself of Julia Roberts in the Pretty Woman hotel lobby scene (minus the part about being a prostitute of course J).
Oh, it was really not that different Cylvia.

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What Would We Do Without the Arab League?

Just in case you wondered who or what the Arab League was, Claudia Rosette reminds us.

... a club of 21 Arab states plus the Palestinian Authority. Among its more moderate members are such countries as Morocco, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. Among its — shall we say — more troubled and troubling members are Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1945, the Arab League has been on balance one of the modern world’s most enduring clubs of despots. Its abiding preoccupation, apart from a lot of internal squabbling, has been blaming the miseries caused by its own despotisms on the sole full-fledged and enduring democracy in the region — which is Israel.
This is who Obama consulted before he started Obama's War, rather than the American people or congress.

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Is Libya Mess the Work of NSC Chief Tom Donilon?

It looks like Obama has decided that someone needs to be a sacrificial lamb. "As I always said .... blah, blah, blah"

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Rebel Commander in Libya Fought Against U.S. in Afghanistan

We are learning more about the people who Obama's War is supporting.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

 

Andrew Klavan: PBS Exposed! Hidden Camera Rocks Sesame Street

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The radiation in Japan may we worse than anyone suspects.

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“Some Japanese attacked us.”

Mark Steyn's ability to skewer the Left via humor is killer. 

How many times have we been told that most Muslim's are peaceful and the the ones who slit our throats, bomb us or shoot us are not representative of Muslims as a whole.

WHEN GOVERNMENTS ATTACK! has these incredible lines [referring to an article in the Providence Journal]:
“The Japanese government” bombed Pearl Harbor? Was the Second World War an epic conflict of bureaucrats, with Tokyo civil servants in imperial morning dress bearing down on beleaguered State Department officials? Or was the Providence Journal self-correcting? Perhaps Ms. Borg originally wrote that “Japan” or “the Japanese” bombed Pearl Harbor, and a sharp-eyed editor amended it to clarify that only a few employees of “the Japanese government” participated in the bombing. Or perhaps political correctness is now so ingrained that a Providence reporter reflexively writes like that anyway. As Whoopi Goldberg put it, in response to Bill O’Reilly’s careless slur that the Japanese had attacked us at Pearl Harbor: “Some Japanese attacked us.” Doubtless atypical Japanese, from whose unrepresentative ranks no general conclusions can be drawn.
“Some Japanese attacked us.”
It just doesn't get any better than that.

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American President Starts a War. Seeks UN Approval. Ignores US Congress.

Who would that President be? 

That "cowboy" George Bush?


From the LA Times: Constitutional firestorm over Libya war and Biden's past impeachment words greet returning Obama.

Joe Biden said that ...
... a president who commits U.S. troops with no imminent threat to the country or its citizens and no congressional approval should be impeached
That was then, this is now:
Presumably, now that it's his boss who's entering a vaguely defined foreign military foray with no congressional entrance permission and no exit strategy, Joe has had a change of mind.
...Obama did, however, get United Nations approval for the ongoing strikes on Libya. About which there happens to be nothing in the Constitution.

Then, again, it may have something to do with malice.

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Presence of Malice: Against the Conservative Portrait of the President

In their criticism of Obama, Conservatives think of Obama as vain, incompetent, stupid, and lazy. They step back from making the accusation that he is actively trying to harm America.

Gerard Vanderleun believes that they may be wrong.  He has written a long and disturbing essay on Obama that addresses the question: does Obama hate America? Is he malicious in his actions?

Even Obama's most rabid supporters outside of his army of apparatchiks must surely sense that there is something “off” in the psychic structure of the current president. Most attribute it to his “yearning” to make the country ‘worthy’ of it’s place at the head of the nations. I suggest that it is something alarmingly dark and destructive. I suggest it comes from a psyche that, for many, many reasons stretching back to infancy, is so structured that it loathes the country down to its marrow, much as the psyche must loathe itself, and that is working, daily, on dismantling the nation with nothing except pure malicious intent. Why? Because it can.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

 

STATE CAPITALISM ( nice term for economic Fascism)

The Auto Bailout and the Rule of Law

For anyone who's interested in the real problems with the government takeover of GM and Chrysler, there is no better summary than this one by Todd Zywicki.

The actions of the government trampling on the rule of law are very, very troubling.

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A war to enable other wars.

Mickey Kaus on Libyan War = World Government? Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

It’s one thing for a supra-national authority–the U.N.–to authorize a war against someone who has committed cross-border aggression, or who has repeatedly violated earlier U.N. resolutions left over from a previous war. That was the case with Saddam in 2002–in theory.*

It’s another to let the U.N. authorize a war on what Obama calls ”humanitarian grounds”–whether it’s to stop actual killings or some less severe variety of “human rights violation.”

So far, atrocities in Libya are a little light on the ground. Sure, K. Daffy made some blood curdling threats, but how does the insurrection  in Libya compare in bloodshed to some of the countries in which the UN has not interfered?

But I would think it would deeply trouble those mainstream, non-libertarian conservatives who’ve been fretting about world government for decades. Now that world government is finally arriving, only Ben Stein seems alarmed. (I may have missed others.)

And how do non-Conservative Libertarians feel about it?

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U.S. New-Home Sales Unexpectedly Fall to Lowest on Record

Glenn Reynolds remarks "THEY KEEP USING THAT WORD."

Purchases of new U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in February to the slowest pace on record and prices dropped to the lowest level since December 2003, adding to evidence the industry is floundering.
That must be because we're in the second year of the country's economic recovery.

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Ever notice the similarity between K. Daffy and Obama?

Both of them strike poses.

K. Daffy (where does that hat come from?)

Obama, chin jutting, arms crossed, the "in charge" rock star."

Which brought to mind this old picture...


These are people who think very, very well of themselves. Megalomaniacs?

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Micael Kinsley wonders how Obama got into this mess.

Wait a minute. How did this happen? A month or so ago, massive bombing of Libya was on no one’s agenda. Libya’s government was just as tyrannical, and its leader was just as loony then as he is now....

But Obama surely would not have chosen this moment and this target merely as an opportunity to prove he has cojones.
Want to make a big bet? Here's what I said a few days ago:
... Obama was pushed into supporting action to counter the public perception that he was a feckless bystander.
Don't doubt me. When you have a megalomaniac as President, one who says things like:
“The first time around it’s like lightning in a bottle. There’s something special about it, because you’re defying the odds. And as time passes, you start taking it for granted that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama is president of the United States,” Obama said. “But we should never take it for granted.”
Yes, then the Lightbearer has to prove he has balls when people begin to doubt.

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The Liberal Faculty: Self-Selection or Discrimination?

Why no mention of, say, George Bush?


The authors acknowledge that working on the Obama and McCain campaigns might not be perfect proxies for liberal and conservative. “We worried that a stronger conservative prompt, such as being a George W. Bush supporter, might — if claims about the extent of hostility to conservatism in academe are true — lead some respondents to question the legitimacy of the e-mail,” they write.

Are conservatives really that rare? So rare that mentioning work for the most recent two-term president of the United States would be so outside the bounds of normality that it would “lead some respondents to question the legitimacy of the e-mail”? I’m afraid they’re right.

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News from around the world.

Turkey discovers weapons in Iran plane.
Turkish media reports plane forced to land in southeast Turkey carried rocket launchers, mortars, rifles and explosive materials


Syria Protests Spread
Unrest spread in southern Syria on Monday with hundreds of people demonstrating against the government in three towns near the main city of Deraa, but authorities did not use force to quell the latest protests.
U.S. Says Libyan Campaign to Ease as No-Fly Zone Is Secured

The fighting “should recede in the next few days,” Gates said at a press conference in Moscow today. Opposition fighters advanced on the central gateway city of Ajdabiya, which is held by loyalist troops, according to the Associated Press. Qaddafi’s army units continued to shell the western, rebel-held city of Misrata for a second day, residents said.
Who's in charge? Germans pull forces out of NATO as Libyan coalition falls apart

Deep divisions between allied forces currently bombing Libya worsened today as the German military announced it was pulling forces out of NATO over continued disagreement on who will lead the campaign.


A German military spokesman said it was recalling two frigates and AWACS surveillance plane crews from the Mediterranean, after fears they would be drawn into the conflict if NATO takes over control from the U.S.
The infighting comes as a heated meeting of NATO ambassadors yesterday failed to resolve whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, diplomats said.

'We are not at war,’
Opening the debate on French involvement in Libya, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon reiterated that the intervention was intended to stop attacks against Libyan civilians, and nothing more.

“We are not at war with Libya, we are protecting the civilian population,” said Fillon and added, “Our objectives are very specific... to protect the civilian population, excluding explicitly any occupation forces.”
Libya action 'impeachable'
President Barack Obama should be impeached for approving air strikes against Libya, Rep. Dennis Kucinich said in an interview Monday.
Obama’s Abu Ghraib: The Stuff Hits the Fan

When the Abu Ghraib scandal broke in 2003, the mainstream media and liberal blogosphere couldn’t find enough column inches to express adequately their shock and revulsion. The New York Times alone published 56 stories on the hideous revelation that members of the U.S. Army Reserve had tortured prisoners of war and posed for “trophy pictures”—inexcusable acts that the Times placed squarely at the feet of then-president George W. Bush.
What a difference a president makes. Until you flash forward to today’s bombshell, dropped by the British newspaper The Guardian, noting that members of a self-styled U.S. Army “kill team” posed for photos not with tortured prisoners but with corpses. Of civilians. Whom they had killed.
So far, the White House has released no statement regarding the images or accounts. Neither, surprisingly, has the New York Times.
Chavez says capitalism may have ended life on Mars
The Liberal ruler of Venezuela said
..."I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet," Chavez said in speech to mark World Water Day.

Sexually assaulted and told 'You'll die tonight'... but spared as she's American: Female journalist's horror at the hands of Gaddafi's men
A female war photographer from the New York Times revealed tonight how she was repeatedly sexually assaulted during her nightmare hostage ordeal in Libya.


See how those photos of fighting are actually staged.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

 

This is how it's done.

The Associated Press demonstrates for the billionth time how adjectives and other descriptive terms are one of the top ways of slanting the news (the most common is The Spike). What would a news story be like without adjectives telling you what to think about a story?

NEW DELHI – U.S. politician [when is a private citizen not in office a politician; and by the way why bother describing her at all?  The only person who doesn't know who she is is that GEICO character under a rock. Is Obama described by the AP as a U.S. politician?  Is Biden?  Is oh ... Bill Clinton or George Bush?] Sarah Palin stressed the importance of America's ties with India, saying they were based on the shared values of freedom and free-market capitalism, while sounding a warning note on China's rise during a speech Saturday in New Delhi. [Shouldn't the AP tell us that New Delhi is a city in India?  Fewer Americans know where New Delhi is than know who Sarah Palin is.]

The visit to India is a rare foreign venture for the ex-Alaska governor and reality TV star, who was John McCain's running mate in his failed 2008 campaign for president. [Not content with describing Palin as a U.S. politician, the AP wants the GEICO guy to know that Palin doesn't get out much, is the "ex" rather than "former" Governor of Alaska, lost the 2008 election and is really Snooky  from the "Jersey Shore."] The trip, which also includes a stop in Israel, is raising speculation [by whom?]Palin wants to burnish her foreign policy credentials ahead of a possible 2012 presidential run.

Palin told a well-heeled [Republicans only hang with fat cats, doncha know?] audience of Indian business leaders, professionals and socialites [India has socialites like .... Paris Hilton?  Who knew?] that U.S.-Indian relations were "key to the future of our world."
The story rambles on in the same vein, but this is the part that was reproduced in the Virginian Pilot.  It was so full of the crap that's the hallmark of professional journalism today that I thought it would be interesting as an example to any budding journalist out there.  THIS is how it's done.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

 

Biggest jump in food costs in more than 36 years!


Remember just a few months ago when Sarah Palin made the point that food prices were rising and the grief she got for saying it? 

Well ....

Wholesale prices rise 1.6 pct. due to biggest jump in food costs in more than 36 years

Wholesale prices jumped last month by the most in nearly two years due to higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in 36 years. Excluding those volatile categories, inflation was tame.


Yeah, except for your food and the way to get to work (if you still have a job) "inflation was tame." You can't parody the AP. They do a better job on themselves.

Keep in mind that Sarah Palin’s comment on food prices was made in the context of her criticism of Federal Reserve policy.
"All this pump priming (by the Fed) will come at a serious price. And I mean that literally: Everyone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher."

That makes Sarah Palin a better forecaster than Ben Bernanke, the people at the Wall Street Journal who doubted her and Ryan Chittum and the rest of the Obama cheerleaders at the Columbia Journalism Review.

Oh how I wish Sarah Palin were president.

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Megalomania

Remember the jokes about asylum dwellers who thought they were Napoleon … or Jesus?

Sane people don’t talk about themselves this way. From the Washington Post:
“The first time around it’s like lightning in a bottle. There’s something special about it, because you’re defying the odds. And as time passes, you start taking it for granted that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama is president of the United States,” Obama said. “But we should never take it for granted.”

Obama made his remarks to about 500 members of the Democratic National Committee’s national finance committee and national advisory board at a Washington hotel.

This is disturbing. As is this.

Thanks, Glenn ...  and to those visiting here for the first time, look around and say "Hi" to your neighbors. 

UPDATE: Can you imagine George Washington saying: “ … you start taking it for granted that a guy named George Washington is president of the United States.” Or Abraham Lincoln, or FDR, or Reagan or anyone who is not a megalomaniac.

For those who did not get the allusion, remember the story about Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with precious ointment? Judas objected, saying that the ointment should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus replied: “Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.”

Barack as Jesus? Here’s a thought for the “birthers:” suppose Barack Hussein Obama is actually trying to hide the fact that he has no earthly father? As Glenn Reynolds would say: “Heh.”

I assumed that when Obama spoke of his nomination causing the seas to lower and the planet to heal he was speaking allegorically, but suppose he really means it?

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Is Obama "Slow" ... as in stupid?



Think back. When did you know, I mean really know, that sanctions were not going to stop Libya’s K. Daffy? A week ago … two weeks ago …. last month ….. even before sanctions were imposed because sanctions never work? Forget whether you think the US ought to get involved in Libya or not, when did you KNOW sanctions were not going to stop K. Daffy?

Well, congratulations you little Mensa candidate. You’re smarter than the President. Because the “administration sources” let it slip that Barack Hussein Obama didn’t know it until Tuesday.

ABC's Jake Tapper does the best he can with the material he has, but nothing disguises this fiasco:

For President Obama, Libyan Tipping Point Came Tuesday: "What We're Doing Isn't Stopping Him"

On Tuesday, President Obama became clear that diplomatic efforts to stop the brutality of Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi weren’t working.

Presented with intelligence about the push of the Gadhafi regime to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the president told his national security team "what we're doing isn't stopping him.”
I’m not sure whether to believe this or not. If it’s spin to make Obama look good it’s a huge fail. We can go back to assuming that Obama was pushed into supporting action to counter the public perception that he was a feckless bystander. If it accurately reflects Obama’s judgment or intelligence it indicates that a serious effort should be made to impeach him as a danger to the Republic on grounds of stupidity.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

 

NY Times Mag promotes “Hoax of the Holocaust” cleric Yasir Qadhi as face of “moderate” American Islam

Via PJ Tatler: The NY Times has fallen on hard times but still has a ton of resources. If this is their version of a "moderate American Islamic" cleric it's hard to imagine what kind of cleric would be considered radical.


YQ1 from George Scanderbeg on Vimeo.

H/T Instapundit.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

 

Bombing Libya

What’s worse than watching freedom fighters who are asking for your help get slaughtered? Waiting till it’s too late!

Reacting to criticism from all sides, Team Obama is thinking of bombing Libya.

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Getting to the right body count before we can act.


Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal on The Collapse of Internationalism discussed the failure of the "post-American world in which the U.S. is obliged to pursue its interests in concert with the rest of the world's powers, never alone."

The poster boy for this internationalist view is White House deputy Ben Rhodes, who told a reporter last week: "This is the Obama conception of the U.S. role in the world—to work through multilateral organizations and bilateral relationships to make sure that the steps we are taking are amplified."

Days later, bemused Libyan rebel spokesman Essam Gheriani remarked in Benghazi: "Everyone here is puzzled as to how many casualties the international community judges to be enough for them to help. Maybe we should start committing suicide to reach the required number."

The blueprint for this policy summarizes the Obama doctrine:
"...[U.S.] leadership recognizes that in a world in which power has diffused, our interests are best protected and advanced when others step up and at times lead alongside or even ahead of us."

Which gets us to the Middle East where
... no one has stepped up, no one is leading alongside and our allies are in the rear, accomplishing nothing while they wait for . . . America.

This was a test case, and what we have seen is that a world in which the U.S. doesn't unmistakably lead is a world that spins its wheels, and eventually the wheels start to come off. When the U.S. instructs the Saudis not to intervene in Bahrain, and the Saudi army does precisely the opposite, the wheels are coming off the international order.
The Liberal community in the US prefers it this way (read the comments).  The Libyan rebels say that the internation community's hands are covered with blood. Lady Macbeth just keeps scrubbing.

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Two Charged in Tea Party Election Fraud

Two former leaders of the Oakland County Democratic Party are facing a total of nine felonies for allegedly forging election paperwork to get fake Tea Party candidates on November's ballot....

Former Oakland County Democratic Chair Mike McGuinness and former Democratic Operations Director Jason Bauer face up to 14 years in prison if convicted.

"Some of the people didn't even know they were on the ballot till they began receiving delinquency notices of filings that were required as a candidate," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
H/T Glenn Reynolds

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What Would a Desperate Wimp Do?

Michael Ledeen wonders and worries about what adventures Obama could take America on if he needs to be seen as a successful commander in chief.

[Re Carter] And so I asked myself, is there a point at which a president realizes that wimps don’t get reelected? And if so, what might he do to shatter that image? For the next two years I worried that Carter might overreact to some international crisis in order to make folks see that he was really a tough guy.

It never happened, to my relief. But I’m starting to have the same worries about Obama. To be sure, he’s got a press that is considerably friendlier than Carter had, but even so we are seeing quite a number of stories about a president who just can’t seem to make decisions, who doesn’t seem to get it when terrible things happen, things that cry out for American leadership. The wimp seems to be mounting a comeback. If he gets tarred with that brush, he might start considering options to recreate his image. There are certainly many opportunities, from Iran to Venezuela.
Read the whole thing.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

 

Dead Jews Is No News

Mark Steyn on the Palestinian slaughter of a Jewish family. It got almost no mention in the American press by the MSM.

But sometimes, as when a baby has her throat slashed, what’s not said is just as telling. Recently I was talking to a Hungarian Jew who lived in hiding in Budapest during the Second World War: By 1944, the pro-German government was running short of ammo, so they were obliged to get a little creative. They’d handcuff Jews together in a long chain, stand them on a bridge, put a bullet in the ones at each end, and then push them into the Danube to let the dead weight drag down the ones in between. You have to have a strong stomach for such work, perhaps almost as strong as for killing three-month olds. But, as my friend told his tale, I thought not of the monsters on the bridge, nor even those on the banks cheering, but about the far larger numbers of people scurrying about their business and rationalizing what was going on. That’s what made the difference, then as now.

It's rapidly becoming obvious that a repeat of the Holocaust would have its supporters - not just in the Muslim world - but in the West.

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"Maybe they even thought Mr. Obama meant what he said in calling for Gadhafi to leave power."

The Wall Street Journal:  Arabs Love the Pax Americana

The Arab League's call this weekend for a no-fly zone over Libya is startling news and has sent diplomats scattering. We'll now see if the "international community" (to use the Obama Administration's favorite phrase) decides anything before Moammar Gadhafi's forces overrun the rebel stronghold in Benghazi. The odds favor Gadhafi.

But the 22-member league's decision also tells us a lot about Arab views of U.S. power. Throughout the Libyan crisis, we've heard from pundits and politicians that the Iraq war tarnished brand America beyond repair, and made U.S. leadership non grata in the Mideast. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have insisted that the U.N., NATO, the Europeans, Arabs, anyone but Washington take the initiative on Libya.

The Arab League is begging them to reconsider this abdication.

And, yes, Obama meant it, but not if it interfered with his golf and vacations. He's voting "present."

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Intolerance of the Avant Garde


We see what happens when the ruling class is frustrated.  See Wisconsin.  And now we see how they react in the art world when the art isn't conformist Leftist.


The View from Alexandria:
Art should challenge the status quo, the staid complacencies of the bourgeoisie; it should even shock. So goes a standard Leftist line. But when art actually DOES that, they do their best to suppress it. That helps to explain why the ideas of the avant garde have been the same for more than a century, and why, today, avant garde means defending the statist status quo.

I never agreed with the Leftist line on art. By that definition, fecal matter is art; so is pornography. In fact, both of these are regularly passed off as art in the art houses of the world, and like bad money, drive good art away.

Via the New Criterion:
As a senior in the school[Pratt], Mr. DeQuattro has been working on this art in preparation for a group show for Pratt’s graduating students, which is scheduled to open on April 23. While his faculty advisor has been supporting him, his peers have not. Mr. DeQuattro says they recently wrote a letter to his professors, calling his work “offensive” and complaining about exhibiting alongside him. Last week, the chair of the fine arts department stepped in to prevent Mr. DeQuattro’s participation alongside the other students in the group show--an unprecedented move in the history of the department, says Mr. DeQuattro, despite the fact that none of his work is pornographic, libelous, or in violation of the laws of free speech. Mr. DeQuattro's advisor did not return a request for comment.
Now that the Right has found a voice in politics, the media and the arts, the intolerance of the Left is exploding, sometimes in shunning ... often in violence.

What's the reaction from the defenders of the new status quo?  Here's the high priest of the temple of modern art, the Whitney
"What movement?!" demands David Ross, director of the Whitney, when asked about the Realists in a telephone interview. "There's no such thing!" When reminded that at least 200 Realist artists demonstrated outside the Whitney less than 18 months earlier, he backtracks. "I've always had respect for the artist's plight," he says of the protest. "We even gave them an electric outlet for their equipment."

Ross expresses great skepticism of the contemporary Realists. "That sort of hackneyed academic painting takes an enormous amount of talent and work," he says. "But to go back to copying Leonardo is not art."

He continues: "I admire them just like I admire people that can sing beautifully. It's a real gift. But that alone doesn't make you a great artist." His voice rises, sounding increasingly agitated. "They're old-fashioned, totally out of touch with the issues of the day. I'm interested in art that's wrestling with the history of ideas, and they fail to deal with it! We've had two major world wars, the worst genocides in world history, and many other events that they ignore."

Ross says he has not seen any of Steven Assael's work, but he tells a reporter in her early 20s, "I used to be just like you when I was your age. I had the same questions about art that you do. Listen, you shouldn't be interested in these people. They're just a bunch of crypto-Nazi conservative bullshitters. They're feeding you a line of bullshit! We just had a great conference with Asian-American artists who were concerned with issues of representation at the Whitney. Do a story on that."

When asked to respond to the contention of many contemporary Realists that the Whitney's brand of avant-garde art lacks spirituality, Ross becomes enraged. "I'm sick of hearing these Realists say their work is `affirming'! It's not affirming, it's sappy! Art isn't about making pretty pictures to put in people's homes," he says. "They're rebelling against the age of cynicism? Well, it's not cynicism! It's smartness! It's lack of naivete!" By this point, Ross's voice is shaking with anger. "They think they're special? Well, they are special. If they get a show of their own, great. I'm eager to see what it is, and then we can have a real dialogue," Ross says. "Let them put on their own show. Then I'll accept that there's a movement."
If that's not a fierce defender of the status quo, there isn't one.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

 

Police "Protection."

James Taranto focuses on a letter from the executive Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, Jim Palmer that can be interpreted as a “protection racket” threat, as in “nice business you got there, it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.”

I get several calls a year from police unions asking for donations and I usually give something each year, not in fear of reprisal but because I appreciate the fact that police have a dangerous job. But this letter is different. It’s an up-front demand for support of unions and a threat for non-support of unions.

The undersigned groups would like your company to publicly oppose Governor Walker's efforts to virtually eliminate collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin. While we appreciate that you may need some time to consider this request, we ask for your response by March 17. In the event that you do not respond to this request by that date, we will assume that you stand with Governor Walker and against the teachers, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, and other dedicated public employees who serve our communities.

In the event that you cannot support this effort to save collective bargaining, please be advised that the undersigned will publicly and formally boycott the goods and services provided by your company. However, if you join us, we will do everything in our power to publicly celebrate your partnership in the fight to preserve the right of public employees to be heard at the bargaining table. Wisconsin's public employee unions serve to protect and promote equality and fairness in the workplace. We hope you will stand with us and publicly share that ideal.
I have a great deal of concern when people who carry guns come into my business and tell me that if I don’t support their union they will do me harm. It’s a threat with the overtone of physical violence attached.  Not good at all.

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Biomass before environmentalists made it cool.

There is an interesting article in the Charlotte Observer about Duke Power’s use of “biomass” to fuel one of its power plants. This move was prompted by a North Carolina law that requires utilities to produce 12.5% of their energy from renewable resources. You would also think that this would be applauded by environmentalists everywhere. You would be wrong because Duke is being sued by the Southern Environmental Defense Center and the Environmental Defense Fund. Why? Because “biomass” in Duke’s case consists of trees. That’s right; Duke is taking trees, chipping them up and mixing it with coal to produce power.

The environmentalists object, saying that Duke should only be using wood waste, to which Duke replies that there isn’t enough wood waste … err … “biomass” to run the plants.

Which got me to thinking that a few hundred years ago, the people in this country were using trees to produce the energy to heat their homes and power their machines, such as they were. That was before the term “biomass” had been invented. In the 19th Century, Michigan loggers cut down the forests covering the state to provide “biomass” for construction and energy throughout the country. They were ahead of their time.

Saw this in my e-mail:


It's All About the Green Thing

By Jim Knowles

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day".

That's right, they didn't have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks. But she's right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts; wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house and not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. But they didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right, they didn't have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But that old lady is right. They didn't have the green thing back in her day.

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Where are the Japanese looters?

Listening to Rush Limbaugh who raised the question “why is there no looting in Japan following the quake and tsunami?”

After the flooding in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina the airwaves were filled with stories of widespread looting and rape. The rape stories were bogus, the looting was not.

It doesn’t take a natural disaster to set off looters and rioters in the US. Changing union bargaining rules is enough.

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The Cleveland Gang Rape Story from the New Black Panthers Perspective.

A story that was a local and an internet crime story made it to the pages of the NY Times written by James McKinley, Jr.  Along the way, the story line made a curious turn.

The facts of the story are these: an 11-year-old girl in the small Texas town of Cleveland was gang-raped by about 18 boys and men. We know it happened because there are video records of the events. We know it was rape because 11-year-old children cannot legally consent to sex.

Gang rape is not something that civilized people excuse. Gang rape of children is worse.  Yet the treatment the crime received in the NY Times is curious. In the Times, the focus was not on the effect gang rape has on a young girl but the effect that criminal prosecution for this crime has on the perpetrators.

The NY Times is no stranger to stories of gang rape. A few years ago its news and editorial pages were devoted to the accusations of a Durham, NC stripper/prostitute who claimed to have been gang raped by members of the Duke lacrosse team. Those stories focused on the evil that lurks in the hearts of rich white athletes at exclusive colleges. When the accusation turned out to be bogus and the prosecutor punished for pursuing the case for political reasons, the Times treatment was straight out of Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities.”

Was that the reason the Times decided to make this a story about young men having their lives ruined by being accused of a crime? Could it be that they learned a lesson from the Duke Lacrosse case? That seems unlikely. There was no physical evidence in the Duke Lacrosse case; the Cleveland rapes were videotaped.   The crime is racially charged, dividing the community.

The tone of the NY Times story mirrors that of Quanell X, leader (according to Wikipedia) of the New Black Panthers in nearby Houston. Like the NY Times reporter, Quanell X focuses on the rapists.
“Listen to me good, you stand by your children and don’t let them convince you to walk away and take a plea deal for some trumped up charges.”
According to a TV reporter, he accused the police of being like the KKK. Like the NY Times reporter Quanell X blamed the girl’s parents. The Times reporter uses a neighbor to introduce the parents fault in this:
“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record.
In a classic case of blaming the victim, the NY Times notes:
They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.
New Black Panther Quanell X:
“She lives in another community. If she lives in another community you mean to tell me that the only men in Cleveland Texas that had sex with that girl are black men that’s locked up in that jail.”
Following a public push back to the tone of the original article, the NY Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane promised that the NY Times would print another story that was more properly balanced between blaming the rapists and blaming the 11 year old girl.


Under our system of law, you are innocent until proven guilty. It’s possible that some of the men accused of this gang rape are innocent. It’s instructive that the original story chose to present the rape from the perspective of the New Black Panthers.  The episode is racially charged.  The girl is Hispanic, the rapists are Black.  According to some reports, there is tension between the Hispanic and Black communities, not just in Cleveland.  The NY Times, always a bellwether for Liberal opinion, may just have taken sides.

Some may say that this is a teachable moment.

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