The latest from our COLUMNIST SECTION:
02/01 at 10:35 AMMike S. Adams
Left State University
01/30 at 12:41 PMDoug Giles
Hey, Chris Matthews: I Like Big Guns and I Cannot Lie
01/29 at 09:16 AMMichael Coren
Defender to defendant
01/29 at 08:46 AMSalim Mansur
U.S. can’t afford to ignore world in crisis
01/23 at 07:37 AMDoug Giles
Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God
01/22 at 08:32 AMMike S. Adams
Kermit the Dog
01/22 at 08:24 AMMichael Coren
Grief or glamour?
01/22 at 08:11 AMSalim Mansur
Tunisia just one Arab regime going stale
01/21 at 12:00 PMTheo Caldwell
The TSA Tea Party
01/15 at 07:48 AMMichael Coren
Forget blame game
01/15 at 07:38 AMSalim Mansur
Beware of China’s meteoric rise
01/11 at 09:12 AMMike S. Adams
Welcome to Personal Responsibility 101
01/10 at 08:12 AMDoug Giles
Snookie’s Smut or Cowboy Values?
01/08 at 09:44 AMMichael Coren
Tube for lefty boobs
01/08 at 09:42 AMSalim Mansur
Bloody start to New Year
PTBC Columnist Team
Columnists -- with bite! We feature conservative-friendly writers from Canada and the U.S. who help clarify the difference between liberals and conservatives. All have personally agreed to be a part of our team here at PTBC.
Mike S. Adams
William Irvine is a professor of philosophy at Wright State University. He is one of the most courageous and honest professors in the country. Recently, he wrote a column concerning Wright State’s decision to invite the Reverend Jeremiah Wright to speak on his campus. Although he disagrees with many of Reverend Wright’s views, he publicly welcomed him to the campus because he believes that a university should be a marketplace of ideas. That view alone makes Irvine exceptional among today’s professoriate.
Irvine calls out his university for being “curiously one-sided in the speakers it brings to campus.” He notes that liberal speakers are routinely invited and that ultra-liberal speakers including Wright and Angela Davis are occasionally invited. No one seems to think it strange that avowed communists and those with significant criminal backgrounds are paid to speak on campus at considerable expense to the taxpayer. But politically conservative speakers are scarce and in the case of John McCain and Sarah Palin pay for the privilege of using campus facilities.
William Irvine is the rare professor willing to confront his colleagues’ hypocrisy and to publicly quote their silly defenses of rigid ideological conformity. When he confronted another professor with the idea that the university should invite conservative speakers his colleague responded by asking “You mean someone like Glenn Beck?” This kind of reaction shows how off-center our universities have become. What educated person could consider Glen Beck to be more extreme than Angela Davis?
Another professor reacted to Irvine’s reasonable suggestion by saying that it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring any Holocaust deniers to campus. The statement is an odd one indeed. It suggests that most conservatives refuse to accept the Holocaust as fact. I think liberal supporters of abortion are today’s true Holocaust deniers.
Professor Irvine has discovered something I have also discovered about the liberal professoriate; namely, that they see no reason for debate. In their eyes, the debate is over on all the major issues of the day. Of course, in their eyes they won all the major debates. Now, the reward for winning these debates is that we can proceed into the implementation phase. Of course, professors rarely use the word “implementation.” They just mindlessly repeat the word “diversity” like catatonics in padded cells.
Professor Irvine has also discovered that suggestions of bringing people like Thomas Sowell to campus are met with one pretty serious problem: Most liberal professors have never heard of Thomas Sowell.
Many years ago I suggested that Sowell should be required reading for college students. The reaction was amazing. According to one of my left-leaning colleagues - one who actually knows who Thomas Sowell is - the students don’t need to read Sowell because they were raised in conservative homes where those ideas were regularly espoused.
Notice the intellectual sleight of hand my “liberal” colleague employed. His argument is against intellectual diversity. The $64,000 question: Why oppose intellectual diversity? The answer: Since parents do it for eighteen years it is only fair that professors be allowed to do it for four years.
Professor Irvine has accurately identified a big problem in saying that it is now possible for students to get a college “education” without ever encountering a conservative professor. But the problem is even bigger than that. Most professors now believe it is desirable for students to get a college “education” without ever encountering a conservative professor. Their idea of “liberal education” is nothing more than a poorly disguised war on conservatism. This anti-conservative mindset is so entrenched that one of my “liberal” colleagues wants to remove the entire Cameron School of Business from UNC-Wilmington (where I teach). He explicitly stated that a school of business has “no business at a liberal university.” Between his puerile and antiquated lectures on Marxism he denies the existence of any liberal bias. This is the personification of self-indulgence and anti-intellectualism.
Professor William Irvine says that we do not have a fair hearing of conservative views on campus but instead “liberal professors galore, who will be happy to tell you what they imagine the conservative viewpoint on various issues must be and why these viewpoints are wrongheaded.” This statement is bull’s-eye accurate. And his follow-up statement is brilliant: “This is a pale substitute for a genuine political debate, but it is, on many campuses, what students have to settle for.”
Good for him. This debate should remain focused on the shortchanged students. College is not becoming less expensive. But it is becoming less relevant.
The public challenge issued by Professor Irvine is one that every professor, conservative or liberal, should issue to his university. That challenge comes in two parts: 1) Hire at least a few conservative professors. (I’m open to this idea. What better way to remedy the historical oppression of conservatives!). 2) If you cannot stomach hiring conservative professors then at least hire some conservative speakers.
Of course, today’s “liberal” professor will agree to neither of those suggestions. He uses affirmative action to promote his self-esteem not to promote “a diversity of perspectives.” And he uses the word “diversity” only to hide his deep-seated intellectual insecurity.
Our universities are no longer committed to revealing the truth. They are committed to suppressing the truth. And among those truths is that tolerance is not the academy’s most enduring intellectual achievement. It is its most transparent moral weakness.(Read more)
Chris Matthews told his two brothers, Larry Fine and Curly Howard—I mean Larry O’Donnell and Ed Schultz—on air last Tuesday night that BHO is queuing up with a special ‘Presidential Address’ in which he’s going to talk to us bitter, clingy patriots about “gun control.”
When I heard Chris say that, I immediately opened up another tab on my Mac and logged onto MidwayUSA.com and bought an additional case of ammo for every caliber and gauge that I own. Y’know, just in case there’s any validity to Matthews’ inside dope on the Hope & Change menu. Oh, in addition to more ammo, I also bought another gun … another elephant gun, to be exact.
Yep, Chris quipped last week that Barack has a special speech drafted in the wake of the Tucson mass murders that targets our firearms. Never let a good crisis go to waste, right Rahm? Can you say “target” anymore? It’s so hard keeping up with what we can and cannot say, do and not do, eat and not eat. These control freaks are acting like the Taliban.
Anyway, according to Chris, Obama didn’t want to table that topic during the State of the Union because that subject would have jolted everyone from the Stage 4 coma his speech plunged them into and would’ve alerted them to the not-so-subtle subtext in BHO’s discourse regarding the manifold ways he’s destroyed our economy and how he intends to screw us in the future. It’s best to let sleeping dawgs lie, right? Right.
Back to the validity of Matthews’ claims regarding a pending presidential diatribe concerning our right to lock-n-load: Did Matthews get the inside poop regarding a bad anti-gun move by Barack? I doubt it. Nobody tells MSNBC squat; they learn about news after Fox or Breitbart break it.
Indeed, why would Obama’s admin tell Chris diddly about what they’re going to do? What’s that, you say? It’s because of Matthews’ nonexistent audience and thus the certainty that his secret is safe with him and MSNBC? Okay, I’ll grant you that one. Given that one fact, MSNBC is not known for breaking any news. Propaganda, yes. Misinformation? Well of course. Remember ACORN?
Hey, speaking of ACORN, it appears as if these “friends of the poor” are back in business to help throw 2012 for BHO like they did in ‘08. Of course they’re flying under a different name like Project Vote or Operation Horse Crap or something, but they’re still around and ready to help steal an election.
And while we’re on the subject of stealing elections, Amy Busefink, that ACORN chick in Nevada who was found guilty for her part in 400,000 bogus ballots, just got a slap on the wrist for trying to rape our democratic process. Maybe Project Vote or Obama’s former ACORN boy, Patrick Gaspard, who is slated to chair the DNC for 2012, could help Miss Amy to work off some of her community service during the next election? How quaint. What a coincidence. But I digress.
Personally, I believe that after the debt BHO’s strangled us with, the future he has f-f-f-fouled up for our kids, and the overreach his government has had into the private sector that it would be plain silly and stupid for BHO to go there with our guns if … if … he wants to be re-elected, which I believe that he does. Thus I believe Matthews is full of swill.
That said, I would still like to remind my tens of thousands of readers of the bad, bad news that follows when governments enact a citizen gun grab. Check it out …
1. In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
2. In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
3. Germany established gun control in 1938, and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
4. China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
5. Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
6. Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
7. Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
8. Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
As the old adage goes: “With guns, we are citizens. Without them, we are subjects.”(Read more)
Fix laws that see decent folk face charges for protecting themselves
My mum — God rest her soul— was a product of London’s East End.
Born and raised in Stepney, she went to the same school as the infamous Kray Twin gangsters, and while full of love, justice, compassion and decency, she always stood up for herself and her family.
When I was five years old, a large lady who served the gruesome lunches at school took a dislike to me and made my life particularly unpleasant. Mum went to the school. She told the good woman what was right and what was wrong and, oddly enough, life was suddenly not so bad for me.
It was, I suppose, a form of muscular morality. A bully was told to change her ways.
Today, no doubt, there would be a lawsuit, a union action and a complaint to a human rights commission.
The legendary “mum and the dinner lady” story was all over the school within a day, and it came back to mind this week as the government and media explored a citizen’s right to self defence. Some of the cases of confusion are now well known. The Chinese storekeeper holding a career thief captive until the police arrived, but then being charged himself; a young man charged with manslaughter for punching a homeless drug addict trying to break into his car while he was sitting in it with his girlfriend; a homeowner prosecuted for using a legally owned gun to take on arsonists attacking his house.
There are numerous other examples that are seldom made public. Ordinary people who use their fists or a weapon at hand to defend their safety and property, then find government lawyers and cops are as concerned with arresting them as they are the culprits. It’s more than just a question of balance. The police were once perceived as the guardians of the people, but are now increasingly seen as robotic agents of the state.
This is not about vigilante justice. Only a handful of fanatics want every citizen to carry a concealed weapon and have the right to shoot anyone who threatens them. That’s a caricature, a straw man created by the left to marginalize those of us who simply believe we have the right to self-protection. Nor is it about frontier values, settler ethics or what some see as American-style machismo.
In fact, it’s quintessentially Canadian. Respect. I respect your right to safety, as long as you respect mine. If you break into my home, I have the right — the duty — to protect what I have worked for and to look after members of my family. You are the one who has broken the code of civilization and as such, you may suffer the ultimate penalty. There should not be degrees of response, as if a homeowner can measure just how violent he should be to an intruder.
There is a social contract between citizen and state, but it’s being broken by zealous crown prosecutors, politically correct cops and charter-obsessed politicians. We’re moderate people. Don’t turn us into extremists.
If my dear mum was still around, she’d march up to the court and the Parliament and you’d soon see common sense.(Read more)
Americans are understandably concerned about their economy with an astronomical debt burden now equalling the country’s gross domestic product of $14 trillion, unemployment numbers still hovering close to one in 10 people out of work and the domestic market still in slump.
In the November 2010 election, Americans sent a message to Washington by electing Republicans to deal with economy as the priority. For U.S. President Barack Obama, Tuesday’s State of the Union address was his opportunity to let Americans know he understood their imperative.
Americans will judge and give their verdict in 2012 on how well Obama understood their November message.
But Obama sent his own message to Americans and the world that his administration, to be focused on domestic priorities, has little interest or inclination to respond to the foreign policy challenges growing more ominous even as he spoke.
With America tilting under debt, Obama’s rhetorical flourish — “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment” — was Quixotic, or the unrepentant instinct of a spendthrift with empty pockets and no savings.
It might be worse — America turning inwards and its leadership clueless on how to contend with the gathering storm in the navel of the world, the Middle East, and the dire consequences in its aftermath.
In watching Obama on Tuesday evening, my thoughts took me back to the world adrift exactly 100 years ago in 1911. That was the year, as some historians suggest, that marked the beginning of the short 20th century and an end to the long 19th century.
Few today, without looking into history books, can recall who were the leaders of the great democratic powers in 1911, and what urgent issues preoccupied them.
In the U.S., president William Howard Taft occupied the White House. The British prime minister was Liberal leader Herbert Henry Asquith, and the French prime minister of the Third Republic was Aristide Briand, replaced by Ernest Monis and, in turn, replaced by Joseph Caillaux.
After the muscular presidency of Theodore Roosevelt in world affairs — building the Panama Canal, negotiating Russo-Japanese peace for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — the Taft years were a retreat without the label of isolationism from world affairs.
In Britain, the big issue for Asquith was arranging the Delhi Durbar and moving the capital of British India from Calcutta to New Delhi. The occasion would be marked by the first royal visit of the British monarch, King George V, as Emperor of India to the subcontinent.
France, as only the French can, was torn between the politics of glory pursued by the right and radicalism of the left, with after effects of the Dreyfus scandal leaving toxic her body politic.
In the meantime, the locomotive of war gathered steam.
The Balkan crisis loomed, Italy ventured into Africa (Libya) with colonial ambitions, the Russian monarchy nursed its wounded pride as popular discontent grew stronger, and Germany prepared to steam past Britain’s naval superiority.
And none foresaw how an assassin’s bullet of a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo could hurtle the locomotive of war — sending Europe into bloodletting, depression and renewed slaughter ending over a generation later when Russian tanks rolled into Hitler’s Berlin.(Read more)
The Christians of the first century were rebels with a cause. They weren’t the hair-spray-addicted, religious sponges of pop culture and oppressive governments looking to be ogled by an Oprah-addled crowd. Oh, no, senorita. The primitive church was out to change the world.
After Jerusalem fell in AD 70, the church, birthed by the Holy Spirit during Rome’s heyday, exploded with growth in Asia Minor — which happened to be Ground Zero for Caesar worship.
The punch-drunk citizens of Roman rule thought the various Caesars, their laws, and their government were God. They built temples to these men and minted coins with their mugs stamped on them. The poor dupes of Rome believed their leaders’ poop didn’t stink and they could do no wrong. They even gave their human leaders godlike reverence, proclaiming Caesar as Savior and Healer, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Yep, to the serfs of Caesarland, their heads of state were just dreamy, and as they were divine everyone was expected to toe their line. Because of this blind faith in Caesar, the Roman government found it a piece of cake to tax the plebes to death, snatch their kids or their houses, and create crises that ginned up even more robust control of Rome’s citizens. I’m talkin’ Caesar had them on a short leash because of their faith in the state.
The early church, however, made it clear amidst this crapola that their allegiance was to Christ and not the edicts of Caesar — especially when Caesar’s dictates conflicted with the Word of God. Yep, it was the church’s disdain for Caesar’s unrighteous decrees (the decrees that required their obedience at the expense of their convictions) that got them killed.
Get it right, folks: It wasn’t the church’s belief that Jesus is God, or their love of covered dish dinners, or their Christian rock music that got them the ax; it was their holy defiance to the demonic edicts that Caesar attempted to slap them with. Rome didn’t give a rat’s backside whom or what they believed in just as long as that belief didn’t rock the boat of the Roman state. And that’s exactly what first-century Christianity did: It adhered to God’s laws versus Rome’s. The Church believed that Christ was Lord and therefore, respectfully of course, Caesar could kiss their fish sticker. Indeed, following the teachings of Jesus, the initial Ichthus crowd was cantankerous when it came to an oppressive state.
I’m sure the church tried to be nice about their obstinacy toward Rome’s odious laws, but when push came to legislative shove and it became clear that punk Caesar was requiring them to walk his way versus God’s, the first-century church defied the state instead of denying their God.(Read more)
Mike S. Adams
For decades, liberals have been playing upon people’s emotions by exploiting human tragedy for political gain. In recent months, that tendency has become more pronounced. Their attempt to use the suicides of eight confused young men to advance the homosexual agenda was disgraceful. Then there was the more recent attempt to use the Tucson shooting to advance a gun control agenda that will ultimately increase homicide and other crimes of violence. I think the time has come for conservatives to start making better use of tragedy for political gain.
There can be no better starting place for the exploitation of tragedy than the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Just Wednesday, he was charged with murder. He stands accused of delivering seven babies and then using scissors to kill each one of them. He was also charged with murder in the death of a woman who suffered an overdose of painkillers while awaiting an abortion.
The grand jury report in this case contains details that would make Margaret Sanger proud. The evidence indicates that numerous complaints about the conditions at Gosnell’s clinic were ignored. His clinic catered to West Philadelphia’s poor minorities – the kind of people Sanger referred to as human weeds that should be removed from the population.
Darwin proclaimed “survival of the fittest.” Sanger promoted survival of the whitest and survival of the richest. She would have been proud to learn that white women from the suburbs were ushered into a separate, slightly cleaner area of his clinic. Prosecutors allege that this was because Gosnell believed they were more likely to file complaints.
Kermit Gosnell was not the only one arrested and charged with numerous counts of murder. His wife was a cosmetologist who was supposed to cut hair. The allegation is that she cut babies instead.
Every crime has a motive and prosecutors have a motive in this case. It was money. Gosnell made millions of dollars performing thousands of dangerous abortions, many of them illegal late-term procedures. He is alleged to have cut costs by refusing to hire nurses and trained medical staff.
The abortions are alleged to have been “unsafe.” Of course abortions are never safe. There is one killed and one wounded in every case of abortion. Now the court must decide whether the abortions were legal. Since it appears that at least two women died from the procedures, while others suffered perforated bowels, cervixes and uteruses, the case seems ripe for a plea bargain. But prosecutors should resist the temptation. They should seek the maximum penalty in a televised trial.
Prosecutors have noted that Gosnell induced labor, then forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, and eighth months of pregnancy. He then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord. According to prosecutors, Gosnell referred to it as “snipping.” One problem for prosecutors is that Gosnell seems to have destroyed many of his medical files. That is not surprising. Abortion doctors do not keep their Hippocratic oaths. Why should they be expected to keep their records?
There appears to be a certain Hannibal Lecter quality to this case. Authorities have found bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the offices of Kermit Gosnell. There were jars found containing severed feet that were kept for no apparent purpose. They were the kinds of trophies which, had they not been human, would have aroused the ire of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). But these were not people’s pets. They were people’s mistakes. They deserved no ethical treatment in the eyes of some.
Prosecutors in the Gosnell case have also alleged that he falsified ultrasound examinations and taught his staff to hold the probe in such a way that the fetus would look smaller. He is alleged to have joked with his staff saying one (fetus) was so large he could “walk me to the bus stop.”
How did Kermit Gosnell pass the annual inspections of his clinic, which opened in 1979? It was actually pretty easy since there have only been five inspections since 1979 and none since 1993.
Some defenders of abortion will point out that – although he earned his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University – Gosnell started, but did not finish, a residency in obstetrics-gynecology. Some have already said that he does not know how to perform an abortion without risking killing someone. That trite observation ignores the obvious: No one has ever performed an abortion without actually killing someone.
In the wake of the Tucson shooting some have argued that we should limit semi-automatic handgun magazine capacity to ten. I think we should consider limiting abortion clinic waiting room capacity to ten. Or maybe we should have a seven-day cooling down period for those who have a passion for performing abortions.
However we decide to exploit this tragedy, the conservative slogan is fairly obvious: “Guns don’t kill people. Abortion doctors kill people.” We need to start printing tee shirts now.(Read more)
The funeral of police Sgt. Ryan Russell was held in Toronto this week, attended by 12,500 police officers and other first responders, and thousands of ordinary members of the public.
People who had never met the 35-year-old officer cried in front of journalists and explained why they made journeys of sometimes more than two hours just to see the poor man’s casket.
They told stories, often strangely tenuous, of how they felt connected to the tragedy because of some relative of a relative who was once a cop, or something equally contrived. The media covered the day in enormous, sometimes surreal detail, partly because radio stations and newspapers that don’t are routinely accused of police-bashing.
Just the day before the funeral of Sgt. Russell, a 66-year-old woman died from hypothermia on the streets of this same, allegedly caring city. She was suffering from dementia and had walked out of her home in the middle of the night in freezing conditions.
Once her body experienced the agonizing weather, the confused, broken lady began to scream for help and claw at a nearby car door when she fell over. Some people admitted to hearing her, perhaps even seeing her, but they did not bother to help.
So forgive my skepticism when I argue that Toronto, just like any other city or town in this country, is not compassionate at all, but likes nothing more than soaking itself in the comforting waters of official mourning. Morbid and often misplaced grief has become the ersatz religion of modern times. Not just in Canada, but throughout North America and Europe. The western world has caught neurosis.
We witnessed this when the self-indulgent Princess Diana died, see it when a child is abducted and murdered. The teddy bears, enormous cards and kids dragged by their parents to crime scenes are as plentiful as confetti at a wedding, and just as trivial. Hardly any such display though when, for example, four working men died on Christmas Eve in 2009 falling from a scaffold. Or when homeless people are beaten to death for fun.
I intend no disrespect to a fallen police officer, and I appreciate that he symbolizes not just the police, but the line between our safety and criminal chaos. I also understand why so many other cops would want to attend. But for the life of me, I cannot and will not believe that most of the spectators were motivated by genuine concern.
They wanted to be part of a happening, with a fair chance they would appear somewhere on a 24-hour TV news station and they could tell their friends and neighbours how caring and involved they are. This is vicarious thrill-seeking, feeling soft and cosy inside because it’s not happening to you, but you can pretend to feel the pain.
Good Lord, whatever happened to the dignity of private grief, surrounded by family, authentic friends, religious community and those who love you rather than love the moment?
Oh, by the way, January is Alzheimer Awareness Month. But being “aware” won’t help that poor lady who froze to death, and probably won’t get you a moment of fame on television.(Read more)
The hasty departure of Tunisian strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali for a life in exile reveals how brittle and lacking in public support are most of the Arab regimes.
The swift collapse of Ben Ali’s 23-year-old dictatorship unmasked the lie that autocrats in the Arab world — or autocrats anywhere, including Communist China — supported by their military and security network are invulnerable to popular opposition.
As I indicated in my column last week on China, it is increasingly evident in our contemporary era that tyranny — irrespective of the left or right — has a relatively short shelf life.
The seemingly invincible Soviet Union imploded some 70 years after its establishment. It could be said this number might well be the benchmark for the duration of any despotic regime, and Arab despots are rapidly approaching this number with Ben Ali’s fate exposing their shaky hold on power.
Tunisia’s popular uprising has been followed by news of similar unrest in Algeria, heightened concerns about anarchy from Libya’s strongman Moammar Gadhafi, protests and sectarian violence in Egypt, discontent in Jordan and tension with fear of sectarian violence erupting in Lebanon.
Since U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt secretly met with King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia in February 1945, western democracies have viewed the Middle East through the lens of “Arab exception.” The rationale for “Arab exception” meant tolerating despots in the greater interest of regional security during the Cold War decades and oil. Subsequently, the reasoning held these despots were preferable to the Islamist alternative.
It was left to president George W. Bush to question the U.S. policy of preferring stability over freedom in the Arab-Muslim world after 9/11, and this might well be his enduring legacy.
But freedom from tyranny in Iraq and Afghanistan was followed instead with the horrendous assault upon it by the dregs of the Arab-Muslim world under the banner of Islam. And the savage violence unleashed by Islamists came as relief to despots fearful on their own of any populist movement in favour of democracy, respect for human rights and freedom.
The path from tyranny to democracy is not a straight and unimpeded line of progress. This lesson has been illustrated yet again in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it will be premature to assume the flight of Ben Ali heralds democracy in Tunisia.
The deep-rooted problem of tyranny is it breeds an authoritarian culture. This culture has been nurtured in the Arab-Muslim world over many centuries by rulers in the palace and preachers in the mosque.
The culture of liberty, of respect for the individual based on freedom and equality, is alien or weak across the Islamic world. Hence the irony — while Arabs and Muslims yearn for freedom, there are many among them fearful of how it might unravel their culture.
It is with this fear of when tyranny dissolves and freedom appears anarchical, men in military uniform and religious robes together, or separately, strive to maintain the untenable authoritarian status quo.
But since freedom in our time, when walls separating cultures have tumbled, cannot be long denied, Ben Ali’s ignominious flight likely marks the beginning of the end of “Arab exception.”(Read more)
Yet again, those in power have misread and underestimated the will of the American people. Last November’s election results shattered the grinning assurances of politicians who supposed voters were unserious in their objections to government over-reach in matters of economics, regulation and health. Now, in the face of mounting protest against the excesses of TSA officers at America’s airports, those responsible for the policy of continued sexual violation of travelers maintain that they are winning the argument. They are wrong, and they will lose.
One hesitates to equate the grassroots and growing opposition to TSA’s practices of perversion with the Tea Party movement that propelled GOP gains in the 2010 elections, since the latter largely represents a right-of-centre worldview, while the airport uproar encompasses people of all political and ideological persuasions.
This is fitting, as the current TSA situation is a bi-partisan disgrace – including the lucrative compensation received by Bush-era Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff for selling Rapiscan backscatter x-ray machines to his former department for use at airports, as well as the eagerness of Chertoff’s Democratic successor, Janet Napolitano, to implement and expand this disgusting program.
Indeed, at a recent Washington, DC, conference hosted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (epic.org), which is suing to halt the use of full-body x-ray scans by the TSA, speakers represented every conceivable background and affiliation – Congressmen and staffers from both parties, lawyers, municipal officials, pilots, students, security experts, libertarians, liberals – even Ralph Nader, for good measure. Assessing the TSA’s enhanced screening techniques from all sides – efficacy, cost, safety, constitutionality and on – this group of people who had probably never found themselves in one room and on the same side (TSA officials declined invitations to attend) demolished any and all rationale for a technology that has been abandoned by other countries for its obscenity and ineffectiveness.
But despite the diversity of its participants, the populist nature of this protest feels familiar. Government officials chug along as though all will be well once folks settle down, even as opposition websites, Facebook groups and on-line networks boast memberships in the tens of thousands, and rising. Americans of all types are sharing their stories of mistreatment at the hands (and eyes) of TSA officers, and pooling ideas to bring this shameful episode to an end.
In response, government spokespeople continue to proffer the same assurances about privacy and necessity and the “next generation” of security tools, assuming Americans simply need time to adjust to the system. The most egregious such comment comes from Napolitano herself, in reference to the “enhanced pat-down” techniques that permit TSA officers to put their hands in travelers’ most intimate areas: “It’s something new. Most Americans are not used to a real law enforcement pat-down like that.”
This is true, since most Americans do not find themselves arrested or in jail. How could we claim to have a free country if innocent citizens were to become “used to a real law enforcement pat-down”? Unlike many, I do not consider Napolitano to be a scheming abettor of some sinister New World Order. Rather – and I sincerely do not mean to be glib – I assess her to be so cosmically stupid and barren of understanding as to the nature of this nation or her job that she simply does not recognize the absurdity of such a remark.
TSA Administrator John Pistole, on the other hand, appears to be a very different sort. In a recorded message, played in loops at American airports, authoritarian menace drips from his voice as he speaks of, “your options as a passenger” under his regime. He does not say as much, but your “options” are to be photographed nude, groped, or both, at the whim of a TSA worker, under threat of arrest and prosecution if you refuse to comply.
As columnist Chris Selley observed in a different context, there are some police officers who are incapable of dealing with a citizen who knows his rights. A 26-year FBI veteran before being tapped by President Obama for his TSA post, Pistole seems like such an officer.
Pistole’s recording concludes by thanking the flying public for its cooperation in the security effort as, “We all work together.” We are not working together, John. You and I are not on the same side. You want to violate and take naked pictures of my countrymen and loved ones; I want to prevent that. Neither your mission nor mine has the first thing to do with terrorism, but at least I admit it.
It bears mentioning that, even if done precisely as advertised, TSA’s system is still an abomination. A government agent is still seeing your naked image and/or physically violating you, without cause, explanation, escape or recourse. The dynamic between uniformed officials and citizens is appalling. I have routinely witnessed travelers at Washington, DC’s Reagan-National Airport crammed three or four at a time into a tiny glass cage, locked at one end and guarded by a uniformed officer at the other, and held there until TSA personnel are good and ready to release and grope them one by one.
Folks are finding the reality at airports is nothing like the anodyne assurances they have received from government officials and sympathetic media outlets. As the EPIC legal team noted in its January 6 brief, “Public opposition has correlated with the actual experience of those who undergo the TSA’s new screening procedure.”
A recent Zogby poll found that 61% of Americans oppose the TSA’s new methods, and this number has nowhere to go but up. As more and more Americans discover the depravity of TSA’s system for themselves, watching their children be photographed naked or their spouses touched in obscene ways by government agents, the only remaining supporters of this regime will be those who are empowered by and exempt from it, such as Napolitano and Obama, along with those pitiful stragglers whose public personae consist of being loudly wrong about almost everything (Gloria Allred, call your office).
As security expert Bruce Schneier stated at the EPIC conference, “Terrorism cannot end our way of life – only our response to it can.” In this way, the TSA has succeeded where al-Qaeda failed. Since 9/11, Americans have defied fear and embraced freedom, choosing to fly despite the remote danger of airline terrorism. Now they are demurring, as they are faced with the very real possibility that they or those they love will be violated by agents of their own government. This cannot be our way. As Schneier observes, “If we are indomitable, the terrorists lose, even if their attack succeeds.”
With that sentiment in mind, I have hope. This will end, because it has to end. In recent years, we have seen the American people, including many who had not previously raised their voices in the public square, come together to make a difference. Now, on this issue, we are doing so again. I am confident we will prevail.(Read more)
The language of violence and anger in U.S. politics simply has to stop.
After a leading politician had her office door smashed in, she responded to the anonymous vandal by boasting, “I have a Glock 9-mm and I’m a pretty good shot.” Which was irresponsible and dangerous hate talk and likely to lead to tragedy.
The politician was Gabrielle Giffords, and what she said was really entirely reasonable. She was merely defending herself and her employees, and telling her militant critics she would not be pushed around.
Sadly, it did not prevent a crazy from shooting her and killing others. If only the good lady had had her weapon with her at the time.
If anything, however, her language was far harsher than anything Sarah Palin has said, even when the Alaskan was being threatened with gang rape and death, and her family abused and insulted. It was also stronger language than Palin’s rhetorical “Don’t retreat, reload” comment and her website’s placing of targets over congressional districts that were, yes, targeted for electoral campaigns.
In fact, Palin should never have taken this map down from her website. But if she hadn’t done so, the hysterical leftists now calling for her blood would have had even more ammunition — whoops, sorry — to shoot — whoops, even more sorry — at the evil Palin. The same sort of leftists who regularly burned George W. Bush in effigy, made movies proposing the president’s assassination, or beat up opponents of Barack Obama at rallies.
But the gruesome antics of a deranged loner have somehow been blamed not on the man himself, the store that sold him his guns, or the politicians who allowed such stores to sell weapons (including Giffords, who is extremely opposed to gun control), but on Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and conservative talk radio.
Giffords’ father managed to even blame the Tea Party for his daughter’s fate, when we know her assailant formed a hatred for the congresswoman before the Tea Party even existed. Such excesses can be forgiven of a grieving parent, but not the manipulation of the horror that began within moments of it being announced.
Even serious newspapers were indicating the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was motivated by opposition to abortion, and his actions were the direct result of right-wing propaganda. Yet there is no indication that he was political but much evidence to suggest he was a lunatic. Mind you, he listed Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books. Therefore he was a typical socialist. He also habitually smoked cannabis. Therefore he was a typical marijuana user.
So reality cries out to be heard. As it did when Maj. Nidal Hasan shot dead 13 soldiers at Foot Hood in Texas. He was a devout Muslim who listened to jihadist preachers, but we were told his religion has nothing to do with his actions. Now I understand. An insane jerk thrown out of college for being nuts was motivated by Sarah Palin to kill; an Islamic radical slaughtered people because of post-traumatic stress, even though he’d never been to a war zone.
They shoot truth don’t they. Whoops, there I go again.(Read more)
For the past several years, the buzz among those who take more than passing interest in world affairs has been about the meteoric rise of Communist-controlled China as the new global power.
There are those around the world who view China’s emergence as a certainty, long anticipated, and deserving celebration. For them, this historic development is also indicative in some ways of the diminishing importance of the West, and in particular the decline of the U.S. from its pre-eminent superpower status.
Among the many voices who have thrown caution to the wind in embracing China’s rise as inevitable and good is Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist and author.
In a column published in September 2009, Friedman gushed without embarrassment that one-party autocracy, as in China, “led by a reasonably enlightened group of people” could be positive. He decried the wastefulness of American politics and democracy, and urged Washington could do better by learning from autocrats in Beijing how to make and implement profitable decisions.
Sometime in the middle of last year, China’s economy overtook that of Japan to rank as the world’s second largest. With economic power, according to conventional wisdom, comes military power and the recognition of a country’s status as a great power.
But apart from China boosters and those who entertain the fantasy of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend,” the autocrats of Beijing have few friends within and outside the country.
Communist-controlled China might well be a giant striding forward, but its feet are made of clay. The autocrats are fearful of their own people wanting freedom, and this fear writ large is indicative that contemporary China’s appeal as a cultural and political model is woefully limited.
Development without respect for human rights ultimately stunts growth for people yearning for individual liberty. The story of Liu Xiaobo, incarcerated for the past 20 years by Beijing’s autocrats, is revealing of how great is Communist China’s internal vulnerability, and why the world needs to be cautious about its future.
Liu Xiaobo was named the recipient last year of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Since he could not be present at the award ceremony, Liv Ullmann, the Norwegian actress and film director, read from one of his writings titled, “I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement.”
“Freedom of expression,” Liu Xiaobo wrote, “is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth. To strangle freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, stifle humanity, and suppress truth.”
These words of Liu Xiaobo deserve wide circulation and read not merely as a rebuke of Beijing’s autocrats, but also as an admonition and warning to the “politically correct” crowd in the West, ever ready to trim individual liberty and censor free speech.
Historians for the longest while have been captivated with the idea of the rise and decline of great powers. But there is another equally compelling theme demanding notice in modern times — that tyranny has a short shelf life of just a few generations.
And societies, such as China or Iran, ruled by autocrats fearful of freedom are “paper tigers” to be held in pity.(Read more)
Mike S. Adams
Back in 2002, I decided to join the fight against campus speech codes because I considered them to be the principal threat against liberty in the 21st Century. I was also concerned that Abraham Lincoln was right when he said that looking at our schools today is a good way to see what the nation will look like in twenty years. I knew that speech codes had to be defeated in order to avoid a situation in which citizens were easily deprived of their rights because they were never aware of them in the first place.
At the time I joined this fight, it seemed like every public university had an unconstitutional speech code. Today, that number is more like 67%. One of the main reasons for the improvement is the efforts of a group called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE. And now, FIRE has crafted an ingenious plan that promises to build on its momentum and make unconstitutional speech codes the exception, rather than the rule, at America’s public universities.
FIRE has put hundreds of university presidents and university attorneys on notice that their wallets could be hit if they violate the free speech rights of students on their campuses. What they are trying to do is to attack the use of qualified immunity, which is used to exempt administrators from personal liability for monetary damages.
By sending nearly 300 certified letters to public university administrators across the nation, they are directly challenging the most dangerous problem in higher education today; namely, the continued shielding of those who knowingly violate the First Amendment in defiance of well-established law.
It is bad enough that public university administrators have been shredding the First Amendment for decades in order to ensure that their own political, social, and religious views will be advanced without challenge. It is far worse that the taxpayers have been footing the bill when they have been caught doing so. But that is all about to change.
Recently, some judges have been deciding that college administrators are not shielded from personal liability in cases involving gross violations of the First Amendment. The case of Valdosta State University student Thomas Hayden Barnes is illustrative. Barnes was expelled in 2007 after he peacefully protested plans by then-President Ronald Zaccari to use $30 million in student activity fees to build two parking garages. The court decided the infringement was so gross that a reasonable administrator could not have been unaware of the illegality of the expulsion.
The recent spate of letters sent by FIRE will ensure that other similar rulings follow. The legal doctrine of qualified immunity only protects government officials from personal liability for monetary damages for violating constitutional rights if their actions do not violate “clearly established law” of which a reasonable person in their position would have known.
For years, public universities have argued that their speech codes did not violate clearly established law regarding students’ First Amendment rights. But for the past generation, we have seen one legal decision after another striking down these codes. Having seen registered letters informing them of the decisions, administrators will no longer be able to argue that “a reasonable person in their position” would not have known the law.
FIRE is now able to add another recent precedent to the long list of cases that will help undercut the doctrine of qualified immunity. In McCauley v. University of the Virgin Islands, the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010 struck down policies banning “offensive” or “unauthorized” signs as violations.
FIRE is also citing these important decisions in its letters:
•DeJohn v. Temple University, where the Third Circuit invalidated a university sexual harassment policy for being overly broad and vague in violation of the First Amendment;
•Dambrot v. Central Michigan University, where the Sixth Circuit declared a university discriminatory harassment policy to be obviously unconstitutional;
•College Republicans at San Francisco State University v. Reed, where a federal court enjoined enforcement of a university civility policy that placed the supposed right to be unoffended above the First Amendment.
Adam Kissel of FIRE summarizes the position of FIRE nicely when he states that the organization has found an appropriate balance between the carrot and stick approaches to dealing with university administrators. First, they offer online suggestions for public universities that have at least one policy that clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. The suggestions show them what they need to do to comply with the law.
But if they will not listen, there is strong language in these registered letters meant to awaken their conscience to their duty to obey the law. For example, FIRE says: “You must be aware that maintaining university policies that prohibit constitutionally protected expression is an unlawful deprivation of constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 for which university administrators may be sued in their individual capacities for punitive damages.”
The letter continues: “Given the sparkling clarity of the case law with regard to the unconstitutionality of speech codes at public universities, please be advised that claims of immunity from personal liability put forth by individual university administrators will likely be unsuccessful.”
The approach of FIRE will work in the same way that capitalism works better than socialism; namely, through reliance on private ownership and individual interest. In other words, it is a strategy that attaches real consequences to individuals with power, rather than to an esoteric and powerless collective.
Campus speech codes are no longer public property inherited by unknowing public servants. The speech codes now belong to those who oversee their maintenance. And they ignore them at their own peril.(Read more)
I believe it’s written in the book of Revelation that when an over-tanned, drunken dwarf named Snookie rises from the north shore with tetherball-sized silicone ta-tas, gets on TV and parades her pertinacious perversions to American tweens, and said tweens actually take notes during this porn show in order to imitate this wanton wench the following weekend, then my brethren, the end has officially come and the moon will be turned into blood.
Yea, according to the prophets, when parents become so stupid as to yield their young ones’ tender souls unto the influence of a trollop who’s making millions off America by turning her naughty bits into a sexual turnstile, it is at that exact point that Christ, from his celestial perch in heaven, says, “That’s it!” and C4s the planet. I believe that is found in Revelation 6:66. Google it and get back to me.
God, I feel sorry for young parents nowadays. Not only is BHO and his Chicago-based socialistic cabal attempting to muck up your toddler’s economic tomorrow by replacing America’s exceptionalism with government funded, debt-riddled mediocrity, but the progressives are also hammering your children with uncut filth via TV and the Internet in an unprecedented way.
For instance, pops, your little girl is made to feel weird via pop culture if …
1. She doesn’t sleep with a few chicks. Katy Perry does it, and she’s rich and on TV!
2. She doesn’t make out with everything that moves.
3. She doesn’t embrace being bad (as good is so passé, and being a whore, well that’s totally awesome). It’s empowerment!
4. She doesn’t take nude photos and videos of herself and send them around the planet via her cell phone, Facebook and Twitter.
Y’know, if I were a woman I’d be pretty ticked as it appears that “secular progressives” within America have succeeded in making young women known and appreciated only if they’re a mud flap girl. The empowered woman of today, ladies and gents, is the girl who wears a Hustler T- shirt, will strip on command, and has no problemo whatsoever in turning her genitals into a Jiffy Lube.
For the parental units of the Y chromosomes I really feel for you, as well, as the first order of business for this f-f-f-f-fouled-up culture is to strip all your boy’s boyness from him and turn him into a dandy devoid of the masculine richness that the God-blessed testosterone fog provides for the male collective. This ridiculous demonic culture hates men and masculinity, and parents need to fight against our culture’s metro-ing of their man-child with tooth, fang and claw.
Look, you don’t have to be Ezekiel to see that our nation has morally derailed. Seldom do we see people who are righteously worth a crap in this culture get any props or praise. No, in America
we throw mad cash and give TV shows to the banal blonde, the godless Guido, the rich tart with a grainy sex film, the beady-eyed politician selling senate seats, quarterbacks who kill dogs and has-been rockers with hepatitis C.
And then, as a nation, after twenty years of viewing this rubbish we wonder what happened to our values?! Well, Spanky, at some point in time life begins to imitate art and the monkey starts to do what the monkey sees. That’s why, parents, you must take control of what you let your little ones behold.
To assist parents who still care and would like some literary assistance to underscore their righteous traditional values, may I introduce you to the cowboy way, in particular to a rich and rare book—rare in the sense that you won’t see these values portrayed on TV much, at least in a favorable way. The book is Cowboy Values: Recapturing What America Once Stood For, by James P. Owen.
This beautiful book is for parents who are appalled by a culture that glorifies materialism and self-gratification, who loathe the “what’s in it for me?” notion our nation has taken on. It’s for us “weirdoes” who feel a deep yearning for a simpler time when civility was the norm and a handshake could seal any deal.
From Amazon’s blurb about the book:
We can’t turn back the clock or legislate our way out of society’s malaise. But here’s what we can do: Look to the bedrock values all Americans share. We may never agree on Iraq, abortion, or same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that “our word should be our bond.” For a definition of those shared values, we need look no further than the Cowboy Way. Living by a code that centers on principles like honesty, loyalty, and courage, the working cowboy is an enduring American hero—one providing just the kind of inspiration our country needs to find unity and hope in these troubled times. It’s not too late for us to get back to the qualities that made America great. Cowboy Values gives us a place to start.
So what’s it going to be, parents? Are your kids going to take their cue from Jersey Shore or from the cowboy way?(Read more)
Does anyone really believe all people are treated equally on Canadian TV?
Just before Christmas, Christian activist Charles McVety was found by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council to be in contravention of their code in certain comments he made about gay people on his Word TV show.
The program appears each weekend on CTS, where I have a nightly current affairs show.
Interestingly enough, the council concluded most of what he had said — while opposed to the gay community and often strongly worded — was within their guidelines, but in a small number of specific areas he had made unacceptable comments.
McVety is a friend. That does not mean I always agree with him, and I have told him so repeatedly.
He has, however, appeared on my show, as have gay activists, atheist leaders, Marxists and all sorts of people whose views I find objectionable. Informed disagreement in the context of mutual respect and tolerance is the keystone not only of a civilized society, but of good television.
The issue here, though, is whether people should be allowed to say whatever they want on television. In this case, CTS could not have acted more responsibly. They didn’t air McVety’s show for one week because they wanted to respect the standards council and also to give McVety the opportunity to meet with them before proceeding.
They did indeed meet and established that his program would continue, but some monitoring and consultation would be necessary. This is not censorship.
In all my time at the station, I have not once been told to change or soften my opinions. This is in spite of being threatened with death by various “progressive thinkers” for my alleged views.
Nor am I alone in this — it’s almost standard for social conservatives in particular to be personally abused for their views. Personally, I love it!
But let’s put this is in greater perspective. I have heard evangelicals described on Canadian TV networks as “dangerous extremists,” “hateful bigots, homophobes and anti-Semites” and “ignorant, stupid rednecks who have no place in public life.”
I’ve heard Roman Catholic priests described as “all child molesters and habitual pedophiles,” the Pope as “a Nazi who hid child rape and welcomed a Holocaust-denying bishop back into his Neanderthal church.”
In all seriousness, is there any thinking person out there who genuinely believes that all ideas and people are treated respectfully and equally on Canadian airwaves?
Of course not.
Ask any conservative, pro-lifer or Christian how they feel about our television networks. Ask yourself how often you have seen the loaded question asked, seen the sneer of disapproval or contempt on a journalist’s face.
Canadian television is a level playing-field only for those whose sense of balance is far to the left.
While I’m sure Charles McVety is far from happy at what has gone on, something positive might just materialize.
The ruling and its consequences could lead Canadian broadcasters and their overseers to finally understand that all, and not just some people can be offended by what is said on television, and insults come from all quarters, even chosen victim groups.
Hey, enormous miracles do happen — even publicly funded ones.(Read more)
The New Year’s Day bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, leaving at least 23 dead and scores wounded, and the murder of a leading politician in Islamabad, Pakistan a few days later were not distant events or unconnected.
They highlight the systematic strangulation by Islamists — at war with modernity and the reason, freedom and democracy it represents — of what remains of a sick and battered civilization that long ago did inspire people to make their world admirable and beautiful.
The meaning of the New Year’s bombing is evil and transparent as daylight.
Islamists are determined to drive Christians and other minorities out of the greater Middle East — the region between the Nile and the Indus — through pogroms and intimidations.
Those remaining meekly submit to their degraded status of “dhimmi” or subject people among Muslims.
Copts of Egypt — their number is estimated around 10 million — are one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East. Their origin goes back to the early decades of the first century in the Christian era, and predates by several centuries the arrival of Arabs bringing Islam with them.
The campaign against Copts is old and in recent decades has turned increasingly ugly. While imams regularly pillory Copts from their pulpits — as did Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind imam serving a life term in a U.S. prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing — the conduct of the Egyptian government in protecting minorities, to put it mildly, has been shameful.
Here is how Hani Shukrallah, an editor of the English edition of Al-Ahram (Egypt’s largest newspaper) and of Coptic origin, expressed his anguish following the New Year bombing:
“I accuse those state bodies who believe that by bolstering the Salafi trend they are undermining the Muslim Brotherhood, and who like to occasionally play to bigoted anti-Coptic sentiments, presumably as an excellent distraction from other more serious issues of government.
“But most of all, I accuse the millions of supposedly moderate Muslims among us; those who’ve been growing more and more prejudiced, inclusive and narrow minded with every passing year.”
A few days after the church bombing, Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, was gunned down by a member of his elite security detail in Islamabad, the country’s capital.
Taseer represented the rapidly dwindling number of Pakistanis who may publicly describe themselves as “liberal” or “secular” Muslims.
Taseer’s crime — according to the accused killer and the majority of Pakistanis who likely approve of the murder — was his request for presidential clemency for a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, detained on death row under the country’s blasphemy law, and his effort to repeal this reprehensible statute.
The accused murderer of Taseer, when brought to court for indictment, was greeted with a shower of rose petals, and by several hundred lawyers prepared to defend him at no cost.
Forty years ago in 1971, Pakistan broke apart as the army and its Islamist allies perpetrated genocide in what is present-day Bangladesh.
I witnessed that genocide first-hand. And now I watch from some distance the predictable implosion of a nuclear weapon state and the slide of a whole region into the dark bowels of barbarism.(Read more)
The Republicans are back in charge in the House of Representatives this week, and not a moment too soon!
Forget “stimulus” bills and “shovel-ready” bailouts (for public school teachers, who need shovels for what they’re teaching), the current financial crisis, which is the second Great Depression, was created slowly and methodically by Democrat hacks running Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the past 18 years.
As even Obama’s treasury secretary admitted in congressional hearings, “Fannie and Freddie were a core part of what went wrong in our system.” And if it’s something Tim Geithner noticed, it’s probably something that’s fairly obvious.
Goo-goo liberals with federal titles pressured banks into making absurd loans to high-risk borrowers—demanding, for example, that the banks accept unemployment benefits as collateral. Then Fannie repackaged the bad loans as “prime mortgages” and sold them to banks, thus poisoning the entire financial market with hidden bad loans.
Believe it or not, the loans went belly up, banks went under, and the Democrats used taxpayer money to bail out their friends on Wall Street.
So far, Fannie and Freddie’s default on loans that should never have been made has cost the taxpayer tens of billions of dollars. Some estimates say the final cost to the taxpayer will be more than $1 trillion. To put that number in perspective, for a trillion dollars, President Obama could pass another stupid, useless stimulus package that doesn’t create a single real job.
Obama’s own Federal Housing Finance Agency reported recently that by 2014, Freddie and Fannie will cost taxpayers between $221 billion to $363 billion.
Over and over again, Republicans tried to rein in the politically correct policies being foisted on mortgage lenders by Fannie Mae, only to be met by a Praetorian Guard of Democrats howling that Republicans hated the poor.
In 2003, Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee wrote a bill to tighten the lending regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Every single Democrat on the committee voted against it.
In the House, Barney Frank angrily proclaimed that Fannie Mae was “just fine.”
Rep. William Clay, D-Mo., accused Republicans of going on a “witch hunt” against Fannie Mae and attempting a “political lynching of Franklin Raines” (which, in a game of “bad metaphor Scrabble” would have been a double word score).
Fannie was pressuring banks to write mortgages with no money down and no proof of income. What could go wrong?
In 2004, Bush’s White House Chief Economist Gregory Mankiw warned that Fannie was creating “systemic risk for our financial system.” In response, Barney Frank went to a champagne brunch with his partner “just because.”
Democrats saw nothing of concern in the Fannie debacle. Bad mortgages don’t contain sodium, do they? They don’t engage in “hate speech.” And they don’t emit carbon dioxide. There was nothing to catch a Democrat’s eye.
In 2005, when the housing bubble burst, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced a bill allowing Fannie Mae to buy up even more schlock mortgages, apparently reasoning that if owning some toxic mortgages is bad, owning lots of them must be better!
He accused Republican opponents of his suicidal bill of being against affordable housing. (And that is a specific example of how liberals love the poor so much, they promoted policies to create millions more of them.)
As late as 2008, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who had received more than $133,000 in political contributions from Fannie Mae, called Fannie “fundamentally strong” and “in good shape”—which is the kind of thing the Politburo used to say about Yuri Andropov right after he died.
(Amazingly, Dodd was only the second most embarrassing Democrat to run for president in 2008, but only because John Edwards was also running that year.)
As the titanic losses were racking up, Fannie Mae’s operators, Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick, disguised the catastrophe by orchestrating a $5 billion accounting fraud—all the while continuing to pressure banks to make absurd, politically correct loans and denouncing Republicans as enemies of the poor.
In Gorelick’s defense, at least when she was wrecking the economy, she wasn’t able to wreck national security by building any more walls between the FBI and the CIA.
Have you ever noticed that whenever there’s a major calamity in this country, the name “Jamie Gorelick” always pops up? I think I’ll pull some articles about the Great Chicago Fire from Nexis to see if there was a “Gorelick” living on Catherine O’Leary’s block.
As Peter Schweizer points out in his magnificent book “Architects of Ruin,” which everyone should read, Enron’s accounting fraud was a paltry $567 million—and it didn’t bring down the entire financial system. Those involved in the Enron manipulations went to prison. Raines and Gorelick not only didn’t go to jail, they walked away with multimillion-dollar payouts, courtesy of the taxpayer.
(Here’s more fascinating Jamie Gorelick trivia: That giant wall she built between the FBI and the CIA, making 9/11 possible? It was financed with a risky loan from Fannie Mae.)
Under the Democrats’ 2010 “Financial Reform” bill (written by Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and Goldman Sachs), Raines keeps his $90 million, Jamie Gorelick keeps her $26.4 million, and Goldman keeps its $12 billion from the AIG bailout.
Let’s get it back. Twelve billion, one hundred and sixteen point four million dollars might not sound like a lot to you, but it starts to add up.(Read more)
Mike S. Adams
American communities are not what they used to be. Today’s college graduate changes jobs about a dozen times in his career. Since he changes jobs every few years he usually finds himself moving every few years. And since he figures he won’t be with his neighbors for long he seldom takes the time to get to know them.
It wasn’t that way when my family moved to Fort Worth in 1966. Four different welcoming committees came to visit from four different churches - all asking whether we had found a church home. Our first batch of mail was hand-delivered by the postman. When he rang the doorbell he introduced himself and asked “Have you found a church home yet?”
We eventually found a church but it was not the home of any of the four groups that came to visit. They must have all written off their visits as losses. But that was far from the truth. In fact, my mother was so moved by their hospitality that she began regular church visitation as soon as she joined a church. She kept doing so after we moved to Houston.
Soon after we arrived in Houston my mother developed a clever plan to keep from missing any new visitation opportunities in the area. She went down to the Clear Lake Water Authority and copied all of the new addresses of people who had just opened new accounts. This was all done by hand as it was before the era of word processing and personal computers.
In 1969, mom’s visitation paid particularly good dividends as she met her closest friend for life, Lisa Chambers. Our whole family became friends with their whole family. In fact, the friendships endure to this day. There were many more friendships formed in the process. We still get Christmas cards from people who joined the church for whom mom was visiting.
Of course, there are the untold numbers of people we never hear from but whose lives were affected nonetheless. My mother knew from experience to never write them off as losses. I hope by chance that one of them is reading these words today. If so, thanks so much for seeking us out and welcoming us when we moved to Fort Worth.
When my folks finally retired and moved to Huntsville there were fewer opportunities for visitation. There weren’t many people moving into the very small neighborhood in which they retired so mom stopped doing these visitations regularly. But, one day, a different kind of welcoming took place in their little neighborhood.
Mrs. Bishop was a very nice lady with a very ill husband. She also had a son with a criminal record. So the two police officers who lived in our neighborhood decided to pay the Bishops a visit right after they moved into their new home. The officer knocked on Mrs. Bishop’s door and boldly stated that for years there had been no crime in the little neighborhood. And they promised that if anything happened they would come looking for Mrs. Bishop’s son in a heartbeat.
One of the officers came over to our house after going to the Bishop’s. He reassured my mother that Mrs. Bishop had been warned and that, therefore, there would probably be no trouble in the neighborhood. The officer was proud of himself but my mother was horrified.
Next thing you know my mother went into the kitchen and found her favorite apple cake recipe. She didn’t always bring a cake when she went on a visitation. But she figured Mrs. Bishop really needed one after her rude reception in the neighborhood. Naturally, when my mother knocked on her door and gave Mrs. Bishop the cake she was thrilled.
Mom got a “thank you” card from Mrs. Bishop, which was a very rare occurrence. She later got a request for the recipe for that apple cake, which she gladly passed along. She also got a renewed interest in doing church visitations. I guess you could say she decided to come out of retirement.
When the next family moved into their little neighborhood mom cooked an apple cake and took it down to them. But, this time, something happened that had never happened before. The woman of the house looked at the cake and laughed and said “We don’t need another apple cake, Mrs. Adams.” She saw my mother’s puzzled look and then explained, “Mrs. Bishop brought us one this morning.”
Those of us who are conservative Christians are apt to blame the problems of the world on others. When we aren’t blaming Obama specifically, we are blaming socialism and socialists generally. But none of these things are really problems. They are symptoms of a larger problem; namely, that others are assuming the responsibilities that Christians have been neglecting for years.
We can’t change the world overnight. But we can change our neighborhoods today. The Recipe has been around for ages. We just have to keep sharing it with others.(Read more)
How cynical is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the potential mercury hazard of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)?
Last week the EPA issued new guidance for the clean-up of mercury-containing CFLs.
Atypically minimizing any potential health risks and arrogantly assuming that people patronize the agency’s web site, the EPA’s media release states,
CFLs contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. When a CFL breaks, some of the mercury is released as vapor and may pose potential health risks. The guidance and brochure will provide simple, user friendly directions to help prevent and reduce exposure to people from mercury pollution. [Emphasis added]
But consider that EPA’s “Mercury and Hazardous Chemicals in Schools: A Manual for Students in Southeast Asia” (April 2008) states that:
Just as there are no safe uses of mercury and mercury-containing equipment in schools, there are no safe uses for these products in homes, either. Tell your parents about the toxic effects of mercury, and encourage them to remove all mercury products from your home.
Also consider that EPA says that eating the mercury from a broken thermometer is safer than inhaling mercury vapor (i.e., how you would be exposed to mercury from a broken CFL):
Consider what Brown University researchers had to say in an August 2008 study of CFL breakage published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology:
Some [CFL] lamps are inevitably broken accidentally during shipping, retail sales, consumer use, and recycling and release a portion of their mercury inventory as volatile vapor, which is the dominant mercury form in the early stages of lamp life. Inhalation exposure is a concern because 80% of inhaled [mercury] is physiologically absorbed.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) occupational exposure limit (8 h, 5-day week time average) is 100 [micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3)].
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended exposure limit is 50 µg/m3, while American Conference of Governmental and Industrial Hygienists recommends 25 µg/m3 under the same conditions.
- Because children are more susceptible, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recommends 0.2 µg/m3 level as a safe continual exposure limit for children.
As an illustration of the effects of CFL breakage, the release of only 1 mg of [mercury] vapor (~20% of the Hg inventory in a single CFL) into a 500 m3 room (10 × 10 × 5m) yields 2.0 µg/m3 or ten times the ATSDR-recommended level of 0.2 µg/m3 in the absence of ventilation. [Footnotes omitted, and bullets and emphasis added]
So how much mercury was released into the air when these researchers fractured CFLs in their study? According to the Brown researchers,
The release is initially rapid producing vapor concentrations from 200-800 µg/m3 during the first hour, which far exceed the OSHA occupational limits.
And if you go to EPA’s IRIS data base, you’ll see that the EPA’s Reference Concentration (RfC or permissible exposure via inhalation) for elemental mercury is 0.3 µg/m3. Note that the reported 200-800 µg/m3 air concentrations upon bulb breakage are somewhat greater than the EPA’s RfC (by 667 to 2,667 times to be precise).
The EPA promotes the safety of CFLs in order to advance its jihad against greenhouse gases. The agency would apparently rather have you and/or your children exposed to possibly thousands of times more mercury than the agency itself deems safe than to have you use an incandescent bulb and emit an ounce or so more of CO2 per hour of bulb use.
Were CFLs not useful in the EPA’s cause — let’s say they were just a funny looking light bulb sold as a novelty item — there can be little doubt that the agency would have long ago taken action to ban them as needlessly unsafe. The agency has stated, after all, “there are no safe uses for mercury-containing products] in homes” and children should tell their parents “to remove” them from homes.
One common requirement for science, law and government to function as intended is consistency. Exposure to low levels of mercury is either safe or it is not. But the EPA wants it both ways, depending on the purpose being served.
In the realm of federal regulation, this sort of hypocrisy would seem to be proscribed by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) as “arbitrary and capricious.” When the APA was enacted in 1946, then-Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran called it “a bill of rights for the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose affairs are controlled or regulated in one way or another by agencies of the Federal Government.”
But since there is typically no meaningful way for anyone to enforce that law against the EPA, it is a mere vestige of Congress’ post-New Deal efforts to make the burgeoning federal bureaucracy accountable to the people that pay for, and are impacted by it.
Maybe that accountability is something that the 112th Congress, which begins this week, can begin to reinstate.
I hate New Year’s resolutions. The reason? Well, it’s not so much the well-meaning, lofty—yet ofttimes delusional—resolutions many of us spout off at midnight (wasted, of course) … it’s because of the lack of sober follow through once January 1st smacks us in the face. Yep, as Al Gore once famously said, amidst all our good intentions, “it’s hard for a zebra to change its spots.” More than likely most of us will revert back to the way we’ve always been.
I, however, have determined with William Wallace-like resolve that this year will be an evolution for me. I might even change my name, like to an animal’s name or to a mythological critter like a famous centaur or something. That would be cool. I don’t know yet. To help me decide, my buddy John C. Reilly and I are going to roast a stogie and do a brainstorming session mañana for my new evolutionary nomenclature. Stay tuned.
Anyway, for 2011 I am dead set to morph from being a pretty good conservative gadfly to the lunatic Left to becoming an even more annoying source of angst for the liberals amongst us. Why? Well, the stakes are too high for conservatives to remain nice. Additionally, the folks who voted for BHO’s vapid crap are slowly waking up and need encouragement and feisty apologetics now. But mainly, destroying, ridiculing, and exposing the multitudinous liberal lies and honking hypocrisies from the Hope & Change wizards is more fun than burning ants for me.
To help me in this noble quest, James Delingpole, a Brit with true grit, my brother from another mother, and best-selling author of Welcome to Obamaland: I Have Seen Your Future and It Doesn’t Work, has penned a book to help me chart the course to be even more mordant with the libmonkeys who’re currently peeing on our great land: 365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy.
Delingpole, in this pole-axing tome, encourages the conservative, libertarian and recovering democrat to go for the jugular vein of the socialist ingrates who’re giddy to gut our nation of its exceptionalism. James exhorts the reader to annoy the annoyers, to quit being nicer than Christ and get into the verbal fray and demolish the diminishing few who still inhale Obama’s ganja through jokes, facts, arguments and outrageous rumors. Don’t worry, this task will be easy and God will help you succeed in this venture because, as James points out:
1. Liberals have no sense of humor. 2. Liberals have no facts on their side. 3. Liberals are hypocrites. 4. God, being conservative Himself, hates liberalism at least as much as you do, which is why he created reasons 1, 2 and 3.
Herewith are a few examples from JD’s manuscript to help you give the heave ho to the hos of socialism. Order and enjoy this laugh-out-loud book on Amazon.com and make 2011 fun and profitable for our nation. Check these out …
- To bust on the left: Next time you hear a reference to “America’s first black president,” counter by referring to Obama as “America’s 44th white president.” Explain that you’re doing so on feminist grounds: “What? You’re trying to tell me that his Caucasian mom’s genetic input doesn’t count? But that’s so SEXIST!”
- Ask a BHO ogler to name the three shortest books in the world: How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Rahm Emanuel; Humility and Its Virtues, by Barack Obama; What the Constitution Means to Me, by Nancy Pelosi.
- Quote with appropriate reverence and non-judgmental, multicultural appreciation the great Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini: to marry a girl before she begins menstruating is “a divine blessing.” If your liberal friend starts sputtering, cheerfully inquire, “Who are you to judge another culture—you’re not Islamophobic, are you?”
- Tell them you don’t give a damn about the polar bears. And it’s not because you don’t like cute, fluffy, white carnivores; it’s because you find it hard to accept a species whose population has increased fivefold—from 5,000 to 25,000—in the last five decades can actually be in any kind of trouble.
- Diss Avatar. Liberals love Avatar. It’s the film with everything: oppressed native peoples; a disabled hero; mixed race (actually mixed species, even better) romance; dumb, probably republican-voting baddies coming unstuck; Mother Gaia in the form of a pretty, shiny tree; an environmentalist theme. Therefore, never refer to the film as Avatar; instead use the title of South Park’s horribly accurate parody: Dances with Smurfs.
- Quote Auberon Waugh: “The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to parliament [or congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever.”
- Tell a joke. Q: why is it so hard for liberals to make eye contact? A: Obama’s rear doesn’t have eyes.
- Instead of “progressive,” always use the words “oppressive” or “regressive.” When called on this, feign puzzlement. “But how is it progressive to steal free citizens’ liberty, money, and hope, and hand it all over to government bureaucrats?”
- Find a feminist and see if she has a sense of humor. Q: How many men does it take to open a beer? A: None. It should be open when she brings it to you.
- Turn up at your local Muslim outreach program wearing an “I’d Rather Be Water Boarding” t-shirt.
- Invite your liberal friends for a barbecue. Why? To celebrate the day when the lives of hundreds of thousands of young American and Allied servicemen were saved thanks to President Truman’s fine, principled decision to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima. Serve Kamikaze cocktails (natch): equal parts Vodka, Triple Sec, and lime juice.
- Have some Global Warming Fun: On a beautiful, hot summer’s day, invite a liberal to crack open a can or two of ice cold beer by the pool. Say: “Run that Cap and Trade thing by me one more time because there’s something I don’t get. You guys are saying that we need to raise taxes and make energy more expensive so we can get less weather like this?”
- When a liberal asks what you’re buying your kids for their birthdays, say: “Oh, I guess the usual: more ammo.”
- Give your small children toy guns and tell your liberal friend, “Yeah, I think this is the best way to break them in so they can handle the real thing when they’re six or seven.”
- When your liberal neighbors knock excitedly on your door to show you ultrasound pictures of the baby they’re expecting, look mortified and then say, “But surely, it’s not yet a child, it’s still a choice.”
- On Easter day, as you’re driving to church, call out to your slobovian, atheistic, liberal neighbor sitting on his porch: “Happy Easter! Our Savior liveth! Sorry yours won’t get reelected!”(Read more)
Once upon a time, and in some periodical publication somewhere, I wrote a piece on Robin Hood. It was a review of some semi-scholarly book about this semilegendary figure, as I recall. Partly, I was interested in the “literary” aspect—the actual English ballad and folklore tradition going back to the Middle Ages, which has its parallels in other folklore traditions, from Persia to Peru. But mostly it was the political aspect that detained me.
Let us cut to the chase. Robin Hood was an outlaw, as medieval commentators were aware, and to be condemned as such. He was, unambiguously, a highwayman, and his Merry Men, using the camouflage of Sherwood Forest to mount their ambuscades, were an outlaw band. To put this in the plainest English, we are dealing with gangsters.
It is interesting that in the earlier versions of the tales, Robin Hood is a commoner, but in the later, he is cleaned up and re-dressed as an aristocrat, wrongly deprived of his estates. In other words, we have materials to trace the imaginative evolution of an unappealing common thug into a glittering romantic hero. And conversely, the more reason to believe that the tales began with some real, historical “Robin Hood.”
This is anyway plausible, for there were outlaws aplenty on the open roads, around the 14th century. And they would, by preference, afflict the wealthier travellers, more than the penurious ones. They imposed, in effect, a “graduated tax,” that fell a little more lightly on the minstrels, jugglers, charlatans, and herbalists; the messengers, itinerant merchants, and pedlars; the free workmen, and peasants out of bond; the mendicant preachers, hermits, and friars; the pardoners and the pilgrims—wandering the roads of medieval England. (See J.J. Jusserand, La vie nomade et les routes d’Angleterre au XIVe siecle. .... Or see Chaucer, for that matter.) The attraction of Robin Hood, perhaps then as now, to youthful and disordered minds, is that he himself “cuts to the chase,” or cuts the corner, discovering an effective method for redistributing wealth, centuries before the imposition of the Nanny State. He becomes, thus, a “romantic hero,” or to my mind, a wonderful illustration of the close connection between the “do-gooder” impulse, and the criminal one; or as Ann Coulter might put it, between a “liberal” and a “psycho.”
To the ordered, medieval mind, this would not do. Had Robin Hood given his ill-gotten gains to the poor, as a penance for his crimes, he might have passed within reach of absolution. But as he continued, in his proud self-regard, to rob the rich on the public highways, he put himself “progressively” further and further from any possibility of redemption. And as he was evidently determined to persist, and mount crime upon crime without ceasing, the charitable thing would have been to arrest his career as a highwayman, and hang him high. That is: save the poor wretch from accumulating the burden of any more damnable crimes, while focusing his need for repentance on the gallows.
The modern “folklore,” semilegendary equivalent to Robin Hood is perhaps Che Guevara—the Argentine Marxist and Castro agent, cleaned up in an iconic photo, and attractively coloured through a forged Andy Warhol. Yes, there was a real man by that name, operating in the Bolivian bush; in reality, a true human monster with much blood on his hands. But he acquired his legendary status—became “chic”—thanks to a revolutionary posture.
Robin is Che in a more antiquated costume, dyed in woad, but the same olive green; the pointed, triangular cap in place of the coffee-shop beret. (Though let me mention, before a reader corrects me, that Robin dressed for court in revolutionary scarlet.)
We enter a new year in which, despite the usual setbacks from reality, Robin Hoodlumism is alive and well, both as esthetic flourish and bureaucratic policy. Vast government departments continue to do what the outlaws did on medieval highways—though on a fiscal scale and with a crushing efficiency unimaginable in former times, upon travellers denied any of the traditional defences. Attempts to romanticize this operation, in which human generosity itself is obviated by arbitrary power, will continue for as long as the criminal impulse can be sublimated in moral pride, which is to say, probably forever.
Example, U.S. President Barack Obama is reported to be attending church again, and shows a “fresh start,” by persistently misquoting from the Book of Genesis, chapter four. “I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper,” he suggests it says. Check out the original. It is a scene in which no sisters appear, and the brothers in question are Cain and Abel. In particular, the intellectual leap from “you must not murder your brother,” to “you must create and sustain a vast and ponderous welfare system, that is funded by taxing him and borrowing the rest from China,” is not Biblical.
Nor, for that matter, is Robin Hood, though he and all history’s Merry Men will continue to have their pernicious influence on all youthful and disordered minds.(Read more)
Liberals never tire of discussing their own generosity, particularly when demanding that the government take your money by force to fund shiftless government employees overseeing counterproductive government programs.
They seem to have replaced “God” with “Government” in scriptural phrases such as “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
This week, we’ll take a peek at the charitable giving of these champions of the poor.
In 2009, the Obamas gave 5.9 percent of their income to charity, about the same as they gave in 2006 and 2007. In the eight years before he became president, Obama gave an average of 3.5 percent of his income to charity, upping that to 6.5 percent in 2008.
The Obamas’ charitable giving is equally divided between “hope” and “change.”
George W. Bush gave away more than 10 percent of his income each year he was president, as he did before becoming president.
Thus, in 2005, Obama gave about the same dollar amount to charity as President George Bush did, on an income of $1.7 million—more than twice as much as President Bush’s $735,180. Again in 2006, Bush gave more to charity than Obama on an income one-third smaller than Obama’s.
In the decade before Joe Biden became vice president, the Bidens gave a total—all 10 years combined—of $3,690 to charity, or 0.2 percent of their income. They gave in a decade what most Americans in their tax bracket give in an average year, or about one row of hair plugs.
Of course, even in Biden’s stingiest years, he gave more to charity than Sen. John Kerry did in 1995, which was a big fat goose egg. Kerry did, however, spend half a million dollars on a 17th-century Dutch seascape painting that year, as Peter Schweizer reports in his 2008 book, “Makers and Takers.”
To be fair, 1995 was an off-year for Kerry’s charitable giving. The year before, he gave $2,039 to charity, and the year before that a staggering $175.
He also dropped a $5 bill in the Salvation Army pail and almost didn’t ask for change.
In 1998, Al Gore gave $353 to charity—about a day’s take for a lemonade stand in his neighborhood. That was 10 percent of the national average for charitable giving by people in the $100,000-$200,000 income bracket. Gore was at the very top of that bracket, with an income of $197,729.
When Sen. Ted Kennedy released his tax returns to run for president in the ‘70s, they showed that Kennedy gave a bare 1 percent of his income to charity—or, as Schweizer says, “about as much as Kennedy claimed as a write-off on his 50-foot sailing sloop Curragh.” (Cash tips to bartenders and cocktail waitresses are not considered charitable donations.)
The Democratic base gives to charity as their betters do. At the same income, a single mother on welfare is seven times less likely to give to charity than a working poor family that attends religious services.
In 2006 and 2007, John McCain, who files separately from his rich wife, gave 27.3 percent and 28.6 percent of his income to charity.
In 2005, Vice President Cheney gave 77 percent of his income to charity. He also shot a lawyer in the face, which I think should count for something.
In a single year, Schweizer reports, Rush Limbaugh “gave $109,716 to ‘various individuals in need of assistance mainly due to family illnesses,’ $52,898 to ‘children’s case management organizations,’ including ‘various programs to benefit families in need,’ $35,100 for ‘Alzheimer’s community care—day care for families in need,’ and $40,951 for air conditioning units and heaters delivered to troops in Iraq.”
(Rush also once gave $50 to Maxine Waters after mistaking her for a homeless person.)
The only way to pry a liberal from his money is to hold tickertape parades for him, allowing him to boast about his charity in magazines and on TV.
Isn’t that what Jesus instructed in the Sermon on the Mount?
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do ... But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:2-4)
In my Bible, that passage is illustrated with a photo of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
At least the hypocrites in the Bible, Redmond, Wash., and Omaha, Neb., who incessantly brag about their charity actually do pony up the money.
Elected Democrats crow about how much they love the poor by demanding overburdened taxpayers fund government redistribution schemes, but can never seem to open their own wallets.
The only evidence we have that Democrats love the poor is that they consistently back policies that will create more of them.(Read more)
One of the comforts, for a pundit out of tune with the choir, is to think “history will absolve me.” The whole world, or most of it, may appear to subscribe to various propositions, which the pundit believes to be buncombe. They may take things for true which he knows can’t be so, and only appear so through constant repetition.
But in his heart he thinks, “some day the truth will out.” He thinks, “a time will come.” And when the history of his times comes to be written, all the glib and confident assurances of the present will have evaporated. And the good, honest men who were so reviled, will be exonerated; and the bad, deceitful men shown for what they were; and the voices that were crying in the wilderness will be heard. “But of course I might not live to see it.”
I have come to think this is a false comfort; to doubt that “the truth will always out” in the theatre of this world. I know that it will in a few obvious cases, because there are lies so fragile the slightest breeze will compress them. But even among these, some will pass the test of time, either because all those who knew the truth were killed; or because the lie is preserved in the stillness of a vault, under guard from vested interests.
So much for small details. In the main, not little lies, but big ones, tend to be sustained from one century to another. They are, usually, the “myths” that sustain the state, or which remain convenient to the ruling party, even as its views “evolve” from one position to another.
Here I am thinking, today, of the myths engendered by the Protestant Reformation, now nearly half a millennium ago. Across northern Europe, and in North America, the very legitimacy of the state, and of the secular social order, depends upon certain received notions from the history of those times. Indeed, across the rest of Europe, the power of the state came to depend indirectly on the same myths: for it was secular power that arose to defend the Catholic Church, against secular power that arose to attack it; and both pillaged. “Statism” itself is at the heart of the whole project of modern history: the erection of kingdoms very much of this world.
And statism requires that a reality that was bewildering should be simplified. It requires some idealistic explanation for what in fact occurred: the sudden “nationalization” or appropriation of vast church properties to pay the debts and then hugely enrich and empower such monarchs as Henry VIII of England.
It requires that wars for booty be presented as “religious wars.” It requires that the worldliest motives be presented as spiritual, and spiritual profundity dismissed as superstition. It requires the myth of a totally corrupt Church, overthrown by shining idealists. It requires that we assign the motive of altruism to men who turned the monks out of their monasteries, and used the stone to build their own country estates.
It requires the myth of popular support, and in the English case, at the root of our own constitutional order, we must pretend that the Reformation advanced by popular demand. It requires that we ignore (except to footnote) the Pilgrimage of Grace, and many other spontaneous popular revolts, in defence of the “old religion” that had given meaning and custom to people’s lives. It requires that we assign the motive of “rationalism” to quickly drafted new “articles of religion,” crawling with internal contradictions.
And finally, it requires that we worship a god, called progress, which has stalked through all the intervening centuries, making hecatombs in its wake—while appropriating to its own prestige every technical advance that would have happened anyway. For without this plausible idea that there is “a way forward, and no way back,” the State could never have secured its power.
For monarchs and statesmen must not go nude—they must be “dressed in a little authority”—and without some dainty fabric of right, to wrap around their might, the winter wind would scorch them.
The victors write history, and will continue to do so, as long as this world shall be.
Yet there are some “historians of lost causes.” Among the best books I read this year, was Eamon Duffy’s account of the reign of Queen Mary I (1553-1558), entitled, Fires of Faith. It retells the history of England’s most execrated monarch ( “Bloody Mary” she is called). And together with such previous works as The Stripping of the Altars, it provides a glorious corrective to what “everyone knows” about the English Reformation.
For hundreds of years later, what “everyone knows” is wrong.(Read more)
Mike S. Adams
Georgia Tech student Justin Myers recently had a very bad evening. He was expecting guests in his dorm room when four armed intruders greeted him at the door. They were able to steal merchandise and knock out two of the 19-year old student’s teeth for two principal reasons: 1) Armed robbers are always armed, and 2) Georgia Tech students are never allowed to have firearms on campus.
In the dorm complex where the robbery occurred, residents must swipe an access card to get through a set of outside doors. They also have a key for their six-bedroom suites. Finally, students are provided with a separate key for their bedrooms. But that isn’t enough to prevent such incidents from happening.
Only three of the four criminals wore masks but all four demonstrated how easily they could get inside the outside set of doors. Georgia Tech does not employ security guards in its dorms, which makes things easier for the potential intruder. Another weakness in dorm security is the automatic doors that delay in shutting to accommodate disabled students. Added to this is the human error associated with not watching the automatic door as other people follow students inside or trying to help out a person claiming to be a student who “forgot” his access card.
Georgia Tech crime statistics suggest that crime is down on campus in 2010. They showed two robberies in 2010 compared to four in 2009; 14 stolen cars this year compared to 38 in 2009; 49 thefts from vehicles in 2010 compared to 204 in 2009. Nonetheless, there are two serious problems to be gleaned from the statistics. First, such statistics rely on victim reporting and are, therefore, always underestimates of the true extent of crime. Second, the statistics showed that burglary is not declining at Tech. There were a whopping 58 campus burglaries for both 2009 and 2010.
Not all of the 58 burglaries were as traumatic as the one endured by Justin Myers. When he opened his bedroom door, the four men rushed him, pistol-whipped him and threw him to the floor kicking him repeatedly in the head. He was concerned for a time that they might shoot him. As they were demanding more money (and he was insisting he only had a few dollars in cash) things nearly spiraled out of control.
In the final analysis, only a 22-inch Panasonic television, a laptop computer, a cell phone, and $6 in cash were seized. Things could have been worse. The crazed intruders could have killed the unarmed student.
So far, Georgia Tech has not done what needs to be done in order to prevent this from happening again. The institute of technology merely put a buzzer on the stairwell door that sounds when the door is opened. I suppose the buzzer is meant to alert students to the necessity of hiding in their rooms and locking their doors.
Engineers and technicians are notorious for trying to make problems fit their solutions. In this case, they have lots of gadgets they would like to put to use to create a barrier between the motivated offender and the suitable target. They will be busy installing lights and buzzers to complement their computerized swipe card systems. But, to date, they have not invented a solution that fits the problem of the depravity of the human heart.
Fallen human beings will always find ways to get through barriers that stand between themselves and the object of their desires. If the barrier is raised with technology backed by good intentions it can often be razed by technology backed by bad intentions. So something must be done besides creating a barrier between the motivated offender and the desired target. That something is making the desired target less desirable.
It does not take a Georgia Tech engineering degree to understand that the unarmed citizen is the desired target of every armed offender. And it does not take any new technology to render the target undesirable. It only takes a gun.
The gun is really a very simple invention. Enough Georgia Tech students own guns that allowing students to keep them in their dorm rooms will substantially deter future intrusions of the sort experienced by Justin Myers. And, best of all, the solution will cost nothing to the taxpayers of the State of Georgia.
Georgia Tech needs to continue its tradition of finding complex solutions to complex problems. But that need not come at the expence of applying simple solutions to simple problems.(Read more)
It’s the Christmas season, so godless liberals are citing the Bible to demand the redistribution of income by government force. Didn’t Jesus say, “Blessed are the Health and Human Services bureaucrats, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”?
Liberals are always indignantly accusing conservatives of claiming God is on our side. What we actually say is: We’re on God’s side, particularly when liberals are demanding God’s banishment from the public schools, abortion on demand, and taxpayer money being spent on Jesus submerged in a jar of urine and pictures of the Virgin Mary covered with pornographic photos.
But for liberals like Al Franken, it’s beyond dispute that Jesus would support extending federal unemployment insurance.
This has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible, but it does nicely illustrate Shakespeare’s point that the “devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
What the Bible says about giving to the poor is: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians (9:7)
Being forced to pay taxes under penalty of prison is not voluntary and rarely done cheerfully. Nor do our taxes go to “the poor.” They mostly go to government employees who make more money than you do.
The reason liberals love the government redistributing money is that it allows them to skip the part of charity that involves peeling the starfish off their wallets and forking over their own money. This, as we know from study after study, they cannot bear to do. (Unless they are guaranteed press conferences where they can brag about their generosity.)
Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks’ study of charitable giving in America found that conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than liberals do, despite the fact that liberals have higher incomes than conservatives.
In his book “Who Really Cares?” Brooks compared the charitable donations of religious conservatives, secular liberals, secular conservatives and “religious” liberals.
His surprising conclusion was ... Al Franken gave the most of all!
Ha ha! Just kidding. Religious conservatives, the largest group at about 20 percent of the population, gave the most to charity—$2,367 per year, compared with $1,347 for the country at large.
Even when it comes to purely secular charities, religious conservatives give more than other Americans, which is surprising because liberals specialize in “charities” that give them a direct benefit, such as the ballet or their children’s elite private schools.
Indeed, religious people, Brooks says, “are more charitable in every measurable nonreligious way.”
Brooks found that conservatives donate more in time, services and even blood than other Americans, noting that if liberals and moderates gave as much blood as conservatives do, the blood supply would increase by about 45 percent.
They ought to set up blood banks at tea parties.
On average, a person who attends religious services and does not believe in the redistribution of income will give away 100 times more—and 50 times more to secular charities—than a person who does not attend religious services and strongly believes in the redistribution of income.
Secular liberals, the second largest group coming in at 10 percent of the population, were the whitest and richest of the four groups. (Some of you may also know them as “insufferable blowhards.”) These “bleeding-heart tightwads,” as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls them, were the second stingiest, just behind secular conservatives, who are mostly young, poor, cranky white guys.
Despite their wealth and advantages, secular liberals give to charity at a rate of 9 percent less than all Americans and 19 percent less than religious conservatives. They were also “significantly less likely than the population average to return excess change mistakenly given to them by a cashier.” (Count Nancy Pelosi’s change carefully!)
Secular liberals are, however, 90 percent more likely to give sanctimonious Senate speeches demanding the forced redistribution of income. (That’s up 7 percent from last year!)
We’ll review specific liberals next week.
Needless to say, “religious liberals” made up the smallest group at just 6.4 percent of the population (for more on this, see my book, “Godless”).
Interestingly, religious liberals were also “most confused” of all the groups. Composed mostly of blacks and Unitarians, religious liberals made nearly as many charitable donations as religious conservatives, but presumably, the Unitarians brought down their numbers, making them second in charitable giving.
Brooks wrote that he was shocked by his conclusions because he believed liberals “genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did”—probably because liberals are always telling us that.
So he re-ran the numbers and gathered more data, but it kept coming out the same. “In the end,” he says, “I had no option but to change my views.”
Every other study on the subject has produced similar results. Indeed, a Google study of philanthropy found an even greater disparity, with conservatives giving 50 percent more than liberals. The Google study showed that liberals gave more to secular causes overall, but conservatives still gave more as a percentage of their incomes.
The Catalogue for Philanthropy analyzed a decade of state and federal tax returns and found that the red states were far more generous than the blue states, with the highest percentage of tightwads living in the liberal Northeast.
In his book “Intellectuals,” Paul Johnson quotes Pablo Picasso scoffing at the idea that he would give to the needy. “I’m afraid you’ve got it wrong,” Picasso explains, “we are socialists. We don’t pretend to be Christians.”
Merry Christmas to all, skinflint liberals and generous Christians alike!(Read more)
Canadians, as everyone should know, are tightwads. This is true of Christmas-season giving, but also true in every other season of the year. When it comes to demanding that the government provide more generous health, welfare, housing, and pension benefits, we are not silent; when it comes to “taxing the rich,” we’re gung-ho; but when it comes to our own pockets, or even doing something that costs no money at all, we “gave at the office.”
This is statistically demonstrable. Compared to Americans, our charitable giving, in nicely quantifiable mercenary terms, is embarrassing. And as I am aware from past participation in various cultural enterprises, the same is true there. Americans shell out for art, music, literature and the like in a way that Canadians would find wasteful and reckless; they also give far more to political parties and candidates, thanks to this habit of “putting your money where your mouth is.”
Let me pause here, so my readers may look downcast and feel shame.
There. Enough. Let’s get on with the argument, that follows from, for instance, the most recent Fraser Institute study—their annual “Generosity Index” just released, which makes a broad swatch of these invidious comparisons, based on easily procured and processed numbers for private donations to formally registered charities. Factoid: Manitobans continue to give more, on average, than Canadians in any other province (12th straight year), but even they part with less than one cent from every earned dollar.
I know: the progressive types have seizures whenever the Fraser Institute is mentioned. But it does solid, honest work, within its remit. And one need not be a Fraser flunky to find damning evidence that Canadians are as miserly on behalf of the poor, as we are profligate in consumer borrowing for ourselves. The statistics have been piling up for a long time.
Indeed, I have my own esthetic distaste for the Fraser Institute, as for most number-crunching operations; and its founder, Michael Walker once irritated me profoundly with one of his gratuitous, anti-Christian rants. Also, with a note of advice he once sent me about a literary magazine I happened to be editing, in which he expressed his contempt for poetry, too. I mention this now, because I would dearly like to be spared the letters in which I am typified as a neo-conservative libertarian pro-business troll; when I am in fact a Catholic Christian libertarian troll, with no special sympathy for big business. (And effete, too: don’t forget effete.)
But it is to such numbercrunchers we must refer, for statistical evidence to support two perfectly slam-dunk observations. One is that there is an inverse relationship between tax levels, and the amount of private charitable giving. The higher taxes go, the more people shrug and say, “The government is taking care of it.”
The other is quite pointedly political. The further you go to the Right in the political spectrum, the more people give away their money and time. And vice versa: as you shift Left, private charity dries up.
A magisterial demonstration of this is available from Arthur C. Brooks, in, Who Really Cares (Basic Books, 2006)—and what came as a surprise, even to him, was how dramatically the two camps contrasted. Hypocrisy itself is something statistically demonstrable; and goes deeper than the cause-and-effect of tax loading.
Which is not to apply averages to individuals. I personally know at least one crazy leftist who is extremely generous to what he considers to be good causes. That those causes strike me as not really charitable—for I do not consider agitprop to be a charitable activity—is beside the point. He puts his money where his mouth is.
Each Christmas I recall the words of my late saintly aunt, who played the organ in Calvin United at New Waterford, Cape Breton. Who, out of her tiny churchmouse salary, was at one point supporting at least a dozen named children in the poorest corners of the Third World; and who regularly played gratis at Catholic weddings and funerals, to the scandal of some of her Protestant friends.
“Christ doesn’t look at people the way we do. He sees them inside out. He sees the heart in the foreground, and the mouth only yammering in the background.”
He isn’t much interested in people’s theological opinions, because He knows all about that stuff already. And He isn’t interested in their politics, because that bores Him.
A wonderfully intelligent woman, full of sharp observations that she almost always kept to herself. (Unlike her nephew.) And as selfless as the breeze.
My point would be: we don’t have to wait for Nanny State to collapse, to start giving away what remains of our money. Nor should those who live in penury be abashed, for time is money, and they can give their much-needed time.(Read more)
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