Category Archives: Politics

Maybe She Should Just Burn Them…

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Seems the intolerant intellectual fascism of the American Far-Left remains in full flower.  Erica Payne, the vulgar uber-“liberal” progressive strumpet whose Agenda Project is yet another conduit for mega-wealthy leftists to disparage anyone who deigns to disagree with them, has decided that the way to combat Paul Ryan’s legal free expression is through vandalism.

Erica Payne, founder and president of the left-wing Agenda Project, is encouraging people to deface the cover of Paul Ryan’s new book, which is hitting shelves today.

Not a new paradigm, to be sure.  

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Fahrenheit-451-burning-007

Pakistan_Book_Burning_2000s

Erica Payne provides a representative sample of the extreme prejudice and closed-minded intolerance of a bankrupt intellectual philosophy.  Disagreement with the far-left ideology will not only be brutally suppressed, but those who espouse such heresy will be flagged as threats.  This should come as a surprise to nobody, not after the machinations of the IRS and other government entities, including the race-mongering Justice Department, now in the sway of the most malignant administration in the history of our Republic.  

Time was, books would be burned, instead of merely vandalized.  But that probably involves a carbon footprint which will accelerate Global Warming.  (No estimate on the environmental impact of burning the homes of Global Warming skeptics.)  So the Erica Paynes of the world will have to settle for defacing private property in lieu of providing cogent counter-argument.  Which demonstrates just how illiberal those who consider themselves the most “liberal” truly are.   

Perhaps instead of the coarsely vulgar slogan adopted to disparage the Tea Party, Ms. Payne’s Agenda Project could find a more appropriate one.  Sieg Heil comes to mind.  

 

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Filed under Around the web, history, obama, Personal, Politics, Uncategorized

So what are you reading?

I just finished “The Weed Agency” by National Review’s Jim Geraghty. It’s the 30-year story of a fictional agency created by Jimmy Carter and the true attempts over the years to cut spending. Sure, the Democrats are tax-and-spend, but the Republicans are only too willing to blink first in the budget battles. While it’s a little frustrating to read, knowing there’s billions of dollars wasted in the federal gov’t, there’s enough funny bits to keep you turning the pages.

The part that hit home for me was the young go-get-‘em employees bogged down in red tape and “It’s not my idea, so I don’t like it” attitudes, especially the part about setting up a website. My group set up its own website in the 90’s to show off our unique capabilities and try to bring in outside business. This was soon followed by, “You can’t do that, we need all our websites to look the same.” Okay, uniform website coming up. This was followed by, “You can’t do that, it’s not 508 compliant.” Okay, we did that. Next was, “You can’t do that, it’s technical information, and that has to be cleared the same as papers and presentations.” Okay, we filled out the forms and sent them up the management chain. We have to do this every time before we can change the website? Okay. Finally, the spambots and hackers found us, so we said screw this and took it down. Somewhere in there, our secretary went through months of training to learn how to code HTML. She thought web designer skills would be the fast track for a raise. They contracted out the official webpage support.

Next in the reading queue is “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan. I picked this up when I was in Oak Ridge earlier this month.

So what are you reading?

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Filed under history, Humor, Politics

Those Poor Children at the Border!

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Seems there are more than just dear little innocents in those crowded Processing Centers along the US southwestern border.  Townhall has the story.

An internal Border Patrol executive summary obtained by Townhall confirms that at least 16 unaccompanied illegal minors (those under the age of 18, according to U.S. government policy), are members of the brutal El Salvadorian street gang Mara Salvatrucha—or MS-13.  Gang members left graffiti on the walls of the Nogales Border Patrol processing center, which suggested they had ties to the organization.

These are just the ones careless or arrogant enough to reveal their gang affiliations.  How many thousands among the throngs virtually welcomed into America’s communities by our President are also affiliated with such criminal organizations, or worse ones?  What are the chances that terrorist organizations are using these open borders to bring terrorists and materials into the United States?  Hint:  Think “virtual certainty”.

The FBI describes MS-13 activity as “perpetuating violence—from assaults to homicides, using firearms, machetes, or blunt objects—to intimidate rival gangs, law enforcement, and the general public. They often target middle and high school students for recruitment. And they form tenuous alliances…and sometimes vicious rivalries…with other criminal groups, depending on their needs at the time.”

Maybe Obama can set the example, and have Sasha and Malia volunteer to work in these Processing Centers until the problem is resolved.  Oh, they can have no Secret Service or Law Enforcement protection of any kind, because (as we were told in Iraq about putting our safety in the hands of local security) they need to “establish a trust relationship” with the people they are helping.

It was reported earlier that these MS-13 gang members, some of whom have admitted to murder and torture in their home countries, are being held for placement inside the United States.

“But remember, this is a ‘humanitarian crisis.’ They are just kids,” a source working in the Nogales processing center said in frustrated and sarcastic tone. “They are MS-13 gang members. They’ve done everything from torture to murder. They act as teenage ‘enforcers.'”

That will be great, then.  Perhaps Michelle Obama can join them.  After all, she loves working with kids.

Gee, I wonder if the systematic attempts to disarm the law-abiding and defeat voter ID efforts are in any way connected to Obama’s immigration non-policy?   Naaaahh.

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Filed under girls, history, obama, Politics, Uncategorized, weapons

Democratic Voter Fraud (yet again) in Mississippi

Operation ACORN II is under way, and not surprisingly, with the intent of illegally influencing a Republican Primary.  Here’s the story.

At the direction of the Cochran campaign, Reverend Fielder went “door to door, different places, mostly impoverished neighborhoods, to the housing authorities and stuff like that,” telling fellow blacks that McDaniel was a racist and promising them $15 per vote. “They sold me on the fact that he was a racist and that the right thing to do was to keep him out of office,” Fielder says.

Text messages released to Got News and a recorded interview with Reverend Fielder confirmed that Saleem Baird, a staffer with the Cochran campaign and current legislative aide to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and Cochran campaign manager, Kirk Sims, were involved in a $15-per-vote cash bribery scheme to target members of the black community.

“They said they needed black votes,” said the Reverend Fielder on the phone. He says Baird told him to “give the fifteen dollars in each envelope to people as they go in and vote. You know, not right outside of the polling place but he would actually recruit people with the $15 dollars and they would go in and vote.” Fielder said he received thousands of dollars in envelopes from Baird and distributed them accordingly. Fielder also says he went to the campaign office on another occasion to pick up $300 in cash and was among a room full of people who were doing the same thing he was.

Yet, according to the “black community”, being required to show a simple ID is racist because you are suppressing the “black vote” with your white hoods and Jim Crow laws.

When you hear those that argue “no proof” of widespread voter fraud by the Democrats, what you are hearing is hogwash.  If you don’t think so, watch the footage of a Democratic election commissioner counting “hanging chads” in Florida in 2000.   These are many of the same people who talk about “no proof” of Saddam’s chemical arsenal, and “no proof” of Obamacare causing health insurance coverage to be canceled.

Early morning H/T to DB

 

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Hobby Lobby, Corporations as people, and Free Association.

The Left is losing its shit this morning over HobbyLobby v. Sebilious, handed down by the SCOTUS.

You’ll hear various wild claims that with this decision the Christian Right is reducing women to mere chattel and all sorts of horror stories and what not.

Of course, the case at hand was not really about Hobby Lobby not wanting to be forced to provide abortoficient drugs to employees. It was whether or not a federal agency could arbitrarily rule that Hobby Lobby must do so. You do realize the employer mandate wasn’t in Obamacare, right? That it was strictly a rule promulgated by HHS?  And this compelling government interest in providing baby killing drugs was so compelling the HHS Secretary Sebilius exempted non-profit corporations and other entities as well as certain favored groups to the extent that 190 million Americans employers would not be forced to provide the coverage that the federal government insisted was constitutionally mandated for Hobby Lobby to provide?

The Obama administration has repeatedly gone before the Supreme Court to argue that the power of the federal government to compel the people to do things they don’t wish to do is both constitutional and proper. And with one notable exception, the Supreme Court has repeatedly slapped down the administration, often unanimously, and often harshly. The Administration continues to argue that the Constitution, a document designed explicitly to limit the power of the federal government, holds no limits on federal power. That the Supreme Court rightly disagrees is encouraging. That so many on the Left don’t is cause for despair.

Many on the Left will shriek “Corporations aren’t people!” as they have been doing since Citizens United was decided. Mind you, CU was the case where the Obama administration argued it had the right to ban books, specifically books that were political speech, the very speech the 1st Amendment was created to recognize as a natural right, beyond the scope of power of any legitimate government.

Back to “Corporations aren’t people!” as the rallying cry of the Left- Of course they aren’t. No serious constitutional argument has ever held that they are. Corporations are a legal recognition that multiple people gather together as an entity. For legal purposes, the resulting group is treated as an “artificial person” under the law. This is for liability, accounting, and taxation purposes. Of course, when the Left rails against corporations, they generally mean those organized as for-profit businesses. But that is hardly the only type of corporation. Virtually any group of two or more people can be organized as a corporation. Churches, unions, political groups, non-profit groups, charities and others are chartered as corporations.

The Left isn’t against corporations that support its agenda. Every time you hear the Left cry the end of democracy because of Hobby Lobby or Citizens United, remember that the New York Times is a corporation. The Left doesn’t want them silenced (even though the government argument in CU would have applied to them). The Left simply wants the government to have the power to selectively silence those views they oppose.

And the Left isn’t against people associating. They’re against people willingly associating, especially if those groups of people do not follow the Leftist agenda with the appropriate fervor.  A prime example is union membership.

In the comments of a piece on independent expenditures and political speech at WaPo, commenter Stephen Lathrop makes the argument that unions, having a “one man, one vote” method of control, are more democratic than corporations, which have a “one vote per share” arrangement:

At the very root of the question lies the challenge of defining “their own.” If “organizations” includes per-share voting commercial corporations, then “their own” typically refers to an overwhelming majority of people other than those making (and benefitting from) the decisions about which politics to support. For those among that group (potentially, and often actually, more numerous than those who choose the politics to spend their money on), calling what results politically “their own” choice is dishonest. 

At first, that seems a rather reasonable argument. You can read the entire comment thread to see more of Mr. Lathrop’s argument, and the rebuttals among the other commenters. Since I’m not a subscriber, I can’t comment there, hence the posting here. To wit, here is my response.

Corporations are entirely voluntary associations. No one forces you to purchase stock in a corporation. You probably own, indirectly through a retirement or savings plan, shares of a corporation, but you are not forced to participate. Let us take a hypothetical corporation that has 1000 shares of stock outstanding, of which you own one share, and another person hold the other 999 shares. A vote comes before the shareholder as to whether the corporation should pursue some course of action. You say no, the other holder says yes. Of course, that settles that. You have the option of either abiding by the vote, or you can sell your portion of the corporation to any willing buyer. That’s freedom of association, as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

But let us look at an employee union, say a teacher’s union in a state that leans liberal. With the notable exception of Wisconsin, most states mandate that teachers in public schools must join the union that represents them, or even worse, if they choose not to join the union, they must still pay union dues because they benefit from the collective bargaining done on their behalf. Nobody asks these individuals whether they agree with the bargaining done on their behalf. Some may even have strongly held beliefs against the very idea of collective bargaining. At any event, this is an example of forced association. You simply have no choice but to associate with others. Let us say that you are a teacher, and are compelled to belong to this teachers union. You are compelled to pay dues. You are allowed to vote on union business of course. But if your vote is among the minority, you have no practical recourse, short of losing your employment. And while theoretically you cannot be compelled to provide that portion of your union dues that go to political expenditures, in practice, you have no say in what politics your union supports. Not every teacher is a progressive leftist, but union political support almost universally is. So you see, your right to free association has been abrogated by the power of the state to compel your membership. That’s an affront to the 1st Amendment right to free association, which is as much about your right to not be a member of a group as it is to gather with others.

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‘Some damn fool thing in the Balkans”

Postcard_for_the_assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_in_SarajevoGavrilloprincip

Today marks the centennial of one of Western society’s most improbably momentous events.  It was on June 28th, 1914 that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Countess Sophie of Hohenberg, were assassinated in the street of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo.  The events of that day, the failed bombing at the bridge, the missed attempt on the road, the wrong turn by the Archduke’s driver, the opportunity for another attempt on the Archduke’s life, are well-known.  The motives of the assassin, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, and his Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia), a group supported by the infamous Black Hand, are well-documented and, to the serious student of Balkan history, quite familiar.

What is nearly impossible to understand, despite the volumes upon volumes of historical analysis and the (now) generally agreed-upon portrayal of events, is HOW the assassination of an Archduke, the heir to a throne whose sitting monarch despised him, and whom he in turn despised, could be the triggering event that led to the greatest blood-letting cataclysm in Western history.   There are superb pieces of research and analysis, among them Christopher Clark’s 2012 masterpiece The Sleepwalkers, and DJ Goodspeed’s The German Wars (1965), that provide detailed explanations of the diplomatic and military decisions that took Europe from a century of relative peace into a devastating conflict more profoundly destructive than the Thirty Years’ War.   Even with that,  a historian can often do little more than shake one’s head incredulously at the sequence of decisions and miscalculations that would pit the great nations against one another for four bloody years.

I offer, in no particular order, some of the factors which led to what can be described as the least necessary of wars.

A notable mediocrity amongst the foreign ministers of the belligerents, to include England’s Edward Grey, who failed to understand that England’s real interests were in a balance of European power, and not in France’s desire to avenge the humiliation of 1871.  There was Count Berthold of Austria-Hungary, whose distinct lack of subtlety in his demands to Serbia inflamed Russia (who held dreams of being the protector of “pan-Serbism” in the Balkans).   Russia’s Sazonov, a duplicitous and dishonest schemer who collaborated with France’s Poincaré to virtually guarantee war with Germany.  France’s revolving door of Foreign Ministers, none effective, that included René Viviani during what became known as the July Crisis.  Wilhelmine Germany’s Gottlieb von Jagow, whose terrible miscalculation of the Austria-Serbia crisis proved so tragic.

Detached and often delusional monarchs, whose laissez-faire approaches to their respective nation’s diplomatic postures during the critical weeks following the assassination allowed the respective foreign ministers mentioned above, along with military chiefs of those countries, to dictate rather than execute their nation’s foreign policies.  Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary only briefly interrupted his vacation after the assassination, and was largely absent from the seat of power in Vienna during most of the July Crisis.  When he did return, he was somewhat shocked at the harsh terms of the ultimatum to Serbia, crafted by his own Foreign Minister and Chief of Staff.  Tsar Nicholas in Russia was absent for crucial meetings between French President Poincaré and his own “war party” of Sazonov and War Minister Sukhomlinov, during which it is presumed Russia agreed to war with Germany should she intervene in the Austria-Serbia crisis.  Even the mercurial and impetuous Kaiser Wilhelm, whose envy of the Royal Navy (and subsequent Naval Race with Britain) and imperial desires were perceived by the British as threats to the Empire, was strangely passive during the playing out of the events of July 1914, limiting himself to making marginal notes in the diplomatic messages until the specter of a wider continental war elicited desperation.   The one exception as head of state is the aforementioned Raymond Poincaré, the French President, whose actively malignant role included agitating for the long-desired war of revanche with Germany, and enlisting the Russians to assist France in that effort.

The international order built so carefully by Bismarck in the later decades of the 19th Century was rendered topsy-turvy, with illogical alliances and unlikely enmities that cooler analysis and more competent diplomacy might have gone great lengths to remedy.   Britain had far more in common with Germany than with her traditional antagonist, France.  Germany had been to war with Austria in 1866, when it wrested away the German states from Vienna (and from the very same Franz Josef) to, eventually, in 1871, Berlin.  Kaiser Wilhelm and Tzar Nicholas, cousins (along with George V) and grandsons of Victoria, had warm personal relations, and many more reasons to cooperate over the breakup of European Turkey than to be in conflict.  England, for her part, had been the traditional guardian of the European balance of power before inexplicably abandoning that role in an informal (but in the end, very binding) alliance with France.

To the events of July 1914, technological development and industrialization would be a determinant of not just tactics and doctrine, but also would be a major factor in the shaping and executing of Grand Strategy for the countries embroiled in the crisis.   The mobilization of an army in the industrial age entailed a great deal of preparation, and once executed, left little to no room for equivocation.  To do so would be to throw the proverbial spanner in the works, causing upheaval, delays, and the real spectre of being unprepared and in the midst of deploying when war came.  Thus, when the decisions in the respective governments for mobilization came, war was all but inevitable.  Interestingly, the last continental power to order mobilization was Imperial Germany.  Wilhelm, with the prospect of war looming, had tried desperately to apply the brakes to the rapidly accelerating events.   That German war plans calling for the rapid defeat of France to avoid a two-front war were what impelled the German Army to violate Belgian neutrality is one of the tragic ironies of all history.  It was the invasion of Belgium which, in the end, made inevitable British intervention against Germany, preventing the very victory over France sought by the Germans, and all but ensuring their slow strangulation at the hands of the Royal Navy which they had so antagonized with the Naval Race in the previous two decades.

Of the battlefields themselves, much has been said.  The warning signs of what modern war would be had been plentiful for anyone who cared to see.  Dating to the American Civil War, the increasingly deadly weapons of the Industrial Age had made their presence felt.  Britain, certainly, had experience against an enemy armed with modern metallic cartridge rifles in South Africa, and had employed modern machine guns against its empire’s foes at places like Omdurman and Cape Colony.   Envisioning what being on the other side of the Maxim Gun would entail should not have been beyond imagination for the British Army’s Officer corps.  Modern breech-loading rapid-fire artillery, with recoil systems which eliminated the need to re-position guns after firing, had been in military inventories for more than two decades.  The battlefield tactics of 1914, a full generation behind those technological developments, were an invitation to the subsequent slaughter that ensued, resulting in the profligate wastage of much of the youth of Europe.   The names of the Somme, Verdun, Gallipoli, Jutland, Ypres, Loos, Caporetto, Tannenberg, Passchendaele, and the Isonzo all evoke images of privation and death without purpose, and rightly or wrongly, of incompetent and criminally obtuse military leadership.

The effect of the unprecedented butchery on the psyche of Western civilization is still being felt.  The old order in much of Europe, political as well as social, collapsed utterly.  The confidence in the enlightened nature of Man, of his scientific mastery, and his cultural education, was shattered forever.  Monarchies in Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany fell, replaced mostly by the anarchy of revolution.  In the wake of that revolution, spurred in great measure by the War to End All Wars, came the Bolsheviks and National Socialists who would ensure that the horrors of 1914-18 would be just a precursor to the bloodiest of centuries.

However implausible it may seem (and all the more implausible with closer analysis), the impetus for the Great War and all that followed occurred one hundred years ago today, when bullets from a sickly and tubercular young assassin’s pistol ended the lives of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on a Sarajevo street.  The warnings of Bismarck in the 1878 Congress of Berlin to not allow Europe to devolve into general war over “some damned fool thing in the Balkans” went, in the end, unheeded.

 

 

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Anatomy of a Smear Campaign

Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, has been a thorn in the side of Democrats both in his state and nationally since he defanged the public sector unions and brought fiscal sanity to Wisconsin.

And the left simply can’t let that stand.

You may recall the flight of state lawmakers to Illinois to prevent the state legislature reaching a quorum. You may recall the frenzied protests by lawless employees of the state.

Further, never ones to forego the power of the state for political purposes, a cabal of staunchly Democratic prosecutors abused Wisconsin’s “John Doe” investigation process to harass Wisconsin Club for Growth and affiliated groups, with pre-dawn raids of their homes and offices, seizures of their papers and computers, and gag orders to prevent them from even publicly defending themselves, while strategically leaking information about the “investigation” to press contacts sure to be friendly to their leftist agenda.

Eric O’Keefe, of Wisconsin  CFG was fed up with the abusive investigation, and sued in federal court, complaining that the “John Doe” investigation violated his First Amendment rights. And Judge Randa of the local federal District Court agreed, and ordered the investigation halted. An appeal to the 7th District by the prosecutors was denied. The investigation was ordered halted.

But a simple thing like a court order isn’t going to stop the determined leftist from their goal of the destruction of an effective Republican politician.

As a part of the ongoing O’Keefe litigation, the unredacted reports of the investigation were ordered released today. And virtually every media outlet leapt to shout from the rooftops-

Prosecutors: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Part Of ‘Criminal Scheme’

Here’s the problem with that.

The mere allegation of a “criminal scheme” was just that, words tumbling from the mouth of a politically motivated prosecutor.

In fact, back in January,  when the prosecutors took their requests for subpoenas before a judge, including the filing mentioning a criminal scheme:

On Jan. 10, 2014, Peterson threw out Schmitz’s motion, saying that it “failed to show probable cause that a crime had been committed.”

In other words, the Judge Peterson laughed them out of court, recognizing that the prosecutors had nothing-zip-nadda.

It was after this that O’Keefe sued to halt the witch hunt.

And none of this is news. Political junkies have known about Judge Randa’s order halting the persecution (yes, persecution) since the day it happened.

But that doesn’t help the left.

It is simply impossible to believe that the writers and editors didn’t know already that there was no crime committed.

Heck, they already know that no crime could have been committed.

The sham investigation says it was looking for evidence of illegal coordination. But since Wisconsin CFG and the others are advocating for issues, and not candidates, they’re wholly exempt from the law the prosecutors were theoretically basing their investigation on. And they know this.

But as Peterson points out, Chapter 11 is reserved for groups that engage in “express advocacy,” or directly urging voters to support or oppose a candidate.  It is those who make these types of “independent expenditures” that must file reports with the state disclosing how much they are spending and who is paying for them, and swearing that they are not coordinating with candidates.

“Issue ads,” on the other hand, never come within a mile of Chapter 11.  These groups exercise their First Amendment right to political speech completely outside the purview of government regulation.  They operate as if they were selling McDonald’s or Coke; they don’t have to report anything to anyone, and they can coordinate freely between one another.  The idea that somehow these groups are now subject to state law is unprecedented, and runs directly counter to a slate of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings upholding the right of these groups to operate.

These groups did not coordinate with Governor Walker. But even if they had, they would not have broken any laws at all, nor would it be illegal or unethical for Governor Walker.

And HuffPo and the others know this.

But the goal here was to plant in the minds of those who aren’t political junkies that Walker has a whiff of corruption about him. After all, a headline that says, “Democratic prosecutors on witch hunt shot down by one judge, shut down by another” wouldn’t further their goals.

The “progressive” and “tolerant” Left will always use the power of the state to persecute, harass, and punish any political foe that doesn’t kowtow to them, and most particularly, a Republican who is an honest, effective leader.

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