Wednesday, November 30, 2011
A Harvard Fairy Tale About Romney and Obama
By Jeffrey Lord on 11.29.11 @ 6:08AM
Meet Alexander Heffner, a pro-Occupy student who targets the first and praises the latter in a false Harvard story.
Alexander Heffner is an idealist.
Good for him.
He is also your basic left-wing Harvard senior. Then again, I repeat myself.
Mr. Heffner, a blossoming left-wing journalist (oops -- there I go again repeating myself) who has cut his journalistic teeth interning in the sacred liberal precincts of the Washington Post, penned a holiday missive for the New York Daily News titled "The Tale of Two Harvards."
In it, Mr. Heffner writes a boldly constructed deceit. Which no one, apparently, has recognized.
In which he compares Harvard graduates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to the disfavor -- shocker I know -- of the former. Mr. Romney, you see, represents the "old Harvard of assumed privilege -- and of a go along-to-get-along attitude that bordered on the sycophantic. By just about all accounts he was not one for rocking the boat."
But Obama? Ahhhhhhhhh, the Anointed One. Even way back at Harvard where The One was "remembered as an open-minded moderate on campus" -- yes He, The One, "was much further removed from the pedigree of the conventional Harvard student." Why was this? Because, silly, thirty years before his arrival "he would have been laughed off most elite campuses simply for the shade of his skin."
Where does one begin? And why bother? In his senior year at Harvard Mr. Heffner is already well down the road nodding and kneeling to all the sacred liberal cows that have created such a massive drop in ratings and circulations for the once supposedly impregnable fortress that was so-called "mainstream" (aka: liberal) journalism.
Be that as it may, it's useful to understand just how filled with disingenuous nonsense this constant stream of chatter is -- and perhaps even more to the point -- the central deceit in this particular story. Let's go through Mr. Heffner's liberal constructs.
• Mitt Romney: Certainly Mr. Romney is not immune to criticism. He has been getting a great deal of it from conservatives, including here in this space. But the criticism Mr. Heffner levels in an effort to make his "two Harvards" case is blatantly deceptive.
Take this description of Romney from Heffner:
The son of a Michigan governor and the product of the wealthy Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Romney represented the old Harvard of assumed privilege…
The impression conveyed here is that Romney comes from a long line of Harvard-bred Romneys who have always, through accident of birth, whiled away their privileged youth in the precincts of Harvard Yard.
This is laughably untrue. Mitt Romney's father, the aforementioned Governor George Romney of Michigan, was the son of hardscrabble Mormon missionaries. Son George grew up under decidedly modest if not poor circumstances in the Great Depression. In fact, not only did George Romney never go to Harvard -- he never graduated from any college at all! What he did do was struggle -- working in several different jobs to cobble together a living, eventually gaining the skills and confidence that, added to his native smarts, led him to fame and fortune as the CEO of American Motors, the governorship of his state, a presidential run (losing the 1968 GOP nomination to Richard Nixon) and service as a Cabinet member (Nixon's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development). Not bad for a boy who never had a college degree.
By the time his financial success arrived George Romney was able to provide son Mitt his education and the privileges that flowed from the George Romney-bootstrapped success.
In other words, soon-to-be-Harvard-grad Heffner is ignoring the fact that George Romney was not only no son of privilege. Heffner is in effect saying that Mitt Romney should be somehow penalized and made into a poster-boy of privilege because his father escaped poverty altogether and made a considerable Horatio Alger-style success of both his professional and family life. Heaven forbid that Americans learn from an example like that! Alas, this attitude of Heffner's will surely make life difficult for the likes of Malia and Sasha Obama who already fit the privileged profile that Mr. Heffner says is so troubling about Mitt Romney.
Curiously, one never heard a word from Heffner about this subject when another son of Harvard, the late Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy was alive and well. Mr. Kennedy, famously, was precisely the living embodiment of privilege Mr. Heffner says he disdains. Kennedy's father Joe went to Harvard (unlike Mitt's father George, who, remember, never graduated from college at all) and, of course, Teddy was one of four equally famous and privileged brothers, every last one of whom went to Harvard. The others being Joe, Jack and Bobby -- the latter two using their Harvard privileges and wealth to achieve, between them, one House seat, two Senate seats, a Cabinet post and the presidency. Ted was thrown out of Harvard for cheating, as one recalls, but went into the army to make amends and was quickly allowed the privilege of getting back in. At thirty, on the strength of no serious resume beyond being the then-president's kid brother Teddy was handed a Senate seat where he lived comfortably for the rest of his life.
• Barack Obama: Mr. Obama, assures Heffner, is a treasured symbol of the new Harvard.
What is the new Harvard? Why, a place where one gets to be without the "assumed privilege" of the old family tie. But is this true in President Obama's case? Really? Let's see. We now know about the hard scrabbling George Romney, father of Mitt who never graduated from any college much less Harvard. But Mr. Heffner makes no mention whatsoever of Barack Obama's father. Why might this be?
Hmmm. Doubtless there is a reason. Ah yes.
Barack Obama, Sr., you see, not only went to college he graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Hawaii. And then? And then -- wait for it -- Mr. Obama received a Masters in Economics from… ahem… Harvard. That's right. Harvard. Listed by Wikipedia in the Class of 1965.
In fact, it is Barack Obama's father who went to Harvard and not Mitt Romney's father.
The legacy child of the two, the one from the "old Harvard of assumed privilege" is in fact Obama -- not Romney.
So this being the case, why in the world would Mr. Heffner try to imply something that in fact is decidedly not true?
One suspects the reason boils down to the standard left-wing mind set at work.
Says Heffner of Obama:
Originally enrolled at Occidental College in Southern California before transferring to Columbia, Obama was never a shoo-in for an Ivy League degree. In fact, some 30 years before his arrival at Harvard, he would have been laughed off most elite campuses simply for the shade of his skin.
Ahhhhhhhhhh. Now we get down to it.
THE REASON FOR HEFFNER'S tall tale is the liberal world view of race and economics. The nominal reason for Heffner's column, after all, was to praise not only Obama and diss Romney but to hold high the torch of the Occupy Wall Street crowd -- in this case the Harvard affiliate which has camped out at the base of the statue of John Harvard.
But alas, that world view -- well aside from its dubious skin-color judging pedigree as the political love child of progressives with slave owners, segregationists, the Klan and racial quota enthusiasts -- needs desperately to ignore basic facts. In this case the fact that Barack Obama Sr. was getting his masters in economics from Harvard a full decade before Romney earned his Harvard MBA. Or, for that matter, the uncomfortable fact that WEB Dubois, the founder of the NAACP, was earning a Harvard history degree cum laude -- way back in 1890. Blacks and Harvard, contrary to Heffner, are not new found companions. But hey -- race and economics is the progressive tie that binds!
And oh yes….while we are on the subject of race and liberals. After getting his Masters from Harvard, Barack Obama Sr. began work on getting his Ph.D. from Harvard. But… but…. well, in 1964, the Democrat in the White House had a whole different view of immigration issues than the administration of President Barack Obama and today's left-wing liberals. In fact, the predecessor agency of today's Department of Homeland Security -- the Immigration and Naturalization Service -- as run by Lyndon Johnson in 1964 had a specific problem with Barack Obama Sr. In fact, as seen in this story from the Boston Herald, Harvard is believed to have forced Mr. Obama Sr. out of its Ph. D. program. Why? Because, quoting here from the Boston Herald:
Harvard had asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service to delay a request by Barack Hussein Obama Sr. to extend his stay in the U.S., "until they decided what action they could take in order to get rid of him," immigration official M.F. McKeon wrote in a June 1964 memo.
Harvard administrators, the memo stated, "were having difficulty with his financial arrangements and couldn't seem to figure out how many wives he had."
The Herald went on to say:
An earlier INS memo from McKeon said that while the elder Obama had passed his exams and was entitled on academic grounds to stay and complete his thesis, the school was going to try and "cook something up to ease him out."
"They are planning on telling him that they will not give him any money, and that he had better return to Kenya and prepare his thesis at home," the memo stated.
In May 1964, David D. Henry, director of Harvard's international office, wrote to Obama to say that, while he had completed his formal course work, the economics department and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences didn't have the money to support him.
"We have, therefore, come to the conclusion that you should terminate your stay in the United States and return to Kenya to carry on your research and the writing of your thesis," Henry's letter stated.
Obama's request for an extended stay was denied by the INS. He left Harvard and -- divorced from the president's mother -- returned to his native Kenya in July 1964. He did not complete his Ph.D."
Is it any wonder Heffner would focus on Mitt Romney's father but not Barack Obama's? Not only is the Harvard tie tight as a drum, but in today's world of left-wingism Harvard would be deeply embarrassed that it kow-towed to a bullying government agency that was essentially demanding it deport a black man for reasons financial and cultural -- the reference to the "two wives."
Nor is it any wonder that when Barack Obama's son turned up as -- yow! -- the leftist President of the United States in 2011, Harvard blithely announced this very year the most interesting gap in its records since Richard Nixon's Watergate records. You guessed it. Reported the Herald:
Harvard issued a statement Friday saying that it could not find in its own records anything to support the accounts given in the INS memos.
"While we cannot verify accounts of conversations that occurred nearly 50 years ago, a review of our existing files did not find any support for either the language or the implied intent described by the U.S. government official in the government documents," the statement read.
No wonder Alexander Heffner would like to ignore the subject of Barack Obama Sr. and his son Barack Obama -- and Harvard. By the time future president Barack Obama was applying to Harvard the modern left wing was in full control of Harvard and most other notable academic precincts. Is it not at least plausible that a check of records that quite possibly would have been available at the time set off a wave of basic liberal guilt -- a guilt that told the current administrators that Harvard had been excruciatingly unfair to the original Barack Obama? And thus… admitted the son based at least in part over guilt for Harvard's mistreatment of his father?
Presumably we will never know. But that Barack Obama Sr. in fact has a strong Harvard tie plus a Master's and was later pushed out is nowhere in Mr. Heffner's tale of the two Harvards.
THE OTHER FACT IN NEED of ignoring by Heffner is that the private sector is not just the economic backbone of the country at large, it is at the very heart of the existence of Harvard itself. Where in fact does the money for the school's $32 billion -- that's billion with a "b" -- endowment come from?
Why, from the private economy, of course.
Thus the need to divert attention from Mr. Heffner's daily activities at an institution financed from the private earnings of people like -- Mitt Romney. Or, as Heffner describes these evil beings/alumni -- perpetrators of "corporate greed."
One can only marvel at the subjective nature of this redistributionist urge at Harvard.
Let's assume that Mr. Heffner is a good student and has his requisite share of good grades. While grade inflation has been at issue at Harvard, let's assume Heffner has earned some A's and other Harvard students have not. Has Heffner announced his willingness to redistribute his good grades to those who do not have them -- out of a sense of fairness? In spite of insisting on the need for "social responsibility" over "personal wealth"? Under Obamanomics the "share the wealth" idea has resurfaced from the political depths, and certainly "wealth" is a term that can be applied to any number of things beyond money. So is Heffner leading a campaign to share top grades out of a sense of fairness? He doesn't say. How about girl friends? Is he starting a "my girl is your girl" campaign? No word.
In other words, Heffner's Harvard yen for "social responsibility" rings decidedly hollow when it suits. But he certainly isn't alone in admiring the Harvard Occupiers.
Take, for example, the case of one Timothy McCarthy, quoted here in Slate:
Timothy P. McCarthy, a Harvard Law School lecturer, explained the relevance of a school-specific Occupy protest to the Crimson: "If Harvard is going to be a place that produces people with power, then Harvard must be an institution where the public good is more important than private profit."
This is an intriguing statement, yes?
I contacted Dr. McCarthy of Harvard and asked him four questions:
1. What is your salary as a "Harvard Law School lecturer"?
2. Who pays that salary?
3. Since Harvard is a private institution, if your paycheck comes from Harvard, who supplies the money that enables Harvard to pay you your salary?
4. If you are being paid by monies gained from private profit, why are you accepting the money when, by your own definition, those funds would be better served going to the "public good"?
Perhaps not surprisingly, assuming his contact information as provided by Harvard is correct and the distinguished Lecturer does in fact receive and read his e-mail, despite saying that he welcomed media inquiries on all manner of subjects including politics and "Justice," Dr. McCarthy clammed up.
Whether he believes the fact that he must earn his bread from people who have worked for private profit is somehow not "Justice" I do not know. But it is certainly fact.
Dr. McCarthy's salary, whatever it is and from which he personally and privately profits, is paid from money earned by people engaged in real work, non-public sector work. (The public sector -- Elizabeth Warren notwithstanding -- only gets money paid by the private sector, in the form of money called "taxes.") Thus for all his sentiments -- and those of Heffner, who derides "personal wealth" unless it funds his access to Harvard -- McCarthy falls silent because it is presumably teeth-grating for him to admit that when the rubber hits the road he is dependent for his existence on those who are engaged in creating said wealth. And without those who create "private profit" he, Harvard Lecturer McCarthy, would be dependent on some taxpayer subsidy. Said subsidies, of course, coming from monies created as wealth in the private sector.
So why do this? Why would Harvard student Alexander Heffner try and make Barack Obama into something he's not -- while insisting Mitt Romney is clearly something he is not? Why the leftist urge to make heroes of Harvard's Occupiers? Why the decidedly fanciful "Tale of Two Harvards"?
Easy, if one is a lefty.
Since the reality of the left wing's historical dependence on race and redistributionist economics ranges from the horrific (slavery) to the merely abysmal (how's that Obamanomics unemployment rate working for you?), all that remains in defense is to try and make of potential GOP nominee Romney some sort of symbol of Harvard privilege.
And to hope that enough people will close their eyes to the hard fact that unless enough everyday Americans get up in the morning and work at everything from -- yes, gasp! -- financial services like those busy growing that $32 billion Harvard endowment to simply waiting tables -- there is no public sector. There is also -- gasp! -- no Harvard. There is no job for Alexander Heffner when he graduates -- and no capitalistic newspaper like the New York Daily News that provides him the chance to express his views in newsprint and cyberprint. And with no Harvard around, there goes Dr. McCarthy's nice job as a Harvard Lecturer.
It also turns out that the Romney-Obama comparison has another problem for Heffner. To cite but one example. Famously, Romney convinced Bain Capital -- that dastardly repository of greed -- to invest in Staples, the office supply store. Today, thanks to Romney's astute use of private capital, Staples has some 2,000 stores around the world and (2009 figures) some 90,000 employees. And Barack Obama's job creation record as a Chicago community organizer? Zero. That's right. Zip. Zero. Nada. Which, of course, should have perhaps set off a caution light or two in November of 2008, but what's done is done.
So what's this all about, Alfie?
What it's all about is that Mr. Heffner, in his Romney/Obama "Tale of Two Harvards" is simply recycling the same-old, same-old shtick of progressive/socialist economics seasoned yet again with race. So it has always been, so, apparently, it always shall be.
He has been disingenuous in doing so -- trying to make Romney look the part of Harvard privilege when in literal fact it is Obama whose old man went to Harvard -- with poor George Romney not even getting your basic college degree from anywhere.
Heffner tries to make of Obama a hero on race because as the head of the Harvard Law Review "he quietly but effectively helped to push for the hiring of more professors of color." Really? Is that what he was doing? Or was Obama pushing the hiring of more liberal professors who happened to be of "color"? Call me crazy, but one suspects if Yale Law Grad Clarence Thomas had been on the Supreme Court at the time and thought of leaving to apply for a position at Harvard Law -- the last thing Barack Obama would have done would be to push for the conservative Mr. Justice Thomas's hiring. Thus Obama was most surely not involved in "pushing" the hiring of anyone remotely thought to be a black or Latino conservative. This is a very old game of liberals and their racial double-standards -- and as Herman Cain is finding out, it also applies to presidential politics.
Last but not least, Harvard's Mr. Heffner presents Obama as someone who could "resonate" with young people because Obama somehow exemplifies the "path of a young man who chose social responsibility over personal wealth." When in fact that "social responsibility" did nothing to create jobs for the people of Chicago when community organizer Obama was walking the streets. Anymore than he is creating jobs now, alas, for America as a whole while occupying the White House. On the other hand, he has used his political celebrity to make money from selling books. Money that makes the once middle class Mr. Obama a man of tidy personal wealth.
ALL OF WHICH LEADS to the real challenge at the heart of all this nonsense, the challenge in a very real sense that has nothing to do with personalities be they Obama, Romney or anyone else.
Capitalism, based on its record of job creation alone, is the single greatest engine of "social responsibility" in history. Socialism -- Obamanomics, redistributionism, however you chose to call it -- is, based on its record, the greatest engine of social irresponsibility in world history.
The latter philosophy impoverishes entire populations, turns them into crippled wards of the state and has a horrifically cruel tie to some of the worst moments in human history. In its worst form, it has darkened human history in the more terrible guises of the bloody guillotine of the French Revolution, the Kristallnacht, concentration camps and Holocaust of Germany's National Socialist German Workers Party, as well as the gulags of the now defunct Soviet Union. In its most benign form, whether it appears as American law like the Great Depression-inducing Smoot-Hawley tariff or "social responsibility" like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's political manipulations to give millions credit for mortgages they could not afford -- the result of "social responsibility" has repeatedly been terrifying economic failures that are heartlessly cruel to millions led to believe the government was there to help them.
When Heffner's naïve idealism calls for recapturing the energy of young people for the "collective good" one does not have to have attended Harvard to understand what will happen if he -- and a re-elected President Obama -- get their way. He is calling for a society that in practical operating fact is historically neither charitable nor fair. When he chastises Romney for being "averse to all controversy or confrontation" while at Harvard and not being one given to "rocking the boats" because he has a "go-along-to-get-along attitude that borders on the sycophantic" Heffner sees not the slightest irony.
Who, in fact is unwilling to rock the boat at Harvard right this minute and stand up for anything that challenges the school's left-wing mind set? Decidedly, not Mr. Heffner. His doe-eyes for the "populist creed" of the Occupiers and all this "social responsibility" breathlessness is, if nothing else, most assuredly "sycophantic." One can only imagine Mr. Heffner's social fate at Harvard had he confronted the Harvard Occupiers with a sign bearing the words of capitalist and black man Herman Cain: "Get a job." He'd be lucky to graduate without police protection.
It's not simply embarrassing to see this kind of thought process emerging from the (theoretically, at least) best school in the nation -- its telling.
Because it isn't just Alexander Heffner who believes this.
It's the Harvard-trained President of the United States.
Which is precisely why this country is rapidly becoming what it can only become based on such bad ideas. A place divided between those who went to Harvard or other outposts of leftwing academia and came out thinking like Alexander Heffner and Barack Obama.
And the rest of us.
You might call it "A Tale of Two Americas."
To read another article by Jeffrey Lord, click here.
Posted by Brett at 8:12 PM
Once You Go Conservative Black, You Better Watch Your Back
By Ann Coulter
With the mainstream media giddily reporting on an alleged affair involving Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, how long can it be before they break the news that their 2004 vice presidential candidate conceived a "love child" with his mistress, Rielle Hunter?
The left is trying to destroy Cain with a miasma of hazy accusations leveled by three troubled women. Considered individually, the accusations are utterly unbelievable. They are even less credible taken together. This is how liberals destroy a man, out of nothing.
After the first round of baseless accusations against Cain, an endless stream of pundits rolled out the cliche -- as if it were the height of originality -- "This isn't he said-she said; it's he-said, she-said, she-said, she-said, she–said."
Au contraire: We had two "shes" and only one "said."
Remember? Only two women were willing to give their names. And as soon as they did, we discovered that they were highly suspicious accusers with nothing more than their personal honor to support the allegations. Only one of the two would even say what Cain allegedly did.
The first one was Sharon Bialek, who claimed that Cain grabbed her crotch in a car.
Then we found out Bialek was in constant financial trouble, had been involved in a paternity lawsuit, was known as a "gold digger," had a string of debts and had twice filed for personal bankruptcy. Also, she admitted she knew Obama's dirty tricks specialist, David Axelrod, from living in the same building with him.
Her personal history is relevant because she produced no evidence. We had to take her word. (Which was not helped by seeing her standing with Gloria Allred.)
The second one, Karen Kraushaar, made unspecified allegations of a "hostile environment" when she was working for Cain, but refuses to say what those allegations were. This despite the fact that the National Restaurant Association waived her confidentiality agreement, thus allowing her to go public.
That's one "she," but no "said."
Cain said he had once told Kraushaar she was as tall as his wife -- which would be one of the more worthy sexual harassment claims settled by an American company in recent years.
Why won't she say? We're not talking about rape. Kraushaar can't say, "I don't want to relive being told I was the same height as his wife!" With all the nonsense that passes for a "hostile environment," either Kraushaar tells us what Cain allegedly did, or her blind accusation is worth less than nothing.
As if that weren't enough, then it turned out that Kraushaar had also filed a complaint at her next job just three years later, charging that a manager had circulated a sexually explicit joke email comparing computers to men and women. She demanded a raise and the right to work at home.
Maybe Kraushaar is the most unlucky woman in the world. But the simpler explanation is that she is not a credible witness on the workplace atmosphere.
And now we have Ginger White stepping forward to claim that she had a 13-year affair with Cain. Cain admits he was friends with White, but he categorically, adamantly denies having an affair with her.
White has the whole combo-platter of questionable accuser attributes: She's another financially troubled, twice-divorced, unemployed single mother, who has claimed sexual harassment in the past, declared bankruptcy once, was accused of stalking and had a libel judgment entered against her just this year. So far in 2011, she's had nine liens put on her property.
But we're supposed to ignore all of that because she's the third woman of questionable character to make an implausible allegation. Liberals say there's a pattern, but the only pattern is of their making far-fetched accusations of a sexual nature against Cain.
White's proof that she had a 13-year affair is that she has two of Cain's books signed by him -- one with the incriminating inscription, "Friends are forever! Everything else is a bonus," and the other, "Miss G, you have already made a 'big difference!' Stay focused as you pursue your next destination." (I know -- filthy!)
If that's proof of an affair, I've had thousands of them without even realizing it.
Also, White produced evidence that Cain had texted or called her cell phone 61 times during four non-consecutive months -- but did not reveal what those texts said. ("Would you please return my lawn mower?")
Again, if that's proof of an affair, I'm having hundreds of them at this very moment.
This is the sort of evidence you get with an actual sexual predator: Bill Clinton's accusers had gifts, taped phone conversations with him and a semen-stained dress.
Gennifer Flowers produced taped telephone calls with Clinton totaling thousands of words between them, with him counseling her on how to deny their affair: "If they ever hit you with it, just say no, and go on. There's nothing they can do ... But when they -- if somebody contacts you, I need to know ... All you got to do is deny it."
Paula Jones had multiple same-day witnesses -- including the state troopers who worked for Clinton and had already told the press about a "Paula" they brought to Clinton's hotel room. And that was for a single incident.
Monica Lewinsky had lots of gifts from Clinton, including a hat pin, two brooches, a marble bear figurine, a T-shirt from Martha's Vineyard and Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," all of which she mysteriously placed with Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie, during the investigation, as well as a semen-stained dress, which Monica kept.
Ginger White claims she had a 13-year affair with Cain -- and all she has are two books with inscriptions that could have been written to an auto mechanic who waited in line at a Cain book signing. Even her business partner during the alleged affair says White never mentioned Cain's name.
These women are like triple-A ball players with the stats being: number of bankruptcies, smallest bank account, number of liens, most false claims, number of children out of wedlock, degrees of separation from David Axelrod, total trips to human resources and so on.
That wouldn't be dispositive -- except for the fact that their only evidence is their word.
But this is how liberals dirty you up when they've got nothing: They launch a series of false accusations, knowing that Americans with busy lives won't follow each story to the end and notice that they were all blind alleys.
The liberal media is an old story, but it's still a big story when it comes to creating the impression of scandal out of thin air.
Most people say, "Where there's smoke, there's fire." I say, "Where there's smoke around a conservative, there are journalists furiously rubbing two sticks together."
To read another article by Ann Coulter, click here.
Let's Kill Cain's Campaign
By Brent Bozell
From the breaking news, one might think that with a woman who claims she had a 13-year affair with presidential candidate Herman Cain, someone is being seriously exposed as a hypocrite. That would be the press. The media can't deny they continue to display a lousy double standard. For Republican candidates, scandalous news is instant. For Democrats, it's eventual, if at all!
Ginger White's charges sound a lot like Gennifer Flowers in 1992, when she said she had a 12-year affair with Bill Clinton. So many in the press pounce on Flowers as unequivocal evidence of the media's sense of balance. After all, they will remind us, just look how we covered that scandal!
Yes, look. It's a wonderful exercise in media disinformation. Political junkies will recall that Flowers held a (SET ITAL) press conference (END ITAL) carried live on CNN on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 23, 1992. It had all the elements for snappy news. She played audiotapes of phone conversations with Clinton. Despite all this, the first network mention was a short story by NBCs Lisa Myers, more than 24 hours later. Other than that, the three broadcast network morning and evening newscasts waited to breathe the name "Flowers" for four days.
And then they dismissed the scandal as a non-scandal. On ABC, anchorman Peter Jennings (who was married four times) set the tone: "At several stops today, talking about Gennifer Flowers, Gov. Clinton denounced what he called 'trash for cash'. And there appear to be quite a few people who agree." Jennings declared a quick ABC poll found only 26 percent wouldn't vote for an adulterous candidate. "But our polling unit points out that at least half of those people who said no are Republicans and unlikely to vote for Gov. Clinton anyway."
The networks rewarded Clinton with all this tolerance because, as liberal journalist Hendrik Hertzberg explained, at the time, reporters loved Clinton's potential: "(T) hey think he would make a very good, perhaps a great, president. Several told me they were convinced that Clinton is the most talented presidential candidate they have ever encountered, JFK included."
Herman Cain is the polar opposite of Bill Clinton to these people. Political reporters consider him an under-educated buffoon and, as a black conservative, possibly self-loathing to boot. So there are no reasons to delay adultery charges. In fact, they should be rushed on the air, followed by sneering political death notices.
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams was the first network anchor on the scene. This is the same anchorman that just expressed great joy and delight that NBC will be blessed by a woman with zero journalistic experience named Chelsea Clinton. Williams oozed on CNN that Chelsea was "super smart and worldly and curious," an "impressive, impressive woman" with a "very, very unique viewpoint." Grovel, grovel, grovel.
But here's what's sick. Ginger White makes an adultery charge against Cain and she's on NBC within hours. But when Juanita Broaddick accused Chelsea's father of raping her in a 1999 Dateline NBC interview, then-anchor Tom Brokaw never allowed one second of her voice to break into the NBC Nightly News.
By morning, Cain was dismissed as a political corpse, or a ghost. On ABC, anchor Robin Roberts suggestively asked, "Do (White's) shocking revelations spell doom for his troubled campaign?" On CBS, political analyst John Dickerson proclaimed, "It's hard to see how he comes back from this...At the worst, it's a death blow to the campaign."
But NBCs Chuck Todd was the most colorful, citing movies: "Now we're in sort of 'The Sixth Sense' mode. Everybody knows this candidacy is basically dead except the campaign." Todd then suggested he wasn't so much a ghost as an object: "I think that Cain is not necessarily hurting the field anymore. He's become a sideshow. It's almost a shiny, metal object at this point."
These death notices may be entirely accurate, but that's not the point. What is salient here is that Cain's scandals have been covered aggressively from day one by the same media that summarily refused -- and to this day refuse -- to cover allegations against Bill Clinton that are a hundred-fold more serious.
To my knowledge, the only TV reporter to ask Clinton directly about the rape charge (twice) was Sam Donaldson. Did it not send red flags skyward when both times instead of denying the charge, Clinton referred the matter to his attorney?
Night after night and morning after morning, the broadcast TV "news" makers demonstrate their "journalism" is carefully managed and manipulated into tidy packages designed to provide the maximum political benefit to liberals and the maximum political damage to conservatives.
Why am I not the slightest bit surprised that a Washington Post employee is tweeting over the Internet: "Hey Tweeps: Looking for outlandish/incorrect predictions and quotes from Newt Gingrich's past. Any ideas for me?"
Gingrich, it's your turn.
To read another article by Brent Bozell, click here.
Posted by Brett at 4:46 PM
ATF and Obama DOJ Retaliating Against Fast and Furious Whistleblowers
By Katie Pavlich
In October, I brought you the story about Jay Dobyns, a highly decorated and respected ATF special agent who is facing retaliation from the agency for speaking out against the way managers within the ATF Phoenix Field Division were handling credible death threats against himself and his family. Coincidentally, the same managers who ignored the threats against Dobyns and then retaliated against him for speaking out, are the same managers who were heavily involved in Operation Fast and Furious. The Dobyns' case could be the worst case of whistleblower retaliation in history.
Jay Dobyns is a father, husband and 25-year highly respected and highly decorated Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent. He was the first law enforcement agent to ever successfully infiltrate multiple layers of the notoriously dangerous and violent Hells Angels motorcycle gang through "Operation Black Biscuit." He has described the Hells Angels as having their "PhDs in violence," and worked undercover in the gang for two years. Dobyns has dedicated his life to undercover service for ATF and took a bullet through the lung at one point for the agency. Luckily, he survived.
Dobyns has put a number of the nations’ most violent criminals behind bars, which naturally comes with threats from those criminals and their buddies in return. After he finished his work bringing down the Hells Angels, things were no different.
Approximately a year after Operation Black Biscuit concluded beginning in 2004 through 2008, Dobyns and ATF became aware of credible and substantial violent threats against him and his family. Those threats included plans to murder him either with a bullet or by injecting him with the AIDS virus, kidnapping and torturing his then 15-year-old daughter and kidnapping his wife in order to videotape a gang rape of her. Dobyns and ATF also learned contracts were solicited between the Hells Angels, the Aryan Brotherhood and the MS-13 gang to carry out these threats.
These threats were laid out in prison letters and confirmed through FBI and ATF interviews of confidential informants inside the Florence Corrections Facility and the Arlington County Detention Center in Virginia. Also found circulating in the Florence Facility by a prisoner known as the captain of the Aryan Brotherhood named "WHITEY," was an extensive hit list with Jay Dobyns as a top target. Leaders of each gang in the prison had a copy of the list and had been given "permission to kill" persons listed according to ATF documents and interviews. Dobyns’ name, in addition to a detailed description of his appearance, also came up in prison yard talk.
Dobyns reported these threats to Special Agent in Charge William Newell, asking for protection for his family. The threats were based in Arizona and Dobyns lived in Arizona at the time. Newell was in charge of investigating and handling all threats made against agents working out of the ATF Phoenix Field Office. The threats were ignored. When Dobyns essentially "blew the whistle" on Newell, pointing out his failures to address violent death threats against a federal agent, he was retaliated against. Newell dismissed the threats and then covered up his blatant dismissal of those threats within the Phoenix Field Office.
On top of ignoring death threats, recently Dobyns' house was set on fire at 3 a.m. with his wife, son and daughter sleeping inside in a confirmed act of arson. It is suspected members of the Hells Angels, or close associates of the gang carried out the arson in retaliation of Dobyns’ undercover work.
When Dobyns reported the incident to both ATF and Newell. He asked for an investigation into the case. Newell not only refused to investigate, calling the incident "just scorching," but allowed his subordinates, including Gillett, to attempt to frame Dobyns, accusing him of purposely burning down his own home with his family inside, has named him as a suspect and is investigating him. Newell conspired to destroy and fabricate evidence to "prove" his case. Emails, witness testimony, phone conversations and other documentation show the ATF Phoenix Field Divisions’ intentions, led by Newell, were to frame Dobyns, yet Newell denied under oath any involvement in this activity. His subordinates Gillett and ATF Tucson Group Supervisor over Operation Wide Receiver Charles Higman, also denied any attempts to frame Dobyns under oath, despite evidence showing otherwise.
The retaliatory actions of Newell, and other ATF management agents, were reported to ATF senior management at the highest levels and were ignored.
Now, Dobyns is speaking out on behalf of the whistleblowers facing direct retaliation as a result of exposing the Obama Justice Department Fast and Furious scandal to the public and Congress.
Click here to view video.
Posted by Brett at 4:37 PM
BOB HOPE IN HEAVEN
For those of you too young to remember Bob Hope, ask your Grandparents. And thanks for the memories.
I HOPE THIS WILL PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND IN YOUR HEART.
Tribute to a man who DID make a difference.
ON TURNING 70
'You still chase women, but only downhill.'
ON TURNING 80
'That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.'
ON TURNING 90
'You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.'
ON TURNING 100
'I don't feel old. In fact , I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.'
ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER,
'I ruined my hands in the ring. The referee kept stepping on them.'
ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR
'Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'.
'Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees.'
'I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six.'
ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER
'When I was born, the doctor said to my mother,Congratulations, you have an eight pound ham.
ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
'I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.'
ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY
'Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.'
ON HIS SIX BROTHERS
'That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.'
ON HIS EARLY FAILURES
'I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the stuff the audience threw at me.'
ON GOING TO HEAVEN
'I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality.'
Give me a sense of humor Lord, the grace to see a joke and pass it on to others.
Posted by Brett at 2:36 PM
Obama's Cloud-Based Transparency
By Michelle Malkin
At the dawn of his administration, President Obama opined: "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." Magical rays of white-hot sunlight emanated from his media-manufactured halo. And then bureaucratically engineered darkness settled over the land.
For three years, White House officials have rolled out countless executive orders and initiatives touting open government. Just this week, they unveiled plans to move federal archival records from a paper-based to an electronic system. But behind the scenes, Obama's lawyers systematically have stymied public information requests, carved out crater-sized disclosure loopholes, fought subpoenas on scandals from Fast and Furious to Solyndra, and made routine the holiday document dump.
The latest meeting of the Government Accountability and Transparency Board, attended by Vice President Joe Biden, was closed to the press two weeks ago.
The Justice Department stealthily attempted to sabotage the Freedom of Information Act last month with a regulation change that would have allowed federal agencies to legally and deliberately deceive the public about the existence of requested records. After a massive backlash, DOJ retreated and sheepishly admitted that the license-to-lie rule "falls short" of the Obama "commitment" to transparency. (Actually, it's the perfect embodiment of the administration's contempt.) The same DOJ, it should be noted, banned reporters from a FOIA training workshop in 2009.
In October, the Interior Department and Energy Department spurned attempts to gain information about the administration's $1.2 billion loan guarantee to Democrat-connected solar company SunPower. The deal, championed by powerful Democratic Rep. George Miller III, was approved hours before the program expired on Sept. 30. Miller took Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on a tour of the SunPower plant last year; Miller's son is a lobbyist for SunPower. Conservative newspaper Human Events and the nonprofit legal watchdog group Judicial Watch have now filed several pending FOIA requests.
In September, State Department officials refused to go on record during a briefing on its new global government transparency program. Earlier this spring, a ceremony to honor Obama's commitment to openness was closed to the media -- after which dutiful (sup)press secretary Jay Carney boasted that his boss "has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past."
As evidence of this historic openness, Obama flacks point to farces like last week's Thanksgiving-timed release of White House visitor logs -- which even left-wing good government activists have criticized for their incompleteness. As the Center for Public Integrity reported earlier this year, the logs (which disclosure advocates forced into the public eye after suing) "routinely omit or cloud key details about the identity of visitors, whom they met with and the nature of their visits. The logs even include the names of people who never showed up. These are critical gaps that raise doubts about the records' historical accuracy and utility in helping the public understand White House operations, from social events to meetings on key policy debates."
Occasional holiday document dumps have always been a mainstay in Washington. But the agents of Hope and Change have turned the ritual into a weekly punch line. If it's Friday, it's dump day. The plan worked. As of Tuesday, no mainstream news outlet had reported on the contents of the Black Friday document trove.
None showed interest in the nearly 60 visits from Robert B. Creamer, a convicted felon and tax cheat, left-wing Huffington Post agitator, husband of Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky and vocal champion of the Occupy Wall Street movement. According to the newly released records I reviewed, Creamer was at the White House five times in August 2011 meeting with various officials, including Jon Carson, Cecilia Munoz and Stephanie Cutter.
Nor has there been interest outside conservative blogs in the five White House visits by former Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, a key Fast and Furious scandal bureaucrat, in July and August 2011, or in the five visits from former Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison, including on Aug. 18, 2011, just before the tax-subsidized firm declared bankruptcy.
Nor did any journalism ethics mavens show any curiosity whatsoever about the Aug. 5, 2011, appearance of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and her party of seven (names not identified) to visit "POTUS." Maddow made no mention of the visit on her August 5 show, which promoted the latest batch of White House stimulus proposals. According to the White House logs I reviewed, this was Maddow's fifth trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. -- and the fourth to see the president personally.
Instead, as Newsbusters noted, a Washington Post political blogger was busy trolling Twitter for help digging up "outlandish/incorrect predictions from Newt Gingrich's past." And the only documents The New York Times is interested in crowd-sourcing are Sarah Palin's e-mails.
Team Obama's data whitewashers inside and outside the White House have given "cloud-based" a whole new meaning.
To read another article by Michelle Malkin, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:30 PM
Chancellor Miller Tear Down This Wall
By Mike Adams
Dear Dr. Miller:
Let me first express my great satisfaction over your selection as our new chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I am delighted to have a former Mississippi State Bulldog in charge of our university. I am also impressed by your qualifications. Unlike your predecessor, you were not selected on the basis of your gender or any other irrelevant demographic characteristics. You were selected on the basis of your qualifications. You deserved the position you were awarded. And you’ve been doing an outstanding job so far.
Unfortunately, some of the actions of your predecessor have damaged the climate for free expression at UNC-Wilmington. Among those actions was a decision to post our Seahawk Respect Compact on the wall of every classroom at the university. My purpose in raising this issue is fourfold. I want to 1) highlight (by underlining) a portion of the respect compact that I believe to be problematic, 2) explain how I think it could be misinterpreted, 3) relate a recent classroom incident that shows how it is, in fact, being abused, and 4) propose a solution to the problem.
The Seahawk Respect Compact is indented below. Note that the bold portions are not my emphasis. I have underlined only one small portion for emphasis:
In the pursuit of excellence, UNC Wilmington actively fosters, encourages, and promotes inclusiveness, mutual respect, acceptance, and open-mindedness among students, faculty, staff and the broader community.
~ We affirm the dignity of all persons.
~ We promote the right of every person to participate in the free exchange of thoughts and opinions within a climate of civility and mutual respect.
~ We strive for openness and mutual understanding to learn from differences in people, ideas and opinions.
~ We foster an environment of respect for each individual, even where differences exist, by eliminating prejudice and discrimination through education and interaction with others.
Therefore, we expect members of the campus community to honor these principles as fundamental to our ongoing efforts to increase access to and inclusion in a community that nurtures learning and growth for all.
As you can see, Chancellor Miller, I have a problem with the suggestion that there is some sort of “right” that extends to “every person” and which entitles him to be the recipient of “respect.” Let me explain why this is wrongheaded by sharing a few examples:
• Several years ago, an N.C. State visiting professor expressed the view that all white people needed to be “exterminated” from the face of the earth. He was invited to debate me on Fox News and he declined. When I went on Fox to denounce him, I was not concerned about “civility.” He was not entitled to it. He’s a violent racist. Nor was he entitled to “respect” for his violent racist views. In fact, given his advocacy of violence and fear of debate he was not even entitled to respect as a human being. He just needed a good public shaming.
• Around that time, a professor here in North Carolina wrote to me saying that the Holocaust was the greatest “hoax” perpetrated in modern history. I went on national television to rebuke her. She was also invited to debate me on Fox News. Like the other racist at N.C. State, she declined. I did not - nor do I now - respect her views. I do not even respect her as a person. Put simply, nothing can make me respect an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier.
• Finally, there is a professor here at UNCW who has reportedly articulated the view – in class, mind you – that 911 was the result of a planned conspiracy between Bush and “the Jews.” Because she has tenure, UNCW is stuck with the 911 conspiracy theorist as well as her anti-Semitic views. But what about the occasional Jewish student in her classroom? Should she be required to “respect” her professor’s anti-Semitic views?
I hope you see the danger in granting a “right” to be respected. Once students begin to believe that respect is an entitlement they are granted - and not a privilege they must earn - the academic work product suffers. Bad ideas are placed on equal footing with good ideas and eventually the pursuit of truth suffers as a whole. But the pursuit of truth is already suffering here at UNCW. Earlier this semester, there was a vigorous discussion in one of our social science classes. Ideas were exchanged and disagreement was articulated. But, following the conversation, something unfortunate happened. The professor sent an email to all of his students reminding them that they were required by the Seahawk Respect Compact to maintain a climate of mutual respect and civility. An important question follows: Is there any chance that the professor’s email will not adversely affect future discussions by creating a chilling effect on free speech?
You know as well as I do that student discussions are not bound by the Seahawk Respect Compact. At this public university, they are bound by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Therefore, I ask that you order the Seahawk Respect Compact to be removed from every classroom at UNCW. I furthermore ask you to replace it with a copy of the First Amendment so students will be reminded daily that the right to be unoffended is to be found nowhere in our constitution.
This action will also remind our students that the UNCW handbook is not the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the law of the law. It has not been preserved by the blood and sacrifice of the easily offended.
With all due respect and civility,
Mike S. Adams
To read another article by Mike Adams, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:20 PM
Ending Income Inequality
By Walter E. Williams
Benefiting from a hint from an article titled "Is Harry Potter Making You Poorer?", written by my colleague Dr. John Goodman, president of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, I've come up with an explanation and a way to end income inequality in America, possibly around the world. Joanne Rowling was a welfare mother in Edinburgh, Scotland. All that has changed. As the writer of the "Harry Potter" novels, having a net worth of $1 billion, she is the world's wealthiest author. More importantly, she's one of those dastardly 1-percenters condemned by the Occupy Wall Streeters and other leftists.
How did Rowling become so wealthy and unequal to the rest of us? The entire blame for this social injustice lies at the feet of the world's children and their enabling parents. Rowling's wealth is a direct result of more than 500 million "Harry Potter" book sales and movie receipts grossing more than $5 billion. In other words, the millions of "99-percenters" who individually plunk down $8 or $9 to attend a "Harry Potter" movie, $15 to buy a "Harry Potter" novel or $30 to buy a "Harry Potter" Blu-ray Disc are directly responsible for contributing to income inequality and wealth concentration that economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says "is incompatible with real democracy." In other words, Rowling is not responsible for income inequality; it's the people who purchase her works.
We just can't blame the children for the unfairness of income inequality. Look at how Wal-Mart Stores generated wealth for the Walton family of Christy ($25 billion), Jim ($21 billion), Alice ($21 billion) and Robson ($21 billion). The Walton family's wealth is not a result of ill-gotten gains, but the result of Wal-Mart's revenue, $422 billion in 2010. The blame for this unjust concentration of wealth rests with those hundreds of millions of shoppers worldwide who voluntarily enter Wal-Mart premises and leave dollars, pounds and pesos.
Basketball great LeBron James plays forward for the Miami Heat and earns $43 million for doing so. That puts him with those 1-percenters denounced by Wall Street occupiers. But who made LeBron a 1-percenter? It's those children again, enabled by their fathers or some other significant male. Instead of children doing their homework and their fathers helping their wives with housework, they get into their cars, drive to a downtown arena and voluntarily plunk down $100 for tickets. The millions of people who watch LeBron play are the direct cause of LeBron's earning $43 million and are thereby responsible for "undermining the foundations of our democracy."
Krugman laments in his Nov. 3 New York Times column "Oligarchy, American Style," "We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only." I'd ask Krugman this question: Who's putting all the money in the hands of the few, and what do you think ought to be done to stop millions, perhaps billions, of people from using their money in ways that lead to high income and wealth concentration? In other words, I'd like Krugman to tell us what should be done to stop the millions of children who make Joanne Rowling rich, the millions who fork over their money to the benefit of LeBron James, and the hundreds of millions of people who shop at Wal-Mart.
I'd like to end this discussion with a bit of a personal note. The readers of this column know that I never make charges of racism. Rowling is an author, and so am I. In my opinion, my recently published book "Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?" is far more important to society than any "Harry Potter" novel. I'd like to know what it is about me that explains why millions upon millions have not purchased my book and made me a billionaire author. Maybe Krugman and the Wall Street occupiers have the answer.
To read another article by Walter Williams, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:15 PM
Muhammad Hates Diversity
By Ben Shapiro
This week, in Oakland, Calif., America saw yet another stellar example of the glories of diversity. At a taping of a rap music video in that fair city, eight people, including a one-year-old child, were shot. When a classical music video goes wrong, somebody busts a string. When a rap music video goes wrong, somebody busts a cap.
Such observations, however, are now taboo. We're not supposed to suggest that the rap culture is any different from the classical music culture or that one is better than another. As white guy John Kerry put it, "I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important ... it's a reflection of the street and it's a reflection of life."
You see, we recognize the value of diversity. And what's more, we think everyone else does, too. Hence the left's certainty that the election of President Barack Obama would win over the Muslim world -- his very ascendance would show the rest of the world that we find their cultures charming, praiseworthy and delightfully fascinating. "It's November 2008," wrote formerly-sane Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic. "A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees this man -- Barack Hussein Obama -- is the new face of America. In one simple image, America's soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm."
There's only one problem: The Muslim world isn't hung up on skin color the way we are. Which isn't to say they're not racist -- they're busily snatching up black children for use as slaves or murdering them in Sudan, even as the BBC blithely claims, in the name of diversity, that "While Islamic law does allow slavery under certain conditions, it's almost inconceivable that those conditions could ever occur in today's world, and so slavery is effectively illegal in modern Islam." In point of fact, Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East lead the world in human trafficking.
The Muslim world just doesn't believe that skin color is all that important. Obama may be half-black, but he's still all-Western, according to them. It doesn't matter whether you're black, white or green -- if you're not a devotee of Muhammad, you don't matter. While the West tries to turn its civilization into cultural variety hour, Islam tries to turn Muslim lands into a cultural monolith. The same West that justifies the rap culture thinks that every Muslim terrorist bombing is an expression of economic angst or social alienation. Muslims recognize that terrorist bombings are expressions of a completely different worldview.
In other words, Muslims aren't stupid. They won't be wooed by a West headed by a man rich in melanin any more than a West headed by a Caucasian dude who enjoys the artistic stylings of Bjork would. When President Obama offers Iran an open hand, they slap it away, even though his hand is a different color than President Bush's was.
And the left is stumped. Obama's entire foreign policy was predicated on the notion that by existing, he would bridge all gaps and bury all hatchets. Instead, the Muslim world burns his picture even as he tells them he respects their radicalism. It turns out that diversity is a one-way street for the devotees of global Islam.
What of the West? We have been enervated by our confident feeling that if we could all just respect each other's cultures -- no matter how perverse -- we could beat missiles into plowshares. And if we could show the rest of the world just how much we respect other cultures by electing an emissary of foreign cultures, they would have to love us. We've turned into the world's Sally Field: "You like us! You really like us!" To which the Muslim world says, "No. We really don't."
But, like an obsessive, abused ex-girlfriend, we keep coming back for more. We beg for the beating. We plead for it. We are Keira Knightley's character in "A Dangerous Method" -- the beating excites us. For with every beating, we feel the open hand we seek. "At least they're reaching out to us ... with bombs! If we could only understand this unique form of communication, we'd finally be able to come to some sort of agreement!"
The Muslim world understands that it has us by the ideological throat. They will continue to preach the value of diversity from their outposts in the West, while wiping away any semblance of it across their own lands. And we will buy into it. This is how the West dies: not by being defeated in all-out civilizational battle, but by walking into the hail of bullets, arms outstretched.
To read another article by Ben Shapiro, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:11 PM
Blocking the Paths Out of Poverty
By John Stossel
Have you noticed how often government takes sides against the little guy?
Street vending has been a path out of poverty for Americans. And like other such paths (say, driving a taxi), this one is increasingly difficult to navigate. Why? Because entrenched interests don't like competition. So they lobby their powerful friends to erect high hurdles to upstarts. It's an old story.
Now, growing local governments are crushing street vendors.
The city of Atlanta, for example, has turned all street vending over to a monopoly contractor. In feudalist fashion, all existing vendors were told they must work for the monopoly or not vend at all.
"Vendors who used to paying $250 a year for their vending site must now hand over $500 to $1,600 every month for the privilege of working for the monopoly," wrote Bob Ewing in The Freeman. Ewing works for the Institute for Justice, the libertarian public-interest law firm that defends victims of anticompetitive regulation.
IJ has sued the city on behalf of two popular vendors.
In Hialeah, Fla., if you operate a flower stand too close to a flower store or if you're not constantly moving, you can be arrested.
Institute lawyer Elizabeth Foley says the regulations make "it virtually impossible to be an effective street vendor. You can't be within 300 feet of any place that sells the same or similar merchandise. That's absolutely ridiculous for the government to use its power to enact a law like that. ... These people are just trying to make an honest living, and the city is making it impossible to do so."
The law does seem designed to cripple street vending.
"You have to be in constant motion, which is completely unsafe."
Raul Martinez, the mayor when the law passed, defended the rule.
"You don't want to have everybody in the middle of the streets competing for space on the sidewalk without some sort of regulations. In the city of Hialeah, we're not overregulating anybody."
He says one purpose of the law is simple fairness: Street vendors don't pay property taxes. Brick-and-mortar stores must.
"They also create jobs," Martinez said. "What we did back then is we got all the groups together and we came with an ordinance that was satisfactory to all of the parties at the time."
But they couldn't have gotten "all the groups" together because people who hadn't yet entered the business weren't included. How could they have been? No one knew who they would be. What the mayor did was get the established guys together. Such "fairness" regulation kills job growth and reduces consumer welfare because the entrenched interests write rules that cripple new competition.
Mayor Martinez argued that "you create an unfair advantage when you allow that vendor selling in the front of a flower shop to sell the same flowers that the flower shop sells, and to sell them at a much reduced price. That's unfair competition."
It's a fair point: Why open a brick-and-mortar store and pay property tax if you could save maybe $3,000 a year by selling from a cart?
"These are different types of business models," Foley replied. "A florist can offer professional arrangement. A florist can offer delivery. A florist has a bathroom. Air conditioning. A street vendor is out there on the street, and the way they compete is on price and convenience; you can drive up and get your flowers and go home quickly. There's nothing wrong with having two different types of business models competing near each other. It happens in America all the time.
"It's not legitimate for government to use its incredible power to make one business model have an unfair advantage over another."
As a libertarian, I'd say that the store owners' beef is with the local government that imposes the property tax, not the street vendor struggling to make a better life.
If government destroys all the paths out of poverty, the welfare state will look like the only way to help the poor.
Maybe, in addition to helping entrenched interests, that's the bureaucrats' goal.
To read another article by John Stossel, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:02 PM
Fiddling While Rome Burns
By Ken Connor
Democrats blame the recent Super Committee's deficit reduction failure on Republican obstinacy and obstructionism. It was the GOP's refusal to raise taxes on the super rich, the Dems maintain, that resulted in the committee's inability to reach a compromise. Charles Krauthammer does an excellent job of debunking this fallacy in a recent Washington Post op-ed in which he illustrates the critical difference between Republican proposals that would have increased tax revenues and the Democrats' dogged obsession with raising tax rates:
In deficit reduction, all that matters is tax revenue. . . . The Republican proposals raise revenue, despite lowering rates, by opening a gusher of new income for the Treasury in the form of loophole elimination. . . . Raising revenue through tax reform is better than simply raising rates, which Democrats insist upon with near religious fervor. It is more economically efficient because it eliminates credits, carve-outs and deductions that grossly misallocate capital. And it is more fair because it is the rich who can afford not only the sharp lawyers and accountants who exploit loopholes but the lobbyists who create them in the first place. . . . Yet the Democrats, who flatter themselves as the party of fairness, are instead obsessed with raising tax rates on the rich as a sign of civic virtue.
Krauthammer's piece details several Republican or bipartisan proposals that would have increased tax revenues while simultaneously cutting tax rates, contrasting this approach with the ineffectiveness of simply raising rates on the super rich while leaving the vast network of loopholes and exemptions untouched. Such a tactic yields marginal results at best, with revenue increases nowhere near the levels they would be if the loopholes were eliminated. So why the preference for rhetorical fluff over substantive solutions? Quite simply, because Democrats have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They cannot afford the political price associated with backing reforms that would alienate their core constituencies. Pinning the stalled deficit reduction efforts on the GOP serves as a convenient red herring, distracting from President Obama's woeful lack of leadership on this issue. Krauthammer explains:
Has the president ever publicly proposed a single significant structural change in any entitlement? After Simpson-Bowles reported? No. In his February budget? No. In his April 13 budget "framework"? No. During the debt-ceiling crisis? No. During or after the supercommittee deliberations? No.
[It] is the Republicans who passed – through the House, the only branch of government they control – a real budget that cut $5.8 trillion of spending over the next 10 years. Obama's February budget, which would have increased spending, was laughed out of the Senate, voted down 97 to 0. As for the Democratic Senate, it has submitted no budget at all for 2 1/2 years.
In trademark Washington fashion, demagoguery and cheap talk are winning out over substantive action. Both parties are equally guilty of playing this game when it suits their purposes, fiddling away while Rome burns. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, however, time is running out. The current crises plaguing the Eurozone could be our Cassandra; if we don't enact bold reforms, and now, ours may very likely be the next default on the horizon.
No amount of spin, or rhetoric, or blame-gaming can change the mathematical facts on the ground: Our debt has spiraled out of control and we are rapidly reaching a point of no return. This Congress and this President have had more than enough time to act, but they have failed to do so. If their dismal approval ratings are any indication, there will be a price to pay for this inexcusable indolence come November 2012.
Planned Parenthood: Agent of Destruction
By Ken Connor
According to its website, "for more than 90 years, Planned Parenthood has promoted a commonsense approach to women's health and well-being, based on respect for each individual's right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex, and family planning."
There is in this glowing self-endorsement a subtle tribute to Planned Parenthood's founder Margaret Sanger. An unabashed eugenicist, Ms. Sanger's "commonsense" approach to unwanted pregnancies and undesirable demographic groups, such as minorities and the handicapped, was clear and unambiguous. She maintained that "the most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it," and that "birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race."
Sanger would, no doubt, be proud of the legacy begotten by her monstrous ideology. Planned Parenthood is by far the largest abortion provider in the United States. In 2009, surgical abortions accounted for 97.6% of their services to pregnant women. In other words, "Planned Parenthood" has become a euphemism for "the abortion business yields big bucks." It might tout itself as a "commonsense" organization that provides a wide array of family planning services, but the truth is in the statistics.
There is one major difference between the Planned Parenthood of today and that of Margaret Sanger's time: Margaret Sanger was brutally honest about her disregard for the unborn, while contemporary abortion advocates hide behind the language of "choice" in order to disguise the ugly reality of what they advocate. Unfortunately, this campaign of misdirection has been wildly successful. Many women instinctively rally behind a woman's "right to choose," without giving much thought to the reality behind the choice at issue. In the abortion debate, we aren't talking about choosing between chocolate or vanilla, fried or scrambled, with fries or without. We are talking about choosing whether a baby will live or die, whether we will kill it or give it life, whether we will destroy or protect an innocent child.
So powerful has our delusion about the reality of abortion become – and so powerful the pro-abortion lobby behind Planned Parenthood – that our elected representatives allocate hundreds of millions of dollars each year to Planned Parenthood. This funding has withstood year after year of budget debates and political controversy. Make no mistake about it, however, that money is blood money. Planned Parenthood preys on the fear and ignorance of women faced with unplanned pregnancies as a means of advancing their twisted worldview. Instead of celebrating life as a blessing, even when unplanned, Planned Parenthood's operatives peddle the myth that pregnancy and parenthood is some kind misogynistic social construct used to keep women dependent and servile. They tell women that the right to choose abortion is a right intricately tied to their female identity, rather than a betrayal of a sacred duty bestowed by the author of the universe. They tell women that choosing abortion is an empowering decision, not one that can impact future fertility and inflict emotional and psychological scars that last a lifetime.
Advocates of life must not give up in their quest to shed light on the true nature of Planned Parenthood's work and the repugnant ideology that inspired its founding. They must continue working to support organizations that offer women true choice: the choice to view their unborn child as a blessing, and the vocation of parenthood as the greatest calling a human being can answer. The time is long overdue for Planned Parenthood to be denounced as an agent of death and despair and its abortion activities declared illegal.
To read another article by Ken Conner, click here.
Planned Parenthood now hiring someone who wasn’t aborted
By Michael Norton
Planned Parenthood Federation of America recently posted a job opening for Vice President of Communications. According to the announcement, it is looking for someone who is “strategic, innovative and experienced,” with the capability of providing “vision, leadership and direction for PPFA’s communications.” (I suppose it’s a given that possible applicants are those who were fortunate enough to be born instead of aborted as children.)
The job announcement informs potential applicants that PPFA “has 83 independent local affiliates that operate more than 800 health centers throughout the United States, providing high-quality services to women, men and teens.” What the announcement doesn’t say is that a big part of these “high quality services to women” are the more than 300,000 abortions performed by PPFA annually.
That’s 300,000 babies killed, and not infrequently dismembered.
I wonder what kind of person would take this job?
Who would aspire to be the “innovative” voice of an abortion-industry leader like PPFA? I don’t remember the position of providing “strategic…vision” for abortion mills being on the option list during career day in high school.
And what does it say about the state of our nation when such a position is openly advertised, as if they were looking for a car salesman or a talent promoter?
Regardless of how much they cloak it with phrases like, “PPFA is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate,” the bottom line is that they provide no advocate for the 300,000 children they abort each year. As a matter of fact, their scalpels literally separate preborn children from the one certain advocate every child should have at that moment—a mother.
The job announcement also says that the potential Vice President of Communications needs to be someone who “actively engages with elite media to drive PPFA’s mission.” What is that mission?
Is it to offer a direct, unflinching defense of Roe v. Wade or a just a carefully crafted P.R. campaign for taxpayer-funded abortions at any time, in any place, to enrich PPFA’s coffers?
Regardless, it’s certainly a mission of death. And PPFA is now hiring someone to represent them in that endeavor…in case you’re interested.
Posted by Brett at 11:25 AM
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Compassionate Conservatism: The Sequel
By Cal Thomas
During the presidential campaign of 2000, George W. Bush was criticized by some conservatives for calling himself a "compassionate conservative." Some believed the term to be redundant.
Now we're in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign and candidate Newt Gingrich has called for a "humane" policy on illegal immigrants. Gingrich wants illegal residents who have been in America for 25 years to stay, so as not to "separate families."
Seeking to clarify comments he made during the Republican debate on national security last week, Gingrich told Fox News, "I am for deporting all recent unattached illegals. I am for a local citizen panel to consider certification of those who have been here 25 years and have family and community (ties) and have been law abiding and taxpaying."
While I salute Gingrich's validation of "family values," there are several problems with his suggestion.
First, why 25 years? Why not 24, or 23? How about 15? What if the children are adults? If a single parent remained because of divorce or death, would that parent be deported?
Second, what is to keep the local citizen panel from being co-opted by liberal interest groups working for the Democratic Party? Gingrich's call to "...be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship..." may sound good to some, but once those here illegally have been "certified," interest groups will surely lobby on their behalf for full citizenship.
Republicans should not have to prove their "compassion" by supporting a statute of limitations on lawbreakers. Instead, Republicans should present examples of immigrants who have come to America legally and built a life while obeying the law.
Gingrich is correct when he says we are not about to round up 11 million illegal immigrants, as America rounded up more than 100,000 Japanese at the start of World War II, many of them U.S. citizens. But doing nothing or granting Gingrich's proposed "path to legality" (through certification) will only draw more illegals.
In my ideal world (and some U.S. laws might have to change to accomplish it), this is what I think should be done: Illegal immigrants who have jobs, pay taxes and are law abiding can stay as temporary residents provided they are doing jobs no American citizen wants to do. An employer can prove that by advertising for a position and if no citizen applies, the illegal immigrant may be hired for a fixed period of time, after which the position must be advertised again.
The illegal immigrant should be forbidden any unemployment or welfare benefits. Medical insurance, or the cost of any care, should be provided by the employer. Immigrant children can be educated in public schools (and taught English) provided their parents pay property taxes. If an illegal immigrant is renting or living with others, he or she should pay a certain amount to defray the cost of education. If a child is born in America to illegal immigrants, that child should not automatically receive U.S. citizenship (a court ruling reinterpreting the Constitution would be required to change the automatic granting of citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the U.S.)
After two or three renewals of the illegal's special visa, the person must return to his or her native land for a specified period of time and then apply for re-entry.
Should the illegal immigrant desire citizenship, that person should first learn English and American history. The path ought to be rigorous so that we know the person is coming to America for more than just the goodies the U.S. government provides.
Most importantly, we must protect and secure our country's borders. Gingrich's hero, Ronald Reagan is credited with saying, "A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation."
Something else troubles me about this debate. Why is it compassionate to suggest ways for people who have broken our laws to escape the consequences but cruel to require that they obey our laws in not entering the country illegally in the first place?
Everyone wants a better life for themselves and their children. American citizens mostly seek that better life by conforming to the law. Illegal immigrants should do the same.
To read another article by Cal Thomas, click here.
To read another article about illegal immigration, click here.
Posted by Brett at 6:59 PM
Lessons of History?
by Thomas Sowell
It used to be common for people to urge us to learn "the lessons of history." But history gets much less attention these days and, if there are any lessons that we are offered, they are more likely to be the lessons from current polls or the lessons of political correctness.
Even among those who still invoke the lessons of history, some read those lessons very differently from others.
Talk show host Michael Medved , for example, apparently thinks the Republicans need a centrist presidential candidate in 2012. He said, "Most political battles are won by seizing the center." Moreover, he added: "Anyone who believes otherwise ignores the electoral experience of the last 50 years."
But just when did Ronald Reagan , with his two landslide election victories, "seize the center"? For that matter, when did Franklin D. Roosevelt, with a record four consecutive presidential election victories, "seize the center"?
There have been a long string of Republican presidential candidates who seized the center -- and lost elections. Thomas E. Dewey, for example, seized the center against Harry Truman in 1948. Even though Truman was so unpopular at the outset that the "New Republic" magazine urged him not to run, and polls consistently had Dewey ahead, Truman clearly stood for something -- and for months he battled for what he stood for.
That turned out to be enough to beat Dewey, who simply stood in the center.
It is very doubtful that most of the people who voted for Harry Truman agreed with him on all the things he stood for. But they knew he stood for something, and they agreed with enough of it to put him back in the White House.
It is equally doubtful that most of the people who voted for Ronald Reagan in his two landslide victories agreed with all his positions. But they agreed with enough of them to put him in the White House to replace Jimmy Carter , who stood in the center, even if it was only a center of confusion.
President Gerald Ford , after narrowly beating off a rare challenge by Ronald Reagan to a sitting president of his own party, seized the center in the general election -- and lost to an initially almost totally unknown governor from Georgia.
President George H.W. Bush , after initially winning election by coming across as another Ronald Reagan, with his "Read my lips, no new taxes" speech, turned "kinder and gentler" -- to everyone except the taxpayers -- once he was in office. In other ways as well, he seized the center. And lost to another unknown governor.
More recently, we have seen two more Republican candidates who seized the center -- Senators Bob Dole in 1996 and John McCain in 2008 -- go down to defeat, McCain at the hands of a man that most people had never even heard of, just three years earlier.
Michael Medved, however, reads history differently.
To him, Barry Goldwater got clobbered in the 1964 elections because of his strong conservatism. But did his opponent, Lyndon Johnson , seize the center? Johnson was at least as far to the left as Goldwater was to the right. And Goldwater scared the daylights out of people with the way he expressed himself, especially on foreign policy, where he came across as reckless.
On a personal note, I wrote a two-line verse that year, titled "The Goldwater Administration:"
Fifteen minutes of laissez-faire,
While the Russian missiles are in the air.
Senator Goldwater was not crazy enough to start a nuclear war. But the way he talked sometimes made it seem as if he were. Ronald Reagan would later be elected and re-elected taking positions essentially the same as those on which Barry Goldwater lost big time. Reagan was simply a lot better at articulating his beliefs.
Michael Medved uses the 2008 defeat of Tea Party candidates for the Senate, in three states where Democrats were vulnerable, as another argument against those who do not court the center. But these were candidates whose political ineptness was the problem, not conservatism.
Candidates should certainly reach out to a broad electorate. But the question is whether they reach out by promoting their own principles to others or by trying to be all things to all people.
To read another article by Thomas Sowell, click here.
Posted by Brett at 4:55 PM
Obama Supporters Still Want to Force Catholic Hospitals to Provide Contraception
By Katie Pavlich
The discussion about abortion and whether babies in the womb have human rights may be above President Obama's pay grade, but apparently forcing Catholic hospitals to provide contraception to patients is a priority of Obama supporters, despite doing so being against religious beliefs. Why? Because allowing Catholic hospitals to opt-out may hurt his re-election bid.
Jake Tapper reports:
In August, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that health insurance plans, as of January 1, 2013, will be required to cover contraception, including FDA-approved emergency contraception.
“These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need,” she said.
The Catholic Church has been pushing the White House to allow Catholic hospitals to opt out of offering birth control coverage through their health insurance, contraception that the Church considers the termination of a life.
Many in the abortion rights community are worried that the president will grant that exemption. Additionally, many Democrats invested in President Obama’s re-election are worried that if he grants that exemption, he will alienate women voters who care about this issue, ones will need come November.
Asked today about the concern and the president’s decision-making, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that part of the process was “seeking and receiving public input before the guidelines that were announced by the secretary of Health and Human Services would go into effect. That process did result in public input, and as well as resulted in numerous comments from various folks who have concerns…about this issue.”
Carney underlined that “this decision has not yet been made. …We want to strike the right balance between expanding coverage of preventive services and respecting religious beliefs. And that’s the balance that will be sought as this decision is made.”
But Democrats and those in the abortion rights community are worried about the decision the president might make and the possible impact on his re-election.
So there you have it. Obama supporters are willing to stomp on religious freedom to make sure their guy wins a second term.
Posted by Brett at 2:58 PM