Tuesday, July 31, 2012
By: John Hayward
7/26/2012 04:34 PM
Now that President Obama and his apologists have spent a few days insisting – with increasing panic and desperation – that he didn’t say what he clearly said in Roanoke, Virginia, the spin itself has become a negative reflection on the President. He’s basically demanding that his supporters abandon their own senses, and the most elementary understanding of the English language, to un-hear his words, forget his contempt for individual achievement, and swallow him as a champion of the entrepreneurial spirit.
“You didn’t build that” has become a sort of litmus test for pure, blind, unwavering faith in Barack Obama. If you’re willing to believe he was misquoted or somehow taken out of context, you have abandoned the faintest pretense of rational thought. You’re literally not listening to a word he said, not just the four words that are killing his campaign.
The American Future Fund masterfully makes that clear in a new video, only one minute and thirty seconds long, that provides all the “context” anyone could ask for, shredding both the President’s original remarks and his numerous attempts to re-write them:
View video here:
This isn’t going to work with people who still think they can cover a blackboard with elaborate sentence diagrams and somehow prove that the World’s Greatest Orator meant the exact opposite of what he said. But that’s a small group of people, and they generally agree with what he said in the first place. They’re just uncomfortable that he expressed it so clearly, and the reaction against him has been so strong.
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
Posted by Brett at 7:19 PM
By Wayne Allyn Root
Don’t Americans constantly complain because politicians lie? Barack Obama lies so much, his nose should be longer than Pinnochio. He says “the private sector is doing fine.” He says to business owners, “You didn’t build that.” He tells the middle class that “none of the tax increases are aimed at you.” And he tells rich people who pay almost all of the taxes, “You’re not paying your fair share.” It’s all lies and distortions.
Yet Mitt Romney tells the truth and he gets panned by the national media? All he said a few days ago is that Israel is a remarkable country…the Israeli people are remarkable people…and then compared the GDP of the average Israeli (about $32,000) to the average Palestinian (about $2000). Now this may be politically incorrect, but it’s certainly the truth. Forget the Palestinians. Israel is remarkable compared to any country, and the Jewish people are remarkable compared to any other tribe. Is Mitt wrong? Let’s look at the facts.
First, a disclosure. I am a member of the Jewish tribe. My grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany. I’m bursting with pride at the remarkable success of my tribe. And with America in decline…and the U.S. economy in shambles…the Jewish people are a role model we should be studying and emulating.
Jews are the most successful group to ever step foot on U.S. soil. They make up outsized proportions of every important and respected group in this country- attorneys, doctors, accountants, architects, bankers, stockbrokers, CEO’s, small business owners, the media, and of course the movers and shakers in the glamorous entertainment world.
But, don’t take my word for it. Ask one of the most liberal and intellectual colleges in America- Columbia University, a bastion of socialism and Marxism. I attended Columbia with many of the most famous symbols of liberalism in America today- including my classmate President Obama. Yet it was at Columbia that I took the course, “Ethnicity in America.” Here I learned the most successful group in U.S. history is…drumroll please…the Jewish people.
But the biggest miracle of all is the success of the state of Israel. Mitt Romney is simply the first politician to ever state the truth out loud.
Israel is one of the smallest nations on earth. Yet it has the highest venture capital investment (per capita) in the world. 30-times higher than the entire Europe.
In pure dollars, Israel places third in the world for venture capital- behind only the USA and China.
Israel has more high-tech startups (per capita) than any nation in the world.
Israel has more bio-tech startups (per capita) than any nation in the world.
Israel leads the world (per capita) in business startups. In pure numbers, Israel has the most business startups of any country in the world, other than the United States.
Israel is second in the world in the number of companies listed on NASDAQ. More than Europe, India, China and Japan combined.
Israel has the 3rd highest rate of female entrepreneurship in the world.
Israel leads the world in patents for medical equipment.
Israel’s citizens have the highest ratio of computers in the world.
Israel’s citizens have the highest ratio of university degrees in the world.
Israel has the highest number of Nobel Prizes (per capita) in the world.
With only 7 million citizens, the Israeli economy is bigger than all her Arab neighbors combined.
Israel is the Hong Kong of the Middle East with a booming economy, even in the middle of a global economic collapse.
Mitt was right. So how can this remarkable success of the Jewish people, one of the tiniest tribes to ever walk the face of the earth, be explained?
Many experts attribute it to a stress on education. Certainly that is partially true. I am a S.O.B. (son of a butcher) who attended Columbia University. My daughter currently attends Harvard, and only days ago was accepted at Oxford. But it’s much more than that.
Other experts cite the closeness of Jewish families. Also true. I’ve been married for 21 years, with 4 children ranging in age from 20 to 4. This is an all-time Las Vegas record.
But the main reason for the out-sized success of the Jewish tribe is our belief in the power of the individual and our willingness to take financial risk. When your entire history is being persecuted, enslaved, tortured, and murdered by governments and tyrants, you learn pretty quickly to do things on your own, to never depend on others to help you.
Jews invented “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” We became our own bosses, our own doctors, our own bankers. We learned to never trust or depend on government. We learned to never ask for a job- we created our own. We learned to believe in ourselves, and not worry about acceptance or permission from others.
With that kind of a history of persecution, you become pretty darn comfortable with risk. Taking financial risks seems insignificant compared to risking your life to escape corrupt governments, murderous tyrants, and violent mobs. Compared to my grandparents emigrating from Russia and Germany to a strange land called America, without a penny in their pockets, my making an investment in a business startup pales by comparison.
That’s the secret to the amazing success of Israel and Jews around the world. Instead of being politically incorrect and denying the truth, others should be emulating the successful habits and traits of the Jewish people.
Stress education, stay loyal to your family, be your own boss, build your own business, and take risks with your money. And never depend on government for anything. Follow this model, and you too can build a fantastic life.
Mitt Romney told the truth. Instead of getting mad at a politician for being politically incorrect and telling the truth, we should be celebrating him.
To read another article by Wayne Allyn Root, click here.
Posted by Brett at 5:07 PM
By: John Hayward
7/31/2012 01:03 PM
No wonder the press wants to obsess over a spot of rude treatment from a Romney staffer. It saves them from having to report on the actual content of Mitt Romney’s excellent speech in Poland.
“Rather than heeding the false promise of a government-dominated economy, Poland sought to stimulate innovation, attract investment, expand trade, and live within its means,” said Romney. “Your success today is a reminder that the principles of free enterprise can propel an economy and transform a society.”
Yeah, a press corps desperately trying to get President Downgrade re-elected with double-digit unemployment, 1.5 percent GDP growth, massive tax increases for job creators on the horizon, and $6 trillion in new government debt really doesn’t want American voters to hear something like that.
Following is the full text of Romney’s speech in Warsaw. It’s well worth reading in its entirety.
Thank you all very much for the warm welcome to this great city.
It has been a privilege to meet with President Komorowski, Prime Minister Tusk, Foreign Minister Sikorski, and Former President Walesa.
This is a nation with an extraordinary heritage that is crafting a remarkable future. At a time of widespread economic slowdown and stagnation, your economy last year outperformed all other nations in Europe.
I began this trip in Britain and end it here in Poland: the two bookends of NATO, history’s greatest military alliance that has kept the peace for over half a century. While at 10 Downing Street I thought back to the days of Winston Churchill, the man who first spoke of the Iron Curtain that had descended across Europe. What an honor to stand in Poland, among the men and women who helped lift that curtain.
After that stay in England, I visited the State of Israel – a friend of your country and mine. It’s been a trip to three places far apart on the map. But for an American, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country. Our nations belong to the great fellowship of democracies. We speak the same language of freedom and justice. We uphold the right of every person to live in peace.
I believe it is critical to stand by those who have stood by America. Solidarity was a great movement that freed a nation. And it is with solidarity that America and Poland face the future.
Yesterday, I saw the memorial at Westerplatte and the gate at the Gdansk Shipyard, where Polish citizens stood with courage and determination against daunting odds. And today, on the eve of the 68th anniversary of this city’s uprising against the Nazis, I will pay tribute at the monument to that historic struggle. Over 200,000 Poles were killed in those weeks, and this city was nearly destroyed. But your enduring spirit survived.
Free men and women everywhere, whether they have been here or not, already know this about Poland: In some desperate hours of the last century, your people were the witnesses to hope, led onward by strength of heart and faith in God. Not only by force of arms, but by the power of truth, in villages and parishes across this land, you shamed the oppressor and gave light to the darkness.
Time and again, history has recorded the ascent of liberty, propelled by souls that yearn for freedom and justice. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has noted that it is often one brave man or woman who says “no” to oppression, and in doing so, sparks a revolution of courage in hundreds, thousands or millions of others.
In 1955, in my country, Rosa Parks said “no” to a bus driver who told her to give up her seat to a white person, and in doing so, started a revolution of dignity and equality that continues to this day. Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia, was denied his business wares by a government functionary, and in protest committed suicide by self-immolation. With that act of defiance, the Arab Spring was born.
Nicolai Ceausescu stood before an audience of 200,000, recounting for them his supposed works on their behalf. One elderly woman shouted out what others only thought. “Liar,” she said. Others echoed her, first hundreds, then thousands. And with the fall of Ceausescu days later, the entire nation had awoken and a people were freed.
And here, in 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul the Second, spoke words that would bring down an empire and bring freedom to millions who lived in bondage. “Be not afraid” – those words changed the world.
I, and my fellow Americans, are inspired by the path of freedom tread by the people of Poland.
Long before modern times, of course, the Polish and American people were hardly strangers. The name “Pulaski” is honored to this day in America, and so is the memory of other Poles who joined in our fight for independence. Two years after our young republic gave the New World its first freely adopted written constitution. Poland did the same for the Old World, with a preamble that called liberty “dearer than life.”
At every turn in our history, through wars and crises, through every change in the geopolitical map, we have met as friends and allies. That was true in America’s Revolutionary War. It was true in the dark days of World War II. And it has been true in Iraq and Afghanistan. There has never been a moment when our peoples felt anything but mutual respect and good will – and that is not common in history.
Americans watched with astonishment and admiration, as an electrician led a peaceful protest against a brutal and oppressive regime.
“It has to be understood,” as President Walesa has recently said, “that the solidarity movement philosophy was very simple. When you can’t lift a weight, you ask someone else for help and to lift it with you.”
Of course, among the millions of Poles who said “yes”, there was one who has a unique and special place in our hearts: Pope John Paul the Second. When he first appeared on the balcony above Saint Peter’s Square, a correspondent on the scene wrote to his editor with a first impression. This is not just a pope from Poland, he said, “This is a pope from Galilee.”
In 1979, Pope John Paul the Second celebrated Mass with you in a square not too far from here. He reminded the world there would be no justice in Europe without an independent Poland, and he reminded the Polish people, long deprived of their independence, from where they drew their strength.
While greeting a crowd huddled along a fence, he met a little girl. He paused and asked her, “Where is Poland?” But the girl – caught off guard – couldn’t answer. She laughed nervously until the great pope put his hand over her heart and said: “Poland is here.”
John Paul the Second understood that a nation is not a flag or a plot of land. It is a people – a community of values. And the highest value Poland honors – to the world’s great fortune – is man’s innate desire to be free.
Unfortunately, there are parts of the world today where the desire to be free is met with brutal oppression: Just to the east of here, the people of Belarus suffer under the oppressive weight of dictatorship. The Arab world is undergoing a historic upheaval, one that holds promise, but also risk and uncertainty. A ruthless dictator in Syria has killed thousands of his own people. In Latin America, Hugo Chavez leads a movement characterized by authoritarianism and repression. Nations in Africa are fighting to resist the threat of violent radical jihadism. And in Russia, once-promising advances toward a free and open society have faltered.
In a turbulent world, Poland stands as an example and defender of freedom.
Only last month, in Gdansk, a sculpture was unveiled of President Reagan and John Paul the Second. As President Walesa told a reporter, “Reagan should have a monument in every city.”
Czeslaw Nowak, recalled the days in 1981 when he, Walesa, and others were imprisoned by the communist regime. Just when it felt like they might be forgotten by the world, the captives learned that in the White House, the President of the United States was lighting candles. It was a demonstration of unity with them – a sign of solidarity. “When Reagan lit the candles,” Mr. Nowak recalled, “we knew we had a friend in the United States.”
This is a country that made a prisoner a president … that went from foreign domination to the proud and independent nation you are today. And now, for both our nations, the challenge is to be worthy of this legacy as we find a way forward. The false gods of the all-powerful state claim the allegiance of a lonely few. It is for us, in this generation and beyond, to show all the world what free people and free economies can achieve for the good of all.
Perhaps because here in Poland centralized control is no distant memory, you have brought a special determination to securing a free and prosperous economy. When the Soviet Empire breathed its last, Poland’s economy was in a state of perpetual crisis. When economists analyzed it from abroad, one heard talk of the prospect of starvation in major cities.
But from the depths of those dark times, this nation’s steady rise is a shining example of the prosperity that economic opportunity can bring. Your nation has moved from a state monopoly over the economy, price controls, and severe trade restrictions to a culture of entrepreneurship, greater fiscal responsibility, and international trade. As a result, your economy has experienced positive growth in each of the last twenty years. In that time, you have doubled the size of your economy. The private sector has gone from a mere 15 percent of the economy to 65 percent. And while other nations fell into recession in recent years, you weathered the storm and continued to flourish.
When economists speak of Poland today, it is not to lament chronic problems, but to describe how this nation empowered the individual, lifted the heavy hand of government, and became the fastest-growing economy in all of Europe.
Yesterday, one of your leaders shared with me an economic truth that has been lost in much of the world: “It is simple. You don’t borrow what you cannot pay back.”
The world should pay close attention to the transformation of Poland’s economy. A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has meant a march toward higher living standards, a strong military that defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role on the international stage.
Rather than heeding the false promise of a government-dominated economy, Poland sought to stimulate innovation, attract investment, expand trade, and live within its means. Your success today is a reminder that the principles of free enterprise can propel an economy and transform a society.
At a time of such difficulty and doubt throughout Europe, Poland’s economic transformation over these past 20 years is a fitting turn in the story of your country. In the 1980s, when other nations doubted that political tyranny could ever be faced down or overcome, the answer was, “Look to Poland.” And today, as some wonder about the way forward out of economic recession and fiscal crisis, the answer once again is “Look to Poland”.
It is not surprising that a people who waited so long, and endured so much, for the sake of liberty, are today enjoying liberty to the fullest.
Poland has no greater friend and ally than the people of the United States.
You helped us win our independence… your bravery inspired the allies in the Second World War… you helped bring down the Iron Curtain… and your soldiers fought side-by-side with ours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We have fought and died together.
We share a common cause, tested by time, inseparable by foe.
In times of trouble and in times of peace, we march together.
God bless you, God bless America, and God bless the great nation of Poland.
To read more about Mitt Romney's campaign, click here.
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
Posted by Brett at 4:48 PM
By: John Hayward
7/31/2012 02:53 PM
Today marks the 100th birthday of Milton Friedman, one of America’s greatest students of liberty. He was a professional economist, who came to understand that the most advanced form of economics measures the creative power of freedom.
The past hundred years has truly been Friedman’s century. His arguments were proven decisively victorious over Keynesian theories, although of course the die-hard pseudo-Keynesians remain in love with their “scientific” justifications for unlimited government spending. Hopefully it won’t take another hundred years for Friedman’s victory to be properly and universally recognized. There is, quite literally, not enough money in the world to fund another hundred years of experiments to prove him right.
Friedman’s landmark Free to Choose remains one of the best explorations of the unbreakable link between liberty and prosperity. It takes a lot of academic waterboarding to cleanse statists of the common sense require to understand this. Choice is wealth. It is the difference between scrip and money, self-determination and indenture, entrepreneurial growth and socialist decline. It is the difference between a ten-dollar discount coupon and a $10 bill. How can anyone be “free” if they do not own the fruits of their labor? How could penalties and mandates ever produce as much growth as incentives and competition?
The hour grows dark when we hear no more of “please” and “maybe” from the free market, and instead the air is filled with “you must” and “you cannot.” Our votes become signatures upon contracts that can never be broken, binding upon generations to come, with no refunds allowed for poor service.
Friedman is among the finest teachers for learning that everything government does is a form of compulsion. The acolytes of Big Government are always desperate to claim otherwise – they just want to give you stuff! They want to secure your “rights” to “access” goods and services they have deemed vital. They’re just looking to collect a “fair share” from those who would otherwise steal public resources and abuse them to create obscene profits. The public language of statism is always about giving, providing, and ensuring. Pains are taken to hide the taking and destroying.
Not all official use of compulsive force is unwise, or morally illegitimate, but the exercises of force that our Founding Fathers recognized as just and proper – to impartially secure the universal rights of all citizens – have become an increasingly minor line item on the balance sheet of modern government. It is now common practice for government to justify the exercise compulsive power on the premise of its superior wisdom and morality, rather than the strict performance of its essential duties. Politicians seize control of industries because they believe they are more intelligent, and more righteous, than private owners. Our wealth is redistributed by force, because we are presumptively less capable of appreciating “fairness” than our ruling class.
Milton Friedman came to understand that this attitude is both immoral and inefficient. He knew that collective will could never calculate value as shrewdly as millions of individual minds. He cast doubt upon the automatic assumption of selfless benevolence for government planners. He saw the formidable, corrupting power that lurked in giving some men the power to judge the ambitions of others unworthy. Trillions of dollars have been wasted because he was not heeded. The economic strength of an entire generation has been bled away.
It’s not as simple as saying government power is always wrong. There are duties we must entrust to our elected officials. A functioning government cannot rely upon an honor system for funding, in which each citizen voluntarily pays whatever taxes he believes he might owe. We should require fiscal responsibility from every government agency, but we cannot withdraw from the business of enforcing the law, coping with disasters, or defending the United States because those endeavors cannot be run at a profit. But we’ve come so very far from the notion of a government that does only what it must do, leaving the maximum amount of freedom available to nourish the lawful ambitions of the people.
What we confront in America, on the eve of the 2012 election, is a crisis of confidence. Businesses are afraid to expand. Employers are nervous about hiring. Investors are reluctant to take risks. Friedman saw this coming fifty years ago: “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” When that belief is eroded, the result is not security, but poverty. And what good is compassion, without the strength to realize it as charity?
When he was told by government officials that it was better to dig ditches with shovels than bulldozers, because more jobs were created that way, Friedman asked, “Why not use spoons?” In no corner of the Earth, from alabaster Washington to the filthiest dungeon state, have central planners ever been able to answer that question. If Friedman had lived long enough to hear Barack Obama blame high unemployment on automated teller machines, he would have recognized a student in dire need of his teachings.
As the rest of us watch the edifice of statist economics crumble, and prepare to rescue our nation from its tumbling wreckage, we could do worse than “Why not use spoons?” as our battle cry.
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
Posted by Brett at 3:11 PM
By: Mark LaRochelle
7/31/2012 07:35 AM
Since the inept attempt by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and Brian Ross to link the killer in Aurora, Colorado, to the Tea Party collapsed, the new narrative – driven by such bastions of the Establishment as The New York Times, the Associated Press, Time magazine, and The New Yorker – has been to blame, not the killer, but the alleged laxity of gun control laws in the U.S. Personalities ranging from CNN’s Piers Morgan, to Juan Williams of Fox News Channel, to film critic Roger Ebert have all joined in to exploit the killings, to lament the alleged cowardice of American politicians before the fearsome NRA.
The pols themselves have not been far behind: Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) complained on MSNBC that her colleagues who don’t join in her push for gun control “don’t have a spine”; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s police should go on strike for stricter gun-control laws; Even Mexican President Felipe Calderon chimed in on Twitter, denouncing U.S. gun laws as “mistaken.”
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stressed President Obama’s advocacy of “common-sense measures.” That, according to the President, means stricter gun control: repealing the Tiahrt Amendment, closing the so-called “gun show loophole,” mandating “childproof” guns, and permanently reinstating the Clinton-era ban on so-called “assault weapons.”
The common thread running through this narrative is a familiar one: The easy availability of guns in the U.S. is creating an epidemic of mass shootings, turning the nation into an increasingly violent place reminiscent of the Wild West.
It’s true that gun ownership in the U.S. is on the rise, as shown by statistics from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). That’s the program under which the FBI performs background checks on anyone who seeks to purchase a firearm in the U.S. from a licensed dealer. According to the FBI, “More than 100 million such checks have been made in the last decade, leading to more than 700,000 denials.” That’s a denial rate of about 0.7 percent, meaning that 99.3 percent of all purchases have been approved. (That’s not surprising; denials are generally issued on the basis of criminal backgrounds, and criminals generally obtain their weapons illegally.) This statistic implies that law-abiding citizens purchased some 99.3 million firearms during this period.
Over the past decade, reports the FBI, the number of background checks performed under NICS each year has increased dramatically — from less than 9 million in 2001 to more than 14 million in 2010 (the latest year for which final figures are available). That’s an increase of more than 60 percent.
The FBI also collects statistics on murder rates throughout the U.S., published in its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Statistics. Over the past decade, according to UCR data, the murder rate in the U.S. plunged to the lowest level in 50 years – from 5.6 (murders per 100,000 population) in 2001 to 4.8 in 2010. That’s a decline of more than 14 percent. (Preliminary figures indicate that murder dropped another 1.9 percent in 2011.)
To summarize: Over the past decade, the annual number of background checks performed increased by more than 60 percent, while the murder rate simultaneously dropped by about 14 percent. (See chart and graph).
The facts are utterly devastating to the narrative propounded by the mainstream media and its favored politicians: Either (1) there is no correlation between gun ownership and the murder rate, or (2) gun ownership is negatively correlated with the murder rate (in other words, more guns means fewer murders). Either way, the Establishment narrative is not merely unsupported but conclusively refuted by the evidence.
To read another article about gun control, click here.
To read another article by Mark LaRochelle, click here.
Posted by Brett at 3:02 PM
By Michael Brown
In recent days, the extreme intolerance, bigotry, and exclusivity of some gay activists and their straight allies has been on prominent display in their attacks against Chick-fil-A. What makes this all the more ironic, not to mention Orwellian, is that their campaign is being carried out in the name of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity. As expressed by jurist Marvin Frankel (in his book Faith and Freedom: Religious Liberty in America), “The powerless call out for tolerance. Achieving power, they may soon forget.”
Today, words like “diversity” and “inclusion,” which have been on the lips of gay activists for years, have taken on an ominous tone that would make Orwell proud.
Since March, students at New York University have been circulating a petition calling for Chick-fil-A to be removed from their campus for “human rights violations” (I kid you not). In classic doublespeak, the petition states that the fast food company doesn’t belong there because “NYU prides itself on being a diverse, open and inclusive campus community. . . . Unfortunately, maintaining a contract with an anti-gay vendor like Chick-fil-A undermines what makes this university so great.” So, Chick-fil-A should be banned because NYU “prides itself on being a diverse, open and inclusive campus community.”
In the same vein, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, stated, “As the country moves toward inclusion, Chick-fil-A has staked out a decidedly stuck-in-the-past mentality.” He further stated, apparently with a straight face, that “fair-minded consumers” can now “make up their own minds whether they want to support an openly discriminatory company.” It appears, then, that Griffin’s version of an “inclusive” America means that it’s either the gay way or the highway.
But it gets worse. In the now infamous words of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.”
It appears, however, that you can have a mayor in the city of Boston who discriminates against a population (namely, the scores of millions of Americans who do not want to redefine marriage) and against a business (namely Chick-fil-A, an exemplary company that has broken no laws, including laws of discrimination).
Mayor Menino continued (and with Orwellian eloquence at that), “We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” a stunning example of unintended irony if ever there was one.
In a similar example of unconscious doublespeak, New York City council speaker Christine Quinn, herself in a same-sex “marriage,” explained why she too wanted Chick-fil-A kicked off the NYU campus: “We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that.”
That’s right, Chick-fil-A. We are so diverse that we will run you out of our city. And we are so open and inclusive that we have no room for a business like yours.
Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno also attributed his attack on Chick-fil-A to “diversity,” explaining to ABCNews.com that his district is “a very diverse ward--economically, racially, and diverse in sexual orientation” – but not so diverse that it can welcome a Christian-based company. (The comments of the magnanimous mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, require little commentary: “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents.” Perhaps he should have added, “No disrespect intended to my fellow neighbors and residents who oppose same-sex ‘marriage,’ and certainly, no disrespect intended to Minister Farrakhan, whose business is always welcome in our city.”)
Not to be left out in this remarkable display of tolerance, equality, and diversity, the Philadelphia City Council was considering “a resolution condemning Chick-fil-A for what one city leader called ‘anti-American’ attitudes that promote ‘hatred, bigotry and discrimination.’ City Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy telling him to ‘take a hike and take your intolerance with you.’” (I am not making this up.)
Does Councilman Kenney not realize that he should be directing his statement to the face looking at him in the mirror? (To repeat: “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.”) Does the Philadelphia City Council not recognize that 31 states have so far voted to uphold marriage as the union of one man and woman? Are all these states, most recently North Carolina, with an overwhelming vote of 61-39%, “anti-American”? And isn’t it the Philadelphia City Council resolution that is actually an example of “hatred, bigotry and discrimination”? Yes, Chick-fil-A, we will discriminate against you because we oppose discrimination.
Already in 1994, Camille Paglia wrote in her book Vamps and Tramps, “One reason I so dislike recent gay activism is that my self-identification as a lesbian preceded Stonewall: I was the only openly gay person at the Yale Graduate School (1968-72), a candor that was professionally costly. That anyone with my aggressive and scandalous history could be called ‘homophobic,’ as has repeatedly been done, shows just how insanely Stalinist gay activism has become.” And Orwellian too.
So be on guard: The intolerance brigade is coming for you.
To read another article about the Chicken Chronicles, click here.
To read another article by Michael Brown, click here.
Posted by Brett at 2:55 PM
The day the Democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009, it was actually January 3rd 2007, the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.
The Democrat Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.
For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault", think about this:
January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress. At the time:
The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77
The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%
The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB GROWTH
Remember the day...January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee!
The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy?
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!
Unemployment... to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!
Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie - starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy.
And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac?.... OBAMA!
And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie???? OBAMA and the Democrat Congress!
So when someone tries to blame Bush...
REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007.... THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!
Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 was the Democrat Party.
Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009 as well as 2010 & 2011.
In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.
For 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budgets.
And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009!
If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.
If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself. In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is "I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th".
There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!
To read more on this subject, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:01 AM
By Jeffrey Lord on 7.31.12 @ 6:09AM
The force behind Bond, Potter, the Beatles; Of murdered Israeli athletes and the banned Greek.
It was so obvious it was completely taken for granted.
The Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics was a spectacular celebration of human freedom. A concept that in fact began to take root with a piece of parchment signed in 1215 and known as the Magna Carta, or the Great Charter of the Liberties of England.
Yet there wasn't a peep about what we were really seeing in London the other night.
All of which shows precisely the very real dangers that freedom faces around the globe -- not to mention right here at home in America.
As television and computer screens filled with spectacular images of James Bond, Mary Poppins, Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort and the ageless Beatle Sir Paul, viewers were enthralled.
And yet… and yet… how did all these people real (the Beatles) and imagined come to be?
They came to be, of course, because a free country provided Ian Fleming, P.L. Travers, J.K. Rowling, and John, Paul, George, and Ringo the complete freedom to conjure and amaze audiences with their respective literary and musical creations.
This decision not to formally recognize the vital importance of freedom -- and one must ask whether it was even a conscious decision as much as it was a simple taking for granted of a fact of life for Brits -- was mirrored exactly in the decidedly conscious decision by IOC President Jacques Rogge. That decision? Not to have a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes slaughtered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Instead, in what the New York Post called a "watered-down tribute," there was this generic included in the program: "In a moving moment, those who are absent from us are digitally present."
Can you imagine this? A group of terrorists -- decided enemies of freedom -- invaded the Olympics and committed mass murder, which is to say, killing Jews. And not a peep of specific recognition of this by the Olympic Committee whose very existence depends on the freedom of athletes to take their physical abilities to their limits -- just as was true of the literary and musical talents of Fleming, Travers, Rowling, and Beatle Paul.
Not to be outdone in the reluctance to say a word on behalf of freedom, out in these vacation-precincts comes news of the plight of Greek Olympian Voula Papachristou. After years of intense training and making the Greek team the 23-year old Papachristou made the mistake of tweeting a tasteless dopey joke about an outbreak of West Nile virus in Athens. The joke? "With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!" For this, the young athlete -- profuse apologies to no avail -- was expelled from her team days before the Opening Ceremonies. This treatment coming from the country generally credited as the birthplace of democracy.
Not to be too obvious here, but taken together none of this bodes well for freedom.
An inability to recognize freedom in the midst of celebrating some of the most famous achievements in the recent history of artistic freedom, a decided unwillingness to specifically address the most heinous act of opposition to freedom in modern Olympic history -- plus a fascist-like political correctness that costs a young woman her Olympic moment -- all act as storm warnings. These are caution signals if not flashing red lights.
Freedom is, of course, tied inextricably to the success of capitalism. It is capitalism that made welfare mother Rowling richer than the Queen. It is capitalism that made the four lads from Liverpool rich beyond their dreams. And it is capitalism that, in the recent words of Charles Murray in the Wall Street Journal:
… is the best thing that has ever happened to the material condition of the human race. From the dawn of history until the 18th century, every society in the world was impoverished, with only the thinnest film of wealth on top. Then came capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. Everywhere that capitalism subsequently took hold, national wealth began to increase and poverty began to fail. Everywhere that capitalism didn't take hold, people remained impoverished. Everywhere that capitalism has been rejected since then, poverty has increased.
Capitalism has lifted the world out of poverty because it gives people a chance to get rich by creating value and reaping the rewards.
Which is to say, using freedom to pursue their dreams and talents.
There's nothing new in all of this. And one does not have to be the author of the Harry Potter series or a Beatle to have benefitted.
Freedom has been directly under assault down through the ages.
Certainly it is safe to say, speaking of Brits, that the small interlude in history that we know as the American Revolution -- launched in part by those original tea partiers in Boston -- was nothing if not a war for freedom. So too was the Civil War and the divide over slavery a continuation of that American war for freedom. In the 20th century alone freedom had to fight off wars hot and Cold against German Nazis, Italian Fascists, the Japanese Empire, and the Communist Soviet Union as well as Communist North Korea and its Chinese ally -- all designed to exterminate freedom. Let's not forget Vietnam. Today Islamic Supremacists reject freedom because they want the world to bow down to the totalitarian strictures of sharia.
Towards the end of 2009, the first in the Age of Obama, National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote a wonderfully perceptive piece on the influence of Richard Ely, the late 19th-century American academic who served, in Goldberg's words, "as a mentor to or major influence on many of the most important progressive thinkers and activists" of the early 20th century. That group including, among others, Woodrow Wilson, Robert La Follette and Theodore Roosevelt. Goldberg pointed out the obvious: that while Ely is mostly unknown today, his influence on what Americans know as the "progressive movement" is still palpable today.
The irony here is that the supposedly more authentically American tradition of reform also has a heavily European lineage. Indeed, American progressives saw themselves as the U.S. franchisees of an international effort. "We were parts, one of another, in the United States and Europe," proclaimed William Allen White. "Something was welding us into one social and economic whole with local political variations."
By "local variations" of progressives White meant local as in places as near as his native Kansas and as far afield as the Socialists of France, Germany, Belgium, and Holland. Which is to say, Europe -- precisely the place where freedom had already had a tough go of it with such small moments as the French Revolution and Napoleon, not to mention what loomed with two world wars and Communism.
And as was true of their philosophical ancestors in the days of the French Revolution, Nazis, Fascists, and Communists -- anti-freedom movements one and all -- progressives and Leftists today, whether in Europe or America, reject the American concept of freedom. Why? Because they believe in a world that is run somewhere along the yard stick of leftism from Richard Ely's top down "coercive philanthropy" to Marx's world of hardline class warfare.
Or, as Goldberg put it succinctly, these are people who believe that "if experts can glean which way social betterment lies, who is the individual to object?"
A better description of, say, Obamacare could not be found.
Which brings us back to the Olympics and what we actually saw with our own eyes in that Opening Ceremony:
The vivid contradiction of freedom stunningly on display, the consequences of an enemy that will boldly murder Olympians to extinguish freedom, and the creepy -- and creeping- anti-freedom censorship of the Greek Olympic Committee callously snuffing out an athlete's chance at Olympic medals in the name of political correctness.
Decades ago, Whittaker Chambers wrote of an epiphany had during one of his darker moments in his struggle to confront Communism. Chambers wrote:
In those days, I often moved about or performed tasks more or less blindly from habit, while my mind was occupied with its mortal debate. One day as I came down the stairs in the Mount Royal Terrace house [the Baltimore home where he lived with his family], the question of the impossible return struck me with sudden sharpness. I thought: "You cannot do it. No one can go back." [To freedom from Communism.] As I stepped down into the dark hall, I found myself stopped, not by a constraint, but by a hush of my whole being. In this organic hush, a voice said with perfect distinctness: "If you will fight for freedom, all will be well with you." The words are nothing. Perhaps there were no words, only an uttered meaning to which my mind supplied the words. What was there was the sense that, like me, time and the world stood still, an awareness of God as an envelopment, holding me in silent assurance and untroubled peace. There was a sense that in that moment I gave my promise, not with the mind, but with my whole being, and that this was a covenant that I might not break.
… Henceforth, in the depth of my being there was peace and a strength that nothing could shake. It was the strength that carried me out of the Communist Party, that carried me back into the life of men.
If you will fight for freedom, all will be well with you.
The hard-earned wisdom of Chambers speaks to us all today. It reminds one and all to be on guard for both the casual disregard of freedom and its fruits -- the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics. It reminds that it is a dangerous folly to ignore the facts of those who would and have snuffed out innocent lives in the name of totalitarian murder (ignoring the massacre of those Israeli Olympians). And it reminds that the spotlight should always shine on those who, in the name of a quasi-totalitarian political correctness will ban the simplest expression of freedom -- free speech.
Freedom is perpetually targeted for war. And one doesn't have to sally forth to any foreign countries as the challenges within U.S. borders are multiplying daily.
The Mayor of New York wants the Big Gulp of soda banned because he is determined to control what you voluntarily put into your body by way of soft drinks.
In the wake of the Colorado shootings, the cry goes up yet again for controlling the freedom to bear arms.
In some automotive quarters the idea is to install a gadget in your car that measures your road mileage -- so you can be taxed accordingly.
And, of course, Obamacare is in the process of restricting the right of a patient to choose their own doctor, keep their own insurance and, thanks to the rationing of the Independent Advisory Board -- aka the "Death Panel" -- have a say in your freedom to literally draw your next breath.
The other day, the Wall Street Journal's Robert Pollock sat down with Yale Professor Charles Hill -- a rare conservative in academia. Hill has seen more of the world than the university campus, having served as a foreign service officer and adviser to two Secretaries of State -- Nixon's Henry Kissinger and Reagan's George Shultz.
What concerns Mr. Hill these days is "the conduct of the Obama administration" that is, in Hill's view, effectively turning back the "democracy wave" that began in the wake of the end of the Cold War. Yet another way of noting that freedom is struggling in the 21st century. With the power of the Chinese on the rise, a Putin-run Russia essentially trying to restore as best as possible the empire of influence that once was the Soviet Union -- and a craven (and broke) Europe wallowing in the guilt of responsibility for "Napoleon and colonialism and imperialism and Stalin and Marx and Lenin and Hitler and the Holocaust" -- only more trouble for freedom lies ahead. If the United States is unwilling to do battle for the freedom that is at the core of liberal (in the old-fashioned sense) democracy -- who will do this?
Once upon a time America was a beacon of freedom. And for a considerable while, all of Western civilization.
The failure to point out the role of freedom at the Olympics, the failure to take a specific moment of silence for those Israeli athletes murdered at the hands of freedom's enemies, and the assault on the free speech rights of an Olympic athlete collectively bode nothing but ill.
They are signs that freedom is not only being taken for granted amidst even a vast celebration of the fruits of that freedom. They are one more in a series of signs that freedom itself is in one form, fashion or another directly under assault.
President Reagan used to speak of the importance of standing up for freedom. Marl Levin notes a specific Reagan quote on freedom at the close of his best seller Liberty and Tyranny:
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Now is the time -- now is always the time -- to stand up for freedom.
To read another article about the 2012 London Olympics, click here.
To read another article by Jeffrey Lord, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:32 AM
By Mark Tooley on 7.31.12 @ 6:07AM
Scholars and activists on both left and right continue to think he is one of them.
This week a twitter feed for retiring United Methodist bishop William Willimon exclaimed: "[Thomas] Jefferson created a polity with religion completely free as long as it was personal and private... [creating] essentially [an] atheist national polity." Earlier this year, Willimon, who's returning to Duke University, faulted Jefferson for the "privatization" of God through the "modern democratic, liberal nation state in order to neutralize Christianity, to bury God in the confines of the self, to trivialize the Trinity, and to keep this governmentally troubling faith from going public."
As Willimon asserted, the Jeffersonian experiment has created the "omnipotent state and its capitalist economy." Of course, Jeffersonians believed in minimal government. And an omnipotent state is a contradiction to a free market economy. Although Methodist, Willimon belongs to the neo-Anabaptist perspective, most popularized by his popular Duke colleague Stanley Hauerwas, that demonizes American democracy while not offering any alternatives, except "the church." Mainstream Christianity professes that God has ordained other institutions besides the church, such as the state, rightly ordered.
Sensibly, Willimon did note that the "government has found that Christians (well, any believer who thinks that his or her God might be more important than the state) are easier to manage if they will confine their faith to something within." But this modern drive to privatize religion was launched by secularists and strict separationists, not Jeffersonians, who believed in a thriving civil society that included robust religious institutions. Religious enthusiasts and evangelicals of the early 19th century supported Jefferson and his party instead of the Federalists and the established churches of the eastern seaboard.
Debating Jefferson and his impact on religion is a favorite American pastime. Secularists and strict separationists ardently quote Jefferson's opposition to state churches. Religionists with equal fervor quote Jefferson's robust defense of religious liberty. Popular conservative religious activist David Barton has just released a new book called The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson. It's a full throttle defense of Jefferson's character and specifically of his personal faith.
Barton's group, Wallbuilders, specializes in spotlighting America's Christian history to rebut secularist attempts to marginalize public faith. Spotlighted in a New York Times feature last year, and appearing on the Jon Stewart Show this year, Barton infuriates secularists and liberals with his chapter and verse citations of early American religious history. Some conservatives have also challenged his alleged exaggerations of early American religiosity and virtue. Two Grove City College professors have published Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President to correct many of Barton's assertions about Jefferson's rectitude.
In his latest book, Barton asserts that Jefferson strayed in and out of Christian orthodoxy, was influenced by the first and second Great Awakenings, and later was influenced by the prevalence of Christian Primitivists and Restorationists in the Charlottesville, Virginia area. These movements emphasized "primitive" Christianity based ostensibly only on the Bible while they rejected what they thought was church tradition, like belief in the Trinity or Christ's specific deity. They emphasized the Gospels but not the Epistles or the Old Testament. They also were interdenominational and anti-Calvinist. Beyond saying that preachers of these doctrines were common in Jefferson's neighborhood, and showing how some of their themes were similar to Jefferson's, Barton does not specifically demonstrate their direct influence on Jefferson. Barton insists Jefferson was theologically orthodox until middle aged. But other writers, including conservative Christians, date Jefferson's departure from orthodoxy to his early manhood.
Barton readily admits that Jefferson was an enthusiast for Unitarianism during his final years, even as he continued to attend and financially support Trinitarian churches, especially the Episcopal Church, in which he had served as vestryman during his younger years. Although acknowledging Jefferson's heterodox theology, Barton concludes Jefferson was "pro-Christian and pro-Jesus." Barton's critics cite this rhetoric as evidence of Barton's crusade to enlist the Founding Fathers as posthumous friends of the modern Religious Right. Some Religious Right authors, like the late Peter Marshall (son of the famous U.S. Senate chaplain of the same name), have demonized Jefferson as an infidel who contrasted with more devout Founders. But Barton sides with others like Pat Robertson, who also claims Jefferson as a friend to religion and to liberty whatever his personal theology.
As even his critics grant, Barton successfully recalls lots of forgotten early American religious history, including obscure clergy, which they complain only makes him more dangerous. Barton's linking Jefferson to early 19th century Christian Primitivism and Restorationism (whose descendants largely became Trinitarian and are today in the modern Churches of Christ and the Christian Church-Disciples of Christ) is provocative but, at least in his book, somewhat lacking in direct evidence. Most religious writers tie Jefferson's religious beliefs to European Enlightenment thinkers.
A definitive book on Jefferson and religion is probably yet to be written. What is needed is a work like Michael Novak's recent Washington's God or Mary Thompson's In the Hands of a Good Providence. Both these books subtly disprove the frequent charge that George Washington was a deist without exaggerating his piety or orthodoxy.
Jefferson was a lifelong church goer and supporter who regarded himself as a Christian, even while privately rejecting its key doctrines as a distraction from its moral teachings. Like any good politician, he nurtured friendships with believers in nearly all religious groups then in America. And he sincerely believed that religion was essential to national character. For him the free exercise of religion fully in public life was especially important to restraining unlimited government.
It's pointless to claim Jefferson for the modern Religious Right. But it's even more absurd to equate him with Norman Lear. And Bishop Willimon's implication that Jefferson was a sort of Robespierre who drove religion into the closet is equally baseless. Like nearly all the Founding Fathers, Jefferson spoke and acted on grand themes that transcend most modern American ideological categories. That the Religious Right and secular Left can both at times claim Jefferson likely would delight him.
To read another article by Mark Tooley, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:14 AM
By: John Hayward
7/31/2012 09:31 AM
Congressional Republicans have released a report on the Fast and Furious scandal, after conducting investigations for a year and a half, which concludes that five ATF officials were primarily responsible for the deadly “gun walking” operation. The report was assembled by staffers from the offices of both House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
The names cited in the report are mostly familiar to longtime students of Fast and Furious: Acting ATF Director Ken Melson, Deputy Director William Hoover, Special Agent in Charge William Newell of the Phoenix Field Division, Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon, and Assistant Director for Field Operations Mark Chait. Several lower-ranking agents from ATF Phoenix Group VII are also mentioned.
SAC Newell is the pivotal figure from Phoenix, a veteran of the Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver, who was oddly eager to try the same failed gun-walking tactics again… except this time without tracking devices, or cooperation from the Mexican government. The congressional report says Newell “saw an opportunity to run a large scale operation intended to bring down an entire gun trafficking network – now with the support of the upper echelons of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.”
McMahon supervised Newell, while Chait was McMahon’s boss. The report holds Newell and McMahon responsible for conducting the bizarre Fast and Furious operation, while their supervisors are cited for failing to monitor the operation properly, or put a stop to it when they had a chance. Hoover, in particular, seemed well aware that he had a crisis on his hands, and went so far as to demand the formulation of an “exit strategy,” but he didn’t follow through. More effort was invested in covering up Fast and Furious than controlling or halting the operation.
The slaying of Mario Gonzalez, brother of a Mexican state attorney general, with Fast and Furious guns was an early warning sign, but the ATF agents running the operation tried to keep their program’s connection to the murder quiet. The guns kept walking until U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed.
The congressional report notes the unease of many firearms dealers co-opted by the ATF to participate in Fast and Furious. “These [Federal Firearms Licensees] became increasingly worried about selling firearms to obvious straw purchasers,” says the report. “ATF Group Supervisor Voth assuaged their fears by arranging meetings with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and promising them that the ATF was closely monitoring and ultimately interdicting the purchased weapons. Since the FFLs depended on ATF’s regulatory arm for their livelihood, they agreed to make these sales.” It’s amazing what officials with regulatory power can persuade their subjects to do, isn’t it?
But alas for those gun dealers, “in reality, ATF agents in Phoenix had no intention of interdicting these firearms, even though Group VII agents often received contemporaneous, or even advanced, notice of illegal firearms purchases.” Sometimes this was because the ATF agents didn’t think the U.S. Attorney’s Office would be able to build a case against the straw buyers, but “in other cases it was because ATF refused to ‘compromise the bigger case’ by taking any steps that might allow the straw purchasers to be aware ATF was watching them – even if that meant the straw purchasers were allowed to transfer the guns to traffickers.”
This is why media descriptions of Fast and Furious as a “botched sting operation” are so maddening to those who have followed the scandal since its early days. It wasn’t a botched sting. It wasn’t a “sting” at all. As the congressional report puts it, “Group VII abandoned the traditional law enforcement techniques of disruption and deterrence by failing to confront of question the vast majority of the straw purchasers in Fast and Furious, preferring instead to watch and wait. Agents would often follow the firearms to a parking lot or stash house where they would be transferred into another vehicle or simply deposited for later pickup. Group VII continued merely monitoring the illegal activity even after it believed it could arrest the most prolific straw purchasers.”
Fast and Furious plowed ahead even after it became apparent that much of what the Group VII agents were seeking to discover about the larger gun trafficking network was already known to the DEA and FBI. Information from these agencies was forwarded to the ATF, but they just kept pumping guns across the border at “an alarming rate,” as the congressional investigators describe it. For example, the ATF obtained seven expensive, resource-intensive wiretaps “while attempting to identify the same targets FBI and DEA had already identified.”
The ATF’s weird May 2010 encounter with top gun-runner Manuel Celis-Acosta, in which he was caught with a car full of ammunition but sent on his merry way, after Fast and Furious agent Hope McAllister scribbled her phone number on a $10 bill, is recounted. The DEA wanted Celis-Acosta arrested, but they don’t have jurisdiction over gun crimes.
None of the five officials cited in the report has been officially punished or sacked by the Justice Department. Melson was removed as Acting ATF Director and installed as a senior adviser to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, but that’s the closest anyone came to getting called on the carpet. The others have either retired on their own, or been re-assigned without fanfare. The report notes that SAC Newell “still believes that he did nothing wrong in Fast and Furious, other than failing to conduct ‘risk assessments’ to measure the possibility of harm to public safety.” A great deal of harm to the public safety of both Mexicans and Americans did indeed result. Well over a thousand Fast and Furious guns are still at large.
When whistles were blown and Congress got involved, the cover-ups came fast and furious. Acting ATF Director Melson says he “wanted to be very proactive in responding to the congressional inquiry into Fast and Furious,” but the Justice Department sent an attorney to Senator Grassley’s office instead. Melson claims he was out of the loop until after Agent Terry’s murder, but then he got up to speed and wanted to cooperate with Congress… but the Justice Department stopped him. He says Deputy Attorney General James Cole even prohibited him from talking to his own ATF personnel about Fast and Furious.
“From Melson’s perspective,” the congressional report relates, “if other Justice Department components had been more forthcoming with information they had about Fast and Furious suspects, the operation would have ended much sooner than it did.” This would seem to conflict with the report’s earlier statements about DEA and FBI information provided to the ATF, although it looks like none of this information bubbled up to Melson’s office.
The report is remarkably blunt in stating that the Justice Department “has made Melson the scapegoat for the reckless tactics used in the investigation.” He lost his position as Acting ATF Director very quickly after he told congressional investigators, “The Department is really trying to figure out a way to push information away from its political appointees at the Department.”
This congressional report is Part I of a three-part series, concerning itself strictly with the ATF. It ends with an ominous cliffhanger: “This report is not intended to imply in any way that the mistakes and responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious are limited to ATF and other federal officials who were based in Arizona. While mistakes by figures in Arizona were immense, the joint Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious will issue a second report detailing the mistakes and culpability of Department of Justice officials based in Washington, D.C.” That’s where they’ll run into the stone walls erected by Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama.
To read another article about Fast and Furious, click here.
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
Posted by Brett at 8:50 AM
By: John Hayward
7/31/2012 10:08 AM
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday, where he met with military veterans and the mayor of Warsaw. As he was departing, he was peppered with loaded questions from the press corps, whom he has largely ignored during his overseas trip. Some examples, courtesy of the CNN transcript:
CNN: “Governor Romney, are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip?”
NYT: “Governor Romney, do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?”
Washington Post: “What about your gaffes?”
The “gaffes” in question concern Romney making transparently obvious observations about the state of the London Olympics and the festering hell-hole of the Palestinian “economy,” respectively. He didn’t actually say “festering hell-hole,” because he’s more diplomatic than I am. Romney merely took note of the “stark difference in economic vitality” between Israel and the Palestinians, and said it moved him to “recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.”
You’d have to be a lunatic with virtually no connection to objective reality to disagree with Romney’s observation. Sadly, that’s a pretty good description of the Palestinian “leadership,” which took a break from randomly showering Israeli civilians with rockets to accuse Romney of “racism.”
Is the civilized world really doing the Palestinians any favors by coddling its leadership, and protecting their sensitive ears from hearing that prosperity does not flourish under corrupt, murderous thug governments? But a press corps eager to gin up some negative coverage of Barack Obama’s opponent decided Romney’s honesty was a “gaffe.” Maybe they’re worried that the citizens of America will begin pondering the importance of honest, limited government to a prosperous economy.
At any rate, Romney press secretary Rick Gorka addressed the press gaggle in somewhat intemperate terms, which I must warn the reader that I am about to relate verbatim. Some might find this language a bit offensive, although I come from New Jersey, where it’s considered a polite greeting.
“Kiss my ass!” barked Gorka. “This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect!” Then he told Jonathan Martin of Politico to “shove it,” which qualifies as a friendly farewell in New Jersey. Gorka later contacted reporters to apologize for his “inappropriate” behavior.
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
Posted by Brett at 8:41 AM
By Phyllis Schlafly
Political conversation in the media is full of chatter about how to cut spending and debt, but it reminds us of the comment attributed to Mark Twain: "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it." There's a lot of talk about how to cut back on entitlements, but why doesn't somebody suggest cutting the extravagant federal dollars spent on education, which is not even an entitlement?
The billions spent on education have not achieved any of their designated goals, which were to raise the test scores and to close the gap between kids from upper-income and lower-income families. The handouts, however, produced a lot of cheating by teachers and administrators trying to hide their failure to achieve designated goals.
We hear about increasing the role of the states in other areas such as Medicaid. But the most important area where the states should have primary responsibility is education.
The most powerful union of government employees is the National Education Association, which held this year's annual national convention, as usual, over the Fourth of July weekend, attracting 9,000 delegates. To no one's surprise, it resembled a re-election campaign rally for Barack Obama, with the pressure on delegates to identify themselves as EFO, Educators for Obama.
Many delegates wore Obama campaign buttons and T-shirts and sported banners with messages such as "You are our knight in shining armor." The official NEA newspaper, called RA Today and published every day during the week-long convention, featured a very political full-page endorsement of Obama headlined "Do your part and pledge to be an educator for Obama today!"
In preparation for the convention, NEA leaders had been urging their members to hold house parties to teach their friends why Obama deserves their votes. House parties were one of the successful tactics Obama used to win his election in 2008.
The NEA convention passed its usual scores of anti-parent, anti-school-choice, pro-feminist, pro-homosexual resolutions that morph into the NEA's Legislative Program. This authorizes the highly paid NEA staff to lobby Congress, state legislatures, education departments and school boards to adopt NEA policies.
One significant new resolution adopted this year reads: "The Association also believes that members have the right to have payroll deduction of both Association membership dues and voluntary political contributions." That should make it clear that the way to cut the NEA's political power is for state legislatures to pass paycheck protection laws that prohibit the racket of state governments deducting political contributions out of the paychecks of teachers and turning the money over to the NEA bosses to elect Democrats.
We can get a look at NEA's political clout by reading a memorandum distributed to the delegates by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. It reveals the amount of money available in the NEA Ballot Measures/Legislative Crises Fund in the current year, beginning with $1,563,775 and projecting $26,939,129 by the end of the year.
Already this year, the NEA powers-that-be have approved $270,000 to four state affiliates to use in ballot measure campaigns, $7,163,492 in assistance to 17 state affiliates for legislative battles, and $2,500,000 for lobby-campaign efforts related to the congressional reauthorization of federal education appropriations.
Another memo Van Roekel distributed to delegates gave detailed information about the NEA Media Campaign Fund for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. These two funds are supported by a special dues assessment on every NEA member.
The NEA state affiliates that received NEA money from this Media Fund during the current year include: NEA Alaska $75,000; Delaware State Education Association $43,500; Florida Education Association $135,000; Idaho Education Association, $115,000; Illinois Education Association $400,000; Michigan Education Association $308,000; Education Minnesota $125,000; South Carolina Education Association $70,0000; Utah Education Association $105,000; Vermont NEA $108,500; and West Virginia Education Association $35,000.
The NEA's official Legislative Program includes many items that implement radical liberal ideology but have nothing to do with educating students. This column isn't long enough to list the 31 pages of fine print detailing the NEA's legislative demands, so I'll just mention a few to give you the flavor.
To nobody's surprise, the NEA supports "national health care that will mandate universal coverage." The NEA supports a long list of United Nations treaties, all of which would limit U.S. sovereignty and meddle in our domestic laws and customs.
The NEA supports adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would mandate "equality of rights ... on account of sex." To reinforce that goal, the NEA supports passage of a federal statute to assure "sexual orientation" rights.
The NEA supports "confirmation of Supreme Court Justices and federal judges who support civil rights." According to the NEA, "civil rights" includes both "reproductive freedom" and "prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression."
To read another article by Phyllis Schlafly, click here.
Posted by Brett at 8:28 AM
10 Concepts Liberals Talk About Incessantly But Don't Understand
By John Hawkins
"It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so." -- Ronald Reagan
”You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” -- Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
1) Being Open Minded: To a liberal, this has nothing at all to do with seriously considering other people's ideas. To the contrary, liberals define being "open-minded" as agreeing with them. What could be more close-minded than assuming that not only are you right, but that you don't even need to consider another viewpoint because anyone who disagrees must be evil?
2) Racism: Liberals start with the presumption that only white people who don't belong to the Democratic Party can be racist. So, for example, even if Jeremiah Wright can make it clear that he hates white people because of their skin color or if liberals take an explicitly racist political position, like suggesting that black people are too stupid and incompetent to get identification to vote, they can't be racist. White Republicans, on the other hand, are generally assumed to be racist by default, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary.
3) Fairness: In all fairness, I must admit that fairness is an arbitrary concept. So, you could make the argument that no one could get "fairness" wrong. Still, liberals do because they don't make any effort to actually "be fair." As a practical matter, liberals define "fairness" as taking as much as possible from people who they don't think are going to vote for them and giving it to people who may vote for them in return for their ill gotten largesse. Certainly conservatives, libertarians, and moderates might disagree about how much money to take from the wealthy to redistribute to the poor or how to help the disadvantaged, but the only liberal answer to the question, "How much is enough?" is "more."
4) Greed: To a liberal, believing that you pay too much in taxes or even opposing paying more in taxes is greedy. In actuality, wanting to loot as much money as possible that someone else has earned to use for your own purposes, which is what liberals do, is a much better example of greed.
5) Hate: Liberals often define simple disagreement with them on issues like gay marriage, tax rates, or abortion as hatred. No matter how well a position is explained, or the logical underpinnings behind it, it's chalked up to hate. Meanwhile, the angriest, most vicious, most hateful people in all of politics are liberals railing against what they say is "hatred." This irony is completely lost on the Left.
6) Investment: Actual investments involve putting money or resources into a project in hopes that they will appreciate in value. Liberals skip the second half of that equation. To them, an "investment" is taking someone else's tax dollars and putting them into a project that liberals approve of and whether a profit is made or lost is so irrelevant that they typically don't even bother to measure the results.
7) Charity: Contributing your own money or time to a good cause is charity. Liberals view themselves as charitable if they take someone else's tax dollars and give them away to people they hope will vote for them in return. At a minimum, they should at least credit the taxpayers who paid for the money they gave away for the charity, although it's not really charity if it's involuntary. Of course, there's nothing charitable about asking someone else to sacrifice for your gain, which could actually be better described as selfish.
8) Patriotism: Liberals love America the way a wife beater loves his spouse. That's why they're always beating up the country "for its own good." Doesn't the country understand that liberals have to hit it in the mouth because they LOVE IT SO MUCH?!?!? Of course, the conventional definition of patriotism, which is loving your country and wishing it well, isn't one that liberals can wrap their heads around.
9) Tolerance: In a free, open, and pluralistic society, there are all sorts of behaviors that we may have to tolerate, even though we don't approve of those activities. Liberals don't get this distinction. For one thing, they don't understand the difference between tolerance and acceptance. They also don't extend any of the tolerance they're agitating for to people who disagree with them. Liberals silence people who disagree with them at every opportunity which is, dare we say it, an extremely intolerant way to behave.
10) Diversity: What liberals mean by "diversity" is that they want a broad range of people from different races, colors, and creeds who have identical political views. A black or Hispanic conservative doesn't contribute to "diversity" in liberal eyes because he actually has diverse views. Incredible role models for women like Sarah Palin can't be feminists to liberals because she doesn't share the same liberal beliefs as sexist pigs like Anthony Weiner and Bill Maher. How can you have any meaningful "diversity" when everyone has to think the same way?
To read another article by John Hawkins, click here.
Posted by Brett at 1:13 AM
By Mona Charen
When Muhammad al-Rahim mentioned in an interview with a Muslim newspaper that he supported the traditional Muslim conception of marriage -- no more than four wives per man, "That's the Quranic way"-- he never expected the storm of criticism that erupted.
Within days, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that, "Rahim's values are not Chicago values" and supported a move by Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno to block the planned opening of one of Rahim's chain of convenience stores. Emmanuel explained that, "What the CEO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it's not what the people of Chicago believe. We just passed legislation as it relates to civil union and my goal and my hope ... is that we now move on recognizing gay marriage. I do not believe that the CEO's comments ... reflects who we are as a city."
The Democratic Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, announced that he would not permit Rahim to open stores in his city "unless they open up their policies." And San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee advised in a tweet he was "Very disappointed that (Rahim) doesn't share San Francisco's values & strong commitment to equality for everyone." He then added that the "Closest (Rahim store) to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer."
Ok. It wasn't a Muslim and it wasn't "Quranic values" that created the fuss. It was -- of course -- Dan Cathy, chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, who ignited the imbroglio by affirming his adherence to the "Biblical" definition of the family.
Rahim is an invention to illustrate the selective outrage of liberal Democrats. It is simply impossible to imagine that liberal Democrats would treat affirmations of Muslim faith with the kind of bullying that Cathy and Chick-fil-A have received. Yet Islam is at least as doctrinally tough on homosexuality as Christianity is, and considerably tougher in practice. The Economist magazine reported in February, "In 2010 a Saudi man was sentenced to 500 lashes and five years in jail for having sex with another man. In February last year, police in Bahrain arrested scores of men, mostly other Gulf nationals, at a 'gay party.' Iranian gay men are typically tried on other trumped-up charges. But in September last year three were executed specifically for homosexuality."
Emanuel and Co. would never unsheathe their rhetorical swords toward a Muslim affirming his faith. They reserve their wrath for Christians who espouse the views that -- until three months ago -- were the official position of the president of the United States. (Obama was given a pass because everyone knew he was deeply insincere -- which is another chapter in hypocrisy for another time.)
Beyond hypocrisy and selective outrage, the Chick-fil-A story reveals a totalitarian temptation among liberals. Note that Chick-fil-A is not being accused of discrimination, either in hiring or in service. The franchise is being targeted by Democratic office holders merely to punish the company's owner for his religious and social beliefs.
Dan Cathy clearly holds views that would exclude him from consideration as a guest speaker at the next Equality Matters conference. In the course of the Biblical Recorder interview, he said, "We are very much supportive of the family - the Biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. ... We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families . . ." He added that, "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about."
If gay marriage advocates choose to oppose Cathy and Chick-fil-A, they are free to do so -- even to encourage boycotts and protests. But for aldermen, mayors and other elected officials to punish a business owner for unpopular speech is dangerous and despotic. The Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union protested -- and good for them. But the White House has been silent.
President Obama placed a call to Sandra Fluke when he felt that she had been unfairly targeted for her views. Fluke's critic was a private citizen. Cathy's are public officials. Can Dan Cathy expect a call from Barack Obama?
To read more about the Chicken Chronicles, click here.
To read another article by Mona Charen, click here.
Posted by Brett at 1:05 AM
By Cal Thomas
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy is in hot water with the LGBT community because he committed the cardinal sin in an age of political correctness: Thou must not speak ill of anything gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgenders wish to do.
In an interview with the Baptist Press and later on a Christian radio program, Cathy, whose father, the philanthropist Truett Cathy, founded the company, defended marriage between a man and a woman and when asked about the company's support of traditional marriage said, "Guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit." Cathy believes American society is rotting (and where is evidence to the contrary?) because the country has turned away from God.
That was it. Cathy did not say he would deny someone with a different view than his the right to eat in or work at any of his fast-food restaurants, which would violate the law. He did not say anything hateful about them. He simply expressed a deeply held conviction rooted in his Christian faith.
The reaction tells you everything you need to know about certain liberals who believe every sort of speech, activity and expression should be protected, except the speech, activity and expression of evangelical Christians.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he would try to deny Chick-fil-A's application for permits to open restaurants in that city. Now that's discrimination. Menino wants to ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, not for discriminating against customers or employees, but because of its owner's beliefs, a threat he has since backed away from. Does Boston have "thought police" who might be ordered to investigate whether other business owners already operating in the city hold similar views? I'll bet there's someone at Durgin-Park who holds similar views. What about a player for the Boston Red Sox? Better follow them to see if any of them go to church.
Maybe Mayor Menino would like to force business owners in the city to testify before an official panel of grand inquisitors and then deny operating licenses to anyone who believes traditional marriage should be the norm?
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said, "Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values." Are Chicago values represented by the anti-Semitic firebrand Louis Farrakhan with whom Emanuel is going to partner in hopes of reducing the number of homicides in his city? Are Farrakhan's anti-Semitic and anti-gay sentiments somehow more palatable, more of value, than Dan Cathy's support of marriage and family?
The Weekly Standard found a video posted on the Nation of Islam's website of a Farrakhan speech two months ago in which he blasted President Obama for endorsing same-sex marriage. Farrakhan said Obama is "the first president that sanctioned what the scriptures forbid." He added, "...sin is sin according to the standard of God" and "the Bible forbids it."
That goes a lot further than Dan Cathy.
The Jim Henson Company has decided to pull its Creature Shop toys from Chick-fil-A and donate profits already made to GLAAD, the media-monitoring group that promotes the image of LGBT people. I knew Jim Henson when we both worked at the NBC-TV station in Washington in the mid-1960s. While we never discussed politics, I don't think at the time, at least, he would have wanted his characters, which appeal to everyone, involved in a cultural and political battle.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Senator Rick Santorum, both also former presidential candidates, have called for a show of support for Cathy. They want people to eat at Chick-fil-A restaurants on August 1.
This is more than an economic battle. It is a First Amendment issue. Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution. Dan Cathy has a right to his opinion, so does Farrakhan, so do we all.
The real "war" in this country is not only against the supposed civil right of nontraditional marriage. It is a war against conservative Christians and a denial of the same rights the LGBT community claims for itself. Free speech is an American value. We shouldn't settle for anything less.
To read a related article, click here.
To read another article by Cal Thomas, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:55 AM