Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Will we ever see his like again?
He still speaks for me
Miss me yet?
You may have supported me as President or not, but one thing I NEVER did to ANY of you as your President is raise your taxes. In fact instead I cut taxes twice for you which led to millions of new jobs and record revenue for the Treasury.
More abuse of executive authority
Federal Court: DOJ Must Reimburse South Carolina for Voter ID Folly
A federal court has ruled that South Carolina was the prevailing party in the unnecessary Voter ID litigation, and therefore the Justice Department is liable for paying the state’s costs. South Carolina spent $3,500,000 to obtain federal court approval of the state’s Voter ID law as non-discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit was made necessary only because of the political and ideological radicalism of Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez and his deputy Matthew Colangelo
PJ Media had this exclusive report detailing that career Voting Section employees, including Voting Section Chief Chris Herren, recommended that the Voter ID law be approved in the first place by DOJ after a careful written analysis inside the Voting Section. Documents prepared by the career staff urged Perez and Colangelo to grant administrative approval to the South Carolina Voter ID law — but they refused. Their refusal was, in part, designed to energize a moribund political base heading into the 2012 election. The cost to the American taxpayers for their stunt will be significant.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office was quick to respond to the court’s ruling late yesterday:
“The state Attorney General’s Office blamed the U.S. Department of Justice for the high cost of the case. They accused the federal government of delaying the case by 120 days by filing numerous frivolous motions, including challenging the 12-point font size on a document the state filed.
“The Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., bears responsibility for the litigation costs,” said Mark Powell, Wilson’s spokesman. “The decision was so emphatic, even the Department of Justice and Interveners did not appeal it. South Carolina was forced to pay a hefty price because a handful of Washington insiders refused to do the right thing.”
Whether Congress will hold Perez and Colangelo accountable remains to be seen. Members of Congress, including Senator Lindsey Graham, have already demanded that Perez turn over the documents about which PJ Media first reported on September 11, 2012. So far, sources tell me that Graham has not received what he has asked for, though he may already possess the documents from other sources.
Tellingly, DOJ has not denied that such internal approval memos exist. They can’t.
All of this raises the question — will Perez and Colangelo be held accountable for what amounted to an expensive use of the Justice Department to energize President Obama’s political base? As we now know, there was no merit to the objection. A federal court approved the law. The many career staff who looked at it said the South Carolina law did not discriminate.
Congress might get answers if they haul DOJ Voting Section Chief Christopher Herren before the House Judiciary Committee for answers. The Democrats could hardly object — after all, they dragged Bush-era Voting Section Chief John Tanner before the Democrat-run House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about Georgia Voter ID. There is precedent. Democrats could hardly object when the Voting Section Chief during the Bush administration was made to dance the dance before the Committee.
'Toxic Nationalism'? How about toxic religion?
Robert D. Kaplan has long been among America's most insightful analysts of global trends. I'd rather argue with him than agree with most others. Right now, I'm going to do a bit of both.
In "Toxic Nationalism," an essay published in the Wall Street Journal last week, Kaplan observes that "Western elites" regard their beliefs as "universal values." Because they approve of "women's liberation," they conclude that all thinking people from Albania to Zanzibar believe in women's liberation. Western elites place a priority on "human rights," assuming that must be the consensus view. Western elites are convinced that international organizations are breaking down the remaining "boundaries separating humanity," so that must be what they're doing, and what they seek to do.
These are, Kaplan understands, illusions: "In country after country, the Westerners identify like-minded, educated elites and mistake them for the population at large. They prefer not to see the regressive and exclusivist forces - such as nationalism and sectarianism - that are mightily reshaping the future."
He cites, as an example, Egypt, where the hope that decades of dictatorship were giving way to liberal democracy has faded. His explanation: "Freedom, at least in its initial stages, unleashes not only individual identity but, more crucially, the freedom to identify with a blood-based solidarity group. Beyond that group, feelings of love and humanity do not apply. That is a signal lesson of the Arab Spring."
I think Kaplan is right on all points save one: The Islamists who are coming to power are not a "blood-based solidarity group." They are a religion-based solidarity group. Egyptian Islamists feel no solidarity with Egyptian Christians - despite blood ties tracing back millennia. This is a crucial distinction, one that makes "Western elites" - Kaplan included - profoundly uncomfortable. So they ignore it.
Kaplan, who currently holds the catchy title of "chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm," goes on to worry that in Europe there is now "a resurgence of nationalism and extremism." He's not wrong on that, but is it remotely conceivable that the skinheads and neo-Nazis in Finland, Ukraine, and Greece pose as serious a threat to freedom and human rights as do the jihadists of al-Qaeda and Iran, or even the more gradualist Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood?
Similarly, in Asia, Kaplan sees China, Japan, and other nations "rediscovering nationalism," undermining the notion that "we live in a post-national age." He adds: "The disputes in Asia are not about ideology or any uplifting moral philosophy; they are about who gets to control space on the map." True, but is the revival of such nationalistic sentiment really a crisis or even a major problem? Meanwhile, much more significant, Islamists are offering an alternative to both the old nationalist and the newer post-nationalist models.
Islamists insist that one's primary identity is - and must be - based on religion, not nationality, not citizenship, not race, not class. More to the point, they demand that their religion be acknowledged as superior to all others. They are committed to making their religiously derived ideology the basis for revolutionary transformation not only in the so-called Muslim world but also in Africa, Asia, Europe, the U.S. - anywhere there are Muslims who can be enlisted into the struggle. As Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, succinctly put it: "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet."
They see the global map not as fractured into blood-based nations squabbling over "space" but as divided into just two spheres: the Dar al-Islam, the realm where Muslims rule, and the Dar al-Harb, where infidels still hold power and must be fought, and, in time, decisively defeated so that the Dar al-Islam can become universal.
I am confident that Kaplan knows all this. By not taking it into account, he ends up in some odd cul-de-sacs. For example, he charges that among Russians there is a high incidence of "race-hatred against Muslims." No, Muslims do not constitute a race.
That said, there may be conceptual utility in Kaplan's vision of a global "battle between two epic forces: Those of integration based on civil society and human rights, and those of exclusion based on race, blood and radicalized faith." Note that in this last phrase Kaplan has finally acknowledged the disconcerting fact that religion is shaping the international conflict now underway.
Indeed, by including Islamists among the forces whose ideologies are based on exclusion and antipathy toward human rights, he is reopening the idea - "politically incorrect" and therefore rejected by Western elites - that Islamism is a version of fascism, albeit one based on religion rather than race or extreme nationalism. If Western elites, not least those on the left, can accept that unpleasant reality, perhaps they can find the will to combat it. Along those lines, Kaplan argues that the "second force" can and must be overcome, but to achieve that, one "must first admit how formidable it is."
"To see what is in front of one's nose," George Orwell once wrote, "needs a constant struggle." By calling attention to a dangerous truth from which Western elites prefer to avert their gaze, Kaplan has rendered a service. But there's more to it than he's acknowledged and less time than we might like to get it in focus.
People are truly good at heart? Sadly, no
by Jeff Jacoby
ELEVEN YEARS AGO, al-Qaeda terrorist Richard Reid tried to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 with a bomb hidden in his shoes. As a result, air travelers to this day must remove their shoes to pass through security at US airports.
In 2006, terrorists plotted to destroy as many as 10 planes flying from London to North America using peroxide-based liquid explosives smuggled in their carry-on luggage. So passengers now must limit any liquids they carry through security checkpoints to minuscule containers sealed in clear plastic bags.
On Christmas Day in 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit by means of an explosive device sewn into his underwear. The government's response: full-body X-ray scans to detect even contraband concealed in one's groin.
Our irritating, inconvenient airport security rules are one reflection of a common view that the way to prevent evil in this world -- in this case, the evil of jihadist terrorism -- is to intercept the instruments evildoers use. Thus, if the 9/11 hijackers used box cutters to carry out their airborne atrocities, box cutters must be barred from subsequent flights. If other terrorists find other means of committing brutal acts, we bar those means as well.
This fixation on stopping bad things -- as opposed to stopping bad people or bad behavior -- goes beyond keeping air travel safe from al-Qaeda. On the international stage, it shows up in campaigns to reduce strategic arsenals and destroy nuclear warheads, regardless of the moral caliber of the governments possessing them. In schools, zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies have been applied so rigidly, USA Today observes, that "kids have been kicked out of school for possession of Midol, Tylenol, Alka Seltzer, cough drops, and Scope mouthwash."
More recently, the shrill demands for more restrictions on guns in the wake of the Newtown massacre have been a classic illustration of the phenomenon.
For countless people, especially on the left, it's axiomatic that Adam Lanza's bloodbath was caused by America's gun culture. Many angrily demonize guns and the advocates of gun rights; they are convinced that only an ignoramus or a moral monster could oppose tighter gun control. In an interview on CNN, Piers Morgan lashed out at the executive director of Gun Owners of America, calling him "an unbelievably stupid man" and seething: "You don't give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America?" When the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre argued for more armed security rather than fewer arms, he too was drenched with scorn.
"Look, a gun is a tool," LaPierre said. "The problem is the criminal." But that can only be true if crime is rooted in the bad character, depraved values, or evil choices of those who use guns to murder. And that can only be true if men and women, by and large, are not innately good and kind - if decent behavior, like monstrous behavior, is a matter of free choice, not a hardwired instinct.
It is fundamental to the Judeo-Christian outlook that human beings are not naturally good. "The intention of man's heart," God says in Genesis, "is evil from his youth." To use the Christian formulation, man is "fallen." All of us are tugged by conflicting moral impulses, and whether we do the right thing or the wrong thing is up to each of us.
Peace, justice, and compassion are not the natural human condition. With rare exceptions, criminal violence can't be blamed on external culprits. Murder isn't caused by poverty or gory videogames or low self-esteem - or guns. Nor are wars caused by nuclear missiles, or al-Qaeda terrorism by box cutters. We fool ourselves if we imagine that by fixating on missiles and box cutters we can avoid reckoning with the cruel side of human nature.
"It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical," 15-year-old Anne Frank confided to her diary on July 15, 1944. "Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death."
Three weeks after those heartbreaking words were written, the Gestapo discovered the secret annex where Anne and seven others had been hiding. She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp the following March.
The desire to believe, like Anne Frank, that "people are truly good at heart" is powerful. Sadly, history refutes the idea that human nature alone will make a good world. Controlling bad things may sometimes be prudent. But it is above all by controlling ourselves - by fortifying the better angels of our nature -- that the struggle against evil progresses.
Been Jealous Much?
Today, NAACP President Ben Jealous spends his time not fighting for his people, not rooting out the true unfairness still baked into the American system, but attacking the Tea Party, Republicans, black conservatives and especially black Tea Party Republicans. Enter U.S. Sen. Tim Scott.
Scott, a Republican from South Carolina and the only member of the Senate who is black, found himself on the end of an attack from the NAACP for not caring about civil rights. Yes, you read that right. How did the NAACP come to this conclusion? Because Scott, as a member of the House of Representatives, didn’t support unions or progressives for judgeships and other government positions. Because that’s what constitutes “civil rights” these days.
Jealous burns his calories attacking anyone who supports individual responsibility and a sense of self-reliance. So he doesn’t have the energy to address the destruction of the black family, the 50 percent abortion rate of black pregnancies, the 70 percent of black births to unmarried women, the education system that fails its children or the black unemployment rate of 14 percent. As long as blacks vote for Democrats, the progressive agenda will be advanced, and these numbers will get worse. It’s a sad truth the NAACP is more interested in advancing the progressive agenda and maintaining power than in doing anything that remotely resembles its mission. It’s ironic the NAACP would become a de facto arm of the Democratic Party, the party of slavery, the party of Jim Crow, and the party that replaced those chains of slavery and inhumanity of Jim Crow with the chains of government dependence and the inhumanity that accompanies it.
Then again, when you realize progressives founded the idea of self-appointed intellectual superiors overseeing those who didn’t measure up to their standards, including the extermination of people they deemed unworthy or unproductive, it only makes sense they’d be silent on a system and culture that does nothing but produce dupable dependent voters to maintain their hold on power. Were Ben Jealous capable of shame, he would be drowning in it. Since he’s clearly not, he’ll just keep cashing those fat checks and attacking role models such as Tim Scott. Sickening.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.
Posted by JR at 1:54 AM