Friday, June 28, 2013
The SCOTUS verdict recognizing homosexual "marriage" shows clearly how a self-selected liberal elite can run roughshod over the will of the people. Effectively striking down a referendum result in California was particularly objectionable. It is clearly the whims of a very unrepresentative Supreme Court that are sovereign in the USA, not the people or the States.
As a libertarian conservative, I think that marriage is no business of the State. It should be a matter of private contract or a religious arrangement. As it is however, the issue has become one of homosexual acceptance and the SCOTUS verdict has enforced that acceptance. Again as a libertarian conservative, I think such acceptance or non-acceptance should be a private matter, not one officially endorsed.
If homosexuals can find a church (Hint: Episcopalians) that will let them wear pretty clothes and perform a ceremony it calls marriage, let them go for it -- but leave the rest of us out of it. As it is, we now have an official declaration that a union between two sodomites is equivalent to something which is basic to the survival of the human race -- a union between a man and woman. And that surely disrespects and cheapens the standing of traditional marriage. Karl Marx would be pleased.
A shameful day for France: A second Dreyfus case
The French establishment convict the innocent again. And once again it is all about "The Jooos"
A French media analyst was convicted today of defamation for accusing a state television network of staging a video that depicted a Palestinian boy being killed in a firefight between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces.
The footage more than a decade ago galvanised anti-Israeli sentiment, and shaped perspectives of the Mideast conflict during the second Palestinian uprising.
The al-Dura case has long stirred emotions in Israel, tapping into a larger sense of the Jewish state being victimised in the media.
The footage by France-2 broadcast on September 30, 2000, showed the terrified boy, Mohammed al-Dura, and his father amid a furious exchange of fire in the Gaza Strip. It then cut to the motionless boy slumped in his father's lap. The report blamed Israeli forces for the death.
In a report issued in 2004, Philippe Karsenty said the footage was orchestrated and there was no proof that the boy had been killed.
France-2 sued for defamation, and after a long legal battle, a Paris court fined Karsenty £6,000 today. He called the verdict 'outrageous'.
Over the past decade Karsenty has amassed hours of video about the day of the shooting. At the heart of his claim is the fact that, according to the reporting by France-2, father and son were hit by a total of 15 bullets but in the video, neither appears to be bleeding.
He says the firefight is real, but the shooting of the man and boy was staged for the camera.
'I am serene because I know the truth will come out,' Karsenty said. 'Despite 15 bullets not one drop of blood was on their clothes, their bodies, the wall they were leaning against.'
Last month, the Israeli government issued a new report on the incident that said the report was misleading, provides no evidence and was part of a smear campaign against the Jewish state.
Benedicte Amblard, a lawyer for France-2, said the verdict would allow journalists to retain confidence in their work.
France-2 Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin said he and France-2 parent company France Televisions welcomed Wednesday's decision. 'Today's result is a relief,' he said, but added it did not put the matter to rest.
Enderlin, a French-Israeli national, said conspiracy theorists continue to hound them over the incident.
He said despite years of litigation and Israeli officials accusing him of fabrication, he welcomed an investigation. 'We are ready whenever Israel wants to go for a professional investigation following international standards,' he told The Associated Press.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said he had no comment on a case that delved into the intricacy of French defamation law. He said, however, that the Israeli position on the al-Dura case remains unchanged.
'It is improbable, not to say impossible, that the bullets which hit Jamal and Mohammed al-Dura came from the Israeli position,' he said. 'Where they did come from remains subject to many hypotheses, though none can be proven.'
Played Out: the Liberal Racists' "Uncle Tom" Card
By Michelle Malkin
Meet Ryan Patrick Winkler. He's a 37-year-old liberal Minnesota state legislator with a B.A. in history from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He's also a coward, a bigot, a liar and a textbook example of plantation progressivism.
On Tuesday, Winkler took to Twitter to rant about the Supreme Court's decision to strike down an onerous section of the Voting Rights Act. The 5-4 ruling overturned an unconstitutional requirement that states win federal preclearance approval of any changes to their election laws and procedures. Winkler fumed: "VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas."
This Ivy League-trained public official and attorney relied on smug bigotry to make his case against a Supreme Court justice who happens to be black. "Uncle Thomas" wasn't a typo. Denigration was the goal, not an accident. It was a knowing, deliberate smear.
After being called out by conservative social media users for his cheap attack on Clarence Thomas, Winkler then revealed his true color: yellow. He deleted the tweet (captured for posterity at my Twitter curation site, twitchy.com) and pleaded ignorance.
"I did not understand 'Uncle Tom' as a racist term, and there seems to be some debate about it. I do apologize for it, however," he sniveled. "I didn't think it was offensive to suggest that Justice Thomas should be even more concerned about racial discrimination than colleagues," he protested.
Holding a black man to a different intellectual standard based on his skin color. Accusing a non-white conservative of collectivist race traitorism. Employing one of the most infamous, overused epithets against minority conservatives in the Democratic lexicon. "Apologizing," but disclaiming responsibility. Sorry ... that he got caught.
Just another day at the left-wing racist office.
Rabid liberal elitists expect and demand that we swallow their left-wing political orthodoxy whole and never question. When we don't yield, their racist and sexist diatribes against us are unmatched. My IQ, free will, skin color, eye shape, name, authenticity and integrity have been routinely ridiculed or questioned for more than two decades because I happen to be an unapologetic brown female free-market conservative. My Twitter account biography jokingly includes the moniker "Oriental Auntie-Tom"—just one of thousands of slurs hurled at me by libs allergic to diversity of thought—for a reason. It's a way to hold up an unflinching mirror at the holier-than-thou NoH8 haters and laugh.
We conservatives "of color" are way past anger about the Uncle Tom/Aunt Tomasina attacks. We're reviled by the left for our "betrayal" of our supposed tribes—accused of being Uncle Toms, Aunt Tomasinas, House Niggas, puppets of the White Man, Oreos, Sambos, lawn jockeys, coconuts, bananas, sellouts and whores. This is how the left's racial and ethnic tribalists have always rolled. But their insults are not bullets. They are badges of honor. The Uncle Tom card has been played out.
Of course Winkler didn't think it was offensive. Smarty-pants liberal racists never think they're being racist. In their own sanctimonious minds, progressives of pallor can never be guilty of bigotry toward minority conservatives. Ignorance is strength. Slurs are compliments. Intolerance is tolerance.
And when all else fails, left-wing prejudice is always just a well-intended joke. (PBS commentator Julianne Malveaux's death wish for Justice Thomas set the standard: "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. ... He is an absolutely reprehensible person.")
Back in her day, before the advent of democratizing social media, Malveaux and her elitist PBS friends could get away with such vile bile. But liberal crabs in the bucket, viciously trying to drag dissenters "of color" down, can no longer engage in hit-and-run with impunity. Conservatives on Twitter have changed the dynamic in an underappreciated, revolutionary way. The pushback against liberal political bigotry is bigger, stronger and swifter than it's ever been.
You can delete, but you cannot hide.
The Regulated States of America
Tocqueville saw a nation of individuals who were defiant of authority. Today? Welcome to Planet Government
By NIALL FERGUSON
In "Democracy in America," published in 1833, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the way Americans preferred voluntary association to government regulation. "The inhabitant of the United States," he wrote, "has only a defiant and restive regard for social authority and he appeals to it . . . only when he cannot do without it."
Unlike Frenchmen, he continued, who instinctively looked to the state to provide economic and social order, Americans relied on their own efforts. "In the United States, they associate for the goals of public security, of commerce and industry, of morality and religion. There is nothing the human will despairs of attaining by the free action of the collective power of individuals."
What especially amazed Tocqueville was the sheer range of nongovernmental organizations Americans formed: "Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations . . . but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fetes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools."
Tocqueville would not recognize America today. Indeed, so completely has associational life collapsed, and so enormously has the state grown, that he would be forced to conclude that, at some point between 1833 and 2013, France must have conquered the United States.
The decline of American associational life was memorably documented in Robert Puttnam's seminal 1995 essay "Bowling Alone," which documented the exodus of Americans from bowling leagues, Rotary clubs and the like. Since then, the downward trend in "social capital" has only continued. According to the 2006 World Values Survey, active membership even of religious associations has declined from just over half the population to little more than a third (37%). The proportion of Americans who are active members of cultural associations is down to 14% from 24%; for professional associations the figure is now just 12%, compared with more than a fifth in 1995. And, no, Facebook FB -2.43% is not a substitute.
Instead of joining together to get things done, Americans have increasingly become dependent on Washington. On foreign policy, it may still be true that Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus. But when it comes to domestic policy, we all now come from the same place: Planet Government.
As the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Clyde Wayne Crews shows in his invaluable annual survey of the federal regulatory state, we have become the regulation nation almost imperceptibly. Excluding blank pages, the 2012 Federal Register—the official directory of regulation—today runs to 78,961 pages. Back in 1986 it was 44,812 pages. In 1936 it was just 2,620.
True, our economy today is much larger than it was in 1936—around 12 times larger, allowing for inflation. But the Federal Register has grown by a factor of 30 in the same period.
The last time regulation was cut was under Ronald Reagan, when the number of pages in the Federal Register fell by 31%. Surprise: Real GDP grew by 30% in that same period. But Leviathan's diet lasted just eight years. Since 1993, 81,883 new rules have been issued. In the past 10 years, the "final rules" issued by our 63 federal departments, agencies and commissions have outnumbered laws passed by Congress 223 to 1.
Right now there are 4,062 new regulations at various stages of implementation, of which 224 are deemed "economically significant," i.e., their economic impact will exceed $100 million.
The cost of all this, Mr. Crews estimates, is $1.8 trillion annually—that's on top of the federal government's $3.5 trillion in outlays, so it is equivalent to an invisible 65% surcharge on your federal taxes, or nearly 12% of GDP. Especially invidious is the fact that the costs of regulation for small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) are 36% higher per employee than they are for bigger firms.
Next year's big treat will be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, something every small business in the country must be looking forward to with eager anticipation. Then, as Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) warned readers on this page 10 months ago, there's also the Labor Department's new fiduciary rule, which will increase the cost of retirement planning for middle-class workers; the EPA's new Ozone Rule, which will impose up to $90 billion in yearly costs on American manufacturers; and the Department of Transportation's Rear-View Camera Rule. That's so you never have to turn your head around when backing up.
President Obama occasionally pays lip service to the idea of tax reform. But nothing actually gets done and the Internal Revenue Service code (plus associated regulations) just keeps growing—it passed the nine-million-word mark back in 2005, according to the Tax Foundation, meaning nearly 19% more verbiage than 10 years before. While some taxes may have been cut in the intervening years, the tax code just kept growing.
I wonder if all this could have anything to do with the fact that we still have nearly 12 million people out of work, plus eight million working part-time jobs, five long years after the financial crisis began.
Genius that he was, Tocqueville saw this transformation of America coming. Toward the end of "Democracy in America" he warned against the government becoming "an immense tutelary power . . . absolute, detailed, regular . . . cover[ing] [society's] surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way."
Tocqueville also foresaw exactly how this regulatory state would suffocate the spirit of free enterprise: "It rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one's acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces [the] nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd."
If that makes you bleat with frustration, there's still hope.
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Posted by JR at 12:34 AM