Archive for politics

Must call the lie out

“Nasty, brutish – and false – as was the Progressive assault on George W. Bush: e.g. “Bush lied, people died,” Michael Moore’s “Farenheit 9/11,” etc., was very much part of a free society, in which people freely contest each other’ view of reality. Alas, the Progressive ruling class is instituting a regime in which no one may contest what it knows full well to be false without suffering consequences.”

“This is the sort of thing that one expects from the North Korean regime”

“For ordinary Americans, calling the regime’s lies by their name, deviating from political correctness, carries far stiffer penalties, because the regime has labeled each such deviation as an antisocial pathology: racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, “denialism,”etc., any of which mark you as an opponent of those who count. They may fire you, pass you over, or just exclude you from that to which you wish to be included.

This is new and incomplete. But only in America. It is the very routine, the very constitution, of totalitarian society.”

Angelo M. Codevilla says to Live Not by Lies, quotes Solzhenitsyn as one who ‘been there, done that’ and has seen the consequences. The message is that dishonesty cannot be excused, ignored, or let to be without disasterous consequences.

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Recognizing the fight

Rick Moran: Dems Trying to Blame IRS IG for Targeting Scandal

“The Obama administration has well-documented problems with assertive inspector generals, so this kind of pushback is to be expected from Hill Democrats. It’s an attempt to smear the IRS inspector general and only shows how desperate the Democrats have become. It’s a hail mary pass that is going to fall incomplete in the end zone.”

John Hinderaker: America’s Latest Heroine Fights Back. The heroine is Catherine Engelbrecht, President of Engelbrecht Manufacturing, founder of the King Street Patriots, and chair of True the Vote. In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, she described what she experienced after filing for nonprofit status for the King Street Patriots and True the Vote organizations.

“The more we learn about the rot and corruption in the Obama administration, the deeper it goes. Obama’s misuse of federal agencies to target and intimidate citizens who disagree with him politically is the worst abuse of executive power in my lifetime, by a wide margin. We all need to fight back, at every opportunity.”

It is ugly. It is persistent. It is dishonest. And it is a broad front. Perhaps some are beginning to understand what they are up against, what we are up against, what the country is up against.

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Fighting tooth and nail

Thomas Lifson says the Dems declare war on Inspector General uncovering IRS scandal. What he describes is a dedicated, unforgiving, no holds barred, effort of defense.

“The IRS scandal is so bad that Democrats are unleashing total war in an attempt to beat back a full airing of the abuse. The old adage, “The best defense is a good offense,” is all the more valid when the major media outlets are on their side. It is not necessary to have any actual facts to use as rebuttal for the indefensible; it is enough to simply throw a cloud of dust, so as to discredit any charges – in the eyes of supporters and media sycophants.”

“Inspectors General are the taxpayers’ best friends in Washington, DC, charged with investigating waste and corruption, and for that reason have been the targets of the Obama administration’s  Ongoing War on Inspectors General, documented by Ed Lasky over the past several years. It is Chicago-style politics to threaten anyone who can uncover inconvenient dirt. Obama is notorious for his “they bring a knife, you bring a gun” style of political hardball, and an inspector general who threatens to uncover scandal is an obvious target.”

That tends to stimulate positive feedback, the artificially created fallacy that there’s no smoke so there’s no fire and what has got these Republicans upset, anyhow? The scary thing is that the Democrats are working as a solid block despite clear indications of impropriety that need to be repaired. Mass hysteria?

Also see John Hinderaker Barack Obama: The George Wallace of Free Speech

“Bitterly hostile to free speech when exercised by their political opponents, Democrats have done whatever they can to undermine Citizens United, just as they did decades ago with Brown vs. Board of Education.

“The I.R.S. scandal can best be seen in this light. The Democrats are using the levers of the executive branch, particularly the I.R.S., to deter Americans from exercising the First Amendment rights that were guaranteed them by the Supreme Court.”

A fear of inspection of ideas is a danger of magnitude.

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From entertainment media you’d think the entire population was mostly gay and black

Alan Caruba says it’s The Gay Attack on American Values. It would be one thing to ‘live and let live’ but that just isn’t enough for the minority.

“It is 3% of the population demanding that 97% toss aside their faith and their values to accommodate the aberration called homosexuality. And, yes, it is an aberration because homosexuality cannot be interpreted as “normal” in any species.

MassResistance correctly says “This is madness and should not have any legal leg to stand on.”

If the homosexual assault on values and practices that have existed for centuries in the Catholic Church and in other religious faiths succeeds, the whole of our society will suffer for it.”

It is a campaign of lawsuits and selective targeting. The persistence in these efforts is enough to make one wonder what would happen if that effort was turned towards more productive ends.

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A tale of compounding droughts

“The wages of both nature’s drought and human folly are coming due. Unless it rains or snows in biblical fashion in the next 60 days, we could see surreal things in California — towns without water, farms reverting to scrub, majestic parks with dead landscaping — fit for Hollywood’s disaster movies.

Instead of an adult state with millions of acre-feet stored in new reservoirs, California is still an adolescent culture that thinks it has the right to live as if it were the age of the romantic 19th-century naturalist John Muir — amid a teeming 40-million-person 21st-century megalopolis.

The California disease is characteristic of comfortable postmodern societies that forget the sources of their original wealth. The state may have the most extensive reserves of gas and oil in the nation, the largest number of cars on the road — and the greatest resistance to drilling for fuel beneath its collective feet.”

HANSON: A tale of two California droughts – water for everything but people, farming and commerce, it seems. The natural climate cycle and anti-human ideology make for two droughts.

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Reduce to the absurd and create a straw man

Rick Moran wonders: Is It Possible to Love the Artist, but Hate His Politics? in regards to “the culture clash over Pete Seeger’s legacy.”

“Communist activist and troubadour Pete Seeger is dead. The outpouring of vitriol on the right and hagiography on the left is entirely predictable and, with few exceptions, entirely banal. Turning Seeger’s death into another clash in the culture wars somehow seems tiresome, like two old boxers coming out of their corners for the 12th round. Battered, beaten, bloody, all they have left is the instinct to try to destroy each other. Whatever art and artifice they possessed disappeared long before the bell clanged for the last round.

Must we reduce everything in America to a right vs. left Armageddon? One longs for a more complicated, less knee-jerk combative analysis of people like Pete Seeger. Actually, there has been no one like Pete Seeger, and future historians will brush aside most of the shallow, venomous assaults on his memory — as well as the one-dimensional paeans that whitewash his execrable politics — and look at the totality of his life and judge his monumental contributions to American society.”

What is the ‘reduce to the absurd?” That is what you do when you assert a generality about an “outpouring of vitriol on the right and hagiography on the left.” Yes, vitriol does exist and so do hagiographies but that does not mean that those characteristics are symptomatic of the sides in the culture debate.

What is the ‘straw man?’ That is the creating of a battle where the outcome is a desire to “try to destroy” the other side with the “battered, beaten, bloody” boxer standing in for the straw man.

There is a call for context of the times but then there is a judgment — “at a time when companies were still hiring thugs and sometimes working with local police to physically assault strikers and labor organizers” — offered to ‘excuse’ communist leanings.

“His was an immensely consequential life. But what does it say about us that we judge that life based solely on the fact that we violently disagree with his politics? If a man is made up of many layers, do we, when the time comes to judge him, strip away the facade layer by layer and judge him in all his marvelous complexity and contradiction? Or do we take the one-dimensional track and declare him a failure based on his political beliefs?”

That assumes the extreme, that disagreement is violent and that political ideology trumps any other consideration for the general populace. There is no evidence that Seeger is considered a failure as failure is not the topic under discussion.

The need is for discussion that is not laced with logical fallacies. There is a need to balance the image of heroes with their own integrity and honesty in their ideologies – especially in matters of how belief and practice fit together. The tale of the Pied Piper is one caution about this. If we cannot examine modern day’s Pied Pipers without being accused of extremism, vitriol, and intemperance, it will be difficult to shed any light on avoiding the same fate as the childrem of Hamelin.

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Raw emotion often goes negative

Walter Williams on the Politics of Hate and Envy:

“Though sports and Hollywood personalities earn multiples of CEO salaries, you’ll never find leftists and progressives picketing and criticizing them. Why? The strategy for want-to-be tyrants is to demonize people whose power they want to usurp. That’s the typical way tyrants gain power. They give the masses someone to hate. In 18th-century France, it was Maximilien Robespierre’s promoting hatred of the aristocracy that led to his acquiring dictatorial power. In the 20th century, the communists gained power by promoting public hatred of the czars and capitalists. In Germany, Adolf Hitler gained power by promoting hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks.”

Michelle Malkin on Standing up against wealth-shaming:

“America, we have a bullying epidemic. No, not the school bullying issues that get constant attention from Hollywood, the White House and the media. No, not the “fat-shaming” and “body-shaming” outbreaks on Facebook. The problem is wealth-shaming. Class-shaming. Success-shaming.”

“Perkins barely scratched the surface of the War on Wealth that has spread under the Obama regime. Anti-capitalism saboteurs have organized wealth-shaming protests at corporate CEOs’ private homes in New York and in private neighborhoods in Connecticut. Hypocrite wealth-basher and former paid Enron adviser Paul Krugman at The New York Times whipped up hatred against the “plutocrats” in solidarity with the Occupy mob. New York state lawmakers received threatening mail saying it was “time to kill the wealthy” if they didn’t renew the state’s tax surcharge on millionaires.”

It is an old technique and has a number of tragic wins to speak  for it. The ‘tragic’ part just doesn’t seem to have any impact which is enough to make one wonder just how historically literate the advocates of wealth envy must be. But then, it isn’t reality that is the driver, it is raw emotion and that seldom leads to happiness.

 

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Which is the lesser evil?

“This left-wing obsession with a non-evil exemplifies the left’s moral universe. That universe is preoccupied with lesser evils while nearly always ignoring the greatest evils.

“Preoccupation with real evil is the greatest difference between right and left. The right was preoccupied with fighting Communism while the left (not liberals such as JFK, but the left) was preoccupied with fighting anti-Communists.”

Dennis Prager makes a list to answer the question: What Preoccupies the Left? What Preoccupies the Right?

Consider: Compare and contrast the Washington Redskins to North Korea, Islamism to Islamophobia, Protecting to protesting Israel, … “Only a conservative leader would have the moral courage to say that. Because while the right fights evil, the left fights the Redskins.

Why? What can or should be done? How?

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Tactics of social denigration

“Anyone who votes for Democrats should ask themselves how they would feel if someone at their office constantly practiced the strategy of berating other workers just to get promoted. And once they had the job, blamed others for everything that went wrong. If this appears to be unseemly in the workplace, then Democratic supporters should wonder why they accept it from their Democratic political leaders.”

“In the final analysis, the strategy employed by Democrats is one of social domination derived from social derision. It is an unfortunate trait of human nature for people to denigrate others. Further proof of the moral bankruptcy of the Democratic Party lies in the fact that they have aggressively chosen to employ this tactic.”

Michael Bargo, Jr. says Busted! The Democratic Party’s Moral Superiority, explains why, and then show the optimist in thinking that “When American voters wake up to the true moral character of the Democratic Party.” Many others are more pessimistic in thinking that, if the American voters haven’t woken up by now, they aren’t likely to wake up anytime soon.

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History has lessons but ideology often has priority

Professor Sowell notes a list of issues that illustrate Fact-Free Liberals, at least when it comes to lessons from history.

“President Obama seems completely unaware of how many of the policies he is trying to impose have been tried before, in many times and places around the world, and have failed time and again.”
 …

“But who reads history these days? Moreover, those parts of history that would undermine the vision of the left — which prevails in our education system from elementary school to postgraduate study — are not likely to get much attention.

 

“The net results are bright people, with impressive degrees, who have been told for years how brilliant they are, but who are often ignorant of facts that might cause them to question what they have been indoctrinated with in schools and colleges.”

It is generally much more productive to try to fit the narrative into reality than it is to try to distort reality to fit the narrative. That seems to be a very difficult lesson to learn.

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Cancer in the legislative

“One man stands in the way of his 99 colleagues. But, not alone really. His power exists only as long as his majority concurs and supports his actions. This prevents the body from working its will, it prevents legislation from being improved, and it prevents Senators from being held accountable by their votes on the great issues of the day. That is, of course, why it’s done.”

Powerline: How Harry Reid Is Destroying the Senate takes up the comments of Senator Jeff Sessions on the cancer in the legislative.

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How the Democrats investigate Republican scandals

There is a comparison and contrast on the table right now regarding tactics in the investigation of scandals. At the federal level, the scandals include gun running in Mexico, IRS targeting of political enemies, use of federal agencies to punish the public in budget arguments, terrorist attacks an others. Reporting on these is tepid, congressional committee subpoenas have been ingored, the Democrats have excused the behavior en-masse, and the effort to find out what happened drags on as if trying to get upstream in a fast river.

In New Jersey, things are different. Democratic lawmakers subpoena EVERYTHING from Christie aides over Bridgegate on ‘Bloody Friday’

“Gov. Christie has forcefully denied having any knowledge of the bridge traffic scheme, or playing any role in directing it.

His unequivocal statements have set up a political scenario where a single email, text message or statement to the contrary could sink his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.”

The talk is about ‘blood in the water’ and the goals are to bring him down – not find out what really happened and implement justice. It is a laboratory to evaluate differences in goals, tactics, and weighing priorities to see just how divided the country is today on political and ideological grounds.

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Veteran’s benefits v Senator Reid

Did you know?

“It is remarkable that on a day when our news media are consumed by a lane closure on a bridge, the Democrats’ support for billions of dollars in fraud by illegal aliens isn’t even a news story.”

John Hinderaker describes the news that gets buried but tells the story: Once Again, Democrats Vote to Cut Veterans’ Benefits in Order to Enable Fraud By Illegal Aliens

Both sides are the same, you say?

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The balance isn’t even. There is a difference

Russ Vaughn provides an update on the status of the Knockout Game also known as Polar Bear Hunting as The Holder Effect. “Liberals who do acknowledge the existence of the Knockout Game and who its perpetrators are, trot out all the old chestnuts about racist white America being responsible for troubled black youth.” A key point here is that the only federal prosecution for a hate crime in these assaults is of a white guy in Houston – it took the DoJ quite a while to find an example to fit the proper definition of what they want to be.

Kyle Becker describes 24 Underreported Democrat Scandals That Make News Media’s ‘Bridgegate Mania’ Look Like a Joke as a perspective on the latest New Jersey Bridge brouhaha.

Perspective and reality don’t quite fit the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy. It is hard to say which is more tragic: holding the belief that both sides are exactly the same or the denial behavior in trying to maintain that fantasy.

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Civility in ideology: no both sides are not the same and, yes, there is a problem

BRUCE: Exposing liberal apologies, Palin and Romney shouldn’t forgive MSNBC hosts. Melissa Harris-Perry and Martin Bashir expose liberalism’s hatred, paranoia and cruelty:

“In the normal world, accepting an apology is the classy thing to do. We all do make mistakes, and the apology ritual is one that allows people to forgive and forget, and move on.

“This is all well and good if the issue at hand truly was a “mistake” delivered by someone of good will. When dealing with partisan liberals, however, neither of those apply.

“Arguing for harm to come to someone because you disagree with them is neither a mistake nor an accident. It’s a contemplated idea, cultivated into a message and delivered as an argument. Targeting a toddler for derision because it serves a political agenda isn’t something that mistakenly pops into someone’s head. It springs from an existing loathsome well.

“It would be valuable for today’s conservative leadership to recognize that comments like Mr. Bashir’s and Ms. Harris-Perry’s aren’t mistakes — they are public illustrations of what sits at the core of today’s liberalism — hatred, paranoia and cruelty.

“We all understand that people in the public arena will be the focus of debate and heated comments. They will be called names and accused of being everything from stupid to even dangerous. Politicians and public figures recognize and accept this is part of the public forum.

“What I’m speaking of here is something inherently different. It is a very specific illustration of what American liberalism has become, and it must be confronted.”

There is the denial, especially in the form of “both sides do it” (which is a logical fallacy) that attempts to minimize differences in behavior by ideological leaning. The latest scandal about bridge traffic illustrates just how strong the desire is to paint everyone with the same brush. That misses the point. Tammy Bruce is saying that apologies may not be enough in certain circumstances and cites two examples. Ugly “must be confronted” she says. It must be left on the perpetrator as a symbol to remind them not to go too far and to warn others about what they offer.

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Media delight

Finally, a scandal that gets the media excited. John explains: Christie Bridge Scandal Puts Reporters Back In Business.

“The most striking fact about the story so far is the obvious contrast between reporters’ attitudes toward the many Obama administration scandals–ho hum–and the repellent glee with which they are pursuing the Christie story. … It seems obvious that Obama’s IRS and Benghazi scandals are far more serious than the bridge lane closing, and Obama’s lockdown of national parks and monuments was a close parallel to the lane closure, only on a national scale. And, of course, one normally would expect the national media to pay far more attention to presidential than gubernatorial scandals. But the frenzy of the last 24 hours reminds us how excited reporters can get when they are going after a Republican.”

“This is what I don’t get: don’t reporters understand how obvious it is that they delight in Republican scandals, and do their best to cover up Democratic ones? Have they so internalized their prejudices that they really can’t see them, and assume no one else does, either? Or do they just not care?”

Perhaps a more significant question is why the voters and media audience do not see this or do not care.

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Scary times (but its us, not them)

Hansen wonders about 2017 and the End of Ethics

“We have become inured to the press as an adjunct Ministry of Truth and to the notion that the president feels that he can do whatever he wishes without much worry over public audit. Such obsequiousness and exemption are now institutionalized, just as, after the divine Emperor Augustus, there was little accountability for the emperors or free speech allowed in criticizing them. So we are entering a new period in presidential history, and it may be difficult to go back to the status quo ante 2009, when reporters were not state megaphones and the president paid a price for not telling the truth.

More likely, the members of the national press corps do not even now quite get it that they have been completely discredited.”

“So we are living in scary times. The nation has grown used to the idea that what the president says is probably either untrue or irrelevant — and yet it does not really any more care which.”

The focus is on the first level media and their role as auditors of political behavior. In many respects, this is like those who point to a political party or even all politicians as the source for what is wrong in the country. This is simply a means to avoid something much more pernicious. The accountability for public and political behavior depends upon the citizens – each one of us – in our votes and in our acceptance of lies, deceit, and corruption. When we honor muggers and despise those who defend themselves lawfully, it’s us and not them that need examination.

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One way to measure the quality of legislation

Ed Morrissey describes how the NYT notices hot new trend among sheriffs: ignore gun-control laws.

“What happens when legislatures pass unworkable or just plain stupid laws? Thanks to the innovators at the White House, who love to ignore laws in their own signature legislation when they become inconvenient (like employer mandates in ObamaCare), other executive-branch enforcement agencies have begun to follow suit.”

“If this imperial-executive model is good enough for the federal government, don’t expect the states to eschew it for very long for their own priorities.”

The executive may find a law difficult to understand or difficult to enforce or just plain stupid. All such results measure the quality of the law and present society of a dilemma when enforcement is misdirected, confused, or absent. An even more ominous outcome is when ideology comes up to practical reality and the executive starts to try to adjust enforcement to fit with ad hoc and random efforts.

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The zero sum assumption

John Timmer wonders The future of energy: Clear or cloudy? – “We can plan our future on current trends, or expect the inevitable revolution.” – at arstechnica and illustrates an ideology problem of the zero sum assumption.

“We know the future of energy usage that we want: a rapidly decreasing reliance on fossil fuels with a greater share of global energy use going to people in the developing world.”

The idea of a ‘greater share’ assumes the idea that what is being shared is fixed. It is ideology that goes from there and takes from those with more to give to those with less in order to ‘equalize’ the share of the pot of energy that is available.

Then there is the fossil fuels goal. That one is assuming that the use of fossil fuels creates evils such as global warming and pollution. The global warming isn’t well established and the pollution is a technology problem that has seen remarkable progress. That sort of uncertainty and progress is to be ignored in the need for a villain.

The essay also describes dreams of technological advancements that enable the ideologically driven fantasies and government efforts to force these fantasies. What seems ignored include what technology advances are actually doing to provide more energy at lower costs with reduced side effects. The market driven technology is what is relieving global poverty.

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The push for government to eliminate the income gap

The Pope is at it again: Pope Francis attacks mega-salaries, wealth gap via Reuters.

“Pope Francis said in the first peace message of his pontificate that huge salaries and bonuses are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality and called again for nations to narrow the wealth gap.”

What’s the problem?

The first issue is that of the assumption that gaps in income are solely due to moral deficiencies. The second issue is that the effort is aimed at a supposed symptom – income inequality – rather than its assumed causes. A third issue is that the Church is calling for agencies outside of the Church to undertake its mission for it by force. A fourth issue is that a person with ‘moral authority’ is inciting theft or the forceable taking from some in order to give it to others. Yet a fifth issue is the matter of false witness such as asserting a “widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs,” The implication there is the poor are getting poorer and that is false due in many ways to those who have more.

“the Argentinian has several times condemned the “idolatry of money” and said it was a depressing sign of the times that a homeless person dying of exposure on the street was no longer news but a slight fall in the stock market is. “

As a matter of fact, there have been several stories about “a homeless person dying of exposure on the street” recently due to the unusual cold spell. Also as a matter of fact, the health of the stock market is fundamental to the economic health upon which the Church, the government, and other agencies depend in order to be able to provide the services and goods needed to alleviate suffering.

The fundamental truth is that most capitalist wealth is the result of building something of value to human beings. Those who are doing better at this tend to earn more and to be more wealthy than those who don’t. When the Pope condemns an “idolatry of money” what he is doing is condemning a measure of success in serving others and alleviating the suffering that is his obsession.

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