May I introduce you to a website?

I am very fortunate to part of an email list comprised of some cream-of-the-crop conservative bloggers.  Quite often, the material I link to at my blog comes from these email exchanges.  We discuss news, issues of the day, and just, well, stuff.  Often, through this email list, I get introduced to new blogs that I wouldn’t know but for my friends.

One of those blogs, which isn’t exactly new, but is new to me, is Trevor Loudon’s New Zeal.  Trevor describes himself as a “libertarian activism and political researcher,” but I think what he really is is a bloodhound.  He has an extraordinary ability to ferret out publicly available information on the icky little political secrets so many Progressives have lurking in their pasts.

Please note that I emphasize “publicly available.”  Trevor isn’t out there snooping through people’s garbage or spying in their windows, nor is he making stuff up out of whole cloth.  Instead, using the internet, he simply digs in and looks up stuff that’s out there anyway.

I find Trevor’s skills and tenacity admirable, because I usually get overwhelmed by the volume of material any internet search will turn up as to a given person.  Trevor, however, seems to have a real knack for sticking with the search, and winnowing out the important and, as I said, often icky details that emerge.

A case in point is his most recent post about Mike Bayer, a Communist Party USA member who is working on the Bernie Sanders campaign in Vermont.  There is nothing illegal about being a Communist, of course.  I think, however, that it is a spectacular example of ideological confusion, with some of those confused people veering into the “so wrongheaded as to be evil” category — meaning that they’ve abandoned justice, morality, ethics, and plain decency in favor of statist purity.

Also, since a candidate, whether or not he wants to be, is measured by those who admire his politics, it is noteworthy that Bayer gravitated to Sanders.  In Sanders case, of course, this is not merely a case of some nasty little critter crawling into an otherwise wholesome campaign.  Sanders is himself a socialist but, as Trevor says, “Mike Bayer’s closeness to Senator Sanders . . . takes things to a new level.”

Check out New Zeal, and see if you like it.  I bet you’ll visit it more than once.

Over at the Telegraph, exceptionally inept headline writing about Israel

During a moment of procrastination, I checked out the Telegraph, which is the British newspaper least unfriendly to Israel — which isn’t saying much.  Given its lack of the usual British venom, I was therefore a little taken-aback by the ambiguity displayed in its headline about the cruel murder Hamas gleefully committed against four Israelis, two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant (see the right hand column in the screen capture, below):

Jewish settlers attack.”  Doesn’t that make it sound as if the attack was by, rather than upon, the Israelis?  (I won’t even get into the “settler” language, which makes the Jews sound like strangers in their own land.)

The Jerusalem Post, written in Israel, which is not home to the English language, showed a much better understanding of the nuances of that same language, and wrote something that has no troubling ambiguity:

“4 Israelis shot dead by terrorists in West Bank.”  Pretty darn clear (and heartbreaking, too).

I distrust the media enough that it’s hard for me to give writers the benefit of the doubt when something appears that could be merely foolish or that could serve a darker agenda.  The Telegraph is a decent paper, considering that it comes out of a dying socialist nation, but I’m suspicious….

Watcher’s winners for 8/27/10

I’m running a bit behind myself, but it would be too cruel were I to deny you entirely the pleasure of knowing who last week’s winners were at the Watcher’s Council.  As always, the articles’ overall quality was superb, and the winners deserved their high ranking.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Paying the bills Open Thread

The recession substantially diminished my work load.  It’s a good thing, therefore, when a project comes through my door, even if it takes away from blogging.   I have such a project now, so today starts with an open thread.

I’ll get the thread going by leading you to Maggie’s Farm, where Bruce Kesler describes the powerful effect of his earlier post explaining why he disinherited his alma mater.

The world’s deadliest terror attacks — and their common denominator

Remember that old Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the others…“?

That song kept running through my mind as I looked at this photo essay of the 15 deadliest terror attacks in the world.  I leave it to you to consider what distinguishes the majority of these terrorist attacks from that single, different minority attack.  (If you’re at a loss, a hint is the category to which I’ve assigned this post.)

Hat tip:  Lulu

Help Renee Ellmers win

My friend Lorie Byrd is working for the Renee Ellmers campaign in North Carolina against Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge.  The fact that Lorie works for Ellmers, on its own, is an excellent recommendation. Renee’s stand on the issues, her affect (style matters), and the nature of her opponent also elevate her to the status of “recommended Congressional candidate.”

The last is the easiest.  Etheridge, of course, shot to national prominence, at least amongst conservatives, when he became extremely hostile after being filmed on a cell phone camera.  I have to admit that I would hate to be chased by a cell phone camera, but I’m not a public figure, the questions posed weren’t hostile, and Etheridge’s response was abnormal.  His politics are also too liberal in areas about which I care deeply.  He’s pro-Obama Care (voted for it); pro-stimulus (straight YES votes); pro-gun control; anti-school vouchers; etc.  (By the way, as you can tell from the link, I didn’t get this information from Etheridge’s campaign website, who is wrapped in meaningless waffle language, with almost no specifics as to where he actually stands based upon his own votes.)

Renee’s positions, on the other hand, are pretty straight forward.  Here’s the summary from her website, with more details available should you be interested:

Obamacare – I’m a nurse and my husband is a doctor. There are right ways and wrong ways to improve health care. Obamacare is the wrong way.

Jobs – The President’s spent money like water on ‘Stimulus Plans’ and ‘Bailouts’ and run the deficit up to over a trillion dollars. It hasn’t worked. What does work is tax cuts.

Jobs – Small businesses are trying to survive the recession, plus they’re facing President Obama’s new health care and ‘Cap and Trade’ taxes and they don’t know how those taxes will affect their business. So they have no choice but to be cautious. To create jobs we have to remove the uncertainty facing small businesses – specifically, that means stopping President Obama’s tax increases.

Economy – Cut taxes. Cut government spending. Get government out of the way and let the free enterprise system work.
Taxes – Lower tax rates across the board. And I support tax reform.

Energy – I support off-shore drilling – it could be a boon for North Carolina’s economy. I oppose President Obama’s ‘Cap and Trade’ bill which raises taxes on energy, then uses the tax money to send $300 billion in foreign aid to Third World nations so they can build so-called ‘Green Industries.’

Marriage – I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.

Life – I believe in the sanctity of human life and believe that life begins at conception. I am Pro-Life.

Immigration – Immigration laws should be enforced. And I oppose Amnesty for illegal immigrants. I believe we should strengthen our border enforcement and implement a strong employment verification system so companies can be sure they are hiring legal workers and those that do not face stiff penalties.2nd Amendment – I am a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, having a concealed carry permit myself. The right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, one of the cornerstones of our freedom, and I will fight for that right for others as well as for myself.

Terrorism – My opponent Bob Etheridge voted to close Gitmo. I believe that was a mistake. I also support trying terrorists in military courts – instead of putting them on trial in New York City.

For the most part, I agree with her stands, especially on what are for me the overarching issues of this election:  health care, national security, the economy, and immigration.

Anyway, if you’re interested, Renee is in fund-raising mode right now (it’s “money bomb” time) and all help would be much appreciated.

The insanely stupid charge of fear-mongering

I was watching Jon Stewart’s show from last week (my husband had TiVo’d it), and Jon did an extended segment on Glenn Beck.  It was, as you can imagine, stupid.  After showing Beck saying “Don’t let the government push you around,” he showed clips of Beck himself telling people what to do.  The implication was that Beck was a hypocrite, who wants to control people and who therefore sees the government as a competitor.

I assume that Stewart understands that there is a difference between coercive government power (criminally enforced taxes, anyone?), and a person’s voluntary desire to follow the advice of a private citizen.  I wonder, I really wonder, whether Stewart’s audience gets this, or whether it realizes it’s being played.  Given the disaster that is public education in this country — a disaster getting worse by the minute — you’re probably not erring if you underestimate the average American’s knowledge and analytical abilities.

But that’s not my point.

My point is that Stewart also made fun of Beck for urging people not to be led astray by Progressive fear-mongering, and then showed Beck doing some fear-mongering of his own.  It’s a stupid charge no matter the side of the aisle it comes from.  Of course political ideologies are going to motivate people by carrot (what they can do for you) and stick (the looming disasters the other side is creating).  This means, naturally, that the fears being mongered are going to be quite different, but each side is logically going to be rely on encouraging people to engage in ideological acts that will steer away from any given fear — and you can’t steer clear of a fear that hasn’t been identified.

On the Right, we fear (1) Islamists, (2) Iran, (3) economic collapse, and (4) overreaching government.

On the Left, they fear (a) global warming, (b) Israel, (c) Christians, and (d) conservative women, especially Sarah Palin.

I consider my (Right) fears realistic, (1) because the Islamists have committed deadly attacks against non-Muslims around the world almost 16,000 times since 9/11, and continue to make explicit threats against America and other Western nations; (2) because Iran will be in imminent possession of a nuclear weapon and has stated its willingness to use it against the West, especially Israel; (3) because we are watching the economic collapse happen in real time, and it seems to be tied closely to excessive government spending; and (4) because overreaching government because I believe history has shown repeatedly that the more power a government aggregates itself, the more likely it is to use that power against its own people, at first, perhaps, benignly, but inevitably with a statist cruelty that transcends traditional justice, ethics and morality.

I consider the (Left) fears to be unrealistic, (a) because the global warming science is politically tainted and scientifically flawed when it assigns man a ridiculously large role in a questionable phenomenon; (b) because Israel, despite being a nuclear power, has shown extraordinary restraint against those who wish to destroy her citizens, a fact separate from, or perhaps because of, the fact that she’s the only free, democratic society in the whole Middle East; (c) because Christians haven’t done anything bad to anyone since about the late 17th/early 18th centuries but, instead, have been a consistent force for freedom and mercy; and (d) because I’m a conservative woman, and I think fairly highly of myself, and even more highly of those who have entered the public sphere.

So, my fear-mongering is factually valid; their fear mongering is fantasy and bad history.  But I’m still doing fear-mongering and they’re still doing fear-mongering.  The only question is whether American citizens will do as I do, and look at actual world events, or if they will allow themselves to buy theory over fact.  But that, my friends, is a task left to the marketplace of ideas.  It’s up to us, therefore, to market our fears better, instead of just complaining about the Left’s temerity in marketing theirs!

Zoning, religion, guns and the Bill of Rights

In the debate over the Ground Zero Mosque, the Left’s trump card has been the language in the First Amendment stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  All of us correctly understand this to mean that government cannot create a state faith, nor can it dictate the religious tenets of an existing faith.  A subset of this, of course, is that government cannot, through indirect laws, make the practice of a given faith so difficult that it is tantamount to a religious proscription.

Shrill voices on the Left are now asserting, however, that the First Amendment must be understood to mean that an ostensibly religious building site cannot be touched by any other laws whatsoever, including zoning laws (which invariably include something about the character of the neighborhood) nor can it be the subject to that other First Amendment right, free speech.

The Left is much less excited about having Constitutional rights trump zoning laws when the subject is guns.  If one operates in a logical world, this is a peculiar Constitutional lapse.

Guns are virtually equal to religion in the Constitutional hierarchy, coming in at Second on the Amendment list:  “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Let me repeat that:  “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  This is very strong language, and arguably much broader in original intent than the First Amendment’s language regarding religion.  The First Amendment merely instructs Congress not to make a law establishing a religion, which we interpret to mean, as well, not to mess with existing faiths.  The Second Amendment, though, rebuffs any attempts whatsoever, whether by Congress or unnamed others (a reasonable inference given the passive voice construction), to mess with the right to bear arms.  It is, as phrased, a sacrosanct right.

Notwithstanding this explicit language, federal and local governments have for decades made laws messing with the right to bear arms.  One of the most significant laws is the way in which we mandate that the government gets to control every legal arms transaction.  Sales have to be in licensed stores, with massive amounts of paperwork, all going into government databases.  I’m not going to argue whether this is an infringement or not, although one could reasonable claim that these are indirect laws making the purchase of guns so difficult as to be tantamount to an arms proscription.  I’ll just note that it happens — and that Leftists are in the vanguard of making it so.

Those on the Left are also perfectly happy dictating the locations for gun shops, with San Francisco offering a perfect illustration.  In that once fair City, a totally legal gun shop, one that’s been in business for 50 years as the same location, is trying to re-open in the Bernal Heights district after a short hiatus.  Even as the local merchants pay lip service to the right to bear arms, they are up in arms (pun intended) that the means for facilitating this Constitutional right could appear in their neighborhood (emphasis mine):

Officially, the organizations are not opposed to people owning guns, Alliance member Jaime Ross told me. They’d just “rather have something the neighborhood could enjoy – a laundry or wine and cheese shop.”

[snip]

[L]local Ingleside police Capt. Louis Cassanego says that as far as he knows, “there’s never been a problem.” The captain is for the permit “so long as certain precautions are taken,” including all legal requirements and then some. But e-mails he’s seeing are running 10-1 against the store’s permit application.

I’m willing to bet, although there is no way that I can prove it, that the same people writing those emails against the store’s permit application are strident in their denunciation of those who contend that the Ground Zero Mosque is inappropriate for the Ground Zero site.  Certainly my assumption would be consistent with the political ideological that animates support for the mosque and disdain for gun rights.

(A nice coda to this story, and one that gives it a lovely San Francisco twist, is the fact that one of the groups most strongly supportive of the store’s reopening is called the “Pink Pistols,” a gay gun rights organization.  An unofficial spokesman for that group explains that, since California has enacted a law prohibiting the sale of ammunition through the mail (yet another indirect law infringing on the right), it’s greener for City residents to be able to walk, bike or bus to the store, than to have to drive to a far away location.)

I finally figured out why the Tea Party is racist *UPDATED*

Aside from the LaRouchites who appear at the Tea Party rallies, complete with their posters showing Obama with a Hitler mustache, I am unaware of any significant racist rhetoric or imagery from the Tea Party.  Certainly the media’s minions, despite their ugly fulminations and accusations about racism, never point to actual evidence of wide-spread or even narrow-spread racist rhetoric and imagery.

Sure, there may be the occasional individual who says things about Obama that are keyed in to his race, not his politics, but you’re going to find that in any large collection of human beings.  Unlike the KKK or the New Black Panthers, to name just two racially charge organizations, the Tea Party’s official platform and rhetoric focus solely on three colorblind things:  small government, fiscal responsibility, and strong national security.

Or are those three things really colorblind?  Answering this question may explain the chasm between the two Americas opens wide.  The Tea Partiers say that they are not racist because:  (a) they do not frame their ideas in terms of race; (b) they do not denigrate any race; and (c) they do not wish any race ill.  As far as they are concerned, that is the end of the story.  The Tea Party is not about race.  It’s about using the Constitution’s emphasis on individual rights to restore America to her pre-Progressive economic and social dominance.

The Left, however, asserts that the third statement (“they do not wish any race ill”) is manifestly untrue, thereby putting the lie to the whole Tea Party claim that race is irrelevant and that they offer something to all Americans.  What bedevils most conservatives is figuring out the logical leap that allows the Left, in the face of all contrary evidence, to claim that the Tea Partiers wish ill upon the blacks, thereby turning the Tea Party into a racist organization.

If you put on your Leftist thinking cap, however, the answer suddenly becomes clear:  The Left firmly believes that blacks can thrive only under tight government control and management.  Any group that is arguing for small government is, ipso facto, trying to harm blacks.

Nor are the Tea Partiers absolved of racial sin for asserting their belief that, just as a rising tide lifts all boats, the thriving economy that will result of small government and fiscal responsibility, will benefit all Americans, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, sexuality or country of national origin.  Because Leftists are incapable of imagining that anything good can come from trimming back government, they know that Tea Partiers are lying.  The Tea Party rhetoric about the Constitution, about individual rights, about personal responsibility, etc., is all an elaborate sham, aimed at hiding the true goal:  defunding government programs for black people.

And that is why, to the Left, and to those blacks who take their cues from the Left, the Tea Party is a racist organization, making it a profound insult for Glenn Beck to sully the Lincoln Memorial with his presence.

UPDATE:  With perfect timing, this comes along to illustrate my point, albeit with a different identity politics victim group:

As Britain prepares for the deepest budget cuts in generations to tackle a crippling mound of public debt, the government is facing a pressing legal question: Is its austerity plan sexist?

[snip]

Women, recent studies here show, are far more dependent on the state than men. Women are thus set to bear a disproportionate amount of the pain, prompting a legal challenge that could scuttle the government’s fiscal crusade and raise fairness questions over deficit-cutting campaigns underway from Greece to Spain, and in the United States when it eventually moves to curb spending.

Presidential Education

We have enjoyed spirited discussions on these pages with Book’s question about universities and the values thereof.

A recurring theme that I hear among Liberals is one of educational snobbery. I heard this with regard to G.W. Bush (despite his Harvard MBA) and now we hear it about Sarah Palin and other conservative candidates that may one day run for President.  Educational credentials will be an issue. Should they?

To lay my own opinions right out on the table, I admire Sarah Palin and do hope she runs – to me, she embodies many of the qualities that I always admired about American women when looking at my country from an overseas (expat) perspective. Those qualities include strength, “can do” practicality and a self-assuredness that looks adversity straight in the face. Plus, she can shoot straight. She was one of Alaska’s all-time most effective governors in just 2-1/2 years. Her autobiography on those years describes someone with exceptional tenacity and people management skills.

Her qualities, however, are the product of her life experiences. The fact that she was expected by her parents to go to university and pay 100% of her expenses and did so at various institutions is a major plus, not a negative. For me, her real life practical accomplishments say far more than her limited educational experience. And, for the sake of Book’s daughter, her (not Alaskan but North Central states) accent is no more a barrier to me than Gov. Christie’s New Jersey accent, JFK’s Boston accent or Bush’s Texan accent…I love accents!). To me, it is practical real-world experience that counts, not formal education. If anything, formal education is a barrier.

So, just how important is education for U.S. presidents? I note that some of our greatest presidents had little or no advanced education. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Harry S. Truman never went to university. Ronald Reagan got an undergraduate degree in economics from tiny Eureka College in the middle of the corn and soybean fields of Illinois. By contrast, our worst presidents were some of our best educated: Woodrow Wilson (Ph.D. professor), Jimmy Carter (nuclear engineer), Bill Clinton (Rhodes Scholar) and, now, Barack Obama (Ivy League elitist lawyer).

So, how important is formal education to being a good President? What are the Presidential qualities that a university can or cannot impart? How do we best counter these arguments from the Liberal /Left…not for the sake of the Lefties (whose egos remain immune to reason) but for the sake of all others trying to make up their minds on this issue?

Obama to people: “You don’t matter.”

Message from his Highness:

For example, Obama said he did not watch any of Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally Saturday on the National Mall.

“It’s not surprising that somebody like a Mr. Beck is able to stir up a certain portion of the country. That’s been true throughout our history,” he said. But “I’m making decisions that are not necessarily good for the nightly news and not good for the next election, but for the next generations.”

Translation:  I can’t be bothered with you little people.  Why don’t you just go and eat some cake.

Obama also stated in the same interview that he “can’t spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead.”  This is true.  Perhaps, though, he could give the American people the gift of actually seeing his original birth certificate, you know, the one issued in 1961.  Just because a government official has seen it, and the basic information on it has been published in certified form, clearly isn’t enough to allay people’s concerns.  And the fact that Obama resolutely refuses to produce the original document, keeping it deeply hidden in Hawaii’s government vaults, is not the best way to address those concerns.

As it is, I have no doubt that he was born in Hawaii.  I suspect only that his parentage isn’t quite as it was presented for public consumption, whether the truth is that he is illegitimate or that Obama Sr. was not, in fact, his actual father, but someone else was.  Regardless of what those truths are, my bet is that the American people can handle them a lot better than the not knowing.

But if you’re the King, clearly it’s your right to insult people, ignore them, deride them, and hide from them.  Gee, but it’s great to be King.

May I suggest this as today’s “Obama video”: