The single most important election issue in 2016:  The Constitution!

[No you’re not seeing things — this is a post from a few days ago. The thing is, I think it’s an important post, so I’m keeping it floating at the top for a few days. Scroll down for more recent posts.]

Constitution we the people

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
— Presidential Oath of Office

In 1992, James Carville famously hung a sign in Bill Clinton’s Little Rock campaign headquarters pointing campaign workers to Clinton’s most powerful campaign message:  “The economy, stupid!”  Today, in the run-up to the 2016 election, conservatives need to keep hammering their most powerful campaign message:  “The Constitution!”  After eight years of Obama’s savage disregard for the Constitution, the 2016 election is America’s last chance to return our Constitution to its rightful, and central, place in American politics.

In this essay, I hope to establish three things:

I. That the Constitution is a unique document that empowers individuals over government, making it the bedrock of American exceptionalism;

II. That Barack Obama has significantly damaged the Constitution’s preeminent position in American government, creating a dangerous imbalance in favor of an unlimited executive backed by a powerful, all-encompassing bureaucracy; and

III. That we must choose our next president very carefully in order to redress this imbalance lest we wake up one morning to find ourselves living under a permanent de facto dictatorship.

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The Bookworm Beat 1/21/16 — the “world keeps spinning” edition and open thread

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Let me dive right in:

The funniest part is that most Leftists didn’t understand that it was a joke.  Rep. Mike Pitts, a member of South Carolina’s state legislature, proposed a law licensing and tracking journalists.  Myriad journalists responded with abject horror, citing the First Amendment’s protections to support their outrage.  Most needed to have explained to them that this was a parody legislation meant to mirror the controls the journalists so fervently seek for people protected by the Second Amendment.

It seems as if Kerry wasn’t the only flip-flopper to seek the presidency.  Donald Trump is having to walk back a lot of his former positions.  The latest report is the Libya policy that he strongly supported back in the day.

What happens if the Obama administration refuses to indict Hillary?  Roger Simon rightly says that this would mean that the rule of law in America has ended.  The friend who sent me that link writes “The country is edging ever closer to blood in the streets as the Left tries to destroy their opposition by any means other than the ballot box or adherence to the laws of the land, including the Constitution.  My terminology for what I suspect will happen is ‘blood in the streets.’  Simon’s is ‘Civil War.'”

The world’s antisemitism revealed in the approach to the settlements.  Caroline Glick never pulls her punches when it comes to speaking the truth about the antisemites around the world lined up to vilify and destroy Israel.  This time she takes on the canard that the problem is the settlements.  The problem isn’t the settlements.  The problem is the Palestinians, the surrounding Arab world, Europe, the Obama administration, and other enablers of rank antisemitism (including some within Israel’s own political class).

Dead Jews; no news.  In Israel, a 17-year-old armed with a knife murdered 38-year-old Dafna Meir in cold blood.  Meir, a nurse and the mother of six children (four of her own and two foster children), put up a valiant fight, sacrificing herself to save three of the children who were at home with her at the time.  It is a tragic, heartrending story that should easily fall into the nightly news category.  It also touches upon the issue of Muslim terrorists who have struck practically everywhere on earth save the North Pole.  But to hear the media tell it . . . oh, wait, you won’t hear the media tell it.  Most of them have ignored it entirely.  Those that haven’t ignored the story have gone out of their way to make it clear that she had it coming because settlements.  The media stinks.  It’s utterly corrupt and completely amoral.

More news on misanthropic Muslims.  I’ve said often, and I’ll say again, the Islam isn’t just misogynistic, it’s incredibly misanthropic.  I say this because the system believes that men are so vile and uncontrollable, so beastly and uncontained, that they cannot be responsible in any way for themselves should they find themselves in the company of women — or at least women who aren’t draped in tents and don’t smell of sewers.  The latest excuse for the Muslim sexual assault spree in Cologne is that the women had it coming because . . . cologne.  Yeah, the small “c” cologne.  Apparently the women in big “C” Cologne smelled good and deserved to be raped.

The DiploMad has a short, precise history of the Democrats’ real race relations:  He wrote it a couple of years ago, but it’s still right on the money.  It deserves to be quoted at some length:

The Democrats had a one-party lock on the South. The party of slave owners and secessionists, had become the party of Jim Crow, school segregation, anti-miscegenation laws, poll taxes, and on and on. Many Americans, not to mention foreigners, do not realize not only that the Republican party was formed in opposition to slavery, and that Lincoln was a Republican, but that the famous Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, whose rulings dismantled the legal basis for segregation and put serious limitations on the power of police, was a former Republican Governor of California. It was, furthermore, war hero and RepublicanPresident Dwight Eisenhower who sent troops to Arkansas to enforce court-ordered desegregation at Little Rock Central High School. Congressional Republicans were the main supporters of civil rights legislation; their votes ensured passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, over the opposition of a significant bloc of Democrats–let us also not forget that Congressional Democrats for years blocked Republican efforts to pass federal anti-lynching legislation. All this, of course, is history, but an important chunk of American history that is being lost, distorted, or otherwise flushed down the memory sewer–along with the fact that anti-leftist J. Edgar Hoover proved the most formidable foe of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), an organization founded and staffed by Democrats, such as long-time Democratic Senator Robert Byrd.

Before getting back to King, let’s address another issue that has been badly distorted and become something of a meme among the quasi-literate left, to wit, the idea that the parties have “switched places.” This is something I have heard from some lefties who, knowing the true history of the Democratic and Republican Parties when it comes to race and civil rights, try to argue that that was then, and this is now. Since FDR or so, they argue, the Democratic and the Republican Parties “switched” places on the race issue, with Republicans taking the role of protecting white privilege and keeping minorities, especially blacks, down.

The truth is quite different. What happened was that the old party of slavers, segregationists, lynch mobs, and secessionists figured out that government programs and intervention were the means to deprive Republicans of a significant voter bloc. The aim was to keep black Americans dependent on the largesse of government and Democrat-run urban political machines. Anyone who doubts that should read the crude comment in which President Johnson revealed the real purpose underlying his massive social program expansion, i.e., to keep black Americans voting Democratic. The Democrats have succeeded admirably in this objective.

If you could teach that to a high school American history class, that would be the best educated high school class in America.

The whole “white guilt over white privilege” shtick doesn’t work for me.  I don’t know if it’s because I was raised in a home without money, because my own mother was a slave (slave labor for the Japanese during WWII), because I don’t divide the world into victim classes, or because I reason with my brain not my bowels.  It may also be because both my mother and my father were “Jewish mothers” when it came to the whole guilt thing, so I’m made of sterner stuff than the Progressive people of pallor who are flagellating themselves for the sin of having been born white in America.

The Left always has excuses.  The Progressive Facebook friends were very excited about a cartoon that purports to show that success in America only happens to rich people.  I think that would surprise a lot of Americans — especially those whose parents immigrated to this country between 1890 and 1960.  I grew up in a poor home.  What mattered wasn’t poverty, it was values.  Like generations of immigrants before me, I studied hard, worked hard, and the American system rewarded me.  I found the cartoon to be sloppy, badly-reasoned, condescending emotionalism and was embarrassed for those friends who found it meaningful.

This would be a good first step to restoring integrity in science.  Dr. Judith Curry, who has bravely stated that the science is not settled, argues that the first thing to be done to return climate science to actual silence is to dismantle the IPCC, which is fatally politicized.

Your government at work.  The General Services Administration spent $75 million taxpayer dollars to construct a federal law enforcement facility.  That’s a lot of money, but never let it be said that we don’t treat federal law enforcement well.  Oh, except that, because the GSA refused to speak to the people who would actually use the building, the building is completely useless for federal law enforcement purposes.  It’s a $75 million white elephant, courtesy of the American taxpayer as represented by the grossly deficient, incompetent, and corrupt GSA.

Dogs and humans.  The NYT is always behind the curve.  It’s finally caught up to the theory that humans and dogs developed together.  The NYT (typically) goes front and center calling dogs “parasites.”  The way I see it, dogs and humans form the perfect symbiotic relationship, with each providing inestimable benefits to the other.

Fairy tales and their ancient origins.  I guess it’s not really surprising either that fairy tales, like dogs, go back a long time in human history.  Fairy tales speak to primal fears and core human relationships.  Once humans became human, these issues would undoubtedly crop up and stick around in the collective psyche.  Oh, warfare goes back a long time too, in case you were wondering.  We humans are programmed to violence, and it’s only through careful moral teaching that we set it aside.  ISIS prefers our more primitive roots.

Learning new skills

Woman with computerSorry for the blog silence today.  As part of my volunteer work for an organization, I’m setting up a website.  It turns out (well, I already knew this) that setting up a WordPress website is not the same as blogging.  I found a good starter video, and spent several hours today working on a sample website so I could figure out how to format the darn thing.  I enjoyed myself tremendously, but missed out on blogging time.  Tomorrow, though, I’m sure I’ll have both time and something to say.

Purification rituals

10305303-document-shredding-in-boston-areaFor me, there’s an almost spiritual feeling to deep cleaning my house.  I feel unburdened.  This is especially true when I tackle my inbox and learn that I’m current on all my bills.  Thanks to AutoPay that’s usually the case, but when the box gets too full, I panic.

The whole purification process is much easier lately, because I got a good scanner (this one, if you’re curious, which is a lovely little workhorse). I no longer file. Instead, I pay my bills or review informational documents, scan them, and then shred the paper copy.

I’m careful to back up my scanned files, lest something bad happen to my computer, so I feel my data is pretty darn safe — and I no longer have stacks of paper everywhere. My stacks were organized, but they were still stacks and therefore unsightly and oppressive.

In addition to my purification ritual, I took time out today to have a nice long lunch with my friend Michael Phillips, who blogs at Pro Commerce. Michael is a wonderful and amazing man. Even though he is an incredibly sophisticated, intelligent, and knowledgeable person, he also maintains a childlike sense of wonder about all the interesting things in the world. He is interested in everything. That’s a rare quality in any person and unusually rare in someone over 50. Being with Michael is like watching the Fountain of Youth in real time. It’s not about keeping our bodies young; it’s about keeping our minds open and agile.

Today was both profitable and delightful, but I’m glad that I put up two lengthy posts last night, since my activities today precluded writing. I’ll try to put up an illustrated edition soon, and I’ll be back to blogging tomorrow.

The surreal whimper ending Western civilization

Detail of Heironymous BoschFrom the beginning, the Founders were worried that the American experiment couldn’t last.  Benjamin Franklin, when asked if America was a republic or a monarchy, famously replied “A republic, if you can keep it.”  What the Founders probably could not imagine was the way in which the American experiment — indeed, the entire Enlightenment experiment — was going to end.  They imagined that people would gravitate towards tyranny.  They could not have imagined, however, that the West was lapse into suicidal insanity on its path to that tyranny.

I’m leaving for court in a few minutes, so I won’t include links, but you will all recognize the news stories behind the following examples of the West’s tragi-comic, surreal collapse:

  1.  There is an excellent chance that the next American election will be between a TV personality who freely admits he knows nothing about serious matters of politics and national security and a socialist who wrote rape fantasies, and spent his honeymoon in Soviet Russia.
  2. In an English town, the entire civic infrastructure, from policy to city council, allowed 1,600 girls and young women to be systematically and repeatedly raped rather than run the risk of offending Islamic sensibilities.
  3. Across Germany, the police, government agencies, and the media covered up mass sexual attacks, rather than acknowledge that recently arrived Muslim immigrants committed them.  The female mayor of Cologne went so far as to blame the women.
  4. In 2015, California handed out driver’s licenses to over 500,000 people here illegally.  The ACLU assisted by warning illegal immigrants who had committed felonies that applying for a license might get them in trouble.
  5. In Philadelphia, a devout Muslim, dressed in Muslim garb, attempted to murder a police officer.  Upon his arrest, he repeatedly stated that he committed the attack as part of his Islamic faith.  The Philadelphia mayor nevertheless insisted that the attack had nothing to do with Islam.
  6. Despite the fact that the highest number of gun crimes in America are in those cities that have the strictest gun control, Obama and the Democrats insist that more gun control will mean fewer gun crimes.
  7. Although none of the climate scientists computer-based predictions have come true, and although the vast majority of data shows no warming and no relationship between warming and human CO2 production, the Left’s faith in climate change is so strong that Obama’s reaction to the latest massacre in Paris was to say that the way to defeat radical Islam was to pour the world’s economic resources into defeating climate change.  It didn’t seem to occur to him that Egypt’s pouring its grain resources, not into food, but into biofuels, may have been the spark that started the Arab Spring, which quickly became the Arab winter.
  8. Democrats are absolutely convinced that allowing an apocalyptic, anti-American, antisemitic, anti-Israel, anti-West, homophobic, misogynistic, paranoid government to get a nuclear bomb will help advance world peace.

I have to run.  Please feel free to use the comments to add other examples of a world gone surreal.

Wall Street Journal launches another missile at #TedCruz — and misses again (*IMPORTANT UPDATE*)

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UPDATE:  I foolishly published this post during a very busy, chaotic day (including my old dog’s falling into the swimming pool and almost drowning).  A friend called my attention to the fact that it contained too many typos, some confusing text, and omitted important information about the USA Freedom Act.  Rather than doing an update at the bottom of the post or interrupting the flow with an update in the middle, I published the revised version as a separate post, which you can find here.  I recommend that you read the new post and ignore this one (although the comments to this one are still good).

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Mark Steyn’s political poetry

Mark-Steyn-hi-resA friend sent me a quotation culled from Mark Steyn’s Statement to the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness of the United States Senate:

In response [to the public’s increased doubts about anthropogenic climate change], federal bodies such as NOAA and NASA have adjusted the past to make the present appear hotter, and thus supposedly demonstrated that in fact there is no such “pause.” As a result, public opinion, which no longer trusts the Big Climate enforcers to tell them what the climate will be like in 2050, now no longer trusts them to tell them what it was like in 1950.

Reading that, I had two thoughts pop into my head, one immediately on the heels of the other. The first thought, of course, was that as a factual matter, Steyn is absolutely right: Climate science, which was flawed to begin with, has now abandoned naive mistakes in favor of pure corruption. It started with computer programs that only a naif or a fool would believe could calculate all of the climate’s moving parts with sufficient accuracy to predict climate a year in advance, let alone decades or centuries. It’s reaching an end (a very expensive end) with out-and-out data falsification intended to cover-up the consistently failed predictions that the inevitably flawed computer programs generated.

The legal aphorism that’s drilled into each young attorney is “If you have the law, argue the law; if you have the facts, argue the facts; if you have neither facts nor law, pound the table.” In the wake of the damage climate “science” has done to the scientific method, the scientific aphorism for each new B.S. (an acronym that takes on new meaning in today’s intellectual climate) has become “If you have the theory, argue the theory; if you have the data, argue the data; if you only theory and no data, corrupt the entire scientific record and brutally censor those who challenge your theory.”

The second thought that struck me when I read those words was “Wow. His writing is like the best of Tin Pan Alley and the Great American Songbook.”

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The Bookworm Beat 12-9-15 — the “15 minute” roundup and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have fifteen minutes before I have to abandon my computer for a while. Let’s see how much I can share with you:

Yes, Syrians are a terror threat

One of the things I absolutely hate about Leftists is their pretended or real inability to distinguish motives from actions. It’s this moral blindness that allowed Michael Moore to compare Islamic terrorists to America’s Revolutionary War Minutemen: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen….”

Moore and his ilk are too stupid to see or too evil to admit that, just because someone wages war against a larger, or established power, that doesn’t mean the person waging war is fighting for a good cause. There’s a big difference between an insurgent group fighting to enslave people to a theocratic tyranny and an insurgent group fighting to liberate people from a monarchic tyranny. Motives matter.

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San Bernardino shooting open thread

151202173710-san-bernardino-shooting-780x439Just back at my desk after an unexpectedly long day.  (The way I see it, I spend an inordinate amount of time putting out other people’s fires.)  Saddened to hear about the terrible shooting in San Bernardino.  My thoughts are with the family and friends of those who died or were injured.  I am withholding judgment on the cause until the facts are in.  I’m also aware that Obama already knows the guilty party:  the guns.

While I regroup, please feel free to leave your comments here about the shooting or about anything else that interests you.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Vintage-Thanksgiving-Dinner-Card

These are troubled times around the world, but I still have so much for which to be thankful, not the least of which is the fact that, in a nation that is protected by the First Amendment, I have my blog and all the wonderful blog friends I’ve met over the years.  Thanks to all of you for adding such happiness to my life.

Kondo mania! Or why I’m throwing away as many things as I can

Marie KondoSorry for the silence, but I am a woman possessed.  I finally read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Kondo does something no other professional organizer does:  She gives you permission to throw out just about everything.

All other organizing books tell you precisely what to throw out.  Throw out clothes you haven’t worn in one year, or two years, or three years.  Throw out financial statements that are more than “X” years old.  Throw out pots without lids or lids without storage containers. And so on and so forth.

Then, they tell you precisely how to organize:  For your remaining clothes, hang the shirts to the left and the pants to the right.  Put the socks on the second from the bottom drawer, and make sure all your underpants are white or hot pink.  File your papers away in green folders for paid bills and red folders for things the tax man will want.  Separate them by year, month, day of the week, and hour. Stack your pots in precision rows and line your cutlery drawers. Of course, I’m never able to conform to any of those things, either because I have problems throwing away the items the book insists must be tossed or because the organization defeats me.

Up until Kondo’s book, the best organizing book I ever read was Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life, which I still look upon as an extremely valuable book.  Morgenstern’s principle is that people don’t change their basic habits no matter what a book tells them to do.  If you’re the kind of person who slips off your shoes the moment you enter the house (as I am), having your shoe storage area at the other end of the house is pointless; the shoes will never make that journey.  The more intelligent thing to do is to have a shoe cubby at your point of entry. It may not be a thing of designer beauty, but it will be better than having shoes strewn higgledy-piggledy around the front hall.

Thanks to Morgenstern, I’m extremely organized in that I can put my hands on anything within five minutes.  My problem, though, is that I still have way too much stuff.  Some of it I bought, only to realize too late that the item wasn’t right for me. Some things I bought but they’ve worn out their usefulness. Most of the things that burden me, though, have come into my life as freebies, gifts, and hand-me-downs.

Putting all this stuff away, searching through it, and just being aware of its useless presence in my house weighs me down — but still, up until Kondo, I couldn’t make myself throw the things out.  It just seemed so wasteful or, if the thing was a gift, disrespectful.

Kondo’s shtick is that, if something doesn’t bring you joy or have a strong utilitarian role in your life, throw it out.  She says that you should empty everything out of your closet or cupboard or chest of drawers and then handle every single item.  If you hold it in your hands and don’t feel pleasure, get rid of it.

Importantly for me, Kondo says that, when it comes to gifts, the gifts highest and truest moment as a gift is the moment it is given.  That moment highlights the relationship between giver and receiver.  After that, the gift is just another object.  If you love it keep; if you don’t, get rid of it.  After all, you’re not going to forget your beloved granny simply because you’ve decided that someone else might appreciate more than you do the garish Christmas sweater that’s been hiding in the back of your closet for 30 years.

My metric is a little bit different.  Although I definitely am keeping things that give me joy, I’m also looking at things through a negative prism:  When I pick up this object or that item of clothing, do I get a horrible feeling of ennui just thinking of the effort it will take to put it away?  That too is a reason to toss.  After all, a lot of things don’t bring me joy, but I can’t of like them, and don’t mind the effort of caring for them.

Over the past week, I’ve bagged for charity or thrown away 50% of my clothes.  I will not forget my mother because the Salvation Army will get her used, but beautifully maintained, cashmere sweater from 1985.  The reality is that it’s out of style, the wrong size, the wrong color, and it makes me itch — but someone else will be delighted with it.

Nor will my grandmother recede from memory because I’m also giving to charity the throw she knit.  She didn’t knit it specifically for me.  She just knit endless patchwork throws to keep her hands busy.  They’re heavy, hard to wash and, again, make me itch.  Surely there’s someone who will enjoy these blankets.  I sure didn’t, since they’ve sat on top of my closet shelf collecting dust for 30 years.

I’ve also cleared out my pantry, cleaned my kitchen containers, done a clean sweep through my medicine cabinet, and purged all that make-up I never use.  I’m having fun doing all this too.  With every item that leaves the house, I feel lighter and more free.  Whatever my future holds, it won’t be a future that sees me weighed down by useless objects.