[VIDEO] Elbert Guillory on Obama’s mission to disarm Americans in a dangerous world

Elbert GuilloryI am not exaggerating when I say that I have been in love (in a political way) with Elbert Guillory ever since I first saw him back in mid-2013, when he was still ostensibly a Democrat. That feeling has never changed and, indeed, my deep and abiding respect for his intelligence, humanism, and patriotism ratcheted up again when I saw this video he made in the wake of Obama’s anti-Second Amendment Executive Orders:

This is yet another video it would do every single person in Marin good to listen to — but the reality is that I’m not a totalitarian, fascist Leftist, so I don’t go around forcing people to listen to things.

The Bookworm Beat 12-17-15 — the “speed writing” edition

Woman-writing-300x265Are you familiar with speed chess? I learned about it when I was at Cal. Since I worked at the Bancroft Library, I had access to an employee break room. Every day at lunch, two men would sit there, chess board in front of them, timer at their side, and make lightning swift moves, wrapping up a single game in minutes, not hours. What I’m going for here is speed blogging. I’ve got more than 20 links, and I’m going to try to share them with you in less than half an hour of writing. Here goes….

In 2006, Thomas Lifson wrote what I think is one of the best political articles ever.  In it, he explained that there are two seasons in American politics — Attention Season and Inattention Season.  The former has a remarkable way of concentrating American minds.  Right now, with the election nearing and terrorism within our borders again, Americans are starting to shift from Inattention to Attention.  I suspect this will change the polling dynamics substantially in the next few weeks.

Trump is the bad boy of this political season, by which I mean that he’s the cool guy in the leather jacket that all the girls want to date and to domesticate. Eventually, though, the girls discover that a bad boy may have a James Dean charm about him, but he’s still bad, meaning he’s bad for the girl (and he’s equally bad for the guys who want to run with his pack).  Kurt Schlichter perfectly articulates why  Donald Trump is one of those bad boys, and explains that he’s going to be a heart breaker for those conservatives who think that this lifelong Democrat is someone to hold on to during trying times.  Rubio and Cruz are probably the best choice for the nice steady boys who will come in and save the day.

If you’d like a short but deep run-down of the last Republican debate, and one with which I happen to agree, check out Seraphic Secret’s post about the debate.

Millennials are not the next greatest generation:  they want to see American troops defeat ISIS; they just don’t want to be among the troops doing the defeating.  Having said that, I’m in no position to sneer.  I am an armchair warrior at best and a coward at worst, and have always been incredibly grateful that there are men and women who are willing to do the necessary fighting that I’m scared to do.

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The fundamental national security differences between Cruz and Rubio

cruz_rubioDuring the fifth Republican candidates’ debate, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio clashed repeatedly over national security issues, with each accusing the other of having been weak on national defense in the past and following the wrong path into the future. Because American voters identify national security as their primary concern going into the 2016 election, the differences between Cruz and Rubio deserve close analysis. A good starting point for this analysis is to compare Ted Cruz’s recent address on national security to the Heritage Foundation with Bret Stephens’ Wall Street Journal hit piece attacking that speech – and, moreover, doing so using talking points that precisely reflect Marco Rubio’s national security talking points.

If you don’t have the time to watch this comprehensive speech, here’s an executive summary of the first four factors Cruz holds are necessary to achieve America’s security goals (interwoven with Bookworm commentary), all of which Stephens challenges using Rubio talking points.

First, Cruz states that our government’s top priority must be to keep us safe at home and strong abroad. Rubio would agree with this priority but, as this post develops at greater length below, he and Cruz differ on the specifics. Cruz contends that the front line of America’s national security is her own border. America must address her porous borders, visa overstays, and immigration policy.

The last factor is particularly important vis-à-vis Syria, given terrorist attempts to infiltrate America. As the Tashfeen Malik experience demonstrates, our current visa process is more concerned with political correctness than national security. Malik’s Facebook page was a neon sign advertising her allegiance to ISIS, but Homeland Security policy barred anyone from checking it before inviting her into America.

Second, Cruz emphasizes that protecting our nation does not (and should not) require us to surrender our Constitutional liberties. He specifically addresses NSA’s government bulk data collection, which many people (Rubio included) believe aids in the fight against terrorist attacks.

The reality, though, is that the government is collecting so much metadata from everybody that it is impossible to analyze the data in real time in order to head off future attacks. What happens instead is that, without any probable cause, the government collects a vast amount of information on every American, information that is then stored away for the government to cherry-pick for later use on an as-needed basis. There is nothing benign about this last fact.

This stored data means that when the government has you in its sights for whatever reason, it’s got a go-to repository that it can mine without any tiresome Fourth Amendment due process interference. For those who doubt that the government can be so malevolent, Cruz brought up the case of Lois Lerner. The long list of charges against her includes the claim that she culled confidential IRS information from Tea Party proponents and handed it over to their Progressive political opponents.

Cruz also points out that one cannot justify this constitutional overreach by claiming that metadata collection protects Americans. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Indeed, it has proven wholly ineffective in stopping terrorist attacks on our soil, as the attacks at Fort Hood, in Boston, in Chattanooga, in Garland, and in San Bernardino have shown.

Moreover, when the government has managed to prevent an attack, as it did with Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali Islamic refugee who planned to blow up a Portland, Oregon, Christmas tree lighting festival, the government did so by monitoring email communications to and from a known terrorism recruiter. That is, the FBI did not randomly stumble across Mohamud’s emails by distinguishing them from the trillions of other communications the NSA swept in.

Cruz’s dislike for sweeping NSA metadata surveillance, however, has not meant that he’s requiring America’s national security law enforcers to fumble about entirely in the dark.

As he explains during the Heritage talk, Cruz co-sponsored the USA Freedom Act, which passed into law in June. Among other provisions, the USA Freedom Act, although it bans the government from collecting bulk data, allows the government to subpoena the same data from communications providers — subject to approval from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”). As another bulwark to protect American’s constitutional rights, the Act also creates a special advocate to represent those interests before the FISC.

Cruz believes the Act strikes the proper balance between security, Constitutional rights, and protection against government abuse. Cruz also points out that DNI James Clapper has praised the law as an improvement and one that will function more effectively to keep us safe. Rubio disputes this conclusion. Senator Mike Lee, friends with both Rubio and Cruz, disagrees strongly with Rubio’s claim:

Look, Marco Rubio has been attacking Ted Cruz on the USA Freedom Act, for his vote in favor of the USA Freedom Act, and he’s been doing so by suggesting that this has somehow made America less safe,” Lee said. “It simply is not true, and look, I’m really good friends with both of these guys, I really like both of them, but Marco’s wrong on this.”

Lee, who was a co-sponsor of the bill alongside Cruz, added that Rubio is just “dead wrong.”

“The USA Freedom Act has not made us less safe at all, and in fact, I had a discussion last week with FBI Director James Comey,” he continued. “I asked him point blank, ‘Did this, in any way, impair our ability to follow up on the San Bernardino attack?’ And of course, the answer was no.”

“This is a law that, in many ways, enhances our ability to protect the homeland,” Lee concluded. “And it does so in a way that is respectful of the privacy interests and the Fourth Amendment interests of the American people.”

The USA Freedom Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in June, suspended the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata.

The other constitutional liberty at issue in the current national security debate is the Second Amendment. Undeterred by the fact that California’s gun laws (the most stringent in the nation) would have done nothing to stop the San Bernardino shooting – although they did ensure that the victims, trapped in a “gun free zone,” were appropriately helpless when the terrorists arrived — Obama is leading the charge to “prevent” ISIS attacks by disarming law-abiding Americans. Fortunately, Americans are recognizing that this argument is a non sequitur, and are arming themselves as quickly as they can.

Third, Cruz says that our government must act with moral clarity — by which, he means the government must openly identify radical Islamic fundamentalism as both the source of the terrorist attacks on our country and the wellspring of ISIS. If the government continues to refuse to identify Islam as terrorism’s source, it cannot possibly address terrorism.

Once the government finally escapes metaphor, denial, and avoidance, it can directly counter Islamic fundamentalism (for example, by supporting Dr. Zuhdi Jasser) and use military force to destroy its militant adherents. Doing so will requires a combination of air power, unconstrained by concerns over environmental damageand boots on the ground from our Middle Eastern allies, such as the Kurds, Egypt, and Jordan.

Fourth, Cruz holds that our government must reach outside of American borders to repair relations with our allies and it must protect our interests by projecting strength. As Osama bin Laden highlighted, people – especially people kept ignorant and debased by a zero-sum totalitarian ideology – will always be drawn to or bow down before the strong horse. Defeating the ideology matters because, while ISIS and the Middle East are current Ground Zero for Islamic fanaticism, it is a worldwide problem.

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The Bookworm Beat 12-10-15 — the “Islamic terrorism” edition *UPDATED*

Woman-writing-300x265A few words about Donald Trump’s campaign success

Donald Trump is the ordinary American’s id. The id, of course, is our most basic intelligence, the one that gives us the atavistic reflexes that recognize danger and act on it to stay alive.

Trump has cut through the political correctness that prevented all politicians, including Republican ones, from speaking the cold, hard truth: Muslims are a problem. While we know that not all Muslims are a problem, until we figure out a way to separate wheat from chaff, we are insane to invite them in without limitations.

If you pay attention to what Trump said, as opposed to what the media says he said, Trump actually made a sensible suggestion, although framed in his typical inflammatory way: America needs to press the pause button on admitting Muslims until we can formulate a policy that’s aimed at separating bad (i.e., jihadist or otherwise fundamentalist Muslims) from good Muslims. Here, in his own words, with my emphasis added:

Donald Trump evoked outrage from across the political spectrum Monday by calling for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S., a proposal that taps into voter anxiety about the recent spate of terrorist attacks yet likely runs afoul of religious freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. “It is obvious to anybody the hatred [among Muslims] is beyond comprehension,” Mr. Trump said. “Where this hatred comes from and why, we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.” His campaign said he would keep the ban intact “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” including the facts around the two attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., last week. Syed Rizwan Farook, a U.S. citizen, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, a legal immigrant who had a green card, were killed in a shootout with the police after the massacre.

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Reagan 180: Peace Through Strength

The proven principle of peace through strength has no clock of eligibility. Nor is it a theory. It is, as stated, a proven principle that knows no decade nor continent as its home. Peace is derived through strength precisely because weakness inspires aggression. Critics tend to muddy the waters by creating the false parallel between strength and aggression. With strength, real and rightly perceived strength, words (read: diplomacy) carry tangible effect and generate desired action (or vital inaction) from foes.


Reagan 180, Episode 001: Peace Through Strength

With the help from the words of former Ambassador John Bolton in the introduction in framing today’s Russia as the backdrop, Ronald Reagan spelled out quite clearly the principle of peace through strength in 1964.

It took all of three minutes to explain the proven principle of peace through strength with clarity. And it applies as much now as it did then. Like human nature or the laws of physics, principles like this do not go ‘out of style’ or become outdated or outmoded.

That doesn’t mean others won’t argue otherwise. When they do, come back. Listen this first edition of Reagan 180. Ground yourself again and regain your confidence if you need a shot in the arm. It’s straight forward. It’s really pretty simple. And it can’t be outsmarted, no matter how many try to razzle-dazzle with figures and theory.

And that’s the whole idea of the Reagan 180 project. Our conservative principles are really very simple. They’re straight forward. They’re “what works,” in sharp contrast to “who’s victimized” and “who must pay.” No one in our lifetime communicated these realities more effectively than Ronald Reagan.

Reagan 180 is an idea (not yet taxed) that I’ve been mulling on and off for several years. On any given issue or debate on governance or liberty today, there’s about 3 short minutes of Ronald Reagan in an archive somewhere explaining the conservative principle on the subject with a cutting clarity that seemingly no one in the current generation of leaders and/or public figures can seem to muster.

There’s just no sense at all in watching all of this quietly gather dust when it’s in such need today. So, 180 seconds at a time, these short Reagan 180 podcasts will highlight Ronald Reagan’s words to apply conservative principles to today’s issues.

Friday this and that, with a little what-not thrown in

I could have done this as myriad small posts, but I was in the mood for something big.  I’ll separate the different ideas and issues with asterisks (after all, Obama’s promise with his unspoken asterisk has made asterisks the hot new thing in writing).

My friend (I like say that — my friend) Sally Zelikovsky has written rules for Republicans who want to win elections.  They are very pragmatic rules which state that the time for internecine cherry-picking, purging, and warfare should wait until after the Democrats no longer control Washington.  I’m just giving the rules.  Please go to her post to see her intelligent support for many of the less obvious or more challenging rules:

(1) Duke it out in the primaries and whole-heartedly support your candidate of choice.

(2) Do not support your preferred candidate by stooping to Democrat levels.

[snip]

(3) Never forfeit a “sure thing” candidate for a high risk one.

[snip]

(4) Unless an incontrovertible liability, never abandon a viable candidate especially in an important race.

[snip]

(5) In extreme cases, when a candidate is hurting other races, it’s okay to withdraw support.

[snip]

(6) Do not use outliers to formulate strategies for the entire country.

[snip]

(7) Make protest votes a thing of the past [snip]

(8) Think of the end game.

[snip]

(9) Social conservatives and tea partiers should hold any elected Republican’s feet to the fire.

(10) Moderates should expect social conservatives and tea partiers to hold their feet to the fire.

(11) Do not air our collective dirty laundry.

[snip]

(12) Always anticipate the leftwing response, think through your story, then stick to it.

[snip]

(13) In politics, as in life, there are people in any group or organization who have varying degrees of commitment. [snip]

(14) Use the media to communicate with the PEOPLE. This is your chance to be a PR person for conservatism, even though the press is never on your side.

[snip]

(15) Always promote the improved quality of life in Republican-run states andcontrast this with the diminished quality of life in true blue states.

(16) Speak with one voice on the issues where there is consensus.

(17) Where there is no consensus, speak to the fact that we are a diverse party that welcomes debate but, in the end, we are all guided by time-tested conservative principles that promote freedom.

Some of the suggestions are hard to swallow, because they continue to provide political cover for checkbook Republicans, meaning those who support a Democrat agenda, but who make loud noises about “we have to be able to pay for it.”  Read Sally’s whole article and, if you feel like it, please get back to me.

***

Lee Smith has a brilliant analysis of what John Kerry and Barack Obama are doing in the Middle East:

So how did we reach a point where the United States is working with the Islamic Republic of Iran, while longtime U.S. allies are not only outside the circle but trying to block an American-Iranian condominium over the Middle East? A pretty good idea can be gleaned by taking the advice given by Politico in an article detailing Obama’s habit of meeting with prestigious reporters and columnists to test-drive his ideas: “If you want to know where the president stands on a foreign policy issue .  .  . read the latest column by David Ignatius” or Thomas Friedman, another frequent sounding-board for the president.

Read the whole thing and weep.  What they’re doing is every bit as bad as it sounds, and there will be terrible repercussions.

***

Fouad Ajami says that Obama’s magic is gone.  I like his article but I have to disagree with the core premise.  Obama never had magic.  What he had was a complicit media.  It’s easy to win the game when the referees have determined in advance that you’ll win.  At a certain point, though, the spectators begin to think that the fix is in.

***

Up until this past Wednesday, I tended to side slightly with the government regarding Edward Snowden — namely, that he was a traitor who stole America’s secrets.  And indeed, he seems to have stolen lots and lots of secrets.  What I learned on Wednesday, though, when I heard Mary Theroux, of the Independent Institute, speak, is that the government’s spying on American citizens is so enormous we literally cannot comprehend its scope.  The data collection (which is in the multiple zetabytes) grossly violates our inherent Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.  NSA employees before Snowden tried to blow the whistle on this beginning around the year 2000, and got ferociously persecuted by the government because of their efforts.  Snowden’s spectacular leak broke that log jam.

But here’s the really important thing that Theroux said:  The government gets so much data, it’s useless for the stated purpose of crime and terrorism prevention.  As it comes in, it’s simply so much white noise.  It certainly didn’t stop 9/11 or the Boston bombing.  In this regard, think of England, which has more CCTVs per capita than any other country in the 1st world, and maybe in any world.  Nevertheless, these cameras do nothing to prevent crime.  As the number of cameras has increased, so has the crime rate.  The data is useful only after the fact, to help (sometimes) apprehend the criminal.

Well, one can argue that ex post facto apprehension is a good thing — but it’s a good thing only if there’s been a clear violation of a pretty well known law (e.g., don’t beat people to death or don’t rob a jewelry store).  We’re looking at something much more sinister here.  Think of the volume of law in America and, worse, think of the staggering volumes of rules interpreting those laws.

As Theroux noted, Stalin’s chief of police famously said (and I’m paraphrasing) give me the man and I can find the crime.  We Americans have a government that’s sitting on data that can be used to criminalize us after the fact the current government (Republican or Democrat or Third Party) doesn’t like us.  It’s like a landmine under every American.

Since Obama is quite possibly the most inept national security president in the world, it’s arguable that Snowden’s revealing secrets along those lines (e.g., that we’ve been eavesdropping on allies) leaves us in no worse shape than we were before.  After all, as Lee Smith notes above, Obama has already turned our allies into enemies.  What Snowden did do with his escapade was to remind us that, when government begins collecting every bit of information simply because it can, every citizen becomes a potential criminal.  We’re not at the Stasi stage yet, but our government is laying the groundwork for a Stasi society.  That’s an utterly terrifying thought.  We still can stop it now.  Once it’s in play, stopping it gets much, much harder to stop that fascist juggernaut.

***

Given the debacle that Obamacare is proving to be for Obama, the Democrats, and Progressivism generally, a reader sent me an email saying that we should be grateful for Chief Justice Roberts for allowing this disaster to unfold.  That email reminded me that, back in June 2012, when Chief Justice Roberts managed to salvage Obamacare, I wrote a post looking for lemonade in Roberts’ opinion and, once again, I was a bit prescient.  (And yes, I am mining many of my old posts as real-time events are showing that I predicted with a fair degree of accuracy everything from Obamacare, to the shifting alliances in the Middle East, to Obama’s meltdown when the real world intruded on his little narcissistic dream.)  It’s a long, wandering (and, of course, fascinating and insightful) post, but here’s the Chief Justice nub of it:

Roberts wrote the decision at the end of a 90 year continuum holding that Government fixes problems and the Supreme Court fixes Government.  This approach makes “We, the people” unnecessary.  Rather than elections being the corrective, the Court is the corrective — except that the Court’s make-up is controlled by the Government.  (Remember the Bork debacle?)

Roberts refused to play this game.  He slapped back the Democrats’ hands when it came to the Commerce Clause, telling them that the federal government cannot legislate inactivity.  And he held — quite correctly — that if there’s any possible way for the Court to salvage a law, it must do so.  His salvaging was to say that, this particular law, written in this particular way, with these particular controls over the people, can be salvaged by calling it a tax.  It’s an ugly decision, but probably a correct one.  And then he tossed the whole thing back to the American people.

I can just see Roberts’ thought-process (although he might have thought in more polite terms):  You idiots elected a Congress and president that used every kind of political chicanery known to man in order to pass the biggest tax in American history and one that, moreover, completely corrupts the free market system.  It’s not the Supreme Court’s responsibility to correct that kind of thing, provided that the judges can, as I did, find a smidgen of constitutionality in it.  There’s an election coming up in November.  Let’s hope you’ve wised up enough to figure out that my Supreme Court is returning power to “We, the people.”  We will not pull your chestnuts out of the fire.  We will not legislate from the bench.  We will construe things as narrowly as possible.  If you, the people, don’t like it, you, the people, elect different representatives.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, Ace wonders if Obama just gave the Supreme Court another bite at this rotten apple.

***

Power Line brought this AP headline to my attention:  “In Reversal, Obama to Allow Canceled Health Plans.” Who knew that a constitutionally appointed executive had the power to “allow” canceled health plans?

It was an especially interesting headline to read because, last night, I attended a panel discussion with AP reporters, photographers, and the editor in chief of the AP photograph department.  The purpose was to promote a new book of photographs that AP employees and stringers took during the Vietnam War:  Vietnam: The Real War: A Photographic History by the Associated Press.  It was an interesting event, although I’m sorry to say that they were boring speakers.  (It seems like an oxymoron, but they were boring speakers who offered some interesting content.)

One of the things the panelists kept saying is that they have so much integrity and are devoted to even-handedness in their subject matter and presentation.  We know that’s a joke when it comes to written coverage about domestic politics.  AP has been a Democrat shill since at least George W.’s administration.  But it’s also been a shill when it comes to photographs. Given their record, I have to admit that it was a bit difficult to listen to the panelists’ smug satisfaction about their higher calling, integrity, and even-handedness.

***

I like Deroy Murdock’s writing, so I liked his analysis of the Obamacare debacle.  It’s fun to read.  It doesn’t have the soaring schadenfreude of Jonah Goldberg’s instant classic, but it’s still darn good.

***

Speaking of good writing, Megan McArdle is at it again, this time pointing out in very polite, analytical language that Obama has taken on the behavior of a tyrant (not a word she uses, but it’s the gist):  The law is what Obama says the law is.  It’s probably worth thinking about the Snowden revelations as you read McArdle describe the way in which Obama usurps power.  The media is clucking, but not with any force; the Democrats are running or enabling; and the Republicans are in-fighting.  We’re seeing a weird, passive (even Weimar-ian) anarchy that creates room for a tyrant to breathe and grow.

***

I’m pleased to say that I never liked Oprah, so I’m not surprised to learn that she’s a race-baiting phony. Incidentally, to those who have mentioned in the comments that liberals are like beaten wives who keep coming back for more, Oprah is Exhibit A.  She destroyed her TV show by endorsing Obama, and he rewarded her by freezing her out of the White House.  So what does Oprah do?  She keeps crawling back, defending the man who used her and abused her.  I’m not sorry for her though.  Her racist venom makes pity impossible.

People worry that rather than catching bad guys, the Obama administration will use the info it gathers to create bad guys

One of the things that characterizes the rule of law is that it applies equally to all citizens.  The rich man’s son who vandalizes a shop is prosecuted as vigorously as the poor man’s son who does the same.  That the rich man’s son can afford a good lawyer is the random luck of life.  America can provide equality of opportunity, but nothing, not even socialism, can guarantee equality of outcome.  The important thing for purposes of the rule of law is that the law doesn’t give the rich man’s son a pass.

The rule of law also has to be grounded in common sense and reality.  That’s why Anatole France was being nonsensical when he famously said “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.” The reality is that a rich man, unless crazy, does none of those things — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the law is unfair if societal good demands that we value property or try to keep streets safe for all citizens. The law is what it is. In the case of theft, vagrancy, and begging, it isn’t the law that should change but, perhaps, the availability of opportunities and, as needed, charity.

Common sense has long-dictated, at least since 9/11, that the best way to stop terrorism directed at Americans is to keep a close eye on people, especially men, who practice a strict form of Islam and on disaffected young men who take psychotropic drugs.  These two categories of people have been responsible for almost all, or maybe all, of the mass killings against Americans over the last decade and more.

When it comes to the mentally ill, we keep talking about monitoring them, but we don’t do it.  Lack of political will, lack of political and social organization, civil rights issues, and the fact that it’s more fun to rail against guns than against insane people (poor things) means that this won’t change any time soon.

Even worse, our government has made the “politically correct” decision to refuse to monitor with extra focus those young men who embrace radical Islam (e.g., the Tsarnaevs or Nidal Hassan).  It’s not fair, we’re told.  Profiling will make law-abiding Muslims (and the vast majority of Muslims in America are law-abiding) uncomfortable.  It’s racist and mean to assume that, because someone is Arab-looking, and sweating, and smelling of rose water, and murmuring “Allahu Akbar” under his breath to think that he’s up to a bit of no good — never mind that, when the bomb goes off or the plane falls from the sky, any Muslims in the area will be just as dead as their non-Muslim compatriots.

Heck, we’ve allowed minority groups to prey on each other for decades for fear of causing offense.  The number one target of violent, young, black and Hispanic males is . . . violent, young, black and Hispanic males, followed closely by all the hapless black and Hispanic children, old people, mothers, and fathers who have to share communities with these monsters of violence.  Because it looks bad for white police to go after these monsters, their communities must suffer.  The Gods of Political Correctness delight in human sacrifices, and the younger, more innocent, and more tender the better.

Americans therefore fully understand that our government, for “diversity,” or “multicultural,” or “politically correct” reasons (all of those terms speak to the same end), absolutely refuses to look first at the obvious suspects (young, radical Muslim men) before casting its net wide to sweep in people who are trying to avoid capture by looking less obvious.  It’s not likely that the Minnesota granny has a bomb in her brassiere, but it’s possible.  A good national security system doesn’t assume that anyone is innocent, but it does concentrate its resources where they make they most sense.

So here’s the deal with the NSA spying:  We know with some certainty that, for Leftist political reasons, the NSA is not making an effort to scrutinize the population most likely to go all “Allahu Akbar” on us.  Instead, for politically correct reasons, it’s spying on everyone.  In essence, it’s creating a haystack of information, with extra paddings of politically correct, multiculturalist hay wrapped around any spot where a needle might hide.

If politics means that the system won’t look for the obvious bad guys, what is it looking for then?  Well, I suspect that what’s going to happen is that the system will be used to look for easy targets.  Things that are neither criminal nor suspicious, but that pop up nevertheless, will suddenly be scrutinized because they’re there.  It will be the surveillance equivalent of “If the mountain won’t come to Mohamed, then Mohamed must come to the mountain.”  Since the NSA can’t focus its efforts on finding real criminals, it will engage in some flexible thinking and criminalize whatever activity it sees.  And — voila! — it will therefore justify its bureaucratic existence and purpose.  That the country will lose its identity and the people their freedom is a small price to pay for bureaucratic immortality.

“Loose lips might sink ships” — and blabby administrations definitely kill American servicemen

One of the most memorable advertising campaigns from WWII was the all-out effort to make sure that people didn’t inadvertently reveal military secrets that they’d gleaned from their work or from contacts with loved ones.  The most famous is probably this one, because it’s got that memorable rhyme:


The “loose lips” poster wasn’t the only one.  England and America were covered with posters reminding people that national security — and their loved ones’ lives — were at stake, and that a careless word could cause unthinkable damage:

What’s quite obvious when one looks back at WWII is that no one ever contemplated that this deadly loose talk might emanate, not from a thoughtless, gossipy homemaker but, instead, from a boastful White House.  How could those men and women have imagined a time when our President and his administration would be so anxious to borrow military honor that they would treat military secrets with complete disregard for the safety of the men under their command?  It’s hard to find a better example of the base selfishness that characterizes an administration that enthusiastically, and with massive government coercion, assures us that we have an obligation to be selfless for the greater good.

The predictable Democrat ad hominem attack against those special forces who fear the administration’s loose lips

Yesterday, I urged you to view a 22 minute video that a 501(c) organization put together to show how severely the publicity-hungry Obama administration has damaged America’s national security and the risks to which that same administration has exposed its special ops forces and human intelligence assets, both at home and abroad.

The Democrats have reacted in predictable fashion, not by addressing the challenge leveled against the administration, but by using a “guilt by association” tactic.  As Bruce Kesler discusses, they’ve latched onto a quotation from one retired SEAL who admits to being a Birther and claimed that he discredits every accusation brought against the administration.

In law, we call this an ad hominem, or personal attack.  In law, we also understand that a party uses ad hominem attacks only when it has no other credible argument to make.  If you can’t defend on either the law or the facts, call your opponent names.

Certainly, one can challenge Birtherism, but the fact that a highly qualified, experienced military veteran also happens to be a Birther doesn’t discredit him on the subject of national security.  Getting back to the law again, the law has always recognized the difference between “insanity,” which is a complete disconnect from reality, and a “monomania,” which may simply be an intellectual blind spot in the knowledge and intelligence of an otherwise highly able individual.

In any event, you just know the Democrats have a weak argument when the best person they can find to drag out in front of the cameras is . . . John Kerry.

Can you keep a secret? If you’re the Obama administration, the answer is no

People in the intelligence community — as well as intelligent people — have long been upset that, in the current iteration of the war against terrorists and terrorist  nations, it is our own White House that is afflicted with the loose lips that can sink ships. A group of intelligence community specialists and SEALS has put together a polished, professional video decrying the administration’s decision to politicize national security. At 22 minutes, it covers a lot of ground without getting boring.

Can someone please explain the TSA to me?

We all know the TSA.  Some of its employees are decent, hard-working folks who treat us with respect and try hard.  Some of them are lazy.  Some dishonest.  Some vulgar.  Some voyeurs.  The institution’s policies are allegedly meant to make us safe, but many of us wonder how useful an organization is when it frisks screaming toddlers, forces old men to pull down their pants, gropes women, and refuses to profile, despite an obvious and persistent terrorist demographic.  These are all head-scratchers.

But if you want a real head-scratcher, something that goes far beyond the inconveniences visited upon a long-suffering public, try this one on for size:  the TSA allowed illegal aliens to attend a flight school owned and operated by . . . an illegal alien.  No, I’m not kidding.  You can read about it here.  One would think that, with the lesson of 9/11 still resonating amongst at least some people in America, the TSA might frown upon allowing illegal aliens into cockpit.

Why we care about Obama’s executive order

The conservative blogosphere has been upset since Friday, when Obama, as part of a Friday night document dump, issued an executive order entitled “National Defense Resources Preparedness” (“NDRP”).  Ed Morrissey, for one, was unimpressed:

This EO simply updates another EO (12919) that had been in place since June 1994, and amended several times since.

Indeed, the EO goes back even further than that, having originated during the Cold War:

The NDRP traces its origin to the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950, which attempted to establish a framework for placing the nation on a “war footing” as quickly and in as efficient a manner as possible should events warrant.  In an age of highly industrialized warfare, the basic building blocks of military success are composed of mundane elements such as supply chains, resource availability, parts, access to raw materials, and skilled labor.

Over the years, the DPA has seen many revisions, and the executive orders issued to implement those revisions presupposed an imminent threat of war.  In 1994, then-President Clinton issued Executive Order 12919, which expanded the provisions of the DPA rather dramatically, declaring its applicability to peacetime.

The NDRP, then, is a generic executive act.  Why then, is everyone so upset?  Well, there’s good reason.  It’s not the act itself, but the president who issues it that arouses suspicion.

Obama has repeatedly shown himself to be comfortable with using government to control as many aspects as possible of American life.  He likes Big Government.  And he socializes with and hires (on behalf of the American people, no less), people who are passionately committed to Big Government.

Obama has also shown that he has internalized the Alinsky technique of personalizing an enemy and then attacking it with all guns blazing.  Currently, as part of his reelection campaign, he’s managed to personalize and attack as many specific conservatives as possible, in addition to conservatives in general.  Conservatives therefore feel besieged and don’t like to see their political opponent reminding them that he can take all government power onto himself.

Given Obama’s temperament and belief system, conservatives not unnaturally get their feathers ruffled when they see him making himself very comfortable with a pre-existing power that Americans reasonably believed past presidents viewed solely as a belts and suspenders measure in case the worst ever happens.  With Obama, we all have the creepy — and, yes, not entirely rational — feeling that he will, first, make the worst happen and, second, gleefully grab onto the power that he recently re-upped.

One other thing:  Obama knows this.  He recognizes the paranoid streak that runs through conservatives in the Obama era.  (At which point it’s worth pointing out that even paranoid people have enemies.)  With an election year upon us, there’s nothing Obama wants more than to show the average American that conservatives are paranoid nutcases.  Average American’s don’t like paranoid nutcases.  I suspect, therefore, that Obama’s administration might have seen updating the NDRP (plus the inflammatory Friday night stealth release) as an opportunity, not just for some executive office housekeeping, but also to highlight the hypersensitivity that allows him (and Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, etc.) to paint us with the crazy brush.  In other words, folks, this is a set up, although one that can have real-world, long-time consequences.

We should definitely keep an eye on things, but I agree with those commentators who say that we shouldn’t be getting our knickers in a twist.