Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m going to have a lot of stuff about the Israel/Hamas showdown (of course) but, for those of you who are interested in other stuff, don’t despair. I’ll have other stuff too.

** 1 **

I’ve often mentioned StandWithUs, an organization that was founded to fight the growing antisemitism on American campuses. During the current war, StandWithUs has used social media on Israel’s behalf.

One of the things it started was a campaign that sees people mailing pictures of the cover of their passport, along with a message on the palm of their hand: “I stand with Israel.” This article describes the campaign, and this link takes you to the page where you can upload your photo.

I dug out my passport yesterday and sent my message. If your passport is handy, perhaps you can too. When a war is fought, not just on the field of battle, but around the world in cyberspace, these things matter.

Palestinian support for Israel against Gaza

** 2 **

One of the things Muslims do when they conquer a territory is to erect their prayer towers at a height higher than any other building in the community. Not only does this visually prove their dominance, it also forces everyone around to hear the Muslim call to prayer (which Obama described as “the sweetest sound I know“). Lately, to ensure that everyone hears that “sweetest sound,” Muslims have taken to blasting the call to prayer out on loudspeakers. In Israel, some residents finally had enough and blasted out a few prayers of their own.

** 3 **

The Lancet, founded in 1823, was once one of England’s most prestigious medical journals. During the Iraq War, though, it proved that it had become just another hack Leftist mouthpiece when it published an article in 2004 claiming that 68,000 Iraqis had died from U.S. attacks, a number it updated in 2006 to 655,000. All these numbers were resoundingly debunked, but the study still had an impact, inflaming the usual suspects in the Muslim world and on the Left.

Flush with the success of its last disinformation campaign, The Lancet is at it again, with a completely unsourced diatribe against Israel (which I won’t dignify with a link). Two Israeli physicians tried to get The Lancet to publish a well-sourced rebuttal but, although a reputable science publication would have willingly published that rebuttal, The Lancet naturally refused. If you, however, would like to learn truth via data, rather than lies via screeds, go here.

** 4 **

Hamas fighters may be getting demoralized, but its leaders are feeling flush with success. They’ve got a pile of dead children for photo ops, they got flights to Israel shut down for 24 hours, Jews in Europe are under siege in a way reminiscent of 1938, American streets are filled with thousands of pro-Hamas marchers, and the President and Secretary of State are fully on-board with Hamas’s agenda. To the relief of Israel supporters around the world, though, Israel appears to be thumbing its nose at the Obama regime and, instead, is focusing on its own security. This focus means continuing the Gaza operation so as to shut down those tunnels.

** 5 **

Europeans are, as always, fully supportive of Hamas. Part of this is age-old antisemitism. Part of it is Leftism. Part of it is a way of blaming Jews for Auschwitz and the purges and pogroms in which even conquered countries cheerfully participated.

And part of it, apparently, is the European Union’s ongoing battle with the U.S. for world supremacy. Once upon a time the U.S. supported Israel against the Soviet Union, which supported the Arabs. Now, the EU is supporting the Arabs against the U.S.’s long-standing support for Israel.

The only flaw in that plan is that, thanks to Barack Obama, the U.S. is also supporting the Arabs, so that the EU isn’t distinguishing itself from the U.S. at all. (See here and here, for articles supporting the conclusion that Obama is no longer bother to hide his pro-Hamas, anti-Israel stance.)

** 6 **

Facebook has gone despicable and deleted pro-Israel pages while allowing genocidal anti-Israel pages to stand.

The problem, of course, is that despite its vileness, Facebook is still the only game in town when it comes to spreading political messages throughout ones community of friends, acquaintances, and followers. For example, I know that many of my “real me” Facebook friends couldn’t care less about Israel or, since they’re DemProgs, they kind of vaguely support Hamas.

Because I’m inundating my feed, though, with clear, pro-Israel posters, there’s a possibility that this information will subliminally seep into their brains and value systems.  After all, that’s how Hollywood did it in the 1970s through today:  they subliminally changed people’s values through “entertainment” shows that were really “info-tainment” shows for Leftist ideas.

** 7 **

The Son of Hamas understands both how nihilistic that organization is and that its ultimate goal is world conquest for a caliphate:

** 8 **

Here’s another insight into how Muslims think — and it’s not the way people raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition think.

And finally, on to other, non-Israel/Hamas stuff:

** 9 **

I know that there are bad cultures that care for and wouldn’t gratuitously hurt animals (witness Hitler’s and the Nazi’s love for dogs), but are there any good cultures that gratuitously hurt and torture animals?  I can’t think of any.  Anyway, the following video is darling:

** 10 **

If you’ve been following the Bakken crude oil debate — which sees critics claiming that it’s too volatile to ship, and therefore useless — here are some actual facts explaining that it’s perfectly shippable (which, if it isn’t a word, ought to be).

** 11 **

The facts: A gun-toting man enters a gun-free hospital and begins firing, killing one person. He is stopped only because one of the staff doctors, ignoring the hospital’s gun-free status, shoots him, saving untold numbers of lives. The logic in Left land: Gun free zones should stay gun free because guns are dangerous.

No matter how many times you point out that the only way to stop a mass shooter is if a good guy with a gun shows up (whether that guy is on site or whether it takes 20 minutes for armed police to arrive), the Left insists that just declaring a zone “gun free” will save lives. It’s this kind of stupidity that practically drove me into the arms of conservativism.

** 12 **

Teacher’s unions — not individual teachers, many of whom are devoted and wonderful, but teacher’s unions — are harming American schools. This video perfectly describes my public school experiences growing up in San Francisco:

** 13 **

By leaping on every Leftist politically inspired bandwagon, experts have devalued themselves so much that half the world ignores anything they have to say.

** 14 **

Remember Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect who was for withholding funds from federal Obamacare exchanges before he was against it? Well, there’s more….

(And here’s something cool: I bet you recognize the website at that link.  You should, because Hube, at the Colossus of Rhodey is one of my longtime Watcher’s Council friends. It turns out that the man who unearthed the first Gruber video was one of Hube’s old classmates. When he needed a forum to take down Gruber and reinforce Halbig, he went calling on his old friend who is now a conservative blogger.)

** 15 **

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have been iconic figures since the end of the 19th century. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not write them as gay characters. Indeed, Dr. Watson adores women and eventually marries, leaving Holmes alone in the flat at Baker Street. With the renewed popularity of Sherlock Holmes and Watson thanks to a recent BBC series, the LGBTQ crowd thinks Holmes and Watson need an upgrade: They should become gay lovers.

Hmmm. Thinking. … Thinking. … Thinking. … Nope. I just don’t see it. What I do see, though, is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spinning in his grave.

** 16 **

One of the things conservatives constantly need to re-learn is that the culture wars are never won. When one side gains temporary dominance, the other side than begins a renewed charge to end that dominance. We’re currently in a period of Leftist dominance that has (finally) started a nascent conservative comeback. Should we win, we’ll naturally, and stupidly, rest on our laurels, creating a vacuum that the Left will aggressively rush to fill.

I mention all this because America may have won WWII in 1945, but the war is still being fought at the academic level. When the Smithsonian first mounted a Hiroshima exhibit 15 years ago, the Left seemed to have won, making the exhibit all about American imperialist aggression. Five men successfully fought back, but even they caution that the fight is never over.

** 17 **

I love Harry Stein’s writing. He’s warm and funny and mirrors my own journey from Left to Right (although I didn’t begin as far Left as he did). His crossing the Rubicon book, How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Found Inner Peace), is most definitely worth a read.

What I didn’t realize (or didn’t remember) about Stein, is that his father, Joseph Stein, wrote the book for Fiddler on the Roof, a show that simultaneously helped pro-Jewish and pro-Israel feeling around the world, even while offending religious Jews with its message favoring assimilation. Joseph Stein was the kind of Jew I knew growing up: educated, funny, creative, and very, very Left.

Harry has written a lovely homage to his father (who died in 2010, aged 98 years), managing to maintain his love and respect for the man whose political and social values Harry so definitively rejected.

** 18 **

Hamas secret weapon

I'm at a fundraiser now

Hamas refuses ceasefire

Civilization calls

Harry Reid on illegal immigrants

(Thanks to Earl and Sadie, who contribute to every post I write by sending me wonderful articles and images. Caped Crusader is also one of my main sources for images and anecdotes, although I don’t think any of his contributions made it to this particular post.)

Double standards, anyone? Look Left.

Harry Reid racismThe more we get contextual information about Cliven Bundy’s comments, the more it’s clear that he was making a valid argument, although doing so in the most painful, inarticulate way, and the way most likely to come back and bite his supporters in the butt.  As best as I can tell, what Bundy was saying is that slavery is slavery, whether you’re enslaved to an individual or a nation.

He’s right, too.  The difference between now and the antebellum era is that blacks have never been masters of their own destiny.  For the vast majority, their status is remarkably indistinguishable from what it once was:  marginal existences; dependency (in the past, they weren’t rewarded for their work; in the present, too many don’t work); and children without fathers.

Today, as an extra fillip to their drab dependency, they get the twin scourges of drugs and crime.  Oh, and there’s one other big difference:  today blacks are directly complicit in their own enslavement.  In the past, starting in Africa, it was other blacks who were complicit in the enslavement process.  Now they do it to themselves.

I’m done with the subject now.  Caleb Howe, however, makes two points worthy of notice:  the way that the RNC chair responded to Bundy versus the way the DNC chair didn’t respond to Pat Quinn’s racist tweets.  The Right instantly tries to distance itself from anything that could smell of racism; the Left does not.

Incidentally, I’m beginning to think that, rather than looking at the RNC’s conduct as virtuous, it’s a huge problem the way conservatives reflexively distance themselves from these things without first investigating.  Having thrown Bundy under the bus, the right cannot resurrect his principled arguments about the way in which government owns people, something antithetical to the principles set out in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Rather than going into stupid panic mode, it would be infinitely better if the right would first stop and think for a minute — and, in the first instance, say something such as, “If Bundy indeed said what he’s accused of saying, and there’s no contextual excuse, we condemn it.  However, we’re not going to indict someone without investigation, etc.”  As it is, they’re constantly stupidly reactive, instead of intelligently proactive.

Friday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThe Taliban has hit Marin County (indirectly).  Marin County is headquarters for Roots of Peace, an admirable charity that seeks to advance agricultural development in poverty-stricken areas.  It has an outpost in Afghanistan, where it seeks to enable the Afghani people to feed themselves.  The Taliban can’t have that kind of thing happening in its country.  It therefore sent off some foot soldiers to attack the Roots of Peace Kabul office, killing a child in the process.  If radical Islam had a cable-TV station, it’s motto would be “All war, all the time.”  One wonders if this will be a bit of reality that mugs that peaceniks who are so self-centered that they cannot envision cultures that have, as their core value, a desire for perpetual warfare.

***

David Clarke, Milwaukee’s Sheriff, made a splash when he encouraged Milwaukee’s beleaguered citizens to arm themselves:

Police chief get a gun

I think Clarke may have found a kindred spirit in Detroit Police Chief James Craig. During a press conference in which he discussed the rising numbers of homeowners (successfully) using arms to defend themselves, he had this to say:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference last week that in his 37-year career, he’s never seen as many homeowners defending themselves by shooting intruders. Craig told The News in January he felt the crime rate could be lowered if more “good Americans” were armed, because he said criminals would think twice about attacking.

“It does appear more and more Detroiters are becoming empowered,” Craig said. “More and more Detroiters are getting sick of the violence. I know of no other place where I’ve seen this number of justifiable homicides. It’s interesting that these incidents go across gender lines.”

We want more law enforcement like Clarke and Craig, and less like Marin’s Second Amendment-challenged sheriff.

***

I also want more of this:  An Ebony magazine editor went on a rant against conservative blacks; got called on it; claimed that the person calling her out was a white racist; when she learned that the person calling her out was black apologized for calling him white; and then doubled down on rants that were both anti-conservative black and anti-white.  (That’s not want I want to see more of.  It’s this next thing I like.)  Normally, Republicans would run away screaming from this type of confrontation, leaving the racist Leftist in control of the field.  This time, the RNC demanded an apology . . . and got it.

***

Speaking of the Left’s racial obsessions:  Any half-sentient being knows that Stephen Colbert’s shtick is that he created a faux-conservative character who is pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc., and that Colbert, a marginally-talented generic Leftist, uses this character to claim that all conservatives are pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc.  That’s why it’s hysterically funny that, when his show tried to  highlight (non-existent) Republican racism by having his character ostensibly tweet out a crude anti-Asian stereotype, the Asian community got riled and demanded that Colbert be fired for being an anti-Asian racist.  Asians should stop getting their knickers in a twist about stupid TV shows and should start looking at where their real politic interests lie.  (Hint:  It’s not the Democrat Party.)

***

Leland Yee has been around forever as a fixture in Bay Area politics.  As his name implies, he’s Asian, he’s hard Left, and he represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo in the California legislature.  Since Sandy Hook, Yee’s been very vocal about being anti-guns.  He also just got indicted for gun running, including trying to sell arms to Islamist groups.  The MSM has been trying hard to ignore his story, as it’s been trying hard to ignore a bunch of other stories about spectacularly corrupt Democrat figures.  Howie Carr therefore serves a useful public service when he calls out the media, the Democrat party, and the crooks.

***

Speaking of crooks, Harry Reid claims never to have called Republicans liars when it comes to Obamacare, despite footage of him calling Republicans liars because of Obamacare.  There’s some debate on the Right about whether Reid’s gone senile or is just trying out his version of The Big Lie.  My theory is that we’re seeing malignant narcissism in play.  As I’ve said a zillion times before in speaking about Obama, malignant narcissists never “lie” because their needs of the moment always dictate the truth of the moment.  That is, if they need to say it, it must be true.  (It’s nice to be your own God.)

***

Keith Koffler identifies the four roots of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy.  I agree with him, although I would add a fifth, which is that Obama desperately wants to see America knocked down to size as punishment for her myriad sins.  Perhaps Obama should read the DiploMad, as he explains why Russia, the country before which Obama is now weakly doing obeisance, has always been much worse than America could ever be, both as a protector and an enemy.

***

Adm. Jeremiah Denton, Jr. has died at 89.  The public learned about Denton during the Vietnam War when, during one of the forced confessions that the North Vietnamese liked to televise to the world, he blinked out a Morse code message — “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” — thereby providing the first proof America had that the Commies were torturing American POWs.  During the same interview, he bravely said he supported his country, a statement that led to more torture.  Denton was also America’s longest-held POW, spending almost 8 years in the Hell that was the Hanoi Hilton, and various related prisons.  During that entire time, he was brutally and repeatedly tortured and he spent four years in solitary confinement (where he was tortured).  My heart bleeds when I read what happened to him.  But Denton came home and he got on with a full, rich life, including six years in the U.S. Senate.  If anyone deserves to Rest In Peace, it is Adm. Denton.

***

I don’t think much of Stanford.  It’s nothing personal.  I think all the big universities (and most of the small ones) have become intellectually corrupt.  However, Prof. Michael McConnell, at Stanford Law School, has somewhat restored my faith in Stanford by writing one of the clearest analyses I’ve yet seen of the problems facing the government in the Hobby Lobby case.  Of course, law and logic will not sway Ginsberg, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer, all of whom are activists much more concerned with making policy than with applying law.  As happens too often, Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote — a reality that places way too much power in the hands of a man who seems too often to blow, not where the Constitution takes him, but wherever his fancy for the day alights.

***

And to end on a light note, two more ridiculously funny Kid Snippets, offering an inspired combination of kid wisdom lip synched by some remarkably talented adult actors:

 

Thursday afternoon round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesYesterday, I was in a blogging frenzy.  Today?  Not so much….  I’m a little depleted after having spent more than an hour trying to reach someone at the Social Security administration to resend my mother’s tax info, which had gotten lost in the mail.  The first half hour was spent trying to figure out how to connect to a human.  The rest of the time was spent waiting to speak to the human.  If this was a business, I’d cease doing business with it.  But it’s not.  It’s a government monopoly and I was trapped.  Sheesh!

I wish I had known beforehand that, today and tomorrow only, I could download for free Dennis Koller’s The Oath. At least I would have been able to while away pleasant my time on hold (although it was hard to concentrate on anything because the SSA has the worst, most crackly, most poorly chosen “hold” Muzak ever created).

***

One of the hallmarks of tyranny is the attitude that “the end justifies the means.” With this attitude, you give yourself a carte blanche to do anything you like, far from petty little things such as due process, rule of law, morality, decency, etc. That’s why Jamelle Bouie thinks it’s just fine that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray engaged in unabashed campaign financing corruption — it was for the greater good. If I ever get stopped by a cop for rolling through a stop sign, I’m going to tell him it was for the greater good, since hypermiling, which includes using as few stops and starts as possible, helps save the environment. Yeah, that should get me out of a ticket.

***

Harry Reid’s increasingly unhinged attacks on the Koch brothers are disturbing at two levels. First, as I mentioned, they’re unhinged. Reid has gone from malevolent and corrupt (only corrupt career politicians become multimillionaires, as he did) to insane. Someone ought to reach out and help him before he needs a straitjacket and padded room. Second, no one is going to help him, because his insanity is representative of the Democrat party as a whole. The whole party has run itself off the rails — and since the lunatics are in charge of the asylum, the madness just keeps rolling. It’s not “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez,” it’s “Laissez En Temps Fous Roulent.”

***

I’m impressed that American businesses still have the capacity to be “stunned” (The Hill’s words) by Obama’s announcement that he’s going to create a rule mandating overtime pay for management level employees, something that will devastate American productivity. (No kidding. I’ve worked in enough offices to know that the energy in the offices comes from striving mid-level management and executives seeking bonuses, promotions, pay raises, and fame through overtime work.) Obama has attacked businesses from his first day in office. Wouldn’t you think that they’d be used to it now?

***

The only difference between Obama and Nixon is that Nixon had a hostile press corps — something that arguably saved America as a constitutional republican democracy. Our generation isn’t so lucky.

Obama also has the advantage of an utterly compliant Congress, with complete Dem control in the Senate and complete RINO/Dem control in the House.

***

In my blogging frenzy yesterday, I wrote that I no longer believe uncorroborated stories about incidents, either positive or negative, involving gays. Too many hoaxes, I said. And right on time comes another story about another hate-crime hoax.

***

The sexual revolution came about because of the baby boom, the Pill, and antibiotics. The baby boomers are now old and wrinkled, the Pill is being handed out to 12 year olds, and antibiotics no longer work. Regarding that last one, the CDC says gonorrhea is on the verge of going pre-modern and becoming untreatable once again.

***

There are two problems with the Associated Press. The first is that it’s ubiquitous, providing “news” content for just about every outlet in the world. The second is that it’s almost laughably partisan and dishonest. The only problem with that “laughable” part is that the joke is on American political discourse.

***

And why not put transexuals in the military? We’ve done everything else we can think of to make it an uncomfortable place for the vast majority of troops who, like most Americans, espouse a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to people’s sexual orientation, but are much less comfortable with being placed at the front line of the culture wars. Our president has made it increasingly obvious that he doesn’t view the military as our defense in a dangerous world; instead, it’s an institution that he can manipulate to his heart’s content to make it conform to his ideas about what an appropriately PC society will look like. It’s not a military; it’s a sociology experiment.

***

I think the new “nagging mom” meme that the Department of Health and Human Services is using in an effort to encourage young people to enroll in Obamacare is perfect. It’s the visual embodiment of the Left’s belief that American citizens are perpetual children who must be bribed, managed, bullied, and cajoled by their wise parents in the Democrat Party.

***

My kids have already been watching “The Story of Stuff” in high school. It’s times like this that I’m grateful that they’re not perfect students, paying attention to everything in class.

***

My friend Rob Miller (aka JoshuaPundit) has appropriately unkind words about Palestinian premier for life Abbas.

The optimist’s take on Harry Reid’s going nuclear — and why I am a pessimist

nuclear-explosion

Harry Reid has just succeeded in doing what Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t do:  he’s going to pack the court.  Yes, Roosevelt was aiming for the Supreme Court, while Reid’s only going after the district and appellate courts, but the reality is that we’re seeing incrementalism.  Today, the lower level courts; tomorrow, the minority in the Senate becomes utterly powerless.

Daniel Horowitz recommends a hyper-nuclear retaliation:

There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate.  They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues.  They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.

How would Harry Reid respond to a complete shutdown of the Senate?  Would he abolish the filibuster even for legislation?  Let him try.  But for now, he has nothing to fear from just eliminating the filibuster on judges because he knows Republicans will not retaliate.  Reid knows that there is not a single issue where McCain, Corker, Graham, and Alexander will now withhold support simply because they were stiffed with the nuclear option.

On his show today, Rush recommended the Senate equivalent of a sit-down strike:  he said that Republican senators should refuse to vote on anything that the Democrat majority brings to the Senate floor. ending even the pretense of bipartisanship.  It also means that one party will own every piece of legislation, for better or worse.  There’s a certain purity to that.

Of course, both Horowitz and Rush know that the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are constitutionally incapable of withholding the hand of love and friendship from Harry Reid and his bomb dropping pals.  So, the ideas are cute, but unworkable.

There are others who think that Republicans shouldn’t be too worried, because Reid’s hypocritical destruction of a minority voice in the Senate will hurt the Democrats more in the long-term than help them.  Ezra Klein, who’s a partisan hack, but not an idiot, recognizes that Reid may unwittingly have delivered a Trojan Horse to his own party:

There’s a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama’s second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won’t have much of an argument when they try to stop them….

William Jacobson thinks Klein is on to something.  As he sees it, the filibuster actually worked against conservatives, because it locked in incremental socialism.  For the past several decades, once Democrats got a redistributionist, nanny-state policy in place, nothing could dislodge it, an effect he calls “the rachet.”  By going nuclear, says, JacobsonReid opened the door to the complete reversal of Democrat policies.  When Republicans get their turn at the majority in Congress and take the White House (which many assume will happen at the end of Obama’s reign), they will easily be able to reverse every bad Democrat policy, something that was always impossible before:

Decades of negative and destructive policies can be reversed with a bare majority. Obamacare can be repealed with a bare majority. True Conservative Judges will not be banished due to a filibuster threat.

Yes, it’s true that the absence of a filibuster could accelerate the destructive policies. That fear is justified, particularly as to the judiciary. But face it, we were headed there anyway unless drastic action was taken.

That drastic action took place yesterday. By Democrats.

Now at least we have a chance to achieve previously unimaginable progress in a single presidential term if we also have bare majorities in Congress and a President with the willpower. It will take only one such term.

The ratchet has been broken. And opportunity created, even if dependent upon future electoral success.

It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.

Jacobson’s last sentence, however, encapsulates why I do not share his optimism:  “It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.”  “Us” happens to be Republican politicians.  I think we’re all in agreement that, as I’ve repeatedly said, Republicans have good ideas but bad politicians.  As the song goes, “If there’s a wrong way say it, And a right way to play it, Nobody does it like me; If there’s a wrong way to do it, A right way to screw it up, ha, Nobody does it like me.” That song could easily be the GOP anthem, and they rush from failure to failure without Shirley Bassey’s charm and style:

Here’s the conservative reality in the 2014 and 2016 elections, and that’s even assuming GOP nominees win:  The GOP’s all-out warfare against the Tea Party, which seeks constitutional government, tells you that the guys in the Senate have no interest in rocking the boat.  Moreover, open primaries in states such as California mean that the likelihood of having a principled conservative even take a stand against the Democrat Senate monopoly is not just close to zero, but actually zero.

Also, we’re not looking at Reid having this Senate majority just through the 2014 elections.  First, the numbers game indicates that Democrats may continue to hold the Senate by the one vote even in 2014.  Moreover, even if Republicans get a majority, it’s impossible for them to get the type of majority that will survive an Obama veto.  This means that Democrats have three years to play around with unopposed power.  The damage they can do is incalculable and quite possibly irreversible.

If you’re more optimistic than I am, though, and actually think, as Jacobson does, that the GOP has a prayer of not screwing things up, you may be asking why in the world Harry Reid would deliver this Trojan Horse to his party.  James Taranto thinks he has the answer:

In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which we quoted in May, psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains the idea of loss aversion:

When directly compared or weighted against each other, losses loom larger than gains. This asymmetry between the power of positive and negative expectations or experiences has an evolutionary history. Organisms that treat threats as more urgent than opportunities have a better chance to survive and reproduce.

That insight is the basis of prospect theory, which posits that people will take bigger risks in the hope of minimizing a loss than in the hope of maximizing a gain. The psychological impact of the loss itself clouds one’s thinking about the risks of magnifying the loss. That explains why the Democrats went nuclear just as the perils of doing so multiplied.

Taranto and Jacobson could both be correct, but I will continue to believe until proven otherwise that the Republicans will take this theoretically golden opportunity and destroy it, because that’s what elected Republican officials do.

Harry Reid’s nuclear option is a red herring — but the effects will still be profound

Mitch McConnell is too often a GOP stalwart (as opposed to a conservative) for my taste, but when he’s good, he’s very, very good.  He was very, very good this morning, as he attacked Harry Reid’s attempt to change Senate rules so that only 51 votes are needed to get judges onto federal benches (except for the Supreme Court):

Even though Harry Reid’s nuclear option is a red herring meant to distract from Obamacare’s many and varied failings, it’s still an enormously consequential thing. I know all about ideologically packed courts, having practiced in the Bay Area for my entire legal career, and I can tell you that blind justice is never seen in those halls.

As with everything else the Left touches, law is not about applying settled, reliable principles to known facts.  Instead, on the civil side, it becomes purely redistributive. I cannot tell you the number of cases I’ve handled that saw the judge rule against my corporate client, even while admitting that my client had the better legal case. Nor can I count how many times judges have engaged in obscene intellectual contortions to ensure a redistributive outcome. I’ve even worked on a few cases in which appellate court justices have out-and-out lied about the facts in order to achieve a specific end — and then they’ve published those cases, making them case precedent in California.

A court that owes its fealty to a political ideology, rather than to applying settled law to undisputed facts, is an inherently corrupt institution. That corruption spreads far beyond the parties standing in the courtroom. Take just one example:  I worked on a case where a woman defaulted on loan. The bank sued. The woman’s defense was that she hadn’t read the loan documents. Settled law going back to forever says that the failure to read documents is not a defense to a default. The far Left judge felt differently. On the one hand, he had a mean bank; on the other hand, he had a poor little old lady. You can guess the outcome. You can also guess that, in future, the bank increased the cost of loans to offset bad debts such as this one.  You can also bet that the little old lady went home and let her community know that defaulting on a loan in San Francisco county was a reasonably safe thing to do.

The problems with an ideologically corrupt judiciary don’t flow solely from the lessons people take away as they walk out of the courtroom, even though such lessons resonate throughout the community and affect future behavior. There’s an even more insidious problem with a system in which the judge’s pick winners and losers based, not upon facts or law, but upon their place in their hierarchy of Leftist victim-hood.  It’s also the fact that the law is utterly unpredictable if the outcome is dictated by each judge’s personal redistributive biases. Businesses cannot operate in a system that isn’t predictable. They go one of two ways: they become as corrupt as the courts, since lawlessness is contagious; or they retrench, taking their services, products, and investments out of a market that is too unreliable for them to risk.

blind_justice

Re that Veep spot on the Democrat ticket — I have a guess about the dark horse replacement

I’m with American Crossroads, which believes that Joe Biden is just what the Democrat ticket needs:

Gravitas! (Giggle, giggle.)

I’m suspect, though, that the Democrats themselves are becoming disenchanted with Good Old Joe. Apparently they cast around for the Hillary alternative, only to get a resounding “No!” from a woman who neither wanted to be on a winning nor a losing Democrat ticket, because she thought both would be bad for her career.  You can always trust the Clintons to keep their eyes on the main chance.

So who’s next?  I’m voting for a “Draft Elizabeth Warren” movement.

Think about it for a moment:  while the Republican party has more young guns than it can count, who does the Democrat party have?  Jesse Jackson, Jr.?  No.  Poor guy has a bipolar disorder.  I wish him well, but no one wishes him on the ticket.  Rahm Emanuel?  Nope.  You don’t go from Chief of Staff, to Mayor of a corrupt, crime-ridden city, to second on the presidential ticket.  Raddled old Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi?  Big NO there. Debbie What’s-her-name Schlemeil?  I think Baghdad Debbie has had her dishonest day.

Anyone?  Anyone?

I didn’t think so.

The only “young” gun they’ve got is Elizabeth Warren.  She’s struggling to stay above water in Massachusetts, but Democrats might see her as someone who can revive the base if she’s on the presidential ticket.  After all, when it comes to “You didn’t build that,” she and Obama are two minds with but a single thought.  Better an exciting candidate on the presidential ticket than a struggling candidate for a senate seat that’s already filled by a fairly popular, attractive RINO.

My best guess today is that, in a week or so, poor old Joe is going to get very sick and need to retire abruptly.  And stalwart Progressive Elizabeth Warren will valiantly step up to fill Joe’s shoes.

What do you think?

What your representatives think of you *UPDATED*

We do not live in a genuine democracy, which would see people vote on every single issue.  Instead, we have a representative democracy — we get to vote on which individuals we’d like to see represent us in government.

People who want to hold those jobs (that is, the candidates) have to convince the majority of voters that the candidate has a specifically identifiable world view and will vote a certain way on specific issues.  The tags “Democrat” and “Republican” are useful shorthand for the identifiable world view.  The promise to vote a certain way on specific issues can become a bit dicier if the passing of time shows that even the majority who voted for the candidate are backing away from the issues.  In the latter case, what’s a candidate to do?

Well, if you’re Lloyd Doggett in Austin, Texas, you can tell your constituents that you intend to ignore them completely, an obvious reference to your mental superiority and their inferiority:

Witnesses said that when Doggett was asked whether he would support the plan even if he found that his constituents opposed it, Doggett said he would.

If you’re Harry Reid, you can call your constituents loud and shrill, always a sure fire way to win friends and influence people:

“In spite of the loud, shrill voices trying to interrupt town hall meetings and just throwing a monkey wrench into everything, we’re going to continue to be positive and work hard.”

And, of course, be sure to tell your constituents that they’re puppets who have no free will who are just being manipulated by evil corporations.  That will leave them feeling good about you:

Doggett says there’s nothing authentic about these protests.

“This notion of a grass-roots campaign is totally and completely phony,” Doggett said in an interview with ABC News. “The Republican Party has coordinated this apparent outrage and stirred it up.”

Doggett said that he’s happy for dialogue, but “there’s no way you can change the legislation to satisfy any of these Republicans and their insurance allies.”

The one thing you don’t ever want to do is revisit your position.  You don’t want to think about the fact that the economy has changed substantially since you made promises to spend like there’s no tomorrow.  You don’t want to think that a 1,000 page bill, filled with hundreds of details that allow the government to have control over people’s health and finances, while bankrupting the economy, might not be what people had in mind when they demanded more affordable health care.  And most importantly, you don’t want to admit that you have no idea what you’re doing.  To focus in again on Doggett, he has the best non-responsive answer on that last point:

Doggett contended that accusations that he did not read the reform bill are ridiculous, because he has helped write portions of it.

The mere fact that Doggett might have contributed a paragraph or two, or even several pages, or several tens of pages, to this 1,000 page Frankenstein is utterly unrelated to whether he in fact read any of those portions he did not write.  If this were a deposition and he were a witness, I’d be all over him like white on rice for that stupid answer.

Bottom line:  We have a representative democracy in which our elected representatives want us to keep our mouths shut.  They think we’re stupid, shrill and easily led.  I hope that, come this this November and every other November, voters remember the low esteem in which their own public servants hold them.

UPDATE:  The DNC makes the nasty, anti-voter rhetoric official policy amongst the Democrats:

The statement from the DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse:

The Republicans and their allied groups – desperate after losing two consecutive elections and every major policy fight on Capitol Hill – are inciting angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists funded by K Street Lobbyists to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America taking place in Congressional Districts across the country.

You’ll note that this is the kind of language the president uses when talking about terrorism — “incitement” and “extremists.” This type of language could lead to some confusion as to whether Democrats are able to distinguish between peaceful American voters eager to get involved in the political process and Hamas militants who blow themselves up in shopping malls.

They have met the enemy and it is you!

Meanwhile, the administration asks citizens to spy on each other.  Isn’t that what the Stasi did too?

UPDATE IIMichelle Malkin neatly makes the point about the difference between mob rule (a distinctly left wing phenomenon, although not unique to the Left) and civic participation (a distinctly right wing phenomenon, although not distinct to the Right).

UPDATE III:  And Brutally Honest has the perfect “shoe is on the other foot” coda for this whole thing.

Sen. Reid stands up to Obama *UPDATED*

Things are not going well for Mr. Obama in Washington.  (Please note the studied lack of an honorific in the way I am referring to the man in the White House.  I don’t think he worked hard enough to earn it.  The things we learn when we listen to our BabBoxer tapes.)  I mean, what in the world is he to think when even Sen. Harry Reid directly opposes him regarding Israel?

The United States needs to back off Israel a little and put some pressure [on] the Palestinians instead, US Senator and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told US President Barack Obama in a letter.

[snip]

Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, wrote that he believes “negotiations will be successful only with a renewed commitment from the Palestinians to be a true partner in peace.”

“Arab states in the region must also act to support the peace process. All parties must recognize Israel’s right to exist, end terrorism, and respect previous agreements made with Israel,” he added in the letter.

Taking an opposite stance to Obama’s, Reid suggested in the letter that dealing with Iran’s nuclear program would aid in advancing the Arab-Israel peace process, rather than the other way around.

“It is… vital (the peace) process not take away from your commitment to deal with the ongoing threat from Iran… I believe that resolving the problem of Iran’s nuclear program will help facilitate the Arab-Israeli peace process,” Reid wrote.

I really didn’t think Reid had it in him. I don’t generally admire him either as a man or a politician.  However, I am impressed by and appreciate his willingness to take a stand against Obama regarding Israel’s security.

UPDATE:  Commenters, so far, aren’t impressed by what Reid did.  I am impressed on two grounds.  First, having built Obama up as the political messiah, even reading polls can’t make it that easy to turn on him.  Second, speaking of polls, the fact that Reid was willing to stand against Obama means that the wheels are coming off the Obama bus.

A teeny crack in the wall

This morning Mr. Bookworm offered me something:  “Hey!  You want to blog about something Obama’s doing that I don’t like?”

I was curious.  “What?”

“This Employee Free Choice Act.  What’s up with that?”

“That’s been around for a while,” I said.  “It’s one of the platforms on which Obama ran.”

He asked, “What do you mean?  I’ve never heard of it.”  I forebore to point out that this might be an indictment about the NY Times, NPR and The New Yorker, which are Mr. Bookworm’s only news sources.

“Anyway,” I said, “it’s kind of old news.  Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Obama promised to enact it as one of their first pieces of legislation.”

Another why question:  “Why would they do that?  This is a piece of crap?”

“They’re doing it because it’s payback time to the union bosses.”

A blank look:  “What do you mean?  This is a piece of crap legislation.”

I explain:  “This isn’t about the legislation’s merits.  This is payback.  The union bosses deliver the vote; the politicians deliver an Orwellian act that’s aimed at turning every workplace into a union shop.”

The last plaintive words I heard drifting down the hall as I headed off to work were, “But I don’t understand….”

It saddens me a great deal that a bright person caught in the NY Times web managed to vote for someone when he had no idea what that someone was promising to do.  It also saddens me a great deal that a bright person is so naive that he can’t understand that a dangerous and crappy piece of legislation is on the table as part of political dirty dealing.  On the other hand, I’m pleased to see a little crack in the wall.  That, at least, might lead to bigger and better things.

The media did its job well *UPDATED*

This is about the most depressing video I’ve seen in a long time:

It’s obvious that the media effectively got its message across — and it’s impressive how unperturbed these voters are by their abysmal ignorance.  The last woman, who is also the most charming, openly professes surprise at her ignorance, but discounts any possibility that more information might have changed her mind.  Aargh!!!!

If you watch this video, you should also read Paul Kengor’s article about the way in which modern education has drained students of any ability to think independently or analyze data, and has turned them into mindless Leftist drones.

UPDATE:  Deanna left a comment worrying that Democrats will simply discount this video, because it’s a small sample, and we don’t know the selection process.  However, in this case, the Dems can’t colorably make that argument, because this pathetic simply of ill-informed individuals (fed by NPR, CNN, the New York Times, or nothing at all) are actually perfectly representative of a poll Zogby conducted showing the voters’ profound ignorance of basic political facts:

512 Obama Voters 11/13/08-11/15/08 MOE +/- 4.4 points

97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

81.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

And yet…..

Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes

Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter

And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her “house,” even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!

Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.

Only .5% got all of them correct. (And we “gave” one answer that was technically not Palin, but actually Tina Fey)

There is no doubt that Democrats will discount this video, but that reason will be denied them.

Oil shale

I know nothing about oil shale.  Harry Reid, however, made it news by trying to sneak an amendment into a bill that would block developing oil shale.  With oil shale being news, I’ve now learned from someone who seems to be well-informed on the subject (one of Anchoress’ readers) that Reid is acting as if it’s 1970 when he tries to block its use as an energy source.  In fact, says that knowledgeable person, we have vast reserves, and they can be accessed through methods that have minimal environmental impact.

Before I go on this subject, it reminds me again of my point that those who now style themselves Progressive are actually regressive.  The valid debate about abortion is conducted as if out-of-wedlock pregnancies are a heinous social sin, birth control is unavailable, and back alley abortions are commonplace.  The debate about racism is conducted as if Jim Crow still controls, not just the South, but the whole nation.  And now we learn that Harry Reid’s non-debate, sneak tactic about oil shale is, in all probability based on information that is 30 years out of date.