Wednesday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s quite amazing watching DemProg heads explode on my “real me” Facebook page. To hear them tell it, the Hobby Lobby decision was four white religious men banning women’s right to contraception across America because a mean-spirited Christian corporation demanded that they do so.

I’ve been doing my best to say that (a) Hobby Lobby always provided a broad range of contraception coverage to its employees, and is only protesting the fact that the government is forcing it to pay for contraception that can be used to cause abortions; and (b) that the Court’s narrow holding said only that the Health & Human Services contraception mandate, which is not law under Obamacare, does not pass the test set by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which President Clinton approvingly signed. My comments are greeted with silence.

But there’s no room for silence here. I have a lot to say, and I delight in your comments. So off we go….

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I may as well start with a good Hobby Lobby round-up. All of these posts were very helpful when I was trying to craft a short, fact-filled response to confused DemProgs on Facebook.

Both Elizabeth Warren’s and Hillary Clinton’s responses to the decision show that (a) it’s amazing they graduated from law school, let alone, in Warren’s case, became teachers and (b) that they’re each as bad as the other, and that’s saying a lot. Let me say again what I learned from taking Warren’s Banking Law class a long time ago: she’s soft-spoken and mean; she’s a muddled thinker; she’s an incoherent communicator; and there’s a lot of anger there. (Warning:  this article might be behind a pay wall, but you can demolish that pay wall for a mere 99 cents per month.)

I found an exceptionally good trio of cases from the crew at National Review (which really excels at this type of analysis:

Charles C. W. Cooke points out that a great deal of the DemProg’s hysteria derives from the fact that they don’t understand that the Supreme Court’s role is to interpret law, not to enact it. That’s not surprising. DemProgs want their (not any, but their) president to enact law and, trained by Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade — both of which involved the Court creating rights out of whole cloth, for better or worse — actually believe that the court exists to enact a DemProg-approved agenda.

Ramesh Ponnuru explains how illogical, hysterical, and unrealistic Ruth Ginsburg was in her dissent — something that explains why DemProgs are so wildly excited by what she wrote.

Ross Douthat notes that DemProgs are exceptionally sore, and dishonest, winners. This reflects the fact that the Hobby Lobby decision peeled out a tiny corner of religious freedom in the face of a vast government takeover of . . . everything.

And finally, one of Jonah Goldberg’s best, in which he explains out that it wasn’t the Court putting the employer in women’s uterus, it was the Obama administration. That accurate analysis kind of puts a different spin on this poster, which DemProgs are excitedly passing around through social media:

Who makes medical decisions

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Obama’s a chart topper: After thinking it over, Americans agree that Barack Obama is the worst president this country has seen since the end of WWII (and Ronald Reagan is the best). The only problem with this confirmation of my bias is that, for me to be proved right, the country has had to suffer terribly. It’s no fun being Cassandra.

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On the subject of Obamacare, Kevin Williamson allows himself a bit of schadenfreude, and it makes for brilliant reading.

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When I heard about the IRS’s “dog at my hard drive” excuse for the missing emails from Lois Lerner and six other key employees, I immediately said “that’s spoliation” and it’s bad.  It turns out that  the IRS’s conduct was even worse than I remembered at the time I made this statement.

The IRS wasn’t just hiding stuff from Congress, which could be classified as political game-playing. By the time it lost the emails, the back-up and the hard-drive, it was engaged in litigation that placed upon it a heavy legal burden to do everything possible to preserve any material that could be germane to the lawsuits. A judge with any reverence for the law should come down on the IRS like a ton of bricks for this behavior, even if it was “merely” negligent, as opposed to a deliberate fraud on the court.

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The Founders did not imagine an America of incredible wisdom, by incredible wisdom, and for incredible wisdom. Madison readily envisioned that the government would be able to function despite man’s worst nature. However, even the Founders’ checks and balances didn’t comprehend a president and his supporters who would willingly cast aside constitutional governance.

Sadly, judging by changes made to the AP US history test, which drives US history curriculum at high schools across America, things aren’t going to get better any time soon. Since our children are prevented from learning the Founders’ wisdom, they can’t institute those ideas into their understanding of government.

And, while Boehner’s lawsuit is a step in the right direction, I remain dubious that it will accomplish anything. I’m with Andrew McCarthy in that I fear it will simply see the House cede power to the courts. At the rate Congress is ceding power to the other branches of government, it becomes nothing but an expensive Kabuki piece.

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The kind of people who vote for Hillary won’t care that, on July 4th, this potential presidential candidate has decided to spend her time with a British, America-bashing newspaper. That’s what DemProgs do, and they’re damn proud of it too.

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For years, people have been trying to figure out what the “Obama doctrine” is. Jeffrey Anderson thinks he knows: the Obama doctrine is Obama’s belief that, when Americans voted him into office, they got a twofer — both a president and a legislator.

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Earlier today, I posted that, whether one agrees or not with the cheerleader who is also a big game hunter, disagreement is not a basis for censorship. DemProg, chart-topping songstress Diane Warren has different idea altogether. She thinks that disagreement is a basis for murder. Assuming Warren survives the coming ISIS sharia takeover, she should fit in quite well with the Islamist mindset.

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I’m not a BBC fan, but this rap version of WWI’s origins is cute.

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And finally, pictures!

Democrats are brave enough

Me myself and I

Plenty of room on the calendar

Reasons for owning guns

Illegal immigrants displace veterans

(Thanks to Caped Crusader, the Family Back East, and Earl Aagaard for their help with this post.)

Mid-day Sunday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s a ridiculously beautiful day here, the kind that screams out “God’s in his Heaven, and all’s right with the world.” It’s therefore quite discordant to read headlines and realize that God may be in his Heaven, but Obama is in the White House, the DemProgs are in charge of the Senate, our Southern border is broken, and the Middle East is catapulting back to the 7th century — and trying to take us with it.

Yikes! I’m going to be grateful to go to the laundromat with the piles of clothes my ailing washing machine can’t handle.  I have to leave quite soon, so let me throw a super quick round-up your way:

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If you read only one thing today, read Mark Steyn’s thoughts about the particular reason the IRS scandal is so appalling and why it ought to resonate among all Americans, not just those targeted in this particular scandal.

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Kevin D. Williamson’s article about the money to be had in politics is so good, I actually posted it on my “real me” Facebook page. I don’t usually post things from conservative publications on Facebook, because DemProgs refuse to read things that don’t come from sources they trust (i.e., the drive-by media). This one, though, raises such non-partisan issues I figured that even my DemProg friends will find something with which they agree in the article.

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Kyle Smith on the DemProg’s constant shtick about being poor. They are truly testing how far they can push Lincoln’s saying that you can fool all of the people all of the time. Oh, wait! Lincoln didn’t say that. That’s just the DemProg’s theory and they’re working it really hard.

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It’s easy to deal with illegal aliens, and it doesn’t require new law to do so. The current law gives the federal government all the power it needs to take care of the current situation.  Matt Barber explains. I’ll add to Barber’s claim that a solid border isn’t mean by pointing out that, as long as the U.S. provides a safety valve, corrupt Latin American governments have no incentive to reform. We allow the wound to fester endlessly without ever getting better.

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A Church of England vicar who married his long-time boyfriend contends that this marriage was the “Christian” thing to do. Interestingly, he offers no theological justification for that conclusion. Could it be because there isn’t a theological justification? There are a lot of good arguments in favor of gay marriage, but neither the Old nor the New Testament provide a basis for any such arguments:

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You know how “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Not at the VA. If you’re a squeaky wheel there, you’re put on a list and given less, not more, care. When W. S. Gilbert had his Mikado sing about the “little list” he’d compiled to get rid of social irritants (“I don’t think they’ll be missed; I’m sure they won’t be missed”), I’m pretty sure he was joking. The VA isn’t.

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If the Muslims take over the world, it won’t just be Jews wearing yellow stars or hats. One imam in England has it all planned out and it involves everyone but good Muslims living as slaves within the nations they once controlled.

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Of course Obama knows what the’s doing in terms of throwing fuel on the Middle Easter fire. [UPDATE:  I un-linked this.  Earl caught something I missed which is that, after a very credible analysis about what's going on in the Middle East, and ISIS's role in these developments, in the second-to-last paragraph, the linked article went off into wild antisemitic "Zionist" conspiracy theories.]

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Tom Rogan is right: ISIS has a lot of problems. Its forte is killing, not management, and it won’t be able to create a stable state. However, if ISIS gets control in Iraq and Libya, or even if it doesn’t, its killing ways will still allow it to cause immeasurable destruction and suffering.

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I love this line from Michael Goodwin’s article about Obama’s endless whining that people are mean to him: “There you have it: the presidential mind in Year 6. Don’t cry for Argentina — cry for me!”

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C S Lewis

The DemProg Hillbillies

Things I hate

Saturday mid-day round-up and Open Thread

broken-washing-machineI’m just thankful that the washer wasn’t doing a bleach load when it decided to break. And I’m thankful that the clothes were mostly rinsed of detergent (indeed, there was so little detergent in them that they weren’t actually cleaned). And I’m thankful that I was able to wring the clothes out and that my dryer still works. All in all, a lot to be thankful for.

As for the being thankful about the news in Obama’s America . . . well, not so much:

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I cannot tell you how much I dread the thought of a possible Elizabeth Warren presidency. I’ve disliked and disrespected that woman for almost thirty years now. Nothing I’ve learned about her in the intervening years has changed my opinion. If you think Obama is bad, Warren will be just as bad in her own way.

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Of course, I dread a Clinton presidency too. In that regard, I’m grateful for a new book that is again raising the charge that Hillary Clinton was fired for “writing fraudulent legal briefs, lying to investigators and confiscating public documents.” The book is written by Jerry Zeifman, a serious Nixon partisan, but he was her boss at the time, so it will be interesting to see his support for this charge and Hillary’s opposition, if any.

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This Commentary Magazine article about the Leftist fight against moderate Muslims may be behind a pay wall for you, but if you can do so, please read it. This might whet your appetite:

After years of effort to promote the myth of a post 9/11 backlash against American Muslims, the left is breaking some new ground in the debate about terror. Instead of merely trying to make Americans feel guilty about defending themselves against radical Islamists, they have a new goal: banning the use of the term “moderate Muslim.”

That’s the conceit of a piece in The New Republic by Georgetown University’s Nathan Lean in which he argues that to attempt to differentiate between Islamists who seek to pursue a war on the West and those Muslims who wish to live in peace with non-Muslims is itself an act of prejudice. For Lean, any effort to ascertain whether Muslims are supportive of the radical ideologues that have supported not only al-Qaeda but also other Islamist terror movements is wrong because it feeds the “Islamophobia” which he believes is at the core of all Western attitudes towards Muslims. In doing so, he is attempting not only to discourage efforts to combat the radicals but to delegitimize those Muslims who choose to speak up against the Islamists.

I’m familiar with that New Republic article because one of my “real me” Facebook friends posted it. I went ballistic and left a long comment noting that there’s a huge difference between truly moderate Muslims, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, (a) the radicals and (b) the silent majority behind the radicals. If we don’t make that distinction, we run the risk of two things: (a) having the bad guys metastasize even more because we’re afraid to label them or (b) having things come to such a head that, when all distinctions are gone and the bad guys are ascendant, we turn on the good guys too. I completely shut down the burgeoning comment thread. No one had a word left to say after my rant.

If you can, please read Jonathan Tobin’s analysis of the terrible harm this new Leftist tactic will cause in the West’s existential war against radical Islam, a war the West barely won the first time, in the centuries spanning the 7th centuries when Islam burst out of the Arabian peninsula through the medieval Crusades that finally pushed Islam back a little bit, and that it barely won again the second time, in the 17th century when the Ottoman Turks made their way to the outskirts of Vienna. If we can’t even name our enemy this time around, Islam will succeed.

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The New York Times has examined its conscience and decided that it is pure; it did indeed report with sufficient weight and depth on the IRS scandal. Scott Johnson, at Power Line, begs to differ and has the facts to undermine the New York Times’ self-serving, highly inaccurate exculpation.

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Roger Simon thinks the liberal media is silent about things such as the IRS scandal because individual members of the media cannot bear to admit that everything they believed was wrong. I think Neo-Neocon is closer to the mark when she says that the media is silent about Obama’s cascading failures and scandals because they still agree with his agenda wholeheartedly, and don’t want anything to derail it. Or as she says, “I’m afraid what the Times is doing is ass-covering. They can’t think of a way to spin Obama’s abysmal failures any more (they do have certain standards, although those standards are pretty low), so they are silent.” Yup.

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Greg, at Rhymes with Right, explains how far Obama has deviated from the Constitution when it comes to the way in which he exercises his “executive” powers. Greg politely ascribes this to Obama’s failure to understand the Constitution. I wouldn’t be so nice. Obama fully understands the Constitution. He just doesn’t agree with it. Democrats like what he’s doing and are willing to destroy constitutional checks and balances to support his agenda, and Republicans understand precisely what Obama understands: As the nation’s first sort-of black president, he can’t be stopped.

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Some political ads are better than others. This one, by Darius Foster, a black conservative, is one of the best. (Hat tip: Hot Air)

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Andrew McCarthy excoriates John Boehner for going the weakling’s route in his challenge to Obama’s lawlessness, rather than using the full complement of weapons available to the House under the Constitution.

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What I continue to find fascinating about the plan to put a suicide barrier under the Golden Gate Bridge, something that will cost almost $80 million dollars is that it’s being advanced by the same crew of people who agree with Nancy Pelosi that abortion is “sacred ground.” For example, one of the barrier’s proponents is Tom Ammiano, a hard Left, political gay (as opposed to someone whose life is not defined by his sexual predilections) who makes Pelosi look moderate.

Ammiano supports all forms of abortion, including sex selection abortions. He also strongly believes that the public should pay for abortions: “In my 21 years in public office, I have been one of the strongest advocates for public funding of abortion services.”

I don’t get the logic of a man who says that the public must pay $79 million to prevent a statistically small number of suicides by people who desperately want to die, even as he even more zealous demands that the public pay even more money in order to enable the millions of abortions that kill infants who most certainly do not want to die.

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Your health care provider is watching you. If you put a bottle of soda, a bag of sugar, a stick of butter or, Heaven forbid, a cigarette pack on your credit card or your grocery store club card, don’t be surprised if you get a warning from your doctor, followed by the denial of care for which you previously paid by buying insurance.

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One wishes that the same-sex marriage crowd, which insists that all couples who love each other should get the state’s and the church’s imprimatur of marriage, would get as excited about events in Pakistan.  There a couple who married for love were beheaded by the bride’s outraged family. The fact that you can’t get the state’s stamp of approval for same-sex love in America seems to pale a bit in importance when compared to love and death in the stone age world of Islamic/tribal countries across the Islamic swath of the Middle East.

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It’s Ramadan, so the United States Navy is warning troops in Bahrain to hide their day-time eating habits and, men and women both, to cover up when in public. I’m of two minds about this. Normally I would say that there’s nothing wrong with the military behaving politely during a host country’s religious festival. However, when the host country is Muslim, I never get the feeling that these actions are taken because of politeness and mutual respect. I always feel that they have more to do with dhimmitude and fear.

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Check out Sultan Knish’s “Friday afternoon roundup” to see a great anti-Hillary video. Also, you simply have to read an entire post that contains gems such as these:

The ongoing problem on the right is that it talks ‘extremist’ and legislates ‘moderate’ while the left talks ‘moderate’ and legislates ‘extremist’.

That’s a big part of why Obama is in the White House and conservatives are still struggling to make headway.

Obama isn’t in the White House because Americans woke up Communist one morning. I know that “Free Stuff” is a popular theory, but people always liked free stuff. The larger welfare population helped shift the balance, but if Obama had been a non-viable candidate, there would have been no balance to shift and it would have done him as much good as it did Jesse Jackson or Dukakis.

Obama is in office because much of the country believes that he is a moderate and a centrist.

The left can get away with it because it talks centrist and lives radical. If the right is ever going to do better than another liberal Republican, its candidates are going to have to talk like liberal Republicans while legislating well to the right.

It is doable. Rand Paul has been doing the talking part well enough. Unfortunately he talks the talk so well because he actually is well to the left.

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Do you believe IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s claim that ordinary taxpayers can pull a Lois Lerner and claim that their dog at their hard drive, with all their tax relevant documents on it? No, I don’t either.

You know who Koskinen reminds me of? Lillian Hellman in the context of Mary McCarthy’s famous Hellman put-down: “I once said in an interview that every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”

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Everyone is a’Twitter and a’Facebook about a Verizon ad claiming that it’s parents who are at fault for the fact that there aren’t more girls who are engineers. You see, they yell at their prepubescent daughters for committing acts of science instead of just being pretty. HuffPo did an entire post supporting the ad. The horror statistic is that, while 66% of 4th grade girls say that they like math and science, only 18% go on to become engineering majors.

I think that’s a bunch of garbage. Through the process of raising a boy and a girl, not to mention being surrounded by boys and girls, and having once been a girl myself, I know what happens between 4th grade and high school/college. Science and math transform from simplistic, teacher directed classroom exercises to becoming hardcore, data-rich, formula-driven, highly analytic problems.

During 4th grade, when girls are infinitely better than boys at sitting down and following directions, they shine with simplistic problems. However, as boys finally mature, their brains click into gear and enjoy the higher level work while the majority (not all, but the majority) of girls dislike the mental effort and rote memorization of the STEM subjects and prefer softer subjects that engage the verbal, artistic, and emotional parts of their brain.

Is the above a gross generalization? Yes, up to a point. There’s always a bell curve, with outliers, but the fact is that maturing girls draw away from STEM just as maturing boys are drawn to it — and this isn’t because 21st century girls are told to shut up and be pretty, but because that’s where their developing brains take them. And no, that’s not science talking. That’s living in the real world talking.

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Use an obvious, albeit bloodthirsty metaphor opposing the party in power and end up in the mental hospital. Soviet Union? No. Obama’s America.

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And some pictures:

Obama endowed by his creator

Obama's priorities

Obama's priorities 2

(Thanks to Earl and Sadie for their help assembling this round-up.)

Tuesday mid-day round up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve been a good girl today. I paid bills, cleaned the kitchen, set up appointments for various family members to do various activities, cleared some more stuff out of my in-boxes, and generally did not waste time. Now, though, I’m ready to sit back and “waste” some time by sharing all sorts of interesting stuff with you:

Priority of place has to go to Oberlin’s utterly insane proposed guidelines for its athletic department:

“It is basically intended to sort of be a 101,” Emily Clarke, a junior and member of the committee, said in an interview with Campus Reform on Thursday. “We also talk about choice, privilege and agency in presentation of gender and pronouns and ends with trans-allyship dos and don’ts.”

“It’s basically like, don’t question people about their transitioning processes, respect pronouns and names, don’t use ‘ladies’ or ‘gentlemen’ when addressing a group of people,” she said.

[snip]

In addition to the training, the new policy would also mandate that athletic department documents replace “FTM” (female-to-male) and “MTF” (male-to-female) with “a transgender student-athlete who was designated a female at birth and is/is not taking medically prescribed hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition” and “a transgender student-athlete who was designated a male at birth and is/is not taking medically prescribed hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition.”

That’s just a drop in the bucket when trying to convey the sheer awfulness of this assault on the English language and biological reality. You really have to look at the original document to get the full flavor.

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While more and more American campuses are contorting themselves to avoid offending their special interest groups, Jews in France are facing actual physical offenses, in the form of assaults by Muslim gangs. AFP notes that Jews are leaving France in historic numbers, but somehow cannot bring itself to explain why this sudden exodus is taking place. It vaguely references a “climate of anti-Semitism,” without talking about the ongoing physical assaults at Muslim hands. (This post, about the similar situation in which Danish Jews find themselves, helps pick up where the AFP, in most cowardly fashion, left off.)

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Mark Steyn lambastes mealy-mouthed Leftists who think hashtags are the same as actual action. He also schools Charles C.W. Cooke, at the National Review, who rightly earned ire for saying that Holocaust Denial should be debated in public schools as an academic exercise. Steyn endorses Laura Rosen Cohen’s answer to Cooke’s proposal, which is that we debate ideas, but we don’t debate conspiracy theories that bear no relationship to known, indisputable facts.

Eliot Cohen also looks at the whole hashtag phenomenon amongst American Progressives and concludes that it’s part of a larger problem, which is that, although they wield tremendous, scary amounts of power, they have the intellectual and emotional capacity of adolescents. Hmmm. That argument seems familiar….

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All across the Leftist spectrum, even as they hashtag their pleas for the release of the school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, no one will say two important words: “Christianity” or “Islam.” Or if they do say those words, it’s to deny that they have anything to do with the kidnapping. To the Left, what we’re seeing is just this bizarre coincidence that has these murderous madmen mouthing Islamic slogans even as they (again totally coincidentally) enslave Christians, murder Christians, and murder Muslims foolish enough to hang out with Christians. Both Michael Rubin and Pamela Geller take on this intellectual deceit. The only problem with their excellent articles is that the people who need to read them . . . won’t.

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Writing in USA Today (which is a pretty good venue considering that it’s available to business-class travelers in hotels and airplanes throughout America), Paul Caron says Congress should give Lois Lerner immunity in exchange for testimony. He provides a succinct, but detail-rich, summary about the IRS’s partisan attack on conservative groups, making three things painfully clear: What happened was a horrific act of corruption; the media have been complicit through silence; and Lerner is the easiest, and maybe the only, way to get to the bottom of this scandal (a scandal that I posit is the worst political scandal ever in American history).

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I have several gay friends on my “real me” Facebook, all of whom date back to high school or even junior high school. Without exception, they are politically hard Left and socially absolutely militant. Nothing even slightly negative may ever be said about the LGBTQ community. I suspect, therefore, that they’re going to ignore the CDC’s recent report about resurgent syphilis in the gay community. If this is indeed what they’re doing, they’re making a terrible mistake. The AIDS epidemic should have taught them once and for all that dangerous behaviors cannot be ignored; they must be nipped in the bud lest Mother Nature lets things get wildly out of hand.

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Mark Tapson posits that the professional Left’s frantic, cruel, tasteless, and heartless jokes about Benghazi hide a very real fear: There’s probably something there that they don’t want the American people to know.

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Trust Thomas Sowell to get to the heart of the matter: Why are colleges sitting as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to alleged rapes? Could it be because they know that, in all but a few cases, the “victim’s” claims wouldn’t survive a second when actual law and legal procedure are applied to them?

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This is a marvelous blog that will help everyone understand that correlation and causation are not the same thing. And in that same spirit, here’s a thought-provoking cartoon/chart that Caped Crusader sent me. (Caveat: I have no idea if the data is accurate, but I suspect/hope it’s close to accurate, so I’m running with it.)

Gun crime Chicago v Houston

IRS correspondence seems to reveal conspiracy to criminalize conservative speech

Obama-IrsThe IRS’s job is to collect the taxes that Congress demands the American people pay. Under Lois Lerner’s guidance, though, the IRS’s job, apparently, was to identify potential conservative targets for Department of Justice criminal investigations. Hmmm.

PJMedia currently has running two excellent posts on the subject. The first is J. Christian Adams’ “A new, more sinister IRS scandal.” The second is Bryan Preston’s “The terrifying implications of the IRS Abuse-DOJ connection.”

Preston opens his post with this compelling paragraph:

Thank God for Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George. His investigation of what turned out to be the IRS abuse scandal may well have saved the Constitution and the nation.

I hope Preston is correct.

Adams closes his post by saying, “Just wait until the American people learn more about the modern American version of history’s speech regulators.”

Sadly, I think Adams is wrong. The ones who never pay attention will continue not to pay attention. As for the man-in-the-street Democrats, the ones who are unthinking, not activist, Leftists, I’m sorry to say that they won’t suddenly think, “Oh, my God! What have we become? This has to stop.”

Instead, when you try to convince knee-jerk, unthinking Democrats that their party is using the most powerful government agency in America to shut down political debate and imprison political dissent, you’ll get a shrug, along with mumbled remarks about “conservative wackos are paranoid,” and “these people were obviously breaking the law,” and “the IRS saved us from turning into a Christian Fundamentalist Nation, kind of like Iran.”

Government is the last place in which the war is fought.  The initial battles are for people’s hearts and minds, and the Left started fighting and winning those battles in the 1960s.  Now, as the old saying goes, “it’s all over but for the shouting.”

Tyranny and the 5th Amendment

To the extent this implies that the government itself is hiding behind the Bill of Rights, this poster isn’t quite right. An individual in the government, rather than the government itself, is pleading the 5th. Just because one works for the government doesn’t mean one gives up ones rights as a citizen.

Nevertheless, I liked the poster because it’s a reminder that we currently have an exceptionally corrupt administration in Washington. Should we be able to switch to a Republican administration, Lerner will be followed by a long line of 5th pleaders:

Tyranny and the 5th

Hat tip: Caped Crusader

Friday afternoon round up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of good stuff today, so I’m going to dive right in.  As always, these aren’t in any particular order, so you may find interesting things buried halfway down the list.

I’ve made the same point before, but I still like to see it come from Daniel Hannan and Jonah Goldberg:  Nazis came from the Left, not from the right.  Incidentally, I still like the way I phrased it, which was that we should get rid of the archaic Left/Right or Fascist/Communist/Capitalist language and, instead, look at political systems in terms of Statist versus Individualist forms of government.  The world’s most famous bad guys, no matter the name they gave themselves, land on the statist side.  America, before Obama, was more individualists, as she was when she went around the world freeing people from statists calling themselves Communists, Fascists, Nazis, Military Juntas, Muslim Fundamentalists, etc.

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One of the things that distinguished George Bush was that he was a good manager — proving that he got something useful out of his stint in Harvard Business School. He surrounded himself by efficient, knowledgeable people who reflected well on this country’s competence, even if one didn’t agree with its policies. The opposite is true for Obama. He is a terrible manager who surrounds himself with people who know as little as he does.

Obama’s conduct is typical for an insecure person. He needs to surround himself with ineffective sycophants who say nice things to him and who don’t threaten him with their greater talents and skills. Obama gave the game away a long time ago when he announced, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Genuinely smart — and mentally healthy — people don’t actually say things like that.

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One of the things that drives me crazy about the Left’s insistence on bypassing parents to give young girls access to the birth control pill is the fact that it’s not just about sex (and the Left uses sex to bribe girls away from the nuclear family). It’s also about how high risk pills are. California kids can’t get their ears pierced without permission, but girls can easily get pills that are associated with strokes, blood clots, breast cancer and, now, multiple sclerosis. The Pill is a very dangerous medicine, but it’s so wrapped up in Leftist feminist politics, no one is willing to say “no” simply on safety grounds.  The fight about the Pill on moral grounds is a good fight.  The fight about the Pill on health grounds should be a winning fight — but nobody’s doing battle there.

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Two excellent views about Putin’s escapades: Terresa, at Noisy Room, harks back to the Nazi notion of Lebensraum.  Paul Rahe, at Ricochet, thinks Putin is a fool, trying to relive the glory days of the Cold War but, in fact, reaching far beyond Russia’s actual, very limited, economic abilities, not to mention exposing Russia to the very real risk of a Chinese takeover. Fool or madman, the one thing we know with certainty is that Putin’s policies will destroy many lives, both inside and outside of Russia.

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My sister lives in Oregon. After the millions it spent on its Obamacare exchange, she ended up signing up the old-fashioned way: by paper. The only question is how long the media can keep the prestidigitation going, so that people don’t realize that they’re on the losing end of a shell game.

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Colleges across America: “Due process? We ain’t got no due process. We don’t need no due process! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ due process!”

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Jonah Goldberg nicely analyzes something that we’ve been talking about here, which is the speed with which the gay marriage debate has gone from the fringe to “you’d better accept it or else.” As many famous people have learned to their cost, one of the most effective techniques for moving the debate forward without regard to the merits is the GLAAD & Friends tactic of “nice little place/career/life you’ve got here. . . . Shame if something happened to it.”

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Roger L. Simon issues a call to arms: Take back Hollywood. It drives culture and, to the extent conservatives jumped off the entertainment bus, we’ve left the lunatics in the driver’s seat.

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The IRS scandal continues unabated. Those who think it’s been addressed and repaired have been flim-flammed yet again. Moreover, if you follow the money to public servant corruption, that may go a long way to explaining why our bureaucracy, which is supposed to be studiously apolitical, has thrown its immense power to the Democrats, the political party owned by the government workers’ unions.

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I really, really like Allen West. Here he is with a vivid, but emotion-free, summation about both Common Core’s academic weaknesses and the madness of Obamacare mathematics.

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My bet without doing any research is that, if you studied political identity in the military, you’d see that the military is still more conservative than the population as a whole. What you’d also see, though, is that every subsequent new batch of enlistees is more liberal than the one that came before. Remember, the new enlistees are young and Democrats have marketed themselves successfully to the young.

We know that young people in the general population are souring on Obama as job prospects dim.  Military enlistees have a job, but there’s still the possibility that they too will sour.  To the extent that Senate Democrats refused to increase veteran’s benefits, the very minimal chatter I’ve seen amongst the few young enlistees who are Facebook friends is that they are feeling hostile to the Dems right about now.

Thursday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesFor reasons that make no sense to me, in the past week my daily readership has almost trebled. I suspect a bot has targeted my site but, when I allow myself to pretend that it’s actual people checking out my site, I feel really quite good. And now let’s see if I can make all of my real and robotic readers feel good with some interesting links:

It turns out that I’m not the only one who has noticed that the only thing exciting the Left right now, from Obama on down to the most insignificant Facebook user, is gay marriage. Syria? Sad, but boring. Ukraine? A little scary, so best ignored. North Korea? Really scary, so best ignored. Economy? We have a Democrat president, so we pretend it’s good. But gay marriage? Wow! That’s a hot issue, so hot that it should be the administration’s most pressing issue, the states’ most pressing issue, and social media’s most pressing issue.

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Putting gay marriage aside, what sensible people should be excited about is the fact that the current administration has deliberately chosen to subvert the law and to use supposedly non-partisan administrative agencies (most notably the IRS) to destroy the current administration’s political opponents. Bradley A. Smith spells it out, and there are smoking guns everywhere. Unfortunately, true believers on the Left are just going to look at that evidence and say, “Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” They’d do that even if Lois Lerner got her immunity and spilled the beans.

Few on the Left have Democrat Prof. Jonathan Turley’s insight or integrity:

And what we’ve been seeing is the shift of gravity within that system in a very dangerous way that makes it unstable, and I think that’s what the president is doing. I think that we’ve become a nation of enablers. We are turning a blind eye to a fundamental change in our system. I think many people will come to loathe that they remained silent during this period.

Incidentally, I wonder if Mr. Smith has been reading my blog. To conclude his masterful summary demonstrating administration complicity with the IRS, he wrote this:

In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.

If that seems familiar to some of you, I wrote the same thing (although at greater length) back in May 2013.

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Hillary Clinton spoke in Florida yesterday to defend Obamacare. For a good analysis, go here. The short version is that she’s adopting the Democrat party line, which is that Obamacare is slightly flawed, but should be fixed, not undone. I’ll just chime in quickly with a little extra info that may explain why many people will be inclined to save, not jettison it: the venue at which she spoke was a massive annual medical technology convention. The wealth concentrated there — wealth created because Obamacare has mandated computerizing all medical records — probably equals the wealth of several small and mid-sized countries. Exhibitors weren’t just giving away pens and mouse pads. They were giving away Kindle Fires and other fancy swag. Follow the money….

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I love it when my politics and my dieting efforts converge: No Girl Scout cookies for me this year. The Girl Scouts are absolutely free to continue their leftward drift. I just don’t have to help fund it. If I had my own personal Marine Sergeant Major monitoring my diet, none of this would be an issue.

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Just a reminder that if you want a bird’s eye view of probable election results, check out Scott Elliott’s Election Projection. Working on a state-by-state basis, he has amassed a vast and highly accurate database of predicted election outcomes.

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North Korea is one seriously scary place. It’s scary inside, because it is a vast, brutal concentration camp. I mean, think about it: It’s so bad that the UN has actually taken time off from persecuting Israel to castigate North Korea for a few days.

It’s also scary outside because it’s got a vast armory of conventional weapons aimed at South Korea, and a probable armory of nuclear weapons aimed at God knows where. Andrew Keller recommends actually enforcing sanctions against it, so that the West is no longer complicit in propping up this government. (Our excuse for propping it up, starting with Madeleine Albright, is always that we’re preventing mass starvation. We haven’t done anything of the sort.  The NoKo government just takes the money, buys caviar, and lets the people starve anyway.) My only worry with Keller’s recommendation is that North Korea is not the kind of country that will go down easy. It seems to me that one of its last gasp efforts will be to take large parts of the world, or Asia, down with it.

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I don’t understand why people are so fussed about reliably Left-leaning Ronan Farrow winning a journalism award after only two days on air at MSNBC. After all, Barack Obama won the once-prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, not because he actually did anything on the job, but simply because he got hired. Eric Wemple illustrates that in the modern journalism world, everyone is good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, entitled to endless accolades and awards.

***

Eric Holder was briefly hospitalized for chest pains, but seems to be okay. I wonder if he had a panic attack, which can mimic a heart attack. He’s got a lot of balls in the air now, and it must be nerve-wracking to keep them spinning. You know what I mean: Urging state Attorney General’s to refuse to enforce their own state laws regarding gay marriage; arranging for gun-running into Mexico, and then having to cover it all up; hiding administration documents about everything from the IRS to Benghazi; working to turn felons and illegal aliens into registered voters; and so on. I’d be stressed too with all of that on my plate.

***

In a typically thoughtful, detailed post, Daniel Greenfield examines Obama’s decision to put America into a forced retreat from the world stage. His last paragraph reads like the final epitaph for a once great nation:

Post-American America exists to destroy itself. Until that changes, it has nothing to offer the world except membership in a suicide pact.

Obama’s despicable role in the Ukraine (or, rather, his absence of any role, other than some meaningless Kabuki theater) perfectly illustrates how he’s got America crawling away on her hands and knees, with her national butt nicely poised in the air for some final kicking.

The Left assured us in 2008 that the world would be a better place without all that nasty American influence. The world’s citizens are discovering what you and I already knew: The world is a much less nice, stable, safe place without an American influence. Moreover, the Left’s talk of compassion was a fake.  For example, even as apocalyptic scenes play out in Syria, the Left manifestly doesn’t care.

Thursday thoughts (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesPower corrupts; and when the IRS has absolute power, it’s corrupted absolutely.

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Three headlines at The Weekly Standard: (1) CBO Director: Obamacare ‘Creates a Disincentive for People to Work’; (2) AOL CEO: ‘Obamacare Is an Additional $7.1 Million Expense For Us’; (3) WSJ: ‘Limited Choices of Doctors and Hospitals’ Under Obamacare.

And one great punchline from Keith Koffler.

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Obama’s blithe dismissal of the IRS scandal wasn’t just unethical (he shouldn’t be opining during an ongoing — albeit barely there — investigation), but was also just flat-out wrong.

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Yesterday, I noted that the Budweiser “Welcome home, soldier” ad was astroturfed patriotism, which I found unpleasant. I heard from someone in the military that the people he knows are uniform in their dislike of the ad (no pun intended). The American Spectator now chimes in, chiding Budweiser and other companies for commercializing the military.

Old Hollywood movies also used to commercialize the military:  they’d make supportive movies about the military to sell tickets.  Back then, though, because patriotism was the name of the game throughout America, that commercialism seemed less sleazy than the Vaseline-smeared lenses that characterizes 1-minute long commercials that use the military as a backdrop to sell a product.

***

When it comes to principled conservativism, PM Tony Abbott of Australia seems to be the real deal. That’s not the only heartening thing. If he is indeed the real deal, we should take comfort in knowing that a former British colony that was following Britain’s PC lead was able to recognize how damaging its policies were and to vote in the other direction. Maybe there’s hope for another former British colony that seems determined to follow Britain’s PC lead, even as Britain is falling into the abyss.

***

As an example of the British abyss, there’s news out today that a British court has demanded that Thomas Monson, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (i.e., Mormons), report to London immediately to defend his faith against fraud charges with regard to some of its central tenets.

I’d originally written snarkily that the judge seems unable to distinguish faith from science. I then realized that the snark was misplaced.  What we’re seeing here is another byproduct of global warming: Because global warming has become an unfalsifiable doctrine it has turned science into faith. Why then, should a British judge, who I am 100% certain believes in global warming, have the ability any longer to distinguish between science and faith? She’s going to apply tests to them, not according to their nature (with science getting evidence and hypothesis based tests, and religion being left alone on faith grounds), but according to her own belief system, one that probably worships Gaia and rejects more traditional religions.

***

If you like proof, David Horovitz provides ample proof that John Kerry is a fool, and a dangerous one at that.

Monday Mish-Mash (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesIt rained here yesterday, an event that was much more exciting even than the Super Bowl.  We probably got just a quarter inch of rain, but for a drought-stricken region, even that is thrilling.  There are storms lined up along the California coast . . . but that damned high pressure system refuses to let them pass.  The lizard part of my brain, the one taken up with magical thinking, keeps hoping that one of these storms will batter the high pressure system so hard that it breaks.  I know weather doesn’t work that way, but most days lately that fantasy is the best that I can do.

Still, and thankfully, there’s always blogging.  I’m sadly lacking in original thought at the moment, but others do have interesting stuff to say:

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Apropos yesterday’s Super Bowl blowout, I learned two things about Seahawk’s coach Pete Carroll:  He’s quite possibly a 9/11 Truther and he graduated from Redwood High School in the heart of Marin County.  Hmmm.  I wonder if the two are related?

***

The IRS is planning on formalizing its persecution of conservative and Tea Party groups.  Until February 27, however, you can have a say in the matter.  At American Thinker, Sylvia Bokor mourns the fact that only slightly more than 20,000 people have weighed in, out of an American population greater than 300 million.  I’m not surprised.  First, most people truly don’t care; second, those who do care now have reason to worry that if they comment on the proposal, they’re basically signing on to the IRS’ future target list.  Chilling, that’s what it is.

***

Daniel Greenfield, aka Sultan Knish, takes on the belief fostered in every school child since about 1968 that, by signing on to the right (er, Left) charity, you too can save the world.  To him, this is the idiot stepchild of free enterprise and Leftism:

The West can’t fix Africa no matter how much of the price of a cup of coffee it donates. By attempting to fix it,  Africa and the West become entangled in each other’s problems, each worsening the problems of the other instead of solving them.

No one can save Africa except Africans. No one can fix Detroit except the majority of the people who live there. Social problems aren’t solved by nationalizing them or internationalizing them. They aren’t solved by engaging and guilt tripping those who have already solved those problems and live thousands of miles away but by engaging the people who live right there and are part of the problem.

If a man is drowning, you can toss him a rope. But if a man jumps into the water, tossing him a rope doesn’t accomplish anything. A physical problem can be solved by applying the right resources, but a human problem can’t be solved except when the affected humans change their attitudes or behaviors.

I am grateful to him for articulating something I’ve always felt in my bones, but couldn’t put into words.

When “little jokes” became real life tyrannies *UPDATED*

Robin Williams Johnny CarsonLast night, I spent a few minutes watching Robin Williams’ 1981 appearance (his first) on Johnny Carson’s tonight show.  It was very weird to look at it over a distance of 33 years.  I remember watching it in real-time back in 1981, and thinking Williams was the funniest man I’d ever seen.  This time, while still admiring his great talent, my knowledge about the past few decades got in my way and prevented me from laughing very much.

There were several creepy things about the appearance (creepy in retrospect, I mean).  Despite Williams’ ostentatious riff about the fact that he didn’t do drugs, it was clear that Williams was coked up to the gills.  Knowing that he was chemically augmented made the laughter come less easily this time around.  He also made a joke about being herpes free, which was ironic given that, in 1986, a woman sued him because, in 1984, he infected her with herpes — while cheating on his wife.  Whoops!

What struck me most, though, was that Williams made a little joke about Ronald Reagan.  (That wasn’t the surprising thing.  Robins has made jokes about Republican presidents since 1981.  Indeed, when I saw him some years into the Obama administration, he was still making Bush jokes.)  Then, immediately after his very little joke, he made another joke about the fact that he was now worried that the IRS would be knocking on his door.  Indeed, he made that little IRS joke twice.  As far as I know, the IRS never did knock on Williams’ door during those administrations in which he slammed Republican presidents.

Things are different now.  In 2009, it was the President himself, not a comedian, who made a joke about the IRS stifling dissent.  And voila!the IRS goes after dissenters in a brutal way that would have delighted any head of a modern bureaucratic tyranny.  Suddenly, Williams’ little IRS joke isn’t so funny anymore.

UPDATE:  And in the same vein, Tom Elia asks if there’s even more administration thuggery going on than the headlines would suggest.

If you find the subject interesting, you can also check out two Noisy Room posts, since Terresa is masterful at gathering data:

The persecution of conservatives in Hollywood

The new Progressive McCarthyism

Understanding scandals — it’s not what’s done, it’s who’s done it that counts

His Girl FridayI haven’t been much of a Chris Christie supporter lately.  In the beginning, I admired his ability to stand up to the teacher’s unions.  Since then, I’ve decided that this was less a principled position and more a reflection of a highly aggressive personality.  Outside of the unions, he’s too much of a RINO, and I’m suspicious about his Saudi ties.  He’d be a better president than Obama, but that’s a low bar.  If he ended up on top of the Republican ticket opposite Hillary, I’d vote for him, but primarily because Hillary would finish the job Obama’s done, and anything is (I think) better than that.  So that’s my view about Chris Christie.

What I want to talk about here is the scandal.  It seems that nothing has ever happened before that’s been as thrilling as the fact that a Republican governor’s employee had a nearly unspoken agreement with another of the governor’s employees that, if a Democrat mayor ticked them off, they’d use their power to create traffic havoc in his town.  (For punsters, we finally have a “toll-gate” scandal.)  A 91-year-old lady whose ambulance got stuck the traffic jam died later, and her death could be attributed to the delay.  (Only God knows for sure.)  The whole affair is nasty, unprincipled, and petty.  The employees deserved to be fired, and Christie fired them.  The media is having what Matt Drudge describes as a feeding frenzy.  Fine.  It’s their job to sell the news.

But what about a few other scandals that probably could have sold news too?

A Secretary of State, despite repeated pleas from an ambassador in one of the world’s most dangerous areas, refuses to heighten security.  The ambassador and three others die.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s diplomatic mission in a foreign country is attacked.  Four people die and unknown numbers of confidential documents vanish.  The besieged nation’s President Secretary of State speak once and then both refuse to explain their whereabouts.  Rumors are that the president went to bed early to prepare for a campaign event.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A president deputizes one of his employees to go on Sunday talk shows to explain that an attack on its diplomatic mission, which left four dead, including an ambassador, occurred because of a 10-minute YouTube video that was perceived as being uncomplimentary to Islam.  To add an air of verisimilitude to this otherwise unconvincing narrative, the administration trumps up charges to arrest the video’s maker, in what many see as a blatant attack on free speech in the service of Islam.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

An Attorney General arranges to have hundreds of guns smuggled into Mexico.  There are two theories about this, neither good. The first is that the guns were supposed to be traceable, so as to track gun and drug crime coming out of Mexico, but that the AG’s incompetent employees forgot to add the necessary electronics.  The second is that the AG deliberately released weapons into Mexico to support his anti-gun campaign.  “See,” he would say.  “We told you that our nation’s guns are despoiling the world.”  In any event, the guns with the AG’s name on them killed one of his own border agent as well as hundreds of Mexican civilians.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s troops, most notably its Marines, sweat, and bleed, and die in a terrorist-ridden town in Iraq.  Their success there helps turn a years’ long war around, paving the way for a simulacrum of democracy in a country whose people lived for decades at the mercy of a sadistic tyrant.  It’s not true democracy, but it’s close enough; people are experiencing relative freedom for the first time in their lives; and the government is relatively friendly the liberating western nation.  At the end of WWII, faced with this situation, the victorious nation stuck around for another 60+ years to hang onto that victory.  This time, though, the president walked away without a second glance and without any effort to secure hard-won gains.  Two years after the president declared, not victory, but “war over,” that same town has once again fallen to the terrorists.  The president is silent.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s people learn that the government is spying on their every communication.  It started before the current president, but has escalated madly during his administration.  Even some media outlets learn that the government has been spying on their telephone calls.  One would think that this outrage would encourage them to reconsider their blind faith in the current administration.  It does not.  After a few huffs and puffs, the media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s tax-collecting agency, which is it’s most feared and powerful agency, turns out to have been engaged in a systematic effort to silence all conservative and pro-Israel speech.  The timing shows that the effort was manifestly intended to disrupt the 2012 presidential election, and it may well have done so, giving a squeaker of an election to the candidate from the Democrat-party.  All people of good will, regardless of party, should be horrified by this type of partisan overreach from a nation’s most powerful agency.  The media, however, is unperturbed.  It does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

Beginning in 2009, a president tells his people a series of bald-faced lies.  The documentary evidence shows that he knew that they were lies when he told them.  That is, it wasn’t ignorance or wishful thinking on his part.  Instead, he was running a scam.  This giant fraud begins to unravel on October 1, 2013, and with every passing day, the public learns more about the administration’s lies, incompetence, and cronyism.  This knowledge is made manifest in the most painful of ways, as millions of people lose the security of insurance plans, doctors, and hospitals, even as they are being forced to pay more money for fewer benefits.  Although the media dutifully points out the problems in the first month, by the second month, it returns to lap dog status, crowing about thousands of sign-ups, with scant attention to the fact that it’s unknown whether those who signed up have actually paid  for new policies.  The same media downplays the certain fact that more people have lost beloved policies than gained lousy ones under the new system.

Yes, I tried to keep that nation’s identity anonymous, but you’ve figured it out.  The nation in which a president and his administration, through a combination of fraud, lies, and incompetence, have caused people’s deaths, wasted military deaths, destroyed a functioning health care system, spied on its citizens, and possibly corrupted election outcomes, routinely gets a pass from the media.  Our MSM does just enough reporting to lay claim to some credibility as a “news” outlet, and then ignores as hard as possible whatever issue could hurt a Democrat president.  The whole thing is declared “over” after Jon Stewart, through selective clips, announces that Fox News is insane.  The media heaves a sigh of relief, and goes back to guarding the administration.  That system, of course, doesn’t apply when a vaguely Republican governor is tied to a traffic jam (admittedly, a malicious, unprincipled traffic jam).  In that case, the 24-hour news cycle kicks into overtime.

Looking at today’s headlines, I’d have to say that the biggest scandal of them isn’t either Christie’s toll-gate or Obama’s just-about-everything-gate.  Instead, it is the fact that we have a Democrat lap-dog media that still has the temerity to call itself a “free press.”