The GOP and the Fiscal Cliff

Here is a crazy and bold prediction: à la the 1994 government shutdown, no matter what happens with regard to the "fiscal cliff", the GOP will get the blame. Just as the right was fingered as the culprit for the housing bust even while they were sounding the alarm about the need for more regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so too they will be blamed for any detrimental effects of the fiscal cliff. Republican options for dealing with this issue include:

  • stay true to their values and pledges of smaller government and lower taxes;
  • put forth reasonable solutions such as the Ryan Plan;
  • agree to return to the full panoply of the Clinton era taxes;
  • put forward the Simpson/Bowles plan as a compromise;
  • just vote "present" and let the Dems march forward unresisted;
  • leave DC and hole up at the Best Western Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Illinois;

But, it doesn't matter what the GOP does short of registering as Democrats and feeding grapes to Nancy Pelosi, they will be castigated by the Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media (DLEMM) and those on the left as obstructionist and intransigent.

And this will happen even though the left boldly proclaims their intransigence on a daily basis:

  • Before the election, Harry Reid said, "Mitt Romney's fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his 'severely conservative' agenda is laughable."
  • Harkin and Rockefeller asked Obama to "reject changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that would cut benefits"
  • The Congressional Progressive Caucus said that entitlements are off the table
  • Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, said in a speech that under no circumstance would there be any entitlement reform.  
  • Krugman says, "Mr. Obama should hang tough, declaring himself willing, if necessary, to hold his ground even at the cost of letting his opponents inflict damage on a still shaky economy. And this is definitely no time to negotiate a 'grand bargain' on the budget that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. So stand your ground, Mr. President, and don't give in to threats. No deal is better than a bad deal."
  • A pundit opines, "The president can win, without doing anything. He does not have to give an inch. Not an inch!"
Are these the voices of bipartisanship and compromise?  

The left sets up a situation where "negotiation" means something like 'You can choose any color you like as long as it is blue," and then accuses the right of stonewalling if they desire any color other than the shade of blue that the Dems are promoting. They are all for compromise so long as it is the GOP that does the compromising.

However, If the GOP compromises here - and by compromise I mean choosing the preselected, preauthorized positions of the left that are not open to compromise - they will just be yielding more ground to the all-encompassing entitlement state and will be part of the problem.  They will fix nothing and only slightly mitigate the slowing economy, higher taxes on everyone and increased debt. But worst of all, if there is even a trace of GOP DNA on the deal - GOP good intentions notwithstanding - the DLEMM and the left will pin all negative outcomes on the right and the GOP will bear the political consequences of failed policies no matter who authored them (e.g., housing bubble).

Since most agree that we are approaching the cliff at a high rate of speed, the GOP should let the left own the 'solution'. Many on the right argue against this because of the inevitable destruction resulting from leftist policies. But since our Thelma and Louise moment is nigh, will nudging the wheel so that we enter the atmosphere at an angle somewhat less than 90 degrees change the outcome? Will insisting that the windows remain rolled up before we sail off the cliff make the car any more drivable once we reacquaint ourselves with terra firma?

How could the GOP let the Dems own the solution? First, the GOP should set forth details about what they would do if they had control of all three branches. Second, they should propose Obama's own budget and tax plan with a nice acronym like AIRBORN, or FORWARD and vote "present". Lastly, the GOP should then let the Dems propose anything they like and vote "present".

The first move would establish a benchmark.

The second would, as much as possible, remove the ability of the DLEMM and the left (but I repeat myself) to blame and demagogue the right's attempts to inject sanity. And there is little likelihood of passage since Obama's plans have gone down in flames before. 

The last move would allow the Dems to wholly own the solution by letting them propose solutions without resistance. By removing the resistance, the Democrats would be forced to realistically deal with their own proposals. It is very likely that without a great Satan to battle against, the Dems would self-moderate rather than relying on the GOP to provide the moderation for them (as well as a scapegoat) and come to rest on something like Simpson/Bowles. A self moderated outcome may share many aspects with the Republican benchmark and the GOP could enjoy an 'I told you so' moment. But even if the Dems don't moderate their extreme positions, by voting "present" on anything the Dems propose the right gets absolution - not from the DLEMM or the left, but from their base and their conscience.

GOP moderation and compromise only serves to prolong the inevitable. Just as Democrats often stand in opposition to and protest against economic reality, we may be at the point where Republicans are standing in defiance of Schumpeter's reality, and they should, if reluctantly, step aside and allow creative destruction to do its work.


The Infinite Womb

An IEET article observes that Juntendo University researcher Yosinori Kuwabara "predicts that a fully functioning artificial womb capable of gestating a human fetus will evolve in the near future." Cornell University's Dr. Hung-Ching Liu who has successfully implanted and grown mouse embryos in a lab-created uterine lining says it could be as soon as 2020 for animals and 2030 for humans.

The article notes that "In an unusual twist, this technology offers justification to pro-lifers in the abortion debates." How so? A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend asked the following question:
Let’s say we build a machine that’s a perfect simulation of a womb. It can take a human egg and sperm and replace the need for a woman to carry it. However, the machine is scalable, so that it can carry the human through the entirety of its development, all the way to the point where the cells naturally break down and stop working (i.e., through adulthood, old age and death). If the human never leaves the womb, and goes through all the same phases of development that you and I do, at what point do we consider it alive? Do we ever consider it alive?
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pelletier20121113The current state of affairs is a strange moral place where the worth of the fetus is determined solely by the mother. If she wants to keep the baby, the fetus is infinitely precious and you can be prosecuted if you harm the "child in utero". However, if the mother decides she doesn't want the child, the fetus is determined to be no more important than a wart.

It is an odd thing that this one person determines the worth of another living thing. Even a dog's worth is not determined by its owner - just ask Michael Vick. Right, wrong or indifferent, this situation is certainly odd and unique.

But my FB friend's question calls attention to the 'magical birth canal' sophism - i.e., there is something magical about the infant leaving the birth canal and taking a breath that validates its sanctity or humanity or its life. This is presumably why some docs can perform partial birth abortions because so long as the face is not exposed and a breath is not taken the child is not considered fully human and the activity is not considered infanticide.

If this current way of thinking is applied to the artificial womb scenario, it would appear the object growing in an artificial womb would not be considered human or 'alive' unless and until it took a breath of outside air or the mother deemed it so.

Applying the current ethos to the artificial womb reveals how ridiculous the current thinking on this matter can be. Add to that the potential to more readily observe the fetal development - albeit maybe not as transparently as the womb galleries depicted in the image provided with the article - and the likelihood of earlier and earlier application of the 'life' or 'baby' moniker increases. Just as ultrasounds affect the way a mother now views the developing fetus within her womb, so seeing the developing human form would certainly affect future observers.

However, one suspects that abortions could become increasingly rare for those using artificial wombs as the purposefulness of the sans-sexual insemination process would move it ever closer to former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders' wish that every child be a wanted child. If women could harvest eggs and store them for future artificial insemination in artificial wombs and be rendered functionally sterile with birth control, the need for abortions due to accidental pregnancy could theoretically be eliminated. And it is difficult to imagine a couple purposefully initiating the artificial womb process and then pulling the plug at some later stage of development - that is, those who were careful and purposeful.

One can just as easily imagine a world in which individuals desire the natural birthing process, careless partners not preventing pregnancy, or those without access to birth control still using the "dark and dangerous place" for gestation.

However, having the parallel option of artificial wombs would certainly bring clarity to the double standard that is debated even today. On the one hand it would be easy to understand that a vandal who removes the fetus from the life giving sustenance of the artificial womb could be easily charged with murder. What would not be so easy to understand is why the woman who separates the fetus in her womb from her life giving sustenance would not be so charged. If those two cases are not equivalent, then one is tacitly stating that an artificially produced child has more right to life than a naturally gestated fetus.


Big Government Means Bigger Business

Newsflash: The rich are already rich. Higher tax rates don't prevent them from being or becoming rich. The wealthy are less concerned with higher tax rates because they will avoid taxation by shuffling their wealth around and by collaborating with government to ensure their position. Higher tax rates will not prevent GE and the Hollywood effete from acquiring wealth – they have already ascended. Large corporations are natural allies of heavy handed fiscal policy because they are better positioned to influence government in their favor and better able to reposition themselves financially and globally in order to skirt or avoid taxation. Big business is the natural ally of big government.

Tax rates do, however, have a mitigative effect on those moving through the economic continuum. In free societies people are not restricted to the class into which they are born. Unlike most economic systems throughout the world, capitalism allows for infinite mobility through the economic spectrum. But onerous tax regimes – and worst yet, being told that the system is rigged against you – can have profound and devastating effects on those trying to climb the economic ladder.

One of the better aspects of the 'creative destruction' of capitalism is the possibility of unseating the power structure. If the influence and control by the government is relatively weak then there is less ability for a group that has the policing power of the state to influence, collude and control. At the very least, corporations can be toppled by the next guy with a better mouse trap. Simply put, if WalMart is functioning in ways that offend your sensibilities, you can spend your dollar elsewhere. If government is doing a poor job, good luck trying to change that.

When a controlling bureaucratic labyrinth exists, the rich and powerful will seek to impose their will with the force of law. The small guy doesn't have the same ability to influence the heavy hand of government as the wealthy. Sure the little guy gets one vote. But the wealthy get that same vote plus a lobbyist. This is the impetus that motivates those with the notion of smaller government. It is mystifying that so many vote for larger government to control the economic and social reigns while thinking it will lessen the influence peddling.

Ironically, those who seek to lessen the shipping of jobs overseas, the consolidation of power and wealth into the hands of a few and reign in corporate behavior with taxation, caps, restrictions and regulation often make the problem worse. One must be careful when ceding power to the government or imposing one's will via government mandate to not just intend to do good.


Republican Obstructionists

From Bob via Taranto:

Seems to me one of the less talked about casualties of Biden's sneering, mocking demeanor is the credibility of the notion that the reason things haven't been getting done is because the 'Republicans are unwilling to work with the Democrats.' Biden destroys the illusion that the Democrats can be conversed with reasonably, respectfully and in good faith.

UPDATE: Harry Reid isn't interested in working with anybody with whom he disagrees. But it is the GOP that is obstructionist.

"Mitt Romney's fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his 'severely conservative' agenda is laughable."

Mr. Reid flatly ruled out following Mr. Romney's agenda, saying he and his colleagues have already voted down many of those proposals, including House Republicans' budget, written by Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.

UPDATE: Oops.  After the election that kept him in the majority, Harry Reid is all about getting things done, cooperation and compromise.


VP Debate: Who's Religious Interpretation is Omniscient

Last night during the debate the second to the last question put to the candidates asked how their Catholic religion informed their views on abortion. Two things struck me as I listened. First, both men say that Catholicism informs their views. Both said that the church doctrine says life begins at conception. Biden said that he would not let church doctrine override a woman’s ability to choose and Ryan said that he would not let church doctrine interfere with exceptions of rape, incest and health of the mother. Looks like total agreement so far. So the only things I can see that may differentiate the two are their thoughts about late-term abortions and who pays for it. If I understand it correctly, the GOP position is that late-term abortions should be discouraged or prevented and that taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill. Is this the crazy, snake-hair, arm-waving, clothes rending, maniacal, Tea bagging, woman-hating, misogynistic, Big Bird slaying, wacko policy that is to be resisted at all costs?

One wonders in our current climate that if the same religious doctrine informs both of them and they conclude different things about whether we should do in the womb what would never be done outside the womb as well as different notions about who should pay for this activity, does that mean one or the other is a liar? Also, Biden said:
But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body.
This thinking obviously ends somewhere. I doubt that Biden would make the same comment in support of Peter Singer’s idea that a newborn should not be considered a person until 30 days after delivery and therefore ‘aborting’ or killing disabled babies within 30 days of birth would be a moral good. Would Biden in that case refuse to impose his views, religious or otherwise, on peoples of other faiths? I should think not.

BTW, it is a curiosity that a) the left is not so interested in “choice” when it comes to reforming the education of children via vouchers, reforming healthcare, reforming health insurance, reforming MediCare, reforming Social Security, voting for unions with secret ballots, etc., and b) as Prager notes,
The human fetus has no worth except for what the mother says it has. If she thinks it is worthwhile, it's infinitely precious. If she doesn't, it is infinitely worthless. It is a very odd moral scheme. It applies nowhere else in life, where one individual determines the complete worth of something else. We don't even allow that for dogs. We don't say dog owners determine the worth of dogs. But human fetus owners determine the worth of a fetus. It is a fascinating development in the degradation of our value system.
So, of course Biden and the left would impose their views if post birth canal abortions were proposed. (Although, as Ryan noted, "The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized and wouldn’t second guess their one child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations." This might cause one to seek clarification from Biden and the left on the post birth canal abortion issue.) By confronting the Singer dilemma we see that both Democrats and Republicans are willing to impose their notion of morality on others via legislation. (This is the old “We’ve established what kind of girl you are, now we are just haggling over price” gambit.) In the case of abortion, we are just publicly discussing when that imposition will happen and where legislative lines will be drawn. For Dems to pretend that they aren’t drawing lines, imposing their moral will and legislating morality is self-delusional. All participants in politics want to impose on others as much of their morality as possible, and no group is more insistent on that than the left. Which brings us to the second observation.

Biden noted that his Catholic faith “has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help.” We know by his statements and policy preferences that this means the state should take from some and give to others in the name of compassion. Why is it that he does not feel the same restraint for this imposition of religious charity on “devout Christians and Muslims and Jews” - as well as the groups he left out, including atheists - as he does for abortion? Where is the wall of separation that is lauded by those on the left? Why is it acceptable to impose this aspect of his religion on others while imposing restrictions on actively extinguishing the life of a human is not acceptable? (If you think that assessment is overwrought, he said that he accepts the notion that “life begins at conception” - I did not put those words in his mouth. If he really believes that life begins at conception, then at the very least he thinks that abortion is the ending of nascent human life.) Is Mr. Biden really arguing that the state should be the charity arm of the Catholic church?

So Biden and the left are pro-choice on extinguishing nascent human life (and, incidentally, for teacher's unions to invest heavily in Bain and other risky Wall Street schemes) but not pro-choice on how you can educate your children, health insurance, medical care, end of life decisions, Social Security, etc. He is consistent on one thing though: who it is that will pay for all of this.

This is an election that involves larger themes: the size and nature of government; limited powers v statism; individualism v collectivism; liberty v egalitarianism; the locus of charity; E pluibus unum v multiculturalism. Those concepts and choices are fairly clear. Unfortunately, most of the conversation is focused on personal character assassination and the tit-for-tat of dueling experts.


Coming Out

Stacey DashThe Blaze reports that Stacey Dash has Tweeted that she will vote for Romney. Of course this is not how a dignified black woman should act.

This stuff inevitably devolves into name calling of the black person that dares to reveal conservative thoughts. They must be of questionable character if they share the 'white man' thinking of the Founding Fathers that includes limited government, morality by religiosity, E pluribus unum and liberty. One side thinks skin color (aka, genetics) determines how a person should think about government and economics. One side thinks if you don't think like them, you are an Uncle Tom or a traitor to your race. What it is about dark pigmentation that means there is some genetic predisposition of the cranial cellular matter that suggests it is more racially consistent to believe in leftist ideas rather than conservative ideas is somewhat bewildering – or, said another way, raaaaaacist. These are the ramblings of the KKK. To say one must vote or think according race is literally – and not in the way that Vice President Biden uses the word literally – racist.

That blacks of today consent to the idea that there is some appropriate or race-centric way of thinking is astonishing. If whites spoke words such as these, they would properly be dismissed as racists. But I guess the right doesn't need to be as overtly racist as the left because they sneakily toot those racist dog whistles – that, oh by the way, only the left can hear.

Believing that genetics dictate ideology is why the left can say that Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Shelby Steele, JC Watts, Juan Williams, Clarence Thomas and others are not only not 'black leaders', but are sellouts. (Oddly, only angry, aggrieved blacks, gays, women, etc. can be 'leaders'.) One is not true to his race if he does not think as the left thinks. How stupid $#!% like this can be said out loud in this day an age boggles the mind. Surely they must then also believe that genetics dictate who is Catholic, prefers Chevrolets and thinks children should be spanked.

Furthermore, this sort of thinking is not only racist tribalism, it is a lie. How so, you ask? Ask anyone who says that you must vote for Barack Obama because he is black whether they will uncritically and publicly support Clarence Thomas because he is black. Of course they won't. They don't want you to support just any black; you must support a black person of the left.

Have you ever seen media types who get thrills in their leg for Obama have similar feelings for Thomas and sing from the rooftops how great it is that a black man rose to such a high station in life and what that may say about the country in which it happened? In contradistinction, commentators on the right are critical or supportive of people no matter what their race based on their ideas. Herman Cain is an ideological friend because of shared ideas and values, not because his DNA says he has relatives from a certain part of the world. Al Sharpton isn't disagreed with because of his skin color, but because conservatives disagree with his ideology. Again, a simple test can demonstrate whether these claims are true. Would conservatives all of a sudden love the policies of the last four years if Joe Biden were the president? Of course not. But the left thinks it is purely racism that animates the right's disagreements with President Obama.

People on the right aren't interested in the color of your skin, they are interested in your values. If you share values, skin color is of no consequence. Ever been in a church that isn't preaching black separatist, er, liberation theology? Blacks and whites arm-in-arm in support of shared values, not shared skin color. The left is obsessed with race, gender and class. The right is interested in values.

The day that these balkanized, aggrieved groups begin to feel that America is likely the best – not perfect, but a damn sight better than most – place on the planet for blacks, Hispanics, women, gays, Muslims, immigrants, illegal immigrants, etc. to live, is the day the individuals in these groups might reconsider their voter registration. That coupled with realizing that those who are not politically like them really aren't the stupid, ignorant, mean-spirited, war-mongering, selfish, greedy, hateful, nativist, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, bigoted, intolerant, fascist, misogynistic and hypocritical SOBs that the left says they are, is the day they stop voting for leftists – or at least consider the discussion coming from the other side of the aisle. Isn't attacking the humanity and character of those who aren't like you a form of bigotry?

This woman might wilt under the scathing pressure of these mean, bullying and unkind attacks on her character and humanity. It is hard to withstand the fire hose of enmity that seeks to take out any black that strays too far from the plantation. I hope she can channel Rosa Parks and stand firm.

UPDATE:  Good for her.


So True

One wonders what happened to the land that Lincoln envisioned that was a government of the people, by the people, for the people...


Worth of a Fetus

Prager notes:
The human fetus has no worth except for what the mother says it has. If she thinks it is worthwhile, it's infinitely precious. If she doesn't, it is infinitely worthless. It is a very odd moral scheme. It applies nowhere else in life, where one individual determines the complete worth of something else. We don't even allow that for dogs. We don't say dog owners determine the worth of dogs. But human fetus owners determine the worth of a fetus. It is a fascinating development in the degradation of our value system.


Bain Charlatans

This graphic and audio is making the circuit on Facebook. The post asks the reader to view the super secret tape to find out that Romney is trafficking slaves or some such.

What exactly is going on here? Romney observed that America is ridiculously wealthy compared to the world. True. He notes that Chinese life is so bad that working for a pittance is a vast improvement and highly desired. True. If you went over and saw this, wouldn't you too say largely the same thing? But giving women equal-pay-for-equal-work jobs that are highly sought after - so much so that fences are required to keep those who want the jobs out to maintain order - is called slavery by demagogues.

If the right demagogued like the left they would say that it is the Dems who don't want to improve the lives of anyone other than Americans and unionists in particular. Or that the left says "To hell with women and gays in Iraq," or "Too bad if girls get acid thrown on them if they dare to act like something more than a dog." Or, in this case, that Dems would rather have girls in China starve than have good paying jobs.

If somebody moved into a rural America and began building computers there because they could pay the workers less (but still great pay for the area) thereby driving down the cost for consumers, wouldn't that be a great thing? (Happened. Called Gateway.) Wouldn't that be great for the workers? And consumers? Not to those exercised by this video. That would be slavery.

And tell that same story outside the borders of America and you're a villainous cretin who hates. Isn't there something just a bit racist, nationalistic or xenophobic about that? Give Americans a manufacturing job and your are Jesus Christ come to earth. Give anyone else a manufacturing job and you are Satan the outsourcer. Dare not give Indians, Tibetans, Africans or Koreans a job. Screw them. Where is all the social responsibility and global community talk then?

But, thankfully we can just follow the money and that should reveal who is behind this horror show of slavery. (Follow the trail of tears here, here and here.) Oops. Apparently the left loves Bain when it makes their pensions larger and  when they are gambling with granny's retirement money on risky private investments that would never work for Social Security, even though government pensions typically don't pay into Social Security because they've got their money tied up in private investments because they don't want to rely on that dumb government Ponzi scheme that won't provide the retirement they desire.

Aren't these wealthy corporations that fund Chinese slavery everything that they accuse Romney of being? Wouldn't they have been pissed if Romney lost all their money by not being a good capitalist when he was at the helm? Does that make them hypocrites? Greedy? Outsourcers? Aren't they funding the work of the devil?

The beauty of being on the left is never having to say you're sorry. They get to demonize and accuse people of horrible things and then go do those things they demonize.



Klavan notes:
Romney is caught on tape saying that nearly half the country is on government assistance and will vote for Obama to keep the dole coming. In related news, a video is unearthed of Pythagoras saying that the square of the hypotenuse of the right triangle is equal to the sum of the square of the two adjacent sides.

Once again, the media goes blitheringly insane.
If everything said wasn’t gathered up and shoved into the gotcha grinder, many on the left would likely assent to this statement. They would make a few tweaks, but the equation would be the same. Stated another way, 'Obama caught on tape saying that nearly half the country is getting tax breaks/loopholes/kickbacks/corporate welfare/etc. and will vote for Romney to keep the dole coming.' I am certain that such a sneakily hustled quote from a clandestine meeting in dimly lit, smoke filled room that revealed such insider discussions would be almost too shocking to hear. But luckily, the media wouldn't go blitheringly insane over that.

Coulter also considers the crazy idea that net tax receivers might actually keep voting their wallets as Dems constantly tell us to do:
At a private gathering, Romney told donors that Obama had a lock on the 47 percent of voters "who pay no income tax" and "believe the government has a responsibility to care for them." This was deeply offensive to people who pay no income tax and believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.
Is what Romney said largely different than what has been attributed to Alexander Tytler?:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From Bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage


The Bigotry of Low Expectations

Weren't we told that the unrest in the Muslim world was the fault of George W. Bush and his ham-fisted foreign policy?

Since America has now adopted a posture of "leading from behind", deference to world bodies, appeals to the "international community" to do what America used to do and foregoing public interaction with the Israeli Prime Minister, why hasn't resentment toward America abated? Could it be that non-Muslims are reviled because of their infidel status and cultural openness?

Is anyone walking on eggshells around other religious groups? If not, is this an admission of having a different moral expectation of Muslims than for Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Hindus, Confucians, etc., etc., etc.?

Is there any other religion/culture on the face of the earth for whom the response to violence and murder would be "We understand your pain and are sorry that it was caused" instead of "What the hell is wrong with your moral compass"? Doesn't this reveal that Muslims are not regarded as moral equivalents and therefore cannot be spoken to as moral peers?

Does anyone expect the autonomic response of American Christians to abortion to be rioting and murder? Does anyone expect the autonomic response of the black community to skinheads to be rioting and murder? Does anyone expect the autonomic response of the homosexual community to offenses to be rioting and murder? If the answer is anything approaching a no, doesn't this presuppose that their value system prevents this sort of behavior? Why doesn't this same moral expectation exist for those engaging in mayhem in the Middle East? Why is one group expected to act in a developed, advanced moral manner while the other is not?

Did culture and values (as opposed to politics and economics) have anything to do with informing a population that an appropriate response to a religious offense is to riot and commit murder? If yes, was the media wrong in its assessment of Mitt Romney's remarks vis-à-vis Israelis and Palestinians?

The left attempted to detach Nidal Hasan's rage from his values and culture and was left with blaming his actions on pre-post-traumatic disorder – yet another external influence that overwhelmed culture. No explanation was given for how yelling "Allahu Akbar" while committing murder may have played into the day's events or suggested a cultural mooring.

And yet, the media had no problem indicting culture - conservative culture - on behalf of Jared Loughner when they blamed his behavior on a culture of hate and provocative right-wing rhetoric. Of course, their premature musings were completely false, but hey, being in the media means never having to say you're sorry. Even if true, was Loughner somehow less responsible for his actions?

One wonders if the Uni-bomber, Code Pink, OWS, SEIU thugs who beat a conservative black, Bill Ayers, G20 protesters, Black Panthers and that guy who shot up the Family Research Council did what they did because of their personal culture and values. Or maybe they had a tummy ache or were externally provoked in some way. Would FRC be excused if they acted in riotous ways since they have been called a hate group? One supposes there would be excuses galore for Muslim violence if an American religious group called the Muslim extremists in the Middle East a hate group, and God forbid, posted it to the internet.

The left wants it both ways. Their darlings are relieved of personal responsibility for their actions and only do things as a reaction to some external stimuli. The left wants to pretend that certain behaviors are not informed by culture, values or even, as Jonah Goldberg has noted in his recent book, ideology. But when the right does anything, whether violent or not, it is from a culture of hate, corrupt values and warped ideology. The thing is, the right would agree – sans adjectives – that they operate from a learned culture that promotes certain values and leads to certain ideologies and that it is precisely that culture that elevates man above animals.

Does the left really believe that animalistic defensive response is equal to or better than culture? Do they believe that Muslims are cultureless animals that have not yet learned to control their reflexive impulses? Probably not, but the left gets to this tricky spot because they are unwilling to admit that some cultures are better than others. Calling Romney's comment about culture vis-à-vis Israel and Palestine a gaffe confirms their aversion to acknowledging western culture as better. So does their dismissal of the right's disciplined nationalism as xenophobia. (Although, listening to the Democratic Convention speeches, there was a lot of 'America is the best', 'no other country on the planet is as good as America' talk. Does that make them xenophobes too?)

The left treats Muslims like children – albeit violent children that can do great harm. Yes, we want to respect the beliefs of others and there is no reason to be overtly provocative or mean. (The Westboro Baptist jackasses come to mind.) But while disagreeing, everyone assumes that their opponents will act responsibly while battling over ideas. The left believes this about American Christians. They know without a shadow of a doubt that they can say anything about American Christians and not fear that their property, livelihoods or lives will be in danger. The left knows that the culture and values of the Christian community prevents them from acting in riotous and destructive ways.

However, the left does not maintain this set of assumptions about Muslims. Why? Because the left knows that Muslims either do not profess such a mitigating culture and/or do not act in ways that suggest they are constrained by a culture and values that eschews violent behaviors and respects the rights of their fellow man. The left's speech is stifled and they are constantly self-censoring in order to placate the hair trigger Muslim world.

But, to be fair, in certain areas the right also interacts with a particular group in the same manner that the left treats Muslims. Because of fear of financial destruction through boycotting (Chik-fil-A), losing their job (political correctness), poor grades in school (speech codes), character assassination and bullying (racist, bigot, sexist, homophobe, hater, etc.) physical occupation of parks and bridges and disruption of business (OWS), or being hauled off at midnight for a little, ahem, questioning (link) – just to name a few examples – the right often is bullied into not speaking freely for fear of retaliation from a group that seems to be unfettered by cultural and value driven ideology that would assure decent disagreement.


Embassy Attacks

I recall a media that mocked President Bush for not hysterically jumping up from the classroom of boys and girls to attend to the 9/11 attack. Measured response was dismissed as the chin drool of a man barely able to sound out the words contained within the pages of a children's book to the budding minds gathered at Emma E. Booker Elementary School. They mocked him when he decided to not play golf in deference to the soldiers. They told us why his actions in the aftermath of Katrina proved his racism, stupidity, avarice and lack of concern for his fellow man. Where are those seers of the heart today? Tink, tink, tink. Michael Moore? Are you there? Why haven't you provided the Farhenheit 411 on Las Vegas hob nobbing while an American Ambassador's body was drug through the streets in some far away land? Was the media too busy working other important stories?

The Obama camp was certainly busy... noting that Romney was being all political and stuff. Obama campaign Press Secretary Ben LaBolt wrote:
We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.
No word on whether the Obama camp is equally as shocked about doing fundraisers of a political nature in such times. I guess what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Steyn looks at the propriety of fundraising über alles here. He also commented on the spontaneity of the uprising and whether the Libyans were as helpful as we were lead to believe:
The 400-strong assault force in Benghazi showed up with RPGs and mortars: That’s not a spontaneous movie protest; that’s an act of war, and better planned and executed than the dying superpower’s response to it.

For whatever reason, Secretary Clinton chose to double down on misleading the American people. “Libyans carried Chris’s body to the hospital,” said Mrs. Clinton. That’s one way of putting it. The photographs at the Arab TV network al-Mayadeen show Chris Stevens’s body being dragged through the streets, while the locals take souvenir photographs on their cell phones. Even allowing for cultural differences, this looks less like “carrying Chris’s body to the hospital” and more like barbarians gleefully feasting on the spoils of savagery.


Existence of Israel

Lileks on Israel:
Okay then. Here’s something you might not hear; the BBC ran this a few days ago.

In post-occupation Iraq being gay, or even looking gay, can be a death sentence.

It's very difficult to determine how many homosexuals have died in so called "honour killings" by their own families or in the hands of the militias. But a BBC investigation has found that law enforcement agencies are involved in ongoing, systematic and organised violence against gay people, while the government refuses to acknowledge it.

Once targeted, most gay people in Iraq have nowhere to hide. There is only one safehouse in Baghdad which can house three people.

Aaaand I add that to the story about the Taliban killing a bunch of people because they danced, and think: forgive me if I add these anecdotes - isolated, non-representative, of course - to a large store of similar events, and draw some generalizations which may pop to mind when embassies are overrun. Again.

Forgive me if I note that one culture has a debate about allowing gays to marry, and another that seems to have concluded a debate about whether they should live.

And pardon the fargin’ hell out of me if I dare to note that the signature value of the West these days, Tolerance, is best exemplified in a tiny hangnail of a nation which stands apart in its neighborhood for letting gay people live lives, instead of gathering everyone else to watch their lives ended - and that this nation, according to a smart and cultured and Western-educated Huffington Post contributor who blithely tweeted disregard over the death of our ambassador, should just please STFU and die. She writes:

Israel has no right to exist. Break that mental barrier and just say it: “Israel has no right to exist.” Roll it around your tongue, tweet it, post it as your Facebook status update – do it before you think twice. Delegitimization is here – have no fear. Palestine will be less painful than Israel ever was.

Don’t worry about what will happen, though.

And no, nobody hates Jews. That is the fallback argument screeched in our ears – the one “firewall” remaining to protect this Israeli Frankenstein. I don’t even care enough to insert the caveats that are supposed to prove I don’t hate Jews. It is not a provable point, and frankly, it is a straw man of an argument.

She doesn’t hate Jews. How could she? Nobody hates Jews. She just wants their homeland dismantled and its residents scattered to - well, somewhere. Take it up with Germany, she notes. Fiddle-de-dee.

Read the comments, as the right-thinking folk of the West line up to applaud her. No doubt some of these people posted it as a Facebook update, leaned back from the keyboard, and felt that rush you get when you know you’ve finally shed some archaic inhibition that kept you from doing what you wanted to do.

It’s okay. You were fooled. You were misled. No one hates the Jews. As for the Yids, the Queers, the lower forms of life known as women - it'll all sort itself out once the millstone of Oppression is lifted from the breast of the Oppressed.

So that’s what we’re supposed to believe: good will abounds in the world. It flows from the human heart in unstanchable quantities, but now and then things happen. Bad things. Someone makes a movie. Someone dances in public. Someone sits with his wife in a Pakistan McDonald’s. The adults have to step in and make things clear. Calls have to be made. Speech has to be ceased; videos have to be blocked. If you don’t jazz the rabble they’ll come around. Any day now.

Any day.


Less Increase Than Dems = On Your Own

Jonah Goldberg notes:
Government grew massively under President Bush. He was a bigger spender than any previous president going back to Lyndon Johnson. He massively expanded entitlements, grew food-stamp enrollment (almost as much as Obama did) and nearly doubled “investments” in education. He created a new Cabinet agency -- Homeland Security -- and signed into law sweeping new regulations, like No Child Left Behind, Sarbanes-Oxley, and McCain-Feingold.

This, according to Democrats, amounts to telling Americans “you’re on your own.”


Marriage For All

Isn't this the inevitability of redefining marriage?
Hollywood director finds it acceptable for people to commit incest.

In an interview with The Wrap, director Nick Cassavetes believes no one should judge a brother and sister being with each other if they are in love.

“I’m not saying this is an absolute but in a way, if you’re not having kids – who gives a damn? Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want?” Cassavetes told The Wrap. “If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another.”
If procreation is the singular barrier, one supposes that an incestual gay couple is the ideal. And if, as we are told, love is the only criteria for redefining marriage, how is Cassavetes' conclusion wrong? Certainly incestual marriage does not threaten traditional marriage.

If those in favor of redefining marriage do not include Cassavetes' view or polygamous relationships, are they not telling certain groups who they can love? Everybody is defining societal customs by defining marriage - Democrats and Republicans alike.


Julian Castro

During the Democratic National Convention, Julian Castro gave the keynote address on Tuesday. At one point he went into a call and answer mode where he made proclamations and sought a "no" response from the audience. It went like this:
When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to respecting women's rights, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, "No."

Actually, Mitt Romney said, "Yes," and now he says, "No." Governor Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain't pretty. So here's what we're going to say to Mitt Romney. We're going to say, "No."
Even though assertions are a dime a dozen, these deserve a closer look. Most of his assertions fall flat when countered with "Based on what?". The first assertion devolves into a muddled mess when this question is asked. Keynesians and Austrians may disagree on the stimulative effects of their policy proposals, but on what basis does one conclude that one or the other doesn't want to 'get the middle class back to work'?

Moving right along, the second assertion is emblematic of the demagoguery of the left. The 'women's right' spoken of here was personalized by Sandra Fluke's presence at the convention. Apparently, all women's rights and healthcare issues are reduced to unlimited access to abortions and free birth control. Would anyone be taken seriously if they argued that the canary in the coal mine for men's health or men's rights is the availability of free condoms? So much for nuance.

The next call prompting a "no" response is a non sequitur ad absurdum. The left continually says that wanting to define what constitutes marriage in a society is equivalent to telling people who they can love. This is nonsense on stilts. Many people claim that they love multiple partners and would like the state to sanction this by legalizing polygamy. By not sanctioning this, is the state forbidding the love that underlies the desire to marry multiple partners? Why isn't the gay marriage crowd as vociferous on behalf of polygamists or incestualists? If two brothers claim love for each other and want their loving relationship acknowledged by the state, can't they similarly claim that the state says "no" to allowing people to marry whomever they love? Since many Democrats oppose sanctioning polygamy and incestual relationships, are they in the same boat that Castro puts Romney? Nobody is telling anybody who they can love. Everybody is defining custom for society by defining marriage - Democrats and Republicans alike.

Discussing the ability for a society to pay for all the medical care that individuals in that society may want could be described as saying "no" to expanding access to good health care. But so could everything that is limited by financial reality. If a person is not able to have not just a car, but the car of his desires, is this saying "no" to access to good transportation? By explaining that bankruptcy might be the result of providing every person the home of their desires at the expense of fellow taxpayers really saying "no" to access to good shelter?

And then Castro goes all in. He chides that Romney was for expanding access to good healthcare before he was against it. Is this really where he should go given the Democratic presidential nominee has only recently 'evolved' to support gay marriage only after he said "no" after previously saying "yes"? Does Castro feel that Obama has undergone an ugly extreme makeover?

Castro's speech ain't pretty.


Notable Quotable

The left is pro-choice on extinguishing nascent human life, but it is not pro-choice about where you can send your child to school.
~ Dennis Prager - 2012 09 05 - Hour 2 - 3:40


Demócratas Por La Raza

On Tuesday night Julián Castro spoke at the Democratic National Convention. His mother Maria del Rosario Castro was a member of the La Raza Unida. Of course, this doesn't mean he holds the same views, but his speech presented nothing to suggest otherwise. While musing about involvement with La Raza, Prager noted:
Many on the left are sympathetic to La Raza. Interesting that the left would support a group called "the race". The left is not opposed to racism. They are opposed to Americanism.
~ Dennis Prager - 2012 09 05 - Hour 1 - 13:45

Mexican flag over US flag
The National Council of La Raza is often portrayed as nothing more than a Hispanic Rotary Club. (Source) Fine. Would this explanation hold if a group of high schoolers that gathered on behalf of shared Anglo heritage, called their group The National Party of the United Race, and replaced the American flag with a, say, confederate flag with the American flag inverted below?

Not likely.

This thought experiment reveals the truth of Prager's comments. Consistency might demand that all organizations based on race be eschewed. But that may be too much to expect from a party that supports an overtly, objectively and definitionally racist organization that operates in Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus.


Racist Code

Michelle Malkin provides a list of words that are the code of the GOP secret society. If you have ever said things like "angry," "Chicago," "constitution," "experienced," "food stamp President," "golf," "holding down the fort," "kitchen cabinet," "Obamacare," "priveleged," "professor" or "you people," then you too are sneakily using racist code. Even Clint Eastwood's skit at the Republican National Convention where he spoke to an empty chair was "racist", "white man putting dirty words into mouth of black man like a puppet" and a “minstrel show.” These sinister "dog whistle" moments are just the evidence that VP Biden could use to close the case that proves that the GOP wants to put blacks back in chains.

Lori Ziganto at Twitchy notes, "The funny thing is, it is the racist Left who hears them." Her point that the Pavlovian response seems to be missing among the faithful Republican bigots who seem tone deaf to the whistling while the left is particularly deft at hearing the unheard is driven home by James Taranto:
The thing we adore about these dog-whistle kerfuffles is that the people who react to the whistle always assume it's intended for somebody else. The whole point of the metaphor is that if you can hear the whistle, you're the dog.
The left is constantly accusing the right of racist motive and intent no matter what the right does. Everything is racist. You are a racist if you use a moderator's first name. You are a racist when you say that people should work a job rather than take food stamps. (And as Gingrich asked Matthews, “Why do you assume food stamp refers to blacks? What kind of racist thinking do you have? You’re being a racist because you assume they’re black!”) You are a racist if you are against the President's policies. You are a racist if you support a black man for president. You are a racist if you talk about problems that afflict certain communities. You are a racist if you don't talk about problems that afflict certain communities. You are a racist if you use racist language. And if you don't use racist language, you're using code and are a racist. And if you don't hear the code, you are a racist. And if you deny you are a racist, it is proof positive that you are a racist. When teachers expel students for their behavior, the left cries racism. If you think culture might have anything to do with the problems in the Middle East, you are a racist. If you don't speak at the NAACP you are a racist. If you do, you are throwing red meat to your racist supporters: (Well, only if you are on the right. The left can go, or not, and if they don't go it just means they were busy that day.) It doesn't much matter what your track record is, if you oppose the left, you are a racist. To the left, the popularity of conservative blacks such as Herman Cain, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Steele, Thomas Sowell, Allen West, Clarance Thomas, JC Watts, Armstrong Williams, Colin Powell, and Mia Love only proves the deep racism within the GOP.

But if you are on the left, you can't possibly be racist. No matter what you say or what policy you support. No matter how contemptuous you are of members of a race. You can even say out loud that certain people by virtue of their skin pigmentation are not capable of getting, or shouldn't be expected to get, an ID. That might seem racist, but no, it isn't if you say it from the left. (How is it that asking for ID be discriminatory only when it comes to voting?)

Forward Obama
Forward to the past

It is the right that thinks more highly of citizens and treats them all the same as though there is no difference, no matter what their skin color. It is the left that treats racial groups with contempt by having lower expectations for them. But somehow it is the right who is blamed as the racists in the leftist's world. One wonders how much of this is the projection of the left. When you are on the left, you can say the most hateful, racist things about blacks and be thought of as 'progressive'. You can even say that the GOP wants blacks in chains or that they should be hanging from trees.

So in the end, the right embraces people of all races and background with whom they share values while the left obsesses on race and hears the dog whistles. For whom then does the dog whistle toll?

UPDATE (9/1): Mark Steyn's column on this issue. Some takeaways:
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews declared this week that Republicans use “Chicago” as a racist code word. Not to be outdone, his colleague Lawrence O’Donnell pronounced “golf” a racist code word.

Mr. Akselrod now says it was a “typo.” Could happen to anyone. You’re typing “neighborhood,” and you leave out the “i,” and the “h” and “b,” and the “o” and “r” get mysteriously inverted. Either that, or your desktop came with Al Sharpton’s spellcheck. And then nobody at the campaign office reading through the mailer spotted it. Odd.
When you don’t have frighteningly white upscale liberals obsessing about the racist subtext of golf, it’s amazing how much time it frees up to talk about other stuff. For example, as dysfunctional as Greece undoubtedly is, if you criticize the government’s plans for public-pensions provision, there are no Chris Matthews types with such a highly evolved state of racial consciousness that they reflexively hear “watermelon” instead of the word “pensions.” So instead everyone discusses the actual text rather than the imaginary subtext.

UPDATE (10/5): Peanut butter jelly sandwiches, chair, and many other words have been added to the dog whistle list.  I guess this cover by the New Yorker makes them racist too:


Romney the Despicable Bigot

Soooo. President Obama cracks wise about Romney carrying things on his car that aren't windmills:
I know he's had other things on his car.

Romney volleys back with:
No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.

Meanwhile, VP Biden is making references to Republicans wanting to put blacks back in chains:
...going to put y’all back in chains.

Nancy Pelosi chimes in with (previously noted):
You could depend on the government for one thing — it was about, you had to be able to trust the water that our kids drank and the food that they ate. But this is the E. coli club.

A Democratic SuperPAC blames Romney for killing a woman with cancer:

And who is "resorting to some of the basest, most despicable bigotry we can imagine" and "scraping the very bottom"? Of course it is Romney.

I guess this is just the sort of filth Rep Rangel was talking about when he said,
"If you want to win, you’ve got to play this filthy, obscene game."


Akin's Offense

John Podhoretz makes a good point about the nuance and difficult nature of holding serious and deeply moral positions. The moral grappling by those who hold the uncompromising pro-life view is sincere and heartrending.

Those that mock the earnest pro-life position mistake certitude for imperfect principled struggle. Surely one can appreciate the pro-lifer agonizing with the two horrible conditions of pregnancy by rape and what they perceive is murder. Often the pro-lifer concludes that the sanctity of human life narrowly outweighs - not eliminates - the other considerations. Serious thinkers must wrestle with competing principles. One wonders if those who mock this view of human life ever give credence to the internal moral struggle of the pro-lifer.
What strikes me, though, is the offense Todd Akin has given—not just to victims of rape, but to his fellow pro-lifers. The most difficult moral issue when it comes to abortion comes with cases of pregnancy due to rape and incest. (These are, relative to all live births, extraordinarily small in number.) The pregnancy in such circumstances is not only unwanted but the result of a barbaric and traumatic criminal attack. And yet consistent pro-lifers argue such pregnancies should not be ended by abortion. This is usually held up as an example of their fanaticism, or their cruelty, or their desire to punish women, or some other charge.

In fact, though, it is precisely when it comes to these most difficult cases that the underlying philosophy of the pro-life movement finds its moral strength. They argue that the unborn possess an independent right to life, that one would and should not do to them in the womb what would never be done to them one second after they were born alive. Wanted or unwanted, conceived in love or in violence, they are ensouled and they are people.

This is not a conviction I share, but it is a conviction for which I have enormous respect.
And as an aside, how is it exactly that publicly repudiating a man and pleading with him to drop out of his race for the Senate comes to mean that Romney and Ryan are in “lockstep” with Akin?


Newsweek: Hit the Road Barack

For the left, having an anti-Obama Newsweek cover is like using a church as a stable.
~ Jonah Goldberg


Oh Mother! Reid is a Liar.

Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones says that Harry Reid is a liar and contemptable. Who are we to argue?
It's Time to Stop Celebrating Harry Reid
—By Kevin Drum | Tue Aug. 7, 2012 7:31 AM PDT

Here is Harry Reid on Mitt Romney's taxes: "I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for 10 years." PolitiFact rates this a Pants on Fire lie.

An awful lot of liberals disagree. Typical reasons include sophistry ("PolitiFact doesn't know that Romney paid any taxes"); revenge ("Romney's been telling lots of lies, so why shouldn't we?"); disingenuousness ("All Romney has to do is release his tax returns to clear this up"); or lying as a virtue ("Politics ain't beanbag").

Come on, folks. Reid didn't say I'll bet Romney didn't pay any taxes. He didn't say he talked to someone familiar with high earners who told him Maybe Romney won't release his returns because he didn't pay any taxes. He made a flat statement of fact. He said he has an "extremely credible source," which in this context means someone with direct knowledge of Romney's taxes who decided to pick up the phone and dish about it to Harry Reid. Does anyone really believe this? Really? Then, as if that weren't enough, Reid made his little bluff even less plausible by deciding that Romney didn't just avoid all taxes for one year, he avoided them for ten years. Yeah, baby, that's the ticket! Put these two things together with the fact that Reid hasn't even tried to make his fairy tale sound believable (it's just some guy he talked to) and this is not a story that a five-year-old would credit. It's just Reid making stuff up in order to put pressure on Romney, and I think we all know it.

Can I prove this? Of course not. Given the epistemological limits of proof, I can't prove Barack Obama was born in the United States either. Nevertheless, I feel safe saying that anyone who claims to have an "extremely credible source" that Obama was born elsewhere is either crazy or lying. The same is true for Reid, and Reid isn't crazy. It's simply vanishingly unlikely that he's telling the truth, and no one — not liberal or conservative — would spend even ten seconds on a story so patently far-fetched if it were anybody but Reid and the background were anything but the frenzy of a presidential campaign.

Politically, of course, Reid's ploy has worked like a charm. Romney's taxes are back in the news and Romney's ham-handed handling of the whole affair has kept it there. And that gives everyone a fifth reason to cheer on Reid: the end justifies the means.

Take a deep breath, folks. This is contemptible stuff and it's not just business as usual. We've spent too many years berating the tea partiers for getting on bandwagons like this to get sucked into it ourselves the first time it's convenient. It's time to quit cheering on Reid and get off this particular bus.

Couple this with Bob Schieffer comparing the obsession with Mitt Romney's tax returns to the McCarthy hunt for Commies and it starts to look like the left is growing weary of this smear too.

This was quite a bold step for Schieffer and good for him for at least trying to make the point that this is a witch hunt. But Ann Coulter clarifies that McCarthy was at least correct in his assertions as compared with Reid's baseless accusation.

But even with this history lesson by Coulter, the bigger point is still standing unnoticed in the middle of the room, as pachydermic ideas tend to do. This 'when did you stop beating your wife' style accusation (Lawyers refer to this method as "ringing the bell," because you can't un-ring a bell.) is about as un-American a concept as ever existed. It makes a mockery of the presumption of innocence.
The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred to by the Latin expression Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof lies with who declares, not who denies), is the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty. Application of this principle is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, recognised in many nations. The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution,...
That Reid and many others on the left are not disturbed by unsubstantiated accusations and asking the accused to prove the negative is depressing. The burden of proof is with Reid, not Romney. Furthermore, he understands that the IRS would have already referred Romney to the Department of Justice if anything illegal had occurred.

Reid is not stupid. But that he so recklessly tosses aside basic rule of law for political gain demonstrates that political victory is a higher value for him than truth.


A New America

The President identified a "new vision" for America that is the reason he is re-running for office. This as yet unrealized new America is a place where "you can make it here if you try" in spite of these supposed impediments:

  • no matter who you are
  • no matter what you look like
  • no matter where you come from
  • no matter what your last name is
  • no matter who you love
Now, President Obama is a smart man. Does he really believe these conditions are roadblocks to 'making it' in America? He is a black man, who has made a point of publicizing his Kenyan roots, who's name is anything but John Smith, and who is, of all things, the President of the United States.

Then he goes the extra mile of setting up the straw man of love, that his opponents, who lack this 'new vision', are clearly against. Does any conservative care who you love? No. They may care about the definition of marriage, but nobody is interested in telling anybody who they should love. And besides, this is not impeding 'making it' for anybody. By all accounts, gay couples do quite well in America.

So one wonders, is admission to a college helped or hindered by, for example, an Hispanic surname? Did a Cherokee background - no matter how fractionalized - high cheekbones and fry bread recipes enhance or diminish Elizabeth Warren's credentials at Harvard? Did Harvard and Warren hide or exploit this information? Did Obama and his literary agent think that his Kenyan heritage tarnished or brought prestige to his book or his stint as the president of the Harvard Law Review?

One is a bit misinformed and a bit unaware if this vision is considered the 'new vision' for America. Should a black man with the name Barack Hussein Obama who is the President of the most powerful country on earth really be pretending that this is the most important issue he can think of to define his run for a second term? As he surveys the American scene, this is the problem that rises above all others?

Of course this is just more race card politicking, but more than one person in the crowd cheered this as though it were some new revelatory statement.

As is so often the case, Obama holds every position. In the speech referenced above Obama is encouraging everyone to try to make it. But on other occasions he is quite critical of those who have made it and believes that "I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money."


Ayn Rand and Mao

So let me get this straight. Paul Ryan citing Atlas Shrugged, the novel by Ayn Rand, is proof of his radical, hate-filled agenda. But Anita Dunn citing Mao, the butcher of 70 million, as one of her favorite political philosophers demonstrates her breadth of knowledge, wide ranging inquisitiveness and general sophistication?

And anyway, it appears that President Obama is getting a lot of his material from Atlas Shrugged:
There’s no such thing as the intellect. A man’s brain is a social product. A sum of influences that he’s picked up from those around him. Nobody invents anything, he merely reflects what’s floating in the social atmosphere. A genius is an intellectual scavenger and a greedy hoarder of the ideas which rightfully belong to society, from which he stole them. All thought is theft.
That is a passage from the book but sounds very much like what President Obama has been saying recently.  His 'you didn't build that' proclamations seem eerily familiar; more from the book:
He didn’t invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he?


Rearden. He didn’t invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn’t have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it’s his? Why does he think it’s his invention? Everybody uses the work of everybody else. Nobody ever invents anything.
Harry Binswanger in his Forbes article continues:
The collectivists rely on two implicit premises which they dare not make explicit.

1. If you do not create everything, you create nothing.

Since Thomas Edison didn’t discover electricity, invent glass, learn how to forge metal, and devise language, he didn’t invent the light bulb. An artist doesn’t create a painting because the pigments are already there on his palette. A child putting together Lego blocks is not building anything because the Lego blocks were provided for him.

The only act that would count as creation is making something out of nothing–creation ex nihilo.

In fact, creation is precisely the re-arrangement of materials into a new and more valuable form. Building is precisely the assembly of pre-existing materials to form a structure that didn’t exist before.

2. Here’s the second collectivist premise. When an alleged creator pays for the goods and services of other individuals, he has actually stolen them from that anonymous collective which is “society.” The artist who buys his pigments in an art-supply store has actually appropriated them from “society”–including the welfare recipients he is taxed to support. When Steve Jobs benefited from the discoveries of William Shockley and the other inventors of the transistor, he actually was appropriating discoveries made by “society”–including Lee Harvey Oswald and Bernie Madoff.


Blame the Right

If a person of the left who "has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner," and "had been volunteering recently at a community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," shoots innocents at a politically active organization of the right then the shooter is acting out frustrations and we should try to compassionately understand what may have driven a person to commit such a heinous act. Or he just "expressed a disagreement with the group's conservative views" during a "scuffle". For sure, it is "an anomaly, something very rare and very random." But you really can't know for sure if ideology motivated the shooter.

Similarly, if a man shoots fellow members of the military in cold blood while shouting "Allahu Akbar", then the shooter is possibly suffering from "secondary trauma", was sadly "swept up in patients' displays of war-related paranoia, helplessness and fury," snapped in advance, perhaps had a “toothache” that set him off and "It's unclear if religion was a factor in this shooting." But you really can't know for sure if religion motivated the shooter.

However, if we know nothing about a person and that person opens fire on innocents and nobody can figure out why he may have done what he did, the shooter must be a right-wing wacko who is deeply disturbed as the result of right-wing hate. Because "violent acts are what happen when [Republicans] create a climate of hate" and the fomenting and agitating by right-wing wackos like Palin, Limbaugh and Beck. Research consists of Googling shooter's name and the words "Tea Party" while forgetting to search for the name and "Occupy Wall Street". Tweets from those on the left tell us it is OK to score political points by connecting the Tea Party, Republicans and anyone close to the right to murder sprees, whether perpetrated by those on the right or not, because the "Bottom line is that policy decisions are driven by scoring political points."

I guess they didn't read the last paragraph of Michelangelo Signorile's, Editor-at-large of HuffPost Gay Voices, column wherein he admonishes, "What no one should be doing is exploiting this tragedy to make political points or to attack an entire group of people because of the actions of one man."

Strangely missing are the lectures about polarization, heated rhetoric or overdue conversations. No connections to those on the left who share the rostrum with the President and with fist-pumping fury tell the audience that "There can only be one winner", "And, let's take these son of a bitches out..."

The lack of self-awareness is breathtaking. The double standard is, well, standard. And all of this from those who fancy themselves to be psychologically sophisticated and uniquely able to see nuance.

Link, link.