Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hannity Lights Up Muslim Congressman for Lies and Smears

Sean Hannity took on the media last week in a tour de force that should forever and always dismantle any argument that the mainstream or “legacy” media is objective. With such a large viewing audience, the hour-long special should cause some serious discomfort in “journolist” circles. There are a few other circles to which I’d like to introduce some discomfort. That’s why I hope Hannity will expand on a theme he ripped into with some gusto earlier this week, when Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison visited the Hannity show for the first time ever.

Things got a little heated.

Hannity is firing on all cylinders when, with the persistence of a hungry pit bull, he attempts again and again to bring Ellison back to the reality, reported by the 9/11 Commission, that radical Islam is at war with us. Ellison did not want to agree with that wording, squirmed, tried to insert the phrase “Al Qaeda” instead of radical Islam, finally was badgered into agreeing, then recanted and substituted the phrase “Al Qaeda” again.

What is Ellison’s problem? Hannity didn’t even ask him to say Islam was at war with us (which, by the way, it is). He offered the politically-correct “radical” Islam phrase. But Ellison can’t go there, because it conflicts with his narrative that “we’re at war with all violent extremists,” whether they be “Muslim, Christian or Jewish.”

You know, like the Christian terrorists who blew up the U.S. embassy in Lebanon in the name of Jesus. Or the Jewish terrorists who brought down the plane over Lockerbie in the name of God. Or the Buddhist terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship and threw a wheelchair-bound elderly man overboard in the name of Buddha. Or the Hindu terrorists who killed a bunch of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in the name of Shiva. You know, violent extremists like that.

Ellison’s unwillingness to call a spade a spade is stomach-turning, and Hannity’s persistence in revealing that reluctance is admirable, as was his insistence that Ellison provide a concrete example of his claim that Fox News, using what Ellison referred to as a “common right wing tactic,” is trying to inflame religious conflict.
Hannity pressed again and again for an example. After dissembling that he didn’t come on the show to debate things he’s said (what did he think Hannity was going to ask him about – cupcake recipes?) offering the smugly arrogant insight that maybe, presumably with his appearance, Fox was finally turning over a new leaf… stating that Hannity already “knew” what he did wrong (“you know what you guys broadcast”)… after all that, Ellison finally offered the utterly pathetic “proof” that Fox inflames conflict: When Hannity talks about terror, he always attaches the word “Muslim.”

Let’s assume that’s true. Why would Hannity do that? Hmmm… could it be the U.S. embassy in Lebanon? Lockerbie? The Achille Lauro? Munich Olympics? How about 9/11? How about the thousands upon thousands of terror attacks both before and after that pivotal date?

How about the fact that every last one of them was done in the name of Allah?

That is why, Rep. Ellison, that Mr. Hannity wants you to acknowledge the danger of (radical) Islam. To even imply that other faith traditions are equally worthy of our concern is an insult to intelligence. If you went camping and didn’t take precautions to protect against an attack by a hungry bear, because you wanted to be equally sure you took precautions to protect against an attack by a hungry bluebird, or a hungry earthworm – you’d probably end up getting eaten by a bear. ‘Nuff said.

The King hearings on the radicalization of Islam are “bear attack” precautions. We all know bears have attacked, do attack and will attack again. To spend time discussing possible bluebird threats is not only silly but dangerous.

Speaking of the King hearings, Hannity took Ellison to task for his gross mischaracterization of a Muslim paramedic who died in 9/11. Ellison claimed, during tearful testimony, that this man had been maligned as “one of them” – as a terrorist. Ellison used this alleged unfair treatment as the basis for his argument that the hearings presented the same kind of ignorant bias. Except, as Hannity pointed out, the 9/11 paramedic was lauded for this service to America and mentioned by name in the Patriot Act. Again going on the offensive, Hannity repeatedly asked Ellison to explain why he misled the American people during his (literal) sob story. The best Ellison could come up with, under pressure, was that the man’s family had told him that “some people” had said hurtful things.

What? Stop those hearings immediately! We can’t have any hurt. Stop the madness!

Hannity also took Ellison to the woodshed for his bogus comparison of Rosa Parks to the folks building the Ground Zero mosque. This is truly a case of leftist analogy #FAIL. I’m sorry – did I miss where Rosa Parks’ friends bombed some buses and killed a few thousand Americans in order to further “black power”? Because if that happened, I wouldn’t be a big fan of her sitting next to me on the bus, either.

As for those who opposed the mosque, Ellison used the classic leftist ploy of “when I called those people bigots, I didn’t mean all of them – just the ones who are bigots.” Uh-huh. Ellison says some people opposed the mosque on good faith, whereas others are just bigots. Hey, Rep. Ellison, I can play that game too! Try this: People who act as apologists for bloodthirsty terrorists make me sick! Of course I don’t mean all people who act as apologists for bloodthirsty terrorists – just the ones who do it on TV.

As strong as Hannity’s challenge to Ellison was, next time he has the congressman on we’d really like to see him raise the subject of Islamic stealth jihad organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In particular he needs to be asked about the Muslim Brotherhood’s secret document An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America which lays out a plan for conquering our country from within.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Oval Office Is Not Enough - But the World Might Just Do

Well, he thinks he can.

Obama’s something of an enigma. Despite publishing not one but two autobiographies, his history and motivations are still cloaked in shadows. Conservatives argue: Is he incompetent? Savvy? Overwhelmed? Brilliant? How about evil? These questions are dismissed by both well-meaning (read: ignorant) liberals, and their more malicious and deliberate “swallowed-the-koolaid” leftist comrades. They dismiss questions about Obama’s history or motivation as racially motivated. After all, Tea Party types weren’t complaining till a “black man” got elected, right?

Like virtually every other argument the Left posits, this involves faulty reasoning. It is true that a sleeping giant appears to have awakened over the past few years, and much of that movement, clearly polarized by President Obama, has organized itself around the Tea Party. It is also true that of the millions who have been involved in conservative and Tea Party causes, approximately 0.000021 percent of them have exhibited actual racism (as opposed to the Left, where attacking someone due to their race is a perfectly legitimate political tactic).

The reason that President Obama woke the giant has nothing to do with his skin color (for the 9,783,216th time). It has to do with his virulently hard-left agenda, which despite the best efforts of the leftist lapdog media, was leaking out, bit by bit, even before he was elected. Since he took office and began ramming that agenda down America’s collective (ha ha) throat, a number of intrepid individuals have researched and chronicled and – well, PROVEN what he’s all about. But the most crucial question, brought up today by Leon de Winter over at Pajamas Media, is this – is the White House merely a stepping stone for him?

I argued in a post earlier this week that, despite the dismay of the Left, Obama’s political ambitions at times dictate that he downplay his class warfare, wealth redistribution, nanny state, America-hating agenda – but make no mistake, it’s still his agenda, and it doesn’t take a seasoned reporter (or an unintended hot microphone) to reveal it. On the contrary, almost every time he opens his mouth he illustrates his utter contempt for most Americans (bitter clingers to guns and religion) and his slavish (ha ha, I said slavish) adherence to a new world order in which we all share the wealth. He also hasn’t been particularly shy about demonstrating the overweening arrogance that is the invariable accompaniment to that worldview; indeed, the biggest leftists (Soros, Gore, Michael Moore, and yes Obama) always excuse themselves from the sacrifices they want everyone else to make.

But my argument, that Obama will do anything to stay in power now so that he can have unfettered access to mucking up our country from 2012-2016, may have taken too limited a view of his ambition – a mistake not made by de Winter:
“I started to understand the fascinating phenomenon of Barack Obama when it suddenly dawned upon me that his present office may not be his final ambition.”
What? Don’t all good former presidents move on to (best case) hyping their presidential libraries or (worst case) meddling in current affairs and being mildly irritating troublemakers (hi, Jimmy Carter!)? I mean, once you’ve been president, it’s all downhill from there… right? Right?
“Obama and his team try to transform America and reorganize society around the concept of social justice. A transformed America will, naturally, lead to a completely different balance of power in the world. Internal change will create external change. The vacuum left behind by a weakened U.S. — a world without a superpower, a globe of equal nations — should be filled by a new transnational body. This is the core dream of every progressive ideologue.”
And what better leader could there be for this vision than one who, at that point, will indeed bring a wealth of executive experience to the cause.
“Does Obama, in word and deed, start to make sense when one starts to understand that he sees his role from a vantage point far above the presidency? Beyond the White House, there is a world for him to gain. What he achieved in Washington he could repeat on a global scale… In order to save the world from devastating global warming and climate change — and, indeed, all fatal consequences of capitalism — the restless progressives in the world are uniting. Obama is well prepared to position himself as their prophet — or messiah. Internationalism, global governance, America the evil — these are ideas Obama has absorbed for year after year… Obama knows precisely what kind of America he envisions. He wants to mold a certain type of America in order to mold a certain type of global governance. For that, he needs another term to reach his goal.”
Could de Winter be way off base? Sure, as he acknowledges. Unfortunately, his scenario cannot be dismissed as deranged conspiracy theory. Too much of it is already in play; too much of it is abundantly evident. That the Left has this as an ultimate agenda is indisputable; that Obama is a product of those teachings is also not in question.

So we have two choices. (1) Obama is destroying the free market and dismantling freedoms in a well-intentioned but misguided effort to make our country a better place (Hope and Change™). Or, (2) He’s got a bigger office in mind than the Oval.

In a way, it doesn’t matter which is true. He must be stopped. But if our president does have grand designs on becoming World Potentate, a negative 2012 outcome will slow him down considerably. That is a goal toward which we must all most diligently apply ourselves.

To that end, remember the distinction I noted at the beginning. Well-meaning liberals vastly outnumber True Left Believers, whose fierce zeal indeed aims for exactly that scary picture de Winter paints – America eviscerated, transnational governance for Our Own Good. So the key to writing a happy ending is engaging the well-meaners – the people currently blinded by Obamic “charisma” who don’t see the darkness ahead. These are people who, with blinders removed, still embrace the promise that is America. Let’s win their hearts and minds.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Feelin' Your Pain: The Left Utterly BETRAYED by Obama's Crass Re-Election Gambit

They loved him so, so much.

The True Believers over on the Left are awash in a sea of insecurity, anxiety and unhappiness these days. Their Anointed One, their Savior (and no, I’m certainly not talking about Jesus, although the individual I have in mind does seem to think he can walk on water), has turned out to be not quite as unsullied, ideologically, as they imagined. In fact, they are questioning something that was previously accepted unquestioningly – Obama’s birth certificate. Oops no. They’re still not questioning that. What I meant to say was, they’re questioning Obama’s credentials as a True Believer himself.

Salon.com writer Glenn Greenwald is arguing, in fact, that Obama isn’t really a big fan of leftist (they call them “progressive”) outcomes. He points to Obama’s agreement with last week’s budget deal, as well as the President’s launch of a third Middle East war, as signs that Obama is (gasp!) more interested in getting re-elected than he is in real Hope and Change™. He says Obama is moving to the center, maybe even to the… Right!
“Adopting ‘centrist’ or even right-wing policies will always produce the same combination – approval of independents, dilution of GOP anger, media raves, and continued Democratic voter loyalty – that is ideal for the President’s re-election prospects.”
Well, he’s partly right about the strategy. If Obama really were moving to the center or right (which he is not – more on that below,) he might defuse some GOP ire, and he might gain the approval of the more mushy-headed independents who think that being as close to the middle on any given topic is somehow morally superior to having an actual conviction. As for continued loyalty from the media or Democratic voters, that’s a no-brainer no matter what Obama does. The “legacy” media and Obama are Best Friends Forever. And Democratic voters… well, let’s just let Greenwald say it himself – because he’s pretty angry that 2/3 of Democrats supported the budget deal:
“Why would Democrats overwhelmingly support domestic budget cuts that burden the poor? Because, as [fellow Lefty blogger Matt] Yglesias correctly observed, ‘just about anything Barack Obama does will be met with approval by most Democrats.’”
Of course it is! If they don’t approve, they’re racist! DUH.

(As an aside, Greenwald also points out that these alleged centrist policies keep corporate and banking money on Obama’s side, “where it overwhelmingly was in 2008.” Hey, Glenn, thanks for stating that so clearly. I’ve said it numerous times but nobody on your side seems to believe me.)

Anyway, I’m not sure if Greenwald is really buying his own “maybe Obama was never our True Leader” schtick, or if he’s just playing with smoke and mirrors because his analysis utterly ignores the reality of Obama’s first term – both the next couple of years and the last couple.

Face it – the man was elected on a hope and change and transparency and we’re-going-to-do-things-differently and we’re-going-to-bring-folks-together platform. Anyone not completely dumbed down by their public school education had reason to question these vacuous platitudes, but clearly the “great conciliator” was presented to us over and over again by the media, the Democrats, and the larger Left.

The media pointedly and thoroughly ignored all evidence that Obama was most likely a card-carrying socialist, and they and the Democrats made sure that anyone who questioned his “centrist” tendencies was an object of harsh mockery. This has been painstakingly documented by Stanley Kurtz in his outstanding piece of reportage, Radical-in-Chief. Obama’s voting record (the leftiest-possible), his associations (lefty terrorists) and his background (immersion in far Left organizations) was whitewashed and glossed over.

But the far Left knew what they were getting, which was exactly why they were so excited!

He came to Washington and immediately started acting exactly like a socialist. He rammed through Obamacare, pushed unprecedented spending, and told Republicans to piss off (“I won”).

We come to today. With less than two years to go in his term, an American public that is in some cases openly hostile to him, a new GOP House, and Tea Partiers putting up one helluva fight against both him and any RINO-types he may have courted in the past – he has to back off. We all know he risks an ignominious personal defeat in 2012 (since he just had an ignominious group defeat in 2010) unless he backs off his alliances with the far Left, and again woos his “centrist man-in-the-middle let’s-all-work-together” image.

Greenwald’s right about the crass political move. He’s wrong about the motive, if he really thinks Obama’s not interested in the leftist agenda. I have no doubt that Obama is cravenly ambitious. All one has to do is research his early election behavior to know that he’ll stop at nothing to win. Greenwald’s correct that Obama is a political animal.

But this alleged move to the center, or to the right, is as unsubstantial as fairy dust. Obama’s putting on an act, again – it’s his wildly successful election persona. And it is a necessary “evil” he must endure in order to have a clear playing field in 2012. Does anyone really think that the man behind the biggest lurch this country has ever made toward socialism is really modifying his ideology? Of course not. He is merely attempting to stay in the game. He can’t win it if he’s not in it.

But this time around – both recent history and his behavior should illuminate the socialist behind the persona. And speaking of cracks in the persona – being forced to play a role he doesn’t like may be the motivation behind his recent well-documented testiness.

So, Mr. Greenwald, you can rest easy. Dear Leader is still a True Believer. He just has to throw a few (meaningless) bones to the Bitter Clinger side – so that he can ultimately achieve his Higher Purpose. Take a deep breath and relax. Your leftist dreams are still within grasp.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Merry Taxmas! Happy Taxivus! The Top 5 Insane Taxes We Are Forced to Pay

As the week winds down to the big climax of Tax Day 2011, leftists are getting in the holiday spirit. They can be heard humming their favorite holiday tunes (“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Tax Day”?) as their excitement mounts over what Obama Claus will put under the Tax Tree for all the good little Boxers and Franks. Who’s on his naughty list? Let’s just say bad boy Paul Ryan won’t be getting any holiday goodies in his Tax Day stocking.

Oh, wait. He wouldn’t have a Tax Day stocking, because nobody in their right mind is actually celebrating April 15. (Though, this year taxes are actually due this Monday on April 18. Go figure.)

But it does seem like a good time to take stock of the most foolish and in some cases insane ways the Left employs crass political gamesmanship in stealing our money. After all, they need a whole lot of it to satisfy their insatiable hunger for government spending, and feeding this beast requires annoying us with taxes at every turn.

First up: Sales taxes on stuff you didn’t even buy

5. California (surprise!) cell phone tax

Your old cell phone has seen better days and so it’s with a spring in your step that you head over to your local cell provider store, knowing that you have FINALLY reached the date on which you can upgrade to the new slick super-duper state-of-the-art touchscreen smartphone. Even better – your cell provider is offering the latest/greatest phone for a song, so long as you re-up your service contract. No worries there – you like the service and don’t plan on switching.

So you buy your new $500 phone – but you only pay, say, $100. At the state sales tax rate of 8.25% (higher for those unfortunate enough to live in cities that tack on even more), you’ll pay an additional $8.25 in taxes. Ah, well. Anyway, you can’t wait to get home and start playing with all the nifty features and apps on your new device!

Whoa, there, intrepid cell phone buyer. Hold on a minute. You’re in California! Here in the Golden State, Governor Moonbeam and his kind, who are not dealing in reality, think that you should not be dealing in it either. So we’re going to PRETEND that you actually paid the full $500 for that phone. Which means your add-on tax will be $41.25, thank you very much – nearly half of what you actually paid for the phone.

This has been an actual true story. Had this been just an example of a true story, I would have more money in my bank account right this minute. And, my blood pressure would be lower.

Next: Vacationing won’t lower that blood pressure…

4. Vacation (or business travel) taxes

So, I found a great deal on a rent-a-car for the weekend. Sure, it’s a peanut-sized vehicle which will risk the life of everyone foolish enough to get inside and hurtle down L.A. freeways, but the price is right – $12 a day!

Whoa, there, intrepid car renter. Hold on a minute. There’s the little matter of some taxes and “fees” to be added to that price which will nudge it up, just a wee bit. Surely not half again as much, like in our cell phone story, right?

Of course not! Try more than double. That’s right! The real per-day price of my rental car, after the airport tax, tourism tax, facility tax, state tax, and vehicle license fee recovery tax (?) is a whopping $25.39. Meaning my 3-day weekend wheels which I thought would run me around $36 will instead inch a whole lot closer to $80. And the rental car website has the chutzpah to say this, right under my “grand total”:
“Additional surcharges, local taxes, etc. may apply.”
Additional? What more could they add? WTF, as the kids say.

But hey. At least I can relax when I get to my hotel. I booked a sweet deal online for a swanky place – I saved up so I could stay at this resort and I got a killer deal… just $200 a night.

Whoa, there, intrepid hotel visitor. Hold on a minute. There’s the little matter of the “tax recovery and service charge” tax. Uh, what? Anyway, it pops that bill up to close to $240 a night, so all of a sudden my two nights in the hotel are a $500 proposition, not $400.

I don’t know about you, but adding an extra $150 onto my weekend in nickel-and-dime taxes does not put me in a festive, relaxing mood. One fellow traveler, on the road all the time for business purposes, expressed it somewhat colorfully:
“I am so sick of these BOHICA (Bend Over Here It Comes Again) tax policies that stick it to the business traveler who has no option but to travel, no matter what the cost. I hate these totalitarian bastards that continue to have their way with our wallets. More than 200 years ago, a few guys got a bit rowdy over taxes far less than what we are raped for nowadays. Yet most people barely notice they’ve been robbed.”
She’s right. Most of us just look at the total, heave a forlorn sigh, and hand over our credit card.

Next: What’s that you’re eating, fatty?

Do as we say, not as we devour

3. Food “sin” taxes

So-called sin taxes are a way for Big Brother (or Big Mama Obama) to express profound disapproval for your poor choice-making skills, and in effect spank you for being a bad boy or girl. (You know, the irony here is that the Left, with all its libertine living, is the first to get on board the “let’s tax the snot out of that bad/immoral/dangerous behavior” train. Unless the bad/immoral/dangerous behavior involves the SEIU, or aborting babies. Then it’s okay. Go figure.)

Let’s start with taxes that gladden the heart of the aforementioned Big Mama (I mean the First Nanny Lady). In her hometown of Chicago, all that windy weather might make you thirsty. Well, heaven forbid you stop somewhere for a (gasp!) soda pop. If you must drink that toxin (Makes you fat! Bad for teeth! Probably makes you dumber!), at least buy it in a can (3% tax) and take it home to enjoy in guilty solitude. Because if you buy a fountain drink, the tax on it is nearly 10%.

Want fries with that? I think not. Because: Makes you fat! Bad for heart! Probably makes you dumber! And especially if you’re still in Chicago, which is one of a number of cities where you pay an extra tax for take-out food.

So skip the fries and grab a candy bar. Not so fast, would-be sugar fiend! Still in Illinois? Okay. Check your candy and see if it contains flour (Twix, Butterfinger, and Kit-Kats qualify). Illinois says candy, which has an extra sales tax of up to 6.25 percent, is “any sugar-based product not requiring refrigeration or containing flour.” So if you’re breaking off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar, SCORE! The insanity is not limited to Illinois. In Kentucky, a Milky Way is a cheap choice, but the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup – well, that’ll cost ya.

Enough about what goes in. Surely they can’t tax what comes out.

Why… turns out they can.

Maryland has a flush tax. You read that right. Households that flush (isn’t that everyone?) get a tax added to their monthly water bill. That extra tax has collected more than $150 million for the state environmental department, so they can take “action on climate change.” See, here’s how it works: You poo, and they piss away your money! Very symbiotic, no?

Next: Sex and drugs and rock & roll and…

2. Sin taxes your mother would approve of

Well, not if she’s a good libertarian, perhaps. But it does boggle the mind how far politicians will go to pick your pocket. Like, they’ll follow you right into the strip club. If you’re in Utah or Texas, anyway (they have strip clubs in Utah and Texas?). In Utah, any business where someone appears nude or partially nude pays a 10% sales and use tax on admission, merchandise, food, drink and “services.” Texas has a strip club “pole tax” that charges an extra $5 in admission for pervs patrons who wish to enjoy some “dancing.” The state Supreme Court is still deciding whether that infringes freedom of expression, but the state has collected millions already.

Maybe you’re not into the whole strip club scene – gambling’s more your style. Well, even if it’s just a friendly game of poker around the kitchen table, someone’s going to get some tax money out of it, at least in Alabama. Lawmakers there tax any purchase of a deck of (evil?) playing cards – an extra dime. Talk about nickel-and-diming us to death. However, this tax only applies to decks containing no more than 54 cards. A 55-card deck is tax-free. Yahoo!

Neither sex nor gambling your vice? Maybe you’re into the wicked art of body manipulation. Clearly we can’t allow that to go on without soaking someone for extra bucks. So if you really must have a giant butterfly tattooed above your fanny… or you simply cannot go on without a stud embedded in the side of your nose… just don’t do it in Arkansas. (Wait – that advice probably has a much, much wider application than just tattoo parlors, come to think of it.) Anyway, in Bill Clinton’s home state, tattoos and piercings will pierce you for an additional 6% sales tax.

Hey, you with the fake bake! You think you’re getting off scot-free? Not if Obamacare has anything to say about it (AND IT DOES). Taxing Tanning salons now charge an additional 10% tax that’s expected to raise close to $3 billion over the next decade. Now, right there’s a reason for celebrity tanners like George Hamilton and Lisa Rinna to immediately enlist in the repeal fight.

Next: Perhaps the dumbest tax ever conceived in the long and rich history of dumb taxes

1. Illegal drug tax

I know. Wrap your brain around that one for a minute. We’ll come back to it.

It’s difficult to win the coveted “dumbest tax” award. You have some seriously stiff competition. We’ve already covered quite a few of the contenders, and we haven’t even touched on some of New York’s finest taxes, like the extra levies on haunted houses, or bagels (wanna eat at the bagel shop? That costs extra). Fun is taxed in Kansas and West Virginia (hot air balloon rides and sparklers, respectively). Professional athletes have to pay tax for money they earn during away games in at least 20 states (you beat the Lakers in L.A., and you will pay – you will pay Jerry Brown, that is).

Good grief, the New York City Fire Department proposed charging a $500 “crash tax” to anyone involved in an accident that required emergency response. That’s assuming you survived, I guess. If you don’t, that’s when King County in Seattle gets you. They now charge $50 to REPORT a death. If you don’t pay, you can’t get the paperwork needed for a burial. Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “death and taxes.”

But for pure, unadulterated imbecility, nothing compares with the government’s attempt to dislodge tax money from illegal drug transactions. In several states, you are supposed to drop by your local tax collection office and pay the tax on your illegal drugs ahead of time. They will give you a stamp that you can attach to your container of illegal drugs (the amount of tax you pay, of course, depends on the size of your stash). Anyway, don’t worry your little head for one second that you will get arrested at the tax office, no sirree! It’s illegal for tax authorities to report you to those other, mean authorities. Should those meanies get you, however, your stamp will prove that you are a law-abiding taxpayer! Or… er… well, I’m not sure what it proves.

The feds are just as dumb when it comes to taxes. IRS tax guidelines at one point say, “…illegal income, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21.” There you go, scummy drug dealer. A little free tax advice from me. You’re welcome.

Taxes are serious business, of course. In the future I hope to bring you some lists of the most outrageous taxes that really are crushing our quality of life. But this nickel-and-diming stuff, the taxes that are thought up by legislators who seem to be completely daft – they have a way, when added up, of crushing the spirit. That would be the Spirit of Liberty, who is down but not out. She’s gearing up (after Obama’s latest raise-taxes, tax-the-rich speech) for another fight against the Spirit of Tax Day Past, Tax Day Present… and especially Tax Day Future. God bless us, everyone!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Them's Fightin' Words: States Smack Down Obamacare, Illegals and Unions

I attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s West Coast retreat earlier this month – this is the final installment of my five reports on the various speakers and panels. You can read the others at Newsreal Blog... they covered Obama’s reign of failure, stealth jihad, separation of mosque and state, and Dennis Prager’s address on God (this was a hot one). They can also be seen here on this site!

With a salute to states refusing to march in lockstep with the Obama agenda, and with the stakes for our country higher than ever, one U.S. Congressman and two law professors argued forcefully for the current state rebellions on issues of public unions, illegal immigration, and Obamacare during a spirited panel discussion at the David Horowitz Freedom Center retreat earlier this month. The ferocity of some of the state-level battles now being waged made for a lively presentation.

Congressman Steve King is fighting Obamacare tooth and nail, and outlined a strategy to defeat it once and for all. The legislative approach involves introducing bills to defund and repeal at the federal level; the litigation approach involves the various states fighting Obamacare in court. Panelist John Eastman, a renowned Constitutional expert, insisted that the healthcare bill is indeed patently flawed, and that none of the administration’s arguments (which keep changing) are legally sound. Unfortunately, that is not a guarantee that courts will not rule in Obama’s favor.

Along with discussing states taking the feds to court – the panelists covered Obama taking the states to court, as well, in the case of Arizona’s immigration bill. Nationally-recognized litigator Kris Kobach said that letting states fight illegal immigration is the ultimate unfunded mandate, burying border states in fiscal liability. The profoundly negative effect on K-12 schools, and dramatic increases in crime, are two particularly troubling results. Congressman King noted that more than 20,000 American citizens have died at the hands of illegal aliens, making illegal immigration a crisis issue in some areas.

One would think, as the panelists pointed out, that our President would want to step in and assist states attempting to tackle this problem themselves. But we all know that instead of assisting, he’s filed a federal lawsuit against Arizona. Thanks for the kick in the face, Dear Leader! Eastman goes so far as to characterize Obama’s blockage of the Arizona bill as immoral – partly because in the face of immense unemployment figures, he has no business keeping even one citizen from a job he or she could take from an illegal. “Create one job today – depart one illegal today,” Eastman said.

Kobach debunked the leftist myth that there are only two solutions to the illegal alien problem – round them all up and deport them, which is a daunting and expensive proposition – or give them all amnesty. A third alternative is to arrange factors so as to facilitate self-deportation. If businesses were penalized for hiring illegals, all benefits stripped from them, and arrest threatened, that would be a powerful disincentive for them to stay here. Kobach noted that when some of these “get tough” tactics have been signed into law in various states, the numbers of illegal aliens have dropped automatically as they cross back out of the U.S.

There is no question that the focus of much political battle has shifted from Washington, DC to the state capitals, as state after state takes on the Left on these issues and more. Wisconsin’s public union battle may have been the most strident to date, but it was not the first and it will not be the last. It is telling that at an event like the Freedom Center retreat, with a decided lean toward national and international affairs, that one of the most vigorous panels was all about states and their rights to fight the federal government. Given the intensity of the state-level battles, it is not surprising that some attendees from battle-weary states, like Arizona, say they would be lying if they didn’t admit the thought of secession has crossed their minds. That, of course, is a testament to the gulf that separates the Left from the rest of America.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Parents as Sheep: Lunch Fight is Tiny Battle in Big War

Parents being told, in effect, that they are too stupid to pack their own kids' lunch - or put another way, the uber-Nanny State machinations of one Chicago public school principal - has generated a lot of negative reaction, and rightly so. As my colleague Lisa Graas points out:
"If we can't even decide for ourselves what our kids can eat, we might as well throw in the towel and hoist a Marxist flag up the flagpole. There is no more basic decision for parents than what we decide to feed our children. If we capitulate on something so utterly fundamental to parenting, there is no freedom that cannot be taken from us."
However, it occurs to me that we capitulated, a long time ago, one something even more fundamental than what we put in their stomachs, and that is what we put in their minds.

The parents who are bowing and scraping to this public school official by submissively accepting her dictates regarding the potential evils of potato chips or cupcakes are parents who no longer can think critically or independently. And why is that, you say? Because they themselves are products of this same public education system.

Wake up, people! Public schools, although on a dizzying downward spiral now, have not been bastions of rigorous academic or critical inquiry anytime in the recent past - in fact, I would say that any of us still young enough to vigorously debate in the public square did not in fact have the benefit of an excellent public school education (with the occasional exception in various affluent communities, etc.).

People like Bill Ayers have been teaching the teachers - effectively hollowing out America's education system from the inside with the rot of Marxism. These are the people who are educating your children - and it's why the younger the voter, the more likely he/she voted for Obama.

So I would remind my fellow conservatives - the battle in the schools is not what your child eats. It is what your child thinks.

So teach your child to do so. Whether you make the courageous and principled choice to homeschool your kids, the financially sacrificial choice to pay for private education, or you use the deeply-flawed public education system - engage in conversation with your children every single day about what they're learning, what they're absorbing from the culture around them, how they're being prodded to think. Talk to them about why you believe the way you do. Give them examples; show them in a hands-on way the value of the free market. Teach them to revere our liberties. For heaven's sake, read the Constitution with them. Make sure they know the beauty of what we have.

Long term - this kind of parenting is really America's only hope.

Yes, the Chicago school principal is guilty of gross intrusion into private family matters. But she could not get away with that if the Left hadn't already stacked the deck. If my kids were in that school, I'd be a lot more worried about what's going into their brains and their hearts than what's going into their stomachs.

Budget Deal Leaves Leftists Feeling Blue - #Winning!

I know, I know. You’re not feeling that chipper over the last-minute aversion of a government shutdown. Perceived “caves” on key defunding issues like Planned Parenthood, NPR, and the budget in general have a lot of us feeling a bit down, although there may be room for some guarded optimism – my colleague Joseph Klein lays out the case here. And although all right-thinking people are relieved that the Left will not hold our soldiers hostage during a government shutdown, many of us think that shutting down so-called nonessential federal functions is EXACTLY what we need to do long term.

However. We can certainly take heart in knowing that our friends on the Left are reeling with despair over Friday night’s deal.

Illustrative of this perceived trauma is Huffington Post writer Richard (RJ) Eskow, otherwise known as “Senior Fellow with The Campaign for America’s Future” (in the interest of full disclosure, please note that I am “Senior Gal with The Campaign to Cut the Snot out of the Federal Budget”). Anyway, Eskow’s article is entitled “Why Progressives Keep On Losing and the Right Keeps on Winning,” which tells you right there the mood over at Huffpo.

Eskow attempts to rally the troops by explaining how those evil Tea Partiers manage to outmaneuver the socialist Left, but he’s got his premises (surprise!) all wrong:
“…it’s not as if progressives don’t have any cards to play. Their policies are very popular, while those of the Tea Party and the Republicans are equally unpopular.”
Uh, what? Eskow must have screwed on his lefty blinders so tightly that it’s interfering with his ability to remember the 2010 election. See, RJ, that was kind of a popularity contest, that thing we did last November. And to paraphrase Dear Leader, YOU LOST. The real question is, how can one can explain your absolutely delusional insistence that leftist ideas are actually more popular than the core Tea Party mantras of lower taxes, less spending and limited government?

Speaking of delusions, ol’ RJ just keeps ‘em coming. Why are we intellectually and morally superior “progressives” losing, he asks? Because! Because The Tea Party is way richer than we are (of course, the phrase “Koch Brothers” makes the requisite appearance, one word away from the phrase “ultra-conservative” – why can’t the poor Koch brothers ever just be regular old conservatives?) And the Koch brothers happened because the Supreme Court has been packed, ideologically, by the GOP! (Uh, what?) Those damnable evil rich Republican ultra-conservatives!
“…decades worth of funding for ad campaigns and ‘conservative think tanks’ (an oxymoron, perhaps?) continue to lay the groundwork for destructive moves like the one we so (sic) last night.”
Is anyone else amused by the fact that RJ mocks the idea of conservative thinking while in the same sentence misspells the word “saw”? Heh heh. Of course, he’s talking out of a bodily orifice other than his mouth when he claims that more money is being pumped into “their side” than “his side.” Big Democrat money is only a union away, RJ. You might want to consider reading this and this, my friend.

Ah, but that would mean dropping the daisy chain of magical fairy-dust delusions you’re peddling here. Like:
“Only 6% of those polled think that reducing the deficit is Congress’ highest priority.”
Yes, I’m sure that’s the case – if “those polled” are, say, all current occupants of the White House (and the 6% would represent the wisdom of Bo, the First Dog).

This lack of grasp on reality is worrisome. Isn’t that a sign of mental illness? I’m concerned for RJ, and with good reason. After demonizing Paul Ryan’s budget proposal as positively Dickensian…
“…the environment is despoiled, the poor go unfed, and the middle class faces a lifetime of financial insecurity following (sic, again) by an old age of sickness and penury.”
…he then goes on to lay out HIS vision for America. You may have to grab an Excedrin for this one:
“First increase Social Security retirement benefits by 15%, across the board, by lifting the payroll tax cap and imposing a financial transactions tax. Second, increase income taxes on a sliding scale that goes up to 60% for the highest earners in the country… Third, add $500 billion to our stimulus spending over the next two years, and keep adding it until unemployment is down to 4%. Fourth, immediately add a public option, ‘Medicare For All’ plan that’s voluntarily available to Americans of all age brackets.”
Yes, RJ, you’re right. That vision is far, far more popular than anything being offered by those dumb teabaggers. And way smarter and more sophisticated-like, too!

RJ offers a glimpse into the leftist mind (is this where I say “an oxymoron, perhaps?”) in his gloomy disillusionment over Obama, who he once thought was the long yearned-for Energizing Great Leader of the Left. Now he’s more of a “we don’t need no stinking leader” school of thought:
“The Tea Party is seen as a leaderless movement. By having no alliance to a party or politician, it holds a credible veto threat over the Republicans and their leadership.”
Insert “Tea Party” for “progressive” and “Republican” for “Democratic” and he’s got this one right:
“Challenging incumbents doesn’t just help the progressive cause. Paradoxically, it helps the Democratic Party too, by forcing it to clarify its ‘brand” and espouse more popular positions than those it now holds.”
He counsels his fellow socialists (although he insists on calling them progressives) to work within the Democratic party, but with this caveat:
“…their relationship to the party should mirror what Thoreau said about his relationship to the world: Be in it, but not of it.”
Sheesh. Leave it to a leftist to quote the Bible, but credit Thoreau. Then again, RJ’s in a bad mood today.
Come to think of it, I’m starting to feel a little more chipper now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Emperor Has No Clothes - How to End Obama's Reign of Failure

I attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s West Coast retreat earlier this month and will be filing several reports on the various speakers and panels. This is the fourth; the third, on stealth jihad, can be read on Newsreal Blog here; the second, Separation of Mosque and State, is here; the first, Dennis Prager’s comments on how God’s doing, is here (or elsewhere on this site).

My first post from the David Horowitz retreat poked a little fun at Obama thinking he’s God. Nah, he (probably) doesn’t think he’s God. He does, however, seem to think that America is his personal empire. This approach to government was of course a hot topic at the retreat, as speaker after speaker unpacked the dismal failures of the Obama administration. At the top of everyone’s agenda? How to end his “reign.”

There was plenty of disagreement – not as much about particular candidates as about overall strategy. Author Ralph Peters offered the most divergent viewpoints – for instance, opining that President Obama’s Libya strategy should be given a chance and is not all bad. Nevertheless, calling Obama a second rate man of first rate charisma, he offered advice about nominating a candidate – urging conservatives to stop administering “litmus tests” and to purge the phrase “RINO” from their vocabulary. This advice stood in sharp contrast to that offered by Congressman Tom McClintock, who reminded conservatives of the dangers of RINOs and said “we win when we act like us.”

Author Mickey Kaus counseled a populist approach for Republicans, marrying the fight against public unions with a fight against “Wall Street interests.” Mr. Kaus is wrong on that one – the Wall Street issue is complex and not currently in the public eye. Republicans do need to frame the debate on public sector unions to highlight how it’s a battle for the (true) working man – the one who has to work till he’s 70 to support his government worker neighbor who gets a bigger paycheck and retires at 50.

Another perspective was offered by Democratic pollster Pat Caddell, who, while disavowing the corruption of his own party, cautioned Republicans against acting stupid. Referring to the 2010 elections and recent events, he said he’s “never seen a party win so big and cave so fast.” Caddell reminded GOP strategists that they should hit Obama where he is vulnerable – the incompetence of his explanation for Libya, for example (Victor Davis Hanson, in referring to the Obama Doctrine, said “there is none!”).

While confessing a fondness for the straight talk of a Chris Christie, Caddell emphasized that at this point Republicans should be standing firm on the issues they consider important, and letting the potential candidates emerge from that process. Caddell also issued a pointed warning to the GOP: “The American people and the Tea Party are not to be mocked.” I agree – and point out that if Tea Partiers feel mocked, things are going to get ugly for many Republicans (as rhetoric surrounding this week’s budget deal made crystal clear).

Virtually everyone agreed throughout the weekend that “it’s the economy, stupid”… but that terror concerns are also growing. Potential presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann told attendees that President Reagan’s success stemmed from his emphasis on these twin pillars of prosperity and national security.

Speaking of national security, pollster John McLaughlin noted that concern over external threats is bigger now that at any time since the Cold War. These concerns were vividly brought to life by James Carafano of the Heritage Institute, who screened the movie “33 Minutes” – which refers to the time it would take a ballistic missile to reach our shores from any number of hostile nations currently attempting to build nuclear weapons. The movie is a powerful argument in favor of a solid missile defense program – something Obama has allowed to lapse.

On another front, law professor John Eastman discussed the President’s unconstitutional penchant for ignoring the legislative process and forcing his agenda via executive order, creating more and more unaccountable government bureaucracies. Eastman also noted that Obama is ignoring the non-delegation doctrine in allowing, in some cases, private agencies (of a leftist bent) to in effect run federal agencies.

Obama’s insane job-killing agenda was unpacked in detail. Finance experts David Newton and Ben Horowitz (yes, that’s David’s son) outlined the oh-so-simple path to economic recovery: cut taxes, cut spending, cut regulations, and expand domestic oil. In other words, pretty much the polar opposite of everything Obama stands for.

As for the 2012 race, there was some discussion among attendees as to whether Godfather Pizza magnate Herman Cain would be an attractive choice – a black Republican vs. a (half) black Democrat. Racial issues were not, however, much of a factor in weekend discussions – although well-known investment strategist Charles Payne did note that Obama has certainly failed to bring us together. He pointed to “serious divisions fanned by the highest office in the country,” the politics of envy, and the misplaced sense of entitlement engendered in young people, particularly those in recognized victim groups. As a black child, he was involved in programs, ostensibly aimed at reducing poverty, that “tell you every day that ‘they’ don’t like you, that you’re a victim.”

Again, while most speakers were taking a wait-and-see approach about specific Republican candidates (many names were not mentioned at all over the weekend’s many panels) – the discussion of disastrous Obama policy, including incoherent approaches to China and Israel, underscored why he’s “got to go.” Making that a reality will take courage – something shown by Paul Ryan when he unveiled his budget plan that of course took on the “sacred cow” of entitlements. Although some conference attendees expressed concern over alienating voters with this type of action, Congressman Ed Royce said that’s exactly why GOP legislators were elected – and they can’t wait till 2012 to take action. That principled approach should help Republicans, not hurt them, if conservatives can get out the message that they’re helping all working people by ensuring the entire system doesn’t collapse under its own weight.

Friday, April 8, 2011

They're Hijacking More than Planes - America's Freedoms Used Against Us

They call our freedom "terrorism" - but they're using it against us

I attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s West Coast retreat this past weekend and will be filing several reports on the various speakers and panels. This is the third; the second, Separation of Mosque and State, is on Newsreal Blog here; the first here. You can also read them both elsewhere here on this blog!

What’s the definition of a “moderate Muslim”? Writer Andrew McCarthy addressed that question at this past weekend’s David Horowitz Freedom Center retreat, during a panel on “Jihad on the Home Front.” Author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, McCarthy brought a little levity to the issue with these tongue-in-cheek questions: Is it someone who is not actually currently in the process of blowing something up? Is it someone who has run out of ammunition?

The reason for his sarcasm is the inordinately generous view of certain Muslims as “moderate” by the mainstream media, which has been quick to categorize certain Muslims as moderate, for example, because they condemned 9/11. But some of the same individuals who condemned that attack have since called for fatwas to kill American soldiers in Iraq.

McCarthy fully recognizes that many American Muslims are indeed putting American concepts of liberty and free markets ahead of the politics of their faith. These are the people who can be well characterized as moderates – the kind of people who wish to separate the violent, jihadist, terrorist and sharia aspects of Islam from their day to day lives. (Whether or not what they then practice is truly Islam is a discussion for another time.) And McCarthy is quick to note that were it not for such moderate Muslims, the United States would have not had nearly the success it has enjoyed in tracking down and capturing Islamic terrorists, especially in our own country. However, McCarthy thinks it’s important to differentiate between what we might call true moderates, and those the media portrays as moderate – because that difference reveals the covert nature of so-called stealth jihad.

Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi is one who condemned 9/11 but has since called for attacks on American soldiers. Why the discrepancy? McCarthy says it’s because 9/11 actually was counterproductive to a more stealthy effort to infiltrate American society that had been in place for years already. (It certainly brought home the dangers of Islam; many of us were blissfully unaware up to that point.)

Jihad, according to McCarthy, exists to spread sharia to the world. By force is one method, but the West is too powerful for Islam to conquer at this point – unless it infiltrates and conquers from within. This, according to McCarthy, explains the otherwise puzzling collaboration between the hard Left and the Muslim Brotherhood. After all, on certain issues they do not see eye to eye (gay rights comes to mind). But as McCarthy points out, their commonalities are greater than their differences. They are both totalitarian, authoritarian, and cannot coexist with American-type freedoms. “Historically,” says McCarthy, “they have always collaborated.”

Berkeley law professor and former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo, another “jihad on the homefront” panelist, discussed the Obama administration’s incompetent policies regarding terrorists. (Read my colleague Donald Douglas’ detailed discussion of Yoo’s comments here.) Because of Obama’s emphasis on killing them instead of capturing them, American intelligence has suffered. And the administration’s insistence on treating terrorism like regular law enforcement cases has had severely deleterious effects.

For one thing, processing terror suspects (even those from Iraq or Afghanistan) through civilian trials exposes sensitive intelligence to the disclosure laws of open court. Perhaps even worse – soldiers who do capture suspected terrorists are expected to collect evidence that would stand up in court. As Yoo points out, this puts our soldiers at greatly increased risk because now they not only have to get their man, they have to go back and interview witnesses and collect material evidence. This, of course, is utter insanity. But the terrorists are only happy to use our own legal system against us.

Obama would do well to consider Yoo’s commonsense suggestions, which include keeping terrorists in military courts, restoring operational flexibility to soldiers instead of police duties, and morphing the FBI into a counterterrorism organization. (Other agencies certainly can take over chasing down bank robbers and white collar criminals.)

Yoo and McCarthy both articulated how jihad threatens America; recognizing this threat on the homefront is crucial. But as panelist Karen Lugo can sadly attest, our system is being hijacked and used against us.

Elaborating on the nature of so-called “civilizational jihad,” Lugo, a prominent law professor, told of coming face-to-face with the anti-free speech component of American Islamists. She helped organize a protest against militant, anti-American Muslims holding a fundraiser in Yorba Linda, California. The protest drew hundreds of well-behaved people, but a few misbehaved and made hateful statements that were immediately “weaponized,” as Lugo reports, by the radical group CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations). CAIR worked with a local “human relations commission” to push for her termination as a law professor, and organized a campaign to crash her campus email account – although her university connections were in no way used as part of the protest. Lugo points out the “chilling” effect of so-called human rights commissions to discourage people from their Constitutional right to express political opinion. She also points out the irony that the commission was not the least interested in the Muslimhate speech” that she was there to protest – commission members instead focused merely on attempting to intimidate those who would object to the radical Islamist statements. This is our system – being turned on its head.

Special note: Of utmost importance to patriotic activists – Karen Lugo escaped from this unfair dilemma primarily because she’d arranged to have two different people videotaping the event, which proved she was involved in no wrongdoing. Do not underestimate the power – protective power – of video!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Separation of Mosque and State?

I attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s West Coast retreat this past weekend and will be filing several reports on the various speakers and panels. This is the second; read the first elsewhere on this blog or here.

I have to give props to David Horowitz – his recent Freedom Center weekend featured a significant diversity of thought. A particularly fascinating element was a debate between Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer, author of Stealth Jihad, and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander who advocates the “separation of mosque and state.”

The crux of the debate is the million dollar question – are jihad, terrorism and sharia law inextricably linked to Islam itself, or can so-called moderate Muslims embrace American concepts of liberty and justice, independent of the political aspects of Islam?

Jasser, of course, believes that type of separation can indeed happen – that Islam on its own is not inherently violent or hateful. Part and parcel of this perspective is the whole concept of “radical Islam” being some type of extremist outworking of an overall less malevolent Islamic worldview.

Spencer, who unlike Jasser is not a Muslim, argued that anyone who studies the scriptures of Islam must come to the conclusion that so-called radical Islamists are merely acting on the actual tenets of their faith – in other words, that the Islamic worldview is indeed malevolent. And Spencer’s got me convinced that he’s a lot closer to the truth than Jasser.

History teaches that Islam has not always been aggressive, as Jasser pointed out, but Spencer noted that just because Muslims were not powerful enough to wage violent jihad at certain historical moments does not mean that their goal had ever changed.

Jasser also argued that how Muslims perceive Koranic teaching is somewhat affected by their particular imam (or teacher,) the implication being that radical imams produce radical followers. He drew a parallel between that and a Jew or Christian deferring to their rabbi’s or minister’s view of scripture. But the Bible urges followers to test any teacher’s interpretation against the scripture itself – effectively minimizing the danger of a teacher leading people astray. Not to say it hasn’t happened – virtually every cult is birthed by someone twisting the words of scripture – but therein lies the point. Jasser’s analogy falls apart because any “radical minister,” for example, is soon exposed as a teacher of anti-biblical thought. In comparison, the so-called radical imams are teaching a doctrine that is in fact what the Koran says.

Another implication of the argument that Muslims can separate some of the Koran’s teachings from their everyday lives is the idea that Islam simply needs to “grow up” – that it needs to evolve into something more compatible with modern values. An unspoken assumption behind this idea is that Judaism and Christianity have already gone through such an evolution, which is why those belief systems are compatible with Western thought.

This is nonsense. Judaism and Christianity are compatible with Western thought, all right, because Western thought owes much of its lineage – the concepts of individual responsibility, private property, and fallen human nature, among other valuable lessons – in part to Judeo-Christian thinking. But Jasser misunderstands the fundamental nature of both Judaism and Christianity. They have both maintained the same teachings for thousands of years. They have not “evolved” (although they have been bastardized, by some – but that’s a discussion for another day).

So quite frankly it seems kind of insulting to Muslims to imply that, if we just give Islam some more time, it will “grow up” and become a faith we can all learn to love. The only change that can happen and is compatible with our American system of government is when individual Muslims decide that living in liberty and freedom is of higher value to them than fully embracing Islam (which, although he might not characterize it exactly so, is indeed what Jasser has chosen to do).

Regarding sharia law in particular, Jasser says that any system of law that may be said to be “of God” becomes manmade law when humans implement it – but this is a very weak argument that somehow sharia itself can be separated from Islam. In another discussion during the Horowitz event, Jasser indicated that he thought a person could embrace sharia “just for themselves” – but this is illogical. No one can embrace any system of law all by themselves, because systems of law include such things as judgment and punishments. More than one person is required for a legal system.

In defending attacks against the prophet Mohammed, Jasser implied that other faiths look up to men who were flawed, like Abraham. Jasser of course entirely misses the point that neither Judaism nor Christianity hold Abraham to be equivalent to deity, or in any way impervious to criticism. (Nobody gets killed if you draw a picture of him, either.) And the Bible is fairly clear about Abraham’s personal failings. Spencer agreed, however, that calling Mohammed out for his pedophilia does not win over most Muslims.

Dr. Jasser, somewhat poignantly, asked what he was to teach his children if Islam could not be separated from its violent, anti-Western tendencies and political visions of conquering the world. I would argue, with great respect for Dr. Jasser and his noble but misguided mission of trying to fuse his faith with American values – that in fact Islam is not a faith that he wants to pass along to his children.

Other presentations throughout the weekend underscored that reality, as speakers like Andrew McCarthy and Karen Lugo brought home, again and again, the sobering reality of fatwas, terrorism and jihad. Watch the NewsReal Blog site for video of the Enemies Within panel, in particular.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why You Better Pray that God Is Not Dead - Wisdom from Dennis Prager

I attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s West Coast retreat this past weekend and will be filing several reports on the various speakers and panels. This is the first.

I’ve got a few weighty things on my mind that I’m about to unpack on you. But let’s ease into it gently, courtesy of Rush Limbaugh:

Q: What do God and Barack Obama have in common?
A: Neither has a birth certificate!

Q: What is one difference between Obama and God?
A: Leftists love Obama!

Q: What’s another difference between Obama and God?
A: God doesn’t think he’s Obama!

Heh heh. El Rushbo tells a good joke. And that’s a lighthearted introduction into a heavy topic – a topic that talk show host and nationally-syndicated columnist Dennis Prager opted to take on as the final keynote speaker at this weekend’s David Horowitz Freedom Center retreat in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

God, according to Prager, is in trouble.

Of course, God is not really in trouble. We’re the ones who are really in trouble, because of what we as a society are doing to God. For the purposes of this discussion, it really doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist – the ramifications apply to us all. But Prager thinks he knows why atheism might be more attractive to a lot of people right now, and he outlined a number of reasons.

The first is the evil that people are doing in God’s name. And no, he’s not talking about the Westboro crazies (although they’re definitely in the running for consideration). He’s talking about Islam. Every time someone yells Allahu Akbar as they blow something up, or slit someone’s throat – they’re claiming to act for God. This, no doubt, is a turnoff to many.

What’s perhaps an even greater turnoff is what Prager calls the “pathetic response” to this evil from (mainstream) Judaism and Christianity. The fact that only Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians are consistently speaking out against Islam’s crimes (a good deed for which they are roundly condemned as “Islamophobic”) is indeed a sad commentary on the state of those who claim religious faith in this country.

It’s not enough, as Prager indicated, to condemn religious violence in general – because nobody is slitting anyone’s throat in the name of Jesus Christ, and nobody is yelling “Yay Torah” before blowing themselves up. Evil should be identified and denounced – and most Jews and Christians are doing a terrible job of that. It appears that their God has no teeth.

What passes for faith in most mainstream (liberal) Christian denominations and most of Judaism (outside Orthodox) has become a mushy pablum of warm fuzzy feelings instead of concrete moral standards. One can’t even discuss concepts like sin and hell (which are necessary prerequisites, by the way, for mercy and grace) without being accused of “extremism” and, in a torturous logical twist, of being just like “radical Muslims.”

The lack of critical thinking skills from which these illogical flights of fancy emerge is of course the fault, in part, of our current educational vacuum, but Prager frames it in an interesting way. If a student was homeschooled in a strict Christian home his or her entire life, never allowed to watch television, listen to popular music, read anything other than the Bible, get on the internet, or even leave the house – would you consider them somewhat brainwashed? You might – although of course, I defy you to actually find anyone who has experienced this (despite the fevered imaginations of teacher unions that oppose homeschooling or any type of Christian education).

Now Prager turns this on its head. Keeping in mind the virtually lockstep leftist leanings of popular culture, the media and our educational institutions – if a student went to a secular K-12 school system his or her entire life, absorbed countless hours of secular TV programming, listened to nothing but popular music, read nothing about teen-oriented magazines and books, and went to movies, concerts etc. that were all completely non-religious and non-conservative in nature, would you consider them to be somewhat brainwashed? Because you should – and I guarantee that you can find thousands and probably millions of kids whose lives mirror this set of experiences.

What does this have to do with God? Well, an entire generation has been inoculated against thinking about Him in any kind of serious way. And without an understanding of God, as Prager says, our concepts of good and evil grow blurry indeed, and we get all mixed up, just like the leftists who confuse hating people who fight evil with hating evil.

What’s more, as Prager points out, “When you don’t fight great evil, you fight little evils.” If you can’t be bothered to denounce the decapitation of an Israeli infant by murderous Palestinians, but you get all agitated about someone burning a book (I’m looking at you, Joe Klein, Harry Reid, and Lindsey Graham) – you’re part of this problem. If you’re an animal rights activist who is okay with PETA’s “Holocaust on Your Plate” program, which compares a barbecued hamburger with the gassing and incineration of 6 million humans – well, frankly, words fail me on that one.

But this is the kind of world we humans create when we shut out God. Our country was founded by men who, regardless of their personal relationship to any particular religion, recognized both the existence of a Deity and the moral imperative of aligning oneself with Him. They were not all Christians (although most of them were), but they all believed that the best government would be that system that understood man’s true nature (we are eminently corruptible) and crafted a system of checks and balances in full recognition of that nature.

Today, we still enjoy (some of) the fruit of those wise decisions. When we insist on denying the importance of God in our societal life, as Dennis Prager so eloquently reminded us, we do so at our own peril.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nanny Knows Best! Feds Can't Stop Butting In

Some years back, I got a ticket for driving without my seatbelt on. I explained to the nosy officer that I had a painful sunburn which the seatbelt would exacerbate, and he asked me if I had a doctor’s note for that.

A doctor’s note! When’s the last time you got a sunburn and ran to the doctor? But that’s not really the point. The point is, he apparently thought I was a moron who couldn’t figure out, all by my little self, that the seatbelt was rubbing my sunburn raw.  I needed an “expert” to pin a note to my collar to show the nice officer.

Well, be thankful, comrades, that Those Who Know Best are issuing more Proclamations From On High That Are For Your Own Good:

New FEDERAL labeling requirements will force chain restaurants, bakeries, convenience stores and coffee chains to clearly post the number of calories for each item on the menu.

Why? Because you’re a stupid fat slob who doesn’t know how to feed yourself, and because Michelle Obama said so… that’s why.

Now, some conservatives are entirely missing the point on this one. They’re saying things like, “well, I kind of like having the calorie counts posted. It makes it easier for me to order something healthy.”

You know what would make it even easier? If Michelle Obama came to your house and personally fixed your salad and rice cakes. But we don’t want that, now, do we?

Wake up, fellow chubsters. It’s not about what’s easy. It’s about what’s right. It’s ALWAYS about what’s right.

The government – especially the federal government – has no Constitutional right to tell the restaurant owner how to advertise his wares. Nor does should the government have the power to force the restaurant owner to pay for new signs to post information he may or may not want to post. Period. End of discussion.

If customers want calorie counts listed, they should speak to the store manager. As it is, this law doesn’t apply to non-chain eateries, or movie theaters, or a number of other places where people buy food. Again, if customers want something, they should ask for it, and if a store owner is not responsive, let the power of the free market guide the choice of where to dine out next. Consumers should have all the power, and they would, if the government would just get out of the way.

By the way, who do you think will pay for that new sign at the Burger King? Why, you will, dear consumer, when your burger price gets hiked to cover the store owner’s increased costs. (For the record, the answer to the question “who do you think will pay for fill-in-the-blank”… well, the answer is ALWAYS “you, dear consumer.”)

And for the record, this is Reason #936 to oppose Obamacare, as that law birthed this stupid requirement. In fact, there is some speculation that if you suffer a heart attack, your medical care might be denied if they can show that you were eating 1200-calorie burgers WHICH THEY WARNED YOU ABOUT.

Anyway, if this were the only regulation the feds had ever created… it would still be wrong. But it would be minor. The reason it’s not minor is because this is just one of approximately 99 zillion federal regulations, all of which took time, money and energy to draft and get pushed into law, and will now require enforcement which will mean more tax dollars spent on more government bureaucrats – this is truly a lose-lose proposition.

In fact, the only thing that won’t be lost is weight, since consumers will learn to simply ignore the calorie counts, just like they’ve been doing on packaged food from the grocery store for years.

But that won’t stop our all-knowing Federal Nanny from forcing these types of packaging requirements on food. Or forcing us, when we go to buy it, to wear a seatbelt. Blistered sunburn or not.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thomas Jefferson Schools Blowhard Michael Moore

That whole up-is-down, black-is-white thing that the Left’s got going does leave a sane person wondering if they’re all off their meds. How else to explain professional blowhard Michael Moore’s appearance on Colbert this week, where he offered up several big heapin’ helpings of crazy. Bet you didn’t realize Professor Moore was a scholar and expert on all things Founding Father-related? Or that he and Thomas Jefferson had so much in common? Check it out:

Quite a compendium of misleading statements, outright lies, and utter nonsense, no? The coup de grace has got to be that mangling of the legacy of Thomas Jefferson to serve Moore’s own fevered fantasies of collectivism. I don’t know which quote book he’s using, but as far as I can tell Jefferson never said, as Moore claims, “the earth belongs to all of us and we are to share in its resources and labor.”

Best I can tell, this is the quote that Moore was attempting to torture into Marxism: “The earth is given as a common stock for men to labor and to live on… Wherever in any country there are idle lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. Everyone may have land to labor for himself, if he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any other industry, may exact for it such compensation as not only to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a cessation from labor in old age.”

The somewhat controversial implication that Jefferson did indeed appear to make was that IF there were land/resources that were not being used, and IF there were poor people sitting around doing nothing and not providing for themselves, then perhaps some of that land/resources should be redirected to said poor people. But remember the time and place in which Jefferson made his statements. I think it’s safe to assume that there was significant land sitting around that was not yet considered anyone’s legal private property (after all, the West hadn’t been settled yet).

But note that Jefferson went on to promote that poor people should be exercising some industry of their own, and that they were to earn not only what would make them comfortable now, but MORE than they needed (retirement savings, as it were).

Contrast that with Moore’s utterly unhinged idea that the richest people in this country have “sucked wealth” out of the economy and are “sitting on it.” But Mr. Moore – aren’t they doing exactly what Jefferson was suggesting?

In fact, I have a few more questions for the Left’s favorite filmmaker – because, after all, all quotes are best studied in context. Let’s take a look at a few more of Jefferson’s quotes, and see how they line up with Moore’s “workers of the world unite” rhetoric.

First: On the connection between working and eating...

1. Whose money is it anyway?
“To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
Ah. Mr. Moore, I started with a doozy, didn’t I? I like this one because it even covers those rich trust fund kids that we all love to hate – but that you especially love to hate. After all, those kids are living off that money that was sucked out of the economy! In case that quote isn’t clear enough for you, how about this one?
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
The democracy will cease to exist? Well, there are quite a few of us who think that you, Mr. Moore, are actually angling for that to take place, seeing as how you’re such a big fan of the common tractor and all. But you see, that puts you 180 degrees away from Thomas Jefferson, who also said:
“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
Wise, FRUGAL, and good = no stealing from the productive. Which makes the vision you’re promoting, Mr. Moore, to equate with foolish, profligate and bad. See, that makes you DIFFERENT from Thomas Jefferson, who showed some remarkable foresight.

Next: On “helping the poor”...

2. What helps the poor, and what hurts them?
Even back THEN, Jefferson was saying things like this:
“I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.”
Parasites, Mr. Moore! That is what we call people who think they are entitled to the fruit of others’ labor. You told Mr. Colbert that because God had “chosen” the two of you (as wealthy people), you have responsibility to make sure that you do “even more” to help people who are having a hard go of it. I suggest you get right to it. Write a big check to the American Red Cross. Donate a ton of money to your local soup kitchen. Pay to build a new hospital wing.

But (as our Dear Leader would say) let me be clear about this. Your responsibility as a rich person has nothing to do with MY wallet (just like my responsibility toward the poor has nothing to do with your wallet, my snarky suggestions notwithstanding). Taking tax dollars to “help” poor people does two bad things – it steals from the productive and it does not help the non-productive – a concept which, again amazingly, did not escape our friend Thomas Jefferson!
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
WASTING the labors… PRETENSE of taking care of them. Yes, Jefferson saw it pretty clearly – you would do well, Mr. Moore, to try on his glasses. The last thing he wanted was an expansion of government, which is of course a necessity when you start talking about taking, by force, that wealth that the rich people are “hoarding” for themselves.

Next: On our choices and what they say about us...

3. What makes us successful… or not?
“The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.”
Get that, Mr. Moore? The feds are not to prevent us from our business, and they aren’t to help us, either. That’s not their role, and Jefferson was again pretty clear about this. With a fairly keen insight into human nature, he knew the end result of such meddling:
“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”
And he wasn’t speaking positively about ambition there. “Suffocating the germ of virtue” (in case Ezra Klein is reading this – he has a well-known problem with hard words and long sentences and stuff) means that people who are dependent on the government will literally have the virtue snuffed out of them. Case in point: Every major inner city in America where crime is rampant. Wait – that IS every major inner city in America.

So Mr. Moore? What makes people different? What makes some people end up being successful filmmakers, and others being thug gang members? Jefferson had an interesting take:
“There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.”
See, Mr. Moore, even though he was the guy who said all men are created equal – he also recognized that some men will choose to be good, and some will choose to be bad. Some have talents they will cultivate, and others will choose not to. These decisions, regardless of other fortunate or unfortunate circumstances, are what ultimately differentiate us. That is why your collectivist ideas are so very repugnant. They do not take any of these realities into account.

Next: On the mischief that government can do...

4. What role does government play?

Speaking of reality ignored, Mr. Moore, your ideas also fail to consider the reality that is right in front of our faces – this reality that history teaches so very clearly: Government and efficiency are antonyms. Again, Jefferson was ahead of his time in recognizing this:
“Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”
(Note to Ezra Klein: By the phrase “we should soon want bread” he means that in no time at all, we’ll be out of bread, and we’ll really, really wish we had some.)

Mr. Moore, surely even you can see that, if you persist in promoting historically-disproven, human nature-disregarding, and utterly failed philosophies like Marxism, that require a heavy government hand – you really have nothing in common with Thomas Jefferson. Consider:
“Most bad government has grown out of too much government.”
“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
“I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.”
Oppressive, Mr. Moore. What you are advocating, as Jefferson so clearly enunciated, is oppression. So to have painted him as somehow supporting your cause was… oh, how can I put this… um…

Next: On the beauty of facing reality...

5. What is truth?

As Mr. Colbert pointed out, the dirty and disheveled baseball caps don’t fool anyone – the truth is, Mr. Moore, you DO have some serious coin. You have profited greatly from capitalism, despite your disingenuous attempts to prevent Mr. Colbert from hawking your latest book at the end of the segment. That makes you, by anyone’s standards, a big fat hypocrite (regardless of your personal size issues). Speaking of truth, try this one on for size:
“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
Yes! Ponder that, Mr. Moore. And let me leave you with a few more Jeffersonian gems:
“When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.”
That means wherever you proclaim your lies and nonsense, Mr. Moore, we will fight it. Because it is the right thing to do.
“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
Every time – EVERY time – that your ideas have been implemented, Mr. Moore, it has resulted in tyranny, just as Jefferson noted. And misery. And death. LOTS of death (a hundred million, give or take a few million).

Speaking of things to fear, here’s what you and your big-government friends should fear: The Tea Party and other like-minds, because they are 100% opposed to your agenda, and they have truth, justice, and even Thomas Jefferson on their side. But you don’t have to be too awfully afraid – a side benefit of the liberty they are promoting is that it will extend to everyone – even you.

And finally, Mr. Moore, ponder this one:
“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”
And that Jeffersonian wisdom speaks for itself.