A former community organizer from Chicago, the president entered the Oval Office five-plus years ago, amid high hopes and promises of transparency. Critics warned not to expect anything of the kind, and to expect a velvet glove treatment if you were not counted among Obama’s close friends. Named the “Chicago Way” for a reason, operating only in a city, there is a reason it is not called, the “Way of the World”.
Where Obama and others erred, was that they thought themselves to be above the fray.
Read the entire article at Conservative Daily News.
As it has become well-known in the past 20 or better years, there are certain groups who take it upon themselves to “protect” our rights. It sounds like a noble cause – a brave group of lawyers, preventing things like civil rights violations and ensuring alleged criminals receive counsel. However, that is the assumption of those groups, but not necessarily their actions.
In Jackson, Ohio, a portrait that had hung in a school since 1947 was recently removed, after the (Freedom From Religion Foundation) FFRF and (American Civil Liberties Union) ACLU filed lawsuits. The groups would have us believe that the portrait was heinous, and portrayed the sort of thing that should never be seen in schools. The expected backlash was so bad, the people who were supposed to have reported the portrait are still referred to as John Doe-plaintiffs by the groups. Nothing like invoking your rights while you cower, eh?
Just what was this awful, heinous, picture? What could cause so much outrage and belly aching? What could possibly be so inflammatory? Why this bust of Jesus Christ, which hung so long in the school:
Created in 1941 by a Chicago painter named Warner Sallman, the painting grew in popularity to become one of the most popular depictions of Christ of all time. The calming gaze was apparently too much for some though.
The painting was removed, even though the school was not ordered to take the work down, because the school’s insurance company refused to cover legal costs to argue the case in the courts. The superintendent then said the school could not afford the costs on their own, and ordered the picture to be taken down.
The painting actually was not owned by the school district itself. The painting belonged to a group who attended the high school, and was a Christian service group, the Hi-Y Club. The ACLU and FFRF claim the club gave the picture to the school district, but the district denied any such arrangement was ever made, and said that the painting still belonged to the group.
The main issue seems to be another attack on religion in general (Christ was a Jew, he was the basis for Catholicism and Christianity, and he is considered a prophet in Islam). There is no one religion being targeted. So, under the guise of protecting civil rights, and ensuring the continued separation of church and state (which is always a specious claim at best), the ACLU and FFRF have forced, through legal intimidation, the painting’s removal. To preserve free speech, they must quash…free speech.
Read more on the case via the Montreal Gazette.
Wow. I would have never, in a thousand years thought, that I would ever feel the need to defend anything Bob Beckel has done, or anything that he has said. However, when the story of his newest verbal faux pas hit the internet today, the commentors and other people calling for his ouster from the show, “The Five”, were too many I think.
I take issue, with even a handful of people, gnashing their teeth, and bemoaning Beckel’s poor choice of words. While I understand the shock that hearing an “f-bomb” on television might create, there is no reason to stick with that feeling, and use it to demand a man’s job. While what Beckel said was crass and probably not the wisest thing he could have said (already having said the word once before this year on the same program), he is an American, and as such can say it – his reaction is his right, and as was the case today, he can use whatever response he feels is necessary. It is not like the man used hate-speech, he did not yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater, and he apologized immediately after having uttered the word. I would add too, that the cause of Beckel’s outburst was a sharp jab from fellow panelist, Eric Bolling.
While Beckel’s language today was saltier than usual, his “forbidden word” is no worse than you could expect at any mall or junior high school. Young teens walking down sidewalks are very likely to drop an f-bomb of their own, and yet, no one turns agoraphobic because of the language that they may encounter in public. While some people do not care for swear words, they have no right to either judge people’s choice of words, or do they have the right to restrict that innocent speech.
I would say to the greatly offended viewers who are calling for Beckel’s head: You know, as well as everybody else that you tuned into the program of your own volition. No one forced you to do so. You, the viewers, are free to turn off the program at any time. The program is famous for heated discussions among the five panelists, and they are no different from today’s event, but for one word. I would offer that many viewers, both on the right, and on the left, tune in just to see Beckel rail against the tide of the other panelists. He is a wonderful antagonist in his role.
To hear a single word, then react as some people did, calling for Beckel’s firing, was nothing more than seeing a typical left-wing tactic used by our own side. This sort of seizing opportunities of victimless accidents like this by my fellow conservatives and republicans, is at least, disheartening, and at worst, disgusting. In the recent years, we have seen things like NDAA and the Patriot Act erode our rights, and now, just to make an example of a prickly political opponent, we would do it to ourselves? That is madness. Either we stand for the right of free speech, and we take the bad with the good, or we slowly begin to hammer at another right we will willingly throw away. Our rights are under enough stress by a power-hungry administration, and they do not need the added stress of your own sanctimony and self-important moralizing.
The comments that inspired this post can be found here:
and here, with video:
The most recent gun-related tragedy in Aurora, Colorado has led to new calls for gun control laws and measures. The likes of Diane Feinstein, Sally Kohn, and Michael Bloomberg, have all claimed that extending prohibitions on firearms would necessarily curb the violence associated with them. It seems like a simple claim, with a self-evident conclusion: artificially the lower supply of something, and there is a lower supply available, right? It sounds like such a black and white issue. Cut off the supply of something, and the available supply begins to dwindle, and it eventually runs out. Then the product is gone, and so is the problem.
But there is a problem with that logic – firearms are not consumable items. Firearms are not used and thrown away, or expended. They are, like other tools, used over and over. While an artificial control would dry up the expansion of supplies, it still would not eliminate the supplies that the left would claim are causing all the problems. Despite the protestations that the sheer number of guns are the problems, some statistics have been pointing toward falling violent crime rates over the past few years.
The main issue I take with the progressive thought processes on gun control, is their insistence that guns would only be safe in the hands of trained, certified, fully capable professionals. Again, on its face, this seems like a decent notion – practice makes perfect, right? It seems to follow, that hours of safely handling and operating a firearm should make a nearly accident-proof firearm user, right? Then, these ultra-safe, and responsible firearms carrying professionals, would somehow protect the citizens, who would have had their own firearms seized.
The only problem with this thought, is that despite all the training in the world, and acclamation with firearms, police and soldiers still are not completely safe with them. There are miles long lists of firearms accidents and friendly fire mishaps among professionals. There have never been more methods of tracking and making weapons safe, and yet – even amidst these professionals, accidents still occur.
Among the best trained civilian police forces and SWAT teams, there are numerous stories of trigger-happy members killing civilians who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- In Lima, Ohio, in a drug bust turned bad, police shot and killed a new mother, Tarika Wilson, after an officer opened fired on her – her one year old child, who she was holding suffered injuries as well (he was shot in the shoulder, and the baby also lost a finger). It was later discovered that police had even expected the presence of children, but went forward with a raid anyway.
- In Fairfield, Virginia, a 17-year police force veteran, investigating an illegal sports gambling operation, accidentally discharged his .45 caliber pistol, and killed an optometrist with no prior record. A firearm trainer later offered two reasons Salvatore Culosi Jr. was shot by the officer – “ignorance and carelessness”. He added, the Heckler & Koch gun was “very reliable” and did not have “a hair-trigger”.
- In one of the most egregious accidents of highly trained professionals’ neglecting safety and training protocols, in Pima County, Arizona, a SWAT team broke into a home, where they proceeded to shoot a Marine who served and survived two tours in Iraq. Pima County SWAT officers killed Jose Guerena while Guerena attempted to defend his family with his AR15, because he thought intruders were kicking his door down (as he lived in a high crime area). The police department has offered numerous stories and revised events several times, in trying to explain how they killed a man who never fired a shot at them, while they hit him over 60 times.
(The Cato Institute has compiled a long list (and map) of bungled SWAT actions by police. The map makes it plain to see that the deaths of both officers and innocent civilians are not limited to any particular geographic region. )
These three examples are by no means an indictment of any police force or SWAT teams either – I have the utmost respect for the people who risk their own lives daily, in an attempt to make the country a safer place. The examples illustrate the faulty reasoning in progressive logic that by only allowing “professionals” to carry firearms, will not eliminate firearms accidents. All things being equal, we must realize that police and soldiers are human beings too, and are therefore subject to the same accidents and irrationality as anyone else. There are far more examples of law enforcement officers being provoked or attacked by angry mobs, only to hold their fire, arrest the leaders of the violence, and defuse the situation.
Can practice and familiarity make people safer with their firearms? Of course it can. But then, if people are proficient in their use, and respect firearms as they should – then we would not have any reasons to take them away, would we?
(Picture credits: Tarika Wilson – Reason.com, Salvatore Culosi Jr. - washingtoncitypaper.com, and Jose Guerena - expertwitnessradio.org)
Recently, the United States was once again turned into a rhetorical battleground for all things reproductive (and, it seems contraceptive). Allegations flew, heated rhetoric issued, slurs uttered, and rumors became rallying points for one side or another. The Democrats in Congress, seeking to make some points with another one of their astroturf-victims, chose Sandra Fluke to stand in for as a witness before Congress. She was billed to the American public as a poor college student, a victim of the rising prices of education in this country, who was having trouble paying for all the necessities for college.
The truth is that Ms. Sandra Fluke was not the young college co-ed we expected (she was actually 30) nor was she an undergrad at just any random university (she was in the Catholic, Georgetown’s prestigious law program). While these sins of omission normally may not have been in and of themselves particularly damning, she bemoaned the fact that she could not pay for both the $60k tuition, and another $3k for contraceptives, and that the government should pay for her contraceptives.
This seeming inability to balance time and money, really caused this writer to pause – something did not smell right here. This woman has had time for the rigors of Georgetown’s law school, a full-time summer job, (we later learned she is an activist as well) and yet still manages to amass $3k in contraceptive bills? How does a person have so much time on their hands? Did Ms. Fluke really not know that a Catholic University would balk at covering contraceptives? I find this very hard to believe.
I have seen on Twitter and elsewhere in the media, any number of people, trying to conduct a sort of “damage control,” claiming that either Fluke did not claim that $3k was for contraceptives (which Fluke certainly did), or by attacking others’ essays on her disingenuous testimony. Time and time again during her testimony, Fluke called the measures she wanted covered, “contraceptives.” What effect this had, was only to further blur the lines of already sketchy legislation (Obamacare and other health coverage) and their rationale for requiring blanket coverage of afflictions. I have no problem covering legitimate, necessary, medical conditions – but we must draw a line when the issue is a personal choice, or in this case, a seeming lack of self-control. Fluke, by trying to attach the coverage of her contraceptives to other, legitimate medically necessary treatments, does a disservice to women who suffer from, and actually need, those treatments/medications.
My problems with her testimony: Fluke also used charged language, like calling the insurance companies’ reviews of student need for the thousands of dollars of contraceptives, “interrogation.” While that plays perfectly into a victimized narrative the left loves to write, I doubt there was an insurance agent taking students to a grubby room, with a single light bulb. Another thing she did was use the plight of a hospitalized, close friend, with complications of polycystic ovarian syndrome. The problem I have with that is if Fluke were honest from the beginning, and not chosen to make a political football from the issues on the stage she was given, far more sympathy could be given to her. Instead, she undermined her credibility from the onset, and may have caused long-term damage to female healthcare (ironically, the supposed thing she and her Democrat advocates espouse). Attacking the Catholic Church is no way to reach a tenable resolution either, and depending on the government to step in and overrule Church dogma sets a very dangerous precedent.
It would have been far more powerful to have the actual victims of the policies at the hearing, but instead, we had a single person relaying all these concerns. Do these sympathetic friends even exist? Maybe – with shaky credibility, I cannot say. But to rely on a woman whose mission is to further her own, and others’ political goals, instead of actually helping raise awareness of overlooked women is disgusting and reprehensible.
As Occupy Wall Street camps into its second month as a movement, various special interests still seek to pre-empt and quiet the movement. As I mentioned in a previous post, for this movement to have any real shot at creating a change, it should develop and stick to a singular, easily relayed, and cogent message. Another measure necessary to ensure that once a message was adopted, that outside influences would not attach their own concerns to the movement. For anyone who has been watching and kept up with the movement, you should realize by now that both of these fatal actions have taken place.
While conservative and other GOP-members seem to be either disgusted or confused by the protests, I cannot recall any of them whole-heartedly embracing the protests. It is interesting to see them identify with some of the concerns of the protesters though: bailouts were a terrible idea (and that the market should have healed itself), that the politician-bosses of some of these Fortune 500 financial companies do not need a “Golden Parachute” for running their companies into the ground, and to a far lesser extent for the protesters, that the politicians themselves need voted out of office.
Democrats, for their parts, seem to have completely embraced the protests, and started to do so from early in its development. This has led to an embarrassing tendency for the democrats’ support be marred by violence, flagrant drug use, and ties to less than savory agencies and personalities. Even with such dangerous and damaging behaviors, I cannot recall any democrats withdrawing their support, and so, they continue tacitly to approve of the dangerous conduct. This week, it was revealed that a dis-honorably discharged, neo-Nazi, illegally (because of felony convictions) carrying an AR-15 rifle was providing security for the Occupy Phoenix movement. In the case of Tea Party members, who were observed legally openly carrying sidearms, the left and media could not decry it quickly enough.
The left in this country seems to feel as though the movement is a sort of completely grassroots, organic, entity, being driven by concerns of worried young people. This, despite so much evidence to the contrary. Large media companies (Adbusters) and SEIU and ACORN-leftovers have been identified as lending support, both legal and monetary. The pre-emption may not be complete yet, but it appears as though it is too late to save it from special interests, intent on horning in. The same things that drove the Tea Party to become such a success (a firm commitment to message, observing policies of places that they protested, and respectful protest) are the same things that now fatally doom the Occupy Movement.
Despite so much media coverage given to try and gin more support for the Occupy Movement, the fewer, but far more powerful images and stories of illegalities occurring are destructive. Democrats intent on quickly offering uncritical support for selfish reasons are going to be tied to the worst events. It seems almost karmic – using a disenfranchised group of people to gain oneself credibility or support is disgusting. Instead of trying to fix problems, like tackling rampant unemployment, the left embraces tactics like re-writing laws and rules to gather support, and actually demonizing the stalling and blocking of worthless, damaging legislation. The left’s tactics are like giving breadcrumbs to Americans, and expecting them to unquestioningly follow you for your efforts — never mind that the re-written rules will be far more damaging to more Americans than they help. Hey, it sets up the next opportunity for the left to swoop in, and “save the day” again. They really are “Our Worst of Society”.
“…and I’m here to help”. These words by Ronald Reagan were claimed to be the “nine most terrifying words in the English language”. Simple in its approach, deep in its implication, he very well could be right. I am hard pressed to come up with a situation which government has made better when they have finally decided to get involved. Wonderful uses of the rights and privileges granted to the federal government pale when compared to the abuses and wastes of the same federal government. Using federal troops to break racist policies in places like Little Rock in the Civil Rights era? That was a wonderful use of the federal government by President Eisenhower. I guess you could contrast that with the role of federal government in the Waco tragedy.
It is when the government seeks to use its enforcement powers and ability to compel people to act differently, that I take offense – and I think many other Americans should too. I don’t know about you, but I have not felt as ordered about by someone since I was in grade school. It seems as though the leaders of the last few years have felt it was in their own executive or legislative rights to tell (not ask) the American people what they may or may not do. Few to no judicial challenges for the most part, seem to only have encouraged them to continually push their boundaries onto the people, without critically thinking how future leaders may warp the current rules to suit their own “mandates” to rule their constituents. It seems as though even local governments are getting in on the act, passing and carrying out rules and regulations that have shaky bases for their existence.
Locally, I have seen bath salts recently banned – because the good legislators realize what a threat they pose to moist, supple skin? No, because people with nothing better to do were mashing the salts and then snorting them to get high. Brilliant. So, ostensibly, to lower healthcare costs and prevent otherwise idiotic people from snorting their beauty products – no bath salts for anyone! It is a good thing that the active ingredients that cause the highs are not found in anything else, or the government will have to start banning things like blush or Chapstick. Also, I am pretty sure that the strung out people, so desperate for their fix will not turn to either something far stronger or more damaging, to get that fix.
In cities across the nation, local governments have taken it upon themselves to ban the use of trans-fats in foods. Whether or not anyone has weighed the healthcare money saved by cleaning up greasy spoons, and weighed it against the costs of the real junk food junkies who might drive out of the locality to get their junk food fix, or simply eat something as bad from a bag, is unknown to me. New York has passed a slew of laws, trying to force people to act one way or another. Already seeing $5+ packs of cigarettes still being bought and smoked, they thought it would be a good idea to try to ban the actual act of smoking them nearly everywhere that they could. Sounds great, right – I mean who wants to suck some hacking, coughing, phlegm-y, smoker’s breath, right? So in the name of those put out by attending places that they know will have smokers, they have decided that their own rights are more important than the smokers’.
All these rules seem to be simply designed to affect behaviors. The biggest gripe I have, besides the obvious treading upon rights, is the enforcement mechanisms for the usually asinine government plans. Either an existing entity, local or state police, or a newly invented body, must enforce these rules from on high. If it is the existing entity – is this really a good way to change the way they spend their time? If it’s a newly invented entity, is it really a good thing to waste money on? The thing is, far too often, to me, there is no entity more subject to the laws of unintended consequence, than government. Pass something, then maybe the people will not whine too loudly about it, and then pass some more. No problem — heck, a caveman could do it (and haven’t the Weiner and Lee scandals proven that?)