Maybe you should rephrase that, Madame Secretary?

August 31, 2010

When a majority of those surveyed believe that “socialist” is an accurate description of President Obama, saying that opponents of his health-care program need to be reeducated is perhaps not the best choice of words:

In an interview before the latest Kaiser results were released, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told ABC News that the sustained opposition to the Democrats’ health care reform efforts has mainly been a function of “misinformation.”

“Unfortunately there still is a great deal of confusion about what is in [the reform law] and what isn’t,” Sebelius told ABC News Radio on Monday.

With several vulnerable House Democrats now touting their votes against the bill, and Republicans running on repeal of the law, Sebelius said “misinformation given on a 24/7 basis” has led to the enduring opposition nearly six months after the lengthy debate ended in Congress.

“We have a lot of reeducation to do,” Sebelius said.

Get it? Opposition can’t be based on a principled objection to a statist takeover of the health-care system, the insertion of federal bureaucrats into the most intimate decisions about one’s medical care, or the tremendous economic costs this “reform” imposes. Nope, it’s got to be “misinformation” fed to gullible rubes, who need “reeducating.”

Presumably again and again until they get it right.

I assume Secretary Sebelius is unaware of the disturbing associations “reeducation” brings to mind, such as the reeducation camps in Soviet Russia, Maoist China (especially during the Cultural Revolution), and Vietnam, to name just a few totalitarian hell-holes. Now, obviously she didn’t mean “put them all in camps and subject them to reprogramming as in Clockwork Orange,” but the choice of words is unfortunate and culturally clueless.

It’s also revealing, because it shows once again the arrogance and condescension toward the common people that lays behind the progressive-statist mindset: “Government experts know what’s best for you, Citizen peasant, so trust us and let us tell you why you’re wrong to oppose us.”

Come November 2nd, 2010, Secretary Sebelius and her colleagues will be the ones getting a real -and needed- reeducation.

COMPARISON: If you find yourself reminded of the votes a few years ago over the proposed EU constitution and the attempts to force nations that rejected it to vote again until they approved it, you’re not having hallucinations. The statist attitudes of our (Social) Democratic leaders and the European Union governing classes really are that alike.

(via Reason)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Darn those intolerant conservatives!

August 31, 2010

Excerpt of the day from Bill Kristol:

So evangelical Christian Sarah Palin spent Friday night with (mostly) observant Jews, along with various Christians, including some Amish. Then on Saturday she spoke at a rally hosted by a Mormon who went out of his way in his remarks to refer to the important role of “churches, synagogues and mosques” in American life.

Early Monday morning, as it happened, I received an e-mail from (Catholic convert) Newt Gingrich from Rome, asking for contact information for a (Jewish) scholar whose book on certain (not very religious) enlightenment thinkers he was reading.

Can’t you just feel the seething wingnut bigotry and neanderthal hatred? I’m sure Keith Olbermann is readying a trenchant special comment declaring… well, someone… the Worst Person in the World, even now.

(Crossposted to Sister Toldjah)


They’re still trying to kill us

August 30, 2010

I’m not sure what to make of this story, other than TSA is a bunch of boobs:

Two men taken off a Chicago-to-Amsterdam United Airlines flight in the Netherlands have been charged by Dutch police with “preparation of a terrorist attack,” U.S. law enforcement officials tell ABC News.

U.S. officials said the two appeared to be travelling with what were termed “mock bombs” in their luggage. “This was almost certainly a dry run, a test,” said one senior law enforcement official.

A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecutor, Ernst Koelman, confirmed the two men were arrested this morning and said “the investigation is ongoing.” He said the arrests were made “at the request of American authorities.”

The two were allowed to board the flight at O’Hare airport last night despite security concerns surrounding one of them, the officials said.

The men were identified as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, of Detroit, MI, and Hezem al Murisi, the officials said. A neighbor of al Soofi told ABC News he is from Yemen.

Airport security screeners in Birmingham, Alabama first stopped al Soofi and referred him to additional screening because of what officials said was his “bulky clothing.”

In addition, officials said, al Soofi was found to be carrying $7,000 in cash and a check of his luggage found a cell phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle, three cell phones taped together, several watches taped together, a box cutter and three large knives. Officials said there was no indication of explosives and he and his luggage were cleared for the flight from Birmingham to Chicago O’Hare.

So, what did they need to actually stop him? An autographed photo of Osama bin Laden and travel brochures for Waziristan?

This sure sounds like another terrorist dry run, which happens more often than most people think. And it’s a healthy reminder that there is still an enemy out there seeking to get to Paradise over our corpses. But, what were they doing sending the suspicious goods one direction, while taking themselves to Amsterdam? Was the whole point to see what they could get on board, and Amsterdam was their route back to whomever they report to?  If so, part one succeeded gloriously, and TSA again makes us ask “Why on Earth are we paying you guys?”

I’ve long argued that we make a mistake by concentrating on the tools and not the people, but this Keystone Cop episode make me wonder if profiling* would do any good, given the boneheads we apparently have “guarding” our security.

*(Oooh! I used the “p-word.” That must mean I’m a racist Islamophobic hater… or something. I shall have myself reported for sensitivity training, immediately.)

LINKS: More from Hot Air.

UPDATE 8/31/2010: Dry run unlikely? Perhaps, though the bundled items still make me very suspicious, and saying the pair was allowed to continue to Amsterdam for “investigative purposes” sounds like after-the-fact CYA.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Just how corrupt is the Congressional Black Caucus?

August 30, 2010

First Charlie Rangel, then Maxine Waters, and now Eddie Bernice Johnson:

Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide’s two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers’ causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member’s district.

Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so “unknowingly” and would work with the foundation to “rectify the financial situation.”

Initially, she said, “I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one.” Had there been more “very worthy applicants in my district,” she added, “then I probably wouldn’t have given it” to the relatives.

Uh-huh. Sure. We’re to believe a Representative who’s been in office for almost 20 years, chaired the CBC, and sat on the board of this foundation didn’t know that giving money to her grandkids and the children of her aide -none of whom lived in the district- violated the rules? That there were no children from poor families in her district who were better qualified? None?

I bet she promised to respect her constituents in the morning, too.

I’ll grant that corruption is a bipartisan problem (Remember Duke Cunningham?), but it does seem the CBC has more than its fair share. (Let’s not forget a former member, William ‘Icebox” Jefferson)

The problem has nothing to do with their ethnicity, of course, and everything to do with a sense of entitlement born of being in DC far too long, in which “public service” becomes “the public serves me.” Combine control over money with a sense of “I make the rules, so I can break them,” and this is what you get: a politician who thinks of herself as a modern day aristocrat, not a public servant.

Corruption, I think, is also more a problem with modern social liberalism, with its emphasis on government solutions by concentrating money and its distribution in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats, creating temptation. Again, “If the money is mine to distribute, what does it hurt if a little of it goes to help my own?” Nothing, except for gutting the belief that anyone else outside of the well-connected few has a fair shot at it. To the extent that CBC members are almost all social liberals (at least) and statists, it shouldn’t be surprising that these problems keep showing up among its members.

The solution, of course, is to replace oligarchs like Johnson, Rangel, and Waters with genuine representatives who will treat public money as a public trust, not a private piggy bank. And, while I’ve been opposed to term limits for legislators in principle, this is another in a long series of incidents that’s slowly changing my mind: if the problem is caused in part by being in Washington too long, then perhaps we should limit how long a person can stay there.

LINKS: More from Hot Air. Moe Lane points out that Congresswoman Johnson not only diverted money to her own family, but helped create her own district. An oligarch, indeed. Her opponent in November is the Reverend Stephen Broden. Perhaps we can all help clean up Congress by sending a little money his way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The real deal

August 29, 2010

To wash away any bad tastes left by yesterday’s post of the President’s address on Iraq, let me offer this palate cleanser: the Republican response, presented by US Senate nominee Marco Rubio of Florida:

Now that is how one addresses the nation. Unless something goes very wrong, he’ll be Florida’s next US Senator, and I predict we’ll all be grateful for that.


Obama: “Iraq was all about me”

August 28, 2010

The Narcissist in Chief President uses his weekly address to comment on the official end of combat operations in Iraq:

(Transcript)

No mention of the victories won by our forces there, either during the initial liberation or in the hard-fought guerrilla war that culminated in the 2007-08 “surge.” No admission that he, himself, was wrong when in 2007 he described Iraq as a total failure even while the results of the surge were becoming manifest. And certainly no thanks to the man who provided the needed political will to see the surge take place at all: George W. Bush.

Instead we get yet another focus on Obama by Obama, as he takes credit for ending a war that was largely over by the time he took office, and a paean to our forces which mostly treats them as victims because it focuses on their sacrifices and the hurts they’ve suffered, but makes no mention of victories won and the good they’ve done. Promising educational benefits and especially an improved Veteran’s Administration is a good thing (Lord knows, VA services are often scandalous), but would it have killed him to admit their overthrow of Saddam Hussein put an end to a living Hell? Or that crushing Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2007-08 made Iraq and indeed the world a better place?

Or simply that they won?

Eh, who am I kidding? “Victory” is a dead word in the Leftist lexicon, unless it’s over conservatives. Instead, “victim” is their touchstone.

LINKS: More from Ed Morrissey, who, like me, worries that Obama may pull the rest of our forces out way too soon; Iraq will need an American shield to protect it from its ravenous neighbors for many years to come, while it develops its own forces and, just as important, the habits of democracy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


And now, the Friday funnies

August 27, 2010

The latest NewsBusted, with Jodi Miller:


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