Eric Holder cracking under pressure?

November 30, 2011

The Daily Caller has been carrying lots of articles about the growing calls for Attorney General Holder’s resignation over the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking scandal. And apparently it’s getting to him: when a TDC reporter tried to ask him a question about the growing clamor, Holder snapped:

Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder today demanded The Daily Caller stop publishing articles about the growing calls in Congress for his resignation because of the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program.

As Holder’s aide was escorting the attorney general offstage following his remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House, a Daily Caller reporter introduced himself and shook Holder’s hand. The reporter asked him for a response to the growing chorus of federal legislators demanding his resignation.

Holder stepped towards the exit, then turned around, stepped back toward the reporter, and sternly said, “You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”

Holder then walked offstage without answering TheDC’s request for comment about calls for his resignation.

Visit TDC for the video.

I honestly feel sorry for our Attorney General; after all, it’s not easy being an admitted incompetent who doesn’t read memos on major DoJ operations and who thinks voting rights laws protect only some Americans, based on their skin color. For the worst AG since Wilson’s A. Mitchell Palmer, these have got to be tough, stressful times.

Which is why I think the poor dear should do the right thing and resign to “spend more time with his family.”

Before he does any more damage.

PS: Bravo, TDC!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


A governor turns the table on #OWS — UPDATED, fresh video

November 30, 2011

The Occupiers all like to claim they’re into mass democracy: general assemblies, voting by up and down-twinkles, free speech, and all that jazz. And all while making obnoxious prats of themselves. Prats who don’t understand a thing about real democratic societies… but I digress.

Anyway, it shouldn’t be surprising that I took a special joy in seeing Colorado Governor Hickenlooper (D!) and the crowd he had come to address use democracy against the Occupiers.

Enjoy:

Major up-twinkles.

via Jonah Goldberg

UPDATE: The original video was suppressed after a copyright claim by an Occupier named Michael Clifton. Hey, Mikey! Other people had cameras, too:

Thanks to Moe Lane, who observes…

Suuuuure.  Now they care about private property.  Doesn’t information want to be free, Michael Clifton?

Heh.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“What a Brownback!”

November 29, 2011

There’s an old saying about public figures attacking newspapers who say things they don’t like: “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

Well, it seems we need to update that for the 21st century: “Never pick a fight with a teenager who has a Twitter account.”

It’s a lesson Governor Sam Brownback (R-KS) learned the hard way:

It’s not every day someone turns your name into a noun. But welcome to the big leagues, Kansas Gov. (and former Sen.) Sam Brownback, and all because you trained the state’s resources on an 18-year-old senior at Shawnee Mission East High School who tweeted something mean about you.

Recall the ancient history of last week, when Emma Sullivan boasted on Twitter that she said a “mean comment” to the governor during a Youth in Government event in Topeka where Brownback was speaking. She ended the tweet with the hashtag “heblowsalot.” Team Brownback declared war on the teen and told on her to Shawnee Mission East High School principal Karl Krawitz. Krawitz called Sullivan into the office and demanded she apologize. She refused. Brownback apologized Monday.

Now Brownback faces the wrath of the Twitterverse, including this tweet from @MildlyRelevant: “Gov. Brownback’s office tattled on a high school girl who tweeted ‘#heblowsalot.’ I’m tattling on them for being a colossal Brownback.” There you have it: a proper noun.

Was Emma Sullivan a mouthy jerk? Sure. Just as I’m sure you’re all shocked someone in high school would do something like that. In fact, that a teenager would say something stupid and immature when showing off for friends (and followers) is so unusual and outrageous that it left a state governor and former US senator no choice but to crush her like an insolent bug:

Mr Brownback’s office contacted the school and complained about the tweet.

The following day Emma wound up in the principal’s office, NBC Action News reports.

She said: ‘He laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment.

‘He said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it … and now he had to do damage control.’

She said she was told to write a formal apology to the governor, which so far she hasn’t done.

Emma said: ‘I don’t agree with a majority of the things that he is trying to pass.

‘I believe that it is my right to state my opinion.’

The school’s principal said: ‘This is not about political views since none were given in the tweet – it’s about being respectful with a public official whether we agree or disagree with their viewpoints.’

Yeah, right. I imagine what this was really about was the phone call the principal got from Topeka and vague hints of future “career advancement difficulties” if he didn’t force Miss Sullivan to GROVEL BEFORE THE ALMIGHTY GOVERNOR!!

I doubt the principal was all that concerned about the principle.

Not that I’m defending Sullivan’s behavior; she was a smart-alecky, immature jerk of a not-uncommon variety, and maybe her parents should have had a word with her about “respectful disagreement.” But she’s a jerk who also happens to have a right to free political speech, even if said speech is expressed in a manner more befitting an 8-year old, not an 18-year old legal adult with the right to vote.

But if Emma Sullivan was a jerk, then Governor Sam Brownback was a jackass who tried to punish someone for exercising their right to free speech (a right he swore to protect as senator and which is guaranteed under the Kansas constitution) and in the process punched so far under his class that, like President Obama attacking a radio host, he made himself look like a fool.

Or, to use the new buzzword, a “Brownback.”

The real lesson here, I think, is the illustration of the arrogance career politicians of all parties are prone to, where they think they’re protected by some form of law against lese majeste. Far from it; if you’re a politician in a democracy, you have to live with the reality that some people are going to say mean things about you.

And if Governor Brownback can’t handle that and keeps acting like a Brownback, then perhaps the voters of Kansas should give him a lesson in democratic humility at the next election.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Barney Frank to retire

November 28, 2011

via The Hill:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will announce Monday that he is not seeking re-election, ending a 32-year career in the House.

Frank, 71, is the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and the architect, with former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), of the sweeping Wall Street regulatory reform law enacted in 2010.

He is scheduled to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. in his district, according to a spokesman, who said the congressman would announce at that time the reason for his decision. His retirement will deprive the House of one of its most colorful characters, a man known for his quick and often caustic wit.

And also known for being one of the most vociferous defenders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, claiming there was no problem while those two agencies were at the core of the building sub-prime mortgage disaster. He’s also been a loud advocate of raising taxes and gutting the defense budget. Saying he has a “caustic wit” is a euphemism; he truly is one of the biggest jackasses in our national life. Congress can only be improved by his absence.

Enjoy your retirement, Barney. And good riddance.

RELATED: Earlier posts about Barney Frank. Smitty at The Other McCain has a blog roundup.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bill Whittle: character and virtue matters

November 27, 2011

Happy end of the Thanksgiving weekend, folks. I’m sure we’re all excited to go back to work, now. 

Since this is my first post in a few days, I thought “What better way to ease back into the blogging groove than Bill Whittle’s most recent episode of Afterburner?”

Glad you agree.

It’s an interesting discussion of virtue and discipline as components of character and their role in our founding, the assumption that private virtue and self-regulating discipline made our system of self-government possible. And that their decline (which really began after the passing of the Revolutionary generation and the growth of popular democracy in the age of Jackson) lead to the growth of the State and the efforts to impose virtue and regulate behavior from above, via legislation.

And that brings to mind a pertinent quote from Cicero:

“The more laws, the less justice.”

And, perhaps, the less virtue.

I’m not sure I agree 100-percent with Bill’s arguments and examples, but that would be more in the way of a quibble, rather than substantial disagreement.

Regardless, his points are worth thinking about.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Planned parenthood has the perfect idea for Thanksgiving table-talk

November 24, 2011

Planned Parenthood of New York is providing tips on how to promote abortion at your Thanksgiving dinner.

In what universe did anyone think this would be a good idea? Just… wow.

via Jeff Jacoby

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The forgotten lesson of Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day, everyone.

I remember in grammar school we used to be taught the “lessons of Thanksgiving,” including such wonderful things as sharing and gratitude. It seems one lesson never gets taught, though, and so reporter John Stossel wrote to remind us of it in this 2010 article:

Had today’s political class been in power in 1623, tomorrow’s holiday would have been called “Starvation Day” instead of Thanksgiving. Of course, most of us wouldn’t be alive to celebrate it.

Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. But the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn’t happen.

Long before the failure of modern socialism, the earliest European settlers gave us a dramatic demonstration of the fatal flaws of collectivism. Unfortunately, few Americans today know it.

The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally.

That’s why they nearly all starved.

They nearly starved because too few people were willing to work hard to make the land productive enough to feed everyone, knowing they could still draw from the communal pot regardless of their (lack of) effort. Hence, not enough food was produced and the Colony nearly died.

But it didn’t. Having seen the failure of communalism and a planned economy, the colony’s leaders decided to divide the land into plots of private property and make each family responsible for their own livelihood. The results, as reported by Governor Bradford were amazing:

“This had very good success,” Bradford wrote, “for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many.”

In other words, private property and a free market made prosperity possible, while Socialism nearly got everyone killed.

Read the rest before you settle down to turkey and football (and the inevitable food coma), and let’s keep this forgotten lesson in mind.

Enjoy the day, folks!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Jim Crow lives in Guam, and the DoJ approves

November 23, 2011

Even though it’s been a US territory since 1898 (1), few of us probably think much about or even know anything of Guam. When we do, it’s perhaps because of the island’s reputation for lots of  snakes, or maybe the danger that it will tip over. But there is a problem there that should demand the attention of anyone concerned with the civil liberties of Americans.

On Guam, if you’re of White, East Asian, or Filipino descent, you aren’t allowed to vote:

“Chamorro” is the racial designation given to the natives who originally inhabited Guam and constitute about 36 percent of the population. Guam is a territory that today has many residents of Western European, American, Asian, and Pacific Islander descent. But all of those other residents are barred by law and the Guam Election Commission from registering and voting on the plebiscite over Guam’s future relationship with the United States.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Arnold Davis, is a former Air Force officer who has been a resident of the island since 1977. When he tried to register for the plebiscite, his application was rejected and marked as “void” by the Guam Election Commission because Davis is white. Bull Connor would have loved the registration form — it required Davis to certify his race under penalty of perjury! Guam is holding a discriminatory election that prohibits certain voters from participating based purely on their race.

Guam’s election restrictions are more extreme than anything that was in place in the South during the height of Jim Crow. Southern states such as Mississippi tried to make it as difficult as possible for blacks to vote through literacy tests, poll taxes, and other obstacles, but some small percentage of blacks were still able to get through this thicket of discrimination to actually register and vote. Guam, on the other hand, bars anyone who is white, Asian, or Filipino from voting in this plebiscite, and even makes it a crime for them to try to register.

It’s bad enough that Guam is resorting to discrimination so bold that it would make the likes of Theodore Bilbo proud. What’s as bad or worse is the reason Arnold Davis, represented by the Center for Individual Rights and Christian Adams, author of Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department, had to file this suit against the Guamanian government: the Justice Department refused to act to protect the voting rights of American citizens.

As Hans von Spakowsky, author of the article, points out, the failure to apply civil rights law against minority violators is, under Obama and Holder, DoJ policy:

DOJ declined to file a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act asserting that the deliberate racial discrimination by the “native people” of Guam violated federal law. As we know from the sworn testimony of former Voting Section chief Christopher Coates before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, deputy assistant attorney general Julie Fernandes informed him that it was the policy of the Obama administration that the Voting Rights Act is not to be enforced against racial minorities, no matter how egregious the violation. As CIR president Terence Pell says, the fact that this racial discrimination “continues to take place under the nose of the U.S. Department of Justice is unconscionable.”

Darned right it’s “unconscionable.” This action by Guam violates the 15th amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was written to enforce the 15th amendment. It’s an open and shut case that should lead to the Guamanian government being smacked down hard by the federal courts — if, under Obama, the laws were enforced in a race-neutral manner.

But that’s not the case.

Under Barack Obama and Eric Holder, the American principle of “equal justice under the law” has been perverted to “justice only for those groups we favor; the rest of you can go to the Devil.” We’ve seen this racial favoritism before in the 2008 New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case in Philadelphia, where the new administration in 2009 refused to protect the rights of White voters, and in others Adams details in “Injustice.”

Even though this case takes place in a tiny, far-away territory, let’s not minimize or dismiss the danger it reveals. One of the pillars on which our republic stands is the Rule of Law: the belief that the law is applied equally to all, one reason we’re willing to grant law-enforcement powers to government. It is a matter of trust crucial to obtaining and retaining the consent of the governed. It may not function perfectly, but it’s the ideal to which we hold and it’s the standard we demand of the government.

Turn the law instead into a vehicle for a racial spoils system and the Rule of Men, not Law, as Obama, Holder, and the rest of the racial grievance industry are doing, and you instead knock down that pillar and weaken that trust.

You attack the very legitimacy of the American government, itself.

I’ve no doubt Mr. Turner will win his suit in court, but the only remedy for the “pursuit of injustice” encouraged by Obama and Holder is the 2012 election and a thorough housecleaning at the Department of Justice.

For the sake of civil rights for all and the integrity of our political system, they have to go.

via the Election Law Center

RELATED: See also Terence J. Pell’s article with more background on the Guam case. Here’s a news report from Guam that includes interviews with the plaintiff, Christian Adams, and a Guam senator who supports the exclusion of non-Chamorros from the vote in the belief that rights vest in groups, not individual citizens. Adams writes about the Guamanian “Jim Crow” law at PJ Media.

Footnote:
(1) ¡Gracias, España!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Los Angeles to #OccupyLA : “Please take this land in tribute and don’t hurt us!”

November 22, 2011

When the Vandals looted Rome in 455 A.D., they at least had to capture the city first before sacking it. Their successors here in Los Angeles, however, don’t have to go to such trouble.

We’ll just pay tribute, instead:

Los Angeles officials have offered Occupy L.A. protesters a package of incentives that includes downtown office space and farmland in an attempt to persuade them to abandon their camp outside of City Hall, according to several demonstrators who have been in negotiations with the city.

The details of the proposal were revealed Monday during the demonstration’s nightly general assembly meeting by Jim Lafferty, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild who has been advocating on behalf of the protest since it began seven weeks ago.

Lafferty said city officials have offered protesters a $1-a-year lease on a 10,000-square-foot office space near City Hall. He said officials also promised land elsewhere for protesters who wish to farm, as well as additional housing for the contingent of homeless people who joined the camp.

A spokesman for the mayor would not comment on the proposal, saying only: “We are in negotiations with organizers of Occupy L.A.”

Los Angeles has been one of the most accommodating cities in the nation for its Occupy encampment.

No kidding. Even the pusillanimous Mayor Quan of Oakland finally had enough and sent in the cops.

But Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa (he of the many affairs and illegal comped Laker tickets) has a spine made from the purest rubber, so that he can be even more of a wimp than Jean Quan or Michael Bloomberg: he won’t just refuse to enforce the law, he’s willing to give the Occupiers what they want — free stuff! (Okay, a dollar a year. Who’s quibbling?)

Now that’s a leader for you. We have to be tolerant, never mind the brandishing of weapons, public lewdness, and sexual assaults:

Five people at the Occupy L.A. encampment have been charged with separate crimes, including a man who allegedly exposed himself and commited a sex act in front of a child, officials said Tuesday.

Angele Chaidez, 21, faces one count of lewd conduct and one count of indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself and masturbating in front of several people, including children, Friday on the south steps of City Hall, said prosecutors with the L.A. city attorney’s office.

That same day, Zachary Isaac, 21, allegedly entered a woman’s tent and called her “Satan.” After the woman asked Isaac to leave, he allegedly punched her in the face with a closed fist. Prosecutors charged him with one count of battery resulting in injury.

Robert Holland Jr., 31, allegedly waved a knife at another person on Halloween, then resisted arrest, prosecutors said. He was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of brandishing a deadly weapon, one count of disturbing the peace and one count of resisting arrest.

And let’s not forget blatant Jew-hatred.

But, no matter. “Free speech” is all that matters, forget the rights of the public to feel safe on public property. Forget the rights of small and micro-businessmen to earn a livelihood and who are seeing their businesses wrecked by Occupy LA. Forget everything else but the right of peaceful Occupiers to impose their will on everyone else.

Or else.

Okay, perhaps I’m being too hard on Mayor Villaraigosa. After all, he really is trying to do something about Occupy LA.

It’s called “appeasement.”

LINKS: More from The Jawa Report, Hot Air, and The Other McCain. From Jack Dunphy, an active-duty LAPD officer writing under a pseudonym: “Chief Beck is abetting the lawlessness.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


An insult to the real Civil Rights movement

November 21, 2011

Democrats plan to make illegal immigration the next civil-rights crusade. Because foreigners breaking our laws to get into America are just like the US citizens who fought for the political rights guaranteed them as citizens.

If I were the NAACP, I’d be teed-off that the accomplishments of my parents and grandparents were being so diminished by the comparison, but that would require a NAACP that wasn’t deep in the hip pocket of the Democratic Party.

“Shameless” doesn’t half-describe it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dolphins blowing bubbles

November 21, 2011

Politics and the news can be so aggravating at times, I thought it would be fun to share this neat video of dolphins at play. What makes it special is that the behavior apparently is something one of the dolphins “discovered” and then passed on to the others, a form of teaching and learning.

Oh, and the females are faster learners than the males. Make of that what you will. 

Enjoy!

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Occupy fighting for the 99% in Wisconsin, by bribing children with cigarettes?

November 21, 2011

Sure looks that way, doesn’t it? The campaign to recall Governor Walker (1) thought it had found some neat allies in the Occupy movement, so they apparently joined forces to occupy a bridge (and freeze their tushes off) and circulate recall petitions, paying people in cigarettes for their signatures.

That’s what it looks like, anyway.

Of course, bribing with smokes seems to be something of  a hobby with Wisconsin Democrats.

Footnote:
(1) You know, the guy who signed into law needed reforms that are actually doing some good for his state. Can’t have that, now.


If you go off the reservation, the Democrats will try to destroy you

November 20, 2011

We’ve seen it happen time and again: a public figure from an ethic minority considered “ours” by the liberal left gains prominence as a conservative, they do everything in their power to ruin him or her politically for fear that others might follow. Long ago, it was Clarence Thomas and the “high tech lynching.” More recently, minority conservatives such as Miguel Estrada, Condoleezza Rice, and Marco Rubio were all subjected to vicious, mendacious, even racist attacks questioning their truthfulness, morality, and “authenticity” (1).

Now it’s Susana Martinez’s turn. The Governor of New Mexico has committed a great sin: she is from a minority (2) , Mexican-American, a conservative and a Republican, and she has the temerity to govern as one.

She is thus a threat and must be destroyed, in this case by lying about her family:

Here we have a popular and successful Latina politician with a bold, conservative agenda in an important swing state. As far as the mainstream media is concerned, there has to be a catch.

“Ms. Martinez, who grew up along the border, is also Mexican-American, with news reports since her election revealing that her paternal grandfather came to the United States as an illegal immigrant,” wrote Marc Lacey in a New York Times profile three months ago.

“…The New Mexican’s Sandra Baltazar Martínez reported recently, at least two of the governor’s grandparents also were [undocumented immigrants],” wrote the Santa Fe New Mexican in a recent editorial.

Lest you be under any illusions about the nature and motives of these news items, bear in mind that Gov. Martinez wants to roll back certain of her predecessor’s policies regarding illegal immigration in New Mexico, most notably, a policy that allows illegal immigrants to secure drivers licenses. “The governor’s opponents have pointed to her immigrant grandparents as an example of why New Mexico should welcome illegal immigrants and continue to allow them to get a driver’s license,” reports the Associated Press.

Obviously, the stage is set for the media and her political rivals to paint Gov. Martinez as a hypocrite and a traitor to her people.

There’s only one problem: The story about Martinez’s grandparents is junk. The Governor’s grandparents were not U.S. citizens, but they were most certainly not illegal immigrants.

Read the rest to see why this charge is bogus.

It’s an old rhetorical trick, one beloved of demagogues everywhere: plant a leading question seemingly loaded with damning implications with the audience, then trust that their cynicism and distrust of politicians will prevent them from thinking critically and asking rational questions such as, “What was the state of the law at the time her grandparents arrived in the US?”

It’s a cheap, sleazy tactic, but it’s one that’s used so regularly because it often works.

Thankfully, in the cases of Marco Rubio and candidate for US Senate Ted Cruz (R-TX), it didn’t work. But now the “smear guns” have been turned on Governor Martinez, who’s increasingly seen as another threat to the Democrats’ death-grip on minority groups.

We mustn’t let them succeed.

Footnotes:
(1) Because, after all, what “authentic” minority could ever consider being a Republican. Must be a traitor.
(2) Twice-over. A Mexican-American and a woman. The horror…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Uptwinkles: Gingrich on #OWS

November 20, 2011

First it was arrogant, ignorant debate moderators who felt the wrath of Newt; now it’s the turn of the arrogant, ignorant (1) Occupy movement to be sliced and diced:

I’ve been resistant to a Gingrich candidacy for various reasons, but, if he keeps this up, I may have to take a second look at Newt on the strength of the entertainment value, alone.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about that whole up- and downtwinkles thing, an Occupier explains.

via Steven Hayward, who wonders if Newt isn’t having an “I paid for this mike” moment. Video courtesy of RuBegonia.

Footnote:
(1) I’m detecting a theme, here…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why America is exceptional, a graphic example

November 19, 2011

I wrote in the last post of how Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address, captured the essence of American exceptionalism in the ideology of liberty that ties this nation together and makes it so different from almost any other place on Earth.

Well, coincidentally the Pew Research Center published the results of a survey examining the views of Americans and West Europeans on the role of the State and the individual. I think you’ll find the results interesting:

The difference is stark, wouldn’t you agree? Forget the Continent, where statism rather than liberty has been the rule and where the “Anglo-American system” (i.e., classical liberalism) is often held up as a bogeyman, but we’re almost polar opposites from our British cousins, from whom we inherited almost our whole political tradition.

And we’re seeing that play out in our national political drama, as time and again the majority of Americans have opposed the vast expansion of the federal government under Obama. When a truly large demonstrations took place here, it was against massive federal borrowing and the expansion of the state via ObamaCare. When people took to the streets in Europe, for example in France when the government proposed mild entitlement reforms, it was to demand an even bigger state and more “free stuff.”

The percentage preferring liberty to being coddled by the government is too low for my tastes, but it’s still a hopeful sign that we can largely avoid going down the same drain as the EU.

It also shows, in this case via social science rather than oratory, just how unusual we are.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

November 19, 2011

Exactly 149 years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln dedicated the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in a speech lasting a little over two minutes:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

No mention of himself, no teleprompter needed.

In my opinion, this is the single greatest speech in American history, surpassing Washington’s Farewell Address, Lincoln’s own second inaugural speech, and FDR’s speech to Congress asking for a declaration of war against Japan. Perhaps President Reagan’s address at Normandy on the D-Day anniversary in 1984 comes closest in oratorical power.

Regardless, in those few words captured the reason why we came into being and why we continue to exist, what makes us, in a word many use but few really understand, “exceptional.” In fact, it wouldn’t be out of line to say this was the moment of our second Founding.

PS: Did you know President Lincoln wasn’t even the main speaker that day? The “main event” was an orator named Edward Everett, who spoke for over two hours. Thank Heaven we weren’t required to memorize that in school.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Freedom of speech beaten and left bleeding in Australia?

November 18, 2011

This is the kind of authoritarian garbage I would expect from real dictatorships, such as Venezuela or Russia or… Chicago, but not from one of the stalwarts of the Anglosphere:

THE whitewash begins. Now that the carbon tax has passed through federal parliament, the government’s clean-up brigade is getting into the swing by trying to erase any dissent against the jobs-destroying legislation.

On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been “directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price.”

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1.

“Beat the Carbon Tax – Buy Now” or “Buy now before the carbon tax bites” are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, “you should be very cautious about making these types of claims”.

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that “choose to link your price increases to a carbon price”.

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you’ve raised prices because “the overall cost of running (your) business has increased”.

(Emphasis added)

So a barkeep or beauty salon owner in Australia can be fined one million Australian dollars for speaking the truth? (1)

Seriously?

Once again, we see the statist, totalitarian nature of the Green movement laid bare for all to see in a way that would leave Stalin smiling. Dare to criticize the dogmas of the High Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming and you’ll be fined for more than you’re worth. Question their jihad against the demon CO2 and watch as the Carbon Tax Inquisition smashes your business.

If I understand Australia’s electoral system right, the next federal election is in 2013. Julia Gillard‘s minority Labor government was already unpopular for the economy-choking carbon tax it imposed; after this… “nonsense,” I’d be surprised if she could be elected dog catcher. I’ve never known an Australian who would put up with being pushed around like this and I predict voters will shove back hard come election day.

via Watt’s Up With That?

Footnote:
(1) Australia apparently doesn’t enshrine free speech as a natural, preexisting right as we do. Instead a right to free political speech was found to be implied in the Australian constitution in the case Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation, decided by the High Court of Australia in 1997.

PS: Be sure to read the rest of Miranda Devine’s article to see just how Aussies are already suffering from skyrocketing electricity prices, which the new carbon tax will only make worse. That is exactly what Obama, his EPA, and the Green Statists have in mind for us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rule 5 Friday, Natalie Wood edition

November 18, 2011

The news that the investigation into Natalie Wood’s death has been reopened has been all over the media yesterday and today, so who would be a better subject for a Rule 5 Friday? And what better way to relieve a gloomy Friday than to appreciate for a moment one of the great beauties of the 20th century?

If you’d like to see Natalie in one of her better movies, check out “Love with the Proper Stranger,” with Steve McQueen. (Another of my favorite actors.)


#OccupySanDiego honors White House shooter

November 17, 2011

No, really.

Somehow, I don’t think 99% of us would approve of taking shots at the White House.

But, according to the Left, Occupy is just like the Tea Party. As Ace puts it:

If anyone in the Tea Party expressed solidarity with Jared Loughner (and if a group of Tea Partiers than bowed their head in respectful silence for him), do you imagine the media would have been interested?

Don’t worry, Ace; I’m sure CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR, and (especially!) MSNBC will be all over this like ants at a picnic.

Just as soon as they can find a way to blame it on Sarah Palin.

RELATED: Earlier posts on the Occupy movement.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Remember when Barack Obama was upset at the bonuses paid to AIG execs?

November 16, 2011

I mean, he was the picture of righteous indignation:

President Obama said Monday he will attempt to block bonuses to executives at ailing insurance giant AIG, payments he described as an “outrage.”

“This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed,” Obama told politicians and reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner were unveiling a package to aid the nation’s small businesses.

The president expressed dismay and anger over the bonuses to executives at AIG, which has received $173 billion in U.S. government bailouts over the past six months.

“Under these circumstances, it’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?”Obama was referring to the bonuses paid to traders in AIG’s financial products division, the tiny group of people who crafted complicated deals that wound up shaking the world’s economic foundations.

But when it comes to the millions of dollars in compensation, regular and bonus, paid to executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) that were at the very center of the sub-prime mortgage-bundling that poisoned the financial system and took down companies such as AIG, Obama’s outrage is… strangely mute:

That’s from the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who must really be Obama’s favorite congressman right about now. The committee is holding hearings today on the compensation scheme at the two GSEs and have issued a staff report in advance. Here’s an excerpt:

When the bubble burst in 2007, Fannie and Freddie began to lose billions of dollars of investments in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) guarantees. In September 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) took Fannie and Freddie into conservatorship as a result of mounting losses stemming from the financial crisis.The Enterprises became de facto government entities, funded by preferred stock purchase agreements from the Department of the Treasury (Treasury). Today, the Enterprises remain a multi-billion-dollar drag on the federal government’s finances. Since they entered conservatorship, Treasury has provided $169 billion to Fannie and Freddie – and the payouts are scheduled to continue with no end in sight. According to recent FHFA projections, by the end of 2014, Treasury assistance to the Enterprises will total $220 billion to $311 billion.

Since the Enterprises have become government-funded entities, lavish payment packages have been doled out to their senior executives, and taxpayers have been footing the bill. In 2009and 2010, the Enterprises’ top six officers were given a total of more than $35 million in compensation. Of that amount, a total of $17 million in compensation was given to the CEOs of the Enterprises. Additional bonus installments for 2010 may still be forthcoming, and the two CEOs stand to make a total of $12 million in 2011. In addition, an executive has been awarded a substantial signing bonus – $1.7 million – upon joining the Fannie Mae. As these figures indicate, senior executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have become the highest compensated workers on the federal payroll – making as much as eight times more than the President of the United States. The executives even make more than their conservator, FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco.

(Emphasis added)

The outrageousness here is almost beyond measure. Again, these agencies were at the heart of the financial crackup. When the Clinton administration altered the CRA to pressure banks into making questionable loans via then-HUD Secretary and now NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, the two GSEs used the bundling and government-backed resale of these securities as a sugarcoating for the bitter pill they were making the banks swallow. Democrats desperately defended this practice against three different efforts at reform under the Bush administration.

And yet now, instead of being spun-off as wholly private enterprises or just shut down, and while they are still being bailed out by billions in taxpayer dollars, their executives are being rewarded with tens of millions in salary and bonuses — all funded by the taxpayer.

And Barack Obama is silent, his outrage nowhere to be seen.

Ed Morrissey is right: the reason is simple. Obama and the (Social) Democrats are quiet on this because they want to keep Fannie and Freddie around so they can use them as instruments for progressive social engineering — such as making even more sub-prime loans, which caused the problem in the first place.

But he’s only partly right; there’s another reason. For Obama to get angry over these bonuses and attack the GSEs would be to admit that government and Democratic Party policies, implemented in the 90s in concert with ACORN and other Socialist advocacy groups, were as much to blame for what has happened as the financial companies he loves to demonize — if not more so. And Barack Obama cannot do that.

Hence, the silence. A silence that speaks volumes.

RELATED: For an excellent book on the causes of the financial disaster, see Reckless Endangerment, by NY Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson and writer Joshua Rosner.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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