Monday, July 28, 2014

Obama "Checked Out" Long Ago

Sorry about the short article today, but I’ve got limited internet availability... primarily because I’ve been kidnapped by North Korea, which seems to want to trade me for a ham sandwich. Anyhoo, there have been a lot of interesting articles about Obama “checking out” of the job lately. I find it interesting that everyone sees this now, as I think this actually goes back much further.

To set this up, remember what I told you about Obama back in 2008. At the same time the genuine conservative world was quaking in fear about Obama being the ultimate triumph of INVINCIBLE EVIL GENIUS SAUL ALINSKY... hear his name and tremble in fear BOO!... I was telling you something very different. Based on my experience with other lawyers, it was pretty obvious to me that Obama was a dud.

Yep, a dud. It was obvious he had no plan, because he never mentioned one. All he did was speak in platitudes... “We need to fix thing. Make them better. Pull together. Be all we can be.” Not only did he not give details, he didn’t even give broad-brush strokes outlining his ideas. This was a huge clue that Obama simply had no ideas, no ideology, and no real plan of any sort. His plan was delusional hubris: “When I’m in charge, everyone will want to solve the world’s problems with me.” Only, that’s not how humanity works.

He also struck me as someone who simply had no idea how to deal with other people. To his mind, it was simple to solve problems – “you just sit down across the table from the other guy and solve it. What more do you need?” This shows tremendous inexperience. This is the kind of nonsense fresh young lawyers out of law school spew. They think they can solve the world’s problems with their personality alone. They think that all it takes is both sides being honest about what they want. It’s not. Self-interest is the name of the game for humanity and it conflicts, and you can’t solve conflicts with a smile. But Obama never got that; he genuinely believed he could solve anything just by talking. Naturally, this led to disaster after disaster for him.

This is when most people pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try something new to achieve their goals. But not Obama. The problem is, as I said above, he’s not a man with any real goals or ideas. Consequently, he’s not a man who cares about anything in particular. So whenever he’s been faced with people who won’t bend to his will at the first blush, his answer has been to walk away to work on something simpler.

The first serious evidence we had of this was in foreign policy. I wrote about this too during the Honduras affair, where Obama showed that he couldn’t care less. He waved his hand and proclaimed what he wanted. Honduras told him to F* off. Obama was stunned. He didn’t know how to respond. So he walked away. Then he apologized to the Arabs, but they didn’t respond as he hoped, so he walked away again. China followed, as did Copenhagen. Each time, he just walked away as the other said laughed in his face. Soon, he gave up entirely on foreign policy. Indeed, his entire foreign policy has been about walking away at the first sign of push-back. So as far back as 2009, his penchant for disengagement was becoming obvious.

Then we saw the same disengagement in his domestic policy. He thought everyone would bow down and embrace Obamacare, but the RINOs stood tall and unified. Obama snarled his lips and walked off. He told the Democrats to handle it and he refused even to even given them his thoughts on how it should work. If you wanted to see him, you needed to find him on the golf course or a luxury vacation. By 2010, it was obvious he didn’t give a crap about being President. All he did was golf, enjoy the perks of power, and occasionally give a press conference swearing to kick someone’s ass if only people told him whose ass needed kicking.

So what you have is this. You have a man with no achievements to his name except agreeing to let himself be packaged. His handlers got him elected President and he made a grand show of changing the world. But the moment things don’t go as planned for him, and people don’t magically falls to their knees weeping at his brilliance, he scowls and walks away... unwilling to put more effort into it.

This is a man who checked out almost the week he checked in. He’s been on autopilot ever since. The man’s a dud.

Thoughts?
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eric Holder Has Got This One Covered!

It's good to know that Eric Holder and the DOJ are hot on the trail of this latest scrouge. No, it's not the case of Lois Lerner's missing hard drives that just happened to contain the emails involved in the exact time...well you know. No, this is much more important and could change everything. Yeah, an outhouse as a hate crime. Stop the presses! The horror! How could this happen? Is there no shame?


Yeah, this float was in a parade in the annual 4th of July parade in Norfolk, Nebraska. Some woman who shall remain nameless told the Lincoln Journal Star that “I’m angry and I’m scared...This float was not just political; this was absolutely a racial statement.”

I am guessing that this political cartoon by Mike Luckovitch was just political...


And then there's this composite of all the love shown to Bush...


Yeah, so if political satire is now open to be investigated as a "hate crime" by the DOJ then well, so much for free speech and all that. No wonder the comedians have been running scared for six years now...

Feel free to expand on any topic of the day. Growing anti-Semitism is always a good place to start.

UPDATE: This is a photo I took of an advert in the subway car I was in yesterday. I was kind of flummoxed as to why there needed to be disclaimer by the MTA that "...displaying this ad does not imply...endorsement of any views expressed" and that the disclaimer took up about 1/4 of the ad space. Any ideas?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Good News Files: Responsibility Is Back

I swear to you that every time I’m subject to talk radio they do their best to drive me to suicide: the world is ending! America is finished! Our kids are stupid! Our citizens are lazy! Our economy is dead! Diseased Mexicans are everywhere! Russia is planning to nuke us! The gays!! The gays!!! Ug. That’s all bs. Anyways, with a nod to the New York Post, here is more good news.

There have been some recent studies and surveys that have shown that America’s kids are being more responsible than they’ve been at any time since the JFK years! Observe:
● The percentage of teens who have ever taken a drink has fallen from 93% in 1980 to 80% in 2000 to 71% today. More importantly, the percentage who drink periodically has fallen from 72% in 1980 to 50% in 2000 to 41% today. That’s a huge change.

● The teen pregnancy rate today is less than half the rate it was in the 1990s.

● Teens are waiting longer to have sex.

● Teen smoking is at an all-time low at 17%, which is less than half the rate of the 1990s.

● Pot use is up slightly at 23%, but still lower than the 1970s or 1990s. And frankly, 23% isn’t that high... it means that 8 in 10 haven’t used pot.

● Violent crime rates today are less than half of what they were in the 1990s.

● Teen incarceration is at its lowest level since 1975.
Politically speaking, there are some interesting changes to note as well... things that should make us happy if conservative mouthpieces weren’t so busy hating young people and instead saw the opportunity here. Right now, young people skew liberal in a big way. But their version of liberalism isn’t quite what liberals like Nancy Pelosi believe. Observe:
● According to Pew, 83% of older liberals believe poverty is caused by “circumstances.” Only 47% of younger liberals believe that; 42% believe lack of effort causes poverty.

● 56% of older liberals think Wall Street does more harm than good. Young liberals do not. 56% of young liberals think Wall Street does more good than harm.

● 80% of older liberals believe that the poor condition of American blacks is the result of discrimination. Only 19% of young liberals buy they. Instead, 68% believe that blacks are responsible for their own condition.

● The one area where young liberals match old liberals is in social issues. Fortunately, those are changing even with the Republican party as younger Republicans pretty much mirror the public, which is neutral (indifferent) with a liberal lean (permissive) on those issues.
What all of this means is that talk radio is again wrong about young people. They aren’t lazy, stupid, drug addicted socialists. To the contrary, as a generation they are much more responsible than the generations from which the talkers themselves spawned. Add in things like the millionaire numbers showing Millennials are doing better than Boomers (and being more generous to charity), and you see a very different picture take hold of “these kids today.”

Honestly, while our politics may be screwed up, the public at large seems to be headed in the right direction.

Thoughts?
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Turn Texas Blue...NOT! Updated

So you probably haven't been paying much attention to the gubernatorial election cycle in Texas. Greg Abbott, the present Attorney General is running against Wendy Davis, state senator from Ft. Worth and the Great Blue Hope of the Dems. [Oh, don't worry, Abbott is leading Davis by a wide margin - 10-15% points - that hasn't moved in months.] But it has been entertaining if you like to see Democrats stumbling all over themselves. And the main stumblers are from Battleground Texas, an organization formed from Texas Obama campaign organizers who have convinced themselves that they can turn Texas blue.

Yes, Battleground Texas has convinced themselves that because there has been such a huge influx of people from blue states moving into Texas that they can take over Texas, if not by 2014 then at least by 2016. Yeah, okay, but maybe they haven't counted on that a number of those people who are migrating to Texas are tired of blue state policies and want jobs, low taxes, and affordable real estate. Anyway, let me tell you about the candidates:

The Republican Greg Abbott. He has been the state Attorney General for three terms and has served the state well. He is really sharp candidate who is well-liked and a well-respected judge, attorney, and family man. And as Attorney General has successfully argued before the US Supreme Court. And, we might as well get this out of the way because it will become important in the next paragraph...he has spent the last 30 years in a wheelchair.



Like Sandra Fluke, the Democrat Wendy Davis drew national attention in 2013 after standing for hours in her pretty pink tennis shoes to filibuster an abortion restriction bill before the Texas Senate. And...yeah, that's about it. That's her legislative record. [Okay, she's not just a pretty blond, she served on the City Counsel in Ft. Worth for twelve years and has been in the state Senate since 2010.] And her campaign has been riddled with missteps from the beginning. First, her campaign nightmare begins with her campaign biography. It makes it sound like she came from the poverty as a teenage single mother and worked her way all the way through Harvard Law School through hard work, sacrifice and just sheer will. But the truth is that she married a very wealthy attorney Jeff Davis who paid her way through TCU and Harvard and formally adopted her child. He also took care of their two children in Texas while she was in Cambridge, Mass to attend Harvard. [She served him with divorce papers the day that her student loans were paid off.] Her response to the expose in the Dallas Morning News was well, telling - "My language should be tighter. I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail."

Her second P.R. mistake was taking up the campaign slogan - "Stand With Wendy". Yeah, she was campaigning against a guy in a wheelchair and thought "Stand With Wendy" would make a great slogan. Her campaign workers have been caught on camera making fun of Abbott's "disability". And when she was criticized for kinda' sorta' fudging her bio [see above], she actually responded that "he [Abbott] hasn't walked a day in my shoes." Well, let's just say that if Davis had been a Republican, this (and much more) would have been daily fodder for the Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher and HuffingtonPost. [Addendum: She has dropped this slogan...]

But her third mistake is the most telling and why she is losing. She is campaigning on nothing but the typical liberal platform of vague grievances and victimization. She has not competently expressed any issues that affect all Texans at large. So it does not surprise me that her message isn't resonating with Texans.

Anyway, we will see in November if the Dems can really turn the state blue, but I will predict not.

UPDATE FROM TEXAS: After request after request to the WH have gone unanswered, Governor Perry has now been forced to activate the Texas State National Guard to supplement the borders guards in securing the borders. Obama's response to this new development was that they "hadn't gotten a communication from Perry and that a better solution would be to pass a comprehensive immigration law." Now, I am not a expert, but I thought that in order to activate a National Guard one had to have approval from the President. Interesting development...
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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Progressive Commandments

Last week, Elizabeth "Fake Indian" Warren gave a list of eleven “commandments of progressivism.” It’s actually a pretty pathetic list and it shows how little the left has left in the tank. Let’s look at Elizabeth’s commandments...
(1) "We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we're willing to fight for it."
Funny. When Obama and the Democrats had free reign to do whatever they wanted, they passed a bill that enshrined too big to fail and made it even bigger. They also passed a regulatory bill that handed out all kinds of favors using taxpayer money and crushed main street financial organizations on behalf of Wall Street. And let's not forget that Democrats get more money from Wall Street than the Republicans do.
(2) "We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth."
You forgot the word “junk.” The left believes in “junk science” and will try to destroy anyone who questions their politicized “scientific” dogma. Further, the left opposes science when it involves improving oil and gas drilling, improving agriculture, spreading consumerism, health care technology, and weapons that can defend the United States.
(3) "We believe that the Internet shouldn't be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality."
Actually, net neutrality is about deciding which big corporations get their way on the internet, so stop being sanctimonious about it.
(4) "We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage."
The minimum wage is not meant for people to live off of. It is a starter wage for part-time workers. And rather than raising the minimum wage, which would only affect six million people out of 310 million, why not try to create more and better jobs, which would increase wages across the board. Don’t you care about the middle class or the working class?
(5) "We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them."
Uh, this is number four repackaged. Also what about casino workers and bus drivers? Don't you care about them? You don't mention them.
(6) "We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt."
Then why did you impose the student loan system on them which crushed them with debt? And why do your reforms always involve extending the length of the student loans so the students end up paying back more and for longer periods of time?
(7) "We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions."
Duh. Is this really something you think everyone doesn’t believe? Well, everyone except Obama who stripped Medicare to fund Obamacare.
(8) "We believe—I can't believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work."
Everyone believes this... except you actually. What you really mean is that you believe in the Government setting wages on your perception of who should be paid what. Equal work has nothing to do with it.
(9) "We believe that equal means equal, and that's true in marriage, it's true in the workplace, it's true in all of America."
Actually, some animals are more equal than others in your world. In fact, your world is a world of progressive tax codes to make those with more pay more, speech codes to let those in power control the free speech of those without power, identity politics which proclaims that civil rights laws apply only to certain races and genders, and so on.
(10) "We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform."
That’s an interesting nonsequitor: immigration made us great, let’s change it! Anyway, this is something 85% of Americans believe, so claiming it as being progressive is rather asinine. Also, “that means reform” is about as nebulous a statement as you could possible make. What does that mean? Of course, nothing you’ve said so far has been specific enough that a neutral observer would have any idea what you have planned, so I guess this is no worse than the rest.
(11) "And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!"
Wow. So the fact that less than 100 corporations can opt out of providing a certain type of healthcare benefit that you can take care of in any drug store suddenly means that women no longer “have a right to their bodies”? Talk about ridiculous hyperbole! So why should we take anything you say seriously?

As you can see, the progressives are spent. Their ideas are nebulous and unformed. The few specifics they do address are pointless, i.e. raise the minimum wage, hypocritical, i.e. regulate Wall Street!, or the worst kind of hyperbole, i.e. corporations can legally turn women into sex slaves.

Thoughts?
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Commentarama-nary Lives!

Commentarama-nary Noun - a compendium of descriptive ad hoc words and phrases created to describe political, moral, ethical, or just plain idiotic situations or persons where the Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary versions just will not suffice.

As many of you may know, WH Press Secretary Jay Carney has left the WH to go to a bigger and better place. [It has been reported that he may end up in a Chelsea Clinton-type situation and tax bracket...] He has been replaced by the appropriately named Josh Earnest. [Seriously...that is not a joke!] His first few weeks have been golden. Here is one quote from his first few weeks as WH Press Secretary. When some in the WH Press Corps asked that with the world in such turmoil, is President Obama acting more like a bystander, Mr. Earnest responded:

"I think that there have been a number of situations in which you’ve seen this administration intervene in a meaningful way, that has substantially furthered American interests and substantially improved the, uh, you know, the – the tranquility of the global community.”

Huh, well, hmmm...yeah. It appears that Earnest has clearly decided to redefine the word "tranquility" to mean "almost total chaos". Perhaps it is time to add to our Commentarama-nary. For those of you who may be new or maybe have just plain forgotten, we started our own dictionary several years ago [see below] because sometimes those standard words one finds listed in the unabridged Merriam-Webster just do not fully explain our current political climate or sometimes the definitions have just been changed for no good reason.

So to get us in the mood, I want to add three words with new definitions:

tranquility Noun 1. a state of peace 2. total chaos. Synonyms:Israel, Syria, Iraq, Korea, Russia, Ukraine, US southern border...

migrant Noun 1. anyone who crosses the southern border of the US without documentation. Synonyms: illegal alien, undocumented immigrant.

jobs Noun 1. the acts of meaningful employment 2. occupation 3. issue that one pivots to for avoidance and/or when tranquility breaks out.

You get the idea. We should take this summertime lull to add to our lexicon leading up to the 2014 Midterm election and in preparation for 2016. So, if you have a word in need of a definition, or you have a definition in need of an appropriate word, let us know. Or if you have heard a brand new definition of word or phrase you've heard, let's add that too. Help your fellow Commentarama-ians and make like Merriam and Webster.

Commentarama-nary - previous entries:

alcohol Noun \ˈbüz\ - 1. a fluid which aids in the viewing of presidential debates and state of the union addresses 2. what comes out if you prick a Kennedy;

Bidenism Noun - 1. anytime Joe Biden lips are moving; 2. gaffe.

bulsch Noun 1. alternate and shortened spelling of manure from an adult bull; Others Uses: has added benefit of passing many censor bots.

insaninine Adj - 1. simultaneously stupid and crazy as in "Joe Biden is just plain insaninine", 2. combination of the words "insane" and "asinine" [Blog-ese]

Chicago, or Chicago-style Noun 1. Method of winning political campaigns by blackmailing, framing, and/or threatening one's opponent. 2. Adj deep dish style pizza. See also Rahm Emmanuel.

Loonion: Noun 1. Union supporters/backers/members who become crazed/enraged whenever Right to Work legislation is mentioned or proposed., 2. thugs.

Obamatopia Noun 1. the state of suspension of disbelief and/or the rational time/space continuum where there are 57-60 US states and Syria is larger than Libya; 2. a place or state of being where all things are equal and just.

ouch-orrific Adj 1. an action or event too painful to watch.

skeptomistic Adj 1. The act of being both skeptical and optimistic at the same time, in other words, a confused independent.

psychophant Noun 1. a person who acts obsequiously to the point of derangement 2. a show host on MSNBC 3. a mad elephant

Famous Names -

Debbie "WTF"* Schultz - Esteemed Member of Congress and DNC Chairperson Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D/FL) *WTF stands for Win The Fight...really.

Dingy Harry - Esteemed Member of Congress and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D/NV)

Joe "Plugs" Biden - Esteemed Vice President and all around nice guy Joseph Biden (D/Mars)

San Fran Nan - Esteemed Member of Congress and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D/Venus)

Mahmoud Imadinnerjacket - President of Iran and generally scourge of humanity Mahmoud Amadinajad (or however you spell it. It doesn't matter. He's a jerk and doesn't deserve to get his name spelled right).

Rahm Emanuel - 1. Mayor of Chicago where violence and unemployment have shot up since he took office; 2. also former Chief of Staff for President Obama; 3. brother of Ezekiel Emanuel, godfather of euthanasia and death panels. a/k/a Swearin' Rahm

Let's get creative with those words or phrases and add to our Commentarama-nary. I will keep an ongoing list. Wow, I wonder if this is what Noah Webster felt like?
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Update

Howdy everyone! I want to give you an update on what to expect this summer. Some of you know that I'm working through a medical issue that has caused me tremendous problems over the last few months. This will continue for a while and may result in some hospitalization. I'm not sure yet, but I definitely need some surgery. So I can't promise that I will get articles done every day as scheduled. I will do my best however.

At the film site, I'm doing "The Summer of Films," which will be nothing but reviews all summer of new and old films. At the main site, I'll do what I can in what promises to be a slow news summer... maybe we'll do conspiracy summer. ;D Anyway, there it is. Thanks for reading! :D
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Things Still Aren't So Bad

I keep telling you that things aren’t so bad. Here’s more evidence of that. :D

Millionaire Surge: Last year, the world added 2.6 million millionaires, bringing the worldwide total to 16.3 million millionaire households. The US added 1.1 million of those 2.6 million. This brings our total to 7.135 million, or about 43.7% of the world's millionaires. Not bad for a country with only 4% of the world population. BTW, the next biggest competitor is China, which has only 2.4 million millionaires but has almost 20% of the world's population.

Wealthier Too: Global wealth grew last year by 14.6% to $152 trillion. We added $7 trillion of that. By comparison, Europe added only $5 trillion. Asia added $8 trillion. But get this.... as of 2008 (I don't have newer figures), the US was estimated to hold $118 trillion of that $152 trillion, or about 77% of it!! We kick ass!

Comin' Home: American companies are indeed returning their manufacturing facilities to the US. With Chinese wages growing 15% in the past decade, it now makes sense to hire American workers. To give you a sense of the scope, a recent survey found that more than half of US CEOs of manufacturing companies with revenues greater than $1 billion are planning to bring production back to the U.S. from China or are actively considering it. The top three reasons cited are labor costs, proximity to customers and product quality.

Superbugs Not So Super: In even better news, a group of British scientists think they've found a way to attack the growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. For those who don't know, one of the biggest threats humans face is the growth of these so-called superbugs which are resistant to our antibiotics. What has happened is that as humans have misused antibiotics, these bacteria have evolved to become resistant to antibiotics which used to kill them. This is leading to a massive and growing number of deaths from infections that were easy to treat even twenty years ago. Well, this group of scientists has discovered a way to attack the shielding that protects the bacteria from the body's immune system. The result, if it all pans out, is that virtually any bacteria can be made vulnerable to the body's immune system. And since these antibiotics would not be attacking the bacteria itself, they would no longer help the bacteria to evolve into superbugs. This could be a huge moment for humanity.

Not Potheads: Finally, we have this. With pot now legal in Colorado, Colorado has become very interested in tracking how many people are lighting up. If you listen to the potheads and the scaremongers (who are in hyperdrive), you will probably hear that nearly 100% of us will use pot. This has always struck me as false. Indeed, in my experience, pot use really is something that is isolated in certain loser groups. So what is the number? Get this: 485,000 Colorado residents use marijuana monthly (legally or illegally) and 686,000 residents use it at least once a year. That works out to 9% in any one month and 12% in a year. That's it... 12% of the public use the drug, 9% are true potheads, and the rest are clean. That's not at all what we've been told.

In any event, this is great news because it shows once more how responsible the public is when given a choice. It also puts the lie to the idea that there is this massive market demand for pot, i.e. not everyone is doing it.

There you go... things are much better than people want you to believe!
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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Crazies Are Back

While I enjoyed taking last week off, other people had no such intention. In fact, we could call last week, “Return of the Fringe: The Idiots Want Attention.” Seriously, yikes. Here’s who tried to win your love last week:

Grizzly Sarah Palin: The easiest way to kill a vampire is to drive a stake through their heart. To kill an attention whore, deny them attention. The moment the media learned that they could kill Palin by simply not talking about her, she imploded as a national figure. She has been desperate to find a national platform ever since. While our little site here was on vacation, Palin was letting it be known that she would happily join The View... you betcha.

When her overtures were denied, she decided to try to incite the fringe again. This time she screamed “IMPEACHMENT!!” Not that she hasn’t screamed it before, but this time she assured that the time had real come, if only those wimpy Republicans weren’t doing the Democrats’ work.

Not surprisingly, Drudge’s mouth-breather audience is right there with her. A poll at his site had 72% of his readers saying Obama should be impeached NOW, 15% said he should be impeached but not yet, and 13% used their brains and said no.

Of course, it never occurs to these fools that they have a zero percent chance of success, that by the time they got it done Obama would only have a few weeks left in office, that the last Republican Congress to try this got their butts handed to them, and that the politics on this would be entirely against them. Indeed, the public really dislikes Obama now. They see him as a joke because of his never-ending failures. Impeaching him turns the focus on the Republicans and their motives. It would be a Godsend for Obama and the Democrats as it lets them deflect all of their failures. It would probably cost us the Senate and it would likely give the Democrats a fresh start for 2016.

But hey, it would help make Palin relevant again.

Rape Ape Todd Akin: Yeah, Todd is back. He dun wrote a book. And in this book, he admits what everyone pretty much knew – he was lying when he said he had been taken out of context when he spoke about “legitimate rape.” In fact, he doubles down on his idiocy by embracing the idea of there being legitimate rape (real rape, unlike fake rape, which is when the unclean woman lies about being raped), and he lays out his ideology about how you can’t get pregnant from rape – an ideology which relies on the discredited opinion of a discredited doctor.

Todd is also attacking all those RINOs who didn’t defend him when he opened his mouth and spewed his woman-hating crap. FYI, he uses the same list talk radio uses.

And lest you think that Todd is just a lone lunatic screaming in the woods, Mike Huckabee wrote the forward to his book.

Whether this ends up meaning anything is unclear. I doubt any voters will embrace him, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be brought into campaigns, which is exactly what I would be doing if I were a Democrat.

From The Crypt: Pelosi reappeared last week too. First, she went to Texas to try to claim that all those kids slowly working their way under Drudge’s bed from El Salvador are Americans!. Uh, no. She’s seriously out of step on this. Even Obama has repeating that these kids need to be deported. Nice work, Nancy, keep people scared of your party!

Clinton v. Obama: Finally, a new book by Edward Klein on the relationship between Hillary Clinton and the Obama’s has knocked Hillary’s book out of the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list. This book is called “Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas,” and it outlines a very nasty relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas. It also lays out how the Obama’s have turned off people like Oprah, who has since been wooed by Hillary. The most interesting idea in the book is that Obama has promised too support Elisabeth Warren if she runs against Hillary.

While Klein is known for being a little sensationalistic and anti-Clinton, the things he says do seem to fit with things we can observe. And his conclusion that the Clintons are much better politicians and much better liked than Obama isn’t really a shock. Ultimately though, it will be very interesting if this turns into a feud between Obama and the Clintons through the primary.
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy B-Day, America!

Happy Birthday, America! And Happy Independence Day to everyone else. :D

We're going to shut down for a few days here. The film site will return on Sunday July 13th and the main site will return on Monday July 14th. Enjoy your holiday. Get away from the poison of politics for a while. Find the things that are really important in life. That said, feel free to drop by to chat. I'm sure many people will be around and I may (or may not) drop an article or two in the meantime. Also, don't forget to check out our list of patriotic films at the film site, Kit's article on American Exceptionalism at the main site, and Bev's reminder of the Declaration of Independence. Good stuff.
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 4, 1776 - In Rembrance of Our Forefathers

"...And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.


He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
-For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
-For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
-For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
-For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
-For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
-For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
-For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
-For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
-For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock

Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple

Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Enjoy your Independence Day! And while spending your day relaxing with your family and friends, give a moment to remember that 238 years ago at Liberty Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 56 men sacrificed all they had to mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for our independence!
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

American Exceptionalism!

by Kit

Ever notice how liberals will talk about countries like Sweden and Switzerland and point out that they are so much more tolerant than Americans because you never hear about racism and discrimination from those countries?

First, I think racism comes out of a natural human preference for the familiar and the known. People prefer other people who look, think, and act similar. Its not a pleasant aspect of human nature but its a natural one. It hits skin color (& tone), religious beliefs, and economic status. Racism is simply an outgrowth of that natural preference. It comes from an unpleasant, but almost universal, aspect of human nature.

Now, notice how countries like Sweden and Switzerland are almost uniformly white. And not just white, but a distinct subgroup of whites such as Scandinavian or Germanic. And they are culturally uniform. So what does this mean? Well, to quote a former Indiana Klansman of the 1920s in explaining why there was very little anti-Asian rhetoric then: "You can only hate what you have".

If they are not there and you are not fighting them then even there will be very little tension. And sometimes, the first few trickles of immigrants cause very little tension because they are never seen as a threat. It is only when large groups of immigrants come that ethnic tension bubbles up. You can see this happening in Europe now with the violence between whites and Muslim immigrants.

But America is probably the most diverse country in the world. Really, name an ethnic group that has more than 1 million members I will bet you that at least one member lives in the US. Yet we are remarkably free of the ethnic tension that plagues countries with far smaller populations. Just go to Africa or South America.

True, America has had its share of racial violence, especially in the 19th and early-20th centuries but since 1960s we’ve more or less moved past it. There have been a few flare-ups such as the targeting of Korean business during the Rodney King riots. But given a country as vast and diverse as America, we should be a complete ant total basket case —but we aren’t.

America is remarkably cohesive. I think that is for several reasons: First, unless you are an American Indian, you cannot trace your ancestry or culture back more than 400 years.

Second, we have, for the last 200 years, continuously had an influx of immigrants from the Germans in the 1820s and the Irish in the 1850s to the Hispanics of the past few decades, not to mention the large numbers of blacks brought here as slaves.

Third, that immigration flow means there is no “American ethnicity”. The constant flow immigrants has made it impossible for Americans to craft a sense of racial identity. Though some have tried, such as the Nativists and Klan of the early-20th century, they have failed.

Fourth, the failure to form an identity around a racial or ethnic idea means that we have had to craft one built around a set of basic values and an inherent Middle Class aesthetic. Americans see themselves as ideally Middle Class and anyone can be Middle Class, whether you are black, white, Chinese, Japanese, or Indian.

Its not enough to say you believe in “American Exceptionalism” you must know why America is Exceptional and our ability to craft a single nation out of many races, religious groups, and ethnicities is just one of them.

E Pluribus Unum.

Out of many, one.
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Quad-Annual Soccer Thoughts

I’ve stated before why Americans won’t warm to soccer: it has too little payout for the time investment. That doesn’t mean it can’t find a niche audience, but it does mean that it’s too inconsistent with the American psyche to ever endanger Football as our national pastime. Anyway, here are some soccer thoughts you might find interesting.

What Angers Me About Soccer I: The soccer pimps. Seriously. I get that soccer has found a niche audience in this country. Major League Soccer is self-sustaining and the World Cup games involving the US are drawing about as much interest as the average NFL game. And that doesn’t bother me in the least. America is a big country where everyone is free to choose what they enjoy.

But that’s not enough for the pimps. The pimps are running around telling us that soccer has “conquered” America, that “everyone” is interested now, and that we are now “a soccer nation.” Bullshit.

First, let me point out the obvious: interest in the World Cup does not a soccer nation make. Americans love spectacle, especially when it involves athletic competition at the highest levels. The World Cup is a spectacular contest that involves the best the world has to offer in this sport. That is exactly the type of thing Americans like. That’s why we watch the Olympics. That’s why people who don’t know where Seton Hall or Gonzaga are will watch the NCAA basketball tournament. That is why ratings soar for bigger bowl games, for NFL playoffs, for the Super Bowl, and even things like the triple crown. Yet, no one claims we are a nation of horse racers now.

In fact, I fully expect that once the challenge of the best in the world in the World Cup vanishes, so will the audiences. Few will shift over to MLS, just as few of the 20 million who anxiously watch Seton Hall play Gonzaga in the final four will watch a single game played by either team the next season. Nor will any of those triple crown fans bother watching other horse races. Hence, pointing to the World Cup ratings as evidence that soccer has caught on is delusional. It is only evidence that Americans sort of like the World Cup. And pushing the idea that this somehow implies broad acceptance of soccer angers me because that is obviously a false claim and it's meant to trick people's herd instincts. Indeed, ironically, I could respect these people for their achievement if they were honest about it: we’ve made great strides and have gone from an extinct sport to being on a level with basketball and hockey. But that's not what they are doing. Instead, they are engaged in cynical herd-mentality marketing, and I despise that.

What Angers Me About Soccer II: The other problem with the soccer pimps is that they demonstrate a strong disdain for America and Americans. They go out of their way to describe the game in ways that look down on other American sports. They act like the rest of the world is morally superior somehow for playing soccer. And they keep trying to replace American words with foreign words. The field is “the pitch.” A tie is “a level.” And so on. This has the feel of demanding not only that we embrace the game, but that we change our ways to do it. That’s a problem. You will never win me over by insulting me.

American Exceptionalism Again!: Finally, there was something that caught my eye the other day which was truly hilarious. It turns out that most fans have a fall back favorite team in the tournament. Interestingly, the vast majority of fans have apparently chosen the Americans. Why? Well, as one Brit explained it, “The Americans do it right, both their fans and their team.” Essentially, Americans have gone to Brazil to have fun and enjoy the tournament, just as we do with other athletic competitions. This isn’t true of other fans. Other fans have gone to spew hate on ancient enemies. They chant abusive phrases. They cheer things one shouldn’t cheer. They are cynical about their own teams and angry about others.

The Americans aren’t. In fact, it doesn’t even occur to Americans to act that way. So the American fans have quickly gotten the reputation of being the nicest and the happiest fans, and of being the one group everyone can like. Ditto with the team, which doesn’t cheat or bite or take dives. Indeed, as several of the fans interviewed said, “The Americans are the good guys.”

Ha!

This is RICH with irony. This confirms what we’ve always known about Americans. We are different than the rest of the world and people love us for it. Call it American innocence or good natured-ness, what it really is is American exceptionalism, and it fits without our willingness to help sort out other people’s messes, our massive donations to charity, our desire to invent things or create things that will change the world for the better, and our willingness to treat everyone fairly and to give second chances.

So where is the irony? Here: the hipster pimps are pushing soccer on us to change us to make us more like the rest of the world... and yet, once we get there, it turns out that once again, the rest of the world looks to us as examples of how things are supposed to be. So who's changing whom?

Thoughts?
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Principled Attack? Hardly

As I’ve mentioned before, there are a gaggle of liberal sportswriters who want to feel like they’ve caused some great civil rights movement. But with black coaches and quarterbacks aplenty and gays in the temple, what’s left? Well, the horribly racist “Redskin” name, that's what! Queue a flood of self-righteous articles about the indignity that anyone in America would dare use such a slur. Well, now they have a problem and that has exposed all their grand proclamations of principle as nothing more than hypocrisy. Typical.

The primary loser beating this tom-tom has been West Virginia lawyer trash Mike Florio, who leveraged insider information from agents into a rumor site that NBC bought to gain an online presence. Florio is paranoid and beyond conspiratorial, almost always wrong, and he's a real ass. He’s Perez Hilton in hillbilly garb. He’s also a massive liberal and he applies all the usual liberal arguments. Here are his key arguments, i.e. the principles he claims must be applied:
● If anyone is offended by a word, then the rest of us have an obligation to conform our behavior to the desires of those people and we must stop using the "offensive" word. Remember this "principle" because it will be key.

● You can’t play the numbers game in an instance like this, because this is about right and wrong. All it takes is one person being offended to require a change. This is how he gets around the problem that the public supports the Redskin name by a 9-1 margin, and he's actually attacked people who claim we should do what the “vast majority” of the public wants. He claimed that (1) 80%+ cannot be considered “a vast majority” (yeah, he said that) and (2) this isn’t about polls, this is about right and wrong, so arguing majority rules is immoral.

● The fact that most people don’t consider this offensive isn’t relevant, because some people do and that is enough to require action. This is how he avoids the problem that a number of teams still use the name, including at least one team on an American Indian reservation. Notice that each of these first three points is the same point restated differently.

● Next, he plays the race card by dismissing the opinions of all those who aren’t American Indian because their opinions are per se inferior to American Indians on this issue. Basically, in his world, each race gets special treatment and a different set of rules. Further, he makes himself the judge of what these people may believe. Indeed, when American Indians agree with the whites, Florio either (1) dismisses them as not genuine Indians or (2) he dismisses them as out of touch or duped. He’s also gone back and smeared the various American Indians who were involved in choosing the Redskin name or logo by questioning (without evidence) their claim to being American Indians. Essentially, Florio takes the position that there is only one opinion Indians may have, and Florio has appointed himself as the man who will give it to them.

● To bolster his case, he highlights every single person who agrees with him as a way to avoid the damning statistical polls, and he never mentions anyone who disagrees with him except for Redskin employees, who he claims are saying what they have been told to say. He also points to his own articles as proof that the public is buzzing about this issue.
Got it? If a single angel cries, then all us devils must change because this is a matter of principle and the principle is determined by the idiosyncratic beliefs of the group doing the whining. It does not matter that no one else sees this as a slur or that the vast majority of the public is on the other side. All that matters is that someone feels aggrieved.

Simple. . . and false. Observe.

Last week, one of the whiners in the anti-Redskin movement made the comment that the Kansas City Chiefs better change their name too, because she considered that just as offensive.

BAM! In races Florio to slam the Chiefs, right? Actually, no. See, all those principles Florio spews against the Redskins apparently aren’t principles after all. Indeed, they don’t apply with the Chiefs because “[t]here are fundamental differences between the Chiefs and the Redskins, especially that dictionaries define ‘chief’ as a term of respect and ‘redskin’ as a slur.” In other words, society doesn’t see chief as an insult, so it doesn’t matter to Florio that this whiner is upset by that word. Do you see the problem? His entire anti-Redskin argument is premised on the idea that if one person is offended, then that is enough. What society wants is irrelevant. But when it comes to the Chiefs, Florio suddenly claims the word needs to be objectively seen as offensive by society before this can be considered an issue. If that’s true, then doesn’t the fact that the public supports the Redskin name and doesn’t see it as offensive by a 9-1 margin pretty much neuter Florio’s argument against that name? Of course it does, but he’s a liberal and he doesn’t care about consistency.

What he’s done is take his own prejudices and turn them into objective reality. He sees the word “Redskin” as offensive and thus, he wants it banned and he comes up with broad ranging "principles" to support his argument and dismiss the desires of the public. On the other hand, he does not see the word “Chiefs” as offensive and thus he rejects the idea that it should be banned, even as that contradicts every one of the broad principles he uses to support his attack on the Redskins. Basically, his principles apply only when he agrees with the outcome they would cause. So much for principles.

So much for the public too. Like most liberals, he only cares what the public thinks when the public agrees with him. Notice also that he’s not speaking for an aggrieved people as he proudly claims, he’s using them to get his own prejudices made a matter of public policy. In other words, they are worth protecting only so long as their desires are consistent with his.

Interestingly, since Amanda Blackhorse said this last week about the Chiefs, Florio has run ZERO articles about the Chiefs and their name. Yet, at the same time, he continues to run attacks on the Redskins using the same false logic he won’t apply to the Chiefs.

Finally, I guess it’s worth pointing out too that once again, when you are dealing with the permanently aggrieved, they cannot be placated. No concession will ever be enough. Give them Redskins, they will demand Chiefs. Give them Chiefs, they'll demand something else. Any concession is just encouragement for them to try the next leg of their journey.
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Monday, June 30, 2014

Mississippi Burnout

by tryanmax

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s runoff election victory over his primary challenger on Tuesday sure has brought the ugly from the Tea Party. Not only has Chris McDaniel, the Tea Party’s candidate, been taking the loss like a spoiled child, but the entire far-right radio/blogosphere is having fits. Here are the highlights I have come across.

First, the loser himself. “There is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats.” These are words from McDaniel’s non-concession speech in which he repeatedly accused the Republican Party of losing its conscious. This from a man who’s supporters broke into a courthouse.

Next up, with three hours a day to bloviate, you know you’re going to find some gems from Rush Limbaugh. Liberal detractors have seized on his ill-advised (unadvised?) choice to refer to the black turnout in favor of Cochran as “Uncle Tom voters.” In context, Limbaugh was playing off a routine slur hurled at conservative blacks, but it still doesn’t play well.

Beyond riffing on liberal prejudices, Limbaugh has characterized the support Cochran received from black, most likely Democrat voters in Mississippi as somehow illegitimate. I don’t like open primaries myself, but Limbaugh’s comments had easy racial overtones that were a little uncertain even to me, a longtime listener.

Other radio personalities, such as Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, were quick to dismiss their own influence on elections. Suddenly, they weren’t interested in the elections they were so deeply invested in the day before. Now they just care about “the culture.”

Sarah Palin chimed in, calling Cochran’s aggressive door-to-door get-out-the-vote campaign “shenanigans.” (Incidentally, this flies in the face of claims that Cochran won via a media carpet-bomb campaign.) Again, the overtone is that Cochran had no business courting black voters. Palin also took issue with Cochran campaigning on things he’s done for his state’s benefit, like securing relief following Hurricane Katrina and getting funds for special education. In Palin’s book, that’s running on the Big Government ticket.

Ted Cruz echoed a different theme also heard on talk-radio—that the McDaniel loss is actually a victory. By this reasoning, if you take out the Democrats, then McDaniel won amongst Republicans. This form of analysis is again rife with racial implications. Besides, both candidates knew the rules going in. Only one actively courted the black vote in the runoff.

In addition to these incautious statements, most of the tea-party-sphere has launched into the usual theories about the establishment and the mainstream media that get more conspiratorial sounding each time they are repeated. This can only help to make the GOP look sane in comparison. With the Tea Party to triangulate against as well as the current administration’s incompetence, this looks like good news for the GOP this fall.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

IRS Open Thread

Here is an open question: Does anyone out there really believe that Lois Lerner's computer hard drive crashed and just happened to destroyed the emails for the exact time period that the House committee has been requesting for over a year? These emails that would be evidence of that the IRS was targeting conservative groups. A fact that Lerner had already "confessed" really did take place. [transcript of Lerner's response to a purported staged question at a May 10 2013 Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association] That conservative groups were specifically targeted for 'extra scrutiny' by her office?

My head cannot wrap itself around how the IRS, the Senate Democrats, and the HuffingtonPost-ocrats can actually keep repeating that there is no issue that needs a investigation here. Am I just missing something? Now, I am not saying that the WH is implicated, but certainly there is evidence that Congressional Democrats requested this "extra scrutiny" and more mounting evidence that it was politically motivated. How can it not have been?

Anyway, what do you think?

In case you are interested, here is the report issued on May 13, 2013 by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Information titled "Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review" . If you can schlogg through this report, you will understand that what Lois Lerner "confessed" to on May 10, 2013 is pretty much what in the Treasury Inspector General's report dated May 13, 2013. I know you are smart people, but I will point out anyway that the date of her "confession" is three days before the date on the Inspector General's report. Now, I am not stupid or naive enough to think that Lerner didn't have draft of this report before it was publically released...
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Girl's A Genius!

I've mentioned before that I'm going to get married. I believe I've also mentioned that my fiancee has two little girls, ages 9 and 11. These are amazing little girls in every way. I am serious when I say that too... it's not puffery. They are both far beyond anything I ever expected from kids. Anyways, I had a fascinating conversation with the 11 year old yesterday (she wants to be a scientist). With no prompting from me at all, she told me how she thinks the whole global warming argument is bullship and how she can't believe that scientists can't figure this out when she, an eleven year old, can. It seems that she realizes that (1) the underlying concept of there being a state of zero change in nature is nonsense, plus (2) the effects of man's activities are so small that we can't possibly be the cause of global warming. She also realizes that a 2 degree increase isn't going to hurt anything. Fascinating! She's right, and the fact she can see through the 100% propaganda being pushed on her by most of her teachers is astounding. This all does my heart good.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

An Interesting Poll On Obama

There was a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll last week which really drives home how badly things have gone for Obama. It's causing unhappy liberal pundits to speak in funeral voice and to throw around words like "failed term" and "malaise." Observe some of its more damning findings:

● Obama's disapproval ratings are at all time highs, with his approval down at 41%. 45% disapprove, leaving him underwater.
● 54% of Americans think Obama lacks the leadership ability to get the job done: "cannot lead and get the job done."
● 57% of Americans disapprove of Obama's foreign policy.
● 41% say their view of the administration has gotten worse over the past 12 months. 15% say their view of Team Obama has improved.
● 31% think Obama has done a good job handling immigration.
● 10% of people plan to vote in November "to send a signal of opposition to Obama."

Obama is the past, not the future, so in many ways, this doesn't help us. But on the other hand, this is how his legacy is being defined, and through that, the value of liberalism. Said differently, Obama is discrediting liberalism in a way which hasn't happened since the 1970s. Now we just need to step in and help define Obama as nothing more than a typical liberal, and offer our own solutions to make life better for the public.
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Open Thread re: What Would You Do If Zombies Attacked? - UPDATED

I got nothing tonight. It may be that nothing is happening in the world {{cough, cough..Iraq, Iran, Syria, ISIS...cough, cough}}. Oh, I could expound on how the NY UFT just got a sweetheart deal from our Mayor that pays teachers retroactively from 2009. Or that Charlie Rangel is in a fight for his political life in a hotly contested primary next week. But what I've been thinking about, okay, obsessing about lately is something much more pressing and relevant. What if zombies attacked right now? Would I be prepared?

Well, fortunately, as you can see from the photo above, the New York City Fire Department is fully prepared. [Yes, that is an actual photo of an actual decal on an actual NYC fire truck.] So I am safe as long as I have a wet towel and my running shoes on. I learned this valuable life-saving maneuver from "Zombie" a documentary I saw at a drive-in*...phew! They may want to eat my brains, but if I just pop them with a wet towel, they fall down and I can run away! Preferably I would run to someplace where no one goes like Times Square! It has to be true because it was at a drive-in* documentary, right?

Anyway, what would you do if zombies attack? Are you prepared? Do you have enough towels?

As you may have guessed, this is an open thread...so, do your best open-threadage with your best open-threaditude.

P.S. Speaking of Iraq, Iran, Syrai, ISIS, and lots and lots of dead people, has anyone noticed how the U.N. has gone silent?

UPDATE: Show of hands - How many people believe that all of Lois Lerner's IRS emails were accidentally and coincidentally destroyed?

*For those of you too young to know what a "drive-in" was...well, too bad. Hah! You were just born too late!
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fixing Internet Fakes

Earlier this week, Politico pointed out that a vast number of Twitter accounts are using fake followers to make themselves seem more important. 46.8% of Obama’s are fake, 35.1% of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s are fake, 23.6% of John McCain’s are fake, 21.9% of Hillary’s are fake. Interesting. Did you know that you can’t trust online reviews either?

Let’s start with this: why would someone fake Twitter followers? Well, the answer is simple. Success on Twitter is measured by the number of followers each account has. Hence, if you want to be seen as an influential person, then you need a lot of followers. The same is true of book reviews. The more reviews you have at a place like Amazon, the more likely it will be that you will be seen as an important author.

Why does this work? Well, people are herd animals and they do what everyone else does. So when they see two books and one has 1,000 reviews and the other has 10, they will instinctively drift to the first.

But do you know what? Just as you can’t trust the fake Twitter followers, you can’t trust any of the reviews you see at Amazon or Yelp either (or anywhere else online). Why? Because there are too many people who have incentives to fake their reviews. Consider these examples:
Authors: Authors know that reviews sell books, so they have an incentive to put up fake “highly positive” reviews. It won’t surprise you to learn that many authors do this, and I don’t just mean reviews by families and friends. I am aware of authors who have posted dozens of fake reviews to their accounts. One woman actually posted two glowing reviews within hours of any negative review that appeared. And each of those new reviews would go out of their way to contradict the negative reviews. I suspect that publishers and agents play this game too.

Competitors: People are constantly getting caught smearing their competitors online. What’s bizarre about this, at least in books, is that there are way more than enough sales for everyone and a rising tide means more sales for everyone. Nevertheless, there are authors who think it helps them to tear down the competition and they go around and secretly leave devastating reviews to their competitor’s books. I’ve had this happen several times to my books and even been able to track it back to specific authors.

Trolls: Believe it or not, there are people who get off attacking products online. You can spot these people because their reviews are typically way off base and so negative that they border on personal attacks. And if you check out the other reviews written by these people, you will typically see that they hand out nothing but 1s and 2s, and they do it to dozens of products.

Politics: Anything that ends up on the political radar will be massacred by the other side typically without a single “critic” actually purchasing the product.

Top Reviewers: Some places have created a series of “awards” and “distinctions” for people who get the most positive feedback on their reviews. This status brings with it certain benefits. One of those benefits is that these people get a lot of free products in the hopes that they will leave a glowing review. Here’s the thing: to keep getting positive feedback on their reviews, these people have learned to only say good things.

Paid Reviews: Finally, there are companies out there who will post reviews in exchange for money.
The end result of all of this is that I would bet that maybe 25% of all the reviews you see online are false reviews posted by people with the intent of manipulating you rather than informing you. So which reviews can you trust? The answer is: none.

Even worse, there are people who set up whole websites to sell their products, and these are often flat out fraudulent. To give an example, try doing a general search for the dangers of diet supplements. The first hundred or so responses you get will be created by the manufacturer, who has set up dummy websites to sell these products. At first glance, these websites look like individuals who bought the product, used it, liked it, and wrote about it. But if you look closely, you’ll see the telltale signs of something created by an unethical marketing department.

Interestingly, they also clog up the “negative” sites. In fact, if you click on many of the sites that at first appear to be exposés on the product, you will be shocked to discover that each of these supposed skeptics tells you how skeptical they were because all those other products out there are so harmful so this must be a fraud, right? Well, gosh darn it, if this product isn’t different. Not only does this product work, but angels sang when I used it.

When you do find a legitimate debunking, typically done by a doctor or consumer rating organization, you will see their comment section filled with utter hate. That’s the manufacturer’s unethical marketing team again.

The sad truth is that you can’t believe anything you see online that is supposed to tell you what the customers really think. Most of it is fake, and you have no way to tell the difference.

Interestingly, there have been several instances lately where companies have started suing people who leave negative reviews. The most recent examples have been restaurants and hotels, each of which won their suits. So do I support this? Absolutely. If you’re going to attack a product online, then you better be truthful about your attack. Hopefully, this will start to make people think twice.

At the same time, I would actually expand the power of these lawsuits. If it is a competitor, then there should be a fine attached... a hefty one as this is a deceptive trade practice. At the same time, if a company gets caught posting their own fake favorable reviews, those should be fined as well for the same reason. As much as I dislike bringing the legal system into life, I am starting to think that the legal system is needed to rein in the worst misbehavior on the web.

Thoughts?
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