Saturday, March 31, 2012

'Do you mean we have pay the $15,488,891,296,248?'

From Bloomberg:

Obama Campus Fervor Losing to Apathy as Students Sour on 2012

I guess they just found out about the individual mandate and the exploding federal debt.

The kids are realizing that the bill for Hope and Change has their names on it.

(HT: Instapundit)

Life is good

A fine essay on "wrongful life" lawsuits by the mom of a little girl with Down's sydrome. 

A moth walks into a podiatrist's office...

A moth walks into a podiatrist's office. The podiatrist says "How can I help you?"

The moth says "Doc, I'm having a rough time. My marriage is on the rocks, my kids hate me, and I'm depressed."

The podiatrist answers "I'd like to help, but I'm a podiatrist, and it sounds like you need a psychiatrist"

The moth answers "Yea, I guess you're right. Thanks anyway".

The moth turned to walk out.

The podiatrist paused, and then asked "If I may ask, why did you come to my office?"

The moth replied "Actually, I was attracted by your light..."

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Are you serious? Are you serious?"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked if the Obamacare bill violated the Constitutional principle of enumerated powers by requiring that every American purchase health insurance, replied incredulously

"Are you serious? Are you serious?

W. James Antle at The American Spectator has a great essay "Constitutional Contempt" on the Supreme Court justices' battering of the weak pro-Obamacare arguments put forth by the administrations defenders earlier this week.


After three days of arguments before the Supreme Court, the Obama administration and its supporters have been found in contempt. Not of the court, but of the Constitution...
While liberals have been most comprehensive in their rejection of enumerated powers, preferring instead to use the Constitution as a battering ram against Christmas trees in the town square, this constitutional amnesia has been a bipartisan affliction. It manifested itself among the center-right policy wonks who toyed with the individual mandate since the 1990s. It was seen in the unchecked growth of government even when Republicans are in power...
The American republic was founded on the idea that the federal government possesses only the powers granted to it by a supermajority of the people and the states. Ratification of the Constitution and its amendments is the process by which that supermajority gives its consent. This once-basic notion of governance was relegated to the fringes. It is now returning to the mainstream. 
Obama's solicitor general was caught flat-footed not because he lacks legal skills. He is part of a political culture that has never thought seriously about the Constitution, has never thought that our masters in Washington need to beg the people for any permission beyond their vote every two to six years, and has regarded the doctrine of enumerated powers as a pre-New Deal relic. The Washington conventional wisdom has long been rooted in constitutional contempt...
But no matter how the Court rules, the bedrock assumptions of constitutionally limited government have returned to the mainstream of American political discourse. The Constitution is back...

There is a remarkable groundswell of Americans who intend to restore limited Constitutional government and the rule of law to our country.

And we are very serious. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A sad and shabby time

Pithy commentary on the lynch mob mentality about the Trayvon Martin killing:

The conduct of race hucksters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the hysterical rush to judgement by the media and many people across the country and the media is execrable.

Trayvon Martin's killing is a tragedy, regardless of what Martin was doing or not doing as he walked down the street. The evidence so far suggests that he was doing no wrong. George Zimmerman was wrong to grab his gun, hop in his car, and confront Martin. The "stand your ground" law in Florida may have made this tragedy more likely, and seems to me to be an ill-conceived law that should be repealed. Each of us has a moral and legal obligation to avoid violence, even if we believe we are 'in the right'. The duty to flee, rather than the right to stand your ground, seems to me to be the wisest basis for law in a peace-loving society.

Although Zimmerman's armed pursuit of Martin is, in my view, inexcusable, it is not clear that this is a racial crime, or even a crime at all, rather than a horrendous cascade of violence brought about by one man's reckless zealotry. Zimmerman may well have been within his rights (but not his right mind) to pursue and confront Martin. If he and Martin struggled, as it seems, the presence of a gun in the mix turned a confrontation caused by Zimmerman's recklessness into Martin's tragic death.

The facts are just beginning to be gathered.

Yet the race mongers are busy, threatening Zimmerman's life, circulating wanted posters, spreading the incendiary claim that this is a racial crime, and generally fanning hate. Note the absolute silence of this same crowd when young black men die daily in heartbreaking numbers on the streets of Chicago and New Orleans and Washington D.C.. They don't bat an eye at black men killing black men in war-zone numbers. There's no race-mongering to be conjured from our inner city abattoirs. Nothing for the professional haters to profit from.

All parties in this sad mess-- politicians and the media especially-- have a responsibility to call for peace and prudence and to insist that the facts precede judgement. We should be calming racial acrimony, not kindling it.

Regardless of the venality and the lynch mob mentality, Trayvon's death is a horrendous tragedy, and we should pray for Trayvon and for his family. I do note, sadly, that Trayvon's mother has found the strength amidst her mourning to apply for a trademark on her son's name.

A sad and shabby time.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Mohamed Merah-- Man of the West"

Caroline Glick has a brilliant essay at Real Clear Politics on the Muslim murderer of the rabbi and the children at the school in France.


...The killer, Mohamed Merah, was not a lone gunman. He wasn't even one of the lone jihadists we hear so much about.  
He had plenty of accomplices. And not all of them were Muslims. 
An analysis of the nature of his crime and the identity of his many accomplices must necessarily begin with a question. Why did Merah videotape his crime? 
Why did take the trouble of strapping a video camera to his neck and filming himself chasing eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego through the school courtyard and shooting her three times in the head? Why did he document his execution of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two little boys, three-year-old Gavriel and six-year-old Aryeh? 
The first answer is because Merah took pride in killing Jewish children. Beyond that, he was certain that millions of people would be heartened by his crime. By watching him shoot the life out of Jewish children, they would be inspired to repeat his actions elsewhere.
And he was surely correct.
Glick points out-- using many examples-- that Western elites consistently excuse and conceal Islamic anti-Semitism and violence:

IN ADDITION to denying, justifying and inciting jihadist violence, Western elites and authorities also engage in facilitating it and, after the fact, excusing it. In the case of Merah, although details are still unclear, it has been reported that he underwent jihadist training by al-Qaida in Afghanistan and was apprehended by Afghan authorities. 
Despite his ties to al-Qaida, either US or French military authorities decided he should be sent back to France even though he clearly constituted a danger to French society...
Together, the behavior of proud jihadist warriors of the West..., and the depraved silence, indifference and complicity of Western elites with their jihadist aims, form the physical and moral landscape of our time. And it is because of this evil mix of perpetrators and enablers that Merah's death is not a victory of justice.
Please read the whole thing. Excerpts can't do Glick's brilliant analysis justice.

She is right that anti-Semitic hatred and violence are driven by radical Islam (to which hundreds of millions of Muslims offer allegiance) and by a cadre of anti-Semitic and some just cowardly and opportunistic Western enablers.

In my view, Islamic anti-Semitism is on a par with Nazism, and I think that any objective perusal of Iranian and Palestinian and Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood rhetoric-- especially the rhetoric aimed at the Islamic masses-- confirms the Nazi parallels. Hundreds of millions of Muslims fervently pray for the annihilation of Israel, and pray implicitly for the annihilation of the Jews who live there, and elsewhere.

The reason that Islam has not matched the homicidal tally of Nazi Germany is not for lack of effort. It has much more to do with the relative military capabilities of Arab armies and the Wehrmacht than with any conciliatory intentions of radical Islam toward the Jewish people. And the Islamic world is acquiring weapons and wealth that will leverage their own meagre cultural and military prowess.

Mankind's oldest and most murderous hate is alive and flourishing. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Atheists at Reason Rally enjoy their God-given rights

The herd of skeptics. Many reason ralliers forgot to bring umbrellas. 

Somebody should vet the signs

Thank God for photoshop

The Reason Rally took place in Washington on the Mall on Saturday. I'll wait to read from participants how festivities went, but I trust all had a good time. Unfortunately, it looks to have been a bit rainy.

When the godless festivities are over, I hope that revelers take the opportunity to see the sights. My son and I visited Washington in the fall, and we had a great time.

In case the Reason Rally folks didn't get a chance to visit the Jefferson Memorial, here's a catalogue of the inscriptions on the monument:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We...solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states...And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." -

"Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens...are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion...No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively."

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Establish a law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state and on a general plan."

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

Here are the inscriptions on the Lincoln Memorial:

"The providence of God... a living God... Yet if  God wills... The Judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether... with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right..."

"... one Nation, under God..."

Friezes and plaques at the Supreme Court:

Ten commandments inside Supreme Court

Moses on frieze of Supreme Court

Atheists are an ideological minority in the United States. Their views are at odds with those of the vast majority of Americans. Thank goodness they can assemble and speak on our nation's Mall, in freedom and peace. 

In all nations governed by State Atheism, such public expression of non-conformity is brutally suppressed.

In our beloved free country, this is where our Rights come from:

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.

It warms the heart to see atheists enjoying their God-given rights.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"He cornered 7-year-old Miriam Monsonego, the daughter of school principal Yaacov Monsonego, and shot her in the head. "

Last week a gunman named Mohamed Merah burst into a Jewish school in Toulouse and methodically executed a Rabbi, his two children, and another little Jewish girl. The last little girl-- Miryam Monsonego, who was 8 years old-- tried to run, and the killer's gun jammed. So Mohamed Merah held Miryam by the hair until he got out his other gun and shot her in the head.

These horrendous murders of Jews in France have a terrible resonance. Once again, Jews in Europe are being targeted, as they have been targeted for decades in the Middle East and were targeted 70 years ago in the worst crime in human history. The implicit anti-Semitism of much of the modern European elite, and the explicit anti-Semitism of the European Islamic mainstream, is rising to act. I fear that this is the beginning of genocidal anti-Semitic violence that will engulf Europe, as it has already engulfed the Levant.

This is only the most recent in a spate of anti-Semitic violence in Europe and North America. In 2006 a young Jewish man named Ilan Halimi was kidnapped in Paris by a gang of Muslims, sadistically tortured for three weeks, and murdered.

We need to fight this. Not with violence, except where necessary by lawful authorities to ensure the safety of Jews, but with compassion and defiance and tenacity. We need to stand up for our Jewish brothers and sisters in Europe and in Israel and throughout the world.

Please keep the families of the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse in your prayers. Send condolences to the school in Toulouse if you can. Let them know that you stand with them, and that an attack on Jews anywhere is an attack on all of humanity. Talk to your Jewish and non-Jewish friends about this. Spread the word. Express your concern to the French government (their actions have been, as best I can tell, laudable). Speak out against anti-Semitism loudly and unequivocally. Call it out-- and call it what it is-- whenever you hear it. Don't ignore it. Blog about it. Call out people who spread hate-- whether it is Islamists who preach raw hate against Jews or fellow-traveling Western anti-Semites who hypocritically attack Israel for defending herself against atrocities while minimizing the culpability of the perpetrators of the atrocities. Let your legislators know that the security of the Jewish people generally, and Israel specifically, is important to you.

Please keep Rabbi Sandler and his two beautiful children and little Miryam Monsonego and their families in your prayers. Let this atrocity awaken all people of good will. Almost 70 years ago, we made a promise to our Jewish brothers and sisters, and many millions of us intend to keep it.

Never again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pope Benedict and Emperor Paleologus on Islam atheism

One of the salient modern critiques of Islam was made by Pope Benedict XVI in his Regensburg address in 2006. Benedict quoted Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus in his discussion in 1391 with an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.

Paleologus asked:

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman..."

The Emperor noted the Islamic use of violence to spread its faith. Pope Benedict discussed the moral depravity of using force and violence to compel religious observance, and noted subtly that Islam seemed a bit prone to this box-cutter proselytizing (my words). 

Benedict's speech outraged Muslims around the world, sparking riots and several murders of Christians. Muslims responded with violence to a speech pointing out Muslim propensity to violence. Irony was not a topic that preoccupied the Prophet. 

But Paleologus/Benedict's question gets to the heart of the issue, not only with Islam, but with atheism as well. 

Both intellectual traditions claim accomplishments in human affairs. Atheists claim expertise in science, reason, and libertarian secular government. 

But of course all of the advances for which atheists claim credit have a long history of incubation and realization in Christian culture. Modern science as we know it developed only in Christian culture, and the transmission and development of the philosophical, political, artistic, and legal accomplishments of classical Greek and Roman civilizations was almost entirely through Christian civilization. 

So one may reasonably ask:

"Show me just what atheism brought that was new..."

What do we find new that atheism has brought to humanity? There has been much that is evil and inhuman. What could rightfully be called atheism's contribution to humanity, aside from atheism's expropriation from Christianity and other religions? After all, atheists in non-Christian cultures do as little science and literature and philosophy as their theist non-Christian culture-mates. Christianity seems to nourish culture, even nourishing those within Christian culture who hate it.

What has atheism brought that is unique to it, that is new and good

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vice president Cheney gets a heart transplant

CBS news is reporting that former vice-president Dick Cheney has just had a heart transplant. He appears to have weathered the surgery well, and is recovering.

I've always had a lot of respect for Cheney. He strikes me as an intelligent decent man who worked very hard to keep our country safe after 9-11. I find his vilification by the left incomprehensibly vile.

Please pray for his healing. 

An accountant shows up at the Pearly Gates...

An accountant shows up at the Pearly Gates and stands before St. Peter. St. Peter eyes the dapper little man, and asks:

"I haven't much in my scroll about your life. What good and noble acts have you done to merit entrance into Paradise?"

The accountant replied;

"Good Saint, one time I was driving in my Prius and I came across a gang of bikers who were treating a lady very rudely. I stopped, got out of my car, and walked over to their parked motorcycles and tipped them over in the dirt. Then I walked up to the leader of the biker gang-- a big fellow, 6'9'', 300 pounds, tattoos covering huge slabs of muscle."
St Peter observed:
"Good. You were defending the lady, my son. Such chivalry." 

The accountant smiled modestly, and he stood straighter:

"I looked up at the big lug, and I said with confidence: 'Now listen here, fella-- you leave this lady alone, if you know what's good for you!'
"He didn't respond, so I kicked dirt on his boots, pulled his beard, and flicked his nose ring with my finger. Then I said he was a lily-livered little pansy"

St. Peter smiled:

"Very impressive. All to protect the lady. A true act of courage and charity. When did you do this courageous act?"

"A few minutes ago".

Friday, March 23, 2012

Global warming's Mein Kampf moment

In the midst of the fraud, garbage science, opportunism, and criminal behavior by global warming activists, it's not difficult to understand that global warming is a malevolent hoax perpetrated for several obvious motives-- increasing state power over individual's lives, maximizing funding for climate scientists, providing opportunities for personal enrichment, among others.

But in every totalitarian movement there are signature moments. Moments of candor. Mein Kampf moments-- open admissions of what the movement is really about.

You may recall this video from a year and a half ago. With the publication of NYU professor S. Matthew Liao's lunatic paper recommending human genetic engineering and bizarre totalitarian schemes to thwart climate catastrophe, it's worth revisiting a prior moment of remarkable clarity about the global warming movement.

In October 2010 global warming activist campaign called 10:10-- which had (and has) broad support across the AGW movement-- produced a short film titled No Pressure. Global warming alarmists planned to show the film in cinema and on television. The film was pulled almost immediately, due to massive public outcry, and many of the global warming crusaders who backed the campaign distanced themselves from the film.

But ask yourself: who would make a film like this? Who would write the screenplay? Who would direct and produce it? Who would release it? Who would have anything to do with the people who made this? Can you think of any other advocacy group that has produced anything like this?

The global warming movement bares its soul in this video.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life is tort

Another "Wrongful Life" lawsuit:

Portland Couple Awarded $2.9M in Wrongful Birth Case; Say They Would Have Aborted Child

By Brittany Smith , Christian Post Reporter 
March 12, 2012|6:04 pm 
A jury in Portland, Ore., awarded a couple $2.9 million dollars on Friday for the "wrongful birth" of their daughter who has Down syndrome. 
Kalanit Levy was born in June of 2007 to Ariel and Deborah Levy, after prenatal testing did not reveal any abnormalities. 
The Levys' attorney said Dr. Thomas Jenkins removed maternal tissue – instead of the fetal tissue – from Deborah Levy's womb which resulted in faulty test readings. The suit also faults the medical center for reassuring Deborah Levy that her baby didn't have an extra 21st chromosome. 
The couple says they would have had an abortion had the test been done properly and they had known about the Down syndrome. 
It wasn't until a few days after Kalanit's birth that a blood test confirmed that the little girl had the genetic disorder. And now, four years later, the Levys are suing the hospital to pay for the extra costs of caring for their daughter. 
The Levys said in the suit that they worry about future medical problems and their daughter's ability to interact with others. They have been told by experts that Kalanit will most likely not be able to live on her own.

And while "wrongful birth" cases like the Levys' are rare because most prenatal birth tests are 99.7 percent accurate, Dr. Art Caplan, a bioethicist, wrote on MSNBC's medical blog, "Vitals," that "the very fact that such a case can make it into a courtroom reveals a lot that is wrong with public policy and ethics in America." He said the case ultimately gets at the heart of how society views and values life and "asks who should have to pay when that life is less than optimal."
He wrote, "Wrongful birth lawsuits are a horrible way to deal with failed prenatal testing. Forcing parents to argue that their child never should have been born may make legal sense but it is morally absurd." 
For Caplan, there is no reason to allow a wrongful birth case. He said the solution lies in allowing "some sort of no-fault insurance scheme under the supervision of neutral mediators, not a courtroom slugfest that demeans the value of a life with disability and reeks of eugenics." 
But wrongful birth lawsuits may become more common as technology advances, and as more women in their late 30s or 40s give birth. These expectant mothers will all come to rely on genetic screenings –none of which are 100 percent accurate. 
Studies already show that more than 85 percent of parents who learn through prenatal testing that a fetus has Down syndrome terminate the pregnancy. 
Dr. Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries, told The Christian Post that it's likely we will see more of these types of cases. He said this confusion over the ethics of life stems largely from abortion policies and the devaluing of human life. 
He told CP that doctors are now going to have to start defending themselves over test results. "I think they (doctors) will make the argument that parents can choose to abort [their child] after it's born." He said this will happen because they want to protect themselves from medical malpractice. 
For Myers, this is a big ethical issue, and one Christians need to get better at defending. "If I don't communicate [that a person is a human]," Myers said, "then I am ceding the right to make an argument about whether or not children should have value after birth."

Abortion is legally-sanctioned homicide. The fabrication by the Supreme Court several decades ago of this "right" to kill creates a legal conundrum: if you have a right to kill, what happens if you are prevented from killing by someone's negligence?

This happens: the fact that your prospective victim still lives is a harm you have suffered, and a harm for which you can be compensated. The life of the person you would have killed becomes actionable by tort.

Evil spawns evil. The "right to abortion" spawns infanticidal abattoirs and concealment of child rape and enrichment of hyenas with MD's and cash awards for parents of children who mistakenly lived.

Ariel and Deborah Levy got nearly three million dollars because a medical mistake saved their daughter from being killed... by them.

Little Kalanit has Down's syndrome. She'll probably never know how mummy and dada got those nice new cars and that really big house and that really big fun swimming pool. She'll never even ask.

Perhaps that's a blessing. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How exactly do you 'harass' an atheist?

Atheist harassment

The speech police have been working extra shifts, it seems.

From CNN:

 Terminated scientist claims bias against intelligent design
By Stan Wilson, CNN
Los Angeles (CNN) – A former veteran systems administrator for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory claimed during opening arguments in a civil lawsuit Tuesday that he was wrongfully terminated for expressing his views on intelligent design. 
David Coppedge, who spent 15 years on the Cassini Mission, one of NASA and JPL's most ambitious planetary space explorations, asserts that he was unlawfully fired under his employer's anti-harassment and ethics policies. JPL contends Coppedge created a hostile workplace while expressing his religious views with co-workers. 
His suit also claims that supervisors wrongly admonished him for distributing DVD documentary films titled "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" and "The Privileged Planet," which present biological and cosmological explanations for intelligent design, according to the complaint. 
Coppedge claims he never forcibly compelled colleagues to accept his idea of intelligent design in the workplace. Intelligent design is a conviction that life is too complex to have developed solely through evolution and that the universe was designed by an intelligent entity. 
JPL, based in Pasadena, California, is one of the world's most prestigious institutions for scientific research and development institutions. In Coppedge's civil lawsuit, he describes JPL's space missions as designed, in part, to explore the origin of the universe, uncover whether life exists elsewhere in the universe - or is improbably confined to earth - and whether conditions necessary for life to exist reside elsewhere in the universe. 
Launched in October 1997, the Cassini mission to Saturn included a sophisticated robotic spacecraft that orbited the ringed planet and provided streams of data about its rings, magnetosphere, moon Titan and icy satellites. Cassini was the largest interplanetary mission ever launched, with the largest technical staff and participation of 18 countries.
In his role, Coppedge was responsible for making technical and scientific recommendations to management and developing presentations about various technical capabilities of new systems and upgrades, his attorney William Becker Jr. said during opening arguments. During his tenure, Coppedge developed a "sincere interest in the scientific evidence behind life's origin," which led to his conviction about "intelligent design.
Coppedge shared the view that life and the existence of the universe derived not from "undirected material processes," but from "intelligent cause," said attorney Becker.
In March 2009, Coppedge claims that his supervisor advised him that co-workers had complained that he was harassing them over debates about his religious views and coercing them in the workplace into watching DVD programs about intelligent design. During his opening statements Tuesday, attorney Becker Jr. told a judge hearing the case that Coppedge's supervisor threatened him with termination if he "pushed his religion" and ordered Coppedge to refrain from discussing politics or religion with anyone in the office.
During that 2009 meeting, Coppedge alleges, his supervisor became angry and belligerent asserting that "intelligent design is religion" and ordered him to stop. "The tone of the meeting and conduct were abusive and constituted harassment," his attorney said in court.
JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor said the lawsuit "is completely without merit, and we intend to vigorously fight the allegations raised by Mr. Coppedge." 
In their response to the civil suit, attorneys for JPL stated in court documents that one of Coppedge's co-workers complained to his supervisor that Coppedge made her feel so uncomfortable in discussing "non work related topics" that it bordered on harassment. The supervisor encouraged Coppedge to limit his discussions about topics like religion and politics to periods like lunch breaks, according to the response.
The documents state that other co-workers complained they also felt harassed when Coppedge expressed views in favor of California Proposition 8, the ballot initiative in 2010 that defined marriage between and man and woman. 
"David Coppedge alienated his co-workers by the way he acted with them, and blamed anyone who complained about those interactions," according to JPL in their response. "He accuses his former project supervisor and line manager of making discriminatory and retaliatory employment decision, when they had in fact protected him for years."
JPL alleged that Coppedge "was seen as stubborn, unwilling to listen and always having to do things his way, which frustrated project members and resulted in errors."
Coppedge was demoted after eight years as lead systems administrator and terminated last year. He cited those actions as a factor in basis for his suit claiming religious discrimination, retaliation, harassment and wrongful demotion. 
JPL has denied Coppedge's termination complaint, contending he was among 246 employees laid off as part of a downsizing plan that affected 300 staffers.
"JPL complies with all applicable state and federal employment laws including laws governing freedom of expression," said JPL spokeswoman McGregor.
California Institute of Technology operates JPL, which is federally funded under a contract with NASA. Scientists are employed by the Caltech. 
The case has generated interest among advocates of intelligent design. The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian civil rights group, and the Discovery Institute, a proponent of intelligent design, are supporting Coppedge's lawsuit. The National Center for Science Education, which supports the teaching of evolution in public education, is closely monitoring the case. 
Coppedge is seeking damages for wrongful termination, including attorney fees. The nonjury trial is expected to last four weeks.

Of course, genuine malicious harassment that interferes with workflow is inappropriate, but I doubt that was the case.

After all, atheists have been driven to panic, hysteria and alienation by the mere sight of a prayer on a school wall, a passing glance at the Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn, or brief mention of God at a school graduation.

In schools and on government property, atheists take you to court if you express religious views. In the private workplace, they fire you.

It doesn't take a lot to harass an atheist. Free speech, it seems, is sufficient. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

E.J. Dionne: "Catholicism is not the Tea Party at prayer"

E.J. Dione's Washington Post essay on the Church and politics, with my commentary.

Catholicism is not the Tea Party at prayer

By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: March 11

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops will make an important decision this week: Do they want to defend the church’s legitimate interest in religious autonomy, or do they want to wage an election-year war against President Obama?
The latter is necessary to secure the former.
And do the most conservative bishops want to junk the Roman Catholic Church as we have known it, with its deep commitment to both life and social justice, and turn it into the Tea Party at prayer?
Perhaps the salient political characteristic of the Tea Party is that it is not about social issues. It is a movement demanding fiscal responsibility, Constitutional government, and respect for the primacy of individual rights.

Catholic Social Justice, contra Dionne, is not socialism, which is explicitly condemned in Catholic social teaching. Catholic Social Justice is the just ordering of society in accordance with the fundamental Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which means that decisions are made at as local a level as possible-- by the individual, the family, the small community, and that government on a large scale only exercise power that it inherently must exercise (national defense, coinage, diplomacy, etc).

Catholic social teaching explicitly condemns socialism (Leo XIII encyclical Rerum Novarum). Subsidiarity is a bulwark against socialism and totalitarianism, and is at the core of Catholic social teaching.
These are the issues confronting the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ administrative committee when it begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday. The bishops should ponder how they transformed a moment of exceptional Catholic unity into an occasion for recrimination and anger.
Catholics are still united on this. There are some leftists who mistake Obama-worship for Catholic piety, but they're getting schooled as we speak.
When the Department of Health and Human Services initially issued rules requiring contraceptive services to be covered under the new health-care law, it effectively exempted churches and other houses of worship but declined to do so for religiously affiliated entities such as hospitals, universities and social welfare organizations. 
Catholics across the political spectrum — including liberals like me — demanded a broader exemption, on the theory that government should honor the religious character of the educational and social service institutions closely connected to faith traditions. 
Under pressure, Obama announced a compromise on Feb. 10. It still mandated contraception coverage, but religiously affiliated groups would neither have to pay for it nor refer its employees to alternatives. These burdens would be on insurance companies.
Insurance companies don't carry "burdens".  People who purchase the insurance carry the burden, passed on by the insurance companies.

And which section of the Constitution empowers the federal government to mandate that a private company provide a product for private consumption?
The compromise was quickly endorsed by the Catholic Health Association. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the bishops’ conference, reserved judgment but called Obama’s move “a first step in the right direction.”
The CHA is run by a far-left Obama groupie (Sister Carol Keehan) who insisted, in the run-up to Obamacare, that things like the contraception mandate would never happen.

Then, right-wing bishops and allied staff at the bishops’ conference took control. 
Bishops are responsible for Catholic teaching. Far-left bureaucrats running health care associations who are currying favor with far-left politicians don't set Church policy.

For weeks, Catholics at Sunday Mass were confronted with attacks that, at the most extreme, cast administration officials as communist-style apparatchiks intent on destroying Roman Catholicism.

Administration officials are communist-style apparatchiks intent on destroying Roman Catholicism. The hard left has morphed (Dionne really must read Gramsci). Gone are the raised fists and the Mao jackets and the massive violence (in the West). The apparatchiks wear suits and go to regulatory meetings and issue white papers. The left is in our institutions. Socialism-- national and international-- has a friendly face.

And the Catholic Church is perhaps the most powerful institution blocking their way to transformation of our culture and government.

The contraceptive mandate is a brilliant tactic to drive the Church out of healthcare and out of many other aspects of civic life. If it prevails, the Church by its own moral compass cannot employ people, because by law the Church would need to purchase health insurance for them.

Pure political genius. These Gramsci lefties are as smart as the Bolshevik lefties were murderous.
You think I exaggerate? In his diocesan newspaper, Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, wrote: “The provision of health care should not demand ‘giving up’ religious liberty. Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship — no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society.” 
My goodness, does Obama want to bring the Commies back?
They're.... back. Actually, they never left. They just got tenure, and waited for the right time. Like now.
Cardinal Dolan is more moderate than Cardinal George, but he offered an unfortunate metaphor in a March 3 speech on Long Island. “I suppose we could say there might be some doctor who would say to a man who is suffering some sort of sexual dysfunction, ‘You ought to start visiting a prostitute to help you, and I will write you a prescription, and I hope the government will pay for it.’ ”
 Good analogy.
Did Cardinal Dolan really want to suggest to faithfully married Catholic women and men who decide to limit the size of their families that there is any moral equivalence between wanting contraception coverage and visiting a prostitute? Presumably not. But then why even reach for such an outlandish comparison?
Contraception in Catholic moral teaching is a very serious sin. It is the artificial dissociation of the procreative end of sex from the unitive and pleasurable end of sex. It is, in the Catholic view, a grave sin, and has been recognized as such for 2000 years.

Such a view is no longer fashionable among the cognoscenti (I'm sure Dionne never hears contraception criticized at his Washington dinner parties), and is generally not well understood even among the Catholic faithful.

Prostitution and contraception are obviously different sins, but they have some similarities, and are both grave.
Opposition in the church to extreme rhetoric is growing.
Opposition is collapsing. There has never been more Church unity in my lifetime. When our parish priest read our bishop's statement on the contraception mandate issue at the end of Mass last month, there was applause from the congregation.
Moderate and progressive bishops are alarmed that Catholicism’s deep commitment to social justice is being shunted aside in this single-minded and exceptionally narrow focus on the health-care exemption.
People who agree with Dionne aren't "moderate". There is great unanimity among the bishops, even the immoderate leftist ones. Dionne is being disingenuous. He is smart enough to understand the dynamics here.

Obama is demanding that the Church abandon one of her most deeply held moral principles or withdraw from huge tracts of American civic life.
A wise priest of my acquaintance offered the bishops some excellent questions about the church.
Dionne's definition of "wise priests": priests who agree with Dionne, and not with the Church.
“Is it abandoning its historical style of being a leaven in society to become a strident critic of government?” he asked.
The Church is a critic of socialism and is a critic of sin. The contraception mandate is a socialist scheme to promote an act the Church rightly recognizes as sinful.
“Have the bishops given up on their conviction that there can be disagreement among Catholics on the application of principle to policy?
The Church has always been open-minded on matters of political prudence.  She is closed-minded on matters of faith and morals. This is a matter of morals.
Do they now believe that there must be unanimity even on political strategy?”
There must be unanimity among Catholics on morals. Political strategies that compromise those morals are immoral.
The bishops have legitimate concerns about the Obama compromise, including how to deal with self-insured entities and whether the wording of the HHS rule still fails to recognize the religious character of the church’s charitable work.
Damn right the bishops have "legitimate concerns". They should also have legitimate concerns that there are Catholics who are still ostensibly in communion with the Church who are actively working to damage it.
But before the bishops accuse Obama of being an enemy of the faith, they might look for a settlement that’s within reach —
 'Before the bishops accuse Diocletian of being an enemy of the faith, they might look for a settlement that's within reach...'

 one that would give the church the accommodations it needs while offering women the health coverage they need.
Contraception isn't health care. Pregnancy isn't a disease. People who want contraception can buy it themselves. It's dirt cheap.

This controversy is about religious freedom and the role of Christianity in civic society, not about pills and condoms.
I don’t see any communist plots in this.
You weren't supposed to, E.J..

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Rutgers webcam case and "hate crimes"

There's a verdict in the case of the Rutgers University student who surreptitiously recorded his roommate having gay sex. The roommate committed suicide shortly thereafter.

Former Rutgers student convicted in webcam case

By GEOFF MULVIHILL | Associated Press – 19 hrs ago

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life was convicted of invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation Friday in a case that exploded into the headlines when the victim threw himself to his death off a bridge.

Dharun Ravi, 20, shook his head slightly after hearing the guilty verdicts on all 15 counts against him.

He could get several years in prison — and could be deported to his native India, even though he has lived legally in the U.S. since he was a little boy — for an act that cast a spotlight on teen suicide and anti-gay bullying and illustrated the Internet's potential for tormenting others.

Prosecutors said Ravi set up a webcam in his dorm room in September 2010 and captured roommate Tyler Clementi kissing another man, then tweeted about it and excitedly tried to catchClementi in the act again two days later. A half-dozen students were believed to have seen the live video of the kissing.

Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and leaped from the George Washington Bridge after posting one last status update on Facebook: "Jumping off the gw bridge, sorry."

Ravi's lawyer argued that the college freshman was not motivated by any hostility toward gays and that his actions were just those of an immature "kid."

The defense also contended Ravi initially set up the camera because he was afraid Clementi's older, "sketchy"-looking visitor might steal his belongings.

The jury found Ravi not guilty on some subparts of some of the charges, but guilty of all 15 counts as a whole.
Ravi's recording of his roommate's tryst is reprehensible. It was a cruel disrespectful invasion of privacy. Expulsion from school, civil litigation, even prosecution for illegal surveillance might be appropriate.

But I don't agree with the "hate crime" prosecution. Clementi's tragic suicide raised the ante on Ravi's nasty invasion of his roommate's privacy, but I think it is unfair to implicitly punish Ravi for Clementi's death. Clementi committed a horrendously irrational act. His anguish at being recorded having sex is understandable, but suicide is another matter, and I do not believe it is right to hold Ravi responsible for that.

Clementi had already "come out of the closet" to his family and he was openly gay. The revelation of his homosexuality was not the motive for his suicide. He had written about his despondency before the webcam incident. Obviously Clementi was upset at being recorded, and rightfully so, but it is difficult to assign that as a rational motive for jumping off a bridge. Holding Ravi responsible in court for Clementi's tragic and irrational decision to kill himself is unfair. Ravi invaded Clementi's privacy and acted with disturbing callousness. But he did not kill Clementi.

I have great concern about "hate crime" laws. All crimes involve malice on the part of the perpetrator, and one can make an argument that racial/sexual bias makes the crime more egregious. But the purpose for hate crime legislation seems to be to single out certain favored groups for legal privilege and other groups for legal disadvantage. There is ample hate among all people who victimize others. Is a mugging of a white victim by a black assailant a hate crime? Is disruption of a Catholic mass by gay protesters a hate crime? Is vandalism by Occupy protestors against bankers a hate crime? They almost certainly won't be prosecuted as such, yet the racial and religious and sexual and political differences may well have played a substantial role in the acts.

The law should apply equally to all, and we should be very careful when we single out certain people for more rigorous prosecution or certain people for more rigorous protection because of their opinions or sexual orientation or race. Equal protection of the law requires that "hate" of all kinds be prosecuted equally.

Unequal prosecution of hate crimes is itself a form of hate.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In Loving Memory

A beautiful tribute to Blessed Pope John Paul II-- John Paul the Great.

I love this man. He did so much to advance human dignity and freedom. For hundreds of millions of us-- me included-- he was the image of Christ on earth.

May God bless him.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

High impact journalism

The wet dream of everyone ever accosted by an ambush journalist.

I'm ashamed to say that this made me laugh. At least the reporter wasn't hurt. He had sense of humor and posted it on his own facebook page. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Newsflash from Hanoi: ban Rush Limbaugh from the radio!

Fonda, 1972, posing on an anti-aircraft gun in North Vietnam

Jane Fonda, along two other has-been lefties, is demanding that the FCC ban Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves for his... insensitivity to women, or whatever.

The irony is delicious. Hanoi Jane is on the outside-- rather than the inside-- of federal prison merely because of the (laudable) American obsession with freedom of speech. In 1972 she committed treason, and in most other societies, including the communist tyranny she bedded, she would have been summarily shot. Instead, Comrade Jane, on returning to our capitalist hellhole, remained free as a butterfly, free to slander the decent forgiving nation of her birth. She starred in a bunch more movies and raked in a ton of cash, and further served the proletariat by marrying the richest guy she could find and making exercise videos.

Hypocrite Fonda pitching totalitarianism is old hat. More disturbing is that the agit-prop 'ban Rush' essay was posted on CNN's website. CNN should have a little bit of squeamishness about spitting on the First Amendment. And other vanguards of the proletariat are joining in. Moth-to-a-flame camera lawyer Gloria Allred (great surname for a leftie-- split it in half) demands that Rush be criminally prosecuted for his speech.


Again and again the left censors free speech-- in public schools, in biology classes, about Darwinism, about Global Warming, about politics.

The left is increasingly setting aside respect for our freedoms. They understand that their agenda stands no chance in the free exchange of ideas. They know that they can only win by default-- by silencing others.

The irony is that Jane Fonda herself is a free (and rich) woman only because of America's First Amendment protection for freedom of speech. Next to freedom of religion, it is the most important and sacrosanct right bequeathed by our Constitution. In the totalitarian society she championed, posing on an enemy anti-aircraft gun in a time of war would have been, on her return home, her last public act. Through her totalitarian advocacy, she helped consign millions of innocents in South East Asia to the fate she was spared.

Her demand that Limbaugh be removed from the air by the FCC for his speech drips with irony.

But the Constitution means nothing to the left. It is invoked, and ignored, as suits their ends. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Keep the government out of my uterus, keep the government out of my woOoOmb,..."

The Contraceptive Song at "Women Occupy-Rally for Women's Rights".

Ironically, they are demanding government funding for their sexual peccadilloes. Wouldn't government non-intervention in the bedroom preclude the contraceptive mandate?

We conservatives are the ones who want a safe distance between government mandates and reproductive systems, although contraception is probably moot for these ladies.

More important for the contraceptive divas is that Obamacare will cover free pessaries. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just in case you had any lingering doubts about the totalitarianism and just plain insanity of the global warming movement...

This is almost hard to believe.

NYU philosophy and bioethics professor S. Matthew Liao

Genetically engineer cat eyes in humans? Drugs to make you more climate-friendly? Anti-meat patches to activate your immune system against meat? Quotas allowing your family only two children or maybe three kids if they're really small? Drugs designed to stunt your children's growth?

All to save the planet from global warming.

This guy is not some nut from left field. He's a nut from the infield. He's got sterling academic credentials (Princeton, Oxford, now professor at NYU), he's well-published, and he and his Oxford collaborators are publishing this incitement to crimes against humanity in a mainstream philosophy journal.

Don't be misled by his denials. He insists that his measures are "voluntary". Of course they're not voluntary for the kids 'selected' and assaulted by the totalitarian schemes, and he endorses China-style limits on births. None of this engineering of humanity will be voluntary if these demons get their way.

The global warming movement is totalitarian. This creep is only one of many frauds and gangsters and lunatics and megalomaniacs and opportunists and sadists who populate this movement. This is Mengele-level stuff.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Game on!"

Great video, made for Rick Santorum by an Oklahoma family. I love the line "the Constitution will rule our land".

I pray that it will.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What the contraceptive mandate is really about

From Dominicana blog

It is a mistake to presume that the motive of the Obama administration for the contraceptive mandate is merely about providing affordable contraception. It has nothing at all to do with that.

Contraception is dirt cheap and available everywhere. The government (i.e. you and I) already pays Planned Parenthood several hundred million dollars each year to dispense the stuff. Rubbers and little pills are available at innumerable agencies, clinics and pharmacies for chump change. I'm sure you can get 'em in Pez dispensers.

The contraceptive brouhaha is government agitprop. It is a stage-managed crisis-- a brilliant stage-managed crisis, I might add-- with four goals:

1) Rally political support for Obama from the demographics (e.g. single women) who were losing enthusiasm for the president.

2) Split pro-contraception Catholics from the Church

3) Divert attention from the unconstitutional encroachment on Catholics' right of conscience (free exercise of religion).

4) Drive the Catholic Church out of civic life. This is the primary goal. The Church has already been driven out of adoption services by requiring that they give children to gay couples. The contraception mandate will drive them out of healthcare and most activities in which the Church employs people.

Pure Alinski. Obamacare is a power grab by the left. It's not about health care. It's about crushing independence from government. Free enterprise and the Catholic Church have long been impediments to the left's acquisition of government power. The creed of the left is simple:

All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Benedict in Germany on the origin of European civilization

George Weigel quotes Pope Benedict on the origin of modern Europe and human rights.

Pope Benedict:

The conviction that there is a Creator God is what gave rise to the idea of human rights, the idea of the equality of all people before the law, the recognition of the inviolability of human dignity in every single person, and the awareness of people’s responsibility for their actions. Our cultural memory is shaped by these rational insights. To ignore it or dismiss it as a thing of the past would be to dismember our culture totally and rob it of its completeness. The culture of Europe arose from the encounter between Jerusalem, Athens and Rome – from the encounter between Israel’s monotheism, the philosophical reason of the Greeks, and Roman law. This three-way encounter has shaped the inner identity of Europe. In the awareness of man’s responsibility before God and in the acknowledgment of the inviolable dignity of every single human person, it has established criteria of law: It is these criteria that we are called upon to defend at this moment in our history.

Why don’t we get this today, the pope then asked? He might have said, rightly, that we don’t get this because Christophobia is a major defect of 21st-century European high culture — an irrational refusal to concede to Christianity any nurturing role in building a Europe of civility, tolerance, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. Rather, Professor Ratzinger took a more academic tack and noted that the 21st-century West is still paralyzed by what we assume to be “the unbridgeable gulf . . . between ‘is’ and ‘ought’” as defined by Immanuel Kant and, above all, David Hume. This bifurcation leads to a thoroughly positivistic notion of reason and to a thoroughly positivistic notion of law: The only reason that counts is scientific reason, and the only law that matters is black-letter law. But this amounts to an enormous impoverishment of human understanding, and a very brittle, indeed dangerous, notion of law, Benedict suggested. Against this self-demeaning positivism, “the windows must be flung open again,” so that “reason . . . can rediscover its true greatness” and human beings can learn once again that “man is not self-creating freedom.”

Reason, morality and human rights can only be grounded in God, not in man. Our modern abandonment of our civilization's Christian roots is a foolish and ultimately deadly mistake. Positivism-- the assertion that only what can be demonstrated empirically is worth our assent-- is a bizarre self-refuting philosophical error. Positivism itself is not demonstrable nor  empirically verifiable. It is a metaphysical presupposition. A coherent positivist would deny the coherence of positivism.

The Pope's conclusion is that our responsibility before God and the inviolable dignity of every person is what we are called upon to defend at this moment in our history. He understands, as few do, the stakes in  this battle.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Long live Andrew Breitbart"

Great post from Hollywood screenwriter Daniel Knauf, who tells of his journey from reflexive liberalism to thoughtful passionate conservatism, via 9-11 and an honest look at the left, and about his debt to Andrew Brietbart.

Many of us have made the same journey. I was a liberal when I was in the Army and during my first couple of years in college. There I met real liberals (I was at Columbia and this was only a few years after the student riots)-- I had debates in seminars in which I defended the view that handicapped people had a right to life (and this was before I was a Christian!), in which I defended the use of money (several of my pinhead interlocutors believed that money was the root of all evil and that humanity should return to the barter system), and in which I defended the notion that it was wrong for the government to lie to citizens (my classmates were intoxicated by Plato's Republic). I was particularly attacked for asserting that constitutional representative democracy was, generally speaking, the most just form of government. My interlocutors generally advocated some variant of totalitarianism, usually a regime run by Ivy League cognoscenti much like themselves. I had only one classmate who took my side, a shy kid from the South who didn't say much but who told me outside of class that he agreed with me. The professor was quietly sympathetic to my views.

Like Breitbart and Knauf, I saw liberalism close up. I became a conservative.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I'll stay out of your bedroom. You stay out of my wallet.

The left is using a favored tactic again-- hiding behind young women, who are helped forward to champion a venial cause that leftists-in-power feel uncomfortable hawking unless they can do it while cowering behind a sacrificial lamb. Jessica Ahlquist was the prequel. More will come.

Ms. Fluke is a Georgetown (i.e. Jesuit) University law student and long-time lefty who testified to Congress that insurers (and institutions like the Catholic Church who purchase insurance) should be forced by the government to provide contraception in their health insurance coverage.

Of course, insurers don't pay for anything. We-- you and me-- pay for it, through increased rates. Ms. Fluke was vague as to why other people should be forced at government gunpoint to pay for her birth control pills. Something to do with "protecting women's rights to reproductive health", etc.

It's hard to see how contraception is "reproductive health". Pregnancy isn't a disease, and the state of not being pregnant isn't either health or disease. Health has to do with things like the flu, or cancer, or heart disease. Being pregnant or not being pregnant are not intrinsically states of health or disease. Pregnancy can be associated with disease, of course, but prevention of pregnancy is no more prevention of disease than prevention of exercise would be prevention of disease, just because exercise sometimes is associated with injury.

Contraception is merely the prevention of the natural consequences of a natural act. It neither prevents nor treats any disease.

And it's odd to assert that contraception is a "right" one is entitled to exercise via government (i.e. other peoples') largesse. After all, the Second Amendment guarantees the real right to own firearms, but no one has suggested that the government must buy us each a gun or two. I've always wanted a nice over-under 12-gauge, with walnut stock. I'll call my Senator and ask when mine will be in the mail. Protecting Second Amendment rights, ya' know.

Rush Limbaugh kicked up a brouhaha when he called Ms. Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute", or something to that effect. Such use of sexual slurs is wrong, and Rush apologized, appropriately.

But the context in which he used those words is spot-on. He observed that Ms. Fluke was demanding to be paid for having sex, which is... well... exactly what she is demanding. Contraceptive coverage is not needed for people who abstain.

I point out that "prostitution" is not precisely the right term to use for such demands. After all, the financial arrangement between a prostitute and a john is voluntary, unlike mandatory contraceptive coverage, and at least the john is asked to pay only for the sex he is having, not the sex acts of others.

"Armed robbery" is probably a more apt term for Ms. Fluke's demand.

I'll suggest this to Ms. Fluke and her minions who want all of us to pay for their sex:

Pay for it yourself. We'll stay out of your bedroom. You stay out of our wallets. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Andrew Breitbart R.I.P.

I've been traveling the past week and haven't had a chance to post on the tragic death of Andrew Breitbart, who died suddenly a week ago of apparently natural causes at the young age of 43.

Breitbart was a former liberal who was radicalized into the conservative movement by the Clarence Thomas "high-tech lynching" during Senate hearings for his nomination to the Supreme Court. Breitbart was astonished at the viciousness of the attacks on Thomas-- the Democrats' resurrection of the old racist (i.e. Democrat) slur that black men are sexual predators was an epiphany. For Brietbart, the Thomas episode laid bare the soul of the left. He resolved to fight it.

He was a brilliant fearless journalist, working in the highest traditions of his profession. He championed citizen journalism-- the right and responsibility of ordinary people to uncover the truth about our society and our government. He uncovered scandals-- the A.C.O.R.N. scandal, Weinergate, the Shirley Sherrod scandal, among others-- he built a media engine devoted to uncovering the truth that the leftists who dominate the mainstream media are frantically covering up, and he provided invaluable training for young conservative journalists who now are picking up his mantle and carrying on his fight using the new media.

My condolences to his wife and four children. He was a brave and good man, and he will be missed. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pat Buchanan on Ron Paul

Pat Buchanan has a (characteristically) wise essay on Ron Paul:

The True Believer
Jan 12 2012
By Patrick J. Buchanan

Last May, Ron Paul filed his financial disclosure form, and The Wall Street Journal enlisted financial analyst William Bernstein to scrutinize his investments.
“Paul’s portfolio isn’t merely different,” said an astonished Journal, “it’s shockingly different.”
Twenty-one percent of his $2.4 to $5.5 million was in real estate, 14 percent in cash. He owns no bonds. Only 0.1 percent is invested in stocks, and Paul bought these “short,” betting the price will plunge. Every other nickel is sunk into gold and silver mining companies.
Bernstein “had never seen such an extreme bet on economic catastrophe,” said the Journal.
“This portfolio,” said Bernstein, “is a half step away from a cellar-full of canned goods and 9-millimeter rounds.”
“You can say this for Ron Paul,” conceded the Journal. “In investing as in politics, (Paul) has the courage of his convictions.”
Indeed, he does. Paul’s investments mirror his belief that the empire of debt is coming down and Western governments will never repay — in dollars of the same value — what they have borrowed.
And here we come to the reason Paul ran a strong third in Iowa and a clear second in New Hampshire. He is a conviction politician and, like Barry Goldwater and George McGovern, the candidate of a cause.
Aware it is unlikely he will ever be president, the 76-year-old soldiers on in the belief that this cause will one day triumph in a party where he was, not long ago, seen as an odd duck, but a party where today he speaks for a national constituency.
It is easy to understand why the young are attracted to him. There is a consistency here no other candidate can match.
Republicans may deplore the GOP Great Society of Bush 43. Paul stood almost alone in voting against every Bush measure. By two-to-one, Americans now believe the Iraq War was a mistake. Paul, alone among the candidates, opposed the war.
And because his campaign is about a cause larger than himself, it is a safe bet he will not quit this race until the last caucuses have met and the last primary has been held.
Prediction: Paul will go into the Tampa, Fla., convention with more delegates than any other candidate save the nominee of the party.
There is a gnawing fear in the GOP that Paul will quit the party when the primaries are over and run as a third-party candidate on the Libertarian or some other line in the November election.
Not going to happen. Such a decision would sunder the movement Paul has pulled together, bring about his own and his party’s certain defeat in November, and re-elect Barack Obama.
Paul would become a pariah in his party, while his son, Sen. Rand Paul, who would be forced to endorse his father over the GOP nominee, would be ruined as a future Republican leader.
Why would Dr. Paul do this, when the future inside the GOP looks bright not only for him but for his son?
The course Ron Paul will likely take, then, is this.
Commit to this nomination battle all the way to Tampa, contest every primary and caucus, amass a maximum of delegates.
If Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich lose in South Carolina, they will lose in Florida, and begin to peel off and drop out, for none is a cause candidate and each will soon come to realize that his presidential aspirations are done for now if not for good.
Their departure will leave the Republican contest a Romney-Paul race, giving Paul half a year on the campaign trail to increase his visibility, enlarge his following, grow his mailing lists and broaden his donor base.
In return for a commitment to campaign for the ticket, Paul should demand a prime-time speaking slot at the convention and use the speech to emulate Barry Goldwater in 1960 when he admonished conservatives at the convention to “grow up,” so that “we can take this party back.”
Assuming the nominee is Mitt Romney, should he win in the fall and Paul has campaigned for him, Paul will not only have a friend in the White House, but be a respected figure in the party with a constituency all his own.
Most important to Paul are the issues he has campaigned on: a new transparency and accountability for the Federal Reserve, a downsizing of the American empire, and an end to U.S. interventions in foreign quarrels and wars that are none of our business.
Whether Paul goes home to Texas when his last term in Congress is over in January 2013, or whether he remains in Washington in a policy institute to advance the causes he believes in, his views will be sought out by the major media on all the issues he cares about.
Moreover, his fears of a coming collapse, manifest in his portfolio, could come to pass, making of Ron Paul a prophet in his own time.
It may be that Paul's reluctance to criticize Romney in the primaries is part of a strategy by Paul to gain influence (or for his son Rand Paul to gain influence) in a Romney administration.

I have great respect for Ron Paul. I agree with him on most issues, more so than with any other candidate.  The recent tempest about his supposedly racist comments made in a newsletter in the 1980's is, as best I can see, nonsense. Paul expressed some viewpoints that could have been phrased more effectively, but they are not racist viewpoints. The fact that much of the critique about these views comes from liberal democrats who derive their political power from race-baiting is a hoot.

Ron Paul's integrity, fiscal sanity, and foreign policy prudence are a much needed palate-cleanser to the Washington bacchanal. I think that Buchanan is right that Paul will work to increase his influence in the Republican party, rather than set out on a third party run that will do nothing but assure the reelection of a man who represents all of the venality and thuggery that Paul has fought against for so long. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Frances Fox Piven finds that race-baiting is getting tougher

Frances Fox Piven is an infamous hard-left academic who coauthored (along with her late husband Richard Cloward) perhaps the most malignant essay in modern sociology-- "The Weight of the Poor: a Strategy to End Poverty". The essay, in the May 1966 issue of Nation magazine, advocated overloading the welfare system with essentially frivolous applications for benefits so as to cause the economic and administrative collapse of the government. The ensuing chaos would then be used by the Left to force a socialist reorganization of the American government.

The Cloward-Piven strategy was pursued quite actively by a number of leftist organizations, including A.C.O.R.N., which was founded in large part to implement it. Many municipalities experienced a massive increase in welfare dependency in the decade after Cloward and Piven's paper, and some commentators have attributed New York's insolvency crisis in 1975 in part to the Cloward-Piven strategy.

Cloward and Piven's strategy consigned millions of people to unnecessary welfare dependency and family disintegration, and did massive fiscal and social damage to cities that persists to this day. Piven is responsible, in a very direct and personal way, for the degradation of the lives of millions of people.

Piven is still very active, and she recently gave a speech to a private Christian College in Pennsylvania. Her boilerplate race-bating, this time about the Tea Parties, elicited a more contentious response than that to which she has been accustomed.

Hot Air has the video of her speech, and of the reaction of her well-informed audience.