Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Real War on Women

Honor killing, forced marriage, genital mutilation — that is a war on women.

By Lee Habeeb
April 26, 2012

A father near Batman, Turkey, shows a photo of his 14-year-old daughter who recently committed suicide. (Corbis)

Her name was Derya. She lived in Batman, Turkey, she was 17 years old, and she had a problem that few American women know about, let alone have ever experienced: The men in her family were doing everything they could to get her to kill herself.

It started with text messages like this one from her uncle: “You have blackened our name. Kill yourself and clean our shame, or we will kill you first.”

What was Derya’s crime? What had she done to deserve a message like that from a relative? She had fallen in love with a boy she had met in school the previous spring.

When news of this outrage reached Derya’s family, her mother warned her that her father — her own father — might kill her. She didn’t listen.

And then the orchestrated campaign of terror began. Threatening text message after threatening text message, sent by her brothers and uncles, sometimes as many as 15 a day.

Young Derya was so overwhelmed that she did the only thing she could do to free herself from the shame and the pain: She tried to kill herself.

Not once. Not twice. Three times, Derya tried to kill herself, first by throwing herself into the Tigris River, then by hanging herself, and finally by slashing her wrists with a kitchen knife.

“I felt I had no right to dishonor my family,” she told a New York Times reporter in July of 2006, “that I have no right to be alive. So I decided to respect my family’s desire and to die.”

The reporter learned that every few weeks, in parts of Turkey deeply influenced by conservative Islam, young women were taking their own lives for the same reasons Derya tried to take hers. Others, the Times reported, were stoned to death, strangled, shot, or buried alive by their male relatives.

And what were the crimes of these young women? Well, in Batman, such offensive conduct as wearing a short skirt, wanting to see a movie, or being raped by a stranger. It goes without saying that engaging in consensual sex warrants death.

And people think there is a war on women in America?

But the Times story got worse, as the reporter explained the reason why Derya and other women and girls in Turkey were trying to kill themselves. It turns out that Turkey, in its hopes to join the European Union, was beginning to punish men for their attacks against women and girls. Honor killings, it seems, are frowned upon by the EU.

So the men who run things came up with a great new idea: Why not pressure girls to kill themselves instead?

“Families of disgraced girls are choosing between sacrificing a son to a life in prison by designating him to kill his sister or forcing their daughters to kill themselves,” said Yilmaz Akinci, who works for a rural development group in the region. “Rather than losing two children, most opt for the latter option.”

Now that is a real war on women.

And yet we have heard almost nothing from President Obama in his three years in office about Islam and women.

Even in his infamous speech in Egypt, he spoke only briefly about women’s rights, and among his comments was this:
Now let me be clear: Issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.
That’s right. He basically said that women are as poorly treated in America as they are in countries like Turkey and Pakistan!

What President Obama failed to mention in that speech was genital mutilation or rape or polygamy or honor killings in parts of the world where Islam is the predominant political and cultural force. And he didn’t mention those honor suicides in Turkey.

President Obama’s speechwriters must not have consulted Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute, who has been writing about this subject for years.

This March, Ms. Shea published a survey of some of the world’s worst offenders on the women’s-rights front, with brief descriptions of some of those nations. Here is how she described life for Saudi women:
Women are required to have male guardians whose permission is necessary for traveling outside the home — even for emergency hospital visits. The state dictates their appearance with dress codes that enshroud them in anonymous black robes from head to toe. Apart from lingerie stores, they are barred from retail jobs and most service work. Under a code unique to Saudi Arabia, they are also banned from driving. They cannot mingle with unrelated men. A special police force, mutaween, patrols streets, shopping malls, and other places to enforce such laws; the mutaween captured rare international attention in 2002 when, during a fire at a girls’ school in Mecca, they caused the death of 15 girls by pushing them back into the blazing building because, in their panic, the girls had run out without their veils.
Ms. Shea then proceeds to chronicle the state of women’s rights in Iran:
Women are subject to state-enforced dress codes and sequestration laws. Their testimony in court is weighed less than men’s. They are disadvantaged under family laws. Also, according to the penal code, four male witnesses or a combination of three male and two female witnesses are required for a rape conviction; if a woman brings a rape accusation but fails to meet the burden of proof, she is subject to 80 lashes. The law permits a man to kill his adulterous wife, and women convicted of adultery can be sentenced to stoning. Protesting for women’s rights is harshly punished.
And then Ms. Shea turned to Pakistan, which President Obama specifically mentioned in his speech, suggesting that that nation’s struggle for women’s rights was further along than our own here in America:
A frequent problem for Christian women in Punjab, the largest province, according to Father Khalid Rashid Asi, general vicar of the Catholic diocese of Faisalabad, stems from that country’s persistent practice of forcing rape victims to marry their rapists, a situation that becomes compounded by forcible conversion to Islam; the criminal justice system fails to protect such women and girls. A well-documented case that illustrates the problem occurred on December 24, 2010, as recorded by the Asian Human Rights Commission and reported by the British Pakistani Christian Association. Anna, a twelve-year-old Christian girl, was visited by a Muslim friend at her home in Lahore and invited to do some last-minute Christmas shopping with her. Instead, when she got into the friend’s car she was abducted by the friend’s relatives. She was taken to a house in another city where she was held for eight months and repeatedly raped and beaten, in order to convert her to Islam. Her family did not know what had happened to her; her father, Arif Masih, filed a complaint with police but they took no action. In September 2011, Anna managed to escape and run to a bus station where she called her frantic family, who drove to retrieve her. Her kidnappers then petitioned police for her return, asserting that she had converted to Islam and was now married to one of her rapists. The police told the family it would be better to hand over Anna to the rapist, since he was now her husband and they would face a criminal case if they refused. Appalled at the suggestion and terrified that their daughter would be again taken, the family has gone into hiding.
Last but not least, Ms. Shea described the state of women’s rights in Afghanistan, and as you read this excerpt from her work, it will make you wonder why groups like the National Organization for Women don’t put public pressure on President Obama to help their Muslim sisters all over the world.
Afghanistan also treats women unequally under the law and shares many features of gender discrimination and restriction found in the laws of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Those calling for greater women’s rights can be harshly punished for the crime of blasphemy against Islam. For example, Shia scholar Ali Mohaqeq Nasab, editor of Haqooq-i-Zen magazine, was imprisoned by the government for publishing “un-Islamic” articles that criticized stoning as a punishment for adultery. Afghanistan also applies, in some areas, tribal law that gives women few rights. Three weeks ago the New York Times detailed one particularly abusive tribal law that is said to be “pervasive” in Pashtun areas, aptly named “baad.” It is the abduction, lifelong enslavement, and rape of a girl — who was eight years old in the Times’s story — by a family in compensation for a wrong committed by the girl’s relatives.
That’s the real war on women happening right now around the globe. But our media will instead peddle the fake war here in America, in order to advantage one political party over another.

But for those in the media who are hell-bent on aiding and abetting President Obama, this line of attack may just backfire. Even on an issue as contentious as abortion, a 2009 Pew Press release had this stunning bit of news: “Men and women have been evenly divided on the issue in previous years; however, this is the first time in nine years of Gallup Values surveys that significantly more men and women are pro-life than pro-choice.”

Some liberals may not like the fact that more women disagree than agree with them on abortion and other so-called “women’s issues,” but the right that American women hold most sacred is their God-given right to express themselves.

Even if it means disagreeing with the mullahs at the National Organization for Women.
The fact is, not all women think alike. Ask Ann Coulter. Ask Laura Ingraham. Ask Michelle Malkin. Ask Condoleezza Rice. Ask Nikki Haley.

Heck, ask my wife, who leans to the right of William F. Buckley Jr., and the millions of other American women who don’t want to be considered a special-interest group, let alone be pandered to by bureaucrats and politicians.

One can only hope that during this hectic election season, the editors and producers pushing the phony war on women in America come to their senses and do some reporting on the very real war on women in Turkey, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the countries affected by the Arab Spring.

And in the meantime, say a prayer for Derya and the hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of other victims of that ongoing war.

— Lee Habeeb is the vice president of content at Salem Radio Network, which syndicates Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, and Hugh Hewitt. He lives in Oxford, Miss., with his wife, Valerie, and daughter, Reagan.

The anatomy of three hits

By Ken Dryden
The Globe and Mail
April 27, 2012

Raffi Torres of the Coyotes crashes into the Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa. Torres has been suspended for 25 games as a result of this hit.

It was the Stanley Cup final, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, 1964. The game was in Toronto.

Leafs goaltender Johnny Bower was 39. He had kicked around the minor leagues almost all his professional career but everyone knew he would do anything to stop shots, even put his maskless face in front of them. In the last few years he had earned his chance.

Gordie Howe had always been great. He had the hands to score, the elbows and attitude to command the corners, and the fists to embarrass anyone foolish enough to take him on. He was 36.

Bower and Howe were both from Saskatchewan, Bower from Prince Albert, Howe from Floral. They had fished together. They were great competitors.

The puck was shot into the corner in the Leafs’ zone. Bower moved toward the puck uncertainly, leaving himself exposed from behind. Howe bore down toward the puck. Howe, the toughest guy around, could’ve plastered Bower’s head against the glass, perhaps deciding the Cup.

Instead, he yelled: “Look out, John, I’m behind you.”

The Leafs won the Cup. I was 16, living in Toronto. I read the story the next day in the newspaper. Howe’s “Look out, John” comes to me 48 years later.

It was the third game of the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes, 2012. Raffi Torres of the Coyotes crashes into the Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa.
It was the perfect moment for a brain-rattling hit. Hossa didn’t see Torres coming. He had no reason to see him coming. He didn’t have the puck. He had every right to assume he was in no danger. So he let down his guard. It was Torres’s moment.

Torres did what he did not because it was survival but because the weak have it coming to them. He had been taught – if they have their head down or their eyes away from the play. And because he’d started toward Hossa while Hossa still had the puck, or almost still had the puck, Torres could say he was “just finishing his check.” That it was “just a late hit.” Torres crushed Hossa because he could.

It was the sixth game of the Coyotes-Blackhawks series, the third period. Michal Rozsival for the Coyotes was carrying the puck behind his own net, chased by Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews. Coming from the other side of the net was Chicago forward Andrew Shaw. Four games earlier Shaw had hit Coyotes goalie Mike Smith in the jaw with his shoulder as Shaw had turned behind the Coyotes’ net, sending Smith spinning to the ice. Smith was shaken, but continued. Shaw was suspended for three games.

This was Shaw’s first game back. Rozsival didn’t see Shaw coming. Shaw could’ve launched himself into Rozsival’s head the way Torres had into Hossa’s. But he didn’t. He hit Rozsival solidly in the chest with his shoulder. The puck went loose. Maybe Shaw let up because he had still in his mind his three-game suspension. Maybe Shaw realized it was his job to create a scoring chance, not to maim.

I love the first round of the playoffs. Everything is fresh, everything is possible. First seeds play eighth seeds that are just as able to win as they are. Upsets happen. By the last two rounds especially, when even the unworldly energy of the underdog seems to flag, talent tends to win out and the outcomes become more predictable. In the first round there are also games everywhere on the digital box, time zone after time zone. If the games don’t quite blend into each other, the emotions of them do. Every next game in a night seems more exciting because of the last one. Every next game seems more out of control because the last one was.

This year’s first round felt like a giant primal scream. The scream began when Nashville’s Shea Weber rammed the head of Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg into the glass. It picked up volume after the Rangers’ Carl Hagelin took out Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, culminated with the Torres hit and in the days that passed before his final suspension was announced. By then, things seemed different than they had ever been before. You could hear it in the intensity of the talk on sports channels, on mainstream channels, in newspapers, and on the streets. Players going down one after another! What’s going on here?

The talk wasn’t just about which player was a disgrace or what coach should be fired, but the violence that seemed deep in the game itself. Yet people were watching. TV ratings were up. One writer explained that it was because of our fundamental human love of violence. But for most, it was simpler. The unimaginable was happening in front of our eyes every night; we couldn’t not watch to see what would happen next.

Then one moment chilled my spine. It was the reported words of some of the coaches saying if the NHL isn’t going to do something, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. But if they take it into their own hands, how far does that go?

Players commit themselves to their teammates and to their teams. It’s what they love about their teammates, and what their teammates love about them. It’s what the fans love about them too. If these players are asked to do more, they will do more. Yet something keeps them from committing to what they shouldn’t commit. In the 1980s, if opponents of the Edmonton Oilers had truly done everything to win the Cup, they would’ve gone after Wayne Gretzky’s head. It wasn’t Gretzky’s enforcer teammate, Dave Semenko, who stopped them, nor the referees nor the league officials and the suspensions they would have levied. The players wouldn’t do it. Some basic humanity, some basic belief in the essence of a game holds us back.

That all seemed on shaky ground in the first round this year. In this atmosphere, if the teams were to do it themselves and not wait for the league, it might mean not just a fist for a fist but a head-shot for a head-shot. This after news of the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty” on opponents to injure them, and the curdling words of Saints assistant coach, Gregg Williams, about a San Francisco 49ers running back: “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head.” Where are we going? Is there anything we won’t do?

Now, with fewer games to build up the collective temperature, and with the consequences clearer – of the injuries more so than the suspensions – maybe things will settle down. Maybe they will revert to teeth-gritting, eyes-popping normal playoff intensity.

Don Cherry likes to talk about how the implementation of the instigator rule changed the game. Teams had employed enforcers to protect their star players but, with the new rule, enforcers might draw an extra penalty as “instigators” when they intervened. This proved too high a price for teams to accept, star players went unprotected and, according to Cherry, made them increasingly open to abuse and injury, throwing the game out of control. But control doesn’t come only from enforcers like Semenko. The league could act as its own enforcer, to shut down the most dangerous and exaggerated aspects of its play. This it could have done. Make no mistake: in round one it wasn’t the league as enforcer that settled things down. Brendan Shanahan’s 25-game suspension of Raffi Torres was shooting a fish in a barrel. The real enforcer was the public. They’d had it and they said so. They don’t believe Gordie Howe and Johnny Bower are wusses.

Democrats should let sleeping dogs lie

Obama's childhood appetite for dogs isn't as critical as his adult appetite for spending and statism. But it was part of his cool, which Mitt Romney doesn't have, according to the left.

By Mark Steyn
The Orange County Register
April 27, 2012

A couple of days ago, Obama campaign top dog David Axelrod threw in the towel on the dog war. "I thought it was a little absurd to talk about what the President had done as a 10-year-old boy," he sniffed to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, which is as near as the suddenly sheepish attack dog will ever get to conceding that Barack Obama is the first dog-eating president in the history of the Republic.

For those coming late to the feud, the Democrats started it, assiduously promoting accounts of a 1983 Romney vacation to Canada in which the family pooch Seamus rode on the roof of the car. Axelrod and the boys thought they could have some sport with this, and their poodles in the media eagerly played along. The New York columnist Gail Collins alone has referred to it dozens of times.

And then Jim Treacher, the sharp-eyed wag of The Daily Caller, uncovered this passage from Chapter Two of Obama's bestselling but apparently largely unread memoir "Dreams From My Father," in which the author recalls childhood meals with his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro:
"I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share."

There followed an Internet storm of "I Ate A Dog (And I Liked It)" gags. Axelrod, an early tweeter of Romney doggie digs, has now figured out that the subject is no longer profitable for his boss. The dogs he let slip aren't quite that savvy. Jeremy Funk, communications director of "Americans United For Change," is still bulk-emailing links to the video "Should We Have A President Who Isn't Even Qualified To Adopt A Pet?" Confronted by the revelation that his preferred candidate only swings by the Humane Society for the all-you-can-eat buffet, he huffs that this is "false equivalence." "A 6-year-old with no choice in the matter" is not the same as a grown man choosing to place his dog on the roof of his vehicle. My Canadian compatriot Kate McMillan, a dog breeder, advised Mr. Funk to "try this experiment – sit a normal, American 6-year-old down at a plate and tell him it's dog meat. Watch what happens."

For their next exploding cigar, the Democrats chose polygamy. Brian Schweitzer, the Democrat governor of Montana, remarked that Romney was unlikely to appeal to women because his father was "born on a polygamy commune." Eighty-six percent of women, noted Gov. Schweitzer with a keenly forensic demographic eye, are "not great fans of polygamy." You can understand the 86 percent's ickiness at the whole freaky-weirdy idea of a president descended from someone who had multiple wives. Eww.

Just for the record, Romney's father was not a polygamist; Romney's grandfather was not a polygamist; his great-grandfather was a polygamist. Miles Park Romney died in 1904, so one can see why this would weigh heavy on 86 percent of female voters 108 years later.

Meanwhile, back in the female-friendly party, Obama's father was a polygamist; his grandfather was a polygamist; and his great-grandfather was a polygamist who had one more wife (five in total) than Romney's great-grandfather. It seems President Obama is the first male in his line not to be a polygamist. So, given the "gender gap," maybe those 86 percent of American women are way cooler with polygamy than Gov. Schweitzer thinks. Maybe these liberal chicks really dig it.

The exploding cigars are revealing not merely of Democrat hypocrisy but of a key difference in worldview between liberals and conservatives. Jeremy Funk and Gov. Schweitzer reflexively believe that their dog-eating polygamy-scion is different from the other guy's dog-transporting polygamy-scion. This is nothing to do with young Barack being 6 or 10 years old and meekly eating whatever was put in front of him. He was 34 years old when he wrote the passage quoted above and 10 years older when he recorded the audio edition. And, as both versions make plain, he thinks it's kinda cool, and he knows that to the average upscale white liberal it has the electric frisson of the exotic other.

Obama is correct that certain cultures believe a man takes on the powers of whatever he eats. In Liberia, where presidential contests are somewhat more primal than in this effete republic, Samuel Doe was captured by some of his eventual successor's, ah, campaign staff, who cut off President Doe's ears and then fed them to him. They then removed His Excellency's genitals and wound up in a fight over who should get them, believing that the still-not-quite-yet-late president's powers would be transferred to whoever got to chow down on the crown jewels. I'm not suggesting that President Obama has eaten a human penis, because, if he had, he'd almost certainly have boasted about it to the impressionable NPR ninnies who gobbled up his memoirs. But I am suggesting that Mitt Romney might like to consider it for next year's Inauguration Day.

I jest – just in case the Secret Service are taking a break from their Colombian hookers and are minded to investigate me for a threat against what Joe Biden would call the "big stick." My point is that self-loathing cultural relativism is so deeply ingrained on the left that any revulsion to dog-eating is trumped by revulsion to criticizing any of the rich, vibrant, cultural diversity out there in Indonesia or anywhere else. Most polygamy in the developed world is nothing to do with Mormons: It's widely practiced by western Muslims, whose plural marriages are recognized de facto by French and Ontario welfare departments and de jure by Britain's pensions department. But "edgy" "transgressive" leftie comics on sad, pandering standup shows will reserve their polygamy jokes for Mormons until the last stern-faced elder in Utah keels over at the age of 112. In the United Kingdom, 57 percent of Pakistani Britons are married to their first cousins, with attendant increases in their children's congenital birth defects. But the comics save their inbreeding jokes for stump-toothed West Virginians enjoying a jigger of moonshine and a bunk-up with their sisters. The editor of Washington's leading gay newspaper was gay-bashed in Amsterdam, "the most tolerant city in Europe," but by Muslims rather than the pasty rednecks who killed Matthew Shepard, so liberals don't have a dog in this fight.

Likewise, the epidemic of black-on-black murder versus the once-in-a-blue-moon Trayvon Martin: to the liberal mindset, certain dogs won't hunt. In one of his many bestsellers, Ayatollah Khomeini produced a hierarchy of "the uncleans": Dogs are at Number Six, Infidels are at Number Eight, and Number 11 is "the sweat of an unlawful ejaculation." In the liberal hierarchy, conservative infidels are at Number One, dogs are somewhere between 8 and 11, and the sweat of an unlawful ejaculation isn't on the list at all.

Axelrod is right. Obama's appetite for dogs isn't as critical as his appetite for spending and statism. But it was part of his cool. "Mitt Romney isn't cool," declared Brian Montopoli of CBS News this week in a story headlined "Can Mitt Romney Make Boring Sexy"? For economically beleaguered Americans, the more pertinent question is: "Can Barack Obama Make Cool Affordable"? It's not just that Obama ate the dog, but that he's screwing the pooch.


Friday, April 27, 2012

"Crucify Them": The Obama Way

By Michelle Malkin
April 27, 2012

One of President Obama's radical eco-bureaucrats has apologized for confirming an indelible truth: This White House treats politically incorrect private industries as public enemies who deserve regulatory death sentences.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Al Armendariz (pictured above), an avowed greenie on leave from Southern Methodist University, gave a little-noticed speech in 2010 outlining his sadistic philosophy. "I was in a meeting once, and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I'll go ahead and tell you what I said," he began. In a video obtained and released by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Armendariz then shared his bloody analogy:

"It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw, and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. ... So, that's our general philosophy."

Echoing President Obama's "punch back twice as hard" treatment of his political enemies, Armendariz explained to his underlings that "you hit them as hard as you can, and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there. And, companies that are smart see that, they don't want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it's time to clean up."

In other words: Suck up, fly left, or face prosecution. The goal isn't a cleaner environment. The goal is political incitement of fear.

Publicly humiliated by the video release of the persecution strategy session, Armendariz said he regretted his "poor choice of words" this week. "It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation's environmental laws. I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws."

Tyrannical actions, of course, speak louder than weasel words. And the record shows that Obama environmental overlords run amok.

It was Obama's power-mad Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who vowed to keep his "boot on the neck" of BP after the Gulf oil spill in 2010. Salazar and former eco-czar Carol Browner colluded on a fraudulent report -- condemned by federal judges -- that completely distorted a White House-appointed expert panel's opposition to the administration's job-killing, industry-bashing drilling moratorium.

It was Obama's EPA that railroaded a senior government research analyst for daring to question the agency's zealous push to impose greenhouse gas rules. When Alan Carlin asked to distribute an analysis on the health effects of greenhouse gases that didn't fit the eco-bureaucracy's blame-human-activity narrative, he was gagged and reprimanded: "The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. ... I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office." Public relations management trumped truth in science, the deliberative process and fairness.

It was Obama's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cahoots with the witch hunters at the Department of Justice, that raided Gibson Guitar factories in Memphis and Nashville three years ago over an arcane endangered species of wood. The guitar police have yet to bring charges, leaving the company in costly legal limbo.

And as Inhofe pointed out in response to Armendariz's "apology": "Not long after Administrator Armendariz made these comments in 2010, EPA targeted US natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming. In all three of these cases, EPA initially made headline-grabbing statements either insinuating or proclaiming outright that the use of hydraulic fracturing by American energy producers was the cause of water contamination, but in each case their comments were premature at best -- and despite their most valiant efforts, they have been unable to find any sound scientific evidence to make this link."

Indeed, Armendariz the Executioner tried nailing a drilling company -- Texas-based Range Resources -- to the cross in 2010 with an emergency declaration that its fracking work in the Lone Star State had contaminated groundwater. The Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees the oil and gas industry, found no scientific evidence of the Obama EPA's claims.

Forbes magazine reported: "In recent months a federal judge slapped the EPA, decreeing that the agency was required to actually do some scientific investigation of wells before penalizing the companies that drilled them. Finally in March the EPA withdrew its emergency order and a federal court dismissed the EPA's case."

Vice President Joe Biden is right about Obama's "big stick." Too bad he's using it to beat down America's domestic energy producers and wealth creators instead of our foreign enemies.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today's Tune: Reckless Kelly - Wicked Twisted Road (Live)

An Unintended Tribute to Chuck Colson from the Left

By Mark D. Tooley
April 24, 2012

Voices across the religious and political spectrum have hailed the legacy of Charles Colson, the former Nixon White House staffer who, after his Watergate-related imprisonment, founded a global evangelical ministry for prison inmates.

One exception is Franky Schaeffer, a self-described regretful founder of the Religious Right and son of the late great evangelical theologian, who rejected his father’s legacy and now spits venom at seriously religious people, on his blog, in his books, and sometimes for The Huffington Post.

“Wherever Nixon is today he must be welcoming a true son of far right dirty politics to eternity with a ‘Job well done,’” Schaeffer snarked. An earlier draft of his diatribe headlined that Colson had “gone to his reward,” implying an eternity other than Heaven. But even in his reposted new draft, Schaeffer was churlish: “Evangelical Christianity lost one of its most beloved and bigoted homophobic and misogynistic voices with the death of Charles W. ‘Chuck’ Colson, a Watergate felon who converted to ‘evangelicalism’ but never lost his taste for dirty political tricks against opponents.” (Link to entire piece below)
Bitter towards his devout parents and most of his old allies and friends, Schaeffer conspiratorially claims that conservative religious activists target abortion and same sex marriage primarily to trick working class traditionalists into voting Republican. Or as he elegantly claims of Colson: “Few men have done more to trade (betray?) the gospel of love for the gospel of empowering corporate America and greed through the misuse of the so-called culture war issues to get lower middle class whites to vote against their own economic interests in the name of ‘family values.’”

Himself now cynical and unmoored from any transcendent moral tradition, Schaeffer assumes that his targets, including Colson, are similarly jaded.

But if Colson’s conversion and over 35-year evangelical ministry were other than genuine, he was a master performer. Across 4 decades, Colson’s “Prison Fellowship” touched hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Prison inmates neither vote nor typically are potential contributors. But Colson made his life’s work offering otherwise hopeless and forgotten people the hope of transformation that he found in the Gospel as he faced incarceration. He cheerfully proclaimed himself a former miscreant who was delivered solely by God’s grace. As driven and focused in ministry as he was as Nixon’s ostensible “hatchet man,” Colson was a joyful warrior.

Seemingly consumed by his own demons, and himself rarely evincing any joy as he trashes family and former friends, Schaeffer maybe resents the opposite trajectory of Colson’s life compared to his. Literally dying with his boots on at age 80, falling ill at a conference he organized after delivering his final speech, Colson’s departure from this world was the perfect finale for an evangelist and social reformer. It recalls pious British Prime Minister William Gladstone’s own stated wish to die while worshipping in a church, or former President John Quincy Adams, exerting himself for abolition, collapsing on the U.S. House of Representatives floor while delivering his final oration.

Unlike the power obsessed, Religious Right stereotype preferred by Schaeffer, Colson emphasized private ministry over political action. Chastened by his own role in the Nixon Administration, Colson warned fellow evangelicals not to rely on the pursuit of power. In his last speech, delivered at the Wilberforce Weekend Conference that he named after his hero, the great British abolitionist, Colson insisted: “Elections can’t solve the problem we’ve got.” Instead, believers should work through their churches to redeem individuals and the culture. “Look in the mirror, that’s where the problem is,” he suggested, with passive churches in mind. “This is a moment when the time is right for a movement of God’s people under the power of the Holy Spirit to begin to impact the culture we live in.”
Faith in a transcendent authority superseding the New York Times, Hollywood, or the latest academic fads, is always infuriating to the Left, which typically searches for the ostensibly REAL agenda motivating traditional religious believers in America.

In his rambling anti-tribute to Colson, Schaeffer denounced Colson and all of the “neo-conservative/Roman Catholic” friends who gave a gloss of “intellectual respectability and aid and comfort to what were nothing more than oppressive ideas rooted in an anti-Constitutional theocratic far right wish list for changes that were supposed to roll back the parts of the democratic processes – say Roe v. Wade, women’s rights and gay rights — that far right Catholics and Protestants didn’t approve of.”

Schaeffer thinks Colson was plotting theocracy as he preached to, prayed with, and wept among thousands of prison inmates who were his chief focus across the decades since his own release from prison. The allegation speaks more of Schaeffer than Colson. But all of the lavish tributes showering upon Colson’s memory may have discomfited Colson, remembering the Gospel warning to beware when all men speak well of you.

In contrast, Schaeffer’s hatefully absurd diatribe maybe would have provoked an appreciative and amused smile. And maybe Colson is now consulting with Schaeffer’s late father, prayerfully plotting the return of a sadly wayward son.


Colson: An Evangelical Homophobic Anti-Woman Leader Passes On -

Frank Schaeffer's Fundamentalist Fakery -

Apocalypse deferred

By Melanie Phillips
24 April 2012

The great grand-daddy of the man-made global warming scam, the fifth horseman of the eco-apocalypse James Lovelock (pictured above), has now recanted. Well, sort of. Don’t get too excited.

Lovelock now admits to having been ‘alarmist’ about climate change, and says other fanatics environmental commentators such as Al Gore were too alarmist as well.

You don’t say.

It’s only taken a quarter of a century. During that time, Professor Lovelock was the guru of man-made global warming theory. More than that, he was the prophet of a cult which turned the earth into a kind of god -- or more specifically a goddess called Gaia, investing it with anthropomorphic characteristics while his disciples demonised the human race itself as the destroyers of the planet.

Lovelock made one chilling prediction of planetary doom after another. In 2006, he warned that the earth might soon pass

‘“into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics. Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert... Before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”’

Now, however, MSNBC reports Lovelock as saying:

‘“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.

‘“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said. “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising -- carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.’

Indeed, there is no question about it. Not being able to tell what the climate is actually doing, let alone what it will do in the future, is in essence what climate sceptics have been saying consistently for the past 25 years or so. And so presumably we should now count Lovelock as one of their number? Er, not exactly:

‘Lovelock told “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”’

Good Lord, perish the thought! ‘Climate change deniers’ are nasty, vicious, imbecilic, rapacious neo-Nazis, aren’t they? No, Lovelock’s latest position is... ah, as sophisticated and, um, nuanced as we would expect from someone with such a solid and distinguished scientific track record:

‘He said he still thought that climate change was happening, but that its effects would be felt farther in the future than he previously thought. “We will have global warming, but it’s been deferred a bit,” Lovelock said.’

Of course! Even though

“we don’t know what the climate is doing”


“there’s nothing much really happening yet”


“it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising”

--- in other words, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the theory of man-made global warming, its baleful effects have only

“been deferred a bit”.

Isn’t the environmental movement wonderful? Even when they admit they’re totally wrong, they still insist they were right all along.

Professor Lovelock is a Fellow of the Royal Society. Some years back that august body, the embodiment of the scientific establishment and the custodians of scientific integrity, told us that on man-made global warming ‘the science is settled’. What will the Society now be saying to Professor Lovelock FRS, or he to it?

Meanwhile, although on April 4 it was reported that

‘David Cameron is set to end his long silence on green issues, with a major speech in front of the world’s key energy and climate figures’,

and that according to climate change minister Greg Barker this would be

“a major policy intervention by the Prime Minister... a major keynote on the green economy’,

it was reported yesterday that

‘David Cameron is no longer making a pro-environmental oration on Thursday during a gathering of 23 energy ministers from around the world’

because according to Number 10:

‘...while Cameron may have mulled a set-piece speech it was only ever considered’ (hat tip: Benny Peiser).

Ah. Might the Prime Minister finally have detected that the winds of climate change are being blown somewhat off course – and the reputations of all who promoted this, the greatest anti-scientific scam of all time, now risk being blown away with it?

Too late. The planet won't fry, but the warmists are toast.

The Assault on Food

by John Stossel
April 25, 2012

Instinct tells us to fear poison. If our ancestors were not cautious about what they put in their mouths, they would not have survived long enough to produce us.

Unfortunately, a side effect of that cautious impulse is that whenever someone claims that some chemical -- or food ingredient, like fat -- is a menace, we are primed to believe it. That makes it easy for government to leap in and play the role of protector.

But for every study that says X is bad for you, another study disagrees. How is a layman to decide? I used to take consumer activists' word for it. Heck, they want to save the world, while industry just wants to get rich. Now I know better. The activists want money, too -- and fame.

To arbitrate, it's intuitive to turn to government -- except ... government scientists have conflicts, too.

Who becomes a regulator except people who want to regulate? Some come from activist groups that hate industry. Some come from industry and want to convert their government job into a higher-paying industry job. Some just want attention. They know that saying, "X will kill you," gets more attention than saying that X is probably safe.

I don't suggest that we ignore the experts and eat like pigs. But the scientific question should not overshadow the more fundamental issue. Who should decide what you can eat: you? Or the state? Should government decide what we may eat, any more than it decides where we live or how long our hair will be? The Food Police claim that they just want to help us make informed choices. But that's not all they want to do. They try to get government to force us to make healthy choices.

The moral issue of force versus persuasion applies even if all the progressives' ideas about nutrition are correct. Even if I would be better off eating no fat and salt, that would not justify forcing restaurants to stop serving me those things. Either we live in a free society or we don't.

It is no coincidence that the push for more food regulation came at a time when Congress obsessed about the rising cost of medical care. When government pays for your health care, it will inevitably be drawn into regulating your personal life. First, politicians promise to pay. Then, they propose to control you.

Where does it stop? If we must control diet to balance the government's budget, will the health squad next ban skydiving and extramarital sex? How about another try at Prohibition?

Government attracts do-gooders and meddlers who believe that, as Mark Twain put it, "Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits." Or, as Twain's spiritual descendant, H.L. Mencken, said about Puritanism, government health officials seem to have "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

Often the Food Police strike an innocent pose, claiming that they just want to give people information. Information is good. But it's not free. Mandated calorie signs in restaurants cost money. Those costs are passed on to consumers, and the endless parade of calorie counts and warning labels make us numb to more important warnings -- like, "This Coffee Is Scalding Hot."

It's not as if dietary information isn't already available. Health and diet websites abound. Talk shows routinely discuss the latest books on diet and nutrition. TV diet gurus are celebrities. That's enough. We have information. We don't need government force.

Let the marketplace of diet ideas flourish. Let claim meet counterclaim, but let's not let government put its very heavy thumb on one side of the scale.

The assumption behind so much of government's policy regarding food (and everything else) is that everything good should be encouraged by law and everything bad should be discouraged.

But since everything is arguably helpful or harmful, this is a formula for totalitarianism.

Thomas Hobbes assumed an all-powerful government was necessary to protect us from violence. He called it Leviathan. But he never imagined Leviathan would plan our dinners.

- John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >

BOOK REVIEW: ‘God’s Right Hand’

By Robert Knight - Special to The Washington Times
April 24, 2012

By Michael Sean Winters
HarperOne, $28.99, 440 pages

When his best friend took a shine to the girl Jerry Falwell wanted to court, Falwell volunteered to mail his friend’s love letters, and threw them away, mailing his own. The girl was his friend’s fiancee. It worked, and in 1958 Mr. Falwell married Macel Pate, to whom he was devoted until the day he died of a heart attack at age 73 in his Liberty University office on May 15, 2007.

Far from denying his expediency, Falwell often cheerfully told the story of how true love for Macel conquered all, including his scruples.

Born Aug. 11, 1933, in Lynchburg, Va., with his twin brother Gene to a Baptist mother and hell-raising, entrepreneurial father, Falwell was not only devout but pragmatic, doing whatever it took to build institutions to advance God’s kingdom.

He founded the now-mega Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg during the 1950s, incorporated the Moral Majority on June 6, 1979, and helped to elect Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984, and both Presidents Bush.
In 1971, he founded Lynchburg Baptist College, which became the largest evangelical Christian college in America - Liberty University - complete with a law school, Division I athletic squads and a debating team that regularly wins the national championship, including 2009 through 2011. (Full disclosure here - my son and daughter graduated from Liberty, and I knew the reverend personally.)

The cover blurbs from Larry Flynt, George Stephanopoulos, the Rev. Jennifer Butler and liberal columnist E.J. Dionne would lead one to suspect that “God’s Right Hand” was another unflattering cartoon treatment of Falwell. But Michael Sean Winters, who works for National Catholic Reporter, instead provides a rich, engaging portrait of one of the most consequential figures in recent political and religious history.

The author does two things admirably: He takes Falwell’s faith and goals seriously, and also makes it clear that the rise of the “Religious Right” came as a defensive reaction to an increasingly intrusive and coarsening culture. It’s to Mr. Winters‘ credit that he allows this crucial insight given that he shares few of Falwell’s political views. Drawing heavily from Falwell’s autobiography, and a book by his widow Macel, Mr. Winters paints a full-blooded picture of his subject’s rise to prominence.

The book’s few errors and omissions seem more out of ignorance than malice - most of the time. He describes James Dobson only as founding the Family Research Council, never mentioning Mr. Dobson’s far larger Focus on the Family radio ministry that reached millions. Mr. Winters also exposes his own reflexive liberalism, such as ticking off a number of stances that Falwell favored that sound right out of a Tea Party platform, and commenting, “Falwell’s sermons adopted some of these coded racist tropes.” Because so much of the book is fair, barbs like this provide a jolt.

Anecdotes abound, such as Falwell’s tricks as a youth pastor. He’d drive around Lynchburg in his Plymouth and remove the steering wheel while secretly holding pliers on the steering column. Then, he’d hand the wheel to newcomers in the passenger seat, astounding them. Within a year, he had recruited 56 students to his Sunday school. Right up to his death, he played pranks on Liberty students and even appeared in students’ spoof videos.

For years, Falwell eschewed politics, content to win souls to Christ. That changed as he saw the culture, the courts and liberal politicians wage war on biblical values. As Mr. Winters puts it, “Christians who had been content to absent themselves from mainstream culture began to wonder how long their self-imposed exile would be respected by outsiders trying to change their way of life. … [T]he cultural match was lit on the precise issue of sex education.”

As the book amply chronicles, Falwell was the catalyst for transforming millions of conservative Christians into a reliable voting bloc of the Republican Party, a marriage fraught with potential and real conflicts. What makes this book different from most “outside” accounts is Mr. Winters‘ appreciation of Falwell’s faith, his genuine love of people - even Ted Kennedy, porn magnate Larry Flynt and Falwell’s ghost writer turned homosexual activist Mel White - and the preacher’s boundless energy.

Disappointingly, Mr. Winters continues the myth about the “Teletubbies” character “Tinky Winky.” The National Liberty Journal had cited a Washington Post in/out list that said the lavender-colored boy Tinky Winky, who sported a purse and an upside-down triangle on his head was an “in” homosexual character. The media spin became Falwell “outing Tinky Winky.”

Not exactly true, but worth its weight in gold to his critics. Despite such blemishes, the book is well researched and a vital account of the man and his times.

Robert Knight, senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times, has written several books, including “Ten Truths About Socialism and Radical Rulers” (Coral Ridge Ministries, 2010).

Review: Springsteen in legendary form in San Jose

By Jim Harrington
The Oakland Tribune
April 25, 2012

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at the HP Pavilion as part of the 2012 Wrecking Ball Tour on Tuesday April 24, 2012 in San Jose, Calif. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff)
So much has changed.

The set lists are different, as are some of the musicians performing them. The star has turned 62. Seventeen studio albums -- each seemingly representing a different musical vibe, style and approach -- have come and gone.

One thing, however, remains defiantly the same for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band: their objective.

"We are here on the same mission we've pursued night after night, year after year," Springsteen said near the start of his band's show Tuesday in San Jose. "We are here to manifest the joyous power of rock 'n' roll music and shoot it straight into your heart. We want you to wake up tomorrow morning and say, 'What the (expletive) happened to me? I feel different.' "

What happened to the approximately 15,000 fans who filled HP Pavilion to capacity was nothing less than the full-throttle E Street Band experience. It was three hours of purely intoxicating rock, which likely did leave some people feeling a bit hung over the next morning -- in a good way.

The performance was remarkable basically from start to finish. It was one of those nights when Springsteen -- arguably the most acclaimed live act in rock history -- actually managed to surpass his own legend. He was fiery, passionate and very much in control, working the crowd with the conviction and focus of a preacher in a revival tent.

He accomplished all that despite the fact that longtime sideman Clarence Clemons, Springsteen's tenor sax player since 1972, wasn't there. Clemons died in June, leaving a major hole in the E Street Band that Springsteen wisely decided not to fill in conventional fashion. It would have been a disservice to everyone involved to hire just another saxophonist, so Springsteen enlisted a five-piece horn section that includes Clemons' nephew, Jake Clemons, as one of the group's two saxophonists.

The horn section provided plenty of punch to the 26-song set, which gave fans plenty of reasons to scream "Bruuuuuuuuce!" The star of the evening was feeling frisky -- far friskier than any 62-year-old rock star has the right to be -- as he led his locomotive of a band through such all-time fan favorites as "Badlands," "Thunder Road" and "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)."

It's pointless to try to single out individual songs as highlights -- given that there were 26 worthy candidates. Yet, there were moments that just seemed like rock 'n' roll incarnate -- like when drummer Max Weinberg would propel an anthem to ridiculous heights or when Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren would trade ferocious guitar riffs.

What a show.

In retrospect, we should have seen this coming -- and, no doubt, some fans did. Springsteen always seems to shine brightest when we need him the most. His ability to speak to the times -- such as on 1984's politically charged "Born in the U.S.A." and the post-9/11 effort "The Rising" -- is, perhaps more than anything else, why he deserves to be called "the Boss."

His latest album, "Wrecking Ball," is a pull-no-punches reaction to the hard times that surround us. It's a dark, brooding piece that many critics are hailing as one of the Boss' best.

Springsteen included a number of "Wrecking Ball" tracks in Tuesday's set, opening with a double shot of "We Take Care of Our Own" and the album's great title track, and the reception was tremendous. The last time we saw a batch of new Boss material so eagerly embraced was on 2002's The Rising tour.

After closing the main set with the immortal "Thunder Road," the whole 16-piece band returned for a six-song encore that seemed to get better with each number. Springsteen took no prisoners as he hustled his way through dynamic versions of "Out in the Street," "Born to Run," Dancing in the Dark" and others. The band ended the show with a touching video tribute to Clemons on "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," leaving concertgoers with the joyous power of rock 'n' roll still beating in their hearts.

We Take Care of Our Own
Wrecking Ball
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Jack of All Trades
Murder Incorporated
Johnny 99
My Love Will Not Let You Down
Shackled & Drawn
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
American Skin (41 Shots)
Apollo Medley
The Rising
Lonesome Day
We Are Alive
Thunder Road
* * *
Rocky Ground (with Michelle Moore)
Out in the Street
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Obama's tainted bundler

Jon Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs executive, senator and New Jersey governor, seems to embody everything the 99 percenters hate about Wall Street.

By Jonah Goldberg
The Los Angeles Times
April 24, 2012

Jon Corzine left Goldman Sachs with a net worth far exceeding even that of Mitt Romney's today. Many accounts of his tenure at Goldman suggest he "failed up" the corporate ladder.
Pushed out of Goldman in a power struggle, he nonetheless pocketed somewhere between $350 million and $500 million when the company went public. He used the cash to buy himself a Senate seat, spending $62 million out of his own pocket.

After the Senate, he spent nearly $40 million of his own money to win the New Jersey governorship. While he was running for senator, the married-but-separated Corzine struck up a romantic relationship with Carla Katz, also married and head of Local 1034 of the Communications Workers of America. They broke up in 2004, but in 2007, Katz and Corzine were both involved in negotiations over a state workers contract. In one email during that time obtained by the Newark Star-Ledger, Katz informs the governor, "BTW, I had an over the top erotic dream about you last night. Bad boy!!"

Bad boy indeed. When the couple broke up, and after her union had endorsed Corzine and worked for his reelection, the governor's lawyers negotiated a settlement whereby he reportedly paid Katz more than $6 million and forgave a half-million-dollar loan he made to her when they were still an item.

When Corzine ran for reelection as governor, both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden stumped for him. Biden explained that from the moment he and the president sat down to figure out their economic strategy, "Literally, the first guy I called was Jon Corzine. It's not a joke. It's not a joke. First of all, he's the smartest guy I know in terms of the economy and on finance, and I really mean that."

Despite that ringing endorsement, Corzine lost his 2009 reelection bid to reformer Chris Christie. So Corzine went back to Wall Street, as chief executive of MF Global Holdings, a bond trading firm. A research note from the firm of Sander O'Neill Partners summarized what the Street expected from Corzine: "We suspect that his contacts in Washington could prove useful as MF Global navigates a shifting regulatory environment."

Corzine proceeded to do exactly the sorts of things Wall Street has become infamous for: making crazy bets with other peoples' money, counting on governments to bail out the private sector and, allegedly, expecting to get friendly treatment from regulators Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, was an old friend and colleague of Corzine's at Goldman Sachs and in Washington. Gensler had been a key aide toSen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and had reportedly worked closely with Corzine on the bill. At MF Global, under Gensler's watch, Corzine bet more than $6 billion on the European sovereign debt crisis, using borrowed client money. MF Global also apparently commingled client and company funds to pay off financial obligations, which is illegal.

Under Corzine, MF Global lost well over a billion dollars, and I don't mean in the profit/loss sense. I mean it was physically misplaced and Corzine cannot account for where it went. The Justice Department is investigating, and news media accounts suggest a criminal prosecution is likely. At least Gensler recused himself after MF Global went bankrupt.

So, why the trip down memory lane? Because the Obama campaign just announced that Corzine is still on the list of the select group of top-tier bundlers for the Obama reelection campaign. Corzine has raised more than half a million dollars for Obama.

Obama is constantly denouncing "millionaires and billionaires" for playing by their own rules. It's true that the campaign told one reporter in February that it wouldn't take more money from Corzine himself, but it's been happy to let the man solicit donations for him even as he's under investigation by Obama's own Justice Department. How cozy.

Tell me, what's the point of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and its countless sympathizers in the Democratic Party and the media, if that's good enough? Whatever happened to changing how Washington works?

We're about to enter a very long campaign in which where an apparently squeaky clean Mitt Romney is going to be demonized for his success and dragged through the gutter. Meanwhile, Obama took cash from a true denizen of the gutter.

Stealing Our Elections

All of it done under the watchful eye AG Holder and ACORN Obama.

The American Spectator
April 25, 2012

Columnist David Limbaugh, brother of Rush, asks in a recent column, "Can anyone think of an innocuous reason that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder oppose state voter ID laws?"

The correct answer is definitely "No!" But even Limbaugh dances around the full answer to the question, suggesting only at the end that the lack of a good reason to oppose voter ID suggests that the real motivation is an ulterior motive to rig elections.

Let's be fully frank. It's not just Obama and Holder, true. It's the whole Democrat party. And the transparent reason they oppose Voter ID, and favor loose election laws like Motor Voter, election day registration, mail in registration, online voting, and extended voting over days and even weeks before Election Day is that vote fraud is a central Democrat strategy for "winning" elections.

Protect Your Vote

 The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) is a legal foundation started by the late Robert B. Carleson, the former chief welfare advisor to Ronald Reagan, both when he was Governor of California and President of the United States. Carleson, closely backed by Reagan, spawned a revolution in welfare policy, starting with the famous California welfare reforms originating in 1971, spreading across the country throughout the 1970s, going national with Reagan's reforms as President in 1981, and then culminating in the outrageously successful, fundamental, block grant reforms of the old, New Deal, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in 1996.

Today the ACRU serves as a counterpoint to the ACLU, with former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese and other Reagan Administration alumni or associates serving in the organization, including myself, working as General Counsel since the organization's founding in 1998. The Chairman and President since 2006 is Susan A. Carleson, Robert Carleson's widow.

A new project of the ACRU is "Protect Your Vote!" focused on countering vote fraud. It serves at the ACRU website as a one-stop shop covering voting requirements in every state, current state efforts to strengthen ballot security, and the push-back from the left.

The project promotes model legislation for adoption by the states, including mandatory voter ID, mandatory proof of citizenship when registering to vote, and required signature verification and proof of ID when voting by mail. Reform measures would also include modification or repeal of the federal Motor Voter dictates, which require states to register anyone applying for a driver's license without proof of citizenship, to offer mail-in registration with no proof of identity, and to prohibit government employees from challenging any newly registered voters. Motor Voter also hampers states from purging the voter registration rolls of those who have died or moved to another state. The ACRU project also encourages citizens in every state to get involved in the process to protect their vote by volunteering to be poll watchers, help in voter registration drives, and a multitude of other pre-election and election day efforts.

Motor Voter was the first bill passed under the Clinton Administration. It is a transparent attempt to make our electoral system vulnerable to voting by illegal aliens, who would overwhelmingly support Democrats, and to multiple voting organized by unions and left-wing extremist groups like ACORN. There can be no other explanation for such lax policies, as Limbaugh's question suggests.

The ACRU's worthy Protect Your Vote project begins to counter this depreciation of our democracy. It deserves support from everyone who recognizes the current Paul Revere moment calling patriots to action to prevent the still developing Marxist takeover of America.

The Vote Fraud Project

Democrats make the laughable, undocumented, unsupported charge that voter ID and other ballot integrity reforms are just Republican tricks to suppress minority voting, which goes Democrat by wide margins. Our fine Attorney General Eric Holder sagely advises reformers "to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success and, instead, achieve success by appealing to more voters." But that misleading rhetoric is just a smokescreen for vote fraud.

When partisan conspirators challenged the constitutionality of Indiana's voter ID law, the suit was laughed out of court because the plaintiffs could not produce one voter who had been prevented from voting because of the voter ID requirement. Numerous academic studies, cited in the Supreme Court opinion, show no effect of voter ID laws in suppressing voter turnout or participation. In some states that have adopted voter ID, minority voting increased rather than declined in the next election. These are the reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana's model voter ID law as constitutional.

In that case, the established facts showed that 99 percent of Indiana voters already had the required ID (see, e.g., drivers licenses). Those who were disabled or elderly, who might not drive, were automatically entitled to vote by absentee ballot, which required no voter ID. Those who were too poor to pay any nominal fee for an ID were entitled to a state-issued ID for free. No wonder not a single voter could be found who was not able to vote because of the voter ID requirement.

That is why Limbaugh's question is so apt: Can anyone think of an innocuous reason that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder oppose state voter ID laws?

Why did Attorney General Holder just blow off the Supreme Court in using the authority of the Voting Rights Act to nullify voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas? Did he find a single voter in either state who had been prevented from voting because of the requirement? If he had, we would all know his or her name by now.

Holder assures us that a vote fraud problem "does not really exist" in the United States. But video guerilla James O'Keefe schooled Holder on the problem. With the video camera rolling, an O'Keefe associate indicated to a D.C. poll worker that he was Eric Holder, provided Holder's address, and asked for a ballot to vote. Handing the ballot to the white O'Keefe associate, the poll worker waived off an offer to show an ID, saying, "As long as you're in here and you're on our list and that's who you say you are, we're OK."

Sure, a single documented case of easy vote fraud success does not represent a real problem. But the courts in upholding voter ID have noted that a state does not have to wait until vote fraud makes a mockery of its elections before taking action.
But in some jurisdictions that mockery may already be here. As the Washington Times editorialized on April 17:
In April 2011, officials for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Nevada pleaded guilty to running an illegal voter-registration scheme. Earlier this month, Democratic Party officials in Indiana were indicted on vote fraud charges for purportedly forging signatures on Barack Obama's 2008 primary petitions. In Virginia, 10 felons were charged with making false statements on voter registration forms."
Of course, in the early 1990s, President Obama actually ran ACORN's Project Vote in Illinois.
Early on the morning of June 5, union members in Chicago will be boarding union rented buses to ride to Wisconsin to vote early and often that day for the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. They will vote in the name of dead people still on the rolls, or those who have moved to other states, or under fraudulently registered names on the rolls through some ACORN-style project. Wisconsin Republicans and conservative activists, maybe with their own video cameras, should be on the lookout for such buses rolling into the state from Illinois.

A February report from the Pew Center on the States found 1.8 million names of dead people still registered to vote on state rolls. Another 2.75 million are registered to vote in more than one state. The study found altogether that 24 million voter registrations, 13 percent of the nation's total, contained major inaccuracies or were otherwise invalid. That's a lot of room for mischief.

Facilitating that Chicago union Wisconsin project, and similar conduct in swing states this fall, is the real reason Holder opposes voter ID. By his official actions as Attorney General, Holder is running a vote fraud conspiracy right out of the AG's office. And that is being done with ACORN Obama's approval.

Making a Hash of the Second Amendment

The New Yorker ignores the Founders on gun rights.

By Robert VerBruggen
April 25, 2012

Harvard historian Jill Lepore has a piece attacking gun rights in the latest New Yorker, and a follow-up post on the magazine’s website. Most of it is basically what you’d expect: some numbers about gun violence, some horrifying anecdotes about people who’ve misused guns, some reporting from a gun range, some artsy writing (“a gun is a machine made to fire a missile that can bore through flesh”), and an overarching history of the gun-rights movement.
More irksome, however, is Lepore’s analysis of the Second Amendment’s meaning. By leaving out or misrepresenting key historical details, she shortchanges the idea that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.

There are three theories that have played a significant role in the debate on the Second Amendment. One holds that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. Another might be called the “limited individual right” or “civic right” theory, which holds that even though individuals have the right to bear arms, the right applies only in the context of militia service. (Some advocates of this theory compare the right to bear arms with the right to serve on a jury.) The third, the “collective right” theory, posits that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” refers to the right of state governments to form militias.

This last idea is patently ridiculous, suggesting as it does that the Founders used the word “people” when they meant “states.” And yet this was the theory that swept through the appeals courts in the decades leading up to the 2008 Heller decision, in which the Supreme Court endorsed the individual-right theory. The source of the confusion seems to be the 1939 Supreme Court case United States v. Miller — and Lepore doesn’t help to clarify matters.

In Miller, the court ruled that because a sawed-off shotgun serves no militia purpose, the right to keep and bear one is not covered by the Second Amendment. It did not rule that the Second Amendment applies only to militia members. In fact, it noted that the “militia” mentioned in the Second Amendment comprised all able-bodied males, not only those called into military service. But Miller has often been cited as an endorsement of the collective-right view.

Lepore completely botches this history. She quotes the prosecutor’s brief from Miller, which argued that the Second Amendment was “restricted to the keeping and bearing of arms by the people collectively for their common defense and security,” and that the right “is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.”
She claims that the Court “agreed, unanimously.” And in her follow-up post, she implies that it was the individual-right interpretation, not the collective-right interpretation, that was invented out of whole cloth in the 20th century:
The assertion that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to own and carry a gun for self-defense, rather than the people’s right to form militias for the common defense, first became a feature of American political and legal discourse in the wake of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and only gained prominence in the nineteen-seventies.
In fact, the notion of a constitutionally protected individual right to keep and bear arms has been “a feature of American political and legal discourse” since the Founding. I suggest readers look through these sources rounded up by constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh, but here are some of the most striking examples.

Some state-level precursors to the Second Amendment clearly protected an individual right. The constitutions of Pennsylvania and Vermont, for example, protected the people’s right to bear arms “for the defence of themselves and the state.” In several drafts of the Virginia constitution, Thomas Jefferson included a provision that “no freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.”

When states held their constitutional conventions, New Hampshire suggested an amendment stating that “Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such are or have been in actual rebellion.” In the Massachusetts convention, Samuel Adams unsuccessfully suggested an amendment that Congress shall not “prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.” In Pennsylvania, an unsuccessful proposal from Robert Whitehill held that “the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.”

In defending the proposed Constitution, the popular Federalist commentator Tench Coxe claimed that a Second Amendment wasn’t even necessary: “Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American.” In 1789 he wrote of the Second Amendment itself: “The people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”

In 1803, American legal scholar St. George Tucker said of the Second Amendment, “The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.” He also criticized the British government for taking away its citizens’ guns under the pretext of preserving animal populations; he saw it as problematic that few people were allowed to keep guns in their homes.

And in the 19th century, when the Second Amendment came up in constitutional debates, it was typically treated as an individual right. The notorious 1857 Dred Scott decision warned ominously that if blacks were recognized as citizens, they would have a right to “keep and carry arms wherever they went.” In demonstrating the need for the Fourteenth Amendment, some advocates cited the disarming of blacks in the South as a violation of basic constitutional rights. In 1886’s Presser v. Illinois, the Court declined to strike down a state law against privately organized militias, but nonetheless wrote that “it is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the states.”

The individual-right interpretation of the Second Amendment is a lot of things — the law of the land in the wake of Heller, for one. But it is not new.

— Robert VerBruggen is a deputy managing editor of National Review.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today's Tune: Gaslight Anthem - Red at Night (Live)

The Next Page: How we got 'Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State and the Culture of Silence'

By Bill Moushey and Bob Dvorchak
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
April 15, 2012

Getting a book published is an accomplishment. There's no denying that. But the process takes a toll, especially on two old-school scribes, looking at middle age in the rearview mirror.

"Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State and the Culture of Silence," published by William Morrow/HarperCollins, and due out on Tuesday, was the most demanding writing assignment we've ever tackled.

The task was daunting from the start -- report and write a 75,000-word manuscript in less than 10 weeks. If the tight deadline wasn't enough, the sordid subject matter caused hundreds of people to convulse and flee when we broached our questions to them. As for the lonely accusers who said Jerry Sandusky foisted unspeakable abuse upon them, they were guarded by an impermeable shield constructed by lawyers wanting to preserve their stories for civil suits, their own books or both.

The guts of the book comes from hardcore, daylight-to-dark ground reporting, culled from more than 100 people who eventually agreed to talk with us. Because of the tangled web of legal issues, job security and fear of reprisals, many of them would only talk on background -- or, in the verbiage of old-school journalism, "off the record." We didn't like that notion, but relented because in simple terms, all we wanted to do is get to the truth.

Our work would consume the entire holiday season and more. Christmas was just another day of writing. New Year's revelers were still stumbling around Downtown Pittsburgh when Bill arrived at his office before dawn. He felt guilty taking a few hours to spend with his kids on their birthdays. Bob agreed with his family and grandkids to mark all holidays at a later date.

Time was something we didn't have. Those grueling days and late nights consumed the spirit. Like a 24-hour restaurant, Bill worked from pre-dawn hours until night, Bob night until morning. There were no arguments, probably because through the modern wonders of the Internet, we only met face-to-face every couple of weeks.

It was always about the story, not about us. But in Bob's case, at least, writing the book was as emotionally demanding as the inner struggle of being on a battlefield, as when he was an embedded reporter for the Associated Press during the 1990 Persian Gulf War. Landmines were lurking everywhere.

For Bill, who's covered bad guys his entire life, it was a rare and inconvenient convergence of the law and politics. Sources promised to talk, then clammed up. If the holiday season weren't enough of an impediment, the banal reality was that few, if any, of the sources saw any beneficial reasons for talking about Mr. Sandusky's alleged acts, Penn State's cover-up of them or any of literally hundreds of other elements of how the august Penn State University had sunk to such a low.

This story was not about arm's-length detachment. It required plumbing the depths and marinating in horrific detail -- and the raw emotions of shock, disbelief, anger and a sense of shame.

We had to talk to people who didn't want to talk. The noises of hang-ups and slammed doors still ring in our ears. Literally hundreds of calls and letters to potential sources were ignored. Government sources were unusually tight-lipped due to the unprecedented amount of security around the case compounded by the non-stop presence of media lurking throughout Happy Valley, trying to find those elusive scoops.

Read More:


Jerry Sandusky book 'Game Over' angers Joe Paterno's family -

Paterno family lawyer: 'Game Over' book 'distorts the truth' -