Saturday, May 23, 2015

What Liberals Can Learn About How To Succeed At Life From Female UFC Champ Ronda Rousey

John Hawkins | May 23, 2015

UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey poses for photos during the UFC Ultimate Media Day at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on July 3, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“People love the idea of winning an Olympic medal or a world title. But what few people realize is that pretty much every second leading up to the actual win is uncomfortable, painful, and impossibly daunting—physically and mentally. Most people focus on the wrong thing: They focus on the result, not the process. The process is the sacrifice; it is all the hard parts—the sweat, the pain, the tears, the losses. You make the sacrifices anyway. You learn to enjoy them, or at least embrace them. In the end, it is the sacrifices that must fulfill you.” – Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey is the most compelling female athlete in a generation. She’s attractive, witty and an unstoppable monster in Octagon. Shockingly, she may also be the biggest name in mixed martial arts today. Who would have ever guessed that a woman fighter could become that popular? Certainly not UFC president Dana White who once laughed and said “NEVER!” when he was asked when women would join the UFC. Ronda Rousey was such a Phenom that he changed his mind.
So, what does it take to make a Ronda Rousey? What does it take to make a Olympian who was the first American woman to ever medal in judo and who could fairly be called the best female fighter on the planet? You can learn the answer to that question by reading her new biography.
Sadly, Rousey’s father died when she was 8 years old; so she was raised solo by her mother who was a former judo champ. Her mother loved Ronda to death, but she didn’t seem like the type who worried that her child would be traumatized by a fall on the playground or a teacher grading in red ink.
"My first injury ever was a broken toe, and my mother made me run laps around the mat for the rest of the night. She said she wanted me to know that even if I was hurt, I was still fine."
Her mom also wasn’t the, “Aww, you tried and that’s all that matters” type either.
Two weeks later, I lost my second judo tournament. I finished second, losing to a girl named Anastasia. Afterward, her coach congratulated me. “You did a great job. Don’t feel bad, Anastasia is a junior national champion.” I felt consoled for about a second, until I noticed the look of disgust on Mom’s face. I nodded at the coach and walked away. Once we were out of earshot she lit into me: “I hope you know better than to believe what he said. You could have won that match. You had every chance to beat that girl. The fact that she is a junior national champion doesn’t mean anything. That’s why they have tournaments, so you can see who is better. They don’t award medals based on what you won before.
Are we better off coddling our kids or pushing them to their limits? For that matter, are we better off coddling ANYBODY or encouraging people to be better? We spend an awful lot of time in America throwing pity parties for people who are having a tough time and patting “victims” on the back. What if we talked to them more like this?
“Someone has to be the best in the world. Why not you?” My mom asked me a variation of this question every day. “Why not you?” she said. “Seriously, why not you? Somebody has to do it. They’re handing out Olympic medals. They’re literally handing them out. Why don’t you go get one?” Her question was not rhetorical. She knew what it took to be the best in the world. She had been a world champion. Being the best in the world is not easy, but it is completely achievable—if you are willing to put in the effort. My mom taught me to expect that I could be the best.
It’s true that EVERYBODY can’t be a world champion. But, can 99.9% of Americans get educated, pay their own way, get a job and support themselves and their families if they work at it? Yes, they can. Human beings really do live up or down to the expectations of people around them. Ronda Rousey’s mother EXPECTED her to be a champion – and she is. Do we expect people to support themselves or to be on welfare? Do we think most Americans are strong and capable of taking care of themselves or are they delicate weaklings who can’t make it through the day without the help of the government?
The response to that is usually some variation of “Life is hard.” Well, life was hard for Ronda Rousey, too. When she started her mixed martial arts career, she did workouts that would put a normal human being in the hospital.
Once he hit me so hard in the body that it knocked the wind out of me. I moved to take a knee, to catch my breath; he grabbed me with one hand and pulled me up. “You’re not taking a knee,” he said. “If you take a knee, I’m going to hit you more. You don’t have the choice to get hit or not get hit. You have one choice. You can get up and get hit or I can hit you down there.” That was the last knee I ever took. He kept throwing punches.
While this was going on, Rousey had to work three jobs to pay her bills.
My MMA career was getting off the ground, but I needed another job to carry me through until fighting started paying the bills. I hustled to find work. My sister Maria called a friend from high school and got me a job working the graveyard shift at 24 Hour Fitness. The job sucked, but every time the resentment welled up, I imagined the backseat of my Honda as my bedroom. A few weeks later, I got a second job: judo at a club on L.A.’s Westside. I picked up a third job working as a vet assistant at an animal rehabilitation clinic. It was piecemeal employment, but it was enough to pay (most of) my bills.
Today, Ronda Rousey may be the biggest name in mixed martial arts; she has a new book out; she’s doing movies; she’s in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and she’s making millions in endorsements.
She didn’t get there because of a government program, “safe spaces,” or because she was treated like she was made of glass. She had a long, hard road to get where she is today and she can take pride in how far she’s come and what she’s accomplished.
There are a lot of lessons there for people who are willing to hear it – particularly liberals. Why liberals? Because their whole philosophy revolves around encouraging victimhood, dependence and weakness. College kids don’t need “safe spaces;” they need to test themselves. Poor Americans need to learn to depend on themselves, not the government. Our society doesn’t need to become “more sensitive;” it needs to get tougher. Everybody doesn’t have to fight for a living, but we all have to struggle. Teaching more Americans to embrace that battle instead of shielding them from it will make us into a better nation.

Obama: Climate Change Causes Jihad

Posted By Robert Spencer On May 22, 2015 @ 7:06 pm In Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Getty - Spencer Platt

State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf was widely ridiculed in February for saying [1] of the Islamic State (ISIS):
We cannot win this war by killing them, we cannot kill our way out of this war. We need, in the longer term, medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.
On Wednesday, Barack Obama made it clear that Harf’s ridiculous analysis did not originate with her; rather, she was reflecting the company line. Said [2] Obama:
Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate threat to our national security. It will impact how our military defends our country. We need to act and we need to act now. Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.
This was just a slightly more sophisticated restatement of Harf’s argument, for Obama went on to explain exactly how climate change threatened America’s national security:
I understand climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world, yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
And not just in Nigeria:
It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East.
Obama’s claims here are based on his fundamental assumption that poverty causes terrorism. Drought led to jihad in Nigeria, and drought, crop failures, and high food prices led to jihad in Syria. These claims are entirely in keeping with his steadfast refusal to acknowledge that jihad terror has anything to do with Islam.

He has to fill the vacuum created by his denial with something, and he has chosen what he (and Harf) no doubt believe is a nuanced and complex analysis: global warming causes poverty, poverty causes terrorism.

The problem with this is not simply that climate change is politically correct junk science in the service of authoritarianism and forcible income redistribution: Obama is wrong because poverty doesn’t really cause terrorism at all. The Economist reported in 2010 [3]:
Social scientists have collected a large amount of data on the socioeconomic background of terrorists. According to a 2008 survey of such studies by Alan Krueger of Princeton University, they have found little evidence that the typical terrorist is unusually poor or badly schooled.
In the same vein, CNS News noted in September 2013:
According to a Rand Corporation report [4] on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, “Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.” One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, “Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.”
The Times Online [5] reported the following as far back as April 2005:
Three-quarters of the Al-Qaeda members were from upper middle-class homes and many were married with children; 60% were college educated, often in Europe or the United States.
There are innumerable examples of affluent Muslims becoming jihad terrorists. One was Maher “Mike” Hawash of Portland, Oregon, a well-regarded Intel executive who made $360,000 a year at the crest of a highly successful career. Around the year 2000, Hawash began to become more religious, growing his beard long, rejecting the nickname “Mike,” and attending the supremacist Islamic Center of Portland. Ultimately he served a seven-year prison term for conspiring to aid the Taliban.

More recently there was Sabirhan Hasanoff, a graduate of Baruch College who was a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers and then CFO of a large company in Dubai. Hasanoff was sentenced last Monday to eighteen years in prison for aiding al-Qaeda. Contrite at his sentencing, Hasanoff didn’t say anything about lacking economic opportunities. On the contrary, he said [6]:
I made a good living and my family and I enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle. And then, for reasons that I still have trouble confronting, I threw that all away.
Those reasons that he had trouble confronting, according to AP [6], were rooted in Islam:
Inspired by radical clerics, he said his desire to strengthen his Muslim faith and fight atrocities committed against Muslims around the world mixed with guilt about his comfortable life.
Nonetheless, Obama’s risible analysis is not, unfortunately, just empty words. It will result in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars being showered upon the Nigerian government and factions deemed “moderate” in Syria, whatever the evidence to the contrary. Those millions will become villas and BMWs for corrupt officials, while the forces of the global jihad continue to advance.

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[3] The Economist reported in 2010:

Ten Reasons Why Shakespeare Was Catholic

May 20, 2015
The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. National Portrait Gallery, London.

There are probably no greater academic debating topics than the mysterious life of the Bard of Avon–William Shakespeare.
Did he really write those plays? If he didn’t, who did? Was he involved in the Elizabethan spy network?
Was he a secret Catholic? Are there pro-Catholic “codes” is his plays?
I’m off to England in a few weeks’ time with my friend Joseph Pearce to help conduct a pilgrimage that focusses on English Catholic literary figures and Catholic martyrs.
“Shakespeare the Catholic” will be one of the key discussion topics. So here are ten reasons why Shakespeare was very probably a Catholic.
1. There were plenty of secret Catholics in Elizabethan England - Elizabeth I’s England was a virtual Protestant police state. Everyone had to swear loyalty to the Protestant queen. Everyone had to go to the state church. Attendance was taken. If you didn’t attend you were fined, imprisoned and fined again. The Catholic Church went underground and a secret network developed of faithful Catholic families.
2 Shakespeare’s family were secret Catholics - the secret Catholics were called “recusants” which means “refusers” because they refused to conform to the state religion. Shakespeare’s mother was from the Arden family–a well known and influential recusant family in Warwickshire.  One of the Arden relatives was executed for hiding a priest and John Shakespeare–William’s father–was fined for refusing to attend Church of England services. Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna was recorded as being Catholic.
3. A Catholic pamphlet was found hidden in the rafters of Shakespeare’s Birthplace - The pamphlet was a translation of a tract by St Edmund Campion who was executed in 1581 for being a Catholic priest. The young William Shakespeare was living in the house where the pamphlet was found at the time it was hidden.
4. Shakespeare probably had a Catholic wedding - Shakespeare married Anne Hatawat in 1582. They didn’t marry in their local church but scooted off to be married by Fr. John Frith at his little church in the nearby village of Temple Grafton. Four years later, the government accused Frith of secretly being a Roman Catholic priest. Did William and Ann go there in order to be married in a Catholic ceremony?
5. Shakespeare wrote sympathetically about Catholics - Shakespeare  included sympathetic Catholic characters in his plays: Friar Laurence from Romeo and Juliet and Friar Francis in Much Ado About NothingShakespeare’s writing also indicates an intimate knowledge of Catholic ritual and belief.
6. Shakespeare condemns the Tudor regime - Hamlet is a play about social disintegration, incest, madness, infertility and murder. These were all things of which the Catholics accused the Tudor regime of Henry VIII and Elizabeth.
Shakespeare links social upheaval and chaos with Protestantism - Hamlet and his friend Horatio are “students at Wittenburg”–which was the center of Protestantism and Denmark is portrayed as a newly Protestant regime. The link is clear that it is the Protestant revolution that has brought the curse of murder, fratricide, incest, madness and chaos on the country.
8. Shakespeare may have visited the English College in Rome - In 2009 archivists at the Venerable English College in Rome uncovered two mysterious entries that could have been William Shakespeare using an alias. Because of the secretive and dangerous times, English Catholics abroad often traveled under assumed names. The dates match the time when Shakespeare’s whereabouts were unknown.
9. After his retirement Shakespeare bought a property in London as a priest’s “safe house” - Shakespeare bought the Blackfriar’s Gatehouse at a huge price. One assumes to keep it as a safe house for Catholic priests and for secret masses.
10. Shakespeare was reported to have died as a Catholic – He left almost everything in his will to his Catholic daughter Susanna. He left nothing to his Protestant family members and in the late 1600s, an Anglican minister wrote that Shakespeare “dyed a Papyst” – or a loyal Catholic

Call it ‘Fail Jazeera’ — why the network is imploding

Call it ‘Fail Jazeera’ — why the network is imploding
(Getty Images)
For Al Jazeera, May is the cruelest month. In just the past four weeks, two ex-employees have filed separate lawsuits totaling some $100 million, three executives have resigned from its New York-based American channel and plans for a Turkish version have been scrapped.
The Qatar-based network looked unstoppable just a few years ago, but its loss is a gain for anyone opposed to the extremist agenda it promotes.
Four years ago, amid the optimism of the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera was winning friends in high places. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded the network as “real news,” and Sen. John McCain said he was “very proud” of the role it played in the uprisings.
As long-entrenched rulers were swept away across the Middle East, many were replaced by the Qatari-aligned Muslim Brotherhood. The future was looking bright in Doha.
It’s hard to overstate the change in Al Jazeera’s, and Qatar’s, fortunes since. Not only is the Brotherhood on its knees — pushed out of power in Egypt and Tunisia and banned in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — but former employees and even governments once sympathetic to Al Jazeera are now questioning its ethics.
The network’s latest travails began several weeks ago as former Al Jazeera America employee Matthew Luke filed a $15 million wrongful-termination suit, complaining of a hostile work environment including an executive he claims consistently made “discriminatory, anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks.”
The same day the lawsuit was filed, Executive Vice President of Human Resources Diane Lee and Executive Vice President of Communications Dawn Bridges resigned.
Less than a week later, they were followed by Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president of outreach and a three-decade veteran of CBS News. Capping the indignity, Al Jazeera America CEO Ehab Shihabi was abruptly replaced earlier this month.
Soon after, news broke in Turkey that the managing director of Al Jazeera’s Turkish group had been sacked, that three-year-long preparations for a Turkish news channel had been scrapped and that some 160 employees would be let go.
Turkish media is abuzz with speculation Ankara blocked Al Jazeera’s inroads over the network’s sympathetic coverage of 2013 anti-government protests in Istanbul.
The snub from Turkey, which shares Qatar’s Brotherhood sympathies, spoke volumes about Doha’s dwindling circle of friends.
The latest blow to Al Jazeera’s prestige came May 11, when Mohamed Fahmy, the former Cairo bureau chief for Al Jazeera Arabic, announced he had filed an $83 million lawsuit against the network in a Canadian court.
Fahmy — a Canadian citizen of Egyptian origin who spent more than a year in an Egyptian jail — accuses the network of negligence, misrepresentation and breach of contract.
In a scathing press conference in Cairo, Fahmy blasted his former employers as “not only biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood — they were [its] sponsors.”
It’s hard to disagree. Al Jazeera Arabic — the flagship of the Al Jazeera conglomerate — has long served as a mouthpiece for Qatar’s Islamist-driven regional agenda.
During last summer’s Gaza war, the channel’s coverage seemed taken from Hamas’s own playbook (an unsurprising fact given Qatari support for the terrorist group), describing all Palestinian casualties, whether civilians or militants, as “martyrs.”
Similarly, an article from February on last year’s slaughter of worshippers in a West Jerusalem synagogue with a gun and a meat cleaver described the killers as “martyrs.”
Al Jazeera is by far the most-watched channel in the Arab world, and Al Jazeera English (the network’s English-language channel for everywhere but America) is available in 140 countries, including every European market.
But the network has never quite found a market in America. It ranked a dismal 104 out of 106 among ad-supported cable channels, and in the first quarter of 2015, averaged only 35,000 viewers (about the same figure as Al Gore’s failed station Current TV, which it replaced).
Americans, it seems, simply aren’t buying what Al Jazeera is selling. This month’s rebuffs, resignations and litigation — from New York to Cairo and Ankara — suggest an ever-diminishing pool of those who are.
Oren Kessler is deputy director for research and a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where David A. Weinberg is a senior fellow.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Attack on Self-Defense

Posted By Barry Loberfeld On May 22, 2015 @ 12:24 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 3 Comments
woman-with-gun[1]Some years back, a public service TV ad depicted patients being told by a doctor that they had a tobacco-related illness: lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, etc. It asked, “If you’re not planning to quit smoking, then what are you planning?” So let me ask: If you’re not planning to use a firearm to defend your home against invasion, what are you planning to do?

Modern liberalism has long mocked even the possibility of citizen self-defense:
People imagine themselves getting the drop on the bad guy, confronting the craven coward in midswagger. They will make the villains run in fear from an armed and righteous citizenry, and order will again prevail. . . .

In fact, they will first see another’s gun when its barrel is pointed straight at them, their own gun undrawable even if it were reachable. Or maybe their gun will be stolen, which just about guarantees it will become a murder weapon. [Luc Sante, New York Times, Dec. 9, 1993.]
This dogma has been falsified by the repeated reality of people using firearms responsibly [2] to defend themselves and their loved ones. One of the most dramatic examples (from 2011) was that of Sarah McKinley, 18, a recent widow living alone with her infant son in a mobile home in Blanchard, Okla. As the Associated Press reported, she
fatally shot a New Year’s Eve intruder at her house while she had a 911 dispatcher on the phone. . . . 
“I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?’’ McKinley asked the dispatcher. 
“Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,’’ the dispatcher is heard [on the 911 tape] telling McKinley. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.’’ 
. . . [P]rosecutors said McKinley clearly acted in selfdefense. According to court documents, [the shot intruder] was holding a knife when he died. . . .
According to authorities, [the other intruder] ran away from McKinley’s home after hearing the gunshots [though he was later captured]. . . . 
According to court documents, [the intruders] might have been looking for prescription drugs. McKinley said it took the men about 20 minutes to get through her door, which she had barricaded with a couch.
What a brave soul this young mother was. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be there with only your baby while you hear God knows what trying to break into your home? Frankly, I would have been terrified even with some firepower in my hands.

But now the big question: What would have happened if she didn’t have any guns? What do the opponents of gun ownership expect to happen in that kind of situation?

A classic answer was given by Barbara L. Keller, whose “Frontiersmen Are History” appeared in the Aug. 16, 1993, issue of Newsweek. It is best to let Keller speak for herself:
Late on a Friday night, I had a personal introduction to terror. My 11yearold daughter and I were playing Scrabble. My husband had just phoned to let us know he was grounded in Dallas by bad weather. A moment later my front doorbell rang loudly and repeatedly. I stood up, wondering who in God’s name was ringing at 1 o’clock in the morning. Then I heard the sound of shattering glass. Someone was breaking into my house. 
As I grabbed my daughter and dashed out the side door to my neighbor’s to call the police, she began to cry. “Mom! What about the boys?” My three sons—3, 4 and a mentally handicapped 8yearold—were asleep upstairs. I had made a splitsecond decision to leave them and run for help. To go to them, or the phone, would have taken me right into harm’s way. Being eight months pregnant, I couldn’t carry them two at a time to safety. The minutes it took until the police arrived seemed like years. I wasn’t permitted to enter the house until the officers had secured it. I stood on the sidewalk, fearing for my sons’ safety and worrying about their reaction if they awoke to find armed policemen trooping through their bedroom. Blessedly, the boys slept through it, and the wouldbe intruders ran off without entering the house. 
In the aftermath of what was for me a horribly traumatic experience, my husband and I considered and once again rejected the idea of buying a gun for protection. . . .
All right—from all that, what sticks in your head foremost? I bet it’s the same as for me: three young boys abandoned to the mercy of criminals breaking into the house.

I don’t condemn Keller for running. Even if she had been totally self-sacrificial (a problematic concept at eight months pregnant) and thrown herself at the intruders, all it likely would have accomplished is getting herself attacked or killed; it wouldn’t have protected her children. Running was all she could do because, absent an effective firearm defense, it is all anyone can do.

What’s disturbing is that Keller doesn’t face the reality of what her running meant: again, three young boys abandoned to the mercy of criminals breaking into the house. She was “worrying about their reaction if they awoke to find armed policemen trooping through their bedroom.” But if they awoke to find the intruders in their bedroom? What if the police had arrived to confront that situation?

Keller says nothing about that because there is nothing she can say. If you’re not planning to use a firearm to defend your home against invasion, what are you planning to do? The response of Keller, of any opponent of gun ownership, could be only: to run. If you can grab at least one child while “dash[ing] out the side door,” so much the better. (And what if, like Sarah McKinley, you can’t run?)

“Blessedly, the boys slept through it, and the wouldbe intruders ran off without entering the house.” “Blessedly” is right, because it’s only by the grace of God that things turned out as they did. Without a gun, Keller could not protect her sons the way McKinley did her child.

“In the aftermath of what was for me a horribly traumatic experience, my husband and I considered and once again rejected the idea of buying a gun for protection.” So, Keller and her husband had rejected firearms for self-defense before her “personal introduction to terror”—and “once again” after it. She credits this decision in part to being told by some police officers that a gun is “not a particularly good defense strategy.” It’s unfortunate that she didn’t speak with more of them. Even two decades later, surveying police [3] finds that they “overwhelmingly favor an armed citizenry, would like to see more guns in the hands of responsible people, and are skeptical of any greater restrictions placed on gun purchase, ownership, or accessibility.”

Keller continues: “I do not propose to outlaw guns—only to make them more difficult to obtain.” Let’s get this straight once and for all: When guns become more difficult to obtain legally, they become more difficult to obtain for only the law-abiding. So, no: “[T]hose who would be most likely to use weapons detrimentally” will not have a “much harder time getting them.” More to the point, even when criminals don’t have firearms, that doesn’t mean that vulnerable citizens don’t need them—as the McKinley case confirms.

Keller insists that a gun should not be a means of “personal protection” yet concedes that she would’ve used it as such had she possessed one, albeit “probably to my own detriment.” Why?
I do not know if the young men who so thoroughly violated my sense of safety were armed. I do know that if I’d had a gun, and had actually confronted them, they would have been more likely to harm me, and my children. It would have been I who escalated the potential for violence. . . .
Being able to respond to—to halt—aggression with equal or greater force is likely to increase the danger to oneself? That’s no answer to our Why. The only apparent explanation is Keller’s opinion that her pointing a gunat the intruders (who would’ve been at a disadvantage if they, like McKinley’s assailants, didn’t have one) constitutes the “escalat[ion of] the potential for violence”—not her running away and leaving her sons alone in the house with the intruders (who wouldn’t need a gun to harm the children).

Keller also worries about how citizen gun-owners “can still fall victim to an officer’s adrenaline surge.” For all of her worries, she never acknowledges what all too often happens when unarmed citizens are besieged by violent criminals (especially those who don’t feel constrained by gun laws). She presents her own sheer luck on that Friday night as proof that personally fleeing is all you ever need do to keep yourself and your family safe.

Consequently, rather than arm ourselves, we Americans “should rethink our cultural heritage . . . the historical gunslinger’s mentality . . . the simplistic depictions of good guys versus bad guys.” It is “our entire love affair with guns” that “destroys innocent lives”—not the use of violence by criminals.

Those assertions reveal what many have always contended: Opposition to firearm ownership is aimed at the law-abiding. In its effect and intent, gun prohibition disarms not sociopaths, but civil society itself. Keller, in condemning this society, speeds past mere liberalism to commune with what (as I’ve explained previously in this magazine [4]) is the essence of the Left’s vision (and self-image): a latter-day Inquisition launched by a moral elite against the immoral masses, “for whom freedom would be only the freedom to do evil.”

A snapshot of this viewpoint as it relates to the people’s right to keep arms is “Guns, Cowboys, Philadelphia Mayors, and Civic Republicanism,” a Yale Law Journal (YLJ) article by Wendy Brown. David C. Williams (“Civic Republicanism and the Citizen Militia,” YLJ) condenses her argument:
[R]epublicanism needs a virtuous citizenry, but Brown “cannot imagine a less appropriate appellation for the contemporary American citizenry, which bears a shared commitment to almost nothing, least of all a common good.” If the citizenry is not virtuous, we have no assurance that it will use its arms in virtuous ways. So Brown predicts pernicious results if we arm our present citizenry: gun owners are likely to use them to rape women and to murder young urban black men.
It’s an all-too-clear reflection of the Left’s indictment of America as the “rape culture” and a “white racist society.” Will only those oppressive “white males” have guns? Why won’t women use firearms to protect themselves? Why won’t blacks use them for self-defense? And if Brown doesn’t mean that the shooters will be always be whites (all of whom will have all of the wealth) and their victims will always be “young urban black men” (who’ll be the only ones forced by poverty to rob them), is she then suggesting that only “young urban black men” will be driven by legal gun ownership to start shooting each other—and which is crazier?

A government that seeks to tyrannize its citizens cannot allow them the means to resist that tyranny. Gun prohibition is inherently a facet of state despotism. As for conservative golden calf Robert Bork, who (in addition to gutting the Second Amendment [5]) pooh-poohed the ability of armed citizens to fight such despotism, Samuel Francis retorted: “[T]ell that to the Afghan resistance, the Nicaraguan contras, and indeed the Vietcong, the Sandinistas, and a dozen other guerrilla groups that have laid their local leviathans low with weapons no more advanced than what we can keep in the carport.”

The great irony: The threat of gun prohibition is the argument against gun prohibition. In other words, it is precisely because a firearm in the hands of a conscientious citizen is so effective in protecting the inalienable rights of personal security and personal freedom that it is feared by sociopaths and socialists alike. That is the life-or-death issue that the gun debate will always be about.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here [6].

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You want hypotheticals? Here’s one.

By Charles Krauthammer
May 21, 2015

A screen grab from IS video uploaded on 18 May 2015 shows an IS fighter hanging the group's flag in a street of Ramadi, the Iraqi capital of Anbar province, a day after the city was captured by IS.
A screen grab from an IS video uploaded on May 18th shows an IS fighter hoisting the group's notorious black and white flag after the take over of Ramadi.

Ramadi falls. The Iraqi army flees. The great 60-nation anti-Islamic State coalition so grandly proclaimed by the Obama administration is nowhere to be seen. Instead, it’s the defense minister of Iran who flies into Baghdad, an unsubtle demonstration of who’s in charge — while the U.S. air campaign proves futile and America’s alleged strategy for combating the Islamic State is in freefall.
It gets worse. The Gulf states’ top leaders, betrayed and bitter, ostentatiously boycott President Obama’s failed Camp David summit. “We were America’s best friend in the Arab world for 50 years,” laments Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief.
Note: “were,” not “are.”
We are scraping bottom. Following six years of President Obama’s steady and determined withdrawal from the Middle East, America’s standing in the region has collapsed. And yet the question incessantly asked of the various presidential candidates is not about that. It’s a retrospective hypothetical: Would you have invaded Iraq in 2003 if you had known then what we know now?
First, the question is not just a hypothetical but an inherently impossible hypothetical. It contradicts itself. Had we known there were no weapons of mass destruction, the very question would not have arisen. The premise of the war — the basis for going to the U.N., to the Congress and, indeed, to the nation — was Iraq’s possession of WMD in violation of the central condition for the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Gulf War. No WMD, no hypothetical to answer in the first place.
Second, the “if you knew then” question implicitly locates the origin and cause of the current disasters in 2003 . As if the fall of Ramadi was predetermined then, as if the author of the current regional collapse is George W. Bush.
This is nonsense. The fact is that by the end of Bush’s tenure the war had been won. You can argue that the price of that victory was too high. Fine. We can debate that until the end of time. But what is not debatable is that it was a victory. Bush bequeathed to Obama a success. By whose measure? By Obama’s. As he told the troops at Fort Bragg on Dec. 14, 2011, “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” This was, said the president, a “moment of success.”
Which Obama proceeded to fully squander. With the 2012 election approaching, he chose to liquidate our military presence in Iraq. We didn’t just withdraw our forces. We abandoned, destroyed or turned over our equipment, stores, installations and bases. We surrendered our most valuable strategic assets, such as control of Iraqi airspace, soon to become the indispensable conduit for Iran to supply and sustain the Assad regime in Syria and cement its influence all the way to the Mediterranean. And, most relevant to the fall of Ramadi, we abandoned the vast intelligence network we had so painstakingly constructed in Anbar province, without which our current patchwork operations there are largely blind and correspondingly feeble.
The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn’t that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake. But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was that not a mistake?
Mme. Secretary: When you arrived at State, al-Qaeda in Iraq had been crushed and expelled from Anbar. The Iraqi government had from Basra to Sadr City fought and defeated the radical, Iranian-proxy Shiite militias. Yet today these militias are back, once again dominating Baghdad. On your watch, we gave up our position as the dominant influence over a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq” — forfeiting that position gratuitously to Iran. Was that not a mistake? And where were you when it was made?
Iraq is now a battlefield between the Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State and the Shiite jihadists of Iran’s Islamic Republic. There is no viable center. We abandoned it. The Obama administration’s unilateral pullout created a vacuum for the entry of the worst of the worst.
And the damage was self-inflicted. The current situation in Iraq, says David Petraeus, “is tragic foremost because it didn’t have to turn out this way. The hard-earned progress of the surge was sustained for over three years.”
Do the math. That’s 2009 through 2011, the first three Obama years. And then came the unraveling. When? The last U.S. troops left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011.
Want to do retrospective hypotheticals? Start there.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

‘Just Asking’

May 19, 2015
In a recent panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama gave another demonstration of his mastery of rhetoric — and disregard of reality.
One of the ways of fighting poverty, he proposed, was to “ask from society’s lottery winners” that they make a “modest investment” in government programs to help the poor.
Since free speech is guaranteed to everyone by the First Amendment to the Constitution, there is nothing to prevent anybody from asking anything from anybody else. But the federal government does not just “ask” for money. It takes the money it wants in taxes, usually before the people who have earned it see their paychecks.
Despite pious rhetoric on the left about “asking” the more fortunate for more money, the government does not “ask” anything. It seizes what it wants by force. If you don’t pay up, it can take not only your paycheck, it can seize your bank account, put a lien on your home and/or put you in federal prison.
So please don’t insult our intelligence by talking piously about “asking.”
And please don’t call the government’s pouring trillions of tax dollars down a bottomless pit “investment.” Remember the soaring words from Barack Obama, in his early days in the White House, about “investing in the industries of the future”? After Solyndra and other companies in which he “invested” the taxpayers’ money went bankrupt, we haven’t heard those soaring words so much.
Then there are those who produced the wealth that politicians want to grab. In Obama’s rhetoric, these producers are called “society’s lottery winners.”
Was Bill Gates a lottery winner? Or did he produce and sell a computer operating system that allows billions of people around the world to use computers, without knowing anything about the inner workings of this complex technology?
Was Henry Ford a lottery winner? Or did he revolutionize the production of automobiles, bringing the price down to the point where cars were no longer luxuries of the rich but vehicles that millions of ordinary people could afford, greatly expanding the scope of their lives?
Most people who want to redistribute wealth don’t want to talk about how that wealth was produced in the first place. They just want “the rich” to pay their undefined “fair share” of taxes. This “fair share” must remain undefined because all it really means is “more.”
Once you have defined it — whether at 30 percent, 60 percent or 90 percent — you wouldn’t be able to come back for more.
Obama goes further than other income redistributionists. “You didn’t build that!” he declared to those who did. Why? Because those who created additions to the world’s wealth used government-built roads or other government-provided services to market their products.
And who paid for those roads and other government-provided services if not the taxpayers? Since all other taxpayers, as well as non-taxpayers, also use government facilities, why are those who created private wealth not to use them also, since they are taxpayers as well?
The fact that most of the rhetorical ploys used by Barack Obama and other redistributionists will not stand up under scrutiny means very little politically. After all, how many people who come out of our schools and colleges today are capable of critical scrutiny?
When all else fails, redistributionists can say, as Obama did at Georgetown University, that “coldhearted, free-market capitalist types” are people who “pretty much have more than you’ll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use,” so they should let the government take that extra money to help the poor.
Slippery use of the word “use” seems to confine it to personal consumption. The real question is whether the investment of wealth is likely to be done better by those who created that wealth in the first place or by politicians. The track record of politicians hardly suggests that turning ever more of a nation’s wealth over to them is likely to turn out well.
It certainly has not turned out well in the American economy under Barack Obama.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Benghazi-Syria Weapons Connection

Posted By Arnold Ahlert On May 20, 2015 @ 12:09 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 1 Comment
REUTERS NEWS PICTURES - IMAGES OF THE YEAR 2012[1]The shameless lying that has formed the heart of the Obama administration’s Benghazi narrative took another turn yesterday. Documents obtained [2] by Fox News reveal that U.S. intelligence agencies were “fully aware” weapons were being moved from Benghazi to Syria before the attack on Sept. 11, 2012 that claimed the lives of ambassador Christopher Stevens, Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and diplomat Sean Smith, The documents also put the lie to President Obama’s assertion that the rise of ISIS caught the administration “by surprise.”

“Newly released documents show a serious disconnect between what the administration said, and what was known at the Defense Intelligence Agency, also known as the DIA,” reported Catherine Herridge yesterday morning on “America’s Newsroom.” “This Sept. 16, 2012 memo, copied to the national Security Council, State Department, CIA and others, concluded that the Benghazi attack was planned at least 10 days or more in advance. The DIA memo also reports the attack was tied to 9/11, and was retaliation for a June 2012 drone strike that killed an al Qaeda strategist. There is no discussion of a demonstration or an anti-Islam video,” Herridge added.

The memo [3] is indeed damning. It reveals that the “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR) who claimed “ultimate responsibility” for the Benghazi attack were engaged in an effort “to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for the [U.S.] killing of Aboyahiye (Alaliby) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings.” 
The memo further reveals the Obama administrations knew these terrorists had access to sophisticated weapons, including SA-7 and SA23/4 MANPADs “as well as unidentified missiles over two meters in length.” They knew a force of 120 men under the age of 28, led by Abdul Baset (AZUZ), had established a headquarters and training facility in the city of Derna “where they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scripture including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology,” the memo stated.

In addition to sources named by Herridge, the memo was also copied to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council.

A second document [4] from Oct. 2012 is the first official confirmation the Obama administration knew weapons were being shipped to Syrian rebels “from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria,” an effort made easier by “uncertainty” directly attributable to the downfall of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. “The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.  The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.],” the document states.

A third document [5] from August 2012 reveals events in Libya were taking a “clear sectarian direction,“ and that Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) “are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The development was seen as creating “dire consequences” for Iraq, as well as facilitating the subsequent rise of ISIS:
This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI [ISIS] could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.
Once again, Americans owe a debt of gratitude to Judicial Watch (JW). A court order [6] demanding the documents’ release arose from JW’s filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit [7] against both the DOD and State Department on May 15, 2014. The suit sought communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.” As a result DOD and State were forced to release more than 100 pages of documents previously classified as “Secret.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton rightly described the implications from the data disclosure. “These documents are jaw-dropping,” he stated.
No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them. If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go–and yet lied and covered this fact up–Mitt Romney might very well be president.
Fitton continued with a highly disturbing question. “And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also point to connection between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war —and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists. These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has continued for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

The Judicial Watch revelation comes only one day after the New York Times revealed [8] Clinton used more than one private email address during her tenure as Secretary of State, contradicting claims made by her office in that regard. Clinton used “ [9]” to engage in a series of communications with longtime Clinton hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal. The paper explained that Clinton took seriously much of the information Blumenthal supplied to her, passing it on to members of the State Department and “at times asking them to respond…even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.”

Blumenthal was seeking business contracts from the newly-formed Libyan transitional government, such as the construction of floating hospitals to take care of the war wounded and the construction of schools, both of which would have required State Department permits. Even as he was advising Clinton on Libya, Blumenthal was employed by the Clinton Foundation and worked on occasion for Media Matters and American Bridge, two leftist organization involved in the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign. “Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government,” the paper states.

As a result of this relationship, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) who leads the congressional committee investigating Benghazi,  has said he will subpoena Blumenthal for a private, transcripted interview.
And the revelations just keep on coming. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras announced [10] he will order the State Department to effect a “rolling production” of Clinton emails only hours after the agency announced it would hold them back until January 2016. A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Vice News precipitated the order. Their lawyer explained State has one week to provide a general schedule of releases—and a specific one regarding the release of records related to Benghazi.

For more than two years, the American left has continually insulted the public’s intelligence, insisting “there’s no there there” with regard to Benghazi, embracing the preposterous fraud perpetrated by the Obama administration. And while the litany of lies perpetrated by numerous administration officials, as well the president himself are egregious, one Benghazi lie stands out above all the rest:
“She came over…she talked with me. I gave her a hug and shook her hand and she did not appear to be one bit sincere at all and she mentioned about, ‘We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video,’” recalled Charles Wood, father of Tyrone. “That was the first time I even heard about anything like that.” Wood was referring to the exchange he had with Hillary Clinton when his son’s body arrived at the receiving ceremony on September 14, 2012, two days after his murder.

In a better world that kind of politically-calculated callousness would be chilling. In this one it may be insufficient to derail Clinton’s presidential ambitions. It remains up to the public to determine the outcome.

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