Witch’s Will For A January Morning
My Pick of the Litter Today
The Significance of Obama’s Inaugural Address
by Peter Wehner
President Obama’s inaugural address was eloquent and moving in parts. It was also deeply partisan and polarizing, something that is unusual for a day normally devoted to unity and common purpose.
But not in Barack Obama’s America. In his inaugural speech he did what he seemingly cannot keep himself from doing: portraying himself and his followers as Children of Light and portraying his opponents as Children of Darkness.
You are either with Obama–or you are with the forces of cruelty and bigotry. In Obama’s world, there is no middle ground. He is the Voice of Reason; those who oppose him are the voice of the mob. They are the ones who (to cite just one passage from his speech) mistake absolutism for principle, substitute spectacle for politics, and treat name-calling as reasoned debate.
In that sense, Obama is the perfect president for our current political culture. And for all of his self-perceived similarities with Abraham Lincoln, he is the antithesis of Lincoln when it comes to grace, a charitable spirit and a commitment to genuine reconciliation. Mr. Obama is, at his core, a divider. He seems to relish it, even when the moment calls for a temporary truce in our political wars.
Do Gun Control Laws Control Guns?
by Thomas Sowell
The gun control controversy is only the latest of many issues to be debated almost solely in terms of fixed preconceptions, with little or no examination of hard facts.
Media discussions of gun control are dominated by two factors: the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment. But the over-riding factual question is whether gun control laws actually reduce gun crimes in general or murder rates in particular.
If, as gun control advocates claim, gun control laws really do control guns and save lives, there is nothing to prevent repealing the Second Amendment, any more than there was anything to prevent repealing the Eighteenth Amendment that created Prohibition.
But, if the hard facts show that gun control laws do not actually control guns, but instead lead to more armed robberies and higher murder rates after law-abiding citizens are disarmed, then gun control laws would be a bad idea, even if there were no Second Amendment and no National Rifle Association.
The central issue boils down to the question: What are the facts? Yet there are many zealots who seem utterly unconcerned about facts or about their own lack of knowledge of facts.
There are people who have never fired a shot in their life who do not hesitate to declare how many bullets should be the limit to put into a firearm’s clip or magazine. Some say ten bullets but New York state’s recent gun control law specifies seven.
Virtually all gun control advocates say that 30 bullets in a magazine is far too many for self-defense or hunting — even if they have never gone hunting and never had to defend themselves with a gun. This uninformed and self-righteous dogmatism is what makes the gun control debate so futile and so polarizing.
Anyone who faces three home invaders, jeopardizing himself or his family, might find 30 bullets barely adequate. After all, not every bullet hits, even at close range, and not every hit incapacitates. You can get killed by a wounded man.
These plain life-and-death realities have been ignored for years by people who go ballistic when they hear about how many shots were fired by the police in some encounter with a criminal. As someone who once taught pistol shooting in the Marine Corps, I am not the least bit surprised by the number of shots fired. I have seen people miss a stationary target at close range, even in the safety and calm of a pistol range.
We cannot expect everybody to know that. But we can expect them to know that they don’t know — and to stop spouting off about life-and-death issues when they don’t have the facts.
Hypocrite of the day award…
Goes to uber RINO Colin Powell
Colin Powell Still Going: Republicans Must “Stop Buying Into Things That Demonize The President”…
Great idea, let’s all roll over and play dead and let Obama have his way with the country.
Clouds Over Obama’s Second Term
by Pat Buchanan
Rarely have second terms lived up to the hopes and expectations of presidents or their electorates.
FDR’s began with an attempt to pack the Supreme Court by adding new justices and a second Depression of 1937. He was rescued only by the war in Europe in 1939 and the GOP’s nomination of “the barefoot boy from Wall Street,” Wendell Willkie.
What can be called Harry Truman’s second term was a disaster.
In 1949, the Soviets exploded an atom bomb and China fell to Mao. In 1950, the Rosenbergs were convicted as atomic spies for Stalin and North Korea invaded the South, igniting a three-year war Truman could not win or end.
He lost the New Hampshire primary in 1952 to Sen. Estes Kefauver, dropped out and saw would-be successor Adlai Stevenson crushed by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, as Republicans captured Congress. Truman left with the lowest approval rating of a president before or since.
In his second term, Ike did better, but suffered a GOP defeat in 1958, saw Fidel Castro seize Cuba in January of 1959, and had the U-2 shot down by Russia in May 1960 and his Paris summit blown up by Nikita Khrushchev, who berated Ike to his face. His vice president, Richard Nixon, then lost the White House.
The Kennedy-Johnson second term began spectacularly, with passage of all the Great Society legislation. But, in 1966, LBJ’s party suffered huge losses. In 1968, that year of assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, of race riots in a hundred cities, and of campus anarchy, antiwar protests and an endless war in Vietnam, LBJ was challenged in the primaries, quit the race, and saw Nixon succeed him.
After his own 49-state re-election victory, Nixon did not survive his second term. Jimmy Carter did not get a second term.
Ronald Reagan comes close to being the exception.
While he lost 10 Senate seats in 1986, he cut income tax rates from 50 to 28 percent, and his summiteering with Mikhail Gorbachev is seen as a historic success, leading to America’s victory in the Cold War.
The Iran-Contra scandal — trading of arms to Iran for hostages in Lebanon — almost broke his presidency. But by the time Reagan left in 1989, his popularity had been restored, the Cold War was ending, and his vice president was taking the oath of office to succeed him.
George H.W. Bush was denied a second term. And the main event of Bill Clinton’s was his impeachment and Senate trial for the Monica Lewinsky affair.
In his second term, George W. Bush lost his battle for Social Security reform and lost both houses of Congress in 2006, ending his presidency with America mired in two unwinnable wars and plunging into a near-depression.
What’s Up With the Media aka Democrats?
Obama Speech Ignores Failed Economy; Media Gushes Anyway
I know, I know, I know… This is a tired exercise, but it has to be done.
Imagine an alternate universe where it was George W. Bush, or any Republican, sworn in for a second term yesterday — but with Obama’s economic record. Imagine if after spending nearly a trillion dollars on tax cuts (instead of stimulus), Bush stood before the nation and gave an ideological address that focused almost solely on divisive social issues and never once mentioned his struggling economy.
Alex Haley and ‘Roots’: The Lance Armstrong of Literature
During President Obama’s inauguration today, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander (R) quoted Alex Haley, the author made world-famous for his Pulitzer Prize-winning literary sensation, “Roots.” According to The Washington Post, Haley and Alexander were longtime friends. That’s all well and good, but quoting Alex Haley at an important national occasion is not unlike quoting Lance Armstrong. Because what both men are most famous for is based on brazen fraud.
Haley not only lost a high-profile plagiarism suit against his work in “Roots, but any serious look into the Haley family’s genealogy has found — and I’m being generous — that large portions of what was sold as non-fiction cannot be verified. Charges that “Roots” was largely a work of fiction sold as history have been around for decades now.
The man who sued Haley for plagiarism, author Harold Courlander, won in a rout:
In his Expert Witness Report submitted to federal court, Professor of English Michael Wood of Columbia University stated: “The evidence of copying from The African in both the novel and the television dramatization of Roots is clear and irrefutable. The copying is significant and extensive. …
After a five-week trial in federal district court, Courlander and Haley settled the case with a financial settlement and a statement that “Alex Haley acknowledges and regrets that various materials from The African by Harold Courlander found their way into his book, Roots.” …
During the trial, Alex Haley had maintained that he had not read The African before writing Roots. Shortly after the trial, however, a minority studies teacher at Skidmore College, Joseph Bruchac, came forward and swore in an affidavit that he had discussed The African with Haley in 1970 or 1971 and had given his own personal copy of The African to Haley, events that took place a good number of years prior to the publication of Roots.
In a 2002 column, Stanley Crouch summed it up:
In the early 1980s, when Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” was speaking at Lincoln Center, investigative reporter Philip Nobile asked him a straightforward question. Since he had paid Harold Courlander $650,000 in a plagiarism suit, why shouldn’t Haley be considered a criminal instead of a hero?
Haley had no answer. Well, what would you expect from someone who had pulled off one of the biggest con jobs in U.S. literary history?
Yet the “Roots” hoax has sustained itself. Every PBS station in America refused to show the 1997 BBC documentary inspired by Nobile’s reporting on the book. And tonight NBC will air a retrospective on the 25th anniversary of the popular TV miniseries.
That same year — the year the left-wing media was gushing over the 25th anniversary of the miniseries.
Preaching to the choir
by Dana Milbank
President Obama began his second inaugural address with a reminder that this ceremony, like the 56 inaugurations before it in U.S. history, was a unifying symbol.
“Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution,” he said from the West Front of the Capitol, his voice echoing across the Mall, where hundreds of thousands of people waved American flags. “We affirm the promise of our democracy.”
Thus ended the warm-courage-of-national-unity portion of the proceedings.
What followed was less an inaugural address for the ages than a leftover campaign speech combined with an early draft of the State of the Union address. Obama used the most visible platform any president has to decry global-warming skeptics who “still deny the overwhelming judgment of science.” He quarreled with Republicans who say entitlement programs “make us a nation of takers.” He condemned the foreign policy of his predecessor by saying that “enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.”
“We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate,” the president informed his opponents.
Not that they were listening.
George W. Bush declined to join former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter at the ceremony (Bush’s father missed it, too, although he has been in poor health.) Mitt Romney sent regrets and, it appeared, the vast majority of House Republicans skipped the proceedings as well.
With Republican citizens also shunning the event, the crowd gave huge cheers for liberal favorites — John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons, Sonia Sotomayor — and hardly a peep when Lamar Alexander, a Senate GOP leader, gave a magnanimous speech about the moment, “our most conspicuous and enduring symbol of the American democracy . . . this freedom to vote for our leaders, and the restraint to respect the results.”
Evidently the liberal media, having gotten obama re-elected, now feels free to make a few negative comments now and then.
Or maybe they too are getting just a tad tired of obama’s divisive and petty remarks. Nah, that can’t be it.
Full Fathom Five: 5.0 Liberalism and the Future of the State
Americans like to think we are pragmatic, results oriented people, but many of our political disagreements are argued in terms of abstract theory. In particular, Americans like to argue about the proper role of the state: how big should it be and how its responsibilities should be divided between state, local and federal levels. Often, these disagreements reflect cultural differences that can be traced back to colonial times; David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed is a good guide to the traditions that still today inform the way Americans think about what government is and what it should do.
The New England tradition, rooted in Puritan experience and theology, wants a strong state run by the great and the good to serve as the moral agent of the conscience of the community. It is the duty of the state to make the people better, and without a strong and moral state to guide development and regulate behavior, the rich will become greedy and the poor will get lazy and fat.
There’s a New York tradition, rooted in the middle colonies, that looks to the state primarily to promote the development of the economy. Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of the United States was a powerful instrument of state power, but it was not an engine of moral reformation and guidance. Indeed, the commercialism of Hamiltonian policy often offends the moral sensibilities of the New Englanders who worry that if financiers and industrialists become too powerful, they can pervert the state into the service of Mammon. The New York tradition is also outward looking; it wants a strong national government to protect the rights and advance the interests of American economic and security interests around the world.
There’s a Virginia tradition that worries about the centralism that both the New England and Hamiltonian traditions support. Jeffersonians speak for small business rather than big business, and for parts of the country that are far from the centers of financial and cultural power. In this view, an overweening government is a danger worse that (almost) any problem it tries to solve. The Virginia tradition looks to limit the power of government as far as possible and keep that power as close to the local level. It prefers state power to federal power and thinks the New England model is a “nanny state” approach, while the New York model quickly turns into crony capitalism in which large and well-connected business interests and plutocrats use the power of the state to advance their private objectives. The Virginia tradition shares the New England suspicion of wealth and its dangerous influence on politics; it looks to the classic texts of civic republican literature that identify the rise of wealthy oligarchies with the decline of liberty and republican institutions in ancient Rome and on down to modern times.
Another good article by Walter Russell Mead:
Bloomberg’s Legacy: Doubling New York’s Debt
Is New York City cruising for a bruising? Greg David of Crain’s New York Business reports that NYC’s debt has doubled during Michael Bloomberg’s decade-long tenure as Mayor. Recession-based spending increases did play a major role, but they cannot bear all the blame: reckless spending by the city government exacerbated the problem, and things are expected to get even worse as time goes on:
The Independent Budget Office estimates that interest expense will soar from $6.1 billion in the current fiscal year to $6.5 billion next year and $7 billion in 2016 (adjusted for various financial maneuvers). Needless to say, that is at a much greater rate than the increase in revenue.
That may sound bad, but it’s actually worse than you think.
Remember, like the federal government, the city is benefiting from historically low interest rates. At some point, interest rates will go up (and you should hope they do because that will mean the economy is improving) and so will the annual debt service cost.
Bloomberg was elected Mayor as a sound economic manager who could bend the city’s chronic fiscal issues into shape. Yet as his third term winds to a close, the city is now so deep in debt that his successor may find this task even more difficult than it would have been ten years ago.
Mark Levin’s Inaugural Day Message— Fight!
“I don’t think Obama knows exactly what he’s going to go for in his second term,” Levin said, “as he will look for opportunities to exploit as events unfold. I am sure they’ve drawn up a partial a list, and we already know that it includes, but is not limited to, gun control; attacks on the First Amendment such as religious liberty; amnesty for illegal aliens; union expansion; institutionalizing Obamacare; institutionalizing voter corruption; de-industrialization via the EPA; destroying the capitalist-based economy via tax increases, smothering regulations, massive deficit spending, and endless borrowing; and hollowing out our military; etc. This will effect all of us. It will do extreme damage to the nation in many respects.
I think Obama sees himself as correcting historic wrongs in this country, as delivering the fruits of the labor of other people to people who he believes have historically been put upon. I think there’s a lot of perverse thinking that goes on in his mind, radical left-wing thinking. He was indoctrinated with Marx and Alinksy propaganda. You not only see it in his agenda but in his words — class warfare; degrading successful people unless, of course, they help finance his elections, causes, and organizations; pretending to speak for the so-called middle class when, in fact, he is destroying their jobs, savings, and future. Obama’s war on our society is intended to be an onslaught in which the system is overwhelmed.”
How to fight that agenda? Levin said the answer certainly doesn’t lie in the current Republican Party leadership. “I think the Republican Party, its apparatus, its so-called leadership, the parasitic consultants, represent an institution that is tired, old, almost decrepit, full of cowardice and vision-less. It has abandoned the Declaration of Independence and any serious defense of constitutional republicanism. The Democrat Party is now a radical 1960s party; it’s the anti-Constitution, anti-capitalism, anti-individual party. It largely controls the federal government, including the massive bureaucracy and much of the judiciary — what I call the permanent branches of the federal government.
The Democrat Party represents the federal government, and the federal government expands the power of the Democrat Party. They’re appendages of each other.
On the other hand, the GOP today stands for capitulation, timidity, delusion — so mostly nothing. Republicans may speak of the Constitution, limited government, low taxes, etc., but what have they done about them? Next to nothing if not nothing.
I have said, frequently, that Mark Levin is much further right than I am. However, he at least has the courage of his convinctions and he is willing to fight the evil the liberals do. For that he has earned my respect.
Schumer, Hagel, and Obama’s ‘Good Jews’
by Rogel L. Simon
Chuck Schumer had his footprint, handprint, and just about every other print over Barack Obama’s second inauguration Monday. The New York senator even merited some gentle ribbing by his friends on Huff Post Comedy – Chuck Schumer Photobombs The Oath of Office.
This behavior should be no surprise considering the senator’s well-known camera-hogging proclivities and that he happens to be chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, therefore charged with being master of ceremonies for the inauguration and overseeing all preparations for Obama’s swearing-in, including making sure the traditional Congressional lunch that followed is chuck full [pun intended] of New York State products (Hudson Valley apple pie, etc.).
The New York Times’ The Caucus blog had some gentle fun of its own about this – This Inauguration Brought to You by the State of New York. We all know how “ungentle” the NYT would have treated this kind of porky behavior had Schumer been a Republican, but skip over that for a moment to a more important matter.
Just a few days ago, the New York senator was in the eye of a storm surrounding Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of Defense. After a private interview with the former Nebraska senator (he of the well-documented slurs against gays and Jews contrasting with a more laissez-faire attitude toward Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran), Chuck Schumer — in the role of wise counsel for all Jewish-Americans — announced he was “convinced” Hagel had changed his noxious opinions.
Well, good. But imagine if Hagel had not really changed his opinions (or if he semi-hemi-demi changed them). What would Chuck Schumer, as the president’s inaugural emcee and chief factotum of his second inauguration, have done then? Excoriate Hagel and demand he not be nominated, thus humiliating his mentor?
Not likely. But Schumer would never have had to do that — would never be put in that position — because the game was already rigged. Hagel would say the right things to Schumer who would relay those words to the world, reaping glory less than a week later in the role of president’s “best man” on national and international television.
The game has similarly also been rigged against the state of Israel. Schumer, consciously and/or unconsciously, has been one of the riggers, he and a squadron of Obama’s other “good Jews” including David Axelrod, Jack Lew, and Rahm Emanuel.
Poll Goes Badly
I suppose it’s the Drudge-lanche that’s sending a bajillion readers to the article (on a Super Bowl-bound Baltimore Ravens linebacker trash-talking the New England Patriots, and in the process, exhausting the Website’s month-long ration of asterisks in a single article) that accompanies it, but this is amusing. CBS-Connecticut asks its audience, “As Barack Obama Begins His Second Term, What Best Describes Your Emotions?”
As of the time of our post, these are the current results:
Killing Conservative Talk Radio, One Market at a Time
“First they came for the local radio hosts….” If you want a glimpse into the real, practical mechanisms whereby unprincipled political power diminishes and silences opposing voices, look not to the nationally-publicized attacks on Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. Look to what happens at the local level, to people who do not have a national microphone and millions of defenders. Consider the example of Brainerd, Minnesota’s (population 13,613) local conservative radio show.
For almost two years, Guy Green and his partner Tony Bauer have hosted The Speakeasy with Guy Green, a two-hour political talk show airing five nights a week on Brainerd’s 3Wi Radio. Uncompromising conservatives, they tackle a variety of local, national, and international issues with equal parts well-researched detail, principled intelligence, and charm. Though a local program on a small station, their hard work has allowed them to attract the highest quality guests, and their seriousness has allowed them to bring those guests (Roger Kimball, Michael Ledeen, Andrew McCarthy, and Jack Cashill, for a very small sample) back for repeat appearances.
The show’s hosts are not rich men, and they are not paid to appear on the air. On the contrary, Green paid handsomely for the air time the first year, including a hefty down payment to prove good faith for the air time, and seeks to cover his operating expenses with local sponsors and listener donations. (The station’s former owner and now manager agreed to waive the air time fee for the second year, due to the show’s success.) Green and Bauer, both grandfathers, are doing this because they could not sit by and watch their country being swallowed up by progressive politicians and an enabling media. This radio program is their attempt to contribute something to the fight.
Recently, a new, left-leaning owner purchased the station, with the apparent intention of changing its all-talk (i.e. primarily conservative) format to a music format. Green has heard from a major radio executive that this is a new strategy of the progressives. Having learned the hard way that liberal talk radio cannot compete for listeners with conservative hosts — the reason is obvious, and explains the “need” for NPR: extended political discussion, in order to be engaging, requires rational arguments and supporting facts, which leftists cannot provide — the left has hit upon the “slow-burned earth” tactic of gradually buying up local stations and converting them off the talk radio format altogether.
Faced with having their station pulled out from under them, however, Green and Bauer have now encountered a more immediate obstacle. A local city council representative, Alderman Gary Scheeler, is promoting a plan to use a pile of local grant money from the state to tear up neighborhoods, including private property, in order to install sidewalks. Just as with the Obama administration’s gun control ambitions, this project is being rationalized as a matter of “protecting the children,” since the initial sidewalks would ostensibly prevent children from being hit by cars on the way to Garfield School.
Green pointed out in a letter to Alderman Scheeler, which he read on air, that “there hasn’t been a single child hit by a car in the 56 years Garfield School has been there.” In other words, the “child safety” mantra is just a typical excuse to justify the wasteful spending of tax dollars on a politician’s pet project, for which project said politician will take credit during a future re-election campaign.
Obama’s Lincoln Presumption
by Mona Charen
He swore his oath of office on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible. He has asked to give the State of the Union address on Lincoln’s birthday. He rode to Washington in 2009 on a train route similar to Lincoln’s in 1861. He has compared his critics to Lincoln’s critics. He confides to admirers that he likes to read the handwritten Gettysburg Address that hangs in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Barack Obama is inviting the world to compare him not just to good presidents but to the greatest in American history.
There can be majesty in invoking past presidents and the Founding Fathers. But Obama’s quotations and allusions in his inaugural address served only to highlight the flatness of his own prose. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” he intoned, repeating the echoing words of the Declaration of Independence. What followed was: “Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing.” Clunk. “Self-executing” is a word best left to legal documents. It has as much poetry as a filing cabinet. As for “never-ending journey,” it’s a phrase that belongs in the juvenile fiction section — if there.
Obama’s second inaugural poached lines from Lincoln’s speeches. The effect was like inserting snatches of Mozart into a Mariah Carey song. Obama said: “Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free.” He was paraphrasing two Lincoln quotes — one from the Cooper Union speech and this one, from the second inaugural: “Yet if God wills that it continue until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said: ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”
Obama’s speech also seemed to allude to Lincoln’s message to Congress before signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln said: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. … As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” Obama, able to wring banality from the best material, said: “But we have always understood that when times change, so must we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.” Clunk.
Liberal Media Embarasses Itself. Again.
Giddy CNN Correspondent: ‘I Feel Like I Should Pinch Myself Right Now’
Andrea Mitchell: ‘I Was Very Moved, Being Up There, Looking Out Over The Masses’
NBC’s Al Roker Yells Like a Groupie at Obama and Biden During Inaugural Parade
Poll: 57% Of Americans Want Stricter Enforcement Of Existing Gun Laws, Only 32% Want New Gun Control Laws…
While President Obama and his liberal buddies call for more gun legislation, the American people think enforcement of current laws is more important.
Wait a minute, didn’t VPOTUS tell us that law enforcement didn’t have the time or resources to even check on background checks? So the answer, according to Dim Dems is to make more laws. Which we will not have the time or resources to enforce? Does that seem a bit stupid to you?
I was once asked by a lady visiting if I had a gun in the house? I said I did. She said, “Well I certainly hope it isn’t loaded!” To which I said, “Of course it is loaded; it can’t work without bullets!” She then asked, “Are you that afraid of someone evil coming into your house?” My reply was, “No, not at all. I am not afraid of the house catching fire either, but I have fire extinguishers around, and they are all loaded too.”
Brit Hume: Obama’s Speech Should Kill Notion Held By His Admirers in the Press That He’s a Centrist
Worth a Read:
Byron York: In inaugural speech, Obama gives nation’s top issue short shrift
From Kill Romney to Kill the Constitution
The Five Reasons Reporters Ask Tough Questions
This was written a year ago but I didn’t see it then. It tells us what journalism isn’t more than what it is today.
Pat Buchanan: Obama’s Speech Was “Pedestrian” And “Deeply Partisan”
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ~ Albert Einstein