Witch’s Will For A January Morning
My Pick of the Litter Today
by Thomas Sowell
An old-time trial lawyer once said, “When your case is weak, shout louder!”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shouted louder when asked about the Obama administration’s story last fall that the September 11th attack on the U.S. ambassador’s quarters in Benghazi was due to an anti-Islamic video that someone in the United States had put on the Internet, and thereby provoked a protest that escalated into violence.
She shouted: “We had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Students of propaganda may admire the skill with which she misdirected people’s attention. But those of us who are still old-fashioned enough to think that the truth matters cannot applaud her success.
Let’s go back to square one.
After the attack on the American ambassador’s quarters in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, the Obama administration immediately blamed it on the anti-Islamic video.
Moreover, this version of what happened was not just a passing remark. It was a story that the administration kept repeating insistently. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice repeated that story on five different television talk shows on the same Sunday. President Obama himself repeated the same story at the United Nations. The man who put the anti-Islamic video on the Internet was arrested for a parole violation, creating more media coverage to keep attention on this theme.
“What difference, at this point, does it make?” Secretary Clinton now asks. What difference did it make at the time?
Obviously the Obama administration thought it made a difference, with an election coming up. Prior to the attack, the administration’s political theme was that Barack Obama had killed Osama bin Laden (with an assist from the Navy SEALs), vanquished Al Qaeda and was now in the process of putting the terrorist threat behind us.
To have the attack in Benghazi be seen as a terrorist attack — and a devastating one — would have ruined this picture, with an election coming up.
The key question that remains unanswered to this day is: What speck of evidence is there that the attack in Benghazi was due to the much-discussed video or that there was ever any protest demonstration outside the ambassador’s quarters?
If there is no evidence whatever, then the whole attempt to say that a protest over a video escalated into an attack was a deliberate hoax by people who knew better.
Once the September 11th attack in Benghazi is seen for what it was — a highly coordinated and highly successful operation by terrorists who were said to have been vanquished — that calls into question the Obama administration’s Middle East foreign policy.
That is why it still matters.
California at Twilight
by Victor Davis Hanson
We keep trying to understand the enigma of California, mostly why it still breathes for a while longer, given the efforts to destroy the sources of its success. Let’s try to navigate through its sociology and politics to grasp why something that should not survive is surviving quite well — at least in some places.
Conservati delendi sunt
The old blue/red war for California is over. Conservatives lost. Liberals won — by a combination of flooding the state with government-supplied stuff, and welcoming millions in while showing the exit to others. The only mystery is how Carthaginian will be the victor’s peace, e.g., how high will taxes go, how many will leave, how happy will the majority be at their departure?
The state of Pat Brown, Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson, and George Deukmejian is long dead due to the most radical demographic shifts of any one state in recent American history — as far away as Cicero was to Nero. One minor, but telling example: Salinas, in Monterey County where the murder rate is the highest in the state, just — at least I think the news story is not a prank — named its new middle school after Tiburcio Vasquez.
A convicted murderer.
He was the legendary 19th-century robber and murderer who was hanged for his crimes. But who is to say that Vasquez is a killer, and Henry Huntington a visionary?
The New Demography
California has changed not due to race but due to culture, most prominently because the recent generation of immigrants from Latin America did not — as in the past, for the most part — come legally in manageable numbers and integrate under the host’s assimilationist paradigm. Instead, in the last three decades huge arrivals of illegal aliens from Mexico and Latin America saw Democrats as the party of multiculturalism, separatism, entitlements, open borders, non-enforcement of immigration laws, and eventually plentiful state employment.
Given the numbers, the multicultural paradigm of the salad bowl that focused on “diversity” rather than unity, and the massive new government assistance, how could the old American tonic of assimilation, intermarriage, and integration keep up with the new influxes? It could not.
Finally, we live in an era of untruth and Orwellian censorship. It is absolutely taboo to write about the above, or to talk about the ever more weird artifacts of illegal immigration — the war now on black families in demographically changing areas of Los Angeles, the statistics behind DUI arrests, or the burgeoning profile of Medi-Cal recipients. I recall of the serial dissimulation in California my high school memorization of Sir Walter Raleigh:
Tell potentates, they live/Acting by others’ action/Not loved unless they give; Not strong but by affection; If potentates reply/Give potentates the lie.
There were, of course, other parallel demographic developments. Hundreds of thousands of the working and upper-middle class, mostly from the interior of the state, have fled — maybe four million in all over the last thirty years, taking with them $1 trillion in capital and income-producing education and expertise. Apparently, they tired of high taxes, poor schools, crime, and the culture of serial blame-gaming and victimhood. In this reverse Dust Bowl migration, a barren no-tax Nevada or humid Texas was a bargain.
Their California is long gone (“Lo, all our pomp and of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh and Tyre”), and a Stockton, Fresno, or Visalia misses their presence, because they had skills, education, and were net pluses to the California economy.
Add in a hip, youth, and gay influx to the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and coastal Los Angeles that saw California as a sort of upscale, metrosexual lifestyle (rule of thumb: conservatives always find better restaurants in liberal locales), and California now has an enormous number of single-person households, childless couples, and one-child families. Without the lifetime obligation to raise $1 million in capital to pay for bringing up and educating two kids from birth to 21 (if you’re lucky), the non-traditional classes have plenty of disposable income for entertainment, housing, and high taxes. For examples, read Petronius, especially the visit to Croton.
Finally, there is our huge affluent public work force. It is the new aristocracy; landing a job with the state is like hitting the lottery. Californians have discovered that, in today’s low/non-interest economy, a $70,000 salary with defined benefit public pension for life is far better than having the income from a lifetime savings of $3 million.
Hypocrite of the day award goes to Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, and their cohorts…
Never Let a Dead Child Go to Waste
Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, and their cohorts followed Rahm Emanuel’s advice to “never let a good crisis go to waste” when they used the Sandy Hook shooting to renew their assault on the Bill of Rights. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell added, in effect, that one should never let a dead child go to waste if one can exploit him or her for political gain.
“…the good thing about Newtown is, it was so horrific that I think it galvanized Americans to a point where the intensity on our side is going to match the intensity on their side.”
This is difficult, if not impossible, to explain away. Suppose instead that an armed teacher or staff member had stopped Adam Lanza after two murders the way Pearl High Assistant Principal Joel Myrick stopped would-be mass murderer Luke Woodham. A case study for The American Rifleman’s Armed Citizen feature is not what Dianne Feinstein, Ed Rendell, and their cohorts need in order to eliminate the Second Amendment a piece at a time.
They need a mass murder that is “so horrific” that it will manipulate the public, and legislatures like New York’s, into acting before they have time to think. Their modus operandi is to exploit grief, shock, and outrage for political gain the way itinerant rainmakers once exploited the plight of drought-plagued farmers, and quacks and charlatans peddle miracle cures to desperate cancer patients.*
Ed Rendell is not the only anti-Second Amendment leader who has done this. As stated by Joshua Horowitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence,
A historic opportunity now lies before us to curb the gun violence destroying our families and communities. For the sake of future generations, let us hope our elected officials seize it.
Horowitz at least had the decency to add, “Nothing can right the terrible tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Conn. on Friday,” but this does not change the fact that he also sees this crime as an opportunity to manipulate people’s emotions.
The Political Insiders on the Inauguration and Benghazi Testimony!
What’s Up With the Democrats?
Why Clinton and Biden Won’t Run in 2016
Speculation about the two heavyweight Democrats is rampant, but will probably lead nowhere.
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joe Biden won’t be running for president in 2016–bet on it. I already have, and I’m going to owe a lot of people dinner if I’m wrong.
Not to spoil anybody’s fun, but all of this speculation will probably lead nowhere. I’m going to explain my reasoning and then try very hard to refrain from writing anything more about this until, well, at least six months from now.
The most obvious factor militating against runs by these Democratic power players is their age. Biden would turn 74 right after Election Day 2016, and Clinton would turn 69 just before it. Both of them may have other things they want to do with their lives before it’s too late. Clinton, for instance, has made no secret of her yen for a grandchild. And she and her husband are reportedly hunting for a vacation home in the Hamptons, suggesting she has a slower pace in mind.
We can only hope that Ms. Lawrence is right and we will be spared having to see and hear these two in the future.
What Up With Republicans?
Mark Levin: If you think amnesty helps the GOP win elections, you’re dead wrong. And here’s why…
SOMETHING TO BRING HOPE FOR BETTER DAYS
by Alex W. Miller
For most people, graduation is an exciting day – the culmination of years of hard work. My graduation day… was not.
I remember that weekend two years ago. Family and friends had flown in from across the country to watch our class walk across that stage. But like everyone else in my graduating class, I had watched the economy turn from bad to worse my senior year. We graduates had degrees, but very limited prospects. Numerous applications had not panned out and I knew that the next day, when my lease ended, I would no longer have a place to call home.
The weeks ahead weren’t easy. I gathered up everything I couldn’t carry and put it into storage. Then, because I knew my small university town couldn’t offer me any opportunities, I packed up my car and drove to Southern California to find work. But what I thought would take a week dragged into two, and then four, and 100 job applications later, I found myself in the exact same spot as I was before. And the due date to begin paying back my student loans was creeping ever closer.
You know that feeling when you wake up and you are just consumed with dread? Dread about something you can’t control – that sense of impending failure that lingers over you as you hope that everything that happened to you thus far was just a bad dream? That feeling became a constant in my life.
Days felt like weeks, weeks like months, and those many months felt like an unending eternity of destitution. And the most frustrating part was no matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t seem to make any progress.
So what did I do to maintain my sanity? I wrote. Something about putting words on a page made everything seem a little clearer – a little brighter. Something about writing gave me hope. And if you want something badly enough… sometimes a little hope is all you need!
I channeled my frustration into a children’s book. Beyond the River was the story of an unlikely hero featuring a little fish who simply refused to give up on his dream.
And then one day, without any sort of writing degree or contacts in the writing world – just a lot of hard work and perseverance – I was offered a publishing contract for my first book! After that, things slowly began to fall into place. I was offered a second book deal. Then, a few months later, I got an interview with The Walt Disney Company and was hired shortly after.
The moral of this story is… don’t give up. Even if things look bleak now, don’t give up. Two years ago I was huddled in my car drinking cold soup right out of the can. Things change.
If you work hard, give it time, and don’t give up, things will always get better. Oftentimes our dreams lie in wait just a little further upstream… all we need is the courage to push beyond the river.
Alex is the author of a new children’s story called Beyond The River about a little fish who is looking for answers. And notice that Alex didn’t sit on his butt waiting for the government to come and rescue him.
Collective action is overrated
by Charles Lane
Of the 2,000-plus words in President Obama’s second inaugural address, surely the most provocative were “collective action.”
He presented American history as a “journey,” during which, at every crucial turn, we discovered “together” that “preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
His examples were efforts led by the federal government: interstate highways, financial regulation, the New Deal-Great Society safety net and victory in war.
What would Mancur Olson have made of this? The late University of Maryland economist wrote a book called “The Logic of Collective Action,” which, though first published in 1965, still provides a powerful counterpoint to the vision Obama laid out.
Olson’s critique of collective action is complicated, and it is made less accessible by an ungainly prose style. But the gist is that large numbers of people do not naturally band together to secure common interests. In fact, the larger the group, the less likely it is to act in a truly collective manner.
A new study shows that 60% of young Americans plan to buy firearms. The other 40% were confused, saying they thought they were free under Obamacare.
Stuck in Reverse, Detroit Edges Closer to Bankruptcy
At the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, luxury was in the air. Pricey new Bentleys and Maseratis glittered – including a Maserati 2014 Quattroporte with a $132,000 price tag; U.S. Cabinet Secretaries and dignitaries rubbed shoulders; and many of the well-heeled attendees ponied up for a $300-a-ticket black-tie charity ball.
But in a city that is slowly dying, the glitz didn’t extend much beyond the Cobo Center exhibition hall.
Program about women dealing with having had an abortion
Surrendering The Secret
Notorious “gun map” wildly inaccurate
When the Journal News published a map showing the location of all households in their corner of New York, gun-rights activists vehemently criticized the decision as irresponsible, one that put the entire community in danger. As it turns out, they underestimated just how irresponsible the Journal News decision was. The map wildly overstated the number of active gun permits, and it turns out the newspaper didn’t bother to verify any of their information (via Instapundit):
The newspaper map of one New York county’s pistol permits was riddled with problems, thanks to inaccurate data in official records, acknowledges the paper that published it. Just 3,907 of the 16,998 permit-holding households displayed on the Journal News‘ Rockland County map were current; the rest were classified as “historical,” with no updates in the past five years, explains Rockland’s county clerk. Some permits were issued as long ago as the 1930s; owners could have moved, ditched their guns, or died since then.
The Journal News offers this lame rationale:
Until this month, only Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau counties required permits to be renewed every five years; New York City requires an update every three years.
Every other county in New York — including Rockland — issued permits that were good for a person’s lifetime, and though it was the responsibility of the permit holder to update his information, many simply did not, Piperato said.
Yes, you see, it was the responsibility of the gun owner to update records, even though they might have died in the interim. It certainly wasn’t the Journal News’ responsibility to actually verify that the data was correct, or that they weren’t working with data from, say, the 1930s. Verification and research into what data actually means is so passé, especially when a newspaper can put people’s lives at risk to make a political point — and at the same time come up with a cool graphic.
Good lord, after all the bourhaha they caused the dimwits couldn’t even get it right!
In Kentucky, Do the Interests of MoveOn and the Tea Party Really “Align”?
The sometimes contradictory nature of the grassroots conservative criticism of GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was apparent a few weeks ago when one conservative group began to advertise against McConnell from the right. It turned out this same group, which rates members of Congress on their dedication to conservative principles and freedom, gives McConnell a 95 percent rating.
It sometimes appears to me that some Tea Party purists are determined to kill off the Tea Party movement if they can’t get their own way. Align with MoveOn? That isn’t a “bad” idea, it’s insane! If the Tea Party is this stupid they are unworthy of our support. And their support for flawed candidates, ala Todd Akin, has all ready given the Dems enough gifts. Like the state of Missouri where Claire McCaskill must kiss Todd Akins picture every night before she goes to bed. Without him, she would no longer be in the Senate.
Just stop with the ideological bullshit you clowns!
During an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Valerie Jarrett profusely thanked the network for its coverage of Obama. Why? That’s like visiting the Grand Canyon and thanking your echo.
“One-Third of Fourth Graders are Functionally Illiterate”
The U.S. education system is failing our kids and has been for decades. Thus, the first step towards solving this problem is admitting that we have one. And we certainly do — as AFP’s Casey Given points out in his op-ed in The Hill today:
Since 1983, the freshmen high school graduation rate has increased a measly 1.8 percent. Meanwhile, student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress has stagnated, dropping by 1 point in reading and increasing by merely 4 points in math among 17-year-olds from the early 1980s to 2008. Today, one-third of fourth graders are functionally illiterate as judged by the NAEP.So, what exactly went wrong?
CBS’s Kroft on Why Obama Does 60 Minutes: ‘He Knows We’re Not Going To Play Gotcha With Him’
Remember when 60 Minutes was a tough, hard-hitting program that backed guests against the wall in search of the truth?
I guess that’s no longer the case, at least as far as the current White House resident is concerned. No wonder Obama likes doing this current iteration of gotcha-less 60 Minutes.
How proud the folks at CBS must be to know they’ve created an environment where the President of the United States feels comfortable coming on their network without any concern that he might be challenged and therefore look bad or stupid.
Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!
As if CBS isn’t getting enough flack from the Steve Kroft Softball Interview there is more news about the lack of credibility at that biased and dishonest network
CBS Continues to Block CNET From Committing Journalism
Krauthammer: Bipartisan Immigration Reform Is “Highly Misleading”
NYT: Stopping Global Warming “Strikingly Similar” To Ending Apartheid…
With one big difference, apartheid was real, global warming, not so much.
How can anyone take the NYT seriously when it continually uses such hyperbolic headlines?
Worth a Read:
CNN’s Erin Burnett Says President Obama May Be ‘Making Up’ Camp David Skeet-Shooting Pastime
Raddatz: I Was ‘Fair’ During VP Debate; Twitter Critics ‘Live In Basements With 75 Cats’
NB’s Graham Slams Steve Kroft’s Embarrassing Softball Chat with President Obama & Sec. Clinton
DC Power Plant Continues to Burn Coal, Environmentalists Fume
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.” ~ Edward R. Murrow