Witch’s Will For A February Morning

My Pick of the Litter Today

Who Will the Muslim Brotherhood Heed: Allah or Tom Friedman (and such people)? No Contest

by Barry Rubin

Sigh. I really don’t want to write this article, but we have too good a case study of contemporary Western foreign policy reporting, debate, and elite attitudes toward international affairs to ignore. Doing a better job here is vital, as this task involves the fate of millions of people, matters of war and peace, the most basic interests of the United States, and the decency of intellectual discourse.

I refer, of course, to Thomas L. Friedman’s latest effort: “The Belly Dancing Barometer.” (Tens of millions of lives are at stake — that’s worth a flippant title and goofy concept, right?)

Friedman writes:

Since the start of the 2011 revolution in Tahrir Square, every time the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood faced a choice of whether to behave in an inclusive way or grab more power, true to its Bolshevik tendencies it grabbed more power and sacrificed inclusion. [President] Morsi’s power grab will haunt him.

The Brotherhood needs to understand that its version of political Islam — which is resistant to women’s empowerment and religious and political pluralism — might be sustainable if you are Iran or Saudi Arabia, and you have huge reserves of oil and gas to buy off all the contradictions between your ideology and economic growth. But if you are Egypt, you need to be as open to the world and modernity as possible to unleash all of the potential for growth.

So, let me get this straight.

Friedman is saying that you cannot trust the Brotherhood, as it seeks total power and is anti-democratic.

Hmm: what’s Friedman been saying the last two years? Well, he has been an apologist for the Brotherhood, a cheerleader for the course taken by the “Arab Spring,” and has constantly insisted that the “democratic” revolution is going well. Indeed, in January 2012 I wrote an analysis of Friedman’s coverage titled: “Friedman Cheers as Egyptians are Enslaved.”

Now, when it’s too late? Friedman is supposedly outraged to see what’s going on there.

Now, he concludes that the Egyptian regime is not democratic at all.

However, he draws no conclusions about how U.S. policy should change to adjust for his discovery. Does Friedman now favor — as he hints in the article — using real pressure on Egypt if the regime continues to be repressive at home? Will he criticize Obama for not doing so?

If Mursi [I’ll stick with my transliteration] has “Bolshevik tendencies,” might that not also lead to his doing something nasty to U.S. interests?

It’s like identifying a mass murderer, and then asking him “Do you really think you can get away with this without a vast criminal organization behind you?”, rather than hollering: “Help! Police! There’s a mass murderer over there!”


More Stuff:

Beretta starting to look at moving out of Maryland after gun-control push

Earlier today, I linked to a Christian Science Monitor report that the firearms industry had begun to organize in opposition to the recent push for increased gun control, but that the major manufacturers had not yet committed themselves.  That situation has changed, reports the Washington Post, at least in Maryland, where Beretta makes it home — at least for now.  The company has begun considering a relocation of its headquarters to a state where its product hasn’t been made illegal, and may take hundreds of jobs with them:

Beretta, the nearly 500-year-old family-owned company that made one of James Bond’s firearms, has already invested more than $1 million in the machine and has planned to expand its plant further in Prince George’s County to ramp up production.

But under an assault-weapons ban that advanced late last week in the Maryland General Assembly, experts say the gun would be illegal in the state where it is produced.

Now Beretta is weighing whether the rifle line, and perhaps the company itself, should stay in a place increasingly hostile toward its products. Its iconic 9mm pistol — carried by every U.S. soldier and scores of police departments — would also be banned with its high capacity, 13-bullet magazine.

“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” said Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for Beretta.

On the line: at least 300 jobs in Maryland’s Prince George County.  That’s enough to worry even Governor Martin O’Malley’s Democratic allies in the state legislature.  The Post’s Aaron Davis gets the president of the state Senate, Thomas Miller, to admit that he’s “concerned” about a possible move to “places a lot more friendly to the company than this state.” In the lower chamber, the Democrat representing the district, Del. Joseph Vallario, told the Post that “we want to keep those jobs.” Vallario’s chairing the chamber’s Judiciary Committee, so he has some influence on that outcome, but so far the bill doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Beretta general counsel Jeffrey Reh reminded the legislature that Beretta once moved a significant facility to Virginia the last time the state tried this, and that the next time might be the last:

“I think they thought we were bluffing” in the 1990s, Reh said. “But Berettas don’t bluff.”

For obvious reasons, Beretta would like to stay put.  Moving any kind of business costs money, and manufacturing more than most, and the disruption to production will be considerable.  Given the history of hostility toward guns and gun manufacturing by the state’s political class, though, it might end up being costlier to stay than to leave. Reh told the Post that the Italian owner recently visited the facility, and when briefed on the law, told Reh, “There always seems to be a problem with Maryland.”

No company will put up with that forever, and few would stay in a state where most of their product line couldn’t be sold.

  Obama Hails “Bipartisan” Hagel Confirmation Even Though Only 4 GOP Senators Voted To Confirm…

Who does he think he’s fooling?

( – With four Republicans siding with Democrats, the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Chuck Hagel as President Obama’s secretary of defense, a nomination that drew strong opposition within the Republican former senator’s own party, with some troubled by past statements on Israel and Iran.

GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Mike Johanns, (Nebr.) and Richard Shelby (Ala.) supported Hagel in the 58-41 vote. No Democrats opposed him. (Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a staunchly pro-Israel New Jersey Democrat who recently announced he will not seek re-election next year, was reportedly home ill.)


Actually he’ll “fool” a lot of people because many won’t bother to look beyond the headline. And Hagel, whom I despise, will be used, just like RINO Ray LaHood for Obama’s nefarious purposes.

GOP Shouldn’t Fear Standing Up to Obama

by Jonathan S. Tobin

With the sequester all but certain to go into effect at the end of the month, the only suspense associated with the topic is whether the Democratic expectation that the public will blame it all on the Republicans will be vindicated in the coming weeks. So far, polls show them to be largely correct, and should the administration’s predictions of post-sequester doom and gloom come true it may not be possible for the GOP to resist the pressure to give in to the president’s demands for more tax increases.

This belief in Republican defeat on the sequester is based in part on the experience of the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling deadlines, when the House majority believed it had no choice but to fold or face the wrath of an outraged nation. It may be that sequester-related chaos at the airports and the border–to cite two particular departments whose secretaries took to the airwaves in recent days to play Chicken Little–will be enough to stamped the GOP again. Of course, many Republicans are also rightly worried about the impact of the draconian across-the-board cuts on national defense. But integral to the idea that the party give in is the thesis that this confrontation will lead inevitably to victory for the Democrats in the 2014 midterms. But as Stu Rothenberg points out in Roll Call, this is a rather weak argument for those urging Republican sequester surrender.


What’s Up With the Democrats?

Dem Reps Maxine Waters And Keith Ellison Outraged By Sight Of Debt Clock On Capitol Hill…

Some members of Congress apparently don’t like to be reminded about how much debt the country continues to rack up.

During a House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday on the budget, two Democrats complained after House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling instructed that two monitors in the hearing room display a real-time running national debt clock.

California Rep. Maxine Waters and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison both issued complaints about the displays, according to video of the hearing.

“Clearly it is a political prop designed to message ideologically,” Ellison said.


No Ellison, you idiot POS, it’s a fact and that’s not a prop it’s a crying shame!

What Up With Republicans?

The GOP Establishment Should Think Twice Before Trying to Undermine the Tea Party

Even though it changed the terms of the political debate, thus giving them a majority in the 2010 elections, many in the Republican establishment deeply resent the Tea Party. They don’t like being monitored by taxpayer-friendly groups that will expose them when they side with special interests (as they have in recent months on Export-Import Bank subsides and housing handouts).

And they really hate the idea of being held accountable at the polls when they side with the corrupt big-spenders in Washington. Just ask Senator Bennett and Congressman Inglis.

Pork…or principles?

Now the Washington establishment is fighting back. Karl Rove, best known for helping to steer the Bush Administration in favor of statist policies that led to the disastrous elections of 2006 and 2008, even has created a PAC to oppose the Tea Party.


Josh Groban: February Song

  Carson: No sneak peek for Obama

The White House repeatedly asked Ben Carson for his speech before the rising  Republican star criticized President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast  earlier this month.

Carson, a prominent neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University, declined to do  so, noting that he doesn’t put his speeches down on paper beforehand.

“I told them that I don’t have an advance copy because I don’t write out my  speeches and I don’t use teleprompters …they asked more than once … I gave  them the [Biblical] texts around which the remarks would be framed … I said  read those texts, the remarks will be framed around those … that should have  told them something,” Carson said in an interview with The Hill this week.

His speech attracted a lot of media attention, most notably a “Ben Carson for  president” piece from The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. It also landed  him on two recent Sunday political shows.

Many on the right championed the address, which appeared to make Obama  uncomfortable and has been viewed on YouTube nearly 2.8 million times.

Liberals, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), criticized Carson for  delivering a “political speech” during a religious event.

But the White House, which did not comment for this article, has not  criticized Carson.

After Carson finished his remarks at the prayer breakfast, the usually  loquacious Vice President Biden sat next to the physician but had little to say  from that point on, Carson pointed out.


He spoke that long and that well with no prepared text? No wonder Obama looked miserable. He was outclassed, outtalked and outed as a pinhead.

The Growing Tyranny of the Political Elite

Recently,  the White House released  a photo of the president shooting skeet.  But where’s the snap of him  fishing for bass?  Apparently the White House felt compelled to portray  Obama as a marksman in light of the widespread pushback over the  administration’s gun control agenda but felt no urgency to defend the prospect  of the EPA’s potential regulation of lead in fishing weights.  Yet the  agency seriously entertained just such a ban last year.  What’s next?   The lead in barbells?

For  hundreds of years, human beings have used lead for many purposes, and life  on earth has not exactly come to an end.  Now we are told that the lead  used in hunting and fishing is harming animals and fish, and it may just have to  stop.  The scary thing is that one individual, an appointed bureaucrat  directing the Environmental Protection Agency, has the power to impose such a  ban.

The  pattern is familiar with this administration.  A small cadre of elite  administrators, czars, judges, or politicians — often just one person — thinks  it (or he or she) has the right to decide what’s best for 320 million Americans.  Without adequate information, debate, or cost analysis, regulations are written  and imposed, and no one, not even the people’s representatives in the House of Representatives, has the right to influence  them.

Political  elites have always existed in America, and during the past 100 years they have  gravitated toward the Democratic Party.  FDR’s “brain trust,” which  included Guy Tugwell and Hugh Johnson, was just one example.  But perhaps  no administration in our history has been controlled by elites to the extent  that the Obama presidency has.  With academics like Cass Sunstein and crony  capitalists like those backing green energy projects calling the shots, the  elite have stepped in, determined to rule in place of the public  will.

What  is now happening was predicted — and celebrated — over forty years ago by  Robert L. Heilbroner, one of the darlings of the New Left.  In The  Limits of American Capitalism, Heilbroner laid out a plan by which the  innately conservative leanings of the American people could be quashed and  replaced by the centralized control of a political elite.  Heilbroner’s  book concludes with a chilling vision of the way forward.  What he  advocates is, in effect, a socialist totalitarian state, where the government  controls every aspect of human life.  In the name of reform, this statist  system would regulate if not nationalize all major industries — but it would  also go farther than that.

What  Heilbroner envisaged was the rise of a ruling elite centralized in government,  media, and the universities.  This group of decision-makers would operate  “on behalf of” the public and on the basis of “scientific principles” of social  control.  As Heilbroner writes, “[n]ot alone economic affairs … but the  numbers and location of the population, its genetic quality, the manner of  social domestication of children, the choice of lifework — even the duration of  life itself — are all apt to become subjects for scientific investigation and  control” (The Limits of American Capitalism, New York, 1966, pp.  129-130).


Liberal Cockroach

Rep. Ellison Calls Hannity ‘Worst Excuse For a Journalist I’ve Ever Seen';  Hannity Calls Him ‘Waste of Time’

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) had an amazingly heated discussion with  Fox News’s Sean Hannity Tuesday evening.

At the beginning of the six-minute slugfest, Ellison called his host “the  worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen” leading to a truly ugly encounter  that culminated in Hannity ending the interview by saying to his guest, “You are  a total waste of time” (video follows with rough transcript and commentary):


I saw Ellison on Cavuto a few times and although I am not a big Hannity fan, I think he got it absolutely right. Ellison is a total waste of time. And oxygen. JMO

It figures he would be a Democrat because he is absolutely a jackass. And that’s being very unkind to jackasses in the animal world.

  Equating Christians With Racists

That is the Washington Post’s official policy.

Last Sunday, the Washington Post’s ombudsman casually revealed that the official policy of reporters at the paper is to treat opponents of gay marriage as the moral equivalent of racists.

Addressing the complaint that the paper is a propaganda sheet for gay activists, ombudsman Patrick Pexton disclosed an e-mail exchange between a reader and a Post reporter. The reader had asked the reporter why the paper covers the gay marriage debate so one-sidedly.

“The reason that legitimate media outlets routinely cover gays is because it is the civil rights issue of our time. Journalism, at its core, is about justice and fairness, and that’s the ‘view of the world’ that we espouse; therefore, journalists are going to cover the segment of society that is still not treated equally under the law,” responded the reporter.

In other words, reporters don’t cover debates but decide them. On the basis of their notions of “justice and fairness,” they tailor all coverage and determine in advance the winners of debates. This admission—that there is no difference between the paper’s front page and editorial page—would have been bad enough on its own. But then the reporter dug the hole deeper by telling the reader that opponents of gay marriage are no more legitimate than segregationists: “As for accuracy, should the media make room for racists, i.e. those people who believe that black people shouldn’t marry white people? Any story on African-Americans wouldn’t be wholly accurate without the opinion of a racist, right?”

“Of course I have a bias. I have a bias toward fairness,” he added.

Pexton seemed only mildly concerned by this reporter’s bald advocacy. He tried to explain it sympathetically (while hoping for more “detachment and objectivity”), but ended up just reiterating that reporters see traditional Christians as modern-day racists:“They see people opposed to gay rights today as cousins, perhaps distant cousins, of people in the 1950s and 1960s who, citing God and the Bible, opposed black people sitting in the bus seat, or dining at the lunch counter, of their choosing.”

That a major American newspaper likens Christians to racists would once have generated outrage. Now it inspires little more than a shrug. The paper’s outnumbered ombudsman blandly notes it, wishes for a little more “objectivity,” and then moves on.

The bias has never been more open and unapologetic, and yet a supposedly serious figure like NBC’s Chuck Todd can say with a straight face, as he did last week, that its existence is“mythology.”


   ABC: Edits of Michelle Obama’s “Assault Weapons” Claim Made “Solely for Time”

ABC news is defending their decision to selectively edit Michelle Obama’s claim during Good Morning America today that an “automatic weapon” was used in the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old who was killed shortly after performing at President Obama’s inaugural celebration. The “sole” reason, they argue, was for time.

Via the Washington Examiner, the first lady’s quote in full is below, showing the portions removed:

She was standing out in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids grow – grew – up, where our house is.  She had just taken a chemistry test. And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need. I just don’t want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.

Those 10 words, or 17 in total, do not take enough time to warrant an edit on that basis alone in my opinion. The fact is that the first lady made a false claim that the weapon was automatic when it wasn’t. The Associated Press reported police said a man  “opened fire with a handgun before fleeing in a waiting car.” If she didn’t actually know what kind of weapon was used, however, wouldn’t it have been more natural to have just said, “Because some kids had some guns they didn’t need”? Probably. But even if she meant to say, “assault weapon,” she was definitely attempting to use the gun-control agenda buzzwords. Either way, the edit (er, not in the web version) assured that she didn’t make an erroneous claim on the show and/or look ignorant on the issue.

If, however, she truly doesn’t know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons, Emily Miller breaks it down for her:

Automatic weapons have been highly regulated for civilian owners since the National Firearms Act of 1934. Owning one means going through an extensive process and background checks with the ATF. It is hard to believe that Mrs. Obama, a Harvard Law School grad, is not aware of the national firearms laws.

They have been banned from manufacture and import since 1986, so the low demand has made them very expensive, often more than $20,000. The last known crimes from automatic firearms were by law enforcement in the 1980s. Street criminals can’t get them, but confusing the public into believing that gang members are using weapons of war helps perpetuate myths to push a gun-control agenda.

Any way you want to look at what the first lady said, she was completely wrong on the most important point: Hadiya Pendleton’s life was taken because of someone’s decision to pull a trigger–and that has nothing to do with what type of weapon was used.

They edited out her lies and her ignorance. Sadly enough, that’s not “news”.

Those who should protect us from lying pols now enable, defend and help them.”Good Morning America”? I think not. With this kind of media it’s more like “Good Night America.”

Media Malpractice:

Run For Your Lives! Sequester Slashes Spending by Nearly a Third, Warns Panicky  Ed Schultz

Ed Schultz’s radio show is long overdue for a laugh track, seeing how the  hilarity just keeps coming.
Fresh on the heels of his delusional  claim that a tax hike isn’t actually a tax hike, Schultz on his radio show  yesterday insisted that sequestration due to start March 1 will gut federal  spending by “damn near a third” when in fact the impact is around … 2 percent. (audio clip after page break)

To  say math isn’t Schultz’s strong suit understates the case by a factor of 10.  Come to think of it, the man doesn’t really have a strong suit, unless bellicose  braying qualifies.

Listen for yourself while Schultz tries to set the record straight with a  skeptical caller and fails miserably (audio)  —


A Ruling on Racial Progress

Jonah Goldberg by  Jonah Goldberg

I can only hope that the scourge of racism is finally purged from Stewartstown and Pinkham’s Grant. These are two of 10 New Hampshire towns covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires local officials to get permission, or “preclearance,” on any changes to their election laws.

Stewartstown has just over a thousand souls in it and is 99 percent white. In 1970, when it was put under the authority of Section 5, the census listed two blacks out of its 1,008 residents. Pinkham’s Grant boasts nine residents, and it must also beg Washington for permission to make any changes to how it votes.

In 1970, New Hampshire required all of its citizens to pass a literacy test to register to vote. But Pinkham’s Grant, Stewartstown and the other eight towns also had low voter-participation rates. These two factors — a test of any kind for voting and participation rates under 50 percent — met the criteria for oversight under Section 5.

But after years of onerous preparation, the state filed for a “bailout” from the oversight provisions of Section 5 in November. And although the Justice Department hasn’t taken a whole state off its watch list since the early 1980s (back when that hotbed of Jim Crow, Maine, was taken off the list), New Hampshire will probably be let off the hook.

In 2009, the Supreme Court signaled to the Justice Department that the Voting Rights Act was sorely in need of updating. In 1965, the legislation was a radical but necessary response to entrenched, institutionalized racism. Today, blacks vote at a higher rate than whites in many Section 5 jurisdictions, and in others the shortfall is hardly due to anything like Jim Crow. Latino rates are on the rise too.

Nine whole states are still covered; seven of them are from the old Confederacy (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia) plus Arizona and Alaska. But there are jurisdictions in parts of Florida, California and the Confederate bastions of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City that must seek preclearance from Uncle Sam as well.

“The evil that Section 5 is meant to address may no longer be concentrated in the jurisdictions singled out for preclearance,” the high court said in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 vs. Holder.

Justice Clarence Thomas complained that the prospect of getting a bailout — i.e. getting out from under Section 5 — is essentially a “mirage.” The Justice Department is eager to prove it’s not, because the court is hearing a new case this week, Shelby County vs. Holder, which the court could use to throw out the whole regime.

Liberals are horrified by any talk of getting the feds out of the election business, somewhat understandably. The passage of the Voting Rights Act is a treasured chapter in American political history. It’s also not surprising that much of the argument for keeping it unreformed rests on the emotional resonance of the civil rights movement half a century ago and the alleged popularity of the law.


  Liberal Super PAC Goes After Mitch McConnell’s ‘Chinese’ Wife

A Democratic group is under sharp criticism for controversial online messages about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife.

For months, the liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky has attacked McConnell and held demonstrations at his offices and home.

Recently, the group turned its attention to McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

In a Feb. 14 Twitter message, Progress says: This woman has the ear of (Sen. McConnell)—she’s his wife. May explain why your job moved to China!”

The Tweet links to a website run by conspiracy theorist and radio host Jeff Rense, alleging Chao, who was born in Taiwan, discriminated against American workers during her tenure.

Progress Kentucky spokesman Curtis Morrison says the group’s leaders do not review every Tweet and initially denied any had mentioned Chao superficially. But he later told WFPL that a group volunteer had sent out the messages targeting the former secretary.

“It’s not an official statement. It’s a Tweet. And we will remove it if it’s wrong,” he says. “I follow Ashley Judd on Twitter and she removed a Tweet the other day, she Tweeted to you Phillip. People make mistakes in Tweets. It happens. Inferring that Elaine Chao is not a U.S. citizen was not our intention.”

Other messages from Progress’s social networking account about Chao have run for the past several days, saying her “Chinese (money)” is buying state elections. According to campaign finance records, members of Chao’s family donated $80,000 to the Kentucky GOP last year.

The super PAC has also posted vocal support of their criticism, one of which said “not many know McConnell’s wife is Chinese.”


I didn’t know, or didn’t remember that Elaine Chao was married to Mitch McConnell. What surprises me is how hypocritical the left always is. They see sexism and racism everywhere but never seem to see it in themselves. Pathetic!

Worth a Read:

Report: And the Reason Chris Christie Wasn’t Invited to CPAC is…


Krauthammer On Michelle At The Oscars: “The Obamas Are Everywhere”


Obama, Our Celebrity President, Faces Real World Test


Bob Woodward blasts President Obama ‘madness’



  Man  – a creature made at the end of the week’s work when God was  tired.
~ Mark  Twain


  1. Chris Christie wasn’t invited to CPAC because they don’t want any phoney RINOs involved. Like many others, myself included, they have wakened to the fact that Christie is just another egotistic POS that is trying to latch on to his 15 minutes of fame, hoping it will grant him a niche in the path to national office. Not going to happen — too many people are waking up and seeing the putrid meat hiding behind all the blubber. His boasting of the frequent phone calls he has received from Obummer certainly hasn’t endeared him to many republicans.

    Meanwhile, another POS that is trying to harness a ride to national office is Martin O’Malley of Maryland. If he and his democRAT cohorts drive Beretta out of Maryland, it might just finish sinking the state. If Maryland loses the many jobs that are provided by Beretta, it could be distastrous to the state’s economy. O’Malley has been warned. It remains to be seen whether he actually has the power in the state that he thinks he has, or if the legislature decides to cover their own a##es in view of the scuttlebutt that is circulating locally.

    Gun control is not as popular with the electorate of Maryland as some people seem to think.

    • Christie has certainly proved to be a disappointment. Should have known, most/all politicians are all about “them” not all about “us”. Disgusting and disgraceful. Fortunately many Republicans now see Christie for what he is. A big mouthy RINO. O’Malley is a disgusting, loud-mouth with delusions of grandeur. It seems he has aspirations of the Oval Office. I can’t see that happening but these egomaniacs always think they will rise to the occasion. What is happening with Beretta is appalling. What the hell is it with these liberals that they do crap like this?


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