Stories of the Day
It’s happening. I am witnessing it first hand at the local level and it is more than disappointing. I really thought the Republicans were better than this, but apparently not. “It is unbecoming a conservative to try to shame AT or its contributors into silence. I expect this from the progressive left; not from conservatives of any stripe. If conservatives start acting like liberals — especially regarding speech — then as a movement, we are doomed.” A Response to AT’s Comment Threads
Come together! “The entire American experiment in smaller government — and even in secular government — was based on the presumption that Americans individually would be actively religious. Unlike Europeans of the Enlightenment era — and unlike the Left today — the Founders understood that people are not basically good. That is a defining belief of Judaism as well as of Christianity. Therefore, to be good, the great majority of people need moral religion and belief in accountability to a morally judging God. In other words, you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left. Social conservatives know that they need fiscal conservatives. They know that the bigger the state, the smaller the God. They know that proponents of the ever-larger state want their own gods, such as Mother Earth, to replace the Bible’s God. Fiscal conservatives must come to understand that they need social conservatives, too. They need them philosophically, as I’ve suggested, and they need them politically. There will never be enough Americans who are fiscally but not socially conservative to win a national election. Sorry.” A Note to ‘Fiscal Conservatives:’ If you really want a smaller government, you need to work with people who believe in a big God.
Mark my words. Unless we stop the Democrats in November of this year, and then in November of 2016, we’ve not seen anything yet, and the hard way will become even harder. “The traditional American distrust of the centralized state is based on the possibly uncharitable but by no means indefensible assumption that every functionary in the Department of Education is a potential IRS rogue, that our National Security Agency can transform life in these United States as deeply and as darkly as co-opted Crimean bureaucracies can help a Russian autocrat fix his fangs in Ukraine, that there is no one who can be trusted with political power, even when we must by necessity invest them with it. Bureaucracies can indeed act swiftly when they wish to.” The Tyrant in the Gray Flannel Suit: Traditional American distrust of the centralized state is based on some lessons learned the hard way
The Republicans ARE the party of big ideas. “I do not much blame the Left for hesitating to talk about Big Ideas. The Left has been losing the Big Idea debate for a generation or more, in no small part because its last Big Idea killed 100 million people, give or take, and not in Mr. Klein’s projecting-abstractly-from-a-CBO-study way but in the concentration-camps-and-hunger-terror way. Marxism was the Left’s Big Idea for the better part of a century, and its collapse — which was moral, economic, political, and complete — left a howling void in the Left’s intellectual universe. Nothing has quite managed to fill it: In the immediate wake of the collapse of Communism, the anticapitalists sought shelter in a variety of movements, few of which grew to be of any real consequence, with the exception of the environmentalist movement. But the lenten self-mortification implied by a consistent environmentalist ethic has limited that movement’s appeal as a governing philosophy and an individual ethic both, hence its fragmentation into a motley sprawl of mini-crusades. It is easy to be anti-fracking when that does not require you to give up anything, easy to oppose the expansion of the Keystone pipeline network when you can be confident that the gas pumps in your hometown will always be full, easy for well-off Whole Foods shoppers to abominate varieties of grain that are possessed by evil spirits or cooties or whatever it is this week.” The Destroyer Cometh: A dumbed-down Democratic party runs out of ideas.
He did say he was going to fundamentally transform our country. “Focusing on making it easier for those who have aided the Islamist enemy, denying persecuted Christians, and making things more difficult for Jews to simply get visas, is unreasonable, dangerous and makes one wonder, what exactly is the Obama administration trying to do?” BRUCE: Obama’s bizarre immigration rules
The truth. “It’s time for all black Americans — regardless of their political views — to condemn members of the press and Democrat Party for spinning every confrontation, crime or disagreement that a white person has with a black person, into an accusation of racism. First of all, it diminishes real instances of racism—this is harmful to society, in general, but the victims, in particular. Cry wolf too many times…and people start to ignore you. Pad up fake racism…and resources that should be devoted to eradicate truly pernicious cases of racism are often diverted to the propped up ones, allowing serious crimes to be overlooked or minimized.” Call to Black Americans
I can only imagine what they press would say if a Republican president were to try this. “Nice try, CNN. It’s true that all presidents are criticized for taking vacations. But what other president would go on vacation with Vladimir Putin about ready to invade the rest of Ukraine? Has this fellow no conception of the perception that is being formed by his playing in the sunshine while Russian tanks rev their engines in preparation for a possible incursion? Absolutely incredible.” Amid crisis in Ukraine, Obama will vacation in Florida
Chaos out of a vacuum. “Last week I reported the alarm of a number of Reagan and Bush 41 and 43 era foreign and national security experts that “once the steadying and mediating force in the global order, the United States under the current administration is viewed as feckless and unreliable in all global quarters.” This week’s visiting Europeans gave a clear picture of how quickly confusion comes to Europe when America effectively leaves the scene.” Division and Confusion: Europe Without America
More on the “chaos out of a vacuum.” “The West lacks the moral coherency of the Reagan/Thatcher/Pope John Paul/Lech Walesa era of Western leadership. Such coherency is the only thing that could ever prevent Putin, or anyone like him, from batting around the free world and it’s penumbra like a chew toy.” BREAKING: Russia Takes Ukrainian Military Base, Gives It Back
As I’ve been saying for a while, get your tickets to NYC soon. Because in a few years, it won’t be safe to visit. “When one starts thinking Anthony Weiner probably would have been a better choice, you’ve got a serious problem two months into your term.” NYC Dictator de Blasio Already Craters to 39% Approval
This: “The Dalai Lama is a longtime Marxist—a fact the media tend to play down—yet on this trip he met with prominent capitalists on both coasts. At Santa Clara University, a Jesuit school in Silicon Valley, he spoke to business leaders, emphasizing the importance of “compassion” in the workplace, and telling them to focus less on a materialism and adopt a sense of “mission.” In Washington, he was hosted for two days by the conservative American Enterprise Institute and participated in panel discussions on happiness and free markets.” And this: “But that respect seems grudging. He also criticized “the capitalist country, United States,” as “the richest, but you also see a big gap between rich and poor.” And he said of capitalism that it “only takes the money, then exploitation.” And this: “Instagram launched in 2010 and was bought by Facebook for $1 billion two years later. Twitter went public in November and now has a market value of nearly $29 billion. The men and women who took risks to launch and fund these companies are now wealthy people. So while the Dalai Lama uses their products to further his global message, he suggests that their work isn’t virtuous since it has a profit motive. How can a wise man fail to see this connection?” The Dalai Lama’s Capitalist Contradictions: The longtime Marxist doesn’t seem to realize markets are the best way to ‘take care of others.’
This (emphasis mine): “Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, in an interview with NBC News, said this about his opponent, Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran and current Representative Tom Cotton: “There’s a lot of people in the Senate that didn’t serve in the military. Obviously in the Senate we have all types of different people, all kinds of different folks that have come from all types of different background— and I think that’s part of that sense of entitlement that he gives off is that, almost like, I served my country, let me into the Senate. But that’s not how it works in Arkansas.” And this: “Mr. Cotton is leading the race right now. That lead will grow because of Mark Pryor’s foolish and offensive line of attack. The race is still close and Cotton can’t let up. He needs to run as if he’s running a couple of points behind. But as an outside observer, my own hunch is that we’ll look back at Pryor’s comments and point to it as a sign of desperation and perhaps the moment in which (to borrow from this Willie Nelson classic) it can be said of the Pryor campaign, ‘Turn out the lights, the party’s over; they say that all good things must end. Let’s call it a night; the party’s over.’” Pryor’s Insane Attack on Military Service
If we’d elected Romney, it wouldn’t have had to be this way. “The number of long-term unemployed, out of work for more than half a year, has increased by 203,000 to 3.8 million. That’s 37 percent of total unemployment. Teenage unemployment went up for the second straight month, to 21.4 percent. Black unemployment went down a notch, to a still distressing 12 percent. Economic growth has been slowing. GDP was growing at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in last year’s third quarter, but was only at 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Some forecasters expect GDP in this year’s first quarter (which ends March 31st) to be perhaps as little as 1.5 percent. If that turns out to be true and the trend continues, future jobs reports will not look good.” The Jobs Report
Boom. “Based on February’s awful results, this year may be shaping up to be even worse than the previous three, just in time for what is supposed to be peak hiring — hence my earlier suggestion that we had better hope that February’s bad weather is what seriously hurt the results. If it’s not the cause, we’re in for a very rough ride in the coming months. It’s not too early to raise the distinct possibility that February’s awful results have far more to do with destructive federal government policies and programs than with ice and snow. Of special concern is its newest and most comprehensive initiative. Obamacare anyone?” The Job Market’s February Crumble: The Raw Numbers Tell an Ugly Story
Manipulation. “Labor also announced that the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent, from 6.6 percent. Even as the pencil pushers at the Federal Reserve remain fixated on this statistic, I’m telling you to ignore it. The jobless rate moves up and down for the wrong reason. By government definition, the jobless rate declines when people have given up looking for jobs. And it rises when people start getting encouraged about the economy and try to re-enter the labor force. Besides, I haven’t completely figured out yet how much this figure has been manipulated over the past few years. Yes, it has been manipulated. I just don’t know by how much, although I think I’m starting to figure out that answer. Don’t change your channel. I might have news on this next week.” The truth about February’s jobs report
This: “Earlier this week, the Washington Post editorial board blasted the Obama administration’s foreign policy as “fantasy”-based for the past five years. This week, we finally saw the long-overdue budget proposal from the White House, and discovered that the fantasy extends much farther than just the State Department. Even the New York Times described it as a populist “wish list,” which means the fantasy world has become even more noticeable for outsiders.” And this: “Obama budgets are always fantasies, in which no one but the White House indulges. That’s true this year, too, and it’s painfully obvious to everyone except the President and his staff.” WH fantasy world extends to budgets
And yet, the Democrats still love this man. “Democrats love to say that George Bush put two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, on the nation’s credit card. That means he didn’t push for a tax increase. But what about Barack Obama? He put a trillion dollar stimulus program, multiple bailouts, Medicaid expansion, Obamacare and God knows what else on the credit card. And, oh–by the way–he also put two wars on the credit card. He wound down the Iraq war on the timetable that had already been set by the Bush administration, and has continued the Afghanistan war for five years and counting. Eighty percent of American casualties in Afghanistan have come on Obama’s watch, and I assume most of our credit-card spending has, as well. Obama’s deficits are unprecedented in American history, and they continue at a level never before seen. So it is hard to understand how Democrats think they can get away with impugning Bush for ‘putting two wars on the credit card.’” And this: “The national debt is at $17 trillion, 470 billion and counting. Obama’s budget, if you take it seriously, would add another $8 trillion plus. When your children are paying the interest on that amount–it won’t be 3%, either–you will wonder what in the world we were doing, electing an unqualified, left-wing bozo like Barack Obama as president.” Barack Obama’s Credit Card: Declined!
Do your job and leave us alone. “’It is time for Washington to focus on the few things the constitution establishes as the federal government’s role,” Perry told the receptive crowd. The federal government should “get out of the health care business…get out of the education business… [and] stop hammering industry.’ According to Perry, there are two visions of America at the state level. In blue states, Perry said, taxes are out of control and jobs are fleeing. In red states, “freedom of the individual comes first. Taxes are low, spending is under control, and jobs are on the rise.” Rick Perry Calls for Return to Federalism Led by Red States
Try telling a Democrat that the Democrat party hates capitalism and they will laugh at you. “Speaking at CPAC on Friday, the star of 2016: Obama’s America said that Obama did not create American progressivism, but was instead deeply shaped by it and its “moral attack on capitalism.” And that is why it is a mistake to brush him off as a bumbling amateur. Obama, he said, knows exactly what he is doing. “The point about Obama is that he is someone who wants to shrink America’s footprint in the world,” he said. “He wants to remake America.” Modern progressives like Obama, D’Souza said, believe that “America and the wealth of America is based on theft.” He said they fundamentally believe that America stole land from Native Americans, took the labor of Africans, stole a part of Mexico, and is currently taking oil from the Middle East. “This is what we are up against,” D’Souza said of the “moral attack against capitalism.” Dinesh D’Souza: Obama Believes in ‘Moral Indictment of America and Free Market’
“Deep trouble” brewing for Democrats. Don’t screw it up Republicans (emphasis mine). “However, as of March 2014, the GOP has locked away two races, closed in on a third, well on their way with two more, and slight favorites in yet two more, giving the Republicans room to make an effective push into more purplish territory. They are fiercely contesting an open race in Michigan and now an incumbent in Colorado, and are threatening to do so in Iowa and New Hampshire. The higher they raise their maximum potential gains, the lower the number of races the Democrats can afford to write off. Despite the slacking off in Virginia, this remains a challenging map for those left-of-center. As of today, the Democrats are in deep trouble. We aren’t forecasting a landslide win for the GOP — eight months is a lifetime. But with the second firewall already burning and Republican advancements into states they failed to win in 2012, they may be well on their way.” In The Race For The Senate, GOP Is In The Driver’s Seat: A lot can change. But it looks like Democrats are in trouble
Is Obama good at anything? “Remember when the conventional fallback position on Obama was that at least he is successful in foreign policy? The current Fox News poll finds just 33 percent approving of the job the president is doing on international issues. That’s down 6 points since the end of last year. So what’s the good news for Democrats, other than the fact that Obama isn’t running again? It is this: Hillary Clinton is trouncing various GOP rivals in Fox’s polling. She holds double digit leads over Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush in a hypothetical 2016 presidential race. And 50 percent say Clinton would make a good president. Rand Paul and Joe Biden are tied for second place with 28 percent.” Poll contains good news and bad news for Democrats
Shifts: Arizona could be in play for the Democrats. We can’t let that happen. “That dynamic will pressure Democrats to maximize their Senate gains in racially diverse states, like Nevada and North Carolina, that are now closely balanced between the parties—and to bring into play other diversifying places that today tilt safely Republican. In coming years, the route to any Democratic Senate majority may be to trade gains in Georgia (where Michelle Nunn gives the party a competitive shot this year), Arizona, and eventually Texas for losses in West Virginia or South Dakota. “There is a demographic realignment going on,” Lake says, “that is going to change which states are in play for which side.” The tremors from that wrenching change will rumble for years—and could rattle the Democrats’ hold on the Senate this fall.” Parties Trading Places for 2014: Demographic realignment is remaking the Senate map—and that could cost Democrats their majority.
If you haven’t watched it yet, you must! “House of Cards does pose a more realistic threat to leftists, however: their 40-year monopoly on artistic political statements—and their tacit blacklist of anyone who tries to make opposing statements—may finally be coming to an end. House of Cards is not, as left-wing activist Randy Shaw wrote in a blithering and inattentive piece on Huffington Post, a “Republican fantasy world,” but it is not pure leftist cant, either. And that in itself makes it something of a New Thing on the show-business landscape.” A New Thing on Netflix: House of Cards is not a conservative show—except when it is
Tolerance is a two way street. “And yet, that appears to be insufficient for some gay marriage proponents. They don’t just want to win the legal right to marry. They don’t just want most Americans to recognize and affirm the equal dignity of their relationships. They appear to want and expect all Americans to recognize and affirm that equal dignity, under penalty of ostracism from civilized life.That is an unacceptable, illiberal demand. As I’ve argued before, liberal democracy is a political theory designed to allow people who disagree about the highest human goods to live together in peace and civility despite their differences. Like it or not — and a certain militant class of gay marriage proponents clearly do not like it at all — traditionalist religious believers are our fellow citizens and neighbors, and the United States is as much their country as it is ours.” Who are the real gay marriage bigots? A nasty intolerant streak runs through the argument of some gay rights supporters
Decoys. “As the Obama administration’s coverup of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s wrongdoings moves into high gear, Democrats are doing everything they can to direct public attention away from the scandal and tamp down growing calls for the president’s impeachment.” Will Lois Lerner Be Held in Contempt?
From the comments, the Democrats appear to have no problem silencing their opponents. Their true colors are apparent by their actions. They can’t win with their ideas, so they have to silence those with the good ideas. “The idea that politicians should write laws restricting people critical of them is as perverse as the idea that the sprawling, opaque IRS bureaucracy should be assigned to construe and apply such laws. It is bad enough that there is the misbegotten Federal Election Commission to do what the First Amendment forbids — government regulation of the quantity, content and timing of political speech.” The IRS’s behavior taxes credulity
Hypocrites. “The rejection of Condoleezza Rice as a commencement speaker at Rutgers by its faculty council won’t surprise many Hot Air readers. It doesn’t surprise Fox News commentator and generally liberal Juan Williams, but he’s not shrugging it off, either. Williams, who has written about the shocking treatment of black conservatives by his supposedly enlightened liberal brethren, makes sure to note this episode as yet another marker in a long arc of hatred and bigotry against African-Americans who dare to challenge liberal orthodoxy — even Juan Williams himself: ‘There is a disgraceful double standard amongst liberals, particularly those in academia, in the hatred they direct at black conservatives.’” Juan Williams: Treatment of Condi Rice by Rutgers a hateful liberal double standard for black conservatives
I am so bored by the Left. They’re so predictable. This: “To speak candidly for a moment, Condoleezza Rice is black and she is a woman, yet she is also a Republican. For those on the left, this cannot happen. Rice is a member of a minority group, she is female, one of the oppressed, and such people are neither conservatives nor Republicans, and if they were to unaccountably somehow become Republicans then a party of such bigotry would never elevate her to any real position of influence, but if such a figure were ever to achieve any status, then they certainly wouldn’t have joined anything so odious as the Bush administration. According to left-wing thinking Condoleezza Rice cannot exist, and yet there she is nonetheless, pulling their worldview to pieces. In this respect she has unacceptably transgressed the left’s tribal lines.” And this: “As a clumsy afterthought at the end of the main editorial piece by the students they make the implausible claim; “the point is, we just don’t feel comfortable having politicians as commencement speakers at all.” Does anyone for a moment believe that if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had instead been invited to give the same speech then these same individuals would be expressing such reservations? Quite clearly not.” Left-Wing Hypocrites and Condoleezza Rice
Who didn’t see this coming? Another failed Leftist government mandate. “The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a wide-ranging audit of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act nutrition standards last week, finding 48 out of 50 states faced challenges complying with Mrs. Obama’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. The new standards led to kids throwing out their fruits and vegetables, student boycotts, higher lunch costs, and odd food pairings such as “cheese stick with shrimp” in order for schools to comply with the complicated rules.” Kids Flee the Lunch Line: 1 million students stop eating school lunch due to Michelle Obama’s standards
The Middle Class
Part of the problem. “By the end of the nineteenth century, the deficiencies of middle class rule became all too clear. Or rather, it became clear the middle classes did not have any moral defense against all kinds of adversaries, like socialism and nationalism. Worse still, the middle classes were always eager to follow the intellectual lead of the leftist intelligentsia, and dreaded being considered unfashionable or “petit bourgeois” for not kowtowing to “progressive” writers, social critics, and artists. In fact, the historical episode that saw the birth and fashioning of the modern political landscape foreshadowed this evolution. The French revolution was brought about by two classes: the bourgeoisie, who wanted to seize the state from the absolute monarchy and aristocracy, and the intellectuals, who saw power as a vehicle for their Utopian schemes.” The Betrayal of the Western Middle Classes
Money in Politics
As Rep. David Schweikert likes to say: Follow the money because it is always about the money (emphasis mine). “Strangely enough, Senator Reid has never complained that the voices of those who would defend the PATRIOT Act are being “drowned out” by a flood of corporate money, nor has he questioned the public spirit of those Americans who have joined the fight to legalize pot, redefine marriage, declare an amnesty, or alter the nation’s foreign policy. (Michael Bloomberg’s $19 million gun-control push, for example, appears to have escaped his notice, as has Tom Steyer’s recently announced plan to spend $100 millon dollars helping candidates who agree with him on climate change.) All told, one cannot help but wonder whether this has less to do with Reid’s taking a principled stance against “money in politics” and more do with the Kochs’ decision to give nine out of ten of their contributed dollars to party in which Senator Reid does not serve and whose electoral success could see him imminently relegated to the minority.” Harry Reid’s Two Minutes Hate
“Democrats hope to make a campaign theme out of conservative “dark” money, something else Mr. Reid knows about. In addition to other spending, unions have been aggressively funneling money into their own “dark” groups. One of these is the heavyweight 501(c)(4) Patriot Majority USA. Patriot Majority doesn’t disclose its donors, though a Huffington Post investigation found it had been “fueled” in 2012 by $2.3 million in union donations. Amusingly, Patriot Majority used its undisclosed money on a campaign to expose the Koch brothers’ “front” groups. Oh, and Patriot Majority is run by Craig Varoga, a former aide and close ally of . . . Harry Reid.” The Really Big Money? Not the Kochs: Harry Reid surely must have meant the unions when he complained about buying elections.
No worries. There will be a waiver or a big time subsidy for that! “In an official document, the Internal Revenue Service, the enforcer of Obamacare’s mandates, is estimating that the cheapest Obamacare plan (the Bronze level of coverage) will cost a family of four $20,000 per year. Matt Cover of CNS News writes:
The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan. The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.” Shocker: IRS estimates cheapest Obamacare plan $20k per family in 2016
Delusional. “The president has unilaterally rewritten the law to give corporations a pass while leaving the rest of America on the hook for its costly mandates and penalties,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The proposal, expected to go nowhere in the Senate, “extends basic fairness to every American facing a penalty for opting out of this train wreck,” Boehner said. ‘If the president cannot even implement his own law, how can he ask struggling families to pay for it? The president owes all Americans the same consideration he has granted big businesses and he can start by calling on Senate Democrats to pass this measure so he can sign it immediately.’” Obama Assures Latinos That Relatives Won’t Get Deported Because They Sign Up for Obamacare: “People will look back and say that this was the right thing to do. And at that point the Republicans won’t call it Obamacare anymore.”
“Unprecedented chaos.” “Since October 1 of last year, the coverage of the Obamacare disaster has centered on the technical catastrophe of the healthcare.gov and the transitional problems afflicting insurers, employers, and the insured alike—and more recently the administration’s desperate efforts to delay the penalties and controls imposed by the law to limit the political fallout. It is safe to say, though, that this is the worst possible news for Obama and his people. They have thrown the entire health-care system into unprecedented chaos for a population that is, it seems, staying as far away from it as possible. Little has been fixed; much has been made far worse; nothing makes sense; and good luck to the Democrats who have to defend their votes for this colossal cock-up in November.” The Obamacare Disaster Is Now Undeniable