Stories of the Day
Freedom of speech and the war on women, Leftist style. “Brandeis University in Massachusetts announced Tuesday that it had withdrawn the planned awarding of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a staunch critic of Islam and its treatment of women, after protests from students and faculty. The university said in a statement posted online that the decision had been made after a discussion between Ali and university President Frederick Lawrence. “She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world,” said the university’s statement. ‘That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.’” Brandeis University withdraws planned honorary degree for Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“As Lori Lowenthal Marcus notes, Brandeis University has in recent years bestowed an honorary degree on Tony Kushner, who called the creation of Israel as a Jewish state “a mistake” and who attacked Israel for ethnic cleansing and for causing “terrible peril in the world.” Brandeis has also honored Desmond Tutu, who compared Israel to Hitler, attacked the “Jewish lobby” as too “powerful” and “scary,” and complained of the “Jewish monopoly of the Holocaust.” Unfortunately, that’s business as usual in the modern academy, including at an academic institution founded out of a special concern for the well-being of Jews in America and elsewhere. But when it comes to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a courageous woman who has fought for human rights around the world—and who may actually like the state Israel—well, that’s a bridge too far.” A Note to Supporters of Brandeis
“Ayaan Hirsi Ali said this afternoon that she was not surprised she came under attack from demagogic apologists like the Council on American Islamic Relations: She has come to expect such things.
What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements,” which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation–lines from interviews taken out of context–designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.
What Lawrence has done here is the nothing less than the act of a gutless, spineless, simpering coward.” The Shame of Brandeis
More and more people are noticing. “Standing at a gas station pump, as news blared overhead about the Fort Hood shootings, a young mother with two children buckled into her sedan’s car seats sighed. “I hope someday if, God forbid, tragedy strikes again at a military base, whoever is president doesn’t still head to a fundraiser,” she said. She didn’t think that President Obama doesn’t care, she said. “It is just, come on, do the right thing!” The visual impact of Obama discussing the tragedy at a political fundraiser is “uncaring, arrogant, wrong,” she said, punctuating each adjective. Americans are not complete fools. Democrats are not in trouble this fall because folks have found Republicans to be more competent. Democrats are in trouble because people know that the biggest negative impact of this law is its uncertainty, which impacts the economy and their lives. And leading the Democrats is a president who just spiked the football in front of the entire country, more than half of which opposes his signature law. As the woman with the two small children pulled away from the gas station, a half-torn “Obama-Biden 2008” sticker was visible on her right bumper — a succinct summary of how quickly arrogance can fade even the shiniest of pennies.” Will Hubris Sink the Democrats?
Lies and talking points for the low information voters. “Stevenson admitted later she misspoke: “If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke. So let me just apologize and say that I certainly wouldn’t have meant to say that.” She admitted that the 77 cents figure is merely ‘’the annual earnings of full-time, full-year women divided by the annual earnings of full-time, full-year men.” And, she said, “there are a lot of things that go into that 77-cents figure, there are a lot of things that contribute and no one’s trying to say that it’s all about discrimination, but I don’t think there’s a better figure.” Well, there isn’t a better figure for the White House, no, in the sense that there isn’t a more accurate figure that doesn’t make the gap seem a lot narrower. There are more accurate figures, though: The best estimates of the gap, after taking into account occupations, experience, etc., find something like a 5 to 7 percent gap. Five percent was the number found by a consulting report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor. If you want to tell the truth, it’s the ‘better number.’” On Equal Pay, the White House Moves from Noble-Lie Territory Toward Lie-Lie Territory
“The real myth, which the president and congressional Democrats continue quite deliberately to spread, is the implication that women working alongside men at the same jobs are paid one-quarter less. What the commentators Obama mentioned are actually saying is that the president’s favored statistic is highly misleading. Labor Department data do show that the median earnings of all women who work full time (35 hours a week or more) are 77 percent of the median earnings of all full-time male workers, but this is math used to perpetuate a myth. [Snip] The proposed bill would amend the 1963 Equal Pay Act to require businesses to report detailed information on pay by sex, race, and national origin to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, so that it can rectify perceived inequities. In addition to being an unwarranted intrusion into the labor market, this would discourage employers from offering the kinds of flexible compensation packages — e.g., less pay in exchange for reduced hours — that are often attractive to women, for fear that they will make themselves liable to lawsuits. Trial lawyers, not women, would benefit from the bill: It would require employees to opt out of rather than into class-action discrimination lawsuits and would allow for punitive damages to be paid out on top of back pay. The president is betting that “equal pay for equal work” will be a winning campaign issue. But his proposal — extra work for employers and extra pay for trial lawyers — should be a loser.” Paycheck Prevarication
“But these truths and Carney’s own alibis were not allowed to spoil the “Equal Pay Day” fun at the White House today. Obama has built his presidency on the notion that a flawed America that is sunk in bias can only be redeemed by a bigger government run by a messiah of hope and change. But like the case for ObamaCare or an increased minimum wage, arguments for measures to address a mythical gender pay inequality gap are built on a flimsy foundation of out-of-context statistics and outright lies. The genius of this administration is not so much its ability to weave tales of outrage out of whole cloth but, as these last two days have proved again, in the ability to do so without shame.” White House Debunks Gender Pay Gap
If you are attempting to understand why the Left does what it does, this is an absolute MUST READ. “The left’s shift on this issue, as on many issues, was purely tactical. The left’s leading lights were racists who jumped into civil rights. They were sexists who became feminists. They were advocates for the working class who despised the idea of working for a living. The culture war does not emerge from the left’s deeply held beliefs. Its leaders could care less about the things that they pretend to care about. It emerges instead from the need to maintain a constant state of domestic conflict.” The Left Isn’t Pro-Gay — It’s Pro-Power
Congresswoman Sinema (AZ CD9): We will not forget in November. “Forty-two seconds of pure Sinema. The National Republican Congressional Committee has uncovered a painfully embarrassing video clip of Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9)from 2009, in which she criticizes her own state and claims that higher taxes equals better quality health care. Based on her comments, Sinema, who was part of a task force that helped to craft Obamacare, seemed to enjoy her time in the White House more than The Grand Canyon State. Among her remarks:
So um we were at the White House this week on Wednesday and Thursday – which was pretty exciting. Um and basically we spent a lot of time talking about what kind of health reform is needed. So one thing that we did was we shared kind of best practices from around the states. I didn’t have much to share, so I thought, so I just took notes. Um, I was like oh you guys do that, damn liberals in Connecticut. You know, you know it’s true like Maine and Connecticut and Wisconsin and Washington were all like bragging about these great things they had. And then I was like, what am I doing here?
Even when someone in the crowd offered her a chance to compliment one of Arizona’s policies, yelling, “We have lower taxes!,” Sinema promptly dismissed it, suggesting lower taxes do nothing to improve health care.” Flashback: Dem Congresswoman Slams Her Own State, Brags About Helping to Craft Obamacare
Big, Out of Control Government
“’This is a lot bigger deal than just my cows,” Bundy told Fox News. “It’s a statement for freedom and liberty and the Constitution.” Bundy added, “They got helicopters flying low. They got snipers around the ranch. Our access to public lands has been blocked.” So far, 134 of Bundy’s cattle have been impounded. The John Wayne throwback has long defied orders from bureaucrats he says are bent on running him out of business. “Years ago, I used to have 52 neighboring ranchers,” Cliven said. “I’m the last man standing. How come? Because BLM regulated these people off the land and out of business.’” NEVADA RANCHER SAYS ‘HELL NO’ TO BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
This is damned unbelievable. “’They’re carrying the same things a soldier would,” he said. “Automatic weapons, sniper rifles, top communication, top surveillance equipment, lots of vehicles. It’s heavy soldier type equipment.” His wife, Carol Bundy, said that roughly 200 armed agents from the BLM and FBI are stationed around their land, located about 75 miles outside of Las Vegas. Helicopters circle the premises, and the airspace and nearby roads remain blocked. “We’re surrounded,” Carol Bundy said. “We’re estimating that there are over 200 armed BLM, FBI. We’ve got surveillance cameras at our house, they’re probably listening to me talk to you right now.’” Last Man Standing: Rancher: armed feds are surrounding my farm
The government is best at stealing. “But because the law also phases out certain credits related to federal taxes, people who have estates valued just above the $2 million threshold could get massive estate tax bills. An analysis by U.S. Trust found that a New York resident who dies today with a taxable estate of $2,165,625 could have to pay an estate tax of over $112,050. That represents a tax of over 100 percent on the value of the estate over $2,062,000.” New York rich face tax surprise when they die
Stop it, now! “The proliferation of federal agencies with armed agents is one of the most worrisome aspects of the growth in government. Just last summer the EPA carried out an armed raid on a mine in Alaska to enforce the Clean Water Act — a bit of government intimidation that residents say was totally unnecessary:
It looks like a took a Congressional hearing in Washington, DC to get the ball moving, but Alaska Governor Sean Parnell announced last Thursday, the same day as a hearing on the issue, that a special counsel will investigate the EPA’s armed raid over the summer of the mining town of Chicken, Alaska (population 7 at the last census). The agency sent a heavily armed team eight strong over possible violations of the Clean Water Act, an act the miners said amounted to intimidation. Residents questioned the need for armed agents to participate in what amounted to a water safety check, as well as the public safety threat the action posed.
And who can forget the Gibson Guitar raid by armed agents of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The EPA, the USFWS…the Department of Education? It’s getting ridiculous — and frightening.” What Does the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Need with 96 Armed Agents?
The Democrat Party
Firing up their base with nonsense because that’s all that they have, plus I think the author forgot to add the so-called “war on women.” “The Democrats have made their midterm agenda clear: passing a minimum-wage hike, fighting the menace of the Koch brothers, and expressing loud concern about climate change without actually bringing a cap-and-trade bill to the Senate floor.” The Democrats’ Fake Problems: Democrats, flopping on the economy and health care, try to create new issues.
Freedom of Speech
A Leftist being honest. “Even for those of us who support same-sex marriage, the virtual manhunt of Mozilla chief Brendan Eich was scary to watch. His heresy was a private donation in support of an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago. Mob rule enforcing groupthink is as illiberal as it gets, and yet it was liberals demanding uniformity of thought — or else. Another incident of muzzling those without the proper worldview received less attention. Kick starter, the nation’s biggest crowd-funding site,refused to accept a film about convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell unless descriptions of his crimes were removed.” Kirsten Powers: Liberals’ mob rule
More on the shocking news about a Leftist being honest. “Powers refers to “mob rule enforcing groupthink” being as “illiberal” as it gets. That may be true in a philosophical or theoretical way, but Powers appears unaware of the practical way in which the modern left stifles debate and demonizes the opposition. Both the Eich incident and Kickstarter’s censorship show how much of the left operates today. It’s not a pretty picture and Powers should be applauded for recognizing that.” Kirsten Powers: ‘Mob rule’ by liberals
Hoping it backfires. “No, the radical Left isn’t just “ceding” the free-speech high ground to conservatives, it’s deeding it over — a free gift of one of America’s most important cultural and legal traditions. This is a high-stakes gamble — one apparently built on the idea that generations of leftist-dominated education and pop culture have sufficiently changed our nation so that we’re willing to turn our backs on pluralism and religious tolerance (not just tolerance of other religions but also tolerance of religion itself). It’s an idea born in Leftist urban and campus enclaves so walled-off from the rest of American life that many of these people could honestly declare they don’t know a single conservative Christian. But this new intolerance — as it directly confronts orthodox Christianity — is now colliding not just with free speech but with millions of Americans’ source of deepest meaning and purpose. I had the privilege writing this week’s cover story in the print edition of NR (about the history of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the decline of respect for religious liberty), and here is how I described the power of the religious idea:
Religious liberty exists as a core civilizational value not just because pluralist societies profit from it, but because the human heart demands it. If history teaches anything, it teaches that the religious impulse — the sense of eternity set in the hearts of men (to paraphrase Solomon) — is nothing if not powerful. It’s an impulse that can and does change lives and nations. It’s an imperative so strong that even the mightiest of totalitarian governments struggle to suppress it. The desire of many millions to follow God is good, but it also just is — it is a primal force that must be acknowledged and respected to the extent that its exercise does not harm the rights of others. In fact, the very act of suppression in the name of uniformity can perversely fray the bonds of a pluralistic society. In liberty, there is unity. Not in conformity.” Mozilla Firefox Founder Removed for “Incorrect Political Views” – How This Will Backfire
Accelerating the divide, as intended. “This all could get pretty nasty pretty quickly, and intensifying the culture wars isn’t in anyone’s interest. Civility is, as Stephen Carter has written, a precondition of democratic dialogue. There ought to be rules of etiquette, even (and perhaps especially) in public and political discourse. Asking for civility is quite different from insisting on agreement, and absence of agreement is a case for further (and better) debate, not putting an end to it. When the dust finally settles, we still have to live together and occupy the same nation, the same airwaves, the same soccer fields and schools and workspaces. Surely treating others with a certain degree of dignity and respect shouldn’t be too much to ask of those who oppose gay marriage and those who support it.” Mozilla and the Prophet Isaiah
“There you have it. Ultimately this debate isn’t about marriage or “discrimination.” This is an attempt, using the power of the American legal system, to force moral legitimization of homosexual behavior upon the American people. And it is about revenge upon all those — past and present — who have stood, and continue to stand in the way of such “progress.” Unless America comes to her senses, there almost certainly will be many more Brendan Eichs, Barronelle Stutzmans, Jack Phillips, and Elaine Huguenins. After all, the undoing of an absolute truth (marriage is a union of one man and one woman) is bound to be confrontational and messy. When you call good evil and evil good, there are bound to be casualties.” Revenge of the Gays
I am quite certain we are going to regret such accommodations one day. “Despite continued evidence Muslims and Muslim converts pose a threat to military and national security, the Pentagon continues to make special accommodations for Muslim soldiers. Earlier this year, it relaxed uniform rules to allow Islamic beards and turbans. Such accommodations only attract more Muslims at a time when recent terror cases highlight the ongoing danger of them in uniform. What’s needed, instead, is special screening and monitoring of such recruits.” Jihadist 5th Column Targets The Military
Divide and conquer, it is the Left’s way. “The Democratic coalition was largely built on grievance politics. For decades, progressive leaders divided Americans into subgroups based on race, gender, class, age and sexual orientation. Political leaders were the first to stoke this fire, but educators soon joined in, as did the media, NGOs, big business and popular culture.” Liberalism Is Eating Itself
Just starting. “Obamacare was supposed to save the average family $2,500 annually; instead, it has made health insurance far more expensive. And yet Harry Reid tells us that everyone who points out that his or her insurance costs more under Obamacare is a liar. And Barack Obama says the debate over Obamacare is over. No, Barry, it is just beginning.” THE NUMBERS ARE IN: OBAMACARE CAUSES HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS TO SKYROCKET
Will the Left’s intimidation work on the Chief Justice again? “When Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote ObamaCare from the bench in order to save it, most of the ramifications were immediately apparent. But there was one aspect of the stunt that as a member of the Supreme Court Roberts should have been sensitive to: precedent. Having caved to a public intimidation campaign from the president and his congressional allies (as well as the media) Roberts signaled that the way to get a conservative justice to discard his better judgment and rule against constitutional law was to impugn the court’s reputation in the public square. [Snip] The story notes that chief among the left’s worries is the upcoming ruling on the ObamaCare contraception mandate. And on that note, the best line in the story has to be this: “Democrats say the present-day court lacks the experience to understand the corrupting influence of money in politics, because none of its members have held publicly elected office.” Democrats just don’t believe that law abiding, upstanding men and women who have never been offered a bribe could ever really understand ObamaCare. And you’ve got to admit, they have a point, don’t they? We may or may not find out if the pressure campaign works. After all, a decision on the case may not be a result of the intimidation tactics, either as a concession to them or as an act of defiance against them. It may be just another ruling on the merits of the case. But that’s one of the consequences of the Democrats’ shenanigans: the idea that the court will rule on the merits of the case becomes only one of several possibilities. Roberts thought he was protecting the legitimacy of the court in his 2012 decision. It’s quite clear now that he has done precisely the opposite.” Demonizing SCOTUS: The OCare Precedent
False numbers. “There’s a big spike in Medicaid, just as everyone expected. There’s a less big but still seven-digit drop in coverage on the individual market, as people discovered that if you like your plan, you might not be able to keep it. There’s not quite four million sign-ups on the new ObamaCare exchanges, not seven million and change like Obama insisted in the Rose Garden. And then there’s that eye-popping “ESI” category. That’s “employer-sponsored insurance,” the sort of coverage that 100 million people already have through their jobs. Er, why would eight million people have suddenly gained that type of coverage last year when the U.S. labor force assuredly didn’t expand by eight million? [Snip] Another way to look at that is that, of the five ways that uninsured people could have changed their status this year, the ObamaCare exchanges ranked fourth. ESI and Medicaid both drew more uninsured than the exchanges did; the mandate, quite naturally, is driving most of the uninsured into less expensive options. In fact, per that table, there are actually more people who had insurance through work last year and now have no insurance at all (2.1 million) than there are people who had no insurance last year and now have it through the exchanges (1.4 million). Something to watch going forward.” RAND study: By our estimate, 3.9 million people signed up for ObamaCare, not 7.1 million like the White House says
The Republican Party
Wise, wise words from a wise, wise man: Dr. Ben Carson. “Liberals have just as many disagreements among themselves as conservatives. Still, in order to accomplish their goals, they have learned to put aside their differences and create large, loyal voting blocs. Sometimes they make empty promises, but by repeating them often, they make people actually believe that they are benefiting, when, in fact, the opposite may be occurring. Liberals appear to be quite comfortable with a health-care bill that was passed with obvious deceit emanating from the highest levels of government. Very much like the radical Islamists who believe any means is acceptable to accomplish their goals, many in the liberal movement are willing to relegate to the sidelines the Judeo-Christian values that so rapidly elevated our country. Conservatives shouldn’t emulate this deception, but they should learn to present a united front to harness the power and energy necessary to reverse the downward spiral of the greatest nation in the history of the world.” First, Stop the Train: Conservatives need to stop squabbling.