Archive for March, 2010

Base Faith Initiatives

I used to listen to Dennis Prager on the radio a lot—before his station turned to Spanish-language Christian and before I “discovered” Rush Limbaugh.

But I do miss him and his (to use one of his favorite words) clarity:

Leftism, though secular, must be understood as a religion (which is why I have begun capitalizing it). The Leftist value system’s hold on its adherents is as strong as the hold Christianity, Judaism and Islam have on their adherents. Nancy Pelosi’s belief in expanding the government’s role in American life, and therefore her passion for the health care bill, is as strong as a pro-life Christian’s belief in the sanctity of the life of the unborn.

Given the religious nature and the emotional power of Leftist values, Jews and Christians on the Left often derive their values from the Left more than from their religion.

Now, of course, most Leftist Jews and Christians will counter that Leftist values cannot trump their religion’s values because Leftist values are identical to their religion’s values. But this argument only reinforces my argument that Leftism has conquered the Christianity and the Judaism of Leftist Christians and Jews. If there is no difference between Leftist moral values and those of Judaism or Christianity, then Christianity is little more than Leftism with “Jesus” rhetoric added, and Judaism is Leftism with Jewish terms — such as “Tikkun Olam” (“repairing the world”) and “Prophetic values” — added.

But if Christianity is, morally speaking, really Leftism, why didn’t Catholics or Protestants assert these values prior to 19th-century European Leftism? And, if Judaism is essentially a set of Left-wing values, does that mean that the Torah and the Talmud are Leftist documents? Or are the two pillars of Judaism generally wrong?

But woe betide you if you dare let on that your beliefs run anywhere to the right of Che Guevara. Leftists, by virtue of their “piety” think they can talk to you the way the members of the Westboro Baptists Church talk to grieving families:

As former head of the Democratic Party Howard Dean said, “Our moral values, in contradistinction to the Republicans, is, we don’t think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night.”

They believe such things despite the fact that traditional Protestants and Catholics have created more institutions to take care of the sick and needy than probably any other groups in the world. And despite the fact that religious Americans give more charity and volunteer more time than secular Americans do.

His argument builds with each paragraph, but I want to cut to this:

One of the many fundamental differences between Leftism and Judaism concerns evil. Jews and others on the Left (everywhere, not just in America) have a real problem identifying, let alone confronting, evil. Yet, for Judaism, identifying and confronting evil is as basic a Jewish value as exists. That is why, for example, there is no pacifist tradition in Judaism.

In contrast, Leftists, including Leftist Jews and Christians:

– were the loudest in condemning President Ronald Reagan when he labeled the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”

– devoted much of their lives to opposing the war in Vietnam, which they labeled immoral even though it was a war against Stalinist tyranny.

– opposed deposing the mass murderer Saddam Hussein. Many even opposed the Gulf War.

– believe that the moral wasteland known as the United Nations is, or must be the greatest force for good on earth, not the United States.

– oppose allowing the American military to recruit on campuses.

And the further Left one goes, the more one demonizes free Israel and supports the dictatorships that wish to destroy Israel.

Indeed, Israel provides the clearest proof of how Leftism is stronger than the Jewishness of most Jews on the Left. Israel is threatened with a Holocaust by Iran and tens of millions of Islamic supporters outside of Iran, and Palestinian society is saturated with the most virulent Jew-hatred since the Nazis. Yet while today’s Jew- and Israel-haters call the Left home, Jews on the Left continue to be proud members of the Left. Such is the power of Leftism, the most dynamic religion in the world for the last 150 years.

He could have ended his piece there. (I almost decided to.) But the last paragraph has all that much more force for being unexpected:

And that explains Bart Stupak’s vote, too. In his inner conflict between Catholicism and Leftism, the more dynamic religion won.

Wow.

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When Dissent Was Patriotic

Reader Judi alerted us to this vid of how enlightened leftists protested back in the day.

Plenty of the F-word—actually two F-words—neither one degrading Barney Frank, and even a bit of the N-word: Nazi.

Needless to say, NSFW:

I wonder if Cafepress sells any posters that are identically insulting and offensive on opposite sides, with the only difference that Bush is featured on one side, Obama on the other. Or maybe a poster showing Bush as Hitler, say, but you can flip the Bush image over, and an identical image of Obama as Hitler lies underneath.

Watch all those thumbs-up turn to eff-yous.

Some of these people are smart enough to be doctors or academics (however smart that may be), but they are in the (offensive) words of Rahm Emanuel… no, I can’t bring myself to write it, even in jest.

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No Wonder the Bill Was So Long

It’s got more [bleep] in it than an impacted bowel:

Tucked inside the huge health reform bill signed into law last week were many surprising and little-noticed provisions that will affect consumers in ways large and small.

“Little-noticed?” Bear in mind that this comes from The Paper of Record, which supposedly publishes All The News That’s Fit to Print. If these are “little noticed,” it’s because media outlets like the Times didn’t do their job.

It emerged that chain restaurants, for example, would have to disclose the calorie counts of items on their menus. Who knew?

“Tucked inside” is a nice touch: with a teddy bear and jammies and a reading of Goodnight Moon. Though the media was so aroused by the thought of socialized medicine, that they could be excused for mistaking the nearly-3,000 page bill for Penthouse Forum.

It’s hard to read all the fine print when your glasses are steamed:

A new federal mandate on businesses of 51 or more employees to provide a private area (not a bathroom) for nursing mothers to pump breast milk for up to a year after giving birth. This means that businesses have to plan for mainly unused floor space in every facility, or face federal sanctions.

Tanning salons now have to charge a 10% excise tax on their services. That should help the local economies!

W-2s must now declare “informationally” the value of health-care benefits. This means that W-2s will become even more complicated and will cost businesses billions each year in extra accounting and reporting, which will hit smaller businesses most.

I know that stories of people dying without insurance were largely fabricated. But I’d take mass extermination in the streets over this bureaucratic, Orwellian nightmare.

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Obama: Drill Baby, Drill!

Someone else may have said it, but he is doing it.

The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.

The proposal is to be announced by President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Wednesday, but administration officials agreed to preview the details on the condition that they not be identified.

Obama is a much worse President than Bill Clinton, but he has learned to use a Clinton tactic that is worth mentioning: He freely borrows from the playbook of the other side. Clinton famously limited welfare, gave it a lifetime cap (has Obama undone this?), and Obama seems poised to go against the environmentalists to score points with the moderates who don’t agree with the environmental extremism of the Left. His base will grumble, but he just gave them the health care bill. Moderates will be delighted. It seems smart to me.

- Aggie

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Modern Media Covers Passover

Sound familiar?

The cycle of violence between the Jews & the Egyptians continues with no end in sight in Egypt. After eight previous plagues that have destroyed the Egyptian infrastructure and disrupted the lives of ordinary Egyptian citizens, the Jews launched a new offensive this week in the form of the plague of darkness.

Western journalists were particularly enraged by this plague. “It is simply impossible to report when you can’t see an inch in front of you,”complained a frustrated Andrea Koppel of CNN. “I have heard from my reliable Egyptian contacts that in the midst of the blanket of blackness, the Jews were annihilating thousands of Egyptians. Their word is solid enough evidence for me.”

While the Jews contend that the plagues are justified given the harsh slavery imposed upon them by the Egyptians, Pharaoh, the Egyptian leader, rebuts this claim. “If only the plagues would let up, there would be no slavery. We just want to live plague-free. It is the right of every society.”

Saeb Erekat, an Egyptian spokesperson, complains that slavery is justifiable given the Jews’ superior weaponry supplied to them by the superpower God.

The Europeans are particularly enraged by the latest Jewish offensive. “The Jewish aggression must cease if there is to be peace in the region. The Jews should go back to slavery for the good of the rest of the world,” stated an angry French President Jacques Chirac. Even several Jews agree. Adam Shapiro, a Jew, has barricaded himself within Pharaoh’s chambers to protect Pharaoh from what is feared will be the next plague, the death of the firstborn. Mr. Shapiro claims that while slavery is not necessarily a good thing, it is the product of the plagues and when the plagues end, so will the slavery. “The Jews have gone too far with plagues such as locusts and epidemic which have virtually destroyed the Egyptian economy,” Mr. Shapiro laments. “The Egyptians are really a very nice people and Pharaoh is kind of huggable once you get to know him,” gushes Shapiro.

The United States is demanding that Moses and Aaron, the Jewish leaders, continue to negotiate with Pharaoh. While Moses points out that Pharaoh had made promise after promise to free the Jewish people only to immediately break them and thereafter impose harsher and harsher slavery, Richard Boucher of the State Department assails the latest offensive. “Pharaoh is not in complete control of the taskmasters,” Mr. Boucher states. “The Jews must return to the negotiating table and will accomplish nothing through these plagues.” The latest round of violence comes in the face of a bold new Saudi peace overture. If only the Jews will give up their language, change their names to Egyptian names and cease having male children, the Arab nations will incline toward peace with them, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah declared.

- Aggie

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Freedom vs. “The Good”

I’ll quote just one paragraph of this brilliant piece because it is perfect. It says what I, a recovering liberal, have come to believe:

Of the two great societal goals—freedom and “the good”—freedom requires a conservatism, a discipline of principles over the good, limited government, and so on. No way to grandiosity here. But today’s liberalism is focused on “the good” more than on freedom. And ideas of “the good” are often a license to transgress democratic principles in order to reach social justice or to achieve more equality or to lessen suffering. The great political advantage of modern liberalism is its offer of license on the one hand and moral innocence—if not superiority—on the other. Liberalism lets you force people to buy health insurance and feel morally superior as you do it. Power and innocence at the same time.

Hence the seemingly contradictory concept of Liberal Fascism. Seemingly contradictory, but in fact as complementary as ham and eggs.

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AHAVA Dream

When anti-Semitism meets capitalism, all the little Hitlers lose their teeth:

Dear Mr. Lerner:

We value your feedback as a Nordstrom customer and thank you for taking the time to contact us to share it.

Ultimately, our goal as a retailer is to offer great merchandise that our customers request. We know many customers love AHAVA products, which is why we are continuing to carry the line in select Nordstrom stores.

Our decision to continue offering these products does not mean Nordstrom is taking a position on this issue. We are in the business of providing customers with merchandise they want, but we realize that at the same time we need to consider our customers’ sensitivities. In this case, we know that we can’t please everyone and are bound to disappoint some customers.

If you missed the original story, in which the skanks at CODESTINK demanded Nordstrom drop only one product, you can catch up here.

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The Milk Carton Network

Have you seen CNN? Has anyone?

CNN continued what has become a precipitous decline in ratings for its prime-time programs in the first quarter of 2010, with its main hosts losing almost half their viewers in a year.

The trend in news ratings for the first three months of this year is all up for one network, the Fox News Channel, which enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, and down for both MSNBC and CNN.

About the only break from the bad news for CNN was that March was not as bad as February, when the network had its worst single month in its recent history, finishing behind not only Fox News and MSNBC, but also its sister network HLN — and even CNBC, which had Olympics programming that month.

[Larry] King’s audience dropped 43 percent for the quarter and 52 percent in March. He dropped to 771,000 viewers for the quarter from 1.34 million in 2009. More alarming perhaps, Mr. King, whose show has been regularly eclipsed by Rachel Maddow’s on MSNBC (and is almost quadrupled by Sean Hannity’s show on Fox), is now threatened by a new host, Joy Behar on HLN (formerly Headline News.)

[Anderson] Cooper has long been regarded as the strongest host at CNN, but his show has suffered badly as well. For the quarter, Mr. Cooper dropped 42 percent in viewers and 46 percent among the 25-to-54-year-old audience that the news channels use for their sales to advertisers.

The guy who came up with the epithet “tea-bagger” is pretty weak and tepid himself.

There are hints of Fox’s Strength, but you have to read all the way to the end, the 14th paragraph, to learn this:

At the same time, Fox News, which had its biggest year in 2009, continues to add viewers. Greta Van Susteren’s show was up 25 percent from a year earlier. Bill O’Reilly, whose show commands the biggest audience in prime time with 3.65 million viewers, was up 28 percent, and Glenn Beck was up 50 percent from a year earlier.

But you have to wonder why Larry King has fallen so far. Has it been that long since his transgender program?

KING: Don’t you feel funny with the wrong genitalia?

STANTON: Yes, it feels out of whack now. So maybe I’ll have to have it corrected. But yes, and some people do and some people don’t. I do.

KING: Not as a joke, you stand up in the women’s bathroom?

STANTON: No, I don’t. No, I sit down in the woman’s bathroom.

KING: You do sit down?

STANTON: Sure. But I don’t go in the men’s bathroom because that would be inappropriate.

KING: Do you date men?

JESSICA LAM: I date women.

KING: You date women.

JESSICA LAM: Yes.

KING: So then you’re like a lesbian.

JESSICA LAM: I identify as lesbian, yes, absolutely.

KING: So your sex relations would be with a woman.

JESSICA LAM: Yes.

KING: How far — how much have you had done so far?

SALLANS: I’ve had the chest surgery which was shown in the Logo documentary. I’ve had the total hysterectomy and the hormones.

KING: And what do they do with regard to a penis?

SALLANS: There’s two different main surgeries they use females to male because it’s not simple. Because as doctors say, it’s easier to dig a hole than build a pole so they can do one surgery where they can do a phalloplasty where they actually take a skin graft and construct a penis or they do a metortoplasty (ph) which a lot of guys get because they actually just release the clitoris and the pull that up and build a graft around that.

KING: What do you do for a living?

That’s got to be the mother (or father) of all non sequiturs. How do you follow up an explanation of holes and poles and phalloplasty and… the rest of it… with “What do you do for a living?”

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It’s the Taxes, Stupid

This appears in today’s WSJ. (As it’s by subscription only, I link to the Cato Institute site that also posted it.)

President Barack Obama’s new health-care legislation aims to raise $210 billion over 10 years to pay for the extensive new entitlements. How? By slapping a 3.8% “Medicare tax” on interest and rental income, dividends and capital gains of couples earning more than $250,000, or singles with more than $200,000.

The president also hopes to raise $364 billion over 10 years from the same taxpayers by raising the top two tax rates to 36%-39.6% from 33%-35%, plus another $105 billion by raising the tax on dividends and capital gains to 20% from 15%, and another $500 billion by capping and phasing out exemptions and deductions.

Add it up and the government is counting on squeezing an extra $1.2 trillion over 10 years from a tiny sliver of taxpayers who already pay more than half of all individual taxes.

It won’t work. It never works.

The maximum tax rate fell to 28% in 1988-90 from 50% in 1986, yet individual income tax receipts rose to 8.3% of GDP in 1989 from 7.9% in 1986. The top tax rate rose to 31% in 1991 and revenue fell to 7.6% of GDP in 1992. The top tax rate was increased to 39.6% in 1993, along with numerous major revenue enhancers such as raising the taxable portion of Social Security to 85% of benefits from 50% for seniors who saved or kept working. Yet individual tax revenues were only 7.8% of GDP in 1993, 8.1% in 1994, and did not get back to the 1989 level until 1995.

Punitive tax rates on high-income individuals do not increase revenue. Successful people are not docile sheep just waiting to be shorn.

I would put it differently: cut tax rates to encourage people to produce more, hire more, earn more, and they will—every time. And tax receipts go up. Every time.

I’ve said before and I say again, taxation is not merely a fiscal issue, it’s a moral one. And, as usual, President Obama is on the wrong side of the moral line.

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Dead Baby Joke

At least the eternal question “what is a human life worth” has a favorable answer.

As Vice President Biden would say: a whole [bleeping] lot:

The 11 House Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak who dropped their opposition to health care reform legislation mere hours before the final vote have requested $3.4 billion in earmarks — and one watchdog group wants to know whether the money represents business as usual or political payoffs.

The Sunlight Foundation says it plans to track the earmark requests, which were put in one day after health care reform cleared Congress, to see whether they’re approved and whether it appears lawmakers are being rewarded for their vote.

Scold and frown if you wish, but ask yourself: what would you do for $3.4 billion? Every man has his price, and at least Stupak got a good deal for his mortal soul. Now that we know what he is, everything else is just haggling.

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Bill Ayers in a Suit

In Avatar (sorry, but it’s to make a point), the blue creatures say to each other “I see you” to acknowledge each others’ existence, their qualities, their essence.

America to President Obama: Peekaboo, we see you!

Less than a week after President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law, more voters than ever say he is governing like a partisan Democrat.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 56% of likely voters believe the president is governing like a partisan Democrat, up three points over the past month and the highest level measured since he took office in January 2009.

The week after his inauguration, just 39% of voters felt that way.

Only 28% now say the president is governing on a bipartisan basis, tying the lowest level measured reached last month. Another 16% are not sure.

Not surprisingly, Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to say the president is governing on a partisan basis. Half (50%) of voters not affiliated with either party say the president is governing like a partisan Democrat, but 31% disagree.

And as long as they’re noticing:

Following their passage of the health care plan without a single Republican vote, Democrats are viewed as behaving like partisan Democrats by 63% of voters, down three points from last month. Twenty-two percent (22%) say Democrats are acting in a bipartisan manner, up seven points from February.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Republicans and 64% of unaffiliated voters see the Democrats in Congress as behaving in a partisan fashion. Just 49% of Democratic voters agree.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of all voters say Republicans in Congress are acting like partisan Republicans, up two points from last month. Only 22% say congressional Republicans are acting on a bipartisan basis, and another 22% are undecided.

The independents are going to be the political death of them, God willing.

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“Take Your Apology and Shove it Up Your A**, You Cracker”

Of course, in the original Hebrew it was probably more tactful:

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which had cautiously welcomed Jimmy Carter’s apology for pain it said he caused the Jewish community with his stridently anti-Israel views, is now calling that apology into question following a speech in which he reverted to his former views.

“As far as I’m concerned, there is no Al Chet,” said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, referring to Carter’s evocation of a prayer for forgiveness said on Yom Kippur. “President Carter’s recent comments on Israel are profoundly disappointing, and leave little doubt of the insincerity of his apology.”

Carter’s December 2009 letter to the American Jewish community had offered a personal apology for the harm he had caused and referred to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within secure and recognized borders. At the time, the League said that while Carter’s words should be taken seriously and given respect, his apology must be matched by words and deeds.

On March 18, however, at a conference on US-Arab relations in Atlanta, Carter accused the United States of being “much more attuned to the sensitivities of the Israelis” and of having “yielded excessively to the circumstances in the Holy Land as Israel has confiscated several lands within Palestine.” Those remarks coincided with the diplomatic dust-up between Israel and the US over new housing construction in east Jerusalem.

Carter also accused the Obama White House of unfairly siding with Israel and criticized the administration’s shuttle diplomacy efforts as “feeble.”

In a March 25 letter to Carter, Foxman questioned the sincerity of his apology and offer to continue discussions in the future – an offer Carter had proffered in a call to ADL the same day of his speech in Atlanta.

“I do not believe further discussions between us will be fruitful,” Foxman wrote. “I continue to hope the day will come when you have truly repented of your insensitive views of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Don’t hold your breath, Abe.

But I am happy to extend my personal Al Chet to President Carter. Al Chet him in the nose, Al Chet him in the eye, Al Chet him in the nuts… Al Chet him until he wished he’d never crossed the state of Israel.

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