When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Sell not liberty to purchase power.
– Benjamin Franklin
Well, I think we’re there.
When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Sell not liberty to purchase power.
– Benjamin Franklin
Well, I think we’re there.
Okay, I’m the first to admit that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is a fairly unattractive victim. He has a long history of run-ins with the law, primarily on fraud charges, including bank fraud, check-kiting, and operating businesses under various aliases.
Oh, and of course, he’s still alive, unlike Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty, the four Americans killed during the Benghazi, Libya, attack. But as he sits in jail, denied bail, Nakoula’s a victim of the Obama Administration’s refusal to admit that what happened in Benghazi had nothing to do with Nakoula’s film, Innocence of Muslims, and everything to do with a planned terrorist attack aimed at the United States, specifically on 9/11.
So in order to keep up the administration’s Potemkin façade of riot and death by video (and only video), Nakoula currently remains in jail (since September 27) on charges of violating his probation, including using the Internet without permission from his parole officer.
Based on 6 years as a federal prosecutor and 12 as a federal defense lawyer, let me say this: minor use of a computer — like uploading a video to YouTube — is not something that I would usually expect to result in arrest and a revocation proceeding; I think a warning would be more likely unless the defendant had already had warnings or the probation officer was a hardass. But if I had a client with a serious fraud conviction, and his fraud involved aliases, and he had the standard term forbidding him from using aliases during supervised release, and his probation officer found out that he was running a business, producing a movie, soliciting money, and interacting with others using an alias, I would absolutely expect him to be arrested immediately, whatever the content of the movie. Seriously. Nakoula pled guilty to using alias to scam money. Now he’s apparently been producing a film under an alias, dealing with the finances of the film under the alias, and (if his “Sam Bacile” persona is to be believed) soliciting financing under an alias. I would expect him to run into a world of hurt for that even if he were producing a “Coexist” video involving kittens.
And Patterico’s comment on that is right on the money:
The problem we have here is that the head of the federal executive has criticized this guy repeatedly. His administration pressured Google to take down his movie; his Cairo embassy called it an “abuse” of free speech; and his State Department apologized for it in a country (Pakistan) where a public official offered money for the filmmaker to be killed.
So even if the line guys are doing their jobs the way they would otherwise, the President has made them look like political hacks. Which is unfortunate on several levels.
So, now to the timeline:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. … Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
Nakoula currently remains in jail.
Hey, I like it.
And the media tries its best, as illustrated by just a few stats on the performance by CNN’s Candy Crowley, moderator of last night’s second presidential debate:
So there ya go–the media at its finest, keepin’ the Obama election ball rollin’ along.
Keep the ball rollin’
Keep the ball rollin’
The name of the game is love…
Whoops, guess the Catholic bishops are not too happy about Vice President Biden’s dissembling during the debate last night (although, strangely, they don’t say who said this–trying to be politically neutral? Hey, a fact’s a fact: Biden said it, he needs to own it):
Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:
“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.
HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.
USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.
For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed “accommodation”: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/comments-on-advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-on-preventive-services-12-05-15.pdf
Just a sampling of comments from facebook friends on their perception of last night’s vice-presidential debate (comments made both during and after debate). Do we just see what we want to see?
Obama supporter (OS): Joe is kicking Eddie Munster’s ASS!!!
Romney supporter (RS): It bugs me that Biden keeps calling Ryan “my friend.” I find him as fake as his hair implants and fake smile. I’ve had enough. Bye Bye Biden!!!
OS: Ya got him on the ropes Joe. Take ‘im down.
RS: It is embarrassing to think [Biden] is our Vice President. Hopefully not for much longer.
OS: I hope Barack is taking some notes tonight. THIS is how you put the liars’ feet to the fire in a debate. Style AND Substance. Yes indeed.
RS: Here’s why Ryan won this debate. Not that it will matter on Monday, but for the next few days, this is what undecided voters will replay in their heads. Watch the clip.
Actually, I think Michael Barone says it best:
The instant polls: CNBC had it Ryan 56%-36%, CBS Biden 50%-31%, CNN Ryan 48%-44%, AP Ryan 51%-43%. Not nearly as one-sided as the instant responses to the first presidential debate in Denver. My sense: Biden pumped up partisan Democrats, but failed to win over the voters who are taking a serious look at Romney at a point when he is up in national polls.
Although note that the AP poll figures may be incorrect.
So I could say my extended absence has been due to our moving and unpacking all gazillion boxes (which have been in storage for two years) and deciding where everything should go (should the dining room table go here or here?) and finishing up uncompleted house projects (yes, I do need a closet) and becoming more involved in local “happenings”—and that would all be true.
But I could also say that it has been due to a slight feeling of unreality about the presidential election, and because I haven’t had the time (because of the move) to think this feeling through, I haven’t had a clear direction. And then I read Ace and everything fell into place:
Let me suggest something that many conservatives realized after the debate: Obama did not do that badly. For Obama. He was the same listless, droning, exhausted-of-ideas scold we have seen for at least two years now (and maybe three).
He was Obama. This is what he is. He is not quick-witted. He is not, as I think I saw Mickey Kaus note, a wonk. He has never been a wonk, a detailed-policy guy.
He is a guy who speaks vacuously of hopes and dreams and change and fairness.
He always has been.
The problem, for the liberals, is not Obama. This is what you bought. This is your guy. It wasn’t his A game, but it was something close to his B+ game.
The problem was Romney, who was commanding, fluent, reasonable, articulate, sharp-witted, warm, occasionally funny, full of ideas, full of facts, full of thoughtful, detailed criticisms of Obama policy (who the hell expected him to bring up, as an afterthought, Dodd-Frank’s failure to specify what a “reasonably qualified” mortgage applicant was, and how that chilled lending? Obama sure didn’t!), and, therefore, ultimately, full of qualification for the job and yes, full of gravitas.
That’s the problem.
Not Obama. I repeat: This is who Obama is. He has never been this brilliant intellect and keen policy analysts liberals have, in their BubbleWorld, dreamed him as.
The problem is not that Obama is or was awful. The problem is that he is what he always is — adequate and hardly ever more — and Romney is actually on top of things, an accomplished executive with a winner’s thirst for victory an an A-student’s understanding of what victory requires.
So part of the extreme emotional deflation of people like Sullivan — who only a few years ago called me a “frothing Caesarist” (I take that to mean a lickspittle for a Man on a White Horse) — is due to their having invented in their minds a conquering hero, an Eternal Champion, a Mussolini-like figure of incredible prowess in all matters including sexual (“Mussolini breaks a new horse every day, and a new woman every night,” an old Fascist saying went).
And he’s never been that. He’s been a very average politician, whose only above-average skill is giving a scripted, TelePrompTed address to people who already support him.
So for people like Sullivan, this is a bit of a bitchslap to their entire fantasy worldview, the day they saw Obama As What He Is rather than What They Fantasized Him To Be.
And they’re shocked by this. They feel their psychical mooring-lines stretching to the break.
This is partly Obama’s fault, of course. He encouraged this.
But it is much, much more the fault of people who pride themselves on being skeptical realists who permitted their minds to run to the magical and to the (frankly, blasphemously) religious….
The fusion of religion and politics has in fact been every bit as deleterious as the liberals always warned us.
It’s just that they were the ones who actually fused God and President.
I long for the days when elections were not about Salvation, and the Press Corps were not Acolytes, each vying to prove their devotion unto their Prophet….
And all I can say is “yes, absolutely, once again Ace nails it” (no, not in that way). But read it all yourself, there’s lots more.
Yesterday the Obama administration announced a delaying tactic which will put off the possibility of new offshore oil drilling on the Atlantic coast for at least five years:
The announcement by the Interior Department sets into motion what will be at least a five year environmental survey to determine whether and where oil production might occur.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell notes that a planned lease sale, which the administration cancelled last year, will now be put off until at least 2018….
Thousands of pro-life advocates across the country will take part on Friday in “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rallies taking place in more than 129 cities.
The rallies are meant as a public demonstration against the Obama mandate that requires religious organizations, churches and other objecting employers to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.
This makes this event one of the largest in American history with respect to simultaneous rallies occurring in cities across the nation and the main rally in the nation’s capital will be on the plaza of the HHS (Hubert Humphrey Building) on March 23, at 12:00 noon…
“The HHS mandates and the issue of religious freedom have now ignited a political firestorm that will be a major issue in the 2012 Presidential Elections. In an odd way, President Obama’s forcing Christian institutions to violate their conscience and core beliefs has energized the faith community in a way that none of the republican candidates have yet been able to accomplish,” said [the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and one of the organizers of the rally in Washington, DC].
Polling data shows Americans are strongly opposed to the Obama mandate. A February Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds 38 percent of likely voters think health insurance companies should be required by law to cover the morning after pill without co-payments or other charges to the patient. But 50 percent of Americans disagree and oppose this requirement while 13 percent are undecided….
Being Ace, he’ll tell you, of course:
As Pethokoukis says, it’s an anecdote that defines the presidency.
Energy was a particular obsession of the president-elect’s, and therefore a particular source of frustration. Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. “I don’t get it,” he’d say. “We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?” But the numbers rarely budged.
There are four possible main types of educated people:
- Good student, good thinker
- Good student, bad thinker
- Bad student, good thinker
- Bad student, bad thinker
I don’t actually think Obama was a good student — I mean, where are the grades, yo? — but I would call him a “good student” in the sense that he believed whatever his professors told him.
A pliable mind, let’s call it.
Some people are bad as students because they reject the crap their professors tell them. Some of these people are just idiots; some are pretty smart, and go on to do big things.
On the other hand, some “good students” are complete idiots themselves, and what makes them good students — pliability, willingness to believe — is exactly what makes them bad thinkers.
Obama’s that type, obviously.
He has no rebelliousness of mind. No defiance of thought.
He believes everything his leftist professors and leftist heroes and leftist patrons (like Bill Ayers) told him.
He’s got a soft mind. A soft man, who’s lived a soft life, with soft hands, and a soft mind.
Meanwhile, this parvenu (where are the grades, yo?) sends out his flack to call Paul Ryan “aggressively and deliberately ignorant” on this very issue….
For more on the budget proposal, an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on his budget plan, The Path to Prosperity, presented today:
…Like last year, our budget delivers real spending discipline. It does this not through indiscriminate cuts that endanger our military, but by ending the epidemic of crony politics and government overreach that has weakened confidence in the nation’s institutions and its economy. And it strengthens the safety net by returning power to the states, which are in the best position to tailor assistance to their specific populations.
More important, it tackles the drivers of our debt and averts the fiscal crisis ahead. This year, our nation’s publicly held debt is projected to reach 73% of the economy—a dangerously high level that, according to leading economists, puts the nation at risk of a panicked run on its finances.
As shown in the nearby chart, our budget tackles this crisis head-on by cutting debt as a share of the economy by roughly 15% over the next decade, putting the nation’s finances on a path to balance, and paying off the debt. By contrast, the president’s budget pushes debt as a share of the economy even higher. In his budget’s own words, it allows the government’s fiscal position to “gradually deteriorate” after 2022.
On the critical issues of health security and tax reform, our budget draws a clear distinction between serious reformers and those who stand in the way of the growing bipartisan consensus for principled solutions.
Our budget’s Medicare reforms make no changes for those in or near retirement. For those who will retire a decade from now, our plan provides guaranteed coverage options financed by a premium-support payment. And this year, our budget adds even more choices for seniors, including a traditional fee-for-service Medicare option….
Our budget also spurs economic growth with bold tax reform—eliminating complexity for individuals and families and boosting competitiveness for American job creators. Led by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, our budget consolidates the current six individual income tax brackets into just two brackets of 10% and 25%.
We propose to reduce the corporate tax rate of 35%, which will soon be the highest rate in the developed world, to a much more competitive 25%. Our budget also shifts to a “territorial” tax system to end the practice of hitting businesses with extra taxes when they invest profits earned abroad in jobs and factories here at home.
We reject calls to raise taxes, but revenue nevertheless remains steady under our budget because we close special-interest loopholes. More important, our reforms will grow the economy—and the faster the economy grows, the more revenue the government will have to meet its priorities and start paying down the debt….
From House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI):
And for those who like a hard copy, check out The Path to Prosperity or just take a look at the SparkNotes version:
…Critical Race Theory (CRT) was an intellectual development in the late 1970s and early 1980s in which some scholars, perturbed by what they perceived as a loss of momentum in the movement for racial equality, began to doubt that the constitutional and legal system itself had the capacity for change.
This criticism mirrored a Marxist attack long voiced in academia: that the Constitution had been a capitalist document incapable of allowing for the redistributionist change necessary to create a more equal world. To create a more equal world, the Constitution and the legal system would have to be endlessly criticized – hence critical theory – and torn down from within….
So, what does CRT believe? In their primer, Critical Race Theory, Richard Delgado (one of the movement’s founders) and Jean Stefancic set out some basic principles:
1. “Racism is ordinary, not aberrational”;
2. “Our system of white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material.”
When taken together, these principles have serious ramifications. First, they suggest that legal rules that stand for equal treatment under law – i.e. the 14th Amendment – can remedy “only the most blatant forms of discrimination.” The system is too corrupted, too based on the notion of white supremacy, for equal protection of the laws to ever be a reality. The system must be made unequal in order to compensate for the innate racism of the white majority.
Second, these principles suggest that even measures taken to alleviate unequal protection under the law – for example, the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education – were actually taken for nefarious purposes, to serve white interests. This is exactly what Derrick Bell believed: he said that Brown had only been decided in order to prevent the Soviet Union from using American racial inequality as a public relations baton to wield against the white-majority United States….
So here’s what we’re left with, in simple terms. Racism cannot be ended within the current system; the current system is actually both a byproduct of and a continuing excuse for racism. Minority opinions on the system are more relevant than white opinions, since whites have long enjoyed control of the system, and have an interest in maintaining it.
This is a deeply disturbing theory. It is damaging both to race relations and to the legal and Constitutional order….
The CRT theme runs deep in the Obama psyche….
Hey, I think that video’s pretty good at presenting the facts and hypocrisy of the left on this issue.
I think President Obama’s campaign not returning the money is more a testament to their desperate desire for cash than their inability to see the hypocrisy. They need the money so they’ll overlook everything else.