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Archive | Politics

CROSS: Government Bully versus the Clive Bundy Small Fry

Bundy and the Rule of Law | National Review Online

Cliven Bundy is in the wrong. He is nevertheless a sympathetic figure, and the concerns raised by the standoff in Nevada transcend the illegality of his conduct.

[...]

Lincoln’s speech [addressing Congress on July 4, 1861, Lincoln defended his suspension of the writ] does justify law-breaking in extraordinary circumstances. I’d construe his argument as follows: Even if what I have done is unlawful, it was necessary because it was done for the higher purpose of preserving the system that protects our liberties—under dire circumstances where violating the law was more faithful to the Constitution than obeying it would have been.

[...]

The underlying assumption of our belief in the rule of law is that we are talking about law in the American tradition: provisions that obligate everyone equally and that are enforced dispassionately by a chief executive who takes seriously the constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. The rule of law is not the whim of a man who himself serially violates the laws he finds inconvenient and who, under a distortion of the “prosecutorial discretion” doctrine, gives a pass to his favored constituencies while punishing his opposition. The rule of law is the orderly foundation of our free society; when it devolves into a vexatious process by which ideologues wielding power undertake to tame those whose activities they disfavor, it is not the rule of law anymore.

The legitimacy of law and our commitment to uphold it hinge on our sense that the law and its execution are just. As John Hinderaker points out, concerns about the desert tortoise—the predicate for taking lawful action against Nevada ranchers under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—turn out to be pretextual. The ideologues who run the government only want to enforce the ESA against a disfavored class, the ranchers.If you’re a well-connected Democrat who needs similar land for a solar project, the Obama administration will not only refrain from enforcing the ESA against you; it will transport the tortoises to the ranchers’ location in order to manufacture a better pretext for using the law to harass the ranchers.

When law becomes a politicized weapon rather than a reflection of society’s shared principles, one can no longer expect it to be revered in a manner befitting “political religion.” And when the officials trusted to execute law faithfully violate laws regularly, they lose their presumption of legitimacy. Much of the public is not going to see the Feds versus Bundy as the Law versus the Outlaw; we are more apt to see it as the Bully versus the Small Fry.

 

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Cross: Left Wing Protestor Promotes Violence Over Thinking

Google Bus Protest Organizer: “We’ll Take It to Their Homes” | Re/code

After blocking a Google bus and protesting outside the company’s head of e-discovery in San Francisco’s Mission district this morning – but before rallying 300 people in a planned protest outside the sites of attempted evictions — organizer Fred Sherburn-Zimmer sat down at Borderlands Cafe for a cinnamon roll.

Sherburn-Zimmer — who works at the Housing Rights Committee, is a member of the Heart of the City art and politics collective and regularly speaks at the rallies she organizes — said the past couple of weeks marked a turning point.

“You’re going to see fewer Google bus protests,” she said. “We’ll be doing other actions. We’ll be more targeted. We’ll take it to [housing speculators'] offices. We’ll take it to their homes. There are times when we’ll physically blockade people inside a building [if the sheriff is coming to evict tenants].”

Will there be violence?

“I can’t predict where the movement will go, but we’ll do whatever tenants need to do to win,” she said.

“These people are dangerous and must be stopped. Will the police uphold law & order? Or—misinterpreting the First Amendment—will they allow mob violence? What will it take to make sure they protect people who are under attack? We need to discuss and debate it like civilized people. Threats and intimidation tactics must be stopped, and everyone should recognize that anyone who employs those tactics is thereby removed from the discussion.” — J. Crawford

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Dollar: Rob Lowe wants “the government out of almost everything.”

Rob Lowe on the Problems With Being Pretty – NYTimes.com

You’ve compared loyalty to a political party to recreational drug use. You’ve been sober for several years now, so what did you mean by that? I find them both highly overrated. Each day another state makes it O.K. for my 18-year-old — any 18-year-old — to go and buy pot like he’s buying a Pepsi-Cola, and so let’s face it: In the United States, recreational drug use is sort of acceptable. Belonging to one party is acceptable. But my days of just ticking the party box are long over. I judge the candidates for who they are.

So what do you believe? My thing is personal freedoms, freedoms for the individual to love whom they want, do with what they want. In fact, I want the government out of almost everything.

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CROSS: Left Motivated by Totalitarian Power

Daniel Greenfield commenting on the Mozilla (makers of the Firefox browser) CEO who was fired in The Left Isn’t Pro-Gay — It’s Pro-Power | FrontPage Magazine:

The left does not care about gay marriage. In most left-wing regimes, homosexuality was persecuted. It was illegal in the USSR. Gay men were locked up in Cuba and are still targeted in China. Nicolas Maduro, the current hero of the left, openly uses homophobic language without any criticism from his Western admirers. It goes without saying that homosexuality is criminalized throughout the Muslim world.

Engels viewed homosexuality as a perversion born out of the bourgeois way of life that would be eliminated under socialism. The Revolutionary Communist Party of the United States stated that homosexuality “is a product of the decay of capitalism” and vowed that once the revolution took place, a “struggle will be waged to eliminate it and reform homosexuals.”

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.

[...]

Every gang needs to hurt and terrorize people in order to feel its power. [...] The purpose of these purges is not to make the country more tolerant, but to make it more afraid. The message of the Eich purge is not, “accept gay marriage,” it’s “don’t question us.” As many have pointed out, Eich had the same view of gay marriage at the time he made that donation as Obama and Hillary.[...]

The left is a totalitarian movement that inverts everything it touches. It fights against poverty by making more men poor. It helps black people by keeping them down, and it promotes tolerance through displays of intolerance. Its endgame is simply raw power. It wants as much of it as it can get its hands on.

[...]

The left constantly takes stands, but it believes in nothing. Like all totalitarian movements, it worships at the feet of the bronze bull of power. It believes in the virtue of its outrage, the might of its rhetoric and the pleasure of trampling an enemy underfoot. Every one of its beliefs are baseless and expendable in the name of its true god of power.

The right has sold its moral birthright in the hopes of being tolerated by a movement with no morals or beliefs except in the virtue of its own intolerance. It strategically embraces the left’s ideas and hopes that this process will eventually lead to a truce.

It can’t and it won’t.

The left does not hate the right because of gay marriage. It does not hate the right because it thinks that the right is racist, sexist, transphobic, semaphoric or plasmatic. It hates the right because it is not of the left. The right stands in the way of its absolute power. These two things are enough to be hated.

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DOLLAR: Koch – Love of Liberty is the American Ideal

Writes Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries in  I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society – WSJ.com:

[...] The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. “The natural progress of things,” Jefferson wrote, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” He knew that no government could possibly run citizens’ lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.

Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) [...]

Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.” These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Here are some facts about my philosophy and our company:

Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.

[...]

Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.

If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.

 

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CROSS: The New Draft: Government Debt

Writes The Ayn Rand Institute on End The Debt Draft:

Forty thousand dollars. That’s roughly your share of the U.S. national debt. That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared to the debt the government’s going to be racking up in the years ahead thanks mainly to America’s old-age welfare programs.

As the Baby Boomers retire, the bill for Social Security and Medicare will grow fast, setting off a debt tsunami. Economists can estimate the difference between how much government is on track to spend and how much it will raise from taxes. They call this “the fiscal gap.” That number is astronomical: $205 trillion dollars, or more than half a million dollars per person.

Today you and millions of other young Americans are being drafted into debt. Like the military draft, the Debt Draft treats the lives of young people as the property of the state. You have been conscripted to finance other people’s retirement and health care needs, regardless of what impact this will have on your life. Your duty is to set aside your own happiness in order to serve the needs of the old.

Responsible individuals only take on debt they can manage, and only when it serves important goals and values: to go to college, buy a home, start a business. But imagine being forced to pay someone else’s student loan debt, or someone else’s mortgage, or someone else’s credit card bill. Would that be fair? Of course not. But that is what the Debt Draft amounts to.

Now, let me be clear. Whatever the parallels between today’s debt disaster and the military draft, there is a vast difference. The military draft left countless young Americans maimed or killed, which is something that we should be careful not to trivialize. But there is a parallel between that and the welfare state that we must not ignore. Both turn young people into servants.

Read the rest.

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DOLLAR: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: “U.S. government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat.”

Writes Mark Zuckerberg:

[...] at Facebook we spend a lot of our energy making our services and the whole internet safer and more secure. We encrypt communications, we use secure protocols for traffic, we encourage people to use multiple factors for authentication and we go out of our way to help fix issues we find in other people’s services.[...]

This is why I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.

The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.

I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.

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CROSS: Amateur Obama’s Hollow Rhetoric

From TIME.com:

Russia’s escalating intervention in Ukraine once again confronts Barack Obama with a foreign policy crisis over which his options are painfully limited, forcing him into a reactive posture that relies on tough, but largely hollow rhetoric.

Appearing on short notice in the White House briefing room yesterday, Obama warned Russian president Vladimir Putin that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” Within hours, Putin had requested and received from Russia’s parliament the authority to use force in its western neighbor, whose capital city Kiev saw an uprising against Moscow last month.

Putin appears to have calculated that the benefits of maintaining control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, home to a large ethnic Russian population and a major naval base, would outweigh any costs that Obama and the West can impose.

He’s probably right.

 

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CROSS: GOP leadership is on a suicide mission

Republicans are now focused on fixing Obamacare rather than repealing it.

From In shift, GOP wants ObamaCare fix | TheHill

Republicans have shifted their strategy on ObamaCare. Weeks ago, many Republicans — including Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) — said ObamaCare was too broken to fix. But now, the GOP is drafting legislation that aims to do just that. The GOP wants to rebuild its political capital and public credibility by solving ObamaCare’s implementation problems. This pivot comes after Republicans took major hits in polls following the government shutdown. The House this week will vote on a measure called the Keep Your Health Plan Act. It aims to do what the president promised years ago: If you like your healthcare plan, you can stay on it. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing for a vote in their chamber. That measure has already attracted Democratic support.

Due to the insurance market and ObamaCare mandates, millions have recently lost their healthcare coverage. Many of these dropped people will obtain coverage through the new ObamaCare health exchanges, but some, if not most, will pay higher premiums. After their costly political strategy to defund ObamaCare, GOP lawmakers are more willing to support measures that will repair the president’s signature healthcare law, political science Professor Jack Pitney said. “Republicans took a look at the polls. They finally realized that defunding ObamaCare was unpopular, but a measure like this [is] very popular. They realized that, despite all the brave talk, that the shutdown did not work to their advantage, and now they are trying to get on the right side of public opinion,” he said.

[...]

Some Republicans believe that with full enactment of the law — and the inability to defund it — the party won’t be hurt politically with attempting to solve the problems arising from ObamaCare. “Before [ObamaCare] went into effect, the only goal is to stop it; now the goal is still stop it, but I don’t want to treat people harshly,” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) explained. The House legislation that is scheduled for a vote this week is sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). More than 100 Republican lawmakers have already endorsed it.

Of course, what they don’t understand is that they are playing right into the Democrats’ hands – the Democrats election strategy is to admit that ObamaCare has flaws, promise to repair them and argue that Republicans will only make things worse. (See link I will post in first comment). Once the public sees that both Republicans and Democrats accept Obamacare, acknowledge its flaws and seek to fix it, there will be no compelling difference between the parties this November and no reason to vote for Republicans over Democrats. And worse: Democrats will always club Republicans by saying or implying that Republicans’ secret desire is to repeal Obamacare, whereas the Democrats want to “protect” it and “reform” it.

The GOP leadership is on a suicide mission. — Ed Mazlish

 

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CROSS: FCC Fascism – “Open Internet” and “New Neutrality” as Doublespeak for The Government Takeover of the Internet

From FCC Republicans Pan New Net Neutrality Plan | Broadcasting & Cable

“Today’s announcement reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day,” wrote Pai. “In the wake of a court defeat, an FCC chairman floats a plan for rules regulating Internet service providers’ network management practices instead of seeking guidance from Congress, all while the specter of Title II reclassification hovers ominously in the background. I am skeptical that this effort will end any differently from the last.”

“I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the Internet,” said O’Rielly. “As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.”

The D.C. appeals court that overturned the anti-blocking and nondiscrimination portions of the FCC’s 2009 Open Internet order did concede that ISP’s have the ability and incentive to discriminate against edge providers in the provision of competing data or video services, and the power to regulate broadband in the interests of deployment if it concludes such discrimination would discourage that deployment.

“It appears that the FCC is tilting at windmills here,” said O’Rielly. “Instead of fostering investment and innovation through deregulation, the FCC will be devoting its resources to adopting new rules without any evidence that consumers are unable to access the content of their choice.”

The criticial issue is to prevent the FCC from regulating internet content; which would be the next step in principle once the FCC is in control of the internet infrastructure which is presently the property of the ISPs who built and maintain it.

For more on “net neutrality” see:

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A Tale of Two Revolutions

Interesting comparisons of the revolutions going on in Ukraine and Venezuela:

Ukraine And Venezuela Uprisings: No Velvet Revolutions In Sight – Investors.com

Both Venezuelans and Ukrainians showed unusual courage against their rogue states — at least four Venezuelans were killed — but by Wednesday, the EU had declared sanctions against the Ukrainian regime and the U.S. announced it would follow suit. Venezuela got nothing. The crowds thinned and everyone went home.

Why the difference?

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Conservative Pre-emptive Surrender

Another absolutely disgraceful article In Praise of the Establishment from National Review states that “McConnell and Boehner have steered us right for a few months now.”

Though not quite as disgraceful as last week’s article promoting an alliance between social conservatives and Muslims in order to promote bans on abortion and same sex marriage.

Nowhere in this article is there even a mention of the enormous damage George W. Bush did with 6 years of GOP control of Congress. No mea culpa is offered for the damage done by Bush and the Republicans between 2000-6. No mention is made of the similarities between what Obama is doing and what Bush and the Republicans did. And most importantly, not a single word offered as to how to prevent the disasters of the Bush Administration in a future GOP administration.

If National Review, The Weekly Standard and Commentary Magazine want to advocate this kind of nonsense in Blue states, fine. But to advocate it as a national strategy is beyond asinine: it is pre-emptive surrender to Obama’s evil.

With “allies” like this, send me my enemies. Please. — Ed Mazlish

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