I have little to add to John Hinderaker’s analysis of the Bundy ranch standoff, except this: if the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency, thinks it can establish “First Amendment Areas” while it goes about its business, it and the rest of the federal bureaucracy need to think again. First, the moral case for Bundy (who, as Hinderaker correctly notes, doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on):
Over the last two or three decades, the Bureau has squeezed the ranchers in southern Nevada by limiting the acres on which their cattle can graze, reducing the number of cattle that can be on federal land, and charging grazing fees for the ever-diminishing privilege. The effect of these restrictions has been to drive the ranchers out of business. Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one. When Bundy refused to pay grazing fees beginning in around 1993, he said something to the effect of, they are supposed to be charging me a fee for managing the land and all they are doing is trying to manage me out of business. Why should I pay them for that..?
So let’s have some sympathy for Cliven Bundy and his family. They don’t have a chance on the law, because under the Endangered Species Act and many other federal statutes, the agencies are always in the right. And their way of life is one that, frankly, is on the outs. They don’t develop apps. They don’t ask for food stamps. It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician. They don’t subsist by virtue of government subsidies or regulations that hamstring competitors. They aren’t illegal immigrants. They have never even gone to law school. So what possible place is there for the Bundys in the Age of Obama?
Well, this is what you get with gangster government. But, just as in the 1930s, when corrupt big-city machines like Tammany Hall worked hand-in-glove with both politicians and criminals — but I repeat myself — it’s going to take the public to rise up and destroy the rackets. Where is the Tom Dewey of our time, the two-fisted racket buster who sent legions of crooks to the slammer? We’re still waiting.
But a “First Amendment Area“? That’s something every American needs to denounce, as loudly as possible. No federal agency has the right to do this, and in a decent administration, the bureaucrat who thought up the idea and ordered the signs posted would be publicly defenestrated pour encourage les autres. There is, however, no accountability in the Obama administration and its corrupt enablers in Congress, for whom everything is a racket — either a source of personal enrichment or an opportunity to mete out some punishment to the regime’s ideological enemies.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The BLM’s stunt violated every one of the amendment’s proscriptions except the “establishment” and “free exercise” clauses, and Obamacare is working hard on those. For the record, here’s the official spokesdroid’s explanation for the zones:
While anybody can express their free speech any time on open public lands in accordance with the codes and ordinances that exist, there are temporary closures of some of the public lands related to this impound operation and those are in place for public safety. So we identified two areas where the public could safely and conveniently express their opinions without having to go through the codes and ordinance process and apply for permits.
So this is the country we live in at the moment: militarized local cops and weaponized federal agencies, whose bureaucratic whims are enforced at gunpoint. It’s not the country I grew up in, nor one in which any right-thinking American would want to live.
On the other hand, not everything is a plot against the Republic:
Another day, another chronicle of Democratic Party malfeasance. Enjoy:
In Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of California has just leveled an explosive charge against his Democrat counterpart on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee — to wit, that the gentleman from Maryland colluded with the IRS to harass a conservative organization fighting for honest elections:
Issa said records obtained last week from the IRS show communications from the office of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., about True the Vote, a Texas-based, non-profit conservative group that aims to prevent voter fraud.The communications at one point involved Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official whom Issa’s panel is poised to hold in contempt of Congress on Thursday for refusing to provide testimony about her involvement in targeting conservative groups.
“The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” a statement from the Oversight panel reads.According to Issa, Cummings and his staff sought “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” from True the Vote.
Naturally, the honorable gentlemen denies the charges:
Cummings said the letter from Issa and others Republicans is “a desperate attempt to shift the focus on tomorrow’s contempt vote away from the serious Constitutional deficiencies in these proceedings.”
Did somebody say “contempt vote”? What kind of nefarious activity might occasion such a thing?
This excerpt is from the book Rules for Radical Conservatives by the noted Leftist radical, “David Kahane.” If you don’t know who David Kahane is, click here. And here. Buy it, read it, weep, and enjoy it if you can:
Despite all the evidence of the past several decades, you still have not grasped one simple fact: that, just about a century after the last one ended, we engaged in a great civil war, one that will determine the kind of country we and our descendants shall henceforth live in for at least the next hundred years – and, hopefully, a thousand. Since there hasn’t been any shooting, so far, some call the struggle we are now involved in the “culture wars,” but I have another, better name for it: the Cold Civil War
In many ways, this new civil war is really an inter-generational struggle, the War of the Baby Boomers. America’s largest generation, the famous “pig in the python,” has affected everything it’s touched, from the schools of the 1950s (not enough of them) through the colleges of the 1960s (changed, changed utterly), through the political movements of the 1970s and ‘80s (revolution and counter-revolution), and into the present, where the war is still being waged. For the dirty little secret is that all those fresh-faced kids, crammed together in public-school classrooms, have hated each other almost from the moment they first drew breath, and realized that they were to be locked in lifelong, mortal competition with the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of other kids their same age. From their first moment of self-consciousness, they were aware that they would have to fight for everything they got: for the love of their parents, for a desk in the classrooms, for a place in the elite colleges, for a job, for a title, for money, for everything.
It was back then, shoulder to shoulder in those crowded, stinky classrooms, benighted places where there was scarcely a grief counselor ever to be seen, where Attention Deficit Disorder and the whole host of other imaginary diseases we have since inflicted on you had not yet been invented (any kid claiming ADD would have been laughed at and, in Catholic school, probably slapped upside the head by the nuns), and where the idea of filing a lawsuit on just about any pretext would have been considered trashy, that our respective sides developed our deep antipathy for one other. My crew was resentful that we had to share space, not only in the classroom but on the planet, with inexplicably happy alien beings like you, who, at best, ignored us as you got on with your lives in pursuit of the chimerical “American Dream,” or worse, treated us with contempt as we whined, moaned, bitched and complained about the awful unfairness of life and the vast evil all around us and all that jazz. Just because you happened to be the so-called “majority” at the time didn’t mean we couldn’t start planning ways to take you down, to change things, to effect a fundamental transformation of your society. Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is now ours.
You admired strength, resolve and purposefulness; we were stuck with weakness and indecision. You saw the world as something to be conquered; we saw the world as a hostile force needing to be appeased. You dealt with life head-on, never complaining and never explaining; we ran home and told our mommies. You cheered when macho neanderthals like John Wayne or Steve McQueen kicked some “bad” guy’s butt, and swelled with pride at that whole faked “moon landing” charade, while we ogled Jane Fonda as Barbarella atop that anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, and rolled around naked in the mud at Woodstock. Think of us as Cain to your Abel, hating you from practically the moment we were born, hating you for your excellence and your unabashed pursuit thereof while we were the ugly stepchildren. Well, Cinderfella – how do you like us now?
Now we know why our Punahou-educated president feels so comfortable in a kindergarten classroom:
President Obama compared the Republican budget plan to a “stinkburger” or “meanwich” during a speech here Wednesday, using a series of zingers in an attempt to strike a contrast with the GOP on economic issues in an election year.
In a speech to an enthusiastic crowd of 1,400 at the University of Michigan, Obama repeatedly mocked Republican ideas about how to improve the economy, as he touted his own proposal to raise the minimum wage.
Obama, who visited the local Zingerman’s deli before the speech, said that Republican proposals to cut taxes for wealthier Americans and federal investments in education, as well as replace his federal health-care program, would harm the economy.
The GOP has proposed the same ideas so many times, Obama said, “It’s like that movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ except it’s not funny. If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s, they’d have to call it the stinkburger or the meanwich.”
Hard to know where to begin with one. The uncritical use by the reporter of the term “federal investments”? A “crowd” of 1,400? A “series of zingers” from the Commander in Chief? “Mockery” from the bully pulpit? Can it be that Obama really doesn’t listen to himself, weigh his words, or respect what, pre-Clinton, we used to laughingly call the “dignity of the office”? Surely somebody wrote those lines for him; this is, after all, a man whose forays off-prompter often end in disaster:
More likely, he simply doesn’t care. His glide path to the presidency has been marked by one thing in particular: no one has ever said “no” to him about anything. He went to one of the most exclusive (and, if you’re into racial bean-counting, whitest) private prep school in Hawaii, then skated through Occidental, Columbia and Harvard while leaving nary a mark or a memory. More than five long years into the Obama presidency, it’s clear that his sense of the job is entirely confined to its ceremonial aspects — parties, vacations, junkets — and to campaigning, which is the only thing he’s any good at.
And yet, to this we’ve come: a country in which style trumps substance, to the cheers of the media. And does Obama ever have style: from the moment he delivered his famous speech at the 2004 Democrat convention as an obscure state senator running for the U.S. Senate, I knew he would be the party’s next nominee, and that he would probably win. The only thing that might have blocked his ascension was Sarah Palin, and once the media recovered from the shock of her nomination and acceptance speech, their knives bloodied her badly — with John McCain, of course, doing nothing to defend her. Indeed, I parodied the reaction in my viral NRO piece, “I Hate You, Sarah Palin“:
But she’s not a Democrat, which despite her va-va-va-voom appearance, means she’s not really a woman, which is one of the reasons we’ve spent the past four days since McCain unveiled her trying to tear her limb from limb. Just because she’s the governor of a state sandwiched between two obscure and unimportant countries, Canada and Russia, and spent more time in her first five minutes visiting American troops in Iraq than Evita Barry did during his entire Rainbow Tour, what could she possibly know about foreign policy? It’s not like she’s John Edwards or something.
So that’s why we’re having our Wellstone Funeral Moment at the moment. We mean well; we promised ourselves we wouldn’t go over the top with our outright loathing of the Neanderthals who preach “Christian” values while practicing Wiccanism and child sacrifice and who hate black people and gay people and want to destroy the environment just because they can, and want to amass more money than even John Kerry or Jon Corzine or Herb Kohl or Jay Rockefeller or Dianne Feinstein — the five richest senators — or Ted Kennedy or John Edwards or Nancy Pelosi have. That, usually, is the Kos Kidz’s job. Along with speculating exactly how Bush got from My Pet Goat to planting the depth charges that blew up the levees in New Orleans.
But sometimes the mask slips and you can see — whoops! — how much we hate you. Normally we’re against hate in all its forms, and embrace tolerance as one of our defining moral attributes. But when it comes to you conservatives, well, with the best will in the world, we just can’t tolerate you. You’re elitist, you’re judgmental, you’re hypocritical, and we know that deep down you hate us even more than we hate you. Therefore, by any means necessary, we will defeat you this fall. Voter fraud, “walking around” money, legions of lawyers, as many recounts as it takes — bring it on!
So why we should be surprised at “stinkburger”? As Lucianne.com drily noted on its post this morning, What next? Republicans are “poopyheads”?
For a look at what a real president looks like, please turn the page.
Thanks to my friend and colleague Ed Driscoll for his plug today regarding my phrase, “a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.” As Ed notes, I first coined this handy explanation for everything Democratic over at National Review, in my alter-ego guise of “David Kahane,” in my world-famous parody essay, “I Still Hate You, Sarah Palin.” (Please join “Dave” on Facebook — look for the cover of Rules for Radical Conservatives — or follow him/me on Twitter @dkahanerules.) Some of is worth revisiting today:
I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but maybe now you’re beginning to understand the high-stakes game we’re playing here. This ain’t John McCain’s logrolling senatorial club any more. This is a deadly serious attempt to realize the vision of the 1960s and to fundamentally transform the United States of America. This is the fusion of Communist dogma, high ideals, gangster tactics, and a stunning amount of self-loathing. For the first time in history, the patrician class is deliberately selling its own country down the river just to prove a point: that, yes, we can! This country stinks and we won’t be happy until we’ve forced you to admit it.
In other words, stop thinking of the Democratic Party as merely a political party, because it’s much more than that. We’re not just the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition. Not just the party of Aaron Burr, Boss Tweed, Richard J. Croker, Bull Connor, Chris Dodd, Richard Daley, Bill Ayers, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II. Not just the party of Kendall “Agent 202” Myers, the State Department official recruited as a Cuban spy along with his wife during the Carter administration. Rather, think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.
So the news yesterday that the FBI has bagging crooked Democrats all across this great land of ours comes as exactly zero surprise to me. After all, at the behest of my PJ Media colleague, friend and publisher, Roger Kimball, I wrote the book on the subject: The People v. the Democratic Party, which you can find on Amazon and at better bookstores everywhere. These people have been enemies of the state since Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton (Burr, who was basically the first Democrat vice president, also was one of the founders of Tammany Hall, the first and last word in Democrat municipal corruption). It’s time to start seeing them for what they really are.
Attention, the Creative Community: does this make any sense to you? One of my pet peeves on Facebook — and you may friend me there simply by looking up “David Kahane” and finding the avatar for Rules for Radical Conservatives — is this kind of list, which purports to impart wisdom but usually just makes your brain ache. Are “creative people” “easily bored”? Do they “think with their heart”? Do they “hate the rules”? No, no, and Hell No, says I.
As the author of six novels (with a new one on the way), one produced script and another heading into production, plus half a dozen sold scripts and four or five projects in various states of fruition (i.e., producer and director attachments), let me say as a member in good standing of the creative community that this list strikes me as better describing a civilian’s idea of “creativity.” For one thing, creative people are not easily bored. From conception through publication of my novel, And All the Saints (winner of the 2004 American Book Award and soon to be available in a spiffy new Kindle and other platforms e-edition), the time elapsed was seven full years. Seven years to think it up, internalize it, decide on the voice (first-person) and the tone, research it on location in New York City and Hot Springs, Ark., write it, get it edited, proofread the galleys and at last hold the finished book in my hand. Was I bored? Not a single time, never, to quote another famous resident of Hot Springs and, as it turned out, a protege of my narrator, the great Irish-American gangster Owney Madden. When the work is going well it’s not work, it’s fun.
Another false meme is that creative folks hate the rules. On the contrary, we love the rules. We internalize the rules. We master the rules. And we continue to love and use the rules even when we are breaking them — which of course we could not do had we not learned them well in the first place. Rules are not arbitrary edicts, but standards that evolve over time based on what works. Only amateurs break them without knowing them — and it shows. The creation of any work of art requires a knowledge of structure, which is why writers and other artists — such as architects — learn how to build from the ground up. They don’t think with their hearts, they think with their heads. After all, the heart can only beat when it’s encased in a solid structure first.
Even “work independently” is not quite right. True, the super-glamorous profession of novelist or screenwriter takes place for long stretches of time with the writer sitting alone in a small room, typing. But nothing exists in a vacuum: writers have agents and editors, screenwriters have agents and producers and directors and studio suits and a horde of other colleagues once the film is actually being made. We interact constantly and symbiotically, and benefit both emotionally and (some of the time, anyway) financially.
One thing that’s true: we do make lots of mistakes, with the bones of countless false starts, misdirections and even whole drafts buried in our back yards. And it’s also true that we change our mind(s) “alot.” A. Lot. We also learn how to spell. Meanwhile, back on the home front:
Every American should rejoice over last week’s stunning 2-1 Second Amendment decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which invalidated San Diego’s unconstitutionally restrictive infringements regarding the right to bear arms. The irony will be lost on no one, especially on the Left. Per the Los Angeles Times:
In a significant victory for gun owners, a divided federal appeals court Thursday struck down California rules that permit counties to restrict as they see fit the right to carry a concealed weapon in public.
The 2-1 ruling by a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel would overturn restrictions on carrying concealed handguns, primarily affecting California’s most populated regions, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco.
The majority said the restrictions violate the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms because they deny law-abiding citizens the ability to carry weapons in public unless they show they need the protection for specific reasons.
“We are not holding that the Second Amendment requires the states to permit concealed carry,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, a Reagan appointee, wrote for the panel. “But the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”
You can read the court’s decision here. And you should, because this one is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where (in a rare departure for the 9th Circuit) it is unlikely to be reversed. The final constitutional victory over the Suicide Cult of the Left may be at hand, and the explicit promise of the Declaration of Independence settled once and for all.
Quoting liberally from the Supreme Court’s landmark Heller and McDonald decisions, the circuit court essentially said that while the state may regulate the manner in which handguns may be carried for personal protection, it may not do so by making it practically impossible for law-abiding citizens to afford themselves the protections — both constitutional and physical — of the Second Amendment.
We are well aware that, in the judgment of many governments, the safest sort of firearm-carrying regime is one which restricts the privilege to law enforcement with only narrow exceptions. Nonetheless, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. . . . Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court [or ours] to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” Id. at 636. Nor may we relegate the bearing of arms to a “second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees that we have held to be incorporated into the Due Process Clause.” (McDonald, 130 S. Ct. at 3044.)
When the late Andrew Breitbart asked me in the fall of 2009 to start a new website called Big Journalism, the first thing I looked for in potential contributors was a sharp wit and a way with words. Luckily for me, one of the first people who signed on was Steve Grammatico, who quickly carved out a place for himself as our house satirist par excellence – the scourge of leftist cant, pious liberal nonsense and pie-in-the-sky progressivism.
Steve began his rise to punchlines and punditry in a typically 21st-century way, as the commenter “Sagman” on the influential lucianne.com website, where his sparkling insouciance quickly won him a loyal following. Wrote one fan: “writing good political satire involves more than wit and words; it requires exceptional knowledge of personalities, politics, and policies.”
Satire, as the great playwright George S. Kaufman famously noted, is what closes on Saturday night. As someone who, under the nom de plume of “David Kahane,” has written a fair amount of satire myself, I would amend that wisecrack to “bad satire.” Good satire – biting, crackling and always on target, but never simply mean and insulting – is what plays and plays. Because, at its heart, everybody knows its true. And even when it’s not, it is anyway.
If you doubt me, consider this: The Beggar’s Opera, a work of the English musical theater which skewered contemporary politicians, manners and mores has been playing, more or less continuously, since 1728. Yes, you read that right: for nearly three hundred years, both in its original form by John Gay and Johann Pepusch, and in its German incarnation by Bert Brecht and Kurt Weill, “The Threepenny Opera.” And you know what? It’s still funny.
Hence, this book, drawn from Steve’s work for Big Journalism and elsewhere. Chief among these pieces are the series of the Obama War Room parodies, in which all the villains of the administration are given free rein to express their innermost thoughts to a largely bewildered and clueless Barry, with the fun almost invariably ending when Michelle breaks into the room to berate the hapless president, her tirades ending with the words, “You hear me, Barack?”
In short, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder aloud, “what the hell were we thinking?” in electing Barack Hussein Obama president in 2008 and again in 2012. “My goal,” he says, “is to get people to laugh, to see my scenarios as a warped and often not so warped reflection of reality. For me, incongruity is at the heart of satire.”
So sit back, relax and enjoy this parade of poltroons, hoist high with their own petards. You’re in the hands of a master.
Yeah, right. Via John Hinderaker of Power Line, and courtesy of the NRA, comes this counter-strike against the Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ transparently phony “gun control” ad. Naturally, this gang of criminals won’t answer the question:
What does this tell us about the dishonest Left? That there is no lie they will not tell, no misrepresentation they will not offer in their single-minded pursuit of power. Their breathtaking mendacity is no accident; it’s not only the means to their ends, it’s who and what they are. Shame on us if we fall for it.
So whenever a fascist Regressive proposes a power grab in the name of “common sense,” “reasonable restrictions ” or ”the children,” call them on it — what part of “shall not be infringed” don’t they understand?