In 1960, Russell Kirk unleashed “The Conservative Mind,” a multi-century review of conservative thought, solidifying the conception that conservatism is an intellectual ideology, founded in fact, grounded on historical experience, and constructed with logic. Conservatism is argued, but hardly arguable, since it is eminently rational.
Nevertheless, many Americans resisted its dogma, clinging to a lifestyle that embraces emotion, compassion and a view of government as “what we do together.”
Today, the divide between conservatives and liberals seems broader than ever, but, at least anecdotally, when folks switch sides, they tend to move from the Left to the Right, rather than the other way. The birth of social media has been a boon to distribution of conservative ideas, but it comes with a wicked backhand — too often delivered to the cheek of a liberal rival.
Arthur Brooks, perhaps gallantly, suggests that liberals are not our rivals, but rather embryonic conservatives in need of nurture. His new book, The Conservative Heart, offers a debate manual, not for crushing our enemies and driving them from the field, but for winning hearts and minds.
Brooks sat down for an interview with me recently at RedState Gathering in Atlanta, where he said several counterintuitive things about how to “win” the debate. If you find yourself rebelling against, or even ridiculing, Brooks’ thesis, consider that his objective is not to make conservatism something it’s not, nor to masquerade as someone you’re not, but rather to reflect the ideology as it truly is, to win a hearing for your ideas, and ultimately to win the “battle.”
The Conservative Heart lays out a vision for a better world, and equips us all to lead others to it.
Question: When it comes to Common Core, are conservatives concerned about the content of the curriculum, the publishing/testing monopoly it spawned, or the specter of the federal government reaching into your local classrooms to indoctrinate your children?
PJ Media’s own Paula Bolyard, who directs the PJ Parenting page, took to the stage at RedState Gathering in Atlanta Saturday for a discussion with Red State’s Leon Wolf about the impact of Common Core, and what can be done to minimize its deleterious effects.
Bolyard says opposition to Common Core has made strange bedfellows.
“Parents don’t like what they see coming home in backpacks…weird math lessons, too much testing with too high stakes,” she said.
And though a lot of good teachers are “trying to make it work” they grow frustrated as the government comes along every three years and says, effectively, “everything you’re doing is crap.”
Teachers’ unions, interested in protecting teachers’ jobs, worry about the accountability structure of the program.
“They don’t mind standards,” Bolyard said, “but don’t want jobs to be at stake as a result of the testing.”
Teachers, likewise, don’t like the standards as a basis for career advancement, preferring tenure and personal educational development as prerequisites to higher pay.
“It’s hard to get rid of Common Core completely,” Bolyard said. “I spoke with Gov. [Greg] Abbott, who said they built a border fence around Texas to keep Common Core out. But the ACT and the SAT [tests] are aligned to Common Core.”
Nevertheless, some states have found more or less success in minimizing the harm, she said. In Ohio, they’ve limited the testing. In Oklahoma, they got rid of Common Core.
Leon Wolf noted that, “If you object, you can homeschool, but since standardized tests are keyed to it, your children may still have to meet Common Core standards.”
Bolyard, a homeschooling Mom, said, “My kids did fine on the standardized tests. But a classical education won”t necessarily help you do well on the ACT or SAT anymore,” and yet, “good schools — my son went to Hillsdale — are always looking for good students.”
Many universities are diminishing the importance of standardized testing and giving more weight to other measures, such as academic portfolios.
Bolyard also sees a positive, if unintended, result of Common Core.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hit the stage at RedState Gathering Saturday and immediately began deconstructing the presumptive Democrat nominee.
“Every place in the world that Hillary Clinton has touched is more messed up today than when she and President Obama took office,” Walker said during a barrage that was clearly meant to keep the focus on the GOP’s eventual general election opponent.
The key question Republicans need to answer, says Walker, is “who’s best equipped to make sure that Hillary Clinton is not the next president?”
He called his GOP rivals “a great group of Repubicans” and said they’re not the opponent, Hillary Clinton is. Walker noted that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers “doesn’t talk trash. He shows what he does on the field of play.” Adopting that same attitude, he said to rising applause, “I don’t just talk about it. I fight and I win and I have a record of accomplishment in a blue state and I did not compromise my principles to get it.”
Walker described himself as “reform-minded” with a simple plan that includes reform, growth and safety.
Being a reformer means “taking power from Washington and putting it into the hands of people.”
For example, he said, “I don’t believe in Common Core or a nationwisde school board. Send the money and power back to the people at the local level.”
In contrast to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, who measure success by how many people are receiving government assistance, Walker said, “We measure successs by how many people are no longer dependent upon the government.”
Walker talked of his upbringing and his first job, washing dishes at the Countryside Restaurant, until he got a better one, flipping burgers at McDonald’s.
The lesson he learned from his parents was, “If you work hard and play by the rules you can do and be anything you want. That is the American dream. If more people are going to live that dream we have to have an economy that’s going to work for every American.”
As several candidates have done this weekend, he noted that six of the top 10 wealthiest zip codes are in suburban Washington, D.C., because of government employees, lobbyists and all of the companies reliant upon government for their fat salaries.
Walker said, “People create jobs, not the government.” Relieving pressure on small businesses would be a top priority for President Walker, a plan that includes repealing Obamacare, reining in out-of-control federal regulations, and adopting an “all of the above” energy policy to “take advantage of what God has given us.”
“We are an energy rich country,” he said, “and we need to start acting like it.”
A workforce prepared for 21st century jobs requires reforming schools to “give people the education and skills they need to succeed.”
Walker reminded the audience that in Wisconsin, “We took power out of the hands of big-government union bosses and put it firmly in the hands of the hard-working taxpayers.”
Jeb Bush sounded like nothing if not an applicant for a management position — pledging fiscal responsibiity, downsizing, reorganization, standards benchmarking, efficiency improvements and stripping layers of management. The only thing missing was pie charts on a PowerPoint presentation.
A room of several hundred red-blooded Conservatives applauded the GOP hopeful’s every proposal — more than politely, but less than passionately. It’s hard not to hear the word “technocrat” in the ether as Bush speaks.
What sets Bush apart from other governors running for president, in his estimation, is what he described as the ”most comprehensive record of consistent conservative principles. I won. I got to say what I was going to do, and I did it.”
His checklist of gubernatorial accomplishments include cutting taxes, eliminating affirmative action, eliminating career civil service protections, reducing state workforce, creating the first school voucher programs in the country. His education reforms bore fruit as Florida had the “greatest learning gains.”
He said the Sunshine State led nation in job growth seven out of eight years, and along the way his 2,500 line-item vetoes earned him the nickname “Veto Corleone.”
At his most passionate, the former Florida governor said, ”Conservatives will win if we’re hopeful and optimistic and have concrete plans based on our timeless principles. Your life will be better because we’ve done it before. I’ve done it as governor.”
Bush entered the room with a stiff headwind of doubts about his positions on immigration and education, and while he may not have allayed those concerns, he was given a fair hearing by the group most likely to wish his campaign jet would be parked in the hangar indefinitely.
On Common Core federally-recommended education standards, and education in general, Bush frankly conveyed a mixed message. He repeatedly said that the federal government should have virtually no role in elementary and secondard education, and also said repeatedly that he’s for high standards. He never made it clear why a presidential candidate should even express an opinion on school standards if the office he hopes to execute has no role in that business. He did tout his record as a leader in expanding school choice and toughening academic standards at the state level.
Addressing the big news of the day, during the Q&A session, Bush took on Donald Trump’s apparently disparaging remarks about women, particularly Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly.
“Do we want to win, or do we want to insult 53 percent of all voters?” Bush asked, noting that Trump was not only politically foolish, but just wrong. “Mr. Trump ought to apologize.”
He rattled off too many managerial proposals for this reporter’s clumsy fingers to capture on a keyboard.
Bush’s use of language included subtleties not evident in rousing addresses by Christie, Cruz, Fiorina, Perry, Huckabee and Rubio who preceded him on the Red State stage.
He said, for example, “We need to simplify the tax code, and lower the rates as much as possible.” It’s a suitably vague statement for a candidate, but note how he hedges with “as much as possible.” This is a far cry from calls to abolish the IRS or institute a fair tax.
Nevertheless, he also said, “We have to make a radical change, dramatically changing the tax code” in order to grow at four percent, which is the growth level he thinks possible, and frankly necessary.
Bush sniped at Hillary Clinton’s opposition to domestic energy development, like hydraulic fracturing and the Keystone XL pipeline, which was delayed in her State Department for years.
“This should be a time when we have marching bands celebrating,” Bush said, noting that fracking is an American invention that lowers costs, and increases opporunity for every American.
“After all of the years of studying the XL pipeline…[Hillary Clinton] can’t now have an opinion on that?” he asked rhetorically and sardonically. “I know what her opinion is. She’s opposed to it. I’m for it.”
Returning to his refrain of GDP growth, Bush said, we can’t grow at four percent a year unless we strengthen our foreign policy.
“Our friends should know that we have their back, and our enemies should fear us,” because ”our enemies, when they don’t fear us, act aggressively.”
Like other GOP presidential candidates he pointed to China’s island military expansion, Russia’s bluster and the growth of ISIS, now a pseudo-state the size of Indiana with a mission to conquer Western civlization.
“We have to begin to lead again,” he said. “American leadership is essential for a more peaceful world, and we need to rebuild the military to back it up.”
Bush pitched himself as an experienced, executive who governed Florida conservatively, kept taxes low, reformed education, and guarded life. With self-deprecating humor, Bush said, ”If it’s about delivering great speeches. I’m not going to be president, probably.” But, he added, it’s not about talk but demonstrated leadership, noting as others have, that the country went with a great speech-maker in 2008, and that didn’t work out well.”
In order to prevent what Bush called “Barack Obama’s third term”, the election of Hillary Clinton, ”I’m going to fight with heart…in a hopeful optimistic way. The only way you can get to 50 (percent of the vote) is to add…not subtract. I’m going to campaign in the Latino communities in Spanish and say “join our cause.”
He said he would also go into Black communities, calling on them to “join us in our cause to liberate our education system.”
Spreading his arms wide, Bush said, “We have to campaign like this,” he said. “Come our way. Join our cause. Fight for your own freedom.”
Asked what he would do about some new affordable housing regulations, he noted that any regulations not yet in place can be reversed by the next president. But he cautioned those who hope to use executive orders to implement a conservative agenda.
“There’s a temptation to say, ‘Obama did it, so we can do it.’ The constitution is a document that we should respect,” Bush said to hearty applause.
On immigration, Bush encouraged people to read his four-year-old book, “Immigration Wars.” He called for more effective border patrols, closer to the border, and the use of technology and fences where appropriate. More Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies should be deployed to more communities to identify illegal immigrants, 40 percent of whom have overstayed their legal visas, and “politely ask them to leave.”
To critics who don’t believe we can secure the border, he asked, “Have we lost our way so much that the we think the new normal is healthcare.gov?”
Bush would also “take away all federal law enforcement money from sanctuary cities.
Controlling the border, and limiting the scope of chain migration through families will not deal with what to do about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.. For them, Bush said it’s too expensive to find them and send them packing (he estimates $400-$600 billion). So, we can either do nothing, or let them earn legal status through working, learning English, and abstaining from federal aid programs.
The conventional wisdom says that true conservatism cannot win a presidential election, but Ted Cruz challenged that claim today in Atlanta with a full-throated endorsement of vigorous conservative leadership. A hotel ballroom filled with conservative activists ate it up. Like Carly Fiorina before him, Cruz was unstinting in his critique of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. But he took it even further, practically taunting Republican congressional leadership.
Cruz, speaking from in front of the podium without notes, said he welcomes the large field of GOP competitors, and joked that it’s different on the other side.
“The Democrat debate consists of Hillary and the Chipotle clerk. [LAUGHTER] That’s not fair…Bernie Sanders has entered the race. [LAUGHTER] So, they have a wild-eyed socialist with ideas that are endangering American’s place in the world…and Bernie Sanders. [WILD LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] They’re not even having a debate. They did plan to have a debate earlier, the problem was the invitation was emailed to Hillary.” (H/T to the Cruz joke writer. He killed, as they say in the comedy clubs.)
“There is a reason that the life, vibrancy, energy and excitement is with conservatives this year. Our country is in crisis,” he said, effortlessly shifting the mood in the room. He knows the RedState audience better than most, having spoken here in each of the event’s seven years.
“I want to talk to you as leaders of the conservative movement,” he said. “You’re informed thought leaders. Every person sitting here touches hundreds, touches thousands, touches tens of thousands. I wouldn’t be in the U.S. Senate if it were not for the leaders at RedState.”
The Cruzian defense of conservatism includes plenty of criticism of Republicans who either shrink from it when it matters most, or actively work against it in the halls of Congress.
“We’ve got to distinguish between campaign conservatives” and those who truly fight for our values, he said. “Not a single person in the debate said I’m an establishment, moderate squish….They run as us, but then they say, if you’re actually us, you’re unelectable.”
He encouraged audience members to “make a list of the 10 or 12 most important issues…and you decide based on the issues that are important to you…you make the list and ask of every candidate running whether he or she has stood up on those issues in any meaningful way.”
His own list includes Obamacare, executive amnesty, national debt, the First Amendment (both speech and religious liberty), the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment (NSA snooping), the 10th Amendment (Common Core), marriage, life, and standing with Israel.
He criticized Republicans who “ran for the hills” on the marriage issue, asking an imaginary Republican: “Did you come out with a mealy-mouth statement…’It’s the law of the land. Accept it, surrender and move on’?”
Republicans “keep winning and then we lose,” Cruz said. “We win elections and then the people we elect don’t do what they say. We won the House and virtually nothing changed….We won the Senate, we retired Harry Reid as majority leader. And what exactly has this new Republican majority accomplished?”[Audience shouts: "Nothing!"]
“It’s actually even worse than that,” Cruz said. “In this case, our team’s playing for the other side.”
He notes that in November 2014 Republicans won historic majorities in both houses, then passed a trillion dollar “cromnibus” plan filled with pork, funded Obamacare, amnesty…and confirmed Loretta Lynch as attorney general.
“Which of those decisions is one iota different than it would have been with Harry Reid and the Democrats? This is why we’re frustrated,” he said. “Don’t just tell me how you stood up to Democrats….Show me how you stood up to your own party.”
Eliminate the IRS, get the government out of your business, while eliminating the economic incentive for illegal immigration — these are some of the benefits of implementing a consumption tax commonly called the fair tax. And GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is a sharp and passionate advocate. He drew frequent applause as he pitched the plan to Red State Gathering, a convention of conservatives this weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.
The former Arkansas governor said we need to secure our Southern border: “We can if we want to, and I want to, and I will,” he said to cheers. But he acknowledged that the economic incentive for tax-dodging individuals and businesses is the driver of illegal immigration.
“With the fair tax,” Huckabee said, ”nothing is taken out of your check. And you rob out of the system the advantage of illegal immigration” because everyone pays taxes at the point of purchase.
Keeping America strong at home is impossible unless we’re also strong abroad, and Huckabee called for a vigorous, well-funded military posture.
“The best way to make sure we don’t send your sons and dauthers into war,” is to have a military strong enough so “that nobody on earth would be stupid enough to attack us. If you take on America, we will be scrambing jets and people and the world will know we will kick your butt,” he said, setting that in contrast to the slaughter of Americans in Benghazi as the military was compelled to stand down.
This also requires a revived manufacturing sector, he said. ”If we don’t build our own bullets and bombs and tanks and trucks and someone else does, they own us.”
Like all of the other Republican candidates, Huckabee said the Iran deal which President Obama is currently pushing is a bad deal, and no American should sign on to it. Red State rewarded that with one of several standing ovations.
Our secretary of defense should be concerned about troops returning from deployment with missing limbs, not soldiers who was transgender surgery.
The moral decay of our government is most evident not just in the funding of Planned Parenthood, which should stop, but in the legality of the slaughter of 4,000 people a day in abortion clinics, he said. Planned Parenthood was founded by a vicious racist as a method for controlling the population of minorities, and Hillar Clinton should have to publicly defend her support of it.
“We cannot ever hope to invoke God’s blessing if we continue to rebel against the most basic decency.”
The Supreme Court (in Roe v. Wade) has put these people (babies in the womb) outside of the protection of the 5th and 14th amendments — due process and equal protection rights. “This is about the personhood of every human being,” Huckabee said, “and they should be protected by the 5th and 14th amendments and I pledge to you I will do it.”
President Obama’s changing definition of marriage is most offensive because he previously, while campaigning, said he supported traditional heterosexual marriage due to his Christian faith.
“Obama was either lying then, or lying now or the Bible got rewritten and he’s the only one who got the new version,” Huckabee said.
While he has faced criticism ranging from folks who think he’s not conservative enough to those who call him Progressive, Huckagee recounted the challenge he faced fighting “the Clinton machine” in an overwhelmingly Democratic state as governor in Arkansas. Nevertheless, he cut taxes 100 times in 10.5 years, fixed highways, reformed schools, and got reelected.
“You put my record against the headwinds I face against the Clinton machine,” Huckabee said defiantly, “I fought it, I beat it and I lived to tell about it.” A huge standing ovation drowned out the rest of his sentence.
Asked by an audience member whether a flat tax wouldn’t be preferable to a fair tax, he said ‘No’ because the llat tax is still a tax on income, still leaves the IRS in place and lets the government know what they shouldn’t about you.
As a small business person he said, “Every time I make a decision I have to call my lawyer and my accountant. I’m not making business decisions I’m making tax decisions.”
Huckabee also called for Constitutional amendments for term limits and a balanced budget through an Article V convention of the states.
He said as governor, his biggest fights weren’t against the legislature, Democrats or press, but with the federal government, which is why we need to teturn power to the states where government is closer to the people and thus more accountable.
Asked about servant leadership, he said, ”The model of servant leadership is Jesus Christ. It’s not about putting attention on the leader, but on those who are being led. It starts with how we treat our own family. It’s [serving] the interest of those who are being led. Even when Jesus was being crucified, he didn’t complain but…it was ‘Father forgive them. They know not what they do.”
Marco Rubio in person is like his book, America Dreams – inspiring, passionate, engaging, personal and a public policy proposal firehose. He brought all of that to RedState Gathering in Atlanta Friday, and the crowd of conservatives responded enthusiastically.
Early in his remarks, he grabbed the third-rail and talked about reforms to Social Security that would not only preserve it for future generations (including his own) without affecting current retirees (like his Mom), but would also lead to an economic revival by relieving the crushing weight of debt from our economy.
His youth, he says, will set him off from Hillary Clinton, but his forward-looking, innovative, technology-embracing attitude may do so even more. The best jobs of the 21st century will be here in America if we break the higher-education monopoly, refocus on vocational education, and realize that though we’ll be ordering our McDonald’s meals from a touchscreen, the people who make those touchscreens will make a lot more money.
One of his proposals would enable private investors to fund college education for individuals based on their performance and job prospects. Of course, this would have an effect on what students choose to study.
Or as Sen. Rubio said dryly, to much laughter, “The market for Greek philosophers has tightened over the past 2000 years.”
Tying domestic policy to national defense, Rubio said that we cannot pursue that better future if we are not safe, and that’s why “America must remain the strongest military power on the planet.”
“Radical jihadists have spread across multiple continents and dozens of countries, including the United States,” he said, “and we need to find them before they find us. They will not stop. They will not go out of business. They must be defeated.”
Finally, he connected his macro vision for the future with an intimate vision for families.
“You can’t have a strong country without strong people, and you can’t have strong people without strong values — hard work, discipline, self control, respect for others. These have to be taught, and instilled and reinforced. Why are these values eroding? Because the family’s eroding.”
Shifting to the personal, Rubio notes that some candidates come from privilege, but he thinks he did too, just not in the sense of wealth. He comes from privilege, he says, because he was raised by two parents who stayed together and who loved him and his siblings.
“We have to have a government that’s pro-family, and a tax code that no long punishes families,” Rubio said. That includes safety net programs that don’t punish you for staying married, and that reward work or training toward a job.
“We need to protect those institutions that helps us instill those values,” he said, referring to faith communities, and that brought him to civil and constitutional rights.
This country needs a president who will ”protect and defend the right of every American to live out the teachings of their faith at work, at home and in their businesses. ”
The climax of his speech tied these threads together, noting that technology brings a world of customers to our door like never before, but warning “only America can lead the way,” because of our faith heritage, respect for human rights, and equal justice under law. In the vacuum that would be created by America’s absence, China or Russia would step in, and the entire world would step backward.
The child of Cuban immigrants who worked all their lives to make life better for their children, Rubio says with deep feeling, “America doesn’t owe me anything. But I have a debt to America that I can never repay.”
It struck me then that Marco Rubio is, in a sense, the personification of the American dream, and a stark contrast to Barack Obama, a man who speaks of his success as if it came despite America, rather than because of it.
To their feet in the first five minutes…that’s what Carly Fiorina did to the crowd of conservatives at RedState Gathering 2015. She seemed to receive more frequent and more vigourous approbation than Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal who preceded her at the podium. Speaking without notes, she made it clear that she has worked through the issues, and fashioned compelling ways to express her views on them.
“We must win in 2016,” Fiorina said, “We must have a nominee who throws every punch.” This is, of course, a veiled acknowledgement of her sex, and the difficulty a male candidate might have going full Ronda Rousey on a female Democratic candidate.
Not only does Fiorina say she can win, but more importantly she says she can do the job, because she understands the economy and the devastating impact of dependency. The engine of growth is small, often-family, businesses. And we’re now destroying more small businesses than we’re creating — more than at any time in American history. It’s a preventable and curable condition.
She spoke with conviction about unlocking the potential of every American, freeing them from the indignity of government dependency and making sure that a zip code is not a fence when it comes to education.
“We have to give every parent a choice so that every child has a chance,” Fiorina said.
“The highest calling of leadership is to challenge the status quo,” she said, indicating that this would require a president who understands Washington and geopolitical strategy, but who is not of Washington.
Her speech was brief, to leave room for more questions. See the Q&A on next page.
Bobby Jindal, touted as perhaps the smartest candidate who’s ever run for president by Red State leader Erick Erickson and others, also has a compelling personal story as the son of legal immigrants.
“We’re all Americans,” Jindal told the RedState Gathering, not some hyphenated version of Americans. We’re a melting pot, he says, and should focus on assimiliation, rather than a salad bowl.
“Immigration without assimilation is invasion,” he said, reprising a stump speech applause line. “We must not let that happen in America.”
Jindal’s immigrant Dad cold-called through the phone book to find his first job in the U.S., and finally told a railroad boss who offered him a job that he needed a ride to get to work. The boss was so impressed, he drove him to work daily. His Dad also negotiated a monthly payment to cover the cost of Bobby’s birth…”paying for a baby on layaway,” he said to warm laughter from the crowd.
“We’ve got a lot of great talkers running for president,” Jindal said. “The problem is we’ve got a great talker in the White House now. We can’t afford four more years of on-the-job training….We measure the success in the real world, not the government world,” he said.
CEO of the state that’s been ranked “most pro-life” six years in a row, Jindal said that earlier this week that Louisiana cancelled Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract after the appearance of hidden-camera videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the how, and how much, of fetal-tissue acquisition and sales.
In this week’s debate he said he would send the DOJ and IRS to investigate Planned Parenthood. At RedState Gathering, he clarified the statement, noting that he’d also send OSHA, EPA and “every federal agency I can think of.”
“Even if you’re not yet pro-life there is no reason one dime of our taxpayer dollars needs to be going to this organization,” he said.
“I’ve got the backbone, I’ve got the bandwidth, I’ve got the experience to get the job done,” said Jindal, who, like Perry and other governors, touts his leadership experience as more than “just talk,” a backhanded slap at the candidates who are mere senators.
Alarm over the Supreme Court’s approach to rulings on marriage and Obamacare amplifies the importance of electing a president who will nominate more constitutional justices.
“If they’re just going to follow opinion polls and not read the Constitution, maybe we should just close down the Supreme Court,” he said facetiously.
“Now the Left is going after our First Amendment rights,” discriminating against Christians who have a traditional view of marriage, Jindal said.
He, like Walker, Cruz and others, is bold and unapologetic about his Christian faith.
In the biggest applause line of his speech, Jindal said: “The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.” Loud applause and about half the room came to their feet.
In open defiance of establishment Republicans who would water down the party’s principles to appeal to independents, Jindal said, “In 2016, why don’t we try something different? Why don’t we run on our principles?”
He twits Jeb Bush for suggesting that we may need to dial those back to win a broader cross section of voters.
Jindal wants to make mayors and councilmen “criminally liable” for shielding illegal immigrants through so-called sanctuary city laws. And he says protecting our homeland starts with speaking the truth about the threat.
“Islam has a problem, it’s called radical Islam,” he said. “We’re going to hunt them down and kill them.” Contrary to the popular Leftist narrative, efforts to win the hearts and minds of jihadis are not adequate, Jindal said. “Sometimes guns are useful when you have to kill murdering terrorists to defeat evil in the world.”
In the Q&A session, he talked about the devastating impact of the Obama administration’s response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the ignorance he encountered among top administration officials who, for example, didn’t even realize that oil platforms are mobile and can be moved.
While Jindal seems like a longshot for the nomination at this point, his message resonates with movement conservatives. It remains to be seen whether he can assemble a campaign and the funding to get that message in front of enough of the base to build momentum in the early primaries.
Barack Obama has divided us and depressed our economy. The answer, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, is to replace him with a president who cherishes the Lincolnian vision of a united America, and who unleashes the engine of growth by weeding out job-killing regulations and taxes.
Rick Perry is a perennial favorite at RedState Gathering, and this time is no exception, even if his presidential star seems somewhat dim at the moment.
“America is ready for an executive…who understands how to lead, how to make decisions,” Perry said, recounting the successes of his long tenure at the helm in the Lone Star State.
He gets huge applause when recalling his immigration message to Barack Obama, delivered face to face: “Mr. President, if you won’t secure this border, Texas will.”
His executive experience is his calling card, and he repeats the refrain “nobody gave me a manual” before outlining a laundry list of crises with which he has dealt, from the border onslaught, to the Space Shuttle disaster over Texas, to Ebola.
“America longs for someone that has that experience that you know how they’re going to respond,” Perry said, his voice moving toward crescendo. “Our allies need somebody in that office that they know when there is a red line crossed, that there will be a response. And it is time for us to stand with our great ally Israel again.” [Huge applause]
Perry started with Lincoln the unifier and ended with Lincoln the emancipator, calling on black and Latino Americans to compare the Republican record on freeing children from failing schools to the Democrat record of defending the teachers’ union to the detriment of students. He’s glad to compare the results Texas achieved in 10 years — 2nd highest graduation rate in America, and #1 for blacks and Latinos.
“We did that without taking any of that Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind or Common Core [federal program money],” he said, to a standing ovation.
In the Q&A session, Perry noted that the next president may get to appoint four Supreme Court justices. “Show me, don’t tell me,” is the way to approach judicial appointees –he said he appointed six justices to the Texas Supreme Court. “I don’t do squishy on judges.”
His position on electing Supreme Court justices to limited terms? “You know what, I kind of like that idea. But why don’t we just get really good justices on the court, who believe the Constitution. You either believe the 10th Amendment or you don’t.”
“I want to go to Washington, D.C., and make it as inconsequential in your life as I can make it,” Perry said to a standing ovation.
Democrat legislators in New Jersey knew how to solve a deficit…just raise taxes. That was the advice Gov. Chris Christie got on arriving as “the new sheriff in town.” But Christie vetoed the tax hike, and told them if they shut down the government over it, he would go home, order a pizza, have a beer and watch a Mets game. The latter act he referred to as “shared sacrifice.” He simply wouldn’t raise taxes. He has since vetoed five tax-hiking budgets, Christie said.
In addition to his fiscal record, the New Jersey governor told RedState Gathering 2015 that he’s strongly pro-life yet was elected in a “blue state.” He slammed Hillary Clinton for making a video suggesting that defunding Planned Parenthood would hurt women’s health. Christie responded with his own video asking Clinton if she supports killing infants in the womb in such a way as to maximize the value of their organs on the market.
“Our party needs to define pro-life even larger,” Christie said. “It’s not just for the time in the womb. That’s the easiest time to be pro-life because they’ve done nothing to disappoint us yet.” [LAUGHTER]
We need to be pro-life for teens on drugs or locked up. We need to be pro-life for kids in failing public schools.
“Only God gives life and only God can take life,” he said, “and we should not allow assisted suicide.”
Then Christie expanded the notion to press for helping drug addicts. He told a story about a law school friend who had a successful life, professionally and personally. He hurt his back, and got a prescription for Percoset. A year later his wife called Christie because his friend was addicted. They did an intervention. For the next ten years they did four or five more. He got divorced, lost his law license and his job, lost his driver’s license and his right to visit his kids. He eventually died at 52 of the addiction to Percoset. His tremendously successful friend was robbed by his addiction.
“I’m for drug rehabilitation for everybody we can get it for,” he said, “because every life is a precious gift from God.”
He did not say what role government would have in that, or at what level government would be involved — local, state or federal — but given the office he seeks it would seem he sees a federal role.
Christie took questions from the audience, first praising Associate Justice Sam Alito as a model for the kind of Supreme Court justice he would nominate. Look at their writings, not their public statements, Christie said, because that’s what they had to put their name to.
Asked how to fund the government and pay down $18 trillion at the same time, he said spending cuts alone can’t do it.
“You have to cut spending, but you also have to grow this economy,” Christie said. We need to simplify the tax code, which is “designed for the rich.” Eliminate all deductions except for mortgage interest and charitable donations, he said.
“Imagine how many people I could fire from the IRS if you could do your taxes in 15 minutes,” he said, eliciting laughter from the RedState crowd.
On the undue influence of the Chamber of Commerce on Republican policy, Christie said his tax plan is a big part of addressing that. He also says the Chamber hinders reforming immigration.
“If every employer in this country were required to use e-verify and the fines were big enough” it would take power out of the hands of the Chamber, while improving the economy and fixing the immigration issue.
As chair of the Republican Governors Association, Christie helped elected 31 Republican governors, speaking at many events across the country. And a Northern governor can win in the South because people around the country have the same concerns about the economy and national defense, and any number of other issues. Strong leadership is not a regional issue.
Then he added, to much laughter, that we’d get used to “the New Jersey thing.”
He was a straight-talking, thrice-married national celebrity New Yorker, often on TV — proud of his country, tough on crime and terrorism. Though his historical position on social issues was tough to pin down, and his own social life the subject of titillating gossip, the prospect of his presidency ignited enthusiasm among many Republicans.
By the end of July, 15 months before the general election, his support among Republicans had grown to 25-33 percent in major polls. It was thought his track record of success, and larger-than-life persona would trump all the other nominee-wannabes.
But former Mayor Rudy Giuliani did not become president of the United States, nor even his party’s nominee. Nor did actor/Senator Fred Thompson, who finished July 2007 in second place, at 19-25 percent in the polls. Arizona Sen. John McCain, barely in double digits at this stage of the race, stood on the stage in St. Paul, Minnesota, the following year to receive the RNC mantle.
Fast forward to July 2011: The eventual 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, did indeed lead the polls, but not far ahead of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann. The conservative firebrand melted away around the turn of the year, and the libertarian physician survived to the end, but only barely.
My point is not to make direct comparisons between the positions, personalities and prospects of anyone going into 2016, but merely to say that the only unchanging principle in presidential polls is the near inevitability of change.
The charge of “selling baby parts” in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress abortion doctor video sting, while macabre, is not, in a legal sense, the real crime confessed on camera by abortionist and Planned Parenthood (PPFA) Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola.
But she does admit, in detail, to other acts that seem to violate Public Law 103-43.
Under the law, PPFA may recoup the costs of harvesting and transporting fetal tissue obtained, with consent of the mother, from an aborted fetus. They just can’t profit from its sale. Whether $30-$100 per specimen comprises ordinary shipping and handling expenses or profit is debatable. But the other violation seems irrefutable.
Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a response video proudly declared that PPFA facilitates tissue donations but not for profit. She does apologize for Dr. Nucatola’s “tone and statements.” The money that changes hands is completely legal, Richards says, and even virtuous, thanks to advances in medical research made possible by the fetal specimens.
She also suggests that the viral video from the Center for Medical Progress has been “heavily edited” to alter the truth. (Here’s a link to the unedited video.)
But the sale of fetal tissue for profit is not the only subject of Public Law 103-43.
The law also states that the recipients of “donated” fetal tissue [the buyers] may have “no part in any decisions as to the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy made solely for the purposes of the research.” [Public Law 103-43, Title I, Part G, Sec. 498A: c-4]
And yet, Dr. Nucatola makes clear in the video that she, and other abortionists, have changed their methods and procedures to accommodate their fetal tissue customers. Here are some excerpts from the video of the conversation between actors posing as fetal tissue buyers, and Dr. Nucatola.
BUYER: How much of a difference can that actually make, if you know kind of what’s expected or what we need, versus…NUCATOLA: It makes a huge difference. I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers [abortionists] will do this case [the abortion] under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps…so then you’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know — we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m going to basically crush below. I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.
NUCATOLA: And with the calvarium [head], in general, some people [abortionists] will actually try to change the presentation [of the fetus] so that it’s not vertex [head-first], because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case…So, if you do it starting from the breech [feet-first] presentation, there’s dilatation that happens as the case goes on.
NUCATOLA: If you [the fetal tissue buyer] maintain enough of a dialogue with the person who’s actually doing the procedure, so they understand what the end-game is, there are little things, changes they can make in their technique to increase your success.
Notice that Dr. Nucatola specifically discusses the use of ultrasound to let the abortionist see where she’s placing the forceps. To avoid crushing internal organs, the abortionist positions the forceps above and below the body cavity, necessarily crushing those areas of contact, but preserving viable organs in between.
She says that she and others sometimes maneuver fetuses out of the head-down position, to deliver them breech, because that way the birth canal has more time to stretch, and thus preserve the body cavity intact.
By her own words you can judge whether the organ recipients [buyers] had, as the law says, “no part” in “decisions…made solely for the purposes of research” as to “method, or procedures use to terminate the pregnancy.”
Conservatives and Republicans should welcome today’s Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges [text] which recognizes same-sex marriage as a “right,” and thus, under the 14th Amendment, applicable against the states. They should thank God for the blessing of being freed from the shackles of government, but only if they plan to act on this Divine opportunity.
Our gratitude is for a kick in the pants from God, though it be delivered by the boot of a heathen court. Perhaps it will finally spark us to reclaim our heritage of individual rights.
Of course, this really isn’t about today’s SCOTUS ruling. We should have done this long ago. We should utterly remove government from our intimate relationships. Nothing in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence requires government to incentivize or reward or restrain mutuallyvoluntary intimate relationships. There are only two kinds of rights protected in the Constitution, and they both apply against the federal government: the rights of the states, and the rights of the People. Neither of those is contingent upon whether, or whom, you marry.
For too long now some of my conservative brethren (and sistren) have sought to use the power of government licensure, regulation, benefits and taxation to incentivize the Biblical view of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Of course, any one who has ever loved enough to pledge fidelity for life might wonder why any incentive is needed — a bridal bridle, perhaps, to rein in the straining suitor, but a goad seems superfluous.
Yet, conservatives have gone beyond incentivizing marriage, to defining it statutorily, seeking to specify a scope that matches the one God uses, which Biblical Jesus-lovers know is ultimately a picture of Christ and His church. But this use of government force to mandate or restrict marriage is not a Biblical injunction — unless you would pretend that our government of, by and for, the People, is like unto the Mosaic theocracy.
When conservatives try to use the force of government to favor their Biblical or moral views, they err in the same fashion that Leftists and Progressives do when they push to institutionalize their idols of amorality and sin.
The New Testament is a portrait of grace, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and new beginnings. Jesus didn’t nail the Decalogue (10 Commandments) to the doors of the Curia Cornelia (the seat of the Roman senate). Jesus called on his disciple to believe in Him, to put down your sword, to sell what you have and give to the poor, to take up your cross, to lay down your life and to follow Him.
The Apostle Paul, through whose pen flowed the greater part of the New Testament letters, was transformed upon meeting the resurrected Christ. The old Saul got changed from a man who hunted down law-breakers to compel their submission (or witness their stoning), into a man, Paul, who knew that obedience flows from gratitude for the love of Christ. He realized, like a bolt from the blue, that Jesus fulfilled the letter and spirit of the law through his life, and Jesus paid the penalty for law-breakers through his brutal death. The law is no longer our slave-master, but a tutor to bring us to Christ…to bring us to the point where we understand that God’s holiness cannot be approached through human effort. It took an act of extreme mercy to shred the veil of the Temple from top to bottom, and thus to open a way for us into the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God.
The point is, that you shouldn’t expect the heathen to adhere to the Bible, nor should you enlist the government to compel them by force to do that which you embrace by grace alone. I know there are all kinds of secular arguments about marriage as the cornerstone of a stable republic. Some are useful, but none require the force of government to achieve.
In April, I told you about Horne vs. USDA, a 5th Amendment case that pitted a raisin farmer against the power of big, remote, centralized government.
Well, Rejoice! The Supreme Court ruled today that personal property is no different than real estate under the 5th Amendment when it comes to eminent domain, and if Uncle Sam wants to snatch your raisin crop — or anything else you own — he must provide “just compensation.”
This is a big dang deal, because in addition to expanding the eminent domain protections, the case also involves a socialistic system in which the government controls prices by removing ‘surplus’ inventory from the marketplace, creating a kind of scarcity. Who knows? This might lead a future court to decide that all of our stuff belongs to us. (I can dream, can’t I?)
With the Horne decision, the Court pendulum swings away from the (I think unconstitutional) decision in Kelo, which allowed the government to swipe private land for, essentially, private usage.
Take a moment, and enjoy a win for liberty.
Aliens: that’s what our American Founders and Constitutional Framers really are to us.
They lived in a time we cannot comprehend, with a mindset shaped by realities we have long forgotten. They suffered without the benefit of a Progressive public school education…so they didn’t even know what a bunch of racist, bigoted, homophobic, elitist mysogynists they were.
History is a sloppy business. Only economics is worse.
A CSI team at least gets to gather primary evidence from a crime scene, but historians must typically rely on third-hand accounts penned years after the act, by people who have a vested interest in a particular telling of the tale. To further complicate matters, much of what “happened” actually occurred between the ears, in the inscrutable, unrecoverable minds of the actors. Even their personal writings are found wanting when we recognize that folks often don’t understand their own motivations, and sometimes engage in moral justification in hindsight.
Historians must impossibly set aside their own ideology and worldview to attempt to see through the eyes of these aliens, and then translate what they saw, from ancient Klingon into some contemporary tongue. Most give up on the fantasy of objectivity, and simply transport themselves back in time like Marty McFly, with his DeLorean, his faux goosedown vest, and his Jimi Hendrix riffs. In the process, they make a ripple in the space-time continuum that precludes future generations from ever understanding why our ancestors really did what they did. In defense of historians, their subjects often lacked that same understanding, or duped themselves into thinking that they had it. Who cares what the Framers meant?
Whatever your political proclivity, it’s hard to avoid using as a bludgeon the Constitution and its history and its makers. Generally, those on the progressive Left do this by denigrating the Framers. Those on the Right, by deifying them.
From the Right, the argument is particularly frustrating, since even if one can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the Framers’ original intent (something the Left will never concede), it doesn’t matter. That’s because the Left will eschew the shackles of those provincial, antiquarian hypocrites, heedless of tossing out the baby with the bathwater.
In many ways, the Constitution doesn’t settle the age-old argument, it merely provides a framework within which to have it — a cage for the match.
This came to mind after I had the honor of participating in a series for PJTV about the history lessons we didn’t learn in school, called “Setting the Record Straight.” My two episodes of this six-part series focused on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The shows featured three brilliant minds — constitutional law professor Glenn Reynolds, president of the Bill of Rights Institute David Bobb, moderator Bill Whittle, and also me…because I’m the creator of the 20-part video series ‘Freedom’s Charter’ for PJTV.
[Note from Scott Ott: The presidential primary process doesn't help us to decide who's qualified to bear the party standard, and to serve as chief executive, but rather who’s disqualified. It’s just our way of crushing the hopes and dreams of anyone who dares poke head from hole. Because you already know all of the reasons why every candidate, and potential candidate, has no right to expect the nomination, I'm going to write an utterly one-sided series on why each one should get it. If you’re concerned that I’m not providing fair and balanced analysis, I’m sure the folks in the comment section will compensate for my deficiency. So far, I've done this for Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio.]
Today’s nominee: Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Scott Walker has not yet announced his candidacy for president.
I just finished reading his 2013 book, Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge, co-written with Marc Thiessen. It’s a page-turner, and believe it or not, a tearjerker…at least if you’re as passionate about good governance as I am.
For most of the book, Walker recounts the struggle to pass Act 10 in Wisconsin, a law which limited government unions’ collective bargaining rights, freeing municipalities and school districts from expensive healthcare and pension plans, and a host of other union demands that drove costs up and quality down. The law also released employees from mandatory union membership, freeing up cash so they could contribute more to their own health insurance and pensions.
You may recall that massive crowds of union supporters took over the capitol building in Madison for weeks (the genesis of the Occupy movement), shouting, banging drums, blasting horns and even spitting on GOP legislators who came within range. The union bosses then staged a series of costly recall elections, all of which resulted in Walker’s reelection (twice) by a larger margin, with a stronger majority in the state legislature. The Act 10 reforms worked, allowing governments and schools to increase their effectiveness, yet cutting taxes for Wisconsinites, and turning a $3.6 billion deficit into a $1 billion surplus, all while growing jobs.
Why Scott Walker Should Be the Republican Nominee
1. Tested Courage: They urinated on his office door, trespassed on his property, threatened him (and his wife and sons), wrote his political obituary, and marshaled national resources in an attempt to destroy him. But Scott Walker knew that he was right about Act 10, and if his reforms were given a chance, the voters would know it too.
“I wanted to win, but I also wasn’t afraid to lose. I cared more about getting things done than getting reelected. That liberated me to take bold actions I might never have taken if my first priority had been political survival. Too many people in politics today spend their time trying not to lose instead of trying to do the right thing. I often say that politicians need to spend more time worrying about the next generation than the next election. The irony is that politicians who spend more time worrying about the next generation than the next election often tend to win the next election because voters are starved for leadership.”
— Scott Walker, “Unintimidated,” 2013, pg. 226
The vicious attacks by union bosses and their street minions provided him innumerable opportunities to back down. But he stood firm. As Ronald Reagan firing 11,000 air traffic controllers showed his steel to our enemies and allies alike, Scott Walker’s courage in the face of political, and physical, assault will send a signal to the world.
2. Practical Politics: Walker initially wanted to eliminate all collective bargaining by government workers, but his advisors suggested that if police and firefighters walked out, it would jeopardize public safety, so Walker compromised, exempting them. The Wisconsin governor devoted months, and even years, to studying public policy questions, directing his staff to generate as many options as possible. He understood that pure ideas rarely survive a trip down the septic pipe of politics. He knows when to persuade, and when to compromise, and he manages to do the latter without sacrificing core principles.
His Act 10 solution was nothing short of politically brilliant:
- Cut more than a billion in state funding to schools and local governments, but
- Eliminate the unions’ stranglehold, freeing local boards to save more money than they lost, and
- Require government employees to pay a bit for their health insurance and pensions, but
- Free those same employees from the mandate to join a union, so they’d have cash to do it.
No mass layoffs during tough economic times. No increase in class sizes. Fairness all around, unless you were a union boss accustomed to owning politicians.
[Note from Scott Ott: The presidential primary process doesn't help us to decide who's qualified to bear the party standard, and to serve as chief executive. It's just our way of crushing the hopes and dreams of anyone who dares poke head from hole. Because you already know all of the reasons why every candidate, and potential candidate, has no right to expect the nomination, I'm going to write an utterly one-sided series on why each one should get it.]
Today’s nominee: Senator Marco Rubio. (If you’re concerned that I’m not providing fair and balanced analysis, I’m sure the folks in the comment section will compensate for my deficiency.)
I just read Sen. Marco Rubio’s American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone, which combines stories of struggling Americans with often-innovative proposals to address our most besetting challenges in education, social welfare, health care, immigration, Social Security, Medicare and more. The book is worth the brief time it takes to read, even if you favor some other candidate for president.
Why Marco Rubio Should Be the Republican Nominee
1. Positive Vision for “A New American Century”: Republicans should not underestimate the value of a voice that stirs the human heart and reminds us of what we’re all about, and what we can be.
Rubio clearly loves this country, and what it stands for, and conveys that with infectious optimism. Perhaps as importantly, he has applied a lot of time and effort to learning how to craft creative, but workable, solutions to her most challenging problems. He presents these in a forward-looking way. Rubio ends his American Dreams with a flourish…
“There is no time in our history I would rather live in than right here, right now. For we are on the eve of a new American Century. The most prosperous and secure era in our nation’s history is within our reach. All that is required of us has to do what those who came before us did: confront our challenges and embrace our opportunities. And when we do, we will leave for our children what our parents left for us: the most exceptional nation in all of human history.” — “American Dreams,” by Marco Rubio, p. 191
2. A family story that personifies the American Dream: A child of immigrant parents, Rubio speaks passionately of how his Mom and Dad worked low-wage jobs to provide a better future for their children. They did it in the nation that invented the idea that your status at birth is no limitation on your ultimate altitude or potential for accomplishment. His devotion to “equality of opportunity” is the proper antidote for Leftist “equality of outcome” venom. The American story, in a very real sense, is his family’s story, and he never forgets, nor allows others to forget it.
[Note from Scott Ott: The presidential primary process doesn't help us to decide who's qualified to bear the party standard, and to serve as chief executive. It's just our way of crushing the hopes and dreams of anyone who dares poke head from hole. Because you already know all of the reasons why every candidate, and potential candidate, has no right to expect the nomination, I'm going to write an utterly one-sided series on why each one should get it.]
Today’s nominee: Carly Fiorina. (If you’re concerned that I’m not providing fair and balanced analysis, I’m sure the folks in the comment section will compensate for my deficiency.)
To prepare for this Herculean task, I have watched speeches and, in this case, read Carly Fiorina’s latest book, “Rising to the Challenge.”
Why Carly Fiorina Should Be the Republican Nominee
1. Positive Vision: Fiorina’s refrain is her belief in “human potential” which she says is squelched by big government — from the poverty factories we call public schools, to the shackles of entitlement dependency, to the mighty headwinds of regulation that stifle entrepreneurism and competition, to the hand-in-glove relationship of big business with big government. She loves the innovation that springs from liberty, and speaks eloquently of its power to fuel prosperity.
2. Compelling Personal Story: A law-school dropout, Fiorina became a “Kelly girl” doing temp work, until someone noticed her potential. Focusing her abilities, she rose through the ranks to become CEO of the world’s largest technology company. Eight months before announcing her maiden run for office, she was slammed with breast cancer that led to a double mastectomy. Fiorina also lost an adult daughter to addiction. Still, she and her faithful husband of three decades soldiered on. Her story will connect with voters, and help neutralize that Democratic meme that Republicans are the silver-spoon gang. Many conservatives bridle at the whole “personal story” pishposh, forgetting perhaps that we have a president now who ascended to the seat buoyed by little else. For all of our rationality, we must never forget that most folks think with their hearts first.
The One Disruptive Tactic That Can Recover Our Constitution: Controversial New Book Has Practical Plan
The constitutional government of these United States of America is sick beyond the curative, or even palliative, powers of the ordinary process of legislation, elections, and the appointing of constitutional judges. Perhaps the only solution left to us is civil disobedience, to throw sand in the gears of the regulatory state. [See related episode of PJTV's Trifecta in video below.]
So says Charles Murray in his new book By The People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, scheduled for release May 12. His remedy: create a “Madison Fund,” from private donations, to vigorously defend small businesses and individuals against the unconstitutional regulations that strangle our economy and our liberty. By flooding the zone, Murray hopes to cripple the ability of the regulatory state to fight a multi-front war against we, the people.
In a word, it’s the Cloward-Piven strategy, in reverse (my description, not Murray’s). Rather than overwhelming the welfare system to force total nationalization — to get more stuff from government — Murray would overwhelm government agencies to get them to stop arbitrary enforcement actions; to leave us alone except in situations that genuinely threaten public health and safety. He likens it to the way police don’t stop every speeding car, but only those that pose the greatest threat to the well-being of others.
Even Murray acknowledges his plan is a long shot, but it may be the last, best hope. (There’s much more to the plan than the brief summary in this review).
Charles Murray leaped onto the public stage in 1996 with The Bell Curve, which studied the links between intelligence, ethnicity and economic success in a world that increasingly makes mental acuity a prerequisite to prosperity. In 2013, he stirred the pot again with Coming Apart, a disturbing look at class division in America.
Although you may not agree with his proposal in By the People, his explication of the problem is must-reading.
All three branches of government have found it in their best interest to shirk responsibility and blame. Congress passes broad legislation and delegates both specifics and enforcement to executive branch agencies. This, in effect, allows the executive to usurp the role of the legislature, thereby violating the keystone of our Constitution — separation of powers. The Supreme Court, for its part, has let stand (stare decisis) precedents established by the Roosevelt court after FDR cowed it into submission with his threat to pack the Court with more justices until they blessed his budding autocracy. It was the most effective brush-back pitch in the history of the game, and now the Court hides behind stare decisis, rather than taking a swing that would undercut the power of big, centralized, remote-control government.
Murray is provocative to the core. But that’s not a bad thing in such times, especially because he backs his provocations with data, history, and rational analysis that leads you from skepticism, to acceptance. At the very least, he earns every penny of your investment of time and money. And perhaps, he’ll earn your allegiance to a plan that just might work. Having run for local office, and seen the sausage factory from within, I feel Murray’s pain, and to a large extent agree with his diagnosis and prescription.
I was not sure we needed yet another book to tell us how our republic has veered from the constitutional track and become mired in the morass of a federally protected wetland. But if you haven’t read one yet, Sen. Mike Lee’s Our Lost Constitution is a good one. If you’ve read much on the topic, you’ll still enjoy it, and learn something new.
Subtitled “The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document,” it’s currently Amazon’s best-selling constitutional law book, and comes recommended by Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Ed Meese III, Larry Arnn and Sen. Mitch McConnell. (WAIT! Come back…Shucks, I lost him.)
For those still reading, I assure you that — McConnell blurb notwithstanding — Sen. Lee does a good job of mixing lively stories about our Founders and Framers with glute-clenching tales of modern government overreach, invasions of privacy and various other rights-stripping activities.
A “Tea Party” candidate who upset a three-term establishment Republican in 2010, Mike Lee once clerked for future Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito on the Third Circuit Court. He loves the Constitution and the republic it birthed, and that passion bleeds through every page.
The Utah senator punches hard at executive encroachment on the legislative branch, but he’s never obnoxious, rarely partisan, and always graciously thoughtful. You won’t enjoy his horror stories about the untrammeled regulatory state, but you’ll be glad you read them.
My only beef with the book is the relatively weak proposed remedies.
Lee stays well within the boundaries of “regular order” pushing the passage of some landmark legislation, and encouraging readers to elect more constitutional representatives and senators. He does tell a wonderful story about the small-scale activism that started the recovery of our 2nd Amendment, but other than that he avoids exploring more aggressive options like an Article V Convention of the states, or the kind of civil disobedience advanced in Charles Murray’s forthcoming By the People. (I’ll review Murray’s book here soon.)
But I’ll admit, my hope for due-process reform has dimmed considerably, so I’m sure a less jaundiced reader will still find hope in electing better politicians who write better legislation.
So, even if you’ve lost all hope for change, Our Lost Constitution makes a good introduction to the nature of our crisis. I recommend it enthusiastically for that reason alone.
I had a bowl of delicious Raisin Bran Crunch for breakfast today, but those two scoops of raisins cost me dearly, thanks in part to a federal price-fixing scheme dating back to the Great Depression. That could all change soon.
Today (4/22), the U.S. Supreme Court is called upon to decide, in Horne v. USDA, whether a farmer’s raisin crop belongs to her, or if the federal government may seize it “for public use without just compensation.”
Constitution geeks (a remnant surely remains of what used to be called simply “American citizens”) will recognize the snippet in quotations drawn from the 5th Amendment, which says, in part:
No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board notes that according to the Raisin Administrative Committee, created in 1949 under the authority of the 1937 Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, Marvin and Laura Horne, of Fresno, California, must surrender large chunks of their crop to the government each season.
In 2002, their “offering” on the altar of Uncle Sam amounted to 47 percent of their bounty, for which they received less money than it cost to produce the raisins. They refused to submit to what they viewed as a violation of rights ostensibly secured by the 5th Amendment.
The Horne case is one of the most significant property rights cases in years—probably since the Court’s infamous 5-4 ruling in 2005 in Kelo v. New London, which allowed the government to take Susette Kelo’s home so a developer could replace it with condos and stores near a Pfizer Corp. office. The majority Justices in Kelo have a lot to answer for. This is a chance to make partial amends.
– The Wall Street Journal, 4/20/2015
It’s anyone’s guess how the court will rule.
Why should you care? What if the federal government decided to treat smartphones the same way?
For my part, I think I’ll start stockpiling Raisin Bran Crunch.
What are Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most obvious character traits?
If you said humility and willingness to learn rapidly from past mistakes, you’re correct, as we find in Wednesday’s edition of the New York Times. But under the surface one can’t help but hear a tinge of sarcasm, even from the official organ of the DNC.
If [Mrs. Clinton's] latest reinvention seems forced, that could be beside the point. The line between genuine regret and conveying contrition for the purposes of political rehabilitation may be blurred for the Clintons. But the impulse is unmistakable: Do what it takes to correct flaws, real or perceived.
Throughout the Times‘ chronicle of Clinton reinventions, the former and future presidents appear as two pluripotent peas in a pod, glad to morph from legume to squash to pulled pork if needed.
But news analyst Jonathan Martin can’t bring himself to come right out and say that Hillary and Bill Clinton will do anything to seize, and to cling to, power. No principle too precious. No friend too dear. No boot too filthy to lick.
You may have noticed an undercurrent, even in the obsolete media, that despite Barack Obama’s assertion to the contrary, Hillary Clinton is not, in fact, “likeable enough.” But because she’s the only game in town at the moment, the sycophants and hawkers of centralized remote-control government dutifully mouth the rebranding message emanating from the Clinton camp.
She changed her name to help her husband make a comeback in Arkansas. In the Senate, she made nice with Republicans, and even with untouchable House members. She voted to authorize President G.W. Bush’s use of force in Iraq, and co-sponsored a bill to criminalize flag burning. She swallowed her pride to accept Obama’s appointment as secretary of State, and then graciously endured her virtual banishment from American soil as she logged nearly a million flight miles and returned with nothing to show for it (but four flag-draped caskets and the U.S. Benghazi consulate in ashes. Of course, “what difference at this point does it make?”)
Her maiden campaign video is all about YOU, as is her road-trip from New York to Iowa, in what looks like an NSA mobile surveillance unit. She is now of the people, for the people and, for the first time in decades, among the people.
At first glance, the New York Times seems committed to putting democratic lipstick on a self-serving autocratic pig. But a careful reading shows the cosmetic applied rather sloppily — perhaps intentionally so.
In an exclusive to Salon.com, comic Sarah Silverman has apologized — sort of — to former New York Comedy Club owner Al Martin for naming and shaming him in a video meant to advance the cause of equal pay for women.
And while she acknowledges that her story about being cheated out of equal pay had nothing to do with sexism, equal pay or cheating, she indicates that that was not her main mistake.
SILVERMAN: My regret is that I mentioned Al [Martin] by name- it should have been a nameless, faceless anecdote and he has always been lovely to me.
SILVERMAN: This is also HARDLY an example of the wage gap and can only do that very true reality a terrible disservice if I were trying to make it one. When I was interviewed by Levo, they asked me “Do you remember a time you were paid less for the same job” and this story, being just that, popped into my head. To Al, I truly am sorry to bring you into this as you employ women and pay them the same as the men I’m sure.
While she offers this public written online apology to Martin, as of 2:40 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, she had not contacted him personally. But notice that we can be sure the “wage gap” issue is legit, despite her false story, because she calls it a “very true reality.”
But that’s not the end of her story telling. In her public “apology” Silverman offers a new account of that night in 2002. Today (Tuesday), I asked Al Martin about the shifting story. Turns out that Silverman’s new account is no more accurate than her old one, even as details change.
SILVERMAN: I didn’t expect to get paid, that’s not why I was there, but when I got off stage Al, the sweet club owner, paid me 10 bucks and I signed the payment sheet. I was like, oh, nice. I inferred from that that this was a paid spot not a guest spot. Either way I would have been fine.
Martin says he didn’t pay Silverman anything when she got off the stage, as is the custom with guest spots. He gave her $10 cab fare only after she came back inside the club to complain that Todd Barry was paid and she was not. The tale continues…
SILVERMAN: Then when Todd pointed out that he received 60 dollars for the same spot I went back inside and asked Al why Todd got sixty dollars and I got ten. That’s when he certainly could have said “Because it was a guest spot, Sarah. I was just being super nice and gave you ten dollars for cab money.”
Actually, Martin stands behind his original version: He did tell her it was a guest spot when she complained, and then gave her $10, but openly admits he was not “super nice.” He just wanted the conflict to end.
SILVERMAN: But instead, (and I will always remember this exactly how he said it because it was unbelievably hilarious) he said, “Oh- did you want a $60 spot?”
Martin flatly denies this: “I never said the $60 line.”
Despite the inaccuracies, Al Martin said Silverman’s apology is adequate. The married father of three daughters has previously noted that he agrees with the equal pay for women cause and conducts his business accordingly.
One final note of insincerity: Sarah Silverman’s apology comes with this proviso.
To the maniacs who want to use this as a chit against women’s issues, I ask that you please don’t. Because that would be super shitty. Feel free to aim your vitriol at me but leave this issue of working women out of it, K?
And that’s the moment where the alleged “apology” turns into an attack against “the maniacs” — Silverman’s term of endearment for those who disagree with her. Despite their anti-woman stand, however, she does ask “the maniacs” nicely: “please don’t.”
To sum up, let’s follow the Leftist logic.
1) Silverman was recruited because her notoriety might help the cause.
2) She fabricated a story to identify with the cause, and ostensibly with its female victims.
3) She is unmasked as a liar, and now wants you to disassociate her from the cause to which her notoriety and personal identification brought more than 166,000 viewers.
4) If you insist on disagreeing with the cause, you’re a “maniac.”
Chris Murphy says he was there on the night that comic Sarah Silverman said she got $10 for the same work for which a male comic earned $60. Murphy says Silverman’s story of sexism, told for a video campaign (see below) that champions equal pay for women, is not accurate. He backs then-New York Comedy Club owner Al Martin’s claim that comics — male or female — who just drop in and ask to do a set, like Silverman did that night in 2002, don’t get paid anything.
Murphy, in a Facebook post Monday afternoon, says even Bill Hicks and Rodney Dangerfield, who were big names back in that day, didn’t expect compensation for guest spots at comedy clubs.
“There has been some He said she said things going on about the night in question between her [Silverman] and Al Martin. I feel I’m qualified to write about it since I was there.
I can confirm Sarah was not booked on the show, because I remember being excited she stopped in. Sarah rarely if ever played The New York Comedy Club. It could be because she was under the impression Al never paid comedians.
I gather this because when she came outside after her set she said, “Wow that was a great crowd. The place is packed. Al should be paying comedians”. The hilarious Todd Barry and I informed her he does. She went inside and asked to be paid. The rest is social media history.” — Chris Murphy on Facebook, April 13, 2015
After writing about Silverman’s comedically sketchy story last week, I reached out to her. She responded with a direct message on Twitter. Silverman said, “What are you fighting for or against exactly. It’s true. He [Al Martin] took advantage of someone he assumed wouldn’t say anything. That’s the point.”
Actually, that’s not the point of the “wage gap” video Silverman made for Levo.com, nor is it the reality of events as we’ve now heard from two other witnesses.
Like many Leftists with a cause, Silverman tries to identify with victims — in this case, women who purportedly get paid less than men for the same work. But even though she went back 13 years to find a personal example, her victim-tale won’t bear scrutiny. She makes it sound like Martin withheld from her the ordinary pay for a comedy set, but ponied up fully for male comic Todd Barry.
Martin maintains that Barry was scheduled for that night, and thus budgeted, but Silverman asked to do a set when she saw the great crowd. When she came back and asked for equal pay because she did the same work as Barry, Martin gave her $10 for cab fare. So, she was actually paid something when the standard expectation for guest spots is $0.
Chris Murphy added…
“I’m not sure why Sarah believed she was taking [sic] advantage of that night because she was a woman. Perhaps she was out of the loop so long she forgot the guest spot policy. Or it could be that in some circles it’s hip to crap on Al Martin.”
If Martin and Murphy are right, then Silverman’s story is not merely a mis-remembering or misunderstanding. She says she went back into the club after learning Barry got paid, and she asked Martin for $60. Silverman says that he sheepishly said, “O, did you want a $60 spot?” — as if he were caught in the act of cheating her, ostensibly because she’s a woman. She calls his behavior “pretty shitty.”
In other words, in the video, Silverman calls out Martin for sex discrimination and deception. I have repeatedly attempted to ask Silverman about these challenges to her narrative, but have heard nothing in response since her direct message on Twitter. At this writing, that video has been viewed more than 162,000 times, but apparently many viewers aren’t buying her story either. Check out the lopsidedly negative thumbs up-to-thumbs down ratio: 379-to-4,828.
If equal pay for women is a real problem, why can’t celebrity Leftists tell a real, true story about it? If there are real victims, these fake stories can do nothing but harm them.
Here’s the script for the “Scott Ott Thought” video above.
SCOTT OTT: I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.
I support Hillary Clinton’s latest White House run because we owe her. That’s right, we the People of the United States of America owe Hillary Clinton. Let me explain.
Think about what we’ve done to Hillary over the years.
First of all, Bill Clinton never would have met Monica Lewinsky if it were not for our votes that put him in the White House and thus in a position to be sexually tempted by an intern at the White House, and, therefore, to cause Hillary to throw lamps and obscenities at him. That’s on us.
And Hillary never would have lost those boxes of records from the Rose Law firm about her involvement in the savings and loan failure because of the Whitewater land scandal. Keep in mind: She lost those records in the White House where she would not have been if we had not put her there. Our bad. And she never would have botched the universal healthcare task force if she weren’t appointed to that position of leadership by the President of the United States we elected. And of course, she would never have secretly fired those employees in the White House travel office if she had not been there in the first place.
Remember, when you’re pointing your finger at Hillary, you’ve got three fingers pointing back at you.
It was our elected President Obama that nominated her as Secretary of State and our elected Senate that confirmed that nomination.
Without us, she never would have presented the Russian foreign minister with a “reset” button that said “overcharged” in Russian. And so, it wouldn’t have seemed so ironic when Russia later charged over the border of Ukraine while the Obama administration watched helplessly.
So, now I think you can see how it’s our fault that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was left so vulnerable on the night of September 11, 2012, when four Americans were slaughtered. And how can we escape responsibility for the fact that Hillary later blamed that attack on a satirical video that no one had ever seen?
Can you really, with a straight face, deny complicity in the fact that Hillary destroyed tens of thousands of emails that she kept in her own house on her own email server, erasing public records from her time as Secretary of State? Can you?
I know you’re probably thinking, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
But I, for one, think we’re deeply indebted to Hillary Clinton and as partial payback the least we can do is elect her president in 2016.
Hillary Clinton has endured all of these missteps, lies and scandals, and has virtually no accomplishments to show for her many years of public service. And all of that time, you were the public she was trying to serve. You, my friend! Own it.
It’s time for you to man up, and take responsibility for the damage you’ve done to Hillary Clinton and thus, by extension, to this great country.
I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.
[Scott Ott then sings "Don't Stop (thinking about tomorrow)," made famous by Bill Clinton when he chose the Fleetwood Mac song for the theme of his 1992 campaign. You've never heard it sung like this, accompanied by a list of reasons why we owe Hillary Clinton the presidency.]
Blood Money: CIA Director Reveals Obama-Iran Nuke Deal Is a Bailout, Funding the Slaughter of U.S. Troops
CIA Director John Brennan certainly didn’t mean to say it this way, but he clearly implied that the Obama nuclear deal with Iran will boost funding for the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism — a terror sponsor that was apparently “too big too fail,” so Obama ordered a bailout for the Islamic Republic.
By lifting sanctions, the U.S. kickstarts the failing Iranian economy, and provides blood money to a nation whose shrapnel is embedded in the brains and torsos of innumerable U.S. troops who left their shattered limbs scattered in the desert, a nation whose activity and weapons are the cause on countless American death certificates, and whose armed agents today work to conquer U.S. influence — from Yemen, to Syria and Iraq, to North Africa and beyond.
I deduce this from two Brennan quotes in today’s New York Times – remarks he made Tuesday night at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. First, the CIA chief notes that Iran was on the brink of economic collapse.
“I think over time [Iranian President] Rouhani was able to explain to [Grand Ayatollah] Khamenei just how challenging the economic environment was in Iran right now, and it was destined to go down,” he said. “The only way they were going to address” the problem was to get sanctions lifted.
Then, at the end of the Times story, Brennan acknowledges that since the deal was about nukes and sanctions only, the Islamic Republic is free to continue its vigorous work as state sponsor of terrorism.
Mr. Brennan hinted he had little expectation that the agreement would change Iran’s behavior in the region, including its sponsorship of terrorism. And he acknowledged that the increased revenue Iran would receive as sanctions are lifted could bolster those efforts.
“I don’t think this is going to lead to a light switch and the Iranians are going to become passive, docile,” he said.
So, whether you believe that the aggressive nuclear monitoring and reduction of centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,000 will increase or decrease Iran’s “breakout time” to a nuclear weapon, or the likelihood of war with Iran, one thing you can know for sure: Lifting the sanctions will increase cash flow to the Iranian terror network.
American troops — as well as noncombatants — will pay for Obama’s nuclear deal with their flesh, their blood and their lives.
I should have known. Just this morning, I praised lefty standup comic Sarah Silverman for a new video where she encourages underpaid women to “ask for more.” It’s the perfect free-market antidote to perceptions of unequal pay.
In the video, from the Levo League, Silverman tells of a male comic being paid six times what she was on the same night, in the same club, for the same amount of work.
But the comedy club owner who allegedly underpaid Silverman back in 2002 tells a significantly different story about that night. He says Silverman actually got paid a little for what 99% of standup comics do for free.
Here’s the tale as Silverman tells it, in a video from the Levo League (below):
“I was doing stand-up, you know, just around town. And I did a show — I was out with my friend Todd Barry and we were doing sets around town together. And you know I was pretty well known already, and we both did back-to-back 15-minute sets at this club, the New York Comedy Club, and he paid me 10 bucks.
It was a Saturday night. I didn’t think anything of it, you know. And we were outside talking and Todd somehow brought up, you know, mentioned that he got 60 bucks. He just got $60, and I just got $10. We did the exact same time back-to-back in the same show.
And so I went back inside and I asked the owner, Al Martin, and I said “Al, you why did you pay me $10 and you gave Todd Barry $60?” And he, you know, it was so perfect: He goes, “O, did you want a $60 spot.” It was symbolic. I didn’t need $60. But it’s … um … you know, it’s pretty shitty.”
On the phone Tuesday afternoon, Al Martin — who sold the New York Comedy Club about eight months ago, but still owns the Broadway and Greenwich Village Comedy clubs — said he and his wife remember that night about 13 years ago, because it was the start of a longstanding “grudge” he’s heard that Silverman still holds against him.
In Martin’s telling, comedian Todd Barry was booked, in advance, to perform a set that night, for which he would be paid $50. Barry arrived with Sarah Silverman, who Martin knew from their early days doing open-mic standup.
“We have a budget and he [Todd Barry] was included in the deal,” Martin said. “Sarah came in, saw we had a good crowd, and asked to do 10 minutes.”
The common practice in comedy clubs, said Martin, is if you ask to perform, you do it for free. Even big names never expect to get paid for guest spots.
Afterward, Martin said he looked outside: ”I see her [Silverman] outside talking to Todd Barry,” he said.
Martin assumed they were talking about how well they did with the crowd. He was wrong. Silverman came back into the club, and here’s what Martin remembers (written as dialogue so it’s a bit easier to follow.)
SILVERMAN: You didn’t pay me.
MARTIN: Pay you? It was a guest spot.
["So I gave her 10 bucks," Martin said. "I didn’t want to piss her off."]
SILVERMAN: What the f— is this?
MARTIN: What do you mean what the f— is that? It’s cab fare.
SILVERMAN: You paid Todd $50.
MARTIN: Todd had a booked spot.
SILVERMAN: I did the same amount of time he did.
MARTIN: If you did the same time, you went over your time.
“Ever since then she’s had a grudge,” Martin said. “My intention wasn’t to pay her less because she was a woman. My intention was to shut her up so she would come back.”
Martin said Silverman never came back.
“At the time that this even occurred,” he said, “she would not have been on my regular roster of people that I would have booked for a full-paid spot. She was a very different comedian back then.”
However, he added that later, as Silverman’s career took off, he would have booked her.
Martin said that on Monday when he saw the wage gap video, “I was shocked. I don’t get why she took things the whole wrong way. I didn’t think she equated this with a man-woman thing. She comes out with this video and turns it into a whole gender thing. It’s not believable. Everybody knows what the going rate is.”
Martin said he’s married to a woman, has three daughters, and he has hired many female comics at the full-pay rate over his 20+ years in the business.
Coincidentally, just last night his Broadway club served as the venue for an all-female comedy show, produced by a woman, called “Broadly Funny.”
NOTE: I reached out by email, Twitter, Facebook and phone today to Sarah Silverman, the Levo League, and Todd Barry, but have not yet heard from any of them. I’ll update this story if they respond.
Sarah Silverman, the left-wing standup comic, just did a serious video about equal pay for women (see below), and started with a personal story about how a male comic friend played the same club back-to-back with Silverman’s set one night, yet he received six times as much money for the gig as she did.
Sarah, upon learning this, returned to the club and asked the owner why. She asked for more.
What an incredibly beautiful, free-market, capitalistic, meritocratic thing to do. Bravo, Sarah Silverman!
“I think the best person for the job should get jobs. I’m all for women having to work harder to prove themselves at this juncture, if that’s the way it is in the world. But if you work a job and a man is working the same job you should be getting paid the same. I mean there’s lots in variables like, you know, how long you been there — this or that. We’re not…I don’t think anyone’s asking for something that’s more than fair.” — Sarah Silverman, standup comic
Asking: This is exactly what is required to ensure that women get at least equal pay for equal work in those instances where it’s not already happening.
What Silverman describes is a market functioning as it should. Just as every shopper for every product or service seeks to pay the least for the best, so every employer seeks to minimize her expenses, while recruiting and retaining great people. It’s a constant balancing act, with innumerable variables to determine the appropriate price at the moment.
Silverman seems to intuitively understand this. In fact, in the course of her five-minute video, the leftist entertainer never says that the government should mandate that women get equal pay. She says women should ask for more. She then takes it further and suggests that a woman’s own low opinion of herself and of her talents may be the primary restraint upon her paycheck. She uses her own personality as an example, so she’s not slamming anyone.
Most men know that this phenomenon is not unique to one sex. Men often do equal work compared with a colleague or the market, but earn less pay, usually because they fail to ask.
Every once in a while, however, we put our big pants on.
Years ago, I had a part-time job at Wal-Mart and by all accounts, including the manager’s and the assistant managers’, I was doing a great job as a people greeter. When review time came, the assistant manager told me that I was excellent in every way, and that she was awarding me the second-highest pay increase within her authority to confer.
I thanked her, and then asked what I would have to do in order to get the highest pay raise. She seemed flummoxed, and told me that it just didn’t happen. Even she had never received the highest pay raise possible. I suggested that if no one ever gets the highest raise, then it doesn’t really exist. She probably had deserved the highest pay, I said, but a mysterious unspoken tradition had denied it to her. We talked about the importance of rewarding good work, and retaining excellent employees. After a minute or so, she nodded and said she could think of no reason to withhold the best from me, and so, my wage was raised 25 cents to $6.25 per hour. I just asked. I was happy, but she seemed even happier.
(The three percent of Silverman’s video where she diverges from me has to do with abortion — although she never uses the word. Her analogy on that issue misses the mark. It’s worth overlooking that, for now, to praise her overall point.)
If you’re a woman — scratch that — if you’re an employee doing good work that produces excellent results, with an attitude that makes you a joy to customer and colleague alike, then perhaps the only obstacle to larger compensation is that you don’t realize what a treasure you are, and your false humility restrains you from asking.
This conservative writer joins with leftist comic Sarah Silverman to say: “Go ahead. Just ask.”
Students Rally ‘Round High School ‘Girl’ in Revealing Yoga Pants Forced to Change to Conceal Manhood
In what may be the most shocking civil rights violation since Memories Pizza announced it would not do something for gays that it has never been asked to do, a high school student in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, was compelled to change out of yoga pants which the school deemed too revealing.
The student, a physiological male who prefers to be treated as a female, was required to put on a pair of gym shorts and a polo shirt, because the principal apparently determined the clingy yoga pants displayed too vividly the form of “her” male genitalia.
The Emmaus High School principal will meet with students amid an outcry of discrimination that arose after a transgender student was told to change out of yoga pants that administrators felt were inappropriate.
Even the Allentown Morning Call complied with the student’s desire to be identified as a girl despite obvious evidence to the contrary.
The student said the amount of support she’s receiving from her classmates has been overwhelming.“About 30 people, most of them I don’t even know, hugged me today and told me I’m so strong,” the student said. “At one point, I just broke down crying.”
If We Can Cure Poverty, Why Can’t We Put a Man on the Moon? After All, the Government’s in Charge of Both
SCRIPT FOR VIDEO ABOVE
SCOTT OTT: I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.
If we can cure poverty, why can’t we put a man on the moon…or land a probe on the surface of Mars?
After all, it’s my understanding, that in the last half-century or so, the U.S. federal government spent less than $900 billion to almost completely eradicate poverty.
Yet in those same 50 years despite spending $22 trillion — more than the cost of all U.S. wars combined — we still haven’t made a moon landing let alone probed the Martian soil.
The federal government was in charge of both of these efforts, so why are the outcomes so starkly different?
Today, cities like Detroit, Michigan offer a glorious tribute to the federal entitlement programs that have lifted the inner cities out of squalor, filled the nation’s universities with urban scholars, and virtually shuttered America’s prisons due to lack of criminals.
But the U.S. space program — during that same period of time, while spending that $22 trillion — has made virtually no measurable signs of progress.
By this time, America should have seen a dozen men walk on the moon, hundreds of astronauts in space, a floating space laboratory in earth orbit, resupplied by dozens of space – O, what do you call them? Let’s say “shuttles” coming in each year to dock with that space laboratory.
We should have been able to ring the planet with satellites, send an unmanned voyager beyond our solar system, or even lift a super-telescope up into orbit so we could look into deep space.
And yes, we should have launched a rocket to Mars and landed a probe right on the Martian surface.
But those kinds of accomplishments, I suppose, will have to remain in the realm of science fiction fantasy.
Meanwhile, the federal government has managed to virtually eliminate the category that used to be know as: “below the poverty level.”
Our once-gloomy and desolate inner-city neighborhoods now bloom with flowers, gleam from paint and elbow grease, bubble over with the joyful sound of children’s laughter, exult in artistic expression, and veritably hum to the music of free-market commerce.
Come one, Washington DC: if we can cure poverty, why can’t we put a man on the moon?
You know, our conquest of poverty happened so long ago now that some younger Americans don’t believe it ever happened.
They look around at all the prosperity and can’t imagine a time when it wasn’t so.
Even if you show them photographs of dingy cities, cluttered with garbage, dotted with prostitutes and drug dealers in housing unfit for human habitation, they think you staged those kinds of photos on some Hollywood backlot.
They simply can’t fathom a time when public officials lined their own pockets, and those of their union cronies, while streets buckled, pipes leaked, garbage drifted, high schools became abortion factories and drug bazaars, while rats and criminals squatted in condemned row homes.
“How could that ever happen in America?,” the kids say. “And if it had, how could the federal government ever put a stop to it?”
“After all, they can’t even put a man on the moon.”
Well, perhaps the federal government is good at doing some things, and not so good at doing others.
I’m Scott Ott, and…
[PAUSES, FINGERTIPS TO EAR] Wait a minute, I’m now being told that I may have reversed some of the numbers I mentioned earlier in the video.
[LISTENING] And…I “may have” “misstated” “some” of the “facts.”
But nevertheless, you get my point.
I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.
The Huffington Post headline screams:
Indiana’s Memories Pizza Reportedly Becomes First
Business To Reject Catering Gay Weddings
Memories Pizza is a nine-year-old shop in downtown Walkerton, Indiana, just a few blocks from John Glenn High School. It’s owned by an openly-Christian couple, the O’Connors, who decorate their shop with mementos of their faith in Christ. So how does a small business in a small town wind up making headlines around the world as the new avatar of Christian bigotry?
Perhaps, you say, they brought this upon themselves, seeking out publicity for their strict biblical views.
Some cursory internet forensics shows how it happened…or rather, how it was made to happen.
ABC-57 reporter Alyssa Marino’s editor sends her on a half-hour drive southwest of their South Bend studio, to the small town of Walkerton (Pop. ~2,300). According to Alyssa’s own account on Twitter, she “just walked into their shop [Memories Pizza] and asked how they feel” about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Owner Crystal O’Connor says she’s in favor of it, noting that while anyone can eat in her family restaurant, if the business were asked to cater a gay wedding, they would not do it. It conflicts with their biblical beliefs. Alyssa’s tweet mentions that the O’Connors have “never been asked to cater a same-sex wedding.”
What we have here is — as we called in journalism school jargon — “no story.” Nothing happened. Nothing was about to happen.
If I were forced to mark out a story line, it would be this: A nice lady in a small town tries to be helpful and polite to a lovely young reporter from “the big city.”
In other words, Memories Pizza didn’t blast out a news release. They didn’t contact the media, nor make a stink on Twitter or Facebook. They didn’t even post a sign in the window rejecting gay-wedding catering jobs. They merely answered questions from a novice reporter who strolled into their restaurant one day – who was sent on a mission by an irresponsible news organization.
Next: ABC-57 anchor Brian Dorman leads the evening newscast dramatically with this:
Only on ABC-57 News tonight. We went into small towns looking for reaction to the Religious Freedom Act. We found one business, just 20 miles away from a welcoming South Bend…with a very different view.
Notice that his city of South Bend is “welcoming,” but that small-town business is not. It’s very different. That’s why ABC-57 “went into small towns,” as if embarking on a safari to aboriginal lands.
“Our Facebook page has been blowing up with comments after we aired that story last night,” said Woods.
At this point, even my old Leftist journalism professors would be grinding their teeth and rending their garments.
You see, not only did ABC-57 manufacture the story with an ambush interview, it then doubled-down by making the reaction to the story into another story to give the sense of momentum, as if it were growing at its own impetus. Yet, everything about it is a fabrication.
Memories Pizza didn’t “publicly vow to reject gay weddings” as HuffPo says it. The O’Connors were just, quite literally, minding their own business.
Back in the ABC-57 studio, Rosie Woods read three negative social media comments attacking the pizza shop owners, and then said, “And that’s just one side of this debate that’s heating up as more people and business owners speak up about the law.”
She then quotes one (1) person, the owner of another business, who agreed with the O’Connors. Seems that “just one side of this debate” deserves more attention than the other.
The unnamed ABC-57 editor then sends another reporter door-to-door on Walkerton’s rather depressed-looking main drag, trying to get reactions from other business people about the pizza shop owners. And the story inexorably snowballs onward, with only man’s yearning for truth to propel it.
All of the blog traffic and social media activity led to about 36,000 Facebook shares at ABC57.com on the original Alyssa Marino story less than 24 hours after it aired.
BuzzFeed posted its own inaccurate headline, with the kicker: ”The Internet has unleashed its wrath.”
All of those eyeballs benefit the TV station, which sells advertising on its website. It also helps several young, minor-market reporters who hustled and stumbled their way into the national spotlight. But don’t blame them. Blame the editor.
Meanwhile, over at Yelp.com, more than a thousand “reviews” of Memories Pizza rapidly accumulated, quickly overwhelming the positive comments from actual customers who like the pizza, the hospitality and the small-town charm. Folks who never heard of Walkerton attacked Crystal O’Connor’s business, her morality and her Lord. Many of the remarks included racially charged descriptions of genitalia and sex acts. “Reviewers” also posted pictures of naked men, of Adolf Hitler shouting “Ich habe ein pizza” (I have a pizza), and of Jesus gesturing with his middle finger. Over on Facebook, the restaurant’s 5-star average rating rapidly plunged to one star, as non-customers slammed away at Crystal’s little business.
In Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, a manifesto of political power, Rule No. 12 says, in part:
Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)
The Left doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as they get what they want. They’re willing — no, they’re eager — to sacrifice a small-town business, and it’s owners.
Lest you think I’m being too dramatic. Late Wednesday, word comes that Jess Dooley, a female coach at Concord High School 45 minutes away in Elkhart, has been suspended after tweeting:
Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?
In news that must have shocked the vast majority of New York Times subscribers, columnist Nicholas Kristof this week divulged that he has seen evangelical Christians doing selfless, crucial service in the world’s most dangerous places among the most desperately poor, even though liberals know evangelicals are religious bumpkins.
Today, among urban Americans and Europeans, “evangelical Christian” is sometimes a synonym for “rube.” In liberal circles, evangelicals constitute one of the few groups that it’s safe to mock openly.
Yet the liberal caricature of evangelicals is incomplete and unfair. I have little in common, politically or theologically, with evangelicals or, while I’m at it, conservative Roman Catholics. But I’ve been truly awed by those I’ve seen in so many remote places, combating illiteracy and warlords, famine and disease, humbly struggling to do the Lord’s work as they see it, and it is offensive to see good people derided.
Surprisingly, Kristof doesn’t urge readers to develop a more complete and fair caricature of such “rubes,” but actually suggests liberals pause and reflect “the next time you hear someone at a cocktail party mock evangelicals.”
As an evangelical Christian, I don’t get to as many cocktail parties as I used to, and I didn’t realize that folks at such parties mock people like me with enough frequency that a columnist for “the paper of record” feels duty-bound to deal with the subject.
I do, however, spend a lot of time with other Christians, and it is not an extraordinary thing at church to meet folks who have traveled the world on medical missions, provided food and clothing to those in need, or helped in a variety of other personal ways. It’s also not surprising in my church to see married couples who have adopted or foster-parented multiple children whose delightful faces reflect a rich palette of human hues. I know a Christian couple from a tiny midwestern town who had more the 60 foster children over the years. Last I heard, they were living in Oaxaca, Mexico, serving people in the name of Christ. I’ve known Christians who would quietly slip cash into the hand of a needy person at their moment of greatest need, or who would let a stranger use their vehicle or their spare bedroom for as long as necessary — or who would drop everything to drive hundreds of miles to help someone.
When it seemed I didn’t have a friend in the world — but I did have a case of bronchitis that was blooming into pneumonia — a pastor and his wife took me into their home, fed me, did my laundry and nursed me back to health, without being asked and without asking for anything.
As odd as it sounds to me to hear Kristof’s surprise at the love and grace I see around me daily — I don’t want the moment to pass without recognizing Nick for recognizing it.
I must say that a disproportionate share of the aid workers I’ve met in the wildest places over the years, long after anyone sensible had evacuated, have been evangelicals, nuns or priests.
Likewise, religious Americans donate more of their incomes to charity, and volunteer more hours, than the nonreligious, according to polls. In the United States and abroad, the safety net of soup kitchens, food pantries and women’s shelters depends heavily on religious donations and volunteers.
The brothers and sisters in Christ I described above don’t need praise from men, not even from impressive liberal columnists for the New York Times. They hear the applause of heaven, and feel the joy of Jesus as they work in the power of his Spirit.
Nevertheless, I think it’s good for the country, for Times readers and even for Nick, whenever anyone gets a glimpse at the absurdity of his own bigotry.
A pilot I know once told me he tried to pass through security to fly a plane across the ocean forgetting that he had a pen knife in his pocket. The TSA said he couldn’t take the small blade on the plane. The irony was rich, since the pilot would soon have several hundred souls aboard his incendiary-laden missile, the path of which he controlled from inside a locked flight deck.
Every crime show, or terror drama, portrays the villain using the good guy’s reasonable safety protocols to enhance the chance for success of his nefarious plot. But what screenwriters and novelists take as second nature, governments, and many people, have yet to learn.
A predictable safety regimen presents opportunity and simplifies planning for the wicked. A shield becomes a weapon.
So, it’s not surprising that French authorities now believe the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 intentionally flew his incendiary missile packed with 149 other souls into an Alpine hillside at some 430 miles per hour. . . AFTER electronically barring the safety door, locking the captain out of the flight deck.
The door did its job. It prevented a flight deck breach. All of the engineering worked to prevent access to the most dangerous place on the plane. And thus, the best laid plans of engineers and regulatory officials actually helped the wicked man to carry out his murderous scheme.
The very security device instituted after the 9/11/2001 attacks to deter evil-doers from turning a passenger jet into a weapon became the ideal tool for allowing an evil-doer to do just that.
With the touch of a button — really no effort at all — one person can absolutely foil millions of hours of planning devoted to preventing the very act that he’s determined to commit.
The most effective deadly weapon a man can carry is a non-networked three-pound supercomputer called the human brain. It takes instruction only from an intangible, non-geolocatable command apparatus sometimes called “the heart.”
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick.
Who can understand it?
First Lady Michelle Obama’s playful, cute, “girlie” outfits on her “Let Girls Learn” tour of Asia sparked the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman to reevaluate what she has always believed about empowering women through fashion.
The Obama dresses, for Friedman, conjure the 1950s, bringing the baggage of rigid roles and female subjugation, clashing with the first lady’s mission to promote education and career options for girls.
As a woman, and one who spends a lot of time thinking about the messages women’s clothes send about their identity, I found the apparent clothes/context disjunction to be jarring. Even for a first lady who is known for her affection for a print and a dress, even in countries where color and nature are celebrated.
Shouldn’t she have worn a sharp-shouldered suit to talk about achievement?
But, oddly enough, the fashion expert doesn’t admonish Michelle Obama to pay more attention to visual elements of her message. Instead, Friedman decides that her own long-held convictions must be wrong, and that the first lady is not only right, but she’s on the vanguard of a woman-buttressing fashion revolution.
How do you erase a stereotype? You confront it, and force others to confront their own preconceptions about it, and then you own it. And in doing so you denude it of its power.
In a word, Mrs. Obama has become the avatar of “Girlie Power.”
In the midst of her eureka moment, Friedman delivers a gentle backhand to women who dress the way Friedman always believed they should, before Michelle Obama put on her playful party dress.
We live in the era of the Merkelization of female political dress, which has seen women like Ms. Merkel, the German chancellor, and Hillary Rodham Clinton adopt what is effectively the male uniform in softer, brighter colors to remove the topic from the conversation. (It’s a pantsuit. It’s a beige/orange/teal pantsuit. Enough said.) Another way to explain the strategy is “bore them into talking about the issues.”
But that testosteronian costume now seems so…February 2015.
In choosing to meet young women in clothes that, perhaps, make her look like them — or how they may want to look if they didn’t have to wear school uniforms — Mrs. Obama was implying: You can dress like a girl and dream about getting a Ph.D. (or a law degree, if we are being picayune), too.
Meanwhile, that frumpy drudge, Hillary Clinton, waddles about swaddled in her Maoist conformity to old feminist man-aping tropes.
I would suggest that you picture Hillary in a bright and winsome party skirt, festooned with newly-empowering 1950s patterns, but as you know, what has been seen cannot be unseen.