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.
[Original script may vary slightly from video.]
SCOTT OTT: I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.
He was born a slave with no last name, to a woman known only as Jane.
Emancipated when he was nine, he moved to West Virginia and worked at salt furnaces and coal mines.
Between shifts, he taught himself the alphabet, and then how to read. He scrubbed his way through college on his hands and his knees. He started a school for poor, Black people in the deep South, and it grew as he worked it, and prayed it, all out.
He taught them with books and taught them with toil. They built their own college, making bricks from the soil.
Although he died at just 59 he became a friend of presidents, and generals and the wealthiest then alive. Yet, he never forgot the value of working the dirt, and by the virtue of your labor, earning the praise of your neighbor.
He left, in his wake, nearly 5,000 schools, hundreds of teachers’ homes and shops full of tools.
And so, if anyone knows how to navigate in a society plagued with racial hate, it’s this boy with no last name, who grew to be a man of accomplishment, honor and fame.
His step-father’s first name was Washington, and young Booker adopted it as his own.
The man’s last name was Ferguson, but Booker took instead the name of the father of this nation — the former slave boy binding himself forever to the lifelong slave owner.
Somehow through poverty and bigotry, Booker kept his eyes on the future, and drew strength from the past.
He built the schools from sharecroppers nickels and the fat checks of millionaires, from former Confederate warriors, and retired Union officers. He earned trust and love and respect from, and for, all of them.
I just read his book, Up from Slavery. I wish I had read it 40 years ago. I wish my school had taught it.
This is what Booker T. Washington wrote in 1901, after 35 years of living in the post-Civil War South:
If no other consideration had convinced me of the value of the Christian life, the Christlike work which the Church of all denominations in America has done during the last thirty-five years for the elevation of the black man would have made me a Christian.
Here’s what Booker T. Washington said about white Southern men:
With God’s help, I believe that I have completely rid myself of any ill feeling toward the Southern white man for any wrong that he may have inflicted upon my race…I pity from the bottom of my heart any individual who is so unfortunate as to get into the habit of holding race prejudice.
And here’s what Booker T. Washington said about how to change hearts and minds:
I early learned that it is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him...
These United States of America were built by men like Booker T. Washington — at first by their muscles, under compulsion, then later by their minds and hearts, freely given.
His legacy of learning transformed the South. His legendary love, faith and hard work, transformed a nation.
“I have learned,” he said, “that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.”
The smoldering ember of our God-given potential should fan into flame at the mere mention of the name: Booker T. Washington.
I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.
Perhaps the biggest, most persistent and successful lie about Barack Obama is that he’s a nice guy who cares.
But the last place one expects to hear this myth eviscerated is the New York Times.
Mr. Obama’s strained association with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, who has clashed with other American presidents as well, has been difficult from the start. But the absence of any real connection between them underscores the rule, not the exception, for Mr. Obama, who has only occasionally invested time in cultivating foreign leaders.
Even his opponent in the last presidential race bought into the lie, choosing to label Obama as nice, but incompetent. Mitt Romney apparently convinced many. Among voters who most valued a candidate who “cares about people like me,” 8-in-10 picked Obama in 2012. Majorities of people who prioritized a candidate who “shares my values,” “is a strong leader,” or “has a vision for the future” all voted for Romney.
If there’s one area of the president’s job where being a “nice guy who cares” matters most, and holds the greatest consequences for failure, it’s international diplomacy. Building trusting relationships with allies requires personal engagement, concern about the needs of others, and genuine warmth. The mythical Obama that we were sold embodies all of these qualities.
But the Times admits that President Obama’s foreign relations display a distinct lack of actual relationships.
It is a cool, businesslike approach, similar to the way Mr. Obama deals with members of Congress, donors and activists at home. But historians and some of the president’s former foreign policy advisers say the distance the president keeps from foreign leaders leaves him without the durable relationships that previous presidents forged to help smooth disagreements and secure reluctant cooperation.
I’ve long argued that Obama’s preeminent personality characteristic is aloofness — a seeming ignorance of social cues, a self-absorption that blinds him to the needs of those who, in his mind, orbit him like the planets the sun. This is why we hear few stories from longtime friends about his warmth and generosity — as we did from many who know Mitt Romney, for example. It’s why Obama seeks fleeting, flattering encounters with celebrities that give him the patina of popularity without the grind of emotional investment.
Politics is, above all, a people business, but Obama has been insulated from the devastating effects of his cold, self-centered nature, by a cluster of handlers from Axelrod, to Plouffe, to Messina to Jarrett, who have manufactured — out of little more than a diamond smile — the perception of a winning personality for an anti-social auto-pariah.
Other world leaders don’t buy the Obama sham, and so, even Obama’s flatterers struggle to find a single nation where his “smart diplomacy” wins friends and influences people. Even when he tries to connect, he can’t pull it off.
Mr. Obama’s own efforts to get closer to prime ministers and his fellow presidents have ended with largely disappointing results.
American foreign policy doesn’t require a president to have pajama parties where he paints the toenails and braids the hair of foreign leaders, but all successful relationships and negotiations require one quality of which Obama seems utterly bereft; empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
It’s good see the New York Times waking up to our president’s besetting character flaw — he doesn’t really give a damn about anyone but himself.
The North Texas area where I live is one of the safest places in America for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the high percentage of concealed handgun licensees. But that doesn’t mean Texas cops and sheriffs don’t have to take down a perp from time to time. In a dog-eat-dog world, police sometimes have to use deadly force to prevent it from becoming a dog-eat-cop world.
They shoot dogs, don’t they?
Yes, not often, but just enough to trigger a bill in the state’s part-time legislature.
Three North Texas representatives, Helen Giddings, D-Dallas, Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth, and Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, have filed bills requiring animal encounter training for peace officers after several controversial fatal canine shootings. Giddings’ and Collier’s bills are scheduled for public hearing in the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas support Geren’s bill. Of course, who could oppose a bill to teach police how to de-escalate conflicts with any species — especially since everyone agrees that cops don’t want to shoot? After all, some of their best friends are dogs. Yet the line that struck me strange was this:
[Rep. Helen] Giddings said she’s pleased that law enforcement organizations overwhelmingly support legislation for mandatory training.
So, if police and sheriff departments across the state want more training on canine encounters — and the municipalities would pay for it under the terms of the bill — why do we need a state law to tell local law enforcement to do something that they already want to do, and that some have already begun to do?
I may be barking up the wrong tree, but I’m going to say: Because it sounds good in a political ad.
Only one question remains after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s epic speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress Tuesday, and it has nothing to do with Netanyahu, nor with U.S. President Barack Obama. The question is this:
Do you trust the Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran?
The question is not “Do you trust Khamenei to keep any deal on non-proliferation?” As Netanyahu pointed out, Iran is a danger if it breaks an agreement, but it’s an even great danger, albeit longer term, if it keeps its end of the bargain for the supposed 10-year compact. That’s because, freed from sanctions, it would emerge at decade’s end as a more prosperous nation, with long-range missiles and the capacity to build a nuclear weapon from its mothballed, but not destroyed, centrifuges, in less than 12 months.
As Bibi reminds us, we’re negotiating with Iran about nukes, but NOT about long-range missile development. Iran can already hit Israel, but it lacks transoceanic launch capabilities. Try not to think about that. It will only cloud your mind with thoughts of self-preservation.
In the speech to Congress, Netanyahu respectfully and forcefully answered all significant objections to his opposition to what he called “a bad deal” with Iran. In addition, the Israeli leader proposed a common-sense peace process that would give Iran the opportunity to prove that it really wants to join the community of nations, while safeguarding Israel, the Middle East, Europe and the United States from Iranian nuclear attack, on the off chance that the Islamic Republic turns out to be a jihadist revolutionary apocalyptic regime committed to destroying some or all of the above.
You see, while the media has focused on the supposed personal spat between the Israeli and U.S. leaders, ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you like or trust Bibi Netanyahu or Barack Obama.
According to Wikipedia, Khamenei , like his nearly homophonic predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has allegedly issued a fatwa against production, storage and use of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Khamenei has presided over the construction of 19,000 nuclear centrifuges designed to purify uranium and plutonium to weapons grade. Officially (and laughably), Iran’s government purifies nuclear material to produce electricity, as it sits atop one of the world’s three largest petroleum reserves.
So, do you trust Khamenei to idle not only his known centrifuges, but also his hidden sites? Do you trust the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic to suddenly become entirely transparent with the inspectors who will monitor the terms of the agreement?
If you said, “Yes,” do you know that Khamenei …
- has repeatedly referred to Israel as “a cancerous tumor which should and will be cut out,”
- has referred to Jewish leaders as subhuman,
- leads a government that sponsors rallies to chant “Death to America” the “Great Satan,” and “Death to Israel,”
- has supplied the weapons to kill thousands of U.S. troops, and that
- Khamenei has said “the Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened”?
Do you think the Islamic Republic of Iran, which in 1979 threw a modern Persian society back to the days when Muhammed was teaching camel wranglers how to wash their hands with sand after scraping the excreta from their keisters with stones — do you think these people now wish to find common ground with the civilization that they find immoral, repugnant and Satanic?
Remember, it’s not actually enough to trust Khamenei to keep his word, as Netanyahu points out, because Iran is a danger if it breaks the agreement, but it’s a potentially greater danger if it keeps the agreement.
What you have to believe is that Khamenei has undergone a personal revolution, back to the future, and that he will lead his peace-loving Islamic Republic to do the same.
Do you believe?
Hillary Clinton’s Charity Took Major Donations from Dirt-Poor Nations That Received U.S. Taxpayer Aid
Embattled presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is taking some rhetorical sniper fire for her charitable foundation, which received large contributions from several nations while she was secretary of State.
1) A potential presidential candidate becomes beholden to certain foreign nations.
2) A Secretary of State whose private foundation grows in prestige from foreign donations, while those same nations lobby the State Department for special treatment on human rights.
Both questions merit vigorous exploration, but for two of the Clinton Foundation’s “donor nations” there’s a third, perhaps more troubling, specter: taxpayer money laundering.
Algeria and the Dominican Republican each contributed to the Clinton Foundation, and both are recipients of U.S. development aid.
In the year 2010, Secretary Clinton’s foundation received $500,000 from Algeria designated to help Haiti in the aftermath of an earthquake. But the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that Algeria received from U.S. taxpayers a total of $8.58 million in development assistance that same year — three-quarters of it as “emergency response” money.
At the same time, as the Post reports, Algeria spent another $422,097 lobbying the U.S. government, largely to take the heat off for human rights abuses in the 99% Sunni Islamic North African country.
So, in effect, U.S. taxpayers gave Algeria money to pressure us to stop hassling it about human rights, and we also gave Algeria money to curry favor with Madame Secretary by buffing the global reputation of Hillary Clinton’s private foundation. (This is not to minimize any good work that the Clinton Foundation may have done in Haiti. That’s irrelevant to this question.)
The real issue: Should needy nations like Algeria make contributions to other needy nations, channeled through the charitable foundation of the sitting U.S. secretary of State, while needy nation #1 is also lobbying us over human rights abuses — all with U.S. taxpayer dollars?
Meanwhile, the perennially impoverished Dominican Republic (DR) also donated to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary’s stint at State. Meanwhile in 2010 the DR received $35.52 million in U.S. development aid.
No matter what kind of accounting gymnastics one might perform, the fact of the matter is that U.S. taxpayers gave the DR and Algeria money that they then channelled to, or through, the Clinton Foundation.
There are, certainly, more troubles soon to emerge for a presidential hopeful with a foundation laid on such shifting sands of geostrategic relationships.
For example, Ukraine’s second-richest billionaire, Victor Pinchuk, a steel king whose wealth flows from trade with Russia, is also a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. When President Hillary Clinton takes the 3 a.m. phone call from Mr. Pinchuk, how will she tell him that the United States stands with those who want an independent Ukraine, rather than a Russian puppet?
Sending a signal to oppressed women of the Muslim world in one photograph.
The only way to save the planet is to cull the herd of humanity.
That’s the threat facing a band of super-secret modern-day British knights in The Kingsman, an epic parody/tribute to (old) James Bond movies.
I’m not going to review the film, just note this: Despite its over-the-top brutal comedic violence, and dialog brought to you by the letter “F” and the number 3,723 (my estimate of F-bomb drops) — it may be the most effective take-down of the global climate-change cabal ever. I left the theater marveling that The Kingsman had survived the Hollywood development, funding and casting process.
In the story, a tech genius billionaire villain, played by a lisping Samuel L. Jackson, acknowledges to Harry Hart (Colin Firth) that no amount of environmental regulation can save the doomed planet, and so the only solution is to nearly wipe the planet clean of humans and start again.
“Mankind is the virus, and I’m the cure,” Jackson’s character says. World leaders, including a certain black American president, sign on to his final solution.
This is a most succinct statement of Leftist doctrine regarding man-made climate change. The final solution won’t be found in international carbon-reduction agreements, or even taxes, but in the reduction of carbon dioxide exhalers among our own species.
I don’t know, or care, about the politics of the film’s creators, but what they have wrought does more to expose the anti-AGW movement than a stack of National Review magazines, a subscription to Rush 24/7, or 713 hours of programming on PJTV.
I saw an interview with Mr. Jackson in which the reporter noted that he plays the villain. Jackson takes mock umbrage at the suggestion, and notes that his character is “just a guy who’s got a different agenda than everybody else.”
It’s a reminder that those who pose the greatest threat to us, typically believe that they yearn to perform a great service.
(Although I’m not contending anything about the ideology of the filmmakers, some might argue that a gleefully-violent scene that eliminates all of the members of a Westboro-like “church” is a slap at conservative Christians. I disagree. True Christian conservatives are more eager than most to witness the swift end of that vitriolic bolus of heretical idol worshippers — albeit by actually coming to Jesus, rather than by having Colin Firth smite them vigorously.)
It’s practically a national anthem on the political Right these days. A Jeb Bush presidential candidacy is a non-starter because his Dad flip-flopped and raised taxes, or his big brother twisted conservatism to justify bigger government, or twisted “the common defense” to justify military adventurism and to breach the 4th Amendment in that Orwellian place now called “the Homeland.” Or, you can supply whatever it is that you didn’t like about 41 and 43.
However, some folks don’t oppose a Jeb candidacy on the basis of his kin’s presidential performance, but simply on the precept that the American republic has no place for political dynasties. We fought a revolution to escape that, they say.
I’ll grant you that, if George W. Bush had chosen Jeb as his running mate then resigned in order to cede power to his brother, I would join you at the White House gates, aggressively hefting my pitchfork.
If George H.W. Bush had re-assembled his old CIA buddies to execute a clandestine coup d’etat to place his youngest son on the throne, I’d come to the gate with a tool whose efficacy is measured in fps and stopping power.
And if Barbara Bush had ordered the executions of Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Nikki Haley, Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, John Kasich, Rick Santorum and The Rent is Too Damn High Guy, I would join you in your doomsday bunker with a backpack full of freeze-dried, hollow-point and bullion to wait out Armageddon.
But none of that happened, nor will it.
If Jeb Bush ever becomes the GOP nominee for president of the United States it will be because he earned it at the ballot box. If he gets elected as president, it will come as a result of garnering at least 270 electoral votes.
Of course, you may be one who believes that any electoral outcome with which you disagree was accomplished through extraordinary, extralegal, or even extraterrestrial skullduggery. If so, I’d like to meet with you personally offline to discuss this. Let’s have coffee on the movie set where NASA faked the moon landing. In particular, I’ll want to know how the candidates who you like occasionally get elected.
One of the great benefits of leaving the Old World — with its patrimony and primogeniture — and coming to America was that the second son, and the third son (and beyond) each had equal opportunity to test his mettle in the arena of commerce and ideas, and to soar has high as his industry, character, intellect and perseverance would take him.
You can hate/reject/ignore Jeb Bush for his ideas, for his track record, for his vision, for his bland personality, for his flat elocution and for his hipster horn rims, but in an American meritocracy we don’t judge a man by the “sins” of his family.
Most of all, in these United States, we have kicked down the age-old barrier of genetics, so that no man is damned to live in the shadow of his father or his brother.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who served as chair of the Democrat National Committee during the final 16 months of the Clinton administration, leaps to the defense of the Commonwealth’s legally- and ethically-troubled attorney general this week. In the process, he reprises a common Republican criticism about former Senator Barack Obama.
The gratuitous slap at Obama in the pages of the New York Times is hard to see as anything but a shot in the arm for Hillary 2016.
First a bit of background: The Rendell-Clinton ties are deep and wide and long. Then-Gov. Rendell endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination on January 24, 2008, and became an enthusiastic campaigner for her, until she flamed out. Years earlier, President Bill Clinton appointed Rendell’s wife, Marjorie (“Midge”), first to the U.S. District Court (1994), then as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit (1997).
Fast forward: Attorney General Kathleen Kane was a political Helios whose chariot reached its zenith in the heavens in 2013. That was before a grand jury showered her with accusations in its presentment this January.
“Last year, a special prosecutor charged that Ms. Kane, a Democrat, had violated secrecy rules by leaking information to a newspaper concerning an investigation by her Republican predecessor into the finances of a Philadelphia civil rights leader. Late last month, a grand jury recommended that Ms. Kane be charged with perjury, false swearing, official oppression and obstruction concerning that case.” (NY Times, 2/4/15, A13)
Deep in the New York Times piece that chronicles Kane’s “fall in fortunes,” Rendell attempts to shield her with a version of the Sandy “Sloppy” Berger defense, not only suggesting that a bit more OTJ experience would have stood Kane in good stead, but that her lack of preparation for the AG office was akin to Barack Obama’s for the Oval Office.
“Would it probably have been better if she’d had some administrative experience before this job? Yes. But so could have President Obama.” — Ed Rendell
This may be merely damning Kane with faint praise, but more likely Rendell introduces Obama into this legal and ethical morass to remind Democrats of the cost of hiring the incompetent, and the un-trained.
Of course, the pitch for Hillary in 2008 was her readiness for the Oval Office, in stark contrast to Obama’s rookie-ness. Advocates now claim we’re “Ready for Hillary,” but she was ready for us years ago.
In his 2012 book, A Nation of Wusses, Rendell implies that his own campaign savvy delivered Pennsylvania to Hillary in the 2008 primary, and he backhands Obama, noting that Hillary actually won the nationwide popular vote. Then he adds…
“Since Obama went on to win the national election handily, many people may forget that this game [the primaries] went into extra innings and that Hillary lost by only a run. But this was as close as any election gets, and I won’t forget that. Perhaps when President Hillary Clinton is sworn in in 2017, everyone will be talking about it again.
I said that I fell in love with Hillary during those seven weeks [the Pa. campaign], and I did…Hillary is a great person…I have told her that I would be her  campaign manager and not even take a salary, that’s how important it is for her to run….Run, Hillary, run. This country is so screwed up it needs a brilliant, charismatic, non-wuss lawyer to turn it around.” (Excerpted from pages 147-149, A Nation of Wusses)
Non-wuss lawyer, indeed. Such a contrast, eh?
He ends the book with another affirmation of his zeal to see Hillary Clinton elected as the first woman president.
By contrast, Rendell hardly mentions Obama’s 2008 campaign, except to note that the Illinois senator barely showed up in Pennsylvania, while Hillary and Bill Clinton exhaustively canvassed the state. (Slap!)
And while he periodically defends Obama against Republican attacks, Rendell also confirms the verdict of pundits who put the blame for the 2010 Democratic Party mid-term election massacre “mainly at the doorstep of the Obama administration.” Rendell critiques the tactics Obama used to pass the stimulus and Obamacare, the flaws of the bills, and the administration’s communication failures. (Pow!)
“The first rule of political messaging is that if you have the ‘bully pulpit’ and you are introducing a new program, take the initiative and explain it first to your constituents as directly and clearly as you can. Define the plan and the issues it presents before anyone else does. The Obama administration never did that with either bill, and as a result the Republicans defined them for the American people.” (pages 152,153, A Nation of Wusses)
Rendell then devotes several pages to chronicling the Obama administration’s mistakes, and laying out what he — a seasoned, experience politician — would have done instead.
So, here’s the upshot: Self-promoting Democratic shills like Ed Rendell don’t insert the Democratic president into seamy stories by accident. He did it to remind Democrats of the awful price of electing incompetence, and to prepare the battle-space for Hillary for 2016.
The New York Times Monday attempted to take down the man that it, and the left-wing media, has built up to be the most hopeful Republican White House hopeful since Maverick McCain — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The governor, a Republican now preparing a run for president, shot to national prominence as a cheese-steak-on-the-boardwalk Everyman who bluntly preached transparency and austerity as the antidote to bloated state budgets. But throughout his career in public service, Mr. Christie has indulged a taste that runs more toward Champagne at the Four Seasons.
He has also quietly let others pay the bills.
Naturally, if you’re going to attack a Republican, it must be on moral grounds, since only Republicans are susceptible to charges of hypocrisy.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that Gov. Christie has treated himself like royalty on the public dime, and has allowed royalty to treat him like royalty (his buddy, the lately-late King Abdullah, picked up his family-travel tab), I feel compelled to defend Gov. Christie against aspersions designed to thrust him from the GOP field, perhaps even forcing him to run as a Democrat.
There’s a perfectly reasonable, even praise-worthy, explanation for the international charter flights with family, 5-star hotels, stadium box seats next to team owners, and the $236 four-mile car rides, as well as for the celebrity leg-humping with Bono, Jamie Foxx, Howard Stern and others.
Think about it: A main complaint about Barack Obama is that he wasn’t prepared to be president. But 18 months before the presidential election, Gov. Christie has done much to ready himself to live in a palace, fly private charter, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and, as he reportedly says, “squeeze all the juice out of the orange.” All of this he does either at public expense, or, more frequently, through the generosity of well-connected, well-heeled friends. Chris Christie has that je ne sais quoi that voters seek — he already “looks presidential.”
In addition to assiduously becoming accustomed to the presidential lifestyle, Gov. Christie has also set an example for millions of Americans. He’s a solid conservative who is prudent with his own money, and will not splurge on luxury unless it’s fully paid for by others.
To quote the economist John Cougar Mellencamp: “Ain’t that America, home of the free?”
Furthermore, Christie explains that he relishes the foreign travel “experiences and exposures, especially for my kids,” as he dabs a drop of orange juice from his chin. Everyone loves a president who understands that everything we do is “for the children.”
As for the celebrities, we all know they they’re the most frequent visitors to the White House, so it’s good that Gov. Christie gets to know them now. On Day One, he’ll already have a prioritized list for the Lincoln bedroom.
I would venture to say that no Republican candidate is better prepared than Chris Christie to accept the mantle of responsibility, along with the scepter and the diadem.
Of course, I could be wrong. We’ll have to wait for future New York Times stories about the other candidates to know for sure.
Here’s the script for the “Scott Ott Thought” video above.
SCOTT OTT: I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.
People often ask me, “Scott Ott how can anyone be miserable during the greatest era of health and opportunity that America has ever seen?”
Well, it really isn’t very difficult. In fact, I can teach you how in fewer than 5 minutes. Here are Scott Ott’s seven secrets for getting, and staying miserable in the midst of joy and plenty.
First, read the New York Times.
You know, many of the secrets of success — like diligence, hard work, and honesty — are necessary, but not sufficient, to produce prosperity.
However, to achieve misery, The New York Times, is, in fact, sufficient.
It’ll have you fondling a revolver within just a few paragraphs.
This kind of misery-inducing work doesn’t just flow from the facts and the news. It takes the efforts of hundreds of reporters and editors in order to look at the numbers in a way that makes you wonder whether that ceiling fan can support your full weight.
Number two, replace the word “description” with the word “destiny.”
You see The New York Times describes what’s happening in the economy — for example, the middle class is shrinking. But you’ll fail miserably at being miserable if you don’t manage to translate that news into a personal belief that you are destined to fall from the middle class into poverty.
If you’re already in poverty, the key to getting and remaining miserable in the midst of it is to believe that the middle class is now squeezed so tight that you can’t get in. Misery is your destiny.
Third, you must control your mental focus.
You know, it’s so easy to slip out of that misery-thinking and into the belief that the plenty that you see around you could be yours. Don’t do it, my friend. You’ll never achieve sustainable misery if you start believing that you could change your current circumstances.
If you find your mind wandering toward opportunity, or goal-setting, or even enjoying the situation that you’re currently in, you must take immediate action. First, read The New York Times.
Fourth, it’s important to believe that the way you perceive things to be now, is the way they really are, the way they’ve always been and always will be.
If you even start to think that there’s a sunny side of the street, it’s a slippery slope, my friend.
Next thing you know, you’ll start to fantasize that life could be better than it is now, and then you’ll start to plan for that better future life, and you know what that will lead to?
I guarantee you, it won’t smell like misery.
You run the very real risk of rushing headlong into opportunity. Then you just might find out that all your preparation has primed you for a time such as this. And then, how are you going to remain miserable?
Fifth, if you have a job, hate your job.
O, you don’t have to go out and get a terrible job. You can start right here, right now, by simply hating the job you already have.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make at that job — I know folks making minimum wage who hate their jobs, and I know people earning six figures who don’t like what they do. The content of the work is irrelevant.
I’ll admit that hating your job is difficult, because it’s an intentional decision, but you have to make it seem like a natural consequence of your birth.
Number six: Worry. [SING] “Don’t happy. Be worry.”
Worry is easy because there are only two things to worry about:
1) things you can change, and
2) things you can’t change.
You see, there are problems and there are facts of life. Problems can be fixed. Facts of life can’t be fixed but they can be worked around. But the secret to a worriful life is to see problems as facts of life, and facts of life as problems.
This will help you worry about the problems you might otherwise solve, and it will worry the quinoa out of you as you try to fix human nature.
Hey, did you notice: We’re not even done this course yet, and I bet already you’re beginning to feel a little miserable. Good for you.
Finally, number seven: Demand that government make you happy.
Whether it’s money, or health insurance, child care or child disposal, or the need to make something legal that was illegal when you did it — put your hopes in government and politicians.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican who wants smaller government, lower taxes and fewer Democrats, or a Democrat, who wants larger government, higher taxes on Republicans, and larger government.
Hoping that politicians and government will change the world in ways that make you happy is, perhaps, the most foolproof way to getting and staying miserable in the midst of joy and plenty.
I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.
Harvard University, best known for its former, albeit laconic *, Law Review president, has now distinguished itself in another way. Last year, Harvard received gifts in excess of $1.5 billion — that’s Billion, as in “you didn’t Build that.”
The president undoubtedly Tweeted Harvard’s Dean of Donations this week to remind him that “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” and that, while he doesn’t want to punish Harvard’s success, “when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.”
Obama probably urged his Crimson comrades to consider the egalitarian generosity of Charles and David Koch, who recently contributed $25 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to help needy students at historically-black schools. President Obama almost certainly encouraged his alma mater to emulate this field-leveling behavior, even if doing so might cause a backlash from AFSCME, the union of government employees, which cut ties with the UNCF in protest over the Koch donation.
With only 106 historically-black colleges and universities, many of them struggling financially, Harvard could simply divide up that $1.5 billion in equal shares of $14 million (with Harvard also receiving its fair share.) What could be a more equitable way of addressing such savage income inequality?
It was, after all, a $37.5 billion record year for giving to America’s 4,800 colleges and universities, but $6.75 billion of that went to just 10 schools. In other words, the top two-tenths of one percent got 18 percent of the money.
As a millionaire, living in a palace, with servants meeting his every need, security watching his every step, becking and calling limousines and luxury aircraft, vacationing in posh resorts, and golfing his days away — Barack Obama clearly has the prestige, and the leisure time, to petition the captains of Cambridge, Mass., to redress this lingering injustice.
However, you may contend, the donors to Harvard did not intend their wealth to be spread around so liberally.
Yes, but what is Harvard, if not an educational institution? Should that education stop after a few years of undergraduate work, a master’s or a doctorate? No, I say, let the learning continue for a lifetime, as Harvard teaches its wealthy capitalist alumni the vanity of greed and the surpassing value of selfless giving.
May Obama’s elite friends in academia experience the full blessing of his legacy of leveling.
I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.The latest statistics from the FBI on hate crimes paint a disturbing picture of Islamophobic bigotry in America.Of course, you’re well aware of the Islamophobic pandemic backlash that innocent Muslims have experienced as a result of a few overachieving radical jihadists — who are not really Muslim, even thought they say they are, and draw their inspiration from the Koran, and do pretty much what Muhammed did, all the while shouting “Allahu akbar.”
I’m sure you’ve heard America leaders warn us about taking out our anger on people who don’t look like us, or don’t pray like us, and who put far too much clothing on their undoubtedly-comely women.
Well, first of all, the FBI report shows that Muslims are severely underrepresented as a hate-crime victims. Only 2.3 percent of hate crimes were anti-Islamic — that means only 135 out of 5,928 hate crimes were even aimed at Muslims.
Even Jews, on a per capita basis, received more attention from hateful criminals than Muslims did; twice as much. Clearly, President Obama has work to do if he hopes to address this savage inequality that Muslims experience as second-class hate-crime victims.
Beyond the basic unfairness to Muslims, perhaps the overriding concern about the hate-crimes statistics is the very small number of crimes that are motivated by hate at all.
About 9.8 million crimes were committed in the United States in 2013, but fewer than 6,000 were classified as hate-crimes.
This means that only one out of every 1,652 crimes is even motivated by hate.
All the rest are driven by greed, lust, boredom, or even personal hatred of a non-discriminatory nature.
Well, the psychological toll on non-hate-crime victims is perhaps anecdotal, but no less real in the absence of data.
In the words of one beating victim: “I’ve got a broken jaw, and bruised ribs, but my attacker said nothing against my religion or race — not a word. How am I gonna explain this to the kids. It’s just senseless.”
Well, I’m sure you join me in calling on President Obama to restore hate to its proper place in crime, and to elevate Muslims at least to the status of Jews.
But above all else, it’s important that we don’t let the current shortage of anti-Muslim hate crimes deter us from raising the alarm about Islamophobic bigotry in America.
I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.
It may seem like a small thing, but the lead sentence in this Dallas Morning News story nicked a nerve somewhere in my jaw.
Newly sworn in Sen. Don Huffines said Thursday the Texas Legislature would approve a bill that allows Texans to carry guns without a permit.
You saw it too: “that allows Texans to carry guns without a permit.”
Most Dallas Morning News readers will think nothing of it, and instead ponder whether they think it’s a good idea to “allow” so-called open carry (if they do any thinking at all).
Of course, some might wonder why I quibble, after all, they’d say, our U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment allows individuals “to keep and bear arms.”
It clearly does NOT. It does not ALLOW us to do anything.
Rather it forbids the U.S. government from infringing on our natural, God-given right to self-defense. We don’t need permission from the government to protect ourselves from hoodlums, from foreign invaders, or from even the U.S. government, if it should breach the constitutional wall.
The 14th Amendment applies this constitutional protection of natural rights to all citizens against encroachment by any state.
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (from Amendment XIV, Section 1)
So, when Texas, or any other state, passed laws forbidding us “to keep and bear arms,” it overstepped its constitutional bounds. Sen. Huffines’ legislation will put the state government back inside the constitutional walled compound. (My beef is not with the senator, who understands that we don’t need a permit to exercise natural rights.)
The legislation, which Governor Greg Abbott says he will sign, does not “allow” anything. It restores a right that the government was not “allowed” to infringe in the first place.
There now, I feel much better. How about you?
Jewish Emigration from France to Israel 1994-Present
Some say the bad European economy, high French taxes and the inviting business atmosphere of Israel are behind the veritable exodus of French Jews from their country to Abraham’s promised land.
But it’s hard to discount Jew-hatred and the threat of violence reminiscent of 1930s Germany, as radical Islam burns with rage and is not quenched.
The surge of French Jews emigrating to Israel is unprecedented in the post-World War II era. Last year, for the first time, France exceeded the United States for Jews making aliyah — the Hebrew term for “going up” to Israel, a core element of the Zionist movement.
Pretending economic factors have driven this pattern denies decades of history, when European economic downturns did not produce such an outflow. Last year, Jews from France emigrated to Israel in numbers that exceeded the peak of 5,292 set in 1969, in the wake of Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War.
The Jews have seen this story before, and they will never forget. They know that “noble” world leaders will quibble and equivocate as Jews are surrounded “for their own protection,” and then slaughtered to satisfy the bloodlust of evil men.
But there’s open debate about whether Jews should stay or flee. Watch the Trifecta episode below to learn more about that, and hear the story of the ship St. Louis, which left Hamburg loaded with Jews on May 13, 1939.
Charlie Hebdo, the magazine attacked this week by heavily-armed Hell-bound Muslim jihadists, was run by Left-wing atheists who reveled in lampooning all religions and politicians who aren’t sufficiently socialist.
Yet despite the heathen commie content of Charlie Hebdo, those of us in the Right-wing echo chamber have offered full-throated support for their right to express their despicable views, even if they do it with tasteless, often ribald, satire. (The fact that I use the word “ribald” proves that I’m the kind of stick-in-the-mud who should despise Charlie. What’s worse: I write ScrappleFace.com, which I bill as “family-friendly satire.” Ick.)
But you see, Right-wing evangelical wackos like me tend to be people of principle. True principles, by definition, must enjoy universal application. We believe in a free marketplace of ideas where, ultimately, the truth will come to light — if not in this life, then in the one to come.
So, while one of President Obama’s press secretaries clucks his tongue about Charlie Hebdo’s poor judgement – using the bully pulpit to pressure them to still their Muhammed-mocking pens — we stand by the cartoonists’ right to lampoon the Prophet Muhammed and his morality-bereft, blood-besotted groupies. (Carney’s parsing of “right” vs. “judgment” is fine for parlor prattle, but not from the president’s spokesman standing before a global camera in the White House.)
We did not support Charlie because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It’s not because we were glad to see someone stick it to the pedophile “prophet” of the scimitar “scriptures.” After all, Charlie mocked Christians too.
We support free speech rights unconditionally — regardless of what we think of the message. If we disagree with the viewpoint or method of expressing it, the remedy for bad speech is more speech, not censorship by statute or scimitar (or presidential bullying).
The Leftist is in a quandary, because many of his movement’s brightest lights, or at least loudest speakers, want us to believe that slim difference lies between the Muslim gunmen of Paris and the average Southern Baptist.
To Lefty, we’re all dangerous religious bigots.
Yet even the “progressive” journalists and politicians know in their hearts that if they showed up at a baptist church potluck, uninvited, and started to spout their Utopian collectivism, they’d get nothin’ but love, strange looks, and perhaps some awkward but sincere attempts to share Jesus with them.
At the Baptist potluck, Lefty would be allowed to run his fool mouth until the peach cobbler ran out, signaling time to go home.
Next Sunday, someone would ask Brother Mike to pray for Lefty’s commie, heathen soul…bless his heart.
The goat-goading Muslim swineherds who emptied their AK-47 magazines into the bodies of French satirists today, send a message to you: Shut up. Sit down. Be afraid, and stand aside as we take over the world in the name of our slavemaster. Shaitan Akbar. Praise Satan. (I don’t care if they pronoun Shaitan as “Allah,” we all know whom they serve.)
Years ago, a Jewish friend asked me about my newfound faith in Jesus Christ. After hearing my salvation story, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said quite sincerely, “Is there really a God?” It was a combination of hope and disbelief. After years of rehearsing the rituals that tell the story of the one true God who saves and redeems, she seemed taken aback that He might really exist, care, love, send the Messiah to deliver the broken and needy from oppression, as she knew He had promised.
Years later, in a phone call, another friend confessed, with profound shock, that she had begun to believe that there might actually be evil in the world — not just mistakes, or misunderstandings, or bouts of misguided passion, but pure evil that lives, and moves, and strikes.
What my friends were reluctant to believe, history cannot disguise.
Yes, there is a God.
Yes, there is evil.
Though God loves us, we fear the Lord, in the sense that we are overwhelmed with wonder at his power, his love and his faithfulness toward us. We stand in awe of him, and bow before him, offering praise and thanks. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
Shall we also fear Satan, and those who act in his name?
No, because the power of God within us is greater than the power of evil.
An ancient Hebrew song says that when evil men rise up — men who think they’re gods, or who follow them – God mocks them.
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
– Psalm 2:4
And this is why we will not be afraid of the latest evil manifestation of the pig-god of the jihadists — the one that used to be called Beelzebub: the lord of the flies.
Therefore, we should and many already have, rejected the tyranny of Satan over us, even with the small gesture of sharing a picture of the Prophet Muhammed, whom Islamic jihadists worship as fervently as they do the nominal deity.
Here’s my own, hand-drawn, contribution to the rebellion against evil, along with a link to a satirical story I wrote about today’s slaughter of fellow satirists at Charlie Hebdo. I hope you’ll share it, or create your own.
In the wake of the embarrassing revelation that Rep. Steve Scalise, the new House majority whip, has apologized because he very nearly spoke with a racist group 12 years ago, I feel that it’s time for me to confess a similar transgression — although, perhaps more serious, since I actually spoke with the group in question and I knew what I was doing at the time.
The group I addressed has devoted decades to advancing discriminatory policies that treat blacks and other minority groups as substandard, inferior and virtually handicapped compared with whites. What’s more they’re unrepentant, even proud of it.
Worse, the group has been responsible for racially segregating schools and neighborhoods, by literally funneling taxpayer dollars into substandard housing zones that become generational poverty traps for poor racial minorities.
In addition, the group has coordinated money, manpower and strategy with kindred organizations to block minority children from receiving a decent education, and to box out independent minority entrepreneurs from lucrative contracts that could lift them and their neighborhoods up from the bottom.
Worst of all, the group before which I spoke has successfully promoted and funded race-selective “medical procedures” which have resulted in the deaths of millions of black infants.
Yes, that’s right: I, Scott Ott, confess that some years ago, I spoke before a group of Democrats.
Also from Scott Ott:
I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.
Lost in the vitriolic effluent of recent political news, was a story of surpassing hope for peace on earth, and a better tomorrow.
It was news of a breakthrough agreement at a global climate change conference.
For the first time in history, all of the nations of the world agreed to agree on a plan to be agreed upon at a future date.
This will, of course, halt the deadly spread of climate change, or at least to slow it down enough to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
This historic agreement to agree to agree-upon didn’t just happen over night.
Initially, environmentalists, climate experts, great thinkers and Al Gore wanted the world to just agree on a plan to reduce man-made atmospheric carbon before we all burn up under the rising ocean.
This would be accomplished by rapidly substituting solar, wind and other clean energy sources, for dirty coal and petroleum.
Essentially, it means switching from underground to above-ground energy sources. And you don’t have to be a climate scientist to like the sound of that.
After all, underground is dark, filled with worms and probably where Hell would be, if it existed, which I’m pretty sure it does not, because I don’t want to go there.
Above-ground is sunny and windy and wet and wonderful, and probably like Heaven, which is where I’m going because, I don’t want to go to Hell, which doesn’t exist anyway.
Not only is above-ground renewable energy better for the planet, but it creates millions of jobs and ushers in a new era of renewable prosperity.
However, poor countries objected to that first plan.
Poor countries — or at least the handful of wealthy politicians and academics who came to the resort conference from poor countries — said they couldn’t survive under this new renewable prosperity, since their people still need to eat food, drink clean water and try to sleep indoors at night…and eat food.
The new renewable prosperity provides mostly research grants, charter jet flights to climate conferences at resort locations, and medals and trophies for Al Gore — most of which, with the possible exception of Al Gore himself — are not edible.
The rich countries said they understood the plight of the poor — which is why they worked so hard to stop being poor countries— and they recommended that the poor countries also stop being poor too, by investing billions of dollars in renewable energy which creates millions of jobs, and keeps poor people from burning up under the ocean.
But the poor countries said, “You became rich countries by burning coal and oil. We want to do that too, because even if we could eat Al Gore, most of us are vegetarians and Al Gore is made of meat.”
So, AT the climate conference in the South American resort town of Playa Sans Swimsuit — instead of a specific plan to reduce deadly atmospheric CO2, the nations agreed to let each nation come up with its own plan and then have another in conference in Paris next year.
This is a huge breakthrough. Previous conferences would dissolve with nothing but vague promises, and a plan to get together in a lovely vacation hotspot next year.
By the way, before the conference a couple of Google engineers recently announced that they had spent several years and lots of Google money to find a way to replace coal with renewable energy for power generation.
Their research showed, that even though renewables are expensive, inefficient, and difficult to transport, we COULD use them to reverse global climate change if…magic.
Of course, research like this will never hinder global climate agreements.
Because global agreements are based on the kind of science that reinforces the known facts that previous scientists predicted might exist, under certain theoretical computer simulated conditions…along with the proper mix of research grants, resort conferences and Al Gore back bacon.
I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.
Script for Scott Ott video above…
I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.
The magic of Christmas is how it’s all so effortless. You wake up in the morning and the tree is surrounded by colorful boxes and bags and all you have to do is open the gift.
Well, it probably hasn’t been like that for you for a few decades.
We lived in a country house that was built in the 1700′s. The wooden floorboards upstairs were thin and a bit creaky. Near one of two bedrooms shared by four boys was a small knothole in the floor. I don’t recall if we punched the knot out, but it was gone, leaving a dime-sized hole in the floor through which one might peer into the living room below.
But you had to practically get down on your belly and press your cheek against the pine to see through the knothole. And more than one of us boys did that, more than once, especially on Christmas morning.
We four boys were brought up by our grandparents, Jim and Jessica McMaster, who rose before dawn every day–Pop to drive to Philadelphia to making steel railcars and Nan to do more difficult work, managing a household full of four boys.
But despite their clockwork pre-dawn rising habit, on Christmas morning, they pulled the covers up tight to their chins and they slept in. We pleaded and whined for them to arise, and take us to the gifts, because we couldn’t go without them. That’s the rule. But we practically had to roll them out of bed, such was the extent of their yuletide lassitude. They seemed oblivious to the fact that just below these pine boards lay unimaginable treasure for the taking. It was all so effortless. How could they be tired at a time such as this?
Making things look effortless is exhausting isn’t it? They sacrificed time, and money, and sweat, and sleep, and busted knuckles to make Christmas effortless for us.
I have a Jewish friend who jokes about how easy it is to become a Christian–just believe in Jesus. Whereas, to become a Jew, he says, you need to strive to comply with a bunch of rules, and to get circumcised. The latter requirement, he says, really cuts down on the adult male recruiting pool.
But he’s right–Christianity is effortless. All you have to do is be perfect. That’s what Jesus said,”Be perfect, as your Heavenly father is perfect.”
This morning I read President Obama’s to-do list under the “normalize relations with Cuba” project.
I’m a big to-do list guy. I have an app on my computer and smartphone to list tasks by project, create dependent sub-tasks, prioritize, and track accomplishment. The sub-task and prioritize features are great, because they help me not just to get things done, but to get them done in a logical sequence. Often, that means completing prerequisite tasks before attempting dependent ones.
Near the bottom of the official White House task list for Cuba Normalizar, we find this:
Initiating a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism —
The President has instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch such a review, and provide a report to the President within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism. Cuba was placed on the list in 1982.
Now this comes after setting up a new embassy, facilitating travel to-and-from for certain people, opening up financial pipelines, and helping 95 percent of Cubans get on the Internet.
So, just as you’re thinking, “Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1961,” we find that we’re doing all of this for, and with, a nation we currently classify as a state sponsor of terrorism. Furthermore, we’re doing all of this BEFORE determining whether that classification still applies.
Of course, Secretary of State John Kerry and his staff will assiduously investigate all of the Cuban government’s potentially-suspicious international activities. And, no doubt, Cuba’s communist government will throw open the books on their clandestine affairs so we can fully vet where the money, weapons and ‘advisors’ go and what they do. If we discover that Cuba still sponsors terror, then the normalization deal is off, right Mr. President?
That has to happen, otherwise, President Obama has just committed the United States of America to linking arms with a communist dictatorship that, for all we know, is Iran in the Western Hemisphere.
Funny, you’d think that the CIA would already have a pretty good feel (in espionage jargon) for what Cuba is doing regarding international terrorism, but The Agency has been pretty busy lately, defending itself from attacks by Democrats in Congress and the White House. So, we’ll just have to wait six months and see what Kerry finds out.
Maybe it’s just me, but if I had a “Normalize Relations with Cuba” project in my to-do app, “Determine if they sponsor terrorism” would be the number one priority task, with all others dependent upon, and awaiting, the outcome of its accomplishment.
Dear Theater Owners of America,
Please resist the temptation to cancel showings of the new Seth Rogen/James Franco movie The Interview, merely because anonymous, possibly North Korean, hackers have threatened to turn your multiplexi into lakes of fire.
I’m not asking you to show this movie because I want to see it: I don’t. I won’t. From the previews, it looks like most Hollywood comedies — a plausible comedic scenario skinned bare of surprise and delight by sophomoric sex jokes and overly graphic violence. Subtlety is dead. Or as they say in Hollywood: “Subtlety is F%$&#ing dead from having its face melted off and head exploded in extreme closeup during sex with an amputee stripper.”
And I’m not even pressing you to show it on Christmas day, as planned. You should release it now, the sooner the better, for national security reasons.
That’s because Seth Rogen and James Franco — two affable mediocrities — represent the heart of what makes this country great. Only in America can you create such a tawdry and tedious work of artless, and get paid a combined $15 million for several months of work. In the process, Rogen and Franco’s debauch of Crosby & Hope has employed countless thousands of people, most of whom are vastly more skilled than the dyspeptic duo above the title.
But it’s not for economic reasons you must show it. It’s because…America!
Now, I understand why Sony is backpedaling from its own production. To a foreign firm America may simply mean fatter margins to go with the wider theater seats. But to us, America means that a man can stand up and say any cockamamy thing that passes through his public-schooled brain without fear of government retribution, and certainly without kowtowing before the porcine princeling of Pyongyang.
While the hackers have threatened 9/11-style attacks on theaters and nearby subdivisions, their threat bears the earmarks of the Kim dynasty.
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
CUT TO: Theater audience roaring with laughter.
Allah — the Most Compassionate, the Most Incendiary — has, in recent years, made it clear that he’s angry with Americans and uppity women (but I repeat myself). However over the weekend, we learned that Allah — the Nourisher, the Reliever (the latter, doubtless, while standing) — has become enraged by boutique coffee and chocolate shops.
As Australian authorities attempted to negotiate with a soldier of Allah — the Everlasting, the Attention-Deficit Disordered One — to release hostages and come out peacefully from the coffee and chocolates shop in which he has barricaded himself, I managed to secure an exclusive interview with the Muslim deity.
Below is an exact transcript of my one-on-one with Allah — the Most Candid, the Most Quotable — precisely as these words came to me from the angel, Gibreel, his official spokesman.
SCOTT OTT: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I know you’re a busy god.
ALLAH: Not at all. I run a decentralized operation, so I can focus on vision and strategy, while my agents in the field take care of the day-to-day stuff.
SCOTT OTT: Completely autonomous?
ALLAH: Well, they have the manual committed to memory, and as long as they don’t run afoul of it, they’re free to carry out my vision as they see fit. Middle managers help to head off violators.
SCOTT OTT: I see what you did there.
ALLAH: Forgive me.
SCOTT OTT: I thought that was your job.
SCOTT OTT: I can understand why you’ve been enraged by American soldiers and by women — particularly women, since they’re the greater threat — but what is it about coffee and chocolate shops that offends you?
ALLAH: Well, some think it’s the pricing, the atmosphere or the indefinable music. As for me, it’s the pretension that borders on idolatry.
SCOTT OTT: You mean it’s the hipsters?
ALLAH: In a word.
SCOTT OTT: But isn’t armed hostage-taking a bit O.T.T.?
ALLAH: I see what you did there, Scott Ott.
SCOTT OTT: Forgive me.
ALLAH: I’ll think about it.
SCOTT OTT: Seriously, why not organize a boycott of coffee and chocolate shops in the name of Allah, the Most Politically-Savvy?
ALLAH: It could backfire. I’ll give you three words: Chik-fil-A.
We awoke this morning to news of compromise at the highest levels of public servantry. A $1.1 trillion withdrawal from our bank accounts, and from those of our grandchildren, met with jubilation on the Hill and in the media. The federal government did not — will not — shut down, they sing.
And Americans say, “Prove it — prove that the government is not shut down.”
ISIS clambers across Iraq and Syria like an army of Gollums, now gaining a toe-hold in Egypt as well. Bashar Assad sits on a throne of chemically-killed corpses piled high on Obama’s “red line.”
Putin rolls through Ukraine, daring Obama to make eye contact with him, while he pockets Obama’s lunch money.
Iran’s nuclear centrifuges spin as fast as Secretary Kerry’s diplomatic remarks.
There’s still no accounting or accountability for Benghazi, Fast & Furious, NSA spying on civilians, the horrors of V.A. purgatory, IRS muscling of conservatives and the massive government bailouts that saved Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.
Business lags and the economy drags, while the under-employed and underpaid wonder why Washington doesn’t seem to suffer from “the new normal” — just us.
And if you still think a government shutdown has been averted, trying making a phone call to a government agency to solve a problem.
Out of a clear blue sky, stock brokers and janitors rained.
Contorted bodies approached terminal velocity in wind-whipped business suits.
Forced to decide between the slow agony of fire and the sudden — O, God I hope it’s sudden –slam against cement, they laid out upon the atmosphere, wishing for the whisper of angel wings to whisk them ever upward.
I called a database vendor to get a project update. He said, “Do you know what’s happening?”
“We’re under attack,” he said. “America is under attack.”
Phone slam. Dial my brother’s house — my brother, the United Airlines pilot. His wife answers.
Trying to sound calm, I say, “Where’s Jim?”
“He’s in triple-seven training in Colorado.”
She’s heard. She’s watching.
Turns out that one of the commandeered flights was a route my brother sometimes flew. Try not to think about that.
Several days later, I’m out in the yard in rural Central Pennsylvania and the eery silence of the skies gives way to the whistle of a small jet engine. I stop and stare stunned at the ordinary airplane in the glide path of the local airport. I watch it to the vanishing point — the first I’ve seen since they cleared the skies because no one knew how many more would become missiles.
America’s incredible knack for engineering and for funding seamless systems was transformed by a relatively primitive enemy, into a boomerang bomb that locked onto us, like the Russian torpedo in the climax of The Hunt for Red October.
Gas-guzzling trucks, cowboy boots, big red barns, people praying, dusty farms, the stars-and-stripes snapping in the breeze, and hot blond women on motorcycles — nothing says “Hillary 2016″ like all that, plus a bearded young hunk in a cowboy hat singing…
And now, it’s 2016
and this time I’m a-thinkin’
Guys, put your boots on and let’s
smash this ceiling.
I’ve been thinking about one great lady
like the women in my life,
she’s a mother, a daughter,
and through it all she’s a lovin’ wife …
She fights for country and my family
Now it’s time for us to stand up
The video, posted just two and a half weeks ago by SWH2016.com, already has gone viral with more than 344 views on YouTube — that’s nearly 20 views per day.
Countless dozens of people have been tapping their feet to this catchy tune and dreaming of a leader who understands that ”Our American dream is at stake, and there are some hard choices that need to be made.”
At the risk of converting some red-state Americans to the “Stand with Hillary” movement, I post the video here. (HT @iowahawkblog)
VIDEO SCRIPT: I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.
It suddenly struck me today that Boehner and McConnell fight Obama just like Obama fights wars. Republicans in Congress use the same strategy and tactics against the Democratic president, that our Commander in Chief uses overseas.
Because this approach has become so popular among the rich and powerful, I thought you might want to try it. So, I boiled it down to 7 quick tips.
1. Draw red lines: Use bellicose rhetoric to let your base know that you’re serious about sounding serious.
2. Cave in when those lines get crossed: If you avoid invoking consequences, it saves you from having to do what you said you would.
3. Announce deadlines in advance: It’s only fair to tell your adversary how long he has to wait until he wins.
4. Fight if you must, but only to blaze a path for withdrawal: The objective of battle, after all, is to seize the moral high ground as the loser, because everybody resents a winner.
5. Use high-altitude sniping to avoid close combat: Low risk shots at high-value targets can win today’s news cycle, without the risk of triggering a more significant battle that you don’t have guts to win.
6. Blame your allies for failure: If you don’t, then people might think it was your fault, and that doesn’t feel good.
7. Take effective tactics off the table: Make sure your opponent knows exactly what you’re not willing to do in order to win.
That’s it. Scott Ott’s quick demonstration that Boehner and McConnell fight Obama like Obama fights wars.
Seven quick tips for snatching shame from the jaws of glory.
I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.
President Obama’s nomination of Colleen Bell as ambassador to Hungary was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday on a 52-42 vote. Here is the essay she submitted along with her application.
Why I Want to Live in Budapest for a Year or More
by Colleen Bell
I’m “Hungary” to spend some time in Budapest (LOL) as part of the U.S. government’s Obama Bundlers Abroad program (that part’s also a joke). While I’ve never been a diplomat, I did earn a diploma in high school and college. I hope this essay is good enough to win Senate confirmation.
As a soap opera producer, I bring a world of experience to the task of serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. My show, “The Bold and the Beautiful,” is seen in more than 100 countries, so they probably know of me already.
Because of my job on the soap opera, I know more than most people do about the challenges of building solid, long-lasting, mutually-satisfying relationships — or at least about pretending to do so.
But if all I had to recommend me was a history of creating high-quality treacherous relationship stories for daytime TV, I could understand how you might be reluctant to send me overseas as the president’s emissary, and the official face of America.
So, you’ll be glad to know that I’m also a campaign bundler for the president, having raised millions of dollars to assure myself an appointment as ambassador. (Just kidding.)
My wealth of experience making phone calls to wealthy Liberals will serve me well in Budapest, as I’m sure they probably have wealthy Liberals over there too, and maybe even telephones. I even hosted a dinner for the president at my house and got Foo Fighters to perform there. If Hungarian government officials haven’t heard of Foo Fighters yet, they’re really good.
Finally, as if all of that were not enough to secure my confirmation, I’ve also been told that I’m an attractive woman. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have mentioned that, but when you’re trying to show the world America’s best face, it never hurts to actually have a nice face.
All the Best,
How is it possible that the latest CNN/ORC International poll shows that Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney lead the presidential packs in their respective political parties?
The short answer is because Rihanna and Chris Pratt have not (yet) announced their candidacies.
If the latter two names sounded only vaguely familiar to you, then you have the same reaction to them as normal people do to the names of politicians who want to be president.
Political geeks are societal freaks.
Which of the following does not seem likely to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016:
1. Rand Paul
2. Ted Cruz
3. Chris Christie
4. Jeb Bush
5. John Carson
6. Scott Walker
7. Rick Perry
Which ones on that list are U.S. senators and which are state governors? Sort them from most conservative to least conservative. Name their home states.
Chances are, you did all of that with near perfect accuracy.
We political geeks chuckle at videos of people who can’t name a single U.S. senator or a Supreme Court justice, or who want to ban dihydrogen monoxide. But then we see a poll that says Romney and Hillary lead the 2016 White House race, and we act like it means something.
Click to the next page to see who is most likely to be our next president…
If you have children, you understand the rhetorical value of misdirection.
When I was a boy, two of my brothers and I were in the kitchen downstairs with Nan, when we heard a loud crash upstairs.
Nan hollered up the staircase at our other brother, “What are you doing up there?”
His answer was immediate, in just two words: “Coming down.”
And so he did.
We all agreed it was a masterful answer, in that it was both true, and it deflected any real truth-telling. We never did find out what caused the crash.
President Obama is less skilled than my little brother. After all, Obama’s deflection during last night’s immigration speech took three words — 50 percent more.
Here are those three words: “Pass a bill.”
Here’s the context…
Obama: “And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.
The rest of his speech comprised vague allegations of racism and hate against anyone who opposes him, along with heart-rending images (“ripping children from their parent’s arms”), straw-man arguments about mass deportations, and some tough-on-crime rhetoric about gangs and thugs.
All of this is precisely irrelevant.
The problem with Obama’s actions has nothing to do with the immigrants, their struggles and their aspirations, nor with America’s failure to effectively address its illegal immigration challenge. It has everything to do with a president setting a precedent that U.S. law can be set aside by the executive at will. He’s not “acting where Congress has failed,” he’s usurping the constitutional role of Congress to establish a “uniform rule of Naturalization.” [U.S. Constitution: Article I , Section 8, Clause 4]
He’s also not striving “to make our immigration system work better.” If that were true, he’d merely step up efforts to enforce existing law, streamline the process for the many decent, law-abiding folks eager to take the oath of citizenship, and stop beckoning illegals northward with an implied promise of amnesty.
Let me be clear (as he would say), I’m not arguing with the president.
He and I already agree that he lacks the authority to do this.
You see, if Obama had legal counsel outlining why his immigration actions were appropriate and constitutional, he would have recited chapter and verse. Instead, he raised the only real objection, and then simply set it aside without refuting it. Further, he actually blamed his opponents for forcing him to take illegal action.
Since we have his confession, before a great cloud of witnesses, here are two, very direct, words for Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell: “Repeal Obamigration.”
In 1924, H.T. Webster began drawing a comic called “The Timid Soul” for the New York World newspaper. It featured Caspar Milquetoast, a man afraid of practically everything and everybody.
Fast forward 90 years: Today’s New York Times says that Barack Obama “feels liberated” by getting past those messy elections so that he can implement is agenda on immigration, climate change and regulating the Internet, among other issues. Of course, previous election victories also liberated Obama to implement his agenda.
When you’re on a date with Barack Obama, ‘yes’ means yes, and ‘no’ means yes.
Barack Obama is no Caspar Milquetoast.
“…aides said Mr. Obama has concluded that he cannot let opposition from the other party stop him from advancing his priorities…”
In this case, “opposition from the other party” means decisive electoral defeat in the midterm elections after you explicitly said that your policies are on the ballot — every one of them.
Now, take a few steps from the White House down the National Mall to the Russell Senate Office Building and meet the leader of that oppositional other party — new Senate Majority Leader Mitch Milquetoast…uh, McConnell, reacting to Mr. Obama’s hubris.
“I had maybe naïvely hoped the president would look at the results of the election and decide to come to the political center and do some business with us,” [McConnell] added. “I still hope he does at some point but the early signs are not good.”
I had maybe naively hoped Sen. McConnell would look at the results of the election and decide to come to the front, and do what voters really want. I still hope he does at some point but the early signs are not good.
Ever helpful to Democrats, the New York Times points out today that President Obama, by kicking up the volume on immigration, climate change and regulating the Internet, merely pays homage to President George W. Bush.
Although they do not present it this way, in some ways Mr. Obama and his aides are taking a page from President George W. Bush’s playbook after his own “thumping” in his final midterm elections. Instead of pulling out of the deteriorating war in Iraq, as Democrats interpreted Mr. Bush’s election mandate, he sent more troops. Democrats like Mr. Obama, then a senator, accused the president of defying the voters. In the end, the reinforcements and a strategy change helped turn around the war.
The analogy is fundamentally, fatally flawed.
Let’s posit that the American people, by their congressional votes in 2006, sent a message to end the Iraq war. If that were true, you could say that Bush ignored the voice of the people. Although you could as easily conclude that his actions were meant to end the war.
No matter how you read the public will, George W. Bush acted within his constitutional authority as commander in chief when he ordered the successful 30,000-troop surge in January 2007.
As commander in chief, it was Bush’s role to effectively prosecute the war in Iraq, a use of military force that Congress had decisively authorized — 297-133 House, 77-23 Senate.
However, what President Obama now endeavors to do — by distilling his party’s devastating midterm losses into a steroid shot for his agenda — flies in the face of that Constitution.
- He’ll use executive orders to usurp Congress’ Article I, Section 8, authority regarding immigration.
- He uses regulatory agencies like the EPA to go beyond anything Congress authorized with regard to environmental protection.
- He pressures a board of political appointees (the FCC) to rein in the same industry that allows most of us to watch his spellbinding YouTube videos, a move that would further focus power over information in the hands of people who devote their days to boiling down policies into concentrated power.
Nearly everything on Obama’s known agenda, as he waddles into the sunset, stretches or exceeds his constitutional authority.
Post-thrashing Obama ≠ post-thumpin’ Bush.