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Obama Discovers Separation of Powers

January 28, 2015 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Obama

obamavbibiPresident Obama can grant five million illegal immigrants amnesty, install high-level executive staff without consulting Congress, remove the work requirement from welfare reform, free dangerous Talibani soldiers without notifying Congress, and rewrite Obamacare dozens of times. But the Speaker of the House issues an invitation to the head of our greatest ally in the Middle East to discuss the existential threat Israel faces from its neighbors in front of Congress, and the president is mortally offended.

Obama is reportedly “fuming” over House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress in support of expanding U.S. sanctions against Iran to halt its uranium enrichment and nuclear weapon production.

His sycophants are equally upset: The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen carped that Boehner doesn’t have the right to issue an invitation to a foreign leader on his own, and that the Speaker and his allies bypassed Obama simply because they “hate his guts” and want to “destroy the president.”

Politico’s David Rogers labeled Boehner’s actions “payback” and blamed the kerfuffle on the “deteriorat[ion of] normal courtesies” and on “acrimony” that is “infectious”—not on Obama’s demonstrable, pigheaded refusal to communicate with Congress.

Rogers cites two examples of Congress and the President not talking that are supposed to show both sides are guilty of usurpation of powers—yet both actually demonstrate that the president is at fault. The first is the White House ignoring Boehner’s request to have Netanyahu speak in 2011 (Obama’s fault). The second is the White House inappropriately promising South Korean President Lee Myung-bak a chance to speak before Congress without first asking Boehner (also Obama’s fault), the latter of whom understandably delayed his approval—but did eventually give it, unlike Obama—out of disgust at disregard for his position.

But Rogers acts as though both sides are equally to blame for appropriating each other’s power, asking, “Have the two sides learned now they must talk more?” One already knew; the other refuses to learn.

The Boston Globe’s Michael A. Cohen complained that in cooperation with Boehner, Netanyahu has “gone too far,” demonstrated unprecedented “ingratitude and hubris,” “blindsided” and “undercut” Obama, “gone out of his way to stick his finger in the president’s eye,” “nakedly politicized the issue” of sanctions, and “throw[n] Obama and the White House under the bus.”

Let’s see: Obama issued an executive order unilaterally granting amnesty to five million illegal immigrants rather than properly leaving such authority to Congress. Is that “going too far?”

Obama repeatedly made recess appointments when Congress wasn’t in recess, a move the Supreme Court slapped down in a humiliating 9-0 ruling. Is that “hubris?”

Obama released a policy directive allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to waive the work requirement of the hugely popular and effective 1996 welfare reform law, thus stripping it of its enforcement power. Does that “blindside” and “undercut” Congress?

Obama traded five high-level, murderous Talibani soldiers for one traitorous U.S. deserter without notifying Congress one month beforehand as required by law. Does that “stick a finger in Congress’s eye?”

Obama continues to rewrite Obamacare on an almost weekly basis by changing or delaying the enforcement of dozens of provisions until strategic dates after important elections. Is that “nakedly politicizing” issues or “throwing Congress under the bus?”

Compare Boehner’s invitation and Obama’s executive actions. The former supports the goal of helping our greatest Middle Eastern ally preserve its existence and serve as a bulwark against terrorist states who seek to bring down the West. The latter support the goal of trying to turn the country more Democratic, sneak far-left nominees into office, expand the welfare state, appease our enemies, and help fellow Democrats get elected.

We give the Commander in Chief some leeway in foreign policy, but in the case of inviting Netanyahu to speak, Congress isn’t even overstepping its boundaries. They’re simply asking the Prime Minister to comment on the issue of sanctions against Iran, something Congress will ultimately vote on. Only because Obama has repeatedly expressed such venomous contempt for Israel and Netanyahu is this invitation the big scandal the administration has made it.

Obama has a boneheaded, ineffectual, diplomatic strategy that Congress’s overture may hinder, but the President isn’t the only party who gets to weigh in on foreign policy.

Obama’s mantra for the last two years on every subject for which Congress and the American people oppose what he wants to do has been, “If Congress won’t act, I will.” Obama frequently boasts about having a phone and a pen at his disposal. But Boehner isn’t even using his pen—just his phone. He’s not trying to write, sign, or impose anything—just invite an ally to make a speech. And he’s not boasting about it.

Who is guilty of greater violation of separation of powers, Obama or Boehner? I’m going with… not even close.

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Questions for Science Lovers

January 21, 2015 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

Neil-head-on-Bill-shoulder(After George Will)

The media have been trumpeting NASA’s recent claim that 2014 was Planet Earth’s hottest year on record—the third time this record has been broken in the past decade—thus setting the stage for another round of haranguing over how we must drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions or face certain doom. Some questions for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) proponents who claim to love science:

Climatologists, geologists, astronomers, physicists, hydrologists, and glaciologists have published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals offering credible alternatives to the AGW hypothesis. These theories examine the significant role of solar forcing, sunspot activity, glaciation, tilts in the Earth’s orbit, ocean currents, plate tectonics, cloud cover, and cosmic radiation on global temperature. Since scientists attempt to falsify their theories to test whether they hold up against the alternatives, why is each of these other theories so flawed that it doesn’t deserve consideration and discussion in the media as a possible competing explanation for global warming?

Upon witnessing the Earth’s surface temperature fail to increase over the past seventeen years, some AGW supporters have produced the ad hoc explanation that the warming is being sequestered or “hidden” in the deep ocean, and will eventually rise to the surface, where it will increase global surface temperature. Climatologist Judith Curry has critiqued that explanation, noting that the only evidence for deep ocean sequestration is a questionable reanalysis of a dataset that contradicts several other datasets, the latter of which show warming only in the upper oceans. According to the sequestration argument, we would expect warming in the deep ocean but not the upper ocean, when in fact we are consistently seeing the opposite. Where is the flaw in Curry’s critique, and if there is none, will AGW supporters discard the sequestration explanation of the missing warming?

AGW supporters have claimed several times in the past decade that the previous year was the hottest on record, when in fact each time a “record” was set it was only a few hundredths of a degree hotter than the previous record. The latest “record” shows that the Earth was .02°C warmer in 2014 than in 2010, with a margin of error of .10°C—five times the amount of the supposed warming. These recent records are always well within the margin of error for global surface temperature measurements. Statistical significance and margin of error are basic scientific concepts. Why do AGW supporters uncritically make dramatic claims about warming in specific years when the differences they spotlight are statistically insignificant?

One of the public relations peaks of the AGW movement over the past several years was the TV segment in which John Oliver dismissed the notion that there is any legitimate doubt over whether man is causing catastrophic global warming. He did so by having 97 scientists representing the supposed consensus file onstage to shout down 3 lonely skeptics. The preponderance of AGW supporters, which reflects a statistic floating around that 97% of climatologists believe in catastrophic manmade global warming, was supposed to impress skeptics based on the sheer disparity in numbers. Yet science is not determined by consensus—as historical figures such as Copernicus or Galileo can tell you. The Oliver stunt was tagged in social media as “the best climate debate you’ll ever see”; but in fact it wasn’t a debate at all, because arguments weren’t presented and defended or refuted—the only “argument” was the number of bodies on stage. Have scientific methods changed, such that the sheer number of scientists who agree with a hypothesis now determines its truth, irrespective of the arguments in support of or against it?

Speaking of that 97% figure, many authors cited as part of the review that yielded it have come out and said that their views were misrepresented, and that they don’t accept the claim that man is causing catastrophic global warming. An exposé by Popular Technology revealed that not only did the 97%-citers cook up the study as a public relations stunt and marketing ploy for their brand-new Consensus Project, they “crowd-sourced” the classification of the universe of 12,000 papers to online readers of the climate alarmist site Skeptical Science. Would those who conducted the study be willing to contact the authors of the papers they counted and ask them if their views were appropriately categorized, then publish a corrected tally based on these scientists’ classifications of their own views?

AGW supporters like to point out when climate change skeptics’ research has been funded by “big oil” or “big carbon,” whose industry leaders believe that environmental restrictions will hurt their business. Suppose that skeptics were right and global warming weren’t caused primarily by man, despite the widely-held belief that it is; yet a few intrepid scientists were testing alternative theories that they believed had greater merit. Assuming that energy industry titans wanted scientific evidence rather than unfounded propaganda to acquit them of charges of destroying the planet, how else should they proceed besides funding scientists to conduct critical studies that no one else in the field is willing to touch?

Regarding those funding sources, AGW supporters are quick to dismiss the results of studies they fund based on the identity of the funders. A more devastating way to discredit these studies would be to show how their arguments and evidence are flawed. Yet most AGW proponents seem content to lambaste funding sources without addressing the content of the studies. Have scientific methods changed, such that the funding source for a research study invalidates the results if that source is politically unpopular or may benefit from the results?

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Islam Est Le Problème

January 14, 2015 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

6a00d83451bc4a69e200e54f6373848834-640wiJournalists reporting on the jihadist massacre at the Parisian satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, and the subsequent deadly hostage-taking at a nearby kosher deli, have been insisting that the growing worldwide threat to free expression emanates from some nonspecific entity known as Violent Extremism.

The Nation’s Laila Lalami charged that Charlie’s Muslim cartoons were nothing more than “casual bigotry”; she dismissed the notion that the attacks were a result of Islamic radicalization. Her evidence? Two of the victims included a Muslim copy editor who was working at Charlie that day and a Muslim police officer who showed up on the scene.

Newsflash: Muslims don’t have qualms about killing other Muslims. I think the barbaric actions of ISIS and Boko Haram over the past year have closed the book on that argument. Also, attackers likely didn’t know there was a Muslim Charlie employee in the office that day, or that a Muslim police officer was nearby.

Many reporters’ first reaction to the Charlie killings was to fret, not that there was a surge in disaffected Muslim immigrants who were ripe for becoming radicalized, but that France’s far-right National Front party would use the tragedy for political advantage, or that Muslims would suffer a public backlash.

Usually when these attacks happen and Muslim apologists make these sorts of preemptive complaints, there’s a period of several weeks of mourning and reflection during which some segment of the public drifts into complacently accepting the argument that Muslims aren’t more violent than practitioners of other religions.

Thus, note the tragic but poetic justice in the slaughter at a Parisian kosher deli hours later, which unfolded just as the left was telling us the Charlie murders were an isolated act and reflected nothing about Islam.

Most of the images and essays political cartoonists and columnists have produced in response to the tragedy focus on the threat extremism poses to freedom of expression, even while these responses downplay any link to Islam.

But show me one journalist anywhere on Earth who would fear for his life after publishing a cartoon mocking Christianity, Judaism, Hindu, or any religion besides Islam.

Preventing future Charlie-style attacks demands honesty about the root causes of terrorism and an acknowledgement that no other religion is responsible for inspiring more acts of terrorism per capita than Islam.

Most Westerners know about only a fraction of such acts. But the Charlie attack wasn’t the only murderous Islamic attack last week. It wasn’t even the only murderous attack that day.

As Religion of Peace documents, on January 7, the day of the Parisian bloodbath, Muslims committed the following attacks:

  • Boko Haram slaughtered 2,000 innocent people across 16 villages in Nigeria
  • An al-Qaeda suicide bomber killed 37 and injured 67 on a bus in Yemen
  • Islamists machine-gunned 9 road workers in Afghanistan, killing 6 and wounding 3
  • ISIS thugs kidnapped 5 Baghdadis from their homes and shot them in the back of the head
  • Islamic soldiers detonated two bombs in Baghdad, killing 4 and injuring 11
  • A suicide bomber killed 4 and injured 3 in Mosul, Iraq
  • Taliban soldiers murdered 2 children and injured 11 people in Afghanistan

In four other attacks the same day, Islamic terrorists killed four more people, including a police officer and a mentally disabled man.

Totally missing the larger picture, the left-wing Public Religion Research Institute trumpeted the results of a poll showing that most Americans believe that acts of terror committed by Christians are less reflective of Christianity than acts of terror committed by Muslims are of Islam. PRRI drew the ridiculous conclusion that Americans “have a double standard,” because they measure Islam according to a higher benchmark than Christianity.

But if a much higher number of terrorist acts per capita are committed by Muslims than Christians, is it illogical to assume that these acts are more representative of Islam—especially when there’s ample basis for them in the religion’s holy text? How about if the attackers scream “Allahu Akbar!” and boast about avenging the Prophet every time they slaughter infidels?

The Nation’s Lalami wrote, “When I think of that morning in Paris, I don’t doubt where my allegiance is. It is with victims, no matter whether they are believers or nonbelievers.”

How brave of Lalami to side with victims. Would General Patton have been courageous enough to take such a bold stance?

Victims are only half of the equation. Perpetrators are the other half. And it doesn’t help prevent future terrorist attacks and more victims if we refuse to identify the ideology motivating the vast majority of them: Islam.

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Winnowing the 2016 Field

January 07, 2015 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2016

Presentation1Who do we want on our 2016 GOP presidential ticket? There are a lot of people out there pushing bad choices who claim to know best, but who will put us in a world of hurt if we don’t analyze this with a view toward winning.

Below are my ten conditions that the Republican 2016 ticket must meet:

  1. Both presidential and vice presidential candidates must be governors. Being a governor gives a candidate an enormous electoral advantage relative to being a senator, representative, cabinet appointee, pizza magnate, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, or any other job. Both halves of the ticket must be governors, so we don’t have to listen to Democrats tout what-if scenarios involving the death of our president and the ascension of our VP to his role.
  2. Both halves must be governors of swing states, or at least bluish-purple states. If we win a landslide we won’t need those states; if we lose miserably they won’t help; but neither of those scenarios is as likely as one in which we win by a handy but not comfortable margin. Let’s preclude the nail-biting and choose among the 20 or so purple/violet states to give ourselves a head start.
  3. Our presidential candidate must be a governor of a large state. See #2. By large I mean top-20 by population.
  4. At least one member of our ticket must be black, Latino, or female. It’s unfortunate that we have to play racial and gender politics. But we do, because Democrats rely on it to win, which means we can’t give them that advantage. The GOP is demonstrably less racist than Democrats, but we have to be 1/10th as racist to be seen as only twice as racist.
  5. Both halves must have served as governor for at least four years (the length of a presidential term). Both must have been reelected.
  6. Both must be popular governors. General popularity is necessary to win purple/violet states.
  7. Our nominees needn’t be Tea Partiers, but they can’t be the sort of centrists the Republican base has increasingly been grumbling about. White voter turnout was a shocking 6 million less than projected in 2012, and 4.5 million less than in 2008—the only reason Democrats thrived despite their lower-than-2008 turnout. This cannot happen again.
  8. Both candidates must be people no one has been talking about as serious candidates. There’s widespread dissatisfaction among the base about our choices. Therefore, both halves of our ticket must be people who aren’t currently in any poll’s top 10, though perhaps in some polls’ top 15 or 20. We need fresh faces.
  9. Our presidential candidate should have a record of making wise policy choices but not be so on the frontlines that he has become the object of scorn. We have to consider the positives and negatives of our candidates. We don’t need one with a big, fat bull’s eye on him for the media to destroy.
  10. Our presidential candidate must be 60-69; our vice presidential candidate must be 50-59. These are the Magic Ages for maximum appeal/credibility.

Who does that leave?

#1 rules out non-governors Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Bob Corker, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Allen West, and Ben Carson. No Ben Carson, conservatives. Step away from the neurosurgeon. Keep your hands where I can see them.

#2 rules out non-swing-staters Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Bob Ehrlich, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, John Huntsman, and Sarah Palin.

#3 rules out small-state guvs Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, and Brian Sandoval, at least for the top of the ticket.

#4 means at least one half of the ticket must be a “minority” like Haley, Martinez, or Sandoval; the Cruzes, Rubios, Wests, Carsons, Cains, Rices, Fiorinas, Bachmanns, Palins, and Jindals have already been disqualified.

#5 rules out Mike Pence, who’s been Governor of Indiana for only two years.

#6 rules out Rick Snyder, who’s in solidly negative territory.

#7. Sorry, Jeb.

#8. Sorry, Chris Christie. If people are already sick of you, they’re not going to fall back in love with you in 2016.

#9. Sorry, Scott Walker. You and Christie broke the mold for union-busting governors, but you’ve also got a (ridiculous) lawsuit against you and a lot of determined enemies.

#10 rules out Nikki Haley, who—like Jindal, Rubio, Cruz, Lee, and Ryan—are babies, politically speaking.

Who’s left? Mitch Daniels and Jim Gilmore have expressed no interest in running, and are also former governors, which isn’t a plus.

That leaves just three names: John Kasich for the top spot, and Brian Sandoval or Susana Martinez for the second. Both of the latter are extremely popular, but Nevada is more of a swing state and has a 50% larger population, so I’m going with Sandoval.

Kasich-Sandoval sounds like a stab in the dark. Given the vagaries of presidential elections, I’ll feel vindicated if these two emerge as serious top-five choices.

But if you agree that the above criteria have merit, the logical endpoint is: Kasich-Sandoval.

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Civil Rights, Conspiracy Charges, Embarrassing Foreigners, and Un-P.C. Health Recommendations

December 31, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????(Excerpts from favorite 2014 columns)

Civil Rights

Democrats: Stuck Between Little Rock and a Hard Place

NPR reporter Debbie Elliott recently commemorated Brown v. Board of Education by implying that absolutely nothing has changed since then… Elliott quoted one superintendent: “‘I have had people comment about their kids going where black students are, and not wanting to. That’s still a truth about human nature.’”

But not wanting your kids to go to school with black children in the 1950s and being leery about sending them to inner-city schools today are entirely different phenomena. Democrats pretend that government-sanctioned segregation is the same as parents wanting to send their children to schools Democrats haven’t screwed up.

The Civil Rights Legacy Democrats Stole from Republicans

In liberals’ fantasy world, Democrats spearheaded civil rights while dragging along reluctant Republicans, and Johnson did the right thing even though he knew Southern Democrats would switch parties.

In fact, Republicans had been pushing civil rights throughout the 1950s, and the transformation of the South from Democratic to Republican started in the 1920s and had nothing to do with race.

After the dissolution of the Dixiecrats in 1948, 23 of the 26 Dixiecrats returned to being lifelong Democrats. Only 1 of 97 Democrats who signed the Southern Manifesto opposing Brown v. Board of Education switched to the Republican Party.

Democrats’ War on Competent Women

Obama recently renewed his push to remedy the civil rights issue of pay inequality by promising to go around Congress if it doesn’t act.

Yet he failed to acknowledge that women’s life circumstances differ from men’s in many ways that affect their earnings. Women major in subjects that lead to lower-paying jobs. Women are more likely to interrupt their careers to have children.

Controlling for all of the above factors, the gender gap dwindles to 6.6 cents.

Even the Labor Department admitted in a comprehensive study in 2009, “There may be nothing to correct.” Is Obama unaware of his own Labor Department’s pay gap research?

Conspiracy Charges

For Liberal Politicians, Lane Closure Is a Way of Life

Imagine a big-state governor supposedly conspiring to shut down the busiest bridge in the country, holding up thousands of drivers.

Now imagine the President holding up millions of online health care shoppers for three months, causing frustration and anger, not to mention lost coverage and discontinuity of care. Which do you think liberals would be livid about and demand federal investigations into? Which do you think they would brush off as trivia hardly worth mentioning?

The left’s raison d’être is closing lanes in every area of our lives. At least Christie’s aides stopped their shenanigans after four days.

More Horses Lose Their Heads When Liberals Are in Power

Democrats have been hyping conspiracy charges against a union-busting Republican Governor. No, not Christie—Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Forget Bridgegate: this scandal should be called Free Speechgate. But it’s Walker’s opponents who have been behaving scandalously.

The Club for Growth filed a lawsuit against state prosecutors, alleging that their ruthless investigation was chilling conservative groups’ free speech. Due to the sleazy, shadowy nature of John Doe investigations, Walker was prevented from defending himself against public charges.

Liberals are now officially trying to keep conservatives from speaking out about how liberals are trying to keep them from speaking out.

It Takes a Village to Clear the Field for Hillary

Suppose you and your buddies were high-ranking political operatives and sleazy Democrats and wanted to conspire to take out top Republican contenders for the 2016 Presidential election.

You’d want to focus on governors, such as pension reformer Governor Chris Christie. By and large you’d focus on the more conservative candidates… You might target Governor Scott Walker, who survived a recall election in 2011, or Governor Rick Perry, who presided over 14 years of explosive economic growth.

But which trumped-up charges would you conspire to saddle these governors with? Conspiracy, naturally.

Embarrassing Foreigners

What’s Next After Sochi: Synchronized Beheadings in Tehran?

Should countries that support state sponsors of terror, give traitors asylum, and commit human rights abuses be rewarded?

The Winter Olympics are now unfolding in supposedly post-Soviet Russia in a farcical spectacle that has yielded a panoply of disasters.

Witness Sochi hotels, whose sparkling amenities include empty elevator shafts, falling light fixtures, and rooms without WiFi, heat, or water.

Russian television displays have been showing the wrong flags for competing countries. The last of five animatronic snowflakes that were supposed to blossom into Olympic rings during the opening ceremony failed to open.

There hasn’t been a rollout this embarrassing since healthcare.gov.

Nobel Peace Prize Committee Still Lauding Frauds

Conservatives have been posting portraits of this year’s Peace Prize co-winner Malala Yousafzai and former winner Obama with captions implying that one of them deserved the award and the other didn’t.

They’re right that one winner is more deserving. Unfortunately, he doesn’t much deserve it, either.

Education activist Yousafzai holds the distinction of being the youngest hit speaker on the international Marxist convention circuit… While other teenagers were making crafts and learning to swim, Malala spent her summer studying Lenin and Trotsky.

Malala simply rejected one murderous totalitarian ideology to flirt with another, more murderous totalitarian ideology.

Politically Incorrect Health Recommendations

Health Recommendation for Summer 2014: Get Out In the Sun

There’s not one longitudinal study out there showing that sun tanning causes skin cancer… The few controlled studies that exist show that sun burning increases skin cancer.

Skin cancer is one of the least lethal types of cancer… Risking skin cancer could help you fight more lethal cancers.

Scientists have long known about the health benefits of vitamin D, including protecting against multiple other types of cancer. Even if tanning led to a slight increase in skin cancer, we would predict it to yield a net reduction in deaths.

Several sets of researchers have crunched the numbers and drawn just that conclusion.

Are Clogged Arteries and Type 2 Diabetes Patriotic?

Why are conservatives so quick to jump to the defense of companies that push mass-produced, preservative-laden, nutritionally-stunted fare? Can Republicans support the right of businesses to sell what they want without championing low cuisine?

According to a recent survey, conservatives support Chick-fil-A, Domino’s, Waffle House, Carl’s Jr, Denny’s, and Hardee’s; while liberals frequent Au Bon Pain, Chipotle, Jamba Juice, Panera Bread, P. F. Chang’s, and Starbucks.

Is there something shameful about having healthy tastes? Is it essential for conservatives’ pride in their country to view carnival food as haute cuisine?

Can conservatives at least admit that kale and bacon taste delicious together?

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Times Readers: Gays Are Cool—But Their Blood Is Icky!

December 24, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Gay Rights

tumblr_m2bzn9RtzY1qghfy5o1_400If you want proof that the left doesn’t care about members of the minority groups it callously stitches together into voting blocs to win elections, look no further than the comments section of The New York Times’ story on the FDA’s recent decision to lift its ban on gay men donating blood.

Until I read their comments, I had never anticipated that so many liberals had such a visceral disgust reaction toward gays:

“I’ll opt for exsanguination.”

Exsanguination, for those who don’t know, means dying of massive blood loss. This New York Times reader would rather ooze blood out of his body until he dies than accept a transfusion from an HIV-negative gay man in a monogamous relationship.

“Sorry, but I will pass. Too many gays have too many multiple partners on a weekly basis.”

Interesting! But how many gays donate blood that’s used in blood transfusions without being tested? Zero!

Fact: All blood donated in this country is tested for HIV and a dozen other sexually transmitted diseases before being used.

Critics counter that HIV can take weeks to be detectable. Fine—wait before using blood in transfusions if anything about a donor’s history suggest a possibility of risk. Red blood cells can be safely used up to six weeks after donation. Frozen plasma can be used for up to a year.

What other concerns do sciency, science-loving Times fans have?

“If donees had a choice between blood from an admittedly sexually active gale [sic] male and a confirmed celibate nun, more than a few people would choose the nun’s blood.”

Personally, I’d choose blood from a sexually active gay male who practiced safe sex and whose blood had been tested for HIV—as all donors’ blood is— and found negative over a nun who was found to be HIV-positive. Call me crazy!

The government banning blood from gay men is like a jury for a painting competition denying all entrants with children, because they might have used their kids’ crayons on their canvases instead of oils. Don’t worry—I think the judges will be able to figure that out before awarding the prize.

Here’s a charming quote from a reader who views the gay community as a perpetual 1970s bathhouse:

“Prior to the recognition of HIV/AIDS, one physician studying health conditions in the gay community compared it to those of a Third World country with parasites and diseases not normally found in advanced countries. Any perusal of CDC statistics for STIs reveals very high rates for gay men. Like it or not, we are not dealing with a healthy population.”

That was 40 years ago—or by virology standards, just yesterday! Is this commenter as concerned about the possibility of undocumented immigrants bringing new diseases into the country as he is about what some gay men were doing 40 years ago? To paraphrase his words, when it comes to Third World refugees flooding our borders, “we are not dealing with a healthy population.”

These are all comments from people who feel enough ideological affinity with The Times to read it on a regular basis and contribute to its comments section. These are not World Net Daily acolytes—these are your friends and liberals.

To apprehend how shocking this anti-gay slant is, consider that approximately 99% of the comments to any other Times article are drenched with sneering, conservative-despising, pat-on-the-back-for-being-liberal sentiments that get hundreds of thumbs up from other readers, while the few sober, untrendy, fact-based comments with conservative perspectives get ignored. Yet when it comes to the thought of getting life-saving blood transfusions from icky gays, Times readers can’t express their disgust fast enough.

When conservatives accept gay marriage or adopt other pro-gay positions, it’s usually because they start applying fundamental principles of individual liberty more broadly—even if it sometimes takes their knowing a gay person or two to get to that point.

In contrast, liberals seem to support gay marriage because it Overthrows the Patriarchy, Subverts the Nuclear Family, or Promotes Ascendancy for Disadvantaged Groups (take your pick). Liberal activists don’t see gays as people, they see them as votes, causes, or weapons.

All donated blood in this country is screened before being used. Any policy, attitude, or comment that ignores that fact is misinformed or bigoted. And the supposedly pro-gay left is apparently as vulnerable to this bias as anyone.

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Elizabeth Warren, Wuss

December 17, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

09-1o021-carr1c-300x300“There is a lot of talk coming from Citigroup about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. So let me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi – I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Who ever said Senator Elizabeth Warren was a tough populist warrior fighting for the middle class? She’s one of the most timid politicians in Washington.

Liberals have been crowing about how terrified Republicans are since two far-left Senators—Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders—assumed greater leadership positions in their party and started receiving buzz over how they should launch 2016 presidential runs. Columnists have been swaggering about how the establishment told the powerful, heroic force to be reckoned with named Warren (aka Lie-awatha) to be quiet—but she wouldn’t!—and now scared Republicans are on the run.

Proving yet again that liberals have no idea what conservatives think, Republicans are giddy at the prospect of these two stale socialists lending their economic views as the new face of the Democratic Party.

Warren, who thinks rather highly of herself for someone who claims merely to be humbly representing the downtrodden, frequently brags about her “outsider” status and how it allows her to speak hard truths that insiders like Hillary Clinton can’t.

She opposed the recent omnibus $1.1 trillion spending bill because it rolled back a provision of the Dodd-Frank reform bill on corporations trading derivatives. The provision forced FDIC-insured banks to contract their derivative trading—betting on future commodity prices to protect against loss—to smaller, partner banks. Warren explained her nay vote thus: “A vote for this bill is a vote for future taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street.” (Hey, why does Elizabeth Warren want to shut down the government and cause the U.S. to default on its debt?)

Warren’s posture supposedly represents a tough, populist stance against corporate interests and a contrast with Wall Street-friendly Clinton.

But note how Warren doesn’t come out directly against bailing out big banks. She merely supports reversing some minor regulatory efforts that might make bank failures less likely.

I’d be more impressed if Warren supported letting banks sink or swim, i.e. leaving them free to make risky investments, but also abandoning them to suffer the consequences if their investments go sour.

If the federal government regulates banks and they fail, Warren well knows that the feds will simply bail them out. Wouldn’t her anti-Wall Street pose be tougher if she supported allowing banks to go their own way and profit handsomely if they succeeded, yet fold if they failed? That’s the only scenario in which she could guarantee that the middle class wouldn’t be forced to bail out banks.

Corporations and banks are by definition larger and wealthier than your average citizen, and therefore have more to win or lose. That wealth-seeking investors took the time and capital to form corporations suggests that we’d expect a wider range of outcomes resulting from their business models, including wild successes and humiliating bankruptcies.

Throwing one’s savings into a startup company because you believe in its vision is brave. In contrast, your average taxpayer has decided, out of a desire for security, complacency, or a lack of interest in getting rich, to live out his life on a playing field with considerably lower stakes. Most of us working 9-to-5 jobs won’t become multimillionaires, but we also won’t lose our shirts and find our names splashed ignominiously through the press.

But courageous progressives like Warren will have none of this diversity of life choices. “Income inequality” is a scourge to be wiped out via heavy-handed government intervention including regulations that squash wealth creation and bring everyone down to a lower but more equal level.

Brave crusaders like Warren and Sanders are so risk-averse that they do everything in their power to prevent other people from assuming risk—and in the process diminish others’ chances of either failing or succeeding. They claim that banks and corporations’ mistakes and unfair practices harm private citizens, yet refuse to acknowledge that this wouldn’t be so if we took a hands-off approach to financial regulation and let corporations live with both the good and bad resulting from their decisions.

Liberals’ definition of bravery is: “Obnoxiously advocating the destruction of other people’s chances of making more money than everybody else.”

The other reason Warren opposed the omnibus bill is because it loosened restrictions on wealthy donors to political campaigns. Again, commentators characterized Warren and other progressives’ willingness to sabotage the bill’s passage as brave. But what’s brave about trying to control candidates and parties’ ability to get their message out and prevent Americans from deciding which views they prefer?

Despite progressives’ claims, wealthy donors don’t control electoral results, they merely allow candidates or parties to disseminate their views. A majority of voters won’t accept a repellent candidate or view, no matter how much money supporters channel to it. (See Lyndon LaRouche or Ron Paul.) Election spending isn’t directly proportional to votes earned—after a certain point, there are sharply diminishing returns, and ideas have to stand on their own.

Why is Warren afraid of Americans getting to hear the other side’s views? Is she scared that voters might prefer a free-market capitalist message to a redistributionist screed? Why do we all have to rearrange the most stable electoral system in the world to cater to her petty fears?

One of the great myths about contemporary liberals is that they’re liberty-loving and liberty-promoting. And one of the great myths about “courageous” left-wing, statist politicians like Warren is that they’re anything but cowards.

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Senate Intelligence Committee Pulls a Rolling Stone

December 10, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

?????????????????????????From the well-established principle that liberals are terrified of Americans hearing the other side of any policy debate, witness recent evidence of the corollary that they’re just as terrified of hearing it themselves.

Last month the pretentious Trotskyite rag Rolling Stone published a sensationalistic cover story on a gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia. The “victim,” a student named “Jackie,” made accusations that were specific, sweeping, and shocking. Author Sabrina Rubin Erdely indicted a “culture of hidden sexual violence” infesting UVA and other American universities. Jackie’s accusation led President Teresa Sullivan to suspend all fraternity activity indefinitely.

Then Rolling Stone was forced to retract the entire story. Deputy Managing Editor Will Dana explained in an apology that writers and editors had never questioned or contacted the accused perpetrators to get their side of the story. Numerous details Jackie had relayed were contradicted by other evidence.

Dana rationalized, “Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man who she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men who she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her.” He added, “[W]e have come to the conclusion that we were mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request… [W]e should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story.”

Why did Erdely fail to apprehend the basic journalistic prerequisite of talking to people she was accusing of grievous felonies? No doubt a combination of dispiriting factors was in play, including the desire to write a reputation-enhancing blockbuster of a story and the belief in the righteousness of her cause. But most of all, this gullible reporter and her editors evidently feared encountering fatally disconfirming evidence that might have emerged had they talked to the other party.

Meanwhile, 100 miles north, a cabal of Democratic Senators led by Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein were busy for five years scouring CIA records for evidence that the Bush administration inflicted gruesome torture on innocent victims that produced zero critical evidence regarding imminent terrorist plots. The Senate Committee’s report, written entirely by Democrats, was released on Tuesday, and has had the mainstream media in a tizzy.

There’s just one problem with Feinstein and company’s $40 million, taxpayer-funded, 6,200-page hit job on former CIA directors and their staff: Feinstein and company never bothered to talk to any former CIA directors or their staff.

We learned this when, the day the report was released, former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden, and former deputy CIA directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland, and Stephen Kappes, published a 2,400-word rebuttal blasting the report as grossly inaccurate and excoriating its authors for not speaking to them before completing it.

The CIA directors documented numerous instances of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) yielding specific intelligence about al-Qaeda’s inner workings and helping to thwart imminent plots. For example, they outlined how the CIA linked counterfeit claims by two detainees, then cleverly used this false concordance to pursue a key figure—Osama bin Laden’s courier—a connection that led to the terrorist leader’s apprehension.

Supporting their claim retroactively, former Obama Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed last year that EITs used on high-level detainees were instrumental in finding bin Laden.

Tenet et al. delivered the following indictment of Senate report authors: “Astonishingly, the staff avoided interviewing any of us who had been involved in establishing or running the program… [There were] six former CIA directors and deputy directors, all of whom could have added firsthand truth to the study.”

Tenet et al. concluded: “[C]ommittee members or staff did not want to risk having to deal with data that did not fit their construct… [They] ‘cherry picked’ their way through six million pages of documents, ignoring some data and highlighting others, to construct their argument against the program’s effectiveness.”

In addition, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Saxby Chambliss, and five other Republicans released a 100-page dissenting view of the committee’s interpretation. Current CIA Director and former top Obama advisor John Brennan bluntly declared at a press conference that the program was effective.

Meanwhile, Feinstein’s response to these CIA and Intelligence officials’ bewilderment over her failure to contact them is a snarky Twitter campaign in which every tweet ends with the condescending hashtag #ReadTheReport—all 6,200 pages and 38,000 footnotes of it, presumably.

Here’s a deal: Conservatives will read liberals’ 9,000-word diatribes about the U.S.’s rape epidemic and doorstop-sized reports on why the CIA was useless in preventing terrorist attacks. In return, liberals must show a modicum of interest in talking to people they accuse of monstrous crimes before making their charges public.

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Online Fact-Checkers Rate All Their Rulings Infallible

December 03, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

politifactIn a recent skirmish with Georgetown Professor and MSNBC regular Michael Eric Dyson, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani got into trouble for noting that 93% of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave Giuliani two Pinocchios, claiming that he “omitted important context”—namely, that 84% of white homicide victims are killed by whites.

That “important context” is utterly irrelevant to Giuliani’s point.

To set the stage: Giuliani was responding to racial agitators’ charge, in the context of the Darren Wilson-Michael Brown shooting case in Ferguson, Missouri, that the most serious threat young black males face today is racist, trigger-happy white cops.

Giuliani argued that those who profess concern about racial justice should focus on the reason for the preponderance of cops patrolling black neighborhoods—high black homicide rates—and the primary source of high black homicide rates—black homicide culprits.

Dyson retorted that cops make an oath to uphold the law, whereas most black homicide culprits are punished and sent to jail. Giuliani responded by asking why the black community didn’t work to bring down the black homicide rate so that black neighborhoods don’t need so many cops.

Why did Giuliani specifically address black-on-black homicide? To the extent that blacks are killed at higher rates than whites and other groups, there’s a societal interest in examining such cases more thoroughly to see whether there are trends underlying their causes, such as blacks being more likely to come from broken homes, belong to gangs, suffer poverty, or emulate gangster culture.

But Dyson reacted with outrage to Giuliani’s statement that “The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70-75% of the time” (an underestimate). Dyson cried, “Look at this! This is the defensive mechanism of white supremacy in your mind, sir!”

Except that Giuliani didn’t claim that only white police officers are capable of stopping crime in black neighborhoods. He was simply responding to Dyson’s argument that there are too many white cops in black neighborhoods. He did so, not by demanding that cops in black neighborhoods be white, but by explaining the reason behind Dyson’s claim that there are too many white cops in black neighborhoods—namely, these neighborhoods need lots of cops, and most cops are white.

Similarly, Giuliani wasn’t claiming that the intraracial nature of black homicides is responsible for the preponderance of white cops in black neighborhoods. Giuliani recommended that the black community work to reduce black-on-black killings, not because black homicide perpetrators are more lethal than white ones, but because racial agitators like Dyson always lump people into communities based on skin color and foment racial divisions. If it’s “black lives” that we’re focusing on, Giuliani implied, then why don’t blacks step up and change a culture that tolerates killing so they don’t need white cops around?

But all of this was irrelevant to Fact Checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee, herself guilty of “omitting important context”—namely, why Giuliani made his comments in the first place.

Lee—who joined chief fact-checker Glenn Kessler at the Post last week—wrote that Giuliani had implied “that intraracial violence in black communities is uniquely bad.” But Giuliani never implied any such thing. He was simply responding to Dyson’s illogical demand that society focus disproportionately on white cops killing blacks.

Lee’s absurd reaction to Giuliani’s comments would be like a feminist claiming that most insults directed toward women are generated by males, with a male social scientist responding, “Actually, studies show that 93% of insults toward women are generated by women”—and the feminist crying, “You’re lying, because 84% of insults directed against men come from men!”

You don’t say. Was anyone asking that question? In our hypothetical example, men weren’t out there raging that men are being verbally victimized primarily by women and not other men.

Similarly, Giuliani was simply refuting the claim that blacks’ high homicide rate is largely due to racist white cops.

(In fact, to the extent that interracial violence occurs, blacks kill whites nearly twice as often as the reverse. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 7.6% of black homicide victims in 2013 were killed by whites, compared to 13.6% of white homicide victims who were killed by blacks.)

The Giuliani-Dyson dustup demonstrates the flaw in these supposedly neutral fact-checking sites: namely, they’re so unreliable that they need their own fact-checkers. The exposés they publish regularly betray political bias by putting the most liberal possible spin on a statement if there’s any conceivable room for differing interpretations.

Lee’s closing argument gives her game away: She says that Giuliani’s statement “lacks significant context—especially because race relations and police treatment of minorities are complex and emotionally-charged topics.” Got that? Because Giuliani didn’t make up claims as a sop to the weepy emotional crowd that thinks there’s a pandemic of white cops shooting innocent black boys, Lee calls him a liar.

Yet Post editors are simply “thrilled” with Lee’s first week on the job, writing, “Her work already is making an impact, with a post on Rudy Giuliani’s claim about black-on-black violence that was a big hit with readers.” That’s true—if by “a big hit with readers” you mean “a big hit job that generated about 95% hostile comments from readers.”

Given the biased character of online fact-checkers, a statement made by a conservative rated ‘False’ likely has more truth value than a ‘True’ statement made by a liberal.

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Why Did the Michael Brown Case Go to a Grand Jury?

November 26, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

f_surv_ferguson_140815_fc4b4377e4f790941ed2809c99d5d7b9The media are spotlighting Ferguson, Missouri rioters who are upset over a grand jury’s recent decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old resident Michael Brown. But they’re ignoring the actions of the individual who may inadvertently have been most responsible for unleashing this recent wave of unrest: prosecutor Bob McCullough.

In mid-August 2014, about a week after Brown’s shooting death, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCullough made a fateful decision that would end up subjecting the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri—and the nation—to three months of nail-biting suspense and an all-but-guaranteed second round of mayhem and property destruction. McCullough set this chain of events in motion by submitting the Brown case to a county grand jury instead of declining to press charges against Wilson. He made this decision, even though the subsequent release of the grand jury proceedings’ transcript reveals that he had to have known that there was little or no physical evidence of criminal wrongdoing on Wilson’s part, and therefore no reason for a grand jury to convene.

How can we surmise that McCullough knew a grand jury was unnecessary? For one thing, McCullough took the unusual step of declining to file a charge before convening a jury. Contrary to his usual M.O., McCullough went straight to the jury, as though he didn’t believe there was enough evidence to prosecute Wilson.

McCullough also clearly wasn’t expecting an indictment based on the content of his remarkable press conference following the grand jury announcement. Social media was abuzz with Brown supporters who were aghast at how quickly McCullough seemed to have folded in buying into the jury’s decision, and how much time he spent agreeing with their conclusion that there wasn’t enough evidence to indict Wilson.

McCullough actually made some rather incisive statements about prosecutorial methods for corroborating witnesses’ statements and physical evidence, and even the very nature of epistemology. Here’s the key passage from his 30-minute summation:

“A common and highly effective method of challenging a statement is to compare it to the previous statements of the witness for consistency and to compare it with the physical evidence. Physical evidence does not change because of public pressure or personal agenda. Physical evidence does not look away as events unfold. Nor does it block out or add to memory. Physical evidence remains constant, and as such is a solid foundation upon which cases are built. When statements changed, witnesses were confronted with the inconsistencies and conflicts between their statements and the physical evidence. Some witnesses admitted they didn’t actually see the shooting or were only repeating what they heard on the street. Some others adjusted parts of their statements to fit the facts.”

Yet most of this compelling physical evidence was available before McCullough decided to convene a grand jury. So why did he insist on initiating this nonstarter if the evidence strongly suggested he do otherwise?

As with Florida special state prosecutor Angela Corey’s dubious, politically motivated decision to bring second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting case in 2012, Democratic officeholder McCullough evidently wanted to give the appearance of being racially sensitive, even though he knew that his actions would only build anticipation in the populace and foment anger when the jury’s decision let them down.

McCullough’s words don’t match his actions: “I’m ever mindful that this decision will not be accepted by some, and may cause disappointment for others. But all decisions in the criminal justice system must be determined by the physical and scientific evidence and the credible testimony corroborated by that evidence, not in response to public outcry or for political expediency.”

So why did McCullough waste millions of taxpayer dollars on a two-month-long hearing whose conclusion we now know was foregone? Indeed, in a case that appeared so complex to outside observers, that required hundreds of hours of testimony, the grand jury deliberated for just two days before delivering their decision not to indict Wilson on any of the five possible charges against him.

Had McCullough used his prosecutorial discretion to decline to press charges back in August, there most certainly would have been outrage. Yet leading the public to believe that there was good reason to indict Wilson, when McCullough had seen all the evidence and knew this to be false, was irresponsible in the extreme. Leading Brown’s family and friends on was simply cruel.

Getting outraged over a perceived injustice and burning down innocent shop owners’ businesses is unjustified. But callously ginning up an aggrieved class of citizens into a murderous frenzy out of political cowardice is despicable.

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